I love all the great reviews, PMs and the subscriptions/favorites this story is getting. Thank you so much for taking the time and making me happy
I also want to thank the great Rascalthemutant who is as busy as me watching the World Cup in South Africa, but who still takes the time to read and correct this story *kisses*
But the person I want to thank the most is Charlaine Harris for writing the great books this story is based on. She has brought me so many hours of emotional rollercoaster rides and I loved every minute. The last story I read was Dancers in the Dark about Layla and Sean, the dancers at Rhodes. I can really recommend that one!
“If it isn`t the beautiful Miss Stackhouse,” Victor nodded at me.
“I do believe she stopped being `miss` when she married me,” Eric said in a dry tone.
I was so stumped over Victor being there I had almost forgotten what I was about to do. Why I had fixed my hair and put on a nice dress. It certainly wasn`t because of Victor Madden. I wondered if I should wait for Victor to leave, but then I figured it wouldn`t hurt for him to see that Eric and I actually had feelings for each other.
I walked over to Eric and zoned out the other guy in the room.
“I want to give you this, Eric,” I said and handed over the box I had found on our bed, my eyes saying everything my mouth couldn`t with the company we had.
Eric went from worried, annoyed and tired to happy in a nanosecond.
“Oh Sookie,” Eric said. Then he got up, dug deep in his pants pocket and pulled a ring out of it. I was too busy looking at his face, which was so filled with love my heart swelled, to look at the ring, but I felt it being placed on my finger.
Next thing I knew I had Eric`s warm lips on mine. It was a very special moment and I was almost moved to tears when Victor had to be the scratch in the record.
“I see you are having a special moment here,” he said with sarcasm in his voice. “Well, who am I to put a damper on your love? Eric, I think we were finished with our little discussion so I`ll be on my way. Merry Christmas.”
And with that he was out the door.
“What did he want, Eric?” I asked. “Does your cousin usually visit you on Christmas morning?”
Eric hugged me. “No, this was a first but never mind. It`s Christmas and my family is the last thing I want to think about.” Eric laughed at his own joke, Christmas being the season for family bliss and all. “You and Pam excluded, of course.”
I looked at the ring and smiled. It was so beautiful. A design I`d never seen before.
“So now we`re married for real now, huh?” I said, leaning into his embrace.
“For better or worse.”
Eric bent down and gave me a kiss. I weaved my fingers into his hair and held his head close to mine while deepening the kiss.
“Let`s make it better,” I whispered and had to smile at Eric`s groan.
“What happened here?” was the first thing Pam said when she came in the door, loaded with presents.
I looked around, not understanding why she asked. Eric was as mystified as me.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Hah, don`t act all innocent with Auntie Pam here. There is something up with you two.” She studied us closer. Then she smiled. “Shit. You two stubborn mules have finally realized you are a perfect match,” she stated. “I never thought I`d see the day.”
I blushed like a high school girl caught by my father while kissing my boyfriend on the porch.
“Why do you think that?” I tried.
We went into the living room where Pam bent down and pushed her presents under the tree with the ones Eric and I had already laid there. Then she got up, turned around and sniffed the room.
“People`s exhibit A. The smell.”
“The smell?” I asked in a worried tone. Yes, Eric and I had been going at it like bunnies, but surely it didn`t smell like sex now? Not in the living room at least.
“Yes, the turkey should be almost finished by now, but judging from the smell, you two have been so busy humping each other, I doubt we`ll have our Christmas dinner on this side of midnight.”
I laughed nervously.
“Really Pam,” Eric started. “I can`t see how this is any of your business.”
“Of course it`s my business to rub my brother`s nose in the fact that he actually found love when he always claimed love was not for him.”
“Pam!” Eric`s tone was stern now.
“Yeah, yeah, big brother. You two look cute together. All blushes and little touches. It makes my old heart turn from stone to mush.” Pam smiled her 1000 watt smile. “Sure you don`t have a cute sister I could send for, Sookie?”
“Nope. Just a brother and I don`t think he`s the settling kind.”
“Oh, they are the best. Who would want to settle with one guy anyway?” Pam asked, but when she saw how Eric pulled me closer, she continued. “Present company excluded, of course.”
“Are you finished ranting now, Pam?” Eric asked.
“Hah, in your dreams. But if you have some gløgg for me, you might shut me up for a few minutes.”
Eric almost ran to the kitchen to make gløgg for us all. He stayed in there for longer than it took chopping almonds, so I figured he was working on the dinner too.
Pam took my hand and led me to the couch and sat us down next to each other.
“So tell me all about loverboy – also known as my brother – and your sweet self.”
A few hours later we were sitting at a table filled with nisser, dark red hearts and little silver stars spread all over the deep red tablecloth.
Wine was in our glasses and Eric was balancing a huge turkey over to the table. It smelled so good I almost drowned in my own mouth water.
Eric had explained that most Norwegians ate rotten fish, pork fat, salted sheep ribs or even sheep heads on Christmas eve, and even though I was pretty sure he was exaggerating, I secretly thanked all dinner gods for making Eric`s table one of the 10% in Norway that had turkey for Christmas.
The smell from the golden turkey was amazing. It was filled with a mushroom stuffing and was served with red cabbage, caramelized potatoes and a rich cream sauce.
I could almost hear angels sing when I chewed on the first bite. I looked at Eric and wondered why it had taken me so long to actually be his girlfriend, no, his wife. His cooking alone should have had me running after him. Afterwards we had a dessert made from rice pudding, whipped cream, and almonds with hot cherry sauce on it.
I was so full I almost couldn`t walk over to the couch where I threw myself down. There was no way I could sit up. Eric came over, lifted my head up and replaced it in his lap. He stroked my hair and looked down at me.
“Had enough?” he smiled.
I blushed. I had eaten for six which wasn`t exactly ladylike.
“Your own fault,” I groaned. “Your food is too good.”
He laughed. “I love seeing you enjoy my food, Sookie. Don`t be embarrassed about it. I would have hated it if you only wanted a little lettuce when I worked hard in the kitchen.”
“I`m sure you`ll regret it when I`m 300 pounds and going up,” I muttered.
He bent down and kissed me. “We`ll just have to exercise a little more together.”
“We can`t run in the snow, Eric, and running is my only exercise.”
Pam sighed. “You are so naïve it`s almost sweet, Sookie. I`m pretty sure my sex-mad brother had other kinds of exercise in mind, but if we could change the subject and possibly get to the unwrapping of presents. I don`t want to rip my ears off but I will have to if the only alternative is listening to more of your smooching.”
“You`re just jealous, Pam,” Eric stated.
“You are quite right, brother. Thank you so much for rubbing my nose in it,” Pam stuck out her tongue. “But I would still like to open my presents.”
“Then go right ahead and be Santa and hand out whatever is under the tree.” Eric smiled at his sister.
“Oh gee, thank you,” Pam said while sitting herself down on the floor and scooting over to the tree where she picked the largest present there. As luck would have it, it was from Eric to her.
I had to stifle a giggle when she ripped off the paper faster than any 4-year-old could have managed. Suddenly she flew over and gave Eric a hug while screaming. I had to sit up because the sight was so extraordinary. Composed and cool Pam jumping up and down because of a Christmas present consisting of shoes of some famous international brand I never caught the name of, though she was yelling it in a decibel close to that of a fog horn.
“You got me both the pairs I wanted,” was one of the many sentences she raved while pulling off the shoes she was already wearing and trying on the ones Eric had bought her.
Eric was beaming with pride and it warmed my heart to see it. In the half-year I had known Eric, I had learned that the term `poor little rich kid` definitely applied to him and was happy that for all the people who had let him down throughout the years, Pam and he had a connection that was invaluable.
Not that one should ever feel sorry for Eric. He had created his own destiny and seemed happy with his accomplishments. And rightfully so.
We opened a few more presents. Jason surprised me twice. First by sending me a present at all and secondly by giving me a present from the heart. He had found an old picture of Gran which he had put in a beautiful frame.
I couldn`t stop smiling at the picture. Even though I had recently learned that Gran wasn`t who I thought she was, she had been the most important person in my life and I would always love her for it. Gran had been to me what Pam was to Eric. Well, not exactly like Pam, but I figured both were the only positive constant in our lives.
Pam found my present to Eric and I glanced at him and tried to suppress the butterflies in my stomach.
“If this is a paperweight, I`ll have to be honest and say that it won`t do its job,” Eric joked while lifting the very light box covered with Christmas wrapping.
“Ha ha,” I mock-laughed. “It`s a paper clip. What else could I buy for the man who has everything?”
Eric stopped his unwrapping and gave me a quick kiss.
“I certainly have everything now,” he said and I melted on the floor.
“Oh, brother,” Pam exclaimed and pretended to throw up.
Eric continued ripping the paper and when he came to the box underneath, he opened it and stared.
“It`s empty?” he asked.
“No, it isn`t, silly. Look at the bottom of the box.”
Eric turned the box upside down and out fell an envelope. Eric opened it and started smiling.
“A trip to Louisiana?”
“Yes. I wanted to show you where I come from. I mean, if Bon Temps and the people there don`t scare you off, then nothing does.”
Eric laughed and gave me a hug.
“Thank you, Love. It`s a perfect gift. I would love to go to Louisiana with you.” He looked at Pam. “Would you mind finding my present to Sookie? It`s about this size.” He held up the envelope.
He winked at me and I had to smile. I suddenly knew what he had bought me.
And I was right. A couple of seconds later I opened a red envelope with little reindeers all over it and out came plane tickets for two people to Louisiana.
“I wanted to see where you come from, Sookie.” Eric`s voice was slightly hoarse. “And I figured you missed home. I`m going with you to make sure you`ll come back with me again. Can`t have you changing your mind when you are reminded of how it feels to not be knee-high in snow six months a year.” Eric smiled.
I kissed him. “Thank you, Eric. This was the best present I could get.”
Pam stirred. “Silly girl. You should have asked for shoes.” And then she laughed that deep laughter I had come to love.
“I`m sure I can buy my own sneakers, Pam.”
“Sneakers?” she exclaimed. “I love having you as my sister-in-law, Sookie. But you certainly are crazy. What`s the point of walking around in sneakers?”
“They are comfortable and in my price range.”
Pam laughed. “You can afford so much more now, you know.”
“Ok. What I want to pay, then. Sneakers are comfortable for my feet and my purse, all at the same time.”
Eric grabbed my hand. “I think you can give up once and for all, Pam. Sookie`s not a Barbie-doll you can dress up, so give it a rest.”
Pam pouted slightly, but soon found more presents from under the tree. After a while we had opened them all apart from one plain, white envelope that just said `Sookie`.
“More trips, Eric?” I asked, but he just held up his hands to say that he knew nothing about what was in the envelope.
This envelope was thicker than the other ones and I opened it carefully. Inside were a letter and a lot of papers. I checked the signature and felt my jaw drop when I saw it was from Niall Brigant. My grandfather. Or at least the guy who claimed to be my grandfather.
“Dear Sookie,” it said.
“I`m very happy to have found you though I`m sad I didn`t do it earlier. I`m dying and you are my only heir. For tax reasons I`m transferring some of my assets to you as a Christmas present. That way we can divide my entire fortune into two fiscal years (yes, I do anticipate dying next year). I hope you will enjoy what I have worked hard for.
I gaped. Both at what he was telling me and how. What grandfather mixes messages of dying with fiscal years and taxes – and in a Christmas present?
I pulled out the papers in the envelope and found that I apparently owned buildings all over London, a castle somewhere in England and a large amount of stocks and bonds.
“Oh no,” was all I could say before I ran to the bathroom to throw up all the lovely turkey. Oh no, indeed.
Oh no, indeed. Being involved in Niall`s mafia wasn`t exactly what Sookie needed right now.
I hope you liked this chapter.