The Lady in Red

There's No Place Like Home

The next day, Lexi told Selina that she was planning to have a small belated birthday gathering for Stefan at the Grill.

"That sounds like fun," Selina commented. "Maybe I can cajole his brother into coming with me. Even if they hate each other, the least one can do is be there for the other on his birthday."

Lexi nodded and headed out the door. Selina headed into the living room, where Damon sat on the couch. "Lexi's gonna throw a late birthday party for Stefan at the Grill. Do you want to come with me?"

"And what happens if I say I don't want to?" he asked. "Are the two of you going to hogtie me and drag me there?"

Selina put her hands on her hips. "Okay, I'm sorry about yesterday. But I still think you should come. There's going to be cake."

He smirked. "That's the best incentive you can come up with?"

She sat down on the couch next to him. "I just thought I'd throw it out there. I'll leave you to think it over."

Just as she was getting up to leave, there was a knock at the front door. Selina ran into the hallway and peeked around the edge, hoping the person on the other side of the door wouldn't see her. Damon went to answer it, and to Selina's surprise, it was the Sheriff. But Damon didn't seem as surprised to see her. They talked about something, but she couldn't make out what they were saying. Eventually, the Sheriff left and Damon shut the door behind her.

"So," he asked, appearing suddenly beside her. "Hear anything you like?"

She shook her head. "I didn't hear anything. Are you up to something?"

He looked at her for a moment. "The sheriff is concerned about the vampire problem in town, and I've offered to help her out. Oh, and one more thing, I think I will go to Stefan's party with you. What time does it start?"

"Lexi said seven."

"All right then," he gave her a wolfish smile. "Meet you at the car at six-forty."

When Selina and Damon arrived at the Grill, she flagged down Lexi, and he headed straight for the bar. The Sheriff was sitting at a barstool and watching him. Something was up between them that made Selina feel vaguely uneasy.

"Stefan," Selina asked when he came up to her, "do you know what's going on between Sheriff Forbes and your brother? I asked him and he said something about helping her out with the town's vampire problem."

Stefan shook his head. "I have no idea, but knowing him it's probably nothing good."

Eventually though, the festivities got underway and any thoughts of the goings on between the sheriff and Damon were swept from Selina's brain. She and Stefan shared a few dances and then she shot three games of pool with Elena, winning twice. Just as Elena was racking up for the fourth, Damon and the Sheriff caught Selina's eye again. They were huddled together, whispering to one another and occasionally gesturing at the booth where Lexi sat with Stefan. Finally, they pulled apart and strode towards the booth.

"That's her, Sheriff," Damon said, making a grand gesture at Lexi. "Here's the vampire that's been terrorizing our town."

With that, the sheriff, Damon, and three deputies hauled Lexi up and dragged her out back behind the restaurant. Excusing herself from the pool table, Selina went with Stefan to see what was going on.

"Damon, what the hell are you doing?" Selina asked.

He pulled a stake out from behind his back and put it against Lexi's chest. "You wouldn't understand."

Without giving it any thought, Selina felt herself run at him and push Lexi out of the way. "Don't do this. If you're going to stake some vampire to save the town, stake me instead."

He said nothing, but looked at her for a long moment, then shook his head. He grabbed Lexi and plunged the stake into her chest. "It's all part of my plan," he whispered, his hand on Selina's shoulder. "You have nothing to do with it."

She couldn't think of anything to say to that. Finally, she settled for turning on her heel and walking away.

When Damon and Stefan arrived back at the boardinghouse, they heard noise from Selina's room. Stefan went up to see what was going on. He opened the door and noticed clothes strewn all over the floor. Selina was grabbing shirts, skirts and jeans out off the floor and throwing them into suitcases, all while talking to someone on a headset.

"I'm finally doing it," she said to whoever was on the other end of the line. "I can't deal with him anymore. Really? That's so sweet. When can you come and pick me up? All right. I'll be ready at ten tomorrow morning. See you then, Tyler."

She took the headset off and then looked up to see Stefan staring at her.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"I'm moving out, Stefan. I can't live with your brother anymore. This is really better for everyone. He can continue worshipping my sister, and I don't have to watch it."

"Where are you planning on going?"

"I'm moving in with Tyler. He said his parents wouldn't mind."

Stefan stepped into the room, took the clothes out of the suitcase, and put them on her bed. "Look at me, Selina. You don't really want to do this. You're just upset. And besides, you've only known the guy for two days!"

She nodded. "Oh, yes I do. And he's a Lockwood, so it's not like he's a total stranger."

He shook his head. "No you don't. Tyler's father is the head of the Founder's Council. If he finds out you're a vampire, they're going to hunt you down and stake you just like they did with Lexi."

She nodded more vigorously. "Yes, I do. Stefan, I know what I'm doing and I promise I'll be safe."

Seeing that he wasn't going to change her mind, he left the room and went downstairs. "Selina's moving out," he informed his brother.

"Oh, good!" Damon brightened. "Does she need help packing?"

Stefan frowned. "She's moving in with Tyler Lockwood and his parents. She says she'll be safe there."

Damon's smile disappeared as suddenly as it had come. "Tyler Lockwood? What does she want to move in with him for?"

Stefan couldn't help but smile a little. "I believe she thinks she's in love with him. Do you want to go up and tell her she's making a big mistake and see if you can succeed where I failed?"

Damon shook his head. "No," he said. "If she wants to go, I won't stand in her way. Making a stupid mistake might do her some good."

"Tyler's coming to pick her up at ten tomorrow."

Damon just nodded and went to his room.

When Tyler came by to pick up Selina, Damon and Stefan were waiting by the front door.

"What are you guys doing here? Want to make one last bid to convince me to stay?"

"Yes," Stefan said.

Damon waited to say something until Tyler's car pulled up. "Have a nice life. But if things don't work out, don't come crying to me."

Selina breathed in sharply. "Oh, I almost forgot," she undid the clasp on the locket and put it in his hand. "A little something to remember me by."

Outside, the horn honked. "Coming," Selina called, trying to position all her suitcases so she wouldn't have to make more than one trip. Finally she got it under control and headed out the door with one last goodbye to Damon and Stefan.

Once she and Tyler were on the road, Selina breathed a sigh of relief. "You don't know how grateful I am to be out of there!" She exclaimed.

Tyler smiled and took one hand off the wheel. "I bet I do," he told her. "My parents can't wait to meet you."

"Are you sure they're okay with me moving in?" she asked. "After all, we've only known each other a couple of days."

He nodded. "Yes, I'm sure."

Finally, the two of them reached the Lockwood Mansion and after Tyler parked his car in the garage, they headed inside.

Looking around, Selina felt a sense of peace, like she'd come home. "It hasn't changed a bit," she whispered.

"What?" Tyler asked.

Selina shook her head. "Nothing. I was just thinking about how nice this house looks."

"Well," Tyler smiled. "This house has been here a long time. Great-great Grandpa Michael and his family were the first people to live in it."

Just then, his parents entered the room. "Tyler," Mrs. Lockwood exclaimed, "I see you brought Sophia with you." She eyed her husband who followed in her wake. "Charles, this is Sophia Warren, a descendant of Andrew Warren, Matthew's older brother. Did you know Matthew Warren had an older brother?"

Mr. Lockwood saw Selina and froze. "Tyler, would you come with me for a second?" he asked.

Tyler followed his father into a nearby den and the two of them sat down on a couch. "What's wrong, Dad?" he asked. "You were the one who said she could live here."

"I know I did," he said. "But she's not who she says she is."

"What do you mean?" Tyler asked.

"I mean," Mr. Lockwood said, "She can't be a descendant of Andrew Warren because he had three children and none of them lived past infancy."

"So is she crazy or what?" Tyler asked.

Mr. Lockwood shook his head. "No, she isn't crazy." He got up and went to the master bedroom, coming back a moment later carrying a dusty but otherwise fairly well-preserved journal. "This was Great-grandfather Michael's," he said. "His aunt Amelia married Matthew Warren in 1845 and they had a daughter Selina." He rifled through the pages of the journal and pulled out a small photo. "And here she is. Does she look like anyone you know?"

Tyler's eyes widened. "She's a vampire? Does that mean we have to kill her? Is that why you let me bring her here?"

Mr. Lockwood replaced the photo in the journal, and shook his head. "No," he said, "we can't kill her. Michael promised that as long as he and his descendants walked this earth, she could stay in this town and be safe."

"So what are we going to do?" Tyler asked.

"Exactly what Michael wanted," Mr. Lockwood said simply. "We'll keep her here with us. Because she's family, and home, where she belongs."

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