“I-I don’t know,” she said hesitating a little, a sense of guilt washing over her because she didn’t know. She should know this, but she didn’t. “Jasper helped me to return children who didn’t want to be at our home at times. And I would get into trouble and get punished.”
“Try again, Mr. Whitlock, as it sounds to me that you were part of the problem,” Elijah replied as he took a sip from his tea.
While Jasper was grateful that they allowed Bella to speak her mind, in this case, it wasn’t a good thing as indeed, her observations would work against them. They already had a difficult entrance due to Myriam’s uncontrolled slaughter of the vampires the other night. “Myriam and I are a part of a tiny organisation… just the four of us, who travel the world to kill Cold Ones who are exploiting children. I was put with the Cullens, undercover, to keep an eye on Bella and of course, I had to go along with some procedures otherwise they’d find me out,” Jasper calmly replied. “I am well aware of the fact that the Cullens abandoned Bella into your care, Mr. Mikaelson. Or perhaps due to your reputation they believed you’d kill her, but it’s time for Bella to come home with us.”
“Even if I’d believe you about the first part of your story, why do you think we’d hand Bella back to you? She’s not an object, she’s a person. She’s a broken person, but human nonetheless. Corrupted by your kind, starved, experimented on, brainwashed.” Elijah kept using his calm voice. Bella could feel Klaus’s rage seeping through the cracks, he was more than ready to kill Jasper and she wasn’t sure if she’d try to stop him from doing so. Jasper felt strange. Off, but other than that, she couldn’t quite get inside his mind.
“It’s because she was trained by the Cullens, and experimented on, that she’d be better off with us. We know how to handle her and her malfunctions.”
Myriam growled and hit Jasper’s arm. “Quirks. He meant quirks,” she said quickly. This wasn’t right. Seeing Bella sitting at the table with the traditional vampires, eating like a human… the food that Myriam had gotten while she was still a human, sucked. Bella hadn’t been raised on this food and it would be a bitch to wean her off of it, too, unless they’d turn her, but Bella was too unstable to be turned. And Bella seemed to be comfortable with these traditionals as well. It wasn’t right. Bella’s mind was too fragile to have to go through another major shift in way of life again. This wasn’t going to end well. “How are you arranging and managing her care?”
“We’re slowly introducing her to new foods to eat as she became sick after having too much water and oats,” Freya replied. “I’m giving her a magical cleanse on a semi-regular basis to undo some of the things that have been done to her. She’s getting juice with a detox in it for anything that I’m missing. My brother Kol spends as much time with her as he possibly can, showing her that it’s alright to speak your mind and talk about your feelings. That she’s allowed to have an original thought. And so far, she’s surprised us all by how well she’s doing.”
“You do realize that there was a reason for the low energy diet that Bella had been put on?” Jasper questioned as he looked at the various foods on the table, seeing nothing but fruit juices, sugar, carbohydrates. “And at the intervals she was fed at? Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to see her doing much better since I last saw her two weeks ago, but it’s not right.”
“No, starving her is not right,” Freya said venomously. “She’s a human, like me, and we need our nourishment. She fought us hard on the food thing when we first started it, but food is something to be enjoyed, she sees that now.”
These traditionals were playing with fire. They believed they knew everything about Bella, but they were wrong. The file that they had in their possession and been placed there, by Jasper, for them to find. But it were only the cliffnotes. “She needs to be with her people. With us. Trust that we are as liberal as you, as passionate as you, something completely different from the Cullens themselves. We have a farm in Texas with nothing around us for miles where she’ll be safe and won’t be able to harm anyone. Keeping her here in the city is a big mistake. She’s a Cold One. Human, sure, but she’s a Cold One.”
“Are you sure?” Kol said playfully as he looked at Bella, who had rosy cheeks. “She looks pretty warm to me!”
“Bella, you know you can’t stay here,” Jasper told her, his voice kind, warm. “I appreciate how these traditionals are allowing you to use your own thoughts and opinions, you must know better now.”
“I was abandoned,” Bella replied, a hint of bitterness in her voice. “Alone. They are taking care of me. No punishments, but kindness. I did scare them the other day when I hurt twenty people… but I’m not a bad girl, you see. Kol said that they used to do far worse and kill people and he’s not a bad person, either. I’m still a good girl.”
Jasper sighed and nodded before sharing a look with Myriam, causing her to scowl and turn away. “We won’t forcibly take you away from your friends, Bella. But Myriam and I will remain in New Orleans to keep an eye on you so should there be something going on, we can come and help you.”
“This is ridiculous,” Myriam muttered as she crossed her arms over her chest. She hadn’t liked Jasper’s plan, but she had decided to go along with it. Mostly because they hadn’t been sure how Bella would be. The next visit, Myriam might tell Bella who she was. But Jasper had been nothing but an annoying asshole for the last few days, despite their amazing sex. Whatever it was, it was likely the Cullens fault for ruining him.
Elijah pursed his lips as he observed the two Cold Ones and their sudden animosity between them. “Ms. Jenkins, you are not agreeing with your companion?”
Myriam sucked in a breath, she was still angry that they couldn’t get to her in time before she had her meltdown and then Jasper had stopped her from grabbing Bella in the first place. She could still do that. She was fast, she was strong and she could take these sorry excuses for vampires. “No,” she started as she carefully chose her words as not to sound too much like a gigantic bitch. “Bella’s not one of you, nor will she ever be. She’s a Cold One. Her destiny lies with me. I’ll be able to make sure she won’t hurt anyone else due to my special skill set. She is dangerous and needs to be managed. By me. As Jasper said, we’re quite liberal in our beliefs and we won’t treat her as poorly as the Cullens did, but you need to release her to me for the safety of your coven, and of this city. I don’t want to sit around and wait for a catastrophe to happen. That’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m supposed to do. I have Cold Ones to kill.”
As poorly. Kol picked up on that and he could tell that his brother did as well. There was no way in hell that he was going to allow these two Cold Ones to take Bella away from them. From him. There was no telling what they’d do to her.
Klaus let out a dark chuckle. “Now see, I can applaud that sentiment. I have a few Cold Ones on my shit list, too. They attempted to take my daughter!”
“They’re in Alaska, I’ll tell you exactly where if you relinquish your custody of my- Bella,” Myriam replied kindly. “I’ll even join you for the fun of it. I’ve seen your work in Forks. You beat me right to it, unfortunately.”
“No, love,” Klaus shook his head. “Despite my healthy dose of fear for this girl, she’s not going anywhere. You lot abandoned her, and my siblings have taken a liking to her. She’s responding well to my siblings.”
“I did not abandon my sister!” Myriam blurted angrily. “We’ve been trying to get her out for years! I even turned so that I could be even stronger and faster to get her out! And you ruined it by allowing your daughter to take her instead! I was supposed to break her out when you were tearing the fucking place down!” She slammed her hand on the table, sending breakfast flying through the air. “She’s mine! Not yours.”
Bella noticed it, and no doubt Jasper noticed it too, but there was a flutter of something in Klaus’ rage as the Cold One ran her mouth. She was going to have to ask Kol later what that feeling meant, because she didn’t understand it at all. Jasper wasn’t liking that feeling Klaus had, at all, and now Bella was all confused. Had she belonged to someone else all this time?
“You’re her sister?” Freya blinked as she looked at the Cold One and then Bella. Granted, there was some similarity in the Cold One’s face, but she couldn’t see it.
“Twin, actually,” Myriam didn’t sit back down as she let out a breath. “Fraternal. Whatever. Mom took me after the birth giver gave birth to me, I was the first one out, and she told everyone that I had died. Mom knew that birth giver and sperm donor were doing icky things with the Cullens and werewolves and that it was wrong. She was supposed to go back for Bella, but she was too late, already under the protection of the shifter wolves and moved into the facility. That’s why they sent Jasper in.”
Klaus couldn’t tell if she was lying, but the story was so insane that it was a possibility that it was the truth. And there was no doubt that her transition from being human to a Cold One added some years to her life, from what he had heard, those transitions were brutal and painful. “Love, why won’t you sit back down in case you break something other than our table?” He suggested calmly. “I now understand your need to have Bella with you, family is important, after all, but as you can see, she’s already become a part of ours in the short time she’s been here.”
“Mom had definitive proof that my DNA, our DNA, had been messed with in the petri dish, but also our embryos had been manipulated while we grew in the birth giver’s birthing chamber. When I was five years old, I could lift a car with my pinkie and with the strength, I had anger issues. So dad decided to train me to fight, and how to kill Cold Ones. I took my first Cold One down when I was ten years old. But I wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t strong enough. I asked to be turned when I celebrated my 18th birthday, giving up on all the human things. Hot showers. Nice food. Coffee. Fuck, coffee… I was a newborn, but never acted out, I always kept my head. And I started to go after more Cold Ones. Preparing me for the fight with the Cullens. Which you ruined for me.”
“I ruined it for you?” Klaus mused, challenging the Cold One. “Love, you seem to know where they are, why come to New Orleans first?”
“Because I wanted to give Bella the satisfaction of killing them, too,” she said angrily. “And to ask for your help to go after the Volturi to end this for once and for all. Just because we are stronger than humans and have the ability to live longer, doesn’t mean we, as a species, should treat them like the Cullens have.”
“I hate to break it to you, darling, but Bella’s not a killer,” Kol finally spoke as he looked at the Cold One. She did look like Bella, and while she may have had a better life than her sister, Myriam looked lost. Incomplete. “If you were going to take her to the Cullens now, she’d be on their side, not yours.”
“No, I-I wouldn’t.”
“Yes, darling, you would,” Kol said as he smiled at her. “I told you, baby steps, and their training of you will take a long time to get rid of.”
“I-I wouldn’t! I swear!”
He smirked then before looking at Jasper. “Give her an order, or an instruction, whatever you used to call them.”
Jasper realized what Kol was trying to prove to both Myriam and Bella, and nodded. “Bella, I want you to clean up the mess that Myriam made because of you.”
“No,” Bella said defiantly, crossing her arms over her chest. See? She could refuse.
“Bella, you failed in keeping this place spotless, clean it up, now, and your punishment won’t be as bad as I want it to be. You’re a bad girl for allowing this to happen.”
She tried to fight it. This was a set up, and she knew it, but she couldn’t fight it and soon enough found herself on the floor, picking up the broken pieces of the plates as quickly as she could. It was her mess. Myriam had been angry because of her. She truly was a bad girl.
“Bella, stop,” Jasper said as he felt Myriam’s heart break. He may have neglected to inform Myriam just how bad Bella’s life had been, merely for the sake of her own sanity. “That’s enough, Bella. You can stop now.”
She stopped and remained on her knees, her hands resting on top of her knees and sighed. She was a bad girl and she wasn’t even cleaning up properly.
“What the fuck.” Myriam breathed out as she looked at Jasper. “What the actual fuck!”
“There is no doubt that Bella has your temper, Myriam. The Cullens wanted her to be quiet and cooperative. They trained her like this. Like a drone. Mindless and not allowing her to think. It made Bella safe to be around,” Jasper explained, a guilty look on his face. “However, I do have to admit that these traditional vampires have been handling her correctly in regards to trying to make her life better. I still recommend taking her out of the city, though.”
Well that Cold One turned around quickly. Klaus didn’t like it. “Nonsense,” he said as he made the call right there and then. “Miss Jenkins, Myriam, you are welcome to stay here at the compound to get to know your sister, to keep an eye on her, but you will not take her with you.”
“Niklaus, since when do we take in strays?” Elijah asked exasperatedly.
“Myriam is Bella’s sister. Or so she claims. There is no doubt in my mind that this woman will allow us to run tests on her to make sure of it. If it’s the truth, we need to allow her to get to know Bella. You know as well as I do, family is important.”
“I can’t believe this,” Elijah huffed, shaking his head.
“I’m with Niklaus. I mean, if she is Bella’s sister and she’s telling the truth about her origins, then there’s no doubt that she’ll have been messed with, too. I could have Keelin compare their DNA strands on abnormalities and go from there,” Freya said hopeful before looking at Myriam with a smile. “Believe me, there’s nothing better to get to know your family after having been on your own all this time.”
“I wasn’t on my own. I had my parents and Jasper,” Myriam said as she still had her eye on the kneeling Bella, contemplating her thoughts. “Very well, I’ll stay. What the hell. Why not.”
“And my apologies to your companion, but Bella doesn’t seem to respond well to him. He can’t stay,” Klaus said, a playful smile on his lips as he looked at Jasper. “You understand.”
Jasper hadn’t anticipated this outcome. However, for now it was the best decision. Myriam could keep an eye on Bella while he’d stick around in the city. He nodded politely.
“And please, refrain from feeding off of the humans in this city, your kind kills them and it’ll draw attention.”
At that, Bella’s head snapped up. “I don’t die when he feeds on me, sir.”
“Nobody’s going to feed on you, darling,” Kol said as he helped her to her feet and handed her a pancake that had been saved from hitting the floor when Myriam smashed the table. “We’re only going to feed you,” he helped her to sit down to eat.
She slightly snickered. “That was funny.”
“Yeah, it was,” he grinned.
“You’re not going to hurt any of these girls,” Jasper said as a counter demand. “And you’re going to keep your hands off of my Myriam.”
Both Kol and Elijah sucked in a breath and Bella wasn’t sure why. It was a normal request, wasn’t it? Myriam belonged to Jasper, like Bella had belonged to the Cullens… and to Jasper. And she had belonged to Myriam in the first place? But wasn’t Jasper Alice’s? Didn’t he belong to Alice? Did Alice know that Myriam belonged to him? Jasper felt angry and anxious. Worried, maybe, and Klaus’s anger had dissolved and it had changed to something else, something she couldn’t place. Yet another emotion she’d have to talk to Kol about.
“I’m an honorable man, Mr. Whitlock,” Klaus spoke calmly. “Miss Jenkins will be my guest for as long as she wishes to stay and to connect with her sister, the one she’s worked so hard for to free from the Cullens. To assume that I’m anything less than honorable because you’re picking up on my emotions is frankly an intrusion on my privacy. Another reason why I do not want you in my house.”
Myriam stared at Jasper with an open mouth. “You fucker! Who gave you the right to claim me as your own? That never fucking happened and if you believe that I’m going to fuck the person who’s responsible for delaying my reunion with my sister, you’re fucking mistaken!”
“Okay, time for the humans to leave,” Freya said with a singsong voice and looped her arm around Bella. “Come on, we’re going to leave this cesspit of testosterone.”
“Oh Bella,” she sighed as she ruffled the girl’s hair. “Here you are, twenty years old and you know nothing about the pleasures in life…”
“And you’re not going to inform her either!” Kol called after his sister. That would be a complete disaster with Bella not understanding feelings and emotions as well as she should. On top of that, she still didn’t feel free enough to do things on her own. No, teaching Bella about the birds and the bees was going to have to wait. For a very long time.
The moment Freya and Bella were safe inside Bella’s room, with no doubt Freya have cast a spell so that Bella wouldn’t hear anything, all three brothers rose to their feet and started to walk towards Jasper. There was no way that they’d allow him to leave and tell his family all about Bella. On top of that, the way he was treating his friend was deplorable. “On the subject of killing Cold Ones, Miss Jenkins, what do you wish us to do with this one?” Klaus asked. Perhaps it was dangerous to allow Myriam to enrage, but if there was one thing they all had issues with was self control. And Myriam would fit right in with the lot of them.
“You’re not going to do anything,” Myriam replied as she rubbed her hands in glee. “He’s been different ever since he returned from the Cullens, I don’t trust him any more than you do. He’s mine to deal with.”