As we sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office all I could think of was what the fuck was with the babies suddenly springing up everywhere? Now that my secret was out it seemed like they were coming out of the woodwork and I was starting to freak the fuck out. I’d babysat here and there growing up, but never babies and after seeing the tiny baby Eric had been holding in his arms, I was starting to question whether or not we would be prepared to have our own in a few months.
What if we fucked up?
What if it took after Jason and was dumber than box of rocks?
What if the only way for it to stop crying was to be sung Swahili lullabies and Eric never remembered a god damn word?
My eyes landed on one of the babies in the waiting room and I tried to guess how old it was since it was much larger than the one from the hallway. When the mother noticed me staring, she gave me a weird look that told me I’d been staring too long, so in an effort to not seem like a baby snatcher, I smiled and lied, saying, “He’s very cute,” nodding to the miniature ginger-haired Jabba the Hut she was bottle feeding in her lap. “How old is he?” I asked.
Completely affronted, the mother responded, “She is four weeks old.”
She then turned her body sideways, indicating our conversation was over, and I mumbled out an apology saying, “Sorry.” My eyes dropped to my lap in embarrassment while I was only more sure now that I’d be a horrible parent since I couldn’t even tell what gender a baby was, no matter how ugly.
My own mini-meltdown reminded me that while, at first, Eric had seemed tense holding the baby in the hallway, he managed to calm down pretty quickly, so maybe he would be the baby whisperer and be the better parent. I didn’t plan on being a bad parent, but it was nice to know at least one of us seemed up to the task. He hadn’t said a word since we’d sat down, but just knowing he was by my side made me feel calmer and while I was sure there would be more bumps in the road, I knew we’d get through it together.
Only a few minutes had passed when I noticed Eric’s legs shaking next to mine and when I looked over at him, worried something was wrong, I relaxed seeing he was fighting to keep his laughter contained. Leaning in close enough to not be heard by anyone else, I whispered, “What?”
His arm went around my shoulder to keep me near as he whisper laughed back, “I thought it was a boy too.” When we noticed the mother giving us the stink eye, he added, “Uh oh…better watch out. Mom of Chucky looks scarier than the Bride of Chucky in her lap.”
Hearing Eric’s description, I realized he was right. The kid did look like a bloated Chucky doll and I bit down on my bottom lip to keep from laughing out loud, but when she pulled the now empty bottle from its mouth and it farted loud enough that Jason would’ve been compelled to high five him, I mean her, I couldn’t help snickering in a low voice to Eric, in an admittedly bad British accent, “How dare you break wind before me?”
Picking right up with the next line from Austin Powers, Eric spoke in a much better British accent, saying, “I’m sorry baby, I didn’t know it was your turn.”
I cackled out loud, slapping my hand over my mouth to try and contain it, but Eric’s laughter only made mine worse and thankfully his name was called a few seconds later, so we fled the waiting room like our asses were on fire, wiping the tears from our eyes. We followed the nurse to an empty examination room and after she took Eric’s vitals, looking at us like we were nuts thanks to the stray snorts we were letting out, she left us alone to wait for the doctor.
We’d both calmed down a bit by then, when Eric looked over at me and asked, “Are there always so many babies around?”
Relieved that it wasn’t just me, I snickered, replying, “I never really noticed before now.” Looking down at my stomach with concern, I asked, “You don’t think ours will look like a Cabbage Patch Kid, do you?”
My head lifted back up hearing his chuckle and when he responded sincerely, “It’ll be beautiful if it looks just like you,” I felt all melty inside.
Seeing him sitting on the paper covered examination table was giving me porny thoughts, imagining different ways I could resuscitate the Kraken, but since I knew that was a no go I tried to clear my head and made light of his words instead, saying, “It’d be better off looking like you Mr. Five-Times-Mother-Fucker-Five-Times.”
He was worthy of the title. All. Five. Mother fucking. Times.
Instead of laughing or rolling his eyes, Eric seemed to become serious and his eyes stared back into my own. Looking for what, I didn’t know, so by the time he opened his mouth to say something I was literally on the edge of my seat, but the doctor chose that moment to walk into the room calling a halt to whatever it was he was about to say. I was allowed to stay in the room as Eric was checked thoroughly and the doctor repeated the same thing Dr. Lee had told us in the hospital about Eric’s memory. It might return, it might not, but everything else seemed to be good news. Eric had new x-rays done of his chest and leg and according to the doctor, all of the broken bones were well on their way to being healed and I actually clapped, letting out a dorky, “Yay!” when he said Eric’s cast would be off before Thanksgiving.
They both turned to look at me, with the doctor amused and Eric confused, and I know I blushed as I explained, “Your cast will be off before we go to Gran’s for Thanksgiving.”
Eric’s eyebrow rose up as he asked, “We’re going to Louisiana for Thanksgiving?”
“Yes?” I semi-asked, since it no longer seemed like it was a firm plan. I should really start writing a Tell-Eric-About list.
The doctor waited and when Eric had nothing else to say, with our mini-discussion over holiday travel plans ended, he went on to say that as long as Eric took it easy, he could return to work the following Monday. I felt relieved because I’d been worried about him staying home alone when I returned to work. It was ridiculous since he’d lived alone just fine before I came along, but I didn’t want him to feel lonely without anyone there to keep him amused.
We scheduled another follow up appointment for Eric the week before Thanksgiving and as we were leaving the office, I noticed Dr. Ludwig exiting the building ahead of us and motioned towards her telling Eric, “That’s my OB/GYN.” It was one thing I could cross off the Tell-Eric-About list I’d formed in my head.
“Huh?” he asked.
Eric was quieter than normal all during his examination, but I just chalked it up to him concentrating on whatever the doctor was saying. Now that it was just the two of us in the hallway I could tell his mind was elsewhere and stopped, oddly enough at the same exact spot we’d stopped at earlier, to repeat the question he’d asked me, saying, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah…” he hesitated.
I didn’t believe him for a second. He might’ve been a great actor, but I knew him well enough now to know when something wasn’t right with him. Unfortunately more people were entering and exiting the building, so I let it go for the time being and started a new list in my head titled Tell-Sookie-About.
The crowd of photographers had grown while we’d been inside, but Eric refused to wait in the building so I could pull the car up to the doorway so he wouldn’t have to walk through them. He somehow managed to look even bigger as he gauged the crowd outside and handed me one of his crutches saying, “Don’t be shy about using it as a bat.” Using the other crutch to help him walk, his free hand grabbed onto mine and, together, we made our way through the three ring circus back to the car, reminding me of the first time we’d held hands making our way out of the casino. I kept my hand tightly gripped with his knowing it would be impossible for him to carry me if I fell this time.
Once we were safely inside and back on the road, I turned to Eric, ready to interrogate him about what was wrong a few minutes earlier, when he opened his mouth first, asking, “So Quinn was your only serious relationship?”
Where in the hell did THAT come from?
“Yeah…” I replied looking back at him confused. “Why?”
“Just wondering,” he mumbled. I was still busy trying to figure out why he’d bring up Quinn out of all of the topics we could discuss when he asked, “So did you date much after that?”
“No,” I answered, waiting to see where he was headed with his line of questioning.
“‘No’ you didn’t date or ‘no’ you didn’t date much?”
Frustrated, I turned to him and said, “‘No’ I didn’t date at all. Where is all of this coming from? What are you thinking about?”
Eric just stared back at me with his mouth opening and closing several times, but ultimately, he didn’t say a word.
Was he feeling jealous? Insecure about me? Us?
If anyone had the ammo to be insecure and jealous in our relationship, it would be me, but since I knew perfectly well what that felt like, I reached over and put my hand on his leg, gripping it lightly, and went into a little more detail about my relationship with Quinn. He’d only gotten the cliff notes version a few nights earlier, so I told him everything, warts and all. We ended up sitting in the garage for a while before all was said and done, with Eric completely riveted to every word I spoke as though I was telling the most amazing story instead of the sad little tale that my love life had been until he came along.
I stared back at him silently, giving him time to process it all and when the haze finally cleared from his eyes, he said, “So he was your first.” When I nodded, he added, “And then me?”
I smiled, wanting to reassure him, and nodded again before saying, “And then you; my last if I have anything to say about it.” I could see the confusion in his eyes, understandable considering everything that had been thrown at him since he’d first woken up, and how he must feel about it all now compared to then. While we’d certainly made progress in our new relationship, I knew he wasn’t ready to go making any declarations of love to me anytime soon. As far as I was concerned, it was only a matter of time because I already knew he loved me, even if he didn’t know it, and even though I’d already told him how I felt about him, I didn’t think it would hurt for me to repeat it.
Reaching over, I cupped his face, with my thumb playing over his whiskers, and said, “I love you.” I smiled watching him do an impersonation of a goldfish, with his mouth opening and closing, before moving my fingers over to trace along his lips and added, “I don’t need to hear it.” I then moved my hand farther down and placed it over his heart saying, “I feel it.” I did feel it. His actions, Prick-ric notwithstanding, and the way he sometimes looked at me said it all.
He wasn’t THAT good of an actor.
Eric looked stunned and when he didn’t say anything for what felt like ages, I started to worry that I’d shorted him out somewhere with emotional overload. Wicked was already making plans on where she’d go looking for his reset button, when he finally opened his mouth and asked, “Is that what that is?”
I felt melty all over again, but I could tell Eric was teetering on a tightrope from the almost panicked look in his eyes, so I threw him a life raft and smiled, offering, “Or maybe you’re just gassy.”
When I hit the button to lower the windows and mockingly pulled the neckline of my shirt up to cover my nose, it was enough to finally break through whatever had him so tense and he laughed before pulling my shirt back down and kissing me. If I had to describe it, ‘grateful’ would be the word I’d use and with his forehead resting against mine, his whole face smiled as he said, “We’re not that married yet.”
We both got out of the car and as we walked inside, I said, “Well, I’m certainly not going to argue with you there. As a matter of fact, I’d be perfectly content if we were never that married.” Lord knows being Jason’s sister was bad enough. “But after everything we heard today, I think you should take the first nine months of diaper duty since junior’s bun will be in my oven for nine months. Doody duty, if you will. It’s only fair.”
I wasn’t really kidding either.
I’d been blindly following along behind Eric, so when he stopped short unexpectedly, I ran right into him. I’d forgotten he’d grown when we’d left the doctor’s office and he was pretty solid for hobbling along on crutches, barely swaying when I ‘Oomph’d’ against his back, and he turned to face me with his eyes staring down at my stomach. He slowly reached out and put his hand on top of it, saying, “It all seems so surreal. You know…that we actually made a bun in your oven.”
My baby freak-out was still hovering on the fringes of my mind, but I did my best to avoid it for now and joked, “Yep. You might not know your way around a kitchen, but that certainly can’t be said about a bedroom.”
He smirked, but didn’t say anything and just continued to stare at his hand over my stomach. It was cute, but my feet were getting tired from just standing still and my bladder was rapidly expanding, so I asked, “What are you doing?”
Eric shrugged, answering, “I don’t know. Isn’t this what people do? Touch pregnant women’s bellies?”
“They better not,” I huffed. I’d be damned if people were going to start randomly groping me like I was a ripe melon. “Besides,” I said, “I think people only do that when there’s actually something to feel like a kick or something.”
My bladder had reached its fill point and I was certainly feeling that, so his hand pressing down on me wasn’t helping matters, nor did his goofy request when he said, “So make it kick.”
I snorted which also didn’t help my full bladder situation, and said, “Yeah, I don’t think it works that way. Now let me and junior by so we can go pee.”
“We’re not naming it Eric Junior,” he scoffed, as though I’d suggested naming the baby something horrible like ‘Bosworth’.
I mentally signaled my bladder to remain patient and said, “I haven’t really thought about names, but what’s wrong with Eric Junior?” I would love a little baby Eric and decided to call it ‘Beric’ for now.
When Eric, Eric Northman who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘modesty’, who dated porn stars for Christ’s sake, blushed, I was fully prepared to have to mop up my own puddle of pee, because I wasn’t going anywhere until I got to the bottom of it.
“Eric, are you…are you blushing?” I asked excitedly. I was constantly a shade of red around him and was happy he’d finally returned the favor. I could see why he enjoyed mine so much now that I got to see him that way.
“No!” he protested.
“Yes! Yes you are!” I clapped gleefully.
Eric was getting quicker with his crutches because he turned tail and practically ran away from me, but since he was a gimp I could still keep up. “Don’t you have to pee?” he asked, still trying to get away from me.
“Yes, I do,” I agreed, stalking his every move. “So hurry up and tell me why you were blushing over naming Beric Eric Junior so I can go.”
He stopped his hasty retreat and faced me, asking, “Beric?”
Undeterred, I declared, “Quid pro quo, Clarice. Eric Junior?”
He attempted to stare me down, but I wasn’t intimidated. I was amused, so he finally huffed out, “What if it’s a girl? You can’t name a girl Eric Junior.”
I shook my head with a smirk, saying, “That’s not why you were blushing. You don’t blush over vaginas.” I raised my eyebrow adding, “I know this for a fact.”
“I wasn’t blushing,” he argued. “I was simply…hot.”
You’re HOT alright.
However, his ego was big enough so I kept that little tidbit off of the Tell-Eric-About list and since his entire face was locked down, I knew I wouldn’t be getting anything more out of him. My bladder was issuing its final warning, so I rolled my eyes, saying, “Bull and Shit. Now let me and baby Pam by so we can go pee.”
I giggled, hearing him yell out, as I closed the bathroom door, saying, “We’re not naming it Pam!”
As fond as I was of Pam, I had to agree with him. Silently agree with him, but he didn’t have to know that. I would worry about it wanting to wear five inch spiked heels as soon as it could walk if it took after its namesake.
Once I was sufficiently relieved I sought out Eric fully intending to try and pick up our conversation where we’d left off, but it seemed he had other plans because I found him in the den with what appeared to be the video of the photo shoot paused on the TV screen. When I looked at him with my eyebrow raised he merely said, “We didn’t get around to it last night.”
I would’ve felt more hesitant to watch this if Prick-ric were in attendance, but since it just seemed to be me and Eric I figured I was safe and said, “Okay.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We sat down together on the couch and my eyes filled with tears seeing how happy we were together. Not that we weren’t happy now, for the moment at least, but it was different then. Where Eric was confused over his feelings now, on the video it was clear as day how he felt about me. He loved me; no questions; no doubts and I wanted to kick myself for taking it for granted at the time. I knew deep down he still loved me, but I wanted him to know it too.
When I sniffled and tried to blink the tears back, Eric wrapped his arm around me and pulled me up against his side asking, “What’s wrong?”
The couch could’ve been on fire for all I knew because I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen, watching us dance without a care in the world, and I mumbled out a whispered, “Nothing.”
I couldn’t bring myself to look at the Eric next to me, trying to contain my emotions while keeping an eye on the Eric on the screen, but the dam broke when he pointed up at it, showing him whispering into my ear at the end of the dance, and said, “There. Your whole face lit up.” He turned to me and asked, “What did I say?”
I still couldn’t look at him and turned my teary face into his shirt sobbing out a muffled, “That you loved me.” Tears; snot; anything that could leak from my face, did, with Eric just holding me tighter against his body and rubbing my back, trying to soothe me, as I thoroughly ruined his shirt.
The video continued to play in the background, but I was too lost in my own memories and grief to pay attention and when my crying finally subsided into hitched breaths, Eric took my hand and placed it on his chest over his heart, saying, “Do you feel that?”
I didn’t think he was talking about his Pecs. No matter how spectacular they were, there was more to him than just that, but I was too afraid to say anything. I knew he couldn’t stand to see me cry, but I was too weepy and hormonal to do anything about it and I didn’t want him to tell me he loved me just to make me feel better. I needed for him to mean it when he said it.
Oddly enough, his next words were exactly what I needed to hear to break me out of my funk and a small smile to form on my face.
With his face nuzzled into the top of my head, he whispered, “I don’t think it’s gas.”