Chapter 422) Tough To Swallow

“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche
Windenburg Isle
Hayes Estate

After the big meal, everyone had their bellies full beyond recognition with dessert and coffee, all the adults were standing around the table talking, while the kids were burning off the energy outside and the toddlers were napping upstairs, even Sophie didn’t jump right away to start cleaning up as she usually would, but clinked a spoon to her coffee mug instead.

“Everyone, now that we are all round and full, I think the chances for the expected backlash are slimmer than normal, so here goes: I quit my job at the restaurant, and am gonna do the stay-at-home mom thing for a while, and also: Stryker and I are pregnant again.”

“WHAT?! Already?!” Esmée exclaimed, then nearly choked on the sip of coffee she had been drinking.

“Another oopsie or on purpose?” Ewan wondered.

“Nah, on purpose. My tour schedule is crazy, so we thought it usually takes a while, no time as the present, but between Sophie being very fertile and my swimmers being very competitive, it happened almost right away.” Stryker shrugged.

“Goodness gracious! I love my grandkids, I do, but my daughter is not a breeding mare! Give her body some time to recover! Keanu is barely a few months old now!” Abby ranted.

“MOM! I wanted this. I talked Stryker into it. Don’t blame him, blame me.” Sophie said.

“What do you mean YOU wanted this? Who’s blaming anyone?” Jay shot confused looks at his daughter and at Stryker.

“No, we BOTH wanted it! She just was a little more anxious than I was and didn’t want to wait till touring calmed down. We already looked at a calendar and I should be home around the time she’s getting close to giving birth again. If not, I will drop everything and postpone. I will be there.”

“Yeah, you better! And after this one, PLEASE kids, take a break! These kids won’t stay handy-dandy babies forever. Three is a lot – here’s to hoping it’s only gonna be three, you KNOW multiples are a possibility, for everyone, but you more so than most people!”

“Yes, Mom.” Sophie’s tone was somewhere between resigned and annoyed.

“Don’t ‘yes mom’ me, sweetheart! I have been there. With five teens at the same time! Talk about herding cats! You were all good kids, but I would not recommend that to anyone.” Abby told her, while gesturing around the table at the five now grown children she raised after becoming a mother to triplets, followed by a set of twins, at a very young age.

Emmy and Connell exchanged knowing glances.

“Yes, YOU two made us want to bang our heads into walls more than any of the others have!” Jay had noticed and called them out. It had taken him many years to accept a Vampire as his precious Emmy’s mate of choice, but now he really liked Connell. When Connell and Emmy were expecting the first of their three children, it had been Jay who had taught his son-in-law how mortal parenting worked, since Connell had been raised in Forgotten Hollow at Castello Vatore with very little exposure to the world of mortals until meeting Emmy when she had barely turned 16.

“Well, dad, it all worked out in the end. You and mom learned Vampires aren’t all that scary after all and it wasn’t just a teenage affair but real love, just like we kept telling you. My sweet Conny and I are still super-happy and got that parenting thing down!” Emmy told Jay.

“CONNY! BWAHAHAHAH!” Michael burst into laughter, till a cookie hit his head, accompanied by death glares from Connell, while Michael complained.

“Ow, you fanged dingbat! Some of us have a pulse and feel shit! And we eat too – what a waste of a perfectly good cookie! I wanna knock them fangs down to your butthole for this!” he roared at Connell. Not only did these two ALWAYS bicker, but Michael’s still ferocious appetite was legend. If it was chewable and not toxic, he’d eat it.

“MICHAEL and CONNELL! This is a civilized family dinner! We do not throw food, especially not at family members! I feel like I have to tell you both that every time, you two are worse than tired, teething toddlers!” Abby grumbled, looking back and forth between her daughters’ mates.

“He’s not a family member! He’s a plus one at best! Isn’t that right, MIKEY!?” Connell argued.

“HEY! Stay in your lane, Connell!” Ezzy glared at him, but it was too late. Ezzy’s dad Jay picked up on the subject right away. Again.

“Yeah, what about that? You have been living together for years, you raise kids together, why not make it official, it would be easier legally if you two were actual stepparents to each other’s kids.” Jay brought up a sore subject to Ezzy, who still was very uninclined to ever get married. Matching wolf tattoos on their arms was as permanent as she would commit to Michael.

“Okay, how did we go from Sophie popping out babies left and right to you typecasting me as suburban housewife? Michael and I happen to like our arrangement as is. He and I aren’t together so I can have his last name or he mine and so we can be official parents to each other’s kids, but because we care about each other and enjoy our company.”

“Aka fuck-buddies. Speaking of, how’s that coming for you Silas?” Ewan smirked.

“EWAN CAMERON! I am gonna wash that pottymouth out with soap for real one day! This is still a dinner table and there are children nearby! What if one wanders in and hears you?!” Abby roared.

“He’s got a point though, I wanna know that too. Why didn’t you bring your little girlfriend, Mr. Mayor? MUAH MUAH MUAH MUAH MUAH!” Esmée made kissing sounds at her little brother, mostly to deflect from her and Michael being the topic of discussion by redirecting the attention and interest onto someone else. A classic Ezzy move.

Silas blushed.

“I wish I had taped this after-dinner-convo up until this point, so I could play it back for you all which would answer that question. I am not sure I can expose her to this yet. She’d dump me in a heartbeat. You will all meet her in due time when she and I are ready for it. But yes, Olivia and I are officially a couple now.” he countered.

“Isn’t she a Vampire? You’d think they are tougher than that.”

“She is not. Her mother and a brother are. She’s mortal, as is her dad and two other siblings.” Silas corrected.

“Thank God, last thing we need is more Fangs at the table. Q-Tip over there is plenty!” Michael smiled challenging at Connell who gave him the one-finger salute.

“CONNELL! Will you behave already?! I don’t care if you are a Vamp or not, you will behave or I will spank you, I swear it! You two are supposed to be grown men, act like it!” Abby was only in her mid-50s, her still mostly youthful appearance, especially from a distance where you couldn’t see the fine lines life had started to chisel into her face and the fact that the reason her formerly natural light golden blonde hair now had an increasingly silvery cast giving it a deliberate-looking platinum blonde tone, made the fact that she was a multiple grandmother and mother to 31-year-old triplets and 26-year-old twins feel strange.

“Mom – Michael keeps instigating! Yell at him, not just my poor hubby!” complained Emmy, who was sweet and kind, but always defended her loved ones. Like her mother an ageless beauty, her roundish face and naturally light hair gave her the same misleadingly youthful appearance, even though she was 31 like the other two triplets, she still looked like a teen, often feeding rumors her husband had secretly turned her, which both vehemently denied.

“Good point. Michael – same goes for you! Behave yourself!” Abby wagged her index finger at the former Werewolf Michael.

“Want me to get you a rolled-up newspaper to teach doggie some manners in a way he’ll understand and remember? Just like Ezzy had to potty-train him and to quit him from humping every visitor’s legs?” Vampire Connell instigated, this time he received the raised middle finger from Michael.

“Wow – can we stop the circus and get back to the real news here?! Hello?! I am pregnant! Yes, Stryker and I are FULLY aware it is quick, but that is what we wanted. On purpose. Young parents to siblings close in age. So what?! We can afford a dozen more kids and I think we have proven over and over that we can handle it! So, instead of going all “Real Housewives of Windenburg” here, how about some ‘Yay Sophie – congratulations! We are so happy for you and hope this time it will be a little girl. Fingers crossed.’. Then I could be like ‘Oh, why thank you everyone, me too! So excited, and I am so glad you all are soooooo happy for us, just like we are.’ But no. NOOOOOOO! I fed you all a nice multi-course dinner and you still make everything about yourselves after shitting on my news because I got pregnant again so soon. Shame on me. Blah blah blah. Also: spoiler alert, we don’t know the gender yet, but can confirm it is only one baby again.” Sophie ranted.

“Sorry Soph, you’re right. Congratulation! To both of you. We are all excited and happy, Spencer and Keanu are super-cute. We’re just … surprised.” Emmy told her sister.

Everyone now rushed over to Stryker and Sophie to hug and congratulate the expecting parents.

Once everyone had left and the last dishes were being put away, Stryker winked at Sophie who was still digesting the drama.

“Well, that went well, huh?”

“Yeah, I kinda expected something like that. I admit, machine-gun style baby making would irk me too in any of my siblings, but … oh well. They’ll get over it.” she said.

“Well, I expected backlash too, which is why I begged you not to invite the other Camerons or my mother. If she had been here, we’d still be out there discussing this to death, if it hadn’t started a major fight. Too late to change it now anyway …” said Stryker.

He grabbed her and started kissing on her cheeks, forehead, but before he could get to the lips, someone was at the door.

With a sigh, he let go of Sophie.

“Wanna place a bet on who forgot what?” he chuckled.

“With my nuttier-than-squirrel-turds family, anything is possible. Maybe it’s mom and dad to give us the birds and bees talk again, just in case. Can you get it? I am people’ed out for now.” Sophie grimaced.

“Yeah, I’ll use my natural charm and try to get rid of whomever that is now ASAP and if that doesn’t work, they’ll meet the full-on asshole Stryker. Not feeling company tonight either. Just hoping it’s not my goddamn mother. I really can’t deal with her tonight. We only saw her yesterday, and I still can only handle her BS in bitesize portions.”

Stryker went after the second doorbell ring, and swung the door open to reveal two strangers. He frowned, annoyed, thinking the young man and old woman were fans.

“Afternoon. If this is a pilgrimage for a photo op and autograph I gotta tell ya, pretty lame idea and annoying as fuck.”

“Umm, no. We’re here to talk to you about something.” the young man said, while the old woman just stared at Stryker.

Sophie appeared next to him, so Stryker bridled his increasing annoyance slightly.

“Yeah? Well, save your breath, we’re good on religion, cookies and housewares. So, whatever you two peddling, we already have one or don’t want one. You have 30 seconds before I personally chase you off our property!” Stryker roared.

“Okay, I can make it very fast. I am Peyton DiLaurentis and this is my grandmother Marnie. Or, better put: our grandmother. I am your half-brother, Stryker, Marco DiLaurentis is my father too, I am from marriage number one, and grandma is his mother. Grandma is not going to be around much longer, stage 4 colon cancer that has metastasized, her dying wish is to meet the grandson she never met, she has always been close with her other grandkids, and while we understand your mother didn’t wish contact, and have respected it until now, grandma’s request trumps that for me. So, I found you for her. Can you at least say something nice to her before you kick us off your property? And before you go there, no, we are not here because you are famous or rich, we are that ourselves. I am father’s heir to his empire, and grandma raised me, long story why, but she is where his wealth comes from. We are here to meet you, that’s all.”

That rendered both Stryker and Sophie completely speechless.

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10 thoughts on “Chapter 422) Tough To Swallow

  1. Magpie2012/Ravenangel888 January 6, 2023 — 8:28 AM

    Eish… So Stryker’s mom didn’t want contact and they “respected that” which means the whole family knew about Stryker! Mama Hayes gonna have some explaining to do!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Magpie2012/Ravenangel888 January 6, 2023 — 8:29 AM

      Also shame that he’s only getting to know his grandma when she’s practically on her deathbed. I hope she leaves a huge chunk of change to Stryker and that it sticks in his parents’ craws!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very much so. Stryker mentioned at some point that one reason he even bothers with his mother is so that Spencer and Keanu have as many grandparents in their lives as he never had any. On his father’s side for obvious reasons and he mentioned in some talk with Sophie that his mother never spoke about her own family and he never met any of them.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Unless somehow in the family grapevine the “he said/she said” contorted the real truth, that’s what it looks like now … this is not two people claiming this (Sandrine to Adrianna in the last chapter, and Peyton to Stryker now).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. And the sh*t hits the fan! I’m so happy for Stryker and Sophie, and pray they’re having a little girl! He would lose his heart in an instant! And that ending: Great. More unwanted(in his case)daddy drama!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup! Definitely unwanted. Stryker seemed to have come to terms with not having a father, then at 31 he runs into him at some random party unexpectedly, now suddenly surface a brother and a grandmother.
      Everyone’s hoping for a girl. 🙂 Sophie cos she really wants one and her entire family cos they hope she will quit having babies then. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Goodness. I have to say Michael and Connell were acting like 12 year old brats. But it was funny. Abby was cracking me up, trying to keep Michale and Connell in line, threatening to spank Connell. She probably would too. Lol. Then poor Sophie, with everyone freaking out over her and Stryker’s news which devolved into the in fighting. I felt bad for her and was happy to see her call them all out. Being with Stryker has been good for her in so many ways. And It’s exciting that he is all over another baby. But then once they get their house cleared out, whoaaaa. Nothing like a long lost gramma and half brother showing up on your doorstep right after he runs into his dad. Something is definitely going on. I think Theresa is gonna have lots of splain’ to do. She is sneaky and I think she knows grandma is dying and she is vying for some of that cash. Maybe I’m completely off base, but with her canoodling with Marco – something is rotten in Denmark. Dun dun dunnnnnnnn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First of all, I love and appreciate that you always take the time to leave such detailed comments. It really makes me happy.

      Back to the chapter, yeah, each family is dysfunctional in their own way and this is theirs. There is a reason that while Abby’s brother and sister moved back into town, the weekly Sunday dinners are still only her own brats plus partners and offspring. LOL

      Michael and Connell bickering dates back to when he was a Werewolf and mortal enemy of Vampires. Obviously, they have become friends, and somehow their bickering is their brand. Most of the time it goes ignored by all, but with the baby news dropped while the last baby is still an infant, Abby wasn’t very forgiving.
      Stryker and Sophie’s relationship is strange, but they are making it work and it has been curative to both of them. Stryker remains grounded by breaking his touring up into increments, coming and staying home for a couple weeks to reset and reground in between, and Sophie got everything she ever dreamed of and is in 7th heaven.
      Leading to the impending drama on the horizon. More and more signs surface that Stryker’s past will erupt on him sooner or later. Right now nobody knows what Theresa’s involvement really is and how deep it goes. The DiLaurentis’ family could be lying or maybe Marco fed them BS lies about Theresa, now she is one against many.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks! As for Stryker, i feel he’s sorta come to terms with how things are, and to have it all stirred up again, no matter who is right or wrong or if the truth lies somewhere in the middle (likely) he will not handle it well. I think Sophie has her work cut out for her. Hopefully, Nick and Addy will be there to,help with any fallout too.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are right, Stryker was absolutely at terms with it, kinda had “adopted” Sophie’s dad Jay as his own father figure. Having his past crawl out of the woodwork now is really not something he’d sign up for.
          Nick being the attorney of the family, chances are sooner or later he’ll be involved and Addy as the SIL to Stryker’s father will most definitely try to mediate if Marco ends up involved at all. So far, he hadn’t been in too much of a rush, but him meeting with his ex-lover Theresa over what looked very much like a romance reheated in the last chapter is confusing at best. Good thing Addy thought to snap a pic, juuuuuuuust in case it comes up and the involved parties suddenly have amnesia. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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