Thank you Lostinspace for your work on this one, great review as always, I feel like my chapter is always new and improved when I do a reread xxx
Chapter 3 – It Has To Be This Way
Tonight was a normal night for me. Eric told me the queen might visit soon to discuss the investigation into Bill’s disappearance and where the database was. I think they all assumed he had run off somewhere with it to sell to the highest bidder. He also mentioned she has other business to discuss but he didn’t go into too much detail, saying it was secret stuff. You know, the sheriff complex? I am sure I rolled my eyes.
A blinked a couple of times before reminding myself that I was at work, washing a glass while my mind had been somewhere else for who knows how long.
‘’Miss?’’ The man’s tone was more pressing as if he was getting annoyed.
‘’What’s your poison?’’ I said, ignoring that he had caught me in a daydream.
‘’I would like a gin and tonic.’’
I raised an eyebrow and smirked; my own poison. Nice. After making the drink I gave it to him and he smiled. I knew he was a vampire judging by the void. No matter how much I tried to read vampire thoughts, it only happened on rare, uncontrolled occasions.
‘’Are you new here?’’ he asked, trying to make conversation. He was a tall man with long hair and big green eyes. Judging by the colour of his skin and his accent I thought he was Russian. I didn’t ask, though.
‘’I have been here for two months now,’’ I said with a smile and then looked at the human woman who had just approached the bar to request a drink. She drank girly stuff which I hated making. One, they took longer, and two, they were complicated to remember.
The man finished his drink and signalled for a second one. It took me only moments to serve it to him and add it to his tab.
‘’Where you from?’’ he asked me.
‘’Oh a local! You were recently turned, no? Who’s your maker?’’
‘’That would be none of your business,’’ I heard from the other side of the bar. Pam was standing there with a hand on her hip and a chip on her shoulder.
‘’I was just trying to make conversation with the pretty bartender. Not allowed in this bar?’’ he growled while Pam showed her fangs.
‘’Stop bothering her, she is serving customers.’’
He nodded and left his bar stool to mingle with the crowd. I lost track of him about midway there and went back to serving my customers.
Glancing over to the stage facing the bar, I saw Eric sitting on his throne like he did for a couple of hours every night. He was staring at someone in the crowd and instinctively I followed his glare, frowning when I realized he was looking at my Russian customer. I looked up to see Eric now staring at me and he didn’t look too happy, probably because I was staring at him instead of doing my job. We locked gazes for a minute or two, but I looked away. By the time I turned back he was no longer looking in my direction. I took that opportunity to admire him. Of course I would never admit that to him in a million years, but Eric was a handsome vampire, no doubt about it. His Fangtasia attire gave him a dangerous look that just made fangbangers scream for his attention. Tonight he was wearing a pair of black leather pants that were hugging him at all the right places. Instead of traditional zippers, they featured laces that reminded me of the Middle Ages. He also wore a black tank top and half-calf black boots that laced all the way to the top. He seemed relaxed tonight as he reclined in his seat and placed one foot on the end of the throne. Maybe was it comfortable, or maybe it just looked good, but he kept watching people while I kept serving drinks.
I was beginning to feel hungry and, like most nights, Eric knew. I can’t explain how or why, but it’s like he felt it. He rose from his chair and signalled something to Pamela. She nodded and looked straight at me, approaching while staring me down.
‘’Time for a break. He wants to see you,’’ she said while showing another bartender I was leaving.
I didn’t say anything in response but headed to his office. I had been feeding about once every three days, allowing me some days off. Eric explained to me that it took years for most vampires to get to this point but we both knew I was different so we left it at that. I had no idea what would happen if I didn’t feed when I needed it, but all signs pointed to a repeat of the first night I rose, no self-control and attacking vampires…two things I didn’t want and I am sure Eric didn’t either. Maybe that’s why he had kept on top of my blood need, even when sometimes I didn’t pay attention myself.
I knocked on his door and waited for his words to come in. When I entered, I found him half naked looking for something to wear in his wardrobe. I hated how open vampires were, and now that I was turned, it seemed that Eric was often naked in front of me and didn’t think twice about it. Me on the other hand…it was a trend I had not grown accustomed to and refused to participate in no matter who was in the room with me. Apparently that was comical to Eric, as was my blushing, which still happened no matter how much I tried to hide it.
‘’Blushing, aren’t you?’’ he said while looking over his shoulder with his signature smirk.
He took his pants off only for me to realize he was not wearing anything under them. I immediately turned away with a heavy sigh.
‘’I wish you didn’t do that,’’ I said rolling my eyes, but of course he couldn’t see that.
‘’So modest,’’ he said, and I’m sure he was smiling proudly. ‘’You can look now,’’ he added.
I sat on the chair in front of his desk and crossed one of my legs over the other. He’d changed into a pair of grey dress pants and a nice button up shirt he was still tucking into his pants.
‘’Leather is so uncomfortable,’’ he said. ‘’You should try it sometime,’’ he sneered and I frowned. He sounded suggestive but a part of me wondered if I was just dreaming that he was flirting. I mean, since my turning he had almost stopped completely, but every now and then little comments like that reminded me of him before my turning.
‘’I find it quite comfortable,’’ I said rolling my eyes again and he smiled. Leather pants were normally what I wore at Fangtasia when I wore pants, and I guess His Highness hadn’t noticed.
He went over to a cabinet and produced a glass of blood, which he handed to me before sitting down in his chair.
‘’Thanks,’’ I said before drinking it all right away. It calmed me down, which made realize I had been on edge. I’m not sure why exactly, but my muscles had contracted at some point and I was tense. The more I drank though, the more they relaxed and so did I. I savoured every bit of the blood, closing my eyes at the delicious flavor. If someone had told me there would be a time in my life when I would enjoy drinking vampire blood I would have laughed. Yet here I was. I reopened my eyes when I finished, finding Eric staring at me. His emotionless face gave nothing away of what he was thinking.
‘’They are looking for Bill and the database. Word on the street is that he took off with it for profit,’’ he declared. We knew what had happened to him and I was glad that the other vampires didn’t seem to put two and two together. People wondered who my maker was and wondered where Bill was, but no one seemed to make the connection, so for the time being my secret remained undiscovered. Eric’s reputation and his protection also didn’t hurt.
I uncrossed my legs, careful not to reveal too much skin, as the skirt I was wearing wanted to ride up when I sat. Eric was still staring at me and when I looked him in the eye, I felt a strong desire humming within me. I had a momentary flash of naked flesh exposed, a leg desperately clutching to a man’s naked body; Eric. The moaning, the smell of sex; I looked away, probably blushing. Why my mind played tricks on me like that I wasn’t sure, but when I looked back in Eric’s direction, I found him two inches from my face, fangs on display and growling. His hands were on the arms of my chair and there was no way I could wiggle myself away.
‘’Can you hear my thoughts?’’ he asked angrily. It wasn’t the first time he had asked me that, and every time I lied and said no. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure myself. It wasn’t exactly thoughts. Most of the time it was images that I attributed to my own imagination. I frowned, not sure why he was asking me again…right now after I just imagined having sex with him. I was confused.
‘’No!’’ I exclaimed trying to push him away in vain.
‘’Why were you blushing then?’’ he growled.
‘’I wasn’t! I don’t even know what you’re talking about,’’ I replied, looking him in the eye. Defiance…that is all that would defuse the situation.
After a few minutes of standoff, he backed away and sat on his desk in front of me with his arms crossed. I wanted to ask him what it was he was thinking so I could understand his sudden anger and assure him I didn’t hear him…but I wasn’t sure. I knew I sometimes picked up on vampires’ strong emotions, and it had happened with Eric before…but images? How was I supposed to know if they were my own or his?
‘’I know it is your day off tomorrow, but I need you to go to Compton’s house and figure out where that database is before someone else finds it. If they do, they will suspect his murder. The disappearance scenario is better for us.’’
I nodded and started to stand, but he grabbed me by the arm.
‘’You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?’’ His eyes were insistent with a glimmer of something I didn’t see very often: hurt. Again, feeling as if I had imagined that, I matched his insistence and shook my head negatively. ‘’After all I have done for you-’’ he continued, but I cut him off.
‘’Yes I know, I owe you. That is why I’m working for you on my day off.’’ He squeezed my arm briefly harder before letting me go and turning his back to me.
‘’Nevermind my generous pay or anything,’’ he said sarcastically while walking me to the door.
‘’What do you want me to say, Eric? Thank you, Master?’’
‘’That would be a start.’’
I rolled my eyes and exited, making sure to slam the door behind me. His attitude pissed me off most days, walking as if he owned the place. Okay, he did, and sure, without him I most likely wouldn’t be alive, but I was allowed to be irritated by it, right?
I waved goodbye to Pam and the other bartender. My shift wasn’t really over but I was pissed off and I wanted to get a head start on my search despite His Highness’s request to do it tomorrow. I exited to the parking lot where my SUV was waiting for me. Eric had gotten it for me, stating that my ‘’piece of shit car’’ would not protect me well enough, and as my sheriff he had to make sure I was protected. I called bullshit on it but he ignored me and gave me the keys. I promised to pay him back and he laughed, saying he would take it out of my salary. I made a decent amount of money every week, so I always wondered how much I would be making if I didn’t have to pay for the SUV.
I got home half an hour later and went straight to the bathroom to shower. With our senses of smell, it was now clear why vampires were so obsessed with their hygiene. I wasn’t any different. Once I was all cleaned up, I went down to the living room and sat on the couch. It was three in the morning, so I still had a couple hours to go before I needed to die for the day. I had every intention of going to the Compton estate and find that stupid database.