“Very well,” Carlisle replied with a sigh. “I do hope you know what you’re doing Bella, I do not like it when my children are being bullied.” He turned on his heel and headed back inside.
“What a prick,” Rebekah huffed as she walked around the car to stand on the other side of Bella. “And who in their right mind has a glass house? You’d think that with the amount they sparkle they’d live in a home without any windows.”
“We’re in the middle of a forest,” Bella waved her hand around towards the trees before looking at Kol, who appeared to be worried. “What?”
“You do realize there’s eight of them and only one of Rebekah, don’t you?”
She caressed his arm with her fingers and bravely smiled at him. “They won’t physically hurt me. If they wanted to, they would have done so already.”
Rebekah huffed. “I’d like to see them try.”
Bella rolled her eyes when she saw Edward walk out of the house with Jasper in tow and she could feel how Kol took a step closer to her, just to be safe.
“Bella,” he greeted her with his soft, gentlemanly voice which he used on her most of the time and stopped a few steps away from her. “I hope you don’t mind I brought Jasper out with me, to ensure everyone stays calm.”
“There’s no need for that, Edward,” Bella said as she shook her head. “We’re not here to hurt any of you.”
“Speak for yourself,” Rebekah muttered under her breath, making Jasper snap his focus to her. “Oh right, vampires,” she smiled at him. “It’s easy to forget.”
“Why are they here?” Edward asked as he relaxed his stance and held out his hand for her to take, but she wouldn’t give him that satisfaction. Bella could feel Jasper’s influence on her and it made her angry. “We could have easily talked this out with just the two of us.”
“No, we couldn’t,” she replied as she looked at him, pushing her hands into her pockets. “Because you would have just sweet-talked me back into that house.”
“But Bella, that’s where you belong, with us. With me.”
“Do I?” Why did his begging and repetitiveness ever work on her? Had she been that desperate to have a stupid boyfriend? Well yes. Boyfriends were good. Demanding little shits like Edward weren’t.
“Of course you do, we took care of you, made sure you got everything you needed, I don’t see why it has to change.”
“Do I get a say in the matter?”
Edward was quiet for a moment and then shook his head. “Oh, I see,” he then let out a small chuckle as he pointed at Kol and Rebekah. “A couple of days with the Original vampires and their… human witch pet and you think you can defy me? Bella, this is not you. You’re sick. Come inside, let Carlisle check you over.”
Kol had been quiet up until that point but couldn’t help but snort. “Have you even heard yourself talk, mate?”
“It’s okay, Kaleb,” Bella whispered and placed her hand back on his arm.
“No, it’s not, Bella, and frankly, if I could, I would have hit him in the face.”
Edward grinned at that before Rebekah took a step forward. When Edward noticed that, he almost jumped his step back. Chicken. “Hey now, let’s all stay civil here,” he said with his hands raised before addressing himself to Bella again. “They’ve poisoned your mind, Bella, this is not you.”
“Maybe not, but I haven’t been this clear-minded since before you and I started to date before I got sucked into your world.”
“Haven’t we given you everything you needed? Haven’t we taken care of you? Protected you?”
“Out of whose interest, Edward? And why did I need protecting in the first place? You even had to protect me from him,” she said as she nodded towards Jasper. “Because he still hasn’t got his bloodlust under control and sees me as a snack.”
“That’s not true, Bella,” Jasper said, visibly hurt. “You’re not a snack.”
“Sure she is,” Rebekah said with a nod. “But that doesn’t mean you have to eat her. Besides, it’s pathetic that you’re feeding on animals. I’d go bonkers if I had to do that. No wonder your bloodlust isn’t under control.”
“What do you want from me, Bella?” Edward said, his impatience clearly bubbling to the surface. “I’ve already given you-”
“What I want,” Bella said as she took a step or two towards him, trying to hide the fact she was nervous. “Is my stuff I requested. What I want after that, is for you and your family to leave me and my loved ones alone. No more denting my dad’s truck and certainly not killing any more wolves. Thanks to you, I am no longer welcome there.”
“Then why are they right behind you?” Edward pointed to an area behind the car and from the foliage appeared three wolves. From what she could tell it was Jacob, because of the brown color. Paul, silver fur, and the huge black block of muscle was Sam next to him. All three of them with their teeth bared and growling as they circled around the car to stand next to Bella, Kol, and Rebekah.
Bella’s bemusement only got interrupted by Kol and Rebekah, who were snickering at the horse-sized stuffed animal like looking wolves. “Those are your wolves?” Rebekah laughed.
Paul, who was closest to Rebekah, snarled at her.
“What are you doing here?” Bella said as she whacked Jacob on his big snout. He snorted in return. “I told you not to hurt him.”
Before Bella knew it, the remaining wolves – Leah, Collin, Brady, and Jared – had come out of the shadows and had launched themselves on top of Jasper. Jasper desperately tried to fight them off but had difficulty to do so. Sam took a leap and stood between Edward and Jasper while Paul had joined the rest of the pack to hold Jasper down while they were ripping him apart.
“Stop!” Bella cried out and tried to walk towards them, but Jacob pushed her towards Kol, who tightly wrapped his arms around her and held her close. “No, let me go,” she pleaded as she tried to see what was happening.
“Maybe it’s best if you don’t watch, Cuddles,” Kol said quietly as he saw how Rebekah had gone over to Edward and held him tight so he couldn’t help out Jasper. The wolves worked fast, he was impressed by that, as they tore Jasper apart limb from limb. It was interesting to hear how it sounded much like someone trying to grate metal like you grated cheese.
She covered her ears with her hands, the sound of Jasper being ripped apart shot right through her bones. How did the wolves get the jump on Jasper and Edward? Had she been the distraction? Bella was furious and worried they would truly kill Jasper and that sickened her. Part of her wished that nobody had to get hurt, but the wolves wanted their vengeance and two vampires out in the open were a prime target. She knew they wouldn’t hurt Edward, wanting Bella to have her revenge too, but this was wrong. What if the wolves got hurt?
Rebekah had the biggest grin on her face as she held the struggling Edward back while keeping an eye on the house to see if the other vampires would come out, but it appeared that even they were afraid of a pack of wolves who were mauling their family member. Even the brown wolf – Kol suspected it was Jacob – was on the lookout.
The whole ordeal took less than a minute before the big muscular one howled and the wolves ran off with parts of Jasper in their mouths, leaving enough for the family to mourn as the venom seeped into the ground. Rebekah let go of Edward and in one swift movement, threw him across the yard into a tree as the family emerged from the house now the wolves were gone. “I suggest we leave,” she said with a smile and got behind the wheel of the car while Kol took Bella with him on the back seat, still trying to make sure she didn’t see the body on the ground.
It was painful for him to watch as Bella went into shutdown mode. She was clinging on to him while she quietly sobbed and he didn’t quite understand why. Jasper was one of the people who had manipulated her, made sure she felt compliant and the toy wolves were retaliating for the death of one of their own, it was only justified that it happened. Maybe it shouldn’t have happened in front of her, but what else did she expect? These particular vampires needed to be ripped to shreds and then set alight so they can’t fix themselves. Was she upset because the wolves were indeed strong enough to help her or that they did it without warning? She needed to be able to do this herself later on, albeit with magic but was she really going to expect it’d be easy?
On the other hand, maybe her reaction was the right one. It wasn’t as if it had been a clean kill, the wolves had been frantic, knowing they had to hurry up before anyone else had the chance to register what was going on. He killed a lot of people back when he was a vampire and didn’t think any of it.
It all changed when he came back as a human, but the memories were still there and they didn’t bother him. Why would it? It all happened in the past. In all honestly, he was glad the wolves took their revenge, it was well deserved and it meant that they didn’t have to do all the work if the Cullens and the wolves would go to war.
However, he could see why Bella didn’t want any harm to come to the wolves, as the brown one had shown, they did somewhat care for her and that made them an ally. It was certainly something to talk about.
When they got back to the house, Charlie had left them a note saying he had been called into work – again – and this was a good thing seeing as it would be difficult to explain the state Bella was in without Rebekah getting to Charlie first. Kol set Bella down on the sofa and wrapped a blanket around her as Rebekah was making them tea. He sat down next to her and put his arm around her. “I’m sorry,” he said when Bella looked at him with puffy brown eyes.
“Oh don’t feel sorry for the girl, Kol,” Rebekah said as she was grabbing mugs from the cupboard. “You know as well as I do that she needed to see that.”
“What?” She snapped as she looked at him from the kitchen. “She’s hellbent on taking revenge on her own, at least the wolves showed her what she has to do when the time comes.”
“Yes, and we still have a long way to go before that, Bekah,” Kol shot at her. “She still needs to get her magic under control too, and can’t do that now, can we?”
“I understand why she wants revenge, hell, I want revenge for her but why can’t I just do it? Why does she need to be the one to do it? I can do it swiftly and I can get rid of the bodies. No one will ever know.”
“You know very well how it feels when the choice is being taken away from you,” he replied. “We’ll stick to the plan for now, there’s still time.”
Rebekah huffed as she placed the mugs on the table in front of her brother and the human girl. Seeing the wolves tear Jasper apart had been fascinating, thrilling, even, and she wanted to kill something herself. Mostly out of boredom and frustration that she wasn’t allowed to do anything. She had thought it would be easier when they initially planned to drive up to Forks with Bella but found it hard not to go against her wishes.
“Are you two done?” Bella asked as she looked at the siblings. “I’m fine, I think. And you’re both right.”
“We are?” Kol blinked at her. “Both of us?”
“Yeah,” she said with a nod as she reached for her mug of tea. “I have seen vampires being ripped apart by other vampires before. It’s just that it was shocking to see the wolves doing it right in front of me. It wasn’t as clean as when Laurent and James were being killed. I also find I no longer have to worry about them, they managed to surprise Jasper of all people. Even Edward didn’t know what was coming and that’s something seeing as he hears everyone’s thoughts.”
“Then what happened?” Rebekah demanded as she sat down in a chair, clutching her mug of tea. “You looked like you were not entirely there.”
“I wasn’t… I realized too late Jasper needed saving. That he had to be off limits to everyone,” Bella said quietly as she hugged the blanket.
“Why? He was one of them. You should feel relieved.” Rebekah said simply and shrugged. “Good riddance.”
“Because I realized that Jasper was me. He used to be just like me and I could have been Jasper.” She looked at the siblings and then decided to tell Jasper’s story as he told her once, followed by the conclusion that Alice must have been grooming him, now that Bella knew who Alice was. “They promised him everything he wanted; a family, a mate, peace… they offered to help him with his bloodlust. They turned him into the person he was by showing him their way of affection, validated him, made sure he felt safe and all that shit.”
“But Jasper isn’t you, love,” Kol said as he caressed her back with his fingertips. “You figured out that something was wrong, all on your own.”
Bella hit him in the chest as she glared at him for a moment.
“Sorry, cuddles. Force of habit.” He winked at her. “Continue.”
“I know he isn’t me but if you hadn’t gone back with me, I would have gone back to him because I didn’t have any other options. Jasper didn’t have an option either as Alice offered him ‘the only chance to survive’.”
“I honestly don’t care,” Rebekah replied. “He made his choice, as did you. He became one of them and you did not. At least those wolves listened to you when you told Jacob to leave Edward to you.”
“But that doesn’t make it right,” Bella muttered. “We could have at least given him a chance.”
Rebekah snorted. “Darling, if you look deep enough all beings have their problems, their crucibles they need saving from. Do you intend to save all of them? Will you spare Edward at the last minute?”
“No, no of course not but…”
“Now that the wolves have taken their revenge on the Cullens, I expect a war between the two parties and that’s good, let the wolves deal with most of them as well as they can.” Rebekah then smiled. “Now, who do you think they’ll go after next?”
“Alice,” Bella replied after a moment of thinking. “Because she will be hellbent on revenge and she’ll be looking into the future non-stop to see if she can get it.”
“Yeah… well… I’d better secure the entire house instead of just your window, Bella. I know Jasper’s death isn’t your fault, but if she’s anything like the Mary-Alice I knew…” he then smiled widely at Bella. “But, before the wolves interrupted, you were amazing. I’m proud of you.”
“I have to admit, that was something alright,” Rebekah acknowledged before she got up and brought her mug to the sink. “You were very brave. Now, I’m going to leave the two of you alone and I’m going to take care of something, don’t wait up,” she said with a smile before running out of the door.
“Where is she going?”
“I don’t know, Cuddles, but I’d better get started on protecting this house from unwanted vampires,” Kol replied as he got up himself. “Drink your tea, you’ll feel better after.”
With Rebekah not being home when they went to bed, Bella decided to sleep in her old room again and shared the bed with Kol. Not that Rebekah not being there was an excuse. The last couple of days she had gone to bed, as planned, figured she couldn’t sleep after three hours and had made her way downstairs to Kol, crawled into bed and fell fast asleep. She felt a little bit stupid about it because anything could happen – and maybe Bella wanted something to happen – but Kol wasn’t an ordinary teenager and nothing happened.
Frustrating, maybe, but they hadn’t even kissed yet. Or they weren’t actually a couple and that was a good thing, wasn’t it? She even hated it to admit it to herself that Kol made her feel safe, happy and wanted, not as if she was something else other than herself, like Edward had made her feel after he wanted her back after dumping her in the woods. It was possible it was because Kol made her make her own choices, her decisions and was hands off, yet he was with her all the time.
They both woke up around 5.30 in the morning because someone was yelling outside the house underneath the window. It took Bella a moment to recognize the voice as Rebekah’s. “Bloody hell, Kol! You tosspot! I can’t get in! If I get my hands on you, I will kill you! Wake up you bloody wanker and let me in!”
Kol sleepily grinned as he poked Bella in her side. “You’d better go and invite her back in, Cuddles,” he muttered. “I may have accidentally revoked her privileges.”
“You’re mean,” Bella whined as she rolled over and instead of rolling towards Kol to push him out of bed, she fell off the bed. “Ow,” she said as she hit the deck and got up, rubbing her elbows as she walked towards the window.
“Are you alright?” Kol laughed as he was sitting up in the bed.
“Yes,” Bella said and opened the window. “Your brother is an asshole,” she said as she looked out of the window into the darkness. “Are you coming in, Rebekah?”
“Thank you!” Rebekah said thankful and before Bella knew it, she had gone through the door and stopped right in the middle of the bedroom. Her clothes looked somewhat torn and there was some blood on Rebekah’s face, but the smile she was currently wearing was freaky. Almost maniacal.
“Where the bloody hell have you been?” Kol said as he got out of bed. “You look properly disheveled, sister.”
“I took care of Charlie’s problem with the missing children,” Rebekah said with a shrug. “I went all the way to Seattle and found those missing children.”
“Oh, that’s great!” Bella smiled widely.
“Depends if them having been turned into Cold Ones is great… sure,” she replied. “Took care of this redhead and her second in command, the blaze was delightful!”
“Wait, what?” Bella blinked. “Redhead?”
“Yeah, she sneered something about nobody could kill her because she was the almighty Victoria and whatnot…”
“You killed Victoria?”
“Yes, you know her?”
Bella hugged Rebekah as a huge relief fell off her shoulders. “Thank you! I thought for sure that she was coming after me.”
“She was, actually,” Rebekah gently pushed Bella away from her. “I’m smelly, Bella, don’t hug me. Anyway, I sent her newborn vampires merrily on their way to create mayhem throughout America. Should keep those Volturi quite busy over the next few months and may leave you alone for a while longer.”
“I know, little dove, I know, and you’re welcome. I’m going to take a shower, get a few hours of sleep and then we’re going to school, yeah?”
Bella nodded. “We have a free first period.”
“Brilliant. Good night you two,” she smiled before disappearing from the bedroom.
Bella watched Rebekah disappear and then looked at Kol. “What just happened?”
“She’s in her happy place, Cuddles, let’s go back to bed,” Kol said as he took her hand and pulled her back to the bed. “Who was Victoria?”
Bella sighed as she climbed back in bed and snuggled up against Kol. She was surprised he wasn’t making a big deal out of it. He didn’t have a bed to his own and hers was perfectly fine up in the attic with Rebekah. Maybe she was getting too comfortable around him, but if he didn’t appreciate that, she knew he would say something about it as he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. “The last remaining nomad of James’ coven, she was James’ mate.”
He smiled as he pulled the covers over them and put his arm around her to invite her to snuggle up even further. Bella was a funny little human, she didn’t seem to be remotely uncomfortable to sleep with him in one bed. He was grateful, though, that in the morning she left to get dressed without him being present because he wasn’t quite sure if he could control his bodily functions if she undressed herself in front of him. Bella had this magical thing about her that made his thoughts sound like a cheesy lunatic. – What was he getting himself into? “What is it with you and attracting so much trouble?”
“I don’t know,” she smiled up at him. “Guess I hang out with the wrong crowd.”