Things have gone back to normal since the wedding. Everything has calmed down since the move. Pam and Jason have gotten their annulment without either of our parents finding out. We’ll just say what happens in Tahoe stays in Tahoe. The last thing we need to tackle is our little Jake problem. Neither Eric nor I want him to feel like he’s second best. I can honestly say I love him just as much as I love my biological babies, and I know Eric feels the same about Jo. Explaining that to a four-year-old isn’t going to be easy though.
I asked my parents to take Joey for the night while we have Jake so he can get some good one on one time with Eric. We can also have our talk with him. When they get to the house I’m in the kitchen as always lately. I’ve made Jake’s favorite cake, vanilla with rainbow chips, and homemade buttercream frosting. I hear the front door close and two seconds later I hear Jake’s little feet running across the floor.
“In here, buddy,” I call from the kitchen.
“Hi, Sookie,” he says as he comes barreling into the kitchen.
“Hey, handsome, are you hungry?” I ask. “I have cake or celery sticks.”
“You’re gonna let me have cake for dinner?” He looks suspicious instead of elated like most kids would.
“I have chili dogs too, but you look like you need cake. You’re looking skinny, Bubba,” I wink. He’s just hit a growth spurt and he’s thinning out as he gets taller.
“That’s ’cause I grow like a weed,” he shrugs.
“That you do,” I laugh. I don’t know who told him that, but it’s a true story. “If you don’t want cake, you don’t have to have it. It was just an option.”
“I’m not hungry. I had a snack before Dad picked me up.”
“Alright. Where is Dad?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugs again. “He came in but I don’t know where he went.”
“Okay, can we talk, man to woman?” I ask, leaning on the counter.
“Here’s the deal. Dad and I don’t know why you feel like he loves Jo more. Can you tell me why you feel that way?” I query. He already knows the cake is a ploy of some sort. I might as well be straight with him.
“I don’t know.” He looks uncomfortable.
“I think you do know,” I tell him. “We don’t like you feeling second best, Jake. That’s nowhere near the truth.”
“Okay.” His eyes are looking anywhere but at me.
“Jacob, look at me,” I say in my mom voice.
He flinches and he looks at me, but not at my face.
“In my eye,” I command.
Eric walks into the room and Jake looks like he’s going to cry.
“What’s going on?” Eric asks, looking from me to Jake.
I give Eric a look that I’m sure he can’t decipher before I look back at Jake. My tone softens and I say, “Baby, talk to us.” I approached him on my own hoping he would open up to me and not feel like Eric and I were ganging up on him.
“No!” Jake yells and runs out of the room.
“What the hell was that?” Eric looks at me. “He was fine when I picked him up.”
“Something’s up. He froze when I asked him why he thinks you like Jo more.”
“Were you subtle about it or did you demand that he tell you? I heard what you said. I think you scared him,” he says.
I sigh and say, “I probably took the wrong approach. I didn’t want to baby him and I was hoping it would work. He knew something was up when I offered him cake.”
“You offered him cake?” Eric gives me a look that clearly says ‘what the fuck’.
“Was that bad?” Ugh. I should’ve just left this alone altogether and let Eric deal with it. I probably just made things worse.
“He’s four but he’s not stupid, Sookie. I’ll go talk to him. Just try to be normal, will you?” Yep, Eric’s pissed. Before I can respond, he walks out of the room.
Jo is easy to talk to compared to Jake. I should’ve known better, and I should’ve warned Eric that I was going to talk to him. I guess since Eric is a hundred percent involved with raising Joey I don’t think about my part in raising Jake. He’s not my child, I’m not adopting him. He has a mother who is most likely feeding him all kinds of lies, but that’s beside the point.
I finish cleaning the kitchen and I don’t know what to do with myself. Odds are when they’re done Eric and I are going to get into a fight over my big mouth. Maybe I should make an apology cake for Eric. Instead I go to our room and get ready for bed earlier than normal. I have my jammies on and I’m rubbing lotion on my belly when Eric walks in. He doesn’t look happy. I don’t know if it’s what I said, what Jake said, or both.
“Sorry,” I apologize. “I overstepped my bounds.”
“He’s not like Jo, Sook. I know you were trying to help but he thought he was in trouble for something,” he tells me.
I start crying.
“I’m sorry; I don’t want him to feel like I was mad at him.”
“Then maybe next time you want to talk to him don’t bark at him,” Eric suggests.
“Will it be okay with him if I go apologize?” I can wait to find out what they talked about. Jake needs to know I messed up.
“He’s passed out already.” Eric goes into the bathroom.
“Do you want cake?” I just feel like an epic bitch right now and I really don’t know what to do.
“Did he tell you why he felt that way?” I ask him as I get up from the bed.
“He said he doesn’t.” Eric comes out of the bathroom shirtless.
“Did you ask him why he said that then?”
“No, I didn’t. I’m not going to pick at something he says isn’t an issue anymore.”
“Okay.” Well, I fucked up big time, didn’t I? “I can’t say sorry enough. I feel like a huge ass,” I pout and sit back on the bed.
“You were trying to help. Next time just relax. Maybe run it by me first. We could have talked it all out on the ride over, you know. The problem wasn’t with you in the first place.”
“I just didn’t want him to feel bullied and that’s exactly what I did.”
“Yeah, it is,” he agrees.
I shift to my side of the bed and roll under the covers. I feel like a giant right now. I look like I’m six months pregnant at barely four months.
“Goodnight,” I sigh. I have nothing to say that won’t make me feel or sound even more like an ass.
“Sook, it’ll be fine. Jake will be himself in the morning and we’ll move on,” he says.
“I’m sure he will be, but I’m an emotional, pregnant, mess. It’s not as easy for me to get over.”
Eric spoons up behind me and says, “Let it go, Toots. There’s no instruction manual for kids. You just do what you think is right and hope it works out. If it doesn’t, you learn your lesson and don’t make the same mistake twice.”
I sigh and reach up to wipe my eyes. I know what he’s saying is completely true.
“I hate feeling like this and there’s nothing I can do about it. These stupid hormones are fucking with me.”
He wraps his arm around me and kisses my shoulder.
“Tomorrow is a new day,” Eric says.
“Okay,” I nod.
Eric was right. The next morning Jake came running into our room, bouncing on the bed and pushing me aside to snuggle. Of course as soon as my eyes opened he sweetly asked for breakfast cake. I quickly went back to a couple years ago when Eric mentioned he’d seen Bill Cosby’s Himself and Jake and I snuck out of bed to eat giant pieces of cake for breakfast. Eric walked in on us shoving it in our faces.
Today, however, is the day. We have an appointment at three to find out the sex of the babies. I kind of want girls, because I know what I’m getting into with girls. Eric says he doesn’t care, and I actually believe him. I feel like a moose when Eric meets me at the doctor’s office, but he still gives me a gorgeous smile and tells me I look beautiful. Crazy man.
“I bought a little frame for your dad,” I tell Eric while we’re waiting. I promised Drew I would make sure he gets an ultrasound picture for his wall at work.
“Good. He’ll be happy to have the picture.”
“Are you excited to find out what we’re having?”
“I am. Hopefully they’re not camera shy.”
“I don’t think I could handle that,” I smile. It took two appointments to find out what Joey was.
“It would make life easier if they cooperate.”
“I have a good feeling. They’ve been moving, just never when you’re around or awake.”
“Jerks,” he smiles a little.
“Hopefully soon. They’re pretty calm so far.”
“They’ll start a chorus line soon enough.”
“It scares me to have two of them jumping around. Jo used to kick my bladder regularly and it sucks. These babies can take turns,” I sigh.
Before he can respond my name is called and we go back. When my vitals are checked, Betsy is happy to tell me I’ve gained fifteen pounds. I know by the next appointment it’ll be a whole hell of a lot more with these monsters. My blood pressure is fine and when we get to the room she tells us Dr. Ludwig should be in soon.
Eric holds my coat and I hop up on the table. I stay sitting up because I can only spend minimal time on my back.
“Do we want to just tell them separately, or should we have our parents over for dinner again?” I ask.
“Your choice,” he says.
“I guess we can just call them tonight.”
“Works for me.”
We go silent until Dr. Ludwig walks in. She greets us both and then starts asking me general questions to make sure I haven’t had any problems yet.
“Everything has been fine. We’ve been reading a lot about twins, so nothing has been too surprising yet,” I explain.
“That’s smart. It helps that it’s not your first pregnancy.”
She has me lie back and when I do I pull my shirt up. I push my pants below my belly and Eric stands up next to me. Even though the gel is warm I still jump a little when the want touches my skin. Almost immediately the sound twin heartbeats fill the room. It blows me away every time I hear it. They’re not moving around a lot, like normal, but the doctor assures me their hearts are strong. She isn’t worried, so I won’t worry.
“This is it,” I tell Eric and squeeze his hand.
“If there are two of the same gender, no rhyming names,” he says.
“Deal, I hate that too,” I agree. I’ll probably dress them in the same thing from time to time though.
“Good. Twins deserve to have their own identity.”
“I agree. I kinda hope they’re fraternal. That would help them,” I say just as Ludwig clears her throat. We look over at her and she motions toward the screen.
“Here it is,” she says on a paused image. She reaches up with her pen and uses the capped end to point draw a line around one of their legs and I don’t see Eric’s reaction, but that’s definitely Eric’s son. She moves the wand again and unfreezes the screen. “Here’s number two.” She does the same thing and even though he doesn’t care I can feel the pride pouring off him in waves for getting two more little boys. Ugh the testosterone in my house is going to be enough to choke someone.
“So no Shawn and John?” I ask. His face is still glued to the screen.
“I’m not naming my boys after a rapper,” he winks at me. “Now Axel and Slash…”
“Channing and Alexander?”
“You name my son after a greasy stripper and I’m divorcing you.” He’s serious.
I smile and say, “Teasing you is worth seeing that look on your face. You’re really too cute. How about Luke and Chris?”
“Jake’s middle name is Lucas.”
“I was teasing anyway. We have time to come up with something good.”
“Yes we do. Don’t be surprised if Dad buys us a basketball hoop for the driveway and makes up little jerseys.” Drew is a huge Lakers fan.
“Just for that I hope they get my height,” I tell him.
“Not likely,” Dr. Ludwig points out as she hands me the towel to clean up.
Eric chuckles and says, “It’ll be fun when our boys are taller than you by the time they graduate from kindergarten.”
“Jerk,” I giggle.
“Healthy as little horses in there. Here’s the pictures and make an appointment on the way out,” the doctor tells me and pats Eric on the arm as she walks out.
“Maybe you can feel them move if I don’t pass out too early tonight,” I say. They usually get crazy just before I conk out and it’s too hard to yell for Eric from the room.
“Maybe. They’ll be crazy active soon enough.”
“Do you want to grab a snack before I go pick up Jo?” I’m always hungry these days, but I can only eat a little at a time. I live on snacks and when we go out Eric just finishes what I don’t eat.
“Sure,” he says, and helps me sit up.
I fix my clothes and toss the towel in the little towel bin in the back of the room. Eric takes my hand to lead me out to make an appointment before we walk to our cars.
“Where do you want to go? I’ll follow you,” he offers.
“Right now just about anything. There’s a Perko’s on the way home. We can just stop there,” I tell him. They have these whole grain pancakes that I’m addicted to.
“Okay. I’ll meet you there.” He gives me a kiss and goes to the Jeep.
I hop into my Honda and it hits me as I’m turning onto the street that I’m going to have to get a bigger car. Neither Jake or Jo are big enough to sit in the front, or be without a car seat. My dad came with me to get the Honda so I’ll see if he feels like car shopping with me after I discuss it with Eric.
I make a mental checklist of things I need to talk to Eric about. I doubt I’ll remember any of them though. I start thinking about their living arrangements. I still have Joey’s old crib stored at my parents’ house as well, so we don’t have to buy a new one unless Eric wants to. I know he said we should stick them in one for a while. So we have time on that matter. I need to talk to him about his views on me going back to work or if he feels better with me staying at home. I love my job, but I would never get bored at home with two babies. The job thing is a toss up for me.
I pull into the parking lot and I notice Eric parked a little farther out so I can park next to him. He’s at my door before I can even turn my car off.
“Help,” I say, raising my hand to him.
Eric reaches in to help me out.
“I think it’s time to look into getting you an SUV, Toots,” he says.
“I was just thinking about that. By the time I’m ready to pop I don’t think I’d be able to climb into one,” I laugh.
“By then you probably won’t be driving at all,” he points out.
We walk into the restaurant and there are only a few customers right now so we’re seated right away. The dinner rush will hit soon so I think we showed up just in time.
“I don’t even need to look at the menu. Whole grain pancakes and bacon,” I say when I take my seat.
“You mean not a plate of bacon with a side of pancakes?” He teases and looks at the menu.
“Hush,” I smile, “I’m not that hungry.”
“Plus I only pig out on bacon at home. It’s too expensive to do that in a restaurant.”
The server comes up to take our drink order. I end up ordering a decaf coffee and a glass of water. Eric gets just water.
“Have you thought about what kind of replacement car you might want?”
“Not really. Just something that will carry six comfortably. If it were up to Dad I’d finally be getting a Ford, I just don’t think I like them though. Have you looked at all?” I know Eric likes to research everything.
“I have. I just wanted to wait to bring it up until we got settled in the new house,” he says. “There are a few SUVs you might like if you don’t want to go the minivan route.”
“Truth be told, a minivan would probably be easier, but I hate them. I’m definitely getting an SUV.”
“Well if you want a Ford, there’s the Flex. It has a refrigerated console in the second row,” he tells me.
“Are you kidding me? That’s silly,” I laugh. The things they do with newer cars trip me out.
“Sook, four kids on a long car ride. A refrigerator is fucking brilliant,” he argues.
“So is an ice chest. I would rule it out,” I tell him.
“The ice chest takes up more room. The console is built-in,” he points out. “But fine. There’s the Dodge Durango, the Nissan Pathfinder, the GMC Acadia, the Toyota Highlander…”
“I promised Daddy no more imports when I bought my car. Maybe this weekend we can go look at the GMC and the Ford Flex,” I suggest.
“The Explorer would work too,” he says.
“Does it have a refrigerated console?” I ask, reaching over to take his hand.
“I don’t know,” he smiles.
“Well you do know the Flex does, so maybe we can avoid the Explorer.” I don’t really care what I drive. I know Eric is just trying to make sure I have something practical.
“It could be nice to have, especially since Mom and Dad like to have family weekends up at the cabin in the summer,” he reminds me.
“Okay.” He’s giving me the look he claims he doesn’t make, but I won’t point it out. “What are your thoughts about me going back to work after they’re born?”
“It’s up to you. It’s kind of a double edged sword if you go back. Yes, it’s another paycheck, but most of it would go toward daycare.”
“Not that much. The daycare at work is reasonably priced. Do you think we would feel comfortable carrying a mortgage, two car payments, child support, and the expenses of raising two babies and a five-year-old full time on just your salary?” It’s a little overwhelming when I start thinking about it.
“It would be very tight,” he says. “But I’ll let you decide what you want to do. Personally, I think it would drive you nuts to be home by yourself with the twins all day.”
“I’m sure they’ll keep me busy,” I smile. “It would be nice to get a little break every now and then though. We have time to think about it and see is if it’s the right thing. The money scares me more than anything.”
“Don’t forget that you can leave at any time if working isn’t working for you,” he points out.
The server comes back to take our orders and Eric snickers across the table when I do end up ordering two sides of bacon.
“Should we call our parents now or do you want to wait?” I ask when she walks away.
“We can call now. Mom already sent me a text on the way over here.”
“So we’ll call her first.”
Eric pulls his phone out of his pocket and scrolls through to look for their house number. Both of his parents should be home now. He puts the call on speakerphone so I can hear them too.
“About time you called back. Is everything okay?” Karin asks in a panic.
“Fine, Mom. Sookie’s here too.”
“Hello, Karin,” I say with a little wave even though she can’t see me.
“Hi, honey. How are you? That heartburn still bothering you?”
“A little,” I tell her. “It’s not anything I’m not used to by now.”
“Just wait until the eighth month and you get hem–”
“Mom, no,” Eric cuts her off. “She’s been pregnant before, remember?”
“Not with a Northman,” Karin snorts.
“The bathroom, where else?”
“Tell him to hurry up. These babies aren’t going to wait forever for him,” I tell her.
“It’s the damn stomach thing he’s got lately.”
“Sympathy pains,” I snicker. “Has he been checked out?”
“He went in yesterday so we’re waiting for test results,” she says.
“Well I hope everything’s alright,” I tell her.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine. It’s probably just stress,” she says.
“Hold on a second and I’ll go check on him.”
I put the phone on mute and say, “Baby, I’m worried. His stomach has been really bothering him a lot more than it should.”
“Yeah, I know,” Eric agrees. “That’s where stress gets him, though. Mom gets backaches and Dad’s stomach gets wonky.”
“I don’t like it.” I’ve been worrying about everything a lot lately though. I’ll let it go for now.
Karin comes back and says, “He’ll have to call you later.”
“Well tell him to get the season tickets renewed. We’re having boys,” Eric says.
“Oh that’s wonderful!”
“I’m sure Eric is happy he won’t have to threaten any more little boys when they get dating age.”
“Oh I’m sure he’ll have opinions about the girls they date too,” she laughs.
“Oh you mean like Dad?” Eric smiles at me.
“It’s not my fault he fell in love with me,” I shrug.
“That’s because you were a hard working single mom and not a materialistic bitch like the girl before you,” Karin says.
I smirk at my husband.
“I didn’t know she was a materialistic bitch when I met her.”
“It’s okay, baby, you have me now,” I coo.
“Definitely an upgrade,” he winks.
“I’ll say. Amanda looked like her face would crack in half if she smiled too hard,” Karin snickers.
“The only way she was going to give you a genuine smile was if she found out Dad was terminally ill and I was going to inherit everything,” Eric replies.
“I never loved Jake more than when he threw up on her,” she sighs happily.
“Sounds like a real winner,” I snort.
“You know there’s a reason she’s history, right? If Jake would have puked on you, you would be history too.”
“Oh yeah? Did he only puke on the materialistic ones?”
“She was the only one between you and Aude that he met,” he says.
“Then why would I be history?” I ask confused. Jake’s puked on me a few times.
“I meant when he first met you,” he clarifies.
“It wasn’t five minutes before he threw up on Amanda out of nowhere,” Karin says.
Huh. That’s weird.
“Well then I’m happy he seemed to have liked me. Although I can handle throw up just fine.”
“That’s why there’s a ring on your finger,” he smiles at me.
“I would’ve married you without a ring. I would’ve married you just so I could hang out with you for the rest of my life,” I smile back.
“I think I’m diabetic now,” Karin deadpans.
“I’m not sorry,” I giggle. “We should go. We have to call my parents. Give Drew our love and tell him to relax.”
“I will. Take good care of my boys,” Karin says.
“She always does. Love you, Mom,” Eric says.
“Bye, Karin,” I say and we hang up.
Our food shows up before we can call my parents. Once we’re done we give my dad a quick call at work while we wait for the check. I can tell my mom when I pick Joey up from their house. Dad is ecstatic that we’re having boys. He likes Jake well enough, but he wants his own boys to spoil.
When we leave the restaurant we go our separate ways. Eric has to get back to work to finish up a few things and I have to pick up Jo from my mom. She’s excited, but she would’ve preferred girls. She’ll get over it. All in all it’s a good day and I like that we can start working on the nursery. Plus, Eric and I have a plan for new car shopping. The job thing is still up in the air, but we’ll come to a decision soon enough.