Chapter 12

I stood at the back of the old theater waiting for the show to start when I saw El enter... I did a double take. Frowning, I stared at her. Why is she coming in the front door? Is her hair darker? Shorter? She was slightly smaller. Darker eyes. Looking closely I could tell that the woman was not El but the similarity was striking.

The woman looked more vulnerable. The more I looked the more I saw... she had a more willowy frame compared to El's curves. Her hair straighter and darker. Her eyes closer to my color. She also looked younger by a few years making her around eighteen compared to El dying at twenty one. She was also looked like a traveler compared to El's ladylike leather. How that woman makes leather look classy I will never understand.

I felt something. Something deep, like the world had shifted. I wanted to go to her. To see her. To speak with her. Not in the same way I would with El, not romantic but other. I had never felt it before. It felt strange but strong.

The girl sat down near the back, all alone. This displeased me. My frown deepened. Why did I care? She was just a girl. I looked carefully. Just a vampire. Just a younger, more innocent version of El. A nicer El. I grinned.

El stepped onto the stage.

A single tear slid down the girl's cheek.

She touched her necklace and I felt my world shift yet again. That necklace. A silver locket with flowers engraved on it. I had given it to El years ago, even though it was far too girly for her she still wore it just to please me. I knew she liked it secretly.

I shook my head. I was being silly; no way was it the same locket. El had lost it the year we stopped talking. I looked at it again and froze. With my well developed eyesight I could see the tiny scratch on it. From when El was in a fight with a madman with a knife. The locket had taken the damage for her...

I watched as El bowed to the crowd. When she looked up – actually taking in the crowd – she froze. It was tiny and only lasted a second but I could still see it. A tiny flicker behind her eyes – recognition, sorrow, pain... love?

Then her eyes shifted to me and I could see a slight hesitation and worry. Lots of worry. Whoever this woman was El knew her... hadn't El said something about loving fourteen people. Was this her? Eleanor?

When El finished her act – illusions – she came over to stand beside me. Before I could comment on the strange girl she spoke.

"Where is Oliver?" She purred, I mean, murmured.

"No idea." I answered back. "Who-"

"That is strange. He has been here every night for weeks now. Why would he stop? What is he planning." She frowned slightly.

"That's what I want to know. El-" She cut me off again.

"I'm going to circle the perimeter. I don't trust this." And she was off. I sighed. Was she avoiding the question or just paranoid? I couldn't tell. I looked at the girl again and noticed her looking at a piece of paper. Even backwards I recognized El's handwriting; all extravagant, slant with curls.

Just what is going on?

"Excuse me?" A young girl called from behind me. I turned. It was El's lookalike from last night.

"Yes?" She paused in front of me. Where El came up to just above my shoulder this girl just came eye-to-eye with my collarbone.

"Sorry but I was looking of Elizabeth?" She sounded unsure when saying the name.

"She will be in our hotel room by now." I nodded my head towards the hotel we stood outside of. The sun had yet to set so El should still be there. I had left to go on a walk. "Follow me."

In the elevator I could almost feel the tension. The girl was so nervous. Why? Sure, she was about to meet the Huntress but it was common knowledge that El wouldn't kill unless provoked.

"Here we are." I forced a smile at her. She was barley able to smile back at me. She was trembling. Come on, we weren't that bad... oh wait, we are.

"Klaus? I was thinking-" El herself off when she looked up from her mug of coffee.

The white mug slipped from her grasp. It collided with the beige carpet and the almost black coffee sloshed everywhere. We stared at El as she stared at the strange girl.

El was frozen in place; eyes unblinking and focused on the girl, her hand still raised holding invisible coffee, her lips parted, not breathing.

The girl's lower lip was trembling, her eyes took in every inch of El – memorizing her – her hands fidgeted.

I waited.

Finally, El blinked and took a deep breath. "It's you."

The girl nodded and blinked back tears. "It's me."

El picked up the mug and place it on the counter top behind her without looking away from the girl. "I wish I could have been there for you."

The girl sniffled. "I got your letter. I know why you left me."

El's eyes flashed to me and I could see the tears in them. "Klaus, I am so sorry. I didn't know how to tell you..." She shook her head.

"Tell me what." I felt my chest tighten. What's going on?

"Remember our last mission? When we were both captured and you said that you lost something? And I was experimented on?" I nodded. "Remember how I stayed for two weeks before leaving?"

"Yes. You were gone for almost a year." I walked over to her and stood over her. I knew I was being intimidating but she just wouldn't look at me. "El?"

"How long is almost a year?" She whispered.

"Eight and half months."

"Plus the two weeks?"

"Nine months. El, just explain." I demanded.

"But you already know." The tears fell as El stepped away from me.

Nine months. What could happen in nine freaking months that could have El leave me – us. Nothing. Then I looked at the girls. Both looked at me. The girl crying and pleading with her eyes. El with her hand on her stomach.

"Oh god." I had to be wrong.

"Klaus, I would like you to meet Eleanor. Eleanor, I would like for you to meet your father."