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Bring It On Home



 
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Atticus Hammond

‘What if she doesn’t like me?’

‘What if pigs fly?’

 

The last argumentative conversation had between Camille and Atticus ended as such. He insistence has prevailed, and Camille has been thoroughly (un)convinced to meet his family. He knows it may end horribly. He’s well aware his wife may force him to sleep on the couch. These are all sacrifices he’s willing to make to try and place peace-maker between the two women in his wife. The ONLY two women. And he has a feeling Camille and Sookie are in for an intense battle of wills, with Atticus stuck in middle of it all.

He chooses not to dwell. Instead, he momentarily shifts his gaze from the monotony of the high way to glance at Camille’s apprehensive figure. She appears as wound up as a ball of rubber bands, and he feels helpless to cut the tension in the air. His hand shifts from the transmission, taking ahold of one of her petite, finely manicured hands. He offers a small, hopeful smile. He knows it isn’t much, but, he can’t let on he’s more than terrified of the impending encounter.

What if –“ He can hear the resignation in her tone, and chooses instead to cut it off with the stereo. His smile shifts to more of a triumphant smirk, because he knows he’s just been a total ass. And given the gentle swat on the arm he earns, he knows his actions are well received.

While the only noise in the Jeep for the duration of the drive is NPR, Atticus’s head is abuzz with possibilities. He considers, the quite likely scenario in which Sookie sits, completely polite, only to tell Atticus as they wash the supper dishes that he needs to divorce Camille. That is the worst case scenario in his mind. He knows, regardless of her approval, that Camille Rameau is here to stay in his life. Needless to say, the man is smitten. And not even the domineering southern personality that is Sookie Hammond can possibly deviate him from his happiness.

 

‘What if she doesn’t like my outfit?’

‘I like it just fine.’

‘Your opinion doesn’t count.’

 

His eyes are wide, half in bewilderment, half in amusement. The couple climb the few steps it takes to mount the wrap-around porch that sets the standard for the Hammond’s waterfront home that lays upon the inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s not an especially large house, but the style is wholesome, and only a hint of what is in-store for Camille when she enters. There’s no need to knock, as they never lock the door. So, Atticus steps instead, guiding his bride into all things hand-stitched and home-made. It’s a drastic change in style from Atticus’s simple air-stream, which is perhaps the point.

Several needlepoint pillows are stacked along an antique bench pressed against the hallway wall, all with motivational, or religious quips. The staircase leading to the second floor is just after the entryway, and that wall is lined with dozens and dozens of family photos – to the point where there doesn’t seem to be a speck of wall left revealed. The collection appears to almost always include Atticus in some form. The photos are mindlessly embarrassing. Therefore, they’re right up Camille’s alley.

It appears as though MOST surfaces are covered with some sort of tribute to Atticus. It doesn’t help he’s an only child. But, he can’t very well fault his parents for loving him. It’s still a bit… Obsessive. Bizarre. Exactly what he would expect Camille to do if she had the same possessions. The thought sort of terrifies him, but he swallows it down.

“Momma? We’re here.” It probably would have been decent to mention to his parents that ‘me’ had become ‘we’, but… He’s not a fan of awkward conversations. He hears the lid come down upon the pot of lobster gumbo he’d been promised, and out comes Sookie, auburn hair crazed from the heat of the kitchen.

“Who on Earth is ‘we’, baby?” She pulls Atticus into a rib-bruising hug, before drawing back at arms to give him a once over. “You look thin.” She purses her lips, brow knitting as she considers all of the different courses she can fatten him with before he departs.

“Ma. C’mon, now. Stop.” He grimaces, completely embarrassed that she a) called him baby, and b) has yet to acknowledge Camille. “This is Camille.” He watches Sookie turn, sweet, genuine smile flashing.

“… My wife.

His mother’s expression immediately sours. “Atticus Hammond, you are not to prank your mother on the Lord’s day.” He almost wants to chuckle. Because ANY DAY is a good day to prank your tightly wound mother.

“Momma, honestly. It’s not a joke. Didn’t you read my e-mail?” So, the e-mail doesn’t exist. He didn’t need Camille to know he’s a TOTAL coward.

“No, no I did not.” By the clear tone of her voice, he knows he’s in for one hell of a verbal lashing. Still, she hasn’t hardly LOOKED at Camille. It has him a bit on edge.

“Why don’t you start with ‘hello’, then?” He scolds, hand naturally gravitating to take Camille’s. That is, if she’d allow it. He’s fairly certain he’s in the dog house with both of these women now.

Sookie pauses, critical eyes piercing Camille’s soul, it seems. There’s something… Off, about her. “Welcome to our home, Camille. It’s always good to be a Hammond.”

August 31, 2017 01:14 am

Camille Rameau

Nervous? Nervous didn't even begin to describe the fluttering onset of emotions that plagued her at that very moment. Camille sat quietly in the passenger seat of Atticus's Jeep, contemplating everything about.. well everything. Her hands fold gently against her lap, fingers fidgeting with each other while a barrage of questions marquee through her brain. The most important was incessant, What if she doesn't like me? Atticus claimed it was impossible. That his mother couldn't possibly dislike her - not considering how much he loved her.

Camille was not convinced.

If it was possible for things to go bad, they would. That's just how things went for her. Except where Atticus himself was concerned. For now, he was everything. Exactly what she needed, and where she needed to be.

His parents? Another story.

"What if-" Immediately he silences her with a crank of the radio volume. It both frustrates and amuses her, enough so that she smacks him lightly against the arm but laughs while doing so. He's exuberant in his skill of both asserting an air of dominance while disarming her completely. Camille appreciates his patience, and is grateful for his encouragement. With a soft exhale, she decides to let go and trust him.

She would be fine.

The idea really only comforts her until Atticus is pulling into the driveway of a lofty southern estate. The house itself is not large enough to make Cami feel uncomfortable, but the acres flow freely around it, until the land ultimately melts into the mouth of a bay. It's all very unfamiliar to Camille. Each of the places she had called home had been inside institutions that had housed numerous people. Sanctuaries. The Angel had also been devoid of any memories involving family, or a childhood, for she had never had either.

The walls inside of the Hammond's home were lined with memories of both.

At first, the photos make Camille smile. Atticus is busy calling for his parents - alerting them to their arrival, and so the girl takes the opportunity to enjoy what her husband would likely refer to as a hallway of horrors. The pictures of him as a small child warm her heart. The (only) child seems to enjoy his life surrounded by various activities. But as he grew older, and each picture seemed to become more cluttered with things that did not seem like her Atticus, his happiness begins to falter. The amusement didn't stretch his smile to his eyes anymore, instead his expression seemed to exist solely for the satiating of his mother, who was likely behind the camera.

When the stairs cut her off, the crease in her brow evens out. Camille clears her throat and turns to find her husband in the maze of textiles and saltbox primitives. She can hear him speaking, and notices how the twang in his drawl seems to dip even deeper when he's talking to his momma. Her curiosity poses the question of whether it was out of habit or appeasement.

Cami can hear Sookie approaching, and it's all that she can do to keep from hiding behind Atticus before the woman pulled him into a tight hug. There is an exchange, and the words muttered are full of caution on her husbands end, and disbelief from his mother. Camille is barely paying attention, her breathing spaced out purposefully as she focuses on trying to keep from having an actual panic attack. As if on cue, her husbands hand reaches out, quietly searching for hers between the back and forth. Her thin fingers find his own with ease, and she's squeezing tight in order to keep herself grounded.

Camille side steps once Sookie finally gets around to acknowledging her existence, eyes darting from Atticus's face to the wild haired woman before her. She's exactly how every southern centered movie had conditioned Camille to assume people would be. Hair wild but kept. A healthy size, no doubt from an abundance of home made meals whipped up multiple times a day. She even had an apron on. Bright and busy, like she would have the world believing reflected who she was as a person. But she sneers at Camille, even though she welcomes her with a smile. Her eyes say, who are you, and what have you done to my son?, but Atticus gives the blondes hand a squeeze, and it's enough to encourage her further.

"Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Hammond." With the faintest of french accents, Camille lays on her heaviest set of manners, assuming the woman would appreciate her efforts even if she saw right through them. "You have a beautiful home."

Sookie laughs right away, her face incredulous as she waved her son towards the dining room.

"Oh, heavens. You've only seen the foyer, but thank you just the same." Her hand finds Atticus's shoulder as she leads him alone, effectively separating the man from his wife as they walked. "And now that you've gone and married my son, you'll call me Momma."

Camille could have been imagining it, but she swears there was a sliver of blame behind the the suggestion. Like an accusation. You've gone and married my son, like she had tricked him into it with some sort of vagina-magic.

Atticus seems quiet, muttering some things to his mother that Camille can't quite hear as they walk. But they reach the table and have plenty of room to gather so that they're all within a close proximity to each other. There's already a pitcher of suspicious looking brown liquid on the table, surrounded by four glasses flipped upside down on a silver tray.

"Dinners going to be ready soon, sweetheart. You're just in time for your favorite." In case you hadn't guessed, Sookie tries her best to take a seat between the newlyweds, but Camille isn't having any of it. She waits until Atticus sits, and maneuvers until she's on the opposite side of him from his mother.

Sookie grimaces, but offers a forced, overly sweet smile. "Tell me about your wife, Atticus. Where did you find her? Why was I not invited to the wedding? You're going to send your mother to an early grave. What will your aunts think? Imagine having a ceremony without your mother!"

He had to have been expecting this. Camille certainly was, and if she's being honest, Atticus is totally paying for this when they get home.
August 31, 2017 03:32 am

Atticus Hammond

Atticus follows his mother with due trepidation, still apprehensive of his mother’s treatment towards Camille, but, it didn’t seem like the proper moment to go to bat for his wife. Instead, he shoots an over the shoulder, apologetic glance as Sookie leads him further into the house, understanding (far too late) he should have done more to shield his wife from his mother’s tendencies. But, he HAD warned her. Southern women are like snakes in the grass. His mother is certainly no exception.

“Behave,” He directs solely at Sookie, still wearing a smile for Camille’s benefit. He and his mother share a few more choice words with mumbles and smiles, and it takes all of Atticus’s self-control not to be more overt in his displeasure, but for the sake of Camille’s place in this family, he keeps a threatening silence as they take their seats at the dinner table.

“Camille’s simply an angel, mother.” He refrains from the coy grin that begs his lips, instead turning to look towards Camille while still addressing his mother. “We met…” He pauses, reaching again to take her hand. It’s all he can do at present to reassure her, wracked with a much deserved guilt.

“Well, sugar? I’ve got a pot on in the kitchen. Get to it.” Sookie isn’t a subtle woman by any means. She even goes so far as to press a pointed finger into Atticus’s chin, directing his head back in her direction.

“There wasn’t a wedding.” He lifts a hand up to grasp at her wrist, pulling her hand away with noted agitation. “We eloped, if you must know. And Aunties have their own children to fret over, lest you’ve forgotten.”

The rising tide of emotions in Sookie is evident as she pushes her chair back, heavy steps taking her to the screen-door of the kitchen. Her hands cup her mouth, and her shout is unlawfully loud. “Big Forrest! Get your ass out of that workshop and into this house! Dinner’s ready and your son got a foreign woman pregnant!”

Atticus blanches. And then his cheeks take on a new, crimson heat. The absolute nerve of his mother FLOORS him. The clamors and shouts from the small shack in the backyard cue his father’s impending arrival, and Sookie has already fled to the kitchen, avoiding retaliation until her husband arrives. So, he takes ahold of the large pitcher of sweet tea, sweating from the heat. He turns over the first glass, the action trained and almost mindless. Which seems to be working for Atticus, as he seems almost blinded by an unmatched rage. He takes the glass, placing it in front of Camille as a sort of peace offering.

“I’m sorry.” He whispers, somehow immediately deflating as he looks to Camille for the emotional support she seems to provide subconsciously. “I thought this was going to go much better than it is.” It’s an earnest remark, and wholly foolish on his part. He, the man who knows his mother best, could not have predicted her do act exactly as she always does? Atticus leans across the table’s edge, planting a well-meaning kiss against the soft, pale skin of her cheek. “Where’s that pluck of yours? Stand up for yourself, or she’ll walk all over you.” There’s a mischievous little smirk now, and Atticus is leaning over to press a kiss to her lips JUST as Big Forrest slams the kitchen door behind him.

“Who’s pregnant, now?!” He booms, a crazy sort of bewilderment in his eyes. Physically, he’s much of Atticus’s contemporary, the only real difference is the thick beard spread across his face, but the kind, gray eyes are one in the same. “Hold on there, son. We don’t need twins.” He chuckles, seemingly quite amused with himself. “Who’s this?” He steps over, far gentler in his interest than his own wife.

“Camille, this is my father, e-” Atticus is cut off as Big Forrest swoops in, pressing a prickly kiss to the back of the Angel’s hand.

“Everyone calls me Big Forrest,” He oozes, eyes wide with disbelief. “Tell me, darlin’, how much is he paying you? You’re too gorgeous for my boy.” It’s a sincere and, … Oddly inappropriate remark. He pays for it, though, as Sookie places a well-aimed slap across the back of his head. “Wash your hands and sit the hell down, Forrest. She’s married, and so are you.” Atticus sits perfectly still, mortified, and once again, far more angry than he would let on.

“No one is pregnant, damn it!” Alright, so, Atticus can’t keep his cool ETERNALLY. “Would you cut that the hell out? I don’t care how it sounds coming out of your mouth, it’s goddamn offensive!” The aggressive southern drawl is REAL as he digs in, absolutely furious. “I just wanted to enjoy a meal, and introduce you to the most important woman in my life.” The use of words is intentional. He wants it to be a dig at his mother, but it’s also faultlessly honest.

And he is certain there will be hell to pay.

August 31, 2017 11:32 am

Camille Hammond

'We eloped, if you must know..."'

The words echo in Camille's ears, and visibly, she flinches. The girl hasn't even known this woman for five whole minutes, and somehow she already understands what to expect now that Atticus has dropped that blatant bomb.

Her eyes go wide, and as Sookie rises to her feet in the ultimate rush to the screen door, Cami swallows down a lump that somehow has formed in her throat, willing her to keep her silence even though the conversation was most certainly about to simmer.

Sookie is calling to someone with a voice as loud and shrewd as anything she's ever heard, and she'd sure that everyone in the surrounding town has undoubetly heard that Atticus has gotten a foreign woman pregnant.

Camille's face is a direct reflection of the scarlet hue that has washed over Atticus's cheeks as he turns to apologize and offers a tall glass of cold beverage. Flavor still to be determined. (Why is it such a murky color!?) For now, she ignores the drink, her hands instead finding her husbands under the table and pulling them onto her lap with a squeeze.

The girl has to stop and appreciate how much more difficult this is for Atticus than it is for her. So when he apologizes verbally, clearly embarassed to the high heavens and leaning in to press a kiss to her skin, Cami takes the opportunity to nuzzle against his cheek- and adds the support of a soft smile for effect. "Mothers." She speaks low, her voice nearly in a whisper. "Isn't this what they do? Some, I suppose, are just more.. Boisterous than others. I'm not sure how either of you will recover if my pluck decides to make an appearance." The tone in which she sputters the adjectives suggests that she's being sarcastic, but Camille is nothing if not good humored.

Suddenly, there's another voice that fills the air around them, but this time it's louder and much more masculine than the last. It inquires about the decree of pregnancy, and even though she doesn't mean to, a small groan forces itself from Cami's chest and her fingers tighten around her husbands. It forces them apart, her eyes falling upon the strange man as he swoops in like a hurricane. The screen door then slams behind him and earns some remark from the gallery in the kitchen.

She thinks, if she squints real hard, that this is likely where her husbands physical attributes come from. The dark hair. The lively eyes. It should be noted that Atticus has obviously picked up his charms from somewhere else. Camille is less than subtle in her disinterest for her father-in-laws introduction. He leaves a streak of sweat against the back of her hand as he presses a kiss to her skin.

"Pleasure.." She coo's, "Call me Camille, please." Her brows pluck, and slowly, she pulls her hand back, wiping away the traces of his saliva on her jeans.

Honestly, Cami is certain she can feel the heat radiating off of Atticus. Her eyes dart to the table, and then to the man at her side as he threatens to ignite. She's just about to open her mouth to speak when he finally bursts, and she has to literally bite her tongue to keep from laughing at the expression that sours Sookie's face.

Not necessarily because she enjoys the discontent. Or, well. Maybe a little bit.

"Honey.." Camille attempts to cut his rant short, grabbing the glass of tea that Atticus had poured her and turning to push it into his hands. "Maybe you should.."

"Well heavens to betsy, aren't you just a peach." Sookie cuts her off abruptly, her finger wagging into the direction of the blonde as Cami flinches and sits back in her chair. "One visit from my son in how many years? Then he shows up with you and suddenly he's disrespectin' his momma and back talkin' Big Forrest." She starts closing in on the two of them, the pitcher of tea shaking atop the table as she stomped. "Reckon your momma should have prayed more." Then she turns to her son, and Camille is sure the glistening of tears in her eyes is all for show, but they're still making an appearance. "What did I do to deserve this? Are you punishing me for something?"

Oh, dear God. Atticus was not kidding when he warned Cami about the dramatics. There is nothing that could have prepared her for this.

Thin fingers ball into fists in her lap, the prickle of her fingernails imprinting against the soft flesh of her palm. Her face scrambles, but it's less by way of embarrassment. She's irritated. Flabbergasted at the audacity of this woman to speak to Atticus in such a way, never mind Camille herself. She huffs, the burst of air forcing it's way from her chest so hard that it accompanies a hard whine and before she can stop herself her fists are coming down atop the dining room table.

"Will all of you stop talking?" Her head turns to Atticus, only briefly: "Oh mon Dieu, je ne peux pas croire cette femme!" The words fly from her mouth, but her head is shaking away the remnants of a language that clearly no one in this house speaks. "Mrs. Hammond, I've been here all of five minutes, and you've done nothing but insult the likes of your son and his wife." She points back at herself, as if she needed to reiterate, "Which is ME."

Cami pushes the chair back, scrambling to her feet and nearly knocking over a glass in the meantime. "If this is the way you treat your guests, Sookie, then I'm sorry to say but you ma'am are no lady." Then, her hands find the air around her face, waving in frustration just before she swivels on her foot and stomps past Atticus until she finds the screen door to the back porch. She'd stop there. Wait until either her husband came for her, or she had long enough to cool down from her own outburst. Whichever came first.

Oh, you thought Camille didn't know the proper way to press the buttons of a southern matron? Stick around.
September 06, 2017 12:28 am

Atticus Hammond

He appreciates Camille’s attempt to calm him down. But Atticus, like his mother, is far from even-tempered in times of stress. His moon immediately lightens when, out of midair, Camille joins the row. Pride seems to radiate from his figure as aggressive French words fly past her lips. He doesn’t understand them, but meeting Camille’s fiery gaze, he finds himself nodding in complete agreement.

‘You ma’am are no lady.’

A spontaneous guffaw busts out of his own mouth, undeniably impressed with his wife. Even Sookie appears momentarily speechless. Atticus stays put as Camille slams the back door behind her. Once her slight frame is out of the door, however, Sookie is firing off once more. “IT’s a GOOD damn thing you two haven’t been married long. She is NOT right for you, baby. A boy should NEVER marry a woman who disrespects his mother. Imagine if I talked to your grandmother that way. Do you think Big Forrest would have married me?”

Big Forrest gives his wife’s hand a lazy pat. “Maybe it’s a European thing, honey.” Irrevocably numbed to Sookie’s hysterics. “Sure would be a shame to give her the black mark. She’s quite pretty for our Atticus.” There’s a faint level of offense AND disgust in his son’s eyes at that statement, but Atticus decides to let his parents air their grievances. Sookie is just getting started, after all.

“She is a low down, no good hussy. What kind of woman in her right mind elopes? Women are supposed to keep you sensible, sugar. Bless your heart, Atticus, but you wouldn’t know a good woman if she showed up at your doorstep. Don’t you worry. It’ll be a harmless divorce…”

Enough.” Atticus finally intercedes, standing so quickly his chair knocks over with a dull ‘thud’. He raises a single, threatening finger. “Not another word on the matter. I don’t remember EVER saying I would divorce Camille.” He can’t actually believe he’s scolding his OWN parents, practically in the same manner he once had been as a boy. “I love her, and she’s simply not going anywhere. You’re going to get over yourself. Do you understand?”

Clearly, however, Sookie Hammond seems to be missing her son’s point. Instead, she’s hysterical all over again as her wild hand gestures nearly cast Big Forrest’s beer from the table. “What kind of spell has she cast on you?” The sincerity of her question strikes Atticus as odd, but, he jumps do the conclusion he always has these many years. His mother is a lunatic.

“Don’t be so dramatic, momma, honestly.” He casts aside her exaggerated question, shaking his head with evident shame in her actions. “I don’t care WHAT your motivations are. I’m going to go try and convince my WIFE to come back inside, and enjoy this dinner. And you’re going to be sinfully polite, or I promise you, you will never see me under this roof again until I’m throwing your goddamn wake.” With such an honest threat, Sookie knows better than to call his bluff. Instead, red and the face and flustered, she admits defeat and retreats to the kitchen. Big Forrest takes a swig of his beer, offering his progeny little more than a shrug in response.

  So, he sidles out the back door, hands stuffed in his pocket. He’s honestly, truly, quite ashamed of his parent’s first impression. He knew it would be… Interesting. But he hadn’t anticipated that Sookie would be quite so foul. He hesitates, unsure of whether or not he wants to make his presence known to his bride. However, the slam of the door occurs before his brain can catch up with him. He purses his lips, unsure what words of comfort to offer as he steps over to his wife. Her elbows are propped on the railing of the deck, eyes focused out onto the remainder of their property, which stretches until the sea takes it away. “What was that you were saying about mothers?” He lets out a nervous laugh, one hand resting against her back while the other settled over one of her own.

He offers a sheepish, apologetic look, lips laying a gentle kiss against the top of her head. He always the moment to pass, calmed once more by her presence, and the distant sound of the ocean. It might have been more peaceful if he didn’t know he’d have to settle this dispute between his wife and mother. His breathing ebbs and flows like the expanse of gentle waves breaking in the distance, his thoughts as tumultuous as his emotions at present. The most overwhelming of which, are a sense of thankfulness and pride. “You didn’t have to do any of that. You risked a pivotal relationship for me.”

A chuckle catches in his throat, lips closed in a boyish grin. “You really stood your own in there, Camille.” An immeasurable amount of happiness bubbles up from his chest, and before he knows it, he’s tugging her into a heartfelt embrace. “Thank you.” He murmurs into her ear quietly, all of his anxiety dissipating with her in his arms. It’s a simple, wonderful comfort.

To be clear, we do NOT have to reenter that house. We can get in the car, and go home. No further harm done.” He knows fleeing is the easiest option, and certainly the one he prefers. But, he trusts his wife will know better than he on what action to take. So he pulls back some, that same charming expression on his face as he steals a chaste kiss. “Have I yet mentioned how incredibly enjoyable it was to watch you turn my mother speechless?” It truly was an unfathomable sight, and he’s sure it was the first time anyone outside of the family had EVER taken such a tone with her. The joke had always been that Sookie was a scornful as a witch.

The pair, however, couldn’t truly yet ‘appreciate’ the saying in full context.

I may have told my mother if she doesn’t apologize, the next time we’ll be under the same roof is at her funeral, so… Your call, chick.”

September 06, 2017 06:27 pm

Camille Hammond

Cami always fancied herself an expert listener. Adjusting to her surroundings quickly and without difficulty made it easy to transition into a place where the bustle of the outside world simply slipped away. Honestly, the fair haired woman could have eavesdropped in on the conversation that was happening inside during her absence. She assumed that Atticus would have many choice words for both his mother and his father. But she didn't want to hear them. Camille wasn't interested in Sookie's excuses, or any of 'Big Forests' possible justification for the woman's behavior.

Diplomatically speaking, the Angel had been in many situations like this. Stubborn, hard headed men and women who were set in their ways and unwilling to budge were the worst. It wasn't always so burdensome to turn her the charms and get to work on disarming a fellow envoy. But her? A mother?

Camille was way outside of her comfort zone. Beyond her skill level. This extended beyond her expertise.

Towards the wide open sky is where her gaze is drawn. The colors of the open air were akin to a watercolor painting- one where the artist used nearly all of the colors in their arsenalt without much regard for authenticity. She had to admit that there was something beautiful and simplistic about being here... Somewhere far away from the city. Away from the turmoil and complication that went hand in hand with the metro. Here it was quiet. Camille could take a deep, full breath and allow the sweet air to fill her lungs- and she enjoyed it.

Dont be so dramatic, momma, honestly.

She's fully shaken. Brought back to reality by the words that invade what little peace she had sought outside of the hostile house. It's sudden when Atticus forces his way through the same shoddy screen door that she had flown through just moments before. Cami remains silent, and is reluctant to turn around even as he closed the space across porch. His hand finds the gentle curve of her back and even though she hadn't intended to, instinctively the girl leans into his touch and is relaxing against the calming nature of his presense. It's not until she feels his lips press against the top of her head that she allows her eyes to slip shut as she turns her body to face him.

"I know." Her awknowledgement is simple, but she's sweet as ever, like she (almost) always is when she's addressing Atticus. "I had to. I had to say something. It's one thing to nag. Sure, I can get on board with that. She's your MOTHER." Cami has to physically stop herself from huffing, the pressure from her frustration threatening to bubble over into bodily agitation. She surmises instead to stifle her irritation by slipping into the embrace of her husband. He leans in, squeezing her tight.

Camille leaves a kiss pressed against his jaw before he has a chance to pull away, and adds in a whisper against his skin. "You're welcome, but you really don't need to thank me."

She's small enough so that when her arms slip around his middle, she has to crane her neck to look up at him. When she does, her smile is faint, but it touches the creases of her eyes. The angels happiness is never feigned.

Not with him.

"I'm here for you, Atticus. Only you. Entirely you. You know how I feel about personal relationships, and you..." She lets slip a delicate sigh, her expression softening, "If it's important for you for me to go inside and make nice with your mother, for whatever reason, NO justification necessary.. Then I'll do it. Just say the word."

Cami takes a step back, allowing her arms to unfold from his sides. In doing so she finds his hands, fingers lacing through his own and allowing for a subdued squeeze. "So valiant you are, coming to my rescue even against your own mother." Camille chuckles, her amusement more clear now than it was before. "But I think it's important that we go back inside. Someone's going to regret it if we don't and I'd prefer if it weren't you or I."

She's tugging at his hands now, leading him backwards towards the house.

"Whatever Sookie is cooking in that kitchen, had better be the greatest thing I've ever tasted. You have to take the first taste from my dish, though... To make sure it's not poisoned." She's chuckling, a quick pause before she's pulling at the screen door. "And you've got a LOT making up to do, too. Especially if Big Forest keeps touching me."
September 10, 2017 02:32 am

Atticus Hammond

Atticus breathes in her scent, gray eyes opening as a chuckle passes through parted lips. “No regrets here. That’s a promise.” He assuages, pulling back enough to meet her gaze. His hands hold her elbows, unwilling to fully relinquish the moment at hand. “Buuuuut.. I guess it IS important to keep the peace.” It’s a reluctant admission, as he clearly prefers standing out in the muggy air rather than reenter the warzone his mother has created.

With due reluctance, he breaks off the embrace, simplifying it to an affectionate hand-hold as she tugs him back towards the door (despite his feet dragging behind him). “At the very least, darlin’, Sookie’s cooking has never failed. You saw the pictures. I ate every day like I was insulating for winter.” He firmly plants his feet, bringing them to a halt. His eyebrows press in, frown prominent. “I don’t want you to make nice with my mother for my benefit. I’d never ask you to do that. And Big Forrest? My father’s a creep, let’s call it like it is.” He would laugh if it wasn’t so tragic, and, frankly, bizarre. His hand pries her from the door handle, intent only in the reassuring kiss he has every intention of delivering… Until Sookie pushes the door open herself.

Oh my looord.” She whistles, head shaking. “You’re newlyweds, not dyin’, Christ on a cracker.” She makes a sweeping gesture, the sort that implies they have no choice but to step back into the kitchen. Atticus, for his part, is red as a tomato as he trails behind his wife, earning the most wounding of Sookie’s ‘stares’. He murmurs an apology into Camille’s ear, feeling as though he keeps setting his poor wife up for embarrassment over and over again. His appetite is mostly gone, but he’s well aware the insult of refusing food would be the icing on the cake for Sookie Hammond. His hand remains around hers, grip just a bit too tight.

I fixed your plates while you two were outside moonin’ over one another like teenagers.” His ‘momma’ declares. Atticus moves to take the seat between his mother and Camille this time around, but Sookie quickly intercepts. “No no, sugar. Your plate’s right there.” There’s a twitch in her eye, voice so quick to snap and correct his behavior accordingly. But, Atticus thinks nothing of it, and has a seat, gray eyes delivering an apologetic glance towards Camille. And once the pair are seated again, his hand is back around hers, restless leg tapping up and down from nervousness. He’s out of his element, prepared for another sideways remark if Camille so much as asks for the salt and pepper.

So, no babies yet. That’s a shame. When am I getting a grandbaby, Camille? The point of marriage is procreation. Says so in scripture.” Sookie looks to Big Forrest on support with this renewed probing, and the man only grunts, choosing to focus on his plate of food and nothing more. “That is the plan, isn’t it?” Atticus’s eyes go wide for what can only be the 100th time that evening, quickly draining his sweet tea before dignifying the question with a reply.

Mama, I wouldn’t dive too deeply into what ‘scripture’ says. As I recall, a night in the back of Big Forrest’s pick-up truck is the reason y’all had a shotgun wedding. How long after the wedding day was I born? Seven months?” Atticus delivers the retort eloquently, moving to pour himself another glass of tea afterwards. Of course, he’s well versed in the sort of back-handed remarks his mother keeps at her employ 24/7. The dinner is relatively silent following, the only sounds heard muted chewing, silverware against flatware, and Big Forrest’s quiet humming. He much prefers the silence, clearly.

Following the meal, Atticus and Camille clear the table, having agreed to take their dessert to-go. It seems the most harmless option.

Well, here’s some fresh-baked cookies. Chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin…” Sookie presses the Tupperware in Camille’s direction, a separate container being slid into Atticus’s hands. “And this one’s for you, baby. A slice of your favorite lemon meringue pie. Now don’t go sharing, okay? Promise.” Her Southern lilt drops on the last word, feeling vaguely threatening.

Yeah, momma, sure. No sharing.” His eyes roll, leaning in to plant a peace-keeping kiss to her cheek. “I’ll give you a call tomorrow, mmkay? Thanks for supper.” He’s prepared to drag Camille away, but Sookie repeats the interaction with her, a sickeningly sweet kiss pressed to either of her cheeks.

Do call tomorrow. I’ll want to know how you’re feeling.” The matriarch remarks, and it all seems… Off. Atticus just can’t decide why. He chalks it up her jealousy, hand once again in Camille as they scurry out with little more than a smile in Big Forrest’s directions.

It’s not until they’re back in his Jeep that the man breathes again. “Camille, I am so incredibly sorry.” He’s unsure how many times he’ll have to make the statement, but he’s prepared to say it every day until his last day. “Honestly, baby, I feel weird. Do you think you could drive back to the trailer?” True to form, he does appear clammy, and is warm to the touch. He’s sure it’s only his nerves getting the better of him, but he’s no doctor. And in this case, a witch doctor would seem more apt. He fidgets with his buckle, not having yet pulled completely off of the road. It’s a claustrophobic sensation, undoing the collar button of his pressed shirt. The car comes to a quick stop on the shoulder, Atticus having what appears to be a full-blown panic attack just as he pushes the transmission into park.

But it’s much, much more than that. Something that Atticus and Camille Hammond are simply unprepared for. He can only offer so much as a wide-eyed stare before his consciousness fades, sweaty forehead knocking into the steering wheel.

October 04, 2017 11:40 pm
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