A/N Saying sorry for the huge wait since the last chapter isn't really going to make up for it but I want you to know that I am sorry. Those who follow me on twitter know that I've just started dental school and so I genuinely have no time to write when I'm at university. I've just begun my Christmas holidays and I plan on trying to finish this story before I'm back at uni. I just want to say a humongous thank you for all the reviews I've been receiving. I read each and every single one of them and cherish them all.
Due to the long wait, I really do advise that you go back over the last few chapters in case you've forgotten what's been happening, unless you've only recently read the previous chapters. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this.
"Have you gotten all your memories back?"
Elena heard the curiosity in his voice but what took her aback was the amount of pain that was laced in his words. Despite the whirlwind they'd been through in the last month and a half, especially the last week, she could never wish pain upon Damon because no matter what, if Damon was in pain, then she was in pain as well.
"No," Elena sharply, wanting to make sure he knew that that was the case. "I haven't gotten all my memories back. I've just had a few here and there, mainly those of my friends."
"Oh, have you had any new memories of us?" Damon asked tentatively. He was glad to hear that she was slowly regaining memories. Even if she were never to get them all back, it was nice to see her remember some things. He found it hard to hide the hint of anger that he felt at the fact that Elena was only telling him of the developments with her memory now. But he understood why she hadn't said anything earlier, it wasn't the highest priority and they hadn't spoken in a number of days.
"No, not really," she answered.
"Why didn't you mention the fact that some of your memories had returned, earlier?"
Elena immediately went on the defensive. She didn't feel like she had to share everything with him, especially considering how betrayed she felt.
"Why do I have to tell my cheating husband every little detail of my life?" she snapped. She didn't know where these words were coming from. She knew that the downfall of their relationship had begun with her inability to share everything with Damon. She hadn't told him the truth about Stefan's actions and her feelings and it was entirely her fault that things had gotten out of hand. That being said, her poor decisions, in no way shape or form gave Damon permission to execute his equally poor decisions.
Damon's face clearly expressed the shock he felt at her cruel words. He hadn't expected her to react so harshly. He didn't even know what to say in reply. Was that really what she thought and felt about him now? Before he had a chance to form a response, Elena spoke up again.
"I'm sorry," she apologised sincerely, "that was uncalled for." Damon nodded his head, letting her jab slide. He'd probably deserved her anger anyway. All he knew now was that he was going to make her listen to his explanation at this very moment because they couldn't keep going like this. He couldn't let her keep harbouring these negative feelings towards him. He loved her and every time she looked at him in disgust, it broke his heart a little. It reminded him of the looks she used to send him when he first moved back to Mystic Falls and wreaked havoc in her life.
"Elena, I know you don't want to talk about this now but we have to," Damon began. Elena started shaking her head; she didn't want to hear it. She didn't want another confirmation of his infidelity; she'd rather be in denial. "Elena, you have to hear me out," he added sternly. "This has all been a misunderstanding."
Elena's eyebrows furrowed as she took in the meaning of his words. Did he know what really went down between her and Stefan? "So you know that Stefan lied?" she questioned, not letting any emotion enter her voice.
Damon nodded sadly. "He told me the truth: that it was him who made a move on you." Damon's eyes softened as he spoke sincerely, "I'm sorry I didn't listen to you before accepting Stefan's words and escaping town." Elena didn't say anything. Damon brushed his hands through his hair in frustration. "I know that I try to make out that I'm confident within myself and that nothing fazes me and honestly nothing does, except you. Whenever you're involved in anything, I become the most insecure man in existence. I don't know, I guess I still don't feel worthy of you, because you're perfect and I don't deserve you after everything I've done in my life."
Tears welled up in Elena's eyes. He was wrong. "I'm not perfect Damon," she whispered as a tear rolled down her right cheek.
Damon leaned forward and used the pad of his thumb to wipe the tear away from her cheek. "I know, but you're perfect to me." He removed his hand from her face and gulped, "Stefan told me the truth and I beat the shit out of him." Elena couldn't help but let a little giggle escape her lips. Stefan really deserved the pulverising for ruining her relationship with Damon. "He told me about the bloodlust," he continued.
"Are you going to help him through it?" Elena asked.
Damon shook his head. "Not this time. I can't help him anymore. Besides, he's left town now."
Elena screwed up her face and shook her head. "Damon," she stressed his name. "I know he was an absolute d-bag for what he did, but you can't leave him. He needs you."
Damon shook his head again in disagreement. "He doesn't listen to me. He won't learn that control is learning to drink from the vein without killing. I can't help him go back to killing the cute puppies because all I'm doing is delaying the inevitable - him falling off the wagon again. I helped him get back to this diet last time and look at how that fucked up my life. He needs to figure it out himself or find someone out there to help him." Elena nodded her head, understanding where he was coming from, but she couldn't help but feel the tiniest bit sorry for him, so she silently prayed that he'd find another vampire out there who could help him, like Lexi, except this time he'd learn real control.
"So I guess we're done here," Elena stated as she hurriedly tried to get out of her seat and avoid the rest of the conversation - the part that was likely to break her heart all over again.
Before she could even take two steps away from her seat, Damon grabbed her wrist and turned her back around so that she was facing him again.
"You're kidding me, right?" he asked, unimpressed by her antics. He was going to make her hear him out even if it was the last thing he ever did. Right now, he didn't care that she didn't want to. He wasn't going to spend another minute without her in his life, knowing the whole truth. He gently pushed her back into her seat and grabbed hold of both of her hands. His thumb brushed over her knuckles as his eyes bore into hers.
"What you saw in Atlanta... it wasn't what it looked like," he tried to explain.
"So I didn't see you kissing Katherine?" Elena sarcastically jabbed, pulling her hands away from within Damon's. "Because I'm almost certain that's what I saw. Unless there's yet another doppelganger I don't know about?" She couldn't believe Damon was forcing her to listen to his escapades and then he had the gall to try and pretend he wasn't kissing Katherine. Who was this guy, she married? He was starting to sound more like blood-crazy Stefan.
"No, I kissed Katherine, but I didn't know it was her."
Elena was confused. What did that mean? "What do you mean you didn't know it was her? Who did you think it was? Angelina Jolie?" Damon's sarcasm had definitely rubbed off on her. She couldn't get through one reply without making a sarcastic comment. She was trying to protect her heart the way Damon would.
Damon rubbed his hands over his face, not wanting to admit what an idiotic mistake he'd made for even thinking for a second that Katherine was Elena. "I thought she was you," he said quietly, shame lacing his voice.
"What?" she asked in shock.
"She was pretending to be you and I fell for it," he admitted.
"What?" she repeated. "You couldn't tell the difference between me and Katherine?" she asked sadly.
Damon closed his eyes, hearing the disappointment in her voice. He had let her down, big time. "I'm sorry Elena. She caught me off-guard. I'd just had an argument with Andie and-"
"Andie was there?" Elena asked loudly, interrupting him with the new discovery.
Damon banged his head against the table. Why did they have to have so many issues? He lifted his head, to see her face holding an expression of utter confusion. "You were right about Andie, Elena. I'm sorry for not trusting you... and I'm sorry about the hurtful things that she said to you. She was competely out of line, let alone one hundred percent wrong. You're the best thing that's happened to me."
Elena swallowed at his confession. She took a deep breath before answering, "It's okay. I understand that her friendship meant a lot to you and so it was hard for you to see her flaws." She was glad that Damon knew the truth about Andie now and although it hurt that he hadn't believed her, she could forgive him for it. Anyway, they had bigger issues to deal with.
"So, you and Andie had a fight... then what?"
"Then I asked Andie to leave. Literally seconds after she left, Katherine appeared and began pretending to be you. She had straightened her hair and kept her face void of her usual playful expressions. I was so drunk and just blind-sided by what I thought was your presence. I'm so stupid I know, because you and Katherine are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to your personalities," Damon tried to explain. "I'm sorry," he whispered. His eyes held the pain he felt at making such a monumental mistake and Elena could see just how horrified he was by it.
"Why did she pretend to be me?"
"I don't know," he answered honestly. " I guess she knows that you and I are married and that the only way she could ever kiss me was if she pretended to be you, because there was no way in hell I would ever kiss her knowing it was her. She pounced on me and that I hardly returned the kiss. I knew something was wrong with the way she kissed me, it wasn't right, because it wasn't you."
"So it was just one kiss?" Elena asked tentatively.
"If you can even call one party being involved a kiss, then yes."
"So kissing Katherine wasn't just your friendly way of saying, 'it's so great to see you Katherine after 150 plus years'?" she asked sarcastically as she tried to cover up a genuine fear she had felt.
"What?" Damon asked confused. "I've seen Katherine before in the last four years Elena." Elena's heart stopped at his words. He and Katherine had crossed paths again already? Had she already had a conversation with Katherine before?
Damon could see the wheels turning in his wife's head and he knew he had to explain himself quickly before he got himself into deeper shit.
"When she wasn't in the tomb, I gave up looking for her. It was the last straw that made me realise what a complete idiot I was and how much time I had wasted pining over a self-serving, manipulative bitch. It was like she had some sixth sense letting her know that I was getting over her and she just had to come back to Mystic Falls. She played with my emotions again, trying to make me fall for her again," he explained.
"Did you?" Elena asked tentatively, "Did you fall for her?"
Damon shook his head, a sad smile on his face. "No."
"Why not? You were in love with her for almost a century and a half." Elena's heart ached at the realisation of how long he had loved the woman she looked like. She would kill to have Damon's unwavering love for so long.
"I realised that I wasn't really ever in love with her for nearly that long, if at all. I was more infatuated by and obsessed over her. I know what love is now and it's not what I felt for Katherine." Elena's breath hitched, hearing his inadvertant way of telling her that he loved her. She would never get used to hearing how much she meant to him. Her heart ached, wishing she could tell him that she loved him too.
"So she just left town when you turned her down?"
"Not quite. It took her a while to realise that my choice wasn't changing. I almost didn't turn her down. But you gave me the strength to do it," he admitted.
"What? How?" she asked genuinely curious. She felt pride swell within her that she gave Damon the strength to reject the woman who had ruined his life.
"I was falling in love with you when Katherine showed up. You showed me what I really wanted in the woman I would come to love. I wanted a girl that could make me deliriously happy, who was cute and funny and sexy as hell. I wanted a girl that cared for me and wanted to make me just as happy as I wanted to make her. Katherine was never going to be that for me. Only you could. You made me see that there was a million times better out there," Damon admitted sincerely.
Elena closed her eyes. How could he be so incredibly sweet and loving and yet not believe in her the one time she needed him to.
She gave him a sad smile as she thought long and hard about her next words. "I get that this was all just one huge mistake that just continued to go wrong and that everything just became a big misunderstanding." Damon opened his mouth to speak but Elena held her hand up, signalling that she wasn't finished. "But I don't know if I can forgive you."
Damon could feel his whole world crumbling around him and he started grasping at the ends. He had to make things right. He had to make her forgive him. "Elena, I'm sorry. I swear it was just a stupid mistake and I won't ever make it again," he said desperately. "Please Elena," he begged, "I love you."
Elena couldn't stop the stream of tears that poured out of her eyes. She had so badly wanted to hear Damon say those three words to her face again and now that he did, she wished he hadn't. It only made sticking to her decision so much harder. She couldn't just let go of the pain she suffered in the last week. Her trust was still broken and she couldn't just forgive him on the spot, she needed time. "I'm sorry Damon," she said sadly before standing up and making her way out of the cafeteria, leaving Damon all alone to his thoughts.
Elena joined her aunt, her brother's girlfriend and Ric in the waiting room. Visiting hours had finally opened and so they all had the chance to see Jeremy. None of the girls could stop the tears escaping when they saw Jeremy's stationary body, lying in the hospital bed. They were only allowed to visit in pairs and so they continuously rotated who was in the room with Jeremy. Caroline, Bonnie, Matt and Tyler all stopped by during the day as well.
Almost everyone had slowly trickled out of the hospital to get some peaceful rest after all the worry and anxiety that they'd all be feeling. Soon enough, the only people left were Elena and Anna. They both sat watching Jeremy's chest rise and fall under the hospital covers. It was comforting to see him breathing. He hadn't woken up all day but the doctor said it may take a while.
Neither of the girls were speaking, both lost in their own worlds, when all of sudden Anna began sobbing. Elena was alarmed, having no idea why her brother's girl was breaking down. Elena pulled Anna into a hug and rubbed her back in the hopes of bringing her comfort.
"It's alright Anna. Jeremy is going to be fine, the doctor said it might be a while before he wakes up but he will wake-up," Elena soothed.
Anna sniffed, trying to hold back the remainder of her tears. She pulled back from Elena's hug and wiped the tears from her face with the back of her hand.
"It's all my fault," she said in despair.
"What was your fault?" Elena asked, puzzled by her words before realisation dawned. "This?" she asked incredulously. "Anna, there was no way in hell that this was your fault. You weren't the psychopath who shot my brother in the local store."
"I know," Anna said sadly, her voice a little raspy from all the crying that had occurred. "But I might as well have been. It was my fault that Jeremy was even in that position to begin with."
"What do you mean?"
"I wanted to make the famous Gilbert chilli on your family's behalf for the Founder's event next week and I wanted to practice it so that it'd be perfect on the day. I forgot to buy the chilli powder so I asked Jeremy to go to the store to get it but he didn't want to. We got into a huge, stupid argument over it and I said some things that I didn't mean at all. If I hadn't been so adamant and had gone myself, then he'd be perfectly fine. This is all my fault."
Elena's face gave away how ridiculous she felt about Anna's statement. "Anna! You can't seriously believe that. It was in no way your fault. It wasn't like you knew sending him on one small errand would end in him being shot. No-one can know when something as random as this happens. Millions of people go to their local store multiple times a week without being shot." Elena argued trying to make the girl see sense.
"I know it's stupid to feel this way but I can't stop myself. I'm a vampire, if I had gone, I would've been fine," Anna sobbed. "I just wish my last words to him before he got shot weren't so harsh and uncalled for. Why do we always waste so much time being angry at people when you can lose them so easily and unexpectedly in a heartbeat?" Anna asked sincerely, pain lacing her raspy voice.
Elena's world stopped as Anna's question sunk in. Why do we always waste so much time being angry at people when you can lose them so easily and unexpectedly in a heartbeat? Why was she wasting her time being angry at Damon when he had apologised profusely. He loved her and he hadn't meant to hurt her so badly. She loved him too and instead of enjoying their lives together and sharing their love for each other, she was causing them both unnecessary pain. If she just let go of the multiple misunderstandings, they could both be happy together. Silent tears ran down her cheeks at her realisation. She gulped, she knew what she had to do and she had to do it right away.
"I honestly don't know Anna," she replied honestly. "I guess we're all just idiots. But thank you, you just made me realise how big of an idiot I am." Anna looked at her confused by her cryptic words. "I'm sorry Anna, but there is something I have to do. I've been wasting so much time and energy. I need to put things right. Will you be okay here alone?" she asked as she stood up.
Anna wiped her tears away. She figured Elena was going to go and fix her problems with Damon and she was glad that she was able to help the couple out. They really were perfect for each other. "I'll be fine; I'll compel any nurse away that tries to make me leave when visiting hours are over." Just as Elena was about to exit the room, Anna spoke again, "Go get him, Elena." Elena smiled brightly and nodded her head. She was going to find Damon and let him know that she loved him, so that they could put all their nonsense behind them and be happy together.
We're finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel! Poor Damon thinks he's been rejected forever... don't worry though! Elena is coming for you! Thank you so much guys for still sticking with me and reading this :)