It was just after one in the morning and the party was in full swing. Pam, despite her misgivings about the contract and my bill of sale, had done her best. Black linens draped the tables and chairs, and bottles of Royalty sat atop of each. The donors for the evening were arranged on the stage where the fealty ceremony had been only an hour earlier. One by one they were beckoned by those mingling vampires who desired them. As the new proprietor of Fangtasia she was busy entertaining the guests whose loyalty Freyda now commanded.
I saw Bubba, the vampire who should never had been turned, in a corner booth and needed to speak with him. He was uncomfortable amongst the crowd, but the Queen had demanded his presence knowing that he was completely loyal to me. I had just turned to make my way to him when the Queen spun on her heel to face me.
“Where do you think you are going Consort? Did I give you an order? Do you not remember you belong to me? Your place is by my side and I will not tolerate any wandering.” Freyda’s glacial smile remained where it was while scolding me. This upstart Queen was scolding me. It took every ounce of restraint I had learned in a thousand years not to rip her heart from her chest and bathe in her blood.
“Yes your Majesty, I only thought to speak with those who have been faithful to me.”
“There is no need. They are now loyal to me or have you already forgotten the ceremony in which they pledged me fealty? In addition, your thoughts are unnecessary until I tell you otherwise. In time you may gain more freedom, but until I give it you are to speak only when I require your voice. At this time the only thing I need from you is your subservience. Is that understood?” Her tone of superiority echoed through the room that had fallen silent. The only thing that moved was the flickering of the candles scattered throughout the bar.
Of course every vampire at the celebration had heard her. It was exactly what she desired. She would not even wait until the official wedding to begin breaking me. She would take me down in front of those who had served me willingly. It was a warning to those who might think to rebel. I was nothing more than muscle. Everything I had worked for had been taken from me. I glanced at Pam whose body vibrated with anger. Shaking my head slightly in her direction, I tried to express with only a look that there was no need for her to fight a losing battle.
“Yes your Majesty, I understand.” What would Sookie think if she could see me now? I was ashamed, but unable to do anything about it. Every vein in my body burned with the urge to smack down this petulant child. I could do it, but then my people would suffer. I reminded myself to play the game. I had suffered much worse degradations than this, and if I appeared to be appeasing the Queen her downfall would be that much sweeter because she wouldn’t even see it fucking coming.
“That is better Consort. Now if you wouldn’t mind, your betters are talking. So stand there, look pretty, and drink the blood I’ve allowed you.” She turned back to towards Felipe saying, “I hate when they think they can speak to me. It’s so unseemly.”
Felipe’s laugh came out all edges and elbows. He was impressed at her ability to command my silence. “Oh Freyda, how entertaining you’ve become. Do you know how long I’ve dreamt of Northman’s submission? I may have to come to Oklahoma just to watch you work.”
I tuned them out; otherwise I would react in a way that would relieve the fury that blazed beneath my calm exterior. That would never do, I’d be on the run for the rest of my undead existence. Which wouldn’t be long as every vampire would jump at the bounty that would be asked for my capture. It would endanger anyone who might think to aid me and I would never be able to return to the life I’d built for myself. It might seem worth it in this moment, but I hated hiding.
The chatter of the party resumed as I trailed behind the Queen. No one dared even look in my direction and I found that it was a relief. I would not be able to stand to see the pity or the contempt in their eyes. Many people had plotted my downfall, but none had succeeded. That is until my maker sold me to the highest bidder.
I noticed that Bubba had shrunk further into the corner and because I was fond of him I was glad to see that Pam and Bill were trying to calm him. He didn’t understand the turn of events and although I knew he preferred Bill to me, I knew I had his loyalty because of his undying devotion to Sookie. He was having a hard enough time understanding why I was with Freyda. Pam nodded to me before she and Bill swept Bubba into the back and away from the crowd.
The party continued until those in attendance left to continue their party elsewhere. There was only so much the state of Louisiana would tolerate, even at a private event. The last thing Pam needed was trouble at Fangtasia. I hadn’t seen either her or Bill since they’d left earlier with Bubba, but at this point I was thankful. Karin had only stayed for the fealty ceremony and then returned to guard Sookie.
When the Queen no longer required my services for the evening she reminded me that we would leave in three days’ time. She and Felipe headed to one of the houses I kept for traveling dignitaries and I left the staff to clean up the mess. I knew what I needed, but since that was unavailable to me I decided a hard fast drive would ease a bit of my wrath.
The red Corvette was still mine, at least until I was claimed by Oklahoma, and I reveled in the speed and open windows. The volume of the stereo rattled the windows with an old Nine Inch Nails album I rarely listened to anymore. The darkness swallowed the trees as the landscape blurred unrecognizable. The desire for destruction was almost too much, but I drove until I could feel the pull of the dawn and only then did I head back to my house to seek shelter from its burning rays.
As I walked through the door, I tossed my keys on the side table and pulled my cell phone from my pocket. Before I retired for the evening I sent out a single text message that simply said, “Await instructions.”