Disclaimer: I don’t own True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Those rights to belong to Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball and HBO. I am in no way affiliated with them, no profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: I do, however, own my OC’s and their shenanigans (plus I simply like to play with the Viking!). Enjoy!
It was about an hour after sunset when we finally reached Dallas. Thanks to Octavia’s directions, the Silent Shores Hotel was easy to find. Actually, it would have been easy to find anyway. The hotel looked to be over twenty stories tall. There was a very large sign with the insignia ‘SSH’ written in Old English script in a deep, blood red identifying it just below the roof on the overlook of the hotel. On the side were large windows all the way around from the top to about six stories down to where one side became concrete and the full name was scripted in the same font and color then highlighted with white lights behind the lettering. Windows appeared to surround three sides of building, with only small spaces between them there down to roughly thirty feet off the ground. There was also a smaller sign above the lobby and valet parking areas where the insignia as well as the full name were spelled out. As we pulled around the long drive to the awning, I also saw the same ‘SSH’ etched on the glass front doors.
I let out a low chuckle. It was almost as if the hotel was saying “Shhh” because it held a secret which, I guess, in a way, it did! The rest of the exterior of the hotel was unassuming and looked new. The landscaping was impeccable, surrounding the grounds with large bushes covered in red roses with some unidentifiable greenery spaced randomly in between. On both sides of the outer part of the awning were large stone pedestals with lions perched atop flanking both sides of the drive.
When the valet approached the car in his full dress uniform, including hat, it was obvious that the Silent Shores was high-end, and no doubt, quite expensive. I took a deep breath and let it out, imagining what it would cost to stay here had Octavia not already handled the expense. There would have been no way I could have afforded it on my own!
I felt slightly embarrassed when I handed over the keys to my used Ford Escape, lovingly nicknamed ‘Houdini,’ to the young man. He couldn’t have been more than nineteen. What I always considered my ‘car’ was really more of a small SUV, and had been a gift from my parents at my high school graduation. It was already a few years old then. I loved my car! The exterior was a metallic, dark, shadow gray clear coat with dark flint interior. I took relatively good care of it and didn’t drive it long distances very often, so it still had well under 100,000 miles. We rarely took vacations, and school and work were close to home. JP had his own car, but we generally drove mine if we went anywhere, like shopping or the infrequent trips, due to the amount of storage space being greater than in his car. Though it was in overall good condition, I still felt intimidated, thinking of the over-priced and no doubt luxurious cars I imagined were stored in the underground parking garage.
I had grabbed my iPod, charger, and my moonshine before exiting the car. I was stuffing the player and cord into my purse while I dug for my wallet to tip the man patiently waiting to enter the car. How much do you tip in a place like this? I handed him a ten-dollar bill and gave him a big smile, hoping it was enough. He never looked at the bill when he put it in his pocket, but he returned my smile with a slight blush on his cheeks as he thanked me and asked my name and room number.
“I’m sorry, what?” I asked, a little surprised. Wasn’t that a bit forward?
“I asked your name and room number, Miss. I will need it to tag your key before storing it in our safety box.”
“Oh. No, I don’t know the number yet,” I blushed at my embarrassment and assuming nature, and he flashed a bright smile at me, putting me more at ease. “You can put it under Kerrigan. I’m not certain how long we’ll be staying, but if I need my car again before that, I can give you the room number.”
“That’s OK. Your name is sufficient. Is that your first name or last?” he asked as he climbed into the car.
“Last. My first name is Chelsea, but can you just use Kerrigan, please, no initial or Miss or anything?” I don’t know why I asked him to do that. It wasn’t like anyone would be looking for me and if they were, finding my last name would probably be just the same as having my nickname written on it.
“No problem,” he said, flashing his bright smile again and nodding. I noticed he had dimples on his suntanned cheeks when he smiled. He was cute, certainly too young for me, but cute, nevertheless.
I wondered if he was some kind of Supernatural while I walked to the back of the car where another valet was removing our suitcases. Great! Another tip!? I could’ve gotten the bags myself! He was older, maybe in his sixties, and held the same bright smile as the young man in the car. I reached into my purse, but Maggie had been watching me and beat me to it, handing him a ten-dollar bill. I smiled with relief that I had chosen the correct amount earlier. He closed the trunk, which was really more of a hatchback-type, and raised the handles on our suitcases before turning to wheel them toward the doors. I mentally checked to make sure I hadn’t left anything inside that I would need as my car drove away slowly. Satisfied, I followed behind the gentleman.
“We can take care of those, sir. You don’t have to take them in for us,” I said, reaching for my bag.
Maggie was already walking through the glass doors, completely oblivious as usual, with a skip in her step. He smiled genuinely at me and gave me a slight nod. I returned his smile, noticing he blushed much like the younger man had during our exchange.
“No, Miss, it’s all part of the service here at Silent Shores,” he nodded again and turned back to the door wheeling our bags behind him.
I kept pace with him rather than rushing after Maggie. She was walking toward the marble and dark wood concierge desk and though I couldn’t see her face, I was sure there was a grin plastered on it. The older man followed her to the desk before releasing our bags. He tipped his hat to me, and I thanked him for his assistance before he turned and walked back outside.
While I waited for Maggie to get us checked in, I looked around the lobby. The reception area was huge with a high ceiling and there was a large fountain in the center surrounded by marble benches. Two curved staircases led up to the second floor and there were tall, white columns that were symmetrically placed around the area that met the floor as well. They were accented at the apex with engravings that alternated between lions and warriors. They didn’t appear to be in battle, but stood side by side as if prepared. What I could see of the second floor was lined with large, double doors spaced about ten to fifteen feet apart. They were definitely not guest rooms, so I assumed they were some type of banquet halls or meeting rooms. There were hallways leading both right and left under the stairs, which I realized led to the elevators. I looked forward to investigating more of the hotel when Maggie said my name and I turned my attention to the woman behind the counter.
“Good evening, Ms. Kerrigan. Welcome to Silent Shores. I hope you will enjoy your stay with us,” she said too sweetly and I could envision her sizing us up in her mind as she took in our casual attire. She was slight and beautiful with dark, brown hair pulled into a low ponytail at the back of her head. She had bangs with a few wisps of hair softly lying around her ears. I glanced at her, looking her over quickly as well. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but seeing that Octavia had said the hotel was run by Weres and Vampires and it was after dark, I couldn’t help but try to determine if she was one or the other. Having really no idea what to look for, I gave up and held out my hand, expecting some type of paperwork. She didn’t even bother to look. Perhaps she had already given it to Maggie?
“You will find everything you need in your rooms. We offer room service twenty-four hours and we also have an indoor/outdoor restaurant on the second floor, down the right hallway. There is a pool on the first floor as well,” she indicated, pointing in the general direction, “Your suite is on the top floor below the penthouse. You will find access at the end of the hallway there that leads to the roof. It is outfitted with furniture and fire pits for the enjoyment of our exclusive guests,” she said, ‘exclusive’ coming out in a strained voice.
My mouth almost fell open at the word ‘suite,’ but I managed to keep my composure in front of her. It was quite obvious that she didn’t think we were the conventional Silent Shores clientele or that we even belonged in the hotel, much less on the apparently coveted floor. The ways in which she continued to point out all things special and the magnitude of the top floors began to make me think maybe there was someone special up there. I began to think maybe this wasn’t about us at all.
“May I see your identification?”
When she turned back to her computer on the counter behind us, I decided to try a little experiment and began singing quietly, but just loudly enough so she could hear. Maggie looked at me and quirked an eyebrow before she glanced at the woman, and a large, happy grin grew upon her face. I noticed the tension in the woman’s shoulders relax completely. I could tell she was listening, even if it was subconsciously.
Wait, wait for the dawn my dear
Wait till the sun gets here
And you will wait too long he will be gone
Wait, wait till the sun shines through
Wait till the sky is blue
And you will wait too long he will be gone, he will be gone
Ooh, he will be gone
Ooh, he will be gone
Wait, wait till the signs are right
Wait till the perfect time
And you will wait too long he will be gone, he will be gone
Ooh, he will be gone
Ooh, he will be gone
La la la la la …
Wait till you don’t doubt no more
Wait till you know for sure
And you will wait too long he will be gone
When she turned around again, she was smiling an authentic smile and appeared content. It was as if she found some resolve, decided to stop waiting for whomever it was, and would make the first move. Excitement radiated from her. She placed a small key in my still-outstretched hand.
“This is the key that will grant you access to the top floor. As I have explained to Ms. Broadway, the elevator will stop at any other floor below, but only this key will take you to the top, one level below the penthouse. Since her room is on the floor below yours, I have also given her a key for access. This is generally not permitted, but when your rooms were booked, special arrangements were made for the duration of your visit. It is all-inclusive. Please don’t hesitate to ask for anything you may need. I cannot stress enough that you do not give your key to anyone else. There are five other suites on the floor where you will be staying, and they are limited to certain guests,” she smiled very widely and blushed. What the hell did that mean?
“Thank you, Luna,” I said, noting her nametag, and kept myself in check once I recognized it was another name from the fucking books!
I waited for another moment, and her anticipation was almost palpable, waiting for what she planned to do once we finally left her alone. Still, I waited. Why isn’t she giving me a key to the room?
“Is there something else you needed, Ms. Kerrigan?” she asked, beginning to get anxious for our departure.
“Um, can I have the key to my room, please?”
“Oh! I’m sorry! I completely forgot. Here is your key card. Your room number is 2024. The elevator is down the hall to the right,” she pointed, “Oh! You will also need to enter a code before you swipe your card,” she said.
“A code? Is it on our paperwork?” I looked at Maggie who shrugged.
“No. Ms. Broadway’s room only requires her keycard. Here are written instructions on how to access your room,” she slid a card across the counter. “There is a number pad on the outside of the door. You will see the panel. It is a small keypad complete with numbers and letters below them like a telephone. Once you follow the instructions, you will enter your own unique six-digit code, so not even the hotel staff will know it. If you would like maid service, you will need to call the concierge desk to request it. No one will enter your room without your consent.”
“Wow! OK. That’s some pretty tight security. I appreciate your help. Thanks again,” I said.
“You’re quite welcome. Please enjoy your stay at Silent Shores,” she said.
We hadn’t even walked two feet away when I saw her lift the receiver on the desk phone, undoubtedly to call him, whoever he was.
Another young man began to approach us with a cart, ready to load our bags. You have got to be kidding me!? We have two suitcases and a thermos!
“Thanks, but we’ve got it,” I said, smiling.
The boy looked at me for a moment, cocked his head slightly to the side, and frowned. Maybe he didn’t understand what I meant?
“It’s OK. We can get them,” I tried again.
His eyes squinted at me as if he was concentrating and he kept staring. Jesus, come on, man! He didn’t look to be of another ethnicity, but I began to wonder if he spoke English… If his job was simply to take the bags to the room number he was given then I guess he wouldn’t really need to know how to speak English…
Oh My God! Maybe he’s one of those ‘other’ creatures I haven’t seen before that Octavia was talking about!? She said it was likely I would meet some of them. Shit! What do I do? I looked at Maggie for help, but she was preoccupied and looking around the lobby.
“We,” I motioned between myself and Maggie, “are good,” I said, giving him a thumbs up and pointing to the suitcases.
I slowly reached down, took the handle of my bag, and elbowed Maggie to take hers. Smiling at the boy, I stepped around him and started walking toward the hall.
“Wait!” he said quickly.
“Oh! I thought for a minute that you couldn’t understand me. Are you all right?” I asked, mildly concerned about his behavior.
I’d seen people have seizures before and there were many degrees. Sometimes they just stared straight ahead, frozen. Now that I knew he understood, maybe that’s what had happened. Then again, he was moving. It was his expression that was a bit unnerving.
“Sorry about that. My mind…I mean; I guess I zoned out there for a minute. Here, let me get those,” he laughed nervously.
“No, really, it’s fine. We’re fine. Thank you, though. I don’t think we need the cart. We only have these.”
“No, no, it’s part of my job,” he said, taking both our bags.
There goes another ten bucks! I sighed. Maybe I should just charge it to the room? No, I can’t do that. I’d just have to suck it up. I made a mental note to hit the ATM soon. I hadn’t brought much actual cash with me, assuming I would use my credit card for most things, but that wouldn’t work here. He walked around me and Maggie, and we followed behind.
The elevator would have been easy enough to find on our own. It was about halfway down a wide hallway lined with red velvet benches and plants that flanked them on both sides all the way along the wall. Ahead of us, I noticed the sign for the pool area. I would have to remember to buy a swimsuit if we were going to be here for any length of time. Then I thought again about the cost and, favor or no favor, I couldn’t take advantage of Octavia’s generosity. I would stay that night to meet with Godric or possibly tomorrow if he wanted to wait, and then I would stay in a cheap hotel until we left. I couldn’t imagine we would be here more than a day or two. After that, I could take Maggie home, and possibly go to visit Russell and JP. I decided to bring it up when I called JP later.
We stood in front of the spotless and shiny golden doors to the elevators, etched with ‘SSH,’ waiting for the car to arrive. I could see my reflection and understood why Luna had been so tentative with us. The little bit of mascara I had worn was smudged under my eyes, and faint lines were tracked down my cheeks due to my tears that had fallen during the drive. My eyes looked a bit bloodshot, and I was still wearing my denim capris from earlier in the day. No wonder the guys outside were smiling so much! They were probably trying not to laugh at me!
“Thanks for the heads up, Maggie,” I snapped.
I waved my hand, indicating my face before I started rooting around angrily in my purse for a tissue. It was quite the feat, considering I was balancing a jug in my other hand. Pulling one out, I licked it and ran it under my eyes to get the smudges off as well as to clean my cheeks, using the reflection of the door. Just as I was leaning closer to the door, almost pressed up against it, the bell dinged, and it slid open. I almost toppled inside, but was caught by large, strong hands that gripped me while I fell against a massive chest. I let out a gasp as I struggled to regain my balance.
“Oh my God! Thank you so much! I could’ve fallen flat on my face,” I laughed breathlessly, stepping back from the man’s embrace.
As I stood, I looked up at the man who had saved me. He was a tall, very muscular, African American with a tense look on his face, as if I had invaded his personal space.
“Then it’s a good thing I was here. Instead you fell flat into me,” he said in a deep voice, still holding my upper arms.
The scowl on his face softened slightly when he looked at me, and he almost smiled while he placed me more firmly on my feet and stepped around me to exit the car, laughing lightly and shaking his head.
“Thanks again,” I called to his back as he retreated.
He turned his head once, smiled, and nodded before my view was obstructed by Maggie and the bellboy entering behind me.
“Did you see him? He was massive!” Maggie whispered, giggling as if the boy wasn’t two feet in front of us.
“Of course I did, Maggie. My face was mashed into his chest! I’m lucky I don’t have a broken nose just from his pecs,” I chuckled, checking the tenderness of my nose from our collision.
“Who do you think he is?” she asked while I laughed out loud.
“How the hell would I know?”
“Excuse me,” Maggie said, trying to get the boy’s attention.
He turned and looked at her. It seemed apparent that he was actively trying not to look at me.
“Do you know who that man was?”
“No, I’m sorry, Miss. I just came on night shift. I haven’t seen him before,” he said, timidly turning back around.
“Oh,” she said, sounding disappointed.
“Don’t worry, Maggie, I’m sure there are many other big, brawny, men for you to fall into next time. Maybe I should let you go first from now on,” I winked.
Maggie blushed, and could only giggle as she bumped her hip into me.
“What floor?” the boy asked over his shoulder.
“I’m on nineteen and she’s twenty,” Maggie replied.
He pressed the button for nineteen, and his hand stilled for a moment, as if he were afraid to touch the next button. His head turned slightly to the side, almost to look at me peripherally before he returned his gaze to the panel and pressed twenty. What the hell? Does he think…surely he couldn’t think I’m a vampire! I have a tan for God’s sake! The thought made me laugh, and his shoulders tensed while Maggie glanced at me with a quizzical look on her face. “Later,” I mouthed to her and shrugged. She smiled in return.
A minute or so later we reached the nineteenth floor and when the door opened, we all stepped out.
“Wait here, Miss. I’ll get your friend settled and return,” he said to me.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’ll come down with you guys.”
“You’re being silly, Cricket. I’ll drop my bag off and come with you,” Maggie called over her shoulder, giggling. Always giggling.
She was practically skipping down the hall looking for her room. Though he seemed friendly enough at first, the boy was now nervous, and it showed in the way he tried to be casual while his step quickened. I watched them walk down the hall until they reached her room and entered. A moment later they stepped back out, and Maggie turned with the biggest smile I had yet to see on her face. That was truly saying something! She rushed back to where I waited, the bellboy quickly trailing behind her.
“Oh my God, Cricket! My room is beautiful! And you’re in a suite! I can’t wait to see yours!” she squealed.
The boy pressed the button on the elevator and it opened instantly. We entered and he pressed the button for the twentieth floor. Nothing happened and we waited. After a few seconds, he turned to me.
“You need to use your key, Miss,” he said, nodding to my hand. Despite the fact that Luna had made such a big deal out of it, I had completely forgotten.
“Oh, sorry,” I said, looking at the panel and seeing two keyholes above the numbered buttons with an unmarked silver button next to each.
“It’s the one on the right,” he said, “the other goes to the penthouse.”
I inserted the key and turned it. He pressed the unmarked button and we started moving.
“Why don’t you have a key to the upper floors?” I asked him.
“I… No one is allowed to disturb the guests on those floors,” he said quietly.
“Why not?” Maggie asked a bit loudly.
He cringed slightly at the volume.
“These are VIP guests, like you. We value their privacy.”
The door slid open, we exited, and started down the hall. It was so quiet, I felt as if I should whisper.
“Right, Luna said that if I even wanted maid service I needed to call downstairs,” I said quietly.
“Yes. You’ll need to call for anything you want and you can pretty much have anything you want. The suites up here, from what I understand, include everything,” he replied just as quietly.
“What do you mean? I mean, she said ‘all-inclusive,’ but what does that mean exactly?”
“Food, drinks, spa access, massages, dry cleaning, pretty much anything you can think of is included in the cost of the room,” he said, finally turning toward me.
At the look on our faces and mouths on the floor, he smiled, but kept himself from laughing. I could tell he wanted to though. My eyes opened impossibly wider and he blushed, casting his eyes to the floor and continuing to walk.
“Holy shit! Are you serious?!” Maggie whisper-yelled.
I looked at her quickly and put my finger to my mouth, signaling her to be quiet. If the people staying here wanted privacy, I sure as hell wasn’t going to disturb them! If they were vampires, as I suspected some were, I would just as soon they didn’t know we were here at all. We arrived at my room and I looked at the card with the instructions. I had to clear the pad twice and hold down the zero for ten seconds. Before I began, the bellboy told me I needed to enter the code quickly due to a time limit, and then I would have to start over. I glanced at the familiar telephone keypad for a split second before the light started blinking. Without thinking, I typed in 845464, the code that I would use for the length of my stay. I wasn’t sure where that number had come from, it meant nothing to me, but it was the first thing that popped into my mind. Somehow, I knew I would remember it.
I swiped the keycard to open the door and we stepped in. He turned on the lights and I couldn’t take another step. I may have stopped breathing. It was the most unbelievable hotel room I had ever seen! There was a small open kitchen area to the left with mahogany counters, cabinets, and a brushed nickel refrigerator. It stood chest high, and looked very sleek and new. To the right, I saw a fully-stocked bar in the same design and coloring as the kitchen. The knobs on the cabinets were the same brushed nickel as the refrigerator. As I was looking at the bar, I noticed in my peripheral vision that the boy’s eyebrows had risen slightly and he was staring at me again. I chose to ignore it as to not make him any more uncomfortable.
The center and main area of the room was as large, if not bigger, than my living room at home. A very, very inviting butter-cream sofa sat in the center of the room accompanied by two side chairs and dark wood, mahogany, of course, end tables. On top of the tables were small matching lamps with wrought iron bases. The carpet was a darker tone of the same creamy butter blended lightly with hint of cocoa. There were chocolate-colored fringed, chenille throw pillows on the chairs and the sofa. A soft-looking chenille throw draped over the back. Across from the sofa was a built-in fireplace with a marble floor and a mahogany mantle. Above that was an enormous flat-screen television. There was an open door further to the left, past the kitchen, with two steps leading up to it. I could only assume that was the bedroom and that it would be as luxurious as the main room. There were French doors opposite the entryway leading out to a balcony and sheer cream curtains hung full length in front of chocolate-colored drapes. They were drawn open halfway, exposing a wrought iron railing outside. To the right of the fireplace was a closed door. I wasn’t sure where it would lead to, but I could check it out later.
“Wow,” I breathed out.
“I know, right? I love when I have an opportunity to come up to these rooms during the day… I mean, the view in the sunlight is amazing,” said the bellboy behind me. I had almost forgotten anyone else was in in the room. I glanced to my right and saw Maggie staring just as I had been, taking everything in.
“Then I guess we’ll have to order room service or something to give you an opportunity to come back,” I laughed, turning to him with an excited smile.
He blushed and averted his eyes again. I was happy to place my moonshine on the counter and dig into my bag for his tip. I found a twenty and held it out to him. I figured that would cover both me and Maggie.
“Thanks very much for bringing up our things and helping me with the door code,” I said.
“No problem. My name’s Barry. If there’s anything at all that you need, don’t hesitate to call downstairs. I’ll be here until six a.m.,” he smiled as he took the tip, “Thank you, Miss.”
My eyes widened slightly when I looked at his nametag to make sure I heard him correctly. Of course he’s fucking Barry Bellboy! Of course he is! Then it hit me, ‘The Silent Shore’ was fictitious Barry’s place of employment and we were staying at the ‘Silent Shores Hotel’. How the fuck did I miss that? Illogically it was completely fucking logical for him to work there. I almost laughed out loud. I was about to re-enter The Twilight Zone! At that moment, I highly doubted he would be coming back up here, at least at night. No wonder he was looking at me so strangely. If he truly is a telepath like Sookie, maybe he’s only hearing music in my head too?! Then it occurred to me that perhaps he wasn’t, and that part of my imagination was, indeed, fiction. Who was I kidding? This was a fucking ‘vampire friendly’ hotel! I fleetingly thought that I should text Sookie and tell her about him. It was then that I decided that after this trip, maybe I should go to Bon Temps and take them up on their offer to visit. What the hell, right? I wouldn’t go to Shreveport, of course, but it would be fun to hang out with her, Jason, Lafayette, and Tara. Maybe even Merlotte’s was a real place? I calmed my outward expression, despite the giddiness growing inside, and thanked Barry again for his help. He quickly exited the room.
“OH! MY! GOD!” squealed Maggie.
“Hey, I think we should be quieter. We have no idea who else is up here or how thick the walls may or may not be.”
“Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot!” she said, walking to the kitchen counter and pulling things out of her bag.
I grabbed two cocktail glasses off the bar and took them to the kitchen. I had been waiting for a drink for over eight hours! As I filled them with my moonshine, I watched her intently. There were small burlap bags, some silk bags, and crystals.
“What are you doing?”
“I need a glass bowl. Will you look around? When you find one, fill it halfway with water, and set it on the counter, please.”
I opened all the cabinets and finally found a wide, but shallow, clear glass bowl. It was on the bottom shelf of one of the overhead kitchen cabinets. Next to it sat a box of floating candles. Hmm, romantic, I wonder what other little treasures I’ll find. Then just as quickly as those thoughts came, my heart stung, and my mind immediately went to my one-night stand.
I remembered the votive candles on the wall he had lit that were the only illumination while we made love in the cast iron soaking tub. The feeling hit me so hard; it was almost as if I could feel him near me. It was intense, and I sucked in a sharp breath. I filled the bowl with water, placed it on the counter for her, and turned my back, leaning against the counter. She was saying something in a very low voice behind me. I couldn’t understand her, but I wasn’t trying either. I picked up my drink, downed it quickly, and then grabbed hers, chugging it right behind. She was too engrossed in what she was doing to have even noticed. I was breathing heavily and my knees felt weak. I took a deep breath to calm myself before I spoke.
“Do you need any help?” I asked very quietly while still turned away.
“No, but I do need your hand for a second,” she said just as quietly.
I stuck out my hand behind me, felt her place my fingertips into the water, and then pouring something that felt like oil before sprinkling another substance all over the back of my hand. She massaged it into my skin and then fully submerged my hand into the water to rinse off whatever it was. I didn’t look. I was still focusing on my breathing.
“Now I need a few minutes to concentrate. You can wipe that off now. Do you mind waiting over on the sofa?” She whispered before beginning her chant or whatever it was again.
I shook my head. I opened a drawer to get a hand towel I had seen in it earlier. After I dried my hand, I grabbed my glass and the jug, taking them both into the living room where I seated myself on the edge of the sofa, refilling my glass once more. I drank that one just as quickly as the first two and poured another. Then I placed the jug on the nearest end table. I finally settled back into the soft, broken-in leather sofa. Holding the glass in my hand, I lay my head back, and closed my eyes. Maggie could take as long as she wanted. It would give me the time I needed to clear my head and regain my composure. I have to stop this! I can’t break down every time I have a fleeting thought of him! Thank God the alcoholic substance wouldn’t give me a hangover. Thank God it will refill itself! I was there to see Godric, not think of Eric.
I sipped on my drink and a few minutes later, I heard tapping. I opened my eyes and rolled my head to my right. I saw Maggie tacking the two small silk bags to the wall. The bags were darker and looked as if they were wet. Maybe she dunked them in the water? When she was finished, she set her small tack hammer on the floor and bowed her head, speaking slightly louder than before. I had no idea what language she was speaking, so I just watched her. She moved from one corner of the room to another and then disappeared into the bedroom. When she returned, she repeated the action in the remaining two corners of the room, bypassing the balcony, and entered the door that had been closed. Finally, she re-emerged from that room, closing the door behind her. Just when I thought she was done, I watched her open the French doors and step out onto the balcony. Her arms extended, she raised her head, shook it off, and then returned to the room. She closed the doors and went to pick up her hammer. Walking into the kitchen, she washed her hands and put everything back into her purse.
She picked up her glass and came to join me in the main room. She sat down in the chair closest to the jug and poured herself a glass. She raised her glass with a wide smile. I mimicked her movement, and we drank.
“OK. That’s done. I’m glad I didn’t forget,” she said, taking another sip.
“What was that? What did you just do? And do not say ‘magic’,” I asked, more than a bit in awe of her actions.
“Octavia taught me that privacy spell, but I’m not nearly as strong as she is, so I needed to use herbs and poultices as well. They might not even be able to smell you. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I mean, I don’t know if that part will work, but Octavia wanted to make sure we took every precaution. I also added some wards to the room,” she said as if I knew what that meant.
“So, no one can hear us?”
“Nope, and the wards around the door make this room…um…sort of like a human dwelling. By that, I mean that no vampire can enter without an invitation. Since it’s your room, it’s like you live here now. I can’t even invite them in. You have to do it. Oh, it will block out most of the noise outside. Not all, of course, we should still be able to hear noise or voices, you know, in case there’s an emergency or something, but they will be softened or maybe muffled. I’m not quite sure what it will sound like, to be honest,” she said and shrugged.
“Wow! Really? You can do that, and no one can come in?”
“Not if they’re a vampire, nope,” she said, popping the ‘p.’
“I’m impressed, Maggie! I didn’t know you had it in you!” I raised my glass and touched it to hers. She blushed and giggled before she drank.
“So, what should we do first? Massages!?” she asked, excitement and mischief evident in her eyes.
“Calm down, Maggie, we aren’t here for massages,” I said to her with a pointed look.
“But, Cricket, we didn’t… I mean… I wonder… How long do you think she booked the rooms? She had to know about all of this!”
“I don’t know, but I figured we wouldn’t stay past tonight. Maybe tomorrow, depending on if Godric will come tonight or not,” I said.
“Well, Hell! I’m going to find out how long she’s letting us stay. We’re going to take full advantage of everything this place has to offer. I mean, it’s included after all!” she pouted.
“It’s included with my room. Neither Luna nor Barry said anything about yours,” I teased her.
Her mouth fell open for a second before she realized I was kidding. Then, of course, she giggled.
“Oh, we’re going to have so much fun! You’ll see!” she exclaimed, tapping her feet on the floor.
“You always say that!” I laughed.
We relaxed for a few minutes, debating whether or not we should order room service. I was hungry, but the sooner she left, the sooner we could get Godric here. She argued with me that she was hungry, but finally agreed that we should wait. She rummaged through the kitchen and found some snack crackers and cheese to munch on before she called Octavia to let her know that we had arrived and to ask her how long we could stay.
“She said as long as we want, or as long as it takes,” Maggie reported gleefully after closing her cell phone.
“Let me guess, you’re going to tell her it will take us all week?”
“At least!” she said conspiratorially.
I rolled my eyes and sighed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I mean, if he had the amount of information that Octavia thought he would, it could take a couple of days, well, nights. Then again, if he was willing to sit down and talk all night with me, he might be able to tell me everything he knew all at once. If that was the case, it would probably be best if I took a nap. On the other hand, after the feelings that struck me earlier, I wasn’t ready to face my IBF even in my dreams. Instead, I opted for one of the energy drinks Maggie found in the refrigerator.
We said goodbye as she left to return to her room. She planned to shower off the road trip and change into something more appropriate before heading to the vampire’s nest. I could only agree since I had no idea what would be appropriate for that occasion. We agreed she would take a taxi and leave it waiting for her outside. It shouldn’t take long to see if he was willing or not to come and see me. To be honest, I didn’t want her driving around aimlessly in my car regardless that Octavia had given her directions. She promised to call me once she arrived, and then again when she was leaving, hopefully with Godric in tow. I wasn’t sure he would want to come here so late to chat with a stranger. It was close to midnight when she finally left.
All I could do was to wait.
I called JP. It rang several times before going to voicemail. I called again right away, thinking perhaps he didn’t hear his phone until it was too late. I guessed it was prime time for them to be going out doing something together, or more likely staying in doing something together. I laughed thinking of my best friend and his ‘it’s just a fling’ attitude. Maybe it was, but I was happy to see him so excited when he left with Russell. After the third try, I decided to leave a text in lieu of voicemail. Personally, I preferred to receive a text if someone couldn’t get ahold of me. It seemed I checked them all the time, but was never in a rush to check my messages unless I noticed the missed call was from someone important.
- Hey Hussy! Having fun, u trollop? NO details, please! Can’t wait 2 c the pics of the mansion ur surely staying in!! You’ll never guess where I am…DALLAS!!! I’m here with Maggie at the most incredible hotel imaginable. WE could NEVER afford it! LOL I’ll explain l8r! Sooo much 2 tell u! I’ll send u pics when I get a chance. Just got here! TTY soon! Love & miss u!! XOXO
I paced around the room drinking my energy drink. I was too nervous and excited to eat. My stomach was in knots, and I decided that I probably shouldn’t drink any more alcohol on the chance that he might come. It was another half hour before Maggie called to let me know she was there. She said the location was magically cloaked and that it would take a bit for her to actually see it. At the moment she could only see a shimmer, like a shadow due to her inherent magical abilities, she began to explain. I told her it didn’t matter. She could tell me later. It was more important to get inside and talk to Godric. Two hours passed, and still I had not heard anything from her. It didn’t give me much confidence that we would be seeing Godric that night since it was almost three a.m., but I had to wonder what was taking so long. It would be sunrise in a few hours!
Frustrated and anxious, I finally decided to go to the roof for some fresh air. I grabbed my iPod, earbuds, keycard, and phone before leaving the room. Just as Luna had said, there was a stairway at the end of the hall and I followed it up. It was quiet and I was alone it seemed. The fire pits were out, and there were only dim lights surrounding the waist-high concrete walls as well as the light from the insignia on the side of the building. I leaned against the wall and looked out over the city. The entire day and night were starting to wear on me and I realized I would need another energy drink if I planned to stay up and talk to Godric. That meant I would be sleeping during the day probably for several nights. Oh well! Maybe Eric really is on the other side of the world, although what the hell difference does it make? I see him every time I close my God damn eyes! I laughed mirthlessly at the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
I decided listening to some music was in order. I needed to something to keep me awake and I wanted my random fix. I put my phone on vibrate, and shoved it into my pocket in case Maggie or JP called. I hit shuffle on my player, deciding to clear my head of everything Eric-related while I watched the lights of the city.
I was successful! For a moment…Eric returned to my mind as soon as the first note played.
There was no way to avoid it when the soft music filled my ears. When I opened my mouth, the lyrics poured out of me into the night. I wanted to sing for my Imaginary Boyfriend. He was the one who wanted me, even if it was only in my dreams.
I’ve been needing you lately
When the sun goes down
I don’t know where to find you
So, I just drive around
I closed my eyes and found myself lost in the memory of those stormy blue waves of his, trapped in the memory of him completely. Seeing him so clearly in my mind, it was like I could sense his presence somewhere so near… I almost expected to hear his voice in my ear again the way I had over the last couple of days.
I feel like a stranger in this place
I want to see your face
I’ve been needing you
I’ve been needing you lately
This was what I would have said to the man who chose that song in the tavern. He let me see beneath the façade. He wasn’t lying to me then, was he? No! That was real!
I’ve been missing you lately
Things just aren’t the same
All I’m feeling is lonely
Sometimes I call out your name
I want so bad to believe
Somehow you can hear me
I’ve been missing you
I’ve been missing you lately
In that moment, I wished Eric was really there so I could sing those words to him, to let him know that in my heart I truly meant them. I was no longer singing to my Imaginary Boyfriend. The words were for the man that I knew in those few precious moments of his song. That man wanted a friend! That man wanted me to know him.
I’m on this road
My wheels just roll
I’ve always been yours
But I feel it even more
Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod! JP, you sonofabitch! No no no no no! I was screaming in my head. Damn it!
I feel like a stranger in this place
I want to see your face
I’ve been needing you
I’ve been needing you
JP was right all along! My heart ached, and the tears started to pour hot streaks down my cheeks as I continued on to finish the song, singing at the top of my lungs, no longer hiding anything. I didn’t care. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to and I didn’t want to! I was alone and I needed to get this out. It was raw. It was the truth…
I’ve been missing you
I’ve been missing you lately
Missing you lately
I knew it then. JP had seen it and there was no way I could deny it any longer.
I was in love with Eric Northman!
I loved him, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it! Fuck!
If I was home, my first instinct would have been to grab a bottle of wine and start to plot out my next move, which, obviously, would be finding him! I didn’t give a shit if he didn’t want me to look for him or not! He’s not the boss of me! I took out my earbuds and my head fell into my hands. I continued to cry, not out of sadness, but relief. I was finally giving in to what I had been feeling all along and had refused to believe. I realized how deeply I had let him in. Whether he felt the same or not didn’t matter in that moment. I needed to tell him. After he left again, it would at least be with that knowledge! Oh, I was still angry! Knowing I loved him didn’t change that fact.
Wow! This really was the song I needed to calm me and to look at things rationally, rather than the crazy person I was turning into! It didn’t matter that it was only one night. Why was I so hung up on that? Sure, he said we would talk the next night, but he didn’t owe me anything. Sure, it hurt, but I wanted that night with him unconditionally. We hadn’t made any promises to each other…
I would make sure to tell him that I understood that, right after I sucker-punched him for being such a jackass!
I wiped my eyes and looked up at the stars, letting out a long, frustrated groan. What am I gonna do?
It was then that I heard the boy speak.
“Are you all right?”
Aurelia Gliwiski as Chelsea ‘Cricket’ Kerrigan
Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman
Kathy Najimy as Amelia ‘Maggie’ Broadway
Chris Coy as Barry Bellboy
Thank you for reading!
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