Author’s Note: Just a friendly reminder that I do not own Twilight or The Vampire Diaries. Please remember that it is alternate universe and will not follow any of the canon timelines. I hope you enjoy reading and please, leave a comment/review and let me know what you think. Thanks! Now, on with the show…..
Damon and Bella sped along the interstate in his Camaro and a few hours later they found themselves in the city of Atlanta. She was surprised at just how quickly the time seemed to fly by. Damon was good at carrying on a conversation; for he knew when to keep talking and when to listen. There were times the conversation stalled; then he’d simply turn up the radio while they rode along in comfortable silence.
Bella knew her never ending questions about his kind of vampire irked him, but he’d answer them with short and snippy responses, anyway. He was openly honest with her, to which she found refreshing. The Cold Ones she once knew were never forthright with her. No, they always danced around the edge of the truth, twisting the facts and molding them to what they wanted her to perceive as truth. They had her believing they were vampires, but the biggest lie of them all was that they actually cared for her.
The tribe of shapeshifters were never too keen on giving her details as they hunted for Victoria. All she ever heard was, “We’ll protect you, Bella.” As much as she loved Jacob, looking back on every conversation she ever had with him, she surmised that he never was totally honest with her, either. Blatant honesty, good or bad was far better than any sugar-coated lie – she respected that and found that in Damon.
Sure, he was also intimidating, sarcastic and at times, downright crude. Yet, he could be flirty, charming and insightful. She found him to be rather intelligent, even though one would never guess by looking at him dressed in the dark clothing he wore, or by seeing the deadly glimmer that flickered in his eyes every now and then.
The two of them chatted, asking each other the typical getting-to-know-you questions that sort of reminded her of when Edward had first picked her up from school. While Edward’s answers had been predictable and boring, Damon’s were pleasantly surprising. The Call of the Wild and Gone with the Wind were his favorite books. He liked punk and old-school rock for music. His favorite decade was the seventies and he absolutely loved horror movies. In fact, he found them ridiculously funny. Of course he would, she had thought at the time. She guessed that his killings were probably far more gruesome than any horror movie could portray.
He didn’t mock her taste for the written word as Edward once did when she professed her fondness for books by Emily Bronte or Jane Austen. He just casually mentioned that his brother loved Wuthering Heights, as well. He said not a word as she told him how much she enjoyed William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. It had made her smile when he told her that he enjoyed Shakespeare, too. While she adored Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he was more partial to Hamlet, or Macbeth.
Damon had chuckled when Bella admitted to liking the band Maroon V and teased her that it was because of the lead singer, Adam Levine. “Well, he is cute!” she had retorted. He seemed to like the fact she had an eclectic taste in music; especially when she revealed that she enjoyed both classical and heavy metal. A grin had spread across his face when she told him of her secret love for Metallica.
He also made some snarky comment about how glad he was that she wasn’t into Taylor Swift – he outright laughed when she told him that she thought Taylor’s music was far too depressing. He simply nodded in agreement as they sped along the Interstate. Bella didn’t miss the mirth that danced in his eyes; she could tell he was biting back a smirk.
During their journey, she found herself comfortable enough with him to elaborate on the darker parts of her life, to which he mostly kept quiet with a thoughtful mien to his face. He did make a couple of snide quips about the Cullens and Victoria, though. A comment that stuck out the most was when he told her, “He didn’t deserve you.”
Damon had caught her completely off guard with his obvious sincerity. She didn’t know what to say, other than to whisper a “Thank you.”
Bella found his story far more intriguing than her own. He had loved one woman for a hundred and fifty years and was completely devoted to her. He did everything he could to free Katherine from a tomb that he believed she had been imprisoned. He stopped at nothing to reach his goal; even if it meant leaving a very bloody trail in his path to free her. She knew it was wrong but she truly admired him for the lengths he went to. That was love at its finest – the kind where you risk everything for that one person you loved more than anything.
Her heart ached as he mentioned the time he was captured during the 1950’s by a group of doctors who experimented on him and his friend, Enzo. They would remove organs, take his blood, starve him and put his body to the test… all in the name of science. She thought the whole situation to be macabre and disturbing. A weaker person, or in this case, a vampire – would have surrendered his will and ran scared once he was free. That wasn’t the case with Damon. In fact, he sought revenge… killing every last one of them and their progeny. She was angry on his behalf and thought it to be justified. Karma is the ultimate bitch – she wished for a moment that Edward and his family would suffer just a small glimpse of the hell she had been put through.
When he spoke of Elena, she had no doubt that the girl had been the true love of his life. From what he told her, she thought briefly that she would have fell in love with the girl, too. Damon had described her as beautiful, compassionate and how she wanted to make the world a better place. Who wouldn’t fall in love with that? But then again, Bella had the distinct impression that he wasn’t painting the full picture. She was an exact carbon copy of Katherine physically and as she read between the lines of his story, she could tell that like Katherine; she had played the two Salvatore brothers to a certain extent. Maybe not on purpose, or with malicious intent, but it was obvious she had.
When he got to the part of telling her how Elena was put in her magical coma, Bella’s eyes misted over with tears. Damon just cut her a sideways glance and continued on, re-counting in detail how he lopped Kai’s head off to save Bonnie. He went on to reveal that he had saved the witch twice since then and it was what made him realize that it wasn’t Elena he truly wanted. For if he had genuinely wanted that happy, human life… he would have simply let Bonnie die. He admitted to being selfish and he told Bella that he often went with his gut instinct. That same instinct always told him to save the witch instead of letting her die. Thus, Elena would remain sleeping until Bonnie did leave this world.
He told her of the time he flipped the switch and wreaked havoc on his hometown. What was left of it was nearly destroyed by his mother’s coven of witchpires. They decimated the town and once he and his friends finally destroyed the coven, he killed his very own mother. He told her it was shortly after that he turned his humanity switch back on. He hastily resumed on with his story before she could interrupt and explained that every emotion he had turned off flooded within him. It was much too much to deal with – so he packed up, left town and begun to question everything that had ever happened in his long existence. Some answers he found, but some he didn’t. He joked for her not to worry; that he wasn’t a brooder. He admitted that he was more of a dreamer and hoped that there was more out there for him than what he had already experienced during his existence.
She had tossed a sardonic look his way and retorted, “Seek and you shall find.”
He rolled his eyes and replied sarcastically, “Oh, please tell me you’re not a Bible thumper…”
She laughed at the memory while she got out of the Camaro and reached into her purse, pulling out her pack of Marlboro Lights and a lighter. She stuck a cigarette in her mouth and lit it up, inhaling deeply. Damon had been getting the bags out the trunk and cut her a look with his eyebrow arched. He tossed his keys to the valet, handed the bags to a bellhop and made his way over.
“You know… those things will kill you.” he said as he took the cigarette from her mouth. He then sauntered away and went to stand against the wall of the hotel with his foot propped up against it. He caught her eyes and smirked as he brought the cigarette to his mouth and took a long drag off it. He blew out the smoke and Bella thought it was the sexist thing she ever saw.
She quickly walked over to him, took out another cigarette from the pack, lit it up and took a drag. “So, it’s okay for you to smoke and not me?” she asked in a teasing tone that had just a hint of irritation to it.
He stood there and tilted his head as if in thought before he leaned in and whispered in her ear, “In case you missed it… I’m already dead.”
She closed her eyes and shivered at the sound of his voice. Something that didn’t go unnoticed by the vampire and with a very smug smile, he leaned back against the wall. He winked as he flicked the ashes onto the ground.
Once they finished their cigarettes, they made their way towards the entrance. Passing a trashcan, he abruptly turned around.
“Hand ‘em over.” he demanded, holding his hand out to her.
She was confused as to what he was referring to, and looked at him quizzically.
“The cancer sticks…hand ‘em over!”
She furrowed her brows, dug through her purse and once she retrieved them, she placed them in his palm. He promptly threw them in the trash, then jaunted off into the hotel.
She followed him with a scowl marring her features. He haughtily ignored her when she let out an exasperated growl, walking to the front desk. There he asked for a suite and when Bella went to request a room, he shook his head no. She then made a protest and he quickly explained that the suites had sofa beds and she could have the bedroom. Already knowing it would be useless to argue, she relented.
When they reached their suite, she told him the reason behind her smoking to which he quipped, “Nice thinking… for a human. But cigarette smoke doesn’t completely mask your scent.”
She went on to tell him she changed her diet as well, becoming a vegetarian. He scoffed and made some snarky remark about getting a cheeseburger for her next meal.
Then he went on to tell her that he didn’t save her life so she could fuck up her second chance by getting cancer and eating lettuce. “It’s a clean slate…you can do whatever the hell you want!”
“Yeah – anything but smoke, apparently.” she huffed out.
He sighed and rolled his eyes as he answered the door for the bellhop.
When she later complained about the price of the hotel and offered to split the expenses, he hastily shushed her, telling her not to worry about it – he would gladly pay for it. His voice left no room for argument. Especially when he told her, “Just live life, enjoy it. Don’t be so damn uptight and stubborn.”
She grumbled at his words but graciously thanked him, to which he grinned mischievously, “I’ll teach you how to live… I mean, really live. We’ll be the life of the party!”
Bella had simply snorted, “A dead person teaching me how to live…insert the irony there.”
Two months went by and they found themselves taking the city by storm. They did the touristy things – they went clubbing, they went to museums, they went out to dinner and they even went to the movies a few times. Damon felt proud as he witnessed her guard slowly ebb away, becoming alive and free. Isabella had truly embraced her opportunity at a second chance with her life.
Her skin glowed with radiance, there was a twinkle in her eye and she would laugh and smile more often. He thought her smart, funny and beautiful. As they spent more time together, her sarcastic side started revealing itself and oftentimes it would actually make him grin like a fool.
She had remarked that she was once very clumsy, but he could see absolutely no traces of it in the woman that he had become to know. The shy, clumsy girl she had once described herself as no longer existed.
He loved seeing the attention she would draw from other men whenever they went to the clubs, knowing for a fact that she would turn them down. The girl wasn’t exactly a flirt, but she was one of those women that were naturally sexy without even trying to be. There was an undeniable aura about Isabella that drew people in and the unfortunate bastards that encountered her never had a chance. Of course, she was always polite and would give them coy glances, along with a sweet smile. At least, to the ones she actually liked. Those that she didn’t…well, they ended up with a knee to the groin. She was a feisty little thing and he liked that about her.
Besides, he knew of her innocence. The poor woman had never made it past first base and he knew she wouldn’t give it up for just any Joe Blow that hit on her. Even though she’d never admit it – she wanted love and she wanted everything short of “putting a ring on it.”
He had chuckled on her views of marriage at first, then after thinking on it, he tended to agree with her. Who needed rings and a piece of paper to cement a relationship? As she once said, “If I find love, that’s all I need. I don’t need a ring, I don’t need a marriage and I raised my parents. So, I don’t really see the need to raise children. I don’t want the house in the suburbs or a mini-van. I want to live life and see where it takes me.”
Damon had teased Isabella about not wanting a fairy tale like most young women. She just retorted back to him fairy tales were for children and that she’d never need a white knight in shining armor. All she wanted was something real.
The funny thing was…he did too. Only he never openly admitted that to her.
It was one of those clubbing nights for them and while Isabella made a bathroom run, he scanned the area for a snack. He smirked when he saw a very petty lady at the bar, deciding that night was a good night to get lucky. For him, there was nothing like a little blood, booze and some sex. He caught the woman’s eye and winked, making his way towards her.
She’s not the one you really want…
The thought came unbidden to him, but he shrugged it off and started hitting on woman anyway, winning her over with his charm. Mere minutes later she was completely enthralled by him and paid no mind to the hand that casually rested on her ass while he flirted away. Just as he was about to compel her to join him in the alley, he felt someone staring at him. When he looked up, he met a pair of chocolate brown eyes glaring at him furiously.
She scowled at him, then angrily turned her heel and stomped off after realizing she’d been spotted. Damon quickly brushed aside the small sense of guilt that had risen up in his chest, causing a heaviness to settle there. He and Isabella were just friends, weren’t they? He then turned his attention to the woman and compelled her to dance with him.
Bella had marched her way to the bar with one goal in mind – to get drunk and forget about what she had seen between Damon and the blonde bimbo. It was her twenty-first birthday, after all. She reasoned that this would just be another birthday from hell. Bella knew she was jealous, but had no cause to be; for her and Damon were only friends. Although, she had fleeting thoughts every now and then that perhaps there was something more than just friendship brewing between them. Their suite had a bedroom and a sofa bed, but more often than not, they spent their nights snuggled side by side on said sofa watching movies or some TV shows. She would always end up falling asleep, only to wake up in the mornings with his arms wrapped around her and their legs tangled together. If she were to be completely honest – there was nothing more she liked better than waking up to his musky scent and sparkling blue eyes.
He would often offer his arm or take her hand whenever they walked about the city on one of the days in which they played tourist. He would unconsciously fiddle with her hair on occasion, tucking a strand behind her ear, or running his hand through it. She considered those actions more than what a friend would do. Those were things a man did to show that he cared; that he was genuinely interested and wanted more. She felt stupid for believing that notion as she ordered two vodka shots and chased them down.
She didn’t know exactly what it was between them. However, she thought there was something. She sighed bitterly as she ordered another vodka shot. She felt like the world’s biggest idiot. Why would someone like Damon Salvatore want her, anyway?
By her fifth vodka shot, she had a good buzz going and turned around to face the dance floor, her eyes scoping it out, watching the people move to the music. Some of them were brazen in their movements, even making out of the floor. Bella squeezed her eyes shut for one second out of jealously. She’d never have that, she thought. She was about to turn around and order a drink when she spotted Damon dancing with the girl she had seen with him earlier. They were in a darker corner on the floor but she could see his mouth planted on her neck.
A flashing light passed over them and she noticed a small trickle of blood oozing down the girl’s bare shoulder. She stood mesmerized, watching him feed. A second light flashed and as if he could sense her staring, his eyes met hers while he continued to drink. Any other normal person would have turned their head in disgust. Hell, she should have turned her head, but the look in his eyes were like a beacon, calling her to him. She stood transfixed on the spot and watched as he pulled the girl closer to him. The lights flashed over them once more just as he moved away from her, sensually licking his lips as he kept his eyes locked on Bella. The predatory look in his eyes made heart stutter while her stomach bottomed out. It was then she felt a wetness pool between her legs. Oh, my God she thought. She breathed heavily as she gaped at him, realizing that the whole scene had aroused her.
He was first to break the eye contact as he went to compel the girl to go about her merry way. Bella – slightly horrified at her reaction, turned back to the bar and immediately hit up the bartender for another vodka shot. She closed her eyes, letting the buzz from the alcohol sink in. She couldn’t let him know the effect he had on her.
Damon slinked up to her and ran a hand up and down her arm. Her eyes instantly flew open and faced him, only to see him smirking. She gripped the edge of the bar and took a sharp breath.
“Did you enjoy the show, sweet Isabella?” he asked salaciously.
Coming to her senses and turned off by his cocky demeanor, she scoffed. “Is that all it was to you? A show?!”
“I know you liked it…” he replied huskily.
She shook her head in denial, “There are better ways to get my attention, Damon. You don’t have to show of what a bad ass, sexy vamp you are…”
She stomped away from him, making her way to the entrance. She hated the fact that he knew how he had affected her. She was embarrassed by the fact that she did “enjoy the show,” as he so crudely put it. She was mortified as she realized just how much the whole scene had turned her on. Why couldn’t she just be a normal girl? It didn’t help that Damon was ridiculously good looking and those eyes…they were so fucking blue! She could hear the silky, seductive tone of his voice echoing in her ears and it was awakening feelings within her she thought were long gone. Hell, even in all his perfect inhuman glory, Edward Cullen never once made her feel like she did at that moment. Her body felt like a damn furnace! She felt an unfamiliar ache between her legs and for once in her life, she was sexually frustrated. Sure, the desire for sex was there with Edward, but this was something else altogether. It was a primal need. Then she felt a twinge of jealously, wishing for one brief moment that it had been her neck Damon had his lips pressed to.
She ran her hands through her hair and tugged at it while she exited the building. The cool air of the night washed over her heated cheeks and she inhaled a deep breath to calm herself down. She took in the twinkling lights of the city as she did so to clear her head.
A few minutes later, she stood on sidewalk, desperately trying to hail a cab when a figure approached her. She turned her head and saw that it was a very attractive man. He was tall and impeccably dressed – classically handsome with a strong jawline, blond hair and green eyes. Handsome would not exactly be the right word to describe him. Beautiful, she thought and instantly she sensed that he wasn’t human. An ominous feeling washed over her as she peered up at him.
His eyes glittered dangerously as he looked down on her. “Hello.” he said in greeting, each syllable enunciated slowly and perfectly in an accent she couldn’t place. She nodded politely, but did not return the greeting verbally. Her instincts told her to run and she quickly turned around to head back into the club when the man tightly grasped her arm. “Surely, you’d much prefer my company in comparison to what goes on in that establishment.”
“Let me go.” she spoke lowly, with a hint of threat.
He smiled malevolently, “That I cannot do.” His eyes widened and his pupils dilated as he met her gaze. “You shall join me for a walk.”
She nodded mutely, realizing that he was attempting to compel her. She knew that it would be safer if she kept up the charade, for she feared that he’d do much worse if he discovered she couldn’t be compelled. She allowed the vampire to guide her up the side walk as fright welled up inside her chest. Her thoughts went to the ice-blue blue eyes of the one that had saved her life once before, but more importantly…he had taught her to live.
“Damon…” she softly called out. She hoped against hope that somehow he would hear her over the music in the club.
“The name is not Damon, my dear.” the vampire spoke, his tone filled with arrogance, “I highly doubt your companion could save you.” He gently gripped her chin, forcing her to look at him, “Now, please. Be quiet.”
The terror she felt was overwhelming. She didn’t want to die. Not now…not when she was finally had life to live. Not when she had Damon…
His name echoed in Bella’s mind as the vampire led her to an abandoned building down the street, then pulled her under a canopy that once served as the building’s entrance.
“You smell divine.” he whispered. “I shall enjoy partaking your blood tonight.”
Even through her fear, she found it ironic that it had only been moments ago when she briefly wished to be in Damon’s arms as he drank from her. She found it strange just how long ago it seemed that Victoria was after her and how easily she surrendered to the idea of death. She was frantically trying to think of a way out when the vampire pushed her against the brick wall of the building.
He brushed her face gently with the back of his fingers. “Look at me, my dear.” he commanded.
Her blood ran cold as she did what he asked. His pupils dilated as he told her, “You will not move, you will not scream.”
She stood motionless, playing her little game of being compelled as she silently prayed he wouldn’t kill her and that Damon would come.
The vampire bent his head to her and she felt his fangs pierce her neck. It wasn’t as painful as she had anticipated it to be, but painful nonetheless. It burned while the vampire sucked the blood from the two small puncture wounds. A few minutes passed as she felt her vision blur and her knees buckle. The vampire caught her in his arms and continued drinking. Truly believing that Damon wouldn’t come, she accepted death, closing her eyes as she pictured his face. That was the last thing she wanted to see in her mind.
Suddenly, she heard a swish and the vampire fell before her with a stake in his back. She lost her balance and fell forward just as her savior caught her.
She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “Damon.” she murmured reverently. “You saved me.”
He ran his fingers through her hair, “I’ll always save you, Isabella. Always.”
“Thank you.” she whispered weakly before she passed out.
He hurriedly picked her up and kicked the glass to the door of the building, carrying her inside and then gently laying her on the floor. He went back outside to grab the vampire, thankful there were no witnesses.
He dragged the body through what was once a lobby and into some sort of office. He was so angry he roughly yanked the stake out of the vamp that dared to drink from Isabella. In a fury, he stabbed at the corpse again and again. Blood splattered the walls, painting them red. If that wasn’t enough to abate his anger, Damon dug into the chest cavity of the vampire and ripped his heart out. He squeezed it until it burst and blood spluttered all over his face and coated his hands.
He had been angry at himself when she walked away from the bar. If he was truthful – he hadn’t planned on her bearing witness to him feeding on the girl. But when he caught sight of her staring at him, heard the stutter of her heart, and the scent of her arousal; he just couldn’t resist being a bit of a tease, especially when he licked his lips. He wanted to know what she’d do. He had a bout of wishful thinking that she would’ve simply given in to the feelings he saw in her eyes and admit there was an attraction between them. It wasn’t like he’d take her to bed right away…that she wouldn’t be ready for. He had approached her at the bar in hopes of using his charms on her, for he much rather have a little fun with her than the bimbo he’d been snacking on. His cockiness came on a tad too strong, though. That had made her furious and when she walked away, he felt like the world’s biggest jackass. He should have known better than to try and play such a game with Isabella. She wasn’t like other women who would easily bend to his will.
Damon had been at the bar drinking a bourbon when he heard her call his name. He then hurriedly moved through the crowd to get outside. He would have rather moved with his supernatural speed, but there were too many people and there was no need to attract undue attention. By the time he reached the door, he saw a vampire with Isabella some ways down the street. He had hissed lowly when he heard the vamp’s fangs slice through her throat. He stealthily disappeared into an alleyway and jumped onto the rooftop, then leapt from building to building as soundlessly as he could. He didn’t want the vamp to hear his approach. He had reached into his jacket and pulled out a stake before soaring down to the ground. He silently landed behind the vamp and with no hesitation, rammed the stake into the vampire’s back. Damon shoved the stake once more and it pierced the vampire’s heart. The body slumped to the ground just as Isabella fell into his arms. He had taken a breath of relief at the fact he had gotten there in time…
He came out of his reverie, then took in the sight of the blood splattered walls. Feeling satisfied the son of a bitch was dead, he made his way back to Isabella. He swiped the tarp the covered the counter in the lobby and used it to wipe his face and hands before he situated himself next to her. He gently caressed her cheek and once those brown eyes of hers opened, he bit into his wrist.
“Drink.” he ordered softly.
“Damon-” she weakly protested.
“Drink it!” he demanded, offering his bloody wrist.
She shrank back at his tone, eyeing him warily before she gingerly took the proffered wrist, then suckled gently at the wound he’d made there. She drank a few sips and when she felt her strength coming back, she brushed his wrist aside and sat up.
Once Damon was sure she was okay, he instructed her to wait there as he went to set the scene for an electrical fire. During his life as a vampire, he had learned that it was paramount to cover your tracks – or else get caught. He had a knack for doing such things and was quite masterful when it came to creating a cover-up. You didn’t live as long as he did unless you were smart. And he’d like to think of himself as being rather clever.
He helped Bella up and rushed her out of the building. Once they were safely in his Camaro, she saw the smoke in the air coming from the abandoned structure. “Are you trying to burn Atlanta, Damon?” she asked sarcastically.
He cocked his head to the side. “Wouldn’t be the first time…” he retorted, his lips twitching with amusement.
She snapped her head to him, “Please tell me you’re kidding!”
He chuckled, “Google the city’s history and look at the 1920’s…”
She scoffed, “I can’t believe you!”
He tossed her a look and put the car in gear.
They went back to the hotel and when she walked in, she was stunned by what was sitting on the table. A simple arrangement of daisies, a box of chocolate cupcakes, and a bottle of her favorite rose wine were out on display. She slowly walked over to the table and picked up a card that was in the flower arrangement. She softly read the neat, spiky script out loud, “Happy Birthday.” Then, her heart fluttered as she noted that he had signed it, “Love, Damon.” She looked over to him and smiled broadly.
“You knew it was my birthday?” she questioned.
He smirked, “I was trying to keep it low-key and just give you a night on the town. I never intended to be a dick or have some vamp chomp on you.”
“H-how did you know?”
He grinned, “Well, I may have took a peek at your driver’s license…”
She playfully scowled at him. “Why should that even surprise me?” she muttered.
Bella then turned and faced him, “Regardless of what happened at the club and afterwards, thank you.” She then stood on her tip toes, tenderly planting a kiss on his cheek.
He stood stunned for a minute before he moved past her and opened the box of cupcakes, “You going to help me eat these?”
“Who said that you could have any?” she teased.
The rest of the night had been the low-key affair Damon had planned it to be. They chatted, finished off the bottle of wine and just enjoyed each other’s company. When they settled down in the wee hours of the morning, he pulled out a DVD of Pretty Woman, to which she grinned. It reminded her of the morning she woke up in Savannah and the conversation they had over breakfast.
Bella didn’t get to see much of the movie. Her eyes became heavy and she had just snuggled up to Damon during the scene in which Edward Lewis had presented Vivian Ward with the ruby and diamond necklace. The music from the soundtrack played in her ears as she dozed off.
I can’t believe it, you’re a dream comin’ true. I can’t believe how I have fallen for you.
The last thought she had before sleep completely overtook her was that she had indeed fallen for Damon Salvatore.
They spent a couple more months in Atlanta before Damon received a phone call from his brother, Stefan. Mystic Falls was holding a celebration in honor of the town’s restoration. It was to be held on Founders Day. The ball would be the conclusion of week-long festivities. Stefan practically begged his brother to be there.
Damon thought it ironic that either Salvatore be there, considering he caused at least half of the town’s destruction. What was left got wiped out by his mother, Lily and her little band of witchpires. Stefan convinced him that being a Founding Family member was a legacy and they should carry it with honor – that even though their presence may have brought mayhem, they had both played a part in saving Mystic Falls. He strongly believed that the two of them deserved to be there just as much as anyone else.
Their contact with each other had been rather sporadic since he left town, but Stefan did know about Isabella and suggested he bring her along. Damon was hesitant on that, unsure if he could face his past with her by his side. He had bid goodbye to his painful memories and to Elena so long ago. Could he actually face it, again? He pondered over what the kids and Ric would think of Isabella. They may scrutinize her and proclaim her a replacement for Elena…or they might possibly see her for the treasure that she is.
“I would like to meet her.” Stefan had remarked. Those words sealed the deal and he finally agreed to come to Mystic Falls for the festivities, with Isabella in tow.
He had discussed it with her, and she was more than willing to go with him. So, they packed their bags and headed to Virginia. They had yet a month or so before Founders Day and she had suggested taking the scenic route to do some sight-seeing. He reluctantly agreed, and they found themselves in Yorktown, Virginia. There they explored one of the first settlements of the original thirteen colonies, saw Indian artifacts and the place where the British surrendered during the Revolutionary War. He found himself bored out of his mind, but Bella reveled in learning the nation’s history up close and personal. Jesus, she’ll have me visiting the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia next, he thought.
Next, they visited Colonial Williamsburg – where he made fun of the powdered wigs and the tights that the men in costume wore. He scoffed at the basket weaving demonstration and snorted when they did some sort of reenactment.
“Why can’t they just tell history like it was?” he grumbled.
“What do you mean?” Bella asked nonchalantly.
“Well…Thomas Jefferson diddled his slaves and a lightning rod wasn’t the only rod Ben Franklin played with….” He bored into her eyes, hoping she’d get the play on words.
She gave a look of pure disgust, then angrily marched off down the street. He rolled his eyes and easily caught up to her. Once he did so, she glared at him and hissed out, “You are such an ass!”
He just snickered, “Oh please…tell me something I don’t already know!”
She flounced off and finished the rest of the tour on her own while he decided to go back the little bungalow they rented at a nearby resort.
Damon had nursed on a few bottles of bourbon by the time she got back and had a slight buzz going. He cracked one eye open as he heard the keys jingle in the door’s lock, along the soft click of it opening. He watched Bella as she stomped right past him towards the kitchenette.
She stood before him a few minutes later with a blood bag in her hand. She threw it into his lap and placed her hands on her hips, “Drink that! We are going out…clubbing or something.”
He cocked a brow, “Oh we are, are we?” he smartly asked.
“Yep!” she replied sharply. “You’re moody, you’re bored, and probably need to tap a vein.”
He blew out a breath. “It has been awhile…” he uttered affirmatively.
She nodded just as he asked, “Why don’t you offer me a vein?”
He smirked upon her as heard her heart stutter. She inhaled a nervous breath before speaking, “One, we are friends.” She said the word as if it left a bitter taste in her mouth. “Two, I’m more than just a walking blood bag for you to sip on.”
He peered up at her and simply said, “You got that right.”
That would be as close he would get to admitting how he felt towards her – at least for now. Timing is everything, and as much as he wanted to make her his, he knew it was better to wait for the right moment.
“Drink your little ‘juice box’. I’m going to go get ready.” With that, she made her way towards the bathroom.
His eyes followed her movements and he got up, with his blood bag in hand to get ready for the night. He stood at the threshold of the bedroom and glanced upon the bed, inhaling the heavy mixture of their scents that perfumed the air.
Yes, they shared the bedroom now. To his surprise, it hadn’t took much convincing and as much as he put on a bad-ass front; he was man that did not like to sleep alone. He liked the companionship next to him… someone to share that bed with and there was no one else he wanted next to him than his Isabella. Someday though, he had plans for the use of the bed other than sleeping. He smirked at the thought as he sucked the blood bag dry, then tossed it in the trash.
Two hours later, they were cruising along Interstate and found themselves in Richmond, Virginia. They rode around until they spotted an upscale club. Damon pulled up to the front and handed the keys to the valet. His eyes glinted dangerously as he told the kid there better not be one tiny scratch on the car when he got it back. He chuckled as the teenager paled. He then observed the boy as he entered the car and carefully parked it before offering Bella his arm and leading her towards the entrance.
She had paid no mind to his antics, for she was nervous because of the outfit she wore and the way Damon kept glancing at her approvingly. She had chosen a black dress that had a fitted bodice and spaghetti straps that emphasized her cleavage. The skirt was short, but flowy as it grazed her thighs. She wondered if it was too slutty. She never wanted to be the girl at a club that looked like she was on the prowl for an easy lay.
The dress had been bought by Damon on a shopping trip when they first arrived in Williamsburg. With the upcoming ball and Founder’s Day activities looming on the horizon, he had suggested a day of shopping to supplement her wardrobe. He warned her about his brother’s girlfriend, Caroline. He stressed how neurotic she was when it came to event planning and how she would want everyone looking their best. The comment instantly brought forth the image of Alice Cullen – thus making her even more wary of meeting the girl he spoke of.
Normally, she dreaded shopping, even more so after she had been forcefully dragged shop to shop by an overzealous Alice on more than one occasion. The shopping trip with Damon was quite different, though. She found herself actually having fun as they spent the day exchanging witty banter back and forth. She found that he was a finicky shopper, paying more attention how something would look and feel rather than the designer label it bore. Though, he did have a preference for John Varvatos. He took his time strolling through the shops at a leisurely pace Bella could keep up with.
He had insisted that he pay for everything she needed, since she would be his guest for the Founder’s Day events. Knowing that it would be a waste of time to argue with him, she allowed him to. He watched her carefully as she perused the racks, never uttering a word. She bought some basics – jeans, chinos, flowy blouses and her favorite tank tops. Damon would pick up a few pieces on his own for her; a couple of black dresses, some short shorts and a few well-fitted button downs. He did not force his choices on her as Alice once did, but he would seek her approval before he bought them. He had impeccable taste and she was always pleased with his selections.
Formal wear was an absolute nightmare for her. Bella found herself completely lost and overwhelmed as she went from place to place in an attempt to find a gown for the Founder’s ball. After a couple hours of searching and on the verge of a panic attack, he took pity on poor girl. Damon had enveloped her in a hug, simply telling her he would take care of it. He then soothed her nerves while stroking her hair. She remembered hearing the smirk in his voice as he mentioned that he would buy something red and that she would be “hot.”
Bella’s best memory of that day was seeing Damon get fitted for a tuxedo. She always found him sexy in whatever he wore, but something about him in a tux amped it up. He had caught her gaping and winked while he tried on a pair of cufflinks.
She had felt her cheeks warm up and playfully retorted, “Hurry up, Bond.”
She grinned at the memory while she timidly fiddled with the hem of her skirt. They had been to clubs many times before, but nothing quite like the one they were about to enter and some of her old insecurities flared up. Bella wondered if she’d truly fit in. Damon gently nudged her with his shoulder as he peered down at her. She saw how his baby blues glistened in the moonlight and briefly lost her train of thought as she took in the rest of him. He had dressed in his black leather pants, black button down shirt, and boots. For once in her life, she truly understood the meaning of ‘sex on legs.’ He smirked knowingly as his eyes flickered over her form.
Holding his hand out for her to take, he quipped, “Come on, my little Kitten. It’s time to teach you how to really play.” The tone in his voice indicated that she might not be ready for the type of play he had in mind. She shivered slightly as she glanced up at him and quietly placed her hand in his, gasping sharply at his words while her cheeks tinted red. He had chuckled, squeezing her hand and led them into the club.
Once inside, Bella looked around the place and felt like she walked into another world. Not only because the club was huge with two stories and three dance floors, but it was like she felt a physical shift in her and Damon’s relationship. There had been an undercurrent of something more than just friendship lingering between them ever since the night of her birthday. She, of course would never make a move. She was much too shy for that. She wondered if Damon himself had just upped the ante. Her mind swirled around her thoughts as he dragged her to the nearest bar.
He eyed her curiously as they waited for the bartender to take notice of them. He smirked as he leaned towards her and spoke softly in her ear, “You thinking about all the things I could teach you?”
She blushed deeply while he gave her a flirtatious wink, “First things first, just let go…enjoy the ride.” His eyes then trailed approvingly from the top of her head to the tips of her toes then back to her face, “And what a fun ride it will be…”
She would’ve given anything to have a cigarette right then and there, even if it were to calm her nerves. No man had ever spoke to her in such a seductive manner before and it made her whole body tingle. Sure, she was used to corny one liners and the cat calls she got when she worked at Sonny’s and she had gotten quite used Damon’s innuendo and sarcastic humor. But… never once had he brazenly flirted with her before. Her heart sped up and she knew deep down that if he was upping the ante, then she better play a long and prove to him that she could handle it.
She ordered a White Russian from the bartender and once it was placed in front of her, she snatched it up, swigged it down and then slammed the empty glass on the bar. “Hit me, again.” she told the bartender. She had a feeling she was going to need the liquid courage. Damon smiled lasciviously and cocked a brow at her. “There ya go, Kitten. You got the right idea…”
She grabbed the drink from the bartender as he approached her with it and guzzled it down, a slight buzz hitting her halfway through. She placed the glass on the bar and grabbed her vampire’s hand, “Let’s dance.” she practically demanded.
“As you wish…” he countered, to which she rolled her eyes.
She briefly thought back to the days when she worked at Sonny’s club in Miami and recalled the more provocative dance moves she’d seen; wondering if she could replicate them. As she came to find out, she didn’t need to. Damon had grabbed her waist and showed her some of his own moves. They danced to quite a few songs before taking a break and moving to the other bar – where the DJ seemed to be doing a 1990’s throwback with the music that was playing. “Whatta Man” blared loudly from the sound system and she couldn’t help but think of the man-slash-vampire before her.
He handed Bella some type of drink and she drank it down, then another as they chatted and flirted back and forth. She found that she could dish out the suggestive little comments mixed in with a little bit of wit just as good as he could. She didn’t know if it was the alcohol talking or not, but she liked this side of herself. It made her feel sexy and desirable and most of all, it stirred up feelings she had repressed long ago. She realized that it was okay to be sexy – it was okay to express it, that it was enjoyable and that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Thoughts she had had before ever meeting Edward Cullen. She hated how she had allowed his prudish Victorian ideals to rule their relationship and she hated how he wouldn’t allow her to express her sexuality. He had made her feel undesirable and treated her as if she were a common whore for wanting more than a chaste kiss.
She shook her head, clearing her thoughts. She was obviously desirable. She knew that, now. She glanced upon Damon and knew damn well he’d do anything she wanted to do, and then some. While the thought was a big boost to her ego, she couldn’t help but think that she wanted more. More than just sex. Would he be willing to offer that? Yes, her conscience told her.
After they had a few drinks, they found themselves back on the dance floor and the more they danced, the more intimate their movements became, as if they were two lovers. She found her hands sliding up and down his chest and sometimes, they’d be gently caressing his neck.
They bumped and grinded to the beats of the music that played and she lost herself to the rhythms that thumped around them. Bella’s body hummed with electricity as Damon’s hands glided sensually along her body as they danced. She was intoxicated from the alcohol, but if she were to be completely honest, she felt as though she was high. Ecstasy ran through her veins from every touch and every caress he gave her.
At one point, she had her back to him, with one arm draped over his shoulder as she grinded against him. He peppered kisses on her neck, and that caused a pleasurable moan to escape her lips. She could feel his smirk against her skin before he nipped her ear and brought his hands underneath her skirt, lightly caressing her thighs. She pushed herself even further onto him and when she felt his erection, her eyes widened in surprise and her heart fluttered.
All That She Wants by Ace of Base was the song that had been playing when she abruptly spun around and wrapped her arms around his neck. She smiled wantonly and met his eyes, “So if you are in sight, and the day is right…she’s the hunter, and you’re the fox.” she sang seductively to him.
He cocked a brow and licked his lips as his eyes met hers. “Is that so?” he asked huskily.
She bit down on her lower lip and nodded as he pulled her to him. He had an arm wrapped around her waist and brought a hand up behind her head as he planted a searing kiss on her mouth.
She was caught off guard and tensed up. She pulled back and looked up at him questionably for a moment. She felt like someone set her on fire, especially after noticing his heated gaze. She wanted more, so she grabbed the back of his head, stood up on her tippy toes and kissed him.
It was his turn to be surprised, but only for an instant before he pulled her even closer to him. He flicked his tongue along her bottom lip and when she took the hint and parted her lips, he wasted no time plunging his tongue into her mouth. They still swayed slightly to the beat and he grinded against her as his hand slinked down her back to her ass, where it lingered for a while.
Bella had never been kissed like that before and she was a bit unsure of what to do, but going by sound of Damon’s low moans and the fact that his hand was on her ass, she took it as a good sign that she was doing something right. She gasped slightly when he ended the kiss and trailed fiery kisses down her throat, then on to her shoulders. She tangled her fingers in his hair and found herself letting out some low moans of her own.
He smirked when he came back for air and kissed her the mouth once again. This time, when he deepened the kiss, he trailed his hand sensually along the back of her thigh and hiked her leg up around his waist.
The kiss took Bella’s breath away, yet she still wanted more. She ghosted her hands across his chest and along his arms. The sensation of his tongue in her mouth and the way his hands felt against her body put her in a stupor. It was almost like she was drunk on Damon himself.
He ended the kiss and whispered into her ear, “You smell so good…”
She looked at him startled, “Y-You mean my blood?”
He caressed her cheek and leered at her, “Oh, I won’t deny that smells good, but I was referring to something else entirely…”
Unpredictably, she blushed just as he jerked his chin towards the exit, “What do you say we get out of here and continue this dance elsewhere?”
She could only nod in response before he took her hand and led her to his car. She did not miss the bulge in his pants and it made her smile, knowing she did that to him.
When they got to the Camaro, she blushed deeply as Damon pushed her up against it and placed a heated kiss on her lips. He pulled away with a smug smirk as he opened the passenger door and settled her inside.
Bella’s body tingled with anticipation as he sped through the streets and took the exit onto the Interstate. She cracked the window open to cool down her heated skin and as they rode along, the chill of the night air seemed to kill her buzz from the alcohol and the euphoria she had gotten from her little make out session with him.
She wanted him. That she couldn’t deny, but what she wanted was more than just sex. She wanted him for more than just his body. She wanted his heart, too. She wanted more. The only question was whether or not Damon would give her that.
She slouched into her seat and glanced out the window, watching the passing cars whiz by. Besides the low hum of the radio, it was quiet in the car. Damon seemed lost in his own thoughts, but that didn’t stop him from gently taking her hand in his own.
When they got back to their little bungalow in Williamsburg, there was a stilted silence as they walked across the threshold. They both shared looks of apprehension towards one another and when the door finally clicked shut, it had seemed loud to her and she jumped slightly, startled by the sound.
He had chuckled at her while he cupped her cheek. He leaned in, and was about to kiss her when she placed a hand on his chest.
She took a nervous breath and met his gaze, “Damon, I-I’m sorry…I-can’t.”
He sighed as he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, “You want to, though.”
His voice was husky and it made her shiver as she fought not to give in to what she was feeling. She nodded, “I do…but…”
He remained quiet, letting her say what she needed to say. When she trailed off, all he could do was ask, “But what?”
She shook her head and walked around him towards the bathroom, “I’m just going to go shower…”
Bella didn’t know what else to say or do and she needed an escape from those penetrating blue eyes before they became her undoing. She grabbed her pajamas from the dresser and headed to the bathroom. Once there, she turned on the shower and let the water warm up while she sat on the toilet, rubbing her hands over her face and through her hair. “What the hell is wrong with me?” she muttered.
She felt weak in the knees as she stood up and stripped down. She inhaled a deep breath to steady her nerves before stepping into the shower. She felt the warmth of the water and just let her mind go blank as the water soothed her. She didn’t know how long she stayed in there, but once she stepped out of the shower, the bathroom was full of steam. She dried off and wrapped a towel around herself.
She wiped the mirror with her hand and peered at her reflection. She took in the healthy glow to her skin, the sparkle in her eye and realized she was a totally different person than what she’d been months ago. She knew the reason was more than the fact she was given a second chance at life. She knew it was more than the fact she had truly started to live her life. She knew the reason and his name was Damon.
Bella towel-dried her hair and once she was done, she heard the doorknob turn. At the sound, she turned her head just as the door flew open. There he stood on the threshold, clad in nothing but his black pants. She couldn’t help but scan his bare chest before meeting his gaze. He then stepped forward while she nervously stepped back and grabbed ahold of the counter. She swallowed thickly as she felt her heart thump within her chest.
Her eyes never left his gaze, even when he smirked knowingly at her. She tightened the towel around her and asked him apprehensively, “What do you want, Damon?”
He halted his movements, standing just a few feet away from her. “You.” He stated bluntly. “I want you.”
“I told you… I-I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to, believe me! But-”
He cut her off as he took another step forward. “You want more.”
She was taken aback by what he said. It was almost as if he could read her mind. She shook her head of the thought and blurted out, “How did-”
He took another step forward and boxed her in against the counter, “How did I know?” he asked with an air of affirmation.
She simply nodded as he bent his head to her shoulder and kissed it, then he tenderly took her face within his hands, “Did you ever consider that maybe I want more, Isabella? Did you ever stop to think that this would be more than just sex? Did you ever stop and think that maybe I want more than just some cuddles on the couch at night, or a drunken kiss on the dance floor? Did you ever stop to think I just want you?”
Bella could feel her heart pounding in her chest and she nearly swooned at his words. “You…you want me?” she questioned full of surprise and doubt.
He licked his lips and smirked as he gently caressed her cheek with the back of his fingers, “Of course I want you. We need to stop denying that there is something there between us. We’ve been dancing around it ever since the morning you woke up in Savannah. I don’t know what it is, or what it will be. But I can tell you I never wanted anything more in my life. And…I always get what I want.”
She smiled, “Do you, now?”
He smirked again as he brought her hands around his waist, peered down at her and replied with a very confident, “Yep.”
She chewed on her lip, then squeezed her eyes shut. She did want him, but she was oh, so scared. Would he eventually find fault with her one day and decide she just wasn’t good enough for him? She quickly squashed down that notion. He was much more loyal than that and if he wanted her now, then it wasn’t likely he’d change his mind about it later. Damon was someone who knew what he wanted.
The big question looming on her mind was what if they went for something more and it fizzled? She knew the aftermath would be much worse than it had been with Edward. Damon made her feel things she had never felt before. Not just by awakening the feelings of lust, but he made her embrace life, to feel with her heart and to live in the moment. He made her feel alive and like she could fly… if she wanted to. She didn’t want to lose that, but she did want that something more.
“What’s going on in that little head of yours?”
His question interrupted her thoughts and she blurted out, “I’m scared… I-I know how I feel and I know what I want…I do want you. You’re right about that… but, I cannot stand the thought of losing what we have now. You have changed my life completely, Damon. I never thought I would feel this alive and free and it scares the hell out of me!”
Her eyes misted over as she spoke with earnest. “What I’m scared of is that what we have now will change and we’ll lose whatever it is between us and most of all, I am scared because I’ve never felt this way about anyone else before and I know that if I ever lost you, it would just destroy me. I wouldn’t be able handle it.”
His eyes flickered across her face as he brushed a falling tear with his thumb. “You won’t ever lose me, and what we have would only get better. Give it a chance. Don’t overthink it, Isabella.”
She placed her hands on top of his, “I-I…”
“You what? Say it.” he murmured.
“I love you.” she said softly and glanced up into his eyes. “I love you.” she repeated again, this time her voice stronger with each word she spoke.
Damon was taken aback by her declaration, but quickly recovered as he surged forward to kiss her. It was one of passion, lust, want, need, desire and love. Everything he had ever felt for the girl. She was receptive to it and returned it with a passion that rivaled his own. She had just put her own heart on the line and it was time for him to do the same. He pulled away from her and rested his forehead upon hers. “I love you, too.” he whispered reverently.
He then pulled back and cocked his head as his eyes smoldered at her, “So, do you want to really dance?”
She blushed deeply, nodding her head in reply as he led her to the adjoining bedroom. He walked over to the nightstand and flicked on the radio. Hozier’s Take Me to Church played from its speakers as he sauntered back to her and wrapped his arms around her waist. They swayed to the music as it enveloped them.
Bella found herself getting lost in the moment, reveling in the way her body hummed as he held her to him. He kissed her tenderly and then trailed his fingers through her hair, down her neck, then he bought his hand up and cupped her chin, guiding her face towards his. He kissed her again and that time, he deepened the kiss, setting her ablaze once again…
Her hands skimmed along his abs, up to his chest, then to his shoulders before wrapping them around his neck.
He smiled slightly when he broke the kiss, giving her towel a good yank, then tossing it onto the floor. She blushed again as she gazed at him. A bout of nervousness simmered within her as she confessed that she was a virgin.
“Oh, we’re about to fix that.” he devilishly responded. He then pulled her to him and kissed her once more. Her virginity wasn’t the only thing she gave him that night. Her heart and soul were for the taking as well.
Not only that, but for the first time in her life, she felt complete.
*The name of the chapter, “All That She Wants” was inspired by a song of the same name. It was performed by the band Ace of Base and is used without permission.
*”Whatta Man” was performed my Salt-N-Pepa & En Vogue. “Take Me to Church” is a song from Hozier. Again, both are used without permission.
*This chapter is somewhat of an ode to my clubbing days. I met my husband at a club in Hampton, Virginia in the fall of 1999. I won’t go all Jerry Maguire on you and say “He had me at “hello,” but I can tell you he definitely caught my attention with a shy smile and a bottle of Bud Light. I think he did say something like “hi,” though. White Russians were one of my favorite drinks and I got insanely drunk one night guzzling them down. Poor future hubby had to take me outside, where I promptly puked my guts out while he had to hold me up. Now that is love, I tell ya! He has no room to talk…The guy was wearing a ‘Porn Star’ tee shirt the first night we met, for crying out loud! Not to mention that he had a weakness for Jello shots….;-) Now, I was a bit of a flirt back then, and the line Bella sings to Damon may or not have been sung by me to said future hubby at one point…