Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(2)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(2)
Author: L.J. Smith

And every time I look into Stefan's eyes, those jewel-green eyes that are warm with trust and gratitude - I feel terror, too.

Terror that somehow he'll be snatched away again - right out of my arms. And...terror that he'll find out how I've come to feel about Damon. I hadn't even realized myself how much Damon has come to mean to me. And I can't...

stop...my feeling...for him, even if he hates me now.

And, yes, damn it, I'm crying! In a minute, I have to go take him his dinner. He must be starving, but when Matt tried to take him something earlier today, Damon threw the whole tray at him.

Oh, please, God, please don't let him hate me!

I'm being selfish, I know, in just talking about what's going on with Damon and me. I mean, things in Fell's Church are worse than ever. Every day more children become possessed and terrify their parents. Every day, parents get angrier with their possessed children. I don't even want to think about what's going on. If something doesn't change, the whole place will be destroyed like the last town Shinichi and Misao visited.

Shinichi...he made a lot of predictions about our group, about things we've kept secret from the others. But the truth is, I don't know if I want to hear any of his riddles solved.

We're lucky in one way. We have the Saitou family to help us. You remember Isobel Saitou, who pierced herself so horribly while she was possessed? Since she's gotten better, she's become a good friend, and her mother, Mrs.

Saitou, and her grandmother, Obaasan, too. They give us amulets - spells to keep evil away, written on Post-it Notes or little cards. We're so grateful for that kind of help.

Someday maybe we can repay them all.

Elena Gilbert put down the pen reluctantly. Shutting her diary meant having to face the things she had been writing about.

Somehow, though, she managed to make herself walk downstairs to the kitchen and take the dinner tray from Mrs.

Flowers, who smiled encouragingly at her.

As she set out for the boardinghouse's storage room, she noticed that her hands were trembling so that the entire tray of food she was carrying jingled. Since there was no access to the storage room from inside, anyone who wanted to see Damon had to go out the front door and around to the addition tacked on near the kitchen garden. Damon's lair, people were cal ing it now.

As she passed the garden Elena glanced sideways at the hole in the middle of the angelica patch that was the powered-down Gateway where they'd come back from the Dark Dimension.

She hesitated at the storage room door. She was stil trembling, and she knew that was not the right way to face Damon.

Just relax, she told herself. Think of Stefan.

Stefan had had a grim setback when he'd found that there was nothing left of the rose, but he had soon recovered his usual humility and grace, touching Elena's cheek and saying that he was thankful just to be there with her. That this closeness was al he asked of life. Clean clothes, decent food -  freedom - al these were worth fighting for, but Elena was the most important. And Elena had cried.

On the other hand, she knew that Damon had no intention of remaining as he now was. He might do anything, risk anything...to change himself back.

It had actual y been Matt who had suggested the star bal as a solution for Damon's condition. Matt hadn't understood either the rose or the star bal until it was explained that this star bal , which was probably Misao's, contained within it most or al of her Power, and that it had become more bril iant as it absorbed the lives that she took. The black rose had probably been created with a liquid from a similar star bal  - but no one knew how much or whether it was combined with unknown ingredients. Matt had frowned and asked, if the rose could change a vampire to a human, could a star bal change a human to a vampire?

Elena hadn't been the only one to see the slow rising of Damon's bent head, and the glimmer in his eyes as they traveled the length of the room to the star bal fil ed with Power. Elena could practical y hear his logic. Matt might be total y off track...but there was one place a human could be sure to find powerful vampires. In the Dark Dimension - to which there was a Gateway in the boardinghouse's garden.

The Gateway was closed right now...for lack of Power.

Unlike Stefan, Damon would have absolutely no qualms about what would happen if he had to use al the star bal 's liquid, which would result in the death of Misao. After al , she was one of the two foxes who had abandoned Stefan to be tortured.

So all bets were off.

Okay, you're scared; now deal with it, Elena told herself fiercely. Damon's been in that room for almost fifty hours now  and who knows what he's been plotting to do to get hold of the star bal . Stil , somebody's got to get him to eat - and when you say "somebody,"face it, it's you.

Elena had been standing at the door so long that her knees were starting to lock. She took a deep breath and knocked.

There was no answer, and no light went on inside. Damon was human. It was quite dark outside now.

"Damon?"It was meant to be a cal . It came out a whisper.

No answer. No light.

Elena swal owed. He had to be in there.

Elena knocked harder. Nothing. Final y, she tried the knob.

To her horror it was unlocked, and it swung open to reveal an interior as dark as the night around Elena, like the maw of a pit.

The fine hairs at the back of Elena's neck were standing up.

"Damon, I'm coming in,"she managed in a bare whisper, as if to convince herself by her quietness that there was nobody there. "I'l be silhouetted against the very edge of the porch light. I can't see anything, so you have al the advantages. I'm carrying a tray with very hot coffee, cookies, and steak tartar, no seasonings. You should be able to smel the coffee."

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