Drained: Chapter 15
I tried not to gawk at my surroundings as Minh led me to the kitchen of the palace. The hallway was beautiful with long oriental rugs and paintings lining the walls, but then the cafeteria was very plain and industrial-looking, much like the dorm room. Minh handed me over to a heavyset black woman named Gert who showed me the ropes.
The kitchen fed the humans, of course, so that the humans could feed the vampires. The operation was much bigger than Merlotte’s or Amelia’s, but the system was basically the same. Once Gert explained what was needed, it was easy for me to get to work.
The large dining room had a dozen or so tables where some humans were eating. They went through a cafeteria line to get their food and then sat and ate. I cleaned the tables as they left and helped keep the trays of food stocked in the cafeteria. I hadn’t been working long at all before Gert told me to take a break and have something to eat myself.
I didn’t realize how tired I was until I sat down. I ate scrambled eggs and bacon since it was close to morning, and I noticed a few looks from some of the other humans who were all dressed just like I was.
I felt a change in the demeanor of the people around me when a small blond-haired vampire came into the room. I watched Gert scoot quickly to greet him and they exchanged a few words.
He’d been very young when he was turned—a teenager, really, which I found slightly disturbing. He never smiled and there was something about him that gave me the creeps.
He looked directly at me and began to walk towards me. Gert followed right behind him.
“Who are you?” he asked abruptly.
I stood to be polite and said, “I’m Sookie.” I knew not to extend my hand.
“I’m Andre. You’re new?”
He took a very fast step towards me and bit right into my neck with no warning whatsoever.
I gasped at the prick of pain and looked over his head at Gert. She was watching nervously as he sloppily sucked my neck. I felt some blood trickle down between my breasts and the room became filled with a bright white light. And then there was nothing.
I woke up and knew I was lying on a bed, but it took me a minute to remember where I was. My eyes were closed and I felt very weak, but I was aware of a low growling sound beside me.
I really couldn’t muster the energy to be afraid and thought, if whatever is growling at me is going to kill me, there’s just not much I can do about that right now. I opened my eyes and tried to focus, but I wondered if I was hallucinating. Eric was sitting beside me, staring at my neck, wearing the scariest expression I’d ever seen. His upper lip was curled, exposing his fangs, and he was clearly the source of the growling.
I wanted to say something, to touch him, but I couldn’t seem to get my voice or my arms to work. As I watched him, I became afraid of him. He wasn’t the same Eric who’d told me he loved me and kissed me before. (That seemed like an eternity ago, but was merely earlier that night.) He was a frightening and threatening animal focused intently on my neck. I wondered if he was just going to bite me and kill me, and I didn’t even have the strength to object.
I closed my eyes again and slept or possibly passed out—I’m not sure. When I woke again, there was something in my mouth—a finger. I tasted blood and opened my eyes. Eric was still beside me and his eyes were closed, his face contorted as if he were having an orgasm. I’d seen that expression before.
Again, I wondered if I was seeing things, but then when I swallowed and felt the effects of the blood, I knew that what was happening was real. I closed my eyes and let the euphoria sweep me away. My body felt light—like I was hovering above the bed.
The finger was gone and I opened my eyes to an empty room. I sat up, suddenly stronger, and started to stand to go look for Eric. Only then did I realize I was hooked up to an IV.
A woman came in the door wearing green scrubs and I almost giggled at the thought that she was the second woman I’d seen in one night wearing green scrubs. It struck me as very funny for some reason.
“Whoa, there. You need to lie back down,” she said.
“I’m feeling much better,” I replied. I wanted to tell her that I wanted Eric to come back but heard Indira’s words in my head to not ask for Eric.
“You, my dear, are suffering from what we call feeding fatigue. You have essentially been drained of too much blood.”
“Yes, I kind of figured that. I gave blood at the infirmary earlier.”
“And you have bite marks all over your chest. You need to settle down. You can’t help the whole vamp world recover all by yourself.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry I caused trouble.”
“No, it’s fine. Andre should have asked first. He has very bad manners. He didn’t know you’d donated earlier.”
I sat back down on the bed.
“Lie back and relax. You’re getting fluids and some heavy-duty vitamins. I want you to take it easy for a few days.”
“I just started working tonight. I can’t ask for time off.”
“It’s fine. We know why you need to rest. You’ve been drained.”
“Okay. I’ll take it easy.” I lay back onto the bed.
Minh came into the room and asked, “How’s she doing?”
“I’m much better, thank you. I’m so sorry to have caused trouble.”
“Don’t be silly. It’s no trouble at all.”
He handed me a laminated name badge on a little black string. “You’ll need to wear this at all times. The green background indicates a boarder, so you won’t be charged for meals.”
“Thank you.” I sat up and placed it around my neck.
“And you need to wear this until a medic clears you.” He handed me a little red plastic F on a shorter string. “Can I help you put it on?”
He fastened the F around my neck. It fit like a choker.
“This indicates that you have feeding fatigue. It will prevent another incident like this one. You can take it off during the day—actually, it will be dawn in just a few minutes. But always wear it after dusk.”
“Oh, and this is your parking pass. Just put it on the dash of your car. Show your ID to the officer at the driveway entrance and he’ll direct you to the parking structure.”
I took the little pass from Minh and thanked him again.
“I’ll see you tomorrow night, but you’re not to work until the medic clears you, okay?”
“Okay,” I said.
“Good night, then,” he said as he left the room.
I lay back on the bed and waited for my IV to finish. The nurse left the room as well and closed the door behind her.
I was still buzzing a little from Eric’s blood, but closed my eyes to try and focus on the events of the very long night. I had miraculously gotten myself on the staff of the palace and discovered that Eric was here. My heart raced a little when I thought of his face when I sucked on his finger. But then I also remembered how angry he’d looked when he was growling at me. At least I’d found him.
I was drifting in and out of sleep when I felt the nurse removing my IV.
“I’ll take you to your room now so you can get some sleep,” she said.
I sat up and rolled my sleeves down. She walked with me down a hallway and then another until I found my room.
“Come and see me if you feel faint or dizzy, okay? And take one of these every day.”
She handed me a bottle of vitamins.
“Thanks so much,” I said as she turned and left.
I opened the door to my room (there was no lock), and found a naked woman with a dark brown bob sitting on one of the beds filing her nails.
“Oh, hello,” I said as I closed the door behind me.
“Hi, I’m Carla.”
“Wow, you’re pretty. The vamps are going to love you.”
“Thank you. So are you.” It felt very weird complimenting her because she was naked.
“Just FYI, Gervaise is my favorite. I know you can’t really say no to him if he wants you, but I’d be really grateful if you wouldn’t flirt with him.”
“Oh sure. Not a problem.” I noted fang marks on her neck, breasts, thighs. “I’m just going to get ready for bed,” I added.
I took my t-shirt into the bathroom and changed into it to sleep. I didn’t have my toothbrush with me, and hoped Carla didn’t mind that I stole a glob of toothpaste to clean my teeth a little with my finger.
When I came out of the bathroom, Carla was under the covers.
“Just put your dirty laundry in the bag inside the closet and someone will come and get it,” she said.
I hung up my black pants, but my white shirt had blood on it, so I put it inside the laundry bag. I put my blood-stained bra in a drawer, knowing I’d need it in the morning, dirty or not.
I put my watch, name tag, parking pass and F choker on the dresser and climbed into bed.
As I turned out the lamp between the beds, I said good night to Carla and she replied the same. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.