Chapter 02: Awakening

My family and friends let me wallow in grief for two months and then told me I had to snap out of it.  The kids needed me and I needed to move forward.

 I knew it but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Of all the people to snap me out of it was Gran.  She was a rock for a lot of people in town; she pulled me aside one Sunday after morning church services and told me to bring the kids by tonight for Sunday supper and a talk.   I knew I was no good to anyone in the shape that I was in, I thought a change of scenery would be good for the kids, especially Godric; he was taking Felicia’s death harder than Isabel or Joseph.   Joseph was too little to understand his mommy wasn’t coming back and as long as he kept busy he didn’t dwell, Isabel on the other hand was like her mom, steady and sure, a miniature version of Felicia.

We arrived at Gran’s about 5pm for 5:30pm supper.  The kids were enjoying the property, the old farmhouse was out in the country and it offered a lot of room to run. So I told the kids to have fun outside while Gran and I spoke.

Gran sat me down in the kitchen and spoke softly to me about loss.   She had known her own share of loss, losing her husband, son and daughter too early.   She told me to think of the good and beautiful times that we shared and what came about that time.

I looked at her with my head titled to the side and told her it hurt to think about those times because Felicia was no longer in my life.

She then told me that Felicia will always be in my life, she is in my heart and she is in our three children.  If I give into heartache, I would wither away and the children would not only have lost their mom but their father as well.  That I needed to pick my head up and hold it high and carry on.  It is what Felicia would want me to do.  She wouldn’t want me to give into grief and loose myself.  She would want me to enjoy life and what it has to offer, she would want me to carry on with my job since the town needed me just as much as my children…

I just looked at her astounded by what she was saying, I knew she was right but I just didn’t think I had it in me.   She said you do have it in you, we all do… Then she mentioned Sookie.   She said that Sookie found it in herself to raise her two boys alone and without their father.  That her children gave her the strength to raise them alone and perform her job with grace and ease.  I wasn’t in the same situation as Sookie but my life needed to be about my children.  If I was to find the peace I needed, I first needed to find peace in myself and move on.

There it was the switch in my mind that I needed.   I was not going to lose myself in grief because the kids needed me especially Godric.    I thanked Gran for the talk and called the kids in to clean up for supper, we were running about fifteen minutes behind schedule but Gran said not to worry.  This talk was not only for me but for them… If they could enjoy the outdoors and forget about their grief then it was a good thing.

I was in the bathroom with Joseph and I heard Godric ask Gran who the two boys in the picture were? She said that it was Jackson and Jake, her great grandbabies.    He said they look an awful lot like my daddy.  I was floored.

 I needed to see this picture.

 Could it be?

 Were they mine?

 No they couldn’t be, I was only with Sookie once, I needed to know.

I knew if they were mine, Sookie would have told me years ago. Wouldn’t she?

Plus Alcide would have said something, wouldn’t he?

I walked out with Joseph in tow and asked Godric what picture he asked Gran about.  He pointed to the one on the mantle.  I picked it up and looked at it.  I really didn’t see it.  They had the same hair color as me and their eye color was the same but Sookie and I shared that same trait, we always laughed about it when we were in high school and got to calling each other brother and sister.

I asked Gran about the picture and she said the picture was taken when the boys were six years old.   They were in the backyard at Sookie’s home in Dallas.   She had more updated pictures but they were in her bedroom if I wanted to see them…  I was curious as to what Sookie looked like standing with the boys but I didn’t press the subject… I asked Gran their names.

She replied, Jackson Herveaux Stackhouse and Jake Herveaux Stackhouse.

So it was true they were Alcide’s; all these years he said that he wasn’t their father when in actuality he was.  I was going to ask him about it the next time I spoke to him…

We had a great time at Gran’s and stayed till about 7pm.  I could see Gran was tiring and the kids had to get ready for bed since they had school in the morning.  Gran let us know that we were always welcome out to her home and she let Godric know if he ever needed to talk she was there for him.

Things got better after my talk with Gran, things fell into place and the years started to pass.   I did speak with Alcide about Sookie’s boys though.  He wouldn’t tell me who their father was but he said that it wasn’t him.

He told me he asked Sookie to move home but she said her place was in Dallas and she didn’t want to mess up anyone’s life.   I wasn’t too sure whom she was talking about but I would have welcomed her home with open arms. I missed her and I needed a friend after Felicia’s death.

Alcide also let me know that the reason the boys were named after him was so that he could have a little bit of a legacy and to appease his dad on the gay issue.  He said he asked Sookie to marry him and they could make it work but she told him that all it would be doing is causing a rift that they couldn’t mend.  She would not cheat on him to have a sex life and she would not want him to do it either.  Her boys were better off with Uncle Alcide than no-one at all.   However, he did add that the boy’s real father is named on their birth certificates so that if there was ever any questions or issues the boys would know whom to talk to.

For some odd reason I felt ecstatic at the fact that Alcide wasn’t their father.

 I knew I wasn’t since she never told me but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t still curious as to who was; but it wasn’t my place to seek her out to find out.  If she ever came back into my life I would ask and hopefully she would reply with an honest answer, not like she did with that guy she was once engaged to where she replied that it was none of his business.

A few more years slipped by and life was good. I went out on an occasional date but never got into a serious relationship.  I didn’t think any of the woman I dated or had sex with were worthy of being in the presence of my kids.   Plus I did not have the time or energy to put 100% into a new relationship.  I was happy with what I had.

 Isabel was the one to always ask if I was happy not having a lady friend in my life.  I told her I was happy and no one could replace her mom.

Then the thought of Sookie would pop back into my head as her being the only woman I would consider as a replacement in my heart for Felicia.  I do not know what Sookie did to me to bewitch me in the way she did but there have only ever been two women in my life that I would consider marrying… One was dead and the other was lost to me in Dallas.

I never thought much about what I felt for Sookie, it wasn’t LOVE but I knew it was damn close and the special moment we shared before she went to John Hopkins solidified it for me.    I always liked her and she was sweet but that night something changed and she held a part of my heart not even Felicia had.

Call me an ass, call me arrogant but something changed that night between us and I would have loved to explore it, but she ran off.  Maybe it was good she did, I would not have known how to choose between her and Felicia.  I would have been torn and I would have ruined two lives.

The twelve year mark passed of Felicia’s death and I was still a bachelor, I was still sheriff and I was enjoying my kids.   Godric and Isabel were away at college and Joseph was in the eleventh grade, my life was full and I was enjoying what I had.  Until, I found a box on the shelf in my closet with the cards and well wishes from Felicia’s funeral, I had forgotten it was even tucked away.   I sat down on the bed and started reading what people had sent in the form of condolences.   I never paid much mind to them when it happened, I knew I was in a fog but I don’t remember boxing them up for a later date to read.

I guess it was time for me to find them and to read them; maybe it was Felicia guiding me to them, I don’t know but I was sitting in the middle of the bed with the cards spread out about me.  Picking each one up and reading them, there was so many but one stood out, it was from Sookie.

I was thrown by what it said… the sentiment, the words and that she was actually at the funeral, why didn’t I see her?

Eric

I am sorry to hear about your loss.  Felicia and you were always a friend to me and I wish I would have been able to be there for her in her time of need and for you at your time of loss, but forces beyond my control kept me away.  I have wanted to see you for some time now but I have been afraid to approach you.  I was afraid to let you back in my life, I never stopped loving you but when I saw for myself the devastation you were going through at the funeral I knew not to approach you, it was not my time.   You needed to be strong for your children and I knew that my presence would have been misconstrued by many.  So I chose once again to walk away.  Know this, you have and will always have my heart, there has never been another.  I have come close but I backed out at the last minute because I couldn’t go through with a lie; I couldn’t marry a man to give my boys a live in father, they have a father and one day he will know them but now is not the time.    Stay safe my love and know that you are always in my heart and at the forefront of my mind.   I am praying for your heart to mend and in time it will.

We love you.

Sookie, Jackson and Jake

I was crying like a baby curled up on the bed and that is how Joseph found me when he got home from school that night.  He saw all the cards and didn’t know what to do, he knew what they were but he didn’t notice I was clutching one to my heart.  I don’t think he would have understood that I wasn’t crying for his mother but I was crying because I could have had a chance with my only regret.  He panicked and called Alcide since his brother and sister were at school.  Alcide told him to call Jason too and he would be there as quick as he could.

Alcide was the first to arrive because Jason was in the middle of a game.  He asked Joseph to leave us alone for a few minutes so that he could see what the problem was and if his dad needed our support.

Joseph said he would wait but he wanted answers since he never saw his father break down like this before.

Alcide climbed up onto the bed and placed my head gently in his lap.  He stroked my hair and let me cry.  I know Alcide is gay and I didn’t care but it was a comfort to see this big oaf of a guy being so gentle and caring with me; It warmed my heart that I had a friend like this and I hope that one day I could return the favor.

About ten minutes went by and he asked why I took the cards down to read them?  He said he boxed them up for me years ago and figured I would have taken them down prior to now, possibly even thrown them out.

I told him I forgot the box was there but for some reason I was drawn to the box today, it was the anniversary of Felicia funeral, twelve years prior on this very day.  I took the day off to remember her and to go by the graveyard to pay my respects, but instead I was drawn to the damn box and I found this.  It was then that he noticed I had something clutched to my chest.

He asked me if he could see and I handed to him.

 All I heard was OH when he opened it up.  Then I heard, FUCK… So he must be reading her words.

I decided I needed to man up and get over it… It was in the past and I was sure she didn’t feel the same way twelve years later, I had lost another opportunity.

I told him I would be right back and went to clean up before Jason got here.  I didn’t want him knowing about his sister and me, I still felt guilty after all these years not telling him and I figured now was not the time.

When I came back in I asked Alcide to give me the card and he told me it wasn’t a good idea.  That I missed the opportunity to be with her and I should let dead dogs lie.  I knew he was right but I needed to keep her card; it was the only thing I had from her that let me remember that she loved me once.

He handed it over but told me not to show it to Jason who had just came in the front door a moment earlier.  I quickly put the card in my night stand and turned around as Jas walked in the door.

He looked at the bed and then looked at me and said AH HELL; he remembered what the day was.   He said come on lets go, Boys night out, get your shit together and will go up to the bar and grill and remember her together while we drank ourselves in oblivion.  He called Michelle, she said she understood she would swing by and get Joseph, he could just stay the night over at their house; I would be in no shape to take care of him tonight or tomorrow morning.

She was right; we ended up calling my deputy Kenya to come take us home… The three of us were not in any shape to drive…..

I told Alcide a few days later not to mention the card or Sookie to me that we should drop the subject of her in my future.   I would always remember what she said but after 12 years how could she possible love me still.  He just shook his head… I thought I heard him say, “If you only knew” but I wasn’t too sure so I dropped it.

Another two years passed and my life was starting to even out.  I got over the card but looked at it often.  It warmed my heart to read it and it didn’t tear me up like it did at the beginning.

 I thought of Sookie often enough to wonder what she looked like now.    I heard from Jason that Gran was ill and I wanted to help her out but Jas said family was coming to do that, no need for me to worry.  It never occurred to me it would be Sookie and hers sons.

Isabel was always on my ass when she was home about my 50th birthday coming up soon.  She wondered if I was going to go through a mid life crisis like so many other dads and I told her no I was good.  I already had what I needed and bought what I wanted and since she and her brothers were all away at college now there was no need to have a crisis because I was doing exactly what I wanted to do.

The kids were home for the weekend to help me celebrate before my actual birthday.

 Joseph asked me if I believe in doppelgangers.  I told him yeah I think there is someone out there that looks like you but you would probably never see or meet them.  Then Godric asked me if it was possible that there were two such people out there.  I told him not a chance in hell and to be in the same town it was unthinkable.  Unless they were born as twins or triplets it would never occur.

I was curious why they brought it up but they didn’t press the subject.

I told the kids we would go out to celebrate on Saturday night but I had to put in a half day first at the office, just because I was sheriff didn’t mean I could take off all the time.   The kids all said they were going to go into town get some ice cream maybe go see a movie and they would be home later.

I waved goodbye and just lounged around home, Alcide called and asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink and I told him no, I was just going to stay in since I needed to be at the station in the morning.   He just huffed and said okay, he sounded upset but I couldn’t figure out why.  I asked him if he was okay and he said yeah, he just wanted to talk to me about something but it could wait.

Not thinking much about it we said our goodnights and I fell asleep on the couch.   I woke up when I heard the kids come in; it was a little before 1am.  I asked them if they had a good time; they said yeah that they spoke to my doppelgangers and they seemed like nice guys.   They hung out with them for the rest of the night.  I never bothered to ask their names I figured they would tell me later.  I told them I would see them this afternoon and this evening they could pick the restaurant for dinner.

It was a beautiful outside when I woke up and got myself ready for my day.  I strolled into the office and   Kenya greeted me, she asked me if I heard the news that Sookie was back in town to take care of Gran?   I told her no I hadn’t, that I knew family was coming to take care of Gran but I figured it was Hadley.    She said that Sookie brought her boys with her too and they were the talk of the town gossip this morning.   Go figure Arlene Fowler would stick her nose in places they don’t belong.

I told her I didn’t want to hear what venom Arlene was spitting out of her mouth and to get back to work.

A little while later I decided to take a drive.  It was around 10am and I figure I needed to make sure the town was quiet as usual and take a run to the bank.  I could use my credit card tonight for dinner but I so much liked having cash on me just in case something unforeseeable happens.

I was driving around minding my own business and noticed a car I didn’t know parked in front of the Grab N Go, I figured it might be my doppelgangers so I was going to go down to the end of the street and then make a U turn to check it out.  I would not be a good sheriff if I didn’t know what was going on in my town.    I took my time no need to speed or rush it. I could see from where I was that someone walked out of the Grab N Go and got in the driver’s seat but was waiting for someone else to come out.   By that time I was making my U-Turn and wasn’t paying attention to who climbed in the passenger seat.  I knew I would catch up to them at the light so I was patient,  it was my job to respect the law and enforce it so I had to make sure I also paid attention to it and abided by it.

I pulled up to the side of the car. That’s when I noticed it was a blonde woman in the passenger seat.

 I then realized who it was, it was MY Sookie… My heart stopped and I didn’t know what to do, she looked beautiful.  I don’t even know if she noticed me because the car had left when the light turned green and I just sat there in shock.  She looks the same like she hasn’t aged a year.   I knew she was home to take care of Gran but all that kept running through my mind was “she must be home because Gran is sick and she needs to be here for her.   She wasn’t here for me.”

NOT ME

                I was jealous.

Jealousy is an ugly beast when you don’t have control over it.   I floored the cruiser to go searching for the sedan, there couldn’t be many places for her to hide, we were a small town but I knew if I didn’t find her, I could always run out to Gran’s and say I was checking up on her.    That sounded plausible.

It was then that I noticed the sedan parked at the bank.  Even better.  I could go in for my money and check to see if Sookie was there. She would be none the wiser since I needed to get cash out anyway.

I walked into the Bank and noticed everyone turned to look my way.  I felt like I was being watched by everyone.

Why?

Then I saw why, my doppelgangers were standing to the side by the branch mangers desk.   Damn they do look like me….    Fuck they are me……… All I could think of was I am going to kill her, she has some explaining to do.

You know the song by Heart, “All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You”; well its replaying in my head over and over again as I approach MY BOYS.   It takes everything I have in me not to sing it out loud…. Damn I’m fucked.

 I walked up to them to introduce myself.

 They both nodded at me when I approached.  I went to say my name and they both said in unison, “No need to introduce yourself, we know who you are “SIR”.  We are pleased to meet you.”

SIR?

I just looked at them in awe, I reached out and touched their faces, they were me when I was younger, and if I had to age them they had just turned 28 years old.  They were my spitting image…  I was dumbfounded but pleased… I was mad but excited… What a hell of a birthday present, twins…. Fuck I was going to kill her for not telling me.  I was ecstatic Sookie and I shared a link….. But I was pissed that everyone and I mean everyone hid this from me.   I started naming off who was in on this, who could have known; Alcide, Jason, Michelle, Gran and Sookie.

 Who else knew?

FUCK

As I was contemplating everyone’s death, I heard a gasp to the side of me.

 “Fuck a Duck”

With that I started laughing… Sookie could never swear properly, she was too sweet and gentle but I was still mad at her.

As she approached me all I could say was “you have some explaining to do WOMAN and NOW.”

50Fifty

10 thoughts on “Chapter 02: Awakening

  1. “you have some explaining to do WOMAN and NOW” (the one good thing about being behind in my reading I don’t get a cliffhanger – yes … I always read the last chapter of a book right after the first chapter) poor Eric what a way to find out he has two old children. Especially on his birthday. Nicely tempered chapter. Loving reading it from Eric’s POV.

  2. Really, Eric Sookie has explaining yes but what about you? You knew there was a possibility they could be yours but, since it would upset your perfect life with your soul mate and kids you didn’t investigate. There both wrong here. I feel like she did, what she had to do to protect her kids because she didn’t want to be the one to cause problems for Eric .She shoulder all the responsibility and left him alone because he was obviously happy with his life without her.

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