Well it's been a while but thank you to all the readers that have stayed with me

My apologies for not updating sooner, it's been a mix of university and family stress but the story continues

Please review and pm me to give me any ideas of what you'd like to happen to Melody

Stay Tempted...

The door shut behind Rico after he had made his announcement. My eyes were wide as I stood abruptly from the bed and stumbled over to Eric. He slowly looked to me, his eyes worried. His hands gripped my upper arms. He could feel me shaking beneath his touch and his stern eyes attempted to catch my frightened gaze.

"Melody, listen to me–"

"This is it, isn't it?" I asked him, my voice weak and shallow. "He's going to kill me. He's going to kill me…"

Eric growled as he shook me once, gritting his teeth. "I won't let him," he hissed, determined to keep his promise. My gaze caught his, panic seeping out of my voice.

"What can you do, Eric?" I asked him. "Russell's three thousand years old! If he wants me dead, I'm dead. What the hell are you going to do to stop him?"

Eric's grip tightened. "He doesn't want you!" he reassured me. "He wants Sookie. Give him his answers and he'll let you go, you'll be safe." He didn't sound certain, but he grasped the back of my head, keeping me steady in his arms. He pressed our foreheads together, giving me something solid to cling on to as he grounded out his words in order to get through to me. "I will keep you safe!"

I shook my head, tears forming in my eyes as my trembling fingers gripped the fabric of his light blue sweater. "I don't want to go down there," I mumbled, pleading with Eric to offer me some alternative. "Please…Don't–" I sobbed. "Don't make me…"

Eric's eyes deepened with sorrow and guilt. He pulled me into his firm body, clutching me to him as he enveloped his arms around my small, heaving torso.

"I'm sorry," he murmured into my hair, his lips kissing the top of my head softly, trying his best to soothe away my fear but to no avail. "I just– I need some more time until I'm done here." I swallowed thickly, catching my breath in time as I pulled away to look up at the vampire I loved.

His gentle hand moved towards my cheek, using his thumb to wipe away my drying tears. Eric's eyes had never looked more helpless.

"Be strong for me," he murmured.

I sniffed, clearing my throat as the Viking stopped his soft caress to hold onto my elbow, leading me towards the door, eyes never leaving mine. My breathing hitched as he gave me a final look before his uncaring mask returned. No longer were his eyes haunted with guilt and worry, but the usual confidence and pride was back in full force as he guided me outside into the hallway. Though Rico kept a close eye on me from behind us, I was silently thankful Eric was refraining from yanking me this way and that.

The vampire led me downstairs towards the library where a shadow sent shivers down my spine, the well-tailored legs of Russell Edgington in my line of sight. My gaze was thrown off by Sookie being dragged out of the room by a bald, tattooed vampire. She screeched and lashed out at him but to no avail.

"Sookie!"

Her head snapped up towards me. She'd been crying.

"Eric, where are you taking her?" Sookie yelled furiously at the Viking. Eric returned her question with only a cruel smirk. My body subconsciously pulled towards my friend, but Eric kept a firm grip on my elbow. I looked behind me to receive a sharp look, one obviously trying to communicate that I had to play along if we had any chance of getting out of here.

"I'll be ok, Sookie," I mumbled, my voice thick from the tears.

Her tongue slashed at him. "You bastard, I'll pay you back for this," she screamed as she was yanked up the steps. "Mel, I'll find you, ok? I'll get us out of here!"

My neck strained at I tried to keep sight of my friend until I was guided into the library. I regretted turning around as I was faced with a comfortable Russell Edgington, lounging upon his sofa next to the fireplace, stabbing the logs with a poker. My eyes bulged at the glowing orange tip the vampire brought towards his hand before cupping his fingers around it. The hiss of his skin melting mixed toxically with the moan of delight coming from the ancient vampire's mouth. His eyes travelled across the room to where Eric and I stood.

"Ah, Miss Ryan, is it?" Russell greeted, placing the poker back into the fire, leaning it against the bricks to heat the end once more. His arm gestured to the seat opposite and when I could not move, Eric shoved me towards it. I tried to tell myself he was buying us time, acting as he should in front of the King of Mississippi, but my anger towards him only sparked with every harsh touch.

I placed myself opposite Russell and could barely breathe when our eyes met. His eyes flickered to my trembling fingers and in this he found pleasure. His sickening smile sobered as he crossed his legs.

"Now, Miss Stackhouse was not very forthcoming when it came to information about you," he announced before his eyes twinkled deviously. "So I thought we might have a little chat."

I swallowed thickly. Russell leant back in his seat while his head turned towards the library entrance.

"Leave us," he ordered Eric tightly.

My own gaze quickly moved from the king to Eric. The slight movement of his hand clenching into a fist went unnoticed by Russell but not by me.

"As my king commands," he drawled, almost flirtaciously. Eric's eyes only met mine for a second before he removed himself from the room in three long strides. Then we were alone.

The room was warm yet I still trembled like a child. Sat before me was a three thousand year old King and he wanted answers, whether I chose to give them to him or not.

Russell sighed and looked me up and down.

"You are a pretty little thing, aren't you?" he said with humour. He leant his elbows on his knees, reaching forward as he pointed at me. "But I have no time for further stubborness," he told me irritably. His gaze held mine and his eyes melted into mine. He looked straight through me, commanding me to his own will.

"You will answer my questions and hide nothing from me," he ordered smoothly. "Do you understand?"

It was then I remembered how strange Bill had sounded when he attempted to glamour me back at Fangtasia the night we had met. Though I felt not compulsion whatsoever now, it would be unwise to reveal my only defense against vampires to the king of Mississippi. Thanking the stars for this one hope, I answered the vampire in monotone.

"I understand."

Russell sat back, a pleased smile on his face.

"Good," he said, raking his fingers against the arm of the couch. "It seems while you can be glamoured, Miss Stackhouse on the otherhand cannot. Which presents itself that you are unrelated, am I right?"

"Yes," I answered immediately, revealing no emotion in my tone.

"Do you know what the Stackhouse girl is?"

I swallowed and replied shortly, "She's a waitress."

Russell's lips twisted viciously as he sat up from his spot in a blur and backhanded me across the cheek. The force sent me falling backwards against the chair, tumbling across the floor. I had no way of breathing until the shock died down in my throat. Hiding my face, I gasped as I clutched my bruised cheek with a shaky hand.

"Why," Russell yelled, "do you girls insist on giving me the same fucking answers?!"

I scrambled onto my back, desperate to keep away from the king. But insistent he was as he crouched down in front of me, his fingers gripping my chin to keep our eyes connected.

"Why are you here?" he asked curtly.

My throat was thick as I replied, "My parents died and I have no family left. I moved from England to Bon Temps to live with my father's schoolfriend. I met Sookie, and when Bill went missing, I wanted to help."

Russell gave a short laugh as he regarded me, standing up to wander over to the fireplace. "And what good is another pathetic human on this big quest of yours?"

"I wanted to help," I repeated, not sure how to answer the vampire without pissing him off.

He cackled before reaching for the poker. I couldn't stop my eyes from widening in fear.

"Help?" he echoed my lame words. "There is no possible way for you to help her, my dear. Ney, it is you who is in need of help," he theatrically taunted me, pointing the glowing poker towards my face. "If you are only human, I have no further use for you."

I breathed hevaily, daring to hope.

"So you'll let me go?"

The cruel smirk returned to the king's face as he took a menacing step towards me.

"Not exactly," he taunted, edging his way around the upturned chair. I paniced, feeling my whole body shake beneath me until adreneline kicked in and I was up from the floor on trembling legs. I ran from the library, my keen eyes on the doors until I screamed from the top of my lungs as a hand yanked my hair, pulling me to the floor. I crashed onto the rug, fearful eyes staring up at the vampire as he cackled. Russell's boot pressed against my stomach, squashing me against the floor. Agonisingly slow, Russell dragged the tip of the fire-red poker from my shoulder to the crease of my elbow. I cried out, my voice breaking as the pain was almost too much to take. I gasped for breath when he lifted the poker away, laughing at the tears staining my cheeks.

"You humans," he chuckled bitterly, "so weak!"

"Please–" I sobbed, cradling my arm to my chest. "Please let me go!"

His answer came with another strike of the poker, this time across my stomach, burning through the clothes I wore. I tried my best to hold in a scream, only to choke on it and sob in despair. Russell removed the poker and rested it against his shoulder.

"It seems a pity to have to kill you," he sighed. "You really are a hoot."

I gasped out quietly, "Sookie will never give you what you want if you kill me." Neither Sookie nor I knew what the king expected the waitress to be. But if this interest in Sookie helped me to survive at least tonight, I would grab a hold of it with all I had.

The king of Mississippi laughed darkly, hovering over me like a lion over its prey. "Well now," he drawled, his eyes alight under the fire's glow, "we'll see about that." At a human pace, but no less painful, the vampire's boot smashed into my jaw and all went black and numb.