Glimpses 1: Even Hunter Isn’t Perfect
Must read Beauty and the Vampire Beast First
“He’s really grumpy today Sookie.”
“Yes he is Holly. Maybe this time with his playgroup will help.”
“You aren’t checking on why?”
“No. Even though I can, I don’t read him all the time. He’s entitled to his moods – even if I am ready to lock him in his room today.” Sookie paused and moved Moyra to feeding on the other side under the cover of a blanket. She and Holly were on a bench watching Hunter and his home-school group playing at a playground in Minden. Giving Hunter this ‘normal’ kid time was a security nightmare, but they did it every other week feeling it was important to the boy. Today though, Sookie was ready to cancel since he was so moody and even talked back to her before they left. She conceded when he apologized and they left, again because they’d lined up so many resources for the outing. Hunter was currently playing in the sandbox and finally had a smile on his face so she believed it was the right decision.
Since New Orleans had been selected to host the first Global Council Meeting at the beginning of next year, Sookie was busy. She had no choice but to work while Hunter played. Luckily, Moyra fell asleep while feeding so she got her tucked into the stroller, fixed her top and turned to Holly to continue on their long list of to-do items.
Hunter noticed that Moyra was done feeding so he wanted some of Mommy’s attention. He ran over to her with his arms out and she welcomed him in for a hug. “Mommy, will you push me on the swing?”
She looked at Holly’s list. “I have few items to review with Holly then I can push you, OK?” He shook his head from side to side with enthusiasm. “You were having fun in the sandbox, why don’t you do that for another twenty minutes and then I’ll push you.”
His grumpy mood returned and he pulled away from Sookie. “You never have time for me anymore. It’s always work or the baby. I don’t like your job and I don’t like Moyra.”
Sookie took a deep breath for calm. Hunter was right – at least at the moment. The Global Council meeting WAS taking a great deal of Eric and Sookie’s time. She bit back her initial emotional response and calmly said. “I know Hunter, you’re right that work is taking a lot of time. Once the meeting decisions are made, then Mommy won’t be as busy because Holly and her team will ensure everything is taken care of. It’s just a few more days before I’m done my part. Can you hang on little man?”
Reason wasn’t working. The boy was only four after all. He stomped his foot, crossed his arms over his chest and yelled. “NO. I’m done waiting for YOU to be done work. You and Daddy promised.”
OUCH! That one hurt. “We’ll talk more about this at home. Please go back to the sandbox for now then I’ll be over to push you.” She wanted to give in and swing him now, but even though he had a good point, his behavior was not to be rewarded. He talked back to her and raised his voice – that was not something they did in the family.
Hunter stomped back to the sandbox and Sookie turned back to Holly. They got through a few more items before she saw Hunter throwing sand in a little boy’s face. THAT was unacceptable. “Holly, please alert security. We’re leaving.”
She rose and pushed Moyra’s stroller to Hunter. Even though she was quite angry, she spoke evenly to Hunter. “Hunter, apologize to Danny for throwing sand.” His look back to her was defiant and she was shocked. This wasn’t her little boy. She stood her ground though. “Now.” Her look did him in and he mumbled his apology. “Good Hunter. Now say goodbye.”
“We’ve haven’t even been here an hour.”
“And your behavior is unacceptable. Perhaps next time if you’re angry at Mommy, you’ll save the discussion and your anger for home. It’s not Danny’s fault you’re mad. You had no right to throw sand at him because you’re in a bad mood.” She added with force, though not yelling. “SAY. GOODBYE.”
She held out her hand and he immediately crossed his arms back over his chest – even tucking his hands under his armpits. Again, defiance. They walked to the car with Sookie pushing Moyra with one hand and the other on Hunter’s back. Everyone, even the guards, got in the cars silently and they drive home.
Once in the privacy of their chamber below the house, Sookie approached Hunter. “Can you tell me more about why you’re upset? We talked about the global council meeting as a family. We all agreed it was worth some of the sacrifice to host it in New Orleans as a boost to the city after Katrina. I really do have only a few more days of planning; then my part is done until the actual meeting.”
“You’re too busy.”
“I am, I agree but we’ve made the commitment. It’s only a few days. Honey, help me out here.”
“You still have time for Moyra.”
“Honey, Moyra is still nursing. Besides, I’ve altered some of that too – did you see I was working while she was just under a blanket eating? If she could talk, would she say that was me spending time with her?” He just stared at her, still angry. “I’m not going in to read your mind Hunter; I want to talk this out.” Nothing. “Ok, you aren’t talking and we need to deal with your behavior. You were rude to Mommy – you don’t yell at Mommy ever. You threw sand at your friend. I want you to go to your room now and I’ll be taking your Nintendo by the way.”
She raised her eyebrows at him. “No?” Luckily Moyra had stayed asleep after being transferred to the house so she was tucked in her co-sleeper. This gave Sookie both hands to deal with Hunter. She picked him up and deposited him on the bed, took his Nintendo and walked out the door. Before closing him in, she reminded him. “You still have your books so you can read and you need a nap.”
“I wanna sleep with Daddy.”
“Not today Hunter. You’ve made Mommy very upset and we need a bit of time apart right now. Don’t let me find out you snuck out your window to the playroom either.” While it pained her to do it, she shut the door and left her little boy in his room.
He threw himself on the bed and started wailing. From the hall, Sookie felt like a knife was being run through her. She couldn’t wait for Eric to rise so she could discuss it with him. She tried reading Hunter’s thoughts – she felt with the circumstances it was justified, but he was too upset and not thinking clearly.
Frannie had come downstairs at some point during the encounter and she approached Sookie. “Mom. You OK?”
“He’s really upset and defiant right now. I’ve left him in his room for naptime and he’s clearly unhappy about that – but I can’t be near him right now. I’m too upset.” To soothe her mother, Frannie rubbed Sookie’s back for a moment. “Are you reading now and you‘ll be in our room?”
“Yeah – do you need something?”
“A bath to calm down. I just don’t know how long Moyra’s going to be asleep.”
“I’m on it Mom. Let’s go.”
Frannie settled into Eric and Sookie’s oversized bed with Eric on one side and Moyra’s co-sleeper on the other and started her reading assignment. She could hear Sookie crying in the bathroom over Hunter and SHE wanted to go wring his neck. He was four – she knew – but they ALL agreed to help with hosting the global council and now that it was happening, he was making life more difficult for Mom. After twenty minutes, Sookie hadn’t calmed down so she stepped near the bathroom door to check on her. “Mom? You’ll make yourself sick with all that crying.”
“I’m fine. You can come in.” Lord knew she’d seen all of Sookie in Vegas, she didn’t worry if Frannie saw her in the tub. When Frannie was seated on the edge of the bath, she took Sookie’s hand. “Many of his comments were right, but we are where we are.”
“I know you stay out mostly, but did you read him? I mean, what made him go over the edge today?”
“I tried after we were home but he’s too upset to get a read now.”
They both heard Hunter wail from his room and a loud thud. “I’ll go check.” When she walked into the bedroom she was surprised to see Eric awake. “Dad?”
“I think Hunter’s mood woke me.”
“I’m checking on him now; mom’s in the tub.” She came back quickly. “He threw a book against the wall.” She called into the bathroom since Eric went in to check on Sookie. “I left him there.”
“That’s best for now.” Sookie said. “Let me explain how this all started.” Sookie filled Frannie and Eric in on Hunter’s morning, the park and the yelling he did at home. At some point during the story, Hunter’s crying stopped and when Eric checked, he knew he was asleep.
“Sookie, let’s get you out of the tub and dressed.” He reached for a towel.
“I’ll wait in the bedroom with Moyra in case she wakes.”
“Thank you Lilla.”
While Eric dried Sookie they spoke about their next actions. “I think something set him off this morning. I should have read him.”
“No guilt min älskade. We both agreed the kids need their own thoughts. He never does anything wrong – we were due for a Hunter tantrum or whatever this is.”
“I bet with what he’s feeling, you’re sorry he had your blood now.”
“I would prefer to not feel his hurt, but it was a necessary step for safety.”
“Hurt? He’s not angry?”
“No, he’s sad and hurt as are you.”
“It hurt that he was right. That we promised we wouldn’t let the jobs cut into family.”
“We discussed the extra and TEMPORARY work for the global council meeting. We all agreed to that. He only needs to hang on for a few more days.”
“We need to plan our discussion for when he wakes.” Sookie was seated at her makeup bench and Eric was brushing through her hair. It was soothing and just what she needed to get through this. Today of all days, she didn’t need one of her kids acting up. That’s when it hit her. “He knows.”
“Knows . . . .?” His voice was questioning then changed to realization. “He knows. That’s what caused his outbursts. He’s feeling threatened maybe?”
“We’ll have to figure that out. His punishment was his time-out and not napping with you, so I don’t feel the need to belabor the consequences with additional punishments.”
“I agree and I want to confirm that I concur with your position and that no matter his mood, he can’t yell at us – or misbehave and especially in public.” He rubbed his face with his hands. “Were there any reporters or anything like that at the park?”
“I guess we’ll find out.”
“Let’s relax with Frannie until he wakes.”
They got back into bed where Frannie was doing her reading and as soon as Sookie put her head on the pillow, Moyra woke, of course. “I’ve got her min kära.” Eric’s long arms reached across Sookie and grabbed his baby. “Hey baby girl. Did you miss Daddy today?”
He babbles were excited as she told Eric about her day complete with a storm of spit bubbles that came out while she talked. Sookie grabbed the diaper change basket from her side of the bed but Eric handled the changing all while cooing and talking to his baby. Once she was all cleaned and freshly diapered he moved her alongside Sookie so she could nurse her. Frannie, Eric and Sookie just stayed relaxing for a while as Moyra fed and they waited for Hunter to wake. Sookie enjoyed toying with Moyra’s hand as she nursed and Frannie and Eric spoke softly about the book she was reading for her schoolwork. It was quiet and peaceful and would likely be over when her boy woke.
Sookie knew it first. She had put her shields down and heard him thinking and waking before Eric heard him moving. “I’ll get him.” He offered.
“No. I was the parent that gave him the timeout and nap. I need to release him and start the talk.”
Frannie added while she stood. “And I’m getting out of here with Moyra. It could be ugly.”
Eric placed Moyra in her arms and thanked her for the help. “I’m sure Gran would like a visit and Moyra should have some cereal.” Frannie happily agreed to take care of her sister while Eric and Sookie spoke to Hunter.
Sookie braced herself outside her little man’s door. His words hurt her before and she was a little afraid of another confrontation. She relaxed though as his thoughts seemed calmer than before. With the door cracked, she called in. “Hunter. Are you ready to come out and talk?”
“Yes Mommy.” He put his arms up to Sookie.
Eric could hear and now felt Sookie’s relief that it seemed to start decently. He waited for them in the den in their chamber. They came out with Sookie carrying Hunter and he was tucked into her closely. The nap had done wonders apparently. Once they were all seated together, Sookie pushed him back and bit while he was still on her lap so they could talk more easily.
Though she wanted him to speak out loud, she kept a bead on his thoughts as well. As she suspected, he knew their secret and it had set him off. “Ok Hunter. Can you explain what’s been going on in that head?”
“I didn’t sleep last night.”
“Well that explains your long nap now. Why didn’t you sleep?”
“I . . . I heard something from Glad before I went to bed.”
“Something that made you upset last night but you didn’t want to talk about it?”
“And now do you see that maybe talking about it then would have been a good idea?” He was quiet so she continued. “You know I stay out of your head as much as I can. Daddy and I feel you’re entitled to your privacy. This means that you need to talk to us if something is bothering you – right?”
“Are you really having another baby?”
It was just as she suspected. “Yes Hunter we are.”
“Why didn’t you tell us?”
“Well, first you overheard Glad saying what?”
“She was whispering that she could see the baby’s glow. It was her and Diantha.”
Eric explained. “Daemons can see that glow. Do you know that when you heard that conversation that Mommy didn’t even know yet that she was pregnant?”
“What do you mean?”
“Glad saw my glow before I even took a pregnancy test – and I’ll be talking to her about keeping things quiet. Daddy knew because he can detect pregnancy too, but just like with Roo, he waited for me. Well, actually he didn’t wait this time. When I went to dress for bed last night, there was a pregnancy test on the bathroom counter. I took it but really didn’t need to at that point. So Hunter, you actually knew before me.”
The boy was quiet for a few minutes taking in his mother’s words. It wasn’t uncomfortable; he just leaned into Sookie and sat quietly. Eric was also silent because this was mostly between Sookie and Hunter. Though there would be a reminder from him about not talking back and yelling at Mommy before they were all through with the conversation.
Finally he looked up at her his eyes wet from tearing up. “I’m sorry Mommy. I said mean things to you and Moyra and I’m sorry.”
“You are forgiven. Can you explain though why this got you upset? You knew we were planning to have another baby.”
“I thought you were keeping it a secret.”
“Is that all?”
He fiddled with the button on her shirt for a moment and finally looked up with tears in his eyes. “This is the baby that’s gonna be Daddy’s real baby.”
Eric pulled Hunter to his lap. “Hunter. Each one of you is special, and this baby won’t be any more special because he’s got my DNA. We talked about this with Margo, remember. Actually we don’t know this baby enough to know what makes him or her special. But you, you’re my first child, you’re the one that kept me going when Mommy was gone. Many nights you were the only thing that got me out of bed. I don’t know how I would have survived without you, Hunter. Frannie is my oldest and just like you saved me, her bravery saved Mommy. Moyra’s path is also not yet forged, but we all know she’s really the juiciest so far with all that drool.” He got a giggle out of that one as he’d hoped. “DNA does not make families. Love does.” Hunter moved into Eric’s chest and clung to him for comfort. “Do you understand Hunter?”
“I’ll remind you as often as you need it – you’re very special to me Hunter. No other child could ever replace you. Besides, you might finally get a little brother.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. Gosh Daddy – what if it IS another girl? What are we gonna do then?”
“We’ll forbid Pam from shopping for her and make her a tomboy. I’ll get a sword made right away.”
Sookie took him back for a hug. “You OK now little man?”
“So what have you learned?”
“To talk things through. But if I did then you would have found out from me that you were having a baby.”
“I would rather that had happened then having the day we had today. I missed my sweet boy today.”
“Am I going to be grounded like you did to Frannie once?” He was looking directly at Eric now.
“No Hunter. Your time out today was your punishment. I will remind you though that we don’t yell at each other in this family and you don’t talk back to Mommy or Daddy, ever. Right?”
“That’s my boy.” He moved to Eric’s outstretched arm for a hug. “Now, I think we need some family time. Let’s skip work for a short while. What do you think Mommy?”
“I think that’s a good idea. What will we do?”
“First we tell Frannie about the baby, then well, we should have received a delivery from my video store today.”
Hunter’s eyes brightened. “What did they send!?”
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” Hunter clapped with glee. He’d read the whole series with Daddy in preparation for seeing the movie.
A short while later they were settling into the den for their movie, Eric and Sookie having canceled their early work appointments. Sookie was settling Moyra into her bouncy seat and Frannie was walking in with a bowl of popcorn. They piled on the couch together and watched the movie. As the credits came up, Eric asked what they were going to do next.
“I have an idea.”
“What’s that Frannie?”
“You know how you guys named Moyra Roo before she was born?” Eric nodded. “Let’s come up with a new name for this one.” She pointed to Sookie’s stomach.
“I like that idea.” Sookie smiled.
“How far along are you Mom?”
“Just six weeks. I’m due in June.” Eric smiled and shook his head and Sookie asked him why. “What are you thinking?”
“We should have known that we’d be pregnant for a June delivery.”
“Your Amma. She hired the new Britlingen to start in June. She practically told us without telling us.”
“You’re right. So baby names?”
Hunter started. “Scatha.”
“You already have a stuffed animal named Scatha goof.”
“Fine Frannie, you come up with something.”
They each traded names back and forth, sometimes serious offers; sometimes jokes. They were laughing so hard at some points that Moyra started laughing with them, even though she had no idea what was being discussed.
Finally Hunter said. “Bean.”
“Bean?” He nodded at Sookie. “Well, it’s Baby Northman, and the size of a bean. B e a N.”
“I like it goof. Good job.” She turned to her parents. “Mom? Dad?”
Eric could feel Sookie’s acceptance through the bond so he placed his hand on her stomach and said. “I declare you to be Baby Northman, or BeaN for short.” In his sappy Daddy way, he leaned over to speak to the baby. “We all can’t wait to meet you.”
Then Hunter leaned over and added, “Please, please, please be a boy.”