03: One Step Forward

Local police said to have been baffled when they saw the human-shaped holes in the walls of their holding cells that held the majority of the Cullen family, but realized they escaped. They’re currently trying to find out how and when, and there are warrants out for their arrests. However, they are nowhere to be found, almost as if they vanished into thin air.

We’re of course talking about the disbanding of a local New Orleans cult lead by Dr. Carlisle Cullen and his son Edward. According to former members of the community, they pretended to be Royalty and were spoken to as “my lord”. This has been the biggest raid in quite some time, and former members seem to be doing well, all things considering.

Police are still looking for the young woman shown coming out of the gates with Jacob Black during the raid. She wasn’t among the members that were rounded up by the police.

Klaus let out a growl and threw his glass against the television. Things would blow over. Hopefully sooner, rather than later. If he ever were to take her into New Orleans, would she be recognized?

~o.O.o~

For days, Elijah brought her food and tried to get her to come out of her room, but she simply refused. He was not one to lose his patience easily, but the girl was surely testing it. Fighting against the urge to compel her, he gave up. At least for one day. Or maybe two. Have someone else bring her food and try to talk to her.

Every time Elijah wanted to talk to her, she looked at the door, questionably, almost willing Kol to come by. This was frustrating as well. He sat down at the breakfast table with a scowl on his face and reached for his glass of blood.

“Another failed attempt, brother?” Klaus smiled at him as he bit into his roll. “Perhaps you are simply not man enough for her. Or just too boring for her to respond to.”

“That girl is impossible. It is almost as if she believes the entire world is in her room. At least she remembers to get dressed before usual meal times now.”

“A bit of an exhibitionist is she?”

“Right up your street. Or Kol’s. Whoever wants her first.”

Klaus’ humor was wiped from his face as he glared at him. “He wouldn’t dare touch her. Not if he wishes to remain free because I won’t hesitate to put him back in his box.”

Elijah smirked as he leaned back in his chair and looked at Klaus. “What if… hypothetically, she finds her own voice and thinks that you are not worthy and prefers our brother? Or what if she’s not interested either of you at all?”

“I will cross that bridge if that time comes,” he replied as he looked away uneasily. “Whatever this girl is doing to me, Elijah… I don’t care for it but at the same time… It feels just as natural as it is unnatural. Camille hasn’t contacted you with any more information on her research?”

“I’m afraid not, Niklaus. At least nothing that pertains to your unfortunate situation. However, Kol did some careful breaking and entering and found something hidden in Carlisle’s bedchambers. He is getting it to her as we speak.”

“This secrecy that he has is starting to get annoying. I understand he wants to protect her but doesn’t he realize that I only wish for the same considering whatever link I seem to share with her?”

“I am sure he has his reasons, brother. Whatever it is, we need to figure this out ourselves. For the two weeks that she has been here, I’m grateful that we’ve shown her that we don’t mean her any harm. Noise is being kept to a minimum, but until she decides to share, the only thing we can do is try to make her as comfortable and confident as possible. Teach her she has a voice now.”

“I know,” Klaus grumbled as he bit down on his roll again.

“Maybe stage a mock fight with Rebekah putting one of us in place will show Bella that women have a voice.”

“Oh, I’m sure Rebekah would love that.”

“Good morning, brothers,” Kol greeted them as he sauntered into the room, carrying a few bags. “I dropped the journal off at Cami’s, and now I’m going to get our girl out of her room. Maybe seduce her to having breakfast in the sunshine.”

Klaus glowered at his younger brother as he was unable to suppress his jealousy.

“Down boy,” Kol smirked and looked in his bag. “Shame I don’t have a paper to beat you on your nose with. No worries, I’m not interested in her as you are, she’s my friend.”

“I do have a dagger reserved for you, whatever the case may be.”

“As I said, friend. Not potentially something else,” he huffed as he grabbed a dinner roll. “Elijah would you be so kind as to set up her breakfast on the table outside? I’ll have her out in a jiffy.”

“I’ve been trying to do that for days.”

“As I said, I’ll have her out in a jiffy.”

Klaus sat back as he looked at his brother. “Why not? We can move the entire table outdoors for the event should he succeed. Let him try.”

“Oh no, not the entire table, Nik,” Kol said with a smile. “Tomorrow, maybe. Let’s just get her outside first.”

Standing from his seat, he decided he had enough. “Fine. Do what you want,” he said as he threw his napkin over his plate. Walking out of the room, he announced, “I’ll be in my study for the rest of the day.”

“Something I said?” Kol looked over to his other brother after Klaus had left. “I thought we were going to do baby steps?”

“I believe his patience is too, wearing thin,” Elijah mused. “He still hasn’t approached her room.”

“Yeah well, that’s his choice,” Kol popped a grape in his mouth and ran upstairs to Bella’s room. He quietly knocked and opened the door. “Greetings! It’s a lovely day outside, would you like to come?”

She narrowed her eyes on him as she sat in her window sill, her back now turned towards the outside world. Bella shook her head as she grabbed her hands and squeezed them tightly. Even the thought of going outside her room terrified her.

“Oh, come on, Poppet,” he said teasingly as he set foot in her room. “I’ll make it worth your while.”

Cocking her head, she observed him. Only noticing now that he was holding up a bag with something in it, obviously, and even though she knew she could trust him, she could feel her heartbeat speed up. She watched him get something out of it and caught it when he threw it at her.

“Eat it, I dare you.”

Looking at the tiny object, she tugged at the paper to reveal what was inside and put it in her mouth, her eyes widening when the taste hit her tongue. She ate the sweet and smiled widely, mouthing a ‘thank you’.

“Would you like to have some more?” When she nodded, he placed a candy on the floor. “Follow the sweets! I’m making sure that there’s nothing in your way that can hurt you, and when you reach the end, I have something special for you. Something you will like.”

She violently started to shake her head. There was no way she was going to leave this room, this safe room, where nothing could hurt her, and nothing has hurt her so far. But on the other hand, she didn’t want to disappoint Kol. Despite him not being one of the hierarchy, she still felt the need to please him because he could hurt her, despite her seemingly being able to trust him. What was trust?

She was raised in a loving family, she trusted them. She did everything in her power to please them and now that she wasn’t with them anymore, she felt lost. Sure, Kol was a welcome surprise, but she wasn’t sure if she was happy with how he and Elijah wanted to change her. Even Rebekah and Cami said that her behavior was faulty, not normal. She wanted to see Edward. Did Kol have Edward as a surprise for her?

Edward would make things go right again. Edward would also be very disappointed if she didn’t do as Kol wanted her to; which was follow the tasty trail of whatever it was and follow him out. As she followed the trail and ate them as she went along, she kept repeating Edward’s name in her head. She was going to see him again; everything was going to be okay, and it was all a misunderstanding. Surely, Edward would reward this family for taking care of her?

She hesitated when the trail led down the stairs, but managed to take the steps down and to collect the goodies in her pockets. She had eaten far too much of it; it couldn’t be good. She’d share them with Edward later, although she wasn’t sure he’d like it. He never ate, so she never ate. Well, barely ate. Never the sweet things, always a slice of bread or some potatoes with something green, but never the sweet things. It would be sad to give that up again, but she’d have Edward back.

The trail had stopped right in front of Kol, who was sitting in a chair, basking in the sunlight. He didn’t sparkle like Edward did. Kol wasn’t royal material. Edward was. She looked at Kol as she tried to hide some things in her pockets by pulling her shirt over them.

“Is there still room for breakfast?” Kol asked her, proud of what she had achieved. She was outside, in the sun and hopefully going to sit still long enough for her to enjoy it. The heat on her skin, how the sun would caress her and warm her up.

Bella looked around the courtyard, a little like a deer caught in headlights as she shuddered. Where was Edward? She looked at Kol, who pointed to her breakfast; pancakes with bacon and syrup and a glass of oranges and hid her disappointment. Maybe Edward would come later. She sat down on her knees at the table and picked on her bacon.

“Too many sweets, huh?”

She looked at Kol, realizing she had the sweets still in her pocket and frantically pulled them all out and put them on the table with a look filled with guilt on her face. Yeah, she shouldn’t have hidden them from Kol. She put her hands on the table, palms up and waited.

“No, don’t do that, poppet,” he sighed as he put the sweets back into her hand and closed her fingers around them. “They’re yours.”

She dropped the sweets again and put her palms up again, staring at him, waiting for punishment.

“Not going to happen, I’m not like them, you know that.”

‘Edward,’ she mouthed as she withdrew her hands, leaving the sweets on the table.

“Not coming. Don’t you remember the last night there? All the strange people searching the property? The family ran, leaving everyone. I brought you to mine so that we can protect you,” he explained gently.

‘He’ll find this one,’ she said with half a shrug and picked on her bacon again. Yes, he’d find her and take her home with him. All would be well. Not that she didn’t appreciate this family’s kindness, she felt off. She was getting frustrated herself without being able to do her daily chores, without having someone to touch her.

Kol smiled and shrugged. “He’ll have to get past my family first. And certainly past my one brother and I doubt he would survive his wrath considering the way he’s been lately with anyone that makes the slightest negative remark in your direction.”

She frowned at that. Why would this family want to kill Edward? She pushed her plate away from her and cocked her head. ‘Edward’s good,’ she mouthed. ‘this one’s bad.’

“No Doll, he isn’t. Just give it time and you will see,” he smiled sadly. “Trust when I say that all my brother wants is you to be happy. This is new behavior for him, and we like this change. Keep that in mind whenever you experience something new. Okay?”

‘Edward sold this one?’ She blinked at Kol. Was she going to be someone else’s now? Just like that? She had heard of this happening before, but she thought that it wouldn’t ever happen to her. She was fine with it if this was the case because that was how it worked. He always told her she was a good girl, and good girls are worth every penny.

Kol frowned and grimaced. “No. Let me put into context that you would understand it best right now. This isn’t what is fact but from what you lived, it’s the best comparison I can make for now. You can say that we – stole you? Though rescue is more accurate, and I hope, you come to realize the difference quickly. The life you lived with the Cullens wasn’t normal. Not even in the supernatural world. That was why I was there to see what I could do to help people like you.”

She was stolen. Edward was going to come and get her back, with Emmett by his side and the Royal Guard. She slowly nodded and got to her feet before turning around and making her way back to her room. She was going to stay there, and she was going to wait for rescue. She needed to be available for Edward, and she hadn’t been since she arrived here. She needed to loosen herself up again.

Bella was sure she had made a wrong turn somewhere as she retraced her steps because the room she was standing in front of, wasn’t hers. It looked like a mini version of Esme’s chambers, not exactly, but it had color, paintings, and beautiful furniture. Blinking, she dared herself to walk down the hall to find her room. She walked up and down the hall for a long time, and maybe she was lost. This was a big building, even bigger than the one she had lived in all of her life; it would be easy to get lost. Someone would come and find her, for sure.

Finding a corner, she sat down on her knees, resting her ass on her feet and folded her hands in her lap. She was going to wait.

Klaus was happy that Kol had, indeed, gotten Bella out of her room so that he could fix her room up for her. He had watched them from her window, and his heart shattered into a million pieces when he picked up on the conversation. He could understand that she was hopeful for her life to return to normal, but as Kol said, it had been anything but. It was a shame that in his wealth of knowledge that he had gathered over the last thousand years, that he hadn’t come across something like this before. Not just his unusual feelings, but the entire situation surrounding her.

There was one thing Kol had been right about. Should any of the Cold Ones walk over the threshold of the compound, Klaus was going to kill them. However, the movement down the hallway unnerved him. He could hear her shuffle as if she was looking for something, and he was worried. Was he going to risk it?

It was a terrible thing that the girl was as quiet as a church mouse. He didn’t know what to about that. Perhaps string a bell around her neck. When he quietly made his way down the stairs to see what was going on, he found her sitting in a corner with a blank expression on her face.

She was beautiful. While she could use some more sunlight on her face, however her brown hair complimented her complexion perfectly. Her brown eyes were exquisite, she’d be a perfect model for one of his paintings. Bella took his breath away, and that was problematic.

Would he dare her to escort her back to her room? Maybe she thought that she was on the wrong floor now that her room had changed. Even though she didn’t seem to be upset about what Kol had told her, he could see that she was; her body language looked tense. Far too tense to be pleasant for her.

He waited for a couple more minutes to see if Elijah or Kol himself would go and check up on her, but when they didn’t, he made his way further down the stairs, cleared his throat so she wouldn’t be startled and sat down next to her. Her scent enveloped him like a warm blanket, calming his nerves but also igniting them at the same time. His hands felt clammy, and that was a new experience for him as well. “I’m Klaus,” he said, his voice betraying him and making him sound as if he was choking on his breath.

Bella looked at him and acknowledged him with a nod. She hadn’t seen him before, but he must be the other family member. The secret one. The leader. Did she belong to him now?

“Would you come with me, please? I would like to show you something,” he said, getting back to his feet and holding out a hand for her to take so he could pull her up.

Of course, Bella thought. Anything to please him. She knew that she should be scared because he wasn’t Edward. But she felt at ease with him, an ease that she had never felt before. She took his hand and allowed herself to be pulled to her feet, surprised by the fact that he would be able to pull her up. Edward always made comments that she was too heavy.

He gently placed his hand on the small of her back to guide her and walked her to her room. “While you were out with my brother, I went ahead and did this for you. I hope you like your new room. If you want anything changed, do not hesitate to ask.” He gently gave her a push into the room and took a few steps back, watching her reaction to it all. Klaus was going to leave the moment she set foot in the room, he promised himself. He didn’t want to overwhelm her. And if he had to be honest, taking her hand had been something magical, a tiny spark that set something off in his veins, and he had to keep his distance. He had to. Or he might end up doing something against her will. “I thought to surprise you with making this room for you. You deserve more than a sparsely dressed room. I hope you like the paintings, I made them especially for you.”

Bella had seen the room before. Was it truly hers? She looked over her shoulder to Klaus, and he nodded. She smiled at him. ‘Thank you.’

“Go on inside, love,” he smiled encouragingly. Her hesitation was frustrating, he needed to be in his study, as far away as possible. “Tell me what you think about it tomorrow, over breakfast?”

She nodded and took a step into the room. When she looked over her shoulder again, he had disappeared. Maybe she wasn’t what he had hoped for. Hadn’t she been her best? She took another step into the room and closed the door quietly before observing every detail in the room again. It was fit for a queen. The paintings were beautiful. Brightly colored and in every single one of them there was sunshine. A theme. Horses were breaking free. A shadow was escaping prison, but not darkly painted, but bright.

The furniture had changed too; it looked expensive, and she was already afraid that she’d make a scratch on it. There were pillows on the floor, she wasn’t quite sure why, but her knees were going to be grateful for them. She cursed herself for being happy about a luxury as pillows. She’d just have to shove them out of her way when having a meal unless they insisted on her using them.

Her bed was big enough for at least four people her size. Or five. Was her new leader going to bed her here? He wasn’t a Cold One, so did she have to be in bed all day to make sure the bed was warm for him? She could do that. Stripping out of her clothes, she carefully tugged on the bedding to create a little bit of space for her and got in bed. A content sigh escaped her lips, and she was glad that no one was around to have noticed, but the bed was amazing. Not rock hard, but fluffy, bouncy and so good.

Yawning, she wiggled her toes a little for more space and dozed off in an instant.

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