Title: Gone Girl
Summary: Bella didn’t know how, but they dazzled her. So she ran, far, far, away, as far as she could… and then she met a vampire that literally took her breath away. Soulmate AU Xover.
Warning(s): past dubcon, Edward bashing, vampirism, soulmates, lemon, abrupt ending (essentially this fic was abandoned, fyi)
Bella didn’t know how, but they dazzled her. The word just came to mind and she realized what had happened. There had been a curiosity at first. Edward was the hottest guy at school, he was mysterious, he disappeared for a week—
But then the games started, and Bella now thought they were on purpose. He was clearly obsessed with her when he watched her at night. Then, he dazzled her.
Alice might have as well. Bella honestly wasn’t sure. It might have been why she had all those horrible designer clothes in her closet.
Then the dazzling started to break. Bella began to think for herself again. She had managed to convince Edward that she would only marry him if he slept with her and changed her.
But she went along with the wedding. This huge, horrible wedding that was a nightmare. Then it hit her. It had to stop but with Alice’s visions, she wasn’t sure that she’d be able to.
“Let’s go hiking,” Bella suggested to Alice. “We could make it a girl thing. Maybe even invite Rosalie, though I’m not sure camping is her style.”
Alice looked at her incredulously. “Yes, perhaps, but with the wedding…”
Bella nodded. With the wedding. Still she packed a bag with everything she would need. A few changes of clothes, her passport, driver’s license, bank card, all the cash she could find. If Alice saw this, then she would think she was just preparing for an eventuality.
Then she wrote a poem. A simple poem. It was saying goodbye to Charlie and it even rhymed. She left it face down in a drawer so Edward wouldn’t read it.
The next part was hard. “Are you going on a hunting trip?” she asked Edward.
“In two days, why?”
She bit her lip. “I just wanted to pick something up in Seattle—a surprise, and didn’t want to do it while you’re still here. That’s all.”
So they went, and Bella ran. She didn’t think about heading to the airport, but to a jewelry store nearby. Then she parked, putting her engagement ring in the glove compartment, or at least she had planned to, and she made a run for it. She bought a ticket for the first plane. When she sat down, Bella wasn’t even sure where she was going. Texas, it seemed.
Then began the game of cat and mouse.
Bella would take a bus without knowing the destination, while she sensed that Edward or Alice or maybe Emmett was trying to follow her.
Then she came to Chicago. The next few buses weren’t scheduled to leave for a few hours and it was raining, so Bella ran into a bar. She took a seat, putting her backpack beside her and turned to the bartender. It seemed rather upscale. She was clearly out of place in her tattered jeans and hoody.
“Oh, you don’t really need to see it, do you?” she asked sweetly. “I’m clearly nearing forty.”
The man only nodded. “What will it be?”
“White Russian,” she offered, pulling down her hood and running her hands through her wet hair.
A man a few seats down was playing with his whiskey. “That’s an interesting trick. You clearly didn’t compel him.”
Bella looked over and saw a man in his early thirties wearing a suit that probably cost more than she could earn in a lifetime, and he was looking at her curiously.
“You clearly look nothing near forty,” he continued.
“Don’t I?” she asked sweetly, trying to charm him into dropping it. It worked on everyone else. Why not him? “He seemed to think so. Maybe it’s this horrible rain water. It ages me.”
The drink was placed before her and Bella moved to pay for it as the man reached over with his credit card. Their fingers brushed and Bella was astounded by the feeling of warmth and comfort and rightness that she suddenly felt.
She dropped the cash in shock and downed her drink before looking at the man, absolutely stunned.
He looked just as surprised. “Are you expected anywhere?” he asked.
Bella shook her head. “I need to catch a bus—if they find me—“
His jaw hardened. “Well, they won’t get anywhere near you if I can help it. Do you trust me?”
Searching her thoughts, Bella realized that yes, she did. She tucked her stringy hair behind her ear. “I’m Bella. Isabella Marie Swan.”
The man gave her a small smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Isabella.” He turned to the bartender and stared into his eyes. “The lady’s drink has already been paid for. In fact, she’s already paid for another.”
Bella’s eyes widened. “I have to ask and smile. You just commanded.”
“It’s a trick,” he said, smiling, parroting his earlier words. “I’m Elijah Mikhaelson.”
She played with her drink, which had quickly appeared before her. Her cash was still on the counter.
Bella couldn’t help but smile when she felt his fingers hesitantly run through her hair. Elijah had somehow moved down the bar. Probably when he tried to pay for her drink. A heat erupted in her, and she looked up and grabbed the man by his collar and kissed him.
Pulling away, she looked into his brown eyes. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it’s all the stress. Three months on the road can be quite—“
But he had pulled her close and kissed her passionately, his hand stroking her cheek. “Isabella,” he murmured when they broke away. “Trust me?”
Nodding to him, Elijah smiled. He stood and took one more sip of his drink and Bella did the same. He held his hand out and she took it, before he led her out of the bar.
There was a dark town car and a man immediately got out of it with an umbrella and headed toward them. The rain was coming down hard.
“Isabella first,” Elijah said to the man, and Bella was led to the car. She slid inside and a few moments later, Elijah was sitting beside her.
The electricity was flying. Pulling her into his arms, Elijah began to kiss her hungrily and she tried to keep up.
“I’m sorry,” he said after a few minutes. “I’m rushing you.”
“I’m just not used to doing any of this—my fiancé—he didn’t—he didn’t believe in—“ She sighed and looked out the window.
“Are you running away from your wedding?” he asked perceptively.
She turned back, and she looked him in the eye. “You know how I can ask sweetly and get anything I want and you can demand and the same thing happens?”
“Yes,” he began carefully.
“Let’s just say that his sister can have a vision of the result of a decision. I have to make every decision on the fly. It took me weeks to figure out how to escape.”
Elijah looked at her for several moments. “I have heard of the Volturi having special gifts. Is she one of their subjects?”
Bella looked at him in surprise. “Yes. She’s a vampire. So is Edward.”
“They’re not vampires,” Elijah said smoothly. “They’re cold ones. Real vampires can compel a human to do anything they want with a command.”
There was silence between them. Bella looked down at her hands, but then she boldly looked up at Elijah. “I don’t know what I am. I don’t think I’m human, but I can do things. I also only eat fruit and fish when I’m able to. I have yet to figure that out, if I’m completely honest. I used to like meat.”
Then he was pulling her back in his arms and kissing her, kissing her, kissing her. His hands were in her hair and he was eventually pushing her back against the seat. Bella gasped, her hands against his toned chest, before saying, “Not here. I can’t have my first time be the cliché of being in a car.”
Staring into her eyes, Elijah nodded and pushed himself off of her. They both sat on opposite ends of the car, looking out the window. Their hands, however, were entwined.
The wait in the elevator was horrible. Bella leaned up against the back, her backpack between her legs, while Elijah stood near her. He wasn’t quite the lounging sort.
“What happened when we touched?” Bella asked when they were alone in the elevator together. “Something happened.”
“I thought it was legend,” Elijah sighed. “Every Original is supposed to have a true soulmate. It’s usually another vampire but it could be another supernatural creature, which supports your idea that you’re not human.”
“I—“ Bella tried to process it. “Original?”
“My siblings and I are the first vampires,” Elijah explained, looking at her and taking her hand. “I know this is a great deal to take in.”
He pulled her out of the elevator and to a lavish apartment. Bella hardly had time to look around before she felt Elijah’s hand in her hair. “Let me love you, Isabella.”
She bit her lip and kissed him softly. “May I take a shower? It’s just, I’ve been on a bus from Vancouver and then the rain—“
“Of course,” he said, kissing her deeply again and taking her backpack. He then led her to a Spartan but large bedroom and the en suite. He handed the backpack back. “Take all the time you need.”
The shower felt heavenly. Bella must have stayed in there for over an hour and only came out when she could barely see through all the steam.
She stepped out of the shower, prepared to reach for the towel, when the doorknob turned and Elijah was revealed.
“I couldn’t wait another moment,” he said, as he came up and wrapped her in his arms, getting his shirt wet. The pull to him was so strong that Bella wrapped her hands around his neck, and he picked her up bridal style, taking her back to the bedroom.
Bella slipped under the covers. “I see you took off the tie. Care to take off more of your clothing?” she asked boldly and he smiled at her.
“Not at all, Isabella,” he said, unbuttoning his shirt.
When he crawled on top of her, Bella moaned as they kissed again. Long, slow, and as if they had all the time in the world.
“Do you have to be anywhere?”
“I’m a vampire and a wealthy one,” he all but purred. “I make my own rules.”
Bella smiled again and rolled over him and just reveled in the feeling of being close to a person who wasn’t afraid to kiss her and love her back. When she looked into his eyes, she could see more emotion than she ever saw from Edward.
Strange. She’d known this man—this vampire—for only a matter of four or so hours, and now she was lying in his bed, just staring at him.
“When’s the last time you ate?” he asked, breaking their companionable silence.
Bella thought about it. “I think it was three days ago. I had a bag of chips and a coke.”
“That won’t do,” Elijah said getting up and finding his trousers which were a bit crumpled. “You should have gotten something to eat instead of going to the bar where we met.”
She sat up. “Then I wouldn’t have found my soulmate,” she reasoned. “Plus, I had a really close call yesterday. I’m praying you’re like the werewolves I know, where Alice can’t see me if I’m too close to them.”
Elijah looked at her strangely and offered her his shirt.
She looked at him, not quite understanding.
“It’s every man’s fantasy,” he told her and she took it, using it to pull him into a kiss.
Bella followed him into the kitchen where he was pulling out eggs. She stared at him. “You eat?”
“Yes. And drink blood.”
“I—faint at the smell of blood,” she admitted.
He looked at her for several long moments. “I’ll make sure you don’t smell it then,” he promised. He hesitated. “Are you over eighteen, Bella?” He handed her an apple and an orange, which she accepted with a smile.
“Since September,” she promised. “Last September. It’s October now, isn’t it? I like it scrambled.”
“Yes, it’s the twelfth. Well then. How do you feel about going down to the registrar and applying for a marriage license?”
He was careful not to look at her as she thought about it.
“Let me sleep on it. I’m running from one marriage—another might be—is three months too soon?”
He didn’t quite answer. Perhaps there was no correct answer to such a question.
As soon as she had finished her eggs, they looked at each other.
“Round four?” she suggested, and he picked her up again and carried her to the bedroom.
“I’m going to be so sore in the morning,” she laughed.
“I can fix that, though with your aversion to blood—“
“What?” she gasped but then she was thrown back on the bed and he was crawling toward her like an animal stalking its prey and she shrieked just before he kissed her again.
She was in his shirt the next morning, sitting at the kitchen bar as he made her waffles. It didn’t seem like he owned anything other than suits. Bella thought she might be able to change that.
“My mother pawned the engagement and wedding ring from my father—the first of her four marriages.”
Elijah looked up and motioned that she should go on.
“I’d like something I can pawn if necessary.”
“I think after breakfast you should get out of that shirt and I can compel them to marry us today or tomorrow.”
“I’d like a little more time,” she admitted, “And I’m living in jeans and short-sleeved shirts or tank tops.”
“Well,” he smiled. “We can’t have that, can we?”
They applied for a license and then they did the unthinkable. Elijah took Bella shopping.
“I’m the future bride of Elijah Mikhaelson, Original Vampire,” she reminded herself in half a whisper as she went through rack upon rack of designer clothing. “This is not like my times with Alice. It’s not like that at all.” She breathed heavily.
“Start with what you know,” he suggested.
That was easy. Black leggings and skinny jeans, black flats, and long black and white shirts that came down almost to her knees. There would be the occasional splash of red. She even got the odd scarf to go with the outfits.
Elijah suggested a few coats that were as long as the shirts, and Bella tried them on for show. She decided on a black leather one that was sophisticated yet said that she was a girl who was trying to be casual but knew what she was doing.
“Next step,” Elijah said.
Leather skirt that was longer on one side paired with a black top and a leather jacket. Boots went along with it as well. A dress that had slashes of black and blue. She seemed to like dresses for some reason. Nicer trousers just seemed stranger to her. Still, it was only flats and boots and the dresses were always a little edgy—a little different.
If Bella had learned anything on the run, it was that you had to stay sharp, and her clothing choices reflected that.
“Does this suit?” she asked as they left a store. Their bags always seemed to disappear with a personal assistant. “I don’t want to embarrass you.”
Elijah paused, causing her to look at him by placing pressure on her arm. “You could never embarrass me,” he promised. “You are my soul mate. I love you exactly as you are.”
She smiled at him slightly. “I need a wedding dress.”
“Ah,” he said. “I did some research. I know the perfect place.”
Bella settled on gray in the end. “I hope you don’t mind,” she said as she showed him the flowing dress that came to her knees. “It’s not exactly bridal, but I had to try on far too many horrendous white dresses.”
“No, it suits,” he interrupted. “We are not your average couple. It would not do to be seen in the average attire of a bride and groom.”
They had already obtained the license. Now all they had to do was wait the requisite three weeks.
Elijah had gone to a safe in his office and retrieved a signet ring that read E.M. and was encrusted with lapus lazuli. It was the strangest engagement ring Bella had ever seen, but when he slipped it on her finger, while they were enjoying wine in the lounge, she smiled at him and kissed him softly.
He took one look at her before swinging her up in his arms and carrying her to bed.
Bella fell against the pillows. “Five rounds,” she murmured. “Are we always going to be like this?”
“I would imagine,” he stated. “If we were back at the mansion in New Orleans it would drive my siblings crazy.”
“I’m sure it would,” she laughed, rolling toward him, her head propped up on her elbow.
He picked up her hand and stroked the ring. “Do you truly not mind having the conventional diamond?”
“I haven’t had conventional either time,” she admitted. “But it reflects you. That’s what matters.”
“That’s what matters,” he agreed, moving forward and kissing her deeply. He pulled her on top of him and she broke the kiss.
“Don’t you realize humans need sleep?”
“Haven’t you realized you’re not human?”
He ran a hand through her hair. “Sleep,” he told her. “There is time enough for this tomorrow.”
She felt her eyes grow heavy and fell into a deep slumber.
The rings were next. Bella was slightly surprised by Elijah’s choice when they walked into Tiffany’s. He already had a design planned. They were platinum bands which read, on the outside, “Carpe Diem” with a diamond on each side. On the inside were the other’s surname. Hers would read “Mikhaelson,” while his read “Swan.” They would be ready within the week as they were special ordered.
Bella was in a daze.
She suddenly had a new cell phone and when Elijah was at work one day she called the familiar number of the Forks Police Station.
“Police Chief Charles Swan speaking. What’s your emergency?” Her dad’s voice was clean and crisp.
Bella took a deep breath. “There is no emergency, Charlie.”
There was a long pause. “Bella, is that you?”
“Last time I checked.” She wanted to laugh, but she couldn’t bring herself to.
“Why did you run? We could have just canceled the wedding if you didn’t want to marry Edgar,” he tried to reason. “You know I would have protected you.” Against a family of cold ones who were dazzling her. Right.
“I—“ She tried to explain and she licked her lips. “I—I tried. They just wouldn’t let me do it. No matter what I did. I felt trapped and I just needed to get as far away from the Cullens as I could. So I did.” She bit her lip. “Please don’t be angry, Charlie. I did what I felt like I had to do. I—I’m getting married next week and I just wanted to hear your voice before I did.”
There was a pause. “You’ve been gone less than four months. Don’t you think this is a bit much? You’ve just managed to save yourself from Edgar—“
Trying to hold back a sigh, she argued, “I know. I know, Charlie. I really do. But this isn’t some stupid crush or me exchanging a wedding for sex—“
“WHAT?” Charlie hollered on the other end of the phone, but Bella just continued.
“This is respect and extreme physical attraction and an emotion that’s so strong that if it’s not love, then I don’t know what is. He doesn’t make me feel small or worthless. I feel empowered and like my own woman. Also, I don’t think he’d leave me in the middle of the woods to freeze to death.”
There was another long pause. “Do I get to come out for the wedding?”
“I don’t want Edward knowing where I am,” she replied honestly. “I don’t think we’re having anyone come, to be honest.”
“Well,” now he sounded peeved, “what’s his name?”
“Elijah.” One word answers. Probably not the best.
“Well, can I talk to this Elijah?” Now he was definitely getting angry.
“Are you going to threaten him?”
No answer. That would be a ‘yes’ then.
Bella sighed. “I should probably get going. I’m usually at the library by now. The board is going to vote me in or out on Friday.”
“Oh, no,” Charlie whined. “He’s rich. You’ve caught yourself another Edgar.”
“Hardly.” Bella rolled her eyes. “He’s CEO of his company and actually works for a living. I’ve also never seen him outside of a suit when he’s not wearing his pajamas. It’s uncanny. I’ve gone searching through his closet and his drawers and I’ve found absolutely nothing. I’m still not sure how that’s possible.”
Another pause. “How old is he?”
Several centuries. “I’ve never asked. Late twenties?” More like early to mid-thirties, but Charlie didn’t need to know that.
“Bella, he’s ten years older than you are!”
“So? Charlie, if you’re just going to yell at me, I’m going to hang up.”
“Of course you are,” he mumbled. “Just have him call me, alright?”
“Got it!” Bella said and then hung up. She wasn’t entirely sure if she’d have Elijah call her father at all.
Elijah walked through the door to see Bella making dinner. He smiled at the sight.
“How was work?” she asked as he loosened his tie.
“Typical,” he answered. “What did you get up to today?”
“Library, window shopped, called my dad. He wasn’t very happy with me. He demanded that you call him, but I really wouldn’t recommend it. How old is your body anyway? I told him you were in your late twenties and he flipped out.”
“Thirty four,” he said, coming up behind her. His hands rested on her hips and he kissed the side of her head. She turned her head to the side so he could claim her lips. “Gods, I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so much.”
She put down the knife and swiveled in his arms. “Neither did I,” she said, reaching up and kissing him deeply. He groaned when she pulled away. “When they dazzled me, I thought that I was so deeply in love with Edward that nothing could compare. But now I realize they made me feel infatuation, which really is nothing like love.”
He smiled at her. “I have a confession to make,” he murmured. “I borrowed your license last night.”
Her eyebrows furrowed. “Whatever for?”
“You’ll need a new one soon. I have a man who can go down to the DMV and have it sorted. Why didn’t you tell me your birthday was three weeks ago?”
Their eyes met and she bit her lip before turning around and cutting the tomato again.
“Isabella,” he whispered. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s just—I’ve never been a fan of parties—and my last birthday—“ she sighed.
He pulled her head aside and kissed the juncture where her neck met her shoulder. “Tell me.”
“Alice threw me this party with just the Cullens. I hated it. I was opening some present when I got a paper cut. Jasper, who has the hardest time controlling his bloodlust, lunged at me. Edward, trying to protect me, threw me backwards and I hit a glass table, which shattered, and then I hit the wall. Carlisle had to stitch me up. It’s the reason why Edward broke up with me and the entire family—coven, sorry—moved away.”
“He threw you into a glass table?” Elijah asked, his voice full of suppressed rage.
“Yep,” she said accenting her ‘p’. She arranged the tomatoes on the plate. Arranged were a tomato slice, a slice of mozzarella cheese, and then a basil leaf all around the edge of the plate. “Food’s ready.”
Elijah sighed but let it go, taking the plates while she took their bottle of wine and two glasses. She absently wondered how much the wine cost.
There was a service where Mikhaelson Industries could send mail and packages to Texas, which would then be sent to the address on the envelope so that they couldn’t be traced back to Chicago. Bella sent pictures of her wedding to Charlie and her mom, while sending the engagement ring back to Edward. She thought she’d left it in the car but somehow found it in her bag. She didn’t really question it. She had been in a frenzy that day.
She didn’t want it anymore. It was poisoned, cursed.
Bella had found someone new to love, and slept in his arms each night, her negligee or pajamas discarded on the floor. She was beginning to wonder why she even bothered to put them on.
“You’re thinking too much,” Elijah took note from beside her. Bella hadn’t even realized he was awake. She had her head on his chest and was listening to his heart beat slowly. Hers, she had begun to notice, was a bit quicker than the average human, though nowhere near as fast as a shifter’s.
“I was just wondering if we were going to have a honeymoon,” she admitted. “We got married so quickly, we never really talked about it.”
“Would you like to go away?” he asked after a pause.
“You don’t want to,” she realized.
“I never considered,” he told her truthfully, as he ran a hand through her hair. “I’ve never been married before and such a thing did not exist when I was created a vampire.”
“Where would you like to go?”
“Britain,” she said with absolute certainty. “It’s the home of the Brontes and Austen and Hardy…”
He laughed in his throat. “Give me about a month to wrap things up here and then I will take you, I promise,” he said, pulling her up and kissing her lightly. “You know there is nothing I wouldn’t do for Isabella Mikhaelson.”
His words warmed her and she smiled before resting her head against his chest again. They’d already sent out the papers for her change of name. It would all be official soon enough.
It was Wednesday and as agreed, Bella showed up at Mikhaelson Industries with a basket for a shared lunch. Top floor, she remembered, getting into the elevator. Everyone looked at her. She was wearing a designer dress and coat, wedge boots, and the basket must have seemed strange. Bella just looked ahead.
When she finally got to the top floor, she looked around. Right corner office, she remembered. There was a glass office and what seemed to be a personal assistant. Behind it was a wooden door that seemed to lead into a very spacious office.
Steeling her nerves and knowing that she was garnering more attention than she had ever liked, Bella walked forward, toward that glass office.
She cleared her throat when the personal assistant glanced at her, sighed in derision, and then didn’t bother to look at her again. When she still didn’t acknowledge her, Bella just walked up to the back office and knocked. “Anna, what have I said about using the comm?”
“It’s not Anna. She refuses to acknowledge me,” Bella called out.
Almost immediately, the door was opened to show the cool face of Elijah.
Bella lifted her brow.
“Well, this won’t do.” He walked over to Anna and had a quiet word with her. The girl looked up, shocked, and glanced at Bella before looking at Elijah again. “You will be fired if this ever happens again,” Elijah warned, before he opened the door and motioned for Bella to follow him out.
Elijah offered his arm, and Bella could only smile. Whenever they went out together, she would place her hand in the crook of his arm and they would walk as a pair.
“I thought we’d go to one of the small conference rooms,” he said, taking her basket. “Whatever did you bring?”
“Shwarma for you, fruit salad for me. All homemade, of course.” She smiled up at him.
“You and fruit. Any strange men follow you today?”
She sighed. “Three.”
“I think it’s your creature genes,” he murmured so no one could hear. “Your violet eyes also hint at it. Were they always that color?”
“They used to be brown,” she admitted. “Then they changed about the time I realized I was being dazzled.”
He looked at her as if he was thinking, and then they turned down a corridor. He opened a door for her. The room was made out of wood and had a small round table where about six people could sit.
“You look beautiful,” he said as she unpacked their basket.
She handed over a gatorade bottle filled with blood and he smiled at her appreciatively. “I wouldn’t want to disappoint my husband. I do have an image to maintain,” she teased him. “Not that your secretary seemed to mind.” Her voice was bitter.
“She has a warning. If she is in any way discourteous to you next week, tell me and she’s gone.”
“I don’t want to put anyone out of a job.”
“She deserves it,” he said.
Bella paused. “I wonder whatever happened to Gianna. She was the Volturi’s meet and greeter. She would either get turned or eaten.” She shrugged.
“I could find out. All cold ones bow to the Volturi. They bow to Niklaus and myself, of course, but they pretend to be all powerful.”
Raising an eyebrow, Bella looked at Elijah. “Really. Could you inform them there’s no reason for my turning into a cold one given my non-human state? I don’t want them checking in on me. Aro is unique.”
He looked at her for a long second. “Of course,” he murmured. “Consider it done.”
She smiled at him lovingly.
It wasn’t until they were walking back to his office, that Bella froze. “Oh no,” she murmured. “I—I’ll be back in that conference room. Have someone find me when he’s left.”
Bella quickly turned around without so much as squeezing Elijah’s hand. He looked after her and then saw the young man with bronze hair in his office.
He’d never seen a picture of Edward Cullen, but given what Bella had said about him, he was willing to bet that this was him.
“Edward Cullen?” he asked his personal assistant.
“Is he in the books?”
She looked. That was a ‘no’ then.
“You’re fired. Have your things out of here by the end of the day.” He turned around and pointed at the nearest secretary. “You’ve been promoted to my interim personal assistant. As soon as Anna leaves, you may take her place. Congratulations.”
He then walked into his office. He didn’t bother to look at Cullen at first. Instead, he walked around him and sat in his office chair, picking up a file, and then glanced up at him. “You’re a cold one. You can’t compel. How did you get Anna to let you in here?”
Cullen had the decency to look shocked. “I’m told I’m charming.”
“Well, I doubt that will work on me.” Elijah looked at him, long and hard. He hit him with a cold stare. “What do you want, Mr. Cullen? Or should I say, Mr. Masen?”
Edward looked startled.
“I’m a businessman: I’ve done my research.” He turned back to his file. “Speak or leave.”
“Bella,” Edward said, leaning his hands up against Elijah’s desk.
“Hmm?” Elijah offered.
Edward threw down the ring. “I want my fiancée back.”
“Well, as your fiancée, as you call her, is not wearing that, I doubt she considers herself tied to you in any way.” He picked up the ring and looked at it. He’d never really seen it before. It was large, dated. Elijah instantly hated it. He carefully put it back on the desk. “Family piece?”
“It was my human mother’s.”
“At least she gave it back then.”
Next Edward threw down pictures that he had in his breast pocket. All of them were taken from far away, but all of them were unmistakably of Isabella. Fortunately, they were all in public places so he didn’t seem to know where they lived. One showed Elijah with her, pointing out a tie that was a little avant garde for him. That’s where Edward must have made the connection.
“Ah, yes.” Elijah said, picking up this photograph. “This young lady was very helpful. She said I looked too stiff.”
“She’s wearing a wedding and a strange signet ring. Your wedding ring matches.”
Elijah looked at him. “Are you declaring war, Mr. Masen? I wouldn’t recommend it.”
He opened his mouth to speak but Elijah cut him off.
“Call Aro Volturi. Ask him why Elijah should be feared. If he feigns ignorance, tell him there’s a dispute over mates and I know exactly how he killed his own sister.”
This, fortunately, made Edward pale.
“Leave, you worthless cretin. This is my city. Get out.”
He reached quickly and grabbed Edward’s wrist, crushing it without a thought. Edward looked at him, completely afraid.
“Did I make myself clear?”
“Completely,” he stuttered.
His new assistant, Peter, was commed and security was informed to escort Mr. Cullen off the premises. He quickly got Isabella and brought up to introduce her to Peter. The two shook hands and he was sure that by closing time, everyone would know that the aloof Elijah Mikhaelson had married a girl half his age.
Not that he cared.
Within a week, Bella decided it was time to call Charlie again, this time with Elijah present.
“Charlie,” she greeted.
“I never did speak to that Elijah fellow.” He definitely sounded testy.
“Well, Edward found me, so there’s no fear of that happening anymore.” She sighed. “Apparently he threatened Elijah. Who then broke his wrist. Is he in a sling?” she asked hopefully.
“He is, actually.’
Bella smiled at Elijah. “You broke Edward. You should have gone for his arm.”
“It would have been more conspicuous.”
“Is that your mysterious husband I hear?” Charlie again. “He sounds British.”
Elijah held out his hand for the phone and Bella carefully passed it over.
“Chief Swan,” he said as he headed for the bedroom. “I apologize that I was unable to ask for Isabella’s hand in marriage—“ The door closed.
Bella shook her head. Ever the gentleman.
Life continued on as normal, or as normal as it could. There were lunches on Wednesday at the office. There were library meetings every other Tuesday. Bella read all of the books on the shelves on the living room and even tried her hand at learning Norse, as it was Elijah’s native tongue.
The supernatural didn’t come to her and she didn’t go to the supernatural.
She could still smile and get anything she wanted. Men would follow her or fight over her whenever Elijah wasn’t there to protect her. She could smell a man or a woman and see a flash of someone else. Bella wasn’t certain what it meant. She tried it on Elijah while he slept and she only saw an image of herself in her grey wedding gown, smiling.
Perhaps it meant true love?
Oh, and there was lots of making love. Apart from the soreness, there was nothing to complain about. She adored being in Elijah’s arms. How could she not? Just the sight of his face made her smile.
Then, the bizarre happened. She was making dinner before he came home one night from the office, when there was a knock on the door. She stilled for a moment before going to it and opening it only to find Aro Volturi and several of his guards waiting.
Slamming the door shut, she rushed to the nearest window and slid it open, trying to escape. She was met by the sickening sight of Jane.
“We mean you no harm, Princess,” she assured Bella. “We came to visit the Original Elijah and show our obeisance.”
“I—what? You’re not here to kill me?”
She shook her head and reached for Bella’s hand where the engraved signet ring was. “You are a Mikhaelson now. We would not wish to start a war we cannot win.”
Bella paused but then nodded, going back into the apartment through the window. Jane followed her through. Bella steeled herself and went back to the door where she allowed the Volturi to enter.
“Elijah hasn’t returned yet,” she began carefully. “I have blood wine. I’ve been developing it in my free time. I don’t know if your systems would tolerate it, but you’re welcome to try?”
“Blood wine, Isabella?” Aro asked as he sat majestically on a couch.
“It’s red wine mixed with human blood,” she answered taking out a few wine glasses and a bottle. She shrugged. “Elijah claims to like it. Then again, he could be humoring me. I haven’t tried it myself.”
“You aren’t a nightwalker.”
“True,” she agreed. “I’m not a nightwalker.”
She was only aware that Elijah had entered the room, when everyone stood up and then sank to their knees. He kissed the side of her head before she poured him a glass of wine. He then motioned that everyone should rise.
“Have the Cullens been dealt with? They are, after all, your subjects.”
“Dazzling a human is not technically illegal,” Aro explained.
“He didn’t mean to turn me,” Bella argued. “He got around you somehow, Aro. If I know Edward, and I know him rather well, he was keeping that from me while he was dazzling me. He wasn’t interested in a mate for eternity.”
“It is also against our treaty,” Elijah said, “to steal the property of an Original.”
Bella, personally, didn’t like to be considered property, but this was vampire business. They had strange names for things and thought humans were lesser beings. While she wasn’t human, she still wasn’t a vampire. “I would call it a conspiracy. At least Edward and Alice were involved. Emmett was chasing me, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he were, also. A slap on the wrist such as being forced to join the guard—and, yes, Aro, I know that’s where your mind was going—is too good for them.”
Elijah looked down at her proudly. “Death,” he said. “I want the entire coven dead.”
“Interview Rosalie, though. She never wanted me there. I don’t think she’s a part of all this.” Bella held Aro’s red eyes.
“I see. Would you like to be there, King of the Originals, Princess?”
Elijah looked at her and she seemed absolutely lost. “We will be in touch. Perhaps their heads will be sufficient.”
“As you see fit,” Aro agreed, standing and nodding his head. He took Bella’s hand and kissed it. “Princess. If I may ever be of service.”
“I thank you,” she said, trying to sound formal.
Aro and the rest of the Volturi bowed to Elijah before showing themselves out.
Bella released a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “Dinner’s probably ruined.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Elijah said. “I brought news. My brother Klaus is trying to break a curse and I must return to where I was brought up—Mystic Falls, Virginia. If you wish to stay out of Vampire Politics and remain here, then I understand, but—“
“I will never leave you,” she stated emphatically. “If we must go to Mystic Falls, then we will go to Mystic Falls.”
He smiled at her. “How do you feel about spying?”
She shrugged. “I’ve never tried it,” she said honestly. “Does this mean we have to pretend we’re not married?”
“Unfortunately.” His eyes dulled a little.
“Well, I’m not taking off my engagement ring. No one will know what it is anyway.”
He swooped her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. She laughed all the way.
Bella had her own apartment and it felt empty without Elijah. She didn’t have any photos up apart from a few of her and Angela and of her parents. Her wedding ring was hidden in a box that Elijah had given her. It had been handmade in Venice in the 1400s.
Of course, Elijah had insisted on taking out a few small paintings from storage so she could decorate her studio apartment. She had Whistler and a small Monet and a Van Gogh. She would claim they were prints if anyone asked. A few were pre-Raphaelites. She loved it. It was her dream little getaway. However, it lacked something: Elijah.
Here she was Bella Avery, eighteen-year-old orphan who moved here because her mother had been born and raised in the area and she couldn’t stand to be in the same state where her mother had died of breast cancer.
It was easy how she was supposed to meet the Scooby gang.
She went wandering in the woods one night without her bag, though she had her keys in her jacket pocket. When it got dark it fortunately started to rain. She saw, in the distance, the Salvatore boarding house. Cars drove up to it and she waited a good hour. Then, she ran toward it and banged on the door.
It opened after a few seconds and Bella recognized the girl from the old photograph Elijah had of Katherine. This must be the doppleganger, Elena.
“Sorry,” she said. “I got lost and there was light, so—“
“Come in,” she said, pulling Bella in quickly. “Someone get a towel!” she ordered and soon Bella was wrapped up.
Bella looked around and saw the assembled people. She really wasn’t certain who everyone was but she did pick up the lapis lazuli that some of the people were wearing. There were at least three vampires in the room.
“I really am sorry,” Bella said to no one in particular. “If you can just give me some directions, I can be on my way.”
“Do you even have a car?” a man, clearly Italian-American, asked. He was dressed fully in black and wearing one of the daylight rings.
“No,” she blushed. “I mean, I do. It’s just, I was taking a walk in the woods. Mom used to when she was little, so I thought I’d explore a bit, but naturally I got lost. And then it started to rain…” Her voice trailed off. “Anyway. Nothing for it but getting a bit more wet. I have hot water back at the apartment.”
The vampire in black knocked back his drink. “I’ll take you home.”
“Damon,” a younger vampire warned.
“I’ll be on my best behavior,” Damon promised, swaggering forward. “Now,” he said, addressing Bella. “Where do you live?”
“Oh, on Huckleberry Avenue.” She smiled.
“Perfect, beautiful,” he purred, getting an umbrella and opening up the door. “Follow me.”
The car was beautiful. It wasn’t as wonderful as the Rolls Royce Elijah had gotten her, but it was still a great car. Jacob had taught her a thing or two about cars, so she at least knew how to appreciate them.
They drove in silence for awhile, the rain falling on the windshield, when Damon finally spoke, “What’s your name, beautiful, and surely you could have called your boyfriend?”
“He’s dead,” she answered. “Stake through the heart, strangely enough.” She showed off the ring. “This was the only thing left of him.—It seems an eon ago. Then again, it has been two years.”
Damon took her hand. “E.M.”
“Eric Mallory.—Up here, Damon.”
He glanced at her and pulled up to the apartment building. She popped out of the car with a smile and ran to the door. She took out her keys and then turned around and gave a wave.
Damon was just looking at her in complete confusion. She really didn’t care. E.M. Eric Mallory. What a ridiculous name, she thought.
She walked into Elijah’s waiting arms. “He’s still outside,” he murmured into her hair. “I think you may have broken him.”
“Well, I did have to include myself into the supernatural somehow,” she murmured. “And a dead vampire boyfriend?” She kissed him. “Brilliant idea, by the way.”
He picked her up bridal style, and they smiled at each other. “I must be gone before you wake,” he reminded her.
“Of course, Elijah Smith,” she murmured. “Let’s just pray this doesn’t take too long.”
He leaned down and claimed her mouth. “Let us all pray.”
Bella took out her pair of skinny jeans and looked at herself in the mirror. No. She was too used to being Mrs. Elijah Mikhaelson. It was dresses and skirts all the way. Today was going to be sleek brown leather and boots.
She walked the busy hallways of Mystic Falls High, aware of the stares she was getting, but ignoring everyone.
“Girl in the rain!” a familiar voice called, and Bella turned around to see Elena.
“Hello. I never got the name of the man who drove me home,” she lied. “I’m Bella. Bella Avery.”
Elena offered her hand. “Elena Gilbert.”
She showed Bella to her first class: history.
Bella was surprised by the teacher. He seemed to know history as if he had actually been there. Although Bella had technically already graduated high school, she still found she was learning a great deal and went to introduce herself after class.
“Hi, Mr. Saltzman. I’m the new student. Bella. Bella Avery.” She held out her hand.
He took it, as if he weren’t used to using his own limbs, and shook it before gazing down at her engagement ring, knowledge passing through his eyes. “It seems we have a mutual friend.”
Elena was waiting by the door.
Bella tilted her head toward her. “Do you have a similar ring to give?”
“Every Original does,” he answered. “As far as I know, that is the second to be given.”
“Well, then I hope you find someone worthy soon, brother.” She quickly took out a paper and pen. “Only with the ring giver’s permission,” she intoned, slipping the address.
“Duly noted, Isabella Mikhaelson.”
She got her first text message at lunch, asking if she wanted a sister. Bella just stared at it. Quickly replying who this was.
It was Niklaus.
This started a texting war between the three Mikhaelsons. Apparently, Niklaus was willing to undagger Rebekah for her. Elijah couldn’t be happier. Bella was a bit wary, but agreed to it.
What she wasn’t expecting was to have a special delivery of a coffin Thursday night. She immediately called Elena and cancelled their weekend plans. Both Elijah and “Klaus” were at her apartment with several blood donors Friday afternoon and then the unstaking happened.
Rebekah was not happy. She even staked Niklaus a few times, once she managed to figure out who he was. Sobbing into Elijah’s arms, Bella looked at Niklaus and asked, “How long are you going to wear someone else’s body? It’s kind of ridiculous.”
“Soon,” he promised. “How goes it with my doppleganger?”
“I was supposed to go over tonight, but then we were waking up Rebekah…”
“Go over and just come back. Don’t sleep over. We have it from here.”
Bella eyed him warily before looking at Elijah who nodded. “If you need anything,” she whispered to her husband. “I may not be a die-hard girl, but I may understand some things that neither of you do.”
She picked up her bag and left.
When she returned it was to hear the shower running and to realize that there was an extra bed in her apartment. She sighed and set her bag down, only to have Elijah come up behind her and kiss the juncture of her neck and her shoulder.
“How is she?”
“As good as can be expected,” Elijah answered. “She wants to meet you. Naturally, she’s a little skeptical that I have found my soul mate.”
“Naturally,” Bella teased, turning around and kissing him lightly.
When Rebekah finally came out of the bathroom, the brothers left them in Bella’s room. They sat on the bed, crosslegged, just staring at each other.
“You were in a bar,” Rebekah said, her hair wet around her face, her accent clearly British, “in disgusting clothing and you just kissed him.”
“Yes.” Bella tried to smile.
“And the perfect, clean, hygienic Elijah grabbed you and kissed you back even though you hadn’t washed your clothes in four months.”
Wasn’t that the truth of it? Bella just stared at her sister-in-law.
“You really must be soul mates,” Rebekah sighed, smiling. “Finn and Sage claim to be, but I don’t think they are. What is it like?”
“As soon as you touch, you just feel this calm and this rightness and this need to touch and feel and—“
Rebekah held up her hand. “This is my older brother. I get it.” She laughed. “But how wonderful! You’re not a vampire! What are you?”
“We think I’m a siren. They’re so rare it’s difficult to tell.”
“Well,” Rebekah said. “I’ll make a study of you in school. Elijah and Nik explained it all, along with my cover story. I’m apparently the vampire sister, Rebecca Mallory, of your dead vampire boyfriend, Eric. We’re best friends and inseparable. I hear you’ve made progress with the doppleganger.”
“Yes,” Bella confirmed. “I was there tonight when I left you with your brothers. Between you and me, I can’t believe they were in love with her copy! Elena is just so—annoying.”
“Tatia was, too,” Rebekah complained. “Then again, I was just the sister. What did I know?” her eyes twinkled. “Now, I understand Elijah can’t be away from you for more than a night.”
“We’re rather—passionate,” Bella warned.
Rebekah stood. “No matter. I’ve annoyed him often enough with my lovers.” She sashayed toward the door. “Goodnight, sister.”
“Goodnight, Rebekah,” Bella returned.
It was only a matter of seconds before Elijah had swept her into his arms, sealing their mouths together in a passionate kiss.
“I don’t like your—friend,” Elena confided as they headed to history.
“She’s my dead boyfriend’s sister!” Bella scolded. “We’ve known each other for years. I know she can be a bit—well, I’m not quite sure—but she has a good heart. When Eric died, she let me cry all over her and not the other way around!”
“You really did love Eric, didn’t you?”
“With all my heart,” Bella stated. “Silly for a freshman with a crush on a senior, but it’s true.—Just come over tonight. We have this great t.v. and we can watch any movie you want. Bekah will be great with it, I promise.”
Elena looked a little unsure.
“Come on. Bekah has hilarious stories about exes,”—apparently she had dated Elena’s current boyfriend Stefan in the 1920s although he had been compelled to forget about the entire affair—“We could tell hilarious stories!”
“All right,” Elena agreed. “But I can leave whenever I want.”
“No tequila then,” Bella said.
Elena’s eyebrows perked up.
“No driving for you then,” Bella laughed as they walked down the hallway.
“This Doppleganger is driving me insane!” Rebekah complained during family dinner at Elijah’s apartment.