The jittery yells were so loud that Bonnie and the other volunteers had to cover their ears, all the kids were terribly excited and truthfully no one could even be mad with all the jumping and screaming happening right now.
"Settle down so that we can start giving you the presents." Bonnie sweetly asked them but they were far from listening or doing as she begged of them.
A few other girls tried as well but the children were out of control until there was a loud whistle that worked like magic, all the kids stopped and stared at the man standing by the door.
Kol squinted at them. "Why are my troops not in formation yet?"
The kids waved their arms while running to get into a single line, they bumped against each other a bit but within seconds there was a big line of little soldiers in front of Bonnie, they were all so serious and standing with raised heads and hands behind their backs that Bonnie had to crunch her lips to tame a big laughter.
Now that they were all lined up she handed out the first present.
The roguish kid who was known to usually steal chocolate from others seemed like a little man now. ""Thank you Bonnie." He said as he turned away after accepting his gift.
Bonnie bit her lip when he passed Kol and stoically saluted him.
Kol returned the greeting serious. "At ease soldier."
The kid grinned and raced to an empty play table, eager to find out what present was hidden behind the bright red paper.
"This campaign really worked…" one of the volunteers said while handing Bonnie the gifts.
"Esther came up with the idea during Christmas, a lot of families have all of these toys just lying around in the attic so instead of throwing them away we encouraged them to donate them. Elijah even found a way to make the donations deductible in taxes." Bonnie explained.
"Some of the toys were still unwraped and they make these kids so happy…" One of volunteers said happy to see the kids enjoying the moment thoroughly.
Bonnie also had a big smile but it was reinforced when the end of the line came with a real soldier that had puppy eyes for her.
"Do I get a present as well?" Kol asked her.
The volunteers giggled choosing to go check on the kids and to give the couple some space.
Bonnie showed him a pair of empty hands. "Sadly, I'm out of action figures…"
He gave her a wicked smirk.
She smiled cradling his face. "But I have a kiss for you."
He melted his lips against hers accepting the offer elated and they kissed enjoying the sweet moment.
"Ewww…" A joined complaining sound erupted.
Kol and Bonnie broke the kiss, obviously the crowd wasn't suited for such displays and they left the room under a binge of funny faces and silly smooching noises.
"Nasty little buggers..." Kol murmured.
Bonnie only laughed, the kids all loved Kol and they were ecstatic whenever he was around, which happened often since they opened this new shelter.
"It's Rebekah again…" Kol complained when his phone started ringing. "Since she moved to Virginia with Matt that she calls us every single day." Kol kissed Bonnie before taking the call. "When she was here, she barely spoke to any of us." he scoffed.
Bonnie squeezed his hand before he went outside to take the call and watched him leave with a sigh, how much her life had changed in less than a year.
It had been a shock when Esther presented the project to Bonnie but she latched on it with the same determination that she grabbed her chance with Kol, the official transition to new property happened a few months later and the space was so big that Bonnie embraced another project with an open heart.
Bonnie arrived to her office with a reminiscent smile, she still remembered the day she baptized the huge room with Kol, that night and while she was lying in his arms on top of her big ass desk, Kol talked to her about a project that he was working on since he returned from Afghanistan, Ian, one of the men in his unit was married and had a little boy but shortly after Kol returned home Ian was killed during an ambush and Kol kept recalling how attached he was to his family.
It wasn't easy being an Army wife but it was harder to a widow, so with Bonnie's help Haven became an open house for women who lost their husbands at war and needed a safe environment to heal from their loss, many of them volunteered now at the shelter and they helped those who came to Bonnie for help after a traumatic marriage or relationship, she was proud to call Haven a family house now and everyone who came here always left happier and with bigger hopes for a better future.
Bonnie checked the few mail that she had, that was another big change in her life, by joining her project with Kol's it drew attention and it really helped that her boyfriend was a war hero with a big family name behind him, the Mayor took interest and now Haven received a monthly fee from a governmental funding for charities that was enough to pay for all the bills and for her small salary.
Kol's salary came from the place he took in the family business by replacing Nik, who finally decided to pursue his artistic vein, Bonnie sighed at her big desk, that was the only sad thing in her life at the moment, Caroline and Nik loved their week in France so much that they decided to move there after they got married in a lavish wedding, Caroline owned a small gallery right in the heart of Paris and most of her collections came from her husband's talent.
Bonnie rested her chin on her palm, her desk was cluttered with frames, pictures of Caroline and Nik, of Rebekah who changed Universities so that she could go with Matt who was drafted into a big Football team, of little Noelle who was now almost a year old and looked absolutely adorable dressed as an elf with her big red hair and freckles, then there was Esther and a big family picture at Christmas.
Slowly Bonnie's hand drifted to the most important picture of them all, the old worn-out picture of her and Kol in high-school and the huge smile returned.
"… that's fascinating Bekah…" Kol rolled his eyes with flair but reached out his hand to Bonnie as she stopped next to him.
Bonnie laced her arms around him and hid her face in his neck.
"But a bunch of people replicated in wax spooks me." he stated his opinion about the museum.
Bonnie closed her eyes enjoying the way he smelled and kissed his neck.
Thankfully Rebekah finally found the urge to end the call and he was able to focus on the girl in his arms.
"She misses you." Bonnie clarified the reason Rebekah called Kol and the others every single day.
"Do you miss me too?" he asked slowly because Bonnie was melted against him.
"I love you." she said with bright happy eyes.
He gently kissed her and shielded her in his arms after wrapping them around her. "I love you B…"
"And I really like the way you smell." she found the need to address that.
He laughed but in reality he couldn't agree with her because what he loved the most was the way that her smell was deeply embed into his skin after they made love.
"Your mother is going to worry if we don't show up soon, you know that when Finn and Sage go over for dinner she likes to have everyone on time." she reminded him of their family obligations.
"Will we be telling them tonight?" Kol's eyes were beacons of light.
Bonnie's eyes mirrored his. "Yes."
"Daddy…" Finn said slowly, he repeated the word a few times so that the little gorgeous girl would mimic him but she only had a bright smile for her father and nothing else. "Come on baby girl… do that for daddy…" he begged her.
Instead of speaking Noelle squealed when she saw Kol arriving and waved her arms energetically.
"Hello Princess." Kol kissed her head. "Can you say Kol?"
Finn pushed him away annoyed. "Leave my daughter alone."
Kol laughed entertained and went around the kitchen island to greet his mother.
Esther was engrossed with something on her phone, she only glanced up to see which son arrived near her. "Hello son."
"What news have you so absorbed?" Kol asked while looking for a glass to pour some wine.
"They are about to announce the verdict on Elijah's trial." she stared at her phone.
Kol exchanged a look with Bonnie who just came in with Sage.
Esther startled when a new message arrived and fought to unlock the screen of her over-modern phone. "I miss my buttons." she complained but eventually found her way around the touch technology, she held her breath before reading the message. "It's Rebekah." she lowered her shoulders discouraged. "I thought that it was Elijah."
They all wanted justice to prevail but no other more than Bonnie, it had been a long gruesome trial that expanded over the span of a year and during the course of it so many horrible and macabre things came into light, the corruption web was elaborate and Luka was involved in so many shady schemes that Bonnie literally had to ask everyone around her to stop talking about the trial of the year.
It was deplorable to think that she was with Luka during months without suspecting that he was involved in extortion, power abuse and bribery but sadly those were still the lighter crimes, as the evidence started coming in, it was proved in court that Luka and a handful of other police officers were involved in a bigger scheme of drug and human trafficking that branched out to important names in New York, Bonnie wouldn't be surprised if her father was involved in it as well since he simply took a jet and fled the country.
"Why is your brother making me suffer like this?" Esther took Kol's glass yearning for a drink.
Sage smiled with affection at Bonnie. "All of this will be over soon."
"It ended for me a long time ago." Bonnie had a deep breath relived that she dodged that bullet.
Elijah burst through the kitchen door with messy hair, a loose tie and a bottle of champagne in his hand. "I lost!" he beamed.
"Oh thank the Lord." Esther pressed her chest.
It was definitely strange to celebrate Elijah's first losing case but the occasion called for it.
Elijah opened the champagne radiant. "Katherine was a ruthless killer in her final arguments and the defense never stood a chance against her."
He filled enough glasses for everyone and after sweetly kissing Noelle's cheek, he handed the first glass to Bonnie. "They made of Luka an example and he was sentenced to 20 years."
"His father must be heartbroken." her sentiments only went that far and she looked for Kol's comfort.
Elijah nodded watching the brave girl go around him to meet his brother. "Still, a drink is in order."
Bonnie and Kol shared a long look and a bigger smile as she rejected the drink.
Esther squinted and used her finger as a weapon, she pointed at them with narrowed wise eyes. "You're not drinking for a reason…" she fixated lastly on Bonnie.
Bonnie lightly touched her tummy. "I went to the doctor today and I'm pregnant."
Esther screamed so loudly that she scared little Noelle. "Oh my gosh, I'm sorry little one." she rushed to kiss Noelle's head under the heavy scowl of Finn but then she turned to Bonnie and Kol with open arms. "My babies…"
Kol smirked at his mother. "There is a little soldier on the way."
"Lord helps us all." Finn mumbled with a cutting remark.
Kol ignored him, he was too happy about the news to take a barb serious.
"A baby to fill this house again and to play with Noelle." Esther launched her arms around Kol and Bonnie and pulled them into a tight hug. "I'm so happy that you decided to live here so I can help you with everything now." she kissed Bonnie's temple emotional.
But she wasn't the only one with her emotions prickling out, Elijah held the champagne closer to his heart and sniffled loudly.
"Are you all right there, Elijah?" Finn asked adoring the teasing material that he was recording on his phone.
Elijah cleaned a small rebel tear that was lodged in the corner of his eye. "I'm just getting used to all the bright light…" he turned his attention to the wine. "Courthouses are very dark."
"So precious..." Finn quickly sent the video to Nik while adding the joyful news to the message.
Esther stroked Kol's face now. "I'm so happy that you decided to start your own family."
"Stop mother, I know you and you are a step away from saying how proud you are that I'm sexually active with Bonnie."
Esther's smile was telling. "I know how active you are, I can hear you sometimes from my bedroom."
Bonnie clasped her eyes shut and buried her head in Kol's chest, he lost all of his swag while Esther briskly smirked as she faced the others.
"Uncle Kol was just kicked by mother Mikaelson." Finn played with Noelle's hands.
Noelle laughed when he used his hands to cover one of his eyes and then the other.
"You should hush and make another baby." Esther warned him before addressing anothet one of her sons. "And you? When will you settle down and start your own kin?" she asked Elijah.
"I'm going to call Rebekah and tell her about the new developments." Elijah decided to run away from a direct confrontation that would lead him to explain why he broke up with April six months ago and how he celebrated today's outcome with Katherine in the parking lot.
"Don't tell Bekah about the baby." Kol warned him. "I want to tell her myself."
Elijah looked back. "Rest assured that it will be a secret."
Kol grimaced, he knew now that Rebekah would pretend not to know about the pregnancy, although it was the first thing that Elijah was telling her.
Sage hugged Bonnie with a happy joyful feel. "This makes me so happy, I remember how excited but nervous I was when I found out about Noelle."
"It's a mix of emotions but this last year that I've spent with Kol was just amazing and now having a baby with him feels right, and his reaction when I told him was just perfect."
"Did he cry?" Sage still remembered Finn's tearful spur vividly.
Bonnie shook her head with a smile. "He just said that he wasn't Mikael and that he would never hurt me or our baby."
Sage gulped down touched by the words but Esther was fighting her breaking tears.
She had caught Kol escaping the kitchen and she found him sitting in the family tree house, she sat next to him with a trembling voice. "While you were away at war, I sat here so many times praying that there would be another chance for us to sit here together again."
"In a few years, I will be sitting here with my son, or my daughter." he looked at his mother keyed up.
Esther attempted to give some order to his wild hair. "I heard what you told Bonnie… about not being like your father."
Kol's dreamy grin faded. "I love them and I will always protect them, from myself if I have to."
"I'm proud of the men I've raised, you and your brothers prove to me every day that blood does not create a family, love does." she moved her hand to his face.
Kol took the hand caressing his face and kissed it. "We are only mirrors of what you taught us to be."
Esther pulled him to her, she cried while holding him close but today was a day of glee not of tears so she kissed his cheek before ordering some control over her emotions. "Have you started thinking about names already?"
Kol sighed. "I'm dreading that Bonnie will want to name the baby Pineapple."
Esther threw her head back laughing loudly. "Oh Kol…"
He laughed as well but with a shrug. "I could come to love it."