Chapter 33 – Vacation
“Eric, Mor, Far, this house is just beautiful. I know I keep using that word over and over again, but really, everything here is beautiful.”
“Wait until you see the property. Maybe we can take a walk with the girls after we settle in.”
“I can’t wait for you to meet Elsi.”
“She stays here all year, even though you guys only come back a few times?”
“Yes, most of the staff has been gone for a while once Pam and I no longer needed guardians, but Elsi stayed. She was our cook and now oversees the house as needed. She’ll have hired some temporary staff for our stay.”
“And Elsi taught you to cook.”
“Yes, and as you know, she was more than that to me.”
“I know, and it’s for that reason that I can’t wait to meet her.”
They pulled up to the house in their two cars, not wanting to cramp everyone into just one, and Mor and Far were out greeting Elsi and the other help before Sookie and Eric had exited the car. The girls had slept on the plane, but were still tired from two days of traveling, so they dozed on the trip from the airport to Vellentuna, a town about 45 minutes north of Stockholm where the Northman house was located. The girls didn’t wake even when the cars stopped so Eric lifted Maura then called Far over when Sookie tried to lift Eleanor from the car. She glared at him but kept quiet. ‘It’s going to be a long pregnancy if he is going to treat me like glass. Still, I have to keep in mind why he’s being like that and try to understand.’ She took a deep breath to calm her thoughts and smiled as she approached the staff waiting at the door.
Elsi smiled brightly as Eric introduced his family. “Elsi, I would like you to meet min trolova sig (betrothed), Sookie Merlotte.” Sookie moved toward Elsi and was pulled in for a hug which Sookie gladly returned. While Eric and Pam had since reconciled their issues with their parents, it didn’t negate the years this woman spent as a mother figure to Eric and that made her family in Sookie’s book. Eric continued the introductions with the just waking girls. “And these lovely princessas, are var dotters, Maura and Eleanor.” Far moved closer to Elsi with Eleanor still in his arms.
“Aren’t you both lovely? Your Farmor has already told me to be careful of you. She said, ‘watch out, or they will be wrapped around your finger’.” The girls giggled at Elsi.
Eric also introduced Maxwell who Elsi also greeted warmly. She turned to all her charges, “Come, I have set out breakfast for you; then you can relax.”
Once in the dining room, Elsi explained. “I have some of Eric and Pam’s favorites, including bread, cheese, liver patéand cucumbers; I also have muesli and filmjölk. That’s like your cereal and buttermilk. For the girls, I added some pancakes so they could have time to adjust to the more traditional foods.
Sookie’s stomach growled and everyone chuckled, “it all looks wonderful Elsi, thank you. Would you happen to have some regular milk for the muesli? I am not sure I can tolerate the filmjölk.” She looked to Eric to explain further; actually surprised he had not blurted it out yet.
“Elsi, I should have also mentioned that in addition to Maura and Eleanor, Sookie is expecting our third child.” Sookie misted up; leave it to Eric to ensure that Maura and Eleanor never felt slighted. They didn’t need the adoption papers at all, the girls were his.
“Oh that’s wonderful news! When is the baby due?”
“The middle of February.” Sookie replied. “I’m into my second trimester, but still have some episodes of morning sickness.”
“Is this why your travel plans changed, I got a call that it was illness, but no details?”
Sookie looked to Eric, unsure of how to respond. “Yes Elsi, Sookie had some complications but everything is as it should be now.”
“Oh, let me get you some milk, or is there anything else that will do?”
“No, just the milk will be fine.”
They enjoyed breakfast, Elsi sitting to dine with them at Mor’s insistence. Elsi took the opportunity to chat with the girls. She asked them about school and whether they wanted a little brother or sister (Maura wanted a boy, Eleanor wanted a girl). She also asked about their interests so she could help them be as comfortable as possible while away from home. Elsi noticed that while the girls certainly showed excitement when they spoke of their likes and dislikes, they were also polite. Yes, Elsi was starting to see the attraction for the girls. Seeing Eric and Pam so happy, even if it had only been an hour, she realized they had a major turning point in their lives and the catalyst was sitting at the table. She turned to smile at Sookie from her thoughts, and caught her yawning. “Oh, Sookie, why don’t I take the girls to their room here, and Eric can help you get some rest. I won’t have you overtired on my watch!”
Klaus, excited to show the girls their bedroom/playroom here jumped up. “Elsi, let me help you get the girls settled.” He grabbed Eleanor to carry her in his arms and she snuggled in immediately.
Elsi stilled and her eyes grew wide. Akita just laughed. “I know Elsi, it really is Klaus. You can blame Eleanor.”
Maura immediately went to Pam since Eric was holding Sookie around the waist. Pam, the ever doting Aunt, picked her up, earning another look from Elsi, and she said. “Things are certainly different than the last time I saw this family.”
Akita chuckled and replied. “That’s an understatement.”
Eric and Sookie followed behind the girls on the way to their room. They were a few steps behind so they heard the squeals of delight before they saw the room themselves. Sookie was shocked. The room was practically a twin of the ‘American Girl’ room at Klaus and Akita’s in California. The difference was the beds. Rather than having a bunk set, this room was large enough for them to each have their own twin, complete with pink netting over the heads of the beds. “I swear your parents are trying to lore the girls away from us.”
“They may have difficulty actually seeing Sweden since they won’t want to leave the room. Good thing we have the Gröna Lund’s Amusement Park on the schedule for tomorrow.”
“Pam changed that. She found out the Nordiska Museet has a Power of Fashion – 300 years of clothing exhibit and she can’t wait another day.”
Eric made a face like he smelled old unwashed socks. “You’re kidding?”
“Nope. You can probably get out of it and take the girls for the day if you come up with a plan, but Mor and I are stuck.”
“I’ll have to come up with something with Far. In the meantime, let’s get you rested. Come on, I’ll show you my room, well, now our room.”
“You know, I yawned once. If I sleep too long, I won’t sleep tonight.”
“I can think of something to do if you aren’t sleeping tonight.” He said as he waggled his eyebrows.
“You just want to fulfill some boyhood fantasies in your bedroom.”
“Yes, over and over again.”
He chuckled and guided her to his room.
While Sookie napped, Eric plotted the excuse for getting out of the museum trip the next day. “I’ve got it Far: Fishing on our pond. Let’s run out now for the equipment for the girls before anyone is the wiser.”
“Excellent idea my boy. Where do we get stuff for the girls?”
“We’ll ask Elsi.”
“Thank God you came up with that. 300 years of fashion, I’d rather spend the day in film editing, and that’s saying something.”
They came back just before dinner, arms full of fishing equipment for the Prinsessas. Far and Son, so proud of themselves….and they announced the fishing trip to the girls before they told Pam. Once they had the girls on their side, they knew they could not lose.
“What’s all that?” Pam asked as she came to the living room.
“Fishing equipment for the girls.” Far replied.
“That’s nice. When are we taking them fishing?” Mor asked.
“Eric and I are taking them tomorrow while you are at Nordiska Museet.”
“They’re going with us.” Pam whined. “I have outfits planned for them.”
Klaus placed a shocked look on his face. “Oh, I had no idea. Eric and I already asked the girls, and they are excited about fishing. I thought the museum trip was later in the week.”
“What would Hoyt say….Oh I know: you lie like a no legged dog. I see what you’re doing. Since you already got the girls excited about fishing, I’ll concede. This WILL NOT happen again. Not when I have outfits planned. I am going to post our agenda via my calendar, you will all sync to it on your phones.”
Klaus could only smirk and when Pam turned and left the room in a huff, he and Eric exchanged a ‘fist bump’.
“I wonder what Hoyt is going to choose to do tomorrow?”
“Shh, don’t spoil the ‘Hoyt’ surprise.” Eric waited until he was sure she was in the kitchen. “His choice will speak volumes. I bet he goes to the museum. He’s going to be on his best behavior to get into Pam’s good graces.”
“Eric, you’re on, I bet he goes with the men. What are the stakes?”
“Loser has to clean the fish we catch for dinner.”
The next morning, Pam stood speechless when Hoyt walked in. After clearing her head, she ran to him and they embraced; then kissed in front of everyone. The girls yelled, “Pam, ewwww, no smoochie smoochie!”
After getting Hoyt settled, he joined everyone for a late breakfast while they discussed the day. Just as Eric predicted, he chose the museum. Klaus had difficulty hiding his shock, but covered his reaction with some fake coughing. Pam was still so taken with just having Hoyt there; she didn’t even notice the interplay between her brother and father.
“Poppa, when are we leaving for the pond?” Maura asked.
“We’re going to go over the equipment right after breakfast; then we’ll walk down.”
“Well, let’s finish then, hurry up! Farfar, come on, eat!”
The girls were patient little fishers. Eric and Klaus were both impressed with their ability to stay quiet and hold the rod, waiting for a bite. Eleanor and Maura watched Eric and Klaus with rapt attention as they learned how to bait the hook. Eric was sure the live bait would be a problem, but he was surprised again as Maura grabbed the worm and stuck it on. Once Maura had tried it with success, Eleanor followed immediately. She watched Klaus carefully for his approval, which he gave via a big smile and she then returned. Since the day had gone so well, they all agreed to fish again before they left Sweden.
Now Klaus was cleaning the fish for dinner, as per the agreement when Akita joined him in the kitchen, back from the museum trip.
“Klaus, Eric isn’t helping you with the fish?” Akita asked when she found Klaus in the kitchen.
“No. I lost a bet, he won, fair and square and cleaning the fish was the price.”
“It was between father and son about your daughter and Hoyt.”
“I don’t think I want to know anything else.”
“Good choice min kära.”
“What are we doing tomorrow?” Maura asked while shoveling a forkful of fish into her mouth.
“Tomorrow, you are going dress shopping for the wedding, and the day after, we are going to Gröna Lund’s Amusement Park. They have seven roller coasters!”
“Really, and I’m going to ride as many of them as possible with both of you.”
“What are you guys going to do while we are dress shopping tomorrow? Do you wanna come? You’ll be bored at home.”
“I think your Poppa, Hoyt and I will be able to keep ourselves occupied.
“What else are we doing while we are here?” Eleanor left her chair and hopped onto Klaus’ lap.
“Your Poppa is taking you to see all his childhood sites: his school, his playground and he is most excited to show you the Royal Mounds – he was always fascinated by them. One night, we’re going to have a sleepover in the family room.”
“Yep. Your Momma and Poppa are going to Stockholm for the night and we’re going to have our own party here.”
“YIPPEE! Pam, are you joining us?”
“Actually, Hoyt and I are also going to Stockholm. It’ll be just you guys, Farfar and Morfar.”
“So you can have couple time. But you are going shopping tomorrow, right.”
“Eleanor, my little teacup, you do realize that is a silly question, right? Would I ever miss a shopping trip?” Eleanor just giggled. Pam turned to Sookie, “Have you given any more thought to dress colors?”
“I’m still unsure Pam.”
“Well, what about flowers, what are your favorites, maybe we can start there.”
“Well my favorite flowers are lilacs; they remind me of my Gran. She had several lilac bushes that were her favorites too. I have Tara send me pictures of them in bloom every spring.” Sookie said with a wistful look. “Anyway, that doesn’t really help, since we can’t get those in November.”
“We may not be able to get the flowers, but that gives me an idea for a lovely color for the wedding – a deep plum.”
“Ok Pam, we’ll look at options tomorrow at the dress shop.”
They finished dinner and gathered in the family room. Farmor had a surprise: home movies. Eric and Pam grumbled but Sookie clapped her hands she was so excited. The girls giggled seeing Pam looking geeky and awkward in her teens. Sookie told Eric he was ‘so cute’ to which he just rolled his eyes.
Later that week, the two couples left for their trip to Stockholm. Eric wanted to show Sookie some of his favorite things about Stockholm and Pam wanted time alone with Hoyt. Their attraction to each other was strong, but she was unsure about long term and she felt they needed to talk. She’d been with woman exclusively for years, and the situation confused her. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt Hoyt.
They drove together and as she frequently did, Pam steered the conversation to the wedding. “Eric, did Sookie tell you she selected aubergine for the wedding?”
Eric chuckled. “Well Love, you got that one right.”
“What? What do you mean? What did she get right?”
“Sookie told me you guys selected plum, but she was sure every time you mention the color you would call it aubergine.”
“I’m merely using the color the dress company used. Nothing wrong with that.”
“Yes Pam, it is the color name from the dress company, but you know you like it because it sounds more pretentious.”
Pam’s only response was a loud ‘hmph!”
Sookie and Eric chuckled out loud. Hoyt smartly kept his chuckle to himself and they continued the drive.
While the couples were staying the same hotel, their itineraries were different, so they split up after check-in. Sookie gave Pam’s hand a squeeze as a show of support since Pam had confided in her; then she and Eric walked away to head for their dinner.
After dinner at the Operakällaren, Eric and Sookie walked the city for a bit. They had walked for several blocks already before Sookie proclaimed, “I’m finally feeling better. I’m glad we got dessert to go. After sharing that CÔTE DU BOÛEF I needed to walk.”
“Sharing? My Love, you are eating for two and you proved it tonight. I might still be hungry.”
Sookie gasped and slapped Eric on the arm. “I can’t believe you just said that to me.”
“Sookie, it pleases me that you’re eating to grow our Booger. I can’t wait to see your tummy grow. I’m going to touch it and kiss it and talk to that growing bulge until Booger comes out.” To prove his point, he leaned over and kissed her tummy.
“Aww Eric, that’s almost a good save, but I still can’t believe you just accused me of eating too much!”
He continued his attention to Booger via Sookie’s belly and spoke “Booger, Mama thinks I was being mean to her, but I wasn’t. I want her to feed you. You want that too, right?”
Sookie started to melt at Eric’s actions and words and started running her fingers through his hair as he nuzzled her stomach. Eric smirked, knowing he was forgiven.
He raised his head up to her breasts and said, “I’m also anxious for your breasts to swell as well.”
“What? I’m just being honest. Can we head in the direction of the hotel? I’m ready to check for any growth right now.”
“Hmm, is there any growth occurring on your part?”
Eric hoarsely replied, “Yes.” His ability to be coy was replaced with his desire.
Sookie touched Eric as much as she could in public while they walked back. Once at the hotel, they practically ran to the elevator, then down the hall to the room. Eric’s hands were so unsteady he could barely get the keycard into the slot. Once inside, he started unzipping her dress before the door had even fully closed. “Bath, Shower, or Bed?” He asked her.
He growled at the thought and the frustration at having to think. “I have a better idea,” and he bent her over the back of the small loveseat in the room. From that position, she was supported while being bent over, but her breasts were free. He tested and she was wet and ready. He had only gotten as far as unzipping his pants so he just let them drop and he plunged into Sookie. She gasped at the surprise but started moaning right away. He leaned forward and grabbed her breasts, loving the weight of them in his hands. Sookie came shortly after, having been spun up on the walk back to the hotel. Once she started contracting around him, Eric came too calling her name.
Sookie looked over her shoulder and said, “Couch wasn’t a choice.”
They both just boomed out laughing.
“Can we eat our mousse now?”
Eric waggled his eyebrows. “Sure, but we don’t have a spoon.”
“Silly man, we don’t need a spoon for mousse.”
The drive back to the house was quiet. Pam and Hoyt were holding hands, but they were somber. Sookie feared they had decided not to pursue a relationship, and she was sad for both her friends. Pam confirmed back at the house. “We both really care for each other, and the sex is great. I just don’t know if this is something I can do long term. I’ve been a lesbian exclusively for years. I just fear that need to connect with a woman will come back, especially being so far apart. We decided to stay in touch and be each other’s date for your wedding, but likely that will be the end.” Pam ended her summary with a tear in her eye.
“Oh Pam. I don’t know what to say. You have to trust your own feelings, and Hoyt needs to trust his as well. What’s his opinion?”
“It’s basically the same. He also enjoys our time together. For him though, the distance is a deal breaker, and right now, he won’t move.”
“Yes, his mother. We even discussed adding some spice with threesomes, if that’s even possible, but the distance can’t be worked out.”
“Pam, I love you dearly, but don’t mention threesomes to me again. Please. Especially not when Mrs. Fortenberry has been brought up.”
Pam cringed at the mental image and responded. “Fair enough Sookie.”
“Pam. Have you considered children? I mean, do you want to have children of your own?”
“I just don’t know.” She paused and took a breath. “I love your girls and I can’t wait to meet.” She gritted her teeth and said, “Booger. But my own children? Pregnancy?”
“I guess Mrs. Fortenberry wants grandbabies too.”
“Yes, that came up last night. It’s not just her, Hoyt wants children. Is it fair to him if I don’t?”
“What is your hesitation? Will you talk with me about it?”
“Of course, but I don’t want to upset you.”
“Just tell me.”
“My body. I know you think I am silly, but I like my size. I work hard to keep this shape.”
“OK, but having a baby and being bigger can be temporary.”
“What about Poopy diapers? Spit-up? DROOL?”
“Do my girls do any of that?”
“But they did!”
“And it stopped after time. I’m not trying to force this on you, just trying to give you some perspective.”
“Think about the shopping for a live doll? Have you also considered that Hoyt could make a wonderful stay at home Dad?”
“Good points Sookie. I’ll think about it.”
Maura celebrated her birthday party in Sweden, starting with a surprise breakfast in bed, a common practice in Sweden. They ended the day with a Prinsesstårta made by Elsi. Maura also had two birthday songs, Happy Birthday and the Swedish birthday song, ‘Ja, ma du leva,’ the message of the Swedish song being that the celebrant will live to be 100.
Touring the local area with Eric and Pam providing their personal memories rounded out the trip to Sweden, and it was then time to fly home to the states. The return was significantly easier since they flew into Newark and had a limo drive them back the B&B rather than the second flight to LA.
Upon arrival at the B&B, the girls requested play time with Grace and Mena. “Min Prinsessas, let’s wait for tomorrow, you seem ok now, but I bet you’ll be exhausted shortly.”
Sookie came in the room and Eleanor started to say something, but Maura nudged her and said, “Eleanor, if Poppa says no, it means no, remember?”
“Girls, the stuff you need to unpack is on your bed. Go along.” Sookie said.
Eric stopped Maura on the way out and kissed her on top of the head and whispered “thank you.”
Sookie moved to hug Eric. “Let’s call Sylvia. We have to get the details for Booger’s room into the barn renovation plans so we can start the nursery.”
“That sounds wonderful my Love.”