Oh, it was exactly like being called to the principal’s office, but more like… What ever they had been called for to the office was so severe that they had to go to the principal’s house. Myriam opened her apartment door in shock, looking at Bella, then at Klaus, back at Bella again. “You don’t call, you don’t write…”
“Yeah well… I don’t have a phone and I didn’t have a wifi signal,” Bella retorted with a shrug. “Oh and I was passed out for days due to a witch.”
“What?” Myriam said concerned, pulling Bella inside the apartment and removed her coat to check her over. “My god, what are you wearing?”
“I decided to turn my predicament in a working one,” Bella said shrugging as she sighed and allowed Myriam to look for bumps and bruises. She looked in her purse and grabbed the money and sighed. “Damn, I forgot something. The asshole still has my blood.”
The vampire reared back at that, her head swinging back to look at Klaus as she held onto the girl’s arms, her grip tightening slightly. “Who? How did they get her blood? What did you do now?”
He chuckled as he waved a finger at her. “Oh no. This is partially your fault. Had you not assisted in driving Isa away, she never would have fallen into their hands. As far as obtaining Bella’s blood, it would seem that an old friend’s witch had stolen it after incapacitating her.”
Myriam gently moved Bella aside as she squared herself in front of Klaus. “What old friend?”
“Oh, Bella’s newest client. My first sire, Lucien,” he almost smiled before spitting out his name. “I’m still not quite sure how the two met…” he added, his gaze shifting to the girl. “Care to tell us a story, Love?”
Bella rubbed her arms as she sighed. “I was in an alley checking what money I had left and I saw this guy assaulting another guy and I told him to stop. He tried to compel me. That obviously didn’t work, so we went for a drink.”
Klaus couldn’t help but frown, knowing that for a vampire as old as Lucien, he too would have heard some whispers of what Bella might be. He was no fool, especially to survive this long. “This could be a complication,” he mused to himself.
“He then took me to his penthouse because I didn’t have anyplace to go – no offense, Myriam, but I didn’t want to come back to you and allowed me to crash on his couch. Well, he offered the bed but I was comfortable. The next day I woke up and his witch and I had a chat,” Bella continued and shrugged. “No offense, but that girl is batshit crazy. She said she knew what I was and that I was something supernatural and when turned into a vampire I could become even more powerful. She forgot that upon turning, you lose your magical shit so yeah, I laughed at that, wanted to leave and she knocked me out.”
Myriam swallowed as she looked to Klaus again, fear in her eyes. “You don’t think…? Maybe she should just turn and be done…”
“It’s her choice, Myriam. Not ours.”
“What the fuck are you two on about?” Bella said angrily. “Have you been hiding something from me? Something that concerns me?”
Klaus looked down, hesitated as his hands itched to grab something around him. “Yes, and no. We didn’t tell you because we weren’t sure and are still looking for confirmation before we came to you with the details. All we’ve had to go on were simply rumors and myths, so I wanted proof to hand you…”
She looked at the faces of the two vampires in front of her, both having defeated looks on their faces. She trusted Klaus. He was probably going to tear that prophecy apart and see if it was true or not. “Okay, until then, all I want to know if I’m a danger to you.”
His blue eyes raised to hers quickly and he shook his head succinctly. “No. Not to us.”
“Did you decide to take me as one of the shelter girls because of what I could possibly be or because I truly needed help?” She asked Myriam.
“You needed help. Neither of us realized the possibility until later, after we’d gotten to know you. It only made us want to ensure your safety even more,” the woman answered quietly. “Just because you might be – powerful, you still have a target on you until you are capable of defending yourself. That’s just from one set of enemies that would know about you existing.”
“Lucien killed a tracker called Victoria. But I was in the open for quite some time so…” Bella shrugged. “It’s fine. I know that my days are probably numbered anyway. Best to go out with no hard feelings and fun, huh?”
Klaus ran a hand over his face, frustrated by her suicidal words. “We will keep giving you blood and it will be your decision if you continue to transition if that is the case. And we will find a way to get your blood back from Lucien. Cold Ones are not your only concern in this world, Bella. For now, let’s pack you your bag and we can continue this discussion at home.”
Myriam looked at Klaus. “Excuse me? She is home. She’s not going anywhere, especially after the last few days!”
“She and I have some unfinished business. I’d be more comfortable with her at my side, Myriam,” he responded evenly as he maintained his gaze on Bella.
“Leave me out of this,” she said as she threw her hands in the air and headed for the door. “I’m going to change into something less constraining and pack my bag. Again. Maybe get the bigger bag this time, I don’t know,” she muttered to herself as she left the apartment.
“What did you do?” Myriam hissed at Klaus. “She’s safer here!”
He blinked as he narrowed his eyes on her. “You wanted me to fix things with her. I am working on it. What do you want from me, Myriam? If you want me to tell her how I feel, then it is going to be the truth. And the truth is, I want her at the compound. With me.”
“You want to put her at further risk by having her around you? What about Elijah? What would he think about this?”
Klaus smiled slightly at the mention of his brother. “Yes. What of Elijah? No doubt he would learn of her existence eventually. Tell me, Myriam. How did your date fare? Was my brother the proper gentleman that he proclaims himself to be?”
Myriam sneered. “He took me to this posh place where I had to drink very expensive wine that tasted like the gutter, eat mini portions of food that no doubt set him back quite some money and next week, we’re going to have dinner at McDonald’s.”
His mouth fell open mockingly. “Oh the horror! Myriam Jenkins attended a venue above her tastes…” At the mention of a follow up date, he simply stared back at her in shock, and completely speechless. “…another date?”
“I found out that if you set boundaries with him, such as topics we do not discuss under any circumstance, he can be quite agreeable. And since this…” she gestured to her body. “Is out of business for you, you can’t tell me what to do anymore. I’m going on another date with your brother, deal with it.”
“You’re dating his brother now?” Bella’s voice sounded. “Isn’t that… weird? Seeing as you fucked Klaus on a weekly basis before he got too busy for us?”
Klaus let out a low growl as he turned to take the bag from her hand. Wrapping his arm around her shoulders to turn her around to leave, he was anxious to escape now. “Again, a discussion we will have shortly. Circumstances between my brother and Myriam simply took an unexpected turn. I have no doubt that we will be seeing her again soon at home,” he murmured to her softly, disturbed by the thought.
“What if your family doesn’t agree with this? With me coming to live with you?”
“Do not concern yourself with them. I will handle it. While we may still be on the outs, I truly do not believe they would take it out on you. If Elijah were to say something, then simply let me know. Considering his level of interest he’s been expressing in Myriam, I believe all it would take is a whisper to her that he’s been giving you a hard time and all would be well,” he smiled at her.
Bella nodded as she followed him in some silence. “I loved seeing your paintings,” she said softly. “I think they’re all beautiful and that you took a hell of a risk baring your soul like that, for everyone to see.”
Klaus’ pulled her in gently to him in response but said nothing else. He hadn’t known what to say as they made their way through the streets at a human pace. Passing a pub, he paused for a moment. “I hadn’t noticed if you’d eaten yet or not. Do you wish to stop, Isabella?”
“I had some of those hors d’oeuvres at your party, I’m good. Work mode usually prevents me from eating anyway.” Just as she spoke, her stomach started to growl. “Did you have to bring up food? Now I’m hungry. I didn’t eat for like… days.”
He smiled at that and pulled her into the Irish pub. “A good thing about places like these is that they still serve some warm, comfort food. We don’t have a chef at home at this hour.”
“Klaus, I can make my own sandwich.”
“Please indulge me?” He put the bags down on the floor and pulled out a chair for her. He had such a hopeful look on his face that she simply couldn’t resist and sat down. He sat down across the table from her and simply looked at her. They had gotten lucky. Well, not really because she still ended up in the arms of Lucien, but it could have been worse.
“I’m grateful that you’re still here, that’s all,” he replied. “But please, the next time you feel as if you need to run away from something, come to me.”
“What good would that have done if I don’t know where you live? It is against the rules,” she reminded him with a frown.
“Ah, yes, but a little birdie told me that she met you. You could have asked her to call me.”
Bella rolled her eyes as she sat back in her chair, her fingers playing with the napkin on the table. “You made it clear to me that day you didn’t want me. Why would I have looked for you?”
“I had hoped we would have had this conversation at home, but I suppose we could do it here…” he said hesitantly. “I would have thought, that despite what I said to you, that you’d still think of me as your friend.”
“I was quite pissed, you know,” she replied. “I still am, but I think I get it. Especially after talking to your Camille.”
He nodded slowly, his eyes narrowing slightly. “Do you now? What is it that you think you believe? Tell me and then please allow me to correct where she may have confused you – and I.”
“I believe that our conversation that night should have started differently, but even then, I’m pretty sure you would have pushed me away even after I told you how I feel about you,” she said carefully. “Because you think I have enough on my plate already and didn’t want me to get caught up in your troubles. You wanted to protect me from that. You still do, but there’s no escaping it. However,” she continued as she let out a breath. “Even humans have their baggage, their shit, and if they get together as a couple, it gets merged as well, so why would this be any different?”
Klaus nodded again, leaning forward on the table so that he could keep his voice low as he looked around the room briefly. An instinct for potential threats. “You are correct. I mostly likely would have done much of the same, pushing you away no matter how the situation had presented itself that day. You must understand, Bella, from my perspective, that the baggage I carry tends to get those that I care for, killed. Even now, you are much too vulnerable and it is difficult to maintain my focus with everything. And now Lucien’s new babbles that I need to have someone look into – to make sure that it isn’t some fairy tale that he isn’t spouting off. You’ve been taking Myriam’s blood and I sired her so if you were turned and according to that ridiculous story…”
She put her hands on his and smiled. “I’m not afraid of death, Klaus. I’m not like any other human. I’m slightly insane and in case you’ve forgotten, I know how to take care of myself. I managed to outrun the most gifted Cold Ones for five years before I grew tired of it.”
“Myriam would like you to turn now, but I know you. I know you’d want that choice for yourself, as much as I – agree with her,” he whispered, unable to look her in the eye.
“You want me to be less fragile.”
She caressed the top of his hand with her thumb as she hesitated. “Would you… still feel the same about me if I turned?”
He let out a sigh. “Of course I would. Why would you ask such a preposterous question? I would not have offered you my blood as often as I had if I didn’t want to give you the opportunity of immortality.” He reached for the glass of bourbon that the waitress set down as he waited for her response.
She smiled at that. “You know of my wish to be a vampire, you know what Edward put me through. I don’t have to marry you first, do I?”
Klaus had started to take a sip and nearly choked, coughing.
Bella grinned as she got the wanted response. “I’m kidding,” she laughed. “I just wanted to see your reaction.”
“Bloody hell! Can’t we simply discuss your moving to the compound and turning first? I confess I lied that day but I hardly see either of us as entering the discussion of nuptials. That is something more to Elijah’s impulses…”
“I know you did. And I understand why you did, not at first, but after talking to Cami I realized what you had done. I may be human, Klaus, but I’m not her. She may have stumbled into the supernatural world, but I dived in, head first, knowing that I’d get some trouble on the way,” she replied, giving his hands a gentle squeeze. “I may have acted out after you denied me, but -”
He drew in a breath again, staring at her. Turning his hands around to grip hers, he tried to give her a reassuring smile. “You did what you had to, to protect yourself. I warned Myriam to let you be. However, as we had said back at the club, we’ve been waiting on information about you and if we learn something I will tell you. But, if you are what we may believe, then you were born into the supernatural world. Not just diving into it, Sweetheart.”
“Speaking of what happened at the club… Why did you two get so upset about Alexis having some of my blood? I know the rules, I should never offer it voluntarily but I have offered it to Myriam. I have offered it to some vampire clients that I had. Sometimes, an extremely thirsty vampire would visit the club and Myriam told me to go to my apartment, afraid that he might attack me or something. I drank yours and Myriam’s blood, why didn’t you ever drink from me? What is it about my blood? Is it toxic? Disgusting? Only good for Cold Ones?”
Klaus shook his head as he tried to think of the best way to tell her his suspicions. “Do you recall my telling you of the doppelgangers? Of how rare their occurrences are?”
“I do,” she said a little warily.
“What you may be, is even more so,” he admitted, his voice full of agitation at saying the words. “Which makes your blood nearly as valuable as my own. However all we are going on is myths, whispers of stories. We’re still looking for confirmations of facts that the stories are true. Regardless of fact or fiction, we decided to err on the side of caution for you and strongly encourage you not to share your blood with anyone. Not even ourselves. Which is why we refused you so many times. Your blood would be too tempting. Trust me, Love. You do smell – delicious. But I prefer you in other ways.”
She smiled at that. “So basically my blood sings to you as well?”
He didn’t smile at that. He couldn’t because it stuck too close to the truth. “That is not funny, and I am not a Cold One, Love.”
“But what would happen to all of that if I turned?”
“It grows stronger, as does your strength. Supposedly. Again, tales.”
She took a sip of her water and smiled at him as options went through her head. “Okay. Well, if you’re still feeling the urge to kill someone, you have my permission to kill me after dinner.”
“No. Not like that,” Klaus denied, pulling his hands apart from hers and shook his head. “I’ll just take you home, get you set up then go question my brother on his intentions with Myriam. Right ol’ blood bath between brothers!”
“We’ll probably end up as best man and maid of honor,” she said with a sour expression on her face.
“Not before she shoves his balls down his throat for trespassing,” he pointed out. “He will have to get past that and she does not forgive easily. I know him. He won’t let up easily on his pursuit of being involved with the business.”
“Myriam’s stubborn as hell. She’s doing a great job, no need for another- wait. Can I still do my job when I live with you? Like… doing her administration? Maybe dance? I won’t do clients anymore, I promise but… or do you wish for me to seek something else?”
His fist curled on the table before moving it underneath to his lap at the mention of continuing to work until she said that she’d stop seeing clients. “If you want to continue working for Myriam, I have no problem with it. Except I would prefer you out of the public eye now…” he said carefully, eyeing her reaction. “I don’t wish to force you, but the thought of other men, seeing you-”
“I’ll find something else to do,” she assured him with a smile. “Maybe I’ll just spent my days in your bed, naked, waiting for you to come to me while I keep your bed warm.”
Klaus raised an eyebrow as his lips curled. “I wouldn’t mind that but I believe you would find that dreadfully boring. Perhaps you can discuss something with Freya when we return home.”
“Hey!” she playfully kicked him under the table. “I’m not going to have sex with your sister. I’m yours. Yours alone. No one else.”
“I’m not suggesting that you sleep with my sister. Thank you though for that clarification,” he blinked, shaking his head as he attempted to get that image out of his head. “I simply meant that you might be able to assist her magic and research. She may be able to help with your singer lore. I have not spoken to her about it, but it’s time we bring the family in as we may need them until you turn.”
Bella nodded as she eyed the huge portion of Shepherd’s Pie appear in front of her and smelled it. “Oh wow, that smells so good!” She then looked at him. “You’re not having anything?”
“I have a different meal in mind when we get home,” he smiled wolfishly, winking. “Enjoy, Love.”
After she finished her food, and they both finished their drinks, Klaus paid for their food and they continued to walk to her new home while she felt as if she could explode. She hadn’t thought she could finish all of the food, but she had, and now she was full. A walk would do her some good, indeed. She had a lot of information to process, new information, new ideas, new thoughts, but she was glad that Klaus wasn’t angry with her or was pushing her away. In fact, he was doing everything he could to draw her in even further. He was very open towards her, he usually was, but this time he didn’t hold back. He gave her facts, he was honest, and it was like she got to see a whole new side of him, one that he usually saved for Myriam only.
She smiled at that. This meant that he truly liked her and wanted to fully include her. Next step: surviving Klaus telling his siblings that she was moving in.