Title: Runaway Bride
Written: August 2017
Fandom(s): Vampire Diaries and Twilight Series
Pairings: (past) Bella/Edward, Bella/Elijah
Summary: Bella couldn’t say them, her own vows at her wedding. So she ran to the man who knew her only by the name on her fake ID, and she found she couldn’t regret it.
Warning(s): staking, kidnapping
The words stuck in her throat.
“Will you, Isabella Marie Swan, take Edward Masen Cullen to be your husband—“ The Justice of the Peace’s words were true, hard, unyielding.
She looked across from her and saw Edward standing there. He was pale, so unearthly pale, with his unnatural golden eyes. Did she really want to be like him for eternity? Was sex really worth this dress? It all absently wandered through her head. It was a horrible confection of white lace that showed through to her skin at her bodice, silk clinching to her form. Bella didn’t feel beautiful. Somehow she thought she would at least feel something other than a stranger at her own wedding.
Then she heard Alice gasp from behind her.
Bella turned and saw her Maid-of-Honor holding her pink bouquet in one hand, the other covering her mouth in shock. Her eyes were wide.
Edward’s hand came out to her, so cold, always so cold—why couldn’t he just kiss her or hold her while she slept for once without her being bundled in covers?
Sometimes, a little voice whispered in her head, it reminded her of being cold and alone on that forest floor.
“Love?” he whispered imploringly.
She didn’t look at him. “I can’t do this,” she realized, dropping her flowers with a sense of finality. Her voice was so quiet, but she reached down and took off her heels.
“Bella, please,” Edward begged, loud enough for the congregation to hear.
“I can’t do this, Edward,” she told him plainly. “I can’t believe it got this far. I’m eighteen. I’m ready for so much but not for this. Why won’t you let me be a teenager? Why must I bow to your time schedule?” Her voice came out in gasps as she played with a catch, but finally had the horrible heel off. Without looking at him, she couldn’t look into those eyes, she marched down the aisle, glad she wasn’t wearing a veil, and found her hastily kicked off sneakers near the stairs.
Alice came running up behind her. “Bella, surely you mean to postpone,” she stated rapidly. “I can’t tell. I don’t know what to tell the guests.”
“No,” she replied. “I don’t think so.” She was tying up her laces now. “This marriage is officially off.” Folding her dress over her shoes, it was now too long, she rushed toward the front door, grabbing her keys and purse that she had left there, thinking she wouldn’t need them, and left a stunned Alice in her wake.
She didn’t know where she was going when she got into her armor car. Port Angeles was her original destination, but then she thought she might go further afield. Although it would take her three hours to get to Seattle, maybe she could use the time to breathe.
Of course, at first she thought she was going to pass out. She had a lead foot but Bella didn’t seem to fall into a single speed trap. About an hour out, she fished out her cell phone, only the latest model, and scrolled down the numbers. She wondered if she dared it.
Bella had managed to keep this a secret from Alice for so long. She had convinced herself it was an innocent diversion, that she was only hurting herself. Still, she dialed even though she knew he’d probably be doing something.
It was a Saturday after all.
“Yeah, hi, I’m not going on vacation,” she greeted. Looking down at her wedding dress, she wondered how she was going to explain it away. “I was wondering if you wanted to catch dinner. I’m a bit—unusually dressed, but—no, that would be great. I can do eight.—Make the reservations and I’ll be there.”
She pulled up at the restaurant and checked her subtle makeup. Even her nude lipgloss seemed to be in place. Debating whether to take down her hair and hide the sheer back of her dress, she eventually decided against it. She stepped out of the car and picked up her train and walked into the establishment, feeling a little uncomfortable with all the stares.
“Yeah, hi,” she greeted the maître d’. “Mikaelson. Table for two. Eight o’clock.”
He looked down at his book, found the reservation with a little “ah”, and then led her to a table where an impeccably dressed Elijah Mikaelson was sitting. When their eyes met, he immediately stood, but she knew he was taking her in.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked her.
She crossed her arms, as if trying to hide. “I was being pressured into it. I ran during the vows. I couldn’t go through with it.”
“Jacqueline,” he murmured.
He thought her name was Jacqueline. Jacqueline Ehle. It’s what her fake driver’s license said. She didn’t want to admit to the handsome twenty-something year old that she was only a high school student. That she was dating a seventeen year old. It seemed all too much. It was all too much. Bella couldn’t take it, so she continued with the lie. To him, she was Jacqueline, and the way it fell off his tongue was positively decadent.
“It’s why,” he began more to himself, his fingers tapping the table after he had pulled out her chair for her and seated himself. “Of course. The friend zone.”
“Elijah?” she asked him, confused a little.
He gave her a warm smile. “You probably don’t want to hear this, but you make a beautiful bride.”
“I feel hideous,” she told him. “I didn’t design the dress, Alice did—Edward’s sister,” she qualified with a shake of her head. “I had no control over anything. It practically wasn’t my wedding. I didn’t really have the power to consent to it to begin with.”
“It’s over,” he told her with finality. “Tonight you are not going home. You are going to find a room in a nice little hotel and I shall borrow some of my sister’s clothes for you, and you will get to forget all this happened, even if for a little while.”
Bella hadn’t even touched her menu. She let her hand pass over it, to feel something tactile beneath her fingers and asked, “Why are you always so kind? When I was driving here, I knew you’d understand although I’d never told you about the wedding, about Edward.”
“Because you know I’ll always be here for you,” he promised her with such gravitas that she had to believe him, “just as I know the same is true for me although you transferred to Dartmouth.” Another little lie.
“I’ll be home before you know it.”
“Perhaps I should follow you,” he teased, turning to the sommelier and ordering a bottle of champagne for the two of them, carding them naturally. He took a long moment with Bella’s, but then eventually gave it back. “No, if I go anywhere it will be to see what my brother has gotten himself into in Virginia.”
This piqued Bella’s interest. “I could defer Dartmouth,” she suggested, only half-joking. “We could escape our lives. I have Edward’s credit card and he’s too much of a gentleman not to ‘give me time to see the error of my ways’ and cancel it. He’s not going to take that monstrosity of a car back.”
Elijah looked up in surprise. “You want to come to Virginia for the rest of the summer and possibly into the fall to see what is going on in my insane family?”
“Can’t be worse than my life,” she reasoned.
“It can,” he promised.
“I ran away from my wedding to have dinner with another man.” She now picked up her menu. “Let’s see if there’s something on here I can’t already cook.”
There was nothing more to say on the subject of Virginia. Elijah borrowed his sister’s clothing as promised except that it all looked like it had never been worn. He took Bella out to a club where he got her thoroughly drunk after, like the gentleman that he was, warning her that’s what he intended to do, and they danced in each other’s arms all night. Bella went a bit wild, jumping up and down and spinning to the faster paced songs, Elijah smiling at her indulgently, and when it was time to go back to her hotel room, he took off her shoes, placed her in bed, left her a glass of water and aspirin, and propped up a note for her to call him when she woke up so he could take her to breakfast.
Something cool was pressed against her forehead when she woke up.
Bella sighed. Her head was throbbing and it felt so good.
“Hush, love, I’m here.”
Immediately she was awake and tearing away from Edward. Her eyes quickly adjusted to the dark and she looked over to the clock. It was six in the morning. She could hear the birds chirping through the open window and a soft light was coming into the room.
“Edward,” she greeted, “please leave.” Reaching for the aspirin and water, she downed the pills, her eyes never leaving the man who should have been her husband.
Looking down at her hand, she realized she was still wearing the engagement ring. She slid it off her hand and held it out to him.
“I didn’t come for that. I came for you,” he told her, looking away.
“I’m not coming back. Not to you.”
His voice was dead, hollow. “Is it sex? Do you need a down payment?”
It sounded so dirty, so base, coming from him like that, that she flinched. “Edward—how can you even say that to me? Get out. I want to go back to sleep for awhile.”
“I’m always with you when you sleep,” he argued.
“Not anymore,” she replied. “We’re done, Edward. Broken up. Caput. I thought leaving you at the altar was giving you enough of a message.”
He sighed. “I never should have let you meet that Original if I could have prevented it. Alice saw it once, a flicker, a face I hardly recognized. When you met him he was originally going to kill you, but then he fell in love with you, so quickly, so easily. It’s such a simple thing to do, really. For him it wasn’t your brain, it was your haunted smile. It fascinated him. In the first vision, he lured you outside, and you smiled at him. He traced your lips. I saw him decide to drink from you anyway and kiss you in another decision. It was too late for me to get to you. I didn’t even know you had that fake ID until I found it the next day in your wallet.—And he did neither. Alice saw him change his mind when you smiled on that dance floor with your friends. I saw him fall in love with you that night and thought that was an end to it.” He took a deep breath. “But I found you running to him. To a monster.”
Bella massaged her forehead with both of her hands. “Edward. I’m not entirely certain I know what you’re talking about.”
“He’s a vampire, Bella. One of the Original nightwalkers. He’s royalty.”
“I can’t believe I’m discussing Elijah with you,” she moaned. “He’s human, Edward. I’ve touched his hand. It’s not cold. His eyes are brown.”
“Ask him,” Edward implored. “If I’m not bringing you home with me and leaving you instead to your little breakfast date, ask him.” He then threw a packet of cards on the bedside table. Bella picked them up. There were three credit cards and a better fake i.d. for Jacqueline Ehle. There was even a passport. “Alice saw these were necessary. She thought you’d need them in your new vampire life. I’ve taken all of your ‘Isabella Swan’ identification out of your wallet. I’ll pay your way until you die—naturally as a human or to become a vampire.” He got up and looked out the open window. The screen had been taken off.
She just looked at him.
“I love you, Bella, more than I could ever say, and to hand you over—“ He closed his eyes. “Come back home. We can forget the wedding and go on our honeymoon as planned, then off to Dartmouth.”
“No, Edward. Promise me you won’t be there if I decide to go.”
“I won’t be there,” he promised. “It was to be our future. It will take me many decades to even consider going back to New England. No, I am done there—for quite awhile.” He turned back to her, his skin shimmering in the half-light. “Come home, Bella.”
“No,” she stated determinedly. “I’m never going back with you. Please take the dress. I don’t want it.”
“It’s yours,” he argued, and then he was gone. The ring was left on the bedside table.
Bella curled into the covers again and closed her eyes and somehow sleep took her.
The birds were fully singing and light was streaming into the room when she woke up. She had a horrible taste in her mouth, but she quickly took two more aspirin. Bella brushed her teeth and got changed in her not-borrowed clothing before checking the time. It was one in the afternoon. Debating it, she called Elijah. “Come up to the room,” she told him. “I have something to ask you.”
He was clean shaven, of course, beautifully dressed in a suit. She had never seen him out of one. “Jacqueline, how did you sleep?” Her name—her fake one—always came off of his tongue with a long ‘ee’ at the end as if it were French. Gakleen. It was beautiful the way he said it.
“Don’t ask me how I got this information between being drunk last night and hungover this morning, but someone—strangely—accused you of being something called an Original vampire? Royalty even. Not that that bit matters at all. But, well, you don’t really seem like a vampire to me, and I’m beginning to wonder if I dreamt the entire thing except Edward was kind enough to bring me a passport.” She picked it up.
“He couldn’t have found you,” Elijah stated quite emphatically. “The room is under my name.”
“Alice can find anyone,” she apologized. “GPS tracking on the car. I’ve demanded they take it back or disable it.” Bella slumped onto the bed. “Elijah, we need to have this bizarre conversation so I don’t go quietly mad wondering if you’re some strange species of vampire I’ve never encountered.”
“You’ve encountered vampires before?” he asked calmly, taking a seat beside her.
“Once or twice,” she laughed. “No, seriously. Accusations have been made that you intended to ‘feed on me’ when we met.”
“I did,” he admitted carefully, “I changed my mind.”
She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding in. “And your mind is quite made up against it?”
“How do I tell?”
He opened up his jacket and revealed a slim necklace that was a single column. It was gold, understated, elegant, and he put it around her neck. “I was trying to figure out how to get you to accept this and not remove it. This will keep us from controlling your mind. And then, when we feed, our faces change. I’ll show you when you’re not hungover, Jacqueline.”
“Does this mean we’re going to Virginia?” she asked hopefully. “I was so looking forward to a vacation at some unknown destination. Apparently, my original one needed a passport, but we can’t have everything in life.”
He chuckled. “Keep it for when you may need it. You never know.” He thumbed through her cards. “It seems he had all of your information including your social security card, Jacqueline. I wouldn’t surrender this so easily again.”
“It was in my regular wallet. He merely took it out for me,” she explained away.
He hummed. “Get your bag. I’m taking you out for pancakes or waffles.”
Bella didn’t need to be told twice. She slipped all her cards in her wallet, and then threw on her shoes and took her keycard out with her.
“I won’t be kind to others,” Elijah explained when he got her alone at breakfast and they were eating. “I have quite the fearsome reputation and I will live up to it, Jacqueline. There is a vampire who must be acquired by any means possible, and I must acquire her before my brother.” His voice was strangely conversational as he drank his mimosa. He had insisted on ordering them to cushion her hangover. “You will see me staked—“
“That works?” she asked in shock.
“No,” he disagreed. “Not on the Originals. It’s not widely known so it is often attempted. You will see me staked, you will see me lifeless, you will see me revived. I will be taking you to war. I can tell you know something about—the other, Jacqueline.”
Without wanting to give too much away, she murmured, “My fiancé might have been a vampire—a different kind of vampire. Hence the finding thing.”
“Vampires don’t usually marry,” Elijah stated carefully. “We have bonded mates in other vampires or human lovers.”
She raised a brow. “This coven was fond of marriage.—I don’t want to think about it. He won’t take his ring back, which means I have to go over to his house and leave it there. When do we leave?”
“Tomorrow. That will give you time to pack and put your affairs in order.”
“All right,” she agreed. “I’ll be back nine a.m. at the airport.” Bella smiled at him and—yes—his eyes did slide down to her lips. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed it before. If she weren’t so hung over, if she hadn’t been a bride less than twenty-four hours earlier, she would somehow manage to kiss him, but it was out of the question. She wasn’t ready to give herself another complex. At least he was twenty-two/twenty-four. Bella had time, if they lasted that long.
The drive back to Forks was long and she berated herself for not packing a bag when she left so that she didn’t have to go back. Still, perhaps she should see Charlie. Bella didn’t want to see Charlie, though. She didn’t want to see any of them. Alice was also high on her list of people she didn’t want to see.
“I’m going on vacation,” she told Charlie as soon as she walked in the door, dress over one shoulder, small backpack holding her not-borrowed clothes in the other.
“Sensible,” he answered. “You created quite the stir.”
“Tickets are being purchased, best you don’t know. You have my cell phone number.” She smiled at him wanly. “Want to have a bonfire and burn this thing?”
“I’ll give it back to Alice,” Charlie promised.
“I can do that,” Bella sighed. “I need to force Edward to take back his ring.”
Of course, while the packing was easy and took less than half an hour, the rest of it was excruciating. She found everyone out back, sitting in the chairs, as if they had lost something. They had lost her.
Edward was nowhere in sight.
“Alice,” she greeted, and every head snapped toward her. It was as if they hadn’t heard her. Strange, as they had vampire hearing.
Rosalie was the first to get up. She walked up coolly, her magnificent blonde hair perfectly coiffed, and then strangely hugged Bella. “Good on you,” she whispered. She then took the dress and walked into the house, her heels somehow not sinking into the grass, which was something which Bella had immense difficulty with the day before.
“Oh,” Bella murmured, looking after her. She turned back toward Alice. “I wanted to return the dress. You worked so hard on it. It seemed only right.”
“Where are you going on vacation, dear?” Esme asked when it was clear Alice wouldn’t respond. “No one will tell us.”
“I’m not certain. I’m not buying the tickets.” She looked at Esme apologetically. “All packed, however. I just had to convert what I already had ready for the—honeymoon.”
There was another tense silence when everyone looked away from everyone else. Finally, Carlisle stood and came up to her. He kissed her forehead, his lips cool as snow. “I hope you’ll be happy, Bella.”
“Thank you, Carlisle,” she answered truthfully. “I think right now it’s one foot in front of the other.”
“I can understand that,” he answered. “Your whole future has mysteriously altered. We all wish you the best, even if it can’t be with us. Perhaps being a vampire wasn’t for you.”
No, she thought. Being with Edward wasn’t for me while I was human. The forced dichotomy, the master-slave relationship that she couldn’t help but feel.
Bella couldn’t help but compare her own relationship with Elijah. She had wanted him even from the first. It had been ridiculous, she knew. He was a man and she was just a teenager, but she had wanted him, and she had grown fond of him. She hadn’t loved him like she had believed she loved Edward—and since the wedding she was beginning to doubt that—but he had been a vampire.
There had been no clever little “let’s let the human guess” games. There had been no superior show of talents. There had been no lions and lambs. He had hidden part of himself away from her, but so had she with Edward and the wedding. It was almost with these omissions that they could truly be themselves, that they could be true.
Edward had sought to protect her with his flashy wealth and diamonds and cars that had yet to go on the market. Elijah had just kept her from his world for several months, warned her about it before she stepped into it, warned her about himself, and given her a talisman against danger. When she had needed something, truly needed clothing, he had gone out and gotten her trendy yet relatively inexpensive clothes. Things she wouldn’t get embarrassed about unlike Alice’s designer clothing that was unfortunately all she had packed in her luggage.
She quietly walked up to Edward’s room and heard Debussy playing. His favorite. It was appropriate. She walked to the nearest bookshelf and put the engagement ring on top. However, there was a sheet of paper that was an official change of name form.
“I’ve had Dartmouth’s records changed, too,” he murmured, just loud enough to hear. “Alice thought—“
“Yes,” she agreed. “I didn’t know it would be anything like this,” she promised. “It was just the name on a driver’s license I bought.”
“I wish you had come to me.” His voice had a pleading quality. “Then we could have used your name and this entire pretense wouldn’t be necessary.”
“But it is necessary—now,” she argued. “There’s nothing to be done. Thanks for making it possible.”
“I love you,” was all he said.
Perhaps it was enough.
She barely slept that night and was thankful for Alice’s expensive make up that she had purchased for the wedding. She got dressed in a Hot Topic tank and jeans, her one form of rebellion when she got her own credit card, and headed to the airport.
“One bag,” Elijah stated in shock.
“What, do I need more than one bikini?” she joked. “No, really, I just packed for summer, a little bit of rain, nothing special. A dress for dancing. I figured I could pick up anything else I needed there.” Bella smiled as she took in Elijah’s one dress bag that must hold only suits. There was also a small carryon case, much like her backpack.
First class was heaven. Bella got to sip on champagne while typing on her new laptop, curtesy of Edward, and then quizzed Elijah.
“You can’t go as ‘Smith’,” she told him plainly. “That’s too obvious. Just do ‘Elijah Michaels’. Or take my fiancé’s name. I can randomly crack up at inconvenient moments.”
“I’m not taking your fiancé’s name,” he promised her darkly.
“What about this wine we’re drinking?” she asked. “Clos du Bois. Elijah du Bois. Doesn’t exactly fit, but—“
“Why don’t you just choose an actor you like.”
“You wouldn’t,” she teased.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“It would sound like ‘Castle’ in English.”
“Who?” he demanded.
In a passable French accent because, really, Bella did manage to squeeze in the occasional foreign film between reading, she stated, “Vincent Cassel.”
“Elijah ‘Castle’,” he checked.
“Except spelled more interestingly,” she teased him. “Come on, I share a name with the woman who played Elizabeth Bennet opposite Colin Firth.”
He smiled at her. “I did notice that when you first told me.”
If she’d had popcorn, she would have thrown some at him. Unfortunately, all she had was champagne and he had his red wine. The plane landed and she insisted on renting the car as he’d bought the tickets, and they drove to a small hamlet four hours away with a name Bella wasn’t going to remember.
They were in the middle of nowhere.
Elijah got out of the car and went and met two individuals in a clearing. It was all rather shady and Bella put on sunglasses, angling the rearview mirror to get a better look at what was happening.
“And?” she asked as he got back into the car.
“We wait until tomorrow,” he told her as he pulled away and they found a motel with a room with two beds. Bella didn’t mind. Elijah said he was worried with all the vampires in the area and wanted to keep a close eye on her.
The house was old and decrepit with all the windows boarded up. Bella felt a bit out of place in her beige dress with black bow and heels, but at least she blended in well with Elijah who was beside her. His hand was placed at the small of her back and when they entered they were introduced to two individuals: Rose and Trevor.
“Jacqueline is here to observe.” His tone was hard and unlike anything Bella had ever heard. She didn’t let it show, however.
They were led to a room where there was this young girl, long dark hair, brown eyes, a taller, slimmer frame than Bella but otherwise her copy. Bella looked at the girl and then at Elijah who was—smelling her neck.
It seemed there was a question as to whether she was a vampire or a human.
“I’m Jacqueline,” Bella stated, coming up and holding out her hand to the girl. “You must be scared.”
“Yes,” Elijah drawled. “Jacqueline. Our human face on the operation.” It was so unlike him that Bella’s eyes cut to him to see them laughing back at her.
She didn’t smile. She didn’t. Instead, she looked back at the girl and shook her hand.
Elijah went back to talking to the other two vampires.
“Have you been around vampires much?” Bella asked with a smile. “I’m rather new to this,” she moved her hand in a circular motion, “but not to the supernatural.”
“There’s more?” the girl asked.
“Is there?” Bella asked. “There’s some confusion over whether you’re a vampire or not. Apparently you can smell that.”
“Why are you with him?—He seems rather…”
“Quite,” she reasoned, realizing how Elijah had come off.
Everything then turned so quickly. One moment Elijah was there. The next there were tauntings and sounds of scuffling and the face of a man she had never seen before in front of her.
He cocked his head. “Human.”
“She’s with Elijah, Damon,” the girl explained.
Of course, Bella’s idea of vacation was not being interrogated by a vampire who had weird veins coming out of his eyes. “What did Elijah want?” he demanded.
“To take me on vacation?” she suggested. “No, really, I ran out on my vows. I couldn’t say, ‘I, Jacqueline Ehle, take you,’ and so on … so Elijah took me on a vacation.” She mock smiled at him.
“What did Elijah want?”
Good, she’d told the truth and he wouldn’t believe her. “The girl. I’m assuming. There was some question about whether she was a vampire.”
“Well, he’s dead.”
“Stake him?” Bella tried to keep the hopefulness out of her voice.
“Good.” That meant he was coming for her. According to Edward he was in love with her and even if he weren’t, Elijah was loyal. He would never leave her with angry vampires with scary eyes.
“Tell me,” he demanded, his pupils going wide.
“I did!” she shouted back.
“She drank or is wearing vervain,” the vampire stated, looking over at the other man. Boy, really. “It’s not working on her.” He zeroed in on her necklace and reached out for it.
She dipped to the side. “That was a gift. Don’t you know it’s rude to steal?”
“I took off my engagement ring and put on the necklace,” she explained. “I told you, I’m on vacation and escaping my wedding.”
Her phone went off.
“That would be my dad. I didn’t call today.” She looked at him. “As I said, running away from my wedding. He thinks I’m having a mental breakdown.”
“You are. You ran away with a dangerous vampire.”
“He doesn’t know about that part. He thinks I’m on my own.” She sighed and he rifled through her bag and handed her the phone. She took it and answered. “Charlie! Yep, all good. Still planning on going to Dartmouth in the Fall.—No, Edward promised not to go.—I nearly married the guy, can’t you get his name right?” She huffed and looked at the vampire who looked rather Italian with his black hair and black eyes. “What are the rumors?” She paused for several long seconds. “At least I haven’t run off to Malibu with a TV personality.—No, I haven’t talked to Mom. I don’t want to.” Bella eyed the vampire. “No, I don’t think running out on my wedding makes for good female bonding.—I’m not alone and moping.—Why would I mope?—Why does it matter who I’m with?”
She turned away from the vampire and saw the girl. This was just perfect.
“I know you care, Charlie. I’m fine. I’m safe. I’m happy.—Why would I run away with Jake?” Well, she knew the answer to that one, but it was better to pretend that she didn’t. “He’s not in love with me. And he’s still in high school. It would never work out. Plus, I think he wants to date someone from his tribe. I’m one of the white men. Bye—“ She hung up before he could say anything else.
“Happy?” she asked the vampire. “My dad now thinks that everything’s fine.”
The girl looked at her. “You really did run away from your wedding.”
“I showed up three hours later at a restaurant in sneakers and a designer wedding dress.” She gave her a lopsided smile. “I basically got in the car and put on the gas until I reached the next major city and closest friend who didn’t actually know I was even engaged.”
“Elijah,” she guessed.
“Your hypothesis,” was all Bella would agree to. “Who are you?”
The vampire looked at her. “You don’t get to ask the questions. You’re our prisoner.”
“I’m a human who just saved your ass. My father is a police chief and I may be running away from my own wedding, but I was marrying a vampire who was from a coven of vampires, and they’re all looking for someone to blame right now. They’re not going to blame Elijah. They’re going to blame you because I’m going to tell them to blame you.”
The vampire looked at the pensive one who looked a bit like Edward.
“Damon Salvatore,” he introduced himself. “Why would Elijah the Original bring along a human to a drop off?”
“It’s my vacation,” she repeated.
“The human’s probably a human snack he keeps for convenience,” the other vampire surmised. “You tend to do it, Damon. I’ve known others. Elijah may not be above the practice. He could have her so convinced that it’s normal that she doesn’t even think twice about it.—He probably made her run away from her own wedding when he found out about it.”
Bella inwardly rolled her eyes. “My name is Jacqueline,” she lied. Well, it wasn’t really a lie anymore, now was it? Thanks to Edward.
“What are you going to do with her?” the girl asked.
She didn’t really like the answer.
Bella was thrown into a cell and fed three times a day. Granted, the food was good. Apparently, Damon was an excellent cook, but every day he tried to force her to tell him the truth, his pupils dilating. She would tell him the same things, sometimes more flippantly than others, and he would growl at her angrily before leaving again.
The day Elijah came for her she had nearly given up hope.
“There’s a dinner party upstairs,” he told her as he handed her a dress. “I couldn’t think of anyone else I would like to accompany me more.”
“How long has it been?”
“Ten days,” he answered. “I couldn’t get in without an invitation from Elena Gilbert.” At her confused expression, he amended. “The girl you met the last time we were together.”
She turned away and quickly got dressed. She was wearing an oversized t-shirt and pajama bottoms, curtesy of the girl who was now named Elena, and was glad she was let out the day before to wash her hair.
“You’re not strong,” Elijah murmured, biting into his wrist and offering it to her.
The smell of blood made her feel faint, but he guided her head to his wrist and merely whispered, “drink.” She resisted at first, but then took a small sip, and then another, until her lips were coated in blood and he was gently kissing her.
She looked up at him with brown questioning eyes and he pulled away. “I apologize, Jacqueline. That was quite selfish of me.”
“No, really, I don’t mind,” she murmured, as she took his arm and they walked up the basement stairs together.
Bella was quite pleased with the shocked look on Damon’s face and slight meou of a frown on Elena’s. She sat next to Elijah at dinner, sipping at her wine, and chatting with an Alaric who taught at the local high school.
“And what grade are you in?” he finally asked, catching Elijah’s attention.
“I’m a college student. I do, however, get carded quite a bit.” She smiled at him kindly and took another sip of her wine to make a point.
He blinked at her. “I’m sorry. It’s only, you look so young.”
“Think nothing of it,” she assured him, looking away and starting a conversation with someone else.
Of course, she hadn’t expected someone to try and dagger Elijah. As soon as it was brandished, she didn’t think. Bella just acted. Rationally she knew it couldn’t hurt him, but she pushed him out of the way and it pierced through her heart. She heard someone cry out to her and she fell to the ground, breathing rapidly.
“You killed her,” someone muttered through water. “Why isn’t she turning to ash?”
“She’s human, you fool,” someone else shouted, and she felt a hand against her cheek. “Jacqueline,” that strange, beautiful pronunciation, “stay with me.”
But she couldn’t stay. She was already gone.