They found the mayor tending to a child with scratches on their knee near the gazebo after her assistant told them that she’d gone out for the day. Catching a good whiff of the mayor’s scent, Bella and Isaac didn’t have a hard time finding her. And the mayor didn’t look like a mayor at all. She was dressed in scrubs. Was she a doctor?
“Mayor Fell?” Bella asked cautiously, not wanting to disturb the mayor and the child, but she finished up on the scratches, said goodbye to the child and got to her feet, looking at the two people in front of her. “Hi,” she smiled at the mayor. “My name is Bella Swan, and this is Isaac Argent,” she said as she shook the mayor’s hand.
“Meredith Fell,” the mayor replied, still looking a bit cautious. “And I’m out of the Mayor’s office so you might as well call me Meredith. What can I help you two with?”
“Yeah…” Bella said thoughtfully. “I was under the impression we had an appointment half an hour ago?” She scratched her head as she looked at Isaac. “Didn’t our boss tell us we had an appointment?”
“Not in those exact words,” Isaac pointed out. “He told us to go and see the mayor.”
“Okay, forgive me,” Bella replied, looking at the mayor. “Our boss should have made an appointment with you, but he’s smitten with this town, his mind is likely elsewhere.”
Meredith blinked at that, she couldn’t imagine someone being smitten with Mystic Falls the way that it looked now. “Excuse me?”
“Sure, Mystic Falls looks like it’s gone to war, came back, went to hell and back to war, but you can’t deny that a small town like this still has its charms,” Bella smiled as she waved her hand around them. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this place looked like in its glory days.”
“It was wonderful, we were bustling,” Meredith replied as she put her hands inside her pocket. “We had parades, bake sales, charity runs, the works. These days it’s hoping that nothing will crumble and that we can fix what we can.”
“Yes, the sheriff told us that there’s practically no money coming in,” Bella replied thoughtfully. “But still, our boss really loves this town, and he’d like to make a generous donation to you so you can hire the people necessary to start rebuilding. Properly. Get life back into Mystic Falls and stimulate the economy and all. Make Mystic Falls the way it used to be.”
Meredith huffed then. “No thanks,” she replied, shaking her head. “Yes, we had a lovely town. It’s still lovely. But we’ve had so much shit in the last two decades that if we’d revert back to what it was that it’ll likely come back again. No, it’s best to let this town become a real ghost town and eventually forgotten.”
“Are you serious? Places like these should be protected! I come from a small town up in Washington, and I don’t know what I would do if it was in a state like this one. I’d welcome a generous donation to help rebuild.”
“Look,” Meredith said as she took a step closer to Bella, anger written all over her face. “I don’t know who you are, or what your exact motives are, but this town stays the way that it is. This way? We don’t get vampires or werewolves or witches fucking shit up, and I quite like it this way. It’s a sense of peace in an otherwise chaotic environment. Safety. So back off. I said no.”
“And here the sheriff said you didn’t know about supernaturals,” Isaac quipped, taking a step closer to Bella in case the woman would attack her. “I thought the community policed themselves?”
“They do. They’re in a small enough number to do so,” Meredith reluctantly replied, realizing what she had said and that these two people weren’t going anywhere. “But all this crap in this town is because of that same community. I don’t want to have my citizens live in fear anymore, waiting for the next ‘gas leak’ or explosion. Or animal attack. I don’t know how, or why, you know about the supernaturals, but you’re in way over your head. Tell your boss to find another small town he can rebuild and reform. We’ve had enough.”
“What if the donation comes with a guarantee that the citizens of Mystic Falls will be safe and not exposed to any of that?” Isaac suggested a smile on his face. “Bella and I will remain here and make sure of that ourselves. Personally. I’ve seen pictures of Mystic Falls before all the destruction, and it could be that beautiful here again. Peaceful with your bake sales and parades. Smiles. Laughter. Music. Good food. Mystic Falls needs to be preserved, saved. Not just for its historical value, but also because of the community. Allow it to fall apart like you suggest, and have it be forgotten, will only open it up for more difficulties for the surrounding area. You know this. Mystic Falls is a supernatural hotspot, and it needs to be protected. And not have a ghost town sitting on top of it.”
“And what about the hunters? They shoot first and ask questions later.”
“If the town gets rebuild in a normal pace, slowly, then it won’t draw the attention of the hunters much. They know what Mystic Falls have gone through and they also know that most of the supernatural community fled or died. But we will protect you. We work for someone who has the means to protect this entire town.”
She seemed to think about it for a second and sighed, giving in, agreeing with everything Isaac had said. “And what would you want in return for your generous donation?”
“We’d like your approval to buy the strip of land that currently houses the remains of your Mystic Grill and the building next to it, with the promise we’ll replace it with something fitting to the town, both inside and on the outside. Of course, we’ll pay good money for that too.”
“And you’re really going to keep this town safe? Keep the humans safe? And deal with the hunters?” Meredith asked again, hopeful all of a sudden or maybe resigning anyway because she wasn’t cut out to be the mayor of a small town. She was obviously a doctor on her way to work, and they sprung this thing on her. “How?”
“Leave that to us, for now, but my boss gives his word that everyone who lives in Mystic Falls will be safe. He loves small towns, and he wants to make sure that they all stay afloat and conserve history. He’s not interested in the magic that lies here, he wants Bella and I to run a Bed and Breakfast that also doubles as a restaurant, and I have all the qualifications to run something like that. If you want, I could send you over my qualifications, of course.”
“Well, any good small town has a diner or something at the center of their community…” Meredith let out a breath and nodded. “Very well. You have yourselves a deal.” When Isaac handed Meredith the cheque for 60 million dollars, the woman paled. “This is far too much.”
“No, this is how serious our boss is,” Bella replied kindly. Feeling a little out of depth because she had fucked up a little with the mayor. “Mystic Falls is worth this kind of money. Your infrastructure needs the injection, and you need to hire people to come and fix things up. And when you need more, just ask.”
The mayor let out another breath as she looked at the cheque again, blinking. “Stop by tomorrow at 9 am so you can sign the papers for that plot of land. My only request is that something comes into place that won’t hurt the town’s atmosphere, nothing big city like.”
“We only have the best interest at heart for Mystic Falls, mayor Fell.”
“God, I can’t believe I’m that easy to convince… what are you? You’re not hunters, are you? Vampires? Witches?”
“No,” Isaac let out a snort. “We’re merely workers for a man with a lot of money. You don’t need to worry about us.”
“Good,” she looked at the cheque again. “This is still too much. But I’ll see you tomorrow at 9 am sharp. I have a surgery at 10 so…”
“We’ll be there,” Bella said as she looped her arm through Isaac’s. “Have a great day, mayor Fell, we’ll see you tomorrow.” She then started to pull Isaac away, it was time for some more strolling through Mystic Falls. As soon as they were out of earshot of the woman, Bella let out a slight giggle. “I can’t believe we’re actually doing some good here. I mean, not just for us but for them as well.”
“It’s a means to an end,” Isaac shrugged. “I mean, yeah, we can keep an eye out for the safety of Mystic Falls and stuff, but our cause will be the most important thing.”
“And we’re helping people, on both sides of the spectrum, which is a good thing.”
“We nearly wouldn’t be helping people,” he reminded her with a playful smile on his face. “But a job well done. What do you want to do for the rest of the day? Go into the woods and practise some more?”
“Eh, not yet,” Isaac replied, running a hand through his hair. “We don’t need their help at this point, we’ll wait for Peter to say that we have to go. And maybe we should talk a bit more about that school with the sheriff, he seems to know who’s running it. Things take time, patience. All we can do is wait. Maybe scout out some suppliers in the area for our future B&B. There’s no doubt that Peter will arrange everything concerning the building. The people, the supplies, the other shit that’s required. Cold Ones are good at building.”
“But at least he allows his architect to talk to us so we can get our say in.”
“Well yeah, because we’re human. We need beds. Food. Comfort. And I think you’re just going to love ordering things for when the B&B is ready for us.”
Bella huffed as she let go of him and crossed her arms over her chest as she stomped after him. “What makes you think that I like interior decorating? Is it because I’m a girl?”
“N-No,” Isaac stammered, blinking as he squeezed his hands into fists and immediately released them, a slight unsure bounce in his step before he fully stopped. “I thought you said you liked… I don’t know. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s a joke, Isaac,” she started to laugh then. “Yes, let’s drive out to the city and find suppliers and their magazines, I love browsing through those things and see what we can make of things. But we’re avoiding IKEA! It needs to be warm and cozy on the inside, a real Southern feel, you know. Maybe even find people local to make things on commission!” She then paused for a moment before realizing something. “Peter is going to pay for the inside of the building too, isn’t he? Of course, he is, he spent 60 million on a plot of land and buying the mayor’s favoritism! Let’s go and drive around some and get inspired!”
They found a woodworking company in Richmond more than willing to help them with getting them furniture and whatnot as soon as the plans were ready for said building. Bella loved the way they worked with wood, it was a mixture of romantic olden days with a dash of modernism, and they were confident that they could deliver everything on time. All Bella needed to do was to look into their catalogue and order the amount of the objects. She was pleased about that.
The same went for the carpentry and drapes. They had found some excellent candidates online and checked them out. Isaac didn’t have to go and visit some restaurant equipment store, he had found the perfect website that had everything he wanted, or needed, and then some. But, as enthusiastic the both of them were, they had to wait until the plans were ready for the B&B and the supernatural safe house. Only then they’d know how much space they’d have and stuff like that.
They had dinner at a small restaurant which had been advertised as the home of Southern Cooking. That the place had a soul and the food was terrific. And it was. It didn’t disappoint, and their hostess and the cook were so welcoming and warm. The way that the restaurant was decorated was perhaps a little too much in Bella’s taste, but the food was good indeed, and she could tell that Isaac was just itching to talk to the chef about food-related things. Likely about where they were getting their supplies from.
Food got Isaac really excited, so when the hostess suggested he’d take a look in the kitchen and fire some questions at the chef, he didn’t hesitate and went, only to return an hour later with a big smile on his face and a long list of suppliers and other stuff, god knows what.
“Totally,” Isaac grinned. “The way that they run their kitchen? It’s the way I want to run mine. They all work so well together, and everything’s done in harmony. No pressure. In my experience, it’s rare to find something like that, but that’s what I want. And you know what? They don’t use measuring jugs or stuff like that. They all eyeball it, and that’s…”
“Daring. Insane. But, nevertheless, the results are so good,” he said as he folded the sheet of paper and put it in his pocket. “Maybe I should try it, see if it works for me, too.”
“Really? I thought you were so meticulous in your food! Precise measurements!” Bella said mockingly after leaving the restaurant and heading back to the truck. Oh, this was great! Was Isaac going to let go? Hell yeah! “Even your teachers didn’t like you doing that! You’re really going to let go and see where it takes you? Oh my God, I so need to see this! And taste the good food!”
“Are you mocking me?”
“Nope,” she smiled at him. “I think it’s adorable how excited you are and I think you should definitely try it. And not stop when you fuck up because I said it before, your food is great. It’s perfect. But I think it would taste better if you had fun with it and cook from your heart and not from that brain of yours and I think that that chef inspired you. That’s amazing.” Bella then put her arms around him and hugged him. “Baby steps. You’ll find your happiness.”
Isaac huffed as he looked at her, she was looking up at him, and he swallowed, hard. She looked so damn fuckable. “I’m not unhappy.” No. He wasn’t going to pursue this feeling. She was going to leave anyway, and he’d be left on his own again.
“Nobody likes being miserable,” Bella pointed out, ignoring what he had said. She let go of him and took his hand instead as they continued to walk towards the truck. “It’s your self-defense mechanism while you don’t even need one because you’re a fucking werewolf and can snap people in half if he wants to.”
“You’re not listening.”
“Nope. We’re both two very miserable people for different reasons. I mean, I can see it, why can’t you? Do you think I don’t hold a lot of anger towards Edfart and his family for what they did? I shouldn’t even be because I was warned and went ahead anyway, so it was my own fault. But it happened, and that’s in the past… recent past, but who the fuck cares? What matters is the future, and I think it’s going to be sunny and bright.” She then took a deep breath. “Okay, that sounded like a Hallmark greeting, but trust me, everything’s going to be alright. And I will hurt Edward the moment he comes close to me again.”
“Seems to me you’ve got a whole lot of rage inside of you.”
She huffed. “Look who’s talking. What you need is a good lay.”
“What!” Isaac exclaimed as the color red crept up on his cheeks. “Me? What about you! It’s not like you were getting any from your marble and manipulative boyfriend!”
She started to squeeze his hand so tightly that some small bones in his hand broke. “Not for a fucking lack of trying and it wasn’t as if I could sneak off, you know! And that was totally not fair!” Bella tightened her grip on Isaac’s hand even more. “He fucking changed me into someone I wasn’t, and I didn’t even have control over it. So don’t use that shit on me! My sex life is mine!”
“Yeah, alright,” Isaac let out a breath before trying to get Bella to release him. “But so is mine and you started it. Now let go of my hand, you’re actually hurting me now.” Oh, he would have thrown anyone away from him who’d hurt him physically, but he didn’t want to do that with Bella. This was still adjustment issues, and Alpha’s did have an extra layer of temper to begin with. Oh, and of course she was a Hale. Jesus fuck, had Derek hurt him during fight training.
“Promise me you won’t mention my sex life again!”
“Yes, yes, I promise,” Isaac said quickly. “For fuck’s sake, we’ll find you a gigolo or something!” It was out before he knew it and he was flying through the air before hitting a wall before he knew it, too. “Are you done?!” He scrambled to his feet, shaking the pain out of his body as he stared at her for a moment, feeling the bones slowly starting to heal. This was a disaster.
“Yes!” Bella yelled at him, stomping back into the general direction of the truck. “I’m fucking driving!”
“The hell you are!” He was surprised by how aroused he was during this encounter. It was bad, very bad. Pain wasn’t pleasure, but fuck, Bella was so arousing. So exciting. So… sexy. No. No. He wasn’t going to allow his dick make his head follow down that route again. Bella was going to leave eventually and would leave him by himself. No. He wasn’t going to give in.
Adjusting his pants a bit, he took a few deep breaths to calm himself down and followed her to the truck. There was no way that he was going to allow her to drive right now. He prefered his vehicle in one piece. The seething Alpha could be in the back if she wanted to be.