Chapter 28 – By the Beautiful Sea
“God Quinn, I’m exhausted.”
“I know you are and I want to know you can fight while you are exhausted. Come on Babe.”
“Don’t call me Babe!”
“Come on, then, set me straight.”
In researching self defense, Sookie discovered Krav Maga, a self defense and fighting system from the Israeli Army. While Quinn still gave her the creeps, he was certified in Krav Maga, and since options in the area were limited, having Quinn instruct her made the most sense. Bart approved the activity as long as they started slowly. While she had improved over the past two weeks, Quinn could still take her down every time and she was getting discouraged.
Quinn approached Sookie and she blocked many of his advances, but he did manage to grab her in the end and hold her. “Ok Babe, you’re really doing great. We’re training again tomorrow, right?”
“No, you remember Quinn, it’s Memorial Day weekend. We’re going away for the weekend with the girls.”
“Right, I did forget. I have security duty this weekend and am staying here. Where are you headed?”
“We rented a place in Ocean City, NJ. We’re picking the girls up from a half day at school and heading down directly. I better get in the shower so we can get out of here on time.”
“I’ll see you on Tuesday then.”
“Have a good weekend Quinn.”
Maxwell drove the SUV to the school with Sookie, Eric, Pam, and Mor. Far was meeting them at the shore. Eric was still shocked that his father had flown in for the weekend. He could only imagine the scathing tone his mother used to get him to agree.
Girls collected, they hit the road for the Jersey Shore. “Can we go to the beach today when we get there?”
“We’ll get unpacked first. Then we can head out.”
“Are we going to the boardwalk?”
“We’ll hit the boardwalk after lunch tomorrow and stay until almost your bedtime.”
Klaus was already at the house when they arrived and everyone changed for the beach. Eric turned to the girls. “Mama and I are going to stay here for a bit while you go to the beach with Pam, Mor and Far. We’ll see you when you come back to dress for dinner.”
Maura replied, “Ok Eric. We’ll see you after you have couple time.”
Eric raised his eyebrow at Pam and she explained. “You know, couple time, I had to tell my teacups that you just wanted to be a couple alone for a while. They were worried that Sookie was sick.”
“Ok, but you tell Sookie about this.”
“Tell about what?”
Maura answered. “Couple time. Pam explained that’s what you need right now.”
Sookie’s eyes went wide and she glared at Pam. Gathering the girls quickly Pam said, “We’ll see you later. Come along teacups, Mor, Far.”
Eric just burst out laughing. “You should have seen your face, the glare you gave Pam!”
“Come on Mr. Funny; let’s start ‘couple time’.” They started up the stairs, Eric was tweaking Sookie’s butt the whole way up.
“Did you see we have a table in our bedroom? I can eat you all proper.” Eric said as he waggled his eyebrows.
“No, I think I need the full tour.”
“Oh, you’ll get it.”
He grabbed her at the top of the stairs and ran to their room only putting her down only to take off her clothes. Running his fingers over her bare pussy he admired what he found. “Oooh, I like switching on and off. I’m surprised but I guess I didn’t think about the swimsuit factor.”
“Glad you’re happy. I’ll probably keep it up for the summer.”
“Let’s get you on the table so I can have a better look.”
Eric picked her up and placed her on the table with her butt at the edge. Sitting on the chair in front of her, he placed her legs on his shoulders to support them while he dove into Sookie’s bare pussy. “Oh my sweet pussy. I have missed you.”
“It’s only been two days. And it’s your fault since you were working late last night….At least I got the chance to sneak in the Brazillian.”
“No more talk Woman!”
Sookie started to giggle but it was cut off by her gasp and he licked her slit. Eric opened her lips wide; then he fixed his open mouth over as much of her sex as he could and he sucked. “Oh my God Eric!”
When he took a breath from sucking, he tongued her; then went back to sucking. She came quickly and he continued to suck her through her orgasm. “Fuck me Eric she cried.”
“Yes, Dear.” He said as he pulled off his pants quickly. “Let’s keep you on this table. Hang on.” After reaching his arms up over her head to the edge of the small table, he plunged and pushed relentlessly. She was so close and he could tell, but he decided to change things up. Staying connected to her; he stood up and raised her legs to wrap around him creating a new angle.
“ERIC!” Sookie screamed as she came from only a few thrusts.
Eric continued to pound away. Sookie’s head was rolling from side to side and her hands had a white knuckle grip on the edge of the table. Wrapping his arms around her shoulders and back he lifted her from the table and moved her to the bed. He lay on top of her, their bodies pressed together. Eric often craved this much contact, thrusting into her while being as connected as possible. It only took a few more thrusts and he came, yelling her name and collapsing on top of her.
“I love you.” He said as he started to move off of her.
“Stay. I love being connected like this.”
“I must be crushing you.”
“No, I feel loved. Besides, we only have a short while before we need to get cleaned up.
They’d just finished dressing when everyone came bounding back into the house. “MAMA, ERIC!” Maura screamed.
“Min Princessas, we are right here, I can assure you, you don’t need to yell.”
“Oh, oops.” She replied; then continued. “Why are Mor and Far staying next door?”
“You will see why later at dinner.”
“I hate surprises.”
“No, you love surprises; you just don’t like knowing there is a surprise coming.” He looked down and Maura was standing there, hands on her hips one leg and foot pointed out. “You spend too much time with Pam, that’s her look. Let’s get you ready to go, the sooner we are at dinner, the sooner you know.”
“MIMA, GRAMPY!” The girls called to Bernie and Don Merlotte and ran to the table to hug them. Everyone caught up with the girls to witness a few tears from Bernie.
“Sookie, thank you for this, we have missed the girls.”
“Mom, we have all missed you and Dad. Let’s get this weekend started.”
At Claudine’s suggestion, Sookie had asked Bernie and Don to join her during one of their sessions. Sookie truly never felt they were to blame at all, but they carried guilt making anything more than calls to the girls difficult. Claudine was able to help them come to terms with Bill’s crimes and they were working to move past it. They wanted to remain in the girl’s lives. The worst part of the session was Bernie and Don learning that Bill had actually killed their son, Sam. Since the recorded confession from Bill was being kept quiet, they hadn’t been informed of his role in their son’s death. Sookie wept with them as they learned the news. Now, they were planning to enjoy the weekend together.
When everyone had their fill of local seafood, they walked back to their houses and crashed. The next day, they rented bikes and toured the town. Ocean City was busy for the holiday weekend, but they were able to move around town without paparazzi and even Klaus had to admit it was nice.
Later, they changed for a day at the beach and the boardwalk. The grandparents (even the adopted ones) enjoyed building a sandcastle with the girls. Eric was thinking his father was on drugs he was acting so care-free. He wondered if seeing Don’s behavior as a grandparent was serving as a guide, even if just subconsciously. In the end, he decided the reason didn’t matter and he just made sure to capture plenty of photos and video in case it never happened again. Mor motioned for Eric to follow her so he rose with a peck to Sookie’s cheek, who had planted herself on a beach towel and moved only to flip sides. (Pam was keeping time and would say ‘turn’ every so often.)
“He brought it.”
Eric beamed. “Thanks Mor.”
“If you take Sookie out one night next week, I’ll arrange for it to be sized. Your Farmor was larger than Sookie.”
“That’ll be great Mor.”
“Eric, have you talked about Sophie-Anne?”
“She knows that we dated, but nothing more.”
“Don’t you think she should know the whole truth?”
“Mor, I’ll get there. Don’t worry about it.”
“OK, OK…..When are you going to ask her?”
“I’m trying to hold out for her birthday in July.”
“Good luck with that.”
They both chuckled and started their return to the group.
The girls enjoyed just about every ride on the boardwalk, the coaster being the clear favorite. After the rides, they all ate Mack and Manco’s Pizza for dinner. Sookie moaned at every bite. When she got strange looks, she explained, “the pizza is good, yes, but this is more of a memory for me. Sam and I’d meet Bernie and Don in here every summer for vacation and it always included Mack and Manco’s pizza. Bernie smiled at Sookie, sharing the memory.”
“It’s good pizza.” Eric commented as he grabbed another slice. “But the place is called Manco and Manco’s”
Sookie shrugged her shoulders and replied, “Eh, I don’t like the name change.”
When everyone was done with their pizza, Eleanor asked. “Can we go to the arcade after dinner?”
Klaus replied. “Of course Eleanor. Do you have your eye on a special game or prize?”
She looked at him like he had two heads and said, “All of them, silly.”
“Oh, well my mistake. Shall we?”
Taking Farfar’s hand, she lead the group to the arcade. After winning two large stuffed bears, a dozen glitter balls, 4 slap bracelets, tattoo sheets for everyone in their group (including Maxwell) and a coin purse for each girl, they started to flag. Pam quipped, “Good thing we have all these hands to carry the prizes.”
The walk to the house was long so Eric carried Maura and Klaus carried Eleanor who both fell asleep snuggled into their chests. Akita melted at the scene. She whispered to Pam, “It’s a good thing Far was already planning to stay for a while, I don’t think Eleanor would let him go.”
“She’s actually quite the little conniver. I think she knows you want him to stay, and even if it’s subconscious, she’s handling him.”
After another day on the beach on Sunday, Eric decided he would never doubt Sookie’s comments about how much she loved the sun and tanning. “You were serious about your love of the sun.”
“I never joke about the sun. I have no other vices. I rarely drink, I gave up coffee when I was pregnant with Maura – and you should be happy you weren’t around for that withdrawal – I eat a balanced diet; the sun is it.”
Their day was interrupted by Maxwell. “Eric, Sookie, can we talk?”
They stepped outside the house and Maxwell started. “Kahn just called. The Grimaldi’s, the couple that stayed at your B&B before you left for Louisiana?”
“Yes, I gave you their contact information.”
“Sookie, they gave Bill information.”
Sookie gasped and moved her hand to her chest in shock. “Why would they do that?”
“He paid them, $10,000 in cash. They said he contacted them after they checked in on Friday night.” He hesitated to tell her the rest. “The FBI team is headed to Morgantown. The Grimaldi’s informed us that Bill was living at the Janson house across from yours. That’s where they had their meetings. They want to ask the Jansons for permission to search the property.”
“Oh God. The Jansons. I haven’t seen them for months. We weren’t super friendly, they never approved of having a business on their street, but oh God, oh God!”
“Sookie calm down, what is it Love?”
“Bill said something about killing others. He killed them, I know it. So much trouble, I’ve caused so much trouble.” Sookie’ breathing became erratic.
“Maxwell, get Pam to start packing. We’ll head home tonight. Sookie, come on Love, none of this is your fault. Come on, do your breathing like Claudine showed you.”
Sookie started to calm and Bernie and Don joined Eric and Sookie on the deck. “Eric, we just heard the update from Maxwell, we can keep the girls here another day and meet you at home tomorrow.”
“I appreciate the offer, but we need to travel with our guard, Maxwell, and I won’t leave the girls unprotected. Their personal guards are off this weekend.”
“Well, we can pack up the house, and you can leave straight away with the girls. Go; call Claudine, maybe she should speak with Sookie.”
Claudine did better than just a call. She met Sookie, Eric, Pam and the girls at home. Sookie had kept the panic attack at bay but she still needed help processing the new information. They went to the office while Eric cooked dinner for the girls. Knowing Sookie was going to need additional support; Claudine popped out and requested that Pam join them. About an hour later, Pam and Sookie left the office and headed to Pam’s room. Claudine found Eric to inform him that Sookie was going to relax in Pam’s bath for a while. “Do you want me to stay?”
“How is she now?”
“She is working through it. I don’t think she’ll have an attack, though I think she’ll need to be next to you or Pam for now.”
“I just spoke to Agent Lattesta, they are arriving tomorrow. I’m concerned about what we’ll learn.”
“Call me when they arrive. I’ll come right over.”
Eric was playing a game with the girls when Pam and Sookie met them in the family room. “I left dinner in the kitchen, do you want me to fix you a plate?”
Sookie replied, “Maybe later.”
‘Great, just great. She was back to eating again now she is regressing.’
“Eric, I can see the wheels spinning, I’ll be fine. I just want time with the girls before they go to bed.”
The FBI team, lead by Agent Lattesta arrived at the B&B early on Memorial Day Monday. They had arrived late on Sunday and checked into the Holiday Inn. Even though Sookie didn’t have enough rooms for them to stay at the B&B, she invited them for breakfast. Mustapha Kahn joined the group as well. Since the FBI was there in an official capacity, they would approach the property first, search permits in hand. Once they had news, they would return to the B&B.
“I’m taking the girls to the pond. Maxwell, can you call me when the FBI team returns?”
“Will do Sookie.”
“I’m coming with you.” Pam called to Sookie.
“YOU, are willingly going to watch the girls get muddy?”
“Don’t rub it in Sookie.”
The girls were covered in mud when Bernie and Don showed up to take over, Bernie looked worried. “Sookie, the FBI team has returned and are ready to meet with everyone. They’re in the Barn. We’ll take care of the girls.”
“Sookie, don’t start worrying before we get there.”
“You’re wasting your breath Pam.”
The group was already assembled in the Barn and was waiting for Sookie. Eric was hunched over a table talking with the group that included Lattesta and Kahn. He didn’t look happy. Noticing Sookie’s arrival, Lattesta stopped speaking and inclined his head towards the door. Eric ran to greet her, with Claudine following him so she could be near Sookie. All the faces looked grim. “It’s bad Eric, isn’t it?”
“Yes Sookie, it is.”
“Just tell me.”
Lattesta stood and addressed the group. So far, he had only spoken to Eric and Maxwell about what they found, the rest of the group was anxious to learn more. “Nobody answered when we arrived at the Janson property, and since there was a suspicion of foul play, we were justified in going into the house. We found no evidence that the Jansons had lived there recently, so we did a search of the grounds as well as the house. Sookie, we found the Jansons buried on the property.”
Sookie, sandwiched between Claudine and Eric, started weeping. Lattesta waited to continue. With Claudine’s help, Sookie got herself under control.
Lattesta continued at Eric’s request. He knew more was coming and he wanted to get it over with and have Sookie to himself so he could calm her. “Sookie, we also found evidence that Bill was using the house for reconnaissance for a while. We found surveillance equipment, all targeted at your residence. There was also a collection of photos of you, your family and your guests.”
Sookie’s strength from getting through her small breakdown remained and she asked. “Did you find anything you can use to find the bastard?”
“Yes, yes we did.” He turned the discussion to Kahn.
“Sookie, we found IDs, addresses, account information and computers that the FBI will work to hack. I have plenty of information to move forward and have already called my team to engage.”
Sookie smiled. “Excellent. When can I expect an update?”
Pam raised an eyebrow at Eric.
Kahn replied. “I’ll provide Maxwell with daily updates.”
Sookie turned to Maxwell and said. “Keep me informed.”
Quinn was twitching to get out of the room. He needed to call DeCastro and warn him. ‘Patience, I need to hear this out then walk calmly and call.’
They broke up the official part of the meeting and some folks departed, others stayed to talk. Quinn was out the door quickly, and Lattesta nodded to one of his men.
“This will probably be easy.” Lattesta said to Kahn.
Lattesta’s man returned with Quinn about 15 minutes later. “He went right out to call DeCastro.”
“Sookie, may we use your office to set-up an impromptu interview room?”
“Certainly, I’ll show you the way.”
Pam, Maxwell and Eric followed Sookie and the FBI to the house. While Sookie got the FBI and Quinn in the office, Eric and Pam spoke. “Where is the strength coming from?”
“I don’t know Pam; maybe Claudine hit the nail on the head. She needs to have involvement and some type of control in taking Bill down.”
“Let’s hope it lasts.”
Once the FBI was alone with Quinn in Sookie’s office, he started. “Quinn, we already know you have been feeding information to Compton and DeCastro. You left evidence in the house. That makes you an accessory to the abduction and the murder of the Jansons. I suggest you start talking.”
“I suggest you get a deal together first. I can’t go to prison if I tell you anything, DeCastro will have me killed.”
“I’m taking you to Philadelphia field office where you can wait for your deal.”
Lattesta updated everyone on the interview and explained that Quinn’s response was expected. He was sure they could make a deal that would work.
On the way out of the house, Maxwell turned to Quinn. “How could you have been working for DeCastro and Bill?”
“I had to. I was in too deep with DeCastro and the casinos. It wasn’t a coincidence that I was hired for this film once Bill made some calls to DeCastro. Bill is very connected to DeCastro, as far as I have seen, there is NO favor he has been denied. He makes too much money for DeCastro.”
Maxwell looked to Lattesta and they held a silent conversation. Lattesta turned around and the other agents followed along. Maxwell struck Quinn with a blow to his face. “You sold out the wrong family, ASSHOLE!”
Lattesta turned and started speaking again ignoring Quinn’s bleeding face. “I’m leaving agents at the Jansons to continue digging for evidence. I’ll call with an update tomorrow.”
Once the agents were gone, Sookie turned to her family, friends and the crew that remained. “Well, it’s Memorial Day. Let’s get a cookout going.”
“Sookie?” Eric asked.
“Eric, I’m fine, great actually. I am very sad about the Jansons, but the rest of it – now we have a chance to find him and there is evidence to convict him for more than my abduction. We all know that he killed Sam and Gran, but I know my recording would never been enough to convict him. I’ll mourn the Jansons properly, but for now, I want to enjoy the fact that we have leads.”
The impromptu celebration turned into an open mic party with the cast and crew taking turns on stage. Freyda tried to join the party but she was stopped. When she question Maxwell at the door, he informed her that she had no friends left among the cast and crew. She tried to continue into the party and saw the dangerous look on his face. She turned and left. Maxwell sighed in relief. ‘I let them down with Quinn being on the property, nobody is going to fuck with them again.’
The party lasted late into the night, even though the kids had been put to bed early since it was a school night. Eric had to carry Sookie to bed since she was so tired.
“You really are doing OK with all this?”
“Eric, I am. Claudine was right. My having knowledge and control over what’s happening with Bill’s capture have started to removed my helpless feelings.”
“I’m glad. If I had known, I would have involved you sooner. I just like to take care of you.”
“Don’t you stop! I love being cared for. We just need to keep the lines of communication open. Honestly, when we first came home, I couldn’t have handled the work with the PI, so you did the right thing.”
“Well, let’s get you cared for and to sleep. You look like you are ready to fall over Love, and it’s a school day tomorrow.”
Eric changed Sookie into a nightgown and removed her makeup. They snuggled in together.
Lattesta called the next afternoon. “He got his deal and we have testimony against DeCastro and Compton. We also have a few potential locations to start our search. We are starting the searches today.”
“What else did you learn?”
“Quinn had been feeding information to Bill throughout his stay on the property. His received a bonus for each tidbit of information he shared. This all centered on paying back his gambling debt. The jerk didn’t even look remorseful for selling Sookie out to Bill.”
Eric ended the call and turned to Kahn and Maxwell. “Are you being informed?”
“Yes, one of the agents here filled us in. Lattesta can’t get into details with us while he is at an FBI office.”
Sookie asked, “So Kahn, are you flying out to join the search?”
Kahn started to appear uncomfortable. Sookie said, “Spit it out.”
“Sookie, I already spoke with Maxwell, we’re adding some extra guards. You will be safe.” He paused and Sookie looked concerned. “Sookie, we don’t need to fly out. It’s likely from Quinn’s information that Bill is in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.”
Luckily Eric was already standing behind Sookie so he was able to grab her when she fainted.
Two days had passed and they were still waiting for word. Kahn kept them updated on the undercover agents the FBI had placed near the areas Quinn identified as potential hideouts for Bill. The film was proceeding as scheduled with Eric making frequent checks on Sookie. Far was staying as long as needed. Everyone was just simply on alert and waiting.
The call came on Wednesday night. Bill was hiding out closer to Philadelphia. The FBI was ready to strike. Per the original ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ Kahn was moving in first and detaining Bill for Eric. Eric still wanted some time alone before the FBI arrested him. After confirming the plan, Kahn and his men moved out to capture Bill and have him brought to a location for Eric to have his chat. Insisting that he not go alone, Sookie was with Eric in the SUV waiting for Kahn’s call. They were about 10 minutes away from the designated location when the doors were opened and they were yanked out. Sookie started fighting back immediately. She hadn’t had all that training for nothing. They were being led to another car and she wanted NO parts of that. She grabbed her present from Maxwell, a ballpoint penknife, threw off the top and stabbed at her attacker without thought, without mercy. Once he was down, she started to run around the front of the car to Eric. He had been holding his own but a third man stepped out of the shadows to participate: Bill.
Bill wasn’t as large or strong as Eric so he was certainly letting his goon do the hard work. Deciding surprise was on her side, Sookie headed towards Bill. Bill lunged for her and she dropped him with a kick to his gut. He looked up in shock, but recovered quickly and came at Sookie again, this time knowing she was not cowering away. He pushed off his legs from his crouched position and launched at her mid section with a plan to knock her down. He did grab her and she allowed herself to be tossed over his shoulder. Before he could knock her over, she took her penknife and drove it into his back. Bill started to crumple and she removed the knife and plunged it in again. He dropped her from his hold and she glanced to Eric. He had his goon in a choke hold, demanding to know who the leak was, but getting no answers. Realizing Eric was safe, she turned and kicked Bill several times to ensure he would not rise then she pulled her phone out to call Maxwell.
While waiting for Maxwell, Eric and Sookie held vigil over their prisoners. When Maxwell and Kahn arrived, Maxwell asked Eric how long he should wait before calling the FBI. He now had Sookie in his arms and he looked from her to Bill then back to Maxwell. “You can call them now. I’ll only need a moment to finish what Sookie started.”
Eric released Sookie and kissed her forehead; then he approached Bill who had regained consciousness. ‘Good, this wouldn’t be any fun if he was still out of it.’ He asked Maxwell to pull Bill up to standing. Taunting Bill, he said, “I’ve been waiting a while for this moment.” He gave Bill and evil smile and landed several punches to his face and gut.
When it appeared that he was not going to stop, Sookie stepped in. “Eric, stop. I don’t want you getting in trouble when the FBI arrives.” Eric landed another blow and Sookie added, “Please.” He stopped and returned to Sookie’s side.
Lattesta arrived and took statement from both Sookie and Eric. He gathered the physical evidence quickly and the left for home with plans to meet for a full debrief the next day.
The drive home was silent and Sookie went upstairs right away, leaving Eric to provide an update to everyone who was waiting for their return. “The evening didn’t go as planned, but you can see we are fine. The FBI has Bill in custody and Sookie and I will need to meet with them to review the details of tonight. I know you want more answers but Sookie needs me right now. I’ll explain more tomorrow.” As suspected, he found Sookie in the girl’s room giving them both late goodnight kisses and he joined her, also kissing both girls. Feeling her reluctance to leave, he stayed with Sookie, his arms around her waist and waited for her to be ready.
Finally, she moved and they went to their bedroom. There, she started the shower, they climbed in and the crying started. When it had gone on for a while, he said. “Sookie, we’re both ok, shhh, we’re fine. I’m proud of you.”
“Eric, I’m crying because I’m happy. It’s over. He’s caught, it’s over.”
He looked at her face and saw only the truth in her words, she was happy and relieved. Then her face turned to a frown and she said. “Uh oh, somebody needs to tell Maxwell he has to get a new job.”
Eric responded with a roaring laugh.
A/N: One final item. I toyed with moving their shore weekend to one that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, thinking I wanted to add Sandy to the storyline (as a remembrance). I changed my mind, I didn’t want to minimize the impact of Sandy as a comment in fanfiction – so I kept the location to Ocean City (where my folks took me) and not one of the more devastated areas. So, when this book hits the real life timeframe of Sandy, it will not be mentioned in the storyline. I do ask my readers to send positive thoughts to God (or your personal choice) and our Government to help the victims of Sandy – many still recovering.