The Lady in Red


That morning, something seemed different. Stefan couldn't quite figure out what it was, but then he heard a noise, and looked up from the coffee table. Much to his surprise, Selina was coming down the stairs, and Damon was following close behind her; they were both smiling. "Well, this is new," Stefan observed. "I see togetherness, I see smiling. Has hell frozen over or something?"

Selina reached the kitchen first. "Nothing so bad as that. We just talked things out, that's all."

Stefan grinned knowingly. "Meaning you talked, and he listened."

Selina nodded. "Yeah, that about sums it up."

"And I found out some very interesting things," Damon put in. "Did you know that she's been arrested?"

"Really?" Stefan asked. "How? Why? Where? When?"

"How many times?" Damon added. "I can assume from the look on your face earlier that it wasn't just the once."

Selina rolled her eyes and sighed in an exaggerated fashion. "You two don't want to hear those stories, do you?"

"Yes!" they replied at the same time.

"Okay." She turned around quickly and brought her palms down on the kitchen table, causing both boys to jump. "But let me say right now that what you're about to hear may shock you." She paused. They were still staring at her, enthralled.

"The date was October 28, 1919," she began. "Congress had just passed the eighteenth amendment, AKA the Volstead Act, which reinforced prohibition in the United States. President Wilson had originally vetoed it, but Congress, being the silly men they were back then, overrode his veto and thus doomed America to years of rule by criminal elements, gang activity, and just not having any fun at all.

"I wasn't really an enthusiastic drinker at that point in time, but I had this friend, Ruthie Gavin, a prototype of the flapper girl, and she convinced me to go with her and some of her friends on a road trip to Washington to protest the amendment on the front steps of Congress. Five cases of gin came along for the ride, put in the trunk so we wouldn't drink any of it before we got there

"We reached Washington in about a week, parked her car on the front lawn of the Senate and sat ourselves and the gin down on the front steps. We drank, we protested, we hollered for the men in the government to tell the people why they were dooming the country to who knows how many years without alcohol. But instead, all they did was call the police; me, Ruthie, the rest of the girls, and all the gin, were hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace."

"So let me get this straight," Stefan said. "You and your friends were sitting on the steps of the United States Senate, getting drunk."

"We weren't just getting drunk, Stefan!" Selina replied indignantly. "We were also protesting Congress's blatant disregard for the people's right to drink. That's what the Volstead Act basically was about. Written by a bunch of bluenoses and Mrs. Grundys who have nothing better to do with their lives then interfere with the lives of the easily swayed multitudes because they are incapable of minding their own beeswax."

"The Volstead Act wasn't just about stopping people from drinking," Stefan said patiently. "It was also about seeing what other purposes alcohol could possibly have besides making people drunk."

"Like what?" Selina asked.

"Like in manufacturing," Stefan answered. "Or for scientific purposes; the Volstead Act helped Congress ensure that there was enough alcohol around so they could experiment with its uses in lawful industries."

Selina looked at him blankly for a moment, then said "Well, thank God for speakeasies! Otherwise, I think everyone might have gone insane and then where would we be?"

"Hear, hear!" Damon agreed.

Just then, there was a knock at the door.

"It's probably Elena," Stefan said. "I'll go get it."

He went to get the door and Damon and Selina were left alone at the kitchen table. "So what happened once they hauled you off to jail?" Damon asked.

Selina shrugged. "Not much, really. I was fingerprinted, and then they threw me in a cell with about twenty other women. I spent the night there. Slept on a cold, hard floor with a thin blanket and no pillow."

"How did you get out?"

"Ruthie had a brother who was a lawyer. He spun some genius mumbo jumbo about our arrest being a gross miscarriage of justice because it was inhibiting our right to peaceful assembly and free speech. The judge fell for every word. Then we were set free, and I decided to leave town for a little while. See the world. Ended up in Paris first, then went on to Venice, London, and Madrid. But I came back to Paris after awhile. That was where I found myself, I think. I toured in a dance troupe with Isadora Duncan and had a short lived affair with F. Scott Fitzgerald before he met Zelda. I remember the two of us having dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower on New Year's Eve. There were fireworks, and the two of us danced into the early hours of the morning." She paused. "You probably don't want to hear anymore of that, do you?" she asked.

He smiled. "Don't worry about it. As long as you still had the necklace, I don't care what you did."

"Hey you guys," Elena said as she walked into the room, stopping short as she saw them sitting next to one another, and holding hands. "You're right," she said, looking at Stefan, "they do seem to be getting along."

"Why is everyone acting so shocked?" Selina asked. "We had a fight, we talked it over, he realized he was wrong, and now we're back together." She thought a moment. "Well, actually, first he rescued me from bar after I got drunk off my ass, stayed the night with me so I wouldn't be alone for which I am eternally grateful, and then with a little assistance from my mother, we talked things over, he realized he was wrong, and now we're back together."

Elena sat down next to Stefan. "What do you mean 'with a little help from your mother'?"

Selina took a deep breath. "My mother made copies of every letter she wrote so in case Mr. Pierce destroyed on while he was going through our mail, she could always send another." She pulled the letter out of her pocket and pushed it toward Stefan. "Here's a copy of the one that Katherine was supposed to give the two of you when she arrived at your house."

Stefan opened it slowly, read it, and then looked up at Selina. "I figured something like that happened," he said. "But would you really have not lasted a week without Dr. Stensrund's intervention?"

She nodded. "Apparently. That's how bad he said it was. But he was surprised at how quickly the onset happened. Usually it takes a lot longer for the final fatal symptoms of scarlet fever to manifest. But with me, it was like one day I was fine, you know, a little achy and stuffy maybe, but nothing that would truly impair my function, and then the next day, I was at Death's door. There wasn't even an outbreak or anything prior to me being sick."

Elena looked at Stefan. "You do remember Bonnie's coming by later, right?"

Stefan nodded. "I remember."

"Who?" Selina asked.

"My friend Bonnie," Elena replied. "She just discovered she's a witch."

At that, the doorbell rang and Elena went to get it, ushering Bonnie into the kitchen. "I know you've met nearly everyone in here, but I know you haven't met Selina," she said. "She's with Damon."

"Nice to meet you," Bonnie said, holding out her hand.

Selina locked eyes with her. Then, something happened. Another memory came flooding back.

It was the middle of the night. She'd gotten up to get a drink of water. She was walking past Katherine's bedroom door, which was slightly ajar. Katherine and Emily were whispering.

"We have to get her out of the way if the plan is to succeed. She's the only one who could possibly interfere," Katherine was saying.

Curious, she'd gone closer to the door so she could hear the rest.

"That shouldn't be too hard Miss. I could do any number of things to limit her presence the next few months," Emily replied.

"It shouldn't be too messy. Make it look natural if you can. We can't risk arousing suspicion."

"Don't worry, Miss," Emily assured her. "No one will suspect a thing."

"Good," Katherine smiled. "I will have the Salvatore brothers, and my sister, she will get to be with her foolish father, just like she's always wanted."

"Selina," the sound of Elena's voice snapped her out of her daydream. "Are you all right? Aren't you going to shake Bonnie's hand?"

Selina blink and looked up. "I feel a little light-headed all of a sudden." She looked at Bonnie. "Nice to meet you. Sorry, but I have to go now." And she bolted from the kitchen."

"Damon, what's wrong with her?" Elena asked, as she watched Selina retreat from the kitchen.

"I don't know," Damon was as puzzled as Elena. "But I'll go and see."

He found Selina in her bed, curled up in the fetal position. "What happened down there?" he asked.

"I just remembered something," Selina replied shakily. "That girl Bonnie made me remember it."

"What is it?" Damon asked, sitting next to her on the bed.

"It was Emily who made me sick," Selina told him. "She did it on Katherine's order so Katherine could turn you and Stefan without interference from me."

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