Chapter 68 – Saying Goodbye
September 27, 2013
“Frannie?” Eric called down the hall towards the music room. He’d heard her on the piano, again and he hated to interrupt because he was pretty sure the playing was therapeutic. Unfortunately, they had some legal issues to deal with.
“Coming Eric.” The teen moved quickly into the living room dressed for the open visitation they were having in a bit. “What’s up?”
“Desmond is here. I wanted to give you the choice of meeting with him before we head to the community center, after or schedule it for later in the week. What do you prefer?”
“We need to leave in about an hour, is there time now?” Desmond nodded his head. “Then now.”
Since Frannie had made the choice to meet now, Eric offered, “Let’s go to the study since Sookie and Hunter are already there.”
Once seated around the meeting table, Eric asked Desmond to lead them through a discussion on legal options for the kids. “Well, you asked about adoption versus guardianship and really, the big difference is related to parental rights.” Speaking directly to the children, he continued. “In your situations,” He pointed to Hunter and Frannie. “Your biological parents are not in the picture. Both adoption and guardianship give Eric and Sookie rights and responsibilities as a parent such as: Providing financial and emotional support, ensuring a proper education and making certain of satisfactory healthcare. Adoption is permanent, legal guardianship is not. At Hunter’s age and with the existing relationship, adoption is the logical choice and the process is seamless as Remy left instructions with a Bon Temps lawyer, Sid Matt Lancaster.” Sookie and Eric appeared shocked at that information but let Cataliades continue. “For Frannie, honestly, either works. At your age, legally, we’re only talking about three years of necessity. Your brother’s last wishes were that Sookie take over your care. It really comes down to choice, what do you want?”
Frannie responded. “So that was his letter to you – that Sookie should take me?
“Yes, I also have a letter from Quinn to be given to you if he perished. I have it here.”
“Let’s get through the discussion first.” Tears formed in her eyes but she ignored them to focus on the topic at hand. “So does one mean more than the other – from a family perspective?”
“Legally? No. Symbolically for you, you could consider that an adoption means that the tie between you and your biological parents is severed; then Sookie and Eric become your parents. Legal guardianship would be a transfer of Quinn’s role to Eric and Sookie.”
The expression on her face showed her nervousness as she looked to Eric and Sookie. She knew what she wanted, but she wasn’t sure what THEY wanted. Sookie, of course, heard everything in Frannie’s head and she and Eric had talked at length about Frannie before dawn. Placing a hand on Frannie’s, she softly soothed her, “It’s OK Frannie; we want to fill the role like your parents. I know it’s hard to be happy about it given everything else going on so you can wait to decide. Uncle Desi has prepared a legal guardianship document we can sign right away to give you that time. When you’re ready, we’ll be here. Whatever you decide won’t change how I feel about you. You’re the little sister I never had. I know I’m not old enough to really be your mother. . . ”
“That’s not the problem. I know what I want, but I’m struggling with really acknowledging it. Right now, let’s just do the guardian thing and focus on the funeral. We’ll revisit the rest later.”
“Sounds good.” Eric concluded and turned to the mention of Remy’s wishes. “So you have something from Sid Matt Lancaster regarding Hunter?”
“Yes. Sam helped connect the two privately.”
Sookie interjected. “Probably during one of the lunches that Remy had at Merlotte’s. I’ll ask Sam some other time about that.”
“It was via meetings at Merlottes. Sam’s actually one of the witness signatures on the paperwork as is Hoyt Fortenberry. It’s a request that you and Eric adopt Hunter in the event of his death. He provided for all possible legal scenarios including that you can both adopt him, that only Sookie adopts or that only Adele Stackhouse can adopt him.”
“Why did Remy do all that?”
“It was Sid Matt. He told me he wasn’t sure how human adoption laws would be impacted with a vampire as an adoptive parent or step-parent so he provided for each situation. We’re covered no matter what.”
“OK, let’s complete what we need to now so we can get going to the Community Center. The limo will be here in about twenty minutes.”
They completed the necessary documents and headed for the community center. The public visitation was exhausting for Hunter and Frannie. In addition to what appeared to be the entire town of Bon Temps, Packs from Vegas through to Mississippi were represented as well as the local vampires – they all wanted to greet Frannie, sister of the Great Quinn, and offer condolences. Eric stood with her the whole evening, and as they moved into the second hour, he was practically holding her up since she was so tired but refused to sit to greet the attendees who traveled to pay their respects. For Hunter, the evening was a blur. The worker’s from his Daddy’s last job all came in early in the evening, then all the folks in Bon Temps wanted to get to know him. Pam spent the service holding him since Eric was with Frannie.
While Eric and Pam tended to the kids, Sookie was with Alcide and Sam trying to run interference for Frannie; keeping the actual visits to the Packmasters only. She felt compelled to read each person’s thoughts. With her shields down for that, Pam was the better choice for helping Hunter. She didn’t want her little man listening to anything and a vampire could give him that quiet. At first, they’d been letting everyone greet Frannie but the line was completely backed up and she wanted to get everyone home. By the third hour, Eric moved a reluctant Frannie to a sofa where he sat next to her; an arm around her shoulder and Hunter sprawled on his lap and chest. “They can come to you Frannie. There are still many people in line and you have a long day tomorrow again. This is fine.” He turned to Pam who had taken position to their side. “Pam, have them all come here please.” She nodded and went to collect the next Packmaster in line.
“OK. Is your little buddy asleep there?” He nodded. “How can he do that, aren’t there too many ah . . .” She didn’t finish, not wanting to say minds out loud since his ability wasn’t widely known.
“I make things quiet for him.”
“That’s why he sleeps in the bed with us – at least that’s how it started.” He kept to himself that both needed each other when they first shared a room. “When we move to the new house, we’ll wean him off that.”
She was just about to respond when the Packmaster from the Amarillo Texas pack approached her; their moment to settle into the new arrangement on the sofa was over. As she’d done all evening, she turned and graciously accepted his condolences then waited for the next person in line. Eric was extremely proud of how Frannie handled herself and he began thinking again that the Ancient Pythoness knew she would be like this all along and an asset to the ‘spokesfamily’. While he agreed she would be an asset, the very thought of considering that to be her only worth left a bad taste in his mouth. She was more than an asset; in a few short days, she’d become part of his family – something the Ancient Pythoness had yet to understand. Whether it was his bond with Sookie that was leaking Sookie’s love for the girl through to him, her courageous actions that helped his wife in Vegas, or the fact that Sookie had melted his long frozen heart in general, he was already feeling affection for her – growing to be like the feelings he had for Hunter. Gods help anyone who tried to harm her; she’d been through enough and like Hunter, she was his child now to protect.
Late the next afternoon Lala arrived to meet with Frannie as planned up at the new house. “Hey girl. Yous sure you want to do this?”
“I am. Quinn would’ve wanted it.”
“Well let’s get to it.”
Sookie listened from the kitchen while she cooked. So far, they’d spent most of their time at the farmhouse, but with the piano here, Frannie had asked to eat dinner in the new house after her practice and Sookie was happy to play in her new kitchen. Lala and Frannie had hit it off and somehow singing a duet at the funeral came up. Lala was going to play the piano and they would both sing. They’d selected a variation on Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin (Amazing Grace /My Chains are Gone) and they sounded amazing. There wasn’t going to be a dry eye in the church (except for the vampires that is). They ran through the song a few times before they came to the kitchen for a light supper. Sookie didn’t think Frannie would want to eat too much, but she wanted her to have something before the funeral. Besides, Sam was hosting a reception after the service so they only needed enough fuel to get through church. While Sookie, Frannie and Lala shared their vegetable soup, Sookie felt Eric rise. They’d already planned the early evening; Hunter would nap with Eric and Eric would feed her little man before they had to dress. She’d delivered a bowl of soup and a biscuit to the chamber under the farmhouse just before serving supper in the main house. They felt divide and conquer with the kids was the best way to get through the evening, though Sookie believed that Frannie would likely need more support as the evening progressed.
For Frannie, her movements were done unconsciously – she was like a robot just trying to get through. The open visitation the night before was really a meet and greet type thing, this was the service. This was remembering her brother and saying goodbye and she wasn’t sure yet if she was prepared to do that. She held the letter from Quinn tightly in her hand as if the words would seep through but she was still afraid to open it. She almost wished Cataliades hadn’t given it to her it was taunting her so much. If the letter said anything about avoiding Eric, she could be conflicted. She needed the strength Eric had right now. In reality, she knew if she met Eric on the street their relationship would be different – he wouldn’t have any affection at all. It was Sookie’s connection to both of them and his gratitude that had been the difference. That didn’t really matter though. If she thought about it, anytime people had a connection, there was a reason. No, she was just plain scared that Quinn would have asked her to keep her distance even while requesting that Sookie, Eric’s WIFE, care for her. After donning her hot pink suit, Quinn’s favorite color on her, she folded the letter and put it in her skirt pocket, figuring the right moment would come to her for reading it. She’d just finished getting ready when she heard Sookie call that the limo had arrived.
The service was private and that was being strictly enforced. Eric had the local vampires and Weres guarding the doors and they were checking against the list. Even though the event was invitation only, they had a large crowd inside for the service. Since there were so many humans present, all monarchs and supernatural guests were informed that no protocols like bowing or kneeling were permitted so when Eric and family arrived, they walked in just like a regular family and that helped Frannie since so many eyes were already on them as they approached the front pews. She saw many vampires and weres from the battle in Vegas. Stan and Liz, Bart and Russell, Odair and Kat all were there. Of course, Alcide and Potts were already seated in the front right pew, directly across from Eric, Sookie, Hunter, Frannie, Gran Pam and Jason. Little Hunter was planted firmly on Eric’s lap and Frannie was between both Eric and Sookie, Eric comforting her with an arm around her shoulders while Sookie held one of her hands. She sniffled and cried during the beginning of the service but kept it somewhat together. After the reverend was done his piece, he invited the speakers and singers up. Lala moved from his pew and put his hand out to Frannie. Since Eric was at the end of the pew, he stood to let her out and once Frannie was in the aisle she froze for a few seconds before reaching out for Eric’s hand. Handing Hunter to Sookie, he escorted Frannie to the piano next to Lala and stood behind her while she and Lala sang the song as they’d practiced. When they got to the words ‘as long as life endures’, Frannie’s voice broke and it started a tidal wave of sobs in the room, but she kept going. Eric squeezed her shoulder when she was done; then he helped her back to her pew. Hunter, in all his innocence exclaimed. “Wow, you and Lala are really good together. You should make an album.”
The comic relief had the sobs turning into chuckles and helped them through the remainder of the service. After the graveside prayers, they arrived by limo at Merlotte’s where the town and other friends had gathered for a celebration of Remy and Quinn. It started somber, as many do, but quickly turned into the telling of stories and memories and laughing. Sookie was pleased to extend her personal thanks to everyone in the town who had helped her family while she was away. Both Eric and Sookie used the gathering to publicly acknowledge the bravery of Hoyt, Lala, Catfish, Andy and Sam for their part in the takeover. Much of the politics was beyond the residents of Bon Temps so they referred to the happenings as Sookie’s rescue. Soon, they would learn more about Eric and Sookie’s roles in the supernatural world, but not until the publicity plans were made. They ended the evening somewhat early, though not before Hunter had fallen asleep in Eric’s arms, and headed to the farmhouse.
After tucking in Hunter and wishing Frannie a good night, Sookie and Eric climbed the hill to the new house, specifically, one of the new garden beds that Sookie was planning. She’d requested help from Amelia early the day before and the witch had put together a small ceremony for Eric and Sookie. It was for healing and it starred her braided hair. Originally, Sookie had intended to do something in Shreveport, wanting to leave it behind, but Amelia insisted it was to create a new beginning, and that meant the Bon Temps house.
Amelia met with Sookie to review the steps and once Frannie and Hunter knew what they were doing, they wanted to participate in some way as well. To accommodate them, the witch added to the ceremony by having them each gather a small stone on the grounds that she spelled for them. The stones, a healing sachet, the words to a healing chant and the tied braid were added to the spell kit from Amelia.
Using Amelia’s instructions, they made a circle(ish) shape with the orchid ribbons from the braid around the small hole Eric dug with his hands and the two stones were placed on top of the ribbon. The combination of the stones and the ribbon symbolized Sookie and Eric’s three children (because that’s what they’d already become to both Sookie and Eric regardless of legal paperwork or the actual birth). The loose hair was placed in the hole and the sachet was lit and added to the hair. Once the hair in the hole caught fire, Sookie read the chant:
“With smoke and flame This spell’s begun.
O Goddess of the stars,
Moon and the Sun,
The earth is my Mother
And I am Her child.
The Earth is my lover
Free and wild.
With love sincere I chant this prayer
To bring joy and happiness to those that care.
Hear me O Great Earth Mother.
Heal the pain of every sister and every brother
Heal on the outside; Heal within
Love is shared, let the healing begin
So mote it be”
Waiting until the fire burned out they stood together and she whispered. “It was only hair.”
Eric wasn’t convinced about this little ceremony, but he could feel Sookie almost lighten as the hair burned. “Will you use the tonic from Niall?”
“Just as soon as Roo is born. I don’t want an extra hairy baby.”
“That makes sense.”
Per Amelia’s instructions, they pushed the stones and ribbon into the hole and pushed the dirt in to bury it. The remains would serve as part of the bed of the flower garden Sookie wanted in the spring.
“That’s the final goodbye Eric. We need to both say goodbye to the pain Felipe and Appius caused. I know there’s other stuff that’s going to come up, but when it does, I need to remember that we did this and said goodbye to it.”
“I want to say goodbye to it. I agree.”
“Let’s go, Frannie’s still having trouble with nightmares, I don’t want to be gone too long.”
“We need to find a way for her to say goodbye to her pain.”
“We will Eric. She’s getting better every day. This was just a hard one for her.”
He tapped on the earth over their hole one last time realizing that maybe the ceremony did have some effect. “Yes, let’s say goodbye to all the pain and start the healing.”
Healing Chant – Author Unknown – Pagan Magic respects the intellectual rights of others, every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. We apologize for any errors or omissions and would be grateful if we could be notified of any corrections that should be made.
|2 parts Cinnamon
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Rose petals
1 part Cayenne
1 part Ginger
1 part RueMix and tie in a blue or purple cloth.
Anoint with Eucalyptus oil and wear or place near bed at night.
Some herbs that are medicinally good for pain relief and magically good for healing that
you might add into the sachet would be Chamomile, White Willow bark, and Wood Betony.