A/N: New story! What would happen if two single people, who don't like each other all that much, inherited a baby? We're about to find out.
Warning for : Possible swearing, possible cuteness, mountains of sexual tension, one baby girl and two idiots.
Reviews are of course encouraged since I'm on tender hooks over what to make of this plot bunny!
Crying. All I heard was her crying. Not a full blown wail of a cry, but a small simpering cry that at any moment I just knew could blow up into a scream that would wake the neighbours. How did I know what kind of cry she had? That was easy. It came with the experience of the last six months raising this baby girl. This baby girl who biologically had nothing whatsoever to do with me; the baby girl who saw me, this random guy, as her daddy. And that right there, sitting in the rocking chair to the left of her crib, would be her mommy (not biological, of course). Somehow we both ended up here, two strangers, in our friends' house, raising their only child. How? That, I'm still not one hundred percent sure to tell you the truth. One minute I am free as a bird, single as they come - and loving it. I had a job I loved, a life I loved and lived to the fullest. The next minute, I get a call and suddenly I'm responsible.
Responsible for her, for this house, and in many ways for the woman who was also present on that life changing night. In a heartbeat we became a family.
A completely out of whack, out of sorts, insane, dysfunctional, family.
A little over six month ago I was in the middle of a date. Well, I say 'date' but I mean the sex after an hour at dinner flirting with her. It was my usual M.O.—flirt my heart out, go in for the kill, if they're easy it's a panty dropper right then and there, if not spring for a dinner or something that looks like a date—bang, and leave. It had worked well for me for years, and I saw no need to stop since it got me exactly what I wanted—laid, then left alone. What more could a guy ask for?
Apparently he might not ask for more, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to get it.
I got the call from the hospital, asking for my presence right away. There had been an accident. I froze, a chill of dread making its way down my spine. I knew, despite the fact that the nurse wouldn't tell me a damn thing of detail over the phone—but I just knew something very bad was very wrong.
I dumped Ginger, or Saffron or Garlic, or whatever the hell her name was, leaving her there in my bed with a stern warning to get her shit and go. She didn't take it well, but then again I didn't really give a damn. My best friend was dying, or worse, possibly dead. The last thing I wanted to be worrying about was some trick and her 'feelings'.
Rushing through the damp roads it seemed like my foot was made of lead. I parked my Corvette though I couldn't tell you where, and ran as fast as my legs would take me, to the emergency entrance. I got to intensive care and saw her standing there talking to a cop, tears in her eyes, makeup streaked, hair wet. Sookie Stackhouse.
Ms. Stackhouse and I had a rather…tempestuous relationship to put it mildly. My best friend Alcide, and her cousin Hadley had set us up on a date once. It was a complete disaster. She hated me on sight, and her hate made me forget her hotness and all we were left with was a hostile silent dinner. Like I said, a disaster.
It just so happened that my best friend and her cousin had married each other, and it was because of them that we both ended up in the hospital that night.
"Mr. Northman?" The heavy set cop asked reaching out his hand to shake mine. I obliged as he told me he was sorry for my loss.
Alcide was dead.
I heard Sookie sob, "Eric, they're both gone."
I felt my stomach drop. God what about the baby?
As if she was reading my mind Sookie spoke up. "What about baby Jessica? God…!" She ran her fingers through her hair as more tears flowed from her eyes. I just couldn't deal with women when they cried.
"Miss…the child is fine."
"Fine?" Sookie and I said in unison."Yes, fine. The truck skidded on the wet road… there was a undiscovered oil spill, and as I told you, the collision was mainly to the front side of the vehicle. The child was securely fastened in her car seat and the back of the car wasn't touched. She's a little shaken up, but mostly she's fine. She's a baby Miss, I'm sure she's not even aware what has happened."
My heart sank again. It felt like it should maybe relocate into my stomach since it had been there most of the night. That baby was Al's life. He'd always wanted children, and when he and Hadley got married it was all he talked about. It made him an amazing wing man for me. Talking up babies and wanting babies with single women looking for that father figure was the pathway to golden sex opportunities—for me. He'd talk them up, then flash the ring and bow out like a good honest husband and amazing best friend. Not that I needed help getting women—the only trouble with the women is sometimes there were just too many of them and not enough hours in the night—but his sweet talk ensured that I didn't have to, saving me precious time.
Time was the one thing I'd never really considered until that night, standing there in that dank hospital corridor, with the fat cop and the crying blonde who hated my guts. Time started to slow down as he told me Jessica was being checked over in the ER, and that she'd stay with a foster family for the night until CPS decided what was best for her. It was then we were approached by a small man in a black suit, carrying a Hermes suitcase and looking as sharp as a pin.
"Mr. Northman I assume?" He shook my hand and turned to address Sookie.
"I'm Mr. and Mrs. Herveaux's attorney. I know now isn't the best time but I'd really like to speak with you both, if that's okay?" Sookie nodded, wrapping her pink cardigan around her body in a comforting motion before we both took our seats near the reception desk/area.
Trust Alcide to be on his damn deathbed, but still remember to call a lawyer.
"I've been called in to deal with my client's last will and testament.""Look buddy, no offense or anything but my best friend, and her cousin have just died. Don't you think you could give us a day to deal with that?"
"I would Sir, believe me, but this is rather urgent. There were stipulations made in the will that I do this should they both meet an untimely death."
I motioned for him to continue, and he did, bringing out a stack of papers from his case.
"It was stipulated that in the event of their untimely death, and should their daughter survive and remain under the age of legal consent, that she and any and all possessions that she should inherit would pass to you."
"Excuse me?" Sookie spoke up. A stunned look on her tired face.
"What I mean is Jessica is willed, to you… both of you.""WHAT?" She jumped as I yelled at the sharp lawyer sitting in front of me.
"Willed? What do you mean willed? She's not an asset, she's a baby, a human being! That…That…""Why us?" Sookie asked gently.
"They believed you both to be the best option available to them should this occur. Believe me Ms. Stackhouse, when people your age make a will the very idea that it may become a reality sooner rather than later is rare. But it is stated that you, and Mr. Northman, should you accept, will inherit the main house in Shreveport, the Summer home in California, as well as the two cars and all contents…And of course little Jessica."
Sookie was stunned into silence. I knew she was stunned because in the couple of times I'd been around her she was a little mouthy, so this silence was new.
"I don't understand." She spoke meekly to the lawyer. "I just don't get it. Why would they choose US of all people? I mean, they knew we…don't exactly see eye-to-eye."That was a mild way of putting it.
"Why would Hadley and Alcide choose us both?""Like I said Ms., they believed you both to be the best choice, and in the best interests of the child. There are other items pertaining to the will but they are currently at my office. I'll have them forwarded to you first thing on Monday morning if that is acceptable."
She just nodded.
He shook her hand and apologized for our loss again, promising to be in touch.
There was that word again—loss. They couldn't really be dead, could they? It still felt like they'd just stepped out to the next room and any minute they'd jump in on us yelling and laughing about how good they got us with a prank.
That feeling began to fade when the female doctor approached us about identifying the bodies.
I saw Sookie inhale a breath she didn't let go of. The panic and fear in her eyes got to me more than I would admit, so I did something I never did with women.
I reached for her hand.
I saw her finally blink before she exhaled, staring at our hands joined for a second before she tenderly squeezed back. We walked to the morgue to say goodbye to our best friends.
SPOV:I'd been in the middle of yet another fight with Bill when the phone rang. He, of course, demanded that I ignore it; that I pay attention to him and his problems. Bill and I had been dating—if you could call it dating—for a few months, though in all honesty I had checked out emotionally and physically, weeks into the relationship. He had too. I knew that. It was one of the reasons I began to pull away from him to begin with. Our hearts weren't in it, but we stayed together…because well, it beat being alone.
I'd ignored his demand to let the phone ring as he continued to yell about how I didn't trust him around his co-workers—which I didn't, and for good reason. I knew that I wasn't having sex with him, and if I wasn't, someone else sure as hell was. I didn't care. I should have cared, but I didn't. I'd been wanting to break up for a while, and the phone call from his little girlfriend Selah just pushed me in the direction I needed to go. I was minutes away from walking out of the apartment when my cell rang.
Accident. Highway. Truck. Car. Hadley and Alcide.
It was all I heard. The rest I remember, came out almost like white noise. I knew to get to the hospital as soon as I could; Hadley meant the world to me. Outside of my idiot brother, she was the only family either of us had. We had each other, and we'd been raised liked sisters. The idea of anything happening to her, it almost made my heart stop.
I heard Bill yell for me to come back. I just closed the door as gently as I could before I got into my car in the parking lot, took the deepest breath I could manage before I started the car. It was now or never; my best friend needed me.
It was well into the a.m. so the traffic on the roads was thankfully minimal. Wet, rainy, and dark, it almost reflected my mood.
I got to the hospital to find the police, the doctors, and the on site paramedics talking outside the reception area of the floor I was told to check into. Greeted and pitied they each told me of the accident—how it happened when a lorry had been speeding with a large load, and due to the stormy weather, it overturned on the highway. It had landed on Alcide's Land Rover once it stopped rolling. They told me of their injuries, that all attempts were made to resuscitate them. Hadley had died at the scene, broken neck, broken back…a number of other injuries. Alcide had held on until they got to the hospital, they said he was awake, talking, lucid all of it. He'd even had the frame of mind to give them his lawyers name, mine and Eric's as a contact. I wasn't surprised; he was a big guy, more than capable of holding his own. Sadly, due to internal bleeding and complications with a particularly bad skull fracture that they thought they had a handle on, he couldn't hold on any longer, and passed away a half hour later.
As I stood there stunned listening to the cop tell me the story, I saw him burst through the double doors. He was drenched from the rain, dishevelled and sporting a bad case of bed head. He looked as tired and as worried as I felt, so I buried my reflexive hostility for him and decided that he had as much right as anyone to be there.
He and Alcide, according to Hadley, had been like brothers. College roommates and partners in crime all the way. How? I never understood. Alcide was kind, warm, jovial and loving. Eric….he was none of those things. They had made the mistake in judgment to try and set us up on a blind date a few years prior, and it was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. I'd just broken up with my boyfriend Quinn—another disaster but of a different kind—and Hadley was a fan of the 'to get over one man, get under another' mantra. She suggested a blind date with this guy she and Al both swore by. They said he was sweet, kind, funny, and sarcastic but nice. He owned his own business, a chain of businesses actually, so he had goals and independence; all of that plus, he was good looking. They sold him well. I ticked all my boxes, and even some boxes I didn't even know I had. That was until I met him. And while he was hot, he was tall and brooding and had these stunning blue eyes…he was also a complete and utter dick. I hated him on principle. He didn't seem interested in talking to me or listening to me. My confidence in conversing with men was already at an all time low, and having tall blond and douche-tastic all but ignore me in favor of staring at my breasts for an hour and a half…well, it wasn't the green light I was particularly looking for. Once he'd confessed that he didn't really want to be there, that it was a 'favor' to Alcide… I saw red. And when I got mad, I got real talkative. I told him exactly what I thought of what he could do with his 'favor'. And I may have also told him what he could do instead of staring at my breasts because he was never going to get anywhere near them. He of course, was a sore loser, and retaliated with comments on how he wasn't in fact fascinated with my breasts, but wondering if 'Icy the Snow Bitch had nipples made of glass like the rest of her?' That was the last straw; I stormed over to the bar, ordered the most expensive bottle of champagne and billed it to our table. If Icy the Snow Bitch was going to go home alone, at least she'd have the eight hundred dollar bottle of champagne to keep her company. Well, that and the satisfaction of knowing he paid for it.
All thoughts of his douchebaggery were put aside for the moment, as the lawyer told us the strangest thing I'd ever heard.
We'd inherited a baby. A living breathing, co-dependent baby. Al and Had's baby. Their world. And they left her to US? Needless to say, I was as baffled as he looked. Well, he looked like he might puke too, but there was definite wonderment in there somewhere. Why would they do that? Why would they pick us of all the people in their world? So many thoughts were spinning through my head all at once and I couldn't get a hold of myself when the doctor told us that we'd have to go and identify the bodies.
That's all that was left now. Not their souls, not their smiles or the light behind their eyes. No, just their cold bodies and nothing more. I felt myself begin to break down, when something most unexpected happened. Eric reached down and took my hand in his. He squeezed it once before leading me behind the doctor to where I assumed the morgue would be. His gesture was startling, mainly because I wasn't sure if he was capable of human contact that didn't involve a naked slut.
But he did. He took and held my hand the whole way through. Seeing them laying there unlocked all the tears I'd been fighting hard with myself to contain. But I couldn't hold them in any longer. There they were, grey and lifeless, with cuts and stitches all over their beautiful faces. I sobbed over my cousin holding her cold hand in my free one. I felt like this wasn't happening to me, it felt like I was on the roof looking down at this other girl. This other girl who just lost her best friend; who just received the biggest responsibility of her life; who didn't have a fucking clue how to deal with any of it.
Next to that girl stood a man—a man who was doing his best to wear his poker face—but for the first time, I saw the cracks as he let his tears fall too. I'd forgotten, in losing my best friends, he'd lost his too.
I was shocked to realize Northman was human after all.
I'd left Sookie talking to one of the nurses as the doctor handed me a box, in the box was whatever my friends had on them as 'possessions' at the time of the accident. There were keys, a purse, a wallet, and a few things they'd managed to extract from the car wreck, a soiled baby blanket and a birthday card with a big One on it.
Today was Jessica's first birthday. I closed my eyes at the next rush of pain to hit me in the gut. They were out celebrating their baby's birthday when some asshole decided to speed on a flooding road and kill my friends. I felt the anger bubble up inside me, all I wanted to do was hit something, or someone until that anger subsided. Accident, how could you accidentally kill two people, just wipe out two whole lives just in a blink of an eye, leaving a little baby girl orphaned.
Except, she wasn't orphaned, according to Alcide, I was to become her father.
I was a lot of things, and a father, to anything, I was not. I couldn't even handle a dog! Never mind raising a baby.
No, it was insane, it could not happen. It would not happen. There had to be a better choice, a better choice than me and her.
I could see that she was not handling this very well at all, and in all honesty I was not really sure what I was feeling or not feeling either. All I knew was she asked to see the baby, but was informed that the foster family had her for the night and the best thing everyone could do was to go home and try and get some rest.
She was stubborn. Even beat on her feet, she still stood her ground with pushy nurses, but eventually gave in and took a seat, on the hard plastic chairs her hands buried in her hair instantly.
" I should go to the house, check on things." She offered.
"I'll…I'll go with you, if you want?"
She looked me in the eye, maybe for the second time that night.
"No, it's fine I can handle it by myself, and I'm sure you were interrupted from something that you should maybe be getting back to anyway, so I'll just go alone."
"Can you just NOT?" Frustration and sheer tiredness took me over, I was in no mood for her games."Not what?"
"Be so fucking stubborn for five minutes, maybe I wanted to go to the house, maybe I wanted to check on things, maybe-"
"Alright. Fine. I'm too tired to argue with you now. You have the keys?"
"Fine, meet me there in twenty."
With that she got up, and walked away. I watched her walk to the elevators, wrapping her cardigan around her again, fixing her hair back from her face. I waited for a few seconds before I followed. She didn't want to talk to me, or anyone else, and that was fine, hell that was easy to deal with, but I just knew that from here on out nothing was ever going to be easy again.
A/N : Thoughts? *Bites nails*