Leap of Faith
Chapter 9: Inheritance
Sookie’s eyes went wide at Amelia’s words, and I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. We scrambled for our clothes and dashed towards the house.
Amelia was standing by my car holding my keys and my phone. “She’s with her friend Felicia at the hospital in Monroe. They were out shopping for the baby’s room, and she started having some real strong contractions.”
I had been in such a rush to get back to the house, but I froze at the word contractions. Pam wasn’t due for another two months, and Andre wouldn’t be home until Wednesday. Nothing in my life had prepared me for the fear I felt for my sister. I’ve been to war, I’ve watched people die, hell, shit blowing up all over the place hardly phases me, but this, this scared the shit out of me.
Sookie pulled my face towards her and kissed me lightly. “Go,” she said. “I’ll get cleaned up and lock the house; we’ll be right behind you.”
Taking her in, I couldn’t help but smile. Her hair looked like a birds nest and her clothes were wrinkled. I gave her a quick kiss in return and was off.
I made it to the hospital in record time. Checking the Emergency Room first, I found Felicia there in a waiting room. “Fee, is she okay? What’s going on?”
“Shit. I don’t know. They took her back and told me to wait out here. She didn’t argue with them and that scared the shit out of me. Pam, quiet? That’s just not right.”
Patting her knee, I tried to reassure her. “Let me see if they can tell me anything,” I said, going to the registration desk.
The nurse was polite, saying that I could go back to the exam room with Pam since I was her immediate family. I let Felicia know that I’d give her an update as soon as I could; I also told her that Sookie and Amelia were on their way before joining Pam.
She was lying on her side, hugging a pillow, and watching television when I went into her room.
“Are you okay?” I asked, pulling a chair up beside the bed.
She nodded and sniffled. Biting her lip, she looked at me. “They gave me some drugs to stop the contractions. The doctor said not to panic, since the drug seems to be working, we should be alright. I’ll just have to take it easy from now on.”
“Do they want you to stay?”
“No, the doctor said they want to keep an eye on me for a few hours but if I’m okay, that’s it. Then I’ll go to my regular doctor in the morning.”
“That’s good. Did you call Andre?”
“Yeah. I called him again after I talked to the doctor. He’s going to finish up come and home tomorrow. Can you take me to my appointment? And maybe, not go out tonight? I kind of don’t want to be alone.”
“Of course. I’ll buy you pickles and ice cream or whatever you need.”
“Thanks E. I’m glad you’re here,” she said using her nickname for me from childhood. She called me E and I called her P. I think she started it because we called Octavia Aunt O.
“Me too, P.,” I said smiling. “I’m going to tell Felicia you’re okay. You want me to sneak her back here?”
“No, I don’t really want to see anyone right now. I kind of just want to go to sleep for a while.”
I leaned in, kissing her forehead and she wrinkled her nose at me, it was a good sign. Walking into the waiting area, I saw Sookie and Amelia sitting with Felicia. They all stood when I got closer, talking at once.
“She’s okay girls. They gave her something to stop the contractions, and Andre will be home tomorrow.”
They were all relieved and started planning how they could help Pam out in the next two months. I thanked Felicia again for getting Pam to the hospital and waiting for me. She gave me a big hug and headed home.
“Amelia, do you mind if I talked to Sookie for a moment?”
“No, not at all. I’m glad Pam’s okay. I’ll wait in the car.” she said.
“I’ll be right out,” Sookie told her.
I pulled Sookie into my arms and kissed the top of her head. I’d done that a lot in the last few days. I think it was more because I loved the smell of her than anything else, but she just fit so perfectly in my arms that I couldn’t resist.
“I’m sorry I had to run out on you.”
“Eric, don’t worry about it,” she said, hugging me tight.
Stepping back, but keeping my arms around her, I smiled. “Pam doesn’t want to be alone tonight, and to be honest, I don’t want her to be alone either. I think I’m going to be tied up until Andre get’s back.”
“It’s okay. The cousins will be around and Amelia is leaving in the morning. This will give us a chance to hang out. And Amelia won’t have to worry about shielding her eyes,” she said with a wink.
“Ha! I doubt she’s scarred for life!” I joked. Hugging her again, I said, “I love you. I’ll call you later.”
She stood on her tip toes and kissed me just below my ear. “I love you too, and it feels really good to be able to say that again.”
I stood there, smiling like an idiot, watching her cute little ass walk out to the parking lot. I wondered for a second if she’d put on any underwear, since the destroyed black thong was in my pocket.
Eventually I drove Pam home, listening to another round of complaints about my “low rider” Corvette. I promised to drive the minivan to her appointment in the morning, even though it turned my stomach to think about it. Owning a minivan was on my “never in my lifetime” list.
We ordered pizza and watched a movie. Pam popped antacids all night, but said the pizza was worth it. I called Sookie, and she told me they were playing board games and raiding Gran’s liquor cabinet.
I wasn’t really tired, so I changed into some gym shorts and went downstairs to put in a few miles on Pam’s treadmill. I ran hard, pushing myself to feel the burn in my legs. When I finished I was pumped up, so I dusted off my old free weights and did a few reps and some crunches before turning in. I needed to get to the gym in Monroe for a better workout.
Pam and I repeated our coffee conversation in the morning as she sipped her apple juice. She had apparently guzzled her only allowed caffeine as soon as she got up and pined for it the rest of the day like a junkie. I did not envy pregnant women at all after listening to Pam’s list of complaints.
Waiting in the lobby while Pam saw her doctor, I felt totally out of place surrounded by pregnant women of all sizes. I had to admit though, I thought about what it would be like to visit an obstetrician like this with Sookie as I watched a couple filling out some paperwork. At that moment, I thanked every kind of God I could think of for giving me another chance with her.
The rest of the day was spent driving Pam around. We went to lunch, twice, because she couldn’t eat very much at one sitting, and to various stores, where I would run in to get “just a couple more things” while my sister waited in the air conditioned minivan. By the time we got home I was mentally exhausted and Pam was dead on her feet. Andre was due home in a few hours, so Pam went to take a nap. I made pasta for dinner along with pistachio instant pudding, because my sister said she’d cut off my balls if I didn’t make it for her. Pregnant Pam was scary.
Andre got home as we finished dinner. He laughed when he saw the pudding on the counter, “Did she threaten your life or your manhood if you didn’t make it?”
“That’s how she usually suckers me into it too.” He thanked me for taking care of Pam and driving her “all over Hell.” Clearly today’s excursion was a regular route for her.
We cleaned up the kitchen and I chatted with Andre, talking about some of the newest weapons and gear that my Recon team had been using and where I thought I’d be going next. My cue to leave came when my brother-in-law started massaging Pam’s feet. She sighed, stretching out on the couch, and I knew they wouldn’t mind if I made myself scarce. Excusing myself, I grabbed my keys and headed for Hummingbird Lane.
When I got to the house, Sookie and Claude were watching Buffy on DVD. They told me Claudine was upstairs reading, or casting spells, I thought, witch. Amelia had left in the morning. I sat next to Sookie and settled in to join them, appreciating any opportunity to spend with her.
The episode finished and Sookie stood, reaching for my hand, saying goodnight to Claude. She led me to her room and closed the door behind us.
“Hi,” she said, putting her arms around me.
“Hi,” I said back. “Did you have a good day?”
“Yeah. I went through some more of Gran’s stuff. I called my boss.”
“What’d he say?”
“He said not to worry about anything. I told him I’d call him later this week, after the will is read. I’m just thinking if we need to sell this house it won’t be ready in two weeks.”
“That’s probably true,” I said, caressing her back.
“I had a talk with Claudine too.”
“Really? How’d that go?”
“Alright. I told her to keep her shit to herself, for now at least. I just can’t take it.”
“Why are you sorry?” she asked sincerely.
“I don’t know. I’m the one she doesn’t like.”
Putting her hand on my cheek, she kissed me sweetly. “Well, I like you, so I don’t really care.”
Taking my hand again, she led me to the bed. Christ, I was hard just watching her get on the bed. Rolling to her side, she smiled and patted the mattress inviting me to join her. I didn’t really need the invitation, but it was a nice thought. Lying down, I put one hand on her hip and returned her smile. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking and I didn’t want to just ravage her if she wanted to talk or something.
“So,” she said, “What are we going to do for the next week or so?”
Stay right here fucking ourselves stupid and maybe forage for food in the kitchen when we have to? Probably not the answer she was looking for. Instead I heard myself say, “I can think of a few things.”
“Yes, so can I, but we’re not doing that the entire time.”
“If you insist,” I joked.
Reaching out, I moved some hair off her face and kissed her, taking my time and being careful not to pull her against the length of my body. I just needed to kiss her, and then I could go back to talking, maybe. Pulling away, I opened my eyes to see Sookie lying there, eyes closed, mouth open, chest heaving. Beautiful. Blinking, she opened her eyes and smirked at me.
“Did you just say ‘naughty’? Because that is just hot,” I said, shaking my head and leaning over to nibble along her neck. Damn. So much for going back to talking.
She giggled and pushed on my chest. “Stop. We have years to catch up on.”
“We have years ahead of us, but right now we have less than two weeks together,” I said trying to put my hand up her shirt.
“Yeah, and I’d like to spend that two weeks with Eric Northman, not just his dick.” she said, slapping at my hand and laughing. “Do you think I’m easy or something?”
“No, I think you’re hot as hell, stop slapping my hand so I can feel you up.”
Grabbing my hand in both of hers, she held it between us, while her eyes sparkled at me. “I’m not saying we can’t fool around later, but let’s lead up to it with a little conversation. Okay?”
“Fine. Twenty questions each and then we pause and make out,” I negotiated.
Smiling, she shook her head at me, and said, “Deal. I go first.”
She certainly knew how to play the game. Since we hadn’t established ground rules, she used open-ended questions that required me to tell stories instead of giving simple “yes”/”no” answers. When it was my turn, I used the same tactic to elicit longer answers from her. We talked and laughed, telling each other about our lives and all that we had missed over the past seven years.
“What the Hell number am I on?” I asked much later.
“I’m not counting for you. I have one more question.”
Perfect. “Well, then I concede. Ask your question and we’re done-with the talking.”
Then she completely surprised me, which I should have expected with Sookie, asking me about the future.
“How will we keep in touch while you’re gone?”
I sat up, propping my head on my hand, never taking my eyes off of hers. “Mostly by email. Phone calls when I can. And we can use the regular mail.”
Leaning forward, so my lips just grazed her neck, I said, “I’ll call you as often as I can. Hearing your voice will be such a gift.”
“Yes,” I said, rolling her to her back, moving to kiss the other side of her neck.
“Go lock the door and cut off the lights.”
Laughing, I did as she asked. The room was dimly lit by a yard light shining through her window. Turning from the door, I pulled my shirt over my head and went back to the bed. She was lying on the bed in her bra and panties; boy shorts this time. I kicked off my shoes and jeans, laying my clothes on the chair and climbed up next to her. Skimming my hand along her side, she shuddered and closed her eyes for a second.
“I love the way you react when all I do is touch you,” I said, my voice low with desire. She did crazy things to my libido; I had been walking around semi-hard since yesterday.
“I think I need you to touch me here,” she said, putting a finger to her lips.
Raising my eyebrows, I leaned in to kiss her and the little vixen bit my lip.
“Fuck,” I muttered, pulling her against me.
Conversation stopped with that kiss. Hands were everywhere, hips rocking, and tongues tangling. I’d like to say that I took my time and showed Sookie how much I loved her, but it wasn’t like that. It was hot and hard, passionate and fucking amazing. Afterwards, we lay together panting, in a messy heap.
Sookie was slumped across me, her breath tickling my chest. “You’re staying the night, aren’t you?”
“If you’re not kicking me out.”
“I’m lying on top of you to prevent you from leaving. I’m not kicking you out.”
“You said the same thing after the funeral. You don’t have to sit on me to keep me here, you know. There isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be.”
“Okay,” she murmured, but she was already half asleep.
I woke in the morning to Eric kissing my forehead. He was dressed and crouching beside the bed. “I started the coffee. I’m going for a run down on the bayou road, and then I should be around Aunt O’s. Call me when you get done with the lawyer.”
“Mmm hmm.” Bless him for starting the coffee maker. Caffeine was required before I could actually communicate and Eric knew that very well. He kissed the top of my head and was gone. I flipped onto my back with a sigh and mapped out the day. Coffee, shower, will, Eric. That sounded like a good day.
The cousins and I took turns in the only shower and got ready to drive to Monroe to meet with Gran’s attorney. Jason was meeting us there and then driving me back so the cousins could get on the road to head home. Claude loaded their luggage in the car and we were on our way.
The lawyer ushered us into a small conference room. While we waited for Jason, Claude explained to Gran’s lawyer, Mr. Cataliades that their parents were on safari in Africa and wouldn’t be in attendance. He nodded, explaining that he would notify them by certified mail regarding anything that was left to them. Jason arrived, flustered, complaining about traffic and we began.
Mr. Cataliades read through the formalities of the will, including the “I, Adele Stackhouse, being of sound mind and body…” part, and then began reading through the items that Gran was giving to each of us. He started with my aunt, Claude and Claudine’s mom, giving her some old cameras and other things that had belonged to my grand dad. They both really enjoyed photography; I thought that my aunt would be happy about that. Claude was given Gran’s engagement ring, and Jason got our mom’s. The cousins were each given some of Gran’s Civil War antiques, while Claudine and I were given some favorite pieces of Gran’s jewelry. There was a hefty donation to the Descendents of the Glorious Dead and a smaller gift to the library.
The lawyer paused, and then explained that Gran was very clear about the next part of the will. She felt that because the cousins already owned their own condos, gifts from their parents; the homes she owned should go to Jason and me. Claudine rolled her eyes but Claude nodded in agreement. Jason was given our parents house, which he’d been living in for years anyway, and I was awarded Gran’s farmhouse.
Jason looked at me, slightly confused, “We don’t have to sell them?”
I was flabbergasted. My confusion mirrored my brother’s. “No Jase. She gave them to us.”
“Sookie, you live in Atlanta.”
“I know,” I said, trying to figure out what this meant for me. I could come home. There was a house for me to live in, and the possibility of Eric eventually joining me. I couldn’t quite put my head around it.
“One last thing,” Mr. Cataliades said. Opening a manila folder, he distributed four letters, each one labeled with our respective names in Gran’s shaky handwriting. “I’ll let ya’ll read those if you’d like and have a quiet word. I’ll be in touch with the details to transfer the properties. You can leave when you’re ready.”
“Well, let’s open ’em,” Jason said. So we did, anticipating reading our last messages from Gran together.
Pulling the note paper out of the envelope, my paper was covered, front and back with Gran’s script. I glanced around; none of the other letters had writing on the back of them. I wondered why my letter was so much longer, but the others were chuckling, so I began to read mine. Almost immediately, I knew there was nothing funny about it.
If you are reading this, then I have passed on to meet our Lord. Raising you and your brother was a blessing that kept me young. But you grew up in very different times than I did, and in recent years, I have come to regret some decisions I made that I thought were in your best interests. I owe you apologies and explanations. I know that the good Lord will forgive me; I can only hope that you will do the same in time.
You can probably guess that this has to do with your break up with Eric. Sookie, in the first weeks that he was gone Octavia and I had to make some hard choices. Now don’t go blaming her. She’s not around to defend herself anymore; this is between you and me. Octavia told me how upset Eric was at leaving you; she worried that he wouldn’t be able to keep away from you if he knew how upset you were. I worried that because he would only be able to call and write once in a while, that you would never be able to get over him and move on with your life. It breaks my heart to tell you, but we decided then that we wouldn’t let you talk to each other until Eric was at least done with his Basic training. I know now that we were wrong. You have not grown into the woman that I know you can be, because I took away any opportunity you had for a second chance with him. You’ve never really gotten over Eric, and I blame myself.
Sweet child, you need to know some things about your young man. He did not leave you without a second thought. He was as destroyed as you were, but he channeled his energy into his career in the military while you fell apart. I don’t think that means he’s any stronger than you, but he had an outlet for all of his feelings, while yours just tore you apart. Beyond that, he called the house to check on you several times and he wrote you letters. I didn’t read any of them; they’re tucked away in my closet for you. I know now that I should have told you all of these things years ago.
Octavia and I talked several times about trying to get the two of you together to tell you what we had done, but then she got sick and time got away from us. Octavia died and you dated that man in Atlanta and I thought maybe I had been wrong. But then Tara told me what happened when he proposed, and my heart broke for you. I was afraid to tell you Sookie. I was afraid of losing yo,u and I was afraid it was too late for you and Eric. It’s no excuse, it’s just what happened.
I have no idea if this letter will find you in a place in your life where this information will help you or hurt you – and that is just one more thing that I hope you can forgive. If you can child, I ask that you find it in you to excuse my mistakes; they were committed out of love.
I will always be watching over you, and I’ll be listening if you ever need me. I know that you can find happiness.
I folded the pages and slid them back in the envelope, setting it on the table, running my fingertip across my name. It was heartbreaking that Gran carried this guilt with her, because it had all been avoidable. I was touched that she left me this note and told me where to find the letters that Eric had sent me; but I was still angry at her. It was going to take some time before I could forgive her, but I knew I eventually would. Wiping away a tear, I looked up to see three sets of eyes intently watching me.
“Sorry. I just miss her,” I said, the contents of my letter was none of their business.
We walked to the parking lot, murmuring goodbyes and saying we’d keep in touch. Getting into our respective cars, we waved and headed in opposite directions down the highway. I leaned my head back on the seat and let out a long breath.
“Are you okay Sookie?” Jason asked.
“Yeah,” I said, nodding my head. “I need you to take me over to Pam and Eric’s though.”
“Alright. What are you gonna do about the house Sook?”
I turned to look at him, still trying to believe that I owned a house in Bon Temps. “I think I’m going to figure out how to move home.”