Chapter 29

It all began simple enough. Lexi and Stefan had a public fight moments before the parade was set to begin.
Damon made a point of ignoring Bella in favor of making goo-goo eyes at Katherine, who preened like a peacock at the attention.
Matt and Stefan argued abut who would lead their float, with Matt winning the lead while Stefan stood tall and proud next to Katherine, swallowing his disgust with great difficulty.

By the end of the parade, the seeds had been planted and results were ready to be sowed.

Students caught up with their friends or families except for those involved with the beauty pageant Carol Lockwood had scheduled for that evening.

Katherine was enamored with the idea of being taken for a picnic with the brothers Salvatore. Mason's pack had arrived and were lying in wait, using the natural scents of the Falls to mask their collective 'wet dog stench'.

Damon's idea obviously.

Tyler and Caroline had been convinced by Bonnie and Jeremy to join them for an underage drinking party at the Gilbert house under Jenna's watchful eye and blow off the pre-pageant party, which was in an open area and far more difficult to protect by the natural property law.
Mason, Lexi, Bella and Liz, who steadfastly refused to sit on the sidelines, began using Matt as target practice with bullets coated in Mason's saliva. Thankfully that began after Damon left, because the vampire was one lewd sneer away from being firewood himself.

Using vampire speed, and Liz riding Mason's wolf self, much to her embarrassment, they forced Matt on the area of the Falls where the wolves were. Mason was right. One 'sparkly popsickle' was in reality no match for a pack of wolves who tore and clawed at him while the vampires and the token human made sure to shoot at him whenever he tried to get away, his screams loud. Before long the bonfire turned purple and the air sickly sweet marking his demise.

"Are you sure your boyfriend was actually trying to help you back then?"

Lexi had asked quietly, wiping sweat of her brow. Mason, back in human form and fully naked, was talking to Liz quietly. The sheriff was making a good show of being okay with it all, but disposing of her first non local vampire was clearly taking a toll on the woman. Bella shook her head not really wanting an answer to a question she had been plagued since that very same day, watching as Stefan and Damon arrived with a squirming Katherine, who screamed obscenities and threats, and firmly deposited her in the fire where she froze still accepting her fate, after Liz yanked the cameo pendant off her neck.

"Please consider this an apology for killing you."

She announced to Lexi before handing her the pendant that would allow her to freely move under the sun. Piling her with sunscreen, makeup and clothing could only work for so long.

"I've been taught to hate your kind but, if it wasn't for you four, that thing would have killed my daughter. And her friends."

Lexi was teary when she thanked the sheriff and allowed Stefan to fasten the necklace around her neck.

- - - Memories of a Past and a Future - - -

With the smells of burnt sugar and the unique scent of flambé vampire plunging the air, no one saw, smelled or heard the small group of cold ones standing at the top of the Falls.

"Well, there's that!"

The small, blond and lethal leader announced with a smirk.

"Talk about a letdown. After all this and this is how it ends."

A guy that looked like a wrestler complained. The leader hid her smile. It seemed that not even her people had quite heard Alec's command at the softie vampire to stand still, nor her own command of 'pain' at the vampire. His gift had been useful according to the Kings, but no one would overthrow her or her brother from their position as top guards now!

Grey hoods were pulled over sparkly heads and the Guard departed for their private plane, back home to their Italian castle.

- - - Memories of a Past and a Future - - -

Once the flames died down and the piles of burnt wood were the only proof something had happened, the band of merry beings began heading back. Mason dropped Liz off at the police station and stayed with her as they worked on plausible reasons why two teenagers would suddenly vanish like that. Lexi and Stefan chose to celebrate alone and quickly left Bella and Damon to walk by themselves.

"I'm not going home now!"

Damon groaned causing Bella to laugh.

"Why do you think I live alone?"

Bella's stomach growled and she snorted before making a beeline for her own apartment. Damon followed suit

"Do you have more of that chocolate log?"

He asked as casually as possible.

"Depends, will you leave a ton of feathers on my windowsills again?"
"Is that what kids are calling it these days?"
"You tell me."
"Feed me."
"No."
"Feed me."
"No."
"Feed me."

Bella pursed her lips as she unlocked her front door

"One condition. Bring me... topping for the log and a bottle of wine."
"That's two."
"Take it or leave it."

As Damon parted his lips and showed off his fangs at her, she took a small step behind entering her building and the safety it provided. When Damon's forehead hit the invisible barrier with a thud, she winked and blew him a kiss.

Much to his surprise Damon laughed. It felt good to laugh again, he mused as he took off in vampire speed for his house after all. He had a few good bottles of wine and there was a delectable vintage human he was saving for special occasions.

Maybe he'd get her flowers too.

The end

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