Chapter 24 – Home
Eric and his father stared at each other for moment before his father, Klaus, broke the silence. “Yes, well I received a call from Victor with some very troubling news. I felt I needed, well, we needed to come and address the situation in person.”
Eric couldn’t believe his ears. That Victor thought enough of the situation with Sookie to call his parents for help was amazing. That his parents got on a plane to see him was a miracle. “Far, I am pleased you have come to help. Let’s get you settled for the night. I can have you meet Sookie in the morning.”
“Eric, I don’t want to meet Sookie, I don’t give a fuck about that girl. That’s not really true; I guess I am curious about this tart that is making you derail your own career. She must be some fuck to have this affect on you. I’m here to help you end this relationship, get you back to work on this movie, and then hopefully have you sign the contracts for Dragon Sun if it’s not too late. This distraction has gone on long enough.”
If fire could shoot out of Eric’s eyes, Victor would be dead. Victor put on a fake sympathy face and spoke to Eric. “I know you’re upset, but I felt I had to intervene. This trip to Louisiana to aid her over a few bumps and scrapes put the whole movie timeline at risk. Eric, you just cannot have that reputation in Hollywood.”
Freyda walked in after Victor spoke and Eric said. “Freyda, it’s not really a good time.”
“No Eric, it isn’t. I know that. I need your father to be aware that we had to do some major rescheduling due to Eric’s sudden departure.”
Eric glared at Freyda. “Freyda, you know damn well that happens on films all the time and the bottom line is we aren’t behind.”
“ERIC, I don’t care that the film is not behind! What I just heard is they made scheduling changes to work around your sudden departure. Your behavior is completely unprofessional.”
Pam must have heard her father’s booming voice because she appeared at the top of the stairs but retreated when Sookie called her.
The arguing in the foyer continued for a few minutes before Akita, Eric’s mother turned to go up the stairs where she had seen her daughter. She followed Pam’s voice into a bedroom and her heart stopped at the sight in front of her. A woman was face down in a bed, her back full of horrible markings while her daughter, an ice-maiden in everyone’s opinion, was gently applying something to the marks while she spoke softly to the woman and the man in the room. Akita cleared her throat to get Pam’s attention.
Without turning, Pam simply stated to her mother. “Mor I heard enough of the conversation downstairs to simply ask you to leave. You can see this is more than just a few bumps and scrapes, but honestly, you don’t deserve to know any more than that. Sookie has been through enough in the past few days without you and Far causing any more trouble. This is Sookie’s private bedroom, and you are not welcome.” Once she said her piece, she tied Sookie’s gown and with Bart’s help, they turned her over.
Sookie’s eyes darted to the doorway where Eric’s mother appeared to be frozen. She lowered her eyes in shame at having been seen in such a vulnerable way. After a moment, her southern upbringing and pride took over and she raised her head. “Mrs. Northman, my Gran would have my hide for not welcoming you to my home, so I will say it’s a pleasure to meet you. Right now though, I really need something to drink, my doctor wants to complete his exam, and I need Eric. Can you please ask your husband to argue with his son tomorrow so Eric can come back? Also, if he keeps yelling, he’ll wake my girls. Your daughter put them to bed early so they could make it to school tomorrow and I think she’ll be upset with you both if they’re woken up.”
Akita stepped away from the door and returned downstairs to the foyer. She was dazed at all the information she was processing. ‘Victor had clearly stated that Eric flew to Louisiana for no good reason; yet something horrific had happened to that girl Sookie. My daughter, Pam is another puzzle, she was caring for Sookie in a way I’ve never seen her do. Sookie also mentioned that Pam, my Pam, had put children to bed? Our information and presumptions are wrong. Right now, we are doing nothing but causing more damage. I have to put a stop to this.’ Akita shook her head as if to right herself and marched into the foyer with purpose. “Klaus, we are leaving and we will come back tomorrow to offer our apologies. I only hope that Eric and Sookie will accept them.”
Klaus started to protest and she said, “Now. And keep your voice down or we’ll wake the girls.” Then she turned to Eric. “Sookie has asked for you. Your place is by her side, not with your father right now. We’ll come back tomorrow. What time do the girls leave for school?”
“Pam drives them to school and she is usually back by 9:30.”
“OK, we’ll see you then. Victor, you will leave too.”
She tugged Klaus and they were out the door. In the car she turned and said. “Not a word until I am finished. We were misled. I’m still stunned by what I discovered in my few moments upstairs. I’m not even ready to talk about it because I am so embarrassed by our behavior tonight. Let’s just find a hotel and get some rest so we can return to the B&B tomorrow.”
“Akita, you are being foolish. This is his career…..”
She cut him off. “Klaus, believe me, we have both been fools, you will just have to trust me that you will understand more tomorrow.”
Eric returned to Sookie after they left. He explained what Victor had done, that his parents would be returning in the morning, and apologized for whatever she had overheard. Sookie told him that the situation with his parents was not his fault. “I do, however, want Victor’s balls. He better be prepared for the moment I’m mobile enough to hurt him.”
“Sookie, he’ll be gone from the B&B before then. I won’t renew his contract at the end of this year.” He turned to Bart and asked, “What time will the Physical Therapist be here tomorrow?”
“1PM, I wanted Sookie to have plenty of time for a shower and she should have a light lunch before the therapist arrives. I’ll be back tomorrow night after I’m done at my office. Goodnight Pam, Eric. Sookie, so glad to have you home.”
“Thanks Bart, we’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“I will walk you out Bart. Goodnight guys.”
“Goodnight Pam.” Eric and Sookie replied in unison.
“Love, I need to take a quick shower; then I’ll get you on your stomach. Do you want anything?”
“No, I’m just enjoying this semi sitting up position right now, and I see that someone put a TV in here, I think I’ll watch something for a bit. Take your time.”
Eric did take his time. For the past few days he had been focused solely on Sookie’s safe return and now, her healing. The surprise visit from his parents was jarring. He simply stood in the shower, letting the water fall over him while he finally allowed himself the chance to think. ‘I could’ve lost her. He planned to take her and hide her away forever. I know now that I can’t be without her. I don’t want to do anything while she is healing, but I WILL start planning our future together.’ Feeling resolved over that decision, his thoughts turned to his parents. ‘What the hell could Victor have been thinking? This IS the final straw for our relationship. I’ll need to speak to Pam about my mother. She went upstairs with a stern look on her face, one I am quite accustomed to seeing, and returned with another. Something happened that changed her. I only hope we can at least have a civil discussion tomorrow, but if my parents show any reservations about my relationship with Sookie, they will be removed – both from this house, and from my life. Pam can make her own decision, but I have a feeling Sookie will be her choice as well.’ Thinking her name, his thoughts turned back to his love. ‘Sookie. How the hell do I help her get over this? She’s putting up a great front, but I fear that that’s all it is. Except for a few tears at her rescue and with Tara, she has not really shown much emotion over her ordeal. Is she suppressing it? Sookie is emotional, yet this situation is not eliciting any of her usual worry, or crying. I will need to talk to Bart and see about a counselor to deal with PTSD – that has to be a concern for us. I also need to tell her that I am here for her for as long as it takes her to heal – physically and emotionally. I won’t leave her no matter what happens.’ Finally finishing his thought process, he donned some sleep pants and joined Sookie in the bedroom. To his surprise, she was still up and watching TV.
She surprised him by asking, “You OK?”
‘She still thinks of others first, she’ll never stop amazing me.’ He smiled and replied, “I’m OK, just doing some thinking. Though with all you’ve been through, you don’t need to worry about me.”
“I’ll always worry about you Eric. Nothing will ever change that.”
He paused for a few moments; then spoke. “Sookie, I’m thinking we shouldn’t share a bed just yet.”
‘WHAT? Oh my God, he doesn’t want to stay with me?’
Seeing the panicked look on her face, Eric quickly added, “Sookie, I’m thinking about your comfort. There is nothing I want to do more than hold you all night long, but your body is not ready for that.”
“But you slept with me on the plane.”
“I did, but it wasn’t my intent to fall asleep and the nurse was with us in case I accidentally rolled over on you or something.”
“Eric. I don’t want you sleeping anywhere else. I’ll take my chances. Please?”
Sighing, he replied, “How can I deny you anything? I’ll sleep here, but you must wake me if I hurt you.”
Eric moved Sookie onto her stomach, settled into the bed and they were both asleep quickly. He slept until he felt someone nudging his arm. Maura was standing on the side of the bed, tears on her face. “Can we sleep here?”
He hadn’t even seen Eleanor standing behind Maura. ‘This is probably a mistake on many levels, but how can I say no?’ He nodded his head yes and put a finger up to indicate that they wait a moment. Adjusting Sookie closer to one side, he then put himself next to her and motioned for the girls to climb in on his other side (he wanted to act as a buffer against the girls ever moving limbs.). The girls were asleep, but he was not. While thinking of many items that needed to be done, one was screeching to him in urgency: ‘Tomorrow we buy a bigger bed for this room.’
Pam went to the girl’s room to wake them for the day and was a bit surprised to find it empty. She quietly moved to Sookie and Eric’s room. Yep, they were all there. She rubbed Maura’s arm to wake her, then reached over to Eleanor. Waking Eleanor also woke Eric since at some point during the night; Eleanor decided he was the mattress. As Eleanor moved off Eric, he turned his head to check on Sookie. She was also stirring and she turned to smile at Eric. “What’s everyone doing here?”
“Maura had a nightmare.”
“So we went from you being afraid to stay with me – to everyone?”
Eric turned and stated, “Today, we’re buying a bigger bed.”
Sookie replied with a giggle as Pam ushered the girls out the door to get ready.
Eric helped Sookie take care of her bathroom business with Sookie insisting that he help her walk back to bed. She was surprised that she was able to move around, albeit slowly. She smiled at her own progress and Eric realized she was ready for PT. “Sookie, I am sorry for being too protective yesterday about your starting PT. I can see you’re ready for it, I’m just trying to do what’s best for you to heal.”
“I know sweetie and I appreciate it. Once I can walk on my own, you can feel free to sweep me up and carry me anytime you get the urge.”
“I’m going to hold you to that. Are you ready for the salve?”
“Yes, then you can flip me so I can eat something. I’m actually quite hungry.”
Holly brought up a tray of breakfast food, and to her own surprise, Sookie was able to wield her own silverware and eat. The smiles just continued as she noted her own progress. Maura and Eleanor were in the bedroom saying goodbye to Sookie when they heard voices from downstairs. Pam was speaking in what must have been Swedish, which could only mean the Northmans had returned. “Eric?”
“I’ll go see what’s going on. They were told 9:30, not 8:30. Girls, come down with me so Pam can get you off to school.”
With final hugs to Sookie, the girls followed Eric downstairs and he took their hands protectively as they approached the foyer. Ignoring his parents, Eric spoke to Pam, “Why don’t you get the girls going and we can have our discussion when you return?”
Already reeling from seeing the girl’s hands in Eric’s, Akita watched the next actions in awe. Pam helped each girl into a light coat and backpack; Eric squatted to kiss and hug them goodbye, telling them to have the school call if they needed to return home early and finally; Pam walked out with the girls holding her hands.
Klaus started to talk and Eric put up his hand. “Let me get you some coffee and then we can wait for Pam.” He led them to the dining room, gestured for them to sit and he went to the kitchen for some coffee and the biscuits Holly had made for breakfast.
When he returned to the dining room with the tray from the kitchen his father was appalled. “You’re acting like a servant. Isn’t there help at this B&B?”
“Far, Sookie has some additional help, but she mostly works the B&B on her own. This morning we did have her assistant here for a while, but she left to go to her classes. I’m going to check on Sookie and I’ll rejoin you when Pam arrives. That should be another 20 minutes or so.”
When Eric was up the stairs, Akita turned to Klaus. “Before we left the hotel you promised me you would behave and listen. What does it matter to you who made the coffee? I’m telling you Klaus, our children have changed; don’t push them to choose between this new life here, and us. We will lose.”
They both heard the car pulling into the driveway and Eric coming down the stairs. Eric spoke briefly to someone and then both he and Pam were in the dining room. “Mor, Far, Sookie is joining us, so we will need to meet in the family room where she can be more comfortable. It’s right this way.” Eric gestured with his hands and the group followed.
Eric positioned Sookie so he and Pam could sit on either side of her, with his parents sitting at the other side of the sectional couch. It wasn’t ideal, but the hard dining room seats would not have worked for Sookie.
Akita spoke first, “Sookie, I apologize for our intrusion last night. We were misled on a few bits of information.”
“Yes, I understand Mrs. Northman.”
“Please call me Akita, and this is my husband Klaus.”
“Pleased to meet you Klaus.”
Akita gave her husband a very obvious nudge and he said, “Yes, I’m pleased to meet you Sookie and I also apologize for coming to your home unannounced last night.”
Sookie only nodded, clearly Klaus was not quite so genuine, but she would keep quiet. This was really about Eric and Pam.
Pam, never once to hedge on a topic said, “Why are you here?”
Klaus answered, “We heard from Victor that Eric was neglecting his duties for the film, and that he was making some dangerous career mistakes. According to Victor, Eric’s departure to get to Sookie in Louisiana was without warrant. After your mother saw Sookie last night, she realized that information was false, so we looked up the details on the internet. I’m very sorry for your ordeal Sookie. I am not sorry, however, for coming to help my son.”
Akita patted his knee seeming to show her appreciation for his comments. Then Klaus continued, and the conversation went downhill.
“Having said all that, I do need to agree with Victor, I don’t believe a relationship with Sookie is in your best interest, Eric.”
Klaus started to turn red in anger and was ready to escalate the situation when Akita stood and said, “Stop! Klaus, this isn’t your life, it’s Eric’s. Stop with your nonsense and let’s get to know more about Sookie and her family.” She sat back down and turned to Sookie, “Will you tell me how you and Eric met?”
Sookie agreed and shared her and Eric’s story. Eric and Pam added anecdotes along the way. Akita watched her son as she listened. Sometimes the story would stop and they would look at each other almost sharing the memory of that moment together. Akita laughed out loud at the bits about Pam and her teacups and told Sookie she could not wait to be introduced to the two girls who had changed Pam. They stopped the story when they got to the trip to Louisiana. ‘I was right.’ She thought. ‘If we force our children to choose, they’ll choose Sookie and her family, not us. I have to make this right. I want to be part of their lives.’
Akita, knowing she had upset her husband, turned to Klaus and gave him the opportunity to explain his comments about Sookie and Eric’s relationship. “Eric, it’s not a personal comment about Sookie, it’s concern about your career. Was Victor lying about you not taking the Dragon Sun role?”
“No, he didn’t lie; I passed on that role. I don’t want to do back to back films.”
“Eric, you think one film a year will sustain your career? You’re being foolish, and this is where my comment about Sookie – or any relationship comes in. Tell me, if you were not with Sookie, would you have taken the Dragon Sun role?”
“You’re correct, I would have taken the role if I was not with Sookie, but that does not make me foolish. What you fail to see is that you Far were the fool. I want something with Sookie and her girls. I can’t do that with back to back films. I’m willing to cut back on my precious career for something that means more. That is something you can’t say.” Eric had never spoken to his parents about their career over children choice, and he had to admit it felt good.
While Eric was feeling pleased about his comments, his father was not. “HOW DARE YOU JUDGE ME? I’m your father, you will show me respect.”
“No Far, I have kept this to myself for too long. You abandoned us. That isn’t a judgment, it’s a fact. I’m just saying I won’t do that to Sookie.”
Pam spoke up to support Eric. “Far, please listen to Eric. He’s trying to tell you something very important, something very poignant about our childhood. His comments are facts. You did choose more movies over being with us. We were raised by the house staff, not our parents. He knows the impact of that on a family, and he’s simply telling you he won’t do that to Sookie and the girls. As far as Sookie not being in his best interest, that’s bullshit. Neither of us has ever been as happy as we are being part of this family. Eric isn’t abandoning his career; he is simply incorporating a balance between work and life. You should be proud of his decisions to do both, not berate him.”
“You both turned out fine. You are just a couple of whiners now.”
“KLAUS! You apologize to your children right now. Their words are not whining. They are trying to tell you something. I, for one, am listening.”
Akita stared at Klaus and he did not flinch or waiver in his belief. Klaus was a proud man, and he felt judged by his children, and now cornered by his wife.
The stare down went on for a few moments until Pam broke it off by changing subjects. “I hate to interrupt this lively discussion, but if we are going to get Sookie bathed for her PT, we need to get started. Eric, can you carry Sookie to my room? I think my tub would be the easiest.”
Klaus growled, “Why does she need to be carried, is she lazy?”
Eric told his father, “Final warning” as Akita slapped his arm then she offered to Pam, “Do you need any help?”
Pam looked to Sookie, indicating it would be her decision. Sookie spent a moment thinking, normally her answer would be no, since she was a pretty private person. However, Akita was clearly trying to offer an olive branch to Eric and Pam and Sookie didn’t want to cause and problems. Besides, she already walked in on me last night and saw the worst. Sookie gave Pam a subtle nod to indicate yes.
“Sure Mor that would be great.” Pam answered.
Eric turned to his father and said, “It would be very helpful if you could get Victor out of here today. Can you find him and inform him he is evicted?”
Klaus looked like he was going to argue but a stern look from Akita stopped him. He simply nodded and left to find Victor.
“Pam, why don’t you start the water for the bath and I’ll carry Sookie over in a few minutes?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Akita and Pam went to the bedroom and Pam started the shower. Akita asked how she can help. “Honestly Mor, I don’t know. We haven’t done a shower or bath at home yet. At the hospital, the shower was made to accommodate a helper. I think Eric or I will just work from the side of the tub and maybe we can skip her hair today.”
“Why don’t I prep with some towels and such Pam? You should find a stool; it will make it easier for you.”
Pam returned with a stool as Eric walked into the room with Sookie. The tub was ready, so he helped Sookie stand in the bathroom while Pam undid her gown and put Sookie’s hair up to keep it dry. Akita had excused herself and said she would be in the bedroom in case they needed her. The bath water stung some of the cuts but it was worth it; the water was warm and relaxing. Eric indicated for Pam to leave; he could bathe Sookie. While waiting for Eric to finish she sat in her bedroom with her mother. Akita spoke first. “Pam, I like you this way, actually, both of you. You’re both happy and full of life.”
“We’re both very happy. Sookie has adopted us into her family.”
Akita grimaced, “Does that mean you don’t need your Far and I as family anymore?”
“Mor, that’s actually up to both of you. You have an opportunity, don’t take it lightly. Eric and I have more than enough room for everyone in our lives. The question is; do you and Far want to be part of our lives? Not our old lives, but these new lives; where people care about one another, accept one another, love one another.”
“I do Pam. Your father will be more difficult, but we can bring him along. He has spent so many years only working; he doesn’t know what else is out there. Actually, you may need to help me as well.”
Pam and Akita hugged over their new accord. “Mor, I am enjoying this time with you. I do have a favor to ask though. Could you find Maxwell Lee? Per doctor’s orders, Sookie needs a light lunch before her first PT session. Maxwell can assist you with getting lunch from the Barn for all of us.”
“I would be glad to do that Pam. But I don’t understand, what is the Barn and why would I go there for food?”
“Oh, sorry, the Barn is actually an event space Sookie uses and rents out on the property. The film is using the kitchen in the Barn for all catering. Maxwell will guide you.”
Akita, Maxwell and some catering staff returned to the B&B with lunch for everyone. The morning talk and the bath had worn out Sookie so she ate in the family room and was napping before the therapist arrived. While the Northman family was eating lunch, Eric asked his parents, “So, how long will you be here?”
“We didn’t actually book an end date. Victor had us so upset we just booked the trip out not knowing what we would find.” Klaus answered.
“We are celebrating Easter this Sunday if you would like to stay.”
Akita looked confused at first and asked, “Why are you…Oh, yes, I understand. I think that’ll be fun. Klaus, can we stay?”
He nodded his OK. Clearly, Akita was more eager about all of this new found family. Klaus, not so much.
The first PT session went well, but Sookie was tired so Eric carried her to the family room couch and she was asleep quickly. While she slept the new California King bed arrived and Jesus and Akita dressed it in the linens that Jesus ran out to buy earlier. Akita and Pam picked up the girls from school. Being their usual curious selves, they bombarded Akita with questions about Sweden, being Eric and Pam’s Mama, flying around the world and anything else they could think of during the short drive. Having spent some time with Pam’s teacups, Akita realized the attraction. She also quickly realized that the affection between Pam and the girls was two way: they were just as in love with Pam as she was with them. Once at home, the girls were disappointed that Mama was asleep but they decided to finish their homework right away so when she did wake, they could focus on her.
Akita and Klaus moved into Victor’s room at the B&B. Over the next few days, they quickly entered the household routine, much to Akita’s delight. Pam was right, this was truly a family.
Sookie’s PT progressed quickly and by the weekend she was walking on her own. She refused to let Bill win further so she pushed herself, though usually only when Eric was in a meeting or filming. Yes, Eric reluctantly went back to work, mostly because Sookie blew a gasket when he would just sit in the room with her and fret.
Saturday night came quickly and the adults had all discussed and decided that a full do over for Easter was required. They had informed the girls that they spoke with a representative of the Easter Bunny and once they described the situation, he agreed to visit again. Through his rep, the Easter Bunny explained to the girls that he arrived at Jason’s house for Easter last week, but got confused when nobody was there. The girls believed the story fully and went to sleep excited about the Easter Bunny’s arrival. Now the adults were all being as quiet as possible to keep the girls sleeping while they put out baskets of candy and gifts. Eric and Pam acted like they were the children getting the baskets. When Sookie called them on their childish antics, Pam explained. “Sookie, we’ve never had this much fun for a holiday. Our Easter gifts were huge, elaborate and expensive.”
Eric added, “But they were purchased and wrapped by the house staff. Family Easter is new for us.”
Akita recoiled at the words, but couldn’t deny them. Pam reached over and squeezed her hand. “It’s OK Mor, let’s just enjoy what’s ahead.”
Pam left for a moment only to come back with her arms full of boxes. Each wrapped in brightly colored paper with huge matching bows. One stack was mostly purple, the other pink. “I know Maura likes red, but given that it’s Easter, I had to go with pastels. I am certain she’ll get over it.”
“Pam, do I even want to know what’s in each of these boxes?”
“You’ll see tomorrow. This is all stuff I had prepared for last week; I just hadn’t wrapped it before, well before.”
Sookie mentally cringed. So much confusion about the incident was rolling around in her head, but she was a Stackhouse at her core, and Stackhouse women were strong. She would get over this.
In addition to the immediate family, Sookie had invited, Lala, Jesus, Alcide, and Godric to celebrate their late Easter. They started with breakfast after the girls had checked out the baskets from the Easter Bunny then the girls were handed box after box of gifts. Eric of course added a bunny to each of their charm bracelets, he also found box sets of older Mickey Mouse movies that were very hard to find. Alcide, Godric, Lala and Jesus had purchased an outdoor jungle gym that would be installed the following week. Pam’s boxes were all clothes, all designer clothes.
The final gifts that the girls opened were from Farmor and Farfar (the girl’s names for Eric’s parents, at Akita’s request). Akita had arranged to have two of her prized music boxes shipped from their home in Sweden. These music boxes were always on a shelf and never played by anyone; never touched by Eric and Pam even though they begged. Each girl was given one and told, “it’s yours. Display it, play it, share it, whatever you like. What good is a thing of beauty like the music if it is never heard?” Pam wept – in front of everyone she wept. Her mother was giving something of herself, a physical gesture indicating that she was finally starting to understand. Akita came to sit with Pam and wrapped her in her arms. Eric explained since Pam could not. “When we were growing up, Mor collected music boxes and Pam and I were always fascinated. She would play them once when they arrived; then they were placed on a shelf in her glass case. Pam and I would beg to hear them played again, but Mor never gave in.”
Akita continued, “I realize now that there is no thing that is more precious than my family and I should have enjoyed the music and my children when they were right in front of me. Since I cannot go back in time I will vow to enjoy all of you now.” Eric reached out and grabbed her hand. The girls asked for help winding the music boxes. Eleanor’s was first; it played Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. When they wound Maura’s, it played Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, 18th variation. Pam took the girls upstairs to their room to find a special location for each one. Akita turned to Sookie, “I have heard you humming Rachmaninoff, and we have all heard Beethoven playing while you read. I thought you would enjoy those selections for the girls.”
“I do, those pieces are beautiful. Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with the girls.”
Eric asked his parents when they were leaving and they exchanged glances. Klaus spoke first. “I wanted to leave tomorrow since this Easter soirée will be over. Your mother wants to stay. I have work, and so do you, Eric.”
Ignoring his father, he turned to his mother, “Mor, you are welcome to stay.”
“Thank you Eric, I will think about it.”
Holly prepared a wonderful ham dinner and they were joined by Russell and Amelia and their families. The girls quickly showed off their new gifts and Mena and Grace were excited to play on the jungle gym later in the week. One of the Mickey movies from Eric was put on the player in the family room and they ended the evening with the gang squeezed into the room, many adults on the floor with the kids.
Later the following week, the household suffered through one very awkward meeting with Sam’s parents. They had been very worried about Sookie and needed to ensure she was well, but their familial relationship to Bill made the meeting difficult. Sookie ensured she held no ill-will towards them, but they were obviously filled with guilt and they all agreed that time would be best.
The next few weeks passed without further major incidents. Freyda glared at Sookie when she was within eyesight, but kept her mouth shut in front of her. She did however whine to other cast and crewmembers whenever she could, and since most of them loved Sookie, she only caused herself to lose any alliances she had. With Victor gone, she was quickly becoming lonely while working with about 100 people.
Today, the family which for the last couple of weeks included Mor, was all outside the Barn waiting for the arrival of 2 goats, a pig and a few ducks. The girls started jumping up and down when the truck with an animal trailer pulled into the driveway. Samuel Zern exited the passenger side of the truck. Samuel shared a farm with his father just across the county line. He and his father had been hired by the film crew to provide and tend to the animals every day (except Sunday), and take the animals back to his farm after the filming was complete. His father had driven them to Sookie’s and was now working with Samuel to unload the animals into the barnyard the film crew had created in March.
Preston and one of his crew met with Samuel to review the care and feeding since they would be responsible on Sundays, or any other day when Samuel was unavailable. Once he had the official details, he called Eleanor and Maura over to the barnyard. They’d had a light rain just earlier that day, and the barnyard was a bit muddy. The girls didn’t care.
Pam gasped as he lifted them each into the yard to play with the animals. “Sookie, they haven’t changed out of their school clothes.”
“Pam, you dressed them in the outfits you purchased. They still have plenty of those Target clothes you hate that they could have worn today. You knew the animals would be arriving.”
“Please Sookie, tell Preston to remove the girls from the barnyard. Nothing has happened yet.”
“And face the wrath of the girls? No freakin’ way Pam. You choose, muddy clothes or mad girls – and you have to ask Preston because I mean, mad at you.”
“I hate you witch.”
Sookie blew Pam a kiss; then turned to take more pictures of the girls.
“Mr. Preston, can we take the goats out for a walk? The barnyard is kinda small for them.” Eleanor asked.
“Sure, let me get them hooked up to a leash. You don’t need to walk them; we only need to move them to the bigger yard on the other side of the property.”
Each girl had a goat and they followed Preston out of the barnyard. He led them to the other fenced in area so they could let the goats roam in a bigger area. Unfortunately, Eleanor lost control of her goat and it started running too fast. She had to let go of the leash or get pulled over. The adults started scrambling to catch the goat which only caused the other goat to also go a little wild. Soon they had two goats loose. They were headed towards the B&B and guess what; Freyda was walking out the door. She screamed and dropped her purse. The goats headed her way and proceeded to chase her towards the barnyard. Samuel Zern opened the gate knowing they were likely headed back the yard where they had eaten. He was right, they were headed to the barnyard and with Freyda running while looking behind her (trying to keep an eye on how close the goats where), she wound up being guided into the barnyard with the goats. She slipped and fell into the mud (and who knew what else) and the family, cast and crew all burst out in laughter. Sookie still had her camera and she took full advantage.
Preston turned to Sookie, “Sorry about the loose goats and the girls. I will ensure I use my crew to move them from yard to yard going forward.”
“Preston, never apologize when the outcome is as good as what we just witnessed. I want to hug you for the whole incident.”
Freyda got up in a huff and headed to the B&B, dripping with mud. Sookie didn’t even care that she would need to clean it, the look on Freyda’s face when everyone laughed was worth it.
When it was close to dinner time, Sookie called the girls from the barnyard to get them stripped out of the thoroughly muddy clothes and bathed. Mor joined her and Sookie said, “Pam was right. She said I was going to need an outdoor cleaning area for the pond, seems we already need one for the barnyard.”
“I agree, but we can’t say that Pam was right – please.”
Sookie sacrificed some bath towels to wrap the girls in to move them into the house. Finally mud free, Sookie and the girls joined everyone for dinner.
Alcide started, “So Princess Eleanor, are you ready for your party this weekend?”
“I AM! I want to add playtime with the animals to the party.”
Pam stood up and whined. “No, oh Sookie, please tell her no. I have their outfits all planned.”
The room erupted in laughter. “It’s OK Pam, I was going to say no since we already informed the other guests that we are having a proper tea as the theme. Nobody would appreciate the change in plans now.”
Eleanor pouted and Pam blew her a raspberry.
Akita sighed; it was good to be with family. She put her hand on Eric’s and said, “Far will come around.”
A/N – references.
Rachmaninoff – search for Rubinstein plays Rachmaninoff 18th Variation
Beethoven – search for ODE TO JOY