We arrived in Las Vegas, late in the evening, the next night.
Eric and I had a lot of running around to do beforehand to make arrangements for our trip. Eric had worried about my car, for instance, and had flown over to Fangtasia after I had gone to sleep to pick it up and drive it back to his house. Both cars were now parked inside Eric’s garage, out of sight, so that nothing bad would happen to them. I was sure he also handled some business with Pam, issuing instructions until his return, but he didn’t tell me. I had no real interest in his business anyways.
Eric had woken me up, excitedly, because his red Corvette had been fixed and was now back home in his garage where it belonged. It was his baby, he’d told me, and had then wanted to celebrate it’s healthy return, with sex.
Of course, I couldn’t refuse when he’d sweet-talked me into it, the only way that he knew how. With his lips and his touch. How could I say no? When Eric set his mind on something, there was no use trying to change his mind. We had made love into the wee hours, so that I had woken up in the middle of the afternoon.
It was nine o’clock at night now, I noticed, as I gazed at my wristwatch. We had just landed and were on our way towards the hotel where the king had been kind enough to book us a suite. Eric had traveled in his casket, but was now seated next to me in the long-stretched limo that took us towards the hotel.
We drove along the strip. The lights from the various casinos lit up nicely. I was amazed. I looked from one side of the street to the other, taking it all in.
Eric was doing the same, but I could feel the tension inside of him. He was nervous. It wasn’t every day that you got to travel in style, at the expense of a king. I knew that Eric was scared and suspicious that this was all a big set up…to his own demise.
I hoped not. I didn’t think he had anything to worry about, but then again, he’d had much more experience in these matters than I had. I wished that there was something that I could’ve said to ease his fears. But a part of me worried that Eric might be right.
I reached over and squeezed his hand, trying to reassure him and letting him know that I was there. He glanced over at me and smiled. He squeezed my hand back, trying to reassure me, that he was okay.
“I’ve never been a gambler,” I commented, almost to myself, while I gazed at the glittering lights of the city. “I don’t recall ever playing poker or blackjack or any of those kinds of games.”
“Well, you don’t have to gamble if you don’t want to,” Eric replied back. “These days, there’s shows and many other things that you could do.”
“Yeah, I suppose,” I sighed. “I don’t know…I just want this to go the way we want it to. Do you think that Victor knows that we’re here?”
“Yes, he does,” Eric replied, after a moments hesitation. “Victor called to tell me about what time to catch the plane. The question is…will he be following us here?”
“Do you think he’d do that?” I asked, surprised.
“I wouldn’t put anything past him. He doesn’t trust me and I definitely don’t trust him. I don’t think he’d be happy that we’re going to Vegas at his king’s request. He may come, just to make sure that I don’t take his place,” Eric snorted, as if it was an insane idea.
I wondered if maybe that was the King’s intensions? I felt a profound feeling of pride when I thought about it. Eric was smart and his investments had paid off. I hoped that was the case and that it wasn’t anything harmful to either one of us.
The limo pulled into a circular drive, in front of a giant hotel. It was grand and lit up like a Christmas tree. There was a sign announcing it’s entertainment and specials.
“Wow, I think this is the most extravagant hotel I’ve ever been to,” I commented, gazing up at the structure from inside the limo. I had used to think that the hotel in Rhodes before it blew up was extravagant, but this was more, that’s how extravagant it was.
“Yeah, and it caters to vampires too,” Eric commented beside me.
The limo pulled to a stop in front of the grand entrance, underneath a canopy. A bellhop opened up the door and I slid out. I stop and stared all around me, at the activity going on around me. It was a busy place. Eric followed me out of the limo and nudged my back to lead me towards the sliding glass doors.
We entered the hotel, through the grand foyer, which was the nicest place I’d ever seen. It had high ceilings and fancy chandeliers. I pointed up at them. “How much do you think those cost?” I wondered.
He looked up at them, studying them. “I’m not sure, but it’s more than I paid,” he replied back. “Come, let’s go check in. We need to freshen up before we meet the king.”
We walked over to the front desk, where a woman sat behind the counter. She greeted Eric warmly, noticing how handsome he looked in his jeans and buttoned up shirt.
“Hello, welcome to the Grand Mimosa, how may I help you?” She smiled flirtatiously up at Eric.
I glared at her because she was human and I could easily read her thoughts. I tried shutting her out, but it was to no avail. He’s the most handsome man that I’ve ever seen. He looks like one of those GQ models. I hope he calls down for room service. I wouldn’t even charge him, I’d give him anything he wanted for free.
“Ahem,” I made a sound to let her know that I was standing there. She looked at me, curiously, until I moved closer to Eric to prove that I was with him. I had to hide my smile when I noticed her look of disappointment.
Eric registered himself and I into our suite. The woman handed us our keys. I could tell that she was trying hard to keep the pleasant smile on her face. In fact, as soon as we turned around and headed towards the elevator, I could hear her mind. I tried to keep the smirk off of my own face, as I heard her thoughts.
What does she have that I don’t? What does he see in her? She looks so ordinary and plain. She must be his sister or something because of their same color of hair. She must not be, look at how he looks at her and she at him. Lucky girl. I wonder what she did to catch a man like him?
Eric looked down at me, as soon as the elevator doors closed. “You know…I never notice any other women, when I’m around you. They all pale in comparison,” he explained, trying to reassure me.
I looked up at him, surprised. “Can you hear what I hear when I read their minds?” I asked, curiously. “You know that she wouldn’t have charged you room service, if you wanted to.” I pointed out to him, angrily.
Eric laughed. I glared at him. “Ah, my sweet lover,” he tried to keep from laughing. “I do like to see you like this…all jealous.”
“I am not jealous,” I objected. “She was just…she was treating you like…a piece of meat,” I finished, lamely. I could feel irrational anger eating away at me.
Eric laughed once again. “My lover, you have nothing to fear,” he tried to convince me once again. “You are my bonded. There won’t be any other woman for me as long as you live,” he explained. “Not as lovers…but as a meal?” he shrugged his shoulders. “Her blood did smell sweet,” he teased. I wanted to smack him.
Eric laughed. That was when I realized that he was only teasing me. We took the elevator up to our floor, which was on the tenth. The doors slid opened, we walked out, down the hallway towards our suite. Eric unlocked the door; opened the door and waited for me to enter before he followed along behind me to enter the room.
The lights had been turned on. I gazed around the room, in amazement.
“Wow,” I exclaimed. “This is very nice,” I complimented.
“Only the best for the King’s guests,” Eric replied back. He walked over to the window and gazed down.
I followed him and stood next to him. The Vegas lights were very easy to see from our vantage point. I moved closer to Eric, who wrapped his arm around me. I wrapped my arm around his waist. We looked out over the Vegas skyline, taking it all in.
“What time does Felipe want us to appear?” I wondered, while I gazed out the window.
Eric looked at his watch. “We better hurry. He wants us there in about an hour,” he replied.
“Why didn’t you tell me that to begin with?” I cried. I noticed that the bellboy had already brought up our luggage, so I walked over to my suitcase and started to unpack the clothes that I was going to wear. I dug out a dress with the least amount of wrinkles in it and raced into the bathroom.
I stripped, showered and got dressed in record time. I was brushing my wet hair when Eric entered, carrying his change of clothes in his arms.
“Damn,” he replied, regretfully. “I missed it,” he complained, disappointedly.
“Missed what?” I asked, curiously. I looked at him, in the mirror, while I still worked my brush through it.
“Your shower,” he replied, sighing. “You’ve drank too much of my blood, you’re almost too fast for me now,” he joked.
“Haw, haw,” I laughed, sarcastically. “Well, don’t you have to shower?” I asked, curiously, while he just stood there and watched me brush my hair. “We don’t have much time,” I hinted.
He got the hint. He turned and started to take his clothes off, but not before I noticed his wicked smile. He knew that I was watching him in the mirror. He took his clothes off slowly. My mouth watered, while I imagined that I was touching each area that he exposed. He turned the faucet on. I watched him bend over and I found that I had to clench my hands into fists, in order to keep myself from going over there and touching his ass.
He closed the glass shower door, so that I could still see his naked body when he turned towards me in the shower. Unfortunately, there was a design across it, so that I couldn’t see him in detail, but my memory supplied the rest. Yikes. Yahoo. Yum.
Eric chuckled in the shower. He was reading my thoughts, I was sure of it. My anger at him for doing that was enough to jar me out of my irrational desire. How dare he tempt me when he knew that we were in a hurry? I thought.
“Do that again…there’s no nookie with Sookie,” I explained to him through the shower door.
Eric laughed again, as if he didn’t believe me. “Okay,” he replied, as if he knew that there was no way that I could keep that promise.
He knew me too well. Even I knew that it was hopeless, but I figured that I’d at least not make it very easy for him. “Remember the time when I tied you to the bed?” I asked, trying to make him remember. “Well, I could do that again…and you would learn,” I taunted.
Eric laughed again. “But my lover, you’re leaving one important part out of that equation. I let you tie me up. You would have to get to me first,” he teased back.
I knew he was right again. Damn him and his teasing ways. “Hurry up, we don’t have much time,” I replied instead, reminding him that even if he did manage to make me give in, that there would be no way that we could finish. “That is…unless you want to piss off Felipe.”
That made Eric return to his showering and drop his teasing of me. Soon, he stepped out of the shower. His naked body glistening with the water from the shower. He reached over and grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his middle. He looked in the mirror, his gaze met mine in the reflection.
“What?” he asked, innocently. He took the brush out of my hand and began to brush his long hair.
“Must you?” I asked, angrily. I could tell that he’d done all of that for my benefit.
“Must I what?” he wondered. He had finished brushing and was now looking down at me. He handed my brush back to me.
I took the brush before answering. “You know what you did,” I replied instead, knowing that he would know what I was talking about.
Eric laughed, then walked out of the bathroom, leaving me in peace. I quickly finished getting ready. I made sure that my make up was perfect and that my hair was nicely dried and styled. I walked out of the bathroom to find that Eric had now changed into a fancy suit. It was black and he wore a white dress shirt underneath. He wore a tie as well. He looked very much like the GQ model that the desk clerk thought of him to be.
He gazed at me from head to toe. I could feel the trail from the path that they took. It burned me up inside.
“You look amazing,” he rasped. “King Felipe is going to think that you’ve grown prettier since the last time he saw you.”
“Well, it’s true,” I replied. “I’ve had some more of your blood. It makes sense, doesn’t it?” I asked.
“True,” he agreed. “Come, my lover, let’s go meet the king.”
We walked out of our suite and headed towards the king’s mansion. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but when we pulled up in front of the house, I was surprised to see that it had a Mexican style to it, with the tiled roof and stucco walls on the structure. I had never seen a house like it before in my life.
A butler opened up the door of the limo. We climbed out. He led us inside the house. I was surprised by the interior. It looked like he’d moved all of his Spanish belongings over with him. The furniture and artwork all had that Spanish style.
The butler led us towards a great room, where there were other vampires in attendance. I knew that because they all were blank holes. I was the only human in the room. I knew that there wouldn’t be a whole lot I could do, if Eric ended up needing my help.
Eric must’ve read my thoughts too. He had held my hand from the time we’d exited the limo, so he squeezed it now. “Don’t worry,” he tried to reassure me. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“You better not,” I replied. I turned my attention to Felipe, who was seated in a chair at the other end of the room. I gave him my nicest smile.
“Oh, good,” Felipe called out when he saw us. “My guests of honor have arrived,” he explained to the room. “Come, let me introduce you.” He motioned for us to come closer. “This is Eric the Northman; Sheriff of Area 5, from Lousiana and his bonded, Sookie Stackhouse,” he introduced us.
“Barmaid,” I finished for him, because it sounded a little plain to just say my name.
Felipe smiled and laughed. “Okay, Sookie Stackhouse; barmaid,” he readjusted it to my liking with a grin on his face. “I’m very happy that you could make it,” he greeted us, warmly.
“Like we had a choice?” Eric asked me through our bond, sarcastically. “He had made it sound like it was do or die,” he complained.
I didn’t reply, because I knew that it was all I could do, not to show any emotion as it was. Also, because I knew that it wouldn’t be good for it to be known that we could speak through our minds.
“Welcome to Las Vegas,” Felipe exclaimed. “I hope that you find your accommodations adequate?”
“Yes, you are too kind,” Eric bowed his head, in gratitude.
I wasn’t sure if I should bow as well, so I made a cute little curtsey instead.
“Come, have a seat,” he motioned to a couple of chairs on either side of him.
Eric went and sat on the left. I went to sit on the right. Felipe asked us many questions about our trip and what we thought of his great city. I found the whole thing boring and was waiting to get to the good stuff, like when Eric would mention that I’d been kidnapped and that we were hoping that we would catch the culprit there, but he didn’t.
I sat there, listening to them make small talk. I looked around the room, at the various vampires in Felipe’s regime. I noticed one thing all of them had in common. They were all well-dressed. It made me wonder how rich Felipe was.
I could feel somebody’s eyes watching me, but when I looked around the room, I couldn’t make out who it was. I was able to determine that there was at least one human in the room now, besides me. I tried to spot the human, which reminded me of the game, ‘Where’s Waldo?’ I hoped that it wasn’t someone who would be on the menu.
Damn them. What are they doing here? Where’s Dimitri? How did they manage to escape? I could hear in my mind. I sat up straighter in my chair, hoping that I would be able to see who it was. Just hearing their thoughts’, I determined that this person knew exactly who was behind my kidnapping. I moved around in my seat, agitated. I wanted to go confront this person to find out what they wanted and who they were working for.
Eric looked at me, from the other side of Felipe. He could feel my unease. He gazed at me, curiously, wondering what was wrong. “Do you have to use the washroom?” he wondered. He’d had to ask me because I was purposely keeping my mind closed off from him. I didn’t want him to worry about this new revelation.
“No,” I replied, but I faced the room once again, so that nobody would suspect that we were talking to each other telepathetically.
“Then, why are you so restless?” he asked, curiously. He kept his face impassive because he didn’t want to let on that we could read each other’s mind either. He pretended to be intently interested in Felipe’s conversation but I could tell that every so often his gaze would shift to me. I decided to tell him because I was confidant that he might be able to come up with a plan. He was a thousand years after all, so he might have come upon this type of situation before, I reasoned. I explained all that I’d heard in my mind to him. He was shocked, but not surprised. “Be careful,” he replied in his mind.
“Excuse me,” I spoke up, finally. Eric’s silent question had given me an idea. “I was wondering if I could use the washroom, sir?” I asked, hopefully. I didn’t need to go. I just wanted to use it as an opportunity to go look for the human whose thoughts I’d read.
“Of course, my dear,” Felipe gave his permission. “It’s down the hall and to the right.”
I stood up. I gave Eric a look, full of silent communication. “If I’m not back in ten minutes…make an excuse to come find me,” I told him, in my mind.
Eric gave no sign that he’d heard me, except for the slight nod of his head.
I walked out of the great hall, down the hallway towards the washroom, that Felipe had given me instructions to. I found it easily. I opened up the door and locked it behind me. I walked to the mirror and checked my appearance in the reflection.
I heard someone’s footfalls outside of the washroom door. I paused, momentarily, wondering if the person might continue walking by or if they would stop. They stopped. I suddenly felt trapped in the washroom and wanted to escape. I bit my lip and wondered what I should do.
Finally deciding that it might be better to face it head on, I opened up the door. I was surprised to see Agatha standing there.
“What are you doing here?” I cried out, stunned with disbelief. Never had it occurred to me, that Agatha would’ve shown up in Vegas.
“Hello, Sookie. We meet again,” she moved closer towards me. She still had that big nose and the long, split ended hair.
I backed away from her, until my behind was up against the wall. “What do you want from me? How do you know the King?” I questioned her.
“So many questions, my dear,” Agatha shook her head. “But now isn’t the time. I wanted to meet with you alone, so that we could have a little chat.”
“A chat?” I repeated, scared speechless.
“I want you to meet me. Not when the vampires are awake, but during the day, when there would be no hope that your bonded would come and rescue you,” she explained. “If you don’t meet me…then, I’ll have to do something drastic. Something that would destroy your bond, forever.”
I was scared. As much as I’d hated how our bond had happened, we had come to a certain understanding now. I actually liked our bond. It added to our relationship more than I’d counted on. I was scared to lose it. If she messed with our bond, then Eric would have no way of finding me either. It was a chance that I was willing to risk. I had one thing to my advantage. I could read her mind. I could tell that she had plans for me, when I got there. All I needed to do, was find a way to get the police involved or leave Eric a detailed note so that by the time he woke, I’d still have a fighting chance that he’d find me alive.
I blinked. “Why?” I dared to question. “What do you want? I’ve never even heard of you. I don’t get why you would want to hurt me.” I shook my head, full of confusion.
“I’ll tell you all of that, when you meet me,” was all that she would reply. “Good night, my dear. I’ll see you tomorrow at three o’clock at Cashman Park.”
I watched, as Agatha turned and walked down the hallway, towards the Great Room where the vampires had gathered. I felt extremely curious and puzzled. First off, why a ballpark? Was she a baseball fan? I briefly wondered. I had to figure out a way to get the answers to my questions, without it endangering my life. I knew that I’d have to mention this to Eric as soon as possible. Maybe he would know of a way that we could get myself out of this mess?
I walked back out to the great room. I noticed that Eric was still seated next to Felipe, involved in deep conversation. I needed some kind of distraction, I thought to myself. I bit my lip, trying to figure out how to get us out of there, so that we could head back to our hotel and come up with some kind of plan.
That was when both Eric and Felipe spotted me from across the room. “Good, you’re back, Sookie,” Felipe greeted me, cheerfully. “I was just asking about your car. I hope that it’s all fixed now?” he asked, pleasantly.
I looked at Eric, with a secretive gaze. “Yes, it’s fixed up, so it runs like a charm,” I replied, gratefully. “You were too kind to pay for the expenses.” I bowed my head, slightly.
“No, you’re the one whose kind. I would be dead right now, if it hadn’t been for you and your quick thinking,” he replied, equally grateful. “Everyone, I’d like to propose a toast.” He raised a wine glass filled with what appeared like blood. “To Sookie, may she always find love and happiness,” he toasted.
Every vampire had raised their glasses too. Each glass was filled with blood. I wondered if it was real or synthetic. I looked at Eric, who was gazing back at me, proudly. I felt a rush of pleasure from his gaze and almost hated to take it away from him.
I felt myself blush from the attention I was getting in the room. I knew that every vampire could hear my rapidly beating heart and hungered for my blood.
“Eric, we need to talk,” I told him in my mind. “Privately,” I added, hoping that Eric would come up with some kind of excuse, so that we could leave.
Eric looked at me with a startled expression. I hid my mind from him, so that he wouldn’t get worried about me. “What’s going on?” He asked, full of concern. “Did something happen in the washroom? Did you find out whose mind you could read?”
“Yes,” I replied. I knew that with that one word, he would know what to do to take it from there.