“Edward, what did you do?!” Rosalie screeched as Bella was being brought before her and Carlisle. Rosalie didn’t look all too pleased, but Bella felt fine. Super fine, if she had to be honest.
“I didn’t do anything and watch your tongue, sister,” he countered and nearly threw Bella onto the table, causing her to giggle. “Or do you want to follow Jasper and Alice to the cells?”
Rosalie dropped her head. “My apologies, Prince Edward. I shall make my leave while you and King Carlisle will look after my daughter.”
Bella didn’t want Rosalie to leave. If she was going to be left alone with the King and Prince, bad things were going to happen, but she felt fine now, who cared? Was Edward going to feed her again? She had loved the small, round things she had found underneath his pillow after his night with one of the women of the compound. She wasn’t of age yet, and Edward had needs. Needs Bella couldn’t wait to satisfy.
“We need to pump her stomach,” Carlisle said as he grabbed a hose and opened Bella’s mouth, shoving it down her throat without hesitation. It burned, and Bella wanted to gag, but she’d been taught not to. She could take this. “How irresponsible of you, Edward.”
“You said to keep it there, this was all a test for her. She’s still too curious. I can’t have her like this.”
“Don’t worry,” he attached something at the end of the hose and Bella could feel how her stomach started to feel funny. How the hose hummed and how there was water coming out of it before it got sucked out again. “We’ll just leave her here for a couple of hours, she’ll be fine, the drugs will be out of her system soon.”
Would she? She could barely breathe as it was, and she was fully conscious.
Oh, she was having a nightmare again, wasn’t she?
She woke up, startled and gasping for air, almost as she still could feel the hose in her throat. She needed to throw up. Scrambling out of bed, she managed to reach the bathroom and threw up. As she had a nearly empty stomach, it was mostly something slimy and something red. Metallic tasting. Blood.
Bella remembered that after the incident her nightmare was from, she had to throw up but had to swallow it because she wasn’t allowed to. She could vividly remember the taste of her own blood as the hose had done some damage to her throat that only went away after a couple of weeks.
With last night’s incident in the bathtub and now waking up like this she couldn’t help but wonder if she was cursed somehow, to relive things that had happened to her in the past. If so, she didn’t want it.
She did feel better than the night before so she fixed herself up, shed some of the extra layered clothes and decided to join everyone for breakfast. Despite her not wanting to eat but only wished to drink tea, she was going to force herself to have something because she doubted that her stomach would like to suffer through another round what she just suffered.
“Good morning,” she greeted Jeri and Rebekah as she sat down in her usual chair and poured herself some tea.
“Morning,” Jeri replied with a small smile. “You certainly look better than last night.”
“I feel better.”
“Good, because I was just filling Rebekah in about what happened.”
“I was cold, I fell asleep in your bath and had a nightmare.”
“Should I call Nik to come back?” Rebekah asked worried as she looked at Bella. “He’d want to know this.”
“No, why? I feel fine now.” She grabbed a pancake and started to eat it, but not quite liking the taste of it. It tasted like mud, and it didn’t slide down her throat that well, however, she was going to soldier on. “I don’t think he’ll appreciate it to be called back only because I wasn’t feeling so well last night.”
“You know he’d come back in an instant.”
“Exactly and that’s not necessary.”
She had to blink when Elijah and Jessica came into the room as for a moment; it looked as if it were Carlisle and Esme. That was ridiculous, of course, they weren’t here, not as far as they were aware. She swallowed the remaining mud pancake away with her tea and was glad that it had only been a flash. I’m cursed, she thought.
If this was going to happen every time Klaus went away, out of New Orleans, she was going to go with him. She was wondering if he was suffering the same. “Have you heard from them?”
“Of course not,” Rebekah replied as she took a sip of her freshly poured blood. “They’re probably having too much fun to send us a message. I was thinking of inviting Cami over today, what do you say, Bella? The four – five – of us to have a pamper day.”
“Oh, I’m out,” Jeri groaned. “No pampering and all girl bonding shit. Nope.”
Bella wanted to say that she was going to join Jeri instead, but Rebekah was faster. “Nope, you’re staying.”
“And here I thought that maybe Bella would find it interesting to see me work. I get the feeling that she hasn’t been instructed much about witches.”
“She hasn’t,” Rebekah sulked. “Witches are… a convenience.”
“Ha!” Jeri snorted and looked at Bella. “Don’t worry Bella, you’ll love it, magic is actually very pretty when not used to figure out someone else’s mess.”
After supplying Jeri another sample of her blood because the witch was ‘curious’, she entertained her with some beautiful spells with lovely colors. She even had one to write on the wall with, and that was fun. Of course, Bella was ridiculously human, but it had been fun to watch.
Bella knew that Kol loved magic for what it was, beautiful and fun. He had told her about his human life and his second shot at it, and even though he missed it terribly, he was grateful that he didn’t have to die again. Or at least had a better chance of defying death in his original body. He liked to have fun, and Bella could tell that Jeri was the same way. They were perfect for each other.
And it was a good thing Jeri was around, she wasn’t as careful with Bella as the Mikaelsons. Had Bella gone to Rebekah to ask for a hot bath, she would have said no, but Jeri had shared her bathroom. She wasn’t made out of porcelain; she’s been through a lot more than a simple too hot shower – should she ever shower that hot again. It wasn’t needed. Not anymore. Or was it? She wasn’t quite sure.
But she liked Jeri because of that. That didn’t mean that she was still afraid of her for the same reason.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” Jeri said after two hours of testing and entertaining the human girl. “Well, not interesting, but potentially dangerous. Are you sure you’re okay?”
Bella blinked at her. “I’m just suffering from Klaus withdrawal.”
Jeri smiled at that. “I get it that you’re smitten with him, and that’s cute, but are you sure you’re okay?”
Bella shrugged as she thought for a moment. She felt as if she was being stabbed with a million stabby things reminding her of the many times Carlisle stuck her with them, and there was a little bit of nausea, but she felt fine. “Yes.”
Jeri let out a frustrated sigh. “Look, if I’m going to figure out what the fuck they did to you, you need to be honest with me. Tell me what you feel. Your recent blood looks like it’s falling apart, as if it’s deteriorating. Klaus’ blood is out of your system now. His blood, not the tainted version you have. Your blood seems to be fighting to be separated, but that’s impossible since it’s your blood.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Imagine a slice of bread. Now soak it in water. It’ll soak it all up but becomes soggy and not the same. That’s what’s happening to your blood,” she explained and then eyed her again. “So do not tell me you feel fine, surely you must feel the effects.”
“Bella, it’s crucial, alright? From the looks of this, this happened almost overnight.”
“Yes, that’s obvious.”
Bella blinked at that, she knew? “I- it’s nothing, really. Minor things. My dreams, they’re getting more real as if they’re a memory, and I wake up feeling as if it had just happened.”
“Okay,” she turned to the Grimoire. “I think I’ve seen a variation of that in here, somewhere. Just keep me posted when things change.”
Bella hopped off the table and nodded behind Jeri’s back. Surely it wasn’t that important; she just wanted something to do. To make sure Klaus would get pissed off and kill her so she’d evolve. That was it. “I’ll be in my room, I’m going to the kitchen first to get something to eat.”
“Yeah, sure,” Jeri replied absentmindedly as she kept eyeing the book and the blood.
After picking up some cold pancakes from the kitchen and a cup of warm tea, Bella made her way to her room but decided to go to Klaus’ study. Even though he wasn’t there, the fireplace was alight, and she felt cold again. She carefully placed her food in front of the fireplace and went looking for her blanket on the couch.
She smiled at that; it was her blanket. He had gotten it for her for their late nights talking, and as she wrapped it around her on her way over to the warmth, she could smell him on it. She sat there for a while, munching on her pancakes and realizing that her tea had turned cold. Drinking it anyway, she then made her way to the couch and laid down for a nap. It was nowhere near bed time yet, she still needed to have dinner and then be awake for a few more hours, but she felt tired.
She shouldn’t have eaten the food or drank the tea, she hadn’t even asked permission yet to get it, would Elijah or Rebekah be mad at her? What about Jeri? It wasn’t as if Jeri had anything to say about it, she was an outsider, just like Bella was. Jeri would have said ‘go for it’, Bella knew that much.
She had it so good here, why was she trying to self-sabotage herself?
She pulled the blanket over her head as if she was trying to block out her thoughts.
“What did we say about hiding?” Rosalie’s kind voice sounded. “You can’t do this, Bella, the King won’t be pleased about it, and he’ll hurt us all.”
“But mom, he hurt me yesterday!”
“I know, bunny, but I can’t do anything about it. Now come out of your hiding spot, he’s waiting for you.”
Bella crawled out from underneath her bed and dusted herself off. She was wearing a beautiful dress with flowers, and her hair was perfectly braided, she felt like a princess. But she was scared. But she couldn’t let her mom and dad get hurt because of what she refused to do so she had to do this.
“Now, remember, you’re not allowed to speak.”
Bella nodded. If she did, the King would hurt her parents.
Rosalie took Bella’s hand and brought her to the main building, to the clean white room that she had been in the day before. When the King had hooked her up to a machine and flushed her blood and then hurt her with electric shocks because she had ‘died’. Dying was scary. Her vision had become blurry at first, and her heart had been trying to pump blood that wasn’t there and it had hurt so bad. She didn’t want to go through that again.
She wanted to cry, but she wasn’t allowed to do that either. She didn’t want to be here, why was she here?
“Thank you, Rosalie, you may go now,” the King spoke quietly as he lifted Bella up and placed her on the chair.
“Please be careful with her, she’s still hurting from whatever you did yesterday.”
“Silence, woman. Go back to doing your duties as wife.”
Bella was strapped onto the chair in a second as the King used his speed to do so and then smirked. She wanted to wipe that smirk off his face. Permanently.
“I’ve lived a lot of years, and I always refrained from harming humans,” he spoke quietly with that same smirk on his face. “However, since you’re our human, I don’t see why I can’t satisfy my curiousity how the current modern variety will hold up to particular experiments. Yesterday was entertaining, today will be even more so.”
Things were attached to her head and her arms, and she wasn’t sure what it was. She couldn’t see, her head couldn’t move. Something was forced into her mouth, and she had to blink away her tears because it hurt. She couldn’t swallow properly or move her head. This was scaring her.
“Now let’s see what happens when I flip this switch…”
Bella fell off the couch as she convulsed and hit her head against the coffee table. She managed to let out a scream, but couldn’t stop her body from moving. She couldn’t stop herself from shaking.
Rebekah was the first one to get to her, pushing away the coffee table and holding Bella as she convulsed. Bella tried to focus on her and managed to see that she was worried. “Call Nik!” Rebekah shouted to someone else who was in the room. “He needs to come back now!”
Bella blacked out then and stopped convulsing. Rebekah carefully lifted her off the floor and placed her in Klaus’ bed while Elijah was calling her brother. The girl was in rough shape, just like that. It looked like she had vampire bites all over, and that pissed Rebekah off. “Who came in here and bit her?”
“I don’t think anyone did,” Jeri said as she climbed on the bed. She sprinkled a mixture of herbs on Bella’s body to soothe the effects of the spell for her and keeping her in a slumber for her sake. “I suspected something was off a few hours ago; her blood seemed to disintegrate or to separate from the magical components. I found a spell in the Grimoire that the witch had scribbled ‘CC’ next to. It took me a while to realize that it meant Carlisle Cullen, actually, it was Becky herself that gave me the answer.”
“What is it?” Rebekah gently caressed the loose strands of hair out of Bella’s face.
“Excuse me, Niklaus wants to hear this as well,” Elijah said, placing the phone on speaker on the bed. “He’s on his way home.”
“I identified most of the spells used in the potion from tales you’ve told, from tests I’ve done on the blood and from tales Bella told. Becky validated them,” Jeri explained. “One of them being the most important one; Klaus will be the death of Bella, and her savior.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Klaus demanded through the phone.
“That Becky wasn’t a particularly bad witch, just a scared one, but oh so crafty. To be honest, I’m impressed,” Jeri said cheerfully as she saw another bite mark appear on Bella’s arm. “She knew that one day, you’d come back to New Orleans. This is why she used your blood for this. She hated the Cullens and hated to work for them, but it meant protection and a hefty sum of money. When you’re knee deep in debt, you’ll do just about anything.”
“How do you know this?”
“I summoned her spirit when Bella went down for a nap, no biggie,” she replied. “How about you kill me as a thank you?”
“Just keep talking, you’re testing my patience,” Klaus growled.
“While you’re well known for your monstrous behavior. Becky knew that all of you had a soft side as well and that upon returning to New Orleans, you’d eventually find her. She used your blood to bind her to you so that you’d be her salvation and ruin everything Carlisle would do to her. Reverse it. That part of the spell kicked in when you fed her your blood. Once it was out of her system, she started to have nightmares that seemed too real, almost as if she was reliving the memories. She’s probably been in a lot of pain for the last couple of days, and none of us noticed.”
A stream of expletives could be heard coming out of the phone from both Kol and Klaus. When they finally shut up again, Jeri continued. “Long story short, she’s dying. So it’s up to you if you want to save her.”
“And how am I supposed to do that?”
Klaus could be heard sucking in a breath. “Is there another option?”
“No. Either you turn her, or she permanently dies.”
“Niklaus, how far away are you from New Orleans?” Elijah asked as he picked up the phone again.
“A couple of hours but Kol already suggested we’d get rid of the car and run our way home to shorten the trip.”
“Do that, brother,” Elijah urged him as he saw Bella’s body spasm. “It’s not looking good.”
He could smell her blood the moment he set foot in the courtyard. He and Kol had quickly fed before they returned home after their long run, but he could smell her blood. Rushing to his study, he found everyone in there, holding a quiet vigil for Bella, who lay upon his bed dressed in a big shirt and some underwear, nothing else.
Klaus quickly observed the room and noticed a mountain of laundry, stained in red. “What happened?”
He wanted to rush to the bed and kneel down next to his Bella, but he had already rushed over from where he and Kol had gotten out of the car. Her heartbeat was faint. There were bite marks all over her body, some still red from recent appearances. There was blood seeping out of tiny marks made by syringes. Not much, but enough for him to worry. If this was a glimmer of the Cullen’s treatment of her, he didn’t want to know what he had missed.
“Internal bleeding, it came out of her as if it was her period on steroids or the Niagara Falls,” Jeri murmured, placing a new cold, wet cloth on the feverish Bella. “I’ve managed to stabilize her somewhat, but you don’t have long, Klaus. I’ve made her sleep, and I can wake her up again, but I have no idea for how much time.”
“I’m going to kill them,” Rebekah muttered, having watched the onslaught of the reversal first hand. Jeri had made another analogy about Bella’s condition; with the spell in tact and without having fed on Klaus’ blood, Bella was like an M&M. With the spell fallen away, the M&M was now breaking apart and even affecting the peanut inside. She had wanted to wake Bella or have Jeri wake her, so she could tell them if she was in any pain. If she needed anything, but Elijah convinced her that it was probably better for Bella if she was oblivious to all of this.
It was, but it didn’t mean she had to agree with it.
“Has anyone asked her?”
“No, we let her sleep,” Elijah squeezed his brother’s shoulder. “We figured you should be the one to tell her what’s going on and what her options are.”
“Leave us,” he demanded as he sat down on the edge his bed, looking at Bella over his shoulder. He needed to think really hard about this and very fast. Jeri and Kol stayed in the den. That wasn’t what he had wanted, but maybe it was for the best seeing as Jeri’s magic was the only thing helping Bella right now. Rebekah, Elijah, and Jessica were in the hallway but had closed the door. Not that it would count for privacy due to vampire hearing, but he always appreciated the gesture.
It surprised him that everyone had seemed to take a liking to this all too human and all too of an innocent young woman. The look on Kol’s face spoke big and elaborate stories. He was putting up a brave face, but he didn’t want Bella to leave, and Klaus wasn’t certain if he wanted her to leave, either. Not out of fear as what might happen to him. He had survived the Hunter’s curse. He could survive the spell being broken – and his heart with it would probably break in a million pieces as well.
She was human, but she was not. She’d never been around humans apart from those in that crazy cult, but even then, it was unlikely. Bella had always been surrounded by supernaturals, and that made her one, in his opinion. She was beautiful, honest, and there was this spark inside of her that was just waiting to be ignited. Maybe becoming a vampire would help her realize that she was less fragile than she thought she was and dared to do things, such as going outside. Or a simple boost in her personality.
Not that Klaus wanted it to change that much. If he had to be completely honest, he was enamored by her fragility and how she held herself up, proud. Those beautiful brown eyes of hers lit up whenever she saw him. That smile of hers was intoxicating and her scent…
However, he was hesitant. As with Marcel, he didn’t want her to live the life he was leading. Death and destruction. Darkness. If he’d thought of Marcel as pure, then what was Bella? Angelic? He didn’t want to ruin her. He hadn’t actually ruined Marcel although he did stab him in the back. Would Bella do such a thing? No, she wouldn’t. She’d be afraid to hurt anyone, it would be a task to get her to drink from a human.
He loved her now, but would he love her forever? She’d already become a part of their family. Would he be able to deal with her for the rest of her vampire life or would she be in danger as should she be a vampire, he wouldn’t hesitate to kill her when pissed off? No, he wouldn’t hurt her, ever. Nothing would change.
He’d still take revenge on the Cullens because of her. Even if she were gone. If she’d stay, she could help, and he’d help her rip off that Edward’s head and stuff it up Carlisle’s ass. But her revenge shouldn’t be the only reason for her to turn.
He wanted her to stay. As his.
But only if she wanted to. He wasn’t going to force her. This was going to be her choice.
“Yes?” Jeri walked into the bedroom, finding Klaus in the same position as they’d left him, on the bed with his back towards Bella.
“How much pain would she be in if you’d wake her now? Would she be coherent enough?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Jeri ran her hand through her hair. “I mean… she’s a tough cookie, really tough. She’d probably act as if nothing’s wrong while her body deteriorates. As I said before, I spelled her to take the edge off the pain but… I don’t know. She’d be in a lot of pain, I guess.”
“Very well, then she and I will have to have a chat while she’s transitioning,” he said as he looked at Jeri. “Do you have a syringe on you?”
“No, but I’ll get one,” she smiled at him before leaving him again.
Klaus moved on the bed and carefully pulled Bella’s unconscious form into his lap, covering her with a blanket as she felt cold. “I’m so sorry, my love,” he whispered in her ear, hoping she’d somehow hear it. Kissing the top of her head, he could feel how her body slightly shook and then continued to tremble. He was going to kill the Cullens. Even if there were some good ones, he was going to kill them all.
“What did you want with this?” Jeri asked as she returned.
“Take some of my blood, please, then inject it into her. I don’t want to wake her up if she’s going to be in so much pain,” Klaus replied as he held out his arm to her.
“I might have to do that twice, to be safe.”
“Twice, to be safe,” Jeri said as she pushed the needle into his arm and withdrew his blood. She was more careful with injecting it into Bella. “And a harmless spell for good luck,” she added after muttering something before she injected her with the second dose. He had wanted it to do it this way because right now, Bella was still very much out cold, and he wanted his blood to take. To be sure that it would heal her up and change her. All he needed to do now was to snap her neck.
Just like that.
Her beautiful, fragile neck.
The sound of her bones crack was louder, somehow. Or maybe it seemed louder because it was so god awful quiet. He could feel the life drain out of her body, her heart beat had come to a full stop, and he really hoped he hadn’t done the wrong thing.