Through the Doors of Fate
Sookie finds herself in a strange land on a dark, rainy night. Will this lead to finding the man she’s destined for? I think we all know the answer to that. AH, AU, OOC. Rated: M – Romance/Drama – Chapters: 1 – Words: 4,848 – Published: 11-26-09
Charlaine Harris owns these characters. A special thank you to Lisa.May for planting the seed in my noggin that sprouted into this little tale.
It was the night before my twenty-fifth birthday. I was on vacation with my boyfriend, Bill, in the beautiful country of Romania when my life changed. It was a dark, rainy night. We were trying to find our way to the hotel where Bill had made a reservation when we got a flat tire. The timing couldn’t have been much worse. Bill got out to change the tire and learned that our rental didn’t have a spare. We were stranded out in the middle of nowhere during a raging storm.
I tucked my purse under my arm and stepped out into the harsh elements with Bill and we began our slow journey. Within seconds the wind and rain had soaked me through and through. I lowered my face and trudged forward along the muddy winding road. The new moon was obscured by the clouds and it was as dark a night as I’d ever seen.
Suddenly a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky illuminating our path just long enough for us to catch a glimpse of a huge stone castle ahead. Bill grabbed my hand and hurried me along as soon as he realized that we could find shelter. As we approached the giant castle, I thought I saw a glimpse of a dark figure in an upstairs window, but then it was gone. Bill grabbed the huge knockers on the door and pounded three times. He looked at me with a smirk on his face and I just said, “No knocker jokes, please.”
The door creaked open to reveal an old woman, hunched over with a huge hump on her back, dressed in a long red velvet gown with a black cloak. She looked positively unreal and then she reached up and pulled off her mask, revealing a beautiful young face. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you two. We’re having a costume party. You’re just in time!” I was as shocked that she spoke English as I was that she was young and beautiful.
“Actually, we just had a flat. Do you think we could use your phone to call a tow truck?” I could feel Bill at my side silently drooling over the gorgeous blonde woman.
“Of course. Please come in. My name is Pam.”
The beauty stood straight and pulled a pillow out from under her cloak, ruining the humpback effect, as she led us up a dramatic staircase. She explained that the phones were out because of the storm and put Bill and me in separate rooms to dry off and change clothes.
My room was opulent, but looked like the décor hadn’t changed in the last century or so. There was a pile of folded clothes and a huge gown draped across the high canopy bad. I peeled off my own soaked clothing and dried off with the towel that Pam had left me. I hung my clothes to dry in front of the fireplace and put on the costume left for me. It was some sort of ball gown from around the middle of the 1800’s—layers of deep blue satin and velvet, showing an ample cleavage enhanced by an authentic corset. The adjoining bathroom had makeup and hair supplies laid out on the counter as if I was an expected guest. I dried and curled my hair and fixed my rainsoaked makeup. When I looked in the full-length mirror by the bed, I had to admit that I looked awfully good-like a heroine right off the cover of a romance novel.
While I was admiring myself, there was a knock at the door. I called out, “Come in,” and a tall man with a striking face came into the room in full drag. He was wearing a dark burgundy satin corset over brief lacy black panties. Dark stockings held up with lace garters accentuated his shapely legs almost as much as the five inch stiletto heels on his feet. He smiled a huge red-lipsticked smile as he took my hand in his own black velvet-gloved hand and kissed the back of it, the long black curls of his wig falling all around my hand.
“Welcome, my dear. I’m Victor Madden.”
“Sookie Stackhouse. Nice to meet you.”
“So, what do you think?” He stepped back and did a twirl. “Have you seen Rocky Horror?”
I nodded. “You look beautiful.”
“And you look good enough to eat, Sookie Stackhouse.”
“Thank you for your hospitality. Do you expect the phone to be out for long?”
“Hopefully not, but you might as well enjoy the evening until it’s back in working order.” He bent his arm and offered me an elbow. I took as deep a breath as my corset would allow before exiting the room with my new and strange escort.
Victor led me down the staircase I’d come up, but we passed the front entryway and headed down a long wide corridor until we came to a pair of huge double doors. I could hear the music playing before Victor opened the doors. I scanned the room in awe. It was a huge ballroom full of dancers and minglers all in gorgeous costumes. Against the wall to my right was a richly skirted platform holding about twenty or so tuxedoed musicians, all playing some old standard that I couldn’t place. A sexy woman dressed as a forties starlet was belting out the vocals in front of the band. I felt like I’d been transported back in time, but I had no idea how far back. It seemed to be a mixture of many eras.
I spotted Bill dancing with Pam. He had donned the uniform of a union officer in the Civil War. I supposed that here in Romania it didn’t matter much that we were from the South. Pam’s false hump and old crone mask were missing and she looked stunning being swept across the dance floor by her gentleman soldier.
Victor took me by the hand and the crowd parted as we began to dance. I assumed the smattering of applause was for our host rather than the unknown woman in his arms. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I felt people stare and exchange knowing glances as if they shared a secret about me.
I caught Bill’s eye across the dance floor and we exchanged a wink. Apparently, he thought that our odd diversion from fixing our flat tire was quite charming and he was enjoying himself. He did look awfully dapper in his uniform and I felt a little whoosh of desire beneath my crinolines.
As if on cue, Victor held me a touch tighter and I felt the unmistakable bulge of his interest even through all of my layers of skirts. I met his eyes and they twinkled with mischief. I should have been shocked, scandalized even, but for some reason, I felt turned on instead. It was so completely uncharacteristic of me. I was dancing with a strange man in drag in a room full of strangers, but I felt an overwhelming desire to reach down into Victor’s lacy panties and grab what I knew I’d find. I felt my face flush and Victor smiled broadly.
My hands began to shake and I wondered whether I’d really be able to keep them out of Victor’s panties when we were interrupted by a tap on my shoulder. “May I cut in?”
Victor stepped back and bowed as he placed my clammy hand into the hand of a tall bald man in a tiger suit. The tiger expertly took me in his arms and waltzed me away from the grinning and ridiculously sexy Victor Madden. I felt my pulse returning to normal as we resumed the rhythm of the dance. “My name is Quinn.” I introduced myself and continued the dance. As the song ended, Quinn asked if I’d like something to drink. I realized that I was parched and let him lead me to a table full of refreshments. Once Quinn had filled two cups with punch, he and I found empty chairs along the wall and sat.
I was contentedly watching the dancers and would be lying if I said I wasn’t seeking Victor out. Quinn was making small talk, sipping his punch. I drank mine a little faster and wondered whether there was any alcohol in it. It was one of those sweet pink concoctions that could either be innocent enough for a child or so full of so many types of alcohol that it could knock you on your butt with one cupful.
I was lost in thought when I realized that Quinn was waiting for me to respond to a question. I turned to ask him to repeat it when our eyes locked and for the first time I saw that they were a most unusual color: deep purple. I was speechless for a moment and then watched them drop from my face down to my cleavage. His pupils dilated as his eyes swept over the flesh above the daring neckline. I felt that familiar tingling between my legs. As he stared lustfully at my chest, I noted how masculine his shaved head was and wondered for a brief instant what it would look like under my skirt. I was shocked at myself, but still overwhelmed with lust for this new stranger, even more ridiculously dressed than the first. He raised his eyes back to mine and licked his lips as he smiled. I watched his lips and wondered what his tongue could do for me when I was interrupted.
“Would you care to dance?” I tore my gaze from Quinn’s mouth to face the handsome vampire standing in front of me. “Felipe De Castro, at your service.” He made a theatrical bow and held out a hand. I placed my own in his and turned back to Quinn who simply smirked at me and stood as I did. He reached out and took my empty cup as I stepped away from the chair, and I could have sworn I felt a hand on my butt, but the skirt was so heavy, surely I must have been mistaken.
Felipe and I made some small talk while dancing as one of his hands gently stroked my waist. The other was holding my hand, a thumb stroking my finger suggestively. His face had the dark strong features of a Spaniard and I could feel how square and strong his shoulder was under my hand. I wanted to drop it and caress his chest and wondered if his vampire’s cape could conceal my roaming hand if it dropped even lower. I kept my hands where they were but pressed my body into Felipe’s. He dropped his head and gently nuzzled my neck until his lips found their way through my hair and gently kissed the skin beneath my ear. I could hear my heart beating and wondered if my knees might buckle. Closing my eyes, I turned my head into Felipe’s and breathed in his scent. It was pure male and I wanted to rip that costume off of him and lick every Spanish inch.
I needed to regain control of my senses and so I opened my eyes and studied the other couples dancing around us. Something in the room had changed. It was as if each couple was dancing a private dance. Some were kissing passionately. A few of the men had a mouthful of bosom. I caught female hands stroking crotches—some over fabric and some disappearing through opened zippers. Some couples ignored the music and simply humped in place to their own private rhythm. I sensed that this was the beginning of some sort of orgy and even in my aroused state, I knew that this was not something in which I wanted to participate.
I broke from Felipe’s grasp and excused myself. He smiled a devilish grin and blew me a kiss as I stepped away from him. I turned and ran for the double doors, just wanting to get back to the safety of my room. Before I passed the front entryway, I noted several half-dressed couples moaning against the walls of the darkened hallway. I turned the corner to climb the stairs but stopped dead in my tracks. Pam was lying on her back about halfway up the staircase, her head thrown back in ecstasy as a soldier’s bare ass pumped her. I knew of course that it was Bill on top of her, grunting into her neck, the muscles of his butt flexing as he rammed himself into her over and over. I should have been mortified, furious, but instead all I wanted to do was to join them.
I couldn’t imagine what had come over me—over all of us. I ran past the stairs and opened the first door I came to. I found steps leading down to some sort of basement and started running. The stairs emptied into a huge room full of some type of equipment. There were large wooden tables and metal racks. Ropes and pulleys hung from the ceiling. The walls were lined with whips and chains and leather belts, masks, and who knows what else. Clearly, I had stumbled into the torture chamber of the castle. I should have been terrified, but instead a wave of calm washed over me. I knew that I was being watched and slowly turned to find a man seated on some sort of throne staring at me with the clearest, most intense blue eyes I’d ever seen.
He was wearing a vintage tuxedo, but the collar was open and his bow tie was loose around his neck. He had long blond hair that draped over his shoulders and even though he was seated, I could see that he was tall and well-built. His shoulders were broad and the crisp white shirt clung a little too tightly to his perfect chest beneath the black jacket. He wasn’t smiling, but his expression was soft. My mind flashed back to a dream I often had and in an instant I knew that I had seen this man in my dreams on many nights. His crystal blue eyes wandered down my body and I felt myself melting into a little puddle as he scanned me. When his eyes returned to meet mine, he simply said, “Are you ready?”
I nodded and began to unlace the front of my dress.
He stood and walked to me, never breaking eye contact. Placing his hands at my waist, he carefully pushed me back. I took a few tentative steps backwards until I felt the edge of a table hit the top of my butt. He took both of my hands, stopping the progression of my unlacing, and slowly turned me around. His breath heated the back of my neck. I knew instinctively what he had planned and had no intentions of stopping him. I placed my hands on the table and bent at the waist, leaning my body forward onto the flat surface. I grabbed the leather strap that I found at the far edge of the table and wound it around my wrists as I felt his hands gathering the layers of fabric of my skirts and pulling them up.
I was panting and moaning by the time I felt his hands tearing away the cotton pantalets beneath my heavy skirts. I felt the air on my skin and closed my eyes. One foot nudged my own until my feet were wide apart. I gasped and gripped the leather strap tighter as I felt a finger and then cried out as I was filled swiftly with more than I had ever felt before. He was huge.
One of his hands was on my hip as the other reached around and expertly stroked me. I knew this was going to be fast for me. I had been climbing out of my skin with desire all evening and finally I’d found my relief. His strokes became faster and more powerful. My moans grew louder as we both began our final ascent. I felt my back bow and closed my eyes as it began and he called my name out loud. I cried out but my cries quickly turned to maniacal laughter as I realized that I didn’t have a name to call out. I was hit all at once with the bursting pleasure of my orgasm and the unbelievable absurdity of this sexual encounter with a complete stranger. My laughter continued, but then as the pleasure waned, my body shook with sobs instead. I let the leather strap go and buried my face in my hands, wishing the whole night away. I felt ashamed and confused and wanted to be as far away from that table as I could get.
He pulled out of me and gently lowered my skirts again. I heard the rustle of fabric and sensed that he was tucking himself back into his pants. I took the opportunity and stood and ran as fast as I could towards the steps. I heard him call out, “Wait!” as I hit the top of the steps, but I kept going through the entryway and out the front door as fast as my shaking legs could carry me. I was hit with the wind and rain as soon as I was outside but kept running and never looked back.
It was still very dark, but I could see the headlights of a car ahead and aimed for them. As I approached the car, I could see Bill standing beside the passenger window talking to someone in the car, still in his uniform. He had one of our small rolling suitcases beside him that I assumed he’d retrieved from our disabled car standing mere feet away. He must have heard or somehow sensed that I was approaching and opened the back door just as I got to the car. I climbed in, grateful to be in a dry warm place and he scooted in beside me, pulling the suitcase in with him. The couple in the front seat spoke to us in broken English and I just let Bill do all the talking. I discreetly laced the front of my dress closed again, covering the corset. I was acutely aware of my lack of underwear as a reminder of my impulsive behavior leaked into my petticoats. I was grateful that I was completely wet from the rain and hoped that no additional moisture on the back of my dress would be noticed.
The car dropped us at our hotel and as we checked in, Bill pulled our passports from the suitcase and took the key from the night manager. Once in our room, I closed the bathroom door behind me, removed the wet heavy dress, petticoats, and corset and soaked in a hot tub of water. I went over the strange events of the evening in my mind and cried a little—mostly from confusion. I was so ashamed that I had willingly had sex with a stranger. I’d witnessed Bill having sex with someone else and had felt nothing but lust at the moment. I had just experienced my only sexual encounter in which I’d given no thought to birth control or safety from sexually transmitted diseases. It was all so completely out of character for me and concerning, but I couldn’t honestly say that I regretted it. As wrong as it was, it also somehow felt right. I closed my eyes and pictured the blue-eyed stranger and shivered even though my skin was hot from the bath. I remembered him from my dreams, and that scared me. I knew if I explored my feelings, the answers might come that would make sense of my night, but I was afraid of those answers and so I tried to block the whole event from my mind.
I emerged from the bathroom in a towel, but Bill gave me a wide berth as he silently headed in himself and closed and locked the door. I found a t-shirt and panties in our suitcase, slipped them on, and crawled into bed.
When I woke up, it was sometime in the night. It was still dark and the rain outside had diminished to a gentle sprinkle. Bill was snoring lightly beside me. I turned away from him and fell back to sleep, searching for the man in my dreams.
I was dressed and downstairs eating breakfast when Bill came into the little restaurant off of the lobby and sat with me. He explained that people from the car rental company were coming to pick us up with a new rental car and we were to take them to our former car with the flat tire. It was the first conversation Bill and I had had since our arrival at the castle the night before. We finished eating quickly and waited in the lobby for our ride. Once we’d exchanged cars with the rental people and transferred the rest of our luggage into the new car, we headed back to the hotel. As we neared the castle, I looked down at my lap, not wanting to even see it in the gray daylight. The car stopped. I looked over to Bill and he was pale, staring straight ahead. I followed his gaze and saw nothing. There was nothing there—no castle. We looked at each other and then all around the car: nothing.
Bill never said a word, but turned around and drove back. We searched for over an hour, but there simply was no castle. It made no sense. We never spoke of it, but instead drove in silence back to the hotel.
The rest of our trip was relatively uneventful. We saw the sights, enjoyed ourselves, but never mentioned that night. We shared a bed of course, but Bill never touched me again and I certainly never encouraged him to. That part of our relationship was obviously over. We calmly broke up on the plane ride home and agreed to remain friends.
I saw my doctor as soon as I got home to get tested for s.t.d.s and had never been so relieved to get my period in my life. I mentally chastised myself for weeks, wondering what in the world had come over me to behave in such a way. Eventually, I stopped focusing on my own behavior and found myself thinking more about the mysterious man with whom I had so willingly had anonymous sex. I fantasized about him during the day, and of course met him in my dreams almost every night. Many of the dreams were sexual in nature, but in some of them, he and I were simply having a conversation. He was kind and funny in addition to being the sexiest man I’d ever seen. He kept telling me that he was my destiny. Sometimes the dreams were so powerful, I found myself on more than one occasion daydreaming about returning to Romania, but then I remembered how the castle had simply vanished when Bill and I went back the day after our escapade. I knew that it was insane to even consider returning, but I also could not stop thinking about the man with the blue eyes. I feared that I was spoiled for all other men.
I wondered what might have happened if I hadn’t run out of the castle when I did. He obviously wanted me to wait, but what would he have said or done had I stayed? And would Bill simply have left me there? Should Bill have left me there?
I had been back in Bon Temps for over a month when I decided that I needed a change of pace. I thought it might do me some good to get out and have a little fun. I had been working almost every night at Merlotte’s, trying to make up for the wages I’d lost while on my vacation with Bill, not to mention the savings I’d spent on the trip. Sam told me about a bar in Shreveport that was really popular and suggested I go and dance with some handsome strangers. I shuddered inwardly at the suggestion of doing anything with a handsome stranger, but conceded that a night out might do me some good.
I put on my best dress and drove up to Shreveport, feeling a little silly standing in line to go to a bar alone. But I stuck with it and reminded myself that I needed to have some fun. When I got to the front of the line, I froze. Pam was the woman checking i.d.s at the door. There was no mistaking it. It was definitely Pam. I stepped up when it was my turn and said, “Pam?” She stared at me with a bored expression on her face.
“Oh, um…do you remember me?”
“Sweetie, do you have any idea how many people come through here every night? No offense, but no.”
“Oh.” I felt both hurt and relieved. I took my brand new license out, having recently replaced it.
“Sookie Stackhouse.” She spoke my name out loud and seemed to be thinking. Maybe she did remember me after all. She called over her shoulder. “Felicia!” As a woman approached us, Pam continued, “This is Sookie Stackhouse.”
Felicia motioned for me to follow her. I turned back to speak to Pam but she was already checking the next i.d. I was led through the bar, down a hall, and into an office. “Have a seat. I’ll just get your purse from lost and found.”
I sat on the leather sofa as she closed the door behind her. My purse. This was obviously some mistake. My purse was left in a non-existent castle in Romania over a month ago along with my wet clothes and my dignity. And maybe my sanity.
Sitting patiently, I realized that it was silly to wait. I’d just tell this woman that she’d made a mistake, and so I decided to leave to go find her. But just as I stood, the door opened and in walked the man from the basement of the castle, only he was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and carrying a purse—my purse. My knees failed me as I sat back down. I think a small whimper may have escaped my lips.
“Sookie.” He sat beside me and handed me the purse.
“You know me? You know my name?”
“Of course, lover.”
My heart began to race; my feet and hands tingled. I wondered if I might faint.
“Please don’t be afraid.” He took my hand in his and stroked it gently with his thumb. The tears sprung from my eyes unexpectedly. “Shhh. Please don’t cry. You have nothing to fear.”
“I’m not afraid.” I tried to steady my voice and searched my feelings. “I’m…happy.”
“Yes. I hoped you would be.”
“But, what happened. I don’t understand…”
He interrupted me. “My name is Eric Northman, and I am your destiny. I’ve been waiting for you. I moved to Louisiana to be near you, but had to claim you before your twenty-fifth birthday or we would have been lost to each other forever. You left before I had a chance to talk to you that night. What you must have thought…”
“Eric.” I tried out the name. He smiled and stroked my cheek with his finger. I felt like all the pieces of my life had fallen into place. I looked into his perfect blue eyes and felt at home and at peace for the first time in my life. “But how did that night happen?”
“The fates stepped in to lend us a hand. I’m sorry if it felt like a trick, but we were running out of time. I needed to make you mine.” My heart swelled at his words. “And will you be mine?” His eyes dropped and focused on my lips as he leaned in tenderly.
“Yes.” I knew that I was always meant to be his.
“And I am yours.” As his lips touched mine, my life made sense. I’d found my love and his name was Eric Northman.