Last time: Eric and Sookie got married!
Chapter 15: A Matter of DNA
Appius Northman tapped his fingers impatiently on his desk. He’d sent Andre out on an errand, wanting not even his lover to know what he was up to for once.
Freyda came out of the bathroom holding the little stick which would be a big factor in determining her continued worth to him. “Are you sure he will go along with this?” she asked nervously. “After all—the last time I saw him, he seemed to hate me.”
Appius smiled a little. “Oh—he’ll go along.”
“I’ve bet everything on this,” Freyda said softly. “Bet everything on you.”
“Do not worry,” Appius said. “I’ve gotten my hands on the information concerning the kinds of drugs his psychiatrist has him on. Given the disorientation such drugs can cause, it will be easy enough to convince him that you two had a little encounter when he was incapacitated by them.”
“He’ll want a DNA test,” Freyda said.
“Yes—and it will come up with enough matches to convince him,” Appius assured. “Hell,” he laughed, “even if he’s not full convinced, he’ll go along.”
“Is he really that,” Freyda paused, “broken?” Her expression held as much hope as concern.
Appius nodded. “Oh yes.”
Freyda’s phone alarm went off and she looked down at the little stick. A sick smile spread across her face.
“We’re pregnant,” she said.
“You and Eric are pregnant,” Appius corrected. Though he had fucked Freyda a few times during her most fertile time the previous month, Appius had no intention of claiming the mutt. Appius held in his cringe. Screwing Freyda had not been a pleasant exercise—even though he had always taken her from behind so that he didn’t have to look at her. She had even moaned out Eric’s name as Appius had cum inside of her. It was not an experience Appius had wanted to experience again. He was glad he wouldn’t have to.
“What now?” Freyda asked.
“Well—now that you know you are pregnant, we’ll leak the tape of you and ‘Eric’ together.”
Freyda smiled lovingly—and crazily. “Yes. We should do that. That will bring him home to me and his baby.”
Appius was pretty certain that Freyda now believed that the little tape she had made with an actor was actually of her and Eric. Debbie Pelt had snuck Appius, Freyda, and a clean-up crew—as well as a young, discreet actor, who happened to be 6’5″—into Eric’s home a few days after his breakdown. The actor had been willing to get a little haircut and to dye his hair blonde for the role.
The clean-up crew had put Eric’s bedroom to rights, even replacing his lamps with two that were identical to those which had been there before. Thanks to the video feed in the room and several pictures taken by Pelt, all objects could be matched perfectly. Then the performance had begun as Freyda and the actor had sex—or at least seemed to—in Eric’s bed. Of course, it wouldn’t have been appropriate for them to actually do the deed—though the footage might have been more convincing if they had. No—Appius thought to himself—his was the only seed he had wanted to fertilize Freyda’s womb.
Of course, Appius’s surveillance equipment had caught Freyda having sex with the Eric look-alike, and thanks to the magic of editing, a friend of Lorena’s at the FBI was able to splice together some past pictures of Eric coming out of his bathroom and seemingly crawling into bed with a waiting Freyda. Footage of Freyda moaning beneath the actor—who had his back to the camera and was mostly covered by a blanket, of course—was added to the mix, and soon it seemed as if Freyda and Eric had actually had sex, especially given the graininess purposely added to the video.
Appius sighed. As Freyda and the actor had made their little video, he’d taken a good look around the parts of Eric’s home that he’d never seen before. There had been many things that Appius would expect a young man like Eric to have: a pool table, a hot tub looking out over the city, and gaming systems. However, there were other pieces of Eric’s home that gave Appius more insight into his eldest child. For instance, Eric apparently liked bathing—as one of his rooms’ main pieces of furniture consisted of a bathtub. There was also a sauna—no doubt due to preferences that Eric had picked up in Sweden. Appius tried not to remember how much Stella had enjoyed saunas or how much they had enjoyed them together at times.
Appius had been surprised to see a piano in the residence, and, given the well-worn nature of some of the sheet music, it was clear that Eric played a lot. Chopin’s “Prelude in E-Minor” seemed to have been the last piece played, and Appius pressed the first few notes of the somber tome.
As Freyda prattled on about nursery ideas, he smiled a little, imagining Eric playing the sad piece of music as he thought about his lost love.
Eric’s misery was most clear as Appius took in his closet. Remnants of Sookie Stackhouse were present—pieces left behind in her haste to leave. All of the drawers of one of the dressers were empty. And one of the clothing racks, which had obviously belonged to Sookie, had only a few items of clothing on it—cheap suits that the woman had obviously worn to work.
Once upon a time, a similar closet had plagued Appius. After he’d found out about Stella’s betrayal, he’d immediately stripped most of her things from the room that they’d shared. But there had been a few things that he’d been unable to touch for many years: the dress she’d been wearing when he’d asked her to be his wife, the shoes she’d squealed over when he’d given them to her two Christmases before she’d died, the maternity dress that she’d worn almost exclusively during the last month of her pregnancy with Eric since nothing else seemed to fit, the sweater that always seemed to catch and then hold her scent. Those pieces had been his own personal torment for many, many years. Now, only the sweater remained, buried at the bottom of the bottom drawer in his dresser. He took it out only in his weakest moments; however, he couldn’t bring himself to get rid of it. Somehow, even after more than twenty-five years, it still smelled of her.
He shook himself out of his thoughts and concentrated on the woman in front of him and the torment that she represented for Eric. He smiled a little.
The elder Northman knew that Eric had been to his home only once since he’d gone to the Hamptons—a week or so before. Franklin had almost missed him being there, but Eric had most certainly come to the house for a few hours—though he had, unfortunately, stayed out of the master bedroom where Appius had video surveillance. The key was that Eric had been in the house for plenty of time for him to have had an “encounter” with Freyda. Franklin had captured some photos of Eric exiting the building through a side door, and the time stamp on the pictures coincided within two days of Appius fucking Freyda.
It was perfect. When he returned home, Eric would be mystified by how his bedroom had been put back together. However, a suggestion from Debbie Pelt, who was becoming more and more useful, would lead Eric to believe that he had arranged for the room to be put to rights and the damaged items replaced. She would tell him—sympathetically, of course—that he had seemed “quite out of it” the day he’d returned to his house. And she would also convey that he had seemed very happy when she’d “helped” by letting Freyda into the back door of the building.
Debbie’s testimony, plus the video, would lead Eric to believe that the drugs he was taking had affected him—to the point that his memories couldn’t be trusted. Indeed, if they were all lucky, he would accept Debbie’s testimony and believe that he’d slept with Freyda while under the influence of his medication.
After all—what reason would Eric have for doubting one of Henry Jiles’s trusted guards?
And then there would be the DNA test. Appius already had a doctor picked out—the same one who had done the DNA testing on Eric, him, and Peder. That test had not turned out how Appius had wanted, but it hadn’t been the doctor’s fault. The test had been irrefutable, and—though Appius had been enraged and shocked to find out that Eric was his—he wasn’t about to lie to Eric and Peder, at least, not after he saw how much the two genuinely “wanted” to be father and son.
No. Eric’s belonging to Appius had been an inconvenience; however, more troubling to the elder Northman would have been the thought of Peder enjoying another thing which was Appius’s by right. First—it had been Stella. Then—it would have been Eric. And Appius wouldn’t have that, so he’d had the doctor report the actual findings.
Now—he wanted the doctor to report something slightly “different.” For Eric to believe them, the results would have to be the “real” ones; hell—Eric might even demand a second DNA test from his own doctors as confirmation. But Appius understood the power of “spin.” And he wanted his own doctor to spin things first. He wanted his doctor to play up the similarities between Eric’s DNA and the child’s—to give Eric the report that he shared enough markers with the child to “likely” be the father. If the child was a boy, things would be even easier. To compare a son’s DNA to his possible father’s, a Y chromosome test—instead of a full DNA test—was generally performed. After all, it was the Y chromosome that had to have come from the father. And Eric got his Y chromosome from Appius. Thus, that kind of test would indicate that Eric was a very likely candidate for the child’s father.
As Appius looked at Freyda, who was so gleefully examining the stick that confirmed her pregnancy, he feared that he might not get away with what he was trying to get away with. The footage that Appius would be leaking the next day would be a double-edged sword. It would indicate that Eric had slept with Freyda; however, it would also tell Eric that he was being filmed. Eric could add 2 and 2, so he would initially believe that Appius was the one doing the watching.
However, Freyda was prepared to lie and tell Eric that she had put in the camera to capture their “passionate rendezvous.” To help that story along, Appius had—much to his regret—removed all of the surveillance equipment from Eric’s home so that it couldn’t be traced. With any luck, Eric would believe that Freyda was just into making sex tapes. That would go along with Freyda’s obsessive personality, after all. Indeed, at a certain time during their dealing over the past several months, Appius had been nervous that Freyda was going to become fixated on him instead of staying obsessed with Eric!
But thankfully, Appius was the king of “spinning” things. And he’d “spun” Freyda’s affections right back toward Eric.
“What about Isabel?” Freyda asked with derision in her tone. “Do you think she’ll do anything to stop Eric and me from being together?”
Appius shook his head. “No,” he responded coolly. “Isabel will most likely dump Eric by the end of the week. After all, she is not with him out of love.”
Freyda smiled. “Not like I am.”
Appius cringed a little at the apparently delusional girl in front of him. He’d thought about letting things slide and allowing Eric to have his “lukewarm happily ever after” with the Edgington girl, but the more that he’d considered that fate during the last months, the more he’d realized that that would be too easy for his son. That was why he’d contacted Freyda to help him with his new plan. Even if everything blew up in Appius’s face—and even if it was proven that he was the father of Freyda’s child rather than Eric—Appius would still have the consolation that such a scandal would scare away most women so that they wouldn’t be willing to marry Eric. And Appius was certain that Russell wouldn’t allow his daughter to marry into such a situation.
And—as for Appius—he knew that he would come out of the other end of a scandal relatively unscathed. He would simply claim that Freyda—in all of her “insanity”—had seduced him, hoping to produce a child with whom to trick Eric. Appius would claim ignorance and innocence, and he and Sophie-Anne could have a public separation and then an even more public reunion. High society loved its reconciliation stories even more than its scandals.
Appius sighed and took a drink of his scotch. He was playing a dangerous game with the unstable woman in front of him. The good news was that she had practically already convinced herself that Eric was the father of her child, which would help immensely when she had to face Eric—and the cameras. The bad news was that Eric might not go along with things; Appius, however, was hopeful that his son had been broken enough to grasp at anything tangible that might give him any modicum of happiness, and a child—even with someone as unstable as Freyda—would do just that. Appius was betting on his eldest son’s honor.
However, if nothing else, Appius was determined to sabotage all of his son’s relationships until the time when he was 35. After that, it wouldn’t matter. If Eric were unmarried by 35, Appius would be allowed—under the terms of the contract—to choose Eric’s wife. And—even if it didn’t turn out to be Freyda—he would choose someone who he could control and someone who would make Eric miserable.
Appius smiled. Freyda was bound to complicate things for Eric, and—if the little lip-reader who still eluded him was paying any attention—the situation would hurt her too. Appius’s smile widened. He had a lot to be happy about. After all, he was going to be a grandfather soon.
A/N: Hello all! Sorry about the time it took to get this to you. Between kitty issues and work, I’ve been quite swamped. I also got sucked into reading a wonderful story called As Good As Dead by Im2xshy.
I have been somewhat productive, however (though distracted). I have gone through most of the rest of this story, and added chapter breaks (believe it or not, I write my drafts straight through without chapter-ing the story). It looks like we will have about 40 chapters altogether (give or take a few since I tend to add or subtract a bit here and there).
Thanks for sticking with me! And thanks for your patience and continued support!
Next time: The fall-out from the leaked “sex-tape.”