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I spent the rest of the night and the next morning driving to Chicago to retrieve my suitcase. I figure if I'm not going to have any magic for a while, I'll need all of my things to get ready like a normal human. A small part of me wants to take the time to ask Gloria for help with my magic, but Klaus will not be very happy if it takes that much longer for me to get back to Mystic Falls.

At around noon, I stop to get gas and sleep for at least a few hours at a rest station. My mind is buzzing, but my body is struggling to stay working after hours of staring at the open road. It takes a good thirty minutes to finally come close to sleep, but the buzzing of my phone makes me get right back up.

"Hello?" I answer it crankily.

I'm surprised that it's Alaric's voice that comes from the other end. I had figured he wanted nothing to do with me since I have pushed him away and that I'm now angry with all of his friends.

"I only need your attention for a minute, just hear me out." He rushes, probably thrown off by my tone.

My voice changes instantly, "Oh, Alaric. Hey. I'm sorry, I didn't check to see who it was when I answered it."

I internally curse at myself. I feel bad for the way I've treated him, and I don't want him to think I don't like him because of what his friends did. That's not how I implicate people.

"It's fine. Look, I don't want to make a big deal of this so please, don't tell Elena I called." Alaric says, getting right to the point.

I try to remember the last time I've even seen the annoying doppelgänger. When I come up with nothing, I reply, "Not a problem."

He pauses and releases a shaky breath that comes through as static in my speakers.

"The ring that brings me back to life isn't working like it's supposed to." He explains, "Damon has told me about your... ability to come back. If you know something, I could use your help."

I think back to when Elena told me about the ring that night at the founder's party. When Damon killed Alaric, he came back to life a few hours after, but he had said that it was much later than when he should have resurrected.

Looking up at the Indianapolis rest stop sign, I calculate how many hours it would take me to get to Mystic Falls. If what Alaric is saying is true, then that ring is only going to do more harm than good if he keeps dying.

"Let me get a coffee in me and I'll be back in town in a few hours." I decide with a yawn.

"Okay, thank you."

"Hey Ric," I get his attention one last time, "Just... please don't die until I get there."

Alaric is silent for a second and I fear that he's already hung up, but his voice flows through the speaker yet again just before I put down my phone.

"No promises, Clara. No promises."


I arrive at the Mystic Grill a little earlier than I had expected. I debate taking a quick nap, then again, I don't think my phone will hold its battery long enough to wake me up with an alarm.

When I finally head inside, I expect Alaric to not be here yet, but he actually is already seated at a table with a woman I haven't seen before. He isn't facing me, so I take a seat at one of the tables behind them so that neither of them notices me.

"Do you want anything else? A beer?" Alaric asks her.

She shakes her head with a smile, "I'd love one, but I've got rounds in fifteen minutes, and a drunk doctor is a bad doctor."

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