Chapter 3 – I don’t wanna
Tissue warning level (1):
Eric returned to Shreveport after being stuck in New Orleans for several days longer than intended. The Great Reveal of vampires to the human population had been a necessity due to technology strides in surveillance. In addition to responding to the need to reveal, Eric was pleased with the opportunity to live in the open so he was a proponent for the decision. Had he known about the Godsdamn paperwork involved, he might have changed his mind. Human authorities were overly interested in tracking vampires since the reveal. That administrative work was passed to the Sheriffs. Learning about the new reports that were now due to humans on a quarterly basis was taking longer than expected extending his trip. Part of the problem was the software program being used for the report. He couldn’t believe Stefan, one of the Louisiana Sheriffs, and the Queen’s second, Andre, were so behind on technology that they spent two nights going over basics for just the two of them. ‘Fantastic.’ Eric thought as they reviewed the requirements and the software that was being implemented for the reporting. Yesterday morning, before the sun rose, he called Pam to give her an update and clearly informed her that this new reporting would be HER responsibility after they did the first quarter together. She immediately whined about the fact that Eric’s meeting had taken him from the bar over the weekend – their busiest time and that his request was going to be too much responsibility for her. Eric literally hung up on her; then canceled all her credit cards. The limits of his patience were being tested and he had no distraction from her tantrums and attitude since he’d told Mustapha NOT to send him any updates until he returned. He felt the need to keep his focus on these meetings and his interest in Hunter and Sookie was too much of a distraction. Of course, that didn’t keep him from checking out the picture in his wallet every once and a while.
He pulled into his driveway with just enough time for a fly-by at the hospital since he felt he’d earned the check-in. Like the other night, when he flew to the window, Sookie was asleep with Hunter but this time she’d squeezed herself onto the bed and she looked slightly more comfortable that way. Also like the other night, for some reason, his presence had awakened the boy and he found himself giving a smile and a wave before making the ‘shh signal’ with his finger over his mouth. He flew away, barely making it back to his house before the sun rose, sent a note to Mustapha telling him he was back and ready for a report when he woke for the night, and went to bed for the day early. His frustration at his life was becoming too much to bear. ‘Maybe this lack of desire for all things vampire.’ He thought ‘was why some older vampires met the sun. Or perhaps, they too had a frustrating child like Pam and meeting the sun became the only option. At least I have this little family to distract me.’ His thoughts reminded him that he did have that picture in his wallet so he pulled it out and went to rest with it in his hand.
It was Monday, so after Sookie saw Hunter off to his dialysis, she headed to Maxine’s for laundry and cooking duty. She’d found a recipe for chicken and biscuit casserole that met Hunter’s renal diet requirements and was excited to check it out. On her way, she stopped at the local market for her ingredients and chatted with a few friends while she was there. It was nice to catch-up but honestly, her life was so different than anyone in Bon Temps could imagine it was hard to make a connection to some folks anymore. As she loaded the trunk of her rusted out Nova, she heard the beginnings of a fight brewing behind her. Both voices in the fight she recognized: Her lovely brother Jason and his co-worker Hoyt.
“Jason! Just leave her be man. You know she’s only got so much time before she needs to be back to the hospital.”
“Ain’t my problem Hoyt. You need to stop sticking up for her sorry ass too.”
When she turned to look, Jason was walking towards her very quickly with Hoyt trying to catch up. She ran for the driver’s door and got in the car with the door shut, but not before he made it to the window and started smacking at it for her to open up. Ignoring her kin as best she could, she started the car and backed out while he screamed obscenities at her the whole time but she made it out of the parking lot. The road crew her brother supervised was working on the street in front of the store, which explained why Jason was there in the middle of the day. ‘Thank God Hoyt slowed him down. I don’t have the energy for a Jason confrontation.’ She thought to herself.
When she made it to Maxine’s she was still shaking from the situation and in her mother mode, Maxine came out to help her out of the car with the groceries. When Sookie went to retrieve her laundry, Maxine finally spoke. “Hoyt called me. You stay put and relax a minute honey. If you don’t get your wash done before you have to go back, I’ll finish it and Hoyt will drive it to you.”
“Maxine, why does he need to do that?” The tears that had been threatening finally spilled over.
The older woman moved to sit beside Sookie and embraced her. “Sookie, I don’t know. Hoyt’s tried talking some sense into him, but nothing ever gets through. You have us, just focus on that. You just let it all out now, I’ve got you.”
Sookie did let it all out and she felt better after a few minutes. When she’d calmed enough to speak, she thanked the woman who had been her lifeline for a while now. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate how you and Hoyt and Jessica have stepped in since Gran died.”
“Your Gran was my best friend. She agreed with your decision to take in Hunter. This is what she would have wanted, and more importantly, I’m glad to help you honey. I wish we could do more.”
“I know better. You didn’t just support me ‘cause Gran did. You always THOUGHT I was doing the right thing.”
“I guess you would know bein’ a mind reader and all.”
“Well, my pity party is over. I have a new recipe I want to try.”
“Do you need any help?” Sookie appreciated that she always asked, but she already did so much for her and besides, Sookie enjoyed the time in the kitchen with her music.
“No Maxine. You watch your stories.”
As usual, she heard the snoring coming from the living room when she returned from the laundry room so Sookie turned on her music and started making the sauce for the casserole. Another two hours later, she was putting the casserole into storage containers when the phone rang. Since Maxine was still asleep, she answered. “Fortenberry residence.”
“Sookie,” She recognized Hoyt’s voice right away. “The hospital called. It’s Hunter.” She didn’t bother with saying goodbye. She left everything where it was and sped out of Bon Temps.
Eric rose about an hour before sunset and when he looked down, he remembered going to rest with their picture and decided he liked rising and seeing them so much that a framed picture on his nightstand was in order. Having decided that, he started his internal debate immediately: ‘Why am I so damn interested in this woman and her son?’ Rather than worrying about an answer, he remembered to boot his PC so he could get the update from Mustapha. After looking just at the length of the note, he figured Mustapha had been a busy boy. He really wished the investigator would give up his current job and agree to be his dayman. Bobby was proving to be pathetic in so many ways. So far, nothing could entice Mustapha from giving up ‘being his own boss’ as the man said.
He decided on a shower first since he had a feeling that after he read through the lengthy update he might want to do another fly-by. After all, he’d already been seen twice. How much damage could another appearance do? As a bonus, tonight was Monday and Fangtasia was closed, so he had plenty of time to himself before he had some Sheriff meetings scheduled for midnight.
Selecting all black for his outfit to help him blend in, he dressed, fed and was at his PC with about thirty minutes until the sun set. Out of character for Mustapha, he had an unusually long introduction before his bullet point summary which had Eric curious.
I normally report just the facts to you and I realize that is my job. For this situation, however, I find it necessary to offer some perspective or input about the facts. I realize this is NOT my job, but perhaps as you read through what I discovered, you will understand. What this mother and child have endured; what the mother gave up – will surprise you. I believe there is something illegal or at the very least immoral about the Rattrays being foster parents and I’m more than willing to go the extra mile to assist with that situation, even bringing in local authorities if needed. We should discuss this thoroughly before we act though, as their sudden absence could bring even more hurt to this family I’ve been investigating for you. I’ll express why I have these concerns as part of my bullet summary below.
For further investigation, I do believe I need the use of some vampire glamour, so I just need your permission to call Pam and request her services.
*Sookie is homeless. The nurses on the floor where Hunter is all turn a blind eye to the fact that she sleeps on the side of his bed and uses the patient’s shower for her own needs. She had to sell her family property – in the family for generations – to pay down the hospital debt for Hunter. She keeps her clothing and anything else she really treasured from the house in her car.
*Before she used the sale of the house to pay down a good chunk of the almost $500K hospital bill, Good Shepherd Hospital refused to treat Hunter and she started taking him to the Parish hospital. Things spiraled for the two then. There are more bills as well, but the hospital is the largest one.
*Parish services were brought in due to the financial hardship and a social worker was assigned. While this was happening, Sookie concluded the sale of the house – effectively leaving her homeless as I mentioned above (though they had been staying with friends as needed).
*Once the state learned of her homeless situation they investigated further. Since H. Hale never legally turned over guardianship of Hunter to Sookie, he was taken into custody and the Rattrays were put into place.
*Sookie applied to adopt or foster Hunter and both applications were denied immediately since she works only on average 2 times a week at a local bar (see below) and has no permanent address.
* In addition to the bill from the hospital, the individual doctors who treated Hunter also have collector’s hounding Sookie for their outstanding invoices. Those total almost $175K. One Doctor, Maria Tennily waived her fees.
*The Rattrays do one thing that’s good: When Hunter is out of the hospital; Sookie is invited to stay with them. While that seems charitable, it’s only because Sookie takes on all care for the boy while he’s home – even arranging for sitters when she leaves to work. She is also responsible for his transport to and from dialysis on these days.
*Interesting information: The Rattrays foster a second child, also mostly in the hospital and with the same case worker as Hunter. I believe we are looking at fraud here. But if Hunter gets another foster family, they might not allow Sookie visitation. The Rattrays are a potential glamour candidate.
*While Hunter is in dialysis due to his kidney problems two of those days Sookie goes to the home of Maxine Fortenberry to do her laundry and cook special renal diet foods for the boy (the hospital provides the right nutrition, but nothing flavorful). On the third dialysis day, Fridays, she leaves Hunter early and goes to Merlotte’s Bar and Grill to work the lunch shift. If you want to investigate further, I would suggest some glamour of this Maxine.
*She works one other shift at the bar on Saturday nights when Hoyt Fortenberry and his girlfriend, Jessica Hamby, come and sit with Hunter. Except for Saturday nights, his dialysis (where she is not permitted) and other medical procedures, Sookie doesn’t leave the boy alone. She does all his bathing and other personal care; the nurses need only administer medications.
*I did find some records from the satellite campus of LSU. Sookie was enrolled to earn a degree in English Literature before all this started. She was going on an academic scholarship awarded by the university.
*Sookie does have a brother in Bon Temps: A Jason Stackhouse who works for the Parish as a supervisor for the road crew. From what I learned, he’s pretty much disowned her since she took on the care of the infant. The reasons and details are unknown to me, and this is where glamour could also assist. I do know, since I found two police reports, that Jason got violent against Sookie after the grandmother died and again the day the property was sold. Sookie decided not to press charges after both incidents.
*The town does help where they can. Her church has held baked goods fundraisers every month to help with the medical costs and most of the town has participated. The local funeral director buried her grandmother when she passed at no cost. My guess is there are more examples, but without more in depth interviews or glamour, we won’t know more.
That summarizes what I found so far. What I didn’t find was any evidence that there is a scheme going on to meet you or swindle you in any way. A nurse I spoke to told me that the boy met with the Make a Wish representative alone, specifically requesting that his wish be a surprise for his Mommy. If that’s your only concern, then you should be fine. If you do choose not to follow-up in any way, please just let me know as I feel the need to do something for this family and will take that on myself if you are no longer interested. NOTE: I told the nurse I was investigating regarding the wish Hunter requested, so she promised me confidentiality. That won’t work on most contacts, so again, please advise on the glamour.
I’ve attached some photos I came across during my research.
PS: No charge for this one.
Stunned. Eric was stunned at the information he just read. It sounded like some horrible soap opera (he only knew what they were due to Pam’s fascination for them in the 80’s). Thinking over the facts from the bottom of the list up, his first desire was to go and kill this Jason Stackhouse. He wasn’t sure about the reasons for disowning family or the violence, but from Eric’s human history that was unacceptable. The men of the family cared for the women – no excuses.
He took a moment to pull up the pictures and while he enjoyed several – even printed them for safekeeping – there was one that was just haunting. Somehow Mustapha found a candid shot of Sookie on the front porch of her house, a ‘sold’ sign off to the side. She had her hand on the porch rail, almost like she was caressing it. Her eyes were what killed him; those showed a woman defeated. Yet at the same time her posture showed her pride. Her shoulders were back, her stance tall, well tall for someone who looked at least 10 inches shorter than him in flats. He went back to the descriptions Mustapha wrote for each picture and saw that this was taken by the local paper for an announcement they did on the sale of the property. As it had been in the family for generations, it was big news. This candid hadn’t been used with the article, but still was saved on the servers among the newspaper’s other images.
Seeing her sadness at giving up her home brought him back to her sacrifices. Now he knew where the boy had learned his selflessness. His mother – not even his biological mother – gave up everything for him. He should force Pam to volunteer her services as laundress and cook for them – except that would be like a punishment to Sookie and her son. Gods knew he didn’t want to spend time with his youngest child these days. He loved her, but he didn’t like her right now. Yes, things had started to change with Pam just after the reveal of vampires to the world. Thinking about Pam had him deciding one thing for sure. Pam wouldn’t be part of anything he was doing with the investigation or possible date with Sookie. Pam wouldn’t understand his interest – he hardly understood it himself – and he didn’t want his child anywhere near this woman who appeared to be like an angel on earth. An angel, he decided right then and there, he would help.
Once he thought it through, he responded to Mustapha:
I will be following up on this family with your help since you are so inclined. Firstly, do not call Pam about the glamour; another vampire in my retinue will assist you. Expect to hear from Indira within the week. I agree: Jason and Maxine should be glamoured. Hold off on anyone else until we find additional evidence. Determine if the case worker has other children in her docket also hospitalized. Has she had any additional funds added to a bank account, that sort of thing. We’ll gather evidence, but don’t call the authorities at this time. I will work with Bobby to acquire the contents of the Stackhouse property.
PS: Invoice me as usual. Save your money for the monthly baked goods fundraiser.
When he finished with the emails it was after sunset and he really wanted the fly by so he could see the angel and her boy. When he reached the window, he was shocked. The boy was hooked up to multiple wires, wires that weren’t there just last night and his mother was bent over the bed sobbing. A nurse walked in while he was watching the room in horror, trying to figure out what to do. Something in his chest hurt, like his heart was being squeezed and he couldn’t recall having such a feeling for many years – possibly, if he thought about it, he hadn’t felt if for almost a thousand years. He moved out of the line of sight from everyone in the room but still able to hear and waited to hear anything that would tell him what happened.
Sookie raced from Bon Temps back to the Shreveport Parish hospital. By the time she got to the hospital Jessica was already there waiting for her. “Hoyt called me.” They embraced for a moment then hurried towards Hunter’s floor.
Sookie spoke as they walked quickly. “Jessica thanks for being here.”
“Sookie, over here.” A nurse called out and she quickly explained when they reached the desk. “He’s stable now. His heart stopped again and they stopped dialysis. He should wake up shortly. The doctor called the Rats and I listened in. He’s decided to change some of Hunter’s medications. The downside is . . . it’s going to slow him down more; he’ll have even less energy. He’s probably going to be in bed most of the time now while he adjusts to the meds. His tolerance to the drug could improve in time.”
“God, how can he have less energy than he does now?”
“I’m sorry Sookie. I . . . I’m just so sorry.”
“Come on Sook, let’s go to his room.”
She thought she would be prepared to see her baby hooked to everything, pale and unconscious after seeing him this way before, but she wasn’t. She never was. Moving to her usual spot on the side of the bed, she half laid over him and started her crying. So lost in her grief, she had no idea that a vampire had flown to the window and was now watching.
She stayed like that for almost twenty minutes before the nurse came in to take execute the doctor’s latest instructions. “Sookie.” The nurse called. “Sookie, I need to check him; I need some room.”
Unable to speak, she just moved for the nurse. Sookie watched and Eric listened as the nurse did her work and removed the IV and the some of the wires from the boy’s chest.
“He’s doing well now. His BP and heart rate are good.”
“When will he wake up?”
“Soon. I just removed the IV with the sedative. The doctor committed to coming in tomorrow to review the new medication with him – he knows you’ll be in the room.”
Grabbing a pen and paper, Sookie asked, “Can you tell me the name of the drug again, so I can research it?”
Sookie wrote it down, and Eric made a note of it himself so he could research it later. “Thanks. Who was with him? Why the sedative?”
“Jeremy was with him and from what I understand that even when they got his heart started again – and quickly – he panicked and they needed to get him calm.”
“My poor baby. And I wasn’t here.” She started weeping again.
The nurse patted the distraught mother. “Sookie, you aren’t permitted into the dialysis area anyway. You can’t blame yourself for the few hours a week you are away from his side. Hoyt called you immediately, right?”
“But I was an hour away.”
“Cooking for him and doing your own laundry.”
Sookie bolted up. “OH GOD! I left it all there. I need to call Hoyt.”
Jessica who’d been quiet for a while chimed in. “It’s all taken care of. Hoyt’s on his way.”
“What would I do without you guys?”
“Hush now. Let’s get your face cleaned up before your baby wakes.”
The nurse bid Sookie goodnight and Eric heard the two women move to the bathroom so he took a moment to look in again at the boy before taking off. ‘I’ll need to find a way to get clued into what’s happening in the hospital. Something horrible happened today and I fear if I don’t act soon, I will be too late’. As soon as he heard the bathroom door open, indicating the women were coming out, he took off and headed to Fangtasia. He didn’t need to go in so early, but he needed to think and do some research.
He landed at Fangtasia and entered his office to complete his first task: Looking up this drug. What he found scared him. This was a medication was intended to regulate spikes in the heart rate. He didn’t understand all of the information, but the net net was it would make the child more lethargic going forward and he believed it was given out of serious concern to the stability of the boy’s heart.
Instead of focusing on the medical bits that he couldn’t easily fix, he started acting on the tangible things he could by calling Bobby. “Burnham.”
Eric rolled his eyes. “Just Mr. Northman or even Eric, don’t call me Master.”
“But Pam said. . . “
“I already told you to ignore that, and I’m over her on your management chain. Now, I have a task for you, are you ready to discuss it?”
“There’s an auction for personal property in Bon Temps, LA – it’s a house on Hummingbird lane. I need a few things related to this. Gather several different resources and have them bid on everything. They need to take turns winning the items. I want it all – I don’t care about the cost. Once you settle with the auctioneer, have it all boxed and moved to a storage unit. I also want a private appointment before the auction to peruse the contents.”
“Certainly. You said to buy it all, but you may change your mind after your private viewing?”
“I want it all AND the viewing. One doesn’t alter the other.”
“Can I schedule your appointment for any night?”
“Yes, if you get the appointment, I’ll be there. I don’t even want the auctioneer to stay. When I say private, I mean private.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“Bobby, I mean it, don’t screw this up. If one item is sold to anyone else, I’ll consider it a failure on your part. Cost is not a problem, so there can be no excuses.”
Hunter woke about an hour after the IV had been removed from his arm. At this point, Hoyt had arrived with Gramma Fortenberry. Jessica was still in the room too. Sookie smiled from the side of his bed. “Hi baby. You feeling better?”
“Yes Mommy, just really tired. Why’s everybody here?”
“Uncle Hoyt called me from work when the hospital called him. Turns out I left my clothes in the dryer so he had to drive them over. Can you believe that? Silly Mommy.”
Maxine cut in. “And since Hoyt was coming over anyway, I hitched a ride so I could see my grandbaby. It’s been days since I gave you kisses.” She leaned in and peppered his face with kisses – it was kind of their thing and Hunter giggled. “OH!” Maxine exclaimed, “Even better than I remember.”
Sookie watched the exchange and it warmed her heart. Truth was she always respected that Gran’s best friend was Maxine, but she had moments that drove Sookie nuts as she was growing up. In High School, before the ‘JB’ incident; Maxine was obsessed with fixing up Hoyt and Sookie – something neither of them wanted since they’d grown up as friends – in a brother / sister way. When Sookie got her scholarship for college, Maxine even went so far as to tell Sookie to keep a lid on her outbursts. Sookie recognized that when she was younger, she had very little control discerning between thoughts and spoken words from those around her. But with her Gran’s help, she was able to build shields and more importantly, hold her tongue. That hadn’t been a problem for her in a while so she was unsure why the woman chose to remind her about her youth again. Still, even with her sometimes insensitive history, Maxine had more than stepped up the plate to care for both of them, something she and Hunter desperately needed after Gran died.
Sookie interrupted their game. “Hunter, are you ready to eat? I made a new recipe today.”
“Maybe just a little. I’m really tired.”
With a sigh, Sookie decided there was no time like the present to tell Hunter about his new medication. “Well baby, that’s the thing. You’re on a new medication to help with these heart problems and it’s going to make you very tired. You’ll likely want to stay in bed most of the time now.”
“What about when Heidi comes to play with me?” Heidi was a physical therapist, and had been helping Hunter gain strength after a fall he’d had a few months ago. It was the reason for the lengthy hospital stay.
“I don’t know. She comes tomorrow morning, we’ll talk to her.”
“I don’t wanna.”
“You don’t want to talk to her?”
“No, I don’t wanna take this medication. I’d rather move around more.”
“Baby, let’s just try this and see how it goes. Maybe it will help . . .”
“Mommy, they’re never going to do a transplant. You know that. It’s not going to just give me time til one is available. I’d rather be happy and spend time with the other kids when I can rather than just laying around in bed all day. I want to be able to go to the playroom with my friends. Please.”
Sookie was sobbing now and Maxine grabbed her hand. As usual, Hoyt left the room. It wasn’t hurtful but he just couldn’t handle it when the discussions lead to Hunter referring to his death. It was just too damn painful. Sookie begged for time. “How about this? You have that wish you requested.” Hunter’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not listening, I promised. I’m just saying you have that wish that hasn’t happened yet. Why don’t you have Jessica call that lady for you and just see if they have any time estimate? She can explain the circumstances. Until we know more, how ‘bout you take the drug?”
“OK Mommy. I’ll do that. Jessica, can you stay and call that woman now?”
“Sure, where’s the number?”
Sookie answered. “There’s an envelope in the top drawer of his table. Her name is Helen Oleski.”
Sookie and Maxine left in search of Hoyt and to give Hunter privacy while he called Helen with Jessica’s help. Once outside Maxine praised Sookie. “You did a good job in there – you bought yourself some time.”
“Yes, but how much?”
“Everyday is a gift. You really don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
“Yes, but he’s right. He doesn’t have a good prognosis which puts him lower on the transplant lists. The fact that they can’t accurately diagnose the problem with his kidneys is like a black mark on his record – the risk is he would just ruin another kidney if he got one. I think the fact that he’s in foster care also moves him lower, but nobody will say that out loud. I’ve heard some thoughts like that though.”
“But it’s your kidney your donatin’, isn’t it your decision?”
“But it’s someone else’s heart he also needs; they won’t do one without the other.”
“And THAT is just stupid. Has Sid Matt made any headway?”
“That poor man has given me so many hours of free legal service, but so far nothing. Another person I’ll never be able to repay.”
“Never mind that. Let’s go find Hoyt. He hates to think about Hunter’s future.”
“No, he hates when the reality that Hunter has no future comes up.”
“We all do Sookie.”
Meanwhile, Jessica called Helen only to discover that she’d turned the wish ‘case’ over to her boss in Baton Rouge, Genny Burke. The woman was cold on the phone to Jessica but at least she provided Genny’s number. Genny was not much more help though, stating that she’d made the request on Hunter’s behalf and was planning to call the contact the next night. Jessica relayed this information to Hunter while Genny was still on the phone so he asked to speak to her.
“Mrs. Burke, Hunter would like to speak to you.”
“Of course. Put him on.”
Hunter asked for privacy, so Jessica stood in the hallway while he spoke to her. “Mrs. Burke. What’s the real scoop? I kinda need to know since they want to put me on this medication that’s gonna really slow me down and if I’m waiting for nothing, it’s not worth it.”
Genny’s heart broke for the boy so she answered him honestly. “I met with Mr. Northman myself.”
“YOU DID? But I heard Jessica say you live in Baton Rouge.”
“I do and it’s a long story. Wouldn’t you rather hear the outcome?”
“He thinks we can work something out. He just needed some time to look into things.”
“Mommy and I are the things?”
“Well, he only knows a little about you. I think he just wanted to think it through.”
“Mrs. Burke, it’s OK if he’s checking us out. I saw him flying outside my window twice.”
This shocked the woman. First that Eric could fly, because she absolutely believed Hunter. Second that he was really doing that personal of an investigation. If she thought about it, she really shouldn’t have been too surprised. Mr. Northman – Eric was very intrigued by the request of the boy. He was gracious and caring of her story, at least it appeared that way.
“Mrs. Burke, are you still there?”
“Yes Hunter, you just surprised me. Did your Mommy see him?”
“Nah, she was asleep, I kept it quiet.”
“I see. Can you get your friend Jessica back on the phone?”
When Jessica returned to the room, she committed to waiting for Genny to call her back after she spoke to the ‘wish contact’ for Hunter. To ensure that Hunter maintained his secret, Jessica went out in search of Sookie to tell her to ‘stay away’ as Hunter put it until Jessica gave her the all clear. “Why don’t you guys grab some dinner while I wait with Hunter?”
“I am, and if anything happens, I’ll text Hoyt.”
“Ok Jess. How’s my baby?”
“He’s very excited about something. You’re keeping your promise, you don’t know – right? That would crush him.”
“I kept my promise, I have no idea what his wish is.”
As Genny promised Hunter, she called Eric right away and was surprised to get him live on the phone.
“Eric, it’s Genny Burke from Make a Wish.”
“Good evening Genny. How are you?”
“Well first thank you for putting me up in your hotel. I really appreciate that.”
“Back to your questions – I am fine . . . well that’s not exactly true.” She paused. “I’m calling because there’s been a change with Hunter.”
Eric’s heart sank and he wondered if the boy’s health had declined further since he left the hospital. “What’s happened?”
Genny could clearly hear the concern in his voice and it puzzled her and made her happy at the same time. She went on to describe what she learned from Jessica and that Hunter was trying to determine if the drug was worth it. “That’s really what he said, and being worth it was what? My agreement?”
“Mr. Northman, I’m in a difficult position. Your answer, as I said before needs to be what you want. I’m not trying to sway you; I just need to give the boy whatever facts I can.”
“He’s four. Doesn’t the adult make these decisions?” He didn’t want Hunter to decline the drugs, it scared him that the boy wouldn’t agree – not when he planned to engage the best doctors he could to review his situation.
“I’ll just assume you read the details. Technically the Rattray’s can make the decision, but they should take Hunter’s desires into account.”
“Understood. I’m planning to reach out to Hunter within the week.” At this point, he wanted to have the personal property auction conclude so he could offer Sookie her own items after he met them. “I have a surprise lined up for them.”
“He’s seen you, you know. I wasn’t aware that vampires could fly.”
“It’s not that common of a vampire gift. I knew he saw me. I take it he’s kept that a secret.”
“Before we continue though, I also did need to speak to you about publicity.”
“I’m sure we can arrange for that if you need it.”
“Actually, the opposite please. If you NEED publicity, I’ll make a donation or something you can publicize, but I don’t want Sookie and Hunter associated to me. That wouldn’t be to their benefit at all.” There was no way he was going to have Sookie subjected to any publicity. First because really, the story wasn’t anyone’s business but more importantly he wanted Sookie and Hunter to be kept away from vampires. Publicizing a date wouldn’t do anyone any good.
“Given the whole story, I’m inclined to agree and that won’t be a problem. I won’t turn down a donation, but it’s not necessary at all.” The line was silent for a moment before she confirmed. “So I can call Hunter back and tell him just about a week?”
“Yes, do you need something formal from me?”
“Can you just call me after you’ve had your date so I can close the file?”
“Will do. Thank you for calling me. I was working on the surprise and was taken out of town on business unexpectedly. I apologize that I didn’t call YOU to tell you my intentions.”
“It’s not a problem. I’m just happy to call and give the boy the good news. Thank you Eric.”
“No Genny thank you. Honestly, I can’t wait to meet them both.”
NOTE – I completely made up this drug name