Russell’s phone rang just as he and Sophie-Anne emerged from the basement. Eric was following close behind.
The three-thousand-year old sighed when he heard the ringtone. “I apologize, muffin cakes,” he said in Sophie-Anne’s direction. “However, I must take this. I’m afraid Talbot is already quite vexed because of our nuptial bliss, as well as the stress of what happened during the day.”
“By all means,” Sophie-Anne said with false magnanimity. As soon as Russell’s back was turned, she rolled her eyes dramatically in Eric’s direction. “What does one do for fun in Podunk?” she asked as she checked her nails. She looked up and saw Yvetta walk in the door. “Oh—I see!” She took in the Estonian dancer predatorily as she licked her lips.
“Ah—that is Yvetta,” Eric said as he followed her gaze. “Help yourself,” he added offhandedly.
Sophie-Anne quickly zipped over to Yvetta; however, the dancer shrugged off the queen’s touch. Instead, the supposed Estonian looked at Eric possessively.
“I cannot. I belong to Eric only,” she said in her heavy and probably fake accent. Eric had heard many people from the region of the world that included Estonia, and she didn’t sound like any of them.
It was Eric’s turn to roll his eyes. He spoke from across the bar. “I never said that, Yvetta. Now—be a good little girl, and be nice to the queen of Louisiana and Mississippi.”
Yvetta’s eyes immediately changed from offended to almost awestruck as she took in Sophie-Anne again. The gold-digging dancer curtsied, gave her apologies about not knowing who Sophie-Anne was, and then gladly let herself be led to a corner of the club.
At that moment, Pam, who was now mostly recovered thanks to Ginger’s donation, came into the club from the back offices. Eric smiled as his progeny complained about the flavor—or lack thereof—in their blond worker. However, as far as humans went, Ginger had—surprisingly enough—proven to be one of the most loyal he had even known. Of course, being glamoured to within an inch of her life helped with that. Still, Ginger’s blood had tided both Pam and himself over in a pinch a few times, though the one time he’d had sex with her had not been pleasing. Too many bones had poked him, and she’d called him “baby” over and over. She’d also made noises that made him wonder if she was the offspring of a washed-up porn star and a whooping crane! No—he wouldn’t be “enjoying” her again. In fact, he’d glamoured her to “forget” that sex and to never want him again!
“I called in Domitri and Kenneth,” Pam said quietly. “I figured Yvetta would be fine for Sophie-Anne.”
Eric nodded as he glanced over toward the corner where Yvetta was already servicing the queen’s pussy. “Good choices,” he said.
Both of the young men Pam had called worked at the bar—Domitri as a dancer and Kenneth as a bouncer. And both were willing donors. Eric had been told that Kenneth, who had B-negative blood, was especially flavorful, though Eric had never tried him. On the other hand, Domitri had a rather ordinary blood type, O-positive, but he was quite limber. Kenneth was quite masculine, while Domitri was effeminate. Both favored men and would service Russell well if he desired sex as well as blood.
Eric just hoped that he would be able to get out of “servicing” the king. The Viking had tried sex with a few men during his long life and had even grown to enjoy the act with Godric; however, it was not his preference. And he—most certainly—wasn’t a bottom, and he figured that’s what he’d have to “pretend” to be with Russell. Moreover, the thought of having sex with the vampire who was responsible for the murders of his family disgusted him! However, the Viking would do whatever it took to get close enough to Russell to end his miserable life, even if it meant using his body to do it.
Eric’s thoughts were interrupted by the Estonian, who was now moaning wantonly from across the room. She was trying to catch his eye with an alluring gaze as Sophie-Anne kissed her neck. It was obvious that Yvetta wanted him to join her and the queen.
Eric turned away, repulsed by Yvetta’s misconceptions much more than by her shamelessness. She was deluded if she thought that he actually cared for her. He sighed. After a thousand years of life, one vagina was pretty much like the next to him. Oh, there were nuances in girth and wetness and depth, but they all felt pretty much the same to his dick. No. It was the blood underneath the skin that he really craved, and at the moment of orgasm, it tasted sweetest. Other than the blood’s taste during orgasm, very little would compel him to enjoy revisiting the same sexual partner multiple times.
It was the incessant “whooping” sound that Ginger made as well—as her ordinary-tasting O-positive blood—that had made her a one and done in Eric’s book. Someone like Yvetta, however, held his attention for longer. The Estonian had inspired him to fuck her four times—though the session in the dungeon had been longer than most because, even having her tied up and at his mercy, he’d not found his release for a while. He had to hand it to Yvetta, however. She had lovely skills with her mouth and even lovelier B-positive blood, but she had begun to annoy the hell out of him with her signs of possessiveness. Who the fuck did she think he was—her boyfriend?
And it was not as if he craved Yvetta’s blood or her oral skills. They were above average, a B+ to match her blood type. But—like all women he’d revisited for sex over the years—Yvetta was no longer holding his attention. And, given the sounds that Sophie-Anne was making as she fed, Eric figured he’d be able to convince the queen to take the dancer off his hands.
That nuisance solved, Eric couldn’t help but to let his mind wander to the only individual he’d ever been able to fathom holding his attention for long: Sookie Stackhouse.
He had genuinely craved only her during his long life—and that was without even having tasted her yet! He was disgusted with himself—really. He was way too hung up on Sookie! Even now, he was worried about her, instead of focusing a hundred percent of his energy onto Russell!
Again, he noted his own disgust and shock. He should have simply fed from and fucked Sookie months ago—saving himself a lot of fucking stress. But he’d not been able to bring himself to force her; he’d never had to force anyone during his long life, and he wasn’t about to start with someone who really intrigued him.
Perhaps, he would have glamoured her if it had been possible. He shook his head almost imperceptibly. No—he didn’t want to seduce Sookie through glamour either. He was struck by the thought that he wanted to win her affections, but then pushed that notion out of his mind—angry that he’d had it to begin with.
Still, Eric checked on Sookie through their weak tie. She was obviously still unconscious and seemed to be weakening even more—slipping away from the world and from him. “Fuck,” Eric muttered under his breath as Pam looked at him funny. He shook his head, signaling to Pam that now was not the time to ask about what was troubling him.
Eric forced his thoughts of Sookie from his mind. There was nothing he could do for her right now. “Let Compton deal with her! That is what she would want anyway,” he thought bitterly to himself.
He had more important matters to deal with, like the murderer of his family, who was standing twenty-two feet away from him and talking animatingly in Greek to Talbot. Eric had been monitoring the conversation, which had mostly been focused on Russell reassuring his paramour. Talbot was very angry, given the events of the day. But Russell was managing to slowly placate his lover; the king had even managed to manipulate the younger vampire to view Sophie-Anne’s imminent arrival as another opportunity for him to showcase his wonderful hosting skills. It was during that part of the conversation that something caught Eric’s attention enough to make him lose his control for a moment. He tensed up considerably. Thankfully, however, Russell had his back turned to the Viking when that happened.
Pam had been studying her maker carefully, trying to follow his lead.
He was leaning against the bar, casually taking in the scene as Sophie-Anne finger-fucked Yvetta and Russell spoke on the phone. Though she didn’t understand Greek, Pam marveled at the fact that Russell still seemed to maintain his genteel Southern accent as he spoke it.
All night—even as the Magister had been “having his fun”—Pam had been trying to interpret the odd mix of feelings coming from her maker. He was concerned, but controlled. He was feeling unimaginable hatred, yet he showed none of it. She was also trying to figure out where the Magister was. He certainly wasn’t in the bar with the others; she couldn’t help but to wonder if he was still wrapped in silver. The thought of that brought a wry smile to her lips. However, that smile faded immediately as she felt a jolt of anxiety from Eric. It was like nothing she’d ever felt before.
She also noticed a change in his posture. He went from seemingly relaxed to tense in the blink of an eye.
Eric quickly turned toward Pam and gave her a subtle signal with his hands. His eyes were ominous and dark with fear for a moment, but he managed to hide that emotion almost instantaneously.
Pam looked up at Eric with wide eyes and a sudden fear. He repeated the hand signal and mouthed the word, “Now,” before turning away and reestablishing his relaxed pose against the bar.
With fear gripping her un-dead heart, Pam immediately straightened her body and used all her control to walk casually toward the offices and then straight out of the back door of the club. She quickly got into her car and drove it to her nearest house, a residence that acted as her “public” home. After parking in the garage, she quickly stripped and threw her clothing into the washing machine in the garage. She opened the cabinet above the utility sink and grabbed a bundle of nondescript clothing—jeans, a T-shirt, and a hoodie. That clothing had been spelled by a witch so that it would help to cover her scent. After dressing quickly, she exited the side door of the garage.
Then she ran at her top vampire speed to a seemingly abandoned home at the end of the block. Once there, she dug under the elm tree near the garage until she pulled out a small satchel. Inside was a potion, the origins of which Pam did not know. What she did know was that it would hide her scent fully.
She went into the dusty garage and got into the nondescript gray sedan she found there. Then she quickly opened the bottle that held the potion and poured a few drops of the liquid onto the fingers of her left hand before rubbing it onto her forehead—following the directions that had been given to her by her maker to the letter. That task completed, she carefully sealed the bottle and left the neighborhood slowly and quietly, not even turning on the lights of the car.
From there, she drove out of town and got onto State Highway 7. The car was full of gasoline, and she estimated that she would be well into Arkansas by daylight. She would easily make it to the safe house Eric and she kept in that state by morning. From there, she would continue north and then west, changing cars each day, until she reached Wyoming, a state that boasted only two vampires—though they were two vampires that owed Eric their lives—Thalia and Bubba.
Thalia was the “queen” of the state and so unpleasant that she drove all others away. However, Eric had saved her life long before Pam was even turned. The queen of Wyoming was also quite powerful in her own right. Bubba was—well—he was Elvis Presley. The Rock & Roll legend had been turned into a vampire after overdosing. It had been an ill-advised turning.
Bubba was a relatively harmless vampire—simple even. To put it nicely, other vampires would say that he wasn’t “all there.” After many “Elvis sightings” through the late 70’s and 80’s, Bubba was shipped to Thalia’s territory so that he could stay out of sight. And—even after the Great Revelation—he was told to stay there since vampires didn’t want humans to see what happened when a turning went “wrong.”
However, even though Bubba was a liability—and had been ever since he was turned—no one had the heart to end him. Though vampires were not sentimental by nature, they did recognize an individual who brought about real change, and Bubba was respected for that. Plus, on occasion, he could be coaxed to an event, where he could be further coaxed into singing. But mostly, he and Thalia kept to themselves—far away from other vampires.
Rumor had it that the two vampire residents of Wyoming had become very cozy indeed, but a love affair had not been confirmed. Thalia didn’t like others in her territory, but that was not particularly inconvenient either. Since the human population was the sparsest in the United States and the population density was so low, no other vampires wanted to be there anyway. Simply put, the Authority had decided to make Thalia a queen and then hide her away. And that suited everyone involved quite well.
But none of that really mattered to Pam as she drove with one eye in front of her and the other one constantly checking the rearview mirror. What mattered was Eric’s signal to her. He’d taught it to her after she’d been vampire for about a year. And every year following that—like some kind of anniversary—they’d found a deserted place and discussed what that signal meant and the instructions that she was commanded to follow if it were ever given.
The signal meant one thing: run—fast. It meant that the danger against them was more than Eric could handle. It meant that he didn’t expect to live, but wanted her to get away so that she might. Once seeing that signal, she had been ordered not to ask questions. In fact, she had been commanded not to say anything. She was simply to flee.
The car she was traveling in now contained a load of cash as well as papers for a new identity. The escape plan that she was to follow to the letter had been put into place decades before, though she and Eric had gone over it just the month before—as was their yearly custom.
Each house that would act as a safe house for her trip northwest had been bought by a different glamoured human and was untraceable. At each, was another untraceable car, which was maintained yearly by that same glamoured human. At each were materials that she would use to change her appearance. And once in Wyoming, she would lay low for exactly one year. If she’d not heard from Eric in that time, she would assume her new identity, go to Asia, and begin a new life. She was not to inquire after Eric or to seek him out. And if, in that year, she felt her bond with Eric die or she felt him getting close to her without having called her to him first through their bond, she was to assume that he was dead or compromised and leave the country immediately.
Now, as she enacted the plan, Pam was more frightened than she’d ever been during her whole existence. But she had to obey her master. She had to leave him. Her maker’s command gave her no other choice in the matter.
Pam sighed and bit one of her perfectly manicured nails before cursing herself.
She tried to calm herself. She knew that Eric always had his own escape route, but she’d never been privy to it. Both of them knew that she could withstand a lot of torture without breaking, but she was also quite young, and—according to her maker—everyone could be made to break. If she was found by whatever threat Eric now thought was after them, then she would be tortured until she was forced to tell where Eric was if she knew it. Luckily, her vampire gift was the ability to shut down her end of her bond with her maker. Thus, Eric could not be forced to lead anyone to her using their blood connection; however, he knew of her initial safe haven, so if she felt him nearing, she would need to run again and then shut down their connection.
Pam took a deep breath and accelerated just a bit, though she kept to within five miles per hour of the speed limit. It would not do for her to draw any attention to herself now. She needed to be invisible.
Four hours later, she reached Mena, Arkansas, a little town about midway between Texarkana and Fort Smith. She drove slowly into the neighborhood of the safe house, using all the lessons her master had taught her in order to make sure that the location hadn’t been compromised. Satisfied, she pulled a garage door opener out of the glove compartment and opened the garage door. She parked next to the light blue sedan, which would take her on the next leg of her journey.
Without turning on any house lights, Pam collected her bag and went into the house. There was a small light-tight space under the floorboards in the pantry. Pam hurriedly crawled into the space. Knowing that she needed to conserve her scent-covering potion, she decided against taking a shower. She’d do it the next night. Once she was settled, Pam double-checked that she had the money and documents needed for her trip.
It was still a few minutes before the sun rose, but Pam sank back into the small pillow that served as her only comfort in the little crawl space. For the first time since she’d left Fangtasia, she let herself relax a little. The vampiress took a long, deep breath that she did not need and prayed to a God that she did not believe in. She didn’t know why Eric had made her run, but whatever it was scared the proverbial shit out of her.
She closed her eyes and checked her bond with her maker. The good news was that Eric had not tried to close it down at any point during the night, which meant that he had not been tortured. He was also relatively calm—though his emotions had been a slingshot for much of the time since she’d left him.
She could only guess what had been happening to him.