Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(8)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(8)
Author: L.J. Smith

"Mrs. Flowers was talking about college,"Meredith said in a tone just as heavy. "Are they going to be super-heroes at night and just veg out the rest of the time? If they want to go somewhere even next year, they need to be thinking about it now."

"Oh...wel , I guess there's Dalcrest."


"You know, that little campus in Dyer. It's smal but the footbal team there is real y - wel , I guess Stefan wouldn't care how good they are. But it's only half an hour away."

"Oh, that place. Wel , the sports may be fantastic but it's sure not an Ivy, much less Harvard."Meredith - unsentimental, enigmatic Meredith - sounded as if she had a stuffed-up nose.

"Yeah,"Matt said - and just for a second took Meredith's slim, cold hand and squeezed it. He was even more surprised when she linked her chil ed fingers up with his, holding his hand.

"Ma ma says whatever is fated to happen wil happen soon,"Mrs. Flowers said serenely. "The main thing, as I see it, is to save the dear, dear old town. As wel as the people."

"Of course it is,"Matt said. "We're going to do our best.

Thank God we have somebody in town who understands Japanese demons."

"Orime Saitou,"Mrs. Flowers said with a little smile. "Bless her for her amulets."

"Yeah, both of them,"Matt said, thinking of the grandmother and mother who shared the name. "I think we're going to need a lot of those amulets they make,"he added grimly.

Mrs. Flowers opened her mouth, but Meredith spoke, stil focused on thoughts of her own.

"You know, Stefan and Elena may not have given up on their far, far away thing after al ,"she said sadly. "And since at this point none of us may even live to make it to our own col eges..."She shrugged.

Matt was stil squeezing her hand when Bonnie dashed in the front door, keening. She tried to speed through the foyer toward the stairs, avoiding the kitchen, but Matt released Meredith and they both dashed up to block her. Instantly, everyone was in combat mode. Meredith grasped Bonnie's arm tightly. Mrs. Flowers came into the foyer, wiping her hands on a dish towel.

"Bonnie, what happened? Is it Shinichi and Misao? Are we being attacked?"Meredith asked quietly but with the intensity to cut through hysteria.

Something shot like a bolt of ice through Matt's body. No one real y knew where Shinichi and Misao were right now.

Perhaps in the thicket that was al that was left of the Old Woods - perhaps right here at the boardinghouse.

"Elena!"he shouted. "Oh, God, she and Damon are both out there! Are they hurt? Did Shinichi get them?"

Bonnie shut her eyes and shook her head.

"Bonnie, stay with me. Stay calm. Is it Shinichi? Is it the police?"Meredith asked. And to Matt: "You'd better check through the curtains there."But Bonnie was stil shaking her head.

Matt saw no police lights through the curtains. Nor did he see any sign of Shinichi and Misao attacking.

"If we're not being attacked,"Matt could hear Meredith saying to Bonnie, "then what is happening?"

Maddeningly, Bonnie just shook her head.

Matt and Meredith looked at each other over Bonnie's strawberry curls. "The star bal ,"Meredith said softly, just as Matt growled, "That bastard."

"Elena won't tel him anything but the story,"Meredith said.

And Matt nodded, trying to keep from his mind a picture of Damon casual y waving and Elena convulsing in agony.

"Maybe it's the possessed kids - the ones who walk around hurting themselves or acting insane,"Meredith said, with a side glance at Bonnie, and squeezing Matt's hand very hard.

Matt was bewildered and fumbled the cue. He said, "If that S.O.B. is trying to get the star bal , Bonnie wouldn't have run away. She's bravest when she's scared. And unless he's kil ed Elena she shouldn't be like this - "

Which left Meredith the grim job of saying, "Talk to us, Bonnie,"in her most comforting big-sister voice. "Something must have happened to get you in this state. Just breathe slowly and tel me what you saw."

And then, in a torrent, words began to spil from Bonnie's lips. "She - she was cal ing him darling,"Bonnie said, gripping Meredith's other hand with both of hers. "And there was blood smeared al around on her neck. And - oh, I dropped it! The bottle of Black Magic!"

"Oh, wel ,"Mrs. Flowers said gently. "No use crying over spil ed wine. We'l just have to - "

"No, you don't understand,"Bonnie gasped. "I heard them talking as I came up - I had to go slow because it's so hard not to trip. They were talking about the star bal ! At first I thought they were arguing, but - she had her arms around Damon's neck. And al that stuff about him not being a vampire anymore? She had blood al over her throat and he had it on his mouth! As soon as I got there he picked her up and threw her so I couldn't see but he wasn't fast enough.

She must have given the star bal to him! And she still was calling him 'darling'!"

Matt's eyes met Meredith's and they both flushed and looked away quickly. If Damon was a vampire again - if he had somehow gotten the star bal from its hiding place - and if Elena had been "taking food"to him just to give him blood...

Meredith was stil looking for a way out. "Bonnie - aren't you making too much of this? Anyway, what happened to Mrs.

Flowers's tray of food?"

"It was - al over the place. They'd just tossed it away! But he was was holding her with one hand under her knees and one under her neck, and her head was way back so that her hair was fal ing al over his shoulder!"

There was a silence as everyone tried to imagine various positions that might correspond to Bonnie's last words.

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