It was nice to wake up with Klaus still in bed with her, he was watching her she woke, but she felt safe and comfortable in his arms and they ended up having morning sex before moving it to the bathroom to clean themselves up. His plan for the morning was to go to the club and gather the remainder of her things. She had no need for her furniture, but the rest of her possessions he’d take care of. Including the bulk of her recent splurging on books.
Klaus told her she was free to explore the compound by herself, but not to leave it, which she was fine with. In every room that she visited there were old pieces of furniture, a lot of art, everything properly decorated and despite it all being antique, it felt cozy, warm.
As she calmly walked through the building, her mind was shooting off rockets in all directions. Now that she and Klaus were what they were, and she wasn’t at the club anymore, she wanted to find something else to do because she got bored easily. Sure, she had her quiet days but she didn’t want to feel like she was useless. That she was alright with doing nothing. She wanted to do something, but it seemed like the Mikaelsons had everything in order.
There were maids to clean, servers to make sure that the tables were immaculately set up, people for the laundry. Freya was taking care of Hope in Klaus’ absence and Bella stayed clear of them. Mainly because she was afraid that she’d drop the baby on her head and, if she had to be honest, she hated babies. They were loud and smelly. In a way she was grateful that she had stumbled into the undead part of the supernatural world; at least it meant that her boyfriends couldn’t knock her up.
She eventually found her way into the kitchen were a handful of people were working on lunch for them and Elijah was calmly talking to another person as he was preparing something that looked like finger food. The gigantic, professional kitchen was singing to her and she knew she’d found her keeping busy place. This was heaven.
“Bella…” he said as he looked over his shoulder, surprised to see her downstairs.
“Little known fact; I’m actually a decent cook and I want to help out, with whatever they or you are doing.”
“As long as you’re a guest in our house; a resident, there is nothing that you’ll have to do. You’ll be well taken care of-”
“I want to do something,” she said, looking up to Elijah with her eyes narrowed. “Klaus doesn’t want me to leave the building and Freya is with Hope, so please, let me do something.”
Amused, Elijah shrugged. “What about knitting? Embroidery?”
“Baking?” She tried, but the look on Elijah’s face she knew that he wasn’t going for it. She was going to have to talk to Klaus about this. She wouldn’t cause any trouble in the kitchen, so why wasn’t she allowed to help out or at least bake something? “Oh come on, you’re obviously doing something, with your hands and food. I want in.”
“We’re alright, here.”
She sighed as she shoved her hands in her pocket and leaned against the doorway. “Isn’t tonight a full moon? You’re making food for the wolves, aren’t you? Please, let me bake something for them. I feel bad, I mean, nobody should go through what they’re going through and cakes make people happy.”
“Very well, perhaps we could take the opportunity to get to know each other a little better,” he said as he motioned for her to come in. “It’s unlike Niklaus to bring someone to the compound like he has, especially now that Hope is here.”
“Do you honestly believe he’d do anything that could harm his daughter?” Bella questioned as she moved around the kitchen trying to find what she needed. Unsurprisingly, the kitchen had a logical system where they kept everything and even a whole cupboard dedicated to baking goods. “Believe me, Elijah, if Klaus thought he couldn’t trust me, he wouldn’t have brought me here.”
“Yes, well, forgive me for doubting my brother’s intentions. He’s not known for his impulse control and you are – exquisite. My brother can easily be fooled by a pretty face. It wouldn’t be the first time.”
“I know and I understand that you have your reservations. Now, how many cupcakes do you need?” Bella asked as she put the mixing bowl on the counter and started to gather the ingredients. She opened the door to the fridge and stared in wonder. “Nutella. I’ll make Nutella cakes.”
“I think thirty should be fine,” Elijah said, as he continued with what he was doing. “I’m merely curious because on the surface, you’re not his type.”
“What do you know about his type? I mean, Caroline was this preppy school girl, wasn’t she? Hayley was only a fling, but she’s the mother of his child. Katerina was well off… ohhh,” she smiled at him. “It’s because of my troubles with the Cold Ones and because I decided to work for Myriam, isn’t it? I’m the uncleanest of them all, aren’t I? Wow. And here I thought you had the capability to look beyond the surface of people.” She grabbed the eggs and milk and then looked at him. “And last time I checked, you asked Klaus to set you up with Myriam, so aren’t you being a hypocrite right now?”
“I possess excellent judgement,” Elijah retorted.
“Yeah, that’s your opinion,” she pointed out. “Look, I get it. Myriam built this amazing club and she helps people who need help with their supernatural problems, but she’s not an innocent, Elijah. She has clients of her own. Or used to have them in the absence of Klaus. She’s not afraid to play dirty, either. Compared to her, I’m a saint! And if you’re trying to insult me, it won’t work.”
“I’m not trying to insult you, I’m merely trying to-”
“Get the facts. I know that and I don’t mind. But don’t talk about your brother as if he’s incapable of making decisions of his own. As if his judgement isn’t as good as yours. Sure, he’s easily distracted and makes stupid decisions, but don’t deny that you all rely on him to do the dirty work,” she said as she weighed the flour. “Because he’s the ‘monster’ of the family. Please. You’re all monsters,” she huffed. “Neither one of you has clean hands. At least I can say that despite my history – which could have been far more colorful, by the way – I have never killed someone.”
When Elijah wanted to speak again, she interrupted him as she started to beat together the eggs and butter. “I am not living out some Pretty Woman fantasy nor did I wish for a White Knight to whisk me away from my miserable existence. Despite being in hiding, I was quite content where I was until that asshole of a brother of yours decided to lie to me. And frankly, I’m glad he’s not my White Knight because I didn’t need rescuing.”
“How would you describe him then?”
She beat the eggs and butter a little faster before adding a splash of vanilla extract and the flour. “As my equal. Despite all the wealth, all the strength and his longevity, we’re equals. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Elijah slowly nodded as he wrapped the platter with sandwiches in plastic wrap. “I do have to admit that when Freya took me to see what Niklaus had been up to-”
“We weren’t going to discuss that.”
“Please let me finish,” he said kindly before starting a new platter. “It surprised me how open he was with you, how remorseful, telling you how his actions affected him and how it affected his life. Now, I’m not sure it was your influence or Camille’s, but I was quite surprised.”
“I like to think that it’s a side you and your siblings often don’t get to see because you all keep thinking he’s a monster.”
“His recent actions caused the deaths of many vampires, the wolf pack were cursed, again, and he betrayed us by siding with a very powerful witch.”
Bella let out a snort. “Klaus had a plan that could have worked if you hadn’t thrown the first stone and daggered him, things would have turned out differently so if you feel betrayed, you must imagine how he must have felt. Still feels. Hayley wanted to take his daughter away from him and despite everything, she still went along with it, even though Hope would have been safe here. You facilitated her leaving with Hope because you were afraid and did not trust Klaus to do what was best.” she turned around to face him. “You know how much Hope means to Klaus, and I don’t condone what he did, having Dahlia placing that curse upon Hope’s mother, but at that point, it was the only way he could stop Hayley from taking his daughter away from him and teach her a lesson. I am sure that soon enough, someone will be able to reverse the curse or whatever, but you can’t blame Klaus for going to extremes to protect what’s his. He’d do the same for you. Hell, he was even willing to sacrifice himself to buy you the time you needed to finish what he started.”
“He was foolish!”
“Klaus was backed into a corner because you didn’t trust him. You betrayed him. And I told him that he’d been right in doing what he did, but that he was an idiot for sacrificing himself, but you know what? I think he’d do it all over again if he had to save you. Or Rebekah. Or Hope. You’re his family and you often forget how much he loves all of you. He won’t say it, but his actions speak for themselves. And you really need to stop holding a grudge because even though you’re hurt, you’re not the only one hurting.”
“Perhaps you were right,” he spoke softly as he moved over to her to relieve her from mixing the cake ingredients together. Elijah was surprised that despite they had only just met, she seemed to know his family quite well, she seemed to understand his brother’s actions far better than anyone else could, perhaps even more than Camille. “It seems that I was wrong not to look further beyond the surface. You have given me a lot to think about, and I want to thank you for your insight and your offer to bake something for the wolves, but I think I’d rather spend the rest of my time preparing on my own.”
She looked at him for a moment and sighed as she shook her head. “You’re siblings. According to everyone with siblings, siblings fight. But one would think that after a thousand years together, you’d know each other through and through. I get it, he killed your girlfriend, but out of all the friends he could choose from, she was the most disposable and she died for a greater good. I am sorry.”
“I told you to leave,” he should have been annoyed by this persistent human, but he found himself amused. She wasn’t afraid of anything and unaware that the kitchen crew had already temporarily scattered after hearing his tone of voice.
“Yeah and I’m not listening,” she said as she grabbed the muffin tin and started to fill it with her batter. “Just so you know, I’m 26 years old. I was at Débauche for two years to hide from some Cold Ones who I’ve been running from for five years prior to my arrival in this city. Before them, I had plans to study history and maybe land myself a good job. Solicitation was a way for me to survive and I did it for funsies at the club.” Once the batter was in all tins, she put them in the big oven and set the timer. “I’m an only child, my father was the local police chief and he passed away. I hate the cold and I like books, chocolate and music. I’m pretty boring when you scrape away the layer of shit that’s attached to my skin.” She grabbed the ingredients she’d need for a Nutella buttercream and started to make it.
He could go eye for an eye, of course. Niklaus killed his girlfriend, perhaps Elijah should return the favor. However, seeing as she was also loved by his current interest, it was for the best that he wouldn’t self-sabotage himself. But, if she was truly going to stay with them, they were going to have to need a family meeting so that his brother could explain his intentions by bringing the girl here. “Are you insane?”
“Why? Because I don’t mind stepping on vampire toes?” Bella smiled at him as she beat her mixture. “And why ask me to assess my sanity? Ask Myriam. No doubt she would have told you that you can’t talk about your family or the club, but since I’m neither family or working for her anymore, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Perhaps killing her now was too much of an impulse. He could easily not kill her. At first he thought she was like Miss Caroline Forbes, a preppy high schooler, but Bella was more mature – being in her mid twenties, Elijah sure hoped she’d be more mature. But in some way Bella reminded him of his sister Rebekah, and perhaps Kol, after waking after being daggered for some time. Hyper. Talkative. No filter. False sense of bravery. Yes, despite her claiming not to be afraid, her heart was pounding fast. “Are you always this… obtuse?”
“Me? No,” she said lightly and shrugged. “But I know that it’s unlike Klaus to take a woman home with him, especially one you’ve never seen or heard of. I wanted to show you that I’m well aware what kind of a man your brother is, that I’m aware of his actions and what I think of them, because that’s what you truly wanted to hear; isn’t it? Whether or not I’m a groupie with no brain or actually have a brain of my own,” she smiled at him. “And I told you a little about myself because it’s rude to seem to know stories about the person you’re talking to while the other person doesn’t have a straw to grasp on to. You’ll find me a lot less obtuse once I don’t feel like I have to prove that you can trust me.”
Did she scare easily? Did he want to put that to the test? It could backfire and cause her to run and then Niklaus would probably be angry with him. Elijah didn’t know the girl’s full story, only that she’d been missing for a few days – it even had affected Myriam. It was a shame that he didn’t have the time to have a sit down with his brother and talk this through. Perhaps he could talk to Myriam on the phone while he continued to prepare the meals and snacks for the pack.
She had cleaned up her workspace and looked at the timer. “The cupcakes need about ten to twelve more minutes, you can pipe them, right?”
“Yes, thank you, Bella. This has been… enlightening,” he acknowledged as he watched her walk out of the kitchen with the jar of Nutella and a spoon.
“I still don’t like it,” Myriam said as she leaned against the doorpost to what used to be Bella’s apartment and watched Klaus go through Bella’s stuff. There were compelled vampires waiting just down the hall to carry her life to her new digs and Myriam was still not liking it. “What makes you think you’re going to be better at helping her than I am?”
“I’m not,” he said as he dumped the entirety of Bella’s underwear basket into a bag, seeing some of his favourites tumble in with a smile on his face. “I’m perhaps the most ill-equipped person to help her and I’m not denying it, but I am not going to risk her disappearing again.”
“Yeah, and whose fault was that? Oh, right, yours!” Myriam snapped.
“Perhaps this is selfish of me, I admit it, but I want her in my life. I want her to be mine. I want to give her what she wants and she wants me. I denied her, because as long as she was here, I couldn’t risk not being able to protect her despite every security measures taken to make this place into a fortress,” he replied as he went for the next drawer. “Maybe it’s me taking advantage of her, I don’t know, only time will tell.”
“There is no doubt that she shares your feelings, Klaus,” she replied with a sigh. “I’m more concerned about bringing her into a place where everyone is on high alert all the time, what it will do to her. What if the flashbacks come back? What if she won’t be able to sleep? What if she stops eating? What if she detaches herself even further?”
“You need to stop mother henning, love,” he said amused. “I worry, too, but I am certain that she’ll pull through. And if not, than I shall admit defeat. Yes, life might get a little bumpy, rather later than sooner, but I have faith. I think she can handle it. And it’s not as if you won’t ever see her again. There is no doubt in my mind that should things progress between you and my brother, you’ll be over quite often.”
Myriam huffed. “I wouldn’t count on it.”
Once he was done with packing Bella’s clothes, he started on her books, noticing the bag filled with her newest purchases. “Are you going to keep distracting me or can I do this on my own without you hovering? The sooner I get back to her, the better. There’s no doubt that Elijah will find her and start questioning her.”
“You do need to talk to him about her, you know that, right?”
“And for that, he needs to want to talk to me.”
“Uhuh,” she said with a sigh. “Very well, I shall leave you alone. Please do stop by at my office when you leave, I have some papers for Bella that she’ll need, including her bank information where I’ve deposited all of her tips in. Just tell her not to spend it all at once, okay?”
“You’re coddling. Again.”
Myriam let out a frustrated grunt and walked away. On her way to the office, her phone rang and she picked it up after recognizing the number. “Elijah, what a surprise,” she remarked as she pushed through the security door. “McDonald’s is next week, isn’t it?”
Elijah laughed on the other side of the phone. “Yes, yes it is. How are you faring, Myriam? After last night?”
“Still adjusting, but I doubt that’s why you called me,” she pushed the door to her office open and settled down behind her desk as she started to collect the papers that Bella would need. “Klaus has been taking his time with sorting through Bella’s belongings for a few hours now, I’m sure he’ll come home soon.”
“I’m not too worried about that at the moment.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m fairly sure, yes,” he sounded amused. “I just had the lovely experience of having a chat with hurricane Bella.”
Myriam snorted. “I think you mean hurricane Isabella. She’s still coming down from her Isa.”
“Are you saying that she has multiple personalities?”
“No, no, not at all,” she said quickly. “Isa is… hmm… how to say this without having it sound as if she’s crazy? It’s her other persona. Her flight persona. The one she used to run from her Cold One problems for so long. With just the right nudge, such as your brother refusing her, she shifts into her fight or flight mode and flees into her. Give it a day or two, she’ll calm down.”
“She’ll be more stable once Klaus gets back. What did she do?”
Elijah sucked in a breath. “Not to worry, she was fair, honest and surprisingly refreshing.”
“That would be Bella, indeed.”
“And she spoke as if she didn’t need breathing, really fast.”
“I told you, she’s coming down from flight mode. The first two days after her arrival here, were spent rambling, really fast, telling me everything I needed to know about her. Klaus was there, too, but he took off a couple of times. On the third day I had a witch just put a spell on her to calm her down. It was then when the nightmares and the flashbacks started. Klaus was the one who helped her through that time and when she balanced out, she was an agreeable young woman. Stubborn, but highly intelligent and observant. You’ll like her.”
“I can’t help but wonder if Niklaus has completely lost his mind by bringing her into our home.”
“You can trust her, Elijah. She’s been my rock for the last two years, I could rely on her to do anything. Jump in for a sick employee at the last minute, double check my administration for the club, fix holes in clothes. This one time, our fridge broke and finding a replacement on short notice was proving to be difficult so she made a glorious meal for all of us and donated the rest of the meal to the homeless shelter. She’s a good person and I’m definitely going to miss having her around.”
“Her problem with the Cold Ones, how bad is it?”
Myriam sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. “You’ll have to discuss that with your brother.”
“No,” she said curtly.
“Give me something, at least.”
“Fine. Right now, it’s moderate. It’s contained, but that was because she was cloaked. I have a sneaky suspicion that Klaus has asked Freya to put a cloaking spell on her now, but she’s been exposed for days.”
“He never cloaked Hope.”
“No, but Hope isn’t a walking, talking target with the tendency to flee. Just talk to your brother about this. I know that today isn’t the best day as you’re going to be busy in the Bayou, but talk to him as soon as you can.”
“Why would he want to cloak Bella? We can easily handle the Cold Ones should they come for her. What did she do what pissed them off?”
“She ran away after realizing they’re dickheads. Talk to Klaus. Talk to Bella. I don’t wish to betray their trust by telling her story for her.”
Elijah sighed. “Very well. I suppose I’ll have to finish up and wait for Niklaus to return to fit him into my tight schedule.”
“Play nice,” she said as her door swung open, revealing Klaus. She then smiled. “The both of you, play nice,” she said before disconnecting the call and handed Klaus a folder. “Elijah’s met Isabella, sounds to me that she gave him quite the verbal asskicking.”
“Brilliant,” he replied with a smile on his face. “I hope he’s impressed.”
“More concerned, which is why you really need to talk to him and Freya about Bella. Go home. Talk,” she said as she made a shooing movement with her hand. “I’ve got a business to run.”