“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.”
For several weeks, life was actually relatively normal for Bella and she was happy. If she allowed herself to think about it, the most she could ever remember being, even when she had believed things were good with Edward. She was getting along well with everyone, getting to know all of the guys and even developing her own bonds with them as they got closer.
Elena and her kept a distance, not quite talking to one another since they spoke that day. While a part of Bella was hurt by the attitude she received, she did know it was a necessary front. She was just uncomfortable enough around her that Damon had offered to speak on her behalf to Elena but she declined, explaining that it was a girl thing that would take a long time to resolve. He wasn’t thrilled about that but she was insistent on letting it go.
She knew he was well aware she was lying to him but also that she wouldn’t do so if she didn’t believe it there wasn’t reason for it. It only made him more observant and suspicious of Elena around his girl. Damon had gotten into the routine of watching Caroline driving the girls to school, then going to picking Bella up after and spending the rest of the day and night together, if there wasn’t any supernatural ass kicking to be handed out. Before bed, he would watch her drink one of the vials of blood he had filled in the beginning of the week, though small, it was just enough to have enough vampire blood in her to initiate the transition but not enough to make her smell of his blood. That thought disappointed him thoroughly to his surprise.
As the unconventional family prepared for another day, Damon and Stefan prepared breakfast for their girls in the kitchen, giving themselves a short window of privacy to talk. “You should just change her now and get it over with,” Stefan said, sipping on his coffee.
Letting out a sigh, Damon’s eyes flashed up towards the door in irritation. “I know. I want to, believe me but she doesn’t. Not yet at least. She’s accepting of it as it’s inevitable but she wants it on her terms. She knows it will have to be done otherwise she’ll have glittering freaks on her ass until she dead however it doesn’t mean it has to be before it absolutely has to be. First we deal with Victoria. I need to figure out a way to lure her out here and I need to get in touch with her mood ring friend for that.”
“I’ll tell Tyler to meet up with you at the Grill after school,” Stefan offered but Damon shook his head.
“No. Tell him to come to the house. See if he can cut if he can. I have things around here I need to get done preferably before Isabella gets home,” he replied hastily.
Stefan eyed him before grinning. “Still kissing up to her for keeping secrets?”
He scowled back at his younger brother before answering. As much as he hated the teasing he was getting for having gotten sucked into such a relationship, he still wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. “Yeah. I know she said she’s forgiven me but I still feel like I need to do something about it.”
“May I ask what it is you are planning?”
“No,” Damon replied, glaring at him. “As it is, I know Isabella will be pissed off when she finds out but it’s a necessity so I hope it won’t be too bad.”
“Why would she be pissed?” Stefan asked confused, only to get an amused chuckle from his brother in response as they heard her make her way down the stairs. Before he could press him more about what he was up to, she bounced into the room.
“Good morning Beautiful,” Damon called out, watching her carefully. There was more than one reason for his extra treatment of her that morning and with good reason. “I got your disgusting Pop Tarts by the toaster for you and your coffee on the counter.”
Bella smiled as she walked in, ignoring the jab that he made about her favorite snack and settled down next to Stefan as she ate while the boys made faces at the offending food.
“How can you eat that? It tastes like stale cardboard to me,” he commented beside her.
“How can you drink salted rust bags?” she retorted with a smirk.
Stefan’s eyes furrowed. “Humans can’t smell blood.”
She rolled her eyes partly in amusement and annoyance. “Heard that one way too many times. I can. I can’t stand the smell and it’s only gotten worse since this bite,” she explained as she held up her wrist to show him her souvenir from James.
He leaned over and frowned as he inspected the scarring over her wrist. “Why didn’t you tell us about this before?”
Bella’s eyes met Damon’s before looking away and shrugged. He knew how she felt about it and answered for her. “Because she doesn’t like talking about it at all,” he replied in her place as he settled down across from them as he pulled her hand across the table to run his fingers gently across the teeth marks. “The way Isabella described it to me, it’s what made her know that I wasn’t human in that field that day. That was was a vampire. It tingled, right?”
She only nodded in response as she kept her attention focused on her breakfast allowing him to continue. “Anyway, as you can see, she isn’t comfortable with this subject so I’ll be quick about it. You know about the sparkly vamp bitch after her and how her ex and his family killed her mate. Well, before it, he had managed to get to her and bite her but pretty boy didn’t want her changed into one of them so he sucked the venom out and it left a permanent mark on her. It makes her extra sensitive to the supernatural.”
Stefan continued to stare at her wrist as he thought about it more before glancing between the two of them. “I understand why you don’t like talking about it,” he started quietly. “But if you do make the transition into one of our kind, you understand we don’t know how this will affect your change?”
Bella looked up at Damon who for once didn’t have a joke waiting in his eyes and was equally concerned. “Believe me the thought has crossed my mind more than once Stef,” he admitted. “But enough with the Debbie Downer talk. Isabella woke up in a good mood today, so let’s keep it that way.”
He had filled her favorite to-go mug with extra coffee while she finished getting her things together and Stefan ran back upstairs for his. Tugging her to his side for a quick kiss, he looked into her eyes searchingly. “You alright?”
She sighed, knowing what he meant. The night before, she was restless in bed, finding sleep difficult and when she did, all she could dream about was Edward finding her and it not ending well. “You were there. You know what happened,” she murmured. “I just want to finish today on a high note before things go bad – and I know they are bound to go bad very soon.”
With that she pulled away from him with a forced smile as Stefan reappeared with her school bag and a curious look on his face at their expressions. Damon gave him a minute shake of his head and gestured too quickly for Bella to catch that he’d give him a call about it later. As soon as the two were out the door, the man was on the phone.
“I thought the agreement was that your dog would handle communications,” Peter answered on the other end, making Damon irritated.
“Yeah well, I wouldn’t be calling if it wasn’t important. Is your mood ring around because I need to talk to him. Bella thinks trouble is coming soon,” he replied, not even in the mood to rise to the man’s jibes.
Peter was quiet on the other end, as he too had felt trouble brewing himself but was unsure of its origin. “Yeah. Hang on. Let me get the fucker.”
Damon let himself smile slightly, thinking that he might find himself getting along with the guy if they ever met. The trouble the two would cause would be enough to give Stefan nightmares for weeks if they were truly anything alike in that department.
“This is Jasper. Who am I speaking to?”
“Damon Salvatore. I don’t know what the others have told you about me –”
“That you’re an asshole with little to no regard for life?” Jasper interrupted causing him to scowl.
“Well that’s true but not completely. I’ll admit I’m an asshole, and probably always will be, but that’s not important. I’m calling about Isabella.”
Jasper let out breath that Damon could hear through the phone and just knew that the creature cared for his girl. “Just what is she to you anyway? From what I’ve heard about you, you just use women for blood and pleasure. What makes her different from any other because believe me I won’t her be treated like something to be thrown away again.”
“She’s my future,” he replied instantly, without any thought or hesitation. There was no questioning his response of what she was as it was something that he knew exactly what he wanted. “If you are asking if I plan on changing her, then the answer is hell fucking yes. But I think the question should be does she want to be changed because if she doesn’t then I won’t force it on her like it was done to me. Regardless that’s not the reason why I called. I don’t know if you’re aware of her dreams. After your freak of a former family left her and she and I met, I learned that she had prophetic dreams of sorts. She had invited me into her house after I was hanging around and helped to chase away her nightmares. One of our abilities is to enter dreams… It wasn’t easy getting into her head, which was weird in itself but that’s another theory for another day, but last night when I was in her head, Edward was trying to take her away. He wanted her for something specific, and not just her blood. She’s afraid that he’s getting closer to finding her and right now, I don’t know how to help her feel better about it until he’s here and I can rip his head off his shoulders.”
He was quiet on the other end for quite some time but Damon could hear whispering between him and Peter as they discussed their ideas on what to do before getting back on the phone. “Right now, keep your dog with her at all times. That will keep Alice blind to Bella. Your friends told me how your kind change. Make sure you keep a good amount of vampire blood in her in case something happens. We’re actually in Seattle as we are attempting to corner Victoria and her newborns. I’m hoping to be heading your way by the end of the week if all goes as planned.”
Damon couldn’t help but to let out a sarcastic snort. “Yeah and when does anything ever go to plan?”
“That’s what I been trying to tell this fucker!” Peter exclaimed in the background as he laughed hysterically.
“I’ll get word to the mutt,” he said as he agreed. “Just take care of that red headed bitch so that Isabella can get a decent night’s sleep for once. I can only help ease her dreams so much.”
“How is she doing?” Jasper asked concerned.
“Truthfully? She’s okay I guess. Better than she was when she got here. She was barely holding it together then. She smiles now. Genuine smiles that lights up her eyes,” he grinned to himself as he thought about how she laughed when he and Stefan got into it when she dared them to make pasta from scratch for dinner a few nights prior.
“You and I will be having a little chat when we meet in person. You know that, right?” Jasper questioned, the threat clear in his voice but Damon understood it loud and clear.
Despite knowing him being physically stronger and more powerful than any Cold One, including the infamous Major from the Southern Wars, Damon swallowed back his nerves because he knew the other vampire and Bella saw each other very much like siblings and that was a very dangerous combination when it came to the welfare of one another. He was bad enough with her as he was in love with her and it was messing with his head enough with his realization of it that he didn’t quite what to go down the other avenues yet of their relationship.
“I hear you loud and clear,” he replied. “We’ll be in touch if anything changes.” Damon hung up and nearly threw his phone across the room when it rang.
“What?!” he snapped, not caring who was on the other end but calmed immediately at the news he was hearing. “Got it. I’m on my way now.” Grinning to himself, Damon fist pumped the air as he was pleased that as least one thing was going right that day.
By the time that Damon got back to the house with Bella’s belated birthday present, he stashed it in the garage under a tarp knowing she hadn’t gone in there once since she arrived. He shot Stefan a text with a warning to keep her out in case he was around if she happened to decide to explore in there, though he doubted it.
Glancing at the time, he cursed when he realized he was going to be late with picking up Bella and was just pulling out of the driveway again when his phone rang. “Yeah?” he answered in greeting, not bothering to check the ID.
“We got a problem. Victoria snuck through a mess of newborns and is on the way to you. She managed to turn a tracker and she is back on her trail so keep an eye out. We’re finishing up here then catching the next flight out,” Jasper growled into the phone but all Damon could do to react was crush the device he held as he picked up speed on his way to the school.