Chapter 06

Damon watched Bella inquisitively as she excused herself for the restroom, mentally comparing the differences between her and the Isabelle he remembered. While the similarities were obvious in appearance, he found that what he learned of this girl so far was that she had much more spirit that the one he had loved over 150 years before.

“Leave her alone and let her get used to things for awhile before you scare her off,” Elena commented from the couch, making him scowl at her.

“I’m not going to do anything to her Elena,” he sneered, still feeling bitter about everything that had happened between them in the recent weeks. As much as he understood it wasn’t her that tricked him into kissing her, she also knew how to play on his emotions to get what she wanted from him which rattled him. And he hated it.

Jeremy let out a huff as he glared at the two. “Look, will you two cut it out? Bella is just down the hall and will be back soon. We all know how much of a dick Damon is so just leave him be and ignore him. I hate to say it Elena, but he’s actually been pretty chill today so lay off.”

“Aww, isn’t this cute,” a familiar but ice cold voice sounded with the sound of heels clacking on the tiled floor of the foyer leading to the sitting room where everyone was gathered. “Seems that the mail misplaced my invitation to the party. Pity. Damon. Hello Stefan,” she purred as she ran a finger over his shoulder as she passed behind him before rounding the sofa to glare down at her mirror image. “My pitiful excuse for a replacement.”

“What do you want Katherine?” Stefan questioned her as he kept his face neutral while Damon casually made his way over to block the hall that led to where Bella was for her safety.

“I just came to see you. Same reason I was here last time. Figured you might have changed your mind and see if you were bored with your human,” she shrugged as she strolled around the room casually before stopping short at the loveseat where Bella had been sitting with Damon while everyone had been talking minutes before. Her eyes were locked on the cushion as she inhaled the scent before looking up and glared angrily at the brothers. “Where is she?!”

They looked at one another confused. “What are you talking about?” Damon asked, leaning against the wall as if she lost her mind, and thinking that she may have finally done so.

“Don’t play dumb with me Damon! I know she is here!” Katherine growled as she flashed over to him to get past him but he threw her back without hesitation and she was back on her feet ready to go again, but Stefan was beside him, ready to fight as well causing her to freeze. “You don’t know what you are getting yourselves into with that girl. If you were smart you would just kill her and be done with it. I’ve already killed her at least twice before. The bitch won’t stay dead!”

“What are you talking about? She’s just a human girl, one of Elena’s new friends that’s starting school!” Stefan exclaimed, making her laugh hysterically.

“You know that isn’t true. You thought she was a Swan doppelganger the moment you laid eyes on her,” she said smugly and frowned as she backed away from them. Uncharacteristic for her, she offered some parting advice before she ran into the night. “She is so much more than that. The longer she’s alive, the more powerful she’ll become and the harder to kill. Do it now. Kill her Stefan, otherwise she’ll bring trouble. Believe me, I know.”

They all were silent as they tried to make sense of what just happened. While the humans were still pretty much in shock, Damon was the first one to break. Pacing in his anger, he practically vibrated with his rage against his vampire ex girlfriend.

“Witchy? Can you please find out what the hell that bitch is talking about? There has to be something in your ancestors journals or maybe the judgy spirits know something? Just – find something that we can use to protect her?” he whispered harshly so that Bella didn’t overhear as he reeled back to check to make sure that she wasn’t coming out of the bathroom yet.

Bonnie blinked up at him in surprise and suspicion of his actions and behavior towards the girl but nodded anyway as she had been considering the same thing herself. “I’ll see what I can find out tomorrow morning,” she replied.

He frowned for a moment as a thought crossed his mind, glancing at her very briefly. “Thanks,” he mumbled, surprising her before he turned to go to the bar and poured himself a drink. Everyone was quiet as they heared the door down the hall open and tried to act normal.

Despite their best attempts, Bella was able to see through their act but didn’t call them out on it except to comment on Damon’s drinking. It had taken everything in him not to react when Elena all but dragged her away from him after he offered to give her a ride home, causing him to glare at the door as they disappeared from his sight.

“She means well Damon. She is only afraid that you will hurt her,” Stefan murmured as he eyed him. “She just doesn’t know the extent of your history with Isabelle.”

He turned his glare on his brother. “How much did you tell them to begin with? That’s my business!”

“Just that you two were close and it hurt when she disappeared. I wouldn’t say more. Bonnie can atest to that,” he said, causing Damon to glance at the witch who nodded in affirmation. “As much of an asshole as you are lately, you’re still my brother.”

Damon narrowed his eyes as he chose to focus on his alcohol instead, growing uncomfortable with the scrutiny they had him under. “She’s different than her. Aside from what I witnessed earlier, she’s – I can’t explain it,” he admitted with a sigh. “I like it a lot. More than I really should Stefan. But this girl – whatever she is hiding, what if Katherine is right?”

“And what if she is wrong? Katherine is a jealous and vindictive bitch. We all know that. We can admit that she has some kind of power to her that I’m sure the witch spirits can give us answers to tomorrow. For now, let’s just get to know her. Whatever power she might have may come in handy in protecting Elena too,” Stefan tried, only to earn a growl from his brother.

“Forgive me but Elena is the last one I care about helping after that stunt she just pulled,” he snapped, shaking his head, trying to calm down. “Do you have Bella’s number? I want to be able to call her before I get her tomorrow.”

Bonnie spoke up then, her voice soft and sympathetic. “She doesn’t have one,” she shared.

“Bella mentioned something about not having one anymore. I got the feeling that something happened to it that she wasn’t particularly keen to have contact with someone,” Stefan added, furrowing his brows in thought.

That gave Damon a thought, making him smile as he already had plans forming for the following morning. “I think it’s time we call it a night. Much to do, much to do,” he said cheekily causing Bonnie and Jeremy to eye him oddly.

“Yeah. I want to also stop in and see Caroline at the hospital as well,” Bonnie added, making Damon stop short with a concerned expression. “What?”

“You don’t think Katherine would…” Stefan said as he approached Damon as they were lost in their thoughts.

“She would. She’s enough of a bitch considering she just admitted to killing Isabelle for whatever reason she has,” Damon huffed as he tried to figure out what was going on. “She said she wasn’t a doppelganger, right? What does that leave? Reincarnation. She knows Isabelle’s recipe, so obviously she has to know more, but maybe doesn’t realize it or doesn’t want to say.”

“What are you getting at Damon?”

“Hush up Witchy,” he waved her off. “I want to trigger reactions. Do things that I know will get a response that she has to remember.”

“Damon – that is not a good idea considering…” Stefan hesitated.

He scowled at his younger brother. “Give me some credit for once. I’m not stupid. I’ll think of something, just you all get some answers from the witches and deal with Caroline. I’ll deal with Bella. Starting with getting her a new phone and a vervain necklace.”

~o.O.o~

The first order of business the following morning for Damon was a trip to get Bella a new cell phone and add her to his plan. He made sure that it had everything that a girl could possibly want – mainly because he hoped she would be willing to call and text him as much as her heart desired. As his heart desired, and that was a great deal.

He barely had enough time to finish that when he got word that their suspicions the night before were confirmed. Katherine indeed had gotten to Caroline in the hospital and before they could have had someone with her to help her, she had managed to keep herself together, after feeding of course to complete her transition, that she was discharged but now confined to her house until nightfall. Damon was growing more pissed off by the obstacles that his bitch of an ex was throwing at them now, for simply not allowing her to kill their new friend.

While was waiting for Liz to return to her office, he penned out a quick letter for Bella to leave with the phone and wrapped it together, but saw his friend entering with Bella’s Fuck Awesome Pornstashe father. That was one discussion that was going to have to wait now, so he turned and headed out the back of the station as he tried to figure out his next move and Katherine’s until the witches came up with some answers.

Gaining some cover, he called for a crow to compel and sent it over to Bella’s window to keep an eye on her there so that at least there was one thing watching her, making him think about the possibility of having Alaric include her in his Buffy ass kicking classes with Elena and Jeremy one day.

Quickly, he dropped off the package by Bella’s and hightailed it out of there before anyone could see him, but ran into a familiar face not two blocks away that only raised his suspicious nature. “John. How many times do you have to die that you get the picture that no one wants you around?” Damon asked with a sarcastic smirk as he tried to step around him and walk away, only to be stopped.

“Oh, you can keep trying and I’ll keep coming back. I don’t really care. I believe I told you that I want you and your brother away from my family. Specifically Elena,” John said.

“It’s not me you have to worry about with her you know. Stefan is the one in love with your doppelganger daughter. I want nothing part of that little party anymore, so aside from keeping her pretty little neck alive, that’s it for my participation in her life. I got my own issues that I’ve got to handle like killing a certain slutpire that looks remarkably like your daughter,” he replied nonchalantly.

“You’re planning on Katherine? What? Why?!” the man demanded before looking around for prying ears.

Damon leaned against an old white fence and picked at the chipping paint. “Hm, could use a touch up. I’ll have to see how much they may want for the work. I might know someone looking for some a simple job for easy money,” he murmured to himself before looking at John with boredom. Grasping him on the neck painfully, he dragged him along the sidewalk to the back of the Swan property where he knew there was an old vampire holding cell. “Katherine admitted to killing my human girlfriend before she came in and played with Stefan and my heads before we were turned. For me, that is inexcusable and those feelings don’t exactly go away. You’re not a vampire John so you don’t understand, you can’t relate. So I’ll try to explain the whole thirst for vengeance with relationships for you in layman terms. When we have strong emotions for someone, whether it be strong love, or strong hate, those feelings are increased when we change. Total devotion, downright enemies. You following me bud? Your friend Katherine took my human life, my human girlfriend that I had every intention of proposing to, even had my jackass of a father’s approval for something with her, and she murdered her. Then she went on compelling us into her little playthings that everyone knows the story of time and time again.”

Reaching the edge of the property, Damon shoved John into the wrought iron bars roughly, causing his face to get scrapes against the damaged metal. “So the girl is dead from over 150 years ago. What does that have to do with now?” he wined as he struggled to stand without support.

“What is wrong John, is that she is back. We’re thinking it’s a reincarnation and it’s the best bet considering the reaction that Katherine earned just from her scent on my house last night. Now John…If I let you go, will you promise to stay the fuck off my back in regards to Elena? I want her safe just like you but I always want to keep this other girl safe as well and I can’t be in two places at once, so I need Stefan to watch Elena when he is with her. I’d have others do it, but the vamps I know of are young, not yet stable enough for that kind of duty. And the others I know that have control, would rather feed then worry about the work later. So unless you have someone that these girls can trust to get close enough to their inner circle, then yeah but otherwise, you know damn well we are their best bet…On second thought, I think not. You can sit in here and rot for awhile,” he said as he pulled at the chains of the tiny private family mausoleum that only had a stair way entrance to a secret holding cell of cages. Thankful that he chose to wear his leather jacket, he was careful in opening one of the cage doors and threw John in unceremoniously. “By the way, the metal is soaked in vervain and wolfsbane. Super concentrated stuff that I don’t even think Katherine’s little immunity trick can handle. Have a nice life!”

Damon’s mood was growing more sour as the afternoon rolled on, especially since every time he wanted to go to check on Bella, something else kept coming up to draw him away that needed to be dealt with. He sent another text message to Bonnie, asking for an update, but there wasn’t any response from her and that just added another concern piled onto his ever growing list that he didn’t want to have to deal with.

“What are you doing here?” Jeremy voiced up, making Damon look around, wondering how or why he was at the Gilbert house.

“Dunno. Just – dealing with shit. School let out?” he asked the kid.

“Yeah. Head’s up though, Elena’s not too happy with Bella,” he said as he lead the way into the house. Before Damon could question him, Jeremy beat him to the the explanation. “Evidently, she tried warning her away from you last night when she took her home and Bella went off on her, so now she’s thinking that Bella is too naive for our world or a massive bitch. I think that she just didn’t like whatever truth that she might have heard.”

“Do you know what was said?” Damon asked darkly, the urge to go find the doppelganger and rip her throat out himself was growing strong.

He shook his head. “Nah, but I’m sure I can see if I can find something out if you want. Bella is supposed to start school with us tomorrow. I don’t think she’ll want to sit with Elena at lunch if she’s riding her bitch fest.”

“Good. Do some sleuthing and fill me in on that chick fight. I want all the details,” he grinned back as his phone beeped with a tone he had reserved for someone special in case she ever contacted him in any way. He couldn’t help but laugh as he read her text, shaking his head while he sent back his response.

“Bella?” Jeremy asked with a small smile, eying him with curiosity.

“Yeah. I’ve still got some things to do to make sure that Katherine isn’t lingering around but I have to find Bonnie first to see what she knows. Catch up with you later. Call me if you hear anything or text me if you got my brother listening around. I don’t down that Elena has him dropping eaves for her. If you also hear from Bonnie before I do, send her my way. We seriously need to know what we are getting ourselves into. I’m not changing my mind about protecting Bella, no matter what the situation is. Just making that clear,” Damon said as he looked back at him.

Jeremy met his gaze with one of his own, equally concerned about everything going on. “I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

~o.O.o~