I had left Damon nearly an hour ago when I finally realised where I had walked. My step faltered briefly as I looked up at the cemetery entrance before making the decision. Pandora's box be damned, I needed to talk to my mother.
As I knelt in front of her headstone, I started to absentmindedly clear the dead leaves that were scattered over the grave. I felt a slight pang of shame for not being here more. Of course as that passed and pain and anger entered me I remembered why my visits were few and far between.
Although I had to admit, the pain and grief wasn't as strong this time. Maybe this was the start of me moving on? The sadness would never be truly gone, I would miss her more than anything until the day I no longer walked the earth, but I could also hopefully be happy again...
Damon's face filled my mind's eye. Happy? Yeah right. My happiness apparently was still in love with the almighty Elena. I felt my teeth sharpen against my lower lip. The perfect little Elena, I'd love nothing more than to sink my... I let the thought trail off, I needed to calm down. I also realised my cheeks were wet. When had I started crying? I closed my eyes and calmed myself down, my face returning to normal.
"I could really use your advice mom." I spoke to the headstone, my voice quiet. "I feel like I'm going crazy, but you... you would know how to fix me."
I heard someone approaching and I stood to face them. A man stood ten feet from me, a sombre expression on his face. Neither of us spoke at first. He looked a bit taller than my 5ft 7. His ginger-brown hair was short and slightly curled, and he had piercing blue eyes.
"I'm sorry to interrupt you, but are you ok?" he asked in a British accent, breaking the silence. I felt myself get defensive for no reason. "Yes. Who are you? What are you doing here?" The questions rushed out.
He gave me a lop sided grin, a dimple appearing on his cheek. "The name's Nik, and as for what I'm doing here, probably the same as you. Visiting a grave."
For the first time I noticed the flowers he held in his right hand and felt myself blush, "I'm sorry," I started, "It's just been a... hard couple of days." I threw one last look at my mom's headstone, mentally promising her I'd visit again soon. I started to leave, "Sorry again." I mumbled as I passed Nik. If he replied, I didn't hear him. I went straight home, only to realise I was still in the goddamn outfit from the decade dance.
I stood before the mirror in the bathroom, looking at the pathetic sight which looked back at me. My hair was a tangled mess, my make-up was smeared and my dress was wrinkled everywhere with a tear down the side. I laughed bitterly. No wonder that man from the cemetery thought there was something wrong with me. I looked like an escaped mental patient.
There was a crash and I was looking down at my bleeding knuckles. I watched as the skin healed over. I looked up at the broken mirror in surprise, I didn't even realise I had hit it, shattering it. I felt a strange calm seep through me. It felt like... acceptance. Maybe I was finally accepting who I was... what I was. I turned from my broken reflection.
I knew the group would be meeting in the grill later and I wanted to meet them. No matter what was happening between Damon and myself, I couldn't let some psycho vampire loose on the town. Any history book showed that when war's take place, it's nearly always the innocent bystanders that seemed to suffer the most. Once this Klaus business was finished I would then decide what to do.
I stripped down and jumped in the shower. Once I was clean I made no attempt to get out from under the stream of hot water. I stayed that way, my eyes closed and mind blank, for almost half an hour. Sighing I turned off the water and climbed out. I wanted to feed before meeting the others, so I had to go now. As I got dressed I waited for the guilt to set in, as it usually did whenever I chose to feed. I finished tying the laces on my sneakers when I realised I didn't feel guilty, not in the slightest. Maybe I was right, maybe I had accepted what I was. I grabbed my bag and keys and left the house, my step felt lighter than it had in months as I climbed into my car.
I pulled up outside the Grill and shut off the engine. Before getting out though I checked my reflection. Couldn't have any evidence on my face of my little hunting trip. My mouth was clear, and as I headed into the bar I couldn't help but think back over the attack. It had been so easy to control myself this time. I didn't even kill the guy. A bit of my blood and some compulsion and no-one would be any wiser.
When I stepped inside I scanned the room, but couldn't see any of my friends so I headed to the bar. Thankfully there wasn't many people around, so when the barman came over to me I leaned closer to him, looking him in the eye. "I'll have a glass of Jim Beam neat, and you don't ever need to see my I.D again." The barman blinked and smiled, "I'll get that for you now."
He poured the drink and put the glass in front of me as I reached into my bag to get my purse. "Make that two glasses." A voice spoke from beside me. I turned to see the man from the cemetery. He put $20 on the counter and slid onto the stool next to me.
Once we both had our drink I turned to him, "Nik, wasn't it?" he nodded in reply. I picked up the glass, "Well thank you for the drink Nik." I took a mouthful and closed my eyes as the liquid warmed my throat. When I opened them again Nik was staring at me, like he was trying to figure something out. The silence was annoying me, "So, are you new to town?" I asked.
He nodded again, "My family was from around here, but I grew up... all over the place I suppose. We travelled a lot, my siblings and I."
"Same here," I started, "Well not the travelling bit, but my family was from here. My mother and I moved here almost a year ago."
He must have heard something in my voice when I mentioned my mother. "The grave you were visiting today, was that your..." he let he question trail off, so I finished it. "My mothers? Yes. We were only here a couple of months when she.... When she died."
"Was it sudden?" Nik's voice was full of curiosity.
I felt myself snort at his question, "If you call your abusive father showing up on your 18th birthday and killing her sudden, then yes... yes it was." I downed my drink and called for another one. I felt myself continue talking, "I should have died that night as well, but my boyf... my friend Damon saved me." I suddenly stopped and looked at Nik, "I don't know why I'm telling you this." I mumbled. And it was true, I had only ever felt this comfortable talking to Damon.
It was then I noticed the anger in Nik's eyes, which honestly startled me. "Don't worry," he said, his voice low, "I know something about abusive fathers."
I opened my mouth to speak again but Damon's voice caught my attention. I looked over to the door and saw him. He was with Stefan, Elena and Caroline. When I turned back to Nik he was smiling, no trace of the anger I just saw. I briefly wondered if that's what people saw when they looked at me over the past few weeks.
"Well Nik, thanks for the drink... and the company, but my friends are here. Maybe I'll see you around sometime?" I threw him a smile and started over to the table where the others were sitting down when Nik's reply stopped me short.
"Count on it love!"
A gasp slipped out as I spun back to the bar, only to see an empty stool. Nik was gone. I knew then, the man I had shared a drink with... I knew who he was.