How to Deal

 

 

Prologue

 

“Why do you have to go out on a night like this?”

 

“Because it’s my duty as a member of the council to protect the citizens of Mystic Falls and my family, Delilah.” Landon Fell said calmly to his wife for the millionth time. “I’ll be fine.”

 

Delilah frowned, pulling her black silk robe on and followed him into the walk-in closet. “Landon, how can you be sure of that?  I thought when we had Dacia; you would forget this council nonsense and focus on us.” She shot back, folding her arms in front of her chest. “Dacia just started high school and putting your life at risk for this godforsaken town is wrong!”

 

Landon heaved a sigh and looked over his shoulder at his beautiful wife, seeing things much differently than she did. “If you grew up in Mystic Falls, you would understand why I can’t just walk away from the council.  Our ancestors carved the pathway for us.  There’s a lot of history and I can’t turn my back on that.  I’m sorry, but the Fell Family will not submit to a bunch of bloodsucking demons.  And when Dacia turns of age, I will be telling her all about the Fell Family legacy and start her training.” He rammed his shoulder into a specific part of the wall and smiled when a secret door flew open, dust flying everywhere.

 

“Her training?” Delilah blinked, watching as her husband disappeared into the secret room for a few minutes and decided to stay out of it. “What are you talking about?  We never discussed any of this!  I won’t have my daughter’s head filled with fairytales that scare her!  You tried doing this to Dahna and it didn’t work because she simply doesn’t believe like her mother.  Thank god she got out of this town when she had the chance to pursue an education.”

 

Dahna Fell was their oldest daughter that graduated from high school a few months ago and ended up receiving a 4 year scholarship to the University of Tennessee.  She came home once a month to see her family and called a few times a week to check in, but other than that Dahna had her own life.  Delilah was so proud of her while Landon wasn’t because he didn’t want her leaving Mystic Falls.  When he told Dahna all about the secrets of the town and council, she laughed in his face and slapped him on the knee before walking away.  Landon never fully forgave her and their relationship had been on the rocks ever since, which was 2 years ago since Dahna recently celebrated her 19th birthday.

 

Rolling his eyes, Landon stepped out of the closet moments later with a few choice weapons specifically needed for his search.  Wooden stakes, an axe, a few guns and a mace bottle full of a special herb called vervain.  It temporarily weakened and immobilized the creatures he and the council had hunted for generations.   

 

He didn’t want to think about Dahna’s betrayal to the family and had to keep his head in the game or else he would end up severely hurt or dead.  The way she acted when he told her the secrets of their family was a definite blow and Landon wasn’t sure how to recover from it.  Before marrying Delilah, Landon sat down with her and revealed everything regarding the council because she was part of it through marriage.  Even though she didn’t approve of having these dangerous weapons in the house, Delilah agreed to marry him regardless and Landon still didn’t understand why to this day.

 

“She needs to be trained if she’s going to carry on the Fell Family tradition unlike Dahna.  She’s next in line after we’re deceased, Delilah.  Meredith is only part of it because she didn’t want to be left out and is very passionate about killing these monsters.” Landon explained, starting to strap on some of the wooden stakes to his holster and slipped his two guns on each side into it, making sure they were securely fastened.

 

“No.” Delilah shook her head defiantly, tears burning in her milk chocolate light brown eyes, not believing the words coming out of her husband’s mouth. “You’re not training her, end of discussion, Landon.”

 

“Yes I am.” Landon argued, not looking up at her as he finished fastening the rest of the weapons to his body, including the mace. “You can’t break tradition, Delilah.  I know you’re not a believer, but our daughter will be.  You agreed to all of this when you decided to marry me.  Your exact words were ‘even though you’re crazy, I can’t help loving you, so yes let’s get married’.  Do you remember that?”

 

Delilah pursed her lips tightly together and planted her hands on her hips, shaking her head. “That was different.  Had I know you were going to try turning our DAUGHTERS,” She emphasized that word since Landon hardly acknowledged Dahna, which broke her heart. “Into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I definitely would’ve reconsidered your proposal.” She retorted and turned on her heel, heading for the door. “Because I’ll be damned if you try to fill Dacia’s head with fairytale nonsense the way you tried with Dahna, when she needs to be focused on her studies for college and REAL LIFE.  You may want to live in a fantasy world and believe that things like vampires exist, but I don’t and neither do our daughters.  You cannot force that on her, it’s not right and I won’t allow it.”

 

“Have you lost your mind, woman?!” Landon exclaimed, fighting back the urge to throttle her with his bare hands and clenched his teeth tightly together. “You honestly believe that everything I’ve told you are just MYTHS and figments of people’s imaginations??  There’s PROOF they exist!!  Back in 1864-”

 

Delilah cut him off immediately. “The Founding Family council gathered a bunch of vampires and burned them in the old Fell Church and left journals behind as proof that vampires do live among us.  Blah, blah, freaking BLAH!!” She lost count how many times Landon told her that story and flat out refused to listen to it again. “Did it ever occur to you that the ancestors left those journals because they had nothing better to do?  If you think about it, there really wasn’t much back in that time frame and that’s how most of the fairytales and fables that we read today were discovered.  An example would be vampires, Landon.  Vampires are a myth, they don’t exist and you need to wake up before you end up losing your family over this!”

 

Shocked, Landon stormed over to Delilah and grabbed her upper arm, whipping her around to face him just as tears slid down her face. “Delilah…”

 

“No Landon, I’m not kidding this time.” Delilah broke away from him and wiped her tears away, hating that once again they were fighting over the council. “You have a choice to make because I can’t do this anymore.  I love you with all of my heart and soul, I truly do, but I can’t live like this.  You’re getting up at all hours of the night because of superstitious nonsense your ancestors left behind over 1,000 years ago.  You need to wake up and realize what’s really important in your life, what really matters.  Because right now, your family needs you and you’re never there.  Look at the relationship you have with Dahna, it’s in shambles.  And why?  Because you’re angry with her for rejecting the Fell tradition by becoming part of the council.  Because she wanted a life for herself and didn’t want to be stuck in this godforsaken town for the rest of her life!  Not to mention, you’ve missed countless functions with Dacia because you were too busy out there searching for things that go bump in the night.”

 

“So, what are you saying?”

 

Did she really have to spell it out for him?  Apparently so.  Delilah took both of his hands in hers and pressed them against his chest, more tears falling. “I’m saying that if you walk out that door tonight and leave us here alone again, then our marriage is over.  I love you, but you obviously love the council more than me or you would’ve stopped long ago.” They’d been married for 16 solid years and had two beautiful daughters – Dahna and Dacia.

 

“So you’d really divorce me over this?” Landon stepped away and pulled his hands out of hers, feeling his heart smashing to pieces. “You knew all about this before you agreed to marry me.  It’s not fair for you to just toss our marriage away just because you don’t like something I do!  Dahna made her choice and LAUGHED in my face over something that’s extremely important to me!  Damn it, I love you, Delilah!” He couldn’t believe this was happening, that the love of his life threw an ultimatum at him that involved the possible ending of their 16 year marriage.

 

“I love you too, but I can’t live like this anymore, Landon.  Every time you walk out that door to do your hunting, I constantly worry about you.  I’m so afraid that you’ll walk out that door and not come back one night.” They lived around dangerous woods that had deadly animals in them, especially after sundown, which is what Delilah was really concerned about. “You need to make things right with Dahna before it’s too late and you lose her forever.  I know you love her no matter what she does, even if you don’t want to admit it.”

 

Landon cracked a small smile and closed the distance between them, cupping her face tenderly in his hand. “I’ll always come back home to you, Delilah.  You don’t have to worry about that.  We’re going to grow old together with grey hair and at least a football team worth of grandkids in our old rickety rocking chairs.” He was suddenly realizing just how much of a toll this was taking on his wife and felt extremely guilty, pressing his forehead against hers. “Alright, you win.”

 

“What?” Delilah whispered, pulling back enough to stare into his beautiful green eyes, smiling widely. “You mean…”

 

“After this last hunt, I’ll tell the council that I can no longer do them.” Landon laughed when his wife suddenly tackled him, both of them toppling to the floor and felt her kisses rain all over his face. “Since it means that much to you, baby doll, I’ll quit.  And when Dahna comes home on break in a few weeks, I’ll square things with her too and get our relationship back on track.  I don’t want to lose her, I love her just as much as I love you and Dacia.”

 

Delilah beamed with happiness and finally laid a passionate soul-searing kiss on his lips, not believing he was actually doing this for her.  He was going to quit the council and focus on them, which is all Delilah ever wanted.  She loved her husband, it hadn’t changed in the 20 years they knew each other.  They were together for 4 years before Landon finally proposed, though Delilah hadn’t minded him taking that long to ask.  The fact Landon was also going to rekindle his relationship with Dahna made Delilah’s heart soar to the heavens as well.

 

“I love you so much, Landon Maurice Fell.” Delilah stated proudly, squealing when he rolled them over to where he hovered over her and accepted another heart stopping kiss that left her breathless. “Are you sure you have to go?  You can always tell them you quit tonight and stay in with me.” Her fingernail ran up and down the length of his t-shirt covered chest, an evil smirk on her lips. “I can make it worth your while.”

 

Landon chuckled, rubbing his nose gently against hers. “As tempting as that sounds, I can’t let them down, baby doll.” He stood up with her from the floor, nuzzling her neck lovingly as they both melted against each other. “Besides, I need to tell them tonight so they can get the paperwork started and whatnot.”

 

Sighing resignedly, Delilah nodded in understanding and slowly turned around until those emerald eyes locked on her again. “Alright, I understand since this is the last time.” That was the biggest weight lifted from her shoulders, though Delilah would still be up most of the night worrying over him like always. “Come home safe to me.”

 

“I will.” Landon promised, kissing her one last time and walked out the door, heading downstairs toward the garage.

 

Delilah ran over to the window and looked out as Landon pulled out of the driveway, both of them blowing kisses simultaneously.  It was their special thing they always did, never leaving angry at each other.  Delilah felt guilty for tossing that ultimatum at her husband, but didn’t regret it. 

 

She meant what she said, he had to choose to either be with his family or the council.  Landon couldn’t have both and he had chosen right, which Delilah was extremely thankful for.  Deciding to keep her mind occupied until he returned, Delilah shut the bedroom light off and headed downstairs to her kitchen to bake something.

 

Before she knew it, 4 hours passed and there was still no sign of Landon anywhere.  She had baked 3 dozen cookies and ran out of dough, so she moved onto baking brownies and a cake.  No matter how much she baked, Delilah couldn’t shake this feeling that something wasn’t right.  It was going on 4 AM and she knew Dacia would be getting up in two hours for school, hoping Landon was back by then to have breakfast with them.

 

After the brownies and cake were finished, Delilah started on breakfast that consisted of pancakes, bacon, eggs, hash browns and fresh fruit cut up in a large bowl.  She was a master at cooking and did most of the functions the council had, which happened quite frequently.  She set everything on the table on platters with lids over them so it remained fresh before starting to clean up her mess.

 

At exactly a quarter to 6, Delilah heard the phone ring and snapped her head up from the sink, quickly rushing over to answer it. “Hello?” When she didn’t get a response, Delilah swallowed hard and took a deep breath. “Landon?”

 

“Delilah…” A low voice sounded in the phone after what seemed like forever, followed by shuffling of some sort.

 

It was Luke, Landon’s younger brother and partner in crime when it came to hunting. “Luke, what’s going on?” Delilah demanded, looking up the stairs and heard the bathroom door shut, knowing Dacia was awake. “Where’s Landon?”

 

“Delilah, you need to get to the hospital.  Landon is in bad shape and…”

 

Before Luke could finish, the line went dead and she was left standing there trembling from head to toe.  What did he mean Landon was in bad shape?!  Delilah dropped the phone and immediately rushed upstairs to the bedroom to change, tossing on a pair of jeans, long sleeved pink sweater and black boots.  She flew out of the bedroom just as the bathroom door opened, stopping at the sight of a sleepy Dacia.

 

“Mom, what’s going on?  Where are you going?” Dacia asked tiredly, having stayed up late studying for her big Biology test today.

 

“I have to run an errand for your father.” Delilah lied, deciding there was no point in worrying Dacia until she found out what exactly happened to Landon. “Breakfast is on the table and feel free to take some snacks with you to school.  They’re in the kitchen wrapped in tinfoil.  Are you getting a ride from Miranda again?”

 

Miranda Sommers-Gilbert was one of Delilah’s good friends and Elena Gilbert’s mother, who was Dacia’s best friend.  They had practically been raised together and their friendship went back to when they were babies.  Miranda had been the first person to welcome Delilah to Mystic Falls and befriended her.  Jenna Sommers, Miranda’s younger sister, was a good friend of Dahna’s even though they had quite an age difference.  It didn’t matter because Jenna was just as crazy and carefree as a teenager and they molded really well as friends.  They were one of the sweetest families on the planet and Delilah was lucky to have her as a friend just as Dacia was lucky to have Elena and Dahna with Jenna.

 

“Yeah, Elena wants to go over notes again before our test today.  Wish me luck.” She shot over her shoulder sarcastically, closing her bedroom door and began getting ready for school.

 

Delilah didn’t bother responding and flew down the stairs out to the garage, firing up her yellow sun fire, peeling out of there as fast as she could.  She couldn’t help letting a few tears fall down her face and tried making phone calls on the way to the hospital, but nobody was answering.  This definitely wasn’t good as Delilah punched on the gas harder, breaking speed limits throughout town, but she didn’t care.  Her husband was in bad shape, according to his little brother, so Delilah had no time to waste and could only pray he was alive.

 

As soon as Delilah rushed through the emergency room doors, Luke approached her with a huge gauze bandage around his forehead and tears in his eyes. “Delilah…”

 

“Where is he?” Delilah cut him off, walking past him toward the nurse’s station and began crying when Luke stopped her. “Where is he, Luke?”

 

“Delilah, I-I’m so sorry…” Luke tried to keep his tears at bay, but it was impossible in this situation. “W-We were attacked…and…”

 

“WHERE HE IS?” Delilah screamed, trembling from head to toe and shook her head when Luke lowered his head, giving her the answer without having to say it. “No-NO!!  No he can’t be!!  WHERE’S LANDON?”

 

“He’s dead, Delilah.”

 

Chapter 1

 

“Dacia!!” Dahna Fell called upstairs to her younger sister while fastening a diamond bracelet around her wrist.

 

They were going to the Founder’s Day Ball, a tradition that Mystic Falls held over many generations.  She didn’t want to go, but being part of the council made it her responsibility to make an appearance.  Bailing wasn’t an option, especially since the council had secret meetings at these functions.  It was mandatory, it didn’t matter if a member was deathly ill in the hospital, they couldn’t be missed. 

 

Meredith and Luke would have her head on a platter if Dahna didn’t show up, so she had no choice except to go and decided to drag Dacia along for the fun.  However, Dacia didn’t know about the council because of their mother, which Dahna was very grateful for.  Dahna never thought she’d become part of the council, but all that changed the night their parents’ died.

 

Landon Fell was killed by a wild beast in the woods, one they were still trying to hunt down after 3 years.  The council called the beasts vampires, but Dahna didn’t believe they existed, just like her mother.  However, she kept her non-belief away from the council and did what they asked since only the men hunted.

 

Not a day went by that Dahna didn’t think of her parents and hoped they rested peacefully together.  She would never forget receiving the phone call from her sobbing Uncle Luke informing her that both her mother and father had died.  Delilah had died of a heart attack after hearing the news of her husband’s death and she couldn’t be resuscitated. 

 

Dahna had to move back to Mystic Falls to care for her little sister, Dacia, or else she would’ve gone into the foster care system until the age of 18.  As much as Dahna loved college, she couldn’t let that happen to Dacia and dropped everything to become her guardian.  Thankfully, there was a college in the nearby town that Dahna went to twice a week and did most of her classes online, so she didn’t miss out on her education.

 

Staring in the full length mirror, Dahna smoothed her hands down the simple black strapless gown that was splashed with silver embroidery all over it.  It clung to every curve of her body, her caramel colored hair swept up on top of her head in a ton of curls.  She had it professionally done earlier that day at the local beauty salon free of charge since she was a council member.  Her emerald green eyes were outlined with thin black eyeliner, making them pop and painted her lips with a peach colored gloss.

 

“If you’re not down here in 5 minutes, I’m leaving with you, kid!!” She smirked when Dacia shouted in reply, knowing her sister hated being called that.

 

Dacia growled and stuck her head out of the bedroom. “Chill your panties, MOM, I’ll be right down!  I’m trying to get my heel straps buckled!” She called back with a smirk of her own because Dahna hated being called the M word.

 

Going back to fastening her heels, Dacia wondered why Dahna was so adamant about bringing her along to this stupid ball.  It was pointless!  She absolutely hated and LOATHED the Mystic Falls events and tried like hell to get out of them every time.  All they ever amounted to was sucking the life out of her from how boring it was and being forced to dress up, which is something Dacia hated doing as well. 

 

Half the time, when these functions were held at the Lockwood mansion, Dacia stayed outside sitting on a bench under a willow tree gaming on her cell phone.  She had to do SOMETHING to occupy herself or else she would die of boredom.  Dahna felt the same way, but for some odd reason she had to attend these functions and Dacia didn’t understand it.  All Dahna ever said whenever Dacia questioned her about it was ‘she had to go’, so to save what was left of her sanity, Dacia stopped trying to understand her sister’s logic.

 

When their parents’ died, Dacia didn’t know what to do or think about it and only felt intense sadness.  She used to be into all kinds of events for school like dance and cheerleading, but all that stopped when her world shattered.  Dacia had been shocked when Dahna actually moved back to Mystic Falls and took guardianship instead of Luke or Meredith. 

 

The fact her big sister stopped everything in her life just to take care of Dacia meant the world to her and they had grown very close over the past 3 years.  Granted, it was weird at first having Dahna wash her clothes, cook her meals and greet her almost every day when she came home from school.  There were nights that Dahna wasn’t home because she had to go to school in the next town over, which Dacia didn’t mind.

 

Staring in her own full length mirror, Dacia wore a beautiful violet spaghetti strapped A-line gown with matching heels and it went down just a quarter inch past her knees.  It was simple, just the way Dacia liked it, and the closest she became to being dressed up formally.  She’d left her ebony waist length hair down, curled at the ends for style. 

 

Her milk chocolate brown eyes were outlined in thin black eyeliner with just a hint of violet eye shadow to accentuate her natural beauty.  Giving herself a once over in the mirror one last time, Dacia was satisfied with her look and headed out the door, grabbing her black jacket since it was a chilly night.  She just hoped they didn’t have to stay long because heels were not kind to her, not even a little.

 

“Alright old lady, we need to leave now if you don’t want to be late for the party.” Dacia suggested smugly, stopping at the sight of Dahna with her sleazy boyfriend, Max. “Oh, I didn’t know he was going…”

 

“Be nice, Dace.” Dahna softly chastised and smiled up at Max, her arm looped through his. “And old lady, really?” She was tempted to smack her sister upside the head, but refrained. “Hmph, I’ll show you old lady in a minute if you don’t get your ass out the door and in the car pronto.”

 

“Hello Dacia.” Max greeted with a grin and turned his beady baby blue eyes onto his girlfriend’s younger sister. “You look beautiful tonight.”

 

This was the exact reason why Dacia hated this guy and wondered what hole he crawled out of.  Even though he was polite, there was something about him that just rubbed Dacia the wrong way.  She couldn’t put her finger on it, maybe it was the way he undressed her with his eyes or the way he carried himself.  Whatever it was, Dacia didn’t like it and wished her sister would send him packing already. 

 

Dahna met Max during one of her night classes she couldn’t do online a few months back and they started dating instantly.  She found him charming and friendly, though Dahna knew how Dacia really felt about him and couldn’t understand why.  He was never rude to Dacia, not that she knew of and he was a perfect gentleman whenever they went out on dates.  It bothered Dahna that her little sister loathed the guy she dated, but then again, Dacia wasn’t happy about a lot of things in her life.

 

“You ladies ready to go?” Max opened the screen door and gestured for them to walk out, winking at Dahna.

 

“Wait, he’s driving?” Dacia didn’t like that because she witnessed firsthand how big of a lush Max was when he had a few cocktails in him.

 

“Yeah why, is that a problem?” Dahna asked, quirking a brow and shut the front door locking it.

 

Dacia bit her tongue and simply shook her head, walking away heading toward the car.  Why hadn’t she thought to bring her IPOD?  Oh that’s right, it wouldn’t be appropriate.  Oh well, at least she had her cell phone to game on and her best friend Elena to hang out with.  However, Elena had a date that night with a new student named Stefan Salvatore, so Dacia would stay clear of them so they could enjoy their time together.

 

“What’s with her?” Max demanded, stopping Dahna from walking toward the car and pulled her into his arms. “I didn’t do anything to her and she’s treating me like trash.  I don’t appreciate it, Dahna.”

 

Dahna sighed heavily, really not in the mood for this conversation and they were running late enough already. “I’ll talk to her about it.  She doesn’t like you for some reason and I’ve told you that.  The more friendly you try to be toward her, the more she’ll rebel.  I know you mean well, Max, but my sister is very complex and does things her way.” She didn’t know what else could be said to make it clear to Max that Dacia didn’t want anything to do with him. 

 

Max didn’t appreciate Dahna’s tone and grabbed her upper arm, squeezing harder than necessary. “I sincerely hope you do, sweetheart.” He pressed his nose against her cheek, giving her arm another tight squeeze and headed toward the car, slipping into the driver’s side.

 

Witnessing that whole exchange, Dacia liked Max even less and wished her sister would just drop him like a bad habit.  That wasn’t the first time she saw Max abuse her sister –yes she called it abuse because his squeezes left bruises on her upper arms- and she knew it wouldn’t be the last.  It made Dacia wonder just how far Max would have to go before Dahna finally dumped him, shivering involuntarily at the thought.

 

Dahna shrugged off Max and slid into the passenger seat, buckling up.  She glanced in the rearview mirror and locked eyes with Dacia briefly, silently letting her know everything was fine.  Her arm did throb a little from Max’s grip, which he did frequently when he wanted to get a point across.  He never squeezed her that hard before and suddenly, it was almost as if the light bulb went off in Dahna’s head.

 

“What are you doing?” Max demanded, watching as she unbuckled her seatbelt and stepped out of his car, raising a brow.

 

“Dacia, get out of the car.” Dahna ordered, smoothing her dress out and folded her arms in front of her chest, smiling sweetly at a perplexed Max.

 

Blinking, Dacia did as she was told; thankful the vehicle had 4 doors and walked over to stand beside her big sister. “Dahna…” She closed her mouth when Dahna held her hand up, wondering what was going on.  Had Dahna come to her senses finally?

 

“Go to the car and start it up.” She tossed Dacia the keys, keeping her eyes locked on Max and waited until she was out of hearing distance before glaring spitefully at her boyfriend. “Let’s get one thing straight right now, Maxwell, I don’t put up with dickheads and that’s exactly what you are.  A small puny dickhead that likes to try throwing his weight around with me and I’m done with it.  You’ve put your hands on me for the last time because our relationship is over.  So I’m going to the Founder’s Ball with my sister, ALONE and SINGLE, and you can take your abusive ass right off of my property.  Because if you don’t, I will make sure you never touch another woman again.  Do I make myself clear?”

 

Max couldn’t believe the words spewing out of her mouth as he jumped out of the car and stalked over to her, blue eyes blazing. “What the hell are you talking about, Dahna?  You can’t dump me that easily, bitch!” He shouted, raising his hand to hit her and suddenly couldn’t feel his lower extremities anymore.

 

Dacia gaped as she watched Max fall to his knees, his entire body convulsing while her big sister held a small handheld Taser gun to his genitals. “Go sis!” She shouted out the window, waving her balled up first in the air in triumph.

 

Smirking, Dahna finally pulled the Taser gun away from Max and stepped back, not one blemish anywhere on her. “Now if you’ll excuse me, DICK, I have an event to attend and you have new balls to find.  Toodaloo!” Waving 3 fingers mockingly at him, Dahna turned on her heel and headed to her own vehicle, tossing the handheld Taser gun in the air catching it while whistling.

 

“Can I just say about freaking time?” Dacia beamed proudly at her sister, already buckled up in the front seat and felt better now that Max wasn’t coming. “I knew you wouldn’t put up with this crap much longer.”

 

“I was waiting to see if he’d try something else and he did.” When Dacia raised a brow, Dahna regretted saying that aloud and waved her off dismissively. “The point is our relationship is over and he’s out of our lives forever.”

 

“Thank god, I hated him.” Dacia stated, folding her arms in front of her chest as they drove away from the house, heading to the Lockwood mansion. “Almost as much as I hate these stupid events.”

 

“Touché, Dace.” Dahna agreed wholeheartedly and sighed when her cell phone went off, flipping it open. “We’re on our way, Meredith.  Don’t get your panties in a bunch.”

 

Meredith sighed with relief. “Where are you guys?  You were supposed to be here 20 minutes ago!” She hissed quietly, waving off Luke when he tapped his watch and rolled her eyes. “You’re not supposed to be late, Dahna.”

 

“Look, I had to take care of something and it took a little longer than I thought.” Dahna defended, stopping at a red light and rolled her eyes when Meredith started giving her the third degree over the phone.

 

“Oh really?  What was so damn important that you have to be nearly a half an hour late to the Founder’s Ball huh?  Why can’t you for ONCE be on time for anything, Dahna?” Meredith snapped, not appreciating her niece’s tone and tapped her heel on the floor impatiently.

 

Dahna could feel a headache coming on already and slammed her foot on the gas out of pure frustration, growling. “If you MUST know, I just had to break up with Max.” She informed Meredith with an ice cold voice, hoping her Aunt was happy. “There, happy now?”

 

Meredith frowned, worry and concern instantly filling her dark eyes. “Dahna, what happened?” Now she felt terrible for snapping at her niece and held her hand up in a one second gesture to Luke. “Why don’t you get here and tell me all about it, sweetie?”

 

“I’m on my way now.  Talk to you in a few.” Dahna hung up before Meredith could utter another word and shut her cell phone off, tossing it in her purse.

 

Dacia kept quiet and simply stared out the window, knowing her sister was upset from that phone call. ‘Sometimes Meredith pushes her too far.’ She thought sadly, wishing there was something she could do to soothe her big sister since she sounded like she was about to cry.

 

For once, Dahna just wished she could have a night of peace and quiet without her family jammed down her throat besides Dacia.

 

Chapter 2

 

“There’s something I want to talk to you about before we arrive at the mansion, Dace.” They had to get off the subject of Max because all it did was upset both of them and that wouldn’t help matters.

 

“What is it?”

 

“I know you and Caroline Forbes haven’t seen eye to eye lately, but you have to try to be on your best behavior tonight.” Dahna said, pulling into the driveway that lead to the mansion, slowing down so they could have this conversation before going inside. “I know you’ve been fighting with her because of your friendship with Elena and I’m telling you that Elena won’t choose her over you.  So there’s no reason for you to rip each other’s throats out over something that trivial.”

 

Rolling her eyes, Dacia didn’t appreciate her sister turning into mother hen mode and snorted. “I’m sorry sis, but Caroline Forbes is a whiny bitch and that’s putting it as nicely as I can.  I’m not going to kiss her ass, not tonight or any night.  She thinks just because she’s a cheerleader and on every freaking committee in this town that it automatically makes her the boss of everyone.  There’s only one person who can boss me around and that’s you.  Everyone else can kiss my ass.  Just worry about the stupid ball and let me deal with her.  As long as I don’t talk to her and she doesn’t talk to me, we’ll both be just fine.” She stared out the window and watched as the trees passed by, Dahna finding a parking spot a moment later. “Besides, I do just fine on my own.  You’ve gotta realize I’ll probably never be friends with Caroline, no matter if Elena is.”

 

Signing resignedly, Dahna shook her head and didn’t know what else to say. “Dace, you and Caroline used to be best friends, so I don’t understand what happened to drive a wedge between the two of you this deep.  Don’t forget, you were once on the cheerleading squad as well.  Now you have this attitude that I don’t even recognize and I’m telling you right now: Fighting over a boy like Tyler Lockwood isn’t worth your friendship.” Dahna wasn’t blind or stupid, she knew exactly why her sister and Caroline weren’t friends and it was because of the mayor’s son. “Tyler Lockwood is a dick and he’s got both of you fighting over him for whatever reason.  Let me tell you something, Dace, he’s going to wind up a washed up nobody with a 9-to-5 job struggling for the rest of his natural born life.  He’ll go to the best schools and get the best education, sure, but he’ll flush it all down the toilet because he thinks with the wrong head.  You need to stay away from him, Dace.  I mean it; I don’t condone you having anything to do with that boy.”

 

“I don’t even talk to Tyler, Dahna.” Dacia said somewhat defensively, wondering who would put that into her sister’s head that she wanted anything to do with the jockstrap football player of the Mystic Falls High team. “For some reason, Caroline got it into her bleach blonde brain that Tyler broke up with her because he wants me now.  Not that Tyler would ever be stupid enough to ask someone like me out.” Dacia’s self-esteem had flown right out the window after their parents’ died too, though it was slowly building back up. “And yes, I admit at one point, I WAS on the cheerleading squad until they all turned into a bunch of superficial bitches.  That’s why Elena quit the squad too because Caroline acts like it’s some kind of crime that I started working at the grill.  Like it’s suddenly beneath her for someone the same age as her to have a job and make money instead of sponging off their…guardians.” To this day, Dacia still had a hard time mentioning the word parents because she no longer had any and neither did Dahna. “Whatever, I don’t expect you to understand because you’re not even around during school when I’m getting the stink eye from cheerleader Barbie.  Telling me I didn’t have enough pep, I didn’t make the cut – I couldn’t have had any more pep if I lit a firecracker and shoved it up my ass.”

 

Dahna couldn’t help laughing at her little sister’s spunk and cut the ignition of the car, reaching over to take her hand. “High school isn’t easy for anyone, Dace.  I know that, I’m not stupid.  I had to go through high school as the BIGGEST misfit with just a handful of friends.  I was an outsider.  I wasn’t on the cheerleading squad and it wasn’t because I couldn’t be either.  I could’ve done any of those pathetic sports and events, but I chose NOT too because it wasn’t for me.  I wanted to focus on my art and writing, which is why I’m now going for my Associate’s degree in journalism.  That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you, Dace, and you’re slowly but surely finding your own way.  Mom and Dad tried pushing you to do so many things because they didn’t want you ‘missing out’ like I did.  How do you think I felt when Mom would always gush over your abilities while I was busy drawing or writing in my room?  It hurt, I’ll admit it, and only the people who cared most about me stuck by my side through it all.  I know Caroline can be a little eccentric and run her mouth, I’m not deaf, but you have to be the bigger person, Dace.  Let her think whatever she wants, say hurtful things and brush it off.  I’m not going to lecture you about it anymore, but it pains me to see you two at odds.”

 

Caroline and Elena had gotten Dacia through the 5 stages of grief from their parents’ death, which Dahna was extremely grateful for.  Dahna was only being truthful with her little sister and hoped Dacia didn’t resent her for speaking her mind.  Dacia was more than just her little sister and the girl she had guardianship over, they were best friends. 

 

Ever since their family tragedy, Dahna vowed to be there for Dacia through anything and everything, completely devoting herself.  Max couldn’t stand that Dahna always put Dacia before their relationship, but Dahna let him know beforehand what kind of baggage she carried.  Now she wanted to fix this problem between Caroline and her sister, but honestly, if they didn’t want to be friends anymore, than who was she to try pushing the issue?

 

“I’m always on your side, remember that, Dace.”

 

Dacia appreciated Dahna opening up to her like this because it just made their relationship closer. “It’s not a matter of high school being tough or you even being on my side.  Your lectures I’m getting used to.  Caroline changed a lot over the past year between our sophomore and junior year and it’s almost summer before our senior year.  She’s gotten worse.  Bonnie and Elena are the same, they never change.  I know I changed too and I’m supposed to.  I just see things differently than I used to and maybe it’s because of Mom and Dad’s death.  I don’t know, but all I DO know is I can’t stand Caroline Forbes anymore.  She’s judgmental and two-faced because she says things she shouldn’t behind others backs.” They really had to get inside and Dacia decided it was time to end this conversation for now. “Let’s just drop it for now before we end up spending the night in the car instead of going inside.  I just want to do the same thing at this stupid party that I do at all of them, which is ignoring everyone and be left alone until it’s time leave.” Stepping out of the vehicle, Dacia shut the door and headed down the path that lead to the mansion, leaving Dahna trailing behind her.

 

Dahna frowned, not meaning to upset her little sister and knew it was because she brought up Caroline.  She knew Dacia hated these events and, honestly, she did too, but they had to support the town.  Their parents left behind a legacy that had to be fulfilled and Dahna would not leave until Landon’s murderer was caught.  That was the main reason for her being in the council because she wanted to find her father’s murderer and bring some kind of justice to her family. 

 

However, being part of a Founding Family came with a huge burden and responsibility, one that Dahna would not pass down to Dacia even after she stepped down as a member.  Delilah did not want Dacia having any knowledge of the council and Dahna would make sure that never happened, no matter what she had to do to hide the truth.  Dahna did not want this life for her little sister; she wanted Dacia to spread her wings and fly as high and far away as she could from Mystic Falls after graduation.

 

“Hey Dahna!” Elena greeted enthusiastically, already spotting Dacia right as she walked inside the mansion. “How’s it going?”

 

“As well as can be expected, Lena.” That was Dahna’s special nickname for Elena and smiled warmly, gesturing to her little sister. “Dacia, on the other hand, could use a friend to talk to, if you know what I mean.”

 

Elena winked, fully understanding and could tell something was bothering Dacia. “Don’t worry; I’ll get her out of her funk in no time.” She promised, spotting her date over Dahna’s shoulder and waved him over. “Oh there he is.  Stefan!”

 

“Good, I know I can always count on you and, may I add, how stunning you look tonight.” Dahna laughed when Elena flushed just as they were joined by a rather tall boy that was at least 6 feet tall and had snazzy black suit on.

 

“There you are, I was looking everywhere for you.” Stefan said, kissing the back of Elena’s hand and turned his soft green eyes on the woman she was talking with. “Hello, I’m Stefan Salvatore.” He extended his hand, flashing a smile when the woman immediately took it without hesitation and gave it a gentle yet firm shake. “Elena, would you care to dance?”

 

Elena looked conflicted because she knew Dacia was upset about something, especially since she headed straight outside like always. “I umm…” She glanced back at Dahna and smiled when she just ushered her toward the dance floor. “I’d love to.”

 

“Great!  Excuse us.” Stefan said politely, guiding Elena away with his hand on the small of her back and began twirling her around on the dance floor.

 

Dahna sighed gently and decided a drink was definitely in order, heading toward the first waiter she spotted with glasses full of champagne.  She took two and downed the first one to take the edge off her nerves.  The second she simply held and took small sips, greeting people only if they acknowledged her first.  It was a typical ball and Dahna felt so out of place, tempted to join her little sister outside since they were both outsiders.

 

“There you are!”

 

Just the sound of Meredith’s voice made Dahna slam back her second glass of champagne, knowing she would need a third before this night ended. “I’ve been here for a little while now.” She stated, turning around to face her Aunt and braced herself for the lecturing.

 

“You look radiant tonight, niece.” Luke intervened, kissing Dahna’s cheek softly and shot a warning look directly at Meredith, warning her to leave Dahna alone.

 

“Yes, you do look beautiful.  Now what the hell is going on with Max?” Meredith immediately jumped into it and folded her arms in front of her chest, noticing her niece was trying like hell to hide how upset she was. “What happened?”

 

“Oh you know the usual: Boy meets girl.  Girl falls for boy.  Boy becomes an abusive dick.  Girl zaps him with a taser gun she carries in her purse.” Dahna’s voice dripped with sarcasm as she grabbed a third glass of champagne from another waiter that passed by, trying not to slam it back like the others. “He’s gone; can we change the subject please?”

 

Luke howled with laughter at how smarmy his niece sounded with her explanation and leaned against the wall, shaking her head. “I guess that taser gun did come in handy, eh?” He laughed harder when she nodded and pulled Dahna into his arms, hugging her. “You are definitely my blood to do something like that, kiddo.”

 

Dahna growled, shoving him away and rolled her eyes. “Don’t call me that and, yes, it did come in handy.  He grabbed my arm and squeezed to the point where my fingers temporarily went numb.” She gestured to her upper arm and, sure enough, there was a deep bruise forming in the shape of fingers. “I told him it was over and to get off my property.  He came toward me thinking he was going to strike me down and, instead, I struck HIM down.”

 

Frowning, Meredith examined the bruises more carefully and ran her fingertip across them to feel how bad it pulsated. “You need to put ice on this as soon as you get home.  It’ll help with the swelling and I would pop two Ibuprofen too.” Meredith was a doctor at the local hospital, so she knew what she was talking about. “Does it hurt?”

 

“Meh, a little, but nothing I can’t handle, Mer.” Dahna assured her Aunt, who was sometimes overprotective of the girls and for good reason. “I’ll take the pills and ice it, now back off.”

 

“Is that all he did to you?” Meredith inquired, refusing to let the subject go and watched Dahna’s eyes advert to the floor instantly. “Damn him.  I’ll kill him.”

 

Dahna immediately grabbed Meredith’s arm, stopping her from stalking away. “No you’re not.  Listen to me, whatever he did is in the past and you can’t change it.  I got out before he started hitting me.” Max’s form of abuse was sexually and Dahna shuddered at the memory of their final encounter together, immediately pushing it in the back of her mind. “Please promise me you won’t do something stupid and go after him.  He could technically press charges against me for tasing him in the balls and I really don’t feel like ending up jail.  Not to mention, Dacia is almost 18, so I just have a few months left as her guardian.  Just leave me be, Auntie.  Please.”

 

Meredith groaned, knowing Dahna had a point when it came to the guardianship because Dacia could still be taken out of the home for something like this. “Damn it, fine!” She growled, not happy with these sudden turn of events and huffed indignantly. “But if he touches you again…”

 

“He won’t.  Now shut up because Sheriff Forbes is on her way over.” Dahna hissed, immediately plastering on a smile and took a deep breath before turning to face Caroline’s mother.

 

Chapter 3

 

“Dahna, you look beautiful this evening.” Elizabeth Forbes complimented, walking up in a simple grey dress, hardly any makeup on. “Do you mind if we talk alone for a minute?”

 

Both Meredith and Luke glanced at each other knowingly before looking back at the sheriff. “Sure, come on Luke, let’s go thank the mayor for a wonderful party.” Yanking him by the hand, they quickly disappeared into the crowd and gave their niece some privacy.

 

“What can I do for you, Sheriff Forbes?” Dahna asked cordially, swirling the light golden liquid around in her wine glass and tried to keep the smile on her face.

 

Elizabeth sighed, not close with the newer generation of Fell’s, but she had been close friends with Delilah and Landon.  She dated Landon briefly in high school, but they decided their friendship was more important and they were better off as just friends.  They were right because Elizabeth never saw two people more in love than Landon and Delilah, even though she was an outsider.

 

“I’m sure you’re aware of Caroline and Dacia’s recent feud and I just wanted to clear the air, so to speak, so there’s no hard feelings.” Elizabeth hated that she had to do this, but Caroline clearly wanted nothing to do with Dacia. “Do you have any idea why they’re no longer speaking?”

 

Dahna understood why Elizabeth wanted to talk and had a feeling she would be heavily intoxicated by the time this night ended. “Dacia told me it’s because of Tyler Lockwood.  Apparently, he broke up with your daughter to be with my little sister.  Dacia doesn’t think so, but I wouldn’t put it past that jockstrap to sow seeds of tension between them.” Snorting, Dahna set her empty champagne glass on the nearby table and popped an hors d’oeuvre in her mouth.

 

“I wouldn’t doubt it, I just wish there was something we could do for them.  They were such good friends up until a few months ago when that Lockwood boy started dating my daughter.” Elizabeth sighed wearily, scrubbing a hand down her face and wished she could go home because she hated these events almost as much as Dahna. “Any ideas?”

 

“Not that I can think of at the moment, I’m afraid.” Dahna replied serenely, taking a shrimp next and suddenly felt hungry. “I have to say this and forgive me ahead of time if it’s ‘out of line’ since you’re the sheriff and all.  It’s nice to see you in something besides your uniform, ma’am.”

 

Elizabeth smiled brightly, shrugging modestly. “Thanks, I figured it would be nice to actually dress up for a change to show people I’m a woman underneath my uniform.  Caroline gets so embarrassed when I don’t come dressed up like everyone else.” She laughed softly, nodding when a waiter walked by with glasses of champagne and took one, affably including Dahna.

 

“Ah what the hell, not like I have somewhere to be tomorrow.” It was Sunday, which meant she got a day off of work and school – mostly.  She still had homework to worry about, but Dahna didn’t want to think about that right now and started making a small appetizer plate.

 

“I normally don’t drink, but tonight definitely calls for it.” Elizabeth agreed, not looking forward to the council meeting they would attend after the party ended. “So how is Dacia holding up with everything?  I know it’s been 3 years, but I do worry about you girls.”

 

“We’re okay for the most part and Dacia is getting better as the days go on.  Some days are worse than others, but she’s strong and will get through it.” Dahna truly believed that, flashing a small smile and wondered where her little sister had gone, hoping she was alright.

 

“Well, hopefully they can work out their differences because no man is worth losing a friendship over.” Elizabeth said, adding her two cents and looked up when she noticed someone gesturing her over to talk with them. “Excuse me Dahna, I’ll be back in a bit.”

 

“Take your time.” Dahna murmured as she watched the sheriff walk away and turned back to her plate of hors d’oeuvres, hoping this party ended soon they could get on with the meeting.

 

“Well, well if it’s not my partner in crime.”

 

Turning around, Dahna’s night went from bad to good at the sight of her best friend, Jenna Sommers. “I was wondering if you were gonna show up since Elena’s here.” She replied, popping a shrimp in her mouth and embraced Jenna momentarily.

 

“Hey you know me, Aunt of the Year and all.” Jenna winked, tossing hors d’oeuvres of her own on a plate. “So how’ve you been?”

 

“Alright, I guess.  Just trying to deal with a situation between Dacia and Caroline Forbes.” Dahna sighed in frustration, trying to nurse her 4th glass of champagne since she felt a buzz coming on. “I have no idea what to do about it.”

 

“Well if it’s any consolation, you look stunning tonight.” Jenna complimented, nudging her friend and popped a broccoli in her mouth after dipping it in ranch sauce. “Then again, I’m sure you’ve heard that repeatedly tonight.  So what’s going on with the girls?”

 

Taking a deep breath, Dahna told Jenna everything Dacia said, not leaving one detail out because she legitimately needed help with this. “And I’m thinking Tyler Lockwood did it on purpose to break their friendship up.” She finished, suddenly slamming her 4th glass back and knew she’d be heading for the open bar soon for something stronger.

 

“Damn…” Jenna whistled lowly, frowning. “So, is she okay?”

 

“Dace would probably kill me if she heard me say this, but those girls are like two peas in a pod.” Dahna kept her voice low, a smirk curving her lips. “They remind me of how I used to be with this guy Sid I used to date in high school.  That boy didn’t know his head from his ass crack.” She snorted, elbowing Jenna in the gut when she began laughing. “Don’t even start, I swear, I’m so glad he moved out of Mystic Falls because just being around him made me lose IQ points.” They both laughed harder and started walking away from the hors d’oeuvres before they ended up eating all of them.

 

Jenna snorted, sipping her champagne slowly. “Yes well, let me know when the ass crack comes back and tells you that, even though he does love you, he’s found someone else who ‘completes’ him.  Then come talk to me about ass cracks.” Jenna mentioning Logan Fell, her ex-boyfriend and ex-love of her life left a bad taste in her mouth as she slammed back the rest of her champagne in one gulp. “Oh no, I’m not drinking alone tonight.” She grunted, tipping Dahna’s glass up when she tried taking a sip of it and forced her friend to drink as fast as she was. “Bottoms up, our girls can drive us home tonight.”

 

“Please!  Dace doesn’t want to be in the same car with me right now.  I really pissed her off and I feel bad about it.  I’m just…I don’t want them making the same mistake we nearly did, you know?” Dahna leaned against the wall, taking another glass of champagne that Jenna procured and didn’t care if she ended up blitzed at this point. “She’s changed so much this year, Jen.  I don’t even recognize her anymore.  All of her carefree spirit and happiness has vanished.”

 

“D, did you ever consider the possibility that, because your father’s birthday is coming up, she might be upset about it?”

 

Dahna shut her eyes and drained her glass, grabbing another one instantly and decided a change of subject was definitely in order. “I wish they would hurry up with this meeting already so I can go home and soak in a hot bubble bath and escape reality for a few hours.”

 

Jenna snorted into her third glass of champagne, shaking her head. “Nice subtle subject change, bud.” She checked her watch, seeing it was a quarter to 9 and felt her eyes widen. “Damn, I really hate leaving you here to wallow in self-misery, but I have a date tonight.  Call me tomorrow?”

 

Dahna smiled, not taking that remark to heart and nodded. “Definitely, go have fun and don’t do anything I wouldn’t.”

 

“That would be nothing then, which isn’t happening.  This girl needs some MUCH needed attention.  See you later, D!” Hurrying away, Dahna was left there alone once again, wondering where Meredith and Luke had gone, heading down the hallway to find them.

 

~!~

 

Knowing Elena was on a date with her new boyfriend, Stefan Salvatore, Dacia decided to handle this function like all the others.  They loved coming to these events and he looked as though he’d twirl her around the dance floor all night long if allowed.  Caroline would annoy her new boyfriend, Matt Donovan, until he agreed to dance with her. 

 

So she found a different bench to game on since a couple was playing a course of tonsil hockey on her usual one.  Walking further down the huge property, Dacia finally found another bench that was smaller and near the pond way out in the back.  It practically called to her to come sit down and Dacia couldn’t ignore the need of solitude as she lowered herself on the bench, immediately pulling her fully charged cell phone out. 

 

Crossing one leg over the other at the knee, Dacia kicked her heels off and squished her toes in the cool grass, loving the feel of it.  She smiled softly and started up her usual cell phone game, leaning back against the bench comfortably.  It was called Burnout 3 and the object of the game was to crash a car into every vehicle around hers.  The more damage she did, the more points she acquired and Dacia’s score was very high.

 

This party absolutely sucked!  Tyler hated them to the point that it forced him to drink, which is why he currently had a silver flask in his hand full of Vodka.  He took a long swig of it and stopped short at the sight of none other than Dacia Fell sitting on a nearby bench in his backyard, playing with her phone…again.  He had no idea what she did on that thing, but every time he saw her, she was on it.  What the hell could have her so intrigued and enthralled?  He decided to be brave, thanks to the Vodka consumption, and headed over to her to find out.

 

“So, I think you have an addiction to your phone.” He commented, watching her slowly look up until those beautiful milk chocolate brown eyes met a dark abyss.

 

Rolling her eyes heavenward, Dacia knew her solitude had just been smashed to smithereens, thanks to Tyler Lockwood’s appearance. “It’s not an addiction, it’s called a cure for boredom.”

 

No matter how hard she tried, Dacia couldn’t help noticing how dashing and handsome Tyler looked in a suit.  Though she preferred him in jeans and t-shirts because they looked practically painted on.  Why was he suddenly talking to her?  She wasn’t anything special. 

 

Hell, even when she was on the cheerleading squad, he never gave her a second glance or said one word to her.  Instead, he dated cheerleader Barbie and used her for sex.  Caroline Forbes was a slut in every sense of the word and, since Tyler had dumped her, she had tried sinking her hooks into Matt Donovan.  She failed miserably at it too, which made Dacia laugh because Matt spoke his mind and didn’t do everything Caroline wanted.

 

“What do you want Tyler?” Dacia demanded, irritated that he interrupted her game. “Shouldn’t you be at the party?” No doubt he was trying to get into someone’s pants and Dacia would let hell freeze over before it was hers.

 

“This is my house.” Tyler scoffed, plopping down right beside her on the bench and leaned over, watching as the small cars smashed against each other on the screen. “I hate these parties, they won’t miss me.” Dacia looked saddened, even though she tried hiding it, and Tyler suddenly wanted to wash it away.  She wouldn’t give him the time of day though, especially after her fallout with Caroline. “You know it’s not your fault right?”

 

Chewing her bottom lip, Dacia didn’t know how to respond to that and knew what he referred to.  Why did Tyler have to sit so close to her?  Why did he have to smell so good?  Why did she suddenly feel like a big puddle of goo melting into the bench?  When he leaned over and watched her play the game, Dacia tried like hell not to breathe his scent in because it was pure intoxication.  His cologne made her crazy and weak in the knees.

 

“What’s not my fault?” She retorted, snapping her eyes up to once again meet the dark abyss and immediately regretted it.

 

Smiling easily, Tyler leaned back against the beach leisurely and took another swig from his flask. “Your fallout with Caroline.” He watched her perfect lips purse tightly together while still chewing her bottom one and Tyler suddenly had the hunger to suck on it.  Her warm milk chocolate eyes spread a warmth through his body that would eventually start a fire of massive proportions. “She thinks I broke up with her because of you and I didn’t.  She was way too clingy, too whiny and, to be frank, couldn’t get it done in the bedroom.  She couldn’t get my rocks off.” He was very blunt when tipsy, a sensual smirk curving his lips. “And she has a sandpaper vagina.  I felt my dick chafe every time we had sex, it wasn’t the best feeling in the world.”

 

Dacia made a face and shoved Tyler in the shoulder as hard as she could, scoffing. “Gross Tyler!  I don’t need to know about your sex life, or lack thereof, with my ex-best friend.  It doesn’t matter what happened, what’s done is done.” Sighing, Dacia went back to playing her game, taking it off pause. “Besides, you have no one to blame for that except yourself.  You’re the one who chose to ask her out.  That’s what you get for thinking with your dick by assuming some hot cheerleader Barbie doll is always the answer to your pleasure.”

 

“Then what IS the answer to my pleasure, Dacia?  Please enlighten me since you seem to know every damn thing else about me.” He snapped, no malice lacing his tone, only exhaustion. 

 

Tyler didn’t want to fight with her, not tonight of all nights.  It was nice sitting out here talking with Dacia without prying eyes and ears.  It was something NORMAL, which his life was anything but lately.

 

“Stop playing that damn game and talk to me.”

 

Sighing resignedly, Dacia reluctantly obeyed his command and turned her game off, turning to fully face him. “I don’t have the foggiest idea what the answer to your pleasure is.  I can’t even begin to get inside your head because I don’t know you, Tyler.  All the years I’ve lived and grew up here with Elena, Caroline, Matt and Bonnie, this is the first time you’ve ever said more than 5 words to me.” She shook her head, wondering why she was having this conversation with Tyler Lockwood of all people. “Pleasure doesn’t come from your penis, it come from your heart.  You find someone you can see yourself sharing all your deepest darkest secrets with.  Someone who would accept anything that comes from your mouth and know you’d never lie to them and then you do something completely out of the ordinary…you let yourself fall in love.  Love, true love will lead you to all the pleasure your body can handle, possibly more.  Try that for once, I dare you.” Turning her eyes back to her phone, Dacia promptly turned it back on and started gaming again.

 

Chapter 4

 

Dacia was out of her mind if she thought for a second Tyler would ever ‘fall in love’.  His parent’s marriage had taught him a few things.  One: his mother was a gold digger.  Two: His father was a womanizer, much like him, only Tyler didn’t force himself on women like his father did.  So for Dacia to spew about how she wanted to fall in love completely turned him off and Tyler suddenly wished he hadn’t struck up a conversation with her.

 

“You dare me to find love.  Let me ask you this: What if love doesn’t exist in the world?” He shot back, watching her head snap up and those beautiful milk chocolate brown eyes hardened instantly. “Seriously, what makes you think love exists in the world?  Because let me tell you something, it doesn’t.  There’s sex, having fun, hanging out, being friends, but there’s NO such thing as what you just said.  I know that firsthand.  You’re living in a fairytale world if you think for a second true love exists, Dacia.”

 

“My parents were truly in love.  Hell, my mother died of a broken heart because of my father’s death.  She couldn’t live without him, literally.  True love does exist, but you won’t know it until it slaps you in the face.” Dacia argued and took a deep breath, trying to keep the tears from stinging the back of her eyes. “Like I said, you’ve never said more than 5 words to me, but even I know what true love feels like.  Otherwise I’d still be a virgin.  I know you don’t remember Mike Epps.  He was the quarterback before Matt Donovan, a senior, when they were sophomores.  He was my first true love.  Then he went away to college and we grew apart.  I still miss him every day.  You’ll never know true love if you don’t open your heart and stop being a dick.”

 

Mike Epps?  Was this girl seriously that deluded? “You really have no idea about him, do you?  You think he actually loved you.” He began laughing outright, not caring how she felt about it and stood up, shaking his head. “Let me fill you in on some information you apparently missed, Dacia.  Mike Epps was never in love with you.  He screwed every cheerleader, including Caroline, behind your back.  I beat the hell out of him one night because I caught him with Caroline and jacked him in his jaw.  That’s why we’re not friends anymore.  He knew if he stuck around here, I would’ve shredded him eventually.  Your so-called ‘true love’ was a cheating dick, Dacia.  So before you start preaching to me about true love and how it exists, make sure you got your facts straight.”

 

Looking down at her phone, Dacia saw a text from her sister telling her she was going to the grill with Jenna for a few drinks and wanted to make sure she had a ride home.  Dacia already knew Elena would give her a lift and texted her sister back, letting her know she had her house keys so Dahna didn’t worry about her.  She also added to have a good time, which is something her big sister desperately needed. 

 

When Tyler mentioned Mike’s infidelity, Dacia’s head snapped up and she couldn’t believe the words flying out of his rotten mouth.  She never knew about Mike sleeping around.  She couldn’t believe Tyler just blurted something like that and was laughing about it!  Frowning, the tears that she tried keeping at bay when talking about her parents suddenly slid down her face one by one and Dacia immediately stood up from the bench, needing to get away from him.  Tyler’s cynical attitude and conceited tone was too much for her to handle at the moment and Dacia refused to listen to another word he said.

 

“Well now that you’ve so graciously given me the facts, a year LATER, I’ll be leaving now.  Thanks by the way, even though I could’ve used this knowledge a while ago.” Turning, Dacia began stalking back toward the mansion and tried stopping her tears, but it wasn’t happening. 

 

“Dacia, wait!!” Tyler shouted and groaned, jogging after her.

 

When she felt Tyler coming after her, Dacia suddenly felt an overwhelming anger flood her body as she whipped around and flung her cell phone as hard as she could, nailing him in the chest. “You and Caroline deserve each other.  You’re both assholes.” Screw the cell phone, Dacia had a job and she could buy a new one and ran off as fast as she could with her heels, needing to find Elena. 

 

She really wanted to go home now.

 

Tyler wasn’t letting her go that easily though and caught her with ease, wrapping his hand around her upper arm. “Just stop for a second!  I’m sorry okay?  You just really pissed me off with that comment about true love.  I didn’t mean to be a dick to you.”

 

He felt like an ass for crassly blurting out the truth about Mike, which everyone in school had known about.  When she began struggling against him demanding to be released, Tyler did the only thing he could think of.  Yanking her full force into his rock hard frame, dark eyes burned into her cold milk chocolate orbs and his lips suddenly crashed against hers, their chests colliding.  The kiss quickly turned passionate as Tyler’s hand slid up Dacia’s back to bury in her beautiful ebony tresses, every part of his body exploding into a raging forest fire.  This was something he wanted to do for a while now and alcohol had given him the courage to finally take the plunge.

 

To say that Dacia was shocked and astounded would’ve been the understatement of the century.  Did Tyler Lockwood just apologize for being a dick?  He never apologize for anything, ever!  What perplexed Dacia further was the kiss she currently experienced with him.  What the hell?  First he acted like a first class dick and now he was trying to cop a feel?  Dacia wasn’t sure if she should be pissed and slug him in the nose or just leave so she could cry some more at home.  Pulling away hastily, Dacia shoved his chest as hard as she could, her eyes still pure ice as she stumbled back with more tears flowing down her cheeks.

 

“I would be enjoying this so much more if you hadn’t basically implied I was stupid for believing in true love and your breath didn’t reek of alcohol.” She stated evenly, shaking slightly from the intensity of that kiss. “Go sleep it off so you can wake up in the morning and have no memory of tonight.  You and I both know if you remember this, you’ll surely regret it.”

 

“FYI, it takes A LOT more than this flask of Vodka to get me drunk.  Tipsy maybe, but I’ll remember everything I do tonight, including that kiss.  What are you so afraid of, Dacia?  That you’ll actually ENJOY kissing me when you know you shouldn’t?” Tyler pulled her right back into his arms, the smell of gardenias surrounding him and made his head swirl in a passion haze once again. “I can tell you enjoyed that, you know why?  Because even as you stand there stopping me from kissing you, your swollen lips and flushed cheeks tell me something different.  They tell me everything I need to know, everything you won’t tell me.  So what’s stopping you?  It’s not Caroline and you can toss Mike’s name at me all you want, but I know that’s not the reason either.  You’re not leaving here until you give me ONE reason why we shouldn’t be doing this.”

 

Dacia swallowed hard, the intensity in his dark eyes overpowering her. “I never said I didn’t enjoy the kiss.  I just said I would enjoy it more if you hadn’t been such a dick.  That’s not how you win people over, Tyler.” He’d had the same intense dark eyes since they were in grade school together, which is how long her secret crush on him had lasted.  Even then, he never spoke to her. “We are two completely different people.  You want to get your rocks off and I want someone who isn’t going to treat me like a piece of meat.” She looked away from him, knowing that’s exactly what Mike had done to her during their entire relationship and that just drove the dagger further into her back. “You honestly want one good reason?” When Tyler nodded curtly, Dacia decided to give him one. “Because you never said more than 5 words to me until tonight and, even then, it was to let me know the man I was in love with over a year ago was a man whore.  And also because I could stand here and tell you I’ve had a crush on you since we were in grade school, but all you’ve ever done is ignore me.  What’s so special about me all of a sudden?”

 

“If you only knew, Dacia…” Tyler murmured huskily, running a finger down her cheek as his dark eyes once again penetrated her down to the depths of her soul, becoming lost in those emerald pools.

 

“Dace, there you are!  I’ve been looking all over for you!” Elena Gilbert’s voice said from behind, interrupting the heated moment between them and made Dacia jump away from Tyler instantly.  She walked toward them and frowned at the sight of Tyler Lockwood standing only an inch, if that, away from her friend. “I’m sorry, did I…interrupt something?”

 

Of course she did, but Tyler wasn’t about to say that aloud and stepped away from Dacia reluctantly, opening his flask. “Not at all.  We’ll talk later, Dacia.” He promised, refusing to call her anything else since he found the nickname ‘Dace’ tedious, preferring her full name. “Have a good night.”

 

“What was THAT about?” Elena demanded as soon as Tyler was out of earshot, frowning.

 

What the hell was going on in Mystic Falls tonight?  Dacia chewed her bottom lip and walked toward the front of the mansion with Elena. “Would you believe me if I said I have no clue?” Tyler’s words kept replaying in her mind as she tried clearing the haze from her mind.  For some reason, ever since Tyler kissed her, her head was in this passion haze that was slowly dispersing.  She decided to come clean to Elena and told her everything that happened on their walk toward her friend’s vehicle, sounding more confused than ever.

 

“Wait a damn minute, do you mean Caroline screwed Mike while you guys were still together?!”

 

“According to Tyler, yes they did.” Dacia didn’t know what to believe anymore and shrugged. “I don’t know what to think or feel about it.  I just want to go home.  I guess Tyler and I can talk whenever.”

 

Elena nodded, both of them slipping into the car and pulled out of there, heading toward Dacia’s house. “What a jerk!  I KNEW something wasn’t right about Mike.  I can’t believe Caroline had sex with him KNOWING you two were dating and you loved him!!” Caroline Forbes was officially off Elena’s friend list. “You know what, we don’t need her, Dace.  I quit the squad too because she was too snide and made rude comments about how I couldn’t keep up after my parents died.  I almost punched her when she mentioned my Mom…” Elena took a deep breath to calm down, not wanting to get worked up. “Do you want me to stay with you tonight until Dahna gets home?  We can veg out and watch some movies because Stefan is busy.”

 

As fun as that sounded, Dacia wasn’t in the mood for company and wanted to be alone tonight. “No thanks, I just want to go home.  I’m tired and my head hurts from all the confusion tonight.  Tyler turned my brain to mush when he kissed me.  I need some recovery time and a shower.  Not to mention, I’m going to have to go back to the Lockwood’s tomorrow.  I got pissed and threw my cell phone at Tyler when I called him an asshole.  I was going to buy a new one, but I really like that damn phone.”

 

“Don’t blame you there.  You paid quite a bit for that phone too.” Elena pointed out, arriving at Dacia’s and pulled on the curb. “Everything will work out, just go get some rest and clear your head.  Don’t worry about Tyler until tomorrow and call me when you get up.  I’ll go over there with you, if you want.”

 

“I’ll let you know if I decide to go over there or not.” The two girls hugged briefly before Dacia stepped out, turning to look at Elena. “And for the record, Caroline has always been the heartless one of the group.  She can rot in hell for all I care.  Message me on my laptop and let me know you got home okay.” Elena agreed and drove off while Dacia headed inside for that much needed shower.

 

Once inside and up in her room, Dacia unzipped her dress, making sure to hang it up in the garment bag so it didn’t get ruined.  She stuffed it in her closet and finished undressing while walking into the bathroom, starting her bath.  Screw the shower, Dacia needed some relaxation and a bath was just the ticket, just like her older sister normally did.  Slipping into the hot water, Dacia sighed as it enveloped her completely, turning all of her muscles and bones to complete mush. 

 

After her body pruned from being in the bath so long, Dacia finished up and stepped out, wrapping a towel around her body.  She brushed her hair and teeth before walking into her bedroom, pulling out a tank top and some cotton shorts.  Slipping into bed, all Dacia could think about was Tyler Lockwood and knew sleep would evade her tonight because of that steamy kiss they shared.

 

~!~

 

Currently, Tyler had Dacia’s phone and figured out how to unlock it with little trouble.  It wasn’t that hard considering she didn’t have a lock on her phone, just a simple swipe across the touchscreen.  All he had to do was slide his finger across the screen and, viola, he had access to all her contacts and everything.  He searched through it for a little while and finally found that stupid game she’d been playing.  Deciding to see what all the hype was about, he pressed the button to get it started and took another swing of his flask.  Within an hour, Tyler was completely hooked and laughing, immediately downloading it to his own phone.

 

After hours of playing the car wrecking game, Tyler had actually fallen asleep with Dacia’s phone on his chest, the game still going.  His dreams were of her lips against his, his hands on her body with gardenias surrounding them as he made passionate love to her.  Her soft supple skin against his mouth and hands, whispering to her exactly how he felt.

 

The truth was Tyler had been after Dacia for a long time, but Mike Epps had sunk his claws into her before he could make a move.  Mike knew how Tyler felt about her and flaunted their relationship in his face.  That was the only reason why Tyler decided to date Caroline, just so he could be closer to Dacia.  As he dreamt of her, Tyler decided even in his subconscious that he would make Dacia his at any cost now that Mike Epps was officially out of the picture.

 

Chapter 5

 

“Dahna!” She turned in time to see the sheriff walking hastily toward her, noticing instantly she wasn’t alone. “There you are, the meeting is about to begin.  Meredith and Luke are already upstairs.”

 

“Oh okay, that’s who I was looking for.” Dahna had wondered why she couldn’t find them, having looked all over the mansion and was heading outside when Elizabeth stopped her. “Lead the way then, sheriff.”

 

They both headed in the direction of the huge winding staircase and Dahna glanced over her shoulder, hoping Elena had talked to Dacia.  She was worried for her little sister over this Caroline situation, especially when Dacia had already lost so much at a tender age.  If she had to, Dahna would make sure that she had a discussion with Tyler Lockwood, and even Tyler’s mother and the mayor’s wife Carol, if it helped remedy the situation.

 

“Liz, a pleasure to see you as always.” A deep baritone voice complimented, breaking Dahna out of her thoughts.

 

Elizabeth looked up and smiled at one of her good friends, nodding. “Damon, when did you get back into town?  I thought you’d be gone for at least another week.” She said, stepping into the room.

 

“I was going to, but decided to come back for the meeting.” Damon replied easily, stepping closer to both of them and finally locked his intense eyes on the caramel haired woman beside Elizabeth. 

 

She was exquisite from the top of her curled hair to the tips of her freshly pedicured toes.  Her black dress accentuated her curves and showed him she indeed had an incredible body beneath the material.  It’d been a while since he went on the hunt for new prey and Damon could never recall spotting this delectable morsel at any of their council meetings before.  Then again, Damon rarely came to them because he was usually busy with something more important or out of town.  Damon was sure he lost his breath when she finally looked at him, feeling his eyes boring into her, with stunning emerald green eyes and gave her another once over before opening his mouth to speak.

 

“Hello, I don’t believe we’ve been properly introduced.” He stepped forward and extended his hand, his eyes never leaving those emerald gems. “I’m Damon Salvatore and you are?”

 

“Hi.”

 

Salvatore…So Damon was part of the infamous Salvatore Founding Family.  Zachary Salvatore had originally been the member for the Salvatore Family, but something happened to make him leave town.  Nobody knew what either, he just took off one day and hadn’t returned since.  As long as they kept acquiring vervain from the Salvatore’s, everything would be fine since that was their only source of it in town.

 

Damon must’ve been Zachary’s replacement in the council, much like her with Landon, which Elizabeth had mentioned a time or two during meetings, explaining his absence.  Dahna didn’t mean to be rude, but ever since Jenna mentioned her father’s upcoming birthday, she just wasn’t in the mood to converse with anyone.  Walking away from them so Elizabeth could talk to Damon privately, Dahna sat down in a nearby chair and crossed her ankles together. 

 

Honestly, Dahna didn’t want to be part of the council because she didn’t believe in any of it.  They actually believed vampires existed – what kind of brainwashing had been done to these poor people?  There was no such things as vampires, they were merely myths and legends.  Dahna didn’t care how much ‘proof’ the council had that was left behind by their ancestors, that didn’t mean the ‘beasts’ were vampires. 

 

Of course, Dahna kept these thoughts to herself and just stayed quiet, regretting ever agreeing to taking over her father’s position.  The will and determination to find her father’s murderer was all the motivation Dahna needed to join though.  However, Mayor Lockwood was a problem because, ever since Dahna joined the council, he couldn’t keep his predatory eyes off of her.  Carol really had to get a hold on her husband before Dahna did it for her and refused to meet his eyes, waiting for the meeting to start.

 

While Elizabeth ran her mouth about the latest victim in town, Damon’s eyes never left the caramel haired beauty and could tell she’d be quite the challenge. “Sounds good, Liz, keep me posted.  Excuse me.”

 

Damon politely ended their conversation and headed over to where his prey sat alone, looking more vulnerable than ever.  Everyone was meandering around the room, growing impatient since Mayor Lockwood hadn’t started yet.  Closing his eyes briefly, Damon could smell her mouthwatering scent and inhaled silently, trying not to look like a pervert or stalker.  Leaning down on the chair right beside the caramel haired beauty, Damon made sure his mouth was level with her ear before speaking, keeping his voice low.

 

“So, if you could sneak away tonight and ditch this boring meeting, where would you go?” He asked in the same low baritone, his question a legitimately conversation opener.

 

“At home in either a hot bath or my bed reading a book with a glass of wine.” She answered, deciding to humor him for the time being since there was nothing else to do.  Dahna felt a shiver of dread trickle down her spine when Richard Lockwood suddenly approached them and braced herself for his flirtatious compliments.

 

“Looking lovely as always, Dahna.”

 

The way he said her name made Dahna want to jump in a scalding hot shower and scrub every inch of her body.  She refused to lash out at him though and merely flashed a serene smile. “Thank you, Richie.  Your WIFE looks lovely too.” She smirked when the mayor scowled and stood up, feeling Damon standing behind her.

 

Richard snorted, sipping a glass of brandy. “Still playing hard to get, I see.” He eyeballed Damon, wondering if they were together and could feel his blood boiling. “Hmm…”

 

“No.” Dahna’s eyes iced over, not appreciating his tone of voice. “I just refuse to screw around with a married man.” Her voice remained barely above a whisper, not wanting others to overhear this exchange. “Do send my thanks for the invitation tonight, won’t you?” If they weren’t having an actual meeting, she was leaving and headed for the door.

 

Completely intrigued with this woman named Dahna, –that name alone lit him on fire- Damon followed her, feeling a strength radiating from her pores.  There was definitely something about her that made him want to talk to her further, get to know her better.  Of course, the thought of snapping the mayor’s neck did cross his mind for those ill-mannered remarks.  Every time that fool started drinking brandy, he got cocky, stupid and flirted with anything in a 50 mile radius.  When the caramel haired beauty stopped walking, he slipped up behind her silently and could feel how angry she was.

 

“You look like you’re about as thrilled with this meeting as I am.” His voice dripped with pure sarcasm and an idea suddenly popped into his head. “What do you say we ditch the meeting before anyone notices, go downstairs and enjoy a glass of wine?” He suggested, trying to figure out how to calm her down because her heartbeat was extremely fast, along with her pulse.

 

“How about not and say we did?” Dahna remarked, not giving him a second glance and walked out of the room fully, heading right back downstairs to join what was left of the party. 

 

Dacia was probably bored out of her mind and wanted to go home.  Honestly, what had her father gotten her into with this ridiculous Founder’s council?  Fingering the ruby charm around her neck, Dahna went in search of her little sister and hoped Damon Salvatore found some other woman to charm because she simply wasn’t interested.

 

Pursing his lips tightly together, Damon let her walk away reluctantly and went straight to the bar, ordering a scotch.  Dahna was definitely a hellcat and had an attitude on her that stretched for several miles.  He would have to remember to try and get her number later on, completely fascinated by the way she carried herself.

 

This wasn’t over, just the very beginning.

 

“Dahna, hold up!” Jenna called out, somewhat jogging in her dress up to her friend and managed not to spill a single drop of her champagne. “I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to come off as being insensitive.  I know it’s especially hard this time of year for both you and Dace.  How about we go somewhere to sit down, talk and just relax?  We haven’t gotten together like this in weeks and it’s nice not having to worry about getting up for work in the morning.”

 

“I just want to get out of here and go home, Jenna.  I’m sorry, it’s not you.  I know Dace doesn’t want to be here either.” When Jenna flashed her big puppy dog hazel eyes pleadingly, Dahna could feel herself crumbling already. “Fine, but we’re going to the grill.  I don’t wanna be at this party anymore.” Her voice dropped lower, putting her mouth to Jenna’s ear. “Richie hit on me again.”

 

Jenna fully understood why Dahna really wanted to leave and scowled, narrowing her eyes. “Do you want me to kick his ass?”

 

Dahna laughed softly. “Kicking the mayor’s ass for what?  Making a pass at your best friend?   Don’t think that would be a wise idea considering all the power he has, Jenny.”

 

Jenna growled, heading toward the front door with Dahna. “Don’t call me that.  You know I hate it.” She looked up when Damon Salvatore approached both of them, along with Elizabeth, and Dahna started to wonder if maybe they had a fling going on. “Hey Damon, leaving the party early too?”

 

“We can’t leave until I let Dace know what’s going on and I know she has a ride home.”

 

Damon nodded, wrapping an arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders. “Yeah, this party is a total bust, so we’re heading over to the grill for a few drinks.  Aren’t these usually more fun?  I come home from vacation a week early just to attend, only to be disappointed.  Should’ve stayed gone longer.” He snorted, those intense eyes once again landing on the caramel haired beauty. “Where are you two lovely ladies off to?  Perusing the streets of Mystic Falls looking for some real fun?  Or just looking to have some drinks to forget about this colossal disappointing small town we all seem to be stuck in?”

 

Elizabeth didn’t look thrilled at all to be tagging along with Damon, but she did have a few things to discuss with him regarding the council. “You can join us if you want.” She offered, having a feeling that’s where Damon was headed with this conversation.

 

“A little of both.” Jenna admitted, glancing at Dahna, who hadn’t put her two cents in yet like usual.  That was very interesting. “And I think that sounds like a wonderful idea, doesn’t it D?”

 

Dahna’s head snapped up from staring at her phone, having texted Dacia to let her know what was going on and stared a hole through Jenna.  What the hell was she trying to do? “I thought you said it would be just the two of us catching up?” She said through clenched teeth, a tight smile on her face.

 

“Damon isn’t all that bad and, besides, he’ll buy us a couple rounds.” Jenna winked at him, watching him nod and beamed brightly. “Then that settles it, I’m not passing up free drinks, woman.”

 

“Damon is a dear friend of mine, Dahna.  He’ll just stick around for a couple of drinks so we can discuss a few things while he’s been gone.” Elizabeth assured her softly, looking up at her friend and could clearly tell he liked Dahna Fell.

 

“Come on, Dahna, please?” Jenna flashed those pleading eyes at her again.

 

“Fine, fine whatever, I’ll meet you in the car.” Dahna conceded finally, feeling a headache coming on. “Apparently, Dace is getting a ride home with Elena.” She didn’t say a single word to Damon and headed out the front door, nodding to a few of the council members that still lingered on her way out.

 

Damon smirked, not the least bit put off by Dahna’s attitude. “You don’t have to join us if you two really want to be alone that badly.”

 

Jenna shook her head, the smile not leaving her face. “No, by all means, she needs to get to know you anyway.  Her position on the council was handed to her when her father died.  You’re a member, so you can help explain things a lot better than I can, since I’m not part of it.” Thankfully, Jenna added mentally. “Besides, once I get a few drinks in me, I’ll be a complete lush, watch.”

 

Damon didn’t respond and simply followed them out to the parking area.

 

“What the hell are you trying to do, Jenna?” Dahna fired off as soon as they pulled away from the Lockwood mansion, gripping the steering wheel so hard her knuckles turned ghostly white.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

Dahna knew she was playing the coy innocent act and it wasn’t working, not by a long shot. “What are you trying to pull with Damon Salvatore?  I am not ready to date anyone yet.  I just broke up with Max tonight or did you forget that?” She reached up to touch her upper arm, the bruising deeper and clearer since she hadn’t iced it right away. “I don’t want another man in my life after what he did, Jenna.  I’m better off with just me and Dacia.  Once she goes off to college, far away from here, I’m thinking about selling the house and getting out of Mystic Falls and never looking back.” She took a deep shaky breath because mentioning Max was a very fresh wound that would take a while to heal. “And the fact that my father’s birthday is less than a week away, and we still haven’t found the monster that killed him, makes me want to leave this place more.”

 

In his own electric blue 1969 Chevy Camaro Convertible, Damon could tell the two women were having a heated conversation and could only imagine what was being said.  He was right behind them and turned the radio off, using his enhanced hearing to eavesdrop.  Somehow, something told him Dahna wasn’t exactly thrilled with the invitation Elizabeth offered. 

 

That was fine though, Damon would have a few drinks and take off since Dahna wasn’t interested.  Granted, he loved stepping on people’s toes, but somehow he knew if he went near the caramel haired beauty tonight, he would end up with a wooden stake through his heart.  Of course, he could always try playing the friend card and that made him smirk, not sure that would even work.

 

It wasn’t that Dahna didn’t think horridly of Damon because, honestly, she’d never met the man until tonight.  He’d been out of town and missed a lot of the meetings, but Elizabeth had always informed him of everything he missed.  Dahna hadn’t heard a whole lot about him, only that he ran a business that required him to leave Mystic Falls for weeks at a time.  What kind of relationship would that be anyway if she got involved with him?

 

She was better off alone, especially after the abuse Max inflicted on her recently.

 

Chapter 6

 

“Dahna, I know you’re probably going to hate me for saying this, but…Max was a huge mistake.  It’s been a really long time for you since you had an actual man in your life.” Jenna said, speaking her mind and folded her arms in front of her chest. “Why not just use Damon as a way to get some of your frustrations out?  Hell, why do you think I finally took Alaric up on his offer to take me out on a date?  Of course, Elena and Jeremy don’t know about it yet, they just think I’ve been working late hours at the college…and I do.” She smirked, both girls laughing in spite of the conversation topic.

 

“You are terrible, Jenna Sommers.” Dahna stopped at a red light, giggling. “I’m glad you finally let Mr. Saltzman take you out because he does seem like a nice guy.  Way nicer than Logan.” Even though Logan was her uncle, Dahna did not care for him at all and was glad when he left town. “At least you’re getting your kicks while you’re still young enough to get them.”

 

“Oh in more ways than one, hon.  My ex has NOTHING on him.  That man is hung like a horse.”

 

Unbeknownst to both women, they were being overheard and couldn’t see the ear-splitting grin on Damon’s face. “Please use me to take your frustrations out, beautiful.  I’m begging you.” He murmured to the silence of his car and tapped his fingers against the steering wheel thoughtfully. 

 

Hmmm maybe a nice little sexual swapping was just what he needed.  Now if he could just get his dirty thoughts under control because he really didn’t need to be walking into the grill with an erection.  Pulling up to the grill, Damon cut the ignition and quickly made it to the door before the women, opening it like a gentleman.  His aquamarine eyes instantly went to Dahna, admiring the dress she wore because it hugged her curves in all the right places.  After they walked past him inside, his eyes zeroed in on her perfect rear and Damon had to pretend he was texting someone on his phone in order to rip his gaze away before he got caught.

 

“So, what is everyone having?”

 

Secretively, Dahna had given Damon several once overs and had to admit he was gorgeous from the top of his messy black hair to his beautiful aquamarine eyes and down to the black shiny dress shoes he wore.  She’d never seen eyes like his before, they were hypnotic and definitely dangerous.  Dahna ordered a Vodka cranberry while Jenna opted for a margarita and Damon had a double scotch.  Elizabeth stuck with beer since she technically was on duty 24 hours a day.

 

“So, how’s the business going, Damon?” Elizabeth decided to start the conversation, breaking the silence that loomed over them.

 

Dahna sipped her drink while they started talking, listening in when Elizabeth started filling him in about the animal attacks that hit Mystic Falls recently and she couldn’t help snorting. “Bastards.” She hissed, suddenly downing the rest of her Vodka cranberry and requested another.

 

“They killed her father, Landon Fell.  You remember him, right?” Elizabeth smiled sadly when Damon nodded, lowering her eyes. “She wants every last one of them dead just like the rest of the council.”

 

“And burned.”

 

“That too.”

 

Damon admired her fiery attitude and spirit, nodding in agreement with them. “I can see why you’d want them dead and burned.” He had to stifle a chuckle.

 

Both women would probably keel over from heart attacks if they knew he was the very thing they wanted dead.  A vampire.  Landon Fell…Damon knew the man well because he was the vampire that attacked and killed him, draining him completely.  That was something Damon would never divulge to Dahna Fell, not unless he felt the need to reveal the truth. 

 

Damon had no conscience, no sympathy, so he didn’t see the reason to ever do that, the thought of actually being sympathetic to humans laughable.  He was almost half tempted to let his fangs drop and scare them both to death, but pushed that temptation away.  Maybe later if he got bored enough.  For now, he would behave and swallowed his scotch in 3 large gulps before flagging down the bartender, requesting another and turned his gaze back to the caramel haired beauty.

 

“I’m very sorry to hear about your father, Dahna.  If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.” Wow, Damon could win an academy award for his flawless performance, biting back another smirk and looked completely serious when he said those words.

 

“Thank you.” Being as Damon was a council member, of course he knew about Landon’s death and everything that happened.  Then something occurred to Dahna and she suddenly gave him her full undivided attention. “You’re a vampire hunter, of sorts, right?” She asked, watching him nod with another heart stopping smile and Dahna was thankful she currently sat or else her weak knees would’ve buckled. “Since we’re all a part of the council, I have a request for you.”

 

Elizabeth knew exactly what Dahna was about to ask and encouraged her with a smile, placing a hand on her shoulder. “He’s already looking into it.  I asked him to do it shortly after Landon’s death.  He’s been on the case for almost 3 years and nothing has popped up yet.  But we’re still looking and we’ll keep the case open until we find the monster.  It’s out there somewhere and we will kill it before it harms another member of this society.”

 

“I appreciate it.” Dahna finished off her second Vodka cranberry and asked for a third, the sudden thirst for alcohol too strong to ignore.

 

“It’s no problem really.  Liz has been a great friend since we moved back into town, so when she asked I couldn’t decline.  I’ve got a few leads that I’ve been following, but sadly, they aren’t nearly enough to find the monster yet.” Oh that’s it, lay it on THICK, Damon thought, raising his glass up to the ladies. “But I’ve constantly got new leads coming in.  I assure you, once we do get him, Liz will be the first person I call.”

 

“Damon is one of the very best, so I know as a personal favor to me, he’s been working extra hard on this case.  Hopefully soon, it’s all we can really wish for at this point.” Elizabeth said, nursing her second beer and could only hope they weren’t on Landon’s case much longer.

 

After a third and final drink, Dahna finally decided it was time to head home.  Alaric Saltzman had already come and whisked Jenna away, saying he needed help grading papers for his students.  He was Mystic Falls High School history teacher and Dahna knew he’d be having a private session with Jenna in his own way.  Shaking her head, Dahna walked over to the cashier to pay for her drinks, when Damon stopped her by tossing his credit card on the table.  She immediately snatched it up before the cashier could grab it and turned to face him, handing it back.

 

“You don’t have to do that, Mr. Salvatore.  I can pay for my own.” She assured him softly, sliding her own card across the counter and sighed when Damon slammed his hand down on the counter, their eyes locking.

 

There was no way Damon was letting her pay for her own drinks, so there was no point in fighting him. “Just let me do this and stop being stubborn.” He ordered, once again handing over his card to the cashier and grabbed her hand gently but firmly when she went to snatch it again. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”

 

Dahna sighed resigned, too drained to fight him on this and reluctantly stepped back. “Thank you.” She murmured and headed for the exit, a loud yawn escaping her.

 

“Anytime.” Damon quickly paid for the drinks and used his enhanced speed to catch up with her, his eyes once again glued to her amazing assets. “This was fun, we should all get together and do it again.  I know Liz is a workaholic and needs this release at least once a month.” He stood by her car and waited while she unlocked it before opening it, once again being a perfect gentleman. “You sure you’re alright to drive?  I can always take you home and then bring you back in the morning to get your car.” One thing about Damon was, although he was completely reckless when it came to finding his meals, he didn’t condone someone driving if they were too blitzed.

 

“I’m fine.  Trust me, if Jenna and Elizabeth thought for a second I couldn’t drive home, she would’ve taken my keys away from me.” Dahna said, hiking her dress up a little so she could slip behind the wheel of her vehicle and buckled up, staring back at him. “It was nice to finally match the name with the face I’ve heard so much about at the meetings.  Have a pleasant evening, Mr. Salvatore.”

 

Closing the door, Dahna started the ignition and pulled out of the parking lot, heading down the road toward home.  She knew Dacia had made it home safely because Elena had sent her a quick text letting her know her little sister left her phone at the Lockwood mansion.  Once Dahna made it home, she quickly changed out of her dress and slid into bed, falling asleep almost as soon as her head touched the pillow.  Instead of her usual nightmares about her father’s death –they always became frequent the closer his birthday and death date came-, her dreams were filled with Damon Salvatore and his incredible eyes.

 

~!~

 

Damon smirked as he walked through the Salvatore mansion, sipping his scotch while looking over some paperwork in the study.  He had to have paperwork to show Elizabeth he was doing the investigation, a hoax in other words.  The plan was simple, but Damon had to find the perfect sacrificial lamb before carrying it out so she would leave him alone about Landon Fell’s death.  It wouldn’t be easy, but then again, nothing ever was.

 

“What’s got you in such a good mood, brother?”

 

Damon looked up at his baby brother, Stefan, leaning against the doorway of the study with his arms folded in front of his chest. “Oh nothing, just going over some documents I found in Zach’s name.  I also found a whole other list of people he was selling vervain too.” He tossed it on the desk and propped his feet up, leaning back against the leather chair.

 

Stefan looked skeptical and walked over to glance at the paperwork, his eyes quickly running over them.  Damon was rarely in a good mood and, when he was, he was usually up to something.  They were few and far between, never starting this early in the morning.  Something was going on and Stefan had to get to the bottom of it before someone else ended up hurt because of his brother.

 

“What do you mean Zach sold other people vervain?” Stefan scowled, not liking the sound of that. “Were they from Mystic Falls or in the surrounding areas?”

 

Pursing his lips tightly together, Damon’s eyes continued running down the documents in front of him, arching a thick black brow. “I don’t know.  It doesn’t give a direct address, just a longitude and latitude ordinance.  Maybe it was a meeting spot to trade money and product.  Or maybe it’s the location of a town, I’m not sure.  I’m gonna go see Liz and have her pull up the ordinances.  Then I might run and check it out.” He watched as Stefan nodded, spouting something about having lunch with Elena before leaving the study.

 

~!~

 

“You look like you slept well, Dahna.” Kara commented, one of her co-workers, and handed over some papers that had to be filled out for a deadline. “Mr. Cross wants those done as soon as possible.”

 

“Will do and yes I did.”

 

Dahna couldn’t remember the last time she slept this peacefully in a while, blaming it on the alcohol.  She wasn’t a big drinker, so 3 Vodka cranberries along with some champagne really did her in.  Then again, she hadn’t had a nightmare either, another first since her father’s birthday was that Saturday.

 

“I’ll have these done before lunch.”

 

“Good and, between us, whatever has that big smile on your face, I hope it stays.” Kara walked away and left her with that thought, heading off to give people other things to do.

 

Shrugging it off, Dahna went back to work and always finished her deadlines before the others in the office.  A few hours later, Dahna felt her cell phone vibrate against her purse and took a 5 minute break to listen to her voicemail.  Thankfully it wasn’t Dacia, but instead Sheriff Forbes telling her to get down to the station immediately.  She knew exactly what that meant and hopped up from her seat, packing her things up.

 

“Dahna, what’s going on?” Kara blinked when the woman blazed past her, heading straight for Mr. Cross’s office. “Ohhhkay then…”

 

“Come in.” Mr. Cross called out, typing something on his computer and looked up when one of his most trusted employees walked in. “Dahna, what can I do for you?”

 

“I have to leave early today, sir.” Dahna cut right to the chase, her heart pounding vigorously against her chest and heaved a sigh. “Please, I know this is a busy week for us, but it has to do with my father’s death.”

 

Mr. Cross slowly pulled his glasses from his eyes, scrubbing a hand down his face. “Hmm, I see.” He knew all about the Fell tragedy and his heart did go out to the girls that lost their parents, but it was 3 years ago and he had a business to run. “Is there any way you can make up your time tonight?  I can give you the keys to come in and get your work done.”

 

Dahna wasn’t surprised by that request and nodded, a tight smile curving her lips. “Of course, I can do that no problem.  Dacia is almost 18 and she’s very independent.  Thank you for working with me on this, Mr. Cross.” She really did appreciate it, thankful he was letting her make up her hours and lost work.

 

“No problem.” Mr. Cross pulled a set of keys out of his drawer and handed them over. “Do you know which ones to use?”

 

“Yes.” This wasn’t the first time Dahna had to do this and it probably wouldn’t be the last. “I really have to go, but I’ll clock in and out like last time so you don’t overpay me.”

 

Mr. Cross waved her off dismissively. “Get going and let me know what’s going on.” He watched as she practically bolted out of his office and hoped they finally found Landon Fell’s murderer.

 

Chapter 7

 

Milk chocolate brown eyes looked up at the Lockwood mansion hesitantly as Dacia chewed her bottom lip, not sure if this was a good idea.  She really didn’t want to lose her phone, but at the same time, she was still confused by what transpired between her and Tyler the previous night.  What was a woman to do?  Sighing, Dacia bit the bullet and knocked on the double doors, waiting anxiously for someone to answer.

 

Carol recognized the girl instantly and softly smiled, gesturing her inside. “Dacia, is there something I can help you with, sweetheart?” She asked cordially, wearing her usual pencil skirt and silk buttoned up blouse, her hair done to perfection.

 

Dacia nodded and took a deep breath, returning the smile somewhat tensely. “I think I dropped my cell phone out back last night and I didn’t want to wonder on the property without asking permission first.  Is it okay if I run back and check?”

 

The young Fell child was always so polite, it warmed Carol’s heart to no end and she was sure her son had feelings for this beautiful young girl. “Absolutely, you should know you don’t have to ask.”

 

“Thank you, Mrs. Lockwood, it won’t take long.”

 

Dacia followed Carol to doors that lead to the back of the house, jogging down the steps and waved back at Carol.  She smoothed her jeans over her legs and tugged on her form fitting blue t-shirt while heading toward the bench in front of the pond that she occupied the previous night.  Looking around, Dacia frowned when she didn’t spot her cell phone anywhere, pinpointing the exact spot where she chucked it at Tyler.  It was nowhere to be found.

 

“Damn…” Someone must’ve found it and took it instead of turning it in.  She was definitely going to get a new phone today and decided it would be the exact same one if they had it.

 

It was Sunday, which meant no school and Tyler had gotten home early from football practice, his mood lifting at the first sound of Dacia’s voice coming from downstairs. “Was that Dacia Fell?” He asked as soon as his mother turned to face him from the back doors.

 

“Yes, why?”

 

Tyler waved the cell phone at his mother with a boyish grin, dark eyes gleaming. “I found it last night and kept it for her so nobody would take it.” He lied smoothly. “She out back?”

 

“Yes.” Carol smirked and watched her son practically hop, skip and jump right down the stairs, heading straight for the backyard where Dacia currently was. “Kids…”

 

It didn’t take long for Tyler to spot the ebony haired girl that invaded his thoughts and dreams ever since they shared that heated kiss.  Tyler sauntered over to her purposely and tapped her on the shoulder, laughing when she jumped nearly a foot in the air, squealing.  He could seriously listen to her squeal all day and night long, though with different circumstances, preferably without clothing.

 

“Damn girl, you have a set of pipes on you!” He crowed, cleaning his ear out with his pinky and smirked at her scowl. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are when you do that?  There’s no way you could ever look angry and actually mean it.  It’s cute.  What are you doing here anyway?  Trying to find something you lost?”

 

Dacia couldn’t stop smiling even if her life depended on it, nudging his shoulder. “Jerk!  You scared the hell out of me.  And you know I’m trying to find my phone.  I’m sorry I threw it at you last night.  I shouldn’t have done that, I could’ve hurt you.”

 

He looked completely adorable in his jeans and t-shirt and had no clue how handsome he was when dressed down.  She liked the suit look last night, but his black jeans and red t-shirt today were just absolute perfection.  Blushing at his words, she rubbed her cheeks to try to get them to stop burning, knowing she was giving herself away.

 

Tyler smirked, admiring how her cheeks turned that delicious crimson red and was tempted to pick up where they left off the previous night, licking his lips hungrily. “Mmmhmm like you could hurt me.” He scoffed, pulling something out of his back pocket and waved it at her, pulling it away when she went to snatch it from him. “Hey, you didn’t say anything about getting your phone back, only that you were looking for it.  Maybe I wanna keep it for a while.  Could use it as a wager with you.” His dark eyes twinkled mischievously, groaning when she scowled again. “Woman, if you don’t stop looking at me like that, you’re going to be in deep trouble. “His voice had dropped several octaves to a low husky rumble that vibrated from deep in his chest.

 

A shiver shot through her body when his voice dropped down to that husky level that melted her insides.  Dacia noticed his intense dark eyes locked onto her milk chocolate eyes again and, immediately, she began chewing on her bottom lip again.  She couldn’t help laughing while reaching for her phone a few more times, but her height definitely put her at a disadvantage.  Tyler holding it higher and higher didn’t help matters any either.

 

“Damn, did you have a growth spurt or something?  I don’t remember you being this tall before.  Or maybe I shrank.” It was possible; Dacia huffed and fixed her face with a glare, crossing her arms over her chest. “Wager?  I’m mildly curious now.  Deep trouble, I haven’t been in deep trouble since I threw my cousin’s pet turtle out of a 3 story window.”

 

“You mean little vicious turtle killer, what did the thing ever do to you?  Last I knew, turtles were harmless.” Tyler playfully chastised, shoving her phone in his back pocket again to where she couldn’t be sneaky and try stealing it. “We’ll get back to the wager in a minute, walk with me and tell me what the hell a poor defenseless turtle did to deserve being tossed out a 3 story window.”

 

Dacia caught where Tyler placed her cell phone and was tempted to fishing for it so she could feel his beautiful rear in her hands.  No…No that would be a very BAD idea.  She sighed heavily and nodded, walking with him around the Lockwood property toward the pond.  Honestly, she had nowhere else to be and didn’t mind spending time with Tyler, especially when he was this carefree and friendly.

 

“Well the damn thing lived.  I know turtles can’t exactly fly, but they can survive falling into water.” She smiled widely, trying to flash an innocent smile at him that dripped pure evil. “I told my cousin repeatedly that day to keep his idiotic turtle away from the desk.  I was working on a science project and he set that nasty little bugger down.  It walked across my 3 page paper, which was handwritten and PEED all over it.” She made a face and ran her fingers through her hair, shuddering at the memory. “So I stood up, snatched it up by its shell and informed my cousin I was giving his turtle a FREE flying lesson.”

 

“I would’ve done the same thing.” Tyler said honestly, after he stopped roaring with laughter, and turned to face her, staring down into those beautiful milk chocolate eyes again. “The wager is simple: Go out on a date with me.  One date.” He held his hand up before Dacia could say anything, a smile crossing his lips. “Just dinner and a movie or whatever you want.  We can just hang out at your house or at mine and watch movies.  I just want to spend some time with you alone and prove that I’m not the asshole you think I am.  And for the record, I’m not sorry for telling you about Mike because you’ve been pining over that dick long enough and it’s time for you to finally be happy again.” With him, Tyler thought, if he had it his way.

 

“I was hurt at first when you told me and then, by the time I got home, I was stark raving pissed.  I’m pretty sure I said every cuss word known to man and, if the devil was a real person, I would’ve made him blush at the words I used.  But I’m over it.  I haven’t seen or heard from Mike in a year, so I guess it doesn’t really bother me as much as I thought it would.” Dacia admitted openly, pushing up on her toes and kissed Tyler’s cheeks softly, tenderly. “Thanks for being honest with me, even though you shouldn’t have been the one to tell me that.  Caroline should have after she screwed him.” If Dacia ever got her hands on Caroline Forbes, the little bitch was dead. “I would love to go on a date with you, but you’re going to have to take it up with my big sister and ask her permission first.”

 

Tyler openly groaned, expecting that and knew that was not going to be easy since he knew, for a fact, Dahna Fell loathed him. “That’s the only way isn’t it?” When Dacia nodded emphatically, Tyler pinched the bridge of his nose and exhaled slowly. “Alright fine, but the sooner the better.”

 

Suddenly, Tyler cupped Dacia’s face in his strong warm hands, dark eyes once again boring into hers and covered her mouth with his, passionately kissing her.  If he had to go through Dahna Fell in order to be with Dacia, he would do it in a heartbeat.  Tyler had waited 3 long years to have her and nobody was going to stand in his way, not even her overprotective big sister.

 

“That’s something to remember me by until we can finally go on a date.” He murmured once the kiss broke, stepping away from her. “You need to get out of here before I end up ravaging you in my backyard and convincing you to toss that big sister stipulation out the window.  Tell me when you want me to meet with Dahna and I will.”

 

Once again, that passion haze clouded Dacia’s mind from another mind-blowing kiss, courtesy of Tyler Lockwood and she had a hard time breathing. “You really need to stop doing that.  My head gets all foggy when you kiss me.” Not even Mike’s kisses affected her brain the way Tyler’s did.  She blushed at the thought. “I – uh – I need my phone.  You know the reason why I was actually here.  And if you want the date you’ve got to track my sister down yourself.  I don’t keep tabs on her.” She felt like she had to do something to pay him back for the mind-blowing kiss and suddenly came up with the perfect notion. “One more thing…”

 

She pushed up on her toes and captured his lips this time, smirking against them. He couldn’t have all the fun initiating the kisses between them now, could he?  Hell no!  However, before the kiss got too intense, Dacia pulled back and waved her phone back at him, having snatched it while having him distracted.

 

“Hope to see you soon.  Bye for now, Tyler.” Turning, Dacia ran off of the Lockwood property and left Tyler standing there looking completely astounded, laughing as she drove away heading home.

 

Tyler proceeded to jog back into the house for a much needed ice cold shower and knew he had to track down Dahna Fell immediately before he erupted in flames.

 

Once inside her car, Dacia pulled her cell phone out and immediately dialed Elena’s number, practically bouncing in her seat. “You’ll NEVER guess what just happened!” She squealed, unable to contain her excitement.

 

“Meet me at the grill and tell me all about it.” Elena said, wanting to hear this in person and had a feeling her friend had a very good visit with Tyler.

 

Dacia hadn’t brought Elena with because she decided she wanted to see how Tyler would treat her.  She wanted to see if Tyler meant what he said the previous night about remembering the kiss.  Tyler hadn’t disappointed her and gave her another heart-stopping lip lock, but now the question remained.  Would he actually stand up to Dahna and ask her permission for a date?

 

Driving off, Dacia couldn’t stop the memories that flowed through her when it came to Tyler.  She’d known him for years, they went to every school together and nearly had the same classes, but never had they had a conversation.  He was always busy with Matt, who crushed on Elena for years, and they had actually tried dating. 

 

They grew up next door together, so everyone thought they’d become high school sweethearts and eventually get married.  But Elena wanted something completely different than Matt – adventure and danger.  Matt wanted to settle down, get married and have children, which was one of the many reasons Elena ended their relationship.

 

Dacia wasn’t the settling kind either and wanted to explore the world, to make a career for herself, before diving into marriage.  She definitely wasn’t kid-friendly either, though she handled other’s children alright when it came to family.  Other than that, Dacia tried staying away from babies at all cost, they terrified her to no end.

 

“I wonder what Mom and Dad would say if they were alive.” She wondered aloud, listening to music and tried imagining them seeing her with Tyler Lockwood.

 

Her mother would try to end their relationship because she didn’t care for the Lockwood’s while her father would get his shotgun out.  The thought amused Dacia and she found herself laughing while stopped at a red light.  Now her big sister, on the other hand, was a complete different story.  She was alive, unlike their parents, and did not condone her having anything to do with Tyler.  That’s why she made the stipulation that Tyler had to ask Dahna’s permission because Dacia didn’t feel like being lectured again.

 

Her words still echoed in Dacia’s mind from the previous night and that alone made Dacia believe that there was no way for her to be with Tyler.  Granted, she meant what she said regarding his reasoning for breaking up with Caroline.  She honestly didn’t believe he did it just to be with her, but what if she was wrong?  What if Tyler did end things with Caroline because of her?

 

“Karma is a bitch.”

 

Dacia smirked wickedly, pulling in front of the grill and cut the ignition, suddenly feeling elated about Tyler.  So what if he did?  Caroline had gone behind her back and had sex with Dacia’s supposed love, Mike Epps.  She fully believed that karma did exist and Caroline had gotten what she deserved when Tyler told her to take a hike. 

 

If she did end up dating Tyler, Dacia already planned on tossing it right in Caroline’s face by flaunting her relationship.  It might’ve been a childish idea, but Dacia was full of vengeance and wanted to teach her ex-best friend a lesson she’d never forget.  Of course, she would ask Tyler’s permission first before doing anything because she didn’t want him thinking she was just using him to get back at Caroline.

 

Whistling, Dacia practically skipped into the grill to meet Elena and tell her all the juicy details of her wonderful afternoon with Tyler, pushing Caroline in the far recesses of her mind.

 

Chapter 8

 

Rushing into the police station, Dahna went straight to Elizabeth’s office and knocked, trying to get her breathing under control.  So many questions flew through her mind, but there was one that stood out above all the others.  Did they find her father’s murderer?  Did they finally capture the ‘beast’, whatever or whoever took his life too soon?  Would Landon Fell finally get the justice he deserved and be able to finally rest in peace?

 

“Come in.” Elizabeth called out, Damon Salvatore standing beside her and looked up when Dahna walked in, finishing their conversation abruptly.

 

Damon had sat in Elizabeth’s office for the last hour and a half as they started going through the documents he found.  More importantly, the ordinances on where exactly his secret stash of vervain was located.  They both stared at each other looking like a couple of monkey’s doing a math problem, or at least Elizabeth was. 

 

Damon had to find some kind of decoy to make the sheriff and Dahna believe he was still tracking down the vampire that killed her father.  So he decided to use his deceased Uncle Zach’s documents to make it seem like that’s where the vampire was hiding out at.  He still needed the ordinances to find it and then Damon could set out to find a vampire to kill.  He needed proof that he caught the killer, but in the meantime, Damon planned on drawing it out with another plan of his.

 

“Are you sure?” When Damon nodded without hesitation, Elizabeth cursed and raked a hand through her short blonde hair, shutting her eyes momentarily. “Do you want to tell her or should I?”

 

Damon shook his head vehemently, deciding he’d let the sheriff handle this one. “You’ve known her your whole life practically, or her parents at least.  You tell her.  Besides, stuff like this always comes better from friends and people you know.  I’m still a stranger to her.”

 

He had a point that Elizabeth couldn’t argue with and she nodded with great reluctance, turning to face a perplexed Dahna. “Damon thinks he might’ve found a lead to the monster that killed your father.” She placed a hand on Dahna’s shoulder, both of them taking a deep breath simultaneously. “He’s not a hundred percent sure though.  And he’s also worried that it might be coming after you and Dacia next.” She explained softly, knowing this was a lot for Dahna to hear, but one thing Elizabeth never did was beat around the bush.

 

Dahna swallowed hard, seeing the apprehension in the sheriff’s eyes and frowned. “So…what happens now?” She was almost afraid to ask, her voice extremely cautious and shaky.

 

This was the part that Elizabeth did not want to tell Dahna, but they didn’t have another choice. “Damon wants you and Dacia to come stay with him and his brother, Stefan, at the Salvatore mansion.” It used to be a boarding house that all Salvatore family stayed at when they visited, but Damon made sure to put a stop to that. “You’ll be safe there and Damon can protect you if this monster tries coming after you.”

 

Blinking, Dahna’s jaw dropped in shock and she wondered if Elizabeth was serious.  Maybe she didn’t hear the sheriff correctly and Dahna had to clean her ears out. “I’m sorry…what?” Looking back and forth between them, Dahna became aware quickly that she wasn’t hearing things and Elizabeth meant what she said.

 

Deciding damage control was in order; Damon cleared his throat and brought Dahna’s attention to him. “I know this is too much information all in one sitting.  I was going through some old documents that my Uncle Zach had in the mansion and it gave me this lead.  This monster isn’t just a normal monster; he’s an animal in every sense of the word.” Damon was dubbing himself the world’s greatest liar at this point and swallowed down a smirk. “He has all his information about you and Dacia from things he took from your father the night he killed him.  He’s not stupid by any means.  He’s actually quite intelligent and has been tracking both of your moves since your father died.  I know this is going fast, but if I can get you two moved into the mansion, it will be better for both of you.  You’ll each have your own rooms that have their own bathrooms and you won’t have to worry about anything.  My baby bro and I are equally up to the task and we’ll protect you with everything we have.”

 

Dahna didn’t say anything for a few minutes and waited to see if Damon, Elizabeth or both of them told her this was one big colossal joke. “Elizabeth, I realize that I’m not the best council member, but if this is a trick or a joke…”

 

“No Dahna, this is not a trick or a joke.” Elizabeth cut her off, assuring her with somewhat cold eyes and scowled, stalking back to her desk to grab the papers Damon brought in earlier.  She thrust them into Dahna’s hands and folded her arms in front of her chest, trying not to look smug. “This monster knew the entire Fell Family and tracked them for YEARS.  This is what could be recovered that Damon found in Zachary Salvatore’s documents.  Landon’s death was planned and carefully orchestrated.  That’s why we never found the body.”

 

Landon’s body had completely disappeared, which is one of the reasons Delilah’s heart attack triggered because she would never see her husband again.  Luke was the one who saw Landon’s death happen, but he’d been temporarily knocked out, thanks to a blow to the head.  That was the only proof they had and it was enough considering Luke was a member of the council.

 

“God knows what this bloodsucking monster did with his body.” Shutting her eyes, Elizabeth had to take a deep breath and immediately stopped the tears from flooding her eyes. “This isn’t a trick or a joke; it’s about you and your little sister’s protection because I REFUSE to lose another person in this town.  It’s not going to happen unless I’m dead first.”

 

Dahna simply looked down at the paperwork and flipped through the pages, one by one each Fell Family member plastered on the front of them with their picture and the word DECEASED in black bold lettering.  Whoever this monster or person was, they had to be stopped before anymore Fell’s or Founding Family members ended up dead.  If that meant staying at the old Salvatore mansion for protection, she would do it.  It wasn’t just her life on the line anymore; she had Dacia to think about too.

 

Keeping his brooding expression crisp, Damon reached out to touch Dahna’s hand, watching as those beautiful emerald eyes locked on his. “I know this is a shock and I’m not a doctor, but may I suggest you sit down before you fall over?” His hand went to the small of her back as Damon backed her up slightly and lowered her into a chair in front of Elizabeth’s desk.  Having her injured wouldn’t do him any good. “You decide what you want to do and I’ll help anyway I can.  Honestly, I think moving you and your sister into the mansion is for the best right now.  We’ve been hunting these demons for a long time and I know with our protection you won’t have anything to worry about.  Stefan is still in high school and he’s dating Elena Gilbert, so he can keep an eye on Dacia while they’re in school.”  Not to mention, Dacia and Elena were best friends, which Damon found out, thanks to Caroline Forbes big mouth. “Take a couple of days to think it over, but don’t take too long.  I’d like to get you two moved in as soon as possible.”

 

Glancing at the clock, Dahna saw what time it was and made sure she had full feeling in her legs before standing up. “Dacia is going to be getting out of school in a few minutes, so I’m going to go meet her.” She normally got a ride from Elena, but Dahna had to have her input before she agreed to move into the Salvatore mansion. “I’ll talk to her about it and get back to you no later than tomorrow morning.”

 

“Try not to take too long, Dahna.” Elizabeth cautioned softly, walking over to open her office door. “Don’t worry, we will catch this monster if it’s the last thing I do as sheriff.”

 

‘Don’t hold your breath, Liz.’ Damon thought and stepped forward, taking Dahna’s hand, effectively stopping her from jetting out of there. “You don’t have my number.” He procured a card from his dress shirt pocket and slid it into her palm, closing her fingers around it. “Don’t take too long.”

 

Dahna’s stomach flipped when he did that and she felt completely breathless, her heart rate speeding up slightly. “I won’t.  Thank you again, Mr. Salvatore.  I’ll call you with my decision either way.”

 

Walking away, Dahna hurried out to her car and slid behind the wheel, tossing her purse in the backseat.  Instead of starting the ignition and peeling out of there to go pick Dacia up, Dahna just sat there staring straight ahead, her hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.  The information was a lot to digest and Dahna just needed a minute to herself to mull over it, blinking as a few tears slid down her cheeks. 

 

What was she supposed to do?  Turn down Damon’s generous offer to protect her and Dacia?  Landon’s killer was still out there and he’d been targeting the Fell’s for what seemed like ages, according to the documents Elizabeth showed her.  If they didn’t move into the Salvatore mansion, there was a very good chance Dacia could end up dead and Dahna refused to let that happen.

 

After sitting there for 10 minutes in complete silence, Dahna finally fired the ignition up and drove away from the police station, heading straight for Mystic Falls High School.  She’d already sent Dacia a text message letting her know she’d be getting a ride home today from Dahna.  The drive to the high school seemed like it took forever, when it was only a few minutes.  She saw kids walking down the sidewalk and started looking for Dacia, finally finding her standing on the sidewalk with a trouble expression on her face.

 

Dacia sighed with relief at the sight of her big sister’s vehicle and suddenly became worried, wondering why Dahna picked her up.  Even Elena said it was out of the ordinary considering Dahna normally worked until 5 PM every night, possibly longer.  So Dahna picking her up from school didn’t happen often and, when it did, something had happened.  Opening the passenger door, Dacia slipped inside and buckled up while Dahna drove off, chewing her bottom lip nervously.

 

“How was school?” Dahna decided easing Damon’s proposition into their conversation was a better way to go about doing this. “Did you learn a lot?”

 

“What is going on, Dahna?” Dacia knew all of her big sister’s diversion tactics and folded her arms in front of her chest, staring a hole through Dahna. “School was fine; now get to the reason behind why you picked me up today.”

 

Dahna sighed heavily, hating how well Dacia knew her and leaned back against the seat, driving past the street they lived on. “Hold that question until we get to the park.” It was the place Dahna brought Dacia when she had something important to talk to her about.

 

It was also the place Dahna told Dacia their parents were dead. “This can’t be good…” Dacia mumbled, lowering her eyes to her lap and tried not to start crying.

 

“It’s not bad, Dace.” Dahna assured her, though it wasn’t good either considering they would have to leave their childhood home for a while. “There’s no death involved.”

 

“That doesn’t mean it’s not bad news.” Dacia argued softly, glancing out the window and felt her stomach tighten when they arrived at the park, taking a deep breath.

 

Putting the car in park, Dahna stepped out of the car and waited for Dacia to do the same thing, guiding her over to their favorite spot under a willow tree.  Woods surrounded the park that brought a breathtaking beauty to it and the equipment had been very well preserved.  Both girls remembered coming here when they were younger with their parents, mostly their mother and they spun each other around on the merry-go-round for hours on end.  Now, it was the spot where Dahna took Dacia for important talks or to tell her really bad news.

 

“Okay Dahna, we’re here.  Now stop stalling and tell me what’s going on.” Dacia ordered, pulling her book bag from her shoulder and dropped it on the ground.

 

“Damn, pushy much?” Dahna growled and started pacing, chewing her thumbnail nervously to try to get her thoughts in order.

 

“Only when you’re beating around the bush.” Dacia hated when Dahna didn’t just come out and tell her what was going on. “The sooner you tell me, the sooner we can deal with it and move on.”

 

Dacia was definitely more mature than Dahna gave her credit for, even though she secretly loved Care Bears.  It was a childhood love that she never fully let go of. “Fine, have it your way.” Dahna plopped down on the ground beside Dacia and began picking at the grass thoughtfully. “I had to leave work early to go to the police station because the sheriff called me in.  To make a long story short, it’s about Dad’s death, Dace.”

 

“Did they find his killer?” Dahna had Dacia’s full attention now, her big milk chocolate eyes nearly shot open out of their sockets. “Is it over?”

 

“Not exactly…” Dahna sighed heavily, hating how she just extinguished the hope in her sister’s eyes and took Dacia’s hand in hers, squeezing it. “Damon Salvatore has been on Dad’s case for the past 3 years.  I just found this out last night during the Lockwood’s party.  He found some documents proving that whoever killed Dad has been after the Fell family for years, decades possibly.  The sheriff is scared that whoever killed Dad is going to come after us next, Dace.  So…” This was harder than Dahna thought it’d be and swallowed past the lump that suddenly formed in her throat. “Dace, we have to leave home for a while.”

 

Dacia immediately ripped her hand out of Dahna’s and scooted back, tears stinging her eyes. “W-What do you mean leave?  I don’t want to go anywhere…Mystic Falls is my home!!” She snapped, shaking her head and stood up before Dahna could stop her, heading back to the car.

 

Groaning, Dahna scrambled to her feet and stopped Dacia, whipping her around to face her. “Before you get your panties in an uproar, listen to EVERYTHING I say first.” She ordered, releasing Dacia’s arm and tried ignoring the tears slipping down her cheeks. “We’re not leaving Mystic Falls.  We’ll just have to leave our house for a while and go stay somewhere else.  You won’t have to switch schools and I can still keep my job.  We just can’t stay at the house right now because it’s not safe.”

 

“And where pray tell are we supposed to stay then?”

 

Dahna took a deep breath, once again grabbing Dacia’s hand. “The Salvatore mansion.  Damon offered to protect us until whoever killed Dad is caught and gone out of our lives for good.  We have to do this Dace because I refuse to lose anyone else in my family.  I’m also going to ask Damon if Meredith and Luke can stay with us too because they’re in just as much danger as we are.  So please just say yes and don’t fight me on this.”

 

Dacia could only stare at her big sister in shock and wondered if she was serious, completely floored by this turn of events.

 

Chapter 9

 

5 minutes passed before Dacia spoke again, breaking the silence between them.

 

“I just have one question.”

 

“What is it?” Dahna couldn’t believe how well her little sister took this news and breathed a huge sigh of silent relief. “Ask me anything, Dace.”

 

Chewing her bottom lip, Dacia tried getting her thoughts in order because she wasn’t sure how to word what she wanted to ask. “How come Damon Salvatore can’t stay at our house and protect us that way?” They had a few extra rooms that were never used and were covered in dust. “I mean, wouldn’t it be safer in a smaller place instead of one that has countless rooms and windows?”

 

Dacia definitely had a point, one that Dahna couldn’t argue against. “I suppose it would…” Sighing, Dahna had no idea what to do and stood up from the ground, dusting herself off. “Would you mind having him stay with us until Dad’s murderer is caught?”

 

“Of course not.” Dacia stood up as well, smiling. “I wouldn’t have suggested it if I had a problem with him staying at our house.”

 

Another good point, Dahna thought grudgingly, and suddenly a light bulb flickered on in her mind. “He can’t stay with us.” She frowned at Dacia, knowing this was something she did not want to hear. “Think about it for just a second, Dace.  Damon told me that Dad’s murderer has been after the Fell’s for a long time.  So that means we’ve more than likely been watched and he’s waited in the wings like a hawk ready to strike.  It would look pretty suspicious if we suddenly had someone, especially a man like Damon Salvatore, staying with us, wouldn’t it?”

 

This was going to put a damper on Dacia’s dating life, especially when it came to Tyler Lockwood. “I guess.” She mumbled, not happy with this arrangement and knew they would end up going to Damon Salvatore’s mansion. “What about my schooling though?  I can’t miss school; this is my senior year, Dahna.” Dacia was trying to think of something, anything, to prevent them from leaving their home to go under protective services and, so far, she was fighting a losing battle.

 

“I know that.” Dahna assured her softly, reaching over to take her hand. “Dacia, I would never let you miss out on your education, not even with Dad’s murderer potentially after us.  Whoever this is won’t attack you while on school grounds, especially in daylight and around other students.” That much Dahna was sure of, at least she hoped anyway. “Just because we’re going under Damon Salvatore’s protection doesn’t mean our lives stop.  We’ll continue as we have because any major changes will be noticed by others and we want to avoid that.  I’ll keep going to work and you’ll continue with school.  The only difference is, at the end of the day, instead of going to our home, we’ll be going to the mansion instead.  Oh and we’ll have to discuss who will be picking you up from school and taking you to the mansion too.”

 

This was going to majorly suck, Dacia thought, wishing there was some way out of this. “We have to do this don’t we?” It was more of a statement than an actual question. “I know you won’t let me stay at the house by myself and I understand that, but I am NOT comfortable with staying at a stranger’s house for god knows how long, Dahna.”

 

“And you think I am?” Dahna scoffed, rolling her eyes. “You have no idea how much I DON’T want to do this, but if it means protecting you and keeping you safe, I’m willing to do anything, Dace.  This is all about you; I don’t care what happens to me as long as you’re safe and sound.” Grabbing her shoulders, Dahna felt the tears sting her eyes and blinked them away, but knew they weren’t missed by her little sister. “You are all I have left from our family, Dacia.  If I lose you, then I’ll completely fall apart like I nearly did when Mom and Dad died.  I know Luke and Meredith are family, but nothing like we are.  I’ll do what I can to make you as comfortable as possible with this situation, but you can’t fight me every step of the way either.  We have to compromise and find a level we can both agree and live on.”

 

That last statement would soon be tested because Tyler already informed Dacia he was planning on paying Dahna a visit tomorrow.  He was going to do it today, but Dacia asked him to hold off when she received the text from Dahna about this talk.  She couldn’t believe Tyler was actually going to stand up to her big intimidating sister all so he could go on a date with her.  It made Dacia wonder just how long Tyler wanted her and cursed the gods or whoever for sending Mike Epps into her life.

 

“Can I still hang out at Elena’s whenever I want?” Dacia asked promptly, hoping her friendships didn’t suffer all because of some murdering dick that the authorities couldn’t find.

 

Given the amount of loss the Gilbert family recently went through, Dahna couldn’t keep Dacia away even if she tried. “Of course, Elena needs as many friends in her life as possible right now.  Besides, I know you’ll be safe over there and I’ll make sure Jenna keeps me posted.” Winking, amusement shined in Dahna’s emerald eyes as she nudged her little sister, letting her know that last bit was a joke.

 

“Hardy har-har.” Dacia nudged her back and smiled as Dahna’s arm wrapped around her, trying to comfort her the best way she could. “So, I take it when we go back home, we have to start packing?”

 

Dahna nodded sympathetically, not looking forward to it either. “I’ll help you if you help me.” If there was one thing on the planet Dahna couldn’t stand doing, it was packing. “Just bring what you need for the time being and we can always go back to the house frequently to grab more things and do drop-offs.” They’d have to in order to pass off that they hadn’t abandoned the house.

 

“Right.”

 

The sun began setting on the horizon as both girls fell into silence, swinging back and forth slowly, each in their own thoughts.  A cold crisp wind flowed over both of them and both girls couldn’t help feeling the same chill overwhelm their bodies.  Something was in the air.  Change was coming and they didn’t know if it would be for the better or not.

 

“We should head home, it’s getting late and I’m sure you have homework that needs to get done.”

 

Not to mention Dahna had a load of laundry to get done and dinner to make before she headed back to the office to finish the rest of her work she promised to do.  Hopping off the swing, Dahna draped an arm around Dacia’s shoulders, trying to comfort her as much as possible.  This wasn’t easy for either of them, but hopefully Dahna made the right decision by taking Damon Salvatore on his offer to stay at the mansion.

 

“No homework tonight actually.” Dacia informed her sister once they were in the car and reached over to flip the heat on.

 

Dahna eyeballed Dacia skeptically, contemplating if she should believe that or not. “None whatsoever?”  She pressed, putting the car in reverse and pulled away from the park.

 

“No, I finished it in study hall.” Dacia answered honestly and held her hand up, rolling her eyes. “Scout’s honor.”

 

Snorting, Dahna decided to drop the subject for now because Dacia had no reason to lie to her. “You were never a girl scout, but I believe you anyway.” Giving a quick wink, Dahna looked down when her cell phone began vibrating against her hip and pulled it off of her holder.  Seeing the name ‘Elizabeth Forbes’ on the screen Dahna immediately answered it, holding her finger up in a one second gesture to Dacia. “Hey sheriff.”

 

Why was the sheriff calling her big sister, Dacia wondered, raising a brow and kept her mouth shut while trying to eavesdrop on the conversation.

 

“I know this may sound pushy, but have you made a decision yet regarding our problem?” Elizabeth asked, jotting a few notes down on her small notepad she carried with her. “Or do you need more time?”

 

“Actually, I just got done talking to Dacia about it and we’ve decided to do it.” Dahna flashed Dacia a reassuring smile and continued driving, keeping her focus on the road so they didn’t wreck. “We do have some stipulations though, which I’ll talk to Mr. Salvatore about when I call him tonight to give him my answer.”

 

Elizabeth breathed the biggest sigh of relief upon hearing that and knew Damon would take very good care of the Fell sisters. “You’ve made the right decision, Dahna.  Your parents would be extremely proud of you.” She sincerely meant that, thankful she’d be able to sleep tonight with a peace of mind. “And I’m sure Damon will agree to anything you want as long as it doesn’t put your safety at risk.”

 

“Right.” Dahna could hope the sheriff was right and glanced over at Dacia, who was texting someone on her cell phone. “Believe me, I would never put my little sister’s safety at risk and, if I thought for a second these stipulations would, I wouldn’t bring them up.” She informed Elizabeth, flipping her turn signal on and turned to drive down the street they lived on. “Are we telling the council about this?”

 

“For now, no.  The less they know the better.  That means Meredith and Luke don’t know what’s going on either.  If you want to tell them, be my guest, but make sure they keep it quiet when it comes to the council.” Elizabeth stated, not bothering to tell her that Damon insisted on it to make the search easier to execute.

 

“No, I’m leaving them out of this.  It’s for their own good and Meredith has such a big mouth.  There’s no way she’d be able to keep this quiet for long.  But they do come over to the house frequently to check on us, so we’ll need to make at least one stop a day there just to make it look like we still reside there.” It would look very strange if it looked like the sisters didn’t live in their own home, only appearing for work and school. “Maybe Damon will have some ideas about that…”

 

“I’m sure he will.” Elizabeth said confidently, having every bit of faith and trust in Damon Salvatore. “Listen, I really need to go, but please make sure you call him as soon as you can to let him know your decision.  You’re doing the right thing, Dahna.” She reiterated because it was the complete truth.

 

Nodding, Dahna tried not to let her emotions overwhelm her and cleared her throat. “I know, thank you for all your help, sheriff.  We’ll be in touch.” Snapping her cell phone shut, Dahna clipped it back on her side and pulled into the driveway a few seconds later, cutting the ignition.

 

“Are we really doing the right thing?” Dacia had to ask, having heard only what her sister said and pieced everything together rather quickly, frowning thoughtfully. “We don’t have to do this, Dahna…”

 

“Yes we do.” Dahna pulled the key out and took a deep breath, looking over at her little sister with a soft smile. “I promised to do everything in my power to protect you and I’m not going back on my word.  This is the right decision.”

 

No matter what Dacia said, she knew she couldn’t change Dahna’s mind at this point and decided to drop the subject.  The person she’d been texting while Dahna talked to the sheriff was Tyler, informing him on what was going on.  She didn’t go into details and only told him minimum information because she didn’t fully trust him. 

 

All she said was a problem had occurred and it would potentially interfere with their date.  With how high strung and stressed Dahna was about this situation, Dacia didn’t want anything else added to her plate, including Tyler Lockwood.  Since Dacia would still be at school regularly and they would make daily stops at the house, she didn’t have a reason to tell Tyler the truth.

 

Tyler didn’t like the sound of this at all as he laid in his big king sized 4 poster bed, reading over Dacia’s latest text message.  What the hell did she mean a problem had occurred?  What could possibly have happened in the span of twelve hours?  If this was Dacia’s way of trying to dissuade him from asking her sister’s permission, she was in for a colossal disappointment.

 

What do you mean a problem has come up?  What kind of problem? He texted back, hating how vague she was being and raked a hand through his short dark hair, dark eyes narrowed. “If I have to go over there and talk to her tonight, I’ll do it.” He vowed, talking to the silence of the room and began pacing, waiting for her to respond.

 

He was so damn persistent, Dacia thought, trying not to look annoyed as she headed to her room to start packing.  I can’t tell you what’s going on, it’s personal, Tyler.  Just please don’t confront my sister right now because she has a lot on her plate and I don’t want to add to her stress.  Can you do that for me?  If he couldn’t, then he obviously didn’t care about her and Dacia would cut him off straightaway.

 

“Since when does she care so much about big sissy?” Tyler growled, not amused and felt hurt that Dacia was basically blowing him off, shaking his head.  If you didn’t want to go out with me, all you had to do was say so, Dacia.  I’m not playing these games.  I won’t go near your sister or you again.  Goodbye.  Shutting his cell phone off, Tyler shoved in his pocket and stormed out of his bedroom, grabbing his keys on the way.

 

Dacia’s heart shattered when she read Tyler’s last text message and felt a tidal wave of different emotions crash over her.  She did want to date him!!  She did want to be with him!!  This wasn’t her way of getting out of it and she didn’t play games like this!!  Had Tyler completely lost his mind? 

 

Gritting her teeth, Dacia didn’t bother responding to his asinine text and shut her phone off, tossing it on the bed.  Instantly, tears slid down her face and all Dacia could do was sag on her bed until her head hit the pillow.  Because of her father’s murderer, Dacia now had to pay the price by losing out on dating Tyler Lockwood. 

 

She didn’t know if it was divine intervention or just an obstacle they had to get over, but whatever the reason, Dacia didn’t know how to overcome it. ‘It doesn’t matter anyway, he doesn’t want me anymore because he thinks I’m trying to make excuses to get out of dating him.’ She thought bitterly, wiping her tears away and closed her eyes, letting her tears soak into the pillow.

 

This was the last time she let a man hurt her, Dacia vowed, especially when it came to stupid pigheaded football jocks.

 

Chapter 10

 

When Dahna called Dacia downstairs to eat dinner and received no response, she decided to go make sure her little sister was alright. “Dace?” She called again, tapping her knuckles lightly against the bedroom door and frowned when it slowly creaked open. 

 

The room was completely dark and Dahna flipped the light on to see better, stopping at the sight of Dacia sleeping in her bed.  It wasn’t even past 6 and Dacia was already sleeping, which didn’t settle well with Dahna.  Her little sister never went to bed this early, but then again, they did have a rather emotional conversation at the park earlier. 

 

Deciding to just let her sleep, Dahna crept back out of the room silently, flipping the light off and headed downstairs to put Dacia’s dinner in the microwave.  She had a quick bite to eat and scribbled a quick note to Dacia, letting her know she went back to work for a couple of hours in case she woke up before Dahna got home.  Locking the front door, Dahna headed out through the two car garage and slipped into her car, pulling out of there a few seconds later.

 

On the way, Dahna decided now would be the best time to call Damon Salvatore and give him her answer along with the stipulations.  She already had Damon’s card in hand and dialed his number, putting him on speakerphone so she could drive and talk at the same time.  Once again, that nagging feeling in the back of her mind was telling her this was a mistake, but she ignored it.

 

Sipping his usual nightly scotch, Damon looked down when his cell phone went off and a smirk curved his sensual lips, electric eyes flashing. “Right on time.” He murmured, pressing the talk button and held the phone to his ear. “Hello?” That was a subtle greeting, he thought, draining the rest of his tumbler as soon as her sweet voice echoed in his ear.

 

“Mr. Salvatore, its Dahna Fell.  I’m calling to talk to you about your proposition from earlier today.  Is this a good time?” She asked cordially, sticking her Bluetooth in her ear that was automatically connected to her phone.

 

“Of course.” Damon assured her, that smirk only growing on his face by the second and filled his tumbler with some more scotch. “Have you made your decision?”

 

“I have and…” Dahna swallowed hard, wondering why it was suddenly so hard to talk to him, forcing herself to continue. “I talked with my sister and…” Damn it, she had to stop pausing and just get on with it already!! “We’ll do it.” She finished in a rush of words, immediately cursing herself for sounding like a babbling idiot.

 

Damon found this very amusing and stared into the fire, dangling the tumbler between his fingers between his legs and leaned back against the couch. “Breathe, Dahna.” He ordered softly, injecting a soothing tone in his voice. “I know this has to be hard for both of you, but you’re making the right decision.  I promise, I’ll do everything in my power to catch this dick as soon as I can.” Not likely considering HE was said dick and that just made his smirk turn into a full-blown smile.

 

“I know you will, Mr. Salvatore.” Dahna breathed in and out a few times to calm her suddenly racing heartbeat.

 

“Please call me Damon.” He requested gently. “We’re going to be around each other a lot and I’m not a fan of formality.  Unless you are?”

 

“N-No…” Dahna cleared her voice, gritting her teeth momentarily and took a deep breath. “No I’m not, Damon.  We do have a few stipulations before agreeing to move into the mansion under your protection though.”

 

“Name them.” It didn’t matter what the stipulations were because Damon had Dahna right where he wanted her.  He would agree to anything she said considering no REAL protection was needed. ‘She won’t know what hit her when I’m done with her.’ He vowed in thought, sipping his scotch.

 

Blinking, Dahna didn’t expect him to be so compliant, especially in his line of work, but it was very refreshing nonetheless. “Well for one, we don’t want to be cooped up in the mansion…”

 

Damon cut her off instantly. “You can still go to work and Dacia can still go to school.  This nut job won’t attack you guys in broad daylight.  He’s more of the kidnapping and sneaking into your house type, which is why it would be safe for you at the mansion.  I have a state of the art security system that nobody can crack and you’ll be completely safe here, both of you.” He was having too much fun with this, hardly believing what a strong manipulator he was and he hadn’t even used compulsion!

 

“Dacia also wants to make sure that she can still go to Elena Gilbert’s whenever she wants to hang out.  They’re best friends.” Dahna informed him softly, pulling into the parking lot of her work and cut the ignition. “Is that a problem?”

 

Now THAT Damon hadn’t known about and he mentally cursed his baby brother for taking an interest in Elena Gilbert of all people.  Elena was around the mansion a lot and could be noisy when she wanted to be.  He couldn’t turn back now though.  Damon would figure out how to deal with Elena if she tried interfering in his master plan for Dahna Fell.

 

“Not at all.  My baby bro will keep an eye on her though and report back to me if he notices anything fishy at school.” Damon figured that was safe to say and would put Dahna’s mind at ease, which is what he wanted.

 

He wanted her to be lead into a false sense of security.

 

Dahna smiled widely upon hearing that, feeling a sense of relief course through her. “Thank you for being so understanding about all of this, Damon.  Most people in your line of work would be complete brutes and try to run our lives.  It’s great knowing you’re not one of them.” She meant that, her words completely heartfelt.

 

“Trying to run your lives wouldn’t solve anything or make you comfortable being in my home, Dahna.  Think of it as a mini vacation if you want, if that eases your mind any.” He stood up when the front door opened and knew Stefan was home, needing to talk to him about this situation. “Was there anything else you wanted to discuss?”

 

Chewing her bottom lip, Dahna mulled over everything they talked about and snapped her fingers, nodding. “Yes there is actually.  My sister brought up a good point during our talk today.  The sheriff wants to keep this away from the council, so we have to keep our family in the dark about what’s going on.  Therefore, we’re going to need to make daily stops at the house to make it seem like we’re staying there.  She said I could tell Meredith and Luke if I wanted to, but the less they know about this the better.” She basically reiterated what she told Elizabeth prior to this conversation. “So what can we do to keep that illusion alive?”

 

Dacia Fell wasn’t stupid, Damon silently commended her, and knew she would be a problem in his plans, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “What if you just go home like normal every day after work and Dacia does the same thing after school, only you sneak out at night to come here?  On the weekends, if you’d like, we can stay at your house so it gives the illusion you’re living there.” It was a fair compromise and Damon wouldn’t mind being out of the mansion for a couple days out of the week.

 

Dahna gaped, not believing what Damon Salvatore just offered and felt her heart swell more at his words. “You would…do that for us?” She rubbed the back of her neck when he simply responded with the word ‘yes’ and closed her eyes, a blush creeping in her cheeks. “That’s…That’s very nice of you, Damon.  Thank you so much for everything you’re doing for my family.  I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”

 

‘Oh I’m sure I’ll think of something.’ Damon thought, a mischievous smile lighting up his face next that looked positively demonic with the firelight mixing with his pale complexion. “Think nothing of it, a friend of Liz’s is a friend of mine, Dahna.  I’ll see you both tomorrow evening.” He quickly gave her the address and directions on how to get to the mansion before ending the call, laughing maniacally.

 

“What are you so chipper about, brother?” Stefan demanded, walking into the living room/parlor, holding Elena’s hand.

 

Elena did not like the sound of that laughter and immediately clutched Stefan’s hand, swallowing hard.

 

“Nothing you need to concern yourself with, brother.” Damon responded, refusing to say a word with Elena Gilbert standing right there and walked toward them. “Though, we do need to talk because we’re having guests that will be staying with us starting tomorrow night.”

 

“Who?” Stefan raised a brow, wondering what diabolical scheme his big brother had up his sleeve this time. “Damon…”

 

“Stefan.” Damon mocked the warning tone, smiling widely. “I’m not telling you anything until SHE,” He paused, pointing at Elena. “Is out of the room and earshot.”

 

Elena blinked, wondering what Damon suddenly had against her. “Stefan, maybe I should go…” She sounded hesitant and little scared, rightfully so.

 

“No, it’s alright Elena, you don’t have to go.” Stefan assured her, his intense green eyes never leaving his brother for a second. “Whatever he has to say, he can say in front of you.”

 

That same ruthless smile crossed Damon’s face as he shook his head, contemplating if he should spill their secret to the beautiful Gilbert woman. “Stefan, there are some THINGS we need to discuss and I don’t think you really want her here for this conversation.” His tone alone told Stefan that he would tell Elena everything if she wasn’t sent home immediately. “Have a nice night, Elena.”

 

“I-I don’t understand…”

 

Stefan knew what Damon meant and mentally cursed, shutting his eyes briefly before turning to face her. “I’ll call you later on.  I need to talk to my brother…alone.” There was no way Elena could find out their secret, not until he was ready to tell her, if that moment ever came.

 

“O-Okay…” Elena’s mind whirled with so many questions as she slowly backed away from both brothers, turning and headed right back out the front door, closing it behind her.

 

“Smart choice, brother.” Damon clapped Stefan on the back twice before heading to the bar to refill his tumbler, slipping his phone in his pocket. “I really didn’t want to drop the vamp bomb on her.”

 

“What is this about, Damon?  What guests are we having?” Stefan demanded, not happy with being forced to send Elena home, but he had a feeling it was for the best right now.

 

Sipping his scotch, Damon didn’t move from his spot and suddenly looked at his brother completely grave. “The Fell sisters, Dahna and Dacia, are going to be staying with us for a while.  That’s all you need to know.” He wasn’t surprised when Stefan suddenly flew over to stand nose to nose with him, almost anyway.

 

“What does THAT mean exactly?  What do you want with the Fell sisters?” Stefan was full of questions tonight and narrowed his eyes when Damon merely smiled at him.

 

“That, my dear little brother, is for me to know and you to find out.  They need protection from their father’s murderer and, out of the kindness of my heart, I offered my services.” Damon chortled, walking past Stefan out of the room and headed for the study, his favorite room in the mansion.

 

Stefan followed him, gritting his teeth. “You have no heart, brother.” He stated outright, grabbing Damon by the arm when his brother didn’t answer him and forcefully turned him until their eyes met. “Now what was the point in sending Elena home if you refuse to tell me what’s really going on?”

 

Damon shrugged him off, shoving him a few feet away and straightened his shirt collar. “Don’t touch me again or I will tear your throat out.” He promised in a deadly voice, though it sounded as though it was talking about the weather. “Dahna Fell and I have…history.  I’m the big bad vampire that killed her precious Daddy because he was trying to kill me.  I was in Mystic Falls way before you were and…let’s just say there’s unfinished business between me and the older Fell sister.  I have the sheriff and everyone else thinking I’ve been investigating his murder for the past 3 years and they’ve believed every word I’ve said.” He sounded amused now, pouring himself a shot of bourbon this time.

 

“So what about those documents you found of Zach’s?” Stefan hadn’t forgotten about them, following Damon over to sit down on the couch.

 

“That I haven’t figured out yet, but I’m getting there.  That’s one of the reasons I want the Fell’s to stay here because I plan on searching her house while they’re gone during the day.  I have to get her to invite me in first, which will happen this weekend since I’ll be ‘protecting’ them Friday through Sunday and they’ll stay here Monday through Thursday.”

 

“But what will searching the Fell house do?” Stefan was confused, not understanding what his big brother was doing anymore. “Breaking and entering is beneath you, don’t you think, brother?”

 

Damon smirked, shrugging nonchalantly. “Not if I’m invited first and have a key.” He planned on making sure Dahna made him a set for emergencies, already having everything planned on how he wanted this to happen. “I’m not going to hurt her, if that’s what you’re wondering.” Not physically anyway, Damon added in thought, turning to stare into the flames. “Those documents I found of Zach’s lead to a destination outside of Mystic Falls, several hours away.  Something tells me whatever he’s hiding at this place it has to do with Landon Fell and I intend to find out what it is before someone else finds it…like his precious daughter for instance.”

 

“What do you think it is?” Stefan asked quietly, resignedly, knowing whatever Damon wanted to do he would and nobody would be able to stop him.

 

“That’s the million dollar question.  I’ll be making a trip to that place in the next couple of weeks after I’ve searched the Fell house for possible clues.  Something is telling me that, since Zach worked close with the council before I snapped his neck,” How Damon relished in that memory, not one ounce of remorse in his voice. “These documents are linked to the Fell’s.”

 

Zachary and Landon had been close friends and that’s how Landon had gotten his hands on vervain, which he’d given each of his daughter’s in certain jewelry they always wore.  Dahna’s was an ankle bracelet and Dacia’s was simple diamond studded earrings, both gifts from their father.  Damon knew this because he’d been very close to the family back then before Landon figured out his secret.  In turn, it lead to the hunt of Damon and Landon’s ultimate demise.  The only good thing about it was the only person who knew who they were hunting was Landon, he hadn’t dropped Damon’s name to his brother, Luke.

 

“So, since Elena and Dacia are best friends, you want me to keep her in check I take it?” Stefan had finally figured out the reasoning behind Damon’s abrupt dismissal of Elena.

 

“Keep her in line or I’ll be forced to do it.” That was Stefan’s only warning and Damon sincerely hoped he took it to heart as he headed out of the study up to his bedroom.

 

If anyone tried getting in his way or interfering with his plan, they would end up dead, no questions asked.

 

Chapter 11

 

Packing sucked.

 

Dacia wished she had some kind of magic wand to wave so her packing could be finished in 3 seconds.  Going through everything, trying to figure out what to bring and what to leave was very irritating.  She had no idea how long they’d be gone, though they would make daily stops, so Dacia could always grab things every day when she came here.  Still, she couldn’t bring a huge bag of stuff every single night or else she’d end up moving everything into the Salvatore mansion.

 

A knock on the door jolted Dacia out of her packing misery and she decided to take a break to answer it, knowing Dahna wasn’t home yet.  She practically flew down the stairs and didn’t bother asking who it was, opening the door only to stare into the dark eyes of Tyler Lockwood.  Throughout the day at school, Dacia did everything in her power to avoid him and couldn’t believe he had the audacity to come to her house.

 

She wanted nothing to do with him after the rude text messages he sent her.  How could he think she was making excuses not to be with him?  At first she was hurt, but now all Dacia felt was anger – irrevocable anger.  After everything he said to her about Mike and then kissing her, Dacia suddenly couldn’t contain her emotions anymore and plowed her fist forward right into his nose.  She smiled in sick satisfaction as a crack echoed on the porch and inside the house, shaking her hand since she’d put her full force into it.

 

Tyler roared out in pain, stumbling back on the porch holding his nose and could feel the blood pouring out of his nostrils.  Damn she had one hell of a right hook!  He let out another string of words that would’ve made even the tougher sailor, and possibly the devil himself, blush.  They didn’t faze Dacia in the slightest though as she stood there cradling her right hand against her chest, trying to fight back tears of pain.

 

Blocking out his own pain, Tyler noticed what Dacia was doing and went to her side instantly, his dark eyes full of worry. “Let me see it.” He ordered gruffly, reaching out to inspect her injured hand and had a feeling it was either sprained or broken.

 

“Don’t touch me.” Dacia whispered harshly, taking a step away from him and blinked as a few tears slid down her cheeks from the pain radiating in her hand. “I don’t want you here, Tyler.  You made it perfectly clear last night you didn’t want me.  Just go away.”

 

Tyler groaned, hating her stubbornness and growled, his temper beginning to flare. “Damn it, Dacia, I came over here to say I’m sorry, only to get clocked in the face with your fist!  Just let me look at your damn hand and stop being difficult.” He ordered, lowering his voice an octave since he just yelled.

 

Scoffing, Dacia rolled her eyes and went to walk back inside the house to slam the door in his face, but Tyler was too fast for her. “I don’t want your petty apology!” She tried maintaining her composure, not want Tyler to see her broken…that he’d broken her with his harsh text messages. “You told me exactly how you felt last night, saying if I didn’t want to go out with you, all I had to do was say so.  Well guess what, douchebag?  I DON’T!!  I was stupid to think you were any different from Mike or any of the other jerks out there.  You said you wouldn’t come near me again and, yet, here you are on my front porch trying to spew some half-ass apology.  Just get out of here, Tyler.  Oh and, for your information, I wasn’t playing games with you.  That’s not who I am, but at least I now know how little you think of me.  Now get the hell off my property before I break something else.”

 

“Dacia, you could break anything and everything on my body.  It’s not going to stop me from making this right between us.” Tyler deserved everything Dacia just said to him and more after the way he treated her last night, but he honestly had no idea what was happening. “Put yourself in my shoes for a second before you slam that door in my face.  You texted me and asked that I don’t confront your sister right now because of a personal reason.  You didn’t want to add to her stress.  Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lame excuse to cancel the plans we had.  It angered me, I’m not gonna lie.  And it hurt more when I asked you what the problem was that came up and all you said was you couldn’t tell me because it was personal.  I honestly thought you were trying to get out of going out with me, Dacia.  I’m only human and I made a mistake.”

 

“So what made you change your pea-sized brain then?” Dacia spat, folding her arms in front of her chest and pursed her lips tightly together, trying not to let her anger shine through at his words. “Go ahead, enlighten me.”

 

Sighing, Tyler stopped himself from pinching the bridge of his nose and ignored the throbbing migraine starting to pound in his head. “Today at school.  I saw how miserable you were and that you were avoiding me.” He took a step forward, hesitating for all obvious reasons. “I could tell you were in pain and it was because of me.  I’m sorry for hurting you, Dacia.  If I could take it back, I would in a heartbeat, but I can’t.  All I can do is apologize to you and hope you give me another chance.” He explained, pouring his heart out to her and hoped she didn’t crush it with her tiny capable hands.

 

Dacia eyed him skeptically, wondering if she should believe what he just told her and wiped more tears away that fell. “Even though I can’t tell you what problem has come up?” She had to know, finally looking up into his heartbroken pain-filled dark eyes with her own teary bloodshot milk chocolate ones. “Because that hasn’t changed, Tyler.”

 

“I don’t care what the problem is; I’ll deal with it and wait as long as you need me too.” Tyler stated, reaching out to cup her face in his strong hand and pulled her out of the doorway against him, wiping another fallen tear from her cheek. “I’ve waited for you this long and I’m not going to stop now until you’re mine.”

 

“What if it’s not until I’m 18?” Dacia whispered, her heart breaking at the thought of making Tyler wait for her because she felt it wasn’t fair to him. “I mean…”

 

Pressing a finger to her lips, Tyler simply nodded and wished he could kiss her, but the blood streaming from his nose prevented that. “As long as it takes, I promise.” He vowed in a husky voice and pulled back to pull his shirt off, balling it up to hold it against his busted nose. “But if you do want to talk about what’s going on, you know I’m here for you, right?” He had to offer, hoping she didn’t get upset from his offer.

 

Dacia nodded, appreciating his heartfelt offer and grabbed his hand, lacing their fingers together. “Come inside so I can clean you up before Dahna gets home.” Damon would be there soon as well to help them move most of their things, which both girls were extremely grateful for.

 

“You don’t-” Tyler immediately clamped his mouth shut when Dacia shot him a dark look over her shoulder and let her guide him inside.

 

~!~

 

As planned, when Dahna arrived home that evening, Damon was waiting for her on the porch steps in all his sensual glory.  From the top of his shaggy black hair to the tips of his toes, which were currently covered in black boots, the man dripped sex.  Dahna knew having a crush on her protector was wrong, but as long as she restrained herself, there was no harm in fantasizing about him.

 

Stepping out of the car, Dahna walked up to him and smiled when he looked up at her. “How long have you been waiting out here?” She asked softly, wondering if Dacia was home because they had to make this move fast and discreet.

 

“Only a few minutes.” Damon lied smoothly, pushing himself off the porch steps to stand.  In truth, he’d been waiting over an hour and figured Dahna was running late because of her job. “I figured it’d be best to wait out here instead of making your little sister more uncomfortable than she probably already is.”

 

“That’s very thoughtful of you, Damon.” Dahna said, walking past him up the porch steps to the front door and opened it, looking over her shoulder to make sure he followed. “Now that I’m home, you can come inside out of the cold.”

 

‘Like taking candy from a baby.’ Damon thought, not believing how easy it was to be invited in.  He didn’t have to do any coaxing; it was almost disappointing in a way since Damon’s kind enjoy the hunt. “Don’t mind if I do.” Stepping over the threshold inside the house, Damon smirked as he looked around the house, hearing Dacia upstairs with pounding music. “Very nice place you have here.” He figured a compliment would earn him brownie points with Dahna and flashed a small smile at her.

 

“Thank you, it was our parents.” Dahna informed him softly, taking her coat off and tossed it on the back of the couch. “Okay, I think I have everything packed up and ready to go.  Can you grab these few duffel bags while I go upstairs to see if Dacia’s ready?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Damon nodded, reaching down to grab them and headed out the front door to his car.  When he knew Dahna wasn’t watching and had gone upstairs, Damon flew to his car with his enhanced speed, tossing everything in the trunk.  He flew back into the house to grab the rest of it, doing it in a matter of seconds, glad the neighbors weren’t home currently.  With every step he took and every item placed in his trunk, Damon was one step closer to fulfilling his master plan and could already feel his blood light on fire at the thought.

 

Dahna tapped her knuckles against Dacia’s bedroom door and pushed it open because she knew the music drowned out her knocking. “Dace?” She called loudly, smiling when her little sister whipped around to face her and laughed. “Sorry!”

 

Dacia immediately turned the music down on her stereo and shook her head, pressing a hand to her racing heart. “Thanks for taking a few years off me, sis.  Much appreciated.”

 

That just made Dahna laugh harder. “Hey, it’s not my fault you like to blast your music to where the neighbors can hear.” She retorted, folding her arms in front of her chest and observed the rather messy room. “Did a tornado come through here?”

 

“No, I just haven’t had time to clean up in a few days…” Dacia avoided looking at her sister and busied herself with packing.  Tyler had taken up most of her packing time with his busted nose, courtesy of her bandaged hand. “Are you packed?”

 

Dahna nodded, frowning when she noticed the bandage wrapped around her sister’s hand and rushed over to grab it. “What the hell happened?” She demanded, looking at Dacia with worry-filled emerald eyes.

 

“I slammed my hand in my locker today at school.” Dacia lied, pulling her hand away since it hurt when Dahna grabbed it. “I’m fine, it’s just sprained.” She hoped, already having a doctor’s appointment to look at it the following day.

 

“You are so clumsy.  It’s a miracle you’re not in a wheelchair right now.” Dahna remarked, hating seeing her little sister in pain. “Did you take something for it?”

 

“Yeah, some Ibuprofen to help with the swelling.”

 

“Good.” Dahna sighed, glancing around again. “I suppose you need help packing?”

 

Dacia cracked a smile, nodding. “That’s why I haven’t gotten a lot accomplished.” Man, she really hated lying to her sister, but Dacia couldn’t let her find out about Tyler, not yet anyway. “I’m almost done though, honest.”

 

“What all needs to be packed?” Dahna asked resignedly, hoping Damon didn’t mind waiting another hour because she had a feeling that’s how long it would take to pack Dacia up. “Just point me to a spot and I’ll get started.”

 

“Just start tossing my CD’s and IPOD in this bag.” Dacia loved her music and had well over 500 CD’s, which she’d loaded on her IPOD.

 

“You don’t need to bring all of those, Dace.” Dahna argued, shaking her head and grabbed the IPOD instead. “You’ve loaded this thing with all of it.”

 

“Fine, whatever.” Dacia rolled her eyes, pointing Dahna over to a pile of clothes while she finished packing some books and other things to keep her occupied.

 

Dacia hadn’t started on her clothes, which irritated Dahna to say the least. “You were supposed to do this last night.” She grunted, folding tops, jeans, a few skirts and dress pants since she wore them to school occasionally.

 

Sure enough, an hour had passed when the sisters finally emerged from upstairs to a patient looking Damon.  He was a saint, Dahna immediately thought, flashing an apologetic smile as she handed over the bag to him.  He merely smiled back, glancing over at the younger sister, Dacia, and eyeballed her hand, tilting his head.

 

“What happened there?” He asked, opening the front door for them like a gentleman.

 

“Slammed her hand into her locker.” Dahna informed him, knowing Dacia didn’t want to talk to him. “That’s why she wasn’t fully packed and I had to help her.  Sorry for taking so long.”

 

“No problem.” Damon waved her off dismissively, shutting the door behind him and followed them down the porch steps. “Just follow me and I’ll guide you to the mansion.”

 

“Will do.” Dahna began walking toward her own car, Dacia already in the passenger seat, and suddenly stopped when a thought crossed her mind. “Damon?”

 

He turned to look at her, watching her jog over to him and couldn’t help admiring how her body moved, especially the top half. “Yes?”

 

“I forgot to give you these.” Dahna pulled a set of keys out of her pocket and handed them over without uncertainty, pure trust shining in her emerald eyes. “Since you’re going to be staying here on the weekends with us, you’re going to need your own set until this dick is caught.”

 

Staring down at the silver keys, Damon couldn’t believe how trusting this woman was with strangers and wondered if she had a few screws loose in her brain. “Point taken.” He agreed, shoving them in his pocket and placed a hand on her shoulder in a purely friendly way. “Everything is going to work out, Dahna.  I promise.”

 

Dahna believed him wholeheartedly and placed a hand against his chest over his heart, smiling genuinely. “I believe you.  Thanks again for everything you’re doing, Damon.  You have no idea what it means to me and I’ll never be able to repay you.  See you over there?” She grinned when he nodded and headed back to her vehicle, trying to get her cheeks to stop burning.

 

‘Oh you’ll be doing a little more than just thanking me, Dahna.’ Damon vowed, a smirk crossing his lips and slid into his electric blue Camaro, driving away from the house with Landon Fell’s daughters following suit.

 

The real fun was about to begin.

 

Chapter 12

 

“Stefan, what’s going on with your brother?” Elena asked, looking up from her history book they were studying together. “He really scared me the other day.”

 

Knowing this conversation was bound to happen; Stefan closed his book and leaned back against the headboard of Elena’s bed, folding his arms in front of his chest. “Damon has a lot on his mind and he had to talk to me about it.  Nothing you need to worry about.” He tried sounding nonchalant about it, but in truth Stefan was worried about his brother’s intentions with the Fell sisters.

 

“Oh…” He was lying to her; Elena knew it and could feel it in her heart. “Well…what did he mean when he said there were THINGS that he had to discuss with you that I couldn’t know about?” Damon didn’t say those exact words, but it was close enough as Elena eyed Stefan suspiciously. “You can tell me, Stefan.  I won’t judge.”

 

“Family business.” Stefan smiled easily, reaching over to take her hand as their fingers laced together. “Like I said, nothing you need to concern yourself with, Elena.  Everything is fine, I promise.” He hoped, making a mental note to check on Damon once he left.

 

This whole situation with the Fell’s really had Stefan on edge, though he tried not showing it to Elena.  His Uncle Zach hid something from him and Stefan didn’t like that, especially when they’d been so close before Damon killed him.  The fact Damon had been in Mystic Falls before his arrival unnerved Stefan more.  That meant his big brother had raised hell a lot longer than he thought, making him wonder what all Damon had done before Stefan moved back.

 

Stefan’s cell phone vibrated and he picked it up, seeing it was a message from the devil himself. Need to talk ASAP.  Fell sisters are moved in.  Remember to keep your mouth shut, baby bro.  Stefan didn’t like the sound of that and hoped he could keep this secret from Elena, knowing how persistent she could be.

 

“Everything okay?” Elena had noticed his facial expression change as soon as he read a message on his phone, sighing. “Don’t tell me it’s your brother.”

 

“It’s my brother.” Stefan replied with a half-smile, leaning over to brush his lips against hers softly. “Gotta cut our studying short, but I can come over tonight if you want.”

 

Elena shook her head, flashing a smile of her own that did not touch her eyes. “Not tonight, I’m having my friend Dacia stay the night and it’s a girl’s only type thing.  I’m sure you understand.  She’s got some serious girl talk she needs to do and I’m guessing it has something to do with Tyler Lockwood.”

 

That name alone acquired Stefan’s full attention. “Tyler Lockwood?  What about him?”

 

“She’s had a crush on him for the past few years, but she ended up going out with this guy named Mike Epps and he hurt her badly.  Dacia didn’t think Tyler liked her the same way she did, so when Mike Epps asked her out, she immediately accepted and they ended up dating throughout high school.  He graduated last year and, shortly after that, broke up with her because he was going away to college.” Elena explained, cleaning up the books and shoved them in her bag, knowing she’d ace the test they’d been studying for.

 

“So how do you know it’s about him?” Stefan asked, genuinely interested as he piled his own books on top of each other, his eyes never leaving her.

 

Elena smirked, shrugging insouciantly. “I caught them outside talking to each other at the Lockwood mansion during the Founder’s Day party.  Dacia was really upset and told me everything.  Tyler told her that Mike Epps cheated while they were together and it really tore Dacia up.  I’ve never seen her so upset, not even when her parents died…” Frowning at the memory of her own parents’ death, Elena shut her eyes tightly and pushed the pain away. “Anyway, she hasn’t mentioned Tyler since that night, so I’m betting something else happened and she needs to talk about it.”

 

“So that’s why you and Caroline are no longer friends.” Stefan observed, wondering if Damon had anything to do with that happening. “I wondered why you two haven’t said two words to each other in school.”

 

Scoffing, Elena rolled her eyes and walked over to her vanity mirror, placing her bag on top of it and looked at her boyfriend through reflection. “If she never speaks to me again, it’ll be too soon.  I confronted her about Mike Epps after Dacia told me about it and she tried denying it, but Caroline can’t lie to save her life.  She’s a horrible liar and I saw right through her.  She finally admitted to sleeping with him and tried justifying her actions because he ‘seduced’ her.” Shaking her head, Elena still couldn’t believe Caroline betrayed Dacia by having sex with her boyfriend. “What she did is unforgiveable.”

 

Stefan nodded, deciding it would be best to keep his opinions to himself regarding the situation, not wanting to upset Elena further. “Well whatever you do, you know I support you.” He said, placing a hand on her shoulder and immediately pulled his hand away, acting as if he’d just been scalded.

 

The air suddenly permeated with the mouthwatering scent of blood and Stefan could already feel his face morphing.  His throat burned, feeling as though a hot poker was jammed down his throat, searing it.  Because of his dark past, Stefan opted to feed from animals only, but that didn’t stop the thirst from developing whenever he smelled human blood.

 

“Elena…”

 

His voice sounded distant as Elena turned around, holding her bleeding finger to her chest with a tissue wrapped around it. “I’m okay, I just cut my finger on one of those stupid books.” Paper cuts hurt worse than actual cuts, Elena was sure of it as she pulled the tissue from her finger, her blood soaking it. “Stefan?” She frowned, blinking as he turned his back to her and looked down at her finger. “It’s just a little blood…”

 

Taking a few deep breaths, Stefan didn’t say anything and could feel the veins in his face slowly diminish, the sclera’s of his eyes returning to normal white instead of a blood red.  They turned whenever he fed on blood, whether it be animal or human, but Stefan was on a strict animal only diet. Damon, on the other hand, fed on humans whenever he could and embraced the true nature of being a vampire.

 

“I’m fine.” He stated in a low voice, slowly turning back around to face her and could see the perplexed look in her brown eyes. “I have to go.”

 

“Does blood make you queasy or something?” Elena had to ask, wrapping her finger up in another tissue and followed him out of her bedroom door. “Stefan?”

 

“I’ll call you.  Have a good night, Elena.” He said dismissively, practically flying down the stairs and out her front door.

 

“Stefan, wait!” Elena called, trying to catch up with him and ran out on her porch, looking from left to right.  He was nowhere to be found.

 

~!~

 

Damon sat in the study, his favorite room in the entire mansion, sipping a tumbler of blood thoughtfully while staring into the fireplace.  He was waiting for his baby brother to get home so they could have a discussion about Zach’s documents.  New information had developed and it shook Damon up a little, which was incredibly hard to do.  He didn’t move an inch when the front door slammed shut down the hallway or when Stefan entered the room, simply taking another sip of his beverage.

 

“That was fast.” He commented, sounding indifferent and placed the tumbler on the table beside him, slowly moving his eyes from the fireplace to Stefan. “What’s wrong with you?”

 

“Nothing.” Stefan snapped, pacing a little to try to contain his bloodlust and knew he had to get his mind on something else besides the delicious smell of Elena’s blood. “What did you need to talk about?”

 

“The documents.” Damon answered, standing up and walked over to lean against the fireplace, pushing the pieces of wood around with a poker to stoke it more. “I reread them to make sure we weren’t missing anything and…there’s a page missing.”

 

That got Stefan’s mind off of Elena’s blood instantly, his green eyes narrowing. “What do you mean?” He demanded, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

 

“Take a look for yourself.” Damon gestured to the pile of papers on the other table while he continued prodding the wood. “Page 14 is missing.  There’s pages 1 through 13 and the next page you flip to is page 15.  There is no 14 and I’m guessing whatever is on that missing page is going to give us the answers to whatever Zach kept hidden.”

 

“So how the hell do we find it?” Stefan questioned, looking up at his brother after verifying what Damon said, not believing this turn of events. “What if we can’t find it?”

 

“Oh we will.” Damon said confidently, walking over to take another long swallow of blood, smirking at Stefan wickedly. “I plan on doing the search of the Fell house tonight.”

 

Stefan snorted, knowing he would regret asking this next question. “How do you propose doing that?”

 

“Simple.” Damon grinned, pulling the keys out of his pocket that Dahna Fell very graciously handed over the previous night. “She did it of her own freewill, aren’t you proud of me?  I didn’t have to use compulsion to get inside, that’s how much she trusts me.  Foolish girl.” He grunted, finishing off the blood and walked over to the bar, needing something with a little kick as a chaser.

 

Stefan was stunned to see the shiny silver keys dangling from Damon’s hand and couldn’t believe the eldest Fell child would be trusting so easily. “Sheriff Forbes must’ve convinced her to trust you.” He concluded, walking over to pour himself a much needed drink. “So what happens when you do the raid and find nothing?” A gut instinct told Stefan that the missing page wasn’t in the Fell house unless it was hidden extremely well.

 

Knowing Landon Fell, it was in a place where nobody would think to look.

 

“Then I’ll go to the next step.” Damon remarked simply, shrugging. “One way or another, Stef, we have to find that missing page.  So if I have to torture it out of Dahna, then so be it.” He didn’t mean that, however, Stefan thinking he would made Damon all warm and tingly inside.

 

“Even though there’s a huge possibility she doesn’t know anything?” Stefan shot back, not liking the sound of Damon torturing humans, especially the Fell’s. “You killed their father, isn’t that enough?”

 

“Not even close.” Damon winked, walking past Stefan and turned to face him. “I’ll do whatever it takes to find that missing page and what Uncle Zach kept from the council.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go greet Dahna.”

 

Just then, the front door to the mansion opened as Dahna stepped inside, closing it behind her.  It still took her breath away, not believing how gigantic and beautiful it was.  She took her scarf off around her neck since it’d been raining all day and pulled her boots off, not wanting to damage the floor with wet spots.  Dahna pulled her coat off and draped it over her arm, swiping her boots and purse from the floor before heading down the hallway toward the staircase.  Just as she arrived at the stairs, Damon descended them and Dahna couldn’t help smiling, starting to walk past him.

 

“What?  No hello?” Damon joked, seeing her hands were full and reached out to take her coat, once again playing the gentleman card perfectly.

 

“Thanks, sorry.” Dahna blushed, trying to fight back the flush threatening to burn her cheeks. “I didn’t mean to be rude.  Hello Damon.”

 

“Now that’s better.” Damon winked, walking back up the stairs slowly with her. “Rough day?”

 

“You could say that.” Dahna would just plead the fifth on that one, her body aching from head to toe. “I had to stand at the stupid Xerox machine all day making copies for my boss.  It’s punishment for me leaving early the other day when I had to talk to Dacia about moving in here temporarily.”

 

Aquamarine eyes narrowed when Damon heard that, suddenly wanting to rip her boss’s heart through his chest. “That doesn’t seem fair considering you went back later that night to make up the work you missed.” He commented, remembering Dahna mentioning something about that once they arrived back at the mansion the previous night.

 

“I know, he’s a dick, but it’s a job and I can’t afford not to work.” Not like Damon Salvatore, the house was proof enough of that fact, though Dahna kept those thoughts to herself. “Anyway, enough about my complaining, Dacia is staying over at Elena Gilbert’s tonight.  I hope you don’t mind, it was sort of last minute.  She called me on my lunch break at work and asked.  I didn’t have time to call you.”

 

Damon waved her off glibly, an easy smile sliding across his handsome face. “Not at all, Dahna.  I already told you I’m not here to dictate your lives and I know she’ll be safe over at the Gilbert’s.  My baby bro is crazy about Elena and wouldn’t let anything happen to her.” He stage whispered and enjoyed Dahna’s sweet laughter as it surrounded him.

 

“You’re definitely not the typical protector type.” Dahna observed, arriving at her bedroom and smiled when Damon opened the door for her, both of them stepping inside as she set her stuff down. “Thank you for helping me, Damon.” She turned to face him, emerald mixing with aquamarine and Dahna once again felt her knees grow weak, getting lost in his eyes.

 

Damon stepped forward, reaching out to run a finger gently down her soft cheek. “Anytime.” He rumbled in a low voice, standing so close their chests practically brushed together. “If you don’t need anything else, I’ll leave you be now.”

 

Watching as he turned to exit her room, Dahna suddenly had a thought and blurted it out, immediately cursing her fuzzy brain. “I want to cook for you tonight.” What the hell was Dahna thinking?!

 

Turning, Damon looked back at her with a huge smirk on his face, one thick black eyebrow lifting. “Come again?” He wanted to make sure he’d heard her right.

 

“Well…” Dahna swallowed hard, hesitating. “Since Dace is going to be gone for the night and…you’ve just been very nice and understanding about this situation.  I just…want to pay you back somehow and…I’m not a bad cook.  My mother was excellent, she taught me a few things.” Slowly moving toward him, Dahna’s emerald eyes once again captured him and she reached out to gently place a hand on his chest. “The least I can do is cook for you after everything you’ve done for us.”

 

Even after all these years, those eyes still captivated him in ways no other woman, not even Katherine Pierce, had and Damon hated it.  He didn’t show it though.  Damon could see how much this meant to Dahna and decided his plans to raid her house could wait another evening because he hadn’t had a home cooked meal in a while.

 

“If you insist.” He bowed, winking back at her and once again heard her mesmerizing laugh. “If you need help…”

 

“I’ll be fine.  Thank you for letting me do this, Damon.” Leaning up, Dahna brushed her lips against his cheek quickly before practically flying out the door, heading downstairs to the kitchen.

 

Damon turned, watching her go and touched his cheek, closing his eyes to relish in the feeling momentarily. “Dahna...” He whispered, shaking himself out of the temporary haze his mind suddenly clouded with and followed her downstairs to see what she had in mind for dinner.

 

He already knew what he wanted for dessert and licked his lips hungrily.

 

Chapter 13

 

After some much needed studying and dinner, it was time to get down to the girl talk portion of the evening.  Elena had everything set up in the living room, which included two cartons of ice cream, bags of chips, candy and other snack food.  Jenna was staying the night at Alaric’s and Jeremy was out with his friends, so the girls had the house to themselves.  Elena preferred it that way, not needing any prying ears or eavesdropping going on, especially since Dacia wanted to be discreet.

 

Dacia immediately went for the ice cream, wearing a cream colored tank top with black pajama pants and cream colored socks so her feet didn’t get cold.  She’d showered after dinner while Elena got everything set up in the living room, though Dacia didn’t realize just how much Elena had bought for their girl’s night…until now.  Elena had already showered after Stefan left earlier to go have the ‘family business’ talk with Damon, so she didn’t need another one.  She decided not to mention anything about that to Dacia, not until Elena gathered more intelligence anyway.

 

Stefan’s reaction to Elena slicing her finger hadn’t left Elena’s mind either, not for a second.  It was almost as if blood repulsed Stefan, which wouldn’t be completely out of the ordinary.  Elena never thought of Stefan as someone who had a weakness though, but apparently he did and it was the red liquid that flowed through the human body.  Sighing, Elena sat down on the couch next to Dacia, noting her friend was deep in thought and nudged her for attention.

 

“Sorry.” Dacia mumbled when she jumped, too deep in thought about Tyler Lockwood again. “You didn’t have to go to all this trouble, Lena.”

 

“Yes I did.” Elena argued with a smile, handing Dacia a spoon and her own carton of ice cream while starting in on hers. “It’s been too long since we last did this, Dace.”

 

“Can’t argue with that.” Dacia took a bite of the peanut butter ice cream and grinned, her brown eyes twinkling since it was her favorite flavor. “Thanks Lena, I really needed this tonight.” Her life had been turned upside down in the span of a few days and Dacia couldn’t talk about half of it, which annoyed her to no end. “I swear to god, if there’s one more thing that goes wrong in my life, I’m gonna hit somebody.”

 

Elena blinked, taking her time to swallow her bite of double chocolate fudge ice cream and decided to choose her words carefully. “What’s been going on, Dacia?” She asked softly, trying to sound nonchalant even though her curiosity burned about Tyler Lockwood.

 

“Better question: What HASN’T gone wrong in my life lately?  Seriously, I go to the Lockwood party, against my better judgment, only for Tyler freaking Lockwood, of all people, to tell me that, the first man I ever gave my heart too, cheated on me with one of my ex-best friends.  Then he kisses me and makes my brain all foggy, only to insult me through a text message of all things!  Then – THEN, oh it gets better than that!  Then he shows up at my house and I end up plowing him in the nose with my fist!” Dacia held her bandaged hand up as proof of everything she just said, flexing it a little and winced before going back to eating her ice cream.

 

It took Elena several long minutes to digest all of that information, not believing what Tyler Lockwood did to Dacia.  She didn’t need to know how he insulted Dacia through text message.  The fact he did irked her and Elena suddenly wanted to break more bones in his body.  Elena had to take several big bites of ice cream just to cool her steaming blood a little and didn’t care if she got a brain freeze from eating it too fast.

 

“And on top of all that, he still has to talk to my sister about us dating and I told him to hold off until things calmed down a little in our lives.”

 

Dacia knew Elena’s curiosity would eventually win out and she’d ask about what was going on.  As much as she wanted to tell her best friend everything going on with her family, Dacia also couldn’t betray Dahna’s wishes.  Her big sister had done and sacrificed a lot for her, so the least Dacia could do was keep the secret about staying at the Salvatore mansion for protection.

 

“Wait, why does Tyler need your sister’s permission to date you?” Elena asked, folding her arms in front of her chest, after setting her ice cream down, frowning. “You’re almost 18…”

 

“I know.” Dacia sighed, lowering her eyes to her lap and clasped her hands together. “Dahna doesn’t like Tyler at all.  We had a talk about him the night of the Lockwood party and she made it clear she didn’t want me anywhere near Tyler.  She thinks it’s Tyler’s fault Caroline and I aren’t friends anymore.”

 

“So she has no idea about what Mike did to you?” Elena watched as Dacia shook her head and fought back a groan, going right back to eating her ice cream.

 

“And she’s never going to find out.” Dacia eyeballed Elena, silently ordering her not to say a word to Dahna about Mike cheating on her with Caroline. “Anyway, I’m the one who told Tyler I couldn’t date him until he got my sister’s permission.  I wanted to see if he’d actually go through with it and he’s going to…as soon as I give him the green light.”

 

That part confused Elena to no avail. “So what’s going on with your sister that’s so important you have to postpone Tyler from talking to her?” To Elena’s knowledge, Dahna’s life was relatively quiet, revolving around going to work and taking care of Dacia.  Even though Dacia could take care of herself and would be 18 very soon, something she’d already pointed out earlier. “I mean, her job can’t be THAT stressful…”

 

“You have no idea what kind of stress my sister is under right now!” Dacia snapped, standing up from the couch abruptly and tossed her ice cream container on the table, stalking into the kitchen.

 

This was getting harder not to just tell Elena what was going on.  She knew Elena wouldn’t talk to anyone about it, but Dacia couldn’t take that risk.  When she made a promise to someone, Dacia did everything in her power to keep it, especially when it came to Dahna.  Dacia felt she owed Dahna that much respect to keep what was going on secret until it was safe to come out with the truth.  Then again, Elena was part of their family and Dacia considered her a sister…maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea if Elena knew everything.

 

Elena didn’t follow Dacia right away, wanting to give her time to cool down because she hadn’t expected that outburst.  Dacia was usually the levelheaded one and had to calm Elena down several times throughout their friendship whenever they got in sticky situations.  So this was definitely a role reversal, one that Elena wasn’t sure how to handle.  She was tempted to call Stefan over because he seemed to be able to speak to people and get through to them in the most bizarre, yet effective, ways.

 

Chewing her bottom lip, Elena made a snap decision and pulled her cell phone out, sending him a quick text. ‘I hope Dacia doesn’t get mad at me for this.’ She thought, nodding when she received a text a few seconds later from Stefan, letting her know he was on his way over.

 

~!~

 

Stefan was in the study when he received a rather interesting text message from his girlfriend, requesting his presence.  I need you, please come over.  That was a very vague text, especially coming from Elena Gilbert and Stefan suddenly wondered if she was in trouble. 

 

He could hear laughter coming from the kitchen and knew Damon was keeping Dahna Fell company while she cooked.  Apparently, Damon’s plan to raid the Fell household was being put on hold for the evening after Dahna practically begged Damon to let her cook dinner for him.  Hell, even Stefan wouldn’t pass up a home-cooked meal, though he maintained his distance and left them alone…for the most part.

 

“Damn it.” Stefan sighed, knowing he would have to leave the mansion and Dahna Fell completely alone with his manipulative big brother. 

 

Neither thought settled well with him, though Stefan was more worried for the human woman that had no idea of Damon’s true intentions than their home.  Damon would never destroy the mansion, that much Stefan knew, but he was afraid of leaving Dahna alone.  What if Damon tried something while he was gone?  What if, the second Stefan stepped out the front door and drove off, Damon decided to stop playing the nice guy act and resort to violence against Dahna?

 

On my way, be there in a few.  Stefan texted back, not about to let his girlfriend down and had to put her first before anyone else, especially when it came to her safety. 

 

He knew Elena wouldn’t request him to come over unless it was vital since she was supposed to be spending the night with Dahna’s little sister, Dacia.  Cursing again, Stefan tossed his brown bomber jacket on and stalked out of the study, flying down the hallway toward the front door.  He stopped short when another shriek of laughter echoed in his ears from the kitchen and decided to let big brother know he was leaving for a while.  Laughter was a good sign and it made Stefan wonder just what Damon was doing to make Dahna laugh that hard.

 

No matter how hard she tried, Dahna couldn’t stop laughing at Damon, who currently had a photo album open on the counter while she sliced vegetables.  She decided to make a dish called Chicken Primavera, one of her favorites and hoped Damon would enjoy it too.  He’d just got done telling her a story about when he and Stefan were younger in grade school, all the hell they raised.  It reminded her of how she and Dacia would take turns making their parents’ lives miserable when they were alive.  Dahna would sneak out to be with Mike while Dacia covered for her with Jenna’s help.

 

“I can’t believe you actually did that!” Dahna crowed, shaking her head as she put the sliced carrots in the bowl and started on the broccoli. “I would never peg Stefan to do something like tip a cow on its side.”

 

Stefan heard that and immediately rushed into the kitchen with wide green eyes, eyebrows furrowed. “What exactly are you telling her, big brother?” He demanded, eyeballing the photo album and folded his arms in front of his chest, looking very shrewd. “Because let me set a few things straight, I’m not the one who went cow tripping and pissed Dad off, you did.”

 

“Oh come off it, little brother, we both know that’s a lie.  I was too busy worrying about my studies while you wanted to gallivant all over the place and I had to cover for you.” Damon replied with a smirk, his blue eyes gleaming wickedly. “Going somewhere?”

 

“Yeah, Elena texted and asked me to come see her.” Stefan replied, watching as Dahna immediately stopped cutting, lovely worried emerald eyes locking with his. “She didn’t mention Dacia, if that’s what you’re wondering, Miss Fell.”

 

“Dahna, please.” She requested softly, setting the knife down on the counter and wiped her hands off on the apron currently tied around her waist. “What DID she say then?  Because, last I knew, Dacia was staying the night with her.”

 

“She still is.” Stefan assured her, suddenly regretting blurting out where he was going. “I think Elena wants to talk to me about what happened between us earlier though.  I won’t be long; I don’t want to take up too much of their time.”

 

Dahna seemed to believe him and stepped away, going back to cutting the broccoli. “Stefan, you would tell me if something was going on with Dacia, wouldn’t you?” She had to ask, not looking at him because she could feel his intense green eyes staring at her. “I mean, I know you’re only 17…” The stories Damon told her made Stefan seem much older than what he was, though Damon had said Stefan was just shy of thirteen during his rebellious phase.

 

Stefan nodded, lying through his teeth at the next words that came out of his mouth. “Yes, if I knew something, I would tell you Dahna.  I honestly believe this has to do with what happened between me and Elena earlier.” Damn it, why did he have to say that twice?  Now Damon was staring at him intensely and Stefan knew big brother wouldn’t let him leave without spilling his guts. “You have nothing to worry about when it comes to Dacia.” Stefan hoped, remembering what Elena told him earlier about Tyler Lockwood.

 

“I’ll walk you out, Stef.” Damon offered, already heading past him out of the kitchen and flashed an easy smile in Dahna’s way to assure her everything was fine. “I’ll be right back and tell you some more stories about our childhood, Dahna.”

 

“Looking forward to it.” Dahna murmured softly, watching the brothers walk out and decided to send Dacia a quick text to make sure she was alright.

 

“What the hell is going on?” Damon demanded as soon as they were out of earshot, standing near the front door. “You’re not leaving until you tell me what the hell happened between you and Elena earlier.”

 

“Fine, you wanna know so bad, I’ll tell you.” Stefan growled, shoving Damon a few feet away from him and tore a hand through his short dishwater blonde hair. “It wasn’t a big deal, but…she got a paper cut and started bleeding…in front of me…” He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the wooden door, still having the memory of Elena’s blood in his nostrils. “Her blood…I nearly lost control and attacked her, so I left abruptly and I know that’s what she wants to talk to me about.  I’m not gonna tell her the truth, not yet…”

 

“When then?” Damon pressed, his thick black eyebrows furrowed and wasn’t sure if he approved of Stefan going to see Elena so soon after this incident. “Stefan, tread carefully about the decisions you make with Elena because she’ll more than likely laugh in your face if you just blurt out you’re a vampire.”

 

“I know that.” Stefan grunted, knowing Damon was right and felt sick to his stomach about going to see Elena. “She needs me though.  What if she’s in trouble, Damon?  I’m not risking it.” He looked down when his cell phone buzzed, another text from Elena asking if he was on his way. “Damn it, I have to go.  Just…keep this between us, alright?  And stop with the stories before you end up blurting the damn year it really happened in.”

 

“Relax brother; they’re just a few harmless stories that are making her laugh.  Would you rather I torture her instead?” Damon shot back in a low voice, raising a brow when Stefan glared back at him in response. “That’s what I thought.  Now go see your little morsel and, remember, not a word about them staying here.”

 

“I already promised, didn’t I?” Stefan growled, shoving Damon a little before stalking out the front door, slamming it shut behind him.

 

Damon smirked, knowing his little brother would keep his mouth shut and went back to join Dahna in the kitchen, hoping he could control himself now that they were completely alone.

 

Chapter 14

 

Stefan showing up was the last thing Dacia expected to happen during her overnight stay with Elena.  She wasn’t upset about his visit, just curious and wondered why Elena would call him over.  Dacia knew how much Elena liked Stefan and she supported their relationship 100%, but this was supposed to be a girl’s only night.  So naturally, Dacia felt a little put out, but Elena assured her Stefan wouldn’t be there long.

 

“Just watch a movie and give me an hour with Stefan.  I know I promised it would just be the two of us.” Elena felt horrible for doing this, but hopefully Dacia realized that it was the greater good.

 

“Okay, take your time.” Dacia simply replied with a small smile, leaning back against the couch with her carton of half eaten ice cream.

 

Pushing the guilt away for now, Elena grabbed Stefan’s hand and guided him out of the living room, through the kitchen down the hallway to the front door, deciding to go outside for this conversation.  Stefan felt horrible that he’d interrupted Elena’s time with Dacia, suddenly wishing he ignored her text message.  Honestly, the only reason Stefan decided to come in the first place was because he thought Elena was in danger.  Now that he saw firsthand she was perfectly safe, Stefan wanted to leave and pretend he never showed up in the first place.

 

“So why did you call me over here?” Stefan demanded as soon as Elena shut the front door, pulling his hand out of hers and shoved both of them in the front pockets of his jeans.

 

Elena sighed heavily, hating how standoffish Stefan was being toward her and couldn’t understand the reason behind it. “Did I do something wrong?” She had to ask, putting the real reason for calling Stefan over to her house in the back of her mind. “Stefan, if we have issues than we need to work on them or they won’t go away.  I don’t want our relationship ending because I did something stupid.”

 

Closing his eyes, Stefan walked over to lean against the porch ledge and clasped his hands together tightly, pressing his knuckles against his forehead. “It’s not you, Elena.” He assured in a soft low voice, hearing the hurt in her tone. “You haven’t done anything wrong.”

 

“Then why are you being distant with me?” Elena pressed, reaching up to place a hand on his back and frowned at how tense he was. “Stefan…”

 

Letting out a soft growl, Stefan turned his intense green eyes on her and cupped her face in his hands, pressing his lips against hers.  Every time Stefan kissed her, his entire body exploded into a forest fire and he could smell her delicious blood beneath the skin.  He could hear her thudding heartbeat as the blood pumped fluidly through her body, feel her pulse quicken and every part of her melt against him.

 

“It’s definitely not you.” He whispered once the kiss broke, holding her tight against him as her face buried in his chest while his fingers ran through her hair lovingly. “Elena, there’s something about me that you don’t know and…until I feel comfortable telling you, I have to keep you in the dark.”

 

Elena pulled back, looking up at him with skeptical brown eyes. “What do you mean?  I don’t want any secrets between us.” She reached up to caress his face tenderly with her hand, looking worried now. “You can tell me anything, Stefan.”

 

If only that were true, Stefan would tell her in a heartbeat, but their relationship was very new. “I’ll tell you in time, once we get to know each other a little better.  I promise.” That was the best he could do, the only thing he could really offer and hoped it was enough for now.

 

“Just answer me one question then.” Elena pulled back, wrapping her arms around herself as the wind picked up, wishing she had pants on instead of baby blue cotton shorts with a matching spaghetti strapped tank top – her usual sleepwear. “Does it have to do with what happened earlier today?”

 

Stefan swallowed hard and looked away from her, clearing his throat a little awkwardly. “Yes.”

 

“Okay…” That definitely unnerved Elena to know that her little paper cut on her finger had to do with Stefan’s secret. “You have no idea how frustrating this is.”

 

Stefan chuckled, nodding in agreement and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, kissing the top of her head. “Don’t think about it right now.  Just tell me why you called me over here.” They had to focus on something else, another subject, anything besides Stefan’s secret or else he’d end up spilling the truth.  That definitely wouldn’t go over well with Damon.

 

“It’s Dacia.  I want you to talk to her about this Tyler Lockwood situation.  She lashed out at me earlier when we were talking because I said a snide comment about her sister, Dahna.” Elena felt ashamed for what she’d said, but honestly she couldn’t think of anything that would make Dacia postpone Tyler’s talk with Dahna…unless Dacia was trying to figure out a way to let Tyler down? “I didn’t mean to upset her and…there’s just something about you that reaches people.  I can’t explain it, but I believe that if you talk to her about this situation, you can get through to her in ways I can’t.”

 

“So you called me over here because you want me to talk to your best friend, a girl I hardly know?” Had Elena lost her mind or was she screwing with him?  Stefan could tell how serious she was just by the look in her beautiful brown eyes. “What makes you think I can get through to her if you can’t?  What did you say about her sister anyway?”

 

“I just asked why she postponed Tyler from talking to her sister and said Dahna’s job couldn’t be THAT stressful.  She told me that their lives had to calm down before Tyler can approach Dahna.  Then she snapped out and said I have no idea what kind of stress her sister is under right now.  Dacia is not the type to snap, it takes a lot to push her buttons, but right now she just seems on edge and I have no idea why.” Elena explained, sounding incredibly troubled about her best friend and hoped Stefan could do something to make Dacia open up a little. “I know it’s a long shot, but please talk to her, see if you can find out what’s going on.”

 

Stefan already knew what Dacia’s family issue was, but he couldn’t utter a word to Elena since he gave his word to his big brother.  Rarely did Stefan break his word and he wasn’t sure if this situation was necessary to do so.  Elena would keep prying and poking at Dacia until she finally did reveal the truth, so Stefan was stuck between a rock and a hard place.  He had no idea what to do.  Not only was he hiding something from Elena, but it seemed as though everyone that surrounded Elena’s life lately had secrets.

 

“Look, I don’t think Dacia is going to open up to me about what’s going on in her personal life, Elena.” Stefan stated, trying not to sound cynical, but at the same time it was fact.  Even if Stefan didn’t already know what was going on with Dacia, there was a very big chance that Dacia would tell him to go to hell and mind his own business. “And you weren’t supposed to tell me about the Tyler situation either, so if I try talking to her about it, she’s going to know you blabbed.”

 

Groaning, Elena knew Stefan had a point and stomped her foot in frustration, hating that her boyfriend was right. “Damn, I didn’t think about that.” She grunted, looking back at the front door and knew she had to get back inside before Dacia left. “Okay alright, I was wrong to ask for your help with this.  I guess whatever is bothering Dace will eventually come out, I just need to be patient.”

 

Stefan chuckled, thinking Elena was adorable whenever she became frustrated and pulled her back into his arms. “You have no idea how cute you are when you get all flustered and frustrated.” He kissed her softly, tenderly, trying to instill some kind of inner strength inside of her to face her best friend. “Everything will work out as it should.  Just enjoy the night with her and don’t worry about what’s going on.  When the time is right, she’ll tell you just as I will.”

 

“I know…” Elena sighed, enjoying being in his arms and looked up at him with those big chocolate brown eyes that melted him every time. “I wish you could trust me with the truth now, so I didn’t feel all this anxiety about what your secret is.”

 

Stefan could only nod, hating his big brother with each passing second and tried not to let his anger show. “Soon, I promise.  Now get back inside and occupy your best friend.  I’ll see you tomorrow at school.” He kissed her one final time before stepping back, heading down the porch steps toward his car.

 

Elena watched him leave and leaned against the porch ledge for a little while, just trying to wrap her mind around everything they talked about.  So Stefan did have a secret he was keeping from her.  At least he was honest about it and didn’t try to play dumb like 90% of the men in this world.  She had to give him some kind of credit, but now Elena’s mind whirled with a thousand and one possibilities of what his secret could be.  Something told her whatever it was, she wouldn’t like it and Elena could only hope that it didn’t completely destroy their budding relationship.

 

“Elena, are you okay?”

 

The sound of Dacia’s voice immediately told Elena that she’d been out there long after Stefan’s departure, her eyes shutting momentarily. “Yeah, sorry.” She flashed an apologetic smile and turned to face her best friend, heading toward the front door. “I was just thinking about a few things.  Stefan left a while ago, in case you were wondering.”

 

Dacia waved her off dismissively, a genuine smile on her face. “Don’t worry about it.  You two had to talk and I respect that.” She closed the front door and stepped out on the porch, having a blanket wrapped around her. “You wanna talk about it?”

 

“Nothing to really talk about.” Elena sighed, both of them moving to sit on the front porch steps and Dacia instantly offered some of the blanket so Elena didn’t freeze, both of them huddling up together. “I just…I don’t understand him sometimes, you know?  I mean, he just flat out told me that he has a secret he’s been keeping from me and he can’t tell me about it yet.  That makes me really nervous because I know I’m falling in love with him.  I have the moment we bumped into each other at school and these feelings deep inside of me have exploded in such a short time.  Now all I can think about is what could he possibly be hiding from me and it’s frustrating.”

 

Not saying anything at first, Dacia felt the twinge of guilt deep inside of her since she also had been keeping something from Elena. “Maybe he just doesn’t know how to tell you whatever it is he’s hiding.  Stefan is a great guy, Lena.  I’m sure whatever it is he’s hiding won’t be as bad as you think.” She said confidently, wrapping an arm around Elena’s shoulders to try comforting the best she could. “It certainly won’t be the bombshell like Tyler dropped on me about Mike, that’s for sure.”

 

“You honestly think everything will be okay with us?” Elena had to ask, all of her doubts about Stefan pouring out to the only other person, besides Jenna, that she trusted completely. “You don’t think it’s anything bad?”

 

“Honestly, no.  Stefan just doesn’t seem like the type of guy to cheat or hurt a girl, not intentionally anyway.  Something tells me it has to do with his big brother, Damon.” Dacia immediately regretted mentioning that name because Elena’s eyes widened and she could clearly see the curiosity burning in them. “At least, that’s my guess anyway.”

 

“You know about Damon?” Elena raised a slow eyebrow, pulling away to cross her arms in front of her chest. “Dacia Fell, what are you not telling me?”

 

“Nothing.” Dacia answered quickly, too quickly, and cursed her brain for being scrambled suddenly. “I mean, who doesn’t know about the infamous Salvatore brothers?  Their family has been a part of this town for centuries, after all.” That sounded believable enough and Dacia secretively crossed her fingers and toes, hoping Elena bought the lame excuse.

 

“Right, but Stefan just recently moved here and Damon followed shortly after.” To Elena’s knowledge anyway, though she could’ve been wrong in assuming Stefan had come into town before Damon. “Unless I’m mistaken…”

 

“Yeah, I think you are because Damon has been doing some investigating for the sheriff for the past couple years.” Oh man, Dacia just made it worse and laughed nervously, looking away from a bewildered Elena. “It’s cold out here, let’s go inside and talk.”

 

Completely baffled, Elena stood up from the porch with Dacia as both girls headed inside the house, locking the door behind them.  They went back into the living room and Elena turned on a movie while Dacia went to put the ice cream back in the freezer.  Dacia took her time going back to the living room, trying to rack her mind on how she could get Elena to focus on something besides the Salvatore brothers…more importantly, Damon. 

 

If she found out the truth about them staying at the mansion, Dacia would betray her sister’s trust and that could not happen.  This was so messed up.  All Dacia wanted to do was crawl in a hole and never come out again, feeling like she wanted to rip her hair out of her skull for opening her big mouth.  Banging her head against the refrigerator a few times, Dacia finally couldn’t hold off joining Elena in the living room and took a deep breath, stopping when her cell suddenly buzzed.

 

Where are you?  We need to talk, it’s important.

 

It was a text from Tyler Lockwood.  Dacia had made it clear to him earlier that day she was spending the night with her best friend.  Did he suddenly forget or have a sudden case of amnesia?  Dacia was tempted to ignore him, but then thought back to how Elena had invited Stefan over for a quick chat during their supposed girl’s only night.  Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invite Tyler over to find out what he wanted.  It would also get Elena’s mind off of what Dacia revealed about the council too, hopefully.

 

I’m at Elena’s.  Come over here if you want to talk.

 

Nodding, Dacia was satisfied with that response and headed back into the living room, letting Elena know what was happening.

 

Chapter 15

 

“That was possibly the best meal I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot of meals in my day.” Damon complimented, dabbing his mouth with a napkin and leaned back against the chair, completely stuffed from a fantastic dinner. “I think I might explode.”

 

“Well don’t do that.  I would hate to have your brother come home and explain to him that my cooking made you explode into a thousand pieces.” Dahna joked, sending a wink in his direction as she finished her glass of wine, which went wonderfully with the meal. “And besides,” She paused, standing and began clearing the table. “There’s still dessert.”

 

Damon groaned, that one word coming from Dahna’s mouth completely igniting the fire he tried to keep quenched throughout dinner. “I don’t think I could eat another bite.” He said truthfully, patting his stomach through the gray dress shirt he wore and took another sip of wine. “What did you make?”

 

“You’ll see.” Dahna replied, immediately stopping Damon when he stood to try to help clear the table. “Nope, you stay right where you are and relax.  I can handle this.”

 

“Are you sure?” Damon could tell how exhausted Dahna was, especially after a long hard day at work and he honestly didn’t mind helping. “You cooked, I should clean up…”

 

Dahna smiled warmly and set down the pile of plates on the table before walking over to where he stood, emerald gems locking with aquamarine. “After everything you’ve done for me and my sister,” She paused, placing her hand against his chest and gently but firmly pushed, forcing him back into his seat with that same smile on her face. “This is the least I can do to begin paying you back for your hospitality.  You’ve worked so hard on my father’s case and this is the only way I can show my undying appreciation for your hard work and determination.  So please, let me clean up.  It’s no trouble at all and, besides, I have to bring dessert out anyway.”

 

Even after 3 years of being away from her, Damon still couldn’t resist those beautiful emerald eyes.  There was so much time they missed and this was his chance, the only solution, and nothing would stand in his way or he would destroy the obstacle.  He reached up to run his fingers gently over hers against his chest, their eyes never leaving each other. 

 

Would she remember him once Damon finally revealed the truth about their past?  Would he be able to break through to the dark recesses of her mind where he knew all of those memories were locked tightly away?  Damon could only hope and, if he couldn’t, then they would have to build new memories together.

 

“Take your time, Dahna.” Damon murmured softly, squeezing her hand when she began pulling it away from his chest and fought back the urge to keep it where it was.  Her touch felt incredible, just like it always had and always would. “I’m looking forward to whatever it is.”

 

Flashing another radiant smile, Dahna managed to pull her gaze away from Damon and grabbed the plates, rushing into the kitchen.  Her throat felt constricted and dry, like she was suddenly standing in the middle of a hot desert.  Why did he have such a powerful effect on her?  Dahna didn’t understand it and took her time gathering the dessert, which was a delicious 3 layer marble cake with white whipped frosting and strawberries on top. 

 

It was one of her mother’s favorites and Dahna’s, so she hoped Damon enjoyed it too.  Thankfully the dessert plates were already set out on the table as Dahna lifted the cake, carrying it back into the room where Damon sat waiting patiently.  Christ, even sitting there looking lost in thought made Damon look sexy!!  Dahna had officially lost her mind as she gave herself a quick mental shake and set the cake down on the table.

 

“Wow…” Damon blinked, not expecting such a masterpiece and suddenly remembered how much Dahna loved to cook for people. ‘Some things never change.’ He thought and watched as she sliced through the cake, giving him a small piece and set it in front of him.

 

“It’s been a while since I’ve cooked for someone other than my sister and I noticed you had all the ingredients for this cake, so I whipped it up while making dinner.” Dahna explained, once again locking emerald on aquamarine and didn’t release the plate fully because of how hypnotic the trance was.

 

“It looks delicious and I know it’ll taste even better.” Damon replied smoothly, gently but firmly pushing her hand off of the plate and smiled when Dahna finally broke eye contact with him.

 

‘What the hell is wrong with me?’ Dahna thought, berating herself for acting like this around the man who was going to protect her and Dacia. “I hope you enjoy it.” After slicing herself a small piece of the cake as well, Dahna took her seat, refilled her water glass and drained it in a few gulps, her breathing somewhat labored.

 

Damon noticed this, rarely missing anything and took a bite of the cake, his eyes instantly closing.  Just as he remembered, it was mouthwatering and moist, melting in his mouth instantly.  Dahna’s cooking had been one of the many reasons…Damon immediately stopped that train of thought as his eyes snapped open, not realizing his own breathing kicked up a notch. 

 

All these memories and being in the same room, the same roof, alone with Dahna was making everything more intense.  Every feeling, every emotion, every memory…it was all coming back tenfold and Damon was having a hard time maintaining control.  All he wanted to do was grab Dahna and…Damon suddenly dove into the cake and ate with gusto, trying to get his mind off of the woman sitting beside him.  Their hands were so close that all Damon had to do was reach over and they would touch.

 

Dahna barely finished half of her cake by the time Damon devoured his and stared at him completely baffled. “Umm do you want another piece?” She asked hesitantly, setting her fork down and stopped from reaching for the cake when Damon shook his head.

 

“As tempting as that sounds, I really can’t eat another bite.” Damon declined politely; his voice a little strained and stood up from the table, a glass of bourbon in hand. “Care to join me for a drink in the study?”

 

Would Dahna ever be able to deny this man anything? “Sure, just let me clean up…” Her head snapped up when Damon stopped her, his hand wrapped around her wrist gently and Dahna immediately looked away, pulling her wrist from his grasp.

 

“It can wait until later.” He rumbled, not bothered by Dahna’s reaction and instead wrapped an arm around her waist, guiding her out of the dining area toward the study.

 

“The cake…”

 

“Isn’t going anywhere.” Damon finished for her, flashing a charming smile as reassurance. “You worry too much.”

 

Dahna could feel her cheeks flame up and lowered her head a little, looking to the side as they continued down the long corridor. “This is so strange.” She commented once they were inside the study and Damon handed her a glass of bourbon, taking a sip of it.

 

“Why?”

 

Not answering him at first, Dahna ran her thumb around the rim of the glass thoughtfully and finally looked up at Damon when he sat down beside her. “Can I tell you something and you won’t laugh at me?”

 

“You can tell me anything, Dahna.”

 

She wasn’t sure about that, but Dahna decided to take a small leap of faith and took another sip of bourbon, trying to gather her thoughts. “I feel like…I’ve been here before.  And not just temporarily moving in.  When I first came here, I felt as though I’d been here before.” She started laughing, no humor in her tone and took a bigger drink of the bourbon. “Stupid huh?”

 

This somewhat troubled Damon to hear, though he was thankful Dahna had so gallantly come out with how she truly felt. “Maybe you have.” Damon knew he was treading on dangerous ground right now with that small statement, but he also didn’t want Dahna thinking she was insane because of the familiarity of the mansion.

 

“What do you mean?” Dahna looked back at him with confused emerald eyes, one eyebrow quirked.

 

“I mean exactly what I said.” Damon simply replied, swallowing down half of his bourbon without blinking and leaned forward until their noses practically touched. “What makes you think you haven’t been here before, Dahna?  You grew up in Mystic Falls.  You were born and raised here.  This place has been around for hundreds of years and most consider it haunted.  Maybe you and your friends came here when you were younger and you just don’t know it.  Or hell, maybe your father even brought you here since he was part of the council.”

 

He made a lot of sense and Dahna suddenly felt like she was two inches tall, if that. “Yeah you’re right.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I mean, I would remember if I was here before.” The nervous laughter returned as Dahna swallowed it down with another sip of bourbon, hoping her cheeks stopped burning soon. “Forget I said anything.”

 

Damon chuckled, waving her off dismissively and stood to refill his glass. “There’s no need to be embarrassed, Dahna.  It was a simple question, no harm done.” He swapped his glass for a bigger one, trying to remain indifferent with this conversation. “You could’ve also had a dream about being here.  You know...déjà vu or something like that.”

 

“Do you believe in déjà vu, Damon?” Dahna asked, turning on the couch to face him curiously.

 

“Wholeheartedly.” Damon replied, walking away from the bar with his fresh glass of whiskey and took his place beside Dahna again. “Now it’s my turn to ask you a question.”

 

“What is it?” Dahna tried not to sound skeptical, but part of her couldn’t help it all things considered.

 

“The night your father died…”

 

“No.” Dahna stood up instantly, shaking her head and set her drink down, clearing her throat. “I can’t.”

 

“Can’t or won’t?”

 

“I can’t talk about my father’s death.” It was too painful, even after 3 years. “It’s bad enough I have to talk about it whenever Dacia brings it up, which isn’t often, thankfully.”

 

With Dahna’s back facing him, Damon used his enhanced speed and flew up to stand right behind her, placing his hands on her hips.  He could feel her shaking slightly and frowned, not meaning to upset her by bringing up Landon.  Dahna’s pain and heartache crashed over him like a tidal wave, but Damon refused to let her brush him off.  He had to know just how deep her hatred was for Landon’s killer – him.

 

“Dahna,” His mouth hovered over her ear and Damon closed his eyes briefly when she pressed her back against his chest, their bodies molding together perfectly. “You can’t keep what you feel bottled up inside or it will destroy you.  I’m not Dacia; you don’t have to be strong with me.  I can help you with this, if you let me.”

 

Staring straight ahead, Dahna didn’t know why she was allowing Damon Salvatore to touch and talk to her like this, but it felt…right.  It was that annoying right feeling that had her completely perplexed and, truthfully, it terrified her.  All she wanted to do was turn around and press her lips to his, to feel his body against hers, to beg him to screw her until they both couldn’t breathe.  The amount of desire coursing through her body just from a mere touch had Dahna’s mind spiraling and it didn’t cease when Damon brought up her deceased father.

 

“Why do you care?” She asked, tears burning in her eyes and felt his hands gently running up and down her sides. “I don’t understand…”

 

“Because I know what it’s like to lose someone you love.” Damon murmured quietly, meaning what he said and didn’t step back when she turned to face him. 

 

His dead heart broke into pieces at the sight of the waterfall streaming down her cheeks.  Not able to resist, Damon cupped her face in his hands and wiped her tears away with his thumbs, pulling her closer to him.  All he wanted to do was take her pain away, but Damon knew in order to do that he would have to make her remember everything.  That simply wasn’t an option at the moment.

 

“Who did you lose?” Dahna asked softly, reaching up to hold Damon’s wrists and stared into those electric baby blues that made her heart do palpitations.

 

“A very special woman.” His finger ran down her cheek to her jawline and back up again to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “3 years ago.”

 

Dahna frowned, her heart breaking for him from the amount of pain in his eyes at the mention of this woman. “Around the time my father died?” She hated asking, but once again curiosity won out.

 

“The night he died, actually.” Damon admitted, clearing his throat gruffly and pulled away from her to grab his drink, taking a few deep breaths.

 

Dahna suddenly needed a drink herself and copied what he did, though she was more of a Vodka drinker. “Do you mind if I ask what happened?” Since he wanted to delve into her personal life, Dahna didn’t feel it was inappropriate to do the same to him.

 

“No, I don’t.” Damon walked over to stare out the window near the fireplace, swallowing down some bourbon. “She was exquisite, the most breathtaking woman I’ve ever met in my life.” Suddenly, an idea filled Damon’s mind and he decided to go through with it.  Not only would he get the answers he wanted, but hopefully Dahna would open up to him about the night he killed Landon. “Tell you what,” He paused, turning his head to face her. “I’ll tell you all about her, if you tell me about the night your father died.”

 

“Why do you want to know so badly?” Dahna demanded, getting a little irritated and folded her arms in front of her chest, becoming defensive.

 

“Because you weren’t in Mystic Falls the night it happened.”

 

Dahna lowered her eyes to the floor, the shame and guilt filling her body from head to toe. “I know.” She whispered, heading up the few steps to the bar to see if Damon had any Vodka.

 

“So tell me, where were you the night he died?” Damon pressed, refusing to back off now that they were alone and his meddlesome baby brother couldn’t interfere.

 

Not answering for a few minutes, Dahna quickly spotted what she wanted and opened the new bottle of Vodka, pouring herself a healthy dose. “I was out of town at college.  I left a few months prior to his death and went to college.  It was my Dad’s idea actually.”

 

Of course it was, Damon thought, fighting back a snort as he drained his glass and could feel her standing behind him. “What college?” He pushed on, practically growling that last question out and kept his back to her.

 

“Lynchburg.”

 

Why hadn’t Damon searched the surrounding towns of Mystic Falls?  That just angered him further because of his stupidity. “What did you go there for?”

 

“Damon…”

 

In lightning quick speed, Damon whipped around and grabbed Dahna by the arms, shoving her forcefully against the wall, but not hard enough to hurt her.  His eyes blazed with barely contained fury, the flames taking over the beautiful aquamarine color they normally were.  She left because of her precious Daddy and Damon suddenly wished that dick was alive just so he could rip his heart out of his chest all over again.  Before Dahna could utter a word or sound, Damon’s lips crashed against hers, not able to maintain control any longer.

 

Chapter 16

 

Pacing on the front porch, Dacia was getting angrier with each minute that ticked by, wanting to ring Tyler’s neck.  It was cold and here she was outside, waiting for him in just a robe and socks.  If she caught a cold because he took his sweet time coming over, she was going to kill him.  Gritting her teeth, Dacia looked down at her watch for the hundredth time and growled when yet another minute ticked by.  That made it a full half an hour since Tyler sent her a text saying he had to talk to her about something important. 

 

“This better be a life or death situation.” Dacia grunted, rubbing her arms trying to warm up and suddenly stopped when she felt a presence behind her.

 

“Hi Dace, it’s been a while.”

 

Dacia tilted her head, hardly believing who stood in front of her and folded her arms in front of her chest. “What the hell are you doing here, Caroline?” She demanded, wondering if her ex-best friend had a death wish or was just plain stupid coming here.

 

“I wanted to talk to you about a few things.” Caroline said simply, walking past her and fluffed her long blonde hair out over her shoulders with a sinister smile. “I heard you found out about me and Mike.  I think we need to clear the air about that.”

 

“There’s nothing to talk about, Caroline.  I know what you did.  You screwed my now ex-boyfriend behind my back, kept it a secret from me and made me find out from your ex-boyfriend.  That’s pretty cut and dry, there is no gray area.  You chose to be a whore and now you’re trying to rectify what you did.  So do yourself a favor and just leave me the hell alone before I end up beating the hell out of you.” Dacia warned, barely containing her rage as she clenched her fists at her sides, brown eyes alight with fury.

 

“Ooo now we’re tossing accusations and threats out, eh?” Caroline cackled, placing her hands on her hips and snorted. “Let me ask you a question, Dace-”

 

“Dacia, you don’t have the right to call me Dace.  Only my friends and family do.” Dacia cut her off instantly, maintaining her distance and decided to humor the whore. “What’s your damn question?”

 

“What makes you think Tyler is telling the truth?” Caroline asked, that same serene smile on her face that made Dacia want to haul off and knock her out. “I mean, think about this for just a second before you jump to conclusions about me.  Tyler and I broke up because of you.  He’s wanted you from day one, but he couldn’t have you because you were with Mike.  As far as Mike and me sleeping together goes, I would never do that to you, Dacia.  You were my best friend and the reason I stopped talking to you is because Tyler broke up with me to be with you.  I loved him so much and I still do, but he doesn’t feel the same way and I sort of…it hurt me and I didn’t know if I could be your friend since you stole my boyfriend away from me.  Tyler has been lying to you just so he can get into your pants and, me being the loving friend I always have been, decided you deserved to know the truth.”

 

Dacia could hardly believe the vicious words coming out of Caroline’s mouth and felt tears sting her eyes, so much hurt and anguish reflecting in her brown eyes. “Are you kidding me right now?  Seriously?  You seriously expect me to believe that crap that just spewed from your mouth?” Blinking, huge tears slid down her face as Dacia began pacing back and forth on the porch, doing everything in her power not to tackle this blonde slut. “There’s a reason why Tyler ended your relationship, Caroline, and it wasn’t because of me.  It’s because he found out what a no good, lying, cheating scumbag you are.  Because he realized he deserves ten times better than you and doesn’t want to contract any diseases you have from all the multiple men you’ve screwed behind his back, Mike included.  You can rationalize this all you want, Caroline, but here’s a harsh fact.  Ready?  You’re not good enough for Tyler Lockwood and also think about this: It’s because of you that we’re talking and getting to know each other.  It’s because of you that we might end up together and it’s your fault you lost him, nobody else’s.  Delete my number too and don’t ever send me text messages pretending to be him again.  That’s very tacky, childish and low, even for the likes of you.”

         

Her entire face turned beat red as Caroline gaped at Dacia, not believing what she just said. “HOW DARE YOU-!”

 

“How dare I what?  Tell the truth?  Pick you apart piece by piece and make you realize what a conniving heartless bitch you are?” The tears didn’t stop flowing as Dacia suddenly snapped and shoved Caroline as hard as she could, making the blonde fly down the porch steps landing on the lawn. “I have to tell you, when I found out that you screwed Mike, I didn’t believe it.  I didn’t want to believe that someone I used to share my deepest and darkest secrets with could ever betray me like that.  You knew how much I loved Mike.  You knew I wanted to marry him after high school and start a family.  But you couldn’t stand to see me happy, could you?  You had the perfect guy, the perfect relationship, and you threw it away for what?  Because of stupid assumptions and a figment of your messed up imagination?  Tyler LOVED you, Caroline.  He loved you so much and you tossed him away like yesterday’s garbage just like Mike did to me.  Only at least he had the courtesy and guts to tell you to your face the REAL reason why he ended your relationship.  Mike never gave me that satisfaction and gave me this poor excuse that he wanted to date college women.  Must’ve been nice to sleep with your best friend’s man, but I do have one question for you.”

 

“What?” Caroline snapped through gritted teeth, too distracted rubbing her sore knee since it hit hard on the grass.

 

“Did you enjoy my sloppy seconds?”

 

Gaping, Caroline could only blink in shock as Dacia turned and walked back up the porch steps inside the house, slamming the door behind her with authority.  She managed to scramble to her feet and rushed back to her car in angry tears, not believing how this night turned out.  All she wanted to do was try to convince Dacia that Tyler had lied about her and Mike sleeping together, but it was obvious he made her believe him. 

 

Not that it wasn’t true because Caroline did sleep with Mike while he was with Dacia, but it was only due to the fact she found out Tyler wanted Dacia.  Tyler hurt her, so she wanted to hurt him back and, in the process, lost both of her best friends she grew up with.  Caroline had no idea how to fix this and suddenly shrieked, hitting the steering wheel several times as tears flowed down her cheeks.  Because of Tyler Lockwood, her entire world was in shambles and Caroline had to figure out a way to pay him back for all the pain he caused her.  She just needed time to think and strategize, her blue eyes icing over, flashing dangerously.

 

Meanwhile, Elena heard her front door slam shut and rushed out of the living room into the hallway, seeing a very shaken Dacia. “What the hell happened?” She demanded, pulling Dacia into her arms. “Are you okay?”

 

“No.” Dacia pulled away from Elena and kept her arms firmly wrapped around her, trying to calm down.

 

“What happened?” Elena tried again, stepping back with her hands held up defensively.

 

Dacia remained silent and didn’t say a single word, not moving an inch.  She was afraid if she did she would completely lose it and break down, which is something Elena didn’t need to witness.  When Elena asked if she wanted anything, all Dacia could do was hand over her cell phone, the name Tyler already on the front of the screen.  Confused, Elena took the phone, deciding their girl’s night was shot to hell and dialed Tyler’s number, hoping he answered.

 

He did on the third ring. “What’s up baby?”

 

Elena rolled her eyes. “Tyler, it’s Elena.  I have Dacia’s phone and…look, you need to get over to my house immediately.  I don’t know what happened, but she’s not talking to me and she’s standing completely stiff in my hallway.  I don’t know what to do.  All she did was hand over her cell phone with your name on the caller ID.”

 

Tyler was up on his feet instantly; bolting out of bed and pulling his boxers on since he liked sleeping naked. “What happened, Elena?” He demanded, quickly pulling on jeans and fastening them before tossing a shirt over his shoulder.

 

“All I know is Dacia thought she received a text message from you over an hour ago stating you had something important you wanted to talk to her about.  She wasn’t happy about it…”

 

“Why the hell would I text her?  She told me that tonight was girl’s night with you and that she didn’t want to be bothered.” Tyler sounded annoyed, quickly pulling the shirt over his head. “I didn’t text her, so that means someone else did and pretended to be me.”

 

“That’s what I’m thinking too…” Elena glanced over at Dacia and frowned, worried about her friend. “I’m tempted to call her sister because now she’s silently crying…”

 

That was enough for Tyler to bolt out of his room and hopped down the hallway while pulling his shoes on, heading down the stairs at record speed. “I’m on my way.  Don’t call anyone, Elena, you hear me?  She wants to see me or else she would’ve had Dahna’s number on her phone when she handed it over.  Just be patient, I’m getting in my car and I’ll be there in a few.”

 

Elena stared down at Dacia’s phone and sighed, setting it aside instead of calling Dahna like she probably should have. “Tyler is on his way over.  How about we go sit down in the living room and wait for him?” She suggested softly, blinking when all Dacia did was walk right back outside on the front porch, leaving the front door wide open.

 

There was only one person Dacia wanted to talk to and that was Tyler Lockwood, her eyes remaining focused on the front of the house.  If he did lie about Mike cheating on her with Caroline, he was going to lose his balls in seconds.  Dacia did NOT like playing games and hoped Tyler wasn’t playing one with her because, if he was, she was going to ask Damon Salvatore to deal with him.  Pulling on her own robe, Elena went out on the porch to wait with Dacia, not wanting her to be alone right now.

 

When a beautiful sleek black 1971 Buick GS pulled up on the curb, Dacia practically flew down the porch steps down the sidewalk.  She was completely oblivious to Elena standing with her, her mind on only one goal.  Tyler blinked when he was suddenly shoved in the chest by a very distraught looking Dacia, wondering what that was about.

 

“I want the truth from you and I want it NOW.” Dacia ordered angrily, shoving him again and blinked as a fresh waterfall of tears flooded her cheeks. “Did you lie to me about Mike just so you could get in my pants, huh?  Was that your big master plan, Lockwood?”

 

Now Tyler was angry as his dark eyes darkened, though he didn’t dare shove Dacia back, not wanting to hurt her. “What the hell are you talking about, Dacia?” Who the hell put these doubts in her head suddenly? “I would never lie to you about something like that!”

 

“Then how did Caroline manage to text me from your phone?” Dacia pulled her phone out and handed it over, letting him read the simple text message from earlier that she thought was from Tyler. “Answer me that.”

 

“I have no idea, Dacia.” Tyler sounded exhausted and drained, having had a very long day at school. “I hope you don’t think that I’m in cahoots with Caroline because I’m not.  Is that what this is all about?  What the hell happened tonight?”

 

Sniffling, Dacia snatched her phone away from him and shoved it back in her robe pocket, wiping tears away. “After I received that text message, I waited outside for a half an hour after telling Elena you were stopping by to talk to me about something important.  Only you didn’t show up, it was the cheating whore.”

 

“Caroline was here?” Elena blurted, not meaning to get involved and held her hands up when Tyler’s angry dark eyes landed on her. “Hey, I had NO idea she was here because Dace asked me to wait inside while you talked to her!”

 

“What did the whore say?” Tyler asked through gritted teeth, wanting to rip Caroline’s head off for coming near Dacia.

 

“She said that you lied about Mike and her having sex so you could get in my pants.  That you broke up with her to be with me and you wanted me the whole time I was with Mike.” Dacia shivered, getting cold because she was crying and stepped back when Tyler tried pulling her into his arms, shaking her head. “She said she would do something like sleep with Mike and the reason she stopped being friends with me is because she found out you wanted me instead of her.  She basically accused me of stealing you away from her!”

 

“And you BELIEVE her?!” Tyler was outraged by now and began pacing back and forth in front of Dacia, raking a trembling hand through his short black hair. “That is the BIGGEST load of horseshit I’ve ever heard in my LIFE!!  She’s a lying bitch!  I wouldn’t make up a lie about her and Mike just so I could be with you, Dacia!  I’ve been completely honest and upfront with you about everything since we talked at the party!” Trying to get a grip on his temper, Tyler suddenly grabbed Dacia roughly by the arms and yanked her against him, forcing those chocolate eyes to lock with black onyx stones. “Don’t you see what she’s trying to do to us, baby?  She’s trying to drive a wedge between us because she’s a conniving bitch.  I told you how I felt.  I told you that I wanted to be with you, but Mike beat me to the punch.  I told you all you need to know, so why you would take that bitch’s word over mine is…”

 

Dacia pressed her finger to his lips, silencing him and instead cupped his face with her soft hands, softly kissing him. “I believe you, Tyler.  You don’t have to say anymore.” She whispered once the kiss broke and gasped when he responded with a kiss of his own, only it was more passionate and fiery.

 

Smiling, Elena decided to give them some privacy and headed back inside the house, hoping that Dacia gave some thought to giving Tyler a chance at having a relationship.