The Return: Vol. 3 Midnight
For Anne, the animal-whisperer With thanks to the real Princess Jessalyn, and to Louise Beaudry for her help with French translations.
1 Elena Gilbert put down the pen reluctantly. Shutting her
diary… 2 Elena couldn’t have been out for more than a few… 3 Damon leaped. Somewhere in the middle of the leap Elena… 4“First,”Meredith asked, “is Damon right? If you go back… 5 “I thought you wanted to get out so we could… 6 Bonnie couldn’t get to sleep after Damon’s words to her. 7 Bonnie was in her new first-floor bedroom, and was feeling… 8
Damon nodded thoughtfully, glancing back and forth between the fighting… 9 Damon dropped his hand. He simply couldn’t make himself do… 10 Damon was making his way up thebeautiful rose-covered trellis… 11 When M. le Princess Jessalyn D’Aubigne had drunk her fill of… 12 “Stefan. Stefan!”Elena had been too nervous to stay out… 13 Elena, sleeping serenely with one hand locked onto Stefan’s, knew… 14
The next morning Elena noticed that Meredith still looked pale… 15 Bonnie woke slowly, coming up from some dark place. 16 “Once upon a time,”began Bonnie, “there were ayoung… 17 Meredith and Matt were sitting at the breakfast table, which… 18 After breakfast Matt went online to find two stores, neither… 19 Bonnie decided, with seconds precious and seeming to stretch for… 20 Meredith usually found her parents funny and silly and dear.
21 Someone was still knocking on Stefan’s door. 22 “Mama said not in Fell’s Church,”Mrs. Flowers repeated to Stefan. 23 In thecar, Matt sat by the sleeping Meredith with… 24 Stefan woke early. He spent the time from dawn until… 25 “Sleeping in the storage room with every wall covered in… 26 “Now you know how it’s done?”Elena asked Meredith. “You… 27 Stefan whirled around and saw Bonnie, with only a towel…
28 Elena was nodding slowly. “It would work with what happened… 29 “Oi!”Damon shouted from outside thepalanquin. “Is anybody else… 30 “Strip to your underwear and get in on the other… 31 Elena woke up feeling stiff and cramped. But that wasn’t… 32 “Damon doesn’t mean to be such a—a bastard,”Bonnie said… 33 Elena was waiting for the fog to disperse. It had… 34
“You’ve been fed and taken care of as best as… 35 Elena felt as if she had been doing nothing in… 36 Matt broke a lot of traffic rules on theway… 37 Then Meredith saw something that was not smoke or fire. 38 Damon had stopped and was kneeling behind an enormous broken… 39 Elena clutched the child to her. Damon had understood, even… 40 But after an endless time in the soft, kind darkness,… 41
Stefan didn’t move or speak for long moments. Elena’s heart… 42 “It’s not a problem,”the fair ruler, Ryannen, said unexpectedly. 43 “Elena?”Stefansaid quietly. “Could you ask me to come… 44 On the smallest moon of the Nether World fine ash… About the Author Other Books by L. J. Smith Credits Copyright About the Publisher
1 “Dear Diary, I’m so frightened I can hardly hold this pen. I’m printing rather than writing in cursive, because that way I have more control. What am I terrified of, you ask? And when I say “of Damon”you don’t believethe answer, not if you’d seen the two of us a few days ago. But to understand, you have to know a few facts. Have you ever heard the phrase “All bets are off”? It means that anything, anything, can happen. So that even somebody who figures out odds and takes bets from people gives them back their money. Because a wild card has entered the situation. You can’t even figure the odds to
take a bet.That’s where I am. That’s why my heart is pounding in my throat and head and ears and fingertips in fear.
All bets are off.
You can see how shaky even my printing is. Suppose my hands shake like this when I go in to see him? I might drop
the tray. I might annoy Damon. And then anything might happen. I’m not explaining this right. What I should be saying is that we’re back: Damon...