Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(12)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(12)
Author: L.J. Smith

"I just remember her as a crotchety old recluse, who didn't suffer fools gladly and thought just about everyone was a fool,"Mrs. Flowers said. "I suppose I was going down the same path until you children came and made me sit up and take notice. Thank you."

"We're the ones who should thank you,"Elena began, hugging the old woman, feeling her heart stop pounding.

Stefan was looking at her with open love. It was al going to be al right - for her.

I'm worried about Matt, she thought to Stefan, testing the waters more vigorously. Damon's still so fast - and you know he doesn't like Matt a bit.

I think, Stefan returned with a wry smile, that that is a rather stunning understatement. But I also think you shouldn't worry until we see who comes back injured.

Elena eyed that smile, and thought for a moment about impulsive, athletic Matt. After a moment, she smiled back.

She was feeling both guilty and protective - and safe. Stefan always made her feel safe. And right now, she wanted to spoil him.

In the front yard, Bonnie was abasing herself. She couldn't help thinking, even now, about how handsome Damon looked, how wild and dark and ferocious and gorgeous. She couldn't help thinking about the times he'd smiled at her, laughed at her, come to save her at her urgent cal . She had honestly thought that someday...But now she felt as if her heart were breaking in two.

"I just want to bite my tongue out,"she said. "I should never have assumed anything from what I saw."

"How could you possibly have known that I wasn't stealing Elena away from Stefan?"Damon said wearily. "It's just the kind of thing I'd do."

"No, it isn't! You did so much to free Stefan from prison - you always faced the most danger yourself - and you kept us al from being hurt. You did al that for other people - "

Suddenly Bonnie's upper arms were being held by hands that were so strong that her mind was flooded with cliches. A grasp of iron. Strong as steel bands. An inescapable grip.

And a voice like an icy torrent was coming at her.

"You don't know anything about me, or what I want, or what I do. For al you know I could be plotting right now. So don't ever let me hear you talk again about such things, or imagine that I won't kil you if you get in my way,"Damon said.

He got up and left Bonnie sitting there, staring after him. And she'd been wrong. She wasn't out of tears at al .

Chapter 5

"I thought you wanted to get out so we could talk to Damon,"Stefan said, stil hand in hand with Elena as she made a sharp right turn onto the rickety stairway that led to the second-floor rooms and, above that, to Stefan's attic.

"Wel , unless he kil s Matt and runs I don't see what's to keep us from talking to him tomorrow."Elena glanced back at Stefan and dimpled. "I took your advice and thought a little about the two of them. Matt's a pretty tough quarterback and they're both only human now, right? Anyway, it's time for your dinner."

"Dinner?"Stefan's canine teeth responded automaticaly - embarrassingly quickly - to the word. He real y needed to have a word with Damon later and make sure Damon understood his place as a guest at the boardinghouse - nothing more - but it was true, he could do that tomorrow. It might even be more effective tomorrow, when Damon's own pent-up rage was spent.

He pressed his tongue against his fangs, trying to force them back down, but the smal stimulation caused them to sharpen, nicking his lip. Now they were aching pleasantly. Al in response to a single word: dinner.

Elena threw him a teasing glance over her shoulder and giggled. She was one of those lucky females with a beautiful laugh. But this was a clearly mischievous giggle, straight from her wicked, scheming childhood. It made Stefan want to tickle her to hear more; it made him want to laugh with her; it made him want to grab her and demand to know the joke.

Instead he said, "What's up, love?"

"Someone has sharp teeth,"she responded innocently, and giggled again. He lost himself in admiration for a second and also suddenly lost hold of her hand. Laughing like a musical cascade of white water over rock, she ran up the stairs ahead of him, both to tease and to show him what good shape she was in, he thought. If she had stumbled, or faltered, she knew he would decide that her donation of blood was harming her.

So far it didn't seem to be damaging any of his friends, or he would have insisted on a rest for that person. But even Bonnie, as delicate as a dragonfly, hadn't seemed to be the worse for it.

Elena raced up the stairs knowing that Stefan was smiling behind her, and there was no shadow of mistrust in his mind.

She didn't deserve it, but that only made her more anxious to please him.

"Have you had your dinner?"Stefan asked as they reached his room.

"Long ago; roast beef - cooked."She smiled.

"What did Damon say when he final y realized it was you and looked at the food you'd brought?"

Elena made herself giggle again. It was al right to have tears in her eyes; her burns and cuts hurt and the episode with Damon justified any amount of weeping.

"He cal ed it bloody hamburger. It was steak tartar. But, Stefan, I don't want to talk about him now."

"No, of course you don't, love."Stefan was immediately contrite. And he was trying so hard not to seem eager to feed - but he couldn't even control his canines.

And Elena was in no mood to dal y either. She perched on the bed, careful y unwinding the bandage Mrs. Flowers had just wound on it. Stefan suddenly looked troubled.

Love - He stopped abruptly.

What? Elena finished with the bandage, studying Stefan's face.

Well - shall I take it out of your arm instead? You're already in pain and I don't want to fool with Mrs. Flowers's anti-tetanus treatment.

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