The Rhodes Less Traveled: Chapter 2
I had to suffer through three monthly visits to the palace before the trip to Rhodes. Fortunately, during the first visit, I accidentally stunned toad-boy (Andre), which inadvertently led to the queen reducing the tax Eric has to pay on Fangtasia back to its original percentage, so at least something good came out of one of the trips.
I was actually kind of excited about Rhodes until I was told that I’d have to man the sales booth for Bill’s database. I suppose that was part of my unofficial punishment for killing Bill. Pam said she’d help me at least.
So on the first night of the summit, I was in my little booth dressed like a ridiculous harem girl. My harem-girl partner, Pam, had taken a break to go upstairs and watch a vampire wedding with Eric. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and starting to get mad that I was being excluded from all of the goings-on upstairs in the ballroom. There was some big fancy wedding and probably a reception afterwards. I knew Eric had to attend a bunch of hush-hush big muckety-muck meetings. Eric actually got to go to all kinds of things, but I was stuck in harem retail world in my sad little booth with stacks of cds for sale. And of course, that all reminded me of Bill, which wasn’t helping my mood much. We seemed to have a lot of sales when Pam was with me, but when I was alone, I got the feeling that a lot of people were just staring at me. My anger and frustration were building and finally I guess I just lost my temper at the whole thing and—uh oh, I started to see red. Sure enough, I heard several thuds all around me and when my vision cleared, there were seven vampires lying all around my booth out cold. Suddenly, all the vampires that remained on their feet were running for the exits. Even the other booth vendors abandoned their wares and took off. Very quickly, I was left standing with my little circle of sleeping customers in a big silent room.
I heard a door open and close across the room behind the screens of blue fabric that lined the walls, and Eric emerged with a concerned look on his face. I felt my bottom lip quivering as he took me in his arms. “It’s okay, lover. Why are you upset?”
“I just hate that I’m missing all the fun. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get so mad.”
Eric rocked me in his arms and one by one, the stunned vampires woke and ran from the room. I felt like a social pariah. “I’ll tell you what. As soon as Pam can get away, I’ll send her to relieve you and you and I can go to a party together. How would that be?”
“Yes, love. Just wait here for Pam and then I’ll meet you in the queen’s suite and we can go dance at the wedding reception. I just have one more meeting and then I’ll be free, okay?”
“Thanks, sweetie. I could really use a little fun.”
Eric left just as some vampires began returning to the room, I suppose having heard that the crazy stunner was under control again. I took a deep but unnecessary breath, determined not to get angry again. I went back to straightening out the little stacks of cds in our booth when a tall handsome were approached me. I recognized his thought patterns and knew that he was something special, but wasn’t certain what that might be. He had a shaved head and broad shoulders and purple eyes and a huge smile as he bowed to me. “John Quinn at your service.”
“Sookie Stackhouse.” I bowed as well.
“So, you’re the famous telepathic stunner that has everybody all atwitter around here, huh?”
“Yeah, that would be me.”
“You know, it’s no accident that you’re stuck down here while everybody else is upstairs whooping it up. They’re all afraid of you and I love it. There aren’t many beings that can strike fear into a room full of powerful vamps. I predict great things ahead for you, babe.”
“But you’re not afraid of me?”
“Well, you can’t stun me. I’d be fine with a little mind-reading. And you’re no scarier than any other vamp to me. In fact, I’d be willing to bet you could use a friend.” I listened to his thoughts and found nothing insincere in what he was saying. “Well, I need to get back to the party. I’m still on the clock. See you around?”
“Yeah, sure. Nice to meet you, John.”
“Please call me Quinn. All my friends do.”
As soon as Pam returned and apologized for leaving me alone, I left to go to my room to change, excited that I’d at least be able to catch the tail end of one of the parties. I’d bought a new pretty party dress and was wondering whether or not I’d ever get the chance to wear it. After I’d changed, I rode down to the fourth floor where the Louisiana vampires’ suite was. When I stepped out of the elevator I noticed an empty soda can in an urn between the elevators. I hate it when people are slobs and so I picked it up to discard it myself and noticed that it wasn’t an empty soda can at all.
I was frozen, wondering how to proceed with what I was starting to suspect was a bomb. An elevator stopped, opened, and then left immediately with a Britlingen inside protecting her assigned vampire. I assumed that she reported what I’d found to someone because shortly after that, Quinn appeared, out of breath from rushing up the stairs. He approached me slowly and carefully.
“Just hand it to me, babe.”
“No, Quinn. I don’t think we should move it.”
“You’re too important to risk your life for these jealous asshole vampires, Sookie. How many of them do you see up here willing to help you?”
“One,” came the reply as Eric emerged from the stairwell.
The two alpha males stood and argued over which one of them would save me until finally some guy from the bomb squad came and took the can from me and then disappeared back into the stairwell. The three of us relaxed and Eric turned and growled at Quinn.
“I’ll see you later, okay?” Quinn jumped into the next elevator that came along.
Eric and I got into the other one when the doors opened, but then when they closed, Eric hit the stop button. I turned to look at him and was hit with a powerful wave of lust. His crystal blue eyes burned into mine as I felt a hand caressing my behind, slowly gathering the fabric of my dress up. “Eric, are you doing this because you’re jealous of Quinn? I don’t want to be the prize for some silly pissing contest.”
“Is there something for me to be jealous of? Was that were hitting on you? Shall I speak to him?”
“I’m a vampire who can stun, Eric. I think I could handle myself if someone made an unwelcome pass at me.”
“And what if someone made a welcome pass at you?”
“Then his name would be Eric Northman.” He seemed to like that line because in a vampire flash, his lips were on mine and his tongue roughly explored my mouth, my neck, my cleavage. I pushed him away, hitting the start button so that we could resume our elevator ride. “See, honey, I don’t want you to do this because of some prehistoric caveman mentality that makes you just want to own me because you perceived some competition.”
Eric’s eyes burned into mine with a fierce intensity. “I could have lost you, lover.”
I hit the stop button again. “Say more stuff like that.”
Those lips found mine again. The kisses trailed down my neck. “I love you, Sookie. I couldn’t go on if anything happened to you.”
Now that’s what I wanted to hear. My hands found Eric’s fly as his continued pulling my dress up. My little pink thong shot across the elevator like a rubber band and Eric was inside me in a vampire flash. I wrapped my arms and legs around him as he slammed me up against the wall, his tongue tangling with mine. I felt the elevator jostling and wondered if the cables would hold. Our thrusts became more forceful as we headed towards our climaxes together. We were both grunting in the same rhythm and just as we neared the peak, the alarm bell sounded, drowning out our screams of pleasure. The elevator jolted and we began to move, heading down to the lobby. Eric and I were both laughing as we quickly disengaged and tried to right our clothes. He took a step back and I felt my dress fall into place around my legs just as the doors opened to a crowd of people. The police and hotel security immediately began peppering us with questions about the soda can bomb. We stepped out of the elevator and I started to explain what had happened when I felt Eric turn and step back inside. I glanced back just in time to see him stuffing a tiny piece of pale pink silk into his jacket pocket—oh yeah, my thong.
We answered questions for law enforcement and spent the rest of the night in the queen’s suite discussing security issues and pretty soon it was time to retire and my night of dancing was clearly just not going to happen. On my way out the door, I nearly tripped over a heavy suitcase and wondered whose it was and why they hadn’t unpacked yet. I asked who it belonged to but everybody ignored me. Eric and I barely had time to get back up to our room on the ninth floor before dawn took me. So much for my first big night at the summit. At least the elevator ride was good.