Chapter 16

‘Lies,’ Valerie’s voice sounded. ‘I beg of you to listen to them before-‘

Bella looked around in shock. “Val? Where did you go?”

‘You should go back to the Cullen House for more answers.’

“You’re insane.”

‘Then go to Italy, seek out the Volturi, they’re not as evil as the Mikaelsons tell you.’

“Who is this Val?” Myriam asked curiously. “And better yet, can any of you see her?” She asked Jeremy and Kol, even though she’d hoped that Kol had lost that ability by now.

“Eh, her spirit guide,” Kol said as he looked at Bella. “What is she saying?”

“Stupid things,” Bella muttered, shaking her head. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she wants me dead.”

Kol had been so intent on the conversation and the speculations that he hadn’t attempted to try to listen to the unseen. In fact, he tried his hardest to ignore everything around him that wasn’t breathing, so he hadn’t heard her friend. “What makes you think that? What does she want?”

“Oh, to go back to the Cullen House for more answers… and I told her she was insane,” Bella replied as she kept looking around.

“Of course she is. That place is a death trap.”

“And then she suggested to go to Italy as the Volturi aren’t as bad as you say they are.”

Everyone glanced at one another, tensing at the suggestion. “Now that just makes me even more distrustful of this character,” Klaus muttered. “I will be the first to admit that I may exaggerate things at times, but even Elijah would object to your going there. And he’s gone himself to strike deals with them in the past. It is the Volturi who are not good. I would not trust this ghostly friend of yours.”

‘Bella, you’ve heard enough. You’ve learned enough. It’s time to come home. Your place is not with them.’

“No, something’s wrong. Val’s usually to be trusted, but…” Bella stood up from Kol’s lap, slightly agitated as she scratched her arms, trying to focus and dig deeper into Val’s essence. She had done it once before, she could do it again. “She’s been with me forever, granted, she’s been gone for a few years, but I wasn’t my best and she got pissed off.”

“Is there any possibility that she might have lead you down that path?” Kol asked, gently trying to feel out this woman. “I mean, if she was there to try to help protect and guide you, wouldn’t she have warned you away from the areas that begun influencing you before those locations attached to you.”

“She did, at first,” Bella replied, pacing around. “But she eventually just gave up because I wouldn’t listen. I told her that I wanted to be better at what I did, so why avoid the bad places?”

“You tend to be a lot like Kol here,” Myriam pointed out. “Tell him not to do something and he will respond with something like – ‘Hold me beer and watch this!’ Any chance that by telling you not to do something, would be counterproductive? Your father didn’t want you to go into this field, yet you did. While we may not be happy with some locations or aspects of what you do, we wouldn’t stop you. We would help you do it in the safest manner possible. Like before your next investigation, I want to find something that would work on the both of you to prevent another possession.”

“Weren’t those bags the whole purpose if it?” Bella asked, still trying to focus on Valerie and blinked when she finally saw her, stopping dead in her tracks and eyeing her curiously.

“It helps in some ways, but you might be forgetting that Kol is supernatural himself so not every method will work. It’s a trial and error type thing to see what will,” Myriam shrugged. “I was researching different amulets and totems last night. I have a couple leads but still have to get my hands on the stuff.”

“Okay,” Bella said, now as if she wasn’t paying attention to Myriam at all. And she wasn’t. Valerie was absolutely beautiful. Long, blond hair, flowing over her shoulders, blue eyes, high cheekbones and a presence that you’d see in pictures of Vikings and their wives. She looked like she could be a Mikaelson, in a way. But Valerie didn’t look normal. She had bruises and welts all over and she wasn’t sure if Valerie was aware that Bella was seeing her right now. “What’s going on with you?” Bella asked in shock, causing Valerie to snap her head towards her in anger. “Yeah, I can see you, now let me help you.”

Valerie didn’t say anything, but turned around instead, showing Bella a thick, black tether to something unexplained. As she lifted the skirt of her dress, she could see shackles. ‘You can’t and I don’t want you to,’ Valerie snapped. ‘I’m fine.’

“Who…?” she questioned, stepping closer.

‘Use your brain, Bella,’ Valerie sighed, unimpressed. ‘Just think about it and add it all up.’

“I don’t understand. Why is everyone so interested in me? I’m nobody.”

‘I can’t tell you that. I’m not supposed to. It’s for you to discover.’

“But who has you chained? Why for?”

‘Use your brain,’ Valerie growled as she toppled over in pain. ‘They don’t like me telling you the good things, they don’t- I have to go.’ Valerie shimmered out of existence and when Bella turned around to look at the Mikaelsons, she blinked at them when she could see them speak but not hear them. Kol was looking worried, and she figured that they were pulling a prank on her.

“What?” She said innocently. “I figured you wanted proof that she can be trusted so I tried really hard to see her. And I did.”

Jeremy was merely smirking at her.

“What!”

“You may just have proven the validity of the scroll, Bella,” he replied, still amused. “But you may want to come back to join us before Kol loses his mind.”

“What do you mean?” She asked, confused. “I’m right here.” She said as she looped her arm through Kol’s and was surprised that she didn’t feel him, but he did leap nearly three feet in the air, recoiling in shock. “I’m a ghost? But I’m not dead.”

“You went ‘poof’,” Jeremy laughed. “Which was awesome, by the way, but frankly, I don’t think you should do that again. You can poof back now.”

“How?”

“I don’t know,” Jeremy shrugged. “But hey, while you figure it out, want me to reassure them that you’re still around? And shall I sketch Valerie? I saw her too, and maybe then they’ll believe you.”

Bella cried out in frustration and kicked against a chair, her foot going through it. “This is so not fair!”

“So,” Jeremy laughed as he looked at the Mikaelsons. “Good news is is that she’s still here. Bad news is, she doesn’t know how to get back just yet.”

Kol spun around, frustrated and concerned. “What the hell does this mean then? Is Bella immortal? I mean, I nearly killed her in Chicago because of those blasted Cullen’s, and I thought I’d nearly lost her!”

“Likely,” Myriam replied.

“I think she’s just suffering from control issues and overstepped her boundaries, just like you… you could hold someone’s hand gently, but if you didn’t have control over your own actions, you could actually break it,” Jeremy explained as he found a small notepad and started to sketch something. “She’s not happy about it, either, trust me.”

The vampire scowled at him. “It wasn’t intentional and it was that or chowing down on her pretty neck which is what the attachment was trying to make me do.”

He looked up at Kol and thought for a minute. “Yeah, wrong analogy, but you catch my drift, right? Learning to control your new abilities? You might overshoot when you’re not in control.”

“No. I do not. This isn’t your art school. What the hell are you doodling now?”

“Valerie,” Jeremy replied and thumbed over his shoulder. “Bella’s helping me- I heard you about her hair!” He glared next to him at the empty space.

Klaus was uneasy as he watched the boy speak to an invisible Bella. “Love? It would be wonderful if you could try to figure out how to come back to our plane because I must admit this is disturbing.”

“Don’t you think I’m fucking trying!” Bella yelled angrily. “For fuck’s sake, this isn’t fun for me either! And quite upsetting and fuck, I just want… NO, Jeremy, the eyes are all wrong. God damnit, I’ll fucking draw her myself if you’re not doing a proper job! Tell Klaus I’m fucking trying, okay?!”

“Stop yelling!” Jeremy yelled back. “God, you’re annoying.”

“Bella, just relax Darling,” Kol spoke calmly, looking around. “We will figure it out. This is just something really new for us and it’s upsetting for everyone, and I can only begin to imagine how it is for you.”

Bella tried to kick against the chair again and still failed to do so. “I fucking hate this!” She started to pace around, trying to will herself back to Kol, but nothing was happening, she felt so frustrated and annoyed with herself. She couldn’t do anything right, could she? Nope, she couldn’t. She couldn’t keep herself safe, she couldn’t keep Kol safe, she has some control over her abilities and now this. Now this whole shit about being some immortal fuck who was supposed to be balanced? She was far from balanced.

Especially right now, she was in some dark place where she couldn’t talk to anyone but Jeremy and it felt cold and lonely. She would have thought that if she was with the spirits, that she’d see Myriam’s prisoners, but even they weren’t around. “I want to go back,” she eventually whispered, holding back the tears, as she walked over to Kol to try and hug him. Her Kol. When she connected with something solid, she looked up to him and hoped that he could see her. “See me?”

“I can see you,” he breathed a sigh of relief and put his arms around her. “Welcome back.”

“Don’t let me go,” she muttered as she buried her face into his shirt. “Please don’t let me go.”

He held her close, pressing his lips into her hair. “I won’t let you go. Don’t worry. I’ve got you.”

“So…now that we know that this whole thing isn’t some fairy tale,” Myriam started to speak, glaring over at Klaus. “I suggest that we put everything to rest for now and just focus on getting over this little – surprise. Practicing more on being able to see things, without um, disappearing, for instance, whenever you are willing. I have no doubt that if the Volturi have an idea of who or what you are, they won’t be far now that you are advancing in your abilities.”

Jeremy held up his small piece of paper. “This is Valerie,” he said before looking at Bella. “Don’t worry, I included the shackles.”

“Did you guys have another sister?” Bella asked curiously.

Klaus stood and moved over to take the paper, studying it. “We actually did, but she died before our parents moved to the new world. Esther was pregnant with Elijah if I recall and only Finn really knew her. She was only a child. I have no idea who this woman is.”

“Besides, Valerie doesn’t really sound like any of our names,” Rebekah’s voice sounded from behind them. “Thanks a lot, Kol, for snapping my neck like that. Do it again and I will gut your precious girlfriend.”

“It’s possible she lied about what her name is,” Myriam said. “Spirits can lie very well in order to get what they want. That’s why I don’t listen to what most tell me.”

“Me neither, but I usually sense their deceit. Valerie must be under someone else’s control if she keeps giving me mixed signals,” Bella replied as she looked up to Kol with a smile. “She said ‘yes’ to you, more like ‘OMG yes! Choose him! Yes!’, she wasn’t wrong about that, was she?”

“No, she wasn’t, but what about the other things?”

“I admit, there have been some mistakes, but why would she be all for you at first and then decide that I should leave you and join the Volturi? Something’s not right. She was shackled, looked beaten and there was this black cord coming from her, attached to something I couldn’t see.”

“Alright, then from now on you will not listen to her, at all,” Myriam said shortly. “I don’t want her to influence you into making bad decisions.”

Bella sighed, leaning into Kol. “I understand what you are saying, but who’s to say that you guys aren’t also trying to talk me into bad decisions as well? I feel like I’m being pulled in every direction, not knowing where I am supposed to be.”

Myriam moved a chair over to sit in front of her. Looking up at Bella, she nodded. “You are absolutely right. You listen to everything around you, trust your feelings, the other spirits that you encounter. You can feel them and their emotions. With this tether that this girl has, it is highly probable that someone very powerful is controlling her in order to get to you and that is why you really need to be able to master seeing the dead. You would be able to see if one is tied to something or not and then you can tell if you should trust what they say if you can’t trust what you feel. I’m not asking you to believe everything we tell you. I’ll be the first one to tell you that this family will lie and cheat with each other when it suits them or the situation at hand. We never hid that from you, but we would try to make you a stronger individual for yourself in the process of putting up with our crap.”

Bella had listened to what Myriam had to say, but her head was still spinning. “I know,” she said with a slight whine. “But my head feels like it’s going to explode right now and I want to do something else other than having to think about what, who, where or what the fuck is going on. Something normal like napping or-”

“Dancing! Let’s go visit Cami!” Myriam jumped up. “I have a great outfit for you!”

Kol snorted, shaking his head. “Well, you can’t get much more normal than a hyperactive, ADHD vampire in the Mikaelson family.”

“A nice stroll through a park would have sufficed,” Bella frowned, looking at Myriam. “I’m good with my outfit, thanks.”

“Fine, but let’s go drinking. Klaus is buying.”

He raised a brow. “I am?”

“I’ve been trying to get her drunk for the last few days, Myriam, it won’t work,” Kol laughed. “She’s like a nun.”

“So?” She stared at him, wide eyed. “Who said all the drinks were for her?”

Bella looked at Kol with a shrug. “I did promise you a peek into Drunk Bella… I think that as long as we have that angel statue with us, we should be okay…” She then let out a breath. “I think booze is exactly what I need.”

“Are you sure?”

She smiled at him then. “Yeah, why not? Let’s have some fun and stop thinking about what’s going on!”

After getting the angel statue out of the car, they headed towards Rousseau’s with the five of them; Rebekah was going to join them later. Myriam was still a bit in a mood because Bella refused to get changed into something more festive, or at least a dress to show off her figure. Bella was quiet on the way there, still trying to process or not trying to process all that they had learned that day – or the experience that she had by actually poofing out of existence. That had been strange and certainly not something she wished to repeat, no matter what.

Rousseau’s was crowded when they got there, but Klaus pointed to a corner of the building near the windows that was reserved. “That’s our spot, have a seat, I’ll get us drinks.”

“Special VIP treatment for Mikaelsons here?” Bella teased.

“Yep,” Kol sighed as he slid into a chair and pulled Bella onto his lap. “We are simply that awesome.”

She snuggled into him with a smile and looked over the crowd. It was a bit overwhelming with the amount of people in the place, but having the cozy corner helped ease it. Seeing Klaus at the bar, speaking to the blond working there, she leaned closer to Kol. “How’s the food here? If I’m going to be drinking as much as they want, I’m going to need something decent in me so that I don’t puke it all up later.”

“Well, Rousseau’s is something special,” Kol smiled as he ran a hand through her hair. “Cami’s family is Irish so they have Irish pub food, but since we’re in New Orleans, they’ve got that kind of pub food as well, it’s the perfect match.”

“Fish and chips?” she asked.

“I’m sure they can make that for you, yes,” he kissed the top of her head and looked over at Klaus, who nodded and ordered just that. “Of course, the best fish and chips are made in England. Oh, the old times of them serving it in newspapers… it’ll sorely missed.”

“Granted it was the time period, but serving food on newspaper sounds disgusting,” she laughed. Looking around the bar again, she tried looking for their friend. “Um, where did Myriam disappear to?”

Kol looked up from concentrating on breathing in her scent over the rest of the humans to find the woman. “Hm, probably putting Marcel back in his place. He is a creation of Klaus’ when he was bored, raised him from childhood before turning him. Myriam tolerated him but as you know, we tend to be selfish creatures and she wasn’t a fan of someone else having his attention. No matter how innocent it may have been.”

“What about you?” She smiled at him. “Didn’t you feel like you had to compete with Marcel for your brother’s attention?”

“I’ve had my moments,” he admitted with hesitation. “Something to discuss another day, Darling.”

She softly kissed him again. “I’ll always give you the attention you need.”

He smirked, his eyes darkening as his hand slipped down her side and over her thigh. “I will take all the attention you give,” he purred, leaning in to capture her mouth in a hungry kiss, growling possessively.

“Get a room,” Jeremy whined as he sat down opposite of the two horny people in front of him. “Or at least wait until I found someone to fondle.”

Bella looked over her shoulder with a demure smile. “You could always go back to the Cullen house and ask for Alice.”

“Ah! None of that!” Kol playfully hit her on the head. “Nope. Let’s go back to kissing and ignore Gilbert.”

Giggling, she turned back to him just as Klaus started heading to their table with drinks in hand and the bartender following. “How about we keep public displays of affection to a minimum since Myriam decided to take off and annoy Marcellus. I’ll be stuck with you lot until she grows bored of him and finds her way back.”

“And what if we get too drunk and ignore your demands, Nik?” Kol smirked as he looked around his brother. “Hey Cami!”

“Kol,” the blond greeted. “Long time no see. Who’s your friends? Who wanted the fish and chips?”

“That would be my princess,” Kol smirked. “Cami, meet Bella, Bella, this is Cami.”

“Ah, you’re the one who decided it was a good idea to push Davina’s buttons,” Cami smiled as she set down the plate in front of the girl. “Good job, she’s finally in a good headspace.”

“I thought I was doing a good thing. I thought maybe if they got back together everyone would be happy,” she shrugged. “I guess it worked out better for me in the end though. Thank you for the food.”

“Oh, you may have done it for the wrong reasons, but it was something Davina needed to you know, work through it all, don’t worry about it, there are no hard feelings from her to you,” Camille kept smiling and gave her the thumbs up.

“And that’s Jeremy,” Kol pointed at the boy. “He’s a hunter of all sorts of things that go bump.”

Cami’s eyes narrowed and glanced back at Klaus, having recognized the name. “The same Jeremy that…?”

“Killed Kol? Yes,” Klaus nodded, an amused smile dancing on his lips.

She stood up, one hand on her hip as she looked from one person the next a couple times. “Geez. Your family just gets stranger and stranger, Klaus. I’m still trying to sort through the mess that is your girlfriend.”

“Jeremy’s not part of the family,” he said, defensive. “He’s the guard dog for Bella.”

Jeremy and Bella snorted. Kol rolled his eyes. “You think it will be easy to get rid of him with everything going on? Fat chance! He’s stuck with us, just as we are with him. Admit that he’s less annoying than his idiot sister.”

“I still haven’t told Elena that I’m hanging out with you guys,” Jeremy admitted. “She’ll have my hide.”

“She’d demand her Salvatore pets to attempt to have you admitted into an asylum for some ridiculous disorder. She’s just as manipulative as her ancestors.”

“Klaus,” Jeremy warned him. “She’s still my sister. Be nice.”

Kol shook his head. “Jeremy. She’s a bitch. Sister or not, she’s a bitch and treats you like crap. Granted, Rebekah is no walk in the park and is a bitch as well, but on another spectrum. My sister at least owns her faults instead of passing blame onto others,” he reasoned.

“I know, but she’s still my sister,” Jeremy reasoned.

“It’s alright to be angry at someone you love for hurting you,” Bella murmured. “From what I understand, she did a lot of uncalled for things against their family when they were minding their own business.”

“I know that,” Jeremy sighed. “But I don’t like it when people talk crap about my crappy sister when I’m around.”

Kol grinned. “That’s fine. We complain plenty about her when we get nostalgic about Mystic Falls. Trust me that you haven’t even heard the tip of what could be said. Anyway, Nik. What the hell is Myriam doing to your pet now? Did she let go of that leash some time ago?”

“Oh, to make him keep an eye out for our possible new friends,” Klaus mused as he watched Bella attack her food with veracity.

Bella looked up, curious and annoyed. “What? The Volturi? You really believe they’ll come here?” she asked, reaching for her drink that he’d kindly got her and took a sip. “Hey, this is good…”

“Klaus is naturally paranoid,” Camille explained. “Myriam knows this, so she’s anticipating his needs, nothing to worry about. And yes, that is a great drink,” she smiled. “I invented it myself.”

She narrowed her eyes, biting her lip as her fingers tapped on the rim. “There’s no blood in it, is there?” she whispered.

Kol laughed. “Cami’s human, darling, she wouldn’t dare to put blood in it.”

“Oh, ew, no,” Cami shook her head. “So where are you from, Bella?”

“Um…” Bella glanced to the brothers. “Somewhere between heaven and hell?” she offered with a small smile and shrug, earning a scolding glance from Klaus.

“Alaska?” Cami blinked.

“Close,” Kol laughed. “Washington.”

“Sounds exciting. I heard Seattle is a great city,” Cami offered, trying to get to know the girl.

Bella hesitated. “I was more north, towards the peninsula. It wasn’t very exciting unless you were into fishing or hunting. Lots of bears and wolves.”

“Oh, that sounds amazing,” Cami said. “We used to go camping near Mount Olympus in the summer, quite fun.”

She merely pressed her lips together and nodded, attempting to appear interested for the moment before turning back to her food. “What other drinks do you have that I can try?”

“All the drinks!” Cami smiled at her. “I can make you all the drinks, Klaus is paying, right?”

Sighing, Klaus looked away, finding Myriam dragging Marcel over by his ear. “Perhaps you should triple everyone’s order. It seems to be a long night.”

Bella popped a fry in her mouth as she looked at the vampire that Myriam was dragging along. “That your faux son, Klaus?”

“Yes,” he sighed, watching the two. “I can only begin to wonder what he’s done now to incite her wrath. I was truly hoping that we would go home with her feeling particularly frisky. It’s not looking so well now.”

“I’m going to give this shithead a time out in the alley,” Myriam said as she came to the table, still having Marcel by the ear. “He thinks that the city’s safety is none of my concern.”

Kol winced, saluting the vampire. “Bad move mate. You know better than to piss that lady off. I will pray that she may be gentle with your balls. It won’t go far considering she’s got Nik’s tied up somewhere.”

Myriam shook Marcel’s head. “You see that girl there? Eating her fish and chips? Which, looks delicious. Can I get another order Cami? Anyway… We’re keeping this city safe for that cute, adorable and great smelling young woman. If anything happens to her, you’re either going to end up dead or locked in the Garden for eternity.”

Marcel frowned as he looked at Bella, who stared at the two of them with a raised eyebrow. Seeing that she appeared attached to Kol, he smirked at Myriam. “If she’s involved with him, of course she would be in danger. You all tout at being the strongest, biggest and baddest. You aren’t up to the ability to protect one girl?”

“Oh, we are, but we’re going to need you and your minions to keep the streets safe for when we’re not around her, got it?” Myriam snarled before pulling him out of the establishment and across the street to a dark alley where she snapped his neck and placed him so that he looked like a passed out drunk.

“Where is she going with him? What is she going to do?” Bella asked, staring after the two.

“Putting him in time out,” Klaus shrugged. “He’ll be fine. He knows better than to get her riled up.”

“Now she will come back, get drunk and we all get a show,” Kol added.

Bella and Jeremy were in disbelief at how unaffected the both of them were by what happened. “I take it this happens often?” he asked.

“More than I’d like to admit,” Klaus sighed.

Bella downed her drink before continuing her meal, which she’d nearly finished. She needed to be unaffected by this. It was part of their life, nothing special, nothing new. Nope. She thought back to brunch and Klaus’ plan for her that he hinted at. Perhaps it wasn’t a bad idea in this approach to get used to the amount of traumatic events that appear to be their lives. If she was going to be involved with Kol, especially if it were true that she was immortal – which she’d yet to be able to accept, she would need to get used to these behaviors soon.

“Ugh,” Cami returned with more drinks. “I’ll never get used to this kind of behavior. It’s so wrong and stupid. Can’t you solve things by talking about it like any ordinary person?”

“They aren’t ordinary people though. They are vampires,” she murmured, pouting as she finished her glass.

“They were human once,” Cami replied, setting down another drink in front of Bella.

Rolling her eyes, Bella drank a hearty sip. “A thousand years ago. Doesn’t count any longer. Besides, I think you should get a pass on questionable behavior when your own parents spend the better amount of your existence trying to kill you.”

Klaus smirked as he looked at Cami. “She’s as bright as you are, Cami, don’t be fooled or try to dumb yourself down, she will notice.”

“Was worth a try,” Cami sighed as she sat back down again.

“I spent enough time in an asylum. I don’t like being headfucked just as much as they don’t appreciate the events they had to live through being brushed aside. Just don’t attempt it,” Bella warned the bartender, before quickly finishing her second drink.

Kol slipped his hand under the back of her shirt, attempting to distract her from the human. “Care to dance?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Cami blinked upon hearing that, before throwing a questionable look at Kol, suspicious of the motives of the Mikaelsons now.

“Yes!” Bella said as she slid off his lap, a little unsteady on her feet as she had underestimated the alcohol in the drinks. “Ohhh, headrush!”

He grinned as he held her up to him. “Easy there. We’ll just take it slow. Nothing exciting. Come now and leave the human be,” he guided her away to the dance floor. “Cami – is an acquired taste, granted, but she’s one of the few in this city we trust. I’m sure Klaus warned her not to go overboard when he was chatting with her at the bar.”

“And yet, she did,” Bella sighed, shaking her head, but regretting that motion immediately. “But the alcohol is good.”

“Just as we can’t stop Klaus from killing a random person that might decide to hit on Myriam, or my wanting to break every bone in someone’s body should they try with you. It’s our nature. You are just as emphatic and caring to everyone, even some that really haven’t earned your sympathies. That’s your nature,” he quietly explained his reasoning in her ear, slowly dancing in place. “What I dream of seeing, one day, is you letting your dark side loose.”

“Oh, but I think it needs to be kept in check,” she whispered back. “If it’s loose, it will likely collide with how I feel about people and if I’d do something bad, I’ll feel guilty about it. A major guilt trip,” she then grinned as she got even closer to him. “But who knows? Maybe my dark side will come out to play if I get really drunk.”

His lips turned up in an alluring smile as his hands slipped lower on her back. “Is that so? Perhaps I should make sure that your glass is never empty.”

She nodded as if she was a bobble head. “Yes. After what we’ve been through, I want to be blasted into space.”

“I think I can arrange that,” he whispered in her ear, nipping and kissing along her neck as he kept her in his arms, swaying slowly regardless of the upbeat music. “We shall give Myriam and Klaus a run for their money when I have you screaming through the walls.”

“Oh,” she moaned slightly at the idea of that. “Yes.”

“Oh my god! Isabella?”

Bella froze and kept her head against Kol’s shoulder. “Please tell me that’s not a brunette woman who looks like an overaged hippie,” she whispered. “Please.”

Kol looked up and hummed curiously. “More blond. Bad dye job. Should give her Cami’s hairdresser’s number for an appointment.”

Bella let out a whine. “Ignore her,” she said as she held on to him.

“Wish we could, but she’s heading this way. What do you want to do? I could have Klaus make a meal of the woman if you like,” he offered, keeping his eyes on the approaching woman. “You’ve got about six seconds to decide.”

Bella let out another whine and shook her head, not turning around, not doing anything. The woman would go away. If she willed it hard enough, the bitch would go away. What was she doing in New Orleans anyway?

“Oh my, Bella it is you! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Charlie actually let you travel so far from home? I can’t believe that he would do something so irresponsible with your issues…” the woman babbled as she reached them.

“I’m sorry, but who are you?” Kol asked, his arms tight around Bella.

“I could ask you the same thing, young man. Who are you, and what are you doing with my daughter?”

His eyes shot up, the previous attempts at civility gone. “I’m her other half and am taking her away from you now, seeing as she’s uncomfortable by your sudden reappearance in her life,” he glared at her. He didn’t need to look for his brother as he could feel him making his way closer.

Reneé laughed. “Oh, dear boy, if you think you have a future with my daughter then you’re mistaken, she’s not right in the head, you know,” she pointed out. “She shouldn’t even be here without her father or that Jake boy. She can’t be on her own, making decisions.”

“Well as it may happen, Jake up and left her in the middle of nowhere – some friend. And her father has visited her and left, satisfied that she is doing just fine. If you don’t believe me, then feel free to call him up yourself. If you don’t mind, we have other places to be,” Kol sneered, starting to guide Bella away from her troublesome mother as his brother reached them.

“Problems love?” Klaus asked Bella, his eyes suspicious on Reneé.

“I could handle it myself but it’s far too crowded in here to throw a tantrum,” Bella muttered under her breath. “Oh, the things I want to say…”

“We can take her out to Myriam’s alley. She won’t mind,” he smiled reassuringly. “Marcellus is still sleeping off his earlier confrontation so we won’t be disturbed.”

Bella looked up to Kol. “Can I give her a piece of my mind?”

“You could give her a piece of your fist if you like, in her irritating mouth. In fact I wholeheartedly support it,” Kol grinned.

“Then Myriam’s alley sounds great,” Bella flashed a dark smile as they passed their table and she reached for one of the unattended drinks. She gulped it down and headed outside where the air hit her and the alcohol hit her even more. But that was fine. She was going to give that bitch a piece of her mind and then some. It wouldn’t hurt to be a little bit of a bad girl, would it?