Posts tagged Bella
Posts tagged Bella
BELLA: [Bella walked around the spacious coffee table, chewing on her bottom lip, looking at it from this way and that, checking and double checking again to make sure she had everything. Cormia was bringing the snacks, Fritz had soft drinks ready on the bar, and she had Monopoly all set up, now all they needed were their males. It had been several days since Phury and Cormia had shown up on the doorstep, the warriors had them all on some kind of lockdown since Xcor’s oh so charming threat, and he’d moved his female back to the mansion. Bella had had some choice words for Z after he’d told her she couldn’t go visiting Rehvenge on her own, she would have a few more for the spoiled brat Xcor who had a jolly on for the brotherhood if she so happened to ever see the male. To relieve some of the boredom, her and Cormia had conspired -TALKED- to get both her Z and his twin to at least be in the same room for more than five minutes together and not have one or both of them sulk off or worse, come up with some phantom reason that they had to leave. Hearing Cormia’s quiet approach, she smiled and sent the text to Z to get his cute butt here “Need you in the library, darling, ASAP — that means now. Love you. Bx” ] You know we may have to bolt the door, right, Cormia? [Bella chuckled and tucked her feet under her on the couch, she had her ways to get Zsadist to do as she wanted, she wasn’t opposed to putting them into practice to get him to spend some quality time with his absent twin again] Did you let Phury know to meet you here?
CORMIA: *smiling at Bella as I nod* Yes, I told him to meet me here and that I was spending time with you and catching up. Perhaps we should cover the game? If I recall the Primale’s telling correctly, do the Brothers not like Monopoly? *giggling and wondering what both Phury and Zsadist would do if they saw the game. Run? Hide? Suffer through it? All of the above?* We would not with them to run when they see the game. *laughing with Bella as we start to laugh, knowing that this shall be a good thing for Zsadist and Phury. It has been too long since they have spoken and a bridge needs mended between them.*
ZSADIST: You know they’re planning something. *Walking down the hall of statues side by side, Zsadist caught his twin’s multicolored hair shifting forward and back as the male nodded. It’d been tense in the mansion. Not because Phury finally got his head out of his ass and returned to the safety of the mansion, but the threat from the Bastards hit them all where it hurt—their females. Having Phury home wasn’t flowers and happy hummingbirds. His twin had done fuck all to keep the lines of communication open between them after the last time Z forced Phury to listen to reason. Hard heads ran in their bloodline, apparently. Not that he’d know. Z never met their parents.* Will you make the move permanent? *The question had haunted him for days. He asked now, rather than in front of the females. Z’s gut said he wouldn’t like the answer. Everyone seemed determined to move away from the safety of the brotherhood compound. Fucking morons.*
PHURY: *Phury chewed on Zsadist’s question. There had been no leads about the Band of Bastard’s location. The males were out there, in Caldwell, well within reach of everything the Brotherhood held dear. Impotent rage gnawed through his veins like battery acid. The week prior, he’d been so sure he could set aside his daggers and do his duty as Primale to ensure the safety and happiness of the chosen—his chosen in particular. Now, as he descended an all-too-familiar staircase beside his only tie to his blooded family that’d never fully thrived, Phury knew he couldn’t take the backseat. He needed to be out there in the field. His dagger hand flexed at his side. At the base of the stairs, Phury paused, a hand out to stall Zsadist before they rounded the corner.* I will stay as long as necessary to ensure the threat to our females is taken care of. Beyond that, I make no promises. There are times when I need the quiet and solitude. If you haven’t noticed, there isn’t a lot of that available here. *Phury raked a hand through his hair.* Honest answer, you think Wrath will allow me to fight? Not as a Brother. I can’t stand aside and do nothing. Not now. Not with Cormia in my care. *Zsadist’s brows pulled down before he gave a short nod. It was good enough for Phury. He’d speak to Wrath the next evening.* Let’s get in there before they get anymore ideas on how to make us cooperate. *Together, the twins entered the library … and drew up short at the sight of the game laid out on the table.* I thought we burned that damn thing.
BELLA: [Bella refrained -just- from rolling her eyes at the mirrored look of tortured anguish on the males faces at the prospect of having to play the cutthroat game, her mouth curved as she ushered them into the library with a wave of her hand] Have you never heard of those places called… stores, brother in law? [she grinned full out then and winked at her hellren] we bought a new board game a while ago. Now sit, eat, drink, we have everything for a relaxed night [Her gaze cut to Zsadist, knowing what would come out of his mouth before he even spoke] And our daughter is being taken care of so you don’t need to rush off, darling. [Her fingers laced with his once he was in touching distance and she pulled him down to sit on the couch amid the mountain of floral cushions, her smile triumphant and smug towards Cormia that they’d gotten both males here and neither had taken off -yet- ] you know I love you guys…. but I’m the top hat and I plan to win… just so you know, you’re about to be some poor bankrupt suckers. [Amused, Bella popped a pink macaroon into her mouth and chewed with delight, having already ran through the games rules with Cormia, she settled back cuddled to Z’s side and curved a brow in question] Better pick a good game piece before these two dive on the good ones, Cormia.
CORMIA: *smiling at the male’s reaction as they enter the room. Laughing slightly as I pat the seat next to me and motion for Phury to sit next to me. Excited to play a nice relaxing game, hopefully I shall catch on quickly.* It is better than standing the entire game, is it not? *Turning to Bella and smiling at her, glancing down at the pieces on the board to see which I would care to be. Seeing a cute little puppy and deciding that I would like to be the puppy. Glancing around the room* Would anyone care if I am the little dog or has someone already claimed it in their mind? *If someone has claimed the puppy, I shall choose another piece and allow them to have the dog. Glancing around and the various foods which Bella has been able to procure. Amazed at the selection which is before us.*
ZSADIST: *Reaching across the table, Zsadist grabbed the tiny metal shitkicker just in time to beat his twin. He dropped the token onto the start square beside Bella’s tophat.* Your reflexes are too slow, Phury. Need to fix that shit if you’re going to go out in the field. *The golden glare from the couch sitting opposite the one he sat on with his shellan had the power to draw blood. Oh-fucking-well. The females would find out soon enough that it was all hands on deck until Xcor’s head was stuffed and mounted on a wall in Wrath’s pansy-ass study.* If this game lasts as long as it typically does, we’re going to need more food, Bella. *Wrapping an arm under her knees, he pulled them over his knees. Zsadist’s palm slid over his shellan’s thighs. She’d pay for making him play the game. Judging by the light in her eyes, she already knew just what form the payment would come in.* Hurry up and pick your shit, Phury.
PHURY: We’ll discuss my involvement in the field later. *Phury cut an unamused glare Zsadist’s way and picked up the racecar token to set on the start square. Piles of paper money were already laid out for the four of them. Bella held the narrow box containing the remaining cash hostage on the couch beside her. He jutted his chin toward the box.* No cheating, madame banker. I’m keeping an eye on you. *He snatched up the dice and pressed them into Cormia’s small hand. Kissing her knuckles, he sat back, an arm behind her shoulders. Sure, he looked relaxed, but inside he felt like a freakshow on display for everyone. At any moment, someone would walk by and gawk at the picture of family peace they displayed. It was a lie. The truce between Phury and Zsadist was thin, based solely on their need to keep the females safe and happy.* Newest person to the game rolls first, sweetheart. *Phury caught an approving nod from across the table. It hit him like a punch to the gut. He shouldn’t look of approval on how to sweet talk his female. But Zsadist and Bella had what he wanted. Maybe it was time he actually listened to Zsadist.*
BELLA: No work talk! [she told the males sternly, eyeing them both with that “I mean it” look] I have no need to cheat, Phury, I will win with my cunning monopoly skills [Bella pulled a face at him before grinning, hoping a little time out from their duties would put the brothers in a better mood with each other. Banter between them was a good beginning, she thought. While the game waged on over an hour later, Fritz kept their snacks replenished, and she stroke absent fingers up and down Z’s nape, Bella did it without conscious thought, really, if her male was in distance of her, she touched him, it was just the way it was. She laughed and cheered on Cormia who although a newbie, seemed to be cleaning them all out of money and property. When a particular part of the game had her Z almost bankrupting her and taking her last rent money, she dug fingers into his gut laughing at his smugness] Watch out for this one when you roll the dice, Cormia, hellren mine is a slum landlord [Bella looked across the table to Phury. Was he relaxing? He looked as if he were, but the male was a master at covering what he thought and felt, she knew that. Impulsively she pelted him with a coconut truffle that hit his chest and landed deftly on his lap making him look up at her with his brow quirked, her smile widened] I need a spare room, you’ll have to take me in, brother-in-law, I have a child to support and my landlord… [Blue gaze and her scrunched up nose pointing in Z’s direction, her fingers continuing to tickle the back of his neck] …has seen fit to turf me out onto the cold mean streets with not a penny or a Louboutin to my name [Bella winked at Cormia and passed her the dice] Take the boys down, Sister, dear.
CORMIA: *Laughing slightly as Bella chastises the males about their choice of talk during the game night as well as Bella’s antics. Blushing slightly as Phury has called me sweetheart, something that I haven’t heard him call me before. Pushing it out of my mind and deciding to focus on the game and making sure that I know what I am doing. Taking the dice and rolling it onto the board. Moving my piece and landing on one of Phury’s properties, glancing over to him as he tells me the total that I owe him for my rent. Counting out the amount carefully and handing it to him with a little smile* Your money, sir. *Seeing a smile come across his face as he takes the money and places it with his own. Finishing up my turn before handing the dice to Zsadist for him to take his turn. Feeling that I am getting the hang of this game. Wondering what the rest of the night will turn into and who shall win as well.*
ZSADIST: *One roll of the dice and Zsadist was done with the fucking game. His metal shitkicker landed on Bella’s prized property, Pennsylvania Avenue with not one, but two god damned little red houses on it. Frustrated with being within ten dollars of being flat broke, Zsadist grabbed the box containing the bank money and flipped it into the air. The box clattered onto the coffee table, sending tiny houses and metal figurines flying.* Natural disaster. Game is forfeited. *And about to be kindling if he had his way. Eventually Wrath would find out there was a copy of the game in the house and they’d all be forced to play. Not even their king’s cutthroat rules made it any fun once one found themselves on the broke side of the board.* Are we done? *Bella answered with a slap to his gut. Z responded with a low growl in her ear.*
PHURY: *Watching his twin be so utterly at ease with Bella made Phury’s stomach clench. He had none of that easy companionship with Cormia—and it was his fault. Years of being neglected by his parents while they mourned Zsadist’s fate after his kidnapping made it difficult to connect with anyone physically or emotionally. Phury tread new ground with Cormia. He felt like a newborn lamb trying to get its legs to cooperate, only to land face first in a puddle of piss.* You were always a rotten loser, Z. Let me clean up. *He gathered all of the pieces and poured them into the game box. One tiny Green house bounced free and landed in Cormia’s lap. Without thinking, Phury reached for it. His fingertips brushed hers. A blush crept over her cheeks. Unable to help himself, he kissed her cheek and whispered,* You look beautiful when you blush. *Phury dropped the last game piece in the box and closed it up.* I don’t know about you all, but I need something more substantial than flying truffles to eat. *Phury’s lips quirked in a smile for his sister-in-law. The female was too intelligent for their own good. She’d find a way to make their family work in ways it’d never worked before, not even when he was young. Phury helped Cormia stand. The weight of her hand in his felt … right. Whatever mischief Bella cooked up to help them all after his time away, Phury would aid her if it meant keeping a smile on Cormia’s face.* #LetTheGamesCommence
BELLA: [The last dress stored away neatly in the suitcase, Bella stepped back from the bed to look at the meager amount of empty hangers. She frowned and wished Autumn had had more possessions in this world for her to enjoy. Placing her hair care things and shoes on top next, she was finished and closed up the case with a sigh. She hadn’t wanted to pack away the female’s possessions, but how could Bella say no when Tohr had asked her quietly at first meal] Follow Mahmen, sweetheart, let’s go put Autumn’s things away for Uncle T. [She told Nalla who was playing happily on the floor with her teacups. Bella took a last look around making sure she hadn’t missed anything. It was one of those situations that would undoubtedly bring closure to those that needed it in time, but it didn’t stop the sadness, it was one last thing to say that Autumn was really gone] Come on, baby. [Bella smiled gently when her daughter waved to the room and followed behind her]
AUTUMN: [Standing against the far wall, arms wrapped tight around myself, I watched as Bella packed away my life. I knew that Tohrment had asked her to do it, mostly because it hurt him to see it day in and day out. Not because he wanted to be rid of me, or my memory, or what we had. I knew he still loved me. He still talked to me every morning after returning from rotation before going to sleep, telling me how much he loved and missed me. That is one of the reasons I continued to fight and believe that I would find a way back to him one day. But I had been there when Tohrment had asked Bella to pack my things away. I felt for the female who had time and again been forced to deal with my death more than any other in the Mansion. And truth be told, I was glad it was this female he had asked. She was the first person in the Mansion to befriend me and the one to help break out of my shell and go after what I really wanted, to go after the male that I loved. Smiling gently, I waved to Nalla as she waved at me before following after her mahmen out of the room. Curious of where she planned to store my things, I too walked out into the hallway to follow behind Bella.]
BELLA: [The suitcase stored in one of the many closets in the hallway, and breathed a sigh closing up the door] Let’s go work on Uncle T’s gift, babygirl hm? [Hand in hand the two girls made their way back to Bella’s rooms. On the coffee table in front of the couch lay a stack of photo’s. Bella fancied herself as a keen amateur photographer, she carried her digital camera most everywhere with her tucked in her pocket, for those occasions to encapsulate her daughter’s escapades and mischief. But sometimes, she just snapped pictures of the family or things she liked, most got wiped from the memory card, other times, like now she was glad she hadn’t gotten around to doing that. It was two nights ago she was adding to her family album, bath time with Z and Nalla, their daughter blowing soap suds in Z’s face and her male laughing, it was probably one of the family albums he wouldn’t want anyone else to see since he was in full blown laugh mode, and as she printed off the photo’s, and continued to scroll through the SD card, her breath had caught, seeing pictures going back months of the family, and lots included Autumn. Most of them were of the female unaware she had been photographed, and when Bella saw the one of Autumn and Tohr, their heads lowered together at first meal and the love so bright and apparent between them she’d struck on the idea to make a little keepsake album for her brother in law. Nalla was plonked on the floor, their poor cat roadkill forced to sit amongst her teddy bears for a tea-party] “Aut! tea drink now!” [Nalla announced waving her little pink cup to the wall, and Bella smiled, arranging the photo’s into the white leather bound album] Autumn, that’s right, babygirl. I miss her, too.
AUTUMN: [Watching the last of my things, the last visible pieces that were my life being stored away in a hall closet was quite possibly the hardest thing I had ever witnessed. Clearing the knot lodged in my throat I continued to follow Bella down the hall. When she mentioned she was working on something for Tohrment my curiosity had been piqued. And, silly as it seemed, I didn’t want to be alone right now. I felt a little bad for following her when she entered her bedchamber. It was an unwritten that no one entered the rooms of family members unless expressly given permission. But, honestly, what was I going to do? Walking behind the couch where Bella was sat, sorting through pictures my breath caught when I saw what it was she was working on. Spread on the table were pictures of Tohrment and myself as well as photos of me alone, in various states of movement throughout the Mansion. She was making a keepsake album for my male to remember our times together. Just one more reason to love the female. She went out of her way, in subtle ways, to make sure no member of the family ever hurt for long. Smiling sadly, I walked around the couch to the other side of the room as I watched Nalla prepare tea. It had been one of our favorite games to play when I had the pleasure of watching her from time to time.] “Aut! tea drink now!” [Stilling, the smile drop from lips.] Can you see me little one? [As Nalla continued to wave her tea cup in my direction I knelt down by her side. As the young looked into my face and continued to say my name over and over again, I smiled again and tried to get her to stop.] Shee, little one. Would you like to play a game with me? [As the young squealed happily and repeated ‘game’ over and over again I couldn’t help but laugh.] Do you remember how to play ‘hide and seek’, little one? It’s much like that, only mama can not see me. [As the young bobbed her head enthusiastically I felt my hopes rise once again.]
BELLA: Nalla, daughter of Zsadist, if you’re pulling out all my shoes again, Mahmen will eat your cookies after dinner! [Bella scolded entering her walk-in closet moments after her daughter, she could hear Nalla giggling, and a set of pair feet popping out from behind one of her dress racks. Seemed her babygirl was playing hide and go seek] Come out come out wherever you are, Nalla baby [Bella sang softly and grinned when Nalla erupted in shushed giggles again, the row of dresses hung up neatly moving with the excitable toddler hid behind them]
AUTUMN: [Smiling a genuine smile I followed the young as she stealthily made her away around the couch and into her mahmens. Stopping at the entrance my eyes widened at what I found. Along with rows and rows of Bellas clothing and shoes were the infamous ‘toys’ that I had often heard whispered and giggled about when Bella and Payne were secreted away from prying ears.] Oh, my. [Many things made sense now. One being how Bella kept her male happy. Walking further into the closet I sat on the floor across from Nalla as she fluffed the bottom of her mahmens dresses.] You are doing a splendid job, little one. [Locking onto a few, interesting, pieces I decided that as soon as I was corporal again, I was going to find a way to talk to Bella about the closet games she often played with her male. When Bella entered the closet I pressed my finger to my lips signaling for the young to be quiet and couldn’t help but smile as she copied my pose and quietly giggled around her finger.] We may need to work on hiding quietly, little one. [I smiled once again as Bella quickly pushed the dresses apart and said “BOO!” which caused Nalla to erupt into a full fledged fit of giggles. Bella quickly picked up her daughter and exited the closet with promises of ice cream sundaes if the young could behave until Last Meal. Standing, I meant to leave the private area until my eyes were drawn to the top shelf. Walking closer I read the box that had caught my eye.] Edible gummy panties. Apple flavored. [My curiosity got the better of me. Looking back into the room I saw Bella sat on the couch once again as Nalla tried to get poor Roadkill to drink from a teacup. Turning back to the shelf I walked further into the closet and look at the contents. Chocolate body paint, sexual dice, pink furry handcuffs, thigh high leather heeled boots. And there, in the very back of the closet, almost non-existent lingerie.] Oh. [While it was not incredibly hard to picture the vibrant Bella enjoying the more fun kinds of bedroom games, it was trying to picture Zsadist enjoying it. The male was always so serious. But obviously there was a side to everyone that they kept hidden. Turning in circles I took in the costumes, edible and non-edible games, and many things I wasn’t quite sure how they were used. No wonder the two were hidden in their room as often as possible. Sweety Virgin in the Fade, I needed to get back to my body and have a night time chat with Bella as soon as possible. Taking a last look and some more mental notes I exited the closet and walked over to where Nalla was seated.] Behave for your mahmen, little one, and I’ll see you soon. [Smiling at the exuberant good-bye I walked out of the room and down the stairs to see what my male was up to down in his office, smiling wider as I thought of the many things I would like to try with him as soon as I was back in his arms.] #ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight
MARY: [Pacing….so far that is all that I had managed to do. I paced from one end of the room and back again. Rhage had kissed my forehead and told me we needed to “talk” and then he left. I knew he knew something was going on. He’s my Hellren. The one person who knows me better than anyone. Scrubbing a hand over my face, I didn’t know how to tell him. I had opened my mouth so many times the past few weeks to say something, only to snap it shut. Was I afraid of what his first reaction would be? HELL YES! But this situation was beyond me. I had never intended to keep the truth from Rhage, but I couldn’t find the words. Stopping in the middle of our room, a panicked laugh filled the silence] Why didn’t I think of this before?! [Spinning on my heel, I ran out of my room and down the hall of statues. I needed my best friend. Since meeting Bella, there hasn’t been anything in my life I kept from her, and I wasn’t about to start now. I lifted my hand and knocked on the heavy door. Bella would know what to do…I hoped.]
BELLA: [That moment in any mahmen’s life when their rambunctious child was finally -blessedly- asleep was always something worth sighing over. Bella tiptoed out of the adjoining nursery, closing the door over and smiled as she looked across at the giant stack of her fashion magazines she’d been stockpiling the last couple of months and hadn’t gotten around to reading yet. Iced latte. A comfy couch. And her magazines. Bella was about to have her some bliss for an hour while Z was down in the gym and her babygirl took a well deserved nap. The knock on the door creased her forehead. If that was a doggen wanting more laundry she might have to kick him or something, she’d already given him a load earlier just to soothe the crestfallen look on his face when she’d told him there was no chores she wanted doing. Man, she grinned pulling the door open, what it must be like to love your job THAT much, she didn’t know. Bella’s frown changed to that of a wide smile seeing Mary] Hey, sweet girl. Don’t tell me…. you’re running away and you need my help to knot some sheets together, right? AmIRite? [chuckling, Bella ushered Mary inside] you know, you’d think since we live together I’d see you more, where’ve you been hiding, Mary? [A gossip with her best friend, so much better than magazines. Bella curled her feet up under her butt once she’d situated herself on the couch, Blue eyes looking at her friend]
MARY: [An honest to God smile came to face the moment Bella opened the door. I deserved the chastising from my best friend. Seems like I hadn’t seen anyone in the Mansion for weeks. I followed Bella to the couch. Taking a seat, I felt my muscles relax just a bit from the tense knot they’ve been in.] I know. I know. I’ve been at SafePlace. It’s starting to feel like it’s my home and I just come back here to visit. [I gave Bella a sheepish look. Forget the fact that I was a subpar Shellan at the moment, but my record as a friend and mother sucked just as badly.] I feel like I’ve missed so much. So…is Nalla dating yet? I think Rhage is teaching Zahk how to drive. [I couldn’t help but laugh at my lame joke.] I hate this Bella…
BELLA: Ut oh. This feels like a wine kinda moment, but since it’s early, and we have good shellan reputations to live up to [Bella flashed a teasing grin as she reached over for the phone that connected her downstairs to the kitchen and ordered some iced latte’s and biscotti] Spill, Mary, what’s going on? you’re not usually this busy with SafePlace that it leaves you looking… and I love you girl, you know that, …but you look worn out [All joking aside for a moment, Bella really looked at Mary, she’d known her far too long to not know something was doing with her best friend. The past weeks with Autumn’s passing had worn on them all, but this was different. When she’d last seen Rhage, he’d been his usual jovial self so she was unsure if it was mated issues, she knew all too well had marital woes with your mate could wear on a female’s emotions] you not speaking is making me worry, Mary [Bella frowned, scooting to the edge of the couch and laid a hand over Mary’s, tried to put some ease into her friend, she winked] If we need to bury a body, I know just the place.
MARY: [My laugh was a little too hysterical, even to my own ears. I placed my hand over yours. Where did I begin? Giving you a weary smile.] Do I really look that bad? I don’t even know where to begin, Bella. And Rhage….how do I tell him? I open my mouth and the words just aren’t there. [I was rambling and I knew I was. I knew that you would have no clue under the moon what the hell I was going on about. Taking a deep breath, I might as well start at the beginning.] There is a new family that came to SafePlace. Not that that is anything out of the ordinary. [A small laugh escaping my lips.] The female and her young have suffered a history of abuse at the hands of her Hellren. But….that’s not the worst part. [I had the urge to jump up and pace the room. I glanced down at my hand over yours. Each similar in size. Just the small touch was comforting.] I know him, Bella…her Hellren. I know him.
BELLA: You know him? [Bella repeated to make sure she’d heard right. The worried and a little distressed look on Mary’s face told her she absolutely had. Bella had to wonder, in Mary’s line of work when she mingled with a lot of people, humans and vampires alike, why this particular person had her so on edge] I take it you knew him before the female and young came to Safeplace? is he vampire? [Bella reached for a biscotti to occupy her hands while she looked at her friend, and both her brows dropped a little before she went on] What aren’t you telling me, Mary? If you can’t tell Rhage… this male, if he’s abusive… [Maybe he was someone she’d helped previously when she worked for the samaritans helpline, the same place she’d met and subsequently brought John Matthew into their lives. Bella reasoned with herself, hoping that whatever had Mary worried was just a chance encounter with a known associate. The world was a tiny place, after all, you bumped into all kinds of people, some you didn’t even ever want to see again. David was the prime example for Bella] … are you worried he’ll recognize you if he finds out where the female is? The staff are trained, sweetheart, and you definitely should tell Rhage if it’s a situation of your safety.
MARY: [I could feel my shoulders slump a little. I twisted my fingers together in my lap and stared down at the floor. I hadn’t given much thought to my previous life since I came to the Mansion. Why would I? I had found the love of my life, a family, an outlet for my need to help others.] He’s a vampire. I didn’t know that when I knew him though. His name is Ethan Foster. He and I dated back before I got sick, when I worked with my kids. [A small smile at the memory curled my lips. Taking another deep breath before I pressed on.] We spent maybe 6 months together. Toward the end, he started to exhibit very controlling and possessive behavior. At the same time, I was given my cancer diagnosis. So, I broke things off and focused on my recovery. I never gave him a second thought, until his Shellan came to SafePlace. [My eyes met yours. I could only imagine the panicked expression on my face.] She looks like me, Bella. He made her look like me. Hair color, eye color, height, weight….everything. She showed me pictures and…. [I had to take another deep breath. I could feel my anxiety rising the more I spoke.] She said he’s been following me for years. He seems to know everything. That’s the reason she sought me out at SafePlace for help. I know I need to tell Rhage. I just can’t find the words without him unleashing the Beast on the guy. [Giving you a pleading look.] What do I do, Bells?
BELLA: Jeeeesus… [A cold shiver ran right down Bella’s spine as Mary’s situation resonated darkly to things she’d rather not have in her head. Her face all serious now, her friend needed help and advice, not for Bella to get distracted thinking of David Ormond. She gripped Mary’s fingers giving them a reassuring squeeze] you absolutely need to tell Rhage. Forget trying to protect him from this, or worried he’ll go apeshit. Remember I tried to keep things from Z and he thought I was having an affair! [she smiled a little] tell him, babe. If he goes berserk on this creep it’s what the male needs. Following you, Mary… making his female look like you… that’s waaaay past a male still having feelings for you. That’s lock you in his basement and feeding you animal crackers while he sings Cher songs to you, kinda crazy, yes? [While she tried to make light of it for Mary’s sake the sick curdle of fear was ever present in her blue eyes and on the grip of her hand] This male is vampire, so his harassment is brotherhood territory. Why have the kind of troops we do at our disposal and not use them? [she paused a moment] Please don’t just ignore this, Mary. This guy he could… he could do something..
MARY: I know! Even just the thought that he could come into contact with Zahk makes me sick to my stomach. [My blood had long since ran cold just talking about Ethan, but thinking what he could be capable of…. Jumping up from the couch, I gave into my urge to pace. My fists clenching and unclenching with every step.] I used to work the suicide hotline in the worst parts of Caldwell and never bat an eye. Now….every shadow nearly makes me jump out of my skin the minute I leave the Mansion. I’m practically living at SafePlace thinking if he doesn’t know about the Mansion, he won’t know about Rhage and Zahk. I haven’t seen my family in days, Bella. [I stopped mid stride. My steel gray eyes meeting yours.] I don’t even know what Rhage is thinking right now. I miss him so much…God do I miss him. I just don’t know how to tell him. I can’t just sit him down and say, “Sorry, baby. I dated a vampire before I met you, only I didn’t know he was a vampire and turns out he’s a psycho too!” It’s hard enough to know that I dated the guy, but to see what he has put his Shellan through, what he has put his child through….the man is a monster. How did I not see it? How did I not know? [I had resumed my furious pacing of your room. I would have to apologize to Fritz for you and Zsadist needing a new rug once I left.] I should have known. He started making little suggestions toward the end. How I should wear my hair, what I should wear when we went out. I just thought the guy was showing his control freak side. [An empty laugh escaped my lips.] The day before I ended things, he grabbed my wrist when I disagreed with him about something. He grabbed it so hard I had a bracelet of bruises on my skin. [Rubbing my wrist absently, it felt like I was reliving those final days I spent with Ethan. A shudder worked it’s way down my spine. My voice seemed to fail me as I spoke.] How do I tell Rhage?
BELLA: [As the whole saga unfolded, Bella watched Mary pacing, could see the fear in her gray eyes and warranted she felt more worry than she was actually showing] Crazy sickos don’t show their hand until it’s too late, Mary, as the female at SafePlace is undoubtedly realizing now. It’s not your fault, my friend. But you need to share this with your hellren. You tell Rhage just as you did me, He’s not going to be happy however you broach it, Mary. This male is frightening his shellan, no bonded male takes that lightly [Bella paused and unfolded from her seat on the couch to walk over to the female, stopping her in her frantic steps, she grasped her cold hands gently] you are absolutely not alone in this, Mary. This Ethan asshole does not know what he’s just taken on [She smiled and pulled Mary in for a tight reassuring hug] Please tell me you’ll talk to Rhage, and soon? As in right now no waiting. The brotherhood has weight, remember. This vampire jackass who likes to use his fists against any female can be dealt with… [she teased a grin hoping to alleviate the worry in those sombre gray eyes] without godzilla rearing his fanged chompers. Tell your hellren, babe. Let him play the swooping hero, you know our males love that shit, right?
MARY: [I couldn’t help but laugh in agreement, no matter how weak it sounded.] I know. And I will tell Rhage. I promise. I had just hoped that this whole thing would resolve itself. I had no idea Ethan was the stalker psycho type with fangs. [Another small, hysterical laugh found its way past my lips. I tried to take a deep breath to calm down. I knew you were right. I never kept anything from Rhage and he needed to know. My own stubbornness, along with my urge to protect my family, had just dug me a hole. Now, I needed to dig myself back out. Hugging you back tightly] Thank you, Bella. For everything. [Just when my resolve was starting to form, my phone began to vibrate in my pocket. Pulling back from you to retrieve it, a frown instantly pulling at my lips.] It’s SafePlace. Apparently I’m needed there urgently.
BELLA: [Bella frowned. After hearing of this creep and his psycho behavior, she didn’t want Mary anywhere near Safeplace or the female who was mated to him, but she knew her friend, Mary would never turn her back on someone in need, even if it meant putting herself in harms way. Bella could only hope she would tell Rhage and soon, or she’d be on Mary’s back until she did. She gave her a stern look] Do not go there alone, Mary, take one of the young warriors with you, say your car is out of gas if you don’t want to explain. This guy is a sandwich short of a picnic, remember that, please. [Another hug, Bella released Mary and smiled] you need anything, call, and I will send my Z, okay? I’m still voting you let Rhage beat this guy into a pulp, but I’m with you whatever you decide, my friend [her smile grew] I’ll see you when you get home.
MARY: I’ll ask one and see, if not, one of the doggen can drive me. I’m not going to go alone. I promise, Bells. [Smiling warmly, I started for the door. I had no idea what the emergency was. I just hoped I could resolve it quickly and return home. I needed to talk to Rhage tonight.] You know I have you on speed dial. And I won’t be too stubborn to ask for help. Now, go enjoy your quiet time that I intruded on. I know how hard it is with young around. [Motherhood was a rewarding gift, but so were the moments when you found yourself kid-free. Giving you one last wave as I walked out the door, I had barely turned around before I bumped into Fritz] “Forgive me, Miss Mary.” It was completely my fault, Fritz. I’m so preoccupied l, I’m not watching where I’m going. But while I have you here….could you drive me to SafePlace? “I would be honored to. Might I ask why Master Rhage isn’t escorting you?” I don’t want to bother him at the moment, but if you’re busy I certainly will go ask him. [I didn’t want to tell him that I had no idea where my Hellren was at the moment and that we were barely speaking. I just wanted to get there and home as quick as possible.] “Forgive me. Shall we depart?” Thank you, Fritz. You’re a true gem. [Exhaling a held breath, I lightly rested my hand on his forearm and smiled. Without another word, I followed Fritz down the stairs and out the front door to the car. I didn’t know what was waiting for me. And for the first time in my life, the unknown had me truly scared.] #FriendsInNeed
WRATH: “Sire, Tohrment was not himself, he requested to speak with you immediately.” Not himself, how so, Fritz? -Raising a questioning brow as Fritz continues on about a request for a dress No’One wore once before, but she is no longer referred to as No’One but of a new name Autumn. What the fuck did I miss, I’d only been under the grueling task of scrolls for about three hours, for sure shit couldn’t have happened that quickly. Sending Fritz quickly back to retrieve Tohr so I could finish with my last scroll. I didn’t know the amount of time I had to finish would be less than a minute. Frowning as the sour scent of misery and heartache hit me all too quickly. Immediately willing the door to open before the knock could sound.- What’s doing, Tohr?
TOHRMENT: *Looking through the open doorway straight at Wrath, my hand still raised to knock. Not able to move I just stand there staring into the room, why did I think talking to Wrath would help me. The Scribe Virgin herself can’t help me now, no one can help me, slowly dropping my arm as I walk into the study* My Lord…… *Falling to my knees just in front of Wrath’s desk the pain breaking open my heart* She can’t leave me, I can’t let her go! I didn’t mean to kill her … I didn’t…. *Looking down at my blood covered knuckles as I breath through my mouth trying to calm my beating heart down, every breath only adding to my growing fear for Autumn *Autumn’s dead, Wrath…. I killed her again! *Whipping my eyes up to lock onto Wrath’s wrap arounds, my hands closing into tight fists. No thought given to the fact I know my tears are running down my face again, no thought given to the fact I have Autumn’s scent all over me* But no one will have her, Not the Fade, not the Scribe Virgin, I will not give her up. Not now. Not ever! You have to help me, please you must help me.
WRATH: -The loss so great it affected my own mood. Something I could control a hundred percent of the time. But the loss of his female .. Autumn.. I now realized who he spoke of. No other would cause this much pain he felt. Movements slow and well controlled to keep from startling him. I would risk him running to the hills to waste away.. not again. He had to be imagining shit, it just didn’t make any sense.- You know I will assist my brother with any means necessary, Tohr. -My palm lay against the back of his shoulder mostly to keep him in place and offer comfort if I could call it that. But killed her? What the fuck happened. How could….- I don’t understand, brother. Calm the fuck down, you’re not making any fucking sense. You killed her? -the expression Needing to see with my own eyes wasn’t an ability I had, however I needed to fucking see what he spoke of. An explanation because right now I just knew he was having a hallucination. - Lead me there.
TOHRMENT: *My head dropping as I feel Wrath’s hand on my shoulder, he still called me brother even after I told him I have killed Autumn. Taking a deep breath as I stand back up placing my own hand over Wrath’s* I will take any punishment you ask for Wrath but I swear to you I love Autumn, I love her with all I am! *Turning away from you dropping my hand as yours falls from my shoulder, taking one shaking step toward the door my heart stops* My Lord you can’t take her away from me, I ….. *Reaching out for the door frame to steady myself, my limbs as heavy as my heart as turn my head to face Wrath* My Lord you could ask the Scribe Virgin to bring her back to life, I would gladly give up my life for hers. Quick before it is too late, she allowed Mary to live for Rhage. I have never asked for anything, I have protected our race with all of my heart. *My body now moving forward down the hall to the bedroom that is Autumn and mine, the only sign that Wrath is following me is the slight breathing from George. My hand gripping the handle of the door with enough force to cause it to crumple, slowly pushing open the door as the sight of Autumn lying in the middle of the bed as if she were asleep causes a low moan of desperation to escape. Standing back to let Wrath enter, my voice coming out as a whisper* Scribe help me Wrath I killed her, I don’t know how but I did. The first time I killed her the Scribe brought her over to the other side, so that means that she can save her again right?
WRATH: -George stopped at the threshold, and I knew why. The scent of death lay heavy in the air, I should have bolted through and tried to revive what life was lost, but she was gone. WHAT THE FUCK!- Tohr.. What the fuck happened!? -I knew I was loud and was calling attention to a scene not meant for prying eyes, but shit! Running a hand down my face in a rush, what the fuck happened, Killed her, but he didn’t know how. None of this shit made sense, and he wanted me to beg the Scribe for her life back. Fuck, what could I do, nothing at all. She wasn’t sleeping and he wasn’t fucking hallucinating, no this shit was fucking real. Pushing through the door and leaving George behind at the door.- You have to be, how did this happen? -Son of a bitch, a female was approaching, and it wasn’t my own I would have willed the door closed but George was there and to have him move too quickly would raise more eyebrows than hide what we were doing.- Fuck!
BELLA: [In the process of licking the dripping strawberry swirl ice cream from her wrist, Bella’s attention was drawn to No’One’s door and George’s whining. What on earth was Wrath’s guard dog doing up here and without his master? everyone knew where one was the other was at his side, like Batman and Robin. Intending to usher the pooch back down to the study, she crunched her teeth into the waffle cone and pushed open the door. It took Bella about 2.3 seconds for the entirety of the situation to barrage her brain. The cone fell to the floor, she didn’t even give thought that it was spoiling the nice clean carpet. Dread, thick as treacle, coursed through Bella’s veins, her wide gaze going from Wrath, to Tohrment in such a state and then No’One on top of the bed. So still. Oh virgin scribe, she was so very still, it turned her veins to ice. Tongue thick in her throat, Bella wanted to back out of the room, to apologize for whatever she’d walked into… but her feet were stuck.. she felt frightened… knowing before she even asked… her eyes focused on No’One..] W-what is wrong… is No’One sick.. should I.. should we get someone? [Those times you absolutely knew the answer to a question, but the fear of that answer still made you ask it, if only to prolong the alarming enormity of the terrifying truth she’d stumbled into]
TOHRMENT: *Wrath’s question hung in the air like a knife waiting to slice into my heart, but before I could answer the scent of Bella’s dread filled my nose. Looking slowly from Wrath and then to Bella in the doorway, swallowing as my hands play with the hilts of my daggers* My female’s name is not no one, it is Autumn. *Looking back to the bed and the face of an angel, walking to the side of the bed and lifting her hand to my mouth* I don’t know what happened, we were … *I could not do this, I could not stand here and talk about our love making. My hand holding Autumn’s hand tight in the hopes that she will wake up and say something. The fact that I can’t hear her blood flowing or her heart beating means nothing to me, her body although cold is still soft. Sitting on the bed and lifting Autumn onto my lap my arms a cage around her shoulders, her head falling to rest on my shoulder as my tears fall freely* I fed, but it was different, I just couldn’t stop. *Kissing Autumn’s forehead as I whisper out* I killed you again, only this time it wasn’t my dagger. *Looking up at Bella and Wrath* You have to help me, I can’t let her go I just can’t. Lassiter has told me that if I let Wellsie go onto the Fade I could live a happy life with Autumn, that is what I plan to do. *Holding Autumn tight to my body as I pray to the Scribe Virgin that I can have you back* I bonded with her, I never bonded with Wellsie!
WRATH: -Those who said shit couldn’t get worse always fucked up and made it worse. Bella was proof to that, her sadness melting deep in the room along with Tohrment’s. Fucking hell. Was it possible.. of course it was possible to feed from someone until their death, never did I think anyone would. Dammit. I needed to be the voice of reason, that’s what a ruler should do, should be.- Bella, you don’t need to be here, or see No’o.. Autumn like this. -Bonded with her, and never Wellsie, this wasn’t exactly news, I never scented him on Wellsie as I had No’One, Autumn the past week.- There’s nothing we can do, Tohrment. She’s gone. Virgin Scribe herself could not bring her back. I’m sorry Tohr. She will deny -fuck, I couldn’t tell him that, no, I’d have a warrior wasting away in the woods like before. I couldn’t allow it to come to that.- Tohr. -Silently I crossed the small couple of steps to stand behind him. I wouldn’t allow that to happen.- Tohr, mine brother. -Hand gentle yet assuring as I urged him to allow Autumn to lay back onto her bed.- We need to move her from here. -Fingertips ran against her cold face, I’d never once saw her with my hands and the contact was unnerving.- Tohr, Bella is still here. -He remained on the bed, completely unmoving as sob wracked through his body. Fucking hell. Silently I retreated to the door standing next to Bella.- I need to find what I can do, brother. And we need to move her someplace safe from youngs eyes. -Reaching for George’s lead I leaned close to Bella so only she could hear.- I know this is hard, Bella, but you must help and calm him so I may figure this out. It’s not a good idea to leave her in this room. I’m sorry to ask you, Bella. Help him if you can. -Swiftly I retreated down the hall to my mated chambers. I had a meeting with the Scribe Virgin it seemed.-
BELLA: [Oh scribe, she needed Zsadist. Her fingers were shaking so much Bella didn’t think they’d ever stop and the rush of emotion into her throat was choking. How could she be gone? She’d only saw No’One - Autumn. Wow, a lovely name, Bella had been wanting for the female to give herself a name for a so long - just the other day, they’d passed in the corridor and exchanged pleasantries, now she wished she’d made more of an effort with the quiet female, but anyone in the mansion knew her and Tohr had been falling in love, so she’d given Autumn space to be with her male. Now… now Bella was looking down at the very dead female. The sob was stopped in her throat. Wrath was right, someone had to calm Tohr, things would need to be done, a burial, a ceremony… dearest scribe, she prayed silently, please let us get through this, please let Tohrment get through this. To lose two females, she couldn’t even imagine what he was feeling right now. it would be immeasurable agony. If she lost her Zsadist… no, she couldn’t even put that in her mind] Tohrment… [Bella spoke softly, crouching down before him, her hand on his knee trying to bring him into the present] Honey, Wrath has gone for your brothers, is there anything I can do for your Autumn before they get here? [she brushed at the silent tears tracking her cheeks, once again looking at the beautiful female who only seemed to be sleeping. The utter devastation on Tohr’s face was something Bella had seen before and never wished to see again, but knew that sight would stay with her always.. she reached out and put her arms around his shoulders] I’m so sorry for your loss, Tohrment [What else could be said.. there was no words of comfort right now that would help, so Bella just hugged the male]
TOHRMENT: *Standing up slowly as I place Autumn’s body back onto the bed, she still feels alive to me. Her skin still soft to my touch as it has always been, my thumb running along the seam of her lips as a single teardrops from my chin. Squaring my shoulders as I look at Bella and on out of the door to see Wrath’s retreating back, my mind playing over and over again my last few moments with Autumn. The feel of her beneath me as I made love to her and fed, I just couldn’t stop but it didn’t feel like I was killing her. Stepping back from the bed as I watch Bella, my heart beating out a slow rhythm, my hands steady by my sides. This will not happen to me again, I will not let anyone have her, she is mine and mine only. The Scribe Virgin can’t have her, she will not go onto the Fade. I will keep her here forever till I figure out how to get her back, turning my head to see Lassiter down the hall just looking at me. Moving one foot slowly as I start to walk towards him, calling back to Bella my voice low* Can you stay with Autumn till I find a safe place for her to rest till I get her back, and mark my words will get her back! *My movements picking up pace as I run on unsteady legs right up to Lassiter, grabbing his arm as I pull him towards Wrath’s study* We are doing the Fade ceremony, I want to let Wellsie go, I am ready to let Wellsie go. You said that if I let Wellsie go my life would go on and I would have Autumn. *Banging on Wrath’s study as Lassiter mouths off - “Flyboy what I said was No’One was your way to let Wellsie move on as you needed to live again. I said nothing about any Autumn and I said nothing about what ever you just did back there in your room. Although I am still trying to work out why on earth you would call a beautiful female like No’One Autumn” - Looking back to Lassiter my voice rising* YOU were in my room when it happened! *Punching him hard* YOU could have saved her! *Raining down punch after punch at Lassiter’s face as I yell* Why did you let me kill her! Why!
BELLA: [It was so very surreal sitting there next to Autumn that Bella thought for a moment she had to be dreaming. Any moment now she’d wake up snuggled with her male and the cat batting at her face to be fed. But the longer she sat there, holding the soft cold hand of her dead friend the stark realization sunk in. Autumn truly was gone. She didn’t know how long she stayed there for, she made sure Autumn’s hair was brushed in gentle waves and her clothes straightened and then the sound of feet approaching and one by one following a somber Fritz the brothers filed into the bedroom carrying a pine coffin. Oh virgin scribe, Bella’s heart constricted. She was glad her male was with Nalla, he didn’t need to see this, to bear witness to Autumn being taken away. Carefully, like she was the finest china, Autumn was placed on the silk lined coffin, Bella covered her over with the same cover up to her chin, and placed a kiss on her forehead, whispering a prayer for a safe journey unto the fade] We shall meet again, Autumn [she whispered, a tear tracked her cheek] Where… where are you taking her? [Bella thought one of the brothers answered, although she didn’t really know, she was too busy trying to catch her brain up with the fast events, as the coffin was carried so very carefully out of the room and down the hall of statues, doing what was necessary for their brother, but the grief was forefront, on all their faces, the males took a death especially hard, after all a shellan was the beginning of everything for a bonded male, to have her taken from you, was an agony like no other, they’d all seen it with Tohr once before, and here they were bearing witness once more. She followed behind, each of them so silent.. only the noise of grunts coming from somewhere else broke the silence… it was then Bella saw, rounding the corner before they got to the grand staircase… Tohr beating the everloving hell out of the angel… and Lassiter giving him just as good… oh dear… it was as if the brothers fully understood their brother, they just all nodded to him and walked on by, fully expecting Tohr to follow in his own time or after he’d got done bloodying Lassiter… She glanced back at the male, his grief was enormous on his face, her blue eyes filled to brimming with tears, she thought of her own male again… how quickly a person’s life could change… in the blink of an eye, from happy to grief stricken… right now they had to be strong for Tohrment, to help him through losing his beloved female..] #WideOpenGrief
BETH: -Not exactly avoiding Wrath, Beth wasn’t going out of her way to be around him either. They’d barely spoken in days, and even then she was pretty cool towards him. She passed by his study, giving the door a perfunctory glance knowing he was inside probably buried under a guilt pile of scrolls he was steadily working his way through in some hopes of making things right with her again. Beth didn’t see how, since this latest jaunt of his only further cemented the fact her husband was miserable doing what he was doing. Was she meant to tell him, sure go out and fight. Forget you’re a blind male and the King, no less, go and endanger yourself because it’s the only thing that makes you feel alive. She scoffed taking the stairs. Right. She’d do that the day Rhage turned vegetarian. She didn’t know how to make it better for Wrath, so until then she stayed out of his way, so they couldn’t fight any more. Feminine laughter caught her attention, and she smiled rounding the staircase to see Payne and Bella, obviously ready to leave for the night by the looks of it and an idea struck the Queen- Hi ladies. -she grabbed her bag from inside the coat closet- do you mind if I tag along? I want to get out for a while.
PAYNE: [Laughter cut short, Payne resisted the urge to bow when she turned to see the Queen heading towards them. She knew Beth preferred to do away with such mechanical greetings but damn her customary ways, it was as if her body had a mind of its own. Facing the Queen now, she started to bow before being cut short by a wave of her hand Payne had anticipated and never took offense to. Instead she returned to her full stature and gave Beth a wide, welcoming smile. Nothing was ever secret long in the Brotherhood compound, not that slamming things and the Royals arguing drifting from behind the closed doors of the study were a sign that all was not well with the two. Vishous had mentioned in passing about Wrath fighting alone and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know why the Queen was upset. A whole lot of upset it seemed from the serious lines set on her face and the slight dark circles under her eyes. Maybe a night out with her and Bella was just was she needed at the moment. Turning her attention back to her friend, she widened crystal eyes in question and nodded, watching Bella’s features turned almost mischievous as she heard the Queens request.] I do not mind at all. Bella?
BELLA: Of course not, more the merrier, your highness [Bella poked fun to see Beth scowl over at her. She laughed and motioned for both girls out the door. Heading to Sal’s for some of iAm’s famous herb bread and spaghetti sauce, one after the other the females dematerialized to downtown Caldwell just behind the restaurant. The quiet owner was expecting them and showed them to their table. Was it polite to mention the elephant in the room and ask the Queen why the sudden tag-along? Not that Bella minded, even if it was making her dear friend Payne squirm in her seat. Bella grinned, the protocol in Payne was always amusing, just wait until Beth saw the diamond eyed one after a few drinks twerking in the corner. Twenty minutes later, the menu thoroughly perused, food ordered and the waiter brought their first drinks. It was after a sip Bella turned her sapphire eyes to the royal female] It’s been quiet today, curious minds [points a thumb over to Payne, totally hurling her friend under the bus, with absolutely no shame whatsoever as her smile grew] want to know did you bury Wrath under the rose bushes?
BETH: -The gulp of Vodka Martini almost took a turn going up Beth’s nose. She guffawed, concealing her tiny fangs from the humans at nearby tables and clicked her tongue, eyeing Payne who was sat mouth agape glaring daggers at Bella. It actually relaxed the Queen and she slipped off her thin blue cardigan hooking it over the back of her seat] Nah. He’d ruin Fritz’s blooms and I can’t have my doggen upset. I was thinking locking him in the attic, but he’d only clomp around and disturb us all. Stupid men. But enough about that, or I’ll ruin your virgin ears while I curse out my man -Beth grinned chewing on the olive that had been bobbing in her drink, her belly growled smelling iAm’s cooking and hoped the shadow brought her tagliatelle out soon. She caught the straight edge of Payne’s back and how her beautiful snow-like eyes cast around the room, it made Beth’s shoulders wilt a little. The female was guarding her- Relax Payne, please. I didn’t gatecrash your night so you could watch me. I will go home, if so. Tell me about all the balls you’re busting when you’re out hunting. Or something about that fabulous man of yours. Just no guarding me, Okay?
PAYNE: [Payne nodded towards Beth and tried to ease back on the ‘bodyguard’ bit and spoke of her Manny while trying not to fidget with the end of her braid. God she was blushing so badly, she didn’t know if it was from Bella’s joking accusations or being caught by Queen Beth trying to keep her safe. Was she that obvious? Payne thought surely not but apparently being Shellan to the King, Beth was attuned to those type things. So Payne tripped over her words, not knowing who to address first.] Bella! I…no…well… [Payne narrowed her eyes at Bella again and set her wine glass down, smoothing a hand over the napkin on her lap.] Surely, if anyone herein wants to know the situation with the King, ‘tis you, Sister mine. [Said through clenched teeth, the statement wasn’t entirely true for everyone in the mansion wondered what went on with the Royals, not excluding Payne but still Bella wasn’t about to pin this one on her alone. So she reached for her wine again and nonchalantly put out there…] If the Queen seems fit to share…[She let her words trail off, taking a long drink while watchful eyes scanned the room again for any suspicious activity until they landed on Beth’s staring gaze causing her to almost spit out the contents. Glass set on the tabletop, she cast silver eyes down to her lap, then met the Queens again.] Verily, I am bound to protect you, mine Queen. I shall try harder to…to relax as you say. Mayhap a… [Snapping her fingers as if trying to form the word from mid-air, she motioned to Bella for help as if she could read her mind..] What was it last time? We had… [More snapping…word right on the tip of her tongue she just couldn’t remember.]
BELLA: [Man, if Bella ever persuaded her Hellren to buy their own house, she would miss this kind of closeness with the girls, not that she wouldn’t see them a lot, but being amongst the gossip at the brotherhood mansion right when it happened, knowing everyone’s business even before it had chance to leave their own chambers. Some could say they had their own daytime soap opera going on. Bella only grinned slowly watching Payne’s oh so skillful waffling, letting the female dig herself deeper with the Queen, who looked to be equally amused] Tequila, sister dear. Careful, remember how it made you dance last time. Rehv almost hired you for one of his cage dancers. [She winked teasingly and signalled to a waiter for 6 shots, Bella ripped off a hunk of bread and dipped it into the bowl of garlic olive oil, bringing it to her mouth, so damn hungry] She plans to get you drunk, Beth, so you’ll spill and tell us everything [her grin widened with mischief. The shots delivered and shared out, Bella clinked her glass to the two girls and threw it back into her mouth, barely wincing when the fire liquid raced down into her stomach leaving a lava trail behind] Daaaaamn, that’s good…. [Her blue gaze flickered to the Queen, waited for her shot to disappear] Has our King took up line dancing, is that what all the yelling has been about, Beth? [she couldn’t keep it in, her giggle erupting thinking of Wrath in cowboy boots dosey doe’ing it across his study floor. The more she thought of that image, the louder her laugh became]
BETH: -The much needed laugh belted out of Beth, until many eyes around the restaurant landed on them. Many minutes later she composed herself, finished off her second shot just as the food was brought out and it was while over her steaming bowl of the most amazing mouthgasm pasta that she let the whole sorry tale out. Including the temper fueled sex and the consequent silence between them days later] So you see… -she waved her fork around for emphasis- Men suck. Oh maaan, I might want to marry iAm on my next go around, I am in love with this food -so unlike a Queen, Beth dug in, enjoying every mouthful with enthusiastic murmurs-
PAYNE: [Growing up, Payne remembered not one Chosen ever openly sharing their feelings with one another, in fact it wasn’t exactly encouraged. That, among many other things, was an aspect that had always set her aside from the norm considering she had never made her feelings about anything quiet when she resided at the Sanctuary. Now listening to the Queen freely unload her troubles and visibly seeing her enjoy herself again, she was glad they had run into each other before heading out earlier. This was just what Beth had needed, Payne thought even though her cheeks were temporarily painted crimson the more she referred to Wrath and sex and oh my God she almost prayed to a deity she despised that Bella would not ask for details. It was The King after all and those type of things she could do without hearing even though she wasn’t blind to any of it, in fact….fork clanging on the plate, she fumbled trying to wrap her Vermicelli around it, averting her gaze from Bella’s teasing gaze sensing just what was coming next. Fates, the Queen’s filter was loosening. And fast.]
BELLA: [Two more shots each, a slice of Toll house pie and a bottle of red wine later, the females were relaxing in the lounge area of the restaurant. Comfortable red couches and plump pillows and was that Sinatra playing gently in the background? Bella smiled sinking into the softness while the Queen talked nursing her glass of wine. Seemed Beth was setting a trend or the alcohol was making them all loose lipped, because all three had thrown some shared details of their relationships into the conversation mix once Beth had spilled about the angry sex. Bella had giggled her way through telling them how her and Z had broke not one but two desks down in the classrooms during NoOne’s needing period] Do you think you’ll have young? [Bella asked, her eyes going from one female to the other. Her jean covered leg was crossed over the other and her foot tapped lightly to the music] My Z doesn’t want any more [her face scrunched] but I figure I have eight years to work on him. Payne, your babies would have beaaautiful diamond eyes with Manny’s cute smile. [her grin was just this side of a little tipsy]
BETH: -The night had been just what Beth needed. Three hours later after tagging along with Payne and Bella she was a ball of relaxation with her feet curled up under her ass in the overstuffed armchair. She nibbled on one of those chocolate mints the waiter had brought and kept hold of her wine, enjoying the laughter. Man, if Wrath knew she was sharing intimate information of his royal growling prowess she probably wouldn’t sit down for a week after he got through with her. And didn’t that just make her mind wander. No, Beth. you’re mad at him, remember. She reminded herself. Do not picture your man glistened with rivulets of sweat running down his chest or that wicked tongue of his. Absolutely not. Beth backed up her self chastising with a gulp of the wine, finishing off her glass and deciding she was done, before she was falling down drunk. She caught the tail end of Bella’s question and a sigh passed her lips- Kids? Maybe. I don’t know. I hope so. Wrath is worried, in case something were to happen to me. But I tell him you can’t live your life on what ifs and maybes. -She hiccup-giggled- I got my ways of persuasion. We all should be fat and pregnant together! -of course, the inebriated Beth thought this was a swell idea-
PAYNE: [Payne had been resting her head on the back of the soft red couch and made the mistake of closing her eyes for a minute. Whoa. The room seemed to toss her upside down where she swore she was looking down at herself from the ceiling. Blinking once, twice, she opened diamond eyes and thanked the fates she was sitting down. Lifting her head slightly, she half-smiled over to Beth, then swirled the last of her wine around and around the bottom of the glass mulling over the thought of a young. A young. Sweet destiny it had never really crossed her mind, until now and frankly the thought of being a mahmen scared her half to death. Sure, she adored her niece, was an expert at playing ‘swords’ with Zahk and had cooed over baby Nehmesis numerous times but her own young….what type of mahmen would she be? Never mind her, now she was curious as to how Manuel felt on this subject. Oh God. Maybe she should order a water and stop this train of thought before she got carried away even though now she was picturing little raven haired girls with smiling mahogany-rich colored eyes. Clearing her throat, she sat up and placed her glass on the table in front of her and decided to keep her thoughts to herself. Glancing at the fancy clock on a far wall, she was surprised to see how time had slipped from all of them…. [Fates! There shall be a search party out soon if we do not get going, shall we?]
WRATH: -Time was slipping by fast enough that I missed Last meal with The Brothers and their Shellans, I couldn’t even remember the last time I sensed Beth passing quietly by the study before leaving with Payne and Bella. Who was I to be pissed if she left without a Brother riding her coattails, she did have Payne with her afterall. Only a few hours remained before I would have to carry myself from the tapes Fritz recorded and sleep through the daylight hours, Beth no doubt would find a reason to escape to the sunlight completely out of my reach. I knew she did it just out of spite, pissed, fuck yes. But voicing it, I was not. Enough hours had gone by that we fell into a routine of sorts, me locked in the study trying to hit the never ending bottom of scrolls, and she avoiding me at all costs. Apologies, she wasn’t having it, and I was only wasting my breath with them. Fritz chose that moment to bring a plate through the study doors.- “Sire, your meal.” -Nodding to the edge of my desk and dismissing him with a shake of my head before sailing back into the pile of scrolls. I wanted to clear what little was left and pull her back to our chambers by her hair for strutting her ass across Caldwell. Instead I sat my ass in the chair and signed another “Best wishes to the mated couple and apology for not attending.” At least that’s what I understood the response was saying. Leaning back to drop the scroll in the “done” pile and flipping my phone open. I wanted to call her, but chose better, she’d only think I was trying to get her to come home. She’s safe, Wrath, Payne’s with her, and Bella was packing heat. Commanding my phone to ring the Doc instead. Giving no greeting when he answered, it wasn’t time to check on him and bullshit the time away, down to business.- When are they back?
MANNY: -Manny poured the Queen of the Vampire race into the back seat alongside a barely conscious Bella as his phone rang in his pocket. Closing the door, he leaned against the car having just maneuvered his wife and the two other ladies..females…into the borrowed Black Mercedes Benz. He wasn’t surprised to find that it was Wrath calling. Hitting send as he turned to glance at Payne with her head against the headrest of the front seat, he answered him just as matter-of-factly- I have them now, we are on our way. All three are gonna need carrying. I got mine of course but you might wanna give Z a heads up. -He listened to the King grunt once before the line went dead. Yeah, he knew how he felt. Moving around the front of the car, he slid behind the wheel and looked to make sure all were belted in. Yeah, they were vampires but no need in tempting fate any more than they already had tonight. The call from one of the Moors on Payne’s phone told the story all too clear. The girls had drank themselves to closing time and even longer and now were in no condition to dematerialize to the bathroom, much less home. Looking both ways to pull away from the curb, he had to wonder what it was about Payne’s life that was so bad that he was playing nursemaid every few months now. Reaching over, he grasped her limp hand in his own and released a long frustrated sigh. It was going to be a long ass day.-
WRATH: -Dematerializing to the entrance of Sal’s before my phone even clicked off. No one, not even the doctor himself would carry my Shellan anywhere. That privilege was for me alone. Narrowing my idle eyes in the direction her scent was coming from- You carried my female, Manny? -cocking a brow in question as I strode the few feet to the vehicle.- I thought you were much smarter than that. -hands pressed against the roof of the car as I leaned down towards the window as it descended.- someone has been enjoying themselves, no? -My grin was a slight pull against my lips until Bella decided to chime in with her commentary.- she will only have a thorough lashing if she doesn’t open the door, Bella. -No, Beth wasn’t in trouble as Bella put it. I only wanted to see my female home safely. At least I didn’t send sitters with her. And I did stay away while she enjoyed her night. sightless eyes shot towards the front seat where Payne sat. And my hope for her being protector for Beth were shot hours ago it seemed.- Leelan, let me in, please.
BETH: -Beth had groaned the moment she clapped eyes on Wrath and smelled his scent wafting in through the window. As usual her hellren liked to make the grand entrance stood in the high beams of the car. She was muttering to Bella, half leaning over the girl and making a show of IGNORING her man, almost tempted to tell Manny to just drive off. instead she scooted across the large back seat, pulling a face at the diamond eyed one who was craning her neck over the front seat to watch this little show going down, and Beth flipped the lock on the door, before pushing herself right up to Bella’s side, both of them jammed against the opposite door so Wrath could fold himself inside- You were not invited, Wrath -The Queen spoke, animatedly- girls night means girls! you are not infact a girl. Isn’t that right Payne? -Beth nodded as if Payne had agreed with her and went back to her muttering about idiot males as the car pulled away- Manny was like Rhett Butler, wasn’t he ladies? -Beth chuckled fanning her face dramatically, her tipsy blue eyes filled with humor, if only to needle Wrath- Did we invite Manny? I think we did. -her face puzzled trying to remember. They’d all been in the bathroom sitting on the counters giggling and gossiping, then Manny had appeared and shoved them all in the car, the giggling hadn’t stopped, just intensified. While she ignored Wrath, Beth sat herself forward pushing between the two front seats, her grin wide for Payne before she turned her gaze on the driver- Where did you come from Manny? you know you’re related to my Wrath, don’t you? Makes us family. PAYNE! -as if a thought had only just registered in Beth’s mind she screeched- Means we’re sisters, naturally! Aww. I never had sisters before, now I have so many. -Her smile was pretty goofy plonking herself back into the seat all bunched up against Wrath and she repeated- Awww. Love my girls.
MANNY:-He had to practically stomp on the breaks as the big bastard stepped into his beam of headlights. Should have known he’d show. Rolling down the window so the guy could speak to his wife, he shook his head and sighed.- It was either carry her Wrath or let her face hit the floor of the bathroom. Sorry, I’ll let her lay in the filth next time. -His patience was wearing thin after hours of working with Havers down at the clinic and heaven knew the Geek hated that he was human. Oh-fucking-well. Looking into the rear view mirror at the suddenly full back seat, he nodded to Beth’s question.- Yep, I was invited by Trez…and yes, related to Wrath. Maybe that will keep him from killing me for helping you to the car. -With another hefty sigh, he pulled away after the door was closed. Yeah, this ride home should be a real winner. Speaking to Wrath over his shoulder at a red light, he turned down the radio that either Beth or Payne had turned up while Beth expressed her love for the girls.- You find Zsadist?
PAYNE: Do not touch! I love that song. [Payne swatted Manuel’s hand away from the radio, turned the dial and blasted Sean Paul through the inside of the Benz, attempting to sing along. A fork and spoon combination might have sounded better than her voice but she didn’t care, shoulders snapped to the beat, diamonds stared out the window as the lights of the city rushed by in a blur and she smiled the widest of smiles. It never got old, the freedom she now had. God she wanted to stick her head out the window and feel the gust of all that wind in her face but when she went to lower the automatic opener, it was locked. So she clicked it once more. Then again. Click click click until she looked over at Manny who shook his head and she pouted with a huff sitting back on the chair. Fine. Payne had her ways of persuasion. It was dark enough where she turned her body in such a way towards the back so she was looking at the smooshed passengers in the rear seat and her hand snuck onto Manuel’s lap, right over his…ahhh there….and squeezed. He was lucky they had company or her head would be buried between his thighs. Pretending nothing was doing, she grinned over at the Queen who was professing her undying love for all of them, then over to Wrath who looked worse than a pack of sardines and burst out laughing.] Mayhap, we should open the sunroof, Sire? [More laughter] Verily, Wrath, ‘twas naught but innocent fun amongst us SISTERS.
WRATH: There’s no complaints of your night out, Payne. -At least aloud that was the truth, true? Satisfied with my answer it seemed Payne’s attention was no longer on me. Shifting Beth to sit on my lap I chose to ignore of huff of protest- Bella needs room, you’ll be just fine sitting atop your Hellren’s knee, Beth. -Idle gaze fell to the front of the car.- Zsadist knows to retrieve his Shellan when we arrive. -my hand coming to rest on Beths thigh as she continued to talk with Payne and Bella. I had no idea where the conversation was going with the three of them. Nor was I fully listening, I was stuck in my own mind. So much had changed in the years, never did I think I’d have a Shellan let alone people I considered friends. Beth was right. My place was at the throne leading our race. Yet I needed an outlet for stress and anger. Since a night on patrol seemed completely out of question I’d need to find another. We’d not spoken more than half sentences since our argument over my night out fighting. But I was giving her a more freedom. Tonight, case in point. No guards at her back all night. And much to my surprise she wasn’t attacked or confronted. Giving a mental shrug of my shoulders to get my ears working and listen to the conversation even if half the words were slurred. The sharp intake of breath coming from the front seat sent me on high alert, Payne hadn’t even detected the problem she was still chatting it up. Seemed I thought too soon.- The fuck is wrong, Manny?
BELLA: RETRIEVE HIS SHELLAN? [Bella’s screech had to be loud to be heard over —-what was playing now… blurred lines? oh maaaaan, she loved this song!—— she joined in with Beth and Payne’s acoustics for a few minutes, they definitely should try out for “The Voice” she wondered if vampires could be accepted? hmmm… —— then her less than on point mind checked back in and she remembered what Wrath had said. The King, huge, was filling up most of the back seat, even with Beth now sat loftily on his lap. She scowled- do not need to be retrieved, Wrath… My Lord. None of us did, we are not dogs [A “woof” came from the front and dissolved Bella into a raucous giggle-fit, she slid her hand between the seat and gave a yank on Payne’s long braid] Heel! That’s my good Payne [again she laughed] Hey Manny! put this song on again! [Maybe tipsy Bella didn’t really fathom you couldn’t hit repeat on a radio station, she just knew she looooved this song and wanted to sing some more before they got home and her hellren retrieve her… hmmmm….retrieve her reallll nice too probably. All of a sudden she was eager for the car to speed up around their mountain]
MANNY: -The moment his girl’s naughty little hand reached over and grabbed hold of his jewels, he flinched and avoided swerving into oncoming traffic by the grace of God and good and steady surgeon’s hands. Gritting his teeth while he thought through a way to discreetly dislodge her hand from…oh God the things she was doing with her fingers, even through his navy scrubs…Wrath’s words caused his chin to jerk up as he once again caught the blind wrap around gaze in the rear view.- Nothin’….-Holy fuck it was like a scene from a frat house drunk movie, drunk chicks singing loud and off key, groping and giggling. Payne’s silent torture was causing quite the effect and hell if he didn’t want to just pull over to the side of the road and own all that jealousy and lay claim to was rightfully his in front of every fucking one of them. It all was just a bit too much and he snapped. Slamming on the breaks and pulling into the parking lot of Mcdonald’s, he grabbed Payne’s hand and held it in his own as he announced to the car in a voice a little too desperate and gruff to be considered “Nothin’”.- Who the fuck is hungry huh? -He plastered on a big forced grin and looked at each in turn.-
PAYNE: [The seat belt yanked her back into soft leather as seat as soon as he slammed on the breaks, his hand latched over hers. Payne’s fang clipped to her bottom lip to stifle more giggles as Bella quipped about chocolate milkshakes and the Queen being in the most agreeable of all moods, filed out of the car followed by a grumbling Wrath. Waiting until the Benz emptied, Payne unbuckled her belt and lunged for her male her sleek ivory found the saltiness of his skin, dragging down his throat the way she knew drove him crazy and swirled a warm wet path to his mouth with her tongue.] Your scent, is strong with need, Manuel, we can….WHAT? [Loud knocking at her window snapped her out of her lust filled trance and she turned glaring to catch Bella standing outside the car mouthing off something about ‘get a room’ before the blue-eyed female pulled open Payne’s door. Giving Manny a quick kiss, she extended a hand towards Bella who was kind enough to attempt to yank her out of the car grunting exaggeratedly.] For fates sake, Bella, we do need to work on your arm strength. [Chuckling, Payne shut the cars door behind her and caught sight of Manuel as he walked to meet her near the front of the Benz adjusting himself in the process. His hand snaked out and grabbed her tight by the waist, bringing his lips to graze over her ear and whispered, ‘wait until home, vampire’. And she shivered, all crimson cheeked female. Oh yes. Following Bella into the fluorescent lit restaurant where Beth was already ordering half the place, Payne ignored the gawking stares of the employees and few patrons and asked…] Mayhap, we can get this order to go?
BETH: -Sucking around her vanilla shake, she scowled when her neck was caught in a large hand- you’re causing a scene -she hissed none too quietly up to Wrath but didn’t make a move to step out of his grip, instead, she pushed the straw against his lips- suck. Maybe that’ll keep you quiet, male mine -Beth was mad at him still, but she was 2.3 seconds away from taking her earrings off if the young girl behind the counter didn’t stop giving her man the cow eyes- We’ll wait in the car, hurry up, Bella! grab me one of those happy meal toys, too! -she called out over her shoulders, leaning against Wrath to guide him and also ‘cause it seemed like the floor was shifting-
WRATH: -shifting my hold from her throat to her waist as she lead me back to the Benz. To say I was ready to get her ass home was an understatement. And my patience was running a little on the slim side. Releasing my lips from her straw so she could exit before me.- there’s something more pleasing than vanilla milkshake I’d rather have my lips on, Leelan. -Fingers tightening on her waist as I turn her back to the car and crowded her space.- enjoy yourself did you? -lips pulled to a grin as I leaned closer to whisper in her ear- if you were male you would be throwing your bonding scent around. -light laugh rolling from my chest as I opened the back door and pulled her to my lap just as Bella climbed in beside us.- next time you take my Shellan out with you make sure she doesn’t pass the limit of good mood, you feel me? -Last thing I wanted was a more than pissed off Shellan when we were already having disagreements by the truckload. Next time with the females… Only if I’m there pick her up at nights end.- hurry the fuck up, Doc. I have a Shellan who is In need of private attention, true?
MANNY: -Keeping Payne close in front of him, he shifted from foot to foot, impatient to get home. His hands held her tightly to him, the heat from her skin burning through the material of her blouse. His Bambina never failed to start a fire and tonight he had to agree with Wrath. There was a hell of a lot of private attention needed that he was sure would last long into the daylight hours. Ushering Payne into the passenger seat as fast a he could, he backed out of the space and sped around the building to the exit. Doing exactly as Wrath had said, he broke every traffic law possible before finally reaching the turn that would lead them up the mountain. He could feel the gaze of his woman, could almost see the curve of her lips from his peripheral vision. He hoped it was more than the alcohol coursing through her that gave off the almost palpable vibrations. There was an electricity in the air between them that needed to be grounded and soon or the occupants of the car would get a show they would not soon forget. After wishfully willing the gates open quicker, he squealed around the circular drive and stopped at the steps, not bothering to park the mercedes in its space. Grunting as he practically leaped from the front seat, he growled on his way around the car, his eyes already fucking Payne through the glass- you’re on your own, fuckers….do not disturb…-With his last words to the world at large, he snatched up his woman in his arms and “Rhett Butlered” her right up the steps, into the house and continued up the grand staircase in a beeline to their room. There would be time to be a pissed off bastard tomorrow night. For now he was claiming what was his.-
BELLA: [Maaan, bunch of horny things, Bella decided with a chuckle when both couples left the car almost before it had stopped. She took her time lumbering out of the back seat, the pink straw stuck in her mouth, she grimaced tasting the caramel shake, thick as cement pulsing its way through the plastic tube. She’d wanted to turn back around and change it for a strawberry cheesecake shake, but noooooo, Manny had growled they were going home. Moody much! damn mean male. she was still muttering to herself as she swung out the car and her sapphire eyes lit up like it was Christmas day and her Birthday all rolled into one seeing her male stood on the bottom steps, arms folded watching her with a little grin on his mouth] My Zsadist [Bella declared loudly with just a hint of a “good time was had” slur. She lifted up her arms, just as Nalla did often and just like her did with their daughter, Z strode forward, Bella eating him up with her eyes, man, he was so damn gorgeous it was unreal, and he picked her up, she twined her legs around him, the huge cup resting against his shoulder, taking her into the house] you need to punch Manny, nallum! [she issued with all seriousness, even if she was pouting doing it and told him the whole milkshake saga, her male only laughed and pounded feet up the stairs, his hands holding her ass] might be a little tipsy [her nose worked over his face smelling him, vaguely seeing the statues in the long hallway down to their chambers] had a greeeeat time, baby, don’t tell anyone, but Payne and our Queen… drunk as Lindsay Lohan on her birthday, not me though… [she leaned back in her amused hellren’s arms, knowing he wouldn’t let her fall and yelled out] Goodnight GIRLS!! [then got back to purring and maybe a little kissing on her male, if she was lucky he’d take advantage of her tipsy state and end off her good night with some one on one closet time….] #ThelmaLouiseAndTheQueen
BELLA: [Nalla dressed only in a diaper and the pink tutu she refused to take off giggled from inside her bedroom. Perched on her papa’s lap, Bella watched them both from the doorway, Nalla, subtle as ever to gain Z’s attention with her little hand turning his face towards her and babbling away. Bella grinned watching. Man, this day has been long and exhausting, but so much fun for their girl and everyone else wanting to celebrate. Their angel was two and her birthday party had only just finished half an hour ago. Amid wrapping paper, a sea of balloons and a mountain tall multi layered pink princess cake made by Fritz himself, Nalla had basked in everyone’s attention, moving from lap to lap from her uncles to aunts and back around again to her parents. But it was now, in the quietness of her nursery while Nalla doted on her daddy and the way he tickled her belly to make her giggle that Bella loved the most. Her smile widened, heart grew and grew with all the love for her two most favorite people] you know, I don’t think we’re getting sleep any time soon, Nallum [chuckling, she advanced into the room, her skirt swishing around her bare feet]
ZSADIST: *Golden eyes tore away from his at the sound of her mahmen’s voice. Zsadist lost the squirming toddler in a swoosh of pink.* “Dans, mama! Pwetty.” *Nalla tossed her arms over her head and twirled around, acting like a ballerina. Her tiny feet got tangled. Nalla plopped down on her diapered ass, clapping like she’d meant to end up there. Zsadist grinned at his little dancer, wondering if they could find someone to teach her. Whatever grace he possessed in movement ended with other people leaking blood.* Show us again, birthday princess. *Zsadist snagged Bella around the waist and pulled her down onto his lap. His nose found the soft spot behind her ear. Z inhaled sharply, needing this relatively quiet time with his females after the circus during the party. It was easier to be around his brothers and the other people they’d brought in as part of their “family”, but after hours of watching Nalla charm everyone, he was exhausted. Nalla, however, wasn’t. She became a twirling maniac, until her feet got the best of her again and she rolled on the floor. Her giggle was infectious.* “Papa dans now.” *Nalla sat up, citrine eyes working their voodoo on Zsadist.* Only if mahmen helps. *Z nipped Bella’s earlobe and whispered,* Dance with me, baby. Maybe she’ll giggle herself to sleep.
BELLA: You know she cons you so easily, baby. [Grinning from ear to ear, she nuzzled over Z’s stubbled jaw line and hauled herself up off his lap, grasping his hand tugging for him to rise too. Didn’t matter there was no music, Nalla wanted her parents to dance, and Bella wanted to dance with her male. She wrapped arms around Z’s waist, hummed her favorite song and got her hellren to sway with her, while Nalla, excited, giggling and clapping watching them, made her little butt move ten times faster than the rest of her body joining them, while her main of fiery curls bounced around her face. Oh man, there went the flood of love again. Bella sighed wistfully, cheek cuddling into Zsadist’s shoulder] Our baby is two, Nallum. Two. How did two years go by so quickly? [The birthday girl was holding onto Bella’s skirt and rocking back and forth from foot to foot and singing her own song before dancing around to Z’s side and hung off his leg. Didn’t last long, Nalla always had a hundred things she wanted to do all at once, and she ran across the nursery, her tutu rustling with her every step and she plopped herself down on the floor to have a very important discussion -or so it looked- with the tall giraffe in the corner]
ZSADIST: “They kiss now, Giri.” *Nalla nodded, turning the giraffe to watch Zsadist and Bella swaying in the middle of the room to their own song.* Quickly? I remember every second watching her, making sure she doesn’t get hurt, upset, bored…whatever could ail her. *Z kissed Bella gently and smiled against her lips.* And I wouldn’t trade in those two years for anything. She’s a handful, like her mahmen. *He hissed, dodging another pinch from Bella.* And stubborn like me. *He snuck a peek over Bella’s head. Nalla and the giraffe were cuddling. Their young blinked once, twice. On the third slow blink, her eyes stayed shut. Zsadist turned Bella around, wrapping his arms around her waist and tucking his chin into the crook of her neck. His hips pressed against her ass, making her sway to a song that wasn’t there.* We made an angel, nalla. I’ll tuck her in. Then you can pick how we spend mahmen and papa time.
BELLA: [The moment was absolutely perfect and Bella and Zsadist stayed there for a minute just watching Nalla doze off clutching her giraffe. Giving him a kiss over his inked throat, she patted his butt shooing him along. Knowing she had a couple more minutes while Z put her down in the crib and he would whisper the Old language nursery rhyme prayer he told their daughter every day, didn’t matter she was fast asleep, her Z would still do it. Man, she loved him. They’d had some rocky patches when Nalla was born, but there was no greater father than Zsadist, devotion was not the word for it, he was as besotted with Nalla as she was with her beloved papa. It was a beautiful thing to watch them both together. Mahmen and Papa time usually meant something altogether more strenuous than Bella was arranging in the other room, she smiled, setting the dvd machine up with one of his favorite movies -a shoot ‘em up kind- Maybe then fun beneath the white sheets would be in a little while, but dearest virgin in the fade, from all the activities tonight they needed some quiet-sitting only time. Her blue gaze wandered up and down her male walking across the room towards her. All bare feet and black slacks she’d asked him reaaaal nice to wear for the party. Her smile was lazy and spread quickly, hand pulling him down onto the couch, the plate of party food within reach on a nearby table, the movie started and Bella got the kind of cozy up against her male she liked best, pulling his arm over her shoulder] There we go, mahmen papa time. I did good, right? [she jostled his side, grinning all fangs and chuckles] I did. You socialized all night, Nallum, thought your brain could do with the down time [his rough chin got a nice nuzzle]
ZSADIST: *Zsadist couldn’t help but laugh as the opening to Die Hard flickered on the screen across the room. She’d done good. More than good. His mind was still buzzing from everyone’s constant chatter—Rhage more so than anyone. Every time Nalla opened a present, Hollywood was there to tell her a joke about it, or comment how pretty she’d be in a dress. If parenthood had any downfalls, it made Rhage even fucking chattier than any male should be. One more observation about Nalla’s wardrobe and Z was afraid he’d have to keep the pink and satin getups under lock and key so his Brother wouldn’t try them on. Reaching over Bella’s shoulder, Z snagged a mini cupcake—with pink frosting and edible pearls—and held it for Bella to bite.* You always know exactly what I need, baby. I’m a spoiled male. We’ll watch one of your movies after. *Ravishing his shellan sounded fucking fantastic. After they’d calmed down. Sometimes he felt himself loving her more in the quiet moments they spent sitting side-by-side, reading or watching something and not talking. It was comfortable, something Zsadist had never been his entire life until recently.*
BELLA: [Using her fang to crunch down on a pearl, Bella smiled gently across at Z and licked soft pink frosting from her upper lip. Her male was in nurturing mode feeding her and scribe above, he was just about the most adorable thing ever to walk the earth. And it was time for his birthday gift now, Bella decided. Well, she smiled, his sorta gift. To celebrate two years of their beautiful Nalla. It was something she’d wanted to do for a while, and she had managed to just the night before, having to hide it carefully from her eagle-eyed hellren ever since. With her legs laid in his lap, she eyed Z from under her dark thick lashes watching his movie, and she pulled at her skirt ever so slightly, to reveal the dark ink encircling her right ankle. His, hers and Nalla’s names all interwoven in the Old language, a never ending circle of love and family. He didn’t seem to notice and with a little huff for her male’s concentration she nudged him subtle as a tank roaring through the room, even going so far as to stroke a hand up under his shirt to stroke his warm belly and up to the metal rings attached to Z’s chest]
ZSADIST: Keep playing with those and we’ll never make it to your movie, nalla. *Zsadist slid his palm over her foot and up, eyes on the action on the TV. It didn’t matter that he had the movie memorized. It still gave him a sense of peace to watch shit get blown sky high, accompanied by the best use of colorful language to grace film. He frowned. Something wasn’t right with Bella’s ankle. He knew every inch of her skin better than he knew his own.* Did you hurt yourse— *The question died before he even got it out. The ink around her thin ankle was beautiful, true artwork. A flare of anger went through him, knowing it must have hurt like a bitch. He wasn’t thrilled with her sneaking off to suffer alone. Zsadist made himself take a breath. And another because the first one did jack shit to calm him down. He ran a finger over his name, forever etched into her delicate skin.* You know that’s permanent, right? I’ll always be right there. With you.
BELLA: [Chewing on her lower lip nervously, Bella couldn’t gauge Zsadist’s reaction from the close inspection his yellow eyes were giving to her leg, and his fingertips trailing over the fine structured tattoo] That’s the idea, baby. It’s not a sharpie. It’s good and stuck on there, for always [Didn’t Bella just full out beam a grin at that. She was on Zsadist’s back, now he was in her skin too along with Nalla] Do you like it, Nallum? I wanted to surprise you. [again she smiled, her brilliant white fangs popping] Surprise. [Because she couldn’t stand not knowing how he felt, she’d wanted to make him smile, not frown the way he was, Bella leaned over, sitting almost half on his lap and she kissed against Z’s face, paying close attention to his drawn down brow] If you hadn’t figured it out already, Nallum, I want you with me always, even longer than that. Understand? [Again her lips took to traveling over his face, up his scar and back down to his mouth, the stroke of his fingers on her ankle sending a nice little vibration of heat up her leg] I wanted the ink. For you. And for me and for Nalla. Our family, baby.
ZSADIST: You will still be surprising me when I’m old, grey, and pissing with a catheter. *Zsadist slid down the couch, taking her leg in hand. His lips brushed over the fresh ink. In his heart, he knew they were forever. The scarred names on his back were testament to that. But seeing the delicate tattoo on Bella’s ankle—so unlike the thick slave bands that’d been forced on him long ago—really brought it home. She wouldn’t wake one night, watch him dress to fight their enemies, and decide she’d had enough waiting around for him to be brought home in the back of the Escalade dead. Not his Bella. This was her way to show him her intentions for a very long future, he knew it.* I love it, Bella. *His lips trailed up her leg. He couldn’t help himself. Zsadist stopped at her knee, his eyes rolling up to meet hers.* Nalla is not getting a matching one. Ever. If she even looks at a tattoo gun, I’ll lock her in the nursery until she’s an old maid.
BELLA: [Because she couldn’t keep the bubble of happiness inside, Bella slid onto Zsadist’s lap sitting sideways so her arms could loop around his neck. She gave him a little nuzzle-kiss combo, grinned against his mouth] Darling, she has my stubborn streak and your tenacity, if Nalla wanted a tattoo I’m sure we wouldn’t know about it until after the fact [Maaaan, those teenage years with their daughter were going to be eventful, Bella just knew it. Her poor Z surely would turn gray trying to keep one step ahead of their wiley angel. Thankfully for them both and their nerves that was a long long long way off, even longer still if Z had his way. The movie in the background kept playing, a car was exploding, but Bella paid it no attention, she’d seen it many times. It was her yellow eyed hellren who held her gaze. He was happy and healthy, it showed in his every smile he gave her. The smiles he saved just for Bella, the ones, like now, that flipped her belly a clean 360 degrees. The shadows he had didn’t dominate so much anymore, how could they when you had a little girl in the next room whose entire being lit up in Z’s presence because she loved her papa so much. No one could not smile and feel happiness at that] I’m hungry, baby… [Bella whispered huskily against the soft scruff on his face, her mouth slipping down to kiss over his beating pulse, it kicked hard once against her lips when her intentions sunk in for Z and his growl was all warmth and sexy rolled into one making Bella purr out a grin. She pushed his head gently to the side, cupping her hand under his chin, thumb stroking] Watch your movie, my nallum… I’ll be quiet [With her fangs growing, she nipped his throat and purred… okay, she’d make a little noise, she surmised… Nalla was asleep in the nursery, and Bella knew it wouldn’t be long before Z, impatient as he was, split her legs over his thighs and an altogether different mahmen and papa time would commence and probably ending up with one or both of them laid like corpses on the carpeted closet floor] I love you [she murmured, grinning and directed his head back to the huge plasma] movie baby, you’re missing the guns, you like guns. [humming, her fangs sank into his neck, drinking his blood slowly. It was the perfect end to the day. A perfect birthday for their darling Nalla] #CelebratingNalla
PAYNE: [Sweat beaded across her brow, rolled down her temples and plastered her long braid down her back. Payne sat her tush with a gruff ‘hmph’ on a nearby bench in the gym, unrolling her taped up knuckles, releasing her numb and partly swollen fingers from the beat down she’d given the Everlast bag that now swung torn and defeated. She hung her head between her knees, catching her breath before chugging back a bottle of water, peeking at the black and white clock on the far wall. She wasn’t sure if Bella was up to meeting her judging from the way emotions were flying raw around the mansion since Rehvenge’s amnesic return. What was he going by now? Ah…Richard, the name that everyone seemed to have at the end of their tongue lately. Payne knew how distraught Bella had been throughout the last few weeks. Knew how the bond between Rehvenge and her meant the universe and how now everything was turned upside down due to his current state. So Payne had slipped a note under Bellas door hoping she would meet her on this day for a workout, a swim, anything to get her friends mind off things but she had never shown. Pity, she thought as she walked pass the showers and towards the sauna. Crystal eyes scanned the area to make sure she was alone before she stripped of her soaked exercise gear, flinging it in a nearby bin and wrapping herself up in a big white fluffy towel, she opened the door to billowy, clouds of steam and….Bella.] SISTER! [Payne pinched her towel tight, motioning for Bella to scoot down the bench, her voice not letting up the surprise at seeing her there.] Verily, I thought you had…how do you say? Stood me up!
BELLA: [Bella had had every intention of meeting Payne, only somehow -perhaps it was magic pixies- something had pulled the female into the hot sauna room instead. And if she was truthful, she only ever enjoyed working out when it had a happy finish, with her hellren. Bella much preferred her sweating to be more of the sitting kind. And so there she’d sat for 30 minutes, boiling herself to a nice lobster pink. She couldn’t help but giggle seeing the startled Payne, she scooted on down the bench, making sure her wrapped towel didn’t loosen, and leaned across to ladle fresh water onto the hot rocks sending a billow of steam into the wooden room] I got waylaid by the steam, dear friend. Come and enjoy, too. How fare you tonight? [Through the steam, Bella smiled at Payne and passed her a bottle of the ice water she had in a nearby cooler] you’re going to need that, I feel like I’m being cooked from the inside. [Her sigh was all relaxed] It’s glorious.
PAYNE: [On several occasions, Payne had visited the sauna with Manuel but she wasn’t about to divulge that tiny bit of information to Bella who would no doubt tease her until her face turned a deep shade of crimson. Taking the bottle offered, she plopped her tush on the bench and groaned a little as the steam seeped good and deep into her worn out muscles. She leaned her head back on the wall behind her, momentarily closing her eyes, then cracking one open looked over at Bella with playful curling her lips.] I am aware of your allergies towards the gymnasium. One day, sister mine, I shall have you running intervals next to me on the treadmill machine. [Payne chuckled as Bella scoffed, turning her full attention to the female that sat next to her. Usually carefree, with sky blue eyes that danced with ever ready mischief and a smile that could melt the most hardest of hearts, Bella seemed reserved. Her features drawn and if Payne was not mistaken, shadows marked underneath her eyes. Brows dipped over crystalline orbs in concern, Payne turned towards the female who had fallen silent at her side and spoke quietly, laying a hand gently on Bella’s arm.] Regard me, Bella. Tell me…how do YOU fare this eve?
BELLA: Relax, beautiful sister mine [Bella patted Payne’s hand and went back to staring ahead through all the hot steam] I am well, and healthy and FYI I get plenty of working out picking my daughter up several hundred times a day. So there. [She reasoned with a slight chuckle and a poke of her tongue in Payne’s direction, but Bella agreed silently to one day letting Payne put her through the paces with the kind of gym activity that would probably put her in a prime seat unto the fade] But I know you, and you’re subtly asking me how I am since my brother has lost his mind, yes? [She turned Payne’s way and smiled for her kindness knowing it to be true. Of course her friend would understand how Bella was feeling, she too had her own beloved brother. Bella had been lucky to have Mary to talk with over the last weeks and that had helped a great deal with her assiduous thoughts so she felt better equipped to be of support to Ehlena when needed , but Bella hadn’t wanted to burden Payne with the grief she’d felt, and that’s how it was, in her heart, that he was gone for good] He’s… different now, Payne [her smile slipped] but we are spending time together and making new memories, I am forever grateful to the scribe he came home safely. But I wish for Ehlena and Nehm’s sake he was Rehvenge again. [Pausing to take a much needed gulp of the cold water, man, she was beginning to prune up good] you should see him, Payne.. he’s shaved off his hair. He looks more like my hellren now [that made her giggle… if.. WHEN.. Rehvenge came back he was going to hate Richard for doing that] And get this.. [her voice became more animated, she swivelled around, resting her legs up on the bench] He is friends with my mate. Actual friends. My poor Z is so confused [she laughed gently brushing her wet hair back and met the translucent eyes of her friend]
PAYNE: Friends? [A brow shot up in the air, Payne shook her head chuckling a bit for it was a well known fact the love/hate relationship Z and Rehvenge shared. To think of them as ‘best buddies’ was almost comical. That Bella was making the best out of the current situation showed her to be the female of worth she was in Paynes eyes, since she knew how difficult it was to think you’re brother dead, even though in actuality Rehvenge was well and alive yet in a way had been replaced with someone that looked upon his own sister as a stranger. And that had to hurt.] Verily, I cannot imagine him without that… [Paynes hand motions cut through the steam over her head.] signature crest-like hair of his…next thing you know, they will be dressing alike. [Humor in her smile, Payne winked over at Bella, tucking the towel tighter around her so it wouldn’t slip off her sweat soaked skin before she leaned forward taking her braid plastered to her back and coiled it around and around behind her head until it resembled the customary Chosen chignon. Draining the last of the water as Bella handed her a fresh one, Payne inquired on Ehlena’s well being knowing this ordeal would be far from easy for a shellan in her spot. Listening attentively, an idea began to nudge at her brain although she kept quiet about it now asking Bella on her niece and any new milestones or mischief she was getting into lately. Bright blues lit up and proceeded to enthusiastically chat about her young when abruptly, Payne interrupt her mid word…] If allowed, mayhap…mayhap I have an idea…for Rehvenge… [Not wanting to worry or alarm her sister, she let her words trail off and left it at that.]
BELLA: [Throwing another ladle of water onto the heated rocks, Bella decided five more minutes in the sauna and she’d have to leave, otherwise be as the wicked witch of the west and melt down to nothing. She’d enjoyed the time chatting with Payne, she always did, being with the female always made the cares and worries of the moment cease to exist. Until she mentioned Rehvenge and Bella’s midnight blue gaze lifted, the bottle to her lips momentarily halted] What kind of idea, Payne? If you want to conk him over the head, believe me, I have already thought of that, only the grace of the scribe and wise advice from my hellren has stopped me [Her mouth curved slightly humorously. With “Richard” as he was now, with no symphath reading emotions or mind manipulation abilities he wouldn’t even see the boot -she’d reasoned Z’s shitkicker boot was heavy enough for the task- coming at him until it was too late. But her mate, the voice of logic all of sudden had nixed her erratic if not brilliant idea. Bella, still lounged on the hot wooden bench, wiggled her toes, today painted in Mexican pink and curved a perfectly sculpted brow quizzical wondering what was going on behind her friends translucent eyes, knowing all too well the ideas she came out with at times. She grinned and waited for Payne to put voice to whatever she was thinking]
PAYNE: [Paynes eyes travelled down to her own hands that laid idly on her lap and thought about her gift. The last time she had attempted a healing…well, it did not go as planned but what if she could aid her sisters brother in some way? Worrying a sharp fang over her plump bottom lip, she glanced at Bella, deciding it was best not to give her friend false hopes but perhaps start with Ehlena first…so she smiled, dismissing her question with a hand and played along with Bellas original master plan.] ‘Twas naught important, sister…but mayhap you are correct. A swift wallop to his head might be just the thing to jog his memories back. As your friend, I shall help. [They laughed and played out different scenarios that came to their minds, laughing harder still as they reached the ridiculous knowing Payne only teased but damn it felt good to cheer her friend up, her job there successfully completed. Well, almost…the idea brewing in her mind was now nagging at her until Payne knew she must take action in some form. Fates knew once she had her mind up about something, there was nothing that would stand in her way. And if she could aid her family in the process, the better for it. Indeed.] #AGlowingIdea
BELLA: Nalla, no! [Bella felt like she spent all her nights saying those two words over and over again on a loop. Don’t touch the stove. Don’t go near the edge of the pool. Don’t put that in your mouth. Don’t sit on the kitten. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. With a frazzled sigh, Bella sank down into the lukewarm water. It had been boiling hot when she’d filled the huge tub and the bubbles were brimming over the sides. Now they were deflated and popping on the surface. Getting Nalla off to sleep took longer than usual, more teeth coming through made her daughter a grouch monster and she’d wanted to gnaw on things not made for baby mouths -the tv remote control and one of Bella’s heels-, her daughter hadn’t liked being told no and proceeded to throw herself butt first onto the floor, legs in the air and screamed holy murder, so Bella’s once inviting bath had had to wait an extra 30 minutes. With her toes, she reached through the suds and turned the hot faucet to full, groaning as it poured down and spread through the water, finally heating her through.
There wasn’t much Bella required to make for a happy life. Her hellren, her daughter and a hot bath with a nice glass of Chablis. A hand reached over to the lip of the bath and grasped the long glass stem, the first sip of wine was delicious, the second even better and just as the water was doing for Bellas skin, the sweet beverage seeped heat straight down to her belly. She sank down deeper, until the water lapped her chin, eyes drifted closed, trying to ease the aches and tension from the day. Was she a bad mahmen for always telling Nalla no? Her voice of late always seemed to be raised for something or other. Her baby wasn’t yet two yet, of course she was still learning and exploring worse than Dora and her companions ever had, and for the most part Bella loved watching all Nalla’s new discoveries, but she couldn’t help but wonder was her parenting skills veering on the strict side. Maybe the part of her papa that had been a strict disciplinary was surfacing through into Bella’s genes. She frowned, brows drawing ever further down over her worried sapphire eyes.
She took another sip of wine and wished she’d brought the whole bottle instead of just a single glass. It was definitely a two or more glasses of wine kind of evening. Was that how it began for her father, why he was so oppressive with everything younger Bella had done or wanted to do or even to speak, because he’d been irritated with her not listening to his commands? She’d tried to block out most of his harsh treatment, if she thought about it too much she could still feel the sting of Rempoon’s acrid tongue rattling around her mind and the fear her younger self had felt. She knew more than most how words could stay with a person, and she didn’t want that for Nalla, to look back and only remember Bella yelling or disciplining her. But on the other hand, she didn’t want to be a walkover parent either, who gave into her daughter’s every whim and demand, that would only raise a hellion. Man, there needed to be a manual for this stuff, she thought, raising her leg out of the water and blowing a spray of bubbles into the air, before sinking ever lower, her sulky mood plummeting further.
Any other time she would have turned to Rehvenge for advice, to ask if he saw any of their father’s behavior coming out in her actions, but Richard had none of that information in his “Rehvenge free zone” mind] Stupid Richard..and his stupid Nike tracksuits. [Bella muttered to herself. It was long past due he let her brother come back to his senses, if he left it any longer Rehvenge was sure to have a pizza paunch as round as his bald head when he got back, and none of his suits would fit. That thought made her giggle and almost sloshed her wine over onto the nice pristine bath mat. Bella drained her glass and stuck it on the floor, her thoughts a jumble. She missed her brother - and she wished her hellren was home - and she wanted ice cream - and to be the perfect mahmen - and maybe Z was right that they didn’t need more young -not if she was a terrible mahmen, she tacked on silently- she wanted the war to be over so everyone could have their own lives and be happy, - and she wanted her own house one day in the not too distant future, her own four walls with no giant brothers stalking the hallways so she could walk around in the raw if she so chose to, - and she wanted never to be the sort of parent who scared their young with a biting temper. Never ever. That one most of all she wanted.
And on and on the thoughts circled all vying for a little attention. Maaaan, she needed more wine and ice cream, STAT, before she ventured into self-pity city. Because that sure as Dhundh was not a good look for this shellan. With her two targets in firmly in mind, along with maybe a good movie -Thor- while she waited for Z to come home safe, Bella wrapped herself in a huge hot pink towel, and another around her wet mass of hair and did the ‘shuffle-tipoe-hope-I-don’t-meet-anyone-on-my-way-to-the-kitchen’ kind of quick scurry down the grand staircase giggling the whole way, a gallon of Ben and his trahyner Jerry was just what she needed….] #BoozyBathtime
EHLENA: [I had been a wreck since leaving the mansion…without my Rehvenge. In my head I was still trying to make sense of what I’d seen. Nothing seemed to remain of the male I was mated to. Instead it seemed that this Richard person was wearing an extraordinarily well tailored Rehvenge costume, and that almost made me sick at my stomach. There were so many things that could go wrong if we didnt get him back soon. The day had been spent holding my son in my arms as he slept, while trying to come up with a plan to bring his father back. At some point Zsadist had called, to check my mental status, no doubt and had offered for he and Bella to keep Nehmesis at the mansion for a few days. I’d initially balked at the idea of not having my son home with me, but with a little reassuring, from both he and Bella, I relented. So here I was, behind the wheel of my BMW, driving through the thick forest towards the mansion. When I pulled through the last gate Rehvenge’s sister and Nalla were waiting on the front steps, the sadness in Bella’s blue eyes matched my own.] Sister— [I called as I parked the SUV and slid from the lavish interior] This is so good of you and Z.
BELLA: “Unca wooster yehhhhh!” [Nalla in her pink onesie pj’s bound down the steps as quick as her little legs would take her. Bella had already told her they were waiting for Aunt Ehlena and Nehm, that Rehvenge wouldn’t be here tonight. But her little girl was still hopeful of a million stories and a gift, as he always brought her] It’s Nehmesis, babygirl, go back inside and we’ll bring him in [She blew kisses, as only her daughter could do lavishly, Bella made sure she got back into the mansion and met Ehlena climbing out of her car, enfolding her in a tight hug right away. Bella had her own hope going on, and already knew from the look on Ehlena’s face and from the phone call not so long ago that there was no good news, but her tongue felt compelled to ask. She had to] Any change, sister? [Because Ehlena looked like she couldn’t bat away a fly right now, Bella took the car seat and carried her sleeping nephew inside, still feeling that incredulousness of all that had happened. She’d spent most of the night and day with Z just asking “how” to which she repeated standing in the foyer with her sister in law] How could this be, Ehlena? To Rehvenge..I don’t understand any of it. He was not him at all. [He was probably the strongest male any of them knew and out of anyone, he was the one she least worried over, because she knew he always had his shit sorted, he was infallible. Her rooster. Now he was a stranger to them, and truthfully Bella was scared spitless for her brother and his family]
EHLENA: [I just shook my head as I followed Bella into the foyer] Honestly, sister I haven’t made heads or tails of any of this. [Sad eyes roamed the room, taking in the stairs, hallways, and adjoining room.] Is Zsadist home? I would like to talk to you both before I see Rehvenge later tonight. [I kneeled next to Nehmesis’ car seat and unbuckled the sleeping prince, pulling him into my arms before standing. Nalla was sitting quite impatiently on the bottom step kicking her little pink clad legs back and forth.] You want to play with him, Nalla? [I infused my voice with as much happiness and nonchalance as possible. When she nodded eagerly I smiled and let her gently wake Nehm by tickling his feet. The young came awake with a shrieking giggle, which goes to prove that no matter what adults are going through, young are resilient creatures.] Hey little man, there’s someone here who wants to see you. [My first genuine smile in days came as I set my son to the Aubusson rug and handed some toys to Nalla.]
BELLA: He’s getting his things ready to head out [Bella answered, keeping an eye on Nalla so she didn’t play too rough and excitedly with the baby. With the sleepless day behind her, Bella rubbed at her tired eyes, she’d had her a good cry, now she was needed for support. But her worry hadn’t lessened any, tripled in fact when during the day, when both Z and Nalla were sleeping, Bella had sat on the couch in her suite nursing the cat on her lap and it dawned on her suddenly what Rehvenge’s amnesia truly meant. Not only the heartache for the family, but a much bigger problem in that he had enemies, many from his world of business and being the symphath King. If Rehv couldn’t remember WHO he was and what he was… it was as good as putting a giant red target on his chest for those who had wanted to harm him for a long time. After that thought, sleep had eluded Bella altogether] What’s going to happen, Ehlena? Will he come home? would it be safer for him and you to be here at the mansion? When can I see him? [the questions all bubbled out of the female quickly, all the questions that had churned in her mind for the past few hours. Although that last one filled her with a slight dread. She didn’t want to see her beloved brother and have him look at her again with nothing behind his purple eyes] Sorry… [Bella smiled and patted Ehlena’s shoulder] Ignore me, my mind is still too busy. Blessed virgin. [She sighed, but smiled watching Nalla fuss lovingly over Nehmesis, making a teddy dance for him] it’s all just a giant nightmare.
EHLENA: To tell you the truth, Bella, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. [No doubt my sister had gotten no more sleep in the past few days than I had, and that her mind had been running over every question that mine had. My eyes were sad as I looked back at my son and his cousin on the carpet.] I’m going to do my best to bring him back. He’s supposed to come to our place tonight, I guess we will just take it one night at a time. [I heaved a sigh, racking my brain, as I had numerous times over the day, looking for the right thing to do. Mary had told me not to push Rehv into anything, but I couldn’t sit around and let him do something stupid like go walking out in the sunlight, or hang out in downtown Caldwell without protection.] I want him to come home, with me, while we work on his memories. But I just don’t know…. [I trailed off, the uncertainty of my future all too real in my mind as I watched the young play, oblivious to everything outside their little bubble. Neither of them knowing that what happened tonight, and in the near future, might change their lives.]
BELLA: [After Ehlena had spoken with her and Z, once he’d jogged down the stairs ready for his night rotation, Bella’s sister in law had climbed back in her car and gone back home to wait for Rehvenge. She’d stood and watched the retreating brake lights until they disappeared into the distance and only then had Bella walked back into the mansion, still thinking about all Ehlena had spoken of, her underline worries and fears and the hope to jolt his memories into returning somehow. She was anxious to see Rehvenge, but knew this time for Ehlena and Rehvenge was crucial so Bella would stay away until they had at least some semblance of normalcy re-established between them. She could not truly understand how her sister in law was feeling, but she had such empathy for the courage she was displaying, the sheer determination to help her hellren. It would be what Bella would do in that situation. And because she was feeling sad and a little clingy for the time being, she checked on both young seeing they were happy and content and she slipped to sit on Z’s lap for the five minutes he had left before he went out. Just savoring the time. ‘Cause you never knew when it was going to be the last minute of someone knowing who you were. And then not..] #SymphathWho
RICHARD: [The crack across my face caused my head to bounce back on my neck The little redhead packed a punch that was for damn sure. I fastened her with a dark stare towering down over the female and rubbed my jaw slowly, fully aware of the wall of meatheads around us] Lady, you can have that one, since you have such a nice rack, get me? [I rolled my eyes down her body and back up again lecherously with just the hint of a smile and stepped back before I caught another slap. I turned from the woman standing to my full height, and cast my eyes around at all the males and the one female with intense Blue eyes clinging to the scarred faced one’s arm, she was watching me with her hand brought up to her mouth as if holding back words or something else] Well, I’d like to stay for whatever fucking party this is, but the whole leather thing ‘aint my deal, boys. We understanding each other? [Didn’t escape my notice, this motley crew knew me. More importantly, I didn’t fucking know them. But there was no blades on show, and I wasn’t being set upon with fists, so I had to factor in this was not a kidnap-kill-and dump sitch. The fucking fish bowl with them all gawping at me was giving me the scratch and I eyeballed the door wondering how quick I could move without one of the village people being on my back]
EHLENA: [My hand itched to slap him again. I wasn’t sure what the hell had happened to my hellren, but this cocky son-of-a-bitch wasn’t him. The Rehvenge I knew wouldn’t have wasted time leering at me in that skeezy way, not after we had been separated for a week. My Rehv would have tossed me over his shoulder and hauled me up to our rooms here, and kept me there..under him for days and nights before reemerging. Not to mention the fact that he looked at his beloved little sister as if he had never seen her before. The whole thing was beyond strange, Rehv truly appeared not to know any of the brothers either.] Nallum, do you truly not know me? [I spoke barely above a whisper in the old language. The look he shot back told me enough, that he hadn’t understood what I’d said. Fuck, what was I going to do? Steeling myself, I met the eyes of each brother in turn, doing my best to appear strong and confident. “Never let ‘em see you sweat” was a motto that I had heard somewhere, and today I put it into full use.]
RICHARD: [The hysterical chick was speaking martian to me. I gave her the “huhfuck what” look. But I gave pause to see the trepidation in her brown eyes gazing longingly at me. Was this this wife I thought I had when I tossed away that wedding band? I couldn’t place her face, nor any of them all staring at me like I had two fucking heads. I growled low under my breath and rubbed my jaw roughly, the sinking dense feeling in my gut intensifying, finally having to admit to myself my patchy memory was more than just a drunken bender. I picked the jackass who had gotten me here by persuasion, fighting back the urge to curl my lip at him, and ignoring the desperate stares from the two females. I couldn’t deal with that yet] You know me, yeah? you said so. You know I’m Richard Reynolds? How long we know each other? [I jutted my chin to the others without asking “and them too” ]
VISHOUS:-He had watched the encounter between Hellren and Shellan with sole interest. Surely if anything was gonna snap him out of this memory loss thing, seeing his mate would. He had hoped the bonding instinct would take over and whatever mind fuck had befallen the King of Sin-eaters would be trumped by male possession. Wrong. The slap that resounded through the foyer was enough to have his own face aching and he fought the urge to point out the glowing handprint forming on Rehvenge’s face as he turned back for more answers. Giving a nod, he tried not to overwhelm the bastard, even though at the moment he probably deserved all the bad shit that was coming his way just for the rack comment. - yeah..we know Richard Reynolds. He owns Zero Sum. We also know it’s a pseudo name you use to hide your real identity. Your name is Rehvenge and the female behind you who gave you that -he pointed to his own cheek for reference - is your mate…er..your wife. -So, if Rehv had taken on the persona of Richard Reynolds, it made sense that he would be thinking only in human terms. Shaking his head and speaking softly, he spoke more to himself than the male in front of him.- damn my brother…what the fuck happened to you.
WRATH: -I wasn’t exactly how sure this would all go down, but I damn sure wasn’t expecting the hand to face slap that cracked through the room. This scored points for me on the female. Fuck what had happened, only just a week ago we were celebrating the victory over the Lessening society and having a few drinks.- Once you get your fucking head on straight, RICHARD, you’ll laugh at your declaration. - Giving a shake of my head before crossing to stand directly behind Ehlena. If anything I would need to hold her back before she reached to slap him again. Last damn thing we needed was the Symphath in him waking up and trying to take over everyone in the room with his mind shit. With Ehlena in arms reach my idle gaze wracked over the Symphath in question. All I was catching from him was a whole bunch of confusion and pissed the fuck off, though that could be paired with Ehlena, or even Bella for that matter.- You need to sit the fuck down, Reynolds. Before your fe..wife here cuts you like a pig for speaking to her the way you did, you feel me?
EHLENA: [The king’s movement hadn’t gone unnoticed, but right now i had bigger things to worry about than what the male assumed i was going to do next. My suspicions the previous day had been right, Rehv had gone to that safe house, had assumed Richard’s life. But that didn’t explain what the hell was happening here, why didn’t he know me, nor anyone else in the room for that matter?] I need…need to know exactly what happened to you. [Toffee eyes sought out strength in the form of Bella and Zsadist’s, and though I longed to take Rehvenge’s sister in my arms and fall apart with her I knew that I couldn’t, not yet. This situation was bad, and there was only one person in the world who could help me through it. No way in hell would I let the fact that HE was buried beneath another persona keep me from my mate. It was obvious that Rehv wasn’t ready..or maybe wasn’t able, to process the things he was being told, but he would be. I could only hope that time came sooner, rather than later.] Rehvenge? [When, at last it was obvious that I wasn’t getting the answer I was seeking, I released myself to the tears that had been threatening to flow. My legs felt like jelly. It took every ounce of strength I could muster, but I stayed on my feet, just barely, to watch as Bella tried where I had failed.]
BELLA: [ “I found him” three little words had filled Bella’s heart with so much joy when she’d heard. Rehvenge was safe and well and dearest virgin she’d never been so relieved in her entire life. For Ehlena and Nehmesis to have Rehvenge back, and to finally know what had happened. Bella had charged down the grand staircase with haste hearing the distinct engine of the SUV pull up outside, a giant smile on her face, close to tears to hug her brother and also to strangle him for putting them all through this. But that all got shot down in flames having Rehvenge look at her like she was a stranger. Worse, he looked right through her, while he snarled and swore at the brothers. Worse yet, he didn’t return Ehlena’s hug and had pushed her away] This is not funny, Rehvenge! [She insisted, feeling that dread in her belly. She wanted it to be a joke, now that the realization of him not actually knowing any of them, yes, she really wanted this all to be a sick joke he was pulling. Prank of the year. She wouldn’t even hit him. Bella just wanted it to be wrong. How could he not know them? She reached a hand down and clung to Zsadist’s fingers, brow frowning and watching this male who was her beloved brother … and yet not. His whole mannerisms and how he spoke was slightly off..and just not Rehvenge ] Brother mine.. [Bella spoke quietly, too quiet for anyone really to hear her over the din of raucous exchange of words. Her fingers squeezed Z’s, her other hand joined and clung to their laced fingers needing him more than ever to anchor her]
ZSADIST: You stupid son of a bitch,what have you gotten into? *Zsadist held on to Bella, hating the fine tremble in her muscles. He’d hoped, just like everyone else, that once they got Rehv home, he’d start putting the pieces together. But the male in front of them wasn’t Rehvenge. Sure, he looked and sounded like the cocky motherfucker Z called brother-in-law, but one look in the male’s eyes and Z knew Rehv wasn’t home. Whatever had been done to him changed him, it didn’t just suck out his memories, it transformed him into as close to a human as he could get. Z felt sick. He never realized how much they all took for granted until he met Rehv’s—Richard’s—gaze again and found himself staring down a stranger. Somehow he thought the family he’d chosen and be married into would always be there. He should have known better after Darius and Wellsie were killed. Tightening his grip on Bella’s fingers, he rubbed her back with his other hand, trying to comfort her.* We’ll fix this, baby. We’ll bring him back somehow. *Zsadist tucked Bella under his arm.* I’m taking your sister, *he made damn sure to stress that point so maybe the asshole would stop glaring at her* upstairs to lie down. She doesn’t need to see this. *And they sure as hell weren’t going to allow Nalla near the male until he was himself again. She would be utterly heartbroken over being treated as a stranger by her uncle, whom she loved almost as much as her parents. Fuck, what were they going to do?*
RICHARD: [Too much was coming at me all at once. All of these people jabbing at me altogether until I blew out a ragged breath and rubbed a hand over the hat I still wore. What a fucking situation. One of the chicks was crying in my face, but still looked like she wanted to take a knife to me for what… not knowing her? I didn’t. Nor the other one who looked at me with hope in those wide blue eyes before the big bastard with the wicked cool scar down his puss took her back up the staircase that seemed never ending, but not before hairy-eyeballing me too with that look they were all giving me, the one that said “You know me. You know US” talk about pressure. Whatever madness had gotten my ass here, I was over it. And wanted gone. I swiped my gaze passed the hysterical female again to the tall dude in shades. Fucking wraparounds, someone needed to tell the guy he was inside and it was after midnight. I shook my head at the motley crew, these people I knew? No. Fucking. Way. They looked like something from the Addams Family 2.0] Look, this was a mistake [I declared. Some fucker was having a joke at my expense. I saw the shows, if you had amnesia and you saw your family, something pinged in your head and made you remember. I didn’t know these folks.. but the tatted one had mentioned Zero Sum. Hadn’t I just tried to go there again tonight and the other night. I nodded to him, not even sure why, but he seemed the calmest of the lot of them and all the emotions was fucking up my head. My feet wanted to walk] Lady… [Focused on the redhead now] maybe there’s a guy out there with my face, your husband, yes? It ain’t me. I’m sorry.
BETH: -Holy hell, what a shambles. Beth thought watching the scene unfold into, god knows what. So they were dealing with a Rehvenge who didn’t know his own name let alone any of them staring at him bewilderedly. That much was clear. Thank god Z had taken Bella upstairs, the girl was close to tears and poor Ehlena. Man, she couldn’t even dare to imagine what it felt like right now for her. Having her Wrath not know her or their marriage? That would be a killer straight to the heart. Without thinking, and because the situation needed defusing before something was said that couldn’t be taken back, Beth dropped Wrath’s hand, leaving him holding George’s leash and got across the tiled mosaic floor of the foyer, her heels clacking with an echo and she stood in front of Rehvenge stopping him in his tracks and smiled] Hi Richard. I’m Beth. That guy over there is mine. He’s Wrath, and that’s our dog, George. [Because he knew he was being talked about, George’s tail gave an excited thump on the floor] We have a cat too, Boo. But he’s off somewhere being regal [Beth smiled again, hoping she was putting the male at ease with her small pieces of info. She figured it was easier to tell him, instead of assuming he knew them all and just further frustrate Rehvenge because he didn’t. She pointed a finger up the stairs] That was Bella and Zsadist and quiet guy over there is Vishous who brought you home, he’s also wicked smart with everything if your computer ever kicks the bucket. And this is Ehlena [she squeezed the girls cold hand giving what comfort she could] It’s late, Richard, and we didn’t mean to all gawk at you [The Queen spoke softly] We’re just happy you’ve been found and are well. I’m sure it’s a lot for you to take in [She gestured behind him to the billiards room] Why don’t you go through there, we have drinks, and I can arrange for a meal for you. And you and Ehlena can talk without the peanut gallery around. [When it didn’t seem like either Rehvenge or Ehlena were budging, Beth changed her tone, still soft, but firm and looked him right in his purple eyes] you won’t know, but I’m Queen around here and people do as I say [she joked and gave Rehvenge’s arm an encouraging push] go ahead, it’s fully stocked, there should be something you like [And then the Queen enfolded Ehlena in a hug once the footsteps retreated] It’s going to be okay, sweetheart, be strong, we’re only down the hall if you need anything. [With that, Beth went back to Wrath’s side, taking his hand, deciding to use that Queen influence a little more and called back to V] come on, Vishous, we’ll get you fed too.
EHLENA: [The Waterworks were turned to flash flood as I listened to the interactions between Rehv and the rest of our family. I didn’t mean to appear weak, but after all the nights of not knowing anything about my hellren’s whereabouts and days of not sleeping, it was all I could do to remain upright. Tears were further down my list of priorities right now. It wasn’t until the queen enveloped me in her arms that I was able to gain some semblance of composure.] thank you, Beth. I will try and talk to him. [I whispered, breathing deep as the trembling receded. When I was sure I could make one foot move in front of the other and propel myself into the billiards room, I did. Making a beeline for the wet bar in the corner that Rehvenge had just turned away from. I wasn’t ready to meet his eyes, not yet, so I positioned myself with my back to him as I poured me a healthy serving of a clear liquid. I wasn’t sure exactly sure what I was drinking as I brought the tall glass to my lips, but I swallowed it in one gulp.] GAH [I gasped, then looked at the bottle..Grey Goose..Vodka. No wonder the shit burned my esophagus like I had swallowed a glassful of battery acid. On a curse I shot a glance over my shoulder to see Rehvenge stretched out along one of the sofas, then poured me another glass. This wasn’t going to be the happy reunion that I had imagined…not by a long shot. Cautiously I crossed to where he was sitting and perched on the arm of the sofa furthest from the menacing male.] so.. Richard, [the name was more snarl that word] how’s life treating you?
RICHARD: [With names like ‘Wrath, Vicious and Sadist’ of course I swallowed the bullshit about the Queen part too from the good lookin’ lady and took my ass through to what looked like a pool room, not ‘cause she told me to, but I needed a fucking drink while my brain went into overdrive trying to unlock my memories. I’d watched the redhead stroll in behind me, I lounged on one of the three leather couches, eyes drifting over her and the room, not even a flicker of recognition of either and I took a swallow of the German beer I’d found] Not bad, darlin’ can’t complain. Although tonight has been a real eye opener, ya get me? [I still couldn’t quite believe this one was my wife? I scrutinized her fully with a long slow rake of my eyes from top to toe and back down again, not disliking what I saw. But was she my type? What had made me marry her? I still didn’t quite fully believe the shit that had gone down tonight, but the way she’d launched herself at me clinging tightly like she hadn’t seen me in months, the tears and shock and the face belting slap, there was no reason for any of that shit unless she -and the others- did infact know me. I rubbed along my jaw, and drank some more] What did we get married for? [I blurted] I knock you up? I figured I was married sometime. There’s none of your stuff at my house…..[Maybe we were divorced after all..it’d make walking away from her and her soulful brown eyes easier]
EHLENA: [I sat quiet as those eyes, so familiar and so foreign at the same time, analyzed everything about me. I couldn’t help feeling as though I didn’t measure up to whatever standard he had for his “wife.”] I can only guess what a shock you’ve had tonight. [The question that followed turned my stomach. Of course this cocky motherfucker that sat, sprawled like he owned the place on the couch was nonchalant as ever, like the only way he would be with me was if I was with child? My molars ground hard and my hand clenched with the urge to slap him again, as I formulated my answer. The brothers and Wrath may have been willing to pussy foot around with the human terms, but I was less inclined to do so. I wanted my hellren back.] We were MATED because we are in love, and you BONDED with me. [I wanted to point out so much more than that, but held my tongue on the carving in his back.] Can you honestly tell me that your house is anything like what you expected anyway? [my eyes drifted to his left hand, where the ring we had exchanged used to reside, a sudden wave of grief washing over me.] Where’s your ring? [The words came out hoarse, through a throat that had closed up.]
RICHARD: Bonded? What fucking kind of cult shit is that, lady? [I took another long pull of the beer wishing it was ice cold and stared across at her] Fine. I believe we’re married [I conceded easily, didn’t mean I still didn’t have a few questions for her and them out there too. But I was itching to leave and I stood up to pace, my gait slow and easy before I waved my empty left hand and replied, leaving out the small detail of me ditching the platinum band down the waste disposal] Don’t have a ring… [Her name repeated in my head again and the recognition from the strip club waitress kicked in. Fuck. The name was similar if not the same.. was that why I felt like I’d been hit in the back of the head when the chick gave me her name, ‘cause I was trying to remember a wife? shit]
EHLENA: Not a cult, Rehvenge.. It’s our biology. [As i slid from the couch my mind was made up, I wouldn’t play into his delusions of being someone he wasn’t. If this insanity was going to be our life from now until his memory came back I wasn’t going to help prolong it. I stopped in front of him, crossed my arms over my “nice rack” and took a calculated look at his ring finger, trying to decide if he was telling the truth or not. The Scribe Virgin knew that I couldn’t read this persona like I could Rehv. Maybe it had been stolen when what the fuck ever caused this shit went down.] okay, I’ll buy that..for now. But it will be replaced when we get home. [I would take him home with me, I would get my male back no matter what it took. This I vowed on our son, My Rehvenge would come back to me…no matter what it took. My eyes softened and I fought the urge to beg] you will come home with me, won’t you? [I would have to bring Nehmesis to the mansion to be cared for by his auntie, at least until I knew how Rehv would react to this “new life”.]
RICHARD: [Fuck. my head was hurting. Too much shit to take in all at once. Was it only two hours ago I was brought here by the inked wonder, only to be have this info thrown at me at once, from people who wanted me to know them and looked at me like I was ripping out their fucking hearts when I didn’t. I paced some more, back and forth around the large pool table and back again. I pulled off the beanie hat to scrub hands over my hair then pulled it back on again with a grimace] tell me I did not choose to have this haircut? [I shook my head, the answer didn’t matter. I was trying to process, but the wave of desperation and hope from this woman was hitting me in the gut like a sledge hammer. Too cloying for my own comfort. I needed out. And sure as shit was not going to her home. Not until I could think straight] Look… I guess we got things to talk about… Ehlena… write down your number and address for me. I’ll stop by tomorrow.. [pausing to gage her reaction I waited for more hysterics and was surprised when I watched her stiffen her spine and quietly did as I asked, passing me a neon post-it. I could tell my actions were hurting you, and somewhere, somewhere deep inside me I didn’t want that, you seemed nice -despite the slap, which I’d deserved- but then, I wasn’t thinking like me, as each person had clearly pointed out. Who the fuck was I? [I growled nodding to the female] Later.. [and stalked out without a backward glance, to get the one who had brought me here to drop me back at my car… replaying all the shit they’d told me on a loop… once again muttering..] Who. The. Fuck. Am. I? #SymphathWho