Chapter 44 – Great Expectations
June 20, 2004
They were about to take off to return home from the honeymoon when Eric’s phone rang. He’d been so caught up in the honeymoon that he’d almost forgotten his weekly Sunday evening call with Hunter. Giving Sookie a nudge that he was taking the call, he got up and headed to the cockpit. “Hello Hunter.”
“Hi Uncle Eric. How was your trip?”
“We are just about to take off, hang on for a moment.” He peeked his head in and spoke to the pilot of the privately chartered plane indicating he just needed a few minutes on the phone then they could take off. Even though he could use the phone once they were in the air, the NTSB still required that mobile phones be shut down for takeoff and landing. “Ok Hunter, I have just a few minutes before we take off. We had a lovely week. Your Aunt Sookie is nicely tanned from lying out in the sun every day.”
“Lying out? That sounds boring.”
“Well, she read at the say time.”
“Did you go snorkeling like you told me?”
“We did. I carried an underwater light for Aunt Sookie so she could see in the dark. I also had an underwater camera and can’t wait to show you some of the fish we saw.”
“That sounds way better than lying out.”
“I agree. I’m not too interested in the sun either.”
“Yeah, but for very different reasons.”
“T-ball started last Wednesday, right?”
“It did. I had fun. I’m not too good though.”
“It’s only your first week. Give it time. You know your Aunt Sookie was a softball pitcher. She’ll help you practice.”
“That’s COOL! I can’t wait for that. Oh, something happened with the team shirts you got us.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, normally the company that sponsors the shirts has their name on the back, but our shirts have an ice-cream parlor logo on the back. It shoulda been Fangtasia. I tried to tell the coaches that something was wrong but . . .”
“No Hunter, those are the right shirts. I bought the ice-cream parlor since I didn’t think the parents would want Fangtasia on the back of the t-ball shirts. Fangtasia is a bar for grown-ups. The ice-cream place is better for kids.”
“OH. That explains the coupons for free ice-cream after our games. That’s cool!”
“Yes, that explains the coupons.” Sookie gave him an eye roll over his spoiling but he ignored it. “How about daycare, did you talk to that little girl, Sally like we discussed?” Hunter had taken a shine to one of the girls in daycare and had opened up to Eric about it at his last sleepover. Eric still worried that Hunter was bonding more to him than his father, but he supposed that was just leftover from the years of hurtful thoughts Remy had. While everyone knew those thoughts had been unintentional, they still scared the boy and Eric was happy to serve as a confidant. For Hunter, he loved talking to Eric. He remembered little things, like Sally’s name or the day his T-ball started and he never made him feel strange. Eric was his best friend.
“I did. We sat together for snack on Thursday and today we had a play date at her house. Her Mommy makes really good chocolate chip cookies.”
“Better than Gran’s?”
“NO WAY! But still good. She had a bunch of baby dolls and wanted to play house though. That didn’t really work for me so we played a game instead. I don’t know that I’ll go to her house again. Those dolls . . . dude, it creeped me out.” Eric bellowed at Hunter’s comments and Sookie raised an eyebrow. She’d tuned out their conversation after hearing about the spoiling Eric had done so her nose was buried in a book and she hadn’t heard Hunter. Now she couldn’t wait ‘til they hung up.
“Someday you’ll like playing house Hunter, I promise. Perhaps you can invite her to your house and play with your dinosaurs next time.”
“Eh, I don’t know. I think she’s out of my system for now.”
“A heartbreaker at four? Should I follow you and glamour the memories out of all the young ladies you leave behind Hunter?”
“It’s just one girl.”
“Ok, we’ll see if that changes. I must go so the pilot can get the plane in the air. We will talk to you this week after we’ve settled in from the honeymoon.”
“Ok. Later . . . big dude.”
“Later little dude.”
Sookie smiled as she heard them end their call in their usual playful manner but she wasted no time reminding him that he was spoiling Hunter again.
“Hush woman. It’s just ice-cream.”
“It’s an ice-cream PARLOR, not a ‘nutty buddy’.”
“I don’t know what that buddy has to do with my sponsoring shirts.”
She shook her head at his HARD HEAD and moved onto her curiosity about the laugh. “What had you laughing so hard?”
When he told her about his comments on playing with dolls, he expected her to laugh and instead was shocked when she started crying? “Why are you crying Sookie?”
“He’s got a girlfriend? He’s growing up.”
Eric looked around the plane as if the flying machine had the answers to this particular crying fit. Of course it didn’t but he still was unsure what to say or do. “Sookie, it was a play date. They weren’t picking out china.”
“I’m being unreasonable, I know that. I think I’m just sad that we are already leaving your island home and Vegas is coming up.”
“OUR island home and we still have a week and a half before we leave for Vegas. We’re pretty lucky we have this time. I don’t know why Felipe and Fons changed the date. But it works out better for us. It was pretty tight between the only date we could get Amma for the wedding, then having to go to Vegas almost right away. Now we have a break.”
“I agree, I like the break but I can still be sad the Honeymoon is over.” She stood and nudged his leg. “Can I sit in your lap? I need to snuggle.”
“Certainly. Or we can go play house in the back Mrs. Northman.” He waggled his eyebrows indicating the type of playing house that would happenif they moved to the back.
“Mr. Northman, whatever do you mean? The honeymoon’s over, we’re married; I think we go on that once a week on Saturday sex schedule now.”
“That isn’t funny AT ALL.”
To Sookie it was, she cackled all the way to the back of the plane.
Back in Shreveport, Eric and Sookie settled into married life. Sookie enjoyed the recognition of family and close friends that they were married but other than completing Sookie’s legal name change, the relationship itself hadn’t changed. The one thing that did change was their bank accounts. Just as she had promised, Sookie agreed to the combined accounts and Eric was all too happy to add her to everything. When he handed her the portfolio of their combined assets, she was a little overwhelmed, but kept her feelings in check because she’d promised to share. Once her money was moved into their new combined bank account, he knew she really accepted everything.
After Eric was still home with her for the third night in a row she finally asked why. “I love having you home, but what about your adoring fans at Fangtasia?” She was washing some dishes so she was asking while looking half over her shoulder where he was seated at the kitchen counter.
“Those days are over. I found and hired a sexy vampire to sit on the throne and enthrall the vermin.”
“You hired someone to sit there and look pretty?”
“I did. I’m done with that phase in my life. I’m a married man and even before we were married I could hardly stand the pathetic attempts to capture my attention. I can conduct most of my Sheriff duties from here and will schedule time to be at Fangtasia when an in person meeting or punishment is required.”
“Why didn’t you tell me before now?”
“I wanted to be sure that Eamon would work out. He’s been in place since just before the Pledging and the humans are quite taken with his looks and his Irish accent. He’s also an enforcer for the rules at such a public location. He’s only 400 so he’s not nearly as strong as me, but he can hold his own until Pam calls me. He had the opportunity to punish a local vampire already so he’s getting respect as needed. I didn’t want you to be disappointed if it didn’t work. So now that he’s settled in, you’re stuck with me.”
“I couldn’t be happier about that.”
He zoomed to stand behind her and enveloped her in a hug. “I’m glad you’re happy. Maybe we should celebrate.”
“You are insatiable.” She even added some tut tut noises while she shook her head.
“I am. I also know there is one room we never christened in this house.”
“The office is not my favorite room and you know why.”
“Maybe a good pounding will remove the memories of being put in the corner from your mind.” He paused then asked, “Please Sookie; talk about work has me in the mood to bend you over a desk.”
“I’m not sure a good pounding can erase that memory. You are so pushy.” The mischievousness crept into the bond just a second before she yelled, “Race ya there!” And she was off running.
When she got to the office she saw the desk was completely empty and she questioned him about it. “You already cleared off the desk?”
He had the decency to look at her sheepishly, “I was hoping.”
“You’re lucky you got me all fired up. You’re also lucky I never put on anything but your shirt after we woke up.”
“I am very lucky indeed.” After taking a seat in his desk chair, he took on a very serious look, patted the desk in front of him. “Hop up, I’m . . . hungry little girl and I want to eat you. Now.”
‘Oh God, was that an actual gush of something between my legs?’ Sookie wondered as she felt something wet between her legs, well actually down her thighs now. She loved dominant Eric every once and a while and sometimes when he was in this mood it was even more fun to play the bad girl. “No.”
That sexy eyebrow cocked as he repeated her word. “No?”
“No. It’s not what I want to do right now.” ‘Liar’ she called herself, she was on fire for him and he knew it too, but this was too good. They’d toyed with some role play and both of them being the dominant at different times. She discovered through that safe and secure exploration that she preferred Eric as the dominant – when they played that way. He never took things too far, and using the bond he ensured she was feeling secure with whatever they were doing.
“You forget yourself little girl.”
“No. . . Sir.”
His cock twitched at that word. They didn’t engage in this often, but when Sookie ‘no’, it just set him off. “You got the sir right, but that’s it.”
“What are you going to do about it?” . . . “Sir.”
‘Again with the sir and his cock twitching. Gods how he loved this woman.’ “What do you think I should do about it?”
Rather than speak, Sookie turned and bent over the end of the desk, flipped up Eric’s shirt and positioned her legs wide open. She knew she’d done the right thing when she heard him growl and felt the lust was bouncing between them through the bond.
He rose and moved slowly to stand behind Sookie. ‘She loved the few times I spanked her, she’s obviously asking for it. Who am I to deny her?’
The wait was almost unbearable. Eric could give little spanks that made some noise and stung for only a moment and she loved it. But right now, he did nothing. ‘Didn’t he know the wait was . . . the hardest part? Of course he did.’ Instead of a spank, his fingers entered her cunt. “You’re so wet for me little girl. Are you anxious for your punishment?” When she said nothing he leaned into her ear and whispered . “Are you?”
“Y . . . yes.” He smirked; then brought his hand down on one cheek. “Ahh, so good Eric.” So he did it again. “More!”
He delivered two more spanks and then plunged into her, filling her completely. She came immediately but he kept pounding. “My naughty girl likes to be filled by my cock, doesn’t she?”
“Yes.” He spanked her and she added, “Sir.”
After a few more thrusts he pulled out and put her on the desk, on her back with her legs over his shoulders. “I’m still hungry and you denied me earlier.” She came again from his talented tongue and he rose to continue his pounding. “Sookie, so wet, so tight.”
“Eric, so close.” He leaned in and bit her breast, it was the first time he’d taken blood from there and she was surprised how much she enjoyed it. In fact, she enjoyed it so much she had an orgasm that squeezed him so tightly, he joined her.
In their after play time bliss, he was lazily licking her breast sealing the wounds while he waited for his blood, ever present in her body, to complete the healing. After several moments, she finally spoke. “God Eric that felt good. Why haven’t you bitten me there before?”
“It’s more for pleasure than a feeding as there are only small blood arteries and veins present in your luscious breasts. I also wasn’t sure if you’d like it, but now I know you really did.”
“You got that right. So good Eric, I feel so good.”
“So do you feel better about this office now?”
“Oh yeah. Course, punishment does seem to be the trend in this room. I think we’ll need to try something different to get that association out of my head for the office.”
“I’ll think of something.”
On July 3rd, Sookie and her guards were enjoying lunch at Merlotte’s. Tara had come over from her shop to spend time with her as well. They were waiting for their meals when Sam and Sheriff Bud joined them.
“What’s going on guys?”
“Sookie, we’re really glad you’re in town and not in Shreveport.”
“Well Bud, we’re staying the night to attend the July 4th festivities tomorrow. Did you need me for something?”
“Holly has reported her son Cody missing – it appears that he’s been taken.”
“OH MY GOD. WHEN?!”
“He’s been missing since last night.”
She already knew Sheriff Bud wanted her to help them by reading minds. She was a little pissed that he conveniently chose to recognize her gift when he needed it. Given that a boys life is at stake, she put her anger aside. “Suspects?”
“He was with his father, David, and his new wife, Allie, at the fair in Minden. He went missing from there and they both claim to have no involvement.”
“But you don’t believe them.”
“No, we . . .”
“I’m sorry, in the interest of time that was a statement not a question. I already know you don’t believe them because they’ve been trying to get custody of Cody for about 6 months. Can you arrange for me to meet up with everyone? I can appear to be there as moral support for Holly, you guys can ask the questions and I’ll pull what I can.”
Bud looked relieved. “That’s all we can ask for Sookie.” He shifted nervously in his seat. “You know, I have no right to ask for your help after the way this town . . . after the way WE ALL treated you and didn’t acknowledge your gift.”
“I appreciate your words Bud, but let’s just get moving – we have a child to save.”
An hour later Sookie was holding Holly’s hand for support when David walked into the meeting room at the Sheriff’s office. He’d been told to come in for a command-center type meeting. Kenya Jones was in the room with Sheriff Bud to ask questions. “Holly, David I know we went over some of this already, but now that you’ve had time, we need to ask some questions again. You see, we’ve found that the initial trauma of a kidnapping can impact the parents to the point they can’t answer the questions fully. This is routine, I assure you.”
David scoffed and muttered under his breath but Holly answered, in on the ruse. “Kenya, anything to help find my baby. Ask anything.” Sookie squeezed her hand in a show of support.
“Thank you Holly.”
She started with Holly, trying to make their intentions less obvious. “Holly, to confirm, you have no idea of the whereabouts of your son Cody?”
“No Kenya I do not.”
“Can you tell us anywhere he could be hidden, maybe if he was scared or upset about something?”
“I don’t know. . .”
It was just that easy. Sookie barked out his location. “He’s at the old Bargain Hotel just outside town with Allie and her two kids.” Looking directly at David she asked, “Why would you steal your own child? You see him regularly.”
His eyes were wide – not being from Bon Temps he never even knew so much as a rumor about this woman accusing him of kidnapping, yet she clearly pulled something from his head. “What are you doing?”
“Just answer the question.”
“I don’t have to answer anything without a lawyer present.”
She turned to her former co-worker to tell her what she’d heard. “He wanted to punish you Holly. He’s always hated that you left him and got Cody out of the deal.”
The conversation degraded into a yelling match between Holly and her ex-husband but Sookie stopped them. “GUYS! We have the information to get Cody. Stop yelling.” Then she turned to Bud. “Can you get over there?”
“Andy’s already on it. He was listening in.”
They kept David in the meeting room, holding him until a vampire could come and glamour the mind reading from his head and plant that he dropped a key to his room at the Bargain Hotel. Andy arrived a few minutes later with Cody, Allie (in cuffs) and their two other children. Holly screamed for Cody and ran to him. At this point, it was getting late in the afternoon so Sookie simply excused herself quietly to go home. Everyone was rightly occupied with Cody’s return and she was no longer needed. She should’ve felt proud at helping Cody and she was happy to have helped, but not proud. The incident brought back memories of how the town treated her and instead of proud, she just felt used.
Potts and Alcide were impressed, as usual, with Sookie. “Wow Sweets. You could be a regular detective, saving one child at a time.”
“They were desperate. It’s the only reason Bud asked for my help.”
“He respected your gift and you know it. Don’t belittle this.”
“Alcide, you didn’t grow up in this town with the stares AND thoughts of everyone looking down at you. First I was pitied because my parents died, then they all felt that Gran should’ve sent Jason and me to an orphanage or foster care cause she couldn’t afford us, finally when I was older I was just plain ‘Crazy Sookie’. I KNOW most of the town believes what I can do because I’ve heard in from their thoughts – but they would never admit it out loud. They all thought if they supported me, everyone else would think they were crazy.”
“Let’s just get you home Sweets. It seems like the events today have you out of sorts, maybe bringing back old ghosts.”
“Yeah, just take me home.”
Sookie was grumpy and the family avoided her for the rest of the night. Not even Eric could get through to her and he just couldn’t understand why she seemed so troubled over the day – she’d certainly endured worse. Knowing Sookie was upset, Eric tolerated that every word she said was either snarky or toxic and he really hoped she’d get over her mood – and fast. Still, he was able to convince her to go on with their plans for July 4th. He’d planned a special surprise and he even hoped it would turn her thinking around.
Sookie didn’t go to the afternoon festivities, but she did attend later that night with Eric. His surprise was a professional fireworks show he’d put on for the benefit of Bon Temps. Eric and the Mayor had planned the show to collect parking donations to be used at for the local kid’s clinic. In addition to the bulk of the Bon Temp’s residents coming out, they had many visitors from the surrounding towns due to Eric’s advertising. As a result, their donations were greater than they’d anticipated and Eric was pleased. He was working hard to become part of Bon Temps since it would soon be his permanent home. When the Mayor called Eric up to recognize him for his contributions, he invited Sookie up as well. “Eric, my intent was to call you up to thank you on behalf of the town for helping us raise money for our children’s clinic. Now I am pleased to be able to properly recognize your wife’s efforts from yesterday.” Sookie was stunned so she lowered her shields. That’s when she felt it: acceptance, gratitude, and shame from the town. The one that affected her the most was acceptance. The Mayor went on to thank Eric for the fireworks show and then gushed over Sookie’s assistance with Cody’s rescue. To keep her secret safe, he used words like talent and unique perspective to describe her role, and again she listened to the town’s thoughts. They recognized her gift and many felt badly for the way Sookie had been treated by themselves personally or the town in general. When the Mayor mentioned looking forward to Eric’s permanent move to Bon Temps, she expected the vampire hate to start, but it didn’t. Again, she felt the acceptance and a few bits of lust from some of the women in the audience. Eric was feeling the pride and joy coming from Sookie and he was happy that her foul mood had ended. They made their way off the podium to stand with the family again and they were stopped many times as people offered their thanks and welcome. By the time they were back to their table at the picnic grove, Sookie was crying hysterically.
“What the fuck? I can’t keep up with these moods.’ Eric really couldn’t figure out what was going on in her head so when he moved her away from the crowd to ask her about it. “Sookie, what is it?”
“The town is accepting you, us, our marriage. I mean, you heard everyone welcoming you to town just now. I HEARD everything they thought. They accept our marriage Eric; they accept my gift and some even felt shame about how I’d been treated. The few folks who aren’t here are the ones I don’t care about. Like Arlene and her preachin’ ways about vampires being evil.” She wiped her eyes.
“That’s all great, and I’m happy for you, but you’re really emotional about this.”
“Eric, we’ve talked about my youth before. I’ve NEVER felt this type of acceptance from my own home town. This is just something I’ve waited for my whole life. Tonight, I’m not ‘crazy Sookie’.
“As long as you’re happy, I’m happy. I’m also happy that the cleaning folks do our laundry, you’ve been especially . . . “ He stopped cold at a sudden realization but kept his thoughts to himself and tried to find a new word to end his sentence. Just yesterday, according to Alcide, she was berating the whole town, tonight she’d done a 180 and was here happy about the town. He’d seen similar mood swings in the past few days.
“Teary, that’s all.”
“Well, I think I’m justified this time. Gran also got misty eyed when the Mayor spoke– so it’s not just me.”
“Fair enough.” He kept his mouth shut, and decided to keep his eyes open to watch for more signs.
The night they were starting their journey to Vegas he rose and he knew for sure. Pregnant! He was positive she was pregnant. The past few days he was pulling the clues together: She smelled sweeter, she tasted sweeter, and in direct contrast, she was just plain moody. Hormones were changing his little Sookie and he couldn’t be more excited even with the grumpiness and crying spells. The new clue tonight was the heartbeat. He was sure he could hear it. ‘Pregnancy really explains so much. Why is she waiting to take the pregnancy test?’ He wondered. ‘I can’t keep this to myself my longer and I’m sure the father shouldn’t tell the mother she’s pregnant. Given her moodiness, I might be staked for getting something like that wrong. Yes, I’m sure I finally met ‘hormonal Sookie’ and it’s not pretty. Still, I’m positive I’ve picked up the heartbeat tonight and I want to put my head there and listen in. She better pee on some sticks and soon.’ He held her while she slept a bit more but regretfully, he had work that had to be completed. They’d been home from their honeymoon for a few days and tonight he needed to finalize his plans for Chow who was handling his sheriff duties during the Summit. With a final kiss to her head, he left her in bed so he could take a shower and get to work.
Eric emerged from his shower to see Sookie rubbing her eyes to wake. “Good evening Mrs. Northman.” He was still extremely happy to use that name for her.
“Hey, you didn’t get me up?”
“No,” Before he finished his thoughts, he leaned over to kiss her. “You needed the sleep and I have work to get done before we go.”
“Well, now I must get up so I can finish packing.” Needing her own shower, she walked by and started undressing. Oh, he longed to join her but he needed to call Chow, confirm the travel plans to New Orleans and finalize his packing. Once all his chores were done they could play for a short while before they had to hit the road to New Orleans. Hoping his work would go quickly he vamped to the library to get started.
Sookie stepped into the library a short while later with her hands behind her back and a smile on her face. “Eric.”
He looked up and mirrored her smile immediately. “Yes min älskade?”
“I did something when I woke this afternoon that you might want to know about.”
Hopeful she was about to deliver some good news, he smiled softly. “Something that has you quite excited now that you aren’t so sleepy. Tell me please.”
“I’ve been waiting for you to ask me about my day like you usually do.”
“Well, you were being lazy and sleeping when I first got up so our routine was thrown off.”
“Well, you’ll just have to get used to that.” His excitement grew, pretty confident about where she was going with the conversation.
“Get used to what? You throwing me off? Happens already.”
“No, I mean you have to get accustomed to my sleeping extra.”
His smile grew; he couldn’t hide it any longer. “Why is that, my Sookie?”
“Cause it takes extra energy to grow a baby.” With that, she moved her hands from her back to show him that she’d take 4 separate pregnancy tests, each a different brand. “Look Papa Bear!”
“I’m looking, Sookie, I am.” His excitement caused him to grab her quickly and pull her a hug. They both misted up as they clung to each other. “You’ve made me so happy Sookie. I’m so excited.” To finally take a good listen to her belly, he dropped to his knees and pressed an ear to her belly. He moved his head a few times then finally told her what he could hear. “I hear our baby Sookie. It’s quiet, but it’s there.”
A sob overtook her. “You’re going to be a Daddy.”
“And you’re going to be a Mommy.” He rose and wiped the tears from her eyes. “What made you take the tests today?”
“Harold suggested waiting until 6 weeks to take a pregnancy test after the IUI, and that’s today. Besides, I was a bit queasy this morning.” Her arms rose and then slapped her sides in frustration as she thought of something. “UGH, I’ll have to go through morning sickness without you. You’re resting for that.”
“I read you can get it anytime of the day, so let’s not assume I’m off the hook yet. I’ll trade you extra poopy diaper duty though, just in case it is limited to the time of day I am resting.”
“I’m taking that offer to the bank. You read about pregnancy?”
“Yes min älskade, every chance I can get. Pam sends me stuff to read as well.”
“That’s . . . that’s emo behavior again and I love it.” Suddenly, her eyes grew wide and she plopped down quickly in one of the chairs as a realization hit her. “Eric. I’m going to be a mother. A MOTHER! What if I do it wrong?” Her head fell in her hands as she finished her last thought.
“Sookie, I’m pretty sure we’re going to both make mistakes but any child will be blessed to have you as a mother. You have a bigger heart that anyone I know. Look at what you’ve done for Hunter in just a few months. He adores you.”
“He worships you.”
“It’s my quiet.”
“That was the start but he loves that you’ve never treated him like a freak. His thoughts, not my words. Remy has really improved but Hunter’s thoughts still drift back to the hurtful thoughts and actions from his father. It’s too bad that taking Desmond’s blood didn’t work.” She shook her head as if trying to clear the thoughts in her own head away and declared, “enough talk about that. Back to US being parents. PARENTS ERIC!” Her comments were spoken with a laugh.
Her laughter was contagious and he joined her before asking, “Can we tell anyone?”
“I did leave a message for Harold. As far as telling anyone else, we should wait. 12 weeks is the norm, you know, after the risk of miscarriage is reduced. ”
“I have to wait to say anything?!”
“Yes, but you’ve kept quiet for a few days, you can make it more.”
“How did you know. . .”
“You started smiling when I mentioned something I did when I got up. You’ve been waiting for me to take the tests, haven’t you?”
He finished work a short while later and returned to their bedroom to see Sookie checking her packed luggage for the Summit. Eric was on the bed trying his hardest to get her to calm down when she asked him for confirmation on her packing. “Two gowns, right?”
“Sookie, you’ve been over your packing list a million times. You’ve packed everything from the list, right?”
“Then stop fussing.”
“It distracts me.”
He watched as she chewed on her lip and finally decided to answer him. “I’m worried. I know we’ve spent so much time practicing, but I’m scared to screw up and I’m scared of being kidnapped.”
“Thalia, Pam or I will be with you every minute at night. We’ve already decided that the best course of action is for you to just not speak. I know it will be hard, but we’ve been testing you at Fangtasia.”
“And you’ve all enjoyed hitting my hot buttons.” He tried to hide his smile, but he failed. “Maybe.”
She turned to fuss at the lingerie she’d packed. “Now I’m scared about the baby. I’m also pretty sure we won’t be able to keep the secret. Especially not from Pam. She’s going to feel your happiness.”
“She’ll feel joy, bliss, excitement – not just happiness. Our baby deserves a much bigger word than just happiness.”
A chuckle escaped her. “You’re a sap and I love it.”
“Actually, I call myself a pansy when I’m like this. I blame it on Godric.” He rubbed his face before bringing up another topic related to the pregnancy. “Sookie, I’ll need Thalia to smell you. I want to determine if I picked up the changes in your scent because I am so in tune with you, or if the changes are obvious.”
“What if they are?”
“We’ll discuss it further after we know. We’ll have time to talk in New Orleans before I need to rest for the day.”
“OK. So I should just prepare to be sniff tested?” He nodded. “Gotcha, thanks for the warning.” Focusing back on her luggage and her list, she was quiet for a few more minutes. Finally she spoke again and her words clearly indicated she was still nervous about the trip. “Gran and Jason are going to be safe, just in case?”
“Yes Sookie, you need to relax. They’re being taken to a secret location and guarded. Gran will have a nurse, which I understand will make Jason happy as well.”
“He really likes Michele, and he knows she’s a Were. Maybe he’ll find love.”
“Unfortunately, the place where they are staying isn’t that private, so unless your Gran becomes unconscious at night, Jason and Michele will need to refrain.”
“Yeah, knowing it happens and HEARING it happens – that’s a line Gran won’t allow to be crossed. That’s a moot point though; Michelle hasn’t given in to sex yet.”
He laughed for a moment before he turned to Sookie with a serious look. “What’s that look for?”
“I have some other items that need to be packed.”
“Oh really? Let me guess, La Perla or Agent Provocateur?”
“When did you go to Dallas?”
“I selected items from the website and Pam picked these up while we were on our Honeymoon.”
“You are such an opportunist.”
“This is news to you?”
“Let me see, how much am I going to hate it?” He held up a shopping bag and proceeded to take out each box and open them. Earrings, bracelets and necklaces made from a variety of stones were in the individual boxes.
“I purchased a variety to go with all your outfits. You now also own every piece in the Sunflower Collection. I know this is not ‘you’ but as an asset to me and the state, we have to. . . “
“I know . . . appearances. They’re all beautiful, I will admit it.”
“So no ‘stubbon Sookie’?”
“Nope, not tonight.”
She added the last items to her bag. Now, he was packed, Sookie was packed and re-packed and he was ready to play. He approached her and put his hands around her waist. “What else needs to be done so we can just walk out the door at midnight?”
She blew out a breath and looked around. “I guess nothing.” Turning in his arms and smiling she asked, “what do you have in mind?”
“I’ll get my suit.” Even as she said it, she knew his response and she was right.
“Don’t bother with that.”
They swam and played for a while in the pool until Eric claimed it was time for a celebration.
“What do you have in mind, my husband?”
“You know how I enjoy making love in the pool.”
“But we’re pregnant; surely we don’t need to keep ‘practicing for authenticity’?” She added a coy look while she bit her lip.
“Don’t go innocent on me little girl.” He growled out, “You know what it does to me.”
“I don’t know what you mean.” She added a hair twirl with her response.
“Come here little girl.” His arms were out waiting for her but she giggled and dove under the water to swim away. A chase! Oh how he loved a chase. He dove under and followed her at human speed as he always did. She made it out of the pool and ran into her cottage grabbing a towel on the way. The message was received, towel off before coming in so he followed the rules and joined her. The cottage only had a daybed and living room furniture so it always offered different ‘opportunities’ than the bedroom so Eric took a second to plan. “I’m going to catch you my little escapee.”
He heard only giggles but it was the location that surprised him: She’d gone down to the light tight chamber. His wife was really on her game tonight. Extremely excited now, he followed her down and assessed her next direction. While he sniffed, she blindsided him by tackling him to the bed in the chamber proclaiming, “I WON!”
“You’re in my arms. I’m pretty sure I won too.”
The lust in the bond was overwhelming due to the chase so he wasted no time flipping her to all fours and thrusting in. His hand attacked her sex; rubbing and pinching a bit. The chase had brought out the beast a bit and his desire to possess her was in control. Sookie knew this would happen when she started the chase. In fact, it was why she started the chase. The accommodations at the Summit were going to be tight and they would have little privacy the entire trip. She wanted to make the most of this playtime. Eric knew she’d played with him, wanting to amplify the experience. He didn’t care, he loved that she knew him so well. He looked to her back to see the skin he loved turn red from her blush. Drops of water from the salt water pool were still on her back he bent over and licked her while he pounded. The sensations took her over the edge and brought him with her. She was still panting when he walked via the underground tunnel to their bedroom to clean up.
Since they were running out of time, they quickly showered and were now heading to the car to meet the rest of their entourage: Sookie, Eric, Pam, Thalia, Peter, Alcide, and Potts. The group was driving to New Orleans so they could board the Queen’s plane to Las Vegas shortly after first dark the next night.
Pam was smirking as she exited her car. “What has you both in such a mood?”
Without looking at Pam, Sookie responded quickly, “just honeymoon glow Pam.”
Eric confirmed. “Yes Pam, just still happy from our vacation.”
“Liars, both of you.”
Eric gave her a pointed look and gritted out quietly enough for just Pam to hear. “Just. The. Honeymoon. Pam.” He leaned in. “Got it?”
She did. “Yes Eric.”
“Good.” He moved towards Thalia and asked to speak with her privately. With a nod in agreement, he guided her to his sound proof office.
“What can I do for you Master?”
“First I need to emphasize that this is a private conversation.”
“Thalia.” He paused. “Sookie is pregnant.” A smile formed at the edges of her lips even as she tried to suppress it. “I need to determine if her scent change is detectable. Did you notice anything?”
“No Master, but I will purposely get close to her and alert you. Should I check throughout the Summit? I understand that her hormones will continue to increase over time.”
“Yes, that would be good.” His fingers tapped on his desk as he thought something through. “If you notice a change at any time, signal me by just patting your stomach once – after you know you have my attention that is.”
“Certainly. I will check as soon as we rejoin the group and nod or shake my head.” Taking an unnecessary breath she continued. “Master, what if I do detect it? Will we be leaving?”
“I’ll discuss that with Sookie if we need to. For her to not attend now would cause too much speculation. I think we would just need to risk the exposure. It won’t take too long before it’s common knowledge anyway. I just need to get her input.”
“Very well. Shall we go test it now?”
They exited the office and walked towards the group. Eric noticed Thalia taking in the scents in the area at various distances from Sookie. The final test was Thalia standing directly next to Sookie under the pretense of admiring her earrings. Sookie went along with the ruse and explained that Eric had splurged on her with new jewelry for the Summit. Both Eric and Sookie looked for the verdict and visibly relaxed when she shook her head.
Using his arms to motion the group towards the two cars he requested, “Let’s get in the cars, shall we?” He threw the keys to Pam. “You drive our car; Sookie and I want to make out in the back.”
Everyone could hear Sookie take in her breath before she yelled out her response. “WE. WILL. NOT!” Sookie shouted while her hands were firmly on her hips. The group laughed collectively at their antics.
“No min älskade, I thought you would like to rest. The bench seat in the back will be the most comfortable for you.”
“But not for the giant tree trunks you call legs.” She turned to Pam. “Give him the keys back, he can drive. I have all day to sleep.”
They arrived in New Orleans after a 5 hour drive having been slowed down by a pit stop Sookie needed. The luggage for Vegas was still packed in the back of the cars ready to go to the airport at first dark. Mustapha greeted them at the house. “I thought you would be asleep.”
“Well Eric, I slept earlier and I wanted to ensure everything was ready for the trip to the plane since your Queen won’t tolerate any delays. I’ll nap after everyone has gone to rest for the day.” He pointed to the kitchen. “I have everything arranged so we don’t need to leave the house tomorrow to eat. You just rise and then head to the airfield.”
“Excellent.” Taking Sookie’s hand, he guided her down the hallway. “Let’s head to our room. I have some things we need to discuss before I go to rest.”
Their overnight bags were unpacked and Sookie was just finishing at the sink when he started the conversation about the baby and Vegas. “It’s possible that news of the baby will come out while we are there.”
“I know.” She said with a sigh. “It’s not like we can keep it a secret. I would rather not have it come out at the Summit, but what options do we have?”
“Thalia will continually monitor your scent. I’ll listen for the heartbeat to determine if the volume grows. All we can do is stay prepared.”
“Agreed. Now, there is something else I want to agree on.” Her pointer finger crooked, beckoning him to follow her into the bed. He did, of course.
“I spent part of the drive thinking of baby names, or rather fetus names so we don’t have to call the baby it.”
A nickname for the baby was really a pansy thing to do but since Sookie wanted to do this, he would agree. He offered, “Like my little warrior?”
“Ah no. How about Booger?”
His face screwed up as if he’d been fed a booger. “Sookie, that’s horrible.”
She laughed. “I was only joking; I read it in a book once. Actually, how about Roo, Little Bit, Trouble, or Lentil?”
“Lentil? Where did that come from?”
“I looked up information about our pregnancy. We are like 6 weeks along and the baby is the size of a lentil bean.”
“You said Roo first, is that your favorite?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Where does that come from?”
“I always liked Winnie the Pooh, and I don’t want to call a baby Pooh – ever. It’s not like we won’t get enough poo as it is. Roo is another character in the book. He’s the baby kangaroo.”
“Well, I like that. Roo it is.” Relaxing in the bed before Eric would be pulled into his rest, Sookie made another baby related request. “Can we look at nurseries?”
“Of course min älskade.” He opened his laptop and held it so they could both see. “We’ll need to plan on several different nurseries for our homes: Bon Temps, Shreveport, New Orleans, and Pam’s.”
“Of course, I want her to be able to take the baby and change poopy diapers with no arguments.”
“Does she know this?”
He shook his head. “Sookie, Sookie, Sookie.”
“She’s already got her nursery done.”
“She won’t tell me the theme and swore that I needed to keep her decorating a secret since she didn’t want to put pressure on you, but her room is done. I paid the bill, so I know she’s not lying.”
“She kills me!”
“She’s just really excited for a little brother or sister.”
“I know. She’s a sap too.”
“DON’T say that to her.”
“Oh believe me, I won’t. I want to be alive to raise my child.”
“And join me.”
“Yes, and join you.”
He leaned into her and asked. “What site should I pull up for nursery themes?”
“I like the stuff at Serena and Lily and Pottery Barn.”
“Pam used Posh Tots, so we’ll look there as well.” They’d been moving through the sites for a short while when they got to the grey giraffes. “Oohh, look at the giraffes.”
With his head bent close to Sookie’s tummy he asked. “Roo, do you like giraffes or do you like the sailboats? Daddy likes the sailboats better.” After speaking, he put his ear down to listen. “Sookie, Roo has selected the sailboats.”
She burst out laughing. “That’s not how this decision will be made. I assure you.”
Gasping, Eric turned to speak to Roo again. “Do you hear that? Mommy is already overriding our wishes. I need you out so you can side with me. I’m pretty sure she gets her way while you are tucked inside her.” His gaze turned to Sookie and he was very serious as he spoke. “The lucky kid gets to be inside you for 9 months straight. I do believe I am jealous of my own baby.”
“Only you could make me squiggly with a statement like that.” She laughed as she thought of something. “Jeez, you’re going to be really jealous when I breastfeed.”
“Not at all. It’s a bodily fluid. I can join Roo.” A very large smirk appeared and she could swear his eye even twinkled.
Unsure of how to even react to that, Sookie simply stated. “I’m not even going to spend time on that information at the moment.” She pointed to the laptop. “Open the next theme please. We have plenty more to review.”
“If you like Winnie the Pooh so much, why aren’t we looking at those?”
“Well. I . . . ah already looked for those one other time when I was looking at nursery stuff. I haven’t found a Winnie the Pooh set that I love. I like the muted colors on these,” she pointed to the screen, “not the brights I saw so many of the Winnie of the Pooh’s I found.”
“Why do you feel, I dunno, hesitant? Just because you looked at nurseries already?” She looked down and nodded. “Sookie, that’s nothing to feel guilty about. I was looking at baby toys that aid in development one night. It’s just fun to daydream like that.”
“Yeah you’re right, but it’s even more fun doing it together like we are now.”
They continued to look at baby products on several websites; both growing excited at the idea of having a baby and not really caring about the products as much as what they represented. The intimacy of the hours before resting was greater than they’d ever felt before. Just talking about their future, the future they’d both wanted now coming true created a connection for them they both felt. The bond was filled with joy as they marveled at the fact that the IUI took after the first try especially after reading about and preparing for a much longer process.
For Eric, the night had been profound. Speaking to his baby, imagining his or her arrival and watching the bliss on Sookie’s face was one of the happiest times Eric could ever recall in his long undead life. He went to rest with his arms firmly wrapped around her and one hand on her tummy over their baby.
He rose in the same position, pretty sure she hadn’t even woken during the day. Tonight though, he couldn’t let her sleep. They needed to get to the plane at first dark and they both needed showers and prep time. “Oh Mommy.” He chuckled to himself. “Time to wake up little mother.”
“Min älskade, you need to shower, get ready and eat. You spent the whole day in here, didn’t you?”
It took her a while to rouse herself, stretching and yawning for a few minutes, but she finally answered him. “I did. You didn’t go to rest until 8AM.” She looked at the clock. “It’s only 4PM, that’s like 8 hours of sleep. But I am STARVING! Let me grab a quick shower so my hair can start drying. Can you braid it for me? I won’t need to spend too much time on it that way.”
“Of course. I’ll shower after you while you’re eating, then do it.”
An adorable pout formed on her face as he started getting himself out of bed and check email on his phone. “What’s wrong?”
“We didn’t get a good evening kiss.”
“My apologies to you and my baby. I’ll fix that right now.” And he did. Kneeling down to be at her tummy level, he kissed first then wished Roo a good day. “Now my baby, I am going to kiss your Mommy, you should sleep for this.”
Once satisfied with her good evening kiss, Sookie made her way to the shower.
A short while later, he was braiding her hair after she’d eaten. “I want you to know how much I love you and respect you for what is going to happen at the Summit. I am certainly your companion, your partner, your husband, but I also realize that many of my fellow vampires will not see you that way and it will be hardest on you. For that, I apologize.”
“Eric, we’ve been through this many times and I know how you feel about me. I’m not saying it won’t hurt or anger me, but I get it, I really do.”
“Thank you for that.” With her hair now secured in a beautiful braid he declared her perfect. “And now, we are ready to go as the sun has set.”
“Hey, Pam doesn’t rise that early, how did she get ready?”
“She needed to get ready before she di. . . rested. As she doesn’t move during the day, her hair won’t be messed up.”
“Well, there’s an advantage I hadn’t considered.”
“Indeed. We ready?”
“I guess. Let’s go to Vegas.”