Rebekah insisted they’d start the drive back the next day and had found them an amazing convertible that would be comfortable for all three of them. Bella objected to it for a moment, it was at least a two day drive if driving without stopping for sleep and food, she was afraid what would happen if she didn’t get off the plane with her classmates the following day. Rebekah assured her it was going to be alright and that she had to consider it a big middle finger towards the Cullens. Bella did call her father though, about how she was travelling back with some new friends instead of with her classmates and how it would to take a few days longer for her to return.
Kol chipped in that a road trip sounded fun and off they went. They stopped in Shreveport for lunch and then drove straight through Oklahoma to Kansas where they stayed the night. Bella had to admit, it was fun and it gave the three of them to get to know each other better. Not to mention the throve of history details Rebekah was telling them about New Orleans so Bella at least could finish her paper.
The most interesting part of the first part of the trip was when Rebekah and Kol were trying to remember and count the many times they had been sidelined by their siblings. While Kol was down for longer periods of time, Rebekah received the dagger treatment the most. Bella just sat in the back seat and watched the siblings bicker. Despite some of the subjects they were bickering about (murder, mayhem…), she realized it would have been fun if she had had a sibling of her own when growing up. She liked being alone, but to see Kol and Rebekah act like a real brother and sister (opposed to the Cullens) was hilarious.
Day three saw them make a detour to Yellowstone National Park, just because they could. It was where Kol discovered he could still do magic, just not as powerful as in New Orleans. He tried to push his sister to the edge of a ravine, just for fun and Bella stopped him in time for his sister not to plunge down the mountain. Immortal or not, she wanted Rebekah in one piece.
The day after, they drove to Salem. It was Rebekah’s revenge over Kol for trying to push her off the cliff the day before. Bella snickered when she told Rebekah it had been the wrong Salem, that she meant to visit Salem, Massachusetts, and not Oregon. Rebekah tried to cover up her mistake but Bella wasn’t fooled, neither was Kol.
When they arrived in Forks the next day, Rebekah commented that she could already tell Forks was the most dull town she’d ever been in and that the weather was going to ruin her hair. Even Mystic Falls had something going for it and what kind of a name was Forks anyway? What was the next town called? Spoons?
Bella only made it worse by saying La Push was close by, which caused Kol to let out a maniacal giggle as Rebekah started off a rant about pushing Forks up someone’s sparkly ass when she’d get the chance.
Rebekah’s ranting lasted up until they pulled up to the drive at the Swan house, with Rebekah letting out a whine. She found the house a bit too small for her liking, which let Kol to apologize for Rebekah’s behaviour as sometimes she could be a little bit snobby.
“Now, remember, Cuddles,” Kol said to Bella as they were getting out of the car. “You can greet your dad and all, but don’t forget to invite Bekah in so she can compel your father.”
“I’m still not comfortable with that…”
“Oh, don’t worry, little dove, it doesn’t hurt and it’ll be for the best. I mean, I’m going to have to compel all the teachers at your school as well. It’s an occupational hazard. Now, go greet your father.”
Bella entered the house and found her father sitting at the dining table, polishing his gun, much in the same way when she brought Edward home for the first time. “You’re glued to that gun, aren’t you?” Bella greeted him as she hugged him as tight as she could, glad to feel his strong arms around her again.
“You have questionable friends sometimes,” Charlie muttered as he returned the hug. “Glad to see you’re okay, Bells.”
“Of course I am,” she smiled at him. “My new friends made sure nothing happened to me. Oh, let me get them for you.” She walked to the door and smiled. “Kaleb, Rebekah, are you two coming inside or what?” She found it strange to call Kol, Kaleb, but both he and Rebekah insisted as Kol wasn’t the name on his passport.
Charlie rose from his chair when Kol entered the house. Charlie tried to make himself taller than Kol, to exert authority. It didn’t work, of course, as Kol was taller, end of. It was adorable though how her father tried. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Swan, Bella’s told me all about you, I’m Kaleb,” he introduced himself and extended his hand.
“Uh huh. You like fishing boy?”
Kol had a slight panicked look on his face as he looked at Bella who sported a wide grin. “I don’t know, sir, I haven’t tried yet, but I’m willing to?” He had done some fishing for food on a daily basis of course, when he was a child but it sucked. But for Bella he’d try anything, though he wouldn’t admit to it. Not yet. Maybe her father could make it fun.
Charlie nodded as his lips curled into a small smile. His daughter’s boyfriend almost ran for the hills when he mentioned fishing. He looked at the blond girl stepping inside his house and it reminded him of Edward’s sister, whose name he didn’t quite remember just now. He feared she was the same sort of woman and the way Edward’s sister treated his little girl was cold and standoffish, he sinceriously hoped this was not the case with Kaleb’s sister..
“My name is Rebekah,” she introduced herself, extending her hand for Charlie to take it. When Charlie did, she pulled him closer and looked him in the eye. “My brother and I lost our parents recently and our guardian, our older brother Elijah, thought it would be a good idea for us to have a change of scenery while we try to heal from this horrible ordeal. We are forever grateful for you to open up your house to us and our brother will make sure to send you money to feed us. Your daughter assured our brother that you’d look out for us as you’d do with your own blood.”
“Yes, yes of course,” Charlie muttered. “If I can’t help other people, then what kind of police chief am I?”
Rebekah smiled as she released him from her hold and looked around. “What a wonderful home you have, Mr. Swan. Are you sure you have beds for Kaleb and I?”
“Of course,” Charlie said as he started to put away his gun. With his house now filled with teenagers it wasn’t a good idea to have it laying around. “Jacob Black helped me clear the attic and helped me bring the beds up there…” he said before looking at Bella. “Uhm, sweetheart…”
Bella looked at her father and saw the look on his face. It was the same look he had whenever he had to inform a family member someone had died. “Charlie?” she questioned a bit uneasy.
“I know you’ve just come home and you still need to unpack and all, but I’d rather you hear it from me now than in passing…”
Instinctively she moved closer to Kol and grabbed his hand. The Cullens had done something irreversible, she just knew it.
“Seth Clearwater died two days ago.”
She felt the colour drain from her face. “How?”
“One of those animal attacks we’ve been dealing with recently. He must have gotten too far away from home in the mountains, I’m sorry sweetheart. Hadn’t he been discovered, we wouldn’t have known.”
“Who found him?” She stammered, trying to keep herself from crying. Seth had always been one of her favourite kids at La Push. He was always happy and active and so pure of heart, knowing he wasn’t there any more felt as if her heart was getting ripped apart.
“Edward. He was quite shaken up by it.” He took a step towards his daughter but when she turned into the boy, Kaleb, stopped the approach. “Want me to call him for you?”
“No!” Bella said as she ran up the stairs towards her room, finding Edward sitting on her bed. “The fuck!”
“Hey, Bella,” he greeted her in his soft voice, his eyes begging for her to do the same as not to have the whole house listen in on their conversation. “I suppose your father has told you about Seth?”
“You’re not supposed to be here,” she hissed. “Get the fuck out, Edward.”
“Hey now,” he said as he got up and pulled her into his arms, locking her in. “That’s no way to talk to me, Bella, I’m glad you’re home.”
“Edward please,” she said as she tried to wiggle her way out of his hold. “You killed him, didn’t you? Because of New Orleans.”
“No, I didn’t,” he said as he ran his hands through her hair. “I did it because you broke so many rules and I told you there’d be consequences.”
Bella growled and kneed him in the groin, ending up hearing bones shatter in her knee instead of having him letting go of her. “Ow fuck!” she cried out. “You asshole! Get out of my house, now!”
“Bella, everything alright, Cuddles?” she heard Kol’s voice from outside her bedroom.
“You brought them here?” Edward immediately let go of Bella, who thankfully fell on her bed. “Bella, I am disappointed, we’re not done talking.”
Bella saw Edward jump out of her window and cursed under her breath. Her knee fucking hurt. “No, everything’s not alright,” she whined as tears ran down her cheeks.
The door almost flew off its hinges before Kol stepped inside and he quickly made his way over to her side. “Rebekah said something about sparkles, but with your dad downstairs she couldn’t be clearer nor rush upstairs… Was he here?”
“Gloating,” she said as she gritted her teeth and pulled up her jeans leg, revealing a knee which seemed to be in shambles and swelling up.
“That looks painful,” Kol said shocked. “Did he hurt you?”
“I hurt myself,” she said as she shook her head. “Tried to knee him in the privates.”
“That’s my girl,” Kol said with pride in his voice and put his arm around her. “Don’t worry cuddles, we’ll have you dancing in no time.”
“Funny,” she remarked. “I need to go to the hospital.”
“Nonsense,” he replied as he looked around. “Bekah, come have a look at Bella’s room! It’s marvellous! She has fairy lights!”
Even though she was in pain, Bella blushed at the mention of the fairy lights. It was girly, whereas she didn’t like girly activities that much. She had to admit, the spa visit of the other day hadn’t been too bad.
“Oh, you’re right, this room is great!” Rebekah said as she took a quick look around before finding Bella in agony on the bed. “I knew it, he was here!”
“There’s nothing you could have done without making Charlie suspicious,” Bella winced as Rebekah had taken a bite out of her wrist and was offering it to her. “Ew!” she exclaimed as she saw the blood appear from the two tiny holes on the other girl’s wrist.
“Just drink, little dove,” Rebekah’s tone of voice was kind as she sat down on the other side of her. “It’ll save you a trip to hospital.”
“She kneed him in the privates,” Kol grinned at his sister while Bella still looked appalled by the idea of drinking vampire blood. “He didn’t get hurt, but it’s the thought that matters.”
“Well done,” she smiled at the girl before pressing her bleeding wrist to Bella’s mouth. “It’s just blood, darling, it will heal your knee.”
She tried hard not to gag when she reluctantly started to do as told until Rebekah removed her wrist. Bella wiped off her mouth as she had the feeling there was blood everywhere. She hoped her stomach was strong enough to keep it down. Blood freaked her out. In the mean time, she saw the swelling of her knee go down and heard it snap back in place. It was hard not to panic because of the sensation. “Thank you, Rebekah,” she said softly.
“Next time you want to kick him, please do wait until I’m present so I can cheer you on,” she smiled at her.
“So what was he gloating about then?” Kol asked as he gently rubbed Bella’s back.
“Killing Seth, but he said it was my fault because I broke the rules…”
“Unless you were the one to actually kill the boy, it really wasn’t,” Rebekah growled. Edward was showing tendencies she had experienced a lot with Klaus. “Can’t I just go and kill them all? It would make your life a lot easier.”
“No!” Bella said shocked. “Absolutely not. They’re a big family with Carlisle being a doctor. Someone will miss them and no matter how discreet you’d be, it’ll be a mess.”
“Darling, even if I have to compel the entire town…”
“You can take some fingers, how’s that?” Bella said after a moment of thought. “Then he pays for Seth’s death and it will prevent him from performing his favourite hobby.”
“What? Beating you?”
“He never beat me,” Bella rolled her eyes. “No, playing the piano is where his heart lies. Cold Ones don’t need sleep and he can play all night and day if he wants to.”
“But killing is much more fun,” Rebekah pouted.
“No killing in Forks, please.”
“Fine, we’ll do it your way,” Rebekah responded with a deep, over dramatic sigh. “I have to admit though, you said you weren’t girly. I’d say this room proves otherwise. It’s elegant.”
“Yes, and it will be the young man’s room, I’m afraid,” Charlie said as he stood in the door opening. “You girls are in the attic.”
“It’s alright,” Kol said with a smile, already his mind was working overdrive. If Edtwat had a habit of sneaking in at night, he’d be in for a surprise. It beat having to spell the windows so they wouldn’t be able to be opened by any supernatural being.
“How tired are you from travelling, Bells? If we’re going to eat tonight we’d need some groceries.”
“Yeah, we can go,” Bella said with a nod. “It’s a good opportunity to show these two around while you do your background checks, huh?”
“I’m just going to call their brother,” Charlie muttered as he walked away.
“I am so glad I brought some toys with me,” Kol smiled as he helped Bella to her feet.
“Oh, ugh. Kol.” Rebekah said, disgust was evident in her voice. “I do not wish to know the details of your sex-life.”
“You went there, Bekah, not me.” Kol pointed out with a laugh.
Bella took them to the supermarket where they ran into Jacob. She hadn’t spoken to Jacob in a long time and usually when he saw her, he’d make sure he would be out of her way because Edward was with her, but now he just stood there and looked at her. His eyes seemed to have lost their sparkle, which was no wonder after what he was going through. “Lost your ball and chain, did you?”
Bella ran up to him and hugged him tight. “I’m so sorry about Seth, Jake…” she said softly.
“Yeah,” he said after taking a deep breath and returning the hug. “Me too… I swear, everyone’s on a warpath. They’ll get what’s – you’re not going to tell them, are you?”
“No,” she shook her head as she let go of him. “Do what you feel what’s right.”
“They killed one of us, Bella, the treaty is no longer valid.”
“I know.” When Jake didn’t say anything but just looked at her, she spoke again. “What?”
“I kinda expected you to call your boyfriend immediately, seeing as you two are two peas in a pod.”
“Well, I’m not. When’s the funeral?”
“We’re going to send him off tomorrow, if Leah ever lets go of his body that is. Will you be there?” He asked hopeful.
Bella looked over her shoulder and then back to Jacob. “Can my friends come too?” She asked carefully, knowing it was something special for an outsider to join in on a ritual, but to have her bring two extra, it was something else. “They’re good people who are going to help me.”
“Help you with what? Get rid of Douchebag? Bella, I’ve told you we’d help you with that, why did you never ask us to? Why them and not us? We’re almost family for fuck’s sake!” he breezed. “Especially now Seth’s gone… we want to help you.”
“And I have told you, I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Bull.” Jacob said before he stomped out of the supermarket.
“Was he your wolf friend?” Kol asked as he and Rebekah followed Bella through the entry gates. “Quite a temper, hasn’t he?”
“He’s just upset,” Bella sulked as she stuffed her hands in her pockets with a shrug. “I don’t blame him.” Seeing Jake and how much in pain he was, made her only feel guilty again about Seth. She hadn’t killed him but he was dead because of her and it made it worse. “What are you in the mood for tonight for dinner?”
“If you don’t want me to snack on people the next few weeks we need to pay a visit to the blood bank,” Rebekah reminded her.
“How did you survive the last few days?”
“You don’t want to know, little dove,” Rebekah smiled knowingly and pointed at some lettuce. “How about a salad for tonight?”
After paying for their groceries, Bella took them to the blood bank where it didn’t take long for Rebekah to come back with a cooler filled with bags of blood. “Uhm… where are you going to keep all that?”
“In your fridge, of course,” Rebekah said with a shrug.
“What about Charlie?”
“I’ll compel him to buy another fridge so I can use this one?”
Bella was quiet as they walked back but turned around just before they would enter the house. “All this compelling won’t scramble his brain, would it?”
“Don’t worry,” Kol said as he opened the door for her. “It’s safe. Rebekah knows what she’s doing.”
After dinner, Charlie got a call from the station he needed to come in for some reason and left, which gave Rebekah the opportunity to bring their luggage up to the attic while Kol and Bella did the dishes. “Would you like me to bring some of your belongings up to the loft, little dove? Such as your wardrobe and your beautiful fairy lights?” Rebekah then called from the landing. “Now your father and Kol won’t have to do it!”
“Sure, Rebekah, whatever you feel like doing!”
Bella was pretty sure she could hear a squeal coming from upstairs and then looked at Kol, who was smirking. “What?”
“She’s probably going to decorate the entire loft now.”
“Oh, let her. This is going to be her home for the next couple of weeks,” Bella smiled at him. “We could get you some stuff too.”
“Oh yeah, such as?”
“Toy cars. GI-Joes.”
Kol sounded mortified. “No.”
“Barbies?” Bella teased as she splashed a bit of washing up liquid at him. “Pink curtains?”
“Stop it,” he chuckled and smacked her ass with the towel.
“Oh! No, I know! I know!” Bella said as she jumped around him. “A princess bed and a wardrobe filled with tiaras.”
“Oi!” Kol snorted as he put his arms around her to stop her from jumping. “What are you trying to tell me, dollface? That I’m a fairy?”
“You don’t have wings,” Bella shook her head as she looked up to him with the biggest smile on her face. “But we can fix that with one trip to the toy store.”
“You little minx,” he smiled at her. “Do that and I will have to take my revenge on you.”
“Oh yeah? How?”
“Buy me a tiara and wings and you’ll find out.”
Rebekah had taken pleasure in making the attic a bit nicer to sleep in and Bella thanked Rebekah a million times for swapping one of the beds with her own so she could sleep in her own bed. Not that Bella slept easily. She knew she should be exhausted after the day she had had but all she could do was stare at the roof.
It was in the middle of the night when she heard someone yelp, followed by a crash which made the house shake on its foundations, and some laughter she recognized as Kol’s. She couldn’t help but being curious. She quietly walked down the creaky stairs towards her room and peeked around the door Kol had left slightly ajar in case something was wrong. “Is everything alright?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, did that wake you?” Kol snickered as he flicked on the lamp on the bedside table and motioned for her to come in.
“No, I can’t sleep and you’re lucky Charlie is a heavy sleeper, a bomb could go off next to his bed and he wouldn’t wake,” she said as she walked in and sat down on the side of the bed. “What happened?”
“You see that?” Kol pointed to the innocent looking statue at the window. “It sort of works as an electric fence, anyone touching the window or window sill who’s not human gets a shock and is temporarily paralyzed as they drop to the ground.” He then put his arm around her and wasn’t surprised when she leaned into him, she had a habit of doing sot. “Why can’t you sleep?”
“I don’t know,” she sighed as she rested her head against his shoulder. “I think it has to do with Seth, or that I finally dared to try to hurt Edward… or seeing Jake… I don’t know. Maybe a combination of all the above. I’ve been a horrible friend to Jake recently. And Seth… because of Edward…”
“I’m stopping you right there, Cuddles,” he said gently. “I know it’s hard to accept, but none of this is your fault. Not even your decision to stay with Edward because you wanted to protect everyone who wasn’t you. And we’re going to change that. And yes, it’s awful and you’ll have to work through it, but all that, is not your fault.”
“I can’t just shake it off as if nothing happened.”
“I know and you’re not expected to, but it’s not worth it to lose sleep over this,” he said as he pulled her down with him as he lay back on the bed, making sure the both of them were comfortable. “Go sleep.”
“I can’t,” she giggled. “What if my dad finds us?”
“Then Rebekah will tell him to forget. Now shush and sleep. You have a paper to work on tomorrow.”