To start a bed and breakfast in the little town wasn’t such a bad idea; the only eating establishment Mystic Falls currently had was the Town House Cafe and it had been closed for what seemed forever when Bella and Isaac had found it for something to eat. It didn’t even look like it was open on a regular basis.
A passerby told them that they used to have a restaurant in town but that it was once again damaged due to a gas leak a years ago and the owner had given up as there was no way that he could pay for it again and the insurance hadn’t been able to find the source of this gas leak. Isaac knew this, he had told Bella after the person had left and they continued their walk to the supermarket to go and cook their own food. There was no doubt that Peter had been messing with the situation, either.
She also managed to tell them that Mystic Falls was trying to rebuild itself, regain more inhabitants after all that the town has been through. The local supermarket still functioned, but from the 6000 inhabitants Mystic Falls used to have, only about 500 people remained. It would do this town good to have more people living in it, to have the money and courage to rebuild more.
As they passed the ruined building of the Mystic Grill, Bella could see why. The restaurant was sitting on a big piece of land, especially because the building next to it was in ruins as well and there were many possibilities when someone would buy both buildings including their land. Isaac told her that the Grill and the building next to it were the reasons that they were there. That they wanted that spot, and only that spot. Supposedly there was a cave system there connecting most of the city’s most important spots with room to break it out further underground.
At least that’s what Peter told him, and he wasn’t sure why or if he was speaking the truth. Isaac told her not to mention this to the sheriff at all, they were going to meet him to get a sense of the supernatural community and the human community and give him sort of a head’s up that Mystic Falls was going to get two more werewolves as part of the supernatural community. And then see what this Donovan’s reaction was going to be like. There was no doubt that Peter would try and replace this sherrif with another one should the outcome be unfavorable.
Isaac was Peter’s lackey. He moved in the sunlight; something Peter couldn’t do without attracting a lot of attention. And it seemed like Peter was giving Isaac a purpose, something he needed. And Bella too.
Bella had expected to be with Edward forever. To be turned into a Cold One and stay with him and his family for eternity or until they both decided to go their separate ways – but she’d still be a Cold One. Her purpose would be… She wasn’t even sure if there would have been a purpose for her. To study eternally? To have fun? To have sex all the time? To help protect the coven? She never really considered the consequences of turning into a Cold One. All she wanted was to stay with Edward. Forever.
Stupid Cold One pheromones and manipulation.
And she hadn’t wanted to stick around in Beacon Hills, either. The town’s atmosphere had felt like a disease, stuffy like a blanket and her family a bunch of werewolves who thought they were better than anyone else. Just because they were from a prominent werewolf family didn’t mean that they could be that arrogant and stuck up. No fucking way.
Bella’s best bet had been to stick around with Isaac, and she still wasn’t disagreeing with her decision. She just hoped that he wouldn’t start trying to push her away harder – she was only going to leave when she wanted to. Not when he wanted to. If she was going to leave, she was going to leave when she was ready. And she wasn’t ready now. Not by a long shot.
Thankfully this town had a motel, granted most of the rooms were out of bounds, broken, but at least they had a vacancy so Bella and Isaac would have proper beds to sleep in and the use of a shower, but somewhere during the night they both found themselves outside the motel and getting into the truck as the beds there were better. And everything was a lot quieter, too. There had been a couple next door having sex quite loudly and Bella wanted to go over and strangle them both.
Their bed and breakfast was going to have better rooms for the same price. Definitely. Looking more classy and more… comfortable. And better showers. She could have sworn she’d seen a cockroach in her hotel bathroom, but showers were good and bugs didn’t hurt her, but still. It was gross.
And, like Isaac had suggested, he had tried to teach her how to control her shift before they attempted to sleep in their hotel rooms. Control like he did. Partial transformation, claws out, what not, but frustratingly, she failed, much to the hilarity of Isaac. He was laughing so much his sides started to hurt, but he was glad to see that while she had excellent control during her first full moon, that maybe she was a little too much in control over herself and didn’t want to let go.
But at least her failure made him laugh, and such a wonderful laugh that was. She caught a glimpse of how he could be; carefree and truly happy. Unburdened. And that was absolutely beautiful.
After breakfast, they went over to the sheriff station where they were going to meet with Sheriff Matt Donovan. It was as if all sheriff stations looked the same, small, a few offices but other than that a few desks and a small kitchen. Just like the one in Forks. A big city Mystic Falls was not. But that was alright, at least it was in a much warmer climate than Washington, right?
Matt Donovan looked quite young for a sheriff. Then again, if your village had been as battered by the supernatural as Mystic Falls, it was likely hard to find a sheriff. Nobody from the big cities liked moving to small towns unless they had something to hide. Did Donovan have to hide something or was he born here and hadn’t bothered to move away? Maybe she should ask Charlie to check him out, just to be safe.
“Sheriff, nice to meet you. My name is Isaac Argent and this is Bella Swan,” Isaac greeted him with a handshake after entering the sheriff’s office and closing the door. “I believe my associate Peter Whitlock has called you so our visit isn’t much of a surprise to you?”
“Yeah, he did,” Sheriff Donovan shook the man’s hand before sitting down in his chair. “Although I don’t quite understand what I can do for you. If you want a licence for your food truck, you should talk to the mayor, apply for one at City Hall.”
“We just needed a little white lie to get a foot in the door,” Isaac replied, a smile on his face. Oozing confidence. Like he was when he helped Bella to get away from the Cullens. He was on a job. And he was good at his job. “Because we’re here to talk to you about the supernatural community here in Mystic Falls, surely you know a lot about it?”
Donovan stiffened in his chair as he narrowed his eyes on the two strangers in his office, seemingly contemplating his next words. “You don’t look like hunters, are you hiding in plain sight now?”
“If we were hunters, would we come here to ask you about the community or would we simply kick down doors and shoot first?” Isaac countered. “We’re well aware of the damage the hunters do and what their ideology is. I’m happy to know that you’re no stranger to the supernatural community and what’s going on, though. How safe is this town for people like us?”
“You have nothing to worry about when you move here,” Donovan replied, relaxing somewhat. “I make it my utmost priority that the human population is safe in this town, you will have nothing to fear from the small supernatural community that is present here. They police their own. It’s interesting to see that there are more humans that know about the supernatural and that you’ve come to this place for some peace and quiet. Mystic Falls has had quite the beating in the past few years.”
Isaac looked at Bella, who had a knowing smile on her face and he simply shrugged before looking back at Donovan. “It’s great that you have such a warm heart for humans, and you’re absolutely correct, it’s very important that the humans are safe, supernaturals alike. Don’t you have like a magic school nearby?”
“Oh, but you don’t have to worry about them,” the sheriff said. “They are harmless and actually run by a friend of mine.”
“They are more than a school, aren’t they? Like… I don’t know, they house other supernaturals who are in trouble with the hunters? Take care of them?”
“Oh, thank God we managed to talk Caroline out of that one!” Donovan barked out a laugh. “You never know what you’re going to get when scared supes come to town. No, don’t worry, you’ll be perfectly safe here in Mystic Falls. You’ll be a welcome addition to this town.”
“I have to admit, I was under the impression that the town was a bit…”
“In one piece? Yeah, we wish,” the sheriff replied with a sigh. “With so many things happening over the years all the big cities, the insurance companies and sponsors pulled their hands off of Mystic Falls. We’re doing what we can with the means that we have. Our police force is just me and my deputy, and we haven’t been paid for quite some time. We have a mayor and a small city council. But that’s alright, everyone who lives here loves the town and is trying to pitch in the best that they can while they work elsewhere.”
“Ever considered to move?” Bella piped up, curious to the answer. This town was a mess, what were Peter’s plans? Rebuild it all? Make Mystic Falls his town? Well, that would certainly be a very Cold One plan, wouldn’t it? A town he could mould into his own private paradise.
“Sure,” Donovan replied with half a shrug. “But some of us need to stay here. This place is of historical value, for both humans and supernaturals alike. It needs to be protected at all cost. And it’s indeed a wonderful little town, despite the rubble, I’m sure you’ll find it enchanting. What are your plans for when you move here?”
Isaac shrugged then. “Maybe open a restaurant.”
“We’re a town with 500 citizens, are you sure about that?”
“Everyone drinks alcohol, don’t they?” Isaac grinned as he rose to his feet. “Thank you for meeting with us, sheriff, it’s been very informative and enlightening.”
“Glad to be of service,” Donovan shook Isaac’s hand.
“Oh, we’re having a meeting with the mayor later on, just to get our bearings and stuff. Does she know about the supernatural community?”
The sheriff blinked then. What possible reason would these two have to meet the mayor? “No, she doesn’t, and I prefer to keep it that way.”
“We’ll be keeping that from her then,” he smiled before heading to the door, Bella following him. “Have a good day.”
After they’d left the building, Bella then realized that Donovan believed that they were humans. “He thought-”
“Well, technically… we are. We’re not dead. We’re not undead… Didn’t feel the need to tell him what we are, either. Safety,” Isaac said as he took out his phone. “Gotta call Peter and give him an update.”
“Yes, and after that, I’m using your phone to call my dad. Maybe he can do something for the sheriff here,” she replied with a nod. She still had to buy a new phone, but even that had proven to be impossible in Mystic Falls that morning.
“You sure you want to do that?” Isaac looked over to her, a curious look on his face. “Your dad might tell someone where you are and they might tell it to someone else and then the Cullens will know that we’re here, and I doubt that they’ve already stopped obsessing over you.”
“Well, tough. They can’t turn me. I’m a werewolf!” She sighed then. “But you’re right. Wouldn’t want their big greedy paws in our business. I doubt they will, but I don’t even want to risk it for them turning up here. I’ve had enough of Edfart.”
“Are you sure?” Isaac asked playfully, earning him a well earned stomp on his arm. “Hey, just checking, it’s only been less than two weeks, you know. The feeling of wanting to be around him could still weasel its way inside your mind or maybe it’s hiding somewhere, waiting to give you all the feels.”
“Not going to happen,” Bella shook her head. “I’m not that easy,” she then blinked, realizing what she had said. “Not anymore.”
He laughed then. “So you were easy before?”
Bella blushed, she had only made it worse for herself, hadn’t she? “Bite me, Lahey. What’s for lunch?”
When they got back at the truck, Isaac dialled Peter’s number and put him on the speaker so he could make them a quick lunch before their meeting with the town’s mayor.
“Hit me,” Peter’s voice sounded through the speaker, causing Isaac to smile a little. “And don’t even think about giving me the wrong information because ya know I’ll find out.”
“Mystic Falls is a ghost town. Population of about 500. Most of the town’s center is destroyed, buildings are abandoned. There’s one supermarket, but I doubt you can even call it that. There’s not much other than police and city hall. The sheriff told us that the citizens pay for the reconstruction of the town out of their own pocket because they’re not getting the support from insurances and other towns around them anymore,” Isaac said as he handed Bella a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, causing her to raise an eyebrow. “What? It’s barely a supermarket, you saw it with your own eyes!”
“What about the buildings we’re interested in, Isaac?”
“Still broken and abandoned, the both of them. I think that if we’d tear it down and build something else there that the city center would look a lot better already.”
“I have ideas,” Bella piped up.
“Good. How’s the hotel?”
“Truck’s better,” the two werewolves said in unison. “Much better!”
“Okay well. I’ll send over an architect to start working with ya after telling him my own ideas and specific instructions,” Peter replied, his voice even. “Offer the mayor 10 million for the land of both plots, tell her of the idea of building a beautiful bed and breakfast type of building there that will also serve as a restaurant and maybe even a bowling alley if theirs is out of commision. Tell her that your boss has shown an interest in Mystic Falls and wants to help rebuild, and that once she agrees to us buying the land, she’ll receive a generous donation for the town.”
“It won’t work that way,” Bella rolled her eyes as she took a bite out of her sandwich. “If you’re unsure you’re going to get the land anyway, go in with the big numbers first, then ask for a favor. What’s the generous donation? I’ll handle this.”
“Very well. Would ya reckon that 50 million is generous enough?”
Bella’s jaw nearly hit the floor as she looked at Isaac.
“Yeah, he’s serious. Money works always,” Isaac nodded as he started to eat his own sandwich. “And I think that 50 million is very generous. They’ll be able to rebuild and thensome. Make it a real small town again.”
“Good. And still 10 million for the land.”
“I’ll handle it, I promise,” Bella smiled. “For some reason, I think it’s best if it’s a woman to woman thing, I have no doubt that the mayor will take shit from anyone if she’s so stubborn not to leave this town. But geez, that’s a lot of money.”
“We need that land. We’re desperate. Doing this the right way instead of taking over the town by replacing the mayor. Because of that oaf you’re with. He was against a hostile takeover.” Some clanging could be heard in the back of the phone call. “Call me after your meeting with the mayor… I have things to take care of.” The call got disconnected then.
Bella was still looking at Isaac with an incredulous look on her face. “I am no stranger to Cold Ones having money, it’s like they’re hoarding it like the dragon from The Hobbit, but to throw it away like this?”
“It’s not throwing away when it gets us what we need. Peter really has his sights set on that specific plot of land, there’s no other area in America that has the same qualities or structure underneath. Believe me, 50 million is still only just a drop in the bucket for him. He’ll likely invest another 50 in some oil company or whatever’s doing good on the stock market and make it back, double,” Isaac replied as he used the coffee machine to make them coffee. “It’s not like he’s using his money for evil.”
“No… I suppose that’s true…” Bella sighed, finishing her sandwich. “But still, you’re going to allow me to do all the talking?” She asked, hopeful. She wanted to show him, and Peter, that she was going to be a part of this as much as they were and that she could chip in. That she could do whatever was needed. She needed to show Isaac that she wasn’t going anywhere. It was okay to trust. It was okay, for her, to trust Isaac. She couldn’t allow herself to stop trusting people after what Edward had done to her.
He shrugged. “Peter didn’t object, so… yeah, why not?” He was going to give it six months to a year, tops. Then she’d leave. She’d be gone and he’d be left on his own. Again. But still, he couldn’t help but feel that a small crack had appeared in the walls that he’d put up and the strange feeling of hope came through it. Was it okay to let her in? Allow himself to get used to the idea of having her around like this? He wasn’t going anywhere, but she could go anywhere she wanted to go, and within a year, she was going to explore the rest of the world.
She gratefully took her coffee from Isaac as she looked at his face. His brows were furrowed as if he was thinking hard about something, the slight hunch was back in his shoulders. “What are you thinking?”
“What are your thoughts? You look so deep in thoughts that I believed you might hurt yourself.”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” he flashed a faint smile before taking a sip of his coffee, hiding his fake smile from her.
“I call bullshit, but that’s okay, I’ll find out soon enough,” she shrugged, a knowing smile dancing on her lips. “Because I can call Bullshit, too. And there’s no doubt he’d want to spill the beans on you seeing as he already knew I’d be sticking around and that you needed a friend and all.”
“- need anyone, yeah yeah. You’re fine on your own, blah blah… Stop being so emo.”