Even after my late night spent in the arms of my Viking, I managed to wake up early. Hunter was still sound asleep, his Mr. Bunny’s ear in his mouth. According to Gran, the poor little was teething. I tiptoed to the bathroom, grabbing a quick shower before getting back to the bedroom to be welcomed by the sight of a now very awake Hunter trying to stand up in the playpen.
“Hey there, doodle bug!”
He looked at me with his big blue eyes, so strikingly similar to Eric’s, filling with tears. It sent chills to my spine. I thought back to what Gran had said, about me and Eric being fated, about Hunter being meant for us.
“My poor, poor baby… Your little teeth causing you trouble?”
I lifted him up and brought my finger to his gum. Yes, one tiny little pearly had pierced and was causing his pain. He closed his mouth and the tiny little teeth bite my finger.
“No biting mommy, doodle bug” I said, trying to scold him, but failing miserably. “Daddy’s the only one allowed to bite mommy… Although, knowing him he’ll be damn proud about his Litten Jägare taking after him.”
At the sound of his daddy’s name and nickname for him being said, Hunter tried to turn around in my arms, looking at Eric’s dead-for-the-day body on the bed.
“Daddy is asleep, Hunter… Want to give him a kiss before we go see Gran?”
I lowered him toward the bed, but the sneaky little thing wiggled his way out of my arms, landing right next to Eric. He patted his chest, trying to wake him up and started to pout once he didn’t succeed.
“Come on, doodle bug. Daddy is resting…”
Shit… Did he just… No he couldn’t have… Was 10 months old enough to start talking? I remembered dad saying I was an early talker, probably because of my telepathy. Since Hunter was also a telepath… No, it was impossible! He had only been with us for 5 days and we only just started referring to ourselves as mommy and daddy… Shit and Eric who wasn’t even up…
“Hunter, sweetie, who’s that?”
I pointed toward Eric’s still body.
“Dada” was his answer.
“And who am I?”
It was selfish, but I wanted him to say mama too. He had a serious look on him, as if he was thinking real hard about it. I was starting to lose hope until he started to smile, his tiny little arms trying to reach me.
And with that I was a crying mess. I hugged Hunter, kissing the side of his head.
“Mommy is so proud of you, doodle bug. But we’ll keep this between you and I, right? We want to surprise daddy, don’t we? Let’s have breakfast and since you are such a good little boy, mommy will let you nap next to daddy.”
We found Gran in the dining room area of the suite, surrounded by multiple trays of food.
“Sookie, dear… Have you been crying?”
I smiled. “Those are tears of joy, Gran.”
My answer didn’t seem to be enough and, as I was setting Hunter in his highchair, Gran walked toward me to look me in the eyes.
“You’re hiding something, little girl!”
“You must promise not to say anything, please…”
She frowned as I grabbed my cell phone. I finally found what I was looking for, the picture I had taken of Eric and Hunter the previous morning, and showed it to my son – God, would the tingle in my heart ever go away as I say those words, my son?
“Hunter, who’s that?”
“Dada!” was his answer.
“That’s a good boy! And me?”
“Oh… My dear little boy” said Gran, choking a sob. “”Aren’t you a clever little boy!”
“At first I thought he was only babbling… But when I pointed at Eric he kept saying dada… And then when I asked him who I was… I felt so fulfilled when he said mama.”
Gran smiled knowingly.
“You will remember this moment for the rest of your life, my dear girl. This is just one more proof that this precious child was meant for you. I hope this sign of acceptance cast any shadow of doubt you had…”
I nodded. “Yes. I… You were right, he was meant for us and we were meant for him.”
We sat down as I poured myself a cup of coffee.
“What are you planning for today, dear?”
“Well, Isabel – that’s one of Godric’s second, and her human are coming later tonight. The plan is for Hugo – that’s his name, to come with me tomorrow to the Fellowship’s church. Apparently a woman can’t go anywhere in Texas without a man.”
“It’s the South, dear” she simply said, drinking her tea. “Things here are different than in the North. You wouldn’t understand…”
“North, South, you make it sound as if we were still living in the antebellum era, Gran!”
She didn’t reply and simply raised an eyebrow at me. I knew better than not to broach the touchy subject of the War of Northen Agression with my grandmother. The woman had more knowledge about this part of our nation’s young history than any world renowned specialists.
“Some people still think like that, Sookie. When your father got his scholarship for Harvard, lots of people in Bon Temps were outraged. And when he decided to stay there after Law School and bring Michelle… The good old citizens of Bon Temps took it as some sort of betrayal. Well, not all of them… Most of them were real proud of my Corbett and his success, but still there were some who were jealous of him.”
Yeah, like Maxine Fortenberry. The woman’s thoughts were full of her hatred of anything that was different, whether it be Yanks like me and Jason – I really hated that expression, vampires or plain simple technological advancement.
“You were born and raised in the North, little girl. You don’t have the same view on things…”
“We’ll have to agree to disagree, Gran. While yes, I was born and raised in the ‘North’, I was also raised by a Southerner. In fact, I know that many people in Boston called dad a Redneck. He raised me to be a proper Southern Belle. So what if I never went gator hunting and didn’t lose my virginity in the back of a pickup truck to my High School sweetheart…”
“No, you lost your virginity in a California King bed to a thousand year old Viking…”
I must have turned 50 shades of red.
“Let’s see it this way, dear. The South… Well the South is like a time capsule, stuck in the past. You may try to change it, but it’s going to be damn difficult. It’s like Eric.”
“What do you mean, like Eric?”
“Well, Eric is from a different era and still that doesn’t seem to bother you.”
“But Eric evolved, Gran!”
“Did he? As much as he has evolved, as you say, a part of him will always be a Viking. He will always think it is his duty to provide and protect what he considers his.”
I sighed. Arguing with Gran was useless.
“So back to what you plan to do today?”
“I brought some work with me, so that’s how I’ll spend my morning. After lunch I’ll take a nap with Hunter then I might go and try the hotel pool.”
“Want me to keep an eye on the little tyke for you?”
“If it doesn’t bother you watching him this morning, I’d be grateful. I think I’ll take him with me down to the pool later.”
“It will be my pleasure, dear. You can’t imagine the joy this little one has brought to me. I never dared to dream of seeing any great-grandchildren of my own. Jason is nowhere ready to settle and since we haven’t heard from Hadley… But I knew that you and Eric would one day find a way to have a child of your own, but I wasn’t sure I would still be here to see the day…”
“You… But Gran, how could you have known that Eric and I…”
She smiled, taking a towel and cleaning Hunter’s face which was covered in applesauce.
“I always knew that boy would move Heaven and Earth for you. If a child was what you wanted then he would have found a way for you to have it, even if it’s biologically impossible for him to give it to you. And who knows? Maybe in a couple of years medical advancement will make it possible for him to give you a biological child…”
“We can keep dreaming Gran, but it will always be a dream.”
“Never underestimate the power of the love the two of you have for each other, Sookie” she said, cryptically.
And with that she took Hunter to the living, leaving me alone at the table. I finish my breakfast before immersing myself in my work. With Jason’s AWOL and the arrival of Hunter in our life, I had a lot to catch up. I thanked God for Mr. Cataliades. He ran a tight ship at AIK which made my work even easier. No… What took me so much time was going through all of Pam’s bills. Yeah, on top of taking care of all the legal aspect of their ventures, Auditore & Stackhouse also dealt with all the financial aspect of our clients’ undead life, a relic of the time when the firm was a private bank.
Soon it was lunch and time to put Hunter down for his nap. The little one was quite cranky, but after a quick diaper change and a bottle he was gone into Morpheus’ arms. The fact that I snuggled him into Eric’s arm helped a lot, but he was so tired that even in a room full of loud broadcasters he would have sleep like… well like a vamp going in his day rest. I settled next to the two men of my life and let sleep claim me.
We woke up around 3PM and left the suite for the swimming pool. Gran was so engrossed with the book she was reading, The Da Vinci Code if I’m not wrong, that she barely raised her eyes before telling us to have fun. The hotel’s hallways were empty and the front desk clerk was even surprised to see somebody up and about this early.
We made it to the pool and seeing as it was empty at the moment, I didn’t bother with putting Hunter in one of his swim diaper. The moment we entered the water, the little one turned into an eager little fish. He kept splashing me in between fit of giggles. We had so much fun that I completely lost track of time. It wasn’t until I felt two strong arms circled me, making me scream, that I realized that the sun had finally set.
“Good evening, lover…”
“Eric! You should learn not to try to sneak on me!”
“You were so beautiful, lover, I couldn’t resist. The human incarnation of Rán, the sea goddess…”
With a soft kiss to my neck, he took an overactive Hunter from me.
“And how are, min son?”
The look on Eric’s handsome face as our son called him dada was priceless.