The Lady in Red

Alias: Mitch Wilder

Selina raced to her car and drove back to the boarding house at breakneck speed. She burst in the door and threw her books down on the couch. "Guys," she said breathlessly to Damon and Stefan, "I think we have a very big problem on our hands."

"What kind of problem?" Stefan asked.

Damon looked at the books on the couch. "Oh, look; she did get books on body snatchers. Somebody owes me ten dollars."

Selina stopped and blinked, rubbing her temples. "Damon, did you just hear me say that we have a very big problem on our hands?"

"Yeah, I heard you," he said, picking up the top book and flipping through the first few pages. "Are you going to tell us what it is or are you just going to stand there freaking out about it?"

"What kind of problem?" Stefan repeated.

Selina fell back onto the couch and exhaled slowly trying to calm herself down. "Mitch knows who I am," she said finally.

Damon looked up. "What's the matter with that? I thought you made Sophia up so that you could talk to people and not worry about being discovered."

Selina shook her head violently. "Not Sophia, Selina. He knows who I really am. Do you think that means he knows what I really am too?"

Stefan sat down beside her. "What exactly happened at the library?" he asked. "I know you and Mitch were talking, but what did you talk about?"

"Well that was even weirder," Selina replied. "I literally ran into him just as I was about to leave. Our books went flying everywhere and when we went to pick them up, I discovered that he was into the Mexican-American War. Then he asked me why I had books on grave robbing and I told him about what I had read in Mama's journal and—"

"You told him as Sophia, right?" Damon interrupted. "You didn't say that you found this stuff in your mother's journal?"

"Of course I didn't." Selina replied. "I told him that I was visiting from Charleston to look up my family roots and was curious about what happened to Matthew Warren."

"And what did he say?" Stefan asked.

"Something kind of nice, actually," Selina replied. "He told me that when my father was fighting in Texas, there was a typhoid epidemic. It was so severe that sometimes, in order to make room for everyone, they would bury bodies before it was certain they were dead all the way, and that maybe what the caretaker saw that night was my father being rescued from being buried alive rather than being dug up and taken away to some medical school for dissection."

"I was wondering when you were going to get to the nice part," Damon said dryly.

Just then, the front door opened and Elena walked in. "Hey guys, what's going on?"

"Apparently, Mitch Wilder knows who Selina really is," Stefan informed her as she took a seat next to him. "Selina met up with him at the library and had a very interesting conversation which Selina is telling us about right now."

"Oh," Elena said, eyes wide. "What have I missed?"

"Mitch thinks that Matthew Warren wasn't taken by body-snatchers at all, but was instead rescued after being buried prematurely during a typhoid epidemic," Stefan answered.

"May I continue?" Selina asked.

"Sure," Elena replied.

"And when we got onto the topic of my life, when I told him about what went on between me, Mr. Pierce and Katherine, he got angry. He tensed up, his hands were balled into fists, and he looked like he just wanted to kill somebody. Hearing that Mama waited eight years to tell me about Matthew Warren upset him too; it was the weirdest thing. I still don't understand it. Then we got to why he was in Mystic Falls."

"Let me guess: that was a weird conversation too?" Elena said.

"Yeah," Selina nodded. "It answered our questions about why he looked at me funny at the dance and why he kept staring at my neck."

"And why was that?" Elena asked.

"Well," Selina began, "Mitch is a vampire himself, or at least the way he told the story would have given it away if nothing else had. Apparently he was in love with a girl a long time ago and I remind him of her."

"That's original," Elena remarked.

"I know," Selina smiled. "Apparently I don't have the same personality as her, and we look practically nothing alike. Except, Mitch said, we both have pretty blue eyes. That's what reminds him of her. Apparently they were in love and he left to see the world. Then, due to circumstances beyond his control, he never saw her again. He comes back here every so often to remind himself of the good times they had together."

"And why was he staring at your neck?" Stefan asked. "Did he want to bite you?"

"No," Selina shook her head. "He noticed the birthmark on my neck."

"You have a birthmark on your neck?" Elena asked.

"Yeah," Selina nodded. "It's so small that most people don't bother looking for it unless they already know it's there." She'd decided to leave the forehead kiss out of the conversation for the moment.

"Selina," Damon asked, "When Mitch was telling you about his girlfriend, he didn't mention anything about the two of them having a child together, did he?"

Selina shook her head. "He didn't. Why?"

"No reason. Just curious." Damon was grinning a little.

"Do you know something I don't know?" she asked.

"I know a lot of things you don't know," he replied. "I am older than you after all."

"Mitch also talked about you," Selina told him. "After you called, he said that he saw us dancing at the Halloween Ball, and that you've changed a lot in the many years since he last saw you."

Damon was looking at her strangely now. "Selina," he said, "where'd you put your mother's journal?"

"It's still in my other room on the bed. Why?" Selina asked.

"Because I know something you don't know," he replied. He left the room to go get Amelia Warren's journal and Selina, Stefan, and Elena sat in silence until he came back. "I'm going to read to the three of you from the page after Amelia talks about the "body-snatching". He cleared his throat.

"October 8, 1847

I'm still in shock over what happened at Matthew's grave. It makes me feel sad that Selina will never be able to see her father in any way, shape, or form, at least as long as Mr. Pierce lives. I want to describe him to her so that someday if she reads this, she'll at least get a sense of what her father looked like. He was tall and handsome with eyes the color of grass in the summer. His hair was light brown. He had a strong cleft in his chin, and a Roman nose. He was so sweet, and loving that no one in the world could replace him. And he loved Selina very much. That's what I want her to remember most of all.

Amelia Warren."

Damon shut the journal and looked up at the other three: All of them were looking back at him in shock. Naturally, Selina was the first to speak.

"Are you trying to tell me that Mitch Wilder is actually my father?" she asked.

"I'm not trying to tell you that, I am telling you that. You don't have to think about it too hard for it to make sense. How did he reveal to you that he knew who you really were?"

"He called me by my full name," Selina said slowly. "Selina Amelia Elizabeth Warren."

"Uh-huh," Damon nodded. "And he knew about your birthmark, which, as we have previously stated, no one really looks for unless they already know it's there, and how many other people besides me, living today would know your birthmark is there?"

"Not many?" She asked. "And he would know about it because he was there when I was born?"

"Yeah," Damon replied. "That's probably what he used to make sure it was you. It's practically the only thing about you that hasn't changed since he saw you last."

"He knew what happened to your father," Elena added. "And who else but your actual father would be mad enough to kill when he heard what Mr. Pierce did to you? Or that your mother waited eight years to tell you about him?"

"Mad enough to kill…" Damon trailed off.

"What?" Stefan asked.

"What if it wasn't Michael who killed Mr. Pierce?" Damon asked. "What if it was Matthew Warren on one of his return trips to Mystic Falls?"

"My father wouldn't kill anyone!" Selina said. "You read what my mother thought about him: 'he was so sweet and loving that no one could replace him.' He sounds like he wouldn't hurt a fly."

"Unless that fly had hurt his baby first," Stefan said quickly, jumping into the conversation. "Your mother also said that he loved you very much and since he left when you were two months old, I bet he still thought of you as more helpless then you actually were. And when he heard that Mr. Pierce had hit you, maybe he wanted to take revenge."

"But I was fourteen when Mr. Pierce was killed!" Selina cried. "I wasn't helpless at all!"

"I bet 'Daddy lenses' distorted his thought process," Elena said. "No matter how old you get, you'll still be his little girl."

"So basically," Selina said, looking at them all, "everyone here is completely convinced that Mitch Wilder is actually my father?"

"Yeah," Elena said. "Aren't you yet?"

"I don't entirely know yet," Selina answered. "I'll have to sleep on it first."

They spend the rest of the day looking for things that might help them locate Emily's grimoire, but were unsuccessful.

That night, Selina and Damon had a talk.

"What would it take to convince you that Mitch is your father?" he asked.

"An honest answer about how the hell he got here," Selina said. "People don't just go off to war and come back vampires!"

"Well people just don't go off to doctor's houses to be cured of scarlet fever and come back vampires either, but here you are," Damon pointed out.

"Wait," Selina said. "Dr. Stensrund was there when my father was rescued. Maybe he turned him too. Wouldn't that be a sick coincidence?"

"Yes, it would," Damon said. "Now can we please stop talking about this, at least until tomorrow? We've been going back and forth for hours."

"Sorry," Selina said and turned off the light. "Goodnight, Damon."

As soon as they were both asleep, Mitch entered their room. He held Amelia's journal in one hand. Putting it gently into a bag that was over his shoulder, he gently picked Selina up off the bed, and carried her out of the boarding house, placed her in the backseat of his car and drove away.

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