Disclosure: Twilight and Vampire Diaries are owned by their respective braianics that thought of it.
Pre Edit Count – 3,299 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Thrive by Switchfoot.
Damon stops and searches her face. The pain in it reminded him of his own. He said softly, “Well, maybe you just need a better partner.” He bows slightly to her as he tells her, “I will gladly offer my humble opinion to you milady.”
Unable to help the peal of laughter, Bella look at him. “There is not a humble bone in your body, Damon.”
He smirks. “How you wound me, my Bella.”
She shakes her head and heads off to finish her shopping.
Damon watches after her, then calls out, “Bella?”
She turns her head to look over her shoulder at him, her eyebrow arched.
He smiles at her, “Thank you.” At her questioning look, he clarifies, “For giving me a chance. You won’t regret it.”
Bella looks at him, telling him, “I hope not, for both our sakes. See you later, Damon. Since you seem to pop up wherever I am.”
He just grins at her as she walks away. “Bella.” He softly says to himself. Yes, he will make sure to meet up with her again.
On the way home, Bella had stopped to get herself a metal whiteboard. She had also ordered herself a larger Whiteboard to make the notes she will be needing. She wants to get to the bottom of the statement of founding families…
The man at the Staples promised that it will be delivered no later than tomorrow. While she was there, she stocked up on erasable markers, magnets and post-it’s all different sizes. The information that was beginning to percolate through her head was making itself known. Frowning, she went back and upped the order to two of the larger white boards.
Her mind busy with the implications of what she had read in Isobel’s work, she never noticed the raven who had been perched on the wheelchair sign who watched over her. She made it back to her SUV and placed the items in the back with the rest of her stuff. She looks over everything and mutters to herself, “This is one of the few times I wish I had someone around to help.” Shaking her head, she got into her vehicle.
A short time later she is pulling into her new home. She maneuvers her SUV around and when the garage door was open, she backed up into the space. She is told her other vehicle won’t be here until Monday, there had been some unexpected delays. She looks at the two empty bays and shrugs. Who knows, maybe she will find another classic to restore.
While the doors close, she is out of the vehicle and moving the bags into the kitchen. She puts them all away then goes off to grab the office supplies out of her SUV and deposits them into the Library. She looks at the time and seeing it is 2 in the afternoon, decides to start to make the sauce for tonight. She heads to the kitchen, and proceeds to start her pot of boiling water to remove the skins from the tomatoes. While that is prepping, she grabs a basket and some shears as she heads into her backyard towards the herb garden.
She is humming to herself as she walks in the sunlight, laughing lightly to herself when she sees wolfbane and vervain in her gardens all over the place. It wasn’t obvious to anyone, but if you know what you are looking for, you see them, and plenty of others that are associated with the supernatural world. She shakes her head.
As for the effects of vervain, she figures it wouldn’t do her any good, since Edward, a mind reader could not get in her head, she doubts any other power can get in there. In addition, she has meditated and worked on the power to her sensei’s suggestion, and has found meditation as a way to relax when she is stressed. But she had pleased her sensei when he had found she got to the point she could be meditating if doing something that is a habit to her. Such as cooking like she is planning today, or even gathering the herbs she needs.
She gets in the garden and start to pick what she needs for her meal tonight. When she is finished, she moves over to the flowers and starts clipping some to bring with her into her home. She is smiling and has no idea what a vision she makes kneeling in the garden with all the flowers around her. No idea that she has a pair of eyes watching her intently, cocking it’s head to the side as it notices the view of her in the garden.
When she has gathered enough, she heads inside, working as her mind is busy cataloging the things she has learned. However, she also notices that a certain pair of ice blue eyes seem to pop up often min her mind. A sly smile grows on her face as she is cooking her onions for the base to her sauce.
Damon Salvatore. What a unique person, to say the least. Bella wonders where he will next pop up in her life. He is persistent, but now that he got her name, would he continue? Or would he abandon her now that his curiosity is sated?
Bella soon loses herself completely in the process of making her sauce as she works on a couple of side items. She ends up making herself a chicken bolognaise sauce. She has poured the rest of the marina she hadn’t used in canning jars and put them aside to seal themselves from the heat in the sauce.
During this process she hadn’t noticed the raven still sticking around and watching her through the windows. It watches as she blew an annoying piece of hair out of her face as she works the eggs into the flour to make herself her own pasta. It cocks its head to the side as it can make out the music playing in the house.
Humming to herself the song that has started to play, La Traviata, she sardonically smiles to herself as she remembers the first time she heard this. It is the song that had played when she had first met the Cullens, as they had tried to make her an Italian meal in tribute to her name. Edward had tried to tell them she wasn’t Italian, but then he had never known Gran Swan had in fact been as Italian as they come.
It had taken a lot of time for her to be able to think of them this way. The ones that still pained her is Emmett, Alice and Edward. Edward is mostly anger. She has gotten over his rejection of her, and was told by the therapist her father had sent her to that it was healthy to be mad at the betrayal. Over time, that anger has become an afterthought, but one that she knows will quickly escalate if she ever meets the virgin vampire again.
In fact, the only ones she did not place any blame on is Jasper and Rosalie. It was not Jasper’s fault he was a vampire and reacted as one should to blood. And Rose? She had never warmed to Bella so there was no betrayal.
Huffing slightly at the way her thoughts had gone, she works to complete her meal. By the time she has gotten close to finishing, she smiles wryly. Seems she has made a meal for more than her. She leans back on the counter, then decides to be bold for once.
She heads to the library and once making sure everything is put away to any nosy eyes, she looks up a number online. Smiling when she finds his, she picks up and makes a call. Time to act on the thoughts that she has been having going through her head.
Fifteen minutes later, there is a knock on the door. Bella makes her way to it and opens it. Damon looks up at her, his eyes reflecting the smile on his face. “So the old Moutin place huh? Any relation of yours?” He is thrilled to be here, he had been connected to his familiar and had been jealous when he had seen her getting ready to call someone, then started out of his trance.
Bella laughs and she tells him, “My grandmother actually. It seems my father and I are the last of the line, so the house came to us.” For now, that is all he needs to know.
He grins, then asks, “May I come inside, milady? You did invite me over.” He holds out a bottle of wine to her. He needs the intent of allowing him to come in, and he never has wanted something so much before in his long life.
Staring up into those amazing eyes, she shakes her head. With a slight bow, she steps away and tells him, “Please come in, Mr. Salvatore.”
He looks around and comments, “The place looks a lot better.” He is looking at all the changes. To the human eye, you couldn’t tell the difference, but to his vampire eyes and nose, he can smell that the slight smell of rot is now gone. The place feels and looks fresh, a way he has not seen since he was human attending a ball here.
Arching an eyebrow as she takes his jacket, “Have you been here before?”
Turning around to look at her, he tells her, “To be blunt, yes. Moutins have always been involved with the council, and so have the Salvatores. I have been here in the past on Council business.” He can’t help but allow his eyes travel over her, wishing he could have her in his arms. He has come to the decision earlier today, when he had got home, that he wants her. She is always in his head, and he figures, either he can fight this, or give in and see where they can go from here.
Not really noticing his look, Bella frowns then comments, “I thought nobody has been here in years, except for those taking care of the house.” She is not sure how much she likes the idea of others having free access to the house and the books she has found in her library.
His eyes snapping to her chocolate ones, Damon smirks, “And how did you think the inside of the house stayed solvent after years of no one being inside? We of the council come and check out the place every so often.” And go through the library here, the biggest one in Mystic Falls. But he doesn’t want to scare her, not when they haven’t had her to a council meeting yet.
Bella starts walking towards the kitchen and Damon follows her. He stops when he sees the newly remodeled Kitchen. “Wow.” His eyes takes in the changes and he is impressed. He would love to work in this kitchen, noting the hearth fire that was fashioned to be more than just a fireplace in the kitchen. He hasn’t seen one in so long he feels a bit nostalgic about it.
She gives him a grin and she grabs the pasta from the fridge and adds to the already boiling salted water. “Like?” She is watching him out of the corner of her eye.
Damon gives her a look as he moves in and looks around. “This is so…did you design this?” He notes the tree trunk in the middle and loves how the branches are even still there branching across the ceiling. The whole effect is one he genuinely likes.
Looking directly at him from over her shoulder, she grins at the implied compliment. “I did. This and the master suite are my creations. Also the backyard I changed up to suit me. I never expected to have a house this young, nor the ability to make it suit me. Since I did, I made sure this would be it for me.” She turns around and is watching the water and the noodles. With fresh made noodles, sometimes the cooking time is less than she had been told. Luckily her grandmother had told her and she knows to watch for the noodles to float before they sink.
She is occupied with making sure dinner will turn out right that she startles when Damon is right behind her and asks in her ear, “Anything I can help with?”
She looks over her shoulder to find him smiling gently at her. “No, unless you want to open the bottle to let it breathe?” She indicates with her head the decanter she had left out with the insert for the ice to chill it.
He nodded and with her instructions, soon has the bottle open, he swiftly pours the wine and adds the right amount of ice to the inside. He turns around and seeing Bella ready to lift the pot to strain the water, moves over, grabbing some towels and gently takes out of her hands. He shudders slightly and notices she does to when their fingers touch from the electric that seemed to course though his body from the slight touch. It makes him start thinking, trying to remember a description from long ago of these symptoms.
Her hand rubs her fingers, watching him, she doesn’t say anything as he drains the pasta and then adds it back to the pot, asking, “Butter?”
She shakes her head, “Nope, the sauce goes in and it cooks for a couple of minutes.” Her mind is busy. The feeling from the light touch reminds her slightly of Edward, but even then she did not feel it from her head to her toes like this one.
He nods and adds the pasta to the sauce, stirring it in, then steals a taste. “Wow. Where did you learn to cook?” He is watching her rub her fingers.
Her eyebrow raises, “You sound shocked.” Bella stares at him waiting for an answer, but the smile playing on her lips lets him know she is not offended.
He leans against the counter across from her, completely at ease in the kitchen and by her side. “Not too many know how to cook authentic Italian. Myself being one of the few who do…”
Her smile gets bigger, “I am quite surprised, Damon. I wouldn’t think you a cook, unless it is to impress someone.” She teases him, enjoying it.
Damon smirks at her, “You wound me, my Bella. I have you know I learned to cook from family in Italy.” He smells the wine, then pours her a glass and hands it her. Hoping that their fingers may touch again, but slightly disappointed when she manages to take the glass without touching him.
She takes the wine and takes a sip. “Well, I learned from my Gran. She was as Italian as they come.” Her smile fades a bit then she comments, “It was either learn or eat take out. Let’s just say neither of my parents were cooks.” Her eyes dark as she remembers the past.
He watches her, wondering what thoughts are going through her head. He finally asks, “Not that I am not happy to be here, but what lead to the invitation, Miss I-Don’t-Want-To-Give-My-Name?”
Acknowledging the barb, she tells him with a shrug, “I made too much. And I thought, ‘Now, Bella, you have a new friend in this town, why now invite him over to get to know each other better?’” She smells the pasta dish, then turns back to it.
Damon smirks as he watches her stir the pasta watching it for something only she knows. When she nods and turns, he is there handing her the dishes. He helps her carry them and only cocks his head to the side as she heads outside.
When he exits, he looks around at how old Country it seems with the fireplace and other changes she has made. “Comfy.”
Smiling, she indicates the table and they both seat themselves across the table from each other and start eating. There is the awkward silence until they both take a bite.
From the first bite, Damon is entranced. Then they start talking about small trivia, as though they both are not wanting to get into anything serious as they eat. He admits to himself that he has not grinned or been this happy in years. It is rare that he gets to spend time with a beautiful woman like Bella, and not be having sex. But then, she is different. She has a fire that most people don’t. It’s like she has decided that she is never going to be a sheep in the herd and decided to make her own way.
Before long, the two are relaxed in each other’s presence, neither noting how odd that is, and finish their meals. Damon follows her in, and helps her clean up. He notices the jars on the counter and raising his brows, “You can?” He has not seen anyone can for years. He figures most people just freeze stuff and it is slowly becoming a lost art.
Bella is thinking how enjoyable dinner has been and looks up. It takes a second to register what he asked and she answers him, “Yep. My Gran taught me, since to make marinara sauce is easy to make in large batches, this saves time later on.” She then looks sheepish. “I tend to loose myself when I am working. Often, steps like this save me when I lift up for air and find I haven’t eaten in a couple of days.”
Damon’s eyebrows jump up, “Bella…I know I am kinda new at this friend thing, but that can’t be healthy.” And something he is going to have to figure out how to stop in the future.
She blushes, then admits to him, “My father and I have an agreement, if I haven’t dropped him a call or email in a couple of days, he calls. It is enough to bring me out of it. Plus I have started habits to help me. It’s just when I get in the middle of research, I lose myself until I solve the mystery.” She sardonically grins, “I have had to do something…”
She leaves the kitchen as he follows her to the less formal family room. He nods as he looks around, seeing Bella’s touch in everything. The house had always been too stuffy for him in the past, but Bella had opened it up with the lighter paint colors, but also added comfort in the overstuffed furniture.
Bella collapses in a leather armchair. “I just realized that since this morning, this is the first time I have relaxed.”
Damon sits in the chair nearest her and grins. “I am going to take credit for it.” His grin tells her he is teasing.
But before she can retort, there is a knock on the door. Bella frowns and then huffing, makes her way to the door, Damon following her.
When she opens it, she sees the delivery people for Staples and chuckles. “I guess Sam was right when he said you guys weren’t busy?” She is not really seeing the guy in front of her, thinking more of all that she will be able to write down now.
The driver, presented with the beauty in front of him, smiles. “Nope, Ma’am. Names Joe. If you just show me where you want them, I will be happy to bring them inside and set them up.” ‘and more if you want..’ the guy not even seeing Damon behind her, too busy checking her out.
Damon lifts an eyebrow at the man who is obviously flirting with her. Joe catches the movement and swallows at the look on his face. ‘Why are all the good ones taken?’
He smiles at Bella, then turns and makes his way to the delivery truck, muttering under his breath at how some guys get all the luck.
Hiding the smirk from Joe bob’s muttering, Damon asks quietly, “How did you get them to deliver so late?”
Chuckling she looks up at the man behind her, “It’s amazing what a little flirting does. A single woman, a new single woman in town? Surely you have used your charm to get your way.” Lifting her own brow at him as to challenge him.
He grins down at her, acknowledging the jab. “But then, I am a man and there is little chance of a stranger taking advantage of me.” His hand raises up of its own volition and touches her cheek softly. Neither aware of more than the feeling that roots them in place.
Then a throat being cleared make both of them start. Damon’s hand tightens on her then drops as he slides in front of her. He raises his eyebrow up and waits. He is not taking a chance. Not if his suspicions are anywhere close to being right. It is a million to one chance, but he is not giving it up….
Joe’s eyes widen at the man in front of him. He gestures with his head to the boards he is carrying.
Bella shakes her head at Damon’s antics. She pops her head around him to tell Joe, “Follow me.” With that, she gave Damon a slight push out of the way and turns to lead both men to her Library.
Damon stops, shocked as he sees the new Library. He is surprised to see the older books in special cases and looking around can see other changes, which make the place more organized. His lips quirk at the end. ‘I think she will be a great addition to our group.’ But first, he is going to make sure she knows about him and not to find out from Elena or Bonnie. They will paint him in a bad way, and with how hard he had to work to get her name, he doesn’t want to give her any reason to push him away. He is sure that she can do it, and he won’t give up on her.
A slight noise calls his attention over to Bella as she tells Joe where to place the boards. He turns his head to the side watching her, taking in the fact her attitude is more take charge. He leans against the doorway, taking enjoyment of watching the dark hair beauty in front of him.
Bella almost forgets about Damon as she directs Joe to where to put the boards. For a second she resents him being here, stopping her from diving in to the research.
Joe makes quick work on putting up the boards on their stands then leaves, getting a vibe from the man that he is most unwelcome.
Damon smirks as he realizes why the guy lit out of here. He moves beside Bella as she stands there staring at the boards. “I take it this has to do with your job?”
Bella nods as she is mentally arranging things. She reaches out to tug a board to the side, jumping when Damon does it for her. “Shit!”
Damon laughs as he holds both hands up. “Just helping.”
Shaking her head, she tells him, “Sorry. Not used to others helping or having friends either I guess. Been a loner since I was 18.” She runs her hands through her hair, nervously.
Damon steps closer to her, looking down at her. “So let’s make a pact. Give this a real try.” His voice is softer, pleading almost.
Cocking an eyebrow at him she asks, “Just friendship?”
He smiles as he tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “At first. If it becomes more, and don’t get me wrong, I really wouldn’t mind it becoming more, we never lose the friendship.” His eyes flick back up to hers, making sure she can see the want in his eyes.
Bella is staring into his eyes, searching if he is being honest. She finally nods. “Agreed. But you should know, Damon, that lying is a hard line for me. I was massively lied to, and it about broke me when I found out.” Her eyes dark, her voice low, she tells him the truth, the painful truth.
Damon sighs and looks past her for a second. Thinking about the decision he made earlier today, and with this piece of information, he realizes that she will find out either way. This way, maybe he can keep her by telling her from the get go. It would be a new approach at least. He then asks, “Not that I am planning to lie to you, but how much do you want to know now, and what would you consider lying?”
Bella cocks her head to the side. She finally tells him, “How much do you trust me? Because I will trade you secrets.” She then goes and sits in one of the chairs she has scattered around the room. She looks up into his eyes from her place as she admits, “Damon, my secrets will change your life, and possibly put you in danger. I have never trusted another person other than my father, and that was after he found out on his own.” Her eyes lower briefly and then meet his, the pain in them calling to him.
Crossing the room to her, he drops to crouch before her. Making a decision, knowing he may lose her because of it, he finds that he is unwilling to lose her. He has no idea why she means so much to him when he only met her yesterday, but she means more than Katherine ever did, more than Elena. He is tired of just surviving, he wants to thrive. He stares into her eyes and tells her, “I’m a vampire.”
Final count, 4,352 words.