Summary: A sneaking suspicion strikes Bella after the Cullens abandon her like yesterday’s garbage. Her search for answers brings her to Mystic Falls to visit her cousins, only her answers don’t come from them but the dark, unhinged Original brother hell bent on stopping them from raising Silas…
Baby, It’s Kol Outside…
“Oh the weather outside is frightful…”
Bella sat in the guest room at the Gilbert house, rolling a pencil up and down her desk as boredom settled in like an old friend come to call. Resisting the urge to sigh for the umpteenth time, she slapped her hand down on the pencil and picked it up. Moving to a blank piece of paper, she proceeded to pepper it with little random dots, the thunk of the pencil hitting it marking each passing second.
The thought of where her cousins were crossed her mind once again, but she batted that away, mostly unconcerned with whatever drama Elena and Jeremy seemed to be caught up in – and there certainly was something, she knew. While she’d never really gotten along with Elena, she and Jeremy had always been tight and therefore he’d been easy to read when she’s popped up on their doorstep out of the blue the other day. Excited, concerned… worried and fearful… The emotions had crossed his face one after the other, Elena’s expression broadcasting distaste and annoyance on top of that.
She and Jeremy always stayed in contact. Though years could sometimes pass between visits, it was always like no time had passed at all for them and they just picked up wherever they’d left off. Elena was more of a bitter pill for Bella to swallow. A strong sense of entitlement had always followed the girl and while Bella saw that a lot of her actions were done in what she deemed was best for others, a large part of her – especially recently – had no respect for someone who refused to allow people to decide for themselves. Someone who stole people’s choices away because they ‘knew better’ than them.
It brought to mind Edward and his family, a large reason she had showed up on the doorstep the other day completely unannounced. Him leaving her in the woods was both the worst and best thing to have ever happened to her. Over a month of mourning had passed, of sitting in her room as nothing more than a shell, a husk of the girl she’d once been, before life bled into her body again. The weak shaking of her limbs settled, her mind cleared, and all at once she realized what had happened – what had been happening for months without her knowledge.
“Everything about me draws you in – my face, my scent…” Edward had said.
She didn’t know he’d meant it quite so literally.
Her symptoms after his departure were in line with an addict going through withdraw. As her body shed the need for his presence, realization set in, along with anger. Who knew if she’d ever really loved Edward or his family? She certainly held no love for them now. All she knew for certain was that their very nature had paralyzed her, drew her in and tied her to them – against her will, with their knowledge? – there was know way for her to know for certain.
But as her anger grew and Victoria started popping up, she decided it hardly mattered. Carlisle was a doctor, for fuck’s sake, a scholar who had studied their species for centuries. They had to know what their presence had done to her – what their leaving would do to her. Yet they’d abandoned her all the same without so much as a fuck you very much… At least Eddie had said goodbye, if one could call the shit he’d shoveled on her that night a goodbye.
It hadn’t taken Victoria long to appear after that, likely knowing of the Cullens departure and wanting to target the weakest link of the group. Then Bella had discovered the wolves and her mind turned to the possibility of other supernatural beings… Witches, ghouls, maybe traditional werewolves and vampires? Odds were they were out there and she became determined to find a creature capable of killing a Cold One as it appeared Jacob and his puppy friends were crap at it.
The kid kept assuring her he’d protect her, yet the body count was rising. It was only a matter of time before it was Charlie paying the ultimate price for their failure.
So she’d researched. It was hard to sift through it all and sort the facts from fiction, but when she saw Mystic Falls, the town where her two cousins resided, popping up one more than one occasion during her research; well, Bella didn’t believe in coincidence, not anymore.
Convincing Charlie to let her leave had been easier than expected. She’d played on his sympathy, saying the Christmas cheer was too much for her there in Forks where Edward’s memory tainted the festivities and that she wanted a breath of fresh air in Mystic Falls. Wanted a chance to enjoy the holiday and reset herself.
Not wanting to give them a chance to deny her, Bella had hopped on a flight right away, showing up on their doorstep with a wide, fake smile that matched the fake ones on her cousins’ faces.
Some sort of drama was going on, though not even Jeremy would enlighten her. He had confided that it’d be best if she kept a low profile and stuck around him whenever she wanted to go out and the warning made her wonder if the legends of their town were true – and if Jeremy knew they were.
Especially as he quickly warned her not to invite anyone inside the house.
She hadn’t worked up the courage to ask him, not just yet. There was no doubting she would, though. Jeremy was often a sounding board for her and they rarely ever kept secrets from each other. They were close, more like best friends than siblings, and most of their conversations were so blunt they bordered on obscene. It’d been her that he called when he lost his virginity – her he’d turned to with wanting to know how to win Bonnie over.
Bella thought that was why Elena had always resented her so. She’d always been a jealous sort.
Fighting another sigh, Bella set the pencil down and checked the clock. She hoped Jer would be home soon because she hadn’t been able to uncover any useful information yet and she was feeling rather impatient. Plus, she wanted to see the look on his face when she flat out dropped the vampire bomb on him. It was bound to be funny whether he knew of them or not.
A low hum of Christmas carols started on the radio she had on and Bella fought an eye-roll. Mystic Falls was decked out for the holiday and it looked like an elf had thrown up all over the town.
Dear Santa, I want you to kill a vengeful red-head and possibly a coven of Cold Ones who got me physically addicted to their presence just for shits and giggles – please and thank you, Bella Swan.
The thought had her smirking even though she knew such a Christmas wish would land her on the naughty list and all Santa was likely to bring was a lump of coal.
A loud click of the door opening alerted her that Jer, and probably Elena, was home. Biting her lip, she thought about just going down there and catching them off guard with her vampire questions, but she’d really hoped to catch Jeremy alone for that. Elena had no qualms about lying and the last thing Bella wanted to hear was the girl asking her how long she planned on staying for again – she’d been a bit of a broken record with that question.
Wrestling with her thoughts, she almost missed the voices downstairs rising…
“I’m sorry – I’ve already been invited in!” drifted up to her room, followed by the crash of the front door slamming in and the thudding of feet as presumably Jer and Elena scurried up the stairs.
Intrigued, but not overly concerned given all that she’d faced in her short life, Bella got to her feet and cracked the door, sticking her head out.
Jeremy and Elena were just topping the stairs and spotted her.
“Oh shit,” Jer said, rushing to her and forcing his way into the room, Elena quick behind him.
“Hide and seek?” the voice called out again dispassionately, sounding only mildly annoyed. “Fine by me.”
“I love you girl, but your timing for a visit sucks,” Jer said, pushing her back into the room as Elena shoved a dresser in front of the door.
The bedroom door thudded as whoever broke into the house tried to force his way in.
“I told you we should have sent her home,” Elena grunted, putting her weight into it.
Not offended, Bella watched curiously as the door opened a bit. She caught a glimpse of a strong jaw and dark hair before using a strength she should not have possessed, Elena shoved the dresser forwards again.
Elena was a bit of a string bean. Supernatural strength, Bella concluded upon watching her struggle.
Making a mental note to follow up on that later, Bella allowed Jeremy to push her into a corner of the room, blocking her with his own body as a shield. “And I told you she was here because she was in some sort of trouble. I’m not about to let her go without helping her.”
“Fat load of help you are, Jer,” Elena gasped. “Now Kol’s probably gonna kill her – so glad you helped him with that.”
Bella rolled her eyes. “Don’t be such a bitch, Elena,” she said.
As the words flew from her lips Elena simultaneously lost her battle with this Kol character and she flew back into the room. The door splintered open, allowing the man to enter.
Peeking over Jer’s shoulder, Bella finally caught the face of the being responsible for such fear and turmoil and found that what she saw agreed with her. His hair was a touch too long, his bangs almost grazing his dark eyes, and there was a small cleft in his chin that her fingers… and her tongue… itched to trace.
“And what have we here now?” he asked almost pleasantly. There was a dangerous glitter in his eyes, though, that bespoke of violence and danger.
Unhinged, the word popped into her head. This man was completely unhinged and damned if she wasn’t utterly fascinated by that fact.
And his voice… She couldn’t place the accent but it had parts of her shivering. Parts that had never been touched before.
She liked it.
Before anyone could say anything, Elena was blurring towards him at an unseeable speed, but her attempts were thwarted with the ease of one swatting a fly. Without even flinching, he’d tossed her aside and followed it up with a splintered piece of wood to her gut.
While she didn’t care much for Elena, they were family and Bella gasped at the sight of her cousin impaled to a wall. Only, it didn’t seem to really be hurting her all that much. Sure, there was a strong grimace of pain on her features, but she didn’t look like a girl about to bleed out and die.
“About that arm, mate – now which one is it? The left or the right? I’ll just chop them both of to be safe,” Kol started to Jeremy who tensed in front of her. Bella peeked over his shoulder again and caught Kol’s eye.
He stopped his advance towards Jeremy, smirking at her with a sly, cheeky tilt of his head. “Now what have we here? Hello darling, what might your name be?”
Despite the situation, her lips twitched in a greeting. It was refreshing to meet a bad guy with actual manners, she thought, thinking back to James and Victoria and their animalistic approach in trying to kill her.
“Look, let’s just take this downstairs,” Jeremy said, holding his arms up defensively in front of him. “She doesn’t know anything about your world or anything happening in town – no need to involve her at all.”
Bella watched Elena twitching against the wall and her eyes flicked around the room pensively before she stepped out slightly from behind Jeremy.
“You’re a vampire, aren’t you?” she asked Kol, cautious but hopelessly intrigued by the new type of vampire she’d been hoping to find. Didn’t hurt that he was extremely easy on the eyes.
He quirked a brow at her and the expression made him look youthful, playful almost. “That I am, darling,” he turned to Jeremy and said, pointedly, “Doesn’t know anything, mate?”
“B?” Jeremy turned to her with a frown.
Shrugging unapologetically, she said, “Why do you think I popped up out of the blue, Jer? I needed to find out about traditional vampires and Mystic Falls is kind of a hot spot for them from what I hear.” Ignoring his questioning look, she turned back to Kol who was studying her with a vague look of interest, his bloodlust and need for violence apparently forgotten for the moment. “So you’ve come to kill my cousins, then?” she asked point-blank.
No point beating around the bush, really.
Kol grinned. “Only a little bit,” he admitted shamelessly.
Tilting her head, her eyes flicked from Jeremy to a still prone Elena. “Which one?”
His lips twitched even as he frowned at her as if he wasn’t quite sure what to make of her. “The one beside you, actually. Just need his arm really. No worries, I’ll heal him up with a bit of blood afterwards. I’m sure it’ll still sting a bit though.”
Bella sighed, disappointed. “Shame. He’s my favorite one. Don’t suppose you’d be willing to take out some Cold Ones for me instead?” she offered, wide-eyed and hopeful.
He snorted, looking entirely amused by her and how unfazed she seemed to be. “Got yourself in a spot of trouble, poppet?”
She shrugged. “You could say that – also wouldn’t mind some good old fashioned revenge served up nice and cold for a coven of them.”
“Revenge, you say?” he asked, looking more intrigued, eager even.
“Bella,” Jeremy cut in, pulling her back to him. Kol’s eyes focused on his hand around her wrist. His jaw tightened and a flash crossed his face, a silent promise of more violence barely held at bay. “You don’t know who you’re dealing with. If you’re in some kind of trouble Elena and I will help you.”
She snorted. “No offense, Jer, but I wouldn’t trust Elena to keep my houseplants alive, let alone me. Besides, she has the looks of a newborn to her and I doubt she’s up to the challenge of taking on a coven of seven, some of which are gifted. Not to mention the bitch who’s probably already tracked me down to here.”
“And you think he is?” Jer asked, not necessarily defensive so much as curious to hear her reasoning.
Her eyes flicked to Kol who smirked invitingly at her, setting her heart racing.
His smirk widened.
“He has the look of old blood,” she whispered, her voice breathy and almost awed. “And of one who knows a thing or two about revenge.”
Jeremy’s eyes focused on her before something clicked and he scoffed, “Jesus B, really? Him?”
Fighting a grin, she shrugged noncommittally. She’d gotten a better poker face after Eddie’s leaving and being hunted by Victoria thickened her skin, but Jeremy always could read her. True, the past couple months had jaded her and ignited a surprisingly dark sense of humor – gotta laugh to keep from going crazy, she reckoned – but even she was a bit surprised to her attraction to the volatile creature before her.
It’d been instant and so unlike anything she’d ever experienced. Edward, she now knew with the benefit of hindsight, had played a coy game with her designed to trap her in her interest. Playing hot and cold as he had, she’d naively played right into his plans and handed him her heart. Kol was playing a game too, she had no doubt, but it made all the difference that she knew that going in. Hell, if the way he was eyeing her was any indiction, she rather looked forward to playing with him. No one wanted to die a virgin, after all, and the way his eyes traced over her curves said he may not have a problem helping her out in that department.
Heat rushed her at the thought and Jeremy, again reading her so well, scoffed looking disgusted.
She just smiled on though. If there was one thing she’d learned after being used and abused as the Cullens had treated her, it was that life was short and there was no reason to suppress herself or her feelings. She’d sacrificed much of who she truly was for the Cullens – sacrificed herself to win Eddie’s love. Yet they’d all still left her in the end, playing her a fool.
Why give up who she was for someone else? Best to accept herself without shame and let others just deal with it.
“I confess myself intrigued,” Kol announced. His still slightly offensive posture eased, his back straightening as he tilted his head and greeted with with a formal air, “Kol Mikaelson, at your service.”
His head bent as he held out his hand to her and Bella was struck by the notion that if he’d been wearing a hat, he would’ve tipped it to her. Old blood, indeed.
While there was a healthy dose of fear still dwelling in her, Bella was unable to resist the temptation, her hand coming up seemingly of its own volition to meet his, a similar introduction poised on her lips…
Only Elena managed to free herself and rushed them, slamming Kol away. Yanking Bella and Jer to the stairs in a whirlwind that had Bella’s shoulder screaming in protest, Elena let out a small screech as Jeremy was tossed aside and her neck was unceremoniously snapped.
Bella found herself at the top of the stairs with Kol beside her.
“That was rude,” he chided Elena’s unconscious body, giving it a kick for good measure as he cheekily added, “Now take a little nap, darling, while the big kids play.”
Seeing as Elena appeared to be a vampire, Bella was assured she’d eventually be fine and was more concerned for Jer. Relieved to hear him mildly groaning in pain but clearly not seriously injured, Bella turned to face Kol only to stumble back at finding him right behind her.
Nearly losing her balance and toppling over the stairs, she felt a solid hand grip her arm and tug her back.
“Easy there, poppet,” Kol muttered lowly, his voice slipping over her like a soothing sip of hot tea dripping with honey. “Now where were we?”
Catching her breath and blushing furiously, she said, “I believe I was about to finish our introductions. My name is Bella Swan.”
Sounding both half-drunk and half-asleep, Jeremy mumbled, “Don’t B – you don’t know who you’re dealing with. He’s a monster.”
Despite herself, her lips twitched again. “I’ve met many monsters” she said dismissively, then shrugged as she finished, “What’s one more?”
Kol’s hand slid down her arm, lingering over her skin with the shockingly familiarity of a lover until he gripped her hand in his and raised it to his lips. Her hand poised at the tip of his lips, he paused with a small frown. Turning her hand over, his keen eyes traced the scar from James’s little love bite. His eyes flew up to hers in recognition, but she remained stoically silent, refusing to look away from his searching glare.
When he finally spoke, he looked begrudgingly impressed with her. “A pleasure, then, Bella Swan,” he finally murmured above her knuckles, the warm puff of his breath against her skin causing her to shiver once again.
“Will you tell me why you want to hurt Jer? And why you seem to want one of his arms even though it looks like you’ve got two perfectly good ones already at your side?” she asked, almost incapable of finding her voice in the wake of the butterflies he’d set loose in her stomach.
For as much as she had changed from the doe-eyed girl willing to push herself aside for others, she still didn’t want to see those she truly cared for being hurt. Jeremy was pretty much tied at the top of that short list, right with Charlie.
“I wouldn’t stress the details, poppet,” he gave her a charming grin that amused her even if she didn’t buy it.
“I’d counter that the devil is in the details, but I rather feel like I just met him in you,” she retorted with a grin of her own.
“Clever little bird, aren’t we?” he murmured, his hand tightening on hers made her question whether he meant it as a compliment or not.
“I’d like to think so,” she whispered, blushing as she’d forgotten he was still holding said hand. His swallowed hers and was surprisingly warm to the touch. Not wanting to look like a creeper for still holding onto him, she tried tugging it back but was surprised when his hand flexed around hers again. Using his grip, he pulled her in closer, slipping her hand into the crook of his arm.
She lifted a brow at him. “Going somewhere, are we?”
He grinned. “Just a little stroll, darling. Consider it a brief reprieve for your cousins.”
Feeling skeptical, she eyed him warily. “How brief?”
Because she really didn’t want a reason to hate this dangerous (and very likely psychotic) but charming vampire.
“Well, now – I suppose that depends on you,” he countered.
It was clear he wouldn’t give her a straight up answer and was basically holding her family hostage for her compliance. She’d have to be half-insane to agree to leaving with him. Being a murderous vampire aside, he was also a stranger and it was the oldest rule in the book not to go wandering off with a stranger.
But Bella was not only intrigued, but desperate. Desperate for answers and solutions to her supernatural woes and she suspected Kol had the information she needed and then some.
The thought that it was entirely likely that Jeremy could tell her all she needed to know rose, but she swatted that away and clung to her original excuse. She doubted she was fooling anyone, but she casually nodded to Kol before turning back to Jeremy.
She smiled reassuringly when she caught his wide, frightened eyes. He was scared shitless for her. “Relax Jer. I’m sure if he was gonna kill me he’d have done it by now – especially in front of you guys since you seemed to have pissed him off. Besides, this ain’t my first rodeo. It’ll be fine.”
“B – please, clearly you know something of the supernatural, but I don’t think you realize just who – ”
“Jeremy,” she cut him off firmly, not wanting to be dissuaded from what she’d already decided. “My days are numbered – I have more than one crazy vampire trying to kill me. No sense playing it safe when that’s the last thing a human like me is in this world. Take care of your sister. I’m sure she’ll be up soon and will probably need some blood or something. I’ll be back later – or I won’t. We’ll see.”
“No hard feelings, mate,” Kol grinned darkly down at Jeremy. As he led her back to the stairs helping her step over Jer’s body, he made sure to give him a swift kick to the gut.
Bella looked up to him with a raised brow. “Really?” she drew out.
Kol grinned, unrepentant. “Relax darling. That’s far less than what I came here to do.”
Seeing as how she’d overheard him threatening to cut off her cousin’s arm, she had to concede that point.
He looked back down at Jer. “Our business isn’t over,” he said, his voice matching his expression – cold as stone – causing Bella to shiver, this time in genuine fear. “Consider this a stay of execution, but I will be back. Let’s just hope your little cousin here can negotiate a better terms of cease fire than you and your pathetic sister can. See you later, mate.”
With the ease of escorting a debutant out of a ballroom, Kol swept her away from her prone cousins and out the door.
“So tell me about these, Cold Ones, darling – and about that intriguing scar on your wrist,” he whispered in her ear, his head bent down as he inhaled her scent, not bothering to hide a small hum of pleasure.
Before she could scramble for a reply, a new voice broke over them, causing Kol to growl ever so slightly as his jaw clenched in annoyance. “I thought I told you to leave the Gilberts alone, Kol.”
Bella turned and spotted a handsome man with a bit of scruff marring a strong jaw. He had an accent too, though she was oddly underwhelmed by it.
“No worries, brother. Your little pets are fine – no permanent damage done. For now at least.”
Bella rather thought he added that last bit for her, least she decide to run. Strangely, that was the furthest thing from her mind.
Brother, he’d called him… Bella supposed she could see a resemblance not so much in looks, but definitely in attitude.
“And what’s this now? You’ve got your own pet to play with?”
While she knew she was dealing with supernatural beings capable of killing her before she could blink, Bella’s anger got the better of her. She was not a pet. Not anymore. “I’m no one’s pet, asshole. What is it with you vampires and your superiority complex? It’s like you forget you were once human.”
Kol’s brother tilted his head at her, teeth gritted. “Is that so, love?”
Too quick for her to register, he appeared before them and Kol was pulling her behind him.
“Ease up, Nik. She’s their cousin. Wouldn’t want to spoil your little plans, would you?”
The vampire – Nik – glared at her and while he made Kol seem like a puppy dog at the moment, she still held his gaze though she was sure her fear was there for him to see.
“Is that so?” he addressed Kol, though he still held her gaze. “Then I’m not sure I want you playing with this toy. Go back home, love. Forget about tonight.”
His pupils dilated and Bella wondered if he was sick or something – could vampire’s get sick?
“No thanks,” she said. “Your brother and I have plans and I aim to see them through.”
Nik frowned down at her and Kol chuckled.
“Intriguing, isn’t she?” Kol smirked, clearly enjoying the look of confusion on his brother’s face.
“That she is – not a trace of vervain about her, too.”
“Ver-what now?” Bella scoffed, annoyance growing. It was absolutely freezing and she’d left her jacket back in the house and really – with Victoria closing in on her and a possible solution right at her fingertips, Bella just wanted to know whether Kol was up for the job one way or another.
She sighed. “Kol, are we gonna go kill some Cold Ones or not? It’s late, it’s freezing and really, I have to make arrangements if I’m gonna die soon.”
Kol chuckled and she thought she saw Nik’s lips twitching too. “Come along, poppet. I believe your red-headed friend you spoke of earlier is waiting for us down the street. Let’s have a little fun with her before we pay a visit to this coven you mentioned… And don’t you worry about the cold, darling. I’ll keep you warm,” he promised, the words dripping with innuendo.
Despite the situation, she still managed to blush even as she grinned. “Damn. You know, I really wish I could take my father’s baseball bat to her head – kind of a poetic justice since she’s been stalking him too. Wouldn’t do me much good, though. More’s the pity.”
Chuckling again, Kol brought her hand to his lips. “No worries, darling. I’ll save the finale for you.”
She grinned again. “Such a gentleman.”
And laughing, she marched off with him with a fair skip to her step, ignoring Nik’s confused gape as his perplexed gaze bored holes into their backs.
Unbeknownst to them, Nik stayed there for some time, pondering the implications of the last few moments. Soon he was joined by a panting Jeremy who looked around before eying the hybrid warily and asking, “Where’s my cousin? Where did he take her?”
The abrupt sound of metal tearing split the night, followed by a light feminine laugh mingling with a dark, wicked chuckle.
“I do believe my brother may have met his match in your cousin,” Nik frowned, uncertain of whether to be worried or happy about the new development. “Heaven help us if he decides to turn her,” he added as an after thought.
“Son of a bitch,” Jeremy cursed, equally torn.
For now, they both silently resolved to be satisfied with Kol’s attention turned elsewhere though they both had a sinking feeling things were about to change. For better or worse?
Only time would tell.
“But the fire is so delightful…”
The Cullens sat bored in their new house, each of them half-heartedly putting decorations up on a giant, fresh Christmas tree solely to appease Esme.
“I just don’t see the point of celebrating,” Alice huffed again. “I thought I’d be getting a new sister, but someone had to go and screw it up.”
“Alice,” Carlisle began, pacifying. “We all agreed to Edward’s reasoning. We left Bella knowing she’d be easier to mold after going through the withdraws. Edward has waited a long time to find a mate – he deserves to have her the way he prefers.”
“Except she’s all but disappeared and Eddie can’t find his precious toy now,” Rosalie smirked, hanging up a twig of mistletoe.
Edward’s piano playing halted in a clang of keys and he let out an annoyed hiss.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” she rolled her eyes. “You should be grateful to be free of that wimpy brat – dodged a bullet there if you ask me.”
“Well no one did ask you, Rose,” Edward appeared before her, teeth barred in what was meant to be a threatening snarl.
“Besides,” Alice cut in smoothly. “Bella really was quite perfect. Quiet and obedient. I miss having a doll to play with.”
“No worries, Alice,” Edward said, all confidence and reassurance. “I’ll find my Bella soon and when I do, I’ll dispatch the foe who stole her from me.”
Jasper arched a brow and drawled, “And just how do you know someone stole her away? Maybe she wised up on us and left of her own volition.”
“Impossible,” Edward scoffed. “Bella was the perfect combination of smart and naive. There’s no way she could have caught on to us – to me. Someone stole my mate.”
“It was strange how Charlie couldn’t seem to remember anything about her leaving,” Esme agreed, not even looking up from her copy of Better Homes and Gardens.
“Definitely something other going on,” Alice nodded. “I can’t even see her anymore – but no matter! We shouldn’t let that silly little thing ruin our Christmas,” she clapped her hands together cheerfully and even Edward granted her a humoring smile.
Each of them went back to their mundane cheerful tasks, Edward playing a jaunty jazz version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside as Rosalie and Emmett playfully sang along.
The shallow imitation of holiday cheer was interrupted by the sound of something metal tapping on the door.
“Now who in the world?” Carlisle frowned, obligingly rising and going to the door.
“May I help you?” he asked the young man on the other end, his frown deepening as he noticed the aluminum baseball perched on the fellow’s shoulder.
“Hello Cullens,” the man chirped, welcoming himself into the house and grinning at the family.
“Excuse me, sir, but you can’t just barge in here…”
“I believe you’ll find I can as I just did,” he cut in, making his way around the room and tapping his bat along the floor sporadically.
He came to a halt in front of grand piano and Edward. Tilting his head, he scanned Edward appraisingly before snorting, “You’re a bit shorter than I thought you’d be, but damned if she isn’t right about the resemblance to the Ripper.”
“Excuse me?” Edward drew out, affronted.
The man rapped the bat on the ground once, twice… then once more. “Nah mate,” he said in that peculiar accent of his. “I don’t believe there is an excuse for you.”
Before anyone could blink, the man drew the bat back and slammed it into Edward’s head. The force of the blow sent him flying back into the piano, crushing it as tiny cracks marred the right side of his face.
Hisses filled the room and Alice flew at the man, only for him to catch her mid-air and toss her away like a used napkin.
“Relax darling,” he said with a dark laugh. “I’m just having a spot of fun before the real game starts.”
Esme let out a mother bear growl, but Carlisle wisely stopped her from attacking as he called out, “All of you, don’t attack. If I’m right, he’s a traditional vampire and quite a bit stronger than us.”
“Oh pity,” the vampire in question grinned and there was not one of them that could fight the instinct to shudder in fear. He looked very much like a shark smiling at a guppy as he looked at them. “I was hoping for a few more innings before the real fun started.”
“Please,” Carlisle attempted to reason. “I don’t know who you are or why you’ve decided to attack my family, but I’m sure we can work out a solution without violence.”
“Kol Mikaelson’s the name,” the man nodded his head, his dark grin widening as Carlisle’s eyes widened in recognition. “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, mate, but your numbers are up. Time to pay the Piper.”
“And by Piper, he means me,” a new voice said.
Each of them balked as Bella Swan entered the room, scanning them disinterestedly before moving up to Kol’s side. Standing with her arms akimbo, Bella said archly, “Did you break my dad’s bat on his thick head, Kol?”
“Easy Poppet,” Kol grinned, a decidedly more fond version than the one he’d shot them. “It’s got a bit of a dent in it, but I’ll buy you a new one.”
“A better one?” she prompted, still ignoring the gaping Cullens, knowing it would drive them insane.
“But of course,” Kol winked at her, tugging on the end of one of her wayward curls.
“Bella,” Edward finally found his voice. “Bella, my love.”
Bella turned to him, eying him the way one glares at dog poop caught on the bottom of their shoe. “Half right there, Eddie. I am Bella, but I’m not your anything.”
Kol seemed to take exception as well, drawing up to his full height and fixing Edward with a dark glare that had the boy gulping and fighting the urge to run. Not that it’d do him any good. “Sorry mate; actually no, I’m not sorry. What is it they say these days?” Kol asked in mock confusion, pulling Bella to him. His hands traced down her sides in unmistakable intimate familiarity. “You snooze you lose,” he finished with a grin, placing a taunting open-mouthed kiss to Bella’s neck.
Edward snapped, moving faster than Bella could see but what amounted to slow motion for Kol. Rolling his eyes, he placed Bella behind him and snatched Edward out of the air mid-leap. Kol’s hand tightened around Edward’s neck, dark satisfaction flooding him as he felt the skin cracking under his grip.
“The game is up, Cullens,” Kol growled to the room, though his eyes never left Edward’s. “It’s bad form, indeed, to play with your food – especially one as delicious as my girl.”
Bella snorted, but failed to smother a smile.
“So as a little Christmas present for her, you all are going to sit comfortably in this house as we set it on fire and roast marshmallows as you all burn to death. Your screams will be our Christmas carols.”
“Because what’s Christmas without s’mores?” Bella smarted with a precise nod.
“We will do no such thing,” Rosalie scoffed.
“Oh I think you will, princess,” Bella grinned. “Just ask Alice.”
They all looked to Alice. If a vampire could be pale, the pixie was downright glowing in the dark, her eyes wide and fearful. “I-I don’t understand. We’re just sitting there as we burn. How? HOW?” she screamed.
“Mind your tongue,” Kol chastised her.
Tossing Edward aside he made a grab for Jasper, surprising them all.
Staring into his eyes, Kol smirked as he filled him with a compulsion that would spell their doom. “You will use your power to make everyone but Bella and I so lethargic they will be unable to do anything but lie down.”
“Yes,” Jasper intoned, his power rolling out into the room in thick waves that had them all collapsing.
Kol looked to Bella. “You’re up, darling.”
Nodding, she accepted the bat Kol held out to her and hovered over Edward’s prone form as Kol went to the collapsed Cullens, compelling them one by one to remain in that room no matter what happened. “Remember how you always tried to convince me how dangerous you were? How you were the apex predator?”
She slammed the bat down on him. While it hardly hurt him as she did not have the supernatural strength Kol had behind her swing, there was still a strong sense of satisfaction as her arms vibrated with the force of her hit.
“You couldn’t have been more wrong,” she spat at him, thankful for Jasper’s unwilling help that kept him prone on the floor to accepting her beating. “You’re nothing but a pathetic little boy playing at being a man. I may have fallen prey to your games for a bit, but I’m the one who gets the last laugh. You picked the wrong girl to fuck with.”
With that, she brought the bat down again, this time on his crotch. Edward gasped in pain and Bella grinned, proud that she thought to aim where she supposed all men were vulnerable, vampire or no.
“Home run, darling,” Kol cheered her on, pouring out trails of gasoline from tanks they’d stored in the car.
“Let’s blow this joint,” Bella said, then snickered. “Literally!”
“Your wish, poppet,” Kol nodded, pulling her to him and kissing her forehead. “Want to do the honors?” he asked, holding out a silver zippo lighter.
“Thanks,” she grinned, snatching the lighter and turning back to the prone vampires. She imagined that they were screaming inside their heads but Jasper’s gift was too strong from them to fight. “Goodbye Cullens – what can I say? It’s been a blast.”
With that, she sparked the lighter to life and casually threw it into the room.
The fire was instant, flaring to life with a hungry vengeance to devour. A satisfying warmth kissed her cheeks before Kol hauled them out of the house at vampire speed. Moments later she heard the tell-tale crack of a support beam snapping, the roof collapsing as the house burned.
Screams wrent through the air – desperate and pleading. They were like a balm to her bruised soul.
Kol let her have a moment to watch the flames, allowing her to reconcile with what they’d done. He reappeared after a couple minutes, holding out two shopping bags with a grin.
“Care to show me how to make these s’mores you’ve been talking about, poppet?” he asked.
Bella looked at the bags with a grin before moving her gaze up to Kol’s dark eyes. The past couple days had been a whirlwind of activity. She’d spilled her story to Kol and been granted with an abridged version of his own history. She’d not been surprised in the least that she’d been spot on about him – violence, revenge. They were practically the cornerstones of his life.
He’d quickly whisked her off back to Forks to cover her tracks and she was surprised that his hunch about the Cullens trying to keep tabs on her had been correct.
The indignation and righteous fury she’d felt at that had only solidified her decision to exact revenge and Kol was all too willing to oblige.
Shaking the bags in front of her face, Kol quirked a prompting brow and Bella grinned.
“Prepare yourself, sir, for a true delicacy,” she smiled up at him.
Kol’s smirk turned truly wicked and he said, “Oh I’m sure it pales in comparison to you, darling,” chuckling wickedly as she oh-so predictably blushed.
While she’d always been quick to flush red, Bella was certain she’d never blushed in her entire life as much as she had in the past couple days. Kol had a dark sense of humor that she found oddly appealing, but beyond that, he’d no restraint when it came to flirting with her. Innuendo after innuendo followed flat out promises of ravishing her as soon as she gave the word…
When he had her, he always said – always when and never if.
She wasn’t sure what was holding him back. Sure, she was inexperienced, but she hadn’t exactly made it a secret that she was willing. More than willing, honestly. She wanted to serve herself up to him on a silver platter.
But though Victoria had been an easy fix, the threat of the Cullens lingering had hung over them, a perpetual wet blanket.
Shaking away her thoughts, Bella resolved to continue to live by her current credo of come what may. It’ll happen when it was meant to and for now, she was content to just enjoy his company for as long as he decided to keep her around.
Setting up the marshmallows on a stick, Bella leaned against Kol as they went up to the house to roast them.
“A bit anticlimactic, don’t you think?” she asked, a wicked delight filling her as she caught sight of purple smoke signaling a dying Cold One.
Kol slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her in front of him and resting his chin on top of her head. “Wanted to draw it out more, poppet?”
She shrugged. “Not really. I just wanted it to be over with. Besides, we’ve got other issues to deal with back at Mystic Falls.”
He was quiet a long moment before he moved his head to her neck, inhaling deeply. “Yes, that we do,” he agreed, his lips brushing against her pulse with each word.
“And you won’t hurt Jeremy, remember?” she prompted. She’d already gotten him to agree to that and while Kol was many things, she knew him to be a man of his word. He still wanted to stop them from unearthing Silas and she had to admit she could understand his concern, but she wouldn’t go along for the ride if it cost her Jeremy. She knew she couldn’t stop Kol, but he seemed amiable to a new plan at least.
There was no quenching his thirst for violence, but it appeared he was willing to allow her to re-direct it.
Kol gave a long suffering sigh that had her giggle, knowing he was teasing her. “Yes, darling.”
He nuzzled her neck and her giggling cut off abruptly as desire clenched her gut. Biting her lip to keep from letting out a porn star moan, Bella tilted her head to allow him better access. Kol let out a rumbling growl of approval.
“I believe we have some unfinished business, you and I,” he murmured, his mouth opening as his tongue traced her skin followed by a light nipping of his blunt teeth.
She gasped. “Y-y-yes?” she agreed, though it sounded half-questioning.
“Oh poppet,” he said, his rich voice melting her like a scoop of ice cream in a cup of hot chocolate. It was a wonder she didn’t dissolve into a pile of warm, stick want right at his feet.
“Kol,” she gasped he sucked harshly on her neck, leaving what was sure to be an impressive hickey in his wake.
“Nothing like a little fire to get you in the mood,” he teased darkly. “Care to celebrate with me, darling.”
Yes, yes – whatever you say – whatever you want… She barely held back the pleas poised on her lips.
“Sounds like it could be… interesting…” she said breathlessly instead, playing at a nonchalance that was fooling no one.
“Oh poppet,” he said lowly, causing her to shiver against him and a grin to touch his lips again. “You’ve no idea.”
Next thing she knew, he had her pressed up against a nearby tree, his hand slipping under her shirt. The rough kiss of the bark at her back made for a delicious contrast from the smooth skin of his hand, the sensations filling her until all she could think of was Kol, Kol, Kol…
She moaned and he eagerly swallowed it, answering with a growl of his own as he hand came out from under her shirt to the front. Gripping on either side of her collar he tore downwards, shredding her shirt as if it was made of wet newspaper.
Cold winter air eased her flushed skin, her nipples tightening behind her cotton bra.
It was Kol’s turn to moan. With nary a pause, his hands gave her bra the same treatment as her shirt and he welcomed himself to her breast, rolling her right nipple with his tongue with an occasional nip of his teeth. His other hand palmed her left breast, his hand unseasonably warm against her as he massaged fiercely with almost bruising strength. Her hands slipped into his thick hair, holding him to her as she gasped in rapt pleasure.
She hissed as he abruptly switched breasts, not wanting to leave one left out. Kol was very thorough, she knew.
Not to be outdone, Bella’s hands moved from his soft hair down his neck to rest on his shoulders. Tugging desperately, Kol obliged and made quick work of shedding his jacket.
“Shirt too,” she demanded.
He raised his brows and Bella could see his lips twitch in a suppressed grin. “Demanding little thing, aren’t you?” he teased even as he pulled back far enough to pull his shirt off.
He pressed immediately back against her, their skin meeting causing sparks to dance all over her body. Hooking his hands under her knees, Kol hauled her up around his hip, groaning in appreciation as she instinctively locked her ankles behind him and cradled him between her thighs.
“Don’t pretend you don’t love it,” she stuttered, her voice cracking as he arched his hips, rubbing his solid length against her at just the right angle to hit her clit. He chuckled as his lips went back to her breasts, his hands splaying lowly on her hips and gripping her ass as he pulled her down to meet his thrusts.
“Besides,” she continued, stubborn enough to get her point out even as each word came out more strained than the last. She felt like a tightly coiled spring about to be released. “Past three days since we’ve met have been like foreplay.”
He didn’t deny it. “Nothing like a good murder rampage to get the blood pumping.”
“Are you done playing then?” she smarted, her hand snaking down between them to rest on the top of his pants suggestively.
“Oh poppet,” he murmured, pulling back to stare at her with dark, hungry eyes. “I’m far from done with you.”
To someone like Bella who’d spent months being pushed aside whenever she’d attempted intimacy with someone who’d claimed to love her, his unabashed desire for her made her damn near ecstatic and panting with want. Virgin she may be, even though she found her fingers tugging at Kol’s pants with all the dexterity of a seasoned pro, but that didn’t mean Bella was ashamed of what she wanted.
And that was Kol, buried deep inside her as he made her scream in ecstasy.
There was a time, just a few short months ago, when she would’ve been horrified by her scandalous thoughts. Shy and prude, to say the least, just the mere idea of a man kissing her cheek would’ve had her redder than a fire engine.
The slight uncertainty was still there – it was all uncharted territory, after all – but now there was no shame or embarrassment. No hesitancy in admitting what she wanted.
It seemed Edward’s attempt at breaking her spirit to make her more malleable had the opposite effect. Instead of bending, she hardened, finding her spine as she looked at the world with a more critical if jaded eye.
A death wish, she remembered Jeremy saying when she’d called to reassure him a day ago. Maybe he was right, but damn she thought. Kol’s nimble fingers traced his own path to her jeans, slipping his hand under them and her panties until he reached her clit and gave it a teasing caress – what a way to go.
“Please,” she damn near keened as he slipped a finger into her. He groaned into her neck, feeling her warm and eager, wanting nothing more than to shred the remainder of their clothing and just dive in.
So he did.
With unparalleled grace and precision, he tore through their clothes like an excited child rips into wrapping paper with equal parts revel and force. While the cold danced across their skin, Kol left no room for it to slip between them, nearly impaling himself on her as he drove his cock into her without hesitation.
“Fuck,” she screeched in both pain and surprise, her teeth meeting his shoulder and clamping down. The abrupt sting of him entering her hurt like a bitch, but it wasn’t an intolerable thing.
To her surprise, he held still as she adjusted to the foreign feeling of fulness. She looked down at the top of his head and feeling her gaze, he looked up. Bella’s breath caught, seeing the dark veins pulsing under his eyes and the sharp fangs of his teeth glinting in the moonlight.
Her blood, she realized – her virgin’s blood. With his heightened senses he could likely smell it, hell – feel it even – around him.
Instead of fear, Bella felt the warm tendrils of desire easing away her discomfort. Maybe she was messed up because damned if Kol’s vampire visage wasn’t the most erotic thing she’d ever seen.
As if reading her thoughts, Kol’s mouth slowly turned up into a self-assured smirk. Not breaking his gaze with her, he brought the arm not supporting her weight down, bringing his wrist to his mouth and biting into it.
His blood welled up, seeping around the seal of his lips over his skin. He pulled away, the dark liquid trailing down his chin and dripping onto his neck. The wrist was held to her lips in silent, insistent offering.
Frowning, she stared at the slowly seeping wound, trying to build up the courage to accept his help in easing the new ache between her thighs.
“Drink poppet,” he urged at her hesitance.
Steeling herself, she latched onto the bite and sucked, moaning as the rich, dark chocolate taste of his blood hit her tongue. In response, Kol gave a testing thrust within her with a moan of his own.
Making to pull away from his wrist, Bella was caught by surprise when he pulled all the way out of her before driving forcefully back in. “More,” he growled, pushing his wrist back to her lips as he gave another demanding thrust.
Groaning, she suckled some more until the wound well and truly closed. Throwing her head back, she gasped, tilting her hips to welcome his thrusts as a steady, building fire hummed to life where the met, stoking higher with every pass he made into her.
Unable to resist the offering, Kol bent to her soft neck, plying her with wet, sloppy kisses until he made it to her lips again. His blood still stained the corner of his lips and down one side of his neck from when he bit into himself. A strong urge assaulted her and heedless, she obeyed it, pulling away from his lips to lick up his neck, savoring the taste of both his blood and skin on her tongue.
“Yes,” he hissed, moving even faster.
“Kol,” she breathed, feeling her body start to clench.
“Yes,” he said again, exchanging his long, forceful thrusts for a shallow grinding that had him rubbing against her clit with every pass.
Bending over her, he pressed his lips to her ear, nibbling the lobe before he asked her, “Trust me?”
God, even his voice had parts of her clenching, ready to combust around him.
“Mostly,” she said, managing a flirty grin that dissolved into another groan as his teeth grazed her neck in reproach.
“I want to feel you, Isabella,” he said darkly. “Mine – you’re mine now.”
Then he sank his teeth into her neck, drinking deeply all she had to offer.
She came instantly, his name flying from her lips like a prayer to the heavens, little starburst fireworks igniting behind her closed eyes. Melting into him, distantly aware of his thrusts speeding up, Bella rode a wave of pleasure as she spasmed around him.
Kol gave a distant roar as he came within her, Bella shuddering in desire once more as she felt the warmth of his pleasure seeping into her.
Black dots appeared before her, her head swimming, drunk with pleasure as Kol continued to drink from her.
And continued to drink…
A dim part of her mind not melted into a pile of goo was concerned, worried that he hadn’t stopped and was likely going to kill her.
But what a way to go, she agreed with her thoughts from earlier.
Finally pulling away, Kol caught her as she slumped forwards, licking his lips with a dark, pleased smile.
“See you on the other side, poppet,” he said, sounding vaguely reassuring even as he brought his hands up to her head.
No hesitation. His fingers fisting her hair just about her ears on either side of her head, he placed one last searing kiss to her lips before pulling back, twisting his wrists and snapping her neck.
Instantly, her body went limp against him, the thudding of her already dim heartbeat silencing for good.
Easing out of her, Kol cradled her to him, dropping to his knees with his back against the tree he’d taken her virginity against. Her lips were blue, her skin cooling against him.
He tugged her deeper into his embrace feeling, for the first time, excited with all the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning.
What a gift he’d discovered when he stumbled upon Isabella Swan when going to her cousins’ home to kill them… Such a refreshing combination of bloodthirsty innocence.
How could he not want to keep her with him for all eternity?
His lips grazed her hair where it met her forehead. For the first time since being let out of that godforsaken coffin, Kol felt happy – damn near giddy, even.
What fun the two of them will have… decking the halls with blood and dead bodies.
Oh what fun indeed, he thought, pulling her body tighter to him with the intent of never letting her go.
No matter what.
(A/N): Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I started this a while ago and finished it the other day, but then Kol was all, “Darling, I know you’re not writing a story with me without a lemon, now are you?” And really, he brought up a valid point so instead of posting yesterday, I put it off and banged (teehee) out this lemon in between family visits today. It’s a bit different than my normal style so I’m eager to hear what you think – always fun trying a new character 😉
I hope you enjoy whatever holiday it is you may be celebrating and I wish each and every one of you an amazing new year to come!