Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters.

Chapter 7

I paced in Billy's living room, watching over Paul as he slept. I laughed a little when he started to snore, turning his back to me.

I kept a steady communication with my dad, who has Lucy investigating the 'bond' thing. "What are you doing here?" A groggy voice spoke out. I turned away from the window to meet equally brown eyes, who was looking around confused.

"You don't remember yesterday?" I asked, stepping closer to Paul. He sat up, a frown appearing on his face.

"No, but I do have a migraine the size of Earth." He commented. I walked over to the coffee table, sliding the plate over to him.

"Emily stopped by and left this platter for you. Hopefully you're hungry." I said.

"You never answered my question. Why are you here?" Paul stared me down, angry glint in his eyes.

"That should be something that you should discuss with Sam. I'm only here per request." I commented, annoyed with his attitude.

"Sam wouldn't allow a bloodsucker on our land, let alone associate with one." Paul snapped.

I'm not going to lie, that comment hurt my feelings, but I kept a steady breath to keep calm.

"I'm tired of explaining myself to people. Trust me, this is the last place I want to be, especially here with you." I grumbled, grabbing my sweater from the chair. I went for the front door, but Paul beat me to it, slamming his hand against it. I saw the shake of his body, knowing this is a warning sign for his change.

"Paul… " I said his name, not knowing what to do. His eyes closed shut, hand forming a tight fist. His breathing even out, soon after his trembles faded.

"I'm fine." He grumbled, his eyes opening again. My eyes looked down, avoiding his stare, only to find our hands intertwined and that my body shifted closer to be near him. I didn't even feel this bond, yet my body is responding to him.

I didn't like not feeling in control and after Edward… I pulled my hand away, stepping away from Paul to breathe.

"Let me out." I said, softly, meeting his eyes. Paul seemed to struggle, unsure what to do. Seconds later, he turned away from me and disappeared in Mr. Black's house. I exhaled as I opened the door.

I stopped in my path to see the pack outside, goofing around. They all looked at me in unison, but I laughed as I saw a football hit Embry in the head.

"Do any of you own shirts anymore?" I asked, amused, finally noticing their half dress.

"Too much manliness for you, Bella?" Embry asked, rubbing his head.

I clicked my tongue, rolling my eyes in a thinking motion. "Not impressed at all, especially with you. Leave Emily's cooking alone, you starting to show." I teased. I rolled my eyes when he started to fake cry.

"Anyways, I'm leaving. Tell Sam I can't do the whole babysitting thing." I said, walking off the porch.

"Bella." I groaned as Sam spoke, coming from around the house. I was hoping to sneak off, but that's not happening.

I turned around to face him, but to find Paul standing closer. I looked to Sam, who nodded at my unasked question, which was: Did he tell Paul? And judging from looks he was giving me, I would assume so.

I couldn't tell if he was happy or disgusted, but he stared and stared some more. "Sam, I need to go." I stated once more, hoping he take pity on me, but nope. The look on his face said it all to me.

"We discuss this last night, Bella." Sam countered, stepping closer.

"I understand what we discuss and I will help as much as I can to help out, but I can't put my life on hold. Plus, I have to talk to someone about this 'imprinting' and see if they can be of assistance." I explained.

"And will you please stop staring at me like that!" I snapped, my irritation spiked.

Paul's eyes blinked, before frowning at me. "I can't help it, Ms. Prissy Pants." He snapped.

A feeling of giddiness swelled in me when he said that annoying nickname, but I immediately squashed the feeling. "Your attitude is growing old." I retorted. Someone snorted, while the boys laughed at us. Sam looked over my shoulder and the laughs died down to awkward coughs.

"What about Tanya, then? Should we be expecting her?" Sam questioned, ignoring Paul's questioning look.

"She has been trying to kill me for nearly an year, so the answer to your question… yes." I joked, laughing at myself. I trailed off when everyone was looking between Paul and I. "What?"

"I'm taking you home. Stay here until I come back with my truck." Paul said, looking at me once more.

"I'm okay to walk home, Paul." I started to argue, but my protests died when I saw his eyes darken.

"No, I will take you home, so stop being difficult." Paul ordered, before running off.

"No, I will take you home, so stop being difficult." Embry mimic perfectly, while Jared made hearts out of his fingers.

Paul and I rode in silence, with straying looks between the two of us.

I tapped my fingers against my knee, trying to push through the awkwardness.

"Sorry." Paul said, suddenly. I questioned if I heard correctly.

"Sorry? For what?" I asked, looking towards him.

"For breaking your collarbone. I wouldn't have done…" Paul started to say. I eyed his hand on the steering wheel, white appeared on his knuckles.

"Paul, I'm fine and I'm not mad. I've been through worst." Obviously that was the wrong thing to say, because Paul jerked off to the side of the road.

He got out of the car, slamming the door shut. I jumped from the surprise of it as I watched him pace back and forth.

He slammed his hand against the hood of the car, snapping me out of my daze. I got out the car and walked to Paul, whose back was to me.

I swallowed my hesitation, my hand smoothed down his forearm and onto his hand, locking our fingers together. I figured that touch was what he responds to well. I wrapped my other arm against his waist, laying my head against his extremely warm back.

"I don't like feeling… so out of control. But when you are near me… touching me. I have never felt so right. I don't know whether to find it freeing or terrifying." Paul said, locking his hand around the one on his waist.

I didn't know what to say to that, so I remained quiet. I understood, no I felt, the way he was feeling, but then Edward's memory pops into my mind, sending my emotions into a tail spin. I never wanted to be that vulnerable, but it seem fate doesn't really care. I felt slight guilty not embracing this once in a lifetime, seeing that people all around the world seek for their other half for years.

"Someone's been taking notes from the Notebook." I mumbled, getting the reaction that I wanted. Paul laughed, patting my hand. He pulled away, turning around to face me. It was nice to see a lightness to him, more his age.

"In all seriousness, I want to figure this out and I hope my presence is enough to sustain you until we find a solution." I said.

Paul nodded, walking me over to the passenger side, opening my door. After getting in, he closes my door. He gets back to the driver side.

After about ten minutes, we pulled up to my house. Paul settled the engine, sitting back in his seat.

"I would invite you in, but vampires and wolves doesn't seem like the best situation right now." I said. Also, I knew that Kol was in the house and he was great at antagonizing people.

Paul nodded. I went to get out the truck, but Paul grabbed my hand. I turned to look at him.

"Stay out of the woods, Bella. If you are in trouble, I will find you. Promise me." Paul asked me, looking into my eyes.

With the way he was looking at me, I didn't have the heart to argue. "Okay, Paul." I retorted, giving his hand a tight squeeze. I let go, getting out the car, then closed the door. I felt his eyes followed me all the way up to the door.

I knocked on the door, not having my key. "Who is it?" Kol spoke, knowing exactly who was at the door.

"Open the damn door!" I snapped, smacking the door.

"Sorry, I don't know a 'open the damn door'." Kol mocked. Patience wearing thin, I was just about to kick the door in when it swung opened, Mikael popping into sight.

"Bella, you're okay." Mikael says, stepping away to make room for me to walk through.

"Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?" I said, glaring at Kol as I walked into the kitchen.

"No reason. Just worried." Mikael said, sliding a cup of coffee my way. I smiled widely as picked up the hot beverage, moaning at the Vanilla scent.

"I'm fine. Where is Dad and Lucy?" I asked, then sipped on the steaming coffee.

"They are both in the office, going over grimoires." Mikael explained.

I 'hmmed' as I made my way to the office. The doors were wide opened, so I walked in to find books spread out all over. Lucy was lounging on the leather couch and Dad was sitting at his desk, flipping through the pages of heavy leather bound book.

They both looked up at me. "So, what do you think?" I asked, getting right down to the subject.

They looked between the two of them, before settling back on me. "We combed over these texts several times, since you called." Dad said, sitting the book down.

"Do you think we could find the answers in these… volumes?" I asked, glancing at the books.

"Bella, all witches are bound to the Earth, but we all have specialities like… doctors. I specialized into manipulating natural elements, which the Bennett line does best. There are some who master bonds or auras." Lucy explained, looking to me.

"Do you know of any witches that can be of assistance?" I asked, wishing to skip all the dramatic pauses.

"I know of a few. Two of them are in New Orleans and the one I trust is a recluse. The last time I saw him was two years ago… in Ghana." Lucy responded, looking to Elijah.

"And the witches in New Orleans hate vampires, Mikaelsons in particular." Dad finished the thought.

"I will try to connect with the other side and talk with my ancestors, but we are very protective of our own, so I don't expect results." Lucy said, getting up from the couch.

"What about my ancestors? You think they would be assistance." I asked. I mean my lineage has to go beyond Esther.

"Your ancestors always tend to lean towards the dark arts, Bella. Even if I wanted to, they don't reside with light witches." Lucy explained.

"And I will try to make contact with New Orleans witches." Dad said, leaving the room with his cell.

"So, how do you feel?" Lucy asked, a smile gracing her face.

"Feel about what?" I asked, avoiding the obvious.

Lucy's brown eyes narrowed up at me. "Bella, I mean you found your soulmate. Are you not happy?" She asked, moving her legs up on the couch, twisting to face me as I sat down next to her.

"A part of me, yes. I can't deny that. But Edward... " I started to say, but Lucy cut in.

"Edward's not here, Bella and you can't keep putting your life on hold or stop experiencing. Whether you want to be with Paul or not, that's okay! That doesn't make you a bad person. If you do decide you want to be with him, it doesn't have to be a relationship from the start. It's an adjustment for all parties. Start off at your own pace and he will just have to respect that." Lucy said, patting my leg.

"Thanks, that actually made me feel a little bit better." I smiled, getting up from the couch. "Same day, next week." I joked, leading to Lucy to laugh a little.

I walked out of the office and into the living room to find Mikael sitting on the couch. What made me stop was what he was wearing. I rubbed at my eyes, making sure they wasn't deceiving me. I looked again and he was still wearing a black t-shirt with gray sweatpants.

"This wasn't my idea." Mikael simply said, scowl on his face.

"I don't know how many times I tried to convince Dad and you to wear casual wear, and now that I see it… it's weird. You don't look like a thousand year old vampire." I stated, sitting down next to Mikael.

"I don't like this… fleece! It's too soft." Mikael pulled at his sweatpants, while I just laughed at his expression. I grabbed the amazon fire tv remote to browse to Supernatural on Netflix.

I clicked on where I left off, curling up against the couch. Mikael seem to forget his attire as his focus went to the show.

I was just settling down when Rebekah made an appearance, stopping in the doorway. "You look nice, Dad." She said, completely ignoring my presence. Mikael just smiled, mostly likely at the 'Dad' part, which surprises me that she would be comfortable using that term. She went to sit on the recliner, but I stopped her.

"Why don't you sit here? It is more comfortable." I said, giving the two more bonding time. Rebekah gave me look before switching spots with me. I reclined in my seat, finally relaxing after the long day.

Day bled into night and I was the only one left in the living room, watching Supernatural. I get up to open the windows to let in the cool rainy breeze, but frowned when I saw Paul walking along the perimeter of my house.

"What the hell?" I whispered, pulling away to go find my shoes. I walked to the kitchen, slipping on my house boots. I stepped out, closing the door behind me. I ran around the house, only to bump into Paul, who caught me around the waist.

"Bella, what are you doing out?" He asks, shielding his eyes from the heavy rain.

"I should be asking you that. I thought you went home." I said, trying to keep dry unsuccessfully.

"I never said I wouldn't come back. I'm making sure you're safe." Paul said annoyed, looking down at me.

I laughed. "Grumpy, I'm fine!" I argued.

"I know you're fine, because I'm here. So go back inside and go to sleep." Paul retorted, leading me back to the door. We stopped outside the door, protected from the rain.

"You have two choices: either go home and get some sleep or you can come in and get some sleep." I ordered, swiping the wet hair off his forehead.

"Are you always this stubborn?" He countered, planting his hand above my head and looking down at me. I swallowed down the anxiety at the way he was looking at me. I felt flutters in my stomach, failing at the smile that crept on my face.

"According to the circumstances, we are meant to be, so we are stuck together." I teased, turning to go in the house. I stepped out of the way to let him in.

"Go through those doors into laundry room, remove your clothes." I rolled my eyes at his smirk. "Don't flatter yourself. I will be back." I said. I went upstairs to Mikael's room. I knocked on the door, waiting for a response.

"Come in." Mikael said.

I opened the door to see Mikael, sitting against the headboard of his bed. He looks up to me, smiling. "Finally going to bed." He states, laying his pad on his lap.

"Soon, but I was wondering if … Rebekah bought you more shirts and sweatpants. And if I can borrow a pair?" I asked, moving more into the room.

"She's bought me a month supply worth. I'm sure I can spare a pair." Mikael said, going to his closet. I stepped closer, but stopped when I saw a familiar face. There was a beautiful painting of Elizabeth, Niklaus' mother, sitting on a stand. The lights hit the portrait on a perfect angle.

The painting was of that night she gave birth. The painting capture the true love and admiration as she held Niklaus in her arms.

"Do you like it?" Mikael asked, come to stand next to me.

"It is amazing! Dad always wondered where Klaus got his interest in art." I commented, staring at the painting.

Mikael smiled, proudly. "I remembered Niklaus walking in on me, or my other self, drawing. I think it was the only time that Mikael spent quality time with him, teaching him. I plan on giving him the painting of Elizabeth." Mikael stared at the painting.

"Klaus probably won't admit it out loud, but I'm sure he will appreciate the fact he has a face to put to the mystery woman in his life. To see the love that she held for him in her last moments. You did beautifully with this painting, Mikael." I commented, throwing an around his shoulder.

"That makes me feel better about it. I'm anxious to see him." Mikael said, closing the closet.

I frowned as I heard what he said. "What? When are you seeing Klaus?" I asked, taking the set of clothes from Mikael.

"Elijah was denied help from the witches, but Niklaus request urgent family meeting. Elijah has us flying out tomorrow." Mikael shared, but stopped in his tracks.

"Why do you need a pair of my clothes?" Mikael asks, sitting back on his bed.

If it was Dad asking me, I probably would consider to lie. "Paul was scouting outside and he refused to go home, so I didn't want to leave him in the rain, so he will be staying with us tonight." I said. I leaned over and kiss his cheek before heading for the door.

"I will be expecting him at breakfast." Mikael said in a way that I couldn't deny.

"Okay, Gramps! Goodnight." I laughed, closing the door.

I headed back kitchen to see laundry partially closed. "Paul, I have clothes."

He peeks out from behind the door, looking to me. I settled the clothes in his hands. I moved around the kitchen, grabbing artisan bread, cheddar cheese, butter and bacon. I placed two skillets on the stove, turning on one electric burner.

"Do the clothes fit alright?" I asked, settling bacon in the skillet in low heat. I placed a cutting board down and started to butter several pairs of artisan bread.

I heard the door shuffled opened, heavy footsteps stepping on the wooden floors.

"What are you cooking?" Paul asked, standing over my shoulder.

"A bacon grilled cheese. My favorite food. Ever had one?" I questioned going to sit down.

"It never crossed my mind to mix the two." He commented, taking a seat at the table across from me.

"Well get ready to get your mind blown. The best thing since French Toast." I commented.

"I'm a waffle person, personally." Paul smiled at my offended look.

"That is a deal breaker for me. I rather you preferred pancakes." I went to get up, but waved me down at went to flip the bacon for me.

"Waffles are good with cream cheese and peanut butter. You should try it sometimes." Paul tried to persuade me. He set the bacon off to the side and took control off the cooking. He started the other pan, while I just observed.

"We'll see about that." I mumbled, tapping my fingers on the table. "So, how do Sam feel about all this?" I asked, not wanting Paul to get in trouble with the pack.

"He understands, because if he was in the same situation, he would do the same. Even if he didn't, I would still be here." Paul said.

I smiled, feeling the warmth of my cheeks. "That's sweet, but I can protect myself, Paul. You don't have to put everything on hold. I'm sure there is other things you want to do, besides babysit me." I countered, trying to put a damper on my feelings, because the way I'm feeling now… it is too fast.

He sets a plate bacon grilled cheese sandwiches in the middle of us, one already in his free hand. "You right. There is other things I want to do… like to get to know you better than already. Look Bella, I know how you feel about this entire situation, especially after that… bloodsucker left." He gruffed out the last part, ignoring my frown at his term for vampires.

"You don't have to feel obligated to be with me. What matters is how you feel. Nothing else." Paul stated, already on his second sandwich.

I felt sad that he didn't he consider himself in the equation as if he didn't matter. "What about your feelings, Paul? Even if I didn't have the bond affecting me, I would still want you to be happy." I countered. I placed my sandwich back on the plate, focusing my attention on him.

"Just you breathing make me happy, Bella. Why are you pressing the issue so much?" Paul looked to me, seeing myself reflected in his eyes.

"Because you're my bonded. This bond works both ways, you know. I don't know. I'm just frustrated. I feel like I'm failing you, Paul. Edward has me so turned, I don't know left from right or up from my down. I feel stupid." I took a deep breath, trying to avoid the waterworks.

"Cullen is an idiot. It makes me mad, yet extremely grateful that he didn't appreciate all you. And you're not failing me, Bella. Don't put that pressure on your shoulders." Paul looked at me seriously, clasping his hand onto mines.

"You're pretty sweet when want to be." I teased, patting his face softly.

He growled. "Keep that as our secret." Paul whispered, looking at me. He slid the plate to me, urging me to eat. I picked up the sandwich, taking a bite.

We sat in silence for about ten, finishing off the last two sandwiches. I took the plates, while Paul grabbed the the pans and the knife from the stove. We stood side by side, washing and drying dishes. I finished washing the knife, handing it over to Paul. A moment later, I smelled the blood before I heard the hiss. I looked to Paul's hand to see a shallow cut on his palm.

"I'm sorry, Paul." I said, grabbing a dry towel from the nearby counter. I pressed it, knowing it was going to heal. I was startled to feel warm fingertips brush under my left eye. I look to the window to see that my vampiric features was revealed. I looked away, feeling embarrassed, yet scared that he would realize the quite difference between the two of us.

I removed the towel, the cut healed already. I smiled awkwardly, avoiding his stare. "I'm usually more in control than that." I commented. I tried to get around to throw away the bloodied towel, but Paul pulled me back to the spot.

I waited for him to say something sappy like before, but he just simply kiss my cheek before taking the towel away. It was just suppose to be comfort kiss, but it was so much more for the both us. His acceptance and me falling even harder.

"We should get some sleep." I said, heading upstairs.

"And where will I be sleeping?" He countered, following me up. I just lead him to my room, closing behind us.

"In here with me. I would give you the guest room, but some family is visiting and I don't really trust my uncle to be on his best behavior around you." Partially that was true, but truly I wasn't ready for him to go. He looked around the room, taking in my sanctuary.

"I was expecting N'Sync or Backstreet Boys posters and pink." He joked, looking to me.

I smiled. "One Direction girl. Oh, Harry!'" I teased, batting my eyes. I laughed at his annoyed expression. "You would be glad that I have grown out of that stage." I said, heading into my closet. I grabbed my plush socks from my shelf, then headed back out. Paul held my picture frame, watching the collections of Edward and I passing by. I walked up, gently taking the frame.

I sighed as I turned over the frame, taking out the memory card. "You don't have to." Paul said.

"It's time for me to stop living in the past. I'm going to enjoy the now." I snapped the memory card, feeling good. I set the frame on the bedside table.

"I should make a pallet on the floor, so you can go to sleep." Paul said.

I pulled the covers on my bed back. "Get in." I said, nudging my head to the bed. Paul looked at me, eyebrow perched. Seeing that I wasn't relenting, he hesitantly got in, leaving the covers over his legs. I turned the lights off, then headed on the otherside of the bed. I slid on my fluffy socks, before getting under the cover. I laid on my side, facing Paul.

"Are you okay about this? I can sleep on the floor." Paul offered, looking uncomfortable.

"Paul, lay down and relax. Plus, Sam has said that you haven't been sleeping, so sleep." I said, tugging at his shirt to encourage him to lay down. Paul relented, laying on his side facing me.

I was ready to move on, ready to let Edward go. I was still sad about him leaving, but I hope he is happy.

"I can't go to sleep when you are staring at me in my sleep." Paul mumbled.

I remembered the innocent kiss on the cheek, leading to the butterflies. I felt my heart race at the idea as to what I am about to do.

Paul's eyes opened, looking towards me. "Bella, your heart is… " I cut him off when I pulled him into a kiss. It took him second to react, but when he did, it was more than I imagined. His fingers entangled themselves into my hair, pulling me closer. My hands rested on the collar of his shirt, clutching the fabric.

I almost came undone when he nibbled at my bottom lip. I didn't know how I found the strength, but I pulled away in pants, placing my hands between the two of us. Paul's arms encircled my waist, holding me close.

I took deep breaths to come back down from the euphoria that I felt kissing him. I felt so grounded, felt wanted. A kiss from him made me felt like I found my place in this world, no longer lost.

With Edward, there was always this uncertainty as where we were headed, but I was in love and didn't care to think about the long run.

"What are you thinking?" Paul asked, but I could detect the hesitation. I didn't like how I was the reason behind it.

"That a kiss shouldn't be that amazing. And that I want to see where we go from here, Paul. I might need a little more time, but I want give us a chance." I smiled, clasping his face. With a gentle kiss to the forehead, Paul pulled me into his side. We went to sleep into each other arms.