Dream a Little Dream

Leap of Faith
Chapter 30: Dream a Little Dream

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Birth Annoncement – The News Star – Monroe, Louisiana

Eric and Sookie Northman of Bon Temps, are proud to announce the birth of identical twin daughters, Gabrielle Octavia and Alexandra Adele Northman at St. Francis Medical Center. Gabrielle was born December 14th, 2010 at 8:42 p.m.; she weighed 6 lbs. 8 oz., and was 19 inches long at birth. Alexandra was born December 14th, 2010 at 9:07 p.m.; she weighed 6 lbs. 5 oz., and was 19 inches long at birth. Mother, father and girls are all doing fine!

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EPOV
Jason, Tara and Hoyt came to the hospital, along with Pam and Andre. They stayed in the waiting room the whole time Sookie was in labor. It was almost 10 p.m. when all three girls were ready for visitors. They rushed in with balloons and flowers for Sookie and the girls. I swear I saw a tear in Pam’s eye, but she turned away before I could be sure.

Sookie and the girls spent a day and a half in the hospital, although she didn’t get much rest. Every waking moment seemed to be filled with one well wisher or another coming by to give us their congratulations. It was great, amazing really, but we all needed some time just as our new little family.

We spent the first two days after returning from the hospital in a self induced lock-down. We didn’t answer the phone or accept any visitors. It was our time, and we enjoyed every sleepless minute of it.

On the third day, Gran’s friends began coming over in the afternoons to help Sookie when I went to work. Sookie’s hormones were still going crazy, and she sobbed uncontrollably over their kindness.

Pam had called our parents while Sookie was in the hospital, but they didn’t make it back to Bon Temps until the girls were over a month old. My mother refused to be called ‘grandmother’ and wanted to be called by her first name. Sookie got that crazy smile on her face and I waited for her head to spin around, or for smoke to come out of her ears.

She looked straight at my mother and said, “No. You’re the only grandmother they have. We can come up with a nickname, like MeMaw or Nonna, but they are not calling you Henrika. They’ll be in kindergarten before they can even pronounce it.”

My father watched in amazement and squeezed my shoulder, in full approval of Sookie, and I was shocked. They stayed at a hotel in Shreveport and were on a flight out of the country within forty-eight hours. Pam had warned me that they only stayed two days when Beatrice was born, so I wasn’t expecting any more.

Pam and Tara took the girls to get their ears pierced when they two months old. Sookie and I had laughed and told them if they needed it done to tell the girls apart, they were in charge. Sookie didn’t mind that they were getting their ears pierced, but she hadn’t planned on doing it until much later.

We met them at the mall, having given the girls preemptive doses of acetaminophen for the pain, and handed off our two angels to their aunties while we went to Starbucks in the center court. The girls were returned to us as crying, screaming messes with adorable, sparkling starter earrings; Gabi’s were green, while Ali’s were pearl.

Pam was proud of herself. “See. Gabi equals green.”

I gathered Ali into my arms and Sookie looked near tears as she took Gabi out of the stroller.

“Oh baby. Mommy’s here. You just remember that mean Aunties Pammy and Tara did this to you. Mommy doesn’t need green earrings to tell you apart.”

Sookie went back to work part time after a three month maternity leave. When we found out at the ultrasound that we were having twins, Sookie and I started talking about whether or not she wanted to stay home with the girls or go back to work. She decided that she wanted to work, but maybe not quite so much. She figured she would need to get out of the house and spend time being an adult in addition to being a mom. She knew that she wanted to spend time at home with the babies, but also that she loved working with needy families, and she didn’t want to give that up. She talked to her supervisor about going to part time when she came back from maternity leave. He told her he would have to look at the budget, which was the answer to everything at the county offices.

About a month before the girls were born, he came to Sookie with an offer. If she was willing to switch from working with foster families to working with families at risk of having their children placed in foster care, there was a part time job available. She accepted whole heartedly, and when she returned to the office, she worked three days a week. We lucked out and didn’t need to find child care, because Gran’s friends from the Descendants of the Glorious Dead had volunteered to come to the house to watch the girls when I had to work at the bar. Their generosity had a tendency to make Sookie cry,

Everything went amazingly well. The girls grew and changed, and as they did, they wrapped me around their little fingers. I was a push over when it came to them. I would do anything to make them stop crying and would give them anything they asked for. Sookie found herself shaking her head at me quite often.

Around eleven months, the girls started walking within a week of each other. Ali was first, pulling herself up on the couch and taking two little steps before crashing onto her diaper clad bottom. Several days later she was up to four or five steps at a time when Gabi took her first steps too. She pulled herself up with the toilet and grinned like crazy as she took two steps towards the bathtub. Both girls loved bath time. I got a great picture of them standing together peering over the edge of the tub as it filled with water and bubbles.

Around the same time that they began walking, we took our first major family road trip. We loaded Sookie’s new S.U.V. and drove to Jacksonville to spend Thanksgiving with Cal, and a very pregnant Soph. She was seven months along, and they couldn’t wait. If the Marines didn’t change his schedule, Cal would even be home when the baby was born.

The girls ran roughshod over Cal, and I thought it was hysterical. They were clumsily walking, grabbing knick-knacks off every surface, drooling and chewing on him, pulling his chest hairs when they tried to hug him, and I loved it. He had laughed so hard he cried when we told him the news that Sookie was having twin girls, and now he was expecting one of his own. I figured Ali and Gabi were just giving him a taste of what was to come.

We went to a beach party while we were there, leaving the girls with Thalia for the evening. Twinings and Jessica were there. I was a little surprised they were still together, but it was a pleasant surprise. All of the guys were there, even a few others who had retired like I had. We reminisced about old times, told new stories and joked around the way only Marines could. Cal and I got shit faced drunk, while Sookie and Soph looked on. The morning after, I remembered why I didn’t drink like that anymore. I felt like complete crap, and Sookie showed no mercy, putting the girls in the bed to climb all over me and squeal in my ear.

Sookie planned a first birthday party to be rivaled by none. The girls got an insane amount of presents. Among the loot, were identical outfits, Elmo dolls in multiple sizes, two toy chests and a sandbox. We held it at the Dog House, and Stan and Rasul cooked up a storm. There was an under the sea theme that might have made Walt Disney gag, and a bunch of cupcakes shaped together to look like a mermaid. Pam warned me that the neon colored frosting would not digest at all and come out the same color in their diapers. I thought she was nuts, but was thankful the next day when Sookie called out, “What the hell?” while she changed a poopy diaper.

Christmas with one year old twins was insanity. I had been telling Sookie not to go overboard, but clearly, she, and Santa, never got the message. Our stockings were overflowing with small items, and there was a truckload of toys under the tree. I had no idea when Sookie had found the time to wrap everything, let alone where she had hidden everything in the house. The girls were at the age that they found the wrapping paper and boxes way more fun than most of the gifts they unwrapped.

One of the highlights of the day for me was letting the girls try the cranberry sauce at lunch. It was that jelly stuff that held the shape of the can,and it was a Northman tradition. Sookie hated the stuff and insisted on making a batch of fresh cranberry sauce. Jason liked the fresh kind too. It was a Sackhouse vs. Northman thing, and it hadn’t changed in all the years I’d known them.

Sookie gave me the evil eye across the table as I gave each of our girls a little taste. Gabi curled up her nose in disgust and shook her head. Ali, on the other hand, gobbled it up with a grin and looked at me like she wanted more. Both Sookie and Jason groaned as Pam clapped her hands in glee.

Every other month I spent a long weekend in Jackson checking on the bar and signing off on things for Thalia. We did a lot of things by phone and email, but some things had to be dealt with in person. I lucked out and happened to be in town when Soph went into labor, and I got to meet McKenzie Grace Norris when she was less than two hours old.

I sat with Cal in the apartment later that night, sipping a beer. He was exhausted, and on his way home for the night, but he took me up on the offer of a celebratory drink and cigar. When his beer was finished, he set the bottle down and looked at me.

“I had no idea.”

“I know.” I sipped my beer and waited for him to continue. I knew what he was thinking.

“I’ll fucking kill anyone that hurts her.”

“Yup.”

“My fucking chest hurts thinking about it.”

“It doesn’t go away.”

“Fuck, Eric. We’re screwed.”

I nodded in agreement, smiling and thinking about my own girls. The desire to protect them, all three of them, overwhelmed me sometimes. They were everything to me.

~.~.~.~

When the girls were born, our sex life had taken the strange turn that I guessed happens to most first time parents, and maybe more so to the parents of twins. It took Sookie a little while to get her groove back, but after the doctor gave us the thumbs up, she was ready to go. The problem was finding a time when one baby wasn’t hungry, shitting, or crying. We got creative; quickies whenever the twins were both asleep, no matter how quick it had to be, the occasional nooner in the office at the bar, and my favorite, waking each other in the middle of the night after getting one or both of the girls back to sleep. I’ll never forget the first time I woke up to the feel of Sookie’s lips wrapped around me. I had struggled to believe it wasn’t a dream, but it was too real and too good, and when she moaned as I pulled her hair, I knew it was real.

I was learning not to swear, well, to swear less at least, and had given up on privacy when the girls began walking. I mean, I could lock the door, but it made it hard to concentrate on taking a crap when there were two mini she-devils pounding on the door screaming and crying.

I swear, the tears of those two girls could bring me to my knees. They could hardly speak and I was caving to their wills. Sookie said I was spoiling them, but I figured I could be the strict dad when they got older. For now, I was a man living in a house full of women who couldn’t stand to see any of them cry. I told Sookie that we needed to think about buying another ‘Vette so they could each have one eventually. If I remember correctly, she had called me a fucking lunatic and walked out of the room.

I was so wrapped around their fingers that there were days when I didn’t recognize myself. The memories of vicious recon missions and weeks spent sleeping with my gun were so far removed from my life that they were like the history of another man. I sat awake nights, usually rocking Gabi since she was the night owl, thinking about my life. I didn’t understand why I had gone through everything that I had, but if it was all necessary to bring me to this point, I would do it again in a heart beat.

I was already thinking about the rules I was going to set for the girls when they got older; their skirts and shorts would have to come down to mid calf, no bikini’s, or bathing suits at all if I had my way, and no dating until they were married. I looked into sending them to an all girls’ school, but the closest one was in Shreveport.

They were about eighteen months old, when Pam and Andre left Bea with us for a long weekend. He had a sales conference in Las Vegas, and she was tagging along. I negotiated a four day weekend of our own over New Years. Pam tried to argue that because we had two kids that she only had to keep them for two days, but Andre told her to get over it and said they would love to watch the kids for us since they would both be off work for the holidays. I booked tickets to an all-inclusive resort in Can Cun before Sookie could tell me no. We would miss the girls, but we needed some time alone.

SPOV
I was tired, and I didn’t want to fight with Eric about this trip he had planned for us, but I really didn’t want to go. Oh, I wanted to go to Mexico. I wanted to lie in the sun and not have anyone pulling on my pants legs or asking me for juice, but I didn’t want to leave the girls.

I had a minor melt down to Tara about the trip when she met me for lunch one day. What if something happened and both Eric and I were on the same flight to Mexico? The girls would lose both parents. Tara had been unbelievably calm, for her. She didn’t laugh hysterically or call me crazy.

“Sookie, it’s pretty normal to freak out about leaving your kids the first time. And two parents fly on the same plane without their kids all the time. Yes, something could happen, but more likely, nothing will.”

I pouted a bit more, and she pulled out the big guns. “When’s the last time you and Eric really fucked? Like full on EricandSookie sex?”

I smiled at the expression she used. Tara had shown up at the house uninvited more than once during the course of our friendship, only to encounter the sounds of our love making before she could turn around and leave.

I thought about it, and sadly, it had been months since Eric and I had been able to fool around without worrying about little ears hearing us. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like we were silent, or monks, but we had definitely kept things quieter than we had been in the past.

I sighed. “It’s been a while.”

“Then dust off the bikini and go.”

I laughed at that. There wasn’t a chance in hell I was wearing a bikini, but I had a nice black one-piece that made my stomach look okay and actually held up my breasts.

“Okay. You’re sure it’s not selfish? Leaving the girls with Pam, I mean?”

“Sookie, go. Get fucked, get tanned, come home feeling good. Doctor Tara’s orders.”

When I told Eric that night that I was on-board with his plans, he’d laughed and told me he had already booked the trip. Smug bastard.

A couple hours later, he climbed into bed and woke me with gentle kisses after putting Gabi to bed following one of their late night bonding sessions. Then we made love, careful not to wake anyone up. Lying together when we finished, I giggled, thinking about the conversation with Tara.

“What?”

“Nothing. I can’t wait for our trip.”

Time flew by. Thanksgiving came and went, and then it was time for the girls second birthday party. It had a ladybug theme, with red and black decorations everywhere. Eric thought the party and the decorations were over the top again, and I have to admit, I might have made him hang up extra streamers so I could look at his butt while he was up the ladder.

Christmas was a blur. We were busy attending holiday parties, and Eric was putting in extra hours because of the parties people were hosting at the bar, not to mention packing and celebrating with the girls. Of course the week before Christmas I ended up at the doctors’ office with a urinary tract infection. The only good thing about it was that it hadn’t happened while Eric and I were on vacation. I took my medicine and guzzled cranberry juice, cringing every time I went to the bathroom until it cleared up.

The morning of our flight, Eric packed the car, and I sat in the nursery crying as I told the girls I would see them soon. Just like when Eric had left for Iraq, I couldn’t bring myself to say ‘goodbye.’ We were dropping them off at Pam’s on the way to the airport, but I wanted to do my sobbing in private.

Eric came into the room and squatted down, putting his arms around the three of us. “Who wants to see Auntie Pam and Cousin Bea?”

The girls were practically out the door before I could react and I shot him a dirty look. Apparently Pam and Bea were more exciting than crying mom.

“Come on, Bird. It will be fine. We’ll call as soon as we get there. You can Skype with them if you need to.”

“Aren’t you going to miss them?” I sniped.

“Yes. I’m going to miss them like crazy, but Sookie, I miss you too.”

I started crying again and practically threw myself at him as I wrapped my arms around his waist. I could hear the girls in the front room arguing as they put on their shoes. With a sigh I leaned my forehead on his.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too. What do you say we go away together?”

“I’d love to.”

~.~.~.~

The plane touched down, and it was Eric that was the first one to pull out his phone, with newly acquired international service, to call Pam and the girls. We hadn’t been gone long enough for them to understand we wouldn’t be home at bedtime so the girls weren’t upset at all; it was Eric that looked twitchy. I missed them too, but it was strangely good to see his discomfort. He’d been so gung-ho about taking the trip, and he said that he was going to miss the girls, but the reality of it made me all kinds of hot for him. Or maybe it was the fact that we were about to spend almost four entire days in very little clothes without little ones to interrupt or distract us.

We were given a glass of champagne when we checked into the resort. The desk clerk gave us an overview of the property and talked about the amenities they offered, but I didn’t hear much of what she said as Eric’s hand rubbed small, hot circles on my back.

We made our way to the room and barely had the door closed before Eric was pulling my shirt off. My hands went straight for his waist band, and we were laughing as we tangled together, moving to the bed and removing each others clothes.

In no time, he was poised above me, looking down, his eyes dark. He lowered his head and kissed me, while I slid my hands over his back. He shifted, moving his lips down my neck and along my shoulder as his hands found their way to my breasts. He cupped them, gently caressing the sides with his thumbs. His mouth moved down my chest, and his fingers began twisting and pulling my nipples which were already straining towards his mouth.

I moaned loudly when his tongue finally circled one, and his lips closed over it. He sucked lightly, then alternated between light nips and warm strokes of his tongue. His hand slid down my stomach and between my legs. I arched into him, but his fingers teased, stroking the inside of my thigh and the curve of my hip. Then he suddenly dipped a long finger into me, and I gasped as he removed it and went back to touching everywhere but my center.

“Eric, please,” I breathed.

He paused in licking the soft skin under one of my breasts. “Please, what?”

“Please touch me.”

“Like this?” he asked as two fingers moved back into my center, slowly pumping in and out.

“Yes.” I began rocking against him. “Like that.” It felt good, amazing really, his fingers and mouth working together on my body.

Then he stopped, moving his hand to his mouth, and I watched him lick my wetness from his fingers. He had to have seen the confusion and loss flash across my face. His beautiful eyes bore into mine, the gaze emotionally holding me to him as much as his arms physically did the same.

“Tell me what you want, lover.”

“I want you,” I whispered, meeting his eyes and sliding my fingers into his hair.

His lips were a breath away from mine, and his hand was warm, resting against my mound. “How do you want me?”

He was so close, that when my tongue darted out to lick my lips before I spoke, I grazed his as well. I whimpered, and then purposely touched his lips with my tongue again. His eyes closed for a heartbeat, and his hips jerked against me, but when he opened his eyes he was once again in control.

I angled my head, trailing my lips along his neck towards his ear, then whispered, “I want you to fuck me until I scream. And then I want you to do it again.”

I heard a deep growl from his chest as his lips crashed against mine. His fingers pushed into me a few times before I felt his hips shift and he thrust into me. My breath caught, as my body reacted to being filled so swiftly; when he began to move, I heard myself moaning and crying out each time he drove into me.

He wasn’t quiet either, chanting my name and grunting as he concentrated on doing what I had asked him to do. He hooked my knees with his elbows, pushing them back, striking deeper with every move. My hands covered his ass, feeling his muscles move as he worked me; I felt my back arch and my muscles tense. He felt it too, and brought a hand between us, pressing on my swollen clit, and I came, screaming his name, as my orgasm crashed through my body. When my head cleared, he was still pumping into me. I leaned forward and put my mouth on his nipple, wetting it with my tongue and scraping it with my teeth. He cried a long drawn out out, “Yessssssss,” as he found his release.

We were a sweaty mess when he rolled us over, and I snuggled into his shoulder while we caught our breath.

“Give me a minute,” he whispered, kissing my hair.

“What?”

“You told me you wanted me to make you scream, and then do it again.”

“That I did.” I laughed, and climbed over so I was straddling his waist. I leaned forward, kissing his chest and collarbone. He had a beautiful chest.

“Sookie, what are you doing?”

“Mm. Using my time wisely.”

“Fuck,” he muttered. “You are very wise, Mrs. Northman.”

He was true to his word, making me scream repeatedly over the long weekend. The trip was a blur of sex and sun with a little food and sleep mixed in. Before I knew it, we were finishing with another round of shower sex before we needed to catch our shuttle to the airport. I had to admit, I had needed this time with him more than I thought. As we waited for our flight, I realized that I was more in love with him than ever, and that I was the luckiest women on the planet to have Eric as my husband and the father of my children.

~.~.~.~

Two months. I had missed my period for two months. I came out of the bathroom stall at work, still shocked at my own stupidity. I washed my hands and headed out of the bathroom, then down to my car with a wave at the receptionist. After closing the door, I hit speed dial and slumped back into the seat, waiting for the call to connect.

“Hey Sookie! How are you?”

“You forgot.”

“What the hell?”

“You. Forgot. Whenever anyone we know is on antibiotics you remind them that they cancel out your birth control for the entire month, but you forgot this time.”

Amelia laughed so loud I had to pull the phone away from my ear for a second. “Hang on, I think I pissed myself.” She breathed into the phone for a second. “Are you blaming me for you getting knocked up? I think maybe Eric is more responsible for that than I am.”

I giggled. “Yeah, Eric is definitely to blame.”

“Are you okay? You were talking about trying again soon.”

“I know, but I wanted to actually try! Now we don’t need to. And, shit, I really didn’t want three kids in diapers.”

“Well, then get working on potty training. You’ve got what, seven months?”

“Thanks. I hadn’t thought of that,” I snarked.

“Ha ha. Love ya babe. I can’t wait til you tell Eric. He’s going to be so excited!”

I groaned. “I know. He wants a house full of kids. I told him we’d try for a boy and that we’d talk if it wasn’t.”

“Well. Good luck with that.” She snorted. “I have to go, Tray just got home from the lunch rush and he’s getting naked.”

“Oh, god, you didn’t need to tell me that. Later.”

“Later. Congrats!”

I exhaled. Eric was going to be thrilled. I was thrilled too really, but I was surprised, and I didn’t really like surprises. I finished my home visits in the afternoon and drove home. Arlene was there with her kids, and everyone glued to the television.

Arlene and I weren’t particularly close anymore, but she liked to bring the kids over a couple of times a month, and she would relieve whichever DGD granny was at the house and watch the girls until I got home. We chatted briefly and then she loaded up her car with her kids, calling out goodbyes to the girls as she left. Humming to myself, I threw the ingredients together like it was second nature.

Eric came home after doing paperwork at the bar, and the girls rushed him, each clinging to a leg. He looked around and smiled. “Stackhouse chicken? What’s the occasion, lover?”

“Nothing special. I just felt like making it.”

“It’s a good surprise.” He squatted down and hugged the girls. “What did you do this afternoon?”

“They played with Lisa and Coby,” I answered as they talked at once, and he looked at me for translation.

“Ooh, fun!” He picked them up, one under each arm, and carried them to the living room while I finished getting dinner ready.

We spent a typical night watching Dora video’s and playing horsey with Eric as their prize stallion, then gave the girls baths and read stories before bed. We were at a point now that we could get them both to bed at the same time, but it was pretty likely that they would stay up, snuggled in one of their small beds playing until they fell asleep.

I went into the bathroom and got ready for bed while Eric checked his emails one last time for the night. I finished up and returned to our room, stretching out on the bed like it was an ordinary night, and waited for him to see what I had left on the counter in the bathroom.

He walked through our room and into the bathroom, leaving the door open as he began his routine. I heard him going to the bathroom and flush toilet. I knew his moves by heart and held my breath because I knew he was standing at the counter getting ready to brush his teeth.

His frame filled the doorway and he stood there, back lit by the light in the bathroom, holding the home pregnancy test stick in his hand. It was the expensive one, with “pregnant” reading in the window. I figured if the ones with the lines were tricky for me, he would be totally confused since he’d never seen one before.

He stood there, looking at me, then the stick in his hand, and then back at me. “Sookie?”

“What did you find?”

“You tell me.”

“Come over here. I can’t see it.”

He laughed, but came over to sit on the bed by me.

“Wow. That looks like a home pregnancy test. Look at that! Someone’s pregnant!”

He swallowed hard, still holding the test in his hand. “How? Fuck. I mean. Wow.”

I would have been nervous about his reaction, but he was grinning like a fool. “Antibiotics and birth control don’t mix, especially not with a whole lot of sex in Mexico.” I grinned. “Surprise!”

“Oh, bird. This is great!” He pulled me into his arms and kissed me slowly, showing me how excited he was to have another baby.

“You’re just excited because my boobs are going to get huge again,” I managed to say between kisses.

He laughed, pulling me into a tight hug. “I’m not going to lie, that does make me all kinds of excited.”

~.~.~.~

I felt like everything was happening much faster this time; my pelvis was shifting and constantly ached, my breasts were growing at an alarming rate, and I began to show right away, but for the most part it was textbook. And since I had very little morning sickness this time, it seemed almost easy.

Everyone speculated about whether or not we would have a boy this time. Some thought that the lack of morning sickness meant it could be a boy, others said that because of how I was carrying my pregnancy bump, it had to be a girl.

Dr. Ludwig laughed, “You know what all of that means? Absolutely nothing. You’re having a baby and we won’t know anything more until your ultrasound, and that’s only if the baby decides to show us their privates.”

The girls were at Pam’s when we went for the ultrasound appointment. I drank the required water on the way to the office, and Eric and I sat in the lobby waiting for our name to be called. He was nervous, bouncing his leg and massaging my shoulder.

“You’re doing it again.”

“What?” He looked at me innocently.

“You’re being a spaz. You need to relax. I think I’m going to have to get you some Valium for the delivery room this time.”

“I’m not nervous.” He laughed. “I’m excited. I can’t wait to find out. I’m pretty sure it’s a boy this time.”

“Oh really? Why do you say that?”

“Just a feeling, and really, god couldn’t be that cruel, could he?”

A nurse called our name, and I stood to take his hand. “Let’s go find out big guy.”

We followed her to an exam room, and she told me to sit on the bed and the tech would be in shortly. We waited a few minutes, and a petite woman that reminded me of Amelia came in to join us.

“Hi! You must be the Northman’s. I’m Jen. So, you’ve done this before, but from what I understand last time we were checking out two babies. Just one this time, right?”

“As far as we know,” I answered.

“Cool. Let’s take a look. I need to take a bunch of measurements, and then we’ll get to the fun part. Sound good?”

“Great.” I smiled and lied back on the table, sliding my pants and underwear down on my hips while I lifted my shirt.

She put a towel over my hips to protect my pants and held up the gel bottle that helped conduct the images that the wand would project onto the screen. “We warm this up, but it’s still a shock. Ready?”

I nodded, and she squirted the liquid onto my belly. She worked for a bit, poking me and moving the wand around on my belly. She paused to let us look at the images now and then and let us listen to the heart beat. She worked for a while with one hand on the computer and the other on the ultrasound wand, recording each measurement three times to get an average, saying that everything looked good. Then she sat back, smiling, and raised her eyebrows at us. “Do you want to know?”

“Yes,” Eric answered quickly, and I laughed.

“Okay.” She shifted the wand lower on my stomach so we could see a clear view of the babies’ abdomen. “Baby is really cooperating, this is a great view. See the pelvis right here?” She traced a finger over the lines on the screen. We agreed, and she continued. “Now see this?”

I squinted. I knew what I thought it looked like, but I wasn’t saying a word in case I was wrong. I glanced at Eric, he was leaning forward over my body, staring at the screen, then his eyes came to mine, questioning. I knew he was having the same thoughts that I was. We both looked at Jen, waiting for confirmation.

She grinned. “Did you pick out boy names? You’re going to need one.”

Eric’s smile stretched across his gorgeous face. “We have a couple in mind.”

“But we won’t decide until we meet him.” I finished.

“That’s cool. Let me print you a couple of pictures, and you’re all set.” She made a few keystrokes on the computer, and the printer began to work. She tore off the strip of paper when it finished and handed it to Eric with a smile. “Congratulations. Take your time getting cleaned up and be sure to stop at the desk on your way out.”

I wiped the liquid that had grown cold off my stomach, then pulled my pants up and my shirt down. I sat on the end of the bed grinning at Eric. “A boy, huh?”

He nodded. “Come here.” He reached a hand towards me, and I took it, stepping over to him and climbing into his lap. His hands made their way into my hair, and he kissed me softly, then wrapped his arms around my back, holding me tight against his chest.

“What?” I whispered and sat back to look at him.

He ran a hand over his face and shook his head. “I’m just trying to figure out what I did to deserve you and our family.” He paused, and continued quietly. “I know you think it’s all in the past, but thank you, for having the faith in me to take me back, for letting me love you, for everything.”

“Oh, Eric. You saved me and put me back together; I was lost without you.”

“I love you, Sookie, more than I ever thought possible.”

“I know,” I said, tearing up. “I love you, too. To the moon and back,” I said, quoting the girls’ favorite book, Guess How Much I Love You. “Now take me home so I can get out of this bra.”

“Oh, I’ll get you out of that bra.” He waggled his eyebrows.

I stood and went to the door. “Just get me into some Dairy Queen on the way home, okay?”

“Anything for my son.”

“Oh god, you’re going to keep saying that aren’t you?”

“I like the sound of it.”

“I love you, Northman. You big goofball.”

He winked and held the door open for me. “I love you too, Northman.”

We checked out at the desk and climbed into the car. I sighed and leaned my head back on the seat rest. When I went home to Bon Temps for Gran’s funeral, I could have never have imagined the changes in my life over the last few years. I was blissfully happy after practically giving up hope on even finding relative happiness. Eric and I had overcome our heartbreak stronger than we’d ever been before, and he’d given me the most amazing children with yet another on the way. Our fingers were joined on the center console, and his thumb made circles on the back of my hand.

The motion of the car must have lulled me to sleep, because I woke up to Eric leaning over me to unhook my seat-belt and carrying me into the house.

“Hey, I wanted ice cream.” I managed to mumble as I snuggled into his arms.

“I’ll bring you some when I get the girls.”

He put me on the bed, pulling off my shoes and unhooking my bra, then slid the straps off my arms and pulled it out from under my shirt. He stretched out on the bed, pushing me onto my side and spooning himself behind me. I sighed, content in his arms, wondering if it was really possible that all of my dreams had come true.

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