Chapter 31 – Everybody has a Dark side
“Eric, one more picture with Sookie?”
Eric looked at Sookie who was just about to make her escape with Akita and Klaus at the Premier. She nodded and posed while a few questions were asked:
“Sookie, can we see the ring?”
“Did you pick a wedding date?”
“Where will you be married?”
She whispered to Eric. “They are more obsessed with the wedding than Pam.” He chuckled then helped her move away.
“I don’t know why they want my picture so much Mor. Eric is the sexy one and the star of the movie.”
“You really don’t see how beautiful you are, and even more so when you are posing with my boy. The two of you shine together.”
“No Mor, I don’t see it.” They walked a bit further to wait for Sookie, inside the building and away from prying eyes. They were joined by Eric and entered the theater to watch the movie.
Sookie thoroughly loved the film. She had read all the books and couldn’t wait for the sequels.
The premier and the after party had been going well until Freyda showed up. “Sookie, you’re looking as dowdy as ever, how are you?”
“Freyda, I’m fine, thank you for asking. I didn’t realize you would be here this evening. How did you weasel and invitation anyway?”
“I didn’t weasel and invitation. I am here as the guest of one of Eric’s co-stars, Ryan Kwanten.”
“Hmm, that’s interesting.”
“Why is that so interesting?”
“Well, apparently you have a broken heart from my engagement to Eric. You certainly have moved on fast, do you always go through men that quickly?”
Eric was moving as quickly as possible to get to Sookie and he couldn’t believe his ears. His polite southern bell had put Victor in his place earlier this week and was now throwing down with Freyda. ‘Still, I’m just going to separate them before anything happens.’ Taking Sookie’s hand, “Sookie, I wanted to spend some time with Reese, won’t you join me?”
Knowing what he was doing, and going along she nodded her head and walked away. Sookie enjoyed meeting with the rest of the cast. Reese was gracious and they talked about children in Hollywood. The person she enjoyed the most was Kristin Bauer van Straten, the actor playing Eric’s vampire child in all the Multiverse films. Kristin was very down to earth and she and Eric had become friendly and Sookie could see why. Except for the run in with Freyda, the premier and the party went well. Sookie’s confidence being on Eric’s arm was growing with every event.
Eric and Sookie were flying back to LA after his guest shots on some New York based shows. He was remembering the rest of the premier and how Sookie was growing into her role in Hollywood. He asked her about her new found confidence.
“Well, it’s really your fault and Claudine’s as well. The past few months have been wonderful, but as we know, they’ve been hard too. While I wish I had never met Bill, he did cause me to meet Claudine in a roundabout way. Your confidence in me, your love combined with the tools and encouragement from her has really changed me. I will never be happy around bitches like Freyda, but I won’t cower from them either.”
“So, you feel better about some of the details we need to work out? You no longer hate my Hollywood side.”
“I could never hate anything about you. But I understand your question. I don’t worry about your career anymore and any time that puts the limelight on us.”
“That makes me very happy, Love. I have an idea about houses for us.”
“That converted barn we passed on the way to Philly before we left, you ooh’d and ahh’d over it?”
“Of course, I have seen that barn many times. I love it.”
“Well, we need more space in PA. Why don’t we convert your original barn into a house? The upper level can be the main floor, and we can use the lower level for bedrooms.”
“What about the B&B?”
“Well, you can use your current house for more rooms. You were planning to hire a manager too. Maybe living accommodations can be part of the salary and benefits? We can also keep a bedroom for Pam or my parents. We’ll need to spend time in LA and Pennsylvania, but this will provide us more room to have our entire family as much as we can.”
“I like that, I really like that. Let’s get started with Sylvia. She can collect information and start drawings while we’re in Sweden. Maybe the renovations can begin right when we get home.” She shifted a bit and leaned into Eric. “I’m feeling a little airsick, I think I’ll nap.”
“Do you need anything?”
“Just your shoulder.”
Sookie explained that she was not feeling well from the flight to her girls, and then went straight to bed. A short while later, Pam was unpacking some garments quietly in Eric and Sookie’s closet when she heard Sookie get up and head to the bathroom. ‘Wow, I don’t think she is sick from the flight, that doesn’t usually cause vomiting hours after landing.’ She approached the bathroom. “Sookie, are you OK? Can I get you something?”
“You might want to leave the room Pam; I must have the flu or something. Better warn Eric.”
“I’m calling a doctor, we leave for Europe in only 4 days; you need to be well.”
“Pam, I’ll be fine.”
“I know you will because I’m calling a doctor now.”
“Pam, please! I don’t even want to get in a car to go to a doctor.”
“That’s why I have a doctor that makes house calls. Get in bed and wait.”
“PAM, I promise if I’m not better tomorrow, we do it your way.”
Eric ran into the room. “What’s all the yelling? We can hear you in the kitchen.”
“Sookie is sick and refusing a doctor.”
“Eric, it’s just a bug, I promised her I’d let her call a doctor tomorrow if I’m not better. Please, let me go back to bed. Eric, you probably shouldn’t stay with me right now, you can’t afford to be sick as well.”
“I’m not leaving you alone when you’re sick.” Sookie opened her mouth to speak, but Eric cut her off. “Don’t even try to argue. I’m coming back with some ginger ale.”
“Eric.” Pam asked, “What about the doctor.”
“We’ll give Sookie the day.”
Pam threw her hands up in the air and went to the kitchen to fix dinner for the girls.
The next day, Sookie seemed much better in the morning and she said ‘I told you so’ several times to Pam. Her feeling good, however, didn’t even make it to brunch and she was running for the bathroom when Mor and Far arrived. Pam was on the phone to her doctor before Mor could even ask what was happening.
“Sookie, she’ll be here in an hour.”
“Fine Pam. Can someone feed everyone, I never finished the brunch.”
Through the bathroom door Pam chided. “Dammit Sookie, worry about yourself for once!”
“You can’t just agree to finish the cooking for me while I’m in here puking?”
“No, that’s not my priority.”
An hour later, Pam’s doctor arrived at the house and was introduced to Sookie. “Hi Sookie, I’m Thalia, Pam’s doctor. Can you tell me what’s been happening?”
“This is really unnecessary. I was ill when we arrived here yesterday from our flight I started to feel sick, so I went to bed. Last evening, the vomiting started, but it stopped again until just about an hour ago.”
“Is anyone else in the house sick?”
“No.” Eric replied as he walked in the room.
“When was the last time you ate?”
“I had some toast last night before I went to bed. Oh, and ginger ale.
“Did you try to eat since you vomited again this morning?”
“Yes, toast and ginger ale again.”
“And you feel better now?” Sookie nodded. “Sookie, did you have morning sickness with your two girls?”
Eric and Sookie’s eyebrows rose up. She answered, “Yes, but I have an IUD, 5 years now.”
“You’re scaring me, and yes, it’s a Paragard.”
“Pregnancy with a Paragard is not unheard of Sookie. We should test to be sure.”
When Sookie ran to the bathroom to vomit again, the doctor followed her. Thalia noticed that Eric was following as well and she turned and asked, “Give us a few minutes, please?” He nodded and backed away as Thalia shut the door.
“Sookie.” She reached into her bag. “I have a test here, when I heard your symptoms I thought I should grab one. We can do a blood test, but it’s Sunday and we would have to wait for the results.”
“I can’t be pregnant.”
“Sookie, I know this must be a shock since you have had your IUD implanted for years, but you can be pregnant. It’s at least worth a test.”
“No, that’s not what I mean. I understand that physically I can be pregnant. I just… “She trailed off in a whisper. “I don’t think I can do that again, a baby.”
“Then we’ll deal with that, but you need to know.”
“Maybe I should wait a day and try to adjust before knowing the reality. I don’t want to know right now. I don’t…..”
“Sookie, what if you spend the day thinking about a baby, and you really do just have the flu?”
‘You don’t think I have the flu, do you?’ Sookie leaned away from the toilet and sat on the floor. Thalia knelt on the floor in front of her, trying to calm her by getting down at her level.
“Maybe we should spend a few minutes reviewing all your symptoms. When was your last cycle?”
“I’ve had some upset in my life this past spring; I haven’t been too regular lately. I’m not sure that will help us but let me think. ….. It was after I returned from Louisiana in May. Shit.”
“Stop, gimme a moment then I’ll pee for you. ….. What happens if I am?”
“I’ll get you into see a colleague of mine tomorrow. You’re here in LA for a few days, right?” Sookie nodded. “Ok, well you’ll need to plan on next steps. Whether you’re keeping the baby or not.”
“Wait. I’m terrified of having a baby, but I would never abort my child.”
“Ok, I wanted you to realize you have options. So, if you are pregnant, your doctor will need to determine what to do about the IUD.”
“What to do? We have to get it out of course.”
Eric had heard enough. He couldn’t hear all of the conversation since it was hushed tones, and he refused to stalk at the door, but he had heard something about keeping a baby and Sookie saying get it out. He stormed out of the room and told Pam to go and wait for the doctor in the bedroom.
“Eric, what’s got you so mad?”
“Leave me alone Pam, I have to get out of here.”
“Eric, wait!” But he was already out the door.
Confused, Pam went to the bedroom just as Thalia was exiting the bathroom. “Thalia, what the hell is going on? Eric just stormed out of here.”
“Pam, I’m Sookie’s doctor here, not your friend.”
“Then I’m going to see Sookie.”
“She’s taking a test, wait a moment.”
“A test, for what?” Thalia said nothing else while Pam just stared at her.
‘The hell with nobody answering me.’ She stormed into the bathroom to see Sookie standing from the toilet with a cup. “You’re Pregnant.” Pam said as a statement. “Then why is Eric so mad? He would love another chance. Why do you seem so upset?”
“Mad, why is he mad? What do you mean another chance?”
After handing the cup to Thalia, Pam explained how Eric had stormed out; then asked Sookie again why she didn’t seem happy.”
“It’s a long story Pam. I need to talk to Eric after we get the results. Again, what did Eric say when he stormed out? How long ago was this?”
“It was just before I came up here, and he only said that he needed to get out of here.”
Thalia said, “Sookie, it’s possible he heard a few of the wrong things? We need to get him back here.” She turned to Pam, “He’s thinking it’s Sophie-Anne all over again.”
Shocked, Pam yelled. “SOOKIE, you want to get an abortion?”
“WHA…..No. Where did you come up with that? What is Sophie-Anne all over again? Somebody please tell me what’s going on?”
Thalia added, “I thought Sookie would want to explore terminating the pregnancy based on some of our conversation, Eric may have heard that.”
“I have to find him.” Sookie said as she headed for the closet to get dressed.
“Wait, Sookie. Let me get Maxwell. He can find Eric and bring him back.”
Maxwell was gone for hours looking for Eric. He was ignoring every text and call; he simply didn’t want to be found. Knowing that Akita and Klaus were taking care of the girls, Sookie tried to relax in the shower, but it didn’t work. When she returned to the bedroom, Pam was waiting to offer her comfort. Pam insisted that Eric needed to be the one to tell the story of Sophie-Anne, just as Sookie said she needed to tell Eric first about her reasons why she was not overjoyed about being pregnant. They respected each other’s perspective and rather than wallow in the situation, Pam tried to distract Sookie with an at-home mani/pedi, a showing of the new clothes Pam had purchased in the two days she and Eric were NYC, and when Eric still was not home, she resorted to purchasing and watching an OnDemand movie at Sookie’s request.
“Sookie, how is this movie going to make you feel better?”
“It won’t, it’ll probably make me cry, but at least I’ll be lost in their love story instead of my own drama. Besides, I love the music.”
Pam signed and turned on Somewhere in Time and settled into the bed with Sookie and a box of tissues.
‘Get it out? Get it out? That’s what she thinks of our baby?‘ Eric had been gone so long, the sun was setting. He just sat on the beach rethinking everything he had heard. Wondering how he could have fallen in love with another woman who didn’t want his baby. Unable to stay seated, he started pacing on the beach. “FUCK, again, how can this be happening AGAIN?” Over and over he screamed in his head while he continued back and forth on the beach. He was stopped only by a figure that was suddenly in front of him.
“Eric. You have to go home.”
“Maxwell, don’t get into this.”
“I have a message from Pam.” Eric opened his mouth to stop him but Maxwell pressed on. “It’s from Pam, I’m not going home until I deliver it.”
Sighing, Eric agreed “Go on then.”
“She said you didn’t hear what you think you heard. You need to go home and hear everything.”
“Is she pregnant?”
“I was sent to find you with that message, nothing else. Where’s your car? I’ll drive it back and arrange to get my car later.” Eric hesitated then finally started moving with Maxwell.
Maxwell texted Pam on the walk to the car to tell him Eric was found and he was escorting him home.
Thalia greeted Eric at the door; she had stayed since she was not only Pam’s doctor, but a personal friend. She needed to explain some things to Eric before he approached Sookie.
“Eric, Sookie didn’t look at the test results yet, she wanted to wait for you. I do need to tell you two things. First, what you heard was me providing a female patient her options, not Sookie requesting an abortion.”
Eric stopped her. “No Thalia, I heard Sookie say ‘get it out’ very clearly.”
Thalia stopped for a moment to recall that part of the conversation, then it dawned on her. “We were talking about getting out the IUD that is still implanted.”
Eric’s eyes went wide at first then he pinched his eyes shut as he realized what he had done. After a moment, he opened his eyes and said “You said you had something else to explain.”
“Yes, becoming pregnant while on an IUD can be very difficult for some woman. It’s very common for the news to create feelings of ambiguity about being pregnant. Please keep that in mind when you recall what you heard through the bathroom door.”
Eric nodded and ran upstairs to the bedroom. Having heard Eric, Pam had already gotten out of the bed and was standing and waiting for Eric outside the door. “Eric, it’s not Sophie-Anne again. Please, she needs you right now.”
“Did she really wait for me to see the test results?”
“Yes. She said if the day had gone ‘normally,’ you would have looked at the results together.
Eric gave Pam a hug and thanked her for sending Maxwell and the message. Then he walked into the room. Sookie turned to him, pain in her eyes. “You left, why did you leave me?”
“I’m sorry, I thought, I heard…I don’t know what to say, I shouldn’t have left.”
“Eric, part of me feels like I should be mad at you, but I need you too much right now. I’ll just think about the mad part tomorrow.”
“Ever my own personal Scarlett. I’m here for you now, what can I do?”
“Will you come hold me? Please?”
Eric got into the bed and Sookie attached herself to him. She started crying and he held her through it as usual. When she was through she laughed. “I’m surprised I have any tears left. Eric, I’m sorry I said something that made you leave.”
“I should have waited to find out more. Should we look at the test now?”
“I want to hear about Sophie-Anne and I need to tell you something first.”
“Why do we need to do that first?”
“I need to have these things out so we can move past them. Then, if we are pregnant, perhaps we can just enjoy the moment of discovery instead of wondering about all the unknowns.”
“Ok, I’ll tell you about Sophie-Anne.” Sookie nodded.
“You know that I dated Sophie-Anne, I even thought we were in love. We’d been together almost 6 months when one day she came to me crying. She was pregnant. I was over the moon happy. The more I smiled and laughed and planned, the angrier she became. I realized that I had basically dominated the conversation with my joy since the words ‘I’m pregnant’ came out of her mouth. I stopped myself and asked her why she was so unhappy, that I was going to marry her, that I wanted the baby. I thought those concerns were her reasons for being upset. She laughed at me and said that she didn’t want the baby. She was upset because she had already added 6 pounds to her model body and now had to recover from the abortion she had scheduled for the next day.”
Sookie gasped, “She didn’t even discuss the decision with you; she just announced it?”
“Yes. She couldn’t understand why I was upset. Upset she literally said when actually I was devastated by her decision. I begged her to reconsider, to let me raise the child. I agreed to pay for any cosmetic surgery but she would not relent. She was killing my baby the next day no matter what I said. I have always carried guilt over losing that child, I couldn’t save it.” Sookie looked up and wiped the tears Eric had shed for his baby. “So today, I heard only a few words but it was enough for me to think that you were also planning to abort.”
“Oh, Eric. I’m sorry you had to go through that. You can’t carry the guilt for that baby. You guys weren’t married and even if you were, they don’t ask for the Dad’s permission for an abortion. You need to let that go.” She looked at him intently, trying to stare her words into him so he would agree.
“You also need to know, Eric, I would never abort my own, well our baby. I’m in shock a bit and I’m scared, but that’s not a choice I could make.”
“I’m sorry I let my panic get the best of me. ….. Sookie, why are you scared?”
She looked at him, clearly thinking something through, finally closed her eyes for a second and when she opened them she asked. “Eric, can you get me some water? This is going to be a long story.”
Eric returned with her drink. Sookie took a deep breath and started telling Eric why being pregnant again scared her.
“You know I was 27 when I married, and I was 32 when I had Maura.” Eric nodded. “We actually started trying for a baby after our first anniversary. After about a year I started worrying. My Priest was making a pilgrimage to Rome and we requested he light a candle for our intentions. After almost three years of trying we met with a fertility specialist. His conclusion was that we could not have children without medical intervention. We left that appointment; ready to go on Clomid as soon as my next cycle was done. Well, my next cycle never came. I waited a few days, took an at home pregnancy test, and it was positive. We returned to the fertility specialist and it was confirmed. He called it a fluke, we called it a miracle.”
She stopped to take some of her drink. “We were both excited and we enjoyed getting ready to be parents. I had 4 baby showers – church, work, virtual from Louisiana, and the main one with Pennsylvania friends. The house was filled with everything we could need. Bernie helped me with the nursery, hand making the crib bumper, curtains and a quilt. I quit work about 4 weeks before Maura was born and Sam was working on InnKeeper at home so we just enjoyed the anticipation.”
Sookie paused, preparing herself for the next part. “The joy of pregnancy didn’t follow the birth. Well, not for me. ….. Eric, when the midwife put Maura on my chest, the first thought I had was ‘burden’. I went through the motions, cooing over the fact that I had a girl. Meanwhile, I was conflicted. I wanted my baby, I did, but at the same time, I felt despair.”
She shifted a bit in the bed, possibly to stall a bit, but she continued. “Things actually got worse. She was just not a sleeper. At 6 weeks old, we literally had days that she wouldn’t even nap. So, on top of my despair, I was so under slept I couldn’t function. I was breastfeeding and the little booger would never take a bottle. As much as Sam tried to help, he lacked the equipment needed to do nighttime feedings.”
Sookie stopped for a few moments and simply took Eric’s hand to toy with his fingers. He stayed silent, knowing she was telling the truth and yet not believing what he was hearing. Finally she started talking again. “I would look for the happiness that I could. Every morning I spent time picking out the fancy baby girl outfit for the day, well, usually just for the morning since she puked on everything. I would take her shopping whenever I went since the inside of the stores fascinated her and she slept in the car. It wasn’t all horrible, but it wasn’t this Mommy bliss you see on the Pamper’s ads. I realized I was finally feeling better when she was about 1. The fun with her was finally starting to take over the darkness. Even though I was better, I had no desire for more children.”
“Sleep was still a major issue, though. It wasn’t until she was 18 months old that she finally started sleeping through the night.” Sookie smiled, remembering the relief of sleeping through the night. Then she continued. “The next month, even though we were told Maura was a fluke and not to expect any additional pregnancies, we had another one of those flukes. I was pregnant again. I, of course, went back to my priest and asked him to go to Rome to blow out that candle.” They both chuckled a bit. “Anyway, being pregnant again was a bit devastating. I was just starting to feel normal from finally sleeping through the night. Because I felt so ashamed, I never discussed my despair or depression after having Maura with anyone and that was a mistake. With Eleanor, I tried to stay ahead of it and learned about post partum depression. I started seeing a counselor shortly after we found out I was pregnant – that helped. When she was born I actually felt really good. I was hopeful that I wouldn’t be hit with the despair, but about 4 or 5 days after she was born, it crept in. This time, it was worse. Instead of just feeling despair, I would literally envision Eleanor being hurt.” Eric’s eyes grew wide, so she clarified. “Not by me, I mean situations where she would be hurt, and they would be graphic, turns out that is a common symptom of post partum depression. With Sam’s help I nipped the situation in the bud. I found a woman therapist who literally wrote the book on post partum depression; she just happens to have her practice outside Philadelphia. With her help and some medication from Bart I was able to control it. Luckily Eleanor was a nice sleepy baby which helped, although just like the other booger, Eleanor also wouldn’t take a bottle.”
“Since I have a history of post partum depression, I have a good chance of having the condition again. That Eric is why I’m scared. I don’t want to feel that despair ever again. I’m also worried what you think of me after hearing all this.”
Eric had his arm draped around Sookie the entire time she talked. He moved so they were now lying on their sides, facing each other. He touched her face softly. “Sookie, I am humbled that you shared your pain with me. I wish I could take it all away, but we both know I can’t. As for what I think of you? I don’t even understand the question in this conversation. I love you just as much as I did when I walked through the bedroom door a few moments ago. Maybe I even love you more since you worked though those problems and now you can recognize the issue and can get help again like you did for Eleanor.”
Sookie gave a small sob of relief at hearing Eric’s words. He pressed on. “I can promise to be beside you every step of the way if we’re having a baby. I’ll ensure you get any help you need, for as long as you need it. We’ll also consult with the best baby experts in the world to ensure the little ‘booger‘ will take a bottle since I want to share every part of the experience. Hmm, well after he or she is born, I can’t really share the pregnancy or delivery.”
Sookie chuckled as him comments. “Thank you for not hating me. This is not a story I share often since there are many who just don’t understand post partum depression. Oh, and I’ll take all the help I can get, so I’m going to keep you to that promise mister. ”
“I could never hate you. I also won’t lie to you. You may be scared, but I’m thrilled. I was already planning to ask you if you wanted more children. Don’t get me wrong, I love Maura and Eleanor I also just love the idea of having a baby with you.”
“You have no idea what hormone storm you’re in for if that test is positive.”
“I’ll take my chances on the hormones, and speaking of the test, can we look?”
“You’re wearing that little boy on Christmas face. It can be contagious you know. I want to look now too. Just, just remember to be patient with me.”
He kissed her nose and said, “I will and just understand that I’m going to be excited and want to tell everyone about this.”
“I know, and some days you’ll need to be excited for both of us. You ready?” He nodded. “Well, open the envelope.”