And Baby Makes Three
The phone was ringing. I was still snuggled up with Sookie, so it had to be early.
“mmmm. Sookie, hon, your phone.” When she rolled to get the phone, I looked at my watch. Who the fuck was calling at 5:30?
“mmmm. Hello?” Sookie pushed herself up and leaned against the headboard so I flopped my arm over her lap and snuggled into her side. And listened. Whoever it was, better have a good fucking reason for calling before dawn.
“News?… Yeah, well I’m in bed. Does that count as sitting down?… Hit me…” She gasped. “Are you sure?… A baby?… Really?…” That got my attention.
I looked up at her and she was smiling ear to ear. That was a good sign. For all the freaking out she said she’d been doing, this wasn’t what I expected.
“Do you know the due date?… Shit…. Awesome wake up!… No… he’s here, I’ll tell him… I’m so happy!… Yeah, bye.”
She slid down in the bed and her eyes were full when she gave me a big kiss. “I’m gonna be an Aunt!”
It took me a minute to switch gears. Not us? “Tara?”
She nodded and gave me another kiss before she stood up on the bed and stole the sheet and tore across the room and out the door.
I found a pair of sweats and started pulling them on to follow her. As opposed to lay naked and uncovered in an open room with kids in the house.
“Jas!… Jason!… Jas, get your drunk ass up!” She had bounced onto the couch behind his knees and was beating on his side.
“Jas, get up. Tara just called!”
He grunted as he sat up, rubbing his eyes. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
“Jason, she’s pregnant! She did a home test just a few minutes ago. She’s pregnant!”
The look on his face was priceless as he grabbed her and hugged her. “HOT DAMN!!! I’m going to be an UNCLE! Does she know when?”
“Her math says July.”
I smiled at them and went to start a pot of coffee so that they could have their moment. I kind of felt like an intruder. I also felt like a total asshole for not getting a fraction of that excited when I found out that Marnie is pregnant.
Sookie came up behind me and hugged my waist so I turned around. She was still crying. “Congratulations, Aunt Sookie.”
She was smiling so big that I could see she didn’t have wisdom teeth. “We didn’t think it was going to happen. They’ve been trying for 5 years.”
“Did they know why?”
“Yeah… Come on. Let’s go get our shower so I can start breakfast.” I didn’t like the way she glossed over the why, but it didn’t keep me from following her.
I hadn’t shut the door yet when she flung the sheet across the room and I couldn’t help but laugh when she did a little naked happy dance on her way to the bathroom.
She jumped under the water before it had the chance to warm up, which would explain why she is always so wide eyed in the morning. I brushed my teeth while I waited to see some steam. I’m not a complete idiot.
Sookie was still smiling when I stepped in behind her. She turned her back to me and then bent her knees to slide down my body and then back up again. Ungh.
“I never want to oversleep in again.”
She giggled and grabbed my hands, putting them around her waist. She tilted her head to the side and kissed me. “You’re too tall sometimes.”
She was swaying her hips, rubbing her ass against my dick. “Mmmmm… We manage.”
“We do more than manage. We fuck until we run out of sweat.”
It was getting to the point of my eyes rolling back every time her hips started to sway to the other side. “That’s not a bad thing.”
She moaned when I slid my hand up and started teasing her nipple… I grunted against her neck when she reached between us and grabbed me. Ffffuck.
She had me panting in seconds. My knees tried to buckle and I leaned forward, bracing myself against the wall. She giggled at my reaction and turned around to steal a long kiss, her amazing hand still making it hard for me to breath. Then… She dropped to her knees. Oh. Shit. Whatever I did to be so lucky… She licked and bit and nibbled and buried me until I nearly bit a hole in my mouth. Mmmm.
I grabbed her by the back of her neck and yanked her face up to mine. She met me with a smile and I grabbed both of her legs… In one perfect move, she grabbed me and lined us up, pushing onto me. Ungh. She clamped down right away, making it hard to move. She held my shoulders, leaning against the tile wall. She bucked and grinded against me. Panting and moaning, saying my name over and over. Mmmm. Ffffuck. She squeezed down so hard when she came, that she took me with her and I nearly dropped her.
She started laughing as she put her legs under her. “We need some hardware when we do the remod.”
I was still catching my breath, but I managed to smile. “What do you have in mind?”
“Oh-shit-grips for starters. A few strategically placed handles would be really helpful.”
“Oh really? Where?”
She grabbed the bar of soap and turned around. “LIft me up to the… right height.” She wiggled her eyebrows at me.
My interest had been peaked. I lifted her up nearly a foot to the ‘right height’ and she marked the wall with the soap.
“That should do it. Endless possibilities.” She stepped back under the water and gave me a wink.
“That would help our height difference, when we seem to need it the most.”
“And it’ll give you something to brace yourself on. You almost fell on me.”
I laughed. “That was out of my control.”
“You think the coroner’s report would read ‘suicide by cop’?” Funny.
We laughed and joked together until we were both done and I decided that I was serious about not wanting to oversleep again. Being with her in the morning was more fun than I would have thought since I’m not a morning person.
She’d gotten out ahead of me and by the time I was shaved and dry, she had stripped the bed and gotten dressed (sort of). She was wearing a baggy t-shirt and pair of yoga shorts and she’d laid out a pair of sweats for me.
“Bring your duds out to the kitchen. I’m firing up the steamer for my dress. I’ll get your wrinkles out too.”
Fuck. I forgot that I have to ‘represent the bureau’ today. I should have opted to have Pam do it. I nodded at Sookie who was still smiling brightly. “Ok. Thank you.”
“Pouting.” She winked at me as she walked out the door with an armful.
I heard her waking up ‘Team Herveaux’ while I was standing at the closet looking over 20 things I’d rather wear today. Yes, I was pouting that I had to dress up. For the record, I always hated going to church growing up too. The jacket and tie were off before the car was in gear. The same could be said for picture days. I huffed and grunted, still pouting, and finally settled on a grey suit with my dark blue shirt and tie. Like I cared which suit. They all suck.
While I moped the smells of breakfast cooking found their way to the back of the house. I finally pulled myself out of the grump I was in and made my way down the hall.
Again, I could tell she was cooking, but not what…
I tossed my outfit onto the washer over Sookie’s dress and… Straight to the pot of coffee so that I wouldn’t interrupt that Sookie and Jason were talking excitedly about the new Stackhouse on the way.
“You think they’ll find out if it’s a boy or girl? I want to start shopping.”
Sookie laughed at him. “You think they make newborn cleats?”
He smiled at her. “Maybe… I’ve seen newborn cheerleading uniforms.” He jumped up and went to her calendar to start counting. “Hey, if she was ovulating on the 1st, then she’s due the last week of July… He’d be a Leo like Sam.”
Sookie giggled. “Like it matters! The baby can be born a werewolf for all I care!”
“NO Sh… Kidding!” Watching their language. Still cute.
They both laughed and Sookie turned to include me. “Hey! Marnie’s baby will be the same age! When they’re older, they can have long visits with ‘Uncle Eric and Aunt Sookie’ during the summer!”
I smiled and gave her a kiss. “I wouldn’t bank on that. She’d probably be too afraid that the kid would go home ‘perfect’ to let it happen.” If she’s even pregnant.
“Oh… don’t be like that… she could be…”
“Just like your mother.” On that note, I pulled a chair out and sat down.
Jason’s eyes got wide. “Whoa! That’s a little much. Why bring her up?”
“Because Marnie is the most self centered, angry at everything for the sake of being angry… ‘witch’ I’ve ever known. I think if they were put in cells next to each other Marnie and Sheila could kill each other with pure meanness.”
He mouthed a ‘wow’ and looked like a rainbow trout doing it.
Sookie gave Jas a wide eyed look and nodded. “When she found out that we were engaged, she called him an… ‘a-hole’ and started with the middle child syndrome routine. She really did sound like Sheila.”
Jason started chuckling. “I guess that’s all the proof we need that every family has one… Hey sis, you got time to neaten me up before I get dressed?”
“You doing the bank today?”
“Yeah… suits in the truck.” Adding to my memo of things to ask about. ‘JB’… now Jason working at the bank?
She turned around and gave him a malevolent look. “Bring it in so I can get them with the rest of it. I can get to your trim in about ten.”
Once he bounced out of his seat, kissed her cheek and went out to his truck she started grumbling about a man his age asking his sister to tend to his clothes and hair instead of his wife. All I could do is laugh as she vented under her breath about Frannie and him being ‘romantically retarded’. She gave me a dirty look for thinking it was so funny and grabbed a fistful of my hair. Ungh.
“You could stand to have your ears lowered too, Mr. Northman.”
I cleared my throat. “Yes ma’am. Do you have time?”
She hummed an ‘mmmm hmmmm’ against my neck and gave me chills. When she was done toying with me she called Jack into the room. “Hey sweetie, I’m opening Sookie’s barber shop on the porch. Could you go let your Daddy know and get the green box out of the bottom of the hall closet? And get a move on, you and your brother still need to eat and pack your lunch.”
He was gone. Smiling and yelling after Alc.
“Sookie, is there anything I can do to help?”
She was pulling a bag of tortillas and a container of cheese out of the fridge and she used her hip to close it. She looked at me with a grin on her face while she thought about it. “No… Sweetie, I think I’m good. Your lunch is in the crockpot already, bread in the bread maker and I have about 15 minutes after I put the burritos together to cut hair and steam the wrinkles out of 3 suits and a dress.”
I started to laugh. “Do you even know how to do one thing at a time?”
She wiggled her eyebrows at me. “You.” Ungh.
“Oh! Come on! That’s mean.”
She licked her lips and gave me ‘that’ look as she walked past me to the stove. “I’ll stop until you admit that you like it.”
I got up and wrapped my arms around her waist while she worked. “Busted.”
She giggled and let me watch her put the breakfast burritos together.
“So, what did chef Sookie put together for our lunch today?”
“It’s supposed to be cold all day so I did chili. By lunch time the bread maker will have a fresh loaf of cheddar jalapeno bread for y’all.”
“You are too good to me. Have I said thank you?”
She hummed. “You’re very welcome.”
When she was done with her burrito assembly line, she backed up and pressed her ass against me as she slid the tray into the oven. Since we were alone, I gave it a slap. She bit her lip as she looked over her shoulder at me. I looked at the clock on the microwave and growled. It was 6:45. We didn’t have time for another round. Shit.
We managed to separate in just enough time to not get caught by Jack and Carm and she quickly spread everything out for them to start making their lunches. Today they both made ham sandwiches. That’s where the similarities ended. They both used a different cheese, different bread. Mustard v. mayo. Clementine v. banana. Cucumbers v. carrots. Corn chips v. Pringles. Pudding v. yogurt. They both picked a different flavor of juice box. It was fun to watch though. It was almost like a well orchestrated tactical strike and they had fun doing it. The boys put everything back in the fridge while Sookie wrote names on their bags for them and gave them a plastic spoon.
“Hey boys, where’s your daddy?”
“In the shower.”
I smiled over at Sookie while she steamed my shirt and she grinned back and gave me a wink as permission to fuck with my partner. I went over to the hot water heater and found that I had to contort to get to the pipe, but as quickly as I could, I turned the water off and waited. In about 30 seconds we all heard Alc yell ‘Oh shit!’ and started laughing. As quickly as I could, the hot water was back on and I waited a minute, letting him think it was a fluke. Then I turned it off again.
“You son of a… I’m going to kick your ass, Northman!”
We all started laughing again. I turned the water back on and thought about standing up and leaving it alone… NO. This was too much fun. I turned it off again and waited.
“Not funny!” He was still griping, but nothing we could make out.
I grabbed a chair and went out to the porch, getting ready for my haircut. Sookie giggled and dropped the steamer to wrap a towel around my shoulders, grab the spray bottle and start working to give me an alibi.
I don’t think I’d ever enjoyed a haircut so much in my whole life. She must’ve run her hands through my hair about a million times and I almost fell asleep. She could have given me a Mohawk for all I cared. She had just turned on the trimmers to get the back of my neck when Alcide filled the doorway and gave me a dirty look.
“You’re a dirty piece of shit. You know that right?”
“Shut up. Turnabout is fair play. You screwed with my shower yesterday.”
“So.” He started to laugh and went back into the kitchen, no doubt to plan what he was going to do to me tomorrow. That was fine with me. I had plans of my own.
Sookie gave me a pat on the shoulder and declared me ‘within regs’ and asked me to get the burritos out of the oven and start passing them out.
She had just called ‘next’ when her phone started ringing again.
Jason went out with it, looking puzzled. “Why’s Doc Burley calling ya?”
I froze. Shit. Shit. Fuck. Shit. Bracing myself.
Listening carefully… wishing I had better hearing. Slowly walking to the door and using the jamb to hold myself up.
“I’m great, how are you?…”
Her face was locked. Fuck! FUCK! She has GOT to stop doing that!
“Yeah… Ok… Really?… Thanks… You too. Bye.”
She hung up and tossed her phone to the pile of clothes on the washer. I couldn’t move and I wish I knew what I looked like, but I’m almost positive that I looked terrified.
She put her hand up and curled her finger, summoning me over to her and I was surprised that my legs worked since I couldn’t feel my body. She took my hands and laced our fingers together.
She was torturing me. She was staring up at me. Completely wiped. Nothing. Not a fucking clue of what she might have just found out… Shit.
“Well what?” She started to smile.
“Sure it is.”
“Sookie!” I actually stomped my foot like a child.
She let go of my hands and grabbed my ears, pulling me down and whispered. “It’s working.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “Really?”
She nodded and gave me a wicked smirk. “For real. We’re clear.”
I grabbed her hips and gave her a hug, probably squeezing her too tight, but she didn’t complain. I had forgotten that Jason was less than 10 feet from us until he started going off at the mouth.
“Can either one of you explain what the hell is going on? Sook, why’d Amy call you before 7 AM?”
She took a deep breath and stepped back and I leaned against the washer, letting her take the lead. “Me and Eric had an oops. She was calling to let me know that I’m not pregnant.” She pointed to the chair.
“Oh.” He plopped himself down in the chair and pulled his shirt off. “That’s a good thing?” Coming from the only soul to know about our ‘secret’, that was a stupid question.
“Yeah, Jas. It’s a good thing. It’s a little early to be baby crazy. We just moved in together. Settle down.”
“What if you were?”
“But I’m not.”
“Yeah… but what if you were?”
“Damn it, you butt munch. I’m not. If I had been then we would have managed. Everything would have been fine. We’d just rather wait a while. Is that ok with you?”
He snorted while she trimmed. “Yeah, I guess. How long you plan on waiting?”
She pulled the scissors away and slapped the back of his head… and went right back to clipping. “Not you. Shut up.”
“Why not? I’m just asking.”
“YOU don’t get to be a busy body because you bit my head off last night. Putz.”
“I’ll call Frannie if you tell me.”
Sookie stood back and stopped cutting for a moment while she thought about the ‘deal’. She looked back at me and I almost laughed at the look on her face, so I took over.
She looked surprised to get an answer out of me.
“Y’all are gonna wait a whole year?”
“I’d like to. It’d be nice to get into a routine at the new branch. Travel a bit this summer. Get into the swing of things before we dive into parenthood.”
She smiled back at me and gave me a wink… I guess I passed.
She popped Jason’s shoulder. “Now what about Frannie?”
“What about her? If she’d stop being stubborn, I’d have her pregnant before she’s unpacked.”
Sookie and I both laughed. “SHE’S the stubborn one? That girl would say yes if you called and asked her right now and you haven’t seen her in two months.”
“It’s not that simple. She has a life.”
“SHE DOES NOT!! She wants to be with you, you fool.”
“Then why didn’t she move down here when you asked?”
“Because she knows about Rosie and Dawn and Randi Sue. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her they’re just stand ins.”
“She dates too.”
“Uh huh, and you were two days away from her dating Alc.”
“WHAT!?” She turned her head just enough to give me a wink and I was glad he was facing away from me. I could hold back a laugh, sure enough, but the smile was going to be in place for a while.
“Yuppers. Big brother, if Amelia had cut Alc loose two days earlier… well, she REALLY liked him.”
I watched the muscles in his back tense and she fired up the clippers to get his neck. “How much?”
I chuckled and called after Alcide. “Hey Alc! What was it that Amber called you again? Superman? Iron Man?”
He came to the door and looked like he wanted to hit me. “Hulk. She called me HULK.” He might have been blushing.
“K. Thanks.” I think I snickered.
Sookie started to giggle. “She didn’t know y’all are friends, but she didn’t care that he’s married.” She rubbed the towel over his neck and then shook the towel out nodding at Alc to take a seat.
I went in to grab a burrito before they were gone and Jason went back to get in the shower. He was pissed. The boys were eating their breakfast and didn’t seem to need supervision, so I took my breakfast outside and hopped up on the washer to watch Sookie work.
“Alc, I have a favor to ask.”
“Just one? I owe you about a hundred.”
“I need to use you for your body.”
He cleared his throat. “This has something to do with Frannie, doesn’t it?”
Sookie gave him a brief run down. She included the back story about the ‘moronic miscommunication’ and about some of our ideas for giving them a push including what hadn’t worked.
He sat quietly and took it all in and when she was done he cleared his throat… then thought some more. “Ok. Let me get this straight… You do my laundry, make my bed, tend to my kids, FEED me… us, and now groom me and the favor your asking me for is that I flirt and make out with your stripper ex-girlfriend?”
She had his high & tight straight just as fast as the MCX barber would have and called Jack out to go next. “That’s the down and dirty of it.”
Alc stood and watched, arms folded while he thought about it. “Isn’t it a slippery slope? I don’t want to piss him off.”
“It will probably light the fuse on his tampon… but you’ll have a handler. You won’t be going in without backup. I can handle the PR afterwards. Daddy will be clued in too.”
“No cerca de los chicos.”
“Claro que no.”
He smiled and started to nod. “Ok. I can do that. When do you plan on all this?”
She grinned at him. “I’ll email her in a bit and see about when she can visit? Hopefully, I can get her up here after Smom & Dad leave but while you’re still staying here.”
“You think his imagination will get the best of him and do most of the work for us.”
She winked and clicked her tongue. “Bingo.”
She got the boys’ hair done and went straight to steaming suits. Jason’s was first, thank god. He came out to the porch in nothing but a towel just as she was finishing his creases. He excitedly took his suit back to the bathroom to get dressed while she started on mine. She made fast work of it.
“Sookie, how do you do that?”
She smirked without looking up at me. “The steam does most of the work.”
“You know what I mean. We walked out of our bedroom at 6:15 and in an hour, you made breakfast for six, lunch, given 5 haircuts and you’re pressing our clothes. It looks like we’re going to walk out the door at 7:45 and you haven’t broken a sweat.”
“Time management. Multitasking. The pressing and the hair is a pageant throwback.” She shrugged. “It needs to get done, I do it.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. “I could understand how trimming split ends for ‘Lil Miss Baton Rouge’ could be a throwback, how’d you learn to cut men’s hair though.”
“An awesome Daddy and brother who made up for a mother who couldn’t bother herself to play dress up. I’ve been cutting their hair since I was 7. They’d sit on the floor Indian style so I could reach.”
Sweet. “You’ve been taking care of each other for a long time.”
She stopped what she was doing and turned to me. She looked ashamed of something. “I didn’t mean it. Not like that. She took it the wrong way.” She looked like she was near tears.
“What are you talking about?”
“Amelia. When I was showing her how to dance. She mentioned how close we all seem and asked about if my ‘mom’ was going to be at the bar. I made a nasty comment about never really having a ‘mom’ and not needing her. I said that we’d been taking care of each other for as long as I could remember. When Jack said it last night, I thought I was going to throw up.”
From the doorway… “Don’t.”
Sookie and I looked and Alcide was leaning against the jamb again. “Alcide…”
“Seriously, Sookie. Don’t lose any sleep over it. The boys and I are fine. You heard it for yourself last night. We were worried that they’d end up with her. She would have left regardless. This way it wasn’t dragged out.”
Her hands were shaking around the steamer. “She might have given you a chance to get your feet under you though.”
“No. She would have commando’ed her way into the house and made it hers. And I would still have had to depend on you to help me figure shit out. And the kids would have suffered in the process.”
“I can still feel guilty.”
“Sure you can, but that would be retarded. If you hadn’t said what you did, she probably would have left me and taken the kids. Then spent a couple of years talking shit about me until they hated me before she eventually dumped them too.” That sounded like the Gerry Springer MO. I wouldn’t put it past her now that I’ve been filled in.
She didn’t say anything… I almost laughed when I realized she was working through what she was fretting over.
“Do I smell chili?”
I started shaking my head and Sookie jerked forward when she laughed and turned to me. “You weren’t kidding.”
Still shaking my head. “No. I wasn’t kidding… all he’s thought about since he started staying here is food.” I looked over at him. “Yes. Chili is in the crockpot. Fresh bread to go with it.”
She smiled at the look on his face. “Did you mention what we’re having tomorrow?”
Sookie smiled and handed my suit to me and hung Alc’s to get started. “Smom wants to try Cajun food.”
“You’re making gumbo?” Caged bear. Dangling Steak. He was salivating.
“Cornbread with jalapeños, etoufee, jambalaya AND gumbo. If time allows, probably some fried okra and squash.”
His eyes glazed over. “Your Dad taught you to cook all that?”
“Him and his mother. Gran was a great cook. So was Gampa, he learned in the Army.” She smiled and handed Alc’s suit to him and grabbed her dress. “And now, I’m going to teach you. You’d be surprised at how easy it is.”
When we got back to our room, she went to the dresser and then her side of the bed. “Turn around.”
“So that you don’t end up accusing me of being a tease.”
Ungh. Too late. I went over and laid across the bed and rested my chin on my hands. “Now I’m SO intrigued, I couldn’t possibly turn away.”
She giggled at me. “Your drooling better not make us late.”
She pulled her shirt off and I realized I was screwed right away. Hot pink lace push up. Captivated. Mmmm. She raised an eyebrow at me and turned around and started slowly pushing her shorts down to bring her panties out to play. More hot pink lace. That short style. Boy shorts? Mmmm. Shit… Fuck work. I could get another job.
I reached out and ran my finger down her back and watched the goosebumps form on her back. “I’m feeling a bit flu-ish. Maybe we should stay home.”
She turned around and put her foot on the bed right in front of my face. She reached down and started pulling up a black stocking and my mouth started to water. Drooling. She smiled at me, staring at me until she had the second lacey band in place and turned around to make a show of grabbing her shoes from the closet. Bending slowly. She put her foot back on the bed to buckle the ankle strap on her black heals. “This is where I say ‘told you so’.”
I chuckled and rolled over. “Come here.”
She shook her head. “You know better.”
She smiled and climbed up, straddling my legs. “What can I do for you?”
“I just wanted to talk to you for a minute.”
I watched her eyes dart over to the clock. “It’s getting late.”
“I can be ready in four minutes and school doesn’t start for another hour.”
A smirk. “Ok then. The floor is yours.”
“Have you ever had a ‘scare’?”
“Once. Long time ago. Gone through it with a few students too. You?”
“You feeling guilty at how relieved you are?”
I thought about that for a minute. “Yeah, but I’m a little surprised too.”
“Finding yourself a little disappointed?”
“Don’t hit me… Yes.”
“THANK GOD! I was starting to think I’m crazy.”
I smiled at her. “You ARE crazy, but you’re in good company. You feel the same way last time?”
“Not at all… I think I willed my period to start last time.”
She shook her head. “Quinn. We had only dated for a few weeks and I had just shaken him loose. So mother nature decided to be a funny bitch and fuck with me for over a week.” Completely understandable to not want to have his baby.
“And this time? Why the change of heart?”
She smiled at me. “Well, shoot me for sounding quixotic, but I can totally picture us managing. Raising a kid together and having fun doing it.” There hadn’t been a second of pause before she answered either. I could picture it too.
She leaned forward and kissed me and I slid my hands up her legs to her ass just in time to get interrupted by our door opening.
“JASON! You didn’t even knock!” She didn’t move and he didn’t leave.
I started laughing and slapped her ass. “See… THIS is the shit I was warning you about last night.”
She laughed and collapsed into me, burying her face in my neck. “What do you want Jason?”
“Help with my tie.”
“Are you kidding me!?”
He started laughing. “Naw. Dead serious. Get off him and get dressed so you can do my tie. Hurry up.”
She reached under the pillows and slid her hands back and forth… looking for our guns. I grabbed her wrists. “You can’t shoot him.”
“Yeah! You can’t shoot me.”
She looked angry. “Why… the fuck… not?”
“They’re locked up.”
She sat back and looked at me and we both started laughing at the same time.
That fucker didn’t get the hint, or he just ignored it, until we both yelled at him to get out.
Once he was gone, and the door was shut, we got up… not that we wanted to. While I put on a fucking suit, I watched Sookie slip into a low cut black dress with pink pinstripes.
I had to think of something to talk about so that I didn’t mope all day. “Why do you leave so early every morning?”
She went into the bathroom and started putting on her makeup and smiled at my reflection. “For the gym. Some days I use the free weights, sometimes I just use the mats for yoga. I hang out with my students, help them with their work or just listen to their problems.”
“What do they do when you take a day off?”
“I twitter and facebook to let them know why and how long I’ll be out. I’ll have to post tonight so that they know not to worry about me being out. And if anything comes up, they’ll call me.”
“I wish I had a teacher like you.”
She smiled and turned around, taking my tie from me before it needed to be pressed again. “Oh, you were too popular to have noticed how awesome I am… There you go. Perfect dimple.”
I looked down and, no shit, she’d tied my tie perfectly. In seconds. No wonder her goofy brother wanted her help. She straightened my shoulders and fixed my ‘gig line’ making me growl at her. Not for fixing it, for knowing what it was. My father was going to love the hell out of her.
Out in the living room, the boys were watching TV while they waited for us.
Sookie went straight to her brother and did his tie. She was snarling at him but she was nice and didn’t tie it so tight that he couldn’t breathe. I would have.
He kissed her cheek. “Thanks sis. If I’d known that Grampa was gonna leave me to run the bank, my degree woulda been in phys ed. I swear.” That mystery was solved. They really did own the whole town.
He headed for the door and she laughed at him as she turned her attention to Alcide’s tie. It looked like Carm had tied it for him. She snorted at him. “Parade rest makes you look like secret service. Is that what you’re going for?”
“Take your pockets out for a spin. Makes you look less menacing, as far as someone your size can… I take it the jeans and Ts were nixed by Pam?”
We both nodded. Pouting again.
She smiled at us, sympathetically. “Why don’t you take a change with you. I think I can handle her into letting you get comfy.” She didn’t have to tell us twice.
We were gone and back in seconds with jeans, boots and Ts and praying to God she was right. She laughed at us and called us brats.
We all piled into Rotten since she said we could take it home for lunch and come back to get her and the boys. While I drove, Sookie took pictures of both me and Alc.
By the time we were pulling into the faculty parking lot, Sookie’s phone chimed.
“HA HA! You shall erect a golden statue of me and leave offerings at its feet!”
Well, sure. That was my plan. “Why? What’s up?”
“I sent those pictures to Pam and said ‘Even though I think it’s sexy, my students will not respond well to the suits. Blue collar kids see suits and think lawyer. They won’t trust them.’ And she replied with ‘do you think you can get them to change?” She wiggled her head back and forth and read off as she typed. “I’ll… do… my… best.”
Sookie put her hand up behind her head and Alcide slapped her 5 and when I looked over at her she blew me a kiss.
Sweet Jesus, she gave me a new reason to never want her to leave my sight every time I turned around.
I had been wondering how it was that Quinn was the principle for the high school and elementary school. It turns out, it’s all the same damn thing. There are two main entrances. Each leading into a commons area and cafeteria and those were joined by the office. To one side (grey flooring) was the elementary school, to the other side (red flooring) was the middle school. Up the massive double stairwell (black) was the high school. It was impressive… and new. It was modern enough to look like it was less than 10 years old.
The halls were teeming with kids. There were little kids like Alc’s with character back packs and lunch boxes. There were slightly older kids who were wearing clothes that didn’t fit well because they were at ‘the awkward’ stage and there were a few high school students on their way upstairs, who were doing their best to make high school a red carpet event.
Sookie asked the boys if they remembered how to get to their classrooms so that they could show Alc the way and they smiled and started yanking on Alc while Sookie tried to explain how to find her classroom.
She took my hand, surprising me that she’d be ok with that where she worked, and towed me to the office.
The pretty brunette receptionist caught sight of us and made eyes at me. “Hey Sookie, if he’s in trouble, I’ll take care of him.”
“Sophie! Don’t you think being my fiancé is punishment enough for the poor guy?!… Eric, this is my friend Sophie. She’s been in this office since she was in 8th grade. She’s a sub and the assistant cheering coach.” The Queen of Hearts, right? I could picture that.
We exchanged ‘nice to meet yous’ and Sookie told Sophie to let Quinn know that we’d be in her classroom.
I enjoyed every step we took up the stairs since Sookie was directly in front of me and the moment we hit the landing, Sookie was met with dozens of ‘morning Miss Stackhouse’s’ and other such greetings and none of it was snide or unfriendly like my teachers would have gotten. It was all warm and… genuine. She held my hand and slowly led me through the sea of hundreds of kids, waving and smiling as she had at Dirges. A few of the cheerleaders recognized me from practice on Saturday and gave me a wave.
We walked through the ‘concourse’ to the last hall on the right, then continued down to the last room on the left.
There were 25 desks in her classroom and another dozen stand alone chairs. I had to count them because they weren’t in rows. More of a semi circle. There was a large desk pulled into the corner with a pair of doors behind it. There were posters on every solid wall in the room. Reproductions of famous portraits. Lincoln, Malcolm X, the Libertine, The Romanovs, Lenin, Marx, Henry VIII, Susan B Anthony… it was like a yearbook of influential people throughout history. They weren’t squared; they were hung at angles like a kid would do on their bedroom wall. Hanging right behind Sookie’s desk was a huge reproduction of The Last Supper. Framed and overlapping the posters, it was the only wall art that was hanging straight.
She led me through the room, greeting students along the way and pointed to one of the doors so that I could change out of my ‘monkey suit’. Tiny. Just big enough for a sink, a toilet and two doors (one of them leading to the classroom next door). It took me all of two minutes to peel the damn thing off and all of my strength not to burn it in the trash bin.
I came out of the small bathroom felling MUCH better and Sookie gave me a wink because she could tell.
As the students filled the room, they all noticed me right away, but didn’t seem to dwell on my presence, until… Alcide walked in just as the 9 o’clock bell was ringing. The Hulk did make them wonder. I gave him a quick nod to the bathroom door and he dipped in and right back out looking just as happy as I was.
Sookie came over and sat on the edge of my chair while we waited for the announcements.
“Sookie, is the high school so overcrowded? There must be 50 kids in here.” There were girls doubled up on the chairs. There were 3 kids sitting on a table in the back of the class. There were ‘couples’ sharing desks. More than anything, no one was complaining about the close quarters.
“52 if everyone is here… I opted to double freshman and sophomore classes so that I can teach more history electives a couple of years ago. But all of my classes look like this now. I see every kid in this school for at least 55 minutes per day. We meet at in the atrium when it’s over 60 so the kids can spread out.”
A chunky boy with a surplus of freckles and hair leaned over. Eavesdropper. “Miss Stackhouse taught all 5 of my brothers and sisters and she’s all of our favorite. She’s the coolest teacher in the school.” I believe that.
We all stood for the pledge of allegiance and the only announcement for the morning was that the ‘Bon Temps Black’ would be having a short assembly during second period.
One of Sookie’s students, a girl with a bad dye job and tacky clubbing outfit, raised her hand as soon as the announcements were over.
“Miss Stackhouse, who are they? Are you, like, in trouble?”
Sookie chuckled. “Not that I know of. Not that any of the other faculty can participate, but today is National bring-your-sexy-boyfriend-to-work Day…” The students all laughed. “Guys, the blond one is Eric and the kerry is Alcide. They are the reason you get out of 2nd period today. I’m just sitting on them until then. K?”
Another hand. “Yeah Lyle?” Lyle? Parents were still that mean? A tall ‘kid’ my guess would be basketball, lacrosse maybe.
“Is it too late to sign up for your volunteer project? My other one fell through?”
“What was your other one?”
“Mr. Norris’s shit at the park.”
Sookie’s eyes got huge and I thought she was going to go off because he cursed. “Because you’re dating Crystal?”
Before the boy was done saying ‘I think so’, Sookie threw her dry erase marker into the tray and stormed out of the room. The students all started laughing and most of them got up to go to the door. Alc and I watched them and decided to join the audience.
“Norris! I need to speak to you.”
“I’m in the middle of this thing called teaching. You should try it.”
“Your students already know more about the cold war than you do, I TAUGHT it to them. Hall. Now.”
We heard murmuring and then a door shut, blocking the noise from his room as he joined her in the hall.
“Look, just because you used to fuck the principle doesn’t mean you have any reign over me.” Oh no, he didn’t!
“No, but the fact that I got tenured and you still haven’t after 12 years does… What the fuck do you think you’re doing, excluding athletes from volunteering for personal reasons?”
“First of all, you need to back up! You’re in my face.”
“Calvin Norris! I’m in no mood for your shit, you’re lucky you’re still standing!”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Oh, you bet your ugly ass I am! You’re fucking with my students’ eligibility!”
“I have my reasons.”
“Yeah… You do… Not limited to but including that you hate me for being popular, that I suggested the volunteer work program to begin with, that you sleep with a cat every night because you’re too crusty to get a date and too broke for a pro, your ex wife left you for a woman and your dick is so small you need tweezers to take a piss. You are a mean, dim little Gollum that is so bitter about all of the above, you’d pick on a child who’s dating your niece to make your wretched little life seem important enough to tell your cat about when you get home. If you don’t stop fucking with my students, we’re GOING to throw down.” Uh. Fuck. Even I’m a little scared.
“They’re MY students too!”
“Oh really, Smiegel… Why don’t we ask them?” Smiegel? She really called him that? My precccciooous. Most of us had our hands over our mouths so that our laughing wouldn’t interrupt the show.
“They just like you more because of your tits.”
“No, no, no…. They like me because I treat them with fucking respect. These… are just scenery!”
“Ow! You kicked me?”
“Sure did. Get back to doing your mediocre-est!”
I could hear the clicking of her heels in the hallway and the door close so Alcide and I patted a couple of shoulders on the way back to our seats. He leaned over. “Remind me to never piss her off.”
“No shit. Same here.”
The room was giggling and snickering, whispering and discussing, but Sookie hadn’t come back yet. I’d heard her footsteps fade away and a few minutes later they came back.
When she walked in she smiled directly at Lyle. “No problem, Lyle. The more the merrier.”
The whole room started rolling with laughter and she stood in front of the class with her arms folded and waited for them to get done.
“You’re such nosey little shits, I should pop quiz you.”
She was met with a chorus of discontent.
“Fine then. Who has super glue?”
One of the girls dug a tube out of her purse and held it out for her.
She took it and announced that she needed an ‘out of order’ sign for the bathroom door and went into the room. While she was in there a small boy ran up and stole a piece of tape from the dispenser on the desk to hang an artfully drawn sign… She was carrying three rolls of toilet paper on her return and leaned between Alc and me to stash them at our feet. She stood up enough to have her mouth between our heads. “That asshole has IBS and when he gets upset, so does his stomach. I just glued the TP together so it unrolls one square at a time and ran a bead behind the faucet. Is that wrong?”
Alc and I both started laughing. “No, but I’m glad your man made sure you can’t be in on things back home. You’re evil.”
“Noooo. I just have a mean streak.” She turned to wink at me. She called my dick… Fuck. She IS evil.
She went back to the board and reined the kids right in and went to teaching. The subject of the day: the modernization of Russia in the 18th century, specifically Catherine the Great… And as soon as her mouth opened, the kids started writing. Taking notes and hanging on every word she said. It was amazing to watch. When I was in high school there was no way to get our attention locked in on a teacher like that. It was insane. I’d say they were like zombies, but they seemed to be absorbing what she was saying. She added little quips and jokes. Salting the lecture with pop culture references to make things more current. When one of the students asked about Catherine’s lovers, she told him to sign up for her online summer class … ‘Sexuality and Power in Politics’ and then did a brief blurb using common language without being vulgar. I really would have killed to have had her as a teacher. She even taught like a rock star. Charisma.
When the bell rang, one of her students asked who was subbing for her tomorrow and the whole room growled when she told them it was going to be ‘Mr. Hobs’.
She giggled at them. “Hey guys… I know he’s a goblin of a man, but he’s just a sub. Just pretend you’re his wife and act like he’s doing a good job until he’s done and then finish yourself off.”
It got all of her students to laugh and Alcide and I couldn’t help but join them. He leaned over to me again. “Where the fuck were teachers like her when we were in school? I might have gotten better than Cs in history.”
“I wish I knew.” You can’t get better than an ‘A’, but having a teacher like her would have been fun.
As the next batch of kids filed into the room Sookie smiled at us from the doorway from time to time as she greeted students. I recognized Sandy right away. Sookie stopped her as she tried to walk past and took her to the side. Speaking in hushed tones, I watched Sookie smooth Sandy’s hair back slightly and tuck a section behind her shoulder. They ended their conversation with a hug and Sandy waved at me as she found her seat.
As the room started to fill, I realized that these kids were older … Juniors and Seniors from what I could tell; there were many more familiar faces in this classroom. A few of the cheerleaders and one of the guy-leaders… then Hunter who walked in with a girl under each arm, Taryn being one of them and sitting on his leg to share a desk… Pimp.
“Hey! How appropriate is it that you two are here for this class.”
“Which class is this?”
“Constitutional Theology… Hey Miss Stackhouse! Am I firing up a laptop?”
She gave him a grin from the door and came back towards the desk. “Yeah thanks, Mr. Savoy.”
She reached in to a drawer and handed a computer to Hunter and started to explain…
“There’s a paper due tomorrow. The laptop is so that they can upload them from a thumb drive if they can’t email…” She trailed off and had the same look on her face as she did when she had the Fleet Week brain-fart.
“Sookie, what is it?”
“HE… his patsy, his apartment, his nest… his ID.”
“You find any tech?”
“Just memory devices.”
“He either has one hell of a cell phone or a laptop… You think he’s going to quit now? Now that he’s burned?”
Alcide shook his head with a big smile on his face. He had just as much fun watching her work as I did. “No… move on.”
She might have been channeling Satan when she smiled back at him. “He’ll need a new ID before he moves on.”
“He can’t contact Bill though.”
“What are the odds that he knows that? Bill was caught on the same day as his nest getting tossed. He was probably a little preoccupied. Bill was using a separate email and meeting his customers in a neutral place right?”
“We might be able to set up a meet with him!”
She giggled as she shushed me. The late bell had rung and all of Sookie’s students were waiting for her to start, so all eyes were on her.
She looked up at her class and smiled. “Hey guys… anyone who needs to upload a final draft is free to. We have an assembly starting in twenty minutes, give or take… Y’all go hit the bathrooms, automat, secret smoking and make out spots… whatever. Meet me, front row center in the auditorium by 10:30… K? Take your things; third period will be starting when the assembly is over.”
As soon as her students left, and we had the room to ourselves, I grabbed Sookie and pulled her onto my lap for a big kiss. “Sookierox at fucking awesome dot com.”
She giggled. “It’s just an idea. We don’t even know if it’ll work.” She started wiping her lipstick from my mouth with her thumbs. Mmm. I wonder if she knows of any secret make out spots.
I called Pam, Alcide drew the short straw and called Jennifer to let her know that we’d be monitoring Bill’s email address and within 10 minutes, Pam’s horns popped with excitement, Jennifer’s voicemail had been left and Sookie had managed to have a new password reset for ‘oldenuff’ so that we could get into it.
Alcide watched her. “How’d you do that?”
“I put the wrong one in enough that it asked me the security questions. And when I answered them right, it let me reset it.”
“How’d you know the answers?”
“Mother’s maiden name, first pet, birthplace… Stuff a bitter ex-wife would know.”
He started to smile and patted her shoulder.
Once in the account, she found a folder with more than 400 emails labeled ‘LADL’. And another file with about 70 or so emails in it marked ‘Misc’.
LADL contained nothing but emails from minors… Nervous ramblings about the grapevine and empty promises to only use a fake ID to buy cigarettes. Rene’s was in there and he actually told Bill that he needed to ‘be 21’ because of his father’s drinking. I had known that, but Sookie looked sad to see it typed out. A couple of kids wanted to just be 17 so that they could go to R rated movies. Goons. Sookie set the printer in gear and told us to keep our fingers crossed that it’d be done by the time we were.
‘Misc’ had emails from dozens of people who wanted more than just to ‘be older’. Aliens with expired visas. Felons on parole. Two of them were on the sex offender watch list and TOLD HIM SO in the emails requesting an alternate ID so that they could violate their distances and stay under the radar. One of them was trying to rent a house from Sam right across the street from the elementary school in Reston… Poor Sam was going to start to hate that we were in town…
More importantly… The vampire’s emails. He told Bill up front that he was an alien who had business to take care of, but his visa had expired. So he needed a fake ID to buy him some time to ‘tie up loose ends’. The email… FillipeC. Another email to hack into later.
Sookie set the account up to send a notification to my phone any time it got an email. We’d know right away if he contacted Bill and could track the ISP back to where he was sending it from.
The auditorium was filling at a steady rate by the time we got there. Sookie had led us through the side door next to the stage, holding my hand, and right up to the podium where Quinn was waiting. Sookie stood next to me (still holding my hand) while Quinn and I talked about how he should announce me and the finer details.
At 10:30 everyone was in their seat and we were ready to start.
“Don’t underestimate them. They watch enough TV they can handle the big words. Saying ‘bad guy’ will lose them. Got it?”
If she hadn’t mentioned it, I probably would have screwed the pooch. “Yes ma’am.”
Sookie looked up at me with an up-to-something grin. “Kiss me.”
“In front of all of your students?”
“Yes sir, you want something from them and they trust me. You want them to see that I trust you.”
I shrugged. What the hell. I bent down and gave her a smooch and the adolescent audience responded with Oooohs and Awwws with a scattering of cat calls. Some boy called me a ‘lucky bastard’.
She giggled and told me to ‘break a leg’ and then turned to bounce right of the edge of a 4 foot tall stage in the highest heel I’d ever seen her in… I called her back and then stooped on the edge of the stage.
“You handled me.”
“The night we met. You didn’t twist your ankle. You ‘fell’ on purpose.”
“so.” Her eyebrow twitched. “You seemed to need a green light.”
Ungh. Fucking hell. I mouthed ‘bitch’ and she laughed.
She turned around and started walking over to join her students. “But you love me.”
I laughed. “That’s not the point.”
Alcide and I stood off to the side while Quinn struggled to get their attention; the uproar had gotten worse once Sookie had me kiss her.
“What the fuck was that about?”
“The night we met, we were walking down the street and she ‘twisted her ankle’ in a sidewalk crack… fell into me…”
“She can jump that far in those heels and then twist her ankle in a sidewalk crack?”
We were facing the audience so when he didn’t say anything, I looked over to see him laughing silently with his hand fisted over his mouth.
I elbowed him while I bit the inside of my mouth to keep from laughing myself. “Stop it… It’s not funny.”
“Yeah it is! The handler, got handled… You’ve met your match!”
Quinn finally had to resort to taking the microphone to a speaker, producing a nightmarish amount of feedback. After that, the only noises were a sneezed ‘asshole’ near the back and I’m pretty sure Hunter was the source of the coughed ‘dumb prick’ that came from the front.
“Okay boys and girls…” Wow, no wonder the students like him so much. “This is Special Agent Northman and Special Agent Herveaux of the FBI. They have been working in the area on a case of some importance and have asked me to allow them to speak with you today. Please, show them some respect and give them your full attention.”
He turned to me and gave me a nod to come over. Public Speaking. Oh joy of joys. Not in the job description.
I corrected his introduction to include our first names. Titles were Pam’s thing. Not ours… “As it turns out, the guy we are looking for is an immigrant without documentation. He got into the country illegally and he’s managed to assimilate by getting a really good fake ID.” I noticed several eyes roll and a bunch of them slide down in their seats. I was already starting to lose them… “Now, Homeland Security arrested the forger last night and I REALLY hate this guy. He’s a complete tool and I paid a friend of mine to stencil ‘rape me’ on the back of his little orange jumpsuit… “ That worked… I got a bunch of laughs. “Here’s what we know… we have the forger’s email and that a lot of you contacted him and spent a couple hundred dollars to get high quality IDs. Eventually, we can track down most of you and question you. To be honest, without your ID, you could bullshit us and tell us that you only thought about getting one but didn’t go through with it. WITH your ID, you would be adding 3 years to the forger’s concrete vacation. Alcide, me and our boss have all signed papers offering you full immunity. If you hand us your ID today, you will never be contacted on the matter again. We will never contact your parents on the matter and we don’t want to know what you used it for. It doesn’t matter to us. What we want is to make sure the forger doesn’t get out of jail anytime soon. The guy we are after is supporting himself with a job he couldn’t have gotten without ID… and has managed to kill several people while he’s been here, making the forger an accomplice to more than a dozen murders.” Murmuring and whispering. Sookie was right about them being smart. I heard ‘vampire’ floating on the wave of hushed conversation several times. Hunter was sitting with several friends and stood up, digging into his wallet and Sookie looked horrified. He brought several people in tow with him.
When he got up on the stage, I gave him a dirty look with an envelope. Why would he have not mentioned it last night? I wanted to kick the sneaky little shit. My frustration lasted about 2 minutes…
When he handed me the envelope, he patted my arm and whispered. “Taryn too.”
I looked at the paper in my hand and scrawled on the outside was ‘justhelpingout at ioweyouone dot com’. Inside… his library card. Smart little fucker! I gave him a smile a mile wide.
Taryn stretched up and kissed my cheek when she handed hers to me. ‘goodluck at thankyou dot com’. Another library card.
Two of the most popular kids in school had been followed by 33 other students by the time the line was gone. I knew it wasn’t all of them, but 33 times 3 really did put Bill away for life without any of the other charges sticking. If he got out on good behavior, he would be in his 60s.
When the bell for third period rang, several other students came up with their IDs and gave us the names of friends or relatives in other school systems who they knew had them, primarily Clarice. I guess we’d be taking a drive out there next week.
Sookie walked up to the stage and waited for us with her arms folded across her chest, sulking so I lifted her to the stage as the last couple of students left and handed her the first two envelopes. A relieved smile took over her face.
I hadn’t even had the chance to show Alc yet and when she handed them over to him, he started laughing through his nose. “I almost hate that kid. Poor Had.”
Sookie gave him a ‘no kidding’ look. “How many did you get?”
“41. Plus the 4 from Rene. And now we know that we should look into Clarice too. Plus we have the ‘Misc’ file to investigate.”
Sookie held my hand all the way back to her classroom and it was already full for the most part of students and they were all on cell phones, scrolling or texting. Their eyes all shot up at the same time and one of the guys I recognized from practice yesterday opened…
“Eric. What’s up?”
“Are you planning on being at the football game tomorrow?”
“That’s the plan.”
“K. When I got mine, I told my cousins about it. All you need is the ID and the emails we used right?”
“K. We’re playing Minden tomorrow night and I’ve got 8 other friends who’re gonna bring theirs. That ok?”
“That’s great. Just tell them to ask one of our cheerleaders. They can all point me and Alcide out. Thank you.”
As he smiled and offered a ‘no prob’ a girl near the back raised her hand.
“If they have to mail them, who should they send them to, the school?”
“Are they that far away?”
“Cheer retreat.” She shrugged and looked at Sookie like she expected to get fussed at. “We were in the Poconos. We were with four other squads from all over… Miss Stackhouse?”
Sookie rolled her eyes and huffed. “New York, Texas, Florida and Arizona… How did they get them?”
She cringed. “COD. They sent him a group email and he sent Texas’s all at once and I think he did the same with the Florida girls.”
Sookie shook her head. “I’ll call the coaches tonight.”
Alcide started laughing again. “INTERSTATE! Hot Damn! This is getting better and better! Can I tell him? I want to tell him how fucked he is? Please!”
I smiled at him and waited for him to calm down. “You done?”
He smirked. “For now.”
I turned back to the class room. “Ok. Feel free to spread the word. Anyway they get to us is fine. All we need is the ID and how they contacted the forger. For the record, we will be at the game tomorrow night, at Dirges Saturday night and of course you can drop them in our mailboxes or here at the school. The same offer applies to anyone who surrenders their ID. Nothing will come of it for them. Cool?”
They all nodded and went back to texting.
Alcide and I grabbed the huge stack of print outs and our suits (begrudgingly since we didn’t want them) and went to leave but a weak voice piped up from the back of the room.
He looked around and finally saw the source. “Yeah, Hannah. What’s up?” Huh, one of Hunter’s ‘pals’.
“Will y’all be at practice tonight?”
“My cousin said he’d bring the ones from the bar. He’s a bouncer in Shreveport. He’s not sure they’re all fake, but he said he could be here with a bunch of them if you can use them without the contact info.”
“It might be worth it to look them over.”
My phone started going off in my pocket and I became conscious that I hadn’t called Pam with an update yet so I dug out my phone and walked out to the hall.
It wasn’t Pam. I wish it had been.
“Dad? What’s up?”
“Are you working?” I didn’t like the tone in his voice; he was grouchy about something.
“Not really. Wrapping up. What’s going on?”
“We have a problem…”
I chuckled, albeit nervously. “Are you going to tell me what it is or make me guess?”
“Marnie is an idiot.”
“That’s nothing new, Dad.” I turned around, hoping to catch sight of my security blanket. She was standing right behind me. Thank God. I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to need her.
I could hear the patio door slide open and then close behind him, wind chimes in the background. Unless Smom had started making him go outside to smoke after more than 25 years he was trying to get away from her. Fuck.
“Only Marnie can fuck up like this. She thought that we were getting there today…”
I growled and nearly busted my teeth grinding them together.
“She’s left Clancy and decided to fly out to meet us in Bon Temps so that she can come back to San Diego with us… to stay here.”
Nothing. I just stared at Sookie.
“Where is she?”
“In a cab on the way to Bon Temps from the Shreveport airport.”
“Tell me you’re fucking with me.”
“I wish I was, son.”
“Why are you hiding from Smom?”
“I’m not… She’s in our room, crying. She’s sure that Marnie will ruin our visit. I can’t calm her down.”
“Put her on.”
I covered the receiver to catch Sookie up and she didn’t say anything, she just hugged me. I needed it.
“Smom, what do you want me to do?”
“Ooh, I don’t know. I don’t want her to ruin the visit. I know she’ll be hateful and rude. I don’t want to do that to you and Sookie.”
“Smom, I’ve talked to Sookie about her. She’s been warned. We can give it our best and if it doesn’t look like she’s going to behave…”
“Eric, you know she won’t.”
“Then I can drive her to Shreveport and put her malcontented ass in a hotel until YOU are ready to go back to California. Ok?”
“Are you sure?”
“It’s worth a try. Did she say why she left Clancy?”
“He doesn’t think the baby is his.” Huh. He’s smarter than I thought.
“So she’s being righteously indignant.”
“Ooh, who cares!? It’s all a great excuse to mess up this visit because she’s jealous of the attention YOU’RE getting. She’s being a bitch.” I had never heard Smom curse. Wow.
“I never got around to giving you guys our address… Does she think the cab driver is going to know where we live?”
Dad growled. “You say that like she’s got a track record of thinking things through.”
“Right. I’m leaving now to go home for lunch. I’ll be there.”
“Son, don’t be afraid to knock her down a peg.”
“That won’t be a problem. Love you guys.”
As soon as I hung up, she gave me a squeeze. Sookie held on tight as I gave her the run down, rubbing her hand across my back.
She looked up and smiled at me. It didn’t help. “You need to work through this.”
“Go home. Eat lunch. Find something to keep you busy. And remember that your girlfriend says that it’s ok to hit a woman if the bitch takes the first swing.”