Chapter 21

“So… what did you want to talk to me about?” He asked hesitantly as he sat down on the couch. Bella immediately sat down with him and crawled against him, making sure he put his arms around her, just the way they normally sat to watch Netflix.

“As I said, nothing bad,” she sighed happily, closing her eyes for a moment as she tried to get rid of the remaining stress and worry that she had over him. “But something very important according to a lot of people, including my brother who’s a former Alpha.”

“Oh boy,” Isaac let out a breath.

“There’s nothing wrong, Isaac. In fact… things couldn’t be better or get more better, I think. I hope,” she said thoughtfully. “I really hope, but it’s fine if it’s not going anywhere.”

He buried his nose in her hair and took a deep breath. “Use your words, Bella, I’m not a mindreader.”

“I like you. Like… I really like you,” she said softly. “Like… more than I probably should or maybe not, but I pretty much want to do all the things you do when you’re with someone. I mean, I love sitting in your arms while we watch TV or talk, but I want more.”

“Ah.”

“I understand you don’t feel that way… it’s stupid, really, but I need to know where I stand. Because I’m your Alpha now, and they’ve been telling me that I need to deal with my feelings for you, otherwise I might drive myself crazy…”

“No, I understand,” Isaac replied, a little bit hesitant. This was the last thing he needed to stop worrying over. To open up about more. “To be honest, I… I’ve had those feelings for you for a while now but… I was always afraid that you were going to leave me.”

She looked up at him and blinked. “Seriously, the same reason you’re giving me for asking me to become your Alpha?”

“Well, I suppose this is more intimate, don’t you think? Opening my mind, my life to you is completely different than opening my heart,” he replied, a small smile on his lips as he looked at her. “I wasn’t ready, but I think I am now.”

“Are you absolutely sure? I mean… I don’t want to push you into anything you don-” she couldn’t even finish her sentence as Isaac kissed her, hard. She turned around a little so she wasn’t uncomfortable and answered his kiss. It felt so good to kiss him, to feel his entire being through that kiss, and their minds somehow connected. She could feel him. The wolf bond between them heightened, she could feel it. And it was… so special.

Now she understood why Derek said that not talking about this with Isaac would eventually drive her crazy. But now they had confessed to their true feelings, Bella felt complete. She no longer had the feeling that she was missing something.

After one kiss.

This was ridiculous.

But it felt oh so good to feel this way. Complete. Home.

Eventually they had to break off their kiss for air and both Isaac and Bella were blushing furiously. “Well… that was something,” she said breathlessly.

“Yeah,” he let out a chuckle as he pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. “Kinda silly of us to have waited to have this conversation, come to think of it.”

“No more holding back?”

“Yeah, let’s… try that.”

~o.O.o~

Peter bought everyone who was going to New Orleans a plane ticket out of Richmond while he and Jasper went on foot; they were going to intercept Rosalie and Emmett somewhere on the way. While Isaac slept on the plane; it was a nearly 7 hour flight, Bella couldn’t help but think about the things that could go wrong.

Starting with Klaus. While he was Myriam’s beau, and she liked Myriam, she wasn’t sure why the vampire wanted to help them out. It wasn’t his fight. His precious vampires could get hurt or die when fighting Cold Ones – it wasn’t as if regular vampires were durable. Then again, it was easier for their kind to make more.

Maybe Bella didn’t know Klaus well enough; after all, the first time she had met him was during Isaac’s presentation at magic school and he’d been a jerk. A horny jerk who skedaddled with her friend to have sex somewhere. Myriam seemed to be happy to go home, too. It felt wrong for her to keep Myriam from her lover and once all of this over, Bella was going to study hard to make sure Myriam could go back to Klaus; despite the fact that Myriam had told Bella that she and Klaus often took breaks from each other and that it was alright; it had been Myriam’s choice, after all, to come and work for Bella and Isaac.

How could she be certain that she could trust Klaus’ allies? Because Peter said so? Because of Myriam? Was it one of those things she couldn’t control and had to trust that it was going to be alright?

Then there was New Orleans. It had always been a city on her bucket list. She’d always wanted to visit New Orleans because of its rich history and architecture. Taste the atmosphere and hope it would be as good as travel brochures described it. Such as the food, it was advertised as the best. No doubt Isaac would love to taste the local cuisine, too. She wanted to walk through the French Quarter with a plastic cup filled with alcohol, it was actually legal to get drunk in public. Although that had been one of the things she’d wanted to do when she still was a human. Or at least believed to be one. Normal alcohol didn’t do anything for her anymore.

She then hoped that Peter and Jasper would take some of their special stuff with them. With Isaac almost all healed up, she really wanted to get wasted with him.

She didn’t want New Orleans to end up in rubble because of the fight with the Cold Ones. If it were just the Cullens coming for her, she was sure that destruction would remain to a minimum. Not if they had the Volturi guard coming as well.

Half way through the trip Myriam made her way to Bella and sat down on her lap with a big grin on her face. “Don’t even think of pushing me off,” she said as she put her arms around Bella’s neck and sighed happily. “Do you have any idea how happy it makes me to go back to New Orleans with my friends and get to show them around? I swear, you and Isaac will stuff your faces with Po-Boys, Beignets, and all the other good food that’s around. I’ll show you places that not a lot of people know about and we’re going to paint the town red. Red.”

“I doubt we’ll get to see much of the city,” Bella let out a snort.

“Pah! We don’t know when they’ll come, do we? For all we know you’ll be in New Orleans for months! We’re definitely not going to stay at the Compound and hide away, Bella. I mean, the place is gorgeous, but with the whole family in that building, the large home can become really small and in some cases, violent.” Myriam then thought for a moment and smiled widely. “Hell, I might talk Klaus into getting us a place for ourselves. On the other hand, you and Isaac need to socialize more and know that you can trust other people. Like Klaus. And his brother Kol.. oh, I think Isaac is going to just love Kol. Rebekah is alright too and Elijah… well… he’s a dick, but I think you’ll get along with him as long as you don’t look further than the surface that he’s showing. Hope’s still in school and Freya is likely staying at her girlfriend’s because a whole family of vampires can be frustrating.”

Bella let out a snort. “Who are you and what have you done to my Myriam? You’re like a hurricane!”

“Because I’m going home. With you.”

“Yeah, but for a very serious reason! I mean, why does Klaus even want to help? This is not his fight, and he hardly knows me!”

Myriam thought for a moment and nodded. “Yeah, well, he knows a lot about you because you’re my friend and you’re amazing and I just can’t stop talking about you, and Isaac, when he and I are on the phone. Because you’re a good boss, and we always have fun. On top of that, there’s peace with the witches of New Orleans and the werewolves are behaving as well. He’s bored. And hates the Cold Ones, but there’s never been a good reason to beat the shit out of them and burn them.”

Bella stared blankly at her friend. “That simple?”

“Yep. And he actually likes the mission you and Isaac are on. Klaus finds it hilarious that it was started by a Cold One, at least your side of things, but he likes how organized everything is. And that it’s about time that someone would help supernaturals who are in trouble and those who can’t protect themselves,” Myriam shifted a little and smiled then. “Okay, so you’re doing it because of the hunters, but… back in the day I toyed with the idea to have a safe house for humans who’d been hurt or taken advantage of by supernaturals. Vampires in particular, because eight out of ten times human problems with the supernatural are vampire related.”

“Then why didn’t you?”

“Klaus and his family were mainly on the run and I didn’t feel like settling on my own. Instead I was his contact with the rest of the world.”

“Well, maybe you could start now. Do your own thing,” Bella replied simply and when she saw the look on Myriam’s face, she rolled her eyes. “It’s that simple. If you want to do something, do it. It’s not like you don’t have the funds for it.”

The vampire thought for a moment and then planted a big, sloppy kiss on Bella’s cheek. “When you feel confident enough you can run the B&B on your own, I will, how’s that?”

“Maybe Peter can help you?” Bella smirked, knowing full well that Myriam loved this whole saving business, but that she wanted to be part of something and not run something on her own. “I mean… why not?”

“Are you trying to get rid of me, Bella Swan?” Myriam asked playfully.

“No! Not at all!”

“Good, because then we can simply expand the business in Mystic Falls. Hell, make the entirety of Mystic Falls a safe haven for humans who got hurt by supes… I bet that Matt will definitely like that idea, and the Mayor too.”

Now that was a great idea! “We’ll definitely need Peter’s help with that. I mean… building a B&B and a new entertainment hall for the city is one thing. And we help supernaturals who are being hunted in secret… but to repopulate the city with survivors? That’s not something you can hide and counts for taking over Mayoral duties from a reluctant mayor…”

“I think it’s a great idea and definitely something we need to discuss further when Isaac’s back to his senses, my lover placated with the finest bourbon and Peter not sparkling,” Myriam snorted. “Speaking of which, Freya’s willing to temporarily dull the sparkle of the boys. If they behave, she might find goodness in her heart to make it permanent.”

“Oh, they’d love that.”

Myriam looked at the still sleeping Isaac and then back to Bella. “You two had the talk, huh?”

“Yep,” Bella let out a slight giggle. The conversation she had had with Isaac that morning still made her feel giddy, because it was easier than she had believed it to be.

“Maybe we should treat you to a hotel room close to the compound for a night or two so you two can celebrate,” Myriam winked at her.

“Myr!” Bella reacted shocked.

The vampire laughed then. “Oh, don’t play coy with me, cherie. The both of you could use a good fuck!”

“I don’t disagree with that, but Isaac’s still healing!” Bella hissed. “Don’t go projecting things in my head.”

“I’m fine,” Isaac muttered sleepily, opening his eyes for a moment and blinked when he saw Myriam sit on Bella’s lap. “That must be so uncomfortable for the both of you…”

“Nah, I’m good,” Myriam smirked. “I have big plans for you two, Lahey, once you set foot in New Orleans and after you meet the rest of the family.”

Isaac groaned as he closed his eyes again and let out a deep breath. “At least we’ll have good food in New Orleans.”

~o.O.o~

A car was waiting for them at the airport and as they were making the half an hour drive to the French Quarter, Bella couldn’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, her romanticized ideas about New Orleans were just that. The interstate looked just like the one going through Forks. Boring. Shops. Cars. So many gas stations. A Waffle House.

Of course, a damn Waffle House, which reminded her of one of those stories she’d read about the protagonist being on some kind of menu there or something like that. Bella had always wanted to visit one because of it, it had been a good story, one she had thoroughly enjoyed.

For the most part, that half an hour drive was boring and nothing special. It was only when they passed one of those cemeteries above ground that her heart started to pump faster. They truly were in New Orleans!

Myriam told her about the area they were driving through; first Tremé, South 7th Ward and then Marigny, before getting closer and closer to the French Quarter. Myriam told her that their driver was taking a different route specifically to show them around, just a little.

It was slightly disheartening to see that so much of New Orleans was still in disarray after all those years, some places only boarded up or no home in the plot. Bella was in awe of the Marigny Opera House. It looked like a church but it was so beautiful and broken, but so beautiful nonetheless.

It was as if New Orleans suddenly turned into this magical place; the houses, the colours, the advertisement on the little shops and bars, happy faces everywhere, just as Bella had imagined the French Quarter to be and she couldn’t wait to get out of the car and sniff the atmosphere.

She was highly disappointed when she did just that after the driver parked in front of a huge building. She smelled alcohol, vomit, weed, cigarette smoke, blood, food and all the food waste, layers of perfume and makeup and it was disgusting. “Oh, I should not have done that…”

“Disgusting, isn’t it?” Isaac let out a snort. “Try not to use your werewolf senses.”

“You’ve been here before? Of course you’ve been here before!”

“Yep, food festival and my food was inferior to that of the others!” He laughed as he put an arm around her. “Just keep breathing, it’ll get out of your nose soon enough.”

“Well, I for one, never believed I would ever set foot in this place,” Jeremy said as he looked up at the building. “And it’s even a question if Klaus lets me in.”

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about the big puppy,” Myriam said as she gently pat the hunter’s back. “He’s fine with you at the school and in charge of his daughter. Kol’s the one you have to worry about.” She then let out a squeal and rushed into the building’s courtyard, tackling her beloved. “We’re home!”

“I can see that, love,” Klaus smiled at her after she was done kissing his face off. “Welcome home.” He then looked at Bella, Isaac and Jeremy who were looking around in wonder. “And you lot, welcome to New Orleans! Come join us in the dining room where we’ll share a meal and introduce you to my siblings.”

Isaac wondered if the Mikaelsons were just as rich as Peter. Maybe all vampires had amassed a wealth over the centuries they lived. The Mikaelsons were older than Peter, after all. And they flaunted it. Just like Peter. But their home in New Orleans was beautiful. Authentic. Old.

They were introduced to Elijah, the oldest brother and the one who loved history and his politics. Then Freya, the oldest sister, older than Elijah, but she was a witch and she used to be immortal. Isaac had heard whispers about her, never knowing that she was a Mikaelson, only knowing that nobody had ever found her. Then there was Kol, who seemed to be the age of him and Bella, and a lot of fun. And Rebekah. She was the youngest and not looking thrilled to be at the table with a bunch of strangers.

Until Bella told her story as the food was served by a handful of servants and why they were in New Orleans.

“Cold One trouble?” Rebekah blinked. “Now why am I not surprised? Those wankers can’t seem to leave well enough alone!”

“It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper fight,” Kol replied, rubbing his hands together in glee. “I’m in! When are they coming?”

“According to one of the good Cold Ones, soon,” Bella replied, surprised by the agreements of helping her. “Myriam suggested to come to New Orleans so that we can keep Mystic Falls out of this.”

“It’s a wise decision, Mystic Falls has been through enough,” Elijah agreed as he took a sip of his drink. “I am certain some of our allies would love to take part in this fight as well.”

“Wow, Elijah!” Myriam feigned to be shocked as she put her hand in front of her mouth for dramatic effect. “You’re actually agreeing to helping Bella?”

“As Kol said, it’s been a while since we’ve had a proper work out. Besides, it’s the Cullens and likely a part of the Volturi. We’ve been looking for a valid reason to go after them for years.”

“Both Elijah and Niklaus lost one of their… treasures to them, many years ago. They nearly took Myriam too, but that was Myriam merely getting into trouble so that Nik would come and save her.”

“As it turned out, she didn’t need saving,” Klaus said amused.

“I was bored,” Myriam shrugged.

“Wait, why didn’t you tell me that you’ve encountered the Cold Ones before? The Cullens in particular?” Bella was surprised, why didn’t her friend tell her this?

Myriam shrugged. “Because it’s not important. It’s in the past. Ancient history. Your problem, however, is not. And it’s not just you. They’d endanger your business too. They could grab Isaac to get to you and hurt him, or worse.”

“Yes, now, let’s enjoy our dinner and afterwards, we’ll show you your living quarters for the duration of your stay,” Klaus smiled as he looked at his younger brother. “And you’re going to behave.”

“I don’t want him under our roof, Nik,” Kol spat. “He killed me once!”

“And I told you I was sorry! Jeez, Kol, get over it,” Jeremy rolled his eyes. “Besides, those days are far behind me.”

“You’re still a hunter. What if you get the urge?”

“I am a PE teacher at a school with witches and werewolves. And I’ve never had the urge to slice them up or something. Seriously, dude. I play videogames to relax and go on the occasional saving trip with Isaac!”

“Brilliant! I think that Kol, Isaac and Jeremy should have a boys day out tomorrow while Myriam, Freya, Bella and I will paint the town red!” Rebekah cheered.

Elijah couldn’t hide his smile behind his glass. “Look out, New Orleans, here comes trouble!”

~o.O.o~

That night, both Isaac and Bella couldn’t sleep, they were sleeping in the same room, on the same bed, but there was this kind of sexual tension between them that they didn’t dare to act upon in a house filled with vampires and neither of them dared to admit to it, either. Instead, they decided to go and have a quiet look around in the house, because it was huge and sort of alien.

They’d stay clear of the closed doors, of course, not knowing if there was a bedroom behind them, but the first room they encountered upstairs was the study that was filled with ancient books and artifacts. Ancient knives that Isaac couldn’t help but admire, and the books was something that Bella was very interested in. An easel was strategically placed at the window with paint nearby, and a half finished painting.

They made their way to one of the parlors and the paintings on the wall were quite beautiful. There was a grand piano standing in the middle of the room and just as Isaac wanted to walk over to Bella to look out the window, he tripped over something. “What the…” He managed not to fall flat on his face, but instead turned around and saw what looked like a body wrapped in a blanket. “Is that…?”

“A body? Yes,” Myriam’s voice sounded quite annoyed, but Isaac could tell that her annoyance wasn’t directed to her friends. “Sorry, I just had to follow you around to make sure you wouldn’t get into trouble,” she added before walking over to the body and kicked it before uncovering her face. “This is Aurora, one of Klaus’ ex girlfriends. He never had the heart to kill her so Freya put her under. After all these years, I’m still waiting for him to decide what to do with her. He does allow me to kick her every now and then when I feel like it, because man, Aurora was a piece of work! We’ve put her here in Elijah’s sitting room so that I wouldn’t get too annoyed by her presence.”

Both Bella and Isaac looked at the dessicated red headed vampire and then at Myriam. “That is… fucked up,” Bella replied. “Why won’t you just let her go or something?”

“Oh please,” Myriam huffed. “There’s no way in hell that we’re going to allow her to roam free again, she’ll only want to take her revenge on us for killing her brother and her boyfriend. She’s insane,” she added as she covered up Aurora’s face again. “Like clinically. Diagnosed. And a vampire with mental health issues? Well, everything is enhanced. She’s a special kind of crazy alright.”

“It’s still…”

“Oh, be happy that it wasn’t a fresh human body, you’re in a house filled with vampires, after all. Oh! But let’s show you the basement, where we keep our blood supply!”

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