I’ve been dragging my feet on telling my parents about the baby. At first I kept it to myself because I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep it, but now that I’ve decided, I feel like I should tell them. I think letting them get used to that first is a good idea. I’ll hold off on introducing them to Eric for the meantime.
No doubt Dad will initially flip out because that’s what he does, but he’s come to realize I’m going to do what I want anyway. Hell, he might actually shock me and be happy about this. I’m a college graduate and this is forcing me to quit working at the club. You know… make me ‘get my shit together.’
So I decide to go to my parents’ house on Sunday for dinner. I’ve only had to deal with morning sickness a few times. I’m more tired than anything these days. For the last week or so I’ve been going to bed as early as possible and I still need a nap. I almost fell asleep on my date.
I’ve been friends with Ras since high school, but back then I was dating Bill Compton and not interested in Ras. Plus he was on and off with Sandra Pelt, so the timing just wasn’t there. Now he’s a police officer with the local department. He knows I’ve been dancing. We reconnected when a friend of his was having a goodbye party there before he shipped off to the Marines.
I haven’t told him about the baby yet, but I’m going to. Eric asking me out wasn’t a huge surprise. I’m torn about whether or not I want to get into a relationship with him. I like him and we have chemistry like whoa, but I’m not sure if I see him as a potential boyfriend. That was supposed to be one night and one night only. I could have come back for more in the seven weeks we didn’t see each other, but I chose not to. Walking away from him wasn’t hard for me.
He’s funny, polite, charming, smart and respectful. I like those things. I wasn’t crazy about the offer he made me and I’ve always been the type to rebel against authority. Just ask my father. I don’t do well with other people trying to tell me what I can and can’t do. Plus I can take care of myself.
I’ll never discourage Eric from having a relationship with our kid, but that doesn’t mean I have to be his girlfriend either. It worries me that he’s always going to have Montana stuck in his head. I cultivated that personality for the job, but in my regular life I’m not prancing around in lingerie and five inch pumps. I like yoga pants and I rarely wear makeup or do anything fancy with my hair. I’m just Sookie.
Ras already knows Sookie. He knows what I’m about and we have things in common. He’s never given me shit for dancing but he’s never assumed I’m a big slut either. There’s something sweet about him that I really like.
Since Ras works overnight he sleeps during the day and has his evenings free. We make plans to have dinner at my place Saturday night since he can’t cook to save his life and if I do end up getting sick at least I’ll have easy access to my toothbrush. I’m sure if Eric finds out he’ll be pissed about it but I’m not his girlfriend. I know he wants to be a bigger part of my life, but right now he’s not.
I don’t owe him anything. It’s not like he’s been super persistent since we slept together. He’s even said he doesn’t want a girlfriend. Maybe he doesn’t know what he wants. Maybe the baby has him all thrown off. I know it’s changed my life.
I’ve put on a few pounds but nothing too extreme and so far it’s mostly been in my boobs. I’m not showing or anything. My cleavage, however, is out of control. Saturday afternoon I’m cleaning the house when the doorbell rings. It’s a little early for Ras to be coming by so I’m not terribly surprised when I see Eric standing on my front step.
“Hi,” I say when I open the door.
“Hi,” he replies with a smile.
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing, I was in the neighborhood so I decided to stop by,” he says.
“Oh. Okay. Come in. I’m sorry; you caught me in the middle of cleaning the house.” I step back to let him in.
“Oh, it’s fine. Sorry to just drop in like this, but I was literally driving by and made the turn into the complex without thinking,” he explains when he walks in.
“It’s cool. Do you want something to drink?” I offer.
“Uhh, sure I’ll have some water.”
“Have a seat,” I gesture to the big sectional sofa in the living room. I love how open my apartment is. It’ll come in even handier after I have the baby.
Eric walks over to sit. “I love how open it is here,” he comments.
“Me too.” I grab a glass from the cabinet and fill it with filtered water from the fridge. I bring the water to Eric and sit down on the couch.
“Thanks. How are you feeling today?” he asks.
“I’m good. I got good sleep last night and I was able to do some studying this morning. A friend is coming over for dinner tonight,” I tell him.
“Good, I’m glad you’re feeling good. Uh… I won’t be in your hair too long.”
I smile and say, “I know. I wouldn’t be shy about asking you to leave.”
“So I’ve learned,” he smiles back.
“So what are you up to tonight?”
“Dinner with a friend also.”
“Oh good. I’m glad you’re finding more me time,” I tell him.
“Thanks,” he sighs.
He shakes his head no and smiles before he says, “I get a little anxious around you. I’m always scared I’m going to fuck something up again so I was just breathing since I’ve pretty much been holding my breath since I pulled into the parking lot.”
“Oh… well relax. You’re getting all twisted up over nothing,” I tell him.
“I’m trying,” he smiles.
I smile back at him and scoot back so I can put my feet up. My head rests against the back of the couch and I close my eyes for a few seconds.
“I didn’t know being pregnant would make me so tired,” I say.
“Yeah, I’ve been doing some reading. So far tired is probably good compared to what happens with other women.”
“Oh I’ll take it over puking,” I chuckle.
“You look good,” he tells me quietly. “You actually have that little glow people talk about. You look beautiful.”
“Thanks. I’m a bit of a mess right now–”
“No,” he says, cutting me off. “Mess or no mess, you look gorgeous to me.”
I smile at him and say, “That’s sweet of you.”
“It’s the truth,” he shrugs.
“So what are you doing tomorrow?”
“I’m taking a day off. What about you?”
“I’m having dinner with my parents to tell them about the baby,” I confess.
“Ah, I was going to wait until after the appointment to tell mine. They’re going to want to talk to you,” he tells me.
“That’s understandable,” I nod. “Mine will want to meet you too, but I’m going to give them some time to wrap their heads around it first.”
“Thanks. I’m sure your dad is going to want to kill me,” he chuckles.
“Nah. I’m a big girl and this won’t be the first thing I’ve done to give him more gray hair,” I chuckle.
“A bit of a rebellious streak?” he smirks.
“A lot of a rebellious streak. I got the tattoo on my back when I was seventeen and Dad flipped out. He calls it my ‘ho tag’,” I snort.
“That’s actually a bit offensive. You’re definitely not a ho,” he says. “If anything, I hope he’s proud of you. Rebellious or not, you’re a smart, beautiful girl.”
“He is. I got the tattoo there because he despises tramp stamps. He didn’t care so much that I got a tattoo as he did where I got it. He’s learned I’m going to do what I want, regardless of whether or not he approves. Plus I’ve been paying my own way since I was eighteen, so he has no cause for complaints. He does worry, but what father doesn’t?”
Eric chuckles and says, “I’ll have to ask him how he survived the teen years if we have a girl.”
“He’ll tell you he got his bald spot from doing this,” I rub my hand back and forth over the top of my head. It’s what Dad does every time he hears something frustrating or upsetting.
“I’m nervous now,” he smiles.
“About meeting Dad? He’s a puppy dog. His bark is worse than his bite.”
“Oh, I’m not nervous about your dad. I’m nervous about a teenage girl.”
I laugh and say, “If it’s a girl you’ve got plenty of years before you have to worry too much.”
“You know, I’ve finally come to terms with this. I’ve been terrified about this baby, but as each day passes I’m getting more and more excited.”
“You’re going to have to crack down on the squatters so they don’t scare the baby,” I laugh.
“They’re sneaky little shits. I still can’t find them, but I swear I smelled someone cooking after I went to bed the other night,” he smiles.
“Maybe it’s a bunch of chefs who had their souls crushed by Anne Burrell,” I joke.
Eric laughs and says, “They should at least leave me offerings when they tear up my kitchen. I’ll have to chat with Anne about being less of a soul crusher.”
“Maybe the house is haunted,” I suggest.
“Nah, I think it’s just settling. I do hear it creak at night and it used to scare the shit out of me, but I’ve gotten used to it.”
“So that’s what causes the earthquakes,” I smirk.
Eric just chuckles.
My phone chimes on the peninsula so I get up to find a text from Rasul waiting for me.
Ras: I got called in early. Raincheck?
Me: Yeah, of course. Call me later.
I set my phone down and return to the couch.
“Everything alright?” Eric asks.
“Yeah, fine. My friend had to take a raincheck. It’s fine. I can use the time to get more studying done,” I tell him.
“Ah, too bad I have dinner plans otherwise I would suggest we have dinner together,” he says.
“Another time. Things will get much easier for me after finals are over.”
“I know, I’ve been there,” he says softly. “I can be patient.”
I stretch and yawn. I was looking forward to seeing Ras, but my body is thankful he canceled. I could use a nap.
“I would offer to go and let you sleep, but I’m having a hard time getting my body to move away from you,” Eric tells me.
“Would it help if I kicked you out?” I giggle.
“No,” he smiles. “I still won’t want to go. I don’t think you’re ready for me to cuddle and nap with you though.”
“I don’t know… I rarely turn down cuddling,” I inform him.
“I’m really good at it,” he says.
“Mmhmm, expert level cuddling.”
“That’s good to know,” I nod.
“So… can I talk you into a cuddle and a nap? I don’t have to be anywhere for a while.”
I think about it for a moment and say, “I’ll give it a shot. You can always let yourself out if I fall asleep and you need to go.”
“That works. Are we napping here or going to your room?” Eric leans over to take off his shoes.
“My room is better. I can close the curtains in there.” I get up and Eric stands to follow me. I point to the bedroom right off the kitchen and say, “That’s the office. The next room is going to be the baby’s room and there’s a bathroom at the end of the hall.”
“I like it. Much more practical than my monstrosity.”
“Just wait until the baby is mobile. Good luck finding a gate for your stairs,” I snort and lead him to my bedroom. I head straight to the windows and close the curtains.
Eric takes off his button down shirt and lays it across my dresser before he stretches out on the bed to wait for me. I take my hair down and then lie down on my bed. It’s not as big as Eric’s, but then there are some countries smaller than his bed.
Eric rolls on his side and pulls me close his hand settles on my stomach and he nuzzles into my hair. “You smell good,” he whispers.
I’m sure I smell like sweat and Pine Sol, but I whisper, “Thanks.”
His hand rubs my belly gently, holding me close. It doesn’t take long for me to nod off and when I wake up a while later I’m alone in my bed. I didn’t expect Eric to be here but I find I’m disappointed he’s not.
After dinner I decide it’s time to bite the bullet and tell my parents they’re going to be grandparents. Dad’s got his hockey game on and Mom has her crochet stuff out. I can smell the brownies baking in the oven back in the kitchen.
When the game goes to commercial I say, “So there’s something I need to tell you both.”
Dad immediately grumbles, “This never ends well.”
“Oh Corbett, hush,” Mom chuckles. “What is it, Sookie?”
“Well… I’m pregnant,” I blurt out. I’m not going to try and get cute.
Mom gasps and covers her mouth. I can already see tears pooling in her eyes. She’s ready to be a grandma.
“I need a drink,” Dad sighs and drops his head back. “How far along?”
“About ten weeks,” I tell them.
“Oh honey,” Mom gets up to give me a hug and feel my stomach, even though it’s still flat. It is firmer though.
Dad gets up and goes to the kitchen. He comes back a moment later with a tumbler of something brown.
“I didn’t realize you were seeing anyone,” he comments and takes a sip.
“I wasn’t. I just got lucky,” I say without thinking of the double entendre.
“Not funny, Sookie. What do you mean wasn’t? And is this schlup taking responsibility for his actions?” Dad takes another drink.
“I mean we’re talking and taking things a step at a time. His name is Eric, he’s thirty-four, he works in real estate and he’s unmarried with no other kids,” I say. I’m sure Dad’s thinking the worst because of his cynicism, but he’ll come around. He always does.
“Do we get to meet him?” Mom asks.
“Of course. I just thought it would be better if I tell you myself,” I explain.
“My idea of taking things one step at a time doesn’t start with getting knocked up, Sookie. I want to meet this kid, soon.”
“Dad, he’s not a kid. Hell, he’s bigger than you,” I laugh. Eric’s taller by a few inches. “And he’s been very supportive and committed to being part of the baby’s life. He’s coming to my appointment on Thursday.”
“He better be,” Dad grumbles. “Give me some time, Sookie.”
I go give my dad a hug and whisper, “You’re going to be a great grandfather to this kid, Dad.”
“If it ends up anything like you I’ll be lucky,” he whispers back. “Now, I need another drink.”
I laugh quietly and kiss his cheek before I let him go.
“Where does this boy work? I might go pay him a visit,” Dad says as he stands to get another drink.
I roll my eyes and say, “No, you won’t. Eric doesn’t need one of your threats. He’s not some seventeen-year-old punk.”
“You know we always thought it would be Jason that had an oops baby first,” Mom says.
Dad comes back and says, “I just hope this one gives you as much hell as you gave me.”
“Who says I won’t take him or her to get their first tattoo myself?” I raise an eyebrow.
My father gulps back his drink and goes to the kitchen for another refill.
“Corbett, stop being a drama queen,” Mom says. “We’re lucky that Sookie is a self-sufficient young woman who can handle this responsibility.”
“Thank you, Mom.” Hearing her say that means a lot to me.
“I know. It’s going to take a few days for this to sink in,” he sighs.
All things considered, getting pregnant isn’t the worst thing I could do. I have a college degree, a home of my own, a job… I’m doing alright. Time wise this isn’t ideal but is there ever truly a good time to have a baby? I can handle this.
“Well you talk it over with Eric and you bring him by the house for dinner so we can meet him,” Mom says.
“As long as Dad promises not to clean his gun at any point,” I say as I stare at my father.
“I have other ways to terrify him.”
I snort. “Like the fake Vietnam flashback thing where you hide under the dining room table?” He’s done it. Twice.
“I’ll come up with something new,” he grins.
“You’re a strange man,” I laugh. Poor Eric.
“I’ve been called worse.”
“Yeah, and that’s just by Gran.”
Dad snorts and says, “That crazy old woman is worse than me. I learned it somewhere.”
Mom and I laugh at that. I love Gran. She’s got a dirty mouth and no brain to mouth filter. I’ll never forget the look on Dad’s face the time Gran asked Jason if he was ‘flogging the bishop’ yet.
“Where did you meet this guy you’re going slow and having a baby with?” Dad asks me.
I’m not going to lie so I say, “We met at the club.”
“The club?” Dad glares.
“Yes, the club,” I reply.
“Uh oh,” Mom breathes.
“So you went home with a client and apparently had unprotected sex with him. I thought you were smarter than that, Sookie.”
“I was on the pill!” I yell. “And I’d watch it with the accusations since… never mind.” My mom was pregnant when she married Dad but she miscarried six months in.
“Pill or not, what about STD’s, Sookie? How many other girls did he sweet talk or pay to go home with him?”
“Dad, I’m fine. Healthy as a horse. I’m not stupid.”
“Really?” he asks, arching an eyebrow.
“Corbett!” Mom hisses.
“No, it’s fine. Dad has chronic Foot-In-Mouth Disease,” I sigh. “He’s great at putting me down and then wondering why I do some of the fucked up things I do.”
“I’m pissed because you’re smarter than this, Sookie. What did you know about this guy before you spread your legs for him?!” My father yells.
“Nothing! I’m just a dumb slut! Happy now, Dad?!” I march out of the living room and slam the bathroom door behind me. I really hate him sometimes and this is one of those times.
I hear a small knock on the door. I know it’s my mom. I unlock the door and let her in. I wipe angry tears off my cheeks and take a few deep breaths.
She wraps me in her arms and whispers, “Don’t listen to him.”
“He’s such an asshole sometimes,” I whisper as I hug her back.
“He is,” she agrees. “He loves you more than anything and he’s scared right now. He’ll come around and apologize.”
“Yeah, well, it’s abusive and I’m sick of it. I’m not bringing my kid around him if he’s just going to imply I’m a slut in front of my child,” I tell her.
“I know and I’m going to have a talk with him about that. I’ll beat him if I have to,” she smiles. “For now we’ll worry about what’s important. You have a little miracle in there,” she says and rubs my back. “This should be a happy time and I for one don’t intend on allowing Corbett to ruin it.”
“Thanks, Mom.” I sniffle and take the tissue she hands me. “I’ll deal with Dad, though. I can stand up for myself.”
“I know that, Sookie,” she assures me.
I take another deep breath. “If that doesn’t work, then you can beat him.”
“Yes, dear,” she smiles. “I love you, and even if he’s being an asshole, I’m excited about this new little Stackhouse… or, whatever Eric’s last name is.”
“It’s Northman and thank you. I’m not sure what the baby’s name is going to be yet. I’ll talk it over with Eric.”
I’m sure he’ll want the baby to have his last name but we’ll see what happens.
“As in Northman Real Estate?” she asks.
“Yep. It was his mom’s business before his parents retired to Sweden a few years ago.”
“Oh, wow… well, I’ve obviously never met him, but anyone I know that’s worked with him has nothing but good things to say, so that’s a plus,” she smiles.
“He’s very nice, Mom. You should see his house. That place is insane. His guesthouse is bigger than this house,” I tell her.
“Oh boy. Did he get maps printed for company?” she laughs.
“No, but I told him complimentary breadcrumbs would be nice,” I giggle. I love my mom for making me feel better. “You know I really hope that I can be as supportive, understanding, patient, wise and loving to my baby as you’ve been to me.”
“You will be. You have a lot of your father in you, but you were born with the mothering bone. You’re going to be fantastic, Sookie.”
“Thanks, Mom. I’m scared to death; I’m not going to lie.”
“We all are with the first one. You have me and if Eric is being supportive, I’m sure he’ll help hold your hand through this.”
“He is. He asked me on a date but I haven’t answered yet. He was coming to the club for more than a year just to see me. I’m afraid all he’s ever going to truly see is Montana,” I explain.
“Does he treat you like a stripper?”
“Only when he’s trying to flirt with me, but even then he doesn’t make me feel bad about it.”
“Maybe you should cut him some slack then. From what you’re saying he’s been nothing but kind and he didn’t tell you to wait until the baby is born for a paternity test, unless you left that part out…”
“No, he hasn’t. He’s taken me at my word. It almost makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with him,” I admit with a laugh.
“Or maybe you’re jaded from the kind of scum that goes to the club,” she says.
“Maybe,” I concede. “You think I should give him a chance?”
“I think any child needs a chance to have their parents together. Give him a shot and if it doesn’t work at least you can say you tried.”
I nod and say, “Okay. I can do that.” It makes sense. This way we’ll know and if it doesn’t work at least we’ll have that figured out before the baby comes.
“You don’t have to tell me, but what attracted you to him in the first place?”
“It’s going to sound silly, but he’s got the cutest overbite and it’s obvious when he smiles,” I answer.
“There you go, that’s something to build on. Physical attraction is important,” she smiles.
“The physical part isn’t a problem, obviously.” I gesture to my belly.
“Well, he can’t be a complete tool if you went home with him. I doubt it was just an overbite and the size of his wallet. I know you better than that, Sookie.”
“It was more,” I agree.
“Would you like to share with the class?”
“He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s generous, he looks me in my eyes when we talk and he doesn’t treat me like a dumb whore,” I tell her.
“Huh, funny, he actually sounds like your type,” she teases. “Sookie, get to know him. You’re going to have a lifetime with him regardless.”
Mom’s right, but then she usually is. We leave the bathroom a minute later and I stand in front of the TV while I address my father.
“I’m only going to say this once so listen good. If you ever again imply that I’m stupid or that I’m a slut, those will be the last words you say to me for a while.”
I’m not going to let you fill my child’s head with that crap and you will never treat my kid that way. Are we clear?” I ask him.
“Crystal,” he sighs.
“I mean it,” I say firmly.
“I know, Sookie. I just need a little more time to wrap my head around this.”
“And if Eric implied I’m a stupid slut, would you agree with him?”
My dad growls, “If he ever–”
“Then what makes it okay for you to do that?” I cut him off.
He stays quiet for a moment before he says, “It’s not okay, and I’m sorry, Sookie.”
“Thank you,” I nod and move out of the way so Dad can finish watching his game. I sigh and shake my head, wondering how many times I’m going to have to cut him off before he gets the point.