The memories didn't return in pieces. It wasn't gradual. One moment Beatrix was unloading her dishwasher and singing along with the radio, and the next she was hitting the floor on her knees, clutching her head against the onslaught of things forgotten that began flashing through her mind.
The process was quick but it felt like ages had passed by the time she gripped the edge of her counter and rose unsteadily to her feet.
The five years of her human life before she turned had all but vanished and now she knew that it had only taken the utterance of the words, "You will not remember anything concerning your relationship with my brother, and you will no longer remember the existence of vampires."
Her first reaction was that the wording had been somewhat ironic considering Bea had woken up on fire the next day alone on a river bank with an unexplained craving for blood and no idea how she had gotten there. Except now, finally she knew what had happened to her - what had caused those gaps in her memory that nearly drove her mad.
Images raced through her mind, nearly all of them focusing on a young looking man with dark eyes and a smile that caused an echo of butterflies to form in her stomach as she re-watched pieces of her own life that had been lost - no, taken - from her.
Beatrix stared at the book shelf in front of her. More accurately, she stared up at it. When Mark had asked her to re-shelve a few things for him she didn't think he'd meant that she would have to scale the Mt. Everest of goddamn bookshelves.
She couldn't really complain though – working for her brother in law had been one of the best decisions she'd ever made. He owned a small shop that was marketed as an apothecary and bookstore but whose back room contained magic ingredients and baubles she was admittedly a bit wary of, no matter how often the warlock assured her of their harmlessness. But no matter. Times were difficult for a young, unmarried woman and at 19 she was in no way ready to settle down and become a housewife or pop out an army of children, so getting wages all on her own was absolutely vital.
Beatrix grumbled quietly to herself in French and resigned herself to her task after deciding to suck it up. She put down the stack of books she had been carrying with as much gentleness as she could – she would throw herself in front of a train before sitting through yet another one of Mark's lectures on the importance of "book safety" - and began scouring the shop for the stepping stool she knew she had seen just a moment ago.
"…that you had some of the artifacts that I've been seeking."
"Sure. Give me one moment to grab what you're looking for."
Bea stopped upon hearing Mark's footsteps trail to the back room and was immediately curious as to who the other man was, completely forgetting her task. A magic customer? A Brit, from the sound of it. This she had to see. In the year she had been employed at the shop she had never been present when a witch or warlock dropped by.
She began slowly moving in the direction of the register, wanting to sneak a peek at the man while trying to keep her heels from clacking on the floor and letting the mysterious man know that she was approaching. However, when she peeked around the shelf she'd been behind she saw that the store was empty.
Letting out an embarrassing shriek, Bea spun around and nearly tripped into the man who had suddenly appeared behind her. Instead of steadying her or apologizing, the man started to laugh loudly and sounded equal parts pleased and mocking.
Not one to stand by when she was being made a fool of, she took a deep breath and straightened herself out, brushing imaginary lint off of her skirt before coolly meeting the eyes of the customer who had thought it funny to nearly give her a heart attack.
Wow. She may have been annoyed with him, but Bea could appreciate a handsome man when she saw one. Dark eyes and hair matched with a dimpled chin made quite a picture. Unfortunately, based on the cocky smirk that now rested on his face, he was a handsome man who knew it.
Before she could get a word in to attempt to salvage her dignity, he began to speak in an amused tone, "And who might you be, Red?"
He did not.
Bea was a bit touchy when it came to the color of the hair that only just brushed her shoulders, what with it being the only trait she'd inherited from her father's Irish ancestry. But it was strawberry-damn-blonde thank you very much, not red. She had heard enough mocking about fiery tempers and the like in her lifetime to be more than sick of them.
Lifting an eyebrow she made sure to insert as much sarcasm into her voice as she could when she replied, "I'm just a lowly book keeper. Consider me thoroughly charmed by your presence."
A little bit of the condescension left his eyes and was replaced by genuine mirth but she wasn't interested in staying to have a conversation with the rude man, even if he was a prospective customer.
"Really, its been lovely meeting you, but I have to get back to work."
"May I have the name of the woman who nearly plowed me over?"
Bea began indignantly sputtering, embarrassed and hating the fact that he was getting under her skin. She desperately wanted to get in the last word, but this stupidly handsome maybe-warlock was effectively steamrolling her efforts.
"I did not plow you over!"
Completely ignoring her response, the man reached for her hand, and before she could snatch it back he had raised it to his lips and pressed a gentle kiss to it. His eyes however were anything but gentle. Something predatory had snuck into his expression, and Bea became annoyed after recognizing the leer of a man who very clearly thought she could be talked into his bed.
"I'm Kol. And it is a pleasure to meet you, darling."
Oh Jesus. Mark needed to find whatever book or trinket this guy was looking for now and come back to handle the transaction. The fluttery feeling at the pet name was reflexive. She refused to acknowledge it as anything else.
"Fine. It's Beatrix."
"Beautiful name for a beautiful girl."
Bea was seriously struggling not to roll her eyes. The very least he could do was be original, but it seemed like she'd be hearing the usual lines before he finally got the hell out of the store. Thankfully she was saved by Mark re-entering the room with a bundle wrapped in newspaper.
"Here it is. Recovered in the sixteenth century. It will take a few days for the rest of what you were seeking to arrive, and it won't be cheap, Mr. Smith."
Kol waved off Mark's words, flippantly saying "The price is unimportant. I'll return on Friday then, if that works."
Kol started to walk toward the door, but just as Bea began to turn to return to re-shelving he slowed his gait and turned his head slightly.
"I look forward to seeing you again soon, chéri Beatrix."