How are you doing? I'm good; I got a very high pass on the essay I was doing before Christmas which is very good indeed, one of the highest marks in the year. So, are you ready for the final chapter? I know I'm not. It's sad to see this end, I've had a lot of fun writing this and it's been an excellent exercise for my imagination. Quick apology, sorry i didn't get this out last friday, i was finishing up a competiton entry but it's here now, and i didn't feel like making you wait until Friday when I had it ready to go tonight.
I want to say a hugely massive thank-you to my wonderful betas campyrs and Trajedy99, I really couldn't do this without them and they've stuck by this story to the end. And, they've agreed to continue doing their amazing job with my next story and shorts! I also want to say a big thanks to my loyal readers and especially to everyone who sends reviews; it's really appreciated and every little one I receive makes me smile. This has been my best received story so far so it's meant a lot.
This week's title is simply Epilogue because I couldn't think of a song that sums it up. If you want a couple of songs to listen to try Next Go Round and Animals by Nickelback, that's what I was listening to while writing a certain scene in this chapter.
I, of course, don't own the wonderful Southern Vampire Mysteries, it's all Charlaine Harris', I'm just having a bit of fun with some characters. Right, on with the chapter, it's a long one.
"So Gran, what do you think?" I walked through her bedroom door which was always propped open when she was asleep. She spent so much time in her room nowadays that she needed the extra light and opening so that she could see more of the world, even if it was just me puttering about the house.
"Oh Sookie, you look beautiful," she gushed and actually clapped her hands together in delight. I couldn't help but giggle along with her and spin around so that she got the full effect. It reminded me so much of a night not that many months ago when I'd been getting ready for my first American date with a certain vampire. A lot had happened since then.
"Who's picking you up tonight?" She knew every little detail about tonight, apart from that one and that was only because I hadn't known until about half an hour ago.
"Pam, she's going to swing by to pick me up. Eric is working from as early as possible. He won't let on properly but he's worried about tonight."
"Yes, well we all knew he would. It's a big deal for him; it was a good club by all accounts before that horrible affair with the Fellowship. He needs it to be in ship shape for the grand reopening." I nodded in response.
"So, Jason is coming over at about nine to make sure you're okay and to check that you don't need anything. You've got my cell phone pre-programmed into the house phone along with Eric's, Pam's and the bar's line. You sure you're going to be okay?" This must have been the hundredth time I'd asked her today, I just couldn't stop myself; I'd become rather over protective since she'd been discharged from the hospital a little over a month ago.
"I'll be fine, now you go and have a good time. Pam's here." She stared me down until I was forced to give her a kiss on the cheek and back track out of the room before she began telling me off again for fussing too much. Pam was indeed standing in the hallway when I turned around. She was looking her gothic best for the big occasion; she even had her hair piled up in a messy bun on top of her head with blonde tendrils escaping to frame her face instead of the loose hairdo she usually sported. She looked gorgeous even with the slight scowl on her face.
"You're lucky I like you Sookie or I wouldn't be here." I had to laugh at that just because of the blatant honesty she spoke with. "You sure you still want the other blond in our lives?" She asked while her eyes roamed over me, then she grinned broadly with elongated fangs. I simply laughed and shook my head as I shooed her out of the door; it was the only way I'd come to deal with her lesbian weirdness when it came to me. I grabbed my bag which I'd left resting on the hall table, picked up my heels since I was still wearing my black pumps in an attempt to be as nice to my feet as possible and said a final shouted goodbye to my Gran.
"Nice wheels," I commented as I slid into the low sports car that she'd obviously borrowed from Eric.
"Yes, he said that I could take the pick of his cars if I went to pick you up."
"Well I have to say nice choice." I patted the dashboard affectionately; I really liked this Aston Martin and it brought back some good memories with it. Memories that I'm sure would have had Pam picking a different car if she'd known about them at all.
"How is your Gran doing?" She asked after awhile.
"Much better, I think she's almost as back to as normal as she'll ever get."
"Still refusing to take anymore blood?"
"Won't take another drop. She told me that she thought she was dead that night, she never expected to wake up in the hospital. She says she wants to feel everything she can while she can." Speaking those words to Pam sent me spinning into silence with my own thoughts. It had been just shy of twelve weeks since Caleb had broken into my home and stabbed my Gran. She'd spent two months in the hospital due to her injuries, and the slow recovery they entailed. After the ordeal I'd suffered through at Fangtasia where I'd assumed I'd lost both people in a moment of utter despair, Eric had taken me back to my house, staying with me until I'd fallen into a deep sleep which hadn't taken very long at all.
"Argh!" I screamed loudly as I shot up into a sitting position. I had no idea where I was or how I'd gotten there, all I knew was that it was comfortable and warm. I couldn't hear anything over the blood rushing through my ears. Cool arms wrapped around me, pulling me into a strong chest. I fought against the motion, not understanding what was happening, and feeling the urge to help someone.
"Shh, lover you are safe." Eric's voice washed over me and he turned my head around so that I could see his face in the gloom of my bedroom. Everything slotted back into place; the running, the explosion and finding him alive. Well as alive as undead vampire can be. "It is almost dawn. You need to sleep." I read between the words; he wanted me to fall asleep again so that I would hopefully sleep through until he was awake again. "We will go to the hospital and undoubtedly the police station when we awake." I nodded my head, not trusting my voice to not quake with the residual terror that still gripped me from my nightmare. He lay back down, pulling me with him so that I was snuggled into his chest, the top of my head tucked under his chin. Surprisingly sleep found me quickly, I felt safe in his arms and breathing in his scent definitely helped, and it wasn't until late afternoon that I awoke again.
I didn't bother moving from where I was, although I don't think I would have been able to anyway. Eric was lying next to me on the bed so that I was essentially wrapped up in his body; one of his legs was laid over both of mine, his arm was curled around my waist so that his hands rested on my shoulder blades and his other arm was underneath my pillow. It was a strange position to wake up in, one that I knew wouldn't have happened if he was human; a normal man would have rolled away at some point, needing space or to simply flex their muscles. I liked that he wasn't a normal man; it was the most normal relationship I could achieve and he was good for me. I settled back down into him, letting my face snuggle in as close as I could to his bare chest. Of course he wasn't wearing anything although I was sure he'd gone to bed wearing at least his boxers.
I dozed for the next hour, keeping myself relaxed by purposefully not thinking about anything involving reality; characters in my favourite book played out my favourite scenes, I thought about books I wanted to be made into films and anything else that I deemed as safe. It was instantaneous the shift between Eric being asleep and being awake, there wasn't the soft rousing that you see in a human. One second he was dead to the world, completely relaxed and the next his eyes were open and a healthy tension filled his muscles.
"Hello lover," he whispered to me, his voice showing only the slightest hint of sleep or tiredness and I had a feeling that was more because it hadn't been used in several hours.
"Hi." I croaked back and snuck my arm around his waist to give him a hug so that I could prolong the safety that I felt while I was wrapped up in him. I just knew that I was about to have to come back to reality where responsibility and guilt lay waiting.
"It seems that you have not moved either." I smiled into his chest, forgetting for a second that he wouldn't be able to see my reaction. So I pulled back enough for me to see his handsome face and place a chaste kiss on his lips, just to remind myself that this wasn't a dream, he really was okay. "We have half an hour and then I can take you to the hospital. You should shower." I wrinkled my nose up at his observation; I hadn't realised that I smelled though he did have much better senses than me and steaming hot water pounding down on me did sound good.
"You were running last night, and you have been stressed for far too long. I can still smell dried blood." I nodded again and this time it was him that captured my lips in a searing kiss that had me flat on my back, my vampire leaning over me with his hands on the mattress either side of my shoulders. "Would you like some company?" He pulled back just enough for me to make out his words and he gazed up at me through his dark eyelashes, his eyebrows risen inquiringly.
"I do but we both know that we won't leave in half an hour if that happens."
"Fine," he grumbled and kissed me again, this time his hands thread through my hair and his tongue slid into my mouth, exploring as though he didn't already know every inch of my body. It was just as my hands were beginning to wander down his back from his waist that he moved away from me, leaving me wanting more. "Go." He dismissed me but I couldn't help but smile; it was easy to tell when he was turned on and he was definitely showing the signs.
Slowly I sat up and swung my legs out of the bed to pad along to the bathroom. The air was cool, causing goosebumps to crawl across my skin and when I glanced down I found that my legs still had the dark red hue of the blood from a couple of nights ago. So much had happened. Not surprisingly I came down to Earth, after being in my safe cocoon with Eric, with a rather painful bump while in the shower. I knew then that I needed to get to the hospital, I'd abandoned my Gran to save other people so I wasn't too guilty about that but she was still in there because of Caleb who wanted me. I had to get back to her.
Eric drove like a maniac to the hospital and surprisingly I actually felt safe while he was doing it. He had unimaginable reflexes when the time needed them and his perception through all of his senses was heightened so we were actually safer driving fast with him than driving slow with me. Also, if a cop did pull us over we weren't even in danger of a ticket; human cops working on their own didn't like to run the risk of angering vampires if they could help it and Eric always had his compulsion to fall back on. So, it was with a time faster than ambulances that we made it to the hospital that evening.
When we walked into my Gran's room in the intensive care unit a few minutes later I was pleasantly surprised to find Jason slumped in an arm chair, dosing with his head resting back on the side cushions with his mouth hanging open. My eyes finally made it over to my Gran; she hadn't moved at all, well her position had but it had obviously been achieved by nurses making sure that she didn't get bed sores. The bruising on her arms was standing out even more, the broken one was actually more bruise than normal skin which turned my stomach. At least the bastard who had done this was dead. I sat down in a chair, the same one I'd used a couple of nights ago, taking my Gran's hand in mine so that I could hope she knew I was there.
"Hmmf." Jason's head lolled forward so his chin was resting on his chest, his neck at an uncomfortable angle.
"I will be back in a minute." I nodded at Eric, just assuming that he was going in the search of more True Blood since I'd only had the one bottle left in my refrigerator at home; it wasn't like I'd had the chance to go shopping in the past few days.
"Sookie?" Jason's voice broke the quiet of the room and I snapped my head up to look over at him. I'd known it wouldn't be long until he woke up when his head lolled forward. "You okay?" He came across the room and sat in the chair beside me, and I could see the temptation in his eyes to give me a hug yet he refrained. I clamped down my shields just in case he did.
"Yeah," I replied weakly because I honestly wasn't sure if I was yet. Things had definitely improved from the same time yesterday but they were also definitely not good.
"What happened yesterday?"
"Fellowship stuff. It's better if you don't know." He must have seen something in my eyes, the jaded look that I tended to get a lot these days that made him stay silent. If this had been last year he probably would have pressed harder for answers. "I had to go and stop some things from happening. It didn't quite work out. It's resolved though, for now at least. How is Gran doing?" Her monitor readings seemed to be hovering around the same sort of places as the last time I'd had a chance to study them.
"Pretty much the same although they said that's a good thing. They took x-rays of her arm again today, it's going to need another surgery but it can wait a couple of days until she's stronger. Her heart and lungs are doing good. I heard one of the doctors talking to a nurse earlier, said he was quietly optimistic."
"That's good." A comfortable silence fell over us then, just knowing that the other was there was enough to keep us strong.
I shook my head strongly to clear it of the haunting memories and ignored Pam's sideways glance. Things had definitely looked up, in general anyway although there had been moments, after that; the second operation went well and my Gran's arm didn't need any further work. The doctors reduced her sedation slowly to bring her around and she healed well, if slowly, after that. Jason was definitely more attentive now; he would come around at least three times a week for lunch and he had developed a tendency for just popping in to see how we were doing. It had scared him, how close he had come to losing our Gran and I didn't need to read his mind to know that.
"You looking forward to tonight then?" I asked when she gave me another glance.
"Oh yes, we sold all of our tickets, it's going to be a full house. Stupid costumes again is the only down side." She took her hand off of the wheel to indicate the outfit she was currently wearing which really wasn't something she would normally wear. For a start it seemed to consist entirely of fake leather rather than the soft wools or cotton of her usual choice. I didn't give her any more appraisal than that because knowing Pam she would take it entirely the wrong way.
"How long will we have before people start arriving?" The sky was already pitch black, all traces of the sunset had disappeared long ago so that the stars were shining brightly above.
"They were already queuing when I passed. I've been meaning to ask, what happened to your friend Arlene?"
"Oh, it was a nightmare. She told him that I 'just know stuff' sometimes." I even used little air quotes to go around the quote from Arlene; she knew as much as any of my non-supernatural friends about my telepathy yet refused to call it anything like that. "He ran off, she never heard from him again. He found out that I was involved with the vampire they were trying to kill. When he knew the attack didn't go to plan he thought you guys might come after him."
"Which we tried to do." I nodded along; there was nothing I could do to persuade them against trying to find and kill another human. I still didn't have to like it and it was my only consolation. It definitely helped that he'd been trying to kill, although indirectly, my vampire and my friend.
"Anyway, she's sworn off men. It's going pretty well this time too; a blip near the beginning but it's now been about two months. I think this is the longest she's gone when she's said that."
After a few minutes of quiet had passed between us she turned toward me slightly to give me a miniature grin that lasted all of a second before her usual stony expression resumed. "I can't wait to see Eric's face when he see's you." I frowned at her. I wasn't wearing anything particularly fabulous, he'd seen me in better or less was how he actually preferred it, and Eric tended be very guarded with his expressions like most vampires. It was only when we were alone and intimate, where there was no chance of anyone else seeing him that he was truly himself.
"Well, it's been at least a week by my reckoning."
Perplexed, I tried getting another explanation out of her. "I saw him yesterday, what are you on about? What's been a week?"
"He gets grouchy so I always know." The lilt in her voice, even though it was only slight it was a big deal for her, gave away her meaning. My face instantly flushed crimson. "No one else can tell; I've just known him for so long that I pick up on the little things." She wasn't belittling how long and well I knew him, it was just a statement of fact. "You've seen each other regularly yet you've hardly had time alone. I haven't smelled sex on you in awhile." I purposefully stared out of the window, earning a laugh from Pam that made the heat flame in my cheeks again. Of course she was right; most of our time had been spent at the bar recently, getting it ready for tonight and overseeing all of the builders or decorators that were contracted to work through the night. We hadn't had the chance to be alone, not even in the new office due to everything he needed to oversee. Add onto that my work at Merlotte's; looking after my Gran and the fact that I just couldn't become nocturnal and still needed to sleep it just wasn't happening. It was another reason we were so looking forward to tonight. We had plans to leave Fangtasia at a reasonable time, for a vampire bar, and go to his place.
Soon we pulled into the staff parking lot and sure enough, we passed a long line of Goths that stretched around the building. Eric's Audi, the sleek black R8, was already parked in his designated parking space. I quickly pulled the pumps off my feet and pulled on the shoes that I just knew were going to kill me. However, it would be worth enduring them to know that Eric would love them.
We ignored the stragglers of the crowd who became excited at the sight of us, thinking we were both vampires. I kept my gaze down, so as to avoid looking at what used to be Eric's office. It wasn't that I'd discovered Bill's, finally dead, horrific body in there but that I'd thought it was Eric's, even if it was only for a few seconds.
"He's in his office." Pam called to me over her shoulder as she walked down the corridor to her own room, Eric's previous office.
"Come in lover," Eric called out just as I was about to rap on his office door. I pushed open the heavy door to reveal my vampire striding towards me from his desk where he'd obviously just been sitting. "You are beautiful." His eyes roamed over my body, taking everything in until a smile spread across his very kissable lips. Tonight I'd gone for a rather dark, gothic ensemble in the spirit of it being opening night. I took my jacket off slowly, for his benefit, to reveal the corset.
The base of colour of the corset was black while the pattern, Chinese style dragons with intertwining tails, was made up of different shades of deep purple. The front laced up tightly with black ribbon to emphasise my figure, pulling in my waist. I'd teamed it with a skirt that fell down to my knees, made up nearly entirely of layers of netting that splayed out if I spun around too much. There were just few enough layers that you could see the pale hint of my legs through the tiny holes if you looked. My modesty was protected by a miniskirt lining of a soft black fabric I hadn't identified. On my feet I wore four inch heels that had a platform of at least an inch so, I wasn't quite as worried as I could have been about breaking an ankle. They even had ribbon ties that criss-crossed my legs up to mid-calf. I would definitely fit in with the crowd tonight.
"Not so bad yourself," I grinned back at him and stepped forward to close the distance between us.
My hands immediately went up to tangle in his hair while his pulled me fiercely against him. Our lips met and I instantly melted against his chest as a small moan rumbled through my throat. His tongue moved into my mouth slowly, savouring every moment as it met mine. All too soon I had to pull away, needing more oxygen.
"Promise me we have later."
"You have my word." He kept his head bowed through the quick exchange, his eyes staring into mine, soft around the edges and the clarity in them let me see the absolute love there.
We were snuggled up on the sofa. I was lying on top of my vampire, my arms stretched up above my head so that they were wrapped around his neck. We were both completely naked; our only cover a fleecy blanket that had been draped over our legs from our hips down. I was wallowing in the surreal state between waking and sleep, accompanied by the boneless feeling after several amazing orgasms. I hadn't quite been asleep but time wasn't meaning much to me, I had no idea how long we'd laid like this.
"Hm, lover?" Eric's deep voice pulled me out of my thoughts. I still didn't bother to open my eyes.
"Would you like to move to the bedroom?"
"Nope," I replied, popping the p slightly. "I'm good right here." I mumbled, stretching slightly and nuzzling my face into his chest. I could feel the light splattering of hair under my cheek. "Do you want to?" I stretched again, loving the feeling it created in my muscles.
"I am fine." He sighed appreciatively at my motions, causing a little smile to appear on my face. We both knew we'd be going into the bedroom at some point since this was the first entire night we'd had together since my Gran had come out of the hospital; Jason had agreed to spend the night over at the house with her. I could hear the stereo in the background playing some unknown music that Eric had once told me he loved.
"Eric," I started after a couple of comfortable minutes silence had past between us.
"Yes lover?" I finally opened my eyes and even moved so that my arms were folded under my chin, propping me up so that I could clearly see his eyes.
"I love you," I whispered to him. I'd known for some time, hell I'd been telling him every time I saw him in his daytime slumber. Recently I'd begun to see slight changes in him that made me think he loved me as well; he was protective, especially so when we were out together, his eyes were soft when he looked at me and his chaste kisses always seemed to linger.
"I love you." He replied back, the honesty showing through his eyes. A broad grin spread across my lips as I heard the words, an expression that was quickly matched by him, although his was decidedly fangier. It didn't take our lips long to meet in a searing, passionate kiss. Let's just say that we moved to the bedroom a little quicker than I'd thought even a few minutes ago.
I kissed him again just because I could and wanted to. He responded by pulling me in even tighter to his chest and pressing against my lower back. It was a lazy kiss, less heated than before; full of teasing since we knew we had all the time we wanted later. We eventually pulled away from each other and I moved to hang up my jacket in the tall cupboard across the room.
"We need to go out onto the floor," Eric said when I turned around. He was, of course, wearing his trademark black although he was going a little fancier than normal as he'd foregone his usual leather jacket in favour of a suit style jacket that had upturned cuffs showing the lining of crushed velvet that could also be seen at the lapels.
"Okay." I walked over toward him and wound my arm around his offered one so that he could escort me. I made sure to keep myself slightly further back than him, showing a rather subservient side of me that wasn't actually like me at all; I could hold my own but for appearances I could cope for a little while. He paused just as we reached the sound proofed door that separated the back hallway from the main bar. In fact, the entire back rooms were sound proofed from the front and the walls were now reinforced so that any other attack on the main room would be unlikely to get through the connecting walls. The only way you could hear anything from the front room was by listening to the radio connection that could be streamed into any of the rooms back here simply by pressing a button.
"You know I love you." He whispered into my ear, his breath tickling the sensitive skin there. It never ceased to amaze me that if he wanted to, he never really did, he could make his body appear human, even with a beating heart. Of course he did actually have to breathe when he was speaking or he wouldn't get any sound.
"I know. I love you too." I replied, smiling up at him. It was his way of reassuring me because once we stepped through the door ahead of us he wouldn't be able to control the situation completely, no matter how hard he tried. He nodded once and pulled the door open, stepping through it first but still managing to hold it open for me.
I felt the eyes following us as we crossed the bar, going to one of the redesigned booths. My shields were clamped down and I had more control than ever over my telepathy so I blissfully didn't hear a thing, it definitely helped that I was touching a vampire; their blankness seemed to mask other minds. Eric sat down first, carefully taking my hand off of his arm before he did so. This booth was the one that was permanently reserved for him. I'd put my foot down at ever sitting at the foot of his throne, it just wasn't happening, so I'd tried teaching him the meaning of compromise. It turned more into bribery but I still got my desired result. He still kept his throne, well it was a new one since the other one had been blown up, but he only used it when I wasn't around or at least when I wasn't sitting with him. The booth we sat at was draped in regal red velvet, the sides were decorated ornately and overall it gave a bit of a pretentious air. It gave a good effect though for the people, fangbangers and tourists, who wanted to see a master vampire.
"Are you listening?" Eric asked me after the waitress, I was surprised to see it was one from before the incident who had stuck around, had left after placing our preferred drinks in front of us.
"No," I replied back. To anyone listening in it would just seem like a strange conversation between an annoyed couple. I nodded back at him after a couple of seconds, having decided that it wouldn't hurt too much to do some quick scans of the room every few minutes just to keep an eye on things. "Who's bar tending tonight?" I hadn't seen anyone when I glanced over there.
"Dave, I had to give him a pay raise." Bar tenders at Fangtasia tended to meet unfortunate ends.
"What happened to Carmen? I haven't seen her in ages." I hadn't actually seen her since that fateful night when she'd actually listened to me and started getting people out, even though she didn't believe me.
"She's working store room duties and then she will be on the floor." It was all I needed to know. I would never be friends with that particular vampire and I knew Eric had had something painful done to her, I heard him using the words silver and Carmen in the same sentence on the phone once, so I wasn't going to ask for more details. In the vampire world she deserved what she got; her punishment had been fair since she'd allowed harm to come to her master's human. "The bar is filling nicely." I took a glance around the room and it was indeed becoming full very quickly; the dance floor was already crowded with people gyrating to the loud music being pumped over the stereo system. Taking a sweep of the minds on the floor I could find nobody with any malignant thoughts so I shut down my shields and turned back to my vampire. "I ran into someone last night." I didn't like the tone with which he'd said that.
"What do you mean?"
"After you left here I went to visit Adyra." This wasn't going to be good so, I took a gulp of my drink, a Jack Daniel's and coke. "She has been staying with the Sherriff of Area 3 with whom I am on very good terms. Barely three hundred years old, the youngest Sheriff in the state. She actually called me telling me she was there on behalf of the Queen, checking that the Area was being run well."
"What did you do?"
"I took her fangs." I just stared back at him after his cool statement, said with indifference for the violence he'd committed.
"Will the Queen retaliate?"
"No, she was in the wrong, at least partially, so she has no ground to stand on."
"Okay then." I pushed the revulsion I felt at imaging a vampire being defanged, the blood that would surely be a part of it, and took another deep drink. He'd done what he thought was right, what was owed him, especially since Adyra had gotten away from him last time. She's actually gotten off lightly; I had no doubt that had Eric caught her when she'd tried kidnapping me that she would be dead, despite all the consequences that would probably bring.
We sat in silence for a few minutes, just observing the room around us yet I always seemed to pull back toward my vampire. He stared at me, keeping his face impassive as he did so, and then he turned toward the stage, moving his entire torso. That was when the stereo stopped, which actually only caused about half of the people on the dance floor to stop moving, and the live vampire band came on the makeshift stage that had been erected in the back corner, near the door which led to the back rooms.
The band was fantastic; you could never tire of listening to a vampire group. The crowd loved them too; they actually reminded me of a crowd that you would find at a big rock concert, moving to the beat without actually dancing. Arms were held in the air for most of the two hour long set, seemingly oblivious to energy draining and the sweat that I could see rolling down their faces. The music was contagious, even though it wasn't something I would normally choose to listen to, I found my foot tapping along and my head bobbing too.
"Still haven't changed your mind Sookie?" Pam asked me less than a minute after the band had retired for a small break, more for the benefit of the human crowd than themselves. She appeared in front of me, arms folded across her chest and a slight scowl plastered across her face although she must have been loving the night with the money they were raking in.
"Nope," I replied happily, earning a softening of the scowl.
"Any Fellowship in here?" From across the booth I heard Eric growl at just the mention of them in his club.
"What a shame, they were quite tasty the last time. I guess I'll just have to find someone else." At least I didn't blush at the connotations her last statement meant; I'd gotten used to Pam somewhat over the past couple of months and her innuendos didn't have much of an involuntary effect on me anymore. Her first utterance was about the night Fangtasia had been attacked and she'd taken up chase after them; she'd managed to get two of the idiots that had run away on foot, having abandoned their car. She'd covered her tracks well, actually using a knife to make marks that looked self inflicted so she could drink. She hadn't been as lucky with the rest of them, there'd been eight in total, but all the perpetrators had been caught within twenty four hours as Pam could identify them all. They were now all safely behind bars and wouldn't be seeing the outside world for the rest of their lives. It was a good job that they would be behind bars; they were safer in there. If they were ever released I had a feeling that Pam and Eric would hunt them down.
"In coming," I whispered about a second before I saw two, barely legally allowed in here, girls walking towards us with a false confidence that showed in the slight faltering of their strides. Eric nodded his head, barely perceptible to anyone else in understanding.
"Hello," he greeted them, his voice deeper than normal and his accent more pronounced too. They were doing well to get a greeting out of him, from what I'd heard he had a tendency to just waft them away with his hand like they were annoying flies.
"Hi," the first girl said clearly, taking another tentative step forward. I carefully let my shields slip enough so that I could find out what she wanted from her mind; it would be an interesting watch for me. "I'm Sam, this is my friend Claire. It's her first time in here and we wanted to know whether she could get an autograph? I already have Pam's; she wants something to prove that she was here."
"How about bite marks?" I couldn't help the jealousy that began to build up within me; I knew it wasn't going anywhere and he had been taking all of his blood needs from me for a little while now. Besides that there was a "no biting on the premises" rule that was strictly adhered to. He smiled at them broadly, showing of his fangs.
"Erm, no, thanks." Claire replied quickly, her hand going up to cover her neck before she thought better of it and brought her arms across her chest, folded. "I just really want an autograph or a photo. You're famous!" My vampire didn't say anything to that; he simply raised his eyebrows in questioning. "Everyone who comes in here speaks about you. You're the best vampire there is. Oldest too."
"I am very much aware of what I am." His eyes flittered over to me. "So, a photograph and an autograph is all you want?"
Sammy immediately pulled out her touch screen phone that had a camera option, which wasn't a good idea in front of vampires since they couldn't use touch screens, and motioned for Claire to get in place. This was what I'd been most looking forward to. Claire shuffled forward quickly to stand next to Eric who had slightly widened eyes, the only hint that he'd been caught by surprise by this turn of events. He stared at the camera, relaxing his lips enough for the tips of his fangs to show out. He didn't touch Claire, didn't even lean towards her in any way. The photograph was taken quickly but the power spark coming from my vampire didn't go unnoticed by me. I didn't hear what he said it was so quiet, and the energy he directed their way was gone before I could even get a grasp on what he was actually doing. Just before Claire turned around he handed her a napkin that had black marker scrawled across it, he'd been so fast I hadn't even noticed him writing it down.
"Thanks!" They chorused together, sending me a little wave as well although they hadn't directed anything toward me during the entire exchange.
"What did you do?" I asked, not bothering to mask the tone in my voice. I knew I sounded like the mother that had caught the child with a guilty look on his face.
"No one gets to keep photographs. They will be looking at it in the restrooms and will accidently delete it before they can send it to anyone."
"At least you didn't break the phone."
"Oh I have done that many a time too." I shook my head at him and let a small smile cross my lips; he was being rather mellow tonight. We returned back to our own thoughts as the vampire band returned to the stage, it was too loud to talk, well, it was too loud for me to hear anything he said. It wasn't long before I felt his hand on my knee underneath the table. From there his hand crept upwards until it was resting on my upper thigh. When I glanced over at him he seemed perfectly normal, not at all like he was stretching, with his attention turned toward the live band; I couldn't fathom how he was managing to do it. I uncrossed my legs and slid them forward so that my bare calves were pressed against the denim of his jeans, it also happened to allow him easier access to my legs. He didn't move his hand again apart from to give me the occasional squeeze and to trace light patterns in a teasing manner with his finger tips.
Suddenly his hand retracted and when I returned my gaze at him I found that he was standing up, moving so he could stand next to me. "We should retire to my office." He stated, leaning down so that he could say the words directly into my ear so that I could actually hear him above the music.
I stood up and threaded my arm around his so that he could lead me across the room to the door that led to the hallway which now needed a pass code and key to access it. I ignored the stares that we got as much as possible; I didn't need telepathy to recognise jealous looks as I disappeared into the back with the most eligible vampire in the bar. The door had barely closed behind us when he pushed me roughly up against the wall, his arms already wrapped around my back to protect me from the impact. Our lips connected instantly and a heat passed between us, a need for each other.
My tongue moved into his mouth, toying with his before I explored his fangs, running the tip across the sharp points. I almost dared to draw blood on them but I knew if I did we would never make it back to the office. His hands began to roam over my body, up and across my shoulders to trail his fingers over my neck before moving down to the corset where he played with the ribbons. I moaned into him, feeling his fingers through the stiff fabric and I could feel his gracious plenty digging into my lower stomach. He took the opportunity when I broke away from him slightly to gasp for breath, to move his lips from my mouth. He planted kisses along my jaw line toward my neck, following the line of one of the arteries there.
"Office," I managed to gasp out between breaths. My hands were now tangled in his hair, keeping him pressed to my neck while his roamed further down and around to grasp my butt. He didn't say anything in response; instead he just gripped me firmer and pulled me up so that my neck was now level with his mouth. My legs wrapped, as much as they were able, around his waist so that he could walk as well as possible. My head fell back as he sucked my skin into his mouth, letting me feel the sharp pressure of his fangs. One of his hands moved up my back to my neck, supporting me. I didn't even realise we were in his office until I heard the loud thump of the heavy door closing behind us.
He set me down carefully on the edge of his desk. Slowly he kissed further down my neck and chest, stopping only when he met reached material instead of flesh. When he looked up at me his eyes were deep blue, burning with an intensity that still shocked me to see. I had a feeling mine were showing similar things. My hands moved to rest on his shoulders because I simply had to touch him in some way. His hands moved to my legs where he quickly unfastened the ribbon ties of my shoes and threw them haphazardly across the room. My skirt was the next thing to go, he pulled the waist band down and I leaned back to lift my hips up so it could be discarded. I pushed his jacket off of his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor without another thought. He pulled off his plain black t-shirt, a movement which managed to show off the fine play of muscles on his torso. I kissed his chest, using my teeth to lightly scratch his skin while my hands grabbed at his pecs roughly. My reward was a deep growl that I could feel as well as hear.
"Lover," he moaned. His hands disappeared from my body and it was only when I pulled back from him so that I could kiss his lips again that I discovered he'd removed the rest of his clothing which left him beautifully naked in front of me. He grinned when he saw the expression on my face, showing off his fangs; I must have been wearing my feelings on my face. His hands pulled me more precariously towards the edge of the desk and he ripped the panties away as though they were nothing. If I was actually thinking with higher brain power I might have been dejected; they were very nice and rather expensive. As it was I just pulled his head down toward mine so I could capture his lips in a fierce kiss.
The last thing that stood between us was my corset. His fingers made light work of the bow that fastened the ribbons together and then he pulled, carefully, so that it became unthreaded. I was left with just a long piece of corset, draped behind me on the desk.
"Eric, please," I begged as he just stared down at my body. I groaned and pulled on his shoulders, urging him to touch me again. He flashed me a toothy grin and he stooped down slightly, so that he was in the correct position, and then he entered me in one fluid motion that hit every right spot within me. I couldn't help but moan loudly. His pace was fast and the anticipation, not to mention the week of waiting, had the tension already building within me. It wouldn't take much tonight.
His lips began to kiss my neck without any encouragement from me, finding his favourite place there to take blood. He couldn't actually reach his favourite place at the minute. His kisses became teasing, pulling my skin into his mouth to scratch with his teeth. His fangs pressed in to the point where they were about to break through into me and then he would pull back. "Bite me! Please!" I begged again, my head thrown back in pleasure. He didn't need me to say it again. His fangs bit down, hard, and he was in me in two places at once. I felt the suction as he drew my blood into him. He'd barely taken two swallows and then it was simply too much for me to handle; all the tension left my body in one big tidal wave of ecstasy that left me breathless and wondering as much as I was able to when it would actually end. As soon as I was able I started working with him and trailing my nails down his back, marking him as mine and creating the dash of pain that he liked. I was still only half aware when he joined me in the blissful state.
I snuggled up further; pulling my legs even tighter to my chest and gripping Eric's jacket a little tighter so that it would cover me up better. That was the only problem with naked cuddling with a vampire; they didn't have any body heat so it was a rather cool affair. I wasn't too bothered; Eric's arms were around mye, keeping me firmly in my place and my head was tucked into his shoulder with my nose pressed up against his neck so that with every breath I took I could smell him. He was doing a rather similar thing with my hair so it wasn't too weird of a thing to do.
"Hm, lover. You can still surprise me." He said quietly as one of his hands moved to pull one of my legs out so that it rested over the arm of the office chair and his hand could rest on the back of my upper thigh.
"Do we still have later?" I asked in reply; I was pretty sure that he wouldn't give up on the prospect of more fun but I had to be sure.
"I am not going to be giving up on that. You have my word." His hand worked further up and gave my bottom a tight squeeze before returning back to his original position.
"I like the new office." I stated after a couple of minutes had passed during which we just enjoyed having the other's naked body pressed against us.
"As do I, but what are your reasons?"
"It's comfier." I replied back, using the best way to describe the difference as I could. There wasn't really all that much that had changed in the general layout of the office. It still contained dark wood furnishings with the cupboards and filing cabinets all piled behind the desk and the usual bits of equipment were lying around too; computer, fridge, microwave. Only I now knew that the fridge stocked a few bottles of cola for me and that in one of the drawers of a filing cabinet were several snack items in case I got hungry. The new sofa, which was across the room, against the same wall as the door, was much larger and could pull out into a bed if necessary; that one I wasn't entirely sure if it was in case I wanted to take a nap while I was here or somewhere more comfortable for us when we weren't working, or both. Knowing Eric and his practical nature it was both. Essentially it was just a tad more human friendly than before. It was also a little larger; he had taken over the entire second store room and Pam's office, meaning it was about one and a half times larger than before. Pam didn't mind as she'd had an upgrade too.
"Do we have to go back onto the floor?"
"Possibly, depending on what time it is when we feel like moving." I giggled at his response because I knew I wasn't going to feel like moving for awhile; true feeling hadn't returned to my limbs yet. I knew he was feeling exactly the same; there was absolutely no tension in the body underneath me. Then it was shattered all to hell by someone knocking on the goddamn door.
"I swear to God, I'm covering every door I know with cotton wool." I grumbled loudly, not caring if the person at the other side knew what I was complaining about. At least I earned a deep chuckle from Eric.
"Who is it?" He pressed the button on the desk that connected to the intercom so he could speak to the person on the other side of the door. "This better be good." He added with a menacing growl.
"It's Queen Sophie-Anne, let me in." The voice coming through the intercom just sounded like a sweet little girl but appearances could be very deceiving. I sighed audibly, not bothered that she might have been able to hear me through the microphone connected to the machine on the desk.
"It seems we will have to move after all." Slowly I stretched my legs out and sat up so that I could get up off his lap. "Where do you think you are going?" Puzzled I turned back around to face him. I didn't have long to contemplate as his lips connected with mine. The kiss held a promise of more things to come later yet it was still quite sweet, his tongue moving softly with mine. When he pulled back I gave him another chaste kiss before I stepped away to find my clothes which had been discarded.
I didn't bother looking for my panties; I knew they'd been ripped beyond all possible repair so instead worked on finding my corset and skirt. The skirt was easy to find, it was just pooled on the floor underneath the desk while the corset took a little more time. It was lying on the floor at the other side of the room, partially hidden underneath the sofa; apparently Eric had thrown it at some point although I couldn't actually remember it. I pulled it on as quickly as possible, threading the ribbons at the front through all the little loopholes and yanking them tight. I wasn't worried about looking good, as long as I was covered up, because I could fix it to its correct tightness once the Queen had left.
"Ready." I said I as I gave one final tug to pull it down slightly and into a better position. I could breathe much easier now, I was able to take a deep breath which I really needed, as I hadn't fastened it anywhere near as tight as earlier.
"It smells like sex in here," was the first words that Sophie Anne stated as she walked proudly into the room, her nose stuck up into the air. She sauntered over toward the office chair behind the desk but turned around once she was within a couple of paces of it, an expression of disgust evident on her face. She finally took one of the visitors' chairs, which thankfully put her back to me as I was trying to stifle a giggle.
"What do you want Sophie Anne?" Eric asked as he walked past me to take his seat in his office chair again. He was still bare foot and something about that made me smile; I liked to see a man, well more specifically my vampire, barefoot as it showed how relaxed he was. Knowing he wasn't worried about this intrusion helped calm me down. I sat down in the chair next to him; he'd grabbed the spare chair in the room and brought it to rest next to his.
"Well first of all, why has your office moved? No one told me." She sounded annoyed that no one had mentioned that little piece of information to her. My guess would be that she had been greeted at the door by Pam who hadn't told her just for kicks.
"A rather distasteful vampire died in there not so long ago. I did not want the constant reminder."
"That brings me onto the second point; I never received my entitlement after Bill Compton met his final death." This was the first I knew about any fee being owed to the Queen and I'm sure the nervous glance I sent Eric didn't go unnoticed by the Queen's beady eyes.
"I was not aware that you were requesting one. He had been released from his maker for decades and had sworn fealty to me. I am sure I can cover what fee you want." She eyed him for a few seconds and then nodded her head.
"Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, plus three months interest." I balked as she said the figure; there was no way in hell that Bill had been worth that much.
"Fine." I needed to talk to Eric about that later.
"What were the circumstances of his death? All that was filed in the report was death during an explosion at Fangtasia during an attack by the Fellowship of the Sun. He shouldn't have been here."
"He was just filing some reports that he'd filled in. He was caught in the wrong place; he was on his way to somewhere in Shreveport for the night and stopped in. The fellowship attacked while he was here. It was a true accident."
"That's not even interesting." It was actually news to me; I'd been a little too emotional over his death and the situation surrounding it to question why he was in Fangtasia in the first place. I knew I had asked at some point and Eric had simply replied" work"; I'd believed him and thought nothing more of it.
"Why are you here Sophie Anne?" Eric asked, letting a bored tone enter his voice. His eyes seemed to portray, to me at least, that he was wishing he was anywhere but stuck in here with this vampire.
"I was visiting with Area 4 and heard about the grand reopening, I thought I would stop by to collect my dues."
"Fine." Eric got a faraway look in his eyes for a second, he was calling Pam in the way that only a sire could, before he turned his full attention back to the Queen. "Anything else?"
"Yes. Sookie, you are officially retired. You are too much trouble for what you are worth. You are still to come when we require special service, such as when another summit is called, but apart from that you may do as you want. Eric, she is yours." The entire time she was speaking she had a slightly wrinkled nose as though she was chewing on something disgusting. Meanwhile I was jumping up and down in my seat with excitement; well that's what I wanted to do anyway, her words created such relief. "You're just not as fun as you used to be."
"Is that all?"
"Then get out of my office." Eric's tone had changed from one of bored exasperation to frustrated rage in a heartbeat. He growled the words, his voice holding threat and menace that would make anyone squirm in their seat.
"Respect me as your Queen!" Sophie Anne bellowed out, her fangs shot out as she spoke, giving a startling view.
"I said, get the fuck out of my office!" Eric growled again and then there was a blur of motion as the two vampires flew, quite literally, at each other. My eyes barely had time to register them in the middle of the room; Eric had leapt over the desk in one smooth motion, grappling with each other before there was a loud crash as they thudded into the wall. The reinforcements would be put to the test sooner than I'd anticipated. My heart started beating faster but that was the only real reaction I had; I couldn't get in the middle of two fighting vampires, that would be suicidal, and I knew Eric would win since he was far superior. Once again I was glad that he had no desire to be King.
My vampire had his Queen pinned against the wall. One hand was gripping her throat so tightly that if she had needed to breathe she wouldn't have been able to get any oxygen at all. As it was her eyes were bulging with the pressure and her mouth was opening with words she was unable to form. His other hand held both of her wrists above her head in an unnaturally contorted position that seemed to be threatening dislocation at least two joints of her right arm. Her legs were pinned down, to prevent her from kicking out, by one of his legs pressing them into the wall. She wasn't going anywhere unless he wanted it.
"Remember, I am in my place because I want to be here. It would take no more than a whim for me to take everything you have and crush it. Next time you come here unannounced remember that. You are Queen but I do not take orders. Now. Get the fuck out of my office." He spoke with his face barely an inch away from her face, hissing directly at her and staring her straight in the eyes with his the pale, cold blue of ice. He stood back, releasing her in one fell swoop that if she had been anything less than a vampire would have meant she would have tumbled to the floor in a heap. She just fell to the floor, landing almost gracefully on her feet, and stormed from the room like a lethal toddler having a tantrum. The door slamming shut so harshly behind her only added to the effect.
Carefully, I stood up and went over to him, placing my hands on his shoulders. He was enraged that he was actually breathing, ragged breaths that sent his chest heaving. If he'd been human he would have been red in the face. I watched his eyes return to their normal colour, it was amazing how much you could read from his eyes if you knew what to look for.
"What are you thinking about?" I asked him after another minute.
"Killing Caleb." He replied with a half smile, still looking as though his mind wasn't inside the room with us. "It calms me down to think of tearing that demon's head off. I replay it in slow motion." I grinned back at him; if there was any killing I was going to condone it would be Eric's decapitation of Caleb.
There was no knock on the door to signal Pam's arrival, she just sauntered in and stood just in the room with one hand on her hip. "It still smells like sex in here. Get some air fresheners for next time. Do you want me to give the Queen the money?"
"Yes. Quarter of a million plus interest, make sure the interest is reasonable. I trust your judgement. No more interruptions tonight, from anyone." Pam never said anything else; she just nodded her head at Eric, gave me a wink and left us alone.
As soon as the door closed behind Pam, shutting with a soft click, he stepped forward slightly and pulled me into his arms to cradle me against his chest. His lips found mine in a tender kiss. There was no teasing or harshness, just a slow burning passion shown with how carefully his soft lips moved with mine and his tongue tangled with mine.
"Come on lover, let's go home."
So what did you think? Good, bad? Anything else you want answering? It's actually quite sad to say goodbye but it's also a hello to my new story that will be out in a couple of weeks. It's tentatively called Wolfsbane & Silver, I currently have a general plot outline and a chapter written, so look for that soon.
I think I'm going to leave it there. Thanks again guys, you're brilliant.