Home > Phantom (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #1)(12)

Phantom (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #1)(12)
Author: L.J. Smith

After a minute, Matt's eyes flicked up to the rearview mirror to glance at Stefan. "Hey," he said, "I forgot to tel you. In this reality you didn't disappear on Hal oween - you stayed the starting wide receiver and we took the footbal team al the way to the state championships." He grinned, and Stefan's face opened in simple pleasure. Meredith had almost forgotten that Stefan had played with Matt on their high school footbal team before their history teacher, Mr. Tanner, died at the Hal oween haunted house and everything went to hel . She had forgotten he and Matt had been real friends, playing sports and hanging out, despite the fact that they'd both loved Elena. And maybe still do both love Elena? she wondered, and glanced quickly at the back of Matt's head from under her eyelashes. She wasn't sure how Matt felt, but he had always struck her as the kind of guy who, when he fel in love, stayed in love. But he was also the kind of guy who would always be too honorable to try to break up a relationship, no matter what he felt.

"And," Matt went on, "as the quarterback of the state champions, I guess I'm a pretty good prospect for col eges." He paused and broke out in a wide, proud smile.

"Apparently, I have a ful athletic scholarship to Kent State."

Bonnie squealed, Elena clapped, and Meredith and Stefan burst out with congratulations.

"Me, me now!" Bonnie said. "I guess I studied harder in this reality. Which was probably easier, since one of my best friends didn't die first semester and was available to help tutor me."

"Hey!" Elena said. "Meredith was always a better tutor than me. You can't blame it on me."

"Anyway," Bonnie continued, "I got into a four-year col ege! I didn't even bother to apply to any in our other life because my GPA was not high. I was going to take nursing classes at the community col ege like Mary did, even though I'm not sure I'm real y cut out to be a nurse because, yuck, blood and other fluids. But, anyway, my mom was saying this morning that we should go shopping for my room at Dalcrest before Labor Day." She shrugged a little.

"I mean, I know it's not Harvard, but I'm pretty excited."

Meredith joined in the congratulations quietly. She had, in fact, gotten into Harvard.

"Ooh. And! And!" Bonnie was bouncing in her seat with excitement. "I ran into Vickie Bennett this morning. She's definitely not dead! I think she was surprised when I hugged her. I forgot we weren't real y friends."

"How is she?" asked Elena interestedly. "Did she remember anything?"

Bonnie tilted her head. "She seems fine. I couldn't exactly ask her what she remembered, but she didn't say anything about being dead or vampires or anything. I mean, she was always a little bit blah, you know? She did tel me she saw you downtown last weekend and you told her what color lip gloss she ought to buy."

Elena raised her eyebrows. "Real y?" She paused and went on uncertainly, "Is anybody else feeling weird about al of this? I mean, it's wonderful - don't get me wrong. But it's weird, too."

"It's confusing," Bonnie said. "I'm grateful, obviously, that al the horrible things are gone and everybody's okay. I'm thril ed to have my life back. But my father blew up at me this morning when I asked where Mary was." Mary was one of Bonnie's older sisters, the last one living at home besides Bonnie. "He thought I was trying to be funny. Apparently she moved in with her boyfriend three months ago, and you can imagine how my dad feels about that."

Meredith nodded. Bonnie's dad was the protective paternal type, and pretty old-fashioned in his attitudes toward his daughters' boyfriends. If Mary was living with her boyfriend, he must be apoplectic.

"Aunt Judith and I have been fighting - at least, I think so. But I can't find out exactly why," Elena confessed. "I can't ask, because obviously I should already know."

"Shouldn't everything be perfect now?" Bonnie said wistful y. "It seems like we've been through enough."

"I don't mind being confused, as long as we can go back to real life," Matt said earnestly.

There was a little pause, which Meredith broke, reaching for something to take them out of their somber thoughts.

"Pretty rose, Elena," she said. "Is that a gift from Stefan?"

"No, actual y," Elena said. "It was sitting on my front stoop this morning." She twirled it between her fingers. "It's not from any of the gardens on our street, though. No one has such beautiful roses." She smiled teasingly at Stefan, who tensed up once more. "It's a mystery."

"Must be from a secret admirer," Bonnie said. "Can I see?"

Elena handed it up to the front seat, and Bonnie turned the stem around careful y in her hand, looking at the blossom from al angles. "It's gorgeous," she said. "A single, perfect rose. How romantic!" She pretended to swoon, lifting the rose to her forehead. Then she flinched.

"Ouch! Ouch!"

Blood ran down her hand. Much more blood than ought to come from the prick of a thorn, Meredith noted, already reaching into her pocket for a tissue. Matt pul ed off the road.

"Bonnie - " he began.

Stefan breathed in sharply and leaned forward, his eyes widening. Meredith forgot about the tissue, fearing the sudden sight of blood had caused Stefan's vampiric nature to take over.

Then Matt gasped and Elena said sharply, "A camera, quick! Someone give me your phone!" with such a tone of command that Meredith automatical y handed Elena her phone.

As Elena pointed the camera phone at Bonnie, Meredith final y saw what had startled the others.

The dark red blood was running down Bonnie's arm, and as it ran, it had streamed into twists and curves from her wrist to her elbow. The trickles of blood spel ed out a name over and over. The same name that had been haunting Meredith for months.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology