Chapter 37 – Christmas Time is Here
“Sookie” Eric called from his office.
“We need you in the office.”
When she walked in, she saw Maxwell was waiting with Eric. Eric was seated at his desk and he put his arm out for Sookie. Once she was seated on his lap, Eric’s arms automatically went to embrace Booger and he started to caress his baby through her belly. “Sookie, Agent Lattesta is on the phone with the results of DeCastro’s trial. I thought you might want to listen in with Max and me.”
“Go ahead agent.”
“The net result is DeCastro was found guilty on all the illegal weapons trading charges. His sentencing is scheduled for the beginning of the year.”
“What happens next?” Eric asked.
“Compton’s job is done. Even if there are appeals, his testimony was recorded so we don’t need to deal with creating multiple identities to have him pulled out and back for trials.”
Eric nodded to Maxwell. This was the news they had been waiting on. Compton was no longer needed.
Lattesta continue. “There was some drama when the verdict was announced; DeCastro’s wife, Sandy, collapsed and was removed by ambulance. It caused quite a commotion since DeCastro wanted to get to her but at that point the verdict was in effect and he was being handcuffed.”
“What happened?” Sookie asked.
“She was 5 months pregnant, and we found out when we left the courthouse that she lost the baby. Her miscarriage is not public knowledge.”
“Oh that poor woman.” Sookie replied while looking down at Booger.
This was bad news for Sookie to have heard, so Eric asked Maxwell and Lattesta to continue so he could remove Sookie. “Come on love, we’ll talk about this.”
In their room, Eric enveloped Sookie in a hug and she just cried. “Eric, that poor woman and her baby; I feel horrible.” She was started to breathe erratically.
“Sookie, calm down, this can’t be good for Booger. You didn’t even know this woman. Use your calming techniques.”
“But sh she lost her ba baby.”
Having heard the crying, Pam came running to Erica and Sookie’s room. “What’s going on?”
Eric quickly explained and Pam took over calming Sookie. “Eric, you go finish with Maxwell, I’ll take care of Sookie.”
Back in his office, Maxwell and Eric called Kahn using one of the disposable phones they had set-up for this purpose. When Kahn answered with a short “Talk.”
Eric simply said, “You are aware of the trial results?”
“Yes, I’ll make the calls and share what we know. They’ll need to do some work themselves if they want to find him.”
“Understood, I only want to share what we know, not hand him over.” With that, Eric ended the call and let out a breath.
Eric rejoined Pam and a much calmer Sookie in the bedroom. He still had not figured out what to tell Sookie. If Sookie ever asked him about Bill’s death or disappearance, he would not lie. No, he was not personally killing Bill, but through Kahn, he was giving DeCastro’s organization information that could lead to finding Bill. What happened to Bill after that would be on DeCastro’s hands. Maxwell had actually asked for the ‘honor’, to kill Bill, and as much as Eric wanted him gone for their protection, he couldn’t get his hands that dirty. His leak to DeCastro was already debatable. The question he constantly asked himself was ‘do I tell Sookie before it happens, after it happens, or request forgiveness later? Now the final chance to tell her before we share information on Bill is here and I still have no idea what I want to do.’
He chickened out. “How about we head over to the new house and check out the work?”
With Maxwell driving, they pulled up to the new house and had difficulty parking since so many work vans and trucks were in the drive. From the drive, they could see Maxwell’s cottage at the back of the property coming along nicely. Pam immediately went upstairs to check out the nursery while Eric and Sookie headed to the new master suite being created out of two bedrooms upstairs. After discussing the layout with Pam, they decided to give her the existing first floor master suite, the only change being the addition of a private entrance for her. Smiling, Eric called Sookie to their new bathroom. The shower, an exact replica of the shower he enjoyed in Sookie’s B&B, was done. “Soookieee. Come see what’s done.”
She walked in and laughed. “You’re just too excited about that shower. With all the other work being done, you have been obsessed about this one thing.”
“Come sit on the bench with me, let’s test-fit it.” He pulled her down to his lap and proceeded to spread her legs around his.
“ERIC!” She scolded him. “Behave. Pam is just down the hall.”
“No I’m not, what’s going on in here?”
Sookie squealed when Pam walked in, but at least she got her legs closed.
“Waddles! Are you misbehaving in your new shower already? Didn’t that get you in this mess to begin with?”
“PAM! I hate when you call me Waddles.”
“Says the woman that named her baby Booger. I’m exacting revenge on the baby’s behalf.”
Deciding to end the conversation about names, Sookie rose with Eric helping to push her up and said, “Come on. We can all go pick up the girls from school.”
A few days later, Sookie was grumbling as she Pam and Maxwell walked to the car. “This is my last trip out for Christmas shopping, I swear!” Sookie whined as she waddled to the car and used Pam’s arm for support as she lowered herself to a seat.
“Sookie, you can stay home now and I’ll finish whatever you need.”
“No, I have to finalize Eric’s gift, and I need to do that personally.”
“Oooh, what is it.”
Twenty minutes later, they pulled up to a multi-bay auto garage and Pam turned to Sookie. “What in the hell?”
Laughing, Sookie told her, “just get over here and help me out of the car.” Pam complied.
They walked to one of the bays where a classic Corvette was parked. It had seen better days. “Sookie, you are giving Eric a broken car?”
“Pam, I’m giving him potential.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Let me introduce someone.” She turned and waved a man over. “Pam, this is Chow. He owns this garage, all the bays you see here. Chow provides bays, tools and guidance for project cars.”
Chow nodded and greeted Pam with a handshake.
“I still don’t understand.”
“You know Eric loves Corvettes?” She nodded yes. “Well, this is a 1964 Stingray, all numbers matching.”
“I am a champion matcher Sookie, but I have no idea what the hell you just said.”
“All numbers matching means the car has all the original parts that came off the assembly line, well as much as you can prove. It’s important for classic cars.”
“Still not sure what we are doing here, Sookie.”
“I bought him a project car and a rented a garage bay to work on it. He’s told me he always wanted to work on cars but never had the chance. If he really likes it, we can convert one of the garage bays at home for a workshop. This way he gets to try it with guidance from Chow and his staff.”
“That’s brilliant Sookie. If you planned this already, why are we here?”
“Chow?” Sookie turned to him and he handed her a package.
“We came for this.” She opened the box and showed Pam a 1964 Corvette Stingray repair manual. “Chow had to do some hunting to find this for me. Well, that and I wanted to take some pictures of the car to give him as well as the title.”
“He’s going to love it.”
“I hope so. I think I killed several brain cells coming up with something for him. What do you get the man that has everything?”
“You give him a family Sookie, a life worth living, love.”
Sookie started crying. “Not a nice thing to do to a pregnant, hormonal woman!”
“Sookie, you cry just as much pregnant as you did when you weren’t. You can’t expect me to walk on eggshells.”
Pam smirked. “But you love me anyway.”
“Not nice AGAIN!” Sookie wailed out from crying again. She took a breath to calm herself then ordered, “I need stocking stuffers; we’re going to Target AND you are going in with me.”
“WADDLES! You want me to be seen at a TARGET in LA?”
“I could go into early labor Pam; do you want me to be alone?”
“Maxwell will be with you.”
“You want me to leave you in the car, unguarded? What if something happens to you?”
“You might be the champion matcher, but I’m a champion Catholic. I know how to work guilt, I was raised by Gran. Get in the car.”
Finally having finished Pam’s torture at Target, Pam and Maxwell dropped Sookie at home and left to pick up her teacups at school. She called for Eric. “In the office.” He answered.
Sookie walked in and leaned up against Eric. He enveloped her in his arms.
“Yes, but I was shopping with Pam, I earned some rest.”
He chuckled and leaned in to give her a kiss. “I’ll help you to bed.” Eric bent slightly to pick up Sookie and she started protesting.
“Eric, seriously, I am way too big for this now. Put me down.”
“No way. You promised me I could sweep you off your feet anytime I wanted. I am holding you to that promise forever.” They approached their bed and he placed her down on her side.
“Can you get my book, please?”
“Here. Rest my love, I’ll come check on you after the girls have started their homework. I hear the car now.”
Downstairs, Eric greeted the girls from their day at school. “Min Prinsessas, how was your day?”
Eleanor started. “It was good, we made snowflakes for the lobby ‘holiday tree’,” she said putting her hands up to make quote signs and rolling her eyes.”
“Poppa, why can’t we just call it a Christmas tree?”
“Well, it’s all about something called political correctness. I think sometimes that goes too far. Your school has students representing a variety of religions and cultures so they don’t want anyone to feel awkward I guess.”
“If they really didn’t want anyone to feel awkward, why doesn’t the school just allow us to celebrate all the cultures and religions and learn from each other?” Maua smartly asked.
“I don’t know Maura. You make a good point. Sometimes I think people fear difference instead of embracing it.”
“That’s just stupid.”
“Maura, your Mama and I don’t approve of calling people or things stupid, you know that.” She looked down. “In this case I will have to allow it because I agree. Now, come to the office, we need to start on homework.”
Eleanor giggled. “I just realized Mama isn’t here with us. Pam said they went shopping. Did Mama need a nap?”
An hour later he rejoined Sookie in their bedroom. She had fallen asleep on her side; a book open on the bed next to her. Smiling at his decision to send Pam out to dinner with the girls and Maxwell, he toed his shoes off and joined her in bed. At first he just wrapped his body around hers with her back to his chest. After a few minutes of snuggling, he started caressing her arms and Booger gently. With Christmas preparation, a week of movie rehearsals, construction at the new house and the tasks with adjusting the girls to LA, he and Sookie rarely had time alone like this. He missed his lunch breaks from the set when they were at the B&B. Just remembering some of their fun had his cock straining against his jeans. He heard Sookie giggle.
“Are you feeling me up you Perv?”
“Nope, I’m just loving Booger.”
“I thought you were sleeping, so I was just spending time with Booger ’til you woke up.” He leaned over since she had turned her head and waggled his eyebrows. “You are incorrigible. Where is everyone?”
He grinned. “Out to dinner. We have two hours per Pam. Well, now we have about an hour and a half.”
“OK, I just want to sleep.” She turned to face away from Eric again, but couldn’t keep the grin off her face as Eric went still. After a few moments of silence she started giggling again. “You thought I was serious, didn’t you?”
“I have to be cautious; I have a hormonal wife who has shown an occasional mood swing.”
“I think the forecast for right now is horny. Please, take advantage.”
Not wanting her to move, he crossed over her body to be in front of her and started kissing her while continuing to caress Booger. Moving down from her face, he reached her belly and pushed the shirt up, greeting Booger as he always did when seeing her naked belly. “Hello my baby. You stay asleep for Poppa while he loves Mama.” He lifted her up to remove her shirt and bra; then removed her pants and panties, his clothes following close behind. He kissed all her exposed skin. Some days her breasts were too sensitive for him, so he carefully touched them wanting to gauge her reaction. Her response was to moan and he thought ‘excellent, it’s a good breast day, I love those.‘
Eric touched and kissed Sookie until he had her panting and asking for more. Since Booger’s size had necessitated some creative positions he asked “can I try something? You can just relax.”
“Yes. Hurry, I need you now.”
He returned her to her side and moved in behind her. With one arm he raised her leg as the other arm circled around to her front to tease her nipples. Now in position, he pushed inside. In a few thrusts he had a rhythm going and he moved her leg over his legs so he could also play with her clit while softly moving in and out. With all the attention, Sookie came quickly and loudly in the empty house. Knowing how much he liked it, she reached down to touch Eric while he continued his thrusts. He was over the edge quickly.
They were still for a few minutes before Eric asked, “Would you like a bath? We have time love.”
“That would be heavenly.”
Sookie was quiet in the tub while Eric washed her, taking extra good care of Booger. “You’re quiet love. What are you thinking about?”
“I was remembering the first time we took a bath in this tub. I was so nervous for you to see me naked.”
“I know you were. You were hiding out in your room.”
“I was hiding. I was thinking about flossing my teeth to take more time before you came to retrieve me.”
He laughed. “Well, dental hygiene is important.”
“And then when I came in here, you had turned the lights off and had filled the room with candles. I felt more relaxed immediately. Thank you for taking such good care of me, of us.” She started crying.
“Uh oh, does the forecast call for happy or sad tears?”
“I think we can handle that.”
“Get up. Get up. GET UP! Come on Mama and Poppa. Santa came!” Both girls jumped on Eric and Sookie’s bed, but Eleanor was doing all the yelling.
“Santa came? For a little girl who yells so much? Inside voice Eleanor, we’re right here.”
“Ooops, sorry Poppa.”
“All is forgiven, I know you’re excited. You girls haven’t been downstairs have you?”
“Poppa, how can we even get downstairs with the block you put at the top of the stairs?” Maura asked while rolling her eyes.
“You’ve been crafty before.”
Sookie pushed herself to the side of the bed and slowly raised herself up. “I still have almost 6 weeks left and I feel like a beached whale. This is how big I was with you, Eleanor.” Eleanor giggled.
“Let me help you love.” He helped her up and she waddled into the bathroom. Eric secretly chuckled to himself knowing Pam’s nickname fit – not that he would ever admit that. EVER. He did have some self preservation skills.
“Girls, go wake her royal highness and all your grandparents while Mama gets herself going. We’ll all go downstairs in a few minutes. I give you permission to use an OUTSIDE voice and bouncing on the bed to wake your aunt.” Sookie heard that from the bathroom and she snickered.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, they could hear the squeals from the other side of the house. Then, they heard Pam yelling, “I’m up. No need to yell.”
“But Poppa gave us permission Aunt Pam.”
“Yeah, we have permission and we’re gonna use it.” Eleanor agreed nodding her head.
Sookie emerged from the bathroom and hugged Eric. “Not that I mind, but what was that for?”
“For letting everyone stay here last night. For welcoming Bernie and Don into our home.”
“I would never have said no. Bernie and Don are their grandparents. I know the adoption had to sting a bit, but they were wonderful about everything. The girls need to keep their connection to them, and through them, their connection to Sam.”
“But I can still hug you for it. Even if we don’t fit together that great right now.”
“We fit; we are just squeezing Booger in between us for a moment.” Eric grinned then released Sookie to kneel. “I felt that Booger, were you reminding Poppa you are here?”
The girls returned having completed their wake-up tasks and waited, impatiently for “the slowpokes to get ready” per Eleanor.
Everyone was ready about 15 minutes later and they gathered at the top of the stairs where Eric removed the ‘do not cross’ signs. Eleanor and Maura had both threatened to sneak downstairs to see Santa and Eric wanted to ensure they could not, or at least if they did, he would know it.
Pam went down first so she could take pictures of the living room before the girls ran in. Once in place, she called for her teacups. Per Pam’s instructions last night, Klaus had already grabbed Eleanor and Don held Maura so Akita and Sookie had a chance to get in first and see the girl’s reactions. Eric had rolled his eyes at his sister’s choreography for the morning, but now that he was experiencing it, he had to admit she was right. If the girls had just run for it, the adults would miss the initial reactions. Sookie would have been the last to make it and would have been the most disappointed.
The room was a wonderland. Packages surrounding the tree, but the girls zeroed in on the large unwrapped items. Maura squealed. “Poppa! Santa delivered new bikes!”
“I see that Maura. We can try them out later today. What else do you have?”
Bombarded by packages and toys, the girls had completely missed the new Piano in the room. Maura and Eleanor had both expressed a desire for lessons after learning that Akita had played when she was young. Sookie already played, but rarely on a real piano, so that sealed the deal on the gift from Akita and Klaus. At Eric’s question, they stopped and looked around. Eleanor spied it first. “A PIANO!? Santa brought us a Piano?” She yelled and Eric winced. ‘I’m wasting my breath on asking for inside voice today, I can see that.’
Eric clarified. “No, Farfar and Farmor actually had that delivered last night after you were in bed.”
Both girls ran to Klaus and Akita to deliver hugs of thanks. Akita spoke to both of them. “I’m planning to teach you myself, so you better practice hard for me.”
The girls promised to practice hard and then turned to grab the gift they had made for Eric and Sookie. Sookie opened the gift and when she recognized it as a scrapbook of her and Eric, she cried. “No fair girls. I was going to try and make it through the day without crying.” She turned the pages and both she and Eric were shocked at some of the pictures.
“I knew we fell asleep a lot on that couch, but I had no idea we did it so often, or that anyone was taking our picture.”
Maura informed them that Alcide and Russell helped with some of the pictures. As they moved through the album, thankfully there were other pictures where they were awake. Again most of the pictures were candid shots they never even knew had been taken. “Wow girls, this is fantastic. I could never ask for a better gift.”
Eric agreed with Sookie’s praise and moved to hug both his girls. “I have something special for you as well.” He said as he handed them each a blue Tiffany box. They opened the boxes and were puzzled.
“Poppa, we already have charm bracelets.” Eleanor stated.
“Yes, but look at this charm. It says 2013. This is your bracelet to hold memories for our next year together. I want to make you one for each year.”
“YAY!” Eleanor shouted. “That’s a cool idea.”
“Well you can thank Mama, she gave me the idea.” Sookie just rolled her eyes remembering that she mentioned he was buying too many charms while they were at Tiffany. Not that he needed to buy more bracelets to hold them.
They continued to exchange gifts and another hour and about a ton of wrapping paper later, Sookie was ready to start breakfast. Akita and Bernie joined her to help. Working side by side in the kitchen, they had breakfast out quickly. As a treat for everyone, Sookie had prepared some of the families favorite menu items from their time in Sweden.
Eric, Don and Klaus dressed and took the girls outside to try out the new bikes. Maura and Eleanor refused to remove their special Christmas long johns. Sookie had convinced Eric to wear them for opening presents, but no way was he going out in the street even if they were coordinated so well with the girls and came from Hanna Andersson in Sweden. Pam was going picture crazy outside with the girls and Akita was cleaning up from breakfast.
They ended Christmas with a family dinner including Lala and Jesus. Talk of the babies dominated the discussion. Sookie couldn’t figure whether Lala or Jesus was more excited about the baby. The family was laughing at Lala’s antics about being a ‘Mama’. Unlike Sookie and Eric, Lala and Jesus knew what they were having: a girl. Pam constantly got her digs in about how much easier the nursery and other shopping had been. Sookie was pretty sure Pam had already purchased about a year’s worth of clothing for the baby girl.
Akita and Bernie cleaned the kitchen for Sookie so she could retire early. “Christmas when over 7 months pregnant is exhausting,” Sookie exclaimed as she kissed everyone good night.
Eric met her on the stairs. “How about a backrub? Pam will put the girls to bed.”
“You always know the right thing to do.”
Once bent in front of the dresser for her back rub, Sookie thanked Eric again for a wonderful Christmas.
“Sookie, YOU are thanking ME? Do you realize what I did for Christmas before you? It was Pam and me, opening boxes in the morning and sometimes heading to a posh and stuffy party for the evening. Last year was the best Christmas I ever had up to that point because you called me to share in your day. Then, I had the video from the girls opening their gifts to enjoy. I must have watched the video a dozen times that day. Now, this year has become the best Christmas I ever had. You gave me a family. Nothing in a box with wrapping paper could ever compare to that.”
Sookie stood and turned to Eric. “We gave each other this family.” She punctuated her statement with a kiss; then led him to the bed. “Now, do something else with those hands.”