It should have been simple, really. He was beaten, outmatched if you will… and oh, how it stuck in his throat to admit that, but then something had gone wrong. He’d burned up and died after being staked with the white oak and should have landed on the Other Side, trapped for the rest of time.
Instead, he had fallen somewhere in the middle with a foot still wedged in the door to the living world… so to speak. Of course, he hadn’t realised this at first, and after his brief return to the world of the living thanks to the witch’s expression spell, he had just gone back to wandering Mystic Falls and wondering what the hell to do with himself.
Watching the occupants of the small town destroy themselves after raising Silas had offered only so much entertainment. He’d never handled being bored very well, and now he had an eternity of it to look forward to…
Then it had happened – his first indication that something was different. He’d been standing near the newly alive Gilbert boy, musing yet again on the many ways he would love to take his revenge on him and his sister, and the boy had suddenly looked up as if he had felt him watching.
That part wasn’t at all unusual – the boy was a psychic after all. No, the notable part was that the blond vampire Klaus fancied had also looked up, and when her eyes fell on a nearby mirror, she had frozen in horror as she’d actually met Kol’s murderous gaze.
She had jumped violently and turned to where he stood, her startled cry dying in her throat as she saw no one there.
Kol had stared right back at her as she looked back at the mirror, none of his surprise visible on his impassive face. How was she able to see him? Was it actually his reflection?
Chuckling suddenly, he winked and mockingly waved at her, a sinister smirk on his face, before he turned and walked away. Whatever this meant, he would find out somehow… and then maybe once he’d had some fun, he’d be back.
Six months later…
“Did you hear? She was found in front of her broken mirror… she totally cut her own throat I bet…”
Bella sighed as she overheard one of the school’s biggest gossips, Jessica Stanley, speaking to her crowd of friends and admirers about the recent death of Lauren Mallory, the other former queen of gossip, and Jessica’s so-called best friend.
Picking up her pace, Bella hurried past, hoping not to be dragged into the conversation and cringing slightly as she noticed Mike Newton there, his hopeful puppy eyes following her as usual.
It was only the end of the first week back at school after the summer break and she was already sick of it. The endless gossip about Lauren’s fate made it worse than ever, and add that to Mike’s persistent interest in her and she’d definitely had enough.
At least it was senior year, the last year she would have to deal with them all. Though it was likely, she thought, that she would run into people just as distasteful at college.
She had already known what Jessica and her crowd were talking about – you couldn’t be a cop’s daughter and not pick up a thing or two, and a possible murder in a small town was big news.
Of course, everyone knew the basics – the local rumourmongers had seen to that, which made everyone feel well informed. Bella was privy to more detail than most, though. Thanks to her keen eyes and ears, and somewhat oblivious father, she knew some of the more unusual facts that had been kept from the public.
Unreleased facts such as the unusual bruising around the back of Lauren’s neck, like someone had roughly grabbed her there right before she died, and that although the official word was that her throat had been cut, it had looked more like it had been torn out. It all had the police, and therefore Charlie, baffled.
Still walking, Bella frowned as she caught sight of Mike breaking away from the crowd and hurrying after her. She debated on breaking into a sprint, just to get away from him, only to realise he’d probably just run right after her.
“Mike,” Bella responded her tone barely a few degrees warmer than arctic glacier level.
Mike didn’t seem to notice, though, as he practically bounced along next to her like an excited pet waiting for treats, all the while checking her out in the most indiscrete way possible.
Bella rolled her eyes, for a brief wonderful moment imagining herself turning and aiming a swift kick to his balls and following it up with breaking his nose, and maybe, just maybe, he’d finally get the hint that she wasn’t interested.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. The school would get involved, his snotty parents would undoubtedly press charges, and Charlie would throw a fit if she got into that kind of trouble. Oh how awful it would look for him if the chief of Police’s daughter got caught fighting.
Suppressing an irritated sigh, she turned to the boy next to her, her short supply of patience already running low. “What do you want, Mike?”
“Oh, well… um, I just thought, if you needed to um, talk… or anything.”
Oh my god, Bella snarled in her head, he really will use anything as an excuse…
Taking a deep breath, Bella bit back the scathing reply on the tip of her tongue, reminding herself that being Charlie’s daughter meant that she had to act a certain way, whether she liked it or not.
She was saved the trouble of thinking up a suitable response when Edward Cullen approached suddenly seemingly from nowhere, not that he was at all better. He might not be obvious like Mike, but she often caught him staring oddly at her, a slight frown on his disturbingly flawless features.
He would always smile when she caught him looking though, his eyes intense as he raked them over her, and each time it would make her feel decidedly unsettled.
“Can I help you,” Mike sneered at Edward, though he quickly backed down under the frosty glare he received.
“No,” Edward smirked faintly. “But I believe Bella can.”
“No thanks necessary,” he said quietly, a vaguely triumphant look on his face as Mike stalked off.
“You’re right, there’s none necessary because I never asked for your help,” Bella muttered, keeping a polite smile on her face for anyone who happened to be watching, though Edward’s smile quickly dropped.
This was far from the first time that Edward had appointed himself as her rescuer, and it was something else she was sick and tired of. She’d never asked for his assistance, and certainly had no intention of ever starting.
Pretty much his whole family honestly unnerved her, with their eerie matching pale skin and golden eyes, despite all being adopted or fostered. Though Edward and his ‘sister‘ Alice were the worst; Edward with his creepy watching, and Alice with her weird expectant looks and constant offers to go shopping no matter how many times Bella replied that she hated it.
Her face still set in a polite expression, Bella walked away from Edward, relieved that he didn’t follow her.
Standing in front of her locker, Bella tensed as Tyler Crowley approached. The last thing she needed was more flirting, something that Tyler had a habit of doing with anyone who had tits and a reasonably sized ass.
Surprisingly though, he just walked by, for once not even glancing at Bella. In fact, he looked pretty upset she thought, and he kept directing terrified looks at the windows as he passed them, like he could see something there.
Trailing into homeroom behind him, Bella followed his line of sight curiously as she sat at her table. She stiffened in her seat when she saw a reflection in the window of a shadowy figure standing there, close behind Tyler, that didn’t belong.
She flicked her gaze back to Tyler briefly, and noted that she was right; there was no one there. When she looked back at the window, however, the anomalous reflection she’d seen had disappeared.
Had no one else seen it? Judging by the fact no one had made a sound or even really looked in that direction she would guess not. No one else had seen it, other than Tyler anyway.
Shaking her head, Bella looked back down at the wooden table top.
She had imagined it she supposed, though the hairs on the back of her neck were still standing up, and for the rest of the day she couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching her.
It went on like this for the next couple of days. Whenever Bella saw Tyler he looked more and more freaked out, and the feeling that she was being watched grew stronger and stronger. Many times she turned her head and just caught sight of the shadowy figure in a reflection, and every time she would look to where they should be, only to find no one standing there.
It still seemed that no one else other than Tyler could see him, and for her, the reflection was becoming a little clearer each time she did. The figure was distinctly male now, tall with tousled hair, and though she couldn’t make out his eyes yet, she would swear he was staring right at her each time she looked at him.
It was unnerving to say the least. She had tried talking to Tyler about it, but he refused to speak on the subject and had avoided her since. There wasn’t anyone else she could think of to speak to about it, no one who wouldn’t think she was insane, anyway. Hell, even she thought she might be going nuts.
So far she had never seen the mysterious figure anywhere other than at school, and only when Tyler was in sight. Whatever that thing was, it seemed to be focused on Tyler and not her, which was something at least. Though the way the hair on the back of her neck would randomly stand on end, she just knew the thing was watching her, too.
Tyler headed up to his room, throwing himself onto his bed. He’d barely managed to swallow his food through dinner with his parents, and he knew they could tell something was wrong, but he didn’t know what to say to them.
How could he explain to that he was being haunted by someone that no one else could see, someone that only appeared in reflections? How could he explain that his stalker was haunting his dreams, killing him over and over each night, and then following him around each day?
It sounded crazy! In fact, he was beginning to wonder if he was going crazy. At least that would certainly explain the downright scary guy he kept seeing and dreaming about all the time.
Fatigued from the nightmares waking him up, and days spent jumping at every movement he saw, Tyler had had enough. Stripping down to his boxers he fell back into bed, absolute exhaustion quickly taking him into a deep sleep.
A sharp knocking sound woke him sometime later.
It wasn’t his bedroom door, the sound was too sharp for that, and the house was quiet anyway. It was late and his parents were long since in bed.
Tyler threw off the covers and headed to his window, pulling aside the curtain and finding no one there.
“What the hell,” he muttered in confusion, more than a little bit freaked out.
Jumping violently, Tyler span around as the noise came from behind him. His eyes fell on the dresser near his bedroom door, and more specifically on the large mirror just above it. He took a step forward.
Cringing, he kept moving towards the mirror, blind curiosity driving him forward. He had to see what was doing this, to see if it was the same thing that had invaded his dreams.
Moving slowly as he got closer, he finally reached his dresser and hesitantly peered into it, sagging in relief as he saw only himself in the glass. Shrugging off the mysterious noise, he fiddled with his hair as he always did when confronted with a reflective surface, and then turned to go back to bed.
His gaze automatically flicked back to the mirror.
The last thing Tyler saw was the tall, pale figure standing behind him, then felt the back of his neck being grabbed tightly as his throat was torn out, blood spraying over the now cracked glass.
Sleep didn’t come easily to Bella the next night.
It had been horrifying to go into school and find out that the reason Charlie had been called into work in the early hours was to go and deal with the crime scene around Tyler Crowley’s dead body… the second body now found in front of a cracked mirror with their throat slashed.
The school gossips were having a field day with theories ranging from a serial killer being on the loose to how Tyler was madly in love with Lauren and had killed himself in the same way she had because he couldn’t live without her.
Bella had snorted internally at that last one. She had nothing personal against Tyler or anything, he was friendly enough, but the only person Tyler Crowley had ever been in love with was himself.
She wondered if she should have said something about what she’d been seeing, but what could she have said – that she had seen some mysterious body following Tyler around, and that other than Tyler she was the only person who could see it… Oh, and that it could only be seen in reflections because no one was actually standing there?
Yeah, that was a fast track to crazy-ville right there. She could just imagine how Charlie would react to it all, and it wouldn’t be pretty.
She wondered again for the hundredth time whether what she had been seeing was real or not, but if it wasn’t, then how was Tyler seeing it, too? Then there was the most unsettling thought of all: if she was seeing the same thing he had, then did that mean she was going to die, too?
Sometime later, Bella sat up, looking around the shadowy forest she’d found herself in.
It didn’t look familiar although that didn’t really mean much since she wasn’t one for being out in nature anyway. Clearly remembering going to bed and laying there awake for a good while, she could only guess that this was a dream… an oddly vivid dream.
A twig snapped nearby, the slight crack very loud in this place where the only other sound was her quiet breathing. Scrambling to her feet, Bella looked around nervously. That feeling of being watched was back again, and stronger than ever.
Hearing another crunch of leaves and twigs, Bella spun to face the direction it came from, her breath coming in short, sharp pants as she stood there frozen. A memory of overhearing Tyler mention bad dreams came to mind, and Bella shivered at the cold trickle of fear working its way down her spine.
Movement in the shadows surrounding the small clearing she stood in caught her eye, and Bella forgot how to breathe at all as a male figure, tall and extremely appealing despite the air of menace surrounding him, slowly stepped out from the darkness and looked her up and down.
Circling around her slowly, his eyes tracing over what seemed like every inch of her, Bella fought back a whimper when he stopped behind her and leaned in closer to inhale deeply.
“You should take a breath you know,” he murmured, his own breath tickling her ear and making every hair on her body stand on end as he leaned in close. “As I understand it, it’s an important thing for humans.”
This time a whimper did escape Bella as she gasped, then exhaled shakily.
“Mm, that’s better,” the voice said again, still close to her ear. “Keep going now, I wouldn’t want you to pass out on me.”
He sounded amused.
“Am I dreaming?” Bella asked, her voice as uneven as her ragged breaths.
“In a sense, yes. I’m in your head. It’s easier to see to you this way, and it’s the simplest way I can speak to you.”
“You wanted to speak to me?” Bella asked disbelievingly. “Why?”
She almost stepped back in alarm as the mysterious male moved round to face her, looking down at her with a slightly mocking expression on his handsome face.
“Interesting. I can tell you’re afraid… yet still so inquisitive. Most people are usually screaming by now…”
He shrugged, a nonchalant lift of his shoulders. “I was curious. You intrigue me… fascinating lille duen that you are.”
He looked down at her for a long moment, his dark brown eyes not giving much away. “Your name is Isabella, is it not?”
“Yes,” Bella answered, swallowing around the nervous lump in her throat. “I go by Bella though.”
“Hmm,” the stranger smirked, seeming amused again. “Fitting… Well, Bella, I am Kol Mikaelson, and you may call me Kol.”
“It’s you I’ve been seeing isn’t it?” Bella asked. “In the mirrors and windows.”
Kol smirked wider. “You really are an inquisitive little thing, aren’t you? Yes, though you shouldn’t have been able to, really. Not when I didn’t intend you to.”
“I couldn’t see you clearly,” Bella offered tentatively. “If that helps at all.” She swallowed heavily. “You were after Tyler all that time… are you going to kill me, too?”
This time Kol actually laughed out loud, his eyes glittering in amusement. “Don’t you think you should have asked that question first? What makes you think I killed your little boyfriend anyway?”
Bella raised her chin a little, as she looked at him. “He wasn’t my boyfriend, and I’m not an idiot. I can put two and two together.”
Kol laughed again. “Then shouldn’t you be running? What with me being a killer and all.”
“What good would that do me?” Bella asked. “If you wanted me dead, I’d doubt there’d be much I could do.”
“If I want you dead… then you’ll be dead,” Kol replied simply, and Bella shivered, not questioning his statement.
“What do you want then?”
“So many questions! Curious lille duen… perhaps I should call you little cat instead, though of course curiosity isn’t so good for cats, I hear.” He smirked down at her. “I want to be entertained. I’m stuck here and bored for eternity, I might as well have some fun.”
“And killing people is fun…”
“For them, not so much… but for me, yes.”
His slightly boyish grin as he sat down on the grass made Bella almost want to smile in return, even with the disturbing knowledge that she was talking to a possible serial killer.
“Come, sit,” Kol patted the ground next to him. “It makes little difference to me, but I’m sure it would be more comfortable for you.”
Watching him warily, Bella sank down onto the springy grass, though she chose to sit facing him instead of next to him like he’d indicated. Other than a slight raise of an eyebrow he didn’t react.
“So, why Tyler then? And why Lauren for that matter?”
“They offended me.”
“How the hell could they possibly offend you? They didn’t even know you existed!” Bella asked incredulously.
“Easily. They were an offence to my ears.”
“Well yeah, Lauren offended everyone’s ears.” Bella snorted before she could censor herself.
Kol laughed loudly as Bella covered her own mouth in shock. “I knew there was a reason you intrigued me, you really are quite fun for a human.”
Bella looked as if she might be sick as Kol chuckled at her. “Don’t try and pretend you even liked the girl. It’s quite obvious that you didn’t.”
“No I didn’t, but that doesn’t mean I think she deserved to die, or Tyler… or that anyone else does.”
“Such compassion in you lille duen, and such a waste… but you do amuse me with your boldness and curious questions. What if I said I would make a deal with you… that from now on, for each person I kill in this town, I would give you a chance to choose one person to save, to choose someone that I cannot harm?”
“I’d ask what the catch is.”
He cut her an amused look.
“Well, you yourself are not included, of course, and there may be exceptions, if they really displease me… I will also have the pleasure of your company. I find you interesting, and no one else seems able to get past their crippling fear enough to speak with me the way you have…”
“Charlie.” Bella interrupted, feeling uncomfortable as he looked her up and down again appraisingly. She quickly explained further at his raised eyebrow. “My dad, Charlie. He’s the chief of police. I want to save him first.”
“Good girl,” Kol murmured, surprised. “I was expecting to have to argue with you for longer.”
“What choice do I have?” Bella retorted.
“None really, but I thought you might fight me more on it…” he trailed off with a smirk at the guilty look that flashed across her face.
“No need to look like that. You’re not in a position to argue. It would be pointless and only make me cross. You made a wise choice, and now your father, Charlie, is safe.”
He stood up and stretched, not missing the way her eyes involuntarily followed his movement. A light blush staining her cheeks as his shirt raised up with the motion, showing a sliver of his stomach.
“Now that’s settled, as much as I’m enjoying our talk, I’m afraid I have a prior engagement to get to.”
“No… but, you’re not… you can’t…”
“Ah, ah, sweet lille duen,” He shook his head mockingly. “Quid pro quo. You agreed to this, remember? You get to keep Charlie safe, and I get to have my fun.”
He grinned that boyish smile again as he took her hand. “You’ll be able to see me clearly from now on. See if you can figure out who’ll be next.”
Giving her a roguish wink, he lifted her hand up to his mouth, brushing his lips across her knuckles.
“Until the next time, darling.”
Bella sat up in bed a second later, her heart racing. She was fairly certain that it had been real though, or as real as a dream could get anyway. She could still smell the woodsy air and her hand still tingled from where he had kissed it.
If Bella had any doubts the next morning as she got up they would have been quickly erased. Apart from the fact that the whole thing was still vividly imprinted in her memory even after eventually falling back to sleep, Kol had decided to show that he was true to his word, and she could see him clearly now – a point he made by appearing just behind her in the mirror as she finished brushing her teeth.
Bella smothered her startled squeak and glared at him as he smirked, obviously amused by her nearly jumping out of her skin. Debating for a moment whether telling a self-confessed serial killer that they were an ass was a good idea or not, Bella settled for giving him a dirty look as she left the bathroom.
She wasn’t surprised when he popped up in the mirror in her bedroom and just ignored him while she sorted out her clothes for the day, until she wanted to get dressed.
“You’re really gonna just stay there watching me, huh?” She asked, raising an eyebrow as he just shrugged, still smirking.
“Okay…” She muttered, grabbing her old dressing gown and draping it over the mirror, blocking him from sight.
She could only assume that doing so would block his view, and though she knew that pissing off a disembodied murderer was probably a very stupid thing, there was no way she was going to intentionally give him a free show.
Kol scowled at first as Bella covered the mirror, but then he had to laugh in spite of himself. The little bird certainly had spirit.
Amused by her nerve and the fact that he could still see her no matter what she did, Kol nevertheless decided it was pointless waiting around here. It seemed his morning would be better spent making an extra appearance for his latest little project. Something told him that after the dream he’d given her, this one would be another screamer.
Once she arrived at school, it didn’t take Bella long to figure out who Kol was going after next.
Jessica Stanley had been unusually quiet all day, and when added to the fact that she looked like she was about to jump out of her skin at any moment it hadn’t been hard to put two and two together.
Bella felt sick at the knowledge she had, that she knew what would happen to Jessica, but the more she thought it over the more she knew there was nothing she could do. How was she supposed to tell people that not only did she know what was haunting and killing her classmates, but that she’d actually sat and had a civilised conversation with him in her dreams?
How could she also explain that through all the extremely odd events, her foremost thoughts weren’t about how it was all possible, but instead she wondered why he didn’t want to kill her too? Lastly, and worst of all, how could she ever explain the deal she’d made? Saving Charlie… at what seemed to be the expense of Jessica’s life.
Laying her head on her desk, Bella sighed. The questions and guilty feelings constantly circling around her mind were giving her a headache and she was glad this was the last class of the day.
Catching movement out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Kol watching her from his reflection in the window. It took a moment for it to sink in, and then she raised her head to look at him curiously. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen him that day, but Jessica wasn’t in this class so what was he doing here now?
Meeting her gaze, Kol studied her for a moment, making her skin prickle as his dark eyes looked her over, then his lips twitched into a faint wicked smile. He nodded once, mouthing ‘I’ll see you later’ before fading away.
Bella shivered, though if she was completely honest she wasn’t really sure if it was a hundred percent from fear…or not.
She spent the evening distracted, just going through the motions of homework and dinner, though if Charlie noticed he didn’t say anything. He was quite obviously preoccupied with the two recent deaths anyway, so Bella knew he wouldn’t be taking much notice of anything at home.
She wondered again what he’d think if he knew that she knew who the killer was, and had also spoken to him. It didn’t matter really, she supposed, Charlie was far too practical; he wouldn’t believe her in a million years. A part of Bella felt sad realising that even though she had bargained to save her father, her knowledge would drive a wedge between them.
It had only been a day and already she felt uncomfortable around him, especially as she knew that at this very moment, thanks to her decision, someone else was being terrorized in his place.
Bella felt ill as her gaze fell on Charlie’s neat stack of case notes sitting on the table waiting to be read, and as he got up to do the washing up to wash the dishes she excused herself, quickly heading up to her bedroom where she lay on her bed.
Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes as she laid there, taking deep breaths. Everything just felt so mixed up.
Eventually calming down, Bella got up and changed into her pyjamas, climbing into bed as a wave of exhaustion hit her.
Her dreams started off normally enough with her just floating around in the blackness, but before long she again found herself ‘waking up’ in the same shady clearing as before.
Less afraid this time, she just sat there with her knees drawn up to her chest as she waited for Kol to appear from amongst the trees.
“Well now, that’s a first…” He commented as he approached, looking down at Bella with a smirk. “Look at you, just sitting waiting for me.”
He elegantly lowered himself to the ground next to her as she shrugged.
“You’ll either kill me or you won’t. I didn’t see a lot of point in running either way.”
Kol let out a surprised laugh. “I do so enjoy you, lille duen…truly a rare thing for a human.”
“What do you keep calling me?”
Kol shook his head, smirking. “It’s my family’s native language; I suppose you would call it Old Norse.”
“You were a Viking?” Bella gasped, amazed.
“Not exactly. My family settled in America over a thousand years ago, a couple of years before I was born. We were all human then of course…”
“Are your family like you?” She was intensely curious now.
“No, but three of my siblings are still alive – if you want to call it that anyway.” He gave her a long, measuring look, “If you tell anyone you know what I’m about to reveal, I will end you and I will end your father, painfully. Our deal be damned.”
“Okay.” Bella nodded. She had no intention of repeating any of this, and who would believe her, anyway?
“Our family were witches, very powerful and especially our mother. She made my siblings and myself immortal, vampires if you will, after our younger brother was killed. My family are the originals, the first true vampires ever created, alive for a thousand years.”
“So how are you here?”
Kol scowled at her question. “I was killed trying to foolishly stop something terrible happening. There is a place where supernatural creatures and witches go when they die, The Other Side. I should have gone there too…”
He trailed off and Bella nodded awkwardly, recognising that it was a touchy issue.
“What was it like when you were human?” She asked suddenly, both genuinely curious and trying to change the subject.
Kol turned slightly towards her, his eyes narrowed. When he saw she was honestly interested he relaxed and began talking, telling her whatever odd moments he could remember from his human days.
The next few days passed in a blur for Bella. To her surprise, she had begun to enjoy Kol’s company and, though a part of her hated herself for it, she couldn’t help the fact that she found him captivating.
They would talk for hours each night, sitting together as he told her about his life and the things he had seen, how he was somehow between worlds, and each night Bella would find it all too easy to forget who he was, what he was doing. Somehow her days had become something she endured, just to make it to the next night again.
She did her best to ignore what was happening at school, the way Jessica looked more and more ragged and terrified. The guilt of throwing her under the bus to protect Charlie was eating Bella alive, as well as the fact that the person she was constantly anticipating seeing again was the very same person haunting her classmate. She loathed the fact that each time she saw his ghostly reflection in a mirror or window she had to fight a smile.
Ironically, the only time she could forget it all was when she was dreaming, sitting in that forest clearing listening to tales of historical events, blood and mayhem, and a family forever tearing each other apart while trying to stick together.
It had all started feeling distinctly dreamlike to Bella so it was a harsh jolt into reality when she had gone into school one morning to hear that Jessica Stanley had been found dead.
Bella barely made it through the school day, wandering from class to class like a zombie. She felt the familiar prickle across her skin several times but stubbornly refused to look at any of the windows, knowing she would break down if she saw him standing there watching her.
She ate alone that night, Charlie understandably working late, and while avoiding any windows or mirrors, she stalled as much as possible before heading to bed. But, after cleaning the kitchen top to bottom and checking through her homework assignments twice, the strain of the day caught up with her and she was fighting to keep her eyes open.
Eventually, she simply couldn’t fight it any longer and fell to sleep, quickly finding herself on soft springy grass, where she promptly curled up and wept, unable to keep it in any longer.
She didn’t notice Kol’s silent approach, or when he sat next to her, quietly watching for a moment. His hand landing on her shoulder nearly made her jump out of her skin, and she looked up at him to find him frowning at the tears running down her cheeks.
Embarrassed to have broken down, Bella got up, then turned away from him to scrub at her face.
“You knew who and what I am from the start,” Kol said suddenly, breaking the silence, “Nothing has changed.”
Bella stifled a sob. “I know,” she answered shakily, “But I never expected…”
“Never expected what?”
He growled in frustration when she didn’t answer, standing up and striding over to her, forcibly turning her to face him, his hands on her shoulders.
“Never expected what?” He asked again roughly.
Her tears spilled over again as Bella met his dark chocolate eyes for a moment before dropping her gaze, not wanting to see the distaste they would surely soon hold for her.
“I never expected to have feelings for you,” She whispered, feeling nauseous at finally voicing it out loud for the first time. “But it’s wrong, I shouldn’t… oh God, it’s so wrong.”
Kol fell silent for a long moment and Bella tried to pull away, humiliation and self-disgust waging a war to make her feel utterly miserable and pathetic.
Kol’s hands held her firm though, not letting her back away.
“Tell me, darling,” he murmured, his voice unusually soft. “Does this feel wrong?”
Bella glanced up at him in confusion, then froze in shock as he leaned in, his lips brushing over hers.
It was surprisingly gentle and Bella melted into him, kissing him back with a soft whimper while his hands dropped to her hips and tugged her closer.
With a low rumble, he deepened the kiss, backing her into a nearby tree. The bark felt rough against her back as he lifted her up, and Bella instinctively wrapped her legs around his waist, her senses reeling as he grazed her tongue with his own and ground his hips into hers.
His hands moved over her and Bella felt like sparks were shooting over her skin wherever he touched. A low whine left her as he broke away from the kiss only to press his lips to her throat, nipping and sucking down to her collarbone.
“Does it still feel wrong?” He asked between nips, his voice rough. “Is this still wrong to you, my nydelige lille duen?”
“Oh God,” Bella moaned softly, unable to answer as he ground into her, not used to the feelings it invoked.
With one hand squeezing her ass, Kol pulled her tightly against him, enjoying the breathy noises she made and the feel of the heat coming off her.
Whirling around, he laid her down in the soft grass, positioning himself just to the side as he kept kissing on her neck, his hands skimming over her body. One hand drifted down her body, beneath her pyjama pants, and slid between her legs, his fingers dipping into the moisture he found there before he slipped one into her.
The tightness he encountered was not entirely unexpected; he’d had his suspicions that she was innocent, but it blew out any thoughts of a wild fuck in the woods. Even he was not so crass to take a girl’s virginity out among the trees, especially one like Bella, who he’d found himself quite enamoured with.
Suspecting that this was probably also her first experience of anything like this, he decided he could at least make it good for her and get her off. He had been raised a gentleman after all, and her innocence was something he would take great pleasure in stripping her of in the coming nights.
Moving back up to her lips he kissed her deeply, swallowing her moans as he flexed his finger inside her, his thumb moving to rub at her clit even as his other hand slipped underneath her tank top to caress the bare skin he found.
Bella writhed as Kol’s hands played her like an instrument, breaking away from his mouth to gasp as he wound her tighter and tighter. Kol watched with enjoyment as he curled his finger and pressed his thumb just right making her fall apart in front of him, moaning uninhibitedly as she found release.
This girl was going to be quite the little firecracker.
He rolled to his back and pulled Bella with him, her head resting on his chest while she caught her breath.
Soothing her as her afterglow wore off, he ran a hand down her back and over her hip, then placed it over her hand when it started to roam his stomach. The stilling of her movement caused Bella to peek up at him curiously.
“But, what about you? You haven’t… don’t you want to…?”
Kol smiled genuinely at her innocently faltering words. “Believe me I do, but I can wait. Tonight was for you.”
Bella nodded, blushing as she settled her head back on his chest, trying to ignore the fresh welling of guilt as she lay in his deadly arms.
Kol sighed, feeling her body begin to tense up again, the puff of breath ruffling her hair. “You didn’t make me who I am, darling, nor are the things I do yours to feel responsible for.”
“But I shouldn’t feel this way; it’s wrong that I want to be with you.”
“Some things are beyond right or wrong, lille duen; some things just are.”
Kol watched Bella almost obsessively through the days following their first intimate moments. Following on from that night, he had wasted little time in beginning to teach his little bird the joys of taking pleasure in each other’s bodies, and as he’d predicted, she had been a fast learner.
Now as he saw some of her male classmates vying for her favour, he felt a possessiveness over her that surprised him. Mikaelsons were often protective over what they considered theirs, but he hadn’t actually expected that he would truly consider Bella as his.
It was with that in mind that his next plaything was chosen.
It was like being in a fantasy land, Bella thought. Since that first night being with Kol, her daytimes had taken on a vague dream-like quality. The only thing that felt truly real now were the nights spent in his arms as they took turns making each other moan.
He’d awakened something in her as he made her scream his name, and aching for him was a near constant frustration that she was unable to completely relieve herself no matter how much she tried.
Floating through each school day, living for the prickles that accompanied Kol’s watching over her, Bella barely noticed as Mike Newton and Edward Cullen took to following her around, glaring daggers at each other as they both sought her non-existent attention.
Too caught up in their rivalry, neither of them paid attention to the fact that the only time she really smiled was when she was staring out the window, delicious shivers going through her every time she felt Kol’s eyes on her.
Even the guilt slowly became a distant, elusive feeling, something she was aware of but felt no effect from, as she watched Kol’s latest victim fall prey to his mind games.
Her remorse should have been crippling when she’d first spotted Mike Newton with that now familiar ragged, terrified expression, especially knowing that Kol’s choice more than likely had a lot to do with Mike’s never-ending pursuit of her. Instead, she felt something almost akin to relief as Mike eventually became too distracted to keep following her like a lost puppy.
Of course, this meant that Edward creepy Cullen seemed to think he’d won her as a prize or something, but Bella was honestly too distracted to properly set him straight. One person was a lot easier to dodge than two, and he was less overt in his attentions than Mike was anyway. Besides, she only needed to deal with him during school hours.
Back at home each evening was an endless stretch of quiet. Charlie was rarely there, working all the hours under the sun as the police tried to figure out who or what was behind the killings. That was something she did still feel a twinge of guilt over.
She knew exactly who was behind the recent murders, but it wouldn’t do any good to say anything. The same thought went through her head again and again: who would actually believe her anyway? That and she wasn’t sure if she could ever admit out loud that she was having what amounted to little better than an affair with the killer.
Every night was spent in Kol’s company now, in between his visits to Mike Newton anyway. Hours were spent talking as he told her of his life and she told him things she’d never admitted to anyone before, and just as many hours were spent lost in a haze of kisses and touches, hands and mouths exploring each other’s skin.
The only thing they’d stopped short of was having sex, but it had been obvious that Kol was holding himself back. They’d come close to it on several occasions now, and Bella knew it was only a matter of time before it happened.
A delicious shiver would go through her whenever she thought about it.
Across town, Kol waited impatiently for Mike Newton to fall asleep. Patience wasn’t his strong suit at the best of times, but now that he knew had Bella expecting him, waiting for him to come and have his way with her…
He shook his head, refocusing. He wanted to have his fun with this one. Aside from already being an aggravating little wanker, this boy had made no secret of his desire for Bella, constantly watching her, leering at her.
It had left Kol with the irrepressible urge to tear him to shreds, repeatedly – something he had taken great satisfaction in doing over and over in the whelp’s dreams. Now it was time to finally end him, make him pay quite painfully for his watching, and then he would return to his little bird and make her scream his name in ecstasy.
The sharp tapping woke Mike, and he sat up and looked around groggily. Hearing and seeing nothing amiss, he lay back down.
He sat up again, wider awake this time, and certain that it wasn’t just a dream, that he had definitely heard it.
Switching on the bedside lamp, he swung his legs out of bed and glanced over at the window, wondering if that was where the noise had come from.
Mike jumped violently, a cold sweat breaking out as he looked towards his slightly open bedroom door. He was sure he had closed it before he went to sleep…
Choking down his fear, he got up and moved slowly past his door towards the bathroom. Turning on the light he edged closer to the mirror, after a moment braving a peek at the reflective surface.
His breath whooshed out in a relieved gust as he saw only his own image reflected there.
Taking a moment to relieve himself, he flushed the toilet and looked into the mirror again, grimacing at his tired bloodshot eyes and worn expression before turning away.
The familiar tall smirking figure behind him was the last thing Mike ever saw, sending a spike of cold terror down his spine. There was no time for him to scream, just a flash of movement and he knew no more.
The spray of blood spattered across the cracked mirror looked almost glossy black under the stark bathroom light as Mike fell forward, his throat ripped out and his eyes a ruined mess.
It was all quiet at the Swan house as a mysterious figure climbed through the window. Bella was fast asleep and Charlie was still at the station, so as long as they were quiet, there was no danger of being caught here.
Creeping closer to the bed, they reached out slowly, a hand inching closer to Bella’s sleeping form. After trying to stay away for so long, they couldn’t help themselves.
Cold fingers brushed down her warm cheek, a frown crossing their face as she pulled away, mumbling the name ‘Kol’ as she did. Undeterred the figure gingerly sat on the edge of the bed, careful not to disturb Bella as they did. The same cold fingers reached out again, lightly tracing over her exposed shoulder then down her arm, inching down the covers as they did.
Tracing back up her arm, the figure watched as she shifted restlessly in her sleep, goosebumps rising on her skin as she tried to move away. Fingers still stroking her arm, they leaned in closer and inhaled deeply, their eyes darkening at her intoxicating scent.
The sudden noise made the figure freeze and woke Bella up with a jump. Catching sight of the figure leaning over her in the dim light, she screamed just as Kol swiftly pinned them to the wall by their throat.
Reaching for her lamp with a shaking hand, Bella stared in shock as the room brightened, showing a familiar head of penny-coloured hair.
“Edward? What the fuck are you doing in my bedroom?”
Ignoring her question, Edward glared at Kol as he struggled against his hold.
“What are you?” He snarled, “You’re not human.”
Kol smirked, enjoying the boy’s discomfort. “You’re one to talk, Cold One. Yes,” he continued, as Edward frowned in confusion, “I’ve seen a few parasites like you before in my time. I’m surprised I never noticed it, but then you do have such peculiarly coloured eyes… Why is that?”
Kol tightened his hold on Edward, small pressure cracks appearing under his fingers as Edward let out a pained groan.
“I’m a vegetarian, I only eat animals.” Edward bit out, completely avoiding looking at Bella who was huddled up on her bed watching them both in horrified fascination.
Kol laughed loudly for a moment, finding the idea of a Cold One living on animals incredibly funny.
“Oh, you can’t be serious! That is just too precious, but now for the million dollar question. What exactly, did you think you were you doing in Bella’s room putting your hands on her, touching her, while she was sleeping?”
“You were what?” Bella shrieked, outraged in spite of her fear. “Get out! Get the fuck out! Kol… please just get rid of him. I can’t even…”
She looked away, unable to stomach looking at Edward any longer as Kol smirked nastily. “It would be my pleasure, darling.”
Roughly pulling the shame-faced, pouting stalker away from the wall, Kol made short work of shoving him toward the window.
“You had better believe I will be coming for you. She is my first concern… but do not even begin to think you will get away with this. You will pay for putting your hands on her.”
Tossing Edward outside, he closed and locked the window behind him, gratified to see the cowardly Cold One disappearing into the forest without looking back.
“This,” Kol said quietly, pointing to the window, “Needs to stay locked from now on.”
Bella nodded, and he turned back to the mirror, debating on what to do next, when she called his name softly.
“Kol? Don’t leave me… please.”
Her soft plea was his undoing as he looked at her still huddled against her headboard, fat tears beginning to roll down her cheeks as the shock of having an intruder in her bedroom set in.
As brave as she had been around him, it was easy for him to forget she was still human and vulnerable. That fact had been driven home tonight when he’d returned to find the teenaged parasite with his hands on her as she slept.
“Shh, nydelige lille duen.” Kol spoke gently as he joined Bella on the bed, pulling her shaking body into his arms. “I’ve got you, and I’ll protect you. You’re mine.”
“Yours?” Bella asked, her voice muffled from her face being buried against his chest. She pulled back to look at him when he didn’t answer, regarding him curiously. “What is it that you keep calling me anyway? I asked before, but you never did tell me.”
Kol sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. He wondered if the petite human in front of him really knew how much power she held.
“Nydelige lille duen? It means… lovely little bird.” He hadn’t looked at her during his admission and stilled in surprise when he felt her move, her lips suddenly pressing against his.
He wasn’t motionless for long though, quickly taking control and laying Bella back on her bed, deepening the kiss and twisting his tongue with hers. His hand stroked up Bella’s back under her tank top, as she whimpered and pressed herself against him.
The effort it took to remain on this side of the mirror was worth it when Bella slid her small hands underneath his shirt, raising it up.
Kol groaned as her palms skimmed over his stomach, her touch warm and feeling almost like a static charge running over his skin.
“Little bird,” he murmured between nips to her neck. “If we don’t stop this soon, this time I’m not going to be able to.”
Bella rolled her hips, making him groan into her neck. “I don’t want to ever stop.”
A low rumbling moan left Kol as he pulled back to look in her eyes. Seeing that she was serious, his mouth descended on hers, the kisses becoming feverish as clothes came off and hands stroked newly exposed skin.
The rest of the world ceased to exist as they teased and touched, taking each other higher.
Bella moaned as Kol’s hand found its way between her thighs, his long fingers swirling over her sensitive flesh and sinking inside her.
Smirking knowingly as Bella writhed, he brought her close to her peak, fingers and mouth working in tandem.
Moving up her body, he came to rest between her legs, grazing against her as she arched up. She gazed up at him, her eyes wide and trusting and he paused to ask a question he had never cared to ask anyone before.
“You sure you’re ready? This will more than likely hurt you…”
Bella smiled softly. “I don’t care about that. I’m sure… I want you.”
Head dipping down, Kol brushed his lips over hers in response, then attacked her neck, nipping and sucking as his hand trailed down her side.
Lining himself up, he thrust into her slowly, shaking with the effort it took not to just drive into her hard and fast. A low pained noise escaped her as he pushed through her barrier and he froze, every muscle straining while he waited for her to relax.
Finally she shifted, just a slight roll of her hips, and taking that as encouragement Kol pulled back to slowly thrust into her again.
“Oh… oh God,” Bella whimpered when he moved, the pain rapidly fading into pleasure.
“Hold on darling, it just gets better,” Kol all but purred as he sped up his motion,
Sweat-slicked skin sliding together, Bella wrapped her leg up around his body and arched against him, both of them moaning as that took him deeper inside her.
Neither of them were able to last with the new angle, and feeling himself getting close Kol slipped his hand between them, rubbing lightly with his thumb and making Bella scream with the exquisite bliss of it.
Thrusting erratically as she grew impossibly tight around him, Kol came shortly after her, groaning deeply as he held her close.
Panting unnecessarily, he laid his forehead against hers as they came down.
“You are something special, little bird,” Kol murmured, making Bella blush.
He brought a hand up to her cheek, smirking at the heat blooming there. “You just had me inside you darling, yet a simple compliment still makes you flush?”
Bella giggled, her cheeks growing redder. “I guess so.”
Kol rolled over, bringing her with him to rest on his chest, enjoying a moment of peace before the strain of staying on this side of the mirror became too great. Bella yawned sleepily as she cuddled against him and he smiled down at her, amused.
“Go to sleep, darling. I can stay until you do.”
“Okay,” Bella replied drowsily, her eyes closing as she drifted off in his arms.
He resisted the pull for as long as he could, finding the simple act of holding Bella while she slept unexpectedly enjoyable. No one had ever trusted him the way she did, and he had never really let anyone close enough before, either.
It was only when he was ready to cry out with the agony of it that he left her side, and even then he stood on the other side of the mirror for some time, his palm pressed to the barrier, watching her sleep as he regained his strength.
As his energy returned to him, so did his anger. The fury he had felt at seeing the glittering parasite touching his little bird…
Growling he pushed away from the mirror surface, tearing his eyes away from Bella. He was finally back at full power…it was time to go and educate some Cold Ones.
Edward sat on the pristine white couch, his head in his hands. While his family sat around him in various states from concerned or amused, right through to bored in Rosalie’s case.
“Told you that you should just leave the girl alone,” Jasper said quietly, indifferent to Edward’s childish whining and his wife Alice’s pouting.
“But son, she is his mate, surely…” Carlisle spoke up, trying to be the voice of reason.
“She isn’t his anything!” Jasper snarled standing up and pacing the room. “Just because for some reason he cannot hear her does not mean she automatically belongs to him… I feel what she feels… and it’s nothing but contempt for him, nothing!”
“Smart girl,” Rose muttered, making Emmett snicker next to her as Alice gave them both shitty looks.
Carlisle opened his mouth but shut it at a glare from Jasper. “No, Carlisle, nothing can excuse him creeping into that girl’s room, and I doubt this was the first time he…”
The sound made them all jump, as did the sudden figure standing there speaking. “Yes, I too doubt that this was his first offence. Exactly how many times did you sneak into her room while she was asleep?”
“What the…?” Emmett jumped backwards, pulling Rose behind him. Jasper squared himself, facing the intruder.
“That’s him,” Edward pointed. “That’s the vile creature that chased me away from my Bella.”
“She isn’t yours,” Kol answered, taking a step closer, his voice deceptively calm. “And you neglected to answer the question. How many times did you sneak in? How many times did you touch her while she was sleeping?”
“You did WHAT?” Rose screeched even as Edward shook his head in denial.
“Don’t try to fib your way out of it, you pathetic little whelp. The mood stone over there can tell if I’m lying, can he not? Your precious family should know what you’ve been up to…”
He glanced around them, taking in the falsely nonchalant look on Alice’s face.
“Though I get the impression that at least one of you knew what he was doing… so much for being Mary Sue, Brady Bunch vampires… Oh my mistake, you aren’t real vampires at all, are you? Vampires indeed, I was an original, a real vampire… You are just playing at it, pretending you are something other than cold stone, even pretending that you don’t need to blood to survive. It sickens me.”
He looked around at their shocked faces with a smirk. “I guess the truth really does hurt. No matter, I’ll just take what I came for and I’ll leave you all to go back to your wretched existence.”
“What did you come for exactly?” Carlisle asked carefully as Alice whined.
“I can’t see him, I can’t see what he wants.”
Kol just smirked. “Ah, a seer. How… interesting. Of course you can’t see me, I shouldn’t exist. But tell me, how do your precious family appear after I leave?”
A horrified look crossed Alice’s face and Edward gasped but they were too late to do anything.
A split second later Edward was lying on the floor, wailing and cradling the place where his right hand had previously been attached.
A tapping sound coming from the mirror drew all their eyes in that direction, and Edward let out another wail as he saw a smirking Kol holding his missing appendage, waving it jauntily at him from the other side of the glass.
Kol stared down at Edward for a moment, then looked around at everyone making sure he had their full attention before mouthing very slowly and clearly.
“Go near her again, and I’ll take more than a hand. I will take you all.”
Seeing that they seemed to have gotten the message, he back away from their overly large mirror, dropping Edward’s hand and watching in satisfaction as it disappeared into nothing once he let it go.
Brushing his hands off against his shirt, he looked on impassively as the so-called ‘family’ comforted their fallen member, unable to see him any longer as he watched and listened while they made plans.
Gratified when they made arrangements to pull out of school and Carlisle’s work so they could leave town despite the brat’s whining protests, he left them to it, leisurely making his way back towards Bella’s house.
Watching the Cold Ones had taken longer than he’d planned, and the sun was up in the sky when he arrived. So much for being there when Bella woke up.
Noting the lack of police cruiser outside despite Charlie’s late return the night before and the early hour, Kol grinned to himself and headed straight upstairs to where he could hear the shower running.
Stopping in the bathroom doorway for a moment, Kol admired the view while Bella showered, her back to him as she ran her hands through her hair.
Suddenly realising he was acting no better than a common peeping tom, he moved to the mirror so she would be able to see him, tapping lightly to alert her to his presence.
Bella jumped at the sound then turned to face the mirror, peeking around the shower curtain to see Kol looking at her with a heat in his eyes that made her blush.
Seeing the rosy flush across her cheeks snapped Kol’s control, and a loud crack sounded when he fractured the mirror coming through it.
Quickly shedding his clothes, he stepped into the shower with Bella, taking her in his arms. Their bodies filled the confined space, the hot water tumbling over them as they kissed passionately, hands pulling each other impossibly close.
“How sore are you this morning, darling,” Kol asked, his fingers sliding down the crease at the top of her leg then between her thighs as she parted them, stroking lightly over her.
Bella whimpered and arched against him, his fingers teasing her. The hot water had soothed her aching muscles, and any other lingering soreness was negligible compared to the sparks of pleasure he was giving her.
“Oh… I’m not too sore…”
Kol smirked down at her, eyes darkening lustfully. “That’s my little bird.”
Reaching down he grabbed her thighs, lifting her up to wrap her legs around him. Holding her up easily with one hand, the other slipped around to tease her again, working her up until she was whimpering in his grip, her head thrown back while he sucked on her pulse point.
Lining himself up, he thrust slowly, freezing and giving her time to adjust to him when she winced slightly.
“I’m sorry, darling,” Kol apologised, surprising himself a little.
“I’m alright; I guess I am a little sore after all.” Bella looked at him sheepishly.
“You want to stop?” He asked reluctantly, then breathed a sigh of relief when she shook her head in response. “Okay then, we’ll just take it slow… and easy.”
Reaching around her, he flicked off the shower and stepped out, grabbing for a towel to drape over Bella as she stayed wrapped around him.
Listening quickly to make sure the rest of the house was still empty, he carried Bella into her room. Placing her on the bed, he followed her down, coming to rest between her thighs.
Slipping inside her again, he rocked slowly, giving her body time to adjust to the still unfamiliar intrusion. Before long Bella was moaning and clutching his back as he stroked smoothly in and out of her, thumb rubbing and circling her most sensitive spot.
Bucking underneath him when he sped up, thrusting just a bit harder, Bella finally came with a loud cry of his name, tightening again around him and quickly drawing his own release.
Collapsing in a heap on the bed, Kol rolled to the side, pulling Bella against him as they lay there catching their breath.
The day passed by in a pleasant haze for Bella. She’d barely made it to school in time after her morning with Kol, and had spent most of her day since then with a vague smile on her face at the memories. Even the lingering tenderness between her legs had just served as a reminder of the wonderful things she had felt the night before and again that morning.
She had noted the Cullens absence of course, though it hadn’t surprised her. Kol had told her everything about his ‘visit’ to them while they had relaxed in bed right before Bella had needed to rush around like a madwoman to avoid being late.
Hearing that the Cullens were some weird off-breed of vampire had been a little unsettling, especially given Edward’s longtime fascination with her, but there were stranger things out there…Kol being one of them.
Bella smiled again at the thought of her… boyfriend? No, that wasn’t the right word. Lover would perhaps be more accurate, and a warm thrill went through her at that description.
She knew it wouldn’t be easy being with Kol, they literally did come from two different worlds, but right now she simply couldn’t think about it. All she could think about was how good it felt to be in his arms, how it felt to know he had chosen her, and what it had been like to share something so intimate with him.
A light blush dusted Bella’s cheeks and she shook her head, trying to clear it. She still had an afternoon of school to get through and senior bio was not the place to be smiling like a ninny no matter how good the memories were.
Kol watched Bella through the day, amused each time she blushed and smiled seemingly at nothing, knowing that she was thinking about him. It did bring to mind certain questions, though. How exactly could they maintain any kind of relationship with their given situation?
More than once he’d felt an alien sensation, guilt perhaps, stirring deep down in the pit of his stomach. There was no certain way that he knew of to be able to return to the living world, that was the whole point of the Other Side. Of course the Gilbert boy had, but naturally there was a distinct lack of witches with the power and the inclination to assist him, especially with their life being on the line if they did.
So where did that leave him and his very human lover?
If she died she would not land on the Other Side, and even if she somehow did, it was likely he would not be able to see her, to touch her. Was this a part of the punishment for his sins? Would he pay for his depraved, sadistic behaviour in life by being kept now from his little bird in death?
He growled in frustration; he would not regret the things he had done. Kol Mikaelson did not regret anything, and he had always enjoyed his vicious inhuman nature, but he couldn’t quite smash down those stirrings of guilt when it came to Bella.
He knew she had fallen in love with him. Her amusing habit of talking in her sleep had confirmed that much, and as much as someone like him could, he knew he loved her in return. The irony was that he’d had to die before he’d found her.
Now he couldn’t help but wonder if he’d damned her, the one person he’d ever really cared for, into loving someone she could never truly be with?
Growling again, Kol turned and walked away, needing some time to think – something he found himself unable to do clearly when his delicious little lover was within his sight.
Bella let herself into the house after school with a sigh. Charlie wasn’t home, so she had the place to herself as had been usual of late. Detouring into the kitchen for a drink then heading straight upstairs, she planned to attempt getting her homework finished before Kol popped up in her mirror and started distracting her.
Her plans were halted when she entered her bedroom and saw an unfortunately familiar head of copper hair facing toward her window.
“Edward,” she said carefully, taking a step back. “What are you doing here? I thought you were leaving town.”
“Oh, he told you that, did he?” Edward snarled, spinning to face her, waving an arm that used to have a hand at her. “Did your monster also tell you what he did to me?”
Bella swallowed heavily, taking another step back as she nodded, utterly terrified.
“Why so frightened, love?” Edward asked coldly. “You weren’t too afraid to let that monster in your bed after all. You weren’t too afraid to let him defile you.”
Bella cringed back at his harsh tone. Now that she knew what he was, he scared the hell out of her. Seeing her flinch, Edward stepped closer, holding his one remaining hand out to her in an attempt to be reassuring.
“Don’t worry my love, we’ll have an eternity together. I’m sure I can eventually forgive you for letting that thing taint you. He didn’t give you a chance to say no to him, of course.”
His voice was gentle now, placating, and it made Bella feel sick to her stomach as she backed up, misjudging her direction and hitting the wall. His abrupt mood change making her even more nervous, she looked around frantically for any sign of Kol.
“You’re looking for him, aren’t you?” Edward snapped, his hand slamming into the wall beside her head.
Bella recoiled, pressing against the wall as he got closer.
“Well, he isn’t here,” Edward continued smugly. “I checked this time.”
Bella resisted the urge to roll her eyes at him, despite his arrogance he obviously had no clue how it actually worked with Kol, that he could appear at any moment. She darted her eyes around the room again, focusing on the mirror. Please Kol, any moment would be good right now… Where are you?
“So, my love,” Bella almost gagged at his repeated use of the endearment. “Now that I have you, I’m going to turn you, make you like me. I know that’s what you want…”
“No!” Bella gasped, horrified. “Please no. I don’t want that.”
Edward stuck his hand over her mouth, cutting off her protests. “Don’t lie to me, my love. I know you’ll love me once we’re the same. You can be with me and my family; we’ll look after you.”
Bella tried to shake her head under his hand, tears running down her cheeks.
“I just need a little taste, my love,” Edward said leaning closer. “And then there’ll be nothing to come between us.”
“I would not be so certain of that,” snarled a furious voice from behind Edward.
Bella cried out as he was torn away from her, his razor teeth scraping her skin and drawing blood. She watched as Kol and Edward fought in a brief blur that ended with Edward pinned to the floor, Kol’s foot on his throat, then became aware of a burning feeling starting where Edward had nicked her neck.
Clutching her hand over the bleeding scratch, she crumpled to the floor as it erupted into burning agony spreading out from that spot.
Kol stared in horror as Bella fell, realising what had happened.
He’d been too late after all, and his blood would not be able to reverse the change.
“Little bird…” He dropped to his knees beside her, ignoring his instinct to kill the weakened adversary beneath his foot, and gripped her free hand.
“I’m sorry, my lovely little bird. I can’t stop what’s happening.”
“You can’t stop it now, she’ll be mine,” Edward crowed.
Bella whimpered in pain, tears flowing freely as she looked up at Kol desperately. “I don’t want to be like him. I’d rather be dead.”
Kol gazed down at her heartbroken, knowing what he would have to do. Bending down he softly kissed her forehead, his hands cupping her cheeks as he whispered to her.
“As you wish, darling.”
A quick twist of his wrists and it was over, her body lying limp in his arms.
“Bella, my love! No!” Edward wailed and Kol rounded on him.
“An eternity of suffering would not be enough for what you’ve done here,” He snarled in the pouting Cold One’s face. “I swear to you, I will make sure you suffer for this.”
A light hand on his shoulder made him stop in his tracks and he turned, only to stare in awe at the sight before him.
It was only a short time later that Charlie pulled into his driveway. He went straight up for a shower after his long shift, and froze at the sight of the cracked bathroom mirror.
Fearing the worst he shouted Bella’s name and went into her room, where he found his daughter lying bloody and motionless.
It was something of a nonsensical fog after that. He dimly recollected someone finding a wallet belonging to one of the Cullen kids in among the shards of the broken mirror – something he would no doubt address at some point, and he remembered the coroner taking Bella’s body and the room then being sealed off as evidence, but there was little recollection of anything else.
Now the house was too silent, and he almost wished he had taken up either Billy or Harry’s offer to stay with them. At last, he had given up his solitary vigil at the kitchen table and started getting ready for bed. He was exhausted, though sleep would most likely be hard to come by.
Avoiding looking anywhere close to the mirror, the crack there a stark reminder, he kept his head down as he brushed his teeth… until a movement caught his eye.
Automatically glancing up, his breath caught in his throat as he saw his Bella reflected in the mirror. He spun on the spot, only to look back at the mirror in confusion when he saw nothing behind him.
A tear fell from his eye as she smiled sadly at him, putting her palm to the glass for a moment before backing away, with a slight wave goodbye.
Charlie looked on as a young man approached her from the side, taking her hand and lifting it to his mouth as she smiled up at him.
Bella turned as Kol took her hand, unable to stop herself from smiling up at her love. Her one goodbye given, she turned and walked away with Kol, leaving Forks and her old life behind. They had a family of Cold Ones to seek revenge on, and Kol’s murderers to torment.
It wasn’t ideal, but they were together, at least. Plus, there were whispers of a witch who might be able to help them…and Bella was dying to see New Orleans.