Author's Note: So, this is my first attempt at a True Blood fanfic, so I'm a little nervous. I hope you enjoy it.

Valerie Malone had one rule about drinking: drink when you want to, not when you need to. Those times when you wanted to get staggering drunk and forget the very thing that made you want to start drinking in the first place were usually the times when you needed to be sober. She knew that she had made this rule for a reason, and it had served her very well over the years…but sometimes there were days like today that made you want to break every rule you ever made.

She sat in her car, staring down at her shaking hands. It wasn't a good idea to drive while in extreme emotional stress. She knew this, but just like her rule about drinking, she threw that one out the window, too. Without a second thought, she turned the key in the ignition and drove. Valerie didn't actually pay any attention to where she was going. She was mostly just making sure that she didn't hit the pedestrians who didn't realize that stop signs were really just suggestions.

It was hard to keep the grin off her face, simply because sometimes situations are so ridiculous, you have to laugh at them. It's like one of those bad comedy movies where anything that can go wrong has, and any minute a fairy godmother is going to pop out, sing "Bippity Boppitty Boo" and grant her seven wishes. Then, in her current situation, she was just as likely to run over the fairy godmother with her car before she could get even a few bars of that dread song out of her mouth.

The stop light ahead turned red, and she decided to actually obey this traffic law, mostly because she didn't want to run the risk of being t-boned. With her current luck, she would be seriously injured, and while she was suffering from temporary borderline insanity, she had no particular desire to die. Not when life had suddenly become so much more entertaining.

"Drink. I need a drink," she whispered to herself. Her words seemed to make her compulsion ten times stronger, as if saying the words aloud had actualized them. She saw a sign with bold red letters set against a black backdrop. She didn't actually bother to read the entire sign, but caught the word "bar" and pulled into the parking lot, tires screeching. There was a group of people standing outside the bar, all of which turned to stare at her as she got out of her car.

She knew she was a strange sight. After all, how many people walked into a bar wearing a lab coat and a pencil skirt? Probably not the best decision she had ever made, but in the context of the day, it sure as hell wasn't the worst. Any career she had that actually involved using her Ph.D. was long done, so it didn't really matter. Her auburn hair was pulled out of her face in a sloppy ponytail—a far cry from the very tidy twist she had put it in when she woke up this morning.

The tall blond with over dramatic makeup at the front door eyed her with what she could only describe as detached amusement. The expression on her face was enough to make Valerie laugh humorlessly once again.

"I need to see some ID," she said, her voice deadpan.

"I'm old enough to have a Ph.D…Do you really need ID?" Valerie answered. Normally, it wouldn't be an issue, but she was agitated, and really? If the lab coat didn't scream doctor, the ID badge that was clipped to the front of her shirt clearly did. The woman didn't answer, but instead just raised on eyebrow. Valerie sighed in frustration and pulled her driver's license from her wallet and shoved it into the woman's hand.

"Twenty-eight, huh? Go on in."

"Thank you," Valerie answered with mock pleasantness. She strode past the woman, but didn't miss her amused laugh as she did so.

The inside of the bar wasn't what she was used to. Loud, angry music poured from the speakers, and the blood red walls didn't exactly do much to put the customer at ease, though it definitely didn't seem to be affecting business. There wasn't a table that wasn't occupied, and the dance floor was packed. The bar was towards the back of the room, and she headed straight there. The stools were hardly comfortable, but it didn't really matter. She took the only remaining one, at the end of the bar.

She had been sitting at the bar for all of half a second, when the bartender appeared in front of her. "What can I get you to drink?" he asked.

"What do you have in the vein of bourbon?" She didn't miss the smile that spread across his face when the word "vein" crossed her lips.

"Jim Bean, Jack Daniels, Early Times, Booker's—"

"Bookers, on the rocks."

While waiting for her drink, she took the opportunity to study the other people sitting at the bar. It was funny, because they could be divided into two groups: leather-clad patrons—who all looked very comfortable—and everyone else—who looked slightly on edge. She heard a faint clinking noise, and looked down to find her drink sitting on the bar in front of her. She downed it in a few gulps and gestured to the bartender for another. It was in front of her a few seconds later. The man beside her eyed her nervously and vacated.

I should nurse this one, she thought. Bookers is too good not to savor. She breathed in the almost smoky aroma of the bourbon and sighed. Life was a mess, but she had this drink, and she was still breathing, which was a good thing. Well, a less shitty, thing, anyway.

"Excuse me," came a voice from behind her. She turned to see a tall, pale man with his arm around a young woman who looked slightly ill. "We'd like your seat," he said bluntly.

"And I want a yellow Ferrari. But you can't always get what you want," she snapped, annoyed. Didn't people have the courtesy to not interrupt someone in the middle of their drink? This was the South, after all. Whatever had happened to Southern hospitality?

"You'd best let us have it," he said, more insistently.

"What's the magic word?" she asked, her voice sickly sweet. People around them were starting to stare.

"Get the fuck out of that chair."

"Not quite. I was thinking more along the lines of "please." She smiled into her bourbon, wondering just how much trouble she was about to get herself into. But then, isn't that what usually happens in bars when you've had the worst day of your life?

Before she took take another sip of her drink, the man had hauled her off the chair and had her laid flat on her back on top of the bar, his hand cold wrapped in a bruising grip around her throat. She took her glass and smashed it against the side of his face, drawing blood. He let go of her and brought his hand to the bloody gash, a shocked expression on his face. She quickly rolled off the bar, looking for anything and everything she could use to defend herself.

"Can I borrow this?" she asked one of the other men at the bar, gesturing to the half full bottle in front of him. When he didn't answer, she grabbed it anyway, broke it against the side of the bar, and sliced her skirt down the side for easier mobility. Everyone in the bar had stopped and was staring at them.

"This isn't a fight you want to get into, bitch," her attacker growled.

"If I recall, you're the one that started it." He came at her again, faster this time, giving her no time to react. Instead, she found his arms around her, crushing the life out of her. There was a sharp pain in her neck as he bit her, and the startling reality of her situation hit her.

Vampire. He was a vampire, and he was going to drain her dry. With the last remaining bit of her strength, she jammed the broken bottle into his neck. He dropped her and blood went everywhere. His blood mingled with hers in a puddle on the floor. It was staining her formerly pristine lab coat. She looked around her and noticed that a large portion of the people staring at her had their fangs out. Vampires. She read one of the shirts, which said "Fangtasia."

Of course. She was in a vampire bar. A fucking vampire bar.

She threw her head back and laughed. It was real laughter. Deep, throaty laughter that was only reserved for something that was truly funny. She laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. Her career was gone, and of all the bars she could have stopped in, she managed to stop at a vampire bar. And of all the things that she managed to do, she got into a fight. With a vampire. And survived.

Oh, yeah. Life was fucking hilarious.

"What is going on here?" A cold, amused voice interrupted her reflections. A tall, blond vampire was standing over her. Even if he hadn't had his fangs out, she would have known he was a vampire. There was a stillness to him that she had never seen in any human being. It was a stillness that came with complete and utter confidence in oneself. She had some idea that he was important—everyone seemed to be deferring to him—but she didn't care.

"A mess. A big, fucking mess," she answered, still laughing. She brought her hand to her throat, trying to stop the bleeding. Her fingers were slick with blood, which somehow only made things funnier.

He pulled her off the floor by her lapels and dragged her through a doorway into what appeared to be an office. He set her in a chair, and she slumped, too exhausted from the blood loss to stay upright. She heard the sounds of the bar returning to normal, like she hadn't almost just bled out on the floor.

"You made a big mess in my bar, and you shed vampire blood. What are we going to do about this?" he asked her from where he sat on the other side of a desk.

"Get some bleach and clean it up?"

"Aren't you funny…What's your name?"

"None of your damn business," she spat. "What's yours?"

"Tit for tat? Is that how you want to play it?"

"Well, considering you don't have tits, that could be difficult." He grinned a bit at that one. While she was fading, she didn't miss that he obviously ogled her hers.

"I'm Eric. I own this place. You are?"


"Well, Valerie…as I said, you have spilled vampire blood. There are consequences for that. What am I going to do with you?"

"Honestly…I'd like you to call an ambulance, because I'm about to pass out," she whispered, and then did exactly as she said.

Author's Note: So, there it is. I'm nervous, so let me know what you think. What did you love, hate, etc.? I always worry about original characters, because I don't want them to be too Mary Sueish, so let me know. =)