Home > Dark Reunion (The Vampire Diaries #4)(8)

Dark Reunion (The Vampire Diaries #4)(8)
Author: L.J. Smith

"I'll be right there, Dad."

Meredith looked almost as bad as she had last night, face peaked, eyes shadowed. Her mouth was set in a tight line.

"We'll just go out driving for a little while," Bonnie said to her father. "Maybe see some of the kids. After all, you're the one who said it isn't dangerous, right?"

What could he say? Mr. McCullough looked down at his petite daughter, who stuck out the stubborn chin she'd inherited from him and met his gaze squarely. He lifted his hands.

"It's almost four o'clock now. Be back before dark," he said.

"They want it both ways," Bonnie said to Meredith on the way to Meredith's car. Once inside, both girls immediately locked their doors.

As Meredith put the car in gear she gave Bonnie a glance of grim understanding.

"Your parents didn't believe you, either."

"Oh, they believe everything I told them-except anything important. How can they be so stupid?"

Meredith laughed shortly. "You've got to look at it from their point of view. They find one dead body without a mark on it except those caused by the fall. They find that the lights were off in the neighborhood because of a malfunction at Virginia Electric. They find us, hysterical, giving answers to their questions that must have seemed pretty weird. Who did it? Some monster with sweaty hands. How do we know? Our dead friend Elena told us through a Ouija board. Is it any wonder they have their doubts?"

"They're forgetting already," Meredith replied softly. "You predicted it yourself. Life has gone back to normal, and everybody in Fell's Church feels safer that way. They all feel like they've woken up from a bad dream, and the last thing they want is to get sucked in again."

Bonnie just shook her head.

"And so it's easier to believe that a bunch of teenage girls got riled up playing with a Ouija board, and that when the lights went out they just freaked and ran. And one of them got so scared and confused she ran right out a window."

There was a silence and then Meredith added, "I wish Alaric were here."

Normally, Bonnie would have given her a dig in the ribs and answered, "So do I," in a lecherous voice. Alaric was one of the handsomest guys she'd ever seen, even if he was a doddering twenty-two years old. Now, she just gave Meredith's arm a disconsolate squeeze. "Can't you call him somehow?"

"In Russia? I don't even know where in Russia he is now."

Bonnie bit her lip.

Then she sat up. Meredith was driving down Lee Street, and in the high school parking lot they could see a crowd.

She and Meredith exchanged glances, and Meredith nodded. "We might as well," she said. "Let's see if they're any smarter than their parents."

Bonnie could see startled faces turning as the car cruised slowly into the lot. When she and Meredith got out, people moved back, making a path for them to the center of the crowd.

Caroline was there, clutching her elbows with her hands and shaking back her auburn hair distractedly.

"We're not going to sleep in that house again until it's repaired," she was saying, shivering in her white sweater. "Daddy says we'll take an apartment in Heron until it's over."

"What difference does that make? He can follow you to Heron, I'm sure," said Meredith.

Caroline turned, but her green cat's eyes wouldn't quite meet Meredith's. "Who?" she said vaguely.

"Oh, Caroline, not you too!" Bonnie exploded.

Her eyes came up and for an instant Bonnie saw how frightened she was. "I can't take any more." As if she had to prove her words that minute, she pushed her way through the crowd.

"Let her go, Bonnie," Meredith said. "It's no use."

"She's no use," said Bonnie furiously. If Caroline, who knew, was acting this way, what about the other kids?

She saw the answer-in the faces around her. Everybody looked scared, as scared as if she and Meredith had brought some loathsome disease with them. As if she and Meredith were the problem.

"I don't believe this," Bonnie muttered.

"I don't believe it either," said Deanna Kennedy, a friend of Sue's. She was in the front of the crowd, and she didn't look as uneasy as the others. "I talked with Sue yesterday afternoon and she was so up, so happy. She can't be dead." Deanna began to sob. Her boyfriend put an arm around her, and several other girls began to cry. The guys in the crowd shifted, their faces rigid.

Bonnie felt a little surge of hope. "And she's not going to be the only one dead," she added. "Elena told us that the whole town is in danger. Elena said..." Despite herself Bonnie heard her voice failing. She could see it in the way their eyes glazed up when she mentioned Elena's name. Meredith was right; they'd put everything that had happened last winter behind them. They didn't believe anymore.

"What's wrong with you all?" she said helplessly, wanting to hit something. "You don't really think Sue threw herself off that balcony!"

"People are saying-" Deanna's boyfriend started and then shrugged defensively. "Well-you told the police Vickie Bennett was in the room, right? And now she's off her head again. And just a little bit earlier you'd heard Sue shouting, 'No, Vickie, no!'?"

Bonnie felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her. "You think that Vickie- oh, God, you're out of your mind! Listen to me. Something grabbed my hand in that house, and it wasn't Vickie. And Vickie had nothing to do with throwing Sue off that balcony."

"She's hardly strong enough, for one thing," Meredith said pointedly. "She weighs about ninety-five pounds soaking wet."

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