I was just as weary and drained as anyone could be when I trudged up to my back door at about 1:30 a.m. I had been on my feet all night at Merlotte's, where business was busier than usual for a Thursday night. But it sure hadn't reflected in my tips, I sighed and thought glumly on the sparse roll of bills in my pocket, this was starting to happen too often for my liking.
I let myself in the back door, ready to just put on an ancient nightgown, crawl into bed and forget everything in my dreams. As luck would have it, Amelia, my witchy roommate, was standing by the entrance to my kitchen, obviously barely able to contain her excitement. In her hands she held a large ivory envelope and I knew instantly who it was from, here we go again. I hadn't even greeted her when she started talking faster than my brain could keep up.
She held out her arm towards me revealing the tell-tale bold script, it read simply, Sookie (I could almost hear him whispering it in my ear). I knew that handwriting. It had been burned into my brain by all the notes that had come with flowers, a cell phone, a newly graveled driveway and a new front door over the past couple years. Eric, my blood-bonded, the fly in my ointment, the inevitably absent Viking. He made me ache and simultaneously drove me insane, in way more ways than one.
"Sook, this was delivered for you a few hours ago, some lackey of Eric's I think, what do you think it is? Do you think he misses you? Do you miss……"
Before she could finish the thought that I hadn't even given myself a chance to honestly think about, I held up my hand to her for silence, my tired brain unable to shield away her thoughts.
"She soooo misses him, she just doesn't want to admit it. What's she so scared for? He is the hottest thing without a pulse. He's been obsessed with her since day one."
"Exactly Amelia, obsession is never good!" I said, unable to keep my silence any longer.
She looked at me incredulously and then her eyes narrowed. And right when I thought she was about to berate me for looking into her head, not like I could help it she was one of the best 'broadcasters' I have ever met, she sighed, turned into the kitchen and set the envelope on the table. Than she plopped herself in one of the chairs and looked at me expectantly.
I sighed loud in response for good measure and plonked myself down in the chair across from her. I slid the envelope towards me, and with a quick look filled with anxiety at Amelia, I opened it. I slid out a large card inside with a deep sense of foreboding.
On the outside was the simple Fangtasia logo, a black outline of a set of fangs with a single blood drop on the tip of one. Underneath it in gold script it read simply, "Join Us." Ok that was slightly twisted if you ask me, but if it had been from anyone other than a vampire I wouldn't of thought twice at the invitation.
Amelia and I eyed each other skeptically. Every time these vamps invited me somewhere, asked for my help or even just showed up at my house something bad happened. And usually not just bad, down right life altering.
"Well maybe Eric just wants to see you," Amelia said hopefully but not entirely convincingly
"Yeah, maybe….." But I knew better, considering it had been almost 3 months since him and Pam had come into Merlotte's to tell me that the new King Of Louisiana Felipe De Castro was extending his official protection after I had saved him, Eric and my shape shifter boss Sam, from the hands of a crazed giant of a vampire name Sigebert.
If Eric really wanted to see me, he could. It had never stopped him before. He had regained his memories of the time we spent together while he was cursed and he had treated me different ever since, almost coldly. I figured it made him feel weak, to have felt that way for a human and now he would stay as far away from me as possible.
It seemed like a cloud had settled into our bond, making it almost impossible for me to determine what his emotions were and I don't know if he could still feel me. I did know that deep in the bond there was a longing, a persistent longing. I assumed it was from me, just missing him.
I opened the card and was instantly gob smacked.
Eric Northman cordially invites you
To a Supernatural Species Mixer
Friday at 8pm-2am
Formal Attire is required
RSVP Pam ~Fangtasia
Mingle and network with the strange and gifted. Vampires, Weres, Shifters, Faeries, oh my!
I was stunned, shell-shocked and stumped all rolled into one, and then suddenly I was laughing, uproariously, tears streaming down my cheeks with the absurdity of it all. Amelia snatched it from my hands and then I watched as her face went through what I assumed was the same patterns that mine had just gone through and then she joined in on my hilarity. For some reason I just knew the faerie quip was about me, there was no way a full blooded faerie could set foot in Fangtasia let alone leave in one piece.
"Oh I am so going with you on this one Sook!" I noted the mischief in her eyes but knew that whatever Eric had in my mind, it was always good to bring as little magical backup just in case.
Amelia began discussing what she thought we should wear for the evening. My stomach plummeted. Of course another new dress for another vamp occasion and more than likely the dress was going to end up covered in blood, or ripped to shreds by the lusty Viking. Ok so maybe the last part was wishful thinking.
"Amelia, I really can't afford some gorgeous new dress. I'll just go down to Tara's Togs tomorrow and pick up something on clearance." As I said this a deep feeling of disappointment settled on me.
I hadn't seen Eric in months and now that I would, I wasn't going to be able to look my best for him. He had probably moved on anyway. I had come to this conclusion when I began to feel the haze clouding our bond, which had been about a month after I had seen him last. Before that the bond was filled with feelings of yearning, doubt. Then finally one day a tidal wave of anger had hit me like a ton of bricks while Amelia and I had been in the kitchen preparing our traditional Monday night tuna casserole. It had literally knocked the wind out of me and I had to sit down for a few minutes to catch my breath.
Amelia had looked irate, I had told her all about the crazy emotions flowing through the bond, and had insisted on calling Pam to see what the hell was up with Eric. I had talked her down and convinced her that it wouldn't have done any good. Then the next morning the haze had appeared. I was so confused I even reached through to see if I could feel him. But it was as if someone had coated the bond with something slippery because the harder I tried to cling to the bond the more it seemed to slip from me. So I had just let it settle in the back of my heart. Surely this was better than being cut from him completely?
I must have been thinking about it all longer than I thought because Amelia was now looking at me somewhat smug.
"Oh, sorry Amelia, I was just thinking why on earth Eric would be throwing a supe-mixer. That just seems absurd to me. And why does he want me there?" I squeaked the last sentence.
"Makes total sense to me," Amelia replied in a tone to suggest I was really out of the loop, she continued," since the recent coming out of the Were and Shifters, its probably time for them to, um, unite forces, or whatever they call it. Anyways, what I was saying before you drifted off to Viking Land was you don't have to get a new dress. My closet is jam packed of all sorts of dresses. When your daddy is someone like Copley Carmichael, you tend to have to attend all sorts of big gala events and stuff. Honestly, the stuff is just gathering dust. Even if the dress gets destroyed for some reason….." she paused for emphasis, " it wouldn't matter to me one bit."
For a moment I hesitated, not because of what Amelia said because the girl had just about as many evening gowns as I had t-shirts. What gave me pause was thinking about the consequences of me showing up at Fangtasia looking good. Eric would think it was for him and in a way I knew it really would be. But it had been so long since I had any excuse to wear something besides jeans and a sweater that I decided, who cares?! I was gonna look good and if he was going to ignore me or let some nasty fangbanger hang all over him just to get a rise out of me than I sure as heck was gonna make sure he wished it was a lady like me next to, or under, him.
Stop it Sookie! Get control of yourself!
With a nod of my head, I looked at Amelia and said "Ok, let's find me a number that'll sure do one on Eric." Launching ourselves out of our chairs we raced upstairs eager to find what I hoped would be a dress that made me look beautiful yet unattainable.
Despite how late it was and how exhausted I was, I knew I would have to pick one tonight as we were obviously invited at the last minute (another blow to my pride, had he forgotten about me?)Amelia and I proceeded to ransack her closet. We were up to our knees and elbows in chiffon, taffeta and silk.
These are the moments I loved living with Amelia. I had never had a sister and I had never been one to be incredibly girly, sure I like to pretty myself up but when it came to the serious stuff I was usually pretty clueless and Amelia was practically a debutante. She always had my back, even if she hadn't always exactly agreed with my association with vamps. It was strange how the people I had met in the Supe world in the end had meant more to me in these past few years than people I have known my whole life.
We each chose a dress, getting the approval of the other before making the official selection.
As I turned to head to my bedroom, I stopped and looked at Amelia and said, "Thanks for being such a good friend, I don't know what I would have done without you these past few months," and before the atmosphere could get anymore uncomfortable I closed to door behind me and went downstairs to my room. Octavia had moved out of the room opposite mine about a month ago and with her absence I had the bottom level to myself again.
I prepared myself for bed, slipping on, just like I wanted to, an ancient and worn flannel nightgown that was cream with a scattering of tiny blue flowers with a sad limp ruffle at the bottom. For a moment I thought of the time I had put this on when I had an amnesiac Eric in my home. I had worn it the night I found him running like a wild animal down the side of the road. I had climbed into bed and he had followed me, I was too tired to protest and that was the night I realized you could fall asleep holding hands with a vampire.
Well, look all the good it had done for me.
Disappointed with myself, I threw my hair up in a careless ponytail and crawled into my bed, waiting for my dreams to overtake me.