“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.”
During the time the group waited for Jasper and his friends to get to town, Bella repeated her opposition to having Edward in the house. She didn’t care that the tomb hadn’t been resealed yet. Keeping him dismembered and the body parts away from each other and under the vervain stalks, she was satisfied that he was in sufficient pain until they could do more to get information out of him when their mood ring arrived to try to work his own gift on him.
Her lack of empathy for her ex-boyfriend drew concern by her human and vampire friends but no one commented as Damon stuck close to her the entire time and whenever someone went say something, he subtly shook his head and shoved a fresh blood bag into his girlfriend’s hands. As they set Edward up in the tomb and turned to leave, he tried again to garner her sympathies.
“Bella, you can’t let them imprison me and hurt me like this! You love me, or you loved me once. Surely you still feel something for me,” Edward called after her as she walked back to entrance with the blood bag in her mouth, causing her to stop and listen.
She turned to look back at him, finishing her meal as her eyes blazed in irritation. “Isabella,” Damon murmured to her in warning, afraid for what she may do.
She tossed the empty bag aside as walked up to his limbless torso as she looked down on him with nothing but a frown on her face. He still seemed to have hope that she could be reasoned with. “I know this isn’t you Bella,” he spoke softly. “Remember. Remember that you wanted to be like the family and not hurt humans. Feed from animals. They have you drinking human blood.”
His twisted reasoning did spark a reaction but not what he had hoped. A snort escaped through her nose and she covered her face as she seemed embarrassed but waved it off. Bella then started laughing uncontrollably at him, tears running down her face as she pointed at him. “That is the biggest load of shit you ever spouted at me! Even more than when you dumped me and claimed that I wouldn’t remember you and it’d be like you ever existed. You are such an arrogant prick, Edward Cullen. Don’t speak to me about what I decide to feed from, especially when you’re feeding on humans as well. Don’t worry though. You’ll get yours soon enough,” she grinned at him maliciously, a snarl in her words as she turned away and strutted back to the entrance where Damon stood waiting with Tyler and Stefan.
He smiled at her as she leaned up to kiss him and brushed her hair back from her face. “Stefan and I will finish up here. Tyler will go back to the house with you in case the crystal ball is still able to see you. Whitlock should be there real soon so I’m sure he’ll be happy if you were there to greet him,” he whispered to her.
“Alright. Only because you were so nice about it,” she smirked as she patted his face. “Besides, I’m thirsty. You’re going to take me out soon and show me how to feed properly, right?”
Damon practically had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from reacting to her question and nodded. “Of course. Let’s just get through this shit right now and we’ll find the right time to get you a live meal. For now we’re well stocked on the bagged stuff.”
With a glare over her shoulder at the simpering vampire, she nodded and followed Tyler out, leaving the brothers behind. They listened to make sure that she was out of hearing distance as they pushed the stone closed over the tomb before speaking.
“What’s wrong with her?” Stefan asked. “You’re worried about something. She can’t have turned her emotions off already.”
“She didn’t,” he muttered as he eyed him closely. “But she is reminding me a lot like you when you turned, just – I don’t know. Darker?”
“What do you mean like me? I couldn’t control my bloodlust. She has remarkable control around Alaric and Jeremy. Just tell me what you’re thinking so that maybe I can help watch for whatever it is.”
Damon looked around and hesitated. “I’m afraid to have her feed from a vein right now. She woke up, what? Three, four hours ago to complete her transition? Do you have any idea how many blood bags she went through already? She had three at the house before we went down to basement right after she had Jeremy’s blood. She slugged down another two after that little meeting and five bags since we’ve been here. Think Stefan!”
Stefan’s face dawned with realization as it seemed to pale slightly. “She might be a ripper,” he whispered. “After the Cullens, she definitely won’t want to feed on animals.”
“She might if she realizes the danger she is. She has her emotions and she does care about who she hurts. Unfortunately, the only way I can think of to test the theory is to let her feed and see if dinner survives,” the dark headed vampire hissed in his frustration.
“She’s also angry, Damon. She hates Edward and she looked almost giddy that he’s in pain in there. That’s not something I thought I’d see from her,” he admitted. “Hell, I was with that idiot’s thinking myself that she would have something in her that would give him some sort of reprieve but she only wants to further his torment along.”
Shrugging his shoulder, Damon seemed like he didn’t care but he understood exactly what his brother was thinking. “Can you blame her? He lead her to her death. Him and the rest of his retched coven’s actions killed her family. I’d want to prolong his torture too and it’s not like we can kill him right away. We need him for information to get the psychic bitch and she knows it.”
Stefan ran his hands through his hair, holding them there as he stared at his brother. They had problems coming at them in every direction it seemed and he hadn’t a clue of what to do. “Well besides the seer, we have Victoria, right? Edward is locked up tight. Go back the house and send Bonnie here so that she can reseal the tomb. I’ll stand guard in the meanwhile in case she shows up here.”
It took a moment for Damon to stare at his brother before nodding. Walking away, he kept his senses open as a feeling he couldn’t quite identify kept nagging at his consciousness. His eyes searched the woods, finding no threat in the area. Despite that, he used his vampire speed to return to the boarding house more quickly.
When he walked inside, he wasn’t surprised to find Bella sipping on another blood bag as the girls were gathered in the living room. While his gaze was locked on her lips around the tubing, drinking happily, he almost missed Tyler approaching. “Has everything been going as planned?”
“As can be,” the hybrid whispered back. “We’ve pretty much been shoving a blood bag in her hands as soon as her temper flared. Someone is going to have to make a trip to stock up soon.”
It wasn’t something that the older vampire really needed to hear. “What about Whitlock? Any idea how much longer he will be?”
“Any time now,” he said after glancing at his watch. “Peter called just before you got back saying that they were about to cross Wickery Bridge.”
Damon nodded in acknowledgment before entering the room, heading straight for his bar. Pouring himself a glass of his favorite bourbon, he paused before filling a second one. “Bella, my sexy minx. Let’s take a break from the bags for a bit and have some of this,” he smiled at her as he brought her the glass.
She frowned at it, looking between the liquor and the blood in her hand. The blood was certainly more appealing as she hadn’t been a big drinker as a human, but it had started to register with her just how many she had. Her eyes darted up to his as he narrowed them slightly, shaking the tumbler in his hand to bring her attention back to it. Bella reluctantly accepted the glass, sniffing at it and made a face.
“Yeah, it’s not the most pleasant if you’re new to drinking but you’ll get used to it. It helps curb your bloodlust,” Elena smiled as she reached over to take the blood bag from the newborn’s hand.
Bella pulled it back, out of her reach. “I can finish it. It’d be a shame to let it go to waste. I’ll drink the damn alcohol too,” she sneered as she held both possessively.
Damon stood back, letting his eyes fall closed as this was a reaction he hoped wouldn’t happen. “Of course Kitten. You can have both,” he assured her as he kissed her temple. Hearing the gravel out in the drive from a car approaching the house, he started to make his way to the door. His eyes met Tyler’s who had been waiting in the foyer, standing there shocked and almost terrified by the scene he had just witnessed.
The hybrid went to say something but Damon quickly shook his head and shoved him outside. “Not a word,” he hissed in his ear.
“I wasn’t going to utter a thing,” he defended himself until they made their way out to the drive. He stood next to him for a moment, gathering composure over what he witnessed. “Is she-?”
“I don’t know,” Damon interrupted sharply. The two remained silent until the car continued up the drive until it stopped in front of them. The lithe man stood with a deceptively tense and relaxed posture as he watched the three exit the vehicle. He never cared for Cold Ones and despite these being on their side, working with them would continue to leave a sour taste in his mouth.
The first one out had a rather cheerful smile on his face, if cocky, while the other male fell back as he eyed the two more cautiously. Damon could see the threat in the man, in all three with the scars littering their sparkling skin, but he was the worse of them. “Major I assume,” he muttered as he narrowed his eyes a fraction.
“Jasper will do,” he replied with a nod. “How’s Bella doing? Staying out of trouble I hope.”
Peter let out a snort, earning a curious look from his friend and a sigh from Damon and Tyler. “Something happen and you decided not to share asshole?” The Major questioned as he looked to his companion.
“Something like that. Thought it would be a nice surprise!”
Jasper growled at his friend, punching him hard in the arm as he passed by him as he approached the locals. “What happened?” he questioned more seriously, concerned for his young friend.
“A Doucheward and Pixiebitch problem,” Damon answered under his breath, his eyes darting around anxiously. “The bitch got away but the asshole is stuck in the tomb, dismembered and underneath a shit load of vervain. Let’s just say that Isabella has no issues with desires to torture the bastard.”
“That’s not all. Tell him the rest,” Peter pressed through gritted teeth as he rubbed his arm. The female rolled her eyes at him, shaking her head but said nothing, nor did she offer him any comfort.
Damon eyed the exchange between the three with skepticism but continued. “Alice killed Bella. We don’t know if she was aware or not that she had my blood in her but she did complete the transition.”
Jasper nodded as his strategic mind pieced together the likely scene. “So we have a prisoner, my lunatic ex-wife on the loose, and a newborn. Okay…”
“That’s not all…”
“Shut the fuck up!” Damon and Tyler both snapped, annoyed already at their guest, knowing exactly what he was fishing for.
Narrowing his eyes on the tradition vampire, Jasper tried to pull what he was feeling. “What has you scared? Is it something with Bella?” At the mention of her name, there was a flutter of irritation and annoyance.
“Stop reading me. This is the only time I will warn you,” Damon said with a growl. “She’s thirsty. Abnormally thirsty. Ripper kind of thirsty. It’s only been hours since since she completed the transition. So yes, I’m a little upset that my girl might be worse than my brother when it comes to feeding.”
Jasper frowned. “Let me see her. Maybe I can see what she is feeling and get a better understanding for you. We can see what we can do from there.”
With a reluctant sigh, the dark haired vampire let out a grunt and turned to show the visitors inside. “There are plenty of rooms that you can stay here. I know you don’t sleep but whatever,” he muttered. Two more turns and he walked into the living room where the girls were keeping Bella distracted.
Damon couldn’t help but narrow his eyes as he took in the sight of the bottle of whiskey in her hand and glanced to Elena, who merely gave him a shrug. “Isabella, your friends are here,” he said as he made his way to her side.
She looked up past him to see Jasper walk in with two unfamiliar, red eyed vampires that set her instincts on edge. If it weren’t for Damon’s calming touch, his hands running over her arms to settle and hold her down, the urge to attack was high. Her eyes swung back to the former Cullen and gave a wane smile. “Jasper,” she whispered.
“Bella,” he nodded as he studied her, taking a small step closer only for her to step back into Damon’s chest, allowing him to wrap his arms around her firmly. “How are you holding up?”
Her eyes flickered with an unspoken emotion while her face maintained a calm appearance. “I’m doing okay, all things considered. How are you?”
“Good, good. Been worried about ya,” he admitted, cocking his head to the side. “I’m glad you were able to find some friends to help you. I hear you did a number to Edward…”
Bella smiled as she peered up under her lashes, her eyes sparkling as the topic shifted off of her a bit. “He’s rotting in a hole where he should,” she hinted, her voice taking on dark undertones that surprised the vampire. “We’ll find Victoria and she will join him. There is a special place right next to him, plenty of vervain to shove up her ass.”
The male with him let out an amused snort as he looked over at her. When then turned their attention to him, being a mixture of curiosity or annoyance, his smirk grew into a larger grin. “You certainly have a thirst for this life Sugar. Of course, let’s let you loose on the crazy red head. The bitch will be in for one helluva surprise when she comes for you.”
“Who are you?” she asked as she stared at him confused.
“That would be Peter,” Tyler answered from where he sat on the step, near the doorway to the upstairs. “The one Major Whitlock affectionately referred to as asshole on the phone frequently.”
The girl nodded, “Ah. Okay.”
“That’s it? Just Ah, okay? What the fuck? We just took out an army of newborns in Seattle for your pretty newborn traditional ass and all you have to say when you meet me is ah, okay? No respect!”
Jasper glared at him as he stook a step closer. “Peter. Now’s not the time for your games,” he warned. He, besides his female friend may have been the only one to know that the man was doing what he was doing intentionally and for a reason, but the others were just watching on with continued confusion at the display or increasing anger.
It was quite clear where Damon was positioned as his arms had been locked around Bella as he had been holding her back, but as his own emotions rose for upsetting her, he was becoming more unstable himself – not that he was stable to begin with. His hands started to slip down her arms as he spoke up, “Look asshole…I don’t know who you think you are but she never fucking met you before today save for one or two short conversations on the phone however brief so give her a fucking break!”
Faster than he could have anticipated, she had escaped from him and charged across the room for Peter who had stood with a smile on his face, squarely in the middle of the hallway. Jasper tackled her into the wall, flooding her body with as much drowsiness as he could but she fought against it, knowing how his gift worked.
Tyler, having had come in with the group and had been closest, rushed up to the two and made the split decision and grabbed Bella’s head and twisted it, snapping her neck. Looking up to Damon as he approached her unconscious body, he winced in regret. “Sorry man.”
“No sweat. She snapped. Not your fault,” he muttered under his breath before bending to pick her up. Sighing, he moved her over to the cough, dumping her on it unceremoniously. “Okay! So do you want to tell me what the fuck that was about?” he demanded as he turned to the Cold Ones, knowing that they were fucking with his girl as they were having some sort of silent communication going on between the two.
Peter’s annoying amusement never left his face even as his mate smacked the back of his head and he rolled his eyes at her. “Go ahead Major. Tell them,” he pushed. “Tell them what you felt from their pretty newborn.”
Feeling everyone’s eyes turn on him, Jasper ran his hands through his hair feeling frustrated by his friend. “You weren’t wrong about her. She is abnormally thirsty for your kind. If anything, I’d peg her for one of our kind after turning, but she’s more controlled emotionally in one sense. She’s volatile when provoked, granted, but we all are to a certain extent…”
“Some more than others,” Stefan muttered as he smiled indulgently at his brother.
“Regardless,” Jasper stressed as he continued. “Bella needs to find some balance with her feeding and fast. Find out what’s driving her thirst soon and don’t let her feed from a human. She will be a ripper without a doubt and with her history with my former family, she won’t turn back willingly. I have no doubt of that. That girl is as stubborn as a mule.”
Damon looked down at Bella and sighed at the image of the innocence she portrayed, laid out before him. He only wished she were naked and under him in their bedroom upstairs and this drama over with already. Of course she just had to make things even more complicated for them. Shaking his head, he looked up and his eyes met the Major’s. Raising an eyebrow, he had an idea for how to deal with everything, but knew it wouldn’t go over well with certain parties.
When the Major smiled back, he knew he had the Cold Ones at the very least in support for his plan.