A/N: Remember the contest I held to name this fic? The winner’s chosen name would appear in the fic! Jennifer Torres, here’s Michelle! Congrats!
“I don’t understand him,” Klaus sighed as he sent off Jasper to Bella’s room. “First they both are telling us that it’s not a good idea for a re-introduction and confront her with the fact that Jasper had been undercover, and now Kol says that Bella asked for him?”
“It’s a different beast, Klaus,” Myriam smiled at him from her chair. “If she asks, we’re not forcing anything into happening.”
“I know that,” he spat, throwing his phone on the table. “I merely don’t like it that he told us off first.”
“Let Kol worry about the Princess, let us discuss the other girls,” Myriam said as she opened a file. “The one that we named Michelle, or she named herself, is actually called Michelle, so that’s a plus. She’s been here the longest; she’s not one of the girls we brought back this week.”
“Well, that’s good.”
Myriam nodded. “A great thing about having all the files here is that we can also help the girls who were brought here before, and we have. Some of them have already left; some are willing to keep working for me in the club. Michelle has me worried, though.”
His interest grew. Sure, those girls were of importance, mainly to Myriam, and he had her work with them while he made sure that everyone was safe, from a distance, but to have her discuss a girl who’s been with her for quite some time like this was interesting. “How so?”
Myriam tapped on the file. “Let’s go meet Michelle, shall we?”
Klaus followed her to the first floor where Michelle was sitting in the break room for the working girls. She seemed to be very comfortable and having fun with Abeebee; the girl who allowed Bella to grab a guy when she wanted to escape during lockdown. “Thank you, Abeebee,” Myriam smiled at her, dismissing her with a nod. “Your beau is on a house call, but he’ll be back in a bit.”
Myriam only had to point to the floor above them for Abeebee to break out in a huge, welcoming smile. “Great, after he’s done, I’m taking him home, if that’s alright with you.”
“Of course, just remain available.”
“Gotcha,” Abeebee grinned as she bounded out of the break room, with Klaus’ stupefied gaze following her out. Was she dating Jasper Whitlock?
“Abeebee was a handler in the Cullen’s organization and served out her contract safely. She was created by Emmett for that purpose, and Jasper made sure she got out, after the memory wipe,” Myriam explained to Klaus. “They’ve been mates ever since.”
“Even handlers get medical procedures done at the end of their run, to make sure nobody talks and exposes the Cullens,” Michelle piped up with a shrug. “I used to have a client who was a former handler of mine, very very awkward.”
“I can imagine,” Klaus said as he sat down away from the two women, but close enough not to be just the observer.
“Found your file,” Myriam smiled widely as she held up the file. “Your name truly is Michelle.”
“Of course,” the girl replied. “Why would I lie about that?”
“Because you’re the only one who arrived here who didn’t seem to have that hard of a time adjusting and realizing that you didn’t have to go back,” Myriam pointed out. “I’ve told you that before. I called you lucky.”
“I was still new, Myriam. In the process of…” the redhead motioned wildly with her hand. “Losing my mind. I’m so glad Jasper got me out before I turned into a zombie.”
She smiled at that. “I’m merely wondering why you haven’t moved on. I gave you the tools, even some money in a bank account to get you started as I do with all my girls.”
“I like this work, what? Are you firing me?”
Myriam pursed her lips. “Based on your performances, I should,” she said as she pulled a piece of paper out of Michelle’s file. “While you’re always here, with the other girls, you only entertain one or two people a week. You rarely make an appearance in the dance club below. I agreed with you staying on, provided you’d work for me. Currently, you’re taking up a spot for someone who’s far more eager than you to work.” She then looked at Klaus. “It’s not that uncommon for rescued girls ending up working for me. They often find the work rewarding and good for their soul; taking back their ownership of their bodies.”
“I see the problem,” Klaus nodded slowly.
Panic washed over Michelle’s freckled face. “Look, I’ll do whatever you want. You can’t kick me out, Myriam. Not after what you’ve done to the Cullens. They’ll kill me!”
“Now why would they do that, I wonder?” Myriam replied as she opened the file on Michelle and started to read it. She had read the words several times over before, not believing the words on the pages, but Michelle’s reaction had made them real. “Is it because you were working for the Cullens all along? With Alina? You know what happened to Alina, right?”
“I do, but… please, Myriam, don’t kick me out. They’ll kill me for not having done as they asked!”
“And you want me to take your word for it? That you haven’t done what they told you to do?” Myriam snarled as she threw the folder in Michelle’s face. “You betrayed my trust, Michelle. I can’t believe you anymore.”
“But I need help! I mean, that’s what you do, right? Help girls who need it?”
“I helped you before under false pretenses. I don’t give second chances.” Myriam launched herself at Michelle and sunk her teeth into her neck as she sat down on her lap. She was hungry. She was angry, and Michelle had deceived her. This was a good death.
When the door opened, and Jasper appeared, Bella couldn’t help but feel frightened for a moment. She was afraid that he’d take her back to Dr. Cullen and that she’d end up destroyed or worse; as a vegetable. It was then that she remembered that she had nothing to be afraid of. As it turned out, Jasper had been working undercover for Myriam for quite some time, and on top of that, Bella was sitting next to her protector; not even the Major could kill him.
On top of that, Jasper was supposed to be her brother. She hadn’t realized it at first that they did look a lot alike. No one had noticed so far because Bella had always appeared as whoever people wanted to see her as due to Dr. Cullen’s gift, so perhaps that was why Jasper hadn’t realized it.
She didn’t sense any negativity coming off of him, either, so she didn’t feel threatened. The look on Jasper’s face told her enough; he was just as surprised as she was.
“Well… you certainly look different without your gifts,” he said as he scratched his head, still standing by the door. “I can see the resemblance.”
“You don’t remember either, do you?”
“No ma’am,” he let out a breath. “All I know is that my sister was taken and I decided to join the Confederate army to find her and fight for our right of living.” Jasper relaxed his stance, then, before a smile appeared on his face as if he remembered something. “I know that I was the older one and I called her Bunny.”
Bella blinked at that, a sliver of recognition setting in before it became a full-blown memory. “Oh! I know!” She grinned at Kol who looked surprised before looking back to Jasper. “We had bunnies on our farm, didn’t we? And I loved one in particular, and when that one was up for getting killed to feed us, I hid it for like a week and cried when Pa found it and killed it.” A southern drawl not unlike Jasper’s escaped her mouth. She was bouncing on the sofa next to Kol now, excitement running through her body. “You then started to call me Bunny just to annoy me! Guess what? I called you Buttercup!”
“It’s amazing how you know this,” Jasper said astonished. “I don’t remember.”
Bella shrugged, still bouncing. “Dr. Cullen said I was good with compartmentalizing things in my head; I must have tucked it away for safekeeping.”
“What else is in there, I wonder?” Kol brushed a strand of hair out of her face once she stopped bouncing on the sofa. “So you were a bunny muncher, huh? And Jasper had to be a vegetarian once joining the Cullens! I should call Stefan; you could have a party!”
“No!” she gasped, grabbing Kol’s arm with a vice-like strength. “You will not call Stefan Salvatore, Kol Mikaelson, or I will have your brother dagger you so hard it’ll come out your ass.”
He looked at her in mock shock. “What happened to this well-mannered girl that was sitting next to me?”
“She heard that the warm-blooded vampire sitting next to her wanted to call Stefan Salvatore and snapped,” she shot at him. “You have any idea what he did to me? The guy is a monster!” Bella let out a frustrated grunt. “Ah! All the crappy things that I’ve done to myself to please Edward and Dr. Cullen! Why!”
“You’re alright now, Bella,” Jasper said, finally having moved into the room and settled into the chair. “You’re safe. You no longer have to do their bidding.”
Bella took a deep breath to try to calm down, but it didn’t work. “While Kol’s brother only folded me like a pretzel, Stefan Salvatore broke me in half and made me fall out of a window. If it hadn’t been for Katherine… well, I’d still be alive because I can’t die!”
“I thought you didn’t feel anything?”
“I feel, Kol. Perhaps more than I should. My skin is hypersensitive to touch, still. The laughter is… was, a taught response to pain. I believe my rapid healing has gone after Dr. Cullen flushed my system clean of my gifts, but if it hadn’t been for Katherine, I wouldn’t have been able to continue that night after Stefan was through with me.” She then sighed as she settled against Kol. “But it’s what he needed, wasn’t it? So I suppose I shouldn’t complain.”
“I’m going to kill that twat,” Kol muttered.
“And then what? Will you kill Damon too? Anyone else of my clients who’ve previously hurt me? Your brother Elijah, perhaps? Or what about Dr. Cullen? Edward? Some of the Volturi? Or some werewolf alpha?” She released his hold on his arm and looked at Jasper. “Better off with a clean slate. A dented one, cracked, really. But a clean slate,” she then looked back at Kol and smiled at him. “Without talk about the past. My past.”
He knew what she was trying to do here, and it wasn’t going to work. While in some cases not talking about things would be fantastic, Bella needed to feel free to keep talking about what had happened to her if she wanted to heal. A star in compartmentalizing or not, she had to heal. “You can talk about it as much as you want,” Kol eventually replied and kissed the top of her head. “And you might not get angry about what you’ve been through, but that’s okay. I have enough rage inside me for the both of us.”
“As long as you don’t kill anybody.”
“I promise that I will not kill anybody,” Kol said as he looked at Jasper in a silent form of communication, who nodded in return. “Would you like to be reacquainted with your brother?”
Bella smiled at that. “Of course. You should show him the journal entry you read to me. I might remember more in a while, but maybe he’d like to know what’s in there.”
“How about I leave you two alone?”
“No,” Bella took his arm again. “Please stay.”
“That’s alright, Bunny,” Jasper mused, a smile on his face. “I’ll read that journal later; I have something to do anyway.”
She cocked her head as she felt his emotions change. “No, you don’t. What’s that feeling you’re having?”
“You didn’t tell me that she still felt emotions,” he said to Kol. “She wasn’t flushed thoroughly?”
“I was,” Bella said grumpily as his emotions changed yet again. “Dr. Cullen had always thought I was special on my own, the gifts he gave me only made it stronger and made me able to manipulate people. He tried to fix me after Emmett killed Katherine and got me back with DNA from someone else. I feel everything now, except for in this room you’d have to be close to me, for some reason. I can only sense what’s inside and not outside those walls.”
“Yet you sensed me outside the door,” Jasper pointed out. “But I do have to admit, it’s nice and quiet inside here, very relaxing. Unburdened.”
Bella shrugged. “I don’t know how I did that.”
“The secret power of twins,” Kol joked. “However, you’re right that this room is a haven. Myriam had one of her witches cast a spell so that Bella could relax and not assaulted all day by thoughts of horny people walking around a level down.”
“It’s disturbing how some men feel when they visit the girls,” Jasper scrunched up his face. “Disgusting. Do you honestly believe this is the best place for her to be?”
“For now, yes. We don’t have our home back – yet. Bella is not ready for the real world yet, either. Far from it.”
“And Bella’s still here,” she replied as she got up and got herself a glass of water from the little fountain in her room. “And I’m so ready for the real world. I can do anything; just you watch me.” If Kol wanted her to, she could be out and about.
She could live within the rules he’d set for her, and she’d make him proud. It was more than likely that he didn’t want her to have sex with people anymore, which was sad because that’s what she was good at. The only thing she was good at. It was still likely that she was going to end up working for Myriam. Or offer herself as an eternal fountain of blood for vampires.
Bella had been trying to be more affectionate to Kol, to make him want her. To make him want to keep taking care of her as he had, but all he did was the occasional kiss on the head as if she was a child. Once Jasper was gone, she was going to step up her game. Finally get out of Kol’s clothes as she was still wearing them, and take a shower. Maybe her naked body would convince him to join her. She needed to make sure the bathroom was in order; Bella could have sworn she saw some expensive brand of soap in the cupboard. “I’ll be right back,” she said as she went into the bathroom to check it out.
Kol had watched Jasper eye Bella, curiously. “Alright, spill it,” Kol sighed. “I know you’re an empath and can control emotions, so what was that all about?”
“Do I need to explain to you that for the last 150 years Bella – the girl, my sister, has been manipulated by the Cullens and has a different kind of normal than us? That she’s experiencing emotions that she can’t place?”
“What do you mean?”
“Carlisle made her part Nymph, part Succubus. I’m pretty sure he did more, but those were the main components of her genetic makeup. Everything that she felt – or believed she felt – were merely a mirror, an echo, from what either her handler was feeling or her target.”
“Huh,” Kol blinked. “Nymph and Succubus? That makes sense but how did he do that?!”
“You’re not getting my message here,” Jasper said calmly. “Bella said it herself. Now that she’s flushed from all those additives, she feels. Perhaps too much. However, due to her upbringing, her normal, she doesn’t understand them. She gets feelings off of us, and she doesn’t understand them. I don’t know how she works, but it’s likely that she senses that something is positive or negative, but can’t address the nuances.”
He had sort of suspected as much. “Okay?”
“I get the sense that you care for her, deeply.”
“I do. Even when Bella was merely seeing me as a client to work on… Despite her programming, I felt that she could see me for who I truly was. And she’s funny.”
Jasper smirked as he leaned over in his chair, his eyes searching Kol’s face for a shift in feelings. “What are your intentions with her?” It felt good to feel brotherly. It was something that he hadn’t realized that he had missed. Just his luck that Carlisle had taken his sister and made her immortal. Just her bad luck that Carlisle had taken her and done horrible things to her and made her do terrible things. “Do you intend to stick around? Make her happy? Or are you going to move on the moment she’s able to fend for herself?”
“I don’t think she’ll ever be able to fend for herself without someone telling her what to do,” Kol said sadly. “But from what I can tell, she’s quite content around me.” And damn, now he felt sorry for compelling her to be open to change. “I compelled her to have more of an open mind,” he muttered. “To feel at ease here in the room because she kept wanting to return to the Cullens.”
“But did you compel her to like you? To feel for you?”
“No!” He said appalled. “She’s had her mind fucked with enough, don’t you think? No, I merely gave her a slight adjustment to help her with the transition from being a slave to being a free person.”
“Good,” Jasper smirked. “Then I know what I’ve picked up from her is real and not a plant.”
“What do you mean?”
“She doesn’t understand what she’s feeling, Kol, but she likes you. She likes you a lot,” Jasper got up from his chair and headed to the door. “And you may think it’s too soon, but I can tell you feel the same way. Stop denying yourself to feel something other than the protector for her. You’re allowed to feel love and be loved. You’re a vampire, she’s immortal, the standard rules don’t apply. Just don’t break her heart because I will find a way to make the rest of your life miserable even if I can’t kill you,” he continued in a menacing voice before lightening up. “Tell her that I was called away. Myriam has me working with the other girls to see if I can be of any use.”
Kol couldn’t help but stare at Jasper as he left. Had he just been to therapy or something? Did he just get analyzed? Again? Kol knew that Jasper had been right about him, but could he have been correct about Bella’s feelings?
“Where did Jasper go?” Bella’s voice roused him from his thoughts. Seeing her furrowed brow, he could tell that she was picking up on his inner turmoil.
“Ah, he’s helping Myriam with the other girls. Compulsion didn’t work on them, so they need to have their head checked by the resident empath,” Kol replied with a shrug. “He’ll be back. Did you find what you were looking for?”
“Yes,” Bella replied before she walked over to the closet to check to see if there were different clothes in there that she could use. Why hadn’t she thought about it before? That’s right; she felt too comfortable in Kol’s clothes. But they were dirty with food and flour from baking all night, and she needed a change. Perhaps she could persuade him to part with his t-shirt later, just like she had done with that stupid pink pajama outfit. And if all failed, she would be able to get into something that was in the well-stocked closet.
“I feel all sticky from the flower and sweating in that kitchen,” she continued as she turned around to face Kol and got out of the pants that she was wearing. “I’m going to take a bath, would you like to join me?” Bella asked as she removed his shirt on her, revealing her naked body to him. “I might need some deep cleaning with something long and hard… able to get into the deepest crevices…”
Kol swallowed hard. What was he supposed to do? Reject her? How would that make her feel? He needed to reject her because she didn’t understand her feelings, but then again, she offered this voluntarily. And Jasper told him that she felt the same way as he did.
“I’m truly free, Kol,” she purred as she walked over to him and started to undress him. “I’m embracing my freedom. They won’t harm me and if they do, I’m sure you’d do anything in your power to wreck them,” she pulled his pants down and his underwear, too. “We have some unfinished business, don’t we?”
While he was insanely turned on right now and wanted to fuck her mercilessly, Kol knew that he shouldn’t do this. Allow this. He should have her settle in some more; it’s only been a few days, and now his cock was betraying him. Great. He looked down to find her on her knees, looking up at him through her lashes as she took hold on his cock and gently started to stroke it. “Bella…”
“You love this,” she smiled at him. “Don’t deny it. Or do you prefer the other version of me? The brunette? I’m sure that you could find some hair dye for me to use?”
“I like you just fine, and I love this but…” He groaned when she took him in her mouth. “Are you doing this for the right reasons?” When she scraped her teeth over his length, he hissed and out of habit, he grabbed her head to keep her in place. Damn her.
Her humming and sucking and pulling sent his body into overdrive. “Weren’t you doing something in the bathroom?” Kol tried to focus, but she made it hard for him. Hard. He mentally slapped himself. “Bella, we need to stop this,” he managed to cry out before she had him come into her mouth.
“You’re right,” she smiled at him, proud of the fact that she had him come into her mouth. Wiping her mouth, she got to her feet and took his hand to draw him into the bathroom. “I need a deep cleanse of my nether regions.”