I thanked all the Gods known to mankind for the presence of my Gran, Mr. Herveaux and Hunter or I would have jumped Eric right here, right now.
“So, who’s a teddy bear?”
“Mrs. Stackhouse was tellin’ me how you turn into a big teddy bear with the little one. You sure you weren’t a were-bear in your human life?” joked Mr. Herveaux.
“I think I should be offended by this idea, Herveaux, but for the sake of the little one I won’t.”
“Don’t worry, Sheriff. I think that any man, be it a human, a were or even a vampire, turn completely gaga when holdin’ a baby, ‘specially one as cute as this one.”
There was no point arguing with Mr. Herveaux on that, Hunter sure was one cute little thing.
“Mr. Herveaux told me his company did the works at the farmhouse and built this place…”
“I ain’t gonna take credits for everythin’, Miss. Most of it was my boy, Alcide, and the Sheriff did the all the blueprint for this place…
I looked at Eric, surprised. He smirked.
“Did I ever tell about my time studying architecture with John Nash in London? We did some work on Buckingham Palace and Clarence House…”
“You worked with probably the most well-known Regency’s architect?”
As if it was nothing, he shrugged.
“Honestly, I preferred my time with Frank Lloyd Wright.”
“You worked with THE Frank Lloyd Wright?!” exclaimed Mr. Herveaux. “Wait ‘till I tell Alcide! Now I understand why you were so invested in the construction of this house!”
“No… My passion for architecture had nothing to do with it.”
He took my hand in his, bringing it to his lips.
“I did it for Sookie.”
Now I was melting. Tears were filling my eyes as I bit my lower lip. I grabbed the back of his head and swiftly kissed him.
“Please, get a room!” moaned Pam, standing in the doorway. “You don’t want to traumatize the child!”
“The child has a name, Pam. Will I have to command you to use it?
She sighed, looking at her well manicured nails.
“Speaking of the ch… of little Hunter, I have shopping to do for him.”
Gran frowned. “I thought you had Mr. Burnham do all the shopping…”
“Furniture shopping, yes! I’m talking about clothes! If that… thing he’s wearing is what his wardrobe consist of, then I have a long night ahead of me!”
“We did some clothes shopping today, Pam. Which reminds me, Eric, I got something you need to see!”
I search the shopping bag that we left in the living room and comes back to the kitchen with the little onesie.
“I hope this meets your approval, Pam!”
The blond vamp looked at the tiny piece of clothing and smirked.
“Well, it sure is true! Both his ‘uncles’ are stud. I should know better than anyone!”
“Pamela!” scolded Gran.
“What? It’s true! Eric is quite the stud and so is Jason!”
“Jason? You received news from Jason?”
Jessica was standing in the doorway, still in her pyjamas.
“Is he okay? When is he coming back?”
“Oh, sweetheart, no we haven’t received any news from him” said Gran, to the disappointed baby vamp. “How about I warm you a blood?”
The sweet girl smiled before taking her place at the table.
“And Jason Stackhouse made another victim!’ whispered Pam in my ear. “Poor girl got it bad it seems.”
“Green is not a good colour on you, my Childe” said Eric feeding Hunter a teething cookie.
“I’m not envious or jealous, Eric! Honestly I think the baby vamp and Jason would be good for each other. Now… If you’ll excuse me I have shopping to do. And you, Master, have to deal with our guest whose stay in the basement of Fangtasia has come to an end…”
He let out a groan before handing the baby back to me, watching his Childe say her goodbye.
“As much as I would love to stay with the two of you, Lover, Pam is right. I have to take care of our… guest.”
“Better than saying prisoner, right? You go, big Viking! I’ll be here waiting for you and who knows, I might be able to get Gran to take Hunter for the night so, once you come back, you and I may be able to enjoy some Sookie and Eric alone time uninterrupted…”
His lips claimed mine as his arms snaked around my waist.
“I’ll look forward to that, Lover.”
I smiled before sending him on his way with a well placed slap to his world class butt. Soon Mr. Herveaux’ team arrived and Gran, Jess and I were instructed not to go upstairs and try to get a peek at the nursery. Apparently Miss Pam had threatened to rip a certain part of their anatomy off and feed them to gators if they allowed us to see it before the great reveal.
And so after getting dressed, Jessica joined Gran and I in the living room to watch some television while Hunter played on a little Fisher Price mat on the floor. After surfing through different channel, we settled for the local news.
“And now we’re joined by Mr. and Mrs. Jordan Hamby of Shreveport, whose daughter, 17 year old Jessica Hamby, has gone missing almost a month ago…”
“That’s my mama and daddy!” said Jessica, red rimming her eyes.
“Please… We’re begging you” pleaded Mrs. Hamby, “all we want is for our Jessica to come back home.”
“To whoever has information about the disappearance of young Jessica Hamby, please contact the Shreveport Police Department information line…”
“My poor mama! And Eden… I have to see them! I have to tell them I’m okay! Sookie, take me to my home… my former home, please!”
I was conflicted. Her parents thought she had been kidnapped, which in a way she had been. But how would they react once learning that she had been turned into a vampire? From what I had gathered, Jessica’s relationship with her father was a rather abusive one. But now she was a vampire, she would obviously have the upper hand over her violent father.
“I can’t do that, Jessica…”
“But why? I know that Eric said that before the Great Revelation once you were turned you couldn’t contact your family… But it’s different now!”
“I… Jess, I… I can’t take you to your family.”
I looked at Gran, hoping she would be able to help me.
“How about we call Eric and Pam?” she said. “They might be able to help you, sweetheart.”
I called Pam first and, apart from being pissed at being interrupted during her shopping spree, agreed to come back to the house to take Jessica. It was then decided that Gran and I would go to the farmhouse in Bon Temps where Gran, Jess and Hunter would spent the night / day while Eric and I enjoy some alone time in Shreveport.
I followed Gran’s Cadillac, my precious cargo babbling in the back. Eric texted me back as I pulled up in front of the ancestral family home. He had finished with his business with Lafayette and had some paperworks to do at the bar. He would meet me back at the house later.
Looking at the old grandfather clock standing in the foyer of the farmhouse surprised me. It was quite early, just a little after 8:45. The day had been extremely cloudy, hiding the sun for most of the afternoon which explained how Pam and Jessica, being younger than Eric, had been able to rise from their day rest this early.
“Sookie, dear, would you be nice enough to go to the attic and get the playpen for Hunter?”
I gladly went upstairs. The attic had been my favourite place to hide and play when I was visiting as a child. I remembered spending entire afternoon looking through the huge trunks filling the cramped space. One trunk in particular had been my favourite, the one holding both Gran and mom’s wedding dresses. I used to dream about my own wedding day, wearing either one of those dresses. I dreamed of getting married to Eric… How naïve I had been…
“Want me to put it in your bedroom?” I asked once I made my way back downstairs.
“That would be nice of you, sweetheart.”
Soon we had everything ready for Hunter. The playpen was ready to use in the bedroom, the highchair was in the kitchen and his play mat was on the floor of the living room.
“Thank you again, Gran, for taking Hunter for the night…”
“You don’t need to thank me, little girl. Knowing you will enjoy your alone time with Eric is thanks enough…”
“What? A child is a lot for a young couple. Normally a couple has 9 months to get used to going from 2 to 3, you and Eric had what? 10 minutes? And as much as the both of you already love little Hunter, you need some time together. Lots of couple don’t make it after having a child, not that I think you and Eric won’t make it, no. That boy loves you, unconditionally. And so do you.”
I smiled. “It’s always so funny hearing you call Eric a ‘boy’. He’s over a thousand years old, you know?”
“Don’t I know! But he still looks so young. And the way he acts around you reminds me more of a teenager than a 1000 years old vampire.”
I took a sip of my cup of tea and sighed in contentment.
“Have you talked about how you will handle thing with Hunter?” she asked, looking at the little one who was playing quietly on the floor.
“Handle thing with Hunter? What do you mean?”
“Are you going to petition for legal guardianship? Are you going to adopt him? And how will Hunter address both you and Eric?”
I hadn’t really thought of that. Everything had gone so quickly…
“Well, if we can’t get a hold of Hadley, sure I’m going to petition for legal guardianship. We have enough to plead parental abandonment. And since his birth certificate is blank for father, Mr. Savoy shouldn’t be a problem. As for adoption? I could adopt him, but not Eric since he’s a vampire. As for how Hunter is going to address both of us once he talks… Aunt Sookie and Uncle Eric will do perfectly!”
Gran smiled. “The State of Louisiana might not allow vampire to marry yet, let alone adopt, but if I’m not wrong Sweden already does. If you and Eric were to move there for a while, you could get married and adopt the little one.”
“We couldn’t. Eric has his duties here as Sheriff and even though I can conduct my work from anywhere we couldn’t leave you alone…”
“Are you telling me the idea crossed your mind? And who said you would go to Sweden alone? I’ve always wished to go visit Eric’s homeland.”
“I… Gran! I don’t know how you do this! Making me confess thing without me even noticing!”
“It’s a mother skill, dear. It takes years and years of practice, but don’t worry you’ll get there someday. Because that’s what you will be for this little one, Sookie. His mother. And Eric will be his father. This whole Aunt Sookie and Uncle Eric thing won’t work for long. You will be Mama and Daddy before you know it.”
I didn’t answer, simply looked at Hunter, imagining how it would feel to have him calling me mama… How it would feel to have him calling Eric daddy… We could be a family. No, we were already a family. Why shouldn’t he call us mama and daddy? No, I couldn’t do that to Hadley. Yes, she had basically abandoned her baby, but she was his mother! She would hate me even more if she were to come back and find out… No, I couldn’t think like that. Hadley wouldn’t come back. She was selfish… Selfish enough to come back and fight us for a helpless baby… No, Eric would move Heaven and Earth before allowing Hadley… God! What a mess were my thoughts tonight.
“Look, Pamela and Jessica are back!”
The redhead girl entered the house and threw herself in Gran’s arms, mumbling through her sobs. I turned toward Pam who looked pissed as hell.
“I guess it didn’t go that well…”
“In retrospect it went good. But that father of hers… And they say that vampires are monsters!”
“Was she at least able to say goodbye?”
“Yes. After I glamoured her dad into leaving the house and glamoured her mom into asking for divorce. This way her sister will have a chance at a somewhat normal childhood. I might have also glamoured the dad into getting a tattoo on his forehead saying ‘child beater’.”
“Pam…” I scolded.
“What? The prick deserved it!”
I sighed. “How did she take it?”
“She wanted to make him suffer… But she was more worried about her sister.”
Jessica and Gran came back from the water closet where the young girl cleaned her blood rimmed eyes.
“Jessica, Hunter and I are going to Merlotte’s” announced Gran. “I’m hungry and this one could use a Tru Blood and some socialization with more than an old lady. Sookie, would you mind putting Hunter’s car seat in my Cadillac?”
I nodded and while I took the car seat out of my Audi, Pam softly talked to Gran. After a kiss to Hunter I was ready to go on my way while Pam went back to her shopping. I turn the radio on, singing along. Now that I knew that Jessica would be okay, I felt a little better and less guilty about having a night of pure bliss with Eric.
I was halfway to Shreveport when the car suddenly stopped. I cursed as I try to restart it, to no avail. I fished my phone from my purse and check for any network. But my luck was out, no bar… Shit… Grabbing my stuff I got out and decided to walk back to Bon Temps. I couldn’t be that far, or was I? How long had I drove… I felt something behind me, a presence. Lowering my shields all I got was static… Weird, it had never happened before. If it had been an animal, a predator following me, I would have been able to feel it, but all I could get was static. Like a television with no signal…
Taking a deep breath I started to run… until something – or someone, grabbed me by the hair, pushing me to the ground. I tried to get up, but was pushed back. I let out a scream as I felt something clawing my back. The pain was intense and suddenly everything was black.