Chapter 1: Tests

Life & Death

Tests

***

It wasn’t so much that she was climbing back into bed that woke me up. It’s that she smelled like mouth wash.

I rolled over and snuggled up to her. “Hon, did you just get sick again?”

“Yea. I guess dinner didn’t sit so well with me.” Bullshit.

“Sookie…”

“Eric, don’t nag. I’m fine. There’s a stomach bug going around school.” Not since Thanksgiving there hasn’t been.

“I’d stop nagging if you let me take you to the doctor.” Three fucking weeks. For 3 fucking weeks she’s been getting sick and feeling like shit.

“So she can tell you that I have a stomach bug?”

“Yes. After all the antibiotics and steroids and pain killers you were on, the fact that you were stabbed with broken glass and dragged across a dirty floor in a florist shop… you could have anything wrong. It would make me feel much better to know it’s just a bug. Please.”

“Are you worried because you researched it or because you haven’t?”

“Because I have.”

“And?”

“Nausea, dizzy spells, light sensitivity, headaches… all of them are symptoms of kidney problems. The steroids and pain killers can both cause it.” Kidney and liver failure, fungal infections from the florist… something that didn’t show up in the lab work earlier…

“You’re a pain in my ass. I don’t have time… We don’t have time for hypochondria. We leave for New York TO-MOR-ROW. The Christmas program is tonight, packing, closing up the house, making sure we have everything…”

“It’s only an hour, Hon. If it’s nothing, you get to rub my nose in ‘I told you so’ and we’ll just see if Amy can recommend a better vitamin or something for your stomach. If something is wrong, then putting it off is a bad idea no matter what.”

“If Amy says that everything is fine, are you going to start looking for another opinion?” Shit.

I huffed. “Not now, I won’t.”

She laughed. Brat. “Fine. I’ll make breakfast. You see if she can squeeze me in.” Finally!

“Since you won’t eat, don’t bother. How about I grab something quick and then once your stomach settles, we can eat out?”

“Why is it that every time you get your way, you do something sweet to make up for it?”

I smiled and kissed her forehead. “Because… I’m a God.”

She laughed into her pillow. “You are not allowed to use anything I say while we’re having sex against me.”

“Oh, see… now I’m hurt.”

“I didn’t say it isn’t true, just that you can’t use it against me.”

**

I was sharing a muffin with Tippy when Sookie came in, looking much better since her shower.

She leaned over to kiss me and Tippy hopped up to her shoulder. Damn turncoat.

“Have you checked your phone for messages?”

I pulled it back out so I could go down the list. “Rene said that he’d help the pilot load the boxes on the plane in the morning when it lands. I got a text from Marnie that Smom and Dad were driving her nuts and warned me that they’d probably call again today.”

“What about Rachel?”

“She’s convinced that Aurora will somehow fuck everything up if she tells her that she and Lexi are with us… But Lexi is excited to order a ‘coke and a slice’.”

She smiled. “Frannie’s just as excited. She misses the food from the city. She might eat out every meal.”

“Had needs to stop mooing at her. She’s allowed to eat. She’s pregnant.”

Sookie snickered and pinched a piece of muffin for Tippy. “No. Had needs to stop mooing because now that the Junior Bump is visible, Fran’s going to think she’s getting fat.”

“So… did you get any messages?”

“Bubba asked if we needed anything last minute and Alc wanted to make sure… again if we were sure a puppy wouldn’t be too much to deal with. So I called Bubba to get him to track down a roll of sod to make a puppy potty on the terrace.”

“You know, I’m going to shoot him, right?”

“No you won’t. You’re giving him a break because you know he’s freaking out about his first Christmas with the boys.”

“Well, that’s what’s kept him alive so far… You ready to head out? Amy’s nurse said that it’d be no problem squeezing you in.”

Eye roll. “Ready when you are. You gonna to put the Diva in time out?”

“Yes! Little shit mutilated four pieces of fruit and broke as many ornaments last night.”

Sookie giggled and turned her head to kiss Tippy. “He had it coming didn’t he? He locked you out again.”

I scowled at both of them. I had a very good reason to lock her out… Hunter had taught Tippy to say ‘bow-chicka-wow-wow’. She only said it when she was jealous and it sounded more like ‘brown chicken brown cow’. It was more than a little distracting. After I put her out of the room last night, she sat on the floor just outside our door and called me a ‘meanie’ and ‘cried’. Damn bird was more spoiled than ever… It was nice to have her back.

**

The receptionist greeted us by calling out to a nurse to come fetch Sookie. Without hesitation, the door to the back swung open and we were led through the maze of hallways to the nurses station.

Weight: 103… she’d lost 4 pounds.

Temperature: 99.4… not quite a fever.

Blood pressure: 110 over 70… elevated for her

I was more than a little alarmed that in addition to a urine specimen and 7 vials of blood I overheard one of the nurses mention to the other that Amy had asked for a white cell count. Fuck. Fuck fuck.

Reading about kidney and liver function on the fucking internet nearly gave me a heart attack… screening for cancer? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

No no no… Gran… Shit. Gran died of cancer. Oh dear God, no.

The next hour and 12 minutes… no shit, I counted… each second…

Sookie flipped through three magazines, reading the occasional item she found interesting while I paced. Normally, we’re dorks like that. Shit. Her homepage is Google and mine is Yahoo just so we have different newsy shit to chatter about… like I said: normally, we’re dorks like that… But I could break away from… the nightmare.

I paced enough that I noticed. Haldol. On the rocks. Make it a double…

I was losing my shit.

Fucking cancer screening? Shit.

I tried to distract myself… trying to get angry at Sookie for being so calm… it didn’t work… trying to twist it so that I can be angry that she was so confidant she would get to say ‘told you so’…. Yeah. That didn’t work either… cancer? NO.

At the one hour mark, give or take, I actually started to deteriorate.

One hour…

60 minutes…

360 seconds…

360 degrees…

A circle…

The circumference of a circle is the diameter times pi.

Pi.

Pi equals: 3 point 14159… 26… 53… 56… no. 58… 9793… 2384…

I felt the light knock on the door in my chest.

Amy came in, clipboard in hand and Sookie raised an eyebrow at me when I leaned against the wall. I didn’t realize that my pacing was bothering her until she gave me a grateful look for stopping.

Shit.

Amy Burley M.D… holding the fucking answer in her clipboard with an unreadable fucking smile on her face. A very punchable smile. It was almost like she was taunting me.

FUCK.

She put the clipboard on the counter next to the sink and took the otoscope from the wall checking Sookie’s ears… then throat. “Well, Ms… Mrs… Hey, are you actually going to change your name this time?”

Sookie smiled at her. “Yes. Juniper is getting the shaft. Sookie Stackhouse Northman.”

“Alright then, Mrs. Northman… That feels funny.” FUCKING GET ON WITH IT!

They giggled together, not noticing that I was inside out… raw. “I like it. Get used to it.”

Amy stuck her tongue out. “Fine. Do you want to hear the part that you are wrong or that Eric is right first?”

Ohhhhh God. Fuck. NO!

I froze and the grin left Sookie’s lips instantly. “What? But…”

“It’s not a stomach bug, something is going on… Your headaches and dizzy spells and photophobia… it’s all because you’re anemic.”

Anemia…

Anemia is a symptom of… fuck…

Infection, kidney failure, liver failure… cancer too. FUCK!

No no no….

Sookie looked confused. “So I guess I’ll buy some iron supplements while we’re out.”

I watched Amy give Sookie a HUGE bottle of pills as she shook her head. “Nope, you’ll need these… So as it turns out… it’s a very good thing Eric made you come in before you went off and partied your drunk asses off in New York.”

‘Drunk’?… Shit, her liver?

Could still be kidneys….

Shit.

Sookie was still examining the bottle of pills and finally shoved them through the air at me. “Amy! You said…”

“I know, I know. I’m sure it was working… Until you started taking a pharmacy worth of drugs that interfere. Eric said that you were on prednisone, penicillin and promethazine?”

I got jack shit from the bottle. It was a multi-vitamin. It had a list of values. Shit loads of iron and folic acid…

Done trying to figure it out. “Would someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?”

Amy tilted her head and the smile she had on her face wasn’t sympathetic, but it was close. “When you got her medicine from the pharmacy, I’m going to bet that no one mentioned interactions?”

“No. Why?”

“Because Depo Provera is a fragile thing.”

“Her meds after the attack caused something… because she’s on the shot?”

She swapped looks with Sookie and then snickered. “Eric, don’t worry. It’ll go away on its own in nine months.”

Nine months? Nine mon… nine?… “NO!”

“Yes sir. You’re holding Sookie’s prenatals.”

“NO!”

“Yeah. It’s a common problem with ER visits. They don’t know and neither does the pharmacy… If I had been the prescribing doctor, I’d have told you guys to take extra precautions.”

“I told them though. I told that asshole… Joe… that she was on Depo.”

She shrugged. “Then he dropped the ball assuming that the pharmacy would pick it up.”

“A baby?”

She nodded. “Sookie, when was your last period?”

She closed her eyes trying to remember. “May. No… yeah May… That’s why I like the shot!”

Amy nodded again. “Since there’s no cycle to go on, we’d have to use the symptoms to guess until you can get in for an ultrasound. Late August, early September. I’d guess about 4 weeks along. The trauma and resulting meds are probably more responsible for the anemia than the pregnancy. Every other bit of blood work came back perfect. The morning sickness will go away on its own once her hormones equalize.”

“Morning sickness? She’s pregnant?”

She patted my arm. “I’m going to give you two some privacy. You can leave when you’re done. Congrats guys.”

Not kidney failure…

Not liver failure…

Not an infection…

Not cancer…

A baby.

“Sookie, say something. I don’t… I’m having trouble… The nurse said they were checking your white count and I spent the last hour shitting my pants about cancer.”

“I spent the last hour reading because you were making me dizzy. I was getting pissed at you for overreacting. I’m sorry.”

“I need something to go on.”

“Did you catch that I’m pregnant?”

“Yeah… Yeah, I caught that.”

“If you hadn’t handled me to get me here, I would have spent the next two weeks drunk.”

“Sookie, how are we…”

“You’re going to be a daddy.”

I… Fuck… how the fuck did… son of a bitch. “There goes waiting.” We wanted to wait. We wanted to wait to make sure we didn’t drive each other insane. We wanted to wait to make sure we weren’t just high on each other. We wanted to wait until I was settled into the new office. We wanted to wait…

“Eric?

“Yeah?”

“Do you even realize that you’re smiling?”

Fuck. I was. Not just a smile… My fucking face hurt. What the fuck is wrong me? “Sookie, I was scared… terrified. I thought you were sick.”

She slid off the exam table and came over to wrap her arms around me. “But I’m not. I’m healthy and we’re going to be parents.”

“Holy shit.”

“Well?”

“I don’t know. You fucking start. I was in the negative… I’m still swimming in the fact that you’re ok.”

“I’m excited. I’m retarded and I own that, but I’m thrilled.”

Shocked. “Really?”

“Yup. I know we were being smart and waiting a little while to make sure we ‘make it’. But ever since our ‘scare’ and you said that you wanted to wait a year, I’ve been looking forward to the year being up.”

I had been too, but… “We’re going to be parents.”

She tilted her head back and showed off her dimples. “Sooner than we planned, but… we’re going to have a baby.”

I’m going to be… I’m going to be a father. Holy fucking shit. “We’re going to have a baby.”

Repeating it didn’t make it seem any more real.

**

She wasted no time.

As soon as we were in the car, she was on my lap and planting an excited kiss on me. Damn. I’m going to be a dad. We’re going to have a baby.

“You want to make a big announcement in New York?”

She stared at me for a minute before a different kind of smile started spreading across her lips. “No. Call Smom and Dad.”

“Why my parents?”

She shrugged. “Because this is their first grandbaby. Daddy’s already gotten the news twice. They get dibs.”

I laughed and pulled out my phone, when she gave me an impatient look…

“Hello?”

“Hey Smom…”

“Jim! Get the line. It’s Eric… We were about to call you. I need to talk to you about something.”

Uh oh. “What’s up?”

“Well… After Thanksgiving me and Dad started thinking… We’d really like to be closer to ya. Would you mind if we moved out there?”

Choke. They’d settled in San Diego when Dad retired because they hated moving as much as I do. “You want to move?”

I heard Dad pick up and fuss at her, “Thanks for waiting for me, Deb.”

She ignored him. “When you were assigned to New Orleans, we thought about moving back east… somewhere like South Carolina to be closer to you kids. But we figured that even if we did that, we’d still have to fly to see either of ya… Now that Marnie is with us and you’ve settled down…”

Dad cut her off. “Just say no, if you don’t want us to kid, but we’d really like to be close by.”

Huge lump in my throat… Sookie’s eyes had misted up… Fucking crazy… and it wasn’t even 9 am yet. “I’d really like that. Why bring it up now though? We’re going to see you in a few days.”

“Well… Ok… Don’t kill me… As soon as your Dad agreed, I called a real estate agent. I figured we’d see if we’d have any luck selling this house before we got our hopes up. The market out here is still really soft… We got an offer on the house last night.”

Sookie squealed and bounced, clapping her hands. “When!?”

“Probably late January.”

Sookie got so excited that she hugged my neck and kissed me.

Dad cleared his throat, “Wait… you called us… is everything alright?”

I had to wait until Sookie pulled herself away to answer. “Everything is great… especially since you guys will be all settled by the time the baby is born.”

There was nothing at the other end. Sookie snickered into my neck, but other than that, the first noise we heard was Smom sniffle… then Dad clear his throat.

Smom blubbered, “A baby?”

Sookie took over. “I’ve been under the weather since right after the holiday, I figured that I was just too busy or getting a stomach bug from school. Eric was worried enough that he took me to the doctor. We’re due in early September.”

I added, “You told us to hurry up.”

Smom laughed through all of her snot and Dad cleared his throat a few more times, but they stayed quiet.

They were starting to worry me. “Are you two alright?”

Smom was blubbering audibly, leaving Dad. “We couldn’t be better, son. How are you two? You said you were waiting. What happened?” His voice cracked. My father was crying, or at least close to it.

“The medications she was on after the attack messed with the birth control and no one told us they would… but we’re both… excited. Really excited.”

Sookie added, “And it’s even better now that all of the baby’s grandparents will be on hand for spoiling.”

I could almost hear my father smiling. “How excited is Corbett? 3 grandkids in one year is a little crazy.”

“He doesn’t know yet. We called you first. We’re still in the parking lot of the doctor’s office.”

I’d given up on Smom. She was still weepy. Dad was quiet for a minute too before he cleared his throat again. “You planning on telling the Stackhouses together?”

“No. Probably just tell the meter maid and then field the phone calls one at a time until the rumor gets to everybody.” Sookie slapped my shoulder and started laughing.

“We’re going to be grandparents?”

…And he must’ve said it twenty more times before we made sure Smom was alright and got off the phone.

**

No sooner than Sookie announced ‘morning sickness be damned’ and declared that Cracker Barrel was the only place a pregnant woman could get a proper breakfast, I started to reel…

Not freaking out about the eventuality of being a father…

No. Over the past few weeks, I’d eaten, slept, breathed and shit worry. It was all gone now… lifting like a fog… clearing away…

One drunken conversation with Jason had haunted me. The discussion we had the night that he outed us…

The talk where he told me that it was normal for Sookie to not sleep when she was happy…

It echoed in my head. “…When she’s in a good mood she doesn’t sleep. It’s not like insomnia where the person wants to sleep and can’t. It’s like she doesn’t want to miss the good mood…”

I’d been terrified that she was having second thoughts about us or damaged more than she let on by the attack as much as I was anxious that she was sick.

I’m smart enough to understand that we’ve been increasingly busy, planning the wedding and keeping up with her usual schedule…

Our trip to Miami was amazing. If we were conscious, we were surfing or fucking. It was just the two of us. Sookie and Eric. I’d pretty much put my worries to bed… the worries that we might just be too busy to notice the little shit that could grate each other’s nerves… It was fucking phenomenal to be alone with her… No ‘buts’…

Meeting Rachel and Lexi was just as spectacular. The three of us got along like old friends from the get go and Lexi dragged me down the street to her friend’s house to introduce me. It was adorable… And I didn’t have any qualms about inviting them to the wedding, pending a visit to Bon Temps… that didn’t at all freak them out.

Decorating Center Square for Christmas took up the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving. Smom, Dad and Marnie helped and didn’t want to leave at the end of that visit either. The first time she got sick was the night they left again and she slept 10 hours that night…

Every Friday since then had been a big project with the COP program and topped off with a run of really demanding cheer routines because of the scouts coming to check out her girls. The aches and pains would usually stick with her for the whole weekend. During which she would go out to visit with Tom and come home completely spent. He’d asked her months ago to stop visiting. He didn’t want her to see him ‘like that’, but she refused to accept his detachment and continued once she learned that his health was deteriorating. She would always make a pie for him and sit at the foot of his bed while he belligerently ignored her. She’d come home still weeping and drained…

Even yesterday… Since we’ll be gone for a while, she went to see him, taking his Christmas gift. She’d bought him a horrible tie. It was a joke they’d shared for years… They’d heard that a tie was a good gift to give the father that has everything. He always gave her a stocking full of chocolates for the same reason. Girls like chocolates. When he was still well, he would wear the ridiculous $5 tie to the executive Christmas party with a designer suit. This year it was a Grinch tie… He was too weak to smile when she tied his tie under the collar of his pajamas. She sat in the car and cried for an hour holding the stocking until the chocolate had melted, sure that it was the last one she’d get.

Sookie and I dozed off watching a Rankin and Bass marathon after filling the stockings for her students. She was still moping as we made dinner and still refereed for Fran and Jason… they called her to complain about adjusting…

But still… It wasn’t me.

Selfish as it sounds, the amount of relief I got from that simple statement was all consuming.

She’d been sleeping more, not because ‘we’ had come down from our high, not because of the trauma of the attack, not because she was having second thoughts… not even because she was depressed about Tom’s poor health, although I’m sure that was weighing heavily in her mind… It was symptoms of the pregnancy… The anemia.

Even though Corbett had told me that she was like this when Gran was close, it hadn’t made me feel better, not that I would have been any less conflicted if it had improved my mood…

“Eric?… Yoooo hoooo…”

“Yeah?”

“Love, your food’s getting cold.”

I looked up and realized that Sookie was half way through her steak and eggs and mine were untouched, my coffee had even cooled. I’d been on autopilot.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah… yeah. I’m fine.” I unwrapped my silverware and started cutting into my food.

“You’re a bad liar. Really… what’s up? Are you freaking out?”

“No… I’m… no…”

“Then what?”

“I’d been worried that you were having second thoughts… you’ve been sleeping a lot. Jason told me that you don’t sleep much when you’re happy…”

She smiled at me. Instant mood lifter. “You haven’t even gotten to the baby stuff yet, have you?”

I shook my head, chewing a mouthful of cold eggs. “Not yet.”

“You want to kick Jas in the nuts, or do you want me to do it?”

I almost laughed. “No. I was mind fucking myself. It wasn’t his fault.”

“Why haven’t you said anything? You could have talked to me about it.”

“I guess I was afraid of the answer.”

“You’re ok now? With a reason? Knowing that I’m sleeping because of the anemia and that I’ll be back to my old self soon so that you can fuss at me for doing too much, right?”

I smiled at her. “Yeah, I think so.”

“Good. ‘Cause we’re having a baby.”

I smiled again, in spite of the cold hash browns. “Yeah, we are.”

“And you aren’t freaking out.”

“No. I’m excited, unless she looks like you… then I’ll need more guns.” And guard dogs… and land mines… and a tank…

She threw her head back and laughed. “Oh, you’ll be fine! He’ll look like you and I’ll be the one on high alert.”

**

Just like that, my mental tires hit grit and I finally had a solid thought.

I’m going to be a father. It finally stuck. Not in the shock value of just finding out. This time it felt real. Like I wasn’t watching it happen to someone else.

I was even letting myself get excited about it.

Holy shit.

**

Sookie’s breakfast turned out to be an excuse to shop for more Christmas ornaments and decorations in the retail part of the restaurant.

Ornaments and candles and stocking stuffers for Jack, Carm and Lexi… She found a coffee cup for Alc that should come with a weight belt…

And I found a few items for Corbett…

Target yielded several more bags worth of decorations and stocking stuffers and gift wrap…

PetsMart was responsible for filling the back seat. We needed a carrier for the puppy and Tippy… beds, snacks, toys and food… hypoallergenic shampoo for the dog so that my Dad’s allergies aren’t too bothered… and stockings for both pets ‘from Santa’…

We stopped at the church and dropped of the annual Stackhouse purse… the money for the Christmas dinner and stockings for the attendees…

We snuck into the school so that Sookie could make sure the AV Club had done everything right…

Then we tracked down Corbett at the office.

**

When we walked in, the receptionist greeted us with a smile and told us to ‘go ’head back’.

Corbett and Jason were standing at the computer arguing over fertilizers for next spring. “What the hell are y’all doing here? Don’t you have better things to do?”

Sookie looked up at me and cringed. I took that as a chicken shit moment and laughed at her. I tossed a Cracker Barrel bag to Corbett. “Just saying ‘hi’. We found something for your grandkids when we stopped for breakfast.”

He laughed when he pulled out a onesie with ‘Built Ford Tough’ on the front. He was still amused when he pulled out the second one…

When he pulled out the third one, he only spent about a second looking confused.

“NO!”

I laughed. “That’s what I said.”

“NO!”

Sookie was blushing when she started giggling. “He said it twice too.”

“HOW?!…”

I cleared my throat trying to not laugh. “Well, when a man and a woman…” Jason started laughing and Sookie backhanded me in my ribs.

“Fucking wise ass! Not ‘how’ how!”

“All the shit she was put on after the attack… yeah, no one told us that it’d fuck with Depo.”

“SERIOUSLY?”

Sookie smiled at him, nodding. “Seriously. Daddy, you’re gonna have three grandbabies by the beginning of September.”

He might as well have jumped over his desk. He was hugging her so fast… “Dad, I wouldn’t do that. She has a full stomach.”

He let her go and attacked me instead. God damn, he’s strong… “All my kids?! All of my kids got their shit together at the same time. Fuck if I ain’t the happiest mother fucker… September?”

We nodded. Sookie was slightly green from being shaken and I wasn’t breathing because of Grampa’s death grip.

He set me loose eventually giving Jason a turn. “You finally got her to the Doctor?”

“Yeah. She’s anemic and the getting sick… all part of the pregnancy. Otherwise she’s fit as a fiddle.”

“What did your folks say? You told them, right? Deb’ll shit!”

“She might have waterlogged the phone with snot.”

“I fucking bet she did! How’d Jim take it?”

I cleared my throat, and let Sookie explain. “He cried quietly.”

“How’d you tell ‘em?”

She giggled. “They were about to call and ask Eric if he minded having neighbors because they want to move to town… All the baby’s grandparents will be in one place.”

“You know they’re gonna be fucking rotten as hell, right? All three of them hit the grandparent lotto! The four horsemen, Linda, and yours will have Deb and Jim… Shit! I gotta call the guys!”

As Corbett bolted behind his desk, Jason nudged me. “Didn’t I tell y’all to use Kevlar?”

“Prick.”

“Feel better?” I’d told him on Monday night how worried I was… It was another bad night for the football pool… we had to lean against each other to help Alc with the dishes at halftime.

“Much.”

He gave my shoulder a slap and we stood there and listened as Alpha spread the word to Terry then Dermot then Bravo. I found myself relieved that we hadn’t told them in person. They were all just as excited as Corbett.

**

Because of the extra stops, and even though I carried Sookie past the baby department at Target, we were running late. But we still managed to pull into our driveway right after Alc. He’d come straight from Bossier City with the puppy.

Plan: We take the puppy with us. Corbett forfeited his private suite (since he isn’t a couple at the moment) to Alc and Had (who were, finally) and they would hide the puppy once they got to New York.

When he opened the door to his truck, the puppy leapt out and used his face as a break when his landing gear didn’t work. He ran right over to the closest tree and cocked his leg then went to sniffing around the yard.

“He’s really stupid.”

I laughed at him. “He’s just a puppy, asshole. Were the adults well behaved?”

He shrugged. “I guess. The stud kept his muzzle in my nuts the whole time I was there.”

“Heroine?”

“Had.”

“Same thing.” He’d called me pussy whipped.

He hit my arm. “Watch it.”

I raised my eyebrows at him. “No.”

Sookie came over, getting licked to death by the puppy and poked my ribs. “You’ll have to excuse him. He’s in a better mood than usual.”

Alc snorted. “Why? Quinn get hit by a truck?”

I laughed… the mental image was more amusing than I should admit. “No, but thanks for the instant therapy… Sookie’s pregnant.”

“No fucking WAY!”

“Yeah. Happy accident. I talked her into going to the doctor before we left. The ‘stomach bug’ is morning sickness.”

He cringed away from the dog’s tongue to give Sookie a kiss and slapped me five… then started laughing… “Can we bring shotguns to the wedding?”

He got a unified, but laughing, “NO!”

**

When we walked inside, Tippy did her usual  ‘lemme out, lemme out’ until she spotted the dog. “Ooooh nnnnno!”

I argued with her. “Oh yes. Get over it.”

She turned around on her perch. Cold shoulder. Anyone who wanted to tell me ‘birds don’t understand’ could kiss my ass.

Fuck it. She’d forgive me when she saw the high ceilings and panoramic of the city.

Sookie grabbed a beer for Alc and me and smiled at her bottle of lemonade as we let the dog sniff around… he zeroed in on Tippy’s cage and we all laughed at ‘stop that, stop that’ as he sniffed and snorted.

“So did you find everything?”

Sookie smiled at him. “Bed, food, treats, toys, leash, collar, tags, crate… everything.”

“He doesn’t have a name yet. How’d you do tags?”

Sookie giggled. “I put your name and number on them.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Thanks.”

“Hey! If he gets away from us in the park, we have to have a way to get him back.”

**

Finally used to the open door policy, Drew came in announcing himself and stopped dead in his tracks. “Great scot! This is MADNESS… more beasts?”

Alc held his hand out for a five and, as per the usual, Drew took his hand and kissed it. Sweet baby Jesus, save me. Drew and Jason in the same place, under the same roof for a week… Bullets… I need to pack extra bullets.

“Santa is bringing him for Jack and Carm. He’s the same kind of dogs police use.”

Drew leaned forward, eyebrow raised suspiciously. “Drugs or bombs?”

“Ex-wives.”

“Ah! Very well then!… Well played. Let me know how that works. I might consider getting my own.”

He bowed dramatically and thanked Sookie in advance for a ‘sweet tea with lemon’… she’d turned him. He got a fresh manicure every time he ate fried chicken or ribs with us, but… he was making baby steps to being ‘Americanized’ even if he was calling it ‘De-evolutionized’.

He tilted his head slightly when she handed his drink to him. “You look… you seem like you’re feeling improved.”

She nodded. “Eric made me go to the doctor this morning.”

He wiggled his head at her. “And your temperament has improved due to learning that you’re head over heels for me! Bravo!”

“Well, there’s that… and I’m pregnant.”

His face went white, limp, slack jawed… “Is it mine?”

She laughed and kissed his cheek. “No, no… you can’t knock me up in your dreams.”

“BLAST! Bloody Hell! I tried though. That should count for something.”

She laughed on her way out to the porch to collect laundry. “Of course it doesn’t.”

**

After an hour of mind numbing discussion about the 4 active cases we were working on, I finally closed the door behind them to go search out Sookie in her busy work. We hadn’t unloaded the car, since we didn’t really need to, except for grabbing the smaller bag of dog food… But I had heard the front door open and close several times while we worked.

Sookie smiled up at me from the desk. The puppy was on the floor, sleeping at her feet and Tippy was napping in her lap. Spoiled.

Yes, I was jealous.

“I thought they’d never leave.”

I smiled at her. “What have you been up to?”

“I packed. You need to look through your bag and add whatever you want, but I got most of your basics and our dressy stuff.”

Sweet. “Thank you.”

“It wasn’t a sacrifice. It was a distraction. I wanted to grab my laptop and go baby shopping.”

“We aren’t adding on to the house again are we?”

Her eyes grew like she was inspired, but when I cringed she started giggling. “No sir. I need to be put on a leash.”

“So if you were packing, why did you go outside?”

“Ahhh… because Mrs. Claus needed you to be distracted.”

“Oh, really?”

She smiled at me slyly. “Just because, we’re getting married doesn’t mean I’m not allowed a few secrets.”

“As long as our mothers aren’t in the trunk, I’m fine with that.”

“What if they weren’t breathing?”

“Ok… got me there, but what did I tell you?”

She pouted at me and used her mopey voice. “That you cant hide a body when the ground is this cold.”

22 thoughts on “Chapter 1: Tests

  1. Love it and I love all the new developments. Baby obviously….

    Love that Tippy is home, love that Alc and Had are together, love that Dad and Smom are moving to LA. Great way to start off the new story.

    Thanks again – love your work!!!

  2. Awww!! What great start, I just love the family being together. I was rereading ss and I was gonna ask about Tippy! Can’t wait to see what’s instore for these folks. I pretty much live vicariously through your stories=)

    Serenity

  3. perfect you know I was so upset about Saints ending I almost missed this…LOL…poor Eric I felt so sorry for him when they were in the doctors office but it all worked out…and a baby…yeah

  4. LOVE it! You’ve definitely got me hooked. You’re a great writer. I have to say, I’m glad that Eric got Tippy back. It’s definitely fun to read about her. Three pregnant women and all those babies are going to be so much fun…I can’t wait. Keep up the excellent work.

  5. Great start to what will be an awesome sequal! I thought I was going to go into SS withdrawals but now I can continue my addiction with LD. Thank you for sharing your wit, sarcasm and all around fuckery with us.

  6. Fabulous start! Oh, you even had me going there with Eric panicking over all the lab tests and him thinking it might be cancer. That would be too cruel! I should have realized with all the meds she’s on that something would have interfered with the Depo…and since they were both actually disappointed about the ‘scare’, this fits in well.

    I didn’t expect Smom and Dad to move there, but am very glad you have them doing so! New York is going to be crazy and I can’t wait to read more! Again, Drew just cracks me up. And Tippy and the puppy? Hilarious!

  7. You are just fantabulous. I can see Eric being so worried about everything and the two of them being actually surprised by the news. Great start, enjoyed Alc wanting to bring shotguns. Can’t wait for more, you’re the best.

  8. i read your stories on fanfic first. i haven’t seen your stuff for a while so i ventured over here since i am a very big fan of your work. i ended up reading one of my very favorite stories again cause i couldn’t resist it but i was here checking for any new updates. love your stories love your writing one of my favorite ff writers. love tippie can’t wait to see what you throw in this story now that tippy is in the picture. so much fun. can’t wait for NY and the wedding. love everything.

  9. We need a new bad guy for Sookie and Eric to catch, with the help of their trusty sidekick Alcide of course

  10. So much for earlier comment that Sookie would know as the de facto sex ed expert that certain medications would interfere. Oh well.

    I think Hadley should have a girl; they have three boys between them, and I think Alc would be hilarious with a baby girl. But give them time first.

  11. How do you do it?? You can’t hide a body when the ground is this cold?? I love it.

    I was trying to think what exactly your book has that grabs me so much, and I finally decided, it’s how intelligent your writing is. It’s so real, especially the dialogue, you seem so well educated about the things you talk about – either that or you research like crazy…either way I wish I had an ounce of your talent.

  12. Oh! I loved the chapter. It was wonderful that you fit so much in opposed to Saints and Sinners that was a slow moving storie (doesn’t mean it wasn’t the best storie of all time)….I luv u mwah

  13. Reading it again and loving it just as much. I can just hear Tippy saying ‘oh noooooo’ – that was the face our dog got when we brought a new puppy home, she’d have been more upset if it had been a baby and I told her that 🙂

  14. I m so happy to have found this and love the story continuing. I think having Tippy around is going to be fun. The thought of E&S havng a baby is off the charts. I can’t even imagine Eric being there to hold the tiny baby in his big hands when it is born. I have a feeling he will be out of control and hovering to protect it. I can’t wait! I’m so happy that you are writing this. Thank you.

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