“I did not expect you to be here,” the man said as he came closer. “I went to visit the Cullens, but the house is now filled with different people?”
Oh fuck. “They’re not far,” Bella replied hesitantly. “I could call Edward if you want, Laurent?”
“I’m surprised they left you behind. Unprotected. Aren’t you like… a sort of pet?”
“You could say that.”
“Do the Cullens return often?”
“Just because their home is now filled with different people doesn’t mean they’ve gone away, Laurent,” Bella said as she took a few steps back. “I’ll tell them you’ve stopped by, but uh… I probably shouldn’t tell Edward…” speaking his name nearly made her vomit again. “He’s very protective.”
“How far away are they?”
“L-like I said, not far,” she said. “Why are you here?”
Laurent sighed. “I came as a favor to… Victoria.”
Laurent nodded. “She asked me to see if the Cullens were still protecting you. She thinks it’s only fair that she gets to kill Edward’s mate, given as he has killed hers. An eye for an eye.”
The fuck! What do I do now? “E-Edward would know who did it and he’d come after you!” Bella threatened him.
Laurent shook his head. “I don’t think he will… you see, you don’t smell like him. Nor like the boy you’ve been hanging around with. You’re alone. All alone. He left you, didn’t he? You are unprotected and you’re free game. Did he dump you, I wonder? Were you too needy? Too clingy? He didn’t love you as much as you believed, did he?” Laurent sighed then. “Victoria won’t be happy with me killing you, but I can’t help myself.”
Death or having Forks as her prison? Death was better, wasn’t it? “Fine. Kill me. Why would I care?”
“You’re going to make it easy for me?” Laurent was close now, his fingers touching her cheek. “That’s alright. I promise, you won’t feel a thing. It will be quick. Victoria would only make your death last.”
Bella closed her eyes and braced for impact, but she hadn’t expected Laurent’s presence to be taken away from her and when she opened her eyes, he was at the other end of the field and Kol, Rebekah and Myriam were standing in front of her with their backs towards her.
“Draw straws?” Myriam asked. “Oh, wait, we already did! I get to kill him with Rebekah and you can get to explain everything to your new friend, good luck!” she laughed before she and Rebekah ran off, after Laurent, and Bella couldn’t believe the speed they were having.
There were a bunch of big wolves running out of the foliage to follow Myriam and Rebekah and Bella wasn’t even sure what was going on anymore. “What?”
“Oh, great, ponies,” Kol deadpanned before turning around to face Bella. “See, I knew you were in trouble, but Cold One trouble? I had hoped not. Who’s that bloke? Not the ex?”
She stumbled back as she kept her eyes on Kol. “What are you? What’s… No… I don’t even want to know. You should have let him kill me!”
“No. Come on, let me walk you home,” he said as he reached out for her arm but she withdrew her arm. “Bella…”
“Leave me alone!” She quickly grabbed her bag and started to walk off, but Kol was following her. “Leave me alone, don’t make me say it again!”
“Or what, darling?”
She grunted as she grabbed the pepper spray that Charlie had given her out of her bag. “You’ll be sorry!”
He blinked as he kept following her. “I think you may be holding that wrong.”
Bella let out a frustrated cry as she looked at it, discovered Kol was right and turned it around. “Stay away from me, Kol. I’ll only end up getting hurt more. It’s fine if you want to stay in Forks, but you’re staying away from me!”
Kol sighed and nodded. “Very well, but allow me to accompany you home. With that Cold One in the area and all that.”
“You should have let him kill me!” She huffed as she turned around to keep walking, still holding on to the pepper spray. “Then all of my problems would be gone.”
Kol let out a breath and shoved his hands in his pockets to pinch himself whenever he felt the need to make a meal out of Bella. Why had he drawn the shortest straw? Myriam was far more patient than he was! “For you, maybe. But for the rest of Forks? I doubt it. The Volturi will come for your father. Your friends. Perhaps for the entire town.”
She let out a snort. “And what? You and your family will take care of the problem? Is that it?”
“And what’s that going to cost me?” She stopped dead in her tracks and turned around again, holding up her pepper spray. “Another contract? Or maybe you’ll take me as your prisoner? No, thanks. Just leave me alone, I’ve had enough of the supernatural. My problem isn’t yours. Thank you for taking care of Laurent, but you shouldn’t have done that.”
He pinched himself and let out a breath. Patience wasn’t his thing. “No contract, and I’m up for a bit of tying up and such but we’ve just met darling,” Kol smiled at her. “We enjoy taking down sparkly things. We’re good at dealing with trouble. Just let us do what we do best and your worries will be all gone.”
“Again, what will it cost me?”
Bella huffed. “Yeah right. I got burned by supernatural beings before, I’m not going to chance it again.”
“I promise you, darling, I’m not going to hurt you. My family won’t hurt you.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“Just hear me out. You’ll be safe around Klaus. He’s a werewolf and your Alice Cullen won’t be able to see you. You can relax and hear us out. We’re not that different, you and I. We have our own fair share of problems and that’s the reason why we’re in Forks for a while.”
“How do you know that name?”
“I’m a vampire. My entire family are vampires. Nik is a hybrid, he’s a vampire and a werewolf. Elijah made it a point to look into the family that lived in that house prior to us and he’s very thorough with his research,” he said gently. “As it turns out, Elijah and Niklaus have encountered the Cullens before, and I knew Alice from the past. I didn’t expect her to become a bunny munching moron, but perhaps all the black magic that she did finally went to her head.”
She was surprised by the amount of information that Kol was giving her without her asking for it. It was as if he wasn’t worried about their secret coming out. “You’re not a vampire.”
“You don’t sparkle.”
“We’re a different kind of vampire. We were created by a witch over a thousand years ago. We drink human blood, not animals. We can live off of animals but it’s not… it’s gross and makes us weak. However, our bite doesn’t kill. We don’t have to kill if we don’t want to.”
“You feel human.”
“Because for intents and purposes, we are. We heal, and our blood heals others. During lunch today I put some of my blood in your coffee. How’s your foot?”
“I-it’s fine… I…”
“Good. Just don’t die today or you’ll turn into one of us. Not that I’d mind,” he winked at her. “Let’s get your truck and go to my place. We’ll explain more if you want.”
“But my dad…”
“He’s at the reservation, he’s good, I believe he’s going fishing tomorrow and he’s staying with the Tribal woman he’s been seeing,” he replied. “Come on, our cook is making some great food tonight.”
“You eat regular food?”
“Of course! Why shouldn’t we? Sure, we enjoy our blood, but we sure love good food! We used to throw big balls and gatherings back in the day. The more the merrier.” Kol was glad that the pepper spray had disappeared into her pocket, he wasn’t sure what would have happened if she’d actually used it on him. There was no doubt that he wouldn’t have been able to control himself. “I understand that you’re not big on trust, but we Mikaelsons are big on our word. I give you my word that we will not do anything to hurt you and I’ll take you home after to make sure you’re safe.”
“I’m not sure.”
Kol shrugged. “You’re a dead girl walking anyway, what’s there to lose? From my point of view, you only have things to gain. Like your life. Your freedom.”
Bella let out a breath and threw her hands up in defeat. “Fine.”
“Great, let’s get your truck!”
She felt sick to her stomach as they pulled up to the house. While she had already established that the outside looked different, with most of the windows gone, she still felt as if she could throw up.
Kol helped her out of the truck and smiled. “Don’t worry, Myriam did a thorough job remodeling. It’s nice and homey on the inside, just how we like it.”
“Yes, but this is a new home. I promise. Walls were knocked out, everything got a coat of paint… it looks more like a home than a sterile environment,” he explained. “I promise. While Myriam and Elijah love to have things neat, myself, Rebekah and Klaus don’t mind the mess much,” Kol said as he headed to the door. “Come on, it’s not that scary.”
“I’m going to enter a house where vampires live.”
Kol nodded. “But unlike the Cullens, we don’t have secrets and are upfront. Come, you’ll be fine.”
Bella took a deep breath and followed Kol into the house. The entrance was now an Entrance, there were wood furnishings and it looked very elegant, it was as if she had stepped into a completely new home as Kol had told her. The house warm in temperature too, and she hadn’t expected that.
“See? You’re going to be fine,” he told her as he directed her to the spacious living room. “Look who I brought!”
“Yay!” Myriam cheered as she set Laurent’s head on the mantelpiece. “Great choice.” Bella just blinked at Laurent’s head, causing Myriam to laugh. “I tend to keep some trophies, but if this one’s disturbing, I’ll put him in a box, gift wrap it and send it off to the Volturi.”
“That wouldn’t be the first time she’d sent a Cold One back in pieces,” someone replied as he walked towards Bella with an extended hand. “Klaus Mikaelson. Myriam, Rebekah and Kol told me all about you, Bella, it’s good to see you in person.”
Bella shook his hand and then withdrew it to put them back in her pockets. The living room was spacious but cozy. Again the wooden paneling and wooden floors, the couches looked comfortable and it was an entirely different atmosphere than she was used to experiencing in the house.
“Right, you’ll be fine without me for a few minutes, right?” Kol asked Bella. “I need to quickly do something but I won’t be long, I promise.”
Well fuck. She didn’t trust Kol, but he’d been honest and her lifeline and now he was going to do something? What? Did he have to? “Yeah, sure.”
Myriam took Bella’s hand and pulled her towards the couches. “Sit, relax. You had a nice long walk and some excitement. Do you want a stiff drink?”
“Mrs. Mikaelson I’m 17.”
“And?” Myriam smiled. “And please, Myriam,” she said as she poured some bourbon into a glass and handed it to Bella. “You deserved this one. He could have killed you.”
“And that would have been fine.”
Myriam looked at Klaus who had a worried look on his face, the same look that she was currently sporting as well. “Bella, there is no need for a death wish, it’s going to be alright.”
Klaus sat down opposite of Bella and looked at the girl. Had he seen her before? She was terrified. Bella looked as if she was going to bolt any second. “It’s alright to be afraid, Bella,” he eventually spoke. “When we discovered this house had belonged to a coven of Cold Ones we had hoped that they wouldn’t have done any damage to this quaint little town and yet, here you are. You’re not damaged, no, perhaps not. You’re hurt. You have trust issues. You’re angry.”
“They fucked me over with the stupid contract. There’s no way out.”
“Contract?” Myriam blinked as she sat down next to her. “Do you have it with you?”
Bella nodded. “I petitioned the Volturi to claim Forks to myself, exposed what the Cullens had done and they offered me freedom and money, as long as I wouldn’t tell anyone,” she said as she took the contract out of her bag. “I was worried that they might have tricked me after my day with Kol today so… I reread it again for the millionth time. If I hadn’t actually spilled on it with my water bottle, I wouldn’t have seen the addition,” she said as she handed it to Myriam. “I’m fucked. I’m safe from the Cullens and Volturi in Forks, but Laurent proved that I’m still fair game to others. I can’t go anywhere because it makes this contract void. I wanted to travel the world before starting college, but I can’t go anywhere.”
Myriam quickly thumbed through the contract before handing it to Klaus. “And it’s transferable on your family, your future children.”
“So yeah, stuck. And that’s why I wouldn’t mind Laurent killing me. At least it’d be over.”
“Not for your dad, or your friends. They’d come for them and likely raise hell here in Forks,” Myriam said, echoing Kol’s sentiments from before.
“We’ll worry about the contract later,” Klaus said as he took a sip of his drink. “But if there’s anything we’re good at, is revenge. We know how you’re feeling, Bella, we’ve been through it many times ourselves. We still have trust issues, our anger, but we’re very good at turning that into vengeance.” Yes, he knew this girl, and he and his family needed to tread carefully.
“If you have trust issues, then why allow me into your home?”
“There are numerous reasons, but the main one is that Myriam likes to help people hurt by the supernatural community, people like yourself, a victim of the Cold Ones. Or even humans who have been hurt by our kind, our family, even. And another reason is that we really dislike the Cold Ones.” And another reason was that she needed their help. This girl had no idea what she was capable of.
“I don’t know, I shouldn’t make my problem your problem.”
“Darling, you’re stupidly human,” Kol said as he jumped over the couch and sat down next to her. “What are you going to do about the Cold Ones? Pepper spray them to death? That won’t work, you know. They’d have broken you in half before you could even reach for it.”
“You have a supernatural problem, and we can make it go away,” Myriam smiled at her. “And keep you safe in the process.”
“But why would you want to do that? I’m just food.”
“Oh Bella,” Myriam sighed as she pulled the girl against her into a hug. “Those pesky Cullens have really done a number on you, haven’t they? Don’t worry, we’re going to make them pay.”
“I’m quite sure that Alice is freaking out about now. Or maybe she already freaked out when you started to hang out with the wolves,” Kol grinned.
“You don’t know?”
“I think you should talk to your friend.”
“He won’t talk to me because he told me to start living my own life, so you’d better tell me what you know.”
Klaus sighed as he looked at his brother, whom merely shrugged a shoulder in response. “I’m sure Kol informed you of what I am. Your friends on the reservation are shape shifters. This particular tribe utilizes the shape of the wolf. Others use other animals. I believe the one in Alaska is a bear. Isn’t it, Myriam?” For now, it was important that he acted like he didn’t know her, that he hadn’t encountered her before. If he would give just a tiny hint, things could go terribly wrong. It was a good thing that he was good at pretending.
“Yep, and they only get activated when there’s a surge of vampire activity. Mainly Cold Ones.”
Bella stared at the three vampires with a blank expression. “Well fuck me, I thought it were just campfire stories.” She then realized something. “Those big wolves were from the rez!”
“And it’s quite possible that your friend pushed you away because of it to keep you safe,” Kol said with an empathetic smile on his face. “Shifters have a hard time controlling their anger, they could shift without warning and attack.”
Sam’s wife’s face immediately came to her mind and her own paled. “I see. Still, it would have been nice to be able to make an informed decision about being friends with them. Why does everyone feel the need to keep me safe? Don’t I get to have a say in anything?!”
“Of course. You can tell us how you want us to take your revenge on the Cold Ones,” Klaus replied, an amused smile on his lips. “But frankly, I think that they want to keep you safe because you’re so deliciously human.”
“Or, likely in your friend’s case, he truly cares about you,” Myriam replied. “In the Cullen’s case, it was likely to get you to join them eventually.”
“I wanted to be a vampire,” Bella admitted softly. “Because I’ve always felt different. They made it look so effortless on the surface, but when you look deeper… it doesn’t seem like being a Cold One is a good life.”
“I like warm places. I mean, Forks has grown on me but I prefer the sunshine,” she replied. “And while I love being on my own, I think it’s a very lonely existence. On top of that, while I love to eat meat, I could never hunt an animal for its blood. It’s just…”
“Disgusting,” Klaus muttered.
“Cold Ones can feed on humans, but the problem is that the humans die and that can attract a lot of attention,” Myriam replied. “But in all honesty, it’s pathetic.”
“They are pathetic, all they are is a magical accident who think they are special,” Klaus said bitter before looking at Bella. “You humans have a name for that, don’t you? Snowflake?”
“Oh yes, darling, every monster has an origin story, theirs happens to be the result of some ancient witches becoming too greedy,” Kol smiled at her before looking back to see Elijah walk in. “And I think that’s my other brother coming in to tell us that dinner is served. Don’t believe a word he’s saying,” he whispered.
“You brought her here? Honestly, Niklaus-”
“It wasn’t me, Elijah! It was Myriam!”
“And Kol, and Rebekah,” Myriam nodded as she got to her feet and smirked at Elijah. “Which means you’re outnumbered. Again. So be nice to her, or I’ll put you in our box after I castrate you.”