Risa woke up to her screeching alarm clock, groaning loudly. She'd been able to sleep in yesterday because it was her day off, and she wasn't quite ready to return to waking up early. With a little sigh, she slid out of bed to get ready.
When she arrived at Merlotte's the place was empty, with only Terry and Lafayette in the back, preparing for the day. She waved to Terry, lighting up automatically at his smile.
Risa dropped her purse onto a table and strode over to the pair. "Where is everyone?"
Lafayette rolled his eyes, "Hooker, I do not know. Arlene called in sick and it's Sookie's day off. Dawn's probably just late as usual. Might have had a late night at that vampire bar again."
Risa's eyes widened, "She went?"
"Well I know for a fact she went night before last. Wouldn't shut up about it yesterday. Don't know about last night." Lafayette said matter-of-factly.
Her brow furrowed and she stared around the bar glumly. "Well I guess that leaves just me to setting up tables." She blew a strand of hair out of her face and scowled when Lafayette teased her, "You have fun with that."
Terry looked over at her shyly, "Well I could help you set up. I'm already done with my grill."
Risa smiled warmly at him. "Thanks, Terry. But I really couldn't have you do it. You do enough 'round here." She patted him swiftly and then turned, the smile slipping off her face. It was not going to be a good morning.
Sam appeared from his office when she was refilling the ketchup bottles, looking cheerful. "Hey, Risa. Thanks for being such a great help. I just called Sookie and she's going to go wake Dawn up. Then you won't have to set up alone."
Risa nodded, with a brief smile. He passed her, quickly giving her a friendly pat on the shoulder.
She didn't mind coming into work, it wasn't like she'd had a great day on her day off. She'd spent it arguing with her landlord over paying to get the rats out of her apartment and then ate pizza alone.
A while later, Risa was listening to an elderly couple order when Sam rushed past her, keys in his hand. She turned behind her to glance at Lafayette, but he looked just as confused as her.
"Can you hold on one minute?" She asked the couple, tucking her pad into her apron. The brief look she'd gotten of Sam had revealed he looked panicked and horrified. She had no idea what his expression meant but they couldn't be good.
Risa darted out the door and ran to Sam who was opening the door to his truck. "What's wrong?" Risa almost yelled.
Sam glanced at her, "I have to go."
"Yes, I can see that." Risa said. He ignored her and started to clamber in.
She grabbed his arm, pulling him back. "Why?"
Sam rubbed his temple looking hesitant. "Dawn was found murdered in her apartment. Will you watch the bar while I'm gone?"
Risa clapped a hand to her mouth, muffling a scream.
She released his arm dumbly and he vaulted into the truck. However, a second later he leaned out and surveyed her apologetically.
" Shit. Look I really, really didn't want to tell you like that. I just- I have to go now. We can talk more when I get back."
Risa nodded blankly, eyes wide. She watched her boss depart and turned around, barely taking in her surroundings.
When she had a free moment she disappeared into the bathroom, just allowing herself to breathe. She didn't know how she felt. Dawn hadn't exactly been her friend but with enough time they might have gotten there.
Guilt racked her as she thought back to declining Dawn's invitation to the vampire bar. The vampire bar. Her brain raced as she connected the dots. Maudette Pickens had been linked to vampires, and Dawn had gone to that bar a day before she's murdered. It couldn't be a coincidence. What if she'd met her killer there?
If Risa had gone with her she might still be alive. She stared at herself in the mirror, surprised by how stony she looked. It had been a very long time since she'd cried.
Risa straightened her ponytail, allowing herself several seconds of silence. Five more seconds and then she had to return to normal. She steeled herself, already having decided to find Dawn's killer. She planned to go later that night, and investigate. It's the least she could do.
The rest of the evening Risa was subdued, but she managed to still be cheerful. Sookie and Arlene both showed up later, looking grim but in control. She was incredibly grateful. Being the only waitress at the town's most popular bar wasn't easy.
Risa's shift ended at 9, and she had enough time to go back and change. With her blond hair and blue eyes, and somewhat doll like features, she knew would stick out enough. She'd been to a couple bars that vampires frequented, but never to one run by vampires.
Risa sighed staring at her wardrobe, finally settling on a half cut off white top and blue jean shorts. She added a generous amount of make-up, growling when she surveyed herself in the mirror. She then washed her face, deciding only on black eyeliner and lip-gloss.
When she finished, she nodded approvingly and headed out the door, entirely focused on her task.
When she arrived, she found herself grinning at the bar. It was cool enough, clearly targeting a certain group of individuals.
There was a line at the door, with a man with a bored expression acting as the bouncer. Risa didn't even have to get close to realize that he was a vampire, obviously a baby.
When she finally got to the front, the man surveyed her openly, a predatory smile curving his lips. "ID?" He sneered, eyes flicking up and down.
Risa nodded curtly, and handed him her license, trying to look indifferent.
He handed it back to her and stepped aside, allowing her into the bar. The music assaulted her when she entered, and the decorating was … interesting. Actually it was incredibly tacky.
Risa refrained from rolling her eyes and sauntered to the bar, ignoring the looks she was getting. She could tell immediately that half the people in there were desperate fangbangers, tourists, or idiotic thrill chasers.
The bartender there looked tough and barely glanced at her when he handed her her drink. She took a seat in the back corner, surveying her surroundings.
There was a medium dance floor, surrounded by booths and a bar opposite it. There were also several poles on raised platforms, being used by several attractive "dancers". The thing that drew her eyes the most was in the middle back, steps led up to a large throne like chair, and seated upon it was the oldest thing in the room. He was obviously a strong vampire, with long blond hair and piercing blue eyes. He surveyed the room with a collected calmness, radiating confidence and power. By his appearance only she guessed he was from the Viking era, which placed him at around three thousand years. She knew the names of most of the vampires who were that age or older, so she was surprised when she couldn't place who he was.
Risa watched him for several more seconds and then took a steadying breath.
Big 'n tall with those clothes- why won't any vampires pay attention to me- she's definitely a vamper- wonder what I have to do- so beautiful a god- Janet would never do that- not really my scene-
Risa's eyes closed as she concentrated flitting through mind after mind. She narrowed in on a few regulars, knowing they'd be more use to her than anyone else. She took a swill of her drink annoyance flitting through her. No one was much use to her. She'd have to start interviewing people soon.
Risa downed her drink in one and then headed to the dance floor, shoving someone who had reached for her aside. She edged closer to the man she was keeping tabs on, the most frequent human visitor to this bar. When she was close enough she swayed to the music absently, trying to catch his attention. He turned irritably, a snarl on his lips, when she bumped into him.
"Oh, sorry." She murmured apologetically, looking up at him from under her eyelashes.
His anger faded and his expression changed immediately. "No, completely my fault.."
Risa smiled briefly and continued dancing, taking care to rub against him every now and then. He inched closer and the direct contact bombarded her with thoughts. Mmm warm and soft. So delicate. Easy. Stupid but lucky- won't be hard to persuade- a couple tablets and she'll never know-
Risa refrained from pulling away and delved deeper into his mind. She pushed past memories, searching for a name, a face.
"Do you come here often?" He asked, hand brushing her hip.
Risa shook her head, scrolling through his head. "No, my friend Dawn comes here, she told me I should go." She had reverted to a soft, giggly voice she used on idiots like this.
Risa sighed mentally when nothing surfaced after she'd mentioned the name Dawn. Time to try someone new.
"Want a drink?" He purred in her ear.
Risa grabbed his hand and wrenched it off of her back. "Go fuck yourself. Find someone else to roofie."
She turned to walk away and was pulled back by the man's tight grasp on her wrist. "Fucking tease. Think you'll run away that easy?"
Risa spun around to face him, fire in her eyes. "Let go of my arm. You don't want to make a scene here."
He growled audibly, his grip tightening on her arm. She sighed and stared into his eyes, furrowing into his brain.
"You're not going to make a scene. Suddenly I don't interest you and you're not attracted to me at all. In fact this whole bar bores you. You want to go home right now." Risa said calmly, focusing intently.
He nodded dazedly and turned around, stumbling towards the door. Risa wiped sweat from her brow, feeling drained. She really hadn't wanted to use that. It left her exhausted and shaking, defenseless. She glanced around the room briefly, checking to see who had noticed her. Everyone seemed oblivious. She stumbled to a seat, breathing slowly.
The headache was going to set in soon, and then the nausea. Because of that instance her shields were down briefly and she was bombarded by thoughts. Risa rubbed a hand across her temples thinking that it would be best to leave. There was nothing of use there.
She slid out of her seat and headed for the door, tucking a strand of her hair up. She'd almost past through the door when a cold hand restrained her firmly.
"Not yet. My master would like a word. " Risa turned to see a dark haired vampire of average age looking at her impassively.
"Oh? Who's that?"
The vampire's lips curved and he merely guided her back the way she came.
She immediately knew where they were headed, towards the blond vampire seated upon the throne. He was staring at her openly as she walked up to him, and she couldn't read his expression. This interested her more than anything because she could usually read people's expression, vampire or not.
Risa reached his chair and crossed her arms expectantly at him.