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An Unexpected Claim

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Bella sighed as she approached the busy looking club with her cousin Sookie and her irritatingly overbearing, cringe-inducing, Vampire admirer.

She didn’t know what it was about Bill, but after her experience with the Cullens when she was younger, something just set her teeth on edge. She cursed herself over and over for not being there the night Sookie had been attacked, because she was certain it would have all gone very differently if she had been.

Pushing it to the back of her mind as they reached the door and passed the bouncer waiting there. Bella smiled at the sight of the blonde standing just inside checking IDs, whose outfit absolutely screamed ‘vampire’ but simply looked bored.

“Bill,” She greeted uninterestedly, “Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“I’m mainstreaming.”

“Good for you.” She replied dryly, then turned her gaze to Bella and Sookie, only a slight widening of her eyes giving away her curiosity.

“Who are the dolls?”

“Pam, this is Sookie and her cousin Bella… girls, this is Pam.”

Bella bristled at the tone in Bill referred to her and Sookie as ‘girls’ but swallowed it down, nodding politely and discretely elbowing Sookie to stop her from offering her hand. From what she knew about these vampires, most of them did not like to be touched.

Automatically handing over her ID when asked, relieved she actually was twenty one now and could legally be there.

She couldn’t help grinning as she looked around the club once they were inside. Somehow she had pictured it being exactly like this, catering to the ridiculous vampire stereotypes people seemed to go crazy for.

“This feels a little bit like what a vampire bar would look like… if it were a ride at Disney World.”

Bella snorted quietly as she overheard her cousin’s naïve comment. She didn’t disagree exactly, but it wasn’t something she would have said aloud in a room full of beings that could hear your every breath if they chose to.

Absorbed in looking around the room, she barely noticed as they got drinks and headed to a table after Sookie tried to question the surly bartender. Then her eyes landed on a wooden throne, with a tall man seated in it. She couldn’t see his face clearly but couldn’t take her eyes off him anyway.

She guessed Sookie was eying him too when Bill cut in with a snippy comment about noticing him.

“No, it’s not like that. I just…” Sookie protested, trying to placate Bill. Bella wondered why she was bothering.

“Everyone does.” Bill sounded downright petulant now to Bella’s ears. “That’s Eric. He’s the oldest thing in this bar.”

Bella silently watched a balding man approach and touch Eric, getting sent flying for his troubles as Eric kicked him away, and in spite of herself was enthralled.

Dropping her eyes to avoid being caught looking, Bella sipped her drink and bit her lip. Bill and Sookie were chatting quietly, and she was feeling a little bit like a third wheel, despite Sookie’s insistence that it wasn’t any sort of date.

Feeling like she had eyes burning into her, Bella looked back up only to see Pam now next to Eric and both of them watching her and Sookie.

She only half heard Bill going on about Eric being able to summon them, nearly all of her attention focused on this fascinating man… vampire.

Eric made a motion with his hand and Bill got up, taking Sookie’s hand.

“Come along, Bella.” He muttered, making Bella grit her teeth in anger at being spoken to like a child.

Not wanting to upset the obviously important vampire, she followed anyway but made sure she was nowhere near Bill.

Eric ran his eyes over both the young women accompanying Bill Compton and wondered how that had come about… surely they were not both attracted to that waste of skin.

The blonde was certainly attractive, all sunshine and vampire bait in her floral dress, but he found his attention drawn to the small brunette. She wasn’t as obvious and flashy, but there was subtle, quiet beauty there that outshone everyone in the room.

The simple black sundress and sandals she wore hinted at a firm little body, but left it to the imagination, just the way he liked it. Contrary to what all these fangbangers seemed to believe, having it all on show did very little for him.

“Just wait until they get closer,” Pam murmured, too quietly for Bill to hear as he approached, “They both smell divine.”

Eric just nodded minutely before exchanging brief pleasantries with Compton before turning his gaze to the two women beside him.

“Yes, sorry, these are my friends…”

“Sookie Stackhouse and Isabella Swan.” Eric cut in with a smirk.

“How do you know my name?” Sookie asked and Bella wanted to facepalm as her cousin once again showed her naivety, despite being older.

“I never forget a pretty face.” Pam answered dryly, pointing to her head, “You’re in my vault.”

“Great. That’s just great.”

Sookie sounded like the last thing she thought was that it was great and Bella elbowed her, slightly less discretely this time and leaned into her ear, whispering furiously.

“Sookie, for the love of god, shut up!”

“What, why?” Sookie replied affronted.

“Have you ever heard the phrase ‘respect your elders’? Well, they’re definitely your elders.” Bella tried to ignore the fact that their conversation was definitely being overheard.

“Why don’t you say that about Bill?”

Bella shook her head and looked away, not wanting to answer in front of Bill.

“Because he’s an ass.” She mumbled disgustedly under her breath, not realising that Eric being so much older could still hear her.

“It’s nice to meet you.” Sookie pressed on, trying to ingratiate herself.

“Well, aren’t you sweet,” Eric said, not sounding like it was a good thing.

Pam watched amused as Bella looked like she was about to try and slap some sense into her cousin. At least one of these girls seemed to know how to act around them, and her obvious dislike of Bill was a bonus. Maybe she could come to like this delicious smelling breather.

She tuned back into the conversation in time to see the pictures and noted that she recognised them both.

“On account of the vault?” Sookie sassed her and Pam might have been more annoyed if it wasn’t for Bella actually covering her face for a moment, mumbling an ‘oh my god’ into her palms. Yes, this breather was definitely amusing.

Eric watched closely, his eyes falling on a tell-tale scar Bella had inadvertently flashed at him. There was no way she should have survived what had caused that scar, and it made her all the more intriguing to him.

Finally looking uncomfortable, Sookie made to leave until Eric put a hand out.

“I’m not finished with you yet.”

Bella flushed slightly. She would swear that the imposing blond vampire had been looking solely at her when he’d said that and she couldn’t help wondering why.

He smiled roguishly, encouraging Bella and Sookie to sit with him, and manoeuvring them so that they were sat on either side of him.

“So, Bill…” Eric began, a wicked glint in his eye, “Are you quite attached to your friends?”

“Yes, they are mine!”

“Really, Bill. A vampire your age having two humans? You really think you are entitled to such a claim?” Eric smirked.

“Ugh…” Bella burst out, even as Sookie agreed with Bill’s statement, “In no way shape or form did I ever consent to be yours Bill.”

Pam snickered delightedly at the look of utter revulsion on Bella’s face and Eric watched with amusement until Bill squared himself, growling lowly at her.

“I’d watch how you behave around my human, Compton,” Eric warned, stating his claim clearly.

Bella raised an eyebrow at him, smiling faintly when he just shrugged a little, his face giving nothing away. She could tell he would be hard to get answers out of, but she figured that vampire claims offered a certain amount of protection… and it definitely had to be better than being claimed by Bill.

Debating on whether or not to push the subject, the decision was taken away from her when Sookie announced there was going to be a police raid. Confirming with Sookie that there was in fact a vampire feeding illegally in the toilets, Eric stood up quickly as the air filled with shouts of “Freeze, nobody move.”

“Follow me.” He commanded, leading the way to a back exit and outside.

Bill picked up Sookie in his arms and Bella frowned, wondering how she would be able to get to the car too without being seen.

Eric noticed her dilemma, and after nodding to Pam to go on ahead, quickly scooped up Bella, making her stifle a surprised squeak as he sped towards the car ahead of Bill.

Setting Bella down, Eric looked Sookie and Bill over, his lip curling in disgust when he briefly looked at Bill before settling on Sookie.

“I enjoyed meeting you, Miss Stackhouse, I’m sure I will see you again.”

He turned to Bella and looked her up and down pointedly, his lips almost twitching into a smile.

“And you, Isabella… I will see again very soon.”

His voice was practically a purr and Bella shivered at the implication he’d managed to put into a simple sentence. Eric smirked as if he knew what she was thinking and then with a quick nod, flew upwards, disappearing into the night sky.

~*~ fin ~*~