“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world:
someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
After Damon made sure that Bella was settled in and asleep, he slowly made his way back downstairs, dreading the conversation about to take place. He had anticipated his brother and the girls to jump him about his friend but was shocked to see them sitting quietly as he made his way to the bar. He was going to need liquid courage to make it through the details that he was aware of.
“Anyone want a drink? You’ll need it,” he muttered as he quickly finished off one glass and refilled it before making his way back over and stood staring into the roaring fireplace.
“Bella okay?” Caroline asked timidly. Her concern made him smile slightly as she did genuinely care for people despite her rocky start into the vampire life.
He shrugged as he took a deep breath. “As okay as she’s going to be. She’ll get better if I have anything to say about it though. I don’t know where to start. Do you want to know how I met her or her story up until I met her?”
“Whatever you feel comfortable with sharing first,” Caroline said. She seemed to have become the spokewoman for the group as Stefan and Elena simply stared at him as they worked on trying to figure out what Damon would be gaining from being involved with an emotionally unstable human.
He went back to staring at nothing as he recalled the previous summer when he took off for awhile after getting tired of seeing Stefan and Elena together, and then finally that Katherine had no real interest in him being something other than a toy for the passing moment. “When I left last year, I had no destination in mind and somehow landed in Washington state. I was in a mood one day and took a walk in the woods. That’s where I found her, talking to a Cold One she seemed familiar with. I listened in for awhile and it seemed she was involved with a coven of them previously but they weren’t around anymore. He tried offering her an out of a mess she was in, some crazy vampire he was running with was out to make her a personal plaything. Isabella later told me it was because he ex-boyfriend had killed the bitch’s mate and among their kind, it’s an eye for an eye philosophy. So she’s been marked for dead by her. Isabella – she was different. She didn’t fear this guy even though it was obvious he wanted to drain her and he was going to. I had no doubt about it. She was just so broken. Her eyes…Well, I jumped in, kicked some sparkly ass and saved the day. She passed out and I took her back to my hotel…”
“So you took advantage of a troubled girl? I never thought you’d be so callous and low,” Stefan interrupted.
Damon’s rage flared as he turned and threw his glass of bourbon into the fire place causing it to burst as he rushed his brother and pinned him to the wall. “Don’t you dare assume anything about me. You weren’t there to see what she looked like. If what you witness here just before was bad, she was worse then.”
They stared each other down before Stefan nodded slightly in apology. “Sorry. You just aren’t known for doing something nice for a person.”
“Fuck you Saint Stefan,” he glared. Bonnie got up and pulled Damon away, her silent support of him staggering as he eyed her. The corner of his lip turned up but never quite completing the smile he wanted to give her. “Anyway, she was all scratched up from the woods so I cleaned them up and bandaged them. I would have given her my blood but something told me she wouldn’t be receptive of it. When I was done, she woke up and we talked. It took awhile to tease the details of what got her there but she confided in me. First she told me about why she was there in the woods that day, her boyfriend killed another vampire and his psychotic mate is after her. The group that the dude I killed mentioned, had took an interest in her because of the coven she was with protected her setting off the hunting instinct in their leader. Her coven she said are a rare kind in their circuit. They feed on animal blood like Steffie here, but while the bunny diet does him okay, they always struggled more with their blood lust. One of them was fairly new to the diet and needed to stay well fed when around her but she explained that as he got more comfortable around her, he would skip a day or two. Of course that was because she wasn’t bleeding around him. They threw her a party for her 18th and she got a papercut that got the guy going. Isabella said that they were starting to calm him down but her boyfriend, who also had a raging blood lust for her as she was what they call a singer, threw their buddy over the edge. One thing led to another and he broke up with her.”
He took a moment to think about the rest and just pressed on. “She told me about how he dumped her, leaving her in the middle of the woods and telling her that she was never good enough for him and that she’d forget about him in time. After all she was only human. What does her feelings matter?” he said sarcastically. “If I ever come face to face with that fucker, I’m going to torture him the way Psycho wants to torture Isabella. Anyway. They took off without so much as a nice to know ya leaving her with the mess of an avenging mate.”
Damon brow furrowed as he looked back towards the stairs that would lead them up to Bella and frowned. “She had friends nearby that were capable of fighting that type of vampire and were doing a decent job of keeping her away from her but they were still pups. Not werewolves but shapeshifters. Isabella had just lost her mother and step dad to the bitch and she went to the clearing to let off some of the rage for her ex only to find more trouble. I know I’m jumping back and forth here guys but it’s a lot to explain and its hard. Just try to follow where you can.”
“It’s okay. We’re piecing together the nightmare just fine,” Elena frowned, her feelings for the stranger softening as it was nearly as much loss as she had suffered herself so she found herself relating more than she wished to admit.
Damon nodded, making his way over to the window. He didn’t want to have to look at anyone as he spoke because his anger was still bubbling like a cauldron of hot lava. “Based on what she said before, it sounds like the bitch finally got to her father. He was close to the tribe of shapeshifters and for them to refuse to help her, they reached their limit. I doubt she knew of anyone else in their world to call or go to for help. She had tried tracking down the coven after they left but nothing came about. I’m actually surprised that she remembered our talk enough to know to come here. The girl with a death wish was tapered back and she had a little spark of life, the desire to fight, in her so I was sure she’d find her way. I didn’t completely leave her like they did. I spoke with one of her puppy friends and gave her my number to call. We hung out for awhile and I got to know her more. She doesn’t look like much but she is really something else. I didn’t just leave her when it was time to come back. She had a way to get me, and I would have gone in a second. I thought a lot of how she was doing though. I never got her information to check up on her.”
“Okay, so now we add a lunatic Cold One. As long as Bella has one of us with her the entire time, she’ll be fine,” Stefan started planning, but Damon shook his head. “You have a better idea?”
“Actually yes. First, I want to get her back to doing normal shit. Get her enrolled in school. She’ll hate herself if she doesn’t finish and then include her with the Scooby gang’s outings. Treat her like you would treat your human friends that know about us. That’s another thing that she is sensitive about. She’s not going to break easily. Her ex treated her like a 50’s housewife porcelain doll. Like hell will she get the same kind of feelings from any of us here. No matter the danger.”
Caroline looked at him wide eyed. “But she’s a danger magnet just like Elena. The odds of her getting hurt are high, no doubt. But the risk of death is beyond us. She may be ready to accept being dead, because it’s been shoved in her face so much but with her boyfriend going on about her safety, why wouldn’t he just change her?”
Damon clapped his hands and pointed at her. “I knew that was going to come up at some point. Just not so early. I’ll definitely leave that one for Isabella to explain and we must have Stefan and Elena around when she does it. But in answer to what to do here if the threat gets that high, I plan on talking her into drinking my blood regularly. That way if she does die suddenly, it gives her an extra day to make the choice of what she wants between dying and changing. Hell I’m sure she’ll be game as our transitioning isn’t nearly as painful.”
The one that had Damon on edge though he would say anything because he was hoping for her approval with anything to do with Isabella. Bonnie made her way over to him and pulled out of the room to a quiet corner. “Get me something of value that I can spell. Something personal a necklace, bracelet, or even a ring that I can spell for the sunlight if she does change.”
“Awe, is my favorite Witchy-woo-woo agreeing to make my new girl a pretty collection of spelled protection jewelry,” Damon teased
“Also, don’t disregard Elena. Your friend can relate to her so much more and it might help with her own issues. Just something to keep in mind,” Bonnie added. “When I shook her hand, I saw that she is in deep. Her friends in that tribe are more than willing to offer her up to the vampire that is after her. Unfortunately she’s not the only one. Bella doesn’t know that their ruling coven is also interested in her and are plotting to capture and turn her for their use. They believe her to be gifted and powerful as one of their own kind.”
The thought of Isabella becoming a marbled Cold One left a sour taste in his mouth. “Like hell I’ll let her submit to that life. It’s what got her into this supernatural mess to begin with. I’ll talk to her about and find out what she wants to do. There are other options that cannot be undone.”
Bonnie stared at him as he said the words and she knew he wanted to make her his. Nodding, she smiled. “I think that would be the best option and I wish I could give you better odds as to how she’d go, but she’s very much on not making decisions until the last minute.”
“She wouldn’t be Isabella if she didn’t make me think,” he winked at her and went back to the rest. “So! You all got the cliffnotes version. She’ll have to fill you in on the rest pretty much,” he said with disgust. “I’m sure once you hear her descriptions of this so called family, you’ll want to join in the torture game. And trust me, it has nothing to do with humanity. For a human, she somehow flipped that switch but became nothing but a catatonic hot piece of ass in her bedroom.”
Stefan had previously left the room in search for something, returning with a book about various Cold Ones. “Do you think any of the vampires in play may be in here?”
“Possible, doubtful. Let’s waste time and check it out,” Damon shrugged, taking the book from him and flipped it open. Thumbing through boring pagies, he found a Carlisle Cullen and scowled. “That’s one page to be making its way to the fire-” He said before the book was yanked out of his hand. “What?!”
“Shut up,” Bonnie said as she began reading about Carlisle, the family patriarch. “He was once involved with their royalty, the Volturi. It might be a good thing to assume he has friends there if they choose to come after us. He was one of the first to drink from animal blood, right from when he was turned.”
“Blah blah blah. We don’t know how much of those books is real. I prefer to hear Isabella’s version of them as she actually had been around them more recently. And a good two-shoes animal drinker like that guy who might claim valuing human life should never have allowed his fucktard of a substitute-son to leave the girl abandoned in the woods like he did,” he snapped. “He’ll be third on my list to kill. The redhead, the ex boyfriend and Daddy. We’ll see about the rest later.”
“Damon, you can’t go killing all of them. Just worry about the threat for now,” Stefan commented earning a scowl from his brother.
“I am worrying about the threat. They all are a threat to her. I’m even thinking of skinning some puppies up on that reservation for hurting her. It’ll be fun!” He grinned but an ear piercing scream from upstairs caught their attention. Everyone’s head snapped to the stairs but Damon was the only one to disappear up them after recognizing who it was coming from. Calling out behind him, he let them know it was time to call it a night and they’d figure out more the next day.
When he reached his room, he quickly pulled his shirt off before climbing into the bed and pulling Isabella to him. Like expected, her face became buried in his skin, breathing in his scent allowing it to calm her as he rubbed her back. “It’s okay. I’m here. Go back to sleep,” he repeated softly before he eventually let himself slip into slumber with her in his arms.