A/N: No longer dancing. There's a monster of an A/N at the bottom if you're curious enough to know why.

DISCLAIMER: Charlaine Harris owns them all. I'm just about to piss everyone off. (Seems to be a trend for me) *ducks*

Chapter 63

SPOV

I couldn't wait to get done with work on Friday. I'd been missing Eric all week long and we were finally going to have a few days to spend together, but first I needed to go to my OB/GYN appointment. While I didn't normally enjoy getting my business all poked and prodded with a spotlight shining down on it, I was looking forward to not having to stop our sextivities in order to rip open a condom just when it was getting good. My period was due to start any minute and I was happy it hadn't shown up yet so I wouldn't have to cancel my appointment, but my good mood was dampened considerably when I ran into Headmaster Brigant on my way out where he leveled me with a snide glare as he said, "Well it was nice to actually have you with us for an entire week Mrs. Northman. Let's see if we can make it two in a row, shall we?"

Asshole.

He was sure to let me know on the previous Monday morning that I actually wasn't protected by the Family Medical Leave Act since I hadn't been employed for a full year yet, but considering the circumstances with Gran's heart attack, they'd decided to go ahead and let me have the time off. He was also sure to let me know it would be in my best interests to not miss any more work.

Asshole.

His poor assistant, a timid man by the name of Preston Pardloe, bore the brunt of the Headmaster's nastiness and constantly trailed after him like a whipped servant. Sam clued me in that it occurred on a regular basis and we both agreed that neither one of us would ever want his job. When I saw Poor Preston, or P-squared as Sam and I had started calling him, getting reamed in the hallway one afternoon for Christ only knows what this time, the entire setting reminded me of a scene straight out of Harry Potter and I damn near took off one of my socks to throw at him and yell, "Dobby you're free!" The whole school gave me a Hogwarts vibe, only more like during the evil seventh year when the Deatheaters had taken over. On more than one occasion I'd stare at the fireplace in the Headmaster's office during a staff meeting and had to restrain myself from standing in front of it and yelling, "Diagon Alley!" I doubted the Headmaster would have appreciated the humor though because like I said…

Asshole.

The more nastiness I witnessed, the less inclined I felt about staying there. Sure, it was a prestigious school, but it was full of pretentious and precocious kids and adults. Sam seemed to be the only normal one there and even he admitted he only remained there for the salary and benefits. Without them he and Terry would be in financial straits, but my stubborn streak kept rearing its ugly head so I wouldn't quit, even though I knew that was exactly what Eric wanted me to do. But in my mind that meant Lord Voldemort would win and Harry would lose because I would most certainly have been sorted into the House of Gryffindor if I'd received my acceptance letter when I turned eleven. After all, I was brave, loyal, and true, so I had to be brave and go off to work each day; be loyal and keep setting off to work each day, and be true by carting my ass to work each and every fucking day where I wasn't appreciated. It was a fact that was only reiterated when I had to correct the behavior of one of my five year old pupils and he informed me, quite smugly, that I was nothing more than a servant.

I wanted to serve him one of my shoes up his tiny little ass and hoped he choked on the silver spoon in his mouth.

After hearing Brigant's remarks to me as I left that day I resolved to speak to Eric about it over the weekend. We hadn't really had much time at all to talk over the last week, which was something I'd really missed, but I didn't want to ruin what little time we did have together by bringing up a sore subject, especially when there were many other fun things we could do that involved more nakedness and less talking. Where I would've just been venting at the time, I had a feeling Eric would have taken it as just more proof that I should quit. It would have caused a fight between us then, but now I wasn't so sure anymore. I still wanted to work, but maybe taking the time to find a job I would actually enjoy wouldn't be such a bad idea. I know Eric had said I wouldn't have to worry about money, but I still didn't feel right about depending on him financially. Our relationship was still too new, married or not, for me to be comfortable relying on him in that way. He'd already done so much for me, for Gran…how could I ever repay him?

My head was filled with thoughts of 'should I stay or should I go' with The Clash singing in my mental background as I made my way onto the freeway headed for Dr. Ludwig's office. Perhaps if I'd been paying more attention to my surroundings, instead of my inner musings, I would've noticed the car dangerously close to my rear, but I didn't. Not until it was too late and the last thought (probably the last words too) I had was 'Oh shit,' as the car spun out of my control, headed for the guardrail.

I woke up in the emergency room wearing a neck collar and my whole body strapped down. The sounds of strange voices started to filter into my awareness and panic started setting in until I recalled the final moments before I blacked out. When I opened my eyes there was already someone standing over me with their annoying penlight blinding me as she said, "I'm Doctor Crane and you're at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. Are you in any pain?"

My only thought came tumbling out of my mouth as I whispered out hoarsely, "I was in a car accident." My throat was dry and scratchy, but she would only let me have enough water to wet my mouth before I asked, "How long have I been here?"

"You were brought in a few minutes ago. Do you feel pain anywhere?" she asked again while she proceeded to poke and prod me everywhere. Nothing really hurt and I was sore more than anything, so they drew some blood before I was whisked off for CT Scans and x-rays. The nurse that accompanied me told me they had already retrieved my cell phone and someone would contact Eric, but when I was wheeled back into the ER a short time later he was nowhere to be seen. I knew he was auditioning for the movie role and figured I'd just have to wait for it to be over so he would check his messages, while worrying over the fact I'd crashed his car. I hoped he wouldn't be too mad.

I was grateful to be out of the restraints, with the exception of the neck brace, when the nurse left me saying Dr. Crane would be back soon with my test results, but I wasn't all that worried about it knowing I felt pretty much okay. I'd already felt the small cuts and bruises on my face from where I hit the airbag and a quick peek underneath my shirt showed a bruise already forming where my seatbelt had been strapped across my body, but it could've been worse. It could've happened before the photo shoot.

That would've sucked.

Dr. Crane whooshed through the curtain surrounding my bed not long afterward, putting up film after film of my insides on the nearby lightbox hanging next to the bed, and declared nothing was broken. I could've told her that, but stayed quiet while thanking my lucky stars I now had health insurance. I could only imagine what they were going to charge for this; it was probably somewhere close to what Alfred was charging GQ. I assumed she would give me the spiel on resting and relaxing for a few days, perhaps pop a Tylenol or two and I'd be right as rain. It was because of those assumptions I was blindsided.

After flipping through pages on my chart she took a quick glance at me once more from head to toe before taking my hand and looking down into my eyes as she asked, "Were you aware that you're pregnant?"

Everything stopped.

Time stood still.

No. Fucking. Way.

I guess she could tell by my look that no, I wasn't fucking aware, and I choked down the urge to say "Whatchu talkin' about Willis?" when she asked me another question without waiting for me to reply to her first one. "When was your last period?"

"That's impossible!" I half shouted, finally answering her first question.

She patted my arm saying, "Your blood says otherwise, but we need to figure out how far along you might be to see if we can run some additional tests to make sure the baby is okay."

She looked at me expectantly waiting for my answer, but too bad for her my brain stopped working after hearing her say the word 'baby'. The hand she wasn't holding automatically moved over my stomach where, according to my blood, a baby currently resided.

A baby.

My baby.

Mine and Eric's baby.

My head jerked back and my eyes shot open to see Dr. Crane once again hovering over me, only she'd replaced the penlight with smelling salts and they were even more annoying than the light.

"What happened," I asked.

She looked down at me sympathetically saying, "You passed out. You're having quite the day, huh?"

No shit.

What the fuck was I going to do? How would I tell Eric? Yes, we were together. Yes, we'd fallen in love, but it just happened. Just. I guess the baby just happened too, but…

Dr. Crane tapped my arm, again asking, "When was your last period?"

I knew. Of course I knew because I'd been counting down the days worried it would get there before my OB/GYN appointment. Irony…oh how I hate thee.

"Four weeks. My last period started approximately four weeks ago. I thought I'd be starting any minute and was on my way to my OB/GYN appointment when I ended up here," I sighed out.

"Was it for a regular check-up or were you experiencing any problems or symptoms?" she asked.

"A check-up," I paused before adding, "And to be put on birth control."

Her lips pursed for a moment before saying, "I see. Well," she paused while motioning for me to lie back and pushed down on my abdomen, "are you feeling any discomfort or pain?" When I shook my head no she continued, "If you're less than 4 weeks pregnant then it's too early to see anything if we do a transvaginal ultrasound, so I want you to make another appointment with your OB/GYN as soon as you can and if you experience any pain or bleeding in the meantime I want you to come back here, okay?"

All I could do was nod even though it felt like I was in a dream. Good or bad, I wasn't sure, but it didn't seem real. I guess it was dumb of me to think I couldn't have gotten pregnant just days after my period ended, but Jesus Fucking Christ…

Where was that mystery Vegas odds maker? He could've made millions off of this shit.

The nurse brought me back my things and said they'd been able to contact Alcide to get a message to Eric, since he didn't answer their call, but I'd lost all concept of time and had no idea how long I'd actually been there by that point. Thoughts of unplanned babies were swirling in my head (and apparently at least one had implanted in my uterus), but I had no idea of how I was going to break the news to Eric. I was certainly flipping out on the inside, so it stood to reason that he would too. We'd never even talked about kids because it was too fucking soon to have that conversation. I knew I wanted them eventually, but what if he didn't feel the same? A day late and a dollar short and all of that happy horseshit, but holy hell.

Now what?

If it weren't for the fact I was numb from shock, I probably would've laughed over the times we'd stopped to rip open a condom when, as it turned out, there was no need.

I didn't feel like laughing, but I still hated irony.

I was still sitting there waiting to be discharged and for Eric to show up when I heard the telltale 'click clack' coming towards me down the corridor. It was a sound I'd come to associate with Pam and sure enough she whooshed through the curtain seconds later.

"Are you okay?" she asked, taking my hand with a worried look on her face. If I didn't know any better, I might have even thought there were dried tear tracks on her cheeks.

I don't know if it was the hormones or not, but my eyes welled up with tears over how touched I was thinking she was worried enough about me to have gotten so upset, so I told her the truth. "I'm fine." I mentally added 'and pregnant too', but thought Eric should be the first to know as I peered over her shoulder asking, "Where's Eric?"

Her grip on my hand tightened as she stammered out, "Sookie…"

Pam stammered. From what I knew, Pam didn't stammer, she hammered, and it was starting to frighten me. "Just spit it out Pam, you're scaring me."

She took a deep breath and finally said, "When Eric heard you'd been in an accident he took off to come here. Alcide and I were only a few minutes behind him, but according to the witnesses at the scene Eric was speeding when a car pulled out in front of him. He swerved to miss it and went straight into a telephone poll. " Tears starting falling down her face as she started to ramble, "We almost didn't realize it was his car. I'd forgotten he'd traded in his black corvette for a red one. There were hardly any skid marks on the blacktop and God only knows how fast he was driving. They had to use the Jaws of Life to get him out."

Once again, everything stopped.

Time.

My heart.

My breathing.

"Where is he Pam?" I whispered, both needing to know and afraid to find out.

She barely managed to say, "They're working on him down the hall," before my feet hit the floor and I took off running yelling out, "ERIC!" I was in the middle of shouting his name a second time when Alcide came into view, so I ran towards him yelling, "WHERE'S ERIC?"

His hands went up on top of his head, pulling his hair in frustration, as he said, "They took him for x-rays and shit, but the doctor said she'd come find you once she got a chance. She said she worked on you too."

"Is he okay? Did he ask for me?" I was never good at sitting still, but now it was downright painful, if not impossible. I wanted to tear through the hospital until I found him. I wanted to kiss away every hurt on his body to make it better. I wanted to curl up in his arms and breathe in his scent for my own comfort.

I needed him.

More than sunlight.

More than water.

More than air.

More than anything.

My earlier unexpected news suddenly kicked into my consciousness again and it occurred to me that I wasn't the only one; our baby would need him too.

I know…another cliffy. Sorry?

I'm also sorry for doing something I swore I'd never do, but I feel it's necessary just in case there are others of you reading who believe my lack of review reply is due to some sort of "I'm the shit and don't have to because I'm all that and a bag of chips" attitude. I received a PM from a reviewer who shall remain anonymous and after hemming and hawing over whether or not to include it here, I decided to in case she's not alone in her viewpoint. I'm also including my reply to her verbatim and I hope it'll clear up any confusion, if there is any.


The PM:

SUBJECT: Too Big to Respond?

I understand you are busy. You were almost a nothing one year ago. We all supported you. You think you are better than us? I have taken authors to nothing to something with an idea. Go back, go way back and look at your first story. (Bringing Pam back when you killed her off?) I was there for you on your first story and gave you that idea… please do not forget that. "Too Big For Her Britches Woman Can Not Now Be Bothered With Peons!" Typical you. Such a shame. Do not get too comfortable. You will be knocked off your little perch. I know, it gets to your head. Geez, now maybe because I was a bitch you might respond? Such a shame. I had high hopes for you that maybe you could be different. But, get over 4K reviews, you think you are God,…well, think again. There are some authors with over 400K reviews, and don't ask me how they do it, but they always respond to reviews, they do not let it go to their head. I never thought you could be that different. Such a shame. Cuss me out, call me stupid, but I will stick to this review. I thought you'd be different. I will never disrespect you in public, so that is why I'm sending this as a PM. For Your Eyes Only. It's my story and I'm sticking to it. You have changed.

My reply:

I'm going to resist the urge to give in to my more basic instincts to lash back and just address your points.

Yes, I am busy, but no, I don't think you understand. I work full time and while I'm only paid for 40 hours it's often necessary that I'm there much longer. I'm also a wife and mother with numerous pets along with cooking and cleaning thrown into the everyday mix. My almost 17 year old dog has dementia and is nearly blind which sometimes means he won't actually make it to the door before he ends up relieving himself wherever he may be at the time, but he's not in any pain and seems happy just the same and I love him too much to have him put to sleep, so Bounty paper towels and carpet cleaner are more likely to be in my grasp rather than my laptop whenever I'm at home. My mother is 70 years old and lives alone, so now that it's the summer I'm over there at least once a week to mow her lawn and do other odd ends around her house. I also content edit another FF story and recently judged a FF contest, so that took extra time as well.

I appreciate everyone's support, but I in no way believe I'm better than any of you. I'm just a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and working class stiff that finds joy in creating another world for the characters I've grown to love whenever I get the time to write. I did go back to my first story (Law and Order Shreveport) and I didn't run across your name in any of the reviews nor have I ever killed off Pam (or attempted to) in any of my stories, so I believe you are mistaken in your belief that you're ideas have helped my stories in any way, but if you had I would've thanked you.

"Too big for her britches woman can not now be bothered with peons" is not "typical me". Typical me wakes up at 5 every morning and does a bit of cleaning/laundry before getting ready for work. Typical me often has errands to run after work and then comes home to cook dinner (if I make it home at a decent hour) and if I'm lucky my kids are there and want to tell me about their day. Typical me has given up reading my favorite stories with any regularity and with the exception of True Blood, all TV shows in order to write a story that comes to me easier and faster than any other idea ever has. You're right; it IS a shame. It is a shame there aren't more hours in the day so I can respond to all of the wonderful readers that take the time to review.

You've said I shouldn't get too comfortable because someone will knock me off of my perch, but I'm very comfortable because I'm not on a perch. I'm on my patio chair taking the time to respond to you before heading off to work and then shop for groceries afterward. You're under the assumption that getting over 4K reviews has gone to my head and given me a God complex, but the only thing in my head is I can't fathom what's going through yours to have this all knowing righteous view of what you believe is going through mine. Never in a million years did I think this story would get the kind of response it has and I'm grateful for it, but I don't define myself by it.

I think it's astounding there are authors who've gotten over 400K reviews and even more so if they respond to each and every one like you've said. You say you don't know how they do it and unfortunately, neither do I, but I would love to know. I would love to have the time, but considering I've written and posted nearly 200K words in the last three months I think you can see where the majority of my free time has been spent.

It has not gotten to my head and I'm sorry you've misconstrued my lack of response as an overgrown ego, but you couldn't be further from the truth. I'm not going to cuss you or call you stupid as you seem to believe I might and as you've said you're sticking to your review, well I'm sticking to my response. You say that you'd "never disrespect me in public" which is why you sent me a PM, so I guess that makes it okay to "disrespect" me in private? You wrote it's 'For My Eyes Only', so I'll give you the respect I'm not so sure you deserve and not reveal your identity, but rest assured my response will be public lest there be others out there with the same misconstrued ideas on who I am, what I believe, and how I feel.

The only thing we have any commonality on is where you said "It's my story and I'm sticking to it."

Right back at ya.


So…yeah. That's why I don't allow anonymous reviews and it irks me even more that the person judging me hasn't posted a single solitary story and yet presumes to know what's going on in my head. This is a hobby, one I enjoy (usually), but it's not my life. Every chapter of this story has been posted within hours of being written. Perhaps I should have written the entire thing before posting any of it, but…too late now. If I had, then I would have the time to review reply every night instead of working on the next update, but when I asked the question previously, the majority of you to respond said you'd prefer the quicker updates to review replies and liked the idea of the teaser going on my profile. Review replies were something I enjoyed doing previously, but they were also a lot easier before this website changed their alert format. If you've posted a story prior to the change, then you would know that. I miss them, but I just don't have the time without halting this story in order to do them. Know that I do appreciate each and every review and if a reply from me is the only way you'd be willing to leave me one, all I can say is I hope you enjoy the story. 4 reviews or 4000, I write because I enjoy it. I post because some of you seem to enjoy it as well. Please know that this is in no way meant to be me throwing a fit or pulling the 'woe is me' card. It's just my side of the coin.

So thanks go out to all of you whether you just read, review, or even leave me a "disrespectful" PM.