The Grill was packed tonight. People still milling around and enjoying themselves from today's festivities. Founders day was always a major town event and due to holding the last name of Lockwood, Billie was forced to make an appearance whether she liked it or not. Her dad, Mayor Lockwood, liked to keep the picture-perfect view of his family and even his wife Carol tried her best to a shoot a smile her way in front of the towns people, but that was about as far as their relationship went. Understandable, given Billie was the constant reminder or her husband's infidelity, but she never hated her, just the situation. Carol never loved Billie either, but Billie didn't mind; she barely loves her dad so how could she love Carol. No, the stepmother and daughter had a mutual understanding. Stay out of each other's way.
Billie was under no illusion that her dad and his wife held her in the same regard as they did their son. Tyler ignored her most of time, which was easy to do. She was 3 years younger than him, and they lived separate lives. She would get the occasional birthday gift and every now and then they would eat a meal at the grill together – usually having been forced to by their dad. But Tyler was never rude or cruel to Billie, just indifferent. She wondered when she had started as a freshmen at his high school earlier this year, if she would see more of him - maybe start building more of sibling bond; but he was a junior and a jock, they shared no classes or friends. The only thing they seemed to share was a short temper and a growing hate for their father for having passed it on to them.
Although, there are bad parts to Billie's family. There are great parts too. The man sat in the booth across from her stealing her fries, was the starring role. His grey hair and beard used to make her think he was secretly Santa Clause when she was only small, but her Grandpa, Lee Clarke, always joked that she would have to fatten him up much more before he could be Santa. It had been Billie and her Gramps for nearly all her life. Her mum had died before she could form any real memories, but Billie knew she loved her. Grandpa Lee always made sure she knew how much her mum loved her and if she could have been here, she would, but cancer sucks and takes the best of us. Billie had come to terms with it a long while ago.
"Bill," Grandpa Lee's gruff voiced called.
The girl rolls her eyes as a fry comes flying at her face, catching it before it can hit her nose. She throws it back in the basket in front of them and smiles back at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Eat your damn food, it's getting cold."
She sighs and grabs the rest of the burger from the plate, taking a massive bite. A sudden cheer grabs her attention, she looks over to the pool table and sees her brother and his friends, Caroline and Zach. Tyler's eyes catch Billie's; he gives her a slight nod before proceeding with the game he was playing. Grandpa Lee groans and takes a drink of his beer and tilts his head to someone behind her.
"Bill hey! Didn't know you guys would still be here," Mayor Lockwood says as he approaches their table.
He leans close to Lee and whispers in his ear. Billie raise a curious eyebrow towards them and leans closer to try and hear the uttered words but gets nothing. All too soon her Dad stands back and roughly gives Lee a pat on the shoulder. He stands tall over our table and gives a broad smile.
"You got your speech, soon right?" she questions.
"Yeah," he laughs, "but you know it's the same as every year and," he looks at his watch before giving a not so discreet glance at Lee, "it's a school night. Maybe you should start heading home. Lee?"
Grandpa Lee nods all too quickly and stands from his chair. Billies start to speak but is cut off as her Dad ruffles her dirty blonde locks, throwing a pointed look towards Lee and starting towards the pool table. The young girl tuts at his dismissive behaviour.
"Yeah bye Dad. Love you too Dad," She yells sarcastically at his retreating back.
He sends her a thumbs up over his shoulder. Grandpa Lee is shaking on his coat as Billies tries to finish off the last bite of her burger.
"You know its not even curfew yet, I don't get what the big hurry is," she mutters with a mouth full of food.
"Don't do that, it's disgusting. Your Dad's right though. School tomorrow and it's busy. We don't need to be loitering," her Gramps responds quickly.
In the corner she eyes her father ushering Tyler and his friends towards the door so she huffs, standing from her chair, before wrapping an oversized denim jacket around herself. Moaning about barely getting to finish her food, Grandpa Lee ignores hers and pulls hers away from the crowds, out of the Grill and down the street. Billie looks back over shoulder towards the town centre where so many people are still enjoying the evening, she fiddles with her hands and begins frantically groping her pockets.
"Oh my god! I left my phone," she turns back to the main square and makes off at a slight run, ignoring the calls of her name from her Gramps trying to chase after her.
Running into the square, Billies bustles through the crowd to get back to the Grill but in her hurry she hits a body and crashes to the floor, groaning at the force.
"Billie," Elena gasp, her and Stefan reaching out to pull the girl from the ground, "I'm sorry. We weren't looking and,"
"Its alright," Billie interrupts, shaking herself off and smiling up at her brother's friend "my bad probably. I was just in a rush and forgot my phone back at the Grill."
"You should probably get home, it's late," Stefan remarks, ignoring the girl's previous comment.
Instead of responding, Billie is hit with a sudden ringing pain powering into her head like a power drill. It overpowers her senses. She clutches her head and lets out a slight scream, falling to her knees. Elena reaches out to the young girl, gasping in shock as not only her boyfriend falls the floor having been affected by the Gilbert device but also Billie Lockwood – who she is certain is not a vampire.
Footsteps and movements form around Billie but she can't stay focused long enough to understand what's happening to her. Mr Saltzman having seen both the young Lockwood girl and Stefan Salvatore fall the floor, chases towards them trying to ward off the oncoming police officer. He starts hauling Stefan up and directs Elena to do the same with Billie. He leads them both down some steps and out of the way of any further prying eyes.
The pain starts to subside for both the vampire and young girl but they both still hold their heads in their hands and sit on the steps, recovering slowly from the stinging pain.
"Are you ok?" Elena questions Stefan, her hand on his arm.
Billie looks over and sees Stefan is in a similar state to herself.
"It's like needles were piercing my skull, and then it just stopped," Stefan tells her.
Mr Saltzman runs back down the steps and leans close to them, "I saw at least 5 vampires go down. They were taking them to your family's old building."
"It's the Gilbert device, it has to be." Stefan says.
Billie groans and looks up at them. Elena, almost forgetting she was there, moves closer to her and rubs her knee in comfort.
"What happened? My head… it just started to…and then I…oh god, what was that noise?" Billie whispers to Elena.
The older three throw curious glances between each other before a yell can be heard from the top of the stairs.
Grandpa Lee comes running down the steps, breathing heavily. He shoots towards Billie and holds onto her face with both hands, she stands to meet him on the middle steps. His eyes wonder over her whole body, checking for injuries before sweeping behind her at Elena, Stefan and Mr Saltzman. He tugs her body towards him, already trying to move them up the stairs and away. Mr Saltzman and Stefan walk up the stairs to meet him. Elena trailing behind.
Billie is muttering about the pain in her head, not quite forming a coherent sentence yet. Grandpa Lee pulls her closer and places a kiss on her forehead while eyeing the two men that have followed them. Elena tries to reach out a comforting hand to Billie to show some form of reassurance but simultaneously Stefan pulls Elena back as Grandpa Lee pulls Billie behind him.
"Thankyou, for helping my granddaughter," Grandpa Lee stiffly voices, looking between the three, "but I'll be taking her home now. Maybe you should all do the same."
"Is she-?" Stefan starts.
Grandpa Lee sharply turns and gets into Stefan personal space. He stares at Stefan with pursed lips and sharp eyes. Stefan looks into the elderly man's dark eyes and sees the overwhelming protectiveness. Elena eyes are frantically moving between the two men, trying to decide if she should step between them. In the end it's Billies pull on her grandfather's arm and the pained look on her face that tares the two men away from each other. Her brown eyes are glassy, she licks her lips to help get rid of the dryness in her mouth.
"Please," she whispers, a breeze blowing through her matted hair, "please tell me… what's going on?"
Stefan and Elena share a glance before looking down at the young girl, understanding she is the most lost out of them all in the current situation. The silence is deafening in that moment, no one quite knowing how to answer her. In the end it is Mr Saltzman that manages to get something out.
"Look, err maybe you should get her home Mr Clarke. She's still not looking so good and," Alaric glances to Stefan and Elena, "we really need to go."
Mr Saltzman is already leading Elena away, while Lee is curling his arms around his granddaughter and uttering comforting words into her ear. As the two parties begin to go their separate ways, Lee and Stefan throw each other one last look over their shoulders. Lee giving an unwavering stern stare in Stefan's direction. While Stefan can't help but give questioning and curious eyes over to the young Lockwood girl.
Lee jolts the backdoor of his shop open. The lights of the shop front are dulled out, the outdoor equipment shop having been locked up and closed a few hours previous. Lee takes Billie's hand trying to balance the unsteady teenager carefully as they climb the staircase to the apartment above. He flicks the lights on as they enter the open kitchen and living space. He chucks his keys into the bowl by the door, Billie squeaks the chair at the small breakfast bar as she sluggishly takes a seat.
Lee leans against the kitchen counter, looking over at the petite girl who looks exhausted. He rubs his chin trying to figure out how to broach the conversation with her. How could he possibly explain to her what had just happened? Billie groans while scratching her head and squinting, the lights startling against her delicate head. She pouts over at Lee, waiting for him to answer any of the questions about what had happened to her and Stefan, that he did well at ignoring on their walk home.
Knowing her Grandpa well, she could tell he was choosing not to answer not because he didn't have an answer but because he didn't want to answer. The look on his face gave him away, the lack of eye contact, the furrowed brow, not furrowed in confusion but furrowed in deep thought. The lack of conversation only certified his secretive knowledge. Billie knew all too well that if her Grandpa didn't know something he would act out in anger and frustration, yet right now he was calm and quiet.
Billie lets out a frustrated sigh, "Look if your gonna keep this up, I'm just going to bed. I'm too tired for this non-conversation conversation. My head hurts," she fixes him with a pointed look, "which you know, and you know what, it doesn't just hurt because of the pain. Elena and them were saying stuff that doesn't even makes sense about some device and vampires dropping. Like I get it, talk in codes around the child or whatever but it was just… strange. And you're being all quiet but keep glancing at me like I might explode! Maybe I will! Who knows, and I just…my head hurts from the pain but it also hurts because I can't stop thinking about everything that happened; about everything you're not saying. So just, say something…"
A long silence follows her outburst and she can't help but tighten her fist in anger. Lee trying to avoid her eyes at all cost. Billie jumps down from the chair and stalks out of the living area and towards a closed door, opening and then slamming it shut with herself inside. Lee sighs and leans his arms on the countertop, resting his head in his hands and rubbing his face.
Rough hands shake her suddenly from her deep sleep, Billie opens her eyes slowly seeing the morning light seeping through the curtains. Her Grandpa stands over her bed with a sour look on his face. She rubs the sleep out of her eyes and yawns. Expecting her Grandpa to exit the room after giving her the morning wake up call, she rolls out of bed. However, he stays standing in her room, hands in his pockets and a grim look covering his face.
"What?" She asks
He walks forwards and collects her small hands in his own, "I got a call from Carol. It's your Dad."