Chapter 15 – Almost
“Did you talk to Jessica today? Or rather was she at least talking again?”
“I’m not the one whispering about your ‘just you know whated look’ last night.” He was referring to Jessica’s comments when she pulled Sookie into Hunter’s bathroom the night before and started squealing about how it was obvious Sookie and Eric had ‘done it’. She was embarrassed all over again when Sookie explained that Eric had heard her, even through the bathroom door. The feeling of amusement coming from Eric gave away all that he heard.
“I can’t believe she could see that.”
Eric could hear Hunter in the background. “See what Mommy?” He helped Sookie out by roaring with laughter at her predicament. “What’s he laughing about? What’s so funny?”
“Eric’s being a goof and I’ll get him later.”
“Promises promises my sweet.”
“I think you should talk to your buddy for a little while.”
“Put him on.”
Hunter and Eric caught up on the motorcycle ride, the fact that Mommy drove the bike home the night before and the day’s events from his visit with Marjorie. Hunter got upset and Eric wished he could stop in but the meeting with Pam had to happen tonight. Sookie soothed him as best she could but the truth was the visit was just as upsetting for her. She got back on the line with Eric and he asked. “You guys OK?”
“Yeah, rough day.”
“Are the visits doing more harm than good?”
“I don’t know. I’ll talk to the social worker on staff tomorrow.” She sighed. “So you all set for your meeting with Pam?” She tried desperately to change the subject.
He recognized the topic change and answered as asked. “Yes. I’ve already prepared this month’s report for comparison. I’m afraid the meeting will be tense and not have a good outcome.”
“Sweetie, try to be positive. She really could be trying.”
“Or she just wants my wallet.”
“Maybe she wants your respect.”
“I hope so. It’s going to be late when I finish with her; I’ll text you the outcome but I won’t call. I’ll see you tomorrow just after first dark for our appointment. Love you.”
She smiled and responded with; “Love you more,” before hanging up.
Hunter beamed at Sookie. “You love him?”
“Does he love you?”
“Are we going to be a family?”
“One step at a time Hunter, one step at a time.”
“Are you ready Pamela?”
“Very well, present your reports to me for review.”
“I left them on your desk. You requested them at first dark.”
“I see and appreciate that, I want you to present them to me. Personally. If I get a call about any items from the Queen or Andre, I need to understand the source.”
For the next hour, Eric had Pam painfully reviewed every number and its source on the report; every vampire name; every detail. Eric simply listened and Pam thought with him not criticizing her, she’d done well. When she finished she leaned back in the chair and smiled. It didn’t last long. “Pamela. I have compiled this month’s report as well. It differs from yours. Let us review it in detail, shall we?”
‘Shit. He stopped using contractions.’
“First, may I remind you that I have offered to spend time with you after every Sheriff meeting we had to review notes. I have offered to have you sit with me every month when I create this report. I have offered to share the Powerpoint and Excel templates I created for pulling this report together. You declined each of these offers, correct?”
“Yes Master.” It was the truth, plain and simple. She honestly didn’t think the reports would be that hard.
“In terms of your report, let me summarize by saying you have missed a great deal of data. This report needs to reflect our financial health, vampire census and any human/vampire relations issues AND accords. Does your report reflect all that?” He flipped through her printed report. “I will answer that, it does NOT. We will go through it page by page and meeting by meeting now.”
Two hours later, Eric had fired Pam as his second after some significant fighting and Indira was moved into her place. Pam was furious and wanted to retaliate immediately against the person she believed to be the cause: Sookie Stackhouse. Instead she managed to calm herself a bit and think through a plan. It would be hard to watch Indira step into her role as Eric’s second AND see Eric continue to fawn over the human but a more successful plan could be formulated if she took some time.
Eric called the Queen and spoke to her second, Andre, to register the change. He also publicly announced it to the vampires in the bar for the night. He sent Pam away after the argument so he could begin to work with Indira without distraction. They finished the review of the reports and Indira and Eric split the area for visitations. Already he was getting more support from this vampire who was not his child and while he was pleased to have the help, he couldn’t shake off the hurt. When the bar closed, he drove right where he needed to be: By Sookie’s side. She’d done it again; fallen asleep on the side of the bed – even though it was larger. He wasn’t sure why she didn’t just get in. His stubborn fairy would probably just tell him it was so she wouldn’t fall asleep too soon. He got her tucked in and skooched her over so he could snuggle into her. He needed the comfort; he needed her presence to soothe the hurt. He risked waking him, but he reached over Sookie to also hold onto Hunter. He needed them both right now.
Sookie woke the next morning and found a note in her hand. She smiled and read:
Good morning min Röðull,
I needed the comfort of lying with you and Hunter last night so I came after the bar closed. The meeting with Pam went badly and I found I couldn’t calm without you. I will admit that while I was quiet and moved softly, I hoped you would ‘accidentally’ wake, but it was not so. Not even Fidget felt my presence. I guess you both needed the sleep after your difficult day at Marjorie’s house.
I am looking forward to our meeting with Ludwig tonight and I pray she gives us hope and options.
Enjoy your afternoon with Maxine and tell her I said hello.
All my love,
Sookie remembered that Eric promised them a lesson in his Gods. She would need to ask about that – specifically to whom he would be praying today. The note put a smile on her face that was still there when Hunter woke. Her cheery disposition was needed after yesterday. The day before at Marjorie’s house had been difficult for both Hunter and Sookie. She honestly didn’t know if she could go again – but if the social worker thought it would benefit Hunter, she’d pull on her big girl pants for him.
A few hours later Sookie was driving to Maxine’s with her laundry and groceries. When she walked in Maxine noticed she was shaking a little. “What’s wrong baby girl?”
“I skidded on the way over – in the rain.”
“You didn’t get hurt or hit anything didya?”
“No, no. Nothing like that. Just had that feeling where I lost control and it was scary, that’s all.”
“Sit down and calm yourself. You can start your work in 5 minutes.” Giving her no option to decline, Maxine guided her to the couch. “How’s it going with your man?”
Sookie brightened right away and even blushed. “We’re in love.”
“I knew it! The way he dotes on you and Hunter and the look on your face . . . well it’s clear as a bell that you love him. What happens next?”
“Maxine. Next is still all about Hunter. He has to be my focus.”
“I know, but I want you to do something else for yourself, well for each other.”
“What’s that Maxine?”
“I want you to pick two nights a week to go on a date with your man. I’ll come over and stay with Hunter. I know Eric comes several nights a week – and he likes to stay with Hunter too. I’m talking about nights for just you and Eric. Dinner, dancing, or heck just going to his house maybe and watching TV or you know, something.” She winked at Sookie.
“What? He’s a hotty.”
Sookie reddened and shook her head as she rose. “I’m going to cook now.”
Sookie was ready to leave a few hours later so she packed her car and ran back in to say goodbye to Maxine. The woman was fretting and in mother mode as she walked Sookie to the door. “You drive safely. You’re sure it wasn’t a car problem, right?”
“It was just too wet. I’m driving home slowly since it’s still coming down out there. Don’t worry Maxine.”
“How ‘bout we call for a car from Eric’s service? I’ll feel better then.”
“Then I won’t have my car on Wednesday. I’ll be fine.”
“You call me the minute you get to the hospital. I mean it. THE MINUTE YOU GET THERE.”
“Maxine, how are you?”
“Eric. I can’t get ahol’ of Sookie. She’s not answering her phone and she told me she slipped on the road on the way over. The weather is really bad. The nurses haven’t seen her. She should be back by now Eric. She left over an hour and a half ago.”
He could hear his ally was nearly panicked. “I’ll make some calls right now.”
“Hoyt and Jessica are on their way to Hunter. He’s very upset; he needs you Eric but Lord you can look for Sookie. I don’t know what I want you to do. I stayed behind in case she called here but I can’t stay here anymore; I just called for a car, I’ll be there soon.”
“I’m ten minutes away and I was just about to walk out the door for the hospital anyway. I’ll have Mustapha start this search while I check on Hunter. I’ll be with him in just a few minutes. Try to calm down Maxine, we’ll find her.”
As soon as he ended the call with Maxine, he called Mustapha and got him on a search for Sookie; then he took to the sky to get to Hunter as quickly as possible. He wanted to fly around and find her and he would, just as soon as he told Hunter he was heading out to search for his Mother.
He could hear Hunter crying as soon as the elevator stopped on the floor and he ran to the room. Even though he was wet from the flight, Hunter was in his arms before Nancy even recognized that Eric was there. “It’s OK Hunter; I’m going to find her I promise.”
“She should be here already.”
“I know Fidget, I know.” Hunter’s crying was painful for Eric as he was already on edge with worry. Tears formed in Eric’s eyes that he couldn’t stop and he tried to discretely wipe them away. Seeing bloody tears could scare Hunter more than he already was. He rocked him for a few minutes before settling him back in the bed then he ran to get him a towel. As he dried him he spoke about next steps. “Hunter, I need you to be brave for a while. I want to fly the route your mother takes to Bon Temps and try to find her. To do that, I need to leave you here. Hoyt and Jessica are already on the way – so you won’t be alone.”
“I’m scared Eric. I want Mommy and I want you to stay here.”
“I know you’re scared. I want her back too but the sooner I can get in the air, the sooner I can have her back. Can you stay here and wait for Hoyt and Jessica?” A big fat tear fell down his cheek as Hunter nodded his head. “That’s my brave boy.” He tucked him under the covers and kissed his forehead. “I’ll call Hoyt and Nancy here as soon as I know anything.”
Nancy walked back in. “He’ll be fine Eric. I finished my shift; I’m just staying with him now.”
“Thank you Nancy.”
“Go. Find her.”
Just as he was about to launch himself into the sky, his phone rang, it was Mustapha. “Found her. She’s at Good Sheppard Emergency. I’m almost there. I already called Bobby and Indira just in case.”
“Call Ludwig for me?”
He was in the air heading towards Sookie as quickly as he could. When he landed, Mustapha was just pulling in and speaking to the elf doctor on the phone. “No, he needs you at Good Sheppard now.”
Eric could hear both sides of the conversation so he heard her yelling back. “I thought the boy was in Parish. Does the vampire know what he’s talking about?”
“Doctor. The boy is at Parish, but his mother was just in an accident, as I’ve been trying to tell you.” They were walking into the ER waiting area as the call was going on.
“Fine, I’ll be there in a minute.”
Eric reached the desk and spoke to the nurse. “My girlfriend, Sookie Stackhouse was brought in from a car accident. Where is she?”
“We’ll need a next of kin.”
“Sorry, I’m it. Her brother isn’t available and her son is already in the hospital.” Ludwig had appeared next to them as he was trying to get to Sookie.
“I can’t have you going back . . .”
He looked into her eyes and glamoured her. “You will give me the room number for Miss Stackhouse and passes or whatever we all need to go back there now.”
The nurse smiled and said. “Certainly. That’s three of you?” She handed over three badges for them to wear.
Still controlling her he responded. “Yes, and when Indira and Bobby Burnham arrive, they are also to be given badges.”
“Of course. Miss Stackhouse is in bed D11.”
They made their way into the ER ward and found the D section and finally room 11. Eric paled at seeing her. She was braced around her neck and attached to some board all the way down her body. Her face was nothing but blood and one arm hung limp – it looked broken from where he stood. He could hear one of the people working on her yelling about internal injuries from the steering wheel hitting her abdomen. He turned to Ludwig. “Can I heal all that?”
“I need to see her and examine her, but I don’t think so. You’ll have to give her enough to keep her alive, then wait and heal her fully – maybe over two days. If you give her enough to heal all that? You’ll turn her; she’s lost too much blood. Luckily your blood will heal tissues faster – meaning the bleeding. It’s the broken bones that will need to wait. I’ll set her in casts after she’s safe.”
“Should I get rid of all of the doctors and nurses in the room?”
“I’ll need a second set of hands, a nurse at least. Someone we can trust though, you can’t keep her glamoured and have her be too useful to me. OR just glamour her later?”
Mustapha jumped in. “Theresa is on her way. I called her for help when I was headed here.”
Ludwig barked. “Get rid of all of them, you guys will be my hands until Theresa arrives. I need to examine her quickly so you can start on whatever healing we can do tonight.”
Eric worked quickly to clear the room and glamour any witnesses to the actions in the surrounding area before he re-joined Ludwig and Mustapha, already in the process of examining Sookie. Theresa walked in just as he was about to help. “Mustapha, you guard and call Jessica to tell her that she’ll be fine.
In Hunter’s room. Jessica had just changed Hunter into pajamas. She and Hoyt were both puzzled to see some blood stains on his shirt when she removed it and at first they searched Hunter discretely for a wound. He caught on. “It’s not my blood. Don’t tell him you saw it though. I could tell he was trying not to let me see it.”
“He was hurt?”
“No, he was crying and his tears are blood.”
“Oh. Yes, we won’t speak of it again, good call H . . .” Her phone rang and she stopped speaking to answer it right away. “Mustapha, what’s going on?” . . . She smiled and said to Hunter. “They’ve got her. She’s going to be fine.”
“Hang on Hunt.” She listened to Mustapha for a few minutes and hung up. “She was in a car accident and they found her at Good Sheppard in the ER. Eric brought his own doctor in and they’re working on her now. She is hurt and will need some time to heal, but she will be fine Hunter. That’s what you need to focus on right now.”
Worriedly, Maxine walked in from her drive to the hospital. “Any word?”
They repeated the news to Maxine and the woman broke down and cried with relief. “Thank the Lord. She needed this like a canoe needs a trapdoor.” She kissed and fussed at her grandbaby for a moment. “It’s late baby. Why don’t you sleep for a bit? I promise to wake you if we hear more.”
“Gramma, I don’t think I can.”
“I’ll rub your back, come on, I can see you’re very tired.”
Maxine did get her grandbaby to sleep after just a few minutes. She whispered to Hoyt and Jessica. “Why don’t you grab dinner? I’ll stay here.”
“Ok Mama.” Hoyt took Jessica’s hand. “Let’s go baby.”
Back at Good Sheppard, Eric was getting anxious to start the healing. He’d given Ludwig a few minutes to do an exam, but he was out of patience now. “Can I give her my blood now?”
“First clean her wounds, your saliva will start the healing, then apply some topically to her stomach where you see the gashes, her face and the wound on her arm, well after we push the bone back in.” He cringed at that thought and was thankful Sookie was unconscious. That would hurt. “Once the external bleeding is under control, you’ll give her a LITTLE blood then we’ll check for internal bleeds. We’ll do that until I believe she’s healed on the inside. Or at least healed enough to survive and build up her human blood before you give her more.”
“This will start a bond.”
“Eric, don’t debate me. Do you want to save her or turn her?”
He started healing her wounds as she ordered and was done quickly. Then, following Ludwig’s instruction, he bit his wrist and held it to her mouth, stroking her neck to encourage swallowing. Only a dribble made it in before Ludwig called ‘stop’. Theresa and Ludwig monitored Sookie’s blood pressure and used the in room ultrasound to check her abdomen to determine if the bleeding was stopped or at least slowed. They repeated this process three more times until Ludwig felt Sookie was out of danger. She then casted Sookie’s broken arm and ankle – Eric hadn’t even noticed the broken ankle before.
“I want her at my hospital for the next two days.”
“She won’t go for that, she’ll try to leave to see Hunter I’m sure of it. If I try to secure her there, she’ll never forgive me.” He looked at the nurse. “Can you get a bed added to Hunter’s room and we’ll keep her there? I’ll pay whatever the Administrator wants. Godsdamn man will be happy to have another Northman donation for his cooperation.”
“I’ll call now Eric. I’ll be back in a minute to get her cleaned up; Hunter can’t see her like this.”
“I’ll take care of that. Can you track down some scrubs or something I can dress her in? Her outfit was torn from the accident or when she got here.”
“Yeah, I’ll be back with something.”
“Ludwig, can I move her to change her from these bloody clothes?”
“Yes, carefully. The casts will protect the healing bones.”
“What about her back?”
“We arrived after they had used the portable X-ray. Only her arm and ankle were broken. Well, a few ribs too, but I can’t cast those.” She could see that Eric wanted to care for her personally so she started leaving the room. “I’ll be outside the curtain if you need me.” He nodded and began his work.
He called through the curtain. “Bobby?”
“Everything taken care of?”
“The bill to put her stitches in has been paid, yes. Indira glamoured a nurse to alter the records. We just need to get her out of here.”
“I need about 15 minutes to clean her up.”
“We’ll be ready. I have your wheelchair van here. We can fit her in the back on the gurney. I hired a Were to go clean out her car, since she keeps all her belongings there. I’m having it boxed and delivered to my house.”
“Good thinking Bobby.”
He was working as they spoke; tenderly wiping all the blood and other accident dirt away. Since Bobby had everything in order, he turned his attention exclusively to Sookie. “My Sookie. I stopped to see Hunter tonight. He was very scared; hopefully he’s calmer now that I had Mustapha call. We’re putting you in a room with your baby because I know you’d pitch a fit otherwise. I’m sure you’re going to love being bedridden for two days but you need to heal. I’ll stay with you every moment the sun is away and I’ll get help for the daylight.” He turned to get more clean cloths then started cleaning her again. “I’m going to take care of you as much as I can myself min Röðull; I wish I could stay the whole day just tending to your needs. Today I hate that I’m a vampire since it’s keeping us apart for half the time.” He moved from her face; now clean of blood, to her torso. The two cuts here were deep and still in the process of healing. He worked efficiently and even though he was touching her naked form, there was nothing sexual about it. He was a man carefully tending to his mate’s needs. “I’m sorry you needed my blood this way, but I’m not sorry you have it. I was panicked with fear tonight, mostly because I had no idea where you were. That won’t happen again. I can’t lose you now that I’ve found you. Hunter can’t lose you either. We both need you min Röðull. We both love you.”
His helpers and friends waited patiently outside, none of them speaking of the loving words from Eric to Sookie as he washed her. Their silence wasn’t acknowledged – not even with a glance at each other. It was simply done out of respect. When he was finished cleaning her, he called for Theresa and they changed Sookie for her move.
As promised, Bobby had the wheelchair van ready to go and even helped lock the gurney into place using the in floor tie down bolts he’d searched for earlier to be prepared. They arrived at the Parish Hospital quickly and carefully unloaded Sookie. While Eric wanted to help move her upstairs, he ran instead to Hunter’s room so he could prepare the boy for his mother. He knew she was safe with the others for her transport up the elevator.
“Oh ERIC!” Maxine exclaimed as she moved to him and grabbed him in a hug. “Is she OK, where is she?”
“She’s on her way up. She’ll be in a bed here with Hunter while she heals.”
She pulled back to look him in the face, but kept her hands on his arms. “You couldn’t do that magic healing thing I’ve read about?”
“I need to wake Hunter and explain quickly before he sees her. That’ll answer your question.”
He approached him quietly and debated about just letting him sleep. He decided to wake him though, if Sookie dreamed about the accident without him knowing and he read it from her mind? He could become frightened. “Hunter.” He gently patted him. “Hunter, I need you to wake up. Mommy will be here soon.”
He shot up quickly. “Where is she?”
“In the elevator. I want to explain what happened quickly.” Hunter nodded and Eric unhooked the wires and pulled him to his lap. “Mommy will be fine but she was hurt very badly in a car accident. Are you aware that vampire blood can heal?” He shook his head. “Well it can. I gave her some blood to heal what was bleeding, but not enough to heal her completely.”
“She lost a great deal of blood Hunter. I could have turned her into a vampire by accident. She’ll get more healing blood from me over the next two days and her bones will heal then. Maybe even just after one day.”
“Is she awake?”
“Not yet. Doctor Ludwig said that’s normal. That her body is using its energy for healing so we won’t worry about that.” He was quiet for a few seconds. “They just got off the elevator now.”
Mustapha entered the room first with the bed Theresa had ordered for Sookie. They kept it in the hall so Eric could explain what was happening first.
“Hunter, I’m going to put you back in your bed now. I want to help get Mommy moved to her hospital bed. Can you stay here until I come back for you? I don’t know how easy it will be to move her and this way I won’t worry that you’re possibly underfoot.”
“I’ll stay right here.”
“That’s my boy.” He kissed him on the forehead and returned him to the bed before moving to the hall. All the nurses on the floor had already gathered around Sookie expressing their concern. “Ladies, I want to get her moved to her bed now. What’s the best way?”
Theresa added. “Let me grab a back board. With her broken ribs it will be easier to move her while she’s on one and then remove it.”
“I can lift her straight up and fly her to the bed then.” Theresa nodded and moved quickly with the other nurses to secure Sookie. He gently lifted her while she was on the board and moved her to the hospital bed. The nurses all followed and they worked to detach her quickly. He covered her with the blankets and once he was sure she looked presentable to Hunter, he brought the boy over. “Her ribs are broken like a few weeks ago, so you can’t hug her like back then.”
He started crying and sniffling while Eric held him close to Sookie. “Mommy, I was so scared. No more driving that car. Gramma said it was dangerous.”
“Don’t worry Hunter. I have a new car for Mommy and this time she won’t tell me no.”
“Good.” He squirmed to snuggle in to Eric’s chest for comfort.
They stayed that way for a few moments before Ludwig interrupted them. “Eric?” He looked up at Dr. Ludwig. “We’ll need to meet in a few days on Hunter, but can I borrow him now, for an exam?”
“I think that will be a good distraction and Sookie can sleep.” He carried Hunter back to the boy’s bed and then addressed the room. “Speaking of sleep, you should all go and get some. Maxine, can I persuade you to return and spend the day here tomorrow?”
“No. You don’t have to persuade me at all. I’ll call for the car to pick me up at 5:30 AM. That should get me here before dawn, right?”
“Yes, but I’m sure you can come a bit later. They’ll probably both be asleep still.”
“I can just nap here. She’ll be happier if she knows he wasn’t alone – just in case.”
“Thank you then. Goodnight everyone. I thank you for your help.”
Mustapha answered for them. “No thanks are needed Eric.”
After shutting the door for privacy, he returned to Hunter. “Fidget, this is Dr. Ludwig. She’s a special doctor and I wanted her to give us some advice on your illnesses. Will you allow her to examine you?” Hunter concentrated on the doctor and made a face. “Hmm, let me guess, you can’t read her?”
“No, I can’t.”
He turned to Ludwig. “Since you’ve already agreed to treat Hunter, you fall under client/patient confidentiality.”
“I do, their telepathy will be kept in confidence.”
“You already guessed what I meant and that they both have it?”
Since she wasn’t sure what the boy knew, she chose her words carefully. “With this particular gene, one parent would have to be a telepath to pass it along. As for guessing in general? Your words confirmed it, but I could feel Hunter trying.”
“So Hunter, can I take a look at you?”
“Is it going to hurt?”
“I need to take some blood. Can you handle that?”
“Yes Ma’am. Can you start with that please? Otherwise I’ll just keep worrying about it.”
“So polite. I like that. I’ll draw the blood first.”
Eric held Hunter’s hand and suggested that Hunter tell Dr. Ludwig how they had all met to distract him.
“I don’t want to look at what she’s doing now though.”
“You can just talk to me and she’ll hear it. It won’t be rude to do that given the circumstances. I can assure you, even though you’re the mind reader, I’m positive she’s dying to know what I’m doing with a human family.”
“OK, I’ll tell her.”
He gave her the whole story while she took a good amount of Hunter’s blood. As Eric guessed, the tiny doctor WAS very interested in the story and even though she’d finished taking blood, she sat quietly and waited for the boy to finish. Her only response was a raised eyebrow to Eric and he just shrugged. With the story finished, she proceeded with the exam. At one point, Eric raced to Sookie’s side and explained “I can feel her coming out of it.”
“That’s good Eric. I’ll finish with Hunter while you watch for her to wake. You should dim the lights over her bed so it won’t blind her.”
Eric only needed to wait for a moment before he saw her open her eyes. She blinked several times and he had to wait a few moments until she was able to keep them open. Her brow creased as she scanned the room, trying to figure things out. “You were in an accident.” She simply nodded, unsure of her voice just yet. He watched as she moved her tongue around her mouth as she tried to assess what was likely the residual taste of his blood on her tongue. “The accident was bad Sookie, I needed to give you blood to heal. That’s probably what you taste.”
Her casted arm moved to her stomach like she wanted to scratch it – but then she stopped and held up the cast, again her brow creased in confusion. “You broke some ribs; your right arm and left ankle. It looks like you’re trying to itch your stomach?” She nodded again. “You had two very bad gashes there.” He lifted her shirt to check on them. “They are a bit pink so it’s still healing. That’s the itch you feel. I know it’s hard, but leave it be.”
“H . . how b. . . “
He guessed her question. “How bad?” She nodded. “You had lost a great deal of blood from both your external cuts and some internal injuries. I gave you enough blood to stop the bleeding but not enough to fully heal your bones. We’ll need to wait a day or two so I can give you more.”
“Don’t have to.”
“Have to?” He shook his head. “No. I want to. My blood is for you if you need it.” She tried to clear her throat. “Doctor, can she drink?”
“Yes, she’ll need it to replenish her blood.”
“You’re giving her blood though.”
“I want her to produce her own WHILE she takes some as a transfusion.”
He brought a straw to her lips and she drank. “I can feel you are still tired. Why don’t you sleep? I’ll stay here with Hunter until Maxine arrives, she should be here around 6:30 AM.”
“You had a team of people helping tonight Sookie. Hoyt and Jessica came to take care of Hunter. Nancy ended her shift and just stayed with them. Maxine was here. Mustapha searched for you, Ludwig and Theresa took over at Good Sheppard ER to work on the healing. Indira helped to hide what we were doing at the hospital via glamour and Bobby coordinated the retrieval of your belongings and your trip back to this hospital room.”
She was speaking better now, but still quietly. “So much trouble.”
“You are.” She scowled at him. “And still trying to be fierce even with all your injuries.” He kissed her face and took her hand. “So much trouble AND everyone that I just spoke about would tell you that you are worth it. I love you min Röðull, you can’t do this to me again. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow night though. Now, I really want you to sleep.”
“Too tired to argue.” She yawned and closed her eyes and he rubbed her un-casted arm. Turning her to her stomach to rub her back wasn’t really an option right now.
She was out quickly so he returned to Hunter. “Are you two getting along OK here?”
“I’m just about done here. I do have a lengthy questionnaire I wanted to leave with Sookie tonight. Can I give it with you and she can work on it when she can?”
“Sure. Are you able to return tomorrow though?”
“Certainly, I’m not leaving Sookie’s care to the doctors at this hospital. Make sure the nurses and Maxine know that before you leave for the day.” She pointed to the bag of blood slowly dripping into Sookie’s arm.” After that blood, the only treatment she should get from this hospital is a standard IV to replenish her fluids. I’ll leave some painkillers too. They can call me if anything else is needed.”
“I’ll make sure that’s clear.”
Ludwig focused again on Hunter. “Ok, last thing then you can go back to sleep.” She put her hands on his tiny feet. “Can you try to push up with your right leg?” He was able to get her hand to move, even though she was applying pressure. “And the left?” Again, he was able to move her hand. “This is good. Seems like you’re keeping your strength even though this drug you’re on could be keeping you down.”
“Mommy does exercises with me every day.”
“You’re a lucky boy to have such a dedicated Mommy.”
“I know. We’re lucky to have Eric.”
“You are. I’ll leave you now and will return tomorrow afternoon.”
“Thank you Dr. Ludwig.”
“You’re welcome Eric.”
Eric walked her to the door, checked Sookie when he passed her and then got in bed with Hunter. “I need you to go back to sleep Hunter. It’s very late.”
“Sure. You’re staying?”
“Until just before sunrise. Is that OK?”
“Yes. I’ll sleep better with you here since I’m used to sleeping with Mommy – even if she’s just hanging at the end of the bed.”
“I’m aware. I’ll rest next to you so I can get to Mommy quickly if she needs me.” With the rhythmic circles he was rubbing on the boy’s back, he was asleep quickly and Eric chose to go into downtime to process the events of the night. He was now tied to Sookie by blood. While he didn’t like the situation, he was quite happy with the outcome. Sookie’s car was totaled, so he’d bring her new car with him tomorrow night. She might not be ready to walk out and see it, but it would be here and ready for her. Again, he hated the accident but was happy with the outcome. She wouldn’t be though, even in her weakened state, she was going to pitch a fit. Finally, if those closest to him already didn’t know, they knew now how much he cared for her. Mustapha and Indira he trusted completed. Bobby had shown a huge improvement in the past few weeks but complete trust? That he was unsure about. He spent some time thinking about Bobby and decided he had proven himself with his latest actions and he would let it go. Sookie’s family and the nurses knew but he had no concerns there; they all already knew. Sookie was around the nurses enough to read if any of them were a problem and the others loved her just as much as he did. He decided the small circle of friends could be trusted.
Maxine walked in and he couldn’t’ believe he’d just stayed in downtime for so long. She started to position the guest chair she preferred next to Hunter and he rose to cover her with a blanket as she reached for her grandbaby’s hand. She grabbed his arm just as he was about to turn and pulled him down to kiss his cheek. “Thank you for saving Sookie tonight.”
“It was just as much for me.”
“I still thank you though.”
On his way out, he touched Sookie’s face softly and kissed her before he whispered. “Thank you for staying with me Sookie. Don’t ever scare me like this again.” He looked towards Hunter. “We can’t live without you.”
Mags’ Secrets Updated for this chapter