Winner of the vote! New Devil for everyone! Tell me what you think, Loves!
When we landed we were taken by SUV from the airstrip the forty-five minute drive to my Grandmother’s estate in Colorado. We were another ten minute drive from an amazing resort, one that I hadn’t let myself loose on for snow sports in a long time. I had to admit, I was getting as excited as Emily at the prospect.
We arrived to a front of house full of large SUV and Jeep vehicles, which meant everyone, or almost everyone had arrive. I took a very large calming breath as we hauled our luggage out of the trunk, and headed for the front door, that was of course unlocked.
“Hello, anyone home?” I called out as I peeked my head around the door, as the other followed me. Before I had stepped four steps into the large entrance hall, Gran came around the corner, big smile on her face and her favorite apron in place.
“Sookie, Darling!!! I’m so glad you’re here! Pamela! Eric, and Emily, hello, hello, please come in!!” She said, grabbing me for a hug and squeezing ever so tight. I just smiled and took it for what it was, a rarity these days between she and I. After me she went for Eric, he got a hug, as did Pam and finally Emily, who was suddenly very shy. She clung to Eric as we left our things in the hallway and made our way into the kitchen. The smell of food meeting us every step of the way.
“You all must be hungry!”
“We got food, on the flight, but dinner smells amazing!”
“We should be ready to sit down around four, four thirty at the latest. We’re still waiting on Claudine and her crew.” Gran said as she checked on the turkey, and I took a look around. She had redecorated since I’d been here last, everything was a lot more ‘country kitchen’ than it had been before. It almost felt like our old place in Louisiana for a second.
“Jason and the kids are in the process of unpacking, Crystal is laying down, your Grandfather’s cousins will be here around three.”
“Is Great-Aunt Shelia coming?” I asked, suddenly excited. I hadn’t seen her in forever and a day, and I always enjoyed Shelia.
“Yes, she’s on her way, her husband couldn’t come.”
“His name is Tom, Gran you can say his name.”
Shelia was my Grandfather’s sister, and her husband was Tom Warrington, someone who in my whole life I never heard Gran ever say a good word about. I never really knew why.
“Yes, well, thankfully he’s away on business, but we all know that’s bull.”
Adele Stackhouse was hitting seventy, and still had the sharp wit of a eighteen year old, and the temper too.
“Well, I’ll be glad to see her,” I said as I looked to Emily who had taken her seat next to me at the table as Gran made conversation with Pam and Eric about the flight and New York and that she hoped they weren’t allergic to anything, or one of those ‘funny vegan people’. I just shook my head. “I think I’ll go and unpack, you guys want me to show you around?” I said to Eric and Em’, mostly because Pam and I had been here before and she knew her way around, she was also helping herself to one of Gran’s special adult ‘punch’ drinks from the fridge, and I figured we could change and give them a chance to catch up.
“This place is … massive, Sook.” Eric commented as we took the second staircase up to where I assumed their rooms would be, next to mine.
“It is, overly so. They bought it in the early nineties though, when it was going for a song really. Granddad loved this place, and they made a lot of additions on and on too and soon it was this size and a bit obnoxious to boot.”
“It’s homely though, for somewhere so huge.”
“It can be, let’s hope the atmosphere stays that way too.”
Lizzie and Darcy came thundering out of one of the rooms to the left, excited to see their new playmate. Within seconds it was decided that Emily was rooming with them in the kids room. I peaked inside and Jason was unpacking their little things into the drawers, the room had two sets of bunk beds, and more toys than I could count. Play heaven.
“Hey Sis!” he said, looking up and then coming towards me for a hug. Second hug in less than a half hour, wonders would never cease.
“Hey you. I guess Emily is staying in here then?”
“That’s cool, I’m glad they get along, I want the kids to be socialized.” He nodded, very serious on the matter. I smiled. I liked that he was a good dad, or at the very least tried to be. It was sweet and something I knew he always wanted from our parents died.
“That’s a good goal.” I added awkwardly.
“Hey, listen Sook, I know you and Gran had stuff to discuss this weekend, but I just want you to know, I support whatever changes are coming.”
“You do?” I was shocked.
“Sure. I’m not really at home there, you know that, and besides if I’m demoted, it’ll give me more time to do the things I want to do too. So really, we all get what we want, right?”
But, it wasn’t what I wanted, not anymore.
He beamed at me, as the kids decided they were building a fort.
“I’m going to get settled in, talk to you soon though?”
“I’ll be around.” He smiled again, and I walked out of the room and across the hall into mine and Eric’s room. There was no debate, we were sharing because well, we were a couple pretending to be a couple who were, actually, pretty much a couple.
Oy I was giving myself a headache.
Eric was diligently putting the clothes in the drawers too, hanging his suits in the closet, placing his shoes at the bottom of the closet too. I stood in the doorway and just watched how careful he was with everything, finding its place.
He sensed me after a few seconds or so, as I stood there, he tuned, a curious look on his face.
I snapped out of whatever daze I had been in.
“Yeah, just tired I guess. Not much sleep was had last night.” I sighed, walking over and throwing myself with a bounce on the extremely large made up bed. The room was large and south facing, allowing us a view of the mountains from every window. A few seconds later, the weight on the bed shifted and Eric was next to me with a content sigh also.
“Em’ will love the snow, once we get time. I used to love snow as a kid. When we’d go to Sweden on vacation, I loved it. Dad and I would build snow men and go up to the mountains and board or just mess around. Mom hated it, of course. She preferred the Swedish summers to the dark, miserable Winters.” He smiled, looking at the ceiling. “My Grandparents had a place, it got great snowfall, and a frozen lake for skating, dangerous as hell of course, but we never seemed to mind.”
I smiled, recalling my own memories of my parents, as few and far between as they were now. We’d always go skating as soon as the lake got hard enough, always get messy and cold, and probably caught a flu or two in the process, but it would be me, mom, dad, and Jason just messing around too, making snow angels and the like.
“Memories are good things to have.” I mused as I scooted closer to his body, aiming for an Eric snuggle.
He gave good snuggle.
“They are, they’re even better to create than to look back on though. I want lots of good memories for Emily. Is it weird that I think about that?”
“Hmm. No. I don’t think it is, it means you’re being a good bro-ad.”
He squinted at me.
“And just what is a bro-ad?”
I smiled remembering the funny conversation.
“What Emily decided you were. Kind of a dad-brother mash-up, bro-ad. I thought it was adorable.”
“Women are strange, even little tiny ones with word hyphenating abilities.” He giggled, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me to his chest.
Cuddle winning for Sookie!
“Can I tell you something?” I began, unsure of where to really begin with my thought process.
“The reason we’re here? If she decides in my favour?”
“Yeah?” He asked, his playful face gone, in place now was his serious listening face.
“Sookie? Eric? I made snacks until – Oh…Sorry.” Gran said as she came through the door, witnessing us both on the bed.
I got up, and I noticed Eric was blushing.
“Nothing to be sorry about, we were just talking. Snacks you say?”
“Just some pecan pie and some Ambrosia for the kids while we wait for the turkey and everything. Oh, and Claudine is here.”
“Yay,” I said sarcastically, “Can’t wait.”
“Now, Sookie I know you and she have your… differences, but please for this weekend…”
“Gran, I’m not here to start anything. I’m here because you asked us here, end of story. I just don’t want to deal with her, so the less I see her the better it is for all of us. It’s a big enough house I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
“I just want all my family under one roof for one weekend is that so much to ask, Sookie Stackhouse? Is it so much to ask you be civil like your Momma and Daddy, and I taught you?”
I felt bad then, seeing her side of things, she did just want some time with us all like the old days.
“No, well then, please. Try.” She asked before she leaned in and kissed me on the forehead. I just shrugged.
“When are we going to settle our … little issue.” I asked, just getting it out there. She sighed.
“Soon my love, let’s just enjoy our Thanksgiving first, huh?”
I nodded, I knew she’d drag it out, and for once I didn’t blame her. One way or another with the way my thought process was going, it was going to cause a lot of friction.
“Eric honey are you hungry, what would you like? There’s plenty in the fridge and I just want you and Emily to treat this place as if it were your own okay? Just help yourself.”
“Oh… thank you Adele, that’s very kind of you.”
“Kind nothing, you and Sookie…” she smiled, almost proud looking, it was a little embarrassing, “well you’re both so cute…”
“Fine, fine, but I thought it so I said it and there it is. Anyway, come on down will you?”
“We will, we’re just going to change.”
“Of course. See you in a bit, I’m going to get the kids.”
With that she exited, closing the bedroom door behind her leaving me to look at a rather bashful looking Eric.
“She seems… relaxed.” he said, unbuttoning his pants beginning to change clothes.
“Drunk.” I said, slipping off my shoes and rooting through my case for what I was going to wear.
“Really?” He burst out laughing, shaking his head as he moved on to his sweater.
“Yup. Cooking Sherry, she takes sips and sips, and she’s got zero tolerance what so ever, so that with her ‘ little glass of wine’ means she’ll be sloshed by dinner. It’s fun.”
“Fun times to be had then, what if we get you drunk too? Would hilarity ensue? You’re fun drunk.”
“As in, I’m not fun sober, thanks.”
“You’re fun drunk or sober, as long as there are no back to back meetings.” He chuckled.
“I’m awesome you shush.” I joked, peeling off my last layer, leaving me standing there in my underwear, as I reached for my dress, I caught his eye. He was staring.
“What?” I giggled, trying to ignore the look on his face.
“Nothing… just you know, enjoying the view.” With that he looked me up and down again, painfully slowly. I tried to ignore the chills the simple action gave me.
“We so don’t have time for this…” I said, probably more to myself than him, as all I really wanted to do was jump him there and then. He just smirked, and continued changing. It was going to be a long night, maybe the distraction of wanting him naked would make it go that much faster, well, hope springs eternal and all that, I guess.
Sookie’s face lit up when her Great Aunt rounded the corner of the large plush living room, hugs were had and laughs were exchanged, Shelia was a character that’s for sure. Right off the bat calling Adele a stick in the mud, and Claudine her husband and Sookie’s Ex Ralph and their kid, Mila came through. Mila was a tall girl, a lot other than Jason’s kids and Emily, so she wasn’t really fitting in by the looks of things as they ignored her and she favoured to sit by her mother with her nose in a book. Everyone spoke and exchanged pleas raises, but then conversation seemed to break off and I noticed Mila curl up even more. She looked like her father, at least hair and eyes, she had Claudine’s mouth, but seemingly her father’s quiet personality too. I noticed Sookie noticing her, pretending she wasn’t, pretending that the look on her face wasn’t one of pain. It had to suck for her, the kid was the reason she and Ralph broke up, it had to sting to say the least to be reminded of that so often.
By the time we all sat down for dinner, everyone was starving and really ready for the insanely large feast of food Adele had put on. There was everything sprawled a cross the dinning room table, and two other tables besides. I counted six different kinds of pie, about a dozen bottles of wine, the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen in my life – perfectly roasted might I add. Hams, potatoes – in various different incarnations, more pie, three large gravy boats, mixed veg, roasted veg, boiled veg.
It was a little overwhelming.
Sookie was seated next to me, and Emily was on my other side, next to Lizzie. She leaned in as we started filling our plates.
“Is it difficult?” she asked.
“Resisting the urge to Instagam all of this for posterity?”
I just rolled my eyes, ignoring just how right she was.
Adele welcomed everyone, and started her ‘thankful’ prayer, stating how thankful she was to be alive and well, and have her family well and around her in one piece. She was thankful for her grand-kids and great grand-kids, and for a granddaughter and grandson that worked as hard as they did for her name and her company. She looked to Sookie as she raised her glass, and I swore I saw Sookie blush a little at the attention. Pam raised her glass and said she was thankful for her loved ones, few and far between as they were they were all – each and everyone important. She was thankful for a job she loved, and a boss she loved liked a sister. I thought it was very sweet, and out of the character Pam liked to project. Everyone said their piece, and then it came to me, and the focus of everyone in the room being on me made me breakout in a cold sweat.
I rolled off how I was thankful for my family, and my friends and all the new friends I’d made in the year past. It seemed to do the trick and soon it was Sookie’s turn.
“Well, I’m thankful for my classes in public speaking at college,” she laughed, “I’m thankful for my lovely friends who I would be lost without, my new friends too that I’ve come to rely on and to realize that it’s okay to do that and not look weak.” Her hand went to my knee at that, I found it comforting, “for the family I was born into, we might not always see eye-to-eye but you’re family and more and more I’m realizing how important that is.” She gave my knee a squeeze and I was very happy in the knowledge that I was influencing her in such a positive way, I felt weirdly proud.
After dinner, everyone was suitable stuffed and the kids were wrecked, a nap was definitely needed, and it wasn’t something I was going to say no to myself, either. We all agreed we’d rest up and hit the indoor pool around six. Indoor pool, heated, jetted, the whole nine. I think Emily’s eyes just about fell out of her head when she heard that.
Jason’s kids, Claudine’s daughter and Em’ were all tucked up in the cinema room, complete with blankets, after desert. Sookie and I decided to join them in the back on one of the double bed-like seats for a showing of The Wizard of Oz. We’d been tucked up together maybe twenty minutes when she leaned on my shoulder.
“I don’t want it.”
“Want what?” I whispered back, even though we were far enough from the kids to not be heard, I didn’t want to be heard either way.
“The job. If she offers it to me, I just… don’t want it. Not anymore.”
That stunned me to say the very least.
“W-what? Why? When did this happen?”
“ I don’t know, not exactly. But something in me changed recently, and I don’t know what I’m going to do if she offers it to me now. After everything I’ve gone though, and now my head is like ‘so what?’. I’m so confused.”
I nodded. Not really sure what to say to her, I knew there was something brewing inside her, this was a huge surprise. She loved her job, she was fantastic at it, she was known as a Head Bitch In Charge by so many in her field, and at twenty-nine, that was no easy feat.
“There’s something else you have in mind isn’t there?” People like Sookie didn’t just up sticks and leave something without a backup plan, she was smart.
“My designs, I was thinking about actually doing something with them. I contacted some design houses, and the response has been positive, but I haven’t taken any major steps other than a few phone calls.”
“I… it’s a huge thing, Sook. Huge.” I whispered.
“I know, hence the mind-numbing fear,” she sighed snuggling up to me some more. I liked when she did that, I liked being close to her, even just like this. “But it all depends on what her answer is, this weekend. If she realizes how wrong she’s been with this whole mess, I may reconsider, and if not…”
“Then … I guess I walk, if she refuses to promote me to where I rightfully belong, then I can’t stay, it would be too humiliating for one thing, but for another, it would be freeing.”
“And you say that even if she does it’s not what you want, so maybe you walk anyway?”
“Maybe. It’s still something I’m trying to figure out, but I don’t think I’ll truly know where my heart lies until I’m on the brink of the decision, you know?”
“So, you’ll know when you know?” I smirked, complicated women were indeed complicated.
“Something like that. I guess we just wait and see which way my instinct goes.”
What I didn’t know was that Sookie’s instinct would lead her in the right direction, but where the hell did that leave me?