New Orleans, 1781
General O’Reilly’s arrival a few years ago had been the best that had ever happened, according to Mr. Jenkins. He brought back crime, invested a lot of money into New Orleans and changed the shape of everything. Of course, he was only taking advantage of what the Mikaelson family had been doing, but they didn’t seem to particularly care.
Myriam knew the truth. She may not have been a scholar, and she may have been the daughter of an unwed prostitute and raised by an old farmer, but she often saw what other people didn’t. She had often seen them talk to each other in a tongue that she didn’t understand, but it was beautiful. It was soft and well spoken. Much like the French language, but more interesting.
As a child, she had often stalked them, mostly the beautiful blonde Rebekah, as she went out to order new dresses. If only Myriam were able to buy one of those beautiful dresses, then everything would be alright – of course, a child’s fantasy is the most precious thing in existence, but now, she knew better.
Myriam was too old to find a husband – not for a lack of trying, but who wanted a poor farmer’s girl with a questionable history? She was too old to bear children of her own and life had made her bitter. When her mother passed when she was only ten years of age, Myriam ended up living at Farmer Jenkin’s farm, and she never left.
She couldn’t leave.
Because if she left, Mr. Jenkins would certainly find her and kill her. He had been a widower when he took in Myriam. No children of his own. His wife had been killed by one of the French rebels as she went into town to buy cloth to make clothes. Not only had she been killed, but she had been raped and robbed.
Mr. Jenkins had never really gotten over that.
Almost every day, he wanted Myriam to do his bidding. Worship him as he should be, because he saved her from a life on the streets. Instead, she slept in a cold barn and was only allowed in the house to take some food. Whenever she saw a way out, Mr. Jenkins was there to stop her.
He was an old man now, and she wasn’t getting any younger either. Most women her age would have an army of children now, a caring husband. A decent life. Not like she was having. She wasn’t even sure if she was still alive if she had to be completely honest.
Then the big storm hit in 1780. It was somewhere in August, and it came unexpectedly. She managed to seek refuge in the basement, but the entire farm and crops were destroyed. When she finally dared to leave her hiding place a couple of days later, she found Mr. Jenkins’ body in the duck pond.
While she now had lost everything, she felt relieved. She could do whatever she wanted, but what was that? She was a woman in her thirties!
Much to her surprise, she had found someone a few months later. A real gentleman and he spoke French! She could understand him and he began to teach her the other languages spoken in New Orleans. And at first, it was nice. He was kind and provided for her, but when he had an accident, things changed. He became abusive. Hit her like Mr. Jenkins had done. Took her against her will, as Mr. Jenkins had done.
She found herself trapped once again.
Until that day. That one, glorious day that started so horrible but ended so much better.
Jacques had taken her into town and while he was filling himself up with alcohol, as was the norm since the accident, she was allowed to buy herself something pretty. However, when she returned with her new shoes, he got mad with her. How dare she spend his money on new shoes while her old shoes were perfectly fine?
He started to publicly abuse her, something he usually did behind closed doors. Called her names. Began to tear her clothes. Right in front of everyone to see. During their fight, somehow he smashed his bottle and stabbed her with it before running off.
As she lay dying, one of the Mikaelsons whom she knew was called Klaus, lifted her up and told her that everything was going to be alright. She wasn’t quite sure what had happened after he had lifted her, but the next thing she knew was waking up in a very expensive looking hotel room. Klaus was sitting in a chair across the room, watching her as she came to her senses.
It was then that he told her that she never had to worry anymore. That he would take care of her, but that soon enough, she’d be able to take care of herself. She was strong now. Immortal. She was going to be his secret – which she was fine with.
The moment Klaus set her free after teaching her what he knew, she sought out Jacques and killed him out of revenge while Klaus proudly watched on.
New Orleans, 2013
She passed one of the members of the A-squad with a client on her way down to Myriam’s office. Aria, the oldest member of the squad, seemed to be good at everything. Aria’s expertise lay with private dance sessions on the first floor. Oh, Bella didn’t judge with how many the woman slept with, hell, Bella enjoyed it as well, but she and Aria didn’t really get along. The dancer seemed to have this air about that Bella wasn’t able to shake but since Myriam trusted Aria and Bella trusted Myriam… there wasn’t a lot that she could do about it.
Once on ground level, Bella walked through the lounge and peeked into the hallway before stepping out and immediately turned right to get through the thick security door with her own passcode. She was still surprised that Myriam had given her her own code, but the woman had been serious about training her and educating her. Bella had been with Myriam for about two years now.
She had spent five years on the run from the Cullens and the Volturi before hearing of Myriam’s place in New Orleans. It truly was a safe place; whoever was inside the building couldn’t be detected by any magic or gift, and she hadn’t felt this safe, this free, for a very long time. The best thing of all; Myriam allowed her to do whatever she wanted. If she wanted to work, she would work. If she didn’t, she didn’t. Maybe it was because Bella didn’t desire to get paid and all her earned money, whether it being tips or something else, would go straight into the establishment.
Or maybe, it was the fact that her boss’ friend with benefit had taken a liking to Bella as a friend and yet another friend with benefit. They were currently sharing the same man. Sort of. Bella got paid to do it, and Myriam did not. A wide grin appeared on her face as she pushed through the doors. It had been a while since she’d seen him. Maybe, one of these days, he’d come by again.
Yes, despite her still being on the run, she was having fun. She was safe, and as long as she didn’t have to think or talk about Cold Ones, she was fine.
She walked passed the security office to her boss’ office and knocked on the door before entering. “Evening, Myriam,” Bella greeted her as she stood in the doorway. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yes!” Myriam turned around with a broad smile on her face. While Myriam was an ancient vampire – well, she was older than the Cullens, which made her old to Bella, she was still kind underneath that hard and tough exterior she liked people to see her with. “We have a VIP guest coming in, in about…” she looked at the clock. “Oh, fifteen minutes. He booked Grace, but as you know…”
“She’s sick,” Bella said with a slow nod. Grace was one of the employees who went home after work. “And let me guess, when you called him, he wanted something only I can provide.”
“Well, not necessarily,” she replied. “But you’ll like him. He usually doesn’t want any intercourse; he only wants some company.”
Bella let out a grunt. She hated those type of men. “What else?”
Myriam pulled a book out of one of her drawers and handed it to Bella. “The last time he was here, Grace read chapter six when his time ran out. It’s usually an hour and a half, two at most.”
“Shoot me now,” she groaned and ran a hand through her unruly hair. “I wanted to dye my hair again.”
“Well, that’s just gonna have to wait,” Myriam said with a grin. “VIP room two is open for you and I’ve left you an outfit you have to wear for him.” Before Bella could speak up again, she continued. “He pays well. He’s a sweet man and I’ll owe you one if you could do this.”
Bella raised an eyebrow. “Just who is this man, exactly?”
“If you’re lucky, he’ll introduce himself. Now, go upstairs and prepare yourself. Time’s of the essence.”
With a sigh, Bella tucked the book under her arm and left the office. Fifteen minutes to prepare? This was nuts. She needed at least an hour. She hadn’t taken a proper shower in a couple of days because she hadn’t felt like doing anything. It was the seasonal change that dampened her spirits, and maybe the absence of the man she shared with Myriam.
She called it sharing because he had eyes for only her and Myriam. Which was a strange conundrum, being in a building with so many attractive women, more beautiful than Bella. And the worst of it all was that she didn’t even mind. She had seen him as a client at first and then something else blossomed from that, a friendship. A kinship.
Bella didn’t even dare to start claiming him as hers because it wasn’t her place and she didn’t think she was ever going to be someone’s girlfriend ever again. No, Fuckward cured her of that. But it didn’t take away the fact that she did miss him.
When Myriam told her stories she heard on the street about the happenings in the Supernatural community; such as the Mikaelsons getting into some trouble with the witches and their own family, she couldn’t help but wonder if he had been caught up with it and how he was feeling, how he was doing. If he was alright.
And that was dangerous. She had started to care far too much about him but really couldn’t help herself.
Lost in thought, she bumped into another A-Squatter on the stairs, this time it was Alina and her solid abs. Alina was beautiful, and Bella wondered what she was up to, but when she saw the other girls come downstairs, apart from Aria, she knew that the girls were going to have some fun and tease the men in the strip club, maybe angling for a private dance.
Bella liked that. Sure, she moved awkwardly – she honestly had gotten better over the years, but dancing was not her thing – but men found it endearing for some reason. She didn’t seem like a ‘seasoned professional’, and when she discovered she could exploit that for the sake of the club, she did. Plus, it gave her a tremendous ego boost. Because dammit, she was sexy despite looking like a boy sometimes.
Clothes helped. Make-up helped. She had beautiful hair she liked to dye in the weirdest colors. Pretending to be someone she was not, or at least not partially, was a fun game. She liked to have fun. Maybe this client Myriam had asked her to see was going to be the catalyst to get out of her funk.
She rushed into the VIP room and skidded to a halt when she saw the outfit she was supposed to wear. Cursing under her breath, she grabbed it and headed for the ensuite bathroom to clean herself up. Fifteen minutes – fourteen now – wasn’t enough to do everything, but she was going to have to try.
She turned on the shower and stripped out of her clothes before ducking into one of the cupboards to get a razor and some shaving cream, and since Myriam said there wasn’t going to be any intercourse, she was going to stick to her legs and armpits. She quickly shaved, discarded the utensils in the small waste bucket and hopped underneath the water for a quick rinse.
Nearly falling over as she turned, she grabbed the bottle of shampoo and washed her hair. Normally she’d take her time and let the conditioner soothe her hair for a good five to ten minutes, but now she didn’t have the time. A little soft would have to do. Besides, with the outfit, maybe it was better to have her hair pinned up anyway.
She washed her body and rinsed herself off before getting out and started to dry herself while reaching for a packed toothbrush. Ripping the package open with her teeth, she smacked her elbow against the wall and cursed out loud. It wasn’t good for her to do things rushed, yet Myriam asked her for a rush job. Bella wasn’t happy. And her elbow freaking hurt, too.
Was Myriam fed up with her and wanted Bella to off herself or something? She was lucky she didn’t cut herself with the razor blade; not only did it hurt like a motherfucker, but with a handful of vampires working in the building, it wasn’t a good idea either. Was it April fools? No, it wasn’t. April had already gone.
She dried her hair thoroughly and decided to quickly blast it with a hairdryer when she was in her outfit. While it was alright to have damp hair to a certain degree – as it showed the client that his girl had showered and was clean – Bella’s hair had the tendency to stay dripping wet for a good hour or two despite doing her best to get it as dry as possible.
With only a minute or two to spare, she cleaned up the bathroom for her client’s use and managed not to break her neck over her own feet as she rushed to the door, waiting for the gentle knock so she could open it. From her position at the door, she glanced around the room to make sure she hadn’t disturbed anything with her bumping around and let out a deep breath. She had managed to get ready in fifteen minutes and nobody died. Good job.
When the knock came – five minutes later than it was supposed to come, Bella opened the door with a big smile and stared into the face of Luke Harris. She knew it was Luke Harris because his face was all over in the gossip magazines as his songs were instant hits. And he was gorgeous. Even more breathtaking than all the pictures she’d seen of him. “Hi,” she greeted him and took a step aside to let him in. “My name is Bella, and I’ll be entertaining you tonight.”
“Where’s Grace?” Harris muttered as he got in and waited for Bella to close the door. When she did, he turned around. “I was supposed to meet Grace tonight. It’s our night.”
His eyes looked a little bit freaky. His pupils were slightly dilated, but he seemed tired, and his breath didn’t smell like alcohol. “Didn’t Myriam tell you? Grace is sick.”
“Oh, yeah…” he tiredly rubbed his eyes before reaching into his pocket to hand Bella an envelope. “It’s all there. I’ll wash up.”
Bella watched as he slinked off to the bathroom, his feet dragging over the floor. There was no way that he’d have the energy to have sex, and it made sense that Grace had been reading to him. She checked the money inside the envelope before putting it away in a safe place and made herself comfortable on the bed with the book.
If she had to be honest, this onesie she was wearing, made sense. Of course, it did. As ridiculous as she felt in it, it made sense.
She was going to read a few chapters of War and Peace to rockstar extraordinaire Luke Harris. Could life be any weirder? Of course, she wasn’t new to having famous people or influential people as a client, but they were usually reserved for the regular girls as Bella lived on a day to day basis. And she wouldn’t show her excitement, she was a professional after all, but this was awesome.
It was a good twenty minutes before he finally emerged from the bathroom, naked. From her spot on the bed, she could observe him just perfectly; his unruly hair had become even more so, which was a hilarious sight. The tattoos on his chest were kinda beautiful, just like the one he had on the inside of his upper leg. His arms were massive. His six pack was there and his cock…
Hadn’t Myriam said that there was probably not going to be any intercourse? Not that Bella would object but – No, something was off. He nearly leaped on the bed from his position near the bathroom and pinned her to the bed in one fluid movement; it was then that she saw the crazed look in his eyes. Eyes wide, pupils dilated and something was terribly wrong.
While the entire club, the bar, and the brothel were entirely drug-free, it didn’t stop people from taking drugs before they’d enter. And since Luke was a VIP, he was a regular. Regulars knew the rules. He’d probably taken them only seconds before coming in view of the club and of course, it would take some time to start working. It hadn’t been detectable, and now Bella was fucked.
“Hey,” she smiled at him, not showing her fear. She didn’t have to alert anyone just yet. Yes, he had taken drugs, but not all drugs were bad. “Are you alright?” she ran a hand through his hair as she kept her eyes on him, observing his face, his eyes.
“You’re not Grace.”
“No,” she smiled kindly at him. “But if you’d just tell me what you always do with her, we can do it too.”
“Fuck that,” Luke growled as he put his hands around Bella’s neck. “I want Grace,” he demanded as he started to squeeze her, shaking her around. “You’re going to give me Grace!”
Gasping for air, Bella tried to kick him off of her. It was a good thing for the girls that they had a mind reader on staff so that they could call out to them as all the rooms were soundproofed for privacy. But of course, Bella was cursed with a shield thing that prevented mind readers from getting inside her head. As she couldn’t use her voice, she had to try it. Appalachia! Appalachia!
She tried hitting him, but it only made him squeeze harder. Kicking him didn’t work, he had positioned himself so that she couldn’t move her legs. With Luke being on drugs, it was even harder to fight him. She tried looking around and managed to grab the thick book she was supposed to be reading to him and hit him over the head with it, repeatedly, until he let go of her.
As she ran towards the door, she took a few breaths of air, only to have it immediately knocked out of her again as Luke had grabbed her legs and she fell face down on the floor. This time, however, she was able to kick him in the head, and she could have sworn she heard something snap and hoped it was his nose, not his neck.
Adrenaline pumping, Bella got to her feet and opened the door. “Appalachia!” Her voice sounded a little raw, but the second she spoke the word, security came running in and made sure that the naked Rockstar couldn’t do any more harm.
Even Myriam was there, mainly to calm Bella down as she had collapsed in her arms, but Bella was angry with her. Pushing Myriam away from her, she stomped towards the stairs to go a level higher and headed straight for her apartment.
No, this ‘favor’, didn’t do her depression any good.
She slammed the door shut and let herself fall to the floor as she tried to collect herself, get her breathing back in order and to let it go before she’d tell her side of things to security and Myriam to see what would happen next, but for now, she was glad that she was alone.