“Could you hold us up if I would drag us down?
Resurrect emotions from our past
N’ if they had a king for fools would you wear the crown?
Build us up again and make us last
Cos what I feel is the only truth for me
And I get by on this naiveté of youth”
Poets of the Fall – “King of Fools”
Chapter 10: Best Laid Plans
He probably should be feeling guilty, but Damon found himself feeling more resigned than anything else.
Fine, he admitted – he was feeling the need to gloat some, too.
Isabella was fast asleep beside him, her makeup slightly smudged from their night out and his nightshirt riding high on her thighs. Unthinkingly, his fingers trailed over the exposed skin, enjoying the soft silk found there almost as much as he delighted in her subconscious sigh as she moved further against him, draping her leg around his and giving him easier access.
But what happened next was his favorite part.
“Damon,” she breathed in her sleep, her head nuzzling his chest as she took a deep, relaxing breath.
There was no stopping the cocky smirk even as he returned the favor, burrowing his face in her hair and breathing in deeply her scent – a subtle floral mixed with berries. The part of him that was more than man purred in satisfaction as he detected his scent there as well. It was a possessive reaction, but Damon took great pleasure in knowing that his scent could be found on just about every inch of her, marking her as his to any supernatural beings they may stumble across.
And they would find them, or rather, they would find Isabella. Girl was an absolute magnet for the dangerous type. Still, he looked forward to defending his claim on her – the challenge of a fight and the thrill of victory. Because he would win, he knew. Not only was he naturally a great fighter – the best, if he said so himself – but this would also be the first time he had something to fight for.
Which is why he couldn’t bring himself to feel guilty, not when his plan made sure that she was his in the end. She would be angry when she found out, rightfully so, but Damon was a selfish creature, and as much as he had started to put Isabella first, he knew that her insecurities would get in his way, not to mention that they’d also be in the way of her own happiness.
So he decided to take matters into his own hands to speed things up. The necklace was the first step. He’d made some calls while Isabella had been asleep the night after he’d killed the fucking stupid mugger and cashed a few favors in to get the necklace as soon as he possible. It still needed it’s witchy voodoo, but the piece itself was telling of his intentions should they run across any vampires. It was a sign of protection and intent.
Isabella took it in stride. As confused and bewildered as he’d been at her reaction after he’d killed that fucking prick in front of her, she’d never once seemed to be confounded by Damon or his actions. A part of him resented her for that. For decades he’d nearly prided himself on his unpredictable actions. No one saw him coming and no one knew what he’d do when he got there. Hell, sometimes Damon himself didn’t even know.
But not Isabella Swan. His little kitten saw right through him and as irritating as it was, it was also a relief. His walls may never come down in front of others, maybe not even her, but she’d found the chinks in his armor without even trying. Whereas most would exploit what Damon would term his weakness, Isabella simply accepted it in a casually dismissive way.
A small part of him still resented her, however, and the memories and feelings she provoked owing to the recent events in her life that unerringly echoed his own past. She was like the poison and the cure wrapped up into one attractive little package that he was dying to sink his teeth into.
When he’d made the snap decision to kidnap her and tote her away from that dreary little town she was clearly suffocating in, he never thought she’d be anything more than an amusement. He wouldn’t have treated her like a pet because he refused to be like Katherine, but he’d been planning on using her drama to bring some entertainment into his life. There was nothing like a pissed of Cold One looking for revenge, and Damon was already relishing the fight that was to come from that one. The fight he would win.
It’d been just over a week since he’d stumbled across Isabella Swan in that deadened meadow. Then, she’d been nothing more than a wounded bird, scared and alone while on the verge of giving up. Now that he’d set her wing, she was starting to take flight. Laughing more, having fun – getting into trouble. She was like a phoenix struggling to rise from the ashes of her old self and it was glorious to watch.
Damon himself had been nothing more than a wounded tiger when he’d found her. Where she gave into sorrow, he’d lost himself in anger, lashing out at anything and everything around him, drowning himself in alcohol to dull the ache. Then his little bird offered to take the thorn from his paw and even though he still sometimes playfully swatted at her, he instinctively knew he could never hurt her. He, too, had changed because of their meeting.
The anger and hostility were still there within him. The thirst for revenge against Katherine – stupid bitch – would never dissipate. One day she’d get hers, he’d make sure of that. But the useless rage he’d been drowning in, the frustration of having no one to take his anger out on, had eased. He’d found a comfort he never knew existed when he found Isabella.
For the first time in about a century and a half, he’d found his version of peace. Everything he’d done to be ready to go inside that tomb would still serve him, only difference was that it was now in aid of a different woman. The hopelessness of his life had faded. He’d found a purpose again.
His plan was set. Wheels were in motion and a foreign eagerness settled in him. Yes, he probably should feel guilty for not being one hundred percent truthful with Isabella, but nothing would ever make him regret doing what he felt was necessary to secure his future. Bella’s future. Their future together.
She had the necklace. He’d tasted her lust for him and she’d not run from his for her like a skittish kitten she sometimes still was. In her drunken haze, she’d not even baited an eye as he’d successfully completed step three in his plan; it’d been a last-minute addition, but Damon was an impulsive sort. Still, when the idea had occurred to him during her game of twenty questions of vampire history, he’d given in to his instinct and plied her with the necessary amount of alcohol to make it happen.
Now, he’d try to take advantage of her hangover in the morning. The next step was an integral part of his plan, but also something he would insist upon for her protection and for his own peace of mind. A failsafe for his little danger magnet.
This time, Damon was playing it smart and would leave nothing up to chance.
I’m fine, he realized. Why wouldn’t I be? I spent the last one hundred and forty-five years with one goal, to get inside that tomb. I succeeded. Granted Katherine wasn’t in there to be rescued but why dwell? I’ve found something better instead.
It was far too early and Bella’s head was pounding from a wicked hangover – she absolutely could not have heard Damon right.
“You should drink some of my blood.”
That’s what she thought he’d said the first time, but there’s no way he’d just spout that off the instant she woke up, especially not after a night that was nothing more than a drunken blur she hardly remembered. She recalled kissing Damon and him telling her about his type of vampire – he turns into a crow, she mentally snorted – and then there had been drinks and dancing – more kissing? Something about a golden room with a chandelier… or was that just a dream?
Feeling more hungover than she’d ever been, Bella peeled her face off her pillow and managed to wiggle herself around in Damon’s arms until she faced him. He looked immaculately put together – sexy as ever even with his untamed hair and bare chest that she wanted to use as her pillow.
Bella buried her head back into the bed self-consciously, tempted to just go back to sleep and ignore him altogether. His perfect face smiling down at her was enough to make her a touch shy of furious. How dare he look so good after the night they’d had? At least some bags under his eyes… but no, the stupid vampire had to be gorgeous next to her sloppy, hungover self.
Usually, she could wait out Damon’s scheming and mind games, he always had some sort of hidden agenda. But, she just wasn’t having it that morning. It was far too early and her head hurt far too much to indulge his insanity now.
“Mina,” his fingers danced up her leg and lightly scraped her thigh.
She kicked him in reflex, her annoyance ramping up a notch. “Shuddup, Damon. It’s too early for your shenanigans.”
“Shenanigans?” he drew out.
She grunted. “I’m tired and my head hurts… just lie there and look pretty while I go back to bed.”
“Oh cupcake,” he practically purred. “I believe I’m starting to rub off on you…” He emphasized the statement with a small, teasing thrust of his hips against her and as she blushed she could hear his answering smirk as he continued, “Your snark is showing.”
“Go. To. Sleep. Damon.”
“Not until you agree with me.”
She groaned into her pillow, sadly not the one she’d been picturing before. “About what?”
He scoffed. “Don’t play coy, mina, you know what I’m talking about. I want you to drink some of my blood.”
Bella contemplated making a break for the bathroom where she was pretty sure she could find some Tylenol, or at the very least the peace of a hot shower. But no, she decided. Damon was obviously determined and she’d have to deal with him and his crazy notion before she could find solace in over the counter pain medication and sleep.
“Shouldn’t that be something I say to you? I mean, of the two of us, you’re the one with the predilection for blood drinking.”
He hummed deeply and he was pressed so close to her that she could feel the sound rumbling in his chest, almost like a purr of a giant jungle cat. “Do you want me to drink your blood, sweetness? Do you want to feel my lips against your throat? My teeth against your skin? I bet you’d taste wonderful on my tongue.”
His lips caressed her neck with each silken word leaving little footprints of fire that shot through her body and obliterated any thought in her head. His sinful words had the desired effect, and all Bella could think about was Damon pushing her into a wall, or rolling on top of her in bed, his head settling in the curve of her neck as his hands held her to him in a quiet strength. She would cradled him to her in a symbolic gesture of absolute trust and submission.
Suddenly, his lips were no longer just teasing her. Damon rained tiny, open mouth kisses down her neck, his tongue sweeping out to taste her skin. A jolt of pleasure had her arching into him when his teeth joined the party, nipping at her collarbone. She shivered against him as his low, almost panting breaths tickled across her flesh in between kisses.
“Damon,” she moaned lowly, her hands finding his shoulders, gripping tightly, unsure if she should push him away or pull him closer.
Closer, a tiny voice in her head whispered. He’s never close enough.
Damon moved lower, his tongue tracing the valley between her breasts. “Il mio dolce, Isabella innocente. Tu sei mia e non hai nemmeno lo sai. La mina sempre.” His voice was a husky growl and though Bella had no clue what he was saying, she felt the need to beg him for more.
As easy as it would have been for him to move the loose material of her nightshirt aside and to pay the same attention to her nipples, Damon seemed to know she wasn’t ready for that and kept his focus on her chest, only light grazing the edges of her breasts. His kisses started moving north again and he paused briefly above her heart to leave a lingering open-mouthed kiss there that caused her heart to race like a hummingbird’s wings.
Her body was leaden with desire and when his face met the curve where her neck and shoulder met, she felt his mouth open as he sucked and licked for what seemed like forever.
“Damon,” she gasped, pleasure jolting down her spine. Her hands, which had been gripping his shoulders uncertain of what to do, suddenly had a mind of their own. One slipped down his shoulder blades and pulled him to her, the other snaked up the back of his neck, her fingers slipping through his feather soft hair.
He didn’t stop what he was doing – thank god – but Bella felt the vibration of his own groan against the base of her throat as he continued to suck the one spot almost to the point of pain. She may be inexperienced, but she knew that he would leave a mark there, a hickey, for all the world to see.
Instead of making her embarrassed, the idea gave her a secret thrill.
What’s happening to me, she couldn’t help but faintly wonder.
Finally satisfied with his work, Damon pulled back and seemed to study the mark. “La mia. Tu sei la mia ora. La mia, mina,” he murmured.
Her mouth fell open, to say what – she wasn’t sure, but Damon took it as an invitation. His lips crashed against hers, his tongue sweeping into her mouth. She moaned again and his hands tightened on her in response.
This was only the second time they’d kissed, but Bella already recognized that Damon had a way of kissing her as if it’d be the last time he’d ever be able to. There was no hesitation, no doubt in his actions. He kissed her like she was the only woman in the world, as if he’d never get enough.
It made her feel beautiful, powerful even. It gave her a foreign confidence even in the face of his obvious experience and her lack thereof. She’d never done anything like this before, but instead of that fact making her insecure or unworthy, Bella felt exhilarated as Damon brought her to the edge of self-discovery. As uncertain as she was, she knew Damon would take care of her as he had been doing since he dragged her to his Camaro and announced he was kidnapping her.
The best thing to have ever happened to me, she realized. And on so many levels.
They kissed for what seemed like hours, alternating between fierce, possessive kisses and softer, gentle kisses that held a promise of more. Her jaw ached slightly, but even that was a pleasurable nuisance. An echo of their passion.
Suddenly, Bella tasted something other than Damon’s natural, faintly bourbon tang. There was a new taste to him, a salty, dark flavor that appeared as his tongue delved into her mouth. It tasted like dark chocolate wrapped almonds – smooth with a hint of salt.
Frowning slightly at the change, Bella went to pull away, but Damon followed her, keeping his lips sealed against hers as his embrace turned into pinning her insistently to the bed. There was a new desperation to his kiss, a persistence that had nothing to do with desire.
But still, Bella couldn’t bring herself to pull away from him. There was a niggling concern that lingered and dulled her enthusiasm, but Bella trusted Damon and even with the added mystery of his sudden urgency, she didn’t want him to stop. She didn’t want the way she was feeling to stop.
Slowly, Damon eased up. His random air of desperation eased and his kisses turned long and leisurely with almost a hint of relief. Knowing she was missing something and starting to feel light-headed from their never-ending kiss, Bella was equal parts content and disappointed when Damon pulled back. He pecked her tingling lips once, twice, and then a third time before pulling up and looking down at her with hooded, dark eyes.
She studied him a long moment, noting the subtle veins that had darkened around his eyes, his vampire visage peeking through. It surprised even herself that she wasn’t scared about that. It didn’t make her nervous that he’d clearly been on the brink of losing control. As she’d said to him before, she trusted him, accepted him for who he was, man and vampire wrapped in one.
Using the tips of her fingers, Bella gently traced the lines around his eyes, her lips curving softly when he moved further into her touch. He studied her just as intently as she was him, and when his gaze flicked back down to her lips, Bella couldn’t help but mirror the action.
But the contented haze she’d found herself in evaporated when she saw the bloodstains smeared across his lower lip. Frowning, Bella’s hand moved from his cheek to hover over his lips, but she hesitated there, almost afraid to acknowledge it was there.
Realization hit her then, not like being struck by lightning, but like a cold cup of water spilling over her, drowning her in a mix of disbelief. Her hovering hand moved away from his lips, and trembling, touched her own. She was not entirely surprised when she felt a wetness there and when she pulled them away, the tips of her fingers were stained blood-red.
“Damon?” she asked in a shaky voice.
Her blissful glow pulled away like a warm comforter being pulled back from her. Now she felt cold, hollow. Her forgotten headache started hammering at her temples again.
“I won’t apologize,” he whispered lowly, and despite his words, Bella still knew him well enough that his words were as good an apology to him.
“Your blood?” she asked darkly.
His eyes pierced her, but he didn’t lie, didn’t make any excuses. “Yes,” he simply said.
White hot rage spiked. “You tricked me. You tricked me into drinking your blood when you knew I was going to say no.”
“You used me. Used my emotions against me.” Despite her resolve not to, tears pricked at her eyes.
“No,” he said fiercely, sounding almost angry that she’d even suggest such a thing.
“You did,” she persisted. She tried shoving him off her, but he grabbed her wrists and held firm, refusing to budge. “You didn’t even want to kiss me – you just wanted me to drink your blood. Why, Damon? Why would you do this to me?”
I trusted you, she wanted to cry out. She wanted to hurl accusations like little daggers aimed to pierce and wound him – to make him hurt as he’d hurt her.
But as easy as it would’ve been to give in to this familiar pain of betrayal – as easy as it would be to lose herself in the catatonic pain that slowly rippled from the old, nearly faded wound in her chest, something held her back.
Damon doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to, a tiny voice pointed out. Damon is impulsive, but always takes care of you.
“I had to, mina,” he said softly.
“Why?” she asked. “Tell me why, Damon.”
“Because mina, I told you I would protect you and if by some miracle a Cold One, a werewolf, or whatever demon your danger magnet self attracts makes it passed me, then at least you’ll live to transition.”
Horror mixed with fascination. “You want me to be a vampire? Your kind of vampire?”
His shrug was deceptively nonchalant. “Why not? I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a vampire? It’s cool not growing old – I like being the eternal stud.”
“What about what I want, Damon? Doesn’t that matter? You’ve no right to take away my choices.”
Of all the possible reactions, she hardly expected him to roll his eyes at her. “You’ll still have a choice, mina. Stop being a drama queen. Just having the transition hit doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be a vampire. You’ll still have to feed first. This gives you the choice. I just bought you more time to make it.”
“But I don’t want to be a vampire, Damon,” she insisted, slightly mollified by his snarky, half-assed explanation.
He looked at her like she was crazy. “Did you not hear anything I said last night or just now?”
“Damon,” she said, exasperated. “I have no desire to be fast, strong, or to turn into a crow or toucan or whatever… what good is eternity if you have to face it alone?”
That was the one thing she’d never gotten Edward to understand. He’d been so set against her change, always coming back to her soul and damnation. He was so convinced of his own monstrosity that he could never hear what she’d been telling him. She suspected that a part of him thought she only wanted the benefits that came after the change, but Bella had never wanted super strength or vampiric beauty. She’d only ever wanted to be on equal footing with her partner… only wanted to spend several lifetimes with him because how could one ever be enough?
She was thankful now that he had not changed her. Thankful that he had left her to live only one, human lifetime to live alone. Even now that she’d slowly been moving on with Damon’s help, she was still thankful to have her humanity, that she didn’t have to face a vast eternity with no one at her side.
Damon had been startling quiet after her outburst and even though she was still slightly peeved at him, she was concerned that he hadn’t already retorted with some snappy remark. Looking back up at him, she saw his eyes were shuttered carefully, but not enough to hide the anger and accusation housed there.
Oh lord, she groaned to herself. How could she have been so insensitive? They’d never outright spoken about it, but she knew Damon’s past mirrored hers to an extent. He’d been hurt too, abandoned like yesterday’s news.
And here she was lamenting about spending an eternity alone when that was exactly what Damon was facing. His actions made so much more sense now. She should’ve known better than to assume and jump to conclusions, at least with Damon. He would never come out a say what he wanted, but she should’ve known what his actions meant, selfish though they were.
“Damon,” she said softly, letting go of her anger to caress the side of his face comfortingly.
“Don’t,” he said in a clipped, terse tone.
He pulled away from her, leaving the bed. If she’d felt cold and bereft before, it was nothing to how she felt now.
Stalking to the minibar, Damon poured several tiny bottles of whiskey into a glass and took a generous gulp. She wanted to go to him, but knew if she pushed him now he’d lash out at her, and she didn’t know if she’d be able to take it. So she stayed in the bed, lonely and regretful, but still frustrated at his actions.
“No one ever said you’d have to be alone, mina,” he said. “Think about that before you make any decisions.”
Shooting back the last of his drink, Damon slammed his glass down and made a quick exit into the bathroom, leaving Bella alone to her confusing, but almost hopeful, thoughts.
Translations – according to google, at least:
Il mio dolce, Isabella innocente. Tu sei mia e non hai nemmeno lo sai. La mina sempre.
My sweet, innocent Isabella. You are mine and you don’t even know it. Mine always.
La mia. Tu sei la mia ora. La mia, mina.
Mine. You are mine now, mine.