“I managed to secure our other home, Niklaus, and now you’re leaving?” Kol blinked at him. “I got you an army, just like you wanted.” Oh, he wanted his brother to leave. The longer his brother was gone, the more time Kol would have with the witches before his brother would ruin everything again.
Myriam sighed, she was obviously bored. “I’m going with him, to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”
“And you! You’re enabling him!”
“Hybrids are fun!” she responded with a wicked smile on her face. “The more he makes, the more fun there is to be had. Especially when he starts to lose control over them and we have to help him deal with his minions,” she then shrugged. “Or not. We could just watch and see it all happen. Schadenfreude is always a lovely thing when it happens to loved ones.”
“I thought you wanted New Orleans back, Nik.”
“I do, and I’m certain it will be in my hands once I return from Mystic Falls.”
“Your obsession with those teenagers is beyond me,” Kol said as he ran his hand through his hair. “Doppelganger or not, you’re just obsessed, Nik. You have an army now.”
“They’re not hybrids!”
Kol was glad that his brother would leave, at least for a while. This meant that he could do whatever he wanted, too. He had plans for the supernatural community, make sure that the werewolves were the underdogs and that the vampires would actually come to the aid of the witches who he had now given semi-free reign. Witches needed to be controlled, yes, but not in the way that Marcel had done. They weren’t allowed to kill, curse or hex anybody without his consent. That was all. His vampires would protect them.
Selene acted as a go-between between him and the witches, mainly because he felt that Selene could be trusted; she had helped him before, she was going to help him now. She was even allowed to stay in the compound if she wished.
Jasper was already excited to get to work with the vampires to make them better at fighting, to make sure they were capable of protection detail instead of just killing and feeding. Everyone could fight, but Jasper knew other ways. Which was good. “You do know that I’ve never ‘run’ anything before, don’t you, Nik?”
“There’s a first time for everything. Besides, Jasper and his mate Abeebee will stay behind. Jasper will help you with anything you need while I’m gone. You should make Marcel your lieutenant.”
“Uhuh,” Kol nodded as he ran his hand through his hair. “Alright, while you two go play in Mystic Falls with the Doppelganger and those blasted teenagers, I’ll be taking Bella home. I’ve made sure that she has a room like she has now at the compound; unable to pick on other’s feelings.”
“Yeah, speaking of your new pet,” Klaus mused as he pulled a bag out of a closet. “She came to us asking if she could burn these journals. It’s obvious she doesn’t want anyone to read these.”
Kol saw the look on Klaus and Myriam’s faces. “And of course, you read them.”
“You should too.”
“So she’s made a decision on her own, something we should celebrate, and you betray her trust like this?”
“Oh come on, brother, don’t start the holier than thou act, it doesn’t suit you,” Klaus retorted. “And of course we praised her for the decision. She doesn’t need to know we’ve read them.”
“She’ll know and she won’t even have to tune into your emotions for that,” Kol spat, snatching the bag out of his brother’s hands. He was done playing with his brother, lying to him, pretending he’d miss him, that he needed him. “Have fun, I promise I won’t break New Orleans for you.” Yes, he wasn’t too happy with having to be a leader, but he was certain that it was going to be alright. At least, for the foreseeable future, he was safe. Kol didn’t have to tell his brother that he killed Marcel.
Klaus narrowed his eyes on his brother. “What’s going on, brother? You’ve been on your own before, hell, you’ve traveled the world for centuries all by yourself.”
“Nothing,” Kol shrugged it off. “It’s typical of you, really. Offer to help out until you get bored, like with those Cullen girls, for instance. Or, have others, like myself, arrange for you to get something and decide that it’s alright for now and leave. And for what? To create an army? Expand your family? What’s wrong with the family you have?”
Klaus growled. “My hybrids won’t be a pain in the ass that you are,” he shot at his brother. “Grab your toy and go home.” He watched as Kol left angrily and smirked at Myriam. “Well, that was easy.”
Myriam punched him, hard. “You could have been nicer, he’s your brother, annoying as he may be!”
“Kol always works hard to impress me. Giving him a good scolding will only make him work harder,” Klaus replied with an amused smile on his face. “Don’t worry, if I wanted to be mean and horrible, I would have put a dagger in him.”
“Yeah, you can do that once Bella’s capable of taking care of herself and not clinging onto him like that,” Myriam replied with a kind smile. “But who am I to tell you how to deal with your siblings, huh? You neglect even me.”
“I haven’t been neglecting you since I came to New Orleans, love,” Klaus playfully reminded her. “In fact, just minutes before Kol came into your office…”
“You’ve neglected me for nearly 100 years, I deserve that kind of attention,” Myriam said smugly. “Now, let us leave for Mystic Falls.”
“Those are my journals,” Bella pointed out as Kol walked into her room. “I gave them to Klaus so we could burn them.”
“And we will, darling,” Kol replied as he set the bag down and softly kissed her. “And I know just the spot.”
“Your new home, of course,” he replied lightly as he started to gather the clothes they had bought for her. “I told you.”
“Yes, of course,” she watched him carefully, suddenly afraid of what was going to happen. “And Myriam and Klaus are alright with you taking me there?” Bella knew she was with Kol, and that only he was supposed to tell her what was alright, but she had only just gotten used to living in her room. Despite telling Katherine that she hadn’t felt safe here, Bella had now changed her mind.
“I have no doubt that Myriam wouldn’t mind that you’d stay here,” Kol started, understanding that Bella was going to have to endure yet again a change that she probably wasn’t going to be ready for, but it had to happen. “And Niklaus finds you entertaining, but darling, it’s Myriam’s business to take care of girls who are hurt by the supernatural and she nurtures them back to health. She then lets them go or allows them to work for her.”
“I know that.”
“There’s a brothel below and a sex club.”
“I know that. If Myriam wants me to work for my room then I will.”
Something inside of him snapped, then, and he pushed her towards the nearest wall, pinning her against it. “Have you ever considered that I don’t want to share you with anyone else? You’re not ever going to be shared again. Ever,” he angrily said. “You’re mine. You’re coming home with me.”
She looked at him with a blank stare, but he could feel that she was afraid. “Nik, Myriam and I have discussed this, this place is not healthy for you. You’re coming home. With me. Do you understand?” he put a little more pressure on her, feeling her bones give way just a little bit. God, he was hungry. She had to go and make him hungry and lose control, didn’t she?
“I understand, Kol,” she calmly replied and not showing the discomfort she was in as she reached out to lightly brush his cheek with her hand. “There is nothing I want more than to be with you, please forgive me for being a little fearful of the move. I should know better. I trust you.”
“This is no place for you, Bella,” he said again, loosening his hold on her. “You deserve to live freely, in a big house, with furniture and things that you choose.”
She still had her hand on his cheek, softly brushing it. “I understand,” she repeated, a smile on her face. Bella was too good for him. Then she swallowed, hard, almost as if she was going to make the worst or best decision of her life. “I understand you’re upset, Kol, and you’re hungry. Please, drink from me.”
Blinking, he released her and took a few steps back. “No,” he let out a breath. “No, I will never drink from you, Bella.”
“You can,” she offered her wrist without blinking. “I trust you, Kol.”
“I just hurt you, don’t ever find that it’s alright for me to hurt you, Bella.”
“You didn’t mean to.”
Kol let out another breath and shook his head. “No, it’s not right, I hurt you. You should never allow anyone to hurt you, ever.”
She closed the space between them and pulled him down for a kiss. “Take me home, Kol.”
“Are you sure?”
A big, bright smile formed on her perfect face. “Yes.”
She hadn’t been entirely sure when they were on the outside, but as soon as she stepped into the courtyard, she knew that she had been here before. “This is Marcel’s home,” she stated, not a doubt in her mind. It had changed, a little, but she recognized enough. “I thought you hated Marcel. He wasn’t very nice the other day.”
“This home was built by my family, Bella. Before our father ran us out of New Orleans, we lived here,” he explained as he put an arm around her. “After we left, Marcel decided to take it all from us, finding that he was entitled to our home.”
“Well, that’s not nice.”
“How often have you been here?”
“A couple of times. Sometimes a few days. Marcel was always kind with me, though.”
Kol sighed and tiredly rubbed his eyes. “Would it bother you to stay here?”
“Would it bother you?” Bella immediately countered, looking at him.
He thought for a moment and smiled at her. “No, I made sure everything that belonged to Marcel is gone,” he kissed the top of her head. “Go ahead, look around and find what you think is our living quarters. It shouldn’t be too hard to find, it’ll be the quietest for you.”
“Aren’t you coming?” She could feel the hunger, the blood lust, inside of him. Bella recognized it now, and she knew he needed to feed.
“In a bit, I’ll find you when I’m done. I promise I won’t be long.”
“I don’t see what’s wrong with my blood,” Bella questioned as she moved closer to him. “I told you, you can feed from me. Tell me why won’t you?” Bella could see the restraint on his face, it looked like he was in pain. She knew he wanted to take a bite out of her, so why didn’t he?
“One of the first things you said to me was that I wasn’t allowed to bite you, to drink your blood, because your blood is yours,” he pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear and met her eyes. “You also told me that Edward used to feed from you and that it hurt because of his venom.”
“You’re not Edward, Kol,” she smiled bravely. “On top of that, you don’t have any venom. The sensation is nothing but feel a handful of syringes injected into my skin simultaneously and, since I’m yours, only you can drink from me.” Bella saw that he didn’t understand her and she wasn’t sure how she could make him understand. “For years Carlisle Cullen made me available for everyone. They took what they wanted from me, but not my blood. I wouldn’t allow them. I had to give Edward my blood in the beginning because I was his, and occasionally he’d take it from me even after going vegetarian. I’m yours now and for the first time I’m not being told what to do, I’m not being made to do things I don’t want. I’m offering you my blood out of free will.”
Was this what rejection felt like? It felt horrible, as if she was being punched. Would it be fair of her to say that she wanted to him to drink only from her and noone else as he demanded that she stopped having sex with everyone? Both things were intimate things, weren’t they? Sighing, she dropped her head. “I’ll see you later then,” she said as she turned around to ‘explore’ the building and find the quiet place. While the courtyard was near the street, not a lot of people were around. But she felt their confusing feelings.
She was a fast learner, she knew most of the feelings that Kol emitted. A few more subtle ones went over her head but she was afraid of asking him; feelings were private after all. He felt a lot of anger when speaking about certain things. There was negativity towards his brother but also something she couldn’t place. And his hunger, how he clung onto the idea of not being hungry when he was – control. Bella liked it when his feelings seemed neutral; when he was with her.
But today it seemed like his feelings were all over the place.
The kitchen was the first place where she went, surprised to find a full kitchen staff present and got spooked. Bella quickly walked around the house until her mind went quiet, until the world around her became quiet.
Bella wasn’t stupid. She wasn’t dumb. She knew things, but it was difficult to be around people and make sure that they were happy now that she was nothing special. She was an empty shell who felt the world around her. She liked Kol and she knew that he liked her, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken her to his new home, but he’d get bored of her soon enough.
She wasn’t anything special. The only thing she could do was cook. For so long all she needed to do was to manipulate people, help them and have sex with them and she would do that without a thought; with her special gifts that Dr. Cullen had given her. But now? Away from Débauche and in the real world? What was she supposed to do?
Kol didn’t even want to use her as his personal bloodbag and she knew that sex alone wasn’t going to make him keep her. It was likely he only liked her because she was an empty shell, something he could mould into something if he wanted to.
Bella didn’t like to simply just ‘be’. She needed to do something. She could cook all day and eat all the food she prepared, but who would like her when she’d put on a lot of weight? All the food she cooked needed to be eaten, it would be a shame to make it and throw it out.
Kol told her to find their bedroom and living quarters and she’d been pacing around in it for some time now. It was an empty space, apart from the bed and some couches. He had given her something to do, but was it enough? Before, she didn’t have these thoughts.
Bella had known exactly how her day was going to be and what she had to do. She hadn’t been alone as much as she had been ever since Kol took her away from the Cullens. Prior to that, she’d always been with her handler or with a client. Or with Edward. Or Dr. Cullen. Never alone. At least not from what she could remember.
She sat down on the floor, cross-legged, and decided to wait. Kol had told her to go and explore, find their bedroom, and then what? Wait for him? Freedom was hard. She wanted to go back to Myriam’s so that at least she knew that she was alone for a little while, but not for a long time. Even during Kol’s absence, Jasper came to check in on her. Where was he now? Would Kol get angry if she left the room to walk around some more? What if she’d bump into other people in the building? How was she supposed to react?
Frustrated, Bella buried her hands in her hair and tugged on it, hard enough to jolt her brain back into not thinking mode. She would wait, patiently and in silence. Kol would be back soon enough.
She couldn’t believe that Kol believed that she was ready to be in the outside world.