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Role Model

3 months ago

"Hello?" Jade answered her phone sleepily. The twenty-two year old had just finished college, celebrating her graduation the night before which got a little out of hand the blonde realized as she looked around the room, her memory foggy. She wasn't too excited about moving back home soon, but she didn't have the money to live on her own yet. She was starting work in a few weeks as a nurse.

"Jade? It's Liz Forbes," the sheriff from her home town of Mystic Falls replied. Her tone implied that something was wrong, making Jade sit up alertly.

"What?" Jade asked quickly. "Is it Vicki?" Her younger sister was always getting into trouble, though Jade had been the same when she was in high school. "God, Matty?" Her youngest brother Matt never caused quite the amount of trouble his older sisters did.

"They're fine," Liz assured her.

"Did something happen to my mom?" Jade asked now, holding much less concern for Kelly than she did for her younger siblings. She had gone to school out of state in Florida to get away from her mother, though she had wanted to take Matt and Vicki with her.

"I went by the house," Liz was explaining. "The neighbors were complaining about a party Vicki had." Typical, Jade thought to herself. "Turns out your mother hasn't been living there for months."

"What?" Jade demanded now. Her mother had just left two teenagers alone? Jade knew she shouldn't be surprised, Kelly had always been a flake. While Jade was still in high school, Kelly would disappear for a weekend with some random guy but it was never more than a few days.

"Wait," Jade was saying now. "They're not getting placed somewhere, are they?" Vicki would be eighteen soon at the end of the summer before her senior year, with Matt turning seventeen soon after. For now though, they were both minors without anyone to take care of them.

"We've tried contacting your father," Liz started off. Their father, Jade silently corrected. While Vicki and Matt's dad had adopted her when she was four and he had just married her mom, making her an official Donovan, Jade had never even met her own father or seen a picture of him. Kelly only knew his first name, there was no way for Jade to find him, even if she wanted to.

"He's been gone since Matty was five," Jade stopped her now. Jade had been ten, remembering her step-dad as being nothing short of a jerk.

"Well, that's why we're calling you now," Liz said and Jade felt her jaw drop, completely silent now. "I know this is a lot to take in, but if you don't want-"

"No," Jade stopped her now. She couldn't let them take Matt and Vicki away, sending them to foster homes. "No, I'll be on the next flight."

Present Day

Jade woke up that morning, her eyes cloudy with sleep as she blinked at the alarm clock. When she noticed the time, she nearly fell back off of her bed. Had she slept through her alarm? She heard someone downstairs and knew that it would be Matt, there was no way Vicki would be up until Jade dragged her out of bed. After all, it was the first day of school.

"Vicki!" Jade shouted as she ran by, banging on her sister's door before pulling her scrubs top over her head. "C'mon, time for school!" There was some groaning on the other side of the door that Jade couldn't decipher as she ran downstairs, grateful Matt was already awake, ready, and eating breakfast.

"Coffee's on," Matt nodded at the counter from the table where he was eating cereal.

"Thanks," Jade told him, pulling her hair back into a pony tail just for work. "Do you need a ride to school or something?"

"My truck's fixed," Matt told her and she nodded, Vicki dragging her feet into the room now, collapsing onto a seat across from her brother.

"What are you doing?" Jade was asking Vicki who was still in her tank top and pajama pants. "Get dressed."

"Do I have to go?" Vicki was complaining.

"Yes," Jade said in exasperation, still running around the kitchen like her hair was on fire. She was going to be late, that was for sure, and if Vicki kept it up she was going to make her and Matt late for school. Jade felt responsible to make sure they got there on time.

"Go," Matt was insisting as Jade started searching for her other shoe. The house was a mess, but that was what happened when you left two teens and a post grad in charge of the maintaining the house, not that Kelly ever did much better. "Here," he stopped her from rushing around, having found her shoe under the table.

"Thanks Matty," Jade said, taking it and slipping it on before handing him a brown bag from the counter.

"What's this?" he asked with raised eye brows.

"I made you lunch," Jade said, grabbing her keys and bag. She stopped on her way out the door. "You don't pack lunches, do you?" Matt didn't have the heart to tell her he hadn't packed a lunch since the sixth grade.

"No, it's cool," Matt told her, grabbing Vicki's packed lunch now too. "Thanks." With the end of summer came a new set of responsibilities and he could tell she was frazzled. "Go, seriously, you'll be late."

"K, bye!" she called to him. "Good luck." Vicki had returned from upstairs, dressed now for school as she went to get breakfast. She and Jade swapped a quick hug goodbye before Jade went running out the door to her car, surprised to see someone walking up her driveway.

"Sheriff Forbes?" Jade asked as she opened her own car door, throwing her things in. She didn't have the time to stop for their usual chat, with Liz stopping by every so often to check in on them.

"Good morning Jade," Liz greeted her.

"Do you check on the Gilbert kids this much?" Jade asked with raised eyebrows.

The month before her siblings were taken from her mom's custody, Elena and Jeremy had lost their parents to a car accident and were now living with their Aunt Jenna. It was no secret though with Jade's former reputation and Vicki's current one that they probably needed looked in on more, not that Jade appreciated it as she thought she had been doing a good job, just having an off morning now.

"Because you probably should," Jade continued, having an extra bit of salt in her personality right now. The morning events had made her cranky and she didn't appreciate the sheriff taking an interest in checking on the Donovan kids so much when they hadn't done anything wrong. At least, not recently. "Jeremy's been sneaking in and out of here all summer to see Vicki, and you know what they say about her," Jade continued her rant.

"Jade," Liz said seriously.

"I'm late," Jade told her in frustration. "I have bills and kids so can you please..." She didn't know how else to say it. "Just not right now?"

"All right," Liz nodded, going and getting in her own car, leaving the driveway as Vicki and Matt were coming outside.

"What was that?" Matt asked.

"We'll talk about it later," Jade rolled her eyes as she got in, trying to start her car now. When it wouldn't start, a string of profanities flew from Jade's mouth. They had just paid to get Matt's truck fixed and now her car wouldn't start. Unfortunately, they were all working to pay the bills, for the house, the utilities, for food. It didn't help that Jade was starting to get letters about her student loans now. Getting out of the car, Matt was already holding out the keys for her to take.

"If you just wanna take the truck," Vicki was saying. "We'll skip."

"Nice try," Jade commented. "Get in."

Jade was pretty sure she broke several traffic laws as she drove way over the speed limit and blew through stop signs. She was happy to get her siblings to school on time, though she did have to call work on her way there to say that she was going to be late. Vicki hopped out of the truck without much of a goodbye and Jade noticed the way she was veering to walk towards the back of the school, knowing who she was going to meet and what she was going to be doing.

"Ugh, she's going to kill me," Jade commented of her younger sister and her growing drug problem.

"You turned out ok," Matt commented.

"You're a smart ass," Jade laughed a little now and he smiled at her; it was good to see him smile after a pretty hectic few months. Not only had their mom disappeared and he had a brand new guardian, but Elena had dumped him at the beginning of the summer. "Have a good first day Matty."

"Thanks," Matt told her appreciatively, though he spotted Elena now. Jade's eyes fell on her too. And, while she never had a problem with Elena and always thought she was a really nice girl, she wasn't too happy that she had broken her little brother's heart.

"I could hit her with this," Jade said, patting the steering wheel to show she meant the truck, though that was probably insensitive of her to make that joke; Elena had been in the car when her parents had their accident.

"Ah, pass," Matt said lightly. "Don't need you ending up in jail." He nodded his head side to side as he recalled her teen years, knowing she had gotten busted her fair share of partying. "Again."

"Get out!" Jade told him now, though she fought off a laugh.

As the day went on, things started to go more smoothly. Things were fine at work and, once she was done, she met Matt and Vicki at home since they got rides home with friends. Not long after they got home though, they were out again. She knew the tradition well, there was always a back to school party up at the falls. It looked like Jade was going to have the house to herself, which she was fine with after such a long day, though she was worrying now about her siblings partying. Watching tv alone, she was surprised to hear a knock at the door, especially when it was so late.

"Please don't be Sheriff Forbes," she muttered quietly to herself as she went to open the door. "Please don't..." She stopped as she opened the door, shocked at who was standing there. "Damon?"

"Hey Jade," Damon was smiling at her. She had dated him on and off for awhile when she was in college.

"Damon Salvatore?" Jade said now, shocked that he was standing on her porch right now; they hadn't spoken since they last switched their relationship to off nearly a year ago.

"The one and only," he smirked. "Can I come in?"

"No," Jade said, keeping a grip on the door as she prepared to slam it on his face if necessary; things hadn't ended well. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Well, you said you were from Mystic Falls," Damon reminded her. "And I told you I lived here as a kid." He shrugged. "I'm back now."

"Huh?" Jade asked, completely confused. She never told Damon where exactly she was from, just that she was from Virginia and he said that he was born in a small town there too. That was the extent as she avoided talking about home, especially with guys she was seeing.

"I'm living with my younger brother," Damon continued.

"I'm not doing this," Jade shook her head now, preparing to close the door. Down the street, she could hear someone speeding in their car, feeling her stomach sink when she realized it was Matt's truck screeching to a stop at the end of the driveway.

"Get out of here Damon," Jade told him, pulling the door shut behind her as she rushed off the porch. "Matt, what's going on?"

"It's Vicki," Matt said quickly, having sped the entire way there from the party. "They took her to the hospital-"

"What happened?" Jade asked worriedly.

"She got attacked by some animal in the woods," Matt was starting to explain as Damon was coming over now.

"C'mon," Jade said, getting into the driver's side so she could take them to the hospital.

"Who's that guy?" Matt asked as they peeled out of the driveway, leaving Damon there alone.

"Someone from school," Jade rolled her eyes, her priorities set on getting to the hospital. "Nothing to worry about."

What Jade didn't know was Damon was everything to worry about. While he hadn't known who Vicki was in relation to Jade, he was the one that attacked her sister in the woods. Jade had no idea who Damon really was, or what he was to be specific. He wasn't just some good looking guy who went to school with her, him and his brother were both decades old vampires that had just returned to their original home of Mystic Falls.

Jade and Matt both sat up through the night, watching Vicki as she rested. While she had lost a lot of blood, the doctors had assured them that she was going to be ok, that she just needed plenty of rest and she could go home tomorrow. Not wanting to leave her though, they both stayed at the hospital so she didn't wake up alone.

"What was she doing tonight?" Jade asked Matt softly, then shook her head at herself. "I'm sorry, that wasn't fair for me to ask you. You're not her babysitter." She sighed, sinking back in her seat. "I am."

"You're doing a good job Jade," Matt promised her. "This was an accident."

"Thanks Matty," Jade half smiled at him, Vicki starting to wake up now. "Vicki! Hey, you're ok."

"J-Jade," Vicki said weakly, looking around. "Matty. I-"

"Shhh," Matt told her now. "Just relax."

"You get to come home tomorrow," Jade told her, then smiled. "I think we can all play hooky, if you want."

"It was a vampire," Vicki said in a near whisper, though there was panic in her voice.

"What?" Jade asked, looking at her brother who shrugged.

"There's vampires Jade," Vicki continued.

"Ok," Jade soothed her, going along with it because she assumed her sister was probably still high or something. "Well, there's none here. Just me and Matty all right?" Vicki kept looking around the room in worry. "Just go back to sleep," Jade assured her, taking her hand. "It's going to be all right."

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