A/N: I hope you guys aren't disappointed. This chapter took some work. I didn't want to rush them through anything, so I hope it worked.

A month later….

Elena stood in the center of her room, letting out a deep sigh, as she looked around. Damon had replaced the broken mirror, the remaining pictures in a box in her dresser. She wasn't sure she wanted to be back in the house, but Damon told her it was time. So they moved back home. It was hard for the first few nights not having Jenna around, and she would never admit it to anyone, but she was used to being at the boarding house with Damon. However he surprised her by spending the nights on the couch.

So far, he had spent the nights downstairs, mostly keeping things on a friendly level. The time they spent at the boarding house wasn't anything worth fireworks, just going about their normal day, and much to her… dismay they hadn't spent anymore nights together. She wasn't sure how to push things in the right direction. After running off the last time they slept in the same bed, she felt horrible for making him second guess where he stood with her. Then the first morning she had found him downstairs making breakfast for them, like he had been doing all this time, he kissed her. Not a full blown make out but still… he had kissed her and she felt like they were acting like scared teenagers. They didn't talk about it, but she felt like they were supposed to. Anyone who watched them together would say they were dating, the way they cuddled on the couch, or stole glances at one another, it was obvious they were more than friends.

She took a deep breath and rubbed her sweaty palms on her pajama shorts before heading downstairs. Jeremy was out with some friends so she had the house to herself with Damon. She wasn't sure what she intended on happening, but she knew she wasn't sleeping another night alone. She was ready for them, and she just had to convince him. He was either going to make it super easy or super hard, she just had no idea which one.

He was in the kitchen digging around in the fridge and she watched him with amusement from the doorway, wearing his black pajama pants. She couldn't believe he wore pajamas normally, but it wasn't like he could be naked around here. "You're still hungry?" she teased. He always made enough food for an army, but sometimes they would have guests. Ric stopped over sometimes, as did Bonnie and Caroline. At first it started out as making sure they were okay with adjusting, then it turned into checking on her to see what was going on with Damon, and on a day where it was just Caroline, the blonde had asked if they were sleeping together yet and Elena nearly choked on her own air. So all the tension between her and the older Salvatore wasn't going unnoticed by everyone else.

Damon snorted. "No I'm full," he said turning to face her. He narrowed his eyes briefly as he often did when he already knew something she didn't, but she didn't make a comment.

She forced herself to calm down. This was Damon for god sakes. She knew he loved her. She knew that she had to push this. He was just… giving her space to make sure she processed everything that was going on in her life. To allow her the time to grieve for her aunt and her boyfriend. She didn't like walking on eggshells around him. He was the only one she never had to do that with until now and she hated it. "So I was thinking," she said carefully as she moved around the counter so she could stand in front of him. "I mean… my bed isn't that big but its bigger than the couch."


"Please?" she whispered, a brief moment of panic flutter through her. Maybe it wasn't her. Maybe he needed time too. She didn't know how you got over losing someone after loving them for 150 years, but she didn't imagine that it was a walk in the park. "Isn't this what you want? I mean, you kissed me the other day and I just thought… we were out of the just friends stage." They were practically together already, she just… wanted something to solidify their connection. She hated labels, and putting boyfriend on Damon didn't seem to fit, but she didn't care.

Damon's hands came to settle on her hips, and some of the tension seeped out of her muscles at his touch as she leaned into him. "I want to be with you sweetheart," he said softly. "That's not a secret. I just don't want to push you into anything you're not ready for."

"You're not," she said firmly her hands running up his chest. "I'm ready for us Damon, I've been ready. You're part of our family now. I'm not… trying to seduce you or anything. I just want you to spend the night with me upstairs."

He chuckled softly and his lips lowered to hers as her arms snaked around his neck. "You know amazing you are?" he murmured against her lips.

Her breath caught in her throat but she lifted her lips once more to his, pressing her body flush against his. She felt shivers all the way down to her toes as his tongue dueled with hers and she laughed happily as he scooped her up and headed to the stairs with ease. She had no complaints as he laid her in the middle of her… their bed. "Damon," she whispered as he trailed kisses over her neck. She chewed on her lip nervously and her heart clenched, but she knew she had to say this.

"Hm?" was his only response as he continued to nibble on her flesh.

She could back out. She could keep her feelings to herself and wait a little bit longer, and he'd never know the difference. But… he should know. It was only fair. She barely turned her head as her lips brushed against the outside of his ear. "I love you," she said softly.

Damon lifted his head from her shoulder, a look of awe gracing his features. She wasn't sure she had ever seen such a look on his face and she smiled a little. He stared at her for a long second and his hand came up to cradle her cheek as he smiled. "I love you too," he said.

She wasn't sure what she expected to happen next, whether the world was going to implode at her admission or if their clothes were going to be scattered across the room in a passionate frenzy, but he merely lowered his lips to hers once more, and she found that to be a better reaction then one she dreamed of. She curled up against him, snuggling into the hard muscle of his body as her hands moved over his chest to his face to finally behind his head where they settled on the base of his skull.

"You guys should close the door," Jeremy said with amusement as he wandered past her room to his own.

Elena blushed a light shade of pink but she giggled anyways. "Oops," she mumbled her thumb stroking his jaw bone. She relaxed against her pillows as Damon got up to shut the door saying good night to Jeremy and a dumb smile curled on her lips as he climbed back in beside her. It surprised her a little at how easily she could slip into his arms, but she was happy. Their hands tangled together as they rested on his stomach, his chest rising and falling with breath he did not need. "So now what?" she murmured.

Damon kissed the top of her hair. "Does it matter?" he asked softly as his fingers stroked through her silky tresses.

She pondered his question for a second before kissing him softly. "Not anymore it doesn't," she whispered. She had everything she wanted. She was safe. Her brother was safe and she was happy. A few months ago if someone told her that Damon would be the one to do that for her, she would have laughed. But she wouldn't trade this for anything in the world.