Chapter 36 – At Last
The following afternoon, after recovering from his hangover, Sookie pulled Eric into the dining room for a talk.
The results from her research on LA were spread out one of the tables. “Eric, I’ve been thinking.”
“And gathering lots of stuff, what is all this?”
“I think we should have LA be our main home.”
Eric was stunned. Moving to LA would mean less travel for him, but he was willing to travel if Sookie wanted to stay in Pennsylvania. “I’m a little shocked Sookie. What brought this on?”
“Well, several things. First, Selah blew our cover by having the paparazzi show up on July 4th. I mean, it’s not a steady flow of cameras, but we still have folks daring to take pictures now that they know you live here. Bringing the baby home will probably open the flood gates. Open Mic nights have not been the same since, we always have some incident, even if Maxwell contains it.”
Eric looked surprised.
“You didn’t think I knew about all the times he escorted folks off the property?”
“I guess I should’ve known you were aware.”
“Living in LA in a gated community helps keep our home life more secure than here. I also had a really really hard time when you were away, and if I can reduce our time apart, I need to do that. Finally, while I think it will be a huge adjustment for the girls at first, I think them being settled in school in LA will be better than the back and forth between here and there we have planned for the spring.”
“Wow, just well, wow.”
“I have done some research with Jesus’ help. You know, there is a house in their neighborhood for sale. I would like to seriously consider moving from your place in LA. The house has 6 bedrooms, so the girls could eventually have their own rooms, and Pam can still live with us and have two bedrooms, you know, one for sleeping and one for clothes. Jesus and I also checked out a few midwife practices and I have called them all to learn more. I already have one picked out, and they’re able to take me with a due date in February. You’ll find research on the local schools in the pile as well as well. What do you think?”
“I feel like I just won the lottery. I’m concerned though. Will you be happy with this decision long term?”
“I’m scared, I’ll admit it. I want to keep this house, maybe spend the summers here, maybe Holidays? Moving near Jesus will really help though, with both of us having babies.”
“I like that plan. Show me this house.”
Sookie proceeded to review all her research with Eric. He liked the pictures of the house and was going to call his contacts in LA to check out the schools Sookie had found. They made a plan to all fly out together the week after Thanksgiving to finalize details. The girls could be tutored for a week or two while they made the final school decision if needed. Sookie planned to make an appointment with the midwife practice so she could start with them as soon as possible.
After making their initial plans, they went to speak to the girls. The move would be hardest on them. Once Sookie and Eric told them, they were both very quiet. Sookie continued to talk since they were not. “I know this is not what we discussed, but Eric and I feel that being together as much as possible is the best for everyone.”
Maura started. “But Mena and Grace.” Then she started crying.
“I know baby, I know.” Sookie started crying with her.
Pam walked in and Eric gave her the update. She squatted to the girl’s level to help. “Teacups. I know you’ll miss your friends here. Your Mama and Poppa are keeping this house for summers and holidays though, so you will see your friends. We can be together this way. I couldn’t stay here for much longer, you know. I have movie work in LA.”
“What? I didn’t know that.”
“Yes, I was waiting to tell you until after the wedding. I was upset about not being with you. This makes me happy. Maybe you can just focus on what parts you’re gaining by the move, instead of what you ‘re losing.”
Eleanor looked at her. “I don’t know what that means.”
“It means, well. Pam paused, trying to think of a way to describe it to a kindergartner. “We’ll make a list.”
Pam and the girls worked on a list of the good things about LA. The girls really had not known that Akita, Klaus and Pam were not going to be permanently living in Pennsylvania. They were also excited about the new, really huge house, with a pool.
“Well, we have to still purchase that house or another, but we can be sure a pool is part of our requirements, or we can install one.” Eric avowed.
After about 30 minutes of discussion, the girls were feeling much better about the move so Pam said. “Come, let’s tell Farmor and Mormor the news.”
Proving the existence of Bridezilla’s, Pam spent the last week before the wedding barking at everyone, except her teacups and Sookie, even though it wasn’t her wedding. Sookie tried to get her to calm down, but with no success, so she decided to just treat her behavior as entertainment. She and Eric were hissing a laugh out again while she was nagging Russell about his toast for the wedding. “His toast?” Sookie whispered to Eric.
“Shh, let’s listen to what this could be about.”
“Russell, I was explicit about needing the toast ahead of time. I am the toastmaster for this wedding, and I have a lot to organize with the speeches and games.”
“I thought you just needed to know who was giving speeches, not the details.”
“I have to plan out the timing Russell. I will not have the timing off for this day!”
Sookie turned to Eric. “What are the details of these games?” Pam won’t tell me.”
“She won’t tell me either. I’m going to save Russell. I’ll find you in a bit.” He kissed her nose and walked out.
Pam ran out to the Barn after Eric pulled Russell away. Her checklist included a final review of the table settings with the caterer. Sookie followed just in case. Having left a moment after Pam, and not walking nearly as fast, Sookie arrived in time to hear Pam reaming the caterer out. “Why are there some tables not set? I scheduled a review with you for 3PM today and it is now 3PM!”
“Pam, calm down.” Sookie started. “There are only two tables not finished yet. You can inspect one table and approve it; then they will finish all the tables to match the one you approve.”
“But Sookie, what if they continue this lax attitude tomorrow? What if they decide to only make part of the meal, not 100%?”
“Pam, relax, you are going to get sick from stress. Everything will be perfect, even if it’s not perfect. I only want Eric, that’s what will make it perfect.”
“Sookie, you are only thinking about the romance. That’s not what this wedding is about.”
Sookie could only laugh. “Pam? Seriously. Stop. I love you, you’re my sister, but you are starting to piss me off. Enjoy this, please.”
“Sookie. I don’t know how to do that.”
“We have the rehearsal tonight at 6. It’s only 3 now. Come on.” She started guiding her to the house, while she was texting on her phone.
“What about my list?”
“Give it to me.” Pam handed her the clip board. “Now, go out for a while. Here is Hoyt now.” She turned to Hoyt. “Don’t bring her back before 5:30.”
“You got it Sook.”
Sookie managed to get through Pam’s checklist for her wedding without any further yelling. Everything was in place. The rehearsal was later that day, Holly had flown in and was cooking the rehearsal dinner to be hosted in the B&B dining room; the remaining vendors for the wedding were all on schedule. Sookie then went in search of Eric. Unable to find him in the house or the Barn, she resorted to texting to find him.
S: Where are you?
E: With Russell. We’re hiding.
S: She’s gone. I sent her out with Hoyt. Now where are you?
E: We’re helping paint in the new house. The guys gave us caps and overalls to hide.
S: On my way
She grabbed her camera to catch Eric in his painter’s outfit and made her way to the new house. She loved how it was shaping up. She held off on her excitement though, seeing that she and Eric weren’t going to enjoy it probably until next summer now. Sighing, she walked into the house looking for the painters.
She found Eric and Russell painting downstairs in the workout room. I was the last room needing paint. She quickly snapped some pictures of them both in their caps and overalls then called to Eric. “Sweetie, can I tear you away from your work for a while?”
“Sure, I told you, we were just hiding from Pamzilla anyway.”
“That was smart; she almost had the caterer in tears earlier. That’s when I sent her out.”
“Hey Sookie,” Russell interjected. “I’m going home to change for the rehearsal; I’ll see you at the church in a bit.”
Eric and Sookie walked back to the house. “What’s up Love?”
“First we need to get the girls at the bus. We have an hour before we need to dress for the rehearsal and I need one of your back rubs to get me through the night. Booger is weighing heavily on me today.”
The rehearsal and dinner went well. Pam had asked everyone to write out something to say to the couple ahead of time, so they went around the room. Some messages had them in stitches, some tears. Pam, afraid of losing her composure at the wedding, gave her one and only speech at the rehearsal dinner. Sookie braced herself when she got up. You never knew with Pam, and the speech could either be sarcastic or tear-jerking.
“Sookie, you’re a country hick and I hated you.” The room gasped. “At least that’s what I thought at first. After only a few days of spending time with you, I realized you were so much more. Your capacity to love and share of yourself has no limits and you influence everyone around you. You have taught me many things. I have learned tolerance and acceptance. I have even learned that for some situations, you can actually find what you need at Target, though rarely, and I will deny saying that outside this room.” She elicited chuckles around the room. “Many people who know Eric and I note the change in Eric, and he is in fact changed. But you changed me as well. You gave us your family; then you even gave us our own family back.” Her voice broke and she paused to take a breath. “I will never be able to repay you for what you have given us. You’re my sister now, and I will love you and your children, my teacups for the rest of my days, this I vow to you. I also vow that I will continue to shop for you and I will protect you from panty lines by ensuring you wear floss whenever the situation suits.”
Pam’s speech was perfect and Eric and Sookie stood to embrace her when it was through.
Pam then addressed the crowd about an hour later. “Ok folks, I have a bride to put to bed so she has perfect skin for tomorrow, so you can see yourselves out.”
The next morning, Pam threw Eric out of the house shortly after his breakfast. He was dressing at Russell’s and a limo had arrived to drive him there. She waited until Sookie emerged from the shower after a light lunch and then pounced. “Oh, I have been looking forward to this.”
Sookie grimaced. It was the Oscars all over again: Hair stylist, makeup artist and Pam. At least they didn’t need the seamstress.
Pam deemed Sookie perfect about an hour before the wedding. She had been dressing herself and the girls in between checking on Sookie. She and the girls had their own hair stylists as well. Far and Akita were waiting for them downstairs and they both choked up when seeing them. Far hugged Sookie and she smacked him playfully. “Stop, you will make me cry and then Pam will kill you for messing my make-up. I want to call you Far for real before that happens.” The photographer had been snapping pictures throughout the afternoon, and then asked them for some formal poses before he headed to the church to get pictures of the men.
At 15 minutes before the wedding, exactly as Pam’s checklist noted, they were moved into the limo to go to the church. Sookie didn’t have any of the typical bride jitters; she was just all smiles as they arrived at the church.
At precisely 4PM, Sookie was with Far, Pam and the girls ready to process down the aisle. The music started. Sookie and Eric only had eyes for each other as she walked in on Klaus’ arm. By the time she reached him, he had unshed tears in his eyes and that just started her tears. He produced a hanky for her, she cleaned up a bit and they turned to the priest to begin.
The wedding was a mix of American and Swedish traditions and was beautiful. Eric and Sookie chose a traditional Swedish wedding vow rather than writing their own. Sookie said she would be too emotional for that. As it was, she could barely squeak out the vows they selected even as they were read first by the priest for her to repeat. Before the decreeing that Sookie and Eric were husband and wife, the Priest stopped and invited another gentleman to the altar. “Let me introduce the honorable Scott Thompson for the next part of the ceremony.”
Many of the guests exchanged puzzled looks.
“Ladies and gentleman, Sookie and Eric have requested that in addition to their wedding making them husband and wife, they complete the adoption of Maura and Eleanor by Eric.” A few surprised gasps were heard from the attendees. “So today, I hereby decree that Maura Adele Merlotte and Eleanor Ann Merlotte are now, Maura Adele Northman and Eleanor Ann Northman. Congratulations Eric, Sookie, Maura and Eleanor.” Judge Thompson grinned broadly and turned back to Father Devlin.
“By the powers vested in my by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I now pronounce you husband, wife and daughters. Eric, you may kiss the bride.”
He turned to give Sookie her wedding kiss; then he picked up both girls for a family hug. He turned back to the congregation, a girl in each arm, and Sookie’s arm wrapped around his back and grinned. The small gathering erupted in applause. Setting the girls on their feet, they all clasped hands and walked down the aisle and then stood in their receiving line.
Pam was the first through and she exclaimed, “I can’t believe you did the adoption. Did anyone know it was going to be part of the wedding?”
“Just the priest and the judge. Well, Russell too since he served as our lawyer.”
“Well teacups, are you happy to finally be Northmans?”
“We already were Poppa’s, this is just paper.” Maura replied, quoting what Sookie and Eric had been telling them for weeks now.
The rest of the guests started filing through and they greeted each one happily. Once the receiving line and photos were complete, they moved to the Barn for the reception.
The room was gorgeous. Eric had splurged and in addition to ordering out of season lilacs for the bouquets, he had them incorporated into the table settings as well. Sookie was speechless. “Eric, this is stunning, thank you.”
“Anything for you, my wife.”
Once they were introduced, the glass clanging began. The obliged the crowd by kissing over and over again until Pam called it off and started her Toastmaster duties. She stood and explained her role. “As you know, Eric and Sookie have blended both American and Swedish traditions into their wedding. One tradition they are using from Sweden is the Toastmaster and I will serve that role tonight. It is my job to handle all the speeches and games for tonight. So, starting us off is Russell Edgington, Eric’s best man, who will provide our first toast. Russell.”
Russell stood and turned to his now married friends. “Tonight is the one year anniversary of the day that you met.” He turned to the crowd. “Sookie, of course, knew about Eric well before that night. She and I certainly followed his career and went to all of his movies. She was already a fan before he walked into Bon Temps B&B. They set off many sparks together their first days. And I don’t mean romantic. They resisted their attraction and would often snipe at each other. I recall one time Sookie telling me that she couldn’t decide if she wanted to kiss him or slap him.” The room chuckled at that. He turned back to Sookie and Eric. “Thankfully, you both came to your senses and gave in to what WE all saw, you loved each other.” He raised his glass. “Sookie and Eric, I’m so thrilled to be standing here and toasting you at your wedding. I wish you many years of happiness and love. I also beg you to make many trips back to Pennsylvania since I believe I speak for everyone in saying, we will all miss you.”
The meal was being served in between other speeches. After everyone had eaten and the speeches were complete, Pam declared it was game time. Again Pam explained the Swedish Tradition. “For some reason, Swedes have decided that games need to be played at the expense of our wedding couple. I’m all too happy to ensure we follow that tradition. We’ll start with Sookie. Please join me Sookie.”
She kissed Eric asking him for luck, and then joined Pam on the dance floor, sitting where Pam instructed. “First, my little crumb cake, I am going to blindfold you; then I will explain the rest of the game.” She placed, and tested the blindfold on Sookie. “Ok, I need Eric and my other volunteers to join us, without your jackets.” Eric, Bart, Jesus and Hoyt joined Pam. “Ok Sookie, one at a time, each volunteer is going to stand in front of you, I will place your hands on their buttocks, and you will need to guess which one is Eric.” The room collectively laughed at the game.
She lined up the men, placed them in position and moved Sookie’s hands to grope them one at a time. Sookie, being a very good sport, made a show of enjoying each volunteer, but in the end she immediately identified Eric. He was just taller than the other men, and well, she knew that butt. Eric gave Sookie a congratulatory kiss. “Good job my wife.”
Sookie and Eric then opened the dance floor with their first couple’s dance. After everyone had danced for a while, Pam announced it was time for the next game. “For this game, I’ll need to blindfold Eric. Come on big brother, sit here.”
Once blindfolded, Pam explained the next game. “For this game, you have to kiss each volunteer – with a closed mouth – and pick out Sookie’s lips.” Again, the crowd chuckled. “I need my volunteers.” She turned to the wedding attendees and yelled, “No helping!” She put her finger to her lips to indicate quiet. She did this because in addition to Sookie, Russell and Lala were part of the volunteer group. Eric kissed each volunteer and when he got to Russell, he recognized the cologne, so he decided to play. “Oh, baby, I love your lips” he said after he kissed Russell. “Come back and give me some more.” Russell obeyed and leaned in for another kiss, but Eric just laughed when he felt his breath near his face, “No Russell, you would enjoy that way too much. My wife was volunteer 2. I certainly know those lips.”
Eric and Sookie changed into travelling clothes and left the wedding a few hours later for their short honeymoon. The following week was Thanksgiving, so they were returning to the B&B on Wednesday. Eric hired a limo to drive them to Mohawk Mountain House in Hudson Valley, NY for a late check-in. They were able to book the Mountain View Suite which boasted a wood burning fireplace and circular bedroom. Sookie had heard about the location from Amelia and Tray, and it looked beautiful. It also offered miles of hiking, a spa and dancing.
They napped on the 4 hour drive and arrived after 2AM. Eric carried his bride across the threshold of the room and they promptly changed for bed and fell to sleep. Yep, they were just exhausted.
Sookie woke the next morning to kisses on her face and down her chest while hands started pulling at the straps of her nightgown. She smiled at Eric. “Good morning my wife.”
“You like that don’t ya?”
“You bet. Before we do anything else, I have a something for you.” He reached the nightstand and grabbed a blue box from the drawer.
“Eric.” Sookie said in a warning tone while she sat up.
“I can explain.” He said quickly; then continued. “In Sweden, it is traditional for the wife to have three rings: one for engagement, one for the wedding, and” he paused to open the box “one for motherhood. You cannot possibly be mad at me for honoring my country’s tradition and your motherhood.”
“You know, you always have a good excuse for these little blue boxes.”
She pulled the ring out and added it to the jewelry already on her finger. He kissed the rings and then announced “Now I want to make love to my wife.”
“Ok, gimme a minute, Booger is putting pressure on my bladder.”
“Oooh, you are speaking such sexy sweet nothings.”
Sookie giggled. “Be right back.”
She came back in and hopped into the bed, moving into the middle on her back. “I’m here, ravish me.”
He held her face and looked into her eyes. “I can’t believe this is all real. I can’t believe you’re my wife, you’re having my baby; we already have two beautiful daughters; we’re going to have a wonderful life together.” He punctuated his comments with a searing kiss, slanting his mouth over and over again. He stopped and pulled back to look into her eyes. “I love you Sookie.”
“Eric. I love you too.”
He pulled down the straps of her gown, exposing her breasts. “And these, these are officially mine.”
“Extra large too, thanks to your Booger.”
“I must admit that I love this side effect of pregnancy.” He continued pulling the gown down. “Hello Booger. Poppa and Mama got married yesterday. Now I am going to claim your Mama, so stay asleep for Poppa.” He pulled the gown all the way off and leaned back. “I’ll never get tired of seeing how beautiful you are.”
“Eric, please.” She replied, now breathless.
“Open your legs for me, love.” She complied and leaned into her. Holding her lips open with his fingers, he moved to take her in his mouth starting with one long lick from the bottom to the top.
“Yes dear.” He added his fingers to his attentions and she moaned even more. After a few moments, she started bucking her hips against him.
“Eric, I want you in me.”
He crawled up her body and she took his length in her hand and rubbed the tip along her lips then guiding him. Holding himself up on his arms, he pushed the rest of the way in, then back all the way out and in again, over and over again. When she started holding her breaths, he rubbed her clit and she went over the edge. He continued thrusting softly while she calmed down; then pulled out and said. “Hands and knees.”
She moved into position and he continued his thrusts. With Booger, this position was easier for them. Sookie reached her hand around to touch Eric while he was pounding into her. “Sookie, ungh.”
Looking for a different angle, Sookie shifted herself a bit and after a few thrusts more; she was over the edge again. “ERIC!” Her convulsions pulled him with her and he cried out her name.
Grabbing her he pulled her over to her side and spooned her, softly caressing her body while they both calmed down.
“Wow, whoever said married sex is not as fun was lying.”
“Well, sweetie, they weren’t married to a sex god like you.”
Their relaxed talk was ended by Sookie’s stomach growling. “Your baby wants to eat.”
“My baby? When Booger is demanding it’s ‘my baby’.”
“Yes, of course. Now clothe me and feed me.”
“Now who is demanding?”
“They’re home!” Eleanor squealed from the foyer. “Maura, come quick. Mama and Poppa are home.”
Eric exited the limo first and helped Sookie out. Eric spied the girls just opening the front door, squatted and called, “Where are my girls?”
They ran into his welcoming arms yelling “Poppa.”
“How are min Prinsessas?”
“Happy you’re home Poppa. Did you enjoy your couple time?”
“Yes Maura. Have you been packing?”
“Yes, we’ll be ready by Saturday.”
Sookie bent over to hug the girls and asked if anyone wanted to help her in the kitchen. It was already after lunch, and she still had plenty of cooking to start for Thanksgiving. “I’ll be right in to help you love. I don’t want you doing too much especially with all the other stuff we need to finish up before we leave on Saturday.”
“Ok Eric, I’ll see you in a few.”
Akita was in the family room packing boxes of games and toys. “Mor, how are you?”
“Oh Sookie, welcome home. You look radiant.”
“Thank you Mor. You guys have been busy.”
“Selfish I suppose, we are just so excited to have you in LA. I know you’re going to miss this place as your permanent home, but having less travel to see everyone is just wonderful, especially with Booger coming soon.”
“I’m nervous but I know it’s the right thing. I’m headed to the kitchen to start some prep for tomorrow.”
“Well, everything has been purchased per your list.”
Jason and Hoyt stayed after the wedding for Thanksgiving dinner, and both joined Sookie in the kitchen. “How was your trip Sook.”
“Jase, the place was beautiful. The hiking trails were wonderful. It was nice to get away.”
“Well, Hoyt, Pam and I been workin’ on the packin’. I steel cain’t believe ya gonna be an LA girl.”
“Me either Jase. How you doing Hoyt? Are you enjoying your vacation?”
“You betcha. I love spending time here. Mama has been ‘njoying herself too. She cain’t wait for the big thanksgivin’ dinner tomorrow. Seein’ that it’s just me and her e’ery year.”
Eric came into the kitchen and Jason greeted him coolly. “Welcome back Eric. Sookie, I’m going to help Akita finish packing the family room.” Hoyt followed behind.
“Ok Jase, thanks for the help.” Sookie watched Jason away and sighed.
Eric could feel her sadness at the situation. He knew Sookie wanted her brother back the way it was. He wrapped himself around her and whispered “I’m sorry Sookie. I’m still struggling with Jason.”
“I know Eric, I know. He did this himself; it’s just going to take more time. I do worry that the move to LA is going to make any reconciliation harder. Here, he can stay in the B&B and be somewhat separate, but in LA, we’ll only have the house. I doubt he’ll come out for a visit anytime soon, and Lord knows I don’t plan to go to Louisiana, anytime soon if ever.”
“I’ll talk to him, come to an accord so that won’t be a problem. I won’t be his best friend, but I’ll give enough that you can build your relationship, if that’s what you want.”
“I do, I want to give us the time opportunity at least. Thank you.”
The next few days passed quickly as they completed their packing. Sookie had worked with Amelia to label items being moved and she would work with the moving company when they arrived the next week. Pam had ordered dozens of wardrobe boxes and to Sookie’s surprise, she filled them with the clothes from the storage unit in the Barn. “Pam, you have a serious problem if you accrued all this since you came out in February.”
“Sookie, I was shopping for several people, I mean, this isn’t all for me.”
“I realize that Pam, but still.”
“Just wait, I saw the floor plans of the house you guys are considering, there are some big closets for me to fill.”
“I give up.”
“About time you succumbed to my way of thinking.”
The limos arrived to take everyone to the airport. They rented two cars since Jason, Hoyt and Hoyt’s mother were also flying out the same day and they had extra bags for the flight. Sookie was standing in the kitchen of the B&B while the car trunks were being loaded with the luggage. Eric came in to collect her and stopped in his tracks. She was just standing still, crying and looking around. ‘She has given up too much. I’m not sure this is the right move for us. Unfortunately, the wheels are in motion, and we have to stay on course until Booger is born.’
“Sookie, are you going to be OK?”
“I will. I don’t regret what we have decided. I’m allowed to be sad when I say goodbye.”
“Of course. We do need to get going.”
“Ok, yeah.” She answered verbally, but her body didn’t move. Eric came and put his arm around her stomach, rubbing Booger.
“Come on, we have so many adventures waiting for us in LA, our new home, the new midwife, Lala and Jesus’ baby, a new school for the girls and especially, the birth of Booger. I’m just excited to do all of that together as a family.”
“You’re right – no more hesitating. Let’s go. I’m ready.”