Hey I'm Rachel and this is a Vampire Diaries story that has just being playing on my mind for weeks. I've finally decided to just get it out there and see what people think about it. Basically it's a fanfic based around Damon and a girl i've created called Piper. But i'll let you read to find out what its really about. But i will give you some idea of what's happened up until now. Ok so the story is set at the end of season 1/beginning of series 2ish, but the kiss between Damon and Katherine (believing it was Elena) never happened. The big vampire attack in Founder's day still did happen but the crash of the car with Caroline, Matt and Tyler didn't happen, which is why Caroline isn't a vampire (Tyler wasn't driving, Caroline was). Damon does have feelings for Elena, but they aren't as big as love. Katherine hasn't come back, still working through others. John Gilbert has left and has given Jeremy his ring. So that's all you really need to know on that. I hope you enjoy and I'd really apreciate some feedback good or bad :) Please read and review thanks x

Chapter 1

"Are we there yet?" Carter whined loudly, pulling at his seat belt away from his body and letting it flick back to hit him squarely in his chest.

Mom reached back and slapped Carter's hand away from the belt. I rolled my eyes at him but returned to running my fingers through Athena's hair. Her soft, brown curly hair ran through my fingers; it was the only way to make her sleep in the car. With my free hand I drummed my fingers on the seat in front of me while resting my head against the window.

"Is Thea still sleeping?" Mom asked me, glancing at me in the review mirror.

"Can you hear her crying?" I joked before flashing a little smile.

Mom laughed and turned back to the road. Carter whined a little more, fidgeting in his seat. I flung my arm out and pinned him to his seat.

"Sit still Carter!" I hissed "you're going to wake Thea!"

Carter stuck out his tongue but stopped squirming under my arm. Libby, my non-identical twin sister rode shotgun, her feet were resting on the dashboard in front of her where she was annoyingly tapping them to the beat of the music blasting out from her iPod. I was surprised that it wasn't waking Athena, usually she was a light sleeper but for some strange reason she was behaving herself and refraining from screeching and wailing.

"Could you turn that racket down please, Lib?" Mom asked, gesturing with one hand towards her iPod.

The music turned up louder, and I could see the small smirk playing on Libby's lips. I shook my head. Mom's shoulder's tensed and the muscle in her jaw stood out prominently, her hands tightened around the steering wheel.

"Libby" Mom said tersely "turn that down before you wake Thea. If she wakes up then all hell breaks loose, is that what you want?"

She ignored Mom the way she always did, if anything the music got even louder. Mom's lips formed a hard line and the wrinkles on her forehead deepened considerably. Libby loved to push Mom's buttons, in fact, Libby liked to push anyone's buttons; it was what Libby did. And she was good at it, hell she was an expert in the subject. Libby knew exactly what set everyone off. With Mom it was her music. With Carter she stole his games console or pulled his hair. And with me all she had to do was catch me on an off day. Usually she left me alone, we had this mutual understanding. Don't get me wrong, I love my sister but she can be a pain in the ass when she wants to be, and we don't always see eye to eye. But, she loves me too, and she knows that I've got enough on my plate dealing with Athena without dealing with her petty point scoring. The only person who got off scot-free was Athena. Libby doted on Athena as if she were her own child and was always offering to look after her for me so that I could have a quick nap or catch up on my school work.

"Are we there yet?" Carter whined once more.

"Nearly" Mom assured him.

"How far is nearly?" Carter probed once more.

"Five minutes Carter" Mom told him.

Carter folder his arms across his chest and pouted. He was five years old, and at that age where his favourite thing to do was to question your every word. It was a constant stream of 'why's that for?', 'why did you do that?', 'how though?' or 'can I have a go?' It was at times like this that I understood the reason why Mom said three kids were more than enough.

The car we were travelling was an SUV that Mom had bought second hand with some of the money we'd made selling the house back in Florida. It was black on the outside with leather seats on the inside. It had that posh car smell. Mom said that it made us look 'rich' and 'respectable'. I had laughed at that and told her that when they saw that I was a teenage parent they'd soon rethink the respectable part. At that she'd pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at me, telling me that no matter what anyone told me, I was a respectable young lady. We had never been a rich family, in fact we were anything but; but we'd never been at the bottom of the ladder, there had always been some money around. Our house back in Florida had been left to my Mom by her grandparents years ago; it was an old house that had been around for generations. But when dad bailed out on us two months ago we started struggling to make ends meet. In the end we'd had to sell up and move back to my Mom's home town where my aunt and two cousins lived.

We didn't drive for long before we reached Mystic Falls, Virginia. It was a nice little town. It had a high school – that Libby and I would attend – a restaurant called the 'Mystic Grill' and a bunch of other little 'hotspots' as Mom called them. She'd always sighed wistfully whenever she thought of her hometown, she'd wanted to move back here years ago but dad worked on the oil rigs and wouldn't move. She'd been so head over heels in love with him at the time; she never stood up to him, she lived in a dream world. Then he found a girlfriend, Mandy, a fitness coach from New York and moved away, Mom was pulled back down to earth with a bang.

Mom drove through the town with an almost happy look on her face; her eyes didn't seem to hold as much pain as they once had. Mom drove into our new street, a small smile pulling at her lips. The street seemed nice, it was filled with houses with white picket fences, the type you imagine in movies. I had to admit that it was a good looking place.

Our house was near the end of the street, the house was a little smaller than the rest but still just as pretty. It had white walls and big windows with window boxes filled with flowers. It had a small garden with a fence around it, it wasn't huge but it was big enough for Carter and Athena to play in. I snatched a glance at Libby; even she looked like she wanted to smile. The removal van was already parked in the driveway and the two balding removal men were already unloading the contents of the van into the house.

"Here we are: 38 Fountain's Close, Mystic Falls, Virginia!" Mom exclaimed as she opened the car door.

I unbuckled Athena's car seat as the others climbed out of the car. Expertly, I lifted Athena carefully and held her to my chest while I slung her oversized bag over my shoulder and shut the car door as softly as I could. I didn't want to risk waking her up. She rested her soft, warm head against my shoulder and I planted a little kiss to her rosy cheek.

"What do you think?" Mom asked us.

"I like it" I enthused.

"Me too" Carter squealed.

Libby simply shrugged but I could tell by her eyes that she too liked the house. Mom chose to not pick a fight with Libby; that got no-one anywhere. Instead, Mom clapped her hands together and grinned.

"Ok, your Aunt Jenna should be here soon with Jeremy and Elena to help us unpack… oh there they're now" Mom smiled, pointing down the street towards the four people walking towards us.

I had met Aunt Jenna numerous times, when she'd moved out of Mystic Falls to go to college, she too moved to Florida, she only moved back to Mystic Falls when Jeremy and Elena's Mom and dad died in a car crash. When I was little I was close to Jeremy and Elena, but my dad didn't like them and limited there visits to once a year when I was twelve. It had been over a year since I'd last seen them. I had always been a little envious of Elena, she'd had it all. She had the loving parents; I had the father who couldn't give a crap about me. She had the cool best friends; I was a bit of a misfit.

I didn't recognise the fourth person who was walking up the street with Aunt Jenna, Jeremy and Elena, but since he had an arm wrapped around Elena I assumed he was her boyfriend. As they got closer I realised he was good looking, but not my type. He had that big hair that was the craze since Twilight came on the scene and a nice smile. Elena had a smile on her face too, it seemed like things were looking up for her; Mom had warned me to tread carefully around Elena and Jeremy because they would still be grieving their losses, but she didn't seem to be coping too badly. But even I could see the still present pieces of pain on her face.

Mom had to hold Carter back to stop him from running into the road towards him, he was grinning like a maniac. Aunt Jenna was grinning too, from ear to ear, at the sight of us. Even I was smiling; it had been far too long. Mom let go of Carter and he ran straight for Aunt Jenna, he wrapped his arms around her and squeezed tight. We all laughed at the sight. Aunt Jenna's face lit up at the sight of Athena, she wiggled out of Carter's grip and, with arms outstretched towards my baby, almost ran towards me. With a laugh I handed her over and watched while Aunt Jenna cradled her to her chest.

"Who's a beautiful baby? Who's a beautiful baby? Athena is! Yes she is! Athena is!" Aunt Jenna cooed.

I rolled my eyes and turned to Jeremy, Elena and the mystery man. Elena and I smiled at each other before she dashed forward and pulled me into a tight hug. The guy stepped back and watched us with a happy expression on his face. Oh god he was a love struck teenager.

"Oh I've missed you Piper!" Elena enthused with a giggle as she hugged me.

A mass of long brown hair fell into my face but I didn't really care; it felt good to have my family with me without worrying about dad sending them away. Maybe this could be a new start for us, a chance to move on and start a fresh. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Libby looking uncomfortable; she kept fidgeting and shifting from foot to foot. I felt sorry for Libby; she was always caught between wanting to get to know people and not having the courage to do so. Libby had once been an outgoing person, the type of girl who had friends galore and a fair few boys interested in her. But now, she was untrusting and unwilling to give anyone a chance. I could understand it, I was the same; how can you trust when you've been betrayed so badly. But I wanted to move past that feeling; I was willing to give it a shot.

"Where are my manners? This" she said, gesturing to the guy beside her "is Stefan Salvatore, my boyfriend. And Stefan, this is Piper Waters". I reached out a hand and he shook it with a firm, gentlemanly handshake.

"It's lovely to meet you Piper" Stefan said with a smile.

"Thank you. It's lovely to meet you too Stefan".

"Hey Jeremy" I grinned, turning to face my cousin "how's it going?"

Jeremy and I had always been pretty close too, he was younger than me but he always acted my age if not older. We emailed a lot and he helped me through when dad left.

A lot of my family, most of them were on my dad's side, had reacted badly when I got pregnant, they refused to talk to me, called me 'a good for nothing whore'. But, Aunt Jenna, Jeremy and Elena had been ok with it when I was finally allowed to tell them. Dad had forbidden me from telling them, saying I brought shame on the family. It was only when he left that Jeremy and Elena found out. Aunt Jenna already knew, she'd been in Florida when I got pregnant. She was supportive of me and when she moved back to Mystic Falls she promised to keep Athena a secret until I was ready for people to know. It wasn't that I was ashamed of Athena, she was my baby girl, I'd die before I let anyone hurt her… I don't know what it was, but some part of me didn't want to admit to Jeremy and Elena that my life wasn't how I planned it. I didn't want them to think bad of me.

"Here you go" Aunt Jenna murmured handing a now awake Athena back to me "I'm going to go help your Mom inside".

Luckily, Athena didn't cry. Instead, she smiled a gummy smile up at me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and held on to me as if her life depended on it.

"God you're looking fiiinnne Piper! You only had Thea…what, three months ago? And you're looking good on it" Elena grinned, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

Normally I would have laughed at this; it was just Elena joking on. But I blushed. Ever since Athena was born I'd become a whole lot more self conscious. Instead of the once flat belly I had flab. And instead of the slight curve for hips I had big, child-bearing hips. Oh the joys of motherhood.

"Say that to my stretch marks and my chapped nipples" I rebuked.

Elena laughed at my remark but I wasn't paying much attention to her. Stefan was glancing between Athena and I. From the look on his face he seemed more shocked than anything else; he didn't look disgusted or embarrassed for me like some people did. But he soon returned to his happy expression and he smiled at me a little more openly.

"This is Thea" I introduced.

Stefan smiled and reached out a finger towards Athena. Athena grabbed onto his outstretched finger with her whole hand. She shook his finger up and down with a little girl grin on her face. Stefan's face lit up.

"Aww" Elena beamed "she likes you Stefan!"

"You don't need to sound so surprised" he grinned.

"Are you guys going to come help?" Mom shouted from the doorway, her hand shielded her eyes from the sun.

I rolled my eyes along with Elena, Jeremy and Libby before we all headed towards the house to help unpack our belongings, moving things into our new home. The place where Athena would grow up, the place where everything would start again. A feeling stirred inside me, like a butterfly flapping its wings, hope, it was hope.