Thank you so much for all your great reviews. I really hope you like this chapter too.
And thank you so much to Rascalthemutant at the Alexander Skarsgård Library Forum for correcting this chapter and for telling me she got warm fuzzies over it. I love warm fuzzies!
I swallowed. He looked menacing and I was pretty sure he could snap my neck with his hands.
“And that gives you the right to break into Eric`s house?” A cornered dog will bite and I felt very cornered, being all alone with a man huge as a tree trunk.
“I will do anything for Sophie Anne,” he answered with determination. “I just wish her own children would do the same.”
A smile started forming on his lips. It was as if the smile-muscles were out of practice and he was really making the effort. Maybe he had watched too many American police shows with a `good cop/ bad cop` routine and he tried to act both roles. I`m sure if he had had a twin brother with him, one would have been smiles and comfort and the other one would break my fingers if I coughed wrong.
“What are you doing here?” I wanted to know.
“I wanted to know everything about you and Eric. Now that you are here, you can tell me yourself.” His smile was still on his lips, but I could hear an `or else` hanging in the air.
“I just don`t understand why Sophie Anne can`t leave Eric alone.”
Sigebert sighed as if I was a very slow kid and he was teaching me things I should have picked up in kindergarten.
“Sophie Anne is a very responsible person. She is trying to teach her children to take responsibility too.”
“Just because we don`t do things her way, doesn`t mean we aren`t responsible,” an angry voice from the door yelled out. Pam. “What the fuck are you doing here, Sigebert? Did my mother run out of backsides to kiss?”
“Miss Ravenscroft.” Sigebert made a small bow to Pam. “I am here on your mother`s orders.”
“Of course you are, Sigebert. But you are still here illegally. Do you want me to call the police?” Pam kept her cool, but she was close to spewing flames.
“You are free to do as you please, Miss Ravenscroft, but I do hope you would consider your mother`s reputation.” He was quiet for a moment or two as if he had to overcome himself before he spoke again. “I also wish you and your brother would consider the consequences of your lifestyle.”
I almost started looking for a fire extinguisher for Pam`s mouth, when she spat out, “What is that supposed to mean?”
Sigebert looked her straight in the eyes. “You know the consequences if Eric doesn`t step up as his mother`s successor in Northman Enterprises. And to do that, he needs to marry and have children. And you will face similar demands when your father passes away, Miss Ravenscroft. People born into your position in life have responsibilities to so many people and you can`t just ignore it.”
“What do you mean `to so many people`?” I asked Sigebert. I felt I was missing an important part of the puzzle.
Sigebert practiced his smile on me again. This time it seemed more friendly, but with a little dash of sadness. “A lot of people depend on the profitability of Northman Enterprises. Over 100,000 people earn their living directly or indirectly from the company.”
I gasped. “A 100,000 people?”
“And most of them live and work in small communities with Northman Enterprises as the sole employer.”
Pam had softened slightly, then her eyes got hard again. “I am well aware of this, Sigebert. I can still not see how this can justify my mother forcing Eric to get a family. Getting married and having children is highly personal and not something you should do because a stupid will demands it.”
I was apparently lacking a chapter of the book here. “I understand that this has something to do with a will from Eric`s grandfather, but what would happen if Eric never had children?” I asked.
Pam looked at me, but it was Sigebert who answered.
“Then those 100,000 people would all certainly be without jobs.”
“You don`t know that, Sigebert,” Pam said.
“If `you know who` gets hold of the company, he will not care about the people working for it. This is a given fact.” Sigebert looked very serious.
I looked at Pam and she answered my unspoken question. “My mother does not allow us to use the name of Eric`s uncle.”
“Peter Threadgill?” I asked and drew my breath as to swallow the words again. I didn`t want Sigebert to be angry with me for saying a name I shouldn`t have said. Luckily Pam shook her head.
“No, the other uncle. Eric`s father had two sisters. One of them married Peter Threadgill and the other one stumbled over some Spanish manmeat when she visited the `playa`.”
“The `playa`?” I asked.
“Oh, of course. You don`t know the Scandinavian tradition of going to the south of Europe like the Vikings and screw everyone willing. Only this tradition is upheld mainly by the women, or at least the straight ones among us. Scandinavian women are not used to men telling them they are beautiful, because that`s just not something men do around here. In the summer vacations they can fill up their self esteem-tanks with all the sweet nothings South European men are willing to throw after them. They believe the crap and are really easy lay… sorry, easy prey for the Don Juans and Casanovas. Eric`s aunt was the unlucky one. Not only did she get pregnant, but the señor who had impregnated her decided to do the honorable thing.” Pam spat out the last two words as if they were foul.
“I`m sure her fortunes helped him form his decision,” Sigebert muttered.
“Definitely. And he has been trying to weasel himself into the company ever since. It has not been a pretty sight.”
“Sophie Anne has done her best to keep him away from the important board rooms.” Sigebert`s voice was full of pride which seemed like a contradiction to the rough man. “But she needs Eric`s loyalty.” He looked at Pam.
“The price is too high, Sigebert.”
“How can the price be too high? Remember what happened in my home village when …” His voice trailed off.
“I know,” Pam said with a sad look on her face.
“What happened?” I almost whispered.
“He had managed to snatch a subsidiary company out of Sophie Anne`s hands and ran it to the ground, just to get out the values it had. Everyone in my home village depended on that company and when it was shut down, people had to move. It broke my brother`s spirit and he ended up committing suicide. This was why I came to work for Sophie Anne.”
“I`m sorry, Sigebert.” I felt truly sorry for him and I could suddenly see why Sophie Anne would put so much pressure on Eric. I felt bad about us getting married since I knew this wasn`t a marriage that would end in the children Sophie Anne apparently needed.
“Thank you. But if you don`t mind me saying so, sorry doesn`t mean very much. Only action counts. The way I see it, you are standing in the way of Eric having kids. And you will be Sophie Anne`s downfall.”
“Excuse me?” My voice was high-pitched. I mentally deleted my sympathy for Sigebert.
“I`m just telling you the truth. Give up Eric now and go home.”
Pam stood up. “I think you just unwelcomed yourself, Sigebert. Sookie and Eric are getting married on Saturday and there is nothing you can do about it.”
Sigebert stared at me. “Then I hope you understand that you will have blood on your hands if you choose not to have children.”
“Piss off, Sigebert. And never come back,” Pam yelled.
Sigebert was out the door and I sat down like a deflated balloon. Pam sat down next to me.
“Don`t let this incident cloud your mind, Sookie,” she said. “Sigebert is extremely loyal to my mother and only sees the world through her eyes. He doesn`t understand how Eric and I have to live our own lives. We are used to the guilt-trips he is trying pull, but it must have been a shock for you.”
“Yes, it was. I mean, how can I marry Eric now, knowing that my selfish need for a work permit may end up in people losing their jobs and homes?”
“You just can`t think like that, Sookie.” Pam stroked my back awkwardly.
“How can I not?”
Pam looked at me for a couple of minutes. Then she stood up and walked out of the living room. “I`m going to call Eric,” she said and disappeared.
I could hear the front door open and close and a low mutter of voices in the hall. Pam was apparently explaining the whole situation to Eric.
After a few minutes, Eric came into the living room and walked towards me in long strides. He surprised me by getting down on his knees between my legs. He looked at me.
“I realized that I have failed you, Sookie, and I want to make up for it,” were his first words. I figured he wanted to say he was sorry about not giving me all the details in his and his mother`s affairs so I straightened up and waited for a long speech.
“I never really proposed to you,” he said while unwrapping a small box I hadn`t noticed.
I gasped and panicked.
“You don`t have to propose, Eric. We are getting married in two days and this is not a conventional wedding.” I was starting to hyperventilate.
Eric took my hand. “I know that, Sookie, but even if we marry for the wrong reasons, we can still do it right.” He pulled out a very beautiful ring. It was a gold ring with a ruby in the middle and small diamonds around it. “This was my grandmother`s ring and I`m sure she would agree with me that no sweeter person could wear it.” Eric looked me in the eyes. “Will you marry me, Sookie?”
I went from hyperventilating to holding my breath. Then I decided I couldn`t hold it forever and exhaled. “Yes, I will marry you, Eric,” I smiled.
We looked at each other, not really knowing what to do. I hadn`t noticed Pam entering the living room again before she laughed. “I think it is customary to kiss in situations like this.”
Eric straightened up and moved slowly in my direction, as if he was asking for my permission. I moved towards him and we met in a kiss. It wasn`t a passionate kiss or a kiss that would have us rip off our clothes, but it was a definite reminder of the kisses we had had.
Eric had had a lot of women and even if that wasn`t a part of him I was very fond of, it had made him a great kisser.
I sighed and pulled back. Both Eric and I did a lot of coughing and we couldn`t really look each other in the eyes. Something had happened in that kiss and neither of us wanted to acknowledge it.
And Sigebert was magically forgotten.
Friday went in a blur. I tried to act normal, but Eric`s kiss on Thursday made me blush every time I saw him. I was definitely the blushing bride Saturday morning and reality dawned upon me. I was getting married to a charming, smart, fun, hot and rich man – probably the guy I dreamed of when I was a kid. But I was marrying him for practical reasons and I wanted it to stay that way.
It had seemed so easy to get married when Eric suggested it, but complications kept piling up. I was close to calling the whole thing off, but couldn`t bring myself to do it.
So at 11, Pam had made sure my makeup was perfect without being too much and she had arranged my hair in a wave of curls that looked spectacular.
Eric had stayed the night in Pam`s apartment to make sure he didn`t see the dress before the wedding. I thought it was silly, but Pam had insisted. Now she was fussing around me like a mother hen.
“I`m not sure if it`s an American tradition to have something old and something new, something borrowed and something blue, but it is British – and so am I, you know. As your dress is both old and blue, you only need something borrowed and something new.” She handed me a wrap that fit the dress perfectly. “This will keep you slightly warmer and if you give it back to me after the wedding, it`ll be borrowed,”
I gave Pam a kiss on her cheek. “Thank you.”
“And here is something new. This is not from me, but from my brother.”
Pam gave me a jewelry box and I started blushing again. Apparently I couldn`t even hear Eric`s name mentioned without turning red. I opened the box and the most exquisite necklace with a ruby pendant was inside. It was obviously new, but it fit the ring Eric had given me, perfectly.
Pam helped me put the pendant on and I looked in the mirror. I was pleased with the way I looked and was amazed at how little the turmoil inside me showed on the outside.
I was a nervous wreck when I walked out the door. `I am getting married`, was all I could think. Apparently the message that this was just a wedding between two friends had never reached my heart, because it was pumping blood around in my body in a life-threatening speed. My pulse was that of an athlete in the middle of the Olympics. Other parts of my body reacted in sympathy. I had dry mouth, shaky hands and a light dizziness that I prayed would not turn into nausea.
A black car decorated with flowers on the hood, waited for us outside Eric`s house and before I knew it, we were outside the courthouse of Oslo.
Eric was standing at the end of the marble stairs of the courthouse and when the car stood still, he almost torethe car door off its hinges. His huge hand helped me out and soon I had his strong arms around me and his warm lips on mine.
“You look fantastic,” he said when he pulled back.
I took him in and had to admit he looked amazing himself. He was wearing a black suit that couldn`t have come off any rack, a white shirt and a black bowtie. A tiny bouquet of flowers lightened up his chest. My heart jumped in my chest.
“You don`t look half bad yourself,” I smiled.
I hadn`t noticed the flowers in Eric`s hand. It was a larger copy of the small bouquet he had on his jacket.
“Your bridal flowers,” Eric presented to me. “I do believe it`s the grooms responsibility to make sure the bride has flowers on her big day.”
I blushed at the mention of our imminent wedding – or maybe it was just Eric`s bright smile and his winking that brought the colors to my cheek.
He gave me his arm. “Shall we, my future wife?” And we walked up the stairs. An inner voice kept screaming for me to turn around, but I didn`t. I knew it was wrong to get married just to get a work permit, but it felt right.
Inside the building a girl with brown hair came to meet us. She was dressed in a pink dress and high heels, which reminded me of the fact that I had to change shoe-wear. I found a chair and started pulling my boots off and the girl smiled at me. I started checking my inner cabinet files to see if this was someone I had met before, but it wasn`t.
Wearing shoes and giving the boots and coat to Pam, who immediately went to the cloak room to hand it in, I smiled at the girl. She apparently had something to say to me.
Eric stood up next to me and waved the girl closer.
“This is Amelia Broadway, Sookie,” he smiled. “Two witnesses are needed for weddings in this country and I felt it was wrong if both of them were my family or friends, so I called the embassy and asked if they knew anyone from Louisiana who lived in Oslo.” Eric was about to continue, but Pam was back and cut in.
“You did call Sookie`s brother first,” she said.
“Pam!” Eric was angry. He looked back at me. “Yes, your brother was unfortunately hindered. It was a very short notice, you know, but he sends all his best wishes.”
“I`m sure,” I muttered.
Eric gave me a slight hug in sympathy and looked at the girl. “Amelia, this is my lovely bride to be, Sookie Stackhouse.”
We shook hands and I asked her where she was from and was told, with a sweet smile, that she was from New Orleans. She seemed like a nice girl and I appreciated Eric`s sentiment. I felt less alone going to my own wedding with a fellow Louisiana-girl at my side.
If anyone had asked me afterwards what was said to me during the wedding, I would not have been able to answer the question. Not because I didn`t understand the Norwegian that was used by the official joining Eric and me in unholy matrimony, I understood every word, but because I had too many emotions riding through my brain.
“I now declare you husband and wife,” was the only sentence I picked up. Eric kissed me and Pam tried to, but was pulled back by her brother. Amelia gave me a warm hug.
“Now let`s go to our wedding reception,” Eric declared and spun me around.
I had never heard of any wedding reception being planned. I looked down at the new ring on my finger, next to the one Eric had given me just two days ago, and smiled.
“Yes, let`s go to our wedding reception,” I answered and smiled at Eric.
No cliffhanger this time. I hope the chapter gave you warm fuzzies.
I`m sitting here with a goofy grin on my face – for two reasons:
1, My one-shot Dust Bunnies and Christmas Presents is in the finale in the Naughty and Nice contest. That makes me really proud and happy. The contest has some amazing stories and I would recommend everyone to read them and vote: www . fanfiction u/2163083/Naughty_or_Nice_List
2, My new story, Dead with the Vikings, had a really great reception yesterday. I posted the first chapter last night and I have never had this many reviews, subscriptions and favorites in such a short time.
Thank you so much for giving me warm fuzzies too 😀