Home > The Ripper (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #4)(14)

The Ripper (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #4)(14)
Author: L.J. Smith

"The best room," I added for emphasis.

"The best room," he said slowly, shuffling some papers. "Of course. The Queen Victoria Suite. She's stayed there, you know," he said.

"Good. Wel then I imagine we shal love it just as much as she did," I said, affecting a bit of a British accent.

"I do hope so, Mr. . . . um . . ."

"Pine," I said, using the first name that popped into my head. Hurry up, I thought under my breath. I knew I was quickly losing Power. After al , it had been almost a day since I'd eaten properly. "I shal need the room for at least a week," I added, hoping that I'd be far away before the week was out.

The man behind the desk nodded, and I smiled. I could stil compel. I stil had my Power. And I had twenty years of wisdom under my belt. I hadn't been ready to fight Klaus back then, but now it would be different.

"The porter shal show you your room," the man said. "And do you and your wife have any bags?" I shook my head. Instantaneously, a tal , morose-looking butler walked around the desk and held out his arm to Violet.

"And sir?" I said, lowering my voice so no one, not even Violet, would hear. "Just put it on my account."

"Of course, sir," the desk clerk said, sliding a heavy iron key across the counter. "Enjoy your stay." I smiled tersely and fol owed the porter and Violet up the sweeping staircase, winding past floors until we stopped in front of a white door. It was the only door on the entire level.

"Al ow me," the porter said, taking the key from my hand and putting it in the lock. He grandly swung the door open, then, placing a silver candleholder on a cherry-wood desk, quickly set to work lighting the various lamps in the room.

"Oh!" Violet trembled, clapping her hands to her mouth.

"Thank you." I nodded to the porter, pul ing a shil ing from my threadbare pocket. He took it in his palm and eyed me curiously. I hadn't compel ed him, and I knew the fact we were practical y wearing rags, and were without luggage, piqued his curiosity.

The door creaked shut and I locked it behind him.

"Stefan?" Violet asked tentatively, staring around the room in wonder. She walked in a circle, touching the heavy velvet curtains, the oak desk, and the floral-papered wal s, as if scarcely believing any of it was real.

"We're okay now. It's late, we should both get some rest," I said, gesturing toward the enormous bed in the center of the main room. "I'l just be in the next room. We can talk in the morning."

"Goodnight, Stefan. And thank you." She gave me a smal , tired smile and stepped toward the bed. I closed the door with a click and settled onto a couch in the adjacent room, which was set up like a sitting room. And sit I did. My mind reeled, and I couldn't even begin to pick apart the questions I needed to focus on. What was I going to do with Violet? What could I do about Klaus? Or Lucius? Part of me simply wanted to pick up and head back to Ivinghoe, where the only thing I had to concern myself with was a cow that had kicked over the pasture fence. But another part of me knew I was bound to London. I was a part of this now. Until I solved the mystery of the murder, more people would get kil ed.

Terrifying thoughts kept turning in my head as night turned into day. Below me, the wel -lit streets looked orderly and tidy: modern civilization at its finest. Even the rain-slicked surface looked somehow stately. But I knew it was al an il usion. Vampires struck anywhere, and just because this one had chosen the bad part of town didn't mean he wouldn't come here next.

Final y, the sun rose, burning off some of the thick clouds. The door creaked open, providing a much-needed interruption from my endlessly cycling thoughts.

"Hel o?" I cal ed hesitantly. I stil felt on edge, and any noise caused a tingling in my gums, a subtle reminder that I was ready to fight at any moment.

"Stefan?" Violet said shyly, stepping into the room. Her red hair was pul ed up in a bun on top of her head and her pinafore looked brighter than it had last night, making me guess she'd rinsed it in the opulent washroom. Her eyes were sparkling and her hair, I realized now in the light, was flecked with gold.

"Violet," I said, rising unsteadily to my feet. I ignored the hunger pangs in my stomach.

"Did you sleep?" Violet asked, settling onto the couch and pul ing her legs underneath her. I crossed the room and perched on the wooden desk chair opposite her.

I shook my head. "I had a lot on my mind," I said, clenching and unclenching my jaw. Every part of my body ached, although whether it was from the terror of last night or from our flight through London, I couldn't tel .

"I did, too," Violet confessed, sighing sadly as she cradled her head in her hands. "My sister . . . I'm so worried about her," she said final y.

"What happened to her?" I asked. Just hours ago, I was hoping Damon wasn't responsible for these deaths and disappearances. Now, I was hoping against hope he was. Damon had been known to compel women for his own amusement. If he'd done it to Cora, wel , that would mean she was stil alive. But if Klaus or Lucius had found her . . . I shivered.

"That's the very thing. I just don't know. She went to work at the Ten Bel s two nights ago, and then she didn't come home. Then the murder happened . . . and everyone said . . ." Violet's lips twisted into a grimace, but she forged ahead. "They said that maybe she didn't come home because she went home with someone else. That she went home with a man, like some of the girls at the tavern do," Violet said, a crimson flush crossing her face. "But Cora isn't like that. And I'm not like that. I tried tel ing Alfred and an officer who came in that Cora wouldn't have just gone off with someone, that she was missing. But they didn't do anything," she said sadly, knitting her fingers together as she stared at the ground.

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