Author's note: I own absolutely nothing. Most characters belong to True Blood.
Chapter One: A Night of Red and White
"C'mon Charlotte!" She pleaded from outside the car, her blue dress and blonde hair swaying as she bounced up and down. "Just this once! I promise! And then you can go back to the dorm and sulk around…..like you always do."
I stuck my tongue at her through the closed window and laughed at myself. We'd been arguing about this for so long that I'd resorted to childish gestures.
"I'm not doing this Liz. I can't believe you even got me this far! And I look like a fool…" I said, glancing down at the tiny white dress she'd gotten me to squeeze into. I would have felt much more comfortable in the jeans and hoodie I usually wore. But she'd bribed me and I caved, like I always do, and now I was sitting in a parking lot—locked in the driver seat of my car.
"You don't look like a fool, Charlotte. You look sexy! I was stunned when I got you into some decent clothes and fixed your hair. You've been holding out on me," she looked at me accusatorily, then laughed and winked.
If I hadn't been so angry at her I might have blushed. "You should really keep your voice down, Liz. It's not even safe here," I whispered, rolling down the window. The sticky Louisiana air blew in the window and I crinkled my nose. It smelled dirty.
I watched as two men passed the front of the car heading towards the vampire bar Fangtasia. They looked a lot shadier than my usual crowd. Of course, my usual crowd consisted of the few bookworms I studied with before exams—and Liz of course. I sighed, thinking about how boring I'd let my life become.
"Hey, baby," one of the men hissed at Liz, moving closer. His dark hair stuck up in odd angles and his pierced nose glinted in the starlight. "You goin' inside?" I was so startled I nearly rolled the window back up, but stopped myself. I was worried for Liz.
"Watch yourself, buddy," she verbally stabbed, moving into a more defensive stance. "I'd keep movin' if I were you."
The man must have thought her a fruitless venture because he turned and caught up with his companion after a couple seconds of lustful stares. I exhaled, realizing I'd been holding my breath the whole time. I couldn't believe how brave Liz was.
She looked back at me and smiled. "See, no problem. They're all a bunch of chumps anyways, right?"
"Liz, how did you know that he wasn't a vampire? If he was he could've ripped your head off!"
She rolled her eyes and giggled. "I know vampires, Char. And he wasn't even close. Now please, get up and let's go! I've been waiting to come here ever since they came out of the coffin. Aren't you excited at all?"
I closed my eyes and contemplated. I had promised her I would go inside, if not for very long. I could sneak in for a few minutes—maybe a half an hour at most. And then I could just slip out and no one would be the wiser. What could happen in thirty minutes?
"Fine. I'm coming," I huffed, dejectedly.
"Glasses!" She reprimanded and I huffed again, taking off my glasses and setting them on the passenger seat of the car. It was a good thing I was farsighted, because I didn't plan on needing to see anyone up close tonight. I slipped out of the car and straightened my dress.
"No worries, Charlotte. I promise everything is going to be great," she smiled, linking arms with mine and half-skipping to the dark looking hangout.
* * *
We finally reached the line at the front of the bar, which took quite some time considering how far we'd parked. The lot was packed tonight—I absently wondered if it were this full every night.
"Now sugar, you know you wanna let me in," a man purred seductively to the blonde woman guarding the entrance. He reached out to stroke her arm and she moved so fast I couldn't be sure I'd actually seen her do it. Almost instantly the man was wincing in pain and holding his broken hand.
"Ah! You bi*ch!" He spat, and backed away from her.
"Not such a good idea, love. I would advise you not to touch me the next time…if there is a next time. I'd watch myself if I were you," she winked and turned to the next person in line. I looked on as the man wheeled around and swiftly walked back to his car. Others waiting in front of us shook their heads and laughed. Apparently this was not the only man she'd turned away in such a fashion.
I played with the hem of my dress and fussed over my hair. "Do you think she'll even let us in, Liz? She doesn't look very accepting," I whispered in her ear, her curly hair tickling my nose. She giggled again and I grew irritated. How could she be giggling right now?
"I told you, no worries. You worry way too much Char," she smiled and nodded in front of us. We had made it to the head of the line.
The woman looked us up and down and stopped at my face. I nervously smiled, sure I looked as stupid as I felt. "Welcome to Fangtasia. What exactly brings you here tonight?" She asked, still looking me full in the face. I blushed, glancing down to her hot pink pumps. I could almost hear the smile spread across her perfectly glossed lips.
"We're just here to explore and see what all of the fuss is about. We've been really excited to come ever since you…" Liz started.
"I'm sure," the woman cut her off. I looked up to see that she had momentarily looked away to Liz, who appeared to be very put out. "ID's please."
I slid the purse that Liz had given me off my shoulder and fumbled around inside, finally grasping the little plastic cards. I handed them to the woman with uncertainty.
"Elizabeth Marie Forrester and…Charlotte Victoria Langston," she looked up at me smiling once more. I half-smiled back. "Both at least twenty-one. Well, I see no reason why I can't let you pass. You seem harmless enough."
"That color of hair suits you by the way. Red is such an appealing color," she breathed in my direction, handing me back the ID's.
I stuffed them in the purse. I couldn't wait to be through the door and away from her—more so after I'd seen her reaction to the man earlier. I planned on leaving with all body parts whole and intact.
The woman drew back the velvet rope and Liz and I hurried inside. I could swear that I'd heard her low chuckle as we walked into the bar.
* * *
The music hit me before anything else—something sensual with a lot of bass. The large room was lit, but the lights were still dim, not overly bright. There were a few people dancing. Most were sitting and enjoying drinks. I was drawn in by the couple of vampires dancing on top of tables. They moved in a supernatural and sexy way, and many others were entranced. I looked away and blushed. I obviously hadn't planned for this to be such a physical place. I knew vampires had a reputation….but wow. And it was clear that Liz and I had arrived some time later than the lighter side of the partying took place.
"Liz, can we please go sit at the bar for a little while? I don't know if I really want to dance or anything," I pleaded. This really wasn't my scene at all.
"Oh fine, you sour puss. I'll come with you, but don't expect me to stay for long," she grabbed my wrist and led me in the direction of the bar. Heads turned as we passed. I decided that Liz's outfit choices hadn't been the best after all. I imagined we both looked much too enticing to a room half filled with vampires. My hand fluttered to my neck, an unconscious and nervous reaction. I looked to the floor until we reached the bar stools.
A dark vampire tended to the bar. His black hair came to his shoulders and gave him a fairly menacing impression. When we took our seats his fangs extended and I quietly gasped. It didn't escape his notice.
"What'll it be ladies?" He deeply hummed. Liz spoke before I could react.
"I'll take a rum and coke…and she'll have…the same? Charlotte, what do you want exactly?"
"Um. No alcohol, please. I'll just take the coke," I spoke shyly to the vampire behind the counter. He smiled, revealing his fangs once again. By that time I was composed enough not to gasp.
I decided to turn and observe the rest of the club while the vampire made our drinks. His creepy smiles made me want to shiver. Once again I was met by the sight of the dancers and the drinkers.
"Mmm…and what's your name, cutie?" A tall, sinister woman asked one of the men sitting at a table nearby.
"Um. Nathan. My name's Nathan," the man responded after a short pause. I could tell he was more than a little shocked and I stifled a giggle of my own.
The woman leaned over and looked deep into his eyes, responding, "Well then, Nathan. Why don't you say we leave together tonight?" Nathan glanced over to another group of men with worried eyes. The woman grabbed his chin and turned him to face her again. I was struck that it wasn't the gentlest of touches and soon became concerned for Nathan. I could practically smell the danger rolling off of the woman in waves.
"We'll both leave together tonight and you won't give your friends over there any more reason for fret. You'll act thrilled and excited," the woman commanded in a hushed voice. Nathan looked blankly into the woman's eyes and nodded. "Yes, I will," he answered in a dead voice.
"Liz!" I loudly whispered and grabbed her arm. "Liz, that man over there has been glamoured! I don't think he's safe."
Liz nearly dropped her glass with the force that I shook her arm. She gave me an angry glare. "Charlotte, be quiet! There's nothing we can do about it, so don't even try.
I watched helplessly as the pair walked out of the bar, Nathan winking over to his group of friends and making a suggestive gesture, just as he'd been instructed.
I turned and started drinking my coke. It tasted extremely stale and flat. I realized it was probably because vampires had little need for coke products. I slid it away from me on the counter.
It was going to be a long thirty minutes.
Liz, on the other hand, was thoroughly enjoying herself. Men came up to her every so often and asked for dances. I wasn't sure if she was happier when she accepted or declined. She did seem to like refusing men a bit more than she did actually dancing with them.
* * *
About twenty minutes had passed and I was thrilled. I couldn't believe I'd almost fulfilled my silent promise. The music picked up to a louder dance tune.
"Excuse me pretty thing," an attractive man inquired, coming up very close behind Liz. "Would you care to dance?"
Liz looked at me and rolled her eyes. This had been the sixth guy to ask tonight…or maybe the seventh…I'd lost count. She turned to him and smiled. He seemed to like her reaction. What was it about Liz that men liked so much? Was it the fact the she radiated some kind of bubbly confidence? I couldn't be sure.
"Alright, buddy. But you're gonna be the last one for awhile. My feet are killing me," Liz smiled. "I'll be back in a few Char."
I nodded and silently returned to my coke. By this time I just wanted to be back in my bedroom. All the worrying had worn me out. My eyes drooped and I slipped into a waking dream.
The bartender moved closer and quietly hissed, "He is summoning you."
"Excuse me? I'm sorry. What are you talking about?" I asked, my forehead creasing. I suddenly grew weary. His words sounded vaguely familiar, but his request sounded quite comical—something from a dark novel.
The vampire pointed behind me and I spun around on my stool. In the far back of the room a man sat in a large chair on a raised platform. It nearly looked like a throne. The man himself was beautiful. His blonde hair hung loosely around his face. His icy blue eyes watched the crowd with little amusement. He exuded power and control. While I looked his eyes met mine and I shivered, gasping. He smirked at my obvious reaction.
I woke with a start and the bartender gave me a very strange and fleeting look. I probably seem quite unusual, I thought while wiping the sleep from my face. I couldn't afford to lose awareness in this place. I also couldn't afford to have my weird visions here. Vampires seemed to have a strong sense of perceptiveness.
But what had it meant? Usually my visions showed the future—and evidently the near future. This was the only time I ever planned to be in this place again.
I reached into my purse and grabbed my cell phone. The time read 12:25. I'd already been here for forty minutes. I searched around for Liz, intending fully to leave. She was still dancing with the same man, and they both seemed thoroughly into it. Hands were flying everywhere. I sighed and shook my head, "Only Liz…"
I pushed away from the counter and started to stand, but sat down when the bartender looked at me pointedly and moved forward. He quietly hissed, "He is summoning you."
I was completely shocked; I knew these words. "Excuse me? I'm sorry. What are you talking about?" I asked, my forehead creasing. I felt like running. I knew what was to come. The bartender's words were more than vaguely familiar, even if his request was comical.
He pointed behind me and I very hesitantly spun around on my stool; I knew what I would find.
In the far back of the room a man sat in a large chair on a raised platform. It nearly looked like a throne. The man himself was beautiful. His blonde hair hung loosely around his face. His icy eyes watched the crowd with little amusement. He exuded power and control. While I looked his eyes met mine and I couldn't stop myself from shivering and gasping, even though I'd had advanced warning. He smirked at my obvious reaction, just as I knew he would.