Rising from the Ashes @esm3rald
Interlude

Interlude

September 2015

Blair Fell's life was perfect. Well…that wasn't true. No life was really perfect. But she liked to pretend that it was – it gave her the impression to have control over it, and having control was very important to her, even if she always didn't. Mostly she liked to remind herself that it could be so much worse.

Blair was adopted. She had known since she was eight. Her parents had never hidden it from her. And, well, the fact that she didn't particularly look like either of her parents was a dead giveaway, even for a child's mind.

Her father had been blond and blue-eyed, her mother had strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. Neither of them had flaming red hair like hers and emerald green eyes. And her skin was a sort of pink-golden color, like she had just returned home after an entire day at the beach, tanned but not the fake-tan that a tanning bed would leave you with. No, hers was the tanned skin one with a fair complexion would get without getting burned. Except that her skin was like that all year round, even in winter.

But no freckles, which was rather weird. She would have liked some freckles on her nose and cheeks. But no, not one small blemish or mark on her skin. She had never even had a pimple. She was seventeen and no pimples, ever. It was kind of disturbing – except that it wasn't, it was awesome.

Unfortunately, she wore glasses (nobody is perfect, even if she came pretty damn close) – well, only at home, if she could she would wear contact lenses all the time. Her eye-sight was pretty bad. But her parents…no glasses. Either of them.

So, you see, the first time Blair had asked her mother, 'Mommy, why don't I look like you or daddy?' her mother had to explain to her that they had adopted her.

She had been found in the Mystic Falls' hospital, but not on the floor of the nursery. No, in the basement. Where the morgue was. Though not next to corpses, luckily. Instead, she had been found in a closet – a closet the hospital personnel hadn't even know existed – inside a wicker basket, wrapped in a pristine white blanket. She had been only a few days old. She had been screaming and crying at the top of her lungs (even at that age she couldn't stand being ignored) and that had alerted the hospital staff. Her mother was a nurse, and she was the one who had found her. Her father was a doctor. Her mother said that it had taken one look at her to decide that they wanted her as their child. Her mother had known since she was a teenager that she couldn't conceive. She had resigned herself to a life without children. So, finding Blair that day had been like a godsend, or that was what they had told her.

That was why Blair's motto in life was, 'it could be worse'. She didn't like to think what would have happened to her if Edward Fell and his wife Margaret hadn't adopted her. She also didn't like to think about her birth parents, the ones who had abandoned her. Who they were, where they were. They didn't matter to her, or so she told herself.

When her parents died in a plane crash when she was twelve, holding on to that motto became almost impossible. For a child, there could be nothing worse than the loss of your parents, especially if the parents in question were the most amazing in the world.

Since her mother had another sister (two really, but one was too young to take care of a child), after their death, Blair was forced to go live with her, her husband and their two children. The Gilberts were an okay bunch. The children funny and energetic – more Elena than Jeremy, who could sometimes become broody and serious, moody even. And the parents caring, supportive and understanding. Still, it took a while for Blair to get used to her new home.

Her relationship with Elena had been and still was the rockiest. There were only two possible outcomes of two girls of the same age living in the same house. One, they would become the best of friends. The second…well…that they would crash terribly. Elena was the doted-upon daughter of Grayson and Miranda Gilbert and she hadn't liked to share her parents' attentions, or her things, or her house. Add to that the fact that from kindergarten they had been frenemies who competed for the spot of leader in their group and it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Blair loved Elena, deep, deep down. She and Elena were like sisters. But more like bickering sisters, who competed about pretty much everything and could never agree on anything.

Blair was prettier than Elena – no, she wasn't arrogant or conceited, it was just the plain truth – but Elena was always so nice while Blair just wasn't – she was a lot of things: selfish, self-centered, narcissistic, callous, spoiled, mean, sarcastic but never nice – that everyone just loved Elena more. Elena was universally liked, Blair was universally feared. That was just the way of things.

Blair ruled the school. She was the most popular girl, the captain of the cheerleader's team, student body president, the queen bee and all that – well, more like queen bitch. Caroline Forbes was her best friend. It had been this way since kindergarten, since Caroline had decided to share her crayons with Blair. Blair still remembered the box, it was a hot pink color, and inside there were so many different shades that Blair had looked at it completely fascinated. Of course, as soon as she had returned home that day, she had asked her father to buy her the very same one, but green, like her eyes.

There wasn't much that Blair would ask and she wouldn't get. Her parents had spoiled her, she knew that. The fact that they could afford to spoil her certainly didn't hurt matters. They were Fells, they were descended from one of the families that founded Mystic Falls. And the Fells, like all the other Founding Families, were almost royalty in this town. They were also the richer families in town. Nobody was as rich as the Lockwoods, but the Fells came pretty damn close. There were so many branches of the Fell family, but her father was the only one who came from the direct branch (well, except Logan Fell through his father – Blair's father's brother – but who cared about him, really? Well, except for Aunt Jenna, sometimes – she always found the idea of her aunt dating her cousin creepy, so, luckily, they had broken up, again), the one descended directly from Thomas and Honoria Fell – two of the actual founders of Mystic Falls, whose names had been signed in the registry. They had been killed in 1865. The legends said it was vampires (the founding families were big on the vampire legends), but it was more probably an animal attack. They had left an only son, their heir, who had been barely fifteen at the time. Her father Edward was descended from him.

Blair was fascinated by history. Maybe it wasn't a 'cool' subject, but nobody would ever dare tell that to Blair, well, not to her face at least. And Mystic Falls had so much history. She would often do researches on her own for extra credits; Mr Tanner adored her for that and she wasn't ashamed to admit that she would suck up to him. Mr Tanner hated everybody but he loved her. Well, it had probably something to do with the fact that he would really love for her to…suck something else, but as long as he kept his hands to himself and he would limit himself to eat her with his eyes, it was okay. Creepy but okay. Couldn't blame the guy really, it only showed he had good taste.

Today was her first day of her junior year. Yesterday night, before going to bed, she had chosen the outfit that she would wear. While Elena's style was more 'girl-next-door' which really worked for her, unfortunately, and Caroline's was pink and frilly like a barbie, and Bonnie's was…well, she wasn't exactly sure what Bonnie's style was exactly – 'just got out of bed and wore the first thing I saw' style probably –, Blair's style was more…well, slutty. Not trashy slut like Vicky Donovan, more like…sophisticated slut. Though she preferred the term sexy. Nothing too exaggerated, like thongs peeking out of jeans or white, almost transparent pants, because that's gross, not sexy. But her skirts were always a little too short than was proper (often high-waisted), her tops low-cut or very tight (or both), often showing off her midriff (but not her belly button), shorts and stockings, jeans and pants which looked painted on her skin they were so tight, short, casual dresses, leather jackets, and heels – always heels (you couldn't be intimidating while wearing flats, could you?). And she favored the color red, which was her signature color – at least one part of her outfit needed to be red (beside her lipstick, of course).

Since she was thirteen and her boobs started to grow, Blair had developed a very specific routine in the mornings, just like her before-bed routine. She would go up at five, run an hour in the woods, then return at six, have breakfast (fruits and yogurt, never carbs or even coffee – it would stain her teeth), then she would shower, wash and then blow-dry her hair every other day using an indecent amount of specific products to tame them because her hair, neither straight nor curly, had the unfortunate tendency to become frizzy at the slightest amount of humidity, then apply lotion on her skin to make it as smooth as that of a newborn baby, switch her glasses for contact lenses, then put on make-up and finally get dressed. She would then leave home at eight, picked up Caroline and drive to school where the two of them would spend the time before classes started sharing ideas on how to improve their cheer routines, or exchanging last minute gossip, or simply hanging out.

Today started just like every other day for her. She got up, put on her running outfit, tied her hair in a high ponytail, put the earphones in her ears and the iPod inside her armband, around her left bicep, and she was ready.

She started running, the sunrise still more than an hour away but she had never been afraid of the dark. She soon got lost in the familiar motions, a foot in front of the other, breathing in and out the chilling morning air, heartbeat steady in her chest, her mind blissfully blank, only the lyrics of the song – 'Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding – filling her thoughts.

You're the fear, I don't care

'Cause I've never been so high

Follow me through the dark

Let me take you past our satellites

You can see the world you brought to life, to life

So love me like you do, lo-lo-love me like you do

Love me like you do, lo-lo-love me like you do

Touch me like you do, to-to-touch me like you do

What are you waiting for?

She sang to herself while she crossed the familiar woods, not hearing the snapping of twigs or the sound of footsteps until a figure, appearing out of nowhere, stood right in front of her. His face was monstrous, his eyes black and bloodshot, veins purple and moving like snakes underneath his eyes. She stopped abruptly but before she had time to scream or run away or do anything more than standing there, the figure was on her…biting her neck?

That was when she screamed. The pain was tremendous, the tearing of her flesh, the burning. She could feel the life leaving her body, as cliché as it sounded.

Soon, black spots appeared in front of her eyes, and she struggled to breath. The man – monster – who was doing this to her was moaning in delight, seeming like he was greatly enjoying the taste of her blood.

A distant part of her mind apprised her that, maybe there was something true about all the vampire legends after all, but the last thing she needed was her mind telling her 'I told you so' right before she was about to die. Rude.

Her heart stopped beating the exact moment the man stepped away from her, her neck gushing blood and ruining her favourite running outfit, she was sure.

The last thing she saw before being swept away in darkness was bright blue eyes.

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