Preemptive Strike: The Wedding Gift
Day Walking, Sun Rise, Sun Set, Day 87. 72nd day of Married Bliss, 60th Day of being Parents.
Lunch was finished and a good time was had by all. Hunter was full of stories. Their class had been studying volcanoes. They had made one in class as a project. Then they were scientist and they all predicted when it would erupt. Today was the day.
Red food coloring, liquid soap, baking soda and vinegar and the lava came pouring out! “We all cheered ‘cause our prediction was right on time!” Hunter said with pride.
Their son was going to read with Ian and Cedric, who were going to sign his reading log. Then he was going to call his grandmas and tell them about the big eruption.
Eric could break away at this time and go to the mansion. Keeping all the vampire shit there had been bloody brilliant. The thought of having those fucked up night stalkers in their home pushed just about every anger out of control button that he had.
Ending the two from New Orleans had been most satisfying. It felt good to get his house in order. Hunter’s birthday was the next big to do thing on the list. Eric concentrated on the visual of his son dancing and clapping his hands and giggling his joy. He felt a cool breeze waft through his spirit and cleanse him. His entire life had evolved around bloodshed and his soul was tired of the stench of death. It was time to go on permanent vacation.
Entering the mansion, he gave his briefing to Mr. Sid. Who came, who went, who was going to be overnighting at the mansion.
“The two royals are in town, but will be here to eat,” Eric told him. “Miss Sookie has invited them to day walk in The Realm. So they will be shopping and spending their money in our quaint little town, but if they want donors, they are back here. And they know blood is all they are getting.
If the donors want to push the sex for blood, scene, get some one to glamour them then throw them out.
That is the most pleasant thing that will happen to them. If Miss Sookie finds out one of the human donors pushed to do the nasty with one of our vamps…that will just get ugly in a hurry.”
Eric had stressed that earlier to Ian and Cedric, as well. There would be no fanging and no banging in Bon Temps.
“You can fang and bang all you want once you are homeward bound, but you keep that in your pants while you are here. We are raising a family with ties to the community.“
“Of course Eric,” they had both agreed and Eric thought they looked relieved.
Eric took one last look around the foyer before he headed back to the house. Jessica had met her end, here. Shame he did not drag Compton’s sorry ass over here and end him here, as well.
It was a pleasant walk and smelled like snow which helped to clear his mind. He was still working through from time to time that Tara smelled like him. That was just fucking disturbing. He was back tracking when the first time that his hormones had probably spiked and caused the twins to want a lot of something from their daddy
During the first month of the pregnancy, it had been often that Sookie had opened up a vein on his inner thigh while he bucked and yelled in delight. At the time he thought he was just being Mr. Charming. But, he recognized it now. His pheromones would excite the blood in Sookie’s body so that the babies could have their father’s bloodline. The Fae and their way of mating…not that he was complaining.
Pam and Tara had both been particularly feisty during that time. Just like a chip off the old fang. And when Molly had become his child as well, there were changes in her.
Running a mental list, all those who had a sniff of his girls and thought perverted things about them were dead. Well, except for maybe one or two.
“Well fuck a duck,” he grumbled. The gum line in his mouth was beginning to tingle. “Daddy’s fangs are on their way,” he smiled as they popped down and a long hiss came from him. Things were beginning to clear and he was not happy with the dots he was beginning to connect.
Rage was not what he needed at the moment. Control was what was important. Plenty of time to rage, later.
Pam would tell him he had anger management issues. Well fuck…she just might be right. “It’s time, Northman, to do something else. We need to find our happy spot so we do not do anything rash.”
His grin got bigger. Hunter had been with them now for two months. With the blending of the fae/human/vampire, it did indeed seem like he and his Sookie had given their son life in this time and place. Their little man…taking a deep breath, he slowly let it out. He was growing up…five, their little guy was going to be five. And then ten and fifteen and college and them marriage to Miss Lacy.,,and…and… his happy place was beginning to dissolve.
“Stop it!” he told himself. “Focus on right now and not on a forever of nows. You no longer need to look hundreds of years to the future with a kill list or wonder who will no longer be at your side.
Your family stands at your side. And they are all safe and will be safe….a forever of safe,” as he let that thought filter through him as he opened his front door.
The party in the tent was still going on and dinner, along with sun down, was going to be soon. Vampires were going to be rising and Eirc had one more stake that needed to be baptized with blood. One more time he was going to be the terrorizing ass hole…oh well…that was his job and he did it very well.
In his heart he did not forgive or forget…he thought everyone knew that.
Dinner was jovial. Eric looked around the table and marveled at who and what sat here with him.
One more time he brought Sookie’s hand to his lips for a kiss. Fuck that shit of them sitting at opposite ends of the table. He wanted to be next to her at all times so he could reach out and touch her when he felt the need….and tonight, he always felt the need.
From time to time she would run her hand gently across the top of his.
After dinner came dancing. OI and Lafayette were still teaching all the Michael Jackson Thriller moves when bedtime for little boys was announced.
“And we can have zombie dancing at my party?” Hunter’s eyes were lit up! “I liked watching that on the big screen and my La La and OI, when they explained it, it was real easy to do.”
“We will all be doing the Monster Moves right along with you,” Sookie winked and gave him a kiss. “On week-ends, when we go to the cabin, we’ll take the Wii and we’ll teach the Grandmas as well.”
Excitement ran through their little guy. “I will call them when I come home tomorrow from school and tell them. All the Grandmas can dance! They like doing those reels!”
“Yes they do,” Sookie kissed his nose. “Now Daddy has a little business so Momma will tuck you in. What story are we readin’ tonight?”
“I like the one about the speckled frogs,” Hunter said and then yawned.
“Oh,” Sookie picked him up and hugged him. “Frogs it is…you and your Daddy….ribbbbbiiiiiit! ” she laughed as she carried him off to bed to a chorus of “Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit….”coming from behind them.
Hunter giggled and waved good night as a choir of frogs sang him on his way.
“He is his father’s son,” Eric chuckled as folks were beginning to disperse for the night and Eric saw them out the door.
Walking back into his office, he sat down next to his oldest. “Pamela,” Eric said to his child. “I am going to need you before sunrise.”
“You have been in a quiet mood all evenin’” she said. “What is goin’ on?”
“There has been this thought I have not been able to get past since sending Cornwall and Jasper out of this plane of existence.”
“What’s that?” Pam asked.
“That Bill gave them both a ring.”
Eric held up the solid gold band and watched it reflect the light. “The cleaning team found Compton’s and gave it to Mr. Sid.”
“I’m not following,” Pam replied.
“That cheap assed Bill gave something of value away?” Eric snorted. “That is what has been eating on me.
And,” he continued as he held up all three in the palm of his hand. “They are nesting rings. Watch,” he said as he placed them one inside the other. “There is a fourth band that these three nest in. Because once you have all four of them together, they are an unlocking mechanism. A very old unlocking mechanism. Something very much before Compton’s time.”
Pam’s eyes lit up. “So, they were not Bill’s to give, away. They belonged to someone else,” Pam smiled, “that he was working for…and was told to pass them around and to swallow them for safe keeping.”
“Yes,” Eric smiled. It did not reach his eyes. Pam thought maybe someone was in deep shit. Good times! “Which puts a great big spotlight on the fact that Bill’s pay off for handing over Sookie to Oberon was not the ring. But something else. Something that said fae.“
“You sound like you know what that somethin’ else is.” Well, this just kept getting better. Eric would bend them over backward to fuck with them! Very good times!
“I have a very good idea. Oberon looked down his nose at everyone. So he would not have given Bill anything he valued.”
“But it would have to be something pretty that would catch Bill’s eye,” Pam replied. “Unique, one of a kind.”
“Yes. Very unique, very one of a kind but something that Oberon did not value.”
Eric was thoughtful. “Because of the fae war, I am amazed that any of our things survived. The only reason that happened was that immediately after the draining, Ruppert helped Dublin to secure those items that Suibhne treasured.
Everything from our wedding trousseau is there…except for one thing. I asked Ruppert if he remembered seeing an oyster shell with a pearl in it. He said no.
I gave that to Sookie as a wedding gift. Suibhne knew that and how much his mother treasured it. It should have been there.”
“You think it was pilfered, before the draining?” Pam was intrigued.
“Yes,” he said. “I think it was taken, probably by Oberon and my guess is that he would not give it back. That is why Mab acted, possibly ahead of schedule. If Suibhne would have discovered it missing…” Eric just shrugged. “Tracker dragons would have been called. Once it was found, it would be declared that Oberon stole from the royal house. His hands would have been removed and cursed never to grow back.
And since he had access, all eyes would fall on Mab and she would be under suspicion.” Eric’s finger traced the rune design on he drinking mug. “All three of those siblings were touched with madness.
Certain traits do run in families. I have been doing a lot of thinking about blood lines,” his fangs snicked down.
“Anyone’s in particular?” Pam asked. There went the fangs! Her maker was pissed! There was going to be very good times! She should watch and take pointers!
“Compton’s maker, Lorena. I have seen her a couple of times through the ages. She and Billy Boy made a name for themselves for their brutality. They were the ones that left the pitiful remains of that woman in your establishment.”
Pam was thoughtful. “Lorena was old. Her maker would have to be just as old,” Pam said.
“…and Lorena’s maker would be…?” Eric asked.
“Exactly,” Eric nodded. “Now, this is where it gets odd. Compton was told to pass out the rings which means something of value has been locked away and not by him. And to swallow them. Chances are good when it was time to give the ring back, he might have to be goo. Now, who would he do that for?”
“His maker…or his maker’s maker…” Pam was thoughtful.
Eric’s eyes were sparking blue. “That lying whore Hadley had established that Sookie was something more and at court they were looking for fae. And the old vamps were always searching for fae.
Hadley is whispering to Sophie-Anne who thinks she has hit and has decided to double down. Hadley for snacks, Sookie for serious drinking. Bill’s job was to procure Sookie for Sophie-Anne.”
“Yes I see,” Pam was thoughtful, “and no matter how quiet you keep it…that kind of news is going to slip out because it is just too delicious to keep to yourself. So who do you talk around, about and to? Who does everyone talk to? Ask questions of? Who has the newest gossip about court?”
They both laughed. Deadly, menacing…ominous.
“Why,” Eric began to glow with anger. “That would be the royal designer of the Queen’s haute couture and anyone else who has the money.”
Pam’s grin turned nasty. “I am going to miss that little fucker,” she replied licking her fangs. “His nasty ass traveled in all the right circles. Sophie-Anne on down to her sniveling snitch, Compton.
And when he came with the stupid Were shit for Sookie, he had come spelled. Fucking witches…” Pam hissed and then stopped herself. “Stop laughing at me,” she growled at Eric. “I guess you know about Stirling.”
Eric was still chuckling when he continued. “Chaz has been in the fashion business since…” Eric thought about that. “…hundreds of years.
Vampires trade in secrets. I guess he figured that out early after being turned,” Eric’s voice was soft and cold. “So he starts out designing for and dressing all the royals in the Old World where there is always gossip about The Fae. Then he moves to the New World to broaden his gossip base a bit. “
“That,” Pam raised an eyebrow, “was very smart. He becomes a clearing house of who’s who vampire gossip. And if it is juicy enough, he could ask for anything he wanted. Anyone in power knows him and trusts him to a certain degree.
Then, when Hadley becomes the favorite pet, things start to heat up in New Orleans. By this time, Compton is on so many payrolls that if Sophie-Anne finds out, he is going to be in her basement for millennia. Money you can always dump off shore. But something tangible, and Fae, that is another story and that cheap bastard sold his recycle. Let someone else make money off of his trash…” Pam rolled her eyes. “I heard his tirade one evening. He sold his aluminum cans. He was pissed about not getting money for the glass True Blood containers. He used to pick up pop bottles back in the day. Two cents a bottle…” she rolled her eyes, again.
“What a cheap ass-hole,” she muttered and continued on. “So, the oyster and pearl, he could not bring himself to throw it away.”
“Yes,” Eric chuckled. “So the question becomes what to do with the gift from Oberon? If he is caught with it, that is going to get ugly. Compton does not want to get rid of it and yet, it can not stay in his possession.”
Pam was chuckling. “Easy fix. You take it to your maker’s maker and tell him the things you are involved in and oh the so many wrongs you have done. But look…I have this gift from Oberon and Oberon hints that it is old and it is fae. And it certainly looks fae…?” Eric could hear the hesitation in her voice.
Eric was nodding his head. “Yes, now…perhaps Chaz told Bill something so rare should be guarded. If it was fae, perhaps when the delightful Miss Stackhouse came into their possession, perhaps it did tricks once it was around a fae being.
Or,” Eric shrugged, “perhaps Bill was at this point running scared and just did not know where else to hide it.
Or perhaps Chaz said, You are fucked. Give it to me to keep and obey your maker’s maker.
Chaz spent time in our holding facility,” Eric’s voice held no trace of humor. “The stay was not so unpleasant. I do not think he will be able to say that, again.
Sometime after his shop closes, I am going to be paying Chaz a visit. My question to you is do you want him? If so, I wanted him ended at dawn or shortly after. Your choice.”
“What’s your plan?” she asked.
“I am going to retrieve what is rightfully my bride’s. If he wishes a painless death, he will tell me what I want to know. If he does not care how his undead life ends, then it will be unpleasant and there may not be much left for you.”
“What are you not sayin’, Eric?” her eyebrow went up.
“Paris in 1963. I am sure he is the one that betrayed us.”
“That little fucker!” she hissed. “That was my favorite Chanel suit. I still cry about having to trash those pumps. Timeless classics, both. Bring home in a bucket whatever is left of him. I’ll toss it out into the sun, myself.”
“That’s my girl,” he winked at her.
“Liam,” Eric’s fangs were now all the way down as his Captain stepped across. “I have this. This cocksucker is in possession of the oyster and pearl I gifted our Queen with when we were married. His ass is mine. You get between me and him and your ass is mine. Do you understand me?”
“My King…” Eric could hear the concern in Liam’s voice.
“Fuck that,” Eric hissed.
Liam became very still. “I have never seen an oyster and pearl from the Wetlands Far Beyond. I do not know anyone who has.
Albin said that when you gave it to our Queen on your wedding day, even old Sooklund was impressed. King Sooklund had not seen one either.”
“You just had to know where to look,” Eric chuckled and then was back to glaring at his guard. “And do not,” he gave his Captain the evil eye, “think to change the subject or put my in a better mood by recalling our first wedding.”
“I would never do that, my King,” Liam said with a bow of his head.
Eric was pissed and Liam was pissed and all over Fae folk were pissed. The Oberon score was still not fully settled, it appeared, and that was being read on all the band widths of The Bond. The good folk of Fae were wanting something more than The Living Death. That cocksucker had stolen from their King and Queen!
Another thing Eric could read….Oberon was going to be having company…lots of it…
Eric’s attention went to his Captain. What was up with Liam? He was not quoting the regulation and paragraph number for Eric not getting to have any fun!
Well drat! It was not fun if Liam was not lecturing him about his security and safety protocols. Eric knew he took hits from Albin if his King got out of his line of sight.
Hmmmm, oh what to do? Sweeten the pot a bit and point out the obvious. This was going to be goo-licious and Eric was going to be covered. That would get Liam to spouting the reg number of who the fuck cared what document….just as long as Eric thought he was getting over.
Eric decided to play it cool. “This could get messy and it shall be of my making. Whatever is left of him I have promised to my oldest.”
“Of course my King,” Liam bowed.
“Fuck,” Eric hissed. “You are no fun! Albin giving you shit, again?”
“My King,” he said with another bow, “I serve at your pleasure. The Royal Steward, however, writes my job performances.”
“You want to come with?” Eric asked.
“If you are inviting me, my King, I would be honored,” he responded, bowing at the waist.
“Saddle up,” Eric grinned. “Time to rock and roll!”
Clayton saluted Liam. “Nicely done,” he smiled. “I am happy to see that you are capable of learning. If you don’t push, our King will always invite you.”
“OI is still dancing around and smirking and wiggling his ass. Apparently he has been invited along, as well,” Liam fussed, “even before I was…”
Laughing, Clayton slapped Liam on the back. “That is because the King of the Dragons knows how this is played. Being sad and sorrowful and wistful about righting a wrong done to our Queen goes a long way with our King. OI does not push so therefore he gets invited.
Lean from the best. Should be obvious by now, if there is going to be a good time, OI is going to be there contributing if not the official spokesperson.”
Chaz was locking up his office. It had been a good night. Not a perfect night, because none of the royal family had been here to help drive the sales. But still, a good night.
“Jeremy,” he hissed at the salesperson as he closed his office door. “Was there a reason you did not sale that Rolex? You certainly spent enough time screeching over the crowd about its personality. Fuck the personality of the thing…just make sure it gets bought.”
“Yes sir,” he said.
“Good, now clean the bathrooms before you go. We still don’t have a replacement janitorial service.”
“Yes sir,” Jeremy said as he watched the owner walk out the front door. “Fuck,” he rolled his eyes. “I have worked here for eight years and we have never had a janitor service. Just call it what it is, you cheap bastard. Additional duties.”
Chaz was out the door and into the night! Tonight he would stay in the penthouse overlooking New Orleans. Yes, it was going to be an excellent night! His party favors were on order and there would be a bath waiting on him along with one lovely who wanted to be vampire.
Chuckling, she did not understand that the new regime frowned on turning someone because they were angry that their plastic surgeon could not make them look sixteen. So he would drain her, with her permission, she just would not wake up vampire….she would not be waking up at all.
He stepped into the elevator, deciding to check out the bar upstairs, first.
Looking down, he pushed the button for the bar…and stopped. The words had been burned into the plastic…!
They had all heard the story of the motto that was etched with fire into all the secret hiding places of the Old World vamps. Those pictures had passed like wildfire!
“What the fuck….?” He took a step back and then pushed the door open button and vamp speed he was through the lobby and out into the night.
“That is a prestigious hotel. Plenty of vampires frequent here,” he told himself as he was vamp speed down the street. “Eric just had that burned in,” he swallowed, “as a reminder to all of us.
Two miles down and two blocks over was his so-so secret residence. The doors had been built in England three hundred years, ago. They were the doors to one of his favorite resedences. When he came to the New World, he brought them with him.
“I will just call and have the party moved…” His mouth was open and perhaps his eyes were a little bugged out.
The light shadowing the the front doors gave it an eerie look.
Of course, what was burned into the doors was the scariest. “Continue to mainstream! I am more mainstream than Lafayette!!” he screeched to himself.
All right, this was all some horrible joke! “Pam,” he said out loud, looking around as he chuckled, “am I being filmed? Are you perhaps wanting to trade my reaction for a pair of shoes?
When there was no response, he approached the doors and ran his hand across the warning. Burned in, just like on the elevator and this was still warm. Burned wood wafted on the air. This was not, funny. That was his home. Those were three hundred year old doors. Just what the fuck did Eric think he was doing?
Obviously, this one was not so secret. His penthouse and his faux church were two residences that were known if you had ever partied with him. That was no stretch for Eric to find out about.
His Creole townhome was two blocks over. When he approached the front stoop, all he could do was spew obscenities. “What the fuck Eric! Those old biddies that run the historic district will be all over my ass!
And just how the fuck do you burn marble?” he moaned. “Those are original to the house. The historical society will fine me! The outside must be maintained in its original condition, you fucker!” he hissed.
Vamp speed he was to the Garden District and admiring the lines of his two story shot gun house. Looking around the outside of the house, all seemed to be in order. “Good,” he smiled. “at least he did not rape the outside of this home.
I am going to catch hell from the HOA for the Creole home. Fucking burning marble…you fucker…” Unlocking the front doors, he went inside, still bitching. “Where the fuck am I going to get marble steps that have been cut and fit to my front door? The folk that laid those have been dead for hundreds of years. I guess I should not have drained them. How was I to know at the time that it would come to this?
Good, perfect,” he sighed as he looked around his living room. “I am now not in the mood to entertain, anyone. And I definitely do not want the bagged blood in the kitchen…” he tapped his nail on his fang. There was a nice family that lived next door. Maybe he would not have to entertain. Why just perhaps he could be invited in…
“…and I still have my secrets,” he smiled as he opened the concealed panel and stepped in…
“No,” he screamed. “No, Eric! No! I refuse to believe this! You fucker!” he yelled. “I am fucking draining that family next door! Mainstream that!” he screeched. Sitting down on the floor he ran his hand across the burned in words. “My original plank flooring,” he sobbed. “There were twelve coats of paint on this floor…fuck!”
He let the feeling of rage shake him. “I am so fucking draining that family, but, to be on the safe side…my place of refuge in The Quarter. It is still being renovated.”
Locking the doors, he looked wistfully at the house next door and moved on.
The French Quarter was filled with life and all things that spoke of the living.
The music was keeping tempo with the heart beats he heard on the streets. He loved The Quarter and had lived here off and on over the years. This was his newest acquisition. It was also a historic home and with some old, fine, wrought iron railings along the upper balcony.
Walking up the steps to the French doors on the balcony, he let the smell of the trailing honey suckle calm him.
Letting himself in, he could see the tools that were left by the workmen. Admiring the plaster work on the ceiling, he took himself up to the fourth floor so he could look out over the city.
“I am so fucked,” he whispered.
“Yes you are,” Eric said.
Hearing Eric’s voice made him grit his teeth. Chas turned and faced him.
“What pissed you off the most?” Eric laughed, “That your child had turned the likes of Compton or that Compton had actually done business with Oberon and you had not?
When Bill told you about Oberon that must have been very infuriating and yet very sweet. The fuck up that was Bill had actually scored a contact that you did not have.
And Bill must have been so excited to show you the oyster and pearl. How it looks like glass and yet could not be destroyed. Oberon had said it was Fae and Compton believed it and after you tried destroying it, you believed it as well.
Why, Billy now had proof that the Fae existed. So he could not very well just dump it in the ocean.”
“Eric,” Chaz bowed his head. “Welcome to my home. I am many things but a maker I am not.”
Chuckling, Eric shook his head and pulled up a saw- horse and sat down on it. “Serial killers, whether they be human or vampire, have a distinct killing style. I have seen yours. Lorena so loved that about you that she imitated it. I saw one of the women after she and Billy had finished with her.
“Well, perhaps I made one child,” Chaz laughed and then sighed. “I kept Lorena starved for a year when she introduced me to Compton.
My child was so pleased when he got the job at court,” Chaz rolled his eyes. “What a fuck up. Sophie-Anne called me twice and wanted to know if he really was my grand-child and she would gladly stake him out if I would just say the word.
And I was angry, just a tad when he came to me with his tale of woe. He had no mind for intrigue. Of course, Lorena did not either. Obedience was her only gift…she sorely lacked in others.
And of course, she turned a nit-wit…” he shook his head.
“But…,” he paused, “the nit-wit, he had in his possession…” Chaz shook all over. “something most delicious.
As I said,” Chaz winked at Eric, “Compton had no mind for intrigue or how to get what he wanted and keep it. However,” he winked at Eric, again. “I do.
You damage me, in any way Eric and I will see that the oyster and pearl are returned to Oberon with a little note, attached. You may be old, but he is the oldest of our kind and clearly has access to many delightful things. Why, Bill even hinted that Oberon had a couple of fae weapons that could destroy anything with just a thought.
Clearly, with your delightful family, and they are each and everyone precious, you would not want him showing up at your door. Because he would after I vouched personally to the fact that Sookie was Fae.
Now, you have my promise that I will not do this…but in return, I want a favor…”, he smiled charmingly.
“Be very careful,” Eric’s voice was a whisper.
“Miss Sookie really is part fae, is she not…” Chaz smiled, no question in his voice. Only attitude.
“Be very, very, careful,” Eric hissed.
“I want to taste her Eric…” he smiled.
Eric had his hand around Chaz’s heart, with Chaz dangling in mid-air.
Reaching into his pocket, Eric took out his phone. “Let me see, open to photo gallery….” He smiled as he scrolled through…”Oh, there is Hunter with his mother. Her tummy is most delightful and we both love to kiss on the twins.
Oh, there it is,” Eric held up the phone so Chaz could see it. “As you can see, the oyster and pearl are already in my possession. I just needed to know Chaz,” Eric winked at him, “if you could head my warning. Apparently not.
Pam said to bring you home in a bucket, if that was all that was left of you. Paris, 1963, her favorite Chanel suit and pumps…” Eric clicked his tongue and looked very sad. “Her shoes are her children. She names them, you know, and when she needs a happy moment, she scrolls through her pictures of them and recalls when and where she bought them. She had to trash her outfit after you betrayed us to Prissy and his ilk
It was not so much the blood as it was the sewer, smell. It does so cling.
Now, I am liking very much this very fine heating stove you have preserved. That is such a nice touch.
I think we could use a little fire. Only, that would not be one made with wood. This would be a fae, fire. And that beautiful, yellow light, that would have some UV rays in it. Now, if you watch closely, the King of the Fae will demonstrate the proper way to toast a vampire without causing him to flame up and burn.
Because my child, Pamela, I believe she is going to do that.”
Day Walking, Sun Rise, Sun Set, Day 88. 73rd day of Married Bliss, 61st Day of being Parents.
Hunter had the very best day at school. Now that he was home, he was having a teleconference with his Grandmas. “Today we made our JJ man and baked him in that little tiny oven Miss Sissy had brought in. He sure did smell good and when the timer went off we all watched as she pulled out the tray and he was gone! We went all over the school lookin’ for him!”
“Why Hunter,” Grandma Esther asked, “where did you find him?”
“He was down in the cafeteria, ” he laughed and clapped his hands. “He thought he could hide with all the other cookies, but he could not! We found him and we each got a piece of him with our snack!”
“That sure does sound like a good mornin’,” Grandma Mary said.
“Mmmhmm,” he nodded his head. “And Daddy is gonna’ tell me a story after lunch. About the very first present he gave my Momma.”
“Ohhhh,” the Grandmas said in unison. “A love story.”
“Mmm-hmm,” Hunter nodded, “’cause my Daddy, he loves my Momma.
And,” Hunter clapped his hands, “when we come this weekend, we are bringin’ the Wii and we are gonna’ learn to zombie dance, just like Michael Jackson. My La La and OI, they will be there to help. They showed me last night how to do the dancin’ and we are gonna’ do it at my birthday!”
“Land ‘o Goshen,” Grandma Esther exclaimed. “We are gonna’ have us a weekend! Now you go have your lunch. You are a growing boy!”
“We love you,” all his Grandmas waved and blew him a kiss!
“I love you!” Hunter blew them one back.
“Lunch is a good idea,” Sookie ran her finger down his nose. “The babies are hungry. Me too.”
Hunter was intrigued all during lunch. “Momma, Daddy already gave you the present?” he asked.
“Yes Sweet Baby. Your Daddy gave it to me a long time ago. It’s been lost but OI and the tracker dragons helped your Daddy find it. It was early, early this morning and even I was still sleepin’ when he brought it home. When I got up for breakfast, your Daddy gave it to me then.”
Eyeing the dessert, which was a dish of banana puddin’, Hunter thought maybe that could wait. He wanted to hear the story. His Daddy told the very best stories!
“I’m saving’ my puddin’ ‘til after the story,” he smiled. “Daddy, can we have the story now?”
“Certainly my son. My wife, if you would get your wedding present.”
When Sookie came back in Hunter eyed the box. It was not very big but it was pretty and had a big fancy bow.
When Sookie lifted it out of the box, Hunter ohhhhhed. “It’s speckled like a fish.”
“That’s right,” Eric smiled. “That is because when I was little, in the Realm of the Two Blue Moons, I lived in a swamp. And this lived in the swamp with me.”
Eric handed it to Hunter and his son carefully placed it on the table.
“This,” Eric said, “is what is left when the animal moves on to grow a new home.
But while it is the oyster’s home, it takes on all the colors of the swamp. The mud that it lives in is purple so when you look down from above, you can not see it.
And the water is that shade of green so if you are swimming and looking ahead, you still can not see it.”
“It’s camouflaged. We learned about that in school,” Hunter said.
“That is correct my son,” Eric’s smile got bigger. “Now if you would turn it just a bit.
In the first morning light, in the swamp, it reflects the colors that it sees,” Eric said as Hunter turned it back and forth in the light. “This is what our sunrises looked like.”
“Ohhh, Daddy, that is beautiful. That pink looks like Momma’s skin. And it’s got air bubbles in it from the fish going glup, glup, glup.”
“Good job, my son. That is exactly what it has done. It takes all it experiences from the swamp. And the pearl is the color of the rays of light that are striking the water.
Now, if you turn it one more time.
This is what our evening sky looked like,” Eric said as Hunter carefully turned the oyster one more time and his small son caught his breath.
“A million stars just that color would light our night sky with that rosy pink glow always just at the horizon.
This, my son, this was what my world looked like when I was your age. My swamp was a beautiful place. And the colors in the oyster and its pearl reflect that perfectly. The oyster was able to mimic our sunrise, day, and sunset.. My home land is truly reflected in this oyster.”
Hunter’s eyes were big. “Was it hard to find?”
“Very,” Eric smiled. “Once the oyster leaves its shell and pearl and starts a new home, within minutes, this home is re-absorbed back into the water if it is not removed from the water.
I had an unfair advantage,” Eric smiled.
Giggling, Hunter clapped his hands. “You were swimmin’ as a frog!” he said with joy.
“Yes,” Eric kissed him on top of his nose. “The oyster had just left. I watched him as he settled into the purple mud. I picked it up and took it home.”
“’Cause you knew my Momma would like it,” Hunter grinned.
“Yes,” Eric smiled at Sookie, “I knew your Momma would like it.”
“Hunter,” Sookie smiled at him. “Everyone thought that the swamp oyster was a myth. Just a once upon a time fairy tale bed time story. No one that we knew had ever seen one.
Then, when I exchanged vows with your Daddy, your grandpa Sucklund stood there and said, It is now time for the giving of the marriage gifts.
Well, my Daddy thought that I should give your Daddy a new crown and a title, so I did.
When your Daddy handed me a box, dressed a whole lot like this one, I sat it down on the table and I lifted the lid….I thought I was going to faint.”
“She did faint, my son,” Eric grinned. “Fortunately, I was there to catch her. Your Grandfather fainted as well,” Eric said with a wiggle of his eyebrows. “It was such a surprise to everyone that his guards stood there is disbelief looking at the swamp oyster and King Sooklund hit the floor.”
Sookie laughed out loud. “I had forgotten about that. He sure did. For a few minutes, he had a great big ole goose egg on the back of his noggin’.”
Picking up Eric’s hand she kissed the back of it. Once, twice, thrice. Just as she had done on the day that she had married him.
“That sure is pretty,” Hunter sighed. “Do we need to keep it some place safe? I would not want Andy’s tail to knock it off and break it. And the babies would not know to be careful.”
“We’ll put the pearl away when the babies want to play with it. But Sweet Baby, you can not hurt it. It is made of the stuff of Fae and it is indestructible.”
“So, we could set it out so we could see it?” his little voice was full of hope. “All the time?”
“Yes,” Sooke smiled. “If you want, you can take the pearl out and you can eat your banana puddin’ out of it.”
Hunter giggled. “It’s too pretty for that. I just want to look at it. I like how it feels beneath my finger. And it’s warm. ”
Eric smiled. “The sun is shinning on pool of water where it had its beginning. When the sun goes down there, it will become cool to the touch.”
“Ohhhh,” his little boy face lit up.
“It will be right here on the table,” Sookie hugged him, “you look at it all you like. You can not break it Hunter,” she said with surety. “So if you want to take it outside and look at it in the sunshine, you can do that.”
“Okay Momma,” he smiled, “but I like it here on the table. It is family. It should be here with us.”
They both watched as Hunter carefully ran his finger around the outside of it and then began to turn it different ways to catch the light. “I like that shade of pink the best,” he grinned. “I like being able to see what it looked like where my Daddy grew up! The babies will like it, too.”
Hunter began talking to it like they were the best of friends. He called Andy and Lion over and introduced them as well.
“He remembers playin’ with that,” Sookie said in a hushed whisper.
“Good,” Eric smiled at her. “We do not fear our past. On to our future and good times.”