How did I go from hating humans to trusting this human so much that I actually went in her car to an undisclosed place – with her cursing half the way? She had said “we need to go”, but the caller had only asked for her. I liked being part of `we`.
I had no idea where we were going and her cocktail dress made me wonder. Her swearing too. Though I had to admit that both were rather sexy.
We drove out of Nykøbing and through some small villages. At the village of Eskildstrup she turned right and entered the highway E47 on the direction to Copenhagen. I wasn`t necessarily interested in going to Copenhagen, but I wanted to wait for her explanation before I objected. Just when I was going to ask her where we were going, she reached down in her purse and retrieved her cell phone.
It`s dangerous to hold your phone in your hand when you are driving. Not to mention illegal. Which is why I had had a fancy hands-free devise installed in my car years ago. I put my phone in the hands-free holder and pressed Amalie`s number. The disadvantage of hands-free telephoning is the fact that everyone in your car can hear what the person you are talking to is saying. When you are always alone in your car, like I usually am, it`s not a problem.
It`s not a problem until you have a vampire in your car and your friend Amalie start out a conversation like this:
“Hi Sookie. How it Mr Tall, Blonde and Hot?” I gulped.
And my cheeks turned crimson when I suddenly felt a hand on my thigh. As both my hands were accounted for, holding the wheel, I knew that Erik enjoyed Amalie`s greeting.
The hand didn`t move and it wasn`t an immediate danger to my driving (but it was a potential risk to my blood pressure). It was just lying still on my thigh.
“Hi Amalie. Look, I need a favor from you.” I started.
Amalie was not going to let go that easily, unfortunately. “Are you in your car?” She asked. She could probably hear the engine or something. Maybe she could also hear my embarrassment, because she continued “Oh, you have him in your car?” She managed to say the word `him` as if I was driving around with Elvis arisen from the dead. ” Sookie, he must be something special because you never drive around with vampires. ”
Thank you, Amalie. Could she embarrass me a little more? The small chuckle from the passenger`s seat did not help me at all.
Apparently Amalie was not half way there on her “turn Sookie red from hair to toe”-quest, because she started hinting on vampires and their sexual abilities, when I cut her short.
“Amalie, this is important. I need you to handle the bar tonight. I had to rush off in a hurry and you have to take over.” It might not have been the most polite way of asking someone for a favor, but I would have done anything to shut her up at that moment.
Amalie may sound like a man-eater or something, but she`s been my rock of sanity in the years after Sam`s death. And she has helped me out in the bar more than once.
“Sure, Sookie. What`s up?”
“You won`t believe it. I`ve been summoned to the queen.” I said letting out a heavy sigh. I felt Erik staring at me, his hand still on my thigh.
“What? I thought you told the queen that she could not summon you again?”
“Well, I told her she could not summon me again unless it was extremely important. I suppose it was important now. I have, after-all, not heard from her palace in eight or nine years. And I might just need her help on something too. I`ve had some visitors I would like her to explain, so I dug out my old cocktail dress and got in the car right after the call.”
Amalie wasn`t too happy about hearing where I was going, but she agreed to look after the bar and after some “look after yourselves”, she hung up.
I looked over at Erik and said: “I guess I should have explained where I`m taking you, but I felt this would also be in your best interest. The queen wanted to see me and I figured I could hit more flies with one stroke, if I had her look into the whole situation with weres coming after you.”
Is it possible to be this naïve? I have not experienced the Danish vampire-democracy (I almost laughed just at the thought of it) first hand, but I knew vampires. If Sookie thought I would be going with her to any vampires, let alone vampires with power, she was very wrong.
Of course Sookie didn`t know why I had temporarily gone underground, so to speak. I didn`t trust her enough to tell her right now – even if I might have wanted to.
“Sookie, I can`t see any queen right now. I don`t want any vampires to know where I am. Why do you think I`m staying with you and not at some fancy vampire hotel?”
She looked almost a little insulted. I let my hand caress her thigh a little to ease the possible insult.
“Look, you have probably read all about me on your database.” Sookie gasped and looked at me in shock. So much for the stoic face of yesterday. As much as I was impressed with her ability to refrain from giving anything away in her facial expressions, I enjoyed that I could crack it.
“Don`t be so surprised. I trusted you when you said that you hadn`t asked anyone about me, and even if you told your friend about me, I figured the database was where you got the information. As a human you should not have access to it, and I`m not sure if your access is official or not, but I value your loyalty when you protected the vampire that gave you access. Even if I would have preferred you to tell me the truth.”
Sookie relaxed some and I kept moving my hand slowly up and down her thigh, not too far up, though, as I didn`t want Sookie to end her life in a car accident.
“I want to trust you with some information, Sookie, but you have to promise me never to repeat it to anyone. You have proved that you can keep a secret, even if you accidently slip up a bit, and I sincerely hope you can keep one for me too?” I looked at Sookie and she nodded.
“I know the vampire that made the database. His king is my king. Unfortunately, I`m not sure if I can trust my king – and that there are weres coming after you is probably proof that he has used the database to check on anyone reading about me. I guess he hoped that whoever was reading about me was also close to me. He was right in your case.” I gave her thigh a little squeeze.
“You see, I really don`t want my king to find me and I can`t meet any vampires that might give away my location. I`m not sure why the queen can summon you, but I can`t go with you. And I would really prefer that you do not mention me. ”
She glanced at me and the only way I could describe her eyes, would be `thoughtful`.
This was a surprise. I had imagined that he would welcome the drive to the queen. Obviously he hadn`t “reported in” himself, but I had never thought it was because he didn`t want to. Some of the vampires I had opened my home to had avoided human authorities, but I had never come across any that didn`t want to be welcomed by the vampire queen and her representatives.
Some had taken their time before meeting her, because they wanted to get their things together so that they could present themselves in some kind of glory; and some had gone to the queen almost immediately after their arrival.
“So you`re on the run or something?” I regretted my question right after it left my lips, but Eric laughed.
“Yes, you could probably say that. I`ll explain it all to you later, but for now I`d appreciate it if you could just drop me off before you reach Copenhagen.”
I almost stepped on the brakes in the middle of the highway. Drop him off? I didn`t want to drop him off.
I realized that he couldn`t go back to the farm. My curiosity had made that an unsafe place for him to stay. I mentally kicked my shins for using the database. I should have thought over that someone could be checking in the other end. Me using the database would be like posting a sticker on Erik`s forehead saying:”He`s right here – just come and stake him.”
“Erik, I`m so sorry that I`ve put you in danger by using the database, but I didn`t know someone would be tracking it.” I glanced over at him. His hand started stroking my thigh again in soothing movements.
I did some fast thinking. He wasn`t safe on my farm, but I didn`t want him to be on his own. Admittedly, I didn`t want to risk never seeing him again.
I knew the E47 like my own pocket and the next exit would be Rønnede and the road to my birth town, Næstved. It was also the town where my brother Jason lived. He had taken over our parent`s house when he moved away from Gran. I lived on the farm Gran had left me.
For a nanosecond I thought about leaving Erik with Jason, but that was about the worst idea someone had since a Danish hooligan got the idea of running into the football-field and knocking down the referee during a European qualifier against Sweden in 2007 – causing the game to be stopped and Sweden to be declared winner. Jason was only concerned about one person on this earth and his name was Jason. He would never want to help a vampire.
Then it hit me. “Eric, could you please check in the little tray under your seat and see if you can find some keys there.” Eric used the hand not currently on my thigh and retrieved a set of house keys.
The timing couldn`t have been better because the Rønnede-exit was coming right up after a little hill. I turned on the signal and went off the E47. We drove in silence for a while. I enjoyed sitting in the car surrounded by the smell of Erik and with his cool hand on me.
The signs said we were going in the direction of Næstved. I remember Næstved. It was quite a big city in my days. The city had a license to manufacture alcohol, which always made a city prosperous. I believe Næstved was the third largest town back then. A city with some impressive churches and huge townhouses. I was actually a bit excited to see how much of it was left.
I liked having my hand on Sookie`s thigh and I definitely liked that she had let it stay there. The warmth from her felt great. I leaned back in my seat and relaxed. I hadn`t been truly relaxed in weeks or months. I closed my eyes.
Suddenly, I could feel a sadness coming from Sookie. I knew that her having my blood would give me an opportunity to feel her emotions a little and this was the first time I recognized it. I quickly opened my eyes and looked at her. She was looking slightly to our right and I followed her gaze to make out what it was that had saddened her.
I couldn`t really see anything that would cause sadness; on the contrary, I only saw an amusement park called BonBonLand. It was huge and we drove close by it. It was closed for the winter, but one could see all the rollercoasters, space shots and even a small circus.
I looked back at Sookie to determine if her sadness really came from seeing that place. I was puzzled and asked: “What`s wrong, Sookie?” in a low voice. I didn`t want to intrude because sadness isn`t always something you want to share, but I felt I wanted to know, strangely enough. She made me want to care. I was a bit puzzled over the fact that I wanted a human to share her feelings – when it wasn`t lust or desire. I couldn`t remember the last time I had asked a human what was wrong.
She was quiet for a moment and then she answered: “I always looked forward to taking my children here, I guess. But I never had any children when I was married and now it`s too late.” She sighed and I could practically feel her pushing the sadness away. “Never mind,” she said. “Children don`t really fit into my lifestyle anyway.”
Then she gave me a quick glance. “But how come you knew I was sad? It wasn`t as if I was crying or anything. I wasn`t even that sad. Just a little sting to my heart that I probably wouldn`t have reflected over if you hadn`t asked me.”
On my right, a huge shopping mall turned up in the middle of the fields. It was still open and in the parking lot, I could see screaming kids of all ages, and parents with tired faces, trying to calm them down.
I had had children and loved them very much. I had also lost them. Or rather, they had lost me. When I was turned, I could never see my children again. I did try and find their descendants, but back then there weren`t any records or church books with names of people being baptized, married or buried. I soon gave up and what would have been the point? It`s not like anyone would jump up in the lap of their great-great-great-great-grandfather – the vampire.
It was about then I made my first vampire-child. I guess I felt I needed family.
I saw her glancing at me again and knew she had asked me a question. I didn`t really want to answer that one. Not yet, anyway, so I said: “Family is important. Even vampires have families, you know. We have our masters and our children and some vampires choose to live in nests and nestmates become siblings of sorts.”
Her sweet little mouth turned downwards for a second. “Well, then I`m in trouble. The only family I have is my brother and he isn`t exactly the poster-boy for brotherhood. I only see him when he wants something from me and after I told him he could seek his favors elsewhere, I hardly hear from him.” She almost spat it out.
“I`m doing fine without family. I have close friends and they make up for what I lack in relations.” She relaxed her grip on the wheel a little.
I looked at her closely and an idea started to form in my head. It was very soon for me, but she certainly would fit well for my intentions. I would have to do it differently with her than with the other ones, what with vampires being out in the open and all, but that could make the beginning so much easier.
I smiled to myself and gave her thigh a little squeeze. She had no idea what I was planning for her, but I still enjoyed it when her hand came over to my thigh and reciprocated my squeeze. It felt as if she welcomed my plans.