The trouble began when the man— the boy, really, since he couldn't have been a day older than 19 in spite of his driver's license's bold claim of 22, dropped to his knees in front of her at the table where she sat sipping her O-negative TrueBlood.
"Please, my goddess, I offer myself to you and I beg of you to drink from me! Sustain yourself through me!"
Then he muttered some barely intelligible Greek phrase that she noticed he completely butchered. His hair, obviously died coal black, stank of copious amounts of Aqua Net and his face was drenched in makeup in the attempt to make him appear pale when he had an obviously deep olive complexion. It was the contrived begging and the poorly cobbled together Greek that somehow managed to annoy her most. Once she deciphered what he was attempting to say in Greek, she realized that the fact that he had put far more effort into being asinine than anyone else who had approached her that night fueled her disdain more than anything else about him.
Quicker than he could blink, and certainly quicker than he could move, she dumped the remainder of her O neg onto his stiff six-inch mohawk. With that she rose and sauntered over to the bar to ask Felicia for another bottle, a bit of extra pep in her step from the momentary release she experienced during her bloodletting on the unrelenting fangbanger. She perched her petite frame on the barstool and turned to look in Pam's direction while she waited for her replacement drink.
"Ugh," she grunted.
Her thoughts mostly continued along a downward spiral from there.
This is disgusting. They are disgusting. It's enough that I have to live in this dump of a swamp state. Not having to deal with Sheriff drama is worth that. Northman is worth that. But this? They're so... pathetic! I've been patient, but one of these days I'm going to lose my patience, and these 'bangers are going to find the bottom of my stiletto lodged very firmly into the bulk of a spleen or two...
Thalia's deep disgust appeared to ooze from her now.
The rejected fang-banger returned to his small group of friends. Thankfully, Thalia didn't notice that they now regarded him with reverence for his brave and flowery attempt at gaining favor. He survived, and better yet, got a grand reaction from her. He was now king of the hill amongst his cronies. Pam looked in Thalia's direction, having watched the scene carefully. She decided there was need for concern. Standing next to his throne, she whispered in Eric's ear.
"Master, she's going to lose it."
Eric looked at her with a tiny but distinguishable note of confusion at her use of the euphemism. Pam realized she would have to be a little more obvious.
"Thalia. I get the distinct impression that soon she will bring any one of our patrons to their death. This is, of course, bad for business. Would you like me to handle this, Master?"
Eric grinned. He had been occupied with thoughts of how to lure his love interest, Sookie, to Fangtasia tonight, but now he turned his attentions to the matter at hand. He didn't see any reason why he shouldn't have a little fun tonight.
"Oh no, think I have a good solution for this. One that might keep her occupied for a good while, at least."
Just then, Eric saw his "day man" Bobby Burnham saunter into Fangtasia from the direction of the rear entrance. It was time for Bobby's weekly meeting with Eric, since his boss preferred face to face contact and a more detailed account of the past week's activities. He loved almost everything about his job with only two notable exceptions: the worst of the two was having to come to Fangtasia. He managed to cope with the occasional visits to the bar because he figured anything that put him in close contact with the boss he so admired wasn't a bad thing. Unfortunately, there were three primary denizens of Fangtasia: vomit inducing goth kids, undersexed emo pseudo-adults, and the constantly groveling fangbangers. Watching any of the three cavort around with zeal was not his idea of a good time. The other irritation was having to occasionally deal with that girl his boss seemed to be so fond of. Sookie Stack-something. He didn't quite get what Eric saw in her, but she was a minor annoyance in exchange for a fairly easy job for fairly awesome pay. Furthermore, he figured this job put him in the running for a better set of circumstances. Burnham had never verbalized this declaration, but he truly hoped that if he pleased Eric with his duties, he might be able to convince Eric to turn him someday. Some people assumed that anyone who worked as a vampire's day man was a fangbanger. Bobby Burnham had no interest in being a banging a fang, what he wanted was to be a fang.
As Burnham approached Eric's throne, Eric motioned for him to proceed into his office. Pam watched his entry. There was nothing surprising about Burnham's appearance at Fangtasia, but the look on Eric's face as Burnham walked past certainly got her attention. Just as she began to ask him what he was up to he breathed,
"Perfect timing. I'm not much of a fan of those Greek gods, but Chronos has proven to be a friend today. In five minutes, summon Thalia into my office."
With that he stood and disappeared into his office in less time than Pam had to grin.
Burnham bowed deeply. Once Eric sat in the chair behind his desk he launched into his report of last week's completed tasks. Eric interrupted him. There were more pressing matters at hand.
"Bobby, I have a more... complicated assignment for this coming week that I would like to discuss with you. It is substantially more interesting than your usual duties, but you will be compensated accordingly, of course."
Burnham didn't have a clue what Eric had in store for him, but it didn't really matter. This might be an opportunity to become golden in Eric's eyes, and whatever it was he wasn't going to blow it.
"Of course, Mr. Northman. I would be honored. Allow me to grab my notepad-"
"Not necessary. Your attention will be sufficient." Eric looked up suddenly, acknowledging an approach that Burnham lacked the ability to hear. Just then, the door to Eric's office opened. Pam walked in.
"Master? I have your request here."
Pam motioned for Thalia to enter. She quickly closed the door behind her and disappeared back into the club. Pam may have left the room, but even with the din of the club all around her, she made certain to stay close enough to hear the goings on within the office.
"Thalia, this is my day-" He corrected himself.
Eric knew that Burnham was overly concerned with titles and status, and tonight he needed his employee to be completely cooperative. He figured that indulging him with the title Burnham preferred certainly wouldn't hurt his cause.
"This is my personal assistant, Bobby Burnham. Bobby, this is Thalia."
Thalia summed him up quickly. Human, but not one of those whores. Acceptable. Fine. What does this have to do with me?
She nodded towards Eric in response to his words, but she did not specifically acknowledge the human who sat beside her. That would be beneath her.
Burnham didn't hold all vampires in reverence, and he did understand the way many vamps regarded humans. At least he knew enough to know not to hold a grudge against Thalia, in spite of her reluctance to acknowledge his existence. As far as he was concerned, the more vamps in Eric's camp he could endear himself to, the better. He figured he only needed another fifteen minutes or so to come up with small ways to cultivate a relationship with her. Okay, maybe that was too optimistic. He'd settle for not having to guard his juiciest arteries when in her presence.
Eric, knowing full well he wasn't going to get any more of a response from Thalia, decided to continue just then. "As I was saying before. Bobby, I have an important task I wouldn't entrust to any other human. I have an item that needs to be delivered to a friend of mine. He has gotten himself in a bit of a spot, and I suspect what I have for him will help him out of it. I would like for you to deliver it."
Burnham nodded. No one would call Eric benevolent, but anyone who had ever worked for him considered him fair and generous. Everyone that still had their head, at least. In all fairness, those that met a bloody end under Eric's service ended up that way for legitimate reasons. He had no qualms about acting as the local VPS, or Vampire Postal Service, delivery guy for a few days if it meant he might be able to buy the current object of his affections. It was a book, a lexicon really, of syllabics in several ancient North American Aboriginal languages. It may just be a book, but it was a $15,000 book. So Burnham knew he could use all the help he could get.
"Now, Thalia," Eric nearly bellowed, "I know you aren't... thrilled to have to sit through Fangtasia duties. As I'm sure you've noticed, Bobby here is human, and I would feel more comfortable if he had a vampire escort since this task involves a modicum of vampire diplomacy. In exchange you are excused from club duties for the period you are away plus six months. Additionally, if all goes well I may have an another position that would suit you far better than sitting in Fangtasia. This position would, of course, relieve you of your current plight permanently. Would this be amenable to you?"
The offer of a less nauseating responsibility in Area Five certainly got Thalia's attention, but she had been around the block a few times. In fact, if a block was a year then she had then been around one thousand fifty times, exactly. He wasn't seriously expecting her to accept the terms on such vague information, was he?
"Tempting, but I need more details. To whom is the package to be delivered to, and where?" There was no need for any questions beyond that since vampire interactions were almost never predictable beyond the basics.
Eric looked pleased. This was actually going better than he expected. At this point he was thinking, "Two birds, one stone. I wonder if I can work in a third bird somehow?" What came out of his mouth was, "You will meet with the nestmate of my friend, and she will probably ask you to go with her to present the item to Maria Fredrick, Queen of Alaska."
Both Burnham and Thalia lifted their left eyebrows in interest and contemplation. Their expressions were nearly identical. Eric took note of this and almost had to choke back a laugh.
Burnham had already jumped on board, so they both sat and waited for Thalia's response as she stood there, obviously calculating.
Thalia grinned. Hopefully this would be a small price to pay to end her Fangtasia tenure. "Agreed. When do we leave?"
"Two nights from now. It will be an Anubis Air flight leaving early Wednesday evening but I will have more details for you tomorrow." With that, Eric picked up the phone on his desk and this made their dismissal obvious. Before they made it out of the room Thalia heard Eric address the person on the other end of the line with his usual jovial tone, "He might just yet make it out of this with his head still intact. If not, I better be in his Will."