The coffee has just finished brewing and I’m going to the freezer to get some ice when I hear a loud yelp followed by an even louder crack on the stairs. My whole body goes cold and can feel the blood drain from my face. I drop the glass I have in my hand before I race to see what happened. I stop breathing when my girlfriend is trying to stand up. She’s just over halfway down the stairs, the sheets are under her and there’s blood gushing from her head.
“Sookie, stop!” I yell. I don’t want her to hurt anything more than she already has. If she’s bleeding like that she obviously hit her head, possibly injuring her neck and I don’t even want to think about what is happening with Elina.
I race to grab the house phone and I’m dialing 9-1-1 before I reach Sookie. She’s sitting on the step holding her belly and her head, trying to stop the bleeding. When the operator answers I blurt out the problem and my address before I hang up and throw the phone to attend to Sookie.
“What happened?” I ask assessing her injuries. “Don’t move your neck. How did you fall? Is Elina moving? What hurts?” Oh God… Why do I live so fucking far away from anything?
“Got tangled,” Sookie answers with a sniffle and then starts sobbing.
Fuck it. I wrap my arms around her and grab the sheet to press against her cut.
“The paramedics are on their way, baby,” I whisper. I don’t even care what happened. I just care that she and Elina are okay. “Is she moving?” I ask quietly.
“No,” she squeaks.
My heart starts pounding in my chest and my breathing stops again.
“Do you think you can move?” I breathe. I want to get her off the stairs.
“Not until the ambulance comes,” she says. “Check and make sure I’m not bleeding anywhere else.”
I look over the back of her body and as I assess her front I ask, “What hit on the way down?” I don’t see anything but her head bleeding. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I can’t check to see if she’s bleeding down there.
“Eric, check the baby! I don’t care about me!”
I take a deep breath. I’m scared to find something I don’t want to. I keep my eyes on her face and reach under her shirt to see if my hand comes back with blood on it. I’m start shaking when she feels wet, but we just had sex. That has to be it, right? When I pull my hand back I’m still shaking badly when I look down at it. Sookie isn’t looking, but I’m sure my face gives it away when my hand comes back with a little pink tint is coating my fingers. This is the first time in all of this that I cry. I don’t realize I’m doing it until the tears hit my chest. These are my girls and if anything happens to either of them I’ll lose it.
“No!” Sookie wails.
I hold her to my chest and a few seconds later I hear the sirens coming up the driveway.
“I’m going to open the door for them,” I whisper before I let her go so I can open the door.
Sookie just keeps sobbing.
I get to the door and as soon as it’s open the driver it throwing the ambulance in park. I turn to walk back to Sookie. The stairs are visible from the door so I don’t have to lead them to her.
They walk quickly into the room and respond quickly when they see the amount of blood on the stairs and on Sookie. I don’t want to hinder them so I quickly jump out of the way as one guy goes to Sookie and the other guy comes to me.
“What happened here?” he asks while opening a bag. He grabs a bottle of liquid and a syringe.
“She said she got tangled in the sheets and fell,” I tell him with my eyes on Sookie. “She’s four and a half months pregnant. She said the baby isn’t moving and she’s bleeding…”
The paramedic nods and moves to the stairs to help his partner. There’s a collar around Sookie’s neck to immobilize it and the other paramedic is trying to calm her down while he works on her.
“I’m gonna go get the gurney, Dillon,” the paramedic I talked to says.
Dillon nods. He’s trying to get her to the bottom of the stairs so they can lie her down on the floor. I’m still shaking and I want to go to her and hold her, but the other guy comes back in and they get her onto the gurney. I look around to see if I need anything to take with me, and run to grab my keys and my phone from the table by the front door. I’m going with her no matter what. If they try to say no they have another thing coming. I couldn’t drive right now if you paid me to.
I walk next to the gurney on the way out, pausing to lock the front door. I’m in nothing but a pair of basketball shorts and I don’t actually give a flying fuck. The paramedics don’t give me a problem when I hop into the back of the ambulance with her and I sit on the little seat next to her. I take her hand which is shaking just as bad as mine and I bring it to my lips. The paramedics have been talking, but I can’t hear them over the sound of my own heart beating.
“Eric, you need to go put on a shirt and shoes or they won’t let you back in the emergency room with me,” Sookie says.
I look at the guy next to her and he nods. Fuck. I hop out and run faster than I’ve ever moved to get a shirt and tennis shoes from my closet. I keep them in my hands as I run back.
“Ready,” I say as I sit down.
The driver, Dillon, closes the doors and gets behind the wheel. The other medic’s name is Mel, I think. Sookie’s not shaking so much and her eyes start to flutter closed.
“Sookie, stay with us,” Mel says.
“Baby, look at me,” I tell her, patting her hand softly.
“Tired,” she whispers without opening her eyes.
Mel gets on his radio and starts relaying Sookie’s vitals to the emergency room and following their instructions.
My panic sets in even worse and I start rocking, stroking her hair back. “Baby, wake up,” I whisper over and over.
“It’s probably just a reaction to the blood loss,” Mel says, but then reaches over to rub Sookie’s chest. It makes her eyes pop open though. “Try to stay with us, Sookie. We’re almost there.”
“Babe, talk to me,” I plead. “Tell me what you middle name you think we should give Elina. Tell me all of them.”
“Mmm…” she hums and her eyes start fluttering again.
“No, no, let me see the beautiful blue eyes when you tell me,” I say, squeezing her hand. “Tell me how to say beautiful in Swedish.”
“Vacker,” she whispers.
“Good girl, that was perfect,” I smile. “Your accent is much better than Michelle’s.”
“What about Montana?” I ask.
She doesn’t answer.
“Baby, tell me what you want to say about Montana,” I plead.
Nothing. It gets Mel to give Sookie more medication and he puts one of those air things in her nose and around her ears.
“Mel, what’s happening?” I ask frantically.
“She’s lost consciousness,” he answers and checks the heart monitor.
“Well, I can see that. How do we wake her up?”
“She needs blood. We won’t get her back until she has it.”
I keep her hand in mine and I reach down to rub her belly. “Do you know if the baby is going to be okay?” I know he has no way of knowing, but I need something.
“I don’t know, I’m sorry. Her O.B. can make that determination after we arrive.”
I sit back and close my eyes. I mentally go through all of the people I need to call. I don’t know how to contact her parents and I didn’t bring her phone.
“Can I use my phone in here? I need to call her parents.” I can see if I can find their number in the white pages. I’m sure there’s a website for it.
“Sure,” he replies as the ambulance pulls up to the hospital. It didn’t even feel like it was moving.
I pull my shirt on and slip into my shoes and pull up the internet to look for the Stackhouse’s number. Thankfully they are the only ones in town and their number is listed. I wait until they get Sookie out of the ambulance to call. They surprisingly allow me to come back with her, but when they get her into a room they tell me they need me to step out a moment. I stand just outside her room and I dial the number I found.
“Hello,” Michelle answers.
“Michelle? It’s Eric…” I say sadly.
“Eric… is everything okay?”
“She fell down the stairs. We’re in the ER at Hawthorne Memorial.”
“Oh God. The baby… We’re on our way,” she says and hangs up.
I call Stan to let him know I might need him to go by the house for me unless one of Sookie’s parents takes me. I also ask him to reschedule anything he can for me or take over anything that can’t wait. Most of my clients are loyal and I’m sure they’ll be fine when they find out there was an emergency.
I’m still standing outside of the room when Dr. Pardloe comes walking up. He goes straight into Sookie’s room without speaking to me and the door swings shut behind him.
That’s perfectly fine by me. I just want to know my girls are okay.
Twenty minutes pass and no one comes out of the room, making me nervous. The good news is no one else goes in and there isn’t any commotion in there either. One of the nurses comes up and asks if I’m Eric Northman. When I say yes she lets me know someone is here for me in the waiting room. I go out to greet her parents.
I’m still visibly shaken when I walk out.
“How is she?” Michelle asks immediately.
“I don’t know. She lost consciousness in the ambulance and they’ve been in the room with her and no one is talking to me.”
“She wasn’t moving and Sookie was bleeding,” I tell her and I can feel fresh tears running down my cheeks.
Michelle starts crying too, but she hugs me tightly. Corbett looks a mess.
“I’m so scared,” I whisper. This is kind of situation where I wish my parents were here.
“Me too,” Michelle says. She pats my back in a motherly way.
“What happened?” Corbett finally asks.
“I think she was trying to wash our sheets and all she said was she got tangled. I was in the kitchen making breakfast and iced coffee for her when I heard the fall. By the time I got to her there was blood everywhere from where she hit her head and she was trying to stand up.”
Corbett nods, but doesn’t say anything else.
“Eric Northman?” A man’s voice says from behind me.
“Yes?” I turn around quickly.
Dr. Pardloe approaches me and says, “Sookie is stable now. You can go back and see her.”
“What about the baby?”
“The baby is fine,” he says.
Michelle, Corbett and I all breathe a sigh of relief.
“Is she awake right now?”
“She’s resting. She had a few contractions so she’s been given some medicine to stop her from going into labor and she’ll need to stay off her feet for a week or so, but she and the baby should be just fine,” Dr. Pardloe tells me.
I wipe my tears and say, “Thank you, Dr. Pardloe.”
He nods and walks away. I lead her parents back to her room and I immediately go to her side. She’s alseep, but she looks peaceful this time. I rest my hand on her belly and lean over to kiss her head before I step back to give Michelle a moment with her.
“Sweetheart, Daddy and I are here,” Michelle says softly.
There’s a nasty bruise on Sookie’s forehead and some stitches where she cut herself. Her right wrist is also in a brace. As bad as she looks, she looks way better than when she was brought in from home.
“You better hope she tells me the same story you did,” Corbett says, keeping his eyes on Sookie. “If I ever find out you hurt her I’ll kill you.”
I look at him like he’s crazy for a moment, but I get it. He doesn’t know me very well and Sookie falling down the stairs doesn’t seem likely.
“I assure you I have never and will never hurt Sookie or my daughter,” I tell him.
He just nods and continues to watch his daughter. I want her to wake up. I know she needs rest right now, but I want to see her eyes. I need to know from her that she’s okay.
“Looks like my granddaughter has a good, strong heart,” Michelle says. Her eyes are trained on another monitor across the room.
I smile and walk to the other side of Sookie’s bed to rub her belly. I want Elina to know I’m here too.
“She does,” I agree.
Almost six hours pass before Sookie stirs. I jump out of the chair I’m in when I hear her heartbeat change. Corbett is getting coffee and Michelle is walking around trying to straighten things up that have no business being touched.
“Baby, hi,” I smile down at Sookie and stroke her hair back.
“Who are you?” she asks, looking confused.
She’s fucking with me. She has to be fucking with me. My eyes go wide and my head snaps up to Michelle who just shrugs and I look back down at Sookie.
“What do you mean…” I ask in a panicked tone.
“I mean I don’t know you.”
No. No, no, no…
“Sookie, I’m…” Before I can say anything I feel myself getting lightheaded and I’m a little woozy, swaying a little. Oh fuck. The last time I felt like this she just told me she was pregnant. I start to take deep breaths trying to stay awake.
“Don’t go hitting the deck on me again, Northman. I can’t pick your heavy ass up this time,” she says.
I glance up and she has a pretty smile on her face.
“You can’t do that to me,” I chuckle humorlessly. “My day has been pretty scary so far.”
“That makes two of us.” She puts her hand on her belly and reaches for mine with the other so I can feel Elina kicking.
I let out a heavy sigh of relief. “Thank God,” I whisper. I’d been checking periodically while she was asleep, but Elina was still each time. “How are you feeling?”
“Do you know what happened? I assume you got tangled in the sheets and fell?” I ask to make sure that’s what happened.
“Yep. Instead of taking the elevator my clumsy ass decided to go down the stairs,” Sookie sighs.
Michelle makes a noise on the other side of Sookie at the mention of an elevator.
I look up before I look back at Sookie and say, “If you want I’ll sell the house and get you a one story.”
“No, it’s okay,” she says.
“Okay,” I sigh and bend over to kiss her.
“Dr. Pardloe said Elina is okay. That’s all that matters,” Sookie says quietly. “But it looks like you’ll finally get your way about me taking it easy.”
“You know I only want what’s best for you and Elina,” I remind her.
“I know,” she says. “They want me to stay overnight to make sure I don’t have anymore contractions.”
“That’s good,” I nod. “I need to find someone to take me to get my car.” I haven’t even thought about that until just now.
“Corbett can do that,” Michelle says. “It’ll make him feel useful.”
“Alright.” He’s been pacing around this whole time, unsure of what to do. Elina isn’t even born yet and I already know the feeling.
“Where is Dad?”
“He went for coffee,” Michelle says.
“Do you need anything right now?” I ask her.
“Water would be good,” Sookie says.
“I’ll get it.” Michelle jumps up and leaves the room as Corbett comes back.
“Oh, look who decided to join us,” Corbett says with a look of relief on his face.
“I could say the same, old man,” Sookie smiles.
“I had to get coffee since you decided to take the day off,” he winks as he walks over to sit on the edge of her bed. “I’m glad you’re awake. These two aren’t as fun.”
“I’ll train Eric to banter and bicker with you,” she promises.
“Good,” he nods and leans over to kiss her head. “How’s my granddaughter doing in there?”
“She’s kicking ass,” Sookie says. “If the belly hog moves his big paw you can feel it.”
I jokingly pout and move my hand for Corbett to rest his hand where mine was. He smiles, but doesn’t say anything. He looks as relieved as I feel.
Michelle comes back in a moment later with Sookie’s water. She let’s Corbett know he has to take me to get my car. It dawns on me that I need to clean up the mess. I don’t want Sookie to see all the blood everywhere. I just hope I can find the cleaning supplies.
“Do you want me to bring you anything from the house?” I ask Sookie.
“My phone, wallet and a change of clothes would be good,” she says.
“Okay. I’ll be back soon as long as Corbett doesn’t kill me on the way home,” I joke and give her a kiss.
“We’ll be here,” Sookie smiles.
“Come on, honey, let’s look over the menu and get you something to eat,” Michelle tells her.
Corbett and I head out to his truck. As soon as I sit in the passenger seat I sag back. It’s only been a few hours but I’m exhausted.
“Thanks for taking me to get my car,” I say quietly and give him the general direction toward my house.
“No sweat,” Corbett replies as he pulls out of his parking space.
“Has Sookie warned you about the house?” I ask. It’s a lot to take in.
“No. Should she have?”
“It’s large, most people are struck silent for a few minutes when they see it,” I explain. Corbett is not most people though.
“Compensating for something?” he smirks.
“Hardly,” I snort. I would say to ask his daughter, but I want to live through the day.
He pulls out of the parking lot and heads for the house. We stay silent for a while unless I tell him where to turn.
“So… how did you and Michelle meet?” I ask when we’re about halfway home.
“High school,” he says. “I was an Army brat.”
“What was it about her?” I ask. Michelle is a beautiful woman with a kind heart. She’s a less feisty Sookie.
“She wouldn’t take no for an answer,” he chuckles. “I knew we weren’t staying permanently but she didn’t care a lick about that. She told me to shut up and go with it because she was smarter than me. She was right.”
I smile. Maybe that’s where Sookie gets the feisty after all.
“Sookie takes after her, huh?” I snicker.
“She’s a blend of us both. Lucky for you she cooks like her mother or you’d be seeking treatment for food poisoning.”
“I’d find a way around it. I can cook decently and sometimes Thelma, one of the maids, cooks for me,” I shrug.
“It’s a really big house,” I chuckle. “I have Thelma and Agatha. I think they’re both going to retire when I don’t need them anymore.”
“You mean when my baby moves in?” He gives me one of his looks.
“No, I actually don’t want her to do anything around the house,” I tell him.
“Especially not laundry,” I sigh.
“Yeah, well, Sookie’s not the kind of girl that’s going to sit back and let someone else wait on her when she can do it herself,” he says.
“I know,” I nod. “That’s one of the things I like about her. She’s a strong, independent girl that isn’t just trying to get to my bank account.”
“She’s tough like me a lot of the time but she’s as sweet as twenty pounds of sugar in a two pound bag if she thinks you’re worth the trouble.”
I smile again. I must be worth the trouble.
“I’m lucky to have her. I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend, and I never wanted kids, but when she showed up and told me she was pregnant my priorities shifted a lot faster than I ever expected,” I tell him and then direct him to make the next left. We’re almost to my house.
“The right girl will make your head turn whether you want it to or not,” he says.
“That seems to be true,” I agree. “Turn right here,” I say when we get to my driveway. I have a clicker for the gate on my keyring and I click the button as soon as it comes into view.
“Christ Almighty!” Corbett says when the house comes up. “What time is check-in?”
“Normal response,” I chuckle. “There’s a guest house around back. Sitting on eight acres. The main house is 20,000 square feet and I got a ridiculously good deal on it.”
“How many wives you planning on having, kid?”
“Just one,” I smile. I wasn’t planning on any when I bought it. “I offered to sell this place and get her a smaller house or a one story after the fall. She declined.”
He snorts and says, “Of course she did. I’m surprised you don’t need a harness and repelling lessons before you get near a staircase in this joint.”
“There’s an elevator,” I chuckle as we park in front of the house. “Come on, I’ll get you a map so you can take a self-guided tour while I clean the messes up.”
“Where do I pick up my homing pigeon?”
“In the coop outback,” I deadpan.
When we walk in I sigh when I see all the dried blood on the staircase.
“That was the scariest thing I’d ever seen,” I tell Corbett as he closes the door.
He walks over to me and shakes his head.
“That’s quite a tumble she took,” he says quietly.
“Yeah, my heart sank when I heard it.”
He just shakes his head again.
“Make yourself at home,” I say, dropping my keys and heading to the kitchen. “Are you thirsty?”
“I’m fine. If I make myself at home, I’m taking my pants off,” he warns. “I’ve gotten used to it without the kids being home.”
I laugh and say, “Alright, make yourself moderately comfortable. I have a media room if you want to take in a movie while I’m cleaning. I don’t do it too often so it could take a while.”
“Media room, huh? I always wanted one of those mancaves I’ve been hearing about lately.”
“Oh, follow me,” I grin. I lead Corbett to the elevator. I’m not using the stairs until they’re clean. When we get to the floor with the media and game rooms he follows me down the hallway. “I’ve lost whole days in here,” I tell him when we walk into my game room. It looks like a clean dive bar/arcade with the neon signs and all of the games.
“I’m moving in.” He looks serious.
“Uh, you might want to discuss that with the girls first,” I chuckle. “You’re welcome over any time though.”
“Sookie won’t mind. There’s at least sixty or seventy other rooms for her to be in,” he reasons.
“Okay,” I shrug. “We have the guesthouse too…”
“Nah, this is more fun. You’ll never know when I might pop out without pants on to cockblock you.”
“Hmm, we may need to reassess this plan.”
He claps me on my shoulder and says, “You’ll adjust.”
“Sookie won’t.” I turn to walk out and say, “I’m going to run downstairs and get everything cleaned up. Are you going to stay in here?”
“I’m going to start marking it with my scent.”
“Corbett, if you piss on anything in my home you’re going to be 86ed for life.”
He just grins.
Head downstairs and find the cleaning supplies. It ends up taking about an hour to get it back to how it should be. I run to my room and shower quickly before grabbing the things Sookie needs. When I’m done I find Corbett in the media room kicked back on my recliner watching a baseball game.
“I’m heading back to the hospital, are you going to stay here?” I ask. He’s going to be my father-in-law someday. I don’t mind him hanging out.
“Tell Sookie I’m watching the Phillies. She’ll understand.”
“Check. Lock the bottom lock if you leave before we come home tomorrow. You can choose any spare room you like if you want to sleep and there’s plenty of food in the kitchen,” I say.
He gives me a thumbs up.
I shake my head and take off down the hallway. I hear Corbett yelling at the screen when I reach the bottom of the steps, making me chuckle. I go out to the SUV and take that back to the hospital to get back to my girls. I’ve already been gone long enough.