Chapter 36 – Moving Forward
Couple images for the chapter:
Warnings – none. Well, except – do you hear the sound of knitting needles? That’s me trying to get any loose ends. We’re coming close to the end. The total – 40 chapters plus the epilogue. Enjoy.
About three months later
“Genny, finally a moment alone.”
Genny giggled at her date. “It has been hectic with the move Ryan.”
“It has. Are you ready to head out?”
“Yes, I already told Sookie and the family we were going out to dinner.” The two left the Northman house and headed into Kennett Square, PA in Ryan’s car.
“I’m taking you to a lovely restaurant, my favorite in town called Talula’s Table. I also took the liberty of booking her famous Farmtable Dinner for next week. To take care of the kids, I’ve arranged for the new nurse Maria hired for her clinic to babysit so the adults can all celebrate the move.”
“That was very thoughtful. So what is this Farmtable Dinner?”
“After the market closes each day they serve a seasonal eight-course tasting menu to just one party a night. We’ll be served an elaborate menu of locally sourced and prepared foods. The evening is completed with an artisanal cheese course, espresso service, and a stunning dessert.”
“And here we are.”
He parked in a spot pre-reserved for him just outside the restaurant and guided Genny in. Genny wasn’t surprised to see Ryan receive a warm welcome from the owner and she was introduced as well as given a hug. “Welcome to Kennett Square Genny.”
“Thank you Talula.” She swept her arms around. “You have a lovely place here. I see a market as well. I’m sure I’ll be in there frequently.”
“We open at 7AM daily.” She pulled on Ryan’s arm. “I put you in the back so you could speak freely.”
“Thank you dear.”
“No problem. I also picked your menu for the evening. It’s a glimpse of what the Farmhouse table selection is this evening.”
“You spoil me.”
They moved to their secluded table and Ryan asked Genny to fill him in on the move. “I can’t believe we’ve hardly spoken in the past few weeks.”
“Well, Godric had you running ragged trying to get our house finished for the move on top of his regular day work. We’ve been packing and preparing on our end.”
“Was all the prep worth it?”
“Yes, everyone has settled in nicely as you saw earlier.”
“I saw many things earlier – including the very confused look on Godric’s face when Hunter said ‘Hi Uncle Godric.’ I don’t think I’ve seen him make a confused look like that – ever.”
“Eric TRIED to explain to him that it wasn’t quite the same for brothers of the same maker – but he just shook his head wildly and said – ‘you call him your brother. That makes him my uncle.’ There was no arguing and Eric just decided to let Hunter go with that and see how Godric reacted.”
Ryan chuckled. “I think Eric enjoyed the reaction as much as I did.”
“Nothing but a huge, old child with fangs that one.”
“I would agree with you. He was practically giddy when he gave Sookie her own Softail.”
“I knew he was planning that. He was sure she’d be mad and she did scold him – well you saw. Truth is – that boy likes getting a rise out of her.” Genny was smiling sweetly as she thought of her friend.
“You care for him.”
“Very much, all of them. I thought my life was full with my charity work and friends. Eric showed me what I was missing.”
“He says the letter you delivered did the same for him.” He paused while some wine was poured; then continued. “So the last time we had time for a long chat you were filling me in on Hunter’s health. Is he still rejecting the heart?”
“Yes, but it’s not a surprise and Maria will monitor him regularly. Eric will give him blood.”
“Is that forever? Or will his blood eventually just make it all work?”
She sighed before continuing. “He’s not human like Celia – she’s completely healed. For Hunter, the rejection is forever but they have a plan.”
“He’s going to turn the boy isn’t he?”
“Yes. The heart will continue to be a problem and we aren’t sure if it will remain stable enough – he may even need another heart. We don’t really have the experience of other fairy hybrids to help us. The goal is to get Hunter to his 18th birthday at least.”
“Does that bother you?”
“That the heart is rejecting him? Of course that’s upsetting!”
“Not that, the vampire part.”
“Not at all. Hunter is VERY mature for his age; he was part of this decision. Up until the last moment, it will be his choice. Sookie will also be turned at some point. I’m sure Celia will go that way as well.”
Their first course arrived and Genny filled him in on the weeks prior to the move. Ryan was fully informed about Eric, his trouble child Pam and his older child Karin. Pam was by far the most talked about in preparation for the move; Karin he knew nothing about. Genny was forthcoming about Eric’s older child. “Karin was very polite and pleased for her maker at his happiness, but she didn’t pick up the baby or fawn over Hunter. He told us not to expect it – she’d never wanted to have a family in her human life. I was happy that she and Sookie got along well – Karin even joined Sookie and her friends from the area for two girls’ nights out before we left. I can forgive her apathy towards the children and Eric did explain it to Hunter so he was fine. You’ll meet her for the wedding. Tori will also be at the wedding, she’s one of our patrol guards.”
“I have met Tori; she’s such a sweet thing. Shame what her maker did to her.”
“HORRIBLE – leaving her stranded with just a bit of money. I’m so glad Eric asked about her before he just let her loose.” She shook her head. “He’s pretty much adopted her.”
“She’s with Thalia?”
“Yes, he converted the entire underground level of the barn to be a beautiful apartment for them. Pam will live there too when it’s time.”
“How is your friend Maxine doing?”
“That woman is wonderful. She’s already saying she doesn’t want to go home at the end of the summer.”
“Doesn’t she miss her son?”
“They talk every day and as soon as Jess’ school year is over they’ll be here. Maxine is begging Eric to find Jess a local teaching job.”
“When is Maxine’s wedding?”
“Right after Sookie and Eric are home from their honeymoon.”
His response came out as a chuckle. “They’re taking the kids, you, Mustapha, Theresa and both Tonys and they’re still calling it a honeymoon?”
“We’re going to give them as much private time as we can. They just don’t want to leave the kids. They have forever to be together – the kids will only be little for a short while.”
“You even sounded like him when you said that.”
They laughed together while the waitress cleared the first course and presented a main course, one large plate for sharing. Ryan started to protest believing Genny would be uncomfortable but she put her hand on his and said, “I think sharing is a wonderful idea.” He smiled and they dug in together.
While they were waiting for their dessert sampler, Ryan asked about the trial for Genny’s attacker. “He’s in jail, got 8 years for a hate crime.” She shook her head. “Of course Sookie could read that her brother was involved from his thoughts, but Rene never gave that information up and there was no physical proof anyone else was involved so Jason got off.”
“And then your assailant escaped, miraculously.”
“Don’t even try to fake innocence.”
Ryan tried to look confused but failed. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“I’m getting up in years but I’m not deaf or blind. I heard Eric talking to Bobby about picking you up at the airport when you were arriving – coincidentally the day BEFORE Rene,” she put up her hands and made quote motions, “broke out. I know Eric was missing the ENTIRE next night and Thalia was pissed as hell that she wasn’t going with Eric. The man gave me his blood and I also had Pam’s blood. I can hear things I never thought I would hear again.”
Ryan took one of Genny’s hands and kissed her nose. “Eric isn’t the only one to care for you. He was kind enough to give me a moment with Rene so I could get something off my chest, rather off my fists.”
She put the hand up he wasn’t holding and stopped him. “No details, but thank you.”
“The trial sure did have an impact on the Fellowship though. Going so public with your attack, Genny I know that was hard.”
“It wasn’t. . . .”
“I know you said that several times, but you can talk to me. You don’t have to be brave for me.”
“That’s very kind Ryan; I appreciate that. I truly didn’t struggle with that decision. I wasn’t horribly exposed in the photos and I am a Grandmother. The angle the press used, under Eric’s guidance, put so much pressure on the Fellowship that they had to disband. None of us believe it’s truly over – there will be haters everywhere – but it will take a while before anyone organization grows to the level the Fellowship was. The ‘beating of a grandma’ was too much for many people. It all worked out.”
“You are a remarkable woman. The only problem left now is Jason.” His hands clenched thinking of the one who got off after helping hurt Genny. “Eric’s having the brother followed, right?”
“For now. When Jess and Hoyt are out of the area he’ll stop – I guess.” She shook her head at the whole frustrating situation. “I told . . . not that’s not right. I begged Eric not to do anything to Jason. You could see how upset Sookie was at the whole mess. Hurting Jason would have just added to her burden. I have a feeling he’s just waiting for a bit. He was pretty pissed. I . . . I’d never see them fight before. Never. And this was a doozy. At least it was over quickly. You know the last few weeks in Louisiana I had moved in with them – so I know all was fine. It was rattling. I fear that we haven’t heard the last of Jason and Eric will kill him.”
“I’ve worked for Godric for many years Genny. I agree with your assessment, Eric’s need to kill Jason could become a reality. This is something hard for humans to understand but look at from his perspective. The man has become a threat to his family. Vampires are different. He’s not going to count on a restraining order or the possibility that Jason will change. He’s likely going to prevent a problem.”
“I know. He struggled with the fire chief that was part of the plot to burn Fangtasia. He didn’t care about the bar – it was that the man wanted to kill the vampires resting there. It turned out better that he went to trial. It was a huge boon for vampires – to have humans charged and convicted of hate crimes against them.” She shook her head. “With Jason it’s personal. I’m beginning to see that he’d kill for Sookie and the kids and I can’t say I would feel badly about that.” He put his hand on hers as she rested it on the table.
“He’d kill for you too, well he has now. Anyone can see he adores you. You are also his family – not just Sookie and the kids.”
“I know you’re right. It’s just hard sometimes to believe how my life has changed.”
“For the better.”
“Yes, for the better.”
Ryan drove Genny back to the Northman house and found Eric waiting in the foyer; Celia attached to him as usual. Genny just laughed. “I told you I’ve had his blood. He probably felt us returning.”
“Celia and I were just making sure you got home safely.”
“Yes Eric. I’m home safely and with my elderly virtue intact.”
Eric pointed his head towards Ryan’s car. “Nice. DB5?”
“1965. It was a gift from Godric. He knows how much I love Aston Martins.”
“Did you have a nice evening? Where did you go?”
“We had dinner at a lovely place in town. Then came right back here.”
There was laughter in the background and it grew louder as the owner approached. “Is he giving you grief about having a boyfriend Genny?” Genny just nodded at Maxine. “I swear he gave Charles a ‘talkin’ to about me’ even though he was already friends with the man.”
Ryan stared at Eric, waiting for him to fess up. When the vampire didn’t, he offered. “Eric didn’t speak to me directly, he called Godric to warn him how he takes your protection and happiness seriously. I got the message.” He cleared his throat and did his best Godric impersonation. “I know Eric Northman may not appear to be a fierce warrior when he is with the kids. But trust me Ryan. Eric will hurt you in ways you never imagined if anything happens to Genny at your hand.” He turned to Genny and Maxine knowing it would be safe to share the rest of the conversation. “Then we had a good laugh remembering the night we met Celia complete with Eric just plopping on the floor in his suit from court to change her diaper in front of other vampires.” The three shared a chuckle.
“If you’re all done having fun at my expense, I’ll head back to the lower level. I have baths to give.”
“Come here big guy.” Genny gave him a hug and wished good night to Celia. “I’ll see you tomorrow Eric.”
“Same here Eric.” Maxine moved in for good nights as well and headed to the room she shared with Charles.
While Ryan and Genny walked towards the den, Eric headed off to the back of the house for the stairs speaking to Celia the whole time. “Did you hear them laughing at Daddy when I was trying to take care of my family. . . . What’s this? Are you laughing at Daddy now too? You’re supposed to be on my side baby girl.”
Ryan and Genny held their next round of laughter until they believed he couldn’t hear them and they burst out. “You do realize that seeing Eric the Northman like this is priceless, don’t you?”
Genny nodded. “Thalia has told me stories proving just that.”
“Thalia speaks?!” Ryan asked.
“Sometimes. She takes her guard duties seriously and that’s her priority – not socializing. I’m glad she decided to move with us. When she’s on patrol, Eric can relax a bit more.”
“So the kids are even OK with her?”
“I’ve even seen the hint of a smile when she’s around the kids. That’s all though – no interaction.”
“You should get a picture of that smile. I know older vampires that would pay good money to see that. Her scowl is legendary.”
The two continued their chat for a while in the den. Eric had been listening and enjoyed the conversation about Thalia. Many didn’t understand the loyalty and unique friendship between the two. It was simple: Eric had saved her life many years ago resulting in her unwavering allegiance. They shared a mutual respect and trust that was rare outside the maker child relationship. The comment Genny made about Thalia enabling him to relax a bit was dead on. There were few vampires as old and fierce as Thalia – her presence added to the security of their new home.
“What are you doing Sweetie?” She watched as he was filling the big tub in their room and stripping himself.
“Just getting Celia ready for a bath.”
He smirked. “I’ve been waiting for this chance. Now that we’ve settled in I have more time for fun. We’re bathing in the really big tub together with those new toys.”
“You’re a spoiler you know that?”
“Yep.” He even popped the P for emphasis. “I’m in Daddy mode. Next 25 years Sookie. THEY are my focus.”
“I know. I love you for that. I almost feel guilty about returning to school.”
“Don’t even go there. I’m dead for a good part of the day.” He caught her glare. “RESTING dear.” She smiled. “You’re only taking one class this summer and three classes for the next three semesters; then you’ll be done. I think it’s good for you to get out for those hours. You’ve dedicated your life to Hunter for years. Take some time for yourself.”
“I am really excited for the summer class. Lala and I were lucky to get in at the last minute. I loved the Philosophy courses I took when I was in school before. This professor though? Everything I’ve read is so positive. According to any of his former students, he’s thought provoking and I need that. I want to use my brain.”
“I’ll enjoy the review of the classes with you. I’m really glad Lala joined us and he’s is going to school with you – well not all the same classes but you’ll be in some together. I want you to enjoy that social aspect too.”
“You really are the best you know that?”
She gasped at his comment. “You’re lucky you have my baby girl there or I’d get you.”
She winked. “Yes, later. I’m off to find our boy.”
Eric stepped into the tub with Celia clapping at their activity. “We’ll be here for a while.”
Sookie found Hunter elbow-deep in his expanded Viking village in the den. Eric had made a kid height level table and painted the top to serve as a landscape for the village. He was lost in his world so Sookie just sat in the room with him, thankful for the calm. The weeks leading to the move and the first few days here had been a whirlwind. They were finally settled though and as safe as they could possibly be – now. Eric’s departure wasn’t without vampire drama as Sookie called it and she had to admit she was pretty scared at some points. When he went to New Orleans after Karin arrived to announce his sabbatical, the Queen was livid. She kept him there for almost a week trying to get new legal reviews of the contracts, appealing to the Vampire Council for assistance and even imprisoning him for treason for two days. In the end; all her attempts were thwarted – legally – not by bloodshed. When they spoke during that time, Eric assured Sookie he would buy out his contract if needed so he could leave but he really wanted Karin in place in the case the Queen tried anything while he was gone. Still, she wasn’t happy until he returned with Karin in place as the Sheriff.
Karin was an interesting addition to their lives, Sookie continued with her thoughts. She was obviously happy for Eric but not excited by the children enough to even hold the baby or play with Hunter. When Eric explained that even as a human, Karin had no designs on motherhood, so they all accepted it and just allowed her to be present without pushing for any interaction. The woman was fun though as an adult for girl’s night out and Sookie was happy to have forged a friendship with one of Eric’s vampire children at least. It was during the time when the Queen locked Eric up that the two had bonded since it was Karin who was calling to keep Sookie informed.
To further introduce her into the area, Karin attended Hoyt and Jessica’s wedding (re-wedding) and the reception. Since Bon Temps was included in the Area she would Sheriff, it was a good opportunity for her to meet the locals including the newly elected human Sheriff, Andy Bellefleur (seems some interesting news of the neglectful behavior of Sheriff Bud made its way through town and the residents demanded he step down). In addition to having Karin meet the Bon Temps residents, her appearance as the vampire face of protection for the family they were leaving behind was important in case Jason or anyone else thought they could get away with harming them. Sam had approached Karin and they spent some at the reception talking. Per Jessica, Karin was at Merlotte’s once a week but if anything was going on, they were keeping it to themselves.
“What you’s doing hooka?”
“Just daydreaming Lala.” Everyone living in the house had access to the kid’s rooms in the lower level, and when the sun was down they even had the doors open to the light-tight section. Lala was back from his evening out and joined Sookie in the den. “How was your night?”
“Kennett Square is small. Whatchu got me into here?”
“You wanted out of Bon Temps. You don’t have to live with us if you don’t want. Why don’t you hold judgment until we start school?”
“Ok missy, I’ll wait. Where’s yo hunk o man meat?”
“You’s gots a winner with that one.”
“Don’t I know it? He has me leave all the laundry for him. We have the house keepers and gardeners, but there’s still kids stuff to do and all that extra work is done by him after I go to bed at night. Mr. Mom’s got nothing on Eric.”
“I needs me one a those.”
“Get this – he’s taking cooking classes so he can help with the kid’s meal prep.” Lala’s mouth hung open in shock. “It’s kinda funny though. He found the classes through Ryan MacGregor. They’re at the Viking Cooking School in Bryn Mawr.”
“YES! Isn’t that funny? It’s the cookware company, but they have classes at this store.”
“That IS funny. I bet them ladies taking classes will swoon when they see his sexy ass come in.”
“They can swoon but they can’t touch. Eric is MINE.” Sookie screwed up her face in anger as she spoke.
“So yous say, no need to get all mean bouts it.” Lala made a move like he was protecting himself from Sookie as he spoke. “So, how’s everyone’s schedule working out with the move?”
“The kids are happily staying up ‘til about midnight and they sleep ‘til 10ish. One of us helps Hunter get to sleep in his bed and he’s been waking up around dawn, but only for long enough to come and join us. That gives Eric and I time before I go to bed and he gets alone time to check his company stuff and play Mr. Mom. We all take a nap late and wake with him.”
“Sounds like yous gots things all worked out.” She simply nodded. They were quiet until Lala finally voiced what was on his mind. “What’s about Jason?”
“UGH! I hate what a horrible position he’s put me in Lala! You know Eric wants to kill him, part of me wants that too!” Hunter knew all the details on Jason, Sookie didn’t worry that he heard the conversation.
“He’s yo bro though.”
“Yep, he’s my brother. Maybe he’ll leave Hoyt and Jess alone and we won’t have to deal with it.” Lala gave her a sideways look. “I know. Eric will likely move soon; though I hope he waits until after the wedding at least. I guess I just don’t want to know about it. It was the worst fight Eric and I have ever had and I never want to have another one like that. If taking care of Jason is what he needs to do – maybe it’s better all around.” She smirked and rolled her eyes. “I know you’re there and loving what you just heard. I’ll tell you this though – if you come in here naked Lafayette will never stop tormenting me over YOUR body!”
The laughter started before he answered. “Then you’ll need to come here and dress Celia. Hunter. Time for your bath.”
“Coming Daddy.” Sookie and Lala watched as Hunter up and ran towards the Master bedroom.
She smiled at Lala. “It still gets me here,” She touched her chest. “Every time I see him running Lala – RUNNING!”
“I know Sookie. You guys done good by him.”
“And that’s the end of girl chat unless you’d like to continue in Celia’s room while I dress her?”
He shook his head. “I’s need to call Tara, I promised that bitch I would every other day.”
“She’s an hour behind. It’s only 9PM her time.”
“How is she?”
“She liking New Orleans. Said she needed the change but couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of yo Eric being a vamp. She ain’t holding it ‘gainst you or anything; she just ain’t over Mickey.”
“I miss her. Tell her that?”
Later that night Sookie and Eric had the kids to sleep and were just enjoying each other in the den. They had blended some of Sookie’s favorite furniture from the farmhouse and new treasures to create a homey light tight level where they just enjoyed being a family. With so many people in the house, they’d gotten pretty creative with alone time and these precious hours from 12 ‘til about 3 or 4 AM when Sookie went to bed were reserved for them: No electronics, no calls, no interruptions. Tonight, they were finalizing wedding plans.
“You have your dress?”
“Yes, just need some final fittings.”
“Red, right?” He smirked at her. They’d had several discussions about the gown color – he wanted white for tradition and at the same time he loved Sookie in red. It was the color she wore when she wanted to have a more ‘adventurous’ lovemaking time together.
“I got the color I wanted, it’s my wedding gown. I’ve not been bridezilla this whole time – except for this and my flowers.”
“Yes I know. You’d let Maxine and Genny do the whole thing except they keep annoying you by getting your input.”
“They aren’t annoying – just enthusiastic.”
“Good spin on those annoyed feelings I get from you when you’re busy talking wedding with them.”
“And you’ve got your action items done?”
“I do. Hunter and I have matching suits ready though I know I won’t see our ties until that day.”
“Correct.” She pulled out a calendar. “So Jess, Hoyt and Johanna arrive on June 8th, my shower is the 9th.”
“And the following Sunday you’re my wife.” He leaned in for a kiss and lingered.
“Are we done wedding talk now?”
“Do you want to be done wedding talk?”
“I think so.” He smiled then her next words wiped that off his face. “We do have something to cover though.”
He pouted, an all out lower lip pout. “Tease.”
“You’ve been learning to pout like a champion from your baby girl.”
“You’re stalling. What else do we need to discuss before I ravage you.”
“I was thinking we should rehearse the wedding night.”
“You’re bad, making me think I had to wait.”
“So put me in my place.”
He picked her up and headed to their bed so fast, she only saw a blur. In another instant, she was naked and below him while his hips rested between her legs. “Now you’re in your place.”
“I thought you liked me on top.” They were whispering now since Celia’s crib was in their room – Eric couldn’t stand to have her down the hallway in her nursery yet.
“We’ll get there . . . eventually. I have a few hours left before your bedtime.”
“Better make the most of them. We’ve been too busy for this the last few days. ”
“Don’t I know it?”
“Poor neglected baby. You should get busy – you’re still dressed.” He moved to rectify his overly clothed condition. Since he stepped away, she decided to tease him so she spread her legs even wider and started rubbing her folds.
His cock was rock hard and weeping before he even started to stroke himself. “Do you see what you do to me? How I’ve been tortured for several days without you.”
“Aww poor baby. Come here and I’ll kiss it better.”
“I thought you’d never ask.”