You just keep amazing me with all your lovely reviews and comments. Thank you so much!
What also makes me smile is how Rascalthemutant keeps correcting my stories and giving me great suggestions. My stories would not have existed without her.
I had to think fast because there was no way I was letting Sigebert threaten all the sweet little kids at the party, not to mention what he would do to Eric. Felipe was not really my concern but I figured he could need some saving too.
I looked around, desperate for anything that could stop a full grown Santa, but there was nothing. Eric had bought a lot of toys as presents for the kids, but unfortunately no baseball bats or air guns.
Then I looked again and knew what I wanted to do. There was something I could use in the huge bag of toys. I picked up all the Matchbox cars and started placing them on the stairs. I then turned off the lights and managed to jump behind the door just as Sigebert came out.
With my heart in my throat, I watched him pick up the bag with toys and walk down the stairs, yelling HO HO HO. Only, his last HO became a scream as he placed his foot on one of the cars, flew up in the air and landed on the stairs with a loud thud.
“Oops,” I said and smiled to myself.
Then Eric came out to see what had happened, looked at me and ran down to Sigebert and knocked him out. Or rather, knocked him even more out. Sigebert was out cold from landing on the stairs.
I ran into the room to get Felipe. The kids would need a new Santa and Eric wouldn`t do. He was way too tall for the outfit.
“Take off your clothes – now,” I yelled at Felipe.
He quirked his eyebrow.
“You`re Santa,” I explained. “Take off your pants and jacket and I`ll go get the Santa-outfit.”
I didn`t have to go far because Eric had carried Sigebert up the stairs already. I bent down and started pulling off the Santa-boots, the hat, beard and the jacket. Eric grabbed the pants and I said a little prayer that Sigebert had a higher rate of wearing underwear than Eric.
Luckily Sigebert had gone 100 percent into the role of Santa and wore boxers with little reindeer. I certainly knew what I wanted to buy for Eric next Christmas. I stifled a giggle, grabbed the Santa-outfit and ran to Felipe with it.
“Put this on fast,” I said without looking at him. I had seen more than enough half-naked men for one evening. I went back to Eric before Felipe could object to my plans for making him a Spanish Santa.
Eric was on the phone when I came back.
“Yes, mother. He`s here. Your trusted employee and friend Sigebert is down for the count. I hope you can find people to pick him up? I really don`t want to report him to the police.” Eric`s voice was thick with anger.
I couldn`t hear his mother`s response, but it must have been satisfactory because Eric hung up and looked at me.
“Cars, huh?” he asked.
“Yeah, they were the only weapon I could find.”
That earned me a huge kiss, which I quite frankly needed now. The stress of the last minutes poured over my body and I needed to sit down. I got something better, though. Eric`s strong arms around me, pulling me into his body.
“I love your resourcefulness, Sookie.”
“Well, I don`t,” a voice suddenly boomed from the stairs. Claudine looked pretty aggravated, staring at Eric and me kissing next to a knocked out Sigebert. “What happened here and a better question – why did you walk into danger without me to protect you, Sookie?”
“Oh, Claudine. I was just…”
Claudine interrupted me.
“Next time you go anywhere, I go with you.” Before I could feel like a child being scolded, she smiled. “But for the record, you did a great job here.”
Just as I was about to answer her, Felipe came out, dressed like Santa.
I couldn`t help laughing and soon Eric joined me. Even Claudine smiled even though she didn`t know the story behind our new Santa.
“HO HO HO”, Felipe said with a smirk, making us laugh even harder.
Then we heard the kids screaming downstairs. “Julenissen, Julenissen, Julenissen“. They were calling for Santa Claus to come with the presents. Eric had told me that it was a tradition to let the children scream for Santa, orJulenissen, for a few minutes to get them really excited before he entered the room.
“I think that`s your cue, Felipe?” Eric said.
“Nicolás, if you please,” Felipe smiled. “And I think I`m wanted downstairs.”
And with that he walked down, shouting HO HO HO and taking care he wasn`t stepping on any of the cars. We could hear screams of joy and Eric pulled me back into his arms. Then I remembered Sigebert`s accusations.
“Was there any truth in what Sigebert said, Eric?” I asked in a low voice. Claudine could hear every word I said, but it still gave me a sense of privacy to not say it very loudly. I really didn`t want to wait for the answer until we got home. Felipe was downstairs with a lot of children and I had to know now.
“No, Sookie. Sigebert could have made a great case with the fabricated evidence he had and it would have hurt Felipe and me. But it`s not true. I have many reasons to not trust Felipe. This is not one of them.”
I felt relief wash through my body. It was bad enough what Eric`s godfather had done to him and imagining another adult making Eric`s childhood a nightmare, was terrifying. I tip-toed and gave him a kiss.
“I`m glad,” I said, then mentally slapped myself as it was a pretty redundant thing to say.
Eric took my hand and walked me down to the party. Kids were running around everywhere, thrilled with everything they had pulled out of the goody bag. Their parents came over to Eric to thank him for a great party and a few of the kids were winked at and pushed forward to make them thank Eric too. I couldn`t help smiling at the little girl who had Eric bend down and then gave him a lollypop-sticky kiss on his cheek.
“She`ll break some guy`s heart in 15 years,” Eric smiled when she walked away.
We looked at each other and suddenly the look was a little more serious than I felt comfortable with. We had never discussed children and I had no idea what Eric`s position on the subject was. I didn`t even know my own. Did I even want children? Did I want them now?
So I turned to Claudine who had not moved more than five meters from my side.
“So this is your kid in a couple of years, huh?” I asked her.
It worked out surprisingly well to have Claudine staying with us. One would have thought I would be threatened by having a stunning beauty in the apartment I shared with a husband who clearly found her attractive, but I wasn`t.
First of all, I`m not really the jealous kind. Jealousy is kind of an insecurity-thing and though I had been unsure of Eric`s love for a long time, I wasn`t anymore. Furthermore, Eric never gave me any reason to be jealous. He was friendly to Claudine and even generous, but I was the one who received his love and affection.
And Claudine was definitely not the flirtatious kind. It may have been her pregnancy and it may have been her profession, but I came to think it was her personality. She was friendly and kind, even sweet at times, but never in a way that was overstepping any boundaries.
So when Eric suggested we make reservations for Claudine as well for our trip to Louisiana, it felt natural to include her. Eric felt that her presence lifted a heavy weight off his shoulders because he was constantly worried something would happen to me and even though I thought he was exaggerating, I couldn`t help being touched when he said that he would be lost if anything ever happened to me.
“You know I`ve kissed a lot of frogs to find my princess,” he said waggling his eyebrows. “I`m not letting anything happen to you now.”
“You poor thing,” I teased. “To have to go through all that frog-kissing. What a sacrifice.”
“Yeah, it was tough, but I pulled through.” His arms held me close. “I`d sacrifice anything for you, you know.”
“But how do I know I`ve found my prince? I`ve hardly kissed any frogs,” I teased. I pulled at his shoulders to make him bend down to me and then I kissed the tip of his nose.
“Princesses always get their princes.” Eric kissed my mouth deeply. “Haven`t you read the fairytales? And kissing frogs is highly overrated anyway.”
Eric and I did a lot of kissing and then we did a lot of other things. I didn`t really see the need to kiss anyone else but him. Not now and not for the rest of my life.
January was dark and cold. Technically it wasn`t darker than December but it felt like it since there were no Christmas lights in the streets. And the temperature dropped to minus 20 Celsius which would be around minus 4 Fahrenheit. I never did get used to measuring temperatures in Celsius, but that was the only information I got from the thermometers.
It was a nice dry cold and there was no wind, but it was still freezing. So I counted the days to our trip to New Orleans. We were leaving in the middle of January and it wasn`t a day too soon. Norwegian winter was beautiful but my poor body was not made for that kind of weather and now it was in desperate need for some thawing.
I was looking forward to showing Eric around in my part of the world. He`d been to New Orleans a couple of years ago. Eric had probably traveled half the globe. But Bon Temps and even Shreveport were unchartered territories for him. It would be a great new experience for me to be the expert on something and I couldn`t wait.
We arranged to have a stop-over in London. Mainly for Claudine so she could visit family and friends, but we never said it out loud because she would have refused she had the need for it.
“We can go shopping for a couple of days,” Eric stated
“I thought your sister had the shopping-bug, not you?”
“Oh, I can always use another huge belt buckle and some obscenely tight t-shirts,” Eric winked.
“And I would love to see the city. I`ve never been to London, you know.”
“Then consider me your personal guide to London,” Eric said with a bow. “I lived in England for years, you know.”
We were packing when the phone call came. Eric went into the living room to answer it and came back five minutes later with murder in his eyes and a jaw that could slice cheese.
“Fucking Victor needs me,” Eric groaned.
“Yes. I`ll have to go as soon as I`m packed and then join you in London in a day or two.” Eric cursed, but then he sighed and pulled me into his arms. “I`m sorry.”
My arms went around his waist and I gave him a hug. “You can`t help it. I`ll have fun with Claudine and then you`ll meet us before we go to Louisiana. I`m not that fond of belt buckle shopping anyway,” I smiled, trying to lighten his mood.
“Have I ever told you how much I love you?” he asked – and then he told me without words. Victor just had to wait another hour for Eric to turn up.
This wasn`t the longest chapter I`ve ever written, but I`m off for a three week vacation (Denmark, Greece and Turkey – here I come!) and if I`d written more, the cliffhanger would have been steeper.
I hope you liked the semi-cliffie instead. This story will return with a tan – or maybe that was me? We`ll both be back in August 😀