Chapter 4: Stop and Smell the Roses

Spirits4Just a little reminder that I do not own Twilight or The Vampire Diaries. I hope you enjoy the story! Please leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

Bella’s POV

Damon

The name played in her mind far more often than it should. More often than she should allow; for he wasn’t hers to be thinking of. She found him to be rude, temperamental, egotistical, and at times his sense of humor was downright indecent with a healthy dose of innuendo thrown in. He was also very clever and quite charming. Bella often had the thought that he could probably outwit the devil himself. Even so, he had his moments where he showed that he could be compassionate and thoughtful. However, those moments were rare. More often than not, he had an unique way of expressing the fact he genuinely cared about anyone or anything.

Sitting at her desk, she thought about how Damon had been the one fixing the Pop-Tarts for her over the last few months and not her father like she first assumed. Her lips twitched as she thought on the day she realized it. It was a typical, depressing, rainy morning when she woke up and spotted the tray sitting on her desk. Bella then lazily stretched and got out of bed, making her way over to it. She wiped the sleep from her eyes while groggily grabbing the glass of juice.  She had been chugging the tangy liquid down when her eyes fell upon the Pop-Tart sitting on a plate with its usual smiley face carved into it. Only that time, there were two miniature marshmallows cut into triangles, imitating fangs and some of the strawberry filling had been used to make them appear bloody.

She froze, then promptly choked on her orange juice at the sight, knowing damn well who was responsible. She had hissed out his name in irritation while shooting daggers around the room.

Damon’s response was to gently place his fangs along her shoulder, as though he was about to chomp down on her.

Bella recalled how she felt a sudden tingle course through her body. Even so, she was startled and let out a shrill scream, briefly wishing for a moment she could hurt him somehow. She had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the son of a bitch was smirking. An imp like him wouldn’t laugh. The thought instantly made her think of the guy she conjured up in her dreams, the one with the inky black hair and the bright blue eyes. He too, would often smirk.

Even displeased by his antics, she couldn’t help but think it was his way of showing that he cared. Damon would never voice it, of course. He didn’t need to though, because his actions often spoke for him. He always found ways to look out for her; whether it was something simple like tripping Lauren in the hallway, jamming Jessica’s locker shut, or saving her life like he did that night at the diner. Whenever she was upset about something, he always made it his business to find out exactly what was wrong and had a certain knack for lifting her spirits.

Surprisingly, he was also good with advice. A month or so after she returned to school, some of the boys in her class figured enough time had passed since her breakup with Edward and begun to pursue her. Mike Newton, in particular, drove her nearly insane by incessantly asking her out. Sometimes it was more than once throughout a day. She couldn’t even fathom the idea of dating the guy… he simply wasn’t her type. She politely declined each time and she had not known how many more ways she could possibly say, “No.”

She spoke of her frustrations to Damon, who merely told her, “The dick needs to know what exactly the word no means, Bella. Go lay down the law and let him have it! Tell him that you’ll date whoever you damn well please and it sure as hell won’t be another douchebag.”

When she first read the words he’d written in her notebook while they sat on the bed in her room, she sighed and told him that it wasn’t in her nature to be impolite.

“Fuck it.” had been his response. He went on to scrawl, “It doesn’t always pay to be nice, trust me.”

Evidently, Bonnie was aware of the whole exchange and snatched the notebook to write down her own words of wisdom, “Damon is right… to a point. Don’t be a complete bitch, but firmly tell him that you will never go out with him. If he keeps bothering you after that, then by all means, smack him or something.”

Bella giggled at the memory just as the bell rang for her next class. The advice worked, for Mike quickly moved on to Jessica. Without her ghostly friends, she probably would have never found the courage or the inclination to tell Mike off. In the past, she would have allowed him to pester her until she finally gave in.  She shuddered at the thought of what her life would be like without her two ghostly friends. They made her stronger and Bella knew that they were the balm that soothed her broken heart.

She briskly walked to her locker, fumbled through the combination and her eyes widened in surprise at what she found there, once she opened it. There was a white rose with a sheet of paper underneath it. She gingerly picked up the flower and brought it to her nose, savoring the sweet scent. She noted that there was some writing on the paper in feminine swirls that she instantly recognized to be Bonnie’s handwriting. She picked it up and smiled as she read the words, “Stop and smell the roses.”

The gesture caused a warmth to spread through Bella’s chest. She knew it was a message of support – a way of letting her know that they were there for her. Stop and smell the roses, she thought. Maybe it was their way of telling her that life was sweet and to live it – to enjoy it. For the first time in her life, she felt accepted and loved just as she was. It was something she never had before. Bella was not a typical teenager and she always felt that her mother was sorely disappointed with that fact. Her own father rarely took the time to know her as a person. Even though he loved her, she always felt she was nothing more than an obligation to him, or a burden.

It wasn’t until Edward Cullen and his family came a long that she felt special. Edward always claimed that she was the most fascinating human he ever met, and more than once told her how beautiful she was. Even though some of her insecurities washed away with his words, she always felt she’d never measure up to his inhuman grace and beauty. He knew this and threw it in her face when he ended things. His words may have shattered her very soul, but she now knew that what he spouted was nothing more than lies. “You’re not good enough for me, Bella.” echoed in her head.

“No.” she murmured under her breath, “You aren’t good enough for me.” At that moment, she realized the words to be true. He wasn’t good enough and never would be.

Bella sighed wistfully as she grabbed her books to stuff in her backpack. She set the rose safely back in her locker and was folding the note when she saw Damon’s spiky scrawl on the back the paper, “Now get your ass to class! We’ll see you at home.”

She tossed her head back and laughed out loud, eliciting stares from passersby. She didn’t have a care about them at all as she proceeded to her next class with a spring in her step that hadn’t been there before. It was the day she knew for sure that she was getting over Edward and that life would go on. More than that, she was filled with gratitude for having two friends who had been there for her in ways no one else ever had.


Bella sat tapping her pencil on her desk while she listened to her history teacher drone on and on about some battle that took place during the Civil War. If the truth were to be told, she was utterly bored and anxious to get back home to her ghosts. She let her mind wander as she thought of what they were up to. She knew the two of them had promised her that they would search for the meadow, but she also knew that they had to find a way back home.

She knew how important it was to them to get out of the limbo between the world of the living and the world they were trapped in. Bonnie had a very special guy waiting for her and Damon had Elena. While she wished them the best in their quest, she felt her a tightness in her chest at the thought of them leaving. Maybe she was selfish in the fact that she wanted to keep them there with her. She had grown attached to the both of them. There was a sisterly bond with Bonnie and well… she would be lying if she didn’t admit that she had fallen for the sarcastic and cocky Damon Salvatore.

From what she had gathered, Bella thought he deserved far better than someone who professed to love him, yet constantly chastised him for his actions. The girl reminded her of Edward with the way she walked such a holier-than-thou moral plane. On top of that, she tried to change Damon – to make him something he wasn’t. That sort of behavior was no different than the way Edward had treated her.

To hear him talk, Elena Gilbert had literally hung the moon and the stars in all her beautiful, unflawed glory. Bella’s nose scrunched up as she reflected on their conversations about Miss Perfect. Then she pursed her lips as she remembered Bonnie telling her more about Elena and how hypocritical the girl could be at times. The witch told her that Elena may have never openly admitted it, or perhaps even realized it, but she had toyed with Damon’s feelings for her time and time again. That fact did not bode well with Bella little one bit. She felt that he should have someone who loved him unconditionally, without question… someone who could truly understand him and stand by his side. He certainly didn’t have that with judgmental, self-absorbed Elena.

She was startled out of her thoughts when the bell rang, signaling the end of class. With a heavy sigh, she rose out of her seat. She stuffed her things into her locker, then headed towards the lunch room. There, she saw the empty table where she had once sat with the Cullens. She pondered briefly what her life would have been like without her two ghosts and her dream Damon. Thinking back to the first month after the family left – a time when she was nothing more than a zombie made her shudder. It was at that moment she realized that both Damon and Bonnie had saved her. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Her dream Damon, on the other hand – had set her soul free. He made her realize that she was much stronger than Edward Cullen led her to believe. She knew she was unconfident and as she thought on it, she came to the conclusion that the Cold One had played on every single insecurity she ever had. At first, it was to get her attention, then he played them to control her during their relationship. Oh, how he loved to play on her human weaknesses and use them against her to get his way!  He cruelly broke her that night in the woods by telling her she wasn’t good enough for him, knowing full well what it would do to her. Then he had the audacity to order her not to do anything stupid for Charlie’s sake!

The truth behind his lies became startling clear to her as the passing weeks went by. If it not been for her dream Damon, she probably would have never reached the conclusion that Edward played her like a finely tuned violin.

Her beautiful, blue-eyed savior had been the first person to ever truly listen when she spoke to him about herself and her life. Whatever she had been insecure about in the past was washed away. He taught her that Edward wasn’t worth a second thought and to move on with her life. He helped her to see how blessed she really was and to value the friendship she had made with her two ghosts. Most importantly, he taught her to value herself. He also instilled the belief that someone could truly love her. For that, she would be eternally thankful…even if he had been just a figment of her imagination.

The day seemed to pass ever so slowly and when the last bell finally rang, Bella made a beeline out to the parking lot. She was anxious to get home and see if her two spirits had found anything about the meadow. She needed closure from Edward and needed the chance to completely heal from the wounds he had left behind.

She hopped into her truck and let it warm up, thinking about Bonnie and Damon. Even though she could not see them, they touched her soul in ways no one else ever had. Bonnie was strong, wise and one of the most empathetic beings she ever met. Most of all, she was a determined soul. Bella knew that the witch would do absolutely anything for a cause she believed in. She admired those traits and wanted to be the strong, confident woman that Bonnie seemed to be.

Humming along to the classic rock that played from the radio, her fingers drummed subconsciously on the steering wheel to the beat of the music. Though, Bella kept her focus on the road before her, minding the icy roads.

The sight of something reflecting the light up ahead caught her eye. For some reason, she was drawn to it. She then slowly drove towards it, and there on the side of the road were two very old motorbikes next to a trash bin. She bit her lip in thought as she pulled over and parked the truck. She opened the door, then took a tentative step on the slick, icy road. She held onto the truck, easing her way around to the front towards the bikes. She smiled at the sight, pondering what it would cost to fix them up.

She took careful steps towards them before stooping down to get a better look at them. The metal was rusting, the wheels were cracked and the kickstand on one of them was absent. Junk, she thought. That was probably the most normal observation she had ever made in her life… but she wasn’t normal and unlike most people, she saw the potential beauty in everything.

Bella glanced over to her truck, remembering how her childhood friend, Jacob, had been the one to repair it and take care of it before his father sold it to Charlie. On a whim, she decided that she wanted the bikes. She looked upon the property line, eyeing the depleted old house ahead with trepidation. She walked at a snail’s pace to the front door. Just as she was about to knock, the door flew open. She gasped as she took in the sight of a burly older man with dark hair standing there with his arms crossed.

She had been taken aback by his gruff demeanor at first, but when she asked about the bikes, she won him over with a smile. By the end of their little chat, they were almost like old friends. He had given her the bikes free of charge and even loaded them onto the truck.

She smirked as she drove over to La Push and by the time she pulled up to a familiar red house, she was nearly bouncing in her seat. She cautiously got out of the truck, yelling out her friend’s name.

He bounded out of the house, running to her with a grin on his face. “Bells! What are you doing here?” He then hugged her tightly, spinning her around.

Once he set her down, she excitedly told him about finding the bikes. Jacob gazed at the bikes in thought for a minute or two before proclaiming that she shouldn’t even be thinking of riding a bike, frankly commenting that she was entirely too clumsy – that she’d only get herself killed. Bella’s excitement plummeted as chagrin set in. She then glared at the boy while he easily lifted the first bike out of the truck.

Jacob didn’t miss the look and knew that he had angered her. Wanting to appease her, he stated that he’d fix the bikes on the condition that he’d be able to keep one of them. He also told her he’d teach her to ride… once they were ready. She hastily agreed to his conditions while offering a smile. Satisfied that he had made things right, his expression grew smug as he turned to unload the second bike from the truck.

That quickly changed when the bike suddenly seemed heavier than he thought it was. He grimaced, struggling to lift the bike and just as he was about to set it down, it slipped out of his hands and landed on the ground with a loud thud. The back wheel landed on his foot, causing him to yelp out in pain. He fell to the ground, clutching his injured limb. His face then reddened while his lips pursed out.

Jacob’s whole expression reminded Bella of a cartoon character with his cheeks puffed out, blowing out a breath. She couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the sight. Her amusement instantly changed into horror when the other bike unexpectedly toppled over, landing right on top of him. Alarm for her friend briefly filled her, but when the handle bar swung around and bopped against his head, her eyes darted around suspiciously.  She then sensed a presence that she knew all too well.

“Damon Salvatore.” she uttered in barely a whisper.

Jacob cocked his head to the side questionably as he peered up at her, “Did you say something?”

Before she had a chance to respond, the handle bars of the bike twisted around once more and collided with his nose. She knew for certain then that it was her favorite vampire ghost playing tricks on the poor boy in front of her.  Bella glanced over to her friend, wondering why he did not seem to be too seriously injured. She brushed the thought off and stepped closer to him. She was not pleased with Damon’s antics and it shone on her face.

She made several attempts to lift the bike. When that didn’t work, she tried pushing it off Jacob, but the damn thing wouldn’t budge.  Finally, she braced herself, using all the strength she had in a vain attempt to raise the bike. She was positively seething and frustrated by that point. Her tiny hands balled into fists as she stood there. Her eyes then narrowed into slits as she spoke to her ghost.

“You are going to help me get this bike up and if you don’t…I will find a way to hurt you!” she hissed threateningly.

She felt something brush against her while Jacob looked over at her with squinted eyes, “Bella?”

“Stay still! Let me grab the bike…”

When she reached for the bike again, it somehow seemed light as a feather and she lifted it easily.  She could feel Damon maneuvering the bike as she pretended to steady it. Together, they propped it up against the house. His little stunt had annoyed her, but she was appreciative of the fact he helped her.

“Thank you.” she said in a barely audible whisper.  Damon responded by giving her an affectionate squeeze on her shoulder. A familiar tingle travelled down her arm and her breath hitched.

She stood stock still, the sensation overwhelming her. It wasn’t until Jacob called out to her that she snapped out of it. She rushed to the boy’s side, checking him over.

“Are you okay?” she asked anxiously.

“Sure, sure.” he said with obvious embarrassment. “Just a couple of bruises and scratches here and there…”

Warmth filled his eyes as he looked at her, “Besides, my favorite girl is here with me.”

“Are you flirting with me?” she asked incredulously.

“Naw!” he answered back teasingly with a grin.

“Jacob.” she spoke in a warning tone. “Do not go there.”

“You still have the hots for Cullen?” he asked with a look of disgust.

She regarded him carefully while thoughts of Damon entered her mind. With a wan smile, she answered him, “No. Not anymore.”

“Well, that means you’re a free agent, Bells!”

“I’m not dating anyone for a while…” she stated bluntly.

“You’ll change your mind.” he said confidently.

“Don’t bet on it, Jacob.” She met his gaze, allowing him to see the truth of her statement.

He stood up and faced her, “Why?!”

She blinked at the question, dumfounded for a moment before reaching the conclusion that she didn’t need to reveal that she had already fallen in love with another and she wasn’t about to explain the situation to a boy that would never understand it. It was none of his business.  Besides, he just wouldn’t get it; and from what she had witnessed that afternoon, it seemed that he had developed some sort of crush on her. Telling him the truth would make things far too complicated. She wanted those bikes fixed, so she reasoned that it just wouldn’t do to piss him off.

She decided to be somewhat truthful with him as she quickly clarified that she wanted time for herself to concentrate on school. He had scoffed at the reply, then rolled his eyes before inviting her into his home.

They guzzled sodas as they sat chatting in the tiny living room. Bella made herself comfortable on the sofa, while Jake’s tall form squeezed into the recliner opposite her. The conversation was stilted, at first. Then it quickly picked up once they started making plans to fix the bikes.

An hour later, the two of them could be found laughing as they reminisced about their childhood. They recalled how they had made mud pies and dug for worms during the many fishing trips their fathers took them on.  It made her feel nostalgic for the simpler times when the world seemed so innocent – a time when she was completely unaware that vampires and other supernatural beings existed.

Bella felt her shyness melt away in the younger boy’s presence. A feat that had only been accomplished around her dream Damon and her two ghosts. She looked around the room briefly, noting that she didn’t sense the manifestation of her favorite spirit. She found it strange that she always felt a certain emptiness when he wasn’t near.

When Edward first left, she had felt an endless void in her heart. A void that came to be filled by her favorite vampire ghost. She couldn’t explain it, but she felt a warmth fill her very soul whenever he was close by.  It was a connection she had never felt with anyone before.  A smile played on her lips as she thought about it. She then sighed wistfully, knowing that her feelings were most likely one-sided. She was saddened by the notion and bowed her head, hiding her face from the young boy sitting across from her.

All of a sudden, she felt the couch dip. A warm hand then ran alongside her back. She stiffened at the gesture and turned her head to Jacob.

“Please don’t do that.” she requested quietly.

He sighed and flopped back on the couch with irritation. “So, what’s the issue with a friend comforting another friend, huh?” he asked with a bite to his voice.

“I didn’t need comforting.” she replied brusquely.

“Your face says otherwise.” he snapped at her.

She wearily blew out a breath, “I miss him.” she muttered.

“He’s not worth your missing him!” he said with a low growl.

Bella’s eyes widened in shock, taking in the fact that she’d spoken her thoughts out loud. She carelessly declared, “I didn’t mean Edward…”

Jacob eyed her, puckering his brow, “Well then, who are you missing?”

“Uh…n-no one,” she stuttered out nervously.

“Sure, sure.” he uttered, not believing her. He jerked his thumb towards the kitchen, “You wanna stay for dinner? Charlie is probably working late.”

She was grateful for the abrupt change of topic and smiled. “Are you cooking the dinner, Jacob Black?” she teased.

He chuckled, “Naw, I was kinda hoping you would.”

All of a sudden, the front door was opened and three young men strutted in. Their eyes landed on Jacob and Bella sitting on the couch. She took in their appearance as each of them looked over to her. There was spite brewing in their eyes as they did so. She bristled in her seat and something told her she needed to get out of there – fast.

“Sam, Paul, Jared.” Jacob addressed them with a curt nod. “You know Bella, right?”

The three of them said not a word as they all stood up straight with their arms crossed. She noted how they all wore dirty cut-off shorts with no shirts. They also had matching tattoos and cropped haircuts. She wandered if it was a rite of passage for the tribe or some kind of gang-related thing. She snorted at the thought. Yeah, a gang in Forks. That’s a laugh.

“Bells was about to make dinner.” Jacob announced gleefully.

A silence filled the room just as a gust of air swirled about. The newspaper on the coffee table fell to the floor and the wind chimes hanging by the door gave off an eerie sound as they jingled about relentlessly. Bella could feel the hairs on her neck stand up while a chill went through her.

She glanced over to the three newcomers, taking in their stiffened postures. Their eyes darted around the room furiously. The tallest one stared at her with an incensed look upon his face, as if she was the one causing it. An ominous feeling washed over her instantly. Even so, she met his eyes and shot him a glare. She was not about to be intimidated.

The lights then flickered on and off.  Suddenly, she felt that familiar warmth in her chest and knew Damon was nearby. Any iota of fear that she may have had instantly melted away.  A tense silence hung thickly in air, broken by the sound of a buzz as the power went out.

“What the fuck is going on?” Jacob ground out.

“I dunno…” one of the guys spat in reply.

Bella broke her gaze with the one who still had his eyes on her when she felt a nudge in her back. The tingle that came along with it told her that it was Damon.

The room was still when the candle on the coffee table sparked. While the males jumped back in fright, Bella simply smiled. The candle alighted, causing a nervous giggle to escape her lips.

Everyone turned to look at her disbelievingly.

“Bells, do you find something funny?” Jacob barked out.

She shrugged, “I need to go…”

“But-” he whined.

She promptly cut him off, “I’ll be back later.”

He reached out for her, but Bella brushed him off. “I said I have to go. Okay?!”

“Where you gotta go, Little Girl?” one of the other guys snarled at her.

“Anywhere but here…” she retorted snarkishly.

She then felt another nudge in her back. She could feel a sense of urgency about it while she moved forward, stepping around Paul, Jared and Sam.

When she got to the truck, she found that it was already running as she climbed in. She stepped on the gas and drove to her house, bewildered.

The drive was quiet, allowing her mind to wander. Why had her two ghosts ushered her out of there so quickly? What was it about the three young men that made her hairs stand on end?

She knew that Damon and Bonnie wouldn’t have spooked them unless they knew something was amiss. The vampire had an extremely protective nature for those he cared about. He already proved that a few times before.

She thought back to when he had tripped Lauren to defend her honor. She smiled faintly at the thought. She sighed as she remembered when she hit a patch of black ice on the way to school one morning…the truck had spun out of control on the road. She recalled how she screeched, gripping the steering wheel tightly. Somehow or another, Damon stopped the truck and she found herself pulled over to the side of the street. The door then quickly flung open, the bitter cold washing over her tear-stained face. She recollected the electricity that flowed through her while he rubbed her back, comforting her the best he could.

She knew without a doubt that she’d never been more grateful for anyone in her life. Sure, once upon a time, she had been thankful for the presence of Edward and his family. They must have cared for her on some level. Otherwise, they would have not ever accepted her into their world. But with them, she always felt inadequate and undeserving of their affection. Thinking on it, she realized their love came at a price. They wanted her to adhere to their pristine, designer label appearance. They wanted her to adopt their ideals of what was wrong and what was right in the world. They believed human drinking vampires were all bad, and that vampires in general were all monsters. Edward himself believed that vampires had no soul. Yet, she had a vampire ghost who proved all their assumptions wrong.

Ever since she was introduced to the supernatural world, she held the belief that vampires had a soul. While she respected the Cullens for being ‘vegetarian’ vampires by feeding off animals, she always felt that they were hiding who they really are. They lived a human existence – something that was nearly impossible and ridiculed in their world. They thought themselves far superior to the human drinking vampires because they lived by human standards.

While she may have had a bad experience with a tracker that hunted her down, she could never find it in her heart to judge vampires by the diet that they kept. Edward’s brother Jasper was a human drinker in the past, before he met up with the Cullens. Yet, he was so caring, so gentle, that she would never judge him for it.

Bella briefly wondered if the high moral plane in which the family placed themselves was partially to blame for the incident that took place on her birthday. If their father figure, Carlisle, had simply allowed Jasper to follow the diet to which he was accustomed, maybe he wouldn’t have felt that desperate thirst for her blood when she cut her finger. Maybe if they all followed their natural diet, she wouldn’t have been faced with six ravenous vampires and an empath that felt their impulse to drain her dry. She knew with certainty that feeling their bloodlust, along with his own was much too much for him, so his instincts took over, causing him to lunge for her.

She knew they had chastised him for his actions, and that they were ashamed by what happened. She was never one to hold grudges, so she’d forgiven Jasper instantly. What she would never forgive, however was the fact that they all cruelly abandoned her, using the episode as an excuse to remove themselves from her life. Edward had even told her point blank that he was tired of living a lie – that he would never be human. She felt pity for him at the time, knowing how he hated what he was. But as she reflected back on it, she held no sympathy for him. It was the life he chose to live. He just never accepted what he was, and that was no one’s fault but his own. She started to feel a growing resentment towards him – because instead of taking responsibility for his part in what happened, he blamed it on her and the fact he wasn’t human.

She offered him her love, her soul and her very life for the taking. She fought for him the night he ended things, whereas he simply gave up. She held the thought that love is worth fighting for, and if Edward did love her, he would have fought for her… he wouldn’t have ran away like a coward.

She knew Damon had the same point of view she did. After all, he had risked his very existence time and time again to save Elena. He was no longer a part of the living world, yet he fought to get back to her, even if the odds seemed impossible. While she was envious of Elena and the fact she held Damon’s heart; she couldn’t help but admire the fact his persistence, for he never gave up. She smiled as the thought filled her head. Damon Salvatore was no coward, that’s for sure. She hoped Elena knew how lucky she was to have his love. It was something real, unlike what she had with Edward.


Bella pulled into the driveway of her house, switched off the ignition, then made her way inside. Once she was in her bedroom, she clicked on the computer, then flopped on the bed.

Tension hung heavy in the room as they waited on the computer. She took off her sneakers and tossed them onto the floor with a heavy sigh. The past and the thoughts of Damon that had weighed heavily in her mind vanished, being replaced with theories on what could have possibly caused her two ghosts to behave as they did.

“Does anyone want to tell me what exactly is going on?”

A book was then gently placed in her lap. It was a book she had purchased months ago in Port Angeles about Quileute legends. The pages rapidly turned until they opened up to a chapter on werewolves. She was perplexed as she quickly read through it. Her heart thumped loudly, recalling a conversation she once had with her younger friend.

At the time, she had been seeking information on the Cullens. With a little bit of flirting, she had cajoled a story from Jacob about Cold Ones and men who turned into wolves to protect the tribe.  A story she believed to be nothing more than a fable – even if legends of the Cold Ones, who were thought to be vampires, had turned out to be true. However, she never actually believed that it was possible for werewolves to exist. That is, until she met Bonnie and Damon.

They had told her all about werewolves.  They even had a friend named Tyler that was a hybrid of the werewolf-vampire variety. She shuddered at the thought of their archenemy, Klaus. He too, a hybrid – a very dangerous one at that. She sucked in a breath before speaking.

“Are you two trying to tell me that the guys on the reservation are werewolves?” she asked nervously.

A sheet of paper was placed before her a moment later. “No” read the swirly script.

The computer screen glowed as it came to life. Microsoft Word was quickly pulled up and it seemed instantaneous when the words appeared on the screen. Bella blinked rapidly, sitting in stunned silence as she read the words.

You might want to go buy a flea collar or two.

She eventually found her voice, “What do you mean?”

It means I don’t want you to get fleas.

She shook her head at Damon’s sarcasm, keeping her eyes locked on the screen. “So, the stories are true? The boys turn into werewolves?”

No, they are shapeshifters. Werewolves only turn during a full moon. These guys were out in the fucking sun when they all turned into giant wolves and ran off. We saw them up close and personal. Sweetheart, it wasn’t pretty.

She stared at the screen in fear. She then tugged frightfully on her comforter, chewing on her bottom lip. A few moments passed before she worked up the courage to ask if the wolves would hurt her. She felt the bed dip and the warmth that encircled her hand told her it was Bonnie. She smiled wanly as she happened to glance up at the computer screen.

NOT ON MY WATCH.

The words sat there on the monitor and she couldn’t take her eyes off of them. She felt pressure on her hand as the witch squeezed it. It was comforting and reassuring, but most of all she felt safe.

The afternoon passed by quickly while the two of them recounted how they came across the shifters during their search for the meadow. Bonnie and Damon had overheard three young men chatting about catching the scent of ‘leeches.’ Intrigued, the both of them eavesdropped and learned that a Cold One was in town.

It wasn’t long after that the wind shifted and the stale, sweet aroma of a Cold One wafted through the air. The men immediately shifted into horse-sized wolves, bounding into the forest.

Unfazed, Damon followed suit, easily keeping up with them, but Bonnie fell behind. He explained that from what he gathered, it was a scent that was a couple days old, leading straight to the Cullen mansion. The trail ended there and the wolves gave the place a hasty once-over before heading back into the woods. Bella’s interest piqued when she heard that bit of the story. She sat straight up watching the words fly onto the computer screen. She then took in a sharp breath when the words came to a halt.

“Damon??” she questioned.

Don’t worry your pretty little head off. There weren’t any disco balls around. It’s probably somebody passing through… Fido, Goofy, and Scooby-Doo just wanted to prove how bad-ass they are. Which they aren’t, FYI.

She glowered at the computer chair, guessing he was sitting in it. “F.Y.I? Really?! Do you know how stupid that sounds coming from a guy as old as you?”

May I remind you I’m the one doing the typing? I’d be nice to me if you want the rest of the story.

She sighed heavily and muttered under her breath, “You’re such an ass.”

I know…

She tossed a book at the chair out of frustration.

Was that supposed to hurt?

The desk chair then scooted across the room while the keyboard fell to the floor. “What the hell?” Bella shrieked.

A piece of paper was handed to her, “I gave him an aneurysm.” Bella grinned when a smiley face was drawn onto the paper.

“Serves him right. I hope it hurts!”

She then felt a tingle along her ankle and was unceremoniously yanked to the floor, landing on her rear end. Seconds later, the chair was back in its original spot and the keyboard was placed upon the desk.

SERVES YOU RIGHT!

She gaped at the screen with a huff. But when a huge smiley face popped up, she burst out laughing.

“You’re such a dick.” she uttered in a chiding tone.

She then pushed herself up off the floor and sat on the bed. She wrung her hands, thinking of the topic at hand. “Are you sure they’re not here?”

Positive. The scent is old and the house is empty.

Bella was glad for that because she honestly never wanted to see Edward again. “So you’re thinking that this is another nomad passing through?”

Probably.

“Do you think the wolves will do anything about it?”

He replied that they would probably wait and see what the Cold One did. He let his opinion known he considered them foolish by not investigating things further. Then again, the only Cold Ones they were familiar with were the complacent animal drinkers that the Cullens were.

From his point of view, what the wolf pack failed to realize is that human-drinking Cold Ones were much stronger and faster. Their bloodlust was ten times stronger than that of a traditional vampire like himself. By the cocky remarks they overheard, he garnered the wolves were arrogant in making the assumption that all Cold Ones were the weaker species and there would be no issues if a confrontation was to take place.  As protectors of their tribe and the people of Forks, it was a stupid notion that could cost lives.

Bella read what he typed out with rapt attention. That fact that the strange nomad’s scent clung around the Cullen mansion made her nervous as it become glaringly clear to her that the Cold One was most likely looking for Edward and his family. She was a known associate of theirs and wondered how long it’d be before the nomad came looking for her. Making her even more frightened was the fact that she didn’t even know who the Cold One was. The fear felt heavy in her chest as she not only worried for herself, but her father.

She remembered her attack vividly, and how the tracker that hunted her down had been especially vicious. It was not a memory she could ever forget. She fretted about the tribe and how they looked upon her with such hate and fury. She knew with certainty there was a snowball’s chance in hell that they’d protect her.

Her mind swirled with question after question while she sat silently on the bed. Was Jacob a shifter, too? Could Bonnie and Damon protect her? What did the Cold One want?

Don’t worry so much! We got this! You stay away from the puppies and we hold off going to the meadow for a few days. Keep your ass home and you’ll be fine.

The words on the monitor caught her attention like a beacon in the night and once again, she felt safe. She then nodded in acquiescence with a sigh. If truth be told, Bella was disappointed. She had a deep-seated need to see the meadow – a physical reminder of Edward to say goodbye to. It would be the one thing that could make her feel completely free of the ties she had to the inhuman boy and the family she once loved. Only then would she be able to let go of the past that haunted her. Even though she was afraid of what the future may bring, she was ready to face it.

It was soon dinnertime and she found herself seated at the kitchen table with a plate of pancakes before her. They were elaborately decorated with fruit and whipped cream to mimic a vampire’s face. She knew damn well it was Damon’s doing, for she could literally feel the mischief coming from him. She hid her smile and proceeded to eat them.

She reveled in the contentment she felt, setting aside the fears of a Cold One being in town, along with the newfound information that the boys at La Push turned into wolves. She even pushed away the thought that Bonnie and Damon would eventually leave her. She decided then and there that she would always stop and smell the roses, to live in the moment. She would take life as it comes – the good, the bad, the ugly and not ever take it for granted. Because living was worth it and more importantly, she was worth it.


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20 thoughts on “Chapter 4: Stop and Smell the Roses

  1. Pingback: A Spirited Update | A Writer's Corner

  2. Awesome as always hon. I enjoyed reading this update, thanks for sharing it with us and I can’t wait to read more of it…until next time…huggs.

  3. Damon is already protective of Bella, i know he would somehow protect her from the *wolves* and any cold ones that would come to harm Bella. Hell Bonnie and him would work together on this. Plus Damon does need to take a good look at his relationshiip with Elena. He is being played just as bad as Edward played Bella. Looking forward to another update hopefully soon.

  4. It sure would be nice to have ghosty Damon and Bonbon watching your back.
    It seemed the pack was a bit more hostile to Bella than they were in cannon. I wonder what the reason for that is.
    I can see Jake possibly coming around and giving Bella shit for not coming back late like she said she would. But really after what happened and not knowing Bella’s ghosty pals were behind the scaring, I would think it would be understandable for Bella to appear to not wanna come around with that kind of thing happening (did that even make sense? I wasn’t sure how to word it lol).
    I’m looking forward to seeing Damon and Bonnie return physically.
    Can’t wait for more!

  5. I love that Bella is starting to realize the stark contrast between what Edward did to control her and what real love could be like. I also agree that she somehow needs to convince Damon of the same thing about Elena. But what I absolutely adored the most about this chapter was that Damon and Bonnie both always told Bella the complete truth while managing to help her physically and emotionally. 🙂

  6. I L’dMAO over the part with the Bikes VS Jake – too funny!! Sam, Paul, and Jared seem to have a terrible case of ball rash. All the little instances of one or the other of “her” ghosts protecting her or cheering her up, etc., were great! Can we have more tripping of annoying classmates? Puppies? Maybe Laurent and/or IkkyVikky? Great chapter and I can’t wait to read more!

  7. Love the chapter and how they are empowering her. I’m researching the vampire diaries and I think you hit this one in the bag!!! I can’t wait to see what else you have them do!!!

  8. Pingback: Updates 2-24-16 | Fanfiction Minions

  9. Thank you so, SO much for continuing to write! I LOVE reading your stories and the very creative twists you come up with. May I please have my own matched set of Bonnie and Damon to watch over and enliven my days? Pretty please?

  10. really enjoyed this chapter. damon is still in ass and i love seeing a better healthy friendship for bonnie. i cannot wait till damon realizes he loves bella more than elena…update soon pls.

  11. Pingback: Chapter 4: Stop and Smell the Roses | lolalafy

  12. You are an amazing writer, never doubt it! While I am sure everyone would appreciate an update PRONTO 😉 do this for yourself first 🙂 looking forward to reading more of your stories if you ever feel like publishing ❤

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