An idea smacks me into being awake. There’s just under a month before Eric’s birthday and I’m willing to bet that he’s never had a surprise party before. Now seems like the perfect time to throw him one and this is something the kids could help me with. Levi and Ryan would have a better idea of who to invite and I’m positive Alyssa would love to help me with decorations.
A glance at the clock tells me that it’s after eleven already and I haven’t heard Alyssa knock in the door. Eric is still asleep next to me and I get the brilliant idea to try and sneak his keys out so I can make a copy of them just so I can let myself in the day of the party to surprise him. So I slip out of bed and tip toe over to the dresser where his keys are.
The apartment is silent so I’m not sure what Alyssa is up to. Of course the second I get ahold of Eric’s keys his eyes open.
“Mmm… what are you doing?” he asks sleepily.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
“Going for donuts,” I lie.
“Lover, the only thing I want to eat right now is your pussy,” he says.
I smile and drop his keys before going back to the bed.
“It’s after eleven. We should probably get out of bed to check on your child,” I tell him.
He sighs and says, “Yeah, we should. I don’t usually sleep this late.”
“We were pretty worn out by the time we went to sleep.” I lean down to kiss him and Eric pulls me down completely on top of him.
“Eric!” I squeak, and laugh when he flips me so I’m under him.
We’re making out, morning breath and all, when Alyssa knocks on the door.
“I can hear you and I’m hungry!” she calls out.
Eric sighs and the kissing stops.
“We’ll be right out, Lyss!” Eric calls back.
“I told you so,” I smile up at him and he rolls off of me.
“This isn’t over,” he calls out over his shoulder when he gets to the bathroom.
“It is until Alyssa goes to bed or goes home,” I say, and get out of bed too.
I leave the bedroom to find Alyssa sitting on the couch trying to replicate the braid I put in her hair the night before.
“Want some help?” I offer.
“Yes please, it’s not working for me,” she sighs and drops her hair.
“It’s okay. It takes time to get your hands used to the movements,” I say as she turns on the couch so I can sit behind her. “How are you feeling this morning?”
I still can’t believe that her mother never bothered to tell her what was going to happen with her body. There obviously wasn’t much of a sex talk either. Poor girl.
“My stomach is cramping, but it’s not too bad. I feel a little more like myself though.”
“That’s good.” I want to tell her that she can call me if she has any other questions she’s afraid to ask her mom or dad but I don’t think we’re quite there yet and I don’t want to step on Eric or Aude’s toes by doing that.
“Morning, princess,” Eric says when he comes out of the bedroom. “I have stuff for pancakes if you want.”
“Yes please,” she replies. She really is a good girl, with amazing manners.
“You’re lucky your dad can cook or we’d be in big trouble.”
“He does alright,” she teases. “He does make the best pancakes though.”
“I got to try them yesterday. They are pretty amazing,” I agree.
“Ah, singing my praises. I like it,” Eric chuckles from the kitchen. “Your hair looks good, baby. Is Sookie teaching you how to braid it yourself?”
“Yeah, she said she will.” I finish the braid and tell her to go look. Alyssa surprises me when she turns around and gives me a huge hug. “Thank you, Sookie.”
I hug her back. I like this Alyssa much better.
“You’re welcome, sweetie.”
When she gets up to go look at her hair I turn to see what Eric’s doing and he’s watching me with a small smile.
“I love you, I hope you know that,” he says quietly.
“I do, and I love you too. Want some help?” I offer as I get up.
“Sure, you can be my counter decoration again. That helps more than you know.”
“Good thing that’s my specialty.” I follow him into the kitchen and get stuff out to get the coffee going. Alyssa joins us in the kitchen and takes it upon herself to get the chocolate chips out of the cabinet.
“Are you going to meet the twins before you go?”Alyssa asks me and sets the chips down. She surprises me when she puts her arm around Eric’s waist. She really is a daddy’s girl.
“That’s the plan. I probably should have brought a berka, though,” I joke.
“What’s a berka?” she inquires.
“It covers a woman’s face and body, only showing her eyes,” Eric replies. “Sook, do you want me to invite them over for dinner? Or we can take them out so they’re less likely to try to touch your ti– breasts.”
“It’s up to you. I don’t care either way,” I tell him.
“Lyss, dinner in or take them out?”
“I say out,” she suggests. She probably wants more makeup done.
“Do you really want them to embarrass you?” he asks her and she just shrugs.
“They don’t embarrass me anymore. Plus they’ll try to impress Sookie.”
“They can try, but they’re a little young for me,” I giggle.
“Well, you did date one son…”
“Who is only four years younger,” I say in my own defense.
“So… there’s a cut off?” he jokes and turns back to the pancakes.
“If there was would I be dating you?” I fire right back, making Alyssa laugh.
“Touché,” Eric snorts. “How many pancakes, princess?”
“Hmm… two I think.”
“I’d like three again, please.”
I get out the plates and Alyssa takes them from me to set the table.
“So, Alyssa, anything I need to know before I meet your brothers today? I’ll take any pointers you have to give,” I say.
“I don’t know how they’re going to act, so I’m not sure. They like to joke, and they’ll talk at the same time which is creepy.”
“Do they have their own language? I heard somewhere that twins can do that.”
“Not really, unless you count the looks. They don’t need words they just look at each other and know,” she shrugs.
“They’re fluent in idiot,” Eric says. “Those two get into more trouble.”
“Like father like sons,” I snicker. I’ll pay for this later. And I’ll enjoy it.
Eric gives me a look that says it all.
“They’re excited though, and not because of your boobs.”
I lean over and whisper to Eric, “Are my boobs really that great?”
Alyssa doesn’t need to hear that.
“Yes, they’re fantastic,” he whispers back and gives me a peck on the lips.
“Hmmm… Well thank you. Pam tried to talk me into a reduction,” I tell him while Alyssa gets the silverware out.
“Who’s Pam?” she asks.
“My old boss,” I answer honestly. The answer pacifies Alyssa and she returns to setting the table.
“Pam’s an insane woman. I’m glad you didn’t listen, I’ve would’ve been sad,” Eric says.
“Me too. I like them as are,” I say.
“I wonder how big my boobs will get,” Alyssa chimes in. Eric is in for another fun day. “My mom’s are smaller than yours, but bigger than a lot of my friends’ moms.”
“Do we have to talk about your boobs, Lyss? I’m already an emotional wreck when it comes to you.”
“We’re talking about boobs, Dad. I’m allowed to talk about mine. Chill.”
I fight my laughter because I know Eric really is struggling with the overnight change where Alyssa is concerned. So I decide to keep quiet unless one of them directs a question at me.
“Do you want me to talk about your boobs?” he asks her, cocking an eyebrow.
“Oh, eww, no!”
“Fine, no more boob talk. Ugh,” she groans.
“Sookie, when did your boobs fill in?” Eric asks, keeping up the conversation.
“Uh, I started early, but I’ve been this size since I was seventeen,” I answer.
“Look, you probably have a few years,” he tells Alyssa.
“I already have a bra, Dad. They’ll probably start growing faster now that… you know.”
“Ok, change of subject,” Eric starts. “I was going to wait to ask, but now is good. How would you feel about living here full time? Or most of the time, you can go to your mom’s when I have to travel.”
“Mom’ll never let me,” Alyssa says.
“If Mom was a non-issue would you want to?”
“Uh, yeah,” she grins. “It would be awesome to get away from the three stooges.”
“I’ll talk to Mom then,” he offers. “She’s going to fight it though, just so you know to expect some yelling when I come over to talk.”
“Is Sookie moving in too?” Alyssa asks, and looks at me.
“Uh, not right now, Alyssa,” I answer.
“Baby, we talked about this. Sookie is still in school right now and she wants to finish before moving anywhere. We’ll talk about it once she graduates though,” Eric answers while looking at me.
“That’s our plan,” I nod my agreement. “In the meantime I’ll have to suffer out in California riding horses and soaking in my hot tub.”
“Can I come to California?” she asks excitedly. “I’ve never been on a horse.”
“Ummm… that’s up to your parents.” I wouldn’t mind, but I’m not going to say yes and get her hopes up if her parents are just going to say no.
“I don’t think Aude will agree to that right now,” Eric answers. “I can’t take you out of the state without her okay.”
Alyssa looks a little deflated and I don’t blame her. I think she would love riding. Maybe I’ll look into places in Utah we could go to so she could try it. I’m sure there are horse ranches out here.
Eric finishes up cooking the pancakes and I get down to pour us coffee. Alyssa gets herself some milk and then the three of us sit down to eat together. It’s nice sitting like this. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything family-like. I could get used to this.
∞ ∞ ∞
“Sookie will you do my makeup again?” Alyssa asks after she’s dressed and showered.
I’m curling my hair and Eric is shaving. He whimpers beside me and I can practically hear him wondering if it’s not too late to drop his princess at a convent.
“Sure. I’ll come find you when I’m done with my hair,” I tell her.
“Okay!” Alyssa bounces away, telling us she’s going to try again with the braid.
“If one of my sons tells me they got someone pregnant you’re not allowed over anymore. Too much has changed since you got here,” he sighs.
I laugh and say, “That’s life, sweetie. Get used to it.”
“Yeah, tell me that when Mark’s love child is calling you Grandma at twenty-eight.”
“You know the only good thing about that is the kid would probably call you Great-Grandpa,” I tease.
“Fuck you,” he laughs. “I look good for my age.”
“I think you look fantastic and sexy as hell, but I’m sure I look like an old lady to little kids.”
“Probably,” he winks. “I should trade you in for a newer model.”
“Don’t go too much younger or you’ll be looking at jail time.”
“I couldn’t comfortably go younger than Levi.”
“You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that,” I say sincerely. It’s one thing to get involved with a younger woman, but an eighteen-year-old would be fucking creepy. A step-mother shouldn’t be younger than a step-son. Just no.
“I’m actually attracted to women my own age. I would never look for a younger girl, but there’s something about you… I don’t know what it is.”
“Probably the fact that I swallow,” I smirk.
“Could be,” he winks and leans down to kiss me.
“You should go get dressed before I do naughty things to you,” I tell him.
“But I want you to do naughty things to me.”
“I know you do, but I don’t think there’s time.”
“Sadly you’re right,” he sighs. “I guess more fucking with your mouth covered tonight.”
“I thought that was a given?”
“You know I love that, right?”
“Oh I’m aware.”
“If you don’t like it I can just go nice and slow and stop anytime you make a noise.”
“Why do you hate me?” I deadpan.
“Mmm, no slow fucking, check.”
“Seriously Eric, did we just meet?” I shake my head, smiling at his reflection.
“Ah, you women are crazy. Anything is liable to happen and your minds change at the drop of a hat.”
“That’s just us keeping you on your toes. Besides, you’ve liked all of my surprises so far.”
“This is a truth,” he nods.
Eric goes to get dressed and I finish my hair. When I’m fine I go over to Alyssa’s room to help her with her hair. After that I bring her back to the other bathroom to put makeup on her. I can feel Eric watching and decide to have a little fun with him.
“You know, Alyssa, you would make a great Amy Winehouse for Halloween,” I say.
“Nope!” Eric calls and walks past us.
“I’m talking about before she was dead,” I say, and Alyssa giggles.
“Keep it up and I’m separating you two. I don’t like the ideas coming from the two of you.”
“Okay then how about Britney Spears right after she recovered from the breakdown?” I wink at Alyssa.
“I need my boys,” Eric groans.
“Just remember you’re lucky you only have one daughter and somewhere there are fathers stressing out because of your sons,” I remind him.
“If I had more daughters I would be used to it by now and my sons are just as stressful, Sookie. I was a father at eighteen, and I don’t want that for any of them.”
“Sex talks for the win,” I smile at him.
“I’ve had it five times, I’m a pro now.”
“You aren’t going to have one with me, are you?” Alyssa looks nervous.
“Maybe,” he says, “It might scare you into becoming a nun.”
“Dad,” she whines.
“When you’re ready ask your mom… or Sookie.” I love that he offers my services without checking with me.
“Sookie,” she says. “She won’t get all weird like you and Mom do.”
“Sorry, Sook, you got the tough job,” he laughs.
I smirk at that and pronounce Alyssa as being done. She thanks me and goes back to her room to finish getting ready.
“Eric, do you really think I’m going to have a problem giving a sex talk?” I ask as I clean up. Has he forgotten that I’ve taught him quite a bit?
“No, that’s why I offered you up as an option. I know you’ll teach her all the stuff she should know. Just don’t tell her how good it is,” he says. “Tell her it’s terrible and she shouldn’t ever do it.”
“Which will explain why she has five brothers,” I laugh.
“Fuck you,” he snickers. “That was actual terrible sex.”
“You don’t want her to end up with a guy that’s bad in bed,” I say and he looks like he might explode, “You want her to make smart choices where those kinds of relationships are concerned.”
“But if he’s bad, she won’t want to do it again. You have to think about these things.”
“So no magic cocks in her henhouse.”
“Hell no, we can stop talking about my baby girl’s ‘henhouse’ it freaks me out.” He used air quotes… actual air quotes. He’s adorable.
I give him a hug and say, “I’ll stop.”
Just then we hear two voices coming from the living room. The twins are here.
This is going to be interesting. Their hormones are hitting them hard and I suspect Sookie is going to get uncomfortable.
“Ready for this?” I ask her.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I have years of practice dealing with horny idiots,” she says.
We’re getting ready to walk out of the room when James comes walking in, no knocking, he just walks in.
“Hi,” he says, eyeballing Sookie.
I think his appearance takes Sookie by surprise. She’s seen pictures, but nothing recent and he looks exactly like me at that age.
“You need to learn to knock, kid,” I tell him before she responds. “Sweetie, this is James.”
“Nice to meet you, James. I’m Sookie,” she extends a hand to him.
“You too,” he replies and takes her hand. “Mark!” he yells and the final Northman walks in.
“Hi,” he says, just like James did.
“This one is Mark,” I tell her and they’re both staring at her.
“Hi, Mark. I’m Sookie.” she shakes his hand too. “Nice to meet you.”
“Come on,” I take her hand to lead her out of the room with the twins trailing behind her.
When we get to the living room Sookie says, “I’m sorry to disappoint you boys, but Alyssa couldn’t get the pictures you wanted.”
The two of them go into full on idiot mode, sputtering and trying to deny they even asked for such a thing.
“Liars,” Alyssa says. “Then why did Mark give me his cell phone?”
“I didn’t give it,” Mark says.
“It was a loan,” James supplies.
“Enough. It was inappropriate regardless so knock it off. You should know better than that. I shouldn’t have to tell you this,” I say in my stern father’s tone.
“Why’s Lyss all dressed up like it’s Halloween? Mom would drop a deuce if she saw this,” James says.
“Why do you always look like it’s Halloween?” Alyssa fires back. I’m proud of my baby for standing up for herself, but I feel a little insulted too since the twins look just like me.
“Quiet, squirt,” Mark says, and tries to put Alyssa in a headlock. It earns him a near punch in the balls and he backs off.
“Leave her alone,” I tell Mark.
“Tattle tale,” James says.
“It’s not my fault you guys are gross,” Alyssa says, and then hugs Sookie. I think the twins are jealous their sister is so close to Sookie’s twins.
“How about we get going?” Sookie suggests. “I’m hungry.”
“Good idea, you little shits better not mess with your sister in the car,” I tell them as we all walk out of the apartment.
“Let Alyssa sit up front and Sookie can sit in the back with us,” James suggests.
“No,” I say, leaving no room for argument.
“Please?” they say in unison.
“No.” This time it’s Sookie and they shuffle behind us pouting.
“Too bad you can’t tie them to the roof,” Alyssa says.
“State laws are a bitch, princess, otherwise I would,” I sigh.
“Careful, Dad, or we might start thinking Lyss is your favorite,” Mark says.
“I’m just responding to your idiocy,” I smile as we approach my SUV. “Love ya, son.”
“Yeah,” he says, but that’s normal.
“So, Sookie,” James starts. They’re going to give her the same third degree the rest of them did. “I know you don’t only date old folks since you hooked up with Levi. Do we have a shot once you’re done with Pops?”
Sookie looks legitimately offended by that question.
“If this is the way you always talk to girls no wonder you don’t have girlfriends,” she says. “And to answer your question, no, you don’t have a shot.”
“That’s what Dad meant about them being fluent in idiot,” Alyssa says.
“I don’t think asking you not to be assholes is too much,” I sigh.
“We’re just curious,” they say in unison.
“Why would you want to go out with your dad’s ex-girlfriend anyway? You guys are creeps,” Alyssa shakes her head.
The kids bicker in the back on the short drive to the restaurant a few miles away.
“Are they always like this?” Sookie asks.
“No, this is mild.”
She lifts an eyebrow. “That doesn’t sound like fun, Eric.”
“Do you see why I had a vasectomy? They’ve been like this since they were one and a half,” I tell her. I love my boys, but together they’re a lot to handle. “Twins run on my side and I didn’t want to chance another set.”
“Well then I guess you’re lucky there was only one set,” she says.
“Don’t get me wrong, when they’re behaving themselves they’re amazing, but I am glad I only have one set.”
“I always thought it would be neat to have twins. Now I’m reconsidering.”
“By the time they were born I knew what I was doing, so it wasn’t a problem. I don’t think twins are a good idea right out of the gate,” I say and reach over to set my hand on her leg.
“Sookie, how did you meet Dad?” James asks from the backseat. “Chris said you’re the girlfriend he cheated on Mom with. Is that true?”
“She wasn’t his girlfriend,” Alyssa provides.
“So… you were…” Mark says, he doesn’t want to say fuck buddy or friend with benefits and he doesn’t know how to finish.
“We were friends,” I tell them. “We stopped talking and when we saw each other again it was after the split so we decided to give it a shot. That’s all,” I say. They don’t need to know any more than that.
We pull into the parking lot and as soon as I turn the car off the kids all pile out. Sookie and I stay in the car for a minute and I ask her, “They’re not too much are they?”
“No. They don’t have tact, but I almost expected that from what you guys said earlier.”
I lean over the console to kiss her before we also exit the car. Our group of five is small compared to what I’m used to. We’re seated at a round table and I sit to Sookie’s right while Alyssa takes her left.
“So aside from harassing girls what do you boys like to do for fun?” Sookie asks the twins while we look over our menus.
“I like snowboarding,” Mark says.
“I start football practice next week,” James informs her. “I like the snowboarding with my brother too.”
“I’ve never been snowboarding,” Sookie says. “I don’t think I’m built for winter sports. They require too much balance and I’m top heavy.”
“Sook, your balance is just fine,” I say a little quieter. “You wear some heels that make me nervous and you can run in them. You would do fine on a snowboard.”
“I’d try it,” she shrugs. “I’m a terrible skiier, though. My skis always end up crossing and I always fall on my butt when I get off the lifts.”
“We’ll teach you,” they say together and then James adds, “Snowboarding is more fun than skiing and you don’t have to worry about crossing anything.”
“Then it looks like I’ll need to dig out my hot pink snowsuit,” Sookie says.
“You have a few months; we like wakeboarding too.” They finish together and I have a feeling Sookie thinks it’s cool when they do it.
“I love wakeboarding!” she says excitedly. “Although I learned the hard way to double knot my bikini when I do that.”
“You better blindfold the twins too just in case,” Alyssa suggests.
“Better yet, wear a one piece with something covering it,” I offer and the boys try to veto that immediately.
“I don’t like tan lines. You should know that,” Sookie winks at me.
I lean in to whisper, “You’re making it worse, pretty girl. Their little teenage hearts can’t take shit like that.”
“They’ll live,” she shrugs.
“They’re also only seventeen, maybe tan lines aren’t what we should be talking about. Especially with Lyss here.”
“Why not?” Sookie lifts an eyebrow. “Alyssa gets tan lines too from being out in the sun. You get them too. Big deal.”
“They’re a bigger deal when you suggest you’re naked when tanning. I’m asking that you don’t egg them on,” I tell her.
“Then I’ll just sit here and try not to look at them or breathe.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Sookie,” I sigh. I shouldn’t have to explain nudity is a bad idea with them.
All the same Sookie stays quiet unless someone speaks directly to her all through dinner, and when I put my hand on her leg she pulls away.
“Excuse us, guys,” I say and get up from the table. I grab Sookie’s hand and she reluctantly follows along.
“What’s your deal?” I ask her when I take her outside.
“I’m just trying not to get anyone riled up. Isn’t that what you wanted?” she folds her arms over her chest.
“You’re acting like a child right now,” I tell her. “Asking you not to talk about nudity to my seventeen year olds does not warrant the way you’ve been acting all night.”
“Actually, I was talking to you jackass!” she yells back at me.
“It’s fine that you talk to me like that, but please not with the boys and Alyssa within earshot,” I say a little softer.
“So the entire conversation we had this morning about my tits with Alyssa right there in the room with us was okay, but it’s not okay around the boys because it might turn them on? That’s a bunch of bullshit, Eric.”
“I’m the one that has to field the fucking comments about your tits and that Chris got to see you naked, but they can’t. So yeah, we can talk about your tits to Alyssa, she’s growing her own pair, but the fucking twins want to attach their bodies to them. I can only deal with so much in one fucking weekend!” I yell. I don’t yell often.
Sookie takes a deep breath and says, “Yeah, well, maybe now you understand how I’ve felt through all of this. Suck it up, Eric. You’re the one that insisted I meet your kids right away. How’s it going for you?”
“Actually, I was fine with waiting for you to be ready, and you know that,” I have to pause to regroup. “We can’t do this right now. Do whatever, say whatever, Sookie. I don’t fucking care.”
Regrouping didn’t work.
“That’s great, Eric,” she says and turns around.
Before she can walk away, I reach forward and tug her back into my arms. I rest my head on her shoulder from behind and hold her tight.
“I know this isn’t easy for you,” I whisper into her hair. “It’s not easy for me either… I’m just… I’m begging you to work with me here, even if my words and actions don’t match. I love you, Sookie. I love my kids more than anything and all I can do is try… with both of you. I’m just trying here. I’m begging you to try with me, please.”
“You should go back inside. I’ll wait out here,” Sookie says, and lifts a hand to her face.
I turn her in my arms and cup her face in my hands. She looks so tiny right now. I run my thumbs across her cheeks, wiping away the tears. I tilt her head up so I can kiss her and she kisses me back.
“We’ll be out in a few minutes.”
I kiss her one more time and walk back inside to pay and get the kids.
Sookie is leaning against the car when we get back and I unlock for everyone to pile in. As we’re driving away I reach over and rest my hand on her leg, she doesn’t throw it off this time, but she’s still being quiet.
“Sook, do you want to go get ice cream?” I ask her, but the kids are too loud behind us so they don’t hear.
“If you want,” she shrugs indifferently.
I don’t reply. I drive home instead of ice cream. When we get into the apartment the boys say they’re going home and each give me a hug while waving at Sookie.
Sookie doesn’t seem to know what to do and she goes to the room.
“Dad, what’s wrong with Sookie?” Alyssa asks once we’re alone.
“She’s having a hard time, we all are,” I say and wrap her in a hug and then tell her truthfully, “Dad’s been acting like an idiot.”
“You always act like an idiot, she should know that,” she giggles.
I lean down to kiss her head and then she asks if she can go talk to Sookie. I shrug and she lets go to slip into my bedroom after a small knock.
I stay in the living room and clean up a little. We don’t make a big mess, so there isn’t much to do, but I want to give them time.
Finally with nothing else to do I go into my room and I find my girls snuggled up in the middle of my bed. They’re both asleep and it melts my heart a little. Of course I have to take a picture of them and I pull my shirt off before I slide into bed behind Sookie. I wrap my arm around both girls, and kiss the back of Sookie’s head. It’s been a long day for all of us and it doesn’t take long for me to pass out with the girls.