Home > Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(4)

Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3)(4)
Author: L.J. Smith

"Then why don't you try my blood?"Elena asked, sounding unexpectedly calm.

"I can't,"Damon said, trying not to eye the dainty ruby necklace flowing down Elena's slim white throat.

"I already cut myself,"Elena said, and Damon thought, Cut herself? Ye gods, the girl was priceless. As if she'd had a little kitchen accident.

"So we might as wel see what human blood tastes like to you now,"Elena said.

"No."

"You know that you're going to. I know you know. But we don't have much time. My blood won't flow forever. Oh, Damon -

after everything...just last week - "

He was looking at her too long, he knew. Not just at the blood. At the glorious golden beauty of her, as if the child of a sunbeam and a moonbeam had entered his room and was harmlessly bathing him in light.

With a hiss, narrowing his eyes, Damon took hold of Elena's arms. He expected an automatic recoil like the one when he'd grabbed her from behind. But there was no movement backward. Instead there was something like the leap of an eager flame in those wide malachite eyes. Elena's lips parted involuntarily.

He knew it was involuntarily. He'd had many years to study young women's responses. He knew what it meant when her gaze went first to his lips before lifting to his eyes.

I can't kiss her again. I can't. It's a human weakness, the way she affects me. She doesn't realize what it is to be so young and so impossibly beautiful. She's going to learn someday.

In fact, I might accidental y teach her now.

As if she could hear him, Elena shut her eyes. She let her head fal back and suddenly Damon found himself half-supporting her weight. She was surrendering al thought of herself, showing him that despite everything she stil trusted him, stil ......stil loved him.

Damon himself didn't know what he was going to do as he bent toward her. He was starving. It tore at him like a wolf's claws, the hunger. It made him feel dazed and dizzy and out of control. Half a thousand years had left him believing that the only thing that would relieve the starvation was the crimson fountain of a cut artery. Some dark voice that might have come from the Infernal Court itself whispered that he could do what some vampires did, ripping a throat like a werewolf. Warm flesh might ease the starvation of a human.

What would he do, so close to Elena's lips, so close to her bleeding throat?

Two tears slipped from under the dark lashes and slid a little way down her face before dropping into golden hair. Damon found himself tasting one before he could think.

Stil a maiden. Wel , that was to be expected; Stefan was too weak to stand yet. But on top of the cynical thought came an image, and just a few words: a spirit as pure as driven snow.

He suddenly knew a different hunger, a different thirst. The only place to ease this need was close by. Desperately, urgently, he sought and found Elena's lips. And then he found himself losing al control. What he needed most was here, and Elena might tremble, but she didn't push him away.

This close, he was bathed in an aura as golden as the hair he was touching gently at the ends. He was pleased himself when she shivered in pleasure, and he realized that he could sense her thoughts. She was a strong projector, and his telepathy was the only Power left to him. He had no idea why he stil had it, but he did. And right now he wanted to tune into Elena.

The wench! She wasn't thinking at al ! Elena had been offering her throat, truly surrendering herself, abandoning al thought but that she wanted to aid him, that his wishes were hers. And now she was too deeply enmeshed in the kiss to even make plans - which was extraordinary for her.

She's in love with you, the tiny part of him that could stil think said.

She's never said so! She's in love with Stefan! something visceral answered.

She doesn't have to say it. She's showing it. Don't pretend you haven't seen it before!

But Stefan - !

Is she thinking about Stefan in the slightest right now? She opened her arms to the wolf-hunger in you. This is no one-day stand, no quick meal, not even a steady donor. This is Elena herself.

Then I've taken advantage of her. If she's in love, she can't protect herself. She's stil a child. I have to do something.

The kisses had now gotten to the point that even the tiny voice of reason was fading. Elena had lost her ability to stand. He was either going to have to put her down somewhere, or give her a chance to back out.

Elena! Elena! Damn it, I know you can hear me. Answer!

Damon?  - faintly. Oh, Damon, now do you understand - ?

Too well, my princess. I Influenced you, so I should know.

You...? No, you're lying!

Why should I lie? For some reason my telepathy is as strong as ever. I still want what I want. But you might want to think a minute, maiden. I don't need to drink your blood. I'm human and right now I'm ravenous. But not for that mess of bloody hamburger you brought me.

Elena broke away from him. Damon let her go.

"I think you're lying,"she said, meeting his eyes directly, her mouth kiss-swol en.

Damon locked the sight of her inside the boulder ful of secrets he dragged around with him. He gave her his best opaque ebony stare. "Why should I lie?"he repeated. "I just thought you deserved a chance to make your own choice. Or have you already decided to abandon little brother while he's out of commission?"

Elena's hand flashed up, but then she dropped it. "You used Influence on me,"she said bitterly. "I'm not myself. I would never abandon Stefan - especial y when he needs me."

There it was, the essential fire at her core, and the fiery golden truth. Now he could sit and let bitterness gnaw at him, while this pure spirit fol owed her conscience.

He was thinking this, already feeling the loss of her dazzling light receding when he realized he no longer had the knife.

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