Sookie woke up not quite sure where she was. She knew she was warm and comfortable, and she stretched, enjoying the slight soreness in her limbs that came from rolling around with a 6’5” Viking and all his charms. She was under the big black cotton comforter, in those very expensive cotton sheets that Eric liked, in his huge California King bed with the hand carved headboard. She didn’t remember falling asleep last night, but apparently she had dozed off and Eric tucked her into his bed before he went to his hidey-hole in the basement.
She laughed at thinking of it as a “hidey-hole” – it was more like a luxurious mini-room. It was padded and upholstered with burgundy velvet all around (he wanted black but decided it showed dust too easily,) was filled with fluffy pillows in black silk cases and would sleep 3 or 4 people comfortably. It had a recessed shelf that held a clock, his iPod, a laptop, a short wave radio for emergencies and a couple of bottles of True Blood, just in case.
He was always prepared for trouble and that gave her some comfort. She made a note to herself to find out what a Viking keeps on his iPod one of these days. She considered sneaking down the closed off servant’s stairs to join him later. He said she was welcome there whenever she wanted and since it was below the basement, she could open the door without letting sunlight in.
She pulled on one of Eric’s big black t-shirts. She had some clothes of her own here, but she preferred to wear his T’s when she was bumming around the house. It was already 3 PM, so Eric would be up in a few hours. She grabbed the steno pad from the floor on Eric’s side of the bed and took it into the Kitchenette on the second floor. There was a huge kitchen on the first floor that would make Martha Stewart green with envy, set up in case Eric ever chose to do any entertaining. He said that wasn’t likely to happen, but he liked having the option. Never know when you’re going to have to accommodate a war party like Pam had to when they went to war with Hallow and her bitches. The rest of the second floor was guestrooms, but this kitchenette was set up just for Sookie.
She had had a little fit when she found out that he had hired what he called a “lady’s maid” about a month after they had reached their “understanding” but she had to admit, it came in handy. That maid, Alicia, was to anticipate Sookie’s needs in every respect. There were always clean clothes for her in Eric’s dresser and closet, and there was always what Eric called “chick food” in the kitchenette that was based on a list of favorites Eric made her write out. Alicia even furnished it with pink appliances – a blender, food processor, coffee maker and toaster. She hadn’t even known they made such things in pink, but apparently these were special editions to raise money for breast cancer research, so she liked that. She had to admit that she was getting used to being treated like a princess. Her laundry and food were replenished twice a week like clock work, she never had to do a dish, and the maid had a list of Sookie’s clothing and shoe sizes so when she or Eric thought she needed something, or something – usually panties – was destroyed it could be replaced immediately. She was surprised how quickly she had adjusted to the idea.
‘Let’s see what’s in the fridge,’ she thought to herself. She opened the door and was pleased to find some nice looking salads (dressings in the door,) milk, several cans of Diet Rite cola, a loaf of bread (so it would last longer,) a tray of crudités and a couple of grilled chicken breast halves in the drawers. In the freezer were some frozen fries, peas, a carton of microwavable fried rice, and her favorite – fudgesicles. She grabbed a Diet Rite and a big salad, cut up one of the chicken breasts and drizzled a bit of ranch dressing over it. There was even a jar of sunflower seeds and a bag of croutons to sprinkle over it.
She took her salad over to the little bistro table in the corner and threw the steno pad next to it. She took a big bite of salad, pulled the pen from the spiral rings at the top of the pad and opened it. Eric had been busy.
The first column might as well have been called “a list of expenses to fight with Sookie about” –
- Car – German Engineering, bullet-proof glass, car seat.
- Car Seat
- Sookie’s special mirror for
- Bon Temps?
- Nurseries –
- Bon Temps,
- Pam’s house,
- Compton’s house
- Nanny –
- how many?
- What species –
- Alicia – babies?
- Ludwig – babies?
- New Wardrobe for Sookie
- Personal Trainer for Sookie
- Masseuse for Sookie
- Aesthetician for Sookie
- Fangtasia Staff
- Area Five
- Felipe de Castro
The second column she had started, Questions for Dr.. Ludwig, had some additions, too:
- How long will the pregnancy last.
- Does Sookie need vitamins or special nutrition.
- Midwife? Hospital?
- Nanny or Doula– see number 4 left column
- When will it sleep?
- Other vulnerabilities
- Where should it be born?
- What kind of special protection will it have? Need?
- Cloaking spell
- Feeding from Sookie?
- Sookie taking E.’s blood?
Why the hell would he list Pam’s and Bill’s on the list of places for nurseries? And what the hell is an Aesthetician? She was tempted to cross everything off the list, or just tear it up, but then she thought better of it. She needed to talk to Eric about these things – maybe he knew something she didn’t? She didn’t think he knew much about babies, but he knew a lot about safety and he certainly knew a lot about Supes. She was learning that Eric often had reasons for things that it didn’t occur to him to explain because he was a thousand years old and because he was used to being the boss. She needed to see how much of this was based on special knowledge and how much was just Eric jumping at the chance to pamper her. He was almost as bad as Niall.
Niall. She added him to the list of Notifications. Naturally, he already knew since he had – what exactly HAD he done? – well, he arranged it, but she wanted to thank him and let him know how much she loved his gift. She also wanted to try to impress upon him not to give her gifts without talking to her first. This one could have waited a year or two, but she decided that didn’t really matter. Eric said she would stay young another 50 or 60 years, so they had plenty of time for hot vampire sex even after the baby was grown. And she could always…
Whoa. Since when did “going over” become an option for her? Eric had always said he expected to turn her one day, but she resisted the idea. Then again, she had a tendency to resist everything. She was learning that about herself. Her first reaction to change was usually negative, especially where Supes were concerned. She was in a permanent relationship with an immortal now. She might be giving birth to an immortal. Maybe she needed to think about her own life span in that context? Damn, that’s deep. She decided to make like Scarlett O’Hara and think about that tomorrow. The baby stuff was as deep as she could handle right now.
She heard someone stirring down stairs and realized it was Wednesday. Two of the maids would be in today, and possibly Eric’s day man. Sure enough, as she was finishing her salad, Alicia came in. Alicia was older, brunette with greaying temples and Eric said she came highly recommended.
“Good afternoon, Miss Sookie. Am I interrupting you?”
“Hi, Alicia. No I’m just finishing up one of these delicious salads you left for me. It was really lovely.”
“Thank you, Miss. Is there anything special you would like me to stock for you this week?”
“Yes, actually, there is. This is going to sound crazy, but I have the weirdest craving for anchovies. I never really liked them before, but now I could just kill for a Caesar Salad.”
“I could make my special Caesar for you and leave it in the fridge. I can make enough to last you two or three days if you think you’ll be around to eat it.”
“That would be great – thank you. Even if I don’t stay, I might take it with me.”
“Alright then, it will be in the fridge for you tonight.”
Sookie looked at the list and then had an idea.
“Alicia – have you ever worked with babies at all?”
“In what respect, Miss?”
“If there were a baby here, would you consider handling it’s laundry and shopping the way you do mine?”
“Of course, Miss. I’m not a nanny, of course, but I could make certain that a nursery was stocked and a new mother had everything she needed from the store. Is there something going on, Miss?”
“Well, we aren’t telling people yet, but it looks like Eric and I are having a baby.”
“That’s surprising, Miss, but it’s wonderful news. You just let me know what you need and I’ll take care of it. I’ll work out the details with Mr. Northman when I collect my check on Friday.”
“That’s great, Alicia, it would really help me out!”
“No problem at all, Miss. Mr. Northman is a generous man and he made it very clear that your comfort is the top priority of my position. If you need or want anything at all, you have only to ask. While I’m thinking of it, if you’re craving anchovies, I think I’ll put some pizzas in the freezer and get you a big jar of dill pickles, just in case. I’ll also make sure you have plenty of milk and proteins available in the drawer.”
“Thanks. A few cartons of Ben & Jerry’s in different flavors would be cool, too.”
“I’ll add it to my list, Miss.”
“Great. I’m going to head back upstairs for a bit. I need to make some phone calls.”
“Yes, Miss. I’ll be leaving for the store in about 45 minutes and should be back within two hours. You have my cell number if you need me?”
“Yes, I do. Thanks again.”
Ugh. She hated feeling like the boss’s mistress. None of the staff here ever gave her attitude or treated her that way, but it was hard for her to get used to the idea of servants and the kind of luxuries Eric was used to.
Would it be different if they were married? Eric has told her many times that he’d marry her if she wanted. She’d have legal rights to his money that way, though he already had accounts set up in her name. Maybe they should get married before the baby came? That’s kind of a Judeo-Christian thing that wouldn’t matter to Eric, but it kind of did to her. Her Gran would be awfully disappointed if she had a baby without being married. Maybe it was time. She might drop a little hint to Eric in the next day or two and see what he thinks about it in light of new developments.
Eww – that salad wasn’t sitting right on her stomach. She’d heard of morning sickness, but it was 4 in the afternoon, for goodness’ sake!
‘I’d better lie down. Eric won’t be too happy if I throw up on his carpet,’ she thought.
She went back to Eric’s bed and moved a wastebasket near by in case she got sick. She had a little book with her, and there was a TV that rose up out of the foot of the bed if she wanted to watch a movie, but neither had any appeal. She just lay down on the bed with the phone from Eric’s nightstand and the steno pad beside her. Maybe she was being moody the way Eric said. She could almost cry even though there was nothing to cry about. Things were better for her than she’d ever dreamed they could be.
She thought about Bill. She still had a little pang of pain and guilt when she thought of him. He had hurt her terribly, but he meant so much to her before that and she had sort of humiliated him publically by leaving him for Eric, and she wished things were different so that they could be friends. She looked at the list again. Why on Earth would Eric want to put a nursery in Bill’s house?
She was really feeling nauseous now. Her stomach hurt. She realized she was supposed to work at Merlotte’s tonight, but she had no desire to drive feeling this way, and she wanted so badly to be here when Eric woke up. It was getting harder and harder for her to spend time away from him. Minutes seemed to crawl by when they weren’t together, and she had begun to define her life by how long it would be until she saw him again. She never thought of herself as the clingy type. Maybe it was just the blood bond? Maybe he was just everything she could have dreamed of and more, ha ha! He’d love that.
‘That’s all I need to do is give him more reason to be smug.’
Eric would never be accused of false modesty. He knew exactly what a catch he was. He’d spent a millennium watching men and women alike throw themselves at him. He knew he was big, beautiful, and sexy. He was strong and skilled in so many things – sex, war, strategy, and business. He was rich. He had blond hair and blue eyes. He was the cultural ideal of almost any age at any time in history. Can you really be smug if you really are a dream come true?
She curled up on her side. “Eric fever” she thought to herself. “Northman Flu. As the song says ‘I got it bad and that ain’t good” – except is was good – very, very good., and now they were going to have a magick baby.
‘Isn’t it just perfect that the perfect man/vampire is going to have a baby that is as extra-ordinary as he is.‘
She picked up the phone and hit 2 on the speed dial. Eric had reprogrammed all of his phones at home and in the office so that her cell was number 1 and her house was number 2. As the phone rang, she rolled onto her back with her knees up and crossed one leg over the other.
“Hey, sweetie, how are you dong?”
“Ah – that’s probably going to last a while.”
“Great. Are you busy tonight?”
“Nope – let me guess. You want me to cover your shift at Merlotte’s”
“Could you? I just don’t want to drive while I feel this sick.”
“And you don’t want to be away from tall, blond and dead all night, either.”
“Am I that obvious?”
“No, but that’s a normal reaction in your condition. Your nesting instinct makes you want to keep your nest together, so you want to hang onto your mate more than usual.”
“Eric calls it ‘nesting,’ too.”
“It’s not like a vampire’s nest, Sookie, it’s just a way to refer to the maternal instinct.”
“Eric says it’s all the same, whether it’s a bird using sticks and feathers or a woman using designer furniture.”
“He’s right about that. You know, women produce a hormone called oxytocin that makes them bond to their babies and their mates. There’s no telling how your situation is going to affect that. By the way, did you figure out how this happened?”
“I’ve told you about my Great Grand Father Niall?”
“The Fairy Prince – literally?”
“Yes, well it seems Eric is half-Fae…”
“Yeah, and with his half and my fraction it apparently only took a little magick for baby to make three. He thought it was a gift that would make me happy.”
“And it does?”
“Yes. That was number one thing against being in a relationship with Eric. I guess Niall figured that out and found a way around it so I’d be happy.”
“Had you asked for this? Or mentioned it to him?”
“No – how could I? I never knew it was a possibility?”
“So, will the baby be human, or… “
“We aren’t sure yet.”
“Did you talk to Dr. Ludwig yet?”
“Eric promised to call her tonight, first thing.”
“Let me know how that goes. I’m anxious to know more.”
“Me, too – you have no idea.”
“I’ll bet. What time do I need to be at Merlotte’s tonight?”
“Will do. What do I tell Sam?”
“Just tell him I’m not feeling well. Don’t mention the baby yet, ok?’
“Okay. I’d better go, I need to run to the store and I need to come back here before I go in.”
“OK, Amelia, Thank you so much – I really owe you.”
“You owe me nothing – I’m happy to help. By the way – I never asked – how is Eric taking the news?”
“He’s over the moon. I thought he would be angry, but he’s being very positive and overly protective and very sweet.”
“Really? He’s not upset about it affecting his lifestyle?”
“No, I think because he’s so old, the idea of something out of the ordinary is kind of a relief for him. It’s something new. And it’s something unique – he’s very into the idea that his son will be like no other, and it’s destiny and blah blah.”
“Yes, we were told it’s a boy.”
“Oh, man, the mighty Viking is going to have a son – by magick, no less. He won’t be able to get his head through the door!”
“Tell me about it. He’s so pleased with himself. It’s a good thing I love it when he’s smug or I’d never be able to take it.”
“Aw, let him enjoy it. He’s going to be the only vampire he knows with a kid. That IS unique and special. You need to understand and enjoy that, too. My guess is he’ll be every bit as special as Eric thinks he will. These things don’t happen for no reason.”
“That’s what he said.”
“Listen to him, Sookie. He has lived as long as he has by knowing what needs to be done. This might be a unique situation, but you’re fortunate enough to have a unique mate to go through it with you. OK, I gotta go.”
“OK, Amelia, thanks again! Have fun!”
“You, too, Sweetie! Bye.”
Okay – one problem solved. No need to go to Bon Temps tonight. Now she just had to decide whether to go to Fangtasia with Eric or ask him to stay home. She didn’t want to keep him from work if he needed to be there, but she really didn’t want to be away from him.