We’re All Mad Here
It was a weird homecoming. Not my home, but still a welcome sight.
Sookie had definitely made me feel welcome despite how I acted when I first met her…
She really was a trooper…
Maybe she could make it, being married to a Fed and not lose her shit…
It was bittersweet to walk in and hear Eric’s greeting, “Hey honey. How was work?” Complete with a cute little hug like he’d been gone longer than a couple of hours.
I was happy for him, sure enough; I’d have to be a complete dick not to be… But I was allowed to be a little bitter about my fucked up marriage… as long as I kept it to myself.
I turned the fan on and leaned against the sink for a smoke while they talked about Rene… Eric was already coming out of his head…
There was a plus side to how distracted he was when it came to her. Bonus.
I wasn’t even paying attention to what they were talking about… I was really distracted by the screen on the laptop she’d been sitting at when we came in… A Yahoo mailbox. ‘Hello Maudette!’
I was locked in, noticing that 4 tabs were open when she finally got to “…Now kiss me, I have news for you.”
Then I had to pretend to not be jumping out of my skin while I waited for them to get done making out and talking about pie…
“Was that the news?”
“The news… Right… I got a call on the way to the grocery from my friend Arlene.”
“The one that was getting into the whipped cream last night.” Damn, he’s already met half the town…
“One and the same. She’s in mourning for her good friend Maudette. She wanted to know if I would make something for the remembrance the church is having for her. She also mentioned how upsetting it was, since they had just gone out for her birthday together and had so much fun. Maudette recently broke up with her boyfriend and was really flattered when a ‘really sweet’ guy brought her a glass of champagne with a strawberry in it.”
Fucking hell! She got more info as gossip then we did from the local law enforcement! “No shit!”
She smiled at me. “Oh, that’s not all. Arlene and Maudette had a waitress take a picture… Look…”
She clicked on one of the tabs and we were looking at the prick. Up close and personal. Sandwiched between two redheads and smiling his creepy ass off.
“…Arlene says the guy has a lisp AND a Spanish accent… So you should contact Brazil and Portugal about similar crimes because…”
Eric finished, “…Portuguese sounds like there is a lisp.”
“And he’s too ‘good’ at this, too set in his ways to be a virgin… Anyway, Arlene gave me her facebook and email info, so I opened that for you to dig through… In the meantime, I need some help getting ready.”
I waved at Eric as she started tugging him to the back of the house. Not that I could stop them, but at least I had something to do instead of feeling like a pervert this time.
I grabbed the ashtray out of the dish rack and plopped my ass down in front of Sookie’s laptop. “Just shut the fucking door this time!”
I was barely done saying it when the door was slammed… thank God.
Four facebook photos. All of Maudette’s birthday outing… In one of them, Maudette and Arlene were dancing together and the creep was staring at them. And the close-up of the three of them gave me the heebie jeebies… his smile looked more like an involuntary response to maggots.
More… Maudette had gotten an email from him last week… ‘I can’t stop thinking about you’. 8K worth of sappy stalker bait.
It was disgusting, but Sookie had traced the email back… to an anonymous Gmail account… and she’d already gotten the isp… an internet hotspot at a mall in Monroe… This bitch was more efficient than the tech team we had working at the bureau. I swear. It would have taken them two days to ‘get to’ us.
She needed to be on the payroll.
I was saving and sending everything to my email when Sookie practically ran into the room in nothing but a towel. She took the phone off the wall and held it out to me.
“I owe you a massive fucking apology for what I said at the station, but it was based on what Eric thinks is going on.”
I looked at the phone, confused as a mother fucker… I was looking at the caller ID. My home number… Amelia called… and the call lasted 22 minutes. “Oh, fuck! What did she say?”
“I said ‘hello’ and she replied with ‘how long have you been fucking my husband?’.”
“Shit… Sookie, I’m sorry. I can’t leave the damn house without getting accused…”
She rolled her eyes. “You said she’s insecure, not suffering paranoid delusions.”
I pulled out my cell, expecting to see a shitload of missed call alerts… nothing. “What did you… How did you handle it?”
She started laughing. “Oh my god! Amelia? Amelia Herveaux? Is that you? You’re too funny! I figured you would be though.”
I shook my head. “That was actually believable.”
“Yeah, I haven’t faked it like that since I was married. By my estimation, you owe me a diamond, buddy.” She popped my shoulder.
I laughed. “So, she dialed it back?”
“Yeah. I asked her if she could find a sitter next weekend so the 4 of us could go out. Told her that all you’ve talked about since I met you was her and the kids so I’m dying to meet them all.”
She laughed. “Not really. Your boys are adorable.”
“What made you… You said you owed me an apology… What made you realize?”
“C’mon, we’ll chat while I dig out my clothes… You need to come clean to ‘your boy’ though.” She grabbed my wrist, towing me back to her bedroom.
“I figured that out after what he said about ‘all the other times’.”
“I just threw her off, didn’t I? Being nice… She’ll fire back up again.” Like herpes.
“Yeah. Most likely… so what made you realize?”
“It just wasn’t sitting right… When she called, she was on speaker… I felt like I was being… I don’t know… like she had someone listening.”
“Her friend was over today. It was probably Octavia who put it in Ame’s head to call.”
“You went straight to blaming the friend… So you either think your wife doesn’t have a mind of her own or her friend is single and stirring shit up because she wants a single friend to party with.” Smart bitch.
“Mazel tov… How bad is the independence factor? Is she a lemming?”
“Except for when it comes to my opinion.”
“Ever try introducing her to someone more grounded?”
“Pat, one of the guys on the task force is married, the rest are divorced. We met them for drinks once and all Ame did for a week was tell me what a bitch she was… She wasn’t. Not at all, but… she’s a radiologist and has three kids and had the ‘balls’ to say that she understands why Pat spends so much time away from home.”
Sookie sucked air past her teeth… “So, she was rubbing salt in Ame’s wounds.”
“I don’t get the ‘wounds’ thing though. She doesn’t have it so rough other than me being gone a lot.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Meow?”
She hissed in reply and I wanted to piss myself. “Poor Amelia wasn’t ever a corps wife.”
“No. I was Dallas PD when we met.”
“Yeah… My cousin’s little boy opened the door on his 8th birthday expecting a UPS from his dad…”
“Oh shit. Chaplain?”
“Yep. ‘Happy birthday, baby. Your daddy’s dead’… Fuck your wife for having the sack to complain about a couple nights a week. I’ve got no stomach for anyone selfish enough to ignore ‘never’ as a possibility.” Oh shit.
“Tell me I’m wrong.”
I snorted at her. “I can’t do that.”
She laughed, taking a berretta from the shelf of her closet and checked the magazine before tossing it on the bed. “What did you tell her to make it worse?”
“Today. On the phone. You snapped and said something you wouldn’t normally.”
Shit. I cleared my throat, preparing to catch whatever she was going to throw at me. “She was trying to bait me and said you have a nice body… I agreed with her.”
She put her hand on her hip and raised an eyebrow at me. Fuck. She wasn’t going to let me get away with being vague.
“I said you have a tight little ass and told her you’re a great cook too.” God damn it! All I could do was hope she’s a bad shot. As quick as she moves, she could fire a round in under 2 seconds. Shitshitshit.
She threw her head back and laughed, “You fucking TARD!” I couldn’t believe she wasn’t about to kill me.
“It just slipped out.”
She shook her head. “I guess you’re pretty enough to get away with being an idiot from time to time.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
“You still have a problem. I guess your options are different now though.”
“What are they now?”
“The high road would include making an appointment for couples counseling and kidnapping her to get her there. A grand high gesture that you want shit to work out… The other option would be to do nothing and hope she takes a bow sooner than later so the boys don’t suffer… I could hear you inside my car with all of our windows up. I know your boys are hearing too much.”
“Yeah. They heard us fighting at the house yesterday.”
“So if I could hear you defending yourself, you know they were hearing the accusations… and if the friend was over…” They heard the venting and shit slinging too. Maybe their door was closed.
“The two slices of that pie are that they start to believe it and hate you for how crazy it makes her… or they love you enough to not see anything wrong with what she’s accusing you of.”
“You can stop talking anytime now.”
“Yes sir.” She turned around and went back to rifling through her closet, pulling out some of Eric’s clothes and laying them on his side of the bed… And she did it without a word.
“Fuck. I wasn’t serious.”
She turned around and started at confused… but she got to sympathetic quick. “What do you want me to say?”
“I don’t know, but I wasn’t telling you to shut up.” I’d already put my foot in my mouth enough.
“I know, but it’s none of my damn business. I was butting out… this is shit you haven’t even talked to your partner about…”
“I’m lost. I’ve tried everything. I can’t get her to stop acting like a nut.”
“She did.” Fuck. Whoops.
Sookie’s mouth fell open. “I meant which one of your fathers… She… Shit!” Oh, god bless it! Something she fed me gave me uncontrollable, explosive verbal diarrhea. That’s the only theory I had.
“My father and both of her parents… Her mom was married to two guys at once until one of them got deported and when she tracked her father down to meet him… he hit on her before she could say who she was. She was 14.”
“She wasn’t ever stable though.” She was glossing over it? Oh my God, I wanted to kiss her! Thank you, lord!
“She was immature as hell, but she was 21 and still living with her mom. She was the new waitress at the bar me and my buddies crawled home from.”
“And you were 29 and had a job and a place of your own and knew how to pay your bills…”
“Cops don’t make enough money to call it gold digging… And you were perfect… Until you asked her to marry you when y’all had an ‘accident’.”
“How the fuck?”
She giggled. “My powers of deduction are astounding.”
“The emotional point of adulthood, when hormones level out is 25. You being her baby-daddy would have given her an allowance and a weekend babysitter in the form of child support and visitation. And knowing your dad history and the cop/marriage stereotype gave her the safety net for saying yes… You’d cheat and then she’d get alimony with the divorce.”
“How the fuck did I fall for it?”
“Who says you did anything but the stand up thing and try to take care of your kid and his mother?”
“You’re not going to try to make me feel like an asshole about it?”
“A) I don’t think you are. B) She’s already punishing you enough. You don’t need to be browbeaten.”
“You’re too nice.”
She laughed. “Two sides to every coin, my friend… you just got heads.”
“What’s tails like?”
She started cackling. “Oh, don’t you think your wife is gonna remind you what you think my tail is like enough?”
I was squeezed into the back of Sookie’s Neon and thanking God her dad’s house wasn’t but 10 minutes away…
When we pulled into the driveway… all I could think about was what Sookie said last night…
‘Maybe something shiny will distract you from being such a tool.’
It fucking worked… I almost forgot my fucked up life when I spotted the classic car show in front of the garage full of classic bikes. God Damn!
It was like I was caught in a tractor beam of sex on wheels… the cars were… oh my god… even in the dark. Immaculate.
I didn’t even realize I’d climbed out of the car when Sookie started poking fun. “Boys! Snap out of it… Grampa owned the dealership and service station in town so working in the garage was Daddy’s first job. He worked there until he started the landscaping business. He didn’t pay more than $100 for any of these. He completely rebuilt them himself and every one of them run like a raped date. The truck was his first and hasn’t been out of commission a single day he’s had it.”
“My dick is hard.”
Eric gave me a dirty look, of all people… the way he is over his Bel Air… At least Sookie knew I was joking. “Tell me about it. Would you like a minute alone?”
I nodded to the black Mustang. “No. That bitch is a cock tease. She thinks she’s too good for me.”
“The Torino is a whore though. She’ll warm up to you quick.” Funny bitch.
When Sookie let us into the house (oh look at that, there’s a house here too) the place was as clean as an operating room.
She led us to the kitchen, dropped off the pie and grabbed us all a beer, taking us out the sliding door to the deck.
The guy who tackled her for a hug sure as shit wasn’t old enough to be her dad and his voice and accent weren’t a match for the one coming from the hall this morning. Not even close.
“Hey Jas. How you feeling?” God damn… don’t tell me he’s the ‘Jas’ Kevin was worried about waking up with again.
“I’m fucking pissed. I ain’t been sick in years and the first time since the chicken pox, I not only miss Halloween, but one hell of a party. I saw the pictures. You oughta rent one of those Sumo suits for Tara next year.”
“Oh, Eric came up with something that’ll work even better… big brother, this is Eric Northman and his hetero life-mate Silent Bob.”
He started laughing. “I heard about you already… Sophie said you wouldn’t dance with her.”
“Queen of Hearts.”
“Oh! Damn… She was barely walking.”
“I know. She drunk dialed me all night. Your loss. She’s a sure thing.”
I nearly lost beer through my nose and Sookie finally gave him my name while I was choking.
“Fucking hell, Sook. You look like a single wide and a skyscraper together.” Funny, since he didn’t come up to Eric’s chin either.
“Thanks brother. Where are the parentals?”
Oh, he sooo did not want to answer that question. “They’re in the bedroom sparring.”
“Your mother is being a twat about meeting your guy. Daddy is trying to calibrate the bitch out of her.”
“Your mother asshole… She have a particular topic to be a cunt about or is it that she didn’t hand pick Eric?” She called her mother a ‘cunt’. Wow.
“General Cunt-nation. Bill being the chunk. It’s all your fault he cheated. Probably a punk loser…Even if he’s acceptable, you’ll just fuck this up too… blahblahblah.” God damn.
“She should do us all a favor and just fuck Bill. If ever a woman needed a beating- she’d be the one…” I tried to laugh off how quick that beating thing came to her, but Eric caught it too.
Sookie was offering to help with dinner, but my attention was grabbed by an escalating argument coming from one of the windows in the back of the house.
I couldn’t tell if the wink and ‘told ya’ were directed at me or Eric, but she rolled her eyes and hopped over the railing. The deck was set higher than her head, but she stuck the landing and then stomped over to a tree next to the house.
Gymnastics! That would explain why she moves like a fucking cat.
She bounced up and grabbed a branch… swung herself around to get her knee on the branch and stood up… then she walked over to the window and knocked on it. Maybe not a cat… a lemur, a monkey.
The window got opened, undamming the hellacious screeching from ‘Sheila’. “OH! NICE! SHE’S CLIMBING TREES! NOW THAT’S LADYLIKE!!! I’M NOT SURE I WANT TO MEET ANYONE WHO’D THINK THAT’S APPROPRIATE!”
Jason started to chuckle. “It was plenty ladylike when Sookie was still bringing home trophies for the twat to show off. 10 years on a balance beam. Kicking and screaming, getting drug to lessons… Y’all brace yourselves. This is the nicest she’ll be after the puttin’ Daddy gave her.” Oh goody.
When her dad started climbing out to the branch, Sookie fired back at her mother. “Sheila, I keep telling you that you can buy tampons without sand on them! Now shut your spiteful cock dock so I can enjoy my visit with Daddy. I could give two shits if you meet Eric! Fucking borderline bitch! You’d probably scare him off anyway.” I laughed. Hell, we all did and I filed ‘spiteful cock dock’ away for later… right next to ‘filthy fucking cum dumpster’.
Sookie caught a piggy back ride up to the deck and Corbett had his hand out with a grin on his face… like he hadn’t been fighting with his wife 3 minutes earlier.
She did the introducing again, giving her dad my actual name.
“Alcide, huh? Your folks not like you?”
The look on Sookie’s face was priceless… and I barely had the chance to explain that my mother named me after her Italian father before Sookie hit his shoulder. “You named me Sookie! A fucking interjection! If I’d been a twin… would she be Jeepers? Dang? Shucks?”
“Lid it. Linda used Hadley. Take it up with her.
“You had 6 years to think of something else.”
He rolled his eyes and cleared his throat to explain. “My Momma’s maiden name was Hale… Had was supposed to be a boy… My sister was scrambling for a name in the hospital.”
Sookie cringed. “You could’ve named me Hadley too.”
“HA! Like it wasn’t bad enough that her husband got you two mixed up! You’re nuts!… get your whining ass off me if you’re gonna be hostile.”
Sookie hopped down and slapped his arm. “Remy only got us mixed up a few times.” Oh, hell. That woman… needs to be nuts. Of all the crazy twats I have in my life, and as much as I appreciate that Sookie isn’t squirrelly… if she has an older lookalike cousin… she needs to be an absolute window licking, fucking lunatic… fat… bearded… on welfare too. Period.
They had to be exaggerating.
Had to be.
Jason mooed when the steaks were done, herding us inside and whistling the Gunslinger theme.
Corbett shoved plates at us and told Eric and me to make our plates and Sookie started to walk to the dining room with an armful of salad fixings. She stopped to pat my back. “Pocket’s blinking.”
“Thanks.” Oh, fuck. What now?
I’m man enough to admit that I was afraid to pull my phone out.
This was not the time or place to be trapped in an argument… and Ame knew it… Which is why it was probably her.
When I saw that it was an IM from the boys, I could have keeled over. Too relieved…
‘Mommys mad at olivea. She orderd pizza 4 dinner cuz mommy can’t cook. -J’
“That’s funny, but you need to fix it. Try again.” I didn’t even put it away. I just waited for him to resend. Eric gave me a look, so I showed him the text.
“You’re only letting him IM to trick him into spelling lessons? Buzzkill.”
“I had to have a good excuse to buy him the computer.”
He snorted at me. “Nice.”
‘Mommy’s mad at Olivea. She ordered pizza for dinner BECAUSE Mommy can’t cook. Better?’ Who gives a shit if the tramp’s name was spelled right?
“Much better. Good man. Enjoy your pizza. I’ll call before bedtime.”
When Sookie came back in, she pinched under my arm… “If I have to make your plate, you’re getting the well done baby steak.”
“Damn! Fine… Bully.”
Corbett snorted, digging beer out of the fridge. “You ain’t used to it by now?”
Eric started laughing. Asshole. “He’s so used to it, he’s starting to like it. She’s been abusing him for nearly 24 hours now.”
“But she fed me and gave me cold beer.”
Sookie snickered. “It’s the perfect abusive relationship. I take care of his base needs and he lets me treat him like crap.”
She flopped a slab of steak onto my plate. “Hey nothin’. I’m bitchy when I’m hungry. The longer you stand there with your thumb up your butt, the longer I rag on you.”
Jason grabbed a plate and got in line. “Damn, dude! Ain’t you already got one wife?”
They were ganging up on me. Damn! I finally scooped some mashed potatoes and squash onto my plate and got the fuck out of the way.
Note to self: blue balls and empty stomachs bring the worst out in these folks.
When I passed Sookie, she fucking winked at me again.
We’d been at the table for all of five minutes.
Corbett had just asked where Eric’s people were from and found out that he’s a navy brat when I saw a shadow move through the doorway in the corner of my eye. The mom must be on the move. Uh oh.
I kept seeing shadows move and hearing little shuffles. I had myself braced for a bomb drop for most of the meal.
Sookie’s family turned out to be much nicer to Eric than I had been to her… He didn’t get cross examined at all.
It was more of a vay-ya than a ‘how long you been fucking my little girl?’ vibe.
I was happy as hell for Eric… Given what Sookie’s like they could have fucked with him… hard.
As it was, I had the feeling he was shitting his pants… something told me that he hadn’t met any ‘parents’ since he was in high school… And well, the first words Ame’s father said to me were ‘don’t you know it would have been cheaper to pay for the abortion?’ Then he called me an idiot while he opened a beer with his teeth.
Eric was definitely having an easy time of it, by any standards.
That is the worst fucking word in the English language.
Until… it usual use: ‘it was a nice walk UNTIL I stepped on a landmine’.
It was one of those, ‘other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln’ situations.
Dinner was amazing… the steak melted in my mouth. The mashed potatoes were so good, Idaho called and asked for the recipe and whatever the yellow baby food looking shit that I almost turned my nose up at was, turned out to be the best tasting pile of peppery, buttery glop that it could have been baby food and I’d have been down… Jason, Corbett and I had all leaned back, relaxing to smoke the best cigarette of the day… the after-eating-too-much-good-food smoke…
Until Sookie got up to take our plates to the kitchen and get the pie.
Her mother had been inching closer and closer, eavesdropping on the conversation while she lurked like some kind of poltergeist.
Hello, Sheila. Pretty enough women… tiny, explaining why Sookie and Jason aren’t built like Corbett… but she looked like she slept angry… deep lines in her forehead and around her eyes.
Eric was the last to notice her entrance because Corbett was trying to convince him to ‘go Ford’, but when she came around the corner from the foyer conversation dropped like someone had died and by the look on Corbett’s face, someone might.
“You know she’s damaged goods, right?” Did you see the new Celebrity Apprentice? Gas prices are up. Your girlfriend is a ho… Just like that. ‘Damaged goods’? What the fuck does that even mean?
Eric was rescued, if you could call it that, when Corbett started to come unglued. He punched the table so hard that it knocked over the empties. “Bitch, you’ve given me a lot of reasons over the years, don’t think for a second that one more won’t be THE LAST straw. Get the fuck out of here.”
“She had it coming. She had no business going off to school when she had a man willing to take care of her.” God forbid she get an education instead of becoming… fuck, instead of becoming Ame.
“That’s it! You’ve gone too far!” When Corbett started to charge at her like a rogue elephant, Jason put himself between them, pushing back Sheila… but all I saw was Jack… in 20 years…
“It was just as much your fault as it was hers. You always encouraged her willfulness! Getting raped didn’t even teach her a lesson! Genius my ass!” Oh no. Sookie? Not her. Damn!
She’d just come back with the pie… “I’m smart enough to keep my mouth shut about shit that isn’t any of my fucking business you worthless cow.”
I had nothing. I could tell by the look on Eric’s face that Sookie hadn’t told him she was a victim. She’d warned us both that Sheila is evil. But the sudden 180 in the mood, not to mention topic, left us both catching flies.
“How isn’t it any of my business? Now you found some fool who’ll let you keep working with those creepy punks. Let me guess. You found him in New Orleans while you were working on those silly little books.”
Corbett’s hands were fisted together so tight, I could hear it. “Those kids need someone like her to give a shit and those ‘little books’ got her a Newberry Award. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?! Since no one has ever needed you for anything but a womb and you’ve never done anything to deserve any special attention! It’s pathetic that you can’t be happy for your own daughter!”
Sookie set the pie down calmly, like this was normal and pinched the back of her Dad’s shirt to give it a tug. “Daddy, sit down before you give yourself a heart attack. I already warned Eric and Alcide that she’s a bitch. Let her get it out now and get it over with.”
That was all it took. Sookie started doling out pie wedges while everyone took their seats. Even Sheila sat down at the empty end of the table… just to stare at Eric like he was an antfarm… and had a magnifying glass.
She was quiet. Too quiet…
Until… “What’s wrong with Bill?”
“I never liked him. He’s pretentious and controlling. He’s humorless and dim and there isn’t a sexy thing about him. His financial potential was what flicked your clit, not mine.” I decided that it must have been the short answer, but I laughed anyway. God help anyone to piss her off… Sookie has a forked tongue.
“You could have grown to love him. You pushed him at Lorena.” Pushed? I had to wonder what kind of retard would sleep somewhere else with a girl like Sookie waiting at home. Seriously, if I could keep it in my pants when I have to sleep next to Ame…
“I didn’t leave him for cheating. Hell, who wouldn’t find a mistress when your wife throws up every time you have sex. I left him for lying. You need to realize that Bill the Great was a manipulating asshole. I wasted a few years with him, but Lorena paid a price that can’t be made up. If you want to have sympathy for someone, have it for her, not Bill.”
“So did you really get raped or did you orchestrate it all, hoping Bill wouldn’t want you anymore?” Oh. No. She. Didn’t! My hand twitched… it wanted my gun sooooo bad.
Poor Corbett looked like he was on the verge of that coronary Sookie warned him about… “I’m pretty sure she answered you when you asked her over the phone while she was still in the hospital. You would know for sure if you had bothered going to Nashville with me when it happened.” Oh hell…
Jason finally had enough… “Sorry everybody. If I’m not allowed to kill her, I’m gonna go… Nice meeting y’all… Assholes… no one would miss her. We have a damn landscaping company… shovels, lye, and an ax… hell, wouldn’t even have to break our backs to dig a hole. Just compost her for fuck sake… Spread her ‘love’ all over the Parrish.”
Sookie actually snickered at her brothers ‘plans’.
Sheila scowled a little deeper and went off on another rant. “I still think it was bullshit. You could have busted yourself up… It was just broken ribs and a concussion. You could have done that on some stairs. I still think that fudge packing nig…”
“Whoa! Shut it! Lafayette is more to me than you’ve ever been and you will NOT talk about him that way!”
“You’ll stick up for the pillow biter, but you’ll talk trash about your own husband?”
Sookie snorted and stood up to kiss her Dad. “Thanks for dinner, Daddy. We’ll take our cue. I’m sorry. I should’ve had you and Jas over.”
I was behind Eric waiting for my turn to shake hands with the man who could put up with that woman when Sookie walked by her mother to leave… with her hand out… Sookie didn’t hit her hard, more of a wake-up slap… but it got the bitch’s attention.
I don’t think Eric noticed, but I’m sure he’d have wanted a turn.
Sookie waited for us on the porch, and turned around to face us while she walked with a smile on her face… Like Corbett had…
I couldn’t tell if they were really good at switching channels or if they were that good at pretending ‘it’ didn’t happen… I’m sure they had practice either way. “Sorry about that. I’ve never seen her be that bad.”
I figured I’d go along with pretending. “The food was great and I figured out how you can put up with me. It wasn’t a total wash.”
I think we both noticed the look on Eric at the same time and she started to gripe at him. “Stop it right now. You stink of pity… I bet you’re not as worried about me meeting your old man now, huh?”
Like it or not… pity was on the table… but she didn’t know him like I do… It wasn’t pity making his knuckles white. He was ready to punch a nun… and a good part of him was pissed that Sookie hadn’t told him.
Eric hates being blindsided.
He was doing his silent thing in the car. He could be such a prick. The quiet man. Fucking climbs into his head and over thinks everything… Sometimes I think I can hear the acid in his stomach eating at him. He can fake being normal when he has to. My kids have never seen him like that. He can go out for dinner or drinks to unwind but I’m sure he goes right back to chewing his mental cud as soon as he’s alone. It took me nearly a year to realize that I wasn’t ‘getting the silent treatment’. I was witnessing his bizarre attempt to make ‘feelings’ go away with logic. He threatened to shoot me once for telling him it was pointless.
I was already on my way to make myself scarce when Sookie asked me to give them a minute… I wanted to tell the poor thing not to waste her time since the only thing to ‘make it go away’ for Eric would be finding the guy that raped her so he could twist his head off…
I ended up in the kitchen making a pot of coffee and grabbing a smoke…
And caught myself back where dinner took its turn for the worse…
Picturing Jack stuck between me and Ame like Jason had been wedged between his parents.
Sookie had mentioned on the way over that there was only one person who could put up with Sheila and vice versa… Her sister Karen. Karen didn’t marry until it was too late to have kids and her husband left her wealthy… So Karen meddled. Every time Sheila had a gripe she’d get on the phone with her sister who would tell her exactly how right she was…
Amelia and Octavia…
That can’t happen…
After meeting Sheila, I couldn’t believe that none of the rest of the family had taken off for a well earned killing spree…
I guess it was going to be couples counseling… I couldn’t wait for Ame to leave… I… How long had Corbett been waiting?
I know we’ve been completely fucked for years, but if 6 months of counseling didn’t help…
I can’t do this… do that to my kids.
I’d leave the bureau and go back to the police department. Regular hours and custody of my boys.
And there it was… Eric tucks himself in for a mindfuck and I… I call my kids to remind myself why I do this shit.
“How was dinner?”
“Sookie’s brother is a God at the grill. Sookie made a great pie, but her mother was being a bitch.”
“Really? How could she not like Eric? He’s so calm.” Octavia must have left. She was being too docile… I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“Sookie warned us that she’s just nasty. It’s not that she didn’t like Eric. She was being a twat about Sookie moving on from her Ex. The dad and brother are great though. Really friendly.”
“At least there’s that. You get any work done?”
“Some. We have a witness to go interview if we can track her down tomorrow with everything going on.”
“Oh, yeah. A friend of this victim. There’s some church remembrance for her tomorrow. I’m hoping to catch her at home while she’s still doing that ‘bake for the wake’ thing.”
“Then you’ll end up back in Sookie’s kitchen again?”
“Most likely. It’s alright though. She gets the job.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Fuck. Here we go.
“Nothing. Just that she doesn’t mind losing part of her house to all the shit we have to do… She’s kind of helping us out.”
“She has a few tricks up her sleeve that have saved us a lot of legwork.”
“Oh. Legwork like…”
“Like constantly being in the car from one place to the next. It’s a small town and we’d have lost a couple hours just trying to track down the coroner. She found out we had to wait until Monday for him to get back from hunting with a phone call because her dad and the sheriff are fishing buddies.”
“Wow. Y’all must be in hog heaven. You’re going to get spoiled.”
“No kidding. It’s almost a shame the crime rate isn’t higher here. It’s nice. A little Podunk, but nice.”
“City boy? Is that you?”
“Eh. Don’t make fun. The witness we need to talk to knows Sookie… Already met Eric. Sookie went to high school with all TWO of the deputies. I’m starting to see the appeal.”
“You’re not eating chitterlings or pork rinds are you?”
“Nope. They haven’t ‘got me’. Are the boys still up?”
“No… they ate pizza until they crashed. I can hear them snoring from here. It was rainy all day though… just kind of a lazy day.”
“Shit. I promised I’d call to say goodnight. Leave ‘em a note so they don’t think I forgot them. If they wake up later, they can call me. We’ll be up late working.”
“Alright.” She probably wouldn’t.
“Thanks. I’ll call in the morning.”
I plugged in my laptop and poured a cup of coffee, still feeling like I had stones in my gut… I probably walked out 5 pounds heavier then when I got to the Stackhouse place.
I had just sat down when I heard the front door open…
And nearly shit my fucking pants when I spotted Sookie… holding hands with PAM! Pam? And they were both laughing…
Even better… Eric was bringing up the rear… smiling. Smiling?
Sookie had managed to get him out of his mood… Damn!
They came right into the kitchen so I didn’t have the chance to pinch myself or anything!
“Can I get you a drink Pam?”
“Cuba Libre?” She would want something like that.
“Coming right up… Boys? Want anything?”
“I have coffee, thanks.”
I watched her… she went to the cabinet over the microwave and started grabbing bottles… then the fridge to fill her arms the rest of the way… then out to the porch.
She made Pam’s Cuba Libre without asking what the fuck was in it, a pair of Black & Tans for her and Eric… and while she was stowing everything she got out, held out a bottle offering me some Bailey’s… twist my arm.
After she added the nip to my coffee, she pecked Eric’s cheek… “I’m going to get comfy and get into the iso-booth. Lemme know if you need anything.”
Pam waited for Sookie to be gone… “Iso-booth?”
Eric explained… “She goes to the bedroom and works with her ear buds in so she can’t overhear anything. What brings you all the way out here?”
“I have news that probably isn’t going to make you any happier than it made me… Shreveport’s field office doesn’t have a PTF, as you know. Well, now that The Vampire is working so far north, part of the New Orleans PTF is being transferred north. I am definitely going. And I make the order on who goes with me.”
“I’m volunteering. I was going to be putting in for a transfer on Tuesday anyway.” Oh damn. Fuck. I had a feeling… but I was still hoping Sookie would be the one to make the move.
I had to ask. “To get away from me?”
“No. To stay with Sookie. 350 miles makes things a little difficult.” That, I could deal with.
“Fine. Then you got me too. Who else volunteered?” Eric looked surprised as hell, but… we’d be the only guys on the PTF, I wouldn’t have to break in a new partner, and I already like it up here.
“No one. I was told that I could bring two and you are my first choice. This case is the primary reason for the shift and you two know it better than anyone.” Except Sookie.
“Not because you like us or anything.” She doesn’t, but it’s still fun to fuck with her… She only ‘likes’ us more than the other guys in the bunch because we work our asses off and don’t complain… to her anyway.
“Of course not.”
Eric kicked my leg. “Uh, Alc… Are you planning on commuting from New Orleans?”
“No. I’ll move.”
“With or without the family?”
Fuck. The wife. The boys would like it here, but I’d need a Gerber to get her fingernails out of my hide. Shitshitshit.
“You want to reconsider?”
“No. A transfer is a transfer. It probably would have come in the next year or two anyway.” Amelia had her heart set on Atlanta, but she’d have to deal with it.
“I know, I know. She’s going to be a bitch about it!”
“You sure?” She can fucking hate me anywhere.
“Yeah. I’m sure.”
He crossed his arms and sat back in his chair to stare me down.
“Don’t do that shit! Dick! I know that pose! I’m not going to change my story!”
He laughed at me, but kept the stare going.
Pam and Eric in the front of the house, Sookie in the back….
The yard was as good a place to get my ass chewed as any…
“They’re still asleep.”
“No. I know… Pam’s here.”
“Pam? In Bon Temps? Why?”
“She came up to break the news in person.”
There was a long pause on the other end. “News? Oh shit… What now? Another victim?”
“No… We’re getting transferred.”
“TRANSFERRED!? What the fuck do you mean transferred? Where the fuck… When… Oh Fuck! This is bullshit!…”
I probably could have put the phone down… as it was, I put my finger over the earpiece to muffle her conniption fit when I ran back in for my coffee and smokes…
And a little while later for another pack and my jacket…
And then a refill… the Bailey’s was just to keep me warm… that’s my story.
I barely got a word in other than explaining that it’s voluntary (which I’d get Eric to punch me in the dick for later) and to tell her that it’s just another town.
She hadn’t been any happier about leaving Dallas for New Orleans…
I must have been trapped in a hailstorm of verbal abuse mixed with anxiety and moving woes including money (which isn’t an issue) for over an hour.
I had no idea what Sookie had in mind when she came out and leaned over to listen in, but she was up to something.
I watched her leave me standing way out in her yard to go up to the porch…
“Alc!” Oh shit… We’re acting?
“Is that her? Is that Ame? Eric just told me!”
“Yeah.” I had no clue what the fuck was going on, but I was willing to do anything to get Ame to shut up.
Sookie squealed, running up to me. “LEMME TALK!! LEMME TALK!!”
I took a deep breath and held out my phone, hitting the speaker button.
“Ame! Aren’t you excited? We’re going to be neighbors! Are y’all going to live in the city… what have y’all worked out?”
“I don’t know. What’s the damn difference?”
“Well Shreveport is 45 minutes from Bon Temps…”
“I know. I Googled.”
Sookie rolled her eyes. “It depends on what you want… you could go with city living, suburbs… or the country… Eric’s planning on commuting.”
“45 minutes every day?”
“Says the drive in the morning will give his coffee the chance to kick in and the ride home will give him the chance to shake off the job… I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve been worried… the crime rate down there is so high with tourism… and he’s never off work… Oh My God… Alc’s hours will lighten up! He’d be home more. You gotta love that.”
“I guess. Since I won’t know anybody up there.”
“Oh, fuck that noise! I’ve lived here all my life! I have friends all over up here to introduce ya to!”
Ame was quiet… probably trying to figure out how to make my murder look like an accident. “How are the schools up there?”
“Good in general… Maybe I’m biased… but my school is the best. Highest public school scores in the state for three years now… OHMIGOD! Jack! He’s 8!”
“Yeah. 3rd grade. Why?”
Sookie bounced clapping and squealing again, now in full character. She was good… “If y’all pick life in the boonies, Tara would be his teacher! ALL 11 of her students LOVE her to death!”
“Eleven?” I wondered too.
“Last year she had 15… She’s the only 3rd grade teacher. Sam (Tara’s husband) could help y’all find a place. He’s the big realtor in the area.”
“Really? I was thinking it would take a few months.”
“Oh nooooo… Sam could… Hey! I have an idea! Y’all could be up here by lunch tomorrow… Sam could take you and Alc around to look at places… I bet you’ve got a hundred things to worry about… finding a house might help you get a little centered.”
“That might help me…”
“It’s a long move… a lot of stuff up in the air… If you don’t like Bon Temps, then Sam has a friend that services Cado Parrish… She could hook you up too. Me and Eric can sit with the boys to let y’all house hunt in peace. Y’all can stay the night… It’ll be fun and it’ll help you get the gears in motion.”
“You sure we wouldn’t be too much trouble. Alc and Eric have work to do.”
“Oh nonsense! I love company. I’ll have Pam bust there humps to get them on the ball tonight and in the morning until y’all get here… Between you, me and the fly on the wall, Pam making the guys stay here is bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the time with Eric, but they didn’t really have enough to do to justify keeping Alc from you guys all weekend. She just didn’t want to fill out extra travel claims.”
“You catch on pretty quick.” I nodded. Pam would do just about anything to avoid paperwork.
She giggled. “I try… What do’ya say? You coming to see me?”
“Is Alc still around?”
“I’m right here.”
“You think you can get your work done so we won’t be in the way?” No. Fucking. Way.
“It’ll be fine.”
“I guess I’ll go start packing some overnight bags. We’ll leave when the boys get up, grab breakfast before we hit the road. Want me to bring anything of yours?”
“Since I’m stuck til Monday, a fresh suit and some jeans and Ts would be great.”
“Alright. I guess I’ll get a move on.”
“Ok. I’ll see you in the morning. Text me when you leave so I know when to expect y’all.”
Sookie had her hand up for a high 5, but that didn’t quite cover it.
I grabbed her for a hug. “I should have come to get you an hour ago when her head detonated!”
She laughed. “It doesn’t worry you that your boy is marrying a manipulative bitch?” Not while she’s using her powers for good instead of evil.
“Nope. Nice job on calming his ass down earlier too… How’d you do it?”
“Awww. Shit! TMI!” I set her down… trying to shake off more shit I didn’t need floating around in my skull.
She laughed again, patting my cheek. “You’re a Federal fucking Agent! You should know how to word a question! Dayum!”
After I was done bragging on Sookie for handling Amelia like she hadn’t been nuclear, Sookie announced that she found a lead in the Company records…
Sookie pulled up his keystrokes and got into his cell phone account and started going through, one number at a time. Helping where she could… like she hadn’t already been helpful as hell.
Eric and I started digging through the Pickens woman’s emails and accounts while Pam set off on her mission to have Twining mounted to her dashboard like a bobble-head… rather than touching the first byte of info we were dealing with.
At just about 2, Sookie took Pam upstairs to tuck her in. But I couldn’t help but picture Pam being more comfy under the bed… snuggled up with Pennywise.
“She’s one hell of a handler.”
Eric nodded. “Yeah. Pam’s a peach.”
“If I hear her laugh one more time, I’m going to start stockpiling can goods and listening for trumpets.”
“I’m right there with you. While you’re at Sam’s Club, I’ll build some bunks for the root cellar.” He already had his sense of humor back.
“She handled you too.”
“Corbett needs a free pass.”
“To beat on his wife? No shit.”
We both rolled our eyes when we heard Sookie and Pam bust out laughing again.
“Can I mention how crazy it is that Sookie isn’t completely fucked up?”
He finally looked up from the loner laptop Sookie gave him. “That’s what I thought. She didn’t ever mention the rape or how horrible her mom is… I never would have guessed. She’s nowhere near the profile.”
“Ok. So it’s not just that I’m retarded.”
He shrugged. “Well…”
“No. It’s not just you. It’s like Sheila doesn’t exist unless she’s right there.”
“Like a fart.”
He started laughing. “Leave it to you.”
“You know I’m right… Everything was great until she snuck up and ruined everything.”
He laughed harder.
“SBD. Silent But Deadly.”
“Knock it off!”
“You know she’d been creeping around lurking… waiting for the perfect opportunity… then we didn’t know what hit us.”
“You’re being a child.”
“Bar fart. 4 or 5 shots… enjoying the buzz… you start back to hit the head… and you walk behind some old geezer at the bar and get hit… WHAM!… instant sober… you gotta start all over again.”
“Ok. I get it.”
“That’s what it was like though… I was having a good time until she stunk up the joint… Not like a fart at a funeral.”
He started laughing through his nose. “Do I want to hear this?”
“Funerals fucking suck in general… but I was at one… I was in boot and one of the Drill Sergeants had a heart attack… guns, bagpipes, you get the gist… didn’t even know him and it was depressing as hell… some asshole ‘let one’ and let me tell you… the heat and humidity… we were all in uniform. We were either trying to not gag or not laugh. That fucking thing hung around for a while too… You gotta try really hard to make a funeral worse. A fart like that will do it.”
He shook his head, but I could tell he was trying to not ‘encourage’ me. “You hit your word limit.”
“After midnight. They rolled over.”
“Nope. You used up today’s too.”
We were making fun of Pam again by the time Sookie came back.
“I really like her. She’s funny.”
Her mom, Pam… shit maybe she could do something with Ame… As long as she didn’t get Ame listening to whatever punk shit she started playing from her computer.
“Herveaux, do you have an iPod with you?” She knew I did.
She rolled her eyes, but she was grinning. “Because I don’t mind having company, but I mind trying to be quiet. Shut the door on your way out.”
Fuck! The iPod question was a hint for me to get out… TMI.
I nearly killed myself getting tangled up in my power cord, trying to get the fuck out of Dodge.
I took my shit back out to the kitchen and spent about 10 minutes working before I had a ‘fuck this’ epiphany… Why the hell should I be the only one to stay up all night with this shit?
I set my laptop up to charge on the dresser again and snuggled up with my iPod.
The last thing I did was check my phone to see nothing.
I’d managed to dose off for a couple of hours before the pot of coffee I had woke me up. I was afraid to take my ear buds out…
I was coming out of the bathroom when I ran into Sookie in the hall… dressed.
Earbuds, out. “Where the fuck are you off to at 5?”
She smiled. “Supply run.”
“You went to the store twice yesterday.”
“Yeah, but I have kids coming to the house. Unless you think they want hot wings and boilermakers for lunch, I need juice and goodies.”
“It might make them easier to babysit.”
She giggled. “A) a lil nyQuill won’t cause liver damage or an upset stomach and B) if you want me to rub off on the wife, I think I should start in the kitchen.”
“I haven’t complained about her cooking.”
She smirked and shook her head on the way down the hall. “You don’t have to, Sweetie. I’ve seen you eat. I’ll be back in a bit.”
Note to self: Don’t ever play poker with that woman. Period.