Sunday, February 24, 2019
The Hunters: Phantom Chapter 15
As currently as Elena spoke Calebs name, the person on the cliff began to pul back turn up of their line of sight. After a secondment of hesitation, insipid to a faultk off running pel -mel up the path toward where theyd seen him.It should mystify been sil y, Elena thought, the air they al reacted as if theyd been threatened. Anyone had a right to hike the trails at Hot Springs, and Caleb if it was Caleb hadnt done anything besides peer down over the bump into of the cliff at them. simply nevertheless, there had been slightlything ominous about the skeletal system hovering so watchful y above them, and their reaction didnt feel sil y. seemly gasped and her body relaxed as she came out of the trance.What happened? she asked. Oh, gosh, not again.Do you remember anything? Elena said. honest shook her head mournful y.You said, He wants you, Elena, said Celia, examining sightly with a clinical y enthusiastic glint in her eye. You dont remember who you were talk of the town about?I guess if he precious Elena, it could drive home been anyone, sightly said, her look narrowing. Elena stargond at her. Had there been an uncharacteristic catty edge to Bonnies heart? But Bonnie grinned rueful y back at her, and Elena fixed the comment had just been a joke.A few minutes later, ii-dimensionality came back down the path, shaking his head.Whoever it was just vanished, he said, his forehead fold up in confusion. I couldnt see anyone on the trail in all direction.Do you destine hes a werewolf, similar Tyler was? Bonnie asked.Youre not the front person whos asked me that, Elena said, glancing at Stefan. I just dont go to sleep. I dont think so, though. Caleb seems append y nice and rule. Remember how wolfy Tyler was even before he became a werewolf?Those big white teeth and his sort of animalness? Calebs not wish that.Then why would he spy on us?I dont k instanter, Elena said again, frustrated. She couldnt think about this now. Her mind was stil swim ming with the question Could Damon be alive? What did Caleb matter, compared to that? Maybe he was just hiking. Im not even incontestable it was Caleb. It could leave been some other guy with curly blond pilus instead. Just a random hiker who got scared off when unconditional went charging up the hil toward him.Their discussion went in circles until eventual y Alaric similarlyk Meredith off to the infirmary to tolerate a doctor check out her ankle. The rest of them adjourned to the put across of the fal s to gather up the picnic stuff.They al nibbled at the chips and brownies and fruit, and gym mat made himself a hot pass over on the hibachi gril , but the joy had gone out of the day.When Elenas phone rang, it was a wel numerate relief. Hey, aunty Judith, she said, forcing a cheerful note into her voice.Hi, Aunt Judith said hurriedly. Listen, I have to go to the auditorium to help do al the girls hair and makeup, and Robert already wil have to leave work early to get to th e narrative on time. Would you do me a favor and pick up some flowers for Margaret on your way over? Something sweet and bal erinaish, if you know what I mean.No problem, Elena said. I know only what you mean. Il see you there. She wanted to kibosh for a while forget mystery hikers and near-drownings and her constant alternating feelings of hope and despair about the way of Damons name. Watching her little sister twirl or so in a tutu sounded just about right.Terrific, said Aunt Judith. Thank you. Wel , if you are al the way up at Hot Springs, youd better spring heading home soon.Okay, Aunt Judith, Elena said. Il get going now.They said good-bye, and Elena hung up and started gathering her things together. Stefan, can I take your car?she asked. I film to get to Margarets dance recital. You can give him a ride back, right, Matt? Il cal you guys later and wel work on figuring this out.Stefan got to his feet. Il come with you.What? said Elena. No, you enquire to encumbrance wi th Celia and get to the hospital to take care of Meredith, too.Stefan took her arm. Dont go, hence. You shouldnt be completely now. None of us are safe. Theres something out there hunting us, and we engage to al stick together. If we dont let each other out of our sight, then we can al protect one another.His leaf green eyes were clear and ful of anxiety and love, and Elena felt a pang of regret as she tugged her arm gently out of his grasp. I need to go, she said quietly. If I spend al my time being scared and hiding, then the Guardians competency as wel have let me take a breather dead. I need to be with my family and live as normal a life as I can.She kissed him gently, lingering for a moment against the softness of his lips. And you know they havent targeted me yet, she said. Nothings spel ed out my name. But I promise Il be careful.Stefans eyes were hard. What about what Bonnie said? he argued. That he wants you? What if that means Caleb? Hes hanging around at your house, Elena He could come aft(prenominal) you at any timeWel , Im not going to be there. Il be at a dance recital with my family beside me, Elena pointed out. Nothing wil happen to me today. Its not my turn yet, is it?Elena, dont be stupid Stefan snapped. Youre in danger.Elena bristled. Stupid? Stefan, no matter how stressed or anxious, had never case-hardened her with less than total respect. Excuse me?Stefan reached for her. Elena, he said. Let me come with you. Il stay with you until nightfal and then keep watch outside your house tonight.Its real y not necessary, Elena said. Protect Meredith and Celia instead. Theyre the ones who need you.Stefans face fel , and he looked so devastated that she relented a little, adding, Please dont worry, Stefan. Il be careful, and Il see you al tomorrow.His jaw clenched, but he said nothing more, and she turned to make her way down the trail, not looking back. at once they were back at the boardinghouse, Stefan couldnt relax.He couldnt remember e ver, in al his long life, feeling so edgy and uncomfortable in his own body. He itched and ached with anxiety. It was as if his skin were fitted too tightly over his bones, and he moved irritably, tapping his fingers against the table, cracking his neck, shrugging his shoulders, shifting back and forth in his president. He wants you, Elena. What the hel did that mean? He wants you.And the sight of that dark, hulking figure up on the cliff, a shadow blotting out the sun, those golden curls shining manage a halo above the figures headStefan knew he should be with Elena. Al he wanted to do was to protect her.But she had dismissed him, had nonliteral y, at least patted him on the head and told him to stay, faithful guard dog that he was, and watch over someone else. To keep someone else safe. No matter that she was clearly in danger, that someone some he wanted her. Stil she didnt want Stefan to be with her right now. What did Elena want? Now that Stefan stop to think about it, it seemed that Elena wanted a host of incompatible things. To have Stefan as her loyal knight. Which he would always, always be, he asserted to himself, clenching his fist tightly.But she also wanted to hold on to the memories of Damon, and to keep that part of her she had divided up with him private and pristine, separate from everyone else, even from Stefan.And she wanted so much more, too to be the savior of her friends, of her town, of her world. To be loved and admired. To be in control.And to be a normal girl again. Wel , that normal life she had lived had been destroyed continuously when she met Stefan, when he made the choice to let her into his world. He knew it was his fault, al of it, everything that fol owed after that, but he couldnt be sorry that she was with him now. He loved her too much to have any room for regret. She was the center of his world, but at the same time, he knew it wasnt the same for her.A hole inside him gaped with longing, and he moved restlessly i n his chair. His canine teeth lengthened in his mouth. He couldnt remember the last time he had felt so wrong. He couldnt get the image of Caleb out of his head, looking down at them from the top of the cliff, as if checking to see whether whatever violence hed hoped to cause had come to pass.More tea, Stefan? Mrs. Flowers asked him softly, breaking into his furious thoughts. She was leaning forward over a little table with the teapot, her wide blue eyes watching him from piece of ass her glasses. Her face was so compassionate that he wondered what she could see in him. This elderly, bright woman always seemed to perceive so much more than anyone else possibly she could tel how he was feeling now.He realized she was stil waiting politely for his answer, the teapot hang up in one hand, and he nodded automatical y. Thank you, Mrs. Flowers, he said, offering forth his cup, which was stil half-ful of cold tea. He didnt real y like the taste of normal human drinks he hadnt for a long time now, but sometimes drinking them made him fit in, made the others relax a bend more around him. When he didnt eat or drink at al , he could sense Elenas friends prickling, the hairs on the back of their necks rising, as some subconscious voice in them noted that he was not like them, adding it to al the other little differences he couldnt control, and thereby concluding he was wrong.Mrs. Flowers fil ed his cup and sat back, satisfied. Picking up her knitting something garden pink and fluffy she smiled. Its so nice to have al you young the great unwashed gathered together here, she commented. Such a lovely group of children.Glancing at the others, Stefan had to wonder whether Mrs. Flowers was being gently sarcastic.Alaric and Meredith had returned from the hospital, where her injury had been diagnosed as a low sprain and taped up by the emergency room nurse. Merediths common y serene face was tight, probably at least partial y because of the pain and her irritation at know ing shed have to stay off her foot for a couple of days.And partial y, Stefan suspected, because of where she was sitting. For some reason, when Alaric had helped her fetter into the living room and over to the couch, he had parked her directly close to Celia.Stefan didnt consider himself an expert on romance after al , hed lived for hundreds of long time and fal en in love only twice, and his romance with Katherine had been a chance but even he couldnt miss the tension between Meredith and Celia. He wasnt sure whether Alaric was as oblivious to it as he seemed or whether he was pretending obliviousness in the hope that the situation would blow over. Celia had changed into an polished white sundress and sat flipping through a journal titled forensic Anthropology, looking cool and composed. Meredith was, in contrast, unusual y grimy and smudged, her sightly features and smooth olive skin marred by tiredness and pain. Alaric had taken a chair next to the couch.Celia, ignoring M eredith, leaned across her toward Alaric.I think you magnate find this interesting, she said to him.Its an article on the dental patterns in mummified bodies undercoat on an island quite near Unmei no Shima.Meredith shot Celia a stringent look. Oh, yes, she said quietly. Teeth, how fascinating. Celias mouth flattened into a line, but she didnt reply.Alaric took the magazine with a polite murmur of interest, and Meredith frowned.Stefan frowned, too. Al the tension humming between Meredith, Celia, and Alaric and now that he was watching, he could tel that Alaric knew exactly what was going on between the two young women and was flattered, irritated, and anxious in equal parts was interfering with Stefans Powers. mend hed sat and sipped his first cup of tea, reluctantly fol owing Elenas command to stay, Stefan had been displace out tendrils of Power, severe to sense whether Elena had made it home, whether anything had stopped her on her way. Whether Caleb had stopped her. But he hadnt been able to find her, even with his senses extended to their utmost. Once or twice, hed caught what felt like a fleeting impression of what competency be the very specific sound, scent, and aura that unmistakably meant Elena, but then it slipped away from him.Hed blamed the fact that he couldnt locate her on his change Powers, but now it was clear to him what was keeping him from finding her. Al the sensation in this room the pounding hearts, the flushes of anger, the acrid scent of jealousy.Stefan pul ed himself back, tried to quel the rage rising within him. These people his friends, he reminded himself were not intentionally interfering. They couldnt help their emotions. He took a swig of his rapidly cooling tea, trying to relax before he lost control, and winced at the taste. Tea wasnt what he was craving, he realized. He needed to get out to the forest soon and hunt. He needed blood. No, he needed to find out exactly what Caleb Smal wood was up to. He stood up so a bruptly, so violently, the chair rocked unsteadily beneath him.Stefan? Matt asked in an alarmed voice.What is it? Bonnies eyes were enormous.Stefan glanced around the circle of distracted faces, now al watching him. I have to go. Then he turned on his heels and ran.