"Me?" I squeaked. "What happened now?"
"Some of the females out front are acting strangely. Or stranger than normal, I should say. I need you to see what's going on in their empty heads." That Pam, she sure loved her customers.
I shrugged. "Okay, not a problem. Let's get started."
I was almost to the door when I heard Pam again. "Not yet, Eric. You stay." I whipped around to see Pam standing in front of Eric with one hand out to stop him. His face tightened and I saw anger flash in his eyes.
"Excuse me, child, but I must have misunderstood you. I thought I just heard you tell me that I cannot accompany my lover into my bar." Uh-oh. This was going downhill, fast. I stepped in between the two of them and put a hand on Eric's chest.
"Eric, I'm sure Pam has a good reason for asking you to wait, right Pam?" I looked at her and prayed that no matter what the next thing out of her mouth was, it had better be intelligent.
She took a step back and lowered her gaze from Eric's face. "Master, I apologize. Please forgive my being curt with you. I am just concerned that since it is mostly females who are acting strangely, your presence will affect the atmosphere and make it difficult for Sookie to detect any problems that may arise." Wow. For being such a smartass most of the time, Pam sure knew how to kiss some sheriff butt.
Eric stood up straight and glared down at Pam for a minute. "Very well. You will accompany Sookie on the floor, and you are not to leave her side for any reason. As soon as the problem is found, you are to return her to me. If you have not returned within twenty minutes, I will come to you. Is this understood, child?" Pam nodded and bowed to him. "Leave us. I will speak to Sookie for a moment first." Pam rose and left the room, bowing once more before closing the door.
I looked up at Eric and shuddered. His face was still set with anger, and even though he was not mad at me, I felt waves of disapproval coming off of him. Suddenly, he seemed to realize I was standing there with my hand on his chest, and he smiled. "Sookie, lover, before you say anything, I know you do not like me acting as if you are a possession of mine. However, in the vampire world, people and vampires alike who we care for and/or work for us are considered 'assets'. I do not like leaving you to work without me, especially in a room full of vampires. I wasn't lying earlier when I said you looked good enough to eat, and I'm afraid someone else may have the same idea."
I wasn't happy about being considered one of Eric's 'assets', but I felt safe enough in a bar with a vampire next to me. "You forget Eric, I work in a bar. I'm used to people making inappropriate passes at me." He growled at that, but I ignored him. "And besides, I'm going to walk up to the bartender, get a drink, and just listen. No biggie. I'll see you in twenty minutes." I kissed his cheek and left the office. Pam was waiting in the hallway for me, and she took my hand as we started towards the main room.
"Sookie, I appreciate what you did in there, but it was unnecessary. Whenever I make him angry, he always gives me a chance to explain before he decides whether or not I am to be punished. I have told you before, he is a kind master and maker, and more than that, he is my friend." I raised my eyebrows at her. This was more than I have ever gotten out of Pam before. "He has never been unfair with punishments, and has always made them appropriate for the circumstances. Even when I was young and rebellious, he never failed to hear me out when I explained myself, whether I was right or wrong."
We were now standing next to the door leading into the bar. "Enough about that. Your assignment is to listen for any reason why the females in here are acting strangely. Some of them may react unfavorably to your presence, due to your known association with Eric. Therefore, I will be acting as if those are my marks on your neck. I realize that isn't how you do things, Sookie, but play along. As we walk around I will point out the ones I have noticed and you try to concentrate on them." I nodded and Pam pushed open the door.
Stepping into the bar was like stepping into a different world from Eric's office. The lights were dimmer than usual and there were a few strobe lights going. Both people and vampires were dancing to some heavy metal blaring through huge speakers. The place was filled with people and I automatically threw up my strongest shields. I followed Pam to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic. She got her bottle of blood and we walked around hand-in-hand while I listened.
"There, the bleach-blonde whore with the fake tits." I followed her gaze and saw the woman she was referring to, and her description was right on the money. She looked like a Pam Anderson-wannabe reject. I singled her out of the crowd and listened. "Wow this place is busy I wonder where that hot blond vamp is the owner I think oh what I wouldn't do to him" I mentally growled at her picture of what she wanted to do to my Eric. "Geez I think I had too much to drink maybe I shouldn't have taken that drink from that one guy he wasn't even a vamp and he wanted to get me a drink -she pictured a stocky man with brown hair- wierd but whatever it was a free drink god I need laid I better get some or I'm gonna be pissed my feet hurt I just wish a vamp would bite me hey what is that girl looking at isn't she the owners pet or something wait what the fuck is she looking at me for fuck this I'm out of here this place is dead anyway hahaha" She got up and staggered out of the bar. I mentally followed her to her car and 'watched' her drive off. I told Pam I got something, but not much, and we should keep going.
We circled the bar and Pam located another one of the women. This one was a stereotypical fangbanger. Short, spiky, dyed black hair, too much eyeliner, and a skintight dress so short it looked like she pulled a tank top down to cover herself. I tuned in to this woman, and heard more of the same; desire to be bitten, lust for that tall vampire with blond hair -grrrr- and thinking about that strange guy that bought her a drink. This fangbanger had a better memory than the Pam-wannabe, and I got a good look at the 'drink man'. He looked to be in his mid-30s or so, with short brown hair and greenish eyes. He was dressed in a polo shirt and khakis, not someone you would expect to see in a vamp bar. I nodded at Pam and we made our way to the bar to get our drinks refreshed.
I scanned the bar visually and found the man immediately. He was just an average looking guy and wouldn't stand out in a crowd, but of course this wasn't a regular crowd, so he stuck out like a sore thumb. I tried to listen in, but he didn't project the way the two women had. I leaned down to Pam's ear, "Let's dance." She looked at me, surprised, and I jerked my head in the man's direction. I saw it click in her head, so I downed my drink, took her hand and we walked onto the dance floor like we owned it...well, she actually did, or at least part of it, but that was beside the point. We stopped about ten feet from The Man -as I referred to him in my head- and he had a clear view of us.
A new song started playing, and I recognized this one. Nine Inch Nails, 'Closer'. It had a good beat to it, and even though I would have like it to be Eric I was dancing with, it helped make it seem like Pam and I really were together. Surprisingly, Pam was a really good dancer. I never pictured her as someone who would take pleasure in something so human as dancing. As we rubbed and grinded and writhed against each other, I heard most of the thoughts in the bar shift to the two of us. Apparently two leggy blondes practically having sex with each other on the dance floor was an interesting sight. I closed my eyes and concentrated on The Man. He was aroused by our performance, and was broadcasting very clearly now. Only years of pretending I heard nothing from people's heads allowed me to keep my composure after I listened for a minute.
"Holy mother of God look at those two that girl has the nicest rack I've ever seen too bad she's into dead guys fucking whore maybe I should get her a drink next that'll show those damned bloodsuckers they aren't welcome around here I am so glad I met Steve -he pictured Steve Newlin, my biggest fan from Dallas and leader of The Fellowship of the Sun- and he saved me but look at me of course I'd be the one he sent for recon work Jesus Christ that girl is hot isn't that one of the head vamps she's dancing with I should definately get her a drink next maybe double the dose in hers if she wasn't a vamp loving slut I would do everything to her I'd better get her a drink before she gets drained I need to get this shit into the vamps- His 'voice' faded as he moved to the bar. The song was ending, so I turned to Pam and opened my eyes.
"Pam, I go-, " I broke off mid-word as I took in her face. She was staring at me, undisguised longing in her eyes. Her pupils were fully dilated and her fangs were all the way out.
"Pam...PAM! Snap out of it!" I waved my hand in front of her face and she gave her head a small shake, as if to clear her thoughts. Suddenly, she grabbed my hand, still out in front of me, held it down to her side, and kissed me.
When I say that she kissed me, I don't mean a peck on the cheek or a quick brush across my lips. Her hand held mine on her hip, her free hand pulled my face to hers, and she was hell-bent on sucking my tongue down her throat. I was in shock, too surprised to do much except make sure I didn't fall over. I closed my eyes and tried not to think about Gran rolling over in her grave at what was happening. Half a second later, I was overcome with anger, which was quickly covered up by pure lust. My body responded to this new sensation and I felt my hands wrap around Pam and pull her closer to me. I explored the inside of her mouth and she moaned when I ran my tongue over her fangs.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, gently pushing me away from Pam. I broke the kiss, more due to my need of oxygen than the pressure on my shoulder. When I opened my eyes I looked up to see Eric staring down at me, his fangs fully extended again, and an unfathomable expression of his face. I glanced at Pam, who had stepped back a few feet when Eric had intervened, and she was still staring at me with hungry eyes. "I told you that you were asking for trouble without me, lover."
My mouth fell open and I blushed furiously. "Eric! I, uh... I, um...I-" I stuttered uncontrollably. I made an attempt to gather myself. "I need a drink." Before he could say anything, I spun on my heel and raced to the bar. Felicia was serving drinks, I just noticed. Just as I was about to order another gin and tonic, I was interrupted... by The Man. I let down my shields enough to hear him again.
He was holding two drinks and set one down in front of me. "Hello there, gorgeous." Slut. "That was quite a performance out there. My name is Ryan." He grinned broadly. If I hadn't known what he was thinking, I would have thought he was a nice guy.
I plastered my fake smile on and greeted him. "Thanks, I'm Sookie. Most of that was supposed to be behind closed doors, though, but you knows how vamps can get sometimes." Out of the corner of my eye I saw Felicia raise an eyebrow, but she said nothing.
"I figured after a workout like that, you could use some refreshment. A gin and tonic, I believe, is what you were drinking earlier." I nodded and took the drink from him. I was bombarded with his thoughts as our hands brushed. Once she drinks that she won't be able to stand up but from how the bloodsuckers were looking at her earlier that won't be a problem with the amount in her glass she'll take down three or four easy and then they'll be ripe for the staking -internal laughter at his joke. I didn't find it funny- I feel kind of bad for her damn but her boobs look even better up close but she hangs with vamps and Steve says that's just as bad as being one so once I get that into her I'll have to stick around and get at least a couple more sluts drugged up maybe one of 'em will get that big blond one oh shit here he comes he's looking at me ohshitohshitohshit. He was a very good actor. Despite his internal terror, he was calm as could be on the outside.
Eric walked up to me and draped his arm around my shoulders. He kissed my temple and leveled a look at Ryan. "My lover, who is your new friend?" I could feel Ryan's insides doing a little happy-dance at the fact that the 'big blond one' called me his lover.
"Eric, this is Ryan. He insisted on buying me a drink after my, um, dance." I felt his anger and tried to send calm reassurance to him. "Ryan, it was very nice to meet you, but I do believe I must be going now. Thank you for the drink." I smiled and let Eric lead me back to his office. Pam was nowhere to be seen.
He rounded on me the second the door was closed. "What in the hell do you think you were doing out there? I leave you alone for not even twenty minutes and you're out there dry humping Pam, my child, in the middle of my bar! And then I can barely pull you off of her? And then you accept a drink from a mere human? Why in the fuck are you still holding that glass, get rid of it!" He was yelling by the end, and an angry viking vampire is not a pretty sight. But by then, I had enough alcohol in my system to give me some liquid courage and bypass the filter between my brain and mouth.
"Now you listen here, and you listen good. I did NOT expect any of that to happen. I did NOT agree to help Pam out so you could yell at me. And I most certainly did not expect to find someone out there trying to kill your stupid viking ass!" I screamed the last part and slammed my glass down on his desk. Some of the liquid splashed over the side and puddled on the pristine finish, but I couldn't care less at this point. I jabbed my finger in the direction of my drink. "That mere human just tried to drug me so your ass could be staked!" I felt his white-hot anger at me dissapate, and a cold rage take its place. Even though I knew this new rage wasn't directed at me, the level tone of his voice chilled me down to my bones.
"What did you just say?"