It’d only been a few months since Bella had been sent away to the furthest that her family could send her on the short notice they had. While she was supposed to seek out her husband’s friend for his aid due to his gift, once she had arrived in Forks, the insecure young woman in her emerged as it was truly one of the first times in many years that she was alone without the support of any of her siblings.
Compelling the local sheriff after observing his habits on her arrival, Bella quickly found herself in a human home. As she didn’t know how long she was supposed to remain in hiding, she kept a low profile and was careful of her natural habits.
Having to undergo formal education was not something she was pleased with and it was clear early on she was decades ahead of the humans that surrounded her. Several of the students, she contemplated often of simply draining their blood because they were just that irritating. It was especially worse that as she continued to play human, one of the local Cold One covens had taken an interest in her and no matter how polite she tried to be, he and his sister would not give up with pairing her with him.
In keeping with the charade, Bella dreaded every affectionate touch and pathetic kiss she accepted from Edward Cullen but she had chosen to take on a particular role rather than seek out her husband’s friend. If she hadn’t pretended to know nothing of the supernatural world when he begun to express his interest in her, knowing it was simply because he was unable to access her mind, she would have surely put him in his place when he first attempted to tell her what she should and should not be eating.
The rest of his family she enjoyed her time with however, as she got to know them. With the exception of Rosalie. If the woman knew of her true self, she was certain they would have gotten along much better. She reminded Bella so much of her sister at times that she had to bite her tongue to keep from speaking and revealing herself. While she’d grown affectionate towards the group in a way, she was a long way to trusting them if they had any ties to her family’s parentage. Trust – was something earned by dedication and blood.
With the holiday approaching, Bella found herself slipping into a depression and no matter how much their empath attempted to help raise her mood, each time she looked out the window towards the falling snow, it only reminded her of more days passing that she was away from her true family. Edward’s constant questions about her emotions as he interpreted them from Jasper got under her skin and it took nearly every ounce of strength to not reach out and rip his tongue from his mouth in front of the cafeteria of humans. What held her back was her apathy and lack of interest of having to compel everyone to forget what they witnessed. It was bad enough that she had to make excuses to run out of town unknown to the young vampire so that she would be able to feed as she preferred.
The moment Alice begun talking about how much fun she saw them having doing Christmas shopping at the mall, she finally broke. Pulling out a water bottle that she had in her bag that was filled with an old scotch from Charlie’s cabinet, Bella swallowed a healthy mouthful before looking over at the shocked girl. “I am not going shopping. I have told you time and again Alice, I do not enjoy shopping.”
“But I’ve seen…”
“I do not care what you have seen,” she snapped, her natural accent escaping as she snapped her mouth shut and glared at her. A new sensation filled her senses, another of her kind nearby, distracting her as she had begun to strongly consider ripping the Cold One’s head off and looked around with nervousness.
Jasper studied her closely and frowned as he too glanced around for whatever threat that might be unnerving his human friend. “What is it Bella?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. There is nothing wrong. Bella, you should go to the mall with Alice. I think you would truly enjoy yourself if you just let her take you,” Edward commented in his arrogant manner and reached over to pull her water bottle from her as she went to take another sip. “What are you drinking? Is this alcohol?”
“Yes and it’s mine. Give it back,” she said as her tone evened out. Her eyes narrowed on him as she went to grab the bottle back but he held firmly, refusing to relinquish it.
“You shouldn’t be drinking this. You are much too young and it’s bad for your health,” he scolded her but it only fanned the anger that was slowly bubbling inside her.
“You should hand it back to her. My sister can be a deadly breed when she doesn’t get her way,” a voice spoke up from behind Bella, causing her to freeze briefly before turning around to stare at its owner with her jaw dropped.
She searched for words as they stared at one another. More like she in disbelief that he was there, him smirking at her knowingly. “Interesting story you have compelled everyone to believe, Poppet,” Kol smiled as his eyes twinkled with untold secrets.
“Who are you? How do you know my Bella?” Edward demanded as everyone watched on confused. Jasper not as much as he looked back and forth between the Original vampire and the human girl he knew – that they assumed before realizing what was happening and looked away to hide the smile that grew on his lips.
“Someone not to be trifled with, Cold One. Now hand over Isabella’s bottle or I will rip your hand off at the wrist to give it back to her,” he said coldly as he looked back at him. “As for as being yours, I am sure Isabella has other opinions to that. Don’t you Poppet?”
“Of course. I tried to tell him several times over that I wasn’t interested in his advances but he refused to listen. He believes me to be his mate, Kol,” she snorted as she jerked her scotch back from Edward and stood from her seat to join her brother-in-law. Looking up at him hopefully, she bit her lip. “Is he with you?”
Kol continued to eye the boy as he answered her with a smile. “He is not far behind me. We only arrived not long ago and it took some time to track your scent due to the rain here. He had some – business to tend to but is most anxious for your reunion.”
“Bella…I will ask you this one more time, who is this man and what is going on?” Edward demanded as he stood up as the bell rang, ignoring it as curious students walked by, trying to eavesdrop for every bit of information they could get to gossip on later.
She looked up at Kol who only smiled his unique smile for her and smirked back. “Oh Kol? He’s an old friend. Family more so. Actually, for the truth – it may be best if Jasper, you sedate him some right now because Kol is actually my brother-in-law and my very jealous and possessive husband will be coming for me soon.”
The Cullens present, bar Jasper, stared at her after her newsbomb. “Husband? You are only eighteen!” Edward exclaimed.
Sighing, Bella inspected her nails in her growing boredom. “Actually I am 23.”
“Ahh, you should tell them the truth Poppet,” Kol continued to smile from beside her in glee.
Rolling her eyes, she stuck her tongue out at him before relenting. “I’ve been 23 for a thousand years. Give or take a decade.”
The Cold Ones, except one, stared at her in shock as they tried to let the information sink in but they couldn’t seem to grasp the truth of the facts that were spoken to them. Alice looked to Edward to confirm their stories through their thoughts but he continued to stare at the dark haired man that shared in his Bella’s claim that she was over a thousand years old.
“I can’t hear his thoughts either,” he admitted painfully, earning a pleased smile on the young woman’s lips.
“Well good. It serves you well to keep out of people’s heads that you have no need being in,” Bella snarked as she pulled her bag up over her shoulder and moved to make her way to Kol’s side, scowling as the young vampire reached out to pull her back to him.
“Please Love, don’t. We don’t know who he is or what he is capable of. I don’t feel that you are safe with him or that you are in the right mind right now. Let us take you back to Carlisle. He will know what to do about this,” he pleaded.
She looked back over at her brother who slowly grinned at the name. “I’m game for the party, Poppet. It’ll be fun,” he said as he waggled his eyebrows.
Bella let out an exasperated breath and looked to Jasper to make sure he was doing okay with the situation, surprised that she hadn’t taken account of his reaction to everything sooner. He watched on amused as he winked quickly at her. “I am sure that the good doctor will enjoy hearing about this. I can assure you that he will be quite apologetic, Sugar,” he replied with a much stronger Texan drawl than he’d ever offered before, making her curious as to why he had held it back before. Feeling her curiosity, he only shrugged in response but his eyes darted back over to the shopaholic vampire that stood nearby. Explanation said wordlessly.
“Fine. Let’s go. It should be interesting to see their reactions when they learn the truth that your world is much smaller than your puny minds really believe yourselves to think it is,” she sighed. Looking at the wonder twins, she waved them off. “You two may go ahead and warn the rest of your insolent coven. I’d like Jasper to stay here.”
Edward immediately turned to look over at Jasper who kept his eyes on the pretty brunette human. He narrowed his eyes, glaring at his brother who expressed his thoughts that he should do as he was told and return to the others and wait.
“Let’s go Alice,” he muttered as he pulled her along while she tried to stare blindly into a future that had nothing for them in the coming hours which frightened her. The following days were murky at best because it seemed whatever was to occur at this meeting would determine the future. “We’ll talk to Carlisle about this. Fix this somehow.”
Alice looked back at Jasper suspiciously but all he did was spare her a glance that held little emotion. Once the nosey duo was clear of their senses, the three remaining looked among themselves. Kol flashed a cheesy smile at his sister and winked. “Would you like to take this outside or shall we remain in this establishment where I get to kill anyone that overhears our conversation?”
“Kol?” Bella sighed tiredly.
“May we get back on subject here?” Jasper interrupted.
“Yes. Shall we?” Bella smiled as she looked back at the blonde vampire speculatively. “Friend?” she questioned in such a way that was almost like there were more words preceding the singular one, but the man understood.
“Yep,” she answered, popping her ‘p,’ earning an amused snort from her side as it had been a learned habit from the current generations as compared to their actual one.
Kol looked around exasperated, and perhaps with more than a twinge of hunger in his eyes that his sister did not miss. “Now that you are all caught up on your husband’s allies, I’m growing bored with the scenery here and I’m hungry. There were some lovely humans that smelled simply divine that left the room just shortly before…”
“You will not eat anyone here, Kol,” Bella warned before smiling devilishly. “There are certain – factors that you may not be aware of around here that may need some attention before we leave.”
“What are you speaking of?” he asked, confused as his dark hair flopped forward into his eyes, making her smile affectionately for a moment.
Bella shrugged her shoulder noncommittally as she turned and walked out of the cafeteria with extra grace to her step that she never displayed previously to keep up the facade when she believed she was in hiding. “We need to leave here. I think after our display, we should skip the rest of the day. What do you say Jasper?”
He shook his head slowly as he smiled at her. “I think you’ll be having to compel the entire town to forget you after this Miss Ylva,” he remarked, following until the name he said made her trip in her steps.
Whirling around to glare at him, a rare moment in his vampire existence did he feel fear coming from himself due to another that many assumed was a helpless being, however he knew better. “You are never to use that name in the presence of the others. Do you understand me?” she hissed at him, her eyes darkening as the blood seeped into the whites of her eyes and veins grew out as she took on the vampire visage that was in her nature.
Swallowing hard as he lowered his head submissively to the clearly stronger and more powerful being before him, he nodded and pushed out his regret for his words to her. “I apologize Bella. It won’t happen again,” he replied.
“Of course it won’t mate. My sister won’t hesitate to rip you apart and keep you in her hat boxes in her closet for a century for speaking out place. Crazy hag can be worse than my brother sometimes,” Kol huffed as he trailed behind.
Bella turned to look over her shoulder as they approached her old pick up truck. “Would you really like me to tell him that you referred to me as an unattractive, hysterical middle aged woman when he arrives?”
Scowling at her, he growled under his breath. “What does it matter, Poppet? He’ll find something about this mess to blame on me then shove that dagger in me again. I recall you helping him the last time.”
“You were out of control with your witches. We were being hunted again by Mikael and you were more focused on killing your brother!” she argued angrily. “My husband! Of course I would help him! You’re still here, breathing. Obviously he felt the need to remove the dagger, so why are you complaining?”
“Can we just get back to the Cullens?” Jasper interrupted as he pushed out as much calm as he could between the agitated siblings. Bella frowned as she glanced at him apologetically but she held no such feeling towards her brother as she climbed into the driver’s seat in the cab.
“The asshole can ride in the back or follow on foot. I may end up snapping his neck the way I’m feeling at the moment,” she muttered before turning the engine to drown out Kol’s protests as it had just about begun to rain again in the miserable state. She looked into the side view mirror as the man-child paced in place, waiting for him to make his decision before he jumped up into the bed of the truck and sat in the corner like the petulant child he was.
Jasper joined her in the passenger seat just as she put the truck in drive. “His feelings are genuine for you. He cares deeply despite his behavior,” he shared quietly.
She looked at him silently as she drove, frowning at his intrusion on Kol’s emotions. “I know they are. My entire family is like this. It’s why I hate being away from them too long otherwise they self destruct when left to their own devices. You do not know them Jasper. Only what my husband told you and even then, he can be very – finicky on whom he trusts.”
“I got that from him when we met. I was actually quite surprised when I received his call about you. I was concerned when you never showed up but your conflicting emotions and your ability to block Edward…Well, I had to say, I was starting to grow suspicious there before this one decided to make his appearance,” he admitted, thumbing over his shoulder.
They drove the rest of the way in silence as Bella refused to comment on why she didn’t reveal her nature to them and her knowledge. She worried on how the approaching confrontation will go considering the unstable nature of the hitch-hiking vampire in her truck.
By the time she pulled up the Cullens’ driveway, a glance to the bed of the truck found Kol staring towards the house, his body tense for a fight. She knew that he was preparing to be on the defensive and it only gave credibility to Jasper’s words. Keeping her thoughts to herself, she said nothing as she jumped out and raised an eyebrow at the wet vampire in warning. He had just jumped down beside her as the front door opened slowly, catching their attention.
Bella turned to see who was audacious enough to approach them and smiled at seeing Carlisle as he eyed the trio warily. “Bella,” he greeted softly with a nod as his golden eyes took in Jasper first as if to assess his control in the presence of the stranger before looking at the human. “Who is your friend?”
“Oh this idiot? My brother in every way that matters Carlisle. Always and forever,” she smiled as she walked up to him. It wasn’t the usual innocent, timid one that she gave but a darker one that brought a shiver of an underlying threat that ran up his spine. “Is everyone else here? I really don’t like having to repeat myself. The last time I had to – well, my brother could tell you how that turned out for him.”
“Evil fucking bitch,” Kol muttered under his breath. “That’s what you are.”
Carlisle’s eyes darted to him before turning back to her. “Um, are you sure it’s wise to bring your brother to visit here? It’s not such a good time. Edward returned home quite – upset,” he said as he struggled to choose the appropriate word.
“The wanker should be bloody pissed off,” Kol said loudly, clear enough to be heard inside for anyone, human or vampire to hear. “The way he treats my sister is a bloody fucking insult. When my brother gets here, I hope you all have have said your goodbyes because I don’t doubt that he’ll be a pile of ash once he hears what I witnessed in that pitiful excuse of an educational facility.”
“Enough,” Bella snapped at him with ferocity that caused him to simmer down but he still remained glaring in his anger at the coven patriarch.
Carlisle eyed the two, taking in the difference in the demeanor of the girl his son had come to love and quickly realized that this young woman that held herself with so much authority that pulled the emotional man back with a simple command was not whom he thought she was. He looked to Jasper, surprised to find him with his head down in a common submissive position to her, giving her complete authority over him as well. Blinking in his shock, he looked back at the two again, swallowing as realization of just how much influence they may truly have if they could get a vampire as powerful and renown as the Major to submit them so willingly.
“Please, why don’t we all go inside and handle whatever misunderstanding that may be going on. I’m sure that Esme could find your brother something dry to change into as well,” he offered with some hesitation in his voice.
“While I should be grateful for the gesture, I’ll take whatever Jasper here will bring me. That alright with you Sparkles?” Kol replied, remaining as polite as he could without losing his stubborn dignity that caused Bella to roll her eyes without comment.
“Of course,” he frowned, stepping back for them to enter. As soon as Bella and Kol entered Edward’s line of sight, he had started to growl low enough for a human not to hear but Carlisle somehow knew better. “Edward. Please – now is not the time for such behavior. If you never heed my advice after today, then so be it, but for all our lives, do not anger Bella and anyone she chooses to protect. They are more than they seem,” he commanded to him in his thoughts.
Immediately, the growling simmered down, replaced by a confused and pained look on his face as he looked back at him. “What is going on? I want to know what has changed!”
Bella sighed as she went to fall into the empty armchair that Carlisle often claimed and smiled indulgently as she looked around. As expected, Rosalie glared at her with disdain while Emmett was just as confused, but she had no worries other than him being upset that she would be leaving the family. Esme looked at her with concern, but with a hint of fear because she had enough sense to know that something certainly had changed.
“So demanding, Edward,” she frowned at him, her accent only filtered partially. “Behaving like a crotchety teenager should be beneath a creature of your age. Emmett is younger than you and I have not seen him throw the tantrums that I’ve heard from you in the months I’ve been in this wretched town.”
“Who the hell do you think you are speaking to him like that?!” Rosalie interrupted as she moved to approach her threateningly. “I thought you loved him! You’re his mate after all!”
The amusement that was on Bella’s face faded the moment the word mate left the blonde’s mouth and she looked up at her coldly, not moving from the position she sat. She could feel Kol and Jasper eye her cautiously as they returned from getting a change of clothes and needed to take a breath to calm herself even with the emotional assistance she welcomed from her husband’s friend.
“Let’s get one thing straight, Bitch. I have never once said that I loved that pain in my ass. If anything I have attempted to shake his attention but him and that annoying little chihuahua you call a sister wouldn’t let it go. I do not know where the fuck he got it through his head that I was his mate but I have one and he is on his way here as we speak,” she spoke evenly, her voice low and clear in her confidence.
“You have a mate?” Rose laughed. “You’re human. What could you know about mates before you met us?”
Bella gave her a slow grin that revealed just a hint of her glimmering white teeth. “I know plenty. I’ve spent over a thousand years with him,” she whispered as she canted her head. “He is my husband after all.”
The vampire looked up at Carlisle, feeling the same disbelief that Edward and Alice had when they told them when they rushed home to tell them what was going on in school. Expecting to see their father figure reassure them that what was being said couldn’t possible be true, she instead found that he appeared nervous. Fearful even.
“Carlisle?” she questioned before looking over at Edward, silently demanding him to speak their leader’s thoughts.
Edward’s mouth was open in shock, speechless as rumors, stories, nightmares of their race ran through his mind of another race of vampire that were stronger than them. A race that was lead by a family that could not be killed by any known means.
“Invincible vampire race,” he murmured as he shook his head.
“Huh,” Bella huffed as she looked up at her brother. “You hear that Kol? We’re the boogeymen to the Cold Ones. Did you have something to do with that?”
Jasper looked to the man who emitted some feelings of guilt despite his outward calm display. “I have no idea of what you speak of, Poppet,” he lied.
“Sure,” she murmured, clearly not believing him in her experience with him and turned back to the children in the room. “I’m not sure how much time we have but I may as well educate you properly on our type of vampire since you are too foolish to believe facts if they smacked you in the face.”
“Poppet? Those facts already have,” Kol pointed out.
Bella pursed her lips in irritation, her eyes glaring in his direction at his interruption. “As I was saying, our type do have it’s weaknesses and can be killed. However my family, well we are special.”
Edward stared at her, still having a difficult time trying to piece together that the human girl he claimed to be his mate was indeed already a vampire, but now was also much older and powerful than he could imagine. “Special? How?”
“More importantly, how the hell do I kill you?” Rosalie demanded before Emmett pulled her back with a disapproving frown on his face as he shook his head at her.
“We fit most vampire lore. Inability to walk in the sun as we would burn, we require invitation into homes, wooden stakes to the heart would kill us,” Bella explained with a bored tone as she inspected her nails.
“But you’ve been in sunlight, you entered our house without any problems?” Edward sputtered out, trying to understand and failing.
Kol was getting antsy with his whining. “Oh give it a rest already! She’s telling you what she wants to tell you. If she doesn’t want to tell you everything, then it’s her bloody choice. Why do I have the feeling that you have the habit of getting everything that you bloody want when you throw a fit?”
Looking around, Bella and Kol caught a mixture of amused and guilty looks from the various vampires making him let out a disgusted grunt. “Bloody nit. I ought to teach your childish behavior some harsh lessons on life. Perhaps you might learn a little respect to those around you.”
“Kol. Enough now,” she smiled up at understandingly. “As coven leader, Carlisle will handle his punishment appropriately. Won’t you?” she questioned, though it was clear it was a demand behind the lightness in her voice as she looked at the man.
“Of course Bella. I see the error of my ways in how we have raised Edward since his turning,” he said quietly, his head lowered, ignoring the incredulous look from his son. “If they are of the family they are claiming, and more are coming, we cannot argue with our place. We must agree to their commands and abide. I have been too lenient on you over the years, Son.”
Rose still was not ready to submit to whom she’d believed was nothing more than a human girl, a threat to her family’s existence for the months she’d intruded on their sanctity. “Who the hell do you think you are to be commanding us to do anything?”
“I am the one that will be keeping my husband from killing you all for treating me as you have been,” Bella replied with a smile. “I’m thirsty. Do you have any blood bags in the house? Or bourbon? Seeing as your son tried taking my scotch from me at school.”
“You were drinking alcohol at school?” Emmett asked amused.
“Yes Emmie,” she smiled happily at him. “Alcohol helps with our bloodlust. Dulls it down some. Alice’s demands for shopping was getting on my nerves which stirs my hunger and having so many walking sausages around…well, I needed something to stave off my thirst and your brother decided to be the little prick that he is.”
“Edward. Why the hell would you do that? I’ve told you that you can’t keep trying to control everything in Bella’s life. You were even telling her what the hell she can eat and drink?” the bulky vamp questioned, outraged by the controlling nature of the boy. “That’s just wrong man.”
“She’s my mate…” Edward begun to argue but suddenly deep, angry growls reached their ears that had most of them looking around in fear.
Having anticipated such an arrival, Bella’s eyes looked up at Edward’s with a sparkle. “Oh. That? I hope you are good at groveling for forgiveness. Seems his hearing of your behavior before my brother or I could tell him ourselves may not quite work in your favor.”
“Who is that Isabella?” the boy vampire demanded as he tried to make himself appear as menacing as he could as he turned to prepare for an attack from some unknown source.
“That? Oh. My husband,” she shrugged carelessly and looked over her shoulder. “About time the bastard showed up.”
Several pairs of eyes looked around cautiously, unsure whether to flee or take up a defense until a new male walked in. He was dressed impeccably in a suit, brushing the rainwater off his sleeves in annoyance before he laid eyes on her and smiled, ignoring the minor inconvenience. “Lovely Isabella. It is a relief to see you faring well. I trust we have arrived in a timely manner?”
Bella smiled at him as she stood from her seat as he approached her, pulling her into his arms in an affectionate hug. “I have missed you, Elijah. You have not missed much. Nothing I could not have handled myself. They are nothing but troublesome children that need a timeout,” she replied as she gestured towards Edward and Rosalie with their teenager glares that seem to be permanently etched onto their faces.
“Of course,” Elijah frowned at them as he watched them curiously, letting her step out of his embrace. “He is outside attempting to calm himself for you. He will be in momentarily but he is not happy with that one there.”
“I did not expect him to be but I do not wish any of them harmed, Brother,” she announced as she leaned on the arm of the chair she vacated. “Mikael has been dealt with?”
“He is no more. We had some assistance with the local vampires in our home village,” he replied, eyeing her with a heavy look.
Bella sucked in a deep breath with the weight of the implication of what he meant. “So the rumor was true? You had found the girl there?”
“We did,” he answered with a nod. “He broke his curse while we were there. He is free of his binds and now the family is free to live without being hunted.”
“You were being hunted? So you lied when you said you were invincible?” Rosalie spoke up.
Bella sighed in exasperation, throwing her hands up as she looked over at Kol and Jasper, who both shrugged wordlessly. They both gave up a long while back and turned to entertaining themselves in their wait with a deck of cards, making her wonder momentarily when they even pulled them out.
“Our family’s business is none of yours, Cold Bitch,” a voice snarled from behind the pair of siblings and caused a wicked grin to emerge on Bella’s face. Every vampire in the room could also pick up the scent of the her arousal at the tone he used in his defense of their family. “The next time you insult my wife in the manner that you have been, I won’t hesitate to rip your tongue from your mouth and use it as a paperweight.”
Edward shifted uncomfortably as his nose picked up the undeniable scent of wolf in the room and took a step backwards. The first smart move he made that day. “Who – or what are you?” he asked, wisely keeping a neutral stance and tone.
The Cullens’ visitors all moved to stand beside or behind the sandy haired man while Bella lined herself up against his body as she gazed up to his eyes adoringly. Jasper stood close to them, making his wordless alliance known to his former family as well, watching them in warning in case they made a foolish move, monitoring their emotional states the entire time.
“Who am I, mate? I am Isabella’s husband,” he smirked. “As to what I am…” He sighed as his hand slid down Bella’s body, holding her tightly to him as he made his claim to her in front of the boy that his brother had texted him in warning about. “Well, I am the original hybrid. Niklaus Mikaelson is my name and how about you give me a good reason why I should listen to my wife’s request to not end your life for attempting to steal my mate, mate?”