TrashPanda: Bella! 3
CeilingCat: Want to go for lunch? Just us two?
Bella had thought about it, long and hard, and she figured that if she needed to fix things, the best way was to start with Myriam. It’s where it all started in the first place. It was Myriam who had kept an eye on Bella from a distance the moment they realized that she was something special and through Myriam, Bella got to know the Mikaelsons.
TrashPanda: I can’t.
Myriam took way too long to answer and Bella’s heart sank. She had fucked up, hadn’t she?
CeilingCat: Dinner, then?
TrashPanda: Sure. Come to dinner at the compound tonight, I’m sure everyone will love to see you! 3
No, no, no. Bella wasn’t ready for that! She had not prepared herself for this outcome.
TrashPanda: Either come to the compound tonight – we have a very good French chef at the moment – or, we’ll come over to your place. Yes, we know you’ve been our neighbor for quite a while now 😉 You can fool the eyes, but not the nose!
Bella’s jaw nearly dropped to the floor. She should have known, she should have, but… damnit.
CeilingCat: What time?
TrashPanda: Well, you could go over there now, I don’t care. I’m at work so I’ll see you tonight.
This was entrapment. This wasn’t fair. She had thought she’d go to lunch or dinner with Myriam and talk with her about stuff. Make sure that the friendship was still there and now this?
CeilingCat: How about I come to your work for coffee?
TrashPanda: Can’t do that, Bella. See you tonight! 3
Bella tried not to freak out for the rest of the day as she kept pacing back and forth in her apartment, thinking of scenarios and how that would play out and what would happen if something went wrong. Maybe Myriam didn’t want to be her friend anymore and Myriam would need the rest of the family to back her up. Or be present.
Was Myriam scared of her now?
Was Bella going to be able to deal with everyone at once?
Since when had Bella turned into such a chicken?
Well, she could answer that last question; despite the fact that the witches had dropped all of their spells and influencing on the family, Bella wasn’t sure what she was going to walk into. It was almost as if the whole experience had given Bella social anxiety and that was wrong. But it was still a nagging feeling in the back of her mind. What if. What if they resented her? What if they weren’t happy? What if, what if, what if.
What if they were alright but they didn’t want her around anymore?
By the time it was dinner time, Bella had polished off half a bottle of wine for liquid courage, but sadly, she didn’t feel any different. Sighing, she grabbed her keys and her phone and headed across the street. Much to her surprise, she found the place deserted. It had an eerie feeling about it too; all the lights were out and the only illumination the courtyard received was from the light outside.
This was a clear message to her, wasn’t it? They didn’t want her anymore. Sighing heavily, she turned around and started to walk out of there, only to be stopped by Elijah. Of all people, it had to be Elijah. “Yeah, don’t worry, Elijah,” she sighed as she looked up at him. “I’ll go.”
Elijah smiled at that. “Rejection hurts, doesn’t it?”
She narrowed her eyes on him, remembering all the times Kol tried to get his brother’s attention in the past and always being rejected. “You’re one to talk.”
He gestured around them. “This is what my siblings have been experiencing in the last couple of weeks after you successfully bargained with the Regent. Now, I’ve seen them all at their worst before, but not for this long and certainly not this intense. This was Ms. Jenkins’ idea.”
“I get it. I’ll leave.”
“You don’t ‘get it’, at all, Ms. Swan, and leaving is certainly not the answer. Allow me to escort you to the bar where they’ve all gathered for dinner. Ms. Jenkins also implied you’d feel more comfortable with other people around,” he stepped aside and motioned with his hand for her to follow him.
Reluctantly, Bella followed him. Elijah wasn’t her biggest fan, she knew this. This was a fact. Even before all of the meddling of the witches, Elijah didn’t like her very much. Kol had brushed it off as Bella being too powerful and having the potential to be worse than Klaus and Kol combined and that she shouldn’t listen to Elijah.
However, he was the eldest of the Mikaelsons. He knew his siblings well. Elijah had a good head on his shoulders and maybe he was right about Bella; and she was the one in denial. She did have the potential to be incredibly dangerous and do some serious damage. It was one of the reasons why she had thought about leaving New Orleans and this family behind; she didn’t want them to get hurt because of her. Not again.
And on the way to the bar where his siblings were, Elijah validated every single fear that she had about this dinner, every ounce of guilt she felt, seemed to be weighing even heavier by the time they were close and Bella fought the instinct to shut Elijah up. Despite how correct he was, his words hurt and she wanted it to stop. “Why do you think I’ve been avoiding all of you?”
“You got yourself an apartment right across the street; I hardly call that avoiding.”
“Helios bought it for me, it’s not as if I had a hand in it!”
“You could have resold it and find some other place,” Elijah said simply before he swung the door to Rousseau’s open. “There you go. We’re right at the back of this establishment,” he added. “And if your first words to my family aren’t ‘I am sorry’, you will be.”
“You’ve made your point,” she said softly, still resisting the urge to turn him into a cockroach or something. “Now stop before I will do something I might regret.” While she knew Elijah was only rubbing salt in her wounds, she couldn’t help but feel as if she had shrunk to the size of an ant. Had Elijah’s presence at the compound been Myriam’s idea as well?
“And risk the wrath of my siblings? Come now, Isabella, here I thought you wanted to try to fix things!” Elijah made his way through the crowd and joined his family for dinner.
Why had she left the silver dagger at the apartment?
“Elijah, what took you so long?” Klaus questioned his brother. “You said it was merely an errand you needed to run!”
“I happened upon Ms. Bella,” Elijah replied as he unfolded a napkin and put it down in his lap. “It would have been rude of me to have her walk here by herself, wouldn’t it?” He nodded towards Bella who had now followed him through the crowd and had made a beeline towards the bar. “I believe she was invited for dinner? How rude of her not to say hello first.”
“Allow the girl to get some liquid courage before she faces us, brother,” Klaus playfully replied; his voice the complete opposite of the look of worry and concern on his face as he watched her. “It’s likely she only anticipated having to deal with Myriam before Myriam decided that it was best to pull off the proverbial band-aid and have her face us all at once.” There was no doubt in his mind that his brother had likely made things worse in Bella’s mind. It showed true courage on Bella’s behalf that she still came, and he couldn’t be more proud of her.
Bella had tried to get the attention of the female bartender for a while now, but she was either purposefully ignoring her, or too busy to notice her. That, or Bella had truly shrunk to the size of an ant and she had to start avoiding getting trampled. She didn’t think she was that short.
“You look like you could use a drink,” a friendly voice spoke next to her. English accent but not familiar so it was likely safe to look up. When she did, she stared at the handsome young man with beautiful blue eyes and nodded. If he could get her a drink quicker, then yes. “What’s your poison?”
“Whiskey or bourbon or vodka… anything, thanks,” she smiled at him before looking back at the bartender, willing the woman to walk over to them.
A hand appeared in front of her, making her look at the hand and noticing that it came from the guy. “I’m Kaleb,” he smiled at her. “What’s your name?”
“Bella,” she replied, not taking his hand. “I could really use that drink, Kaleb,” she replied, a certain urgency in her voice.
“Alright, alright,” he laughed and got the attention of the bartender.
The moment the shot of vodka appeared in front of Bella, she downed it and hoped that it would be refilled. She needed more. She could feel how Kaleb slipped an arm around her which made her look up at him and he winked, downing his own shot.
“How about we go some place quiet and talk about what’s bothering you?”
Smoothe. Did that actually work on people? Bella didn’t have a chance to respond because without blinking, Kol had pried the arm off of her and twisted it behind Kaleb’s back. She could have sworn she heard something break. “Kol!”
“Getting a little handsy with the ladies, huh?” Kol bent Kaleb’s arm even further, causing the boy to double over. “Buying her a drink?”
“Kol, stop,” Bella put her hand on his arm, but all she got in return was Kol looking at her as if he was possessed – which he wasn’t. There was no magical aura, there was nothing there. This truly was Kol and he was now dragging Kaleb towards the exit.
“Well, that’s another witch down,” Klaus commented from behind her.
She quickly looked over her shoulder before running after Kol. “No, no, no, no!” She followed him into the alley where he was smacking Kaleb against the wall, vamp face out. “Kol!”
“Stay out of this, Bella,” he shot at her, not removing his eyes from the witch. “How dare he get to touch you while I haven’t been able to touch you in weeks! YEARS!”
Oh, that was hot. It was so wrong but so hot. “Kol, he didn’t attack me, or you, let him go.”
“If anything, he attacked me,” Kaleb replied before he received a blow to the face. “You wanker!”
“Go near my girl again and I swear, I will tear your skin off so slowly you will beg for death,” Kol spat at the witch before throwing him out onto the street. Ignoring his siblings who had followed them onto the street, he pulled Bella towards him and then pushed her against the wall, gently, locking her in with his arms so she couldn’t escape. He still had this delirious look on his face, but his vamp face was gone. “We have unfinished business, you and I. You daggered me.”
“I told you I was sorry,” she said breathlessly as she looked at him. Despite everything, she knew he wasn’t going to hurt her. She wasn’t scared. No, she was turned on and the whole experience was confusing. “And I am. For everything,” Bella continued. “For leaving for so long, for the witches, for Davina, for daggering you and then not showing my face for weeks… I hurt you and betrayed your trust by doing what I said I wouldn’t be doing and-”
“What are you doing?” Kol took a step closer to her, his voice kinder now.
Confused, she blinked at him. “I’m apologizing.”
“For a lot more than you should.”
“The way I see it, we’re even, you and I. I betrayed you by putting you under the influence of the Dark Object and you retaliated by daggering me. I had that coming. I am grateful it only lasted for less than an hour; I believe you scared yourself by doing that to me, isn’t that enough?”
“This is disappointing,” Elijah muttered.
“Shut up, brother,” Rebekah hit him on the arm. “This is so much better than The Notebook!”
“I understand, Bella, I know why you did the things you did and how hard it must have been for you to do it and I don’t feel you should apologize for that,” Kol took another step closer to her, he could hear her heart beat so loud that it was causing the air to resonate slightly. “What you should apologize for is for living next door for weeks without as much as a ‘hi’. I’d have gladly given you the space you required because I know that you hurt. Perhaps even more than I hurt.”
“I deserve it, it’s my own fault I wasn’t here and-”
“No, this is on me,” he smiled at her. “I should have listened to you when you said New Orleans wasn’t going to be a good idea. What happened on the bridge is on those relatives of yours, not giving you the proper training before setting you off in the real world and I am glad that that has changed. I would have been fine waiting for you for an eternity but, what happened next was all on the Ancestors,” he gently pushed a wayward strand of her hair out of her face. “Witches have a notorious history of being manipulative. We should have recognized the signs early on, especially when that spell failed to hold on Nik as it did. But we all ignored it and we should have known better that you never would have turned on us the way they made us believe. No matter how much you distaste Elijah and his wardrobe.”
“I don’t distaste Elijah. His wardrobe… yes,” Bella replied with a small smile on her face. “He does have some valid points about why you shouldn’t keep me around.”
“Nonsense,” Kol huffed as he looked over to his brother. “He’s as narrow minded as the witches, why do you think they were able to keep on manipulating us? Elijah only wants what’s best for the family in his mind, and he’s so very wrong about you.”
“This is preposterous,” Elijah huffed as he shook his head. “If we’re not going to have dinner as a family, I shall take my leave and find my own.”
“For once I have to agree with Elijah, I’m hungry,” Myriam piped up. “Let’s go back inside and have dinner, we can talk some more while we have some good food.”
Kol took another step closer to Bella, he was so close now, they were almost touching and stared her right in the eyes. He could hear her heart speed up again and Bella’s pupils were dilated and it gave him hope, so much hope. “You go ahead and order for us too, Bella and I have some unfinished business, won’t be a minute.” After his siblings walked away, he spoke again. “You’re still mine, Bella, and if you want me to be, I’m still yours.”
“Don’t you need time to get over-”
“No,” he growled lowly. “Don’t go there, my beautiful goddess. I had my revenge when I killed her. What she and I had wasn’t real. You and me. We are real. I never stopped loving you. Never.” He put his forehead against hers, still blocking her exits with both arms. “I always dismissed it as a form of mourning while that bitch had me under her spell but it wasn’t. It was you, all along, trying to get through to me even while you weren’t around,” he took a deep breath. “I know you said we’re broken and that you weren’t sure yet if you wanted us to be fixed but Bella, I’ll do anything to fix what’s broken. I even destroyed the Dark Object that I- I should have never used it on you.”
“Stop thinking so much, Bella, get out of your head before you hurt yourself,” he kissed the top of her head. “Please. Nothing is as bad as you think. Nothing is as broken as you believe it to be. Don’t be scared – it’ll be -”
While Bella believed this was too much like one of her fanfictions, there was a truth in what Kol was saying. He needed her, but she needed him just as bad. She grabbed the sides of his head and pulled him in for a desperate but passionate kiss that didn’t last as long as she wanted to but eventually she needed air. Sighing happily, she looked up at him and saw that stupid goofy grin on his face that likely mirrored her own. “I only have one request.”
“Anything,” he said all giddy as he pulled her into his arms.
“For as long as we want to stay in New Orleans, you’re going to stay with me. Not at the compound but with me.”
She softly brushed his lips with hers. “So, in how much trouble am I, really?”
Kol shrugged. “Well, you might be on Myriam’s shit list for going dark these past weeks. If she did any bitching about you, it was about that. Now, I understand and all, and I believe Nik does too, to a certain degree, but she missed you like crazy, Bella.”
“I’ve been a shitty friend.”
“You have been a shitty friend,” Kol agreed. “But you can fix that. Come, let’s go eat.”