She couldn’t believe it was real. It was right there, across the room from her and she didn’t dare to take a step further towards it. She could feel the magic that the pages contained, and it was exhilarating, frightening and awesome all at the same time. Jeri looked at Elijah, who was quietly talking to Jessica, assuring the girl that she had nothing to worry about and that he was sincerely sorry for encouraging her to live a little.
But still, her attention was drawn back to the grimoire, and she still didn’t dare to take a step towards it.
“It won’t bite,” Elijah said playfully. “Go ahead, Jeri.”
“Easy for you to say, Elijah. I have tremendous respect for this book,” she said breathlessly, taking a step closer to the book. “The amount of power that radiates from it… it’s…”
Jeri nodded. “I could absorb it all and… but I won’t.” She rolled her shoulders and took another step closer. “What if I break it? Or accidentally tear a page?”
“I am sure you won’t,” he smiled at her. “I am pleased to see someone who respects the pages.”
It took her a few minutes, but eventually she had her hands on the book. “Here we go,” she said breathlessly and opened it.
Part of him didn’t want to include Bella in their plans of fighting off the Cullens, but she was more than capable of making her decisions. No more keeping her out of things. Besides, this was her fight more than it was theirs.
“Last night Jessica was assaulted by Edward,” he said, not knowing how to say it nicely, so he just said it the way that it was. “Peter, Jasper and Alice are downstairs; they’re confident that one of these days they will come for you. Jeri’s browsing through my mother’s Grimoire for extra power and I’ve instructed Marcel to get all his vampires near the compound.”
“Okay,” Bella said as she looked at Klaus. She wasn’t happy about it, in fact, she wished they wouldn’t come for her at all. She was nothing. She was happy with Klaus, and she didn’t want to fight. She was scared that she was going to be taken by force, that something would happen to Klaus and the rest of the family. Despite knowing that they were powerful and fast and practically unkillable, she knew the brute force Emmett could use. How conniving Edward and Carlisle could be. There was no doubt that they’d probably gathered more Cold Ones for their cause, even if it were under false pretenses. “I don’t like it.”
“Neither do I, love, but I have to be honest, if they are as scary as those three downstairs would like to have me believe, then I’m welcoming the fight. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a challenge like that,” he said with a smirk. “Of course, Edward’s all yours, but you’ll have to allow Jessica to get a few punches in.”
“I’m scared that something might happen to you,” Bella said, feeling a panic attack coming up and she tried to hold it back. She wasn’t even scared that something might happen to her; she didn’t want him to get hurt. Of course, she didn’t want to go back, but she would if that meant that Klaus would be okay. “I could surrender, and you’d be fine.”
“No, I wouldn’t,” he said with a low growl. “I’d tear apart the entire Earth if I had to to find you again. You’re not leaving. You’re not surrendering, and we are going to kill them all. I’d rather get a little bit hurt in the process than to lose you.” Klaus pulled her into his arms and held her tightly. “I’d rather have you not encounter them at all, at least not before we made sure that we won. I’d rather have you see Edward in the basement.”
“I don’t like fighting, but I will do what I must. They’ve hurt me. It’s time to return the favor, isn’t it? Poor little Bella biting their behinds.” If Klaus was confident, so could she be, even if she was practically pooping rocks.
“You don’t have to fight, love, but you might have to defend yourself if they get to you,” he kissed the top of her head. “You’ll do brilliantly, look how you punished Jessica and Kol after they angered you. I can only imagine what anger you hold inside of you towards them. I have no doubt that once they get too close to you, you’ll be capable of so many things you don’t even know you are capable of doing.”
“Okay,” she let out a deep breath. “Is there anything I can do?”
Klaus thought for a moment. “Well, we’re currently heavily relying on the information that Peter, Jasper and Alice are giving us. Do you trust them?”
“I wouldn’t go as far as trusting Peter, to be honest. He was kind; he looked out for me, and he never hurt me but believe him? I do think that he’s speaking the truth about everything.”
“What about Jasper and Alice?”
“I don’t know them that well. I saw them maybe once or twice. I wasn’t allowed to go to the prisons, so I didn’t,” she replied as she tried to crawl almost into him. She wanted to be closer. “But I do know that they’re gifted. Carlisle occasionally talked about them when it was just him and me.”
“But Peter seems to be getting most of his information from Alice.”
Bella shrugged. “They’re still Cold Ones. All three of them. Peter could have quickly thought of a plan to get Jasper and Alice out of trouble all those years ago, and yet, he stuck around. They could have gotten out and thought of a plan to bring Carlisle down from the outside, but they didn’t.”
“Because you were there.”
“Oh please, this happened before I arrived, this I know.”
“You think they stuck around because they didn’t like being on their own?”
Bella shrugged. “Isn’t that what most people do? Choose between the best options for themselves and stick with their choice even if it’s not suitable for them? I think that their allegiance can shift quickly; whoever is strongest, they’ll be loyal to.”
Klaus thought for a moment as he listened Bella speak and sighed. “I know Cold Ones are crafty wankers but… they genuinely seem to care about you.”
“Is it bad that I think for the wrong reasons?”
“No, not at all,” he kissed the top of her head. “There are various ways this can all play out and we will have everything covered, I promise.”
Dinner that night was slightly awkward with three people at the table who didn’t eat. Bella tried her best to ignore them and listen to Jeri gush about spells she’d seen in the unique book and had already started to adjust some to match her own. Something about more protection against the Cold Ones for all of them.
Bella was glad to see that Elijah hadn’t abandoned Jessica after what had happened to her. She felt for the girl; she knew how something like that would feel like, and Bella could understand that she felt violated. She hoped, though, for Jessica’s sake, that the experience wouldn’t stop her from going out and fold into herself.
It was hypocritical, wasn’t it? She wanted Jessica to go out and do things, explore, and Bella didn’t even dare to leave the compound. Especially after what Jessica had done to her. It had been a horrible experience, and she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to set foot on the street without feeling she couldn’t breathe anymore.
Not that Jessica would come to talk to her. She had Elijah, and she didn’t like Bella all that much, but she was welcome to come to Bella to talk about it if she felt like it. Maybe it would be a good thing to say that to Jessica later and not just as an unspoken promise in her head.
“Can I just say that it’s a joy to see Bella interact on a somewhat normal level with you?” Alice smiled as she watched the Traditionals feast on their human food. Even Bella had something to eat and that brought so much pleasure to her, that she was able to do so. “I’ve seen her in my visions but to see her with my own eyes…”
Klaus let out a growl and pulled Bella’s chair closer to him. It unnerved him that even these supposedly ‘good’ Cold Ones talked about her in the third person. Peter knew better, he should have told Alice about it.
“Didn’t you ever lose patience with her when you were teaching her new things?” Jasper questioned, causing Kol to let out a snarl and slightly tense up. He too, was getting annoyed.
“Anyway,” Jeri said as she swallowed her last bite. “I think I should have something ready in a couple of hours. We do still have that kind of time, don’t we?”
“We suspect he’ll try to come as soon as the sun’s away. Not today, though. It seems that he’s still waiting for some last minute arrivals to his cause,” Alice said after a moment of thought. “Other kin, I can see that much.”
“It’s likely that they’re going for complete and utter destruction, the more manpower, the more they think they’ll succeed in getting what they want.”
Jeri pursed her lips as she looked at Peter. “Their destruction.”
“Our bodies are a solid mass,” Jasper started to explain. “It’s not as if you can simply reach into our chests and pull out our hearts. We need to be torn apart and burned to fully kill us.”
“It’s that I’ll be too busy with protection objects tonight otherwise I would definitely have found my way around that,” Jeri muttered as she took a sip of her beverage. “Nothing is unkillable.”
Bella thought about what Jasper had said about them being solid mass and wanted to see if she was allowed to try and see if she was strong enough to rip his arm off his torso. Taking a bite off her banana after polishing off her plate, she leaned back in her chair and thought of the whole idea with a small smirk on her face.
Peter smirked when Bella decided that maybe it would be fun to try it on, Alice. “Bella, kitten, you wouldn’t be able to.”
Bella shrugged as she placed the leaves of the banana on her plate and looked at Klaus, who raised an eyebrow. “I was wondering if I’d be strong enough to tear one of them apart. Or at least an arm.”
“You most certainly will be able to,” Klaus confirmed with a slight nod, a smile dancing on his lips as he took a sip of his bourbon. “Anyone who thinks differently is severely underestimating you.” He handed his glass to her. “One sip.”
Smiling up to him, she took the glass and carefully took a sip, scrunching her nose in disgust as the liquid made contact with her tongue and swallowed before handing the glass back. “Can I ask a question?”
“Of course, love,” Klaus smiled at her. “No need to ask permission for that.”
“I’m just wondering if their vampire venom would hurt us.”
“The poison is created by glands in our mouth, Bella. Unless you’re planning on biting our mouths, I think you’re safe,” Peter snorted, but the way he said it felt as if he was belittling her.
She let out a low growl in response.
“We don’t have blood in our bodies, it’s replaced by something acidic and works as a glue to keep our bodies together or to reattach limbs.”
“Then why do you need blood?”
“If we don’t, we die. We’re vampires after all,” Jasper smirked.
“But doesn’t your body immediately break down the blood due to its acidity?”
“Don’t be silly, Bella,” Alice huffed. “That would be just ridiculous.”
“No, scientifically you don’t make any sense,” Bella muttered, all hopes of trying to bite one of them flown out the window.
Bella hadn’t been able to sleep that night. It wasn’t because Klaus wasn’t in bed – because he wasn’t. He was supervising Jasper’s instruction on Marcel’s vampires – but it was her usual ‘doom thinking’ that had caused her being unable to rest.
She had absolute faith in Klaus and his siblings and their vampires to fight the Cullens. They’d been around for a thousand of years. They were older, smarter and had seen more. They knew more. Klaus was a wolf hybrid and Jeri, even though she was a new vampire like Bella, she was a kick ass witch hybrid.
But what was Bella? She didn’t quite like violence and the only times she had truly killed someone was Jeri, but with her permission and Bella had been starving. Then as a wolf, but she couldn’t remember that. Would it be easier to be a wolf for this? She knew that she was going to be frightened the moment she’d lay eyes on Edward or Carlisle. Emmett, even. She was going to be useless, as always, and she was going to get into trouble because of her panic.
It would be so much easier if she’d stop caring. Stop feeling everything she felt, just like before. Just when she was with the Cullens. Nothing would change, in fact, everything would revert to where she started, but this time, she’d take no shit from anyone. She wouldn’t be scared, and she would be able to deal with this.
She was feeling too much now for her to revert, it was impossible. Well, it wasn’t impossible, she’d simply have to adjust her behaviour again, but it’d take days for it to stick – if it would even stick. She didn’t have the time to do it.
She’d just have to. She was the most useless vampire hybrid of the family. Even Jessica was more useful because she was enjoying herself and up for anything. Why couldn’t Bella be like that?
Giving up on sleep, she got out of bed and started to pace the room.
She could trust them to make sure she wouldn’t be taken. She could trust them to fight her battle for her. But she didn’t want them to fight her battle for her, it was hers, but despite Klaus assuring her, she feared that Peter was right, that she wouldn’t be able to fight them. Peter knew things. He always knew things for a fact, and if he said something, then it must be a fact. He said she couldn’t. She wasn’t strong enough. Not ruthless enough.
She was Klaus’ queen and queens didn’t fight. She wanted to change that. Bella wanted to kick Edward’s ass and survive the ordeal. She wanted to prove that she was able to be just as capable as every single one of them.
She simply had to become fearless to do so. If not, she’d probably cower away upon laying eyes on them, and that wasn’t what she wanted.
What would happen to her if she was taken back by Edward? Or given back because the Cold Ones overwhelmed all the others? Surely now that she was no longer human, they’d come after her, harder. Inject so many drugs into her to keep her compliant that she wouldn’t know if she was wiggling her toes or not.
She wrapped her arms around her as she kept pacing. She could already feel their cold, rock solid, hands on her, and it made her feel sick. If she thought about it, she could also feel other things on her body, other body parts, the cold steel of surgical instruments. She could smell what the white room smelled like – sterile. What Edward’s chambers smelled like – stale. The basement smelled like pee and alcohol.
Bella made her way to the bathroom to throw up. All the feelings, smells and memories made her nauseous. She wasn’t even feeling sorry for throwing up the food she had at dinner. If she was going to go back she needed to lose weight, but she couldn’t lose weight anymore, could she now? She was a vampire. Everything was set now.
They would find a way.
They were going to starve her and keep on starving her because the starving wouldn’t work. She’d be so hungry, she’d kill every human in sight. Or wanted to, because the drugs would make sure that she wouldn’t be able to move a muscle. No, they’d want to keep Bella in one place, controlled and unresponsive. It’d drive her insane.
As she was rinsing her mouth in the sink, a loud bang could be heard from outside, and the entire building shook. Startled, she quickly got dressed and made her way downstairs to Klaus. What if something had happened to him?