A World Away: Chapter 14
I had imagined my wedding day many times while I was in the war and I am certain that those fantasies kept me alive. But the reality of that day was nothing like I’d imagined at all. I never saw our beautiful baby daughter present in the arms of a good friend. I never expected to be toasting to our future in a bar in Louisiana. I never dreamed that our wedding night would actually be a wedding afternoon in which I would have full view of an even more curvaceous and delicious Sookie in the warm yellow sun of a lazy summer day. Sometimes life turns out to be better than you ever expected or dared to think that you deserved. My life certainly had gone in such a direction.
After we made spectacular love, we drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms. I knew how hard Sookie had been working and she was always up several times a night with the baby so when Pamela began to cry, I got up to change her and then brought her back to the bed with me. I tried to position her at Sookie’s breast without waking Sookie, but I wasn’t certain of what I was doing. Sookie stirred and smiled and adjusted her body so that Pamela could nurse while Sookie drifted in and out of sleep. When she seemed done, I picked Pamela up and stood to burp her. I was rewarded with a shoulder full of spit up and took her into the kitchen to clean us both off. We sat on the sofa and I explained to her that I would be taking care of her from now on and I watched with amusement as she seemed to actually understand what I was saying. We stayed on the sofa for a long time chatting like that until she started to fuss again. I stood and paced with her until she was back to sleep. Once she was tucked back into her bed, I resumed my place beside Sookie. She sensed my arrival and turned on her side as I pressed myself to her back, spooning her to me and kissing her neck.
I was sleeping so soundly when Pamela’s cries woke me. I felt Eric get up to see to her and I fell back to sleep only to be awakened again by Eric trying to get Pamela to nurse. He was still pretty new to all of this so I helped him out, and was so happy to be able to let go of the reins and relax, knowing that Eric was on the job. Afterwards, I was drifting back to sleep but opened my eyes for a second to a very naked Eric (and oh my, what a view from behind!) pacing the floor burping the baby. I hadn’t even realized how hard it had been taking care of Pamela alone because I just did what needed to be done, but I thought what a pleasure to be able to share in Pamela’s care now. (Not that I wasn’t grateful to Gran and then Amelia, but when I was at home, my energy was completely consumed by Pamela’s care.) Eric may have missed the very beginning of Pamela’s life, but he was clearly eager to make up for lost time. It touched my heart to see him being so gentle and sweet with her.
I slept some more until Eric joined me again in the bed and I felt him transition flawlessly from doting father to aroused newly wedded husband, ready for round two. So far, being married was pretty grand.
Sookie and I spent the afternoon and evening making love and celebrating our long overdue marriage. We took a break and fixed ourselves some dinner and while we were finishing up cleaning the kitchen I asked Sookie what she wanted to do about her job. She sighed deeply and took me by the hand to sit on the sofa.
“Here’s the thing, Eric. I hate to complain. I’m not afraid of working hard and basically like my job and certainly do appreciate it and the income it has provided. Without it, I don’t know what Pamela and I would have done.”
“But I’m here now, love. The burden of earning money is off of you. It should have never been on you in the first place, but don’t get me started. I already feel bad enough as it is.”
“Honestly, I would love nothing more than to stay at home with Pamela, but I don’t want you to feel pressured to make any decisions. You just got out of the hospital, sweetie. You’re still recovering.”
“Sookie, if you want to stay home, then just quit your job. I just want you to be happy, and if quitting would make you happy, then that’s what you should do. You don’t have to worry about the money, love. We have plenty of money.”
“Yes, of course. I thought you knew that.”
“No, I didn’t. We have money?”
“Honey, my family…our family…owns many businesses. My parents left Pam and me quite well off. We can pick and choose which businesses we want to work in or choose a different path altogether. The businesses are all set up with managers in place. They have been since we lost our parents as kids. After that we just had legal guardians and each other. That’s probably why we’re so close. Oh sweetie, I’m sorry, I guess I just assumed that you knew that. I’m so used to people in Louisiana knowing the Northman name. I didn’t even think that you might not know my family and who they were. Come here.” I hugged her to me. “Do you need to give notice? Can we speak to Mr. Cataliades in the morning?”
“I’m pretty sure I need to give some sort of notice. We’re already short-handed as it is, and he’ll have to find a replacement. Of course, we’ll free Amelia up to go back to her volunteer work, which will be a help, but they’ll still need to find another surgical nurse.” Sookie studied her ring thoughtfully and looked back up to me. “How much money are we talking about?”
“More than we could ever spend in our lifetime…or Pamela’s. Plenty.”