Chapter Five: My Mom and Dad
“Daddy, will you show me to fly?” Lukas came to where Eric lay on the living room floor with Sookie. They had been crawling and scrambling across the carpet all morning after breakfast, entertaining the exuberant toddler, and it seemed their games were not yet over. Grinning, the vampire took the boy’s wrists, put his feet against his belly, and leg-pressed him into the air. Lukas giggled and spread his arms out wide. “I’m flyin’, Daddy! Just like you!”
“Yes, and you have very good form!” Eric laughed, bending his knees slightly, and making ‘whoosh’ noises. “Does this flight come with a meal?” he asked, knowing it was close to the time Lukas ate his lunch. “Oh, Stewardess!” he called his wife, making Sookie giggle and come bustling over on her knees. “What are our meal choices?” Lukas giggled at his parents’ game, especially when his daddy simulated turbulence.
“Today’s flight has mac’n’cheese or hot dogs!” Sookie told her son, pretending to hold a pad of paper and pen for his order.
“Mac’n’cheese WITH hotdobs!” Lukas shouted excitedly.
“With hotdogs! Oh, you’re a hungry airplane!” Sookie kissed at his cheek, making Lukas squeal and then pucker his lips to give her his own baby kisses. “I love workin’ for this airline. Lukas kisses are the best!” Lukas beamed at his beautiful mommy and gave her another kiss.
Sometimes Lukas remembered another mommy. Other mommy looked a lot like his real mommy, but she was always asleep and never smiled. Real mommy smiled lots and lots, and she never slept. Real mommy was always there when he woke up. Real mommy gave him kisses and never ignored him.
“Fly safe ’til mommy gets back with lunch, Little Airplane,” Sookie rose to her feet, feeling her eyes sprig with tears from Lukas’ thoughts. After she stood where her son balanced on Eric’s feet, she kissed Lukas’ head. “Blue bowl or green bowl?”
“Blue ball!” Lukas chimed.
“Now you’re just bein’ a smarty pants,” Sookie stuck her tongue out at the little boy. Lukas laughed as his mommy went to the kitchen to make him lunch.
“~You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please, don’t take my sunshine away. ~”
The song murmured sweetly, over and over, while a warm hand smoothed fine, wheat curls.
“Do I have to go back to school, Mommy?” Lukas whispered into Sookie’s breast. His classmates made fun of Mommy and Daddy. They called mommy a ‘Fanger’. They called daddy things like ‘tick’ and ‘flea’.
“Yeah, baby, you do,” Sookie told him softly, despite her own despair at what her son’s classmates had been hearing from their parents. There was no way a kindergartener should know any of those words in association with her and Eric without an adult having put them there.
“I hate all of them!” Lukas told her angrily.
“Why, baby?” Sookie asked patiently.
“The kids are all mean!”
“Are they mean here,” she pointed to his head, “or here?” she pointed to his heart.
“Here,” Lukas pointed at his head.
“You can’t be angry for the things people think, Lukas,” she told him softly. “You have to give people a chance to do and say what’s right. Mommy thinks some pretty mean things sometimes, and you don’t hate me, do you?”
“But you don’t think mean things about me or daddy,” Lukas protested.
“That’s because you’re my precious men!” Sookie laughed.
“They don’t like us. I hate them,” Lukas asserted.
“Hate is a really strong word, Lukas,” Sookie told him. “You won’t like everyone you meet, but that’s not a reason to hate. Let’s not use that word, okay?”
“What about when you make me eat cauliflower? Can I say I hate that?” Lukas asked.
“I don’t like cauliflower either. We can hate that one together,” Sookie teased.
“Does that mean you won’t make me eat it anymore?” Lukas asked with hope.
“No. Sometimes we have to do things we hate, Baby.”
Sookie sat with her face cupped in her hands in an uncomfortable, plastic chair. She listened with great intent to the conversation going on behind closed doors while her husband sat broodingly beside her.
“Does Eric ever bite your mother, Lukas?” the CPS agent, Marcus Tennen, asked calmly, his hand poised with a pen over a legal pad.
Lukas shook his head slowly, confused by the question, “No. Daddy kisses Mommy lots and lots, but I never seen him bite her….”
“Has he ever hit your mommy?” the agent continued.
“He spanked her bottom once,” Lukas replied thoughtfully, “but she laughed and gave him a kiss.”
Tennen nodded and continued to write on his evaluation, “Has he ever hit you?”
Lukas shook his head again, growing upset at the questions. ‘Why would Daddy ever hit Mommy or me?’ he wondered angrily. “No,” his little voice was sharp.
“Does he yell at you or Mommy?”
“No,” Lukas frowned harder. “I don’t like these questions. Mommy said you’d just ask about how Daddy treats us!”
“I am, Lukas,” Tennen assured him gently.
“No, you’re not!” Lukas protested. “You’re saying my Daddy’s a bad daddy! You think he’s mean because he has sharp teeth!”
“Has he shown you his teeth, Lukas?”
“Yeah,” Lukas nodded.
“When I asked to see them!”
“Why did you want to see them?”
Lukas let out a huff, “Because a teacher called Mommy a ‘Fanger’, and I wanted to know why.”
The agent paused in his notes and looked at Lukas for the first time in several minutes, “And what did your parents tell you when you asked what that meant?”
Lukas’ anger subsided as he was filled with sadness, “Mommy got sad. She pulled me in her lap and told me that ‘Fanger’ was a rude word for people who loved vampires. She said that people who don’t understand others use mean words to hurt those people’s feelings.”
Tennen smiled sympathetically at the boy’s words, “When did your teacher say that mean word?” he asked gently.
“Last week,” Lukas whispered. “It hurt my feelings, too. I love my Daddy, and that means I’m a ‘Fanger’.”
The agent chuckled, “No, Lukas, you and your Mommy aren’t ‘Fangers’. You are a family. I’m so sorry I had to bring you and your parents down here. I can see that your Mommy and Daddy love each other and you very, very much.”
“Why did we have to come down here?” Lukas asked quietly.
Sighing, the CPS official stepped from behind his desk and came to sit next to the boy, “Did you know you are very special, Lukas?”
Lukas grinned and nodded, “Yeah! Mommy and Daddy tell me that all the time!”
“Well, you’re special to more than just them. You’re the first little boy to ever have a vampire for a daddy! Unfortunately, your mommy was right, and some people find that scary. Someone was worried about you, and they called us to make sure you were all right,” he explained. “Now, I know, and you know, that your mommy and daddy are great parents, but I’m going to be dropping by your house a few times to check on you, okay?”
Lukas’ grin faded, and he turned thoughtful a moment, “I guess you have to? It’s part of your job?”
The agent looked at the boy in surprise, “Yes, yes, it is.”
The boy shrugged, “I guess it’s okay, then. Mommy and Daddy always say doing your job the way it’s s’pose to be done is very important.”
“They’re very right,” the man agreed.
“So, even though you gotta come to our house, you’re not going to take me from my Mommy and Daddy?” Lukas asked worriedly.
“What makes you ask that?”
Lukas bowed his head in shame, “Mommy was crying. She thought I was asleep, but I could hear. She kept asking Daddy what they were going to do if you took me away. She’s always been scared people will take me away… Can you tell her you won’t take me? I don’t want Mommy to cry anymore,” Lukas whispered as tears rolled down his cheeks.
The CPS agent felt his heart constrict. He had seen cases like these before, though not with a vampire under scrutiny, of course. Situations where nosey neighbors called in inaccurate reports that put parents through hell and embarrassment. After hearing that Lukas’ teacher had willfully referred to this boy’s mother as a ‘Fanger’, only made the ache in his chest that much more painful. It did not take a genius to figure who had called in the tip.
“Let’s go tell your mommy and daddy together that you’re staying with them, right where you belong,” the agent offered with a smile.
Lukas beamed up at him, eyes still shiny with tears while he took the man’s hand.
Sookie sat bolt upright when Lukas came barreling out of the office. He flung his arms wide to hug his mother after she fell to her knees to receive him. “Baby, oh, you’re cryin’!” she sobbed into his hair.
“He’s a nice man!” Lukas told her reassuringly. “He knows! He knows you’re the best Mommy and Daddy!” he crowed proudly.
“Mr. and Mrs. Northman,” Tennen extended his hand once Sookie rose with Lukas in her arms, “I am very sorry to have dragged you three down here.” Eric firmly shook the agent’s hand, but his jaw was set in a firm line. “I know that our ‘tip’,” he said the word with annoyance, “is complete garbage, but I have to do my follow-up interviews and a walk-through of your home. There will be three surprise inspections, but I know you don’t have anything to worry about. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”
“We understand,” Sookie whispered, wiping her dripping eyes against her son’s hair. “I’m sorry you have to waste your time on this.”
“That makes two of us,” Tennen blanched.
“Three,” Eric offered, making the agent smile sadly.
“You two keep up the good work with this kid. He’s smart and very sweet. He wanted me to assure you he’s not going to be taken away. He really doesn’t want you to cry anymore, Mrs. Northman,” Tennen offered kindly. “You don’t need to cry anymore. He’s safe with you.”
“Why aren’t there pictures of Ma bein’ pregnant with me?” Lukas asked his father softly. Eric missed hearing Lukas say ‘Mommy,’ but big-boy second graders did not say ‘Mommy.’ “She’s always takin’ pictures of Aunt Ang’s belly, but I’ve never seen a picture of Ma when she was pregnant with me…?”
Eric closed his laptop and looked at the young boy with a soft smile, “Your mother did not give birth to you.”
Lukas’ mouth trembled, “Does that mean you’re not my dad either?”
“I am very much your father, Lukas, and your mommy is still your mommy,” Eric told him patiently, the same gentle smile never leaving his lips. “We have raised, taught, and worried over you all your life. We love you very, very much. It does not matter who gave you life, it matters with whom you spent that life and whom you loved.”
Slinking toward his father, Lukas crawled into his lap, “Does that mean I can’t grow up to be the Gatekeeper like Ma?”
Eric snorted, “Did you wish to?”
“I had this dream,” Lukas told him. “There was a really big door, and a pretty girl with a giant key. She guards the door just like Ma guards the Gate. She’s really sad and alone, though. Not like Mamma at all. Doctor Ludwig keeps tellin’ me I’m gonna grow up to do something real important. I was hoping it would be the same job as Ma’s ’cause I don’t want the job with the big door. It looks real lonely.”
“Hold her gently, Lukas,” Sookie fretted while she handed her niece to her seated son. “That’s right, hold her head real gentle….”
Jason and Angela were beaming proudly in the hospital. After several grueling hours, they had their first child, a beautiful girl named Annabel. Thanks to Ludwig’s simple remedy for both of them to drink plenty of lemonade while trying to conceive, Jason’s fairy heritage had no fighting chance of inhibiting his daughter’s chance at a long, full life.
“She’s all tiny,” Lukas said in awe. “Was I this small?”
“Once upon a time,” Sookie smiled.
“Was I this small when you got me?” he asked, making Sookie’s smile falter. Eric had warned her that Lukas was officially aware that he was adopted, and neither his, nor Sookie’s biological child. Sookie had ached, knowing that more questions would come sooner or later.
Sookie took her niece from her son’s arms and gently handed Annabel back to her father. “Excuse us,” she whispered to Jason uncomfortably. Her brother gave her sympathetic smile as he took his daughter into his arms. Sookie took Lukas’ hand and lead him out to the hallway to continue their discussion privately. “Your daddy said you knew you were adopted.”
“He said I should ask you if I wanted to know more ’cause you could show me,” Lukas told her.
“What do you want to see?” Sookie asked quietly.
“My ma,” he replied, and Sookie felt her heart break. In her soul, she was Lukas’ mother, and to hear his doubt in that felt like a knife to her heart.
“I only have two memories of your mother, Lukas,” Sookie confessed. “One from when we were little girls together, and the other from when she gave you to your father and me.”
“I want to see them,” Lukas commanded.
“They are not nice memories, Lukas,” Sookie warned hesitantly. She feared Lukas would think she would only show him terrible things about his birth mother on purpose.
“I want to see!”
“All right, all right,” she hushed him gently before taking his hand and pulling Lukas into a sitting area. Tugging the growing boy into her lap, Sookie placed her hand on his temple and began stroking his hair while she recalled the aging memories.
“Wait! Wait for me, Hatty!” a young girl’s voice shouted to the bigger girl running ahead. Her golden hair was waving like a flag in the breeze as it weaved up the massive hill from the cemetery. “Wait, Hatty! The ghosts will get me!”
“You can’t catch me! You can’t catch me!” the bigger girl taunted as she sprinted up the hill. “The ghosts will get you!”
“I’m gonna tell!” the smaller girl cried. “You’re s’pose to be playing with me!”
“Mamma says I don’t have to play with you!” the bigger girl turned her head to stick her tongue out at her. “She says you’re loony and I shouldn’t play with loony people!”
“I’m not loony!” the small girl shouted while she made her tiny limbs work that much harder. She lunged at the bigger girl, but missed, and fell to the ground.
The bigger girl turned to point and laugh as the little girl rolled part of the way down the hill, “Ha-ha! See, you’re s’pose to be in the cemetery! You can hang out with the ghosts and be creepy together!”
“I’m scared of ghosts!” Sookie cried while she scrambled to her hands and knees.
“Ha-ha! You’re slow and crazy!” the big girl mocked her. When the small girl sat up on her knees and began to cry, the big girl started singing, “Crazy Sookie, Crazy Sookie! She’s gone kooky, she’s gone kooky!”
Little Sookie sat on her knees, crying while Hadley sang the song over and over.
“My mom was the bigger girl you were chasing?” Lukas asked sadly.
Sookie nodded slowly, “Yes, her mother said really mean things about me to her… Little children repeat what their parents say. Your mother thought it was okay to say hurtful things like that because her mother said them. She was just a little girl. She didn’t know any better,” she tried to defend Hadley, even though she still held a slight grudge over the incident.
“Is the other memory better?” Lukas asked, hope clear in his tone.
Sookie gave him a sad smile, “No, Baby, I’m sorry.”
“Show me?” he asked softly, but with much less insistence than before.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah,” Lukas leaned his head into his mommy’s chest while he watched her next memory.
A very unhappy and unhealthy-looking woman looked at Sookie who stood across the room.
“Hadley,” Sookie said coldly.
“Sookie,” Hadley responded, and a little head popped up.
“Eric,” Sookie gestured to the woman, “this is my cousin, Hadley. Your son?” She gestured to the baby boy.
Hadley’s lip twitched as if to keep from sneering, “Yeah.”
There was a long silence while the two women stared each other down, Hadley not knowing how to say what she needed, and Sookie forcing her to say it, to utter the condemning request.
“He’s,” she looked down at the little boy who looked on the verge of tears, “like you.”
“Yes,” Sookie agreed.
“And I thought…” Hadley trailed off, expecting Sookie to know what she wanted, but the younger woman was going to make her say it, “Since you overcame it, he’d be better off with you.”
“Overcame what?” Eric asked.
“Her mental illness!” Hadley spat.
“Her what?” Eric snarled, and Sookie placed a comforting hand in his.
“How long would it take you to make him normal, like you?” Hadley ignored the vampire.
“He will never be normal,” Sookie replied in a rather empty voice. “He will always be special. Who is his father?”
“I don’t know,” Hadley squirmed uneasily. “There were a few guys then. Didn’t know all their names. You know how it is.”
“No. She does not,” Eric snapped. “Are you telling me, that you wish for us to raise your bastard child for you because you do not know how to deal with his gift?”
“I can’t afford the same institutions that Sookie got,” Hadley replied shortly.
“Lucky him,” Eric chastised. “Although if he had needed medical attention, I am certain you could have afforded it had you not spent all of your money on drugs.” Hadley recoiled at Eric’s accurate accusation as if she had been slapped.
“The woman who gave birth to me thought I was crazy?” Lukas asked sadly.
“She knew you were like me, and when I was a child, a lot of people thought I was mentally ill,” Sookie explained patiently.
Lukas snuggled tighter against his mother, “I’m sorry I said things that hurt your feelings.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t have nicer memories of your birth mother,” Sookie confessed.
“Do you think she liked me at all?” Lukas asked quietly.
“Yeah, Baby. If she hadn’t, she would have left you somewhere to be raised by people who couldn’t understand what you are or what you need. Instead, she sought me out, and put you in the arms of people who would love you more than the world, and could guide and teach you the way you needed.”
Lukas smiled softly, “Thanks for being my mom.”
Sookie kissed the top of his head, her eyes pouring with tears, “Thanks for being my baby.”
“MAMA!” Lukas came barreling into his parents’ room hysterically, not even noticing either was naked, nor that his father had been atop his mother at the time.
“Lukas!” Sookie clutched the blanket to her chest as her son dove for her. “What’s wrong?” she asked while Eric slipped out of bed to pull his pants back on. Lukas had his face buried in Sookie’s shoulder and, no matter how she tried to soothe him, the boy would not stop crying.
“Come here, Lukas,” Eric peeled the boy off of his mother and gave him a small shake. “You are upsetting your mother crying like that. Is a bad dream really worth all that fuss?”
“But he’s gonna take me from mama!” Lukas wailed.
Eric smiled, “No one is going to take you from your mother. I would not let them.”
“He said if I didn’t go with him, you’d both die!” he insisted.
“It was only a nightmare, Lukas,” Eric assured him. “Now, it is time to go back to bed. You have school in the morning.”
Flinging the boy over his shoulder, Eric carried Lukas back to his own bed and tucked him back in, “Could you stay with me, Dad?”
Eric had to resist a groan. He really wanted to get back inside of his wife, but he could feel in the Bond that she was no longer in the mood. “Yes, I will stay until you fall back asleep,” Eric promised with a soft smile.
“Ew! Your mom and dad are kissing in the kitchen!” Lukas’ friend Josh made a face when he came back to the bedroom with a soda. Josh was his only friend whose parents allowed him to come to his house. They had been best friends since fifth grade, and Lukas liked how Josh and his parents never used rude words for his parents, even in their heads. They were good people.
“So?” Lukas frowned.
“That’s gross!” Josh insisted.
Lukas laughed and shook his head, “They’re always kissing!” When Josh made another disgusted face, the boy could only shrug.
“You don’t think it’s sick?” Josh wheedled.
“No, Dad says it’s a good thing they kiss all the time. He said it means that they’re in love and happy to be with each other,” Lukas explained.
“My parents never kiss,” Josh frowned while he thought about this.
“Maybe you just never catch them,” Lukas pointed out reassuringly. “My mom says a lot of people don’t like others to see them kissing because they think it’s rude.”
Josh laughed, “Well, then your parents are really rude! Your dad practically had your mom leaned backward over the counter.”
“I don’t mind,” Lukas told him. “I like knowing my parents are in love.”
“I don’t wanna know about mine!” Josh made a playful face of revulsion and Lukas laughed.
“Ma, are you hurt?” Lukas panicked when his mother strolled in the front door, covered in blood.
“No,” Sookie replied while she walked toward her bedroom to hop in the shower. “There was a scuffle at the Gate, but I’m not hurt at all,” she assured.
“There’s so much blood!”
“I know, Baby, but I need to clean up before your daddy gets home. I promise to tell you what happened after I wash up,” Sookie told him while she closed the bedroom door and went about bathing.
She was just stepping out of the shower when Eric came into the bathroom, his eyes large and dilated. Sookie grimaced at the expression on his face, realizing that she had been so saturated with fairy blood that the scent had clung to the air, despite submerging herself and her clothes in cold water.
Walking past him, Sookie went to their bed and laid down. It did not take long for her husband to push her legs apart and settle between them. His blunt teeth were nipping at her skin. His hands were clutching her desperately as he forced his cock deep inside her.
“Eric!” she gasped, wrapping her arms and legs around his body. Her hand twisted into his hair while she felt his hips begin to pound viciously against hers. “That’s right, Darlin’,” she moaned. “Get it out. I got ya,” she murmured deliriously, up until his fangs sank into her throat, then she tumbled into the oblivion of orgasm.
Letting out a long, shaky breath, Eric kissed and licked the wound he had left upon her throat. His hands ran soothingly across Sookie’s body until her trembles subsided, “I am sorry. I had almost forgotten what it was like being near you and that aroma.”
Smiling up at her husband, Sookie confessed, “I really don’t mind, Darlin’.”
Laughing into her damp hair, Eric kissed her temple and then across her cheek. “I love you, My Sookie.”
“I love you, Eric.”