A/N Major thank you to everyone who has stuck with me so far, who continue to read and await new chapters, you guys are my muse and I find myself wanting to continue this story for you, even though my passion for it is slowly dying! (blame it on the lack of ASkars on my TV right now!)
Three POV chapter for you because I couldn’t decide who I wanted to have this chapter! Oh and I stole a plot point from the books at the end of this chapter, simply because I can :3
ENJOY, REVIEW, BE HAPPY! 😀
I’ve got something to tell ya, I’ve got news for you
Gonna put some wheels in motion, get ready ’cause we’re coming through
Hey now, hey now, hear what I say now, happiness is just around the corner
Hey now, hey now, hear what I say now, we’ll be there for you
The Vengabus is coming and everybody’s jumping
New York to San Fransisco, an intercity disco
The wheels of steel are turning and traffic lights are burning
So if you like to party, get on and move your body
~ We Like To Party, The Vengaboys
One moment I was lost in the world that my Sookie was showing me, the beautiful and bright world where the river shimmered, where the sand looked far more golden than I could ever remember sand being, and where Sookie was so lost in her happiness. Locked away inside of Ata’s mind I watched the world as she did, and I never lost sight of my bonded as she frolicked with her cousin in the water, carefree now that she was thousands of miles away from any danger.
Should the situation become too dangerous for her to be in the USA I would insist on Ata teleporting her back to Egypt, and although it would hurt me to say it I would tell Ata to ensure Sookie always wore something made of iron, to block her popping ability. I wouldn’t want her returning to me if things became tough here. I would deal with everything with Pam and Godric by my side and then I would contact my bonded, beg for her forgiveness before inviting her back home. I would only beg for her forgiveness because I was well aware already as to how badly she would take it if I were to send her away and force her into hiding. It would take a lot for her to forgive me, but I would do it anyway and suffer the guilt and verbal abuse I would no doubt receive for my actions if it kept her safe from harm.
The next thing I was aware of was my bonded’s immense pain. It scorched through my system, igniting my blood as it coursed through my veins. Gasping I sat bolt upright in bed, my internal body clock informing me that the sun was still high in the sky. I shouldn’t be awake, the sun should be forcing me into sleep, and yet I had to get to my Sookie. I had to help her. Hunter was no longer at my side and I could only assume that he had woken earlier and was now with Flo. Although I was starting to care for the teacup human, getting to my Sookie was more important.
Not caring with clothing I forced my feet onto the floor. They felt heavy and I could feel the sun trying to pull me under, but I gritted my teeth, refusing to succumb to it. Sookie needed me. Reaching the bedroom door I yanked it open, stumbling out into the windowless corridor. Dragging myself towards the living area, the wall supporting me all the way, I cared none for the sunshine as I entered the living room. The daylight hit my skin and I hissed at the pain as I started to burn. The remnants of Sookie’s blood in my system, coupled with our bond, were slowing down the burning process, but I was still sizzling. My eyes caught sight of Sookie’s form on the floor and I guessed that she was trying to crawl towards our bedroom. I didn’t have time to gush over the fact she was trying to get to me as our bond was screaming out with her pain, and my pain was combining with it as I slowly burnt.
Grabbing Sookie I mustered as much strength as possible before I vamped back to our bedroom. Exhausted from my small burst of energy I placed her on the bed, falling down beside her. Scenting Ata in the room seconds later I was relieved that someone was there to help, but I couldn’t voice my relief. Sookie curled into the foetal position at my side, sweat forming on her brow and rolling down her pasty skin. Ata’s hand went to Sookie’s forehead and I pressed mine to her cheek, praying my cold skin would help cool her down. Ata’s other hand appeared in front of my face, a wound on her wrist was open.
“Take.” Her instruction brokered no room for argument and I didn’t have the energy to bicker with her. Tentatively I placed my mouth over the wound, taking several mouthfuls. I could feel my burn wounds healing much quicker than they would have without the help of Ata’s blood.
“Thank you.” I rasped, healing her wound for her. For a moment she caressed my face before her attention returned to Sookie, and soothing words tumbled from her lips. I followed suit, fighting against the pull of the sun. I could feel Sookie fading and I was powerless to help her. I was fading too, as the sun was too high in the sky for me to fight, and with worry for my bonded at the forefront of my mind I was thrown back into my day rest.
The next thing I was aware of was the night. The sun had just dipped below the horizon and my eyelids snapped back, my first thought being Sookie. Turning onto my side I found that Sookie was missing, and my panic set in. Darting from the bed I took a second to spare the sensibilities of the others in the house and pulled on the first pair of pants I could find, not caring if they were from the night before. I could shower and change once I was sure Sookie was safe. I followed our bond into the living room and froze the moment I located her.
Ata was sat on the sofa with her feet propped up on the coffee table, a beautiful black cat on her lap. She was running her fingers through the cats fur and the creature was content until it noticed me in the room. Within seconds the cat was up off of Ata’s lap and running towards me. I had no time to comprehend what the hell was going on before a very naked Sookie had thrown herself into my arms, wrapping herself around me.
Instantly my arms went around her frame and I pulled her close to me, burying my nose in the crook of her neck to inhale her scent. “What happened?” I croaked out as I continued to hold her close to me, relieved she was no longer suffering the immense pain I had felt coming from her earlier, and yet I was now worried about why she was as naked as a baby.
“I became even more of a freak!” She sobbed into my chest, and I held her tighter, using my large frame to hide as much of her naked body as possible. I was aware of Godric, Pam and Ari entering the room, but I was too consumed with concern for my bonded
“Sookie.” Ata’s stern tone cut through the room, and I felt the power shift as Ata rose to her feet. “You are not a freak, not in any sense of the word. You received your first fae gift today and that is something to be celebrated. You received the gift of shape shifting Sookie, and there is only one fae in the entire span of our existence who has received such a gift. It’s a rarity, something only bestowed on the most privileged of our kind. You can become any creature you want to at the drop of a hat.” Ata informed us all, though her eyes never left my bonded. Sookie had turned her head to face Ata and her sobs had turned to sniffles as she raised a hand to wipe at her eyes.
“You have no idea how useful that gift could be in the future.” Ari chipped in, offering my beloved a reassuring smile. I was baffled by the news of her new gift. I’d known that Sookie was due to receive some fae gifts but I had never expected her to be able to shape shift. I had always given Merlotte stick for being a shifter, and yet now my beloved had the ability to do the exact same thing, and yet she still smelt like fae, she was still a fae.
Looking down to Sookie in surprise, I could feel the same emotions coming from Pam and Godric, who too were looking at Sookie in surprise. “Why couldn’t I have just gotten rid of my telepathy, that would have been a more useful gift, then none of this supernatural bullshit would follow me around.” Sookie wailed from my arms.
“Stop throwing a pity party. Niall gives us our gifts based on how useful they will be in the future. Niall must know that you will need this gift in the future, so please embrace it.” Ata begged as she approached, slowly sliding her cardigan off which she wrapped over Sookie’s shoulders. I was still in shock over her gift and what it could possibly mean. Sookie would need to shift into some form of animal for some reason, and thousands of reasons for it were whizzing through my mind. I was brought back to reality as Sookie’s embarrassment crashed over me. Eyes dropping down, I watched as her face turned bright red, a squeak escaping her lips as she realised that she was standing completely naked in a room with four other people present. Her embarrassment caused me to laugh, and the tension in the room from the revelation of her gift disappeared.
“What other creatures can you change into min kärlek?” I enquired as I wrapped Ata’s jumper tighter around Sookie’s frame, hiding her away under the soft cashmere garment.
“Hunter asked me to become a puppy, so I did. I didn’t like it though. It didn’t feel right.” She confessed with a shrug. “I preferred being a cat, I felt at ease when I was one of them.” She added, turning her head to look up at me with a small smile. “Ata had a meeting today with some Were’s from the area so I went down with her by her side.” She stated with a grin. Though I was horrified at the idea of her leaving the safety of the penthouse without either myself or any other of our nest for protection, especially to see some Were’s, I could tell she was just waiting to finish her story.
“At first I was the black cat you saw earlier, but I wanted to try something new and a little scary, so I changed into a tiger, Eric! A tiger!” She seemed so happy with herself that I couldn’t help but be happy for her, and yet I still ended up quirking an eyebrow.
“And what a wonderful tiger you were.” Ata complimented, a soft smile on her lips as she gazed at her cousin from the other side of the room. She had drifted over to Godric while Sookie and I had been conversing, and had planted a chaste kiss to his lips in greeting.
“Well, at least Eric can have every type of pussy under the moon now.” Pam’s comment left her lips before I had any chance to intercept it.
“Pam!” Sookie admonished, a blush crossing her features once again. I simply shook my head and rolled my eyes at my Childe. After 100+ years in her company very little that came from her mouth could surprise me.
“If I recall correctly, aren’t you the one with the insatiable appetite for pussy, Pamela?” Godric arched an eyebrow at my Childe, and I cringed as the word slipped from him. Usually little bothered me or made me cringe, but the word sounded so foreign and strange coming from him, given his aversion to intimacy and fucking to his hearts content over the past 1000 years.
It was Ari’s turn to torment my Childe and he did so wonderfully. Pressing his larger frame behind her I noted his hips flexing forward as his voice dropped, his lips in-line with Pam’s ear as if telling her a secret. “Oh I believe I have weaned her off of that.” He breathed, nuzzling the side of her face before he gave a sharp forward thrust of his hips. “She has an insatiable appetite for something else now.” He teased, causing my Childe to screw her heavily painted eyes shut, a strangled groan leaving her pink lips. I could feel her lust barreling through our bond, but she was quick to compose herself and put a lid on it.
“It’s not like we get peace and quiet from you though.” Riei’s voice floated through the room as he appeared in the doorway leading to the sleeping chambers on the other side of the penthouse. He leant against the left side of the doorframe as Khai leant against the right.
“More. Please. Harder baby, faster, bite me, fuck me.” Khai mimicked Ata’s Egyptian lilt perfectly, and the mortification coming from her through our weak bond had me howling with laughter, along with the rest of the vampires in the room, my Maker included. I could feel Sookie’s sympathy for her cousin, but that didn’t stop her from sniggering behind her hand. Ata’s features were now sufficiently red, the first time I had witnessed her blush ever since our arrival.
Grabbing Sookie’s hand, the Egyptian fairy pulled her from my grip as I continued to laugh over Khai’s perfect imitation. “We’re going to get ready for tonight in my room, no one else is allowed in! You can all change elsewhere.” Ata stomped off, taking a sniggering Sookie with her.
Once the two women had left the room, my laughter along with that of the other vampires subsided. “Sookie pulled me from my day rest today.” I told the vampires in the room, aware that all of my brothers were now present, along with Isabel. My words sobered them all instantly and I was hit with a bombardment of curiosity and surprise from all the new bonds that had been formed between us. Pam quirked an eyebrow and Godric looked on in surprise. “She woke me this morning too, before she left with Ata to go and explore Egypt in order to replenish herself of sunlight.” I tacked on to the end.
“They went to Egypt today?” Oeri questioned as he took a seat on the sofa. “Ata hasn’t been back there in over 2000 years. She usually asks one of us to go and take care of her affairs there. She’s always struggled visiting before.”
“Yes, I assume they teleported. Ata was able to tag my subconscious to hers so that I could witness Sookie in the sunshine. Hunter came in with Sookie this morning and rested beside me for some time but when Sookie and Ata returned from Egypt, with Sookie in extreme pain, Hunter was no longer beside me.” I informed the others quickly. “Her pain woke me and I pulled her out of the living room and into our bedroom where she continued to cry out in pain.” I forced myself to talk with an even and unattached tone, but the vampires in the room knew me well enough to know that I was anything but unattached. I’d been a wreck when I had been yanked from my day rest, Sookie’s pain thundering into my system.
“My subconscious was tagged to Sookie’s, but the moment I felt her pain I broke off our connection. I wasn’t woken in the day, but I was aware of what was going on.” Godric added as he took a seat on the sofa opposite the door Ata had left from, his eyes drifting to it every now and then.
“I was able to see Sookie in the sunshine.” I informed Pam with a grin, and my Childe simply rolled her eyes at me, though I could see the corner of her lips quirking upwards.
“I saw Ata in the sunshine too, for the first time in 2000 years.” My Maker’s voice was wistful as he continued to glance towards the door that Ata and Sookie had escaped through.
“Uncle Eric!” Hunter’s excited voice filled the room as the youngest member of the Stackhouse bloodline came bounding down from the training room with Jason close behind him. Turning to face the young boy I crouched, grinning with my arms open as he launched himself into my embrace. Scooping him up I cradled him close, giving him a hug in greeting.
“Good evening Hunter. How are you?” I asked the young boy as he ended our hug, instead playing with the eagle claw around my neck now that he was sat in my arms.
“I’m very well thanking you. Uncle Jason just read me a story. Thank you for letting me sleep next to you earlier. I didn’t stay very long; Flo was cooking some yummy cakes so I helped her. Auntie Sookie and Auntie Ata came out of your room earlier and Auntie Sookie was this pretty cat. I didn’t recognise her at first! She has this power to turn into any animal she wants so I asked her to be a puppy, but she didn’t like it.” Hunter frowned, letting go of my necklace to run his hand through his hair in a fashion similar to the way I did the exact same action. “She preferred being a cat, and I heard that Auntie Ata is the Queen of cats, which makes sense because when I braided her hair earlier she started purring and fell asleep.” Hunter grinned.
“It sounds like you’ve had quite a busy day little one.” Godric commented with a small smile in Hunter’s direction.
“Hi Uncle Godric!” Hunter beamed happily at him before he squirmed out of my grasp. Placing the young boy down on the floor, he moved to the sofa and sat beside Godric. “How was your sleep?” He asked politely, and I ruffled the boy’s bangs before I moved to the other sofa, placing myself down on it. My family took seats scattered across the room.
“My sleep was very good thank you, how was your nap earlier on?” my Maker responded politely, giving the boy an adoring smile.
“It was really nice. Uncle Eric gave me cuddles.” Hunter turned to flash me a smile and I couldn’t help but return it. This cute little teacup human would be the death of me.
“Hunter? Come and get ready little man!” Jason called out as he descended the staircase from the training room, grinning as he noticed all of us were now awake. “Evening fellas!” He cheerily greeted us as Hunter bounced over to him, grabbing his hand before he dragged him away into one of the spare bedrooms, presumably to get dressed for the evening.
“NO! I am not wearing that! No way!” my acute sense of hearing picked up on Sookie’s shouted rant, even though there were numerous doors and walls between us. I could only surmise that the bedroom door hadn’t been closed properly.
“Do you want to fuck a certain Viking this evening or not?” We all heard Ata sigh in exasperation. I could just picture her face now, pure exasperation. I had been patient with Sookie, aware that she had been thrown into all of this supernatural bullshit without any warning or guidance, but it seemed her cousin was more of a fan of tough love.
“I don’t need to wear a scrap of red lace to get laid, Ata!” The mention of red lace had my fangs running down without me realising it, and it was only when Pam started to snigger that I realised I must have looked like a lovesick teenager, whose main emotion was that of lust.
“Let us go and deal with them, before they kill one another, or give you blue balls.” Isabel shook her head, trying to contain her own laughter as she rose to her feet. Pam followed, but not before Ari had pulled her in for a chaste kiss.
“Play nice.” I heard him whisper in her ear as she pulled away, and if vampires could blush I had a feeling my Childe would be doing so right now.
“I never play nice.” Her purr of a response resonated throughout the room as she sauntered off with Isabel in the direction of Ata and Sookie. Their departure left us boys alone in the living room.
“You are aware that you two are dressing up too, right?” Riei broke the silence, glancing between Godric and I. I had been aware of the dress code, and yet I hadn’t planned anything for it on the off chance that I could get away without dressing up. I had no problem in it, I regularly partook in all of Fangtasia’s costume parties, but it had been incredibly short notice.
“Good job we went shopping for you then, isn’t it?” Egor chipped in, offering me a smirk.
“Brother, your consideration knows no bounds.” I teased, relaxing back into my chair. I could no longer hear the girls. Isabel and Pam must have shut the door behind them. “I guess it’s time we change then, yes?” I sighed dramatically, well aware of the showtime theme of the party. Godric rose to his feet at the same time I did, and together with my brothers we made our way to the side of the penthouse that Sookie and I slept in. Ari slipped away from our group for a moment but I thought nothing of it as I was greeted with the scents in my bedroom. I could of course scent myself, along with Sookie and Hunter, with an undertone of Ata. The fragile members of my family had all been in my room, and though their strong scents were a reminder that they were still with me it also caused my dead heart to constrict – they could die at any second, and I would never get to breathe in their scents ever again.
Feeling my sadness and worry through our bond, Ari pushed reassurance to me as he entered the room, carrying a load of garment bags with one hand, a large bag slung over his shoulder. “We have clothes and shoes for you all.” He explained, placing the bags onto the bed. Although he never once mentioned the reassurance he had sent towards me I sent him gratefulness in return, and the smile ghosting over his lips as he unpacked our clothes informed me he had received it. Riei, Oeri and Khai all took garment bags, along with shoes, before they whizzed off to their respective rooms. Egor and Agmund followed suit, leaving Godric, Ari and I in the room. “The girls selected outfits for you guys earlier, so don’t stake me if they’re not to your tastes.” Ari chuckled, handing Godric and I garment bags before he grabbed his own, heading towards the door.
“You’re not going to be staying and changing with us?” Godric asked, turning to face my brother as he left the room.
Stopping in his tracks, Ari turned to face. If it weren’t for our weak bond I would have missed his nervousness. “I thought you might like some father and son time, it’s a rarity these days.” He offered in way of reason, plastering on a dazzling smile that no doubt caused all women in the casino to swoon every time it made an appearance.
“You are my son too, Ari, so shouldn’t you join in with father and son time?” My Maker quirked an eyebrow in question as Ari’s eyes flickered to me for a moment. Realising that he didn’t wish to feel like he was intruding I pushed reassurance through to him, lacing it with acceptance. I had no problem with my new brother staying. If his current situation with Pamela continued then I could see him becoming part of my nightly life anyway.
“I don’t wish to impose.” Ari shifted his weight onto his left foot, shuffling on the spot.
“Stay with us.” I ordered softly, giving my brother a reassuring smile. It was out of character for me to offer reassurance to anyone, let alone another male vampire, but my brother was in need of it and he was family. It was difficult for me to come to terms with the fact I now had a huge family. I could live with brothers though, as during my human days the men I had fought alongside of had automatically become brothers to me. I had their backs and they had mine. It was second nature to accept Ari into the family, along with his vampire brothers. It had been difficult for me to accept Ata as a mother figure though, not because I disputed her relationship with my Maker, as it was painfully obviously they were very much in love with one another, but because I had never had a female role model. Growing up during my human years I had always been surrounded by men and had always mentored by my father, and subsequently in my vampire life I had been mentored once again by a male. I had Pam but there was nothing motherly about her – she was cold and heartless, just the way I loved her.
It would take some getting use to, thinking of Ata as the female head of the family, and it would be harder still to refer to her with the same name that my brothers used. True she was my mother too, if her blood in my system that had entered during my turning had any say in the matter.
Almost shyly Ari moved back across the room, depositing his stuff on the right hand side of Godric’s. During this time Godric had unzipped his garment bag, and the moment he caught sight of the white fabric he groaned. “How did I know I would have to go without a shirt?” He muttered under his breath as he removed the white shorts from the bag. The belt of the shorts was covered in brightly coloured gems, swirled patterns having been stitched on. Continuing his exploration of the bag he soon produced two white beaded armbands, both of which had the same coloured gemstone and swirl pattern on. The final item he removed was a string of white beads, which I assumed were for around his neck. “All of my ink will be on show…” he commented quietly, as if he had only just realised that. I’d noticed it the moment he’d mentioned the lack of shirt.
“Ata picked it out, and she’s always loved your markings. I remember her asking me once how someone had them marked you with them. I had to try and explain to her. I ended up asking the scholars who looked into it for me. She was fascinated with them.” Ari commented as he unzipped his own garment bag, removing a pair of black shorts that had a gold waistband to them, a gold and blue strip of fabric was stitched to the front, which looked very similar to a loincloth.
“She’s still as fascinated now.” A ghost of a smile wove its way across my Maker’s lips but it vanished seconds later. “Traditional Egyptian dress?” He quirked an eyebrow as Ari removed a gold, black and blue neck collar from the bag, along with matching wrist cuffs. He also produced a gold and black headdress, which was very similar to the ones I had seen in all of the movies regarding the Ancient Egyptian world.
“There’s nothing else I would rather wear.” Ari’s response was short but spoken with passion. I could relate considering that Scandinavia would always be home to me no matter where in the world I travelled to, no matter how old I lived to be. I just hoped I would be able to make it to be as old as Godric and Ari. Deciding to take the plunge I opened up my own garment bag, rummaging around until I found a pair of dark green shorts. Pulling them out I wasn’t surprise to see they had a loincloth attached that was very similar to Ari’s, but mine was orange and decorated with embroidered waves and tribal symbols. Continuing my exploration through the bag I found no shirt either, and tried to contain my smirk at the thought of Sookie deciding she wanted me shirtless. I found a pair of arm and leg cuffs that matched the loincloth exactly, and even removed a headband made of the same orange material, though the orange and green feathers sprouting from the top of it had me grimacing, much to the delight of my father and brother. The final item was a neck collar, and I realised how we were all matching. Godric had his own collar tattooed on, but now Ari and I bore our own too. Staring at my outfit, it took no time at all for me to discard the headband. I would deal with Sookie’s pout and feet stomping if I had to, but there was no way that orange and green mess was going to sit on the top of my head all night in front of who knows how many people!
Given our ages, and the fact that we had all lost any resemblance of modesty hundreds of years ago, the three of us had no bother in stripping down and changing in front of one another, and soon we were all adjusting our costumes, adding the final pieces to it and slipping on the various forms of sandals that had been included with them. Although it was never exceptionally cold in Nevada, unlike my home country, the fact I was vampire meant I wouldn’t feel the cold and therefore sandals were an acceptable form of footwear all year round. I often wore them in the club, along with my tracksuit, on my nights off. It was more comfortable than any leather and denim.
It was my Maker’s next actions that caused my brother and I to frown, as he removed a black box from the pocket of the pants he had been wearing. Turning to us, I could see the apprehension in his pale blue eyes, and the thought of my Maker being worried about anything not only shocked me, but it frightened me. “Can I ask the pair of you, my sons, an important and serious question, one that you can’t tell Sookie and Ata about?”
Girls they want to have fun, oh girls just want to have
That’s all they really want , some fun, when the working day is done
Girls – they want to have fun, oh girls just want to have fun
Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have
~ Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
Having removed Sookie and I from the living room for fear that I would die of embarrassment, I set about getting Sookie ready. I already knew what I was wearing and how much time it would take for me to change, but I had a feeling Sookie was one of those women who enjoyed getting dressed up just as much as she enjoyed the actual event she was attending. There was no denying that I enjoyed dressing up too, but I preferred to get it over with quickly so I could enjoy the event for longer. I also never liked to keep any of my boys waiting for me.
Once Sookie and I were in the bedroom I moved to the wardrobe, removing our outfits for the night. I’d placed them in the room earlier on in the day to keep them away from the boys. I’d even taken the liberty of placing a note on the wardrobe door, warning my Godric not to enter on pain of a sex ban. I wasn’t sure at the time if I would be strong enough to follow through with the ban as a punishment towards him, given that it would in reality be a punishment to us both, but it had been the only string I had thought of that I could pull. Seeing him though when he had entered the living room this evening I had realised that I could never ban anything between us, I always seemed to gravitate towards him, and he to I.
Laying out my costume on the bed along with Sookie’s, I picked up the little Victoria’s Secret’s bag from the wardrobe, delving inside to remove the red lace thong from the packaging. Returning to the bedroom I threw the garment at Sookie. “Put those on so you won’t have a VPL. They’re pretty damn sexy too.” I gave my cousin a wink, hoping to appeal to the sensual side of her. The fae were known for their sensuality, and I was praying Sookie would come out of her shell a little more. I had no idea what her private time was like with Eric, but I could only assume that she had so much more potential locked away. The scrap of red lace I had just thrown to her would certainly turn up her vampires’ temperature a few degrees later on.
“NO! I am not wearing that! No way!” Sookie practically screamed at me from across the room as she examined the underwear I had tossed to her. Why did she always have to be so difficult? It was underwear. Yes it was probably a lot more risqué than she was use to but it would do its intended job and get her laid this evening. Sighing in exasperation, I shook my head.
“Do you want to fuck a certain Viking this evening or not?” I questioned, quirking a perfectly shaped eyebrow.
“I don’t need to wear a scrap of red lace to get laid, Ata!” Sookie threw the offending item at me, but the vampire blood in my system meant I was able to catch it before it hit the floor or me. I didn’t have time to respond, to try and convince her to wear the damn thing, as Pam and Isabel decided to enter at that moment and diffuse our little disagreement.
“What’s this I hear about a scrap of red lace? You had Eric positively drooling outside you know, he had the control of a newborn. Fangs down, eyes glazed with lust. You get the picture.” Pam waved her hand through the air as she sauntered over to me, taking the garment from me. “Oh come now Sookie, would you deprive my Maker of the sight of you in these little beauties?” She waggled her eyebrows at my cousin, leering at her. Although I could tell Sookie was very much turned off by Pam’s come-hither look, I could sense she was about to relent and give in, if only because Pam mentioned Eric loving her in them.
With a frustrated sigh my cousin held her hand out towards Pam, shaking her head. “Give me the damn things then.” She caved. Silently I cheered, sparing a glance to Isabel, whose eyes I’d felt on me ever since she entered the room. I’d never felt uncomfortable with others looking at me before, Isis knows for the past 2000 years people had stared at me, but something about the way Isabel was looking at me put me on edge. Turning back to Sookie to avoid the feeling sprouting inside of me, I watched as my cousin stomped off towards the bathroom to change into her underwear, muttering under her breath about stupid vampires and their ‘rampant Viking hormones.’
The moment Sookie was out of the room Isabel was behind me, her hands on my shoulders, leading me towards the vanity table. “You need to look incredible this evening, jaw-dropping and utterly edible.” Her Spanish accent flowed into my ears as she sat me down.
“Don’t I always look jaw-dropping and edible?” I teased with a laugh, though the nervous edge to it was pretty obvious. Pam was by my side instantly, moving strands of my blonde hair from my face.
“But you’re going to have the eyes of the world on you this evening, Ari mentioned there being news crews from all over the world at your party this evening.” Pam started work on the left side of my hair as Isabel set to work on the right. I had no idea what either were doing, but I was willing to go along with it so long as they continued working at a humans pace.
“I’ve had the eyes of the world on me before, remember?” I pointed out, reminding the female vampires of my human years, when Egypt had been a mighty powerhouse.
“Yes, but not like you will this evening.” Isabel responded, flashing me what I assumed was a reassuring smile in the mirror. I felt anything other than reassured though, and as Sookie left the bathroom my eyes darted to hers in the mirror.
“Do you have any idea what’s going on this evening? Isabel and Pam are acting weird.” I mentally asked my cousin as she removed her clothes from the garment bag. It came as no surprise to her given that she had been there for the fitting, but she still smiled when she saw it. Removing her red and black corset first, she kept her back to Pam, Isabel and I considering her lack of bra. Fastening it, Sookie quickly swivelled it around and concealed herself inside the silky garment.
“I have no idea. My bond with Eric has been closed a little too, so I can’t get a mental message across to him to ask him if he has any idea.” I watched through the mirror as Sookie frowned, just as Isabel and Pam finished curling my hair.
“They don’t know about what I have planned do they?” I asked in a panic, not wanting the surprise to be spoilt.
“They were dead for the day Ata, they wouldn’t know a single thing.” Sookie reassured me as she pulled on her black and red matching tutu. I was suddenly very concerned about what exactly was happening.
She starts dancing when the stars come out
She ain’t your typical preacher’s daughter
She’ll leave you dreamin’ yeah there ain’t no doubt
There’s a little bit of devil in her angel eyes
She’s a little bit of heaven with a wild side
Got a rebel heart a country mile wide
There’s a little bit of devil in her angel eyes
A little bit of devil in her angel eyes
~ Angel Eyes, Love and Theft
Having spoken to two of my sons, I made quick work of speaking with my other Children, ensuring that all of them were aware. Khai needed some convincing of my plan, my second eldest Childe didn’t seem particularly swayed at first, but the mention of his mother and her happiness had him agreeing with speed that could even outdo Pam on one of her shopping trips with Eric’s Amex. Everything was perfect and there was only one piece of the puzzle missing, and hopefully that would fall into place later on.
It took no time to dress, and soon my sons and I were sat back out in the living room where Jason and Hunter were already seated, dressed up in their own costumes. Jason’s outfit was simple, a pair of blue pants with blue beads around his neck. There were black marks across his body, and judging by the size of them Hunter had been the one to paint them on him. Hunter was sat next to him, dressed in a pair of tailored black pants and a white shirt, which he wore underneath a red and gold jacket. A top hat was placed on his head and in his hands he was clutching a megaphone. “Auntie Sookie said I could be the ring master for the night.” He beamed happily at Eric and I as we entered the room.
Jason turned to look at his nephew, laughing quietly at his happiness over such a title, and it came as no surprise to me the moment Eric scooped up the young human and placed him on his lap as we awaited the females of our nest. I had watched Eric from a far for a few days before I had decided to offer him the gift of immortality, and although I had not seen him with his children during that time I had know, even back then, that as well as being a warrior he was the perfect father figure.
We all sat in silence, none of us needing words to communicate how we were feeling. Our bonds were all flowing freely and I could feel anticipation and acceptance from the sons I had gained the moment I had found my Ata. From Eric I could feel his nervousness, acceptance and anticipation for the evening.
Isabel was the first of the four females to join us and upon her entry my sons and I rose, as custom once dictated. Isabel’s costume was a nod to her heritage and the thought caused a smile to cross my lips. Dressed in a pair of leather pants with the matching corset style top, she looked every part the vampire seductress, with her fishnet tights and stilettos adding to the effect. Over the top of her black corset top she wore a traditional jacket, used by the matadors, and the red colour matched the sash around her waist. There was even a large Spanish flower in her hair. There was no denying her heritage. “You look very lovely, Isabel.” Khai was first in with the compliment, offering my old nest mate a soft smile. Graciously she took the hand he had outstretched, thanking him for the compliment as she moved to his side. It had been decided, prior to this evening, that both Ari and Khai would escort Pam and Isabel to the party, while Eric and I took care of Sookie and Ata.
Pam was next out of the bedroom and her costume received a round of laughter from my Children and I. “Why not play up the stereotype eh?” my grand-Childe flashing us a wink as she gave a twirl on the spot, the net ruffles of her skirt fanning out with her movements. Dressed in a corset too, Pam’s costume held a slightly more gothic theme than Isabel’s. Pam’s pastel clothes were reserved for when she was at home. The moment the corset hit her waist, Pam’s shirt flared out in layers upon layers of netting, ruffles and silk, stopping near the top of her thighs, leaving little to the imagination. Fishnet tights hid parts of her pale legs and black stilettos boosted her up a few inches. Around her ankles she wore red silk, tied with a bow, and the silk matched the choker around her neck, from which a gothic pendant sat resting between her sharp collarbones. Around the back of her neck she wore a black collar that was connected to the corset, drawing attention to her cleavage. On her head sat a top hat, the netting covering her heavily lined eyes, and black leather gloves covered her hands, extending up to her elbows. Placing a hand on one hip, her best vacant expression on her features, Pam gave us a pose.
My connection with Ari allowed me to feel him restraining himself, and I could almost feel his gums aching with the need for him to drop fang. Fangs were strange things for a vampire. They were not only used for feeding and practical for scaring off others, but were also a sign of our uncontrollable lust too. A vampires fangs were usually only ever present when they were experiencing strong emotions such as anger and lust. It was a sure fire way to tell whether a vampire who was with a human was clearly into it. Should fangs make themselves known during sex then strong emotions were involved and the situation would undoubtedly involve lust, or maybe even love in the case of Eric and Sookie, and Ata and I. If there were no fangs, then the human on the receiving end was clearly just for a feed and fuck. They were there as a means for carnal pleasure and sustenance, before they were glamoured and returned back to their normal lives. It was a sad but true fact of my kind.
It was Eric’s aching gums that I felt a second later as Sookie followed in after Pam. I could almost feel how uncomfortable the young fae felt in her costume, but the moment she was bombarded with my Viking Childe’s lust I felt her confidence pick up a little. It had always captivated me how humans, and evidently human/fae hybrids, could react to the emotions of others. Dressed in a black and red corset with a matching red tutu, decorating with black lace edging, I could understand my Childe’s lustful feelings. There was no denying Sookie’s beauty, though of course I would always favour her cousin more. Sookie wore thigh high black stockings, the tops trimmed with red ruffles that matched her tutu skirt. Around her neck sat a black and red choker, something that would have hidden fang marks had my son been an inconsiderate vampire. I had raised him better than that though. Her hair was swept up, exposing her neck and allowing the sweet perfume she wore to mingle with the air surrounding her, blending with her fae scent to create an aroma that had my Viking boy chomping at the bit. Adorning her head sat two red feathers that curved over her head, adding a splash of bold colour to her blonde locks. “I do believe I like this look on you lover. I like it very much indeed.” He gave her a lascivious wink, using his vampire speed to his advantage as he moved towards her, towering over her petite frame. Even with her 5″ black heels on Sookie was still short in comparison to my 6’4 of a giant Childe. “Those colours would look wonderful on the bedroom floor.” He continued, his eyes roaming her entire body in a manner that I was sure the Southern belle before us would have found offensive only a few years ago.
“Well, maybe we’ll get to see if they really do later on.” Sookie batted her eyelashes towards my Childe, leaning forward as if telling him a secret. “If you’re good that is.” She added on her own wink, and the deep growl resonating from Eric’s lips at the prospect had me desperate to clap eyes on my Ata. Leaning in, Eric stole a kiss from his bonded, his lips moving to brush against her ear where he spoke in a low voice, making sure none of us in the room could hear him – vampire hearing or not. The blush that swept across Sookie’s features that highlighted her cheekbones was enough of a signal that perhaps none of us in the room really wanted to know what was said between them.
My Ata didn’t disappoint. I felt her nearing seconds later and finally she entered the room. My complete attention shifted to her and I didn’t care for the others in the room as I allowed myself to drop fang. It was the highest compliment I could think of to give her at the moment, until my voice would start working again. Her black dress was short and fitting, a sinful amount of leg on show. The ends of her dress had been cut into jagged strips, similar to the shape of stalactites. The fabric looked soft, with glitter woven into it that captured the light at every angle. There was a plunging neckline and my beloveds’ ample chest ensured a very generous amount of cleavage was on show. Around her wrists sat white cuffs, tied with black cufflinks, and around her neck she wore a huge blue sapphire, set into a diamond encrusted sun design. I could see why she would purchase the piece – the blue matched her eyes and the sun represented her kind. On her head sat a black top hat, a black feather poking out of the back, and her blonde curls tumbled over her shoulders and down her body. “Too much?” My Ata asked quietly as she approached me. I could feel the eyes of everyone else in the room on me.
“Just perfect my darling. Perfect.” I reassured her now that I had managed to pull myself together. Her eyes were framed with kohl, just like they had been during our human years, and her lips were painted with gloss, something I knew Isabel liked to use. Planting a chaste kiss to my bonded’s lips I noticed her eyes wandering over my almost bare form before she turned her attention to the rest of the group, scattering sincere compliments to everyone. With my bonded distracted I glanced to Pam and Isabel and mouthed a silent thank you to them for playing their role in my surprise. The two ladies exchanged a glance before looking back to me, smiles on their lips that suggested they were hiding something from me.
What did they know that I didn’t?
As a group we left the safety of the penthouse, entering into the lift that would take us down into the foyer. All of us were silent on the trip down, our bonds enabling us to feel one another without the need for words. Hunter was bouncing happily on the balls of his feet and just as the lift came to a stop, before the doors opened, he reached a hand up silently, asking Eric to hold his hand. My Childe did one better than that and lifted the young human up, resting him on his hip, an arm around him to support him and keep him in place. Sookie watched the exchange with fondness and I could sense that my son, and my soon-to-be daughter-in-law if Eric ever pulled his act together, was going to become new parents to the little boy who had suffered so much during the few years he had been on this earth.
Ata and I were first out of the elevator and together we led our nest towards the Colosseum. Hundreds of people were milling around us, dressed in beautiful costumes that fitted in perfectly with the theme of the evening. Both male and female staff was dressed in smart clothing and were tending to all of the guests needs and requests.
Entering the Colosseum I took a moment to regard my surroundings, and I had to admit that it looked far more beautiful than the real Colosseum ever had. I could feel the pleasant surprise from Eric and even from Sookie. The tiered seating that had been taken out had opened up the space entirely, and hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people filled the space. Tables were arranged throughout the room, decorated with bright tablecloths and runners along with huge vases of exotic flowers, seven or eight chairs dotted around each table and the guests had all seated themselves into their groups. The room was alive with chatter, the sound of champagne bottles popping for the gleeful humans in attendance with their vampire partners. Four bars were set up, one on each side of the room, and the queues weren’t too long due to the efficiency of the staff. People’s costumes ranged from minimal to extensive, with huge feathers and wings on some of the ladies and bright, florescent body paint on the men. Blending with the chatter was the undeniable sound of pop music with underlying heavy basses. The stage was decorated with vast swashes of brightly coloured fabric that hung from the ceiling, swishing and swaying to the centre where the enormous chandelier sat pride of place.
A large TV was set up on the stage, the live news channel on in the background. I could only assume that this would be where we would all watch the news as the results were called. In front of the stage was a large dance floor, and there were plenty of couples as well as individuals loosing themselves to the beat. From the corner of my eye I spotted numerous big, burly Were’s in suits dotted throughout the room as security. I was pleased to see such a huge number of them.
“Miss Caesar! Miss Caesar!” I heard my bonded’s name being called over the sound of the music, and I quickly located the source. A women dressed in a showgirls costume was approaching us, in her hand she was carrying a microphone, and close behind her was a man dressed like a circus master, carrying a video recorder of the variety the news used. I heard Ata sigh softly beside me, though her beautiful smile never once faltered.
“This could take some time, if you all wish to scamper off and enjoy your evening then feel free to do so.” She directed her thoughts to the group. Her boys were quick to disappear, and Khai and Ari both took Isabel and Pam away with them. Eric decided it would be wise to leave too.
“Sookie, Jason, Hunter, how about we all go and get some drinks?” He asked with a smile, leading the group away before any of them could protest. Ata’s bright blue eyes swung to me as the news reporter stopped before us, but with a small shake of my head my bonded gave the woman before us her full attention, as well as a full smile.
“Miss Caesar! What a beautiful venue for this evening, I suppose you’re glad this place wasn’t damaged during those horrible bombings. You weren’t hurt in the accident were you?” I could see straight through the news reporters fake concern, and so could my Ata, but she powered on through anyway.
“I was away from the building at the time fortunately, though if I had of been here I could have perhaps been of more use. I returned as soon as I became aware of the situation though and put my best men onto the case. We managed to pull everyone free from the rubble and there were no casualties.” My love breathed a fake sigh of relief. I knew she had been genuinely worried over lives lost, but she had to play it up to considerable levels for the camera or risk someone slandering her.
“Have you caught the culprit behind the attacks?” The news reporter thrust her microphone towards my bonded.
“My private investigators and lawyers tracked down the culprit and we are currently dealing with the legal implications of the matter.” I could feel Ata’s patience wearing a little thin with the woman before us as she continued to pester us about the bombing. She was asking us questions that were either incredibly obvious or were just plain stupid.
“And what will it mean to you this evening if the Vampire Rights Amendment is passed? It’s well known here in Vegas that your business associates are all vampires.” It was obvious the reporter was trying to keep her accusation out of her voice, but from the annoyance and anger flowing from my bond with Ata it became apparent that her thoughts regarding Ata were somewhat accusative.
“It will mean that my business associates will be able to hold shares of the company in their own names, they will be able to manage the business while I am out of town either business or pleasure, and they will have an equal say amongst the board of directors.” My Ata switched into business mode, becoming the leader she had been born as.
“Would you say that you are close to your fellow business associates?” Ata’s smile faltered for a split second before she regained composure, switching her weight from both feet onto one. It was a move I had witnessed hundreds of times during our human years and symbolised that she was growing bored and impatient. The weight shift had often occurred when her mother and father had paraded numerous men in front of her, trying to entice her to marry them. Of course she had always been loyal to me, had never once accepted any marriage proposal until she had believed me dead, and even then she had only initially accepted the marriage because she believed it would do right by her mother.
“My business associates and I are just that, business associates. They come into work in an evening where we go over accounts, discuss matters within the business, attend to any pressing issues and then they return back to their homes for the rest of the evening while I undertake the changes that need to be done. Current legislation does not allow for them to take a very active and public role in the running of the business, but the passing of the Vampire Rights Amended would change that. When the VRA is passed I hope to bring all of my associates onboard and expand. My boyfriend will become a member of the board to.” Ata offered me a warm smile, which I had no trouble in returning.
“Boyfriend?” The news reporter seemed stumped for a second before she recovered herself, her eyes flickering to me for the first time since she had started the interview. “Mr.?”
“Nervii.” I answered her politely, offering her a smile that I hoped would melt her and endear her to us. When I had been Sheriff of Dallas I had been forced to partake in numerous TV show interviews to try and boost the vote for the VRA, to try and encourage humans not to be scared of my kind, but to accept us and treat us as equals.
“I am over 2000 years old and come from a place called Gaul, which would nowadays be considered as Belgium.” I answered honestly, feeling there was no need to lie. If my age was out there for everyone to see, for everyone to know about, then no vampire in their right mind would try to hurt Ata or her business. They would know that I could rip them apart with one fang.
A low whistle from the cameraman signalled that he was impressed, while the news reporter looked at me in surprise for a moment. Finally she composed herself and carried on. “And how long have you known Miss Caesar? If my history serves me correctly then you would have been alive during the time of Julius Caesar. Did you ever meet him? It must be very strange to now be dating one of his descendants!” I couldn’t stop my smile at the thought of how long I had known my Ata, but I didn’t wish to blow her cover and reveal her true nature to the world. I had no idea where this interview would be broadcasted and I didn’t fancy every supernatural roaming the earth to come after Ata for her talents.
“It feels like I have known her ever since I was a young human boy.” I answered, twisting my words a little to suit our purpose. Ata’s gentle squeeze on my arm, which was now linked with hers, was all the encouragement I needed to carry on. “I was alive during his time and I did meet him. He was a wonderful man despite what you might hear and he gave me the greatest gift of all.” I offered the woman a smile, letting her make her own mind up as to which gift that was. In truth it was the gift of Ata’s affections, but I would allow the news reporter to think that I was talking about my immortality, or something else entirely for that matter. “It does seem strange to be dating one of his descendants but there is no one else for me, only my Ata.” I pushed my love for her through our bond and received plenty of it in return. The news reporter cooed over my words, and I could detect the sincerity underneath it. Clearly she held some prejudice against women who threw themselves at everything with fangs, but had respect for those who had devoted themselves entirely to only one person with fangs.
“Well I wish the pair of you the very best of luck this evening, and for the rest of your lives!” She ended the interview. With a polite thank you and goodbye Ata and I left the woman to round up her news report. Moving my hand to Ata’s lower back I helped her navigate through the crowds of people, but she would stop frequently to briefly ask someone how they were and if they were enjoying themselves, or to dish out compliments to some of the ladies present. All were given in complete sincerity and the attention she paid to her guests reminded me of why she would have been a perfect Queen.
Approaching the bar where Jason, Sookie, Hunter and Eric were currently situated I placed my free hand on Eric’s back, alerting him to our presence even though our bond would have done so much earlier on. “Drink?” Eric offered as he turned to face Ata and I. He had already taken care of the needs of the others present. Both Sookie and Jason were sipping champagne and Hunter appeared to be consuming a carton of orange juice. Although a drink would have been the social norm I declined my Childe’s offer, knowing that no matter how good quality the synthetic stuff was, or even the real thing, it would not compare to my bonded’s blood.
“You can have a drink you know.” Ata’s mental voice filtered into my mind. Eric ordered a glass of champagne for Ata and I noted how no money exchanged hands. My bonded was funding all of this for free, for everyone? Glancing quickly down the bar I realised my assumption was correct. No one was handing over any money.
“Nothing compares to you, it all tastes bland to me now.” I murmured as I nuzzled the side of Ata’s head, kissing her temple as Eric handed her a glass of champagne, which she politely thanked him for.
“Careful, or you might become an addict.” My beloved teased me as she took a sip of the fizzy alcohol our Childe had handed her. I noted from the corner of my eye the way Jason stiffened at the mention of being an addict, and recalled the incident at my nest back in Dallas, when Eric had confronted the Stackhouse male about his addiction right after I had spoken to him. It had not been the most tactile move of Eric’s, given vampire hearing and the number of vampires present in the building, but it had been an effective way of ensuring the boy would never touch another drop again. From what I could smell he had ingested some blood recently, but it was direct from the source, from a female. Perhaps the Stackhouse male had found himself a vampire lover too.
“I went 2000 years without you, I’m addicted to everything you do, everything about you and every inch of you.” I dropped my voice, whispering in her ear. Nibbling on her earlobe I felt her knees almost give way beneath her, and relished in it with a deep, breathy chuckle. My grip around Ata’s waist tightened as we turned to face the rest of the room, leading Eric, Jason, Sookie and Hunter to our table at the front. Hunter had reached up to grab onto Eric’s hand with his free hand, and together they walked to the table, looking every bit like father and son. Jason and Sookie walked together behind them and I got the feeling that the siblings had spent very little time together over the recent years. This trip, should we not end up being attacked or killed, would probably do them some good.
We stopped before the largest table, which had been placed in the centre of the room. It was unoccupied thanks to the reserved sign in the middle. As we reached the table Ari, Khai, Riei, Oeri, Egor, Agmund, Pam and Isabel joined us. The whole nest was present apart from young Oscar. Sookie seemed to pick up on his absence too. “Where’s Oscar?” She lent over to whisper towards Ata as Eric pulled out a seat for her. Mimicking his actions I pulled out a chair for Ata, who sat herself neatly down on it. Pushing her in I took the seat beside her, and Eric took the seat beside Sookie. Ari and Khai were true gentlemen too, pulling out chairs for Pam and Isabel, pushing them in also.
“He’s supposed to be arriving with Felipe, along with Bubba, though when the King will make an appearance is beyond me.” My bonded shrugged her slender shoulders, her eyes firmly fixed on her cousins as she slipped her hand under the table to rest it on my thigh. Her body heat seeped through the flimsy material, caressing my cool skin. The contrast was delicious.
I could hear a heartbeat approaching and a scent of cheap perfume and sweat before a redheaded woman approached, dressed in the uniform of the receptionists in the lobby of the hotel. “Miss Caesar?” She asked timidly as she approached.
“Claire.” Ata responded with a warm smile, turning in her seat to face her employee. “What’s the matter?” Ata’s smile dropped as she noticed how on edge the girl seemed to be.
“I-I just received a phone call, from the King’s mansion. His secretary asked me to tell you that he won’t be able to attend your party this evening as he’s attending another party elsewhere.” Claire shuffled on her feet, and we could all tell there was more to this story.
“And where is this other party?” Ata asked. I could feel the tightness to her voice, and her hand clenched a little, grasping my thigh.
“A-Arizona, Area 24.” Claire informed us in a whisper, sweat beads rolling down her forehead. I noted how Ata’s boys tensed at the information. My perfect memory allowed me to recall that Celina was the Sheriff of Area 24 in Arizona, that her area bordered Ata’s and that the two were constantly locking horns.
Ata forced a smile, though I could feel her inner turmoil. “Thank you for informing me Claire. Have a drink and enjoy your evening.” She dismissed her employee, who looked more than happy to run away from the conversation. I got the impression that anything relating to Felipe or Celina wasn’t something employees liked to bring up with Ata.
“I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars decorating this damn place and hiring E(E)E to make the King look good and he doesn’t even fucking show up. He’s not even in the same fucking state.” My bonded hissed under her breath. On the outside she looked to be holding onto her emotions, but because all of us at the table could feel her we knew otherwise.
“I do believe I heard you discussing my company.” The slick voice of the Were Tiger settled over our table. I noted how Ata’s smile remained forced, and how even Sookie forced a smile as she took in the appearance of the man who had joined us. It had been a few years since I had last seen Quinn. He had been attending a supernatural council meeting to discuss the issue of the Were’s coming out now that vampires were well known and widely accepted. He still looked the same, 6’5 and muscular, olive skinned and covered in scars from his years in the pits paying off all of his debts. His baldness was hard to miss, as were his pansy purple eyes. I’d always enjoyed mocking his eye colour whenever he had been out of earshot. It was so unnatural that it was a wonder the humans hadn’t locked him up yet and experimented on him. Unfortunately though he had an air to him, not of arrogance, but that whenever he was in a room people seemed to notice him. I often thought of him as a womaniser, especially with the way he seemed to refer to every woman as ‘babe.’
“Yes, I was just discussing your high price for the service this evening.” My bonded didn’t bother sugarcoating her words as she turned her bright blue eyes to the tiger before us. I had to admit that it was rather disgraceful of Quinn to hike his prices up simply for the VRA passing when it was a step towards the reveal of his own kind. He unfortunately seemed to have the monopoly with catering for the supernatural community, but if costs were an issue then I was more than willing to dip into my own pocket to help my bonded pay. After all, what was mine was now hers.
“I love you but that won’t be necessary, thank you.” Ata’s tender tone flooded my mind. Placing one of my hands over Ata’s I gave it a gentle squeeze, a show that I understood.
“What can I say, I’m in high demand. Might as well claim the benefits while I can babe.” He offered what I assumed was supposed to be his most charming smile to my bonded, but I could tell she wasn’t impressed – with his smile or the nickname.
Quinn’s purple eyes flitted around the table taking in everyone present, until he reached Sookie. Stopping he gazed at her for a moment longer than the rest of us, his eyes dropping down to take in her attire, the corner of his lips quirking up in a small smirk. “I don’t believe we’ve met Miss…?” he went for the charming approach, and everyone at the table apart from Sookie saw right through it. Her Southern upbringing had taught her to be polite to the man, even though he was a stranger. I could feel Eric’s emotions starting to shift into something negative.
“Sookie Stackhouse.” My Childe’s bonded answered happily, putting on what I had heard Eric and Pam refer to often as her ‘Crazy Sookie’ smile. It saddened me that people had thought her mentally unstable in her childhood, had tormented and bullied her for it. There was no need for that in today’s world. There was nothing wrong with being different or having an advantage over everyone else. I was glad my Viking Childe supported her and that he was there for her all the time now. I had a feeling Sookie had very few people who understood and accepted her ability in her life.
“I do not appreciate the way you are looking at my bonded, tiger.” Eric’s Sheriff voice came out to play as Quinn had been slowly appraising Sookie. Eric’s words snapped the purple-eyed player out of his lust-induced daze and a scowl set onto his features.
“What’s a pretty thing like you doing tying herself down to one of them?” He questioned Sookie, ignoring the fact that supernatural etiquette suggest he ask Eric for permission first before speaking to Sookie, considering the fact he thought her human. There was a hierarchy within the supernatural world – the Ancient One, Fairies, Vampires, Were’s and then Shifters. Quinn had been following proper etiquette when he has spoken to Ata first earlier in the conversation, especially considering the fact she was the oldest in the nest. The elder of the group was usually addressed first.
“Whom my bonded decides to spend her time with is of no concern to you, tiger.” I could feel Eric’s patience running thin. He’d never liked the tiger, always threatening to skin him and create a rug to go in front of his log fire in his cabin back in Sweden.
“Yes well, I thank you for being here anyway. The humans present seem to be enjoying the food on offer and none of the Were’s have killed one another yet. The vampires seem content with the blood selection too.” Ata figured it was time for Quinn to leave, and it wasn’t a moment too soon. My beloved was as polite as always with her dismissal and sensing that he was no longer needed nor wanted at our table, Quinn left to further harass someone else.
“Miss Ata!” All those sat at the table turned in the direction of the voice as Bubba and Oscar came bouncing into view, both dressed in carnival costumes. Bubba’s face was painted though to conceal his identity, but his greeting was enough for our nest to identify him. Ata was out of her seat in seconds, rushing towards Oscar. Arms outstretched, she scooped up the baby vamp, holding him closely. He may have been in his early 20’s when he’d been turned but he was reverting back to his childlike self. It felt as though his own mother hadn’t cared much for him, which was why he had taken so strongly to my bonded.
“My boy.” I heard Ata murmur as she clutched Oscar to her, his own arms locked around her in an affectionate gesture. One of Ata’s arms came out as she pulled Bubba into the embrace too, holding them both close. “You’re both safe.” She breathed, as she pulled back to look at them both, the smile on her lips warm and affectionate. These past few days I had been left baffled by the amount of love and tenderness my bonded was capable of showing. I had always known she was the definition of kind and caring, loving and gentle. After all she had been that way with me when she had been a princess and I had been nothing but a slave. What impressed me was how after 2000 years, my Ata was still as joyous and kind hearted as she had been. She gave her love freely, and though she didn’t expect it in return she earned it without even having to try.
“Come.” She led the pair back to our table, letting them settle into the two seats that were left.
“How are you Squirt?” Pam addressed Oscar with the faintest hint of a smile. She’d finally managed to remove her hands from Ari’s body long enough to engage in conversation with the rest of the table. I loved my GrandChilde dearly but she was a fool if she thought that none of us had noticed the way her hands had always wandered to any vacant patch of Ari’s skin that she could find, that we’d missed the way she would lean in to him, whisper in his ear so quietly that the rest of us couldn’t hear their conversation.
“Feeling a bit better now thank you Pammykins, lemons and I clearly don’t get along.” The young vampire laughed, giving Pam a nickname of her own. “What about you?” Giving the baby vamp an indulgent smile, Pam nodded her head once, her eyes shifting to Ari who didn’t bother to hide his smile.
“I’m very well indeed.” Her response had more than one meaning to it, but the young vampire took it at face value, looking pleased that Pam was okay.
“Hi I’m Hunter!” Hunter smiled brightly at Oscar, offering him his hand, completely at ease with the fact he was sat with a baby vamp. The young human would need to be taught vampire customs if he were to be around them a lot, but for now his innocence was enchanting. It was rare to find an innocent human these days.
“I’m Oscar, nice to meet ya Hunter!” The baby vamp grinned, giving Hunter’s hand a polite shake.
“I’ll de-brief you two later on this evening, more important matters are at hand.” My bonded spoke to both Bubba and Oscar before she gestured around the room with a smile. I could feel her ease at the situation, especially now that she had the final two members of our nest with us. Both Bubba and Oscar nodded before Oscar and Hunter fell into conversations. There were still many years between them, but Oscar was the closest person to Hunter’s age at the table. Jason picked up conversation with Bubba, and I could almost see the glint in his eyes at the fact he was conversing with Elvis. Such simple things made humans so happy.
“Ata, may I suggest we go and mingle with the crowds?” Ari lent over the table to address my love who sighed heavily.
“Yes I suppose we shouldn’t, wouldn’t want our guests to think we were neglecting them.” A smile wove its way onto my loves lips as she pressed them to mine in a chaste kiss. “I’ll be back soon.” She bid me farewell for now, rising to her feet. Ari gave Pam the same treatment, leaving her with a small kiss before he held out his hand for my bonded, and she took it with ease. Moving her hand, she slipped it through Ari’s arm, linking them together. Heading off in the opposite direction first, my bonded and eldest Childe went to entertain the masses.
“Well I for one fancy a dance.” Isabel’s eyes rounded on Khai, who shifted in his seat for a moment before he relented to her wishes, grudgingly rising to his feet before he offered my Spanish companion his hand. Taking it, the pair were off to the dance floor together just as a Michael Jackson song started to play through the huge speakers dotted around the room.
“I do believe that it’s time for a dance Viking, show me your moves!” Sookie was up and out of her seat too, moving her way backwards through the crowd of people on the dance floor. I watched with a smile as she crooked her finger at my boy, daring him to come and join her. The low growl that reverberated from his chest meant only one thing – Miss Stackhouse would be getting as good as she gave.
“I never use to like her as she caused so much trouble, but I do like them together now.” Pam finally spoke to me as Eric left the table, following his bonded through the crowd of people.
“He’s good for her.” I agreed. Sookie was helping Eric uncover his lost humanity; she was transforming my Childe into a better man, a better vampire. When I first found her flat on the floor with Gabe forcing himself upon her, I had been angered and ashamed. Gabe had no right to treat a lady that way, and the anguished, annoyed cries from Sookie as she had tried to escape his clutches had given me a nugget of information – that she was use to men trying it on with her. When I found out she was a waitress it had all slotted into place. The rednecks that frequented the bar she worked in wouldn’t think twice about hitting on her once the beer started flowing, but it wasn’t that which had worried me and led to me snapping Gabe’s neck. It was her fear.
She was frightened of a man forcing himself on her. Over 2000 years I had become a good judge of character, and her reaction had screamed out to me that someone had once tried to harm her in such a manner. I’d spoken to Eric about it when we had returned to my nest, told him that something had happened to her that had caused some trauma. My Childe, still denying his feelings for the young fae had simply nodded and sauntered off. The second his blood had entered her system, after the bomb had exploded in my living room, I had felt her. She was a little hum deep inside my bond with Eric. It was why up on the roof in Dallas I had asked this little fae woman to take care of my mighty Viking Childe. She had a hold over him that very few had. I was just glad, and proud, that she had finally acted on that hold and claimed him as her own, as he had claimed her. There was nothing I liked more than seeing my Childe happy, and Sookie radiated happiness. I had a theory it was a fae trait. My Ata seemed capable of making me happy whenever things got tough.
The thought of my bonded had my eyes wandering around the room, locating her as she spoke with a couple more news reporters, a smile painted on her lips, laughter tumbling from them. She was completely at ease hanging off the arm of our eldest Childe. I was proud of her, of the empire she had built – the empire she had been denied in our human years. A smile crossed my lips as I watched her wander off with Ari, heading in the direction of some of the other Sheriffs of Nevada. They all greeted one another like old friends, respectful kisses being placed on my bonded’s hand and bows given towards Ari. I was worried about my surprise, whether or not it would be taken well. There was little that could surprise my bonded, but I hoped that my surprise would bring a smile to her face. “Don’t worry about it, it’ll be fine. She’ll love it.” Oeri lent across the table to offer me support, a smile on his lips. Riei nodded from his side, as did Egor and Agmund.
“What will Miss Ata love?” Bubba enquired, his eyes turning to me. I wanted to tell the loyal vampire, knowing how much he adored my bonded, but I couldn’t risk the other vampires in the room hearing. I didn’t want Ata to have any suspicions.
“You’ll find out soon enough.” Pam responded with a smirk, something she had obviously picked up from Eric over the years. My Childe was a good Maker, but a bad influence.
For an hour couples danced while Ata and Ari mingled. Eric and Sookie retuned the table every now and then when Sookie was in need of a drink, or when she needed to rest her feet. Isabel and Khai never once returned, lost in one another on the dance floor. It was interesting to watch the whole thing from the sidelines, to see Sookie so relaxed with Eric, acting carefree. Pam’s eyes kept moving to Ari, a wistful look on her features that she quickly schooled every time she saw me looking at her. Riei and Oeri were flitting around the room, complimenting costumes and offering advice on all aspects of vampire living. Egor and Agmund even joined Eric for a drink at one of the bars for a while, and I could tell that Eric was perfectly at home with the men he had grown up with.
Watching my Viking Childe so carefree, enjoying himself with the men he had fought alongside of many years ago, I missed the sound of the heartbeat behind me until my vision went black as two dainty hands covered my eyes. Inhaling deeply I treasured the sweet scent that flooded my nostrils, my hands instinctively reaching up to caress the ones over my eyes. “Meus dilectus” I breathed as Ata’s hands left my eyes, wrapping around my neck as she lent over me. She went to press a kiss to my cheek, but with a quick turn of my head I captured her lips with my own, planting a tender kiss on her. Her lips quirked upwards into a smile, and I couldn’t help but grin as I felt her smile against my lips.
“The vote is about to be announced. Come on.” My bonded whispered in my ear as she straightened herself up, offering me her hand. Taking it I rose from my seat, following her up towards the stage. All of those in our nest followed us, clambering up onto the stage. Ari was already there, clipping a microphone onto his costume. As my bonded moved towards her Childe I let go of her hand, knowing that she needed to stand beside our son. With a polite cough and a gesture towards the DJ for the night, the music slowly faded out and Ari put on a brilliant smile, the cameras facing him.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Ata and I welcome you to our humble home, Caesar’s Palace, and hope you have enjoyed your evening so far. As you are aware tonight is a very big night for our kind. Tonight America will decide whether or not we, the vampires of this great nation, will become equals with our human counterparts. I am sure that as you are all here with us this evening, you are hoping for it just as much as I am. I have walked this earth for over 2000 years and there is nothing I would love more than to be accepted by society, which I am sure can be said for all of you present. Our kind has been the focus of society for hundreds of years. There have been many tales of our kind, the most famous of which is of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Well, let me tell you that Dracula does exist, but none of us like him very much, he’s a bit of a pain in the neck.” Ari threw a wink to the crowd. The humans roared with laughter at his joke, and even a few of the vampires cracked smiles. My bonded’s smile lit up her features as she watched our son enchant the crowd.
When the laughter subsided Ari continued. “To the humans present and those watching all over the nation who have voted I thank you. It is people like you who are the ones making advancements in the world, paving the way for a better nation, and building strong relations between our species. Most tend to forget that we too were once human, that we understand you. So once again from the bottom of my heart, and from my partners, we thank you. If we all work together, we can build a stronger, better America, where our children – both human and vampire a like – can be accepted by society, have access to education, legal protection, the right to our own homes and much more. This evening is just the beginning. The world will follow in our footsteps; the eyes of the world are on us now, so lets show them exactly what makes America such a great nation.” My son finished with a flourish, offering the crowd of people a warm smile. The humans burst into applause, the excitement from them almost palpable. The vampires present applauded Ari too, but they were much better at hiding their anticipation for the evening.
Unclipping the microphone from his jacket, Ari slipped it into his pocket as the giant screen showed a woman sat behind a desk, a smile on her lips. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Elissa Martis and this is CNN. This evening I am broadcasting live from Los Angeles on the Vampires Rights Amendment. The votes have come in from all over the nation and I can now announce whether the VRA will be added to the constitution or not. The Vampire Rights Amendment will enable vampires in America to vote in general elections, to own both private and commercial property in their names, to marry humans, the right to own firearms, to adopt children with their human partners, to own businesses in their names, to have the protection of the US government, the rights to benefits and healthcare, the rights to loans and mortgages, to be recognised as American citizens and to have the protection of the US legal and justice system, both in the US and while abroad. The state of Vermont has already accepted human/vampire marriages and many vampires have been travelling to the area with their human counterparts in order to receive the full benefits. In today’s world equality is vital. We no longer live in an era where there are those beneath us. If America can pass the VRA then there is hope that vampires will receive equal rights the world over, and our co-existence will continue to be a peaceful one.” The news reporter spoke to the camera. All eyes were focused on the screen as Elissa was passed a piece of paper by her colleague.
“I can announce, with great happiness, that the following states have voted in favour of the Vampire Rights Amendment.” She paused for effect, and I could hear the erratic heartbeats of the nervous humans, and the anticipation from my bonded was pulsing through our connection. I wanted to reach out and grab her, hold her close, but I knew full well that she needed to be standing with out boys, that the cameras were focused on her. The humans of Las Vegas would want to see her reaction.
“The states that have passed the VRA are as follows: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington D.C., New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska, California and finally, Nevada!” The news reporter read out the results and my bonded counted off the states on her fingers. 39 states needed to accept the VRA for it to become an amendment of the constitution. As my love counted off 40 states I felt the pure joy radiating from our whole group. Eric grabbed Sookie, pulling her into his arms for a fierce hug before his lips descended on hers, not caring that the cameras were capturing the moment.
“Congratulations.” I heard Sookie whisper up to Eric with a smile on her lips after he finally finished kissing her. The grin on my Childe’s lips was so wide that it almost touched his ears, and I could feel how happy he was. My Childe would now be considered an equal member of society; he would receive all of the benefits that our kind had been deprived of since the start of time. Looking to Pam I could see the relief etched onto her usually stony features too, and in a move very unlike myself I held my hand out to her, which she took, giving it a gentle squeeze. Pam felt emotions much more than humans, as was the way with all vampires, but she was usually very good at controlling herself, as she was now. Eric was still holding Sookie close to him, wrapping her up in his arms, a grin on his features, happiness pulsating from him. At the mention of Texas I glanced to Isabel, who was positively beaming with glee in Khai’s arms. Catching her eye, I nodded in her direction, offering her a smile. My Spanish friend looked close to tears, and I was proud that she had helped push the VRA through Texas. She deserved to be an equal member of society; she’d worked so hard for it.
The moment Nevada was mentioned the whole room burst into loud cheer and shouts of victory, but my eyes were fixed firmly on my bonded. Her emotions were charging through our connection, her happiness, relief, excitement and pride were all so powerful. A hand came up to her face, hiding her mouth and nose as she smiled happily, on the verge of tears before she grabbed our boys, pulling them all in for a group embrace. Oscar ran towards my bonded, flinging himself at her and into the group embrace, causing my little family to laugh happily.
“We did it.” I heard her whisper in a shaky voice. The others in the room were preoccupied with their other halves, or their friends, as everyone continued to congratulate one another. “We did it.” Ata repeated, as if she still couldn’t believe it.
All of the Children I had gained when I entered Caesar’s Palace had a hand on my bonded, all of them resting their foreheads against some part of her body – her head, her shoulder, her back. I could feel their relief, their pure joy at now being equal members of society. I was proud of them, proud of the campaign they had fought, proud that they had won. Ari raised his head, having rested it against Ata’s, and I could see the single red streak down his cheek from a lone tear. With Khai blocking the camera’s view Ata leant in, licking the blood away in an affectionate gesture before she turned her head to look at all of our boys. “First thing tomorrow morning I’m putting all of your names on the deed for this place, finally I can give you the empire we all built together.” She murmured to them all, glancing between them. The moment her eyes left Ari he glanced over to me, giving me a nod – the signal I needed.
Approaching the group my boys parted to allow me in, and instinctively I took Ata’s hand in my own, pulling her into my embrace. “I’m proud of you, so proud. Congratulations.” I whispered in her ear before I claimed her lips in a soft kiss. Our boys, aware of my plan, moved aside to allow the cameras to capture Ata and I. My surprise would be broadcasted for the world to witness; I wanted them all to see it, to understand what it meant.
Pulling back to look at my bonded, my other half, I could see the wet streaks down her cheeks from her tears and I kissed them away, earning myself a melodic laugh. The burst of strength from all of our Children, including Eric, had me reaching into my pocket for my surprise. Their strength quelled my nervousness, and thanks to it I found the ability to sink down onto one knee before my bonded. The room fell silent instantly, and I could feel every set of eyes on Ata and I. My bonded’s confused expression was adorable, and had it been any other moment I would have loved nothing more than to laugh and tease her, but now was not the time. Extracting the box from my pocket I held it up towards my love in an offering, and the second her eyes caught sight of the ‘Harry Winston’ embroidered onto the fabric on the top of the box realisation dawned on her pretty features. I could already see the tears welling up in her eyes as one of her hands moved to clamp over her mouth, her shock flooding our bond. I could feel her love too and it nearly bowled me over. I’d purposefully kept our 2000 year past out of my speech, but my bonded would know exactly what I was referring to in each of my statements.
“The first time I laid eyes on you I was captivated by your beauty, so surprised by the feelings that blossomed inside of me for the first time in my existence. I remember the way you looked at me, the way your smile lit up your face, the way you indulged me and chose me over every other person in the room. You enchanted me then, and you’ve continued to do ever since. We’ve shared so many wonderful times together, created so many memories and each one I treasure as I treasure you; our trips to the river, our walks through the city, the nights we simply spent holding one another. Each one is just as special as the next because I shared those moments with you. You’ve taught me how to be a better vampire, a better man. You’ve taught me how to love, the importance of giving oneself to another so completely. You have all of me, you always have, and you always will. I no longer tire of the night. Each night is a new adventure, an adventure I get to share with you, my darling. There is nothing I love more than to wake to your bright smile, to feel the depth of the love we share, the amount of care we have for one another. For 2000 years I have been empty, a piece of me missing, and the moment I walked into this building I found that missing piece. You’re my missing piece, the last part of my puzzle, and with you I’m now complete. I love everything about you, every little thing you do. I love the way you ball your hands up into these little fists and rub your eyes when you’re sleepy, I love the way you crinkle your nose when you disagree with me, the way you roll your eyes while wearing a beautiful smile every time I do something silly and the way your tummy makes those cute grumbling noises when you’re hungry.” My beloved flushed in embarrassment, though I could feel her mirth through our bond, and it caused me to smile. The humans in the room laughed lightly before falling silent once more.
“I love the way you care for me, tend to any injuries I sustain, draw me during my day rest. I love the way my clothes smell now that they hang in the same wardrobe as yours, the way my pillow carries your sweet scent. I love the sound of you breathing, the comforting, reassuring sound, and the way you smile in your sleep. I hope it’s me you’re dreaming of my angel, that I’m the one bringing such a beautiful smile to your lips. I love the feel of your heartbeat, strong and steady, as we curl up together just before sunrise. I can feel it, resonating through your chest and into mine, bringing back my humanity. You’re restoring me; taking me back to the man I used to be. Your heart is so vast, you have so much love that you give so freely to everyone you meet, and I am so honoured to be blessed with your love, so proud of you. You give everything to everyone you meet and expect nothing in return. Well now I want to return the favour, I want to share with you everything I have, everything I am. I am yours for eternity if you’ll have me. There is nothing I would love more than to be tied to you in every way possible for the rest of time. You are my life, my Ata, my reason for being, and every second we are apart I miss you, your laughter, your smile, your touch. I can’t imagine a single night without you and I will devote the rest of my existence to you, to your happiness and wellbeing. My angel, my companion, my sunshine, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?” Not once had I taken my eyes off of my bonded, whose cheeks were soaked with the tears falling from her eyes. I’d spent hours fretting over my speech and when I’d finally been happy with it I’d spent hours more memorising it, reading it while my bonded slumbered beside me in the early hours of the morning. I wanted to tell her exactly how much she meant to me, tell her how much I love her.
Ata’s emotions were all over the place, but it was her deep love that was all the confirmation I needed, though I gave her time to sort her emotions out. Seconds later, as everyone awaited her response, my little fae sank to her knees before me, her hands capturing my face before she pulled me in for a kiss filled with her raw passion and laced with her love. Pulling back, her beautiful smile took pride of place on her features as she nodded. “Yes, I would love nothing more.” Her voice was firm and strong, and with her answer came the whistles and cheers from our audience, both human and vampires alike. Taking an unnecessary breath I laughed in relief, extracting the ring I had designed for her from the box. With her left hand in my own I slid the band onto her finger, letting it sit next to her promise band. It had taken me a few hours to design and the moment the jewellers at Harry Winston had seen my drawing they had set to work immediately. A beautifully clear, round cut 5-carat diamond sat in the centre of the platinum band, which had been micro paved with ¾-carat diamonds. The centre diamond was framed with even more ¾-carat diamonds, which sparkled and reflected the light. I’d chosen such high carat diamonds for the sparkle, they way they reflected the light. They reminded me of the sunshine. I’d also indulged myself with the design, wanting to drape diamonds all over my bonded. I was well aware of how much she enjoyed the finer things in life, but I knew she wasn’t as materialistic as other women. She liked nice things and that was that. I wanted to gift her with this piece; something I had designed specifically for her, to remind her every time she looked at it that I wasn’t going anywhere, that I was hers.
With my ring on her finger, my bonded looked down to her hand, her smile infectious. “My fiancée.” I breathed, testing out the word we had never been able to use for one another in our human years. I could hear the news reporters in the room going mental, reporting everything that was happening, but I didn’t care about them in that moment, the only person that mattered was on her knees with me.
Ata’s eyes shifted to the crowd before she looked to Sookie, whose smile was as wide as my fiancées. Sookie nodded to my bonded and I had a feeling I was missing something. Ata reached for her thigh, pushing her dress up to reveal a scabbard strapped to her. Frowning in confusion I was unsure as to what was occurring until Ata pulled the blade free. The golden handle was the colour of sand, decorated with rich blue sapphire stripes and ornate detail. The blade was flat and made of bronze, dulled as it was more for ceremonial purposes than anything else. The vampire symbol had been forged into the blade and it was then I realised what my beloved was holding.
The vampire pledging knife.
I could hear the vampires in the room murmuring to one another, the humans whispering their confusion to one another over the object in Ata’s hands. Pledging between a vampire and a human was so incredibly rare, and how my bonded had managed to get her hands on the blade was beyond me. With a shy smile my Ata offered it to me. Stunned and surprised by the offer she was making I found myself forcing back my blood tears. If I were to take this from her she would be mine completely, no one in the whole of the vampire world would be able to take her from me without the penalty of the true death. She would be my wife by vampire custom. “I would love nothing more than to be tied to you in every way possible for the rest of time.” Ata repeated my earlier words back to me.
Without a second thought I took the blade from her, raising it to my lips were I pressed a kiss to the bronze blade. I would keep hold of the blade for the rest of time, unless some other couple wished for it. If Ata ever asked for it back our pledging would be over, and we would no longer be married by vampire custom, but I knew my new wife well enough to know she would never go through with this if she didn’t want me to stand beside her forever.
Understanding that the humans and the baby vampires in the room would need an explanation, Ari turned to the crowd. “Ata Caesar and Godric Nervii are now pledged by the knife, a very rare bond has been forged. They are now married according to vampire custom.” His explanation caused the humans in the crowd to break into aw’s and coo’s, before bursting into more applause. The vampires in the room exchanged knowing glances, all understanding the sacred bond that had just been made and their duty to ensure that no one would part us. It was the duty of all witnesses to a pledging.
My Ata laughed happily as she grabbed me, pressing another kiss to my lips which I readily returned. “My husband.” She whispered, stroking the side of my face.
“My wife.” I spoke her new title, cherishing the way it sounded as it rolled off of my tongue. Offering her my hand I helped her up just as our Children dropped to their knees in front of us, bowing their heads in a show of loyalty. I noted that even Pam, Bubba, Isabel, Oscar, Jason, Hunter and Sookie had all done the same. We were the leaders of our nest, and our nest approved of our union.
Ari was first back onto his feet, helping Pam up. “I present to you Ata and Godric Caesar-Nervii.” We were introduced to the crowd, and to the world through the cameras watching us, with our new name. Ata’s shocked expression as she looked to me made me offer her an indulgent smile.
“You didn’t think I would make you rid yourself of your family name did you? I know how much it means to you.” I gave her hand a squeeze as she flooded our bond with love. The intensity caused me to close my eyes and bask in it.
The party picked back up as humans and vampires a like started to celebrate the win for America, and I had a feeling the wedding chapels in the city would be fully booked for the new few nights. Of course by custom I was allowed the first dance with my wife, but throughout the night she changed hands many times, dancing with all the members of our nest, including little Hunter. Even the Sheriff’s of the other areas danced with my bonded, approaching me afterwards to congratulate me and offer their assistance should I ever need them for anything. It seemed like my beloved had charmed everyone over the years.
Still with a few more hours until sunrise, Eric, Sookie and I found ourselves alone, heading towards the bar as Sookie was in need of a glass of water. I could tell from the way that Sookie had been fawning over Ata’s ring the moment the party had picked back up again that she too wanted to wear one, and I had spent the night throwing my Childe hints. Hints that he tended to miss. He would get it eventually. Standing at the bar, Eric ordered a glass of water for Sookie and I ordered one for Ata, able to feel her thirst through our connection.
It all happened too quickly for me to react, which was a feat given my vampire reflexes. Eric, Sookie and I were stood ordering drinks when Sookie stiffened, her eyes widening. “STAKE!” She screamed, moving to put herself between Eric and his wannabe attacker just as the wooden instrument came plunging down. Eric’s wannabe attacker didn’t have time to change his course of action, too consumed with his need to end my Childe that the weapon he was going to use to kill Eric with ended up in Sookie instead. It pierced her side, and her bloodcurdling scream of pain captured the attention of everyone in the room. The scent of her blood hit the air and I knew if we didn’t get her out of the room soon we would have a massacre on our hands.
Ata was by my side instantly, as were our boys, ensuring no one could get to us. Ari had hold of the human who had tried to harm Eric and, with a flash of fangs he disappeared out of the room with the man, presumably to lock him up downstairs.
This wasn’t how I’d wanted our evening to go, but I’d learnt recently that many things didn’t go according to plan. “Get her out now. Oeri, call Ludwig!” Ata started barking orders, and Eric didn’t need to be told twice. Lifting Sookie, even though she howled out in pain and he winced as he felt it through their bond, he vamped them to the elevator. “I’m putting you in charge, glamour humans if needs be, keep everyone happy please!” Ata begged Khai, Riei, Egor and Agmund, who all nodded before they disappeared off to start damage control. Pam and Isabel were before us now, concern on their features.
“What can I do?” Pam asked frantically, looking between Ata and I.
“I know you probably won’t like this, but I need you to stay here and look after Jason and Hunter. I can’t have them in the penthouse. Hunter might be frightened and Jason, as sweet of a brother as he is, is going to be pain in the ass the moment he finds out Sookie is hurt.” Ata explained to both women, who nodded in understanding. It was then Jason came barreling through the crowd, Hunter tagging along behind him.
“Sooks hurt!? Let me get to her, I need to see her!” He demanded, but Pam and Isabel were quick to step in and the pair of them started to try to calm him.
“Mom! Dad!” Oscar’s voice broke through the loud and hectic crowd as he approached quickly, Bubba close behind him. “What do you want us to do?” The baby vamp asked frantically, looking between us. It was then I remembered that he’d called us mom and dad, and for a brief second I allowed myself to smile and accept the compliment, before I remembered the situation that we were in.
“I need you two to go down and guard our prisoner until I can get down there and deal with him, okay?” My wife took over, giving out orders. It was completely inappropriate but watching her boss others around and take charge of the situation was turning me on. Feeling my lust, Ata’s eyes turned to me and an exasperated sigh left her lips. “Insatiable man!” she scolded playfully before she rolled her eyes, smiling. Grabbing my hand she pulled me towards the elevator, which had already carried Sookie, Eric and Oeri up to the penthouse.
“This wasn’t quite what I envisioned our wedding night to be like.” I commented as we waited together for the elevator to arrive. The pledging knife was still tucked firmly in the scabbard Ata had worn, which she had given to me once we had left the stage together.
“What did you envision it to be like?” My wife looked at me with a sly smile, waggling her eyebrows as the elevator doors slid back. Roughly pulling her in, I had her pinned to the far wall as the doors slid shut. My hands moved to her chest, where I palmed her breasts through her thin costume, my lips attached to her neck, nibbling and licking, as I flexed my hips to press my erection against her.
“Filled with very naughty deeds.” I breathed against the creamy skin of her neck as she moaned, her eyelids fluttering shut as the scent of her arousal hit in the air.
Oh yes, once Sookie was safe I would most certainly be claiming my wife.
Meus dilectus (Latin) = my beloved