Chapter 17

Klaus easily compelled Reneé to remain silent until they reached the alley, escorting her out the door as Bella and Kol followed. Bella, being Bella, slightly intoxicated required some support and assistance in her efforts to remain steady and upright. Luckily for her, Kol had no intentions of letting her go.

She could not help but blink at the slumped body of Marcel against the side of the building. Pointing at him, she looked to Klaus. “He won’t wake up and give us a hard time, will he?”

“If he does, then Kol will gladly break his neck again for another nap,” he smiled at her, receiving a nod. “Now, how shall we proceed to deal with this nuisance? I do recall Chief Swan admitting that she had strong armed him into sending you away. Trust that was not his desire, Love.”

“I know,” Bella sighed, slowly shaking her head. “Charlie’s a doormat, a pushover and she,” she pointed at Reneé, “had him whipped, still had him whipped after all these years. Charlie is a good guy, he truly is, he just didn’t know how to break free from this woman until she did it for him,” she turned into Kol and smiled up at him. “We really should go to Washington and have you meet him, properly. He’ll like you because you make me happy and I’m sure that after Klaus and Myriam’s… influence, he’ll be a lot more understanding.”

“Whatever you want,” Kol kissed the top of her head. “Now, what do you want to do with her?”

Bella turned around again, leaning against Kol as she looked at the woman who put her through so much hell. “I want to know what she truly thinks of me before I give her a piece of my mind,” she said bravely. “Why she decided to keep me when she noticed something was wrong.”

“Are we late?” Myriam said out of breath after having pulled Cami with her. When she saw the surprised looks on her family’s faces, she shrugged. “You wanted Cami to get to know Bella, what better way is there to see her and her mom interact with each other?”

Bella looked at Myriam and Cami and then smiled widely. “Sure, why not? She serves the best drinks and I’d better get another one when we’re done here!”

Cami nodded, speechless as she stared at the scene before her, the vampires had basically boxed in one of her loyal customers and Kol’s new girlfriend looked so tiny amongst all of them as she leaned against him. Mommy issues or daddy issues weren’t unusual to her; most of her patrons dealt with it. Spousal issues were another one high on that list, but that wasn’t the case here. No, this was a family helping their newest member to deal with something and it likely wasn’t good.

“So, talk, mother,” Bella shot at Reneé.

“What do you want me to say, Bella?” Reneé sighed tiredly. “Are you really going to allow everyone here in the alley validate your delusions? You know what? Let me call Charlie, you need to go home, New Orleans is no place for someone like you.”

“As Kol has said when we were in the bar, Charlie has seen that I’m being treated well and that he knows that I’m safe,” Bella countered. She knew that it had been Klaus and Myriam’s influence on him, but it counted. “They are all aware of what I can do and they are helping me.”

“So you agree with me, that you’re not fit to travel alone or live alone? Have you been seeing a psychiatrist? You know, it’s interesting to see your videos on the youtubes? You’re managing to convince so many people with your tricks, they practically worship you, that must be such a power trip for you!” Reneé then looked at Kol. “You should run while you still can. She claims to see things that aren’t possible, escapes the house on random occasions under the guise of people needing her help,” she then chuckled. “She’s violent when she doesn’t get her way.”

“All I hear are the rambles of a sceptic,” Kol replied. If it hadn’t been for Bella holding on to him, he would have attacked the woman right there and then. “You do realize that you’ve ruined a young girl’s life, don’t you?”

“Ruined?” Reneé laughed. “Ruined? We gave her everything she needed! We went into debt by having her seen by all those specialists, if it hadn’t been for us, she’d have been in that mental hospital sooner! She was uncontrollable, fits of rage, out on different hours of the night – even as a small child, mind you, and crying and such a wild imagination! We couldn’t be seen with her in public because she’d cry or walk up to random people making them angry or cry. We did everything we could!”

Kol growled lowly. “Did the thought ever cross your mind to have her introduced to the local shaman from the tribe?”

“Look, I get it that we’re in New Orleans, the city that’s supposedly the central of magic and things that go bump in the night, but please, it’s not real,” Reneé scoffed, crossing her arms over each other. “The Native Americans in Forks – I don’t know what they’re smoking, but it’s a part of their lives. We allowed your friendship with Jake because he was the first real boy you talked to.”

“Jake was an asshole,” Bella flatly spoke, completely stupefied by her mother’s words. She knew her mother to be cold and naive, but to be this cruel?

“Now, don’t talk about him like that, he’s the reason you were allowed to travel,” Reneé said patronizingly.

“And he bailed on me when I could have used a friend the most. Kol and his family have been more supportive than he’s ever been. More than you ever were. I don’t know why I ever considered you my mother,” Bella started, tired of hearing Reneé speak. “In the last two weeks, they’ve done more for me than you can ever imagine. They understand what it’s like living with something beyond your control and they’ve been trying to help me find more control over it. I mean… instead of doing everything in your power to help me, you only did one thing; you brought me to shrinks. Had me committed when I was fifteen. Mom, I was 15! I was so scared all the time even before that, because I didn’t understand what was going on! I was 15 when I started to experience something so scary that it physically hurt me and all you did was take me to my shrinks who told you that they couldn’t do anything for me but to declare an emergency and have me committed asap after drugging me so I would stop screaming. You left me all alone in a different place, surrounded by scary people, alive and dead, where they were testing me and giving me drugs and put me under and giving me shocks to try to jolt my brain into normalcy. Whenever I brought up what I experienced, they shoved more drugs at me. I was hit by fellow patients. I was fifteen!” She held on to Kol, fighting the urge to start walking because she would fall flat on her face. “And then I realized, I needed to act normal to get out of that shit hole because nobody could help me! Nobody! I had to learn everything myself because you didn’t allow yourself to open yourself up to the possibility that maybe something was going on that couldn’t be explained by your fancy doctors. That maybe everything I was experiencing was the truth. Do you have any idea what you put me through? What you made me feel like?!” Bella breezed, feeling anger bubble underneath her skin. “Oh, I know you wanted a perfect little daughter who would grow up to be just like you, but instead you got me. I fought you, I snuck out and I physically attacked you because I couldn’t explain what the fuck was going on! And you locked me away! Abandoned me!”

“Bella, you’re being overly dramatic,” Reneé chided her. “Calm down.”

“Calm down!” Bella scoffed, letting go of Kol and walked to Reneé in a straight line, feeling the energy build and build inside of her. “Do you have any idea what kind of a shitty and fucked up week I’ve had this past week? We figured out that I ruined myself because of you. Because you put me away and made me destroy parts of me. That I can see spirits and not just hear them. That I can do stuff like closing portals or hell, even become some sort of spirit myself and poof out of existence, do you have any idea how scary it is but that I should have had the proper guidance when I was growing up? Not this late? On top of that, Kol, Jeremy and I got attacked at a very fucked up haunted house where I nearly died because something evil took control over my other half and we found something that quite possibly is the truth too, that I’m not human to begin with! And guess what? These people don’t judge! They know what I can do is real and don’t think I’m crazy! They don’t want me to stop doing what I do, despite my own fears of ridicule or more danger, because it’s a part of me and they accept that!”

“I accept you, baby,” Reneé spoke quietly, looking at her daughter who looked more like a berserker right now. A tiny berserker. “It’s happening again, isn’t it? Come here, I’ll take care of you.”

Bella let out a cry of frustration and placed her hands on her mother’s shoulders as a wave of energy rolled off of her, all of her pent up emotions from the last 24 years rolling off of her, away. All the feelings, all the fear, all the hurt, the pain, the confusion, the agony, the rejection, every single thing. “If only you had believed me,” Bella sobbed as she stumbled back. “I might have been a better person.”

Reneé rolled her eyes as she took her daughter by the arm. “Come on now Bella. A better person? What babble are you going on about now? You wouldn’t hurt a fly. Let’s go get you on a plane back to your father before you continue embarrassing yourself.”

All the vampires, and Cami, looked at each other in confusion as to what just had happened; they had sensed a wave of emotions hitting them, shaking them up from the inside and the woman wasn’t affected at all?

“Let go of me,” Bella said, still sobbing as she pulled her arm away from Reneé. “Neither you, or Charlie, are no longer in control over my life. I am. I’m a grown woman and I’m right where I belong.”

“Clearly these people are just as crazy as you if they are willing to put up with your antics! I’m your mother and you will do as I tell you now let’s go, Isabella!”

“She said no,” Kol growled as he protectively put his arms around Bella, turning her into him. Oh, he wanted to tear out the woman’s throat so bad right now, but despite everything, he didn’t want to do that in front of Bella. He wanted to really go to town with this woman, making her cry and run – he always loved a good chase.

Klaus moved to separate the women, his patience, too, wearing thin. His eyes remaining on Reneé as he spoke to Bella, his voice tense with anger, “Bella. You know how we handle our enemies. If you want me to handle this, say the word but know there is no turning back. You do not deserve this treatment.”

“How about Myriam and Cami take Bella inside and we do what we do best, Niklaus?” Kol said, his eyes levelling on Reneé, his true face itching to come out and play. “What say you, Bella? If even Nik feels this way about this woman…”

Bella took a deep breath and nodded. Klaus had kept Charlie alive because he was a good man. Reneé wasn’t a good person. “Have fun,” she said softly before walking over to Myriam and looping her arm through hers. “Can I get drunk off my ass now?”

“Yup,” Myriam smiled happily. “I still need to catch up anyhow. Cami needs to bring over pitchers of her special cocktail for us. Extra strong.”

“Ohh, yes!” Bella said as she looked at Cami. “Puleeze?”

“Yeah, you deserve it,” Cami replied as she followed Myriam and Bella and as soon as they stepped away, she could hear Klaus and Kol snarl at the woman. “I’ll even have them make more finger food in the kitchen. You’re one brave woman, Bella, I applaud you.” She was opposed to killing people. But these were vampires and they were protecting one of their own. The woman was a straight up bitch, anyway. She recognized parts of Bella’s story as one of the case files she had been told to study when she studied to become a psychologist, and knowing what was in those files, she truly felt for the girl. She had proven that she could speak to the dead, even have a huge amount of empathy. “But uh… just so that we’re clear on this, Myriam… I wasn’t the only one who felt that ripple, right?”

“Ah, afraid not, Cami,” Myriam smiled at her. “I think our little girl is finally embracing every part of her and is growing into her powers.”

“What did I do?” Bella asked shocked.

“You shared your emotional baggage with us, but that’s alright, you needed to get it out,” Myriam replied and opened the door for Bella to enter the bar again. She wished that she could join Klaus and Kol on their little hunting party, because that’s what they liked, to give chase and mess with their prey, but Bella needed to be taken care of while the boys played. “We’ll have to add that ability to the ever growing list.”

By the time Klaus and Kol returned to Rousseau’s, both in new clean t-shirts, Bella and Myriam had already made their way through one pitcher of Cami’s special drink and a platter of chicken wings. Jeremy hadn’t joined them in the alley and wasn’t around anymore, it was likely he found someone to have some fun with himself. “Kol!” Bella smiled widely as she kept herself seated, but stretched out her arms to him.

He failed to hold in a smile as he held reached for her, settling in beside her. “You look to be having a lovely time. Hope you haven’t been having too much fun with me.”

Myriam cheered at the return of the boys. “You’re back! Whoot! Time to dance! She can’t stand anymore so I’m off…” she said as she took off for the crowd, but not before laying a wet kiss on Bella’s cheek as she passed.

Bella let out a giggle and sighed happily upon seeing him up close. “I have to warn you about something…” she said as she stared at him, trying to focus on her thoughts. “Oh, I can’t stand on my feet anymore.”

“Myriam just said that,” he let out a snort and took a sip of her drink, the alcohol content was quite potent. “I think Cami’s trying to poison you.”

“Nooooo,” she shook her head as she ruffled his hair. “Have I ever told you how lucky I feel for you having chosen me?”

Kol hummed, pretending to think. “I can’t say you have, but why would you say that? I like to think I’m the lucky one. Now that the evil witch is done and gone, Nik and I do have to talk to Elijah when we get home, sorry to say, about this. We will let him handle the cleanup for us.”

“Shh,” Bella put a finger on his lips. “No thinking. Fun.” She then pointed to her glass. “Have a drink.” Giggling, she gestured towards the crowd and the windows. “Myriam stole the angel from my pocket, but even the spirits are giving up on me because I’m too drunk to help, they’re moping and want you to make me sober but I told them to fuck off and they’re moping because I told them that.”

Kol looked around, grateful to have a reprieve from her blood at having to deal with the dead. “Well, they will be sorely disappointed to know that I don’t plan on you being sober until well into tomorrow. Even then, I have many plans in store for you.”

“Yay,” Bella giggled as she tried to stand up. “But we do need to do one good deed, one. Only one because the girl could get hurt,” she held up her finger. “One. And you need to do it because I’m drunk and not uhh… believable. Pretty sure you can just make it go away by telling the guy to fuck off and the girl safe. One. Please? She could get hurt.”

“Alright,” Kol laughed and helped her to sit down again. “Just sit and point at the people you’re talking about.”

“That redhead girl’s brother is telling me that the guy she’s with now, has been trying to get into her pants all night, but he’s really bad and will do bad things to her,” she pointed at them. “Maybe even worse than bad things.”

“Compel the bloke and be done with it,” Klaus voiced, breaking his silence as his eyes remained fixed on Myriam who just climbed up on the bar.

“Don’t be silly,” Bella giggled. “I can’t compel anyone.”

“Kol can. Although…” he trailed off, glancing at her curiously. Considering what they had learned, it may not be entirely outside her abilities to control one’s mind.

Bella’s eyes grew big when she saw Myriam on the bar, and then an annoyed looking Cami coming over with a new pitcher. But her eyes were drawn to the couple she had told Kol about and felt something was off, perhaps even more dire than she originally believed. “Ohhh… wait…” She poofed out of existence.

“Klaus, your girlfriend is on the bar again,” she said as she put the dirty glasses and plates onto a tray. “Where did Bella go?”

“Oh bloody hell,” Kol growled as he looked around to see if Gilbert was around, but he couldn’t pick up his scent. “It’s one of her new abilities that she showed this morning… Bella? Where are you?”

“Right here!” A guy – the guy she had pointed out to him – waved at Kol with a smile on his face. “I’ll be right back,” he said to him as he walked out the door, hailed a taxi and got in. A fully solid Bella remained on the sidewalk, looking slightly confused as she checked herself over before stumbling back into Rousseau’s.

Klaus sat there, staring at his brother’s supernatural girlfriend, in shock and disbelief. He absolutely had no words as he had wondered if she might be capable of something in the lines of possession, and it was something he would solidly draw a line with her. When she stumbled her way back to the table, he cocked his head to the side appearing both proud and irritated. “Nice parlor trick however if you ever try that on me, I will have Myriam try you up with her ancestors one way or another.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever do that again,” Bella shuddered, seemingly having sobered up somewhat. “What was that, even?”

“Some sort of possession ability, quite freaky,” Kol laughed as he pulled her into his arms. “Warn me next time?”

“It’s not going to happen again,” Bella said determined. “That guy was gross. Ew. I was inside a bad guy and he felt gross! I need a drink.”

“It’s a good offensive strategy, Love,” Klaus pointed out. “Don’t immediately dismiss it. Coming against a group like the Volturi, it would be good use for infiltration of their group.”

“We should definitely keep you drunk for a few days just to see what pops up,” Kol smirked as he kissed the top of her head. “Long enough until you feel safe to be as relaxed as you are right now.”

“I’m always relaxed,” Bella said as she poured herself a drink from the pitcher and filled Kol’s glass. “And I’ve lost my buzz.”

Klaus snorted as he raised his glass to pass her his bourbon. “Perhaps when my brother has you under him in his bed, you are. This is the most I’ve seen you at ease since I’ve met you.”

Bella pushed the bottle of bourbon towards him and took a sip of her own drink. “You know what? Now that I’m somewhat more able to stand on my feet…” she flashed a grin to Kol. “I might join Myriam on that bar!”

“Oh, no,” Cami said, shaking her head. “I allow Myriam because she’s a vampire and she’s careful, you… no. You will knock everything off.”

“Oh, come on!” Bella whined.

Kol grabbed the bottle of bourbon and took a few large gulps; it took a lot for vampires to get drunk, but he wanted to create the illusion that he was slightly buzzed, for Bella. “Let’s go dancing on the dancefloor, my beautiful Goddess.”

“Yes!” Bella giggled as she allowed herself to be pulled along through the crowd.

Sighing, Klaus shook his head as he watched the two take off. Turning to their friend, he smiled at Cami, appearing as innocent as he never claimed to be. “How are you tonight? Myriam behaving herself?”

“Yeah, actually, I’m surprised that she is,” Cami said as she sat down next to him and pulled Bella’s glass towards her. “And I’m fine, thank you, still reeling a bit from what happened in the alley.”

“Water under the bridge as far as Bella is concerned,” he waved it off. “She does not need to know just what her mother’s role was in town. We had not discovered it until just before she was finally dead.”

“Oh, I’m not talking about that bitch of a mother, more Bella… she’s extraordinary,” Cami replied, shaking her head. “But what did you discover? Now I’m intrigued.”

Sighing, Klaus looked to the dance floor to find Kol glancing his way and moving Bella further away from their corner. “As it happens, Reneé has now left a widower on the New Orleans city council. She appeared to marry up from Chief Swan from a small town in the middle of nowhere. He may or may not know about the supernatural influences in town.”

“Oh,” Cami blinked. “Elijah’s going to be pissed.”

“This will be his problem to help in resolving her past.”

She took a sip of the cocktail and sighed. “The woman deserved everything you did to her. As I listened to Bella’s story and how the woman treated her, I realized that Bella’s case was a case study for me in school,” she said quietly. “I mean, the whole case was a train wreck, but to know that it had been real?”

Klaus looked up at her. He was not pleased to hear that she was familiar with Bella’s case and that it had been a teaching point for others. “Don’t let her know that. Kol will tell her if the need arises. But, she is something unequivocally unique that can’t be classified by your science or our magic.”

Cami nodded. “Her secret’s safe with me, you know that,” she replied, taking another sip. “She’s adorable.” She looked to the door as it opened and sighed. “I think he knows what happened to the council man’s wife,” she nodded towards Elijah. The vampire did not look happy at all.

“Not now, Elijah,” klaus sighed as his brother zeroed in on him. “Not here,” he added, his gaze lowering on him.

Ignoring the plight of his younger brother, he spoke up; “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”

“Yes,” Klaus replied evenly. “Rid the world of the evil that has plagued Bella’s life since she was found by her and her then husband.”

“Her new husband is high up the food chain in the city council, I have had many dealings with the man and he’s unable to be compelled because he’s a witch. This will not be easy on all of us, Niklaus.”

“Fascinating!” There had been seriously something wrong with the woman then, if she lived with a witch and still ignored the supernatural around her.

“He could make it really difficult for us.”

“Not here, Elijah, our newest family member is having fun and I do not want her evening even further disrupted by politics or fights. She’s had enough drama today.”

Elijah pursed his lips. “This cannot wait.”

“Yes, it can,” Klaus countered, seeing Kol and Bella return to the table for more drinks. “Done dancing already?”

“No,” Bella shook her head as she smiled at Elijah before refilling her glass and downing it in one go. “Blame Cami for this deliciousness, I love it,” she said with a slight giggle as Kol poured himself a bourbon.

“Who pissed in your blood, Elijah?” Kol quipped.

“You and Niklaus, who else?”

“Hey now!” Kol said defensively. “None of that here, we’re going to dance the night away.” He downed his glass and pulled Bella back with him to the dance floor before she could start asking questions.

And he felt fortunate that Bella didn’t have vampire hearing; at least not that he knew of. Klaus had been right in his reaction to Bella’s latest show of abilities – it seemed a lot like possession indeed, and in the wrong hands, it could be incredibly dangerous. Bella was lucky that she ended up with them, with the ones she had a connection to, instead of being found by the Volturi. There was no saying what they’d do to and with her.

And he loved her nonetheless. Even if she had been an ordinary immortal and nothing more. She had him wrapped around her little finger and he loved it. Loved her. She was his counterbalance, she kept him grounded and, this was even stranger, he loved her more than he loved himself, more than he valued his own life.

She said she was the lucky one? No, he was.

Drunk Bella was so much fun, it made her forget that she had to control herself, to keep a lid on things. Her fear was gone, or at least severely diminished.

They danced until deep in the night, until even Cami had enough and kicked them out. Since it was a nice night out, he took her to one of the nicest places he knew; a roof with a clear view of the stars where they danced some more. When the sun came up, he took her back to the compound and they slept off the alcohol until well into the next day.

It took a few more days for the negative effects of the Cullen House to get out of their bodies, but once Myriam gave them a clean bill of health, Bella and Kol went back to their apartment. Bella didn’t show anymore abilities, mainly because she feared what she could do – still, after everything they’d been through, but she was a lot more at ease after her confrontation with Reneé, a lot happier, a lot less as if the world was on her shoulders.

She felt comfortable enough to record a few voiceovers for the videos on the Cullen House for her youtube channel so Jeremy could line them up to upload and post at specific dates.

And after a day of cleaning up the apartment and putting away some of their stuff, Kol had enough. “Hey, Bella?”

“Yes?” She looked up from her laptop where she was reading a website she frequented.

“Let’s go to the Sanatorium and get you familiar with seeing spirits,” before she could open her mouth, he spoke again. “We know you can do it. It’s just your fear that’s holding you back, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. I’m with you and you have the power to tell those spirits to fuck off and to leave you alone when it gets too much. I’d rather have you in control over your abilities than to have them happen on random, such as the possession thing you did at Rousseau’s? We need to train your abilities.”

Bella groaned, knowing he was right. “Fine, but not the Sanatorium, please,” she said as she closed her laptop. “We could ask Myriam if we can borrow her spirits at the compound, there aren’t a lot of them that she keeps around.”

“Really?” He was surprised that she agreed with this, if he had known she’d agree, he would have asked her sooner.

“Yeah,” she nodded with a smile. “I think I’m ready. I feel more comfortable in my skin than ever and wow… I think I can actually do it. Baby steps, yeah?”

“Yeah,” he smiled at her as he pulled her to her feet. “Let’s do this.”

For the next week they had fun with Myriam’s spirits while Jeremy occasionally participated in the test to see if Bella wasn’t actually cheating, and she wasn’t. She was fully committed to learning – again – to see spirits and to have fun with it.

It was on the final day of this practise, that was no longer a practise, more like muscle memory, Valerie showed up again, briefly throwing Bella off guard because up until now it had just been Myriam’s toys, and Valerie once again didn’t make a lot of sense. Bella told her that she couldn’t rely on her anymore and wasn’t quite sure where that’d leave the two of them. Bella wanted to help her, but it wasn’t safe. While it was likely that the Volturi had control over her, Bella wasn’t strong and confident enough to take them on, even with the help from the Mikaelsons.

It hurt her heart, but for now, it was best that Bella kept on working on improving herself so that she could help Valerie if she truly needed her help. Bella felt recognition and surprise coming from Valerie, a gratitude, while her face told a different story. Yes. Valerie was in trouble.

One step at a time. She couldn’t help Valerie now, but soon.