Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
Despite SeriousCrush’s very full real life she always makes time for me, and nothing else in the world is as validating as a friend who puts you first. I always love you, no matter what!
As I watched the cityscape of Paris retreating out the plane window, I felt a twinge of longing in my heart…for the city that I had only just gotten to know. Eric could feel my sadness and squeezed my hand. “We’ll be back.” I believed him.
The flight into London was short, and when we got situated on the plane that would take us across the ocean, I noticed that it was like the one we had flown on when we went to Iceland. There was a hatch in the floor that would allow us to get down into the cargo area, where our coffins were tethered in place. Once the captain turned off the seatbelt sign, Eric descended the short ladder to inspect our sleeping arrangements for the impending dawn. Eric assured me our coffins were side-by-side, ready for us. He smiled at me and said, “Unless you want to share again.”
I nodded. “Yes please!” I looked out the window, admiring the bright night sky. The moon illuminated a blanket of clouds below us, and the flight was so smooth that it felt like we were floating. I felt a knot forming in my stomach. “I’m nervous.”
“About what?” Eric asked taking my hand in his.
“You’re not going to die, Lover. Even if we crashed now, you are always safe with me.”
“No, not about flying. I love flying with you.” I hugged his hand to my chest and looked out the window again. “I’m nervous about the exchange with Nargal.”
“First of all, it’s not an exchange. Not like you’re thinking of. You won’t be bonded to him.”
“People consume vampire blood all the time, it doesn’t make them bonded. Nargal also happens to be a full demon, which means that even if you tried to bond with him, you couldn’t. It doesn’t work the same way.”
“Then why does he want my blood?”
“Because you’re special. I don’t know of any other vampires that are part fairy who carry demon magic in them, and I’ve been around for a while.”
“Oh.” I hadn’t really thought of that before. “So…Nargal just wants to taste my blood because it’s different?”
“Yes. I have had the displeasure of meeting him one other time, so I will tell you now not to inhale while you are in his presence.”
“Why?” I said scrunching my face up.
“Ew. No inhaling. Got it.”
I yawned, feigning sleepiness. “Can we go down now?” Eric nodded and led the way. I turned and descended the small ladder and smiled when his large hands cupped my ass. I cleared my throat.
“I’m just making sure you get down safely,” Eric said smiling wickedly. He opened the latch on his coffin, which was tucked in the corner, filling the quiet cargo bay with the hissing sound of the hydraulic opening mechanism. “Ladies first,” Eric said sweeping his hand towards the soft lining.
“Such a gentleman,” I said as I stepped inside. I pulled the hem of my skirt up, and opened my legs.
“I love when you wear skirts…” Eric said as his eyes moved up the inside of my legs, staring hungrily at my naked sex.
“I know…” I managed to get out before he fell to his knees and dove forward, nestling his upper body between my legs, and resting his lower body outside the coffin. All other rational thoughts left my brain as soon as his tongue made contact with my clit. His lips and tongue tag-teamed me, alternately licking and sucking until I was moaning and writhing against him. My scream echoed off the cargo bay walls, making my voice sound robotic as it rang against the metal. “Mm…”
“Like I said, ladies first,” Eric said from between my legs, licking my slit one last time before standing up and unbuttoning his pants. I held my arms up, begging him to come to me. He smiled and pulled his cock from inside his open fly.
My mouth hung open as I watched him caress the length, squeezing the tip before making the trip back down. His face was filled with desire, and his lips were shiny and slightly swollen. His eyes never left the spot where his tongue had just been, and when his hips started to thrust in the air, I growled. “Get in here and fuck me already!” I didn’t mean to sound so impatient, but it worked, so I didn’t care. Eric fell on top of me, crushing my body with his. I tucked my hands inside his pants, gripping his ass firmly and pulling him closer until the head of his cock rubbed against my clit. My body shuddered and I lifted my hips slightly.
We both sighed as our bodies joined, he stretched and filled me, and I held him, squeezing him with each thrust.
Our plane was following the setting sun across the ocean, and soon, we both felt its influence, as did the other vampire passengers, who were slowly making their way down to the cargo area. Eric pulled the latch down and locked the coffin from the inside. His neck hovered over my face as he continued to slam into me. “Eric?” I whispered feeling my hunger spike. Bottle blood was just not doing it for me…
“Bite me,” Eric said as we both neared orgasm. I licked his skin and closed my eyes as my fangs made contact. His blood coated my tongue and his neck muffled my cries of pleasure. Eric came with me, filling me in every way possible. I could not make my eyes open. Sleep claimed us quickly.
Eric and I became aware of our noisy surroundings at the same moment. We were being moved, and we both listened intently to the sounds of Eric’s coffin being heaved into a new plane, the one that would take us to New Orleans.
Eric pulled his neck away from my fangs, which were still imbedded in his skin, and covered my mouth with his, sucking my lips and sweeping his tongue inside my mouth. Even though space was limited inside the closed coffin, Eric wasted no time bringing us both to orgasmic release one more time.
“This one’s moving!” a voice said near our feet.
“That’s the heavy one…the deader in there must be huge!” came another voice.
Eric could not resist the opportunity to make an appearance, so he quickly unlocked the latches and popped the lid, sweeping my skirt down and his dick into his pants faster than they would be able to see. I couldn’t suppress a giggle as the men jumped away from him. “Actually, she’s the heavy one,” Eric said pointing down inside the coffin at me. The cold air that had gotten trapped inside with us was instantly replaced with the heat and humidity of a spring Dallas night
I pushed myself up and scoffed, surprising the two men yet again. “Not as heavy as you. Good thing I don’t need to breathe anymore!” The men looked at Eric and then at me, a horrified look on their faces. I listened to them and found out that I had blood all over my chin. They thought that we had killed someone on our last flight. “It’s his,” I said licking my lips and as much of my chin as I could reach. “Help me out here?”
Eric embraced me, kissing and licking the blood off of my face. The two men stood close together, clutching their weapons, watching us warily.
One of the men spoke up, “If you’d like to board the plane, you can do that now.” But he was thinking, Get a room! He nervously moved back against the wall and pointed to a ladder much like the one in the plane we had just left.
Eric took my hand, pullng me up through the hatch in the floor and quickly found our seats. My foot twitched nervously as I thought about the meeting that was only a couple of hours ahead of us. Eric took it upon himself to distract me for the entire flight, telling me stories of the first years after he was turned. I learned a lot about him during that flight, and if I had any doubts about his kind heart, they were put to rest once again.
I didn’t realize how much I had missed Ella, until I saw her waiting by the baggage claims. I rushed over to her and pulled her into a hug. She gasped when I squeezed a little too tight, so I eased off and made sure she was okay. She nodded. “Oh, Ella. I missed you so much. How have things been? I feel like I’ve been gone for ages!”
“I missed you too! I’ve been spending a lot of time with Miles, he’s such a little man these days!” She smiled at me and I could see the love she had for her son all over her face. “Are those your coffins?” Ella asked pointing to the gigantic conveyer belt where the vampire luggage was funneled from the entire New Orleans airport.
Eric nodded. “Is everything settled for the meeting?”
Ella nodded. “I wired the money to Mr. Cataliades, and Amelia will be at his office at 11:30, ready to work.”
“And Nargal?” Eric asked, his voice tightening.
“Mr. Cataliades assured me that he would be there.” Ella looked at me, a questioning look on her face. I held up my finger, letting her know I would explain the terms of the meeting as soon as we were somewhere a little more private.
She had brought her van, and after Eric and I loaded our coffins in the back, I took the seat next to her and started explaining that Nargal wanted some of my blood.
Ella scrunched up her nose and said, “Ew. Why?”
I shrugged and Eric answered, “He’s a demon.” Ella seemed satisfied with that answer, so she changed the subject.
“So do you want me to come in with you, or just wait out in the van?”
“You must stay here.” Eric’s voice was protective and commanding. She did not question him.
“Thanks for taking care of everything Ella. I hope you know how much I appreciate you!” I gushed.
She smiled at me and turned her attention back to the road. She was nervous, so I distracted us both with stories about the museums we had been to and the things we had seen in Paris. By the time she pulled into the parking lot outside Mr. Cataliades’ office, we were both quite a bit more relaxed.
“Well. Wish me luck! See you in a while…” I wasn’t really sure how long this was supposed to take.
“Good luck. Be safe…take care of her?” Ella asked Eric.
“Always,” Eric answered giving my hand a squeeze before we got out.
Mr. Cataliades’ office was decorated with opulent furniture that all looked round and soft, just like him. It made me think of those people who look like their dogs…only he looked like his office: tan, brown, and squishy. A large bar spanned the length of one of the walls, fully stocked with alcohol used to entertain his human guests. It was decorated with a spectacular arrangement of lilies. I remembered Eric’s advice and fought the urge to inhale, which wasn’t too difficult when I saw Nargal.
Nargal was so thin that his angular bones jutted away from his body. It made him look alien. His hair was long and dark and clung to his head, looking almost fluid. He inhaled deeply when we came into the office and his thin lips uncovered unusually long sharp teeth. I shuddered when I thought about the fairies that had tortured me, taking chunks of my flesh with teeth just like those. I wished he would close his mouth.
“Sookie, my dear. It is so wonderful to see you again. And you as well Eric,” Mr. Cataliades said as he gripped my shoulders warmly and nodded at Eric.
“Thank you for agreeing to help me, um, Desmond.” It was still difficult to address him so casually.
“Of course. This is my brother Nargal,” Mr. Cataliades said sweeping his hand towards the demon sitting in the chair in front of his desk. Nargal stood up, and his hair slipped over his shoulders. Standing was an even more unflattering position for him, since the bones in his hips pushed awkwardly against his pants. “Nargal, this is Sookie and Eric Northman. He owns Fangtasia, up in Shreveport.”
Nargal smiled again and then spoke, “I have heard good things about you, Mr. Northman.” Eric gave him a curt nod and tightened his grip on my hand. “Sookie, my brother assures me that you are amenable to the terms of my assistance.”
I nodded and said, “Yes.” Nargal licked his lips, and I cringed. “A witch will be here in five minutes to assist me with the transfer. There is also a human woman waiting for us outside. I need your word that they will not be harmed.”
Nargal scoffed. “I have no interest in humans.” I stared at him, unsatisfied with his answer. “You have my word.”
“Thank you,” I said. A door closed outside and I opened the gate in my mind and listened. Even from this distance, I could hear Amelia singing a song in her head. She was happy, excited and nervous. “Excuse me,” I said as I slipped out of the office and ran towards the lobby to greet her.
Amelia gasped when she saw me, clutching at her chest like she was having a heart attack. “Sookie! It is not nice to sneak up on people!” She pulled me into a hug and recoiled when she touched my cool skin. “That’s going to take some getting used to.”
“I wasn’t sneaking…I was hurrying. So I could tell you something.” Amelia’s face went serious. “Do a spell so you can’t smell anything.”
“Stop it. I thought you were serious!” She smiled and pushed past me towards Mr. Cataliades’ office.
“I am serious,” I answered in a hushed voice. The last thing I wanted to do was insult a demon who was willing to give me some of his blood so that I could feed like a normal undead person. It was too late to warn her. My stubborn friend opened the office door, smiled briefly at the occupants and then proceeded to vomit into the garbage can by the door.
“We’ll be right back!” I said as I picked up the garbage can and thrust it into Amelia’s arms. I ushered her down the hall and into the bathroom. She threw up the entire way, until the bathroom door closed behind us. “See? I wasn’t kidding!”
“He smells like something died and sat in the sun for a week!” Amelia said as she rinsed her mouth out. She dried her face and then gave me a weak smile. She dug through her purse and pulled out a piece of gum and a vial filled with something yellow that looked like lemon zest. She mumbled something in Latin and then sprinkled the zest into her palm and touched her nose.
“You came prepared!” I said.
“A girl can never have enough bergamot in her purse,” Amelia answered in a perky voice, suddenly looking much better. “That spell comes in very handy after a night at the bar with Mindy…she can’t hold her liquor!” She laughed and then put on her business face. “Let’s go do this!”
Everyone was waiting when we returned. Amelia broke the silence when she said, “I’m Amelia. Who’s going first?”
Nargal said, “I will be happy to.” He held his wrist out and Mr. Cataliades handed him a tiny metal cup and a dagger. Nargal pushed the blade against his skin, which peeled away from the cut like bark on a sycamore tree and seeped a shiny black liquid, which I could only assume was his blood. He collected seven drops in the metal cup, and then pressed his skin together. It did not heal. He licked the knife clean and handed it back to his brother.
Amelia was staring at him wide-eyed and cleared her throat. “Well that was interesting.”
Nargal turned to face me, an expectant look on his face. “Now it is time for you to uphold your head of the bargain.” He licked his lips again.
Eric separated my body from his defensively, leading me towards the bar at the side of the room. “Are you sure you want to do this, Lover?”
“Yes. I am sure,” I said, trying to sound certain. Eric nodded and picked up a shot glass. I bit my wrist and offered it to him. He held my wrist firmly filling the shot glass up about half way before he licked my wound and kissed my healing skin. He looked in my eyes one more time, searching for signs that I did not want to go through with it, only finding resolution.
Eric took the glass and offered it to Nargal. “Consider our business complete.”
Nargal grabbed it out of his hands, greedily inhaling the aroma of my blood. “I have never had the pleasure of tasting a vampire with such an interesting heritage before. Honestly, I don’t care for full fairy.” I immediately thought of my fairy kin and felt a flood of relief that he didn’t make a habit of feeding from them, until he continued. “Which is why I usually just feed from vampires.”
Eric growled and covered my body with his again. Nargal laughed. “Let me assure you, Mr. Northman, that it is always consensual. I have my honor.” I highly doubted that, but refused to weigh in on the conversation.
“As I said before,” Eric said, “the exchange is done. You will not have another opportunity to taste my wife.” He was ready to fight for me, and his fangs descended to prove his point.
Nargal took a sip from the glass and closed his eyes. He moaned and licked his lips. My blood tinted his lips bubblegum pink. “The exchange is complete. Please keep me in mind for future exchanges.” He sipped again and slumped back into the chair, holding the glass delicately. He looked drunk.
Mr. Cataliades, who had been standing behind his desk came forward and said, “May I offer you the conference room to perform your ritual?” I nodded my head. I could not get away from Nargal fast enough. He was the creepiest being I had ever encountered, and that was saying a lot.
Mr. Cataliades led the way, carefully picking up the tiny metal cup off of his desk. Amelia slung her giant purse over her shoulder and Eric and I joined her as we followed him down the hall. He put the cup down on the middle of a giant marble table and smiled at the three of us. “If there is anything else I can do to be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask, otherwise I will go and watch over my brother.” Eric seemed satisfied with Mr. Cataliades’ involvement in the exchange and gave him a gracious nod before assuring him that we would let him know if we needed more from him. He turned and left the room, closing the door quietly.
“Did you see his skin?” Amelia whispered a little too loud. “After he cut himself, the skin just sort of flapped around, but didn’t bleed…I have never seen anything like it! Demon blood is a very difficult thing to find. I have this spell I’ve been wanting to try, but it calls for a drop of demon blood and I couldn’t find it anywhere!”
I interrupted when she paused to take a breath. “Will we need all of it? I counted seven drops.”
Amelia shook her head. “No, we shouldn’t need all of it, unless I make a mistake…”
Before Eric could comment on her lack of confidence, I said, “If there’s any left, I think you should have it, but I have to warn you that Mr. Cataliades and Dr. Ludwig both said it was very dangerous.”
Amelia nodded emphatically. “Yes. Incredibly dangerous. Like kill you, dangerous.”
“I heard,” I answered flatly.
Amelia didn’t seem deterred by the possibility of death, and rubbed her hands together. “Let’s get started!”