Chapter 09

Kol lied in the bed, his arm propping his head up as he ran his fingers over Bella’s back. He didn’t want to have to get out of the bed to get ready for their next visit to the Sanitorium. Of course, it would seriously cut in on his one on one time with his girl. And he was pleased he could say that, a smile on his face at the thought.

It had taken every ounce of self control not to do more with her than the very thorough massage he had given her, exploring her body with his hands, her squirming underneath his touch and her quiet moans almost made him lose it, but he kept in mind that she wanted to go exploring that night; he didn’t want her to be tired or on cloud nine while doing so, allowing her guard to go down. Perhaps he could persuade her not to go tomorrow.

Had it been anyone else than Bella, he would have just taken what he wanted, but this girl, who was still happily snoozing, could make him do the strangest things. “Hey, sleepy head,” he said in a singsong voice as he drew tiny circles on her back with his fingers that had teasingly grazed over her breasts only hours before, causing her body to spasm into him. So deliciously. “You still want to go and poke at some ghosts tonight?” He wanted her to say ‘no’ so he could show her some other way to relax, but maybe it was a good thing that now there was time to talk about it, because he wasn’t sure if he could have sex without staking a true claim on her.

Bella let out a small moan as she stirred, stretching out like a cat and turned her head to smile sleepily at him. “You really don’t want to go back right away, do you? Was there something else you had in mind?”

He could feel his cock twitch. “Yes,” he admitted as he softly placed a kiss on her forehead. While he hadn’t been sure about taking that step with her, over the course of the day something had changed between them and she was more receptive of him. While he had massaged her, he had felt her body temperature shift. Her juices started flowing and she was definitely turned on as he had touched her, but he felt that it was still a big thing for her. “But that can wait.”

She reached out and ran her hand over his chest, a speculative look on her face. “I have something else in mind too. You may be surprised. I think the only one that would be really disappointed is Jeremy.”

“Well,” Kol tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and looked at her. “First, I’d love to kiss you some more,” he smiled at her. Oh, their make out session had been epic, he’d been over the moon and was so glad that she allowed him to touch her all over during the massage. Best. Day. Ever. “And second…” his hand traveled over her back towards her hips, gently nudging her to fully turn around. “I’d really want everything here with you, but I do have to warn you for when we do – move forward.”

“Warn me?” she asked, her hands exploring his body now in such a way that spoke right into the subject he had initiated.

“I might not be able to fight the urge to claim you as rightfully mine.”

She smiled at him, somewhat expecting what he admitted after her conversation with Myriam. “You mean biting me?”

“Oh, it’s so much more than that,” he said, running a finger up her torso, circling it around one of her nipples. “But yes, mostly biting you at the right moment.”

“I thought that’s what this afternoon was leading to from the moment you told me to hang up with my father, to be honest. I just don’t understand why you’re stalling so hard.”

Kol blinked at her. “Well, mostly because you wanted to go out tonight and I wanted to be sure that that happened, but also because… well… because!” He mumbled, flabbergasted. “What exactly did you discuss with Myriam anyway?”

“Enough to have a larger view of what’s happening and she simply wanted to confirm that I knew what I was getting myself into and that I was okay with it all,” she shrugged. “It is rather amusing how you kept trying to figure out how to admit that you want me.”

“Oh, you devious minx,” Kol barked out a laugh, shaking his head. “And here I thought you were this innocent little being.”

“I mean it, though,” she said as she made him look at her. “Whatever’s happening between us, I think we shouldn’t fight it. I don’t care what other people might think about what we have, but we surely have something and I can feel it bubble underneath my skin, itching to get out. I do admit, that it’s quite frightening, but I’m with you. I trust you, Kol. With everything inside of me, I trust you – I want you.”

He quickly moved to box her in beneath him, pressing his lips to hers. “You do know that there will be no going back because I don’t intend on letting you go anytime soon.”

“I don’t intend on leaving you, Kol,” she replied, her eyes darkened with passion. “Whatever has lead me to you has done that for a reason. As I said to Charlie, I’ve never felt as safe, at ease and more like myself and relaxed when I’m with you,” she said as she dug her hand into his hair. “I am completely yours, everything about me is yours and yours to take.”

“Would you consider making the transition?” he whispered, pressing himself against her so that she was clear on how close to gone he was.

“Yes,” she let out a moan. “I’m yours to do with, whatever you want, need, everything. Yours.”

He captured her lips with his, his hands roaming over her body as they kissed, not bothering with the endless foreplay because they had just had hours of it of him massaging her. She was right, there was something burning inside of him, itching to get out.

She gasped against his mouth as he started to open her up for him with one of his hands, her whole body arching into his as he tried to be patient for this part, but quickly inserted a second finger. “I’ll have to apologize if I hurt you,” he said between frantic kisses.

“Yours,” she reminded him as her nails scratched his back when he inserted a third finger, moving his fingers around – stretching, turning, moving his fingers inside of her before removing them and silencing her moan with his mouth as he pushed inside of her, gently but urgently.

Her legs wrapped around him, giving him better access to her as he sunk inside of her, waiting patiently until she stopped whimpering. “Sorry,” he whispered in her ear before nuzzling her earlobe. When she relaxed again, he started to pull back and push back in, soon settling for a good pace for the both of them.

Kol could feel every fibre of his being being set ablaze as Bella’s body underneath him felt hot to the touch as well, she looked delirious, her eyes had trouble focussing on him and she had this goofy smile on her face that he loved so much. He could feel her body getting closer and closer to the edge, her pants and moans sounded like music to his ears.

Nuzzling her neck, he kept thrusting inside of her and at the moment when both their bodies stilled in ecstasy, he bit her neck, causing her to fly apart even harder against him. Her blood tasted so sweet in his mouth, but he knew when to stop. Kol managed not to topple on top of her as he pulled out of her and pulled her against him as they both recovered from the intense need, intense want for each other. “Mine,” he muttered against her forehead.

“Hmm, yes,” she murmured, smiling with a dazed look up at him.

Kol waited a few moments for her to calm down before he bit into his hand for her to take his blood. Holding his bleeding hand to her lips, he whispered, “Open up… You’ll feel better when you drink.”

Bella gently took hold of his hand and did as she was told, her face scrunching up in disgust as she swallowed his blood, causing Kol to laugh.

“Good girl,” he said as he wiped his hand on the sheet and pulled her back into his arms.

Almost as if on cue to intentionally disturb their comfort, Kol’s cell phone began to ring. It was only then that he realized how late it had gotten while they were lost in one another. Sighing, he rolled over to grab the irritating device. “What do you want?” he demanded as he answered.

Where you two at?” Jeremy’s voice sounded.

“We are in bed…” he answered, a smile in his voice as he reached back over to run his hand over Bella again.

Awesome. Congrats. See you tomorrow!”

“Yup. Later,” he said and hung up.

“Now, had he been a girl, she’d want to know every detail…” Bella murmured as she rolled into him again. “No more phones.”

Kol smirked and handed her his phone. “I could dial Myriam and tell her what happened.”

“Noooo,” Bella tossed the phone to the end of the bed. “No.”

“I figured as much. But, you can bet she’ll sense the change between us after tonight and demand a query.”

“I already told her that that wasn’t going to happen,” Bella replied. “She was so excited to have another ‘girl’ around to do ‘girl talk’ with, someone who wasn’t your sister.”

He merely smiled at her, knowing how persistent his sister was. She still had no idea about how his family fully worked. “Give it time. You’ll find your own way of putting her in her place.”

Bella blinked, almost as if she was missing something. “Hey,” she said as she poked him in the chest with her finger. “Does your blood have healing properties or something?”

“Actually yeah. Why do you ask?” Kol questioned, kissing along her shoulder.

“Because we just had the most amazing sex and I don’t feel the after math. That’s not fair,” she said as she poked him in the chest again. “I want to be able to feel you inside of me still even when you’re not.”

He laughed and lifted his head. “We have all night darling and trust that all you have to do is say the word and I’ll find us someplace private. Or we could just turn you into a little exhibitionist. We could give your ghostly friends a show.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Bella said as she pushed him back onto the mattress and climbed on top of him, wiggling her ass down over his cock as she kissed him. “Now, does this position really work?” she asked innocently before letting out a squeal of delight as Kol grabbed her.

~o.O.o~

Bella woke up the next morning, sore all over and grinned to herself. It was the best feeling ever. She found the bed empty, but heard enough coming from outside the bedroom that she knew that Kol was still inside. She took a few of her new clothes into the bathroom and quickly took a shower before joining him in the kitchen. He looked like a god. Her god. There was almost as if there was a glow coming off of him, he was that perfect. “Morning,” she smiled at him, stopping in front of him to softly kiss him, making him stop moving his blood bags in the fridge. “New batch?”

“Some yes. Myriam restocked her own and grabbed me extra. She isn’t into feeding from the source as much as you’d think considering her relationship with Nik. So she helps keep me pretty well stocked. How’d you sleep?” he asked, his eyes drinking in her curves hungrily.

“Oh, very well,” she giggled as she softly kissed him again. “What about you?”

“Never better. Though you should know that your phone has been pinging all morning. I was tempted to answer it but then saw who it was and left it the hell alone. Anyway, want to to go out for breakfast?”

Bella thought for a moment, knowing that nobody had her number, not even Kol at this point. “Yes, breakfast,” she nodded as she moved past him to get to her phone and listening to her voicemail.

Bella, this is your father speaking, I am going to take the first plane out of Seattle towards New Orleans, you’d better be at the airport around 11 am to come and pick me up!’

Bella stared at Kol in shock. “Oh crap!”

He appeared almost terrified, frozen in place with a blood bag in his hand. Not a great appearance for a fearsome vampire. “This means I have to meet your father so soon?”

“No, no, no, no,” Bella said as she started to pace around. A part of her wanted to run; she wasn’t ready for Charlie herself. Another part didn’t want to let down the viewers who voted for her to go to New Orleans, but screw that. “We need to leave town. Like… totally leave town. Pack up and go. Maybe road trip around America and just see if we find ghosts to share,” she rambled as she ran a hand through her hair. “Yeah, that’s a great idea.” She then stopped to look at Kol. “What do you think?”

Kol raised a brow and nodded. “I’m game. You can start getting us prepared here, packing what we need for the both of us. I’ll run across the street and fill Nik and Myriam in so that they aren’t surprised that we disappeared. And of course call Jeremy.”

“Great. You have bigger suitcases than my small trolley?”

“In the closet. I’ll also take Myriam’s or Nik’s. We’ll be well covered in luggage,” he rushed, kissing her as he pulled a shirt on and headed for the door. “I’ll be back as soon as possible.”

“Okay,” Bella replied as she got a piece of fruit and headed into the bedroom to find those suitcases. The intense fear of Charlie had lessened significantly and she then realized that it was Kol’s own fears that she had picked up on. However, it still was too soon to meet Charlie. She didn’t want to see Charlie this soon, either. She didn’t want to leave New Orleans, not one bit, there was still so much to learn, so much to see, but she knew that she would return eventually. This was home now.

“Oh, I don’t like that look of panic on your face,” Myriam greeted Kol. “Did you kill someone?”

“I need your luggage pieces,” Kol replied as he made his way through the courtyard. “Where is my brother?”

“What’s going on?” Myriam asked worriedly. “Something with Bella?”

He climbed up the stairs, two at a time. “Her father is on his way to New Orleans and she wants to run. Totally does not want to see him so we are going to leave town until he is gone. Nik!”

“Nah, you’re going to leave for longer,” Myriam said as she followed him. “I know your pieces of luggage, you’re going to pack up for much longer. You’d likely want the truck as well?”

Kol stopped short and turned to her. “That’d be great. Which one? Nik’s would be large enough for the three of us and Bella’s new toys. He can always buy a new one.”

“Yeah, sure,” Myriam smiled at him. “Stop by to see me before you leave, I’ll make a voodoo care package for your lovely girlfriend,” she winked.

“Great,” he nodded distractedly and ran for Klaus’ study.

“Brother!” Klaus greeted him with a paintbrush in his hand, the biggest smile on his face as he had caught the two scents on him. “You two decided not to take it easy, then?”

“She let her desires be known. I’m here to let you know we are leaving town for awhile. Keep an eye on my place for me in case some visitors come by?” he asked.

Klaus let out a sigh of relief. It was a good thing that his brother was leaving town with his ghost loving girlfriend, it was very likely that had she continued to do whatever she did, she’d uncover more of his secrets. “Take as long as you need. Is there anything I should be worried about while you’re honeymooning?”

“Bella’s father.”

“Ah, the police chief,” Klaus said playfully. “Not to worry, if we come across him, we’ll keep him occupied and… pleasant.”

“Compel him and send him back home with no desire to chase his daughter down. Your particular style of hospitality isn’t what is needed. Perhaps I should speak to Elijah about this.”

“Nonsense! I solemnly swear that I shall do as you requested… after I try to get every bit of information about your dear Bella from him in order to figure out where she came from, of course.”

“She was an abandoned child. What is there to know? It bothers her enough.”

“You know as well as I do that parents don’t like to tell the whole truth to their children in order to protect them. I want to know if he’s hiding something. Maybe get the location of Bella’s adoptive mother and seek her out as well.”

As much as Kol wanted to protect Bella, Klaus was right; they needed to know more, and parents did lie. He knew that more than any of them. Bella didn’t have to know everything quite yet. “Fine, but not a scratch on them!”

“I promise,” Klaus nodded. “I can be subtle if I have to be.”

“About as subtle as a sledgehammer,” Myriam joked, dropping the couple’s luggage outside the study. “You’ll send us postcards and souvenirs from everywhere, right?”

Kol sighed as he turned to Myriam. “Yes mom.”

“Well, we would like to know everything is okay in case you need help. And other than my occasional trips, I don’t go anywhere because of the old man here. Paint, paint, paint. I should search to see if there are any conventions coming up soon…” Myriam mumbled at the end, heading over to Klaus’ desk to start planning her next trip.

“You’re my muse, love, don’t I paint pretty pictures of you all the time?” Klaus smiled at her before going over to his desk and getting the keys to his truck out of it. “I heard you wanted my truck. Here you go,” he said, handing the keys over to his brother. “Take as long as you both need or want. We’ll take care of your apartment in your absence. Should you run into our wildling sister, tell her to come home for a bit? You could invite me in, instead of it just being Myriam having access…”

“I’m special and his favorite sibling,” Myriam voiced. “There is a vampire convention in Las Vegas! Klaus! Go with me!”

Klaus groaned as an answer. “I’ll go with you to Las Vegas, love, but I’ll be at the casino.”

“Don’t want to put the fake vampires in their place? Pity. I thought you were the baddest of them all.”

“Yeah, so, I’ll be off then,” Kol said as he backed out of the study, knowing just what was about to begin with the two and he wanted to be anywhere else but there. “I’m going to help Bella pack.”

“The smallest luggage case is a gift for Bella,” Myriam said distractedly as she kept her eyes on her vampire. “I hope that the contents will please her.”

“Thanks,” Kol said as he grabbed the bags and headed back to his own apartment. “You’d better packed royally! All of your new clothes and the same amount of mine!” He playfully called out to her, finding her still in the bedroom, carefully packing two suitcases. “Oh, look at you, being all great at packing.”

Bella smiled at him. “I try my best. Are any of the bags from your brother with a hard shell? I want to make sure that nothing can hurt the pricey equipment.”

“Yes,” Kol replied as he got his phone off the bed and dialed Jeremy’s number on speaker.

What’s up?”

“We’re leaving town, how soon can you be ready?”

Oh,” Jeremy sounded a bit bummed about that. “Give me an hour. I’m sure I’ll hear the reason soon enough.”

“Sure,” Kol said, disconnecting the call and looked at the clothes Bella was packing for him. She had packed all of his favourite shirts and had left the ones he didn’t like in the closet. Oh, she was definitely the one. “I’m going to pack up the equipment, and uh… you may want to check the smaller case that I brought back, it’s a gift from Myriam, don’t know what’s in it.”

“I’ll look when we get out of town and settled in somewhere for the night. I just want out of here right now,” Bella said as she eagerly pulled out more clothes to fill the luggage for them. “What about your blood? Can you get it on the road or delivered or something? I’d let you drink from me, but I don’t know how much it would affect things at locations.”

“There are ways to get blood bags once we decide to settle for a week or so, other than that, I’ll get a happy mean along the way and hope it doesn’t set off our friend the vampire hunter.”

Bella nodded, drawing in a breath. “Well, I’m here in a pinch. I won’t let you go hungry. But, right now…packing. There is still a lot to take with us. Any chance you can chip in your super speed?”

“You just heard Jeremy, he’ll be done in an hour and so shall we,” Kol smiled at her. “Besides, while I’m quite accurate when speeding, I don’t want to accidentally break our pretty toys.”

“We’ll put them in last. I’m too anxious to stay here much longer. Dad had to have gotten a red eye and it’s already almost 930am.”

“It’s not 11 am yet,” Kol said as he walked over to her and kissed the top of her head. “But very well, we’ll pack everything up, get the car, move everything in the car and go to Jeremy instead, how’s that?” Before she could give an answer, he zoomed across the room, making sure the clothes were complete before taking everything out of the bathroom. Kol pushed her backpack into her arms, now with her laptop in there and external hard drive and slowed down to pack the equipment into the hardshell suitcase. Once he was done, he looked around, a questionable look on his face. “Shall we bring the xbox too?”

She snorted and nodded. “Sure. Most hotels let you hook up game stations,” she replied. “Jeremy will enjoy it too I’m sure.”

He opened his suitcase and got all the cords, chargers, and whatever they needed for their recharging things and xbox before stuffing it all inside, no matter if it was all tangled or not. “Done. Let me get the car,” he quickly kissed her before speeding out, returning five minutes later with the truck.

Kol wrapped Bella into a blanket and carried her into the car, causing her to giggle. It wasn’t cold enough for a blanket, but she looked so ridiculously adorable all wrapped up. He then started to load up the truck.

“I’m feeling useless now!” Bella called after him.

“I’m here to please your every whim,” he joked. “Your personal slave.”

Bella thought for a moment. “Can we go through the McDonald’s drive thru on our way out for breakfast?”

“Oh, good idea,” Kol smirked as he locked up his apartment and got into the cab. “Off to fetch the Gilbert boy,” he said, starting the car and driving to the hotel where Jeremy was just exiting. “Great timing!”

“A little eager to get out of here to avoid the dad?” Jeremy grinned as he tossed his bags in the backseat and climbed in. “Nice ride. Who’d you steal it from?”

“How did you know that my dad’s coming to town?” Bella shot at him. “Kol didn’t say anything.”

“Really? I thought he did. I swear. That’s weird,” he replied, genuinely confused.

“But yeah, don’t want to face Charlie right now,” Bella said, rubbing her arms in slight agitation.

Jeremy looked at her before turning to Kol who was tapping his hands on the steering wheel anxiously. “Are you sure you aren’t picking up someone else’s anxiety?”

“Yeah, of course I am,” Bella replied before looking at Jeremy. “But I don’t want to see my dad right now.”

“Do you have daddy issues? Because I know someone else here that certainly does,” he pointed out.

“I said yes, Jeremy,” she said as she turned into her seat, back to facing to the front and letting out a sigh of relief when Kol started to drive towards the drive thru. “MacD’s for breakfast, how does that sound?”

He agreed easily. “It’s food. No complaints from me. So, Kol? You’re missing a great opportunity to ask her dad if you could marry her. You couldn’t talk her out of running?”

“If and when Bella and I have the desire to get married, we don’t need anyone’s approval,” Kol replied as he kept his eyes fixed on the road. “Apart from Nik’s, but that’s another thing.”

“I think we’re good,” Bella nodded. “I don’t believe in marriage, it’s stupid and old fashioned. What Kol and I have is so much more. So much better and Myriam says it’s like being married already anyway. Just without papers and parties and fancy dresses… although it would be fun to have a cake, just to have a food fight.”

Kol smiled as he silently drove. He was in agreement with her but he was also a little more sentimental and already thought it would be a gesture her father would appreciate. That is if they would be able to get that far with the man. They did just run out of town in order to avoid him and it felt almost as if he was running from Mikael again.

“Look at that, cloud nine,” Jeremy smirked as he leaned back. “Well, since it’s sharing time, I had some fun last night too.”

“I really don’t need to hear about any conquests,” Bella cringed.

“You didn’t scare the children, did you?” Kol asked, looking in his rearview mirror. “Scarred them for eternity?”

“Oh, no, but the matron made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t too happy with me,” Jeremy grinned. “She set off the fire alarm multiple times.”

Bella sighed and looked over at her boyfriend. “Is there anything you can do to stop him in case we stay somewhere haunted?”

“What do you mean?” Kol blinked at her as he turned to go through the drive thru.

“That he doesn’t disturb the dead like that? I don’t want to have to hear their complaints.”

“You hear that, Jer? While we’re on the road, no nookie in the same building we’re staying at,” he said, eying him in the mirror.

“What! What about you guys? There’s no way that now that you two have happened, you won’t have any!” Jeremy protested.

Welcome to McDonalds!” A disembodied voice sounded through the speaker. “How may I help you today?”

“Yeah, can I have -” Kol started to speak and scrunched his face at the menu. “Two bacon and egg bagels…” He looked over at Bella for her order.

“A big mac and-” she saw the incredulous look on his face. “What? It’s breakfast! It’s got bread, cheese and salad and meat!”

Kol shook his head. “They don’t have that until 11:00.”

Bella scowled. “Pancakes and a Sausage McMuffin then.”

“Pancakes and sausage McMuffin,” he added, calling out to the speaker with the potential evp material.

“And I’ll have three of what you’re having, Kol, please,” Jeremy said from the backseat.

“Make that five bagel sandwiches instead of two. And ten hashbrowns, and three large coffees.”

“Oh, can I have a caramel mocha instead?”

“And a caramel mocha thingie,” Kol included, glancing in his rearview mirror. “And add in a M&M McFlurry for the kid the backseat.”

“Hey!” Jeremy objected, then thought for a moment, bursting out in a big smile. “Thanks!”

Bella was quiet as she poked Kol’s arm. “I want an Oreo one.”

“And an Oreo McFlurry…”

“And orange juice.”

“And a large orange juice,” Kol added. “That will be all, thank you.”

There was some silence before the disembodied voice responded. “Five bacon and egg bagels, one hotcakes, one sausage McMuffin, three large coffees, two McFlurries, one Oreo and one M&M, and caramel mocha latte, and large orange juice. Would you like the latte hot or iced?”

“Hot.”

And how would you like coffees?”

“Light and sweet like my girl.”

Bella giggled uncontrollably.

That will be $43.39. Please drive up to the first window.

Jeremy rustled into his pocket and handed Kol a 50 dollar bill. “Breakfast is on me.”

Kol snatched the money when he stopped at the window to pay the guy, smiling cheerfully at the scowl he received for their ridiculous order. “Having a good day, mate?”

“Peachy, sir, just peachy,” the guy greeted him as he rung them up.

“Hey, uhm…” Bella leaned forward to look at the guy. “Is your name Tim, perhaps?”

Kol let out a sigh. “Here we go…”

The guy looked at them suspiciously. “Why?”

“Your nana Patrice is very proud of you,” Bella smiled.

Tim shoved their change into Kol’s hand. “You’re weird lady.”

“Oh, I know, don’t worry about that,” she said as if she was listening. “Patrice thinks you’re an amazing father as well, to your little girl? Yeah. Don’t worry, that rash on her bum will disappear within a couple of days.”

“Look lady, I don’t know who you are but you are really freaking me out. I should call the cops.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. I sometimes just can’t help myself. Patrice wanted me to tell you this so bad.”

“My grandmother is dead so you need to leave before I really do call the cops.”

“You’ll have to excuse my sister,” Jeremy said as he pulled Bella back into her seat. “She’s not entirely right in her head. We’ll go to the next window and get our stuff. Sorry to bother you.”

Tim shooed them away, disturbed by the group entirely.

“Did you have to do that?” Jeremy scolded Bella, removing his hand from her.

“I couldn’t help it!” Bella shot at him. “Patrice was yelling and yelling ever since we pulled up to the speaker and she wouldn’t shut up until I told her grandson how wonderful he is.”

“About as wonderful as my next source of blood,” Kol joked. “We can’t do that with everyone. Many people just aren’t open to the paranormal.”

“I know that, Kol,” Bella said angrily. “Jake was the one going out in the world to get me food, I only left the hotel for adventures or to travel because sometimes, despite all my efforts, the dead won’t shut up. I got punched a few times because I couldn’t stop it in the past and people don’t like to hear positive messages from the dead. Obviously.” She then let out a sigh as they rolled up to the next window. “I’ve been good so far, excuse me for this slip.”

As soon as they stopped again, Kol put the truck into park and turned to her. “I understand. I do, but we need to try to more careful and this is our first time outside of what became our comfort zone. We’ve gotten so used to the apartment that I’m sure it will be overwhelming the coming days. I’ll do what I can to help you, but I don’t know how to keep them from harassing you.”

“I’ll be fine,” she said softly. “I’m sorry, okay? I should have a better handle on this by now.”

“No. It’s our fault for not anticipating this. We just got too used to having the world to ourselves,” he assured her, pulling her to him and kissing her temple. “You’ll be fine.”

“Dude. Kiss later. Food now,” Jeremy interrupted, along with his stomach growling loudly.

After their breakfast, Kol continued to drive as Bella fell asleep next to him. “We really need a better game plan, Gilbert.”

“You can just compel them after she does something like this again,” Jeremy said with a shrug, pulling out his phone. “Make them forget.”

“It’s definitely worth considering. Especially if they are as uneasy by it as this guy was,” Kol agreed.

Jeremy was quiet for a moment as he was thinking and then spoke up. “Did you feed her your blood lately?”

“Of course.”

“Yeah, see, I think that’s one of the problems right there. She has a handle on her abilities, but with your blood in her system fucking things up…”

“Oh, so now it’s my fault!” Kol huffed. “No, Gilbert, and you’d better shut up before I pull this car over and leave you on the side of the road. Give her some time, she’ll be alright.”

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