Chapter Four

~ Homecoming ~

"I think you'd better give me those," Audrey said.

The look of distrust and fear that crossed Tommy's face broke her heart. After what seemed like an eternity, Tommy handed his grandmother the bat and the Swiss Army knife. Again, she wondered what Simone had let happen to him. When Audrey looked into his eyes, she no longer saw the sweet, little boy who loved to sit on his grandfather's lap. She saw an extremely frightened young man. She wanted her Tommy back.

Tommy sat on the sofa. This was the place he thought of when he was allowed to think. This room. Grandpa Steve's recliner. All of these things used to mean home to him. Security. A place he could escape to when Tom and Simone weren't getting along. But now, this building and those objects signified nothing other than just another place on earth. Nothing special. He made a serious mistake in coming here, he thought, but he had nowhere else to go.

"You have sandwiches before you and your favorite, chocolate milk. I have to run upstairs, but when I come back down, we will talk."

As Audrey made her way up the stairs, she silently prayed that Elizabeth had slept through everything, but she doubted it. And what was Lucky doing here at this time of night, anyway? Those two…for once, Audrey was glad that she had been disobeyed. She didn't fear Tommy, but she wouldn't have wanted Elizabeth to be surprised by him either. Something awful had happened to Tommy. He had changed, and she wasn’t so sure her grandchildren would be able to accept each other.


Lizzie's fingers were shaking so badly that she hadn't been able to dial 911. When she heard that awful crash, she almost had a heart attack. And then all that awful screaming. What the hell happened?

The silence downstairs was deafening. She didn’t know what to do. Part of her wanted to jump out of a window and run away, but the other part refused to leave Lucky. He was her best friend, but where was he? He said he could handle that guy. Oh, God. What if Lucky's dead and the guy was on his way upstairs to…

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Something was tapping against her window. Lizzie ran to the window and pulled back the curtains. Lucky was throwing rocks at her window. He was alive!! She quickly opened her window and leaned out.


"Ssh! I'm okay. Your grandmother's home. Everything is okay."

"What? Gram's home? I don’t understand. Come up," she called.

"No, I can't. She's pretty pissed. I'll come back tomorrow. It's okay, Lizzie. Go back to bed. I'll see you tomorrow," Lucky said. He waved to her as he walked backwards out of the yard.

"But Lucky.."

"Close the window, Elizabeth," Audrey said. "We need to have a little talk."

Lizzie closed the window and turned to face her grandmother.

"Oh, my. I can't believe you live on an island," Dawn said with wonder.

"Well, we've always lived on an island. I don't see what the big thing is," Nikolas replied.

Dawn started laughing. She didn't mean to, but the way Nickie said things. It was almost like he came from another planet.

"It's deal," she said.

"Excuse me?"

"You said 'big thing.' The appropriate phrase is 'big deal'. You're not from around here, are you? From the States, I mean."

"No, I'm from Greece, but I've been here for two years. I guess I haven't blended in as much as I thought," Nikolas laughed.

"Don't blend in. You're fine the way you are," she said, turning away from him. She didn't want him to see the unshed tears that had suddenly began to blind her.

She hadn't turned fast enough. Nikolas saw the tears and he was at a lost of what to do. With one sentence, she had gone from laughter to near tears. Even though they had just met, he felt like he'd known her forever. Proper etiquette required him to remain a proper distance, but sometimes proper etiquette wasn’t always right.

"Are you okay?" Nikolas asked, placing his hand on her shoulder. He felt her tremble, but he knew that he should remain still. She reminded him of Sheba. He knew that he shouldn’t compare her to his horse and he knew better than to tell her, but they seemed so much alike. Both of them tried to hide their pain. Whenever Sheba's hurting, she hid behind fierce anger. Dawn was hurting and she was hiding behind laughter, at first and now stoic resolve. Neither of them realized that hiding never solved anything.

Dawn sighed. Nickie seemed like he wanted to help. He'd been more than nice to her tonight, kinda like those guardian angels her mother told her about as a child. Mentally, she shook herself. There's no such thing as a guardian angel, she told herself. She knew that better than anyone. There's only you. She forced herself to swallow the sob lodged in her throat and she turned and faced him.

"I'm fine."

Nikolas knew when to back off. He gave her shoulder a squeeze and removed his hand.

"We're almost there. There's Wyndemere."

"Oh, my God. It looks like the house from 'Escape from Witch's Mountain.' You actually live here? This is our final destination?" she asked with a hint of fear.

"Oh, it's not that bad. From the New York City stories you've been telling me, I wouldn't think you'd be scared of a little house," Nikolas teased.

"I never said I was scared," she corrected him. "Besides, this house is far from little. You need to get your adjectives straight."

"Yes, Miss Jensen," he laughed. He was happy to see her back to her normal self. What the hell? You just met her, he reminded himself. You don't know what 'her normal self is', but he wasn’t afraid to admit to himself that he would like to find out.

The ferry pulled into the loading dock. They had reached their final destination.

"We're here," Nikolas said as he stepped onto the pier. He reached out his hand to Dawn. "Allow me."

She placed her hand in his and joined him on the pier.

"Thanks, Nickie."


At the sound of the quiet voice, Dawn's grip on Nikolas' hand tightened. The sudden movement did not go unnoticed by the owner of the voice.

"Uncle. I wasn't expecting to see you here at this hour."

"I can see that. Who is your…guest?" Stefan inquired.

Chapter Five