Home > The Asylum (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #5)(11)

The Asylum (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #5)(11)
Author: L.J. Smith

Damon’s lip curled as he pivoted toward me. I could see sparks from the fire reflected in his pupils. “Let’s pay him a visit,” Damon said.

“Pay him a visit,” I repeated flatly. “Just show up on his front steps? When you’re a wanted criminal? Have you forgotten that we have to be invited into a home by its owner? I doubt Samuel will extend the courtesy.” It was one of the many things that differentiated us from mortals: In order to enter a residence, a vampire had to be asked to cross the threshold. It was a small restriction, but one that meant some places were still safe from monsters like us.

“Thank you for the etiquette lesson, brother. But I don’t need to go inside. All I need is to speak with Samuel, man to man. Or, should I say, vampire to vampire,” Damon explained. “I’m done playing cat and mouse. And I’m not going to leave London without a fight,” Damon said, clenching and unclenching his fists.

“A fight to the death?” I asked pointedly. In New Orleans, when Damon and I had been forced to battle each other underneath a circus tent, our fight had been billed as such. We’d only been saved when Callie started a fire that brought the tent down. Did Damon truly have such a short memory?

“Yes, a fight to the death,” Damon repeated, seemingly oblivious to my allusion. “But a proper one. No surprises, no using humans, no games. Just the two of us against each other. I’m going to go to his door and get the answers. And then, I’m going to destroy him.”

“Let me get this straight. You’re going to head to his house and invite him to fight? He didn’t exactly offer the same courtesy when he tried to kill me,” I said incredulously. It was dramatic and over the top and so Damon. But while a duel was romantic, he didn’t have a chance of winning. Not in his state. I tried to imagine the way Damon’s plan would play out. Samuel may not anticipate us ringing his doorbell as though we were guests. He could be caught unawares, in front of people who didn’t know his secret, and he’d be forced to keep his cover. After all, I doubted he’d stake us in a roomful of London’s political elite, nor could he compel them all simultaneously. Still, the plan was rife with problems. I knew I couldn’t talk Damon out of it, so the best I could do was be there when it fell apart.

“Yes, let’s go. But answers first, duel later,” I said wryly. I wasn’t surprised he’d gotten on Samuel’s bad side. The question wasn’t what he had done, it was what he’d done this time.

“You gentlemen have fun on your fact-finding mission,” Cora said. “I’ll head to the Ten Bells. With Samuel occupied, it’ll be the safest time to ask if any of the girls have seen Violet.”

I didn’t like the idea of Cora going off on her own, unprotected. But she was right; it was safer for her to be in Whitechapel than to come with us to confront Samuel. The look of determination on her face warned me not to argue.

“Fine,” I said after a moment. “I’ll go out for supplies. I’ll be back soon.” I walked down the tunnel without a backward glance, my footsteps echoing against the packed dirt. Every move I made caused a wave of scurrying rats, and I wondered if they knew how futile their frantic search for safety was. Were they oblivious to the fact that if someone really wanted to, they could be killed in an instant? Or, in their tiny minds, did they think of themselves the way I was beginning to think of myself—as a walking target, simply awaiting the moment of my doom?

A few hours later, I arrived back at the tunnel, my arms laden down with two suits, several shirts, a pink silk dress, and a lavish petticoat. I’d returned to Harrods, where Violet and I had shopped to replace our torn and dirty clothes so we could blend in as best as we could. As soon as I’d entered the store, several salesmen had gathered around me eagerly, like vultures feeding on a carcass. By the time I had finished shopping, I was so drained from compelling the crowd of salespeople that I hardly even knew what I was carrying.

As soon as I had my goods, I’d made a hasty exit, intent on feeding. Eventually I’d found a malnourished pigeon on a deserted street, but was still famished after draining its blood.

The sound of laughter echoed in the tunnel.

“Hello?” I called curiously.

A response ricocheted back to me. “Back so soon, brother?”

I turned the corner and saw Damon and Cora, sitting opposite the fire from each other. Cora had an animated expression on her face, and her eyes were gleaming.

“I brought clothes for you,” I said, placing the clothing— hundreds of pounds’ worth of finery, which I’d gotten for free—in piles on the dusty ground.

“Thanks,” Damon said. He leaned over and began picking through the piles, finally pulling out a black wool cloak. I’d thought it might help him to blend into the night. He straightened up and tossed the rich fabric around his shoulders. “You outdid yourself. This cloak makes me look like one of Gallagher’s finest magicians. Don’t you agree?”

I smiled tightly. It was an apt description of the outfit. Gallagher’s was the terrible circus where, as vampires, Damon and I had been held captive and forced to fight each other. We were the only authentic acts. Everything else, from the tattooed woman to the conjoined twins, had been the result of two-bit trickery.

“You don’t look bad, brother,” I said.

“No, he doesn’t.” Cora smiled appreciatively. “Well, I’m off to the Ten Bells, before either of you can stop me. I’ll have you know that I don’t need a man or a vampire to protect me,” Cora said, standing up and flouncing down the tunnel into the darkness.

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