My navy sundress swished against my thighs as I walked leisurely along a rooftop, the sun low in the sky and the clouds growing dark with each passing moment. I felt a hand grab my upper arm and when I turned my head to find the source, all of the air in my chest whooshed out. Cold and intense eyes bore into mine and the word "no" choked in my throat. Stefan smiled an evil grin before letting go of my arm.
It felt as though there were a string tethered to my body that suddenly snapped. I reached out for nothing in particular as my body fell backward, away from Stefan. Gravity took hold and I knew there was nothing I could do to stop from falling.
I gasped and startled awake, my heart accelerating to beat in double-time. The sheets were grasped tightly beneath my clenched fist and my eyes were wide as my mind raced to replace the nightmare with reality.
I was okay. I was in bed. A soft breeze blew in from the open window, but there was nothing frightening lurking for me in the night air. Stefan was not – better yet, could not – hurt me again.
Despite my mind reassuring itself that everything was okay, I felt a low ache in my bones as my body's natural defense of wanting to cover up the nightmare with drugs sparked. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. The clean air soothed my soul and the barely there ache slowly faded away. It was easier these days to wash my hands of the yearning.
I felt the bed shift behind me and heard a lazy yawn.
"You okay, babe?"
I focused on taking a few more deep breaths before I spoke. "Yeah," I responded.
Damon moved to press his body against my back, his face nuzzling into my neck. "Everything's okay with the baby?" he asked as his arm reached across my midsection, resting his hand delicately on my protruding stomach.
"Oh. Yeah," I assured him. "I just had a nightmare."
I sighed. I had been fine for over a year. I had worked with Bonnie until all of my nightmares had stopped showing up. I worked with her until I could finally think of my family and, although it still brought me sadness, I wouldn't freak the fuck out. I was able to openly discuss what happened with both Tyler and Stefan without demonizing myself. I was able to finally admit how destructive the drugs had been and how, in the end, they weren't beneficial at all to me.
But shortly after discovering I was pregnant, the nightmares returned. Not nearly as intense as they'd been when I was younger and not covering them up with drugs, but intense enough that even after they woke me, I couldn't shake them from my memory.
Damon kissed just behind my ear. "I'm sorry, love. I wish I could help."
"I know," I said. "I think I may call Bonnie tomorrow. See what she has to say about it."
"That's a good idea," he agreed.
"I might also call Caroline," I continued. "She left a message earlier today about her and Kol wanting us to go out for dinner."
"Sounds good," he agreed once again. "Bonnie would be okay with that?"
I nodded. "She said Caroline has made some amazing process, most of it in thanks to Kol. He brings her back to down to reality more than anything or anyone else ever has."
"Ah," was his response. I could tell he was distracted. He brought his hand up and ran it across my cheek. In the corner of my eye, I could see the gold of his wedding band glint in the pale light. I glanced down at my own simple, yet perfect, matching band on my left hand.
When Damon had asked me to marry him, I was sure he'd lost it. Who in their right mind would want me, in all my fucked-up-complexity, to marry them? Who would want to stick around me that long? I answered that with someone who was masochistic and enjoyed watching train-wrecks. I'd immediately gone to Bonnie and suggested they admit Damon.
And even after I told him no, he was insistent. Relentless, really. We couldn't have a normal conversation without him asking again.
Bonnie had then told me that my unwillingness to accept that someone could actually want to be with me like that, was reflective of how I valued my own self-worth. We spent nearly 3 months concentrating on that flaw.
"I'm sorry I woke you," I said softly. "I'm not sure why the nightmares are returning. It's stupid."
Damon dropped his hand from my face and gently ran it down my side and back up. Goosebumps rose across my flesh. I felt his lips press tenderly to my neck.
"You know, I have a perfect way to make you forget about those nightmares," he whispered against my skin and I smiled. There was another area he was relentless in.
He began kissing down my shoulder, the movement slightly ticklish and I giggled.
Eventually, I'd said yes to Damon and we married on the front lawn of the Mystic Falls Rehabilitation Clinic – just as any non-sane couple would do. But even I had to admit the day had been perfect, despite the hesitance that lingered over my head all the way up to the metaphorical altar.
In the end, there was no denying that I loved him. And there was no denying that I couldn't get away from him even if I'd wanted.
He was mine.
As I was his.
And I would spend my entire existence being uncontrollably and altogether
A/N: First, I want to apologize that it took me so long to complete this story. Every time I thought about how I would end it, I would kind of panic about ending it in the wrong way and I could never get the words out.
Then this morning, I woke and the story was suddenly on my mind - when it hadn't been for months. And the words that had eluded me were suddenly there, the pictures forming in my mind so perfectly that I immediately jumped up and wrote the epilogue.
Thank you so much to those still around to finish reading. You have all been a great support-system.
Until next time.