Chapter 08: Castle

“Impressive,” Bella said as Lucien lead her from the elevator to his penthouse. “You can overlook the entire city from here. Must have cost a fortune.”

“I had an in with the realtor,” Lucien said as he closed the door behind her and took her coat and bag. “Please, sit. What can I offer you to drink?”

“Something that will destroy my liver please,” she muttered as she did as she was told. It was never good to upset a strange vampire. Had she known he was a vampire when he was just about to do whatever he was going to do to that innocent man, she would have hid and waited until it was over. Then ran for her life. “I’m Isa, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Isa,” Lucien said as he handed her a glass of red wine. “I hope wine is alright, unless you prefer something stronger?”

“I’m still slightly buzzed from the tequila earlier this evening, but thank you,” she replied as she took a sip from her wine and set it down on a coaster on the table. “I know you’re just itching to know why you couldn’t compel me.”

“You’ve been asked this before, then?” Lucien sat down in a chair next to the couch and smiled at her. “I find it amazing for a normal human being not to be compelled. It’s usually only werewolves and witches that have a resistance to it.”

“It’s not just compulsion. My mind can’t be read. It’s a fortress up there, which is kinda cool, I suppose,” she said with half a shrug. “Especially when dealing with the supernatural, then at least your thoughts are private and your actions your own.”

“Amazing. Truly. And are you sure you’re just a human? No other powers that need to be mentioned?”

“Just human,” she replied and then cocked her head. “You don’t seem to be surprised by my knowledge of the supernatural.”

“This is New Orleans, love, 75% of the people in the Quarter are supernatural.”

“So what? You brought me back here to drink my blood? Which is fine, I just have to warn you that there might be vervain in my system, I’ve only stopped taking it this morning.”

“Oh no, no, don’t worry, I will not drink your blood without your consent. I’m a monster, yes, but I wouldn’t want to hurt you.” He sounded disappointed, probably thinking she couldn’t be compelled because of the vervain. He looked a little bit freaked out too. Was it because she offered her blood so willingly? She decided to put it to the test.

“You can have it, if you want, I don’t care,” she held out her arm for him to take, but all it did was having him push the chair further away from her. “Look, I’m sure you have questions that I’m not willing to answer. It’s 3.30 am. Can’t I just crash on your couch for the night? You can have me all day tomorrow because I stopped you from killing that man.”

Lucien blinked. This girl was either nuts or had a death wish, was she really asking him if she could stay on the couch in his presence? A vampire? Had his intentions been less pure, she would have been dead by now, wasn’t she aware how lucky she was? “You are far too comfortable around vampires,” he said playfully as he got up and retrieved an extra set of bedding from the other room. “I’d offer you my spare room, but my friend Alexis is staying in there.”

“Your friend?”

“My witch. She’s a clairvoyant. She’s also known to help me stave off boredom every once in awhile,” his smile had a certain kind of fondness. “Don’t worry, she serves me willingly and I pay her well.” He put the bedding down on the couch. “Sleep for as long as you need, Isa. You look like you could use it well.”

“Thank you,” she said as she kicked off her shoes and covered herself with the blankets.

Frowning, Lucien shook his head. “I was going to offer you my bedroom.”

“Chivalry is dead,” she muttered as she moved a little until she was comfortable and passed out immediately as she allowed the sleep come over her.

~o.O.o~

Bella was good, Klaus had to hand her that. He had been searching the entire quarter all night, her scent only leading him in circles and Freya wasn’t getting anywhere with a locator spell. Neither did the witches of Débauche. The only thing everyone could agree upon was that she hadn’t left New Orleans. Which was either a good thing or a very bad thing, seeing as she could be dead. Then again, she’d still have had vampire blood in her system.

It was something that he and Myriam had agreed upon after having spoken to Bella a month after she had arrived at the shelter. Bella wasn’t averse of becoming a vampire, she actually wanted to as it would make her less vulnerable, but both Myriam and Klaus wanted her to spend some time as a human who wasn’t on the run, to enjoy life.

Bella refused until they made a pact; Myriam would put a little of her blood in Bella’s morning coffee from the kitchen every day and Bella would not try to kill herself. She was going to stay human for 5 more years. It was simply a precaution in case something would go wrong and Bella would find herself dead at the hands of a Cold One.

Should she have perished, she’d come back as a vampire, ready to kick some ass. He wasn’t that worried about it. However, she could have been taken. Someone could have taken her and would probably wait until the blood was out of her system to kill her. They still had some time.

And now, he was reluctantly having lunch with Myriam and some of her witches for damage control. “Why isn’t the A-squad not looking for her?”

“Because they no longer work for me. They received a better offer, one that I wasn’t willing to counter because it was simply too much,” Myriam said sharply, quite upset about having lost her main attraction at the strip club. “I now have to hold auditions to fill up their spot at the club.”

“Call them back, I’ll pay them.”

“Oh, come on, Nik,” Myriam sighed as she tiredly pinched the bridge of her nose. “It was time they moved on anyway, the club was due for a lineup change.”

“Aren’t you afraid that they will turn on you now?”

“They never go after former clients unless they have a very good reason. Seeing as I’ve always treated them well, I have no doubt that we, and the secrets kept in this building, are safe. And if not, I’ll sue the pants off of them because they signed NDA’s when they started to work for me,” she said smugly and took a sip of her coffee.

“And you know how I felt about that, love,” he said angrily. “They’re assassins for hire. Had they been truly loyal to you, they wouldn’t have left, so I would not feel safe because whoever they’re working for now, obviously has a lot of money to burn if they need protection. You should have asked me, I would have given you the money to have them stay or I would have killed them.”

“Klaus!”

“As a matter of fact, give me their number and I’ll hire them myself,” he said smug as he took a sip of his tea and took a bite out of his toast. Myriam insisted on having normal breakfast when they were out in the open, it was a good thing that he had fed before.

“And then what? Have your vampires feel inadequate?”

“Hope needs nannies.”

“Hope needs her mother,” Myriam countered sharply. “You’re starting to sound like your brother, Nik.”

“Speaking of my brother…”

“I don’t want to hear this,” Myriam shook her head. “Nope, not having it.”

Sighing, he looked at her. “Love, it was either you or allowing him to mess with the club and the shelter.”

“So you picked me?!”

“He wants to get to know you and I know how much you like to bust balls, so I’ll set up a meeting for you two and you can sort it out,” he said amused. “Perhaps invite him to the opening of my exhibition in a few days.”

She pointed her fork at him and narrowed her eyes. “That sounds awfully a lot like a date. You know I don’t date.” She eyed the witches as they quietly retreated from the table to give the two some space and privacy.

“That’s because you were sleeping with me. Now that’s not happening anymore, I thought I’d be nice and help out a friend. From what I hear, Elijah is quite the lover.”

“You’re being an asshole.”

“Well forgive me, love, I haven’t had the best of days lately!”

“And whose fault is that, love?” she countered. “If you had just told Bella the truth, that you wanted her to be your girlfriend, wear your letterman jacket, wear your ring, all those fancy schmancy things, we wouldn’t be in our current predicament of trying to find a supernatural girl that’s more rare than your precious Petrova doppelgangers, would we? And like a fool, you had to fall in love with the girl!”

“This is my fault?”

“Of course it is!”

“Well she could have spoken about her feelings to me, haven’t you even considered that?”

“Oh, sure, but you forget that she was here for a reason, Niklaus. And the moment she was ready to open up, albeit making the mistake of asking you about your feelings about her, you make the mistake of sounding exactly like the douchebag that hurt her in the past and opened old wounds. Way to go.”

“She was fine!”

“Unstable! And now she’s gone!”

“I told you not to coddle her.”

“And I told you, that I’m not. I wasn’t. I spent every day with her Klaus, I’d see her at least once a day, I’m pretty sure I know her better than you do. I swear, if anything happens to her…”

“What?”

“I will feed you your own dick.”

Klaus was quiet for a moment and both vampires finished their breakfast. “She never gave any indication that she was that bad.”

“That’s what she does. She escapes in fun, music, sex. Conversations about her are usually quickly turned around to yourself or she only shares half of it. She’s a survivor, Klaus, just like us. We just had more years to deal with the shit we’ve had to deal with. She’s still getting used to the idea that other people care about her, despite her having an apartment of her own upstairs. She’s not ready for the big world on her own.”

“Then how do you know that her feelings for me were genuine? It could very well have been a case of Stockholm Syndrome or latching on to the first person who was nice to her.”

Myriam nodded and sighed. She had thought the same way, but after some careful thought, she had come to a different conclusion. “If that was the case, she wouldn’t have been brave enough to ask you about your intentions with her. All she’s guilty of is self preservation. You rejected her, and she went in fight or flight mode. You were her anchor. Not me. You. Your absence in the last two months were hard on her too.”

Klaus huffed. “Well, I was a little busy.”

“I know that. She knows that. It’s not easy being you,” she countered gently. “But imagine being in her shoes for a moment. For months on end, you came by at regular intervals. You two had fun together. Talks. Sex. Silliness. You made her laugh so hard her ribs hurt. Then all of a sudden, you stop coming round. She felt rejected.”

“It’s just two months.”

“For a human girl in Bella’s position, that’s a lifetime. And I know the rules. I didn’t call you because that’s not how we set things up for her, so partially, I suppose I am to blame as well.”

“How do we fix this?” Klaus sighed. “What if she’s lost forever? What if she’s in the wrong hands and they will take advantage of her rarity?”

“Well, then we only have ourselves to blame. But with the witches and Freya keeping a magical eye out, I suppose the best we can do is to take a nap and start looking for her again once we’ve recharged our batteries,” Myriam then smiled. “She may be broken, but she’s got her smarts.”

~o.O.o~

Bella woke up to the smell of food. Glorious, belly warming food, and was surprised to find a woman sitting across from her with a filled plate on her lap and ready to dig in. “Rise and shine,” the woman smiled at her. “Slept well?”

“I guess…”

“It’s 5 pm and it’s dinner time. Lucien is out for the night but you’re more than welcome to stay if you need another night to crash. I’m Alexis, by the way.”

“Isa,” she grumbled as she sat up and rubbed her eyes. “Where is Lucien?”

“He’s recruiting. His company recently acquired a big piece of the Bayou that’s being overrun by some wildlife that needs to be taken care of before the company can start building there,” she smiled gently. “Don’t worry, you’re safe here and the food is good. I also took the liberty to order you some new clothes. For some reason the whole transient hippy style doesn’t suit you.”

She looked at her clothes and shrugged. “It’s comfortable.” There was honestly nothing wrong with her jeans and her t-shirt and this Alexis was being too… maybe Bella was too paranoid.

“Grab some food if you like, it’s human safe, I promise.”

“I’m good, thanks,” she said as her stomach rumbled. “You’re Lucien’s friend?”

“Yep.”

“And you’re a witch?”

“Yes. And a clairvoyant.”

She was quiet for a moment as she observed the girl, she was dressed in a skimpy dress, covered with a cardigan. Her hair looked out of control and she had a friendly expression on her face, but looks could be deceiving. “Forgive me asking, but you’re a witch. Shouldn’t vampires be your mortal enemy?”

“Lucien pays well,” she smiled. “Like… extremely well. He also keeps me safe, there aren’t many witches that can do what I do. Well, not this accurate anyway.”

“What do you do?”

“I tell the future, of course,” Alexis grinned. “Prophecies, that’s my kinda thing. That’s why we’re in town, for a prophecy that could end vampire sire lines.”

Feigning the lack of knowledge, Bella forced herself to blink in confusion. “What?”

“Oh, that’s right, I forgot, you’re used to Cold Ones, aren’t you? They don’t play by the same rules, if they even have rules they live by.”

“How-”

Alexis merely pointed to her head before explaining the sire lines. “Lucien sired quite few vampires in his time as one. Should he die, all his progeny dies with him. Now, it wouldn’t make too much of a difference in the vampire world if it’s just his line and the lines that his vampires created. However, all vampires can be traced back to the original vampire family. The first ones. The Old ones. The Originals. And that’s why we’re here. Something big is going to happen and we have to make sure that no harm will come to those vampires.”

“The Original Vampires are here, in New Orleans?”

“Last time we checked, yes. Don’t be afraid, though. Although they’re ruthless, they’re not as bad as the Volturi.”

“You know of the Volturi?”

“Don’t be so shocked,” Alexis laughed. “Yes, they’re secretive, but when you’re like me, you can punch through the veil of deception and learn all that is to know about the other kind of vampires. It also helps for safety, you know. A secure job. The more you know, the more valuable you are.”

“I guess,” Bella said as she tiredly ran a hand through her hair. “Maybe that’s why I had so many clients.”

“I know things. Like… Isa isn’t really your name, is it? Isabella?”

“It’s Isa. I go by Isa,” Bella countered as she narrowed her eyes on Alexis. “I swear, if you tell Lucien about this…”

“Don’t worry, us girls need to stick together,” Alexis winked. “Go grab some food, Isa, we have a lot to discuss.”

“We do?”

“Oh yeah,” she nodded as she took a sip of her drink. “Because I don’t know if you know it or not, but you’re no ordinary human and it’s time that someone tells you what you are. I’d rather tell you first than I tell Lucien so you can figure out what to do.”

Looking over her shoulder as Bella put some food on a plate, she frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Lucien likes beautiful women, and you’re certainly that. I told him this morning that you’re in trouble and you’re moonlighting as an escort from time to time. Don’t be surprised if he offers you money to spend a couple of days with him.”

“I don’t think I can. The Cold Ones -”

“Won’t be able to find you here. I promise. For Lucien’s and my own safety, I always put up protection spells to make sure we can’t be tracked. Now that you’re inside this penthouse, you don’t have to run anymore.”

She carefully put down the plate as alarm bells went off in her head. Granted, it wasn’t something new; she’d spent weekends with men before when she was on the run, for the easy money, but to have someone blatantly put it out there, telling her what was going to happen, was uncomfortable. It was Alice all over again. “I don’t think I should…”

“Then at least stay, aren’t you the least bit curious what I have to tell you about yourself?”

And then there was that. Was she going to entertain Alexis? She wasn’t sure if she could believe her, but then again, she’d been right about everything she said so far. Knowledge is power, she knew that. And if she was truly safe here, then she would live for a few more days, which was a bonus. Sighing reluctantly, she poured herself a drink and took her food and drink back to the couch. “Alright, you win.”

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2 Comments:

  1. Now I’m even more curious to who Lucien is and his plan to protect to the Originals.
    Can’t see as how Klaus will find her with the protections up in that penthouse.

  2. Can’t wait for this.how panicked will Klaus get before they get back together.so Lucien wants to protect sire lines.how is he connected to the Mikaelson?

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