It was a couple of days after Jacob’s surprise visit – which had a surprising ending for the young man – and Bella was back to her usual self. For days, Klaus and his siblings reminded Bella how her presence in the compound had changed things for the better, to make sure that she felt wanted. They had all mellowed out somewhat and enjoyed spending time with her.
Bella spent even more time with Klaus now, simply content watching him do whatever or look out the windows, observing people. She had given up on Rebekah’s self-defense lessons, mainly because it was of no use when Bella begun to freeze up in the face of adversity. To her, it was a let down that she hadn’t been able to respond correctly with Jacob there, even though she wanted to kick him in the shins. She was honest about wishing to shove a hot poker up his butt but admitted that she was not like that and didn’t want to see him that hurt.
However, Klaus was confident she’d continue with Rebekah sooner or later; it was just a small bump in the road. On top of that, Bella seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself whenever she and his sister sparred.
With reluctance, Klaus agreed to hold a party at the compound, mostly because Marcel insisted on it for morale. He was worried what Bella would do when there’d be loud music and a lot of drunk vampires. He certainly was not going to allow her to mingle by herself. Maybe not even mingling, who knew who would attend? Or maybe just a little, until she had enough of it.
Rebekah took the idea and ran with it; she had someone bring over a bunch of dresses in her, and Bella’s size and they were currently in Rebekah’s room, going over them. Klaus could feel Bella’s uneasiness all the way in his study, but he had promised his sister that he wouldn’t come and run the girl to safety. She wanted her in a dress. Period.
Klaus made her promise, though, that it wouldn’t be anything formal, just something that would fit the scene, despite knowing that Bella probably would be reluctant to attend. If his sister wanted Bella in a dress, who was he to complain? Of course, he took the chance to overhear the conversation between them.
“What do you think, Bella? Does this look good on me?” Rebekah said as she pointed at the girl who was wearing a beautiful dress. Simple, elegant and very red.
“I don’t know, why won’t you put it on and see if it does?”
“What’s the fun in that?” Rebekah let out a laugh. “No to the red?”
“I don’t know,” Bella sighed as she ran her hand through her hair. “It’s not as if I have a good taste in clothes.”
“You don’t know that,” she replied kindly. “The clothes you’re currently wearing were provided by us, but what if you had the choice, freely, what would you wear?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then we’re going to find that out next week,” Rebekah grinned. “I can’t wait to see what you’d pick out. Now, back to me. The red dress. Do you think it’ll fit?”
“Probably… are you trying to impress someone? Isn’t it a bit too revealing?”
“Oh, absolutely. In fact, all the dresses I got are a little bit too revealing, still classy but revealing. I want to hook up with someone.”
“Does that truly mean to have sex with someone?”
“Of course it does,” Rebekah grinned. “Haven’t you been paying attention to the shows we’ve been watching?”
“Yeah, but you also said not to believe it because it’s a fictional representation of the real world.”
“Exactly. Stories. A little bit exaggerated, but there’s a hint of truth in there. Kol and I told you this.”
“I know, but…”
“Okay, not the red dress. What about the black one?”
Bella let out a groan. “I don’t know, what do you normally wear to parties?”
“I want you to pick. What about the blue one?”
“Green. You haven’t picked out a green dress,” Bella pointed out. “I think the red dress but then in green would be great.”
Rebekah was quiet for a moment as she considered Bella’s words. “Sorry, no. The red dress will be what I’ll be wearing. I don’t like green. Besides, it makes me look like a ghost.”
“I wouldn’t know, I haven’t seen you wear green yet,” Bella smiled at her as she curled her legs underneath her on the sofa.
“Oh, don’t you get comfortable, young lady,” Rebekah said, pulling Bella off the couch after dismissing the girls and calling in the next lot. “Now we’re going to find you a dress.”
“What’s wrong with my own clothes?”
“Nothing, but not suitable for a party,” she smiled at her. “Especially one that’s being hosted by the Mikaelsons.”
“I thought Marcel was organising it.”
“He’s practically family, it doesn’t count, it’s still our party, and I love parties. Loads of boys to flirt with… dance with…” Rebekah practically swooned. “I know you’ve led a very different life, Bella, but have you ever fancied someone?”
“I like Klaus?”
“In what way?” She walked over to the bar and poured herself a drink. Seeing as more often than not Bella was everywhere, they had also put something non-alcoholic on the bar so she could drink with them, not quite liking the taste of alcohol as yet. “If you imagine a future with someone, would that be him?”
“Klaus is kind and fair, and he’s very patient,” Bella said as she dropped herself back on the sofa. “Whenever he paints, you can see how gentle his hands are, elegant hands. I’ve seen him shirtless a few times as I seem to have a habit of walking into his study at the wrong time and he’s simply beautiful.”
“You mean handsome.”
“It’s the same.”
“Have you ever been in love? The butterflies, the skipping of the heart… the taking away of breath?” When she saw Bella blush, she smiled widely. “Have you told Klaus how you feel?”
“No,” Bella felt her cheeks redden even more. “I’m afraid he’ll think that I think that’s what I’m supposed to do… but I don’t. I was never allowed to feel, and I didn’t but now, I mean… he makes it so easy. I can crawl into his arms, and he makes me feel safe. I don’t have to worry about anything and…”
“And what about sex? Do you see yourself doing that with him too?”
“I don’t know… this is all new to me, and I know that I was bad before with trying to get him to have sex with me, and that was so wrong, but I didn’t know any better. Now that I do… I don’t know. What if he thinks that it shouldn’t happen because of what happened to me? Or that he thinks that I’m not… you know, feeling it? And I’m afraid that I won’t feel anything because it was so normal to me…”
“You should talk to Klaus about how you feel, I’m sure he’ll listen.”
“He’s been so patient with me, Rebekah. He’s so sweet and what if I ruin it by talking to him about my feelings? What if he goes off on his word and send me back?”
“I doubt it, Bella,” she sat down next to her with a smile on her face. “Nik rarely makes mistakes, and he recently discovered that he had made a mistake by paying Jacob to keep an eye on things in that godawful place. Nik thought he could trust him, but he learned that he had misplaced his trust in him and rectified it immediately after getting a little more information out of him. Safe to say, Nik was appalled with Jacob’s behaviour towards you.”
“What did he do?”
“Nik defended your honor, of course, and this is something quite astonishing, mostly because he considered Jacob to be a valuable ally. Even when people betray Nik, they usually get another chance to prove themselves, but he didn’t leave room for that this time. Trust me, Nik won’t let you go without a fight, but the thing is, the bloody idiot is too scared to go further than admitting his feelings for you towards us. Not even you! He doesn’t even dare to kiss you, afraid that he’ll hurt you himself!”
“Talk to him, Bella, and snog him afterwards. He won’t make the first move, show him you’re no longer a puppet. It’s okay to be scared every once in awhile, but you’re not letting anyone control you anymore, and that’s truly something. Show him that. Don’t be afraid he’ll reject you because I wager he won’t.”
Bella nodded, feeling inspired by Rebekah’s speech. “What do I do?”
“First, you’re going to pick out a dress,” Rebekah grinned before calling in the girls who were close to Bella’s size, wearing a broad range of dresses.
Bella was glad that her clothes seemed to be more modest, and not as revealing as Rebekah’s. She liked the Bordeaux-red colored one, but when she saw the last dress, she immediately fell in love. It was white, but it was almost as if there were paint splashes all over it, and it looked as beautiful as one of Klaus’ paintings. “But I don’t have anything to pay for it!”
“Don’t worry about that, Bella. Anything you want, it’s yours.”
“That one then.”
“Are you sure? You don’t want to go for something in one color?”
“I’m sure, I love it!” Bella was nearly bouncing on the sofa as she kept looking at the girl wearing the dress. “Please, Rebekah? You told me to find something I like, and I really like that one.”
“It’s a bit unusual…”
“Rebekah!” Bella threw a pillow at her head.
“I’m just joshing you,” she smirked. “Of course you can have that one. I’m sure Nik will love it.”
She practically beamed when she looked at Rebekah. “Can I wear it now?”
“The party isn’t until tonight,” Rebekah was delighted with the girl’s apparent happiness with the dress. In all honesty, Rebekah had bought it as a joke, but then again, maybe Bella liked things a bit more coloured than one single colour. She was going to kill it in the dress and Klaus was going to drool. She knew it.
After choosing her dress, Bella retreated to her room to prepare. She no longer held herself to her cleaning regimen that she had been taught by her family, she found it was taking too long, it was painful and with a simple washing of the skin she’d be squeaky clean as well. However, since this party was seemingly a big deal to Rebekah and Klaus, maybe it was better to go through it all to make sure she was at her best. This was a choice. Not a rule.
She turned the faucet in her bathroom and noticed it wasn’t opening up to the hottest setting anymore. She hadn’t used it in a while, but it seemed like they had ‘Bella proofed’ the bathroom. Sighing, she was going to draw herself a bath and soak in the water for a good thirty minutes before she’d do anything else, like shaving or whatever.
Even her razor now had the word ‘sharp!’ written on the handle, almost as if she needed to be reminded that it was, indeed, sharp. She smiled at that. Tiny things like that made her life so much easier and happier as if she wasn’t a stupid, bungling girl trying to live a life that had been taken from her. Then again, she didn’t quite know what an ordinary human life was like. Was it that much different than being surrounded by vampires and werewolves?
She didn’t want to find out. She loved her new family. All of them, but mostly Klaus. She hadn’t told Rebekah, but she often fantasized what it would feel like if Klaus would use his hands on her body. If he’d touch her like she had seen people getting touched on television. Gentle. Loving. None of the shit she’d been through.
Was she angry with what she had been put through by the Cullens? Not really. It was still a sore experience to talk about – so she wouldn’t – but it had been all she had known. Now that she knew that there was a better way to live, she never wanted to go back. She was aware, now, that she mattered. She, as a person and not as a thing. A commodity.
Granted, she was still the biggest chicken ever and would probably not last the entire party even if she was at Klaus’ side, but the party mattered to him, to his family. So it mattered to her. And she was going to do her best to look and feel presentable.
As Kol had told her a couple of weeks ago; she was a majestic unicorn, she was a badass, and she could deal with everything coming her way.
Unless it were faces from her past.
Oh God, she thought. What if Edward would choose to show his face? Or Esme? Or Carlisle? They always liked parties. They hosted quite a few in their day, and if they were looking for her, certainly the party would be something they’d go to.
Bella blankly stared into her bathwater before realizing that she should go to Klaus and tell him about her worry. Now. She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her as she left the bathroom and headed out her room, almost running towards his study. He needed to know. He needed to know so bad.
Not bothering to knock, she swung the door open and almost ran inside. She only stopped in her tracks as she saw that Klaus wasn’t alone. Marcel was there too.
“Woah!” Marcel cried out and tried to look anywhere but at the dripping wet girl wrapped in a towel. Barely wrapped in a towel. “Jeez, Klaus! I thought you said Elijah got her to stay dressed decently!”
“He did! I did!” Klaus said as he looked at her in shock. “What are you doing, Love?” He asked playfully, trying to push through his shock.
“I need…” she took a deep breath as she tried to hold herself together. Oh, she knew she was bad right now. She hadn’t put on any clothes, but he had to know. “You need… I…” she grew frustrated as the words didn’t want to leave her mouth.
Marcel raised an eyebrow as he listened to her heart racing and erratic breathing. “The girl is damn near a panic attack, Klaus… I’ll step out while you calm your girl down,” he said as he gave her a wide berth, not daring to upset the hybrid any more than necessary considering what they had already been discussing. Closing the study doors, he left the two alone.
The moment Marcel left, she ran up to Klaus and put her arms around him, causing her to drop the towel and held on to him tightly. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” she said slightly panicked, she was going to be in so much trouble.
Klaus took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling as he rubbed his eyes, thinking about what he had to do over the course of the day. That didn’t quite work with the waning control over his dick. “Bella, you’re naked.”
“I know, and I’m sorry,” she shivered against him. “We need to talk. It’s… very important and… You need to know and…”
“Calm down,” he said as he dared himself to caress her bare back, gently pressing her closer, so he didn’t have to look
– but bloody hell, she felt good against him. “It’s alright,” he said as he manoeuvred them to the sofa, kicking up the towel as he did but was unable to catch it. Silently cursing, he realised that there was a blanket on the couch for Bella when she came over. He grabbed that instead and carefully wrapped her up, not trying to look at her and instead thought about seeing Kol tear apart one of his victims. Nope, that didn’t help either, Klaus wanted to join in on the fun.
She crawled against him as he’d wrapped her in the blanket and took a few moments to collect herself. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright Love. Now tell me what has you so upset that cannot wait until after tonight’s party,” he asked of her as he made sure she was properly covered up before daring to look her in the eye.
“Jacob found me, with limited resources,” she said slowly. “And he also gave me to your brother. He knew where to find me. Here. With you.”
“He’s been dealt with, love,” he said, assuring her.
“You’re hosting a party, no doubt you’ve extended an invitation to the rest of the supernatural community?”
“Of course,” he answered slowly, his eyes narrowing as he attempted to see where she was leading with her questions. Somehow, he found he wasn’t going to like her thoughts.
“I watched the news, Klaus. I know they’ve escaped. What if they show up here? To get me? I don’t want to leave, and I don’t want you to get hurt either.”
Klaus gently smiled as he reached to cup her chin in his hand. “One thing you need to learn is that there is almost nothing that can genuinely harm me. That being said, if any of the Cullens were to decide to show up, just like Jacob, and attempt to take you from me – they would be in for the surprise of their miserable lives. I’ve plenty of vampires at my whim to assure that you won’t leave my side.”
Bella thought for a moment and nodded. Of course, he had a plan at hand. Of course. Why was she worried? Why was she freaking out about it? “Could you save Rosalie, though?” She asked with a small voice. “Mom… she wasn’t so bad.”
“Rosalie?” he questioned, confused as he leaned back slightly, his fingers drifting to her damp hair.
“My mom. She didn’t want Carlisle to do the things he did to me. Like… when I started to get my bleeds, she wanted to stop him from making me like them and like the other human women, but he didn’t listen. We secretly talked, while I wasn’t supposed to, when I was little.”
Klaus growled with displeasure but did not immediately refuse her request. “I would prefer all Cullens eradicated Bella… What they’ve done to you…”
“I don’t want her here, but she’s no threat. She just wanted me to have a normal life,” she smiled at him and caressed his cheek. “I know, it’s bad. But Rosalie was a prisoner. Just like Alice and Jasper and if you don’t believe me, you can read my mind. Or Rosalie’s, even, if she shows up.”
He looked into her eyes and after a moment released a reluctant sigh. “If her memories match what you tell me then I will grant her amnesty. I don’t need to delve into yours, Love. I know you honestly believe what you do,” he murmured as he turned his face into her hand a fraction, seeking her contact but realizing his actions blinked and pulled back. “You should be preparing for tonight. It will be an eventful evening.”
If there was one thing she was good at, it was observing. She always watched how people were responding to her, even when she was still at the Cullens, it made her life a safe one if she could anticipate what was coming. She felt stupid for not having realized it before, that what Rebekah had told her earlier was true. Klaus felt for her. Not just because she was brought to him, but because there was more and he wouldn’t make the first move.
Would she dare to do it instead?
Shifting a little so that she could get off the sofa with ease, she moved her face closer to his, seeing the fear grow in his eyes. She allowed her lips to briefly brush his before she kissed him and got off the sofa to return to her room. “Thank you,” she smiled at him before hugging the blanket around her and walking out.
Klaus swallowed hard as he watched her walk out, slightly confused as what had just happened. Bella had kissed him and such a glorious kiss it was! Why didn’t she stay for more, though? He was more than willing to give her more. Hell, even his dick was fully awake now and wanted more.
He almost thought she came back into the room, but his hope shattered when Marcel walked back in with the biggest smile on his face. “Well, who ever thought they’d see the day Klaus Mikaelson would be all flustered because of a girl?”
“Shut up, Marcellus,” Klaus snapped at him. “Thank you for ruining the moment.”
“You’re welcome,” Marcel grinned. “She is afraid of the same thing we suspected. I’ll have vampires on the lookout, but since we don’t know who’s who…”
“Bring them in regardless. Show them to our guest room and hold them there.”