Hi everyone thanks for all of your great replies. You made my day. I can't believe I'm getting this out to you guys so quickly but this one just flowed out. It's slightly shorter than the rest, but I think you'll like it.

Please review and let me know what you think.

Thanks - O


Fourteen

Timeout

Damon took me to a pub just outside of the Duke campus and although it was just after 7 on a Thursday night it was already full. We grabbed a booth near the back and we sat there quietly, not speaking. In fact, Damon hadn't said one word to me the entire way to the pub, barely even looked my way even.

"Ok can we stop with the silent treatment already?" I say after about another five minutes of silence, giving him a pointed look.

"I don't know what you're talking about." He says fidgeting in his seat before calling the waitress over. He orders a scotch and a beer for me. He turns back to me and I glare at him. "What?"

"I get that you don't want me to be here, but do you think that for one night we can just take a timeout and pretend that we don't have any problems and that we're just two friends who haven't seen eachother in awhile and are just hanging out having dinner and having a good time." I say, "Do you think that we can just do that for a few hours."

He looks at me and seems to contemplate my words before sighing, "Alright, fine a timeout for a few hours." He says then leans forward, "But just for a few hours and then we're going to revisit you going back to Mystic Falls."

"Uh uh. Timeout remember." I say shaking my head.

"Fine, timeout. Did you want to shake on it or something?" he smirks.

"I don't think that's necessary." I say shaking my head and smile and so does he. The waitress comes back and sets my beer down in front of me quickly, nearly knocking it over and spilling some of it on me in the process before turning to Damon and slowly and carefully setting his scotch down. She bats her eyes and sticks out her chest and asks him if he's ready to order. He gives her his order without really looking at her and he turns back to me. She stands there looking at him for a minute longer and I just watch her attempt to get his attention and when she doesn't she huffs and starts walking away and I have to yell my cheeseburger order after her.

"What was that about?" he asks giving me a curious look.

"What was that about?" I ask incredulously. He gives me a confused look and I laugh slightly. "Uh did you not notice that waitress standing there desperately trying to get your attention!"

He just shrugs and takes another sip of his scotch. I look at him and he shrugs again and puts his hands up. "What do you want me to say, I didn't notice."

"You're Damon Salvatore, isn't it usually your thing to flirt with anything female?"

"Maybe, but maybe she's just not my type, did you think of that Elena."

"She's not your type? Did you hear me earlier when I said you normally chase after anything female?" I say pointedly. "I don't think you have a type Damon. Anything with boobs will work for you I'm sure."

"Are you jealous?"

"No."

"Eh. I beg to differ."

"Please Damon I'm just pointing out that girls are always throwing themselves at you. Hell since we've arrived every girl in this place has been checking you out." I say looking around and finding a lot of girls giving me dirty looks.

"And…" he says nonchalantly.

"Ugh well it's good to know at least your ego is still intact." I say rolling my eyes.

"Look yes it may have been true in the past that I would hook up with anyone who was interested without a second thought but…" he said before leaning forward holding my gaze, "I'm not interested in that waitress or any other girl in this place for that matter. Tonight I'm here with you. Timeout remember."

The way he looked at me in that moment, it felt like he was looking right into my soul and I could feel myself flush all over and I'm unsure of what to say. There is a part of me that is completely ecstatic but with Damon I've learned to tread carefully.

He breaks contact and his eyes travel around the pub before turning back to me smirking, "You know you failed to see one thing in your observation of the patrons of this establishment because for as many women are starting at me, you failed to notice that you're getting just as many looks from the male population as well." He said smirking.

I looked around and I guess there were a few guys looking in my direction. In fact one raised his glass and smiled at me when my eyes landed on him. I looked away quickly and look back at a very amused Damon. "Well like you said they can look all they want to but I am here with you."

His eyes met mine and I could see that he wanted to say something but didn't. We just sit there for a few beats staring at eachother only breaking eye contact when the waitress comes back with our food.

"You may want to inspect your food, she may have spit in it, you know since you're here with me." He says smirking and I laugh as I start removing the pickles from my burger and he balks at me.

"What?"

"You don't like pickles?"

"No. They're gross."

"What are you talking about pickles are delicious." He says before picking the pickle I discarded up from my burger and popping it into his mouth. I look at him amused and he just smiles back at me and gives me a wink.

"So checking out Duke huh?"

"Yeah I guess." I say shrugging.

"You guess?" he repeats giving me a curious look.

"Well I'm here aren't I Kind of obvious?" I say before taking a bite of my burger wishing we could drop this subject.

"Yes despite the fact that I tried to send you back." He mutters picking up a French fry and popping it into his mouth studying me. "What's wrong Elena? Other than the fact that you happened upon me unexpectedly, you don't seem exactly thrilled to be here."

"I…I am. Duke is a good school." I say avoiding his gaze and pushing a fry around my plate.

"Oh that was convincing." He says rolling his eyes.

"What Duke is a good school?" I say defensively.

"Yes, but you and I both know that you don't want to really be here so why don't you tell me why you're really here because I'm pretty sure you didn't come here for me since you didn't know that I was here until about an hour ago." He says giving me a knowing pointed look.

"Aren't we supposed to be taking a timeout?" I say trying to change the subject but he just gives me another look. I sigh as I think of what to say. "Fine well as you know Alaric set this up. I haven't uh well I haven't exactly been into looking at colleges or even celebrating senior year so much." I confess.

"What you're not living up your senior year. You were talking about it like crazy during the summer. This is supposed to be the best year of life." He says.

"Yeah well it hasn't felt like it and I think you mean Caroline was talking about it non stop." I say quickly, "But Ric set this up and Jenna was so excited at the idea of me attending college so here I am. Plus you knew my dad, so you know how important it was to my parents that I go to college so I figure if it would be a good idea to at least check this one out."

"So you're doing this for everyone but yourself is what you're telling me."

"No, I'm doing this for me…sort of." I say feeling myself get angry mainly because Damon was right. "Look don't you dare analyze me Damon. A year ago I would have been all over this college visit, Duke has always been one of the schools on my list, but things have just felt different since my parents died and even worse since…well it doesn't matter." I say raising my voice, "I'm sorry if I'm just going through the motions being fine and living out my senior year and looking at colleges. I'm sorry if I'm not living up to your expectations or anyone else's. Don't you think I want to be into all of this, to be happy but I just…I just…I'm here and I'm doing it so just let me do it ok without analyzing me and dangit I thought we were having a timeout."

"Ok. Ok." He says putting his hands up in surrender but I can see the worry in his eyes.

We sit there in silence finishing our food. "So do you like it here?"

"Uh yeah. I've spent some time here before and well Rose, Trevor and Slater are an interesting group to be around." He says shrugging.

"So why did you choose Duke?"

"They've got good sororities…lots to choose from." He says wiggling his eyebrows and I throw a fry at him laughing.

"Be serious."

"Uh well…I've been here before and well it's uh close enough to Mystic Falls." He says looking right at me.

I look into his eyes and I shake my head feeling myself get riled up again. "You know I don't get you. You tell me you care more about than anyone else but then just when we're getting somewhere, you leave because you don't think you're good enough or you don't deserve me, I haven't quite figured out which one. The worst part about it is that I'm pretty sure you were never planning on coming back, at least not anytime in my lifetime. But you do sort of come back only it's to a place that's not very far away for I'm assuming so you can rush back if something does happen."

"Elena."

"No Damon I need you to listen to me. I get that you don't think you're good enough for me, that you believe you're a monster no matter what I say." I say shaking my head, "And I really can't believe we're having this conversation again but you just seem to have us going around in circles."

"Well we wouldn't have to be going around in circles if Ric hadn't decided to put you in the house full of vampires. There's thousands of other colleges and he just so happens to pick the one that he knew I was at. Not exactly subtle." He says frowning and I just stare at him, a cold realization enveloping me.

"You really weren't planning on ever coming back were you?" I ask quietly.

He sighs and looks at me sadly before shaking his head. I look at him, studying his face, memorizing every feature before putting my napkin on the table and getting up from the table and walking away. The pub is now crowded and it's difficult for me to weave my way out. Once I finally make my way outside I let out a breath and just start walking. A few moments later I vaguely here someone calling my name and then in the next second Damon is in front of me with his hands around my arm holding me in place.

"Where the hell are you going?" he asks angrily.

"What? You don't want to be around me anymore right so I'm making it easy and I'm leaving you alone." I yell at him. "Timeouts over Damon."

He growls and lets go of my arms and throws his hands up in the air and paces around before taking a breath and coming back towards me. "Don't you get it Elena, I don't want to not be around you."

"What the hell does that mean?" I ask confused.

"The hell if I know."

"Seriously Damon? Is this a game to you? I'm giving you an out right now." I say feeling my emotions all over the place. "You know how I feel. I think I've made myself perfectly clear on that front more than once and I'm not doing it anymore. I'm done. I get it you're the big bad vampire but we both know that it's not so clearly black and white with you so I'm done. I can't make you change your mind so I'm done, I'm walking away." I say putting my arms up trying to pass him but he stops me and I glare at him.

"I can't let you do that." He says softly.

"Damon."

"No I need you to listen to me for a minute Elena. No matter how hard I try I can't let you just walk away from me despite the fact that I know it's the best decision for you." He says looking into my eyes and his hands comes up to my hair. "I can't stay away from you no matter how hard I try."

"So what I'm like some kind of drug to you…you're just addicted."

"You really are incredibly stubborn you know that." He says and I roll my eyes. "In over 160 years no one has ever made me feel the way that you do. Not Katherine, no one. The way I feel about you Elena it scares the living crap out of me. I'm not supposed to feel this way, no one is supposed to feel anything about me but scared Elena but you… I wish for nothing more than for you to hate me, fear me. It would be so much easier. I should compel you to just forget about me."

"Damon…"

"I can't do that though because with you it's all real." He says softly stroking my cheek. "Do you know how scary that is for someone like me?"

"Damon, this is your last chance," I say my voice a meer whisper as I stare into his eyes. "This is your out if you want it…take it."

"I couldn't do that even if I wanted to."

"Why?"

"Because I love you." He says his face so close to mine.

"Wha…what?"

"I love you Elena." He says looking into my eyes and I feel my knees start to shake. "I love you despite how wrong I know it is, but I love you just the same."

"You love me?" I question staring into his eyes. "That's good."

"No…no it's not, not even in the slightest. It's the most dangerous thing in the world for you."

"Now you just sound like Edward." I say smiling.

"Are you seriously comparing me to that stupid sparkling vampire." He scoffs starting to pull away but I pull him back.

"Well you are trying to stay away from me to save me so you do have your similarities, but I'd take you over him any day of the week." I say smiling slightly and he does as well, "Ok so you won't let me walk away and you say you love me, so where does this leave us."

He sighs and traces my jaw with his finger, "Under my own better judgment I guess it means that we're going to give this a shot."

"Good." I say smiling feeling very victorious, "so then I can do this…" I lean forward and bring my lips to his lightly, barely brushing it, teasingly and he growls and pulls me closer to him deepening the kiss.

After what feels like an eternity we pull away when oxygen becomes necessary. "Wow." I say as he leans his forehead against mine. "And just so you know I kinda love you too."