Chapter 22, X And Y.
As much as she's able to muster to her memory in her state of half-sleep, last night had been a good night for her. Not necessarily the best, but it was better than what she had grown used to since coming back, so that made it a good night.
She had that small talk with Damon, which, by the way, almost made her give herself away. Then she chose her own room to sleep in, and she then she fell asleep easily. Because last night had been a good night for her, and she's had possibly the best night of sleep ever, she doesn't mind so much that there's something insistently poking her and calling for her attention. She doesn't mind it happening, but that doesn't wholly mean that she appreciates whatever Damon is trying to achieve by poking her.
'What?' she begrudgingly asks, her tone still rightfully laced with sleep.
The nicer thing to have done, would've been to wait until she woke up, instead of doing this. Damon can be such a bother sometimes.
'Wake up!' a loud screech of a command reaches her ears.
It's not Damon, Bonnie registers, that's definitely Caroline.
'Why?' Bonnie groggily asks
'Because you have some explaining to do,' her friend starts ranting. 'You disappear for two days, and I didn't know where you were. And then I come here to find you here. Did you know that Damon's dancing around in the kitchen?'
'Oh my gosh, Care,' she starts to complain, 'it's too early in the morning, can we not do this?'
Who comes to someone's house so early in the morning, goes to their bedroom to wake them up, just for the sole purpose of discussing a person that they happen to dislike?
'It's eleven,' Caroline quickly retorts, 'and no, we are doing this, because you're my only person, Bonnie. Elena's really busy these days, and I'm obviously not talking to Stefan, so you're my only person.'
There's one thing that is for sure, and that's if she doesn't get up from bed, Caroline will keep pestering her anyway, so she might as well. She begrudgingly forces herself to lift her body off the bed, into a decent enough position.
'I get that,' she agrees, 'but…'
She still feels like Caroline shouldn't have woken her up like she did. She can sympathise with Caroline, though, she thinks as she opens her eyes. She knows too well what it's like to have that one person as your only person, and how constricting it feels, to feel like that your only person isn't by your side, like they need to be.
'What can I do for you?' she decides after a good look at her friend.
'Can you do the eulogy tomorrow?' Caroline asks. 'I know it's last minute, but last night when I tried to write one, I just… Can you do my mom's eulogy?'
She? Do a eulogy? For Liz?
No, she immediately refuses the idea in her head. She's not comfortable with doing a eulogy. Of course, she has some memories of Liz, but still, she doesn't feel comfortable writing an eulogy just like that.
'Did you ask Elena?' Bonnie wonders, actually hoping to be relieved of being an option.
'No,' Caroline shakes her head. 'I'm asking you.'
Following her friend's lead, she also starts to shake her head. While they've all known each other since they were younger, she feels that specifically for the eulogy, Elena will be able to do a better job. Without all of her memories, she feels a little inadequate to do anything.
'I'm not the right person to do it, Care,' she tries to reason while staring into the eyes of her friend. 'Can't you ask Matt, or someone else?'
'I'll do it,' a male voice suddenly says.
Bonnie recognises it as Damon's voice, and feeling thankful for the offer to take the weight off of her, she searches for him with her eyes at the door, where she finds him. As their eyes meet, she sends him a small smile of greeting, and although he somewhat returns it, she can tell that his heart is not in it. There's just something about him...
'I didn't ask you to,' Caroline snubs him, pulling a face too.
'Liz was a friend of mine,' Damon responds, his tone not changing. 'I want to do it. I'm not going to force it, if you really don't want me to do it.'
'Just let him do it,' Bonnie pleads with Caroline.
'Seriously?'Damon?' Caroline softly cries, looking torn about it.
'I can't do it, Care.'
There's a moment of a struggle, where Caroline's facial expression changes, from looking torn to being hurt, and then finally, after wearing the hurt look for long enough, she closes her eyes, resigning.
'Fine,' she quietly accepts, 'but this doesn't earn him any points in my book, so he shouldn't go thinking that it does.'
'He can hear you,' Bonnie says at the same time that Damon releases a dry, 'Got it.'
'So you may go now,' Caroline harshly says to him, not even bothering to turn around and face him.
'Caroline…' Bonnie fondly warns her friend.
Why does she dislike Damon so much? Fine, she can hate Damon, but she shouldn't be as rude as to kick him out for no reason. This is his house, after all.
'What?' Caroline shrugs, uncaring about saying what she said. 'What else does he want? He doesn't sleep here.'
'He's my friend,' Bonnie tells her, but her eyes, she fixes on Damon. 'I want him here.'
She wants him to know that she has no part in Caroline's words. She does want him here even if he doesn't sleep here, and it's important that Damon knows that. Caroline, on the other hand, as though attacked by something invisible, jumps back just slightly, making it so that she is no longer facing Bonnie, but the direction of the door.
'Well, if he's staying, I'm leaving,' she bitterly announces. 'I have stuff to do anyway.'
To Bonnie, it seemed like a joke, like a cry for attention, but when Caroline flees from there, leaving the space she'd been occupying, empty, it registers in her brain that her friend hadn't been bluffing. And by the time that Bonnie's gathered enough command to get up from her bed, Caroline's long gone.
'Wow,' she blinks to make sure that everything is really what it seems, 'she really left. I didn't think she would.'
She stands up from the bed, doing so, while partly waiting for Caroline to re-appear, and partly expecting to hear Damon make a comment about how it's better for him, that she's gone, but none of the two things happen. Because of that, she fully turns her attention to Damon, trying to see if something is wrong with him.
'What is it, Damon?'
She's asking, because she's looking at him, and she can see that he's looking at her too, only, it's as if he's not really seeing her. She knows him well enough to understand that something is on his mind, and he probably does not know how to speak about it.
'Last night...' is the only reply he gives for a starter.
She can't have him say just that, so she urges him to give her more information by asking, 'What about last night?'
It can't be good if he needs her to fish it out of him. It can't be good if he's suddenly looking around the room as if looking to find something unexpected. And it definitely cannot be good, if he's now turned his eyes back to her, and his face has on the expression of guilt, maybe?
'It doesn't matter,' he shakes his head, suddenly changing his mind.
'What do you mean, it doesn't matter?'
'It just doesn't,' he insists, cocking his head to the side, probably to make it seem like a harmless thing. 'I think you should go after Caroline. She came here for a reason.'
'You,' she stresses, narrowing her eyes at him, 'came in here for a reason.'
'Not really,' he denies with a soft shrug.
What's wrong with him anyway, she wonders, why is he acting all serious and mature? Where between their dinner last night and this morning, did he change to this? And this? Really? It's obvious that he wants to tell her something, but he suddenly doesn't feel like telling her what he meant to? Something's not right with him, and if that's really the case, she has to gently rub it out of him.
'Damon, come here,' she beckons to him with her hand.
Because he only stands there looking at her for a moment, she starts to think that he won't do it, but then he surprises her a quick second right after that moment, when he uses his supernatural speed to appear right next to her. She lets out a secret sigh of relief, thankful that he's not that bad along with whatever is going on with him, just as she coils her arm around his, pulling him down to sit on her bed.
'Just tell me what's going on,' she says as adjusts herself in her seat to look at him.
Again, for a moment, he only looks at her as though he can't make up his mind. Just when she thinks to try again, though, he surprises her –again- by removing his arm from hers and then hastily stands up onto his feet.
'I'll tell you later, Bon,' he says flatly. 'I really think you should be with Caroline today. It's her mother's funeral tomorrow, and I really think that she needs a friend.'
Although she doesn't like his attitude, his entire aura today, she can't help it agree that he's right. For Caroline to have come looking for her at home, she must really need something more than a friend's shoulder to lean on.
'You're right,' she gets up as well. 'I should be with Caroline. I think I'll even spend the night with her,' she continues, the animation in her voice picking up. 'I just hope Elena can be there as well.'
In situations like these, the three of them have always banded together to keep each other sane. When her mom didn't return and when Caroline's dad suddenly left, they all came together and were just there for each other. This shouldn't have to be different just because they are older and a few changes here and there have happened.
'I haven't really talked all that much to Elena since we got back, you know,' she remembers. 'I think I'll ask her to come and sleepover too. Caroline needs us.'
'You're going to call Elena?'
She had started to pull the sheets off the bed, getting ready to make it up, when Damon's horrified question makes her stop in her actions. Feeling something -not really sure what- she straightens herself to consider him. Okay, not only did his voice sound horrified at the mention of Elena's name, he also has a look of sheer shock on his face, which to her doesn't make any sense. Unless he had to be there with them, there shouldn't be a reason why he would be afraid of Elena being with her and Caroline.
'I just said that Caroline needs us,' she carefully reminds him, just so he does not miss that part again.
'I heard you,' he replies.
'Then why did you ask about Elena like that?'
'Like calling Elena's a bad idea.'
'I just…' his eyes starts roaming the room again. 'I uh… The eulogy. I have to go and work on the eulogy.'
'Yeah, but-' she wanted to tell him that having to do the eulogy has nothing to do with his response to Elena, but he doesn't allow her to finish.
'I'll see you later,' he cuts her off with a promise, and then just like Caroline suddenly fled from the room, he does too.
'Strange,' she mutters to herself after he's gone.
Either he's hiding something important from her, or he still thinks that the subject of Elena is a sore one for her. If it's the last one, then she should really make time to make him understand that Elena isn't a sore subject, it's only when it comes to him, and how she remembers him from the beginning, it matters to her that he is honest about him and her to her. Just so that she knows and doesn't make a fool of herself.
By the time that she makes it to Caroline's house, she finds Caroline sitting by herself in the garden. It's a sad thing to admit to herself, having been through a loved one's death herself, although not remembering any of it, but she can't imagine what her friend has been going through. Ever since getting back, she's been all about Damon, that she didn't give her friends proper attention. At least now that she has her magic back, and she feels like an old part of her has returned, she can give a shoulder to the one friend who needs it.
'Hey,' Bonnie gets Caroline's attention. 'Can I?' she shows to the empty space next to Caroline.
'Sure,' Caroline responds, trying to smile.
'You know, with all of my problems, I didn't really get the chance to ask how you're doing.'
The truth is, Caroline didn't actually give her the chance to ask about how she's really doing. Not even with Stefan, did Caroline allow Bonnie the chance to ask questions. What she's been doing, is bringing up little pieces of information, and then making excuses to leave or change the subject.
'I'm fine,' Caroline tries to assure her, exactly proving the point in Bonnie's mind.
'Caroline,' Bonnie pushes, placing her hand on her friend's shoulder, 'you don't have to pretend with me. How are you?'
'I'm fine, Bonnie,' Caroline responds. 'Really, I am. I mean, the whole Stefan thing is...'
'What?' Bonnie wants to know.
'Nothing,' Caroline answers, her head shaking.
'Come on, Caroline, you told me that you have feelings for him, so talk to me. This obviously isn't okay for you, so I don't know how you can be fine.'
As if to make Bonnie believe her, Caroline takes the hand on her shoulder into her own, gently squeezing it.
'I'm fine, Bonnie,' she says. 'Really. I would've liked that you came with me to Amsterdam, but you can't, and it's fine. I'm fine.'
'Then why are you sitting here by yourself with that look on your face?'
'Because I'm thinking,' Caroline simply says, 'that's all.'
She's thinking. Okay, she will accept that, because those moments do come up in life. If Caroline really doesn't want to talk to her about Stefan and her mother's death, then she will respect that. From her own experience, she remembers how she didn't want to talk to Stefan even though he was there, only to Damon. Damon...
That's probably it, Bonnie thinks while she looks at her friend. Maybe Stefan is Caroline's Damon, and she doesn't want to talk to anyone else, but Stefan about how she feels. Maybe she doesn't want anyone else to ask her how she feels, before Stefan talks to her and knows how she feels. If it's like that, then she understands now.
'Hmm,' Bonnie lets out the small sound of acceptance.
'I was actually thinking about how different you are,' Caroline tells her, but it's the testing tone in her voice that catches Bonnie's attention.
Caroline nods to answer the question, 'Not bad different. Not really, but you're different from the Bonnie who died months ago.'
She only nods, because she doesn't want to say that she lost her memories, and so the difference. Stefan knows, because Damon trusted him to look after her, but she's not comfortable with anyone else knowing that about her. She still feels like she needs to find her feet. And if that does not happen, she'll have to fake her way through life with her friends.
'You know that you can trust me, right, Bonnie? If you want to talk about something?'
Again, Bonnie only nods, appreciating the offer, but knowing that she won't be using that offer.
'I mean it,' Caroline insists. 'If there's something that happened in 1994 that changed you, and you want to talk about it, then you can trust me.'
'Thank you, Caroline,' she replies, to which Caroline suddenly bursts out laughing.
'Oh my gosh, Bonnie, you don't take hints, do you? I'm practically begging you to tell me what happened, and you're just holding it in!'
'I'm sorry, I didn't realise,' she replies with a sheepish smile.
She really didn't realise what Caroline was trying to get her to do. It just seemed like a friend being there for a friend, a friend being concerned, not nosy.
'So?' her friend pushes for an answer. 'Did something happen?'
Looking away, out in front of them, at nothing in particular, she absently moves her head as she briefly goes through all the 'somethings' that happened in 1994. There are so many things that happened in 1994, memories that she cherishes and would never like to lose. She lost her memories, the ones before the new memories that she made, but she can't tell Caroline that. She doesn't want anyone else to know that.
'Something did happen, yeah, but it's okay now. I'm okay.'
A silent time passes, where none of them say anything, that is until Bonnie looks at Caroline, curious to know what reply Caroline has to that. To be honest, she's actually surprised that Caroline hasn't been inquisitive about Damon at all. What with the comments that she made at the coffee shop, and even before that, it's a wonder that Caroline hasn't grilled her about Damon yet.
'Did you ever think?' Caroline finally releases her hold on, and looks out to the open. 'You and Damon?'
'Me and Damon?'
She asking, because Caroline's voice suggests that she's talking about more than just friendship between the two of them, and would like to sure that they are having the same conversation.
'What did I tell you, huh?' Caroline answers her, almost sympathetically. 'Those Salvatore boys have a way of sneaking into your system. And then from there, it's that whole chemistry, biology thing... X and y, you know... Boys and girls, and chemical reactions. Even math has x and y. And English. X and y... Boys and girls. Like that song, Boys and Girls, remember?'
What? Just, what?
Feeling both confused and tickled to laugh, Bonnie mockingly checks for Caroline's temperature on her forehead, simultaneously asking, 'Are you okay, Caroline? Because what you're saying is kind of very senseless.'
Okay, sure, she grasps what her friend is more or less suggesting, but the way that she said it, just didn't really make all that much plausible sense.
'I'm fine,' Caroline says. 'And you know exactly what I mean.'
Lowering her hand from Caroline's forehead, Bonnie can't help it point out that, 'Okay, I just didn't expect that from you. I mean, you practically hate Damon.'
'I don't hate him,' Caroline shakes her head. 'It's just... If I show him that I can tolerate him, then he'll let it get to his head. Just... Bonnie, be careful, okay? Damon and Elena have this history between them, and I still believe that he wouldn't hesitate to choose Elena over you.'
She nods, but secretly hopes that Caroline is wrong. Damon said that he would make her his second priority.
'Look, I've watched Damon with you, and I really do think that he cares about you... Whatever happened over there, he obviously cares about you, but maybe it just isn't enough. I just need you to be careful with him. You can tell me that you don't have feelings for him, but I just need you to not have your heart broken.'
'Do you think I should tell him?' Bonnie spontaneously asks, biting her lip, just waiting to be told what a bad idea it will be. 'There's this... This thing attaching us, and I want his side to be real without that thing, but I don't know. I just wonder if I should tell him.'
About how she feels, she means. She wonders if she should get it out into the open, so she can stop living in this hopeful life of expectation, and then being hurt and disappointed when it doesn't work out the way that it she hoped that it would.
'Oh, no, Bonnie. I can't tell you what to do,' her friend apologetically tells her. 'I can't even do that myself, so... I'm sorry.'
'Yeah,' Bonnie accepts. 'Thanks for caring.'
'I'm here for you.'
'Speaking of being here for you,' she quickly changes the subject, 'I was thinking that the three of us could spend the night here. With Elena. I know it's not necessarily the best circumstances, but I think we should be here with you tonight.'
Caroline looks uncertain at, but at least she still agrees with a short, 'Sure.'
Where does she even begin in this hospital? Where does she find Elena, to take back with her to Caroline's? It's so weird being in a place that she has probably visited many times before, but has no real memory of. Who does she even ask for Elena? One of the nurses, maybe?
She lets a breath, preparing herself to do this, also reminding herself that life will look like this from now on.
Without her memories, she'll enter places and miss the faces of people that she knows. She'll go through town and school, wondering if the person staring at her, is waiting for her to fulfil a routine that she used to have with them, or if they are just being creepy. Or admiring.
Oh gosh, it's going to be so hard.
What is she going to do about it? Keep depending on Damon to guide her through this life? Will she keep doing what she's doing now, standing in the entrance of the hospital and hoping that someone calls her name as enough of an invitation to move? She doesn't really remember being dependant on someone like that, and she doesn't want to start, so she'll just have to gather herself together.
'You've got this, Bonnie,' she softly encourages herself, the last push to get going.
She then takes relatively normal steps into the hospital, being very conscious not to look around too much and too hard, and then have people look at her suspiciously. To look like she has everything under control, she has to walk as normally as she can calculate, while being just the right amount of attentive to spot any person that she might know, to ask about Elena. She makes it to reception successfully, and just as she is getting ready to talk to the lady there, from the corner of her eye, she sees a face that she seems to recognise.
Not all that sure that it's who she thinks it is, she turns away from the reception attendant, to her left. She'd been right, she realises, that is the woman who came with Enzo, to get her from 1994. As far as she knows, she's getting married to Alaric, one of Damon's closest friends... And she also happens to be Kai's sister.
'Hey...' she hurriedly calls before the woman makes it too far away from her. 'Um, Jo, right?'
Jo, in her white coat, turns in her direction, and immediately a look of surprise crosses her face. It disappears after a small minute of looking at her, and Bonnie can only assume that she now recognises her. Thank goodness for that.
'Bonnie,' Jo finally gets out of her mouth.
'Yeah,' she answers, walking the small distance to the other woman.
'How have you been?' Jo wants to know, her eyes running over Bonnie's body.
'Oh, you know...' she shrugs, not really wanting to get into that. 'Um, do you know if Elena is here?'
'Somewhere in this hospital, yes,' Jo tells her, her finger pointing around. 'Her service is supposed to end in thirty minutes, I believe.'
'Oh, thanks. I wasn't sure that I'd find her here. Um, I'll just wait for her, I guess.'
'You can wait in my office, if you want.'
'Thank you,' Bonnie says. 'I'll look around for it.'
If Elena still have thirty minutes left, Bonnie might as well use the time in between to wander around the hospital and kill time.
'Okay,' Jo agrees before taking off.
Taking that to be a goodbye of sorts, Bonnie goes off in search of the office. She looks around as much as she can, mentally filing away the different patient departments in case she needs to return here in the future.
She wonders which room Liz had occupied.
It must have been so hard for Caroline to come into this place, day after day, possibly after classes, to see her dying mom. No one should have to go through that. It's bad enough that hospitals have this unforgettable smell...
Anyway, with the help of two or three people along the way, she eventually finds Jo's office. Walking into it, she finds that it's not impersonal exactly, but it's hugely lacking in the personal department. There's a picture of Alaric on her desk, and some ornaments, but nothing else. There's nothing wrong with having an office like this, though, because she guesses that no one wants to have a home-like office in a hospital. It would just be a sick kind of thing to do. In a way.
She takes a seat in one of the waiting chairs, and before she knows it, the office door is opening to let someone else in. At first, she thinks it's Jo, but the very excited, 'Eeeeeeeee! Bonnie!' that fills the room, says otherwise; it's Elena. Elena, who is apparently very happy to see her.
'Hi, Elena,' she lifts her hand in a wave as she starts to get up.
Elena ignores the greeting, opting to do something that Bonnie would have only expected of Damon (just because), which is get to her in an instant, and attack her with a fierce hug that she hadn't been prepared for. It's not an unwelcome thing, though. It feels good to be hugged like she matters like this.
'I'm so sorry that I haven't been spending time with you,' Elena says to her, tightening her arms. 'I've just been so busy with school.'
'It's okay, Elena. I haven't exactly been available either.'
'Still... I could have made the effort,' Elena persists, gradually easing out of the embrace to look at her. 'So, what have you been up to?'
Shrugging, she says, 'Nothing much. What have you been up to?'
She finds that with people, it's easier to stray away from herself, and rather ask about them as a way of finding out the information that she doesn't have.
'You mean between boy troubles, Ric's wedding, Kai and school?'
'And Liz's death,' Bonnie supplies.
'And that too,' Elena agrees with a nod. 'It's just been so many things at once, you know.'
'I know, but Caroline's been feeling alone. I haven't really been there, and neither have you, and she needs us. She's got boy troubles too, you know, but her mom died, so it's harder for her.'
'I know,' Elena sadly agrees. 'I wish I could make her feel better. But she's not talking about it.'
Maybe she's not talking about it, because doing that, makes her feel better than living in reality. She can't use her relationship with Damon as a comparison, but in a way, thanks to her relationship with Damon, Bonnie can understand Caroline's point of view on life at the moment.
'Just let her,' she encourages Elena. 'She's not ready yet, but she's doing her best to handle it. She did make all the funeral arrangements by herself. The only thing that she couldn't do, is the eulogy. She asked me to do the eulogy, and if Damon hadn't offered to do it, I would be writing one right now.'
Elena's face changes to that of surprise for some reason, and Bonnie wants to know why.
'Damon?' Elena frowns. 'How did that happen?'
That's what she's worried about? Okay...
'Oh, um... I'm kind of living at the boarding house at the moment. Both of them came to see me at the same time, and Damon offered.'
'Why are you living there?' is Elena's question, the frown on her face deepening.
Bonnie would have thought that Elena would say something in connection to the eulogy, she doesn't know, even just any small comment about Caroline having one less thing to worry about tomorrow, not about her living arrangement. The things that Elena's worried about, really. It throws her off mental balance for a second, that it takes a few more seconds to regroup and give her friend a nonchalant answer.
'It's nothing,' she dismisses. 'I had a small accident while I was with Damon, and he didn't want me to leave, because of it. It's only temporary.'
There's a funny look on Elena's face, no longer the frown, when she asks, 'Are you sure?'
Is she sure about what, living with Damon? What's there to be sure about it? She's living with him, it's just a thing that's happening.
'I've lived with him before,' she reminds Elena. 'It's actually quite easy.'
And comforting. And he does these spontaneously wonderful things that make her feel unreal warmth within...
'I just mean...' Elena seems to be reasoning. 'Okay, yeah, you've lived with him in 1994, but... Wouldn't it be awkward?'
Like she said, she's lived with Damon before, so how awkward can it get, really? What, did Elena not just hear what she said? If it would've felt awkward to her, she would've mentioned it, when she pointed out that she lived with Damon before. Still, though, she's curious to understand what Elena means.
'Awkward how, Elena?'
'I just mean...' her friend starts. 'It feels like he's just being responsible for you. You got hurt while you were with him, so it's only right that he feels responsible for you. Wouldn't it be awkward being there, just because he feels responsible to look after you? It's like not really being wanted there, but you kind of have to be there, you know. It's kind of awkward.'
Wow. Just wow.
She doesn't know how exactly Elena means that 'awkward' thing, because it doesn't really make logical sense in the way that it should, but the point it, Elena's explanation has started turning wheels in her head. It may just be stemming from a place of insecurity in her relationship with Damon, also just expecting that he will disappoint her if she gives in completely, but, what if really, Damon's just feeling obligated to look keep her there, because he's responsible for her?
I screwed up, Bon. Isn't that what he had told her?
Isn't this what you want from me? That wasn't exactly him saying what he wanted with and from her.
How could she have been so stupid? Damon is just feeling responsible for her, thinking that if he hurts her, something bad will happen to her, and it will all be his fault. Realising that, she wants to let out a laugh, the kind that is of disbelief and accompanied by a teary look in the eyes... She can't believe herself. How could she have been so stupid? She made a fool of herself, asking Damon not to hurt her, when he already literally made the decision to be responsible for her life. Just how stupid will she continue to be?
Just this morning, he wanted to tell her something, but he must have thought better of it, after going over it in his head, and coming to the conclusion that he would hurt her with whatever he had to tell her. All of the little things that she didn't notice about and concerning him before, are finally starting to fall into place, and she doesn't like the places that they fall into.
But how could she have been so stupid?
Why does everything about Damon always come from her friends?
And worse, why does information from her friends always make her feel incredibly stupid?
'You're right,' she finally says to Elena. 'It would be awkward. I should go home.'
She should go home, there's nothing else to do about that. It makes her heart ache that it has to be done this way, though. It really makes her heart ache.
'Come back to the dorm,' Elena suggests. 'I miss you there.'
Chapter 23, You're Still You.