There were hundreds of gifts from Pam’s serfs.
While Sookie neatly arranged the mountain of ornately decorated offerings, she offered as many details about her attempted prank as I thought to ask about…
Sookie hadn’t stayed in her ‘post-coital-skunk’ state for the day… She’d taken my shirt, knowing the scent of the room had clung to it, and returned to her room to transfer as much of our scent from her body to a towel as she could. She then showered, went about her tasks for the day, visited Minerva, checked Klaasje in, and napped… then she changed into my shirt again and mussed her hair with the stale towel to sell it.
Keeping Sookie from spoiling Pam’s surprise by not knowing anything about anything was the perfect excuse to sequester me from her family. The nature of the prank itself was perfect. Keeping Sookie away from her family, also kept the number of accomplices to a minimum, eliminating variables. Hiding her condition and maintaining the secrecy of my attendance all but set the stage for the production.
If nothing else, I had to appreciate that the nature of the prank also allowed for our non-disclosure agreement. The reveal was planned as a private conversation. Yes, she would have ‘shouted from the rooftops’ if she’d tricked me, but not if I was more angry than amused. She didn’t want to find out I’d forgotten to pack my sense of humor the hard way.
Alcide’s involvement inspired a side-bet between the two of them. He bet Sookie she couldn’t last until the party without fucking me… She didn’t walk away from the busted prank empty-handed. For her efforts, Alcide would be installing a tanning bed in the boathouse. If she’d lost, fucked me before the party, she and Alcide would have car-swapped and she would have been driving his ‘massive-assive’ truck for a month.
She was overtly furious with herself for making the mistake of opening Olivia’s necklace. Her own pride ‘destroyed a perfect, once in a lifetime, prank syzygy’ and ‘Loki himself was probably weeping for her missed opportunity’. Her narratives tested how well I could control myself and she knew it… She was trying to make me laugh.
When she was finally pleased with the new arrangement of gifts and the placement of every topiary and arrangement, she turned to me and gripped my lapels.
She ordered, “Smile.”
“Why would I smile when I was lied to since I rose?”
She narrowed her eyes and tugged my jacket, leading me to the doors of the ballroom, warning the bartender and florist she wouldn’t be gone long enough for them to fuck up too much…
After another series of winding hallways and an elevator ride, Sookie led me across the lobby to her office and closed the door.
She took a folder from her desk and handed it to me, giggling, “Smile because I laughed so hard at this I thought I’d wake you up.”
I opened the folder to see the insurance policy I’d forgotten amidst the mayhem… The call I made before I died this morning.
I’d called Lloyds of London and had an agent sent from the Frankfort office with a policy insuring her mouth for $1,000,000.
It was one thing Sookie found the humor… but…
“You actually signed it?”
She laughed, “Hell yeah, I signed it. The agent already has my dental records and everything. Do you have any idea how many people fantasize about punching me in my mouth?”
“I wasn’t thinking about how confrontational you are… I was considering your oral fixation.”
She licked her lips and cooed, “Details details… Stop fighting it. Just smile.”
I let myself grin. “You might be the only woman I’ve ever met who wouldn’t be offended.”
She shrugged. “Offended? A thousand year old Vampire King decided I give a million-dollar blow job… I want to be on a Wheaties box.”
That bitch. I laughed.
I laughed hard.
“You’re still going to pay for that prank.”
She nodded. “Yeah, and I’m going to keep trying to get you.”
“You did ‘get’ me… for hours.”
She shook her head. “Nope. That’s like saying ‘the surgery went well, until the patient crashed’. No glory for me… I don’t know why I wanted you to smile. That thing’s dangerous. C’mon, back to the ballroom.”
When she took my hand, trying to lead me again, I pulled back. “Do we have to? I just purchased blow job insurance…”
She giggled and continued to pull me as she opened the door. “Not in formal-wear. You can wait ‘til later.”
She nodded. “Since you won’t be out hunting for a Witch later, we’ll have to find something to do.”
The first wave of Stackhouses to join us in the ballroom were Brandon and Jason… Jason brought the Arctic chill with him, but it wasn’t as intense as it had been when we first arrived.
The siblings complimented each other on their clothing, specifically focusing on Brandon’s completely black tuxedo, and what a corset did for Sookie’s figure. Brandon joked Jason was allowed to not look ‘as hot’ because he didn’t have to try anymore now that he was spoken for…
Jason wasn’t amused by Swiss Miss (because of the braid in Sookie’s hair) and Johnny Cash (because of the song Man In Black), and quickly began rattling off a list of completed errands …
As every conceivable element was mentioned and declared ‘done’, I expected his mood to settle, but he was still as on edge as I thought his Human heart could tolerate… and that was in spite of a deep glass of scotch.
The only thing I could think of that he could still be anxious about was the gift… leading my mind to wander to the infinite possibilities regarding Olivia…
My limited experience with Sookie’s guile made me wonder if she hadn’t hidden the answer in plain sight. As many options as she’d given while she was trying to steer my thoughts away from assuming Jason was betraying Pam, she might have given me the answer already… She already had to an extent. She’d listed ‘Olivia’ with the other possible names Pam might have been considering.
The name-change didn’t seem likely any longer, but that didn’t mean ‘Olivia’ wasn’t an alter ego. It wasn’t as though Pam had an aversion to roll-play. She did enjoy her roller derby phase.
Sookie specifically mentioned the size of the pendant, and it was in reference to a pet. I doubted Pam would want any pet with hair as long as Sookie’s, but the hair on Jason’s shirt wasn’t from the pet… It could have been the handler or breeder. I actually scanned the floor for the hair Sookie had dropped, sure I could smell an animal if that was the case… Then I realized there wasn’t a casual way to pick up the strand… I decided if I was wrong, if Jason wasn’t surprising Pam with a new designer pet to replace Oleg, Pam was probably going to be getting a piglet from Santa.
I wasn’t trying to solve a problem… I knew Sookie was being as honest as keeping the secret would allow when she told me Olivia wasn’t a snag.
But I was eager to find out what the fuck Jason was giving to Pam… Especially considering her homestead was one of the false leads.
As each family member arrived, they all complained to Jason about his mood… I was happily greeted by everyone and they dismissed the bartenders to serve themselves while they made small talk about how the Revelation went in Europe and the man-cation to Baltimore.
Julie was blushing and trying to thumb her smeared lipstick from her mouth…
Jackson had Linda over his shoulder and he ordered her to settle down before the employees formed a union and started a strike…
Sullivan cringed in my direction when he escorted Adele into the ballroom…
The twins might have pushed open the doors with their foreheads so they wouldn’t have to look up from texting…
Alcide walked in with his sister and her fiancé…
And the last to arrive was the Cataliades family. I hadn’t questioned the story of Minerva’s growth spurts for a moment, but I was still surprised to see a little girl in Jude’s arms instead of the infant he should have had. Hadley sucked her teeth and quickly made her way to Jason, wrapping her arms around his neck…
The control she had over her ability was staggering. The room warmed gradually during their embrace and Corbett actually moved away from them, jokingly claiming he’d fall asleep if he stayed where he was.
Sookie wandered over to stand next to me and offered, “It’s only working because he’s letting it… Imagine Pam holding you still. His ability is stronger, more focused.”
“Impressive… Would you mind explaining why the only people present are your family?”
“Because this is a family thing… No Ass-Kissers Ball this year. We were actually planning it when she told us not to bother.”
“Is Olivia a justice of the peace?”
Her eyes widened. “No… nonono. No wedding. No surprise wedding. Everyone’s in formal-wear because Pam actually wore a ‘Team Stackhouse’ bowling shirt for Daddy’s birthday. She made a joke about the dress-code for her birthday, so here we are.”
“The ass-kissers sent gifts, but your family didn’t seem to.”
She nodded. “The cluster-fuck Jason mentioned, the one upstairs… The guys were presetting some of the family gifts. As soon as Pam’s on the move to join us, Trey is going to move everything into the apartment. This is just a staging area because we knew Pam was going to sulk tonight until she heard from Jason. That’s why we just did flowers and drinks down here.”
“Your family is wasting it’s time in a hotel… The Department of Defense could use your assistance.”
She giggled, “The DOD doesn’t pay high seven figures or offer the bonuses this place does.”
“Fair enough… So what did you buy for Pam?”
“Nothing compared to what you and Jason did. I just got her a new car. It has pink upholstery though.”
Not bad. I didn’t know how the fuck Jason could tolerate it, but Pam would love the car.
“It’s a good thing Pam’s bisexual… Your brother may very well spontaneously develop a pussy.”
Sookie covered her mouth and laughed, but Jack and Alcide didn’t bother hiding how amused they were…
Jason backed away from his cousin and snorted, “Heard that.”
I nodded. “Good. As long as you’ve been warned, I’ve done my good deed for the night.”
“You’d know, huh? After centuries with her.”
I nodded. “We shared a day guy who sprouted breasts…”
He chuckled, “I’m not gonna get tits.”
I shrugged. “If you say so… You should be careful though. Sitting down to urinate is a symptom… especially if you do it in a lavender bathroom.”
“What? You afraid of a color?”
I shook my head. “Of course not. Some of my favorite things are pink, but you won’t catch me spending any amount of time in a room so pink I feel like a speculum.”
Jack and Alcide leaned on each other while they laughed hard enough for me to think of a few hyena jokes… but the important thing was Jason finally cracked.
Before he was finished laughing, Brandon slapped his brother’s back and offered, “Now that Eric yanked that stick out of your ass, let’s get your woman down here.”
Sookie reached into my jacket to pull her phone from my pocket and wiggled it in the air to tempt him. “It’s quarter of… I think it’s close enough.”
He nodded. “Yeah. Do it now. Waitin’s just gonna make my head explode.”
Sookie nodded and dialed her phone.
After two rings, Pam answered, “It’s about fucking time you called me.”
“I’m sorry, sweetie. Happy birthday. I wanted to get upstairs earlier, but you know how it is… when it rains it pours. Ritchie Valens hurt her ankle on stage and she was only halfway through her set at the Quinceañera in one ballroom. The family was happy to accept a refund and the Karaoke setup because some of the family can sing really well. Happy customers… And now there’s a fight brewing between wedding planners in the other ballroom.”
“What kind of fight? Take off your top. That’ll calm them down.”
Sookie laughed, “It might if they weren’t straight women… Debra is swearing up and down that she booked the room for the Dunkley wedding from today, through Sunday. She didn’t. She reserved it from Friday to Sunday… Meanwhile, Karen is claiming she didn’t know the check to hold the place bounced. She knows it bounced and promised the Richardsons she’d take care of it, but forgot about it. The room isn’t double-booked. It’s free, but neither one of these bitches have the cash to pay for the room right now and they refuse to call their clients because they don’t want to advertise how stupid they are. They’re snarking back and forth because they want the other to walk away even though Debra’s the only one with a claim on the room since her client’s check didn’t bounce. It’s a wedding planner death-match.”
I didn’t feel as duped by her prank anymore. I could feel how completely convinced her best friend was.
“You’re giving me ringside tickets for my birthday?”
Sookie giggled, “I figure we can watch them pull each other’s hair out and then you can glamour them to call their mother-in-laws to tell them what they think of them… like last time.”
Pam laughed evilly, “The classics never die… I’ll be right down. Can I bring Klaasje?”
“The more the merrier. Dying to meet her anyway… Did you already open Eric’s present?”
Pam shouted, “OH! MY! GOD! You have no idea! That son of a bitch outdid himself this year… and that’s saying something for Eric! Wait until you see it!”
Sookie groaned, “Asshole. Figures he’d go first so you’d be ‘eh’ about your other presents.”
“He’s a HUGE asshole! You might be still pissed enough to not fuck him next time you see him.”
Sookie rolled her eyes and giggled, “Maybe not right away…” She lifted her hand to twirl it in the air and mouthed ‘on the move’ for her family. “I’m going in. The Rose Ballroom, by the way… don’t want to miss anything.”
“Way to change the subject, Sookie… We’re stepping into the elevator now.”
Sookie slid her phone back into my pocket and laughed, “Jason, if you don’t chill out, you’re going to have a heart attack before she gets here.”
He nodded. “Sounds good. Let me know how the party went after I rise.”
Brandon rolled his eyes and shoved Jason towards the door.
He walked towards the doors slowly and as he moved the lights dimmed slowly until the only light in the room was coming through the doors that led out to the terrace.
I could hear Pam laughing as she moved through the hallways, and Jason chilled the room again.
When Pam and Klaasje opened the doors, Pam stopped dead in her tracks to stare at Jason and Klaasje scanned the room to find me and quickly moved to stand by my side… Even though the ballroom was a large enough space for 500 people, the Stackhouses were practically shoulder to shoulder in a small group around me.
I was awed by how well Pam hid her feelings… She couldn’t have been happier, more excited to see Jason. I wasn’t even sure if she’d noticed anyone else was in the room.
She shook her head. “You sonofabitch. You didn’t cancel your man-cation to come ho-”
He stepped closer to her, shaking his head. “Part of the plan all along. You should’ve known I wouldn’t miss my girl’s birthday if I could help it.”
She slapped his arm and pouted, on the verge of tears, “I thought you…” She stopped talking when she couldn’t keep her chin from trembling.
He wrapped his arms around her and asked, “Do you hate me for making you think you’d have to wait for your presents?”
She lifted her arms to hug his neck and moped, “Maybe.”
Lie. She didn’t care about waiting… She didn’t want to spend her birthday without Jason.
Klaasje covered her mouth and breathed, “This is so exciting.”
It was the most girlish thing I’d ever see her do…
And it finally caught Pam’s attention.
She growled, “Jason… Blanchard… Stackhouse…”
He chuckled, “Happy birthday, Pammy.”
“A surprise party?”
“Becau-” She stopped herself when she spotted me. “You bastard!”
All I could do was chuckle.
“You were part of this all along!?”
“Jason invited me to join the festivities. How could I resist?”
“You… You… YOU!”
She was flustered enough to be at a loss for words… That was the special occasion.
Jason chuckled, “What did he do?”
“I called him last night… I told him you were gone for a football game… He told me to take the time you’re gone to evaluate our relationship… To him you made it clear what your priorities are.”
Which was completely truthful.
He looked back at me and chuckled, “Nice.”
Pam corrected, “Manipulative… not nice… he rubbed it in that he hadn’t ever forgotten my birthday and promised that my present was on its way. HE wasn’t going to let me think he didn’t love me.”
Jason laughed while Pam approached me. She hugged me… and then punched my arm.
She narrowed her eyes at Klassje and Sookie, and turned to address everyone else. “Fuck all of you. I know you knew all along… Not you, Gran.”
Adele laughed, “You might as well include me too, baby. I made the cake.”
A cake for a Vampire’s birthday?
Pam laughed, “Where is it then? You all look fabulous, by the way… Formals suit you… Where’s my cake?”
A cake for a Vampire’s birthday? Why did she care about a cake?
Jason offered, “Trey should be moving it into the apartment now.”
“And my presents? Those look like the ones the serfs have been sending.”
Jason snorted, “Damn woman. Greedy.”
She shook her head. “This isn’t new.”
He shrugged. “All the stuff from us is upstairs, but Trey needs a few minutes… There is one thing you can have now.”
“Well? I’m waiting.”
He snorted and ran out of the room, calling her predictable.
I couldn’t have been happier for the reveal to be happening so soon. The end to the pondering. Finally.
Strange as it was, I could only remember two times when I’d been on tenterhooks about anything… Sookie’s mysteriousness and being half a world away from Pam during the Revelation.
I caught myself feeling pleasantly eager to see Pam’s gift… but of course, that didn’t last long.
While we waited for Jason to return, Sookie introduced herself to Klaasje and they began whispering excitedly about the surprise party…
That much was fine, but Linda revived my nagging curiosity by hugging Pam and warning, “I’m hugging you now, before you start crying.”
Julie jumped on the bandwagon, declaring Linda was brilliant to think of it. Within minutes, every fucking member of the family had hugged Pam because they were sure she would spend most of the night in tears once she was given her first present.
I might have thought Jason was presenting her with a photo of her homestead if Sookie didn’t wink at me and ‘zip’ her lips. Why would she zip her lips? I knew about the homestead.
And as if that wasn’t enough, she whispered, “This is why you wouldn’t have been left hanging for long. I’m gonna start crying as soon as he comes through the door.”
Pam had overheard Sookie and offered, “You better not cry. Then I’ll cry and it’ll spread through the room like the London Fire.”
Linda sniffled, “It’s too late. We’re all gonna go at the same time… Like a powder keg.”
Pam blurted, “What the fuck did he do!?”
Brandon took her hand and led her away from the group. “You only have to wait another minute.”
He steered her to stop where Jason had originally been waiting for her… and after a moment, he moved to stand behind her and covered her eyes.
I couldn’t tell which one of us was more anxious.
It had to be a pet or it could have been left anywhere.
Something small enough to be carried because there was only one set of footsteps moving along the corridor.
Olivia must have been sent on her way once Jason had retrieved the animal.
It could have been… Fuck. For all I knew, Olivia Newton-John could’ve lost a bet to one of the card-sharks in the family and she was going to sing Happy Birthday.
Sookie giggled for me to settle down, but she wrapped her arms around mine and complained, “We thought of every-damn-thing but tissues.”
She was shaking.
Pets don’t make people cry.
Coo, yes… but not cry.
What the fuck!?
When the door to the ballroom finally opened, Jason was beaming.
The little girl in his fucking arms answered the questions I had about the blonde hair on his back earlier though. Platinum hair that hung down to her perch on Jason’s arm.
Sookie’s grip tightened around my arm and Klaasje gasped. There was more than a couple instances of sniffling behind me… and the room was rife with the acidic tears of weeping women.
The little girl in a pink party dress scanned the room, and concentrated on Pam before a wide grin spread across her face.
Jason asked, “You ready for this?”
The little girl nodded, but Pam thought the question was meant for her.
“Of course I’m ready, Jason. I’m dying over here. What color is it?”
He chuckled, “Mostly pink, but there’s a little blue and gold.”
Blue eyes. Gold ‘O’ pendant.
A little girl?
“Your back is tense. Is it heavy?”
Jason nodded and inched closer. “It’s got some weight to it, yeah.”
She needed more weight. Gangly was the term that came to mind.
“Does it have accessories?”
“Oh yeah. Tons. Trey says I owe him a blow job for moving it into the apartment.”
Furniture, clothing, toys…
Adele gasped, “Jason, your mouth!”
I wanted to scream for Brandon to uncover Pam’s eyes… Pam was amused like it was a game.
Pam cooed, “Is it already housebroken?”
At least I wasn’t the only one to assume it was a pet.
When he chuckled the little girl giggled and covered her mouth.
Jason answered, “Yeah baby, she’s housebroken.”
When Brandon removed his hands from Pam’s eyes, she gasped and covered her mouth.
Not only was Sookie shaking, but so was Pam… and the pain in her chest was almost too much.
She shook her head and mumbled, “No.”
Jason nodded. “Pam, this is Olivia.”
A little girl?
A wild oat?
Pam couldn’t have possibly been more terrified… or more thrilled.
“Jason if this is a joke, it’s horrible.”
“It’s not a joke. She needed parents. I offered.”
“How? I’m a Vampire. Who in their right minds…?”
I couldn’t help but wonder why she wasn’t at all confused… Why he presumed she’d want to raise a child…
He wasn’t assuming. At some point, possibly because she’d been surrounded by a family who treated her as their own, Pam had entertained the idea of motherhood… Perhaps the adorable little Daemon making faces at her father was partly to blame as well.
Jason cut her off by leaning over to kiss her cheek. “Liv was found when she was two, wandering around in the woods. She’d been out there for days. Her parents are in the wind and she’s been in foster homes ever since. Well, her old Guardian Ad Litem retired and her new one just so happens to be a friend of Jude’s from law school. Priscus called Jude because he was having a sit-down with Olivia and kinda mumbled to himself about where he was going to find a home for a semi-Faerie. She told him…”
The girl finished, “The Palace in Shreveport.”
What… the… fuck…
Jason continued, “Until then she didn’t know what she was or that she had an ability. She can find things. She gets a picture in her mind. She already knows what everyone looks like because we’ve been playin’ with it for the past few days.”
Olivia offered, “One of my foster moms gave me back because she thought I was hiding things from her because I always knew where stuff was, but another one would always call me when she dropped a contact or lost her keys.”
Her accent was drawled slightly, but not Lwizyané.
Pam giggled and shook her head. “How did you convince someone to give a baby to us?”
Olivia corrected, “Not a baby.”
Jason shrugged. “Well, when a Daemon lawyer, takes a case to a Daemon judge… because a Faerie needed a home, and another Faerie stepped up and asked to adopt her… it didn’t matter that the adoptive mother is a Vampire when the adoptive father takes another Faerie, a Daemon and Were with him to testify you aren’t a danger to us. She’s ours, baby.”
The real reason for the ‘man-cation’. His co-conspirators were character witnesses… on Pam’s behalf.
A little girl?
Pam… a mother?
Olivia took the handkerchief from Jason’s pocket and handed it to Pam. She seemed to wait patiently while Pam wiped away her tears and when she was finished, Olivia leaned over and wrapped her arms around Pam’s neck.
The girl very seriously warned, “Don’t ruin my dress.”
Sookie choked out a mucus-laden laugh… she wasn’t the only one, but she was the only one that shook me.
Jason cleared his throat and offered, “Hey Pammy, this one’s almost as bad as you. She taught herself to sew ‘cuz her foster parents had ‘no taste’.”
That was just perfect. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and discriminating taste in fashion. Pam might as well have ordered her from a catalog.
Olivia nodded in Pam’s arms. “Your closet is fab.”
Alcide snorted, “No one’ll ever know she’s adopted.”
Corbett choked, “How long we gotta wait to meet my grandbaby? We’re dyin’ over here.”
Jason chuckled and waved his parents over to join them and said, “Let’s go on upstairs so we can get comfy…”
Adele and Hadley sniffled, “Tissues,” in chorus.
As everyone filed out of the room, Sookie tried to follow them, but I took her arm to hold her back. Klaasje stayed next to me, waiting to be excused, but it didn’t matter if she stayed.
Once everyone was gone, she whined, “If you’ve got questions, hurry up. I want to hug my niece. I’ve only talked to her on the phone.”
“When did Pam begin entertaining the notion of raising children?”
She bit her lip and eyed Klaasje. “Ummm. I’m not sure…”
“Klaasje was party to a leap while they were in Eijsden, if that’s what you’re concerned about. Is that what inspired the idea?”
Sookie nodded. “They woke up with a couple of weeeeeee little girls and wigged out. The father was screaming after them that he was going to beat Jason’s ass for bringing a Vampire into his house and threatened to call ‘Northman’. She beat feet to find that version of You.”
“So in that version, I stayed in the Area, yes?”
She nodded. “The kids were… get this, they were Mine. I’d married some Shifter named Sam. Anyway, You laughed your ass off at the idea of a Pam being stuck as Sheriff and bonded to a Faerie… They exchanged info and leapt home. So Brandon and I are in the loop and we’re sitting around joking after they tell us what happened. It was decided that I’d be a lousy mother and Pam would be a much better one…”
Klaasje shook her head. “I’m sorry. Why would you be a lousy mother?”
Sookie shrugged, “Other than the fact that I don’t want kids and never even liked having pets? Sue being the exception… I dunno. We were just joking around… Anyway, apparently the joking sparked a conversation between Jason and Pam. She’d never even considered having kids because, well, Vampires can’t and she was busy rebelling when she was alive. And he’d never considered having kids because, well, he was still a ho like Brandon and me and wasn’t thinking about settling down when he fell for Pam… So a few weeks went by and Jason was still thinking about it…” She offered her hand to Klaasje and offered, “I’m Sookie and I might be the interferingest bitch you’ll ever meet.”
I nodded. “I’ll endorse that.”
Sookie giggled, “I own it… So I go to Jason and he can’t shake the concept, but he doesn’t want to say anything to Pam because he doesn’t want to… you know, make her feel lacking or anything and he’d been perfectly happy with the idea of it just being them so he was pretty sure it was a Human hang-up… So I stick my nose into their business and go to Pam. She’s having the same problem shaking the idea, but she knows an adoption agency would laugh their asses off at a Vampire and after three hundred some-odd years, this was the first time she’d ever considered it, so ‘fuck your crazy family for making me consider a sticky little snot-machine of my own’. Oh, and ‘fuck Mini for being so damn cute’. So I call them out on it and put them on the spot. We put a few feelers out, but this thing with Olivia was an unexpected windfall.”
At the very least, it made me feel better to know she hadn’t wanted all along… that I’d stolen her from a life she could have enjoyed.
“How long have feelers been out? Were they looking for an orphaned Faerie?”
“Since the summer. And not specifically Fae, but Supe. They didn’t want to hide anything, especially not after they leapt to meet a version of the family where no one knew what the hell a Faerie is. The feelers consisted of Trey and Nate keeping their ears to the ground. And Trey’s wife has been keeping an eye on the news because she’s a reporter… When Supes go, they tend to leave headlines behind… But the mysterious disappearance of Olivia’s parents happened five years ago.”
“What’s known about it?”
“Nothing. Hunters found her. The people they assume are her parents vanished. Their cars were still in the driveway and nothing about the house suggested foul play.”
“If she can locate anything…”
Sookie shrugged. “Jason asked her. He didn’t want to ‘steal’ her if her parents are alive… When she was asked where her parents are, all she saw was the Chesapeake Bay. Telepathically confirmed.”
“How far is that from where she lived?”
“She was found wandering in Kent County, Maryland… on the bay. The deserted farm was just a few miles away.”
Maryland, hence the visit to Baltimore.
“Is there a theory?”
Sookie grimaced. “We’re guessing her parents smelled yummy to a Vampire passing through and their bodies got tossed into the bay. Her scent is as strong as Jason’s, so her parents would’ve been as tempting as Daddy.”
I nodded, “At least it’s unanimous.”
She nodded and rolled her hand through the air. “C’mon. What else you got?”
“Nothing. I think I’m do-”
Before I could finish, Sookie grabbed my wrist and Klaasje’s and began towing us towards the door.
“Then let’s go meet your grandbaby.”
“Don’t call her that. I’m hardly a grandfather.”
“Fuck it. Let’s go meet my niece then. Get back to me about whatever the fuck you want to label her as.”
Klaasje offered, “Grand… child.”
I shook my head. “Same thing.”
Sookie grumbled, “You can’t just call her Pam’s whatever. That’ll make Pam think you don’t approve.”
“I’m not sure I do. How the fuck is she going to raise a child?”
“Last time I checked, no one spends 24-hours a day with their children. Everyone sleeps.”
“You’re all delusional. There are more differences to being a Vampire than just resting and diet. Pam’s in a position where she can set a precedent. Other Vampires could see it as a weakness or take it as a welcome opportunity to keep children as slaves.”
“Do you think Jason wasn’t already a temptation? Fucking with YOUR child isn’t something even the Queen has considered… and the type of asshole who’d keep a child as a slave wouldn’t have waited for Pam to adopt to do it.”
Fuck her point.
When the elevator doors opened, Sookie tugged us in, but finally let us go to press the button. “She’s happy. I shouldn’t have to tell you that. She’s got the world’s best Maker who would travel thousands of miles just for her birthday…”
Klaasje nodded and offered, “I’ll endorse that.”
Sookie continued, “Pam’s in love with someone who’d kill for her. She has a loving supportive family… and now… she has a little girl.”
Klaasje cringed and offered, “I don’t suppose ‘removed’ works. That’s only for cousins…”
She was still concentrating on titles.
Sookie giggled, “Grand-Maker?”
Klaasje snickered, “Maker-daddy?”
I growled, “Neither one of you are funny.”
Sookie offered, “You’ve always enjoyed a closer relationship with Pam. ‘Uncle Eric’ could suffice.”
Klaasje giggled, but didn’t continue, leaving Sookie to tease me until the elevator doors opened.
By the time we arrived, Pam had changed into a dress that matched Olivia’s and was cooing over the cake Adele had made. Normally I wouldn’t have taken a second look at a cake, but the strawberry shortcake was decorated to look like a red Valentino shoebox… and the pumps sitting on top with the candles were actual Valentino pumps. Adele had outdone herself… It was better than last year’s Louboutin chocolate-peanut butter cake.
The men in the family had removed their jackets and unbuttoned a few of their buttons to relax and the women had taken off their pumps to wander around barefoot. Jessie and Josie were sitting on the floor (in designer gowns) with Minerva, stacking towers of blocks from a basket for ‘Baby-Zilla’ to destroy. Sookie giggled that the Stackhouses clean up well, but it never lasted long.
While most of the family ate canapés at the bar, Olivia walked over to me and looked up.
“Geez. You’re worse than Alcide and Jack.”
“You a freak or was the rest of your family big too?”
“I was the tallest, but not by much.”
She nodded thoughtfully for a moment. “It’s a guessing game for me ‘cuz I don’t remember my parents.”
“So you’re my new mom’s Maker.”
I nodded. “Eric.”
“My new dad says you’re scary lookin’, but you’re awesome. You’re funny and you know a lot.”
“Do you think I’m scary?”
“No. I think you’re pretty… I think it’s just ‘cuz you’re really big… Just Eric? You don’t have a nickname or anything?”
I shook my head. “Just Eric.”
“That’s cool. Aunt Her and Uncle Him and grandparents. I’m still tryin’ to get used to having a mom and dad. Eric’s good. Simple… My new dad says the family makes you feel weird.”
“I wouldn’t say it makes me feel ‘weird’. I’m just not accustomed to spending any amount of time in an environment where people actually care about each other. It takes some getting-used-to.”
She nodded. “Yeah… I get that. I’ve been in a group home for a while. Nobody cares, so this…” She glanced over her shoulder. “It’s kind of weird. How long does it take to get used to it?”
“I’m still not used to it, but I don’t live here. It isn’t annoying though, just surprising.”
She nodded. “Yeah. I’m not annoyed or anything. I’m used to lots of people… It’s just the attention that’s weird, I guess.”
She shoved her hand towards me and offered, “Nice to meet you. I’m Fair- Olivia.”
She cringed. “When they found me, I wasn’t talking yet. They started calling me ‘Baby Fairlee’ because of where I was found… It ended up being Farrah. I hated it so my new dad said I could pick a name I like.”
She nodded. “He said my new mom did the same thing when you made her. He bought me a baby-name book. I was Farrah Lee Smith. Now I’m Olivia Kendal Stackhouse. Love it. And it’s okay to call me ‘Liv’ because my new dad told me to pick a name I liked the nicknames for.”
She nodded with a huge grin showing off her adult teeth were crowded together with her milk teeth. “Family tradition. Dad’s last name and the mom’s maiden name in the middle. My new dad got stuck with Blanchard, poor guy.”
I nodded. “Blanchard is a horrible name. Your new grandfather should have taken that into consideration. He seemed to have learned his lesson though. His second wife’s name was Emery.”
Her eyes lit up. “That’s much better…” She looked at Sookie and asked, “Which one did you get?”
Sookie made the girl wait for her answer until she was finished hugging her. She sniffled, “I got stuck with Blanchard too. I might not mind it so much if my mother wasn’t crazy hateful. Emery is much better on both counts. And I love the name you picked. Olivia is very pretty.”
Olivia grinned and turned her attention to Klaasje. “My new dad said you’re Klaasje. He said you’re almost as pretty as my new mom, but then he bickered with Brandon because he says you’re way hotter and my new dad just can’t say it ‘cuz he’s whipped…”
Klaasje and Sookie laughed too hard to respond, so I asked, “What do you think?”
Pam was watching the exchange very closely.
She looked over her shoulder at Pam and then back to Klaasje… then again. She finally sucked her teeth and shook her head. “It’s a close call. They’re both really pretty… So… This is really weird. I’m used to being around a bunch of other kids. Can you, like, pick me up or somethin’? I’m gettin’ a crick.”
“Sorry. I already promised Sookie I’d carry her. She’s short too.”
I looked back and forth between them a few times before agreeing. “Fair enough. Turn around.”
She squealed when I quickly lifted her to place her on my shoulders. She strapped her arms around my head like a headband and laughed, “GEEEEEZ! I feel like a giraffe!”
“No eating or drinking.”
“Noooooo prob. Hey, does Brandon know about his bald spot?”
Brandon didn’t have a bald spot, but once she suggested it (and Alcide sucked air past his teeth to ‘support’ it), he ran into the hallway so he could try to find one.
I chuckled, “Did you ask to be lifted just for that?”
“He asked for it. He ruined a pair of my shoes with jelly packets from McDonalds. Do you know how nasty it is to put your foot into a shoe filled with jelly?”
Adele shook her head and offered, “Welcome to the family, baby. You’ve been pranked.”
Pam giggled, “He got me the same way. Prada.”
Olivia gasped, “He didn’t!”
I turned to look at Sookie. “Am I allowed to be concerned Jason can’t handle two Pams?”
She cringed. “Yeeeaaahhhhh. You make a valid point.”
“I’m not that bad!”
Only proving the point… They’d said it at the same time.