Bella would have loved going to the bookstore at Pirate’s Alley but it was too far away and Alina didn’t think it was a good idea to go deeper into the Quarter. She felt slightly bummed, because the hot guy worked at that store, but a bookstore was a bookstore. She didn’t mind going one street over to get there.
“Aria actually said that if we wanted new books we could order them online,” Alina grinned as she slipped her arm through Bella’s and pulled her closer. “As if!”
“I’d rather get high on book fumes than use a machine to buy me a book,” Bella nodded with a big smile on her face. “Besides, this is instant gratification. Why wait?”
“And any opportunity to get you out of the building is the right one. We should totally get something to eat at the little establishment next to the bookstore.”
“Good, now that’s out of the way, I want to talk to you about Klaus,” Alina said as they continued to walk in the direction of the bookstore. “I passed him on the stairs last night, well, we all did, and he nearly shoved us over the railing. Did you upset him or something?”
Bella shrugged. “We had a truthful, adult, conversation, that’s all.”
“Did you break up with him?”
“We weren’t even together!” Bella cried out and sighed. “I don’t know, for the first time in seven years I actually think I’m ready to… you know, rebuild my life. Yes, they’re still out there, but you have to start somewhere, right? I asked him what his intentions were with me and it was obvious that I’m nothing but a fun, free, fuck to him.”
“Oh come on, he obviously cares about you, like more than just tolerating you.”
“Perhaps, but he made it quite clear yesterday that he’s not interested in more. Now I know that I don’t have to sit around and waiting for things to happen. He can get his free fucks with Myriam. I’m moving on. If he wants to have sex with me, he’ll have to do that on a day where I’m working, on my terms, and he has to bring money,” she then sighed and looked at Alina. “I wanted to flirt with that cute guy from the other bookstore today, but you had other plans.”
“Yep, but good on you for moving on. Just give us a heads up next time when you hurt his feelings so we don’t use the same stairs he does,” Alina grinned and high fived Bella. “I’m proud of you.”
“Eh,” she shrugged. “I realized in his absence the last two months that I rely too much on him for my happiness anyway. I need to rely on myself for my happiness.”
“Hell yeah!” Alina cheered. “We’re so going to buy you a new set of underwear to celebrate!”
Bella snorted and shook her head as they walked into the bookstore and after making sure that she wasn’t standing in the way of everyone, she paused for a moment and took a deep breath to breathe in the crispness of new books. The store smelled of fresh ink, rigid papers and purity. Yes, purity had a smell. It was clinical, sort of like a hospital but without the detergent. Every single book in the store was new, every book a new adventure to lose herself in. Every book ready to be mangled and thrown across the room when something unexpected or unwanted happened in the story.
She and Alina spent about an hour in the store before going for something to eat and Bella allowed herself to enjoy herself, without fear. She’d been in New Orleans for two years now. It was quiet. She couldn’t be found and she was safe. Even on the streets, now. Alina was former military and a member of the feared A-Squad. Safe.
The last time she’d been outside – aside from lounging on the balcony or roof of Débauche – was months ago and she thought she saw something on every corner. It had been a nightmare. But she felt pretty good about herself. This was her life. She was taking it back. She didn’t need Klaus for this. She’d been without him for 5 years prior to coming to New Orleans and she’d done just fine for herself.
She just about devoured the Po-Boy and the beignet, much to Alina’s delight. “That’s going to play up later, you know.”
“I have a good, healthy digestive system,” Bella countered playfully and paid for their food, but not before taking a Po-Boy on the go to take back to Débauche. “Lingerie shopping next!”
Alina squealed as they walked away from the restaurant and then halted when she got a text from Autumn and Aria. ‘911. NOW.’ This meant trouble. Alina loved trouble. They’d gotten a bit too at ease since Myriam started to pay for their services only to make sure that they wouldn’t go after one of the girls she was sheltering at the time. But trouble sounded good. “Rain check, I’ve been called back. Unless you want to roam around on your own?”
Bella sighed, disappointed that her time outside the building had to end this soon, but she wasn’t going to walk around all by herself. Not yet. “I’ll come back with you.”
When you’ve lived as long as she had, you’d pick up extra abilities, gifts, on the way to make sure that you wouldn’t fall for the same thing twice. Or thrice. Or other times. A business woman like herself needed to keep an eye out for new businesses popping up, businesses that could hamper the success of her business or be a threat to other businesses.
Imagine her surprise when this new business swooped into town and bought up some land in the Bayou. In the Bayou; the most beautiful place of New Orleans where, back in the day, she rid herself of dead bodies by burying them deep in the ground. She wasn’t the only vampire doing so, and certainly not the last. It was also home to the Crescent wolves, recently recursed thanks to the efforts of one Niklaus Mikaelson but it was still their home.
And it pissed Myriam off that someone was taking away the homes of the wolves. She was going to find out who was the head of Kingmaker and she was going to tell them to leave. Those wolves had been through enough and she wanted to make sure that they would have a home to come back to should someone find it in their hearts to remove the curse again.
However, she had more pressing matters to deal with right now. She was watching the security feed on her computer and saw Elijah fucking Mikaelson walk into the bar area. She was surprised it had taken him decades to find Débauche – which had likely something to do with the Mikaelsons being absent from New Orleans for a century, but his presence now didn’t please her at all.
Didn’t he have better things to do? Such as polishing the sticks that were shoved up his ass on a regular basis? Or the marbles in his mouth, maybe? Or fluff the feathers that were sticking out of his ass like a peacock?
Granted, most of her disdain towards the man were due to stories that Niklaus had told her about his family and some of her own observations in passing, but he was just sitting there. He had ordered a bourbon and was casually, but systematically, casing the place.
She’d been sitting there, watching, for an hour with her head of security with her and some of the A-squad ready to throw him out of the bar and Myriam wasn’t quite sure what to do other than to stare in disbelief. Usually she was quick to make up her mind, but THE Elijah Mikaelson had found her club. She was screwed.
Klaus had a habit of putting his nose in places where it didn’t belong, but Elijah was worse. Sure, there was the slight chance that Elijah stumbled into the club by complete accident, but a part of her told her that this wasn’t the case. And she knew what she had to do. “Merde,” she muttered to herself, pushing her chair back and got to her feet. “I’m going to see what he’s up to. Maybe it’s nothing to be concerned about.”
“It’s Elijah Mikaelson, I think you should be a little concerned,” Aria said as she looked at her boss. “When Alina’s back, I’ll send her and Autumn to do some information gathering, see what his last moves were before coming here.”
“Alina’s been back for at least half an hour now,” her chief of security spoke up knowingly. “Her mind was quite loud when she and Bella returned from their shopping; mostly with unfinished shopping business to do and something about Klaus Mikaelson.”
Myriam nodded towards Aria. “Send them,” she said before snapping her head towards him. “What about Klaus?” She wasn’t proud of this, really, but she liked to keep her girls – the ones in hiding or not – happy. Sometimes she had to rely on her mind readers to find out what was going on in her girls’ lives. If Alina was thinking about Klaus, then she and Bella must have had a conversation about him.
“He was acting a bit weird last night after we got off the stage,” Aria piped up. “Nearly pushed us all off the stairs. He was quite… emotional.”
“Interesting, seeing as he was with Bella,” Myriam sighed and shook her head. “No, one crisis at the time. I’m going to see Mr. Elijah Mikaelson and then I’ll find out what went on between his brother and our girl.” She quickly checked herself over in the mirror before leaving her office and went through the security door leading to the hallway. She could smell him in the hall, clean but with a hint of blood underneath it. He must recently have fed – or killed someone.
She ignored him as she walked to the bar and ordered herself a red wine before turning and leaning against the surface and eyed the people in the bar. It was the regular crowd at this time of day; merely people trying to work or drowning their sorrows. The party wouldn’t start for another few hours and they would all leave soon, to their spouses, to their lives, while the rougher crowd would move in.
Her eyes then settled on Elijah, and smiled a little as she caught him looking at her in return. Taking her glass, she made her way over to him and stretched out her hand for him to shake. “Mr. Mikaelson, such an honor to have you in my establishment.”
He rose to his feet and shook her hand, gently. His brother was all over her, which was strange, considering she did not look like his type at all. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage, you know my name, but I’m yet to know yours.” She did look vaguely familiar, why was that?
“Myriam Jenkins,” she replied with a kind smile and pointed to the empty chair. “May I?”
“Please,” he said, gesturing to the chair as he sat back down. “Have we met?”
Myriam took a sip of her wine after sitting down and looked at him. “If you have to ask that question, then you already know the answer.”
“You look familiar, that’s all.”
“Uhuh,” she said, still eyeing him. “What brings a distinguished man as yourself to a place like Débauche?”
Elijah let out a breath and an amused smile formed on his face. “Can’t a man like myself simply go out for a drink?”
“All by himself?”
“Of course. I’ve been known for my whimsical ways,” he replied amused.
“You see, I find there’s a problem with that. Your reputation precedes you. Mr. Elijah Mikaelson doesn’t do things on a whim, he’s a well calculated man and is detached, unless it concerns his family.”
“Very well, I see you’re a woman who likes to get straight to the point.”
“Especially when any member of the Original family crosses the threshold of my domain, yes.”
“It’s a public space,” Elijah mused. “But let me assure you that I have no intention of harming you or anyone in this building. I have done some research and it appears that you have been managing this place all by yourself for quite some time.”
“And when you were struggling, an anonymous donor helped you out.”
“That was decades ago,” Myriam was wondering where he was getting at with this. She figured that he already knew what was going on, and that his brother was involved. If that was the case, she was going to have to find herself a witch that was powerful enough to mess with an Original’s mind. She was not going to allow Elijah access to her girls like Klaus had. One Original in her life was more than enough.
“It wasn’t an anonymous donor, I checked the records myself. It seems that my brother is involved with you and this place. I can practically smell him on you and in every corner of this building.” Elijah then leaned forward and looked her in her eyes. “Tell me, who are you to my brother Niklaus and who is he to you?”
Myriam stifled a laugh and took a sip of her wine. “Mr. Mikaelson, there’s no point in trying to compel me or anyone of my staff – or patrons, for that matter. We’re all on vervain. It’s such a wonderful tool once you’ve built up a tolerance for it, don’t you think?”
“He sired you.”
“Perhaps,” she said with a shrug. “Now, what do you want?”
“I would like to offer my services, my connections, for you to continue to do what you’ve been doing for certain members of our society.”
She was taken aback by that. How would he know? Klaus would never tell, but what about Freya? If that bitch betrayed her, then she was going to be killed. The A-Squad was still in her pocket! She would never be able to get close to Freya herself, the girl was a formidable – and old – witch. Myriam knew what battles she could fight on her own and which she couldn’t. “What do you mean by that?”
“I know about the top level of your establishment and I find that admirable. More often than not, innocent humans fall victim to our community and I think it’s a marvelous idea to give them shelter and help them to get back on their feet. I wish to help.”
“Get out,” Myriam said as she pointed to the exit.
“Ms. Jenkins, please. I am sure that we could arrange something mutually beneficial between us. With my help, you could open more safe havens like this across the United States and-”
“Get. Out.” Myriam rose to her feet, still pointing towards the exit. “I appreciate you being forward with me but you are crossing lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Get out or I’ll have you removed.”
Sighing, Elijah calmly finished his drink while the vampire across him started to enrage even further. He was amused by this. The woman obviously cared about her establishment and about what she had accomplished – with some help from Niklaus, of course. It also worried him, as it was likely that he was going to have to deal with the wrath of the hybrid the moment he set foot inside the compound again. There was no doubt that the woman would be on the phone to him the moment he left the club.
He got to his feet, straightened himself up and nodded. “Very well. Perhaps we could have a friendly discussion about this some other time.”
“We shall not discuss this some other time, Mr. Mikaelson,” she snapped at him. “Ta mere suce le penis d’animaux pour l’argent. Casse-Toi.”
“Actually, she has,” Elijah said with an amused smile. “My brother Niklaus is the proof of that.”
“Out!” she watched him march out of the bar and followed him so she could watch him get out of the front door as well before she turned to the doorman. “He is not allowed back in!”
“Yes, Ms. Jenkins,” the man said with a nod.
She growled as she looked at him and then walked back into her office, where Aria was waiting for her with an amused smile on her face. “What?” She demanded.
“I don’t know what has been said in the bar, but you like him.”
Myriam stared at the woman from her position at the door.
“Oh, come on, boss. It’s obvious. He did something to push your buttons and you haven’t felt like you’re feeling right now in years. I don’t need to be a mindreader to see that. Body language and all. Hell, Ace would probably say that you two were practically eye fucking each other.”
“Out.” She enunciated slowly, her voice low and deadly; her eyes narrowing on the girl as her patience was quickly dissolving.
Aria snorted. “Sure thing, boss. We’ll retrace Mr. Mikaelson’s steps and see what he’s up to.” she moved around her boss and through the door, closing the door behind her.
Myriam took a few deep breaths before taking her phone and dialling Klaus’ number.
“Morceau de merde!” Myriam exclaimed angrily as she kicked against her chair, sending it flying across the space. For once she was lucky that all the windows were bulletproof and did not easily shatter as it hit the window. “Do something about your brother!”
“Your brother… well, the one who’s still breathing – for now – was just here. Mr. GQ-wannabe knew exactly what’s going on in here and proposed that he and I should work together to franchise Débauche to help others across the States. He seemed to be pretty sure of himself that this was going to happen.”
“What?” Klaus’ voice sounded. “To be fair, I’ve often told you to do that myself.”
“And I have always told you ‘no’! And are you even fucking listening? Your brother. Was here. He found us. My girls are at risk now, Nik. Do something about it or I will!” She disconnected the call, moved to the chair and put it upright before dialling Klaus again. “And you and I need to have a little chat about your behaviour! How dare you shoving girls off the stairs!”
“Love, you need to calm down.”
“Oh, don’t you tell me what to do, Niklaus Mikaelson, or the next time you’re in my office, I will sever your balls and your cock from your body and will throw them in the meat grinder.”
Klaus laughed at that.
“You fucker! What happened between you and Bella last night?”
“That’s between me and our girl, love.”
“You shouldn’t worry about her, love. Everything is alright. Go and talk to her.”
“I doubt everything is alright, I want to know what happened.”
“Talk to her, not me. She’s your protégé.”
“Fucker.” Myriam disconnected the call for the last time and threw her phone across her office. However, unlike the chair and the window, it wasn’t built to deal with vampire strength and it shattered in a million pieces. At least, until she got herself a new phone, it would be quieter in her life for awhile. Everyone knew her office number anyway.
And yes, she wanted to talk to Bella, but as of right now, she was still seeing red and dealing with a mortal would be tedious. Especially knowing that Bella had Klaus’ blood in her system after her adventure a few nights ago. Klaus would not take it lightly if something would happen to her.
And neither would Myriam, to be honest. When she took Bella in, she saw so much potential in her and wanted to help her become a better version of herself. To teach her things. To make sure that she was safe, nurtured and equal. Treated like a normal person even though she was surrounded by the Supernatural. Bella was mortal, but special, she just didn’t realize how special just yet.