Chapter 21: The Father, The Son & The Holy Shit Moment

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The Father, The Son and the Holy Shit Moment

Sunday morning…

Still dark outside and I felt someone climbing into bed behind me. “Morning sweetness.”

I growled at him. “Jason Stackhouse, I can reach my gun.”

I was too fucking tired to play around. I crashed within seconds of Sookie passing out and wasn’t anywhere close to rested since it was still before 7. He put his arm around me and kissed my cheek. “Ya can’t shoot me. We just came by to get Fran’s stuff. We’re leaving town.”

“K. Bye.”

He started laughing and climbed over me to lay by Sookie. “Hey sis. Wakie, wakie.”

He had to work at it to wake her up and gave me a couple of looks in the process, surprised that he had to try so hard. Finally… “Jas… This better be good.”

“I wanted to let you know we’re leaving. See ya next week.”

“Where ya goin’?”

He chuckled. “Scene of the crime. Cancun.”

That woke her up. “You’re eloping!?”

He nodded.

“You selfish prick!” She punched him in the shoulder and I started laughing.

“Leave him alone, Sookie. If they don’t elope, he might have time to realize he really wants me.” He blew a kiss and ran his tongue over his lips like lipstick. Tard.

She started laughing. “Does daddy know?”

He nodded. “Called him on the way here. Knows about the baby too.”

“What baby?”

Jason’s eyes shot over to me. “You didn’t tell her?”

“Nope. It wasn’t my news to tell.”

Sookie looked pissed. “WHAT BABY?”

Jason smiled with his whole face. “I knocked her up. She told me when we got home this morning.”

She laid there and studied his face to make sure he was serious for a while and then suddenly punched me in my thigh. Hard. “You knew and didn’t tell me!?”

I wanted to be pissed, but I couldn’t blame her. Not really. I’d lied about my reason for not telling her. I would have told her had there been a good time for it. “She made me promise not to tell. She was worried about his reaction and we’d already butted in enough.”

Reminding her of how guilty we’d felt seemed to bring her back from the ledge a bit. She hugged him around his neck and I heard her start crying. “It’s about fucking time.”

He chuckled. “Y’all better fuck in Kevlar… Babies come in threes.”

She gave him a punch in the kidney. “Not funny, shithead.”

“You shouldn’t drink Jager anymore. You’re violent.”

She ignored his warning, and possibly the urge to hit him again, because it would prove him right. “Who knows?”

“You and Daddy. We’ll tell whoever you and Daddy haven’t told when we get back. She’s calling to quit the hospital while we’re gone.”

“She’s here for good?”

He nodded with a shit eating grin and they only talked for a few more minutes before he grabbed Fran’s bag and took off.

**

I snuggled into her side with my arm across her waist. She started crying again.

“Are you still angry that I hadn’t told you?”

She sniffed and shook her head. “No. Sorry I hit you. It hurts a little that she told you since you barely know each other.”

Understandable… “She didn’t tell me as much as admitted it.”

“Admitted?”

I nodded and strained through a yawn. “At the cookout, I smelled lemon on her breath. She was drinking tea from a Guinness bottle. It made me suspicious enough to ask.”

“Now I feel like an ass for feeling jealous. She may very well have said something yesterday morning if I hadn’t started maneuvering her into position as soon as she mentioned Jason.”

“Don’t square root it to death. Everything came together in spite of our interference. Jason and Frannie are on the way to their fairy tale ending. Alcide and Hadley had their hands all over each other. Hunter got his hands in Taryn’s panties and she still got home before her curfew. Smom had a blast. Dad seems to be coming around… Oh, and Linda’s hair was all kinds of fucked after a trip to the bathroom and Bravo was only a few minutes behind her getting back to the table.”

“Your Dad is a tool.”

I laughed at her sudden ‘discovery’. “Okay. It looked like you had fun dancing together though.”

“The talk we had is how I came to realize how big a tool he is… DeWalt… Makita even.”

I got a bit more serious, but I was still amused. “What did he say?”

“I started by telling him I was sorry he wasn’t having more fun. He immediately apologized and told me that it wasn’t that he wasn’t having fun, just regrets.”

“Oh hell. What the fuck?”

“He’s jealous of my father for having such a big, happy, honest family. He wishes that he was as close to you as Daddy is to us. He’s upset that you didn’t tell him about me earlier. He’s angry at himself for making you feel like you needed to keep me a secret.”

“Mother fucker.” That’s all I could manage. He was worse than a PMSing woman. One minute he’s going on about lap sitting, the next minute he’s whining about our not having more ‘girl talks’. Fuckfuckfuck.

“Still waters.”

“Yeah. Whatever.”

“Don’t be grumpy with me. I’m just the messenger.”

“I’m not. I’m considering going upstairs to pistol whip him.”

She rolled over and snuggled under my chin. “Eric, he doubts himself as your father because he didn’t understand how to make you happy. He said that you barely ever talk. When you do, he’s more of a bystander to your conversations with Smom. And now he’s here and all he’s seen for a day and a half are the two pod people who replaced his serious children with hyper social, partying, smile factories. It’s got to be a blow to his ego to see such sudden, and positive, changes in you two.”

“That should say something though.”

She hummed into my chest. “It says a lot of things… It tells me that you are just as happy with me as I am with you. It tells me that Marnie has never seen a competent doctor. And it tells me that you are a bitch on the rag until you’ve had your coffee…  Most of all, it should tell you that he loves you enough to notice the difference and loves you enough to doubt himself. Apathy doesn’t inspire uncertainty.”

I growled. “You’re right. You’re always fucking right. Can I go back to sleep now?”

She giggled, instantly lightening my mood. “Right after you kiss me and answer a question.”

I kissed her, getting more than I bargained for and I had a hard time remembering that I was tired. “What’s the question?”

“Can I go make breakfast?”

I pulled her closer. “Oh, that’s easy. NO. It’s Sunday. We’re sleeping in.”

She whined. “But… Eric, people will need to eat.”

“And they will… but no one is going to be awake any time soon after the night we had. You’re staying put.”

She growled. “Suit yourself.” She took my hand from her side, brought it up to her mouth and wrapped her lips around my finger…

Mmmm. “Sookie? What are you doing?”

Her tongue massaged my finger as she painfully, slowly freed her mouth to speak. “I’m awake now. If I have to stay here, you have to entertain me.”

My eyes rolled back and I hoped she hadn’t seen it. “Fine. Knock yourself out. You can get up at 8.” I did my best to seem unaffected, but she had the advantage and she knew it.

She was proving it by nibbling and breathing on the inside of my wrist… oh God, who’d have thought… Mmmm… when there was a knock on our door.

**

My father hadn’t waited. He stuck his head in a bit. “I heard you talking…” Asshole. “I tried to sleep in. No such luck. I was wondering if you two want to go for a run? Alc and Hunter are going.”

“They’re up?”

“Apparently Jason came by and stirred everyone up. The boys are still sleeping. Deb said she’d keep an ear on them so Sookie wouldn’t feel like she needs to stay behind.”

Sookie started giggling. “I can be ready in 5, Dad. But you need to scoot. I’m in the buff.”

He nodded as he closed the door behind him. “Yes ma’am.”

She smiled over at me before she slid out of bed. “Are you going?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Always.” She started sliding on a pair of dark blue work out shorts… then bra…

“But?” Waiting for her to say out loud what an asshole I’d look like if I didn’t run with my father… Waiting to be told that he’s ‘trying’… Waiting to be told that it wouldn’t be so bad because Hunter and Alc were going too…

She sat on the edge of the bed and started pulling on her socks and cross-trainers. “But nothing. Go back to sleep if you want. You’re a grown man.”

I growled on my way out of the bed to get dressed. I think I liked being handled better.

**

There wasn’t much discussion going on in the front of the house. Smom was starting a pot of coffee, but Had, JB and Laf were still snoring. Dad asked Sookie to lead the way and she took off, leading us down the driveway to the road. We must’ve looked like a bunch of idiots. Every car that drove by honked at us. I guess the locals weren’t much for running as exercise since a couple of dimwits rolled down their windows to ask if we were being chased.

Sookie slowed down slightly and fell back about half an hour into our little outing and when I looked back to check on her, she was about 100 feet behind me and my father. She’d held off Alc and Hunter too. Oooh. Bitch.

It took Dad all of 30 seconds to realize that we had enough of a gap to talk. She was going to pay for this later. I was not in the mood for this shit.

“She’s amazing. I’m really happy for you, kid.” Fuck me. More of the nice. The nice that made me feel like an asshole for questioning it.

“Thanks. I’m glad you like her.” Like it mattered. I’m an asshole.

“Deb and I talked for a while last night. We couldn’t think of any buts.”

“Buts?”

He chuckled. “She’s really pretty, but… She’s really smart, but…”

But she’s a busy body that stuck me talking to my father before I’ve had any coffee. “Her family is great too. They treated me like they’ve known me forever, right away.”

“It seems like their way. Like they don’t believe in strangers. Everyone’s a friend.”

I chuckled. God damn him. “That’s pretty much the case. Until you’ve done one of them wrong.”

“The Ex? Why hasn’t her family killed him yet?”

“She made them promise not to. Says he deserves to be alone and miserable.”

“Why haven’t you killed him yet?”

I smiled at a few mental images… Bill tied to the bumper of my car… Bill’s head on a pike… Bill cut up and used for Marlin bait when we go to St. John… “I won’t have to… The IDs we’re collecting… He’s the forger. One of the IDs he did helped a girl kill herself and 3 others. He’ll die in jail. Hopefully sooner than later and from anal trauma.”

“You arrested him?”

“Nope. I had Homeland Security do it. We found out he was doing IDs looking into where the Vampire got his documentation.”

“You and Alc are on the Vampire case?” Here we go. Talking about work. Less annoying.

“Yeah. We’ve had it for over a year, but we only really started making some headway recently.”

“Huh… Good for you then. It’s made news in San Diego. What’s he up to? 12?”

“13. He dumped another one on Halloween. The deputy from the football game… they were good friends.”

“Oh… Shit. That’s gotta be tough.”

I nodded. No shit. Being a cop requires a certain degree of hero complex… Not being able to keep the people you love safe… It eats a lot people alive. He was quiet for a few minutes before he tried to keep the conversation going, maybe even trying to change the subject.

“So what’s up with the kid that was on the couch yesterday? He’s a student of Sookie’s? Seems like he’s had it rough.”

“He has. He was in elementary school when his mom died of cancer. She’d been a teacher of Sookie’s freshman year. The one that made her want to be a teacher. His father started drinking when she died. He’s the one that gave Rene the black eye. He’s going away for DUIs. Corbett set Rene up with a job and a place to stay so that his grades won’t suffer. He’s a really bright kid.”

“Have to be to get into Columbia.”

I gave him a dirty look.

He chuckled. “Hey. I’m glad you liked UCLA, but you got accepted to Ivy League schools.”

“No surfing in Manhattan.”

He snorted. “Or Cambridge, or New Haven, or Providence, Ithica… But Shreveport… That where all the good swells are.”

I had another dirty look just for him… “Too much pressure.”

“Uh huh. You were 17 years old and indestructible. You napped through high school and got straight As. If you were afraid of pressure, you’d have settled for being a street cop. You just didn’t want to leave Deb.” He’s really decided to nag at me about this… AGAIN.

I didn’t look at him. I did not want to have this conversation.

“I don’t want to know what she’d have done if she didn’t have you.”

I gave up. The persistent asshole was going to win this one. “Marnie ran off and you were on sea duty. She’s my mom. I wasn’t going to leave her alone. I stayed close.”

“Thank you.”

“Yea. No problem.”

“You know, we aren’t just proud of you… We’re impressed.”

Why in God’s name is he doing this now? “I’m just me, Dad. Always have been.”

“Right. You’re incredible. Just like your Sookie. You seem really good for each other.” Good. Back to talking about Sookie… safe.

“I don’t know how good I am for her, but I’ve never been happier.”

“Corbett says he sees a big difference in Sookie too.” Fuck. Corbett knows ‘we’ are a new thing. Shitshitshit. Not safe.

Now I was forced to keep the conversation going. “Jas told me the same thing.”

“What made you realize she was different from the other girls you’ve dated?”

“Everything. My concentration went down the shitter before I heard her name.”

He started chuckling. “Sounds about right. You and me… we don’t talk much…”

Fuck. I guess I wasn’t going to get out of having a ‘relationship talk’ before breakfast. “I know. We don’t always have a lot to talk about though.”

“You know I don’t care, right? I don’t expect you to have something exciting to tell me every time we talk.”

“I know.”

“What I was getting at… You didn’t mention Sookie until you were engaged. You ever been close before?”

“Never.”

“Never even thinking about a future?” He looked surprised.

I laughed. “I didn’t say I’d been celibate. Just that Sookie is the first girl I’ve thought of as more than a date.”

“Sookie know?”

“She knows that I’ve never even thought about marriage before… She’s never asked specifics on my exes.”

“OH! That could be ‘a but’! She could have a history…”

I cut him off. “With the exception of her held-without-bail ex-husband, you’ve met everyone she’s ever slept with.” Hoping he wouldn’t make confirm numbers. After the way he reacted to her ‘nipple rings’ coming up in conversation, finding out about Frannie might make him hurt himself falling over.

“WHAT!?” That was the reaction I’d expect. Hell, it was the reaction I would have had if I hadn’t been in a room full of people.

I chuckled at him. “She’s never minded being single. She only dated Quinn because she was bored. It was before she was working full time, right after she got home from school.”

“That’s crazy. You slept with more girls before you were out of high school.”

“Are you calling me a whore?”

He laughed. “Yes.”

I snorted to keep from laughing.

“You know, that’s how I felt about Deb. I wanted to know everything about her as soon as I met her. We’d only been on 3 dates before I asked her to marry me. Your m… Aurora was just a date. I dumped her as soon as I met Deb and didn’t know she was married until much later.”

“Yup. You traded up.”

He took his turn snorting. “She’d told me that she had A kid, not 3. She told me that the dad split on her, not gone underway. I wanted to punch her when I found out. Her poor husband…”

“Poor husband?”

“Yeah, to come home to a wife who’d been cheating on him.”

“Ok. Poor him on that note, but he’s an idiotic asshole too. He came home and gave her the choice to turn her back on her kid or be forgiven. That’s a whole lotta fucked up.”

“Yeah, but what would you have done?”

“Packed her shit.”

“Life isn’t hypothetical. He had her get rid of ‘her kid’ because it would be easier to pretend he didn’t get cheated on. You know better than most that everyone has issues.”

I couldn’t help but think of Alcide who stuck around, knowing… “And then she was a big enough fuck-tard to stay with a guy who’d bullied her away from her kid. I might have a measureable amount of respect for her if she’d ended up leaving him. Smom was definitely the keeper.”

“You’re a judgmental asshole.”

“Thanks. I try.” Coming from him, that was rich.

“You never know unless you walk in their shoes.”

Enough. “Look… I know I need to talk to you more. I want to have a better relationship with you. I’ll admit that I don’t understand you. But can this one thing be off the table? I don’t like talking about Aurora. I seriously never think about her unless someone brings her up.” It took saying it to realize what Sookie meant about her rape. Fucking always right.

He was quiet for a minute or two… “I’m fine with that.”

“Thank you.”

“It seems safe to talk about Sookie.”

I laughed. “Safe is the word I’d use.”

“Well, she, Frannie and Laf seem really close. You said they met in college?”

Uh oh… “Uh, yeah. Sookie was 16 when she left for school. Corbett didn’t want her to live in the dorms because of all the partying. The apartment they found for her was Lafayette’s. He got her a job at the coffee shop he worked at. Big brother/best friends right from the start.”

“How’d she meet Frannie? She another roommate?”

“Frannie is an orthopedic surgeon. She’s the one that put the pins in Sookie’s wrist. They’ve been friends ever since.”

“That’s nice… That she’s already friends with her sister-in-law. You get along with Jason when he isn’t being a goof ball?”

I couldn’t help but laugh… “He’s never not a goof ball! That asshole is like that all the time, but he’s a lot of fun.”

“What did he come by for? Just to snuggle?”

I risked a look and he was clearly amused. “Fran was planning on staying with us for the weekend so he was getting her bag. They’re on their way to Cancun to elope.”

“Don’t you just hate long engagements?”

I laughed at him. “Absolutely. Sookie suggested that we wait until next fall.”

“Couldn’t wait a whole year, huh?”

“Nope. Pissed I have to wait 6 weeks before we get to New York.”

“Deb’s probably just as excited as you are. I’ve been a few times, but she’s always wanted to go. You two couldn’t have picked a better spot. That trip is going to be huge for her in a lot of ways. She’ll cry the whole time.”

I snorted at him, our driveway finally in sight. “You couldn’t have done everything. There has to be something you can look forward to.” I was trying to yank him out of deflecting all of the excitement to Smom.

He started chuckling. “Of course there is. Other than the obvious appeal of seeing my son married off to a wonderful girl, Deb and I get to take our nightly walk in central park and I’m going to take her to the top of the Empire State building…”

I almost called him a cheesy romantic, but he wasn’t done.

“…We were supposed to see Caddyshack for our first date but it was sold out. Deb didn’t want to wait for the next showing because Marnie was with a sitter. So I bought two tickets for the movie that started next. Turns out that it was An Affair To Remember.”

I started laughing. “So much for thinking you’re a cynic.”

He snorted at me, just before we hit the front porch. “I’m that too.”

**

We burst through the front door and stopped. My hands went to my knees while I caught my breath and Dad leaned back against the archway to the living room. And only seconds later, the other three joggers were right with us, using up all the air and shrinking the foyer.

Alc slapped Sookie’s  shoulder. “You’re cooking’s making me lazy… 8 miles doesn’t wind me like this.”

She reached back and patted his ribs. “Of course it’s my cooking and not the 2 packs you smoked yesterday, right PUFF?” They blew raspberries at each other.

Smom came to the door from the kitchen and smiled at us while we panted like race dogs. “Ooh, ya were gone long enough I was starting to worry. Ya have fun?”

Sookie started laughing. She was the least out of breath of any of us. “I had a great time. I learned 4 new dirty jokes running between these two and had a great view for most of the run.”

I growled through huffing. “Not fair. Next time we run, you run next to me. If I can’t check you out, you…”

“Eric… One word: Splits… Getting to check out your ass while we run makes up for the view you get 3 times a week.” Everyone started to laugh and agree with her.

Smom walked a little closer to Sookie and looked hesitant somehow. “Sookie, ya know, Jim’s gonna make fun of me… I thought I could skip a week. He calls me a Church-a-holic.”

Sookie didn’t even pause… “What’s your poison?”

Smom cringed. “Is there a catholic church in the area that’d be easy for me to find?”

Sookie looked over to check the time and smiled. “We’ve got just enough time to get ready and make breakfast…”

“Oh, ya don’t have ta go too…”

“Nonsense. I skipped last week to move Eric in. I’ve really been racking up the lust, greed and pride too. Father Riordan better be taking confession.”

“You’re catholic?” Me, Smom and Dad- in unison.

She laughed at us. “How the hell else do you think I got stuck with a middle name like Juniper. I was born on Saint Junipero’s feast day… Alc and I get first dibs on the bathrooms so we can make breakfast.” She slapped his shoulder and he followed her down the hall grumbling about wanting coffee. She asked him how his new vagina was working out for him then asked someone to put a pot of water on for the grits.

It didn’t surprise me so much that she’s catholic… the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I started laughing.

“What’s funny, kid?”

“I joked around last week and promised to name our first kid after Rene. She fussed at me that she wanted a fifth… Asked if his confirmation name could be ‘5’. It never occurred to me…”

Smom giggled. “Maybe she can get my sweet boy to church once in a while.”

I stood up finally and headed to the kitchen to start that pot of water and appraise the coffee situation. “If anyone can, it’d be her, Smom.” Remembering… ‘I think I’d let you fuck me in church’… I laughed to myself.

**

Smom poured coffees to empty the pot and start a fresh one while I filled a large sauce pan with water at the sink. I felt nasty and wanted to get in the shower worse than I could remember. It was taking a lot of will power to not go back to our room to start digging out fresh clothes to put on… Sookie didn’t have time to amuse me and I knew that the second I saw her fresh from the shower, I’d want to make her sweaty all over again. My imagination was starting to get the best of me when Smom started small talk, asking about Alcide cooking… Thank God. So I started explaining Sookie’s teaching techniques.

Sookie and Alc were only gone for about 10 minutes when I heard high heels working their way down the hall. I hadn’t looked back yet, when she started chirping, in navy speak. Grrrr… “Head watch turnover. General Quarters; condition 5. 10 minute rotation for the 5 ‘S’s.” Alc was chuckling behind her.

I almost asked her, finally, how the fuck she knew enough navy jargon to aggravate me, but when I turned around I started drooling. Even in church clothes, she took my breath away. The dress was more reserved than her teaching clothes, but the light blue and black paisley button down dress hugged her body perfectly and the wide black alligator belt and matching shoes… Yup. She could get me into going to church. As a hobby. I couldn’t promise to stay focused, but I’d go.

I watched her go to the pantry door and grab an apron from the hook inside the door. I was lost in the idea that Sookie was a vixen… and Donna fucking Reed at the same time when I realized that my father was laughing.

“Sookie, how the hell do you know so much about the military? I’m still trying to figure out how you guessed I was an FC!” Good, I didn’t have to be the one to ask.

“Well, I met Terry when I was 3. He was in the navy…”

I butted in for clarification. “But he was a POW. How…”

“He piloted an A6 Intruder. He was shot down… Anyway, Remy was a jarhead, and with Bravo being in the Air Force, you pick it up… I guessed you were an FC when Eric rattled off the list of places you’ve been stationed. Dahlgren was the give-away… Since it’s the training center for FCs. I spent a couple of summers there with Bravo while he was at SpaceCOM.” She put a pan on the burner in front of Alc and handed him a couple tubes of sausage, gave him his instructions and went into her frenzied multi-tasking method.

What?… “You lived on Dahlgren!? When?”

“High school. During the summer. I stayed most of both summers. I’d study for my online classes, unfuck his house during the day while he was at work and then we’d make dinner together and swim in the river at night, golf on weekends.” We were in the same small corner of the planet for 2 whole summers and never ran into each other!? Fuck!… FUCK!

“Where on base?”

“His house was on Sampson. His kids were shits to him and would wreck his house while he was at work when they came to visit during the summers. That second summer I went, his daughter had gotten her tits in and she spent most of her time out of the house making rounds. She was almost never there and when she was, she was on the phone with her boy toys. She ended up marrying a local boy. She lives in Fred-Vegas with him. She’s still a bitch though.”

“She married a summer fling huh?” I was desperately trying to let go of the fact that I could have met her years ago. We could have skipped a shitload of fucking bad road…

“Shotgun wedding… One of her many suitors had a party foul and knocked her up. One of them asked her to marry him. Turns out the kid isn’t his… she says he was asking for it because he was too nice. Twat. You know how I am… and I don’t like being in the same room as Stan… Isabel is worse. It’s like they sweat evil. They got it from their mother.”

Now, I was trying not to laugh. “Her last name isn’t Flood though.”

Sookie turned around and looked puzzled. “No. They took the bitch’s maiden name after the divorce. Beaumont.”

I smiled at her. Just waiting… I watched it click.

“EEEEWWWWW.”

I threw my head back and laughed while she faked a couple of gags.

“You’ve been tested right!?”

Still laughing. “Extensively.”

She turned back around to check on Alc’s progress with the sausage gravy and go back to her biscuits.

Smom whacked me in the shoulder. “You dated her god sister?”

“I guess I did.”

Dad started laughing. “Sookie, that kid isn’t blonde and abnormally tall is he?”

I started a chuckle, but stopped it the second Sookie’s head shot up from her task to stare into nothing. “Sookie?”

She didn’t say anything. I couldn’t see her face. When Alc turned to look at her and I saw the ‘holy shit’ look on his face. It felt like it took forever for her to turn around.

When she did, she looked green. She genuinely looked like she was going to be sick. Panic was setting in.

“Sookie?”

Her head shook slightly and her eyes started to water. My parents both shot dirty looks at me. This was fucking insane! There was no way in hell I fathered a child way the fuck back in high school… Well, procedurally, I could have fathered a bunch… NO!… “Sookie, say something.”

She whispered. “He’s black.”

“What?”

“Gotcha.” Her revolted façade changed when she started laughing hysterically and reached over to give my father a high 5, thanking him for the ‘lay-up’.

I bit my bottom lip while the room rattled with laughter. “You bitch! I think I shit my pants a little!”

“You still owe me.”

“How?” I was trying not to laugh, but it wasn’t working. If she had punk’d anyone else like she’d just done me, I’d have fallen out of my chair laughing.

“Because I don’t know anything about any of your other exes, now I have a wretched mental image of Isabel smiling like a doughnut for you… I need to see a picture of one of your other ‘hit it & forget its.”

I started laughing, Smom blushed and Alc and Dad started hissing like hyenas. I got up and whacked her ass on the way back to our room to get my phone and texted one of my old hump & dumps.

**

After a quick shower, I walked back into the kitchen. Sookie had a smile waiting for me.

I handed my phone to her. She looked at the picture on it and gave me a semi-dirty look. “You still have a picture of an ex on your phone?”

“No but her number was still in there, so I texted her for a picture.”

She started laughing. “You’ve got good taste.”

“Eh.”

She stopped laughing and stared at me.

“What?”

“Eh?”

I shrugged and nodded.

“How lucky for me.” She stretched up to kiss me.

Her lips were still touching mine when Alcide punched me in the shoulder.

She jerked back and gave him the hairy eyeball. “What the FUCK, Tex?”

He glared back at her. “Just reminding him what fucking planet he’s on.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Oh nothing… ‘cept for you’d be hard pressed to find a bitch who wouldn’t jump on a guys shit for keeping a booty call’s number in their phone.”

“FUCK!… I forgot the rules. Remind me. Uhhh… I’m supposed to have a hissy fit because he forgot to delete a girl that rates so high as to get an ‘eh’? I might have gotten my hair up about a ‘Mmmm’ or an ‘Ooff’. She probably only scored a 1 out of 5 thumbs up on the S Scale.”

I nodded. “One… Maybe two.”

“S scale?”

She laughed at him… “Surface, Space, Sex, Suck, Social.”

Alc looked like a deer in headlights while I smiled at her. I learned about the scale in college, but something told me she’d used the scale…

“As a bonafide fucking five, why would I freak out about a one? How irrational are normal girls?”

Alc and I shared a look then told her ‘very’ in unison.

Alc finally shook off his shock. “Define the catergories?”

“Surface: her curb appeal, is she a butterface? Butterass?… Space: clingy or independent…  Sex & Suck should explain itself… Social: can she be in a conversation and not constantly need to Google the big words. Can she hear a dirty joke and not take offense? Does she take it out on the guy when the waitress flirts with her date? How much fun she is, or how much fun she’ll let you have.”

“Why are sex and suck two different categories and fun seems lumped in with social?”

She was loving this… “Because you can’t take her anywhere and have fun with her if she’s going to embarrass you around your friends… Sex and Suck are two very independent acts… and equally important… there’s a lot of ways to fuck them up.”

He looked like he didn’t want to ask, but couldn’t help himself. “How?”

“Just laying there for starters… pushing too hard, too fast… being a prude… being timid about going down… employing only one body part… a girl can fuck up a great blow job by not giving attention to anything else… a guy is more likely to fuck up a great roll by not getting his hands wet…. This could take a while. Do you want to take notes, or was that enough?” He gave me a dirty look for snickering at him.

“Ok, and why doesn’t the one to ten scale work?”

“Couple ‘a reasons… a guy could say a girl is a 7 because she’s hot and gives great head, but she’s about as much fun as a dish rag and needs batteries to get off. The ‘S scale’ is better because a thumbs down implies that she is lacking in certain areas… And for a guy to ‘wingman’ for you from a distance, flashing a 3 or 4 is a little more discrete than searching for a place to put a beer to flash a 6 through 10.”

It took him a minute to come back from ‘batteries’… “You think like a guy.”

“Uh huh. Thank you.”

Hadley cleared her throat from the doorway. “Alc needed the S Scale laid out? What rock has he been under?”

Sookie laughed. “Marriage. It’s not the scale as much as he’s almost appalled that I’m not shitting my pants over one of Eric’s exes sending a picture to him.” Sookie had worded it to sound suspicious on purpose, but Had giggled.

Alc looked like his head was going to explode. “You too?”

Had gave him a look as she moved to stand next to Sookie. They mirrored each other, arms folded and feet shoulder distance apart. “Blame daddy. He raised us to be the type of girls our men wouldn’t want to leave at home.”

Sookie smiled at her. “We could throw darts, play chess, box, bait our own hook…”

Had took over. “We actually watched the games we cheered at, play poker and work for what we want instead of waiting for someone to gift it to us.”

Sookie’s turn. They were doing it again; making me dizzy. “That movie… As Good As It Gets… ‘How do you write women so well?”

Had nodded with a snort. “I think of a man, and take away reason and accountability.” They both laughed.

“Or Oscar Wilde… Women have a great instincts about things, they can discover everything but the obvious.”

“Marie Henri Beyle: Women prefer emotions to reasoning.”

“Marlene Dietrich: Most women set out to try to change a man, and when they’ve changed him, they don’t like him.”

Hadley smiled like the Cheshire cat. “My fave?”

Sookie giggled at her and pulled the biscuits out of the oven. “Take it home.”

“Congresswoman Leonor Sullivan: ‘A woman with a woman’s viewpoint is of more value when she forgets she’s a woman and begins to act like a man.’ 12 terms in office and was the only woman to vote against the Equal Rights Amendment.” They pounded fists.

I couldn’t help but be amused. “Who’d have figured misogyny could be so sexy?” They both giggled at me and started making plates for everyone.

Had started. “It’s not hatred for women…”

“…It’s intolerance to the stereotypical lack of reasoning bitches display. Big difference.” Sookie finished.

My father had been watching, completely entertained… “So your dad is why you don’t think women belong in the military?”

“No. Watching Remy PT alongside girls our size and finding out they’re in the same unit decided that for me. My retarded father actually thinks that women can do anything they want… Until I suggest kicking him in the balls.”

I started laughing, but Alc was still ‘paused’. The ‘twins’ identically waved their hands in front of his face and when it didn’t work they snapped a couple of times. Poor bastard was probably imagining the shit fit Amelia would be having if she’d have been here for that tutorial on ‘Men V. Women’. It was funny as shit to see him like that though.

He finally snapped out of it. “Do either of you have any female friends or did you run them off?”

Had tilted her head and smiled at him. “We ran them off. I sit on the loading dock at the store and eat lunch with my guys. We play craps, bitch about the Saints and tell dirty jokes while we eat pizzas or grinders. We have a shit load more fun than the girls who sit in the break room with a Lean Cuisine and talk about litter boxes and Dancing With The Stars. Who’d you rather hang out with?”

“That’s different. I’m a guy.”

“Why does it have to be? Comedy or Drama?”

“Comedy.”

“Football game or recreational shopping?”

“Game.”

“Fucking or fighting?”

“Fucking.”

“Right… Laughing, relaxing and having sex are rational preferences to making yourself upset, pissing away money and causing conflict. And yet…” She raised her eyebrows at him, cuing him to finish for her…

“Silly bitches prefer the latter?”

She smiled and patted his shoulder. “Good boy.”

I started laughing as I dug into my breakfast. “You two need to stand down. It’s too early for reverse feminism. You may very well have ruined his train of thought for the whole day.”

“Yes sir.” From both of them. Ohmigod…

**

We only had a few minutes before the boys came into the room. Jack asked why Sookie was so dressed up and they both decided that they wanted to go with her. It didn’t take long for them to talk Alc into letting them. It had been Amelia who was against the idea of taking them to church before. ‘… Sweating like a whore in church…’ I had a private chuckle.

After eating, dad left for his shower, Alc took the boys to get them dressed, and Smom went to go get ready and wake Marnie… Sookie found her way to my lap and gave me a long kiss.

“Church will be over in a couple of hours, but we’re planning on going into Shreveport.”

“Oh right. The stuff for New York.”

She nodded. “Is there anything you’d like for me to get? Do you need anything?”

“I think I’m good.” I need to go shopping for looser jeans, but I’d have to try those on.

“K… I’m going to leave plates in the oven for JB and Laf… if they ever get up. And if you guys get hungry before we’re back, the leftovers from dinner from Friday need attention. I’ll make sure to be home in time to make dinner.”

I gave her a nod. “Consider me briefed.”

She smiled and gave me another long kiss.

When she pulled away, I found myself staring… “Sookie, I should kick your ass for falling back during the run this morning.”

She giggled. “You’re welcome.”

“You’re not funny.”

“Yes I am. Besides, there’s only one thing about you that irritates me.”

“Just one? What is it?”

“That you find one thing to not like about a person, albeit from what I can tell it’s usually a serious issue, and use that one thing to build a wall.”

I rolled my eyes, wondering if she was ever fucking wrong.

“Your Dad is a great guy. He loves you to death. He pushed you when you were growing up because he knew you could do it, but the higher he set the bar for you, you thought more and more that the last hurdle wasn’t good enough for him… If he had accepted mediocrity from you, he wouldn’t have been doing right by you… Pushing you is how he showed you that he loves you… You’ll be just as right to do that with our kids.”

Staring again. “I hate you.”

She was laughing when she kissed me again. “I’m seriously going to write up the Trees Complex.”

“Thank you.” I held her hips so that she wouldn’t slide into the floor while I checked the hall for snoopers. “I think your dad knows.”

She cringed. “Yeah, I figured. I’m pretty sure Alc knows too.”

“He told my dad that he’s noticed a big change in you… Why Alc?”

“He’s here. I’ve seen him notice you ‘note for later’ face a few times. If he doesn’t know, he’s figuring it out.”

“Shit. I don’t want to lie to them out right. I guess we should tell them if they come right out and ask… Wait, I make a face?”

She giggled. “Yea, it’s really cute too. It’s like a little flash of question then serious with a little squint and you part your lips and then close them again. It’s all really fast.”

Fuck. “I’m that easy of a read, huh?”

“Not really. It took me a few days to spot it. You’re face is pretty locked down as a rule.”

“MINE? The way you lock down has given me more panic attacks than anything else.”

“I don’t ‘lock down’. Had does though, really bad… When have you caught me locking down?”

“When I punched Bill for starters. You stared at me locked down for so long after that, I thought I was going to die if you didn’t say something.”

“I wasn’t locked down. I was trying to figure out what I was feeling. Trying to figure out why I was so turned on to be specific.” I guess sorting through feelings is different than masking them…

“Hey, are you going to tell me what my tell is?”

She stared at me, locked down… until we both started laughing. “Your scalp and ears shift when you notice that you’re getting hard at a bad time. It’s huge, by the way. Really hard to not notice it.”

“Fuck… I guess it’s better than your tell… You get this look…”

She cut me off with a nod and cut her eyes at me. “Frannie named it ‘rape face’…” I started laughing.

“That’s the perfect name for it!”

“And the problem we have is that my tell inspires your tell and vice versa.”

“That’s not a problem.”

“Well, until we get some quiet time…”

I’d barely had the chance to agree with her before Jack and Carm came into the room and made us both laugh at the irony of their timing.

**

Alc was right behind them and when he walked in, Sookie smiled up at him.

“D’you have plans later? Smom, Marnie and I are going into Shreveport for some shopping. I can bring them back after church if you have plans.”

“No. I was planning on watching football and dealing with IDs for most of the day since we have a few hundred to deal with from last night and we haven’t even touched the boxes Pam brought back.”

“Cool. I just told Eric that y’all should kill the leftovers for lunch and I’ll be home to make dinner.”

He nodded at her. “Don’t buy them anything.”

The boys nearly twisted their heads off turning to look at their party pooper father and Sookie gave him a ‘yes sir’.

“Don’t look at me like that. You’ve got more than $800 in the damn cuss bank. You can spend your own money if see anything you want.”

Carm was not going gentle into that good night. “Dats New York money! We’re saving up. Spending it now does adainst de cuss bank.”

I turned my head to laugh quietly at his argument.

Sookie didn’t try to hide it though, she was snickering. “You both make a fair point… I bet Laf and Had will write him a solid recommendation for Law School.”

Alc’s eyes went wide. “Had went to law school?”

The boys huffed, realizing that the part of the conversation concerning them was over and moped out of the room to go get their bankroll.

Sookie smiled at Alc and peaked around the corner. “International and Corporate from Georgetown while they were at Quantico and then when Remy stationed to Little Creek she got bored and went to ODU for Art History and Interior Design because it was a more portable field than Law.”

Poor Alc was locked up again.

“Hon, how did she manage law school with a baby?” I’d assumed she’d gone to night school for some business classes.

“Momma went with them to help take care of Hunter. Daddy ran the dealerships for her. It was his turn anyway.”

“Turn?”

“Yeah, Daddy bowed out for a couple of years to get away from Sheila, so Momma tended to the landscaping company for him.”

Trying to not linger on the fact that he left Sookie and Jason alone with that woman… changing the subject. “So business, law and government for the grandkids… You never told me what your Dad’s degree is in.”

“Which one?”

“Your whole fucking family really likes their blue collar costumes, huh? Alright hit me. What degrees does Dad have?”

She stuck her tongue out at me. “He did the engineering degree while he and Unc were at Auburn. Then when Jas and I were little, he got sick of Sheila and gave himself that time out so he wouldn’t kill her. We lived in Dallas for 3 years while he went to school as his excuse. Philosophy…  That’s why Jason’s Spanish is so good. Our nanny there had two boys his age and their English wasn’t very good yet. Jas worked out a trade. He taught them ‘American’ and they taught him ‘Puerto Rican’. Daddy’d have enlisted but he didn’t want to leave us with Sheila.” The mother fucker just became MORE awesome in my book… on a lot of levels.

“Ok. What else is on the list?”

“It was the Easter after Jas and I left for school that Gran found her first lump. They did the mastectomy and everything seemed fine, but while everyone was worrying about it, Daddy and Gran had one of ‘those’ talks. She said that the only regrets she had were not getting to go to college or travel much. So Daddy enrolled both of them at Loyola and bought a house down there. They both got a Degree in Classical Studies and we celebrated their graduation with a summer in Italy. When the doctor told her that the cancer had come back, she smiled and told him she was fine with that. She’d done everything she ever wanted and then some.” Sookie was wearing a sweet smile.

I had nothing. There wasn’t anything I could say. That was probably the only death I’d ever heard about that was contented and definitely the best ‘wish’ granting ever. To give your mother the college education she’d always wanted so that she wouldn’t die with any regrets. I got lost for a minute, letting it sink in that it must have taken an amazing woman to raise a man who’d drop everything for four years to do that for her. Fucking WOW.

Still stunned. “What about Grampa? Harvard? Yale?”

“He didn’t even finish high school. Grampa joined the Army at 16 so that he could be home to marry her after she was out of school. They got married a month after graduation and Linda was born 10 months later. They never spent a penny of their inheritances. It’s how they started the bank, but it just sat there collecting dust.”

I smiled at her. “You’re all hiding in this piss ant town in nowhere, Louisiana.”

“Hey! Bon Temps is great.”

“Just because you’re all here.”

She giggled. “Besides… I told you we’re lucky to have found something that makes us happy. What’s that old George Carlin joke about losing things?… He follows it with a quick bit about finding them. How you stop looking when you find what you’re looking for… because it would be stupid to keep looking for something you already found.”

“Again. You’re being too deep. George Carlin was a social satirist. What made him so funny was the way he made fun of stupid shit that everyone can relate to… Fuck you.”

She put her arms around my neck and hugged me so I pretended to try to get away. She laughed and tried to ‘steal’ a kiss from me. Alcide started laughing leaned against the counter for a smoke and a show.

“No! You’re always right! It pisses me off.”

Still laughing. “No it doesn’t.”

Still trying to kiss me… “Stop it!”

“Why? Am I right again?”

“Fuck you!” The chair went off balance and we fell into the floor with a loud thud.

I started to get up, and leave her infallible ass on the floor, but she grabbed me around my legs and brought me down on top of her. “I’m not always right! Stop being a brat!”

“When are you ever wrong?”

She stared at me.

“SEE!”

I started getting up again, but she took fistfuls of my shirt, holding me to her. We were both laughing hard enough to need medication. “I might always have the right idea, but you always DO the right thing. How’s that?”

“I’m NOT paying for that stroke!”

“You don’t have to. That was on the house. Now, will you stop being a dick?”

“NO.”

“Good.” She lifted her head and gave me a kiss.

“You’re a pill.”

“Good thing we’ve taken each other off the market. Now no one else has to put up with us.”

“Amen.” I gave her a kiss before I pulled us both off of the floor… to realize we had an audience. Everyone in the damn house (except for JB & Laf who were still chalk outlines) was standing in the opening of the kitchen and staring at us.

Sookie scowled at them. “What? You’ve never seen a couple fight before? Get outta here!” She started flailing her arms at them to shoo them out of her way so that she could get her purse.

Hunter was nabbed by his mother because his room looked like ‘a war zone’ and she had invoices to deal with… and then…. Then…

**

5 men… Alone in a house… Well stocked beer fridge and liquor cabinet… Football… Bears v. Bills…

How much fucking work did Alc really think he was going to get out of me?

Even with the furniture in the living room being rearranged, I decided to take a few minutes to watch the pregame show. I grabbed the remote and laid down next to Laf, leaving the club chair for Dad. JB was taking up the other bed on his own, so Alc propped himself up on the other side of Laf.

Sookie’d been right about how comfy the couches were… even the mattresses on the fold outs…

**

I don’t remember the first thing about the pregame… What woke me up was being nudged.

When I opened my eyes, Laf looked confused. “How drunk did we get last night, beautiful?”

I rolled over to my side and blew him a kiss. “You missed a lot.”

“I guess so.” He pointed over to Alc who was passed out with an arm over his eyes and his mouth open- snoring. I looked over and my dad was out too. JB was frozen in the same sprawl he was in the last time I looked. The game was in the 3rd quarter… it was nearly 4.

“Wow… Uh, did Jas wake you up when he came by this morning?”

“Naw. What he want?”

“To say they’d see us next week. They’ve probably landed in Cancun by now. They’re eloping.”

He bit his bottom lip to contain whatever excitement was trying to get out…

I leaned over and whispered into his ear. “And she’s pregnant.”

He slapped his hands over his mouth, that wasn’t enough, I guess, because he tackled me back in a hug. He let go of me all of a sudden to thunder down the hall claiming that for news like that he should have had an empty bladder. I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t woken anyone up with all of the noise he made, more so when he got back onto the bed and didn’t wake up Alc.

“When did it happen?”

“She’s two months along. I busted her on it yesterday at the cookout. She told Jas last night once they got home.”

“Y’all did it. Y’all got them together.”

“We didn’t do anything but make things worse. They fought because we put Alc in play. I don’t know if Sookie learned her lesson, but I learned mine.”

“He proposed because they fought. He was afraid he’d lost her. They’d never fought before.”

“Do me a favor.”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t put it like that to Sookie. We both need to keep our nosey asses out of everyone’s business.”

He gave me a nod. “How’s your Dad doing? He loosening up since his talk with Daddy?”

“Yeah… He seemed to have a lot of fun last night. My bitch pushed me into talking to him this morning… I still owe her one for handling me, but it went well. I’m relieved she did it.”

“At least he tries. He seems like a good guy.”

“He is.”

**

Trying to avoid talking about Dad long enough that he wakes up, I pulled my phone out of my pocket to check for messages…

Holy shit… starting at about noon, Sookie started blowing up my phone with picture messages. I slept through 16 message alerts… All of them were from her. Dishes, silverware, bedding, ornaments… A few of them were of different wedding dresses… tuxes…

Ooooh… bitch…

The 15th message was a picture she’d taken of herself in a dressing room she was wearing a white baby doll negligee… white panties… thigh high stockings… Fuck me. She’s evil. The message with it read: ‘Normally I’m not clingy, but I was wondering if I had your attention yet.’

Hell fucking yes, she had my attention. Lafayette started laughing at my reaction to the messages and asked what she was up to. I handed him the phone and he started laughing right away.

“You see the shit I deal with?”

“Yeah. And I don’t know why I’m laughing. I feel sorry for ya!”

Laf managed to wake up Alc and he sat up rubbing his eyes. “What’s wrong?”

Laf handed him the phone. “Sookie’s an evil bitch. She’s teasing his ass from Shreveport!”

Alc read the message and stared at the picture… then read the message again… “WHOA! Eric… the next message…”

“Do I even want to know?”

“Dunno… You probably didn’t want me to see it though.”

Laf yanked my phone out of his hand and barely got a peak before I yanked it from his hands.

“Bitch!”

They both started laughing at me while my eyes bugged out. Still in the dressing room… without the stockings… without the panties… without the baby doll negligee… nothing but ‘the look’… Her message: ‘how about now?’

**

They were still laughing at me… her… whatever… when my phone rang and Laf caught his second wind when he heard that her ringtone is Crazy Bitch by Buck Cherry…

I had to hit them to shut them up and answer the phone.

“I just woke up from a nap to some very interesting messages.”

“That’s nice. While I was shopping, I found you a present.”

“Does it include an apology for being mean enough to send me nude pictures?”

“Maybe…” She sounded funny… off somehow.

“Sookie? What’s wrong?”

“I found a shark for your fish tank.”

“We don’t have a… WHERE ARE YOU?”

She giggled but it wasn’t ‘right’… “I thought I’d poke the bear, so on the way home we stopped at the florist by Tara’s so that I could send flowers to Selah to thank her for my new classroom.”

“HE’S THERE?” I reached across Laf to slap Alc’s shoulder.

“Yeah, we won’t be long. The guy who works here is looking up if there’s a flower that says ‘nanny-nanny boo-boo’.”

“WHERE ARE THE BOYS?” If I didn’t have it before, I had Alc’s attention now…

“I can try but the car’s full.”

“SOOKIE, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE RIGHT NOW!!!”

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 21: The Father, The Son & The Holy Shit Moment

  1. Ummmm. I’m so so glad I can just hit next with no wait.

    And I apologize to Eric’s dad for my earlier ‘he needs to not throw stones’ comment, since he didn’t know she was married.

  2. I’m glad the killer is back! Things are about to get interesting!

    I wish you wouldn’t put all the anti-woman stuff in your writing though. Just because not all women want to be sex fiend/ saint/ suzy homemaker/ tom boy/ bisexual/ geniuses like Sookie and Hadley doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them.

  3. Ugh – their scale evidently only applies to cheerleaders and smart but pretty types. Female nerds, damaged or disfigured girls and girls who don’t think they’re just arm candy or made to be appealing to boys evidently aren’t socially appealing. Lucky for Rene he’s male, given smart is all he has to offer.

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