I’ll meet you at Osaka at eight. I just need to get away.
I tucked my phone back into my pocket after I read Sookeh’s text message again. Oh yes, tonight was going to be spectacular. In a little less than half an hour I’d have Sookeh to myself and we’d have an intimate dinner, though why she’d want Asian food, I have no idea. There were plenty of respectable places in the area, but I wasn’t about to argue when I’d finally gotten her to agree.
I glanced in the bathroom mirror one last time and adjusted the collar of my jacket slightly. This color really complimented my hair and the yellow of my polo brought out the blue of my eyes.
Finally, I had gotten her away from Northman. Oh how I hated that Neanderthal. He’d had opportunities handed to him at every turn and had every stroke of luck possible. It was my turn. I’d managed to steal the girl he was lusting after and she was leaving her brat behind.
My phone rang and I pulled it out of my pocket, grinning again as I saw myself on the cover. It was all the rage in Hollywood, having your own picture on your phone cover. The best kind of self promotion. I mean, sometimes I wasn’t even on a call, but if it was by my ear people could see.
Ah, the town car I’d commissioned. What better way to impress a lady than to have an easily accessible getaway. All the better, I wouldn’t have to sully my hotel room with our passionate lovemaking. After all, Caroline and the children would be visiting next week and it wouldn’t be proper. The timing would be perfect. Sookeh’s brat would be done filming by then and they’d be long gone, leaving me with my family for the remainder of my time here.
I pocketed my room key and my wallet as I left my room, grumbling as I waited for the elevator. Godric surely should’ve put his core cast members in nicer accommodations. Of course that blond haired cretan would convince his director buddy to separate Sookeh and I because he knew what a threat I’d be.
I slid into the Lincoln smoothly and adjusted my blazer as I reclined on the leather seat. I pulled my phone out again and pulled up Sookeh’s message again.
I’m on my way now. Can’t wait to see you there.
I smirked as I waited for a reply. The minutes ticked by and I grew frustrated. Where was she? Why wasn’t she replying? I rolled my eyes. She was probably going to be late because of the ankle biter. There was hardly anything I hated more than tardiness. She’d have to be educated before we took our affair any farther.
We pulled into the parking lot of Osaka and I grinned as I saw the paparazzi crowding the entrance. Of course they’d be clamoring for a glimpse of me! Amelia had done her job well. I assume she was still holed up with Northman in her room since I hadn’t heard from her. Such a slut. A useful slut, but a slut nonetheless.
“Excuse me, Driver? Pull up to the valet stand.”
He rolled his eyes in the rearview mirror and muttered under his breath. Well, that’s a call to his supervisor.
The car jerked to a stop and I glared at the driver. Well, was he going to open my door?!? Ugh, well, no matter. I paused another moment to compose myself, then swung the door open, already shielding my eyes from the flashes.
I heard the shouts of the cameramen and readied myself for the shouted questions and awkward photos…but they shot right past me.
They shot past me? Who the hell-
Well, who was in that beat up old SUV behind us? No. There was no way-
Ha Ha, Fuckface! Oh those sickening texts paid off big time! He looked so confused as the vultures with cameras rushed right the fuck past him.
That may have been one of our more brilliant schemes. Why Fuckface and Ho-Bag thought they could break up the Love Bunnies was beyond me, but fucking with the douchecanoe was one of my favorite jobs ever! It even helped me lose a couple pounds. Ya know, all that gagging? Amazing!
I grinned as Eric ducked out of the passenger side door of Sookie’s SUV, amused that he finally let someone else drive. He ignored the swarm of idiots and rushed to the driver’s side, ushering Sookie out of the car like a true gentleman. The paps went fucking nuts when he pulled her close and laid a soft kiss on her forehead.
My parents emerged from the darkness a moment later and stood with Sookie as they waited for Eric to unstrap Zoe. Wow, Mom cleaned up nicely! Sookie…well, I needed to take her shopping.
One of the unwashed masses jostled me and I growled, baring my teeth menacingly. I love that he backed away slowly with a look of terror on his face. He’s lucky he didn’t scuff my pumps.
And where the fuck was Godric? He better be wearing the clothes I laid out for him. That fashion disaster would be the death of me.
What was she doing to me? That dress was going to be the death of me. The color just made her tan pop and her breasts looked divine…and her legs! Those legs just made me think of having them wrapped around my waist and god dammit I just popped a boner and I still have to walk through a crowd of paparazzi. Shit.
I held Zoe on my hip and wrapped my other arm around Sookie’s waist as Mom and Dad led the way toward the front door of the restaurant. I don’t ever remember being happier, even with the sneer Pam aimed at Sookie as she held the door open for us. Sookie just stuck her tongue out at my sister, which of course caused the cameras behind us to flash madly.
Thankfully once the door shut, we were ensconced in the relative darkness of the restaurant as we approached the hostess stand. “Hey Elizabeth! How are you this evening?”
The teenager blushed a brilliant red, just like she did every time we came in. Sookie thought it was adorable and Zoe just giggled.
“Uh, it’s great Mr. Northman. How are y’all doing?” Wow, she didn’t stutter this time.
“We’re great. I think my father called in to reserve the front table.”
“He did!” She glanced at our group. “Is Mr. Hyde joining you?”
“How many time do I have to tell you, Elizabeth? It’s Godric!”
I yelped as I felt strong arms wrap themselves around Zoe and I. I nearly put a kink in my neck twisting to see who the fuck was holding me since they were too tall to be Godric.
“Oh, Eric! I knew you’d be glad to see me!”
Sookie threw her head back and laughed boisterously as she threw her arms around Thomas.
“It’s good to see you, Thomas! I didn’t know you’d be coming!” She giggled once again as I growled low in my throat. “Oh hush, you! And you let him go so he can act all possessive and manly.”
The laughter flowed around us and I found myself joining in, which was a whole new experience for me.
“So, how many are in your party?” Elizabeth began gathering menus as she tried to count, though the towering men in our party were obscuring some of the smaller people.
I glanced around, mentally counting-wait. I think I had a stroke. Surely that was not Pam, my surly bitch of a sister, with her arm around…Bill?? And a smile on her face??
“Uh, hey Bill. I didn’t know you’d be joining us tonight.” I noticed it came out more as a question , but I was sincerely confused. But I did enjoy the way Sookie shifted closer to me and gripped my hand a little more tightly. He really creeped her out and I couldn’t say I could blame her.
For the last two weeks he’d been really stepping up his creeper game. He’d be leering at her as she walked past, casually walking in when Sookie and I were trying to catch a few moments alone on set, surreptitiously checking his phone and then staring at her while he licked his lips…did he have some kind of x-ray app I’d never heard of?
Pam grinned, kinda creepily honestly, and Godric slapped her a subtle low five. Yeah I’d need to find out what that was all about.
“Oh yes, I’m sorry I forgot to tell you, big brother! Bill here has been texting me for the last few weeks and I figured I should invite him to dinner with us.” All her teeth were showing and I was getting kinda scared.
“You-have been talking to…Bill?” Mom’s eyebrow raised. Okay good, so she smelled bullshit too.
“Oh yes, we’ve had some amazingly insightful conversations. Haven’t we, Bill?”
He looked sick, like he was about to spew all over Pam. Which honestly I would probably pay good money to see. That’d teach the meddling bitch to not do…whatever she was doing.
Elizabeth just watched us with a small furrow between her eyebrows and snapped to action when we all faced her expectantly. She shuffled quickly toward the table at the front of the restaurant…where all the paps were peeking into the window. Maybe I didn’t think this through. Oh well. I was with my parents and my girlfriend and Baby Girl and some other fucktards I had to call family. And…Bill? I was still kinda confused about that one.
I grinned as Sookie settled into her chair and I scooted it in for her, glaring at Thomas as he sat on her other side. He immediately engaged her in conversation, pulling Godric and Pam in after a few minutes. Bill just sat with his back ramrod straight and a constipated look on his face. Maybe that was his problem?
Everyone chit chatted as we waited for our waiter to come over. I gently grabbed Sookie’s hand under the table, entwining our fingers together and bringing them up to kiss her hand. She grinned at me as she rested our joined hands on her thigh as she let her thumb rub light circles over my skin. I shivered and shifted restlessly as my cock decided to rebel again. Damn it! He’d just calmed the fuck down!
“Good evening everyone! I’m Barry and I’ll be your waiter tonight. May I start you all off with drinks?”
He started with Bill, who mumbled something too low for me to hear, then moved to Pam who engaged him in a lively discussion about which cocktail tasted the best but had the least calories. I rolled my eyes and glanced to my left where Zoe was sandwiched between my parents.
“Daddy?” My heart still melted every single time I heard that.
“What’s up, Baby Girl?”
“May I order sweet tea?” I checked my watch. It was late, but she’d be up late with us and didn’t need to be up in the morning.
“That’s fine. But only one, then water after. Deal?” She grinned and thanked me before she engaged Dad in another grand adventure of filming.
“Is that gonna be alright with Sookie?” Mom leaned over to lower her voice. “I mean, it’s kinda late.”
I grinned as I glanced over at my girl, her head thrown back in laughter at something my idiot cousin said. My heart swelled with love as I turned back toward Mom. “Yeah. She trusts me.”
I thought Mom was gonna cry and I gingerly patted her shoulder. I didn’t like crying women. Sookie squeezed my hand and shot me a questioning look. I just shook my head and pulled her close as I laid a kiss on her lips.
Once we’d all ordered drinks, Sookie glanced around the table. She shot me a look before she turned and cleared her throat. “So, Pam? Why is it that you have a different last name than the rest of your family? Are you adopted too?”
Oh shit! She had to go there!!! Godric, Thomas and Dad erupted into laughter and Mom just dropped her head, covering her face with her hands.
“What? I’m sorry, did I say something wrong?” Aw, poor thing actually looked upset, like she could really hurt Pam’s nonexistent feelings.
I tugged her toward me and chuckled. “Oh, no. I’ll-uh…hey Dad! Why don’t you tell the story?”
“I dunno why cause you know you hooligans are just gonna interrupt…” Ah, Mom knew us so well.
“Okay, well, when Pam was 18 she had this girlfriend. Uh…what was her name again?” Pam sulked across the table as Dad turned toward us.
“We never actually knew her real name. But she made everyone call her Luna Blackwood.” Thomas leaned forward toward Sookie and whispered dramatically. “She was…spunky.”
“Okay, yes so Luna. Anyway, Pam had just turned 18 and she thought Luna was going to break up with her because Pam has always been very girly and Luna…wasn’t. She wore the spiked bracelets and the Doc Marten’s and all black…very goth.” Dad grinned, probably remembering Pam trying to emulate the goth chick. “Apparently one afternoon when they skipped school-” I caught the hairy eyeball Mom shot Pam and laughed again. “-they were talking about how oppressed they were and how morbid their lives were, yada yada yada. And Pam decides that the BEST way to impress Luna was to make herself more like her.”
Pam groaned and slouched down in her seat as Bill tried to scooch away from her.
“She went behind my back and contacted one of the guys in my office to have her name legally changed to Pamela Ravenscroft because it sounded ‘mysterious’.”
“But come to find out, Luna actually liked that she was girly and broke up with my dumb ass sister for ‘trying to be something she’s not’!” Godric cracked up as he jumped up to avoid the fist Pam swung at him. I grabbed the beer that Barry had just set in front of me and took a swig to mask the manic grin I knew was on my face.
“Are you ready to order?”
After giving our poor waiter our orders (seriously, could Pam make ANY more substitutions??), we all settled back into our seats, though I noticed Godric’s chair was much closer to Thomas’s than before.
“Okay, so why didn’t you just change it back? It shouldn’t have been hard.” Sookie glanced at each family member in turn, becoming more and more puzzled at the glee on our faces and the exasperation on Mom and Dad’s.
“Because she needed to learn that there are consequences to her actions. I wouldn’t change it back for her. And I guess it was just easier to leave it after awhile.” Dad grinned at Zoe, who was staring at him in awe. “Remember that, Love Bug.”
She nodded seriously and we cracked up.
Thomas leaned over to hold his stomach as he laughed, probably in danger of pulling a muscle by now. “Oh, you should’ve heard her beg!” He sat up straight and raised his voice a few octaves. “Oh Daddy! Please! I’ll never do anything like this again!”
“Daddy! It’s not fair!” Godric mimicked a foot stomp as he fake pouted. Sookie giggled at the ridiculousness of this fiasco and I couldn’t resist joining in.
“Guys! Why are you laughing at me?! You’re not Hyde’s either!”
“I am, I am!” Godric teased as he stuck his tongue out at our sister, much to Zoe’s delight.
“Oh shut up, bitches, it wasn’t like that!” The click of Pam’s heel stomping made us laugh even harder and Sookie seemed to be fighting back the urge to join in.
“It really was, Pamcake.” Dad grinned apologetically and Mom just rolled her eyes at us.
“Oh just…shut up…you-you…stupid bitches!”
“Language young lady!” Zoe giggled at Mom’s scolding.
“That’s what Mommy always says to Daddy Lala cause that’s one of his favorite words too!” She grinned at Pam, as if that little anecdote just was the most helpful thing in the world. I fought back the absolute brain freeze when Pam seemed to thaw a bit and cracked a smile.
Then she sat up straighter and cleared her throat. “Okay, well then I think it’s only fair that I retaliate. Bitches.” She glared at Mom, almost daring her to say something.
Mom just grinned and raised her hands in surrender as Zoe giggled.
I blanched as Pam picked up her humongous bag and pulled out…I gulped…the folder.
Sookie glanced at Godric and Thomas before her eyes landed on me, her eyebrow raising in question. “Why do the three of you look like you’re about to go to the proctologist or something.”
I just shook my head. I did indeed clench all over and I’m sure Godric and Thomas did the same. Revenge from Pam could be brutal. I also noticed a slight gleam in Bill’s eyes as he glanced toward the folder. But I had to laugh when Pam reared back and smacked him with it, telling him to mind his own fucking business.
I didn’t know how bad this would be. She had so much dirt on all of us that this could be anything. ANYTHING. Her narrowed eyes turned toward Thomas, who gulped and slid closer to Sookie, as if to take cover.
“Now, since you started this Thomas, I’ll begin with you.” She flipped the bedazzled folder (yes, she actually did bedazzle this folder with pink and purple rhinestones) open and leafed through the stack of blackmail ammunition. She pulled out a picture of Thomas with…Lindsey.
Oh fuck, this was gonna be good! I relaxed a bit as Thomas banged his head on the tabletop, narrowly missing the soup Barry had just deposited in front of him.
“Okay Sookie. This was Thomas’s first girlfriend. Lindsey.” She passed the photo along the table until Sookie picked it up gingerly.
“Okay. She looks pretty normal. What’s the big deal?”
“Well, this is her brother, Jack.” She passed another picture down the table. “See, Lindsey had the most massive crush on Godric.” Thomas began banging his head on the table harder. “And Godric had the most massive crush on Jack. So, in order to be at least a little close to Godric, Lindsey decided to say yes when Thomas asked her out.”
Sookie raised an eyebrow again. “For the seventh time.” Now she understood and she burst into laughter as she patted Thomas on the back.
“So, she settl-”
“Sookeh! Are you really going to allow that bra-I mean, your daughter to slurp her soup?!” All eyes swung to Bill as his face screwed up in indignation.
“Excuse me?” Sookie glanced toward her daughter, who was frozen with the spoon halfway to her mouth. She slowly lowered it and her lip quivered.
Oh shit, he did not! “Your child has no manners whatsoever! This is inexcusable!”
“Uh, actually what’s inexcusable is trying to shame a child for doing nothing wrong!” Thomas glared daggers at my co-star and glanced around the table. “Why exactly is this douchecanoe infringing on our family time?”
Godric and Pam giggled as Zoe slid slowly out of her seat and rounded the table behind us to wedge herself between Sookie and I. “I’m sorry, Mommy.”
Her head hung low and that was not at all acceptable. I pulled her up into my lap as Sookie swung her legs toward me. We cuddled Zoe between us as the rest of our party glared at Bill.
“You didn’t do anything wrong, Love Bug. I promise. Bill’s just a grumpypants.” I tickled her side and she giggled. Sookie kissed my lips lightly and then planted a big sloppy kiss on Zoe’s cheek, making her giggle even more. “Alright, go back to your soup.Love you!”
She hopped down, her little sequined skirt flashing in the low light as she sashayed back to her seat.
“Anyways-” Pam turned a glare toward Bill, who shrunk backwards and nearly fell off his chair in the process. “Thomas was her consolation boyfriend. But he was so pathetically besotted that he didn’t even care.”
“Ah! Perfect timing, good man!” Thomas rushed to greet the chef who’d just wheeled out the gigantic tray of food and Zoe sat up on her heels as she clapped her hands.
“I must protest, Sooke-”
“Seriously, man, who are you?!?” Whoah, Thomas was done. And I don’t think Bill knew who he was going up against. I could see the pompous jerk puffing himself up like some kind of mottled toad.
“Why, I’m Bill Compton!” Thomas continued staring at him blankly. “I’m a famous movie star! You might’ve seen me in Free Panama, Terror of the Night, The House on Court Road and Today is Now.”
“Uh, no, first to die, no and were you the weird alien dude that died in the first five minutes?” Thomas ticked off on his fingers as he spoke and Zoe giggled again. “Actually you do look familiar. Were you by any chance in the critically acclaimed porno ‘Gangbangs of New York’? I do believe you were the bottom in one scene.”
Bill’s face flushed a brilliant scarlet and we all cracked up as he sputtered a denial.
“Mommy?” Zoe’s eyes were trained on the chef as he set up the hibachi and tried to ignore the ruckus we were causing. “What’s a gangbang?”
I choked on my beer and damn it hurts coming out your nose! Sookie bit her lip to stop her laughter and Thomas dropped his head into his hands as he muttered apologies.
“It’s a grown up thing, Doodlebug. I’ll tell you when you’re older.” Sookie giggled as she grabbed my hand once again.
“Wow, I would’ve freaked if one of mine had asked me that. Kudos, Sookie!” Mom raised her wine glass in a small toast and Godric scoffed.
“Mom, Alex asked you that when he was 5 cause Roman left his Penthouse out, remember?”
Pam sputtered on her…Maui Daquri Twist thing and broke into a huge grin. “He did?!? Why didn’t I know about this?!?”
Mom groaned. “How did you know about that?! I didn’t even tell your father!”
Godric smirked. “He asked Roman that night. You might want to yell at Ro cause he explained it. In graphic detail.”
Mom’s face turned red and I swore I could see steam come out her ears. “Well. Don’t warn your brother. I’m going to pay him a visit in the office on Monday.”
There was a chorus of Ooooo’s from all us kids and Sookie cracked up. “Oh, really? Y’all think you’re slick, huh? Well, maybe you can tell me which one of you stole my computer a couple months ago.”
Eh no. Silence reigned as her blue eyes glared at me, Thomas and Godric in turn.
“No? See, that’s funny because when I went to use it during one of my meetings with the people from Amnesty International it was frozen. On bustyasianbeauties.com!”
Sookie choked on her beer and Thomas tried to discreetly toss me a low five. Idiot. Mom had eagle eyes-
“Ah! Thomas! Was it you?”
“Uh, no. No ma’am.” He hung his head and bit his lip to stop the laughter trying to bubble out.
“Oh oh! Shhhhhh!!!!” Zoe caught our attention as our chef began his show. We all sat quietly as the chef tossed an egg around and mixed the rice in front of us.
“Really, I must protest!”
“Bill shut your piehole! That’s what you must do.” God bless Pam. She’d finally had enough and Bill snapped his mouth shut at the withering glare he shot her.
We all sat and watched the chef prepare our food, Zoe hopping and clapping in her seat as Mom and Dad chuckled at her enthusiasm.
Our chef grinned as he pushed the flaming onion mountain toward Zoe as she shrieked in delight. “So glad to have such an active participant!”
Bill mumbled something under his breath and Pam elbowed him in the ribs. The grunt he let out was particularly satisfying when I saw how much fun Zoe was having. This was the fourth time we’d been out to this hibachi place with her and she was enthralled every single time.
When the chef pulled out the proteins, Bill’s face screwed up into a scowl.
“Please make sure that shrimp doesn’t come near mah steak! Nasty creatures!” The chef glared at him as he ‘dropped’ shrimp on top of the filet nearest Bill.
“Daddy! Tell the rotten banana man to be quiet! He’s ruining the show!”
Oh my god, he did look like a rotten banana! That brown jacket and weird yellow polo! Pam burst into laughter as Thomas choked on a bite of rice.
“Zoe, you might have just made my week!” Godric blew her a kiss as she clapped her hands happily.
Bill sulked through the rest of the show. Every time he started to open his mouth, he abruptly snapped it shut when he caught the glare one of us shot him. No way he was ruining this for my baby girl.
When all the food was passed out and the chef took his bow, Zoe shuffled down from her chair and waited for him to move out of the hibachi space. She rushed toward him and squeezed him around the middle, much to his delight.
He ducked down to her level and smiled, his face crinkling merrily. “You are by far the best customer I’ve ever had. Thank you for taking such joy in what I do.”
No, my eyes weren’t misty. Not at all. I hugged Sookie toward me as she sniffled into her napkin. She really had done a magnificent job of raising Zoe and I felt so privileged to be part of their family.
“Can I share my embarrassing Eric story now?” Leave it to Pam to ruin my moment.
“Oh yes, I think I need to hear this embarrassing story, huh?” Sookie elbowed me gently and grinned up at me before turning her attention back to Pam.
Mom rolled her eyes as she ate her steak and shrimp, grinning over Zoe’s head at Dad. “Is this a story we know, Pamela?”
My darling sister snorted as she thumbed through her folder of doom. She yanked out a receipt and passed it along the table, ignoring Godric and Thomas’s grumbles about being interrupted.
“What is this?” Sookie took the slip of paper and her eyes scanned over it quickly. Her eyes widened at the exorbitant total at the bottom before she looked again to see that this particular receipt was from a bar. She took another bite of her shrimp and noodles and glanced back toward Pam.
She took another dainty bite of her salmon before she drew her phone out of her purse. She let everyone continue eating for a few moments while she pulled up something on the screen. Then she shot Bill a glare before she left her seat to saunter toward us. She leaned over, ignoring Thomas’s glare as her hair fluttered dangerously close to his plate.
“This happened after that receipt.”
I groaned as Sookie watched the video Pam had pulled up.
“Dude! What was in that purple shot?!” I stumbled across the pavers along the driveway. The bastards who’d installed the thing must’ve been high because these were crooked as hell.
“You mean the purple nurple? I have no idea, but it was deeeee-lish!” Thomas grinned at the camera as Pam chuckled.
“You guys are fucktarded, do you know that?” Her voice was loud. Damn it, she was gonna wake up Mom and Dad!
“Everyboooooody! Rock yo’ body, yeah! Everyboooody, rock yo’ body right! Backstreet’s back alright!” God, what was that hideous screeching?!? Oh yeah, Godric trying to sing.
“Come on, do the dance!” Pam’s voice was so encouraging, but damn why was she so loud?!
“Nooooooooo,” Thomas stumbled into the rose bush and cursed for a moment while he untangled himself. “We don’t know that one! We know the…the…In Stink ones!”
“Hey! You take that back!” Godric’s face screwed up in anger as Thomas insulted his favorite boyband.
“Dude, I can’t believe…oh wait! Hang on!” I stumbled into the pool house, narrowly ducking to avoid the doorframe. Damn that used to be higher! I grabbed my laptop off the kitchen table and ran back outside. The computer skidded across the patio table and Thomas caught it before it met it’s end on the concrete. “We can learn the dance! YouTube that shit!”
I watched in horror, my eyes bouncing from Pam’s gleeful smirk to Sookie’s lip caught between her teeth. I watched as the three of us began imitating whatever we’d pulled up on YouTube, though I suspect it was actually that boyband dance video we were trying to learn.
“Oh my God!” Sookie glanced over at me, her lips pursed as she tried not to laugh. “That is…wow! You guys are special!”
“Oh no, hunny. Keep watching, it gets better!” Pam pointed toward the small screen and Sookie dutifully turned her eyes back toward it.
I glanced over toward Zoe, who was happily munching away on her shrimp as Dad talked to her about their Fourth of July plans. Oh yeah, I’d have to talk to Sookie about that.
But my attention couldn’t be diverted for long because Sookie shrieked in delight beside me, her hand rushing up to cover her mouth. Thomas groaned on the other side of her and Godric just ignored us, pretending this travesty was not happening.
This dance was easy. All we had to do was hop here, then spin here, then wave our arms around-easy peasy. I punched Godric on the shoulder lightly as he fucked up his moves-again. His brow furrowed in frustration and he gave me a shove back. But the pool was suddenly a lot closer because my foot hit water and…yeah down I went.
Wow, water is so blue! No, my eyes are stinging. Well, shit. Do I know how to swim? I don’t think I do. Shouldn’t I be breathing?
I took a deep breath of…water. That’s not how this is supposed to work. I flailed my arms and legs, trying to figure out how to get my head above water.
“And you guys didn’t help him?!” Sookie grabbed her ribs because apparently my humiliation was enough to make her bust a gut laughing.
“Oh the Princess was fine. He was only in like four feet of water. He stood up…there. Then promptly passed the fuck out once he got onto the pool lounger.” Pam moved her finger slightly to show the three of us passed out beside the pool.
My arms and legs were trailing in the water as I snored face down on the floaty pool lounge thing and Thomas was snuggling the palm tree next to the pool. Meanwhile Godric had actually made it to the lounger, though his feet were elevated where his head should’ve been.
“Yeah that was a fun morning. I went outside with a foghorn about an hour after that and made them run laps. I’ll have to find that video for next time you come to the house.” Mom winked at Sookie as Pam took her phone back and returned to her seat.
“Oh can I tell a story? Can I, can I?” Sookie’s face blanched as Zoe piped up. Apparently she wasn’t as distracted as we’d thought.
“Of course you can, Doodlebug! I’d very much like to hear this story!” I leaned forward and cupped my hands under my chin as Sookie groaned beside me.
Mom burst out laughing a moment later and I turned my head to see Thomas and Godric in exactly the same poses.
“Come on then, Little Love. Let’s hear this story!” Thomas was almost as eager as I was.
Sookie just chuckled and waved her daughter on as she began eating again.
“Okay, Mommy was making dinner for everyone one night. Daddy and Daddy Lala and Gran were all putting together my nursery furniture while Mommy cooked. It was just pasggheti, so Gran wasn’t too worried about how pregnant Mommy was.” She glanced conspiratorially over toward me. “I’ve seen pictures and her belly was huge!”
I snorted a laugh as Sookie huffed indignantly beside me. “What she’s neglecting to tell you is that I was already past my due date. She weighed almost nine pounds when she was born! That’s a lot of baby for someone my size.”
I rubbed her shoulder softly and grinned at her as I leaned closer. “Well then next time I’ll take that into consideration, huh?”
Her breath hitched and her eyes went wide as she stared into my eyes, searching again for something I couldn’t quite identify. I could hear Mom hold her breath beside me as she waited, probably worried about the future grandbabies she was planning for. After all, Pam and Godric were more than likely a wash unless new laws were passed. Nora was hell bent on never procreating, much to Roman’s disappointment and Alex was the most uptight one of us all about using protection. I was apparently her only hope at the moment.
After a few tense moments, Sookie’s face broke into a smile and she nudged me gently. “Well, you better. I have a feeling you weren’t exactly tiny when you were a baby.”
“Can I talk noooooow?”
I looked back to Zoe, who had her hands perched sassily on her tiny hips. “Of course, Princess. Proceed.”
“Okay, so Mommy got the pasta water boiling and she put the noodles in the pot. Then she dropped something. Daddy Lala says it was more noodles, but Daddy says it was the jar of sauce. I dunno. But when she tried to bend over, she knocked the pasta box onto the burner. And then she got stuck!”
I grinned as I pictured the scene. A very heavily pregnant Sookie, ass up in the air-that was quite the image.
“So the pasta box caught on fire! And she tried to yell for Daddy or Gran, but because she was bent over, I was all squished up in her and she couldn’t make much noise. It wasn’t until the fire alarm went off that Daddy Lala came in.”
Zoe clapped her hands cheerily as she sat back down on her bottom, grabbing her fork for another bite.
“At least that pushed me into labor though. And thirty seven hours later, there you were, right Doodlebug?” Oh dear God! Thirty seven hours! I may be having second thought about future children. One’s enough right?
Godric chuckled as he pushed his plate away and rubbed his stomach. “This is almost as good as Lafayette’s food.”
“Well, maybe if you stopped yourself before you made yourself sick you wouldn’t be in this predicament.” Thomas scolded as he motioned to his own half eaten plate. “See, you take leftovers home and have it the next day. Plus you don’t feel like hurling. Win win!”
Godric just slugged him in the arm as Pam nodded her head sagely from his other side.
When the food had been eaten and boxed up, Barry brought the check over and stood uncertainly as his eyes scanned over each of us.
“Oh, Bill here said he’d pay! Didn’t you, Hot Stuff?” Pam voice was sickeningly sweet as she fluttered her eyelashes at the creep beside her.
His face screwed up into an expression that looked vaguely like he’d shit his pants. “Of course. I can take care of that. Thank you, kind sir.”
Barry raised an eyebrow as he handed the small folder to the douche who just stuck his card in and handed it right back.
“Uh, thank you, sir. I’ll be right back with that.”
Zoe rounded the table to label everyone takeout containers, an adorable habit I’d learned about the first time we’d been here. Mine was always decorated with my name and a Viking Helmet. She’d really latched onto the idea when my Mom had called Thomas, Godric and I the Warriors Three. This time, she’d written Daddy and I very nearly cried right there at the table.
How could one tiny human make me feel so much? Okay, two tiny humans since Sookie was practically the same size as Zoe. Okay, slight exaggeration, but if she wasn’t wearing heels it was pretty ridiculous to look at our height difference.
“What should I write on yours, Mr. Thomas?” Zoe asked as she sat on Sookie’s lap, crayon poised over my cousin’s box.
“You may call me anything you like, Lovely.”
Zoe looked thoughtful for a moment before she traded the blue crayon in her hand for a green one and bent over the take out box. She scribbled very seriously for a moment before she raised her head and presented the box ceremoniously.
Thomas burst into laughter as he read the nickname she’d given him and I leaned over, peering over Sookie’s shoulder to see what had him in such hysterics.
Yoshi. With a small drawing of the green Yoshi from Mario games.
“Oh, Doodlebug! You are a genius!” I grabbed her away from a giggling Sookie and cuddled her to me. “Yoshi used to be his favorite character when we’d play video games!”
“Uh, no dear cousin. You always got Mario because you were the oldest and Godric stole Luigi. I got stuck with Yoshi!”
Pam rolled her eyes. “Oh, fess up, Tommy! You used to sleep with that poor beat up stuffed Yoshi toy until you were in seventh grade!”
Sookie burst out laughing as Dad scooted over into Zoe’s seat to wrap his arm around Mom.
“That’s right. I remember one year he left it at our house the night before he left for the summer. Lochlan called me and I could hear Thomas in the background shrieking. We had to overnight the damn thing to England.” Dad grinned as he laced his fingers together with Mom. “After that there were two Yoshi’s. One for our house and one for theirs. Same with Godric’s Justin Timberlake doll and Eric’s tamagotchi.”
Pam and Sookie cracked up as Godric let his head fall forward to hit the table. “You just had to bring that up, huh Dad?”
“What? I think it’s still in your room at the house.”
“Oh my God! This is awesome!” Sookie laughed as I pulled her toward Zoe and I to snuggle.
“Just you wait, Lover. I’m gonna corner Lafayette and Jesus to get the dirt on you.” She just smiled as she shook her head.
“I have no idea what you mean, good sir. I have always been a perfect little angel.” This time it was Pam who snorted, her eyes going wide as the extremely unladylike sound left her.
That set us all off again and we almost missed the most perfect ending to the night.
“Uh Sir?” Barry looked positively terrified as he inched closer to Bill, his hands clutched nervously around the small folder containing our bill. “I’m very sorry, but your card was declined.”
“That’s outrageous! There’s no way it could possibly-”
“Godric, seriously this is ridiculous!” All eyes turned toward Mom as Bill sputtered in his ineffectual rage. Godric’s face was screwed up in confusion since he (and the rest of us) had no idea what he’d done. “You must really be underpaying your actors! First Amelia can’t afford clothes and now Bill can’t afford to eat. Really, darling.”
Her lips were pulled into a smirk as she shook her head in mock disappointment. Godric just chuckled when he realized he wasn’t actually in trouble. We may be grown men, but all three of us were still terrified of Mom’s particular brand of punishments. She was exceptionally creative.
I felt Sookie rummage down by our feet, and she popped up a moment later with her debit card clutched in her fingers. “Here, Barry. This one won’t be declined.”
Mom and Dad sat up straighter as they tried to argue and I tried to grab the card out of her dainty hands as she handed it to our waiter. Thomas and Godric made similar protests, but she silenced us all with her patented ‘mom’ look.
“Y’all have not let me do a single thing, so you will all shut your pieholes and let me pay for dinner. Ya hear?” She glared at each one of us in turn as Zoe giggled on my lap.
“Hey! Knock, knock!” I raised an eyebrow as I turned toward her.
“Rotten banana.” All eyes turned to Bill, who scowled at Zoe from across the table.
“Rotten banana who?”
“I dunno, but I like the look on his face when I call him that!”
I had to wipe the tears from my eyes as Bill stood and stormed out, glaring indignantly at the paparazzi who paid him no mind on the way out.