Bella was pretty sure she was dreaming as she found herself sitting in an empty classroom, in a desk at the front of the class as she watched a teacher write his name on the board. It was an odd feeling that made her feel as if she were in detention. The classroom wasn’t familiar to her and she didn’t recognize the teacher, nor his name as she read it on the chalkboard.
Getting a good look at him, she noticed that he was tall. His light brown hair was short and slightly spiky. His face graced a five o’ clock shadow and he had slight dimples as he smiled warmly at her. Bella shifted in her seat uncomfortably, not knowing where she was or who she was with. Then there was the fleeting thought that this man was entirely too handsome to be a teacher. Why couldn’t we have teachers that looked like that in Forks? she thought.
He strode over to her and stood before the desk she was sitting in, “I hope you don’t mind meeting here, this used to be my classroom. I’m Alaric Saltzman, but you can call me Ric. You must be Bella.” He then extended his hand out to her.
She reluctantly placed her small hand within his large one and briefly shook it, “Bella Swan, actually”
Ric chuckled lightly and then eyed her, “I am well aware of who you are, Isabella Marie Swan. You’re eighteen, a senior at Forks High, decent grades, all-around good kid and just got over a recent heartbreak. Then there’s that scar on your wrist from a Cold One.”
Bella’s eyes widened in surprise, “Wow, you really did your homework.”
He smirked and crossed his arms, “I usually do like to do research, especially considering I was a teacher. But in this case, the facts were given to me and I was asked to help you.”
She squinted her eyes, “Why do you keep referring to yourself and your life in past tense and who exactly asked you to help me?” She then crossed her own arms and pursed her lips.
The former teacher met her gaze and smiled wryly at her, “You are very observant… I like that; it will certainly serve you well.”
Bella’s face turned into a small scowl and he chuckled again, “To answer your question, I’ll be blunt. I’m dead.”
Her eyes widened and she gasped, “Dead?”
He stepped closer to her and laid his hands on the desk in front of her, meeting her eye to eye, “Dead as a doornail.”
“Then how are you here?” she asked smartly.
“Now, now, Bella. The question should be; How are you here and why?”
“Well, maybe you’ll be kind enough to answer that, too.” she said with a raised eyebrow.
“You remind me of someone….” He took in the look of impatience that graced the young girl’s face and sighed. “I am here because I am on the other side. Like Prue, my spirit is not at rest and I feel compelled to watch over those that I left behind. You are here because you need to be guided towards your destiny and whoever or whatever it was requested that I be the one to do it. And no, I don’t know who it was. I was given the message from a witch named Sheila. She was the one that gave me the pertinent details as well, in regards to your life.”
Bella relaxed back in her seat as she listened to Ric speak, “So, why are we here?” She gestured around the room and looked at him, “Why not Forks?”
He smiled wanly at her, “As I mentioned before, this is my old classroom. I was a History teacher, and we are in a small town known as Mystic Falls. The path to your destiny lies within this community, and I thought that instead of coming to you and telling you about it, that it would be better to simply introduce you to it. You may have heard that history often repeats itself and quite frankly, it seems to happen more often in this place than any other place I’ve ever known. I have even seen the past come back to haunt you, literally. But, the good thing is, if you know history well enough, you can help stop it from repeating itself. If you know your facts well enough, you can make sound decisions that can not only make your life better and help you move forward, you can help others do the same.”
He got out of the chair and stood up and meeting her gaze he asked her, “Are you up for a history lesson?” At her nod he offered his hand and helped her out of her seat, “How about we begin with a walk?”
During their walk, Ric gave her a short run down of his life, his marriage to a woman named Isobel, who he had thought died, but in fact had been turned into a vampire. He told her how he had become a hunter and made weapons to track down the vampire responsible for her death. He told her of meeting Jenna Sommers and how he fell in love with her, and gained the family he always wanted.
He smiled as he spoke of Jenna’s niece, Elena and her nephew, Jeremy. “They were both really good kids; I loved them as if they were my own.”
Ric then explained about an Original vampire named Klaus and how he lost Jenna in a sacrifice so that said vampire could free his werewolf side.
Bella became angry on his behalf and glowered. At her reaction, he held up a finger, “That’s only the half of it. We knew the sacrifice was coming. Elena was a doppelganger and Klaus needed her blood and no matter what everyone did to keep her alive, to keep her out of it, she simply surrendered to the idea of giving herself up to Klaus. She thought she’d be saving the ones she loved if she did so. Klaus’ wrath and penchant for revenge knows no bounds.”
“She’s an idiot,” Bella blurted out. Ric looked down at her with an reprimanding stare. She then licked her lips and continued, “She’s an idiot because even though she thought he was being selfless, she was in fact, being selfish. She didn’t stop to think how her family and friends would react to her death, and what is even more stupid is that she gave up herself so that monster could become even more dangerous. She should have fought harder to live. Believe me, Ric there are much more worthy things to risk your life for.”
Ric nodded in agreement, “I couldn’t agree more. It’s very lucky she had a friend that was a witch, who was able to use a spell to save her.”
They eventually found themselves in a residential neighborhood. Ric had suddenly stopped in front of a large white house with a porch. “This is where I lived with Jenna, and even after she died, the kids wanted me to stay with them. It was the happiest time of my life.”
Bella smiled up at him, “You were lucky to have that.” Her voice was empathetic and she was glad that her new found friend had had happiness in his life. She may not have known him all that long, but she felt a kinship with him.
He returned the smile, warmth filling his eyes. He too, felt an affinity for the brown eyed girl before him. “Shall we continue with the history lesson?”
“Yep” was her simple reply.
They continued their walk as Ric explained about the history of the supernatural in Mystic Falls. He told her of the Original family and how they came to be, the story behind the doppelgangers and why they were needed. He also included the history of the Bennett witches, and last but not least the Salvatore brothers and their return to Mystic Falls. He didn’t give a full disclosure on the Salvatores because there were a few things that he had to show her to completely understand. When he finished his lecture, he stopped walking and told Bella, “You know, you’re not the first human to fall in love with a vampire. Elena fell in love with Stefan when he came to town, then after some time, she also realized she had feelings for his brother. Keep in mind about what I said about history repeating itself.”
Bella was quiet, she had listened to every word he had spoken and when he made his last remark, she couldn’t help but ask, “Did Stefan love her?”
Knowing why she was asking after the way Edward had treated her, he answered honestly, “Yes. He does. They are still together. Even though she had feelings for the other brother, she loved Stefan more and made her choice.”
They continued their walk and she felt a pang of sadness for the brother that wasn’t chosen. Even though she didn’t know much about him, she knew what it felt like to be cast aside, and unworthy. It didn’t escape her that Ric never mentioned his name, and she wondered why.
As they continued their walk, they found themselves in front of a bar and grill. Ric opened the door and gestured for her to go inside, “Ladies first.”
She simply stared at him and blinked before quietly asking, “Why are we here?”
He shrugged, “This is where the path to your destiny begins.” She went to open her mouth to question him further, but he shook his head, “Get on inside, Bella.” he ordered.
She tentatively took a step across the threshold and looked around. She saw a group of teenagers sitting in a booth, eating their meals and laughing. She saw one guy with an artfully arranged hairdo that was meant to look messy, and even though he was smiling, she could see that he was a brooder. Lines were etched on his forehead like permanent worry lines. “Dear God, I hope that’s not my destiny, I don’t need another guy that’s emo.” She thought aloud, not realizing she actually voiced her thoughts.
She heard someone laugh behind her and spun around to look at the source. “You’re laughing at me!?” she asked with a smidge of annoyance.
Ric just chuckled at her, “I’m not laughing at you, Bells. That was Stefan and you just had him pegged. He can be rather emo at times.”
She smiled widely when he called her “Bells” and giggled at the fact he used the word emo.
He playfully glared at her, “Now, who’s laughing at who? Hmm?”
She giggled again, “How many people your age use the word emo, Ric? Really!” He simply grinned as he watched her take in the atmosphere around them.
Bella looked around, noting that this was obviously the town’s only hang out spot. She saw more teenagers, groups of families, and college-aged students. Her eyes trailed to the bar and what she saw there made her inhale a sharp breath as she noticed a guy clad in black. He had a half of glass of Bourbon in front of him and the bottle sitting next to it. She felt a small shock of energy travel up her spine and gasped.
As if the man could sense her presence, he turned in her direction and for one brief moment her heart stopped, she lost her breath and all she could focus on was the man’s startling blue eyes. To say he was handsome would be a complete understatement. She simply could not take her eyes off him.
“Bells.” Ric called.
She could barely hear him, it was as if the world stood still and nothing and no one else existed.
Ric spoke again, “Breathe.”
She had heard that and then took a deep breath, never taking her eyes off the man. It was a tad unnerving as he kept staring in her direction and she asked nervously, “Can he see us?”
Bella licked her lips as the energy she felt before spread through her body, growing stronger as each second passed. She felt a powerful pull to the man, and a part of her wanted to rush to him, but somehow she remained frozen on the spot. It was as if time had suddenly stopped and all she could focus on was blue eyes and black hair. As she felt that jolt of energy burning through her, it scared her, but at the same time, she welcomed it.
She felt she had reached a defining moment in her life and something told Bella that her life had just changed forever. She closed her eyes and minutely shook her head. She always thought those kinds of epiphanies were nonexistent in real life and only happened in books or movies. It never dawned on her that she would ever have such a moment in her life.
The man turned back to the bar and took a healthy swig of his drink as Ric spoke once again, “That is Damon.”
She smiled and let the name tumble from her lips in a reverent whisper.
“Salvatore.” he emphasized.
Bella snapped her head to look at him, her eyes widened in shock, “The other brother?” Ric nodded in reply. “You mean to tell me that Elena chose Mr. Emo over that?” She pointed to Damon’s direction.
Just as she was about to make some smart ass remark about the girl’s sanity, Ric told her “There’s a lot you don’t know. Stefan and Elena are meant to be together.”
“Well, what about Damon? Doesn’t he get to have someone too, instead of being cast aside?”
He looked down at the girl, thinking of how to exactly answer her question. He was surprised by the tone in her voice. The hint of anger and protectiveness almost caught him off guard. The expression about kittens having claws came to mind. He saw her as a little spitfire.
He thought back to when Shelia had told him he was to meet this girl and guide her to her destiny, and to the one that the universe deemed to be the one true love of her life. Shelia had described her as sweet, intelligent and shy. At the time he wasn’t sure if the universe had the right girl for the guy she was destined for. Damon Salvatore with a girl like Bella Swan? It was an unfathomable thought, but now seeing the fire within her, the doubts started fading. He was about to answer when he heard a voice next to him.
“Damon is gonna have his hands full with that one.” He turned his head and saw a blonde girl smiling mischievously.
“Lexi,” he greeted, “What are you doing here?”
Her grin got wider, “Just thought you might need some help…” She batted her eyes and shrugged. She jerked her chin in Bella’s direction, “You might wanna answer her question, Ric.”
His eyes squinted at the perky blonde. “Didn’t she just hear you?”
“Nope, she can’t see or hear me. Not yet, anyway.” She winked and jaunted away.
He turned back to Bella and saw her staring at him. He cleared his throat, “Yes, there is someone for Damon.” In all honesty, he was surprised she hadn’t figured it out yet, especially with her reaction when she first laid eyes on him.
She pursed her lips and furrowed her brows, “Were you talking to yourself a just now?”
Ric bowed his head in embarrassment as he realized how odd he must’ve looked, “Actually, I was speaking-”
He was cut off when Lexi appeared behind Bella with her hands on the girl’s shoulders, “To me…hi!! I’m Lexi.” She smiled broadly and moved to stand next to Bella.
“And exactly who are you?” Bella asked with an arched eyebrow.
Lexi tilted her head playfully, “Well I used to be Mr. Emo’s B.F.F., but big brother over there killed me, so now I’m just a really dead vampire.”
Bella blinked owlishly at the girl. “D-Damon killed you?”
Ric interrupted the two girls, “Lexi, that’s a story for another day. Bella and I don’t have much time and there’s a lot to cover.”
“Well, I thought it’d be good for her to know that he’s an ass.”
Ric sighed and rolled his eyes as Bella stood watching the two banter.
Lexi then turned to Bella with a devilish smirk, “He’s also great in the sack.”
Bella blushed furiously and covered her face. “I did not need to know that!”
“Hmm…maybe not, but you’ll find out eventually….You get on with your little history lesson and I’ll see you guys later…” With that, she waved and walked out the door.
Ric stood shaking his head at the blond.
“How in the hell could that little bundle of happy be best friends with Stefan?” Bella questioned, her lips puckered as if the name left a sour taste in her mouth.
Ric snorted, “It’s a long story.”
“I bet.” Bella said curtly.
“Damon is gonna have his hands full with that one.” Played in his head and he was definitely starting to agree with that sentiment.
“So tell me, Bella, what did you think when you saw Damon?”
“Umm…” She bit her lip and looked to the floor. “I-I didn’t really think anything. All I could do was look at him. I felt like he could see right through me, and there was this feeling that drew me to him….an electricity went through every cell of my body. I wanted to go right to him, but I couldn’t.” She swallowed thickly, “It was like time froze and I couldn’t see anything but him. Ric, I know this sounds crazy, but I felt like my life just changed in an instant.”
She then thought back to Sam’s words…When something feels right, you won’t even need to think…At some point, you will meet your destiny, and all you will need to do is take a leap of faith. She gasped and felt faint as she reached out for the nearest chair for support. Damon is my destiny, she thought. The revelation had her covering her mouth with her hand in shock, her heart pounded against her chest, her breathing became heavier and she squeezed her eyes shut. She then shook her head in disbelief.
“Bella?” Ric questioned, concern lacing his tone.
She brought her hand from her mouth, braced herself against the chair and eyed him, “D-Damon. Damon is my destiny, isn’t he, Ric?”
“Yes.” He softly answered.
“That Lexi girl said he was an ass! Why would Destiny, God, Time, Fate or the Universe choose him for me?”
“Shush!” he said soothingly. “Yes, I agree Damon is an ass! He was the one that turned Isobel! He even tried to kill me, more than once! But that said, he was my best friend, my drinking buddy. To know Damon, you have to understand him. You don’t seem like the judgmental type, Bella. All Damon ever wanted was to be loved, to be accepted, and to be understood. Give me a chance to show you who he truly is and I promise you, you’ll see why it’s meant to be.”
“You can honestly stand there and tell me that I’m meant to be with Damon? Have you seen what the man looks like? He looks like a god! He probably has women falling at his feet.”
Ric chuckled, “Once again your observance pays off. You would be right about the women, but I can tell you with certainty that he prefers brunettes, especially brown-eyed ones” He then winked at her and smirked.
She giggled as she stood up straighter and then exhaled. A twinkle in her eye appeared, “Brunettes with brown eyes, huh?”
She giggled again before she looked towards the bar, noting Damon had gone through more than two-thirds of his bottle of Bourbon. Her face become solemn. “He seems so lonely, and there is so much pain in those blue eyes of his. Show me who he is, Ric! Someone once told me that I needed to take a leap of faith. This is me taking it.”
Ric smiled wanly, “I’ll begin in 1864, the year Damon fell in love with a woman named Katherine…”
The room around them faded away and they stood on a very green lawn in front of a beautiful white mansion with perfectly manicured gardens. She sees Stefan, Damon and a gorgeous woman with brown hair. She is clearly flirting with the two as she interrupts their football game. They watch the scene and she hears Damon remarking to his brother that she a woman that wanted to be chased. She noticed Katherine sported a darkly mischievous glint in her eyes and an impish smirk on her face. Bella turns to Ric, “She was toying with them, wasn’t she?”
“How did you know?” he asked, not bothering to hide the surprise in his voice.
“Easy. That stupid, conniving expression she had on her face was the same one my ex would give his sister when they were up to something. You saw the glint in her eyes and that evil little smirk, I’m sure. People who make those kind of gestures clearly enjoy playing games with people and once you’ve had it happen to you; you recognize it for what it is.”
Ric pursed his lips and jerked his chin towards Katherine, “You are right. Katherine is very selfish, very manipulative, but also very smart, and seductive. It makes for a dangerous combination. At the time, she was on the run from Klaus. She was the doppelganger that was supposed to be used to break his curse, but she managed to flee and have herself turned into a vampire. She used her time on the run to win the affections of both brothers, stringing them along and creating a very sick love triangle.”
“What a little slut.” Bella muttered.
Ric cast a ‘no kidding’ look her way and continued, “Damon fell very hard and was completely devoted without the use of compulsion, whereas Stefan had been compelled. He was the one she truly set her eyes on, but he was very resistant to her charms.” He then explained what compulsion was.
The scene blurred and they found themselves out by a lake, Damon sitting shirtless on the shore. Bella couldn’t help but admire his physique. He was muscled, but not overtly so. While she had once felt that Edward looked like an Adonis, she could never shake the feeling it was too perfect and as attractive as she may have once found him, she now found that sense of perfection off putting. Damon however, was naturally beautiful, even in his human form. She noted that Damon’s type of vampire didn’t change all that much from their human form. There was just a lack of aging. Her eyes trailed down his form until she heard a throat clearing. She looked at Ric as her cheeks bloomed into a deep rosy blush, knowing she had been caught.
“Really, Bells?” he chided.
“Well! He’s uh…” she looked at him indignantly, “Hot?”
He shook his head and sighed. He then nodded to the raven-haired man. “He’s in transition. The town had found out Katherine was a vampire, and were rounding her up, along with some others. They were going to be destroyed. Giuseppe Salvatore led the group and when Damon and Stefan tried to save her, he shot his own sons in cold blood. They both had her blood in their system when they died, which means that they both awoke in transition. Stefan fed first, completing the transition. Damon wasn’t going to complete his change. He couldn’t stand the thought of a life without his beloved Katherine.”
Bella then watched the scene unfold before them, Stefan bringing a young girl to Damon, himself high on bloodlust, telling his brother how wonderful being a vampire was and how powerful he felt. He then sliced the poor girl’s throat; the blood gushed down her chest and soaked her clothes. Once the scent hit Damon’s nostrils, she watched in horror as his face changed, losing control over his own bloodlust and drank from the girl, completing the change. A tear flowed down her cheek as she watched him promise Stefan an eternity of misery.
“He kept his promise,” Ric said soberly, “but he still loved his brother deeply and was his fiercest protector. However, whatever bonds they had were broken, and it remained that way for over a century and a half.”
Tears flowed down Bella’s cheeks as she whispered, “Poor Damon.”
“Let’s see what you say when I tell you that once he found out Katherine was supposedly under the church in a tomb, he spent his time waiting for a comet to pass so a witch could cast a spell, freeing her and the other vampires from their imprisonment. He was bitter and angry and went on murder sprees, he made Stefan’s life hell whenever he tried to make some sort of life for himself. He didn’t care about anyone or anything. His only thought was Katherine.”
Bella inhaled a sharp breath, “Yes, I understand that, but don’t you see that is all he had to hold on to? He didn’t want to be a vampire, not unless it was with Katherine. He was angry, and in my opinion, he had every right to be. He was lashing out, and that’s a vampire’s nature. Killing and rage is also a part of that nature. Surely, you can understand that. It could have been much worse if he didn’t have that tiniest speck of hope that Katherine was alive. He could have easily met the sun. But yet, he never did. Can you imagine what your life would have been like not knowing him at all, Ric? Think on that.”
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re quite wise beyond your eighteen years?”
She smiled smugly, “Perhaps once or twice.”
“And here, I thought I was the one teaching a lesson…” He smiled at the young girl. “Damon did have a lot to be bitter about, I won’t deny that. It’s just some of his actions were often violent, irrational, and it made everyone around him wonder if there was anything redeemable about him at all.” Ric blew out a breath and averted his gaze from the girl.
“There is good in everyone.” She countered. “You have to have that belief or you will find yourself cynical and jaded; much like Damon was sitting at the bar. It was all over his face. If there is one thing I have learned tonight, it is that I don’t want to be bitter and I don’t want to be angry. Not anymore. That burden is too much to carry and Damon carried the weight of that burden for over a century. He was happy and had it ripped from him in the worse possible way.”
“I suppose you would know something about that-”
He was cut off when Bella told him, “You are damn right I do! I am not going to deny that you went through hell with your wife and then again with Jenna, but I don’t think you understand what it is really like to be played with, to think you are loved, believe you are happy, and then have it taken from you in such a cruel way.” Tears fell down her cheeks and she sniffled, “It hurts like a bitch.”
Ric nodded empathically, “I am sure I does, and I think you two would understand that better than anyone, even myself. And–You are right.”
Bella wiped her eyes, looking up at the man before her, “Right about what?”
“There is good in Damon Salvatore.”
Bella sighed deeply and whispered, “I knew that.” She eyed Ric warily as the scene faded and they then stood in the middle of a road at the scene of a crash. She watched as Damon pulled a Katherine look-alike from a car. “That must be Elena. You said she was a doppelganger, too.”
Bella was watching how Damon held her and the way he gazed down at her face. “Oh my god, you weren’t kidding when you said history repeated itself, were you? He fell in love with her!”
“Was it because she looked exactly like a carbon copy of Katherine?” she pondered out loud.
Ric looked out into the night time sky and answered, “Maybe at first, but Elena is so full of love, so full of kindness that it was hard for him not to be beguiled by her.”
Bella bit her lip and sighed dejectedly before she heard Ric say, “A lot like the way you are, actually.”
She sharply turned to him, “Maybe so, but I will never be that beautiful-”
Ric shook his head and gently told her, “You’re far prettier, in my opinion.”
She blushed deeply and said “thank you” before she turned and looked at the stars that filled the night sky.
There were a few moments of silence before he spoke again, “Damon actually felt he didn’t deserve her, and fought his feelings for her. Once he accepted them, he was selfless enough to let his brother have her. But over time, his feelings only strengthened and Elena found herself falling for him. The two of them had a connection, and they became very close when Stefan went away with Klaus… Damon had been bitten by a werewolf named Tyler. Werewolf bites are fatal to vampires and Klaus’ blood was the cure. So Stefan offered himself up in exchange for that cure.”
Bella’s eyes were misty, “So Stefan does love his brother.” She stated with a touch of surprise.
Ric crossed his arms, and looked down at the petite teenager in front of him, “Indeed he does. But the time that Stefan and Elena were apart only opened the door wide open for history to repeat itself. It gave Damon and Elena more time together as they searched for Stefan. Once he eventually came home, he had his emotions turned off; it is something vampires are capable of doing and if they ‘flip the switch’ they don’t feel anything, nothing. Stefan was not himself and Elena found herself depending on Damon. He was always there for her.”
Ric moved to sit on a nearby tree stump and Bella followed him, sitting on the ground next to him. “That bond, that connection they had made an even bigger wedge in the relationship between the two brothers. Elena had lost her whole family, and couldn’t stand the idea of losing either one of them, so even though she stayed with Stefan, it did not stop her from unintentionally stringing Damon along.”
Bella scoffed, “Sounds like to me that she liked having the attention from both of them. How very Katherine like.”
Ric’s lips quirked into a smirk, “Damon has compared her to Katherine on more than one occasion and if I were to be truly honest, Elena can be just as cunning and manipulative as her ancestor.”
“So the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree-”
“Now wait a minute, Bella!” Ric interrupted her and bluntly stated, “Katherine intentionally toyed with people for her own amusement! She rather enjoyed it! Elena had to do some manipulating to keep herself and sometimes everyone in this town safe. Now, I won’t deny that she used Damon’s feelings for her against him on more than one occasion, but she did have very valid reasons for doing so. It’s not something she did as a game, that I promise you. Perhaps someday, you will get the full story, but there just isn’t enough time tonight to go into detail.”
“How did this all come to an end?” she questioned earnestly.
Ric bowed his head sadly, closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Bella looked at him and saw grief wash over his face. She gently touched his shoulder, “Ric, are you okay?” she asked compassionately.
He sighed deeply as he looked up at the young girl who now stood before him, “Long story short, Klaus’ mother was a witch; she put a spell on me to make me a very powerful vampire hunter. She wanted her children and all vampires dead. My personality had already been severely altered by a spelled ring, and the vampirism magnified it. Stefan got Elena to safety and she phoned Damon because if Klaus was killed, they all died because he was the head of the bloodline. She told him she cared for him, but it was Stefan she loved.”
Ric paused and got up and walked around a bit, collecting his thoughts. He met Bella’s eyes, “Elena’s friend Matt stayed with her while everyone was out to search for me. Damon was the one who found me, and we knocked each other around quite a bit and I died in his arms. Not because he killed me, but because Elena Gilbert had died. There had been a linking spell placed upon us that bound our lives together.
Bella gasped as he told her that bit of information, “But she’s still alive isn’t she?”
“She had Damon’s blood in her system,” he said frankly, “and obviously completed her transition.”
“Oh, my God!” she whispered. “That must have been horrible.”
“It was. Not only did she turn, but her feelings for Damon magnified even further because of a sire bond. Let’s just say it made her adjustment period even more difficult for her and for Damon.”
Bella covered her mouth in shock and stood there looking wide eyed at Alaric.
“She made out fine, though. It was Damon who had to teach her to live as a vampire, and the sire bond helped with that. Being on the other side, I don’t know all the details, but I know that even though she chose Stefan, Damon will always be there for her, even as a friend.”
She bit her lip in thought, “I hope she knows how lucky she truly is.”
He smiled at her. “She does. Believe me, she doesn’t take anything for granted. I wish I had learned that lesson myself when I was still alive.”
They were suddenly back at the grill and bar, standing on the opposite side from where Damon sat. His bottle was now empty and he sat nursing on a half full glass.
“That seat is taken,” They heard him tell someone.
Ric chuckled, “I’m not sitting there anymore, dumbass.” He spoke as if the vampire could still hear him.
Bella grinned, “So you really were drinking buddies, huh?”
His lips twitched into a smile, “He was a pain in the ass, but yes, he was also my drinking buddy and my best friend. I miss him.”
Bella glanced to Damon, then back at Ric, “Looks like he misses you too. It seems to me like he could use the company of someone that truly accepts him.”
“Oh, you mean someone like you?” he said with a playful wink.
Bella smirked and shook her head, “Even though he is supposedly my destiny, I just cannot picture him falling for someone like me.”
“And why not?” he asked sternly.
“I’m nothing special. He deserves someone better than me.”
Ric cast a quick look over to Damon before turning to face her, “I tend to disagree. You are very special. Like Damon, you let your insecurities get in the way. Both of you believe that that there isn’t anyone could accept you or love you. That’s where you’re both wrong.”
He shifted slightly and crossed his arms, “I’d even go as far to say you are his perfect match. You love just as fiercely as he does, you have strength in your convictions, you have the gift of seeing the bigger picture, and you have a sense of humor that he’d surely appreciate. You need to believe that and most importantly, you need to believe in yourself.”
She sighed, “I wish it was that easy.”
“Is anything in life worth having easy, Bella?” He arched an eyebrow at her, “If it were that easy, then we wouldn’t appreciate what we have once it’s in our grasp.”
She nodded in agreement, “That’s very true.”
“Well, our time is up.” He smiled. “Remember, we can all make our own history, Bells. You know your destiny, all you need to figure out is how to get it. This won’t be a goodbye, because somehow, I know we’ll meet again. You take care of my friend.”
With that, he was gone and she woke up in her own room in Forks. She laid in bed looking at the moon through the window until her eyelids grew heavy and she found sleep once again.