Bella couldn’t believe the story Rebekah and Kol told her about what happened, how long she’d been gone, what Rosalie had done, what Esme had done. She wasn’t surprised that Rosalie, even though she had been helpful in telling them where Bella was, had been killed; Bella had already thought as such.
Kol had brewed an awful tasting tea, and Bella spent the entire day drinking all of it, even while Jessica came by – unannounced – so that Bella could help her with her graduation speech. Or, in this case, making Jessica feel confident about her kick ass graduation speech while Rebekah went to the supermarket to get some shopping done.
Bella had been surprised by Jessica’s visit. It wasn’t as if they had been besties for the last couple of months. Bella had been under the Cullen’s strict supervision and upon her return too caught up in her mess. Personally, Bella didn’t mind seeing as she loved being around Kol, but from a social point of view, she had been a very bad friend. She hadn’t even noticed that Jessica had taken a liking to Kol since he started school with them, and she allowed Jess to ramble on for a while when Kol was out of the room.
When Jess started to tell Bella about the fantasies she had of her and Kaleb, she just had to stop her friend right there and put her in her place. He was hers. Not anyone else’s, but hers, and she wasn’t planning on sharing. Jess left at that point, shocked at the way Bella had spoken, but she didn’t care. Kol was hers.
But maybe she could have responded differently and not that territorial.
Didn’t she have a good reason, though? She finally liked someone so much, and Bella had given up so much in the past, wasn’t she entitled to a little bit of jealousy and claiming of someone?
It wouldn’t be fair towards Kol. Besides, claiming was what the Cullens had done to her so if she was doing it; something was wrong. It was wrong. Frustrated, she took out her phone and texted Jessica to tell her that she was sorry. That she had had a rough couple of days and that if Jessica wanted, she could come back to ask Kol if he wanted to be her date to the party. The decision was his to make, and Bella was going to have to live with it.
Bella sat at the kitchen table sipping Kol’s tea when Jessica came back in. “Sorry,” she sulked as an apology and Jessica beamed at her in return. “Kaleb! You have a visitor!” Bella called out and took another sip of the horrible tea – punishment for her being a possessive bitch and taking away someone’s decision-making.
“Okay, so it’s not Elijah,” Kol said as he rounded the corner and stopped. “She’s your friend,” he said to Bella as he pointed at Jessica.
Bella shrugged, taking another sip of the tea. Maybe it was growing on her; it didn’t make her feel as if she had to vomit after swallowing it. She eyed Jessica, who had turned beet red upon Kol’s arrival, and she looked at a loss for words. Sighing, Bella grabbed the nearest fork and poked Jessica in her side, making her jump up with a squeal. She took another sip of the tea to hide the smirk on her face.
“Hi,” Jessica smiled at him as she played with a strand of her hair. “Uh… I really like you, Kaleb, and I was wondering if uh… you’d go to the party with me tomorrow night?”
Kol looked at Bella and raised his eyebrow in confusion. Bella tried to look anywhere but at him because suddenly, she felt like the biggest practical joker ever. Of course, she had every right to claim Kol as her own. Just because the two of them hadn’t plastered labels all over each other – yet – didn’t mean that they weren’t together. Guilt was a funny thing, sometimes.
“You like me?” Kol replied with a smug look on his face and leaned against the doorpost with his arms crossed over his chest. “Really? In what way?”
“You’re totally hot,” Jessica spoke without thinking.
“I know I am, darling.”
“And I’m valedictorian of this year and kinda hot too…”
“She fantasizes about you,” Bella piped up, looking at the leafy contents in her mug. “Like… what’s it like to be kissed by you, or get hugged by you…” She lifted her head and saw that Kol was looking at her. Smiling at him, she continued. “About what it would feel like if your hands were on her body…”
“Bella!” Jessica hissed at her. “You already took one guy away from me and I’m not going to let you take another!”
Bella rolled her eyes at Jessica. “Be grateful Edward never showed an interest in you, he’s nothing but trouble, but he’s free now if you’d still want him.”
Jessica let out a frustrated whine before turning back to Kol. “Please, be my date? Even though Bella just completely embarrassed me in front of you? I promise it won’t be weird.”
Kol snorted before making his way over to the table and leaned on it with his arms to look at Bella. “Why didn’t you tell her that there was no use in asking?”
“I did,” Bella said with a shrug as she smiled at him. “But then I felt guilty about taking away your decision about the matter, so I had her come back.”
“Oh, admit it, Cuddles,” he said before looking at Jessica, who looked crushed. “You just wanted to crush the girl who only wanted to be friends with you because you hung out with the popular crowd.”
“Not at first,” Bella said, her voice barely louder as a whisper as she reached out to ruffle Kol’s hair. “I genuinely wanted it to be your decision and not mine because I know what it’s like when you don’t get the chance to make one.”
He smiled at her. “Alright then, have it your way.” He pushed himself off the table and walked over to Jessica. “I’m sorry, darling, I have to decline your invitation. I’m already taking the prettiest girl I’ve ever come across to the party tomorrow night.”
Jessica had huffed before she turned to Bella. “I can’t believe you’ve just humiliated me!” She sneered before marching out of the door, bumping into Rebekah on her way out.
“Excuse you!” Rebekah rolled her eyes at the girl and closed the door. “I leave you two alone for a bit and this happens?”
“She started it,” Kol grinned as he started to unpack the bags that Rebekah brought in. “Wow, Bekah, what’s all this?”
“Everything that Bella put on the list, I think she’s preparing for a feast.”
“Yes,” Bella said as she shot up from her chair. “With Charlie coming back and your brother arriving as well, I figured to go all out on the food, that way, Charlie has his mouth full and can’t interrogate your brother.”
“Even if he would and Elijah would tell him something he shouldn’t know, it can be fixed,” Rebekah countered.
“Yeah, well… I’m not completely happy still with what we’ve had to tell Charlie in the first place and how you did it.”
“How many times can you compel a person without their brains getting scrambled?”
“Have you tested it?”
“I’ve compelled a lot of people in my day.”
“That wasn’t my question. I want Charlie to stay sane. He’s my father, and he’s the chief of police.” Bella said as she placed her mug in the sink and started to pre-heat the oven with the flip of a switch. “I know I’ve been reluctant about it since the start of all this but could you at least humor me? I’m probably wrong and simply worrying about everything too much and you’ll have to do your thing anyway.”
Rebekah grumbled. “Sometimes you’re such a bore,” she noted as she left the unpacking to Bella and unceremoniously set herself down on one of the kitchen chairs. “Brother, please hand me a blood bag, you’re closest to the fridge.”
Kol huffed and tossed a blood bag at his sister. “You’d better hurry up, I’m sure that Charlie will come back soon.”
Rebekah mirrored her brother’s huff before tucking into her food.
Bella was cleaning some potatoes, and Kol moved behind her to lean into her and took the utensils out of her hands. He liked it that she had no place to go while he continued peeling the potatoes. “Just so you know,” he whispered in her ear. “It was a turn on to see you so possessive of me and then proceeding to take the piss out of Jess.”
Bella let out a small whine as Kol slightly pressed her into the counter after taking over her job. If he had left room for her to move, she could have gone and moved on to something else, but he stayed put. She could feel the blood rush through her body and to her cheeks as he remained and whispered in her ear. Feeling bold, she managed to turn around and wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him down a little to her level and looked up at him through her lashes. “It felt good, but wrong at the same time…”
“Oh, but Cuddles,” he smiled at her. “You have my permission to be all bossy when it comes to what you think might be competition. It’s hot.”
Bella licked her lips as she kept looking at him. “Keep peeling those spuds,” she eventually said before kissing him and burying her fingers in his hair.
“Oh please,” Rebekah whined after a while. “Could you two stop? I’m trying to feed here…”
Kol grinned as he gently broke off the kiss. Maybe it was a good thing to stop right now because he wanted more. He wanted to take Bella right there and then on the kitchen counter, or even on the table his sister was sitting at. Bella would look so beautiful on that table. Naked. On display. He wanted to know if the real thing was as good as in his dreams, her expressions, and little noises as he’d kiss her all over or fuck her.
Realizing that he was working himself up, and that blood was rushing to parts of his body that would become too painful if he continued, he dropped the potatoes. At first he tried to calm himself down, he never had an issue with self-control, not that he can remember, not even in the body. He probably never met the right person. He fleetingly kissed Bella before spurting off to the bathroom, leaving behind a baffled Bella.
Bella held onto the counter, feeling weak in the knees. That kiss had been something alright, and Rebekah had to spoil the moment. But what was it with boys running away from her like that? Edward had done it, making it all about him, saying he was stronger than he thought and then wanted to leave. And now Kol had run off, at least she got a goodbye kiss first.
Rebekah must have seen the look on her face because she snorted. “Speak your mind, Bella, what’s going on in that head of yours?”
“Am I repulsive?”
Rebekah blinked as she got up from her chair to throw away the blood bag. “What makes you think that, little sister?”
“Well, apparently I have this gift of making boys run off,” Bella pointed towards the stairs to prove her point. “Kol just ran off, and the first time Edward and I kissed – before everything became weird – he nearly knocked out a wall when he jumped off the bed.”
She smiled in return and started to pick up the job that her brother had abruptly left. “You are not repulsive, Bella, you’re quite the opposite. You should feel flattered.”
“By Kol running off?” She couldn’t believe what Rebekah was saying. People ran for reasons; one of them being sick and they had to empty their stomachs.
“Oh dear god,” Rebekah muttered under her breath. “I know that sex ed at school is ridiculously lacking but haven’t you had the talk with your parents?”
“The birds and the bees?”
“Yeah, sure,” Bella said with a nod. “Safety first and all that, but what does that have to do with Kol running off?”
“No one ever told you about the feelings and emotions?”
Bella once again pointed at the stairs. “Emotion: repulsed.”
Rebekah pointed at the stairs as well and countered; “Emotion: seriously turned on because of his gorgeous girlfriend and in need of a release otherwise it turns quite painful.”
She looked at Rebekah with a blank look on her face, not believing a word. “You’re just saying that because he’s your brother.”
“Bella…” Rebekah sighed as she looked at the girl and realized something. “You haven’t had a lot of boyfriends, have you?”
Bella shrugged. “Nobody was interested in me, until Edward.”
“Yeah, but you and he didn’t have sex, did you?”
“Oh, god, no,” Bella said quickly and then turned to unwrap the beef just to have something to do while she tried to hide her embarrassment. “He was afraid to break me because he said he probably couldn’t control himself. Puny, little human that I am. He promised he’d try once we got married.”
“Oh, it’s one of those.” Rebekah groaned. “Yes, well, there’s nothing wrong with feeling sexy or feeling as if you’re about to float or explode. And I know you have experienced those feelings for my brother, your house has thin walls, and I have a great hearing. Your heartbeat is a great lie detector.”
Bella nodded as she blushed.
“Regular boys, men or even vampires for that matter… have a cock. Penis. Dick. Whatever,” Rebekah said unashamedly and started to cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
“I know that,” Bella said maybe a little too quickly as she blushed furiously and started to season the beef. “Biology, remember?”
“Quite right, but did they teach you that men are fickle and easily aroused? When you experience arousal, you don’t show it. Yes, flushed cheeks or your nipples become erect…”
Rebekah pretended not to hear Bella’s objection. “When guys get aroused, blood flows to their cock, making it grow. Imagine it not being able to do so freely because it’s tucked away in a pair of pants and the arousal keeps growing… it can get quite painful. The solution is a pressure release and that’s what Kol’s doing right now. Giving himself a hand,” she continued as-a-matter-of-factly. “He thinks you’re hot, sexy, gorgeous, and he can’t lie about it because he has an appendage that’s quite the lie detector.” Rebekah smiled then, thinking of something else. “He’s quite literally a wanker right now.”
Bella’s jaw fell open. “We’re preparing food here and you’re giving me a crash course on how men work?”
“Yes. You’re in need of it. Desperately,” Rebekah said, not looking up from her chore. “It also explains why you’re dressing the way you do.”
“And now we’ve come to insulting me, great,” Bella sighed as she transferred the beef onto an oven dish and put oil over it before throwing it in the oven.
“Not an insult, darling,” she smiled at the girl. “Just an observation. It all makes sense now.”
“Fine, okay,” Bella said after looking around in the kitchen. She needed to do a lot, and she didn’t have a lot of time and she knew that Rebekah was only going to be in the way and distracting her from her task. “Please, leave my kitchen.”
Rebekah nodded and turned around to wash her hands. She was well aware that she needed to give Bella her space right now, and she was going to inform her brother of the knowledge she had just learned. He sounded about finished anyway. She was worried that he might do something irreparable to the girl and push her away. Then again, her brother didn’t drag Bella off to ravage her so maybe he knew he had to be careful.
She waited for him on the landing with her arms crossed over her chest. “We need to talk,” she said the moment he walked out of the bathroom and dragged him into the bedroom before closing the door. Sometimes it was useful that humans didn’t have supernatural hearing.
Kol sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “Rebekah, we were just messing about, that’s all.”
“I had to console her because you left her like that.”
Kol shrugged as he looked at his sister with a look of ‘what do you want from me?’
“The girl was clueless, she didn’t know why you ran off like that.” Was her brother as thick as the girl downstairs?
“I’ll explain it tonight… wait, did you say was?” Kol said with a groan. “Rebekah…”
“What? Someone has to tell her about sex when it’s not been done properly! She’s a bloody virgin!”
“I know that!” Kol shot at her. “It’s pretty obvious, innit? She’s oblivious to some things, takes other things too far, and I was going to talk to her about all this,” he said as he pointed to his groin. “No doubt that that wanker of an Edward didn’t take the time to explain it to her. And now, she’ll probably be too scared to touch me again.”
“She would have been scared even without me filling in some blanks, brother. You should have taken a moment to explain yourself before selfishly running off.”
“I would have if I could! This body hasn’t been intimate with someone since mother put me in here, Beks. Who knows? It could still be a virgin too. If I had the time to explain myself to Bella, I would have,” he threw at her. “I’m not a complete tosspot, you know. I know when to stop, it’s just that my mind has a mind of its own.”
Rebekah let out a huff and crossed her arms over her chest while she kept looking at her brother.
Kol narrowed his eyes on Rebekah and ran a hand through his hair as he let out a breath. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
“I think it’s sweet how you want to be all gentle and sweet about things concerning her, but she needs to man up. Not just random bursts. Her fluctuating self-esteem gives me a headache. Niklaus won’t like it, either, he will try to push all of her buttons and tear her apart.”
“I won’t let him.”
“I won’t either, but you know our brother.”
“She won’t let him.”
Rebekah thought of that for a moment and nodded. “You’re right. She’s learned enough from this whole ordeal with the Cold Ones that she’ll become defiant when she gets pushed a little.”
“Jake, what the hell!” Bella cried out as she opened the door, revealing her friend carrying her unconscious father. “What the fuck!”
“Yeah, I know I should have called ahead…” Jake said as he brushed passed her into the house to put Charlie down on the couch. It only took a fraction of a second for the wonder twins to come downstairs to see what was going on. Blondie already had her vampire face on. Awesome, Jake thought. “Look, before you kill me or something… I didn’t do it, okay?”
“What happened?” Bella made her way over to her father to check him over for obvious marks and to check his pulse. “Did they do this?”
“Sue, actually,” Jake said, somewhat proud.
“Relax,” he chuckled and pointed at Charlie. “He shot Paul.” Bella blinked at Jake with an incredulous look on her face, prompting him to continue. “We always have two of us guarding your father; Paul took a step out of the bushes just as your father was walking to his car to come home to you. He thought he saw a real wolf and shot him in the flank.”
“He saw Paul turn?” Bella gasped as she felt around her father’s head with her fingertips, feeling a bump forming. “Sue hit him over the head?”
“Yeah,” Jacob scratched his head as he shrugged and turned his attention to Rebekah. “I drove him here in his car; I figured you could do something about it.”
“I will,” Rebekah said with a nod before Bella could object. “Once he wakes up, I will.”
“Just so you know,” Bella said as he looked at Jacob. “There’s another Original Vampire coming in town tonight. He’s their brother.”
“What? Why? Why do you bring more vampires to Forks?” Jake said with a slight whine. “You’re like this vampire magnet or something.”
Bella reached for the nearest object next to her and threw it at Jake’s head. She cursed his reflexes when he caught it just in time not to hit him. “We’re graduating tomorrow, Jacob. He has appearances to uphold seeing as – what Charlie and most of the school believes – he sent his younger siblings away to Forks to deal with the loss of their parents.”
He groaned. “Do you like living in a lie?”
Bella sighed as she got to her feet. “No, I don’t. I don’t like it that Rebekah needs to scramble Charlie’s brain for her to stay here. I don’t like it one bit, and she knows that and I can’t wait to live a simpler life without my friends having to hide their true selves.” She then chuckled and shook her head as she suddenly realized something. “This is also exactly why you and I would never, ever, work out, you see. I’d be living a lie if I’d be with you too because Charlie can’t know you’re a shifter.”
“Yeah, but I could stop shifting and live a human life.”
“As if,” she huffed. “You like being a wolf too much.”
“I like you more.”
“No, Jake. After graduation, I’m done with Forks. Charlie won’t like it, but I’m done. I need my freedom and not my friends… former friends, thinking that I’m going to do something stupid again.” She then marched towards the door and opened it. “Don’t bite Elijah. Get out.”
He shook his head stubbornly as he stared at her. “Bella… You’re already leaving with them. How is that not stupid? I’ll leave, but I’ll still be here when they leave you hanging,” he whispered to her. He then took off for the woods, shifting into his wolf form and looking over his shoulder at her.
Bella angrily slammed the door, waking Charlie in the process and walked back into the kitchen to finish making dinner. She grabbed one of the knives out of the drawer and placed it on the counter. The next person who was going to interrupt her work was going to get stabbed.
By the time she had calmed down, Charlie had been thoroughly compelled. She could tell because she could hear him talk to Rebekah and Kol about his days with Sue. He genuinely seemed to like her, and that felt good; at least Charlie wouldn’t be alone when she’d leave. She reached into the fridge to fetch a can of beer for her father and brought it over. “I’m glad you had fun, Charlie,” she smiled at him.
“Did you guys have fun on your camping trip?” Charlie stared at the can for a moment, shrugged and opened it to take a sip of it. “They say to cure a hangover is to keep drinking, right?”
“Yeah,” she said with a smile. “They say that.”
“So, how was your trip?”
Bella could hear the kitchen timer go off and got to her feet. “I’ll let Kaleb and Rebekah tell you all about it, I’m needed in the kitchen.” She placed a kiss on her father’s cheek before going back to the kitchen to get the beef out of the oven.
There was some polite knocking on the door sometime later. “I’ll get it,” she said as she walked to the front door to open it, revealing the vampire sharply dressed in his suit and greeting her with a smile.
“Ms. Swan,” he smiled at her. “Good to see you again.”
“Hey Elijah, come in,” she replied as she took a step to the side to make room for him. “How was your trip?”
“Uneventful, thank you,” he stepped inside the house. “I am proud of my siblings and yourself for graduating tomorrow.”
“You sound fake,” Bella whispered to him as she lead him to the living room. “Charlie, this is Elijah, Kaleb and Rebekah’s brother. Elijah, meet my dad, Charlie.”
“Nice to finally meet you, Mr. Swan,” He said as he shook Charlie’s hand. “Isabella couldn’t stop talking about you in New Orleans.”
“Oh,” Kol playfully cooed as he stood up from the couch to make room for his brother. “He’s using your full name, Cuddles, my brother must like you.”
“He arrived just in time; dinner’s ready in fifteen minutes. Would you set the table?” She asked Kol as she looked up at him.
“Depends, am I still on your shitlist for what I did earlier?”
“Good. Let me set that table for you.”
“No, hold on,” Charlie stopped his daughter and Kaleb from walking away. “What happened earlier?”
“Nothing, Dad,” Bella ran her hand through her hair. Why did he have to be nearly as observant as she was?
“Well, we were snogging earlier and…”
“Kaleb!” Bella hit him on the back of his head. “That’s between you and me.”
“Whatever,” Bella grumbled and headed for the kitchen. “He doesn’t need to know that.”
Charlie turned to Rebekah – usually the voice of reason – with a confused look on his face. “What happened?”
“I walked in on them while they were snogging,” Rebekah lied as she casually shrugged. “A typical case of teenage hormones, nothing to worry about.”
“She has a boyfriend.”
“Oh, no, she’s passed that already,” she said quickly. “Edward’s a complete tool, she finally realized that.”
“Good, I never liked him,” Charlie said appreciatively.
“I hope my siblings have behaved themselves, Mr. Swan,” Elijah intervened so that Bella and Kol could continue their chores. “They must have been a handful.”
“Oh no, they have been on their best behavior,” Charlie said dismissively. “Kaleb and I went fishing together and the both of them have been a tremendous help around the house and helping Bella a lot.”
“That’s surprising and good to hear,” He replied with a chuckle.
Bella was glad that Elijah was a distraction for Charlie. Dinner went well, although she could feel how tired she was the moment she sat down to eat. So much had happened during the day that she felt drained, and she wanted to sleep for months. It was quite early when they finished up the dishes and found Charlie asleep on the couch. She covered him with a blanket and planted a kiss on his forehead before grumbling a ‘goodnight’ to the siblings and went upstairs to get some sleep herself.