Home > The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(10)

The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(10)
Author: L.J. Smith

Vivian leaned excitedly toward Mary Jane. “So the repel spel worked?”

“Wel , sort of,” Mary Jane said. “I couldn’t hold it for too long. Samuel broke through and was about to kil me, but then Stefan stepped in.”

“Al right,” Gus said, turning his attention to me. “So, let’s say we do come up with a few spel s to defeat Samuel and help you save your brother. What’s in it for us? Why should we risk our lives for you?”

“I can get you out of here,” I said confidently. “Into a far better home.”

“Can you, vampire?” The door slammed shut as a girl entered the room. She strode toward me and pressed her index finger into my chest. Her face was al angles, reminding me of a bird, and her dishwater-blond hair was lifeless and strawlike. She wasn’t pretty, except for her large gray eyes, which darted back and forth as if she were a wolf tracking its prey. It was clear that Jemima acted as the ring-leader of this particular group, simultaneously serving as both mother and disciplinarian. I knew she was trying to protect the house, but I stil didn’t appreciate her distrustful gaze.

Beneath her touch, my skin began to burn. I shifted uncomfortably. What was she doing?

“I’m Stefan, and this is my friend Cora. We’re friends of Mary Jane’s. I saved her life last night.”

“So I heard. The house isn’t exactly big. I know who you are. And how exactly do you plan to get us out of here? Wil you lie? Compel? Kil a family, then steal their home?”

“Jemima, stop it,” Mary Jane said sharply. “We owe him something.”

“I don’t owe him anything,” Jemima said, keeping her steady gaze on me. “Mary Jane, you almost got kil ed. I know he saved you, but how do you know he has your best interests at heart? You know vampires don’t have beating hearts, let alone souls. That’s why…” She stopped short.

“That’s why I need to ask him a few questions. Get him to reveal his intentions,” she said cryptical y.

“Go ahead, I have no secrets,” I said. The truth shall set you free. It had been one of my father’s favorite quotations and his motivation for naming our Virginia estate Veritas—

Latin for “truth.” I hoped the wisdom applied equal y to vampires and humans.

“How many people have you kil ed?” Jemima asked, her voice dropping to a whisper.

voice dropping to a whisper.

I glanced around the room, knowing nobody would like my answers. Even Cora was gazing at me quizzical y, a hardened expression in her eyes. In the semidarkness, surrounded by six pairs of glittering eyes, I felt like the witches could peer into my mind and know what I was thinking even before I said it. I had to tel the truth. But I wasn’t even sure if I knew it myself.

I racked my brain, pul ing memories from Mystic Fal s and New Orleans as if turning back the pages of a book. I knew every painful detail of my first kil —my father. I remembered the sweet, smoky blood of Clementine Haverford, the fresh, lilac-scented blood of my victim on the train to New Orleans, as wel as al the faceless humans who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time…

“Can’t even remember, can you?” Jemima asked in disgust. “See, their destruction has no boundaries.”

“I have kil ed, it’s true. More than I wish I had. But I haven’t in a long time, and I don’t feed on humans,” I said, choosing my words careful y.

Jemima’s flinty gray eyes softened slightly, “That, at least, is the truth.”

“It’s al I have,” I said. “I can’t change the past. But I want to change the future. And I don’t want Samuel to kil my brother.”

“So is that how you see it?” Jemima asked, turning to the witches as if she were a lawyer speaking to a jury.

“Because you saved Mary Jane’s life, we owe it to you to save your brother’s life?”

save your brother’s life?”

“If that’s how you want to see it, yes.” I expected Jemima to argue. But instead, she merely laughed, a sharp snort that punctuated the tense silence that had fal en in the room.

“You’re smart, vampire. You know better than to lie your way into my good graces. I think we might be able to work something out. Besides, I don’t like vampires, so I’m al for getting rid of one who’s been causing trouble.”

“Thank you,” I said grateful y.

Jemima held up her hand. “Don’t thank me til I’ve done something. Of course, the fact that you don’t feed on human blood comes with complications, doesn’t it? Vivian, we’re going to need some eleuthro. Actual y, better find enough for the lot of us,” she said. Instantly, Vivian scrambled to her feet and raced down the stairs. Jemima leaned toward me.

I flinched, sure she was about to touch me and set off the same burning sensation she had a moment ago. But she didn’t. Instead, she yanked a single hair from my head.

“What’s eleuthro?” I asked, my tongue tripping over the unfamiliar word.

“A potion,” Jemima said briefly. “But don’t you worry about that. First things first, let’s find where Samuel’s keeping your brother.” She dropped the strand of hair into the fire. “What’s his name?”

“Damon. Damon Salvatore,” I said, picturing the classic half-smirk my brother wore when he introduced himself to beautiful women. But my thoughts were interrupted by Jemima’s chants.

Two blood brothers, separated by land or sea With this lock bring him to thee.

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