What Comes First: Chapter Five

Damage Control

A.N/WARNING: I thought I should put this here, 'cause there is a mention of child abuse. It's not too bad, but still, child abuse is child abuse, right? So please, please, please DON'T hate me. Besides, I have a feeling that you will start to feel for Damon towards the end of the chapter. Review, okies?

Anyhow, on with the chapter!

After a few moments of intense (and awkward, but that was no secret) silence, Beth blurted, "So… now what?"

"We go to sleep."

"Sounds good to me."

"G'night Beth," he slurred sleepily. What was with that? He was so not ready to sleep yet. Oh well, he was too goddamn tired to worry about it now. Maybe in the morning when he's… had a… full… night's…

He broke off into soft, sleepy snores, and Beth walked backwards into the hall smiling as she watched her best friend fall into a peaceful sleep. God knows he needs it, she was glad she interfered.

"Good night, Damon," she whispered, closing the door. "Sweet dreams."

~x~

Damon awoke to the feel of a soft breeze blowing at the nape of his neck, which was weird. If it was a breeze, then wouldn't he be feeling it everywhere and not just on his neck?

Opening his eyes, he was shocked to see it as a sunny day and unseasonable warm weather for this time of year. It was early spring and the seasonal changes only come every now and then or just came even and gradual… then how come it felt like summer?

He sat up and stretched his hands out in front of him noticing that he wasn't wearing his ring, which should have worried him, but it didn't. Almost instinctively, Damon knew just to relax and enjoy the weather. Wherever he was, it was summer and—miraculously—he wasn't becoming a crispy critter any time soon.

"Hello, sleepyhead."

The voice came from behind him and out of curiosity he turned to see who said that. He was greeted with a giggle, an infectious little laugh that couldn't stop him from smiling himself. On further inspection of the girl, he decided that she must surely be related to Beth, seeing as she had the same small figure, the same blonde hair and freckles too. For all he knew, this could be her twin. She never did know who her family was, save for her uncle, the only difference the two had was their eye colour. While Beth has a mysteriously cool golden colour, this girl had blue eyes: sapphire-blue eyes, darker than his own.

"Why, hello there. What's your name?" he asked, in an uncharacteristically good mood.

She laughed again. "Oh, come on, Damon." She leant forward so that their noses were touching and looked deep into his light eyes. There was something inside those sapphire orbs that puzzled Damon. It was deep down and lurking, but not in a bad way. More like it was hidden for the purposes of a game, kinda like tag, and he was it.

"I think we both know the answer to that."

Everything went black…

~x~

Elizabeth was pretty sure she woke up well before her usual seven-to-seven-thirty A.M. call. She lazily rolled over to discover that the barely lit up digital alarm clock had read a patronising 4:39. She rolling back over, shoving a pillow from the other side of the double bed on her head in a desperate attempt regain another three hours of sleep.

She would have succeeded too if it weren't for the annoying little fact that she was an incredibly light sleeper and didn't easily fall asleep once she was awake. Beth peeked out of the corner of her eye at the alarm clock.

4:40.

Sighing in frustration, Beth stood up and was just about ready to throw the stupid thing out the window, but, that would wake Damon up and God knows that the boy most certainly needed the sleep. Sighing once again, she gave up almost all hope and decided that she would wallow in her own misery and read one of the many books off of the shelf in the room.

Turning on a lamp really did her eyes a wonder. Just because she had enhanced vision, didn't mean that she didn't have tired-eyes when she woke up. Besides, Damon's mother always told her that it wasn't good to read without proper light in the room. As soon as she had finished that little speech, the older woman went and lit the oil-lamp that was meant to be in Mr. Salvatore's personal study.

Unintentionally, thinking about Alicia had made Beth smile. She was a great woman, effectively being her substitute mother when Beth didn't have her own. She blindly pulled a book off of the shelf and inspected the cover.

Wings of Fate, it read. Beth rolled her eyes.

"Gee, Alicia. Could you be any more subtle?" She remarked sarcastically, but took it as advice. She knew what she was going to do now and thanked Alicia silently for saving her from almost dying from boredom. All she needed to do now was find a way to the roof.

~x~

There was a subtle smell of salt in the air, obviously from the wind that had rolled in overnight from the east, bringing a pleasant beachy smell to the woody-earthy fragrances of the Virginian forest. It was an interesting combination: night and salt, and it helped her relax enough to let go of some pent up energy—regardless of the early hour. Beth was now in a state in which she could easily slip in and out of meditation and she felt as if she had so much more control over her body and mind.

Taking in a deep breath, she started quietly chanting a few choice words in Latin that helped her connect to her spiritual side, all the while keeping deep, even breaths. Someone once told her that breathing is the key to meditation and Beth thought that that was really wise. Unfortunately, though, in the same breath he had told her that concentrating too hard on said breathing can also kill you. She decided then that he was insane, plain and simple, but continued to use the breathing advice that was relevant to meditation.

After a few minutes of this, Beth could feel herself lifting higher, not physically, but elsewhere, a higher place. Her spirit.

Her eyes flashed open to reveal a startling level of their naturally golden colour. So much so, it looked as if they were glowing rather than melting as the normally did. The speed of the wind picked up tempo around her and she stopped chanting, there was no need to, and just stood there in anticipation. An eagle flew overhead and she smiled playfully.

"Veni," she whispered to the animal. It swooped and landed on the edge of the roof. It wanted to fly again, but something was keeping it there. The magnificent bird was obedient, even though it naturally was a hunter and did what it wanted. Whatever was keeping it there had intrigued it greatly, and it didn't move until it was certain what it was.

Beth slowly approached the eagle with her arm held out. It sat on it and let Elizabeth stroked it gently on the head. She always had a way with animals; they trusted her as much as she trusted them, in the way of some unspoken bond. It closed its eyes as she continued to stroke it downwards, succumbing to the power she now held in her hands.

"I won't keep you too long," she cooed, her voice all too alluring. Kissing its head softly, it let out some sort of call. The bird was desperate, it knew what she wanted, and it was eager to give her what she wished. "How about a race, little fellow? Hmm? You can go after that if you want to."

The eagle wailed. The amount of energy it now possessed was almost too much for it to handle, and yet it seemed as if the animal wanted to have the energy. It shot up into the air and Beth took that as her cue to follow.

"Alis!" She yelled gleefully as a brilliant light created two very big shapes behind her back. Then she, too, shot up into the air resembling something that looked very, very much like a firework, and began to chase the eagle, laughing from the feeling of wind untangling her already messy hair from its makeshift ponytail.

She decided that she would go lower, into the canopy of the trees to test herself and see if her reflexes were as good as they were the last time she used her alis. As she ducked and dodged, she pondered the idea of bringing Damon with her the next time she decided to fly—which, she decided that she would do that very, very soon—and quickly decided against it. He wasn't to go flying until he figured out what she was.

While pondering this, she hadn't seen the huge oak tree that was quickly approaching her and rolled out of the way just in time to avoid colliding with it George-of-the-Jungle style. Beth would have sworn that she heard the eagle version of a laugh coming from above her.

It was on.

~x~

When Beth had finally walked back in the door to the Salvatore mansion, she was still filled to the brim with exhilaration. She was so… enthralled with the prospect of racing a freaking bird—like, wow, it was amazing, it took her through the clouds—that she hardly noticed Damon coming down the stairs.

"Mornin' Damon," she exclaimed, still excited… she hoped he wouldn't notice, but her hope was wasted anyway, because Damon just walked right past her, towards the kitchen. "Have a good sleep?"

"It was fine until that girl..." He shook his head. "Well, let's just say that it was weird, and leave it at that."

This confused Beth: what girl?

"What girl are you—" she stopped when she saw him glance at her like Please don't. "Okay… You hungry?" She said instead as they walked into the kitchen.

"Not in the way you're thinking."

"What?... Oh, right. Wow, I'm out of it this morning, sorry." She smiled in an embarrassed way.

Damon just stopped and turned to stare at her and for a second there he would have sworn that her eyes were the exact same colour of the girl in the dream; deep, sapphire blue.

"Are you okay, Beth? I mean… your eyes…"

Beth became worried, were her eyes still glowing? Could Damon know about her morning out? She didn't want to give him the answer straight away; she wanted him to figure out what she was. Sure, she felt bad about not telling him, but he was a big boy now, he can think for himself… But, if Damon's life everyday is much like it was last night, then she wasn't so sure.

"No, no! There's nothing with my eyes, at least, I don't think there is." Shut up you fool. Giving herself a mental slap Beth continued, "I'm gonna have a shower, you should go back to bed, it's real early."

He snorted at both her silliness and his own. "You're kidding, right? Dude, it's like, seven-thirty, a perfectly respectable time to wake up. But you're right about one thing though, a shower sounds great."

"Okay, then. You want me to fix you something?"

He smiled. "No, thank you. I'll just go to the basement," Damon said with a tone like You really wanna know?

"I'm not gonna ask." Then she left in search of a bathroom.

~x~

When Beth had finally resurfaced from having a shower (using Damon's ensuite, which, too, was also very big) she was towel drying her hair because over the years (and that's a lot of years) she found that is what works best with her impossibly straight hair. It never curled. Not even in the days when all you could have was curly hair. Sure she tried using hot curlers, curling irons and mousse but none of it worked. Ever. It would just drop out.

So as she was caught in her musings, she didn't realise that there was another person in the hallway. Still towel drying her hair and staring at nothing in particular, she walked into the person with enough force to knock them both over. And that's exactly what happened, and unfortunately, if Beth didn't regain her balance soon, she was going to end up as a big pile at the foot of the stairs.

Just in time, a pair of lightning fast, muscled arms caught Beth. She was greeted with a small laugh and a set of kind green eyes.

"Careful, you wouldn't want to hurt yourself," said a familiar voice. Dammit! Who are you? She stared up at the soft, green eyes again felt her brow furrow as she was searching for a name to match those eyes. That's how she remembered who people were, by remembering their eyes. Call it weird if you will, but that's just how she was. Maybe it had something to do with the saying 'The eyes are the window to the soul'. Beth felt as if she hadn't seen those eyes since her human days…

Oh, my God, she thought. No way. It was bad enough that that bitch had gotten to Damon, but Stefan too? Dear Lord, I have a lot of catching up to do.

With a small grin on her face, she replied cheekily, "No, it wouldn't, would it, Stefan?"

Taken aback by her comment, Stefan's relaxed expression became confused. Who...?

"Elizabeth?" he asked, unsure.

"Hi, Steffy."

~x~

When Damon had finished his shower—upset at the fact that he had to shower in the guest bathroom because Beth decided to use his—all he heard was the dull hum from kitchen appliances and laughter, and became confused. He understood the use of the kitchen appliances—he already went through that with Beth last night, she wasn't a vampire—and she was most likely preparing herself something to eat. But the laughter had him stumped. Why would she be laughing at herself (then again, who knew what went on in that head of hers)?

Then Damon listened closer as he pulled on a pair of jeans in his room; there was a contrast in the noise, a higher pitched laugh—sort of like bells—and then there was a baritone, and, knowing Beth, she wouldn't just invite any random guy over without asking Damon first. So that only meant one thing.

Throwing his towel on the floor of his walk-in wardrobe, he grabbed a random polo shirt—since when did he have a polo?—and went casually down the stairs to investigate.

Beth laughed again. "Oh, really? I didn't know that."

"Yeah, it was kind of adorable, actually," came the response from his little brother. Casually leaning on the doorframe, Damon crossed his arms waiting to be acknowledged. They seemed to be having a good time… without him and Damon couldn't help but feel a little excluded.

Beth looked up from whatever she was chopping and her smile got bigger. "Well, well, speak of the devil. We were just talking about you." She went back to chopping some… white chocolate? What on earth…

"About what?" He asked, faux pleasant.

"Don't be like that," she scolded while Stefan said, "Nothing really. Just some tall tales, I guess."

Damon narrowed his eyes at the younger Salvatore. "Uh-huh." Stefan most likely gave away some secret, but, it was just Beth, so he didn't really care and therefore, there was no real need to do what he was doing.

Then again, he did have a reputation to uphold and he didn't want Stefan to think that he's gone soft.

"So, sunshine," Beth said, addressing him. "Would you like some pancakes? I know you already ate, but I thought it would be nice."

He quirked an eyebrow, Beth was cooking? He thought that she gave that up years ago, like the whole animal thing, but if she cooking… He couldn't help but let his mind take them back to when they were teenagers and in the maid's quarters where the kitchen was. Beth would often bring some of the produce that she grew on the farm where she lived and made both Damon and Stefan different stews and soups that were to-die-for. If she made extra, she'd save some for their father, no matter how much she thought he was an ass. That's just the kind of person she is.

Being jolted back to the present by her, "Damon?" he nodded.

"That'd be nice."

In the end, Beth, somehow, managed to make about two and a half dozen pancake from the meagre supply of food they actually kept in the boarding house and even, at one point, managed to scold them about it.

"You know, if you want me to continue to make you boys delicious food, then you're gonna have to replenish your supply of ingredients," she tusked and shook her head while looking at their anorexic pantry and fridge. "I mean, seriously. Don't you two ever get the munchies for something other than blood?" The way she said was so casual, as if it were the most normal thing in the world, but Damon noticed the little reflexive crinkle around her eyes that said she wasn't exactly thrilled about it. He wondered why.

"Sorry, Beth," the brothers said in unison, falling back so easily into old patterns, and quite frankly, it scared Damon a little.

If the sheer miracle of Beth managing to make that many pancakes alone wasn't enough, she had been cutting up the white chocolate to make a smooth sauce to poor over the top of the pancakes, and where she got the strawberries from, Damon didn't have a clue.

Sitting at the meals table with a very deluxe version of a simple meal, Beth inquired, "So, either of you boys involved in a relationship?" It was genuine curiousity masked by a light, chatty tone.

"Yes."

"I wish."

Glancing up from her plate, she caught Damon with a narrowed-eyed gaze at Stefan who was, more unlikely than not, oblivious to his brother's hard stare and kept munching away at his breakfast. She kicked Damon under the table and he turned and glared at her. She glared back. Be nice, it said. He looked away.

"So, Steffy, you wanna tell me about her?" She asked cheerfully while still inspecting Damon.

"Uh, well, her name is Elena," he said innocently.

"Is she pretty?"

Beth noticed that Damon's hands clenched tighter around his knife and fork. Why was he so tense?

"Beautiful."

What's with the short answers? Beth hoped that she excite more of a response from either of them with her next question. She just hoped she wouldn't word it wrong. "Is she… is Elena, uh, different to your last… girlfriend?" Please don't hate me, please don't hate me, she chanted internally.

"Completely," Stefan started, knowing exactly who she was referring to. "She's so kind and always thinking of others before herself. But in other ways she's… similar."

"Just you wait till you meet her. You'll see how similar Elena really is," Damon retorted sarcastically.

"Damon…" Stefan started.

"What? She asked, I answered. Just because she's your girlfriend doesn't mean that I can't go through a process of approval. I may be a jackass, but I still have a responsibility as your older brother."

"Yes, and that responsibility was given up years ago."

"Well, I'm sorry for wanting to be apart of your life again, you are family after all."

"Didn't seem that way a year ago," Stefan muttered.

Damon rolled his eyes. "Whatever, brother."

Beth watched as the boys argued and really started considering what she really missed out on, and apparently, it was a lot. Swallowing the last bite of her pancakes, she looked back at the brothers and noticed that the tension in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife.

"Wow," was all she said and they both looked at her. She opened her mouth to speak again but Damon cut her off.

"Don't go there."

"Why?"

And she goes there. Uncanny. The thought emanated from Damon, dripping with sarcasm, and she was almost sorry for peeping into his mind, and to accompany the thought, Damon pushed out his chair and left the kitchen a huff, making his way—most likely—to the parlour where she found him last night.

"Alright, then." She offered the plate to a very broody looking Stefan.

"No, thank you," he said and left as well.

"Alright, then," she repeated on a sigh and went to work cleaning the kitchen. "So much for breakfast."

~x~

She found Stefan in his room, and she noted that a lot of the items he possessed were trinkety and kind of patronising to his life. Beth couldn't help but let loose a small laugh when she saw one of those dancing cacti with the maracas and a sombrero that said Mexico, and when you clapped they started dancing.

"I got that on a last minute trip to Mexico with my friend Lexi about seventeen years ago," came the start of Stefan's explanation, and Beth could hear the smile in his voice. "She said that she borrowed a friend of hers' daylight ring for a few days and wanted to go somewhere sunny. In the end, we ended up spending all weekend drinking tequila and buying sombreros. I got into so much trouble with that girl over the years. She's my best friend."

"She sounds like a party."

"Yeah, you two would have gotten along well," he said with an edge of sadness. The next second, Beth was standing next to him, giving his hand a little squeeze.

"When did she die?" She asked out of the blue, and Stefan was a little taken aback by the question. He didn't remember saying anything about her being dead… did he? No, he was sure he didn't, but the thing that probably shocked him the most was the question itself. Beth asked when not how and Stefan forgot how intuitive she was.

"Last year," he said, keeping his voice even. He didn't want to delve into too much information, knowing that if he told her how Lexi died, Beth would surely disbelieve him, no matter how many times he told her the truth. He was silently thankful that she didn't ask him to elaborate.

Careful to divert the topic, Beth gave Stefan another tiny squeeze and held up a dish. It was clear-wrapped but Stefan could still make out what lay beneath the wrap: pancakes.

"Seeing as it's still rather early, and my pancakes are still warm, I thought that you would like to take the left overs to Elena's house." She smiled up at him and Beth felt so much smaller next to Stefan than when she's next Damon, and she's always felt that way. She didn't understand why, the younger of the two was only an inch taller than the other, but she decided to ponder it another time.

"Anyway, I thought that she could have more of a good time at breakfast than we did. Though I'm not saying our breakfast wasn't fun, because it was. It was super," she said in a totally fake teenage way that earned her a small smile from the youngest Salvatore. "Go get her, tiger, while I do some damage control. Oh, and tell me if I won her over with my fluffy, little delights."

"You don't have to do that."

"Do what?" She feigned innocence with a smile.

"Chasing around after Damon. I'll feel horrible if I let you do that, especially since you only just got back in town," he said with a frown.

Beth rolled her eyes. "Stefan, you've obviously forgotten how long I've been dealing with Damon's shit. Don't worry. I'll handle it. 'Sides, you should have seen what happened last night."

Stefan's brow puckered in a totally adorable way. "If you're sure…"

"Stefan! Geez! Go to your girlfriend's house now before I take you there myself." She pointed at the door to the hallway with an expression that almost dared him to challenge her. He obeyed, only momentarily pausing to lean down and kiss her on the cheek.

"What…?" she started.

He shushed her. "Thanks, for everything and more. I missed you, big sis."

~x~

Damage control normally consisted of finding Damon, making sure he didn't act rashly and then somehow getting him to come down from his emotional wave. Sure sometimes Beth let him ride out those emotional waves until he found himself on steady land again, but other times she just had to get him down before he did something that would have more than regret to deal with as the aftermath. She remembered the first time she ever had to do this…

~MYSTIC FALLS 1854, DECEMBER~

It was the day after Alicia had died and Beth was making her way up the Salvatore's path to their mansion. She was here to pay her respects and felt that this was least she could do for Alicia considering that for the last three years she had been a substitute mother for her.

Walking inside the door with sad, glassy eyes, Beth was desperately in search of Damon. She knew how close he was to her, so her death must really have shaken him hard and found herself worrying about him as the closer she got to Mr. Salvatore's study.

"How dare you use that tone with me, boy!" Mr. Salvatore's voice rang out with rash severity and Beth found herself picking up the pace to get to the study. She stopped short when she saw Damon and his father in the hallway just before his private quarters. Bet found herself gaping as she watched the backhanded strike from the older man colliding with the cowering boy's face. Damon's head whipped around from the force of the strike and found himself face-to-face with his best friend. He quickly averted his eyes.

Before she time to register, she had found her feet moving to run in front of Damon to shield him from further attack, arms spread wide.

"And how dare you hit your own child?" She retorted, her face turning into one of angry determination.

Mr. Salvatore glared. "Stay out of this, child. You should not get yourself involved."

"No."

"No?"

"No. I will not allow you to endanger your son again," she said, blindly grasping for Damon's hand to try and quiet his whimpering. She was furious. How dare he hit his own son? That's cowardice, she thought.

"That's not your choice to make. I'm his father and can do what I wish with him!" The man's rose louder and louder with each coming word. If he was trying to scare her into backing down, then boy, did he have a lot to learn.

"Do you think that Alicia would want this?" She challenged.

"Beth, don't," Damon's voice came shaky and breathless from behind her, pleading with her before someone did something that they would regret and pulled her back.

"Get out," was all that came from the older man. "Get out of my house. Both of you."

"Fine. Come on, Damon, let's go."

They walked through the house quickly. Forget paying respects to that—that monster, she thought, he can go to Hell. She sighed aloud. Oh gosh, Alicia, I wish you were here.

Making their way across the lawn, Beth stopped and turned to face her—obviously defeated—best friend, giving him a once over and felt her anger flare.

"That bastard," she spat through tight teeth.

"Beth, whatever it is, it's nothing. I'm fine, I'm okay," he whispered, averting his eyes. He felt so ashamed. He wished he could be more like her, brave and strong-willed, but he wasn't. He was weak and grieving and could never show the courage that she could. He envied and idolised her at the same time.

"It's obviously not okay, Dee," she stated. "Look, your face—it's bleeding. He hurt you, Damon, and yet you're defending him?"

"I'm sorry."

She sighed. "Dee, don't apologise to me. You just need to stand up for self better, that's all."

"How? I'm not like you, Beth, so how do you expect me do that? I'm not as brave or as strong as you are."

She rolled her eyes, sighed and gently clasped his face in her hands, subtly forcing him to look her in the eye. "It doesn't matter, you know that. Now, remember what we promised?" She sent a gentle hint to look at her right palm. He did and nodded. "Good, so how about we go back to my house for a while, clean you up and I'll teach you how to throw a punch."

He shook her hands off nonchalantly and gave her his best grin. "I'm a male. I know how to punch."

"Have you ever done it before?"

"Shut up." He hit her shoulder.

She laughed. "Right, and that was meant to hurt?"

He rolled his eyes and took her hand, blushing slightly. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"Everything."

~MYSTIC FALLS, PRESENT DAY~

Shaking her head at the memory, she pulled on her shoes and was getting ready to leave the boarding house. She'd already checked the parlour and found that it was undisturbed—sorry—undisturbed from last night, meaning no one had gone in there to clean it up. Being the nice person she was, went in there and gave it a massive clean up, taking her less than ten minutes to put everything in their assumed places and cleaned up all of the broken glass and empty alcohol bottles.

She left the house with a frown, was she meant to lock the doors? It was a vampire's house and a fair way from the road, so they mustn't get a lot of visitors; therefore, no one really knew where they lived and no one could rob their home.

She shook her head at her silliness all the way to town after that. (She walked, of course, because Damon took the Camaro and she saw Stefan drive away in a classic red car. It was... cute. That was the only word that she could put to it. Oh, and it was just so Stefan.)

"If I were Damon and was looking for a place to lose myself after a tense five minutes this morning with my brother and best friend, where would I go?" She asked herself rhetorically looking around the middle of town for the Camaro, and she found it… parked right outside the Grill. "To the bar, of course. Duh."

When she walked in the doors of Mystic Grill (seriously, what was so mystic about this town?) she saw Damon straight away, and apparently, he must have seen her too, judging but the visible slump of his shoulders.

"Dude, it's like, eight-thirty or something," Beth said in his ear after she dashed across the room without anyone noticing. "Don't you think it's a little early for Jack?"

He pulled a face. "Not you again," he said she sat down. "What do you want?"

"To talk," she replied nonchalantly. "I wanna know why the hell you made a beeline for the bar."

"Simple. We were out at home," he said, taking a sip from his glass. She snatched it away from him. "Why would you do that?"

"'Cause it's way too early," Beth scolded.

"Yeah, well, it's five pm somewhere," he muttered, unimpressed. Beth rolled her eyes at him. He sounded like some spoilt kid who had his candy taken away from him for the first time.

"What can I getcha?" Came the bartender's uninterested voice. Something seemed wrong about it. She sent out a small brain-probe and saw that there was some confusion in the bartender's thoughts. Clearing it out, she replied,

"I'll have a coffee, thanks," and in the same breath but quieter, "You used compulsion just so you could a drink without questions? Dude, so uncool."

"What? I didn't want the hassle. So sue me," Damon replied just as quiet.

"Yeah, well, try ordering something like a regular human being. You're lucky that I can undo the effects of freaking compulsion."

"Newsflash: I'm not human. And neither are you, so why bother?"

"I'm so not having this conversation with you right now."

"Whatever."

"Whatever, yourself." Beth glared, and it only seemed intensified but his sudden laugh. "What?"

"We bicker like an old married couple." Damon laughed again.

"Honey, we've known each other long enough. Thanks," she said as her coffee came. She took a sip and her tastebuds were practically sighing in relief at the familiar flavour. It was a pretty good blend for a small town, if you asked her, the kind of mix you'd expect to get in a 3-star New York City café. She settled further into her seat. "So, you want to explain to me what happened this morning?"

"Not really." He started fiddling with his coaster. He was bored, and that rarely ever happened with her around. "Long story for another time. Besides, I'd rather feel better have that conversation when we're drunk." Damon stared at her pointedly and a smirk played it's way onto his lips and Beth knew he was just about to charm her. Dude needed to update his playbook. "But I'd just love to talk about those little nifty powers of yours."

Beth's eyes narrowed and a smile grin spread slowly across her face. "Why? So can guess incorrectly again?"

He leaned his head towards hers. "No, I was actually hoping that you'd just tell me. You know, a little heart to heart. We could trade stories if you'd like. What you are for why I was so tense before. Could be like old times."

"And what good will that bring me?"

They scrutinised each other some more, Beth suspecting that he hadn't have had a comeback for that. She was rewarded when he pulled back and said, "Well played."

She smiled cheekily, "I learnt from the best."

"Thank you for appreciating my talents," Damon replied nodding.

Beth shrugged. "It's not hard. Flirting is probably the one thing that you're good at."

This time Damon had a good retort, but just as he opened his mouth to verbalise it, two more bodies walked into Grill and he tried so very hard not to sigh in frustration. He was just starting to have fun, too, but Stefan and his girlfriend just had to choose now to find him.

"Damn fun police. Guess who's just arrived, Miss Elizabeth," he said the words so that they were dripping with sarcasm. He placed he head on one of his hands.

"Who?" Beth inquired as she turned around and looked at the door to see who had just arrived. And, boy, was she in for a shock. She fought hard to remain seated.

"Stefan and his always lovely girlfriend, Elena."

~x~

A/N: Boy! That chapter, by far, is the longest one ever. No joke, taking the lead at nearly 6,000 words. Ladies and Gentlemen, WCF chapter five! (applaud)… Anyhow! I'd just like to say thanks to all those that read and review (even though there's not many of you that review, but I digress). I would like to state again that this story is obviously loved by me a helluva lot more than any other fic I have written.

I would also like to say that I am currently OBSESSED with SPN. (for those who do not know what SPN is, should be ashamed of themselves.) SUPERNATURAL is so freaking awesome—I swear! I guess I only really watch is for Jensen Ackles and the Impala and all the things that could be done to me IN the Impala (stop is Simone, you're 15! Naughty!)… Anyway, I'm currently writing an SPN fic (Winsister fic, not sure if I'm up to the task of creating a Wincest fic yet, BUT I WILL!)

Anyway, that should be all. I'm going to leave you now so y'all can get on with your lives but before you go, can you please leave a review to make this review-whore happy?

Love y'all,

xSimone.