Chapter 3: Plans That Don’t Go Quite As Planned
I sat in the crowded bar at Fangtasia, awaiting my turn to see the area sheriff. My mind should have been on what I would tell the sheriff when he interviewed me about living in his area, but all I could think of was my plans for Sookie.
It was the duty of every area sheriff to know what went on in their area, at least anything that involved vampires or other supernaturals. This included knowing what every vampire in their area was doing, where they were living, etc. It also meant vampires wishing to move into the area had to be approved of by the sheriff before they were allowed to do so. This was even more important since the Great Revelation. Area sheriffs were now charged with ensuring the vampires in their area did not draw the wrong kind of attention to our kind.
Sophie-Anne had made it quite clear to me that I was not to involve the sheriff in our dealings. Why she was circumventing her sheriff seemed odd to me. Any dealings in this area should involve the sheriff, but the Queen was the ultimate authority, so things would be done her way. I had made a slight attempt at asking the queen why she expressly wished to cut her sheriff out of our plan, but she had not reacted favorably to the question.
“Because I wish it,” she had declared with venom in her voice.
I had dipped my head in deference to her, not daring to utter a word.
Her voice softened, and she offered some explanation, “I wish to test your loyalty. I want to see if your loyalty is to me,” she said. “The Viking is a wonderful sheriff to me and more than competent, but he always seems to amass great loyalty from his underlings, and he is known to be a great lover of women,” she continued with a coy smile. “If this girl proves to be of worth, as my dear Hadley claims, I want her for myself. I do not want the Viking to take an interest in her and claim her for his own. He is the only vampire in my kingdom around my own age, and therefore the only vampire who could keep me from claiming the girl for myself. I want that girl!”
My mind cleared as I took in the sight of the blond vampire coming towards me. I knew she was the child of the Viking, but she had not been with him when my maker first brought me through the area after my turning.
“The sheriff will see you now,” the blond, Pam if I remembered right, said in a bored tone as she turned around to lead the way towards the back of the bar, where I assumed was an office.
As we entered the office, I took in the sight of the formidable vampire seated before me. I nodded my head to the vampire saying, “Sheriff.”
Eric eyed me for a time, and then motioned towards the chair in front of his desk for me to take a seat. Pam remained in the room, and as his child, I assumed she was his second as well.
“You wish to reside in my area,” Eric said simply, as though he were bored with this tedious job. I wondered to myself if perhaps he truly was bored, and this was not a façade, as his child employed when speaking.
“Yes, I do,” I said, deciding to answer as simply as the sheriff asked his question.
“Since the Great Revelation has opened new possibilities to us, I wish to mainstream, and live among the humans again,” I answered. Of course, this was not true, but I hoped Eric would find it plausible enough. To get the girl under my thumb, I would need to start out acting as humanly as possible, and slowly begin introducing her to vampire culture to prepare her for the queen. Appearing to mainstream would suit my purposes well with the girl, so it would not appear to be a lie to the sheriff.
Eric raised an eyebrow, his only movement as he studied me, “Why here?” he asked in a slightly accented voice. Though he had lived in this country for longer than I had been alive, he had only recently finished learning English. He spoke many languages, but like many older vampires, still held the belief that English was an uncouth language. When my maker had brought me before him after my turning, they had spoken in French, which was still somewhat common in Louisiana, and Eric had only spoken a few sentences to me in broken English, ignoring me mostly and speaking to my maker instead.
“I lived here when I was human, and wish to return to my home,” I again answered simply.
Leaning forward, Eric pressed his fingertips together and considered me with his head slightly cocked to the side. This was not going as I had planned. He seemed too interested in me, and was questioning me far more than I had anticipated. “No vampire as young as yourself would wish to return to the home of their human life. Why do you?”
“As you say, I am young, and I wish to return to a life I am familiar with, and live among people I am familiar with.” I hoped this would suffice as an answer, I should have better anticipated his swift and apt perception. One did not live over 1,000 years without being perceptive after all.
Eric continued to study me, looking for anything that would give me away, but I had spent all of my young vampire life learning to maintain my own cool façade, to keep from giving anything away. “Somehow I find that I do not quite believe you, Compton, but I cannot fathom why you would be lying to me. Believe me when I tell you that I will find out what you are hiding from me,” he said in a chilly voice. Then he leaned back and seemed to relax, though I was not foolish enough to believe that this was a vampire who ever let his guard down. “You already have the blessing of the queen to settle in my area, and have spent time in her court, so I have no choice but to approve your relocation to my area. What is it you plan to do to pay your dues to your sheriff and your area?”
Every vampire owed fealty to their kingdom through their sheriff, and was responsible for paying a percentage of their income from whatever endeavors they were involved with to that sheriff who then sent it on to their monarch, minus a small percentage for themselves of course.
“I have some wealth acquired since my turning, and I plan to invest in some properties, perhaps a few businesses even to further my wealth,” I replied easily. This was not at all uncommon among our kind, managing properties and businesses was easy for vampires, especially now that we were out in the open. Humans feared us and so were quick to do our bidding and not cross us.
Eric nodded as if expecting this, then asked the question I had dreaded. “Why did you not check-in last night after you got in from New Orleans, as would have been prudent?”
I knew that the Viking had a reputation for always knowing what went on in his area, so I should not have been surprised that he knew when I had entered his area. This did not bode well for me; I would have to tread carefully to keep Sookie out of his reach if I was to follow the queen’s bidding. “I apologize sheriff, I had intended to come see you last night, but was detained. I had decided to explore the area I wished to make my home, and watching the locals took longer than I had anticipated.” This was not strictly a lie, Sookie was the only local I was interested in, and I had been detained.
Eric gave no indication as to even hearing my answer, but he eventually sent me away with a wave of his hand saying, “I always know what goes on in my area, Compton. I will expect your tithe to me by the end of every month.” And with that, I was dismissed as Eric began to pour over paperwork on his desk. I wondered at his statement. Did he know what had happened the night before, or did he only want me to believe I was being closely watched?
As I walked through the bar, I noticed it was teeming with humans desperate for a vampire to feed from them and fuck them. They all seemed pathetic in their dark makeup and clothing, but they were convenient. I looked through the bar for a human who might not be too distasteful. Almost all of the humans had dyed black hair, and tonight I found myself wanting to taste a blond. As I scanned the bar in vain for a blond, I caught myself, Why would I prefer a blond to any other human. I’ve never cared much before what they looked like. Sookie’s image floated through my mind’s eye. This thought unsettled me. With great determination, I grabbed the first dark-haired fangbanger I saw, and glamored her into taking me to her home for a feed and fuck.
As I drove back to Bon Temps from Shreveport, I found myself once again thinking back to the night before. I knew, without a doubt in my mind, that Sookie was something other than an ordinary human. Part of me wondered if I should report this much to the queen, but I once again decided against it. I would wait until I had carried out my plan and had the girl tied to myself first.
I could not explain, even to myself, this sudden need to give this girl my blood and tie her to me. I had planned to spend as little time as possible on the girl and turn her over to the queen as quickly as I could.
But now … now something drove me to wanting to spend more time on her, to find out what she was. She was an intriguing creature, and I will admit quite beautiful. I couldn’t wait to sink my fangs into her and get my first taste of her blood. I was sure it was as sweet as her smell.
After I had fed from several women last night to return my strength, I had returned to Bon Temps to locate the two humans who had tried to drain me. It had only been very early in the morning, only hours from dawn, so there were not very many humans still awake. I had found two teenage boys sneaking back to their homes, probably after a long night of mischief. It was easy to glamor them into telling me where I could find Mack and Denise Rattray, apparently they were known in the area for supplying many forms of drugs, not just V.
It took very little time to find the trailer house that the boys had described. The trailer house was empty, so I spent some time assessing the area. I hoped that the humans would return soon, so that I could put my plan in motion and return home for the coming day. Fortunately, the humans returned home, the man unsurprisingly looking the worse for wear. As I hid in the shadows, waiting for them to exit their car, I felt a slight smile tug at my lips as I took in the damage that Sookie had done to the man; he deserved it. Once the two had served their purpose, I would take delight in killing them.
I could hear the woman grumbling at the man while she helped lead him towards their home. “Damn it Mack, get your feet under ya,” she complained as she pulled him along. “Why the hell couldn’t Rene have stuck around to help me get your worthless ass back home from Monroe? He only helped me get your ass there so I’d give him a little free weed. Man’s as worthless as you,” she grumbled.
I used my vampire speed to get in front of them and catch their eyes with my glamor before they had the chance to move or look away. I regretted that the man appeared to be drugged, presumably from a visit to the hospital, but I cared not, my glamor should still be effective enough. “You will still stay away from Merlotte’s for the following two nights. On the third night, after the bar closes, you will return and take out your vengeance on Sookie,” I commanded them. Both humans looked at me with slack, blank eyes, before nodding and agreeing in equally blank voices. “Now, go inside and remain there until it is time to go to Merlotte’s.”
The couple nodded again, and finished making their way into their trailer house. I had considered telling them to come the night after my visit with the sheriff, but decided against it for several reasons. For one, I did need to start making some calls to try to begin the improvements on my home and finish moving my belongings in. But for another reason, I wanted for more time to have passed, so that Sookie would let her guard down more, and not fear reprisal from the Rattrays for her actions. My plan would work perfectly. It was flawless.
I watched outside the bar for some time, watching the locals coming and going before I finally walked in again. I would not be so foolish as to ever again underestimate a situation simply because it seemed like a backwater bar. Her smell alone let me know that Sookie was still inside, working away, and the magnetism of her smell finally pulled me into the bar.
I sat down at the same table that I had occupied the last time I had come in knowing it would be her section, and waited for Sookie to come to me.
She walked up to my table with an almost shy smile. “What can I get you?” she questioned when she stood before me.
I had spent the previous night investigating the area and glamoring many people in Bon Temps into telling me about Sookie, and then forgetting they had spoken to me of course. The general consensus in the minds of the humans around Sookie seemed to be that she was crazy, as the cousin had claimed, but also there were fears of her, steaming from her knowledge of things she shouldn’t know. It surprised me how much contempt so many of these people seemed to have for her, based almost solely upon not knowing what she was, and fearing that.
I looked up into her eyes, and watched, she seemed to almost relax before my eyes. Why would she relax while standing before a vampire, when any normal human would be terrified? “What are you?” I couldn’t help but asking her.
A smile strained its way onto her features, and her body tensed as she answered with a forced easiness, “I’m a waitress.”
I had not anticipated her confessing to me, but her response was still answer enough. “Red wine,” I again ordered, needing an excuse to remain. I had to find a way to ask her if I could perhaps accompany her home from work, so that I would have an excuse to be there and to intervene when the Rattrays attacked her later tonight.
“Sure,” she answered. “The synthetic blood should come in on the truck tomorrow. Listen, could I talk to you after work? I have a favor to ask you,” she continued.
While I was happy to have an easy, plausible excuse to remain after the bar closed, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that this human was like the rest of them, all pathetic creatures wanting something from everyone else. “Of course. I’m in your debt,” I said more stiffly than I intended. Why do I care in the slightest about why this girl wants to see me after she is done working? Whatever the reason, it will serve its purpose and then I can move on with my plans for this girl. The sooner I hand her over to the queen the better. Then I can get to work again on my database, a project I’ve had to put on hold because of this girl.
“Not a favor for me!” she exclaimed, startling me out of my thoughts. Not a favor for herself, then for whom? “For my grandmother. If you’ll be up —well, I guess you will be—when I get off work at one-thirty, would you very much mind meeting me at the employee door at the back of the bar?” she asked, nodding towards the back of the bar.
And just like that, I was intrigued by this girl again. She was asking for a favor, as any human would be apt to, but it was not even a favor for herself, but for her grandmother. “I’d be delighted,” I said easily. It would give me the perfect excuse for tonight, and if I had to seduce this girl, it would be wise to be on the right side of the women she lived with. Not that I couldn’t glamour the grandmother if she proved difficult.
The girl nodded, and turned on her heel to get my drink. When she returned I tipped her generously, then slipped out of the bar after she had gone to fill other orders.
I watched from the woods near the bar, waiting for my plan to take place. When it started nearing closing time, the Rattray couple crept up near the bar. I had heard them park their car down the road a ways and walk closer. I was surprised the humans were smart enough not to simply drive their beat-up sports car into the parking lot.
After the last of the patrons had left, and most of the employees, I watched as the shifter shut off the lights in the parking lot and made his way towards his own trailer park. I had been worried he might smell me, so I had stayed far back into the woods.
Eventually, Sookie exited the bar, looking around for me. It was after one-thirty by now. She looked around some more, and then made her way towards her car, where the Rattrays were waiting. I had expected the Rattrays to pop out and attack her verbally for a time, trying to scare her before they attacked her.
Instead, Mack simply pulled back his arm and struck the girl with all of his might. I watched in surprise as the couple beat and kicked Sookie as she rolled up into a ball. I had wanted them to attack Sookie so I could have an excuse to give her blood, but I had not expected this level of rage. It became quite clear that the Rattrays were not here simply to give Sookie a beating. I was surprised when Sookie suddenly grabbed onto the man’s leg and held on. Apparently, she would not go down without a fight. I found this captivating as well.
Before I could move to help Sookie, the shifter ran onto the scene, having shifted into the form of a dog. Now what good is a dog going to do? I thought with a shake of my head. I ran closer and gave a snarl to get the couple’s attention. The shifter had already gotten between the couple and Sookie, but they didn’t seem too frightened of the dog. The man did however look in my direction to see where the snarl came from.
“What the hell is that?” he asked in a terrified voice. I could hear that Sookie’s breathing had become quite strained and uneven. I cursed myself for not giving the couple clearer directions to just beat Sookie, and not kill her. I would be in a lot of trouble with queen should I let the girl die on my watch.
I took my own rage and frustration of the situation out on the drainers, relishing being able to finally kill them.
After the couple was dead, I stood and looked down at their torn and shredded bodies. I wondered what it was about this girl that seemed to make me think unclearly. I should have anticipated this and not let the situation even happen.
I heard the dog whine behind me, and then Sookie’s voice softly say, “I’m dying.” It brought me back to the situation at hand, and I moved to her side and knelt down. The shifter looked up at me, but didn’t move to stop me; he seemed to know I was the girl’s only chance at surviving this night.
Looking over her wounds, I could see that if I didn’t act quickly, she would indeed soon be dead. “I’m going to pick you up,” I said calmly, trying to keep her calm.
“I’ll die if you do,” she whispered.
I made a show of looking her over, and then told her, “Not just yet.”
She seemed to relax slightly so I continued trying to prepare her, “This will hurt.” I slid my arms under her and gently lifted her up, she screamed, but it was a weak effort.
The shifter had shifted back into human form, watching me and the girl with rapt attention. “Quickly,” he said in an urgent tone.
I didn’t want to give the girl my blood out in the open in case someone came by. “We’re going back in the woods out sight,” I told him as I made my way in that direction. I carefully laid her down on the ground to prepare for healing her.
“You will die unless you do as I say,” I told her.
In a weak voice, she told me, “Sorry, don’t want to be a vampire.”
I wanted to tell her that I could not be the one to do that, not if I valued my undead life. Instead, I told her softly, “No, you won’t be. You’ll heal. Quickly. I have a cure. But you have to be willing.” Something deep down told me I could never bring myself to force her into taking my blood.
“Then trot out the cure,” she whispered. “I’m going.”
I pulled my wrist to my mouth and bit into it. When my blood began to flow, I put it to her mouth and ordered her, “Drink.”
She gagged at first when she realized what I was doing, but drank nevertheless. When the blood finally hit her system, and began healing her, she latched on and began to eagerly drink my blood.
I had never given my blood to a human before. The sensation was indescribable. The feeling of my blood becoming a part of her was beyond pleasurable, and I had to struggle to maintain my composure and not grunt in satisfaction. The feeling of her sleepy emotions settled over me as she released my wrist and drifted off to sleep.
“Is she gonna be alright?” the shifter asked from several feet away.
I had been so engrossed in the pleasure of Sookie taking my blood; I hadn’t even heard the shifter approach. I nodded to him, and asked, “Are the humans still in the parking lot?”
“Naw, I put them in the back of my truck, but we’ve got to figure out what to do with them.”
I was surprised at the shifter’s willingness to help and his use of “we”, but based on the looks of longing he gave the girl, I would say he helped for her sake, and not my own. “Take them back to their trailer house, and I will cover it up later.”
The shifter nodded, still looking at the girl and asked, “Will your blood really heal her?”
Again, I nodded and said, “Yes, now get the bodies out of here before someone comes by.”
After the shifter had left, I returned my attention to the girl lying beside me, and began to clean her wounds.
I was right; her blood was sublime. I had never tasted anything like it. I wondered if she tasted differently because of what she was. As I moved about her, cleaning her wounds, I vowed to be more careful in my handling of her. She tasted so good; I was tempted to actually draw-out how long it would take to deal with her before handing her over to the queen. After all, I’m immortal. I would have forever to finish my database.
As I moved on to clean the wound on her head, Sookie started to wakeup. I expected her to react to me licking her blood, but she seemed to patiently take this in and let me continue.
“Do I taste different from other people?” she asked. This was the perfect opening for me, and I hoped that given the fact that I had just saved her life she would just answer me.
“Yes, what are you?”
“Hey, I’m not dead,” she said, moving her arms and legs about in surprise. She slowly sat up, and I could feel that she was still tired. Her wounds had been severe enough that my blood could heal her, but it wouldn’t give her a boost of energy yet.
For some reason, I wanted to keep her close to me, so I cradled her to me on my lap as I leaned back against a tree. I vaguely remembered holding my daughter this way when she had been frightened or upset. She didn’t fight me and relaxed into my embrace. It felt oddly, right.
“What I am, is telepathic,” she finally answered, “I can hear people’s thoughts.”
“Even mine?” I asked curiously. I didn’t think it was possible. Or else she would have already known that I had arranged for the Rattrays to come after her, and that I had been sent for her. Perhaps as a human, she could only hear other human’s thoughts.
She confirmed this, “No. That’s why I like you so much,” she said matter-of-factly.
I couldn’t stop from laughing slightly at her bluntness, nor could I help but be a little pleased at her proclamation.
“I can’t hear you at all,” she continued. “You have no idea how peaceful that is. After a lifetime of blah, blah, blah, to hear … nothing.”
Her statement made me curious, perhaps this was the reason so many said she was crazy. How hard would it be, to be subjected to hearing the thoughts of everyone around you? “How do you manage going out with men? With men your age, their only thought is still surely how to get you into bed.” I found it unsettling how much I disliked this thought.
“Well, I don’t. Manage. And frankly, at any age, I think their goal is get a woman in bed. I don’t date. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, you know, because I can’t tell them the truth; which is, that I’m driven crazy by all these thoughts, all these heads. I had a few dates when I started working at the bar, guys who hadn’t heard about me. But it was the same as always. You can’t concentrate on being comfortable with a guy, or getting a head of steam up, when you can hear they’re wondering if you dye your hair, or thinking that your butt’s not pretty, or imagining what your boobs look like.”
Again, I was unsettled at how glad it made me to hear this. Did that mean she was untouched by any man? I wondered.
Suddenly she sat up a little and pulled away from me, “Excuse me,” she told me, looking at me more fully, “I didn’t mean to burden you with my problems. Thank you for saving me from the Rats.”
I wanted to laugh at her name for them, but told her seriously, “It was my fault they had a chance to get you at all.” There was more truth in this then she knew, and I was angry at how guilty this made me feel. I am a vampire we are all devious, that is our nature, I thought angrily. “If I had had the courtesy to be on time, it would not have happened. So I owed you some of my blood. I owed you the healing,” I covered.
“Are they dead?” she asked in a slightly squeaky voice.
“Oh, yes.” And it was much too quick an end for drainers anyway.
“I should worry about this, but I’m not,” she told me with a slight forced laugh.
“Sookie, why did you want to talk to me tonight?” I asked, remembering that she was the one who had asked to meet with me tonight.
She seemed to think for a moment, and then said, “My grandmother is real anxious to know how old you are,” she said slowly.
I continued to stroke her back, enjoying the contact and though I wished I could feel the bare skin of her back. “I was made vampire in 1870, when I was thirty human years old,” I answered without thinking. It surprised me how easy it was for her to get under my skin. She got answers out of me as easily as I normally could with others. Perhaps I’m answering her because of this strange guilt I’m feeling.
“Did you fight in the War?”
“Yes,” I once again answered. Why can’t I control myself around this human?
“I have the feeling you’re gonna get mad. But it would make her and her club so happy if you’d tell them a little bit about the War, about what it was really like,” she told me carefully.
She was right, normally I would be mad at a human asking me to speak to others about my own human life, but strangely, I wanted to please her. Perhaps it would appease my guilt. “Club?” I questioned her.
“She belongs to Descendants of the Glorious Dead.”
“Glorious dead,” I repeated. Sitting here, with this woman in my lap, I had never believed more that there was nothing glorious about the dead.
“Listen, you wouldn’t have to tell them about the maggots and the infections and the starvation,” she told me. “They have their own picture of the War, and though they’re not stupid people—they’ve lived through other wars—they would like to know more about the way people lived then, and uniforms and troop movements.”
“Clean things,” I said.
She took a deep breath and said, “Yep.”
“Would it make you happy if I did this?” Why do I care, or want to make her happy?
“What difference does that make? It would make Gran happy, and since you’re in Bon Temps and seem to want to live around here, it would be a good public relations move for you,” she explained.
“Would it make you happy?” I persisted. I could care less what others thought, but strangely, she did matter.
“Well, yes,” she finally answered.
“Then I’ll do it,” I told her, feeling contented.
“Gran says to please eat before you come,” she told me. I found myself laughing at her grandmother’s apparent humor.
“I’m looking forward to meeting her now. Can I call on you some night?” I questioned. Why am I so eager for this? It’s just to get her under my control, I tried to convince myself.
“Ah. Sure. I work my last night tomorrow night, and the day after I’m off for two days, so Thursday would be a good night,” she said glancing at her watch. “Oh, yuck,” she said when she saw the blood covering it. After she had cleaned it off, she said, “Oh, gosh, I got to get home. I hope Gran went to sleep.”
Looking her over, I couldn’t help but think of how young she was to be out alone at this hour of night, though it had served my purposes well. “She must worry about you being out so late at night by yourself.”
“It’s part of my job,” she told me tartly. “Can’t be helped. I don’t work nights all the time, anyway. But when I can, I do.”
“Why?” I questioned with wonder. It was dangerous to be out late at night like this. And look, she ended up in the arms of a vampire. I gave her a shove to help raise her to her feet, and then followed her as she moved back towards the bar.
“Better tips. Harder work. No time to think,” she told me. I wondered if money was tight, living in a household with only her and her grandmother. From what the people of Bon Temps had told me, her brother lived elsewhere, and did nothing to support his sister or grandmother.
“But night is more dangerous,” I told her once again thinking about her in my arms.
“Now don’t you go sounding like my grandmother,” she told me in a chiding tone.
“I’m older than your grandmother,” I told her.
Once we stepped into the parking lot, I was glad to see that the shifter had done a fair job of cleaning up. He had hosed down the gravel to wash the blood away. It wouldn’t fool a vampire, I could still smell the blood, but humans wouldn’t detect anything.
I waited until Sookie was safely to her car, and then took off towards the Rattray’s trailer house to deal with them. My plan with the Rattrays had not gone quite as I had anticipated, but the result was the same. I had given Sookie my blood, but more importantly, I could now tell the queen exactly what the girl was.
A/N: I’ll probably try to write a chapter every week or two, more if I can, but I will warn you that at the beginning of the month is when most of my deadlines for my paid articles are due, so the last few days of a month and into the fist week of the next month, I’ll usually be busy with my paid stuff. Please have patience with me.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter, and please let me know what you thought!