Chapter 2: First Meeting
I cautiously looked around the old home that had once been mine. Much had changed over the years, and yet it still looked very much like the place I once called home with my wife and children. Electricity had been added at some point, but was in dire need of updating, if not being completely replaced. The same could be said for much of the house.
My descendent, Jessie Compton, had recently passed away, and as he had no descendents himself, ownership of the land reverted to me. While he had been an old man, I had no doubt in my mind who was actually responsible for his very timely death. Queen Sophie-Anne told me that by the time I was done purchasing needed supplies for my database in New Orleans, that the arrangements for my return to Bon Temps would have been taken care of. The last night at the palace, I was informed I would be returning to my human home, and that she would see to it that the land reverted back to me. The red tape that should have been involved, appeared to be nonexistent, but I knew in this case, she had dealt with that matter as well. Apparently, it was good to be the Queen.
A small part of me wondered if I should be bothered that my queen had killed one of my descendants so that I could live closer to this Stackhouse girl, but by and large, most of me simply did not care. I told myself he had been old for a human anyway, and it was likely more merciful that he received an earlier demise than he may have intended.
Stepping further into the house, and noticing just how much it truly would cost to restore this house to more habitable conditions, I actually wondered if he hadn’t received mercy, while I was being punished for some reason. Having to seduce, what was according to her cousin, some half-wit human, should have been punishment enough for whatever my crime had been.
I argued (for a short time anyway) with Sophie-Anne about living elsewhere, as I had no desire to take up residence in my family home. The queen had been adamant however, that living in such close proximity to the human girl would give me more of an advantage in gaining her trust and loyalty. I was indeed loath at having to lower myself to seducing a human, but if this request was what it took to gain Sophie-Anne’s loyalty, I would do my assigned task, and as quickly as possible.
I wandered around my re-found home, taking mental notes of the things that needed to be done, and what supplies I would need. My mind kept wandering back to my discussion with the queen’s newest child. It was her cousin I had been sent to Bon Temps for.
Hadley was rather unremarkable, in my own opinion, though she had somehow garnered enough attention from the queen to earn a lifetime at her side. I had spent my last several nights at the palace compound, going over with the girl just what she could remember of her cousin.
I was determined to do this task as quickly and as efficiently as possible so that I could move on to my real project. From Hadley’s description of her cousin, the girl seemed simpleminded and slow-witted, possibly even a bit crazy. Hadley claimed at any rate, that she was at least fair to the eye, and I could only hope Hadley was correct and I was not only stuck with a human, but an ugly one on top of it.
The girl supposedly worked as a barmaid at the local tavern, so apparently the girl had little ambition. This, in part, made me wonder about the validity of Hadley’s claim that the girl was psychic or something similar. Why a girl with any such powers would maintain such a lowly life was beyond me. Perhaps Hadley was merely trying to maintain the queen’s interest in her. I had also considered that if the girl did prove to be special in some way, that it would at least partially explain why the queen was willing to tie the Hadley to herself for eternity. It might then prove to be a good gamble in insuring the cousin’s complicity.
With one last sigh as I took in my newfound home, I decided that there was no time like the present, to begin my assignment. I had not fed this night, instead driving straight from New Orleans when the sun set, and as the girl worked at a bar, I decided one way or another I could find my sustenance for the night.
After leaving my home, I made my way to the bar. Merlotte’s, it was called. I made a quick circuit around the property of the bar, but it appeared to be a simple backwater tavern. Nothing seemed to stand out, but my last conversation with the queen replayed in my head, as a wonderful smell near the back of the bar caught my attention.
“You will gain the girl’s loyalty for me, give her your blood if necessary, bond her if you absolutely must, though I would rather save that task for myself, but do not turn that girl. I have many plans for her in the years to come, and such abilities as she might have rarely survive the turning. If she proves useful, I may someday risk her turning, but she will be my child. Are we understood?” Sophie-Anne had stated.
Though I could not understand why she would think I would want this simpleton attached to myself for eternity, let alone give her the gift of my blood, I knew better than to tell her this. I had simply bowed and said, “Of course, my queen.”
The back of the bar had the normal myriad of smells, but also mixed in was the stink of a shifter. The air held the delicate aroma of something much better than anything else I had ever encountered as well, and I could not help but wonder if it was from the girl I was meant to ensnare.
Perhaps this task would not be as much of a hardship as I feared.
I made my way back around to the front of the bar and entered the smoky atmosphere. I followed the delicious smell to the area of the bar where it was most concentrated, and took a seat, hoping that the wonderful smell indeed belonged to the Stackhouse girl.
As I looked up to where the smell was coming from near the bar, I was stunned to see that the smell did emanate from the Stackhouse girl Hadley had described. She was nothing like I imagined. A bright smile lit up her lovely face. The bartender, and I presumed the owner as well, appeared to be the shifter I smelt, and while no one else in the bar seemed to recognize what I was, the shifter did if I went by the scowl on his face.
The girl stopped in front of me and asked brightly, “What can I get you?”
The shifter continued to scowl at me from behind the bar, and I wondered at the girl’s apparent excitement. Did every new stranger excite her so? Perhaps Hadley was more correct than I thought and she was simpleminded. I wondered what her reaction would be when she realized I was vampire. “Do you have the bottled synthetic blood?” I questioned keeping my voice low and even.
The girl did not skip a beat and answered just as brightly, “No, I’m so sorry! Sam’s got some on order. Should be in next week.”
“Then red wine, please,” I asked. I could not drink the beverage, but at least it would give me an excuse to sit and observe the girl for a time before I had to find alternative of some sort before my thirst became too strong.
The girl gave a small laugh, and I wondered at her not being surprised at my choice of beverage. Did she know the instant I walked in that I was a vampire as her boss, this Sam had?
“Don’t mind, Sookie, mister, she’s crazy,” said a greasy human man from a booth across from me. I did not move my eyes from the girl, and watched as the smile faded from her face to a more determined look.
The girl ignored the opinion of the human as well and replied to me, “I’ll get your wine right away,” then returned to the bar.
When she returned with the glass of wine, she placed it quite carefully on the table in front of me. My eyes had not left her form, studying what this creature before me was, and how best to go about gaining her trust.
After staring into my eyes for a time, she said in her again bright voice, “Enjoy!”
I was tempted to glamour the girl into sitting with me for a time, especially with her looking me so willingly in the eye, but before I could decide, the greasy human’s voice rang out again.
“Hey, Sookie! We need another pitcher of beer here!”
The girl gave a tired sigh, and took the empty beer pitcher from the human’s table and returned to the bar with it. As the girl filled the pitcher and returned it, I let my gaze turn from the girl to the greasy human and his companion.
The human and his female companion were nothing special, normal small town trash, but I could see their interest in the fact that I was a vampire. The couple soon made their way over to my table and sat down without an invitation. If I had not been interested in an easy meal, I would have told them their impertinence in joining my table uninvited was not welcomed.
They made small talk for a time, asking if I was new to the area and such, though I responded as little as possible. All the while, the female kept drawing my attention to her neck and arching it towards me. It was very apparent that this woman, and likely this man were fangbangers, hoping that I would bite and sleep with one or perhaps both of them. Nothing was appetizing about either human, but I had not fed yet, and the smell of the Stackhouse girl was nearly overwhelming my senses.
As the bar became busier, my thirst grew to an uncomfortable level. I wanted to grab the girl and find out if her blood was as wonderful as her smell, but I knew I couldn’t give in to my thirst now. The couple began to make veiled offers of blood and sex, and finally I decided that I had observed the girl long enough for the first night. I left the bar with the couple and walked to a wooded area away from the parking lot with them. I had certainly fed in worse places than this, and the woman was more than willing.
I let myself focus on the woman in front of me, who was more than willing to be my meal. Such strange times it had become. Who would have guessed vampires would now come to feed nightly on willing humans.
Just before I could sink my fangs into the woman before me, I felt the searing pain of silver slip around my neck from behind.
I had walked right into their trap! How could I be so stupid!
The pain of the silver burning my skin was overwhelming, allowing the man and woman to push me to the ground and drape my arms and legs in the rest of the length of silver chain. The woman made quick work of fitting my arm with a tourniquet and beginning to draw blood. My fangs were still distended in pain, and though I hissed at the drainers, they ignored me and continued their work silently. They were obviously not new to this line of work.
Suddenly, the man pitched forward as he was struck from behind. My eyes darted to the human that had attacked him. I was shocked to see the Stackhouse girl wielding a length of chain. The woman seemed unfazed though, and moved onto filling a third Vacutainer. The blood loss was not substantial yet, but mixed with my previous hunger, was causing my bloodlust to rise to dangerous levels.
The man had jumped up, pulling out a knife, which he brandished at the girl.
“Uh-oh!” the girl said, though she grinned at the man.
“You crazy bitch!” the man screamed. Though I was thankful for the girl’s efforts, I was inclined to agree with him.
The man jumped at the girl, trying and narrowly missing slicing the girl in the arm. At the same time, the chain the girl swung, wrapped tightly around the man’s neck, cutting off his air supply. He quickly dropped to his knees, trying to find a grasp on the chain to loosen it. The woman finally seemed to realize her predicament and dove for the dropped knife, but stopped in her tracks when the girl grabbed it first. She cursed for some time before the Stackhouse girl spoke.
In a resolute voice she said, “Get. Out. Now.”
The woman tried to grab the vials of blood that she had collected but left them when the girl yelled at her to leave them.
After a tense moment of staring, the woman finally pulled her companion to his feet and drug him towards a dented red sports car. The girl stared after them for a time, but when the car fired up, and started towards us, she seemed to realize I was still helpless to move. As the woman drove towards us, the girl grabbed at my shoulders and pulled backwards into the trees while shouting, “Push with your feet!” I didn’t need to be told twice. Being run over by the car would not be fatal, but coupled with the blood loss, would be very painful. I could only offer a little help, but pushed as much as I could to help.
We barely made it back far enough for my feet to be missed by the tires of the car. “Oh, wow,” the girl exclaimed as she knelt beside me. The silver was still burning into my flesh, and I wanted to get her to focus her attention back on me and remove it, but I steeled myself, and forced myself to give her a moment more to calm herself.
“Oh, you poor thing,” she cried when she seemed to finally take in the smoke coming from my burning skin. She slowly, and almost tenderly, began to pull the silver from my skin, while whispering, “Poor baby.” It was disconcerting to say the least to be referred to as a baby by this girl, but I still remained silent. I think in part I was still in shock that this human girl would risk her life for a vampire she had not even had a conversation with, let alone known.
When my arms were released, I cradled them to my chest, feeling them slowly heal. I wanted nothing more than the grab this girl, and replace the blood that was lost, but she had rendered me great aid. It didn’t seem right somehow to feed from her without her permission. A disturbing thought in itself.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get here faster,” she apologized. Now that the pain was receding, my mind was coming back to me. How had she known that there was trouble? Had she known something was going to happen? “You’ll feel better in a minute, right? Do you want me to leave?” she continued.
I immediately shook my head no, then truthfully added, “They might come back, and I can’t fight yet.”
I began to remove the tourniquet and tried to right myself as best as I could. The girl crouched down a little ways away from me on the pavement with her back to me. Eventually I regained enough strength to sit up and I silently studied the girl for a time.
How did she know? And why would she take such a great risk to help someone she did not know? A vampire she did not know.
I moved closer to the girl and savored her scent. I restrained myself with some difficulty and kept from grabbing her and feeding. She turned around and seemed startled by my closeness. I knew she had risked herself to help me, so I told her as evenly as I could, “Thank you.” It was not easing thanking a human, let alone a female for coming to my rescue.
She seemed almost disappointed for a moment, and then, after a time of looking at me carefully said, “Oh,” she struggled for a second, and then continued, “I can’t hear you.”
I had not spoken loudly, but surely, the girl had heard me. In an exaggerated fashion I repeated, “Thank you!”
“No, no … I can hear you speak, but …” she stopped speaking again and carefully placed both of her hands on either side of my face. With her arms encasing me, it was really becoming a trial to keep from grabbing her and having my way. Perhaps I still could. I could always glamour the memory away once my thirst was slaked.
Just when I thought that perhaps I would have the girl, she snatched her hands back and said with a great deal of embarrassment, “Oh, excuse me.”
What was that? I wondered. My mind still felt sluggish, and her words made no sense. Did this have to do with whatever her ability was? It was becoming more apparent that she could do something. Whether she was psychic, or something else, I still didn’t know.
“Mack and Denise aren’t real good people, and they were acting real suspicious when they were leaving the bar with you, so I figured I better come out here to see how you were,” she said in a hurried and babbling way.
Did she know that I wondered how she came to be out here? Did she hear my thoughts? I wondered. I decided to push it aside for now.
“You came out here to rescue me. It was brave,” I told her in a seductive voice, delighting when I saw the slightest shiver.
“Now you cut that out,” she said with sass.
For a moment, I was surprised but I quickly masked it and asked her a sensible question, “Aren’t you afraid to be alone with a hungry vampire?” I asked, my mind once again wandering back to the claims about the girl being simple or crazy. Perhaps she was.
“Nope,” she said matter-of-factly.
I decided that maybe the girl could use a bit of a scare, or at least a wake-up call about vampires and our nature. “Are you assuming that since you came to my rescue that you’re safe, that I harbor an ounce of sentimental feeling after all these years? Vampires often turn on those who trust them. We don’t have human values, you know,” I said also in a matter-of-fact manner.
“A lot of humans turn on those who trust them,” she pointed out. Maybe she knew more than most gave her credit for. “I’m not a total fool,” she said holding out her arm, and turning her neck to reveal the length of chain protectively wrapped around them.
I shivered at the thought of them against my own neck and arms. I decided not to let her think she had proven anything. A vampire would always find a way after all. “But there’s a juicy artery in your groin.”
“Don’t you talk dirty,” she snapped. “I won’t listen to that.”
I regarded her for a while. It was almost surprising in this day and age to come upon a girl who would demand a man not “talk dirty” to her. I was surprised that she still seemed to have no fear of me and studied me as openly as I studied her.
The girl had saved me great pain, and likely saved me from my second death. As much as I hated it, I did owe her. She had not been receptive to my offer of thanks. What does she want then? Why would she risk herself for me? I thought.
A thought suddenly came to me, I was still uncomfortable with it, but I was beginning to think Sophie-Anne had been right, and I should get some of my blood into the girl. I had never given my blood to anyone but my maker, but it might be interesting to feel what this girl was feeling. Maybe I could gain some understanding of her and what her thoughts were. It might be easier to hold her to my sway, it didn’t seem to be working tonight, but then again, I was weakened, and I hadn’t tried to glamour her yet.
“Would you like to drink the blood they collected? It would be a way for me to show my gratitude,” I said gesturing to the vials of blood. “My blood is supposed to improve your sex life and your health,” I continued, somehow oddly hoping that she would say yes. She was a curious creature, but somehow I knew she would turn the blood down.
“I’m healthy as a horse,” she said with a shrug. “And I have no sex life to speak of. You do what you want with it.”
I hid my surprise at her response. Surely, this girl was striking enough to attract a bedmate if she were to so choose. Strangely, I found I wanted this girl to have some sort of benefit for her help to me. “You could sell it,” I said.
I was surprised at the look of insult on her face, “I wouldn’t touch it,” she said.
More and more curious.
“You’re different,” I stated. “What are you?” It seemed more and more likely that she was psychic or something other. She was certainly no plain human.
“Well. I’m Sookie Stackhouse, and I’m a waitress,” she said easily, too easily. “What’s your name?”
Sookie, her cousin and the queen told me the name when they spoke of her, but coming from her lips, it sounds so much sweeter. I shook myself from the strange thought and answered simply, “Bill.”
Sookie rocked back with laughter and exclaimed, “The vampire Bill! I thought it might be Antoine, or Basil, or Langford! Bill!” I rolled my eyes at her naivety.
We can’t all have interesting names like you, Sookie, I thought. But she continued before I could speak, “Well, see ya, Bill. I got to get back to work.”
Somewhat surprisingly, she put her hand on my shoulder and pushed down on it until she was standing. I helped push her upwards, but she only looked slightly surprised at my help. Doesn’t she understand how scared most people are of vampires? How unwilling they are to touch us?
She dusted herself off and simply walked back into the bar without another look back. I was left standing in wonder of Sookie. She was nothing like what I had anticipated. My curiosity of her made me almost look forward to this task.
I picked the vials of blood up and drank them, returning my blood to my body and gaining back some of my strength. I was still very thirsty, so I decided to leave and find another willing donor. This time I would glamor them in a more secure location, before I fed. I won’t be caught off guard like that again.
Sookie … what a strange girl. I suppose, if I must degrade myself by entrapping a human to myself, at least she has proven somewhat useful, is easy on the eye, and shown to be interesting. I guess it won’t be a total waste of my time. Maybe I can get her to let me drink from her soon and see if her blood is as good as her smell.
As I ran from the bar to my car, I decided to drive into Shreveport to find someone to glamor and feed on. Tomorrow night I would have to return to Shreveport and check-in with the area Sherriff. Technically, I should have done it tonight, but my eagerness to start my task had swayed me from protocol. I would wait and do it tomorrow though, when I was feeling back to top strength. The Viking was no fool, and I wanted to be on guard when I went to check-in with him.
As I drove down the road, berating myself for letting my first meeting with Sookie turn into such a fiasco, I wondered how I could turn it to my benefit.
Every mistake you make is an opportunity for your advantage, if you know how to manipulate the results of the mistake, Lorena had said. My maker taught me well. This first meeting didn’t go as planned, but our next would.
I smiled to myself as my plan took form, and I sped even faster towards my next meal. Oh yes, our next meeting will go my way, Sookie. You’ll be in my thrall soon enough.
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