Damon drove all through the night. It was as if he could not put enough distance between himself and his home of Mystic Falls. He was distraught and heartbroken. The girl he loved had chosen his brother.
"It will always be Stefan." kept playing through his head like a broken record.
He squeezed the steering wheel as his body tensed in anger. This was not the first time his brother had been chosen over him. Oh no, their father had considered Stefan to be the golden child of the family, and then there was Katherine.
Damon snarled at the name as he thought of it. The bitch had played both of them, only he didn't know it until 145 years later. She had been supposedly locked in a tomb under a church. A tomb that was spelled and he had spent 145 years trying to find a way to free her. He had succeeded at opening the tomb, only to find that she was not there.
It was then that he realized that she never loved him. Never wanted him! He was nothing more than a fucking pet, someone to toy with. She was responsible for him and Stefan turning into vampires. She was responsible for the 145 years he spent in misery.
If that was not enough, she then had the gall to show up in Mystic Falls to play with him and his brother once again. Only this time, both he and his brother had already fallen in love with her doppelganger, Elena.
Elena was an exact carbon copy of Katherine in looks, but not so much in personality. Elena was open and honest with her feelings; she was led by her heart and not her head. However, that didn't mean she didn't crave attention and seek it out.
She had always professed her love for Stefan, but yet whenever she needed something it was Damon she called upon. He had always been there to comfort her in times of distress and lend an ear when she needed someone to vent to. She'd had so many trials and tribulations since she had become aware of the supernatural world.
As a doppelganger, she was needed as a sacrifice so that one of the most powerful vampires the world has ever known could free his werewolf side. Fortunately for her, one of her witchy friends had been able to cast a spell that saved her. Unfortunately, the newly turned hybrid, Klaus had found out she was alive and then needed her blood to create a merry band of hybrids. As always, Klaus had got what he wanted in the end and as always, Damon was the one to rescue her.
He relaxed as he drove along the road through Texas, though the thought of Elena now brought a grimace to his face. As much as they had become friends in the last couple of years, Elena had never wasted any time blaming him for anything that ever went wrong. Granted, he was not the most rational being, and some of his best laid plans were not always the smartest ones. What few people realized is that Damon would own up to his mistakes if he made them.
Stefan, Elena, and her little group of friends were all a self-righteous and hypocritical bunch. They had wanted to take a stand against Klaus, but no one had wanted to do the dirty work involved. They left that to Damon and then turned around and berated him and put him down when he got the job done. In fact, they had treated him like shit and then they expected him to be the nice guy?
Elena in some respects had been the worse one of them all. She knew he had feelings for her and had used those feelings to manipulate him on more than one occasion. In some ways she could be almost as conniving and deceiving as Katherine had been.
The difference between the two is that Katherine was essentially a selfish being, while Elena was selfless. She wanted to protect others at all costs. Another thing the two women had in common was that they both had enjoyed the affections from both himself and his brother.
Sure, Elena may have given her heart to Stefan, but yet she flirted with Damon, kissed him on occasion and somewhat bonded with him. It's like she wanted to have her cake and eat it, too. In the end, she was given an ultimatum and she had chosen Stefan.
That was the reason Damon was on this little road trip. He did not want to be near the two lovebirds and he had promised them both he would leave town if he was not the one Elena wanted.
He was headed to Phoenix, Arizona to visit a very wise friend. She was an observant little thing and always had a unique perspective. She was witty and had a snarky personality that at times, could match his own. She also had a temper that could rival the rage of any vampire and he had been the object of her wrath on more than one occasion.
He smiled as he thought of her. Isabella Swan, or as he called her, Belle. It was a nickname given as a sign of his affection towards her. She looked exactly like the Disney princess from Beauty and the Beast. The long brown hair and the big brown eyes, pale skin and full mouth. In fact, if he thought about it, he thought her to be far more beautiful than Elena.
Belle was one of the few that understood him and welcomed his friendship. He could honestly say that she was his first real friend. She genuinely enjoyed spending time with him and actually took the time to get to know him. Belle, Elena and their friends Bonnie and Caroline were known as the Four Musketeers of Mystic Falls. Even though she loved her friends dearly, she had never let their bad opinions of him sway her own.
She did give him hell when she had found out that Caroline had been his fuck and feed at one point. She also unleashed her fury when she found out that he'd once killed Jeremy, Elena's brother.
Even through her anger though, she had never once put him down. She blatantly told him he was a jackass, or a dumbass or whatever adjective that came to mind with the word ass. They both knew this to be true, so it never bothered him. What bothered him was that he let his friend down. But Belle, being the way she is, always forgave him and never expected him to be the good guy or change his ways. She accepted him. It was through her that he had learned that there was good in him somewhere, that he wasn't a complete monster.
Damon just wished her last visit to Mystic Falls had ended on a less somber note. Her grandmother Helena Swan had passed away last summer. Belle was having her annual summer vacation when her grandma had a massive stroke at the end of July. Charlie Swan flew in to attend the funeral for his mother and to be with his daughter.
Since the Swans were a Founding Family, the whole town had attended the funeral and all the attention had made both Belle and Charlie uncomfortable. Neither one were attention seekers, so they both were out of their element.
Belle had asked for Damon to sit with her at the funeral. She had grasped his hand throughout the service and when they went back to the Swan home after the funeral, he had found her hiding out in her room, tears streaming down her face. He had opened his arms to her and held her.
As he was comforting her, the Musketeers had made their way upstairs and were shocked by the scene. They had not realized the depth of their friendship. Yes, Damon Salvatore cared about the petite girl in his arms. They could choose to believe that fact or not, he really didn't care.
Belle had left two weeks later, and gone back to Phoenix, where she lived with her mother. Damon and Elena had then been so caught up searching for Stefan, then dealing with Klaus and his family, that they had lost touch with her.
He had last spoke to her in November and he had hated hearing of her mother's whining about missing her new husband. Did the woman not stop and think about how insignificant that made Belle feel? The truth of the matter was that Damon did not like the woman. She never took care of her daughter the way a mother should. Belle was the one that cooked, cleaned and made sure the bills were paid. It was as if SHE was the parent. The last time they spoke, Damon had been relieved that her new step-father acted as a loving parent and made sure Belle was well cared for.
He felt remorseful because they had not spoken in the past five months and he hoped this surprise visit will make it up to her. He could admit to the fact that he needed to see her. He could use a dose of blatant honesty and some witty banter. Both of which Belle had in spades. It could also be said that he truly missed her as well.
The next day found him in the hot, dusty town of Phoenix. He pulled up to Belle's house and it was then that the unmistakable scent of a Cold One hit his nostrils. He walked up to the house, jiggled the door knob and found it unlocked. As soon as he opened the door he discovered the scent was even more potent.
After a quick run through of the house he realized that Belle's scent was faint. She had not been here for a while. It was obvious that her mother and step father had also been gone for a few days. He took a glance around the living room and noticed photo albums opened up to pictures of Belle and then saw various video tapes strewn all across the room. He quickly turned on the TV and played the tape in the VCR. It was of some ballet recital and Damon fumed as he realized that Bella was being tracked. He stepped outside in a fury and inhaled the air, picking up the Cold One's scent. He took off, letting the scent guide him.
Damon was approaching a Ballet studio a couple blocks away from the house when he heard an earth shattering scream and a crash. He smelled blood and he froze when he realized it was Belle's. Using his vampire speed he ran into the studio and was positively disgusted at was he saw.
Belle lay in a pool of blood and shattered glass, the Cold One had just snapped her leg and grabbed her arm. He was preparing to bite her and Damon would never allow that to happen. In a fury, he blurred over to the Cold One and squeezed his wrist tightly, making him release Bella's arm. He then threw the Cold One across the room and watched as the inferior being crashed into the mirrors. Damon blurred again and quickly ripped the Cold one apart, purposely scattering the pieces across the room.
He went to Belle and reset her leg and checked for other injuries, found two ribs to be broken and set them. He then bit into his wrist and placed it on Belle's lips.
"Come on, Belle, drink up." When she was unresponsive, he begun to worry and pleaded. "Please… Belle… I need you."
He became frantic at the thought of losing her, "Drink!" He begged of her.
Tears started to sting his eyes as he heard her heartbeat falter. His puncture wounds had closed up and he bit his wrist again. Placing it at her mouth once again, he positioned her head so the blood would flow down her throat.
"Ah…There we go." He said tenderly. He sighed in relief as the cuts on her face healed. It meant she was getting his blood into her system.
Damon felt her stir slightly and her eyes fluttered open. Her brown eyes met his blue ones and they widened in surprise. She moved his hand away from her mouth and took a breath of air. She winced slightly and whispered, "Damon?"
He smiled softly and stroked her cheek. "It's me, Belle." He offered his wrist to her, "You need to drink some more…"
She nodded and accepted his wrist, sucking at it gently. She moaned and closed her eyes at the taste. The smell of blood usually made her sick, but this did not bother her. In fact the taste was indescribable. It was tangy and sweet and it was one of the best things she had ever tasted.
She could feel herself healing and knew she should stop drinking, but she didn't want to, especially when she started to feel something she never felt before. She felt like strings were pulling her to Damon; that a bond was forming with him. She opened her eyes to see him staring at her face and that's when she started feeling the stirrings of arousal. She moaned softly as she continued to suckle from his wrist.
Damon looked down on her and took a deep breath, briefly closing his eyes and sighing in both pleasure and content. He too, was feeling a bond forming. He had healed people before with his blood, but he had never felt anything like this course through his body.
He had given Belle blood before to help heal her, but that was in a cup. She had not ever drank directly from him. At first he thought these new feelings were because he was healing someone he cared deeply for, but quickly tossed that notion aside.
He had also given Elena blood before and he thought he was in love with the girl, yet he never felt anything like this. With each pull she took from him, it was as if the bond was getting stronger.
Then the feeling of arousal hit him. His eyes minutely widened in shock as he looked at Belle. He heard her moan softly once again and he closed his eyes and shuddered at the pleasure he felt throughout his body. With his free hand, he reached for one of hers and squeezed it gently. As he did so, a current ran through him and he knew Belle felt it too because she tensed and then relaxed as she squeezed his hand in return. He smiled gently and looked down at her.
Belle removed his hand from her mouth and returned the smile. Damon shook his head and gently placed his wrist back over her mouth. He took her hand, brought it up to his lips and kissed her wrist. The whole time his eyes stayed locked with hers. He gently bit into her wrist and drank from her.
They were blood sharing. It was a highly personal and intimate thing to do, but his instinct was telling him to do this. He had survived on instincts for the past hundred and seventy years and it was what has kept him alive. In this moment, along with the arousal that was running through his veins, he was feeling absolute bliss and contentment. He was at peace. It was something that has been sorely missing from his life. He never had peace as a human and he most definitely never had peace as a vampire.
The two of them drank from each other for only a few minutes, but in those few, short minutes a bond had been formed that would never be broken. Belle felt as if she had been awakened from a deep slumber. She felt alive, and she felt alive with joy, and gratitude. She felt complete.
All those awkward years of being the caretaker for her mother, all the feelings of being inferior, of being plain and boring disappeared. All of her worries and fears just slipped away at that moment. They were not important; they held no weight in comparison to what was in front of her.
She stroked Damon's cheek and smiled softly at him as she looked into his eyes. For Belle, it was like a seeing a light after being in the darkness. He was now the most important person in her world.
Damon returned the smile. As he looked into her eyes he realized then and there that she was the one. Katherine was never the one, and neither was Elena. What he had subconsciously been searching for has been right under his nose every summer for the past two years and he didn't even know it.
He thought back to what he had once heard Lexi tell Elena, "When it's real, you can't walk away."
This feeling, this moment in time was the most real thing he ever felt. He had always cared deeply for Belle. She was the first woman he ever met that he had the upmost respect and admiration for. He loved her wittiness, her honesty and he even loved her temper. He didn't know why he didn't realize it sooner, but his feelings for her were beyond those of a mere friendship.
It wasn't love, no not yet. But he knew it was the beginning of it. It could be, if she would have him. He looked into her eyes as he licked his lips and his head tilted towards hers. He captured her lips in a soft kiss and pulled away. He cupped her face with his hand, using his thumb to stroke her cheekbone.
Belle looked at him, almost in wonderment. Damon Salvatore, man whore, psychopath, master manipulator, serial killer and last but not least, friend.
She had always harbored feelings for him. He was gorgeous, witty, and could be the most charming man she had ever known. She had never once told anyone of her feelings, thinking that it was just a crush and nothing more. She thought it would pass and yet, it never did.
She covered his hand with her own and looked into his blue eyes. She was overwhelmed by her feelings for this blue-eyed man in front of her and could feel the butterflies erupt in her stomach as her heart started beating just a little faster. All she could think of was kissing him again.
She licked her lips once and she noticed Damon watching her movements. The look on his face sent a warmth from her stomach and up into her chest. She inhaled deeply as she moved closer and wrapped her hands around his neck. Her lips met his in the most soft, gentle and tender kiss.
She gasped when she felt his tongue brush across her lips, and then moaned slightly at the unexpected pleasure she felt as Damon explored her mouth. Nervously, she responded and their mouths and tongues moved in sync as if they had done this a thousand times before.
The kiss became passionate and Bella felt herself being pulled onto his lap. His hands caressing her back as she reached up and wound her fingers in his hair. She simply could not get enough of him.
She turned so that her legs were on either side of Damon's waist. She was a bit startled to feel his erection, but pleased that she had this effect on him. He withdrew his tongue and pressed another kiss to her lips. He smiled and brought his hands to her face and leaned in once again and kissed her. That was when she heard an annoyingly musical voice.
"Bella?" it questioned.
She groaned and looked up. "Edward."
Special thanks to Cuinawen, who took time from her own writing to beta this chapter! I am extremely grateful to her and am very lucky to have her as my 'cosmic twin'! I am leaving a Tootsie Pop here for her! EWE, Twinnie!