I turned and ran as fast as I could, which turned out to be pretty damn fast. I wasn't prepared for the speed. I was moving so fast I knew I would be nothing more than a blur to humans and yet I could see everything, every leaf, every tree and animal as if I was going for a jog. Before I knew it I was at the boarding house, I ran inside and pulled up short.
Elena and Stefan where there, in the library. Elena was pacing in front of the large fireplace while Stefan leaned against it. they both had a drink in their hands. I tried to sneak past but Stefan heard me.
"Jessica." He called out.
I turned and faced them, Elena ran to me and threw her arms around me.
"Oh Jessica, we were so worried about you. We thought you..."
Her voice trailed off as she noticed my clothes. It was covered in blood.
"I... I... it was an accident," I stammered, "I didn't mean to... I was going to..."
Oh great, I was crying again. Stefan led me into deeper into the library and sat me on a sofa. Elena sat beside me, Stefan knelt in front of me. "Jessica," he began, "It's ok, just tell me what happened."
Crying I told them everything that had happened since I left them that morning. When I got to the Mr Tanner bit I heard Elena gasp in shock, which made me feel worse. Which I didn't think I was capable of.
"See this is why I wanted to turn off my emotions."
Stefan grabbed my hands in his own, "Jessica, you can't do that. It's not as good as it sounds..."
I interrupted him, "I know Stefan. Damon told me, made me promise I wouldn't. It was Damon who told me to come here."
"Damon?" Elena asked, "But where did he find you? We looked everywhere."
I looked down as I answered her, "My mother's grave." As I looked down, at the blood covering my top I didn't know if I was going to be able to cope with this pain and guilt, why couldn't I just turn it off?
And then the reason why walked in.
Damon was there, covered in blood and dirt. I ran to him, his arms open to embrace me. I buried my head in his chest again, he kissed the top of my head, "Come on, let's go upstairs. We can get cleaned up."
But I was emotionally exhausted, Damon picked me up and carrying me, took me up to his room. He carried me right through to his very large en-suite bathroom. He sat me on the toilet, all the while I said nothing. He turned to the bathtub, a bathtub so large I figured four people could fit in comfortably. I laughed, what an odd thing to think about at a time like this. Damon looked over at me quietly laughing to myself. He was probably worried that I was slowly... actually rapidly... going insane. He turned his attention back to the bathtub and turned the taps on full, he stood up and poured some... what looked like bath salts... into the rising water.
While the bath filled Damon stood in front of me. He kicked off his socks and shoes and then pulled his top off over his head. He then knelt in front of me and took off my shoes and socks. I still didn't speak, or move to help or stop him. Watching me the entire time he took hold of the hem of my top and like an obedient child I lifted my arms above my head and off came the top. Then my jeans and underwear followed the top to the floor. Damon removed the remaining articles of clothing he was wearing, lifted me and lowered both of us into the bath. It was quite full now so he reached over and turned off the taps.
He sat with his back to the edge of the tub and pulled me up between his legs, so my back was against his chest. I lay back and let Damon take control. He lifted the scrub sponge and within moments we were both clean.
Well clean on the outside. At this moment in time I honestly did not know if I would ever feel clean on the inside again. Once Damon finished washing the dirt from my hair he wrapped his arms around me, he bent his head to my ear.
"Just let it go Jessica. All of it now, not in bits. Don't stop until there is no more." He whispered in my ear. That was all it took, yet again tears began to fall down my cheeks and into the bath water.
But this was different, this wasn't the hysterical crying of heightened emotions, or the drunken tears of a suicidal girl.
These were quiet tears, for the loss of a mother and best friend. For a stranger named Mr. Tanner who I was sure was more than a disliked teacher. For a father who just couldn't love his daughter... and for an eighteen year old girl who in just three days had her entire life ripped from her, in so many ways.
Finally there were no more tears to fall. There was still sadness and defiantly still grief. But a part of me knew they would always be there. There was something else bubbling beneath the surface, another emotion... anger. But I ignored it.
I was so exhausted I fell asleep, right there in the tub in Damon's arms.
Damon lifted her out of the tub and carried her to his bed. Without waking her he put one of his oversized t-shirts on her and covered her in the bed. Once dressed he left the room, quietly closing the door behind him and made his way downstairs to his brother.
The others were here now and they all looked like they were going to yet another funeral. He walked past them and poured himself a drink. Once sitting he faced them and answered the question they all wore on their faces.
"She had chosen to let herself die. But apparently, for the second time, that wasn't meant to happen. Tanner was there and cut himself. She couldn't help herself, with the pain she was feeling and she fed on him." He explained quickly.
Matt spoke up, "What about Mr. Tanner?"
Damon looked to Stefan and Elena, surprised they hadn't told all. Damon continued, "Dead."
At their shocked expressions Damon went on, but there was an edge to his voice. "It was an accident. I have only just got her to calm down. She hates herself right now and if any of you make her feel worse by mentioning Tanner I will kill you. Understand?"
They all looked taken aback but nodded nonetheless. Bonnie moved towards Damon.
"I felt her aura before all... all this... happened. I know she truly is a good kind person. What you're doing for her Damon, shows how wonderfully good she is. The effect she has on those around her. That's why I made this today when Elena rang me to fill me on what was happening."
She held out her hand and dropped something into Damon's. A ring, it was similar to Damon's only it was more feminine and a bit smaller. His head shot up when he realised what it was.
"A daylight ring? You know you're right about how she affects the people around her, even you Bonnie. Thank you."
The others all looked on in shock. Bonnie and Damon, being so civil and almost... nice to each other, this was brand new to them. Jessica really did have that affect on those around her.
Tyler spoke up, "What is she going to do now? Is she going to stay in school, or in Mystic Falls?"
Downing his drink Damon answered him, "I don't know... I honestly don't. If she wishes to stay here that's great. I'll buy her mother's house for her. I know how hard they had it growing up. She doesn't exactly have a lot of money. But if she wants to move..."
Damon's voice trailed off as he saw Elena give Jeremy and Stefan a weird look.
"What Elena? Do you have a problem with me doing..."
"Of course not," Elena interrupted Damon, "it's just... well, yesterday before Jessica came here to... well before she came here, she received a phone call. Apparently the Fell's, her grandparents, set up a trust for her. She was supposed to get it on her 21st birthday as they never trusted her father."
"With good reason." Jeremy muttered under his breath. Elena just continued,
"Well as both her parents are dead, she receives it now."
"Don't keep us in suspense." Caroline urged.
Elena took a breath, "Between money and land, just over five million dollars."
The look on everyone's face, if it hadn't been such a grave time would have been priceless. Damon was quiet for a moment. A part of him wasn't exactly thrilled she had that much money. She wouldn't need him, or anybody for that matter. She would be able to afford anything... or anywhere that she wanted.