Chapter 15: Seasons Change
“Do you want me to get you more tea, Suzy,” Marci asked as she got up to go back into my house from the deck.
“I’d love some, thanks Marci,” I said as I pulled my wrap tighter around me. The sun had been down for about an hour so the temperatures had dropped a bit. It was actually a bit warmer than it would have normally been back in Bon Temps so I was enjoying sitting out on the deck watching the stars and smelling the salty sea air. I had to say, that was one thing I had come to love about living right on the beach. That and the spectacular sunsets over the ocean.
“Here you go, darling,” Marci said as she came back out to the deck with two teas in her hands. I took a sip and set it down on the table beside my lounge chair. “I’m glad we decided to sit and stargaze tonight. I’ve never seen such a beautiful meteor shower,” Marci commented as she sat down in my other lounge chair and wrapped up in a blanket with her hands wrapped around her warm cup of tea. I smiled at the sight; she was even more of a fair weather girl than I was. But the temps in northern Louisiana would normally get a little colder in the winter than they ever did around here, so I was enjoying what was slightly warmer than normal temps for me.
“It is beautiful,” I commented looking back up at the meteor shower and rubbing my swollen belly. “Do you think they’ll ever get to see a meteor shower as beautiful?” I wondered of my children.
Marci grinned, “I sure hope so, sweetie. I just wish I could have gotten my kids to come with and watch the meteor shower.”
I laughed at that, Marci’s three children were very much like all kids in California, they had very active social lives. They couldn’t be bothered with something as trivial as stargazing.
It had been more than five months now that I had been in Monterey, and I’d come to love Marci’s kids like the nieces and nephews I had never had. Of course, Marci was more than a sister to me though. She was like the mother I had never had. My own had been so jealous of my father’s attention that she had no time for her children. Of course, there was also the fact that she had been killed when I was so young too. Gran had done her best to replace both of my parents, but there had always been a gap that hadn’t been filled. Marci’s love, support, and advice filled that space in me that I hadn’t known needed filling.
“You know, I’m glad you didn’t listen to me and got this place instead of that place further down the coast. I like this little house. It’s really grown on me, it’s so cozy,” Marci suddenly said as she snuggled down into her blanket. “Course I still think you’re going to need a bigger place before you know it. Once those babies are born, it won’t be long before they’re up and running around,” she contested.
“They’ll have the whole beach to run around on,” I laughed. I had fallen in love with my little beach cottage the first time I’d driven by it when I started looking for somewhere to live. The little house was an adorable white painted cottage, and it had such a homey feel to it. But what I had really loved about it was the amount of land and beach that came with it. Sure, it hadn’t been cheap to buy that much beachfront property, but I made good money at the hotel and rarely spent it on much of anything except the necessities. I liked how remote the house was and how much privacy it provided.
“That’s true, but God forbid they take up surfing,” Marci mumbled. Her oldest boy, Ryder, had fallen in love with surfing and more often than not was out in the water. It had even gotten to the point of him cutting classes to surf.
I shook my head. I knew I would be more than content if my children could grow up to have normal enough lives that included surfing instead of being knee deep in supe politics. “As long as they’re happy, I’ll be happy,” I responded. I hoped my life would stay simple enough that Robert could take my children surfing one day. Strange as it seemed, the ancient Grecian, Vampire King of California loved to surf. I was constantly telling him that surfer dude did match up with badass king.
“Ha! Says the soon-to-be mother. You just wait until they’re teenagers and jumping from fad to fad and generally driving you crazy,” Marci replied, pointing her cup of tea at me.
I just laughed, but inside I hoped and pleaded with God that I could suffer from such a wonderful problem. Such a normal problem.
It had been over five months. Five months and I had managed to stay hidden from Felipe and everyone he had looking for me. Or at least, Robert had managed to keep me hidden. I tried to live as low-key as possible and rarely left Monterey, except for a few important trips. I had a small detail of Weres that watched me discreetly during the day, and one of Robert’s two surviving children always watched me at night if Robert couldn’t be with me himself.
Unfortunately, as King, Robert had to preside over matters at the palace quite often. His palace had originally been in Los Angeles, but Robert hadn’t liked being so far away from me in Monterey, so he’d moved his palace to one of his homes in Salinas. His court believed it was because of unpleasant memories of the death of his child, Gregorio, and Robert did nothing to sway their assumptions.
I’d offered several times to help Robert by reading humans for him, but he’d only allowed me to passively read his day men. He said it was too risky for me to do any more work for him than that. He never said anything, but I knew he was afraid of me being found and starting a war with Felipe. The other monarchs in the country were all worried that Felipe’s long-range plans were to takeover more states and build an empire. Even Robert feared it, and though I knew he would go to war to protect me, I was terrified at the thought of more deaths. I had been racking my brain for months for a way to gain my independence from vampires (even Robert, for though he had been a savior to me, it was still a gilded gage) and I hoped when the time came, I would be strong enough and smart enough to act.
Though Felipe had his goons looking for me everywhere, it seemed back home, things were quiet in Louisiana. Victor had been sure I left as some kind of ploy on Eric’s part and was waiting for Eric to make a move. Surprisingly, there was very little news about what Eric was up to, if anything. As the months went on, I had started having more and more terrifying visions and dreams of Eric being harmed because of our children and me. In the times when my emotions were the most out of control, I would wake from these dreams and sob as I wished that Eric had never met me so he wouldn’t be in such danger and wish that I hadn’t been so selfish as to want to complicate our lives by wishing for our children. But then my mind would clear, and I would be ashamed of wishing that my little miracles had never been, no matter how much it complicated our lives.
In my dreams, Victor and Felipe intermittently hurt and tortured my proud, strong Viking. Mostly it was Victor though that haunted my dreams, and I would curse his very existence and pray to have the strength to stake him myself if the opportunity ever came.
Robert kept strict watch of any supe movement in the area, and used his power as King to keep as many of them away from Monterey as he could without seeming obvious. It had been somewhat difficult to keep supes out of the area through the summer during tourist season (vampires especially, were a lot like sharks, they followed their prey/food to wherever it went) but it wasn’t as difficult now in the winter when we had almost no tourist traffic. It also meant work at the hotel had really slowed down. Marci and Robert kept telling me that was a good thing so that I could stay home more and stay off my feet, but the truth was, I hated sitting around alone too much. That’s when I would really start missing home.
Thanksgiving had been particularly tough. It wasn’t that I had much family left at home anyway, but I missed the Southern traditions and foods from back home. Now that December was just around the corner, I was really dreading Christmas. The Dells had invited me to their home for Thanksgiving, but I didn’t particularly like spending a lot of time around Marci’s husband, Jeff.
It wasn’t that there was really anything wrong with him, it was just that he was a clear broadcaster and he’d never particularly come to like me either. He was more than happy with the work I did at the hotel and happy with the increased revenue I brought in, but he was a horrible snob and didn’t like that I was an unwed soon-to-be mother, of an unknown background. He was sure I was born from a poor, white trash family—which I guess by his standards I was—and he didn’t think I was good enough to be such a close friend to his wife. I figured it was his right to think whatever he wanted and have his own opinions.
He was always perfectly polite to me, and never said anything bad about me out loud, not even at home, so I politely overlooked and ignored the fact that his own wife had her own shady past. Whatever problems I had with Jeff or he had with me, didn’t matter because he loved and adored Marci. They were both happier with Marci’s past remaining where it was, and so I just limited how much I was around Jeff. Sometimes I thought Marci should have been honest about her past with her husband, but as many secrets as I was keeping, I knew it wasn’t my place to judge.
I had wished several times that I could tell the truth to at least Marci, but both Robert and I agreed it would be safer for her and me if she didn’t know the truth. What she didn’t know she couldn’t potentially be glamored into telling. I was extremely careful with my telepathy and she and Jeremy both simply assumed I was just a perceptive person when it came to knowing what people wanted. Marci had asked once about my past, but I’d said I’d rather not talk about it, and she had simply smiled and said she could understand wanting to bury the past and start over. And bless her, I knew she did understand.
I wondered if I could maybe spend Christmas with Jeremy and his boyfriend. I knew if I didn’t come up with some sort of plans, Marci would insist I spend the holiday with them, and I didn’t want to intrude on their family time. I knew Jeremy was from a small town in Wyoming, and his family had never accepted him or his lifestyle. Jeremy’s boyfriend, Cory, didn’t have any family of his own. I knew neither one of them could so much as boil noodles, so I figured it might actually be fun to cook a holiday meal for them. I decided I would ask Jeremy the next time I went in to work or talked to him on the phone, if they wanted to come over for Christmas dinner.
“Hello! Earth to Suzy! You still with us?” Marci asked, breaking into my thoughts.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Marci, did you say something?” I asked, snapping my gaze from the sky to my friend.
Marci laughed merrily, “Yeah, I was wondering where your mind was. You seemed pretty focused on something.”
I smiled ruefully, “I was just wondering when my boss was going to let me work again. This mandatory maternity leave she started me on is getting really boring.”
Marci rolled her eyes, “I made you start your maternity leave a week ago. You should be relishing these next few weeks of free time. Once those babies are born, you’ll have your hands full.”
“I’m trying, but I like working and keeping busy,” I complained.
“Well, I know you’re still helping Jeremy with a few projects from here, and I’m sure that can’t keep you real busy, but why don’t you think about taking a couple of classes online? That would keep you busy, and believe me, once the babies are born, you’ll be so busy, you won’t have time to think,” she advised.
I considered her idea, and I had to admit, it was appealing. It would be nice to be able to say someday that I was more than just a high school graduate.
“How was your last check-up? We never did talk about that. Everything still looking like it’s on track? Have you made plans for if the babies are premature?” she questioned.
“I’m only at 32 weeks, and they say everything looks fine,” I of course omitted that fine meant I was now drinking one to two bottles of blood a day, “but I am determined to at least get to 37 weeks, they say that’s at least full term for twins. But I’d like to get closer to 40 weeks if I can, just to be safe,” I told her, once again rubbing my tummy. The sensation always seemed to sooth them.
“That’s at least five weeks then to rest and prepare for them to come into the world,” Marci said with her normal brilliant smile. “Enjoy being able to stay home and off your feet.”
That much I did have to admit was nice about being home. My belly was so big it was impossible for me to get anything on my feet that didn’t slip on because I couldn’t reach them. And I had to admit, the flip-flops I’d been generally wearing these days, didn’t fit with the style of the hotel. It was also very hard to find professional looking clothes to fit over my belly. I was beginning to feel more and more like a beached whale than a hotel concierge when I went in to work.
Marci sighed, “I should get on home and make sure my three are done with homework and getting to bed since it’s a school night.” I started struggling to get up, but Marci gently pushed me back down and kissed my cheek. “You stay right where you are. I can show myself out,” she chided.
“Thanks for coming over tonight and bringing the fish,” I answered.
Marci winked. “Any pregnancy craving you have, just call me. So long as it’s not yogurt,” she said with a laugh as she walked back through the house to where her car was parked out front.
I blushed in embarrassment at her comment, even though she had already left. More than a month ago, I had still been insisting that I didn’t think I was being affected by hormones, even though Jeremy swore I would burst into tears if anyone so much as looked at me cross-eyed. We had been having an evening meeting at the hotel, and I’d asked one of the kitchen staff if they would run to the nearest grocery store and get my favorite brand and flavor of yogurt. She’d come back more than an hour later meekly saying that she’d been to every store in town and they apparently weren’t making it anymore.
I’d burst into tears and had been unable to stop for more than an hour. I wasn’t really even sure why at the time that made me so sad and upset. Robert had literally run all the way from Salinas when he felt my grief, and stood by wringing his hands and pacing when he discovered what my tears were over. He’d even offered to call his day men and have them talk the company into making more if only I would stop crying.
When that didn’t stop me, he called Dr. Ludwig and asked her if she thought he should give me blood to heal me (he’d been sure that ‘some fell spirit had overtaken my mind’) but Dr. Ludwig had just cackled over the phone when he explained what my tears were over. Of course, her laughter only made me cry even harder, prompting Robert to snarl and threaten draining my little doctor if she didn’t fix me. It was a good reminder that however mild mannered Robert was most of the time; he was still very much a vampire. They always seemed to figure if all else fails, threaten draining.
Eventually, I’d lost all of my steam and just as suddenly as it started, my tears stopped. I was completely convinced by that point that I was hormonal, crazy, nuts, and anything else that could be thought of. Dr. Ludwig advised that it was probably nothing to get too concerned over, after all, who could tell what having half-vampire, part-fairy children was doing to my hormones, but Robert had seemed unconvinced. He knew nothing of human’s hormones, let alone pregnant female, human hormones but I saw by the look on his face that he’d rather face an army of supes rather than come face to face with those kinds of hormones again.
After looking at the stars for a while longer, I managed to roll and heave myself off of the lounge chair to go back inside. My bladder seemed to be shrinking by the day, and I was constantly making trips to the bathroom. I had taken care of business, and was going to set about cleaning up the dining room, when there was a knock at the door. I wearily made my way to the door. I could sense a void just outside and figured Robert had stopped by. His two children always watched me from a distance and never approached me. As I was swinging the door open, it struck me that Robert always just came in; he’d never knocked at the door before.
My mouth dropped open in shock when I opened the door.
Lol! Let me know what you guys thought. I know we jump forward in time with this chapter, but it was necessary, and I didn’t want to drag out the in between time with unimportant fluff. Thanks a bunch to everyone for your reviews! I absolutely love hearing from you guys!
*ducks* Sorry to leave you with a cliffhanger, but it’s necessary. 😉