Hide And Seek
As my house came into view, I could see two anxious little silhouettes watching the front yard and decided to play, hoping it would help us all improve our Merlotte induced moods.
I flew past the front door, making sure they’d see me and hearing their laughter as they ran to meet me at the back door… they laughed again when I scared the shit out of Bobby while he set food out on the table.
Going back to the front door to ring the doorbell, and lurking around the corner to hear Tina, clever little doll that she was, suggest that they split up… one tiny sentry at the back door, the other at the front…
I went to the roof, waiting until I heard the doors open and close as they anxiously looked for me…
I opened the skylight that did nothing more than serve as an exit since it let light into the unused attic and climbed in…
I wasn’t thinking about anything but sneaking up on the girls when I opened the attic’s access panel and dropped into the room below…
Sookie was standing at the dresser in her room in her robe, fresh from her shower and brushing her hair… My options were to keep her from screaming or stand there like a retard and hope she wouldn’t scream.
I got my hand over her mouth just in time to catch her yelp… I put my finger to my lips to shush her and when I did, she started flailing, slapping my arms and chest as though she was getting dirt out of a rug… and hissing out a quiet laugh while she backed me up to a wall.
She snickered, “You scared the shit out of me.”
I chuckled and whispered, “I’m sorry. I’m playing with the girls. I didn’t think about where the attic access was when I came in.”
She stopped slapping when she hurt her hand on my wrist. “You’re hiding from them?”
She was quiet for a moment, closing her eyes and still smiling. “They’re coming. They can feel your bubble…” Shit.
“Tina’s already working with impressive instincts. It didn’t take her long to tell Shelly to separate so they could locate me more easily.”
“Animalistic… your little girl is going to be an exceptional hunter. Now…” I took her shoulders and led her to the bathroom, leaving her at the vanity with her brush. “Hopefully not better than me yet. Stay here and focus on my bubble. The journal says that…”
“I know, I know, other telepaths register me as a Vampire too. Where are you going?”
When the girls started running up the stairs, I shushed Sookie again and backed into the closet.
The girls did very well at staying quiet as they inched through Sookie’s room towards the bathroom door.
I watched through the tiniest of cracks as they shared a look, making their silent plan to ‘catch’ me just before shoving open the bathroom door and shrieking ‘GOTCHA!’…
Without me there to cover her mouth that time, Sookie screamed as though the girls had axes and hockey masks.
Shelly cackled while Tina complained, “It’s just Mommy.”
Sookie panted, “It’s just Mommy? Y’all gave me a heart attack! Who were you expecting?”
I snuck up behind them. I grabbed their sides as I asked, “ME?”
I’d moved quickly enough that the girls weren’t the only ones I startled. All three of them shrieked.
Tina and Shelly were laughing hysterically, but Sookie was not as amused… she was still laughing though.
“You got me 3 times in as many minutes!”
“Did not. They got you the second time and I didn’t get you either time on purpose. You even knew I was there for the third one.”
“You did get me three times… you told me to focus on you… so guess who didn’t hear your little friends coming.”
“That wasn’t intentional.”
She smirked. “Just a bonus, huh?” Yes.
“Maybe… How did Bobby behave today?”
Sookie narrowed her eyes in Tina and Shelly’s direction. “Those two had too much fun with his etiquette lessons. They taught him to ‘bow’ because he wasn’t doing it right… the lesson took 20 minutes. And they…” She paused to giggle and shake her head. “They told him that he didn’t sound ‘American enough’… he needed to sound ‘American like a president’… so now Bobby is walking around doing a Bush impersonation… It’s horrible.”
I shook my head as I lifted the girls. “Noooo. It’s beautiful… What about his thoughts? The journal said that he’d been an asshole since the first Sookie related errand.”
“He’s freaking out that he could piss off a whole country. Nothing crappy like the other Sookies had to deal with.”
Bobby was waiting when we reached the back patio.
His gloved hands were clasped in front of him as he stood at a stiff attention. When he bowed, Tina snorted that he’d ‘never get it right’ in a haughty British-esque accent that she’d probably learned from a cartoon.
“My apologies, Lady Tina. I’ll keep practicing…” He sounded like the only time he’d ever seen President Bush was on Saturday Night Live. Texas wept. He motioned towards the table and asked, “If I may?”
Sookie nodded. “Ja, zu erklären.” German?
Tina ‘translated’, “She said yes.”
Bobby nodded and motioned towards each food item. “Fried chicken, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, corn bread, collard greens, and I thought the children might enjoy macaroni and cheese. There is an apple pie for dessert and ice cream for the top.” Points for showing some initiative.
Sookie rolled her eyes. “Wir haben keine hühner oder Äpfel in unserem land? Stupid, amerikanischen bauern, kann ich das zu hause zu bekommen.“ Her grammar was horrible, but her accent was completely Swiss. Sentence structure aside, I was biting the inside of my mouth to keep from laughing. I hadn’t expected Sookie to participate much, if at all… but she’d taken it to a new level.
Tina translated again, “America isn’t the only place you can find apples and chickens…“
Bobby simpered, “Was there something specific you had in mind? I’ll see to it for tomorrow night’s dinner. Pizza perhaps?” Really Bobby? Pizza?
I suggested, “Perhaps the Duchess was thinking about something regional. Cajun? Seafood?”
Sookie nodded. “Ja. Cajun klingt wunderbar.“
“You heard her, Bobby. Cajun tomorrow night. Did you see to the other items on the list?”
“Yes sir. They’re on the desk in your study. Would you like for me to set off the fireworks?”
“So they can smell the sulfur while they eat? No. I’ll see to them when they’re done. You can go.”
I kept from laughing until Bobby was in his car. “Nice touch.”
Sookie giggled as she started putting food on plates. “The girls have an English nanny. I suck at accents and figured he wouldn’t know the difference if I used the little bit of German I know. Tina translated from my thoughts.”
“It worked beautifully. Where did you pick up the Swiss accent?”
“Well… my graduation present was a ticket to Barcelona so I could backpack through Europe. I had high school French, typical American tourist and all. I liked Switzerland so much I didn’t leave until it was time to go back for school. I got a job as a maid in a hotel and stayed with some of the girls I worked with. I almost stayed.”
“You learned a lot in two months.”
“My foreign language credits are in French and German… I’ve forgotten a lot from not using it, but I’m convinced that immersion learning is the way to go. I learned more from two months in Switzerland than I did in school.”
“I’ve always found that to be true. A pocket dictionary will give you the basics, the rest is always regional dialect. English was the most difficult…”
“Because we’re a melting pot. We use all the languages and the slang changes every week now thanks to the internet… This is awesome, by the way. Just so you know, I was just giving Bobby a hard time. And I need to know where he got breakfast. The waffles were phenomenal.”
“I’ll find out… Where did you go to school?”
“University of California. I stayed in San Francisco with Jason and Lauren… transferred to Louisiana State when I got married.”
“Are you thinking about finishing now that you don’t have to commute?”
She nodded. “Definitely. Even if I don’t use the degree for anything more than the Northman Library, I’m going to finish what I started.”
“What does your brother do?”
“He did computers in school. He works for Wells Fargo.”
“But… Your brother is an idiot.”
The girls giggled along with her. “In the journal? I know. Like I said, it’s like they got my dad and Jason confused. Apparently, the other Jasons are just lazy.”
“Maybe having your parents survive was a negative example?”
She shrugged. “I’ve been thinking about that. I think Calvin made the difference. He started college funds for us when he married our mom. He pushed us to ‘get out of Hotshot’ so that we wouldn’t get stuck there.” Then why the fuck would he have introduced her to Merlotte?
“Humans weren’t welcome?”
She shook her head. “Not that. We weren’t ever treated differently unless you count that we were pitied for being ‘the lush’s kids’. He just wanted better for us. If you went out there, you’d see why. Calvin is the only one with a house that isn’t falling down. He had to organize everything. A big cookout would get the women out of the houses so that the guys could go through and do maintenance and whatnot.” That wasn’t the picture I’d painted of Norris. I couldn’t have been more confused as to why he’d let Merlotte be a part of her life if he wanted Sookie to have ‘better’. Granted, the house she’d been sharing with Merlotte was in excellent repair, but it was still a stone’s throw from what he supposedly wanted her to get away from. I was going to have to ask. Apparently, I’d filled in the blanks incorrectly.
Sookie sat down and I left them to start their meal so that I could bring back the things I’d had Bobby shopping for.
I had Tina and Shelly’s attention when I returned to the patio, but Sookie was giving me a level stare because of the gift wrap.
I unceremoniously set the boxes for Sookie’s laptop and cell phone on the table and explained, “Business. I’d ordered them for you Thursday night. Based on the journals, I assumed you’d need them. A convenient coincidence since yours were broken. I had Bobby purchase the cord you’ll need to transfer data from your old hard drive to the new one though.”
She cracked a smile. “Really? I was worried that I’d lost a lot of baby pictures. Thanks.” At least that much of the journal Sookies had carried over to Mine. Practical gifts only.
“Pam mentioned as much… The rest is for the girls as much as me.” Tina and Shelly dropped their food and grabbed napkins.
“Oh really? How so?” The way she’d said it, she might as was have just said ‘bullshit’ instead.
I handed the girls’ gift bags to them and sat down next to Sookie, waiting until the gifts emerged to explain.
The first items to be removed were the boxes holding their LG Migos… Sookie was already glaring at me when I whispered, “Tina actually asked for one while I had her with me last night. I shopped around. Those can only call 4 numbers, but can receive incoming calls from anyone… There’s an emergency call feature. All four preprogrammed numbers will be called in turn until someone picks up. Right now they’re set to call you, me, Pam and Colonel Flood. And the best part is that if those phones leave a 30 mile radius of here, then we’ll all be notified and you can change the settings in case you’re taking them somewhere. To find them, all we’ll have to do is log into the website and track the GPS. The phones can be tracked even if they’re off or damaged as long as the chip is sound.”
She looked like she was going to cry. “Thank you… really… I’ve been worried that Sam would try to take them.”
The boxes had been strewn all over the patio and my pocket and Sookie’s box started to vibrate. I handed her boxed phone to her and took mine out to answer, only to hear Tina say ‘thank you’.
I spent a few minutes explaining, 1 for Sookie, 2 to reach me, 3 would dial Pam… 4 was for Colonel Flood and only to be used in the case that there was an emergency during the day… Paulette would replace him in their directories if she came to Shreveport like we were hoping…
They didn’t need to know that the phones I’d chosen were to foil any kidnapping ideas their father could come up with.
When they went back to their bags, they pulled out their Leap Pads. I’d only found them accidentally when I was looking for something else…
Sookie gasped and slapped my arm. “You turd! They were going to get those for Christmas!” Oops.
“I have an excuse.”
She laughed wryly, “Oh, it better be good.”
“I can’t read minds. If they hear something threatening, I think it would be convenient for them to communicate the problem. They have a sign language application so that they can learn…”
She put her hand up. “Ok. ‘Nuff said. Stop before I kiss you. That’s a great idea.”
I chuckled, “I thought so. Other than the sign language application, they only have two other games that didn’t come with it…” She giggled and scooted her chair away from mine. “Why did you do that?”
“Because I don’t know what else is in the bags and I don’t want to overreact again. Sorry I hit you.”
“What if it’s jewelry?”
She giggled again, “Then it’ll mean more when I waddle over to kick your ass.”
I laughed, “Fair enough,” as the girls pulled their purses from the bottoms of the bags… Bobby had been told to get something that the Leap Pads and cell phones would fit into, one more ‘girlie’ than the other. Tina’s was covered in bright pink and purple sequins and beads… Shelly’s looked like a pair of jeans, complete with a belt. Both girls seemed pleased and put their other things in their bags without prompting and asked Sookie to send their phone numbers to Grandaddy Cal and Grampa as they returned to their meals. No mention of their father.
While the girls enjoyed the bounce house, Sookie took the leftovers inside and I cleaned up the litter from the girls’ new toys… and Pam arrived while I was setting off the fireworks…
Auntie Pam was there to babysit… Since Sookie had hired 6 new servers (and four of them were on the schedule that night) Sookie wanted to be there to make sure of things for a while.
I was surprised by Sookie’s appearance when she came downstairs, dressed for work. Her heels added several inches to her legs, and the shortness of her snug black skirt helped… not that many of my customers would notice more than the cleavage she was displaying in her lowcut top. My mouth may or may not have been open. I hadn’t seen her dressed in anything that wasn’t typically shapeless and baggy.
Sookie jokingly groaned, “I can’t wait to get my body back. I hate not having a waist.”
Pam not-so-jokingly said, “Neither can I. Between your tits and legs, I can’t wait to see what you look like without that cockblocking speedbump.” Ditto.
Sookie laughed, “I’ll save a dance for you, but I’m still straight.” How about that, me too.
I had to change the subject. “Sookie, what happened to the new dress code?”
She looked down at her bare legs. “These? Stubble free, tanned recently and they have a close personal relationship with an exercise bike. I told the girls to risk it, but to beware that I had no qualms about calling them out in front of God and everybody if they tried to get away with putting cottage cheese in a miniskirt.”
“If I did that, I’d have a sexual harassment suit on my hands.”
“It’s a good thing you hired a girl that isn’t hiring f’ugs to up her chances with y’all then.”
Pam blurted, “I told you, Eric! I told you Ginger was hiring those grotesques on purpose!”
Sookie cackled, “I never met Ginger, Pam. Settle down! I heard Carol griping about how superficial I am for only hiring hotties.”
“Good thing you fired the cow. She’d have been bent into right angles if she knew you were hiring girls straight off a pole.”
I was so surprised that I shook my head. “You what?”
Sookie giggled and swatted Pam’s leg. “I wasn’t trolling strip clubs if that’s what you’re thinking. Three babies in 4 and a half years… a girl’s gotta work out. When I joined my new gym, I got the tour and we were talking class schedules when the pole dancing class let out. I let them know that I’d be interviewing at Fangtasia at noon. Badda bing…”
Pam finished, “Badda boom. We finally have fuckable servers.”
Sookie giggled, “Pam’s happy and she hasn’t even laid eyes on Julie yet.”
Pam’s eye lit up. “Ooooh. What’s a Julie?”
“Body by Bally’s and enough auburn hair to lose your hands in.”
Pam was making obscene hand gestures when I told them I’d be waiting in the car. I’m not sure they noticed I left.
Despite the bulge and high heels, Sookie jogged to the passenger side of the Escalade with enough poise that I wondered if Tina’s agility only came from her father.
She was laughing when she slid into her seat. “Sorry about that. Pam’s never babysat before. I had to warn her about getting conned by cuteness.”
“I left because I was expecting for her to get carried away over Julie.”
“She tried. I was hissed at when I interrupted. She was still pouting when I was done so I totally cheated and had Tina call her to play in the bounce house.”
“You seem to be having fun with your ability considering that you’ve just started using it again.”
She nodded. “It’s weird. Kind of like an old friend is back… I liked it when I was little. I remember that much. It just made school miserable until I learned to block it. The worst part was how my mom made me feel…”
“And then she married a Were. One might say the universe had a sense of humor.”
She laughed, “I know, right! I forgot to ask Calvin if she knew.”
“I’d say no. When Flood mentioned not approving of mixed marriage unless the Human knew, Norris looked surprised.”
“Yeah, I noticed that… which basically means that I left Sam for the same lie he told my mother. Might explain why he defended Sam at first.”
“Since he came up, would you mind if I ask a question?”
She shrugged. “Go ahead. Shoot.”
“You’re aware that I was listening last night, yes? Making sure things didn’t get out of hand?”
She huffed, “Shit. I do now. I was just glad the girls weren’t there anymore. I didn’t even think about where you took them.”
“7-11. They filled a bag with processed meat, soda and magazines and we sat on the roof of the building across from yours. I didn’t like that you were alone with him when the girls were so eager to get out of the apartment.”
“Thank you… he’d already wrecked the place by the time you got there.”
“Had he already hit you or did I miss that while we were 7-11?”
“He… when you called…” FUCK. I shouldn’t have asked. “You wanted to ask a question?”
I grit my teeth with the effort it took to not turn the car around to get on the highway. “After you left Fangtasia…”
“Try not to think about it.” Too late.
“After you left Fangtasia, he said that he’d never hit you before, but Norris didn’t contradict him.”
She nodded. “Right. Sam hadn’t hit me before. He’d been rough before like yanking me back to our office at Merlotte’s to yell at me about flirting with customers or whatever… He’d trashed the house a few times. That kind of thing.” It made me feel guiltier to know that my phone call pushed him over the edge.
“Last night you mentioned that Norris had assaulted him for something he did to you while you were pregnant with Shelly. If he hadn’t ever hit you before…”
“I was like this, really pregnant… I was bed rested because I was having preterm labor for no reason. Calvin took me to a doctor’s appointment because I wasn’t supposed to drive. At some point between the testing they did at the beginning of the pregnancy and the testing they did the week before, I’d managed to get an STD. I had to go on heavy duty antibiotics to get rid of it before I had Shelly so that she wouldn’t get it…”
“That would explain…”
She snorted, “Not done… Calvin took me home and then made a bee line to Merlotte’s and caught up to Sam in the back hallway, right? He was already pissed enough, but when Sam yelled that he didn’t know who I’d been slutting around with and that he’d better get tested, he said it loud enough for all the customers to hear. Calvin lost it. Sam needed stitches, a cast and he walked with a limp for a month. It just so happened to take place that night when he was leaving the bar.”
I chuckled, “Fantastic.”
“I told you Calvin is a good man.” As far as Sookie was concerned he seemed to be.
“Who was it that introduced you to Sam?”
She growled, “My mom. I came home from school for break. I was planning to go back to Switzerland as a matter of fact, but Aunt Linda was pretty bad off and Daddy needed help taking care of her. It was breaking his heart to see his sister whither like that. Anyway, she threw my homecoming party at Merlotte’s because it was her favorite watering hole.”
“Did she mean to introduce you or was it a coincidence?”
“She lived in Hotshot for years. Sam looked like Gotrocks Vanderbilt to her. I really did like him when we first started dating. I think we just changed too much. I honestly think that if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, we’d have broken up before we made the mistake of getting married. We might’ve been able to squeeze another year out of it before we split up. I didn’t think for a second that he’d take it so hard. I’m sure it’s because of the skip. I mean, he saw a Me and You playing house and whatnot.”
“He might have a better excuse to be hostile and jealous if he weren’t committing adultery.”
“Ahhh. But we couldn’t possibly understand that because we aren’t Weres. That wasn’t cheating. That was breeding…” Sookie managed to keep a straight face for a moment, but eventually, she started laughing hard enough to snort. “He really thought I’d buy that. He was a little pissed when I named a few Humans he was ‘breeding’ with. Asshole.”
“Nevermind that he wanted you to accept that your children have countless half-siblings.”
“No shit! I still don’t know what I’m going to tell them. I mean, one of them looks more like Sam than Tina does. They have the right to know, but they’re still too young.”
“My only suggestion is that they know before Tina starts shifting. I’ve heard things get strange when Weres run as a pack. As smart as the girls are, I think you’re right that it’ll confuse them if you tried to explain it now.”
“I was thinking that… Beth didn’t get the half-sister thing until she was close to 10. And there was a big age gap between us to help… One of them was born three weeks after Shelly.” I should’ve hit him harder.
“Before you find out another way, I wasn’t very tolerant of him after you left.”
“K…” She unzipped her purse, pulling out a roll of candies and putting one in her mouth… completely unaffected by my confession.
“K? You don’t want to know any details?”
“Do you feel like you need to come clean?”
“Then I’m gonna trust that you had a good reason.”
“You’re going to trust me, after you were lied to by your husband for years?”
“It’s not your fault he’s a lying turd… I can’t take that out on everyone.”
While Sookie led the new servers, and blatantly gave one a pair of tights to cover her legs, I sat down at my computer to test my memory…
Journal entries called it ‘Bill baggage’. I couldn’t help but wonder how one Sookie could spend as little as 6 weeks with a fraud, resulting in problems trusting that Eric… Meanwhile, the father of My Sookie’s children lied to her for years, and she seemed unwilling to let it jade her.
I couldn’t decide if it was because she’d been influenced by the journals or if her perspective came from something else in the background she didn’t share with the more sheltered versions of herself.
Then again, Sookie could’ve just been giving me enough rope to hang myself.
I was no closer to figuring her out when the bar opened than I had been before and copied the journal to my phone to make it portable.
While I read and ignored the thin crowd of bottom feeders, I monitored Sookie as she worked…
Watching her help Ramon through a couple of large orders.
Listening as Sookie asked Kyra if she learned her ‘fuck me’ face from Oliver Twist because she looked like she wanted pocket change more than a date.
Listening to two of the deviants in my fealty discuss how long it had been since they’d had ‘dinner’ with a baby. They were being vague enough to make me unsure if they were talking about infants or pregnant women. Either way, it turned my stomach.
Watching Sookie approach Leo to have him call a cab for a customer too drunk to drive home.
Watching her remove a silver net from a jacket hanging on a chair and having Leo bounce it’s owner.
I was watching a fight between a pair of Humans get broken up when a man walked in. Close to six feet tall and muscular and as soon as his eyes landed on Sookie he stopped scanning the bar.
He walked up behind Sookie while she straightened barstools… and wrapped his arms around her stomach, whispering, “You left us. Where you hiding them babies?” Not fucking funny.
I was standing next to them before Sookie started giggling. “Mr. Northman, I’m sorry. I’ll take my friend to the break room.”
She nodded. “Yes sir. This is Lafayette Reynolds. He’s a cook at Merlotte’s and something tells me he’s here to tell me he’s picking sides.” Lafayette Reynolds… He was in the August Journal… recreational drugs, rent boy. Not a threat.
He rolled his eyes and rearranged the plethora of bracelets on his wrists. “Psssh. Ain’t no sides to pick. You the only reason we workin’ for that bitch husband o’yours. Jane asked if you was alright. She about the millionth to ask… He snapped. Top a’his lungs. ‘If anybody else wants to know where my wife is, go ask the bloodsuckers at Fangtasia.’ Then he started breaking shit.” Lovely.
Sookie corrected, “EX-husband, Lafayette… Mr. Northman, if you don’t mind, I’ll take my break. Ramon has things under control at the bar.”
I nodded, feeling dim for leaving my seat to protect Sookie from something far too fabulous to be from Hotshot and went back to my seat to read the August journal again.
Multitasking… reading to remind myself that August’s Lafayette had been a friend of Sookie’s since she’d been hired…
And listening to Lafayette illustrate the Bon Temps version of the Merlottes’ breakup. He’d driven for 45 minutes to warn her that Vampire hate was spreading like wildfire in their tiny backwater thanks to Merlotte and before he left, he ordered her to call him when she goes into labor because he hadn’t ‘missed one yet’.
Sookie didn’t seem to be showing any signs of tiring at midnight when she began rallying the staff to start the process of closing.
When the last customer was gone, she removed her shoes and took charge. “You leave it like you found it ladies and gentlemen. I busted my fat ass to get this place clean. You aren’t leaving a mess for me when you clock out.”
While she walked around with a spray bottle of cleaner, Ramon followed her with a rag to wipe down anything she sprayed and the rest of the staff, even if it was begrudgingly, tended to the bathrooms and the floor.
It only took 15 minutes for the staff of 8 to return the bar to the state it had been in when I’d seen it just after sunset.
Rest in peace, Ginger.
I actually told Sookie that I wished I’d known where to find her when I opened the bar.
When we entered the kitchen through the garage, Sookie squealed… and shrieked for Pam.
There was a large terrarium on the counter… a heat lamp… and a pair of snakes, one yellow and one brown…
Little girls like kittens and bunnies. Cuteness. Knowing that Shelly was a bit of a tomboy made one snake plausible, but… fucking snakes? Snakes were kept by dirty little boys with slingshots and cowlicks.
I was going to kill Pam. I decided to wait until she tried to blame me for not specifying ‘no snakes’.
When Sookie reached for the lamp, I grabbed her wrist. “I mentioned that Pam’s offer to get pets could be a hassle for you… Don’t kill them. She might’ve bought them for the reptile house at the zoo…”
She turned enough that I could see her face and she was smiling ear to ear. “Who wants to hurt them? They’re gorgeous!”
When I let her go, she patted my stomach and removed the screen to heave out the brown one that was nearly 4 feet long… and she cooed at it like she was talking to a baby, asking if it had a name yet.
“Why aren’t you afraid of snakes like nearly every other Human?”
She shrugged, letting the reptile twist around her neck and reached for the other. “Love snakes. Best. Pets. Ever.”
She turned around to lean against the counter, letting the yellow snake burrow into her hair. “They hardly leave any mess. They eat pests. They adapt really well to their surroundings. All they really need is some handling to calm them down… lizards and whatnot are alright, but these guys are cleaner, smarter, and stronger.”
“It sounds like you’re describing Vampires.”
She giggled and ran her hand along the back of the brown snake. “Funny story. Sam’s terrified of snakes too.”
I nodded, wondering why Pam hadn’t shown her face yet. “That is funny, especially since he could shift into one.”
“When I was in college, I worked at a pet store. It was like a small zoo. I worked in the reptile room. I used to get in fights with the girls who took care of the mice and stuff all the time because when I was handling the snakes, I’d take them window shopping for their dinner.” She went back to cooing at the snakes, asking if they’d eaten and opening the refrigerator to look for ‘pinkies’.
“Is everyone hiding because they weren’t sure how you’d react?”
“No, the girls know I like them. Whenever we’d find king snakes in our yard, I’d play with them before I took them back to the woods…” She paused for a moment, closing her eyes. “Ahhh… you’re why they’re hiding.”
“They’re hiding from me?”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “You started it… Go seek.”