WOW, I really eft you hanging here, huh? I hope I haven`t lost you all during my vacation?
What has amazed me in all the weeks since I posted my last chapter was how I, each and every day, got several reviews, subscriptions and/or favorites to this or one of my other stories. That brought a smile on my face when I was in Greece and in the Arctic climate of the north of Norway!
Thank you so much to Rascalthemutant from the Alexander Skarsgård library for correcting this and giving me great suggestions.
I wasn`t a happy camper when I was sitting on the plane bound for London with Claudine, but then I decided not to let a minor disappointment ruin the trip I`d been looking forward to. The bottle of champagne the air host suddenly presented us with, helped my mood substantially.
“This is a present from…” the flight attendant looked at an envelope he carried in the hand where he wasn`t balancing the bottle and two glasses. I was going to tell him he didn`t have to look for the name because I knew Eric was the champagne-donor, when he surprised me, “Felipe de Castro.”
“What?” I gaped which made the flight attendant smile and give me the envelope as if it was a proof of him not lying to me.
I opened it and started reading the card.
I want to thank you for your help at the Christmas party and hope you and Eric will enjoy my little token of gratitude. I will always owe you a favor and I hope to be able to help you some time in the future.
If I gaped when the flight attendant told me Felipe, and not Eric, had sent the bottle of champagne, my jaw was on my chest after reading the note. It wasn`t until after a while I noticed he hoped Eric would also enjoy the bottle. Wasn`t he aware of his own son`s scheming?
The flight attendant started opening the bottle, but when he wanted to pour into Claudine`s glass, she held her fingers over it and nodded at her belly.
“All the more for you, then,” he said with a wink and poured champagne into my glass.
I giggled my way through customs at Heathrow Airport. The champagne had gone straight to my head and though I usually preferred to be in control and disliked being inebriated, right now I welcomed the instant giddiness the bottle had brought me. It took away the boring edge of customs.
The champagne was probably also the reason why I got all teary and smiled my 1000 watt smile when Claudine pulled out tiny knitting pins and some yarn from her suitcase when we were sitting in the black, London taxi I had insisted on us taking. I wanted to explore London and the taxis were part of the experience. Claudine had wanted us to get a limousine or maybe even take the express train since it was at least an hour`s drive, but I wanted to go in a black taxi. Luckily one of the black taxis drove up just beside us when we exited the airport.
Claudine hadn`t been allowed to knit on board the plane, but we hadn`t driven far before ittybitty little socks were starting to form on her fast moving needles.
I sighed slightly. Eric and I hadn`t really had `the talk` and with his mother wanting him to procreate as fast as possible, and bugging him with it, I wasn`t sure when and if he even wanted children. In romantic moments we had been close to discussing the subject and deep down I thought he wanted to start a family at some point.
I wanted children at some point too, but Eric and I were such a new couple and our relationship hadn`t exactly been a walk in the park. A few more years as just a couple would probably suit us fine. We could travel and see the world and we could get to know each other before we were kept up all night by children screaming.
At least that was what I thought up until I saw Claudine knitting socks. Baby socks.
I turned my head and looked out at London – the city I had wanted to see with Eric, not a baby-sock knitting Claudine. The champagne-effect had apparently worn off already. But then we drove past the Parliament and I recognized the London Eye too. It made me smile and my baby-thoughts disappeared. I was in London.
I looked at Claudine, still with a smile on my lips. She smiled knowingly back.
“You`ll have fun here, Sookie,” she said.
“We`ll have fun,” I corrected. Yes, Claudine was here to look after me but I`d come to look at her as a friend. Sort of.
I went back to staring out of the windows, trying to memorize every building and all the sights when a sound made me turn my head back to Claudine. She had put down her knitting and was trying to get the attention of the driver when he suddenly made a sharp turn that threw me sideways in the taxi. When I looked up Claudine was on the small seat just behind the driver and knocked on the window with her elbow. She wasn`t trying to get the driver`s attention. She was trying to get into his little cabin.
Unfortunately the window was stronger than Claudine`s elbow and the only result of her efforts was the driver increasing the speed of the car, going through side streets that got smaller and more desolated. We went from streets with shops to streets that looked empty.
Then the car came to a sudden stop, throwing me to the floor and knocking Claudine`s head into the Plexiglas window separating us from the driver, ironically making it crack. She fell down next to me and I noticed blood running down her cheek.
When the door to the taxi opened I grabbed the only weapon I could find, Claudine`s knitting needle, and jabbed it into the first thing I saw, an arm. To my joy, I heard a loud scream but then I was rewarded with a fist to my jaw and everything went black.
It took me several minutes to understand where I was when I came to. There was movement and the sound of an engine, but it was dark and I couldn`t see anything. In the end it was the smell of diesel that made me realize I was in the trunk of a car.
After a few seconds of panic, not really knowing what to do, I did the only thing I could do, I started kicking and screaming on the off chance that someone walked by and heard me. Of course, I could be way out in the countryside with only cows and sheep hearing my screams, but it was worth a shot. I kicked at the lock and where the tail lights were, hoping to do some damage to either.
It turned out someone did hear me because the car came to a stop and a few moments later the trunk was opened and a person in a balaclava looked down at me with hate in his eyes.
“Shut up, you dozy bitch,” he said and then the trunk was slammed closed before I got to ask him why I was there. But then he didn`t really seem like the type who liked played `20 questions`.
Judging from how I was thrown back and forth in the trunk, the car went at a high speed and turned corners on what felt like two wheels. I had no idea how long I`d been out and I had lost all sense of time. It felt as if we were driving for hours and if my need for a bathroom was any indication, I had been abducted for quite some time.
I went through the possible `whys` and `whos` of my abduction and felt pretty sure it wasn`t anyone from my old boring Sookie Stackhouse life who was after me, unless my kindergarten sweetheart had suddenly remembered how I had pushed him into a puddle of mud and wanted revenge.
I thought of all the people I had met after I came to Norway and could think of a few who wouldn`t go sleepless at the thought of me lying in the trunk of a car with the taste of my own blood in my mouth. But why would any of them abduct me in England? It would have been much easier for them to grab me in Norway.
Eric`s mother and step-father lived in this country, of course, but I failed to see why they would have me thrown into the back of a trunk. Sophie-Anne may have wanted me with a one-way ticket back home at some point but now she was busy enough with her own problems.
I began to wonder what had happened to Claudine and worried for her and her baby. The last I`d seen of her was her on the floor of a black taxi, bleeding out of her mouth. The thought made me cold inside and panic started to grip me again.
I almost started screaming again, not because I thought it was wise, but in pure desperation at the thought of Claudine being hurt somewhere. Her life, her health, was on me – or at least that was how I felt. I could bear my own pain and panic but the thought of Claudine was eating me up inside.
I was embarrassed when I realized I didn`t know much about her. She`d just come into my life uninvited and I had just accepted her there, no questions asked. Now I wished I had asked the questions.
Then something took my thoughts away from Claudine. The wheels of the car I was in suddenly screeched and I was thrown back and forth in the trunk, and then, in what felt like slow-motion, the whole car turned upside down. The sound of the crash was so loud and it felt as if I could think a thousand thoughts before the car landed. The last I felt was intense pain.
I woke up to a contraction that made me scream out in pain. And then another one. I didn`t know how I knew it was a contraction, but I was sure. I was giving birth.
“Oh, Sookie. The baby is almost out. I can see the head,” Eric said with tears in his eyes. He was suddenly next to me, smiling. I smiled back at him. We were having our baby and it was a time for joy. A little pain now and we would be parents to a beautiful little child.
It sounds corny when someone says they are filled with happiness, but that was exactly how I felt. Joy from fingertip to the tip of my toes.
Another hard contraction hit by body and it felt as if I was being turned inside out and then there was a massive wetness between my legs.
“It`s a girl,” a voice said and Eric bent over and kissed me.
“We have a little girl.”
Then I was gone again.
“Are you awake?” Eric`s voice was thick with worry. I tried to open my eyes, but couldn`t. Then I fell into the deep darkness I had been in for some time.
In the darkness I was happy and things were fine, but little glimpses of reality showed me worried faces, people in white coats and strong lights in my eyes.
I preferred the darkness.
Then I heard Eric`s voice again and I felt his hand in mine. I couldn`t help squeezing it slightly and that brought a lot of reaction. Soon the whole room was full of people, or so it sounded.
My eyes were opened again and very bright light shone into them. I blinked and suddenly I was there. I was in the room with Eric and the doctors. I could see Eric`s smile and I tried to return it.
“What happened?” I asked, my voice being only a whisper.
“Oh, Sookie. You`ve been gone for four days. You were in a car crash,” Eric explained.
“I was…” I searched for the word, “abducted”.
“I know. The two people abducting you were killed in the car crash but the fact that you were in the trunk spoke its own language. The police are all over this.”
“They were killed?” I asked. Eric nodded. “Good,” I surprised myself by replying. I`d never been a vindictive person but right now, lying in the hospital bed with any number of injuries, I was glad the people who did this to me were gone. Then I remembered something. Someone. “What about Claudine?” I asked.
“She`s in the next room,” Eric answered. “You can visit her later.”
I smiled and was very relieved to find calm in Eric`s eyes. And love.
I had forgotten about the doctor even though he was checking my vitals while I was talking to Eric, but then he leaned over me to get my attention.
“You have a couple of broken bones that will heal and I want to keep you for observation for damages to your head.” Then his face got slightly more serious. “But I am sorry to tell you that you lost the baby.”
I looked at him without understanding what he was saying. What baby?
Then I looked at Eric who was staring at the doctor.
“What baby?” he asked.
It may seem like a cruel dream I gave Sookie, but unfortunately nature can be cruel. If you miscarry when you`re asleep (and I suspect when you`re unconscious), your dream can make it into you giving birth to a healthy baby. It`s closely related to when your alarm clock rings and your dream makes it into a phone ringing in your dream. I know it`s cruel – I`ve had it happen to me 🙁
Now that you`ve read this chapter, you will see why I procrastinated. My heart aches when I write angst. I hope you survived reading it.
I have some positive messages too. My story “Let Women Vote” won the Public Vote in the Age of Eric contest. It made me so incredibly happy and I`m very thankful for each and every vote! Actually I`m not down from my winning high yet.
I also have another story for you: Peppermintyrose goaded me into writing “Don`t Move Eric Northman” and now I`m doing my best to ruin her reputation by blaming the whole story on her (hoho).