Chapter 40

The next day Izzy went out on her own without telling anyone. She took pictures of the famous Strip and sent them to her parents, went to see a matinee show and by the time she got home it was getting dark. She stopped by a food truck to get some food and continued to walk back to the house.

She had put the address in the navigation in her phone and it was happily telling her where to go, so Izzy wouldn’t get lost. By the time she got back to the house, she heard yelling and things falling and being smashed and was that an earthquake? She ran into the house to warn Kol, Klaus and Myriam, but when she saw the devastation of the house she realized it wasn’t an earthquake.

“Oh boy,” she said as she looked at the fighting siblings from a safe distance. “What got your knickers in a knot?”

Myriam’s head snapped to Izzy and she ran towards her to check her over. “Where the hell have you been? Are you hurt? Are you in pain? Did someone kidnap you?”

“Yeah, Kol did, last week,” Izzy deadpanned and pushed Myriam away from her. “Relax, I’m fine. I went out to see the sights, went to see a show and I came back. Klaus told me to have fun.”

“You did what!” Myriam screeched as she turned around to advance on her lover. “Have you gone completely insane? Las Vegas is not a place for a young girl by herself! What if she’d gotten hurt? Or lost? Or worse?!”

“I would have shot them,” Izzy said as she took a bite out of her burger.

“You what!” Myriam blinked at her. “You would have what?”

With her free hand, Izzy pat underneath her jacket. “I have a gun.”

“A GUN!”

“Yeah, daddy taught me how to shoot and he made me get the conceal and carry permit for my trip to New Orleans. It was safely tucked in a small gun locker in my bag for travel as the law states.”

“Hand it over!”

“No,” Izzy said calmly as she took another bite off of her burger. “Bullets may not hurt you, but they do hurt other people. No one touches me unwanted and gets away with it. Unless they’re someone I’ve drawn over and over and over and over and over again. But touch my gun, and I will shoot you.”

“Klaus, I will not stand for her having a gun in the house!”

“She’s from Texas, relax, she likely knows how to use it,” Kol said before he ducked as Myriam threw something heavy at him. “What? Let her have her gun, we have our strength and speed.”

“Are you seriously one of those anti-gun people? Just because you’re capable of protecting yourself, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to, too. I’m human, and I was out and about in a strange city all by myself. When I go out with you, I won’t have to carry it with me.”

“Then you should have asked one of us to go along with you! And don’t you ever sneak out of the house like that again!”

Izzy blinked at the irate vampire. “Well, I didn’t sneak, I just walked out the front door. And sure, if Klaus goes with me next time, I will leave the gun where it’s supposed to go.”

“Klaus! Why him?!” Kol was offended. “His idea of fun is a dull painting commune in the armpit of Spain.”

“Because right now, out of the three of you, he’s the one who’s the most levelheaded and doesn’t treat me like I’m fragile. Much,” she took another bite off her burger. “But feel free to continue your fight, I’m going to go to my room and make sure you can’t get to my gun.”

“No, wait a second…” Myriam blocked her path. “How did you get into town anyway?”

“Uber. And then I walked back, it was quite a nice walk,” Izzy smiled at her. “You really need to get out more. Uber is still around, you know,” she then walked around Myriam as she continued to munch on her burger and headed to her room. “Goodnight!”

“Klaus, what have you done?!” Myriam yelled at him. “This isn’t how things are supposed to go!”

“She’s not helpless, she’s not Bella!”

“I take offense to that,” Kol said angrily. “Bella wasn’t helpless! She lacked confidence but in the end, she grew to be a force to be reckoned with and she sacrificed everything to save me, us, and to get rid of the blasted Volturi, basically cleaning up our family’s mess!”

“Fine, allow me to rephrase, Izzy can take care of herself. If she wants to go out alone, she goes out alone,” Klaus sighed. “With or without her gun.”

“Unbelievable,” Kol shook his head. “Izzy’s life is the only one she has left. Izzy is all that’s left of her, Klaus.”

“Then stop avoiding her and get to know her,” Klaus said calmly. “She’s a very intelligent young woman who, at the moment, is still adjusting to everything she has learned about herself, about us. Teach her things.”

“I don’t know, Nik. Perhaps I’m not in the mood to take care of a human girl who-”

“Kol, she asked you where you were going and you asked her where she wanted to go. Don’t go back on your idea of going somewhere with her. Be here with her, and don’t be somewhere else.”

“Nik… I can’t,” he said defeated. “Don’t make me, this is a bad idea.”

“You’re not even trying,” he said surprised when Myriam had calmed down and had now started to kiss his neck and blowing his ear, distracting him. “Talk to the girl, about anything. She might even be open about you talking about Bella. Tell her what you like to do in your past time,” he then got smothered when Myriam jumped in his arms and started to kiss him, so he took her to their room, leaving Kol standing in the midst of all the rubble with his own thoughts.

Within ten minutes Izzy was running out of her room as she wiped her mouth and eyed the door that closed Klaus and Myriam’s bedroom off from the rest of the house. “What the actual fuck?” she said in surprise as she looked at Kol, who was still standing in the middle of the rubble. “Are they?”

“Yes,” Kol sighed. “Unfortunately. This is why I didn’t want to come along to Las Vegas,” he said as he motioned for her to follow him outside. “It’s not as bad when you’re outside. Be prepared to stay here for at least… an hour. If we’re unlucky, they’ll keep going the rest of the night.”

“No way.”

“Vampires have a lot of stamina,” he said playfully and grabbed her a drink from the outdoor refrigerator and got something for himself. “And Myriam is very very loud.”

“Ugh,” Izzy said as she gratefully took the can of soda and fell into one of the comfy chairs. “I don’t know what sounds worse, the bull with our cows or them.”

Kol spat out his drink then and looked at her in shock. “What?”

“Lots of noise in the fields when the bull and cows want to get it on. Mom and dad don’t want to artificially inseminate so we get a different bull each year,” Izzy said as a matter of factly. She then thought for a moment. “Well, I suppose donkeys are worse. Geese… oh no, pigs squealing but you know, that’s not them.”

“You’re a strange creature,” Kol shook his head laughing.

“Animals are my normal. To me, you’re the odd one out,” she took a sip of her soda and looked at him. “What do you like to do for fun? I noticed the antiquated gaming setup in your apartment in New Orleans, you like those things?”

“Not anymore.”

“Why not?”

“Because Jeremy got too old to work the controls, and the new games don’t really interest me, the music these days is just abysmal. You’d think it was rubbish in 2018, well, it wasn’t. It’s only gotten worse.”

Izzy huffed. “There are still some good country songs out there.”

There was a mischievous smile on Kol’s face. “There are self-driving vehicles around these days, what are the songs about? The guy’s truck leaving him too?”

“Good country songs come from the heart. The gut. They’re personal,” Izzy replied as she took her phone and looked for one of her favorite songs. “This is a song about the singer not being able to find their way. They feel lost, made mistakes and are trying to rebuild their life.”

He listened to the song for awhile and looked at her. “Did you make mistakes?”

“I might have,” she nodded. “You?”

“Oh, plenty, darling. It’s usually my temper that makes me make bad decisions,” he let out a slight snort. “Or jealousy. Or merely because I want to annoy my siblings. When you live more than a thousand years, you are bound to make mistakes. Many mistakes.”

“Any you truly regret?”

Kol seemed to think for a moment. “None.”

She blinked in surprise. “Really?”

“Do you think that I should?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you regret your mistakes?”

“Of course, when you put the wrong feed in the wrong pasture… animals get sick,” she replied with a shrug. “And those are mistakes that I regret.”

“More recently.”

“I don’t know if it’s a mistake yet. So I don’t know if I have to regret it,” she said as she took a sip of her soda. “I’m glad you think that you haven’t made a mistake, that makes it a bit easier for me.”

“Darling, choosing for yourself isn’t a mistake. To be fair, Ylva’s idea was giving me false hope and that bitch has always been a bit in the way apart from when she was still in our world,” Kol replied, surprised where that came from. “Even Bella knew it’d be a bad idea and yes, we’re all sad still because she meant a lot to us, but it’s been fifty years. I’d only known her for about a year after having watched her videos for longer. I’m surely never going to forget her or truly allow her to erase herself, but dead is dead.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m positive. You’re not her. She made you as her last version and the best you can do with your life is to live it the way you want. Have fun. Enjoy yourself, stop worrying about things and be in the present,” he smiled then. “I do see some similarities between you and her, but that’s only natural. You’re you. With a full life ahead of you. And I don’t want you to waste it so, the next time you plan on sneaking out, I want to come with you.”

“I didn’t sneak out!”

“You did. And with a gun.”

“To protect myself.”

“People kill people with guns, I don’t want you to end up one of them, it’s a waste of your life. Nik, Myriam and I are more than capable to keep you safe. And as long as you’re with us, we’ll do just that.”

“I don’t plan on becoming your kept human. Your pet.”

“You won’t be.”

Izzy huffed as she finished her can of soda. “You accused me of sneaking out, which I didn’t. That makes me think I can’t go anywhere,” she said as she put the can on the table. “Can I have a beer next please?”

Kol huffed as he pointed at the outdoor fridge. “Get it yourself, but do you think beer is a good choice?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m not your kept human. Besides, you drink wine and bourbon before breakfast so don’t even go there.”

“We don’t get drunk.”

“And neither do I as I know my limits,” she said as she got to her feet and to get herself a beer. “Don’t manage me. I haven’t had a beer for at least a week and I deserve one.”

“You know, you were a lot more agreeable when you were curious and confused back in New Orleans,” Kol stated. “If you don’t want to be here, go. We won’t stop you. Go be impossible somewhere else.”

“I’m not being impossible!” Izzy shot at him as she slammed the fridge door shut. “But you know what? That is a good idea,” she said as she set the beer can down on the table and headed inside to pack her things. “I told your brother I’d try, but maybe I’m just too emotionally immature to deal with this. I’m out,” she said angrily as Kol followed her inside. “I’m going back home.”

“You can’t leave!”

“Yes, I can!” Izzy pushed her clothes deeper into her bag and hadn’t noticed that Klaus and Myriam had stopped trying to push each other through the mattress and were now standing in her doorway as well.

“What’s going on?” Myriam asked confused.

“I’m leaving,” Izzy said as she closed her bag and lifted it off the bed. “I appreciate y’all’s hospitality and all, but I can’t do this. Every fibre in my being says to get out, so I am. I’m going home.”

“And then what?”

“Grow up.”

“What about us?”

“You don’t need me,” Izzy said as she tried to push past the vampires. “Let me go, please.”

Klaus pressed his lips together, remaining silent in his disappointment as he glared back at his brother. “Leave your bag and settle down, Iz. I’ll make arrangements and take you to the airport myself if this is truly what you want. I’ll get you your flight.”

“I appreciate the gesture, Klaus, but I’ll be getting my flight and I’ll be fine.”

“Please. It’s the least I can do for the idiot that my brother has behaved,” he offered.

“It’s not him, or you or Myriam, it’s me.”

Klaus looked at his brother and wife, wordlessly ordering them out of the room. It didn’t take them long to depart, though reluctantly. “Tell me what is bothering you. Perhaps I can help or find some resolution?”

Izzy sighed. “I feel like my whole being clashes with you. I feel like I need to crawl out of my skin… I got scolded at for leaving on my own today. Kol didn’t like it when I got a beer. I can’t be myself. I’m going home. Grow up some and adapt. I can’t do this.”

“Myriam and Kol need to remember you are not the same person they think you are. They are trying and it is a difficult situation all around,” he hedged.

“Some distance between us would be good. They won’t have a constant reminder around them so they can heal.”

Klaus frowned and raised a brow. “Do you really think it would be better for any of us knowing you exist now out there? The Bella they knew..”

“I’m not your property, am I?”

“No, absolutely not and trust that I will discuss Myriam’s response to your adventure into town…”

“Then you’re going to let me go and you’re going to allow me to finish vet school and maybe come see me in three years or so. I’m not ready to deal with your emotions and on top of that, my own.”

Klaus drew in a breath, hearing the protests on the other end of the house and nodded. “Of course,” he said as he made his way to the dresser and picked up her phone to add his number. He quickly typed in a note and handed it to her. “Just read something and relax. I’ll go arrange a flight for you.”

Do keep in touch at least with myself so that I know you are safe. Anything you need or help I will be a phone call away.

Izzy sighed and nodded. “Can I at least wait outside? I promise I won’t walk away.”

“It’s 110 degrees. Are you truly mad?” He laughed. “I won’t be long. I promise.” She sat down on the bed and watched him leave the room before returning ten minutes later. “Are you ready?”

“You found me a flight already?”

“Bought and paid for,” Klaus smiled at her as he took her bag. “I’ll take you to the airport myself so that I know that you’ve arrived safely. Come on, your flight leaves in 30 minutes. It’ll be a two and a half hour flight. You can call to inform your father that you’ll need a pick up on our way to the airport.”

Izzy followed him out of the house. “How much do I need to pay?”

He stiffened for a moment before letting out a breath. “Izzy, sometimes it’s alright to accept generosity, let’s leave it at that. I only want you to be safe,” he said as he put the bag into the car and let her get inside the car herself. “Paying for your trip home doesn’t make a dent in our wealth, don’t you fret.”

When they arrived at the airport, Izzy was surprised that Klaus was allowed to take his car to the tarmac and hangars where a plane stood ready with the door open. “What?”

“It’s the same we flew in to get from New Orleans to here, love, what else did you expect?” he smiled at her as he helped her out of the car. “As if I’d allow you to take an overly crowded normal flight back home. You deserve better,” he gently pulled her into an embrace. “Don’t be a stranger and I hope you find what you’re looking for, Izzy,” he said before letting go of her and handing her her bag. “Now, off you go.”

Despite the situation, she had hoped he would have hugged her some time longer. Klaus smelled nice and his touch was gentle. Out of all three, he was trying the hardest to make her feel normal but nothing about all of this was normal and she wanted her normal back. And her normal could be found at home. “Thank you, and I’m sorry,” she gave him a kiss on his cheek before getting onto the plane.

And as soon as the plane had left the ground, Izzy stopped holding it together and had a good cry. By the time the plane landed and she saw her parents, she just wanted to sleep. She felt exhausted and she didn’t want to talk anymore. She just wanted to go home and sleep for days.

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