With great power comes great responsibility. Don’t leave, we need you here. Do you have any idea the power that you’re holding? You can start your own pack, fight the good fight. Join us here. You’re no match to Isaac, he won’t be able to stop you once you go off. You have the power to do something great, or something stupid. He’s an idiot!
“But he’s my idiot!” Bella had responded angrily, temper flaring up, she could feel it extend to her extremities and both Peter and Derek blinked at her, visibly shaken. “Stop pulling other people down to make yourself feel better. Or appear better. You’re telling me nothing new, we’re leaving town. Now.”
And at that point, Isaac had been glad to be behind her, not needing to deal with the raw Alpha werewolf standing in the middle of the loft. Peter and Derek both had felt her power, she hadn’t shifted, even, and she was so powerful. There was no doubt that Peter would want to have it all to himself. Again. But Bella wouldn’t allow herself to be played. And that was a good thing.
They emptied the food in a large container near the animal clinic and did a quick shop in Walmart before leaving town, there were far too many people with guns walking out in broad daylight, and it was best to be on the move. Isaac decided to keep driving until they were somewhere in Nevada where it was isolated and no people around to wait out the night. It was at a small lake with a lot of fish in them, so Bella got to fish after all.
Okay, so Isaac was still slightly on edge because of her, but he had significantly mellowed out once they had put a significant distance between them and Beacon Hills. She liked this Isaac, and with him relaxed, she could relax. She still felt the effects of the impending full moon, of course, but it was less than it had been in Beacon Hills, and she kept herself distracted by cooking and singing along to the loud music that was playing from the radio.
She found it interesting that despite all the warnings, the angst and drama, she was able to stay human, it felt easy. Bella was having fun and doing what she liked. Even her other… urges were being kind to her and stayed away. No, this was good. Having fun, letting go, was good. Now if only she could get Isaac in the same sort of mindset and everything would be even more fun.
But, for now, it was a party of one.
Maybe they had too much food for dinner, but it was likely that it wasn’t even that much for the two of them. Her body was burning calories like a mother fucker and she was hungry. Very hungry. The fish tasted delicious and, when all the food was gone Isaac even threw some steaks on the grill to have more food. While the food was all gone, and had been delicious, she was curious to know what Isaac thought about it, since he was the chef and all. “So… what did you think of the food?”
“I liked it,” he smiled at her. “It was really good, rustic.”
“So you’re telling me that it basically sucked.”
“No!” Isaac blinked at her. “No! I honestly liked it! I mean… I had to go to chef school to even learn how to cook and I only know how to cook that way – chop everything finely, neatly, season right, make sure everything’s perfect and here you are, making delicious fish without being…”
“Anal?” Bella smirked at him. “Obsessive? Don’t you know that cooking should be fun, most of all? That when you cook from the heart, instead of your brain, that it tastes better automatically?”
“Yeah, it’s what I’ve been told many times over when I was training…”
“But the exact measurements and following recipes to the letter did you some good for your anxiety, didn’t it? But what if you followed everything to the letter and realized it didn’t taste good? Would you go back and make it again with adjustments you made?”
“Of course,” he said as he pulled the steaks off the fire. She was digging around in his brain, and he hated it. It was almost as if she knew him, really knew him. Like she saw right through him. “Why? You think my food is bad?”
“Oh no, it’s delicious. It’s something else, alright. I’d like to see you cook when you’ve loosened up a little though, I think you’ll enjoy that a lot better too,” she smiled as she gratefully took the perfectly cooked steak. “You really don’t have to worry about me tonight, I’m feeling great and Peter has already confirmed that I’ll be fine. You may not trust him on his word but I’ve had enough dealings with his kind and the gifts they have to know that he’s freakishly accurate.”
“Or, he could be merely saying what you want to hear,” Isaac pointed out. “But we’ll see.”
“You’re such a Debbie Downer,” she let out a snort as she attacked her steak with her knife and fork. “I”ll change that. I’ll show you that you can trust people and that you’re not alone anymore, even though I know you prefer to be alone, yes. You’ve told me that. Several times. But you know the saying, right? ‘The lady protests too much’.”
He rolled his eyes at her as he dug into his steak. “Let’s just survive the night without getting caught. We’re out in the open and should a hunter come by and shine a light in our eyes, we’ll be in trouble and we’ll have to fight that hunter.”
“I know how a gun works,” Bella said as she munched on the meat. “Daddy’s a cop. I’ve learned how to shoot guns and rifles. Don’t worry, I have your back. I’ve told you this before. Relax or I’ll get the stun baton and make you relax.”
When the sun set and the moon came up, Bella had the great idea to go swimming in the lake, and after making sure that Isaac didn’t have his phone on him, she gave him a slight push into the water, as he continued to trip over his feet and face planting on the water’s surface. She jumped after him and, after some persuasion, Isaac turned playful by splashing water at her or pulling her under. And she did the same. She was surprised by the amount of physical strength she had, even hurting Isaac when she was playing a little bit too rough, causing him to let out a yelp. He was fine, nothing that wouldn’t heal soon, but she needed to make sure that didn’t happen again. What if she accidentally hurt a human?
And he was sweet, didn’t mind helping her get it somewhat under control for the rest of the night. He explained that it was mostly the full moon’s doing, but that she was a lot stronger than a regular human when there wasn’t a full moon. Not as bad as the Cold Ones though, so she was happy about that, but it was all about learning your own strength.
They even sparred a little with the moon high up in the sky. Isaac was careful with her and she tried to pull her punches too. She didn’t have to worry about being breakable anymore, one punch would not break her hand or wrist. And if it did, it would heal. She felt the effect of the moon, but she was still human. She was distracted and she was with Isaac. What more did she want?
At 3 am she was exhausted, dried up from the swim earlier, but exhausted, and Isaac pulled out the beds in the truck so she could sleep. He even went to bed himself, but she was sure that he wasn’t going to get the rest that he needed because he was still anxious. She felt it, but she also knew that it was going to be a slow process for him to trust her. To accept her and to accept that she wasn’t going anywhere.
She woke up the next morning to the smell of coffee and bacon as Isaac was making them breakfast. “Ugh. What time is it?”
“Seven,” he replied with a smile on his face. “I want to hit the road early, you can still doze off in the seat in front later if you so desire.”
Bella huffed as she pushed her hair out of her face and got up from the bed to make her way outside with a toilet roll. When she returned, Isaac presented her with a bar of chocolate. “What’s this?”
“To commend you on your first full moon and your strength and willpower for not turning,” he replied. “And to apologize for not believing you, then not believing Peter and then still not believing you. You were right. You’re stronger and more aware of your body and urges than anyone I’ve ever known. In fact, I don’t think there’s any documentation of what you’ve done last night, so, well done.”
Bella let out a snort as she gratefully took the chocolate. “Apology accepted and thank you, I guess? After dinner, where will we be heading?”
“Ah, as far as we can get today. Now that the pressure is off of the full moon, we need to keep driving. I have a meeting with the sheriff in three days of the place Peter wants me to go next for things, and I want to get the lay of the land, a little.”
“Fair enough,” Bella said as she took her coffee. “What’s in Virginia?”
“Another supernatural hotspot, one without a Nemeton – the tree thing – but a lot of magical history. They have a school for witches, but other than that, no protection at all. The school is well known amongst hunters, but they still have hearts and won’t necessarily go after children.”
“We’re going to help the school?”
“In a way,” Isaac nodded. “The town has its own supernatural pull and there have been sightings of werewolves and the other kind of vampires who were looking for protection, but the sheriff turned them all away, despite knowing about the danger they’re in. The town just isn’t equipped to deal with it. Now, Peter’s idea was to open a Bed and Breakfast there, one with a restaurant, rooms… and some hidden areas.”
“Oh, that’s very interesting.”
“And have friends of his dig tunnels 30 miles long, which will end up at a farm where people will be safe and have multiple escape routes should evacuation be necessary.”
“Yep, that’s it,” she nodded. “I’m definitely sticking around now. I’ve always wanted to run a B&B after watching Gilmore Girls. You need me, anyway.”
“And you deserve to live your own life, Bella.”
“Who says I’m not? I’m choosing to stay with you and do this thing. We’d do something good and I get to do I’ve always wanted. So I suppose the meeting with the sheriff is to give him a head’s up? How well do you think that’s going to go if he’s refused so many supernaturals already?”
“Because we can actually help. We have the means, we sort of have the plans, Peter’s still working on that.”
“You’re going to have to talk to the mayor, too.”
“Yep, and organize a lot of things, so that’s why I want to get there a bit earlier than expected so we can get an idea of how things work there.” He then let out a snort. “I’m kinda afraid that he also wants to give me a home and has me stop moving around so much.”
“What’s so wrong about that? A lot of people stay in the same place for years on end. Build a life. You can’t do that when you’re on the road all the time.”
“It works for me,” he shrugged as he took a bite off of his bacon sandwich. “Ah well, if it doesn’t work out, he’ll find someone else for that project.”
At least he was going to try. “Are we going to uhm… what’s it called? Uhm…” she snapped her fingers as she was trying to remember. She had stumbled across a few mentions of a town in Virginia when she was doing her research on figuring out what Edward was, a town with the myths of vampires walking around and werewolves. “Mystic Church?”
“Falls,” Isaac laughed. “Mystic Falls. Fell’s Church is close by. How do you know about it?”
“I like history. And I tried to figure out what Edward was. It came up in the google search,” she shrugged. “I always wanted to go there, don’t they have like a cave system there? With drawings from the Vikings who came to settle in the States?”
“I don’t know,” Isaac laughed. “But it would be fun to find that out.”
“And yes, it’s another small town, but at least it’s in a fucking warmer climate,” she nodded. “This is going to be fun!”
They drove to Albuquerque where they stocked up and Bella took over the wheel, she’d slept some on the way over during the 11 hour drive, and now it was Isaac’s turn to have a somewhat rest on the passenger seat after some food and Bella drove for another 8 hours before stopping outside Oklahoma City to prepare breakfast and have a nap herself. By the time she woke up again, Isaac was driving again.
He really wanted to get to Mystic Falls sooner. Yeah, they had another two days until his meeting, but it was still a close 24 hour drive. It felt like fleeing, but on the other hand, it also felt like running away to start a completely new life. Start all over. Yes, it was going to be difficult to start one in a small town where no doubt everyone knew each other, but challenges were there to be accepted. And Bella definitely accepted this challenge, even though the last week had been sheer madness. And exciting. Far more exciting than the previous few years and she was ready.
The entrance to Mystic Falls reminded her a little of Forks. One way. Trees. But warm and it had a real ‘southern’ look. Movie southern, perhaps. Not that it was fake, it just looked… fake. The town center looked destroyed, but they were trying to fix things up a little. “What happened here?” It was worse than destruction; it looked like a ghost town.
“Oh, a lot,” Isaac let out a breath. “I’m not entirely sure on the details but rumor is that the devil himself came to town.”
Bella let out a snort. “Seriously?”
He shrugged then. “Likely some very ancient person who was evil and what not, but yeah, the town was almost destroyed by then due to other supernatural causes as well.”
It sounded as if Mystic Falls was the place to be for supernaturals. Like Beacon Hills, but without the Nemeton. This was confusing, weren’t they going to save people who couldn’t save themselves? “Then why are we-”
“Peter’s idea. I don’t know why, exactly, but this town has always been some sort of foothold. Humans and supernaturals living together peacefully, somewhat. And after everything that happened, the hunters, the history of this town, the only place that this town now has is that magic school. Protected by one vampire, a teacher and a different kind of hunter,” he explained. “It’s highly likely that the hunters that are hunting us right now have given up on this place because they know that everyone here is either dead or long gone.”
“So we’re going to hide among the humans, underneath the supernatural taint because the hunters rarely bother to come?”
“Exactly,” he parked the truck on a parking lot just off the centre and sighed happily. “Finally. Want to go for a walk? Check things out?”
“Yes!” Bella smiled widely. “I’ve seen enough of this truck!” She excitedly grabbed her bag and hopped out, waiting for Isaac to be done securing everything and making sure that everything was locked up. “You know, we could have just flown here.”
“I had suggested that, yes, but that was before I knew you were a werewolf who hadn’t turned before, still think driving up here was the best course of action,” he said as he joined her. “Although you have surprised me. Maybe we can practise on you turning at will and using your abilities tonight.” Isaac hesitated then. “I doubt you need much practise seeing as you can already control yourself, but it’ll do you some good to get a feel for it and try to control yourself when you do feel that surge of power. It can be quite overwhelming, but freeing in a way too.”
“Whatever you think’s best, Isaac,” she smiled at him, looping her arm through his. “Now, let’s see what this town is all about. Tomorrow is your date with the sheriff, right? How about we surprise him now? Best way to get a feel for people is to simply ambush them.”
He let out a breath and nodded. “That’s usually what I do, but this is per Peter’s plan. He’s the mastermind and what he says, goes. Besides, I think we both could use a good night’s sleep before the meeting with the sheriff. Good food in a restaurant or something.”
Bella huffed. “It’s a Cold One.”
“Ah, but I’ve tried going against him and his gift, and it went horribly,” he barked out a laugh. “I can take care of myself but I made a mess that could have been avoided if I just had listened to him. Besides, what he has in mind for me to set up here, for us, is bigger than even Scott’s little operation so yeah, I’d rather stick to his plan.” That look of pain on his face didn’t escape her at all.
Isaac let out a breath and shrugged. “I managed to get a young werewolf killed because I didn’t listen to Peter. I took her out when I wasn’t supposed to, just like you’re suggesting now; go before he says it’s good to go, get a head start. I can hold my own, Bella, I can. But there were at least twenty of them and… I got lucky… she didn’t. Nearly made me retreat again and fully focus on the cooking, because I really like cooking.”
He had spoken about his love for cooking already, and she had figured that this was just something he’d do in his spare time. Or actually, at first she thought it was the other way around, but Isaac was clearly more interested in food, measurements, being precise. He didn’t allow himself to feel anything but anger, because she really did see his rage and anger in Beacon Hills. His pain. “I’m sorry to hear that,” she genuinely meant it.
“If it weren’t for Peter, I would have ‘wasted my potential’, according to him,” he let out a slight snort. “And I get it, loss is a natural thing, I didn’t even know the girl very well, but still, I was supposed to get her to safety.”
“Ever thought about therapy?” Bella asked lightly. “I mean, you’ve gone through a lot in your life, surely you must have sought help to deal with it all?”
“I’m more of the ‘ignore it and the problem will go away eventually’ kind of guy. But on occasion I get triggered anyway and will deal with it the best that I can.”
“Like in Beacon Hills.”
“And that’s healthy?”
Isaac shrugged then. “Shouldn’t you find a therapist after the last couple of days?”
Bella barked out a laugh. “No fucking way, besides, I’ve got you, don’t I?”