"How could you do that?"
"Sorry, love, not really in the mood to talk." He's torn half the buttons off his shirt in the act of getting it off and is scrubbing at his face and neck, eyes darting around the room but not really looking at anything.
"If you wanted to hurt Tyler, you could've hurt me."
"I still can. I could rip your heart out and crush it in my hand."
"I hear there's a lot of that going around." She's standing in his doorway with her hard face and her hard eyes and her sweet pastel tones. "Is that why your paintings are lonely? Because you tear the heart out of anyone who has an independent desire or thought?"
"Thin ice, Caroline."
"And you want Tyler to be as alone as you," she pushes on, regardless, like she's not a little lamb baiting a lion – she's not a lamb, but she's a foetus compared to him. She's practically atoms in a pretty dress. "But he has someone, he has me. I'll always stand by him and support him, even when he doesn't want me to, like now. He thinks I could've prevented this, you know. He thinks I could've called you off."
"I am nobody's lapdog, least of all yours." He's not in the mood to kill her but she is intrusive, irreverent of the danger she is in, inexplicably there at exactly the wrong time.
"I told him the same thing."
"Why are you here, Caroline?" The pieces of shirt flutter rather than fly across the room when they are thrown, fluttering like gory confetti. "To tell me that?" He's in front of her, behind her, between her and the door. "To say 'go ahead, rip people's hearts out of their chests, but you can't have mine'? To tell me that underneath, you know I'm really just a lost soul looking for the love I can't get at by killing Tyler's mother or his little hybrid family? Or are you trying to prove to yourself that while logic puts you next on my hit list, you're not afraid of me? You should be." He lifts the hair from her shoulders, steals her cardigan, slips it back over her shoulders again. "I could break your mother like a twig, I could break you or Bonnie or Elena before you even knew I was in the room. You should be absolutely terrified of me."
"Do you want to be lonely?" She asks. "Because I know you care about me, and you still push me away when I come here. You don't kill me the moment you see my face."
"That's because your face is lovely. It's your tongue that I object to. And I don't care about you."
"Would you care if I stood here but didn't speak?"
"Oh, sweetheart." He bends his head to smell the perfume of her throat, not heady human but a heady mix of chemicals, French. "You've never sown your wild oats, massacred a town, turned a river red with their blood. I'd care if you came to me, and that was what you liked to do, and we could do it together."
"That's not true."
"You care about me because I'm – how did you put it? 'Full of light'."
"Tell me how we got from talking about my murdering the mayor to how I feel about you. There couldn't have been another reason for your coming?" She blinks at him. "Nothing to declare or deny, in spite of the monster and murderer I am more than happy to be?"
"You think I care about you?"
"I think that's why you came here tonight. I think you knew if I struck out at Tyler, I'd been betrayed, and that I would fall neatly into your 'lonely' niche and that if you came here, I would be unlikely to pull your spine out on the spot and use it as a slinky. I think you imagine I murder when my trust is misplaced, and that's why I daggered my siblings. I think your tender heart wants to comfort me even as you chastise me about Carol Lockwood."
"Respect the wisdom of your elders, Caroline. I am your elder and the progenitor of your bloodline, after all."
"You make me sick."
"Run along now." He moves like lightning and lies on his back on the bed, points his toes at the far wall, begins to work on the rest of his clothing. "Unless you want to stay and watch. Then we could kill some innocent people and watch a chick flick after."
She doesn't, of course. Poor little lamb, poor little blossom, all that potential waiting to be slaughtered, all that potential withering on the branch. She's heartsick and rejected and hungry to hurt.
Such a pity he feels the same way.