The patrons were herded out of the building, and she and the rest of the girls were escorted back to the hen house where a ‘healthy’ concoction of apple and lemon juice was waiting for them. Lemon always made her violently ill, and this meant that she wasn’t able to drink it or drink from the girls for a while.
She sat down next to the door, her usual spot, and tried to tune everyone out. While the two hours away in the silent room had been great, and the food had been a great help, she needed a bit of blood to keep going completely. And now with the lemon juice in the room and in the bodies of the girls she was with, she was basically fucked.
Getting violently ill wasn’t on her to-do list.
But she was hungry.
The voices of the girls in her head were so overwhelming that she couldn’t even stretch her vampire hearing to hear what Klaus was saying to Jasper and Carlisle, even though the office was right around the corner.
Maybe she’d overdone things. Got too cocky.
Or maybe the Cullens got too greedy and overextended and that’s why she felt as if she was being pulled in multiple directions. Maybe Klaus was now compelling Jasper and Carlisle to do better. Or kill them. Or whatever.
When she heard someone approach the hen house, she quickly got to her knees and took a deep breath. The footsteps didn’t sound familiar, it could be Rosalie, she never came down to the hen house because she didn’t want to be confronted by how her life could have been. Unfamiliar footsteps weren’t a good thing; it could mean that there were intruders, or maybe lost patrons and she’d need to protect the girls.
The door opened, she didn’t register the face of one being of the Cullens, so she managed to jump to her feet and push the intruder out of the hen house with her full weight and the element of surprise. Pinning the intruder against the wall. “Ah, so here’s where they hide you ladies.”
She looked up to see that the intruder was Kol. Letting go of him, she pulled the door to the hen house shut so that the girls couldn’t leave. Emmett was just around the corner, she couldn’t allow the girls to leave, fearing that he’d kill them. “They told you to leave, sir,” she said as she looked at her feet. She could feel his emotions roll off of him, his curiosity still overruling the rest of his feelings.
She focused to look different to him, to mask her scent and not have it obvious that she was a vampire. Kol was an Original, so she wouldn’t know if it quite hold up. Now that Klaus was here, Klaus could come down himself to get her out. Until then, she protected the girls. And herself. “This area is off limits.”
“I know,” Kol replied as he lifted her chin to look at him. “Are you Nik’s inside woman?”
“Inside woman, sir? What?”
“You can speak freely,” Kol said as he moved closer and whispered in her ear. “My brother is compelling the Cullens to start cleaning up this place before he allows them to continue to do whatever they do here. Ann’s taking the girls. All of them. He just wanted me to get his inside woman out.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” she narrowed her eyes on him as she couldn’t get an accurate read on him. There was still a lot of curiosity coming off him, maybe now mixed with disgust upon seeing and smelling her up close. He had put up walls in his mind that she couldn’t get into. Kol smelled so good. So fresh. She could smell on him that he had walked by fresh cut grass that day. And that he had sex, but the fresh cut grass smell was better. She missed grass. “If you wish to simply steal me from my masters, sir, then you should do that, it’s all you vampires do. Take.”
“Oh, bloody hell, you’re a nightmare,” he opened the door to the hen house and pushed her inside. “Fine, stay here until Ann comes for the girls. I’ll tell Nik to get you himself. I don’t wish for you to come with me against your will.”
She pushed him back and closed the door behind her again, holding up a finger to shut him up and she tried to find Klaus. With the door closed to the hen house, she could focus a bit better as the voices were more muffled. Did you send him to get me?
No, but do you want to leave? You didn‘t look too good.
I want to leave.
Your room is ready at the house.
She let out a sigh of relief. Her room. Her wonderful room, her quiet room with plants and a ladder to the roof where there was grass. Klaus treated her far too well by having given her her own room. She’d stayed in Mystic Falls in the woods when he was there, and close by before that, staying out of his business, but close enough for protection.
Once Klaus took back New Orleans, one of the first things he’d done was to have her room made so she wouldn’t have to stay in the Bayou. Oh, she knew that he only indulged her because she was like him. A hybrid of sorts, and he didn’t want to be lonely. But she was grateful for it nonetheless. They’d become great friends over the years.
Looking at Kol she sighed. “What gave it away?”
“That I’m working with Klaus.”
“The way you burst through that door to keep me out,” Kol replied easily and shrugged. “You look tired and weak. You were manhandled by that oaf earlier. Even if you weren’t, I’d still have taken you away from here because this place is a shithole.”
She smiled at him. “I’d love to leave. Your brother has a room for me at the compound.”
“Does he now?” Kol pulled off his jacket and put it over her shoulders. “Is that why I had to cut the grass on the roof with a pair of plastic scissors? Who puts grass on a roof?”
“It’s great for insulation, you see it all the time these days, energy saving and nature nurturing buildings,” she pulled the jacket closer and took a deep breath. He smelled so good and now his scent was going to be on her for the next couple of hours.
Kol eyed her carefully as they made their way to the exit. She was wearing dirty and torn linen clothes and was walking barefoot. “You’re a vampire?”
“Yes,” she nodded. “I’ll be good walking on barefoot. It’s not that far,” she smiled then as she looked at him. “Maybe a snack along the way?”
“That sounds great,” Kol replied. “But darling, before I take you out for a bite and take you home, I’d love to know your name as you know mine.”
“I can’t even remember if I ever told you my name,” she mused as they kept on walking.
“We’ve met before?”
“Oh, yes. You ate through an entire building with your brother in 1821 and you found me in the Bayou, you were curious and we had amazing sex. I’d seen you around, you were so handsome – still are,” she remembered fondly. “You then had a fight with me.”
She nodded. “Don’t worry, I picked the fight, because I wanted to be a vampire and no longer what I was. I ingested your blood when I drew blood with my pocket knife,” she took a moment to pause and breathe in the New Orleans air. “It was so quick you didn’t even notice it.”
“I don’t remember that fight at all.”
“That’s okay,” she smiled at him. “My name is Bella.”
“It’s an honor to meet you, Bella. For my brother to work with someone else other than his siblings is quite rare.”
“I didn’t give him a choice,” she said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “But story time later. I’m hungry.”
With her vampire side satiated, she was happy to continue to the compound with Kol, only to disappear into her room to scrub off the last year or so from her skin with hot boiling water. Bella felt a little drunk, a little high from all that blood but it was doing her so well. Every fibre of her body was on fire as it should be.
Not bothering to grab a towel to dry herself off, she headed to the roof to let the air dry her body as she laid in the grass, absorbing the sun, feeling the grass tickle her back. She rolled over to her stomach and pulled the bucket of soil towards her before she spread it all over her to recharge.
She spent hours rolling in the dirt and in the grass, butt naked, soaking up the sun, and only stopped when she heard Klaus call for her as food was served. Bella took a quick shower to rinse off the soil, got dressed and joined Klaus and Kol for dinner in the courtyard.
“You look refreshed,” Klaus commented, but Bella could tell that he was angry with her. Or upset. Or both.
“I feel refreshed,” Bella smiled at him as she scooped up heaps of the good food onto her plate and started eating. “Oh god,” she moaned as she chewed on her food. “This is so good!”
Why could Kol feel that moan in his bones? Looking over to Nik, he saw that he experienced it as well. “Nik always has the best cooks.”
“I know,” Bella threw her head back as she swallowed and traced her neck with her hand, following her food down her trachea. “This is warm and it has spices and I can just taste everything right now.”
“It’ll take Bella a few days to adjust back to being who she is,” Klaus said amused as he took a sip of his glass of blood. “I take it you two fed on your way over here?” When Bella nodded and slightly giggled, he continued. “She’s high right now.”
“I’m not high,” she replied, shaking her head. “Just growing back into my own skin. I’m a gluttonous pig for the next few days and if you have a problem with that, you don’t have to be here,” she added as she took another spoonful of food, which was followed by another moan.
“Alright, little one, stop projecting your feelings please,” Klaus let out a sigh as he could feel how good she was feeling right now. “Control yourself.”
“You’re not just a vampire, are you?” Kol asked Bella, who shook her head for an answer. “Because if you were, you’d be very powerful for a simple vampire.”
“Why wouldn’t I be very powerful for a simple vampire?” Bella retorted as she looked at him. “After all, you’re a very strong vampire, why wouldn’t I be one?”
“It doesn’t work that way.”
“Sure it does,” Bella said simply. “I can feel your power, you’re my sire. And I’m pretty sure you can feel mine too.”
“That’s because you’re projecting, Bella,” Klaus reminded her.
“No,” Kol replied. “No, she’s right. I could feel a change the moment I set foot into that building. I could feel her long before I heard her. Even weakened, I could feel her.”
Bella smiled smugly as she looked at Klaus and took another bite off of her food. “Don’t worry, you only feel it because I’m me. I’m sure that those from your sire lines don’t feel the same way, they are merely extremely loyal and fearful of you.”
“But you’re not,” Klaus stated.
“I’m not,” Bella nodded as she took a sip of her milk. “Oh my god, Klaus, you spoil me!” This wasn’t milk. This was fresh cream from a fresh milking of a cow, perhaps only an hour old! She dropped her fork and happily took the glass with two hands, to make sure she wouldn’t spill a single drop of it. “Jersey cows are fantastic. Oh, I had to miss this!” She downed the glass in one go and then lovingly looked at Klaus. “Is there more?”
“There is, but you need to take it easy, little one. As you said, you haven’t had cream in a while.”
Bella licked her lips before she grabbed a bread roll and started to clean the glass with it, making sure she had everything out of the glass. Cream was like alcohol to her, and she could already feel it taking effect. She wanted too much, too fast. She knew this. Kol was looking at her like she was some sort of an alien. Letting out a giggle she continued her food. “I promised Kol story time.”
“You’re currently firing on all synapses, little one, do you think now is a good time?” Klaus asked her, a playful smile on his face. He loved seeing Bella like this. It was the last time that he was going to allow her to be on the inside of an organization like this. He was simply going to have to be more hands on with the Cullens and compel them more often. Someone like her shouldn’t be caged, willingly or not.
“Sure, or he could wait a few days,” a devious smile appeared on her face then. “Oh, he could wait a few days, definitely.”
“What! No, I can’t! You’re obviously not merely a vampire, what in the bloody hell are you?”