Monday, December 17, 2018

'The Hunters: Moonsong Chapter Sixteen\r'

'When Stefan walked by Elenas room over again, the daisy was g atomic number 53, and the subtle scent of her citrusy shampoo lingered in the hal way.\r\nNo doubt she was come out with Meredith and Bonnie, and he could attend upon Meredith to protect her. He wondered if Damon was ceremony them, if hed approach Elena. A bitter strand of envy curled in Stefans stomach. It was hard being the hot wholeness sometimes, the one who would abide by the rules, while Damon did whatsoever he destinyed.\r\nHe leaned subscribe end against the door to Elenas room.\r\nThere was a window across the hal , and as he watched the stone- c deformd crescent of the moon sailing high in the sky, he impression of his silent room, of the books of economics and doctrine waiting for him.\r\nNo. He wasnt going back there. He couldnt be with Elena, only if he didnt wipe out to be alone.\r\nOutside, there was a chil in the assembly line for the first time since school had started; the sultry high t emperature of a Virginia summer was final y full-gr benefit way to autumn. Stefan hunched his shoulders and tucked his hands into his jeans pockets.\r\n non real y knowing where he was going, Stefan headed move out campus. Vague thoughts of hunting in the woods traverse his mind, entirely he wasnt hungry, nevertheless restless, and he cancelled away from the trail that led that way. Instead he wandered the streets of the smal town rough the col ege.\r\nThere wasnt some(prenominal) to do. There were a few bars hopping with col ege kids and a orthodontic braces of restaurants, already closed up. Stefan couldnt pretend wanting to press into a hot and crowd bar right now. He wanted to be approximately people, by chance, but non too many, not too close, not close enough to moveiency the thrum of blood beneath their skins. When he was unhappy, equivalent tonight, he could feel some topic hard and dangerous come up up deep down him, and he knew he involve to be aidful of the monster he carried inwardly him.\r\nHe turn nap some opposite block, comprehend to the soft pad of his own steps against the sidewalk. mount the end of the street, a faint thud of practice of medicine came from a dilapidated building whose buzzing nor-east sign read EDDIES BILLIARDS.\r\nNone of the few cars in the parking lot had a Dalcrest parking sticker. all the way a townie spot, not a assimilator one.\r\nIf Stefan hadnt had this burning, angry privacy inside him, he wouldnt lay down gone in. He looked compar competent a disciple †he was a student †and this didnt look equal a place that welcomed students. But the ugly thing inside him stirred at the thought of maybe having a reason to throw a secure or 2.\r\nInside, it was Welllit but dingy, the air thick and deplorable with smoke. An old rock song was playing on a jukebox in the corner. Six mob tables sat in the middle of the room, with smal round tables roughly the sides, and a bar at the far end. devil of the pond tables and a few of the round tables were intermeshed by locals, who let their eye drift oer him neutral y and then turned away.\r\nAt the bar, Stefan saw a familiar back, a foxy dark head. veritable(a) though hed been sure Damon would be fol owing Elena, he wasnt surprised to see him. Stefan had reined his business leader in, concentrating on his own misery, but hed always been able to sense his brother. If he had thought approximately it, he would have known Damon was there.\r\nDamon, equal y unsurprised, turned and tippytoeped his glass to Stefan with a wry subaltern grin. Stefan went everywhere to join him.\r\nâ€Å"Hel o, little brother,” Damon said mildly when Stefan sat down. â€Å"Shouldnt you be holed up somewhere, crying oer your loss of the lovely Elena?”\r\nStefan sighed and slumped on the barstool. Propping his elbows on the bar, he rested his head on his hands.\r\nSuddenly, he was horribly tired. â€Å"Lets not tal k about Elena,” he said. â€Å"I dont want to fight with you, Damon.”\r\nâ€Å"Then dont.” Patting him lightly on the shoulder, Damon was up and out of his seat. â€Å"Lets play some pool.” whiz thing about living for one hundreds of years, Stefan knew, was that you had time to shake up real y good at things.\r\nVersions of bil iards had been around as long as he and Damon had, although he want the modern version best †he worryd the smel of the chalk and the squeak of the leather tip on the cue.\r\nDamons thoughts beed to be running on the aforesaid(prenominal) track. â€Å"Remember when we were kids and we used to play bil iart on the lawns of Fathers palazzo?” he asked as he racked up the bal s.\r\nâ€Å"Different game, though, back then,” Stefan said. â€Å"Go ahead and break.”\r\nHe could picture it clearly, the two of them fooling around when the adults were al inside, shoving the bal s across the grass toward their ta rgets with the heavy-headed maces, in a game that was a cross between modern pool and croquet. tooshie in those solar days, Damon was wild, prone to fights with stable boys and nights prowling the streets, but not yet as angry as he would be by the time they grew into young men. rear then, he let his adoring, more timid junior brother trail by and by him and have a share in his adventures.\r\nElena was right about one thing, he admitted to himself.\r\nHe liked hanging out with Damon, being brothers again.\r\nWhen hed spotted Damon at the bar erect now, hed felt a little lightening of the loneliness he was carrying around with him. Damon was the only person who remembered him as a child, the only person who remembered him alive.\r\nMaybe they could be friends, without Katherine or Elena between them for a while. Maybe something good could come out of this.\r\nBil iart, bil iards, or pool, Damon had always liked playing. He was better than Stefan, and, after hundreds of years of practice, Stefan was graceful good.\r\nWhich was why Stefan was so surprised when Damons break sent bal s spinning merrily al over the table, but none into the pockets.\r\nâ€Å"Whats up?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow at Damon as he chalked his own cue.\r\nIve been notice the locals, Damon said silently.\r\nThere are a couple of slick hustlers in here. I want to fool them over to us. Hustle them for a change.\r\n enumerate on, Damon added rapidly when Stefan hesitated. Its not wrong to hustle hustlers. Its like cleanup position murderers, a public service.\r\nYour moral compass is staidly skewed, Stefan pinch back at him, but he couldnt keep himself from smiling.\r\nWhat was the harm, real y? â€Å"Two bal in the corner pocket,” he added aloud. He made the shot and sank two more bal s before wise(p) y scratching and stepping back to let Damon usurp his turn.\r\nThey went on like that, playing pretty Wellbut not too Well, careful to look like a couple of cock y col ege kids who knew their way around a pool cue but would be no chal enge to a professional hustler. Damons pretense of defeat when he missed a shot amused Stefan. Stefan had forgotten, it was fun to be part of Damons schemes.\r\nStefan won by a couple of bal s, and Damon whipped out a wal et ful of specie.\r\nâ€Å"You got me, man,” he said in a slightly bibulous voice that didnt sound quite like his own and held out a twenty.\r\nStefan blinked at him.\r\nTake it, Damon thought at him. Something about the set of his jaw reminded Stefan again of the way Damon was when they were children, of the way he lied to their convey about his misadventures, confident Stefan would back him up. Damon was trusting him without redden thinking about it, Stefan realized.\r\nStefan smiled and slipped it into his back pocket. â€Å"Rackem up again?” he suggested, and realized he was also lunge his voice a little younger, a little drunker, than he normal y would.\r\nThey played another game, and Stefan handed the twenty back. â€Å"Another?” he asked.\r\nDamon started to rack the bal s, and then his hands slowed. He flicked a glitter up at Stefan and then back down at the bal s. â€Å"Listen,” he said, taking a indistinct breath,\r\nâ€Å"Im sorry for whats happening with Elena. If I †” He hesitated. â€Å"I cant just stop feeling the way I do about her, but I didnt involve to make things harder for you. Or for her.” Stefan stared at him. Damon never apologized. Was he serious? â€Å"I †thank you,” he said.\r\nDamon looked noncurrent him and his mouth twitched into his sudden, bril iant smile. Bait taken, he said silently. So much for the heartfelt brother moment.\r\nTwo guys were glide slope toward them. One was short and slight with sandy hair, the other big, bulky, and dark.\r\nâ€Å"Hi,” the shorter one said. â€Å"We wondered if you guys wanted to play teams, mix it up a little.” His smi le was bright and easy, but his eyes were shrewd and watchful. The eyes of a predator.\r\nTheir names were open and David, and they were real pros. They kept the games close, waiting until after the terce game to suggest raising the stakes to make things a little more interesting.\r\nâ€Å"A hundred?” respect suggested casual y. â€Å"I can just about do it, if you want.”\r\nâ€Å"How about more?” Damon said, look drunk again.\r\nâ€Å"Stefan, you stil got that cinque hundred in your wal et?” Stefan didnt, nowhere near it, but he didnt think hed involve to pay up. He nodded but, at a regard from Damon, played reluctant. â€Å"I dont know, Damon…” he said.\r\nâ€Å"Dont worry about it,” Damon said expansively. â€Å"Easy money, right?”\r\nJimmy was watching them, his eyes alert. â€Å"Five hundred it is,” he agreed, smiling.\r\nâ€Å"Il break,” Damon said, and went into action. aft(prenominal) a moment, Stef an rested his pool cue against the wal . He wasnt going to get a chance to shoot, none of them were; Damon was pathetic with clockwork precision to pocket one bal after another.\r\nHe wasnt making any effort to cover up that he and Stefan had been running a hustle, and Jimmys and Davids faces darkened dangerously as the last few bal s go into their pockets.\r\nâ€Å"Pay up,” Damon demanded sharply, setting down his cue.\r\nJimmy and David were base toward them, scowling.\r\nâ€Å"You two think youre real smart, dont you?” David growled.\r\nStefan poised himself on both feet, ready to fight or run, whatever Damon wanted. They wouldnt have any trouble fending off these guys, but with the disappearances and attacks al over campus, hed rather not cal perplexity to themselves.\r\nDamon, cool and relaxed, gazed at Jimmy and David, his hands open. â€Å"I think you want to pay us the money you owe us,” he said calmly.\r\nâ€Å"Oh, thats what you think, do you?â⠂¬Â Jimmy said sarcastical y. He shifted his grip on his pool cue, and now he was holding it more like a weapon.\r\nDamon smiled and unleashed a wave of Power into the room. Even Stefan, who was half expecting it, was chil ed as Damon lifted his tender mask for a moment, his black eyes insentient and deadly. Jimmy and David staggered backward as if theyd been shoved by undetectable hands.\r\nâ€Å"Okay, dont get upset,” Jimmy said, his voice shaking.\r\nDavid was blinking as if he had been slapped with a wet towel, clearly unsettled of what had just happened. Jimmy opened his wal et and counted out five hundred dol ars in fifties into Damons hand.\r\nâ€Å" in a flash its time for you to go home,” Damon said softly.\r\nâ€Å"Maybe you dont want to play pool for a while.” Jimmy nodded and didnt seem to be able to stop nodding, his head bobbing like it was on a spring. He and David backed away, moving quickly toward the door.\r\nâ€Å"Scary,” Stefan co mmented. There was a hol ow place inside his chest stil , an empty ache of missing Elena, but he felt better than he had since that day she walked out the door alone. Tonight, he realized with a slight shock, hed had fun with Damon.\r\nâ€Å"Oh, Im a terror,” Damon agreed lightly, pocketing al the money. Stefan raised an eyebrow at him. He didnt care about the money, but it was typical of Damon to assume it was his. Damon grinned. â€Å"Come on, little brother, Il buy you a drink.”\r\n'

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