Chapter 12

Kol’s face had healed by the time breakfast came around and for the first time everyone saw Bella in different clothes; Myriam had convinced her to wear the summer dress that she had bought and had fixed her hair and Bella looked like a real girl. Absolutely beautiful. “See, she scrubs up nicely,” Myriam smiled as they sat down at the table, Myriam happy to see the same small glasses of blood on her plate as during dinner the night before. It had been such a surprise that this way she was able to join in on a normal thing such as breakfast, lunch and dinner.

She was still ignoring Klaus, and Kol. She still wasn’t convinced that this was the right place for her and Bella.

“Hope’s coming home from school today for a week or so,” Klaus announced. “I shall pick her up myself in Mystic Falls and inform her about the recent changes since I last saw her. I will be gone for a couple of hours.”

“Rebekah texted me last night, she’ll be arriving home today as well,” Kol said as he moved the stack of pancakes closer to Bella. “And I believe Marcel arrived home this morning, no doubt that everything is in your study, Nik.”

“Well, that will have to wait until tonight after Hope’s sleeping,” Klaus referred to the information Marcel had retrieved from Peter. “Elijah, if you’d be so kind as to put that in our safe for now, that would be lovely.”

“Of course.”

“I’ve finished my coloring book,” Bella spoke up as she carefully picked a pancake from the plate as she looked at Kol. “Some images aren’t neat, I couldn’t stay within the lines with the thick crayons… I thought about sharpening them but you took the knife away when you left last night.”

“Of course I took the knife away after your little stunt,” Kol laughed as he buttered himself a roll. “You’d likely have tried to see if you’d still heal despite it was proven otherwise. All night! We would have found you dead on the floor because of the loss of blood!”

“Wait, what? Why didn’t you tell me?” Myriam said as she was on her sister within a blink. “Where did you cut yourself?”

“Relax, she’s fine,” Kol rolled his eyes at Myriam. “She was watching my face heal and she told me that she could do that too, heal quickly. You left the box cutter there, so it’s your fault she wanted to prove it. But thanks to my sister’s cleansing spells and detox potions, Bella has lost that ability now. She’s turning into a proper human.”

“I won’t do it again,” she said as she withdrew her hand from Myriam’s grasp to get her pancake and started to eat it. “But I liked the coloring, it brought some quiet in my head.”

Klaus quickly went up to his study and grabbed some blank paper and a set of pencils, colored, but also grey ones to draw with, before returning for breakfast. He sat down next to Bella for a moment as he drew a small bird on one of the blank sheets. “Did you know you can make your own coloring books? Just like this,” he said as he kept drawing. “You first draw what you want to draw, and then color them in.” When Bella looked at him in amazement while still eating her pancake, he smiled. “Why don’t you try that after breakfast? As stated earlier, I’ll be gone for a few hours as I’ll be getting Hope, but I’m sure that if you ask Kol nicely he’d get you some more blank paper when you need it.”

“Thank you, Klaus,” she said, truly meaning it. She didn’t know what happened with Klaus, but he was kind to her now.

When he finished drawing the bird and its broken cage, he put the pencil down and went back to his own seat to finish his breakfast. “You’re very welcome, little bird.” Perhaps Bella had a talent for drawing, for art. Who’d know? Bella was observant, she noticed the littlest details, perhaps she’d be a great talent! But it required extreme dedication and patience to color in a coloring book with crayons, and that’s why he made the decision to give Bella some of his expensive papers and pencils to play with.

“Or,” Myriam said after angrily knocking back one of her glasses of blood, “We could play board games, I bought some yesterday, I showed you.”

“Can we do that tomorrow, Myriam? I’d really like to try this,” Bella said as she pointed at the papers.

“Perhaps you could try to draw Myriam today,” Klaus suggested. Even if Bella wasn’t talented – it was too early to tell – everyone should have the opportunity to draw a portrait. It was what children were taught in school. He had Hope’s first painting with him framed in his study. It was special, and no doubt it would be something special for Myriam too, to have something like that. “That way, you’re still spending time together.”

Myriam huffed. She hated it that Klaus had become less fearful of her sister and that he was able to connect to her in his own way. She hated him for being so perfect in that way, but she was wondering if that would have ever happened had she not beaten his brother to a pulp.

Kol snickered as he took a sip of his blood and continued to eat his roll. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pass up on making a remark, so he did. No matter the consequences. “Why won’t you draw Tinkerbell as one of your French girls, Nik?”

Myriam growled as she reached out to Kol and broke his arm, before driving a fork through his hand.

“Hey! Ouch!” Kol whined, pulling the fork out of his hand and straightening his arm again so it could set properly. “Careful, Tink, or we will have to build you that Cold One proof bunker so we can put you there for safekeeping!”

“That’s not kind, Kol,” Bella told him as she reached for another pancake. “And what is a French girl?”

“It’s from a movie called Titanic,” Freya explained kindly. “It’s about a ship that had an accident in 1912 and sank. It sailed well for four days, and the story of that movie takes place during that time. There’s a boy called Jack, and a girl named Rose, and when Rose discovers that Jack’s an artist and drawing a lot of French girls, she asks him to draw her like that. So she poses for him without her clothes on, naked.”

“But…” Bella dropped her pancake as she thought deeply. “Only couples should see each other naked, right? Like…” she thought hard. “Alice and Jasper were a couple. I sometimes saw them imagining each other naked in their minds when they forgot I was around. Or Emmett and Rosalie. Or regular human beings when I was outside. And a couple means two, right? Klaus and Hope are a couple?”

“No!” Klaus said shocked. “Sweetheart, do you even know what it means to be a couple? What a couple is? Especially in the context that you want to use?”

Bella shook her head.

“It’s when two people are completely and utterly in love with each other,” Freya said when no one decided to explain it to Bella. “Me and Keelin, for example. We are in a romantic relationship and we’re a couple. No one should ever be in a romantic relationship with a child and besides, Hope is Klaus’ daughter, no one should ever be in a romantic relationship with your own child.”

“Oh. But I saw Kol naked.”

“Because he’s an idiot,” Freya replied. “But you’re right, Bella, you don’t necessarily have to be in a relationship, be a couple, for an artist to draw someone naked. It’s what makes things art.”

“But you’re not going to draw anyone naked, you hear?” Kol said quickly. Oh, he’d be horrified if she’d turn out to be extremely talented and would draw him naked. Not that he was ashamed of his body, not at all. He used to be quite the exhibitionist in his day, just like the rest of the family, but no.

“Are Myriam and I a couple?”

“You’re a couple of sisters. You’re not in a romantic relationship with each other,” Freya was glad that Bella seemed to become more aware of everything, soaking up information and not acting completely like an idiot. Like Kol had said earlier, Bella was getting clean. “I know, I know, the English language is quite annoying with the different meanings for the same words.”

“Like the word fuck.”

Kol spat out his tea as he looked at Bella in shock. Did she honestly just say the word out loud?

“I still don’t know the other meaning of it though. Just Myriam’s version of it,” Bella said innocently as she nibbled on her pancake again. “And from what I’ve heard, it’s the best meaning of it. She doesn’t like the other meaning very much, so it must be horrible.”

“To be fair, it’s a horribly vulgar way to describe something so intimate and beautiful,” Klaus said as he got up. “I’ll be back in a few hours,” he said before heading to the exit.

Kol still couldn’t believe that Bella voiced the word ‘fuck’ and it had been strangely arousing the way she had said it so innocently. He needed to get help for his stupid infatuation with this girl. Even if she’d unlearn everything taught to her over the course of the last twenty years and would somewhat resemble a normal human, it would be wrong as he’d been the one partially responsible for her recovery.

It was just that; a stupid infatuation and lust. He needed to create more distance between himself and Bella. “I might go to France,” he said. “I was supposed to join our sister there but seeing as she’s returning today, I can go by myself.”

“You’re not going anywhere, Kol,” Elijah told him. “With the threat of the Cullens still around, and their masters, we need you here.”

“But I could do a side trip to Italy and take care of those masters,” Kol countered. “Volterra, big castle, hard to miss.”

“And again, you’re staying.”

Fine. Then he’d simply have to get some sense beaten into him by his sister once he and she would catch up, and he was going to ask Freya if she was sure that Bella didn’t have something extra to make him like her. Like magic. Or another ability or something along those lines. How else would he have fallen so hard for someone like her?

Bella was simple, yet she had a brilliant mind. Bella was emotionally stunted due to her treatment by the Cullens, but she was getting better. She was quite what he wanted in a girlfriend, strong and smart and incredibly gorgeous, but Bella was .innocent. And that was endearing, cute and adorable. And he didn’t do all that. Myriam was more of his type, but oh, he had a severe dislike to the Cold One and only tolerated her because of Bella.

He was fucked, in the wrong sense of the word.

Myriam was glad that Klaus left for a couple of hours, it gave her some breathing space. She figured that while Bella was drawing – such a boring thing to do, really. Myriam had only given her the crayons and the coloring book to see what Bella would do with it and how could she have known she’d go obsessive about it? – she was going to explore the city some more. Perhaps run around and check hiding spots for Cold Ones. On the other hand, she was one herself, and Klaus’ vampires could be a little excited and then she’d had to kill him and then nobody would be happy because that meant less protection and-

Sighing, Myriam downed her last glass of blood. “I’m bored. Is there maybe someone I can spar with?”

“Can you promise not to break them?” Elijah mused.

“No, because I don’t hold back.”

“Then it’s best if you don’t spar, Myriam, we need our vampire army to be in one piece.”

“And we are certainly not going for another round,” Kol said as he got to his feet and headed to his room to unplug his television and went to install it in Bella’s. He didn’t need the TV anyway, and he was certain that Bella would get bored with it. Or, she’d learn the wrong things and his TV would be returned. For now, he needed space.

He went all to the top of the building to look down on Bella, who had made some room on the table and had started to draw shapes for a couple of hours. Lines, getting familiar with how things worked and the first thing she drew wasn’t a stick figure, no, it was a fucking glass, in 3D and everything. Sure, there were tiny mistakes, but from his point of view it was perfect. Bella was observant and had an eye for detail. Klaus was going to want to nurture her drawing skills, and Kol wasn’t sure how he felt about that.

He did see her get lost in the lines, though. As if she was meditating and using the lines to guide her. Finding Freya, he sat down next to her on the sofa and poured himself a drink. “Question; do you think Bella’s mental powers are getting stronger?”

“I sure hope not,” Freya laughed as she looked at her brother. “Why? Are you worried she won’t keep her word and stay out of our heads?”

“No, I’m worried that she’ll continue to hear the thoughts from the entire street outside. Did she gain this ability naturally?”

“That’s uncertain, brother. A lot of things about her, and her sister in that sense, are uncertain. It could be a part of her DNA and as you may know, DNA can’t be changed. If it does get worse and she won’t be able to control it, turning her might be the only safe option for all of us,” she then had a thought. “I could see if she’s able to perform magic on her own, then it’s quite possible that the mind reading thing is connected to that, and that…”

“Is connected to her DNA. Gotcha,” Kol sighed before realizing that he was yet again, busying himself with Bella’s wellbeing. “Do you reckon she can make us see things that aren’t real?”

“I believe so, but I doubt she knows about it,” she replied quietly. “She’s told me a few times now that she hates this ability of hers and hopes that once she’s declared healthy by me, and Keelin, that it’s gone.”

“And you don’t see that happening?”

Freya shook her head. “Most of the gunk we found in her body, magical or herbal, was to gain control over her. To repress her abilities. I think the Cullens were scared shitless of her, in all honesty. But then again, if they hadn’t stunted her growth, she would have been able to control her powers more and not go into meltdown mode and hurt people.” She sighed then. “She could still prove to be a danger to us all, what if the Cullens meant for her to come here to make sure we can’t form a coherent thought? I mean, you’re unkillable, but she can still hurt you.”

“We are also self healing, it might take us some time, but we’ll be alright,” Kol snapped. “And don’t you dare to bring that theory to Niklaus because he’ll go into full paranoia mode while I can’t see Bella do that to us, at all. And no, I’m not blinded.”

“No, I think you’re right. She knows what she can do, but does she understand her abilities? That’s the best way to learn control, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, but unfortunately she can do a lot of damage with her abilities, who’s going to help her understand it?”

“I vote for her sister, but that’s only because she’s a Cold One and might be more resilient.”

“We should wait until we’ve discussed the information Peter has sent along with Marcel. Perhaps there’s more we need to know,” Kol replied as he looked over the balustrade and saw that Bella was still drawing. “Klaus will love it that she’s a natural.”

“Ah, just wait until she gets introduced to the television,” Freya laughed. “She’ll likely be glued to it and we’ll have to think of ways to get her off of it.”

“I doubt it.”

“Twenty bucks says she’ll be addicted to it.”

“And I say twenty that she’ll have to be dragged to the bloody thing to watch it because she doesn’t like it,” he said as he shook his sister’s hand.

“Oh, is there a bet?” Rebekah’s voice sounded as she walked onto the courtyard with all of her bags and smiled up to her brother and sister. “I’m in!” She then pointed at Bella, who was still drawing at the table. “Who’s that? Oh, don’t tell me, Nik is going through that phase again where he brings home strays.”

“Actually… she is Hope’s fault,” Kol grinned as he used his speed to walk down the stairs and stood next to Bella. “Bella, this is my sister Rebekah, Rebekah, this is Bella. She was raised by Cold Ones in the worst possible way, but she’s friendly.”

“Uhuh, and what’s her defect?” Rebekah questioned.

“She’s not defective,” Kol said as he looked at Bella, who was now frowning as she looked at Rebekah. “She’s different, and she’s getting better. I think you’ll like her.”

“And why am I not surprised you have a crush on her?” Rebekah said tiredly. “Honestly, Kol, I never liked Davina but…”

“Don’t even go there,” he growled as he gently squeezed Bella’s shoulder. “Where’s your sister, darling?”

Bloody bleeding hearts, the lot of them! Did I forget that cute dress in France? Such a pity… I swear, if they bring in another stray, I’m going to leave. Permanently. It’s hard enough to get the attention around here! I need to take Freya for a pampering session at the spa, I’m still in vacation mode and she needs to get to my level. Get ridiculously drunk. Buy more clothes, one can never have too many clothes. I need a drink. Why is the girl looking at me like that? Do I smell bad? Something on my face? Oh, she looks so unnerving and could do with some weight gain.

“Stop that, Bella,” Kol said kindly. “Could you call your sister for me so I can introduce her to another one of mine?”

“She’s bored,” Bella finally spoke as she looked up at him. “I suppose she can teach me to play one of the board games she has in her bags,” she concluded. “Myriam? I’m done drawing.”

“Great!” Myriam said as she appeared with some snacks and one of the board games she had bought; Ticket To Ride. It seemed easy enough. After placing it on the table, she noticed that Kol was standing close to a blonde and her sister. Not trying to go in full rage mode, she smiled at the girl. “Myriam, I’m Bella’s sister.”

Rebekah stared at Myriam for awhile before responding. “Rebekah, Kol’s sister… and are you sure you’re welcome here? Nik doesn’t have a habit of spending time with Cold Ones.”

“He doesn’t have a choice. I’m here for my sister,” Myriam replied as she started to open the box and set the game up. Deciding to at least try to be civil, she looked up to the two traditionals. “You two want to join us? It’s a lot more fun to play a game when there’s more than two playing.”

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