Stuck On You
True to form, Pam’s first round of gifts was opened in a slew of gift-wrap carnage. Clothing, accessories, box sets of her favorite animated shows. Silly little items that made it clear they’d been shopping for a ‘girl who had everything’, including a pet who surprised her with frequent gifts. I think my favorite of the items had been from Josie and Jessie… a fiber optic rose under a glass dome like the one from Beauty And The Beast. They bought it with the media room in mind.
It was all quite thoughtful… and most of the gifts gave someone an excuse to tell Olivia something about her new mother.
Once the birthday gifts had been opened, another wave of gifts was presented and a second cake was taken from the refrigerator. This time it was ‘cookies and cream’ and had a pair of little Mary Janes on top. Pam’s birthday party was immediately followed by her ‘baby shower’.
Once everyone settled to call it a ‘not a baby shower’, the tears were almost constant. Each gift caused another surge… Pam, Julie, Linda, Adele, Sookie, Hadley, Janice, Josie and Jessie… even Klaasje shed a tear or two. Olivia and Minerva were the only females not clenching fistfuls of tissues.
I was tempted to begin building a fucking ark, but it was Alcide who made the joke first. At least I wasn’t the only one.
Not only had Adele provided the Valentino pumps and Stride Rites on the cakes, because everyone gets a birthday cake in their ‘favorite flavor’, but she also gave a Bible to Pam… Pam, Jason, and Olivia had already been added to the family pages.
The gift from the Cataliades family was a gift certificate for family portraits… and Sullivan provided a photo album and crystal frames.
The ‘car’ Sookie had mentioned was actually a black SUV with custom pink leather upholstery… and a DVD player in the back seat for Olivia.
Alcide was slapped for giving Pam an apron and a vacuum (I thought it was funny), but it was a disguise for the books full of ‘parent and child’ themed craft projects he’d given her.
Linda and Jack expanded on the gift from Alcide and provided sewing machines, notions and patterns.
Brandon bought tickets for three for a Disney Cruise so Pam, Jason and Olivia could spend some time alone.
Janice and Nate gave certificates for ‘mother/daughter’ spa treatments.
The gift from Jason was nothing more than a mason jar full of earth… Hearing that he’d bought the estate she was born at, hearing his intentions to rebuild it, hearing it was so Olivia could experience Cumbria and Louisiana, left Pam needing a moment to calm down. It was the only time I knew of that she’d thought of returning to Cumbria fondly.
Pam couldn’t have been happier and she’d already cried until I was sure she was a pint low before she was taken back to what used to be a spare bedroom. Corbett had built a canopy bed just for Olivia, and Julie crocheted the lace canopy… It was family tradition for the grandparents to provide the ‘crib’.
Olivia happily climbed onto her new bed for a ‘test drive’, scanning the room… Sookie cleared her throat as she backed out of the room quietly crying again because Olivia had the thought of fitting the entire ‘girls’ dorm’ she shared with seven other girls into her new bedroom.
The Stackhouses sang Happy Birthday and served cake, congratulating Pam and watching every move Olivia made.
I was actually surprised to see the family begin to back off as early as they did… cleaning the kitchen area and storing leftover food, gathering garbage…
Instead of making excuses to leave, they were all quite vocal about giving Olivia and Pam some time to get to know each other… even if it seemed to pain some of them to do so. Having met Alcide, Brandon and Jude days ago, Olivia hugged them as they left… and she rolled her eyes when she realized she’d set the precedent as the ‘strangers’ began hugging her.
Sookie, Brandon and Klaasje were the last of the guests to exit, leaving me with the ‘happy family’.
Pam gave me an awkward grin as she sat on the sofa, feeling anxious about my reaction. “I haven’t had the opportunity to say anything to Jason about blindsiding you.”
Jason blurted, “Me? Sook’s the one who said it would go better as a surprise. She’s the one that saw his reaction to the Fae thing. Said he’d probably take it better when he saw for himself… And she didn’t want him to ‘fester’ until midnight.”
At least Sookie had been the one to decide I should be surprised… She seemed to pay attention to my reactions, and given my recent experiences in Shreveport, I’d call her an ally.
I sat on the sofa next to Pam and offered, “I have my concerns, but for the most part, I was shocked to hear your biological clock suddenly decided to begin ticking after 350 years.”
Pam snorted, “You and me both. I blame Mini. Is it just me or is she the cutest little cherub ever?”
I shrugged. “Edward’s daughter was cuter, but she grew out of that quickly… It might have had something to do with the haughty English accent she learned from her father.”
Pam laughed, “I can only imagine.”
Jason asked, “Is that the Edward I met in Eijsden?”
I nodded. “He was brought over under complicated circumstances. His Maker didn’t know he had my protection since he was a boy. When he came to me as a newborn, he asked that I look in on his family from time to time because I traveled. When he was brought over, he had a little girl and was expecting another child.”
Olivia probed, “Was it a boy or girl?”
“One of each, actually, and all three of his children survived to adulthood.”
Pam volunteered, “Eric would make drawings and send them to Edward.”
“Drawings? Why not take pictures?”
Jason chuckled, “Because cameras weren’t invented yet. That was about 500 years ago… Eric’s older than dirt.”
Olivia’s eyes bulged, so I clarified, “Not all dirt…” I nodded towards the jar of earth from Cumbria. “I’m older than that dirt though. I think. Do you have records on the property yet, Jason?”
He nodded. “Yeah. 1280 is the estimate… So you’re about 250 years older than that dirt.”
I chuckled at the look on Olivia’s face, but I tried to return to the original topic. “Since I was surprised by the whole concept, what are your plans? Are you going to raise Olivia in the casino? Should I expect an invitation to another ‘not-a-baby’ shower eventually?”
Pam rolled her eyes and sighed, “We considered moving to a house if we found a need, but Olivia’s ability doesn’t seem to need any sort of break from being around people like some…”
Jason offered, “Most of us do. I mean, you’ve been to the boathouse. That place is a great little escape when you’re getting schwacked with thoughts or feelings.”
Pam continued, “And since we have so many amenities here, including 24/7 room service, I don’t see a reason to leave…”
Olivia very seriously added, “And the closet.”
Jason and I chuckled while Pam cooed to agree with her daughter.
I pressed, “And what about more children?”
Pam always had a problem with excess… and waxing and waning phases of being interested (if not obsessed) and then moving on. Yes, she’d become part of a family, but she could still think of Olivia as an accessory or a pet eventually.
Pam shrugged. “We never entertained the idea of more than one. We were lucky to find Olivia. I can’t even begin to calculate the odds.”
“Perhaps if you decide to expand the family, you’ll mention it to someone with more influence than a cop and a reporter.”
Someone like a King who gives millions to children’s charities every year.
Pam’s jaw dropped. “I… we weren’t hiding anything. We just didn’t think there was a reason to get our hopes up… Jason looked into finding a surrogate. If that panned out you would have known nine-months ahead of time.”
Idiots. I could have found one of those too… Fuck. One? More like a plethora. The medical community in Europe was at my feet thanks to my Nobel nominated Lord High Steward. Pam had been so completely embraced by the Stackhouses, she’d almost forgotten my track record for getting exactly what I ‘asked’ for.
“I’m not mentioning it to make accusations. I’m simply offering my assistance if there’s a next time.”
Pam snorted and shook her head. “I’m allowed to be surprised.”
“Why do I have to continually ask if I’ve ever denied you anything? Is it my fault all you’ve ever asked for are peculiar pets and couture?”
She shrugged. “This isn’t really the same thing as a panda.”
I chuckled, “No it isn’t. When the panda mauled your poodle, I cleaned up the mess and found a zoo to take the adorable monster, while saying ‘I told you so’. Anything Olivia kills is your mess.”
Olivia cackled a promise to not kill anything.
As I stood to leave, I asked, “I imagine I’ll be left to my own devices tomorrow night so you can take Olivia shopping, yes? I’m sure there’s plenty of Little Orphan Livy’s foster-care attire that doesn’t make the cut.”
Pam sighed, “I don’t want to ignore you…”
I could feel how torn she was… it was oddly settling.
“I won’t let you do that… I understand priorities. Settle the little brat in…”
Olivia gasped, “I’m not a brat!”
I chuckled, “Not yet. Your new mother has a black-belt in Brat-Fu and she has the pumps to match…” While Olivia giggled, I finished, “I’m sure Klaasje and I can find a way to entertain ourselves tomorrow night, but I’m not going back to Eijsden before I have some time with you.”
She nodded, pleased I understood, and left the sofa to hug me.
I’d hardly closed the door to the apartment behind me when Olivia asked, “What the heck do I call him? He’s not Mom’s father… but…”
Jason asked, “Where’s the person that means more to Mom than anything?”
Mom… Pam. It was going to take a while for me to get used to that… It was so different from the way she referred to herself in the third person as ‘mummy’ to one of her cats.
After a moment, Olivia giggled, “Waiting for the elevator.”
That was reassuring… At least I hadn’t lost my standing… yet.
Jason offered, “You call a guy like him whatever he wants to be called. What did he say?”
Olivia answered, “Just Eric.”
Jason chuckled, “There ya go. He’s a really good guy. I bet you’ll like him a lot once you get to know him. I do.”
When my phone began ringing in my pocket, I didn’t have the excuse to eavesdrop any longer.
I let the elevator doors close before answering. “Northman.”
Gawain laughed, “Good evening, Majesty.”
“Fuck the formalities. What do you want?”
“Pam isn’t answering her phone. I want to tell her happy birthday before the sun rises here. Put her on.”
“I’m not with her.”
“Did something happen? Were you thrown out of the surprise party for fucking strippers?”
“The party ended early.”
He chuckled, “Did she miss her boy-toy that much?”
“No… Jason’s managed to surprise her with the party, but the bigger surprise was the gift. He returned from his trip to Maryland with a child.”
After a moment, he asked, “Maybe I’m out of practice, but doesn’t that usually take a few months?”
“He greased enough Supernatural wheels to adopt a little girl… Pam’s… Pam’s a mother now. The little girl’s name is Olivia.”
“No, really. That would be funny, but… just put Pam on so I can say ‘Happy Birthday’ before the sun rises.”
“This isn’t a joke.”
Even though I pressed the button for the 2nd floor, the elevator stopped on the 8th. Sookie, Klaasje and Brandon were waiting in much more comfortable clothing. I was instantly jealous of their sweatpants and t-shirts… especially since I could see the outline of Sookie’s bikini through her shirt.
“Good. Klaasje, tell Gawain what Jason gave to Pam for her birthday.”
Klaasje offered, “The most adorable little girl… at least, I assume there’s a little girl under all of that sass and blonde hair.”
Well put, I thought.
Gawain argued, “Klaasje’s no witness. She’d go along with a prank…”
“Fine. Sookie, Brandon, if you wouldn’t mind, what’s your new niece’s name?”
On cue and in unison, they offered, “Olivia Kendal Stackhouse.”
I finished, “Feel free to continue trying to reach Pam, but as far as I know they’re unpacking the girl’s belongings and planning to watch a movie together.”
Sookie whispered, “Pam turned her phone off. I doubt she’ll check it before Liv’s asleep.”
Gawain blurted, “I’m not falling for it. Nice try though. I’ll just leave a voicemail for her.”
He disconnected the call and while we laughed, Sookie offered, “Jude took tons of pictures. I’ll get them on disk for you.”
Klaasje offered, “He’ll just assume the girl is a Stackhouse cousin or something. He won’t believe it until they visit Eijsden again.”
Sookie giggled, “That won’t take long. Jason wants to meet with architects about the property ASAP. I’m sure they’ll visit since they’ll be so close.”
Before or after their cruise?
Klaasje offered, “It would probably be more fun if Gawain didn’t meet her for a while. It’ll give Eric longer to toy with him.”
At least I had that going for me… While convincing him I was telling the truth, I might begin to believe it myself.
When the elevator doors opened on my floor, Sookie asked, “You want to join us for a swim?”
I nodded absently while I processed something… I was actually annoyed it had taken so long for it to occur to me.
When the elevator doors opened again, I took Sookie’s arm to hold her back, telling Klaasje, “You two go ahead of us.”
Klaasje continued to walk, but Brandon waited until Sookie reached out to press the button for the 15th floor.
Once the elevator was moving again I cornered Sookie.
“Tell me Klaasje wasn’t onto something. Tell me Olivia isn’t a cousin. Tell me this isn’t an elaborate and spectacular hoax.”
She rested her hands on my chest and giggled, “Pam wouldn’t be this happy about a hoax, Eric.”
One could hope.
She tried to draw in the corners of her mouth, but she was still amused. “First of all, I’m sorry. If I hadn’t tried to fuck with you, you wouldn’t be wondering… Okay… Klaasje isn’t onto something. The only known relationship we have to Olivia is the adoption, but since we know jackshit about our Fae relatives, we’ve pondered that ourselves. This is not a hoax…” That would have been enough. She didn’t give away anything as a lie, but she continued, “Pam really and truly, to the best of my knowledge and ability as a telepath, wanted a child. I could have gotten high from the state of her mind when she first laid eyes on Olivia.”
“What’s the real reason Pam didn’t mention it to me earlier? I could have arranged for a surrogate for them.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Do you prefer the idea of a newborn?”
“No. I just question how easy it would have been to find a Fae hybrid like Olivia. I don’t question how rare hybrids are. It isn’t as though I’ve met many and it’s not as though I’d take the risk of tasking my Lords with touring orphanages to smell orphans. It would have taken time for me to do that.”
“I’ve gotta say, it’s really sweet that it even occurred to you. I’m probably going to tell Pam too…”
I growled, “Why didn’t Pam say something to me?”
“She said they didn’t want… Stay open-minded about this, okay.”
That boded well.
I nodded. “As much as I can be.”
“I suggested telling you, you being a King and all… but Pam had two big concerns. The first was that you’d tease her about wanting to be a mom, like you kind of have a track record of making jokes back and forth. She was afraid you’d think it was just a whim.”
“Lovely. We’re back to this again…”
“No. I told you to be open-minded.”
“Except this is becoming a habit of hers. She’s keeping things from me because she’s afraid I’ll pass judgment. She said that’s why she hadn’t mentioned being bonded to Jason or that she was considering his potential… then leaping… now this… I’m walking on eggshells and the only one I can rely on for answers is you.”
She rolled her eyes and sighed, “Okay… Don’t deny you would’ve made a joke or two about Jason. He’s beautiful and sounds like a yahoo. As far away as you are, you would’ve assumed she got bored with women and got attached to a trophy pet… And she had a legit reason for keeping the leaping thing hush-hush given how fucked up some of their leaps have been.”
Decent points, but there was a still a disturbing pattern starting.
I pressed the stop switch for the elevator when the doors opened on the quiet 15th floor. If this was going to be a long conversation, I didn’t want to feel like a yo-yo.
“Do you want to hear the other reasons you didn’t know about it?”
“I don’t know. Do I?”
“She didn’t want to tell you right away because she was on the track to get married and have kids when you found her. She knows how you are and she didn’t want you to wonder if she begrudged you for making her… especially since losing your family was the first of many issues you had with your own Maker…” She paused just long enough to raise an eyebrow. She snorted, “Yeah. You’re sooooo busted. Anyway, because of that, she was sure you’d throw your weight around and send a bevy of potential surrogates on the next plane leaving your Kingdom.”
I snorted, “I just offered to do just that if they want more.”
She giggled, “Don’t you dare be mad at her for knowing you so well… Anyway, the reason she didn’t just tell you was because she had a feeling if her awesome/magnanimous/generous Maker found out she wanted to be a mom, he’d fix it so quickly she’d take it for granted… She wanted to want and hope for Olivia. However long she’d have to wait was going to be the closest thing to being expectant as she could get. The way she looked at it, she’s never really had to want anything in her life, but ‘this’ was worth it.”
She nodded, completely sure of her answer and pressed the button for the lobby. “Once I pushed them to talk about it, they both came to me. She swore she’d tell you, even ask for your help if nothing panned out right away, but she wanted to wait. Think about it. Most couples have to wait years to adopt. Hell, most couples have to try to get pregnant longer than Pam and Jason had feelers out…”
Seeing the logic, I offered, “And I’m assuming it’s still common for most couples to wait quietly so the hopes of well-wishers don’t become their burden, yes?”
Sookie nodded, “Be fair… Imagine getting a call from Pam and she says she wants a kid. Is your first thought going to be about how much she and Jason love each other… or is your first thought going to be along the lines of blaming the Stackhouse family for convincing Pam she’s Human? She didn’t want you to instantly be annoyed by the thought that she was taking something like having children lightly, like her creepy bald cats with stupid names… and she knew she hasn’t given you a great reason to assume otherwise.”
I nodded, realizing that’s exactly what I would have thought. I’d already considered it even if it was brief.
Sookie gave me a knowing look and continued. “Brandon and I were the only ones who knew until Priscus called Jude while Jason was in his office… Jason had his own reasons to prefer adoption, but…”
“What were his reasons?”
She sighed, “He remembers how Daddy used to lay with his head on Mom’s belly and talk to Josie and Jessie. He was sure if they got a surrogate he’d want to do that. He didn’t want to be ‘one up’ on Pam. He didn’t want to end up with a ‘daddy’s girl’ and have Pam feel lacking. He wanted things to be as close to even as possible. He was even worried that having a surrogate could offer more problems like that. If the baby ended up empathic, that would be more points in his favor. You have no idea how excited he was to find out Olivia’s some kind of locator. He called me crying about how she could use it to find good fishing spots or a new shipment of Hermes… That all three of them would learn about her ability together.”
“That poor bastard. His quest for a level playing field failed.”
She giggled, “Epically, but he couldn’t be happier. Olivia’s the perfect not-a-baby for Pam.”
That much was obvious.
“What does Pam want?”
“She would have been perfectly happy with a dirty little boy who picks his nose. She’s been making fun of herself for weeks. I went shopping with her and she growled about a pair of Oshkosh overalls looking cute on a little mannequin.”
I chuckled and clarified, “I meant, what does she want from me? Were the ‘grandfather’ jokes just jokes or were you bracing me for Pam’s expectations?”
She shook her head. “I seriously doubt she’s been imagining you telling bedtime stories in a rocking chair… If you don’t want to come out and ask her, fish for details about Olivia.”
“What good will that do?”
“If it makes Pam curious or anxious, you’d know. I’m willing to bet she’ll just be excited you’re taking an interest. She loved seeing ‘her baby’ on your shoulders and… I was totally spying on y’all when we left… She was happy you weren’t bothered when Olivia asked questions. By the way… ‘black-belt in Brat-Fu’? That was adorable.”
“A friend of ours started that a few decades ago after a Fashion Week debacle involving Karl Lagerfeld and bail… You’ll tell me… If she wants me to behave differently… won’t you?”
She tilted her head back and growled at the ceiling. “Fuck… I opened this can of worms, didn’t I?”
“What can of worms?”
“Being your go-between… Yes. Yes, I’ll tell you, but only until you go back to your Kingdom. I’m not going to hold your hand until Olivia’s wedding. Got it? You and Pam have rocked the brother-sister dynamic for centuries. You can pull off the uncle role standing on your head…”
When the elevator doors opened again, she led the way to the service corridor.
“Thank you. Go shopping with me tomorrow night.”
She hissed like a frightened cat. “NO!”
“This has nothing to do with me floundering with Pam. You have younger sisters. I have no fucking clue how to spoil a little girl. The last time was hundreds of years ago and that included hair decorations and dolls.”
She whined, “What makes you think I want to wait until sunset!? I was planning to go out right after breakfast.”
“Klaasje will want to go too. Her experience is with babies.”
“You’re killing me!”
“The only spoiling I’m familiar with is how Pam trained me. Clothing, jewelry, shoes, handbags…”
“You did meet Olivia, right? You’ve got to have some idea. I could just leave you a list of her sizes.”
“She’s going shopping with Pam tomorrow night. I doubt she’ll need clothing. And it’s not as though I’m familiar with shopping in Shreveport any longer. It’s been years.”
“Ask Hadley… I’ll babysit Mini, but I’ll be too wiped out from my spree.”
Right. I wanted to advertise how helpless I was.
“I’m asking you.”
“Then declare her birthday a National Holiday and build Olivia Park.”
“I don’t know what type of parks children enjoy. I was happy with a hill to slide or sled down.”
“Me too… You can’t be completely clueless. After centuries with Pam, I’m sure you can think of something.”
I racked my fucking brain long enough to begin feeling like an idiot. I finally shook my head. “No. Pam’s the only one I’ve ever cared about enough to put any thought into gifts for… Actually, Klaasje is nearly impossible to give gifts to because she was treated like Cinderella for 800 years. She had nothing of her own. She fucking cried when I told her she could continue breeding dogs, and she still calls them mine.”
Sookie scoffed, “Fucking dickhead… Not fair you can only take his head off once.”
“You’ll hear no argument from me.”
She narrowed her eyes and growled before offering her hand. “I have an idea, but we go at it like a team.”
I shook her hand before hearing her idea… if nothing else that should’ve demonstrated how desperate I was for help on the matter.
“Go ahead. I’m anxious to hear this.”
“When I was Olivia’s age, it didn’t take much to make me happy. A new deck of cards, a box of new baseballs, Mom laying down for a nap long enough for us to MacGyver something ‘amazing’ in the shed… so I’m a little lost on it too… And we know damn good and well Pam and Jason are going to spoil her to death… I propose gifts as lessons.”
“Can I take back my handshake? That sounds miserably boring.”
She slapped my arm just before veering into a doorway to a locker room. “Not like school lessons, turd… I meant ‘how to be a brat’ lessons. Like… I’ll get a laptop for her and send a note telling her ‘Brat Lesson #1: Make sure your preferences are known. Get your mom and dad to help you start a blog where you can post pictures and talk about your favorite things.’ Maybe that will help us out in the future too.”
Absolutely fucking brilliant.
“Brat Lessons… I like it, but the laptop idea could eliminate a lot of options for us as you worded it. We could be more specific… Brat Lesson #101 could be to establish her blog, but lessons 1 through 100 could be tiny details, otherwise we’re putting ourselves at the end of a very short leash.”
She breathed, “Brilliant,” and stopped at a table with an assortment of towels, swim trunks and bottled water. While she rifled through a stack of trunks, she nibbled her lip. She finally pulled tags from a pair of trunks and handed them to me as she offered, “Since we’ll be in mixed company. We could do a lesson in basics. I’m sure Olivia will get distracted by pretty fabrics because it’s not like she’d get anything extravagant or frilly in foster care…”
While I changed, I continued, “Jeans, simple shirts and sweaters. Versatile items… Agreed. She’s probably been enthusiastic about clothing, at least in part, because she hasn’t had any choices in that aspect… We should shop for scents… She’ll need to disguise herself like the rest of you do.”
“Ooooooooh, good call. Bath & Body Works will be perfect for that. She’s too little for Chanel No. 5, not that it works anyway…”
I nodded, feeling more confident with every idea.
“Have they chosen a school for her yet?”
“Jason’s leaning towards homeschooling. We needed it because of our abilities, but the flexibility is a huge turn on. If she goes to public school, Pam would be excluded from almost all of it. Homeschooling would allow her to be as hands on as she wants.”
“I’m sure, but that excludes any items on the school track.”
“That’s a bummer too. They make adorable backpacks and lunchboxes.”
“Generosity. She’ll be spoiled enough she needs to realize no one flipped a switch and cured all the evils in the world.”
“Very good point… She can be a Little Princess without being Verruca Salt. We can both get her pre-paid debit cards and she can do some shopping for the local shelters. It’s winter-coat drive season.”
“Perfect… Poise? Ballet lessons? Slippers and leotards. Is there a local studio?”
“Beautiful… Yeah, I’ll go with strength and get her a little karate Gi… If they’re homeschooling, she’ll need to be around other kids, so both will be awesome for her… This is already easier now that we’re brainstorming. I’m sure we’ll get on a roll once we’re at the mall.”
“Hopefully… Klaasje will most likely have something to offer. She’s very creative.”
She giggled, storing my tux in an empty locker and taking my hand, leading me to the swinging double doors to the pool. “We’re so even for the prank.”
“How did you come to that conclusion?”
“I’m going to be daydreaming about shopping all damn day. I don’t do that. I need jeans. I go. I buy jeans. Done… I probably would have wandered around the mall scowling at everything, but… now I’m going to be… Pam.”
Brandon was floating on his back with a cup of (what looked like) ice cream on his chest and a plastic spoon in his mouth when we walked into the pool area.
Sookie pulled her shirt off (revealing the tiny blue triangles I’d been looking forward to) and laughed, “Bald and fat. It would serve you right… Two kinds of cake and now ice cream too? When was the last time you lifted weights?”
He snorted, “I lifted last night…”
“What was her name?”
“Can’t remember, but she was a workout…” Without elaborating on his date, he pointed to a nearby chaise to show Sookie he’d brought an ice cream for her too. “Dare you to let it melt, bubble-butt.”
There wasn’t anything wrong with her ass.
She growled at him.
He teased with a high pitched voice, “It’s okay, Sookie. Let us melt. Vanilla, honey and waffle-cone are your favorite, but we understand. We’ll still be there for you when you need to eat your feelings.”
Klaasje laughed quietly through her nose from her seat on the edge of the pool.
Sookie finished pushing her shoes and sweats off and snarled, “You’re gonna a get it…”
He finished, “As soon as you’re done stuffing your face.”
She snatched her ice cream from the chair and plopped down to sit next to Klaasje. “No. I meant you’re gonna get a bald spot…” She turned to Klaasje and whispered, “Neither of his grandfathers needed shampoo after their 40th birthdays.”
Brandon argued, “The Blanchards had to have their mug shots taken with wide-angle lenses.”
But Klaasje was distracted. She leaned closer to Sookie and sampled her scent. “Your breath is… remarkably enjoyable.”
Sookie nodded and took another spoonful of her snack. “Yeah. Turns out to be a pleasant bonus. Most Vampires aren’t grossed out unless we’ve been eating something on their shit-list… Jason’s made a few changes, but not many. He used to drink cheap beer or sour mash, but now he drinks single-malt scotch. Pam doesn’t mind it because it was something she liked while she was alive… I think it’s cute she likes jelly beans…”
It wasn’t until it was mentioned that I realized I’d been missing chances… Normally when I was close enough to be breathed on, I avoided sampling the air out of habit. It hadn’t been long since the stench of belched champagne and strawberry shortcake on Jack’s breath reminded me of why.
Brandon chuckled, “She’s not a fan of Lemonheads or Pixie Stix though. She looked like her face was going to turn inside out. Sour candy is NOT her thing.”
In an attempt to shake off the urge to leave, just to go to the convenience store to buy a few things for a taste-test, I stepped into the pool.
It didn’t work. Sookie was spooning more honey and ice cream into her mouth when I came out of the water.
Klassje was still obviously curious. “It isn’t just things she enjoyed when she was Human though… I never had vanilla, but…”
Sookie shook her head. “It’s mostly sweets. Liquor, fruit, pastries… because we’re already sweet. She says it’s a pleasant change from the extremes of sewage or mint she’s been dealing with for centuries. ”
Klaasje finally turned her attention to Brandon and asked, “What do you have?”
“Chocolate with peanut-butter sauce and bananas.”
With a combination like that, I wasn’t even remotely tempted to fuck with him…
I actually swam under him to get to Sookie and came out of the water at her knees.
She was already smirking when I curled my finger. “I’m curious.”
She raised an eyebrow and took another bite of her snack. “Can I trust you to not be evil and yank me in?”
She should know better than that.
She snickered, “At least I know where I stand,” and licked her lips as she leaned over.
I was already enjoying the scents of cream and honey before her lips met mine, but when her cooled tongue slid over mine to leave the flavor, I was excited by the idea of playing… Even if it was entirely un-Vampire-like to think of a supermarket as a toy store. There had been times when I missed a stiff drink (usually only when oblivion was preferred to business or tiresome company), but I’d never been curious about the flavor of food.
By the time my little fantasy was over, I’d lifted myself out of the water between her legs.
“Would it be presumptuous if I had room service stock my refrigerator with ice cream and honey?”
Klaasje’s eyes bulged… she’d never seen me show an interest in anyone.
She giggled, “I dunno… Would it be obvious if I invited you over for dinner and you found me in a tub full of milk and honey?”
A normal bath with Sookie would have been tempting.
When my fangs dropped, her eyebrow twitched.
I growled, “Feel free to go grocery shopping after breakfast.”
“Since my place is already stocked, maybe I’ll just rest up.”
She wiggled her eyebrows and spooned more ice cream into her mouth, bumping the spoon against my chin in the process.
Her ‘accident’ gave her the perfect excuse to taunt me, sucking my chin to clean it…
While I stole another taste, Brandon groaned, “Get a room.”
Not a bad idea.
Sookie laughed when my arms went around her, holding her as I shot out of the pool…
After debating ridiculous health department codes and the fairness of leaving a mess in the kitchen of Sandwich Island II, she managed to convince me to leave with nothing more than a handful of items…
Little packets of honey and raw sugar had been more than enough to entertain me for the next four hours… and leave most of my room sticky.
She had to wriggle away from me to declare ‘pumpkin time’ and go to the bathroom.
I watched her look for her bikini from the bed, chuckling to myself about the sticky handprint on her ass while she righted end tables and placed cushions back on the sofa… She offered, “I think I might call a sommelier about finding a bottle or two of proper mead… if you’re interested.”
“As long as you aren’t under the impression it’s an acceptable substitute for the milk-bath I was promised.”
She stopped her search long enough to look over her shoulder and grunt. As she continued her hunt, she shook her head. “I’m looking forward to that myself… Do you have any idea where you tossed my suit?”
I shrugged, “Behind the television?”
After giving me an impressive view when she bent to look around the television, she sighed, “Fuck it,” and opened the dresser to claim one of my T-shirts and slip it on. “I’ll find it when I come back later to clean… This. It’s how you get ants.”
It wasn’t until she opened my dresser that I remembered there was a sunny little apology waiting inside. Sookie was so full of surprises, I couldn’t decide what was more tempting anymore.
She’d almost sauntered across the room (hopefully, for one last kiss before she left me) when there was a knock on the door.
She wrinkled her nose when she said, “Klaasje.”
I groaned as I left the bed, and walked to the dresser for a pair of jeans.
Sookie was already stripping the stained sheets from the bed by the time I was pulling my jeans up…
I couldn’t decide if Sookie was taking the chance to change the sheets because I left the bed or if she was behaving like a servant for show.
Either way… “Stop that. I’ll have a maid clean the room while we’re shopping tomorrow.”
Since Klaasje hadn’t taken the invitation, I opened the door. “You were invited in.”
She cringed and explained, “Since you aren’t alone, I didn’t want to just barge in.” She held up her arms, returning my tux to me… and Sookie’s bikini. “Sookie’s bathing suit was in the hall.”
“Sookie, will you stop behaving like a maid in exchange for your bikini and cell phone?”
She dropped the sheets and ran over… and nominated Klaasje for sainthood while she dug through my jacket for her phone.
She giggled, “I would’ve ended up asking Olivia where it was and God only knows what she would’ve seen in the men’s locker room. Thank you…” She turned to me and asked, “Since I can’t shop, am I doing more than researching your ballet studios?”
“And your dojos… Make a list of any other ideas you have while I’m dead. It might spark a thought or two for me.”
“Right on… I’ll break Alcide’s heart and swap cars for the night. We’ll need more than two seats and a lot more cargo room.”
When she stepped back, I intended to grab her so I could steal a kiss goodbye, but Klaasje put her hand up.
“Sookie… if you don’t mind… I used Eric’s tux as an excuse to ask… How have things been progressing upstairs?”
I almost laughed… Klaasje could have asked me, but my connection to Pam wasn’t good enough. She wanted specifics from the telepath.
Sookie smiled and offered, “Fine. Olivia’s adjusting… She fell asleep a while ago, but Pam’s excitement was making her feel a bit awkward. She was thinking that if she got used to things, she’d let herself enjoy it. Apparently she had a couple of kids warn her that if she got used to a home and the family, she’d just get bounced back into foster care. Jason and Pam explained adoption is different and if anything happened to them, she’d stay with the family no matter what. I don’t think it’ll be long before she’s comfortable.”
Klaasje beamed. “That’s very encouraging news. Thank you. I’ve come across enough orphans to know detachment and apathy can have deep roots.”
“Orphans/Vampires. ToMAYto/ToMAHto… Most of ‘em don’t stand a chance against a Stackhouse. I’ll see you tomorrow night. I’ll have plenty of gossip by then too.”
When she reached for the door, I moved around Klaasje to pin Sookie to the wall.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
She giggled, “Thanks for fucking up my graceful exit.”
“You forgot to kiss me.”
She playfully blew a raspberry. “Buzz off, Vampire. I’ve got shit to do today. I want to do it without being spun up.”
“You aren’t going anywhere. You forgot to kiss me.”
She groaned, “Fine. If I gotta. Set me loose.”
As soon as I released her, she turned around with her mouth open… and she bit my chest, raking her teeth over my skin, flicking her tongue over my nipple…
Giggling while I growled.
Tempting little bitch.
When she was finished, she tipped her head as though she was daring me to complain. “I missed some sugar. You look candied.”
“It’s a shame we don’t have time for a bath.”
She scoffed, “You’re not the only one who’s about to die for the day. Kiss me so I can get to bed. I don’t want to be found in the elevator.”
Thanks to her bite, there was a fresh sweetness in her mouth… and I didn’t want to let her go.
When I pulled away, and only because she needed air, she swatted my cheek.
She giggled, “Shut up. I know you love it.”