Complete Story : TSL

Title: The Simple Life
Category: Books » Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries
Author: ChanelAddict
Language: English, Rating: Rated: M
Genre: Family/Romance
Published: 01-31-11, Updated: 09-12-11
Chapters: 24, Words: 100,507

Chapter 1: Chapter 1


SPOV:

Harder…” I said, even though I was sure if we went any harder we’d end up on the other side of the wall. But he pushed harder still, lifting my bottom slightly off the bed.

“Oh. My. God… Eric!” I knew we had to be quiet, but it just slipped out. “Oh God… Jesus!” I panted once more, as I clung to him for dear life. That all too familiar feeling was building in my toes ready to shoot throughout my body.

I felt him smirk into my neck. “Close, baby?”

He knew I was; this was a well oiled machine as far as fucking hot sex went at this point.

“MOMMY, DADDY!” Came the shriek from across the hall.

“You have GOT to be kidding me,” I groaned as Eric slowed down. “No, don’t stop.” I gripped his back but to no avail.

“Didn’t lock the door…” he said into my neck again, this time as he came to a standstill.

“Eric!”

“She’s coming!”

I’m coming! Which is more important right now,” I said, though it didn’t matter. He stopped with a frustrated groan, rolling beside me and covering us both up with the bed sheet right before the bedroom door burst open.

“Mommy! I was callin’ for you. Why’d you no come to me?”

Because I was coming for someone else, I thought.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked, wrapping the sheet around myself fully.

“I want juice.”

“Jess, you have water beside your bed,” Eric said, the mood officially killed.

“But I want juice. Please? I promise not to pee.”

“Jess, we’ve talked about this.”

“But, please?” she said, coming into the room fully now, knowing to focus in on Eric. He was the good cop after all.

“Water. And what did we say about bursting into Mommy and Daddy’s room without knocking?”

She curled her finger into her hair before pouting, “Not to do it.”

“Right. Come on, I’ll take you back to bed. I pushed his boxers up from the bottom of the bed with my foot before he slid them on under the blankets.

He picked her up, kissing her on the cheek.

“What woke you up anyway, puddin’?” he asked her.

“Mommy was praying loudly again.”

Both Eric and I burst out laughing.

“It’s no funny!” she said thinking we were laughing at her. We really weren’t.

“Well, maybe Mommy should pray a little quieter next time,” he quirked an eyebrow at me, like it was all my fault!

“Well, she would if daddy would help her stay quiet. It wouldn’t be so loud.”

“We’ll work on that.”

I scoffed. Not now we wouldn’t. The mood was well and truly cock-blocked.

I got up and pulled on one of Eric’s t-shirts, not even in the mood for proper pjs and crawled back into bed.

By the time I felt Eric’s weight on the bed again, I was almost asleep. So when I felt his lips on my neck I was struggling with the urge to laugh.

“Not even happening,” I said half unconscious.

“She’s asleep. And you have to learn to be quiet,” he kissed me again.

Sleeping…”

“No… Sookie come on, we were doing so good.” He poked me in the arm with his finger a little.

“And now the mood is gone. And I’m tired, let’s just sleep.”

“Let’s have sex.” He snaked his arm around my waist pulling me closer into his body. I was still set on sleeping.

Sleep.”

I heard him sigh, reaching over to turn out the bedside lamp on his side before he yanked the comforter with more force than necessary, alerting me to the fact that he was pissed. Well, it was his own damn fault. I was tired of arguing over locking the bedroom door at night. I wanted it locked for privacy and so we didn’t completely traumatize our daughter with the possibility of her walking in on us fucking. He didn’t. Jessica had one tiny freak out when our bedroom door was locked one morning, and we didn’t hear her outside the door. It annoyed Eric so much that he’d been against locking it ever since. Which then meant that we had to embrace silent sex… because Jessica seemed to have hearing like a bat and was a rather nosy four-year-old. It was difficult to near impossible for us to say the least.

In the three, almost four years that Eric and I had embraced our couple status head on, we’d realized silent sex was never something that was going to be an option. Even that one time with the blindfold—that we’d ultimately ended up using as a mouth gag—it just wasn’t happening. Hence my argument for the key being turned if we were having sex. Jessica would just have to deal with it. It was either that or she would receive a visual education none of us was ready for.

I flipped the heart shaped pancake from the frying pan onto Jessica’s plate as she sat at the island, her hair frizzy and sticking out all over the place, as she yawned.

“Thank you mamma.”

I was always ‘mamma’ in the mornings or right before bed, then it became ‘mommy’ for most things and ‘mom’ when she was having a temper tantrum. Eric, well, Eric was always just her daddy, and her favorite—shocker, right?

Wrong.

Jessica was very much a daddy’s girl. She always had been, even when we first got her. But their bond over the years had only gotten more and more solid. She was, in every sense, the apple of his eye and he was just her big damn hero. It was ridiculously adorable to watch at times, when at others I felt like someone had cloned Eric into a little girl. It brought up the nature versus nurture debate a lot, internally. Technically, she shouldn’t have our personality traits. She did have Alcide’s or Hadley’s way about her sometimes—they were in her so completely—in her laugh or her smile. They were definitely there. She had Hadley’s eyes, and Alcide’s pout, but the majority of her personality was pretty much peppered with her growing up with Eric, Pam, Amelia, and myself. As well as everyone else influencing her as a little person.

I gave her the cooled bacon and some eggs and she sat quietly munching away—her legs bobbing along to the radio. It was her morning routine, and oddly like Eric, she was almost silent in the morning when she first woke up.

“Mamma?”

“Yes, baby?”

“Do I has to go to school today? Hoyt’s still sick. I don’t want to go.”

“It’s not has, it’s have, and no, sweetie you know you have to go. Ms. Monroe is doing movie day, remember?”

She smiled. It was pre-school; she wouldn’t be missing life changing events, but we had wanted her to socialize with more kids. Since she and Hoyt seemed so attached to each other, Maxine was attempting to do the same. It seems like our kids liked being loners, but only together.

“Okay…” she sounded out before chomping on her bacon.

Eric came around the door looking just as dishevelled as Jessica—his hair sticking out all over the place and his boxer shorts were wonky and sliding down.

I giggled slightly as he came over and kissed me good morning and went straight for the coffee pot.

“Look at you two, you must really enjoy your sleep getting up looking like this!” I laughed attempting to calm the cat on Jessica’s head.

“Sleep well?” I asked Eric, even though I knew by the scowl on his face that he wasn’t a happy bunny. I ignored it while I set out our breakfast next to Jessica. With his coffee in hand, he walked over and kissed Jessica on the head before taking a seat next to her.

“Yeah, fine… mostly,” he said, sipping the hot black tar.

Still a man of very few words in the morning. Some things never change.

But on the other hand, millions of other little things do change.

After our second first date, came our first second date, then a third, and then a fourth. In between our dates, we’d go back to life at home, just us, Jessica and Molly the cat. Molly who originally belonged to Amelia, but once she and Pam moved in together, she had to get gone. Pam had an intolerance for cats and told Amelia outright that the only pussy Amelia would be stroking, would be hers. And so, Molly got ‘donated’ to Jessica. Thankfully there were no allergies and Mol was as sweet as any animal could be. Despite Eric’s objections at first, he had grown attached to the little fur ball, though he’d never admit it. As well as the new addition, I had decided after I quit Sophie-Anne’s house of horrors, that I’d take some time off just to be a mom and bond with my daughter. It was the best thing I could have done, for all of us.

“Daddy?”

“Hmm?”

“You look funny,” Jessica said with a giggle and half a piece of bacon sticking out of her mouth.

“Oh yeah?” he said scooting in next to her, “Well, you look funny too munchkin. And don’t talk with your mouth full, why?”

“Cause it’s rude.” Rude, coming out more ‘wud’ than anything as she still had the bacon on the side of her mouth.

“I’M DONE!” she announced after three more bites of her eggs and a sip of her juice.

“Okay, go upstairs and get your shoes, then come back down and I’ll do your hair and then we’ll go.”

“In piggy tails?”

“Yes, in piggy tails. Now scoot or we’ll be late.”

She slid off the chair with ease and made a break for the hallway, Molly following at a slower more leisurely pace behind her.

“You’re extra quiet this morning,” I pointed out. He just shrugged. I knew he was still stinging from last night. It wasn’t like we’d never got interrupted during sex before, it’s just that before, we’d always have finished, at least in some capacity. But not last night. See the thing was, for the last number of months, I’d been toying with the idea of going back to work. Since Jessica was in pre-school from morning till the early afternoon and with Maxine and Hoyt after that if necessary, I had tons of free time, too much free time. And so, I did. I bought a restaurant across town. Well, I say restaurant. When I bought it, I bought it for a steal since it was nothing but an abandoned warehouse on the water—it was a shell. But, I took that shell and put my heart, my soul and a good chunk of my sanity into it. And within seven months, I’d managed to bring it from a shell, to a fabulously decorated and beautiful restaurant slash bar. It had been a source of much debate between Eric and I. The same old arguments arose—why couldn’t I just partner with him and run that business together? Why did I feel the need to do this alone? Was I sure I wanted to stop being a full-time mom? Was I sure I could handle it all on my own…? Those sorts of things. And it was ridiculous because while I knew his arguments came from a place of concern, it annoyed the hell out of me that he’d even doubt that I would take on more than I could handle. But we dealt with it as best as we knew how, just like everything else that came our way. Including any and all problems in the bedroom.

“Are you mad at me or something?” I finally asked him, as I poured the remainder of my coffee down the sink.

“No.”

“Yes you are. Why, because I didn’t want to finish what we started last night?”

“No, I get it. Whatever. You were tired and pissed, that’s fine. But you did it, didn’t you? You…” He switched his mug from one hand to another. “You got yourself off before I got back into bed. There’s no way you would have just drifted off otherwise.”

I rolled my eyes. Another source of contention between Eric and I was the fact that sometimes, just sometimes when I didn’t feel like getting all hot and sweaty with him, or I felt the need for a little… self love, that I still got myself off. It wasn’t like I didn’t think that he didn’t—I just didn’t care either way. He seemed to care—a lot.

“Oh not this again, really? Eric, it’s not like I’m cheating on you!”

He just pouted. It drove me nuts.

“Momma I can’t find mah shoe!” I heard from the top of the stairs.

“Which ones, the red ones or the black ones?”

“The wed ones with the wittle buttons.” Jessica had been having trouble with her W’s and her R’s lately, no matter what we tried, we hoped she’d grow out of it.

“Red one is on the inside of your closet beside Lizzy.” Lizzy was her old rag doll who lived in her closet for ‘bed time’ these days.

“Okaay,” I heard her feet scamper into her room again as I zipped up her backpack.

“Look, Eric it’s not like I’d mind if you did it. Really, it’s not that big of a deal.”

“Well, maybe it is to me!”

“Why?”

He never really would tell me why it annoyed him so much.

“Because it feels like—”

“I’m ready!” came the little voice as she ran into the kitchen. We both looked at her. She had her shoes on alright, but they were on the wrong feet. Eric just laughed and lifted her up onto the island to fix them. She got her morning cuddles from him and he let her down again. This time she came to me with the hairbrush in hand.

“One piggy tail or two?”

“Two silly!”

So two ‘piggy tails’ it was. Her hair was the same color as mine and Hadley’s. Her eyes matched mine and Eric’s too, if you didn’t know what Hadley’s looked like. No one really questioned her about her parents at school. She had a few friends but their mothers knew the story and that was good enough for me. They weren’t even five yet; they didn’t need to know the ins and outs of death. Though for Jessica we thought it was different. Eric and I had decided early on that Jessica should know who her birth parents were. As far as we and she were concerned, Eric was her daddy and I was her mommy, but she knew about Alcide and Hadley. We had their pictures scattered around the house with ours beside them. I didn’t want their memory to die just because they did. So, she knew. She knew she had a birth mom and dad that loved her very much everyday, but that now they were in heaven because everyone needs their angels. I had my Gran, Eric had his dad, and she had her birth mom and dad. She seemed to accept it, and it was a story she told Hoyt from time to time.

“I have to take her to school then drop by the restaurant to see how the decorating is coming along, but we will talk about this later, right?”

He just nodded, looking downright sullen. Awesome start to the morning.

He kissed Jessica goodbye promising that he’d pick her up after school and they’d go get food and ice cream if she was really good for her teachers. While I was just too pissed to kiss him goodbye at that point I grabbed my keys and Jessica’s backpack and headed for the car.

Sometimes he was just so impossible!

EPOV:

Sometimes it was like her brain was switched off. Of course it bugged me that she was getting herself off without me. It was nothing but a confidence thing, I’ll admit. Especially, since I knew she had a history of ‘pretending’ she was having a good time with a guy, when really she was miserable and not enjoying herself at all. I wasn’t about to let that shit start happening with us. I just didn’t understand why did she need to get herself off when I was there, more than willing to do it for her? I knew it was something she didn’t get because to her it just wasn’t a big deal, but I hadn’t felt the need to take matters into my own hands … so to speak, in a long time. The fact that she still liked to, it got to me. It seemed that lately everything we did got taken the wrong way. There were more arguments than ever, and I blamed it on the stress of work for both of us.

She’d started the project, at first just looking for work doing interviews, meeting with other businesses. Then she found the warehouse for sale from a friend of her grandmother’s and the rest was put on hold since she dreamed up ideas of making it her own place. I was thrilled for her at first, because passionate Sookie was a fun Sookie, and she was very passionate about this project. Then it got off the ground and reality hit me square in the face. She wanted to go back to work which meant actually working. Odd hours, long hours. No more Sookie and Jessica snuggled up on the couch when I got home from work. That little reminder that no matter how shitty my day had been, all was in fact right with the world as long as I had them. I knew it was a childish fear, but it did feel like I was losing her bit by bit to this new job, and with Jessica getting bigger all the time it was only a matter of time before she didn’t need me in the same way either. Top that all off with the one thing that Sookie and I were professionals at going south, and you have a very stressed out me. Sex—really great toe-curling, stars behind the eyes, I-think-my-head-is-going-to-explode-sex—that was our thing. It’s always been our thing. Until she started stressing about work again and didn’t want to as often, which, again, I accepted as best as I could since I loved her and respected her wishes. I thought she wasn’t in the mood for sexy times, but it turns out she just wasn’t in the mood for sexy times with me. With herself apparently, that was still fine.

So, all in all I was feeling a little put out by everything. I wanted to get over it; I wanted it to just roll off my back, but somehow I didn’t know how. Somehow, it was still niggling into my brain when she came back two hours later.

I heard her shuffle in, dropping whatever bags she had with her on the floor of the hallway. Her keys hit the big bowl where they lived when we were home.

“Hey,” I said, putting aside my paperwork on the kitchen table.

“Hey…” she said quietly, pushing the paper further back so her butt was nudged on the table in front of me. She snaked her arms around my neck.

“You wanna tell me, huh?” She whispered.

“Tell you what?”

“What’s going on inside that head of yours?”

I stayed silent.

“Come on, Eric. I’m not a telepath, though sometimes I wish I was,” she smiled, scooting from the table to my lap.

“Talk to me.”

“Its stupid; it doesn’t matter,” I tried to reassure her, even if I felt like an ass. I really did. I wanted so badly to just shake this off.

“Well, obviously it does matter, if it’s making you this closed off. I don’t like closed off Eric, I like chatty banter filled, Eric. Now what do we have to do to bring him back?”

I kissed her cheek, sliding her off my lap to stand up.

“Eric?” She looked confused, about as confused as I felt.

“I just feel a little… stupid right now, that’s all. It’s this thing or that thing and it has been for months now. Nothing feels like it used to.”

“Like what exactly? Like us?” she asked standing in front of me now, her arms folded, her mom-face officially on.

“No, yes. No. I don’t know.”

“What is this, because of one sex thing, we’re suddenly on different pages or something?”

“No. It’s just ever since you went back to work, things have been different.”

“Well, yeah. Before I was here all the time, or with you at the bar, or just around a lot more. Now I’m not because it takes up some of my time. Of course things will be different. I thought you got that though, when we both agreed that it was a good idea?”

“I did, at the time. But I guess thinking about it and the reality of it, aren’t the same.”

She sighed letting me circle my arms around her waist. “I told you it was stupid.”

“It’s not. It’s not stupid at all, but honey, you know that it’s just going to get busier for me once we open, right? I mean, you of all people should know that—”

“I do know, and I want to feel differently about it but I can’t seem to make myself. And I feel like shit because I’m being prissy when I should be nothing but happy for you, which I am. I am happy too, I just… miss how it was.”

She simply nodded, grabbing my hand and yanking me towards the hallways and up the stairs.

“Why are we…? Sookie, if this is pity sex, I want us to turn around right now,” I demanded. That shit wasn’t happening.

She just laughed, “When have we ever had pity sex? Hmm? No, it’s not pity sex I just think you and I need to sort a few things out, like we used to.”

We walked into the master bedroom, our bedroom, and she kicked off her heels and unzipped her jeans, slipped her tank top over her head.

She did say it wasn’t pity sex, right?

“You have too many clothes on for snuggle time,” she smiled, hopping into bed in her underwear. We had two kinds of snuggle time, a term Jessica had penned a while back. There was snuggle time on the weekends, myself, Jessica and Sookie. It involved Saturday cartoons, breakfast in bed, and as aforementioned, lots of snuggling—all with our clothes on of course.

The second kind of snuggling happened whenever Sookie and I managed to get more than an hour alone together. It involved decidedly less clothing, lots of kissing, some touching and was usually followed by some pretty mellowed out sexing.

I smiled as I shed my clothes sliding in next to her. She leaned on her arm to one side, looking at me.

I kissed her forehead pulling her in next to me and we just laid there for a few minutes, in complete silence, just listening to the other breathe. It was ridiculous how calming that was.

“I’m just scared,” I said after a long silence, gently.

“Of what?” she said back just as gently, stroking my arm absentmindedly.

“That you might not need me anymore.” There, I said it. Step one, admit you’re a pussy… or have a problem.

She sat up, then whacked me on the chest.

“Ow! Jesus, what was that for?”

“Being a tool. What the fuck? That I wouldn’t need you anymore? I’m sorry, is this 1930? Do I need a man to ‘look after me’ or something, is that what this is?”

“No! I just…”

“You just what? You just suddenly decided to channel your inner sexist and pout because ‘the little woman’ got a job?” She was yelling now, the calm cuddles were gone.

“Sookie, that’s not it. At least not totally like you described.”

“Then what!”

“I’m so proud of you, first of all. For getting up and doing what you wanted to do and you know I support you a thousand percent right?”

“Well, it doesn’t feel like it right now!” she huffed moving to sit up completely.

“I just grew to love how things were with us, and with Jess, and how we just seemed so mellow and chilled out, and that was because of you. You were chilled out and that wore off on me and her. Everything was so great. And I’m scared of losing that. That’s all.”

“Just because I own a business.”

“Honestly, yes. I know better than anyone what goes into setting up a business—the hours, the stress—so yeah, our lives for the last, almost four years are about to be turned on their head. I’m having a little trouble accepting that. That’s all.”

“And the sex thing, that was just another notch in the ‘oh she doesn’t need me’ column, right?”

Smart girl.

I nodded.

“Jesus fucking Christ. Men.” She said, to no one in particular.

I yanked her back down, using a death grip for snuggle purposes. “Let me go, I’m still mad at you.” She said muffled through my chest.

I laughed. “Nope, not a chance. You’re stuck now. No surrender.”

I gripped her tighter and she fake gagged, before she slid her hand down my boxers and decided to use a death grip of her own.

“You play dirty, Stackhouse,” I said, letting her up for air.

She laughed before she straddled my waist. I forced myself to look her in the eye and not get sidetracked with her breasts.

“Can you get over this mood of yours, then? I mean, is that all it is, or are we looking at something deeper here?” she asked me seriously.

“I’ll be fine. I promise. It’s just a funk, I’ll move on probably sooner than either of us think.”

“Promise?”

“I’m not lying, I promise. I’ll do whatever I have to to get over this. I love you.”

“I love you, too. And I love our life, Eric. I don’t want it to change either… but it’s life whether or not we accept it. It’s never simple.”

We had no idea then, but we were really about to find out just how simple life could never really be.

A/N : *Waves* We’re back! 😀 I have lots planned for these two this time around so I hope you’re all back on board! *Bites nails*, I also really have to stop foreshadowing, it’s such a bad habit I’ve gotten into with fic! Gah! Anyway, do we like it? Hate it? Love it? Loathe it? Hit the review and let me know bbs! Xoxo


Chapter 2: Chapter 2


EPOV:

“Jessica, what are you doing?”

“Making ice cream volcano. Want some?”

I squinted at her bowl. I didn’t know where she got her ideas from sometimes, but she had her scoops all in a row with the chocolate sauce coming up the middle, and her wafer cone smashed into the sides.

“No, I’m good. So, how was school today?”

“Good,” she said, mouth full and covered in chocolate ice cream. “Teacher wants us to make a picture for homework. To—to for class.”

Jessica had a habit of getting a little too excited for her words, they would fall out of her mouth all over each other, and usually repeated more than once. It was adorable.

Oh?”

“Mmhmm, it’s called ‘my family’.” She dragged ‘family’ out so it came out more like fa-mah-lee. When she learned sarcasm, we were all in trouble.

“Oh, well that’s nice sweetie. Maybe that’s something you and mom can work on at home then tonight.”

“Is you working again? You is always at work,” she pointed out. And while that was strictly not true, I guess to a four-year-old evening till closing most nights of the week did equal “always.” Which brought up that worry in me about Sookie being gone so much. Sure, right now it was during Jess’s school hours, but soon it wouldn’t be. Soon it would be for longer and more often.

“Okay, you all done?”

“Momma said I wasn’t meant to has ice cream before dinner…” she said just as if she realized we broke a rule.

“True, and usually we don’t, but mom and I figured you deserved a treat because you’ve been such a good girl lately.”

And she had been. When she first started pre-school, we had more than our share of hassle with her and the “rules.” She missed being with me and her mom and just didn’t get why we left her there for hours everyday, tantrums would ensue and the crying was almost non-stop. Thankfully, it had only lasted a week before she was able to adjust. Now she almost loved it.

“Oh, okay…” she said quirking her little brows before hopping off her chair. Her hands going up straight away. She knew when she had me that I’d pretty much carry her anywhere. She was getting too big for Sookie to do the same, but she knew she could be lazy with me. I would admit to being a fully grown man, wrapped around the finger of a four-year-old. It should have been shameful, but one look at her and I was done for, and I think she knew it.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, honey?”

“We bring Momma some ice cream?”

“That, is a good idea baby. Might cheer her up, huh?”

She nodded.

“Which ice cream?”

“Chocolate and chocolate.”

That was Jessica’s favorite more than it was Sookie’s.

“Hmm. How about we split chocolate with some strawberry?”

“Okaaaaaaaay,” she said with a sigh as we placed our order.

SPOV:

I’d been sick for days—just miserable and wiped from the flu. I had battled through though, as best as I knew how. The restaurant was three months from the opening deadline and I was up to my eyes in invoices, bills, decorating mishaps, stressed out painters and non-existent advertisers. I had built my contacts while I was at the Crown, so getting the word out about the opening wouldn’t be a problem. Finding a decent team however was proving to be a sticking point.

I’d been working out of my half finished office for a few hours when I heard the familiar patter of tiny Mary-Jane shoes.

“Momma, where is you?” came the tiny yell before the manly knock.

“Hey,” came Eric’s greeting as they both walked in. Jessica hopped on my seat as I stood up to greet Eric with our customary kiss. She swung around and around on the swivel chair as Eric and I talked.

“You feeling any better?” he asked handing me a bag—ice cream. Ah, I loved him.

“A little, though someone won’t be feeling so good if she keeps spinning after what I’m assuming is a two scoop ice cream cone,” I said, looking over my shoulder to see Jessica coming to a halt with a shy smile.

“This is just what I needed, thank you.” I leaned in and kissed him again before pulling back after a peck. “I don’t want to get you sick.”

“I’m not scared of your tiny blonde germs, Sookie.”

“You will be when you feel like your head is about to explode.” I rolled my eyes, and it hurt.

“You should be at home, tucked up, in bed,” he leaned in to whisper, “With me.”

“So we both can get sick and nothing would ever get done.” I pushed him back. I really didn’t want him getting what I had so I was trying, and apparently failing, to keep my distance.

“The decorators should be done in the next couple of weeks. Having solid floors throughout will be a huge plus,” I smiled. Walking the plank every morning wasn’t my idea of fun.

“That’s good. The place is really shaping up well. It’ll be beautiful when it’s done,” he complimented, looking around my office again. Since things had gotten up and running Eric hadn’t spent that much time here with me. I didn’t know why, but he just seemed to like to avoid the subject and the place as much as possible. I hoped his unannounced stopping by might have been a peek at things changing. I hated when things were tense between us, especially when I didn’t have a real reason for them being so.

“Well, how are you, Miss Jessica?” I said scooping her up and sitting back down in my chair. “Where you good for daddy?”

“Yes. I is always good, but we got ice cream before dinner, but daddy told me not to tell you so I not tell you. Okay?”

I laughed as Eric looked guilty.

“It wasn’t two scoops, it was one.”

“It was two,” she whispered.

I knew their game, but it was a fun one.

“That’s fine as long as you eat your dinner when we get home, and all the vegetables.”

“Ugh,” she made a face, “But they are gross.”

“Gross? That’s new.”

“It means gross.” She nodded. Of course it did, I laughed.

“Pam is bringing in her replacement next week.”

“She’s finally sucumbing to the fact that she’s seven months pregnant and shouldn’t be strutting around in six inch heels all day long?” I laughed.

“She is. Her name is Yvetta. Pam knew her from college or something—I wasn’t really listening—but she’ll cover for her till her maternity leave ends.”

“So, she’s there for a year, then? You know Pam will use everyone of her sick days too, to add on to it.”

He nodded. “Don’t I know it. Eh, I don’t know much about her, only that she and Pam used to be good friends. I guess that means she might be similar to Pam and if so, I can deal with that.”

I just nodded. It was necessary after all, the bar was booming and it was only good business to hire a replacement while your best friend had her baby.

“Okay, midget let’s go let mom finish up here and get you cleaned up,” Eric announced after a few minutes more of chit chatting. They left as quickly as they came, leaving me and my cold in the drafty office. I would be home in a few hours. Dinner, bed, comfort—it all sounded wonderful.

After a rough night’s sleeplessness, I woke to the sound of pots and pans banging downstairs. It was Saturday, and that meant Jessica’s ‘cooking’ lesson with Eric. If you asked me, it was like the blind leading the blind as far as they both were concerned, but I usually got some nice eggs and toast out of the deal. Of course, my toast was shaped like Barbie, but it was still yummy. They were whispering down the hall long before they made it into the bedroom.

“We wanted to let you sleep a little longer. You were up and down a lot last night,” Eric commented, coming in with the tray as Jessica toddled in and slammed herself up onto our bed.

“Thank you.” I kissed him once as he handed me my coffee.

“Feeling better?”

“A lot more so than yesterday. Fingers crossed it’s fading,” I smiled.

Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and what looked like fruit with little bites already taken out of it.

I looked at Jessica and she just shrugged. “I got hungry, okay?” she squeaked.

Jessica snuggled in between Eric and I as he tucked into his toast, she chugged on her sippy cup, and I ate what I could.

“Momma?”

“Mmm?”

“How comes my name is different to your name?”

“You mean, Jessica?”

“No, I mean my other name.”

Oh, her last name. Yes, her last name was still Herveaux. Since Eric and I weren’t married we couldn’t decide whose name she got, and felt wrong sticking her with Herveaux-Stackhouse-Northman. She’d sound like a very odd law firm, and no little kid needed that.

“Well, your birth mom and dad, you know that was their last name.”

“I know, but why is it still mine now? Why is your last name different from Daddy’s, too?”

“Because sweetie, Daddy and I aren’t married so I still have my own name.”

Oh.”

“Okay?” I looked at Eric and he just smiled. The idea of getting married, it wasn’t something I longed for, it wasn’t something I thought was necessary for a certain level of fulfilment or achievement in life. Eric, Jess and I were a family. I didn’t think I needed a ring or a piece of paper to tell me that. Eric had agreed with me when we’d first had the talk, though that had been two years earlier. Now that Jessica was starting to ask questions, things were going to get awkward.

Pam, Amelia, Lafayette, Tara, and even Jason in his own haphazard way, were all pushing for us to ‘make it official’ in some capacity. We just shrugged it off, though. Peer pressure wasn’t really our style.

Jessica pressure however, was something else entirely.

“Okay, but why?”

“Why what honey?”

“Why is your name and Daddy’s name not the same because you is not married?”

“Well—” Eric began but Jessica cut him off.

“Hoyt’s mommy and daddy and Hoyt has the same name. Why don’t we?”

Awkward.

“Jessica eat your toast,” I said, rolling my eyes as I smiled. Eric just looked pensive.

“Something wrong?” I asked him.

“Well, she has a point. I mean, why don’t we?”

“Why don’t we what?”

He just raised his brow at me, as if to say ‘ you know what, idiot.’

“Oh, Eric, come on. We’ve talked about this.”

“Not in a long time we haven’t. Things change…” He shrugged.

Jessica looked at him as if she was trying to suppress a giggle.

“Have they changed? For you, I mean?”

“Well, have they for you?” he countered.

“I …”

He turned to me fully then, taking my beloved coffee out of my hands and setting it on his nightstand.

“I wasn’t done.”

“I need to ask you something, and I’m only asking because I want to, and because it’s been something I’ve been thinking a lot about—especially lately. I just need to ask.”

I was utterly confused, but then Jessica started to giggle.

“Show her…” she nudged Eric, but he just shushed her.

“Show me what?”

Jessica giggled again.

“Sookie, it’s something I’ve been wondering for awhile now…” He smiled and fidgeted before he took a deep breath. “I know some guys would feel the need to fly you to Paris or Venice, or get down on one knee in some fancy restaurant … but somehow I don’t think that’s me, and I don’t think that’s you either. So what I was wondering was…”

That’s when he pulled out that familiar looking blue box and Jessica full on started bouncing.

“Sookie, will you—”

“Will you marry us, Momma?”

Eric slapped his hand over her mouth as she wiggled to get free. I was speechless.

“What?”

“As I was trying to say… I love you, I love what we have here, I love us and I want you to be my wife, and let me be your husband.”

I blinked. Did I? I didn’t know if I’d make a good wife, but I agreed with everything he’d said. I loved him and us, and isn’t that what it meant when you got married? That’s all that was necessary? Just… love?

“If you don’t want—”

I stopped him before he talked himself, and me, out of it.

“I do want,” I smiled, as big as my face would allow.

“You do?” He grinned so wide, it was contagious.

“I really do!”

I nodded vigorously before he kissed me—once, twice, three times, before we were interrupted again.

“Ewww gross!” she said, putting her hands over her eyes. It was her new thing when we’d kiss. “Always kissing. It’s no nice!”

With that, Eric grabbed her and started planting loud smacking kisses all over her as she giggled to get free.

“Right, you’re coming with me,” he said to Jessica, before he got out of bed to pull on his jeans and a t-shirt.

“Where are we going?”

“Maxine agreed to take her,” he said before he scooped Jessica off the bed. Coming around to my side where I still sat speechless, and stunned at what had just happened, he kissed me quickly.

“Don’t move!” he said with a smile as he and Jess took off out the door and down the stairs. I assumed he had planned this to a degree, or else Maxine was getting a rude awakening for a Saturday morning.

I did move, though. I started to pace the bedroom all the while gazing at my engagement ring with awe. It was beautiful—no doubt about it. Stunning even. Eric had amazing taste in jewelery that’s for sure.

But did he have amazing taste in women? I was engaged? I was getting married? It was all a lot to take in, especially when we had agreed so strongly on the whole ‘not necessary’ thing.

I was just shocked, that’s all.

Eric came running back up the stairs in record time.

“What did you do, just fling her in their front yard?”

“Nope,” he said, yanking off his t-shirt. His abs, still one of my three favorite places on his body, greeted me instantly. “They’re making pancakes. She’s happy; Maxine doesn’t mind at all… and we, my lady, have some things to talk about.”

“Like this for example?” I held up my now jeweled finger.

He nodded.

“It’s… so amazing, Eric. I love it.”

He smiled wide again. “Good, that was the point.”

“How… I mean… I …”

He just shrugged. “Long story, but I finally got the balls to ask so I figured I may as well when you might be at your most relaxed. And you’ve been running around so much lately… catch you while I can, I guess.”

I kissed him then, really kissed him, without the fear of being interrupted.

“But we agreed…”

“I know. I mean, I know we agreed that it wasn’t what we needed, or a label wasn’t necessary. But, I don’t know, the idea of us being properly married and all of us having that secure bond thing… I like the idea.”

I liked the idea too, though I had thought I’d jinx us by saying so.

“You don’t think we’ll jinx ourselves?”

His lips went to my neck, going lower and lower until he reached my collarbone.

“No. I don’t.”

He tapped the wood side table just in case. It was adorable.

“So, future Mrs. Northman, how do you feel right now?” He grinned kissing me again, quickly to allow me to answer him.

“Pretty damn good… but I could be feeling better.”

His smile faded slightly. I didn’t have the heart to screw with him, at least not metaphorically.

“Why?”

I let go of the giggle I’d been suppressing before pulling him towards the bed by the belt loops on his jeans.

“Because I’d like my future husband to give me a taste of what’s in store for me, once I let him put a ring on it,” I laughed, bringing up his old “Single Ladies” reference that I used to tease him with. I’d uploaded that video onto YouTube when we fought once, and linked it to his Facebook account. He’s not fully lived it down, even till now.

“Oh, I definitely think I could do that.”

“Really? Then show me… We’ve got all morning for you to persuade me, Mr. Northman.” I giggled before his lips crashed against mine yet again. I loved that feeling.

There was no rush, to any of what we did together that morning. We just took our time to let what we’d agreed upon sink in, as we sunk into that beautifully rehearsed dance of making love with someone you knew so well. And three years in, we knew that dance well. I tried to switch off my brain, allowing myself to feel, to fall into that little pool of pleasure being with Eric provided, but I couldn’t—at least not fully. I was scared, and I was sure I wasn’t meant to feel scared. But I was, of something unknown. As unknown and huge as changing our relationship so drastically—one that had been working like clockwork for so long now. I joked about jinxing us, but I think that by taking that next step in our relationship, we took a step that would lead us down a dirty path. One that would, I loath to admit, lead us to our bitter end.

*Cues dramatic music* What, you thought this was going to be all sunshine and roses? *Evil laugh* Have we met? Hehe. But no really, trust me I always have a plan bbs! So, did we like? Hit the reviews you know I love to hear what you guys think of my rambling! Xox!


Chapter 3: Chapter 3


A/N: Minor to major angst warning depending on how fragile you are 😀 Reviews are loved JSYK!

SPOV:

Two months, that’s all it took. Two months, of expectation, peer pressure and family expectancy for Eric and I to self-destruct.

We did everything that a newly engaged couple was meant to do. We announced it to our friends, to our family, to our neighbors—even going as far as to allow our friends to throw us an engagement party, for crying out loud.

The decorators had finally finished the business, everything was—at least in that area of my life—all in order. I was however, working harder than I had ever worked before. The disgusting thing was, I really did think that I could do it all on my own.I was unwilling to accept help from just about anyone, unless I sought them out. I was on a one woman mission to prove to … well, no one but myself, that just because I’d opted to stall my career, didn’t mean it was over. I could be a business woman again. I could be successful and still be a mom. It wasn’t until I took my engagement ring off for the first time since putting it on, that I realized I had never included Eric in my little equation.

I should have known really, there were little signs everywhere, long before he’d put that ring on my finger. But it seemed we both ignored them; ignored them so well that we were both slapped in the face by what a sham our relationship had become.

It started when the restaurant project began. Whether or not he admits to it, he felt threatened by it, or rather by me. I don’t know why for sure, but I was positive that’s what it stemmed from.

Then, I was working all the hours God gave me, leaving him to do his own thing, leaving him and Jessica to life at home while I was the one out working. A basic role reversal of the last three years. I loved work, I loved being stressed out and so busy that I couldn’t sit down. Busy was good, busy meant business.

The restaurant was taking up all of my time, and I’ll admit as a result, other things did fall by the wayside. Our date night—Thursday night—went to Friday, then by Friday I was even busier than I had been on Thursday. It went on this way for weeks on end, at which point during one particularly nasty hushed two a.m. argument, we agreed we wouldn’t date since there wasn’t much point in it. Apparently, even though I was there ‘physically’ I wasn’t there ‘mentally,’ at least according to Eric. It was his idea to cancel date night, and while it crushed me now to think of his face … I had agreed. Under the guise of being too busy, I canceled a lot of things. A subject of one our biggest arguments was Pam’s baby shower. Since I was the one throwing it and all, it might have helped if I’d been able to show up to the damn thing.

I didn’t.

I’d managed to show up, two hours late, to a very pissed Pamela and a rather angry but silent Amelia. It had taken an extra-large Chanel tote in the guise of a baby bag to win Pam back.

I know now that it looks bad, terrible and disgusting, but at the time it was simply business. And I felt that if anyone could understand how slippery that slope was, it was Pam and Eric.

But apparently the rules were different for me. They had each other in business. I had no one. And yes, while that had been my choice initially, it wasn’t exactly easy.

Between being at the makeshift-almost-finished office almost eleven hours a day, home life took a backseat, perhaps wrongly. At the time, it seemed like the easiest idea. I was, after all, doing this for them. I was doing this so we’d all have that extra income to play around with, and that extra payment every month going into Jessica’s college fund. Well as they say, the road to hell was paved with good intentions. My intentions were nothing but pure, and that didn’t stop me landing in hell.

Eric and I had stopped having sex two weeks after we got engaged. The apparent ‘happiest time’ in our lives was being tainted by the reality that neither he nor I made an effort.

Well, that’s a little white lie. He made the effort—at first. But I guess after being shot down so many times, the guy just gave up. I don’t think I blame him in the slightest.

I remembered sighing as I fell into bed that night, tired beyond even my limits, and knowing I had to get up and do it all again the next day. So when I felt his hands on me, it wasn’t that I wanted to run screaming from the room—I didn’t—and even if I did, I didn’t have the energy. By that point, Eric and I had gone almost two solid weeks without sex, and really without any sexual release whatsoever.

I wanted him as much as I always did. I just didn’t have the strength for the kind of sex we had become accustomed to.

“Hey you,” he said, his voice muffled by his pillow. His hands found me before he even looked up. When he did, he squinted even though the lights were off and the only light coming through was from the street.

“Hey. Jess go to bed okay?”

“Yeah, mostly. She missed you reading to her. Apparently you do it better than me.”

“I do. It’s because of the accents,” I smiled. “But other than that, no problems?”

“Nope, not a one. I missed you, too,” he said, snuggling to be as close as we could get.

“I’m here now.” I stroked his face, he had shaved. I always found myself shocked by how baby-faced he looked when he would shave.

He kissed me and I let him. I loved his kisses. No matter how tired I was, they were sometimes the best part of my day. It was when he started getting a little too handsy that I groaned, and not because of where he was headed.

“Eric…”

“Hmm?” he asked, his face buried in my neck as his hands began sliding my sleep shorts down my hips.

“I’m not really in the mood right now,” I said, causing him to stall.

Truth be told, that had been my reasoning for two weeks. I was just exhausted and half-assed sex was good for no one—and definitely not for us.

He pulled back and in what little light we had, I could see his eyes perfectly. He looked hurt. I hated that look on his face.

“Oh no, don’t do this. Not now,” I said. “Eric, I’ve been at work since seven a.m. It’s now one-thirty in the morning, I’m just—”

“Tired. I know. It’s just, that’s always the reason Sookie, and not to sound like an asshole, but I’m getting tired of hearing it.”

“Well, just to be an asshole, you sound like an asshole right now.”

“Look, I understand being tired, believe me, but it’s all a little much right now. I never fucking see you! And when I do, it’s tense and weird, and I hate it. So excuse me for wanting to inject a little bit of fun back into things. Forget it,” he huffed before turning away from me.

“You’re really doing this? You’re really pitching a fit because I won’t fuck you?”

He sighed. “It’s not about the sex … not even close. And if you think it is, then that just proves my point. Good night.”

I don’t think either of us got much sleep that night, but neither of us was willing to break down and be the first to speak again either. It fucking sucked.

By the time we’d managed to come around from our spat, again his timing was less than perfect. We’d finally managed to both have late morning starts and with Jessica off to school with Maxine and Hoyt, it left me time to shower and make myself presentable for a sponsorship meeting I was having with some of the other waterfront businesses—particularly the boat trip guys. Since my customers would most likely be theirs and vice versa, I was looking for some free advertising. So when he slipped into the shower beside me, it wasn’t unwelcome. In fact, I more than encouraged what I assumed after three weeks of abstinence would be a very intense quickie…

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We’d moved from the shower to the bed—both of us leaving a trail of water behind us—effectively ruining our new fresh sheets as he dropped me onto the bed shielding my body with his seconds later. We’d been driving each other insane for what seemed like forever when I finally felt myself get close, really close. So I egged him on. I nibbled, I sucked, I said all the magic words that I knew he liked to hear just before he got off, all in the hopes of … well … not missing my meeting. It was when he flipped me over, in the attempts to get us in a new position, that I said the words to ruin everything.

And I really regretted it.

“No. We were so close, baby, please.”

“This is better. Remember last time?” He grinned and I did remember—it had been epic. But we had the time then, and the pleasure of being lazy and experimental. Now, was not that time.

“Let’s just get it over with,” I sighed, causing him to stop immediately.

“What?”

“I just… I have that meeting in thirty minutes, sweetie and I have to do my hair and get all the way across town… I just…”

“Get it over with?”

There was his ever present hurt puppy face, again. My heart sank.

“Sweetheart…I didn’t mean…” I tried to stroke his face again, but he was having none of it. Looking back now, I don’t blame him one bit.

“No. No, don’t.” He pushed away my attempts at touching him. The fucking stopped. Neither of us was getting off that morning, or after that, ever again it seemed.

He was angry. Again, there I was seemingly shutting him out, pushing him away. How I could have been so blind to it at the time was beyond me.

He walked to the side of the dresser grabbing his boxers and jeans before he angrily got dressed. The anger was evident in his eyes, and by the sheer force in which he yanked on his jeans and the stomping that followed.

“Eric, come on! You know that’s not what I meant! I didn’t mean that I didn’t want to, I just…”

“Wanted to get it over with. No, I get it. Thanks. You made it perfectly clear, Sookie,” he said, searching through his drawer for a t-shirt. “I mean. how could I be so stupid as to want to be intimate with my girlfriend, to be close to her and want to start off our day with a little reminder of what we’re missing? Jesus, what an ass am I.”

“It’s not that and you know it.”

“No. All I know is that you and I haven’t had a civil conversation that didn’t involve work or Jessica in weeks, Sookie. Not to mention the fact that we don’t even touch each other anymore. And you just proved my point. It’s a chore now, huh? That’s what it was to you this morning, a chore, like the dishes to be done before you’d leave for your day.”

“You’re overreacting,” I attempted, but an angry Eric was a wordy Eric.

“Like shit I am. You won’t even acknowledge it, Sookie! The last month has been the shittiest month I think I’ve ever had. I miss you! And I feel fucking guilty for missing you! For wanting to fuck my girlfriend, how fucking fucked up is that!”

Angry Eric also liked to say fuck, a lot.

Eric…”

“No. Don’t, okay? Just don’t, don’t try and placate me like I’m a kid. Not now. I’m fucking angry.”

“At me!”

“No. Yes. No! At you, at me, at this whole fucked up tense shit fest of a month. I want things back to the way they were. Is that so wrong?”

It wasn’t wrong. It also, apparently wasn’t something either of us was going to be capable of. Not right then at least.

The next morning it all came crashing down. It started off somewhat the same, though instead of my stupid request to ‘get it over with,’ I would be the one requesting that he leave, and that we were in fact, over with. Right before my heart began to break into a million little pieces.

EPOV:

Work—it’s all we seemed to talk about. And when we weren’t talking about it, we were… working. I missed the old Sookie—the fun, out going, relaxed, ten pounds heavier Sookie who knew when to slow down, and when to speed up. This new Sookie seemed to be on a mission to rule her world in record time. I can’t say I understood her rush. I knew as well as anyone around her how important it was taking that step and starting out on your own. And I was so fucking proud of her for doing it. I just didn’t think she’d be doing it alone. It wasn’t that I doubted her ability because when Sookie put her mind to something, nothing seemed to stop her. That I knew only too well. So this, this would be no different at all.

It was when the phone calls during the day stopped, or when I called and she was ‘too busy’ to talk. It was when reading to Jessica became ten minutes instead of twenty. It was when we stopped kissing because it was fun. It was when she rejected me time and time again, not only in the bedroom but even in conversation.

She was too tired to talk, she was too tired to snuggle, and she was too tired for sex.

It wasn’t that she was the only one that was tired. I had spent the previous three weeks every night at work training my new manager, because apparently being a friend of Pam’s might get you the job, but it fails to tell your boss that you’re kind of an idiot.

She was attractive in that ‘I’m sexy and I know it’ sort of way. In other words, she was overtly sexual in just about everything she did or said. Thankfully though, whilst all the other male employees seemed to be tripping over their tongue to talk to her and attempting to flirt with her, I wasn’t even slightly interested. She was too much, too showy, and far too obvious in her agenda for my tastes.

She swanned in, in impossibly short skirts and high heels—and as someone who worked with Pam, I knew what a high heel looked like. But hers were in a league of their own. She flirted with the customers, and the staff, both male and female. I assumed she was a lesbian due to what I knew of her past with Pam. So when it happened, I can’t say I was at all expecting it.

I flirted with her, of course I did. It was almost impossible not to but, there was a very clear and very well framed picture of Sookie and Jessica sitting on my desk. One I knew she saw everyday. She knew about them, she knew how committed I was to ‘us.’ She knew it all. But still she’d suggest or hint at things—mostly sexual—that we should or could be doing instead of paper work, invoices, or placing drink orders. Or in general, we should have been doing each other instead of our jobs.

I laughed it off, of course. I mean, it wasn’t to say that she and I were ever going to happen… Or at least that’s what my brain told me.

Sadly, the day Sookie shunned me, wanting us to ‘get it over with,’ I was hurt. Like a little bitch. I felt like I’d been kicked in the balls. I left the house in a rage. I’ll admit it was mostly directed at her, but more so at myself. Why couldn’t I fix us? Why couldn’t we just fall back to what we knew, and what was comfortable. I felt that by digging that ring out of obscurity, I really had put a jinx on our happiness.

That was the thing—the ring. I’d had that ring for two years, just sitting chillin’ in the tool box in the garage, under some boxes where I knew she’d never look. I’d gotten it on our first trip to California around that time. We’d taken Jessica to visit my mom and Niall, and to dip our toes in the Pacific. It had been a perfect vacation. Even when Sookie ran into Robert Downey Jr, and spazzed like a pro, it had been hilarious and her photo with him sat lovingly beside our family photos as proof. Though her excited eyes and megawatt grin were more hilarious than RDJ’s bemused expression. It wasn’t the first time for us spending time with Niall and my mother together. No, ever since our little truce, things had been good, very good in fact. Six months after we started dating they came and stayed with us for a week. Jessica instantly fell in love with my grandfather, and I can safely say, the feeling was mutual. They’d been coming to visit us for Thanksgiving and Christmas ever since. Niall convinced me that my thoughts on asking Sookie that all important question weren’t bad thoughts to be having, and that if I found the perfect ring I should buy it, whether or not I used it right away. He was the perfect boy scout, my grandfather. He was always preparing, always prepared. So I found it, bought it, and kept it under wraps since the topic of marriage and engagement when brought up, well… Sookie almost always shot right back down again. Insisting that things were fine as they were, there was no pressure from her and there was no pressure from me. All the pressure to conform came from our very lovely, but also very nosy friends. But I ignored them in favor of going with my gut. And I wanted us to be married. I wanted that unity. I craved it. Something that five years previous, I might have laughed at anyone for even suggesting.

I asked her to marry me, and in doing so, I really did jinx us. At least that’s how it felt when Yvetta walked into my office that day.

“You seem… tense,” came her flirty comment. Or at least it seemed flirtatious, mainly because everything that she did was.

“I’m fine.”

“Your neck vein says otherwise.” She smiled, “Tell me.”

“No. Go… do something.”

“I am doing something. I’m finding out of my boss is going to be like a girl on her period all night while we cover the shifts together?”

“Yvetta, it’s complicated, okay?”

“Sookie?”

“Yes, Sookie.”

“Problems?”

I glared at her.

“Don’t look at me, it’s the neck vein. Gives you away.” She sat on the edge of my desk, crossed her legs and motioned with her hands, as if I was to ‘go on.’

“It’s personal.”

“Uh huh…”

I sighed. “We’ve been having some problems lately—communicating, mostly seeing each other, mostly just… ugh, everything. Everything is wrong at home, with my relationship, Pam is due to give birth any day now, I just… there’s a lot going on.”

As always, there I was such the articulate.

“Is she cheating on you? IF she is she’s a crazy bitch.”

I just rolled my eyes. She wasn’t cheating on me… right?

Oh, God that wasn’t the best idea to plant in my head, not right then.

“She’s—she’s not cheating on me, we’re just in a really rough patch, personally.”

“Are you feeling neglected?”

Pretty much, spot on to be honest. Maybe it was selfish of me, but yes, I was feeling neglected. And not just from Sookie’s lovin’, but I missed my friend in Sookie, I missed my sparring partner. I just missed her.

“Is it lame of me to say yes?”

“No, but the wrinkles in your shirt …”

“Give me away?”

She smiled. “You’re usually more GQ than this, Eric. I knew something had to be up. That, and you’re four hours early for your shift.”

I planted my head down on my cool desk.

“I don’t know what to do.”

She sighed heavily before getting up. The next thing I felt were her hands on my shoulders. I tensed immediately.

“Don’t be so silly, it’s just a massage. You need to relax. You’re so tense there are practically rocks back here,” she said as she gently pinched and kneaded my shoulders and neck,. I have to admit it was weird, but it also felt a little nice. Contact was nice.

But she wasn’t Sookie.

I stood up, clearing my throat slightly in the hopes of not offending her, but also making her stop touching me.

“You, this… we… I can’t be doin’ this, Yvetta.”

“It’s just an innocent little massage, Eric. No need to get all freaked out on me.”

“I’m not freaked out.”

She scoffed.

“I’m not! It’s just not right. You’re my employee.”

She smiled then, a coy smile, while she ran her finger around her necklace. “Oh believe me, I’ve heard how you treat your employees, Eric.”

Gossiping bitches, I swear to God.

“That was one girl, one time and really none of your or their business,” I justified.

“Maybe, but it doesn’t change the fact that I see it.”

“See what?”

“How you look at me, even when you think I don’t see you. You enjoy the view. And I have to admit, the feeling is mutual.”

“You enjoy looking at yourself?”

“Funny,” she said, in an anything but funny voice. She was in full on seduction mode.

“It’s okay to look. I like that you look at me, I like that you like looking at me.” She stepped closer, and I stepped back. This was not happening.

“But I’ve been wondering for awhile now, when you’ll stop looking… and start touching.”

“Wow, no! Noo…” I sounded out the last no, as I held my hands up. “Yvetta, I have enough problems right now…”

“Then let me help? Let me help you forget about them, for a little while.”

I was thinking all the things I should have been thinking in that moment. Despite how bashed Sookie had left my ego, I still knew better. I knew better than to fall for a trap so obvious and from someone as predatory as Yvetta. I knew it was all wrong.

But somehow, I don’t know why, but when her lips touched mine, she was right. I did forget. Just for a split second. But not about my problems, no, those had just decided to multiply when those lips touched mine. She kissed me with passion, the kind of passion I’d been missing for months, the kind that I yearned to have again, from the woman I loved. And as I responded, that’s all it took. One second to kiss her to try and forget Sookie; to try and forget how angry I was at her, and at myself. But forgetting that meant forgetting everything else too, and that I just wasn’t about to do.

Seconds.

The mere seconds that kiss with a woman I didn’t like—much less love—lasted was all it took to fully destroy my relationship with Sookie.


Chapter 4: Chapter 4


EPOV:

“No. Jesus. I’m not doing this.” I said as I pushed her away from me, mere seconds after it happened, but mere seconds too late. I’d still kissed her back. Shit.

“Aw come on, Eric, shy really doesn’t suit you. No one has to know.” She pouted with a coy smirk attached to her face.

I would know. This isn’t and shouldn’t have happened Yvetta. Christ.” I ran my hand through my hair, why was everything so suddenly just spinning out of control and into crap? I had to take control again.

I ordered her out of the office and into her own, I also gave her the two weeks notice she’d be needing to find herself something else, anywhere else. Needless to say she was pissed, but it had to be done. I couldn’t believe I’d been so reckless.

I mean yes, I was bruised, I was a little broken up about how things were with Sookie and I, and I was lonely on top of it all. But did that give me the right to cheat on her? On us? As attractive as Yvetta was, and as willing and eager, she wasn’t the woman I loved, and after all this time it was that tiny detail that made all the difference.

The only problem was, the woman I wanted, the woman I loved, seemingly didn’t want me any more, and that was a huge problem.

Having successfully avoided Yvetta for the rest of the evening, I got home around midnight to find Sookie and Jessica curled up together with ‘Little red riding hood’ still in their hands. I watched them for a little while, Sookie’s slow breaths, Jessica’s little hand wrapped around hers, both of them at peace.

I didn’t have the heart to wake either of them, nor did I really want to have to look Sookie in the eye in that moment, for I knew as soon as I did, I’d blurt out what I’d done…although not intentional, was still a byproduct of my unhappiness at how things were. I hated myself for feeling like this. I wanted so badly to set things back on the right track again, but that was the problem, I couldn’t find the track – right or wrong, because it was buried underneath so much crap. That crap was something I’d have to start sorting through as soon as I could.

I took a long hot shower, in the hopes of ridding myself of the night and all it’s problems, and I crawled into bed in one of the guest bedroom. Cold, lumpy and alone; that’s all that room was as Sookie and my daughter slept in the next room, I fought with myself internally on what to do, or what not to do about how I was feeling, how to fix it, and more importantly just how was I going to explain myself to Sookie.

Invited or not, there was still a kiss. There was still that stupid moment of human weakness where there was this stunning woman that wanted to lavish me with the attentions I’d missed so much and I’d entertained the idea, if only for a second.

I must have fallen asleep at some point because when I woke up again, there was this weight on my chest. Sookie was curled up next to me, asleep.

I shifted to check the time and realised it was just after six, in doing so, I managed to wake her up.

She pulled me into a hug before I could speak, and I just revelled in her being so close to me again.

“I’m sorry.” She said, tears in her eyes, un-shed but from the looks of her eyes there had been plenty that had shed. “I’m so sorry, and I know I should have called you and said it today, or followed you and said it but I didn’t and I’m sorry for that too. I am. But, I’m saying now and I’m meaning it now.”

“Sook-”

“No, okay. you had every right to be mad at me, Eric. I mean I started thinking about everything and if you had of said that to me? I’d have chopped your balls off.” She smiled through her wet tears. “So, I just… with everything that’s going on right now I know we’ve slipped and mostly that’s my fault because I keep pushing you away. I don’t know why I think I can do everything by myself but I know now that I might be able to be a boss and run a business by myself but I can’t run a relationship alone – and neither can you. We’re a team, right?”

Why did she have to do this now? All I felt was overwhelming guilt that there she was laying there, offering up her bare soul to me in the form of apologies, and all I wanted to do was tell her what I’d done.

“It hasn’t felt like it, not in a while.”

“I know, and I take responsibility for its demise, I really do. And I want to fix it, because I love you.”

She was absently stroking my arm as she spoke and when she finished she kissed me, really kissed me this time, not rushed or a peck or as if her mind was somewhere else. It felt wonderful, amazing even, it felt like it used to feel before everything got fucked.

“Jessica will be asleep for ages yet, she was up later than usual last night. We had a little talk, and you’re right, she has been missing me too, I have so many things to start fixing up around here.” She smiled at me before kissing me again, “But I think we should start with what we didn’t finish yesterday? Hmm?”

Her lips trailed from my jaw to my neck, up to my ear and down again as her hands made their way to my boxers.

I grabbed her hand to stall her, “Sookie I have something I have to tell you.”

“Okay… So tell me.” She said, her face in my neck, I could feel her grin.

“I can’t do this.” I said, holding her hands, and staring at them, and that ring. It really did look beautiful on her dainty fingers.

“Sweetie, I know you’re not twenty anymore but give it a minute…”

“Not it’s not that, before I say it, I need you to know that I’ve never done or thought about doing anything like that before, ever. And even though I did, it lasted seconds and it meant absolutely nothing.”

She froze, stopping all touching right away and sitting up poker straight in the middle of the bed.

“What did you do?”

“I kissed – or rather, Yvetta kissed me, and I didn’t necessarily stop her right away.”

She was silent, as she got out of bed to stand up.

“And?”

“And as soon as she kissed me Sookie, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted you. I wanted us. Not her. So I shoved her away, and I fired her.”

“You fired her because she kissed you? You know she could sue you for that.”

“She’s also shit at her job and is completely incompetent, she wouldn’t have a leg to stand on…. Why are you focusing on that and not the other part?”

“Oh, I am, believe me.” She dragged her hair into a pony tail with the tie on her wrist. “Why did you let her kiss you?” She asked quietly.

“I don’t know.”

“Lying.”

I got up too, I wanted to be near her, but she took a small step back.

“Just, explain, please Eric because I’m imagining all these things in my head right now, and none of them make you look very noble.”

“I felt like shit okay? With us, being how we’re being and I saw no way to fix it because even when I tried I failed, and then the whole sex thing that morning….” I shook my head, “I felt rejected, like shit and she was there.”

“That’s it? She was there? It could have been just anyone?”

“No, she made the move on me, I’d never have made the move on her. I mean I flirted yes.”

“But you flirt with everyone. I know that.” She dismissed. “But, this time, did you like it when she paid attention to you? The attention that I obviously wasn’t giving you?”

She crossed her arms, that really wasn’t a good sign.

In the spirit of all or nothing in the honesty stakes, I decided to go for all.

“Yes.”

“Can’t say I blame you, hot sexy woman wanting to do things to you in your office… nagging closed off girlfriend at home, I know which one I’d choose.” I saw a tear fall but she turned her back to wipe it.

“Sookie I didn’t choose her, I choose you. I chose you four year ago and I don’t want that choice to change.”

“Why did you let her kiss you at all? I want to know why?”

“I told you…”

“Right, but you flirt with a lot of women Eric, I’ve seen it first hand and for the most part it’s harmless. I know that, but there had to a bigger reason than just us having that fight.”

“I don’t know what you want me to say here.”

“I don’t want anything, but the truth.”

“I’m unhappy Sookie, is that it? Is that what you wanted to hear? I’m fucking miserable. I have been for months, and honestly I’ve tried to fix it with us but it’s not happening, and I made a mistake a tiny one at that, which I apologised for, but I can’t apologise for being unhappy because that’s just not fair.”

“I don’t expect you to apologise for being unhappy, Jesus Christ.”

“Then what?”

“I think I just needed to hear it. Because honestly, I feel the same way, and you doing this – just proves it.”

“Proves what?”

“How fucked up we’ve become lately. And I don’t know how to fix it either.” She sighed sitting herself on the bed again.

“We were happy, for a long time.”

“People change, we grow… and maybe growing means growing apart? I have no idea, all I know is Eric… no kiss is accidental. Unwanted, perhaps but not accidental. And if part of you, even for a second wanted to revel in her attentions and forget about me, then that says something and it says it loudly. You aren’t happy and honestly I don’t know that I can make you happy again, not the way you want.”

“You just said that we were a team.”

She laughed, “I think I was kidding myself. I can’t do it all, Eric. I can’t, I’m not enough for everyone. And I’m obviously not enough for you.”

“You know that’s not true! Jesus I can’t keep saying it Sookie.”

“You shouldn’t have to keep saying it, it’s not fair to you either! But look we’ve got problems sweetheart, big ones, ones I don’t know and you don’t know how to fix. I can’t make you happy Eric, not now and to be honest with you, I’m not sure it should be anyone’s job to make another person happy, or complete. I think that’s where we took the wrong turn. I was relying on you to make me feel like a whole person all that time that I was at home all day being a mom, working my ass off raising Jessica with you… it was amazing and I loved it, even when I hated it, I loved it because she’s our daughter and I adore her, and I adore you. I just don’t have that feeling anymore.”

“You don’t love me?”

She shook her head wiping her tears, “Eric I love you, so much, that this, It’s killing me to say it, but, I don’t think my love is enough right now, it’s obviously not enough to keep you happy… you have to make yourself happy first I think. I felt unfulfilled being here as a mom, as selfish as it sounds, I missed my work, I missed having grownup conversation with new people. I missed having a life outside of you guys, and I think that’s another turn we took on the wrong road. So, I took a turn to try and make myself feel filled again, but all it did was drive you and apart. I can’t win for losing right now with us, and neither can you it seems.”

She was full on crying now, and to be honest, I was too, as silent as I tried to make it.

“I can’t make you happy Eric, you have to do that yourself. And right now I think it would be better for everyone if you did that, alone.”

Was this what breaking up was? I mean, for real and not just a silly argument where we swore at each other and stomped into another room… this was real.

I think we were over.

SPOV:

I had spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon after Eric stormed out, crying like an idiot. Bursts of tears would sporadically happen then stop. I had called and cancelled my meetings, I couldn’t show up looking how I looked, not then. I’d have been laughed out of the room, or assisted into the nearest mental help clinic.

I’d decided that I wasn’t going into work. More than anything I was too emotionally fragile to put on my big girl panties and deal with builders and contractors and decorators and demand after demand and problem after problem. I just couldn’t. I picked up Jessica at preschool earlier than normal, to find them just finishing up their colouring for the day. She’d gotten quite good in my biased opinion and her art work was all over my office in application.

She smiled from her desk when she saw me, standing next to Alice Wittman, Chloe’s mother, Chloe sat next to Jessica on Tuesdays. And it seems Chloe’s mom was as surprised to see me there as my daughter was. The guilt that washed over me, when she eyed me up and with a, “Oh, no Eric today then?”, really got under my skin. But, I ignored that in favor of watching Jessica ever so happily put her colouring books into her backpack. She waved excitedly when she saw me, her hair that I’d put in pretty ponytails that morning somehow now down and all tangled, but that was Jessica. Just like Hadley, the girl couldn’t sit still.

“Momma you’re here! I thought I was going wit’ Maxine today.”

“Nope, you get me today, is that okay?” I smiled as I picked her up.

“YEAH! Is Daddy here too?”

“No, sweetie Daddy went to work. But, you and I get the whole day together today, does that sound good?”

She nodded vigorously, “Wanna see my pic-ture?”

“Sure! Show me in the car okay?”

We got loaded into the Range Rover, I waved and chatted with Maxine for a few minutes before she excused herself, she was off to the store since Hoyt was still in his ‘I only eat white food’ phrase. It was hard on a woman that lived and breathed her veggies and meat.

“Momma?”

“Yes, sweetie?

“You no has work?”

“It’s ‘you don’t have to’ baby.” I corrected her, smoothing back her hair from her eyes, “and no I don’t, not today.”

“That’s good. I misses you.”

“You do?”

She nodded. And she showed me her picture. It was of her, and me and Eric and Molly of course. Though Eric was a giant stick man, and Mol was bigger than our house, it was still a very sweet picture, and of something that I had taken for granted for too long now.

“Why you cryin’ momma?” She raised her little brows at me before patting me on the arm, “There, there is no so bad.” She said in her most grown up voice. It’s what Eric and I said to her when she cried, or when she fell down. It made me burst out laughing mid-tears. I pulled myself together and turned on the radio, letting a tightly seat belted Jessica choose the tunes as always.

“Baby how about we skip ballet practice today and go get some food and visit Auntie Pam and Ames? huh?”

“Yay! Can we get McDonalds? Pleaseeee?”

“Sure.”

“I can I gets a diet coke?”

“No, no diet coke.”

We’d learned that lesson the hard way when she was three and Eric thought it would be ‘fine’ to give her a tiny glass.

So very wrong. She didn’t sit down for hours and she just never shut up. Never happening again.

“You can have a small milkshake though.”

“Chocolate?” Her face lit up.

“If you like. But you have to an extra good girl when we’re visiting okay? Because Auntie Pam is almost ready to have her baby and we can’t be annoying her okay?”

“Okay.” she sighed sitting back in her booster seat.

Pam, at nine months pregnant, two days late, still looked as classy and as elegant as ever, minus her sky scraper heels for a change. She opened the door with a smile, dressed in her black silk pyjamas and fluffy slippers she still had her hair to perfection and her makeup flawless.

“I smell food.” She said and I handed her, her order. She’d been craving their fries for weeks according to Amelia but only giving in to it every once and a while because, well, this was Pam, she wasn’t about to get fat just because she was pregnant.

How you might ask could Pam, a card carrying, flag waving member of the Chicks over Dicks association possibly end up pregnant?

That one was easy, she and Amelia had really found something special with each other, even after a few months they’d taken the steps to be together as much as possible. They were in love, and it was beautiful to see. Two years ago was when Pam had brought it up, she loved Jessica so much that she had said that she and Amelia were looking into adoption. She had enough money and with Amelia taking her college courses in business, it was only a matter of time before Ames was on her new career ladder as a manager of some sort, in whatever field she chose. It was Pam’s encouragement that kept her going, and pushed her though. They really knew how to support the other. So, while Ames was doing that, they looked into adoption. But, same sex laws being as uneven and as unfair as they are in most states, it was so much time and energy and not many rewards. So, they looked into other avenues. And the one that made most sense was sperm donation.

So they decided, one of them would be the biological mother and the other would, they hoped once their relationship was recognised as the amazing burst of love that it was, the other would adopt. Either way they wanted to be parents.

How they decided on Pam being the one to carry the baby? I’d never fully understand. But for Pam It really was a sign of love that she was willing to give up her twenty two inch waist to do it.

“Auntie Pam?”

“Yes, Jess?” Pam answered with a mouthful of big Mac.

“When is the baby here?”

“Soon! Very soon I hope. It should have come before now.”

“But where is it?” She asked, her hands in the shrug she used when she was confused.

“Well, what did your parents tell you?”

“Well.” She sighed ever so dramatically as I just hid my grin. “Daddy said that you an’ Auntie Amelia love each other” Though her ‘other’ was sounding more like ‘udder’ every time, “and ‘dat you’s wanted to have baby because … I don’t know why I forget what he says, but momma says that it grows and then it comes out and we all buy it presents and we have cake! When do we get to have the cake?”

Pam just laughed. “Hopefully soon, honey, believe me I’m ready to meet the baby and have my body back to myself.”

Jessica decided that she was going to play dressup in Pam’s closet, while we attempted to keep an eye on her as she tottered about in Pam’s heels. Jessica it seemed had expensive taste, she always went for the Louboutin’s to play around in.

“So, explain?”

“Explain what?”

“Why your eyes are puffy and red, you’re either high or you’ve been crying and with this amount of junk food, I’m not sure which is which. If it’s just PMS tell me to mind my own, but somehow I think it’s something else.”

“What gives that away.”

“The fact that Eric has been quite as a mouse when I ask about you two lately. Usually he can’t shut his mouth on how you’re both doing this, or that, or discovering new sexual positions and what not.”

I’d learned over the course of four years, that Pam really didn’t give a shit about what people thought so she just said what she liked. I’d grown to love that about her.

“I think we’re in trouble. Big trouble.”

“Is there someone else?” She asked and I refuted it on my side, though his, I had hoped I could refute just as easily.

She assured me that everyone goes through their dry spells, she and Amelia for instance hadn’t had sex since she reached her five month mark, but that was a valid excuse. What did Eric and I have other than the fact that I was working all the hours God sent, stressed and my brain was fried. Was that selfish? I had hoped that he understood just how much of a strain this was putting on me and just how worried I was that I would fail out on my own. But, as Pam pointed out, Eric was a complex man in many ways, and a very simple man in others. He didn’t ask for much but what he asked for he gave back in spades. And I knew that, I just think that I needed a reminder of just how sensitive my Eric was to things. He hated change, he rebelled against it. And I knew now, that that is what was happening inside his head. He was rebelling, whether or not he knew it, against himself and against me and against all the little changes in our lives that led to one big change in our relationship. We weren’t communicating anymore.

I wished Pam luck and Jessica took her turn in feeling the baby kick before we left. Chores, homework, a movie and bed was the rest of our day together. And as I curled up in our big bed waiting for my boyfriend to come home so that I could extend the olive branch, I realised how much I had missed her too, just reading with her in bed like we’d do. I had a lot of things to fix.

Easier said than done apparently. I woke up at 2am, and Eric wasn’t in bed, I knew he was home though, so I carried Jessica into her own bed, tucked her in tight and went in search of my boyfriend.

I found him, in one of the spare rooms looking far too big for that small bed. I never slept well whenever he and I needed to spend the night apart, I just missed his presence there with me, that and his cuddles. His cuddles were unlike anyone else I’d ever cuddled with, and I always missed them. So, I crawled in next to him, taking my place in the nook of his arm. It was when we woke up that everything fell apart.

He wasn’t happy. On some level I’d known it, I’d known it, hadn’t I? But I didn’t see it, but in the same vein I hadn’t seen my own unhappiness with how things were either, but to find that he had been telling that woman about our live together, about our problems, about me, it stung. The fact that he’d kissed her? That I still hadn’t wrapped my head around.

He seemed so lost sitting there on that bed, that bed that wasn’t ours in a room that we had very few memories in. in a way I was glad it happened in a room we never frequented, I didn’t want the memory of us breaking each other’s heart to taint the rooms that we loved in our home.

Our home, I guess that was something that wasn’t the same now either, was it? After I came to the baffling realization that I just wasn’t able to make Eric happy, not like he deserved anyway and not right then, and that in a way, we had to make ourselves happy first before we could concentrate on another person’s happiness… well… I surprised even myself. Being apart from him was the last thing I ever imagined instigating, never mind enforcing. But I did it. I knew we were over.

The last thing I wanted for him was unhappiness, and if he was that unhappy that he was contemplating – even for a second – seeking the missing comfort in the arms of another? Our problems were bigger than we’d imagined. And at that moment in time, I wasn’t sure I would ever know how to fix them.

So we were at a crossroads. Only he was going down one road, and I was still trying to find mine.

I offered to leave the house, if that’s what he wanted. But he refused to let me. Our heartbreak was silent, unmoving for what seemed like hours. It felt like that sensation of being underwater, where everything is bigger than it appears on the surface, but everything moves that little slower. That’s how it felt watching him pack a few cases, and kiss a sleeping Jessica goodbye. We agreed that we shouldn’t really lie to our daughter, but that for now we’d just make up a business trip until both of us were able to wrap our heads around what to tell a four year old about her parents. After that. nothing was said, we both knew we’d said – at least for then all that could be said.

On that cold. rainy April morning, watching him pack his car as the sun hit the clouds to peek through for its day of play with the rain, I realised something else. Those who said a broken heart was a literal thing, were in fact right, but in my case it felt like my entire body was broken into tiny pieces.

I padded back to our bed, his smell a mix of shampoo, aftershave, and just… Eric. Still there in his pillow. The pillow I sobbed myself back to sleep on, that morning, and for most nights after.

We were done, just like that, no raised voices, no smashes, no crashes, just the sound of sobs and violently loud smashing hearts.

A/N: Hii! *hands out the tissues* Just say it with me “She has a plan, she has a plan.” I got a lot of … um.. Pissed off feedback from the last chapter that I’d just like to address real quick.

I don’t see Sookie as an ungrateful undeserving bitch who needs to be left alone and miserable, I see her as a character that had a shit past where men and the subject of her independence was concerned, and like many of my friends who have kids – just someone who wants a part of themselves for themselves, and for her it’s her mission to prove to herself that she’s a strong confident woman without needing Eric as a crutch. Of course mistakes are make and in a relationship of that long taking each other for granted happens a lot. Does that mean they’re done forever and out of love and all that jazz? *Raises eyebrow at you* Would I do that?

Hit the reviews, even if you want to yell at me through cap letters, like Sookie I’ve got my big girl pants on and can take it! Hehe! Xoxo


Chapter 5: Chapter 5


EPOV:

Walking out that front door, it was almost an out of body experience. I didn’t feel like me. It didn’t feel like me leaving my key on the table and loading some suitcases into the car as the sun decided to come up for the day. It didn’t feel like me as I checked into a hotel, laid on a strange bed in a strange room and cried—cried harder than I had since I was a kid. I didn’t know what I was crying for really. Losing Sookie, losing the family void that I’d worked hard to fill, or losing myself in a life I didn’t fully understand…? I played everything in my head over and over. From the day Sookie and I fell into family life together, nothing had ever been easy. First getting to know her, letting her get to know me, trusting her, making her find trust in me, raising a baby that we didn’t plan for, losing our best friends in the process—all of it was the hardest thing I thought I’d ever have to go through in my life.

But I was wrong. This definitely topped that.

Sookie was right about one thing—well, she was right about a lot of things—but the one thing in particular that stuck with me: she shouldn’t be the one responsible solely for making me a happy person, and vice versa. That was too much pressure to put on one person. My happiness resting in her hands? And hers in mine? How did that make sense? It seems that we’d fallen into the comfort trap for a long time. Sookie was a stay at home mom. It’s one of, as I knew with my days alone with Jessica over the years, the hardest jobs on earth. I always admired how she did it, and did it so well too, after she quit her job. But then, after awhile, I guess I just took it for granted. It’s how it was. So it’s how it would always be, not really taking into consideration that Sookie was this independent woman with a stubborn streak a mile wide. It wasn’t that I didn’t think that being a mother wasn’t enough for her, but I should have had a better grasp on her need to take charge of her life. Just like I took charge of mine every time I stepped into my bar, with my staff and my business hat on.

Somehow we couldn’t find the balance between work life and family life. Apparently, I wanted one scale tipped in favor of home, while she wanted to concentrate on setting up her business. Why couldn’t we do both? Why couldn’t she and I sit down and work it out?

We lost that edge. The one we had in the beginning where everything flowed right and smooth; where we just did our thing relaxed as could be, and everything fell into place.

It was when the pace changed that the flow wasn’t so smooth anymore, and that’s when the balancing act started to topple over. Niall told me once that love was like a garden, if you stopped tending to her and watering her beauty, she withered away and died. I never really believed him until that day, when I sat in that strange hotel room, as empty and alone as I felt.

I’d spent the remainder of my morning online, looking for rental properties nearby. I knew that if Sookie and I were going to be honest with Jessica about what was going on, I’d need to have somewhere to show her, to prove to her that just because I wasn’t in the house anymore didn’t mean that we weren’t still a family. I knew she wouldn’t fully understand it—at least not right away—but I hoped that once we explained things, maybe we wouldn’t screw her up completely. I also hoped that this break up, this apparent end to the relationship between Sookie and I … well, I had hope that it might not be permanent. I knew she loved me just as much as I loved her, but I also knew that Sookie had that fear. She’d always had it and even a year in therapy couldn’t rid her of it. She was terrified of not being enough for everyone and being abandoned or criticized for it. I blamed her previous boyfriends, and mostly I blamed Bill. Because as much as I tried to reassure her that she was good enough for both me and for Jessica, I knew she didn’t buy it. It was when we’d been together for two years, on Jessica’s third birthday she brought it up—the subject of another baby. It had been something that I’d thought a lot about as she and I fell deeper and deeper in love over time. And as Jessica got older, I wanted to do it all over again, this time with Sookie and I somehow in the mix. But, it wasn’t a necessity and I made sure she knew that. She went to the doctor and they told her the same thing they’d told her after her accident: the chances of conceiving a baby were slim to none. A rupture in her tubes had made this the reality, but they told us there was a tiny five percent chance of pregnancy given the location of the rupture. Sookie took this with a grain of salt, but the sadness in her eyes that day told me it was something she had secretly longed for. If they had maybe given her a different answer, maybe it might have settled that feeling of failure I knew she carried around inside of her because of her inability to do the one thing she’d always wanted. She doted on Jessica more than any biological mother could since becoming her mother. She loved her as I loved her, like she really was my own, and now biology didn’t even come into question with us and Jess. She was ours, plain and simple. She was our baby. It just made my heart ache that she may be our only baby.

She wouldn’t be the only baby of the group though, at least not for very long. Three days after Sookie and I parted I got a rather amusing phone call. It was Pam.

“Where are you?”

“Why?”

“Asshole, I tried the house. There’s no answer and I couldn’t find your cell number quick enough. You’ve answered now, so I guess that’s a good thing.”

“Are you okay?”

“Do I sound okay? No, I’m not fucking okay. I think… Eric, I think I’m in labor.”

Shit.

“Oh God! Where’s Amelia? Are you at the hospital? Do you need me? Do you need me to call someone?”

Yeah. I admit I freaked out. More than even I thought I would.

“Would you shut up? I need you to come get me, and get Sookie. I’ll be needing her, too.”

That, wasn’t so easy. Sookie and I hadn’t spoken in those three days, and now this? Never mind the fact that we hadn’t exactly gotten around to calling our friends and telling them the devastating news. I didn’t want to be the one to say it out loud, and it seems that Sookie felt the same way. Pam had no idea, and at this point I knew it would only upset her more to know, and given that she was about to give birth, I didn’t want to add to her stress.

“Amelia is stuck in Texas. She’s supposed to be flying out again today, but since the stupid useless doctors told us that I’d probably have another week of being late ahead of me, we felt fine with her leaving later to fly back with her parents… So, she’s leaving with her parents now and they’ll be here shortly, I guess. But I need you guys with me, okay?”

By the time she’d hung up the phone I was already halfway to their place. I pressed one on my speed dial and faced the music of actually having to talk to Sookie again.

She answered on the fourth ring, sounding as if she’s just took one big deep breath.

“Hey,” I said over speaker phone.

“Hey,” she croaked back. I knew that voice, that was her post-cry voice. I really hoped she was okay, though I doubted it. That slow dull ache hit my heart again.

“Um, Pam’s in labor and Ames isn’t here so she wants us, both of us to go to the hospital with her. I know they don’t know… you know… about us, and—”

“And now really isn’t the right time to tell them,” she inserted correctly.

“Right. So, I mean, I can make excuses and tell them something came up for you if you want.”

She coughed before telling me no.

“It’s fine. This is a big deal for everyone, and I’m sure giving birth is a really scary experience, and you need as many people that love you there for support I would think, and since Pam’s family want nothing to do with this, that makes all of us her family now… so no, no excuses. We can just deal with it. Right?”

She sounded more confident in those few seconds than she had when she first answered the phone.

“Right. You’re right. Meet us there then? I’m collecting her now.”

She agreed and before either of us could say anything else, she hung up to go get ready.

Pam had been ready when I walked into their apartment—hair and makeup done to perfection.

“You know, they don’t care what your face looks like. It’s not that that they’re going to be spending the next few hours looking at. It’s kinda like what would happen when you used to go to bars on a weekend and—” Before I could finish, she’d hit me with her bag and told me to get my stupid idiotic ass in gear. Apparently, an in pain Pam was an even less pleasant Pam than usual.

“You know you should ask the doctors if they even know how to deliver a baby that’s half human, half pure evil,” I smirked but she just glared, cursing the day she thought men and their sperm to be of any use to her.

I’d helped her to the car as she took her deep breaths, telling me that her water had broken twenty minutes ago, and that the contractions felt really close together. How close, she really couldn’t say.

I knew she was scared. Pam was never one to show her fear, but here she did as she grabbed my hand tightly as another contraction hit her.

By the time we got to the hospital, Sookie was standing my the maternity entrance wrapped up in a long black cardigan, her black skinny jeans and her black Uggs. I knew that look—they were her comfort clothes. Her hair was scraped back into a knot at the back of her head and she had no make up on, doing nothing to disguise her red eyes.

“What the fuck happened to you?” Pam addressed her as I got her a wheelchair.

Sookie just rolled her eyes. “Pam, this is one day that we get to revolve around you. Are you really going to waste it by asking stupid questions about other people?”

I smiled as I helped her with her admission forms before they wheeled her off to get settled, allowing us to join her once that happened.

The nurse wheeled Pam off in the direction of some room or another as I took in Sookie’s pale face again. I wanted nothing more than to embrace her in a hug, one of those stupidly long hugs that we’d do whenever we were apart for more than a day. I missed feeling her in my arms already.

“Are you okay?” I asked her when we were finally alone. Well, as ‘alone’ as we could be in a busy hospital.

She just shrugged.

“Are you?” she asked. And I just shrugged. I had no answer for how I was. I didn’t really know what I was feeling.

“How’s Jessica?” I asked, and she bit her lip before responding to me.

“She’s okay. I mean, for now she just thinks that you’re working. I don’t know what to tell her because I don’t know what I’m feeling, and I don’t want to keep lying to her.”

“I don’t either…”

“So then what do we say? Do we just tell her?”

The question was, how could we explain it to our four-year-old when we couldn’t even explain it to ourselves?

I didn’t get the chance to answer before the male nurse came and got us to go sit with Pam. She was hooked up to all kinds of monitors, lots of beeping.

“Bastards think my blood pressure is too high so I have to keep calm. How the fucking fuck am I meant to keep calm when there is a PERSON trying to escape from my vagina.” She exhaled.

Sookie sat next to her and took her hand.

“Squeeze as tight as you like, I don’t mind,” she smiled to Pam.

God, I missed her so much already.

SPOV:

After Eric left that morning, I reverted to a pathetic basket case—wallowing in my own self pity, sobbing to myself over the failure of our relationship, over my failure to keep it afloat. So when Jessica wandered into our room at ten a.m., and I’d been crying for hours at this point, she had a concerned look over her tiny features.

“Did you fall down?” she asked as she brought her little stepping stool in with her. It was her secret weapon since she was too small to jump up on the high bed. She used her pink plastic stool to help her land in our… my bed.

“No, baby, I didn’t fall down. I just don’t feel very well, that’s all.” She gave me a little kiss on the forehead like we did to her when she cried and asked if I wanted to watch Nemo with her. I did. I thought “Finding Nemo” might just distract me from feeling so lost, myself.

She and I snuggled in the big bed, and we got through almost an hour of the movie together over breakfast in bed, before she sat up, and look down at Eric’s space.

“Where’d Daddy go?” she asked, as if she suddenly remembered that she hadn’t seen him that morning.

“Well, Daddy…” I bit my lip, I couldn’t cry. Not in front of her, not like this. “Daddy had an emergency at work so he’ll be gone for a few days, but you can go over and see him whenever you like, okay?”

“Okay. I forgot to shows him my bird!”

“Your bird?”

“Big Bird from Sesame Street. Big Bird is Daddy’s favorite.”

I smiled at both her innocence and at the fact that Eric loved Big Bird. I don’t know why but it reminded me of just how innocent he could be sometimes, too.

I’d ended up calling the contractors and the decorators and the investors and telling them that I was taking personal time, and if they needed me I wouldn’t be in the office or at the restaurant. I’d be here, really where my base of operations should have been from the start. Instead of sending Jessica into preschool that day, I opted to take us both to the movies and then for some ice cream, followed by some shopping. Getting lost in a movie, or a crowd, or the never ending amazing taste of Ben and Jerry’s was a welcome distraction for the time being. It was when nighttime came and a sleepy Jessica wanted to know desperately why she’d only spoken to her daddy on the phone that day and not seen him, that I felt my resolve begin to shatter again. I managed to distract and placate her into bed as I climbed into my own, alone, and too small to make the giant bed that Eric and I shared for so long seem anything other than jarringly uncomfortable. Molly was strolling around the hallway as she always did when we’d go to bed. Eric had the rule of not allowing her in the bedrooms which was smart so she knew better than to start nudging the doors anymore. She’d always sleep in a little ball outside of Jessica’s door though. It was cute.

I laid there with my light on, the flat screen muted but flashing it’s images at me anyway. I took in the room where every surface reminded me of Eric. Reminded me mostly of a very naked Eric since we’d christened every surface in the room during sex more than once. His shirt on the back of the chair that sat at my vanity table, his post it note reminding him to pick up his white shirts from the dry cleaners was still attached to the mirror, his scent was still on his pillow.

I reached for the phone, just wanting to hear his voice. But my courage left me as soon as I dialed the last number.

He wasn’t happy.

I had to remember that. He wasn’t gone on a business trip or off to see his family. We’d broken up because he wasn’t happy and I wasn’t sure I knew how to fix that anymore.

I knew one thing for sure. I needed to book Dr. Ellis again as soon as I got the chance. I’d stopped seeing her shortly after Eric and I got together. I was happy, elated and in love. I thought I had no use for therapy. It was a regret of mine that I did stop when I did. Maybe if I hadn’t, I might have been better equipped to deal with Eric now.

I got a call days later. It was his cell phone, his name flashing at me from the kitchen table. My heart started to beat faster. I wanted it to be him telling me that he was wrong and that he did feel happy and that loving me was enough to do that… but that was wishful thinking on my part. The phone call was important though, since it was about Pam. I’d been working from home since he left, Jessica was in school till two, and it was only ten. I made my way to the hospital. On the way there, I tried my best to piece myself together, though that was quickly undone when I saw him. He looked as tired as I felt, he was just as pale and I really just wanted to cuddle him till the end of time, but that wasn’t happening either. Pam’s labor had progressed rather quickly. Apparently she’d been in slow labor for two days without realizing that’s what was happening to her. She was already dilated seven centimeters when they got her settled.

“What the fuck is wrong with you two? You both look like fucking vampires, death warmed up. You’re hiding something too, I know it.” She fixated on me through her deep breaths.

“Pam just breathe,” Eric said, to which she just glared.

“Why don’t you just breathe? You try pushing a football through your nostril and see how it feels.”

An hour later she was still miserable but this time sucking the gas for the pain.

“Where the fuck is Amelia? Jesus Christ, she did all the stupid reading all the stupid classes with me and she’s not here.” She cried. She actually cried. I never saw Pam cry before. We both did our best to comfort her, and call and call to see what was keeping Amelia and her mom and dad. Apparently there was a delay at the airport and the flight that would have taken a half hour tops, two hours ago was now taking off. Which meant they had to get there, drive from the airport to here… and all before Pam pushed the baby out. She was beyond pissed.

By the time she was dilated ten centimeters, Ames still wasn’t there, and they were telling her to push, as Eric and I looked on helplessly. I grabbed her hand, Eric grabbed the other, both of us holding her legs to give her more leverage. Push after push after push she seemed to get stronger despite how weak she looked. She begged us to make it stop, that she couldn’t do it, but fact was, she was doing it and doing it so amazingly well. On the final push the door of the room opened and in spun a very frazzled Amelia, seconds before their son made his debut into the world.

We all froze.

Pam had just had her baby and we’d somehow managed to help. I was sobbing, Pam was sobbing and sweating, Eric had tears in his eyes and Amelia was simply dumbfounded.

Benjamin Ravenscroft Broadway was eight pounds eight ounces and twenty one inches long, and he was just beautiful. In a way, I felt like Eric and I were intruding on their family in that moment. It was a moment I had myself resigned to never see, but I did and it felt heavenly. They were so happy, and we were so happy for them. Seeing Pam hold her son, I never thought she’d look at anything other than a Chanel so lovingly, but I was wrong. She was smitten instantly. After he got cleaned up and checked out, we each got a cuddle of new baby Benji, his big eyes open and curious right away.

Eric just about melted when he was given him to hold, and to be honest I’m pretty sure I melted at the sight of him falling in love with this little tiny kicking ball of amazing.

Leaving Pam to rest as Amelia hugged us and re-hugged us, before jetting down the hall to follow their son, she eyed me before we stepped outside.

“This isn’t over, Stackhouse. We’ll talk when I can feel my legs again,” she joked.

Eric and I shuffled out into the hallway, tired and in awe of what we just witnessed and before I knew what was happening he’d engulfed me in a hug.

A big, arms-wrapped-right-around-me bear hug that only he knew how to give me. I squeezed back just as hard, enjoying the feel and scent of him so close.

“You were amazing in there, Sook,” he whispered. “You kept us both calm. I was freaking out.”

I smiled.

“I think you did a lot better than you think you did. Eric, we helped bring him here, at least a little… that’s so cool.”

“It is. I …” Whatever he was going to say he didn’t say it, instead he let me go, stepping away from our embrace. It felt cold and wrong instantly.

“Uh, sorry I shouldn’t have…” he started.

“No. I like your hugs. I needed one of them.”

He smiled bashfully as he scratched the back of his head.

“I should get going. I’m getting Jess today, right?”

“Right,” I nodded. “Where… I mean, where are you staying?”

“It’s the Hilton, down by the water? I have an appointment to view a place tomorrow though. It looks good, it’s not far…”

I swallowed back my tears and the urge I had to wrap myself around his body and beg him to come home. But I couldn’t do that. The issues wouldn’t sort themselves out overnight, no matter how much I missed him.

We walked each other to the parking lot, our cars parked next to one other. We gave each other a quick and incredibly awkward hug before we bid goodbye. Watching him drive in the direction that I knew wasn’t home cut into my gut once again. I took a deep breath before revving the car to life. I still loved him. I’d never stopped and I wasn’t sure I ever would stop. I just hoped against hope, that whatever happiness Eric was missing, he found, and in finding it somehow found his way back to me.


Chapter 6: Chapter 6


EPOV:

Sookie and I had made it a month of being apart—both of us coping in our own way, both of us pretending that everything was just fine. Not for ourselves, but for Jessica. She was confused, despite the lengths that Sookie and I both went to in order to stop that happening. I found an apartment. Ironically, it was on the water, two blocks from Sookie’s restaurant, and Jessica and I had had far too much fun painting the place to make it feel more like me. She didn’t understand why Mommy was alone all the time, or why I had to sleep in the new place instead of home. She even told me that Mol missed me more and that I should just ‘go home and kiss Mommy again,’ because, apparently she didn’t find it so ‘gross’ anymore.

She hated the new place. She would sit on the couch for a second before hopping off to explore, only to come back and inform me that it wasn’t ‘right’. I made a note to collect some of her toys and things so that she might feel a little bit more at home.

“Daddy? Can we go see Momma?”

“Um… you want to?”

She nodded. “I wanna give her my picture,” she said scribbling away on her paper.

We’d been coloring for an hour or so, since the next day was her birthday. I’d been holding off giving her the gifts that I’d hidden in my closet. I’d also been attempting to distract her from exploring in case she’d find them. I knew her party was planned, all her little friends were coming over and Sookie was aiming to have it outside. Smart planning, since it meant the house might not be completely trashed. Her fourth birthday taught us that.

I wasn’t really sure how to go about attending it, I mean, I wasn’t living there anymore, so… did I just show up anyway? I knew either way, that I wasn’t going to miss it. I hadn’t missed one since she became my daughter, and I wasn’t about to start now, just because things were slightly awkward between Sook and me.

“Okay, I guess we can call and see her for a little while.”

“Yay!” she said, hopping off the chair in the kitchen, grabbing her pictures, and pushing her feet into her little boots—on the wrong feet of course.

We walked the few blocks from the apartment complex to the restaurant. It had come up in leaps and bounds since the last time I’d been there. The entire thing had been gutted from the inside out and it was beautiful now. It was evident that Sookie had in fact put her heart and soul into the place. Every corner I saw a piece of her personality peeking out in some way or another. The fancy lighting gave it a sophisticated feel that somehow fit with everything else she was doing there.

We found Sookie slightly bent over, laughing her heart out at whatever the tall guy in front of her was talking about. She stopped herself when she saw us, as Jessica went running over to be picked up.

“Hey! Hey, baby girl. This is a nice surprise!” she said, looking as pleased as she sounded. “Hi, Eric.”

“Hi,” I said, feeling extremely awkward with the presence of the strange guy standing to her left.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Trey … Trey Dawson this is Eric Northman my… um…” she stammered and I simply interjected, offering this ‘Trey’ my hand.

“Nice to meet you, man,” I said giving him my best manly man handshake. I disliked him instantly, mainly because of the sound of Sookie’s laugh and it being because of him.

“You, too. I’ve heard a lot about you. And this little one,” he said nodding to Jessica with a friendly smile. She just retreated into Sookie’s cuddle.

Jessica always knew who she liked, and who she didn’t, even when she was a baby. Now was no different.

“Is that right?”

“Yeah, that’s right. I’m the head contractor on this project. Sookie speaks highly of you.” I looked at Sookie and she simply blushed.

“Okay, Trey, everything looks amazing thank you so much. Really, I don’t know what I’d have done without your input on all this!” She was a little too enthusiastic about how amazing this guy was. It pissed me off a little… or a lot. She put Jessica down to sign some papers and I wanted to give her privacy to do her business. I simply took Jessica by the hand and went for a little exploration of my own. The bar looked amazing—everything somehow complimented each other in a way that I knew for sure I wouldn’t have thought of. Everything was so shiny and new. I was proud of her.

“Hey,” she said, coming to find us sitting at the bar.

“Looks good, Sook.”

She smiled wider. That light was in her eyes again and it was good to see.

“Yeah, I love it. I can’t believe we open next week. I just can’t believe it.” She moved behind the bar. It was in the middle of being stocked.

She handed Jessica a bottle of orange soda, popping in a straw and offering me the same. Only, I took a coke.

“I’m glad you’re both my first customers,” she grinned, pouring herself some water with lemon. “So, Jess, you being good for Daddy?”

She shrugged, sipping her soda.

“She’s been great. She didn’t sleep very well again. I think it’s the apartment, and she just …”

Sookie nodded. “She hasn’t been sleeping much at home either. Most nights she just crawls in with me before she’ll sleep a wink.”

I think my guilty look mirrored hers. “But she knows that Mommy and Daddy are still friends and still care about each other very much, right?” she said to her. She just shrugged again. We’d sat her down two weeks before and attempted to make sense of things for her. She knew that we were still going to be seeing each other all the time, just that I wouldn’t be living in the house with them, and that Sookie and I weren’t ‘together’ anymore. She hadn’t taken it well, blaming Sookie since she was the one explaining it to her. It broke my heart when she stormed to her room that day, declaring that she ‘hated Mommy for making her Daddy go away’. I knew it cut like a knife through Sookie too, though she fought with herself to hide it.

Sookie just sighed before sipping her water. “We’re about done, and did Pam tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

Conversation with Pam the last few weeks consisted of only Benji and his awesomeness, and I had to listen with awe, since apparently I did the same thing with Jessica.

“I hired Ames as my manager. She’s thrilled—they both are—since Pam is still on leave and her ass of a boss is stiffing her in maternity money,” she grinned.

“That’s so great. It’s someone you know too so it saves on the awkwardness of hiring someone new.”

Someone new and slutty who’ll just try and kiss you when you’re feeling vulnerable and what not, I thought as I recalled Yvetta.

“Yeah, oh and I managed to persuade Lafayette to be my head chef. I mean, he was earning big bucks at Barbette’s place, but well, he loves me more so I got him, too. I’m so excited and knowing that I have friends backing me up, well, it takes away a lot of the fear.”

“You always had me backing you up, Sookie. I just might not have been as vocal about it as I should have. I am so proud of you, you know?”

She simply shrugged. “Thanks. It means a lot.”

“I should have said it more. Hell, I should have said it full stop. I should have said a lot of things,” I mumbled.

“I guess we can’t change the past, huh? But, we can change the present. I’ve been sending out invites all week, but I was going to ask you personally. Will you be at the opening? It’s Thursday.”

“Of course.”

“Can I come?” Jessica piped up.

“No, not that night sweetie. But you can come during the day and have dinner with me if you want? Laf will be cooking.”

“Yum! Can he cook the ribs for me?”

“Maybe, if you’re good.”

“I like ribs. They’re tasty,” she said sipping her soda too fast, causing it to fizz up her nose. She started to cry with the pain.

“We were just going to see Pam and the baby before Jess insisted we pop over and see you. Jess, you wanna show Mom what you made her?”

And she did, through her tears and her little red face, she started to calm down as she explained to her mom that this was a bird and that was a cloud and that was a fish. What the hell the picture meant, we had no idea, but we praised her nonetheless.

“Yeah, Pam came over this morning. She’s finally mastered the car seat straps without Amelia’s help, so she insisted that I go shopping with her and the baby. He’s so adorable, and so quiet, too. It’s weird.”

Ben was a really quiet baby. He just sort of chilled out, taking in his world at large. Of course when he did cry, he wailed. But it didn’t happen all that often from what I understood. Pam was confused, and to be honest, so was I. This was her kid, right? He should have been born with a bitching complex.

“Uh, Sookie?” came a voice from behind the pillar suddenly. It was Trey again, with his stupid tight jeans and dirt covered boots and ridiculously unkempt hair.

“Yes?” She looked at him and smiled. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, just to let you know the pipes are covered in your office. No more noise and we’ll be out of your hair soon. So it’s safe to go back in now.” He smiled, almost bashful. Was he flirting with her? I hated the sinking feeling that that thought gave me.

“Great, thanks so much! It was so bad I couldn’t hear myself think, much less make any phone calls. That’s really great. Thanks Trey, and you’ll be at the opening right? You and…”

“Melissa.”

“Right, Melissa.”

“I’m not so sure about her, but I’ll definitely be there. Wouldn’t miss it.”

Definitely flirting.

When he left, it also left Sookie and I in silence.

“So… Trey…” I said, meeting her eyes.

“Don’t look at me like that. Really… I know that look.”

“Right, and I know what you look like when you’re flirting too, remember?”

“It wasn’t flirting, it was talking.”

“Really? With the giggling and the hair twirling.”

“I was not twirling my hair!” she protested. “It wasn’t flirting. He has a girlfriend for heavens sakes.”

“Oh, but if he didn’t?”

“That’s not what I—”

“No, no I get it. Listen, we should get going, I’ll drop Jess off tomorrow at noon, if that’s still okay with you.”

“Eric, don’t leave angry.”

“I’m not angry. Jess, lets go.”

I wasn’t angry, but I was hurt. There she was flirting away with this man, at her office, at her work, were I wasn’t. It got my mind spinning that maybe she’d been doing more than flirting with him all this time.

I could have slapped myself for thinking it though, since it was more than a touch hypocritical of me considering I’d been flirting with my co-worker, too … and while the kiss was very much unwanted, I still must have given her the green light somewhere along the way that it was a maybe-more-than-ok thing to do. Ever since Yvetta, I’d gotten myself in check with my innocent flirting habits. I saw them as innocent banter and nothing more, but it had never occurred to me that it really could have been so misinterpreted, that it would end up like that. Juvenile notion I’ll grant you, but it was what it was.

After a rather exhausting, yet cute afternoon listening to Pam talk about all the things she was learning from motherhood—while we took more pictures of Benji and Jessica together looking so adorable it was almost sickening—I was wiped, and thankfully so was Jess. I envisioned the rest of the evening spent curled up with ice cream and some animation to keep her occupied while I napped.

Jessica was the one who was napping though, as I was wakened by a polite tapping on my door.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Eric Northman?” asked a woman around my age. She was not overly tall but she wasn’t a small fry either. She had caramel skin and curly brown hair with big brown eyes, too.

“Uh, who’s asking?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Maria. I live just across the hall. I think these are yours?” she said holding some mail. I had been wondering why I hadn’t received anything since I moved into the damn place.

“I didn’t know who they were for but somehow they ended up in my mailbox. It wasn’t until Ray on the fourth floor mentioned that you’re the new guy… so… sorry they’re late. I was just going to take them back to the post office, but now that I know you’re you…”

She rambled, it was funny. And when I laughed she seemed to catch herself.

“I’m sorry. Feel free to tell me to shut up.”

“No, not at all. It’s fine, and thank you. I had my address changed but I guess the post guy doesn’t like me very much.”

“Well, you’re 21 I’m 12. I guess maybe they’ve made a mistake somewhere. If anything else gets dropped in, I’ll be sure to give it to you.”

“Thanks, I’d appreciate it.”

She nodded. “Oh, and um, at the risk of sounding cheesy, welcome to the building.”

“Thanks, Maria.”

“Anytime.” She smiled, waving like a goof as she walked down the hall. Then I worried again, had I been flirting with her, too?

God, this not knowing stuff? Harder than it looks! Ignorance is not bliss!

SPOV:

We’d scheduled Jessica’s fifth birthday party, to be from one ’til four. I figured that was more than enough time really, and we’d get them all hopped up on sugar, let them loose in the pool and on the trampoline, and hopefully wear them out enough that I’d get a good night sleep as far as Jess was concerned.

Eric came over around noon, a sleepy looking Jessica in the front seat. She didn’t seem at all enthused but then we reminded her that it was her party, and that there would be dancing soon and cake, and well, she perked right up. Things between Eric and I were tense to say the least, and I knew that Jessica was picking up on it all, even if she didn’t say anything. I hated that. I hated that we were becoming a statistic—the one thing I never wanted for our family and I was sure it was one of the things Hadley and Alcide never wanted for their daughter either. Jessica’s birthday was, as always, such a bittersweet day. Bitter because it was one more year without them, but sweet because their baby girl had survived to become our baby girl and that’s what kept us going. I curled her hair into ‘princess’ curls, complete with ribbons. I even let her slide on some glitter lip gloss for the occasion. The theme was Princess Barbie, and of course Hoyt was the only boy there. He was a good sport however, drawing the line when Jessica wanted to make him wear a gown. All the other girls made fun of him for being the only boy, but Jessica—I was glad she was showing signs of serious loyalty—spoke up and informed all her little friends before munching on her cupcake, that every Princess needed a Prince and every Prince needed his Princess and to her, that was Hoyt.

I looked at Eric then. Both of us sort of losing ourselves in the moment—one where your little girl says something sweet and almost profound, something that rips right into your heart because you feel like maybe you let your Prince go in favor of something as shallow and empty as attempting to prove yourself, to no one but your own damn self.

All the girls that Jessica was friends with, and their mothers, seemed to think Eric was much more interesting than he was trying to appear throughout the party. Many of the other single mothers seemed to have somewhat of a crush on him, made obvious by the shameless flirting and suggestive comments veiled for the sake of the kids. Of course anyone with half a brain knew by their body language—and how they kept gushing that they all ‘missed’ him from the kindergarten class—whereas the kids just saw him as a giant jungle gym. Jessica wasn’t at all impressed by those stranger bitches who were taking up her time with her hero. We did the cake and the singing, played “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” opened her gifts from her friends, Nana Livy and Great-grandpa Niall, and all that other good stuff. By five, we were all exhausted enough that most of the kids had gone home.

Maxine and I had gotten close over the four years since we’d moved into the neighborhood. She was the best babysitter anyone could ever ask for. She was a kind, curvy woman with rosy cheeks and a friendly smile. Her once brown hair, now shades of deep red, was very becoming.

“Honey, what’s goin’ on with you and Eric? I thought that little spat would be over with by now,” she asked, helping me with the clean up as Eric bounced Hoyt and Jessica on the trampoline in the garden.

“It wasn’t just some spat. He wasn’t happy, Maxine.”

“So, he’s a man. They ain’t never happy unless they got somethin’ to gripe about, honey. Trust me on that one.”

“It was more than that, he just… with work and everything I couldn’t find that balance, and we need balance. I guess somewhere along the line I got too complacent, and maybe he did, too. I don’t know. All I know is, I don’t want him to be unhappy, and if I was the cause of his unhappiness? Just… no.”

“Y’all just need to sit down and talk it out. You still love him. Hell, that much is about as obvious as the fake boobs on Alyssa’s mom,” she sniggered before correcting herself. “But sweetie pie, that man loves you. Are you just willing to let that go? Just like that?”

“But he’s no—”

“So… then change that. Change how he feels; make him happy. You did once.”

“Should that really be my job though? To make him happy? I don’t like the idea that it’s HIS job to make me happy. It was part of the reason I wanted to go back to work.”

“So that you’d have something for yourself?” she asked, and I nodded. I needed to remind myself that I was a person with my own thoughts and my own desires. Not just for Eric or for Jess. Sookie was still there, too.

“And what if it doesn’t work? What if loving him like I love him, or him loving me… what if it’s not enough?”

“Well baby girl, you’ll just have to cross that bridge when you come to it.”

“Yeah, or jump off the damn bridge all together,” I mumbled.

I glanced out into the yard to find Jessica on Eric’s shoulders, Hoyt upside down on the trampoline and Pam nursing Ben back and forth as she and Ames laughed over something or other before Eric joined in. I missed his laugh—his stupidly contagious laugh. I missed making him laugh. Hell, I just missed him. All of him. Because he was mine. At least that’s how it felt. That’s how it felt every minute from the time he walked out that door. He was mine and I was his. We just needed to find the path again, one that included both of us, and if we couldn’t find the path, maybe we could create a new one? I was damn well going to try, that’s for sure.

*Sigh* These two… Hit the reviews if you’d like! I know it’s cliché but it really is super encouraging!


Chapter 7: Chapter 7


SPOV:

“You look pretty, Mommy,” came the voice from what was now Jessica’s favorite nap time spot, and her favorite cartoon spot, and her favorite story time spot—the middle of my bed. She laid on her tummy, hands holding up her head as she smiled in my direction. I’d just slipped on the black mini dress that I was wearing to the opening before I slid the curlers out of my hair.

“Thank you, Sweetie.”

“Why can’t I come?”

“You know why, tonight is for the grownups.”

“Will Daddy be there?”

“I’m sure he will,” I saidm starting to put on my makeup at the vanity.

“Will Maria be there?” Her ‘there’ still sounding like ‘der’. We’d really have to work on her pronunciation.

“Who’s Maria, honey?”

“Daddy’s new friend.”

I’ll admit, my heart sank. “Oh, Daddy has a new… friend? Is it from work?”

“No, from the building. She’s pretty and nice. She came over yesterday and colored with me for a little bit.”

With my heart sinking, next came the stomach turning. “Oh, that’s… why was she in Daddy’s building?”

“She lives across the hall from Daddy and brings mail, and cake. The cake is good. Can I have some cake now?”

That, he had left out of our brief but friendly chat, when he dropped Jessica off at home again. She’s been wanting to do a night at his place, followed by a night at home all week. Tonight though, she’d be at home and Tara would be doing the babysitting duties for me. She and her new boyfriend, JB had offered so I wouldn’t have to worry about her, and so that Maxine and Mike could come to the opening as well.

“No, it’s almost bedtime. You can have cake tomorrow.”

“Pleaseeee…”

Jessica.”

“Pleease? I promise I’ll go to sleep right now. I just want a tiny piece.”

“No. But you can have some cereal though, and not even the healthy kind… you could have Lucky Charms?”

Her eyes widened, then she smiled. “Okay, that’s good too.”

I fluffed out my hair and slid on some lipstick. My black bandage dress was doing its job by holding in all the wonky bits and showing off all the good. I slipped on my heels and grabbed my bag, making sure that my cell and necessities were all able to fit. The dinner and music didn’t start until eight, but I needed and wanted to be there earlier to make sure everything was perfect.

Well, as perfect as anything could be, I guess.

Having fed Jessica what basically amounted to a bowl full of milky sugar, I settled her down with her blankie, and Nemo when Tara arrived.

“Lookin’ hot, Sook. You’ll be impressing everyone with the legs tonight,” she said setting her pizza and beer down on the island.

“It’s the brains doing the work tonight; the legs are just an afterthought.”

“Uh-huh… Not hoping to impress someone in particular, then?”

“No.”

“Liar.”

“Look, anyway, I have to go. She should be in bed by eight, eight thirty. Nine by the latest, but do not let her fool you into letting her stay up any later than that. She’s too sneaky.”

“I got it under control. Jess is a good kid, we’ll be fine. JB won’t be here till after nine anyways. He’s working.”

“Oh, well, that’s fine. Call me if anything goes wrong, or if you need me to come back or—”

“Sookie, just go. Have fun and enjoy your night… Flirt, smooze, be successful,” she rambled, waving her hand and me out the door.

When I got to the restaurant everything was, thankfully, going as planned. Lafayette had managed to prepare some of the most amazing dishes I’d ever had the pleasure of smelling, or looking at. Tasting them was even better. We had seafood, Cajun food, soul food, Mexican, and a scattering of European dishes that had my head turning and my stomach rumbling, though I was far too nervous to eat.

Jason had shown up with his wife Crystal. Yeah, there was a story and a half—a couple of fools in love but also just a couple of fools in general. Jason, after his lengthy stint in self-imposed rehab in Texas began ever so slowly to reincorporate himself into my life, Eric’s life, and by extension, Jessica’s life. He wasn’t a regular visitor since meeting Crystal in Texas and moving there to be with her, but when we did see each other it, was pleasant and peaceful. Something I couldn’t have said five years before. He really pulled himself out of his darkness, and I had to attribute his wife to that. In no small part, she somehow brought the old Jason back. Though not being filled to the brim with Jim Beam also helped that progression. When I saw them arrive, he had a bunch of roses with him, for me.

“Hey sis.” He smiled. “This place is amazing, I’m so proud of you,” he said before hugging me so tight he may have bruised a rib, and handing me my flowers. Crystal just decided to look around after we exchanged pleasantries. “Is Eric here?” Jason asked. While he’d been informed that Eric and I had broken up, he still took it as a ‘tiff’ and nothing to ‘worry’ about.

“No, not yet. Why don’t you guys take a seat. We’ve got some great non-alcoholic punch. I’ll get you some, and Crystal, what would you like?”

“Oh, just an orange juice, thanks.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah … I um… I’m not drinking.”

“Oh, well that’s…”

“We have something to tell you, Sookie. It’s the reason Crystal isn’t drinking tonight.”

My eyes widened, since it was after all, pretty obvious why.

“You’re pregnant?” I asked and they both smiled big wide smiles that confirmed it. “Oh my goodness you guys! That’s so exciting! Aw, congratulations!” I said going in for a big, double hug.

After much celebrating and telling just about all the staff in the restaurant, they finally settled at their table, that sweet happy glow just radiating off of them. I ignored that little twinge in my heart whenever I heard this kind of news. I was, by now, totally used to it. It wasn’t jealousy because I was sure I was as happy for them as I said, but I was also, just a little bit sad for myself since it was something that wasn’t exactly on the cards for me as a woman. But just like most things in life, you just have to deal with them as best you can, and I did that, or at least I hoped I did.

The guests started arriving just before nine. There was live music provided upstairs that floated throughout the building beautifully. Everyone arrived looked lovely and very interested in seeing the place. I was proud. I was also so very tired.

I’d had my first sip of champagne as I talked with Amelia when I accidentally glanced at the door and saw him arriving, and he wasn’t alone. He looked as dapper as ever in a charcoal tailored suit with a navy tie. It brought out the blue in his eyes, and was always a favorite of mine. His James Bond status aside, the woman he was with was beautiful and tall, and something told me that she was this elusive Maria that Jess had been talking about. I excused myself and Ames clearly picked up on what I’d seen as she ventured over to Pam who was on the fruit juice all night because she was still breastfeeding. Needless to say, it annoyed the hell out of her. I was stopped by Maxine and Mike before I could make it to my office to hide like a little bitch.

“Sookie, it’s so pretty. I feel so under-dressed,” she said with a smile. She wasn’t under dressed at all. She was in a lovely red dress that complemented her hair.

“Not at ALL Maxine, you look wonderful. The sit down dinner will be starting shortly and I hope you guys enjoy it.”

“It’s free, right?” Mike spoke in his scuffed Texan accent. He was a quite man, but they seemed to mesh well, since Maxine was a total chatterbox. She slapped him gently on his lapel to chastise him. I just laughed.

“Of course it’s free, Mike. And even if it wasn’t for everyone else, it would be for you two. I don’t know what I’d do without Maxine, really, and more so recently. She’s been a Godsend. I hope you know that.” I winked at him and he chortled.

“Singing Maxine’s praises are we? Then I have to join in,” came Eric’s booming voice from behind me. His hand on the middle of my back, touching my skin, made me shiver. I took a sip of my drink to cover myself.

“Of course,” I smiled, wondering just when his date would show up. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he had moved on so quickly. A month and a few days we’d been apart and already he’d brought in this new, leggy, perfect bitch who was bringing cake and mail and booty to my Eric and my Jessica.

“I don’t know what Sookie and I would have done, especially in the beginning! Maxine is like the Yoda of all things kids. You really should write a book Maxine.”

“Oh it’s nothing… It comes with being the oldest of nine kids with no daddy around. We all did our bit.” She smiled and I noted that Eric’s hand was still on the small of my back. That’s when Maria appeared with a glass for Eric.

“Sorry to interrupt,” she smiled.

“Oh, sorry, Maria this is Sookie, Sookie is—”

“I’ve heard a lot about you, Sookie,” she said kindly. There was a softness behind her eyes that told me the smile on her face was genuine.

“Really? That’s funny because I haven’t heard a thing about you,” I smiled back before glancing at Eric, who simply introduced her to Mike and Maxine without being rude. Maxine’s mouth was almost agape as she flicked looks between Eric, Maria and I. I felt like crying like a giant idiot. Of course he was going to move on; of course he was going to find some attractive tall bitch who wasn’t even a bitch so I couldn’t even dislike her, of course. And why? Because I had been the idiot that let him walk out the door, that’s why.

“Well, Maria lives across the hall from me in my new place. We met because the postal service—well, apparently they hate me—so anyway, she was kind enough to bring me my mail, and even though I’ve called and called they still can’t seem to fix it! So, we’ve been seeing an awful lot of each other since I moved in.”

Maxine simply nodded, still her eyes wide when she looked at me. Mike just chewed on his appetizer that he’d been holding while Maria smiled sweetly as Eric rambled on.

I smiled that awkward as hell smile that seemed to come out whenever I was freaking out, and excused myself, faking that I had to check on something important in the office.

Sure, I was chicken. I’d admit that.

I got to the office and shut the door behind me before the tears started to fall. This was a disaster. I was a disaster. Why couldn’t I just have felt at peace in my life with Eric? He was and is a good guy. He wasn’t Bill or Quinn, or even Sam. Eric was a breed of man all of his own, and I loved him. Why wasn’t that enough? It hit me square in the face when I saw him walk in with that woman that it was enough. We just took it for granted; we didn’t work at it like we worked on everything else. We worked on our jobs, we worked on raising Jessica, we worked on bettering ourselves, but we didn’t work on our couple-dom. That was the big mistake. We just thought it would always be there, till it wasn’t.

I was sobbing quietly to myself when Pam walked in, in a black silk shift dress and killer heels. Not six weeks after popping out a human being, she looked flawless again. She wasn’t human, clearly.

“Oh, God what now?”

“Nothing… and oh my GOD don’t you knock?” I said, trying to brush away my tears.

“It’s not nothing and of course I don’t knock. Had I knocked you would have just lied to me. Now tell me what’s wrong.”

“I’m wrong. All of this is wrong. It’s all wrong, without him.”

“Eric?”

“No, Santa. YES, Eric. I want him back, Pam. I never should have given up on him, on us so easily,” I sobbed, trying to get myself together.

“Okay, first of all, no need for the sarcasm. And second of all, please stop crying.”

“I’m sorry I’m not as robotic as you, Pam but I’m feeling a little overwrought here!”

“I need you to STOP crying!”

Why?”

“Because.” She blushed. “Your sobbing is making me express.”

“Exp—”

Oh.

I looked at her dress, and sure enough there were two stains from her milk.

We both burst out laughing.

“Oh, my God,” I said, looking at her again and laughing even harder. “I can’t believe that actually happens!”

“Whiney little bitch!” She smiled throwing the small pillow that sat on my leather couch at me. “Tell me you have a jacket or something that I can cover these up with. Jesus.” She examined herself before using my black blazer as a cover.

I dried my eyes, not realizing just how much I’d needed that laugh.

“You still love him?” she asked, looking in the mirror.

“I never stopped loving him. I just… forgot to show him…”

“He obviously still loves you.”

“He still had valid reasons for leaving me, though.”

“Because he wasn’t happy? Because you were both going through a pre-midlife crisis or what the fuck ever? Because you were both stressed and distant? Right, valid, but not enough to throw away what you both had. He might have been unhappy before Sookie, but he’s fucking miserable now, and so are you. I mean, if that doesn’t show you something then I don’t know what will.”

She was right, she was. Pam was always right, even though I’d never admit to that. Then she did something I hadn’t expected. She came over and she hugged me. Pam wasn’t a hugger, with the exception of Jessica. I squeezed her back just as tight, feeling a lot better than I had before she’d walked in the door.

“Now, you’re going to get him back, and then you both can fall back in to whatever you call that domestic chaos you both loved so much, while you make googly eyes at each other again disgusting the rest of us all in the process.”

“What if it’s not that easy.”

“It’s Eric. He’s easy—for you. In fact, for you, he’s a big whore.”

I laughed.

“He’s here with a date,” I admitted to her.

“Shut up! Who is she?”

“That Maria woman. Tall, leggy, pretty smile.”

“Whore.” She rolled her eyes.

“She seems nice.”

“She’s potentially bonking your man, and you think she’s nice? Did you fall and hit your head?”

“Pam.”

“Psh. Right. Well, we need to get rid of her. Give me a minute.”

“No!”

“Why not?”

“It’s … not my business.”

“He’s your business. He’s yours. Not hers. And Sookie, he’s not a toy to share. Go claim your man.”

EPOV:

I hated suits. Well, hate was a strong word. What I really disliked about the suits situation was the ironing of the shirt thing. I couldn’t iron, no way, no how. I’d burnt many holes in many things over the years trying to be a domestic dad, much to Sookie’s amusement. But I somehow managed to get my shirt halfway to straightened, tucked it into my underwear and pulled on my pants. I shaved off the scruff. Since it was a fancy opening and all, I figured I’d better. I was proud of Sookie, and I hoped that she’d know that, since she should have known it all along. I thought about bringing her flowers but decided against it. I’d have some delivered when she opened for business. I remembered that she liked having surprises delivered to her office… well, she liked them, or I liked doing it. Either way someone liked something.

I checked my hair in the mirror before grabbing my jacket and heading out. Just as I did, I ran into Maria in the hallway.

“Hey.” She smiled, dressed in a long purple dress, clearly heading for where I was with her invite in hand.

“Oh… are you going to the opening of Adele’s Attic?” she asked, and I nodded.

“It’s Sookie’s place. She hadn’t decided on a name till the last minute.”

“Oh! Well, I’ve heard lots about it then, from both you and my other friend.”

“Who’s your other friend?”

“Amelia Broadway? Do you know her?”

I just laughed. It was a freakishly small world.

“She’s with my … well, Pam. Pam is like a sister to me.”

“Wow! How odd is that? Yeah, I knew Ames for years. We actually used to date… well, before she was out and totally comfortable with who she is now, I mean. Not that it matters. We were horrible for each other and really only lasted a few weeks,” she blushed. “I’m sorry you probably don’t want to be hearing all this.” She shook her head as I opened the door of our building to leave. It was a nice night out.

“Do you want to walk?”

She nodded.

“And believe me,” I continued, “I’ve heard worse from her these days. With Pam and now their baby, they aren’t too big on political correctness.”

“I like honest people, though. It saves so much confusion down the line.”

“I guess, but it could be the cause of some serious resentment, too. I mean, if everyone was totally honest all the time.”

“And lacking tact,” she agreed. “Just to lack tact right now, have you talked to Sookie at all?”

“We talk everyday, when I pick Jess up or—”

“I mean talked, like talked. Eric, I’ve only known you for a few weeks, but it’s obvious to me that you still love this girl. Jessica is amazing, and you’re amazing with her, but even this little kid can see you’re not happy where you are. It’s why she hates the apartment so much.”

“I know,” I mumbled.

“So?”

“So… it’s not that easy.”

“Relationships are hard, Eric. They take work to work, and you have to want it to work. But if you don’t love her enough to try, then maybe she deserves someone who will.”

That hit me in the chest and she knew it; her sweet smile turning into a cackle before me. “Think about how you told me about that Sam guy, and how you felt when you saw her with him and that was before you even knew what it was like to have Sookie love you. You know what that is now. Can you really say you’re going to sit back and watch as another Sam or a Trey step in? You don’t seem like the kinda guy that just gives up on the things or the people that he loves. And hell, I don’t even know you that well.”

“You know me well enough to know that I like cake.”

“The cake was for Jessica. And the mail was for you.”

“Jess wasn’t gonna eat a full cake. It was amazing by the way.”

“Thanks. It is my job, after all.”

Maria was a baker by trade, and she was herself opening a new business a block over from Sookie’s new place. Baker by trade and lesbian by nature, she and her girlfriend moved in across the hall from my place not too long before I did. They were a cute, well matched couple—though they liked to fight, and loudly. I’d heard them on more than one occasion, and I was across the hall. God help their next door neighbors.

We walked into the restaurant together and it was already bustling with all the guests, everyone decked out in their finest, sipping their drinks to the chimes of the live music coming from… somewhere that I couldn’t see.

“Is that her?” Maria asked trying not to look directly at Sookie. But yes, that was her. In that sexy black backless dress that she bought in LA on a whim. It looked incredible on her, and it made me want her naked. Just seeing that little bit of exposed skin, it wasn’t even meant to be that sexy, but somehow it was. She had a sexy back.

I sighed. “Yeah that’s her.”

“She’s hot. Really hot. Nice boobs, too. Does she swing my way?”

“No,” I deadpanned.

“Well, there are a ton of other guys here whose way she might swing. Keep that in mind while I go get us a drink, huh?”

I rolled my eyes at her, clearly realizing that Amelia had a type when it came to lovers. Maria reminded me of Pam a little too much.

I watched her talk with Mike and Maxine, and I walked up to join in. I’d always liked Maxine. Her no nonsense attitude was something I knew Jessica needed as an influence in her life, especially with all of us so willing to spoil her on a whim.

As I touched Sookie’s naked back and I felt her shiver underneath my fingertips. It made me zone in on just how good that felt, and how it had felt before when that shiver would run through her body because of me, and because of what we’d been doing. I tried to stay engaged in the conversation, but the truth was, I was far too distracted. Even after Sookie excused herself as I tried to introduce her to Maria. I’d found it odd, and nodded to Pam to go see what was wrong. I knew Sookie’s awkward grin, and she was wearing it like a pro as she lied about some silly emergency or another. I had hoped that Pam would report back like a good friend, to both Sookie and to me, since I had a feeling I might have been the cause of her chickening out.

Everyone was asked by Amelia on the mic to take their seats for the first course, and it was then brought out by the new wait staff all in matching black uniforms with white half aprons around their waists. It all looked very neat, but the food, that was the best part. It smelled amazing, it looked amazing, and I was starving. All the while trying to find Sookie in the crowd, she wasn’t to be seen till the second course when she emerged from her office, fluffing her hair and heading straight into the kitchen. She came out a second later with Lafayette as he made his way to the tables of people he knew—all of them—and most strangers too, giving him their best on his food. He was beaming, as was Sookie before she walked back to her office again.

I took my opening and followed her.

She jumped a little when I closed her office door, since her back was facing me.

“Jesus, you scared me.”

“Sorry. I just… well, I haven’t seen you all night. Is everything… are you okay?”

“Oh, I’m fine. I was just a little emotional that’s all, and freaking. Emotional freaking, really. But Pam and a shot of whiskey calmed me down. So, I’m good now.” She was rambling. It must have been a pretty big shot of whiskey.

“Well, that’s … that’s good. I’m glad. You should enjoy tonight. You’ve worked hard on this place, really, and it’s amazing.”

“Really? What’s the food like? I mean, I trust Laf, I just was too nervous to try anything.”

“It’s great, really great. And that menu, it’s such a wide range. Amazing seafood section.”

“Well, we are on the water. It would have been silly not to use that to our advantage. And it helps local fishermen out, too,” she shrugged.

“You’re my competition again, Stackhouse.”

“We offer a totally different menu from yours, you know that.”

“I know. I’m kidding.”

She exhaled loudly.

“Your um, Maria, she’s nice.”

“Yeah she is. She lives in the building. She—”

“Jessica said you two have been hanging out… that’s… nice.” She turned around to face her desk again and I couldn’t help myself, nor did I really think it through. I just walked right up to her and turned her around to face me. She looked shocked for a second, dropping her pen as she looked me in the eyes, then she looked at my mouth and before I could move, she did it. She kissed me.

Damn I forgot how good that felt.


A/N: Reviews are loved! xox


Chapter 8: Chapter 8


SPOV:

When he surprised me in my office, the sight of him shocking me slightly just as I felt my heart rate began to speed up I was struck by a number of emotions. The panic at being so surprised, but also the warmth that I felt, that I always felt when he was near me, that I knew I was safe, and the fact that I really, really loved that suit on him.

It reminded me that I’d love it even more off him at that moment, so when he walked up to me, and looked at me with that look, his ‘look’, that smouldering sexy look that he would sometimes get before we’d either have a blow out argument, or a bed banging sexual experience, either way, it was hot and I missed that. I missed him. So, I kissed him, I kissed him first in the hopes that he wouldn’t push me away, that he, like me, would give into the need if only for a little while.

The kiss felt like the first time, only not all at the same time. I knew his taste, I knew his smell, my body knew these things too and responded in kind, when his hands cradled my hair and pulled me a little closer to him, scooting my ass up on to the desk, I wrapped my legs around his waist and pulled us together again so we were flush against the other. We both moaned on contact, that familiar feeling of lust just burning away, it seems that no matter what else went on with Eric and I, not matter how bad things got, the physical side of things wasn’t something that was packing up and leaving any time soon.

I felt his hands go for my legs, sliding my dress up as we got deeper and deeper into our kisses. I knew I had a restaurant full of guests outside, I knew Pam was probably lurking near by, I knew I had a dessert to over see… and yet non of that mattered, not when I was wrapped up in Eric’s arms.

And that’s when I realised, that’s how it should have been. This, this feeling, this action, us – together. It should have come first.

I stopped his kisses, and I pushed him off of me, sliding off my desk. His confused puppy look was as adorable as ever, and I just had to laugh, which only seemed to confuse him even more.

“Am I missing something? Why stop?” He leaned in again and kissed me and as much as I wanted to lose myself in his touch, I knew it was only a matter of time before –

“Sookie… Oh.”

See?

Amelia burst in, but slowed her roll when she saw how Eric and I were.

“Oh guys I’m sorry I … if I had of known… it’s just there’s an emergency in the kitchen, Lafayette is freaking out over the double cream or something I don’t know he just told me to get you.”

I sighed and Eric frowned before Amelia scampered out the door again.

“This probably wasn’t …” He began, but I stopped him with my lips. When we pulled apart again, he smiled, “Okay, so maybe it was a good idea.”

I fixed the skirt of my dress, before nodding “Kissing is always a good idea. Sex in the office during opening night? Probably not the best idea.”

He nodded, scratching the back of his neck looking rather bashful.

“We’ll talk soon?” I asked, making my way out the door to deal with the emergency in the kitchen.

Definitely.” He said looking me up and down in a way that made me ache all over that made it a struggle to walk away from him to check on the kitchen.

But I did. And I was glad I did, we didn’t need to be rushing into things simply because our hormones were out of control. I ended up spending the rest of the night calming down a very frazzled Lafayette as well as talking to the guests, all of whom had nothing but glowing reviews for the place. I only hoped that the reporters from the local papers thought the same.

The next time I’d see Eric was two days later, we had Jessica’s little ballet class show to attend that evening, and I’d been looking forward to it for weeks. She’d started ballet twice a week since she was three, to balance out the structure of ballet she decided when she was four that she also wanted to do hip hop class, Jessica loved music ever since she was a baby, and apparently her love of dance was a mere extension of that. She loved her little classes with all the girls her age, ballet had more rules and while she thought it was boring at times, we liked that it taught her boundaries, while the hip hop classes allowed more creative freedom, something that was just as equally as important.

It was being held in the high school’s auditorium and as we pulled up, Jessica looked me.

“Mommy?”

“Hmm?”

“Are you and daddy getting a divorce?”

“What?” I looked at her, wondering where this had come from.

“Hoyt said that that’s what happens when moms and dads don’t live together anymore, they get a divorce. Are you and daddy getting a divorce?”

I really wondered what went through her little mind sometimes.

“No, sweetie, daddy and I aren’t getting a divorce, because a divorce is a thing that people who are married get when they don’t want to be married anymore.”

“Ok… but… but why didn’t you marry my daddy then?”

“Sweetie, we’ve talked about this before, we just didn’t feel like we had to that’s all.”

“But why?”

“I don’t know honey. But, no divorce okay?”

“Okay, so does that mean daddy can come home?”

I didn’t know how to answer that, because truthfully as much as I wanted him back home, I only hoped he wanted it too, I didn’t know if we were we ready for it again? Were we ready to work on us like we should have been from the start? That, I didn’t know. But I wanted to find out.

“Come on Jess, you don’t want to be late for the dance right?”

She smiled them “And after we get to go for pizza hut right?

“Yep. Now, come on.” I smiled holding out my hand for her to take mine as we walked into the parent filled building.

EPOV:

It was all I could think about, that kiss and how it felt to hold her in my arms again. Seven weeks since we’d split, and it felt like a small life time had passed since Sookie and I were… well, Sookie and I.

I knew that just by being apart we’d sort of addressed one of our biggest issues, each of us had felt – quite rightly, taken for granted, and by breaking up – on my side at least, it gave me the time and space to see just how I’d taken her for granted in the past, it wasn’t right nor fair to either us. But then she’d been guilty of it herself too, but that kiss and that look on her face when she did it proved to me that she still felt that fire that we’d had once upon a time. I missed her so much, every night was the worst when I’d finish work and go back to that empty apartment, and crawl into that empty big bed without her. Pam had been right, as always, I’d become almost lazy, in my relationship with Sookie and I hadn’t done anything about it until it was too late. If we were to have a second chance I knew there were changes that I’d want to make, not just for us as a couple, but for myself too.

Sitting with her watching little Jess take the stage with her twelve little dancer friends as they flitted and floated around in their tutus, to the sound of Disney in the background, I noticed how happy Sookie looked while watching Jessica, so proud. It was a rather proud moment, as I proved with my incessant photographing and videoing with my camera. We’d caught most of her big moments on tape and this, the first time she took a stage to do something she loved, was no different. Sookie almost looked a little teary eyed when she glanced at me, right before she slipped her hand into mine ever so gently. It was then when they finished and she looked at me again as if to ask if it was alright, with a goofy grin forming on her face that I knew, I had to get us back, or make us new, either way I wasn’t about to let her slip any further away.

“She was so good, though she might have stopped waving at us before the second dance I think she pissed the teacher off.” She laughed as we walked to the side of the stage to wait for her, “You got that one tape right? So sweet.”

“I did, I got it. I can’t believe you made that tutu.”

She grinned wider, “Neither can I, after many fights with the sewing machine I was about to throw it out the window, but I didn’t want to be the only mom going to Wal-mart to buy a rubbish one, and it’s special now.”

I saw Jessica bouncing around before she spotted us, leaving her little friends in the dust to run over grinning like a fool.

“Daddy you came!” She said jumping into my arms like she always did, “Mama did you see, did you see how I waved.”

Sookie just laughed smoothing down her hair, “Yep I saw, and we also saw how good you were at your dancing, did you have fun?”

” I did! Ms Ball said that I shouldn’t have been waving but I needed to show you were I was so I waved.” she shrugged as if it made perfect sense to her, “Can we go get pizza now, I’m hungry.”

“Sure we can.”

“Can Daddy come too?” she bit her lip looking between us, and I knew her game, she was playing innocent to get us at dinner together. Sneaky.

“Uh, um… well…”

“It’s fine if you two had plans…”

“We didn’t Daddy, it’s just us and pizza. You like pizza still, right?” Jess asked.

“Of course.”

“And you like me and Mommy still right?”

I laughed, “of course baby.”

“So it’s all things you like. See?”

“It’s not up to me.” I looked at Sookie and she just smiled while rolling her eyes.

“I don’t see why not.”

“YAY!” Jessica talked our ears off once we all arrived at Pizza Hut, and were seated. How she did and that at school and how Hoyt was a silly billy over something or another that they’d been playing in the tree house at his place, arguing over who got to be the cowboy and how got to be the Indian. He argued that she was girl and couldn’t be a cowboy, but she said her Daddy told her she could be whatever she wanted, so she was a cowboy. For a five year old she was very opinionated. Sookie and I just observed her while she rambled munching on her pizza and covering her clothes in cheese.

By the time she’d finished her fries and her second big slice she was growing tired. We knew the drill, she ate and talked herself to sleep most of the time. Sookie and I had just finished eating ourselves when she started to yawn.

“Okay little Miss, let’s get you home you’ve had a busy day and no nap.” Sookie said taking her to put her coat on as we made our way outside.

“I want a story.” She mumbled.

“I’ll read you a story when we get you into bed, okay baby?” Sookie offered but much to Jessica’s chagrin that wasn’t the right answer.

“No I want a Daddy story, please?”

“Not tonight baby Daddy has to go home to his house he’s tired.”

“But please daddy? Just one story?”

“Jessica… can’t this wait till you stay with him tomorrow night?”

“Nooo pleeasee. Just one little tiny baby one?”

“Sookie I don’t mind. Really.”

“We’re going to have to start telling her, no. You have to drive to ours then drive all the way back across town just… for this?”

“It’s not like it’s so horrible.” I smiled, hoping that she’d pick up on the fact that I hated saying goodbye to them, and if this postponed that, all the better.

“You know she’ll probably be asleep by the time you get there right?”

I just shrugged and made my way to the car, “see you in ten.”

SPOV:

True to form Jessica was passed out by the time we pulled up at the house. I’d just gotten her inside when I heard Eric’s car pull into the drive way some ten minutes later, I’d gotten her out of her little jeans and booties and into her pyjamas all the while she stayed asleep. So much for her story time.

I saw Eric standing in the doorway of her room as I tucked her into bed, while she was mumbling about her story, fighting with herself to stay awake. It wasn’t happening. She was out cold. The joys of over excited five year olds and pizza.

“Told you.” I said as we exited her room, leaving night light on and closing her door ajar.

“I know, but I would have felt like shit if I’d said no.”

“We really need to start working on our resolve with her, I don’t want her growing up spoiled.” I said grabbing some scattered clothes that I’d left in the hallway as we made our way downstairs again. “Between us, Pam and Ames, and your mom and Niall, she’s got so many people wrapped around her little finger, and she’s five. Can you imagine what she’ll be like at fifteen?”

He shuddered, “Don’t, please. Let’s have her stay five forever.”

I put some dishes in the sink and turned to him, both of us silent as we took the other in.

I both hated and loved how he had the ability to make stupid old jeans and white tee look so appealing, it really wasn’t fair how he seemed to only get more attractive as he aged.

Without a spoken word I got the wine out of the fridge and popped two glasses on the island. And without a word from either of us, I poured and sipped, as did he.

“Are we going to talk about it now?” He asked. And I knew what he meant.

“The kiss.”

“Yes, the kiss. I have to say, as much as I had planned on kissing you right then, you … surprised me.”

“I am capable of taking charge, you know that, better than most.” I winked, why I winked I wasn’t sure. I just didn’t want this to descend into an angst filled talk.

“Living room?” I asked nodding toward the door, and he followed. I flipped on the small lamp and the tv before taking my seat on the couch, he thankfully decided to sit next to me.

“So this kiss.”

“I like kissing you, that’s not changed.” I simply shrugged and he laughed.

“Is that right?”

“Mmmhmm.”

“Is that the only thing that hasn’t changed?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, is … Sookie I hate this.” He admitted to me, for the first time. “I hate that we’re apart, I hate that we’re living these lives that are apart but somehow still on the peripheries of each other’s lives still. I just hate it.”

“I’m not exactly jumping for joy over it either, you know? But Eric, we had valid reasons -”

“I know. But honestly, this time apart it’s given me a lot of time to think and I just hate how it all turned out.”

“You say that with such finality.” I commented, sipping a rather large sip of my wine, hoping that things weren’t as final as he was making them sound.

“Well, isn’t it?”

“Is it? Is that what you want?” my heart was beating fast, I didn’t want to know his answer, but at the same time I needed to know. I needed to know if I was just fooling myself with thoughts of a reconciliation. If he wanted our book to be closed then I would have to know now.

“No.”

“Then what do you want? If I recall this all hinged on your unhappiness here. With me.” I gulped my wine this time, needing the courage.

“Sookie it was really stressful time and I just … everything just felt like shit, I can’t explain it. I wish I could. I just know that… I miss you. I miss you so fucking much, and I know that’s stupid because I see you still every few days, but it’s not the same. It’s even in the district of the same as how it used to me. And I want to make us right, more than anything I do… I just don’t know how.”

I nodded.

“I know. I felt silly, you know? For missing you like I do? Missing you rattling around down here in the morning times, or muttering to yourself as you watched TV with Jess, questioning the validity of what they’re teaching her on Sesame Street.” I smiled, “Missing the feel of your body in the bed next to me, or grabbing all the blankets over to your side…”

“The apartment sucks. Jess is right to hate it like she does. It’s not home, as much as I’ve tried to make it so, it’s just not, and it won’t ever be because it’s missing that one thing that makes anywhere feel like home… It doesn’t have you.”

“Eric…”

“Well it’s true…”

Before he had time to talk again I just did it, I kissed him again, just because I wanted to. He kissed me back just as eagerly, blindly taking his wine glass and putting it on the table beside us, then reaching for mine and doing the same, all the while his lips attached to mine. It would have been comical had I not been so conflicted.

“We need to make this right.” he said, and I agreed whole heartedly but I knew it would take time, and time was the one thing we had on our side at this point in our lives, but for now I just wanted him to be there.

“I miss you Eric. I just don’t want to miss you anymore.” I confessed gently climbing into his lap as we made out like teenagers on our sofa. It wasn’t rushed though, it wasn’t frantic or angry, if anything it felt a little sad. But of us had held so much of ourselves back, hidden inside ourselves because of the fear of doing the wrong thing. When really what we realized was that we were both feeling as lost as each other, lonely and afraid of what that meant. Soft exploration, that’s what it felt like as we both worked ourselves up on that couch, just enjoying each other’s touch, so familiar, such a well oiled routine, but at the same time so new and exciting.

It felt like all my nerve endings were on fire, from the inside out, I wanted him but more importantly I felt in both my mind and my body in those few moments that I needed him more than I needed air. Everything felt more real when he was with me, I’d forgotten how it was before he came into my life, but was reminded with a bang that night as he carried me from the living room to our bedroom, so for at least one more night before we sorted out our messes – we wouldn’t have to miss each other. I knew then what I should have known all along. There could be no one else for me, no one else would ever measure up to him, he was everything I wanted for my lover, friend and partner through life, I just had to make sure he felt the same.

EPOV:

It felt strange, yet familiar all at the same time. Almost as if those long weeks hadn’t existed as I carried us through to ‘our’ bedroom. I noticed off hand that a few things were different, but that it mostly felt the same. She slid out of her jeans and I did the same, all the while neither of us taking our eyes of the other, sometimes I felt our eye-fucking came a close, amazing second to our actual fucking – when it came to intensity anyway. I knew we needed this, we needed to feel connected to each other again, even if it was only in beginning with the physical sense of the word, it was all still so necessary.

I pulled back slowly my tongue dancing lightly across her bottom lip as she moaned softly, the noise going straight to my cock. I felt like I was sinking through the bed right into her, as I pressed my weight against her, my hands tracing her curves, the taste, the smell of her skin intoxicating me. I forgot how soft she was and how much I loved the smell and taste of her skin. At the moment, there was no one else in the world that could make me feel like I felt when I was with her. She was different from all the Yvettas and Gingers and all the other girls in the world, because I loved her. I was in love with her, and that’s what she had that they didn’t, she had my heart and no matter what troubles we’d gone through or how far apart we seemed to be, I didn’t see that changing. I didn’t want it to change.

She moaned my name softly into my ear, while she ran her hands slowly up and down my back pulling me closer.

In the throws of our emotions, the sex wasn’t just about the sexual acts on their own, not that it was ever ‘just’ sex with she and I, this time though it felt different, it felt like possibility, it felt like creation, it felt like a new beginning.

Months later that thought would come to me again, and strike as just completely ironic, I didn’t know just how right I was.

A/N: Gently setting up the second part of this story, hoped you liked it! Let me know! Reviews are loved! Xox.


Chapter 9: Chapter 9


SPOV:

Breathless, that’s how it felt as he and I got to know each other’s bodies again, seven weeks felt like seven years since we’d last been intimate with one another. Even then, it had been nothing like this. I felt so emotional and a little foolish as I tried to hold back my tears as we brought each other to pleasure, again and again that night. Sensations new and old coming back like someone had opened the flood gates and let the water through in a rush that hit us both hard, I grasped onto his strong shoulders as he entered me again, this time slower, more deliberate in his slow shallow thrusts before kissing me hard until my head felt light. I bit my lips over and over to stop myself from moaning out loud like I so wanted to do, but knew I couldn’t, the last thing either of us needed then was the sound of her feet in the hallway interrupting what was a necessary act between the both of us.

The slower pace gave us time to explore and prolong that intense pleasure that it was obvious both of us had missed just as much as we had missed each other. He knew my body almost better than I did, he knew what got me off, he knew what drove me nuts, he knew how to tease me and tempt me like no other man had ever known. On the odd occasion that I had to speed things along from teasing to down right fucking me through the mattress, he always got the hint when I’d gently scrape my nails down his back, and back up again and into his hair. That’s when the pace changed from slow and reverent to fast furious He growled softly into my neck as our angles changed forcing us even closer together, him deeper inside me than ever. His face was flushed, flooding down to his neck, his veins were throbbing too just like the rest of him, hot and wanting, and I was sure I looked no different.

I’d missed that feeling too, excited, turned on, exhausted but unwilling to stop because it just felt so damn good. Eric was nothing if not observant when it came to my body, so he noticed changes easily, of course he did, just like he noticed the small bruise on my hip and the cut on my hand asking me when I’d gotten them and how. He wiped the salty tears away from my eyes with a concerned look on his face. As if he’d done something wrong. Little did he know that he was doing everything right.

“I just didn’t expect it to feel like this.”

“Bad?” He smiled, moving next to me as we both attempted to catch our breaths. He got a swift slap on the arm for that comment.

“You know it’s never bad… unless I’m… we’re disconnected. It’s like a plug that just won’t fit.”

He raised a brow at me, “Did you just compare my dick to a lamp plug?”

I laughed and so did he pulling me to his chest again before smoothing down my hair.

“No, but you know what I mean, before… it didn’t feel this right before you left. And it should always feel like this.”

“It should, and I think if we work on this too, that it might. I mean it might not always feel this … amazing, life is life, but in the four years we’d been doing it, it never felt like it felt that last day here… it was almost as if I didn’t know you at all.”

I know what he meant, mainly because I felt the same way, we’d grown apart so quickly that it was rather terrifying.

“We can work this out right?” I asked finally, “I don’t want to lose you again, Eric.”

He looked at me then, as if he was searching for something in my eyes, on my face.

“You never lost me you know? I guess we just… misplaced each other for a little while, while we worked through some of our shit.”

I nodded, “I agree. But it still feels wrong … all of this felt so wrong without you here with me. I just need to know if I’m still want you want.”

He took my left hand, kissing my ring finger – the finger that was now ring less.

“You know that you’re it for me, Sookie. That’s not changed. I just needed time… to fix myself, and I think you did too. To realise what life would be like without each other there… and I don’t know about you, but I hated every second of it.”

I nodded for I agreed whole heartedly with that statement, “So where do we go from here?”

“Baby steps. I think that would be best, don’t you?”

“I do, I don’t want us to fuck up again.”

“We will fuck up, thousands of times I think, but just as long as it’s never to the point were we need to be apart then I think we’ll be okay, you know?”

“Is this your version of the ‘we can face anything as long as we’re together’ speech?”

He chuckled and I felt it vibrate in his chest. “I guess it is. Is that good enough?”

“It is.”

“Good.” Kissing me on my temple me made a shift to get out of the bed.

“What are you doing?”

“I should go.”

“You’re kidding… right?”

He shook his head ‘no’, while searching for his underwear.

“Why?” I asked, suddenly feeling the cold from the loss of his body next to me.

“Jess still crawls in with you right? And I think if she were to do it tonight, and wake up with both of us here tomorrow morning, it would just be too confusing for her.”

I hated when he was right.

“She’d be thrilled you know that.”

“I know, I just don’t want her getting the wrong idea too soon.”

“Do I have the wrong idea, what were we just discussing here?”

“No, we’re on the right track sweetheart, but I don’t want us rushing back into things just because we miss each other like crazy. I want it to be right.”

“And you spending the night, is wrong?”

“I don’t know, I’m just trying to cover all our bases here, and Jessica is a pretty big base. You know?”

He kissed me then, before raising his brows in silent question.

“I do. I just… what do we tell her? You know she asked me tonight, if you and I were getting a divorce.”

He smiled, a tight smile. “Can’t get divorced if we never gave marriage a chance.”

Ouch.

“Is that one of those baby step issues then?” I asked, getting up and slipping on my robe to keep from getting anymore chilled than I was.

“Maybe.”

“Stop being vague Eric, I’m too tired for vague.”

“It’s just, things got worse when I gave you that ring.” He nodded to my dresser, where my ring sat in my open jewellery box. “And if it’s not something that you want then you should have just said so… I’d had that ring for a long time, it would have just stayed in it’s place if I thought that you didn’t want us to be married.”

“How long did you have the ring?”

He shook his head while putting back on his jeans, “A couple of years…”

“YEARS?” I yelled, before stopping myself, remembering that Jess was just across the hall.

“What the fuck, Eric?”

“What?”

“Years? You’ve had it for years? How long were you thinking about asking me?”

“About two years… give or take.”

That, pissed me off.

“And, why didn’t you?”

“Well, every time I brought up the subject you told me that we didn’t need it, and that we were fine as we were, and every time Pam or someone would bring it up, you always laughed it off…. So excuse me for not thinking that you’d be thrilled with the idea of marrying me!”

“So what made you ask me when you did? When you asked, things weren’t exactly rosy between us?”

“I figured it was a now or never kind of deal, and I wanted to ask you, even if you said no.”

“Why the hell would you think I’d say no? I love you, you idiot, and usually that means wanting to spend my life with you. Kind of like a marriage.”

“I don’t know, okay? I just… wanted to so many times but I guess I was scared that if I did and you said no that that would mean the end of us. I don’t think my ego would have survived you saying no.”

“Well I said yes and we still crashed and burned, what does that tell you?”

He nodded, “I know. I just, it is what it is.”

“That’s such a fucking cop out and you know it. When you asked me to marry you I thought it was sweet and romantic and real, instead I find it was a fear tactic in case if you didn’t, we’d break up anyway? Which we did, because we’re both idiots, but the damn proposal had nothing to do with that! I wanted to marry you, I wouldn’t have said yes otherwise. I want to work things out, I wouldn’t be here with you now if I didn’t. I hope you want that too and if you do we need to start acting on our feelings when we feel them, not bottling shit up until we can’t breathe, or hiding really expensive engagement rings away for two fucking years because of some fear, that would have been dissipated if you had told me that us being married was THAT important to you. It wasn’t a priority for me then, but it wasn’t going to be until it was an option for you. A marriage needs two people, remember? And If I recall correctly you didn’t exactly tell me either that it was something you wanted…”

“I should have.”

“Damn right you should have.” I huffed, I hated this, frustration after something that had only served to dispel the frustration, it was going backwards! He moved to put on his t-shirt.

“You’re just going to leave, all this still up in the air?” I pouted, kneeling on the bed. “For all I know you’re leaving to go back to your new girlfriend.”

“My new what now?”

“That chick. Maria and her perfect height and her perfect flawless skin.”

He laughed, the bastard actually laughed at me.

“You think I’m funny?”

“Actually yes, sweetheart, I do.”

“You’re an assh-”

“Maria is a lesbian, Sookie. So whatever you’re thinking. Stop.”

Oh. That, I didn’t see coming.

“Well, you could have said! Instead of just showing up with her at my-”

“I know, I’m sorry. I guess I just assumed it was obvious.”

“It’s not like she’s big purple dinosaur, Eric, it’s not something that’s obvious!”

“And you thought …”

“I don’t know what I thought… I just might have been channelling some horrible vibes towards her at dinner, that I now totally take back.” I grinned, feeling foolish as I did. He kissed me again.

“Stay…” I asked, and he backed away.

“What if Jess comes in?” he reasoned and I hated him for it in that second.

“Well, what if she does? We’re not naked and sexed anymore. Unfortunately.”

“Sookie… We have plenty of time to sort this out. But it’s three am.”

I just glared. Childish yes, but why did he have to leave?

“Fine. Go.”

“Not like this, not with you mad.” he said cupping my face in his hands, in his best attempt to get me to smile. He kissed me again, and I wasn’t going to deny him that. I’d gone long enough without his kisses.

“I’m still mad at you.”

“I know, love.” He smiled, as if it was a good thing.

“Why are you smiling? This isn’t a good thing!”

“I know that too. But you’re so darn cute when you’re pissed off like this… all naked and with the sex hair, it’s very attractive.”

“I hate you.”

“I love you too. I’ll call you in the morning. Sleep well.”

“I’d sleep better if you were here with me…”

He nodded with a heavy sigh. “Soon… I promise.”

And just like that, he tiptoed out of the bedroom and down the stairs. A few minutes later I heard his car take off down the driveway. I guess the road to recovery was longer than just a rumble in the sack, unfortunately.

I wouldn’t see Eric again for another six days and eight hours, there had been flooding at his bar and the entire stock had been ruined, several staff had been fired and it was having to have the whole thing gutted and redone. I was beyond busy myself with work too, so much so that Jessica and I ended up doing homework and having dinner at the restaurant more than a few nights that week. It wasn’t ideal, but I was determined to make it all work, and if it meant that the only conversations I had with Eric were over the phone, and the only dinners my daughter had were cooked by a trained professional chef, then, so be it.

I was sure the morning after that Amelia and Benji blew my cover. She was convinced I looked ‘glowing’ and ‘a lot less stressed’ than I had been. I just covered it up with a good night’s sleep and not working about the restaurant so much with her in place, and glowing reviews from all the local papers, and some countrywide papers too. We’d been fully booked for the three weeks to come, that wasn’t an easy feat let me tell you. By the time Benji’s ‘blessing’ came around a month later, Eric and I had been on several ‘non dates’, just hanging out mostly, talking being the main key ingredient to our non dates, maybe a little kissing, but sadly no sex, no matter how hard I may have flirted, he was dead set on working things out ‘like adults’ never mind that consenting and extremely horny adults liked to have sex with the men that they loved, he was still so strict on working us out right before I’d get to work him out like I wanted. He was playing hard to get, and I guess I more than anyone could appreciate that.

Since Pam wasn’t Catholic or Christian or in anyway bothered about any God’s – I mean other than Karl Lagerfeld of course – the idea that they wanted to get the baby blessed was one that was a little shocking. Amelia was into her new age mumbo jumbo with her healing crystals and her incense and what have you, so really no one had any clue what this blessing might even entail.

We knew one thing for sure though, they sat both Eric and I down together and asked us both one very big question.

“We want you to be Benji’s Godparents.” Pam said casually, sipping her tea. Since she was still breastfeeding she was on coffee rehab.

“What?”

“We want you to be our son’s Godparents, I mean it’s not a traditional christening or anything, but it’s the gist of one, it’s just a blessing, but we’d like you to be there for him.”

“Why us, Pam?” Eric asked, all the while rubbing circles on my knee with his finger.

Tease.

She rolled her eyes in a very Pam like manner before she just looked right at both of us, “It was something that Ames and I thought long and hard about, who would we rather raise him should anything happen to either of us… and the simple and obvious answer to that, is you guys. I mean Eric, you’re my family – more so than my actual blood family has ever been, you know that. And Sookie, you may as well be family too, to both Ames and I. It was the most logical choice. And, we’ve seen what an amazing job you’ve done with Jess.” She said, biting her lip, I knew her hormones were still all over the place, because Pam never cried. She simply took Ben from Ames and started to cuddle him, “So yeah that’s why it’s you guys… so in or out.”

“Nothing’s going to happen to you…” Eric said, and I touched the table for the ‘touch wood’ just in case. Though, I’m pretty sure I could have touched Eric’s crotch for that to be the case too, after all I had decided to return the favour of teasing him by running my hand ever so slightly up and down his thigh.

“I know that, but just… yes or no?”

He looked at me and he knew, “Well, of course you know the answer’s yes, it’s really flattering that you’d ask us to do this… especially with how things are with us right now.” He said and Ames just giggled as Pam sighed.

“Oh please, you two are about as obvious as tits on a turtle. You’ve both been eye-fucking the hell out of each other since we got here, and I’m pretty sure, Eric, if you don’t make a move soon Sookie will end up giving you a hand job underneath the table.”

I burst out laughing, she never missed a beat.

“I … what… I don’t.”

“Stop, Northman please, and it’s just as obvious that you two have been seeing each other again. The angst in your aura is gone.” Amelia chimed in.

“My what?”

“Your aura. Your little luminous halo of sorts, it’s what I’m learning to study.”

“I thought you were learning restaurant management?” He asked, deadpan causing me to laugh out loud again.

“Okay, on that note. I have some pay checks to sign, you guys stay for lunch, it’s on the house of course. Bye Ben, bye, bye baby…” I cooed at him as he looked around him still, getting bigger by the day. I got four pay checks signed before Eric sauntered into my office.

“Knocking, it’s a new fad, you should try it.”

He just rolled his eyes at me.

“So I was thinking…”

“Did it hurt?”

“Ha-ha you’re hilarious.” He deadpanned parking his ass on the edge of my desk.

“Thanks. I’m sorry, you were saying?”

“Yes. I was thinking. Since you and I have been …. Sort of but not really – dating- this last few weeks – and it’s been going great and all…”

“Yes?” I sounded out.

“Well, I think it’s about time we went on a real date.”

It was my turn to roll my eyes at him. I mean our sort-of-but-not-really-dates, weren’t fooling anyone, apparently not even Pam and Ames.

“Eric, what would we do on a ‘real’ date that we haven’t been doing on our ‘not so real’ dates?”

I knew exactly what, I just wanted to make him say it.

“Well,” he bit his lip looking to the ceiling acting coy, “we could just hang out…”

“But we hang out anyway, on our non-dates.” I ignored him, continuing to sign the cheques.

“Well yeah, but this time, maybe we could hang out… naked?”

I looked at him then, and he grinned like a naughty school boy. I tried and failed to hold in my smirk.

“Is that right?”

“Yeah, you know I think it’s about time you and I had some quality naked time.”

“Oh really? So, after weeks of me throwing myself at you… you just decide now that it’s what you want?”

The light in his eyes changed then somehow, it almost became primal, and if I didn’t know him, maybe a little scary.

“I always want you, you know that. Do you know how hard it’s been for me this last few weeks? Not just throwing you down on the nearest flat surface and fucking you till we both pass out?”

The visual imagery of that along had my panties in a bunch, but the look in his eye and the husky sound of his voice like that, he was lucky I didn’t throw him down on the nearest flat surface right there and then.

“I’m sure it’s been very hard.” I smirked, looking at his crotch and back to his eyes to find him grinning at me.

“So what do you say Stackhouse, my place tonight around eight. I’ll even cook.”

“You don’t give a girl much notice, I mean … what if I had plans with my other boyfriend.”

“Fuck the other boyfriend.”

“Nah…” I said standing up bringing us face to face for once with him still sitting, “I’d rather fuck you. I’ll be there at eight thirty though permitting Maxine can take Jessica at such short notice.”

I kissed him and made my way to the kitchen, with what was probably a shit eating grin on my face.

“Oooh girl, look at you all swagger and sex appeal. Someone got laid.”

“Laf, so not the time.”

“Oh, totally the time, are you and Mr. Man rollin’ in the hay again?”

“No we’re not.”

“Well then who’s hay you rollin’ in because you’ve got that glow girl.”

It wasn’t a sex glow, it was sweat glow, for some reason I’d been running a little hot for a few days now. It was annoying as hell in July.

“What is that smell, Jesus, is something off in here?” I looked around and spotted the fish gutted on the table, then the pudding on another table, then the sushi on the other counter. My stomach heaved and I made my way as fast as my legs could carry me, to the bathroom where I proceeded to throw up my chicken Caesar salad.

Not as attractive in reverse.

I spent the next few hours questioning just what was in that damn salad that made me up chuck like I did. Nothing came to mind since it was my usual, and I loved it with no prior problems. But my sense of smell had never turned on me like before either. So fucking weird.

I’d managed to get Jess a sleep over with Hoyt at Maxine’s at short notice. They were going to go to the movies and then to McDonalds anyway, so Maxine was fine with it, more than fine with it when I mentioned that I was going to be ‘hanging out’ with Eric. Sure I mean, to hang out I wouldn’t usually have slipped on some of the new underwear I’d bought a few days before, or I wouldn’t have worn the red heels that I knew he loved, with my jeans, and sure, I wouldn’t have worn the perfume he liked either, just to hang out. But we both knew it wasn’t just hanging out, and I was excited about that. Silly really since I knew him and his body like my own at this stage in our relationship, but this was us, staring new with a fresh start and It really did oddly, make everything feel brand new.

What wasn’t so brand new however was that sick feeling I got again, apparently the perfume was making my stomach turn. I retched, holding my head back and vomiting again.

I felt like shit, and I was now late. I picked myself up and dusted myself off, before brushing my teeth again. This bug or flu or whatever the hell was wrong with me, had put a damper on my mood, but I was still more than excited when I finally made my way out the door. Tucking my toothbrush in my purse, I had a feeling that it wasn’t the last time I’d be seeing my food in reverse that night.

It sucked, stupid bug!

A/N: Sooo, what do we think! Thank you guys so much for the love and support on this baby! It really means so much! xox


Chapter 10: Chapter 10


EPOV:

It had been a difficult month, that’s for sure. I’d wanted nothing more than to fall into her arms, or our bed, or the nearest flat surface. I knew taking it slow … well, after we’d had sex that night, was the best thing to do, despite Sookie’s protests and the fact that my dick hated me for putting a halt to the reins. Both Sookie and I were at a boiling point with our need for physical affection it seemed—small kisses here, a little touching there, hugs that lasted a little too long to be socially acceptable. And I knew I missed her and she missed me, and that this was part of that, but I was glad I stood my ground. I wanted us to do it right with no regrets. So I cooked. Okay, so I had my chef, Chow, prep for me, and Maria gave me the brownies to put with the ice cream, but I did actually cook the meat and arrange everything all presentable and what not. I showered and shaved, and spent almost thirty minutes attempting to tame my hair. No matter what I did to the front, the back always stuck up like I’d been electrocuted. I applied gel to try and calm it, but got so frustrated that I just gave up. Stupid hair! Who looks at the back of my head anyway? I picked out my cleanest pair of jeans and a light blue shirt since Sookie liked me in blue, and I hoped that she would approve.

I’d just gotten the soup warmed when I heard her knocking. I checked my appearance in the mirror one more time before I opened the door.

She looked stunning, as always—her jeans hugging her curves just right, her cleavage on ample display, as well as those red heels I loved on her so much—though she did look a little pale. I made a mental note to ask her about that later. It didn’t matter now. Now, she was here and we were alone, and the possibilities were endless.

“So you know I just realized, I never really got the tour,” she said, leaning against the kitchen door before coming in to see what I was up to. “I never got to be one of those girls, either.”

“Those girls?”

“Your ‘dates.’ You know, the Eric Northman Dating Experience, pre-Jessica and me.”

I smiled. She had a way with words.

“You wouldn’t have liked it.”

“Why?”

“Well, mostly the idea of being with one woman back then was my worst nightmare… So chances are, had we hooked up on our first, first date… we wouldn’t be where we are now,” I admitted.

“How wise, young Skywalker.” She smirked.

“Not liking the wine?” I asked, noticing that she’d barely touched the glass I’d given her.

“It’s great, I’m just feeling a little… well, wine might not help.”

“You do look pale. Are you sick?”

“Just feeling a little wonky, I guess. I think it’s because I’ve been running around like a headless chicken the last few months. I guess it’s finally caught up to me.”

“You need to slow down, you know? You have help, you just never know when to ask for it,” I commented, mixing the sauce into my chicken and checking on the rice. Everything was almost ready.

“I know. It’s a flaw I’m working on….” She leaned against the counter. “Smells good. Which is weird because food hasn’t been smelling so good to me lately.”

“Seriously. Doctor. Soon.”

“I know, I know. I’ll see if they can fit me in sometime this week. It might just be a bug or something.” She patted her tummy before getting some water from the fridge.

By the time we’d sat down to dinner she seemed to be more relaxed, the color coming back to her cheeks at least. We talked over how things were going at work, and how Jessica was doing, and just about everyone else in our life got a mention. It was only when we sat on the couch together that the subject of ‘us’ came up.

“I need to know what’s happening here. I mean, are we getting back together, is this a permanent thing—you being here, me coming over—or … what? Eric, I’m a little confused.”

“The reason I left—”

“You were unhappy with how things were between us, and honestly so was I. I felt like things were never going to change. That I’d always feel over-worked and spread too thin… but when the business opened, and I hired my staff, that all changed. I have better time management now. So… I just need to know where you stand as far as we’re concerned…”

I sipped my beer.

“Pam’s coming back to work soon, and Talbot has been a fine enough replacement. He’s a little temperamental but it’s nothing that I haven’t experienced with Pam over the years… Work is easy again, and your time is freeing up, and you seem to want us to move forward. You know that the last thing I wanted was for us to split. I mean, Jesus, I love you, Sookie, and I don’t want to love anyone else. I don’t even want to try because you and I had such a good thing going for a long time—a really long time. It went to shit so fast because we stopped talking to each other. I don’t want that to happen again. Every couple goes through dry spells and problems, but we used to handle all those things because we talked about them. When we stopped doing that, we stopped functioning.”

I hoped she understood, I did. And I hated how fast she and I had dropped the ball.

“How about we make a pact here and now, then?”

“A pact?”

“Yeah, you know like those things you’d make with your best friend as kids, to swear to do something with and for each other, no matter what.”

“I never did that.”

“Well, you could start now?” she smiled. “I pinkie swear as your best friend, as your lover…” her smiled turned flirty then as she held up her pinkie finger, “that I will try my best to not be a hot-headed mess when it comes to you and our relationship, and I promise not to let work rule my life again like it did. I promise to try and find balance and I promise to talk about whatever is floating around in my head about us, with you.” She nodded at me, and I scooted closer to her, joining my pinkie with hers.

“I … do I have to say pinkie swear?”

She glared.

“I pinkie swear as your best friend, as your lover, that I will talk out what I’m feeling instead of internalizing to the point of explosion. I also promise to understand that sometimes you don’t want or need my help no matter how much I want to step in and protect you or do it all for you.”

She kissed me then, sliding herself ever so elegantly into my lap.

“I love you, Eric Northman, and I’m sorry if I made you feel like I didn’t.”

I kissed her then before breaking away. “I love you too, you know that right?”

“I do I—”

She stalled whatever she was going to say as she pulled back, looking a little pale again.

“Um, Sookie are you okay?”

Before she could move, it happened. She threw up all down my shirt.

Jesus.

Oh my GOD! Eric I …” she said, red faced and wide-eyed as she covered her mouth. “I… oh God,” she said again as she took off in the direction of the bathroom.

Well, I guess that’s one way of killing the mood.

I did my best to wipe my shirt off, but to no avail. I made my way back and knocked on the bathroom door just in time to hear her retch.

“Sookie.”

“Oh, God. I’m so sorry…” she said as I walked in to find her in a ball beside the toilet. “It’s just your cologne. Is it new?”

“Uh, yeah? It’s something I was trying out. Pam bought it for me. Something Gucci something.”

She heaved again.

“I can trash it though. I thought it smelled… nice,” I mused, offering her a wet face cloth before I took off my shirt, leaving me in my tank.

“I’m so sorry. I really don’t know what the fuck this is. I promise I’ll call the doctor first thing.” She pulled herself up using the cloth to wipe herself off. “Could you bring me my purse, please?”

I did and she pulled out her toothbrush.

“I was sick earlier. Better to be safe and all that,” she said before brushing her teeth. “I totally ruined the mood, I know. I’m sorry,” she said again when she rinsed and spat. I instantly circled my arms around her, looking at us both in the mirror. We stood there for a long time, just looking at each other, before I spoke, carrying on our conversation.

“You did no such thing. Though, you are making me question my cooking skills.” I smiled, kissing her neck once. “But if you’re not feeling well we can just relax and watch a DVD or something. I don’t care… I just want you well.”

“And I just want you,” she said stepping away from me, before I saw where she was going. She was turning on the shower.

Oh, that was interesting.

She bent to remove one shoe, then the other, then stood up to remove her hair clip.

“A little zipper help?” she asked quietly, referring to the back of her top. The steam started to fill the room quickly and before I knew it, Sookie was standing before me, naked and beautiful. She stepped under the stream of water while I stood dumbfounded, getting increasingly hard. I may have let out a small growl as the water ran from her hair, down her body, landing in a pool at her feet.

“It’s an awfully big shower for just me, Eric. You coming in or you just coming out there?” She winked at me, turning around to grab the shower gel, giving me a nice view of her rear in the process.

I’ve never gotten undressed so fast.

SPOV:

Shower sex was always something we’d looked forward to, Eric and I. Usually when Jessica was napping or asleep in bed, but mostly when she was at Maxine’s. Eric liked nothing more than to take his sweet time getting me all clean, just to make us all dirty again. I teased him about having OCD when it came to cleanliness, but I didn’t really believe it. He just liked getting us all soaped up so we could fuck against the wall like we did. Though, when we were together last time, when the communication stopped, so did the playful shower sex that we both enjoyed so much. When he stepped into that shower with me—even though my stomach was feeling less than up to it and my boobs hurt like a mother fucker—I stood on my tiptoes, kissing him like it was my last kiss on earth, while I let my hands explore his rapidly increasing hard on. He backed me up against the cold tile, gently, more gentle than he would have before, his eyes searching for my approval which he got, instantly. His hand went between my legs to tease me just as I was teasing him. His lips on my collarbone, the other hand in my hair as I moaned out, his hands distracting me from the nausea in my stomach.

“I don’t want you to tease me, Eric.”

“Then what do you want?” he asked, knowing full well what I wanted.

“Everything.”

He growled again, this time into my neck, and I thought I knew were we were headed, or shall I say, where he was headed, but I was wrong. Instead of inching inside of me, he inched his way down my body, leaving a trail of licks and kisses as he did, reaching his destination between my legs, he was kneeling down in the shower. He kissed, he licked, and he nibbled my sex until I was all but joining the water in a puddle at his feet. I cried out, as loud as I liked, knowing we had no one to disturb. I needed that comforting feeling of having him inside me suddenly, and I couldn’t wait any longer. Though my breasts felt ridiculously sensitive I found a way around my issue. Bringing him up to my level, I braced my his hands on my hips before I turned around to face the wall. I knew with the wetness of the shower, and really, the wetness of me, that his hands would remain on my hips as he entered me and we fucked up against that shower wall for all we were worth.

And I was right.

Spent and giggly he lifted me out of the shower, wrapping us both in his big blue fluffy towels before we took a leisurely stroll towards his bed. We toweled off and hopped in, lazy smiles and gentle touches brought us both to sleep. It had been a really great date, all things considered.

We talked a little more that morning. Waking up in his arms again made me feel like a new woman—all thoughts of sickness gone, for the time being anyway. I felt alive and in love again, a feeling that I hoped to keep within my grasp from then on in. No matter what I had to do, I wasn’t about to lose this again.

“G’morning,” I said, finding him watching me, but more so like he was in a trance. You know, those trances that you find yourself in, staring at something or someone but not really looking at them. He was lost in his thoughts.

“Hey.” He pecked me on the lips before moving back. “Feeling better today?”

“A little, but I’ve been awake thirty seconds. Let’s see how it goes.”

“You’re calling the doctor’s office, right? I mean, it might be serious.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing but a bug that I’ve gotten from being so stupid and not taking care of myself like I should have been. It’ll be fine. And yes, I’ll go pee and call them, happy?”

“Yes,” he said, smoothing back my hair. “I just don’t want anything bad to happen to you… that’s all.”

“I know. And I appreciate it. I do.” I kissed him back, sliding out of the big bed to go pee and wash up. I’d managed to get the last appointment for my doctor for the next afternoon. I was anxious to get the check-up over with, since I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of illness I had. It wasn’t like anything I felt before.

Eric made us breakfast, but all I wanted to chance was some toast and some milky tea.

“So, this was… fun. Seeing your place and all,” I commented, slipping back into my heels, feeling very much like a dirty whore leaving her one nightstand—but in the best possible way. If I was going to be a dirty whore for anyone, it may as well be my boyfriend.

“It was. A lot of fun. Projectile vomiting, aside,” He laughed, shrugging slightly.

“I am sorry about that.”

He just shushed me. Before I opened the door to leave, he held me back to kiss me deep and slow, making me slightly light-headed as he did so.

“Mmm. I forgot how nice that felt.”

“I’d like to keep reminding you then, deal?”

“I think so…” I kissed him again. This time there was an unmistakable cough from in behind us. Breaking apart, I saw the woman. The Maria-is-really-a-lesbian woman.

“Sorry. I just… I’m late for work, but hi. And Eric, these are for you,” she said handing over some mail. “Really need to get that sorted by the way. Hi,” she said in my direction. And now that I knew I had a better shot with her than Eric did, I didn’t hate her anymore.

“Hi. I’m Sookie. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

She smiled, big and wide. “I had hoped you were Sookie. I saw you at the opening last month. It was beautiful by the way.”

“Yes…” I blushed and Eric took over.

“Yeah Maria, Sookie might have gotten the wrong idea about us.” He grinned, and I elbowed him in the ribs.

“I did n—”

“She did. But I can’t say I blame her. I mean, I did show up with a beautiful woman…”

Maria just rolled her eyes. “He knows flattery will get him nowhere with me. I deliver the mail, that’s all.”

“And cakes…” Eric said.

“Yes. And cakes. But I’m sorry for interrupting. I have to get going, but it so was nice meeting you Sookie. Finally,” she said raising her brows at Eric.

Pleasantries aside, I grabbed my purse and attempted to escape Eric’s strong clutches.

“Stay. Let’s pretend the world doesn’t exist today and just stay inside,” he asked in an almost whiney tone.

“You know we can’t. There is a very impatient five-year-old waiting on you to pick her up and have her day with you. And you really should get the mail sorted out, it’s not fair to Maria…” I said absently, finding my car keys.

“What if I didn’t fix the mail?”

“Well, it’s rather unfair to her—”

“No I mean, what if I didn’t fix it for here? What if I just changed it back… to home?”

I fought my smile.

“Is that something you want? I don’t want to pressure you here, you know?”

“You’re not, and I am. I mean, if it’s something you want.”

My phone was beeping. I knew it was Ames. Instead of getting into a huge blow out with him I just kissed him on the cheek. “You can come home whenever you want. I love you,” I said, taking my exit before he really did drag me inside and pull a caveman move on me.

I’d gotten through my next two days in a sort of haze. Amelia kept fishing for details every five minutes, telling me that I looked good and fucked, just how it should be. I stifled any and all giggles, because really, it’s how I felt. By four p.m. though I was on my way to my doctor’s, in a rush trying to beat the school traffic.

By the time I pulled up, Doctor Bennett’s office was all but empty.

“I’m so sorry,” I said as I took my seat, explaining to her what was wrong and how I felt. She told me to hop up onto the table and that she’d take a look. She did her thing, pressure points on my stomach—hurting me slightly—telling me there was swelling, asking about my periods and sexual history and such, all of which I answered truthfully. She asked about my sexual health and took my temperature and blood pressure just to be thorough. It was then she looked at me, then back at my medical records.

“Sookie, I’d like to try something if I may. An ultrasound. I just… well, I have a hunch but I’d like to make sure. Do you mind?”

“Oh, God is it bad? What do I have?”

She didn’t answer me, instead she whipped out this little machine with a sort of wand attached.

“Now, do you mind? It’s a transvaginal ultrasound.”

“Sounds comfortable.” I winced looking at the wand, then again, Eric was bigger than that and I’d no issue with him. “Sure. Do what you need to do.”

She smiled, prepping me with the freezing lube as best she could while I sat there, legs spread, feeling very awkward indeed. The last time I had one of these things was when I went for tests when the idea of trying for a baby with Eric came up. That day had been heartbreaking when they told me of my tiny almost impossible percentage of doing it naturally.

I inhaled when she inserted the wand and messed around with her screen, concentrating as I ran all the number of possibilities around in my head. Cancer, what if it was cancer? What about Eric, what about Jess? I couldn’t leave them, not now. What if it was a tumor of some kind, or if it was something even worse that I couldn’t think of? I was going crazy.

She smiled. She was smiling. Why was she smiling? Was she some kind of evil doctor who liked giving bad news to people? I wanted to slap her.

“Sookie, look here.” She pointed to the screen, but I saw nothing.

“What am I looking at? It’s all fuzzy?” I squinted, and she wheeled the machine closer to me.

“See that, there, that little dot?”

“Oh Jesus, it’s not cancer is it?” I freaked.

But she laughed again, the evil bitch.

“No, Sookie, it’s not cancer. It’s a baby.”

Excuse me?

A/N: Soooooooo, do we likey? Hit me up and let me know, you knooow how much I love it! Xox


Chapter 11: Chapter 11


SPOV:

“No, no… no just … no it’s wrong. You’re wrong!”

“Sookie, I don’t think I am.” she smiled at me again, through her posh English accented lips she smiled at me. This wasn’t the time for smiling!

“You don’t think? See y’all thought that I couldn’t … that I wouldn’t be able to – to – to…” I was freaking out to say the least, I was sweating and pacing around her tiny little office. This just wasn’t possible.

“Sookie, I promise you I’m not making this up and I’m not lying to you, you have all the symptoms of a pregnancy and the ultra sound is obvious. I’m being honest here, and you can trust me, not only am I your doctor and I have been for five years now, but you know that I’m brutally honest with you – always. This is no different. If you like I can send your bloods to the hospital, get it confirmed officially for you that way?”

“Right! Yes! You do that. Because it’ll come back and it’s probably just… cancer.”

“Sookie it’s not cancer, believe me.”

“Yeah? Funny, I believed you all when you kept telling me over and over that getting pregnant wasn’t possible.”

“There was always a small chance.”

“Five percent? That’s nothing, that’s not even a blimp of a chance.”

“Well I guess you’re in that blimp of a chance now though. I’m not wrong Sookie, and when the tests come back they’ll confirm it for you.”

I just glared at her, unnecessarily hostile yes that was true, but really with the freaking out and the feeling like I was going to throw my guts up? I wasn’t feeling very friendly.

“And if it comes back negative?”

“It won-”

“IF it does. What then…”

“Then it’s some mechanical error on the scan-”

“Good, well, get better equipment then or something.”

“Sookie you really need to calm down.”

I narrowed my eyes at her, “You know, no offence or anything but I’m not exactly buying what you’re selling right now, so can we just do my bloods so I can go? I have to pick my daughter up.”

She simply nodded and did her thing, poking me this time with the needle. Once she had enough she told me that she’d even put a rush on the blood work for me and that they should call me at the latest tomorrow afternoon. I thanked her, seeing no point in being over the top with my rudeness just because she was a freakin’ idiot.

Pregnant? Hell no. They’d been telling me for years that it just wasn’t ever all that likely to happen. So I’d been mentally preparing myself, all those years, building all those walls up, and squashing my hopes down every time my stupid period was even twenty minutes.

My period.

Shit.

I scrolled back in my phone calendar. And I was late, very late. Late and sick and swollen with the painful boobs and nausea.

Huh. Interesting.

Having a mental argument in my head all the way to Pam and Amelia’s place left me exhausted, I only hoped that Pam didn’t rile Jessica up on sugar before getting her ready for home time.

When I walked through the door baby Ben was having a tantrum, his first that I had witnessed and he was most definitely a child of Pam.

“Mommy! Thank God you’re here.” Jessica said jumping into my arms. “I’m going cray-zeee.” She sounded out with her hands over her ears.

“Your daughter is an even bigger diva than I am, Sookie.” Pam laughed as Ames tried to calm the baby down with his bottle.

“Let’s go.” Jessica tugged on my shirt, “He won’t stop it and it’s so annoying.”

“Jessica, be nice.”

She rolled her eyes at me.

Hey!”

“Sorry.” she said burying her head in my neck.

“Thanks again for this, you guys.”

“Oh no problem, you want another one?” Ames asked innocently.

“What?”

“Jeeze, relax Sook I just meant if you wanted to take Ben and his cries it would be more than welcome right now. Someone is being a cranky pants.” She said in a baby voice. Pam just rolled her eyes. I wonder who Jessica was learning that from.

“I wish she’d stop talking baby voices with him, it’s not like he understands it anymore than her regular voice, and it’s really irritating.”

“Go get your things, Jess.” I said letting her down.

“What’s wrong with him?” I asked.

Pam shrugged, “He’s being prissy for no reason. He’s been changed and fed and winded, there should be no problem, but I guess he just wants to cry because we’ve done just about everything.”

“Here, let me try something.” I said, taking him from Ames, he looked at me like I had two heads at first like ‘who is this stranger bitch she’s not one of my moms’ but, he got over it as I sat on the couch with him for a second and pull a trick from Eric’s bag of baby magic.

I started to hum.

It took a few minutes, with both Pam and Amelia looking more than confused, but eventually he softened and his rigid body calmed down, and his wailing stopped.

“How the hell -”

“Thank Eric, it’s how he used to get Jessica to calm down, I don’t know how it worked with me because she never used to respond to me doing this.”

“Christ. It works!” Pam said and Jessica came running back into the room with her Dora backpack.

“Oh good he stopped.” she said looking down at Ben in my arms, “I like him when he’s quiet.”

“Don’t we all honey.” Pam said scooping her up for a second, “Why can’t you come like you? All packaged and pretty and potty-trained?”

“I ‘o know?” Jessica said, shrugging, I really did wonder what those two talked about when they’re alone.

“I’ll call you guys later,” I said, handing a now silent Ben back to Ames. and the sudden urge to barf almost over took me again “Jess, let’s hit the road. Thanks again for watching her, you’re both a God send.”

“What was the mystery absence for anyway?” Pam asked.

“Uh nothing really, just a doctors thing, no big deal.”

“You still sick?”

“Yeah a little.”

“And could she tell you what it was?”

“She tried… but just to be sure she sent some blood work off to the hospital I should know in a day or two I guess.”

They both wished me luck with whatever it was, and I took that wish and hoped they were right that everything would be okay, and that whatever it was on that scan just wasn’t something terrifying.

“Listen, the restaurant is going to be catering remember? So don’t worry about a thing tomorrow, we’ll do the blessing and whatever you guys want and then everyone is coming back there for lunch and drinks.”

“This is why we offer free babysitting.” Pam smirked.

“Thank you, Pam. I’m gone I have so much to do at home it’s been sort of neglected this last few days.”

“Lovin’ your lover all over town will do that to you.” Ames quipped.

“BYE.” I deadpanned ushering Jessica out the door.

“Mom?”

“Yes honey?”

“What’s a lover?”

“It…” I was going to kill Amelia. “It’s a thing that you’ll learn about when you’re older.”

She sighed, “That’s what daddy said when I asked him what sex was.”

“Well…” I tried to hide my smile, “Your dad’s right, and who was talking about sex?”

“Hoyt.”

That little shit.

“And what exactly was he saying about it?”

“That he didn’t know what it was either but one of the other kids said that he knew but he wasn’t gonna tell no one cause his mom said she’d kick his lily ass.”

“Jessica.” I scolded.

“I didn’t say ass… I said… bottom.”

“Is that right?”

“Yeah?” she smiled up at me.

I got her buckled into the car and us both on the road home, she liked to sing along with the radio just like always, and she was developing a good voice, she had good tone for a four year old.

I got a call just as we were pulling into the driveway, it was Eric.

I smiled.

“Hey.”

“Hello to you. How are you?” He asked, and I sometimes forgot how deep his voice went when he was tired, which he clearly was from the sounds of things.

“I’m good, just got Jess from Pam’s and, um, worked some baby magic with Ben. I used your humming trick on him, worked wonders and got him to go all silent. They were stunned.”

I could hear him smile, “That’s great… how did the doctors go? She give you anything?”

Did I tell him? I should tell him, but what if I tell him and she comes back and it’s false like I assume it will be, what then? My hopes were already sky high despite myself, was there really any point in putting Eric though the same heartbreak and agony that I was going through right at that second?

No.

For the sake of one day, I could keep it to myself.

“Um no, she thinks she knows what it is but she wasn’t sure so she sent some blood work off to the hospital I should hear about it tomorrow or the day after she said. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about though.”

“You sure?”

“Yes, I promise.”

“Are you feeling any better though?”

“A little. I’m just home now so I was just going to sort some laundry, and make dinner. and crash if Jessica co-operates.”

“Crashing sounds good right now.”

“Tired?”

“Understatement. They have to rework the whole basement from the flood, and that means up rooting the floors and everything and we just got a new shipment of drinks and everything in today and we have nowhere to put everything, so Chow and I have been lugging boxes, and beer barrels, and bottles all day long – again, and now my office just has a tiny path from my desk to the door. There is no light, there is no air.” He sounded just dead on his feet, poor thing.

“I’m sorry.”

“Eh it’s okay, I should be done by ten and when I am I just want to sleep for a week.”

“Nuh uh.”

“Why nuh uh, I don’t like the sound of that nuh uh?”

“Ben’s blessing is tomorrow, remember?”

“Ah, shit.”

“Yep.”

“Right well… I guess I have a clean suit… what time?”

“I think it starts at three, so not so bad.”

“Oh that’s good…” He yawned. And I noticed that Jessica had just made herself at home on the couch flipping through the channels.

“Hey listen, if you want when you’re done you could … come over if you … want.”

Why was I being so awkward?

“Oh, I want. I just don’t think I’d be much good for what I want, tonight.”

“Not for that, we could just sleep. I’m pretty beat myself, and besides, I miss you.”

“I miss you too.”

I checked on Jessica again, this time she was explaining the TV to her Dora doll.

“And I’d like it if you’d come home, for good, soon. I mean no pressure or anything but since it’s something I know you want to do anyway… maybe we should be taking the steps towards that goal soon?”

“I think so, too.”

After a much more subtle debate on just what to tell Jessica, we both settled for the simplest answer.

The truth.

After two loads of laundry, I rustled up some simple, but sneakily healthy food for Jessica and myself, all of which I did while trying to push the thoughts of ‘baby’ and ‘pregnancy’ out of my mind. I tried not to get my hopes up and I told myself repeatedly that they weren’t up, and that I’d be totally fine if it came back as some stupid error. But the truth is, in my head I’d already picked names and colours for the nursery in my head.

I was so screwed.

Bathing Jessica and drying out her ever lengthening hair before we slipped her into her pyjamas when she really didn’t want to go into them was more tiring that I’d expected, mainly because she wanted to play mermaids in the bath for a little longer than usual. I snuggled into bed with her, and after the third telling of Cinderella that night I asked her something.

“How would you feel if dad moved back home?”

Her eyes lit up, “No more stinky apartment?”

“No.”

“And he’d just be here like before all the time?”

“Yeah, like before.”

“And you’d kiss him and he’d kiss you and you’d be all gross again?”

I tickled her once causing her to giggle into my chest, “Do you really think it’s gross.”

“Yes.”

“Reeeally?”

“No.” she smiled, “Daddy loves you and you love him and I don’t know why he had to move into the stupid stinky apartment at all!” She said her big blue eyes looking up at me as she tangled her fingers in my hair like always before she nodded off.

“Because baby, it was just grownup stuff.”

“Grown up stuff is dumb.”

“It is.”

“When?”

“Well, we talked about it and he’ll have some stuff to do first but… soon I guess.”

How soon?”

“Soon.” I said, fixing her blanket and reading some more, knowing that her twirling my hair was a sign she was close to sleeping.

After she was knocked out I managed to untangle myself from her grasp and finally take my shower. As I undressed I ignored the urge to look in the mirror, if I was pregnant … and I’m guessing it was the first time Eric and I were together post-break-up that it might have happened, if it was true… but if it was that meant I was five-ish weeks pregnant almost six to the day. In truth, I was terrified. What if she was right, and I was. Had we really defied the odds that were so heavily stacked against us? In four years we hadn’t even had so much as a skipped period to worry about, but suddenly our reunion sex … made a baby?

Baffling. That’s what it was.

I’d just gotten the conditioner out of my hair when I heard the shower door open, I assumed it was Jessica, but when I turned around I found Eric looking back at me, predatory in his gaze, even though I could tell how tired he was.

“You should always be naked. It’s just all so, so nice.”

“You’re early.”

“I am, I figured I was the boss so why not pull rank, the boxes will still be there tomorrow.”

“This is very true. Care to join me?” I asked making room under the spray just as he yanked off his t-shirt and jeans – commando as he was.

I felt his lips on the back of my neck instantly, the pressure of the water teamed with the pressure of his hands all over my body was just, perfection. I moved to let him under the spray, and he quickly used my shampoo to wash his hair.

“I’ll smell all fruity tomorrow.” He noted. I smiled. His eyes were half closing but he pulled me in for a kiss, not letting me go until he was satisfied with it. I allowed my hands to roam his wet body like they so ached to do. Naked and wet Eric was always a sight to see, even as he got older, he was still proud of his body and took great care to keep it in shape. He got hard as a result of our make out session against the shower wall, but I knew he was exhausted, and to be honest I wasn’t feeling all that energetic myself.

He growled.

“I want to, Sookie, believe me, but I just…”

I kissed the tip of his nose.

“I feel the same, care to settle for some kisses and a lot of snuggling in bed, Mr Northman?”

He grinned, his eyes closing for a second.

“Sounds amazing.”

“Good. I’m going to get out and dry my hair a little.” I smacked his butt, making him laugh as I opened the glass door. The best thing we’d done three years before was move into the master bedroom, for it held the en suite master bathroom that we had completely remodelled with a spa bath and a giant shower with two shower heads, it was heaven in bathroom form, that’s for sure.

Running the hair dryer through my hair and leaving it to air dry as much as possible, I slipped on some underwear and not much else and slid between my sheets, fluffing my pillows just so. It felt weird knowing that I wasn’t suddenly in that big bad bed all on my own, that Eric was just in the other room and would be next to me soon enough.

I heard him gurgle some mouthwash, spit, and hit the lights before he padded back into the bedroom, naked as you like, before hopping on the bed and scooting in next to me, wrapping his big arms around and pulling me in for a cuddle.

He sighed softly to himself, kind of like a puppy who got just got pet.

“This made that hellish day, totally worth it. Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Inviting me over.”

“Well, you know you have a full time invite from now on right?” I smiled as he snuggled even closer. For a fully over grown man, he sure liked to cuddle.

“I do, I just didn’t want to pressure you into-”

“Shh, you know that’s now how it is. You want to be back here, I want you here. Simple math is very simple. I miss you, you miss me, we suck worse apart than we do together, and together when we’re aware and working on it, we kinda used to rock. And, we shall rock again.” I nodded.

“Is that so.”

“You don’t think so?”

“Oh no, I think so, it’s just nice that’s all… to hear you excited about us again. I’m excited.”

“Yeah I can feel how excited on my thigh, Northman.”

He chuckled.

“Aw Sookie, I’m getting so old. There you are in cute underwear and we showered together and I’m horny as fuck for you… and yet all I want to do is sleep.”

I turned around, still in his cuddle, to face him. And kissed him on the forehead. “You’ve had a busy day, sleep. I’ll be here in the morning.”

“And I love that fact so much.” He grinned closing his eyes, he was out in a few minutes. I on the other hand couldn’t sleep, not if someone paid me to I wouldn’t have been able. I paced the kitchen at seven am, trying some warm milk to try and calm the jittering nerve in my stomach that was threatening to turn into full on sickness. Thankfully it passed and I got back into bed, and I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew Jessica was sitting between us, with a rather curious look on her face, I nudged Eric awake.

“You’s here.” she said to him.

“I am. Is that okay?”

“Is … you … staying?” She sounded out, jiggling her feet as she held her head up by her hands laying on her stomach.

“Would you be okay if I did?”

She nodded vigorously.

“Well then, yeah I am.”

“Forever and ever this time?”

He looked at me and I think we both knew that shit would get difficult, but being apart wasn’t the answer to any of our problems.

“Come here kid.” He said dragging her up into bed between us. “How’ve you been for your mom? Good?”

“So good daddy. I even tidied my own room and everything the other day AND I helped Auntie Pam with Ben even though he was stinky and gross and smelled really bad, and wouldn’t stop crying. Babies are dumb, they don’t do a whole lot, do they daddy?”

Babies. Oh God there was the flip flops in my stomach again.

“Well you know it wasn’t so long ago that you were the stinky crying one, you know?”

“I was never stinky!” She protested, she did hate being dirty when it suited her, other times coming in covered in mud was no big deal.

I waited for the damn phone to ring all day and it never did. We’d gotten through Ben’s blessing and everything and still no word from the hospital or Dr Bennett. It was when I was just about to leave for the restaurant from the house, having changed into something more comfortable and a little less formal, that my phone finally rang. My heart was beating out of it’s chest and I just felt very faint.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is this Miss Sookie Stackhouse speaking?”

“It is…”

She introduced herself and told me she had my results.

“Miss Stackhouse the results of your blood test for pregnancy were positive. Congratulations!”

My heart stopped just for a second, I was sure of it.

“P- you’re sure?”

“Yes, Ma’am, six weeks be exact. Doctor Bennett would like you to call her to schedule another check up okay?”

“I…” I grinned, and then I laughed, light headed and happy, “I…”

“I know it can be a shock, honey but I’m guessing it’s a good shock?”

“A very… very good shock. Thank you so much. You have no idea… just thank you.”

I was pregnant.

I burst out laughing to myself, alone in the house with no one to tell. I was having a baby, I was carrying a baby. Eric’s baby, our baby. I was doing it, my body wasn’t broken, I wasn’t that broken useless girl that Bill had seen and convinced me of . I laughed and then just as suddenly, I started to sob. Why? I wasn’t really sure why. But after I felt my cell buzzing in my hand, telling me that Eric was looking for me, I pulled myself together and answered. It was Jessica.

“Momma where are you? Daddy says you’re not there and we’re almost there and you’re not there. So get there.” She said obviously talking to me on speaker phone.

“Hi baby, I know I know. Um, I’m leaving right now okay I’ll be there soon.”

“Bring Dora, I forgot her.”

“Of course.”

“You leaving now?” Came Eric’s voice.

“I am. I just, when you get there … when I get there I need to talk to you.”

“You’re talking to me now.”

“I know, but not over the phone I need to see your face for this.”

“Sookie you sound… not okay, are you-”

“No! No, I’m good. I’m in the car right now, I’ll be there in ten. Promise.”

Of course by the time I got there, it was already packed, not only with my regulars – or who I’d come to think of as my regulars for a Sunday afternoon dinner, there was also all of Pam and Amelia’s friends and some of Ames family. Eric was holding baby Ben and making my ovaries ache and make me want to jump him all at once. I didn’t though, mainly because I didn’t have time. I made one final ditch effort at getting him alone, when just before dinner was brought out I dragged him to my office. I just wasn’t able to keep it to myself any longer. Of course Pam accused me of dragging him off to fuck him on my desk, I simply told her that she was just jealous that she wasn’t my type.

I shut the door finally some silence, and the confused look on Eric’s face was adorable.

“So… The hospital finally called.”

“Shit, Jesus. Is it … bad?”

I grinned, biting my lip so hard I thought it would bleed.

“Sookie, if it’s bad just know that we can face it together okay? We can.”

“Eric, it’s nothing bad but it is something that I’m going to need you for, big time.”

His eyes widened.

“What? Christ, just tell me.”

“Eric, I’m pregnant.”

A/N: I know I suck for leaving it there, but I think this chapter was necessary from SPOV because it’s her internal struggle that we’d be dealing with first with the news. Eric will get his turn! All reviews are loved! Thanks guys! xox


Chapter 12: Chapter 12


EPOV:

“Eric, I’m pregnant.” She said, her face beaming from ear to ear.

She was clearly joking, right?

“Sookie, that’s not even a little bit funny, what did she say? It’s not… shit, it’s not cancer or something is it?”

I didn’t know what the symptoms of cancer were but I didn’t know anything about it so it could have been anything!

She smiled, trying her best to bite her lip, then she just laughed.

“No, that’s what I said… but Eric, I’m serious.”

“You’re -”

Pregnant. Six weeks.” She beamed. I think my heart stopped.

“You… you’re… we’re…”

What were words again?

“I know, right? She told me, but I didn’t really believe her, so I had her send the bloods to the hospital, and they just called before I left the house.”

Wow.

“Jesus Christ Sookie we’re pregnant!” I beamed, matching hers. “Well I mean, you are… but I helped… a little.”

“You did.” she laughed, “Can you believe it?”

“No.” I said, my eyes widening slightly as I looked at her. She didn’t look different yet, well except for her cheek achingly large smile. “I … that leaves you due, when?”

“I guess in March sometime? I don’t know I’ll have to get her to tell me… oh God. Doctor Bennett.”

“What about her?”

“I was kind of really rude to her. I mean I was convinced I was dying or something since they’d been telling me forever that …”

“I’m sure she’ll understand. Sookie, we’re having a baby.”

“I know! Crazy huh?”

“Good crazy though, right?” I hoped she was as happy as she looked about this, I … I just couldn’t believe it.

“I think it’s good crazy, I mean, we’re proving doctors wrong here, that’s got to count for something right?” She rolled her eyes playfully before wrapping her arms around me and pulling me in for a hug. “I don’t really think it’s sunk in yet, but I had to tell you. I wanted to tell you yesterday but since I wasn’t sure… I just didn’t want to disappoint you or get your hopes up if they were wrong like I thought they were.”

“If they were, would you just have kept this to yourself?” I asked.

“No point in breaking your heart too, right?” She shrugged.

“Sookie, I wouldn’t have cared if you’d never… you know that right? You should be able to tell me these things. If it effects you, it effects me too… you know?” I shook her a little getting her to look at me again.

“I know. I just thought it would hurt me too much if they were wrong, you know?”

“But they weren’t … and you’re pregnant. Knocked up, up the duff, impregnated with my seed.”

“Ew okay, let’s just say pregnant.” She slapped my chest before I kissed her up against her office door.

There was a knocking seconds later, I had to groan at our and their timing.

“What?” I snapped causing Sookie to laugh into my chest.

“Oh, ewww, are you two fucking? Pam said you’d be fucking.” Amelia said through the door.

“What is it Ames?” Sookie asked.

“Nothing really, just, when are you feeding us?”

“I’ll be right out, okay?”

“Okay, let’s pretend that I don’t think you all are fucking in there okay?”

“We’re not!” Sookie said.

“Sure. Sure you’re not.”

Laughing she slid out from my grasp.

“We’re good, right? I mean, we can do this?”

“I think we can, I mean we didn’t think we could with Jessica and so far she’s not a serial killer or a arsonist, so I think we’re doing a good job with her? Speaking of which, what should we tell her?”

She just walked to her desk and sat on the edge of it.

“I don’t want to tell people. At least not yet, not until we get the okay that it’ll be fine I think that’s like eleven weeks or something when the risk of miscarriage goes down? That’s what Pam told me.”

I could understand that, it was going to be hard though.

“I just… don’t want to jinx it if we don’t have to, you know?”

“I know sweetheart, I understand the fear so… it’ll be hard but we just… won’t tell anyone.”

“You think they’ll know?”

“Nah, I mean the smile that I’m trying to suppress right now could be down to a number of things. Clearly they all think we’re fucking in here, so let’s just let them think it’s from the great sex we just had.”

She groaned, “you know if I didn’t have to go over see the kitchen right now I think I’d just take you up on that offer.”

“Let’s let them starve and fuck on your desk. We haven’t done it there yet.” I wriggled my brows in suggestion.

“I’d love to however I need to okay the kitchen first, and you need to eat and we need to find our daughter.”

“Last I saw she was charming Ame’s grandmother … probably convincing her to hand over her pension or her will or something.”

She just laughed as we exited her office, holding hands like two idiots.

“I love you, and this is… amazing. But you know that I’d have more than fine if -”

“I know.” she stopped me, “And that’s what makes you so unlike any other guy I know, you accepted me, broken flaws and all.”

“But you’re not broken, I’ve been telling you that for years.”

“I know that. And hey, I think we just proved it.” She grinned before kissing me on the cheek and walking away.

I tried my best to repress my grin as much as I could before walking out into the large dining room again.

“Oh God, you’re even all a glow. This really can’t be hygienic.” Pam said as I sat down next to her, I simply leaned into her.

“This coming from a woman who I caught eating out her girlfriend on MY desk? Not even her own? Hypocrite.”

She just rolled her eyes. “Yes well, those days are long over.”

“Why … Not that I’m not happy that my desk is lesbian sex free, but, why?

Clearly a subject that made Pam suddenly uncomfortable. “It’s Amelia she doesn’t want to fuck. Ever.”

“Oh… Well I mean everyone goes through dry spe-”

“Not it’s not even that, it’s been since we’ve had Ben, she just doesn’t want to… touch me.”

I instantly felt bad for her, I knew too well that feeling of rejection, intentional or not.

“I’m sorry, Pam.”

She just shrugged, “I mean I get it, you know? She saw me push a person out of there, it’s not exactly the most appealing visual ever… but I’m back to myself now, and I’ve been working out and tightening everything back up, but you know, she still makes all kinds of excuses.”

“Have you told her that it’s hurting you?”

She glared.

“Tell her Pam. Maybe she just thinks she’s being considerate to you? Maybe she thinks it still hurts?”

“I just think that maybe she’s bored of me now.”

“Pamela. You know that’s bullshit.”

“Daddy that’s a bad word!” Came the little voice from behind me.

“Hey baby!” I said lifting her on my knee, “Where were you?”

“Talkin’ to Auntie Ames’ nanna, she’s funny. She forgets things a lot, though I told her ma’ name three times and she forgot – again!”

“Alzheimer’s.” Pam interjected.

“Where’s momma?” Jess asked looking around.

“In the kitchen, she’ll be out soon.”

“Oh, okay.” she hopped off my knee again. Her little dress flying all over the place as she tried to calm it down. Sookie had her dressed in the sweetest blue checker dress with her hair in a ponytail with blue bows with her little ankle socks and black shoes she liked to twirl when she wore dresses for some reason. It got me thinking about our next baby. I mean, Jessica was our daughter, no doubt about that. But this was different in so many ways. This baby would grow inside of her, and be a part of both of us biologically, for the first time. I’d be there this time from the very beginning, as would Sookie, obviously. So different than before. I looked at Jessica and when I really looked at her I knew she looked like Sookie, mostly because she looked like Hadley, who looked so much like Sookie, but her traits – some at least – belonged to Alcide, and to Hadley, most of her personality though, I knew she and I had more of a hand in. She was my daughter- my first child nothing would ever change that, it didn’t mean that I didn’t get to be excited about seeing who this baby would look like, would it be a girl or a boy? What would we get to call them, how would their personality develop?

“Why are you so happy?” Pam nudged me, “You’ve been smiling to yourself like a fool for like five minutes, did Sookie blow you in the office.”

“Pam!”

She smirked.

“No, she didn’t, we’re just working things out. In fact, I’m moving back in the next couple of days.”

“Wow you two have been busy then haven’t you?”

I grinned, apparently we’d been very busy, “Yes, we’ve been very… productive.”

“What does that mean?”

I shrugged, “just means what it means. And besides you’ve enough relationship worries right now instead of worrying about us, you go and tell Amelia how you’re feeling. Look if it’s the one thing I learned from the whole mess with Sookie, it was that. Just, be honest, and whatever will happen will happen regardless… but nothing will ever happen if you keep shit inside till it builds up and you wake up one day and you’re in bed with a stranger.”

“I hate it when you get all sensible and wise. It’s annoying.”

“I have my moments… now, seriously, promise me?”

“Yes. Fine. Whatever.”

“Good. Now, give me Ben and go talk to her.”

“What? Now? She’s kinda working, kinda not.”

“She’s off today, she’s just helping Sookie out, now, seriously go.”

She mumbled something to me before handing Benji to me, he just looked confused, though for a kid of two months old he was growing surprisingly fast and changing every time I saw him, it was kind of cool.

“So, little dude, in about nine months you’re going to have a little friend about your age, pretty cool huh?”

Spit bubble. I assumed he agreed.

The dinner went over really well, Sookie actually taking the time to sit down and eat for once too which was nice. Everyone noticed us, and the change. In fact even members of Amelia’s family who didn’t really know us at all, had commented on what happy couple we looked like, even from afar. Sookie couldn’t stop grinning it was sort of adorable.

I’d had a few beers, I’ll admit, I was happy for a number of reasons. One, Pam and Amelia were deep in conversation while holding hands, two, Jessica was actually behaving herself while talking one of Amelia’s little cousin’s ears off about Dora the bloody explorer, and Sookie, well, she looked radiant, and she was playing with Ben which just did things to my thinking process. Namely it make me realise how much I would have fucked up, how much we would have fucked up if we hadn’t started talking again, like, really talking about the things that mattered. And we matter, we were the thing that mattered most. Nothing else happened without us, being us. Sometimes I guess it was just really hard to keep that in mind all the time whilst going through life like you do, taking everything you have for granted so much that you don’t even know how much of an amazing life you have until it’s too fucking late it’s either fallen apart or it’s ripped out from under you, like Alcide and Hadley.

We were making a baby, Sookie was growing our baby. It was something that I had resigned myself into thinking would never happen for us, or for me, because I didn’t want to have children with anyone else but Sookie, and if Sookie couldn’t do that, well then, neither could I.

We’d talked a lot about more kids over the years, I knew she desperately wanted to be a biological mother, to have that feeling of what it felt like happen inside her. I also knew that Bill and his emotional abuse on the subject had stuck with her for a very long time, it had given her a complex about herself and in inability to bare children that drove me mental most of the time. Since, to me, she was never broken, never useless, just simply different. Though it seems she wasn’t as different as I had even expected since here we were, after four years of regular sex without protection might I had resulting in nothing, and suddenly one night of reunion sex lead us to a new baby.

It was kind of mind blowing.

SPOV:

You know when people throw around the term ‘life affirming’ when talking about sex? Well I never understood that, not until that night. The more I thought about the night with Eric, the night that knocked me up, as he so eloquently put it, the more it sort of made sense. We’d both fucked up badly with each other, we’d taken each other and ourselves for granted until it was too late and we were both miserable and unable to fix it. Being with him that night made me realise that I never wanted to be without him again, that I never wanted to be just Sookie, with her Eric. That wasn’t how we were meant to work. And we proved that since we really did royally suck when we were apart. It was depressing and lonely and no other man that flirted with me even held a candle to him, or how he’d made me feel when he would flirt with me. I loved him, I needed him and I hoped that he needed me too.

The next month was spent in complete ninja mode, as far as all things babies were concerned. I wasn’t showing or really in anyway different – physically yet so that wasn’t the problem. It was keeping it from everyone that was the big problem. Eric had moved back in the day after Benji’s blessing, giving up his apartment and donating what little furniture he’d bought for the place. Jessica was ecstatic to have her daddy back, she didn’t sleep right for a week because she kept waking up to make sure he was still there and then wandering back to her own bed. It shocked us both, mainly because she’d usually just muscle in between us and end up kicking one of us in the face. Eric had ended up with a pretty purple shiner when she was three and done just that, kicked him in the eye when she was sleeping. I found it hilarious, Eric, not so much. My eleven week ultra sound was scheduled with Doc Bennett and I was a little nervous, not as nervous though as Eric was, he was a mess.

I was fixing my hair in the mirror after my shower, we were due at the doctors office after two, for my scan. Eric was twitching like crazy and I … well I’d spent the morning throwing up so I was just glad I’d stopped long enough to wash and freshen up. The month since I’d found out about the baby was whirlwind that’s for sure, between the little white lies whenever someone heard me throwing up at work, to trying to stop Jessica from assuming her mom was dying of the flu forever, most days I was just happy when I kept down my lunch.

“Eric stop pacing, it’ll be fine.” Yes, this was me, reassuring him. Wonders would never cease.

By the time we’d gotten to the doctors offices I was nervous and Eric really wasn’t any less nervous. But he held my hand in his sweaty one and did his best to give me a reassuring smile, even if he did look creepy since it was obviously fake. Eric had met Dr Bennett, Georgina, as she insisted we call her, when I’d gone back to apologise for being rude and for a check up on my blood pressure weeks before.

She took my blood pressure and dotted her I’s and crossed her T’s while I hiked up my dress and covered myself with the stupid gown that I had no use for really. They’d all seen my goodies.

“First trimester screening, we’ll do that for you anywhere between eleven weeks, and fourteen weeks. You can do it here, or at the hospital, which ever you want it fine. It’s pretty simple, just an ultra sound and a blood test. But now we can get this party started with a little peak at baby Northman… oh, I’m sorry, Stackhouse.” Her wide eyes looked between Eric and I.

Ah, the last name debate again. This had come up a few weeks before, what was this baby’s last name going to be, were we really going to be a family were almost everyone had a different last name? It was an ongoing discussion to say the least.

She spread the freezing cold jelly on my belly and waved her little wand and there it was. All grey and black and shadows and movement. It looked like it was jumping around in there. Eric’s first reaction was a gulp and a “wow!” I was just hypnotised. There was a head and a little tiny body and a flicker in the middle somewhere.

“Is that the heart?” Eric asked, because apparently, I couldn’t. I wasn’t going to cry, I warned myself I wasn’t but I did anyway. Silently.

“Yep. That’s the head, that’s the little body and that is the heart. Nice and strong too.”

“Really?” Eric asked her, squeezing the crap out of my hand as he did so.

“Yes, Sookie, everything looks good.”

“It’s okay?” I choked out, finally admitting my fear that things might not be okay, such was my life.

“It’s more than okay, it’s strong and looks to be thriving, you’re doing good Sookie. It’s got a nice uterus there to bounce around in for a while till you start to feel it.” She smiled and I smiled too wiping my tears. “They are happy tears I promise.”

“I’d hope so!” she giggled writing down her measurements before she flipped a switch and this little noise got louder and louder. It was like a heard of tiny horse galloping or someone rubbing a drum, it was the heartbeat.

Eric’s eyes were like saucers as he looked at the screen. “Shit that is the coolest sound, ever.” he said making me laugh. “Sookie, it’s real.”

“It is real, what you thought I was up chucking just to get into new jeans?” I asked him jokingly.

We thanked her again for doing the scan for us as she gave us the little DVD and a few print outs of the picture. You could see the head and body so clearly it was a little freaky.

“I’m starving.” I said as we walked out of the offices together.

“What do you fancy? We could get late, late, lunch, some pizza maybe?”

“Mmm, and ice-cream.” It was late August and the heat in Louisiana was ridiculously high, I’d been an avid fan before when I’d just sit out in the pool and float and bake, but now I wasn’t feeling so fantastic about that.

We sat down and ordered our slices and some salad too just to pretend that we were healthy. I sipped my water as Eric brought out the little picture.

“It’s cute and I think it’s a boy.” he said.

“Oh you think, or you want?”

“Both? I don’t care really, but I do think it’ll be a boy, I was reading up on it and you seem like you’re having a boy.”

“You know all those things are old wives tales right?”

“Sure, but old wives had babies, lots of them, they knew shit.”

“Ohkay, Eric.” I giggled at him, he was so matter a fact about it all it was hilarious.

“So your mother and Niall are visiting in a few weeks.”

“That they are.”

“So, do we tell them over the phone now or wait till they get here?”

“Wait, we can tell people now?”

“Well, yeah, I mean she gave us the okay right? And it’s past the really tender stage I think it would be okay for people to know.” I smiled as his smile got bigger.

“I wanna tell Pam first. And you should call Jason right?”

“Do we think he’d care, really?”

Eric just glared at me.

“Fine, fine I’ll call. He’s too wrapped up in his new wife to give a damn about us, but fine I’ll call him. And I want to tell Maxine. I swear she’s been lookin’ at me funny recently it’s like she has X-ray eyes!”

“Maxine’s a smart lady. I’m sure she probably figured it out when you refused to eat at the barbecue or have a beer.”

“I can’t have pork and beer is out of the question.”

“Sure beer is out of the question but your diet of cheesy things is totally fine and healthy.” He sarked as I ate his second slice for him.

“It’s not me! It’s the baby, the baby just really likes cheese.”

He pointed to the photo, “Sook, the baby is the size of a lime, the baby doesn’t know what cheese is.”

“Totally does, and it knows that it hates fish and pork and … just really likes pizza.” I grinned finishing off his piece in record time.

“Do you wanna know the sex? Shit, should we have asked her about that?”

“I don’t think so I think she would have mentioned it, it’s a little soon to tell anyways, or so says Google.” I shrugged, “And, I don’t know I think I do want to know, what about you.”

“It might be fun to wait, but then if we knew we could paint the nursery and buy things just to be ready.”

“We aren’t going the regular pink or blue route though that’s so cheesy and limiting.”

“Limiting, to a new born?”

“Yes. I remember talking to Hadley about this before Jessica was born and she agreed with me, who says the only colours that represent male or female are blue or pink? It’s ridiculous.”

And suddenly the tears started again, I’d been ridiculously bad with the crying for the previous two weeks, I was crying at commercials for fuck sake.

“Hey… hey what’s wrong?” Eric asked rubbing his thumb over my hand trying to comfort me the best he could inside the same eatery.

“It’s just… Hadley would have known all the stuff I’m going through because she was the one that went through it with Jessica.”

He pressed his lips to my temple while I tried to calm myself down. While I just did my best to stop the tears.

“Sometimes I forget, you know. I forget that we aren’t her biological parents and we didn’t get to do all this with her.”

“It’s easy to forget that sometimes, it’s not a bad thing, she’s ours it shouldn’t matter that you didn’t give birth to her.”

“And it doesn’t, most of the time. But then I remember that Hadley is her mom and she should be here raising her, not me and not you it should be Alcide, and I freak out and I worry if we’re doing it right, or would they have done it differently. Would Jessica be a different little girl today if they’d been alive? You know? I’m so weird.”

“Hey, listen to me… you are weird, but not for those reasons.” He smiled and I just playfully punched him in the arm.

“Asshole.”

“Sook, if you keep thinking like that you’ll drive yourself nuts. Okay? I made peace with the fact that what will be will be a long time ago, and there is no right or wrong in parenting. Everyone is just winging it the best they can and trying not to fuck up too badly. It’s all anyone can ask, right?”

“And we can wing it again, right?”

He smiled, “Together we can do anything. Don’t you know that by now?

I really hoped he was right.

A/N: Soo, he knows! Dying to know what you guys think! Reviews are adored! xox Happy Sunday! *Goes to look for more Paley goodies*


Chapter 13: Chapter 13


SPOV:

“Sookie, sweetheart, seriously stop fluffing the cushions they’re fine, and no one cares about the cushions.”

I knew he was trying to calm me down, I knew it, but, I was also a woman on a mission. The house was cleaned from top to bottom – after two weeks with my head in the toilet and not really feeling like doing much it had been left to Eric, and Jessica to ‘do the housework’ apparently that translated into just shoving all the crap in the drawers and hoping it would sort itself out. Really not acceptable.

“It’s fine, I know. I’m just making sure everything looks okay, do I look okay?”

He had Jessica in his arms, she was in her new pink dress and had her hair in pig tail plaits that she kept twirling around and around. His mother, and his grand father were due any minute, they’d come, we’d tell them, then we’d all have dinner at the restaurant with Pam, Ames and Lafayette. We’d decided to wait those two extra weeks before telling people since I was totally paranoid that I’d jinx something and wanted to be sure that the first danger zone had passed, I’d been insanely careful in those two weeks, so much so that it was starting to drive Eric a little nuts. That, and any kind of fast motion triggered my ‘morning’ sickness which really put the kibosh on our sex activities, though we were handling it a hell of a lot better than our last sex drought, the joys of what a blow job will do for a guy no getting any…

I’d heard the car pull up on the drive way, and my nerves quadrupled and I still had no idea why I was so nervous. This was Niall and Olivia, I knew them, I liked them, and more to the point, they liked me. I inhaled, I exhaled, of course that was before I got knocked up. I did wonder how they’d take it since we’d gone to great lengths to ensure them that it wasn’t something they should hold their breath for. It was amazing news, but I was still nervous all the same we were telling people – it made it just another step into reality I guess.

We’d already told Jessica, the night before, it had been an interesting experience to say the least. It was just a usual Sunday, since Eric and I both arranged the weekend off, it had been peaceful and nice. Jessica had crawled in between us sometime during the night, something she hadn’t done in weeks, and we woke up to find her colouring in with her crayons in the middle of the bed.

“Jess don’t write on the sheets again, okay.” I said half asleep, but trying to check my watch.

Six am.

I sighed, well I’d better get used to late nights and early mornings again I guess.

“Baby why are you up so early?”

“I had a nightmare. And the sunshine is up so its’ day time and you can’t have nightmares in day.” She reasoned. Eric was still snoring, face planted in his pillow.

“Where did you find the crayons?”

“In the drawer.”

That drawer was three feet up, her stepping stool was certainly coming in handy. If it didn’t look so foolish I’d carry one around myself.

“Wanna snuggle with me for a little bit? You might feel better. What was the nightmare about.” I said smoothing down her hair that was sticking out all over the place before she put her crayons down and closed her colouring book and snuggled into my neck.

“Spi-dars.” she said, muffled.

“Ah. But I thought you liked them?” She and Hoyt were always playing in the mud and picking up worms, though apparently now that had changed.

“I didn’t be scared, but that was before Hoyt chased me with a big spider before… I no like them now.”

That little shit, Hoyt.

“Aw, honey, come here.” I said spooning her as we both looked at Eric.

Then she giggled.

“Daddy looks funny when he’s asleep.” She whispered to wasn’t wrong, face planted, mouth open, snoring occasionally, his hair that little bit longer was sticking out just as much as hers was.

I laughed.

“Can I wake him up? I can’t see his eyes when he’s asleep!”

“Well no, because they’re closed, like everyone’s close when we sleep.”

Jessica was big on eye contact, much like Eric. I really did often ask Eric – even in jest – if he and Hadley hadn’t had a thing because she was so much like Eric at times that it was down right hilarious.

“No, don’t wake him yet, sweetie I have something I want to talk to you about.”

“Oh. Okay?” She said as I turned her to face me, pushing some of her hair out of her face as I did so.

“Honey, you know how you have Hadley and Alcide as your biological parents, and how Eric and I are still your mom and dad, right?” It had been a ‘bedtime’ story for a long time for us and Jessica. We always felt she should know where she came from and how she ended up with us, and I didn’t want it to be some bombshell later on in her little life, so we decided to be as straight with her as we possibly could.

“Yeah and how they wanted me and loved me much, very much, but how God needed them more for them to be my angels and how you and daddy were just meant to be my mommy and daddy. I know mom.”

“You do know, you’re such a smart girl.”

“I am.” She nodded.

“Well, you know how Auntie Pam had Benji?”

“Yeah.” she scrunched up her nose, not a good sign.

“He’s loud.”

He was, he didn’t scream often, but when he did, damn.

“He is, but that’s not what we’re getting at here. You know how she had him, in the hospital and then they got to take him home.”

“Yeah?”

“Well.” Why was I nervous, she was five. She’d adjust, eventually, right?

“Sweetie, I’m having a baby.”At that one of Eric’s eyes popped open. Sneaky, he was always listening and pretending not too. He raised his brows at me, but I just kept on going.

“What do you think, Jess?”

She shrugged, “Where is it?”

Eric laughed then, alerting her that he was awake, she was staring at me though.

“Well it’s … growing right now, so we can’t see it for a little while longer. You know how Pam got all round?”

“And cranky.” she noted, sometimes she was too smart.

“Yes. And cranky sometimes, but that’s what will happen with me, the baby will grow and hopefully be healthy and then it’ll come out when it’s ready and meet us, and you. You’re going to be a big sister, baby.” I would not cry, I would not cry.

She smiled, finally.

“I am? Oh. I didn’t think that! That could be fun! Hi dad.” She said turning to look at Eric, then back to me.

“Morning.” he croaked smiling slightly. I exhaled the breath I’d been holding.

“I could be a good big sister couldn’t I? Couldn’t I dad?”

He reassured her that she would in fact be, and be the best at it too. She ran off to pee, something else she assured us she could now manage ‘without any help, thank you.” as she pandered off carrying her little stool.

“Wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.” I said as Eric pulled me closer to him kissing me on the lips.

“Good, see? Not that scary, but…”

“But what?”

“Well, I don’t really think she gets it, not yet anyways, I think she might believe it more when you start showing, or when he or she gets here.”

I nodded, it was probably true, she didn’t have a very long attention span at her age, hell I was a lot older and I didn’t have a very good attention span either.

“I know, I just hope she’s okay with it, that’s all. I don’t want her to feel bad or left out okay?”

“She wont.”

I hoped he was right.

“Eric, they’re here!” I said as I heard the car pulling up, I straightened out my dress, wondering if it would be obvious to them yet, I hoped not I wanted it to be a surprise. And then I straightened out the cushions again just to be sure.

Niall was the first one out of the car, and to the door where I was greeted by a big smile and a big hug.

“My girl how are you! Oh you look just wonderful! Wonderful!”

Niall, he wasn’t a small man by any means, he was tall – not as tall as Eric but almost – he was slim but not frail, his hair whitened by age, but his blue eyes still held their sparkle, he reminded me of Ian mc Kellen for some reason and I thought it every time I saw him.

“Niall, I’m good, so good! You’re looking well!””Ach, well, my hips aren’t what they used to be, but I heard this new place of yours does music…. I demand a dance.”

It would have to be a slow one, but I agreed, sending him in just as Jessica came flying out the door and into his arms.

“You have gotten so tall and lanky child what are they feeding you!”

“Cake! But I can’t has some till we have proper food it’s a dumb rule.”

“Jessica.”

“What? Sookie the child is right it is a dumb rule.

“”I miss you, grandpa.” She smiled, she knew what side to take that was for sure, little traitor.

I sighed and made my way to the care where I found Liv battling with a suitcase.

“Need a hand?”

“Oh, Sookie, darling you look great!” she said as she air kissed my cheeks – the usual Olivia welcome, and squeezed my hands, “the darn thing has wheels it just the handle won’t -”

I popped it and it slid down, causing her to roll her eyes.

“Of course now it works.” she smiled, “How are you? You look… different.”

“I do?”

“Mmm, I can’t pin point it, but there is something… did you have botox?”

“No!”

“Oh, it’s wonderful, really. Feels like a week in the Bahamas.”

“I’ll take your word for it…” I said as we both made our way inside, where I got the stink eye from Eric for just wheeling in two suitcases. I just rolled my eyes – I was being careful but he was being ridiculous.

Pleasantries aside, Pam, Ames, Lafayette and Tara arrived and we eventually all made our way to the restaurant for dinner.

“Oh, Sookie I do love it! It’s so chic, and so much more chic when you realise it’s in Louisiana.”

“Mom?” Eric chided, but really there was no need, I was well aware of Olivia’s word vomit now.

“I’m sorry honey, I mean it as a compliment, I’d expect to see this near Beverly Hills, it’s so quaint, but sleek. I know friends of mine will love it.” She said taking out her digital camera, she was attached to it whenever they’d visit us or we’d visit them, she’d taken it up as a hobby but was surprisingly very good at it and we’d ended up with more than a few beautiful shots of all us on the beach in LA a time or two from her and her new skills.

We all sat down for dinner, Jessica was particularly animated informing her great grandpa and her Nana all about her school and her new friends, it was far too cute. I was just so thankful everyone got along.

Pam loved Niall, well really, everyone did, but especially Pam, their sense of humours were similar and they got a small kick out of teasing Eric.

“Nightmare, total nightmare!” Pam said rolling her eyes, “Worst thing I ever did.”

Amelia nudged her in the side and they both laughed, “No, but seriously it was a lot of effort, we had to find a guy and his junk to use -”

“Pam.” I gave her the ‘mom eyebrows’ since Jessica was seated next to me, though she was enthralled with the new games console that nana Livy had bought her, and wasn’t paying much notice.

“Sookie, I know that’s why I said junk and not spun-”

“OK!” I said. “Moving on.” Everyone just laughed, Pam was Pam there was no changing her.

“And picking the right guy was such hard work, I mean initially we’d asked Eric…”

All eyes were suddenly on my now very tense love. I squeezed his hand under the table while he politely sipped his water.

“Really, Eric?” Livy asked.

He sipped his water again, “Yep.” He said simply, and Pam continued.

“But, Eric politely declined, he said that while he wanted to ‘help us out’ the only kids he’d be fathering if he ever did, were his and Sookie’s, so we understood, we were just bummed because his height and my good looks the kid would have been dynamite.” She winked and we all laughed, then Amelia took it too far.

“But it’s not like she was even using it anyway, but… yeah, we went elsewhere and it seemed to work out just fine.”Amelia said, and I know she meant it offhand, and since she’d had a few drinks I knew she could have been sarcastic, but it still really stung, and it’s almost as if Eric knew how much since he automatically chided her.

She looked at me with apologetic eyes though but I just smiled. “Actually Ames, that’s not strictly true.”

“Ew, Sookie do we want to know what you’ve been doing with his -”

“Pam, what I mean to say, there is a reason why you guys are all here at once tonight, I mean we love you and we’d love to actually be able to do this more often – insults aside -”

I looked at Amelia who looked suitably sheepish, “but, the reason… well we have news. And it’s something that we’ve been sort of keeping under our hats…”I couldn’t keep myself from smiling, and I looked at Eric and he was the same, in fact he was even blushing a little, it was adorable, I squeezed his hand again and he squeezed back and I just came out with it.

“I’m pregnant.” I said, and Jessica piped up too.

“And I’m going to be a big siser!”

“Sister, sweetie.” Eric corrected her and Eric’s mom just leaped up from her seat and over to me in a hug so tight I was sure I’d cracked something, everyone was, well, stunned.

“You’re…?” Tara asked, her mouth agape, “But … How?”

“Well Tara, when two people love each other, really love each -” Eric began and I laughed once Olivia let me go, Niall reached over for a hug all his own, the other diners at the restaurant must have thought we were all nuts, everyone talking over each other, asking all kinds of questions.

“Ok, ok! One at a time…” Eric said once everyone sat back down, “Yeah it took us by complete surprise too, believe me.”

I glanced at a grinning Eric. “Um, but yeah, fourteen weeks yesterday. So we figured it was safe enough to let the cat out of the bag so to speak.”

“IVF?” Pam asked, tears in her eyes as she still held onto Eric’s hand.

“No, just old fashioned lovin’.” Eric commented with a laugh, “You all know it’s something we wanted but were sure that it just wasn’t meant to be, well I guess mother nature was feeling generous.”

“Or you have magic spun-”

“Pam!” I said again and she laughed this time through her tears.

Jessica wasn’t amused at all. “I don’t get it.”

“Get what honey?” I asked her, tucking her napkin into the neck of her dress.

“It’s not even here yet, why is everyone crying?” I just smiled and kissed her on the head.

“They’re just happy that’s all baby, they’re happy tears.”

“Oh, okay, good. Can I have ice-cream now?”

“Sure, and since you’ve been such a good girl tonight, you can come back with me and pick out how you want it, deal?”

“Yeah!”

EPOV:

“And what made you both feel that getting back together was for the best?” Niall asked me as we sat in the garden watching Jessica and Hoyt play ball in the pool, the weather was scorching that was for sure.

I sipped my coke and just shrugged, “I loved her, she loved me, somewhere along the line we sort of lost sight of what that meant… and without her, it was like a slap in the face, you know?”

“And you started talking again?”

“Yeah, I guess she and I just need to keep that in mind instead of just letting our shit – sorry – our stuff – build to the point of explosion.”

“And the baby?”

“A shock, I mean it’s an amazing shock, but we’d pretty much resigned ourselves to it never happening – and definitely not naturally like it did, it was one of the pressure points for us, pre- break up. And despite the hormones, Sookie’s been so much happier since she found out, and it’s only helped us.”

“What does Jess think?”

“She’s five Niall, she’s hardly grasping what it really means right now, I hope that she’s fine with it, but I know it won’t be that easy, no matter what Sookie says… Jessica has been queen of the castle for a very long time, this will take adjustment.”

He smirked, “That’s for sure. Oh Eric I am just ever so pleased for you. Really. It’s so exciting. Has Sookie been ill?”

“Lots of morning sickness, and motion sickness, but fingers crossed that subsides soon, she’s been doing her best, with work and here, with everything, all the while fighting the urge to up chuck. She really is amazing.”

“And that ring on her finger?”

Ah yes, the ring. We hadn’t talked about it, but a few days prior I’d spotted her putting it on again when she was putting on her makeup, she didn’t bring it up nor did I, but I would if she didn’t soon. I needed to know what that meant. I mean it was pretty obvious what I thought it meant, but again, when I assumed things when it came to my relationship with Sookie things tended to go wrong.

“I’d asked her before we broke up, but I think it was another one of the big issues at the time, we haven’t discussed what it means now or if being married is something we need.”

“I see, well then I’d suggest you see where she’s heading and if it’s the same direction for both of you, this time. There’s another person on the way now Eric, and I think it would be wise for you both to make that decision, one way or another before they come along, don’t you think?”

I did think, I’d thought about it a lot ever since we’d broken up really. Bottom line was I wanted to be married, something that had you asked me five years before I would have quite happily laughed in your face, but that was before them. Before Sookie and Jessica I can safely say I was a different man, with an incredibly different outlook on my life and what I wanted from it. Then I was happy enough to screw around and get drunk, I mean now I still screwed around and got drunk I just happened to do it with an amazing woman and in the comfort of a home. Those weren’t things that I’d had before, and now that I had them, I didn’t want to lose them, and almost losing them before was enough of a warning for me. I wasn’t about to go through that again.

Sookie and I finally got a moment to ourselves the next day, my mother and Niall had taken Jessica to the movies and we’d gotten a chance to just hang out at home since I wasn’t due in work till the evening and Sookie was only due in that day to sign some cheques and over see things before she could sneak out again, it wasn’t always so, but when we got slow days we appreciated them. We were laying out on the deck just enjoying the sun and more importantly the peace and quiet, nothing but the sound of the cat snoring in the sun, when she took my hand.

“I’m not used to the silence, it’s odd. When I lived alone I had nothing but silence and I loved it, but now… it feels so foreign to me or something.”

“I know what you mean, I’d hate the silence when I was alone, I’d constantly have something going just to drown it out.”

“Yeah it’s why you’re so good with Jessica’s craziness, you love her noise.””I do.””She’s such a daddy’s girl, it’s hilarious.”

“Hey that’s not true, she adores you.”

“I know she loves me, but you were always the favourite, from day one. She knew what she had in you. With me…” she sighed, “I was just the awkward one that didn’t know what to do with her. I hope for baby number two that I’m a little bit more… better.”

“Sookie, you were amazing.”

“I was awkward and stiff, Eric.”

“True.” I laughed, because really, she kind of was. But it was understandable and it was something she just had to learn, there was no shame in that. “But, you got over it, and you both bonded, it just took a little longer for you than it did for me, that’s all.” I squeezed her hand.

“I love you. I feel like… I don’t say it enough.”

“You say it plenty, and even if you didn’t, I’d still know.”

“Good, because I do.” She said sliding off her seat and on top of me, which was a dangerous thing since I was going six weeks and no nookie, she had been all for fixing the frustrations orally, and it had always been amazing, I mean it was Sookie, she knew what I liked now almost better than I did, but it still felt selfish of me, since she wasn’t in the mood for reciprocation. And I always gave as good as I got.

“You know I love you at this angle.” I said as she straddled me, and kissed me once. Smiling wide, I could see her happy eyes even behind her sunglasses.

“I’m sure you do, I feel really gross though so I’m not loving your view of me right now. But, this is nice.” She said and we kissed again, just making out, sometimes was all that was needed to allow us to feel that intimacy that we’d crave so often and not get due to just how busy our lives always were.

“I’ve been feeling better, you know? Not so woozy this last few days, it’s been a God send.”

“Good, I’m glad.” I said patting her slightly rounder tummy. She wasn’t showing so much as she was just swelling slightly, she called it fat, I called it awesome.

“I… might even be ready for um the motion of the Northman Ocean.” She wriggled her brows at me, sometimes she was just a big dork.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah… I don’t know how long this lack of sickness will last, and the kid is gone and the grandparents are gone… sooo.

Sooo,” I mimicked, “what are we waiting for?”She giggled and got off me.

“Okay, meet me up stairs in five minutes, I have to pee like crazy.”

She’d had to pee a lot lately, and lot more often, I blamed all the extra water she was consuming.

I’d gone upstairs and slid off my flip flops and bounced on our bed, made sure I wasn’t sweaty or smelling funky to set off her nausea and waited.

And waited.

Ten minutes had gone by and I got worried so I called to her, and there was no answer, so I went to the bathroom across the hall, where I found her sitting on the toilet, with her shorts still on, she was crying and not moving.

“Sook, what’s wrong?”She looked at me then, clearly freaking out silently.

“Eric, I’m bleeding.”

Shit, no, not a good sign at all.

A/N: And, we’re back. Well I’ll be gone until Sunday night and this was just finished, so here it be, it’s unbeta’d so excuse any and all mistakes because they’re mine. But, I just wanted this posted before I took off for the weekend, hope you guys are still with me since California Bound grabbed hold of my brain lately it’s all I’ve been able to write, so I’m hoping to strike a balance again soon! Tell me what you think below! xox


Chapter 14: Chapter 14


EPOV:

She was just staring at me, un-shed tears fresh in her eyes, but she wasn’t saying anything else.

“Okay, it’s okay, we’ll just… I don’t know what to do here. That’s not normal, right?”

She shook her head, the tears falling.

“I’m scared, I’m really scared Eric. I can’t lose the baby, I just can’t!”

“You … we won’t okay, let’s just get in the car and go to the hospital, okay?”

I’ll admit I was panicking, after all that we’d been through and it finally happened for it now to be snatched away like this would just be cruel.

“No. No… I can’t, I can’t go.”

“Why not?

Again she was silently freaking, hysterical Sookie I could handle, but silent? Not so much.

“Sweetheart, look at me.” I held her face and she finally did shaking her head silently in a ‘no’ motion. “Sook, we’re going to the hospital okay, and we’re going to see a doctor and we’re going to do it now. Okay?”

“No-”

“Yes. Because standing and hoping for the best isn’t going to help you or the baby, okay? And being there is the best place because they might know what it means.”

“I know what it means, you aren’t meant to bleed not like this -” She clinged to my arms so tightly, her breathing was shallow and she really was panicking, not that I blamed her in the least.

“Okay, so come with me … and we’ll get an answer one way or another.”

“I can’t.” She sobbed. “I can’t have them tell me this was all for nothing, I just can’t.”

“Sook… We have to know, it could be nothing or it could be something and we’re wasting time…”

That seemed to get her to snap out of her frozen freak out

Getting to the car and getting to the hospital seemed to take forever, in silence since Sookie had violently slammed off the radio and retreated into herself as I drove as fast and as carefully as I could.

By the time we got there and checked in to see a doctor, we were still asked to wait. I wasn’t at all pleased as the poor admin lady found out.

“Look, Ma’am I know you’re doing your job and it’s not easy and I appreciate it I really do, but my fiancé is pregnant and she’s bleeding and I’m sorry for yelling before, I really am, but I’m just freaking out here. So please if you could just point us in the direction of a doctor…”

I was being aggressive, sure, did I mention the sheer manic panic running through my veins? Sookie was right, we could lose the baby, after everything we’d been through just to get to that point, and just the thought of that made my stomach turn. “Ma’am, please!”

“Sarah, what’s the problem?” Came the voice, followed my the white coat and the clip board in the form of Sam-fucking-Merlotte. I hated that son of a bitch, but right at that moment I would have kissed his feet.

“Eric? What’s wrong? Is it Jessica?” His face, five years older and now more worried than before.

“No, it’s Sookie.”

He put down the clip board as I told him and pointed him in her direction, where she was sitting, staring off into a distance and hugging herself tightly. I have never felt so helpless in my entire life than I did in that moment when he took her off and into a exam room and all I could do was wait.

SPOV:

Fear, panic, dread, failure. It was all that was flooding through me when I discovered the blood, a cold sweat ran down my body instantly and it had nothing to do with the heat outside, I was bleeding. In my shock and in my fear I guess I froze because one minute I’m in the bathroom and the next we’re in the car and then we’re in the waiting room and there suddenly after five years, there is Sam Merlotte leading me to an exam room.

“Sookie I’m going to get a nurse to come in here with us, and we’re going to see what’s wrong okay? How are you feeling?”

“Sam, just … please?” I pleaded, not wanting to dispense with pleasantries till I knew one way or the other what the hell was happening to me. I just kept thinking miscarriage and I wanted so badly for them to just tell me it was nothing.

The nurse came in and prepped me, asked me all kinds of personal questions and I answered her the best I could, then they fired up the ultra sound, I was shaking.

“Can you get my fiancé please, he’s in the waiting room – really tall blond guy, with a black hoodie and surf shorts.” Eric hadn’t changed from what he was wearing by the pool, and nether had I, save a cardigan I’d thrown over my bikini top and I still had my shorts on. Eric came in, a still worried look on his face, and neither of us said anything but he took my hand in both of his and squeezed it tight as Sam re-entered the room with my file.

“Okay, Sookie this tells me you’re fourteen weeks, so just inside the second trimester window, let’s see what’s happening shall we?”

I squeezed Eric’s hand tighter than I probably should have, but he didn’t seem to mind. They covered me in the cold jelly and switched on the screen and the sound. It took him about a minute to find it, and that minute was the longest of my life, but there it was. Tiny baby Stackhouse-Northman still growing with a strong heartbeat. I wasn’t miscarrying after all. Sam’s face flooded with relief as I just burst out crying.

“Really?” I asked, not really believing them at first.

“Spotting is common, more common in the first few weeks of pregnancy than it is in the second trimester, but it’s not unheard of… and this just seems to be a case of spotting, the baby is strong, the heartbeat is solid and your uterus and …” he looked from Eric to me and then to my chart, “everything looks like it should, I would recommend bed rest though, until it stops which should be soon but if it persists for more than a day or gets any heavier than the spotting you’ve been experiencing I want you straight back here, okay?”

I nodded.

“No heavy lifting, no running, no rushing.” He said, stern faced but smiling. “And, congratulations.”

Eric let out a huge sigh of relief and kissed my hand before telling me he was going to call his mom, leaving me alone with Sam. There was awkward silence for a minute before I began, I hated awkward silence.

“Thank you, Sam. For seeing me so fast, and for … well being my doctor right now.”

He nodded, blushing a little as he did so, “My pleasure, really, I’m just glad everything is still in it’s place.” he sighed, “I see you and Eric are still very much together?”

“Very much.” I nodded.

“That’s great, I mean really, when we… well… I was angry you know? For a while I kinda hated him.”

“Sam -”

“No, but I got it, eventually, and I’m glad I did because seeing you now, and seeing how much he clearly loves you… and how pregnant you are.” He laughed, “It proves to me that you were right about him and I was wrong, and in this instance I’m really glad I was wrong, because I hated the idea of you choosing him when I was convinced he was just going to fuck you over and leave.”

“You really think I’d let someone do that to me?”

“Love or lust makes us do stupid things, so… I’m just happy for you and the baby.”

“Everything is really okay?”

“It is, but you need to rest.”

“I was resting, we were laying out by the pool I was very stress free!”

“That may be the case, but these things are a way of telling you to slow down, so whatever else you’re doing, for now and until you’re feeling better I want you to heed my advise okay?”

I agreed and we got my papers in order for me to go home. I was still sore and coming down from my adrenaline high of worrying and freaking out and going from panicking to sheer relief and eventually giving into exhaustion. By the time we’d gotten home, we’d been gone three hours, I was dying on my feet and still just not feeling myself, Eric sent me to bed and I dutifully went without any argument, I think that scared him more than anything. I knew he was worried, he didn’t hide his emotions well, at least not from me, his eyes were in fact the window to his soul- and they gave him away every time. I did as he asked and I curled up in our bed hugging his pillow and eventually giving into my tiredness. I woke two hours later – though it felt like mere minutes, by the sound of Jessica whispering.

“But she doesn’t look sick…”

Then I heard Eric’s voice, “But she’s just not feeling well so, come on and let her sleep.”

“But it’s day time!” She whispered, “and it’s not even nap time any more, why can’t she come out and play with me?”

“Jess I’ve told you, mom needs to rest now come down stairs with me and shush.

Eric sucked at being ninja, he really did.

I opened my eye to see her staring at me perplexed, “DADDY SHE’S AWAKE!” the whispering stopped then and she was back to her usual decibel.

“Monkey what are you doing to daddy?”

“He – he said you was sick and sleeping so I checked on you and then remembered it’s day time and when I sleep in the daytime I don’t sleep so good at night-times so I said – I said to daddy that maybe you should be awake now because it’s day time, see?”

I laughed and pulled her into a snuggle, “you’re right it is day time…Well, evening now really, but I guess I should get up.”

“No, stay in bed, really Sookie I’ll take her down stairs and between granddad, mom, and I, we’ll distract her.”

“But mom we brought pizza home for you and dad, you has to eat it!” She was very insistent, our daughter.

“I could eat.” I looked at Eric, “That is if I have permission to get out of bed?”

He stood there, arms crossed, still looking worried.

“As long as you feel up to it.”

“I think I can make it from here to the couch. I just want to freshen up, so, Jess you go downstairs with dad and I’ll be there in a second, okay?”

“OKAY!”

“Jess, inside voice.” Eric said a slight amused look on his face.

“Sorry.” She looked sheepish, and she was clearly full of sugar, hence why she was so hyper at this time of the evening.

By the time I got showered and into my pyjamas, I walked in on everyone around the kitchen table – all talking over each other, all vying for attention in one form or another, it was home.

“So where’s this magical pizza, ma’am?” I said grabbing Jessica’s nose before she whispered something to Eric.

“Oh right.” he said, before he opened the second box and gave me my two slices and I burst out laughing. Jessica had arranged the pepperoni and the sweet corn and the chicken into a little smiley face – eyes, nose, and mouth. It was far too cute.

“You feel better mamma?”

“I am honey, thank you. And thank you for my special pizza, I love it.”

“Welcome.” she said sipping her drink…

“Who gave Jessica the diet coke?” I said panicked. I looked to Niall, It was always Niall. He simply looked sheepish and simply shrugged.

“It was all that was in the fridge and she was thirsty…”

I glared, the joys of grandparents.

It took me two days of bed rest before I felt like I was going slightly nuts, I wasn’t built to sit still, and I had a restaurant to run, it just wasn’t fair piling everything on Amelia and since we were still building our reputation it wasn’t very smart of me to be out of the office as often as I was. We saw off Niall and Olivia, with the promise that we’d call if we needed them to come back and pick up some of the slack if I wanted to actually follow my doctors orders and rest. Why yes, it seems that all of Eric’s family were rather professional guilt trippers. I promised very little stress would be had and I would still let Ames do the bulk, but that I needed to get back into my life again. The bleeding had stopped thankfully and there wasn’t all that much of it, but just the idea that it could have been so much worse really forced me to pay more attention to what my body was telling me now. So I took Sam’s advice very seriously, no heavy lifting – which meant carrying Jessica was out of the question for the time being, not that she was heavy, but she was a load on my body that probably wasn’t advised, and it meant no lugging boxes at work either no matter how much it annoyed me to not just jump in and help out, the health of the baby was what should have been top priority and as such my body. And it was a week later I had decided that I had to pay very close attention to just exactly what it was that my body wanted, and that was apparently sex, and lots of it.

It was an overwhelming feeling, especially since I’d gone weeks and weeks without wanting to be touched, never mind wanting to be fucked like I really wanted right then and there. I tried to ignore it, I really did, I had paperwork, I had invoices that needed looking over, I had a dozen orders to place, but all I could think about was touching, kissing, groping and how badly I wanted it, and just how badly I wanted it all with Eric right in that moment.

What the hell was going on?

EPOV:

I was helping to restock the bar with two of the other members of staff, when my cell phone buzzed with a text from Sookie, a simple short and sweet ‘are you busy x’, I text back that I was but wouldn’t be too long before I had some time and I’d call her then, but apparently that wasn’t what she wanted because twenty minutes later she sauntered into the bar while I was finishing up restocking the soaps at the sinks and leaving the fresh paper towels for the staff under the sinks.

“Good afternoon, Mr Northman.” She said as she stood on her stool and leaned over to kiss me quickly.

“Miss Stackhouse.” I said matching her tone as she looked around.

“Quiet today then?” She asked.

“A little, but the lunch rush was killer so I’ll be glad for a little down time before the dinner regulars. How’s your ship sailing?” it was our joke at this point, we both captained our own ships at work sometimes it felt like a cruise ship – others it felt like a slave ship that we’d never get off.

“The same, mostly, lunch was fully booked in the restaurant today so that was great, and we had a run on the drinks last night because of that bridal hen party, they damn near cleared us out!”

“That’s a good thing, Sook.”

“Yeah, tell that to Lafayette, he said he wasted his cooking skills on them since they threw his food back up again.” She giggled. “But we’re quiet for now, which is why I thought I’d come and see you.”

“Well, I appreciate it, It’s a nice surprise.”

“Want another one?”

“Another … surprise?”

She nodded.

“Is it a good one or a bad one?”

“Why don’t we go into your office and you can… help decide that.” she mused, a far too mischievous look in her eye. I simply followed since she seemed to have a plan.

I walked into my office to find her sitting behind my desk, ever so prim and proper with her legs crossed, the tiny bump was getting bigger all the time, though she insisted that it was just her getting fat, she was still loving it, I’d notice her absently patting and checking herself just to be sure.

“Come sit.” She asked, standing so I could sit then planting herself on my lap. “I’m going to cut to the chase here, Eric.”

“Oh… kay?”

“I want us to have sex, right now.”

Did I fall down and hit my head? What did she say?

“Really? Because it’s been…” I’d lost count of how many weeks it had been since she wanted me to touch her like that, I mean we were good on the cuddling and the making out, but after her spotting incident she was overly careful, and I can’t say I blame her since I was too, I just assumed sex was out of the question until she was feeling better, and apparently now was that time.

“I know, a while, and I was feeling shit about that, because I do miss us being … together.” She said allowing me to pull her closer and wrap my arms around her more. “I just have this overwhelming urge, and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it today, I’m still scared that something will go wrong, but Eric, not to sound like a teenage boy or anything right now, but I’m horny as hell.”

I burst out laughing, because really, her face was priceless. She seemed so genuinely confused.

“As much as I would love to think that it’s because of my irresistible charms and sexual skill that you’ve been missing, I think it’s the baby.”

“The baby wants me to have sex? Eric that’s so gross!”

“No, sex hormones, I’ve been doing the reading, remember.”

She rolled her eyes, she’d gotten a ton of pregnancy books from Pam, managed to get through a small one before she read about piles, after birth, and just how big her uterus was going to stretch before she gave up and ran to the bathroom to throw up, so from then on in, it was up to me to read the most traumatizing shit I’d ever read in my life. Pregnancy was terrifying, I thanked God and Jesus and whoever else was up there that I wasn’t the one going through it though.

“So the reason why I’m finding everything sexual this last couple of days… is because of hormones?”

“Yeah pretty much.”

She sighed in relief.

“Thank God. Eric I almost hit on Pam.” She laughed, “But seriously, do you wanna?”

Dumb question, because seriously? Over two months of just me my lonesome and my hand? Hell yes I wanted to.

“Don’t be so blonde Sookie, of course I do.”

“Good, take off your pants.” She said hopping off my knee and walking to lock the office door.

“You’re so romantic, Sookie, really you know how to make a guy feel special.”

She stood, hands on hips, clearly unimpressed that I was still in my pants.

“You want to feel special, or you want to feel laid? Up to you -”

I didn’t let her finish before I pulled her towards me to kiss her, partly to shut her up, and partly to get things started before one of my nosy ass employees decided to annoy us by knocking for no reason. She smiled through our kisses, hotter and heavier than we’d been letting things get in a while. I was getting so excited just by kissing simply because I knew where it was going.

I was getting laid.

Finally.

While her words were harsh and to the point, her movements were the opposite. I enjoyed horny Sookie, I always had, she became detail orientated and slow, like she wanted to do it just right, to get it just right, and this was no exception. We made out on my chair for what seemed like forever before she rid me of my pants – just to my ankles though, she was smart enough to know that in this position what was the point in really losing them?

“Thank God I wore a skirt today.” She smiled as she slid her hand into my boxers, I did my best to cover my sharp inhale but she caught me.

“Like that, do ya?” She giggled as she motioned up and down and up and down, tighter, then loose, then tight. Yeah by now Sookie knew my body and what got me ticking almost as well as I did. I simply nodded and went for her panties under her skirt, only to find she wasn’t wearing any. That piece of information went straight to my ever hardening dick.

“Jesus Christ, woman are you tryin’ to kill me?”

“I told you… I was very… distracted.”

I liked this form of distraction, better than most I had to say.

When I finally got to reciprocate on her, it was amazing, not that I had ever complained about having to do it before, but I was selfish and liked when all her attention was on me sexually, but then we went through weeks of her not wanting to be touched because of the sickness, then with the almost incident she was even more nervous, so that put her off too, she’d touch me, she’d even blow me, but it wasn’t the same as this, this was mutual touching, mutual pleasure and I came to realize it was the best kind. It brought out the competitive side in me, I loved seeing her face contort in pleasure, I’d missed that face, and the way she’d bite her lip and breathe in silently but out in an almost moan.

“God, damn, I missed this.” She said holding onto the back of my chair behind my head with one hand.

“I’m always here…” I said trying not to moan loud like I wanted to.

She smiled with her eyes closed, “Why haven’t I being taking advantage of you more? She kissed me then, long, slow, and with just a hint of aggression.

“I don’t know, but I encourage it, wholeheartedly.” I gasped as she pushed me inside of her, no warning, no hesitation, did I mention this was amazing?

I gripped her hips to hold her in place, but to also help her move in the direction she was going, it gave me back a little bit of control and let her relax a little bit too, we both needed this so badly I think that it was even better that I hadn’t been expecting it. She was having a hard time reaching for her orgasm, I knew by how frustrated she was getting as we got into it, I was using every trick in my Sookie sex book that I knew of to get her off, but to no avail. It was pissing her off more and more as we went harder and deeper, she even reached to assist me, but I was too close, and she wasn’t – not exactly how I saw that spontaneous union ending. We didn’t mutually orgasm every time I’m sad to admit, but when we did, it was fucking epic. This was not to be one of those epic times because she knew I was too close and just gave up on her own orgasm in favour of making mine memorable, awesome woman that she was, I came hard with her lips latched onto my neck in a kiss.

“Nothing?” I asked and she sighed and shook her head. I hated leaving her orgasm-less. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it made me feel like a selfish prick, since she made sure I got off every time we got it on. She slid off me and went to her purse to retrieve a small pack of wipes and what looked to me like fresh underwear and excused herself to my bathroom. Well, never let it be said that Sookie Stackhouse neglected the girl scout code. She was always prepared. I cleaned myself up and tucked myself in, and just relaxed in the amazing after orgasm feeling that I’d been craving for weeks. She came back out, her hair was in place and her lipstick fresh.

“You came with your undies in your purse?” I laughed and she nodded smiling.

“You know me…”

“I do, and I also know that I owe you an orgasm.”

She shoot her head, “It wasn’t you, I wanted it to happen believe me and I was feeling it, but something was stopping me. But it wasn’t you.”

“Sookie it’s not like I came too soon, you don’t need to reassure me that it happens to every guy.”

“But it does -”

“I still owe you.”

She giggled, “Fine, I’ll cash it in at a later date, do I get a coupon or a gift card?”

“I’ll think about it.”

“You do that.” She kissed me then, “I have a dinner rush to prepare for, Maxine is dropping off Jessica here at seven, you good to go then?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good. See you at home, lover.” She winked as I walked her out and the majority of the bar staff looked at us, they so knew. She just blushed and hid her head in my chest for a second before she made her exit as classy as she made her entrance. God I loved that woman.

A/N: Hi bbs! Posting before I hit the hay on my time zone, so hope you enjoyed it! Reviews are loved as usual, and again, thank you for all the previous love and notes and such on the last chapter, it was awesome! xox


Chapter 15: Chapter 15


SPOV:

A month, a solid month of attempted sexual activities and still no orgasm. We’d tried every trick in the Eric and Sookie sex book, and nothing had worked. Now I wasn’t even feeling ‘close’ anymore, and I was frustrated beyond all hell. Eric was feeling more and more depressed about his ‘inability to give it to me’ like he wanted. I knew though that it wasn’t his fault, it was mine. For some reason I just couldn’t let go. I couldn’t enjoy it like I used to, and believe me, I used to really enjoy it. I was more horny than I ever remembered being in my life, I had this glorious man at my disposal, and still, nada. I’d been doing my best to ‘bed rest’ whenever I could. I was taking all my necessary vitamins and eating lots of organic foods, having my smoothie for breakfast every morning, along with lots of protein. I was doing everything by the book, as well as trying to get some exercise. Running around at work was out of bounds, and actually putting on my Nikes and pounding the pavement like I used to was definitely out of the question for the time being. I was still terrified, completely and absolutely terrified of losing this baby, and I knew I had to let that go or I’d drive myself nuts. The doctors had been monitoring me really carefully over the previous four weeks, going in once a week to my doctor just to make sure everything was still on track managed to calm my nerves somewhat, but not completely.

We’d had our big scan the day before, the one where we could know the sex, and each time we’d asked before the baby wasn’t really in the mood to show off the goods, since it was doing womb acrobatics and laying with its legs bent towards its little head. Eighteen weeks, and we had a busy baby in there. Thankfully busy meant good, busy meant still growing, even if I couldn’t quiet feel it myself yet. All good things though, and that’s what we were focusing on.

“I feel so fat.” I said as I tried on my jeans to find that they wouldn’t button anymore on their own. The insert with elastic that was sitting in my drawer mocking me for a week would have to be used now, I had no doubt. My belly had started to pop, it wasn’t just extra weight anymore, but the formations of a good little bump.

“It’s not fat, it’s baby. You know that,” he called from our bathroom, his toothbrush still in his mouth. “Besides, I think you look beautiful.”

I walked into the bathroom and waited for him to finish his brushing before I bent over to kiss him.

“What was that for?” He asked, a little surprised.

“For being so awesome. Come on, we’re going to be late…”

I’d been assigned my midwife, and ensured that Doc Bennett stayed on since I felt most comfortable with her. She was in the hospital when I arrived, as was the ultra sound tech. We went through the procedures and then we had the sound of Baby Stackhouse-Northman’s heart filling the room.

“Sookie, any kicks or movement so far?” The doctor asked, and I told her no. I thought I’d felt it a few times, but resigned myself that it was just not happening yet.

“Ah, well, no matter, you should be feeling it soon though, the next week or so by the looks of things.”

Eric was still as fascinated as ever with the little cloudy images on the screen, the flickering and the movement, plus its little heart. It was beautiful.

“So, kids, you wanna know what’s cooking?” She asked with a big smile.

“You can tell this time?” Eric asked, his eyes big and curious. I wondered if our baby would have those eyes.

“I can. So… do you want to know, or is it a surprise?”

“I hate surprises.” I chimed in, before looking at Eric, “unless… you don’t want to know, then I guess we can wait?”

He smiled, “I kind of want to be surprised.”

My heart sank. I really didn’t want to be surprised.

“Oh.” I said.

“You want to know?” He asked, and I nodded that I did. “Shit, I thought I wanted to know, but really… I don’t. But, if you do? And you can keep it to yourself…”

“I think I could,” I beamed. I wasn’t sure if I could, but if he didn’t want to know I’d make sure he didn’t find out.

“Okay sure I’ll just…” he looked awkwardly from the doctor to me again, “I’ll just wait outside ’til you know.” He patted my hand before he left, leaving me with the tech and the doc.

“So?” I asked.

Georgina smiled as she waved the little wand around my ever expanding belly, and pointed at the paused screen.

“See right there…” she pointed and I nodded, I vaguely saw something. “That’s your tell tale sign.”

My heart skipped several beats, I was sure of it, when she told me the sex, “And everything is… good?” I asked her. The held in tears no longer cared that I’d been doing my best to keep my emotions in check, and they decided to flow freely.

“It is. Sookie you’re doing just fine, and by the book too, but you should relax more. Being so tense isn’t good for you, or the baby,” she said, and I agreed.

“Tell me about it… things haven’t exactly been going smooth lately.”

“Such as?” She asked, checking things off her clip board.

“Well…” I exhaled, “mostly, sex.”

“Ah, you don’t want to and he does? That’s common.”

“No, it’s not that, I do… I mean sometimes just the look of him makes me angry,” I laughed, “but for the most part, I still want to… as much as I ever have.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“I…” I really didn’t want to talk about this, but figured this woman had seen right up my lady business, so was there much point in keeping things from her? No, I didn’t think so.

“I can’t orgasm. And believe me, we’ve tried. Every. Single. Thing.”

She just laughed. Seriously, what was it with this British Chippy and laughing when I’m expecting bad news?

“Sookie, that’s hardly surprising, after what you went through with the scare, it’s more than natural that you’re tensing at the though of letting go. Which you do need to do, but really, I’ve had this many times before with women who’ve had a minor to major scare early on in their pregnancy, just relax and it’ll come to you… Literally,” she smiled. “Should we bring Eric back in now?”

I nodded my agreement as I put myself to rights. She had been right, my hormones were really all over the place lately, not only was I crying most of the time, but I’d lost my temper on the most stupid things that made me want to scream. It was completely irrational so maybe it wasn’t so abnormal to be so tense that an orgasm was near impossible.

When Eric came back into the room he had his phone in his hand and a odd look on his face, he looked to me, smiling like a fool as I was sure I was.

“You know?”

“I do…”

“Oh. Cool. Everything’s where it should or should not be?”

I laughed at his phrasing, because yes everything was perfect.

“Everything’s fine.”

“Great, that’s the main thing right?”

“Yep. Exactly.”

Everything was fine. I wasn’t used to this feeling. Not at all.

EPOV:

I wanted to know, and I didn’t want to know, all at the same time. And it was killing me, for three days Sookie swayed around with an all knowing smile on her face, while I … didn’t.

“Okay, just… tell me,” I said marching into the kitchen where she was working between making dinner and going over her inventory order for the restaurant and bar. She smiled.

“No, you said you don’t want to know. Stop the silliness, you don’t want to know, so my lips are sealed. Call Jessica in, dinner’s almost ready.”

I pouted, and she just laughed.

“You really want to know? Fine, it’s -”

“NO! Okay, no I don’t want to know.”

See what I mean? I’d beg her to tell me, and as soon as she went to, I decided against it. I was crazy.

I found Jessica in the garden, inside her sandpit, covered in dirt.

“Playing with Hoyt again?” I asked, and she just nodded, her jeans and sneakers filthy. “Your mom is going to freak.”

“Why? It’s just dirt.”

I shook my head, and scooped her up, “Shower before dinner.”

“No! Daddy, no! I hate the shower!”

“Bath, then?”

“Ugh, water….I don’t like. It’s horrible.”

Everything was horrible, lately.

“I’m sure it is, but when vegetables start growing out of you because of all that dirt what are we going to do then, huh?”

“Eat ’em?” she giggled, and I just marched up the stairs with her to avoid Sookie’s bitch fit. She’d been hell to live with lately if I was being honest. I just never knew where I stood with her moods. We’d leave for work and everything would be fine, by the time we’d get home, she was either a crying mess or pissed at the world. Jessica was confused as hell too.

“We’re babysitting for Pam and Ames tomorrow, that’s okay right?” I said as I brought a freshly washed and dressed for bed Jessica down the stairs again. Dinner smelled amazing.

“Yeah sure. Did you wash her hair?”

I nodded.

“You shouldn’t use that shampoo any more…” she said, edging away from Jessica slightly, blinking.

“Why?”

“I hate the smell of it. It’s gross,” she whispered, bat ears still heard her though.

“I’m gross?” Jessica asked, and Sookie was quick to correct herself.

“No, baby, you’re not gross it’s just some smells don’t really smell so nice to mommy any more, that’s all. It’s not you.”

“Oh, okay… Is… is this the baby’s fault again?” She’d taken to saying that lot lately too, when Sookie would be napping instead of outside with her, or when Sookie felt sick instead of picking her up from school, it was always – at least in Jessica’s eyes – the fault of the baby.

Sookie looked at me, it was something she was worried about, giving Jess a bad idea about the baby with things like this.

“Honey, we’ve talked about this. It’s not really the baby’s fault, since it’s just how things happen when moms are expecting, remember? And remember how Auntie Pam hated the smell of coffee when she was waiting for Ben to be born?”

She nodded.

“It’s the same thing, it’s just some things smell different.”

Jessica seemed satisfied with that, and happily ate her dinner, hiding most of her vegetables in her mashed potatoes as usual.

In bed that night, both Sookie and I were going over various papers for our respective businesses as she sipped her chocolate milk – something she’d been having constant cravings for, for weeks now.

“I think I’m going to start getting some things for the nursery this week,” she said. We’d been putting it off and on and off and on because she was afraid to jinx anything. After the scare she took it hard on herself and just about made everyone swear they weren’t going to buy anything until the baby arrived. Now though, the last scan seemed to have put her at ease a lot more.

“Oh? Anything in mind?”

“No, I mean I know we have the crib and stuff in the garage, but I’d like to get all new stuff. Is that dumb?”

“It’s not… I mean this is our first time really getting to do the newborn thing, it’s only right that you’d want your own stuff. That you picked out this time.” I understood it, I did. “But that crib is bubble wrapped and in perfect condition…so maybe get all new other stuff and use it?”

“Is this just so you don’t have to put it together?” She laughed at me, looking over the edge of her specs this time. She only ever wore her glasses when she thought no one would be coming over, or if she had tons to read. I thought they made her look sexy, she disagreed.

“And colour scheme wise? Is there… anything in particular you’re thinking of?” I mused, as coy as I thought possible, she just kicked me.

“No. And besides, I told you before pink or blue is just so lame. It’ll be gender neutral, so if you were hoping that would give it away without you having to ask, then tough.”

I sighed.

“Eric, do you want to know? Really? Because you know I’ve told Pam and Ames, right?”

“What? Why?”

“Well, they asked… and I’m not… weird.” She looked over her specs at me again. I put down my paperwork and turned to face her.

“So, they know before me… How is that fair?”

“It’s fair in the sense that you didn’t want to know and they wanted to buy the baby something and needed to know.”

I made a ‘tut‘ noise before I picked my paperwork back up, but I couldn’t concentrate and she knew it.

She just giggled to herself, then stopped, and then started again, followed by a ‘wow’.

“What?”

She didn’t answer, she merely grabbed my hand, and put it to her belly. Holy shit.

I looked at her, wide eyed, and she just smiled.

“That’s never happened before….”

“And was it a kick?”

“I think so, I mean it felt real this time. Before it was there and gone but those… those were real.” She beamed.

“Hey, baby? Could you do that again, I almost missed it, please? There’s nice breasts and their milk in it for you when you come out to play?” I said to her belly, not even remotely feeling like a fool. She just laughed and we waited for a second, but nothing happened.

“I don’t feel anything, maybe that’s it for now?”

I sat back and pondered for a second before I spoke again.

“I want to know. For real now. I need to know who we’re talking to.”

She cupped my face, rubbing my newly shaved beardlessness, as she smiled even wider.

“You’re talking to your son, Eric.”

It had felt real before, but right then when she told me, everything seemed to zoom into focus.

Wow, what a scary feeling. I was having a son. We were having a son.

“Holy…”

“Yep. I’m so glad you know now, ugh, it was killing me!” she began with a sigh. “I’m horrible at keeping secrets, and this was like the biggest one ever! I don’t know how much longer I’d have been able to keep it to myself, honestly.” She kissed me and I kissed her back with as much vigour.

“I love you.” I said to her, “I get a son, because of you, do you know how amazing that is?”

“A little… since I’d resigned myself to the fact that we’d never – at least not like this,” she patted her ever growing bump. But it wasn’t just a bump, it was a he, a him, our boy.

“Holy shit Sook…” I was still a little dumbfounded.

“I know,” she agreed, “Is it wrong that I’m relieved?”

“Why?”

“I don’t want Jessica to feel pushed out and I had a horrible feeling that it would be harder if I had a girl. Not that it wouldn’t have been amazing eventually. I just hope she’s more accepting since it’s not treading on her turf.”

“Sook, she knows we love her, and besides, millions of people deal with having older kids and newborns, she’ll adjust.”

“I hope so, it’s just that I’m worried, that’s all.”

I shifted her over so she was in her nook, head on my chest tucked under my arm, that was wrapped around her like we always did.

“I promise you I’ll help to make sure she’s a well adjusted little girl. And that she loves her brother.”

I heard a peep and then I felt the wetness. I looked down from my papers to see her crying – again.

“Sookie -”

“No… I’m okay, I am.”

“But?”

She sniffed, “You said brother…” she sobbed.

It would be forty five minutes before she stopped.

Freakin’ hormones.

SPOV:

Twenty eight weeks, and I felt as big as a house. My feet were swollen, my fingers were beginning to swell too, as was my ass, and my boobs, and my chins. Yes, chins. Jesus I’d gained a lot of weight, and I’d really been trying not to, but when you work in a restaurant with a chef as amazing as Lafayette, who was just more than willing to meet your every craving demand during work hours… well, you ate a lot. And I did. I ate A LOT. Pam, Amelia, Maxine, Tara and Lafayette, as well as some of the girls from the restaurant decided that I needed a baby shower. It wasn’t that I was against it per say, but I had to make sure Jessica was spoiled too, I didn’t want to leave her out of all the buzz that was going on around her. She’d helped Eric and I decide on the colours for the baby’s room, and she was having fun shopping with me for furniture and little boy toys that she wanted him to have. Pam was in charge of the baby shower. Others had offered, but I think she beat them down with her insistence. Plus, she liked to lord it over me that I didn’t make her shower while she was planning mine. Yes, apparently I still owed her, Chanel bag or no. Regardless, when I stepped into my restaurant that day with Jessica by the hand, I wasn’t at all expecting to see what I saw.

The entire place was decorated in a form of Tiffany Blue, not just any old baby blue, and it was stunning. There were several round tables moved together with the seating surrounding it, place cards in the blue and white, against the white table cloths, and blue dishes and napkins. White roses sat as centre pieces, and in the middle of it all was a tier of cupcakes in the same colour. It was so touching that she’d go to so much trouble for me like she had.

She came saundering out of the kitchen and paused when she saw me. “Damnit Sookie, why are you always early! You ruined the surprise…” She said, but I didn’t care I just walked over and hugged her as tight as I could, she even hugged back.

“Right now, I’m going to excuse the fact that you’re sobbing all over my new fall/winter Dolce, and I’ll even overlook those hideous shoes.”

“I love you Pam. You’re the best sister a girl could ask for.”

When I pulled back she had an almost shocked look on her face, but she quickly composed herself.

“You… really think that?” she said, picking non existent lint off her jacket.

“I do. And I mean it, this is…” I motioned to the dining room. Being so high up compared to where the bar was downstairs, it still gave the breathtaking views of the water down below. So the view was beautiful as usual – even two weeks before Christmas and with frost filling the air, it help set off all the blue. “I can’t believe you’ve done so much.”

“We all pitched in,” came Amelia’s voice, followed by a smiling Maxine and Tara with more food, then the rest of the girls appeared, all chiding me on my early and albeit, shit, timing.

I thanked them all profusely, and I cried some more. I really wanted it to stop, but I just couldn’t seem to make my body agree with me. Baby boy was kicking up a storm, many, many photos were taken, much cake was eaten, and my daughter’s tongue was now the same shade of blue as my tables. She wouldn’t be sleeping well that night, that was for sure. Pam and I stayed close throughout the day. I was glad to have her since I was feeling such an epic mess. But, she had outdone herself.

“What made you decide on this theme?” I asked, exhausted from playing yet another dumb game. I sat myself down and watched Jessica play with Lafayette.

She shrugged, “It’s what started it all, really.”

“What’s that?”

“Eric’s little crush on you, that Tiffany birthday present, remember?”

Yes, I remembered as I fingered the necklace that I rarely took off. I remembered just fine.

I hugged her again before she could stop me.

The rest of the day managed to go by relatively peacefully, that was until the gifts happened.

I’d gotten everything a girl could ask for, pumps, clothes, bottles, a diaper cake full to the brim off all necessities and few items I had no idea what they were for… Jessica was not amused.

She come down from her cake high and was intent on pissing me off. She would be grumpy one minute, and spinning around like a top the next, she was running back and forth from the kitchen while the chefs were prepping without Lafayette, and when the gifts happened she had a sour puss look on her face, despite the dolls that Tara had bought her as her gift.

“But he’s not even HERE yet, why does he get presents?”

“Because, Jessica, there are things your mom is going to need when he does come along and she won’t be feeling like shopping for, for a while after he comes,” Pam explained, her own little bundle of teething joy off with Eric for a ‘boys day’ while Lafayette decided in favour of being amongst ‘his kind’ for the day.

“It’s stupid. He’s so stupid,” she huffed at the table. When I tried to touch her to get her to look at me she just shrugged out of my grasp.

“Jess, what’s wrong?”

“I not want this, I want to go home. I want to go home… to my daddy… by myself!” she protested, folding her arms like a little madam.

“And why? Aren’t you having fun at the party?”

“No. It’s stupid.”

“Ah,” I said, putting down my glass of orange juice, “Why?”

“Because it’s for a stupid baby that isn’t even here yet and ‘eryone keeps talking about him. I don’t like him.”

I forced myself not to cry.

“Jess -”

“No! I want my daddy, and I want him by myself.”

“Fine,” I said, standing up and taking her by the hand out of her seat and into my office. I was embarrassed, that’s for sure, but most of them knew what kids were like, and I hoped they weren’t judging me, or her for that matter. As much as she was testing my patience, I tried to remember that this was a big deal for her. She’d been Queen of the castle for a long time, after all.

“I’m calling your daddy now and telling him just how you behaved out there, young lady.” Yes, you really were a mother when you uttered those words – at least according to Maxine. The joys.

“No!” she cried, and then she really cried. “Please don’t tell him.” She knew she’d been out of line, and really threatening her with ‘telling her dad’ was the best thing I’d learned that kept her right. She’d rather do anything than have Eric mad at her. Me on the other hand, eh, well I accepted that I wasn’t her favourite a long time ago, it was nothing new.

“Well what do you suggest we do?”

“I just.. Not like it,” she sobbed, her eyes now red, with her fingers being curled in her hair like she did when she cried.

I inhaled and exhaled. I had one kid kicking me in the bladder and the other one kicking me in the heart.

“Jessica. Jess. Look at mommy.”

“I no wants to.”

She was sitting on my desk where I’d put her, her sobbing subsiding, but her red little face making me want to just cuddle it all better.

“Why do you hate the baby?”

She looked at me then, but didn’t say anything.

“You know it hurts me when you say things like that, it’s not very kind. He’s your brother, and he’s going to need his big sister to look out for him.”

Yeah, manipulation, it was a horrible thing, but it had to be done.

“But, I don’t want to be a sister. I just want to be a Jessica,” she said, and I wanted to laugh and cry at once. I stopped being hurt and mad, and instead pulled her into my lap and let her cuddle, something that she did instantly. She was five and confused, I was almost thirty three, and I was still confused over this. I couldn’t expect her to deal with it like an adult when she wasn’t one.

“How about we call your dad and have him pick you up, and you two can spend the rest of the day together, huh? I’ll get pizza for dinner too.”

She nodded, seemingly content and over her tantrum. Jessica was a good kid, for the most part, but when she irrupted, she was like a damn volcano, and little did I know that this was just the start of it.

I was tired already.

A/N: Mostly happy fluff right? You’ve no idea how hard that is for me, for I am zee angst addict ; ) Hope you liked it though, and I think I might have some plans in place for this now. Reviews are loved as always. xox


Chapter 16: Chapter 16


SPOV:

Four days before Christmas I was thirty weeks, and he was kicking the crap out of me as Jessica, Eric and I did some last minute shopping, and I didn’t mind, not one little bit. We’d got her toys hidden safely in the garage. We had gotten presents for Ben, and just about everyone else the week before, and we’d decided that Maxine and Mike needed a weekend break so we got them a spa hotel get away for the new year, something I knew Maxine would love anyway. She did so much, for everyone, she needed and deserved time to relax.

Eric and I had sort of run out of ideas on the grand gesture scheme of things a year or so ago. And really, I didn’t want or need anything huge. So the charms for my bracelet, lingerie, perfume, vouchers to get what I wanted, it was all appreciated. Whereas I worked on finding him new boy toys to have fun with. I smiled as I thought of next Christmas, our boy was going to be ruined. Eric finally had his excuse to go to the boy section of the toy store. I’d find him there from time to time, as I would be inundated with the Barbies, and the Bratz, and the tea party accessories. I was sure Jessica had dragged him off to just that section as I roamed my way though the candy aisle, resisting the urge to just eat EVERYTHING in there. I banged into a man, and I apologised profusely before he turned around.

“Sam?”

“Sookie! Hi!”

“Hi!” I said, cheerfully, for it really was a surprise to see him there. I had heard he’d moved a few towns over after we’d broken up.

We hugged, as much of a hug as he could get with the bump in the way.

“Nice to see things are going well,” he nodded, and I smiled. It was nice. Thankfully.

“Yeah, thirty weeks and counting.” I patted, “How are you? I haven’t seen you around here… in a while.”

“Yeah.” His cheeks tinged with pink, “I moved back, just recently actually.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah.”

“Sam, there you are. They only have really tiny turkey’s left -”

My eyes widened. “Ginger?” I said, the shock evident in my voice.

“Oh, mah gawd! Sookie? Well look at you! You’re all knocked up!”

Yep, that was definitely Ginger. Only, she didn’t look like Ginger, at least not how I remember her. Her peroxide blonde hair was now a softer more natural tone, and it was cut in a short bob, framing her face that was no longer caked in makeup. It was natural looking actually. She looked great.

“I am.”

“Whoa, well, I guess there has been a lot of changes over the years.”

“Oh?”

She flashed her ring. Her ring that matched Sam’s ring.

Holy Christ on a cracker!

“You married Ginger?” I said. Yeah, not so good at hiding my surprise.

“I did, we did, two years ago now.”

Holy…

“Wow, well, I… congratulations!”

“And what about you? Are you and Eric married?” She nodded to my left hand, I was ring less since my fingers had swollen so badly.

“We’re engaged.”

“Oh… well… that’s okay. We all have to start somewhere right?”

“Yeah, I think so. I mean we have been a little busy.” I smiled. “And really, we’re a family no matter how many rings we’re wearing.”

“Oh, Sookie I am ever so pleased for you. And for Eric, he was always amazing with little Jessica and always totally had a thing for you, even if y’all wouldn’t admit it at first…”

“And I’m happy for you, both of you.” I really was. “I’m glad you’re both happy.”

“Oh we are. Sookie can you believe I am a doctor’s wife?” She laughed, rolling her eyes at herself.

“I can. I think you two make a lovely couple.”

She nodded, and I realized that I was fast running out of things to say. I also had to pee something serious.

“Congratulations you guys, seriously.”

“And you too… I hope everything goes great with the baby, Sookie,” Sam smiled, and they made their way to the next aisle.

Stupid tiny bladder.

I ran around, well, I say ran, I actually sort of waddled around to the toys aisle and sure enough there was Eric and Jessica, Eric getting a lecture on the differences between beach Barbie and beach Skipper. He looked so confused.

“But Jessica they’re both the same. Only one has different hair and I guess is shorter.”

“No, daddy, it means that she’s the sister I don’t want the sister I just want Barbie.”

Not so good. She was really against this whole ‘sister’ thing.

“Hey guys…”

“Mom! Can I have a Barbie?”

“Honey, you have plenty of Barbie’s, and Christmas is soon, really soon. You know you have to wait and see what Santa brings you, remember?”

She sighed, resigned.

“Okay but can we get cookies?”

Oh, cookies. Cookies were awesome.

I shouldn’t, though I was starting to feel like maybe there were drugs in all baked goods and I was just addicted. Or I was just a greedy bitch, I don’t know.

“We might get some, you can have one after dinner if you eat all your veg.”

“Ick,” she said, and Eric took the cart from me as we went to pay for everything, I felt dizzy and tired really suddenly. I figured I hadn’t eaten since lunch and maybe that was it. Either way, I was glad to get back to the car.

“You okay?” Eric asked me.

“I think so, just a little tired that’s all. It was a busy day at work.”

And it was a busy day, and a busy week in fact. Christmas parties were a big thing for us, since it was our first Christmas open, we went all out on as many discounts as we could and because of that, we’d ended up fully booked for a month solid. I was proud of myself, but I was also kicking myself because I’d been battling nothing but headaches for over a week. I blamed the stress.

“Okay, well, how about you go and lie down when we get back and Jess and I will make dinner.”

“No.. it’s fine. I really don’t -”

“Sookie…” He looked at me and then to bump, it’s what we’d been calling him so far since we royally sucked on name suggestions. Though Jessica seemed to like ‘it’ a little too much.

We got in and Eric, God bless him, unloaded the car and even managed to get Jess to help put the smaller items away. My head was throbbing and my feet weren’t far behind. I didn’t make it upstairs, simply choosing the den and it’s plush leather recliner-y goodness for my comforts.

I must have dozed off, something that had been happening a lot lately too – mostly at work, on my couch, for no reason. Because the next thing I knew, Jessica was poking me in the neck.

“Mom,” she whispered. “Moooom.” I heard her sigh, but I didn’t open my eyes. “Mom, dad says dinner is done but I think he burnt the pork chops and they smells gross I want pizza but he said no. Can you want pizza too?” I still didn’t open my eyes and I felt her crawl over me. Jess had this thing that even if you were sound asleep she’d just start lifting your eyelids anyway to wake you up.

“Mom?” I attacked her with tickles and she screamed.

“What were you saying?” I said when her giggling toned down.

“Can we get pizza, daddy messed up the pork chops. I mean he said it was the pan, but I think it was him. They’re all black.”

Ewww,” I said, snuggling her into my side. “Well, burnt pork chops don’t sound fun. I’ll see what I can do. Though we did have pizza on Monday, so maybe something different.”

I’d been trying my best to be healthy as much as possible, lots of vegetables, lots of fruits, the no coffee thing was killing me, and I was trying to really cut down on my fat intake. But it seem that it didn’t take much to enable me.

“Honey?” I called, knowing he’d hear me.

“Yeah?” I heard him call back.

“Jessica said the chops burnt themselves.”

She giggled as she sat next to me.

“Uh… hmm. Yeah.” He poked his head around the door. “Yeah it did.”

“I propose we order food from one of our amazing restaurants and get in bed and eat it.”

“Yay!” Jess stated, clearly not leaving any room for debate. Eric just looked relieved.

“Good, because I called Pam ten minutes ago and placed our orders. Chicken fried steak?”

My stomach rumbled, I guess it agreed.

“Sounds awesome, how about Jess and I go change into our ‘jammies and find a movie, huh?” I asked her, and she nodded.

Jess and I were in bed maybe all of ten minutes when I heard the door.

“Food!” Jess said, the beginnings of Tangled lighting up our screen, when I felt the baby kick.

“Wow,” she said, obviously feeling it. “What was that?”

“The baby kicking… want to feel?” She never wanted to before, but this time seemed different. I put her hand to where he was kicking and her eyes widened.

“Does it hurt?”

“No,” I laughed. “See he’s just a little guy, so he’s not that strong.”

“So why does he kick you? Does he not like you?”

“He’s kicking to let us know he’s in there, growing, getting all ready to come out and be born.”

“Oh,” she said before she shifted beside me. “Did I kick my other mom like that too?”

“Yeah, I’ll bet you did.”

She nodded, just as Eric entered the room with a tray full of heaven.

“You’re awesome,” I said as we all started to tuck in.

“Yeah I can’t cook very well, but I can order a mean takeaway,” he smiled, the giant dork.

“That you can.” My headache had come back and brought a few friends, but I tried my best to just ignore it and concentrate on spending time with my family. It was the unplanned moments, the quiet chomping of both my daughter and my fiancé that might annoy some people, but for me, it’s what made home, well, home. I couldn’t wait until the little nameless dude arrived to do the same.

EPOV:

“And he married GINGER? Holy shit,” I said, because really, holy shit!

“I know, I totally couldn’t believe it either. It’s so odd… yet hilarious.” She was tucked into bed, Jessica long asleep, and we finally had time to catch up.

“They did seem to get on well that night they were here… I guess they kept in contact or something,” I pondered.

“Yeah I guess. She looks so different too, you’d hardly recognize her.”

“What, you mean she had clothes on?”

She nudged me in the ribs, yeah, bad joke.

“No, she looked so happy… I don’t know, they both did I guess.”

She sounded somewhat sad. I couldn’t tell if it was the topic at hand or she was hungry again, because lately she just cried over … well, everything.

“You okay?”

“Yeah,” she sighed.

That meant no.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know, I guess I think that maybe they have the right idea, engaged, married, then babies.”

“They’re having a baby?”

“No, but I guess they will, eventually.”

“And you … regret not doing it the old fashioned way?”

“A little… I mean I know it’s stupid. I love you, no matter what and nothing changes that. I just… it would have been nice to -”

“Sookie, we were never going to be ‘traditional‘, look at how we first became parents. That’s hardly the stuff of fairytales, now is it?”

She smiled a sad smile. I hated her sad smile, it made me feel like shit.

“I know, I know, and while I love our life now, I know that it wasn’t going to happen the normal way… but we are normal, right?”

“As normal as anyone really is, you know?”

She nodded.

“And if this is about being married, which, I think it is.” I snuggled her closer. “You know I’d marry you tomorrow. You know that. Hell I’ve been wanting to marry you, pretty much since we started dating.”

“Really?”

“Uh, yeah?” How did she not know that? “It wasn’t obvious?”

“No! I mean I knew we’d always be connected, but I still hoped that us dating wouldn’t go… you know.. Wrong.”

“It was a huge risk… but it’s one I’d make over and over again. No question.”

“Awe, you big sap. I love you.”

“I love you, too, you little sap… I can see the tears you know.”

“It’s the hormones…” she lied.

“Mhmm.”

“Goodnight,” she said, curling over on her other side, since recently my ‘breathing’ irritated her when she was sleeping and up through the night. I joked that I hoped I’d still be allowed to breath but apparently once I was breathing so loud she went and slept in the guest room.

Who the hell knew you could breathe loud?

Christmas was, as always, a mad house. Pam and Amelia had gone all out for Benji’s first Christmas, and I mean, seriously, all out. The kid was spoiled, but it was hard not to spoil him, being as adorable as he was. Laughing and responding more now that he was getting older, it made him more fun. I couldn’t wait till next year, since he’d have a little boy buddy to play with and all, since Jessica just wasn’t amused by him at all, complaining that he ‘didn’t do a whole lot.’ My mom and Granddad were spending their Christmas with my mother’s husband and his family. I guess it was a thing, we had them last year, and most other holidays. Gifts were exchanged after dinner, and we all but passed out in front of the TV after dessert. Sookie was wrecked, and I tried to explain to her that having so many people over for dinner when she was in the state she was in was madness. She insisted though, like she always does, and somehow we had a crowd.

The doorbell rang sometime after five, and Sookie answered it as we all kept our seats in the den. She’d been gone a while, so I went to check on her.

“Ma’am I get what you’re saying, but really you have no business coming to my home on Christmas to say these things to me!”

“Sookie?” I asked, and she moved and I saw the man and woman standing at the door.

The man backed away slightly but his face held no fear.

“Sir, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your own personal saviour?”

“What?”

“You should you know, babies born out of wedlock are an abomination to Christ and it cannot be allowed,” the woman said, and I swear I’d never wanted to punch a woman before, but I wanted to punch that bitch.

“You know nothing,” I said, and looked at Sookie, who was obviously upset. “Why are you even talking to these people, they’re just upsetting you.”

“She should be upset!” the woman all but cried out. “She’s creating sin against GOD!”

“Lady, shut up.” I said, “Sook, go inside, I’ll deal with this.”

“No it’s fine…” she said, wiping her tears. “You know nothing about me or my family so I’m going to ask you one more time to get the FUCK off my property before I call the cops.” With that she slammed the door and fell into a hug.

“Sookie, you know those people are nuts. One once tried to convince me that I was the devil because I had Jessica without wearing a wedding band, super religious people… are all whacked.”

“I know, I know that and my Gran would have agreed with you. Those people aren’t Christians, they just have hate!” she sobbed. God I hated it when she cried. I sat with her for a few minutes, while I had to restrain Pam from marching out and ‘kicking their holy holes.’ She finally calmed down enough to say goodbye to Pam and Ames. I was driving them home since they’d both had some wine and didn’t want to risk it, I was on the wagon over Christmas for Sookie’s sake. I figured it was only fair really, even though she insisted she didn’t mind at all, it was the one thing I could with her during this pregnancy, I supposed.

“Jess, you stay with mommy okay? I’ll be back shortly.”

She didn’t look up from her town pile in the middle of the floor.

“Yeah, ‘kay bye, bye I love you,” she said, waving, but again, not looking up. I had to laugh, she was so easily distracted.

“Is she going to breastfeed?” Pam asked me as we made our way back to their place, a sleeping Benji in Amelia’s lap in the back seat.

“I think so. She’s been pretty keen on doing everything as natural as possible.”

“That’s what I thought, but really, when the times comes? Tell her to take the drugs. Really. They won’t give her a medal for ripping herself apart in the process.”

“Thank you for that wonderful visual, as usual, Pam.” I rolled my eyes.

“What? I’m just saying. I thought I’d do the whole thing natural too, like I was mother fucking earth or something, but at the end of the day it’s about getting him out of her and both of them out of the hospital as quickly as possible. A C-section fucks you up for weeks too, I’d heard. And no one wants that.”

We’d gotten half way to Pam and Ames’ place when my cell phone rang.

“Pam, answer that will you?” I handed her the phone since I was driving and hadn’t hooked up the hands free. “It’s the house, stick her on speakerphone.”

“Hello?” Pam said, expecting Sookie, as she put the phone loud.

“DADDY, DADDY SHE WON’T GET UP SHE WONT! I TRIED AND TRIED BUT SHE WON’T!”

My heart stopped as I stopped the car, I didn’t care that we were in the middle of the road, the roads were empty anyway. I pulled over and stopped the car as I tried to calm Jessica down.

“Baby, I need you to tell me what’s going on.”

“Mommy fell down and she won’t get up, her eyes are sleeping.”

Amelia was freaking out in the back, Pam had gone three shades whiter and I… I had no idea what I was doing until I found myself heading back to our place again.

“Jess I want you to go across the street and get Maxine okay? I want you to go now!”

“But I’m not allowed to cross the street on my own!”

“Jessica it’s okay this once okay, I need you to go bring Maxine to mommy, okay? Now, go.” I hung up on her and rang 911, requesting an ambulance and putting my foot on the accelerator.

What the fuck had happened?


A/N : Inhale, exhale, I am sorry it’s taken so long to update, but as my readers of California Bound know it pretty much ate my brain! It’s complete now though! And I’ve started a new story too, so I’m hoping I can still balance the two! 😀


Chapter 17: Chapter 17


SPOV:

I sighed heavily as I all but fell into the couch, I was exhausted, and my headache had returned and brought some friends along for the ride.

“I love my toys, Santa must know how good I is right? And Auntie Pam was lying when she said I wouldn’t get any toys!”

“How good I am.” I corrected her as she slid in beside me with her new dolls and their accessories.

“Right, that.” she said.

“And yes, Santa brings the toys to the good boys and girls, and you’re a good girl.” I petted her hair, and she nodded.

“Hoyt got a big truck, I don’t like trucks.”

“No?”

“No, they’re stinky.”

“Oh… yeah, I guess they are…”

Randomness, conversations with a five year old? It contains a lot of randomness.

“Are you tired, do you want to take a nap?” It was really me that wanted to take the nap, but Jessica had other ideas.

“Nah… I want to play.”

Damn.

“Okay, well, I might just close my eyes for a -”

Before I could even finish, the doorbell rang. I swear if it was Eric and his forgotten keys again I was going to kill him.

It wasn’t. It was Mr and Mrs make me feel bad, with their preaching ways and pamphlets of ‘knowledge’ on how I was a harlot and had bastard children.

“Ugh, what the hell do you two want, I thought I told you to get off my -”

“We believe we can save your soul, and the soul of your unborn bastard child.” She said, the gall of this woman I swear.

“Listen lady, you leave my soul and my baby’s soul alone, okay? We’re just fine and we do not need you and your insanity. So I’ll ask you nicely again to get the hell away from my house or I will call the cops.”

“You have a chance here, Miss, to save your soul from the damning fires of hell, as well as the soul of your unborn baby.”

With that Jessica appeared at my side, “Mom, why are you going to hell?”

“I’m not going to hell, baby, she’s just joking, now go inside I’ll be right in.”

She walked into the hall, but she didn’t fully go inside.

“Two bastard children?” She said, looking at her husband, “This might take a lot more prayer… you’ve done the unchristian thing here… and you must be punished for it.”

“Unchristian? Are you kidding me? Look, lady you don’t know what you’re talking about and I’m calling the cops. So get off my property.”

“Why? Because you can’t bare to hear the truth is that it? This world is going to hell in a hand basket because of people like you, shunning their faith in favour of being whores!”

I inhaled and exhaled as slowly as I could, I needed to calm down, I could almost feel my blood boiling. My head was also, just about ready to freakin’ explode.

I slammed the door in their faces, trying to remember what Eric said. I knew he was right, super religious people were just fucking nuts. I walked into the living room, rubbing my temples to try and relieve the headache some, it didn’t work, in fact all it did was give me blurry vision for a second. I needed to sit down.

“Jessica… Jess?” I called out and she came scampering I heard her feet on the wooden floor, and that’s the last thing I really do remember, the next thing I know I’m waking up in a damn hospital bed surrounded by wires and beeping and doctors.

What the hell?

EPOV:

I got back to the house, there was an ambulance and Maxine holing a crying Jessica outside the house.

“Eric, Sookie’s in the ambulance you should go with her.”

“Daddy! I want to go with you.” I took her in my arms quickly.

“Jess you have to stay with Maxine, okay? I’ll go and make sure your mom is okay, okay?”

She started to sob again as Maxine took her back into her arms and did her best to calm her down as I climbed into the ambulance. Sookie was strapped to the gurney, but she was awake and crying.

“Eric, I’m so sorry.”

“What the hell happened? And don’t apologise, Jesus I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“I passed out, I don’t know what happened, I just…”

The woman that was taking her blood pressure butted in, “Miss Stackhouse, it seems to me that you have experienced a black out, it’s a serious symptom of pre-eclampsia but we’re going to take you in for further tests just to be on the safe side.”

Shit, I’d read about that.

“Wait, does this mean she’ll have to deliver the baby?”

“What? NO! It’s too early, what the hell? Look, I feel fine now I really do this is really not necessary!” Sookie freaked and I held her hand.

“We’re going to get you checked, Sookie, this is serious.”

“I know that. I’m the one that woke up on a heap on the floor, Eric.”

“I know… I know…”

We were on our way, I remembered reading about that condition and hoping that it wasn’t something that Sookie would experience. I guess my hoping went to waste.

They took her in, and tests were done. Blood pressure, blood, temperature, and about nine thousand questions were asked, and yes it turns out that Sookie was suffering from pre-eclampsia.

She was devastated.

“They said it explains the massive weight gain, despite me trying to do my best diet wise, and the headaches and the swelling over load. Doc Bennett is so angry with herself for not catching this sooner. But I have been flaky with my doc check ups because of work, so really it isn’t her fault.”

“What did they say?”

“The usual, lots of rest, lots of fluids, I just have to be really, really careful for the next few weeks. We really can’t catch a break, can we?” she said, all hooked up to her machines, beeping away. It was scary as hell if I was honest.

“But you don’t have to deliver?”

“No, thank God. They were able to lower my blood pressure and give me something safe for the headaches, I’m hoping a little rest will just put me right.”

“I told you a crowded Christmas was too much.”

“I know that too, you are the Yoda of being pregnant, I bow to you.” she smiled, “Please call and check on Jess, I must have scared the crap out of her.”

“Yeah, she sounded really scared, but she did a good job, she called me and she went and got Maxine.”

She nodded, “thank god we taught her what speed dial was.”

“I know, right?”

“We’ll need to explain to her what happened, so she’s not scared.” I agreed with her there, the sound of her voice on the phone wasn’t something I’d easily forget.

Sookie sighed softly as she put my hand to where the baby was kicking again, it was such an odd sensation, God knows how it felt for her.

“He needs a name, Eric, I know we’ve been dragging our feet with deciding, but he really needs a name… and I wanted to know how you might feel about naming him, James.”

I looked right at her then, “After my dad?”

She nodded, “Yeah, I was thinking about this last night, and I’ve loved the name forever, and I know that it would have special meaning for you, and for him to be named after his Granddad, who was a good man, like you are.”

I smiled, it was something that I had thought of, truthfully, keeping his memory alive and in doing so creating a whole new life of memories.

“Only if you’re okay with it.”

“I’m more than okay with it, I love the idea.” I kissed her hand, “It’s a great idea, and I’m sure my mom will be thrilled.”

She laughed, “I’m sure she will. I just need to do my best to get the little guy here safely now.”

“You can do it.”

“I don’t want pre-term labour Eric, no matter what happens to me.”

” Stop talking like -”

“No. I’m firm on this, okay? I want to give him the best shot possible, and if that means … whatever… then that’s what it means. I want him in me for as long as is necessary for him to be born healthy and safe. You hear me?”

“Sookie if you’re asking me to choose -”

“I’m not asking you to choose, I’m telling you, the baby, he comes first.”

I sighed, sometimes I really hated how stubborn she could be, I hoped against hope that we’d never have to make that choice.

“I’m taking care of you, I mean it, that’s not a fucking choice I ever want to be faced with. So, from now on, you’re on bed rest.”

“Eric -”

“No, you know that’s what they’ll say, and it’s what I’m saying. From now on think of me as your personal doctors orders enforcer.”

“You want to play doctor?” she winked, trying her best to distract me, the minx.

“Sookie…”

“Sorry, sir, yes sir.”

“Pam, Ames and I can cover the restaurants and if need be we can hire some assistance for Ames in the mean time, my lovely blooming ticking time bomb it’s time for you to finally and for once, do as I say.

“Fan-fucking-tastic.” she rolled her eyes, laying back on the bed.

SPOV:

Doctor’s orders it was, five weeks of bed rest and then I was to come back and they’d check my progress for the final time, in between I’d have regular visits from my doctor for blood pressure checks and a lot of other nonsense. It was dumb, it was frustrating, but it was for the good of my health, and the health of my son so it was happening. Even if it did drive me crazy doing ‘nothing’. I got home a day later, to find a rather reserved Jessica sitting in the den with Pam. When Eric had tried to bring her to see me, she had flat out refused to come, and now she was acting as if I was a stranger. I tried not to let how hurt I was show on my face, but Eric knew, as he always did, and did his best to bring her around while I was ordered upstairs.

It sucked.

“And they said if you did this it should pass safely?” Pam asked as I changed into my pyjamas and pulled back the comforter.

“I hope so, I mean it did explain so much stuff and I suck for not picking up on it before, but I just thought it was like the cramps and the constant need to pee, and the smells, that it was all part of the package.”

“Clearly not.”

“Clearly.”

“Jessica will be okay you know, she’ll come around. She was actually playing with Ben earlier, not that he can do much yet, but he’s laughing at her and I guess she likes the responses? Jess needs a lot of reassurance right now, Sookie, she’s really still a baby herself and all this drama…”

“I know, believe me I know. She’s been Queen of this little castle for a while now, and I know she hates the idea of that changing, she hates that I’m pregnant and she hates that Eric keeps trying to talk to her about the baby. She just wants it to be like it was, and I’m so scared Pam.”

“Why?”

“She’s so against the idea of the baby coming, what happens when he gets here? What if she hates him, like really hates him?”

“Sookie, she’s five, she doesn’t know what she’s talking -”

“I know, but I just … we’ve tried so hard to keep her involved and it still hasn’t helped any… I’m just worried, that’s all.”

“You shouldn’t at least not so much, she’s a good kid, she’s just a little confused and I bet once he gets here she will come around and get used to it.”

“I guess.”

“Okay so, bed rest, sounds… dull as fuck…unless of course you are fucking, then not so dull.”

Oh, Pam.

“Yeah, that’s out of the question, any and I quote ‘strenuous activity’ is ‘prohibited’ and fucking Eric is extremely strenuous, especially now I’m a whale.”

She rolled her eyes at me, “you’re not a whale, you’re a… small dolphin, if anything.”

I threw a pillow at her.

“Okay so you and he aren’t getting any?”

“Last time we tried was before thanksgiving. It just wasn’t working…”

“It?”

“Well he’s great… it’s great… I just can’t or couldn’t relax enough to… well… you know.”

“Come?”

Pam.”

“We’re grown women, Sookie, saying the word for orgasm is perfectly acceptable. So, you can’t come?”

I shook my head no.

“And Eric?”

“Is… getting his, just fine, I just can’t and I know we’ve tried … a lot of stuff, and it’s tried and tested that it gets me off, but I just couldn’t let go. And Eric felt like shit for ages after… you know how he is.”

“Yeah, that must have hit him in the nuts… literally.” she grinned, an evil grin.

“Don’t tease him about it.”

Just at that a curious Molly slid up into bed beside us, she knew better but cats ruled the house hold and I guess she missed Pam. Pam on the other hand just glared at her, but petted her anyway.

“I would never!”

Psh, yeah, right.

“So, bed rest, how boring. You have books? DVDs? Porn?”

I just laughed.

“How’s Ben?” I asked.

“Bigger and bolder by the day.”

“Well, he is your son.” I quipped.

“True, wouldn’t change him though. I mean, he’s changing every day, it’s amazing and cheesy and all those things I swore I’d never care about and I suddenly do.”

“And you and Ames?”

It was something that Eric and had decided to stay out of, their relationship woes, it was on them… they didn’t need us interfering where we weren’t wanted. If they needed us, we knew they’d step up.

She sighed.

“It’s better. I mean, it’s not exactly where we were, but it’s better than it was.”

“And the sex?”

“If I’m honest…”

“Are you ever anything else?” I laughed and she did do, getting into bed beside me and continuing to talk as I flipped the TV on.

“It’s not great. It’s still like she doesn’t want to really touch me, not like before anyway, before she was rabid, and now it’s like… she’s just doing it just to do it.”

“Have you talked about it?”

“We have and she tells me that it’s nothing and it’s in my head and that she loves me more than anything, but Sookie I’m starting to worry.”

“Why?”

“That guy… Todd?”

“Restaurant waiter Todd?”

“Yeah, the tall guy?”

“I know him, what about him?”

“I think… I think maybe she’s seeing him.”

Shit.

“What makes you say that?”

“I’m a paranoid mess aren’t I? But Sookie, she liked men, before, she dated men, before… me. I mean maybe it’s something she’s missing. I hate to even think it, but it’s possible. And I can’t compete with that, lacking a cock an all.”

Just at that Eric poked his head around the door.

“Uh… I can come back.” He said, looking awkward, God knows what he was thinking.

“No, it’s fine, what’s up?” she asked him.

“Um, I’m making dinner…”

“Making it or burning it.” Pam asked and I nudged her.

“Shut up.” He said, “Making it, and it’s just some of that chicken we had in the freezer, baked with some potatoes, but I was going to make salad but only if you wanted some, Pam are you staying for dinner?”

“Eh, might as well. I’ll be eating in bed, with your fiancée.” The way she said it, it meant so much more, and I could see the tips of Eric’s ears go pink. I struggled not to giggle.

“Pam your lesbian weirdness is not appreciated right now.”

“Why? Afraid since you can’t get her off, that I might?”

Pam?”

She just shrugged in my direction and Eric face tinted pink. I was going to fucking kill her.

He just rolled his eyes, “Pillow talking, literally I see.”

“Eric it was just conversation, that’s all. I mean Ames and Pam are having shit sex and she thinks she’s cheating on her with a guy…”

Pam glared at me and I shrugged.

“Tit for tat, bitch.” I said.

Eric just shook his head and went to a calling Jessica.

“Bitch.” Pam said.

“I love you too. And I do, love you, so I want you to talk to Ames about this, all of it, Pam and soon. You guys are good together when you want to be, and if she’s cheating on you I’ll fucking kick her skinny ass, pregnant or not. But, if she’s not, I think you guys need to talk to someone.”

“A shrink? Fuck no.”

“It might help, give you some unbiased opinions on things. Just, think about It, okay?”

“Fine. And fuck this, I’m going home, Eric can’t cook for anything, it’s a wonder you haven’t gotten food poisoned yet.”

“Abandoning me in my hour of need, thanks, friend.”

“I love you both, but sooo not enough to eat whatever he’s burning in that kitchen.”

“Shit, gimme the phone. I may be needing the skills of Lafayette tonight – again.” She just laughed, kissed me on the cheek, patted by belly and left with the promise of talking to Amelia. I really would kick her ass if she was fooling around on her. I loved Pam like a sister and that shit just wasn’t right.

“Mom?” came the tiny voice at the door, there stood Jessica, her finger in her mouth, looking all kinds of sad. It broke my heart.

“Hey, baby, you coming in?”

She shook her head no.

“Why not?”

“I don’t want you to fall down again. It was bad.”

“Please come in, please? I could use a special Jessica cuddle.” I said, and she edged closer and closer until she was standing by the bed. I wanted to lift her up, but knew that was off the cards. She climbed up on her own though, thankfully.

“Now, I never got the chance to say thank you.” I said.

“Why for?”

“Well, for you, being such an amazing big girl. You saved mommy’s life you know that?”

“I did?” her eyes got wide and I pushed her little blonde bangs out of her face.

“You did! And you know who else you saved?”

“Who?”

“Your little brother. You saved us both because you knew to call daddy and go and get Maxine so fast.”

“I did?”

“You did! Now, isn’t that cool?”

“Yeah! It is!”

I nodded, doing my best to keep the tone light. God knows we needed it.

“Daddy and I talked about it and we’re going to name him James. Do you like that name?”

She nodded yes.

“But we…” and I noticed Eric standing by the door and I winked him, “we want you to pick his middle name… what do you think about that?”

“I get to pick it?”

“Yep.”

She thought, and she thought and then she said it, ” Nemo!”

Eric burst out laughing.

“Oh honey, but that’s a fish’s name.”

“So?”

“Well, he’s a boy, not a fish, so … he needs a boy’s name. You know?”

She nodded and pondered again as Eric sat in beside us.

“Hmmm. It’s hard.” She said looking from her dad, to me.

“It is, but you don’t have to decide right now, you can think about it for as long as you want.”

“Okay. I will.” She snuggled in beside me then and I looked, relieved, at Eric.

“Told you she’d come around.” He whispered, and I hoped he was right.

Just as we were getting comfortable and relaxed, the fire alarm went off.

“Shit, the chicken!” He said before sprinting out of the room. Jessica and I just looked at each other as she handed me the phone.

Smart kid.


A/N: Hope you guys liked the update! Though maybe the draamaaaa isn’t over with just yet ; )


Chapter 18: Chapter 18


SPOV:

“Eric! Come quickly!” I yelled, as I struggled and struggled, I definitely needed his help. He came seconds later, rushing out into the garden; a half dressed Jessica in his arms.

“What! What? Jesus, are you in labour?”

“No…” I said, sheepishly, “I’m just… kind of stuck.”

I wriggled around in the hammock, which in hindsight was a bad idea. All I wanted to do was read and relax, but no. My bladder and the baby had other ideas and I was a whale, so I realized after my third attempt of getting up that I maybe needed some assistance.

He just rolled his eyes at me, laughing, as he gently yanked me to my feet.

“Thank you. Want me to take over?”

I offered to him as he attempted to get Jess dressed for school. She was currently in her panties a vest and had one side of her head in a pigtail with the other yet to be done.

“Nah, I’m good, go back to your book.”

“This is ridiculous you know, I am capable of driving her to school.”

“Yes, I am sure you are, but you are not going to, because I know your road rage and that is not happening. You’ve made it three weeks -”

“And I am freakin’ bored out of my mind!”

I reminded him as he carried a giggling Jessica inside again.

Thirty-three weeks pregnant, bun was very much rising in my ever increasingly expanding oven. However, the bed rest was critical to him staying inside me and cooking until he was ready to come out – and not a minute before. But I was just so beyond bored! I had sat in bed, watching movies, catching up on my television shows, doing paper work for the restaurant and bar, but I wanted to be outside with the people that did not live in my TV… but no, I did have serious road rage. Therefore, going for a drive was out of Eric’s ‘allowed to do’ list, as was shopping because being on my feet all day was not advised. I could only go to the restaurant for an allocated amount of time to over see some things before Eric called back for me and I was put directly into bed, sometimes literally, he would carry me from the foot of the stairs and tuck me in. He was within his right, he was just trying to protect us both, and I knew that, the headaches and dizziness hadn’t fully subsided, and did tend to get a whole lot worse when I was overly active.

So, for the most part I put up with it, because it was what I needed to do on my end to ensure James got here safe. Eric was being a sweetheart about everything and really picking up the slack I left in my ‘unable to run around like a chicken with my head cut off’ state that I was usually in. But, he was tired, and he had his hands full with Miss Jessica and her demands on his time, as well as his place, and checking in on my place. He came home from dropping her off and landed in bed beside me with a ‘humph’ kicking his boots off and closing his eyes.

“Tired?”

“So… very…” he answered snuggling into me, making me put down my book, “you smell good.” he said.

“Showering, it helps.” I turned to him then and I kissed his cheek softly, making him open his eyes again.

“Hi.” I said, before I kissed his other cheek just as slowly.

“Hi?” he said, cautiously, raising a brow in my direction, as I went for his neck, and up to his earlobe, making him moan softly. I loved that I knew that was one of his trigger spots. I moved gently, as gently as I could with the massive bump in the way, and I straddled him, not as easily as I had done in the past though, and I continued kissing him. Down his neck, until I got to the buttons of his shirt, popping them open as I went up the other side of his neck with my lips, his hands grasping at my back, pulling me as close to him as I could get.

“Sookie, maybe this isn’t…”

“Shh. Stop thinking… I want us to do this.”

“But it… you…,” he stammered, he was beyond frustrated that much I knew for sure. Quietly jerking off in the shower, trying not to hurt my feelings for weeks now wasn’t doing him, or I, any favours. I pretended not to noticed, he pretended he wasn’t as horny as hell. And I ? Well most of the time I felt fat and unable to resemble anything sexual at all, but right then, I felt sexual and it was one of those things that I needed to take advantage of, who knew when the feeling would come around again?

“We said no full on sex, because yes, that is on the list of things we can’t really do right, right now. But that doesn’t mean we have to ignore each other completely…. Now does it?”

He shook his head.

“No.”

“No, so, wanna try it at least? I miss you. I miss us, like this.”

“I just don’t want to hurt or stress you or the baby out, I mean yes, believe me, I want this, I’m just…”

“I know.” I said, petting his face and letting my hand drift to his belt again, “I know, sweetheart, but we’re doing it by the book, literally. I think we need a little us time. Even if it’s not what we’re used to, we can’t go ignoring aspects of our relationship, not like we did before.”

“You’re right, you are.” he kissed me again, and we kept on making out until his jeans were pushed down, his shirt was half off, and my pyjama bottoms were at the bottom of the bed, my t-shirt pushed up as we hungrily got reacquainted. We started frantic, but we both knew we had to be super careful, so gingerly he palmed my breasts – two things he had ample interest in the last few weeks, they had ballooned to a ridiculous size, men and boobs… seriously, and Eric was definitely a boob watcher.

“Jesus, these are huge,” he said, bringing his mouth into the mix.”And I mean that in an amazing way, I’m not like… calling you fat.”

I giggled, my weight was a touchy subject with me lately, and I asked Eric once if he thought I was fat, he hesitated for a second and I burst into tears, it was very irrational. But, such was pregnancy hormones I was learning, those bitches didn’t discriminate, they hated everyone equally and decided my brain was their new playground. I was sobbing one minute and laughing the next sometimes. It was exhausting. Eric was like a kid at Christmas when we finally got naked, while I was more like the turkey at Thanksgiving, he did not seem to falter though, and he was, from the looks of things anyway really enjoying my ‘new’ body. And when I wanted to shy away and hide under the covers, he on the other hand had some exploring to do. The bump got special attention, but thankfully, James was asleep,

He kept asking me and asking me if I liked what he was doing, bring me to orgasm with his mouth quicker than even I thought possible. All I could do was grip onto the headboard and bite my lip, how did he expect a coherent answer in English when he was doing what he was doing?

“I… it… there… just there.” I said instead, he focused in like a pro, and before I knew it, I was seeing stars and trying my best to calm my breath. Baby boy was fully awake now, and kicking the crap out of my bladder. When I’d started the process of turning my fiancé on, it was initially for his benefit, but it seems it was one of mutual benefit because I was feeling fanfuckingtastic by the time I focused what energy I had left, in on Eric.

Going down on him, I wish I could say it was easy… but they did not call it a ‘job‘ for nothing, did they? And Eric wasn’t exactly a snug fit, but somehow we made it work -and in minutes, I had him whimpering and moaning, as he gripped the sheets and cursed under his breath in Swedish. The only time he spoke it, which I was sad about, since I was pretty sure I could swear in Swedish now too, but knew very little else about his culture there. I didn’t need the reassurance verbally if he liked what I was doing to him or not, the physical reassurance was more than enough for me. I saw his toes curl, as he said my name repeatedly, each time getting higher pitched than the last, was it wrong of me to enjoy the control I had over him and his pleasure buttons at a time like this.

Maybe, maybe not, either way I got off on knowing I was making him feel that good, just as I was sure he felt the same about me. It was a good kink to have, most of the time it meant we both got ours together.

“Not stressed, right?” He said, breathless as I slid in beside him again, sated and happy, and the most unstressed I had felt in weeks.

Definitely not stressed, Jesus, I didn’t realize how badly we needed a little…”

“TLC?” he smirked.

“Something that that.”

I patted his arm as he wrapped them around me, both of us a little sweaty and I am sure I would have to pee again soon, but for that moment, everything was perfect. And James Nemo Northman was kicking up a storm.

“I think he knows what we’re doing, and he’s disapproving.” Eric said, patting where we felt him kicking.”We’re not really going to call him Nemo, are we?” I asked, still unsure since Eric had been coming around to the idea. He just smirked in lieu of an answer.

“Shit.” I said.

“What?”

“No… nothing I just got really comfortable right now and I have to fucking pee, again.”

He laughed.

“Oh, sure laugh it up; it’s not your bladder the kid thinks is a squeeze-y toy!”

I heard him laugh again as I padded to our bathroom, my head started to throb, and then the dizziness started again. I popped down the lid on the toilet and took a seat, running the cold water over my wrists to try to get it to take effect. I did not tell him about it, mainly because it was the most relaxed both of us had allowed ourselves in weeks, I did not want to spoil it in that moment with a complaint that I was sure would just subside, as it had done in the past. And, by the time I crawled back into bed, with a snoozing Eric, I was right. It was nothing to worry about.

This time.

EPOV:

With the unexpected little afternoon delight behind us, I felt amazing, my limbs felt like jelly, and I was tired, I must have dozed off because the next thing I remember was walking up with my arms wrapped around Sookie, her bump, and hearing the soft sounds of her breathing next to me, telling me she too was asleep.

It was just before two, and I knew Maxine was taking Jessica after school, so there was no rush in that regard, but I also knew I had to drop my Adele’s Attic to check on things, as well as my own place. I had been doing both since they put Sookie on bed rest, and while I was more than glad that we both had two capable and wonderful managers there in our absences, it was still a strain. We both knew what we were getting ourselves into, and while neither of us assumed she’d have such a difficult pregnancy, we’d muddled through the best we knew how, just like when Jessica landed in our laps, it was difficult as all hell at first, but we soon found our rhythm, and I hoped that with James, it would soon all fall into place.

A few days later and somehow, the house was in chaos. I had knocked off the alarm, and dozed off, somehow knocking the schedule off completely. Jessica was half dressed in the car, putting her own shoes in and with half a piece of toast in her mouth, I was due in the restaurant for inventory and Sookie had a doctors appointment for nine, all of which we were all late for, due to my late nights at the office, as well as overseeing her place, Sookie had Jessica, and I was worked off my feet. One stupid alarm and stress ensued.

Daddy! I can’t find my other shoe!”

“What? There were two shoes in your hand when I put you in the car, did it fall under the seat?” I asked her, looking back, and she shrugged, her hair was a mess and she still had marks from her pillow on her tired face.

“I don’t know! But I can’t go to school with one shoe, daddy that’s silly! My socks would get wet!”

“I know, I know, just, hang on.” I said, pulling into the nearest exit and getting out of the car, unable to find her second shoes.

“Shit.”

“Daddy!”

“Sorry.”

“It’s not fair I can’t say bad words but you can, and mommy can, and Auntie Pam can.,” she reasoned.

“We’re grownups and we’re still not allowed, it’s rude. I’m sorry.”

She rolled her eyes as I yanked off her other shoes and replaced it with her Wellington boots.

“I can’t wear my wellies with my dress, it doesn’t match!”

“All your stuff doesn’t have to match Jess.”

“Auntie Pam said that accessories should always match.”

It was my turn to roll my eyes; Pam had ruined her with her opinions on style.

“You’re five, you don’t need to match.”

“Daddy?” She asked as I smoothed out her hair as best I could, and as quickly, and tied it in a quick ponytail.

“Yeah?”

“What’s accessories mean?”

I strapped her back into the car seat and got into the car, rounding the corner to the school, yep, we were so late.

“Its just nonsense your auntie Pam talks about with clothes. Nothing you need to worry about, yet. Okay baby?”

“Okay. Can we go to McDonalds after school?” She asked as I grabbed her hand and her backpack.

“Why?”

“Well, I don’t have any lunch so I think I’m going to be hungry.” We were half way in the school gate.

“Shit!”

“DADDY!”

“Shit, sorry, shit!”

Her eyes widened.

“Okay no, daddy didn’t say shit.”

“DAD!” she whined, laughing.

“Let’s start over. You go in, I’ll go to the store and buy you some sandwiches and some juice and drop it off, and then I have to call mom, make sure she’s okay and then I’ll collect you after school and we’ll do McDs okay?”

“Deal. Love you bye.” she said standing on her tiptoes so I’d lean down and give he a kiss, which I did, and off she bounced in the door. She had her pink Wellington boots on, a black skirt and a blue blouse thing. Pam might have been appalled.

“You’re still alive, right?” I asked, on speakerphone as I drove back to the house. Being so late, it meant I could not drive Sookie to get her bloods done, so she had to driver herself. I was not at all happy about that.

“Yep.” I could hear her smiling, “alive, well, and before you called blasting out my best Shania impression waiting at the traffic lights. See, not road raged at all, and a little freedom never hurt anyone, least of all me.”

“I know, I just worry that’s all.”

“I know you do, and I love that you care so much about me that this is worrying you, but really, you need to relax. Baby is fine, blood pressure is fine, and my bloods will be back in a few days and we will see where we go from there. I’m almost home. Did Jess get out to school okay? When I left she was looking a little… dishevelled.”

“She did, and she was, but seriously we need to keep her away from Pam.”

“Why?” she chuckled, “or should I say, why now?”

“Jessica was concerned she wasn’t matching today, and that her accessories weren’t right.”

“Oh.” Sookie chuckled, “I wouldn’t worry, and it’s harmless.”

“Maybe, but I don’t want my daughter growing up worrying about that superficial shit, not at five, Sookie, it’s not right.”

“Look at you all protective Papa Bear.,” she giggled.

“I’m going to talk to Pam…”

“Where are you?” She asked.

“Pulling into the street, where are you?”

“Back at the house just now, hang up; I’ll talk to you in a second.” She said before I heard the beep. She always did hate speakerphone.

I got into the house to find her balancing a tub of ice cream in her bump; she smiled when she looked at me, a sheepish smile on her face.

“Sorry, I just needed it; it was all I could think about since I got into the car. So good. I love ice-cream and ice-cream loves Me.”

She pecked me on the lips and I tasted caramel, it made me take her spoon and help myself.

“So, the bloods went well?”

“Yeah, well, as well as can be expected. And I only got a tiny lecture from Georgina this time.”

“She’s right you know.”

“I know, but I have been taking it easy. Painfully easy. I’ll just be glad when he’s here though, and I’ll have my body to myself again.” she patted her bump.

“I found Jessica’s shoe in the garage what is she wearing on her feet to school?” Sookie asked as she dumped the empty carton into the bin, pointing to the tiny black shoe sitting on the counter.

“Shit. That’s where it went.”

She raised a brow at me.

“Pam is corrupting our daughter.” I said, stubborn in my thought process that she was indeed ruining our innocent little girl with her ridiculousness.

“Uh, huh, just like the ‘perverted neighbour kid’ was corrupting her when he kissed her on the cheek, and you threatened to kick poor Hoyt’s ass,” I wanted to interrupt, but she kept on going, “and just like when the little girl in her ballet class was corrupting her when she introduced her to nail polish, and just like you thought the little kid at kindergarten was ruining her by when we saw her eating sand in the sandpit.”

“You have to admit that was fucked up!”

“Eric,” she said, gently putting her arms around me looking up at me, “she’s a kid, it’s what kids do… we just have to deal with it… and maybe keep her away from sandpits.” she smiled.

“Did you ever eat sand?” I scrunched up my face. It was just a gross concept.

“I don’t know, I do remember my Gran catching me eating the leaves from her rose patch though, apparently I thought they were veg-e-tuhbuls.” she pronounced comically.

“See? Just a dumb kid thing… and I turned out more than fine. So, can we relax please? Pam or no one is ruining her, Pam loves Jess.”

“I know… I just…”

“Worry… I know.” she kissed me and I got lost in her love for a second, I really didn’t know why everything was suddenly bothering me, where it hadn’t really before.

“You can chill, Eric. You have her entire adolescence to rule the roost with the scary Viking daddy act.” she smacked my ass as she made her way into the living room, I couldn’t help but smile.

However, I really was not looking forward to the teenage years, I had to admit.

“We’re still getting her that chastity belt.” I said, throwing myself on the couch beside her as she tucked her feet underneath her ass. Rolling her eyes at me, like pro.

“No, we’re not, I thought you were joking.”

“Ha! I remember what I was thinking about when I was fifteen, and I was a slow learner where sex is concerned…”

“And a virgin till almost twenty…” she whispered.

“So not the point.”

“Entirely the point, you prove my point. Not all kids are out fucking each other up, some are very tall hot nerds like you were…””I wasn’t all that hot; one girl told me she thought I looked like a slapped foetus.”Sookie bust out laughing at that. Composing herself, she snuggled into me, kissing up because I may or may not have had my pout face on.

“I’m sorry. Aw… come here…,” she said, hugging me, “I’m not making fun, I love your awkward history. It makes me smile.”

“Mock, you mean.”

“No, smile. Because…that slapped foetus grew into a lovely swan.” she furrowed her brows, “Okay that’s a mixed metaphor, but you know what I mean, and that lovely swan, and nerd is you and I love my nerd swan man.”

“If I didn’t know better I’d assume you were drunk.” I stated, deadpan.

“Yeah, I am drunk, sugar drunk, or high, I don’t know which.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’re just as much a dork you know that.”

She nodded her head and smiled, “Oh, I know, and I own it. Now, shut up and rub my feet like a good baby daddy.” she poked me with her toe before handing me the remote to pick something to watch while we sat there, and I did in fact ease her now swelling feet, even though we teased each other with the term, I was glad I was her baby daddy, and that she knew not to say it when people where around.

Relaxed and playful, we took the quiet time to just calm down, I’d even painted her toes once I’d found us something to watch. I was like a kid with a colouring project, so proud I’d managed to stay in between the lines. It was like Sookie and I in many ways, our project together kept us both on our toes, looked pretty from the outside, but we knew the work that went into making it happen, and the trouble we both went through to keep our colour in between the lines. However, sometimes it didn’t matter because no matter how hard you try, or how careful you colour… Someone, or something comes and smacks into you, shattering your perfect work and steady hand, leaving the colour bleeding all over the page. Or in our case, leaving Sookie bleeding all over a highway.


A/N: Anyone remember these two? It feels like forever since I sat down to write them, well, forever for me. So, I intend to update this more, and hopefully get into the TSL groove again for you guys, and for them. I still want to tell their story, I just got extremely sidetracked with Requiem… :S So, if you’re still with me, thank you so much and talk to me in the reviews xoxo


Chapter 19: Chapter 19


SPOV:

There was rain, and pain, and blood, I knew that much. What I did not know was where the hell I was. Where was Jessica, why was my stomach killing me? Where those contractions? I felt dizzy and out of it, but mostly cold and in pain. Then there was the screaming, it was Jessica. I wanted to reach out to her, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t move.

What the hell had happened?

Six hours earlier:

“Yes, Pam, I know, Jesus. Fine. I’ll be there in twenty.” he sighed. Hitting the button on his phone harder than necessary. I was fixing breakfast for all of us, as Jessica sat sleepy eyed at the table, her eyes slowly opening and closing.

“Something wrong?” I asked him.

“Yeah, Pam said some high school kids where messing around last night, she threw them out when they checked the Ids, but they went out and trashed the outside of the bar, glass everywhere tons of damage. She didn’t call me last night because she knew we’d be in bed, but now, I have to go in and sort it all out.

“That’s too bad, was there a lot of damage done?””Smashed the sign, the lights, the lights in the parking lot, a lot of clean up and I’ll be needing replacements before tonight. Thursday’s are our busiest night.” he sighed again, rubbing his hand through his hair.

“Look don’t worry about it. I can take Jessica to school, and pick her up again if you need to go in now, you can’t leave Pam to run the lunch shift later, and deal with handy men.”He didn’t look amused.

“I’ll be fine, Eric. I haven’t had any headaches in a week, and the dizzy hasn’t come to visit either.” I said, and I meant it, it had been a really good week.

“If you’re sure.””I am sure. Now, go, and maybe go easier on Pam.””Why?””Come on,” I raised my brows, “her issues at home… just go a little easier on her okay? She has her troubles too.”

He nodded.

“I know, I’m sorry, I will try and not bite her head off.”

Jessica sniggered, “Daddy, you aren’t a vampire; you can’t bite her head off!”

“Oh, can’t I?” He said, baring his teeth and going for her neck like he did, she just giggled so much she spat out her orange juice.

“And on that note. I’ll see you both later, I hope to home for dinner, if not… don’t wait for me.”

Kissing my cheek, he grabbed his keys and a piece of toast and made for the back door and into the rain. It had been raining for two days straight, and it didn’t look like it was going to give up anytime soon. It was a miserable time of year, even for Louisiana. I just hoped the floods stayed to a minimum. I knew that kind of day he was in for, I had had it more than once with Adele’s. You think it will just be a normal working day, but sometimes shit happened and you were stuck ’till two am.

“Okay kiddo, let’s get you ready.”

“Do I has to go? I’m tired.”

“I know you are, but, that’s what happens when you refuse to go to sleep for hours and hours and want to watch cartoons instead. I told you, you wouldn’t feel good in the morning.”

“I know…” she whined. “Can’t I just stay at home with you today? Pleaaasee?”

“Not today, but maybe tomorrow?” Friday for the little ones was a half day anyways, but today I had too much housework to do, and Amelia was coming over. She and I needed to talk, and we needed to talk alone.

Jessica didn’t take my answer so well, she was pouting all the way through her cereal, and getting dressed, in fact all the way to the school gate. Umbrella up we made a dash the rest of the way, finally stopping when we were closer.

“I don’t get a kiss?” I said as we got to the door. And she continued to look at her shoes.

“Jess?” I leaned down so she could give me her customary kiss on the cheek. Instead, she just make a ‘muah‘ noise without touching me. I took what I could get and let her go on in with the rest of her friends. I ran into Maxine at the gates on the way out.

“Well honey, look at you, glowing and growing.” she said with a friendly smile, “Not much longer to go if Eric’s let you out of the house again.” she smirked. She knew fine well that Eric was not ‘letting me’ do or not do anything, but she also knew of his worry streak.

“Yeah he’s practically tied me down.” I joked and tried to stop the memory when Eric actually DID tie me down, it was a good time shockingly, “but really, I’ve been doing my best… so we’ll see what the doctors say I guess?”

“That’s all you can do honey. My sister is coming in from Canada tomorrow, so you and Eric are more than welcome over for dinner later next week if you feel up to it.”

“We’d love to, thanks!” I said, as we both went to our respective vehicles.

The rain really had not stopped, and it did not look like it was going to let up anytime soon. I sighed in the realization that I had to pee, yet again, and the rain was only making the urge that much worse.

Stupid Mother Nature.

I pulled into Wal-Mart, partly to pee and partly to just look around. If Eric asked, it was just to pee, and the stuff in my cart might have just appeared. I wasn’t feeling tired or headache-y, in fact I was feeling as good as I’d ever felt in months, so I took my time and had a nice relaxed stroll. Of course, you can never just look around, and an hour later, I left with a cart full of food, snacks, and hair things for Jessica. I got a text from Eric when I arrived home, the damage those little punks caused would take a considerable chunk out of his remodelling stash, but the insurance covered most of it, thankfully. I was home a half-hour when Amelia arrived with Ben in tow.

“Hey little man!” I said taking him in my arms as Ames stuck the coffee for herself; I on the other hand was stuck with some juice. It sucked.

“How’s he been?” I asked, making silly faces and playing with my Godson.

“Good, really good actually he’s a patient baby which shocked both me and Pam.” she smiled at me, as he smiled up at me, his new teeth small but getting there.

“That’s good though, you’ve been lucky that he sleeps so well. I hope we’re as lucky with this one.” I patted. And she agreed. Chitchat was made while I made us some snacks, and then it was time to get down to business.

“So, do I have to beat it out of you or are you going to pretend it’s not the elephant in the room and bring it up yourself?” I asked her, she looked at me with wide, innocent eyes.

“What?”

“What’s going on with you and Pam?”

“Nothing…”

“Yeah, that’s the problem,” I sipped my juice, “she told me about the issues you guys are having… you want to contribute?”

She looked to Ben, then back to me.

“What did she tell you?”

“I’m more interested in what you’re going to tell me, Ames.”

She sighed, putting Ben back into his stroller with his bottle and then she began.

“Since before he was born she and I… we haven’t been as close as we were before. I mean when she was pregnant, it was because she was touchy about her body, and the changes and she didn’t really feel sexy. Which, I get, I do, but I still found her sexy, and I loved her just the same, but she … didn’t believe me. And I thought it was just a hormone thing, you know?” She smiled.

“But it wasn’t?”

“No, I mean after he was born we waited a little while, and she was the one to attempt to get us back to where we used to be. But, it just wasn’t the same. She didn’t feel like she was as into it as I was… and when I brought it up she’d ignore it, and we’d argue constantly around it… but truth was she was pulling away from me for a long time before I started pulling away from her.”

Her eyes, they were sad, her dejected stance told me only one thing, and she was guilty of something.

“Please tell me that her suspicions aren’t true… Ames, please tell me you haven’t cheated on Pam.”

She was silent.

“Damn it, Amelia!” I stood up, my rage almost too much to deal with in that moment.

“I didn’t mean for it to happen, okay? It just did, and I swear to you it only happened once.”

“What exactly happened?”

She went on to tell me that she had been flirting with Todd, from work, for weeks before anything happened. That, at first, it was just innocent work place banter, but it soon escalated into something more, and that she had actually slept with him. I was so angry with her; I genuinely wanted to slap her. Instead, I just paced the kitchen.

“I can’t believe you… I really can’t! I mean Pam has done so much for you! Hell, she even ‘ruined’ her vagina for you! Her words! Because you wanted a family, you wanted that security, she wanted you to feel safe and loved, and this is what you do?”

“I didn’t mean to!”

“So, you just fell into bed with him and decided to stay there? What?”

“I was… lonely. I was tired of fighting; I was tired of having her hate me, for no reason.”

“This is Pam she hates everyone, it’s her thing.” I said, in jest because Pam did not hate everyone, as well Amelia knew. She was just selective in whom she loved, you had to be considered a very VIP to gain Pam’s love, and it was a really exclusive club. Amelia was president of that club, but now what?

“She knows you know?”

Her eyes went wide.

“What?”

“Well, she doesn’t know, know, but she suspects – with Todd. She is not stupid Amelia, she knows something is wrong. I just… can’t believe…”

“Eric cheated on you, how is this different!” she said. And then I did it, I slap her, hard.

Her stunned face looked back at me, my blood was boiling.

“That… was so completely different and you fucking know it. Eric kissed another woman, for a second, you? You fucked another man! And you’re a lesbian. This is nothing like what happened with Eric.”

We both stood in silence for a second, nothing but Ben’s little breaths as he slept, and of course the battering of the rain off the roof.

“I should… go,” she said and I nodded.

“Yes, you really should… and you need to tell Pam the truth. She deserves that at least.”

I watched as she put the rain cover over Ben’s pushchair, and made her way out to her car.

I was so angry, and hurt. I was angry for Pam, and mostly at Amelia for being a total dumbass. Then I was hurt that she would bring up what had happened with Eric and that woman, and even attempt to compare it to what she had done. Team those emotions with a kicking baby, a tiny bladder and a set of hormones that were crazier than Charlie Sheen? We had a very weepy me, curled up on the couch, watching reruns of an old Oprah, something about orphans, which let’s face it, didn’t help matters much either.

The phone rang and I had considered ignoring it, but knew when I saw who was calling that that was not an option.

“Hey?”

“H- You sound upset, what’s wrong?” Eric asked, sounding less than stellar himself.

“Nothing…” I sighed, “Everything. Amelia cheated on Pam.”

“Shut the fuck up…”

“I know… She told me so this afternoon, Eric I can’t believe her.”

“Shit…”

“Don’t tell Pam, okay? This is their deal. Ames said she would tell her, herself.”

“Yeah, sure… of course. I mean… shit. She’s gone home early anyway, she’s been her since before me this morning, and she looked like shit so I let her go. It also means I can’t collect Jess…”

“It’s no problem. I can collect her.”

“You sure? I was going to call Maxine…”

“No, don’t she’s busy preparing for her sister coming to visit, I’m sure she has enough to deal with right now, I feel fine, I can do it.”

“Great. Good.”

“You sound stressed.”

“I hate insurance people, it’s like they’re there just to make people angry.”

“I do believe it’s a quality that’s required when they apply for the job, same with bill collector guys. You have to be not only a dumbass, but a hardass too. Must suck.”

He laughed.

“It must. I’ll try and be home for dinner, if not, eat without me, okay?”

“Sure, you know I will anyway, and not just dinner, the pre-dinner snack, and the post dinner snack too.”

“Our kid is going to be a tub, huh?”

I laughed.

“No, just me.”

“You are not fat. It’s gone to your boobs; I am ever so pleased about that fact.”

Perv.”

“Whale.”

“Ha! Okay enough of this nonsense. I’m going to find my boots before I head out, I’ll call you when I get back okay?”

“Yeah do, I’m worried about you driving when you-”

“Eric….”

“Fine, fine, I’m stopping. I love you.”

“Love you too, geek.”

I hung up and waddled in search of my rain boots and coat. I had made it to the school just before they were all let out. I had noticed the beginnings of a headache when I got into the car; in fact, if I was being honest I had had the niggling pings of a migraine since Amelia left.

I was not sure if the blurry vision was me, or my windscreen at first. But I knew as soon as I got to the school that it wasn’t just the rain.

Shit

“Mom!” Came the happy little voice as she hopped into the backseat of the car, and into her booster.

“How was school, bubs?”

“Good, we had art all day because teacher wasn’t feeling good. And we watched Woody and Buzz!”

“Oh, that’s good honey; you buckle into your seat belt okay?”

“Sure!””I was thinking, we could go to the restaurant and have Lafayette cook us some dinner, what do you think?”

“Yum. I love Auntie Lafayette’s cooking.”I smiled, yes; Laf was ‘Auntie‘ as far as Jessica was concerned. He loved it too.

“Okay then.” We had been on the highway about five minutes, if that, when the headache started to feel like little people had burrowed inside my forehead and started building a house. I tried to blink it away, and I slowed the car down. More than once, I had thought of pulling over and calling Eric. But something kept me for doing it. Stupidity I would think since the blurriness in my eyes only go worse and I tried to break the car into stopping, but before I managed it, I think I blacked out.

In fact, I’m sure I blacked out. Because the next thing I know, I’m upside down, and Jessica is screaming, my baby in the backseat was covered in blood from her head, and I was bleeding into my left eye from somewhere, I put my free hand down, and I knew, baby number two was also in trouble. My hand came back, covered in blood too.

Fuck.

EPOV:

When I got the call, I had just got off the phone with the insurance people for the fifth time, I paid them enough you would think they’d do their jobs and pay out when it was necessary.

But that call changed the game, my Sookie, and my daughter and probably my son were seriously hurt. Accident, rain, highway, hospital. It was all I got before I was out the door. Nothing else mattered in that moment. Nothing but them, and my internal prayers that they would be okay. I tried to push all the negative thoughts out of my head, least of all the one that just wouldn’t leave.

That was the highway they scraped Alcide and Hadley off, too.

I remembered going through the hospital doors, and I remember being led first to the emergency room, where I found Jessica crying on the bed, her little head was cut open and her arm was apparently broken. The doctors told me that beyond some fixable wounds she was fine, frightened, but fine. Sookie on the other hand was nowhere to be seen. I held my daughter, her sobbing body shaking as I tried to comfort her the best I could.

“Daddy it was awful the car just went whoosh, and momma wouldn’t open her eyes! Why did she go to sleep so fast?” She sobbed as I held her, the nurse bandaging up her little arm as best she could, and I did my best to calm her down.

“Where is my -”

“Sir, if you’d like to come with us…” one of the nurses said as they made me leave Jessica on the bed.

Pam walked in a second later before the nurse led me out of the room, she hugged me and without a word went straight to Jessica, and so I could go with the nurse to find my Sookie.

“Sweetie, you stay with Auntie Pam for a sec while I go check on mom, okay?” She clinged harder but eventually she gave in.

“Is she okay? Where is she? I need to know if she and the baby are okay!” I said being led down the hallway as the nurse recalled what they knew of the accident. The wet roads, they where driving, and according to initial tests, Sookie had experienced a side effect of eclampsia – she blacked out. While driving.

Fuck.

Lost in thought as I was with worry suddenly there she was, behind a curtain, being worked out by several doctors and nurses, she was awake, bruised and bleeding, but she was alive.

I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.

Weak she smiled up at me, tears in her eyes.

“I screwed up, Eric, I’m so, so sorry…”

“Hey…it’s not your fault okay, it’s no ones fault.”

“Yes it is, it is my fault and now…” she sobbed and I saw the foetal monitor going off as it beeped the baby was, by the looks of things, in extreme distress.

“Sir, as I explained to your wife, we have to deliver the baby. For the safety of them both at this point. Your wife disagrees.”

“See, she doesn’t even know we’re not married how can she know that if he’s born now that he won’t die! Look,” she said to the red headed nurse, “I don’t care about me, not right now, but he has to stay in there as long as possible to make sure he’s ready.”

“Sookie -” “No! He’s not ready Eric! He’s not ready and it’s all my fault! I knew I shouldn’t have been driving, I knew there was always a risk, but I ignored it because I … thought I’d be okay and if our baby dies because of me I’ll never ever forgive myself!” she sobbed, “So please, please worry about him and not me.”

“Sookie I won’t sit here and watch this happen,” I had heard the doctors talk about her bloods, her injuries, and the fact that her blood pressure was sky high, there was risk of blood clotting, and if that happened, well, anything was possible and usually teamed with her injuries that never meant a good thing.

“Eric, please this is important to me…” She begged.

“And you’re important to me. None of this matters without you, Sookie. You get that? None of it. So just this once, please listen to me… please just let them do their jobs and save you both.”

“If he’s born now, Eric, he could die! His lungs aren’t even fully formed! I can hold on, I can hold out, they can fix me, but leave him be in peace.”

I knew she was in shock, she was in pain and hooked up to so many machines I was surprised she was still awake.

“No.”

I saw the hurt in her eyes.

“I told you, I wasn’t going to choose between you both. Our child or the only woman I’ve ever loved? You can’t ask me to do that, and I won’t you hear me? I won’t.”

“You think I want to? You think this is the ideal situation here? It’s not. All I’m asking…”

“All you’re asking is the impossible. Choosing my unborn son over the woman I’m going to marry? The mother of my daughter? Are you kidding me here? Not, happening.” I said again, then I turned to the doctor.

“What do you need to do to save them both?” I asked him. And he told me, Sookie was at high risk for internal bleeding, and the placenta detaching from the baby, either way, it sounded like they were screwed if they didn’t do something, and fast.

“Section your… Fiancé, treat her like we need to treat her, and take the baby to the neonatal unit where I can assure you we will do all we can to provide an environment similar to the womb, giving him the time to grow and develop as is necessary. It won’t be easy, and there may be complications, but the more time we stand around discussing it, the more time we waste. Therefore, Ms Stackhouse, I will ask you again. Are you ready to do this or not?”

I pleaded with her with my eyes. Either of them getting more hurt just was not an option I was willing to consider, not after all we had been through. She let her tears escape her but she nodded to the doctor and they rallied around to do what they did best. I only hoped that their best was good enough, because if I lost them both, I really didn’t know what I would do.


A/N: Hi guys! I had most of this finished before I took sick this weekend, but if you’re all still with me, reviews are – as always – adooored! And from one Premie baby that weighed just 1lb 4oz when she was born, I’d like to think James Nemo Northman might just pull through, don’t you? 😉


Chapter 20: Chapter 20


EPOV:

As I watched them wheel her into the other room, they directed me to watch my hands and stuck on some rubber gloves, scrubs, and a funky looking hair covering – all for hygiene I suspected, well, that, and to poke fun at the doctors intelligence. It did look ridiculous.

I wasn’t so focused on that however, more so on my Sookie and what they were doing to her, I took her hand and felt her squeezing it as hard as she could, she was clearly in a hell of a lot of pain, not just from what looked to be a broken wrist, but, you know, child birth.

“How long will this take?” I asked the doctor, and he assured me.

One minute from incision to baby.

Holy shit.

One minute.

They had numbed Sookie necessarily as they cut into her belly, and I… felt a little faint. She was a fucking Rock star for having this done to her, even if she was sobbing and grabbing onto my hands, she could hold onto me as long as she liked, just as long as she held on.

“Please let him be okay, please let him be okay.” was what she said, over and over again, blood seeping from her cuts, and her arms, and clearly now her womb, but still all she wanted was for our baby to be okay.

I held onto to her tighter than I thought possible without hurting her, but she gave as good as she got.

“I love you, you know?” she said to me and I smiled. That is why all this mattered; why we got to do any of this in the first place.

“I love you too, and as soon as we’re done here, we’re getting married.”

“Yeah we are.” smiling again, she winced through the pain of whatever happened, and suddenly there he was.

We found Nemo.

Or I should say, he found us.

He was tiny, so tiny, and blue. Which scared the shit out of me to be honest. It was definitely not like it is on TV, not at all. Where they come out screaming and pink and about a month old. No, but he was here, and he was really quiet. Why wasn’t he crying?

“Eric? Why isn’t he crying? Why isn’t he crying? Oh, GOD.” Sookie said, trying to move from her unmovable position as I watched the doctors clear the blood and the gross stuff off his little body, and then, slowly but surely he cried. It was not a great big wail of a cry, but it was still a cry, and it was music to our ears.

What was not music to my ears however was Sookie’s heart monitor, freaking the fuck out. I looked down, and her grip had lessened on my hand, her hand had left mine completely.

“Sookie?” I looked at the doctors as they pushed me out of the way, I looked to her laying there so pale and so lifeless, and I looked at my son, struggling for life just like his mom.

Had I forced the wrong decision, what if I did actually end up losing them both?

No.

No, that couldn’t happen. Not now, not after everything.

“SOOKIE?”

“Sir, you’re going to have to -”

“No. What’s wrong with her, what… what’s happening!” I panicked, as she all but pushed me out of the room.

“Mr Northman, go with your son, he needs you.”

She needs me too; tell me what’s going on! Please!”

She looked at her doctors and looked back at me.

“You’re… Ms Stackhouse had several internal injuries due to the crash, one of which the baby was actually protecting. When we took him out, the internal bleeding became more severe, causing her to lose consciousness and go into cardiac arrest. We’re working on it, as you can see… but please let us do our jobs!” she said, rushed, and just as panicked as I felt.

Jesus, fuck I felt so out of control. This was my family was I meant to keep them save, instead I could end up losing them, leaving me without Sookie, or my son, and leaving Jessica without a mother – again.

I watched as they rolled James out of the ward, and I had to, I had to go with him.

I called my mom, she called Niall, and they were on their way, Pam found me as I stood outside the sealed unit for premature babies. I was not allowed in just yet, but I could see him. Tiny as he was, he now had some colour, and a little blue hat.

“Jessica is asleep, they told me id’ find you here… is that him?”I nodded, tears in my tired eyes.

“That’s James.”She smiled.

“He’s a tiny beauty. Where’s -”

“They said… there were complications Pam. With the accident, with the birth, with everything.”

“Well, come on, let’s go find out if -”

“No.”

No?”

“No… I can’t. What if she’s dead? Huh? What if we made the wrong choice? What -”

“What if you’re being a melodramatic asshole right now. Come on.” She pulled me but I pulled back.

“NO. If its bad news I don’t want to fucking go seek it out, Pam. Fuck.”

I let go, and I cried, and she softened to me, yanking me to her in a hug only Pam could give you. It was both loving and judging all at once.

“Eric, you listen to me okay? And you listen good. You need to find out about Sookie, one way… or another.” she wiped her own tear, “then you need to deal with it, whatever it is they tell you and you need to do it now. Your son and your daughter need you too. I need you. And I can’t stand here and watch you fall apart like this, okay?”

I nodded.

“Okay. So… please?” she took my hand, and took one last glimpse at my son, and I went with her.

She was right, I needed to face what was happening and I needed to do it now.

I had never prayed as hard in my life as I did in that short walk to the hospital reception.

“I…” I cleared my throat, “I um need to find out about Sookie Stackhouse?” I asked the woman.

“Are you her husband?”

“No…””Well then Sir I’m sorry but we can only -”

“She’s my fiancé, our kid is in the ER and our son is in the Neonatal unit right now, please just tell me if she’s okay?”

Her hardened expression softened a touch and she typed into her computer.

“Ms Stackhouse is in surgery, sir.”

“She’s… alive then?”

I let out my breath, as did Pam.

“Yes, sir. She is, but they uh,” she looked at her computer, and then back to me, “it’s an emergency hysterectomy sir.”

My heart sank for her that was in itself going to devastate her. But, at least she would have a live, beating heart to break when she did find out. That, I was going to focus on.

“Thank you.” I said, leaving the desk and going to check on a still sleeping Jessica. The nurse told me they had given her something for the pain and it knocked her right out. It was for the best, for all of us. It was only eight pm, but it had felt like I had been in that hospital for days.

“Mr Northman?” a small blonde nurse with a sweet voice directed my way.

“Yes?”

“Sookie is in recovery.”

I sat up. I must have fallen asleep I realized, holding Jessica’s hand.

“She is?”

“Yes, she is. But, she won’t be awake for a few more hours, so why don’t you go up and see your son.”

“I want to, but they -”

“They’ve stabilized his lungs for now, he’s in his incubator, and he’ll have to stay there until his lungs develop further, but you can touch him.”

“I can?”

She smiled.

“Yes. Come with me, I will get you sorted out.

I followed the nurse, leaving Jessica with her doll that Pam had brought over for her from the house, as well as some clothes and food that I just could not eat. It was sweet of her though and I made a note to thank her later.

The room with all the babies was so, so warm, and so quiet. There must have been at least ten babies, all as small as James in there. She led me to him, and there he was, big eyes open. He was three pounds four ounces, so tiny. He had tubes almost everywhere too, but he was awake and kicking his little tiny legs.

“I’ll leave you two alone,” she said with a soft smile, “oh, and Mr Northman?”

“Yeah?”

“Congratulations on your son, he’s beautiful.”

I smiled. He was.

“Thank you.”

The room was still so quite, nothing but monitors and breathing sounds filled the air; I bent down to get a better look at my son. Even in tiny half-baked form, I knew he had Sookie’s nose, little pouted lips and a small scattering of fair hair, his little eyebrows almost too blond to see, but they were there. I reached in, through the glove that allowed me to get closer to him, even if it was not skin-to-skin contact, it was more than nothing was, and I needed to connect to him somehow. His little hand gripped mine, weakly, but the grip was there.

“Hey little man, I’m,” I swallowed back the happy and sad tears as I spoke, “I’m your dad, welcome to the world… This is a little earlier than I expected, hell, we all expected you a little later – and you’re not even a day old and I’m already cursing in front of you, sorry about that.” I smiled, “but, hey, I’m your dad it’s kind of what I do. Your mom is the good one though, she is kind of busy right now though, trying to not die an all, but, she’s strong you know? Of course, you know, she made you. I mean… I helped… obviously, we’ll talk about that more when you’re older – but I did help, and I want to help now too. Because, even though you’re earlier than we expected, we’re still so glad you’re here. And your sister Jessica, she’s dying to meet you. Well, she isn’t, but she will be, when she realizes how awesome you are. Jessica is five, and right now, not so thrilled with the idea of you, but, she’ll love you, just like I do, James. So, baby boy, I need you and I to make a deal here – father to son – okay?”

His finger wrapped around mine a little tighter, I took that as a yes.

“I need you to keep on swimming, okay? Just keep on swimming for me, for mom, and for Jessica. And so you can grow up and bitch us all out, on how your little sister was a little loopy and your parents where the idiots that let her middle name you Nemo. Okay, buddy? Just. Keep. Swimming.” I said as gently as I could.

We could get through this; we totally could get through this. We just had to keep swimming.

SPOV:

When I woke up, it was dark outside the window I was facing, the sun either had just set, or was about to come back up again. I was so disorientated, I had no idea where I really was or how much time had actually passed. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck, which, was almost half true, and I also didn’t feel my baby inside me anymore.

Panic.

But then, the haze started to clear, and my breath evened out. That’s when all the pain hit me at once. It felt like someone had been sawing into my stomach, which, again, was almost half-true as I fully woke up. I looked at my arm, the drip was securely hooked up, and skin was so white. I glanced to my left, and there he was. I smiled.

Eric was sleeping in a chair to my left, with Jessica in his arms. She had a cast on her arm.

Fuck. My baby girl. I had almost killed us both.

My baby boy.

I blinked. I looked around the room, he wasn’t there.

I held in my tears and tried my best to not over react, but how did I exactly react? I had no idea what was going on.

“Sookie?”

“What … Where is he?”

He got up off the chair, leaving a sleeping Jessica back down and covering her with a blanket before he made his way to me.

“Eric? Where’s James?”

“He’s fine… he’s up stairs, and he’s alive, and breathing and growing.” he said, a relieved look on his face, like the one I felt as he finished.

“Really?” I smiled.

“Really. Sookie, he’s so small, but he’s so strong, and so beautiful. Reminds me of someone.”

He cupped my face before he kissed me.

“I screwed us up though, again.”

“It was an accident.”

“I knew I felt wrong but I thought, if I just got home we’d be okay, I’d be off the road, I’d be home free.”

“I know.”

“No, it was stupid. I was stupid.”

“Sookie -“”Please forgive for this, just say you forgive me.”

“There’s nothing to forgive.”I bit back my sob, and looked at the cuts on my arms, then to Jess.

“How is she? Shit, she must hate me.”

“She doesn’t hate you, she’s worried for you.

“”She’s too young to worry, shit…” I said lying back on the bed.

“True, but you’re her mom and she loves you. Plus she thinks her cast is cool, she wants a pink sling though, with bedazzles.”

I sniggered.

“I want to see him.”

“They said you shouldn’t be walking yet or really on your feet at all for -”

Just at that, the nurses came in.

“Oh good, Sookie you’re with us again. You’ve been in and out of it for almost two days now.”

“Two days?” I looked at Eric and he just shrugged.

“Yes, we were wondering if you were just going to sleep your life away.” Said the older one with ginger hair, checking my blood pressure, “but you’re back now and we can fill you in on all the time you’ve miss out on.”

“Oh, okay?”

“Sookie the doctors preformed a C-section on you to get James out as quickly and as safely as we could -”

“I want to see him; I need to see my baby.” I protested, and she nodded.

“Of course, of course, first there are some things I need to tell you.”

I looked to Eric who looked somewhat guilty.

“He’s … going to be okay, right?”

“This isn’t about your son right now, Sookie.”

“Oh.”

“Due to the severity of the internal injuries you had in the accident, they had to perform an emergency hysterectomy.”

I blinked. She had to be kidding, right?

I listened as she explained something about the placenta, my uterus, and attaching itself to my organs, the dangers and why it was for the best.

Eric squeezed my hand.

“But I’m only thirty three, I … it…” I tried to digest the news, I really did, but I was so not expecting it that it hit me like a wave of pain.

“Hey,” Eric brought me back, “you can do this, look at all you’ve done so far, and you’re still here, and you’re still strong and amazing. This is just another thing.”

“When will the things stop, I’d like them to stop.” I said, I felt like a child, but they did this without my consent.

I listened, or rather, we listened, to her explain what happened, and in the end it was to save me, and that recovery looks great, but that I will be confined to minimum everything for at the very least four months. They explained that sex would still be very possible, just not for a while. They had not removed anything fully, but it did mean that any more children where just not possible.

That, was pretty much a given though, and the major reason I was giving the poor red headed nurse the stink eye. I had done enough research in my bed rest days on these things to know what was what. I knew I would still enjoy sex, I would still lead a healthy normal life, but I also knew – no more babies.

I looked to Eric who was just being this amazing thing, he was being so supportive on what looked like very little sleep, and dealing with everything while I was off in the land of Nod for two days. God I loved that man.

“Well that’s everything, Sookie we’re going to get you a wheelchair and take you up to see baby James, okay?” she smiled, sure she gave me the worst news, but she also gave me the best.

“Yes, please, thank you so much.”

“He’s a babe, or so say all the nurses.”

“You sure they aren’t talking about you?” I croaked, my throat still a little dry.

“No,” he smiled, pulling out his phone, and there was a picture of my baby.

“Oh my god… he’s so cute! I wanna go, I wanna go now!” I said, excited.

“Momma?” came the sleepy voice from the chair, then she woke up a little more. “MOMMA!” she said, excited as she ran to me, and Eric helped her up on the bed – gently. Very, very gently.

“Hey bubs, look at you, my brave girl!” I said hugging her as tight as my rather weak body would allow.

“Momma I was so scared, I’m so sorry.”

“Why are you sorry baby?”

“Nemo’s mom died and I thought that because James is Nemo and you’re his mom too that -”

“Oh, hush.” I sounded out to shush her, “baby that is not what happened… and really, he’s Nemo?” I asked Eric and he just smiled. Okay, so I guess my son was Nemo.

“That’s not what happened at all, mom was just a little sick and didn’t listen to what her doctor told her.”

“That was dumb.”

“Yes, five year old who has more sense than me, that was dumb, but hey, have you seen James yet?”

She nodded.

“For like a second with daddy through the glass. He’s so small.”

“He is. But, I haven’t seen him yet so how about we all go meet him right now.”

“Can we hold him?”I tried not to cry, no, I knew it would be some time before I was allowed to hold my baby boy.

“Not yet, bubs, but soon I hope okay? For right now, we just have to go say hi and make sure he knows we’re there for him.”

“Okay, but I have to go to the shop first.”

“The store or-”

“The gift shop.” she said, seriously.

“Oh honey you don’t -”

“Daddy can take me, please?”

I looked to Eric who had no issue with it; he just lifted her off the bed.

“We’ll meet you up there.” He kissed me on the forehead and bent Jessica down to do the same. They were far too cute those two.

“Okay.”

Ten minutes later, I was being wheeled up the corridors to see my baby. I was scared, nervous, excited, happy, sad, and probably on a lot of pain medications too by the feelings, I was having. I washed my hands, and put on another gown on top of the one I was already wearing and then they wheeled me in.

I fell in love, instantly.

“God he’s so small.”

“He is, but he’s handsome, and a real kicker too. He’ll be fine, Sookie, it’s only been a few days but he’s improving, we have nothing but hope for him.”

I nodded. Sliding my hand into the glove to almost-but-not-quite- touch my son.

“Hey beautiful…”I said, not really knowing if he could hear me or not. I didn’t care; I needed to talk to him.

“Wow, you’re so small, but don’t let people tell you differently, I know for a fact great things come in tiny packages. And so does your Aunt Pam, you’ll meet her soon, she likes to shop… but you… aw you are the best little package I’ve ever gotten. I can’t wait to hold you, and love you and spoil you completely rotten. Of course, Pam will spoil you more, and God, your dad will probably have you ruined too, but if you can’t spoil your kids, who can you spoil, right? He spoils me too though; he is kind of epic in that way, your dad. I’m sure you’ve met him; he’s the one with the sperm and the tallness. I have neither of those things, thankfully I guess.” I laughed, “Jessica is here, well, she’s off channelling her auntie, shopping, my guess is for you. She will love you… eventually. I have a brother, your uncle Jason, and I love him, I don’t always like him, but I love him and I’d die for him… I hope you and Jessica love each other. I love you, your dad loves you, and I’m pretty sure all the nurses in here have a huge crush on you, blue eyes. Hi.” I said as he finally looked at me. And logically I knew he didn’t see me, but it filled my broken heart with joy. I might not be able to have any more new born babies, but then, I’d gone a whole life with that not being possible – or so I thought and look at where I was. He was meant for me, he was meant for us. And that’s what mattered, I held on to that and the rest would make sense in time, I hoped.

Just as I was about to lose myself into a fit of bubbling tears, my team reappeared.

Jessica was walking beside Eric, hiding something behind her back.

“What you go there, Jess?”

“It’s for James.” she giggled.

“Oh really? That’s sweet. Do we get to see?”

She nodded, and Eric just straight out laughed.

“Taah-dahh.” she said, producing a very small, but very, very cute, Finding Nemo plush toy.

“It’s for Nemo, Get it?”

I got it, and I laughed too.

“We looked for Dory but they didn’t have any, Dad said she must have forgotten to go the to the store but that’s just silly, toys can’t think!” She side-eyed Eric, I kid you not.

“That’s not true, what about Woody and Buzz?” Eric said.

“Ohhh yeaaah,” she pondered. “Anyways the nurse with the frizzy hair-”

“Jessica!” I said and she shrugged.

“Whatitis!”

Eric held in his smirk.

“She said I could just leave it here for him. So, can I?”

I nodded and left the tiny toy, beside my tiny boy.

We would just keep swimming I guess, and hopefully come out the other end intact. In fact, even with the odds really against us, we had managed to so far, what was the rest of it after all this?


*Exhale* He’s here, no one died, I already killed one Sookie this year, I thought I’d give this one a break 😉 Reviews are adored, as always, and if you have a question please enable your PMs so I can replay since FF hates us talking in review replies these days it seems! xoxo!


Chapter 21: Chapter 21


Six Months Later…

SPOV:

Those first six weeks where the longest of our lives, or so it felt. Not only was I unable to do much at all physically because of my surgery, James was still very much confined to his little bubble of perfect temperature and zero germs. However, bright side? He was growing, and thriving, and healing, as he would have had he not have been born as soon as he was. His tiny body and his even smaller organs were growing and not counting one minor almost infection, he was almost free and clear. It took almost two months before he was strong enough to come home, and when we finally set about getting him ready for home, it felt like it was the day we’d been building up to, forever. But he was responsive and happy, just like any other baby his age should be. So we were happy, Eric and I were beyond thrilled, truthfully.

Jessica was happy, at first, she had a new brother, people where coming and going, and there where presents and cake, presents for James and of course for her, and we know how she loves her cake, so she was in kid heaven.

That is, until the newness wore off having a screaming baby awake at all hours, or having my time with her seriously monopolised due to James’ needs. After about a week, she got bored of it and started to just roll her eyes whenever anyone would ask about him, or come to see him. He was still so small, and fragile, that, quite rightly Eric and I were just scared for him and extremely nervous. We had never really dealt with a fragile new-ish born baby for long periods of time before. When we got Jessica, she was a year old, the three am feedings, and constant fear was not there. This time it was, in bucket loads.

“He’s breathing right?” I said, as was my nightly ritual when we put him in his crib, it was next to our bed. I wasn’t feeling so ready to have him in the next room just yet either.

“Yes, he’s breathing.” Eric smiled down at him, “you know, he’s growing, and eating and being amazing, I think we need to try and relax a little bit, Sook.”

He had been telling me that since be brought him home, Eric the baby whisper and his talents seemingly hadn’t died out, he still had the baby magic touch.

The bastard.

I wasn’t half as bad with James as I was with Jessica though, he liked me right away, and even though I didn’t get to breast feed him like I had planned to, we still felt bonded, I was so glad because it was one of my worries. Between Eric, myself, Olivia and Niall, I do believe there is more pictures of my six month old and his sister than there are of any other kids on the block, possibly the zip code. Olivia and Niall arrived shortly after I got out of hospital, and they really couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Both Eric and I were mentally and physically done out, and having them around to distract Jessica was a welcomed break. Back and forth to the hospital, every day was certainly not the most fun thing to be doing, but it meant we got to see our little man, and for that, we were thankful.

Pam and Amelia broke up shortly after James was born. Pam made Ames move out, and they were sharing custody of Ben, it was heartbreaking to see Pam so broken, and in truth – even though I was far less sympathetic to her – Amelia too. I tried to talk to them both equally about it, but the truth was I hated Amelia for cheating on Pam, not matter what was going on between both of them; they were still very much a couple when she decided to fuck that person. I understood Pam’s pain, and I understood why she wanted time to herself. As selfish as it sounds, they needed to deal with it themselves. I knew first hand just how messy things got when everyone and their opinions started sticking their noses in other couples business too much, so no; Eric and I agreed we would be there for both of them if and when they asked.

“I know we need to relax, it’s just hard you know? After everything I know I’m being overly cautious but, I’m just scared.”

“I know…” he kissed my forehead before we both crawled into our bed.

“How’s Pam?” I asked, changing the subject.

“She’s fine, she’s having trouble getting Ben all the way across town to Ames in the mornings but other than that she doesn’t mention her much.”

“She’s gone back into robot mode?”

“Pretty much.” he sighed and it made me roll my eyes.

“Amelia is the same…”

“Have you stopped giving the poor girl the death glare at least?” he smirked.

“It’s not a – that’s not the point. She’s the one that ruined it; I’m not going to encourage her to wallow in her own self pity because she couldn’t stop herself.”

He nodded, but there was something he was not saying.

“Out with it.”

“I just… aren’t you being a little harsh?”

“How am I being harsh? She broke your best friend’s heart.”

“You’re my best friend.” He corrected me, that made me smile.

“You’re mine too,” I kissed him on the cheek, “but your … other best friend then.”

“We all make our mistakes, Sookie.”

“I know, but your mistake or any I’ve made haven’t broken us to our core.”

“No, but mine almost did, in fact it came damn near close to killing us, a small mistake can have disastrous consequences, ” he said, sadly.

“I three second uninvited kiss is not the same as fucking a guy, Eric.”

“I’d hope not, if I was fucking a guy, the cheating thing would be the least of our worries.” He made a funny face while widening his eyes.

“You know what I mean…”

“I do.”

Pulling me to his side, I revelled in his warmth.

“They’ll get through it, if they’re meant to. Like I knew we were meant to.”

“You did?” He nodded.

“Do you remember when we first moved in here? How unsure we both were, of everything?”

“Yeah…”

“You made my uncertainty less, little by little. And soon it allowed my confidence to grow, with you, with Jess, with the idea that I could be a good dad, and maybe something to you as well… you know other than a pain in your ass.”

I laughed; I never knew he felt that way.

“Even when you were lying to me and pretending to be a man-whore and hiding your jealously over Sam?”

He grumbled, “I didn’t hide my jealously so well, though did I?”

I kissed him then, “No, you didn’t, but I am glad you were… I was jealous of all your women, even if I only ever saw one of them, the rest where in my head… and total supermodels… it sucked.”

He hugged me closer.”We were foolish, weren’t we?”

“Ever so slightly, but it was our thing, hell, it still is our thing. We fuck up, and we fix it.”

He smiled.

“Speaking of fucking up, when are we going to rectify this situation?”

“What situation?”

He just raised his brows at me. Oh, that situation.

“Oh.”

“Yes. Oh.”

“Well, before things were so hectic, and it was just -”

“One thing after another, I know. But now, Sookie, he’s a happy baby, Jessica… will come around, and I think it’s safe to say whatever “baby weight” you didn’t like isn’t an issue anymore either.”

He finger quoted baby weight, mostly because Eric thought my issue with my larger body was a little on the ridiculous side, then again, he did not seem to notice the rolls, he just seemed to notice the boobs. It had been a pain in my newly sizable ass that is for sure. After James, and after the hysterectomy, I had to be careful, and for a long time, sex and running seemed so out of the question. Even though I was in a shit load of pain for a time, I knew it was the right thing. It allowed my baby to be here, and it allowed me to be there to see it. The heartbreak I felt about them taking away the possibility of more babies was something I knew I would have to process, I was just glad that they had done it in such a manner that other than the fertility issue, I was still able to function as normal. No hormones, no pills. Small favours, right?

That is what I was focusing on now, or trying to at least. The small things, the little things that made life good. Jessica growing, making more friends, James smiling, or laughing and watching Eric with both of them it was all my happy place.

“Let’s do it then.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah… Let’s just do it, just us, let’s get married and make everything we are official. I’d like the idea of being Mrs Northman you know?”

“I’d like that too, though living in sin has been awfully fun,” his lips attached to my neck gently sucking, kissing, and making me tingle, as he knew how.

“It really has, I mean, we can’t be young free and single forever, sooner or later we have to attach that old ball and chain,” I joked letting my hands wander, “it’ll be a pain, but I guess it’s time.”

“Oh, yes, such a pain, I can’t even begin to think!”

“I know! Throwing away my best years… it’s such a shame.” I kissed him again, this time pushing him back against his pillows, allowing me to straddle him.

“How do you want to do this?” I asked him.

This or … the wedding?” He answered me, his hands roaming my hips in the hopes of what was to come, it was to come, but we needed to talk first.

“Both, but mostly the wedding. I know what you like sexually, but I’ve never had a wedding with you before.”

He smirked.

“I really don’t mind where we do it. Or how. I mean, it is a girl’s thing, right? The big white wedding, the whole nine, I just want it to be you, me, our kids, making it official, then we can just shout it from the roof tops maybe.”

“But you’ve never thought about what you’d like to do for a wedding?”

“Honestly? No, all I knew when I thought of a wedding was you.”

Sweetest man ever, and I knew he was not just angling to get laid, that was pretty much a given already.

“Really?” I asked.

He nodded.

“So you wouldn’t care if I wanted a big huge wedding with all the trimming and ridiculously expensive dress and maybe let Pam plan it?”

His face blanched.

“Well… I … if it’s… you know, if it’s really what you wanted, we can just choose which kid goes to college.” He smiled then.

“I’m kidding, Eric, believe me, the last thing I need is a big ass expensive wedding. I’d be happy just going down to City Hall and doing it there.”

“You’re kidding again?”

“No,” I really was not, I may have at one time in my life dreamed of the big expensive white wedding, but that is not what I needed or wanted anymore. I just wanted to be married, I wanted to be Eric’s wife and for him to be my husband. The party was just a party, and we could do one of those anytime.

“Okay, I’m game if you are.”

“Just us, not big hoopla, just simple and intimate?”

“Definitely.” He grinned, and if he didn’t make me want to jump him before, I certainly wanted to after that.

EPOV:

“Who’s my boy, you’re my boy, that’s right, you’re my boy.” I said tickling him as we finished off his bath. He loved his baths, but really, I think he just loved to be naked. Jessica scowled at me when I informed her that she had been similar in that respect.

“But I love my clothes, I did not!”

“You did, you used to strip off all the time and just go running around the house in your little naked tush.”

“Dad!”

“Whaat?” I whined back, “it’s funny.”

She rolled her eyes, just turned six and already such a sense of attitude. We were doomed.

“You want to hold him?”I asked, knowing she had been skittish for a long time. It had mostly been because he was just so fragile at first, and we had kept an extra close eye on her when she was with him, it was nervous new parenting, but it was not something we could help. Now, she was just uninterested.

“Nah, that’s okay. I’m going over to play with Hoyt.”

“Oh, you are?” I asked her, since she certainly hadn’t asked me.

May I go over and play, please?” She asked, in her most polite voice.

“You may. We’re going to Adele’s for dinner with mom though, so tell Maxine to send you home at five so I can get you washed up and ready.”

“Okay. Bye dad, bye James.” She said, taking off for the front door, hopping on her bike and cycling across the street. I kept an eye on her though, even if it wasn’t busy, I worried.

“Okay dude, just you and me, and personally I think you need a nap.”

Spit bubble.

I settled us both down on the couch for a little TV time for me and maybe some sleep times for him. The previous week we had gone down and registered for a marriage licence. Filled out all the paperwork, and now it was just a matter of doing it. I was excited, I was excited for the change and I was excited for things to just hopefully stay the same. We were good now, really good. We had gotten back on our respective wheels again, and everything felt right again, finally. The only kink in the steel so to speak was Jessica. She was not interested in the baby at all, and I knew it freaked Sookie out. She didn’t want to be with her mom when it was just them and James, no more cuddle Saturdays, and she rarely asked her mom to come play with her either. I knew that when Sookie came home, and had been in such a fragile state, both emotionally and physically, that Jessica was put off by seeing her mom in pain, and having to stay in bed and not be as playful as she was so used to. And somewhere along the line, Jessica just started to pull away from her; I knew it broke Sookie’s heart, because I knew it broke mine to see her disinterest. Sookie was trying to be brave about though, she was trying to convince us both that she would grow out of it, and things would go back to normal soon… but it had been six months, and she was still not showing any signs of going back. With Sookie back to work three days a week it gave me a lot of one on one time with Jessica again, but every time I would bring it up or bring up what she thought of James… she would just change the subject or go silent.

I was really struggling on what to do, for all of us.

“Hey guys!” Sookie said enthusiastically coming to greet us as we walked into the restaurant. She lifted Jessica first, eyeing me in the question if anything had changed, sadly, it had not.

“Where you good for dad?” She asked her, “Did you help him with the baby; you know how he really needs your help, right?”

She just shrugged.

“He seemed okay on his own, mom.”

Cringe face from me to her. Yep, I knew what she meant. This whole ‘integrating the babies’ thing really wasn’t working.

Okaaay.” Sookie sounded out taking us to our usual table, where we left James in his carrier seat on the inside of the table. Sookie fawned over him, and he seemed just as happy to see her, big gummy smiles and excited hands and legs.

“So, Jess what do you want for dinner?”

“Does it has to have vegetables in it?”

“Maybe.”

“Can’t I just have pizza?”

“You had pizza last night, maybe some of Lafayette’s peppered chicken? You love that, right?”

No.”

“No?”

“I hate it.”

She didn’t hate it a week ago.

“Okay, so what about -”

“I want pizza.”

Sookie took a deep breath.

“And I said no, besides Lafayette isn’t cooking pizza tonight.”

“He will for me, he always makes me whatever I want.” she huffed.

Little madam.

“Well, not tonight. Pick something else.”

Sookie looked to me and I just shrugged.

“I found the dress.”

“You did?”

She smiled.

“I did, it’s nothing too over the top, but I think you’ll like it.”

“Oh, will it fit me just right?” I batted my lashes at her, causing her to laugh aloud. She threw her napkin at me playfully.

“No, it won’t, but I think you’ll enjoy the um, after wedding attire a lot more.”

“Is that right?”

“Oh, definitely.”

“Any hints?”

“Hmmm. Nope.”

I rolled my eyes, of course, there were no hints, but there was also no pressure. We hadn’t told a soul what we were doing, not one. We were going down to City Hall, we had booked a minister and that was that. We hoped Maxine and Pam would be available to meet us on a whim, in fact I knew they would be. And that’s all we wanted. That and a dinner with all our friends afterwards here, that, they knew about but that’s all they knew about. It was awesome.

I ordered my steak, Sookie ordered her chicken, we fed James as we waited, and Jessica refused anything, so she knew the consequence. If she didn’t like what was offered, she didn’t eat, simple as that. Of course, we normally caved and she’d get something at home, but it was normally supper food, like cereal or toast. But she knew this, and still she sat, her arms crossed, pouting to herself.

“Jessica, do you want some of my chicken?”

“No, I told you, I hate it.”

“Okay, fine.”

“I just want pizza.”

“And I told you there is no pizza.”Sookie sighed, “Pam came in today.” She said to me, ignoring Jess and her tantrum.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, it was awkward, Ames had just come into work, and they had this whole thing,” she looked at me, we had gotten really good at code talk over the years, and I knew what ‘thing’ they had, it was most likely a row of sorts.

“Did they say anything that gives us hope?”

“Not really, still blaming each other, still mad, still passive aggressive… It’s just so sad. I want them to be happy.”

“We all do.”

“Hey there Miss Jessica.”

“Lafayette!” She smiled when she saw him approach us, her whole face lit up, talk about a personality transplant. “Will you make me food? My mom won’t feed me.”

Sookie looked open mouthed at her, damn Jessica way to rub it in.

“Excuse me, I would feed you, I just told you, no pizza.”

“And you didn’t want anything else?” Lafayette asked her and she shook her head no.

“Not even my fried chicken? Jessica you knows my chicken is the best.”

“Can I have it on pizza?” She asked sweetly, that girl had nothing to learn.

He looked to us, and that was a clear no, she wasn’t going to manipulate us like this.

“Not tonight baby girl, how about I take you into the kitchen and maybe let you choose something else, huh? It’s better than being hungry right?”

He nodded to us before giving James a baby high-five before he took Jessica off on a kitchen adventure.

“You know, maybe she’s Pam’s kid, it would make sense.” Sookie sighed, finishing off her food before she took James out to wind him.

“Hey little guy…hey…” his face was contorting, clearly uncomfortable, but hilarious just as it was when he’d smile and laugh, I loved it all. He was an odd mix of both of us in his features. When he was born, it was hard to tell whom he got what from looks wise, but as he got that little bit older, it was clear. He had my ears and eyes, and impossibly long fingers for a little dude, but he had her nose and cute little pout, his eye colour was closer to Sookie’s blue than it was to mine, but they had my shape. She maintained he was a little mini me, but I saw her in him more than I saw me. His hair was white blond when he was born but was becoming more of a fair light brown now, either way he was as cute as could be, even when he cried.

“I know baby I know it hurts but you just give me a -” and he burped big and loud for such a little one,” there we go!” she smiled.

“Maybe we should tell Jessica,” she said, pondering aloud, “I could take her shopping for her dress tomorrow, if you’re around to keep James, I think we need some real girl time.”I nodded, I thought so too, I mean it was killing Sookie that Jess was being so distant, I knew she wanted to fix it more than anything.

“Sure, I do enjoy nap time. I really don’t know why I resisted it so much when I was a kid.”

“Right? Love naptime. Elmo time, not so much. God I hate that little bastard.”

I laughed, yeah Elmo grated on the nerves that’s for sure.

“So, shopping tomorrow then, I think I’ll ask Pam over for lunch or something, she and I haven’t really had a change to talk lately, and with work being so busy it’s never really the right time to start bring up her love life, you know?”

“Yeah, exactly, it will do you guys good too; I really hope she’s okay. I mean, I know Ames is a mess, but I really feel for Pam. She’s more like family than Amelia anyway, and she was the one that didn’t do any wrong, it just sucks for her… for both of them, and for little Ben.”It did, it really did, I did not know where either of them stood right now, but I missed my friend, she was being as distant as Jessica was with her mom, and that was just never a good sign. But as Sookie would do her best with our daughter, I’d do my best with the woman that was like a sister to me, I’d no idea why they were pulling away, but that didn’t mean we could do our best to pull them back right?

I knew for sure it was something she’d do it for us if the situation was reversed. Infact I’m pretty sure she had done it for us, she hadn’t asked and maybe it was against the new rules, but I knew something that had to be taken into consideration too – Pam was as stubborn as I was, and if we waited for her to ask for help, we’d be waiting forever.


A/N: Hey guys! Me again! I’m not sure how many chapters of this baby I have left, but I thiiink we might be winding down soon. I’ll be sorry to see these guys go, I really will. But I do have another story up my sleeve 😉


Chapter 22: Chapter 22


EPOV:

I had bought a selection of massive sandwiches from the deli, as well as some cupcakes that I knew she liked, and I had the coffee brewing when she walked through the front door, without knocking of course, with Ben asleep in his stroller.

“Did someone die?” She asked seeing me in the kitchen.

“No, why?”

She eyed the food, and the cupcakes, she looked at me again.

“What are you up to? You know I like all this, why is it here?”

“What? Can’t I just do something nice for my oldest and dearest friend?”

“No, you can’t.” She answered dryly; sitting at the island, “out with it.”

“There’s nothing to come out with, I just thought we’d have lunch that’s all…”

“Mmmhmm.”

She knew better, but she helped herself to the sandwiches anyway.

“Where’s Sookie?”

“She’s taken Jessica shopping, James is napping in the living room, and the coffee is ready.”

“What’s she shopping for?”

Stuff. Anyway, we’re not here to talk about Sookie…”

“We aren’t? Oh, damn, you know that’s my favourite pass time.” She smirked.

“Are you okay, Pam?”

“I’m perfect, how are you?”

Smiling too big, it was clearly a front.

“Pam…”

“What? Ugh, is this what this is? You want me to sit and pretend we’re on Oprah and talk about our feelings?”

“Only if you want, and I don’t want anything to do with Oprah, she’s annoying.”

“I agree… but, ugh, Eric can we just not?”

She looked uncomfortable, which for Pam, when it came to what she was feeling, wasn’t that new.

“Sure, let’s just eat and talk about something else then.”

“Good, yes, let’s.”

And for almost an hour, we managed just that. The weather, Ben, James, Jess, Sookie and I, the bar, everything was covered, when we invariably got around to her and Amelia. She just shrugged and said, “She cheated on me. With that guy.”I looked shocked, because even though I knew the reason why they’d split, I had to at least pretend I didn’t.

“Well that’s just fucking horrible I mean really! Jesus! I just -”

“How long have you known?” She asked, deadpan.

Damn it, acting never was my strong point.

“A little while.”

She nodded. “I was sure Amelia would have told Sookie by now, but then again she said that she and Sookie haven’t been really talking since we split as well, so I wasn’t so sure, either way, that’s the reason. And it wasn’t some stupid kiss like you and that whore… she fucked him.”

“I’m sorry, Pam. I really am, that is still fucked up.”

She jerked her eyebrows in agreement.

“You know what else is fucked up? I still love her.”

She shook her head at herself, “I thought if I ever loved someone, and they loved me, and then they cheated? That I’d be done, that I’d just shut off and they could fuck off… and I tried.”

“But?”

“Didn’t work. I still love the bitch, and I really wish I didn’t because I kind of hate her too.”

We fell into silence for a while and I spoke again.

“Do you want things to work with her?”

“Eric, I wouldn’t have pushed a baby out of my body with her if I didn’t think she and I were going to make it, you know? I jumped in, head first with her, and I never that with anyone else… kind of like with you and Sookie, well, she’s my Sookie.”

I understood that, I really did.

“What does she think?”

“She knows I hate her, I’ve been refusing to talk to her, not because I’m mad, but because… it hurts, and I don’t want her to see my cry, yes, I cry.”

She rolled her eyes, I knew she cried, Pam was a lot more human than she liked to let on, “but, I don’t know, she says she sorry and that she thinks it was a mistake, but I just don’t know.”

“And the other guy?”

“She says it was over before it started, that it was out of loneliness… which made me feel like shit, because I was right there, you know?”

I nodded.

“I don’t know, Eric, to be honest I do love her but I don’t know if she loves me, I mean if she did, she wouldn’t have cheated, right?”

“Everyone is different though, I think more than anything you need to talk to her, either way.”

“I can’t.”

“You can.” I took her hand, and I looked at Ben, “look at him, Pam, he’s your son, and he’s Amelia’s son, and you made him and you didn’t think you could get pregnant, and you did, you didn’t think you could do pregnancy, and you did. And, you didn’t think you could do the labour either, and you where a fucking rock star during that time, and you are raising him a happy healthy little boy. You can do anything, I know that much.”

Without warning, she just leaned over and hugged me, tight.

“Sometimes, most of the time, you’re an idiot, but times comes like these and you’re just the sweetest man.”

“Thanks?” Sometimes her compliments left a little to be desired.

“I’ll talk to her, but if I can’t get over the angry stage that I’ve been in, I don’t see much hope us, I don’t want Ben growing up with two fucked up parents who’re mad at each other all the time. I lived that and it wasn’t fun, I won’t do that to him.”

“Good, it’s all I ask, and if you guys can’t work it out then, you know you always have Sookie and I if you ever need anything.”

She nodded.

After that the mood changed, she seemed more relaxed than she had in weeks, and I was glad. And just when James woke up from his nap, so did Ben, feeding time round two.

SPOV:

“And then Hoyt said that it was a stupid idea and that his idea was better, but I knew my idea was the bestest so I made him do it, and then the tree house was done! It’s pretty but he hates it because he says it’s too girlie.”

She rolled her eyes sipping on her milkshake as I sat across from her listening to her tales.

“But, it’s his tree house too, so you know you guys have to share it right? So if he wants to do something too, you should hear him out and try and agree on something together so it’s fun for both of you.””I know, but mom, he likes green. I hate green. I like pink!”

Of course she did.

We where sitting in the café, having our much needed shopping break, for well over two hours we explored the shops, and my feet where feeling it. I had yet to tell Jess the reason why we were in the city, but I figured now was as good a time as any.

“Jess?”

“Hmm?”

“How would you feel if I told you me and dad where getting married?”

Her eyes widened.

“Really?”

“Yeah, really.”

“And we would all change our names to Daddy’s last name, too?”

“Sure! If you wanted to.”

“I’d like that, oh! Do I get to wear a new dress?”

“Yes.””And shoes?”

“Yes.”

“And can I have a purse?”

“Sure…”

“And wear makeup.”

No.”

I had to draw the line somewhere, and that was the line.

“Please?”

“No.”

She sighed, “Okaaaay. Can we have it in a castle like Cinderella?”

“Um, well, Dad and I were thinking of just doing it small, like in City hall and maybe going out for dinner afterwards.”

Her face scrunched up, “why?”

“Well… we don’t want a big fuss.”

“Why?”

“We just don’t, that’s now how we really need things to go, we just want to be married and it’s not important to us really how or where we do it.”

“Why?”

“Jessica, what did I tell you about the constant one word questions?”

“Not to do it?”

“Right.”

“But, mom,” she wined, “why? Why can’t you get married and have a big white dress, and flowers and cake! A big huge cake! And a big party?”

Why couldn’t I? I had wanted it once, but now, it wasn’t really what I needed, not at all. I realized I wanted a marriage and the party was just a party. But, as I looked into my little girls eyes, her hope for the fairytale still alive and well, I felt like shit for telling her that it wasn’t really real. Eric and I were not really fairytale material, not in the traditional sense, we had never been, and a big traditional wedding just seemed … not us, somehow. But then, maybe it was? She had confused me on the subject; I figured she would just accept it as it was and leave it at that, but no, she was adamant.

Shit!

“Um, well…”

“Mom, don’t you want to marry Daddy special?”

“I well, I … of course I do, I just…”

” Then, why? City Hall isn’t pretty, mommy, and that one time we went there,” to get the licence, “it smelled bad, I don’t think you can wear princess dresses in a place that smells like Hoyt’s feet.”

Oh, God, she was right. My six year old was right. Did we really want to start our married life off in a funky smelling building?

No, I don’t think we did.

So that is how I was so easily swayed from a quick wedding in city hall, to … well something I had no idea how to plan. When we got home, dress-less, Eric raised an eyebrow or two, but said nothing until we were both alone, both kids in bed.

“So, did something go wrong with the shopping? Usually you’re pretty ninja with the whole thing.” He smiled getting cosy next to me on the couch, handing me a beer as we settled in to watch our shows.

I sighed.

“Where to begin… Well, Jessica informs me that if we get married in city hall, it won’t be ‘special’ and that I should want to marry her daddy in someplace special, that doesn’t smell like feet.”

He burst out laughing.

“I love that kid, she’s crazy.” He said.

“She wants the whole nine, Eric. Dresses, cakes, princess themed fairytale wedding… I didn’t have the heart to tell my baby that fairytales aren’t real.”

He nodded.

“We’re not so Cinderella, are we?” He asked, pulling me close.

“I don’t want to be Cinders, she married a stranger, and had a really abusive home life if you think about, fairytales are fucked up.”

He laughed again.

“Don’t let Jess hear you say that.”

“But it’s true, we brainwash our kids to want something they can never achieve, that’s not right.”

“Who says you can’t achieve it? It might not be textbook, but some people get pretty damn close.” He kissed the side of my head, and as I was nestled into his side, I looked up at him.

“I don’t want a fairytale, because my reality is so much better.”

That made him look at me, really look, and smile, the kind that reached his eyes and made them crinkle. I loved that smile, and I loved that I knew that smile.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. You know me, inside out, you know what makes tick and what makes me calm, and you’re still the best sex I’ve ever had.”

“Well!” He said, his smile now a smug one,” I knew that.”

It earned him a nudge.

“But listen, if it makes her happy to see us have that piece of whatever tale she wants, maybe we should attempt it. I said before, and I mean it still, I don’t care how we do it, just that we do it. That’ll make me happy, so if it’s what you both want, go for it.”

“Did you tell Pam?”

“Nah, it didn’t’ seem right, you know, just being all ‘Heeeey! I’m getting married when your relationship is in the shitter!’ you know?”

“Yeah, but, if we’re going to do this, I’m going to need her help.”

He nodded.

“It might be good actually, a good distraction for her, we know how shopping makes her happy, it releases some kind of happy endorphin in her or something.”

“Ah, that’s not just limited to Pam, trust me.”

“One problem.” He said.

“What’s that?”

“I… was trying to keep this a surprise, but if we’re not going the quickie route then, um, there is a time limit on our wedding festivities.”

“Why?”

“I booked our honeymoon.”

“What? What… where … what? We didn’t even discuss if we were going on a honeymoon I thought you have work an-”

“Everyone needs a honeymoon, Sookie, I was just shitting you.”

“Well, where are we going?”

“That’s a surprise.”

I glared.

“Eric…”

“I know, you hate surprises, but come on, give me this one thing, I want it to be a surprise for you, okay?”

I agreed, eventually, even though he would have to tell me, otherwise how would I know what to pack.

We agreed, we had a month – just a month to pull of a fairytale wedding that would be fit for Queen Jessica.

I had no idea where to even start!

And that is where Pam came in, her eyes practically lit up when we told her, and even more so when we told her that there was a healthy budget. We figured it being last minute, we would need to make allowances, and that we needed her to help us, with her negotiating skills as well as her epic shopping skills there was a hell of a lot of ground to cover.

I was first ordered on a diet, yes, ordered. No bread, no fried food and no full fat coffees until W day.

I agreed begrudgingly, but mostly because I knew I didn’t want to look poochy in my wedding dress.

The wedding dress, that was the main thing as far as Pam was concerned. While I would have been fine with what she deemed ‘off the rack’ it was apparently the most appalling idea she’d ever heard of.

The next thing I knew, I had had three fitting with a Vera Wang tailor whom Pam knew from her days in New York, as a favour she had flown in to see Pam, and did my fittings for me in Louisiana. I would however have to come to New York if I wanted the full service. In the three weeks to the wedding, I do not think I had ever been as tired as I had been then, my baby was teething, my six year old was still not bonding with her brother, and yet I had a wedding to plan and trip to New York to take with Pam in a matter of days. I was clearly nuts.

And really, nuts is what I thought I was when the unthinkable happened.

It was just a normal day, as normal as anyone can get with two small kids. I was working in the morning, and headed home in the afternoon, to let Eric go from his ‘shift’ as we’d affectionately called it. Beds where stripped, laundry was getting done slowly but surely, James was having a ball in his play pen – literally – with the squishy ball pool balls we’d gotten him, and Jessica was colouring in the kitchen. Normal, and surprisingly calm. Usually one or both of them where screaming.

I took advantage of the quiet, and wheeled the pram into the garden, before I started weeding and generally tidying up the lawn, I never had been much of a green finger, but I figured since I had time and some peaceful kids, I might as well.

“Jessica?”

“Yeah?”

“Come out here and watch your brother!” I said as I went in to answer the phone real quick, she begrudgingly traipsed outside, but at least she went.

“Hello?” I said, out of breath, finally reaching the phone.

“Sookie, it’s Pam, listen can we talk? I booked us two tickets to New York next week for the final fitting, they have the dress we agreed on ready to be tailored and I think it would be a good time to go, what do you think?”

Did I have much of a choice, she had booked the tickets, and all I could do was agree.

“Um, okay hang on my planner is upstairs…” I said before I took off up the stairs, finding my planner sitting on my dresser.

“Date?”

“20th.”

“Okay yeah that’s cool, Ames is working that day, and I can ask her if she minds doing that weekend, but shit, who’s going to watch Ben?”

“Eric.”

“Oh, really? You’ve asked him then?”

I laughed.

“Well no, but he will; besides we’re doing this for his benefit in the long run so really he has to.”

I looked out the bedroom window, I saw Jessica and I saw the stroller, it was all good. So I walked further into my room, taking my eyes off them while I spoke – big mistake.

“I guess, but really I feel bad, Pam, leaving him alone with three kids while we swan off to -”

“Sookie, was this not his idea? When he bought you that deliciously over priced ring, and asked that stupid question, really, this is his fault. So, he must deal with it. New York is calling us and we must answer, you’re only planning on getting married once, right?”

“Yes.”

“So, we’re going to make it special, even if I think it’s lame that you all won’t book the Plaza.”

“We live in Louisiana, Pam.”

“So? I’d book the Plaza if I was getting married.”

“No, Adele’s will do fine, the marquee will be sweet.”

“And boring. But I guess that’s just you and Eric all over again isn’t it.”

“Hey, shut up, bitch we are not boring.”

“Oh, really? Please. Sookie you two have fallen into such a rut since James came along….”

“What? Did Eric say that?”

“No, calm your tits, he didn’t say anything but he looks worn out, and for all the wrong reasons, and so do you, believe me I’m the fucking poster child for neglecting a relationship, so don’t follow in my footsteps okay?”

I felt bad for her then, she knew they’d both done each other wrong. I just wanted them to fix it and be happy again, but not everyone’s idea of fixing it was like mine.

“I know, I just… I know.”

“Yes, I know you do, which is why you’re letting me help with this wedding. You guys are special, in your own little domesticated boring ways, and you deserve a fucking knockout wedding, I intend to provide that, with Eric footing the bill of course.”

“Oh, of course.” I rolled my eyes, I really was trying to stick to a budget, to Pam that was just unthinkable, but, I did pull her reins from time to time and I knew New York would be harder, but we would manage it.

“Okay, I’ll figure out work, and maybe some help from Maxine to give Eric a break you know? He will be covering the bar while you’re gone too.”

“He’ll manage, he always does.”

“Sure, of course. Alright, listen we’ll talk about this later okay I left the kids in the garden so I have to go.” I said looking out the window again, this time I could not see Jessica.

“Sure thing I’m booking the hotel as we speak -”

“Not the Plaza.”

“Oh come -”

“No, Pam. It’s just a weekend, even a B&B would do.”

She sighed.

“Fine. Bye.”

I ran downstairs to check on the kids, only there where no kids.

No Jess, no stroller.

“JESSICA?” I called out before hightailing it to the side gate, fucking padlock was open, shit. Shit. Shit.I ran out, down the driveway and down the street – no sign.

What the actual fuck?

“Jessica? Jessica if you can here me you answer me!” I yelled, earning funny looks from the other kids in the street.

“Hey Tommy, have you seen Jessica?”

“No Miss Sookie but I did see Hoyt he’s gone in for a drink of juice though.”

Helpful, really Tommy. I ran to Maxine’s, she knew that’s where she was allowed and no further around the block.

“Oh hi honey, you want some ice-tea?” Maxine said from her table in the middle of her garden, most people had them out back, but she had them out front, she liked to nosy.

“Tell me you’ve seen Jessica? I left them alone for a minute and they’re gone.”

“Both of them?”

I nodded, biting back my tears, “James was in his stroller. She wasn’t at the end of the street, and she knows not to go any further, it’s the main road out onto the highway then. Please can you look around here for me and I’ll go that way, just in case?”

“Oh of course honey, of course. HOYT, COME HELP YOUR MOMMA.” She yelled and I took off again, this time in the direction Jessica knew she wasn’t allowed to go.

Where the fuck would she have gone?


A/n: Will they Find Nemo? Will they find Jessica? Dun, dun, dun. *cue music* Okay, sorry, but that’s this updated folks, what did we think? Like it, hate it? Want Pam to plan every major event in your life like I do? Hehe. What did we think of the Trueblood eps? I don’t know about you, but highhanded hilariously bad at wooing a girl – Eric – is my fave. *pets him*

And, can we say a big ‘ick’ to Queen Beehl? DNW!

Reviews are adored! Go nuts! 😀


Chapter 23: Chapter 23


Recap :

No Jess, no stroller.

“JESSICA?” I called out before hightailing it to the side gate, fucking padlock was open, shit. Shit. Shit.I ran out, down the driveway and down the street – no sign.

What the actual fuck?

“Jessica? Jessica if you can here me you answer me!” I yelled, earning funny looks from the other kids in the street.

“Hey Tommy, have you seen Jessica?””NO Miss Sookie but I did see Hoyt he’s gone in for a drink of juice though.”helpful, really Tommy. I ran to Maxine’s, she knew that’s where she was allowed and no further around the block.

“Oh hi honey, you want some ice-tea?” Maxine said from her table in the middle of her garden, most people had them out back, but she had them out front, she liked to nosy.

“Tell me you’ve seen Jessica? I left them alone for a minute and they’re gone.””Both of them?”I nodded, biting back my tears, “James was in his stroller. She wasn’t at the end of the street, and she knows not to go any further, it’s the main road then. Please can you look around here for me and I’ll go that way, just in case?”

“Oh of course honey, of course. HOYT, COME HELP YOUR MOMMA.” She yelled and I took off again, this time in the direction Jessica knew she wasn’t allowed to go.

Where the fuck would she have gone?

EPOV:

She was panicking, I heard it in her voice, and as much as I tried to stop that feeling from taking me over, I was starting to feel the same.

“She won’t tell me, she won’t tell Pam. Eric, I don’t know what to do here, it’s getting dark and he’s out there alone and …God what if someone finds him and takes him? What if they don’t and he’s lying there cold and alone, oh, my God.” She said, and I knew she was pacing the floor with worry, I was in the car with her on speakerphone, I was rounding the corner to our block and I told her as much. When I ran into the house, I found her in the kitchen, in tears, her face all red and blotchy.

“Where is she?” I asked.

“In her room, she won’t come out, she won’t talk to me, we just found her walking through the gates after I first called you, and she hasn’t spoken since. God, Eric he’s out there somewhere and I don’t …”

I pulled her close for a second; I needed to calm but her and myself down before I took to Jessica.

“We’ll find him, okay, and he’ll be fine, okay?” I said, shushing her, before I took the stairs two at a time, and found Jessica playing with her dolls.

I knew, we all knew, shouting and screaming was not going to achieve anything, we never got anywhere with Jess like that. So, I took my time, went in, and sat beside her.

“What you playing?”

“House, see?” she said, showing me her tea set and her dolls all lined up with tiny cups.

“Do they like their tea?”

She nodded.

“Jessica, can I ask you something baby?”

“Sure!” She smiled.

“Why did you take your brother away?”

Her smiled faded and she looked to her dolls again.

“I no want to talk about him, do you want some tea, daddy?”

I inhaled, trying to keep my patience in check. I noticed Sookie standing by the door, hidden from Jessica’s view.

“Jess, Mom and I really worried him, he’s so little… you were that little once, and we had to take such good care of you… and James being out there alone, well, it’s not right. We need him home, honey; we need you to tell us where you left him.”

She shook her head ‘no’.

Jesus.

“Jessica, please.”

“I can’t! If he comes back…”

“If he comes back, what?”I asked, wondering just what was going on in that little head of her.

She mumbled and I could not hear her, next thing I know she was climbing under her covers.

“Jessica, talk to me, please. Please? I don’t know how to help if you don’t use your words.” I glanced at Sookie, who was silently crying, her hand over her mouth.

“If he comes back, mommy dies.” she said, from under her pink bed covers.

“What?”

I looked to Sookie, and she looked just as shocked as I did.

“Jess, who told you that,” I yanked back the covers, but she pulled the back again.

“Jess?”

Sookie walked in and sat down on the floor beside me, gripping my hand.

“Jessica,” she began, “who told you I was going to die?”

“Hoyt.” She said quietly.

“I’m going to kick his ass.” I whispered to Sookie, she just climbed into bed beside Jessica.

“Why did he say that?” She asked, pulling back her blankets to look her in the eye, she was crying too, her face all red and blotchy. It broke my heart.

“He- he said that if my biological mommy died when I was one, and he’s called Nemo and Nemo’s mom died too when HE was a baby, that it probably meant that my mom was going to die too, when Nemo became one. And if he was gone, if he was gone I thought that you wouldn’t die. So he’s gone, okay? So please don’t die!”

I saw Sookie fighting back her sobs, this was harder for her, since I knew that was a fear she had herself, being taken away from the kids, like Hadley and Alcide had been taken away from Jessica.

“Baby… Look at me.” Jessica did, finally. “I’m not going to die, okay? No matter what Hoyt said or thought, I’m here to stay, for a very long time ’til I’m old and grey and you have to mush my food up in the blender.”

“Blender food is gross.” Jess said, stopping crying.

“Yep, that it is. Okay, so tell me, is this why you haven’t wanted to be near James? You were afraid?”

She nodded.

“He made you crash the car, and he wasn’t even BORN!” She said, her eyes wide, still red from her shed tears.

“I promise you, he didn’t, okay, that was me and that was an accident and if you have to blame anyone -” Sookie began, but I interrupted her, I was not going to let her place the blame on herself for that either.

“It was an accident, Jessica, no one’s fault; things just happen that way sometimes, but look, we’re all still here, aren’t we?” I said and she nodded. Sookie took over then, like a pro.

“Now, I don’t want you to be afraid of James anymore, okay? He is just a little baby, and he needs his big sister so much! You know how Daddy has Pam? And I have Uncle Jason? Well, James needs you like that, he needs his sister, and pretty soon, he’ll be walking and talking and he’ll be more fun -”

“He IS kind of boring, but he’s okay, I guess… for a boy. But, mom if he kills you DEAD -”

“Jessica, he’s not going to kill me, or dad, or you. But, sweetheart, he is not going to be doing much of anything if you don’t tell me where you left him, okay? He’s just a baby; he can’t be alone like this.”

“Mr Roses…” Jessica said.

“What?” I said.

“I gave him to Mr Roses.”

“Who’s Mr Roses?” I asked Sookie… and she just looked deep in thought.

Her eyes went wide, then. “Jessica you mean the man on the side of the road? The…” she took a deep breath, “the homeless man we pass on the way to school?”She nodded, “he seemed lonely.”

Oh, Jesus Christ. All manner of thoughts flashed through my head, and really, not one of them pleasant.

Sookie took off like the speed of light, in her bare feet and made for down stairs.

“Thank you for telling us.” I said letting her come in for a hug.

“Am I still in trouble?”

“No, but you are grounded for a week,” she started to pout.

“But dad I was honest!”

“I know, and that’s really important, but it doesn’t make what you did okay, it was still wrong to do that. Next time Hoyt tells you something like that, you come and talk to mom and me, okay? Before taking James anywhere, clear?”

She was still pouting, but she nodded.

“Okay, come on.”

I heard the car pull out of the driveway, I cuddled Jessica until we got downstairs and Pam convinced her to watch cartoons with her and Ben, as I said a silent prayer that she would find him before I got into my car right behind her.

I saw Sookie’s car pull up, with traffic I was able to catch up with her, it was maybe three blocks away, on the one side of the road that led to the highway, Jessica was lucky she wasn’t killed.

I saw Sookie run out of the car, bare feet still and over to the grey haired man. I followed suit.

“Sir, hi, Sir do you remember me?” Sookie asked him and he looked somewhat out of it, but he smiled.

“Yes! Snookie, you brought me coffee in the winter.”

She nodded; I did not know she did this.

“Yes, sir, me – Sookie – and my daughter, Jessica. Sir… did she give you my son?”

He did not answer, but then he ruffled around moving his dog out of the way, and under a blanket, tucked in behind Mr Rose’s backpack, was James. Sleeping.

I exhaled as Sookie lifted him out and inspected him top to toe, he was in one piece and seemingly unharmed.

“He’s a good baby, Ma’am, I was a little confused when the little one offered him to me, but I thought it best if I kept him here safe for you.”

Sookie was sobbing but smiling as she knelt down and hugged the man, and thanked him repeatedly.

“It’s quite alright, Sookie,” he said, after she insisted he call her that, “he’s a good baby. Is this the dad?”

I still hadn’t spoken, I think, if anything, I was in shock.

“I am.” I said, shaking his hand, “thank you, sir.”

“It’s alright.”

“No, it’s not, not many people would have just kept him safe…”

“The world today is a sad, dangerous place. I know that more than anyone.”

He said, as he sat there, on his boxes, with his small box of roses. Ah, I thought, that is why she named him Mr Roses.

“Sir, I want to thank you, properly, I mean I can’t tell you how happy I am that you have our son, safe and well.”

He had woken up and was now crying, clearly he was cold and hungry, which led me to wonder just how cold and hungry Mr Roses was.

“Yes, please, let us help…somehow?” Sookie offered, I knew she did not want to offend him.

“Ma’am I think I’m a little past helping.”

“That’s not true!” Sookie said, “Everyone deserves help, and look at you now, you helped us, you saved our son.”

Technically, he had sort of just kept him in one place, and not sold him or killed him, but that was neither here nor there.

“I could use a meal and some new shoes, if you insist.”

That’s it? I thought.

“Sookie, I can do this, take him home.” I said, but she looked at me, unsure.

“Really? I don’t mind I -”

“Please?”

She nodded.

She hugged me and I hugged James, he was still unsettled, but we could forgive that considering he was in our arms, breathing again. I kissed his little head and watched as she took him to the car. She sat there for a few minutes, just holding him, before she strapped him in and took off.

“Okay, Sir, do you want to come with me?” I asked and he smiled.

SPOV:

I held him, and I just took a breath, thanked Jesus, thanked God, and thanked whoever was listening to me. He smelled, from Mr Rose’s things, and from his long overdue diaper needing changed. But he was in one piece, and it was if the hours before the hours of worry and sickness just melted away. When I got him back to the house I was greeted by a smiling Pam, Maxine, Tara, as well as – surprisingly, Amelia.

Jessica was lurking by the living room door as I took him and stripped his clothes, and threw them in the laundry room, before I asked her to come upstairs and help me run him a bath. Surprisingly, she obliged. I thanked Maxine, and everyone for their help, and promised we would all go out to dinner, my treat for all their work and worry. They tried to shoo me off, but it had to be done. I was beyond grateful for their help, and for the help or sane thinking of Mr Roses when it came to a baby. I was jus so relieved. So much so that I was as weepy as anything, and was still quietly crying to myself as I ran the bathwater and placed his little baby bath inside and then slipped him inside it. He was splashing around, loving the water as he had always done. And Jessica stood by the door, cautiously.

“You can come in, grab his bath toys for me, please.” I said, more sharply than I had intended to, but she still did it. Dropping them into the water gently.

We were quiet for a little while, I was bathing him and making sure he was all-clean, and she was watching, her eye on him and then on me.

“I’m sorry mommy.”

Did I mention that she only used “Mommy” when she knew she was screwed, or when she wanted something? Yeah, she was a pro.

I opened my arms, as I sat on my knees for her to come into my hug, James just looked at us both from his bath chair still splashing about like a little duck. I hugged her tight, and kissed her head. “I know you are, but you can’t ever, EVER do anything like that again, okay?

She nodded, “I knew Mr Roses wouldn’t hurt him, he’s a nice man. ‘Member we got him food, he knows us!”

“I know, love, but still, you won’t be doing that again, now that you know that your brother isn’t in fact trying to kill me. You tell Hoyt to keep his stories to himself or I’ll be having words with his mother.” I threatened.

“I will. I’m sorry.”

“Its okay, it’s okay.” I washed my baby, and decided we needed some kind of food for dinner, so I picked James up, he was sad to be leaving his water fun times in his little water world but I knew he had to be starving. All three of us trampled down stairs to the kitchen where I made him a nice big bottle which he sucked up like he hadn’t ever eaten before. I was just about to order dinner when Eric came through the door. The look of sheer relief on his face said it all, Jess ran to him as always and he took her in hand motioning for James with his other. Silently I passed him to Eric, still chomping on his bottle as he was.

“We’re going to go into the living room for a bit. Jess is going to feed her brother.” He said.

“I am?” Jessica asked, clearly not getting what he was planning.

“Yep, you are. Can we order food?”

“I was going to, what do you fancy?”

“I really don’t mind, anything, everything.”

He smiled, kissing me on the lips quick taking the big baby, and the little baby into the living room. By the time we had had dinner and put them both to bed, I was just realizing how exhausted I was as I flopped onto the couch beside Eric.

“I never want another day like today to happen, I don’t think I could take it.” I said, snuggling up beside him, stealing a sip of his beer.

“I think you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for, emotionally I mean, physically you’re like a fly.”

I punched him in the arm for that.

“Ouch!”

“Fly?”

“Okay. Not a fly, a … kitten.”

I just glared and he laughed.

“But no, no more days like this, I agree.”

“How did it go with Mr Roses?”

“Burnham, Bobby Burnham is his name.”

“Oh. Did you get him all sorted out? What happened?”

“He’s a really nice man, Sookie, just a little lost I think. You know he is from Texas. He used to be an accountant.”

“My God.”

“Yeah, worked for one of the biggest firms, then he got mixed up with some guys, made some wrong choices, and well, it didn’t end well and his family abandoned him when the money ran out.”

“Shit, that’s horrible, Eric!”

“I know,” he said, sipping his beer, “I mean I felt bad for him, you know? He has his street family now, but he took a lot of drugs back in the day…he’s …well, he says he is clean now, and he seemed really coherent. So, I took him to the restaurant and gave him everything on the menu.”

I smiled, I loved him, I really did.

“And then we went to the mall real quick, and I suited him out with some clothes, shoes, and stuff. It was amazing what water and some new clothes can do.”

He didn’t seem finished with his story so I just let him talk, but I knew there was another shoe waiting to drop, his face looked guilty, why the guilt?

“Uh huh that’s really great, I’m glad.”

“Yeah! And um, you know, he’s really smart, Sookie, really smart, and nice, and well…”

“What did you do?”

“I…”

“Eric?”

“I hired him.”

“You… hired, the homeless man?” I sat up, “to do what, exactly?”

“To assist me, at the bar.”

“And what does Pam do?”

“Well, you know she needed more time off, and she hates doing the books… Sookie he’s got a sharp mind, and a real knack for numbers.”

“Where is he now?”

“He’s at the motel on the highway, I sort of checked him in.”

Ah, that was the face.

“So you’ve adopted the homeless man.”

“Are you mad?”

“Mad? No, just… I don’t know, I mean yes, it was so sweet what he did, and I’m forever thankful to him, but…”

“But what? I mean, shouldn’t that mean we help him if we can?”

“Of course, but risking the business on this guy?”

“It’s not that okay, it’s part time to start, and it’s just doing the books in the office a few days a week, calling up orders, invoicing, paying for shipments. You know, all the shit Pam hates doing and I don’t have time to do. There will be someone there with him the whole time though, I promise.”

Well, when he put it that way.

“You think on your feet, don’t you my love?”

He smiled, “he saved our son, it’s the least I could do for him.”

“I promise not to tell Pam.”

“Tell her what?”

“About you and your great big bleeding heart.”

“Yeah, yeah, it’s spending too much time with you, that’s what it is, it’s contagious!”

“Sure!” I purred kissing him on the cheek, “you’re a good man, Eric, such a good man and I love you for it.”

“Just for that?” He cocked an eyebrow.

“Well, for other things too… I guess…” I grinned.

“Oh, what other things?”

I just shrugged, got up and walked to the door leading to the hall.

“After the day we’ve had, I think I might need a little…refreshing reminder of those other things.”

He just rolled his eyes, “Oh, if I must… you know, woman it’s such a chore… really you don’t know how hard it is for me.”

“No? But I’d like to find out just how hard it is for you!” I said, bumping his side as we ran as silently as we could up the stairs.

The puns would have to be put aside for another day, because this day needed to end on a happy note. Together we’d ensure that would happen!


A/N: Hi! Nope this hasn’t died, at least not completely! Really sorry for the delay though! Moving house sucks, and apparently a cheating Sookie is a demanding Sookie! If you haven’t checked out Southern Belles yet, I urge you to do so, since that one seems to be coming to me more than most these days! Hope you enjoyed it, no cliffie this time! Y’all deserve a angst break! ;D Reviews are adored xox


Chapter 24: Chapter 24


SPOV:

The weeks past quickly in the count down to W-day, as Pam was calling it. In between James started attempting to walk – falling on his little but each time, but he was attempting it, I thought it was a tad early I, but then I’d remembered the difference between Jessica and then with Ben, all babies were different and did things in their own time. James was just itching to be on his feet. With him thriving, I enrolled Jessica with a child therapist twice a week, sometimes we’d go as a family, and then Eric would take her solo when the Doctor asked, or I’d go with her alone, and we’d just assess things from there. Eric thought I was over reacting at first, but I managed to convince him easily that it was a good idea. Psychological problems begin in childhood, and to be honest I wanted to be at least a little bit sure we weren’t fucking her up by parenting how we were parenting. And after her reaction to James, one that put him and her in serious danger, I wasn’t taking any chances and Eric agreed that it was the right thing to do. She was resistant at first to talk to Doctor Fant, but eventually our ‘visits‘ became part of her world and she warmed up to Octavia rather nicely and they talked about all manner of things alone, her worries for us, the stories her friends had told her about how weird she was with two sets of parents, how she thought that with James being born, that we wouldn’t want her anymore.

Eric and I were both as stressed out as could be over her thinking that way, but we did our best not to let it show. The therapy helped all of us relax a little bit more though, and we were encouraged to get Jessica more involved in James’ daily routine like we were trying to do, but she wanted more of it. So, when we’d go for walks she pushed the stroller when she could, or she fed him his mashed up fruit when I could keep an eye on her. She also helped out a lot at bath times with playing and then her favourite part was spraying baby powder just about everywhere. One of the biggest things was though, she offered to forgo story time for her so she could read to the baby, it never sent him off to sleep because she insisted he ‘look at the pictures’, but the gesture and their time together was what was important and not the actual task itself.

Before I knew it, it was the night before the wedding. Pam had really out done herself in the entire production of this thing, and to her credit, she only attempted a melt down once. Which for her, and her eye for detail, the lack of time, and the budget we insisted she stick it – well, it was a small miracle in itself. The short trip to New York was memorable to say the least, Pam let loose in a city that size with her credit cards really was a magical thing to witness. Not for nothing but I think she blew almost ten grand in a day and a half, I really would have to look into just how much Eric was paying her – because, damn that’s a lot! She completely spoiled me though, and bought more presents for Jess, James and Ben than I thought we’d be able to carry back home with us, but, somehow we managed.

Eric and Bobby took baby steps into a friendship of sorts. Bobby was in his early sixties, and honestly he scrubbed up rather well, I could tell that Eric was proud, and in a way that maybe thought of his dad from time to time when it came to Bobby, I feel like he wanted to do right by him, in some way, to reflect and make his father proud. Not that Eric would talk about it, and not that I didn’t think he wouldn’t have been already, because his dad had a hell of a lot to be proud of in Eric. But, then again, I was extremely biased when it came to him.

Bobby came around for dinner twice in three weeks, Eric had found him a little apartment and he was working out well, so far at least, and he was really embracing Eric and the job with gusto, and even Pam had no witty retort when it came to him. What she was full of wit when it came down to it, was about her relationship – or lack thereof with Amelia. There was awkwardness abound because Ames was still my friend, as much as I hated what she did to herself, and to her family by cheating, she was still a friend and I wouldn’t nor could I abandon her completely. I knew she was coming to the wedding, but the details of their relationship status still remained seriously unclear. I knew they still loved each other, but with them as with everyone it was a case of ‘is love really all you need?’. I had just hoped whatever they were meant to do to bring them in the realm of happy again that they would figure it out, sooner rather than later. Being wedding planner, bridesmaid, and all around Head Bitch In Charge, Pam had things down to the last detail. Including shipping me off to a hotel for the night with her, Tara, Lafayette, and even Maxine and Olivia who had flown in, in the run up the wedding to ‘help out’. Drunk Maxine was a hilarious Maxine even in three feet of face mask, Lafayette saw to that.

So, there I stood looking in the mirror in the large hotel room, one last time. The dress was… in a word, stunning. I really felt, almost magical. It fit me like nothing else in the world ever had, and even though I still had mom boobs, it made me feel like a freakin’ supermodel. Jessica was in her flower girl dress and loving every second of it too, twirling and dancing and generally being a great big show off. James was in his mini tux, and Lafayette acting as best man, was to carry the other two best men up the isle – Ben and James. Eric had insisted on that little detail with a smile. And, with Niall giving me away, Olivia (newly divorced as she was) and Niall were both as happy as clams being included in the wedding as much as they were. According to Olivia she thought ‘this day would never come’, Eric and I tried really hard not to be insulted by that.

“Oh, honey.” Eric’s mom cried, putting her hand over her mouth to do so as she looked at me. I only hoped those were happy tears.

“How do I look?” I asked, not really caring how I looked because I felt amazing.

“Mommy, you look like Cinderella!” Jessica mused, from the bed, “and so do I, right?”

“Yes, sweetie you do.” I rolled my eyes at Olivia who just smiled.

“Sookie you look so beautiful!” She snapped her camera, for the millionth time that morning, I’d forgive her though, she was meant to enjoy this as much as Eric and I were. It was for the family and friends as much as it was for us, too, I thought.

I examined my dress once more, I had to agree with Livvy though, for a long time I never thought that this was something I needed in my life. And, if I’m honest, I never thought it would really happen either. After Bill, and how he made me feel, I never really felt like I was all that worthy of an amazing love, one that made me happy and safe, and full of hope. And then our lives turned upside down a few times over, and some how we’d ended up here. I wondered what Eric was thinking at that very moment, and decided that I didn’t want to wait to find out. With all my ladies distracted I managed to sneak into the bathroom with my cell phone, and I called him.

“Save me,” was how he answered.

“That bad?”

“Sookie, Niall keeps wanting to give me a speech on married life, I don’t really know what’s in that speech but I’m trying to avoid it. Oh, and the tailor is here for last minute adjustments, and he keeps …touching me.”

I laughed.”Suck it up, buddy, you think that’s bad? I had Pam lecture me on my underwear today, and my shoes, and if I’d…ahem…groomed properly for the occasion.”

It was his turn to laugh then, “why the hell did we let them talk us into this?”

I looked at my dress in the mirror again, “because, they love us, they mean well, and it’s their day too.”

“True. I love you. I miss you. Last night, it sucked without you here.”

Eric had gone the route of no bachelor party, in favour of just beers with the guys from work, and Bobby, and Niall – who were getting on like a house on fire too it seemed. That, and poker, of course there would be poker and of course Eric wiped the floor with most of them, most that was, except Bobby – the man had a mind for numbers it seemed! I smiled as he told me about his night, and how Amelia had dropped the baby off with his mom, then she’d come back here, all before I’d woke up. They really had been working hard, all of them, despite their pushing and shoving and lectures, I had to remember that they were doing this because they cared. It would be my mantra every time Pam adjusted my boobs. I told her if she wanted to cop a feel, all she had to do was ask, she smirked and told me the last thing she wanted was my inelegant shoulders ruining HER Vera Wang – yes, hers. I just rolled my eyes and told her it was all mine and until she walked down an aisle she’d just have to wait for her own. She pouted, but she accepted it with a wink before she adjusted me one last time that morning.

“You can still back out you know.” Pam said as we got everyone ready for some more photos before we left the hotel suite.

“Pam!”

“What? I’m just saying, there’s no pressure here, I’m sure he’d survive.”

I scoffed, and Jessica just glared at her Auntie Pam, now fully aware of what she was saying.

“He might, but I don’t think I would.”

“Pam stop being mean about my Daddy.” Jessica said to her, causing Pam to just roll her eyes.

“Zip it midget. The grownups are talking.” Which then caused Jessica to roll her eyes, which one of them was the six year old, here?

“What about you and Ames, any change?” I asked, causing her to sigh.

“We’ve talked, here and there and things for Ben’s sake are a lot more civil than they were, I just can’t get past it. I can’t…I don’t know if I can forgive it.”

I nodded, I understood it, I did, so I hugged her and told her that no matter what we supported her decisions and would help her whenever she asked for it. She seemed to be okay with that offer and fluffed my dress one more time before we left the hotel.

The house wasn’t that far from the hotel, but she’d still insisted we all do it in style, so as the Rolls, rolled out, I took a deep breath, and got in where I saw Niall sitting waiting for me.

“I thought I was meeting you at the house.” I said, taking my seat.

“Ah, well, yes.” He said, kissing me on the cheek, “but your man ordered me to come and keep you company in the car, you don’t mind, do you?”

“Of course not! I’m actually glad, I mean I know Pam insisted on taking the kids with her, but I would have been all lonely here on my own.”I admitted, “thank you so much for agreeing to do this.”

He dismissed me with a wave, “I’m delighted my darling, really, and to be honest, I’m looking forward to it, you look stunning by the way, my Grandson certainly is a lucky man.”

“Tell him that for me, I don’t think he gets it.” I joked, for I knew he got it. We both did.

We both knew what was out there, and we both knew just how hard it was to find that connection. Hell, we’d fought each other on our connection enough over the years. From that very, very first date – a disaster that it was, our dislike for each other for a long time afterward no matter how hard Alcide and Hadley tried to convince us otherwise, I thanked them though, clearly they knew something we didn’t know. It just still sucked that it took them dying to throw the both of us together like it had. I mean, I loved Jessica so much and couldn’t imagine my life without her now, but then, it was still a fresh loss and a confusion that I just didn’t fully understand. I knew Eric had had trouble coming to terms with that as well, right from the get go, he reverted to form – or what I know now to be his form. He wanted to fix things, and he knew he couldn’t bring them back, so he just embraced the life, and the baby, head on! It took me a hell of a lot longer to feel comfortable in the role that was assigned to me by fate, he was a natural father, I was not a natural mother, it took me time and a lot of tears. But I feel like that’s what life is, it’s a series of tasks that have to be completed, and to do them we must learn how first.

There is training for jobs, there is education to train, but there is none of that for motherhood, you figure it out as you go along. Much like falling in love, and Lord knows he and I had a lot of figuring out to do as I knew we’d still have those obstacles in the future, too, but… I felt safe.

For the first time, I realized that’s a feeling I yearned for, safety, warmth, home. I felt all those things with him, all that and so much more. We tested each other, we pushed buttons when we both knew we should just leave well enough alone, but we didn’t, because that would have been boring and predictable. Instead we drove each other crazy because at the end of the day we were driving at each other with all we had. I knew we fought because we stilled cared, we laughed and loved because we cared, and he wouldn’t frustrate me as much as he did if I didn’t love him with everything I had in me. I was sure it was the same with him. There were times we’d have to just walk away, walk out of the room to save an argument, but we’d always come back. We’d always resolve it. Because we knew now, if we didn’t we’d drift like we started to before I got pregnant, and once you start drifting there is only so much space you can accept between you before you have to hold your hands up and admit that you’re no longer close, no longer together, no longer in love. I sure as hell wasn’t going down that road again. I intended to hold on to him, to our kids, and to our lives together as tightly as I could. You work hard, you get results, so my Gran always said. I had to keep that in mind at home too because sometimes it was easy to loose sight of what really matter. And he mattered, they mattered, more than anything.

After I got out of the car and I met with Niall as everyone fussed and fluffed the dress and fixed the flowers ensuring I looked perfect for all the photos that were being taken, all I could focus on was getting up that aisle. I knew he’d be there, waiting for me, patient as ever, and I loved him all the more for it. We’d opted for a great big backyard wedding. I wanted my kids in their own beds by the time we’d be ready to relax, and we’d hired a nanny for the night just for that reasoning. There was a massive, and I mean massive marquee taking up the whole yard, twinkle lights adorned just about every roof and pillar. White silk sheets draped elegantly from just about ever other surface. It looked like a fairy land, only better. The pool was covered by a thick glass dance floor that was lit from underneath casting a blue hue over the ground. White flowers sat elegantly in the centre of the tables, also white and draped to perfection. The minister stood with my boys, as Lafayette held on to Ben. Eric was beaming, and looking all kinds of fuck-able in his fitted tux. I felt bad, having such naughty thoughts with a minister right there, but it was difficult not to, I mused. The music started up and everyone stood, there was violins coming from somewhere, not that I could spot them as the softly played as I made my way up the makeshift aisle.

“There’s Daddy.” Jessica turned to me to say, and yes, she said it loudly so everyone could hear.

“I know, keeping walking baby.” I nudged.

“Hi Daddy! Hi James!” She waved throwing her little rose petals all around her, and not on the ground. The guests all got a good laugh, as did Eric and I, trust Jessica to break the ice.

“Daddy looks nice, doesn’t he mom?”

“Yes. Honey…one foot, then the other.”

I rolled my eyes, blushing like mad, as I nodded to the guests as Eric’s granddad led me up the aisle behind my very hyper daughter. I let out a sigh of relief when we got to the top, and Jessica took her seat. Finally.

The service began, and that’s where the blur began, I remembered his smiled and his warm hands rubbing mine, reassuring me not to be scared or nervous as all our friends and family looked on. I was a little, but knowing he was there set my mind and just about everything else totally at ease. He’d always had that affect on me, and Jessica and Ben it seemed, just the Zen master. Not that I’d ever inflate his ego by harping on about it too much, mind you. We stood in front of our friends and our family, and we swore to keep doing what we’d been doing for almost six years, only difference was we were doing it ‘officially’ and involving God in a way we hadn’t before. We promised to keep loving, keep honouring, and to keep cherishing each other and our relationship as best we could. There was no false promises, no unimaginable expectations, no fairytale. It was simply the truth, and one we both knew we’d fight like hell to keep.

I wondered what we’d be like ten years from now, with a teenager and a pre-adolescent boy, what we’d be like twenty years from now… Would the kids find love and get married themselves? Or swear it off altogether, would I be a grandmother? Would I not? Would I be a cool Gran or a old fogy? I smiled at the thought of my own Gran and how I had wished she’d lived to see this. To meet Eric. I feel like she would have loved him, I know my parents would have been as cautious as I was in the beginning, but I know in my heart he’d have charmed them just as he had done me. And a lot easier too I’d imagine.

I kissed my husband for the first time and it felt like possibility. The sheer possibility of what we could do together, it felt almost over-whelming.

“You okay, Sook?” He asked, pulling away slightly as the crowd applauded.

“Never better.” I smiled and he nodded.

“Good, after you, Mrs Northman.” He said with a wink, and a cheeky grin, one that I loved.

EPOV:

I was nervous. I didn’t really all that great with crowds, but these were people I knew, and some of which I loved. I’d be fine. I thought, as I stood tapped my glass to garner their attentions. Sookie stopped her conversation with my mother who was holding James, and looked up to me as I began to speak.

“I just wanted to say a few words, I’m not one for long drawn out speeches, and I know everyone is starving, so I promise to keep this quick.” I said, and they laughed, “I just wanted to thank you all firstly for coming here this evening, for sharing this with Sookie and I, and for wishing us well and genuinely just taking part in this really special day -”

“And the presents.” Jessica yanked on my arm, of course she was heard and got the crowd ‘awwing’, this kid, I swear.

“Yes, and of course for the presents.” I smiled. “I also just want to thank my wife…”

I liked the sound of that, and I liked how after all this time, I still managed to make Sookie blush as I took her hand.

“You know, for showing up first of all, and for agreeing to marry me and for giving a shot six years ago to prove that I could be the man you needed, the man you wanted. Thank you, for being my friend, being my lover…” her blush deepened and it made me smirk, “and for being my baby momma.”

The crowd laughed at that, and so did she, that was a good sign.

“But most of all, thank you for agreeing to be my wife, and allowing me to be your husband. I stood there today, and I promised to love you for the rest of my life, and I can tell you … all…” I said looking out at out guests, and back at my wife, “it was the easiest promise I’ve ever made.”

I spotted tears, ones she was reluctant to shed, but I knew she believed me, and that’s all I cared about, because I meant every word.

“I love you.” I whispered to her, as I kissed her cheek, wiping now fallen tears, and she just grabbed my neck, pulling me closer for a kiss.

“I love you, too.” She said, sniffling back her tears, “I don’t know why you put up with me sometimes, but I don’t think I want to know, because it’ll ruin this and this is just perfect so I’m going to shut up.”

She shook her head at herself, smiling through glassy eyes. I heard Pam and Tara clinking on their glasses yelling for a speech from Sookie herself. She just sighed and after much coercion she stood up and took the wireless microphone in hand.

“Peer pressure, I swear it never ends.” She said as she stood up and they ‘woo’d’ at her making her laugh.

“I guess I have to just reiterate what my HUSBAND said.” She smiled, “and thank everyone for coming here and doing this and making this so special for all of us, and of course to Pam.” she beamed, “She might not be a sister in blood but she’s a sister in my heart, and she’s the one that put together this amazingly beautiful …event.” she laughed, “in all it’s glory, its perfect, thank you.” She said to Pam and Pam just smiled across the large table. “And of course to Eric. For putting up with me like he does, and you all know what I put him though.” They laughed as did she, but she still squeezed my hand.

“I know it’s cheesy and I know it’s corny an all, but I really don’t know what my life would be like now if we hadn’t met.”

She sighed.

“He and I… as you all know, we were sort of thrown this huge curveball in both our lives when we became Jessica’s parents.”

She wasn’t going to bring Hadley or Alcide’s death into this, it wasn’t the time really, or the place. She’d be in bits if she did. I knew that much.

“And there was a lot of stumbling around as we tried to find out way as her parents, first we had to become friends and that in itself was a chore at the time.” She chuckled as did they, “and yet we did, somehow we over-came ourselves – our biggest obstacles. And we found what we both wanted… what we both needed. It was there in both of us, and only when we were together did it feel like it never felt with anyone else. And that’s when I knew what we had, while not an easy, simple life, it was right and special, and something that I wouldn’t trade for all the tea in China.” She smiled, “for one, I prefer coffee.” She laughed, “So I’d like you all to raise your glasses please.”

Now it was my turn to blush.

“To my husband, my baby daddy, and my best friend. For being THAT awesome, I just had to marry him.” I laughed as she clinked her glass to mine and then took a large gulp. Sookie was out to play tonight, that was for sure.

By the time we’d danced, not just with each other, but with just about everyone else, and caught up and talked and socialized, I’d realized it had been almost hours since we’d gotten a chance to talk. I spotted her leaving the tent making a break for the house, and I figured it was our shot.

I watched as she navigated the dress up the staircase, flipping off her shoes as she went.

“Where are you heading?” I said, making her jump.

“Jesus, you scared me. I really have to pee. Follow me.”

She said as she tiptoed up the staircase. We’d hired a nanny who was currently in living room with two baby monitors as our babies slept it out in their rooms. Jessica still in her dress, that she just refused to take off, of course.

I heard her sigh as she peed, hilarious imagery of her surrounded by that dress and no shoes.

“I swear those shoes cost more than I earn in a month, you’d think they’d be comfortable, but no. Still evil.” She said wriggling her toes on the cold tile floor.

“I feel like we haven’t had a chance to talk since dinner.” She said, and I agreed.

“So, what’s new with you?” She said. And I leaned against the shower as she washed her hands.

“Well, nothing much, got married, that’s all.”

“Oh, that’s all?” She smiled, “Man, she must suck if ‘that’s all’ you did today, how unproductive.”

She said kissing me, deeply leaning into me as she did. Shoeless the height difference was back to normal. In her massive heels it had been less so.

“Yeah, you know, she’s okay. She has her moments.” I teased.

“Mmm…” She said, as she snaked her hands under my shirt. The feeling of her cold hands just perfect on my too-warm stomach. “I’m sure she has her moments… how about right now?”

“Right now?” I looked at her like she was crazy, there was a few hundred people outside dancing and drinking and surely needing to pee. She just smiled, went over and flipped the lock on the bathroom door and came back, I wasted no time and pushed us both against the wall, stepping on Ducky as I did so. The squeaking make her laugh, breaking our kiss.

“We don’t have time for foreplay.” She said, cutting to the chase and reaching for my belt.

“I feel so loved right now…” I joked but she just raised a perfectly waxed brow at me.

“You will in a minute if you’d shush.” She said as she used a freshly folded towel as dress protector as she fell to her knees in front of me.

“Sook…”

“Shh.” She said, unbuttoning my pants, at rapid speed might I add.

“We can’t do this here you know someone will knock…”

“No they won’t.”

“Yes, they will, because our lives are just one big giant cock blo – Ahh.” I hissed as she took me in her mouth.

Oh sweet heaven

She looked up at me with a naughty glint her eye, knowing just how powerless I was now, she revelled in what she was doing, knowing how it made me all but putty in her hand…or… mouth.

She worked both though, causing my toes to curl in pleasure as I fucked her mouth, under no illusion which one of us was in really in control though. Her fingers cupped me, offering gentle but firm direction, moaning quietly as she did. My lip was almost bleeding I’d bit it so much. She stopped though, as I reached for her hands and brought her up to face me, still that mischievous grin on her face.

“Can we get ourselves off before someone knocks?” She asked.

“Is that a challenge.”

“Silently.”

“Damnit.” I said and she laughed as I lifted her up, making her suppress her squeal.

I sat her on the sink.

“Oh God seriously…” She said as my hands went to work up her enormous dress, trying to find the department that we both needed to pay attention too at that moment.

“This is a Vera Wang, Eric, If Pam finds out what we’re doing in this -”

“Shush, please don’t mention Pam when I’m trying to put the moves on you, it’s distracting.”

She laughed out loud then, “the ‘moves’? Technically I was the one putting the moves on you…”

“Tomato, Tomahtoe.” I shrugged finally yanking down her panties enough, feeling that there was a garter there, and suspenders. That dress was like wrapping for an awesome Christmas present underneath.

“You weren’t meant to see or feel any of what’s under there until later…” She gasped as prepped her first, biting her lips now and squeezing her eyes shut as I fucked her with my fingers first.

“Ah. Just… ah…” She moaned, trying to talk but thankfully I was distracting her too much, so her lips then latched on to my neck, kissing me there, or burying her face there to stop her from making any noise. After two kids, two nosy kids might I add, we’d become pros at the silent sex.

Almost.

I fucked her as quietly as I could, holding us both up, as the sink helped take the pressure off of both of us when she’d arch back. Thankfully she was light enough that it didn’t make it an issue that the sink might end up on the floor, and thankfully I had sense enough to know that when it came time to drive it home, as it were, I shifted us to the wall.”Harder!” She demanded and I tried to accommodate, without fucking her though the drywall.”Jesus…” I shifted just right, so I knew I was hitting her spot, and I knew when I succeeded because her grip on me tightened, in more ways than one.

We took each other, hard and fast knowing our time was limited because well, we were us, and of course we expected what came next.

A knock.

I was so close, and I knew she was too, so I continued my pace before I flicked my thumb just so, making her clamp down on me, and come. Silently. Her mouth agape, her eyes shut to the world, just as I let go myself the knocking intensified.

“What are you doing Sookie, let me in really have to pee!” it was Amelia.

I grabbed a wet cloth to clean us both up as quickly as we both could move. Sookie was giddy and spent, and I was just the same.

“My legs are numb.” She whispered and I kissed her quickly.

Sookie!” Amelia continued to knock as we both fixed ourselves and I threw the cloth in the wash basket.

Sookie opened the door still wearing her happy grin.

Amelia spotted me instantly and just rolled her eyes.

“Ew, you couldn’t have waited until everyone left?”

“No.” I said. “You bitches are intent on hanging around all night, we took what we got.”

“And it was awesome,” Sookie grinned, still all high. She was so cute post-orgasm. Not that she wasn’t cute all the time, but her dopey cute post happy face was always hilarious to me, plus she was a little drunk. It was to be expected.

“Best wedding sex I’ve ever had.” She joked letting Ames in to pee. She still stood there. I wasn’t a girl this so, so, wasn’t my area.

“I’m going to go…out there…where there is no ladies peeing.” I pointed outside, and she just nodded.

“Don’t go too far…” She whispered and I swear I got chills again. I wouldn’t too far, that was for damn sure.

I checked on the kids, James in his cot in Jessica’s room because my mom was staying in Jess’s room, both sound asleep, thankfully. I liked the silence, since it was so rare with the kids, when they were quite it was something to be admired. James was looking more like Sookie every day. She swore blind he was my clone, but I saw her personality in him, as well as bits of my own. I saw pieces of Hadley in the way Jessica would stand sometimes, or a look that I remember coming from Alcide. I knew she took our traits in some things though. That old nature versus nurture debate raised it’s head every now and again, but I hoped that with the four of us involved we’d help turn out a good kid. So far, he hadn’t done such a terrible job, I just hoped in twenty years I’d be able to look back and say the same thing.

The wedding was winding down at 2am, and rightly so, I knew Sookie and I were Honeymoon bound the day after, and I was excited to finally tell her where we were going. I saw her come out of the house, holding Amelia’s hand, and walking over to a tipsy Pam as she did so. Curiosity got the best of me and I stood and watched the scene unfold in front of me. Sookie hugged Ames, then she hugged Pam and then it looked like she was policing them like she did with Jessica and Hoyt sometimes, almost making them ‘make nice’, and they hugged each other, both of them now crying a little. Sookie smiled, before her eyes found mine and she winked at me. Just as my mom bid me good night.

“Son, oh, I am so proud of you today. Not that I’m not always, but… you’ve become such a good man.”

“You thought I wouldn’t?”

“No, I always had hope. You were your father’s son after all. And my baby.”

“Mom…” I whined as she kissed me, no doubt covering my cheek in lipstick, as always.

“No don’t you mom me, Mr. I love you and I know our relationship hasn’t always been ideal, but these last few years… with my Grandbabies, and my new daughter. Well, it’s just been wonderful and I just wanted to thank you, and Sookie for that. And for today. I know your Dad would have been so proud of you today, every day, he’d have loved all this.”

She sobbed a little, and it was then I realized that even though I resented her actions as a kid, she never really stopped loving my dad, she just moved on with HER life. I kissed her on the forehead and she patted me on the chest.

“Also honey, your fly is undone, and really you should see to that. Goodnight, sweetie.” She said with a smile as I scrambled to fix my fly. The last of the guests shook my hand, and said their drunken happy goodbyes as the line of cabs waited them to take them home. All of them congratulating me again, and hugging me so tight, I’m pretty sure there will be bruises. I watched as Amelia and Pam sat over on the patio, drinks still in front of them, talking things through. I knew Ben was with Amelia’s mom, so I only hoped they took the baby-free opportunity to finally communicate. Drunk, tipsy or slightly lubricated, as long as they got stuff out in the open that’s all I cared about.

“Well, husband.” came the voice from the swings. Sookie was sitting in the middle of the kids play swings, swinging slowly back and forth, surrounded by the tiny white twinkle lights, in her white dress and long soft curls. She looked angelic.

“Well, wife.” I said as I walked over to join her on the swing beside hers. She sighed. Her happy sigh.

“So, we’re married… that’s weird.”

“A little weird, but a little awesome too, right?”

“So. VERY. Awesome,” she smiled, “I’m glad we did this. I don’t know why we waited so long to do this. It wasn’t so scary. I had so much fun tonight.”

“Good, I’m really glad. I think everyone had fun, lots of booze, so …fun.”

“I could have done without your mom thinking she could Irish dance though.” Sookie snorted.

I laughed that was so cringe worthy, I had to look away, and momentarily pretend I wasn’t related to her.

“You have her moves…” Sookie said, continuing to laugh at the whole thing. Relaxed and happy, that’s how I liked my wife, her moods wore off on me I realized.

“Pam and Ames are talking. Like, really talking. Amelia told in the bathroom that she’s sorry for what she did and that she knows now how much Pam means to her, she misses her so much and she’s been really stressed about things. She’s lost like fifteen pounds, and she says she’s trying to make Pam see that she means what she says, but Pam is being stubborn. But tonight, I asked them if they could try and talk, for me… as like a honeymoon present.”

“You don’t get honeymoon presents.” I pointed out.

“Damn, really? That would be sweet if you did…” she grinned, “but hey, fingers crossed right?”

“Yeah, fingers crossed.” I said as I grabbed her hand and walked us into the now empty marquee again.

“May I have this dance?” I asked and she blushed.

“You may. But… there’s no music.” She said, innocently. I pulled out my phone and scrolled, hitting the button before leaving it on the table for the song to start up.

“Good choice…” She said and I took the lead, not really dancing, more just moving in a circle with her in my arms, as Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones played on.

“I made good choices today, lots of them.” I said, kissing her again. I’d never tire of that. I was sure.

“I love you, you know? Like, faults and quirks and the fact that you snore… well okay I could do without the snoring, but most everything else is just… you, and I love you and our life. I don’t ever want that to change.”

“It won’t.”

“It might.”

“Okay, so it will change, but, not all change is for the worst. Look at us and where we came from, good change. We’re good Sookie, we got this. We know the drill now.”

“Not to lose sight of each other’s needs. Just because you have me… and I have you…”

“Doesn’t mean I get to keep you unless I deserve you, and vice versa.” I added as she laid her head on my chest.

“Good. I can do that,” she said as the song played on. I planned on it, and I knew then she did too.

“Me too, love. Me too.”

Yeah, we were good and we knew how to keep that up, how to keep us up there, that’s all that mattered, right?

The end!


A/n: Still with me? I swear I thought the muse on this had died! And after last night’s TB I swore all my muses had died, and yet, somehow I was able to churn this out tonight. Don’t ask me how! I think this is the end. I say think because I was toying with the idea of an epilogue but I just don’t know if they need one. I’ll decide on that later, but as it stands this is the end of the road for TSL Sookie & Eric! I really adored writing these two (so much so I did it twice!) so I’m really glad you guys liked it and came along as I wrote their little journey! So, thank you for all the reviews and the messages, and the adds and what not. It’s been adored! Sound off below! Xox

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