Of Sequins and Feathers
Sookie let out a relieved sigh when she pulled up outside the old farmhouse. She had never been happier to see her beloved home than right in that moment. After weeks of working double shifts, covering for anyone who had as little as a stubbed toe, she was more than ready for a few days off. Why everyone believed she was okay covering their shifts at only a moment’s notice, Sookie didn’t know. Well, that wasn’t exactly true, she did know. She knew all too well what her dear co-workers thought of her. She didn’t need to be a telepath to know they all saw her as little more than a doormat, someone they could take advantage of, and basically treat like crap. Unfortunately, the blonde beauty was a telepath who could hear all their ugly thoughts.
“Oh, to be normal for a night,” Sookie said, the words barely above a whisper, even though no one else was around to hear, or at least that was what she thought.
Her nearest neighbor as well as bitter and twisted ex, Bill Compton, had scurried off like the dirty weasel he was several nights earlier. He had made a big song and dance of how he was giving Sookie some time to heal from the pain of their recent (and in Sookie’s opinion, very celebrated) break-up, so she would finally be able to understand what he did, he had done because he loved her so much… And when did fuckin’ someone else constitute an act of love?… She would finally realize her anger was unjustified and return to him, at which point, he would forgive her. At least, that’s what Sookie thought he said. In truth, she had tuned him out about a minute after he started waxing pathetically. It was a good thing she had; otherwise, she might have been tempted to stake the sideburn-wearing fucker, and she didn’t need that on her conscience or, more to the point, she didn’t need his sticky, exploded, vampire ass all over her porch.
Vampire remains were a bitch to remove! She had learned that after staking the vampire ho with whom she had caught Bill fucking around, messy, but, oh, so rewarding. Sookie felt a tingle in her nether regions while she recalled shoving a thick stake deep into the bleached blonde, Paris Hilton-wannabe, vampire. What vampire in their right fuckin’ mind wants to be like Paris Hilton? I did that skanky bitch a favor. Ha! At least she got some good wood before she exploded!
However, unbeknownst to the telepathic blonde, a lone figure had been watching her from the darkness of the woods that surrounded the old Stackhouse property. The mysterious figure, robed in one of the most over the top outfits known to mankind, had been watching Sookie for days, could see how put upon the young woman was, and had decided to finally step in and do something about it.
The individual was by no means a good Samaritan. In fact, she loathed being helpful, happy, and all the shit that went with being nice. Nice was not good in her books; it was fake and annoying and all things she associated with her goody two-shoes sister. The favored daughter could fart rainbows and blind people with her dazzling smile…although, blinding people with a smile could be fun, she thought, imagining all the irritating assholes she could blind by simply smiling at them. Lots and lots of fun…that would only piss off the fun, free fucker who thought himself King though, so better not to blind people, after all. No, she would settle for being mean-spirited and slightly crazy. Crazy wasn’t nice, it wasn’t normal, crazy was F-U-N in big, capital letters.
“Whowantstobenormal?” She asked, the words blurring together as she spoke at a fast, gibbersh pace while she stepped out of the darkness and approached the startled blonde. She grinned at Sookie, tickled that she had managed to sneak up on the telepath without being detected.
Sookie eyes widened comically once they landed on the strangely, familiar-looking, yet at the same time, completely unknown woman. I’m hallucinating, the telepath thought while she ran her disbelieving eyes over the colorful-looking stranger. I’ve gotta be. I’ve finally lost it, call in the men with the padded jackets and white van. Sookie Stackhouse has finally lost her fuckin’ mind! It was the only thing Sookie could think of to explain the woman standing before her dressed in a pair of green sequin hot pants, black, see-through top with a bright, orange bra underneath it, and bright pink go-go boots. Still, none of that disturbed Sookie. Sure, it hurt her eyes to look at, in her mind, the hallucinatory figure, but what made her eyes almost pop out of her head was the elaborate peacock headdress she also wore. That thing was both beautiful and painful to look upon! She looked like a colorful hooker with a bird fetish.
“Ya not real, right?” Sookie asked, striking up a conversation with her imaginary friend. She heard voices in her head constantly, so speaking to someone she didn’t believe was real wasn’t so crazy to Sookie. Crazy is as crazy does. “I mean, I’m imaginin’ all this, yeah? The smell of stale beer and greasy burgers finally sent me to crazy town…”
“I am very real. I’m the most real person you’re ever gonna meet,” she replied, giving Sookie a firm and unyielding look.
“Peacock hooker,” quotin’ Nick Fury,” Sookie said, nodding her head slightly while she listed off her imaginary stranger’s traits. “Yeah, you’re the realest, so very real. Have I inhaled Jane Bodehouse’s eau de alcohol and toxic B.O scent, and passed out in the storeroom? Maybe Sam turned into Lassie, bit me, and now I’ve got rabies. Or… Oww,” she cried out, rubbing her forehead where her not-so-nice imaginary friend had suddenly flicked her. “What the fuck’s wrong with ya?! Ya can’t go round flickin’ people like that!”
“Stop saying stupid shit and I’ll stop flicking you,” she replied, flicking Sookie once again. She giggled creepily when Sookie tried to slap her hand away. “You’re crazy, but I’m real, but crazy is fun! I like crazy. It’s real, like me, I’m real…”
“And evidently, crazy,” Sookie interjected, watching the young-looking and apparently, real, woman bounce on her toes in front of her.
“Yep, and crazy,” she agreed. “Can’t forget crazy; that’s the most important thing. Name’s Gladiola, and I’m here to show you the error of your ways.”
“The error of my ways,” Sookie parroted, her eyes taking on a faraway look as she contemplated whether she should stay or run screaming for the woods. She shook the thought away, knowing it wouldn’t do much good if she ran. Sookie had a feeling the woman, Gladiola, would only follow her. “Have I stumbled into “A Christmas Carol?” Cause, I gotta say, my name’s not Ebenezer Scrooge and you sure as Hell ain’t Jacob Marley and if any ghosts try to visit me t’night, I’ll find a way to slap their ghostly faces. I ain’t…” she trailed off after she noticed an evil, or as the pretty peacock would claim, mischievous glint enter Gladiola’s eyes.
“Ooh, “A Christmas Carol”,” Gladiola gushed, overcome with emotions and ideas although, Sookie couldn’t tell if they were good emotions, or an, ‘I want to do something incredibly bad,’ idea. “We should dress up as ghosts and go haunt all the annoying and hypocritical shits who live in this dumpster of a town. Let’s start with the redheaded, walking STD you work with. We can pretend we’re the ghosts of her ex-husbands, or the baby she gave up. It’ll be fun…”
“No, it won’t,” Sookie cried, cutting Gladiola off before she put her foolish idea into practice. It did sound kinda fun, Sookie admitted to herself, but she couldn’t do it. It would be cruel, fucking amazing, but still cruel. “Her ex-husbands and the baby ain’t even dead. They’re not ghosts.”
“What does that matter? It’s not like she’ll care anyway. If you want to have fun, my-wants-to-be-normal friend, then you’ve gotta ignore little things like facts, truths, and the law…” Gladiola nodded her head and gave Sookie her most serious look as she imparted her sage wisdom. “Always the law. It’s only a suggestion anyway.”
“No, it’s not,” Sookie replied, her words coming out slow as if she was speaking to someone who didn’t have all their mental faculties. “The law is…”
“Boring!” Gladiola cried exultantly, darting past Sookie toward the farmhouse. “The law is boring, but you know what’s not boring?” She threw the question over her shoulder while she leapt onto the porch in a move that should have been near impossible in the boots she wore. “Me!” She answered before Sookie even had a chance to open her mouth. “I’m never boring, neither are parties, and I know someone who’s throwing one tonight, and we, My Big Bubble of Sparkly Light, are going to it.”
“I’m not goin’ to a party with you,” Sookie declared firmly, crossing her arms over her chest as she moved closer to the porch steps. “I don’t know you…”
Gladiola paused on the porch and turned to face Sookie. “I told you, my name’s Gladiola,” she replied like it meant all the difference and, to Gladiola, it did. She had introduced herself, told Sookie why she was there, told her what they were going to do, so in the slightly deranged woman’s head, that made them friends.
“I don’t know anythin’ about you,” Sookie continued, ignoring Gladiola’s rather weak counter-argument. “For all I know, you could be an escaped mental patient.” It certainly made more sense than anything else Sookie could dream up. “Or a serial killer…”
Gladiola gave Sookie a look that screamed, ‘You’re being stupid.’ “Yeah, I’m a serial-killing, escaped mental patient, who wants to kill you as gruesomely as possible, and then chop you into bite-size pieces. Still, before I do all that, we’re going to the party…”
“There’s no need for sarcasm,” Sookie replied dryly. “You’re a complete stranger to me. It’d be crazy for me to go off to some party with ya.”
“Yes, but we’ve already established crazy is fun. So, quit worrying and be crazy with me,” Gladiola invited before spinning on her ridiculously high-heeled boots, opening the front door, and waltzing into Sookie’s home. “It’s party time!”
“I’m not going to a party with you,” Sookie yelled when Gladiola disappeared from her view. “I’m not going to a party with her,” she repeated to herself. “I’m not…” The telepathic blonde hovered in her spot for several long seconds before tossing her arms up and cursing, “Ah, to Hell with it.” She jogged quickly up the steps and into the farmhouse.
Sookie had been good and somewhat respectable for most of her life, believing she had to be the best daughter and granddaughter she could be to make up for her little gift. However, even if it was just for one night, Sookie wanted to say, ‘To Hell with all that.’ She wanted to let her hair down and have some fun. It was crazy, she was acting crazy, but as Gladiola said, ‘Crazy is fun.’
And if Gladiola is a serial killer and kills me gruesomely, I’ll come back as a ghost and suck her peacock ass through the TV…and then haunt everyone in this judgmental town!
“Let’s get crazy!”
Sookie fidgeted uncomfortably as she teetered on the outrageously high heels Gladiola had forced her to wear. Yes, she conceded, they made her legs look amazing as her new and crazy friend claimed they would, but that wouldn’t make a lick of difference after she fell and broke something, probably her neck.
I should really keep a lookout for the men with the padded jackets, Sookie thought rather humorlessly, deciding it was better to laugh than cry or scream…or go on a murderous rampage. Laughing was the much better choice and the least likely to put her in some serious and very much illegal trouble.
“You look amazing,” Gladiola said, drawing Sookie’s attention away from the defense she was cooking up in her head and back to the present. “You’ll be the Belle of the ball…”
“I look like I walked out of a porno!” Sookie countered, pulling on the hem of the outlandishly short dress Gladiola had thrown at her and ordered her to wear. The telepath was by no means modest when it came to clothing. She knew she had a good figure, not runway-thin, but curvaceous, and Sookie had no problem flaunting what she had. Still, in the blonde’s mind, there was a difference between flaunting and downright revealing!
The dress Gladiola had chosen (Sookie had no idea where her strange, new friend had found it because it hadn’t been in her closet), didn’t just teeter on the edge of revealing, it plummeted right over and landed upside-down! The dress, white in color, was form-fitting, low cut (meaning she couldn’t wear a bra), and Sookie swore if she bent over, everyone would be able to see…well, never mind! It was not her style at all; however, in the couple of hours since she had met Gladiola, Sookie had learned it was pointless to argue. So, she’d grumbled like Hell and put on the scrap of fabric disguised as a dress.
“Maybe you’ll meet a plumber who’ll let you play with his wrench?” Gladiola replied helpfully, thinking of the benefits of looking like one of those women. From all the movies she had watched, plumbers and wrenches seemed to be a staple. “I could do with a good wrenching myself. It’s been far too long. The last time was…”
“So, where is the party again?” Sookie asked suddenly, wanting to change the subject quickly. The last things she wanted to know about were the intimacies surrounding Gladiola’s love life. Gladiola didn’t seem to have any social boundaries, so Sookie doubted she had any hang-ups concerning those topics either. She sure as Hell didn’t want to know what other uses she had for the feathers on her headdress!
“Shreveport,” Gladiola replied, but didn’t elaborate, knowing full well if Sookie knew where they were headed, she would turn around and head by home right away. Her new, blonde friend needed to let go and have some fun for a change! Real fun, not the boring and staid kind the dull people of Bon Temps were accustomed to. No, what Sookie needed was the kinda fun that bordered on illegal! She needed Gladiola’s kind of fun!
“I already got that,” Sookie snorted while running her eyes over the somewhat familiar streets of Shreveport. Not for the first time that evening, Sookie wondered why she let Gladiola convince her into going to a party. It was completely out of character for Sookie to just take off with a stranger like she had, yet, that was exactly what she had done. She barely took the time to weigh the pros and cons, or dangers, for that matter, apart from her ‘You could be a serial killer,’ speech. She was a telepath, for God sake; she knew the dangers better than most! Still, there she was, in Shreveport, dressed in an outfit that would make a Kardashian blush, and heading to a party in some unknown place. “Where in Shreveport?” She guessed it was close, seeing as they had parked the car down the road and were now walking. “Whose party is it?”
“A friend,” Gladiola answered while she led Sookie around a corner and toward a large building where people were lined up outside. “Well, not really a friend of mine. An acquaintance, colleague…employer?” She ran through a few different terms, trying to find the best one to describe the person. “I’ve done some work for them a few times. I met them through my uncle who works for them. You’d like my Uncle Desmond, he’s fun in a way that’s totally not…” she frowned as she tried to make sense of that in her own head. “He’s boring and serious, but he can be devious, and devious is fun. So, he’s fun in a boring, serious, and devious way…”
“You have no idea what you say, do you?” Sookie said drolly. “You open your mouth, the words come out, but you have no clue what they are. It must be fun…”
“Now who’s being sarcastic?” Gladiola retorted, a small smirk tugging on her lips. Although, to be honest, Sookie wasn’t wrong. Half the time Gladiola didn’t have a clue what she was saying until after she’d said it. Despite what many people, mainly her family, thought, she wasn’t insane. Crazy? Yes. Insane? No. There was a difference. She was the same kind of crazy Sookie was. Not telepath crazy, but other crazy. Although, unlike Sookie, Gladiola didn’t care what people thought of her. If she did, she wouldn’t go around dressed like she did. She had learned long ago not to let the opinions of others affect her. “Doesn’t matter anyway,” Gladiola nodded toward the building while she added, “we’re here.”
Sookie’s eyes widened in alarm when she finally noticed the place Gladiola had taken them. “Fangtasia!” She whispered-hissed. “Are you outta ya mind?”
“Yes,” Gladiola answered truthfully with a nod of her head. “What’s wrong with Fangtasia? You ever been before?”
“No,” Sookie admitted somewhat reluctantly.
“So, what’s the problem?” Gladiola asked genuinely confused. “You’re not prejudice against vampires, are you?”
Sookie felt a bit foolish at her overreaction; she had nothing against the place personally as she just admitted she’d never even set foot inside. She had just heard loads about it, none of it good. Mainly from Bill and Sam, Sookie reminded herself. Throughout their relationship, Bill had gone on and on about Fangtasia and how horrible it was. He had gone out of his way to influence her opinion on the place and vampires in general. Bill had built himself up to be a kind of noble vampire while he painted every other member of the undead as savages and like a lovesick fool, she had believed him. Meeting the ‘Disco Triplets’ had certainly helped cement Bill’s warnings. Sookie knew now Bill was just trying to isolate her and keep her for himself. He had intentionally exposed her to them, trying to scare her, and make her believe he was the only good vampire.
Sam, on the other hand, was just an outright bigot. He hated anything ‘Supe,’ even though he, himself, was a shifter. Not that he’d ever shared that little bit of information with Sookie personally, no, she had discovered that all on her own! Sam was a hypocrite of the highest order. It never dawned on him that most of the stuff he told her wasn’t common knowledge amongst non-Supes. Hell, Weres and shifters hadn’t even revealed themselves yet. Sam just couldn’t help himself, he bad-mouthed anyone who was different; vampires, Weres, even other shifters! Sookie was grateful Sam never knew how different she was. Sookie had managed to keep her telepathy concealed from everyone outside her family, and even a few inside. She thanked her old babysitter Claudette every day for teaching her how to build shields and control them. Sookie didn’t want to imagine what her life could have been like if Claudette hadn’t been on hand to look after her when she was a child.
“Old conditionin’ dies hard,” Sookie answered only half-joking, thinking of the way Bill tried to control her. “I’ve got nothin’ against vampires…well, except for my ex. Him, I hate.”
“Vamps are like people. You’ve got your good, bad, and ugly,” Gladiola replied. “You can’t judge them all on the actions of one… Although,” she added after a brief pause, “I understand why you hate your ex. Dude was a jackass.”
“You know Bill?” Sookie asked, her interest piqued by Gladiola’s apparent familiarity with him. She certainly described him perfectly.
“Unfortunately,” Gladiola admitted, shuddering at the thought of the antiquated vampire. If there was a reason to hate vampires based on the behavior of one, it would be due to William T. Compton. He was the kind of vampire who gave all Supes a bad name. “I met him years ago, before you knew him…and before you ask, no, a big fat NO! I never dated him or anything like that. I wasn’t that stupid… No offense,” she tacked on hastily, remembering Sookie had been that stupid.
“None taken,” Sookie said, shrugging her shoulders. Dating Bill hadn’t been one of her brighter ideas. In fact, it had been the stupidest one she ever had, and she still half-blamed her grandmother for introducing them. Of course, Adele was dead now, so Sookie couldn’t fully blame her for encouraging her to give Bill a chance. “How’d ya meet him?” She asked, curious to know more about her new friend.
“At a gathering in New Orleans,” Gladiola answered, choosing her words carefully, not wanting to give too much away when it came to the Supe world. She knew Sookie wasn’t human, thanks to her Uncle Desmond. He had confided in her about his old friend, Fintan, his affair with Sookie’s grandmother and that he had fathered her two children, but Gladiola didn’t know how much other the blonde had in her. Gladiola knew Sookie was different, she could sense that much, but she had no idea how much Sookie herself knew. Gladiola believed Sookie had the right to know, something her Uncle Desmond agreed with, but they were powerless to inform her due to The Dae/Fae Peace Treaty of 1476. They were forbidden to outright tell her, but if she learned the truth by other means, then they could share the truth with her. Effing politics. “My uncle attended a social event in the city. One of his most important clients threw a massive ball and he invited me along. I met Bill then. He was worked for Sophie-Anne at the time…”
“Was she the Queen then, too?” Sookie asked with a dazzling smile, cutting Gladiola off. It was obvious to her that Gladiola was talking about the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq. She giggled at the surprised look on her new friend’s face, “I’m not uneducated backwater trash. I know all about the vampire power structure and politics.” Bill may not have mentioned it, but Sookie wasn’t as ill-informed as he would have believed, or he wanted her to be. She knew about the power structure of more than just vampires as well. Sookie learned from an early age she was different, so she had spent years learning what else was out there. Many of her lessons had come from her old babysitter, Claudette. Sookie knew her babysitter hadn’t been human and, as soon as she was old enough, she had called Claudette out on it.
The fairy hadn’t been able to tell Sookie everything, on orders of the ruling Prince of Fae who said Sookie was to be left uninformed of their ways until he was ready to go to her, but she had been able to teach her about the other Supes in the world. The Prince, in his overblown belief of his own superiority, never thought to forbid anyone to teach Sookie of non-Fae things, and it was something Claudette had taken advantage of for years.
“How?” Gladiola asked, seemingly perplexed. The last thing she expected was for Sookie to know about the Supe world. She was shocked, happy, but shocked!
“Same way I know you’re not human,” Sookie replied, enjoying surprising Gladiola. “Same way I know I’m not. I might be blonde, but I’m not stupid! I know when people are different.” She wasn’t going to tell Gladiola how she knew; she didn’t trust her that much. She’d known the second Gladiola appeared in her yard that she wasn’t human. The colorful and crazy woman had been pinging against her shields from the time she’d shown up. It wasn’t a bad feeling. It was rather pleasant, if she was honest.
Different, that was definitely one way to put it. Flicking her eyes toward the bar, a smile tugged at Gladiola’s painted lips when she noticed the rigid-looking blonde standing outside, manning the door. “You wanna go and meet some more different people?” She asked.
Running her hands over her barely-there dress, Sookie flattened out a few ripples and straightened her posture, “Well, I didn’t get dressed up in this scrap of fabric for nothin’.”
Linking her arm with Sookie, Gladiola pulled the blonde with her while she made her way to the front of the line, ignoring all the moaning people they passed. “Pam,” Gladiola greeted before walking by the vampire at the door, not waiting for her to allow them entry, knowing she and Sookie, as her guest, had automatic entry, thanks to the owner. Gladiola slipped her hand down Sookie’s arm and gripped her hand while she led her into the Den of Iniquity that was Fangtasia.
“Welcome to Fangtasia…”
The second she stepped inside Fangtasia, Sookie felt a wave of minds press against hers. For one, long, agonizing minute, she heard every thought in the club, the yearning to be bitten, the desire to be taken, and the unnatural need to be possessed by any vampire willing. The place swam in desperation, it clung to the walls, and covered most of the party guests. It was painful to feel and hear, and Sookie considered turning on her heels to get the Hell out of there. However, as she learned long ago, Sookie quickly took control of her own mind and forced the others to retreat, strengthening her shields as she did so. Her mind was her own and she refused to allow anyone else hold sway over it.
While the voices faded, Sookie centered herself, and finally looked around the place. Fangtasia was everything she thought it would be and nothing like she imagined. It was dark and eerie and everything stereotypical about vampires. It was as if it had inserted itself into a niche and was exploiting it for all it was worth. There was no truth to be found in the place, so, in that sense, it was rather sad.
On the other hand, for a place that embodied everything clichéd about the undead, it felt so alive. The club had an energy to it, one that thrummed with promise. It spoke of unforgettable evenings and memories that would last a lifetime, but only to the mortals who entered its doors. The vampires were much harder to read, and not just because their minds were blank to Sookie. Their faces held no expressions, their chests unmoving, as their lack for the need of oxygen made them appear statue-like. If it weren’t for their eyes, Sookie would have believed they were statues! Oh, but their eyes told a different story. Life shone in the eyes of the undead; it was a beautiful thing to behold.
Fangtasia, Sookie realized, was nothing like Bill had claimed. She was eager to explore the place and discover more, starting with the blond-haired Adonis, sitting on the throne who hadn’t taken his eyes off her from the moment she walked in…
A small smile tugged at Sookie’s lips while Gladiola pulled her toward the large bar taking up most of the front wall. She could feel the blond God’s eyes on her, undressing her, and doing all kinds of wicked things to her body. She felt a flush spread over her, heating her from the inside out.
“What d’ya want?” A gruff voice said, interrupting Sookie’s lustful thoughts.
“Sazerac and a Spiced Mojito,” Gladiola replied before Sookie had a chance to say anything. The fiery Dae was determined to push her new friend out of her comfort zone to experience what the world had to offer, and she was starting with a new drink. She wouldn’t force Sookie to do anything she didn’t want to do, but she would encourage her to broaden her horizons.
Sookie shrugged instead of putting up a fight. She didn’t normally like others ordering for her, but, if only for one night, she was determined to let go and enjoy herself for once. She had been restrained for so long. Taking the drink Gladiola ordered her Sookie pushed away from the bar, letting Gladiola pay for the first round and made her way to an empty table. As luck would have it, the table was in direct line of the throne and in clear view of her vampire admirer.
In addition to His eyes, Sookie could also feel the angry and hateful glares of many of the guests in the club. It was obvious to her they didn’t like the attention she was receiving from Him. A quick dip into the head of the badly-dressed woman a few feet away from her told Sookie ‘The Master’ and she scoffed internally at that title, didn’t usually focus on any specific individual the way he was on her. Sookie felt a spike of lust shoot through her with the knowledge. She was so used to being an afterthought when it came to any romantic interest, it was a boost to her confidence to know that someone so good-looking might desire her.
“I see you’ve captured The Viking’s attention?” Gladiola said after she slipped into the seat opposite Sookie.
“The Viking?” Sookie asked, arching a brow. The Viking sounded much better than ‘The Master’ to Sookie. It alluded to a rich history, a life of adventure, and stories to be told. ‘The Master’ just sounded campy and arrogant to the blonde.
“Northman,” Gladiola replied, giving a subtle nod toward the blond Adonis. “He runs things around here. His word is law. Everyone answers to him.”
“Everyone… Even you?” Sookie questioned, wondering if the title of Master was an actual title, not just something the fangbangers called him. She sure as Hell wouldn’t call him that! She had no problem addressing people with their proper titles and respect, but she wouldn’t give anyone that kind of control over her…unless they were roleplaying.
“No,” Gladiola answered with a small laugh. She worked for Northman from time to time, but she never really answered to him. Few people could assert control over her, she was a free spirit. “I’ll show him the respect he’s earned while I’m here, but I don’t answer to him like the vampires do,” She didn’t bother censoring her words, having realized Sookie knew more about the Supe world than she originally believed.
“Good to know,” Sookie said, her eyes flicking to The Viking again. From the smirk on his gorgeous face, Sookie deduced he heard everything they said. A small smile curled Sookie’s lips after a thought popped into her head. “Does that mean Bill… Bill Compton,” she added, making sure to say his full name, knowing The Viking could hear, “answered to him as well?” The small smile turned into a full-blown one after she saw her Adonis nod in reply. “I bet he loved that…”
Eric Northman chuckled when the stunning blonde’s words reached his ears. There was something about the woman that intrigued him. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her since she walked in with Gladiola. The Daemon he knew very well, thanks to the work she sometimes did for him, but the blonde didn’t seem the kind to be in the same line of work as Gladiola. He doubted she did wet work for certain vampires. Still, she seemed to have some knowledge of the Supernatural world. Eric wondered how far that knowledge went and who had taught her. He’d heard her mention the cretin, Compton, but Eric knew that waste of blood wouldn’t have told her anything. Compton didn’t know anything himself, so he couldn’t share any wisdom. Eric thought it was lucky the Civil War reject hadn’t tripped and fallen on a stake yet! He was curious as to how his blonde beauty knew Compton.
Eric was just about to call her over and find out for himself when the fool in question showed himself in the club and made a beeline straight for Eric’s future lover. Normally, Eric would have intervened, or, rather, had one of his people do it. He didn’t like getting his hands dirty with the vermin if a vampire showed obsessive and downright creepy behavior with one of his customers. Not that Eric actually cared about them, they were only good for a feed and a fuck, and sometimes they weren’t even good for that. Regardless of his personal feelings, he had an Area to run and that meant keeping the little vampire fuckers in line. This night, however, he decided to stay his hand a little. He would intervene if Compton got out of control and threatened his Goddess in any way, but he wanted to see what she was made of, to see if she burned as hot as she looked.
“Sookeh!” Bill Compton exclaimed, rushing to the table where she was happily seated, stumbling over his feet as he did so. “What are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here, it’s not safe. I’ll take you home. Come on, Sweetheart…”
Sookie barely had time to register his presence before she felt his cold hand wrap around her upper arm and attempt to pull her out of her seat. “Bill! What the fuck?!” She exclaimed, wrenching her arm from his grip and settling herself back in her seat. “Keep ya fuckin’ hands off me!”
“Sookeh!” Bill cried, clutching a hand to his unbeating heart in a pathetic attempt to make it look as if she’d wounded him. “That is not the kind of language a proper lady should use. What would your Grandmother think?” He added, trying to shame her. He wanted, no, needed, to get her out of Fangtasia right away! He didn’t want Eric fucking Northman sniffing around her and undoing all the hard work he had put into her. Sookie was HIS, and the sooner she realized it, the better. Bill knew he had made a mistake when she caught him screwing Brandi, but he was confident he could make her see reason and take him back. It wasn’t as if he was really at fault, after all. Sookie had shown up at his house, unannounced, and just barged right in. She should have had better manners than that! If she would have called first and then waited, he would have been done with Brandi, and Sookie would have been none the wiser. So, really, it was Sookie’s fault, Bill had decided. She should have been apologizing to him for her rudeness!
“I doubt she’d care, seein’ how she’s dead,” Sookie snorted, seeing right through Bill’s attempt to shame her. She was only ashamed that it had once worked on her. At one point in their relationship, the mere mention of her Gran would have had Sookie backing down and apologizing. Well, not anymore! “And as for my language… It’s the twenty-first century, Bill. I can say and do anythin’ I fuckin’ like. If ya don’t like that, well, ya can go jerk off in a corner and cry while ya do it.”
Bill couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Sookie, his Sookie, his sweet little flower was cursing up a storm, and not caring who overheard. Bill couldn’t allow her to speak to him that way! He would lose the imagined respect he believed he had gained among the vampires of Area Five. He needed to nip it in the bud, to put Sookie in her place for all to see.
“SOOKEH!” Bill squeaked, sounding more like an angry duck than a ferocious vampire. “I will not allow you…”
“Allow me?” Sookie repeated, cutting Bill off, mid-scolding. “Let’s get one thing clear right now, Bill Compton! You don’t tell me what to do, you don’t tell me what to say, you don’t have any say in my life…”
“Sook…” Bill froze once he felt the hand on his shoulder. He didn’t need to look to know to whom the hand belonged, it could only be one person. He tried desperately to disguise his fear as he slowly turned, moving his gaze from an angry Sookie to an amused-looking Eric.
“Bill,” Eric greeted pleasantly as if he wasn’t crushing the other vampire’s collarbone. “It appears you are bothering one of my guests, something I am sure you are aware is unacceptable inside Fangtasia.”
“My apologies, Sheriff,” Bill replied through clenched teeth, hating having to bow down to Eric. In Bill’s deluded mind, he was twice the vampire Eric was and would make a far better Sheriff for Queen Leclerq. “My human is not accustomed to our way of life and was acting in a manner unfit for vampire company. I will take her home now, and school her in our ways. Sookeh, come…”
“Bill, go,” Sookie said, shooting him a baleful look. She had no intention of going anywhere with her ex, and she swore if he had put off The Viking with his bullshit behavior, she would shove a stake right up his narrow ass! “Also, I’m not your human…”
“Sookeh!” Bill cried, aghast that she had denied his claim in front of everyone and, more importantly, Eric. “You don’t know…”
“Will you just…” Sookie paused and took a deep breath, tired of arguing with Bill, especially when she knew he wouldn’t listen. He never did. Looking past Bill to The Viking, she gave him a warm smile and asked, “Will you make him leave? I came here to have some fun, not to be harassed by my ex.”
“I could, but it will cost you,” Eric replied, loving the sound of her voice. He hoped to hear it screaming his name later.
“What will it cost me?” Sookie asked rather flirtatiously while she ran her eyes over him. If she thought he was good-looking from across the bar, it was nothing compared to him up close. The vampire was sex on legs and Lord forgive her, she wanted nothing more than to wrap her legs around his waist.
“Your name and a dance,” Eric answered, keeping his real desire for her under wraps for the time being. Everything else would come in time.
“No… She is…” Bill protested, trying to stop them any way he could.
“Sookie Stackhouse,” Sookie replied, speaking over Bill’s pitiful protest. There was no way she was going to let him ruin what could be a great night for her! “I’d love to dance…”
“Eric Northman,” Eric said, answering her unspoken plea to know his name. “Compton, leave,” he ordered while he reached his hand out for Sookie’s. Eric’s eyes never left Sookie’s as she slipped her small hand into his larger one and allowed him to guide her onto the dance floor. He never danced with the women who frequented his club, but there was something different about his blonde bombshell. He could tell just by looking she wasn’t a fangbanger. This lady was something else, something special, and he was eager to uncover all there was to know about her.
Bill watched in horror while Sookie moved into Eric’s embrace and the two of them started to sway to the music. It was his worst nightmare come true. Eric Northman and Sookie Stackhouse together, it could not be happening! How had everything gone wrong?
Gladiola smirked when Bill was tossed unceremoniously out of the club. Phase one was complete, Eric and Sookie had met, and the connection had been made. While she watched, Sookie rested her head against Eric’s chest and the Viking tightened his arm around her. Gladiola had to admit her Uncle Desmond was right. If it was meant to be, it would be. Eric Northman and Sookie Stackhouse were meant to be. They just needed to be pointed in the right direction.