Elena sat in the passenger seat of her best friend's car watching the world go by and trying to subdue the nervous feeling in the pit of her stomach. It was always brought on whenever she rode in a car, and it wasn't any surprise given what had happened. Elena had been in the car with her parents when it had driven off Wickery Bridge, but she was fortunate and survived. The doctors and local authorities had wondered how she had managed to get out of the car when her parents hadn't.
Elena had blamed herself for their death every single day. She hated the fact that she had survived and they hadn't.
'So Grams is telling me I'm psychic,' Bonnie Bennett broke the silence in the car. 'Our ancestors were from Salem, witches and all that...'
Elena started to smile.
'I know,' Bonnie shook her head. 'Crazy. But she's going on and on about it and I'm like put this woman in a home already!'
They were now passing the graveyard. Just like every morning.
'But then I started thinking, I predicted Obama... and I predicted Heath Ledger...'
It was weird for Elena to think that her parents were buried right where they were passing. She could never get over that terrible feeling. They were six feet under and she was out living her life.
'...and I still think Florida will break off and turn into little resort islands.'
What was so special about her? Why did she have to live and her parents couldn't?
'Elena!' Bonnie grabbed her friends attention. 'Back in the car...' She grinned.
'I did it again, didn't I...' Elena began apologetically. She felt bad for tuning her best friend out and was realizing that already her resolution to start afresh was starting to crumble. 'I'm sorry Bonnie, you were telling me that...'
'That I'm psychic now,' Bonnie said.
'Right, okay then. Predict something. About me.'
Bonnie sighed and narrowed her eyes, a slight smile playing on her lips at the game they were playing. 'I see...'
Something crashed into the windscreen.
Elena's sharp gasp coincided with Bonnie's as she skidded to a stop, nearly driving straight into the curb. Elena's heart was pounding furiously and all at once the bad memories from the summer came flooding to the surface. She sat there panting, trying so hard to push it down, push it away from her.
'What was that?' Bonnie demanded, sounded just as panicked as Elena.
Elena couldn't respond; she was trying to get her breath back.
'Oh my God, Elena are you okay?'
'It's okay, I'm fine.' Elena tried to reassure Bonnie, her voice was uneven and her hands were shaking.
'It was like a bird or something, it came out of nowhere.'
'Really.. I- I can't be freaked out by cars for the rest of my life.'
Bonnie looked at her. 'I predict, this year is going to be kick-ass. And I predict all the sad and dark times are over and you are going to be beyond happy.'
Elena smiled, truly grateful that her best friend was there. She wished so much, with every last fiber of her being, that Bonnie was going to be right. She was tired of feeling like this all the time, she was tired of the awful memories that haunted her and the constant guilt that ate away, draining her of her energy. She was tired of it all.
* * * *
Stefan strolled through the courtyard of the school, completely confident and resolute that he was making the right choice now. All around him humans were immersed in conversations with their friends, embracing them and catching up on each other's summer. It all seemed trivial to him, but he also secretly wanted to be a part of that. He just wanted to fit in. He was going to try to make it this year.
He noticed a few people casting surreptitious glances at him as they passed. He imagined what he must look like to them; a dark stranger shrouded in sunglasses and dressed all in black starting the local High School. He could sense their interest, trepidation and intrigue. All contradicting emotions. He was used to it.
* * * *
Elena was once again back in the familiar corridors of Mystic Falls High School, surrounded by the people she knew the faces of but rarely held a conversation with. People looked happy to be reunited with their friends but glum at the prospect of another year in High School.
'Serious lack of male real estate,' Bonnie commented distastefully. 'Look at the shower curtain on Kelly Beach.'
Elena held back a giggle at the unfortunate choice of clothing one girl in particular had chosen to wear.
'She looks a hot... can you still say "tranny mess"?' Bonnie turned to her friend for approval.
'No that's over,' Elena replied.
'Eurgh, find a man, coin a phrase. It's a busy year,' Bonnie smiled, stopping by her locker, her gaze wandering to something over Elena's shoulder. Elena followed her line of vision and saw Matt Donovan staring at them both.
And once again the feeling of guilt returned. Matt was Elena's ex. They had been dating since their early teens but had known each other since they were babies. Matt was such a lovely, sweet boy but she hadn't wanted to continue their relationship after the accident. She had specifically told him she needed time alone and was fully aware of how lame this excuse sounded. Matt's bright blue eyes had lost their normal spark and he had both of his headphones in.
Elena tried waving to him but he turned away, grabbing some books out of his locker and heading in the opposite direction.
'He hates me,' Elena said miserably, leaning against the locker.
'That's not hate,' Bonnie said quickly. 'That's "You-dumped-me-but-I'm-too-cool-to-show-it-but-secretly-I'm-listening-to-Air-Supply's-Greatest-Hits.'
Elena had been about to say something when out of nowhere Caroline Forbes came rushing up to her, all blonde hair and smothering attention.
'Elena! Oh my God!' She pulled her friend into a tight hug. 'How are you? Oh it's so good to see you.' She turned to Bonnie. 'How is she? Is she good?'
'Caroline, I'm right here,' Elena reclaimed her attention. She recited the words she had written that morning in her diary perfectly: 'And I'm fine, thank you.'
'Yes! Much better.'
'Oh,' Caroline hugged her again. 'You poor thing.'
'Okay Caroline,' Elena muttered, feeling suffocated.
'See you guys later?' Caroline asked smiling, showing perfectly straight white teeth.
'Yep!' Bonnie nodded.
Caroline rushed off, no doubt to catch up with her other friends, still grinning away. Elena turned to Bonnie and a look passed between the two.
'No comment.' Elena shook her head.