Disclaimer: I do not own the Southern Vampires Mysteries by Charlaine Harris or HBO’s True Blood, created by Alan Ball. However this story and the AU I’m playing with are mine.
*One week later – New Year’s Eve*
“For such an old man, you sure are nervous.” I teased as Eric drove his beautiful red Corvette. The car reminded me of a candied apple. Just like my gorgeous lover next to me, I was ready to lick the taste away.
Eric glanced over to me from the driver’s seat with a smirk. He always seemed to know exactly what I was thinking. I guess it made us even. Since I could feel precisely what his emotions were.
My lover was mouthwatering in a fitted matte gray suit and a black open collared dress shirt. Eric’s pale skin peeked from underneath the silky material, seemingly impervious to the winter chill outside. His intricate Thor medallion hung around his neck secured by a strip of black leather. Keeping the heavy source hidden from view. Eric would only wear the necklace while we made love, allowing me the opportunity to admire the work of art.
“Being old does not mean you lose the edge of anticipation, my Beauty.” Eric pulled our joined hands to his mouth and laid a kiss to the back of my palm.
We hadn’t spent a night away from each other since we met a week ago. Only a week, and I was head over heels for my Vampire. It seemed as if we had known each other longer, perhaps another life.
“One can get quite bored with the monotony of every night living. However, this is a remarkable experience for me. An exercise I never thought I would practice in my Vampire life.” Eric grinned wide at me, not bothering to watch the road as he sped through downtown Shreveport. “I must admit, I am looking forward to meeting your family. You speak so highly of them.”
I smiled back at Eric, trying hard to hide my anxiety of the fact that Eric maneuvered his car with ease and keeping no eyes on the road. It was unnerving.
“They will love you. Especially Linda.” I frowned, thinking about how cheeky my dear Aunt could be. “I might have to kick her ass a bit.”
Eric laughed. “Are you sure you want our first meeting to be at my club?” Eric asked. “It is New Year’s Eve, my Beauty. I had planned to ravish you in every dark corner tonight.”
I breathed out a bright smile and squeezed my thighs together. Eric was insatiable. We spent most of the first two days together in bed. Only slipping away on Christmas afternoon to call my family and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’.
Linda had chuckled when I’d told her I would try to be by later that evening. “It’s Christmas Sookie, not the Second Coming, stay in bed with your hot man!” News had already spread that I had met someone at Bill’s party.
Thank you very much, Tara Thornton!
Pam had set up their annual New Year’s Eve party. What better way to introduce my family to Eric for the first time than at a huge celebration. I knew he was high in the Vampire hierarchy and being available tonight was part of his job.
I understood the need for mandatory appearances. Hell, if it hadn’t been for Captain Creepy’s insistence that I attend his Christmas Eve party, I wouldn’t have met Eric. My gorgeous stranger was madly successful and accomplished. And a Vampire, not that Gran, Linda and Jason needed to know that.
For now at least.
Besides, meeting the family can be an anxious time, why not ease everyone into this gently. Give them all the good sense to get gussied up, enjoy a good cocktail, and dance the night away at a private party. Jason had especially been thrilled to get an invitation to Eric’s exclusive club after Tara had filled him in on Pam. Tara and Jason were BFF’s and often swapped war stories on the crazy women they ‘dated’.
“Well, I can’t say I would object to some fooling around.” I tugged in the glinting material of my dress to distract myself from remembering just how good Eric was with his ability to drive me wild.
“And yes, absolutely this is a great idea. We’ll all drink and dance tonight. Ring in the New Year with new hopes of the future.” Our future.
“Simple meet and greet, my Beauty?” Eric asked rubbing his thumb lightly over my fingers.
“Yes,” My gaze turned to the front of the car as Eric’s club, The O.C., came into view. I giggled remembering when he had told me what O.C. stood for.
We both saw the humor in the constant turmoil that was our lives.
The O.C. had once been a run-down historic home, in the heart of Shreveport. That is until Eric and Pam had heavily renovated the condemned building to accommodate the private club that Eric envisioned. The refurbished home, now Club, was set back on a lovely hill of dark green grass and large potted plants on an extended lot.
The old Victorian architecture was washed in shades of gray and buttercream yellow. Even in the dark, the building was spectacular. Quite the departure from Bill Compton attempt at design. I shook my head, just because folks had money, did not mean that they had the equal taste.
Eric’s flagship was not in a cheap, fly by night strip mall. Eric and Pam had been serious in giving their wealthy clientele a first class experience. I now knew that most of their regulars were Vampires. Most of who were trolling for a ‘feed and fuck’, as Eric referred to the practice.
Eric eased the Corvette onto the long circular drive. A burly looking valet was just ahead of us, although the closer we got the more I realized this was part of Eric’s beefed up security team. The man took deliberate steps down the outer staircase to the driveway as Eric slowed, then parked, leaving the engine idling.
The security guy, no, scratch that. The hulk who had approached my side of the car wore dark glasses and smiled down to me, in what I hoped was a friendly grin. I shifted away from the tinted glass, wondering if I could jump over the console to escape.
A cold intensity drifted over me and then focused on Eric. Respect and loyalty radiated as the two spoke outside the Corvette briefly. If this guy wasn’t a vampire, I didn’t know what would qualify. His features were harsh under the bright glare of the exterior lighting.
My door opened.
“Thank you, Rasul,” Eric nodded and extended his hand to me. I took it gratefully and was quickly wrapped into Eric’s embrace.
“This is Sookie Stackhouse. She is mine.” Eric informed the hulk known as Rasul.
One dark eyebrow rose over his heavy shades before his fierce face turned back to me.
“Excellent choice Sheriff. A pleasure to meet you, Miss Stackhouse.” Rasul gave a nod to me, which I had learned was a sign of respect. Vampire’s did not like to touch or be touched except for public displays as part of their human camouflage. Something about smell being transferred, it was all very primal in my view. Like lions marking their territory.
Rasul shielded eyes met Eric’s once more. “Everything is prepared as you requested.”
Without a word, Eric escorted me up the stone steps to the beautiful archways of the covered front entrance.
This place was massive. Be it a home or a Club, this was an incredible building. I wondered if Eric would object to a few strands of Christmas lights next year. The exterior lights highlighted the architecture of the Victorian beauty well, but I always loved it when homeowners decorated their dwellings with care.
Another security guy opened an imposing wooden door for us once we stepped onto the porch. The circular entry held a golden bowl filled with blood red roses and berries. A bough of holly and pine was wrapped around the base. Gold votive holders burned around the rich wood table and creams of the room.
“This is beautiful Eric, you have excellent taste.” I exclaimed. The entry was classic and understated. Sometimes less was more and this showpiece was exactly it.
“Yes, I do.” He said. I looked up to Eric. He was watching me and not the fabulous entrance I had complimented him on. I blushed again for the millionth time. Maybe one day, he would not affect me so easily. Actually, I hoped that day would never come.
Eric reached for the collar of my coat. Running his finger down the middle between my breasts before deftly flipping open the buttons of my leather jacket. The silken liner fell off my bare shoulders, revealing a striking silver dress. Eric handed the jacket to a silent attendant who took it somewhere.
This place was quiet, not like any nightclub I had ever been to. Soft classical music played over an unseen sound system, setting the tone for the night. Or so I thought.
My dress had magically appeared at my home this morning by a stressed out courier. Poor man, he had been given specific instructions that he wasn’t allowed to deviate from until the package was hand delivered. Vampire glamour was fascinating.
A pink card included with the parcel read that a woman would be at my home at 3 P.M. sharp to apply my make-up and do my hair.
‘Looking forward to Eric’s expression, Pam.’
I was pretty sure the dress was worth more than my car. Which had been seen previously on a beautiful, young Hollywood starlet. But I wasn’t about to complain about receiving the extravagant gown. After all, how many women were lucky enough to receive such beautiful, wearable art?
Eric took his time looking me over. The thin silver heels on my feet gave me the much-needed height to reach Eric’s dimple chin.
I was coy when I did a little spin for him. “Is there something on my dress?”
When I completed my turn he was growling, his eye blazed with need. “Not yet.” Eric crushed me to him and kissed me breathless as he ran his hands over every inch of my body he could reach. “Let us go to the party before I throw the bouquet you love so much onto the floor and fuck you on that table.” Eric said and led me down a hall.
And elevator popped open as we reached the end of the hallway. The doors closed and we stepped inside. Eric pressed the down arrow and the car was moving.
“You have a basement in this place?” I asked. Not many places in Louisiana did have basements due to the flood plain.
“Club O.C.’s actual location is downstairs. The house above has private rooms that may be used for other activities by my guests.” Eric said and then his fangs popped down.
I jumped at the sound and the instant awareness of him taking over the small confined place. Eric pushed me against the far wall of the elevator. Pressing his lips to mine and then licking the seam of my mouth, seeking entrance.
I gasped when his tongue swept my mouth and dug my hands into his hair. We could have been anywhere, not an elevator on New Year’s Eve and here I was, ready to jump him.
The bing bong sound shook me out of my thoughts of opening the fly of his slacks with my teeth. Eric pulled back and smiled, his fangs sadly retreated.
“Welcome to The O.C.” He said and led me from the car to a darkened world of mood lighting, private tables, and booths and in the middle of it all was a dance floor. Which we were looking down onto from the second story. The tempo was high and the emotions sweeping past me were erratic. I caught my breath for a moment to take it all in before shutting out the flood of sensation to a trickle. I could never turn off my Empathy and I never wanted to, it’s who I was. I accepted it.
“Oh, wow!” I muttered when I was finally able to collect my thoughts. “Eric this is amazing!”
“Thank you, my Beauty. Would you care for a drink?” Eric asked as we walked the catwalk overlooking the large dance floor below. The women were decked out in tight alluring dresses, the feeling of getting lucky tonight was high. The men in attendance felt the same way as they flirted and gyrated all over their partners.
“Sure, a gin and tonic.”
A waitress nodded with a warm smile to me and scurried off. I suppose to get my drink? Weird.
“Your family will be here soon, do you want to dance or sit.”
“Dance.” I knew I would get all sweaty and probably ruin my make-up but I wanted to cut loose.
Five songs later I was showing Eric every one of my moves. I loved to dance. He was very good as well, knew when to lead and when to follow mine.
“Okay, I think I need a break.” I said with a pant and a laugh.
Eric grinned, “Whatever my Beauty wants. You should use those moves when I get you alone tonight.”
“I thought you were going to fuck me in public.” I pouted. I wasn’t ready for public sex, but teasing was right up my alley.
“Don’t.” Eric scolded. “I am working on my best behavior until I meet your family, do not push me into something you may regret.”
His words sent shivers up my spine. What would he do?
When we neared Eric’s private booth, I saw Gran enjoying a glass of pink champagne as Linda pointed to things around the club in excitement.
“Happy New Year!” I said when we stood in front of the booth.
“Sookie!” Gran said with a great big smile. She took a moment to throw her legs over the opening so she could stand with help from the table.
“You look beautiful,” her gaze rose up to Eric’s smiling face. “And you must be Eric.” Gran hugged his torso to my lover’s surprise. His eyes widened a moment before he returned her hug.
“A pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Stackhouse.” Eric introduced himself.
Gran pulled back as Linda stood next to me.
“Hot damn, Sookie. Tara wasn’t lying.” Linda murmured in my ear.
“Oh please, call me Adele.” Gran looked up to Eric. “You have a beautiful place here, young man.”
I had grabbed my water and drank at the wrong moment when she called Eric a young man. I choked on the liquid at the back of my throat and Eric narrowed his eyes at me a moment. After swallowing the remaining beverage, I smiled back.
“Thank you, Adele. My business partner, Pam and I have worked hard for the right mood.”
“Well, you have it.” Linda spoke up. I think she had been tongue tied until that moment. My Aunt was never shy, especially around handsome men. “I’m Linda, please tell me you have a single Uncle or Father who needs a date tonight.”
I rolled my eyes, same old Linda.
“Sadly, I do not have any family left. However, I know for a fact that many men are unattached tonight if you are interested.”
Linda swept back to grab her drink, an apple martini. “Maybe later, for now, I’m off to shake my money maker. Thank you for the invitation tonight.”
Linda was gaining speed toward fifty years old and was still beautiful. She worked out, kept her hair styled and make-up always in place. The only reason she was single was because she wanted to be.
“You are welcome here whenever you like.” Eric said.
“Later darling,” Linda waved as she made her way to the dance floor where no more than three men asked her to dance. The three of us got comfortable in the booth and watched the guests enjoy themselves.
“Where’s Jason?” I asked Gran a little loudly over the music. Eric reached into his pocket and handed a small container to Gran. She took the gift and opened the small box with a smile.
Gran placed bright pink ear plugs in her ears and sighed in relief. I felt bad. Until that moment, I hadn’t thought about what the noise level would do to her hearing. I squeezed Eric’s thigh under the table in thanks.
“Thank you, Eric, these feels much better.” Gran said.
“I want you to enjoy yourself tonight. Not have to leave in thirty minutes with a pounding headache from my club’s atmosphere.” Eris spoke.
Gran’s eyes widened. “I can hear you through the plugs. How is that possible?”
“It is a special kind of hearing protection device for just such occasions. You can have a conversation without the headache of the music.” Eric explained.
“This is making my night. Thank you again, Eric.” Gran gave him another warm Adele Stackhouse smiles. The one that I knew meant absolute approval for the guy I was dating.
“Jason is talking to a few women, you know how he is, Sookie. Tara went on and on about her Pammy and now Jason wants to find his own.”
Eric and I laughed. “Pammy? Thank you, Adele. I look forward to introducing you two tonight.”
I knew Tara and Pam were floating around here somewhere, maybe a darkened corner.
“Excuse me a moment, I need to locate the ladies room.” Gran said with more ease as she got out of the booth.
“Down this hall is a door,” Eric pointed. “It’s a private bathroom. Rasul will make sure you are escorted safely.” The hulk from outdoors was next to Gran in that moment, startling both of us. Definitely a Vampire.
Gran looked at me a moment before gazing back at Rasul and finally back to Eric. “Thank you.”
“Wow, you are amazing and this is going so well. Thank you, Eric.” I leaned into him, wrapping one arm around his middle.”
“Anything for you, my Beauty.” Eric whispered into my hair. “I am happy to see you smile.”
The hours clicked down with more dancing and drinking. Eric had ordered a few appetizers sent to the table for my family. Chicken Parmesan sticks with a marinara dipping sauce. Stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, and mini chocolate desserts filled the middle of the large table. It was perfect, but that was because Eric was all about the details.
I wondered how he was going to cover up the fact that he wasn’t drinking like the rest of us. Eric had kept a few half drank glasses in front of him, giving the impression that they were his. A platinum flute was also present, and he did sip from the flute every now and then. I wondered what was in it.
It was fifteen minutes to midnight when Tara and Pam made it to Eric’s private booth. They smelled strongly of sweat, sex, and pennies? Oh, right. Blood. I wondered if Tara knew that Pam was a Vampire. Or maybe Pam had glamoured her to forget. I would need to question Eric later.
I knew Vampires were still underground, but that didn’t mean I’d stand by as my friend was used for her blood.
“Hello, Pammy!” I said happily, maybe even a bit tipsy. Eric chuckled while Gran and Linda snorted and laughed.
Her eyes narrowed. I could feel the flow of annoyance wash over me; only making me smile wider as Tara rolled her eyes and grabbed Pam’s hand while she introduced her girlfriend to everyone.
It was nice to see Tara happy. She deserved a bit of happiness in her life. Her family had never accepted her or her cousin Lafayette as one of their own. Which looking at it now was good, since they were a bunch of whiney drunks. My friend and her cousin were only guilty of being attracted to someone of their same sex. Not a crime in my book. But some families were shitty like that.
While we laughed and people watched from the booth, Eric noticed Jason. His body went ridged. “Everything okay?” I asked.
“Your brother is with Ginger over there. She is…different.”
“You mean strange?” I looked over the throng of dancers to see Jason dry humping a frail bleach blonde wearing a sash for a dress. Were the yellow sequins glued onto her skin?
“I mean, like me.” Eric whispered something, maybe a name and the bleach blonde’s attention left Jason’s neck and focused on Eric. They stared at each other for a tense moment before he summoned her with a small wave.
The women broke the dance and dragged Jason up the stairs with her to Eric’s booth.
“There you are Jason!” Linda yelled. “Hurry up, you’re missing all the good food.”
Jason smiled and gave a confused look to Ginger. If a vampire could be pale she would be. She was stone straight and scared out of her mind while she kept her eyes glued to Eric.
Jason noticed Eric than and stuck out his hand. “Hey man, thanks for letting us come. You have some major digs here.” Eric shook his hand and said thanks before kissing my brow.
“Be right back, my Beauty.” He whispered. His long fingers grazed my arm as he stood, leaving me shivering from our brief connection.
Eric stood, all 6’4 of him and towered over Ginger, who shrank against his dominate stance. He murmured something to her then strode down the hall, Ginger hot on his heels and staring at the ground. It was like she got caught pulling someone’s hair in school and was off to the Principals’ office. Eric had said he was Sherriff for the area. It that what he did? Keep the Vampires in line?
“What the hell was all that about?” Jason asked as he took Eric’s seat and grabbed a stuffed mushroom.
“Beats me, you know Eric runs this place. Maybe she works here.” Seriously doubt it, but I was dying to see what Eric would do.
“No way, Ginger would be in our employment.” Pam spoke up. “My advice, get your dick wet and move on, Stackhouse.” Linda shouted out her laughter as Gran comically covered her ears.
“Pamela!” Gran scolded.
Pam had the decency to look abashed before shrugging her shoulders.
“Thanks for y’alls concern, but I’m a big boy. I can handle that little bit of a thing my own way.” Jason defended.
Pam smirked and raised an eyebrow in a ‘well see’ gesture.
“You landed yourself quite the catch darling.” Linda elbowed me in the ribs.
“Yeah, I did. He is pretty amazing.”
“Oh yeah, definitely gorgeous.” I agreed. “It’s funny Linda, but Eric, he gets me.”
“Well handsome and successful aside, you are quite the catch young lady. Don’t you forget that.” Gran said from across the table. My Gran was a great believer in bolstering self-confidence. She was a big believer in trust and love, but not at the expense of your own self-esteem.
“I could not agree more, Adele.” Eris said, surprising me by announcing himself at the head of the booth. He only had eyes for me. “Sookie is very special. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her.”
Jason looked past Eric for Ginger. When he saw no one, Jason asked what the hell happened.
Eric asked him for a moment and Jason left with Eric, less than a minute later Jason was back with a smile the size of the half moon. No more confusion radiated off of him.
Oh, my God, Eric had glamoured Jason to forget about pursuing Ginger.
There had better be a damn good reason for hypnotizing my brother. Otherwise, Eric was about to land high on my shit list.
Eric extended his hand to me with a soft smile. I took it roughly and he helped me up as if I didn’t just grip his hand as hard as I could. I was ready to explode all over him with what just happened. Before I could say anything he addressed everyone at the booth.
“It’s almost midnight. Follow me for the best seats in the house.” I narrowed my eyes at him, when he gave me his signature dazzling smile, he was up to something.
“You and I need to talk.” I whisper shouted as I walked to Eric’s side and allowed everyone else to ease out of the booth.
Eric nodded in agreement and then helped Gran from her seat. There was a sweet man underneath that vicious, sexy Vampire.
Once we were all standing, Eric led us to a different elevator than the one we had descended into The O.C. Rasul waiting with his hands secured in front of him. He was an imposing 250 pounds of scary muscled Vampire.
“Hello again.” Gran said, touching the burly Vampire’s arm in greeting.
Rasul smiled and looked down and my petite Gran. “Adele, the pleasure is all mine. May I escort you upstairs?” He asked as he held out his elbow to her.
The buzz of excitement was high as we all piled into the large elevator. Eric inserted a key into the control panel and hit the ‘R’ button. A whirl later and the elevator doors slide open to the rooftop. Sofas and armchairs sat under a fairy lit pergola.
It was a modern oasis on top of this very Victorian home, now converted underground Vampire Club. I didn’t even recall noticing anything that would suggest a rooftop patio from the ground. But honestly, with Eric near me, I could have missed a herd of elephants stomping by.
“There is not going to be a bad seat up here and this will remain private. Please get comfortable. The show is about to begin.” Eric said.
Two servers were waiting with trays of flutes filled with pink champagne. A nearby tabletop suddenly moved, revealing a concealed big screen T.V. rising from the surface. A ten-second countdown had begun.
“We’ll discuss everything later, my Beauty. I trust you to know you will forgive me for any slight you think I may have committed against your brother. Believe me when I say, he is better off without Ginger.”
Hmm, she did have ‘hussy’ written all over her. I would listen to his explanation later. My body relaxed against his. He was right, I wasn’t so stubborn that I wouldn’t hear him out.
“This is the first year of the rest of our lives.” Eric whispered in my ear from behind me. His long arms held me tight against his body as our family and friends stood around us. Excitement and hopes for the countdown and the new year to begin.
I turned my head to look up into his beautiful blue eyes. “We’ll see about all that Jason stuff later.” I poked Eric in the ribs with my elbow playfully. “You’ve already lived so many, I only have one.” I said a little sadly.
He would stay the same year after year. I would grow old and eventually die. A sharp pain entered my heart thinking of leaving Eric behind when I passed.
Eric dragged a gentle finger over my cheek to my bottom lip and then he grinned.
“That is where you are wrong, my Beauty.” He whispered.
“We can have forever, if you will join me.”
Become Vampire? Be part of an underground mythology? What about my family? My business? My life?
I glanced around the rooftop to see Linda and Gran gossiping and giggling like school girls. Pam and Tara sat on a nearby bench talking in low voices, Pam was rubbing Tara’s knee. Jason was sweet talking the raven-haired waitress who had brought up our drinks. Already onto the next catch, oh Jason!
My family loved me, they liked Eric a lot. Otherwise, my adoring family would have grilled him over the fire. The feeling of familial comfort would only grow with time.
If I was truly honest I knew I could be happy by Eric’s side, forever. I was already madly in love with the man, err, Vampire. Whatever.
But was it too soon?
“Happy New Year!” Everyone shouted out. Delight and anticipation flowed over me from every direction.
Eric turned me in his arms and leaned in the last few inches to kiss me.
“Happy New Year, Sookie.” Eric said before kissing me sweetly.
Wrapping my arms around his neck, I deepened the kiss. Allowing the magic of the holidays to cocoon us in our own bubble. Happiness and love flowed from Eric to me and I sent him back the same.
Fireworks exploded behind me. Gran and Linda oohed and awed over the display.
“Oh, my stars!” Gran exclaimed.
“This is fucking sweet!” Jason called out from somewhere behind me.
I pulled back from Eric’s pliable lips to see the colorful lights play over his gorgeous face. Just like the first time we met in the moonlit woods, he took my breath away.
“Happy New Year, Eric.” I said with a big grin that mirrored his.
Then I slowly arched up on my tippy toes and whispered, “Maybe.”
(A/N) I hope you all enjoyed this little tale and your holiday vacation! Thank you all for reading, following and sending me your fabulous reviews. I feel very blessed to have wonderful readers like you! Happy New Year! Oh wait, did someone say Epilogue…