"Wow", the tall blonde in his arms sighed. "That was…wow."

Damon rose from the bed where he sat shaking his head. Usually 'wow' was a good thing. This evening it proved to be anything but. Thoughts had clouded his head, and as much as he had wanted to feed off this new conquest, he couldn't get the face out of his mind. It clouded his vision, and made it almost unbearable to breathe. "Che cosa l'inferno…?"

Luccia got up from the opposite side of the bed and walked out slowly, hoping he would stop her. He didn't. Instead he walked over to the closet, pulling his bag from the floor. He began to pack whatever he touched first, then shook his head violently. What was he thinking about her for? And why was he packing a bag? He could be back to Fell's Church in no time, as a crow. Thoughts of her red curls and bright brown eyes flooded his memory again, and he knew why he had to go.

He had to tell Bonnie he was in love with her.

He wasn't sure when it had happened, or why really. The first time he felt he had really seen her was years ago, during the fight with Klaus. She had looked at him, and he swore she could see inside his soul. He was almost positive that that was the night that changed everything. And then of course the run in with the kitsune twins that had almost cost Bonnie, Meredith and that infernal Mutt their lives. Possession had proven to be lethal where he was concerned, and he had almost let them all die under his watchful eyes. A part of him had heard her calling to him, but the other part was stronger. When he had gotten Bonnie into the bath at the boarding house he had almost lost her.

So he fought…for Elena. Not because he wanted her in any way, shape or form. But he had wanted to break Stefan, who was possibly the biggest pansy he had ever met. Until now. He would normally never compare himself to his younger, and clearly more obtuse brother, but now he knew what love could do to you. His love for Bonnie had stopped him from feeding on a beautiful blonde, and a few others in the last months. He saw her face when he bent to feed, and had stopped short on each occasion. At first it angered him, now it unnerved him. He had never been so drawn to a woman…not until Katherine. And that had ended very tragically. If he could help it, this love would not end the same way.

* * * * * * *

Bonnie and Meredith rounded the corner to the Psychology wing at the junior college. Today was their final, and then summer would officially be under way. Meredith and Alaric had plans to go to the coast for a few months, in the final stages of planning their wedding. Elena and Stefan would be leaving for a world traveling expedition, and Matt would be attending his first official NFL camp after the draft. Tomorrow night she would see everyone off, and then Bonnie would start the trek to New York to move into her new apartment. She would be transferring to NYU in the fall, but wanted to get a jump on New York life, so she had rented a small flat on the upper West side of Soho. It was quaint, very small, and very expensive. But it was hers. Her first real apartment on her own. She wanted to make it home, so she had managed to purchase a truck load of furniture to fully stock her new place. The movers would have it all there by Sunday afternoon, which would give her plenty of time to get her clothes and other small necessities there beforehand.

"Are you sure I can't help you move?" Matt said, throwing his arm around her shoulder as they walked to his car after work that night.

"No," Bonnie said, quickly hugging his waist. "You need to be on the road tomorrow night. Baltimore's not gonna wait forever."

"I know, but I feel so bad letting you go all the way out to New York alone."

"I won't be alone," she said smiling. "I'm picking up Jenga in the morning!" The excitement of getting a new dog was overwhelming as she smiled from ear to ear. It had been a long time since…she couldn't even bear to say her dog's name now. They had had him for so long that he had become part of the family. Her parents had told her not to do it yet, but a dog was exactly what she needed to make her feel better in a new place, all by herself. She shuddered then, not sure if it was the thought of being alone, or the sudden pick-up in the wind. She chuckled lightly. "Go on, you've got packing to do."

Matt sighed, and bent down to kiss Bonnie on the cheek. A strong gust of wind hit and Matt struggled not to lose his balance. "Whoa, you feel that?"

Bonnie nodded, looking around and up into the trees. The hairs on the back of her neck pricked up, and she wrapped her arms around herself, trying to keep warm on the suddenly chilly June night. She and Matt both got into their cars and locked their doors before laughing at each other and driving away.

* * * * * * *

Damon watched, in his crow form, from high above in the trees. He had almost blown it and swooped down on that idiot Mutt. But he had to wait until Bonnie was alone. There was no way Mutt would let him get anywhere near her. In all honesty, he was probably right to feel the way he felt about Damon. Damon was dangerous. Bonnie saw it. She had only called to him when her life was in danger from something other than him. Which, to be blunt, was happening a lot more than any of them had ever been comfortable with. He let out a deep breath, realizing that this was probably as close as she'd ever want to be to him again. But he had to try. He had to leave the choice to her. He would tell her he loved her, and if she decided to be with him, he would make her happier than she had ever been. And if she didn't…

Wait, he scolded himself silently, still in his crow form. When the hell did I become so soft? He stood a little taller and puffed his massive crow's chest out. If she doesn't want me, I'll take her. And then he was shaking his head again. No, he didn't want to have to resort to using his Power. He wanted her to want him, the same way he found he wanted her. He had had many women throw themselves at him throughout his many years roaming this earth. But Bonnie was different. He felt different about her, felt different around her. It was like she saw the Damon he was before the bitterness had overtaken him. And he wanted to be that man again…with her.

He launched himself out of the tree then, diving and lurching toward the ground, following her to her parents' house. She would be the only one home again, her parents were off at some function that would keep them until late in the night. He could tell her tonight.

No. He would follow her to New York. He would wait until Mutt, or Meredith, or Elena and Stefan were too far away to get there right away in case it went badly. And he didn't anticipate it ending badly…not really. He wouldn't harm her, never. And he wouldn't force her. If she really and truly wanted nothing to do with him, then he would leave her be. He would deal with the rejection. Though he'd never in his life been rejected, he would find a way to deal with it. A strange sensation, he was sure. But he would go back to his life in Florence. Or somewhere he would never find another small, red haired beauty who smelled like strawberries, and smiled like…

Stop, he commanded himself when he finally settled into the tree outside Bonnie's almost bare bedroom. You sound even worse than your candy ass brother. He chuckled to himself. It would've sounded like a coo coming from his crow form. And though he was sure she heard it, she never stirred in her bed, sleeping heavily. He was about to leave when he heard something no human ears could've heard from that distance, or through the closed and tightly locked window.

"Damon…" she whispered softly and Damon thought he might fall right out of the tree. Had she seen him? No. Impossible. She had looked almost right at him where he had been sitting in the tree outside the diner, but it was dark. No human eyes would have been able to see him so high up. "No, don't…" she whispered again. Don't? he thought for a moment. She was telling him not to do something. He strained his ears to hear but she didn't speak again. It was probably just as well. He didn't deserve her. She was sweet and pure, and he was, for all intents and purposes, a monster.

He launched himself into the night again, chest heavy.

* * * * * * *

The party ended on a happily somber note. Tomorrow Stefan and Elena would be off to see the world, Meredith and Alaric would be leaving for the coast, and Matt would be joining his new team at camp for his rookie season. Bonnie would be leaving that morning as well, but headed in a different direction. Meredith would be going back to school, but somewhere closer to Alaric, and though they would probably see Matt on TV every now and again depending on how often he got to play, it wouldn't be the same. Elena and Stefan would be reachable by phone, and other ways, as Elena so eloquently pointed out. But it wasn't the same. Bonnie felt very 'grown-up', and suddenly wasn't so sure she wanted to be an adult after all. It was strange to see herself, Bonnie McCullough as an adult.

The drive to Soho was quiet, and surprisingly took less time than Bonnie thought it would. She stopped at the front door to her new home and took in a deep breath. "Here we go, McCullough."

The landlord had promised to paint and re-varnish the hardwood floors, which he had. It looked even better than she had remembered it. She waited for the movers to get there, and when they arrived, she directed them to the correct rooms and told them where to hang the larger pictures she had inherited from her Gran, knowing she would never be able to get them up by herself.

Once the last pieces of furniture had been placed, and the movers had gone, Bonnie threw herself on the couch, letting out a loud breath. She could easily go to sleep right now. Moving really took a lot out of people whether you did all or just a little. In truth she had taken a few loads of clothes and shoes up in the rickety old elevator, but as she grabbed more items from her car, the loads got heavier and heavier. But she had heard Soho had a very exciting night life, and she didn't want to miss it on her first night there. She started to think of all the trouble she could get into. Trouble, she thought to herself, and shuddered lightly at the idea. There would be no one around to save her this time. Matt was already in Baltimore, Meredith and Alaric were well on their way to the coast. Elena and Stefan were who knows where… The only other person that could help her was probably too far to hear her…and wouldn't come anyway. He hated humans, he said it himself.

Damon had invaded both Bonnie's thoughts and dreams for well over a year now. Every single dream she had night after night involved him in some capacity. Most of the time he was saving her from something. Poor defenseless Bonnie, as usual. One day she would have to get over that.

She didn't know why she thought of him so frequently. He had left with Elena. Well, Matt had gone too, but when they returned without Damon, life had gone on as usual. No one spoke of what had happened while they were gone, and no one asked many questions. It had been a dark time for Elena, finding Stefan imprisoned and freeing him…that was the story the rest of them got. Nothing more.

But Damon, where was he? What had become of him? Bonnie had imagined him going back to Florence, feeding on very wealthy and very pretty women, both of which Bonnie was not. She had never been more than cute, at least in her own eyes. There would be no reason for Damon to find her interesting.

Bonnie went to sit at the table in the dining area of her flat, resting her chin on her crossed arms. Thoughts swirled in her mind of Damon and his gorgeous, fathomless black eyes. She could remember his scent. It was hard to describe, but it was very clean and very masculine. She clung to that scent when he kissed her behind Vickie Bennett's house so long ago. And then when he had carried her back to the boarding house when she and Meredith and Matt had been trapped in the car dying. While Damon had watched the whole scene from above them, sitting in the trees.

Bonnie stood then, rubbing her face harshly as though it would erase those memories. He didn't look at her that way. She and Damon could never be. Besides the fact that he was a centuries old vampire who preyed on young women for his next meal, she wasn't attractive to him in the least. If he had cared for her in the least bit, the attack would never have come that close. She wouldn't have been fighting for her life. If he cared the way she wanted him to, he would've rescued them the minute he heard her call for him.

But he didn't. He left them to die. Suddenly very angry, Bonnie went to her bathroom, preparing to take a shower and get ready for the evening. She didn't know a single person in Soho yet, so no one would look at her differently if she wore something totally out of character. After her shower she was dismayed to find nothing in her closet that matched the look she was going for. She sighed deeply and went to put on her tightest pair of jeans and her skimpiest blouse. That would have to do.

She stepped out into the balmy night, looking for a direction to head into. She spotted a restaurant just down the block and decided to see if there were people her age there. She would strike up a conversation with a hot guy, exchange numbers, and hopefully…

Hopefully what? Bonnie McCullough would never be able to entrance a guy the way Elena Gilbert could. The most she could hope for was a phone number. That was probably the most she would get. Sighing again, she walked into the crowd of people, walking straight into a guy dressed all in black. She didn't look up right away, too embarrassed to speak. But she froze when she heard his voice.

"Hello, piccola rossa…"