Tat being said, there were a few gems that were too precious not to share, and help illustrate points made in the review, so here we go.
It was so motionless that it might have been a wax model of a bird sitting there. But as she stared at it, Elena felt herself flush slowly, heat coming in waves up her throat and cheeks. Because it was…looking at her. Looking the way boys looked at her when she wore a bathing suit or a sheer blouse. As if it were undressing her with its eyes.I know that the bird is actually Damon and that this is all legit, but imagine the moment of sheer panic Elena must have felt when she realized that she genuinely believed a bird was eye-fucking her.
What had she really lost today? What did she really feel for this stranger, this Stefan Salvatore? He was a challenge, yes, and that made him different, interesting. Stefan was exotic…exciting.“I mean, I don’t think of myself that way, that’s just what people say about me, ahahahaha.”
Funny, that was what guys had sometimes told Elena she was.
And yet even as she moved away herself, walking back to the center of the room, she could sense his watching her reflection. And she knew, suddenly, what she must look like to him, pale hair spilling over the blackness of the cape, one white hand holding the velvet closed at her throat. A ravaged princess pacing in her tower.“That’s what I must have looked like, right? A princess?”
Elena waited until that confusion reached his eyes, shattering his gaze, becoming almost a look of pleading. She knew that her own face was fearless, soft yet intense, her lips slightly parted.Elena describes herself as lovingly as Stefan does.
“I’m too happy to even be defensive,” Elena said, holding out her arms to [her friends Bonnie and Meredith]. “And I know I ought to be sorry about what I said, and I am sorry, but I just can’t be all pathetic about it. I was terrible and I deserve to be executed, and now can we just pretend it never happened?”AND THEY DO! Bear in mind, this is after she has:
– Disowned her friends at the homecoming dance for suggesting that maybe she let this Stefan thing go
– Ignored them the rest of the night to hang out with Tyler Smallwood &friends
– Run off to the cemetery with Tyler Smallwood &friends
– Disappeared with Stefan for hours while another teenager was attacked and everyone in the entire motherfucking town was looking for her
THIS IS WHY ELENA IS A MONSTER. BECAUSE YOU LET HER DO THIS SHIT AND THEN PLAY IT OFF WITH A SMUG NON-APOLOGY.
IT’S SEX, BITING IS SEX, DO YOU GET IT THOUGH?
On the ground lay a thin strip of silk that to ordinary eyes would have been gray in the dark. But he saw its true color, and as he crushed it between his fingers, bringing it slowly up to touch his lips, he could smell the scent of her hair.
Memory engulfed him. It was bad enough when she was out of sight, when the cool glow of her mind only teased at the edges of his consciousness. But to be in the same room with her at the school, to feel her presence behind him, to smell the heady fragrance of her skin all around him, was almost more than he could bear.
He had heard every soft breath she took, felt her warmth radiating against his back, sensed each throb of her sweet pulse. And eventually, to his horror, he had found himself giving in to it. His tongue had brushed back and forth over his canine teeth, enjoying the pleasure-pain that was building there, encouraging it. He’d breathed her smell into his nostrils deliberately, and let the visions come to him, imagining it all. How soft her neck would be, and how his lips would meet it with equal softness at first, planting tiny kisses here, and here, until he reached the yielding hollow of her throat. How he would nuzzle there, in the place where her heart beat so strongly against the delicate skin. And how at last his lips would part, would draw back from aching teeth now sharp as little daggers, and—
No. He’d brought himself out of the trance with a jerk, his own pulse beating raggedly, his body shaking. The class had been dismissed, movement was all around him, and he could only hope no one had been observing him too closely.
When she had spoken to him, he had been unable to believe that he had to face her while his veins burned and his whole upper jaw ached. He’d been afraid for a moment that his control would break, that he would seize her shoulders and take her in front of all of them.
She tilted her head far back to look at the trapdoor in the ceiling, and heard a soft, distinct intake of breath. When she turned, his gaze was fixed on her exposed throat; the look in his eyes confused her. But the next moment his face hardened, closing her out.Oh my god, Stefan is the worst at pretending he’s not a vampire.
“No? There have been times, watching you in public, when I could scarcely bear not to touch you. When I was so tempted by your white throat, your little white throat with the faint blue veins beneath the skin …” His eyes were fixed on her neck in a way that reminded her of Damon’s eyes, and she felt her heartbeat step up. “Times when I thought I would grab you and force you right there in the school.”
“There’s no need to force me,” said Elena. She could feel her pulse everywhere now; in her wrists and the inside of her elbows— and in her throat. “I’ve made my decision, Stefan,” she said softly, holding his eyes. “I want to.”
He swallowed thickly. “You don’t know what you’re asking for.”
“I think I do. You told me how it was with Katherine, Stefan. I want it to be like that with us. I don’t mean I want you to change me. But we can share a little without that happening, can’t we? I know,” she added, even more softly, “how much you loved Katherine. But she’s gone now, and I’m here. And I love you, Stefan. I want to be with you.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” He was standing rigid, his face furious, his eyes anguished. “If I once let go, what’s to keep me from changing you, or killing you? The passion is stronger than you can imagine. Don’t you understand yet what I am, what I can do?”I CAN’T BE TRUSTED, MY BALLS ARE TOO FUCKING BLUE, ELENA!
Then he felt fingers grasp his hair, jerk his head back, exposing his throat. His struggles redoubled, became frantic. Don’t bother, came the voice in his head, and then he felt the sharp rending pain of teeth. He felt the humiliation and helplessness of the hunter’s victim, of the hunted, of the prey. And then the pain of blood being drawn out against his will.OH. Wow. Uhhhh…did Damon just metaphorically– like, his brother– Wow. Wow.
He refused to give in to it, and the pain grew worse, a feeling as if his soul was tearing loose like the sapling. It stabbed through him like spears of fire, concentrating on the punctures in his flesh where Damon’s teeth had sunk in. Agony flamed up his jaw and cheek and down his chest and shoulder. He felt a wave of vertigo and realized he was losing consciousness.
In the dim light, the coffer appeared at first to be empty, and Elena gave a nervous laugh. What had she expected? Love letters from Caroline? A bloody dagger?
Then she saw the thin strip of silk, folded over and over on itself neatly in one corner. She drew it out and ran it between her fingers. It was the apricot ribbon she’d lost the second day of school.
Oh, Stefan. Tears stung her eyes, and in her chest love welled up helplessly, overflowing. That long ago? You cared about me that long ago? Oh, Stefan, I love you…
Stefan’s hands clenched violently, reflexively, and he jerked away from the window. Not that memory. He could not endure that memory himself, much less try to speak it. How could he do that? How could he take Elena down into that darkness and show her the terrible things lurking there?This shit is gold.
“No,” he said. “I can’t. I can’t.”
“You have to tell me,” she said softly. “Stefan, it’s the end of the story, isn’t it? That’s what’s behind all your walls, that’s what you’re afraid to let me see. But you must let me see it. Oh, Stefan, you can’t stop now.”
Stefan laughed bitterly. “Do you know what the name Salvatore means in Italian, Elena? It means salvation, savior. I’m named that, and for St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. And I damned my brother to hell.”GOLD I TELL YOU.
Elena felt Stefan’s lips meet hers.
And…it was as simple as that. All questions answered, all fears put to rest, all doubts removed. What she felt was not merely passion, but a bruising tenderness and a love so strong it made her shake inside. It would have been frightening in its intensity, except that while she was with him, she could not be afraid of anything.
She had come home.
This was where she belonged, and she had found it at last. With Stefan, she was home.
He pulled back slightly, and she could feel that he was trembling.
“Oh, Elena,” he whispered against her lips. “We can’t—”
“We already have,” she whispered, and drew him back down again.
They did not speak. There was no need for words. He stroked her hair, with a touch so light that she could scarcely feel it, as if he was afraid she might break in his hands. She knew, then, that it had not been hatred that had made him avoid her for so long. No, it had not been hatred at all.
I will die before touching her, he thought, making a vow of it. Before I broach her veins, I will die of thirst. And I swear she will never know my secret. She will never have to give up the sunlight because of me.SPOILERS: He doesn’t even make it through book one.
“You’re angry,” he said gravely. “I said I was sorry to frighten you.”U AIN’T SMOOTH, DAMON.
“I wasn’t frightened!” she snapped. She felt foolish in front of him somehow, like a child being humored by someone much older and more knowledgeable. It made her even angrier. “I was just startled,” she continued. “Which is hardly surprising, what with you lurking in the dark like that.”
“Interesting things happen in the dark….sometimes.”
“He was small, but there was a surprising amount of juice in him. Not pretty like Elena, and he certainly didn’t smell as good. But it’s always exhilarating to feel the new blood singing inside you.” […]
“It makes me feel like doing this,” said Damon.
[RIPS A POOR, DEFENSELESS SAPLING OUT OF THE EARTH]
“I didn’t like it there anyway,” said Damon, and heaved it as far away as the still-entangled roots would allow. Then he smiled engagingly. “It also makes me feel like doing this.”
“Up here, brother.” The voice came from overhead, and when Stefan looked up he saw Damon perching among the spreading branches of the oak tree. There was a rustle of tawny brown leaves, and he disappeared again.
“Back here, brother.” Stefan spun at the tap on his shoulder, only to see nothing behind him. “Right here, brother.” He spun again. “No, try here.” Furious, Stefan whipped the other way, trying to catch hold of Damon. But his fingers grasped only air.
“Behind you, brother!”
[GIVES STEFAN A WEDGIE]
Okay, no, that doesn’t happen, but it might as well.