As expected, Kai got along swimmingly with Jessica, who was now sporting an engagement ring from Mike. Bella was wondering how the hell that happened because she and Kol had only been gone for two months! She liked to hear that Angie and Ben finally saw the light and hooked up, too.
“So, how was your sanctioned school trip?” Jessica asked sweetly. “Two months with super hottie on an assignment so rare you two missed graduation? What was so important? Did you and him….”
“No,” Bella replied, taking a sip of her coffee. “And I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. All I can say is that it was very educational in some areas, while in others… not so much.”
“But you and hottie didn’t hook up?”
“Not for a lack of trying,” Kai murmured into his coffee and winced when Bella kicked him in the shins.
Jessica sighed as she reached for Bella’s hand and gently squeezed it. “Bella, babe, he seems like a solid guy who definitely has the hots for you. Why won’t you allow yourself to be open to him?”
“I am,” Bella pulled her hand back and continued to drink her coffee. “I’d love for everyone to back off about what’s between me and Kol, as that’s only our business and not those of others. We need to find someone for Kai.”
“What!” Kai spluttered.
Bella smirked at him then. “Relax. Joke. Now you know how it feels.”
“Oh, what about Katie?” Jessica beamed. “Katie is still single?”
“Nope,” Angela shook her head. “Eric called dibs on her.”
“Alright, leave him alone,” Bella laughed. “It’s not fun to have a relationship being pushed on you. Besides, Kai’s new in town, let him get his bearings first! Maybe bring your guys next time so he can hang out with dudes instead of us girls.”
Kai gasped. “I’m offended! I’m one of you girls!”
Bella grinned as she looked at her friends. “You know what that means, right?”
“Shopping!” Angela and Jessica chorused gleefully.
“I fucking hate you,” Kai groaned as they walked inside the Swan residence a few hours later. “I thought you couldn’t shop in Forks, and you can’t, but you just spent hours in Walmart!”
“With you,” Bella pointed out with a grin as she dropped the bags on the table. “Charlie needed a few shirts, anyway.”
“A few?!” Kai pointed at the bag that had shirts coming out of it.
“There’s underwear in there too,” she nodded before she started to unpack all the bags with groceries. “You really went to town with the groceries, though, not even sure if it all fits.”
Kai blinked at her. “More than half is yours!” He opened one of the bags, revealing a bag filled with chocolate. “You’re comfort eating. Just because you’re a vampire now, doesn’t mean you should eat all of the chocolate.”
“I’m not comfort eating,” Bella huffed before she found a bottle of heavy liquor in the bag. “What the hell is this?”
He shrugged at her. “Kol said that alcohol with the big alcohol percentage helps with your hunger.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“No, but for when you are or feel anger set in, I mean, no offense, but you’re the vampire in this tiny house with two humans.”
“One human has a gun and the other can siphon magic out of me to protect himself,” she huffed. “I can control myself, Kai, don’t worry. Besides, that bottle is freaking expensive.”
Kai shrugged for an answer. “You have money that you don’t use. Why not use it on booze?”
Bella looked at him with a dumbfounded look on her face.
“What? That’s what you get when you keep your phone on the table when paying for our coffees, I snooped,” he shrugged again. “With the money you have you could buy yourself and Charlie big houses, plural.”
She narrowed her eyes on him, trying to contain her anger. Oh, she could feel it bubbling underneath her skin. “You took my phone and went through it?!” Bella yelled at him. “Don’t you have any boundaries at all?!”
Kai smirked as he leaned against the table with his arms crossed over his chest. “Why aren’t you doing anything with that money?”
“That is none of your fucking business!”
“Does your dad know?” When Bella remained silent, Kai sucked in a breath and a wicked grin appeared on his face. “You better tell me or I’m going to tell your dad that he can retire because his daughter is loaded!”
Bella pushed him against the furthest wall in the house and held him there. “That money was part of the agreement of the Cullens fucking leaving me the hell alone and leaving Forks. Half of it already went to charities and I had planned of using the remaining money for traveling and college. But I might just donate it all after paying my flight to Italy from it.”
“Why?” Kai wasn’t afraid of her, which wasn’t good. “It’s yours.”
“Because that whole fucking contract was a ruse and the money is part of that. It’s not my money.”
“It is your money, it’s in your account,” Kai pointed out while his hand slid into his pocket and dialing Kol’s number. Just in case things would get out of hand, and maybe he’d like to hear this, too. “Use it.”
“I feel dirty when I use that money. It’s going.”
She growled as she pushed him again and then let go of him as she walked away. “Because it’s a constant fucking reminder how I was screwed over, that’s why! It’s like a ball and chain and I could donate it all in one go, but then you’d get people asking you for more, and shit like that. It terrifies me. Money terrifies me and they know that, and that’s why they gave me the money.”
Kai shrugged. “It’s just money. Have some fun with it. Don’t let them get to you like that and just live. If there’s one thing you taught me is that life should be fun and enjoyed. And we’ll get those assholes who hurt you,” he said as he approached her again, cautiously. “Look, I could tell you to let go of your anger and guilt, but that won’t work until you’ve gotten your revenge. And I get it, that was with me as well, but it’s just money. Instead of seeing it as a ball and chain, see it as freedom.”
“Because, they’re winning right now. You’ve erected a wall around yourself and it’s very difficult to be let in. Likely the only person who’s capable of doing that is your friend Jake from the Rez.”
“That’s not true.”
“Even if that’s not true, they’re still winning with you not living your best life.”
“Who are you, Dr. Phil?”
“Never mind,” Bella let out a breath.
“Look, as your friend, I see you’re struggling. Hell, your female friends noticed that too. Just… start enjoying life. Best revenge ever. And then we’re going to crush those Cold Ones,” Kai gently put a hand on her shoulder. “We don’t like to see you suffer and you’re clearly miserable, even more so after we came here. Just try.”
“Alright, Dr. Phil.”
“Again, who’s Dr. Phil?”
Bella grabbed the bottle of expensive booze and pushed it into Kai’s hands. “Enjoy. I’m going to clean all of this up before Charlie gets home,” she said as she motioned around them before pointing at Kai’s hand in his pocket. “Funny how you’re likely calling for backup while you could have just knocked me out instead if you were afraid. Or, you know, you could have just kept your mouth shut.”
“No,” Kai said as he set the bottle down and blocked Bella from moving away from him. “Right now, I’m doing what you did to me. You helped me see the other side of things where I couldn’t, and now I’m helping you. Did you even talk to someone after what Edward did to you?”
Bella scoffed. “As if, it would only bring someone in danger.”
“You hung out with your friend Jake, didn’t you? Oh, don’t look so surprised, Bella, your dad loves to talk about you, and he sees and hears more than you may think,” Kai grinned as he took a little bit of magic from her to freeze her into place and hoped that she’d be dumb enough not to realize that she could just siphon it away. He hopped on the counter and opened the bottle of booze before taking a large sip of it. “You never got drunk? Cried about your anger? You never told Jake about any of the shit you went through? Only after your magic came to light?”
“There was no need to, I felt fine with Jake. And then he ditched me, supposedly for a girl but he did it for my safety because he’s a big fucking pony.”
Kai took another sip of the alcohol and nodded. Kol had told him a lot about how he and Bella had met while Bella was out in Mystic Falls. A tiny angry brunette that made Kol feel all the things in the right places. But the ancient vampire was hurting, and so was the tiny angry brunette, and Kai wasn’t taking any hostages.
Quite funny, considering he was always branded as an asshole, a loser, evil, and all that jazz.
Then again, Kol was as fucked up as he was, likely more, and Bella… despite her anger, both Kai and Kol were drawn to her like moths to a flame. And she needed to get rid of that anger – or at least accept it – to make her more pleasant to be around with. Kai was really afraid that she’d turn off her emotions like Kol had told him about. That wouldn’t be good.
Well, it could be interesting. There was no doubt about that. “Fine, I’ll back off,” he eventually said.
But this was Bella. And Bella was kind. Kai wanted it to stay that way. She didn’t deserve the darkness.
Yeah… maybe he shouldn’t have drank from the bottle of alcohol himself. He had earlier brushed himself against Bella to get some magic and spell it with the feelings spell, hoping that Bella would drink it herself, but she thought it was too expensive. “In all honesty, this tastes like piss,” he said as he handed her the bottle. “Get drunk and deal with the shit in your head. You’ll feel better,” Kai replied as he released her from his magic – something told him that she wasn’t dumb but had simply allowed him to put it up in the first place. “I’ll clean up and start cooking.”
Kai then reached into his pocket and disconnected the call to Kol and watched as Bella took her first swig of the bottle. “Told you, tastes like piss, you’d think the more expensive the bottle…”
“It’s great,” Bella replied, blinking in surprise as she took another swig. “But I’m going to Jake tonight and my alcohol tolerance has gone up after turning so… yeah, not going to get drunk. For now it’s not making me rip off your head for being a nosy nuisance.”
“Hey! I take offense to that! Careful now, I might put vervain in your dinner tonight.”
“Don’t you dare,” Bella said as she sat down on the couch and took another sip. “What am I going to do after we’ve dealt with the Volturi and the Cullens? I mean… I wondered that before, and Kol said that the possibilities are endless, but I can’t just do whatever.”
“Why not?” Kai replied as he opened a cupboard and started to put stuff away. “You’re immortal now. You don’t age. You have all the time in the world to do whatever. No need to feel guilty about it. Your friends will think you’ve landed yourself a rich boyfriend and he’s taking you places… which… basically is true. But you’re rich in your own right.”
“Don’t? Don’t what? The Mikaelsons have been around for a thousand years, of course they have money to boot and I’m sure Kol wants to spoil you rotten.”
“He’s not my boyfriend and why not work for trips, you know? Get a job, save up…”
“Why would you if he’s offering?”
“Because it’s not fair! I didn’t deserve it! Nor did I deserve the money Edward had to give me when we made up that fucking ridiculous contract! I didn’t work for it!”
“Yeah, I know, but he did hurt you. He and his family did. You deserve their heads on a platter and all of their money. Humans would sue their assess off, but seeing as you’re all supernatural and you’re far more powerful than they are… I’d say take everything and have fun with it,” Kai then grinned. “Built an epic home with all the stuff you ever wanted as a child and then some.”
“If you ever imagined yourself with horses… I mean, you’d have enough money to hire people to take care of your entire house, and your horses.”
“What about a zoo?”
“Yeah,” Bella said as she kicked off her shoes and took another sip of the alcohol before making herself comfortable. “Like… start a zoo. Free, for anyone to come and visit. We’d help endangered species thrive. Like… Uhm… Giraffes!”
“I thought you loved history?”
“I do! Maybe a zoo with the history of the animals and a museum attached to the zoo about the history of… stuff,” she took another swig of the bottle. “Great ideas, Kai!”
That was so not what he had expected her to say. “Right. Your money.”
“You wouldn’t feel bad taking it when they’re dead?”
“Well, from what I know, they earned that money by working, investing wisely… it’s not as filthy as they are.”
“And yet you don’t want to accept the money you have now.”
“That’s different! That’s basically…” Bella took another swig of her bottle as she thought of the words. “It’s like paying a whore for services rendered. And I’m not a whore. I’m a stupid, dumb and emotional idiot who thought that she could trust some rich kid with a big family in a big house with fancy cars that she’d never get on her own. And they made her feel as if she was worthless, stupid and dumb and as if she needed to be taken care of like some porcelain doll,” she rambled. “Well, they were correct. I’m a fucking fractured marionette who’s fallen head over heels for another rich kid with a big family, a big house and fancy cars and he fucking makes me feel safe and that’s so maddening because I doesn’t want to rely on anyone and I’m not even sure if it’s out of my own volition or if it’s stupid pheromones again,” she took a another sip. “And fuck, I wanted to go to Jake tonight, and he made me feel warm and cozy and happy, too. While I should have been dealing with this crap.”
He suppressed a smile when she talked about Kol, the vampire would really love to know all of this. But for now, this was between her and Kai. He lifted the tub of ice cream out of one of the bags and grabbed a spoon before heading over to Bella and handed her the things. “You’re not stupid and dumb. You were taken advantage of as a human. You’re not a fractured marionette, but you’re a beautiful soul,” Kai smiled at her as he sat down on the table in front of her, taking the bottle away from her so she could eat the ice cream. “And it would be a shame to see your beautiful soul and your kind heart go to waste on feelings like anger and guilt. The Mikaelsons want to help you get you your revenge, and so do I, but you need to be open to more feelings before you ruin yourself.”
“Yeah,” she nodded as she tucked into her ice cream. “I feel drunk, why do I feel drunk?”
“Who cares?” Kai shrugged.
“You did something to me, didn’t you?” Bella asked as she put a spoonful of ice cream into her mouth. “And that means I probably can get rid of it, too.”
“But would you want to?”
She thought for a moment and shook her head. “I want more of the booze, and I’m going to cancel on Jake and the other puppies.”
“Are you sure? Didn’t you miss him the last few months when you were trying to be friends with me?”
“I didn’t try, it just happened,” Bella snorted as she playfully nudged his knee with her foot. “And I’m really glad that you and Kol get along so well.”
Kai had expected tears by now. Crying. Angry and ugly sobbing, maybe. She’d had a lot of spelled alcohol already but he handed the bottle back nevertheless. If she wasn’t going to Jake, what harm could it be? His magic was sound, he knew what he was doing. It was quite the possibility he wouldn’t survive Kol’s wrath, as there was no doubt that the vampire was on his way back by now. Then again, Bella would make sure nothing would happen to him.
She took a few long gulps from the bottle and went back to her ice cream. “You’re lucky my dad isn’t home.”
“He’s working late today,” Kai nodded. “You want to talk some more about how you were wronged and you’re still holding on to it?”
“You were wronged and held on to it even in your timeout,” she countered. “Don’t pretend you’re better than I am. Your problems have been solved.”
“But so have yours! They can’t go after you now, because you’re a supernatural being yourself. Stop moping, Kol already told me you wiped the floor with an army of newborns.”
Bella hummed as she shoveled some ice cream into her mouth.
“And if you’re afraid, you shouldn’t be. You have Original Vampires as friends standing right behind you and me, a pretty powerful witch if you ask me when I’m all juiced up. And you. The siphoner vampire hybrid. Pretty kickass yourself.”
Bella grinned and nodded in agreement. “On a scale from 1 to 10, how nauseated do you feel right now for trying to make me think differently?”
Kai started to laugh. “A thousand, but you’re worth the hassle. I’m going to make food.”
Bella still wasn’t sure what Kai had done to her, but she felt lighter. She had had an extraordinary good sleep, likely a mix of what Kai had done and the empty bottle of alcohol that was standing next to her bed, but she felt ready.
Because Kai had been right. For some reason, she didn’t allow herself to have a life while the Cold Ones were still alive. So they had to go. And then she could start enjoying herself a bit more. Kai wanted to come with, of course, and she wasn’t going to refuse him. These past few days had done him good, and even though he had siphoned magic from her without her knowing, he’d behaved himself.
They told Charlie that they were invited by the Mikaelsons to go on a trip to Europe, and Charlie thought that was really thoughtful of them. Charlie had such a good heart, it made Bella realize that it was a good thing that Kol had come prepared in Mystic Falls and she hadn’t actually died. She couldn’t do that to Charlie. Ever.
Bella knocked on the door of the Mikaelson home and Myriam opened with a confused look on her face. “I was going to come by you in about an hour to give you some blood, are you hungry?”
“No,” Bella smiled. “I was merely wondering if you’d like to join me and Kai to Italy and deal with the Volturi.”
“We said we would, didn’t we?” Myriam smiled at her as she put an arm around Bella and looked at Kai for a moment. “You’re more than welcome inside as well. Just don’t touch anyone.”
“I’ll behave,” Kai replied. “I can behave.”
“Good, because while Bella and Kol may like you, we don’t know you that well yet,” she said as she motioned for him to enter the house too. “Klaus!” Myriam called out as they walked towards the living room. “Bella wants to go to Italy and play with some Cold One Kings!”
“Excellent,” Klaus’ voice sounded as he descended the stairs. “I was wondering when you’d want to do that.” Bella looked lighter somehow, she had a glow on her face that one would normally link to intercourse but his nose told him that this wasn’t the case. Good. Kol had already staked a claim on the girl. Things would get messy if Kai would have taken advantage of her. “Elijah has already gone ahead to make sure our home in Rome is suitable for guests.”
“Kol and Rebekah are already in Seattle, so let’s go!” Myriam said enthusiastically. “We’ll grab a bite on the way.”
Bella was confused for a moment. “Just like that?”
“Why do you ask, love? We’ve already told you we’d help you fight your demons and get rid of your problems. Nothing’s changed now that you’re supernatural yourself,” Klaus replied with a smile on his face. “We all love a good fight. All I ask is not to end it prematurely. We’d like to have some fun as well.”
“Okay,” Bella shrugged. “I mean… I’ll try.”
Kol and Rebekah were waiting for them at the airport and as soon as Kai exited the car, Kol slammed him against it. “Don’t you ever pull a stunt like that again!”
“Woah, chill!” Kai put his hands up as Kol smacked him against the car again. “What did I do now?”
“Oh, here we go again,” Rebekah sighed as she rolled her eyes. “Honestly, you brought this upon yourself, you decided to give him a call while you were antagonizing Bella.”
“I wasn’t!” Kai let out a groan as he got smacked into the car again.
“I had to break his neck,” she replied as a matter of factly. “I hope you enjoyed yourself.”
“You see, I knew it was a bad idea for you living at Bella’s place. You can’t be trusted!”
“Hey!” Bella moved between Kol and Kai and pushed Kol away from her friend. “I’m fine, leave him alone. No need for a turf war, you know I’m not interested in him like that. And once we can be alone and away from vampire hearing, you and I are going to have a chat.”
“Oh no,” Myriam shook her head upon realizing what was going on. While Bella was quite level headed, she was still a new vamp. And Kol really liked to let himself go when it comes to his emotions concerning Bella, and the whole ‘we’ll talk later’ thing would not end well. “You two go inside the car, cast a privacy spell and you’re going to have that chat now. I don’t want him on a plane like this because he’ll just keep moping and lashing out and we’ll have to break his neck and then you’ll likely flip out because of it, so yeah, go have that chat before we embark on a 12-hour flight.”
“I wouldn’t!” Bella said offended.
“Really?” Myriam smirked. “Because while you had a lid on yourself while you were human, you’re not that stable as a vampire yet,” she pointed out. “You may think you do, but I don’t think you do.”
“Yes, I am.”
“No, she’s not,” Kai shook his head. “But hey, let’s test out that theory!” Kai grabbed hold of Bella and with a flick of his wrist, he managed to snap Kol’s neck. He immediately let go of Bella and saw her face fall as Kol dropped to the ground.
Rebekah sighed as she watched the young vampire quickly make her way over to her brother. “Perhaps it’s a wise decision to stay the night in a hotel and leave tomorrow,” she said and covered her ears when Bella started to yell at Kai for breaking Kol’s neck as she cradled Kol’s limp body. Bella then went from angry to sad at the drop of a hat. And back to angry.
“Yep,” Myriam nodded in agreement before looking at Kai. “I have no idea what you did to Bella to make her more open to… things, but I like it.”
Kai huffed. “She’s annoying this way. But I figured it’d be the best way forward, I didn’t like the story about rippers and vampires turning their emotions off.” He then saw Bella look at him with a murderous look on her face. “That being said, I’ll follow you guys but I seem to have poked a bear. Invisique.”
“Screw you, Kai!” Bella yelled at him before the lights went out for her.
When Bella woke up, she found herself in an unfamiliar room and she felt even more agitated than that she could remember. Sitting up, she rolled her neck before heading to the door and tried to open it, but whatever she tried, the door seemed to move away from her. She couldn’t reach the knob. “What the fuck.”
“Congratulations,” Kol remarked from his spot in the corner, she hadn’t seen him after she’d woken up, and he didn’t care. Right now he just wanted to kill Kai, and he couldn’t. “You survived your first time getting your neck snapped for throwing a temper tantrum.”
“Kai snapped your neck,” Bella turned around as she looked at him. “It wasn’t fair.”
“And then my sister snapped yours, or so I’ve been told,” he said as he held up his phone. “As it turns out, Kai spelled this room for the safety of the people in this hotel until you and I have a chat.”
“We’re fine, we can talk when we’re there.”
Kol let out a sigh as he pushed himself off of the wall and walked towards her. “Kai snapped my neck to prove to you that Myriam was right,” he said, slightly frustrated. “And because I was a dick, but that’s beside the point. I would have been fine for the trip, if you weren’t around after what happened with Kai last night. With you on the plane, I suppose there’d be a lot more neck snapping and threats of being daggered.”
“You see, Kai wasn’t just playing with you last night, with whatever he did to you. He called me while he was doing it, and I’m sorry, Bella, but that’s going too far. He wasn’t supposed to mess with you like that. It was a bad idea to have him stay with you and your dad.”
“What Kai did, was lower my defenses to show me some sense,” she explained calmly, not moving as he kept carefully approaching her. “I was highly irrational about certain things and some connections didn’t make sense so everything was irrational. Kai showed me that it didn’t matter. None of it. And just what I want. What I feel. And that the Earth keeps turning even though I was standing still,” she let out a breath as she looked at Kol who was now standing toe to toe with her. “Don’t be angry with Kai. He used magic, I could have gotten rid of the effects if I wanted to.”
“Just like you could siphon the magic away from the door.”
Bella nodded. “And I will, but maybe we should talk like they want us to.”
“Why talk, darling? There are so many interesting things I could do with you where words would be unnecessary,” Kol said as he pushed her against the wall and locked her in with his arms. “What do you remember from reading Nik’s journal that Myriam gave you for Christmas? It was about Nik’s early days as a vampire, wasn’t it?”
“What are you getting at?”
“Heightened senses and emotions.”
“I know about those,” Bella replied as she looked up at him with half a smile. “It’s what caused you to freak out about what Kai did.”
“And you to get angry with him for snapping my neck,” Kol pointed out. “Myriam and my siblings have been telling me for years, this, and I honestly never cared for it, but I know that I have less of a control over my actions and emotions than my family does. I never cared to learn control, because why would I? They’d put me down in a box anyway when I was too much of a handful,” he tried to get even closer, but he didn’t want to miss looking at her beautiful face. “They only released me because either Myriam complained about it or they needed me to do their dirty work, but I already told you this.”
“And you don’t scare me.”
“That’s because you don’t see danger when it’s right in front of you,” Kol barked out a laugh, shaking his head. “In any case, my anger towards Kai right now is that he messed with you, and you already know how I feel about you. And there’s this extreme sense of loyalty that comes with those feelings and I can’t …. I won’t, control it. Because you make me happy. I only went to Seattle after we returned from Mystic Falls to let off some steam. Because if I hadn’t, I would have done so in Forks eventually. I know you and I had plans after we’ve dealt with your nightmare, but being patient when it comes to you…” He let out a breath. “And after what Kai pulled…”
“How many times do I have to tell you to be just yourself with me? I don’t like it when you run off to let off steam, it feels like you’re running away from me.”
“I don’t want to break you, darling.”
“Well,” she smiled at him then. “I’ve been told I’m pretty unbreakable nowadays. If you stop hiding and treading carefully, I promise I will,” she finally put her arms around his neck and grinned. “Let’s both stop thinking what’s best for each other. All of me is yours if you want it.”
“Shut up and kiss me.”