“Hey Tink, whatcha thinkin’ about?”
“Tink? Ha! Ha! You’re a funny gal, Erica,” I replied sharply. Softening my tone, I added, “I was just thinking about how we became friends.”
She gave me a disgusted look as she dipped her toe into the pool. “Ugh! The only thing you should be thinking about right now is making sure your tan is even or getting another beer! Why are you wasting brain cells on that demon scumbag anyway?”
The scumbag in question was my ex, Chad O’Brien, also known as my first and only serious boyfriend. To put it mildly, I fell victim to his charming ways…hook, line, and sinker. When I first met him, he was a charismatic frat boy who had all the girls around town lining up to be with him. I felt special when he chose me. We had amazing chemistry from the start and he was always fun to be around. I started picturing our future together. (You know, marriage, babies, the whole nine yards.) That may seem like a perfectly normal thing to ponder when you’re in love, but it really isn’t when the likelihood of having any kind of future is bleak for someone like me. He promised me the world and I fully believed that he was capable of delivering. After many internal debates, I decided to take the plunge and move in with him shortly after graduation.
Unfortunately for me, it turned out that I wasn’t so special after all. I was an idiot. One who was completely oblivious to his lewd behavior over the course of our two-and-a-half-year relationship. Apparently, Chad was a frequent visitor to any type of sexually related gathering. In fact, he had acquired quite the reputation and a large flock of bimbos. He came into my work one evening and Erica recognized him immediately because they had multiple friends in common. I use the word friends loosely, mind you. They were more like fuck buddies. Exactly like group sex fuck buddies. Chad and Erica had been involved in a threesome together only a few days earlier. She had no idea he was supposed to be in a monogamous relationship and felt a moral obligation to tell me all the gory details since ho’s before bro’s was her mantra and all.
I confronted him and he never even tried to deny it. Instead, he blamed me for not being open-minded enough, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was always willing to try new things with him and would never judge anyone for their kinks. Whatever floats your boat was perfectly fine with me, as long as each party consented. Personally, I prefer sex to be a private event between two individuals. I guess that was his definition of closed-minded and the reason he felt the need to stray. He gave me some bullshit line about men being biologically incapable of monogamy. Needless to say, I was completely crushed and immediately broke it off with him.
In retrospect, all the signs of his duplicity were there, but I willfully ignored them, wanting so desperately to have that connection with someone. I was even planning to reveal my most guarded secret to him on the first night in our new place together. Ironically, I figured that complete and total honesty was the only way to start the next phase of our relationship. Who knows where I would be right now if I had gone through with it? I was so thankful to Erica for saving me from the biggest mistake of my life that we formed a tight bond right away and have been best friends ever since.
“Well, at least one good thing came out of that relationship.” I offered her a smile as I stretched out on the plastic lounge chair. “I wouldn’t trade our friendship for the world.”
She raised her Corona and said, “True dat, Bitches!” then took a big swig.
My smile grew. I adore her carefree attitude. Erica comes from a long line of pure bred practicing witches who have made a very healthy living selling potions and other services since supernaturals, or supes as we call them, came out of the closet almost ninety years ago. She sets her own course in life though, refusing to give into the pressure from her family. And believe me, there is a lot of pressure. She has twelve older sisters who have all embraced their magical destinies. If all thirteen of them practiced together, their powers would increase exponentially. Thirteen was a very lucky number in the world of witchcraft. Waitressing and witchcraft pay the bills, but her dream was to become a headlining Vegas showgirl. Or maybe Hugh Hefner’s number one girlfriend. She hasn’t quite decided yet. She’s the consummate party girl...always looking for a good time and the next lay. I wouldn’t want to adopt any part of her lifestyle; that’s not me. But I can’t help being a little envious that she doesn’t have a deadline looming over her head like I do.
On the surface, you’d probably think that I had the perfect life. I’m a healthy, twenty-four-year-old female. The modeling jobs that put me through college tell me that people find me attractive. I have a long mane of easily managed brown hair, with bright green eyes, tanned skin, and an athletic, but feminine build. My respectable 34C cup breasts are natural, which is an anomaly in this town, but I figure if it ain’t broke, why fix it? My degree from UNLV is in Economics, something I can use when I’m ready to be chained down to a desk. If only I can stay alive long enough to see that happen...
I must have been scrunching my face again because Erica asked, “Now what are you thinking about?”
“I was just worrying about the change again.” I started fidgeting, a horrible habit of mine that always surfaces when I’m nervous. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Irina like a mother. You know I do. Sometimes I just think it would have been easier if she had sent me away instead of trying to raise me as something I’m not.”
“Oh sweetie, don’t tell me you miss your pointy ears. You know those were so last season!”
“Cute, Eri,” I smirked. Irina, my mother’s best friend, had magically altered my ears when I was a child. They were the only physical feature that would mark me as a fairy. Now, I could easily pass as a witch or a human. There’s nothing to really differentiate between the two, besides the magic and the immortality. Growing up, she taught me basic spells and potions since I could never fully conceal my magicks. She wanted to help me keep the façade going for as long as possible. So far, it had been working, but I feared that would not be the case for long.
I really tried to be optimistic, but the older I got, the harder it became. Vampires had driven my kind to near extinction once they discovered how intoxicating our blood was. My parents had been planning on taking me with them back to Faerie, the enchanted kingdom of the Fae. The elders were going to seal off all access from this realm to protect our race once everyone had safely returned. Unfortunately, my folks never had the chance because immortality does not necessarily equal invincibility. They died in a car accident three days before we were scheduled to leave. They weren’t wearing their seatbelts when a semi-truck jackknifed and plowed right into their car. They were both thrown through the windshield and decapitated upon impact. It’s pretty hard to go on when you’re missing something as important as your head. I had nightmares about it for years, which was strange considering I wasn’t even there.
Irina knew my maternal grandmother was alive in Faerie and wanted to send me to live with her. She attempted to consult the elders for their assistance, but wasn’t allowed to pass through the portal. Apparently, only those with Fae blood were allowed to enter their sacred land under the circumstances. She was forced to make a decision between sending me alone, hoping I would be able to find my grandmother, or keeping me here and raising me as one of her own. Either way was risky since I was only four years old at the time, and she had no idea what Faerie was like or what dangers it may hold. In the end, she decided that she could better protect me if she raised me under the guise of a witch. Fast forward twenty years and here I am, the only fairy left on this plane of existence; wandering through life with no idea how to control most of my magicks, and with no one to teach me how. Erica is the only other person who knows the truth about me.
”I love you, Eri. You know that, right? I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have someone to help me get through this.” She tried dismissing my praise by waving her hand but I continued, “My twenty-fifth birthday is in less than six months, which means my immortality could hit at any time. Once that happens, my magicks will become much more difficult to hide. And what do I do about the blood thing? Do I try to pass it off as a perfume? Is that even possible?” Immortal fairies had a unique honey-almond blood scent, which could be easily detected by vampires, making them, or rather me, a target for bloodlust.
Erica rolled her eyes at me. “Oh honey, who cares if your blood is basically like vampire crack? Hello? Did you not get the memo? Vampires are hot! Besides, compared to most cities, we barely even have a vampire population. I heard Seattle has like, ten times as many because the sun barely shines up there. We just need to find a man who will pound all those negative thoughts right out of your brain with his big, fat cock!”
“Ugh, don’t remind me I don’t have one of those either!” I whined, maybe a little bit more than I had intended. Lately I’d been plagued with very graphic, lusty images that picked the most inopportune moments to pop into my brain. Hey, I couldn’t help it. It had been almost a year since I’d even kissed a guy…and there were a lot of hot men to ogle in Vegas! It’s not like I didn’t have options; I got asked out on a daily basis. I just had trust issues after Chad so I never said yes. I wouldn’t even have thought that it was possible at that point, but it seemed like this overactive libido of mine was only getting worse as I got closer to the change. Christ, what a mess I was!
“Well, you know, it is the electronic age,” Erica teased. “If you want, we can go to Tina’s Treasures later and get you a real nice Tom, Dick, or Harry. I heard they just got the new Jack Rabbit G-spot in stock. Dual motors… seven different settings…C’mon, you know you want to!”
I returned her eye roll. “Thanks, babe, but I’ll pass.” Okay, so maybe I’ll just go on my day off.
“Your loss.” She shrugged. “You know what they say…once you go Jack, you’ll never go back!”
“Perv!” I yelled while snapping my towel at her. “Now shut your yap so I can enjoy what little relaxation time I have left before I have to get ready!”
I arrived to work that evening with less than a minute to spare. Traffic on the Strip can be a real bitch sometimes. I tend bar for one of the hottest places in town called Pixie Dust. We are usually pretty busy because we sit right off the casino floor in a posh, center strip hotel. You could say we catered to those with more sophisticated tastes, but who still wanted the sensuality that seeps out of Vegas’ pores. When you first walk in, your eyes are instantly drawn to the Swarovski crystal bar that lines the back wall. That’s where you’ll find me, Karli Lane, Thursday through Sunday nights as Head Bartender/Manager on duty. There is a combination of table and booth seating throughout, all upholstered with thick green velvet. The walls are coated with silver paint, infused with matching glitter, and the 20’ ceilings are adorned with giant crystal chandeliers.
As if all that bling wasn’t enough, there was our main attraction: two illuminated, frosted screens flanking the shelves of alcohol in the center of the bar. Girls wearing nothing but a pair of fairy wings dance behind them all night, leaving very little to the imagination. Just to set the record straight, fairies don’t really have wings. One day, some animator thought we’d look cuter that way and I guess it just stuck. Oh, I almost forgot to mention my uniform! I have the pleasure (Not!) of donning a satin, lime green halter top that ends right above my navel with a matching mini skirt every night. Hey, what can I say? The tips are great, so I deal. Plus, you’ve got to love the irony of it all. Pretty clever, don’t ya think? A fairy hiding out in a place called Pixie Dust? C’mon, we’re all walking around looking like slutty Tinker Bells. It’s freaking priceless! Only in Vegas, baby!
The bar had recently been purchased by a company called Markos Enterprises. Rumor had it that some guy ran the whole show and kept close tabs on all of his business ventures, whatever that meant. We got a memo when the sale was final to conduct ourselves in a business as usual manner. The new boss would make his presence known as soon as possible. Supposedly, he owned several clubs and bars throughout Nevada so I’m guessing he was too busy to worry about us at the moment. We never saw the old owners anyway, so there I was. Business as usual.
Erica walked up to me and said, “Quick, K, get me a single malt scotch. Neat. Grab the stuff on the top shelf. Only the best for Mr. Tall, dark, and delicious over on table twenty.” While I was pouring a generous shot of 1973 Auchentoshan she continued, “I swear to you, I don’t normally do guys of the fanged persuasion, but I’d be willing to make an exception for that one. I’d bet he’s at least a triple O biter!”
“Classy, Erica,” I replied while she sashayed over to the corner booth, the one reserved solely for our most affluent patrons. She was referring to the rumor that a vampire bite could induce multiple orgasms. Mind-blowing, earth shattering orgasms. It was just a rumor, right? Anyway... I followed her booty shake to see what all the fuss was about. Holy hell…My jaw dropped. That man was hot! Like, burning up in the blazing pits of the underworld hot! Hades help me, because I instantly had a whole list of sins that I’d like to commit for that guy! Ooh, baby!
Mr. Delicious stood while grabbing his drink from the table and turned in my direction. My God, he had to be at least six and a half feet tall! I’m 5’10” so I always appreciate a man that I can stand next to in my favorite Jimmy Choos. His short, chestnut hair was styled in a purposely messy way and was sitting atop a beautiful, but very masculine face. He was blessed with a chiseled jaw, a straight nose, and an olive complexion. Michelangelo would have been honored to sculpt such perfection. He was dressed in all black designer apparel with the sleeves of his button-up shirt pushed up to his elbows, revealing thickly muscled forearms. Out of nowhere, I got a vision of him standing buck naked under the spray of a large showerhead, flashing me a knowing grin. Oh…My…God! His scrumptious bare body personified a Spartan warrior, paying homage to his obvious Mediterranean heritage. He was ripped everywhere and was hung like a horse! I think this guy may have inspired the actual workout for the cast of 300. Seriously. I had a sudden urge to lick the droplets of water from his chest all the way down to his…
Wait a minute! Where the hell did that come from? Shit, Karli, focus! I blinked twice and found myself staring back into his pale, hypnotic eyes. What color were they anyway? I couldn’t tell from this distance but they had me completely captivated; I felt like I was drowning in a reflection pool. With a barely perceptible nod, he raised his glass and then took a sip of his very expensive alcohol. His fangs lengthened in satisfaction as he withdrew the drink from his sinfully tempting mouth. I must have looked like a jackass with my mouth hanging open because he laughed a little as he sat down. I think he caught me licking my lips because his amused expression became primal all of a sudden, hungry almost. I had a feeling of absolute clarity in that moment. I knew, without a doubt, that this man…no, this vampire, was about to complicate my life in a major way.