Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(7)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(7)
Author: L.J. Smith

How had it al happened? Damon had picked her up perhaps because her leg was burned, or perhaps because he had decided Mrs. Flowers was the one with the star bal .

She herself had said, "Damon, what are you doing?"Perfectly straightforward. And then halfway through the sentence she had heard for herself the "darling"and - but who would ever believe her? - it hadn't been connected with anything they had been doing earlier at al . It had been an accident, a slip of the tongue.

But she'd said it in front of Bonnie, the one person most likely to take it seriously and personal y. And then Bonnie had been gone before she could even explain.

Darling! When they had just started fighting again.

It real y was a joke. Because he had been serious about just taking the star bal . She had seen it in his eyes.

To cal Damon "darling"seriously, you would have to be - have to be...hopelessly...helplessly...desperately in...

Oh, God...

Tears began to run down Elena's cheeks. But these were tears of revelation. Elena knew she wasn't in her best form today. No real sleep for going on three days - too many conflicting emotions - too much genuine terror right now.

Stil, she was terrified to find that something fundamental had changed inside her.

It wasn't anything she had asked for. Al she had asked was that the two brothers stop feuding. And she had been born to love Stefan; she knew that! Once, he'd been wil ing to marry her. Wel , since then she'd been a vampire, a spirit, and a new incarnation dropped from the sky, and she could hope that one day he would be wil ing to marry the new Elena, too.

But the new Elena was bewildered, what with her strange new blood that to vampires was like rocket fuel compared to the gasoline most girls carried about in their veins. With her Wings Powers, such as Wings of Redemption, most of which she didn't understand and none of which she could control. Although lately she had seen the beginning of a stance, and she knew it was for Wings of Destruction. That, she thought grimly, might be quite useful someday.

Of course a number of them had already been helpful to Damon, who was no longer simply an al y, but an enemy-al y again. Who wanted to steal something that her whole town needed.

Elena hadn't asked to fal in love with Damon - but, oh God, what if she already had? What if she couldn't make the feelings stop? What could she do?

Silently, she sat crying, knowing that she could never say any of these things to Damon. He had a gift of farseeing and a level head in times of emotion, but not, as she knew al too wel , about this particular issue. If she told him what was in her heart, before she knew it, he would kidnap her. He would believe she had forgotten Stefan for good, as she had forgotten him briefly tonight.

"Stefan,"she whispered. "I'm sorry..."

She could never let Stefan know about it either - and Stefan was her heart.

"We've got to get rid of Shinichi and Misao fast,"Matt was saying moodily. "I mean, I real y need to get into condition soon or Kent State's gonna send me back stamped

'Reject.'"He and Meredith were sitting in Mrs. Flowers's warm kitchen nibbling on gingersnap cookies and watching her as she diligently worked at making beef carpaccio - the second of the two raw beef recipes in the antique cookbook she owned. "Stefan's doing so wel that in a couple of days we could even be tossing around the old pigskin,"he added, sarcasm edging his voice, "if everybody in town would just stop being crazy possessed. Oh, yeah, and if the cops would stop coming after me for assaulting Caroline."

At the mention of Stefan's name, Mrs. Flowers peeked into a cauldron that had been bubbling away on the stove for so long, and was now emitting such a fearsome odor that Matt didn't know who to pity more: the guy getting the huge pile of raw meat or the one who'd soon be trying to choke down whatever was in that cooking pot.

"So - assuming you're alive - you're going to be glad to leave Fel 's Church when the time comes?"Meredith asked him quietly.

Matt felt as if she had just slapped him. "You're joking, right?"he said, petting Saber with one tanned, bare foot. The huge beast was making a sort of growly purring sound. "I mean, before that, it's going to be great to throw a couple of passes to Stefan again - he's the best tight end I've ever seen - "

"Or ever wil see,"Meredith reminded him. "I don't think many vampires go in for footbal , Matt, so don't even think of suggesting that he and Elena fol ow you to Kent State.

Besides, I'l be right beside you, trying to get them to come to Harvard with me. And worse, we're both checkmated by Bonnie, because that junior col ege - whatever - is much closer to Fel 's Church and al the things around here they love."

"Al the things around here Elena loves,"Matt couldn't help correcting. "Al Stefan wants is to be with Elena."

"Now, now,"Mrs. Flowers said. "Let's just take things as they come, shal we, my dears? Ma ma says that we need to keep up our strength. She sounds worried to me - you know, she can't foresee everything that happens."

Matt nodded, but he had to swal ow hard before saying to Meredith, "So, you're eager to be off for the Ivied Wal s, I'm sure?"

"If it wasn't Harvard - if I could just put it off for a year and keep my scholarship..."Meredith's voice trailed off, but the yearning in it was unmistakable.

Mrs. Flowers patted Meredith's shoulder, and then said, "I wonder about dear Stefan and Elena. After al , with everyone thinking that she's dead, Elena can't live here and be seen."

"I think they've given up on the idea of going somewhere far, far away,"Matt said. "I'l bet that now they think of themselves as Fel 's Church's guardians. They'l get by somehow. Elena can shave her head."Matt was trying for a light tone, but the words sank like lead bal oons as they left his mouth.

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