She's never seen him like this. Thoughtful. Picking flowers by the stem and lifting them into the sunshine, to his nose, inhaling, thinking, replacing. Perfectionist. He buries his palms in his jean pocket, face all scrunched as he envisages the right bouquet to make her smile.
"I'm thinking the pink ones."
Bonnie glances at the blue hydrangea in her hand. "Yeah, she'll like pink."
"But will she love it?" He's looking at her with some far-off intensity, beyond her, through her, maybe she's just morphed into Elena now. Either way, it's unsettling so she laughs.
"Bon. You're not allowed to mock me for this, remember?"
But he's scowling at the flowers again and it's hard not to smile. She'd been dancing around her kitchen to the seminal Take Me Home album when her phone buzzed and 'Don't Pick Up It's Damon' flashed on her lock-screen. A rather redundant contact name because, nine times out of ten, she does. The message read:
Meet me in town in twenty mins. Need help planning the perfect date.
Can't I finish my solo dance party to One Direction?
And that's disgusting.
Damon shifts his scowl to her. "I can feel you mocking me, witchy."
She shrugs, stepping forward so she can pluck the stem from his fingers and smell it herself. "I just never imagined you'd be such a romantic."
The vampire snorts; snatches the flower back. "Please. I'm a textbook romantic."
"I've never noticed."
"That," he sing-songs, smirking in that very Damon way he does, "is because you're blind to my charms. A good thing because my heart can only handle one at a time."
He thumbs another perfect pink something – lifts it from the box to squint at the colour in comparison. "I don't think anyone would be able to compete with Elena for that, Damon," Bonnie quips but he doesn't hear, or ignores her, and is back to waving flowers in front of her face.
"These yes? All pink?"
"Um, maybe throw in another colour? Like a pop."
Damon's eyes enlarge. "A pop."
"Here," she reaches across him, plucks something bright and yellow, and thrusts it into the three-part flower arrangement he has constructed in his hand. "It's pretty, see."
He smiles, quick and fluttery. Kinda cute. "Yeah. It's pretty."
They shuffle into the shop to queue, Damon's selected flower types stiff inside his curled fist. "It's hot today. Do you wanna grab a drink or something after this?"
Bonnie looks up at him. "Can you even get hot?"
"Can I… get hot?" His brow has quirked which means she, naturally, must eye roll.
Damon nudges her with his elbow, smirk stretching to its rightful place. "That was a question."
"You know you're hot. Stop fishing."
"You think I'm hot?"
She blushes. Idiot. "Shouldn't you be more concerned about Elena's opinion."
"Why would I be concerned?" he smiles at the florist beckoning them forward, "I know Elena knows I'm hot."
The shop ceiling pulls on her eyes, as with many things the conceited vampire tells her. She watches, amused, as he charms the lady behind the desk. Flirts with her, compliments. She's easily fifty something and loving it.
"One perfect bouquet of flowers, thanks to Dawn here," he winks, pivoting to grin at Bonnie all victorious.
"Three hours later. Woo."
He pushes her arm. "Come on cranky pants, let me buy you an iced latte."
"You really think I'm that basic," she retorts, easily fitting under the curve of his arm, raised to hold the door open. Thoughtful, again.
"You don't want an iced latte?"
She hesitates on the sidewalk, looks up at him in the heat and sun – behind that ridiculously large and mostly pink bouquet, a silly, easy smile – and sighs. "No, of course, I want an iced latte."
Damon winks, as flippantly as he did to the florist. "Women. So easy to please."
Now she pushes his arm. "Asshole."
"Careful! The flowers."
"The flowers," she imitates, matching his stride down Main Street. They don't often hang out just the two of them – very rarely if at all. But… this is nice. "Was this all you wanted help with?" she asks, strangely hoping that he'll say no.
"It takes more than flowers for a perfect date, witchy." They stop outside Mystic Meg's, the little cafetiere on the corner, and he steers her back towards a table in the shade. "Grab a seat. I'll go get your drink."
Bonnie watches him stroll through the open doors, then dart back to hand her the bouquet, a grin in his eyes, and all she can think is: he's so happy. Love does that to you – stretches across your heart, your face, your world, until everything is intensified and glittering and nothing is really enough. She almost catches a hum of it watching him. She almost feels something else… something uncomfortable. Bonnie frowns; pushes at it with a smile. Happiness isn't quantified – there's plenty for Elena, for Damon, for Caroline, for Stefan, for all of them. And her. It's a little quiet at the moment, stuck in shadows and memories she cries about in the sleepless hours but it will come.
For now, she thinks, smiling at the vampire strolling back towards her, I will be satisfied with whatever is emanating from Damon's.
"You owe me $5," he announces. Bonnie reaches for her purse and Damon slaps her hand. "I'm joking, idiot."
"You see, this is the paradox I have to try and understand," she pulls at the straw with her tongue, "You're nice and buy me a drink and then you call me idiot."
"I'm a mysterious vamp, Bonniekins," he says, watching her drink, "Gotta keep you on your toes. Though, you're pretty short already."
He laughs. It cuts into the skin around his mouth, his eyes, and she looks back down at her drink, plugs the straw. "Fine. You're pretty petite already."
"Pretty and petite," she teases, smiling as she attempts to play his favourite game.
Damon curves a brow. "You want me to tell you you're pretty?"
Shit. He's better. "Erm, no, I-"
"You're very pretty. Pretty annoying and pretty pretty." He sounds as nonchalant as if he were ordering fries at the Grille. Damon stands, "I'm gonna grab a blood bag from the car. In a bit."
She mirrors his salute, with a limp, slightly confused wave, his comment flipping about too wildly in her mind.
"Is there a reason that this, you know, why this date is so special?" She says awkwardly from behind him. Damon's taking her on a cross country trek through some woodland, insisting he saw a viewing spot on Pinterest. He'd splayed his palms over the café table, mouth still tinged red with blood, and said "let's go."
"Yup," he throws a grin over his shoulder, "Gonna tell her I love her."
Bonnie stops walking. "Wait, you haven't yet?"
"Why are you surprised?" He turns to face her – a twig in his hair that she wants to reach for and untangle.
"It's just… obvious isn't it? Like how you are with, or around, someone. Like it's easy."
"Like it's easy?"
She stalls, suddenly conscious that she hasn't been in love - or, at least not an Elena/Damon kind – and her choice of adjective probably sounded very stupid. "You've proved you're such a romantic now, I guess I just expected you to blurt it out straight away," she says instead.
"Blurt it out. Hmm. Yeah, let's leave the love declarations to me."
She shrugs, relieved when he continues striding through the undergrowth towards who knows where. The summer air is hot and sticky but the trees spread their wide limbs, offering shade and dancing shadows. It really is nice, she thinks, hanging out with him.
"Ah," the vampire halts – she almost collides into his back. "Think I see it."
Damon pushes her in front of him, hands on her shoulders to steer her and is he always this touchy? "There. Can you see?"
"The tower thing."
"What is that?"
"A tower thing." He grins at her eye roll. "Come on, Judgey. You gotta see the potential."
She bites away the smile at another of his many nicknames for her. "How do we get up there?"
The vampire stretches. "You're gonna have to hold on tight."
"Damon." He smirks, reaching for her. Bonnie steps back. "Damon, no-"
He grabs her waist, pulling her frame into his chest, and she's sure her heartbeat must be entirely consuming for him, because it's really quite consuming for her, and then everything blurs and all she can feel, smell and see is Damon. And a lot of flying colour.
In a breath she's released.
"Damon!" His hand is still on her back, steadying her. "You can't just do that!"
"Really? But I just did." He releases contact to smirk at her, openly enjoying her outrage with glittering eyes.
She inhales, dizzy from the speed in which he carried her, but insisting on continuing to chastise him. It's what he needs, the asshole. You can't just go grabbing people and vamp-speeding. Especially not people that aren't your girlfriend. Bonnie pushes her mouth to form these words aloud when her new surroundings pours into her senses. She's in the sky: her home town, scattered below, runs away from her… her anger too. Damon's expression tells her she's smiling before she can.
"Do you think at night? Up here."
She steps forward, places her hands on the crumbling wall, dares to look down, then settles on looking out. "At sunset. With wine."
"I love wine."
She feels his presence next to her. The quiet awe of their town, so distant, so still. "Does Elena?"
Elena, Bonnie. Elena. "Yeah. Everyone loves wine."
"What's her favourite?"
She squints at the Virginian forest beyond. "I'm not sure actually."
"What's your favourite?"
"Rosé," she says instantly.
Damon nods. "Easy. I'll get that then."
They stand in silence for a moment. Looking. Thinking. (And Bonnie's heart is still beating a bit fast, she's not sure why).
"I think you need fairy lights," she says, just as Damon says, "I thought you loved white wine."
They laugh, it's almost awkward. The vampire turns his back on the view to stare at her, arms crossed, leaning casually against the wall. "What the hell are fairy lights?"
"Little lights. On a wire. They're magical."
His cheeks dimple. "Your eyes are lighting up just thinking about them."
"They just add to the ambiance of a place. You could hang them over the wall and," she spins, directing her hands like a conductor, "here. You could get loads."
He watches her, a little dumbfounded. "Don't they use electricity?"
"You can get battery operated ones."
She frowns. "When is this date?"
He pushes from the wall, palms connecting with her shoulders again. "Relax, Bon. If you think fire-fly-"
"Whatever lights are that important, I'll drive to the hard ware store now. Buy a shit load."
She looks up at his amused face, alight with that buzzing love she'd noticed earlier. She feels it in his fingers – her shoulders shiver under them. "Any girl would be very happy with a shit load of fairy-lights."
"Exactly," he lifts his hands in triumph, "Women. So easy to please."
He tells her she looks beautiful. She smiles. He smiles. They're all smiles. She asks him where they're going and he throws her a charming smirk and says, "Somewhere special," and she doesn't eyeroll.
Damon parks the Camaro, helps his date out the car. Elena finds his hand in the dark – they'd missed sunset. It was okay. He almost didn't want to see it without Bonnie there anyway. She was so enamoured with that view.
"Where are you taking me, Mr Mysterious?"
He squeezes her hand. "You'll see."
They walk in whispers through the forest and he's nervous, he is. It has to be perfect. Because she's perfect and he doesn't deserve her anyway -
She leans into his side; in her other arm that bouquet. It really is pink.
"Yellow," she'd said in surprise, "Bold choice."
"It's a pop of colour," he offered.
Elena drew her slender finger over a rose.
They reach the clearing and he asks if she'll be carried up there, vamp-speed. Elena giggles, kisses him, lets him pull her close. He breathes: they're up the tower.
Wow indeed, Bon-bon. The witch was right, the fairy-lights were an excellent idea. Elena sweeps her eyes across the golden space, hovering on the horizon and the town below, before gazing up at Damon in delight. It's everything he could have hoped.
He tilts her chin with his fingers, readying to share what's on his heart. She smiles at him, Elena, his love, she smiles and he wishes it was Bonnie.
He wishes it was Bonnie.
Damon jolts, breaks contact, screws his eyes shut. What the fuck?
"Everything okay?" Elena asks him, moving forward, pressing her palm on his chest, the other on his neck and no, no, no-
"I just remembered something important," he rushes.
"I don't need it-"
"No! This you will." He smiles, or tries, tells her to wait here, and speeds away, out of earshot, fumbles for his phone.
It rings. Rings off. He tries again. And again.
"It's all wrong."
He feels her pause. "Elena doesn't like it?"
"No," he pulls a hand through his hair, "She loves it."
"Yeah, I'm trying to follow but I can't…"
Damon's eyes close. "It's just what you said. About it being… easy."
"Oh. Yeah, Damon, I don't really know anything about that-"
He cuts Bonnie off, clarity rising like dangerous wave. "I think you're right though. It is. Elena," he glances up at the tower, her silhouette stares out onto the view, "Elena's not."
"Damon. This is just fear because you're about to tell the woman you love that you do love her and-"
He thinks about today, the ease of it, with her, Bonnie, in her jeans and sneakers and eye rolls. He thinks of the too pink bouquet and that blue flower she held throughout his musing. How she brushed against his arm when reaching for the yellow; how he made every excuse to touch her after that to test if it felt the same. It was easy to call her pretty, easy to make her laugh, easy to irritate her, easy to show her the only world she's known from a height only they existed in.
"I'm going to break up with Elena."
"Are you crazy!?"
He glances at the silhouette again, pained. She really does deserve better. "She's probably going to hate me so… be on hand to comfort her with Blondie. Feel free to indulge in the name calling. I'm sure dick will be thrown around a lot."
"Hey," she says softly, "I'm not going to call you a dick but… is really now the best time. On this grand romantic date?"
No, probably not, but he's impulsive and notoriously selfish.
He folds under the way she says his name – like her heart is aches with his. "Yes?"
"I know you care about her. And even though she's probably going to be very hurt for a while, she'll understand. Eventually. I… don't know much about love but I imagine, when it's right, it's mutual. So, when it's not…." She lets the insinuation fall.
He nods, forgetting she can't see, and, because he's impulsive and notoriously selfish, adds: "I had the best day with you today, Bon."
There's a pause before she replies, embarrassed, he's sure, "Me too. We should… I mean, maybe not yet but, I'd like to hang out again. More." Another pause. "Just to mock you, of course."
They hang in the silence. He has more to say, and she must feel it. In fact, Damon's sure Bonnie is thrumming with words too but Elena is waiting for him and it isn't fair. On any of them: the witch included.
"Okay," they say at once and laugh again, like they had on the tower.
"Okay," Bonnie takes control, and good because he's not sure he'll leave otherwise, "Go and do your thing."
He exhales. "Yes."
He stills. "Yes?"
"Don't be a dick about it."
He chuckles, a little defeated, a little alive. "No. I'm going to be honest."
A/N: Oh, I do worry you're all going to hate me for another cliffy ending but I'm having so much fun just dipping into stories. I could be persuaded to do a part two but no promises. Reviews are treasured.
Sending love, as always.