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Chapter Thirty

The Vampire King's house is every bit what I expected a royal vampire to own.

It's large, controlled by guards for this evening, and they even have their own parking valet's for the evening. A big, bulky vampire accepts the keys to my car and drives it off to find a parking spot for us, while we get body-scanned by another security team like they do in airports to make sure you aren't carrying any illegal drugs or weapons on you. The beeper goes off because of my sterling silver earrings, but much to my fortune, they let me pass on in.

Eric keeps me close to his side as we enter the main room, and I'm grateful. Frankly, I find everything about the place intimidating. From the vampire parking valet, to the security guards, everything. The main dining room, which is already overflowing with people, is just as intimidating. I have never been to anything so grand in my entire life. The interior is stunning. Sparkling chandeliers dangle off the ceiling. Everybody is dressed in their best gear for the night.

A woman who I don't know looks immediately relieved to see us. She's definitely a vamp, and she comes rushing over to kiss Eric on each cheek.

"So glad you are here," she tells him fondly, and I notice she has a bit of an accent. "And you have a human with you, too! Did you pay for her?" she asks him teasingly.

"No, I didn't, Isabel. I didn't have to," he tells her stiffly.

"Oh, I was kidding," she laughs pleasantly. "You can't take a joke, I know that."

"Isabel, this is Sookie. Sookie, this is Isabel Beaumont, Sheriff of Area 2."

The vampire is instantly over me like a rash. "Oh, this is wonderful, Eric has finally brought a human with him this year. So pretty, too," she gushes, grabbing me by the arm and shaking it hysterically. "Stay with me. I will keep you safe."

I peek nervously at Eric, who releases me and goes off, despite the pleading look on my face. I growl underneath my breath.

He said he wouldn't let anyone fang-rape me! This Isabel woman surely wouldn't, right?

"You must be a very special human to have the ability to make Eric loosen up. He hasn't looked this relaxed in years. You must have something special about you, to make Eric feel that way." She assesses me with her cool hazel eyes curiously. Her shiny brunette hair is retrained in a tight bun, and the pristine white dress she is wearing makes her boobs pop out in a very outstanding way. She's wearing a gorgeous gold pendant necklace that sits on her bosom area. She could be in her late forties, or thirties when she was converted into a vampire. It's so hard to tell with vamps.

And if she was hoping to get any answers out of me, regarding my telepathy gift, Isabel was dead-wrong. "Nope," I tell her, succeeding in sounding casual. "I'm just a humble waitress from Bon Temps."

"Eric is a very complex and eccentric man. How long have you been in your vampire-human relationship for now?"

Hmm. It's a very good question, especially when Eric and I haven't exactly defined our relationship as yet. "I'm not even sure what this is between us," I admit, because I feel honesty isn't such a bad thing to give this woman. "All I know is that we have fun together."

"You are content with him?"


"You love him?" Really, I don't know how any of this is her business.

I look off into Eric's direction quickly, feeling my bones soften with tenderness. He's standing by a bunch of vamps, who are laughing and chatting animatedly among themselves. Eric is simply standing there listening, nothing there in his expression giving anything he is feeling away. He's holding a martini glass in his hand, filled with red gloopy liquid. True Blood; Why does that not surprise me? He looks damn good in his suit. I have difficulty not drooling. Yum.

He must sense me staring or something creepy like that, because without warning, he turns and looks straight over at me, while I dither around awkwardly with this Isabel Beaumont vamp. His eyes burn into mine as he raises his martini glass of True Blood in the air at me, a bit like a playful salute, and then he lowers it to his mouth and takes a hasty sip.

He grins at me, showing fang, but I think he forgets somewhere along the line to swallow his mouthful of True Blood down, because it squirts through the gaps of his teeth onto the floor at his shoes. I feel his embarrassment as the other vamps immediately halt in conversation to look at him in alarm as he wipes his chin hastily on the sleeve of his jacket. I think we about avert each others eyes at the same time. God, he's so awkward. I love it!

"I feel I do," I say finally to Isabel, grinning. "He's the strangest person I've ever met but... somehow, we work."

"Yes," she agrees musingly, looking off into Eric's direction herself. Then she turns to me again, her eyes bright with excitement. "Have you met my partner, Hugo?"

"No, not yet." I recall Eric mentioning Hugo being her 'human'.

"Oh, you must," Isabel insists strongly. "Let me go fetch him." I assume, by that, she means she is going to excuse herself to go get him. Only, she doesn't. Rather instead, she cups her hands over her mouth, cries, "Hugo!" over the sea of vampires in the room. For a moment there, she looks touchingly distressed that her Hugo hasn't returned her call. But then she spots him, and she claps a hand over her necklace in relief. "Hugo, do come! I want you to meet Northman's human! Quickly!"

Sure enough, Hugo rolls in. He's gripping a walker, and he is a lot older than I anticipated. He looks in his sixties, his closely cropped hair salt and pepper. He looks petulant and moody. Still, I can sure see why Isabel would be attracted to him. He's still good-looking, in a mature way.

Isabel says proudly, "This is my Hugo. Isn't he charming?"

I just make a little nervous noise in agreement. "How long have you two been dating?"

"Oh, a little over twenty-eight years now." Admiration crosses over her face. "Hugo was married at the time we met. In his younger days, he made a very good lawyer. He was very handsome and charismatic, back then. We had an affair, until he found courage to divorce his wife." She pats me on the arm apologetically. "Excuse me. I know it is not fair to ruin a man's marriage, but it was almost love at first sight for me." She sighs helplessly at her Hugo, who is still wobbling his way over to us at a slow pace. "Unfortunately aging has taken away some of his charm."

"Why didn't you turn him before it got too late?" I ask impulsively. I regret it the instance it flies out of my mouth.

"I know, I probably should have for Hugo's sake. But I find human life so interesting. It is like a science experiment of some sort. It is fascinating how aging affect you human's minds and bodies."

Along with her words, I get a terrible mental image of myself looking as old and frail as Hugo, with Eric being his usual attractive, grumpy self, and I panic. I don't particularly want to be a vampire, but then I'm getting older as the years go on. Would Eric still want me, if I'm looking as haggard and old as Hugo? Would I even still want Eric, being as young as he is? We'd be a laughing-stock, and people would assume Eric's my grandson, or that I'm his momma, rather than his lover. The thought is unsettling on me.

It is clear to me that Hugo doesn't quite match Isabel's sentiments. Because he is human, naturally, I can hear his thoughts: He holds a lot of resentment to Isabel for her not changing him. He wanted to become a vampire, an immortal, like her. Only Isabel didn't want that for him, and it made him angry and frustrated. It was the very reason why he was looking so petulant and moody, as he did. He was a very loud broadcaster on the subject.

It's hard to look normal, when he finally reaches us. Isabel introduces us, and we shake hands. Hugo's hand is dry, wrinkly, and freckly.

"Excuse me for a moment," Isabel says politely. "Please, talk." After she leaves us, talk we definitely do.

"Isabel's a lovely woman," I tell Hugo, just to get the conversational ball rolling. "You're very lucky."

"I guess so," he mutters sullenly. Clearly he doesn't think so himself. He says as much next. "If she was so lovely, she would have changed me and spared me all this bullshit. Arthritis and dentures."

"Well, she probably wanted more for you."

He flushes an incredible red with rage. "Take it from me," he says bitterly, "Whatever you think you have with a vampire, it's never gonna last. You think he's gonna change you? Well, no, he isn't. Isabel couldn't even do that, and I asked her over a hundred times. Now look at me? I look like shit."

I stare at him, not blinking or saying a word.

"If Isabel truly loved me, she would have changed me and spared me all this suffering. I made a mistake, leaving my wife for her."

"Then why did you?" I ask, not even bothering to keep my voice all nice. He chose to embark on an affair with Isabel, after all. She had done it out of love. It isn't like she held a gun to his head, forced him to ruin his marriage with her.

"You enjoy the sex with your vampire, right? That's the way it was, for me at first. The sex with Isabel, it was out of this world. Unlike anything with my wife. The sex was great, the best. But now I can't even get it up anymore, so sex doesn't happen for us. I left my job because my practise was suffering. I'd get all the court dates mixed up, due to lack of sleep. Ended up losing my job, and now I'm retired. And now what I got to show for it? A boring, sexless life, with a vampire who can't even change me. Now I'm old, I got no wife, no children, no job. She lured me in with promises of forever, and now... my life has gone down the drain. I got fuck-all."

It seems like a sorry tale to me, but really, he brought it onto himself. What was I supposed to say? Take his side, share my pity?

"You think they're ever gonna make us into one of them? No, you're wrong. They like excluding us. All we are to them, is living sex machines and blood supplies."

And I've heard enough of his belligerent remarks...

I inch slowly away from him, smiling apologetically all the while. I'm already in a depressed mood over what happened with Tina. I really don't need anymore reasons to be in one. I peer around the room to distract myself. I don't think I've ever seen so many vampires in one room. One vampire-human couple is obviously into the Master/Servant routine. A busty blonde female in a scanty dress, evidently the human, has a collar around her neck, and a leash looped around her male vampire partners wrist, a bit like a dog being controlled by its owner. A big crystal chandelier hangs on the ceiling. There are two separate long tables by the wall: One filled with martini glasses of True Blood, and the other, drinks for human visitors this evening. I eye off the glasses before strolling over to snatch one up. I take a needed swig, feeling the champagne relax me all over.

"Ah, good-evening," a vampire says without warning, practically popping up out of thin air to stand behind me.

I yip and clutch a hand over my chest, whirling around to face him, where he chuckles lightly in response through his fangs at me for, like my fear is so endearing.

This vampire is old and bald, and his eyes are a beady, little black that goggle me with interest. He's wearing his best business suit for the evening; A charcoal grey suit added with a baby blue shirt underneath with a funny little bow-tie.

"Pardon me for startling you. Moving like this is a hard habit to break."

"Oh, that's fine," I laugh out nervously, waving it away with my empty hand. His eyes follow my hands movement creepily.

"Jorge Alonso de San Diego," he announces in one breath. "And just who might you be?"

"Sookie," I say, working at keeping my voice level. "Sookie Stackhouse."

"And human, I see." His beady eyes roam down my dress, particularly my bosom area. "Who is your owner, and where is he?"

"Owner?" I croak out, confused. I wasn't aware I was somebody's pet.

"Yes, owner. The vampire who chose you as his companion for this fine occasion?"

"Uh, that'll be-" I start to say, but much to my fortune, Eric is already on it. He does a little bit of speedy vampire movement himself, so that he is suddenly standing beside me. I feel the tension leave my body immediately over his return. I feel relieved, giddy, and safe, with his intervention. He slides a hand around my waist, holding me closely into his side. It's obvious, to me anyway, that Eric is staking his claim. I am his human, all his, and although it leaves me feeling a bit funny, I find it very welcome.

"That would be me, Magister," he says politely. "I see you've just met my Perky."

"Your Perky? She is your Perky?" The vampire, Jorge, laughs out loud to himself and regards me with more intent amusement. "I have been interested in meeting this Perky human for quite some time, and now, here you stand..." His eyes focus on my cleavage again. Hello, is my face attached to my breasts, Mister? "What a suitable name Perky is for you, isn't it?"

"Uh, what brings you here, Magister?" Eric asks, in a polite but crisply sharp voice. It seems I'm not the only one uncomfortable with the cleavage-googler right here. The vampire tears his eyes away from my breasts to look over at Eric. My shoulders sag and I draw out the breath I haven't realized I've held in. "If I am recalling correctly, you weren't in attendance here last year. What made you decide to attend now?"

"Boredom, mostly." He waves a hand into the air indifferently and rolls his eyes dramatically. "The last time I attended one of these yearly parties, it was such a drag. But now it seems they have brought in a new form of entertainment for the evening, thank fuck for that." Eric gives out a hoarse little laugh at that comment. I just make a humming noise in agreement, although I haven't the slightest idea what he is talking about. I haven't attended one of these before, after all. "Oh, yes, Sheriff. I've meant to ask how Godric is. I overheard Stan chatting about it before. Apparently he was very thrilled to know you were intending to come again this year."

Ah, Stan. Where is that big bully?

"Is he, now?" Eric mutters.

"He is." Jorge gives me a genial smile, as much as one can be for a vampire with his fangs on display. "Miss. Perky, it's a pleasure meeting you," he says, and he goes so far as to clasp my hand in his, kissing my knuckles.

When he leaves, I let out a long whoosh of breath.

"Wow," I say, because it's all I can think of.

Without warning, the electricity cuts off. There is a few noises of disappointment here and there from some of the attendees. And then slowly, a little disco ball lights up on the ceiling, sending rainbow slithers of light across the floor, and everyone makes murmured noises of delight. A male vampire standing near me exclaims loudly in excitement and claps his hands together enthusiastically. Judging by the pleased reactions all around the room, vampires must love their disco balls.

"I thank you all for coming here tonight to celebrate the seventieth year of my union with my husband, Russell Edgington, King of Mississippi. I am Talbot, and I am your host for this evening," the man says over the microphone gleefully. "Now, if you will all excuse me for a few moments, I need to get prepared for what I have in store for my sexy husband." A few people whistle at the man on centre stage, and he laughs and waves them off with a quick flick of his hand. "Please, do mingle among yourselves and, remember: Keep it clean." He blows a kiss at a few vampires at random, including Eric, who has the deer/headlight look going on over it, and then he's gone.

When he pops up on stage again, Talbot's naked as the day his mama gave birth to him, aside from a very low-cut red G-string and some strategically placed, glittery nipple clamps. A few humans who don't have the common sense to stay quiet when they ought to shout out provocative things in the heat of the moment, which the king looks not to pleased about. But the man on stage simply sends off a very fangy grin into every which direction, and then the little disco ball light went down and the stage lights popped on very brightly. Music begins to play to a thumping beat, and at once I recognize it as one of the Pussycat Dolls well-known, catchy hits. Vampires love listening to the Pussycat Dolls? Who knew?

"Ladies and gentleman," Talbot says into the microphone, "This is dedicated to my one and only, my sexy man beast, who I am proud to be wife of. He knows who he is..." And, at that, he really gets straight into it.

He lets his hands stroke down his admirable, tanned abs and raises one eyebrow into the direction of the king, managing to look incredibly suggestive and incredibly embarrassment-inducing in two simple moves. I feel like I'm a kid again, watching something R-rated that I know I'm going to get into trouble over later, but I just can't seem to look away. It's so bad that it's so much fun to watch.

As the music escalates into the start of the lyrics, the vampire gets into it pretty quickly and passionately as well. He isn't as good a singer as the actual Pussycat Dolls, but he still manages to do the song justice.

"I know you like me, I know you do," he sings along, wiggling his brows to the king and other vampires at random. "It is why whenever I come around, she is all over you. But let's keep it friendly, yes?" At this part, he wiggles his finger around the room like a saucy school-teacher scolding a student. "Let's keep this fair. I don't care, but you see, I am not one to share."

The king's other half Talbot comes gyrating off the stage and really appears as if he is enjoying himself in going around the room, pouncing on unsuspecting victims. One female vampire, in an obviously dangerous and bold move, gets real close to him and actually slaps his butt in the man-thong he is wearing. The king doesn't like that very much; He looks about ready to rip her head off, but luckily, he restrains himself and merely laughs good-naturedly.

It is only natural that he makes a bee-line for Eric next, who is still standing with me. I'm pretty sure I've seen him eyeing Eric all night, and once he gets close enough, he bestows a quick kiss on Eric's lips, which Eric draws back from in terror. I watch in a mingled mixture of fascination and disgust when the vampire king's other half starts wiggling his man-thong clad butt at me. He's obviously hoping for a reaction, but when he realizes he isn't going to get one, he moves on.

Once he's done with his little routine, music starts playing. Blue Oyster Cult's 'Don't Fear The Reaper' comes on, and vampires start filling the floor with their human's in tow. I look at Eric hopefully, feeling very much up to dancing myself. The music is playing just at the perfect level, where you can still talk and dance at the same time. I know Eric isn't fond of dancing, but it doesn't do any harm to ask, right?

"Let's dance," I suggest.

"I can't dance, Perky, but fuck it."

I certainly wasn't expecting him to agree so quickly, but much to my pleasure, he does at once. I set down my champagne, clasp both of Eric's hands tightly in mine, tug him towards the dance floor, and we get down to it. He isn't lying, bless him. He can't dance very well, even for a thousand-year-old. His movements are stiff and self-conscious, but the instance I give him a reassuring smile, he lets his guard down and relaxes a notch.

I'm mostly the one moving, shaking my thang in what is probably a poor imitation of Beyoncé, while Eric nods his head to the music now and then, while trying to hold my gaze. The good thing about dancing is that you don't have to talk much, and it's fun. You can be silly and do all these crazy moves, without even caring how ridiculous you look. The difficult thing is that you feel kind of hyperaware of your dancing partners body. His gaze is fixed on mine and his expression is concentrated, and to me, it's such a panty-combusting look. It takes all the self-restraint I have not to throw myself at him and kiss him.

With a pounding heart, I spin around and press my back against him, while I fling my hips back and forth to the music. Eric scoops my hair away from the side of my neck and kisses my throat, sending delicious tingles from head-to-toe. "You smell intoxicating," he murmurs into my skin as he tightens his arms around my waist, and I catch myself grinning from ear-to-ear.

"Do I?" I breathe, surprised.

"Mmm, you do," he says, and he presses a kiss into the side of my throat again. "I want to make love to you right here and now." He lays another kiss on me, enough that his teeth and fangs graze my skin softly. I shudder against him, and turn around again. Not taking my eyes off his, I wrap my hand around the nape of his neck and inch up taller in my heels to put my face right near his. He gazes down at me, his eyes dark, dilated.

"Well, too bad. There's all these people around."

"As if that would fucking stop me," he breathes near my lips, and then, bending slightly, he captures my mouth with his. We kiss for a good few minutes, until he ends it, and he looks down at me again, saying nothing, just staring. I see his desire for me, his... admiration, and it makes me feel like the happiest girl in the world. I am panting, finding myself eager and aroused, which isn't a very good thing.

Clasping his face in my hands tightly, I jump up to kiss him again, and he responds, just as enthusiastically as before. One hand comes up to the back of my head, holding me in place as we kiss deeply, while I let one of mine wander. I run my hand down his shirt, feeling out buttons, and then I bring it even lower... and lower to the front of his trousers. I manage to squeeze my hand in through the tight space, and he makes a low moan at the back of his throat as my fingers move through his pubic hair, finding him. Much to my astonishment Eric is already sporting an erection, and feeling incredibly bold and naughty, I grasp him in my hand. He makes another lovely noise into my mouth, our kiss deepens, and I run my hand around him, squeezing him, stroking him.

"Oh, Perky," he breathes, like a lovers soft and gentle caress. "My Sookie."

I don't know how it happens, but Eric starts walking me backwards, leading the way, as our tongues intertwine and his hands fist my hair. We manage to escape the crowd on the dance floor without notice, and especially without any bumping. I don't have the slightest idea where we're going - for the life of me- but I hardly care. I'm way too preoccupied with touching him with my hand and making him feel good.

I'm aware we're in another room when he kicks the door carelessly closed. He stops kissing me, trailing his nose down my throat, and then he gently lowers me down onto a carpeted floor, following me down so that he's right on top of me. He kisses my throat reverentially, heading down to the neckline of my dress, and my moaning and groaning starts matching his.

"Lover," he whispers, as he yanks open the cup of my bra and turns it inside out to give his mouth access to my nipple. He's not ever called me that before. Lover. I like it, I like it a lot. Eric's mouth closes over my nipple, his tongue swirls, sending goose pimples all over, and then he bites down with his fangs, latching on. It's a real turn on, being in a sensitive area, and I moan breathlessly as my body bows into him. I keep up with caressing and stroking him, while he suckles my breast, taking in the blood he has drawn out. My hand moves more frantically for him to reach his completion, and when he does, he lets me know. Oh, boy, does he let me know!

He raises his head from my breast, closes his eyes, and groans low and deeply in his throat.

Review please and let me know your thoughts. I love hearing them :-)
Should Sookie initiate conversation about whether they are in a relationship or not? You decide. Thanks so much for reading, love you guys!