Author Note: This chapter has been revised and bits added to it as of 07 Feb, 2016.
As Elena and Bonnie was setting up and waiting for the guys to return back from their trip early, Stefan had been up in his room searching through his journals for ones that held some of his entries about Isabelle. He didn’t write about her often, but he knew he did have at least a photo or two of her tucked away that he hoped wasn’t too decayed.
When he made his way back downstairs, he found Alaric and Jeremy walking in but no one else. Frowning he eyed the door behind them. “Where’s Damon?”
“He dropped us off saying he had a stop he needed to make,” Jeremy shrugged. “Why did we have to come back early anyway?”
Stefan didn’t answer as he tried not to think about what Damon was doing searching out for the Bella girl. He only hoped that he didn’t do anything foolish. Silently, he left the two in the hall as he returned the kitchen to wait.
Damon stood across the street from the Swan house, looking up at the window where he could see the girl moving around in her room. He understood his brother’s reaction to her now that he’d laid eyes on her himself.
As much as he wanted to get a closer look, he kept a distance as he watched her as she unpacked the boxes the older man he assumed to be her father brought into her room. The corner of his lips curled slightly in amusement as she eyed a couple that she evidently didn’t recognize. He was even more infatuated by this creature after she opened one and appeared want to spit nails when she saw whatever it was inside it.
There had been an exchange between the two that drew in his curiosity, completely enthralling him to the scene. He turned his attention back to her window, taking cover behind a large tree as he continued to watch while she stormed back over to the box with such fire that had him in a trance. She dragged the box over to the window where she fought it open and stared out it for a minute, seemingly to collect herself.
Her eyes were closed and she was breathing in through her nose, but he could see she was gripping the sill with her fingers quite tightly for her human body. “See this Alice. This is what I think of your clothes,” she muttered with such passion and sincerity, he thought she was actually speaking to whoever this Alice person was. The next thing he knew she was grabbing things, clothes from the looks of it, from the box and throwing them out the window and onto the lawn.
Damon’s lips smirked at the spitfire she was. As she was finished, he thought that was it, but before he knew it she was coming out of the front door and flying to the truck parked out front. “Bella? What are you doing?” The man called out from the door, giving Damon his first glimpse of the girl’s father. All he could think of was what an awesome pornstashe he had.
“Getting my revenge,” she answered like it was nothing and his head snapped back to her in bewilderment. He couldn’t help but think, What the fuck?
“Bella…There are other ways to deal with your anger with them,” the man said carefully.
She paused as she was pulling something out of the bed that Damon couldn’t see but was wondering what had her father so nervous. Bella appeared to consider something then shook her head. “No. I think this way is much better. More therapeutic for me actually,” she said and he could hear the grin in her voice. “I think you were right that this town might be real good for a change for me Dad.”
The Bella girl moved into the line of sight for Damon again and he stood in shock as she proceeded to soak the pile of clearly designer clothes with gasoline before taking a book of matches out from her pocket with a smile and setting it ablaze.
Whoever or whatever she was, she definitely had a dark side. But it was one that appealed to him that he wanted to know intimately and see if it was something that could benefit their little group, but his concern was if the others would be able to accept that. He doubted his brother saw this in her otherwise he wouldn’t have set up this dinner with their human friends participating.
She stood there staring into the funeral pyre of clothing while her father looked on with concern. Damon, too, was a little bit concerned for the girl’s mental health for not knowing what caused her to react in such a violent way. It wasn’t long before the man disappeared back into the house to leave her to her thoughts but she was still quite angry with something or someone, letting out small huffs that had him itching with wonder at the things going through her mind.
“Stupid, sparkling, idiotic vampires,” she mumbled under her breath. “One day I’ll show you who’s no good for me…” With that she stomped back off into the house, slamming the door behind her where she returned to her room.
Outside, Damon leaned against the back of the tree, avoiding the house as he tried to comprehend what he heard her say. She knew of vampires, at least the other kind, and survived. However, she was left with some obvious resentment from whatever time she had with them but he would need to know more about her.
“What the fuck?” he heard her whisper to herself, making him peer around the tree to her room as she stared at something in her room, like it was moving around her, leading her to the window before she was left looking confused and frightened, but she couldn’t allow herself to get caught up in whatever it was because her father reminded her that her new friends would likely be coming soon to pick her up and to get ready. “This town is seriously really fucked up.”
The comment made him chuckle as he walked away, trying to wrap his head around everything. Damon had experience with doppelgangers through Elena, but he didn’t know what to make of this one. This one had secrets. Secrets that he definitely wanted to weed out one by one.
Damon returned back to the house and was rather quiet as he went over to his personal bar to pour himself a drink. It didn’t pass his notice that everyone’s eyes were on him as they waited for something. He knew what they wanted. A reaction. Him flipping out, overreacting, killing something in a fit. He wouldn’t give them that kind of satisfaction. It would be too easy.
“So, you guys got everything for dinner prepped?” he asked with a smirk as he turned to head for the kitchen, Stefan hot on his heels.
“Where were you?” his brother questioned heatedly.
Damon shrugged as he knocked back the rest of his glass, frowning that it was empty already. “Out,” he said simply before looking at what was started while he was gone. “Great you started on the tomatoes. I’m thinking of leaving one key ingredient out of the sauce and see if she picks up on it. If it’s a reincarnation, she’ll know immediately. A doppelganger might be able to tell, but if she’s got half the brain I think this girl does she’ll know that something will be off with the sauce regardless.”
“I figured you would go to Bella’s,” Stefan muttered as he narrowed his eyes on him. “What did you do?”
“I did nothing. Just watched. She knows about vampires – or at least Cold Ones. She mumbled something about sparkling, idiot vampires. Those are the only ones I can think of that fit the description. If we can gain her trust, then we’ll find out what she is, but I don’t think she knows what she is herself. She appeared too confused about the place,” he shrugged back.
Stefan eyed him confused for a minute as he thought about what he said and shook his head. “Wait. What? Cold Ones? So she’s familiar with the supernatural, then we can just skip over the formality…”
“No, you’re not listening,” Damon sighed as he turned to his brother. “I don’t think she knows much. She may know of those kind. But she may be limited to them. Play it by ear and see what she gives. Play human for dinner tonight and see what goes. Something happened in that house that freaked her out while I was there. She saw something, I don’t know what, but whatever it was it sounded like it started only when she arrived here because she complained about the town being fucked up – which it kinda is.”
He thought back to earlier in the afternoon, as he watched her as she studied the house when she was in that trance like state. She muttered about something being up then, so he knew she was confused before as well. “You’re right,” he nodded. “She said something similar earlier. So what else do you have in mind? I know you.”
Damon shrugged as he moved around quietly, as he was still thinking about the girl. “I don’t know,” he admitted softly. “She’s – not like her. But she is. It’s weird. This one has a fire in her and a taste for revenge that I find ridiculously hot. She does not like these other vampires she alluded to, so I don’t know if it’s just them or all vamps in general, but I plan to try to sway her my way,” he grinned.
“What do you mean revenge? Damon. If she’s dangerous…”
“Don’t sweat it Steffie! All she did was set some clothes on fire. Probably given to her from her old vampire friends that she wants nothing to do with. Her dad seemed to understand and left her to it, though I don’t think he knows. Is he going to be working with Liz?”
“Probably. I’ll have Caroline find out tomorrow,” Stefan said, growing agitated as he started to second guess the dinner. “Maybe we should call this off.”
Damon only smiled as he stirred the sauce because he could hear Elena’s car pulling into the drive and two car doors opening and closing. “Why don’t you go greet your new friend at the door. It was your invitation after all. I’m just the cool older brother here,” he smirked before continuing. “Who will probably get the girl.”
Stefan scowled at he as he walked out to the living room where Elena was leading Bella in. He could see the girl was equally fascinated by the house and nervous. “Hello Bella, welcome,” he smiled at her. “Glad you can make it.”
“Thanks for inviting me but you really didn’t have to,” she replied, his eyes catching her nervously tugging on her sleeve.
“I told you it’s no problem. Hey! What was up with that burn pile in your yard?” Elena asked, completely oblivious to Stefan’s intent curiosity.
He studied her reaction to the question and was intrigued and amazed at her expressions. At first she was nervous but she was quickly irritated and angry. He wondered if it was at Elena for asking but his concern was soon negated by her answer.
“Oh that,” she huffed. “My dad decided to pack some things that I had wanted to leave behind that had been given to me by my um – ex best friend. I intended to leave them behind in my past, but since my father decided to bring that part of my life with us here, I chose to burn that bridge.”
He glanced between Elena and Bella. “I take it you and your friend didn’t end things amicably?”
She gave him a small glare but he could see the hurt behind it. “She and I didn’t end things at all. It was her brother that ended everything. When he broke up with me, they all moved away without so much of a goodbye to someone they called a friend and sister,” she said with a shrug as if it didn’t bother her but he recognized the mask she was wearing. It was the same one Damon wore for a 150 years in regards to Katherine. Or maybe it was really about her?
“Well, Bonnie should be on her way back soon. She had to run home for something. Elena’s brother Jeremy is around here somewhere. Probably upstairs in one of the bedrooms playing video games,” Stefan shrugged. “Damon is working on dinner. I hope pasta is okay? He makes this terrific sauce but refuses to tell anyone his secret.”
Bella’s irritation over Alice and the clothes calmed down as she looked around and listened to Stefan as he spoke about who was joining the group for dinner. As he explained about his brother and his secret sauce, she couldn’t help but to smile at that. “Well, that would be his prerogative if he’s the one cooking. I don’t like to share my recipes much either but I used to like cooking for some friends back in Forks. Some days, I swear they were raised by wolves the way they ate,” she smiled to herself as she followed him through the large sitting rooms with large shelves of books that she really yearned to look at causing Stefan to smile. He knew Damon would enjoy that little tidbit of knowledge that this Bella was a reader like him.
Leading her into the kitchen, he was careful as he introduced her to Damon but she froze in the doorway, eying him as he faced away from her. There was something of recognition in her eye but she was also confused by it. “Bella, this is my brother Damon. Damon, Bella. She’s one of the last of the Swan founding family,” he introduced as he pulled out a stool for her at the kitchen island.
Damon slowly turned around to smile at her and she simply stared at him for a moment before shaking herself out of whatever it was she was thinking. “Stupid crazy town,” she muttered so lowly that you had to be a vampire to hear it, causing Damon and Stefan to glance at one as they recalled their earlier conversation.
“Nice to meet you,” she said with a shaky voice as she held out her hand to shake, but Damon being Damon, took it and turned it so that he could drop a kiss to her knuckles.
“Pleasure is all mine Miss Bella. I hear you moved into the old Swan manor. Nice place,” he commented with an easy smile that caused the girl to blush and Stefan’s eyebrow to raise slightly.
“Thanks,” she mumbled uncomfortably as she shifted on her seat and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear but both vampires’ eyes caught the shift of the fabric revealing the edge of a scar on her wrist making them frown.
Damon was more concerned for her, while Stefan wondered what it would mean for them and Elena on how it would affect the girl. After all, their knowledge of the Cold Ones indicated that no one should survive their bite, unless they were to be turned. Then how would this girl be sitting here, flesh and blood? “So Bella. You said you used to cook in Forks for friends?” Stefan asked. “Maybe you can try Damon’s sauce and duplicate it for us so that we can get a copy of that recipe in some way?”
The underhanded ploy earned an amused snort from Damon as he leaned against the counter with the wooden spoon, twirling it in his fingers. He looked over at Bella playfully and shrugged. “If you think you’re good enough, you’re more then welcome to try Gorgeous. I doubt you’d be able to though. No one will ever get this recipe. It was given to me by someone very special,” he said with deceptive meaning behind his words that they all could see the curiosity in her eyes.
Bonnie had arrived then, rushing in while apologizing for being late, slamming her bag on the counter and smiled at Bella. “What did I miss?” she asked as she looked around, noticing for the first time the way Damon and the girl were challenging each other.
“Just waiting to see if Bella might be able to figure out what makes Damon’s sauce so kick ass,” Elena replied, watching them like it was game seven of the World Series.
Bella nodded, but they could see she was still nervous and guarded about something. “I’ll give it a taste,” she said, slipping off her chair and approached the stove where Damon gave the pot a quick stir and helped spoon a little bit of sauce out for her to see if she could tell any difference to what he might have done as compared to the sauce that his Isabelle taught him.
Bella was quiet as she tasted it for a minute, her eyes closed as she seemed to be focused on something in her thoughts. “It’s good,” she admitted with a smile before looking up at him. “But…It seems to be missing something. I don’t know.”
He frowned, considering it as he played along. He knew exactly what he left out so far, as it was one of the last ingredients to be honest. “What do you think is missing?”
She went to try another taste again, thinking it over more. “It tastes a lot like the sauce I make for my lasagna. I usually add some wine in. Merlot or something darker depending on how rich I want the sauce,” she said as she set the spoon down but not before taking on last finger swipe from it and returning to her seat. “It really is good though.”
Damon stood still, blinking as he stared where she was just standing. He knew Stefan could hear his heart beating faster with his own panic at her being right with the exact thing he left out of the sauce, something that wasn’t necessary but entirely made the taste unique. That could only mean she was some form of reincarnation, but while he knew Stefan wondered what they would do next about her, he wanted to know if she remembered him.