Her heart raced as Damon closed the distance between them and she was sure he was going to kiss her. What scared her the most, she wasn't sure she'd make him stop. Was that a tear? Everything in her broke apart seeing the moisture in Damon's eyes, she barely heard what he said. 'I wish you didn't have to forget this.' He tilted her head up and she watched as his eyes dilated. "Damon," she said, softly. "You can't do this." She couldn't let him go through with this.
"I have to," he said, sadly. "It's the only way for us both to move on."
Elena shook her head and rested her hands on his chest, marveling at the muscle beneath her fingers. "I took vervain when I got home," she whispered, tears stinging her own eyes. "How could you want me to forget something like that?" She felt like someone had wrapped their hand around her heart and was squeezing the life out of her. There was something between her and Damon, she knew that, but she didn't know what it was and she didn't know what to do about it.
"Its better that way," he whispered. "Safer. For you. For me."
"No it's not," she said in a pleading tone. "We need to trust each other." He was trying to shut her out, keep his heart safe. He didn't want to be hurt again and Elena knew she had all the potential in the world to destroy him, even unintentionally. She had brought out emotions in him that he had kept locked away for over a century.
Damon's forehead dropped to hers. "You're killing me, Elena," he whispered. "I can't keep walking on eggshells around you. I can't keep fighting with Stefan. I can't keep you safe like that."
"I'm not going to go back to Stefan," she said. "So what would making me forget do?" Her hands slid up his chest a little to rest on his neck as her thumb stroked over the sharp angle of his jaw. Before, she had never allowed him to be this close to her. He had tried on numerous occasions, whether out of play or something else and she had always pushed him away. It had always been part of their banter with each other but this time it was so different. The scent of his cologne assaulted her nose and the scent of leather from the jacket that he often wore. But more importantly, she felt safe.
Damon's brows creased in confusion. "But you love him."
"That's not enough," she said, moving away from him to sit on the edge of her bed. "I used to think it was, but I was stupid. People aren't safe. Everything that's happened in the last year is because Stefan and I were together and I was too selfish to realize the danger everyone else was in. It's not worth it." Things with her and Stefan had been more then rocky since Katherine came back and she had never felt so alone in her life when her friendship with Damon had fallen apart. Katherine had ruined her life, and she knew it was only going to get worse.
"You sure know how to turn a guy's life upside down," he mumbled, crossing his arms.
Elena raised an eyebrow at him. "Sorry," she offered softly. Damon's words of love were still floating around her mind. She knew that he had feelings for her, but she didn't know the extent of them until now. She was glad she had some vervain tea before her shower because she wouldn't want to forget what happened tonight. It changed everything between her and Damon, she just wasn't sure how yet. Did she love him back? She needed to be sure. Giving him false hope would be far worse than leading him on.
Damon sighed and held out his hand, her necklace dangling from his fingers. "Here," he said, softly.
Elena gently took it from him and her heart skipped a beat as her fingers brushed against his. "Damon…" She felt like he needed more and she couldn't find the words. The night didn't feel complete but she was tired and her brain needed rest so she could think about this more clearly.
"I should go…" he said taking a step toward her open window.
"No," she said, quickly getting to her feet and gently grabbing his arm. "I don't want you to leave." She cursed her impulsiveness, knowing they just needed to leave things as they were for tonight. But what if he spent the night? What would happen, what did that mean for them? She wasn't ready. Damon wasn't ready. They needed to take baby steps if anything was going to work properly.
"And what does that mean?" he whispered, and she could hear the desperation in his voice. He needed her to love him back and she couldn't say that to him unless she was sure. Cared for him, yes, there was no doubt. But was it love?
She realized she honestly had no idea what to say to him in response. She didn't know what they were yet. "I don't know," she whimpered. "I don't know Damon." She prayed that would be enough for one night. Her fingers tightened on his wrist and she tugged on it gently.
His eyes softened and he took her necklace from her to fasten it around her neck. "When you figure it out, let me know," he said with a small smile as his knuckles brushed against her cheek in the barest of touches.
"I'll be fine," he said, pressing a finger to her lips. "This doesn't change anything. I'll still love you tomorrow. And the day after."
Elena wrapped her arms him and buried her face in his neck. "I'm sorry I've hurt you Damon," she whispered. She immediately realizes how different it felt to be in his arms, how perfectly she fit against him. And right then she really wanted him to stay.
Damon hugged her tightly. "I would do anything for you Elena," he said into her hair. "Even if means letting you go."
"I'm not asking you to do that," she said, pulling back slightly so she could meet his gaze.
He smiled a little and kissed her forehead. "Get some sleep," he said. "I won't be far." And in a blur he was gone.