I’m sure I was at my most human when I cocked my head a little and blinked a couple of times. “I’m sorry, what?”
She laughed. “Eric said you might be interested in working for me. Well really, what he said is if you chose to get a job here in Shreveport you would need to work for one of us, and I was hoping you might be interested in working at my store.”
I relaxed a little. “I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to work a lot of hours. And I may need to go out of town with Eric on occasion. I’m not sure I’d be a great employee in that regard.”
“Ah, but you would. I won’t even make you wear the uniform.”
I put my hand forward and shook my head a little, “Wait, wait. I don’t even know what your store is yet.”
“It’s in the next block, walk over with me.”
I glanced over her shoulder and saw Eric talking to Igor near one of the Emergency Exits and he gave me a slight nod. It is fine, Lover, and Pam will want your discount if you choose to work for Ellsey.
That really didn’t make me feel better, but I untied my apron and stashed it behind the bar and followed her toward the door. I sighed. I was sort of limited on options so figured I should at least see what she had to offer. “Sure. Why not?”
We walked a block and stood in front of a small storefront that appeared to be a lingerie store. Before I could start telling her how I would not be wearing a bra and panties and nothing else for work, she started talking.
“This is my store, Ellle’s. There are three L’s in the name to stand for Leather, Latex and Lingerie. This is my second store, as the first was destroyed in Katrina. I couldn’t face rebuilding there after the storm. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but when I got to Shreveport I realized I might really have a chance here. Back in New Orleans stores like mine were a dime a dozen. There aren’t any other stores around here that serve the goth or fangbanger crowd, not that they are the only ones that shop here, but you know…”
She opened the door and headed in. I couldn’t believe it was open after midnight, but it was vamp run. I looked around and saw the store was much bigger than it looked on the outside, most of the racks held black clothing, and it was truly separated into three sections to sell the three L’s. I saw a vamp woman behind the counter wearing a black silk robe, the uniform. Yeah, so not wearing that to work. Ellsey straightened some of the latex on a mannequin, and I sat down in a chair near the dressing room and asked her how she had gotten out of New Orleans.
She shook her head. “I have lived a long time and it was the worst thing I have ever experienced.” She kept straightening and pulling on the latex. “You know the city is basically under the water level anyway, right? I had a safe place I shared with two other vamps in a cemetery. We had a watertight crypt we used to hole up during bad weather, otherwise we all had hiding places in our homes. I’ve been through hurricanes before. I’m not one of those people who laughs in the face of Mother Nature. I take heed and buckle down. So I called Henri and Lorelei and we went to our crypt to wait. It was really getting old, I mean, hiding from hurricanes seriously disrupts your life on the Gulf Coast and being a vampire, it means you have to be vigilant watching the weather channel so you can be hidden during the day before the weather hits. We stayed in there several times before, and the weather had totally missed us.”
She sat in the chair next to me and continued her story. I had heard survivor stories before, and they never ceased to amaze me. “That day, we waited it out, well, we slept through the daylight. Then Henri poked his head out a hatch in the top of the crypt. When he came back down he could hardly describe it. When I finally understood him, he was saying there were people in boats paddling though the cemetery. We weren’t prepared for that. He went back out and found two coffin lids that had been dislodged and brought them back to us. We knew we couldn’t use our vampire powers to get out of there. The humans were so terrified; we were afraid we’d be staked. So we paddled along side them until we got to a place where we were alone. The city, it was just gone. The humans were acting crazy, and there was no help. We knew that many of our friends had met their final deaths; the flood had brought them into the sun, and there was nothing they could do.”
She looked at me with a sad smile and shrugged. “We saved our selves at that point. We got on each side of Lorelei, and she flew us out of there. We stole a car when we got to dry ground and cried for the devastation and loss and thanked god that we each had foreign bank accounts. We came to Fangtasia that night to find shelter. There were about twenty dislocated vampires that found their way there, and Eric opened up the basement of the bar to let us all sleep the following day. And here I am…still in Shreveport.”
I shook my head at her with tears in my eyes.
“I still cannot believe how awful it was.” She stood up and went over to a rack of leather bustiers and pants and changed the subject. “You’ve been through some awful things in your life, too. Pam used to order clothes from my store in New Orleans. We have been friends for a while, and I’ve heard a lot about you. Have you been staked just the one time? Or have I missed anything?”
I laughed. “No, I think you must have heard the whole story. Eric thinks I’m a magnet for trouble. I prefer to think it’s him.”
She smiled. “He didn’t tell me why you couldn’t work for humans anymore. I’m assuming it is because living with him you will know too much about our kind. I do not need to know more. From all I’ve heard about you, you won’t sit at home and do nothing, and I understand why he wouldn’t want you working in his bar, that just wouldn’t do. I know you have experience working in restaurants. So you can handle customer service and a cash register.” I nodded. “What I need here is a human that can help with the softer side of our clientele. Those that are coming in for the first time to buy a sexy outfit to wear for their partner or someone that wants to try on leather pants for the first time.” She smiled at me, “Have you ever?”
“Tried on leather pants? No.” I laughed a little. “I’ve never been able to afford them.”
She kept smiling. “See, that’s the thing. People don’t realize they’re not that outrageously priced.” She eyed me up and down and handed me a pair of black leather pants that laced up the crotch and opened a dressing room door for me. “These only cost $300. It sounds like a lot, but you could save it up in a short time.”
As I was admiring myself in the privacy of the dressing room she continued, “Aside from my manager, my daytime help tends to be college-age goth girls who want a discount. They don’t sell a lot to the soccer moms who come in and are terrified of them. I was hoping you could do some sales during the day and maybe help some of my employees not be so, well, frightening.” She paused for a second and asked, “Do they fit?”
“They fit perfectly.” I was thinking how it would be a waste of money however, because Eric would rip them off me in a second and they would be destroyed. But they did look good…I bit my lip and turned from side to side, debating.
Ellsey interrupted my thinking, “Come show me!”
I stepped out and she grinned.
“I thought you could work those pants! The cowboy boots have to go though.”
She walked over to a rack of shoes. There were crazy stripper heels and a few boots Jason would call shit kickers. I didn’t think I could walk in the heels and was glad when she grabbed me a pair of boots.
I checked my reflection in the full length mirror and then sat back down. The leather really felt fabulous against my skin. “Ellsey,” I started, “I understand what you’re asking, but I’m not really sure this is my type of store.”
“I can understand that. But your options for work will be limited. I don’t see you working at the dry cleaners or the blood bank.” She grinned. “It’s a standing offer, Sookie. You can think on it and enjoy not working for a while, but whenever you want to pick up a shift, let me know, and I’ll have my manager show you the ropes.
“So what do you think? Should we put those pants and boots on a tab for Eric and head back to the bar?”
I was a little offended for a second, that she would think I couldn’t afford the pants, or that I expected Eric to be paying for them.
She seemed to sense my unease and said, “He told me to pick out a present for you.”
“Oh,” I laughed. That sounded like him. “Yeah that sounds good. Let’s have him buy me some lingerie, too.” She laughed, and we picked out two really sexy outfits. I didn’t particularly like Eric spending money on me, but it just felt so good to be doing something normal, like I was spending time with a girlfriend, so I just went with it.
We were still laughing when we walked back into the bar with my bag. Eric was sitting in his throne and the fangbangers were dancing around him and trying to catch his eye. He saw me in the lace up pants and moved his tented hands to cover his immediate erection. Lover, you are sight to behold.
I blushed as I took my bag to his office and wondered if he would follow me. When he didn’t, I headed back to the hallway to see what was going on. Chan had come in, and he and Eric were moving to sit in his booth. Chan managed the blood bank, so I figured they had business to discuss. I got Eric’s attention and jangled my keys at him to let him know I was going home.
I considered wearing my new lingerie, or the black lace thing I’d shoved in the drawer earlier, but I decided on going bare. I lit the candles around the bathtub and started filling the tub. I knew Eric would head home as soon as he could, so I wasn’t really worried about the water getting cold. Even if he couldn’t get Chan out of his office before closing time he should be home within the half hour. Not to mention that the hot water heater in this place was enormous. We could refill the tub if it got cold. I turned on some music and climbed in.
I was pretty relaxed when I heard the garage door go up. I had sensed Eric coming down the driveway and wondering where I was, but I was so blissed out that I just smiled. As he came through the house, I knew he thought I was in bed, and he may have thought I was asleep. I sensed a little confusion and then his lust when he stood in the bathroom doorway.
I opened my eyes and said, “Hi.”
He started getting undressed and asked if I hadn’t trusted him enough to leave the pants on.
I just laughed. “No. I got undressed to put on some lingerie for you and this is as far as I got.”
“I appreciate your efforts,” he said as he slid into the tub behind me. We sat just holding each other and enjoying being near for a few minutes. “Lover, it is nice to relax with you. I have had a tense couple of days.”
I was not naïve enough to believe that the peaceful Eric I saw on a regular basis was the image he presented in public. I knew he still had to be ruthless and competitive in the vampire world to keep his jobs and his life. I saw images of him beating a vampire in his mind and of him grabbing someone else by the throat. I hesitated and then asked if he wanted to talk about it.
“No, Sookie, I don’t want to drag you into the details. It is enough that I must endure what has happened in New Orleans.” He absently rubbed my nipples with his thumbs and rested his forehead on my shoulder. “You are helping me, more than I can explain, by just being here. I have not had anyone to share things like this with for centuries. I truly did not realize I needed it.”
I turned around to face him in the tub and saw how tired his eyes looked. I kissed him lightly and gave him a gentle stroke, which was all he needed to be more than ready. He sighed a little and ran his hands down my back.
I kissed his neck and whispered in his ear, “You just relax. I’ll do the work.”
He groaned and I moved myself to rub against his length. He leaned forward to suckle my breast as I slowly lowered myself to take all of his length. I set a slow pace that was making me burn inside. He was pressing my breasts together so he could cover both nipples with one swipe of the tongue. I was concentrating on keeping things slow because it was building an unbelievable feeling in my center. He dropped one hand to rub my clit, biting into my breast to drink, and I threw my head back and came with a scream. While I was quaking and clenching around him, he lifted me almost to his tip and brought me back down on him hard. My orgasm just continued to roll and he pulled me down against him twice more before he found his release. There was water all over the bathroom but I was too out of it to try to clean it up or really even care.
After a few minutes he pulled the plug on the tub and moved us to the shower. He was hard and ready again and he kept bumping it against me as he moved to turn the water on and adjust the shower head. I had thought I was ready to just shower until I kept getting nudged by his cock, like it was reaching out for me. I turned to face him and ran my hands up his chest and down his powerful arms. I was eye level with his nipples, and I had to have one in my mouth. I leaned in and began licking and sucking and rubbing my thumb over the other one. I was holding him tight to me with one hand on his ass and rubbing myself against his thigh. He growled and took control, turning me around and pushing me against the cold tile. In one smooth move he parted me and pushed all of the way in.
I barely caught my breath when he began pumping into me at what could only be called vampire pace. I was glad I was pushed against the wall or my boobs would have given me black eyes the way he was banging into me. It didn’t take long, and I came again, feeling my muscles try to hold him in as he moved in and out. He didn’t slow down at all and just kept moving, saying my name and whispering. I heard him start to growl, and I grabbed his wrist and pulled to bring it to my mouth. I bit as hard as I could and began to suck. The feeling of his blood going down my throat and the rich taste that couldn’t compare to anything pushed me to another orgasm. As soon as I bit him, he threw his head back and yelled as he shot his release high into me.
Eric showered me off and washed my hair, then wrapped me in a towel and sent me to the bed while he took his own quick shower. When he finished he came to the bedroom and pulled me up to sit with him while he brushed my hair. “Lover, what did you think about Ellsey and her store?”
“I really liked Ellsey. I don’t know how to describe it, but she’s very, human, for a vampire.”
He laughed, “Yes. That’s a good way to describe her. I think she was a gypsy when she was alive. She fights only when necessary and usually is very laid back, although superstitious.”
“I’m not sure about working there. It’s not really me. I mean, I wouldn’t wear half of what she sells in there.”
“You do not have to wear it, just sell it. And besides which, you do not have to work there. It was just an idea. Although there are not a lot of options…”
“I know… the dry cleaners and the blood bank.”
“There are a couple of other options, but yes, hers is probably the best fit for you. You could take classes, or you could do nothing, Sookie. It’s your choice.”
“I’ll think about it Eric,” I sighed. “What else do you need to tell me about New Orleans? When will we need to go back?”
“Lover, I do not think I want you to come to New Orleans until it is time for the hearing. It has become quite lawless in the supernatural world there, and I need to get a new sheriff lined up as soon as possible. Things will be better in a few months, but for now I do not want you to come with me.”
I thought about it and agreed. “Okay, when will you go back?”
“Bill and Chan and I will go the day after tomorrow, but only for a couple of days. I need to finish up some paperwork at the bar and I’d like to see if Trey and Simon are capable. I’d like to promote one of them to sheriff, so I have Bill doing some research for me.”
He finished brushing my hair and took the brush to his own. I fell asleep to the sound of the brush going through his hair.