Home > The Ripper (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #4)(15)

The Ripper (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #4)(15)
Author: L.J. Smith

"Why not?" I asked. I felt angry that no one was taking Violet's concerns seriously. After al , she was just an innocent young girl, worried about her sister.

Violet shook her head. "The police said they can't do anything until they find a body. They said she's a grown woman and she can go where she pleases. I'm just so worried." Violet sighed.

"But if Cora were kil ed . . ." I began, trying to reassure her with the conclusion I'd come to last night, "surely her body would have been found."

"Don't say that!" Violet said sharply. "I'm sorry," she added instantly. "I just hate hearing it. But yes, you're right. If she was kil ed, they would have found . . . something," she said, shuddering. I nodded, silently agreeing. "But I haven't heard anything. No one has. And that's just the thing. She wouldn't have left without tel ing me. It isn't like her."

"People change," I said helplessly, unsure what I could say to try to comfort Violet.

"But Cora is my sister," Violet insisted. "We came over here together six months ago. We'd never leave each other. We're al we have in the world. We're blood."

"Where did you come from?" I asked, trying not to cringe at the word blood.

"Ireland," Violet said with a faraway gaze in her eyes. "Just a tiny town near Donegal. Al it has is a church and a pub, and we both knew we couldn't stay there. Our parents did, too. Our father used everything he had to send us both here. Thought we'd marry, start families, never have to worry about going hungry . . ." Violet laughed a short, harsh bark that was so at odds with her sweet and innocent personality that I flinched. Despite her youthful appearance, she'd obviously led a rough life.

"And life didn't work out as planned," I said slowly. I could relate al too wel .

Violet nodded, her expression bereft. "We thought we'd become actresses or singers. Wel , I did. Cora did it more for a laugh. But I thought I'd get a part in the chorus of a show," she said thoughtful y. "And we tried, but we just got laughed out of the auditions. Then we thought that we could become shop girls. But as soon as anyone saw our clothes and heard our accents, they turned us away. We just kept walking and walking around the city, talking to anyone with an Irish accent. We final y met a girl, Mary Francis, who was cousins with a boy from our town. She worked at the tavern and told us she'd put a word in with Alfred. So we went, and Alfred liked Cora right away. But he said I looked too young. So I was put to work in the back as a scul ery maid."

I must have grimaced, because a shadow of a smile crossed Violet's face.

"I felt worse for Cora. She used to have to flirt with Alfred. I know that's why he gave me a job, and why he let us rent a room. We'd get into bed at the end of a long night and tel each other stories about our day. She always said that working in the tavern could maybe be helpful for me one day. It's al studying characters and seeing how they interact. She thought if we made enough money, we could try again to be actresses. She never gave up."

"Did you?" I asked gently.

"Wel , at a certain point, you realize dreams are just that - dreams. I think sometimes that I should just accept it. Do you know this is the closest I've gotten to the theater since I've been here?" she asked, gazing out the window at the marquees nearby. "And Cora . . ." She shook her head.

"Where is she?" she cried, burying her face in her tiny hands. "Things are so desperate that I can't even begin to think about them. I just keep hoping Cora found a better life. Not in heaven. I mean, here. A better life here. And maybe she didn't tel me because she didn't want me to be hurt or jealous? It's the only thing I can think of," Violet said, stil hiding her face with her hands.

"I know Cora's safe." Of course I didn't know that at al , but as soon as I said it, I saw Violet's shoulders relax. I felt sad for this girl, who truly didn't have a friend in the world. I wished that I could help her. Suddenly, I had an idea.

"Here's what I can do," I said. "I can get you the job back, and I can also guarantee Alfred won't bother you. I can't promise the job wil be ideal, but I can promise that it wil be better than it was before," I said, knowing I'd have to find somewhere to feed before I would be able to effectively compel Alfred.

"Thank you," Violet said. A slight smile played on her lips. "In my country, on Saint Stephen's Day we honor the saint who protects the poor," she said. "And I think it's come early for me this year. Thank you, Saint Stefan." I looked away, uncomfortable with her adoration. If she only knew my true nature, she'd be praying to her saint for protection from me. "Don't thank me. Just stay here and rest up. I'l go and speak with Alfred and find out what I can about Cora," I said.

"I should come," Violet said definitively, rising to her feet.

I shook my head. "It won't be safe."

"But if it's not safe, then what about you?" Violet asked in a smal voice. "I shan't forgive myself if anything happened to you while you were out on account of me."

"Nothing wil happen to me," I said, wishing that were true. "I'm not afraid to fight. But I won't have to. Everything wil be fine."

"It's funny, but I believe everything you say," Violet said dreamily. "But I don't even know you. Who are you?"

"I'm Stefan Sa - I'm Stefan," I said. I refrained from saying my last name, worried it might scare her because of last night's message. "I'm from America. And I know what it's like to be alone. I left my family. It's hard." Violet nodded. "Do you miss them?"

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