The bartender wasn't a familiar vampire so Charlotte waited until he was finished serving shots to the various fanged newcomers before catching his eye. The vampire hustled over rapidly. Ever receptive to the hierarchy in Eddie's the bartender already knew who she was and said, "Your order, my lady?" His voice mentally sketched an Old World bow.
She resisted grinning at the formal words spilling from the rough and tumble biker vampire pouring whisky and pulling draft beers for the masses. His words did what her mere presence had failed to do, caught the human's attention. Old Hank turned slightly to regard who generated such a polite request in such a decidedly off-the-beaten-track tawdry place. Charlotte felt his eyes skitter over her. She knew he wasn't his type given his graphically publicized personal history; the longer she sat at the bar, more flowed into her mind from the man's own sordid past.
Hell, he'd run if he knew her real age -- that number was higher than mere teen years. Hank O'Hare liked his girls underage and problematic. Charlotte had to admit to being slightly problematic if she decided she needed to be brutally honest. So one out of two for her as long as she was willing to lower her standards and given her current need, she was willing to make such an adjustment. But it wasn't that much of a challenge given no matter what sort of cookie he normally liked; the vampiric aura was a pull very few humans could resist. This broken man was no exception.
"Hmmm, something delightfully red suits me. Eddie still have his cabinet of rare vintage wines hidden back there?" She indicated the far corner business office door with a casual roll of her fingertips towards the closed door. The bartender nodded and dashed off to find something for Charlotte. He wasn't like Tim in that he didn't seem to have any illusions of stupidity. Given that he was a vampire already and if only a low level minion, ... still he didn't have to curry favors to get his fangs. But he certainly knew how his bread was buttered.
"Wow, never saw anyone move that fast." The voice was ill-used and pretty much totally wrecked, like the owner. There was a square shape in his top shirt pocket indicating cigarette pack but he hadn't taken advantage of the permissive bar rules and lit up a smoke Charlotte observed, as the ashtray nearest him was empty; add in that there was no lingering scent of smoke around him. The bar glass went to his cracked dry lips and he drained the rest of the amber liquid with a brisk gulp. Listlessly he waited for the bartender's return. His momentarily interest had waned with his buzz.
Eddie had gone back to join the bartender in his office and soon the bartender was returning with a dusty bottle that was being handled with care. Eddie's wasn't the sort of place that ran to nametags so Charlotte was clueless what to call the vampire. Watching while the bartender carefully wiped off the dust with his bar towel, Eddie faded back to a table with a few of the newer vampires and flashed Charlotte a naughty grin. The bartender then showed Charlotte the bottle's label with a flourish. The year jumped out at her as well as the vineyard. Eddie always kept the best bottles.
Charlotte was extremely impressed -- not that she really expected anything but the best, yet even then he'd always surprised her with his wine cellar. The red wine was liquid ambrosia from a famous French winery long known to respected connoisseurs and knowledgeable wine aficionados. When she first saw the label it was all she could do to not pump her fist and look at Eddie in shock. The bartender had probably picked out the best red wine Eddie had in his cellar. Nodding her gleeful acceptance the bartender went to pour her a glass. Hank had seen the label and did a double take. He was reluctantly distracted by the interchange between Charlotte and the bartender.
"I don't get out much, should I know you?" There was interest in his voice probably for the first time in a decade or more. Charlotte flashed on the various television spots she'd seen in the past when he was sobbing and protesting just how much he was just being misunderstood. She also flashed on the images she'd seen of the stunned family of the girl he was sleeping with while 'happily' married. He was pretty much human pond scum.
"I don't know, should you?" Her voice was coy and playful. Her fangs were pushing against her gums to drop down. The chasing part of the game had to be carried out to the end. It definitely made the meal that much tastier. Given what was ahead she wanted to enjoy while she could whatever meal was dropped in her plate. And Eddie always served the best.
The bartender poured a splash of the wine into a large balloon wine glass handing it to her with admiration. Even he knew what he'd served wasn't something ordinary. She took the time to appreciate the wine while wondering where he'd found the good crystal -- a slight departure from the normal beer mugs and bar glasses that most of Eddie's customers used. Shunning her new found buddy she rolled the red wine slowly around the glass and hoisted it up to admire the color then she dipped her nose into the crystal and inhaled. The bouquet wasn't as rich and complex as human blood but probably the closest thing she'd had in her mouth in a while. Eddie had plenty of time to find good wines over the decades and dump the bad ones in the span of time without anyone the wiser. Distaining the connoisseurs' way of pulling a mouthful from the stem then spitting it out Charlotte instead let it roll over her tongue and down her throat. A hum rose from her chest as the decanted wine washed over her. She savored the flavor and felt the rich wine run through her. The finish was a delight and she spun on her barstool finding Eddie with her glance. She noticed he had been waiting to see what she thought of the wine.
Meeting his eyes she smiled and toasted him with the nearly empty glass. He nodded his amusement and she twirled back to the bartender after sipping the remainder saying, "Okay, now let's have a full glass."
He laughed and poured her a glassful of the delicious wine. She slowly sipped and enjoyed the burst of age and quality on her tongue. Eddie didn't make many mistakes and his choice of wine definitely was first class.
The entire exchange was watched out of the corner of his eyes by Hank. She had yet to return to their conversation. The flavor was amazing and just made her want more. And not wine. With the burst of delicious grapes in her mouth she now wanted to fang in and combine the high-class red wine with sleazy Hank's life's blood. The good and the bad always quickened her blood.
Then Eddie crept into her thoughts. She didn't mind and let him speak.
"Sweetheart, you hearing me?" Like he didn't already know?
The purr was very erotic since it was in her mind with more than just the words. Images of a body caress with a lingering tingle or two flooded her mind. Eddie definitely was looking for a new mate. She roughly shoved her automatic response aside. She didn't need any further complications. And Eddie was most definitely a complication.
She mentally replied, "Yes. What?" Her mouth was watering with more than a desire for blood. Damn Eddie and his strength. Complicated or not she still wanted to play with the old vampire. Hell, playing with old strong vampires is what kept getting her into trouble.
"Don't drain him dry. We need him to get into the kinky aunt's house. Think about it, he's a nice, somewhat familiar human we can use to open the door with that wicked little auntie. He can cover the cameras without letting anyone knowing who he is. Since he's not a vampire he won't be connected to us. He's also going to be able to remove all the traps set for any of us vampires without much harm. Besides if he gets damaged it's not like he was going to survive tonight." Eddie whispered into her mind wickedly with amusement and logic.
Charlotte grinned in her brain and said, "Okay, I will semi-zombie him. You have the others taking out the rest of the humans?"
"I sure do. If you glance around the bar you'll see some of the newly arrived vampires are toying with the fresh meat as we speak." His voice vibrated through her body. She avoided the desire flooding her brain and concentrated on the matter at hand.
She rolled her head shaking loose the internal thoughts and blocking off Eddie's mind link. Then she glanced to the remaining living bodies in the bar and saw that yes in fact the new vampires were entertaining them. The emotions prickling inside her mind added to her tension. She went back to the human waiting for her attention.
Slowly she edged back over to Hank and smiled, "Nice wine. How's your drink?"
His eyes slowly refocused on her and he said, "Mine doesn't seem to give me near the pleasure yours does."
"Well a fine wine is truly the elixir of the ages. And a good full bodied red is worth the price." Charlotte used a tempting vampire voice. Hank straightened up and nodded. It was possible in his previous life he had a wine cellar and acceptable vintages for his classier guests. Given how he had double taken on the label it was likely.
"What brings a lovely woman such as yourself to such a colorful spot?" Hank was trying to seem interested and somewhat sober. His voice wasn't used to talking and when the bartender refilled his glass he quickly sipped to wet his lips and quench the hunger he had for the dull comfortable haze of a good buzz. Part of him began leaking fears as he was risking rejection and recognition with a female. Given his history he probably had his fill of notoriety and refusals. The fear was delicious.
"Eddie's Bar has a lovely wine cellar and is always filled with such interesting characters." Charlotte didn't say much more allowing Hank to fill in the spaces in his brain. She could see it was rough going as he tried to think. Thinking wasn't Hank's current specialty it appeared.
"Ah, well, this is my first time here. I just happened to see it when I was out driving." Charlotte was impressed he strung two complete sentences together. His eyes sparkled as he looked at her. The liquor had caught up with his brain and his fears were receding with the alcohol fog drifting through his brain. He'd begun to think he was exciting and worthy. He was to Charlotte in a different manner than he thought. Oh well, that's what he got for thinking.
"Yeah, but now it's getting pretty crowded." Charlotte continued to drink the wine and glanced around as if disturbed by all the people. The other vampires were active in that they were trying to appear normal while blocking the final draining of the few real 'people' in the bar. Soon Hank was the only one left within the walls without fangs. Old Hank never noticed the lull in live humans nor the exit of the now dead ones. The local laundry trucks were going to be earning their money disposing of corpses for sure.
She finished up the glass of wine and reluctantly gestured to the bartender she was done. He corked the bottle and Eddie casually picked it up from the counter and returned it back to the office. There was no chance any vampire was going to chug the vintage down by mistake.
Mentally she reached for Eddie.
"I'm going to have him drive." Charlotte caught Eddie's thoughts. She felt him grin and say, "You have the address?"
"No, but I imagine you will give it to me before I get there." She felt the answering chuckle.
"Of course, so you will get in first? I will bring Kegs and Toby." Together the hatched a plan in their minds. Unlinking from Eddie she found Hank staring at her with something like lust.
"You were saying something about it being too crowded in here?"
Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-07-23