Okay, this is my new story. I realize it's not Supernatural or Twilight even though I have those in progress too, but this one wouldn't leave me alone so I had to write it to get it out of my head. LOL. Anyway, I'm not sure if this could be considered a crossover so I didn't put it in the crossover section. It doesn't have Buffy or any of the characters in it, though it does mention them a few times in passing. I do use the information from Buffy, like the training and the Watcher/Slayer stuff, like the fact that there's a Watcher's Council in Britain and they have a group of witches and things like that. If anyone thinks I should change it to Crossover I'll gladly change it.

That being said . . . I will not be focusing on this story a lot unless I get reviews stating I should continue fast. LOL. I still have the other two stories I mentioned to focus on seeing as I started those first and I know people are waiting for an update on those too.

Just a warning: My computer is unpredictable, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work, so as I told my other readers, I update when I can, when it allows me to.

Now the reason I began writing this story is because I feel sorry for Damon. He can never get what he wants, so . . . That's where fan fiction comes in. I'm one of those people that can not stand Elena, I find her horribly stupid and for the most part it has nothing to do with her choosing Stefan over Damon. Damon's not perfect, I'm not biased, but he's not someone who's going to rip your head off when he feeds from you either, unless he's pissed off. LOL. Anyway, in the show, I root for Damon/Elena, but since this is fiction, I'm writing in a character who will not berate him for being a vampire and giving into his vampire urges. Now people have told me my OCs seem to fit in seemlessly like they belonged there anyway; hopefully this is like that.

Another warning: My stories usually start out rated T and progress to M and that's also how this one is, so there's no smut for a while. Sorry. LOL

Now after that long long author's note: I do not own the Vampire Diaries TV show or the books. If I did, I would not be writing fan fiction about it. LOL Enjoy!

Chapter One

Rebecca Stone stood in front of the full-length mirror in her room. She wasn't vain, but it was the first day of school after a long hard summer; she wanted to look good for herself and she wanted to make everyone think she was okay. She and her dad had been fighting again. That was par for the course for them, had been for the last eight months. It had gotten worse over the summer.

Eight months ago, Rebecca's mother had died giving birth to Chelsea Marie Stone, Rebecca's eight-month-old sister. Robert, Rebecca's father, had had a breakdown after that. He'd never been the most attentive father to begin with, but with Chelsea it was worse. It was like he blamed the little girl for his wife's death and Rebecca hated him a little for that. She did everything she could to make sure Chelsea got all the attention her dad wasn't willing to give her.

Rebecca's mother had been a free spirit when she'd been alive and she'd given Rebecca all the space she'd needed to become an independent little woman - her mother had always called her 'little woman' instead of 'young lady'. As long as Rebecca hadn't gotten in trouble her mother hadn't cared what she'd done. Rebecca usually had good judgment. Robert had been sterner, always, and instead of meeting in the middle, he had always wanted things his way. It had grated on Rebecca's nerves. And it had been an arguing point between Robert and his wife their whole marriage.

Rebecca had stayed out of it for the most part. She hadn't wanted to put herself in the middle of it and have to choose sides. She hadn't wanted to have to be the referee either.

Then her mother had gotten pregnant and Robert had done a 180. He'd become nicer, he'd been excited about the baby. Rebecca had been . . . a little reluctant to be happy about a new baby. She'd barely turned seventeen when she'd found out her mother was pregnant and she hadn't wanted to be rude, but she'd had a feeling she'd be the one who would end up taking care of it. Now, looking back, she'd happily have offered to take care of the baby as long as her mom would've made it through the labor.

Honestly . . . Rebecca had resented her sister too when the doctor had told her that her mom hadn't survived. That had all changed when she'd seen her sister there wrapped in a pink blanket, all small and defenseless, and Rebecca had known she needed to take care of her, raise her as if she were her own. It wasn't until after Chelsea was born that Rebecca had learned that her mother had had other pregnancies before but she'd always miscarried; for her to have carried Chelsea full term . . . It had put a strain on her body and her mother had been well aware that that had been a risk, but, like any good mother would have, she chose to risk her life so her daughter could live.

Robert hadn't even come to see Chelsea at the nursery in the hospital; Rebecca had stayed there. That was when resentment had begun to build. Robert had begun to drink and had become pretty much unresponsive to anything; nothing had seemed to touch him anymore. Then arguments began. Small things at first because Rebecca hadn't wanted to just blurt out that he was being stupid and he shouldn't blame Chelsea because his wife had made her choice. But eventually she did say that and he gave her the silent treatment for a whole day after that.

Rebecca had tried to get him to take care of Chelsea a few times by leaving them together alone, but when she'd returned home Chelsea wouldn't have been fed or changed; she'd been practically ignored. That caused an argument too. Chelsea was a baby, she couldn't take care of herself and Robert hadn't even tried.

Things had escalated a few weeks ago. Robert had worked for some construction company outside of town, but he'd quit. Rebecca had acted like a wife and not a daughter and had told him how stupid he'd been by doing that; how were they going to pay the bills because she couldn't work. She had to go to school and take care of Chelsea. He'd told her he worked for the Founder's Council now, which was a group of the founding families of Mystic Falls, Virginia. He was also a part-time alcoholic now. He had changed, too, he'd become more strict with her. The older she was getting, the more rules he gave her.

It was an argument waiting to happen; she despised being told what to do.

Rebecca didn't understand him, or maybe she didn't want to understand him. He had serious emotional problems and he needed help. She didn't get why he was so stern with her, anyway. She hardly ever did anything bad and when she did it didn't hurt anyone, so . . . she didn't get what the big deal was.

Rebecca was more like her mother had been, only not as extreme. Rebecca was a senior at Mystic Falls High School; it was a normal enough high school for a small town. You had your jocks, your cheerleaders, your stoners, and your loners. . . Yep, fully functional high school. Rebecca didn't know where exactly she fit in. She didn't really have a clique; she got along with everyone. For the most part, with a few exceptions. But most everyone loved her.

Rebecca was about 5'5" with long honey-blond hair. The wavy but not bushy locks came down to her waist. Sometimes she had problems with it, but she would never cut it off. She liked it too much. She had a cherub-like face. Her eyes were light green and people always complimented them. She had a straight nose that led down to a perfectly full mouth. Her teeth were white and straight, if not perfect. But who needed perfection? Perfection was boring.

Her body was full-figured, shaped like an hourglass. She didn't have to work too hard for it; she was almost always on the move anyway. She didn't weigh that much, but she still had to wear a size 12 in jeans because of her damnable hips, the only semi-large thing on her body.

"Rebecca, Bonnie's here!" her dad's voice carried to her room. They lived in a one story house, so Rebecca could hear him fine.

"Coming!" Rebecca took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was show time.

Outside, Rebecca hopped into Bonnie's white car. Elena was already there.

Bonnie Bennett had perfect caramel-colored skin - sometimes Rebecca was envious, but not in a bad way; she just thought the girl's skin was gorgeous. Bonnie had hazel green eyes and a pretty smile. She was nice and a good friend.

Elena Gilbert had olive skin, chocolate brown eyes and matching hair. Her eyes used to be so full of life; now they weren't. Elena had had it hard that summer, too. Her parents had driven off a bridge with her in the backseat. She'd made it; they hadn't. She had survivor's guilt and she thought it was her fault they were dead. She'd skipped out on Family Night and when they'd picked her up . . . that had happened.

Rebecca squeezed Elena's shoulder as she got in the backseat. Silent support, that was Rebecca's forte. She did not do the verbal support thing. She was not good at it.

"So Grams is telling me I'm psychic," Bonnie said as she drove away from Rebecca's house.

Rebecca listened but also looked back in worry. Hopefully Robert wouldn't just ignore Chelsea while Rebecca was away. He only had to spend a little time with her; Carol Lockwood was going to pick her up in about an hour. Carol was not Rebecca's most favorite person in the world, but she tolerated the woman. Jessica Stone, Rebecca's mom, had worked with her a lot when she was alive, and Carol had nothing to do all day, so. . .

"I know, crazy, but she's going on and on about it, and I'm like 'Put this woman in a home already.' But I started thinking, I predicted Obama, and I predicted Heath Ledger. And I still think Florida will break off and turn into little resort islands."

Talk about somebody going on and on about it, Rebecca thought fondly.

That was the joy of being with Bonnie and Elena. All three of them could be completely up front with each other. They'd known each other since they'd been in diapers.

"Elena! Back in the car," Bonnie teased.

They'd been driving past the cemetery where Elena's parents had been buried and again Rebecca squeezed Elena's shoulder. Elena wasn't alone and she needed to know that.

"I did it again, didn't I? I'm sorry, Bonnie, you were telling me that. . ."

"That I'm psychic now," Bonnie finished.

"Right. Okay, then predict something about me," Elena requested semi-playfully.

"Hey, don't make fun. There are actual psychics out there," Rebecca said. "Excluding Miss Cleo and all the other phone line ones."

Before either girl could respond, Bonnie was slamming on the brakes because a big black thing had hit the windshield. Then the car came to a screeching halt.

"What was that?" Bonnie freaked.

"God, who taught you how to drive, Bonnie?" Rebecca half-teased. Her heart was pitter-pattering all over the place. Her breathing was shallow, but she made herself breathe deeply and then, as a safety measure, she snapped her seatbelt shut. Better late than never.

"Oh, my God, Elena, are you okay?"

Right. Elena had even more reason to be freaked out by the almost accident then her and Bonnie did. Rebecca felt a small jolt of guilt for not thinking of that before.

"It's okay. I'm fine."

"It was a bird or something. It came out of nowhere," Bonnie said.

Poor bird, Rebecca thought. Hopefully it had died on impact and wasn't off suffering somewhere.

"Really. I can't be freaked out by cars for the rest of my life."

Bonnie gave a small smile. "I predict this year is going to be kick-ass. I predict that all the sad and dark times are over and you are going to be beyond happy."

Elena smiled for Bonnie's sake and then they were off.

At school they ran into Matt Donovan, Elena's ex. He was sweet; he hadn't done anything to cause the breakup. Elena had just been going through a rough time. Matt was that nice guy-next-door type of person. Honest, open, sincere. Then Elena had dumped him and he'd been hurt. Which royally sucked because Elena and Matt had been friends since the sandbox age.

Rebecca got along with Matt okay. He never pushed himself on her; they didn't see each other that way. She could spend time with him and feel no pressure. He was still a good friend, very protective, watched out for the people he cared about. He had it hard, Matt did. Him mom was never around, he didn't know his dad, and his sister was a drug addict.

Then there was Caroline Forbes. Stereotypical cheerleader and Rebecca hated stereotyping people but there it was. Yup. Caroline was also one of the few people in the history of people that Rebecca had to force herself to get along with. She could only stand Caroline in small doses. She might go crazy if she had to put up with Caroline all the time.

"Oh, my God. Elena, how are you? Oh, it's so good to see you."

Caroline meant well, Rebecca knew that, but Caroline lacked a thing called tact. It wasn't her fault, she just didn't get it. Also sometimes she could be a little too peppy for Rebecca.

"How is she? Is she good?" Caroline asked Bonnie and Rebecca.

"Caroline, I'm right here. And I'm fine, thank you."


"Yes, much better."

If Elena was fine and feeling better, then how come her response sounded like a well-rehearsed line?

"Aw, you poor thing." Caroline pulled Elena in for a hug.

"It's okay, Caroline." Elena seemed to be reaching her Caroline quota, too.

"Okay, see you guys later?"

"Okay, bye."

Elena tried to be perky when she waved. Then when Caroline was out of earshot Rebecca, Elena and Bonnie giggled.

"No comment," Elena said. "I'm not even gonna say anything."

They weren't making fun of Caroline. They weren't. But some of Caroline's actions just pulled that response from them.

As they passed by the main office Bonnie stopped them, which was good because Rebecca suddenly got a weird feeling that made her stop mid-step anyway. What the hell? It was almost like that weird feeling one gets when they feel they're being watched, that hair-raising spooked feeling. It faded away slowly, but she still wondered what the feeling had been about.

"Hold up, who's this?"

"All I see is back," Elena said.

Bonnie had been looking at a boy who was in the main office talking to the woman behind the desk.

"It's a nice back."

Rebecca just rolled her eyes and smiled fondly at the two.

"That's my cue to leave. Boy talk so isn't for me. I'll see you guys at lunch."

Rebecca was a year ahead of the other two and that sadly meant she didn't share their classes. Thinking back to their conversation . . . Rebecca liked guys, she did, but she'd tried the dating thing in junior year and it just wasn't for her. She wanted more than some guy looking for a piece of ass. Not all guys were like that, she knew that. But most guys her age were running on hormones; they wanted you for the night and they hoped you were gone the next morning so they wouldn't have to awkwardly and rudely kick you out.

Forgetting the male species for the moment, Rebecca checked her locker combination on the sheet of paper every Mystic Falls High student had received in the mail. Her locker was in the English Hall, which was okay since that was her first class.

The day went by slowly. Most of the teachers only handed out the 'Rules of the Classroom' sheets - like the students hadn't learned by now. But then there was Mr. Tanner, the history teacher. As soon as Rebecca walked in the door she'd known she was not going to like him. He enjoyed humiliating his students.

Luckily though, that was her last class. She met Bonnie and Elena and Matt in the hallway and stopped to chat just a little. Elena had been eye-flirting with some guy - new guy - and Matt had noticed. So had Bonnie. Rebecca didn't comment on that since Matt was still around, but she'd probably bring it up later.

Caroline had been waiting near Bonnie's locker and Rebecca had had her fill of Caroline earlier so she went on to her own locker. Elena followed her.

"Hey, are you okay? You seem even quieter than normal," Elena asked. She was probably referring to the fact that Rebecca didn't see the need to fill every silence with conversation, sometimes quiet was nice.

Rebecca nodded. "Yeah. It's, um . . . Did Bonnie tell you about my dad?"

"The basics. I don't think she wanted me to worry about you."

"Oh. . . Well, we argued again last night about Chelsea. He wouldn't even agree to baby-sitting today. He didn't have to work or anything, he just wouldn't. He's driving me insane. Sometimes I just wanna scream."

"I'm really sorry I haven't -" Elena began.

"Hey, you had your own problems to deal with." Dead parents totally overrode arguing with one.

"No excuse. I've been a bad friend."

"Elena! Rebecca!" Caroline came up behind them. "We're all gonna meet at the Grill later. Wanna come?"

"U-um. . ." Damn Caroline and her need to be around people all the time. "Maybe. I'll let you know. My dad's been on this whole keep-Rebecca-at-home kick. I'll ask."

"Why? Did you do something wrong?"

"No. He just likes laying down the law. But I'll be there if he lets me."

"Cool. Elena, you in?"

Elena smiled softly. "I'm in."

At home the Grill question almost caused another argument but only because Rebecca's dad was drinking. She really wanted to know what his problem was. Whatever it was, it couldn't be as bad as he was making it out to be. It couldn't just be Chelsea and it couldn't just be Jessica; something else had to be wrong.

Eventually he relented and he gave her the keys to his car, a new Mustang - not new-new; it was a couple of years old, but still . . . Fairly new. He told her to be home by ten and he also gave her the don't-take-candy-from-a-stranger speech. Okay, the last part was stretching it a little; point was he needed to lighten up.

"Yeah, yeah. I'll be home by ten. Love you." That last part was sort of automatic and she wasn't sure she meant it anymore.

As she made her way to the Grill she jammed on whatever was on the radio. Nickleback and other alternative rock like that. It took maybe five minutes to get to the restaurant, the local hangout. There wasn't a whole lot of town to Mystic Falls, Virginia. And there weren't many hangout spots. There was the Grill and then a party place down by the Falls.

Rebecca had on a blue shirt that had pockets in the front and dark wash jeans with sneakers. These were her usual clothing; modest and not too revealing. She usually liked to keep everything covered that needed to be covered. She really didn't need to show off any skin; she was aware she had a nice body. It was all thanks to years of gymnastics and color guard.

She ran into Caroline and Bonnie at the entrance of the Grill and Caroline greeted her with her overenthusiastic self. That part was okay about her. She made you feel she was happy to see you when she saw you. Even if she'd seen you not even two hours ago.

"Dad took a chill pill, huh?" Caroline asked.

"Uh, sort of. But I have a curfew now. Bummer, I know, but why fight it?"

Rebecca looked around. There were older people at the bar in the front; the younger generation was gathered around the foosball table, the pool table, and the dartboard. Girls were hanging off of guys arms; some of the jocks were being loud and obnoxious.

She saw Jeremy Gilbert, Elena's younger brother, trailing Vicki Donovan, Matt's older sister. He had a crush, Rebecca guessed. Jeremy was one of those troubled kids that you can't help but feel sorry for, but then on the other hand, you don't want to encourage the troubled behavior either.

And Vicki was even worse. She had no self-esteem and she let guys treat her like crap.

Case in point: Tyler Lockwood. Football player with anger issues. He was another person Rebecca had a hard time getting along with. He was a dick and he hit on pretty much anything with a vagina. He'd tried getting in Rebecca's pants a few times, but she eventually told him to piss off. If he could prove he wanted more than sex then she'd be willing, but he never had proved it. She'd even gone out with him for a few weeks; she'd given him a chance, and he'd blown it.

Back to the present: Vicki and Tyler. Rebecca hoped Vicki knew what she was getting herself into.

"Hey, you okay?" Bonnie asked, grabbing Rebecca's hand. Bonnie sort of spaced out. She was dazed, far away. What the hell? "Oh, sorry." She drew her hand away. "Uh, spaced out."

"Yeah, obviously. Are you okay?" Rebecca was happy she could take the attention off of herself.

"Yeah, uh, I just do that sometimes."

"Oh, okay. Well, don't do that while you're driving," Rebecca teased, though it did worry her; people didn't just space out like that for no reason.

Having successfully diverted Bonnie's attention, Rebecca turned to Caroline. "So . . . have you heard from Elena? How come she's not here yet?"

"I don't know. She's probably trying to find the perfect thing to wear."

Of course Caroline was worried about her clothes. Or everyone's clothes, actually. Elena, however, wasn't that obsessed with fashion. Yeah, she wanted to look good, but . . . fashion, not her top priority.

"Anyway, what about that new guy?" Bonnie said. "He's in our history class."

"His name is Stefan Salvatore. He lives with his uncle up at the old Salvatore boardinghouse. He lived here when he was kid. Military family; he moved around a lot.

"You got all that in one day?" Bonnie asked.

"Please, I got all that between third and fourth period. We're planning a June wedding," Caroline said.

Rebecca bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing. Boy crazy Caroline. Wow. She was going to get herself in trouble one day.

"So, uh, anyway . . . I'm gonna go talk to Jeremy. He looks kind of lonely." Vicki must have blown him off, it looked like. "See you guys later."

She made her way over to Jeremy's table and plopped down in a chair. "Hey, Jer."

"Hey, Becca. What's up?"

"Not a darn thing," she said. "Uh, I actually wanted to talk to you about Vicki. I know you like her, so . . . look out for her, okay? Tyler can be a dick when he wants to be."

"Check that." Jeremy looked shyly down at the table. "I like talking to you. You make me feel like I'm not the messed up kid who lost his parents."

"Mm. That's because I don't care if you think you need to get high sometimes. Everybody needs an escape once in a while. Though I do recall when yours used to be drawing."

"Yeah . . . Not so much anymore."

Things between Jeremy and Rebecca were good and easy. She'd known him his whole life and they had the brother-sister thing down to a T. The good I-can-talk-to-you-about-anything relationship, not the bad we-fight-all-the-time relationship.

"Not finding the inspiration you need?"

"Absolutely not."

"I know how that feels."

Rebecca loved singing and writing her own songs and playing her own music, but ever since her mother had died and she'd had to take care of Chelsea she hadn't had time to do much of it. Writing was something she and Elena shared. They'd written together as far back as she could remember.

"Can I get you anything?" Vicki appeared beside Rebecca and smiled a little.

"Uh, Coke, please."

"Comin' right up." Then she walked away without even acknowledging Jeremy.

"Okay, um . . . I'll be right back. Just tell her to leave the drink here."

"Will do. Um . . . Are you okay? You seem a little different."

Crap. Could everyone tell she wasn't herself?

"Uh, yeah. Uh, just stuff over the summer." She hadn't talked to him, either, about her dad because of his parents deaths. And despite the fact that he was a guy, he was surprisingly sensitive when he wanted to be.

"Well, if you wanna talk about it. . ." Jeremy offered, looking at her with his puppy dog eyes.

Rebecca sighed, feeling her throat swell. She hadn't cried about her dad, ever, and she'd barely cried about her mother. With taking care of Chelsea she hadn't really had time to grieve properly. Rebecca had tried to ignore the pain from it, for the most part, but with Jeremy asking about it she couldn't ignore it anymore. She couldn't ignore it because her throat hurt with the emotion she was trying to contain, because her eyes were stinging with unshed tears.

"Hey, come on. I'm - I'm gonna go tell Vicki to forget that drink, okay?" He touched her arm lightly. "We'll go somewhere and we'll talk, okay?"

Oh, no. He was going to make her feel even worse. Alone, she could handle it, could pretend everything was fine. She couldn't pretend anymore.

"I don't . . . um . . . I don't wanna talk about it, but I wouldn't mind hanging out with you for a while."

"Sure, okay, whatever."

"Okay, just give me a minute. I have to go to the bathroom."

Rebecca didn't really have to use the bathroom, she just wanted to get herself under control before facing Jeremy. She preferred to do her crying alone, not with an audience and especially not with a male audience. One could never really tell how a guy would react when confronted with tears, some downright freaked out.

When she began feeling a little better she left the bathroom to go back to Jeremy, but she ran into someone. A guy in a leather jacket. Though she was more focused on his eyes. They were the prettiest blue eyes she'd ever seen. The first thing she could think of was island oceans- that was the color they were.

"Oh, um, sorry. My total bad," she said when she remembered how to speak. And she realized she felt that weird feeling she'd felt earlier, which was bad timing really, but she chalked it up to running into someone.

"No problem. It happens."

The guy had his hands on Rebecca's arms; he'd stopped her from plowing into him too hard. But now it was like . . . there was an electric current flowing from him to her. It surprised her. Apparently he felt it too because he pulled his hands away quickly.

Rebecca realized she was openly staring at him, this guy she didn't know, and looked away. God, even if she never saw him again . . . she would remember his eyes forever.

"So, Miss Girl-who-ran-into-me. You got a name?"

She looked up, surprised that he'd even asked her name. The guy was older by at least five years. Again she got stuck on his eyes.

"Rebecca. You?"

He smirked and she had to admit it was sexy. "Damon. It's nice to meet you, Miss Rebecca."

When she went to shake his hand he brought it to his lips to kiss the back of it. She bit her lip, let out a shaky breath, and felt her cheeks grow warm. She hadn't gotten flustered from a guy in a very long time, but she was sure getting flustered now. Over someone she didn't even know. Jeeze. And she was still staring into his eyes. It was like she couldn't look away.

"You have the most beautiful blue eyes," she whispered sincerely, acutely away he still had her hand in his. When her mind caught up with her actions she flushed further and she drew her hand away. "God, I'm sorry. I have this condition called word vomit. Whenever I'm thinking something it usually just spews out of my mouth."

Damon smirked again. "It's okay. I have to say I was a little shocked, you being so honest, but it's refreshing." He let a genuine grin grace his lips and her heart skipped a beat. "Let me guess, you're a terrible liar."

"God, yes. I smile or blush or . . . Uh, you know what? I'm gonna stop now. I don't know you, and I'm probably boring you, so. . ."

"Oh, on the contrary, I find you very interesting." His eyes did this weird but sexy, almost flirty, thing and his smirk fell back into place. "If you want, we could grab some coffee, talk some more."

Rebecca wasn't the type to cozy up to people she just met, but she found herself really wanting to with this guy. Too bad she already had plans with Jeremy.

"Wow, I would, but someone's waiting for me."

"Well, of course they are." He did the eye thing again. "You're a very lovely girl, why wouldn't they be?"

She blushed again at the compliment and noticed his smirk grew smirkier; he'd made her blush on purpose.

"No, it's not like that." She had no reason why she felt like she needed to justify herself to this guy; she barely knew him. "He's just a friend, I promised we'd hang. Rain check?"

"Tomorrow? Around five?" he asked.

"Sure. I'll be here."

"Great. See you then."

"Yup. It was nice meeting you, Damon."

When Rebecca got back to Jeremy they went outside, but ran into Elena and the new guy, Stefan. Elena introduced him to the two and he seemed nice enough. His eyes were forest green and he had a brooding forehead. Uh-oh. He was one of those I'm-dark-and-broody-so-give-me-love types. Half of the female population would be hooked by the end of the week.

Stefan and Rebecca shook hands and he gave a small smile but kept quiet for the most part.

"Were you guys leaving already?" Elena asked, looking at Jeremy suspiciously. God, give the kid a break already. Elena meant well, but sometimes her trying to help people came off as sticking her nose in other people's business.

"Yeah, um, we were gonna hang at my place for a little bit. I'll bring him home later."

Elena relaxed a little when Rebecca said she'd be with him. Elena knew Rebecca's dad didn't hold with minors drinking even though he could drink his own self stupid.

"Um . . . It was nice meeting you, Stefan. I'll see you guys in school."

After that Jeremy and Rebecca got into the Mustang and then they took off towards her house. Then she remembered she needed to pick up Chelsea - she hoped Carol hadn't had much of a problem.

It wasn't even eight yet; she figured her dad couldn't get mad at her for hanging out with Jeremy at the house and Jeremy didn't really have a curfew, and Jenna - Jeremy and Elena's aunt - liked Rebecca anyway. Jenna was their legal guardian. Miranda Gilbert had been Jenna's sister and had named Jenna as sole guardian. She was pretty laid back as a parental unit, so. . .

Jeremy and Rebecca didn't talk in the car, they just listened to the radio in comfortable silence. He kept looking at her, though. If she hadn't known it was out of concern for her, she would've been annoyed.

After picking up Chelsea they went straight to her house. When she pulled into her driveway she just sat there with the car on for a minute. She felt better than she had in a while just from being in some guy's presence for about five minutes. That wasn't like her. It was strange and a little scary.

"Becca? What's up with you? You were almost in tears before you went in the bathroom, now you can barely stop smiling. Did you get laid or something?" he teased the last part.

"Jer!" She smacked him in the arm hard, and he chuckled. "Look, Jer, I know I'm acting strange, but remember I said I didn't want to talk about it. Let's just be Jeremy and Rebecca, okay? We'll have fun. Come on."

They'd decided to get out just in time to keep Chelsea from crying - the poor baby hated being strapped in a car seat.

They went in and her dad didn't even say anything about her bringing a guy home; probably because he knew Jeremy and he knew she wasn't interested. Her dad was watching the television and reading the newspaper at the same time. He had an untouched glass of some kind of alcoholic beverage on the coffee table in front of him; at least it was untouched.

"Hey, uh, Jeremy and I are gonna hang out here for a while. I'll drive him home later."

"Yeah, okay," her dad said. "But be careful. There have been a couple animal attacks recently. Read this."

Rebecca sighed when he handed her the newspaper. Front page news: Bodies Found Mutilated by Animals.

Two local residents reported missing were found dead after police discovered their abandoned vehicle on highway.

The two victims had been a couple, both between the ages of twenty and twenty-five. They'd both just been starting out in life; they'd died way too young.

"Um . . . Did the animal get into the car or something? It was the middle of the night, why did they abandon their car?" That was kind of a dumb thing to do, to get out of your car at night and go gallivanting around the woods. That was just asking for trouble.

"Well, I don't know what happened. Sheriff Forbes said it looked like they hit something. The windshield was completely busted in.

"Okay, well, I'll be careful, Dad. I promise." Then, "Come on, Jer, let's go to my room."

"Keep the door open," her dad said, though there was a slight tease to his voice. He did have his moments, which was why Rebecca couldn't bring herself to hate him completely.

"Yeah, yeah."

Rebecca had a Playstation 2 and they both liked racing games. She even had those racing wheel things.

"So, ready to get your butt whipped?" she teased as she placed Chelsea in her crib. Yes, she allowed her sister to sleep in her room with her even though everyone told her she'd regret it later.

"I think you'll find there will be an exchange of butts. I'm better at this game, you know that."

"Yeah, but who's to say I haven't been practicing? I might be able to take you now."

Jeremy was being honest enough; he was better at this game than her. The only games she was good at were the Guitar Hero series. No pun intended, but she totally rocked at those games.

They played the road courses on the NASCAR game, which had her running into everything there was to run over.

"So, are you going to that party tomorrow night?" Jeremy asked.

"Back to school thing at the Falls? I don't know. Not really the celebrating school type."

He shrugged. "A party's a party. It could be fun."

"Yeah, yeah. I don't know, I'll think about it, okay? I'll have to find someone to watch Chelsea."

"Jenna wouldn't mind."


She was still mindful of a certain guy she'd just met that she was supposed to get coffee with. She was actually a little nervous, which was weird because usually guys didn't affect her that way.

"And . . . I beat you again."

She playfully knocked the controller from his hand as he crossed the finish line.

"You cheat! You're a cheater!"

"No," he laughed. "You just suck."

They played a few more games and then her dad offered to drive Jeremy home instead of her doing it. Safety measures and all that. He was so paranoid. And she hoped he hadn't been drinking if he was going to be driving.

Her dad took a brown bag that Rebecca had never seen before with him; it looked heavy. He held it against his chest protectively. God, he was acting so strange lately. Maybe he'd finally snapped and gone crazy. Whatever the reason was for his odd behavior . . . it wasn't Rebecca's problem. He obviously didn't want her help, so he could just deal with it on his own.

Okay, so what do you guys think? Continue? Don't continue? FYI: I allow anonymous reviews because I know not everyone has an account. If you chose to review, let me know what you think about Rebecca's interactions with the characters. Anyway, hope you enjoyed. By the way, if you didn't figure it out . . . Damon is not just being nice. LOL. Of course he has a reason to act the way he is.