Hard to Remember, Impossible to Forget
Love sometimes isn't easy. Not everyone's life is a fairytale where the reality is simple and endearing. Sometimes it involves a lot of difficult decisions like the one Jenna Gilbert had taken after two weeks of thinking over her husband's infidelity.
"I know about Isobel, John," his cheery and upbeat wife announced as they lay in their nuptial bed after another long day.
"What about Isobel?" he asked not knowing which truth his wife was talking about.
John Gilbert was a powerful and rich man. The head of Gilbert Industries ran an empire in New York that was most admired and envied by his competitors. He was also a successful man in his private life with Jenna Gilbert.
"She's pregnant and it's your child, isn't it?" Jenna was his right arm in the company. She wasn't one of those women who watched as their husband became richer and richer while they spent money without a care in the world.
The duo was happily married for eight years and had dated two prior to their official union. She was still in her second year at college when it happened and didn't think twice about changing her major in psychology for business. She wanted to help her husband, she wanted to be not only his wife but also his partner and that had captured John's heart even harder.
The only sad note about it was that a few years after they tied the knot, they found out his wife was sterile. At first it didn't bother John because Jenna was the perfect wife. Not only did she help him in the business with her insightful ideas and envying sixth sense but she also administrated their house like an irreproachable housewife. His clothes, shoes, favorite food and even tickets to the Knicks games were always at his disposal. And John absolutely loved Jenna for that.
But years passed and he started worrying about who would lead his business once he was old. He wanted to retire early enough to give Jenna all the attention she deserved. They planned to travel the world and enjoy the perks of being such a rich couple. And one day he would die finally and he would like to have someone in his family to perpetuate what he had worked so hard to build.
"Which is the only thing between her and I," he stated firmly. He didn't have a fling with Isobel. There was nothing about the head maid in the house that made her competition to his wife. Isobel was beautiful just like his wife and he wouldn't say otherwise, but Jenna was also warm and sweet while the brunette was simply austere.
"How did it happen?" Jenna asked and surprisingly enough to John she sounded absolutely okay about the situation.
"Mark told me she said no to his proposal. She doesn't want to get married nor have any kids of her own. She said that she's only interested in making enough money to leave her position in the house and finally pay for the college she dreams about."
"And that's why you fired Mark?" Jenna asked about their private driver.
"I relocated him in the company. I know he needed the money and then I tried to seduce Isobel, which wasn't difficult and when she found herself pregnant I let her go but demanded her to keep the baby," he explained avoiding to look at his wife the whole time.
"How long did it last?"
"Two months. After I realized she was going to sleep with me I gave her a few discs of birth control saying I didn't like condoms. The pills were actually fertility medicine and a few weeks later she looked for me saying she was pregnant."
"Good," was all Jenna said before stretching her arm to turn off the nightstand lamp.
"Yes, we'll have the baby you dreamed about. I know you were disheartened when the surrogacy didn't work. Me and my crappy eggs. Oh wait, I don't have any eggs at all," she smiled but there was more pain than sarcasm.
"I don't need her or that baby Jenna. It was a spur of the moment decision. You had told me you would be okay if I had a mistress to have our baby as long as we could raise them and before I knew it I found myself in the middle of this mess."
"No, John, I'm not going to deny you an heir and I know there's more in this than just your desire to have someone to take over the business when we retire. I know you want to deeply savor fatherhood and I would never forgive myself," she turned to her husband and even in the darkness she knew he held a frown on his forehead that she didn't want to be there.
"Are you sure you're okay with this?"
"As much as I'm sure that I love you more than anything in my life."
"I don't deserve such kindness."
"Think of it as my way to make it up for you for not being able to make your biggest dream come true," she silenced him not only with her words but with the passionate kiss that followed.
"Ahhhhh!" Isobel's cries could be heard everywhere in the Gilbert mansion. She had a healthy pregnancy and they preferred her to give birth at home instead of a hospital but there were two doctors, nurses and an ICU ambulance outside in case something went wrong.
"She's almost here, Isobel," Jenna offered warmly to the woman in pain. She had been there for the woman carrying her husband's babies throughout the whole pregnancy. Isobel was soon fired from her position as a maid in the house and was treated by Jenna as a guest in the Gilbert mansion. Isobel wasn't comfortable especially because John kept a distance she didn't think was ideal. She didn't fall for her boss, nor had she planned for any of that to happen between them. She had used her boss simply to forget about her boyfriend, whose marriage proposal she declined. She was heartbroken because she loved Mark but she wanted to change her life, she didn't want to have him to hold her back and resent him in the future.
When John approached her she wasn't the least bit interested but the she could use him as a welcomed distraction.
She had told Mark that she didn't want to become a mother but from the moment she heard the twins' heartbeat during the last sonogram she changed her opinion drastically. Motherhood was everything she ever wanted even when she had no clue about it.
And that's why she thought John shouldn't be as far from her as he was. Jenna was there all the time and she didn't mind her ex-boss' attention though at first she was highly embarrassed because she did have an affair with the blond's husband. But she wanted her daughters to have a connection with their father. Suddenly Isobel found herself prioritizing her babies instead of herself and she was told that John was never going to be a part of her pregnancy.
"There she is," the doctor announced and when he finally cut the cord he didn't know who to give the baby to.
That's the moment Isobel feared the most. She knew she was a mother, she knew that those babies were hers as much as they were John's but it didn't feel like that. At some point she even thought about running away and starting a new life but that wasn't a good prospect if you were trying to hide from one of the richest men in the country. She wasn't ready to give her daughters up and she knew her chances in a trial were as small as a successful escape. Power and money dictated the rules even in the American justice system and the weak end, like her, never stood a chance. But as the first girl cried showing how healthy she was Isobel had a tiny hope as she looked at Jenna.
Jenna nodded to the doctor towards Isobel. She knew how Isobel was attached to the babies growing in her belly and she couldn't be a mother at the expense of destroying a legitimate mother's chance.
The moment Isobel took the baby in her arms she cried. It was love at first sight. The baby in her arms was perfect. She had big brown eyes and cheeks and thin dark hair crowing her little head. Her nose was small like hers but the shape of her face was all John's.
"We still have one to go, Isobel," the doctor announced a minute or so later, interrupting the lovely moment between mother and daughter.
The new mother kissed the baby's forehead while the nurse got the little girl to be cleaned up. John motioned to take the newborn but his wife stopped him, shaking her head.
No longer than ten minutes later another cry was heard in the room and the doctor didn't have time for a dilemma because as soon he cut the cord Jenna stretched her arms to welcome her baby girl. She looked at Isobel who had tears in her eyes because of the excruciating pain but also the emotions of having her first daughter and now the second.
The moment the women's eyes locked Isobel knew she would never see her youngest daughter again, or maybe for a while they would keep her around to feed the girls but she knew her only daughter would be Elena. Elena, the new mother thought, the moment she saw the baby's face the name popped in her head and she knew a decision had been made. But now she also knew she would never find the perfect name to Elena's sister.
"Katherine," she looked between the baby in her arms and her husband "Welcome."
"We don't have to do it," John talked to his wife later that night. The day had been loaded with all sorts of emotions and until now Jenna never mentioned about keeping only one of the girls although the idea matured in her head over months. She knew her husband better than anyone and she was sure it would be nearly impossible to convince him to let Elena go.
"Actually we do, John. Or do you want to go to a court and claim to have the girls? They're Isobel's as much as they're yours. We're blessed that she had twins. Maternity is a natural instinct and a gift and no matter how much Isobel didn't want babies the moment she saw their first picture, heard the first heartbeat, felt the first kick, it didn't matter anymore what she thought before. All you wanted was a baby and you can have one but I can't take both girls from her," they talked as they watched the small girls in the basinets, in their nursery.
They were both there while Isobel stayed in the bedroom she used for the past seven months. Jenna heard more than once her almost silent cries when she brought one or both girls to be fed. Isobel tried to hide her pain because she knew it wouldn't give her anything but still Jenna caught the puff and red eyes the brunette showed while she fed the girls. Sometimes a few tears rolled down her face and she tried to assure her former boss that it was all because of pain but Jenna knew better.
"Do you realize you're asking me to give up on my daughter? Elena is also mine, Jenna. If I let her go with Isobel I may not ever see her again. This is more than my wish to have an heir or a baby. You're asking me let my daughter go."
"I know it's difficult for you but we'll give Katherine this big love you feel for each of them now. I'm sure Isobel wouldn't oppose for you to be part of Elena's life," his wife tried to reason but his argument for that instance was better than hers.
"I can't do it, Jenna. Do you have any idea of how Elena would feel about it? Maybe even Katherine. How can I choose between one daughter and another? If she leaves with Elena, tonight will be the last day I'll see both of them in my life."
"You're right, if we let Isobel keep Elena, that's the right thing to do. But still we should let Isobel have Elena. It'll be less heartbreaking. Whether you or Isobel had the guardianship to both girls no one would be totally happy because we would have to share both of them with her or the other way around. But this could be us being parents and Isobel being a mother without any restrictions," she reasoned and although her heart was breaking to let one of the babies go, she felt for Isobel. She knew they did a lot for the former maid already. John got her a job in a branch of the company somewhere in Florida and she received the best treatment while she expected the babies, not only in their house but also the best physicians and everything the girls needed. But Jenna couldn't allow Isobel to be so miserable without her daughter. She wouldn't be a mother at the expense of destroying totally another mother's life.
"When was I ever able to say no to you?" he asked his wife as he wrapped his arms around her waist from the behind, although he held a sad and defeated expression on his features, that Jenna soon caught as she turned her head and looked at him. She was breaking her husband's heart but Katherine would soon be their fountain of happiness and maybe letting Elena go would be less painful to John at some point.
John had always been thankful for his wife's thoughtfulness and kindness. He came from such a hostile environment as a child that it was hard for him to be kind and nice but little by little Jenna taught him a little bit of kindness. She completed him in more ways than just physically and when she died while Katherine was still six-years old his life was never the same again. He mourned his late wife for months but Katherine was suffering because of his pain and distance. He had to be a better man for his daughter especially when he saw how broken she was not only for losing her endearing mother but also losing her father although he still stood there.
Katherine was his little princess and he devoted each of his years to spoil her and make sure she was happy. Such dedication to Katherine led him to be sloppy about many business decisions as he wasn't as present as before and what seemed impossible happened. The Gilbert Industries were sinking. After the latest crises the business never fully recovered and something needed to be done soon otherwise his only option would be to sell the company to any opportunist and that would break his heart.
It surprised him deeply when Katherine, his beloved daughter, came to him a little bit over a year ago with a proposition he would never forget.
Their family was still very close to la crème de la crème in New York and one of their closest friends was the Salvatore's.
Giuseppe came from Italy with his wife Cecilia just a day after their wedding. It was supposed to be only a honeymoon trip but he fell in love with the country and the culture and soon he was moving there with his family. They had two sons, Damon, the oldest and Stefan who were the pride of their parents. Both boys were healthy, beautiful and amazing sons. There wasn't anything that Giuseppe couldn't count on them for and when they lost Cecilia two years ago, Stefan and Damon were what kept Giuseppe sane. Never in their lives had they seen a love like their parents had for each other. It was touching and vibrant and it made the boys believe in love in a way most in their generation didn't believe anymore. For Damon and Stefan love was a once in a lifetime experience and although they weren't obsessed about finding the right woman for them, they knew true love was the only option for them as a marriage. Damon, more than Stefan, for being closest to his mother than his younger brother was, had a very romantic view of love and life. His mother had talked about her early days with Giuseppe many times to him and how she wasn't sure if Giuseppe was the man for her when they got married. He was absolutely smitten with her but she wasn't as involved. But as time passed and she had a chance to know more and more about the man she married and she confessed his love and beautiful personality won her heart over. She used to say that she knew for sure of all men in the world Giuseppe was the one that had the best ability to make her happy and complete and that she was thankful that she didn't give up on him when he proposed and she didn't love him as much as she thought she should.
Damon didn't realize it but on a subconscious level he started to hope that story would repeat itself. He believed he would repeat his parents' story and that was why when Katherine came he didn't dismiss her as many would have done.
Katherine knew the older brother had a crush on her and offering to seduce him and marry him so their companies could be joined was an offer that her father didn't expect to receive. Katherine loved her father. She knew about Isobel but only lately she found out about Elena. Like with her biological mother, she showed her father no interest to meet her sister. She was devoted to John as much as he was devoted to her. They were a team and she would take one for it. It wasn't like Damon Salvatore was creepy, disgusting or a jerk. He was a gentleman and very polite and handsome. She also thought he was sexy and charming but somehow she was more attracted to his brother but Stefan was smitten with Caroline, some blond Katherine, for obvious reasons, despised.
Seducing Damon had been as easy as she expected and a little after one year together he popped the question to which she promptly said yes. They had a good relationship. She soon added amusing, funny and witty to the lists of compliments about Damon Salvatore. She mostly had a good time with him but she couldn't bring herself to be in love with him and somehow he saw through her actions. And she knew Damon knew it. She even suspected that Damon knew she was only marrying him in order to save the family business but it didn't seem to bother him.
She wasn't totally wrong in her assumption. Damon knew his fiancée enjoyed being with him and they could have a fairly untroubled marriage as much as their relationship was. He wished she was more vocal in her feelings, he wished her feelings were stronger and more passionate but he knew Katherine didn't let people in. He was positive she only loved two people in her life – both of her parents. She was fierce and determined but there was always a hint of sadness and melancholy in her eyes. He was aware that love was something hard for her to handle and he only hoped being the perfect boyfriend and lately the perfect husband would reassure her enough to make her trust him in her heart. Just like it had been enough for his mother to love his father endearingly.
And he went the great lengths to try to melt her heart. He took her to romantic getaways in the family jet. He brought her beautiful and expensive gifts but also small, thoughtful non-expensive presents. He made sure to comply to her every wish, regardless of what it was. He tried hard to spoil her more than her father did.
They had been engaged for four months when he thought he was finally getting fruition for his hard work to conquer her heart. He was actually surprised that she changed so much but especially because it seemed to be from night to day. It was like something inside of her blossomed. One day she was the usual distant, polite, collected, almost cold, sad woman he had been together with for a year and a half. Then the next she was full of life, warm, radiant although the hint of sadness was still present. Maybe more present than ever but he was happy for the change in her demeanor. He didn't know what the source of the change was as she still didn't seem to be in love with him but he was a patient man and he absolutely loved that woman. Despite all her flaws, despite her second intentions in marrying him, he knew someday he would possess not only her body but also her heart. And her recent changes just made him love her even more.
Elena Gilbert entered the mansion she was still getting used to. The house was beautiful, much more than she ever dreamed in her audacious dreams. She wanted to be a writer, a very successful one and she dreamed about a big house, a beautiful car and a lovely family with her fiancé Matt Donovan. The house where she was now living was a big upgrade from her dreams but that wasn't the only thing that surpassed her expectations. Matt was a beautiful man, one of the most beautiful she ever came across with. His all-American-boy looks made him cute, hot and sweet at the same time but still he couldn't compare to Damon Salvatore.
Elena had always thought of her life as a fairytale. She was the despised child, the one her father never showed any interest or curiosity in. She felt like she was the ignored girl that someday would find her prince that would change her life drastically. She knew it wasn't going to happen the day she said yes to Matt's proposal as, although lovely and endearing, he wasn't the prince that would make her a princess instead of the forgotten sister but she liked him enough to say 'yes' to him. It was okay that she would never really have what the girls had in the fairytale books and movies. Her father wouldn't plead for her forgiveness and show his willingness to indeed be her father. Her sister wouldn't embrace her as if they had some long lost connection to be restored. And no prince would make her feel like she wasn't the girl her family didn't acknowledge or even cared about.
But that was until her father called her mother to make a vile proposal. Both she and her mother had been shocked by what John wanted Elena to do but after some insistence Elena decided to help her father. He wasn't there for her all those years and she knew it had been Isobel's choice to keep her. He gave Isobel a chance to hunt her dreams, he sent money that although wasn't enough to give Elena a life comparable with the one Katherine had it was still enough for to live without any financial concerns.
As much as she wanted her father to look for her for totally different reasons, Elena Gilbert was grateful. He didn't give her love but Isobel gave it to her for both of them and the only reason why Elena had everything she needed in life was because of her father's kindness towards them. And that's why after some thought and many arguments with her mother she finally found herself moving from Boca Raton to New York. To pretend to be her sister. To be a sophomore at Columbia. To be dad's favorite daughter. To be Damon Salvatore's fiancée.
AN: so this is my new work. I'm doing my best to make it my best story to date. I hope you like the plot, I'll go further about the present situation but I suppose that's the only info I'll give about the girls birth and the agreement between Isobel, John and Jenna.
Feedback is love guys. Thanks a lot to May, my beta
DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN THE VAMPIRE DIARIES OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS