It was the middle of the night, a few days after they finished watching the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Bella had to admit it was a great show. She hadn’t been able to get to sleep and got hungry. She hadn’t eaten a lot of dinner because she was still convinced that she was gaining too much, but she was hungry.
Everyone would be asleep, so perhaps she could dare herself to go towards the noise and sneak into the kitchen to find something to eat. Something they wouldn’t miss. Maybe a pastry or a sandwich. Maybe she shouldn’t care so much about what she ate. Klaus and Kol kept telling her that she looked better, healthier, now that she had gained some weight. It wasn’t as if she was back with the Cullens, back with her family of perfectionists, and she wouldn’t ever be again.
And while she was still getting used to doing things on her own without getting in trouble, it still gave her an uneasy feeling when she did something she wasn’t allowed to do before. Such as sneaking into the kitchen and get something to eat when she’s supposed to be sleeping.
Bella tried to be as quiet as possible. The noise coming from further down the hall from the kitchen was a real distraction so her presence wouldn’t be drawn attention to, but she was still sneaking around.
She found the light switch of the kitchen and made her way to the fridge and marveled at the food in there. There was so much food, and she couldn’t choose what to pick. A slice of cake sounded great, but the cake was whole, still, and they would notice if she’d taken a slice of that. Then there was the cream pie or the cold chicken… Maybe she should just settle for a sandwich.
When she turned around to look for the bread, she bumped into someone who had been standing behind her, and she hadn’t noticed. She also hadn’t seen his face before, and she certainly didn’t like the look on his face; as if she was his midnight snack in every sense of the word. The man licked his lips in appreciation and took a step forward, pushing her back into the fridge.
Her breath hitched, and her heart missed a few beats, showing fear towards another person was not what was expected of her, and she was angry with herself for almost giving into it. She repressed the urge to scream for Klaus or Kol. Elijah, even. They were sleeping, and they’d hate to be roused from their slumber. It was the entire reason she had been trying to be quiet. They would be so mad if she woke them up.
“I have to admit, little girl,” the vampire purred once he had her cornered against the open fridge. She could feel how the cold of the machine cooled down the back of her body while the rest of it just heated up out of fear. When did she become afraid of people? Wasn’t it was she did? Just letting it happen to her? “It takes some balls to break in and head straight for the fridge to eat. Very creative.”
His breath smelled like alcohol and blood. He was a vampire. Did Klaus hold vampires in his basement? Why? Some experiment like she had been? “I-”
“Shhh,” the vampire’s eyes met hers and all of a sudden, everything was alright. Her fear had gone, and she didn’t mind him biting her neck. She wouldn’t scream because it didn’t matter, it was alright. She tried to fight back a giggle because the sensation of those teeth on her neck and the sucking sensation tickled but didn’t manage to do so.
Before she knew it, she was out of the kitchen and in the courtyard, sitting on a chair with Klaus looking her over with a worried look on his face. “He compelled her?”
“Yeah, I’m really sorry about that, Klaus… I told him the rules and… How was I supposed to know he’d get curious? Besides, I think we all would like to roam around the compound again at night.”
Klaus huffed as he turned to his former ward. “This is supposed to be a haven for her, apparently, your vampires aren’t listening to you.” He angrily pointed at Dave, the vampire Marcel found with his teeth deep in Bella’s neck. “If she wants to get herself something to eat, then she bloody well can get it without being attacked!”
“I was attacked?” Bella blinked at Klaus and rubbed her neck, finding dry blood on there, but the puncture wounds healed. “I’m all right, Klaus.”
“Stop trying to keep her away from our vampires and things will be alright,” Marcel shot at his sire. “She’s been here for months. We’ve been cooped up for that same amount of time in the basement because you’re afraid she’ll scare of the noise they’ll make in the courtyard. Time for her to get used to it.”
“Do you want them to riot, Klaus? I have some of my nightwalkers go out the minute the sun goes down, and they come back the minute before it goes up again, but that’s not an option.”
He shook his head as he pressed the heel of his hands to his eyes. “You don’t understand. There is more to this than meets the eye…”
“What don’t I understand? That she’s a human who’s been living with vampires all her life who treated her like shit, and you want to change that? Guess what, Klaus. Not everything was rainbows and roses while I grew up with a bunch of vampires either! I seem to recall a quite bloody performance of Hamlet, for one.”
Klaus growled as he looked up at him. “I gave you every opportunity of humanity as well, an education…”
“Then do that to her as well, don’t hide her away from the rest of us. Let her interact with more vampires who are willing to interact with her on a regular level. You certainly didn’t keep me away from your army.”
“Marcel…” He hesitated and shook his head again, glancing over Bella with sadness and longing. “Fine. I’ll consider it. For now just keep them placated until I figure something out.”
Marcel smirked and let out a whistle, to signal for his vampires to come out to show their faces. “See this girl here? She’s off limits. Dave here needed a reminder of that.”
“Don’t,” Klaus said with a growl as he gently took Bella’s hand. “Come on, you don’t wish to see this.”
He sighed as he watched his boss leave with the human girl. “That girl is off limits for everything other than a chat, or face the consequences.” He grabbed a stake out of his pocket and jammed it into Dave’s chest. “However, tonight will be your night of freedom while the boss rethinks his options. Tomorrow, we’ll be back in the basement. Enjoy your night off, gentlemen.” Marcel smiled at them and watched them leave while Diego begrudgingly lifted Dave’s body and went to take care of it.
“That was not what we agreed upon!” Klaus called out.
“Lighten up, Klaus!” Marcel countered.
Klaus retrieved a washcloth out of the bathroom and started to clean up Bella’s neck. “Are you alright, love?”
“I’m all right.” She met his eyes in the dim light of his study. “I was hungry, and I didn’t want anyone to wake up. I went to the kitchen, and I don’t know.”
“You were bitten.”
“I get that, why was that so wrong?”
“You are not a snack, love. He should not have done that to you.”
Bella was quiet for a moment and let out a sigh. “I’m the only human here.”
“Yes, you are, but that doesn’t mean you’re food.”
“Okay,” she gently took over the washcloth and continued to clean herself up while Klaus watched her. “Who was that man, though?”
“He is my lieutenant, my right hand,” he said, slowly calming down from his anger. Her blood smelled good, he could understand why Dave had wanted a taste, but it had been wrong. “Come to think of it… he’s a lot like you.”
Klaus nodded as he sat down next to her and gently pushed her hair out of her face. “He was a slave, the bastard son of the governor and when I saw him getting beaten, I took him in as my ward. Elijah thought I was a fool for doing so,” he said with a slight chuckle. “Marcel and I have had our differences, but I am proud of the man he’s become.”
“How old was he when you took him in?”
“About ten years of age.”
“Did you turn him?”
“I didn’t want to; he asked me to so I did. When he was about your age.”
She put the cloth away and scooted over a little, putting her arms around Klaus. “It must have been great for him to have you look after him, teach him things.”
“It was hard,” Klaus replied with a scoff. “We all learned from the experience; some learned more than others. He still doesn’t like Kol and Kol doesn’t quite like him either, mostly because of the fact we used to pay more attention to Marcel than him. I had unboxed Kol because I hated it that Marcel liked Elijah more. Elijah has always been the kinder one of us. I shouldn’t have been surprised that it happened.”
“I suppose so,” he smiled at her. “Elijah has a habit of interfering with things that I do.”
“Why didn’t you box him instead of Kol? Kol is funny.”
He had to laugh at her question and nodded with a big smile on his face. “So he is. However, Kol used to be a menace and Elijah… he always made sure that he’d be missed. He has ties to the community. Always. To keep an eye out for potential trouble or find a scheme to add to our wealth.”
“He’s the brains, Rebekah’s the beauty… Kol’s the funny one… what makes that you?”
“I don’t know; you tell me.”
“You’re the Spike,” she said with a grin. “Hot, broody and a man of your word.”
“I’m not broody.”
“Yes, you are.”
“And how do you know I’m hot? It’s not as if you have a lot of source material,” he teased, pleased by how she seemed to be able to identify emotions and feelings correctly, such as his jealousy. He never in a million years expected her to call him ‘hot,’ though.
She shrugged as she made herself comfortable against him, putting her head against his chest after putting his arm around her. “I heard it’s a matter of good taste. I believe I have good taste.”
“And what do you base that on?”
She shrugged again. “By ignoring everything I was taught before coming here. It’s not easy, though. I’m constantly battling myself.”
“But that’s a good thing,” he murmured, reaching for the blanket on his sofa to cover her up. “In a way, every single person in the world is constantly at war with themselves, to make their decisions based on the situation they’re in, or the feelings they are having.”
Bella hummed a response as she snuggled even closer, putting a leg over his and made herself comfortable for the rest of the night. Klaus feared that now that she was doing better, not shaken at all by her recent experience but that was maybe because she couldn’t remember the whole situation, she was going to up and leave.
He didn’t want her to go. Even though with times like these, where she practically wrapped herself around him – in a non-sexual way, he had made sure of that when he compelled her -, making him feel somewhat uncomfortable, he wished she wouldn’t. Klaus wasn’t quite sure what would happen if she’d leave. He had managed to get to the other end of New Orleans the other day before rushing back home to her. To her scent. To bask in her nearness even though she was in her room doing god knows what.
He suspected she was feeling the pull towards him as well, why else would she like to sleep in his arms? Or did she simply feel safe with him? That was a good thing, but wasn’t it because she thought he was everyone else’s boss? Well, he was, but that wasn’t the point. Oh, this was so confusing and frustrating at the same time.
Sighing, he shifted a little to make himself more comfortable on the sofa without disturbing Bella and tried to catch a few more hours of sleep himself.
She looked up to him, as he had wanted. It wasn’t as if she could do anything else, nor did she want to, she wanted to please him, and this was exactly what pleased him. She was strapped in a chair, one of the King’s chairs in his clean white room and every part of her body was accessible. Ready.
This wasn’t right. But it was. He’d be so proud of her afterward, pleased, and she might get something to eat to keep her body functional. Peter had snuck in a cookie or two the day before, but she hadn’t touched them. It wouldn’t please Edward if she gained for this day.
It was an important day, Edward had told her, it was the celebration of something big for one of his other kind vampire friends, and he had promised her to that friend and hers. It would please him immensely if she behaved. But she always behaved. She was perfect, and she always wanted to be perfect.
“I told you; I didn’t want to see her eyes!” The vampire female whined as she looked at the naked girl in the chair. “You said you wanted to make things perfect, Edward. It’s not perfect until her eyes are covered.”
“Anything for you,” he said in a pleasant voice and smirked. “What would you like to have this one’s eyes covered with? Silk? Cotton? Jute?”
“Hmm…” Bella could feel the woman’s finger run up and down her skin. It didn’t do much to her; she wasn’t allowed to feel. However, she could feel it, and it sent shivers down her spine. She was ready for whatever they were going to do with her; it would please Edward. She would have every male inside of her or feed from her, she would remain silent and passive. “Silk will do.”
“Then I shall retrieve some silk for you, Katherine,” Bella could see him smile and then leave the room. Her heart ached for him. Where was he going? Right, he was going to retrieve something to please Katherine. She looked at the vampire and found her staring back at her.
“I should feel sorry for you,” Katherine said as she ran her finger between the lips near Bella’s hole. She wiggled a little; it felt warm and good, but the wiggling didn’t register with Katherine, and she hoped that Edward wouldn’t have seen it either, she wasn’t allowed to feel. “But I don’t. If they choose to treat you like this, I should respect that, but trust me when I say this, kiddo, not all vampires are evil. However, I’m as bad as they come, and if I were in their position, I would definitely get a human pet of my own because damn, the things I could do…” Bella saw her lick her fingers, and Katherine let out a moan. “You taste so good; I can’t wait to sink my teeth in you and watch you get fucked senseless. Are you always this impassive?”
“That one’s not allowed to speak, feel or make noise. It’s the perfect warm body for everything I desire, or, when I feel like sharing, on a day like today, the perfect warm body for entertainment,” Edward’s voice sounded, sending chills down her spine. His voice sounded evil, cold, detached. He never loved her at all, did he? Her eyes were covered, and all she could do was listen. She wasn’t supposed to hear, but she did.
“Where can I get me one?”
“Oh, Katherine, that’s adorable but that one is one of her kind, it’s been with us since it was a couple months old. Proper training does wonders.”
“Sorry for the questions, Edward. I very much appreciate this, I know the boys have had her before, but your father never showed her to me.”
“I understand. He’s not here right now.”
Bella felt how her skin got pierced with fangs on several parts of her body; she knew she was tied up, but it felt as if she was being torn apart, and it hurt. It felt as if someone was taking a chunk out of her leg and ran a knife from her hole up to her belly. Something was burning, inside of her, she could smell it, feel it as her insides felt to be on fire. She was spinning, and she had nowhere to go.
She couldn’t breathe, it was as if she was choking on something, and that was strange, as she knew the original encounter didn’t involve all of this. Someone was pulling on her hair, it was almost if it was stuck in a machine, she could feel it being yanked from her scalp at the same time as her body was being ripped apart. There was nothing she could do about it but scream.
The following weeks, Bella came out of her shell, more and more. As it turned out, she had a great sense of humor and a lot of energy. She and Kol were usually running up and down the compound together in the morning, and Rebekah kept her busy by teaching her some self-defense. It was great to see Bella blossom into the young woman she had been denied to be.
She still didn’t want anything, or at least ask for anything, insisting that she didn’t need anything, but she was getting there. Now and then, she dared to voice her own opinion as well, usually about small things, such as not being allowed to do anything such as cleaning her room or cook them a meal. They had servants for that, paid servants, so why would she have to lift a finger?
Whenever the other vampires were out and about in the compound – yes, Klaus had reluctantly agreed to it that it wasn’t fair to them to keep them hidden away – Bella tried her best to avoid them. She could usually be found in her room or with Klaus. Even when he had to interact with Marcel in the middle of the compound, she was at his side, worried that something might happen to him. She wasn’t actively there, just quietly at his side, non-intrusive and no one was batting an eye at her.
She knew self-defense now, she could help Klaus to defend himself.
He found that enticing.
Yes, Klaus realized how this girl, this broken, beautiful and delectable young woman, had him wrapped around her little finger the moment she set foot in his home. Granted, some magic may have had a hand in it, but he had never fallen this hard before. It was hard to stop himself from obsessively buying her things, from making her meaningful promises, from taking bigger steps than she could handle – from kissing her.
He had made the mistake in the past, but he had to watch himself around her, think before he acted. Klaus didn’t want to scare her off, it was important that he made a good impression, a lasting one, he wanted her to stick around.
Of course, there was always the chance that she would decide to leave and live a human, supernatural free life, but it’s all she had known. And on top of that, Marcel stuck around, why wouldn’t she?
While he had wanted Marcel to stay away from her – quite possibly because he was jealous – Elijah had persuaded him to see the other side of Marcel reaching out to her; his story was similar to hers. Marcel could be a positive influence to Bella, give his side of the story about the family that Marcel was a part of.
At first, Bella was wary of him, cautious, and only wanted to talk to Marcel with either Kol or Klaus nearby. She also realized that Marcel had been the one to have saved her from the vampire that was trying to suck her dry, but the whole ordeal had been a bit hazy. And since when was it saving? Klaus was delighted that she had gained insight into her life with the Cullens and how she should have been treated; like a fragile human being with her own will and wants.
He had been wondering for a couple of days now if he could reverse the compulsion he had put her under. Surely she knew now that offering her body, her services, wasn’t proper behavior? On the one hand, he wasn’t quite sure but on the contrary, he wanted to see if it freed her some more when it came to her feelings if she’d address them better.
Would he dare to have Elijah remove his compulsion on her? That she could trust them and that she had nothing to fear? He often wondered if he had truly compelled her because she had shown distrust in each and every one of them over the course of the last few months.
“I didn’t know your floor needed a paint job,” Bella’s voice sounded from behind him. Damn her, she had become even more stealthy in her movement than before.
Klaus looked over his shoulder to smile at her before looking down at the paint dripping from his brush. “So it seems.” He grabbed a cloth and removed the paint from the floor before turning back to her again. “What can I do for you, Bella?”
“You allow Rebekah to leave through the gates, right?” She asked as she sat down on the sofa, turning so she could look at him. “And your female vampires do the same.”
“What about Cami?”
“She lives nearby and has a bar to tend to.”
“But what about the monsters outside? Hiding behind every bush or even in the gutter? What about the air? How do they survive that?”
Klaus put his brush down and sat down next to her, sighing slightly. “Haven’t you figured out by now that maybe, you’ve been lied to all your life?”
“So the outside isn’t going to kill me?”
“Well, not instantly, I suppose,” he said with a smirk. “Out there, there are people, like yourself. Tourists, people who live in New Orleans. Witches. The city never sleeps, and there’s always a party somewhere.”
“So it’s safe?”
“Of course. Granted, there are some bad seeds out there, but Rebekah has been teaching you some self-defense, hasn’t she?”
Bella thought for a moment and nodded before shaking her head. “I don’t want to leave this building. I don’t need to see outside.”
“Are you sure? There’s a lot to see out there.”
“May I inquire as what brought you to this line of thought? I’ve not heard you talk about the outside of this building before,” he asked curiously.
She shrugged for an answer. “I guess I see people come and go all the time, wondering how it’s possible that they’re alright upon their return.”
“If you want, we can go outside together?”
“I’m not ready for that, Klaus.”
“Then what are you ready for?”
Shrugging, she crawled towards him and put his arm around her as she settled against him. “Just sitting here with you.”