The group of vampires stood huddled underneath the awning away from the torrential rain that had descended from the darkened sky. Their abandoned vehicle stood by the roadside where the engine’s rising steam was tempered only by the downpour.
The green neon sign hovering above them flickered intermittently hardly making out the small blond waitress bouncing towards them in red cowboy boots. She was nearing the entrance at great speed fleeing from the rain. The shadowy figures ahead made her wonder who would continue to remain outside in this weather as she clutched her small basket closely to her body, shielding it from the cloudburst.
She overheard a woman commanding one of the others about finding another car that received an unheard disgruntled reply. Before she could even contemplate this reply a gust of wind she recognised as local Vampire Bill had thrown her off course landing her painfully upon her behind in the wet Louisiana red mud. A collection of teal ribbons lay strewn around her.
“Bill Fucking Compton,” she screamed towards his long departed form. “You son of a motherfucking…”
“Excuse me?” Came the haughty reply from the same commanding voice she had heard earlier but had failed to recognize.
“Bitch,” the young waitress finished now recognising the source of that voice and intently annunciating it at her. Lorena Ball was in the waitress’ opinion very worthy of that particular cuss. She continued scrambling at the small ribbons she had spent the afternoon painstakingly assembling. The damage of the mud and rain had unfortunately ruined all but one. She regarded it sadly before unleashing her anger at the auburn haired vampire.
“Manners don’t cost a thing you know Lorena,” she drawled, well aware that the female vampire demanded the town address her as Mrs Ball whenever she deigned to visit. “You’d think a 140 odd years would be enough to teach that dear Billy of yours to watch where he’s fucking going. Fucking asshole.”
Completely soaked and muddied the waitress continued her ascend up the short set of stairs towards the group of vampires. She thrust her basket of ruined ribbons at Lorena staining her evening dress beyond repair whilst she exclaimed seething, “I’ll be expecting reparations for your childe’s lack of manners.”
Lorena hardly had time to contemplate the assembly of ruined ribbons in a basket as she restrained her youngest child by her flaming red locks. The painful tug thwarted the newborn, who had flung at the waitress fangs out and blazing.
“Mistress,” the young vampire hissed in agony, eyes white with shock.
“Fangs up dear Jessica,” her maker spoke soothingly whilst petting the top of her head. “No need to bring out the big guns to a minor scuffle with such a cretin.”
Not intimidated by the fangs on display in the least, the blonde waitress rolled her eyes at the set of mother daughter vampires. Impatiently tapping her boot on the wooden deck she stood waiting for her demanded compensation.
Greatly appreciative for the uptake in the evening’s entertainment the two remaining blonde vampires exchanged amused looks. The female vampire regarded the teal ribbons and pondered aloud what their significance was.
“They raise awareness for ovarian cancer. Sam lets me sell them at Merlotte’s every February. The proceeds go to a local charity helping sufferers and their families,” the waitress informed whilst regarding the two unknown vampires for the first time.
It was quite an assembly considering their surroundings, donned in the most elegant evening dresses she had ever seen. An extremely tall and blonde male specimen accompanied the women. Never one to fawn over men in suits the waitress decided this would be the exception to her disregard of the costume. This blonde vampire finally made her understand the appeal.
“What is your name?” the female blonde requested pulling the waitress from her thoughts. She blinked once or twice before refocusing.
“Excuse me?” she replied realizing she had zoned out somewhat whilst appreciating the tuxedo adorning the male vampire.
“Your name?” she repeated with a slight bored tone.
“Eh… Sookie Stackhouse,” she uttered somewhat unsure how the conversation had steered to the necessity of introductions. Before she could even ponder any further, she was holding a check in her name totalling more than she had managed to raise collectively over the past years. Standing aghast by the amount, Pamela Swynford de Beaufort had achieved what many in Bon Temps had attempted in vain. She had left Sookie Stackhouse speechless.
The male vampire arched his brow questioningly at his progeny. Her antics and disregard for others were a constant in her existence. Any care beyond that of her own wardrobe and shoes was as unique as a mute Sookie Stackhouse.
“Nanny Bitty,” she replied to his facial gesture with a small shrug.
Waking from her stupor Sookie carried an even more confused expression across her face. “He’s your nanny and you call him Bitty?” If it had not seemed completely unfathomable within the world of vampires she would have laughed decidedly at such a possibility. Vampire relations were not easily read from appearances and Sookie had come across stranger stories in the tabloids littering the local beauty shop.
It was Pamela who delighted everyone with her melodious laugh at the thought of her maker in her Nanny Bitty’s Victorian uniform. Barely suppressing the tears forming in the corner of her eyes she replied, “No Eric here is my maker. Nanny Bitty took care of me in my human form but she passed from some mass in her womb. That is what you are raising funds for is it not?”
Sookie nodded her affirmatively. “She was my most favouritest person,” Pamela continued wistfully. “I don’t remember much but I do remember my Nanny Bitty would scold me for not showing my appreciation for a gift.”
“I apologise. Thank you kindly ma’am,” Sookie replied in her Church voice.
“You’re welcome. Can it with the ma’am I may be old but I certainly don’t look it,” Pamela responded amused at the rough waitress’ transformation into a demure Southern Belle despite appearances.
Sookie smiled warmly at the blonde vampire, she had a rare humour that Sookie for one could appreciate. Lorena had managed to diffuse Jessica’s uproar and the tempers of all parties had settled to an uncomfortable silence.
It was the human who decided it was time for all to move inside as the cold winds started to cause shivers on her rain and mud assaulted body. “Sam’s not gonna take too kindly to y’all loitering his stoop, standing about like a bunch of glo sticks. Get inside before I have to deal with Oscar the Grouch all night. C’mon git.”
She held out the door for the party of vampires who obligingly followed after the giant blonde vampire known as Eric had replied in an exaggerated southern drawl, “Yes ma’am.” A hint of blush escaped to the surfaces of her cheeks at the sound of it.
Sam Merlotte had noticed the congregation of vampires taking up space in front of his bar long before the arrival of his favourite waitress. He had become noticeably tense as he watched her interaction with the unwelcome guests. Knowing full well to steer away from Sookie Stackhouse’s temper he had remained behind the wooden bar unnecessarily polishing the same spot repeatedly whilst listening in on their exchange.
Sookie had settled the vampires into a booth in her section and disappeared to the back to change into a dry set of her uniform. Wary of Sookie’s volatile mood this evening, Sam decided to approach the table of vampires instead, intent on diffusing the situation at hand.
“That check better be genuine,” he growled menacingly.
“Good evening to you too Shifter,” Eric replied from his semi reclined position in the corner of the booth looking completely at odds with his outfit. The quiet power he exuded left no question to his seniority.
“Northman,” he answered begrudgingly with a modicum of respect.
“You best not question Pam’s devotion to Nanny Bitty. I think she liked her more than me,” Eric chuckled with equal menace at the shifter’s discomfort.
“Fine,” Sam responded briskly. “Order something and tip your waitress.”
Sam had retreated behind the bar once again and the return of the blonde vampires’ favourite waitress was announced through the clacking of her sturdy heels across the linoleum tiles. Despite the recognisable set of footwear the demure church mouse that had shown her gratitude was in full appearance now.
“What can I get you all this evening?” she spoke with a sweet cadence.
Jessica scowled at her derisively. Her maker’s protective position between her and the waitress had fuelled her bravado.
“It reeks in here. Why would anyone want anything from here?” she whined in an incessantly surly voice.
Eric moved his head minutely at the baby vampire his expression carrying a perfected amount of disdain. Jessica paled as much as possible for a vampire and lowered her head in submission.
Sookie smiled shyly in appreciation whilst once again marvelling at his distinguished form much to his delight. A slip of fang emerged from his lips which caused her to stare at the pristinely cleaned surface of the table as she awaited their order.
“A round of bloods, whatever flavour is available,” Eric ordered for them all.
Sookie nodded and moved on to another table. Eric continued to observe the little blonde waitress fluttering around the bar from table to table smiling and engaging in small talk.
“Too bad she’s not on the menu,” his progeny addressed him in Swedish not willing to include the other vampires at the table. They were bickering about the defining undertones of redneck scent and blood. Their company had been tiring enough before tonight’s unexpected events. Neither one of them wanted to hear more spew from their mouths. “She smells delicious.”
“Yes. A pity indeed she doesn’t seem the type,” he replied in his native tongue. The newly emerged subset of fangbangers were east to spot, they were consumed with death. Brushing up against it, seeking it or a disturbing mixture of both. The waitress was full of light and life, in other words the antithesis of a fangbanger.
Eric wasn’t impressed easily by a human, vampire or other but this bundle of blonde intrigued him. He watched as she took the drinks order from a rowdy table of burly men. With the speed of a vampire she had prevented a wandering hand before it managed to make contact. As offensive as the lingering limb had been she seemed unfazed by it. Something else had aggravated her ire, which the vampire had been unable to hear. Not for a lack of range but rather the accent, despite his decades of residency he had yet to grasp those nuances in the local pronounciation. A raining tirade of expletives was unleashed on the offender much to the amusement to the set of vampires.
“That would make a formidable vampire,” Pam observed.
“We should all seek cover when that happens,” Eric chuckled dryly in return.
The group of men looked upon the small waitress suitably terrified and uttered their apologies. Satisfied with their reprieve Sookie spun on her heels towards the kitchen hatch where she entertained an expletive filled conversation with the flamboyant cook Lafayette. Eric observed that they seemed to be competing with shock value laced sentences at each other’s expense.
Jessica’s whining had gone largely unobserved by Eric and Pam as their eyes and ears followed the waitress. An agitated Lorena was silently cursing her William’s lack of expedience in securing them a new mode of transport. Not exactly enjoying the smell nor the atmosphere she decided an exit was necessary.
“Eric,” Lorena interrupted the vampire’s observation of the waitress. “We’re going to glamour one of these vermin to take us to William’s home. Will you join us?”
“No we’ll wait for Bobby here,” Eric replied referring to his day man. Eric didn’t bother to witness Lorena glamour a stray patron and departing with Jessica in tow. His attention had refocused back to young Sookie Stackhouse who was now approaching their table with four warmed bottles of True Blood, the detested synthetic substitute of sustenance.
“Where did your friends go? I know they have no need for the facilities,” she asked gesturing towards the restrooms.
“Our acquaintances at best,” he replied emphasizing the word, “have found a ride with the young man who sat over there.”
Sookie observed to where he had gestured and stifled a small laugh. Eric looked at her questioningly as she continued to set down the order on perfectly placed napkins. A short black straw was set beside each bottle.
“When you say ‘found’ I assume you mean glamour?” He nodded in confirmation at her question, which only led her laugh go somewhat less restrained.
“Serves them right,” she offered as she placed the round tray vertically under her armpit. “Let’s just say it’ll be a while before they end up at Bill’s. It’s a miracle JB is able to find himself home every night.”
“He did not seem intoxicated,” Eric pondered. As area sheriff he should have been more concerned with their safety. Her grating personality had left him with little sympathy. The eternal social climber could happily meet her end if it were up to him.
“Oh no, not that,” Sookie quickly corrected. “JB well… let’s just say he’s special.”
“Like short bus special?” Pam questioned delighted to be engaging with the little blonde morsel again whilst absently wondering how she would get Eric into Nanny Bitty’s uniform this Halloween.
“Mmm, not that serious. Incidentally he’s the school bus driver and let’s just say that’s the only route he remembers.”
Pam cackled at the thought of Lorena and Jessica driving aimlessly in the night with a natural born Renfield. No amount of glamour helping them out. Another patron requesting Sookie’s attention cut their conversation short leaving the remaining vampires to address the evening’s events.
“How will you respond to the Queen’s request?” Pam directed at her maker.
A human sigh escaped from Eric’s lips as he recalled his Queen’s demand that all members of her elite retinue be escorted by a distinguished supernatural of another species when attending the upcoming Supernatural Summit. Co-existence was the new agenda and everyone was to join in with the appearance of it. That’s what it was for now, empty words and promises. Eric had yet to see any actions or gestures of actual cooperation.
“What about Evangeline? She was part sprite before she was turned. Sophie Anne might agree to that.”
Pam observed the minute shiver expressed by her maker before he replied, “No that woman is excruciating. She was turned while on the rag by that PMS-ing bitch of a maker of hers. The pair of them are eternal bloody nightmares. Literally.”
Pam was well aware of her maker’s disdain for the part sprite but his discomfort at the situation was quite enjoyable. She couldn’t help but prod further.
“Dr Ludwig?” She batted her eyes innocently well aware that the number of witnesses present would temper her maker’s ire should it rise too high at her antics.
“Pamela,” he warned through his teeth.
“We’ll just have to scour the Patricius Supernaturalis till we find some lesser sprite or fae to accompany you,” she returned with a small amount of defeat knowing her teasing limit had been reached.
Eric scoffed at her ambition he was well aware that any of those requests would be unequivocally denied. Sophie Anne knew of the position she had requested of her Sheriff and he wondered for the nth time that night whether it really was just a setup for him to fail, another pathetic attempt of the child queen’s power plays.
“I think we’ll have more chance convincing everyone that our waitress is the Queen of the Brownies,” he replied sarcastically.
Instead of the expected amusement from his childe he received a steely determination.
“Eric that’s brilliant,” she exclaimed.
“Stop Pam. This is a ridiculous Hollywood plot that’s a far too dangerous play in the current political arena.”
Pam’s determination wasn’t diminished in the least by her maker’s protest.
“Look she’s obviously something other, she recognised our glow. She works for a shifter who comes to her defence immediately. Her tiny stature has instilled more fear in these humans than any vampire present tonight. We buff her up polish up the edges. Pass her off as some forgotten lost lesser fae noble, duchess, marquise or whatever. I’m willing to risk my entire shoe collection that this will work.”
Eric was impressed by her intent. Pam did not mess about when it came to her prized footwear. He regarded the little waitress once more, her beauty and allure were of no issue. She had appealed to his baser self shamelessly when covered in nothing but mud and drenched hair. She was enticing even when dishevelled and he allowed himself briefly to entertain the possibility.
He’d have to regretfully clean out that filthy mouth. Instruct her on all the intricacies of supernatural politics to create the persona. Pam would be in charge of wardrobe and etiquette. It could work but he remained hesitant. Were she to be unmasked as a fraud there would be serious consequences to his position. Dr Ludwig was the safer choice even if it would cost him through the nose.
Convinced that this was simply another scheme of Pam’s to intern another house pet he decided to prod her resolve.
“Let me guess and if you succeed I’ll be doubling that shoe collection at my cost?”
Pam seemed to be gathering some courage, which puzzled Eric as Pam was never scared to speak her mind.
“When I succeed you will release me.”
Eric was disappointed in her, it was obviously a passing fancy and Pam’s boredom had already taken over.
“You have already been released Pam if you want to continue this pretence at least conjure up something believable.” He had released her decades ago yet her loyalty had always kept her close. It was a quality he always enjoyed in her unlike her penchant for drama.
Pam’s determination had remained intact as she repeated the sentence she had just uttered pausing for an unnecessary breath whilst adding, “as Godric released you.”