This will be the first chapter without a song attached, and you’ll understand why as the chappy progresses…
Thanks to MissyDee and BaltiK for being allstar betas!
Also, thanks to MissCathyWilson she recently filled out a Beta profile and asked to preread this for me – if y’all are shopping for betas, I’ve got 3 of the best!
Disclaimer – I don’t own any of these characters, Charlaine Harris does… and she’s a lucky, lucky gal.
“Sookie, honey, I’ve got to take this,” I apologize as we get in the SUV. I say hello and am quickly greeted by the school nurse, it turns out both of my boys are sick and she can’t get a hold of my wife.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! My wife is so fucking unreliable I could just choke the shit out of her sometimes!
I tell the nurse I’ll be there as soon as I can as I’m about an hour away getting supplies for my bar. I quickly call my mother and ask if she can take the boys once I pick them up. I just fucking know something screwy is going on with Felicia and don’t want the boys around when I go investigate.
“Sookie, I’m so sorry, but my boys are sick and my wonderful wife is nowhere to be found… again. I’ve got to go.” I could kill Felicia for ruining this day for me, on top of not being there for our kids. “I just know she’s doing something she shouldn’t be, this isn’t the first time no one’s been able to find her.”
Sookie offers to come with me and I don’t even hesitate, I pull away from the curb before she’s even buckled in. “As patient as ever, I see, my dear man,” she giggles at me as she buckles in.
I apologize and she assures me she understands. I’m fucking fuming right now, and hope she won’t take my mood personally. She reaches over and puts her hand on my thigh, patting it gently, before offering to listen if I need to talk about it.
I sigh deeply and look over at her briefly to smile at her and thank her for her kindness, and for her understanding of this ruining our day. “Eric, I won’t say it again, so you listen up. They’re your children – I’d kick your ass and go get them my damn self if you didn’t drop everything to go help them. I understand and it’s no big deal, okay? I just want your boys to be okay, and I hope nothing has happened to your wife.”
I can’t say the same right now. I know that might make me seem like a giant dick, but this is nowhere near the first time Felicia has vanished during the school day. So if nothing’s happened to her, then where in the fuck is she? And why can no one seem to find her? I say as much to Sook, and she agrees that it’s not only very strange, but quite suspicious.
“So, in hopes of distracting you, please tell me why you call your wife Fifi!” The look on her face when she says ‘Fifi’ is fucking classic and makes me laugh out loud.
“Okay, first – thanks for making me laugh, Sook. You always did know how to cheer me up.” I pause for a second, and can’t resist the urge to give her a little shit. “That is when you weren’t the one pissing me off,” I say with a sly smile.
“Can it, Northman, your hotness will only get you so far with me,” she says as she playfully smacks my arm. This is what I miss about Sookie and me – actually knowing one another this well. No one else could have broken my tension with this shit with Felicia happening. “Now finish telling me about your precious poodle, before I lose interest.”
I laugh out loud again and reach for her hand, linking our fingers and placing our interlocked hands on my thigh. “I can’t even ask you to promise not to laugh, because I know you’re gonna fucking die laughing. All I ask is that you try to understand that I did not ask to call her that!”
She gives me the whole scout’s honor sign and then locks her lips and throws the key over her shoulder. Picture of modern maturity she’s not – but she’s still the fucking coolest!
I shake my head at her and makes sure she sees me rolling my eyes before I continue. “So it’s like this…Felicia is a bit insecure, you see. Not that she should be, she really is a beautiful woman, at least physically.” Maybe it’s shitty of me to imply that my wife’s an asshole but she is so there’s really no point in beating around the bush about it. “Well, anyway I’d never called her by anything other than Felicia or babe. And even babe isn’t something I would’ve chosen, but I refused to call her baby like she wanted.” I know I don’t have to explain to Sookie why. I called Sookie three things most often in our relationship – honey, baby, and Sweetcheeks. I fucking refuse to call anyone else any of those names, ever.
Sook squeezes my hand and I can see her smiling broadly out of the corner of my eye. I can’t bring myself to look at her right now; I know I’ll fucking lose it if I do. “Babe seemed to be fine with her for a while, that is until we went home for the wedding. Then all hell broke loose. Tommy kept calling me Sweetcheeks, thinking he was a riot until Sam was drunk enough to tell Felicia where it came from.” Sookie’s loud snort breaks my concentration, and I have to laugh.
“I can’t fucking believe you still snort!” It’s the cutest fucking thing EVER! I always loved it when she did that, and as it turns out – I still do.
“I said can it, Northman! Don’t make me kick your ass!” she says while snorting again! “I bet she shit a Twinkie over that one!”
“Oh good gravy, you have no idea! For months she kept trying out new names. Pookie, Twinkie, Cupcake, Doodlebug, Moopsie…it was fucking awful! So, being the smartass I am, I suggested Fifi – and before I could tell her I’d rather call her a dog’s name than Moopsie – she said she loved it.” I burst out laughing all over again. I’ve got tears running down my face as I try to force the rest of this out, “I figure if she’s okay being called a fluffy, pink, poodle’s name – who the fuck am I to stop her?”
Sookie’s shaking, she’s laughing so hard. “Oh god, that’s fucking awful, and yet way too funny!” she says between snorts. “How can she not realize that’s not a cool fucking name?”
“I’ve got no idea! Who the fuck would want to be called Fifi?” It just escapes me. “I’m awful, I know I shouldn’t be picking on my wife but Jesus, it’s good to laugh with someone that gets me!”
The truth of my last statement hits me like a cartoon piano to the head. “I’ve fucking missed you, baby. I’ve missed you so, so much.”
She squeezes my hand again and tells me how much she’s missed me too. We pass the rest of the time trading stories about our lives over the last twenty years. She’s thrilled with my success with the bar and is genuinely interested in learning of my sons. Shit, she almost shows more interest in them than their own mother does – one more piece of evidence that they should have been Sookie’s.
I’m amazed to know that she finished her Master’s in literature and is in the process of working with a publisher for a book she’s written. Now, I always knew my girl was smart, but shit this is impressive. “Damn baby, I always knew you had a shitload to say, but a book’s pretty awesome – even for you.” I couldn’t resist teasing her just a little, she’s too fucking cute when I annoy the shit outta her.
“I invite you to kindly fuck off, my darling man,” she says while pinching my arm lightly.
“Hey, knock that off! You know I hate that crap!” I fucking do too, but suddenly all seems very right in my world – pinching and all.
“I shoulda said man-baby, you big whine ass!”
“Stifle it, Edith!” Now, this I did actually say to my wife once. I wanted to divorce her on the spot for not knowing where that came from. How can you be born in the 1970’s and not know what Archie Bunker says to his wife? It’s fucking criminal! Of course, my girl Sook knows exactly what I’m talking about.
We spend the last ten minutes of the ride to my sons’ school laughing and picking on one another. I feel years younger and emotionally freer than I have in years. We pull up in front and I ask Sook to wait for me out here while I go get the boys. Thankfully she understands completely and isn’t at all offended by my request. I didn’t expect her to be, but I’m still very relieved she isn’t upset.
I go into the school and sign in. A quick trip down the hall and I’m at the nurse’s office, retrieving my two puking boys. Shit, this sucks for them – I fucking hate it when my boys are sick! I gather them, their bags of ruined clothes, and several air-sickness bags and head out to the car. I ask how they’re doing, and both just groan at me – in unison. Freaky twin powers!
They both feel so shitty that I don’t bother giving them a heads up about Sookie being in the car. When we reach the car I put their stuff in the way back and make sure they are settled into the back seat before getting back into the driver’s seat.
“Who’s the broad?” Alex asks Liam with a head nod in Sookie’s direction.
“Dude, I know as much as you do. What do ya want me to do, guess?” Liam snarks back.
Sookie’s dying laughing next to me, with the best ‘holy shit’ look on her face. “Oh my god, Eric! They’re mini yous!”
“Stifle it, Edith,” I say in a mock warning tone.
“Ha! Isabel’s curse worked – in spades!” She’s fallen over in her seat she’s laughing so hard, her face wet with tears.
“I get even, Stackhouse, remember that,” I warn again.
“Bring it, big boy. You got nothing on me!” she snorts again.
“Oh, it’s on like Donkey Kong now, woman!” I’m laughing right along with her at this point, loving the fact that I can enjoy such easy banter again in my world.
“Dad, seriously – who’s the dame?” Liam asks; rudely, I might add.
Before I can reprimand my boy for his appalling lack of manners, Sookie jumps right in with both feet. She turns right around in her seat and smiles sweetly at the boys. “I thought I was a broad?” she asks in a serious tone. I know her well enough to know she’s full of shit right now – and I love the fact I still know that.
“Dame, broad…whatever,” the boys say in unison.
“That’s kinda creepy, Eric.” I burst out laughing and tell her I know it is. “They do that often?” she asks while still staring at the boys.
“Yup,” the boys reply in unison yet again.
“That’s freaking wild!” Sook exclaims, eliciting a smile from the boys. “I’m Sookie, good to meet you both.”
“Who would name their kid Cookie?” Alex asks.
“Yeah, you got robbed, lady” Liam adds.
“Oh my god, can I take them home?” She whips around to look at me. “These guys are just too neat! I want some, please,” she whines at me.
“Holy hell in a handbasket, guys, you broke her in less than five minutes!” I exclaim in exasperation. “Now what do I do with her? She’s useless if she’s broken. There’s no market for damaged Sookies, you know.”
The damaged girl in question pinches my arm again and tells me “I’ll show you damaged, Northman.”
“Bring it, Cookie,” I draw out her name to make it extra annoying.
“Holy balls, Liam!” Alex exclaims. “This is why dad was whistling zippity doodah out of his butt this morning. It’s this Cookie lady.”
“Okay, really, guys. It’s Sss-ookie. Not Cookie.” She looks at me and mouths “holy balls?” with the biggest shit eating grin on her face.
I’ve got to put an end to this shit, this is nuts. Though I must admit, I’m thrilled that the interaction between Sookie and the boys is so easy going and natural. “Okay, you two goofballs. First off, do not say holy balls. And while we’re at it, where in the name of all that’s holy did you learn broad and dame?” I turn to Sookie and assure her I don’t talk like that before turning back to the boys. “And lastly, pull it together you two because you’re going to grandma’s house for the night.”
As sick as my boys are, you’d think they’d want to be home with their mom or dad, but noooo – not my boys. Oh, they’d stay home with just me, but their mom “get’s on their nerves,” their words, not mine, when they’re puking. Grandma is their hero when they’re sick. So of course, the news is greeted with cheers and yahoos from the peanut gallery in the back.
“Where’s mom this time, Dad?” Liam asks.
As I’m assuring them that I don’t know but am sure she’s fine, Alex says something to make my blood boil. “Maybe she’s with the Charles dude we met last month?”
Charles dude? What fucking Charles dude?
I look over at Sook, who has a very different ‘oh shit’ face on at the moment. I’m not really sure what the fuck is going on right now, but I need to say something back to the boys. “I’m sure whoever she’s with, she’s fine boys.” That’s about the best I can fucking manage right now.
We pull up to my mother’s a short minute later and pile out of the car. I ask Sook if she’s coming in with us.
“Sure, I’m positive Izzy will be just thrilled to see me!” Yeah, I’m not so sure she’s wrong about that, but I could give a fuck less what my mother thinks right about now.
We get up to the door and the boys fly in like they own the joint, no knocking, no nothing. My mother’s standing at the kitchen sink when the boys attack her from behind. She turns herself around and envelopes the boys in a huge hug then damn near shits herself when she looks up from the boys and sees Sookie.
“Holy shit on a shingle, what the hell are you doing here?” Well, the question of where my boys are getting their latest sayings is finally solved.
“Nice, Ma.” She waves me off dismissively and shocks the shit out of all of us by pulling Sookie into a tight hug.
Why do I feel like I’ve just stepped into the Twilight Zone? Do not attempt to adjust your sets…
Well, now we know why ten year olds would say “dame” – it’s Izzy’s influence. Can’t wait to see what unfolds! Love and hugs to all – thanks for taking this journey with me!