there it is, we are just one push from the edge.

"I think I want to puke."

"Then puke." Something inside of her wishes he would tell her it's not worth it.

And dare she say it, "You're not even going to stop me?" She says it. Before she thinks too hard and too long and too much, she says it. For a minute she hates herself because she doesn't want him to think he has any type of control over her. Whatsoever.

"Look Blondie, you aren't my problem. I need not worry about you and whatever seventeen year old thoughts are running through your mind."

She's glad when he doesn't press the fact that he knows she wants more out of him. He just can't give it to her.

"Fine, Damon. I'll go puke my guts out."

She walks away thinking she may actually have to. (He still doesn't stop her.)

–;

It's not because she's not Elena, she hears him say – why he doesn't want her. He doesn't want her because she's seventeen and blonde and worries about getting to school on time and sneaking in late at night. He doesn't want her because she's not everything she can be. (She's everything they want her to be.)

And she thinks she's okay with that. With Damon not wanting her at all, no part of her. It makes her feel better knowing that it's not because of Elena. Because everything is about Elena.

(It really is all about Elena. But Damon has just too many charming good looks to tell her.)

So she dreams. She doesn't know why she dreams about him ripping into her neck and her liking it, wanting more of it. She doesn't know why she dreams about him at all. Because all Damon Salvatore is is a bundle of nightmares that wake you in the middle of the night with two thirds fright and one third yearning.

–;

She comes to the conclusion that she will never know what runs through his mind. All she knows is what doesn't, won't ever: her.

And yeah, it pokes and pinches at her when she least expects it. When she's gulping back ginger ale at The Grill, something stings in her eyes and she wonders if she can be good enough for anyone. She thinks about it when she's smiling at a boy (who isn't him) and he smiles back (it really isn't him, Caroline.)

–;

She hates Elena a little every time she sees her.

Because she has Stefan on her arm, Bonnie by her side, Jeremy too. (And she's got Damon.)

(Wrapped around her slender little finger.) And she thinks how could she not be the reason he doesn't want her?

–;

"You're such a liar."

He looks up from his 18th century book, sighs when he sees her leaning against the doorway.

"Hey, Blondie." He ignores her accusation.

"You lied to me, Damon." She doesn't know why it hurts her so bad. Then she remembers. Pretty hair, pretty smile, doppelganger, Elena. Oh yeah, that's why.

"Care to enlighten me on what you believe I did wrong? I've done so many trivial things in my lifetime, Caroli-"

She cuts him off, "About Elena." She stares at him, looks at his perfect, perfect face. (When did you become so brave, my sweet Caroline?)

"You told me you didn't want me. You told me you didn't want me because everyone else already has me, I'm too much. Then I realized, nothing is too much for Damon Salvatore and no one else has ever wanted me. And then I saw Elena. My perfect bestfriend and I thought how could I be so stupid. Of course it's because of her. It is always because of her. Isn't it?"

He looks at her for a long while. And it's not because he doesn't have anything to say, he always does. He just chooses not to.

She walks away moments later, swings the big door of the Salvatore home closed, and pushes back some gnawing feeling.

Inside it's Damon and his bourbon and the fireplace and Caroline saying I wanted you to want me. He thinks he hears her say it when she walks away.

–;

She's usually at The Grill when Matt isn't working. She proposes that it's luck she doesn't run into him, hasn't run into him yet. Then she walks in and sees him clearing away tables, wiping them down, pain and confusion arched in his brow. He looks up when she walks in all pretty hair and leather jacket. He looks back down when she keeps walking.

She makes her way to the bar, asks for another ginger ale, and sulks when the bartender takes away the flask he sees her raise to the glass.

"Nice try, though. I give you props, not any girl would be ballsy enough to try that in public." Elena wouldn't.

Her breath catches in her throat when she looks to her left to see Damon standing extremely close to her. He sits down graceful and she slumps her shoulders with a heavy sigh.

"What are you doing here?" It's been three nights since she confronted him and he didn't say anything. (He didn't say anything, Caroline.)

"I ran out of alcohol at home." He says earnestly, while she knows that he couldn't have possibly ran out; his house has a cellar full of bourbon for him to sip on.

"Really." Nothing like a question.

He compels the bartender into thinking she's not just seventeen, but older. She doesn't even say thank you.

The bottle of bourbon he asked for is sitting between them and occasionally she refills her glass.

"I saw pretty boy eying you when I walked in. He seems a little broken."

"I broke him." she says it with sad eyes, looks at Damon with sad eyes. You're breaking me. She doesn't say that.

He carries her home after she falls off of her bar stool. She tells him it's the nicest thing he's ever done.

(They don't talk about it the next morning or about why he stayed the night.)

–;

She's all tousled hair and pretty legs when he throws back the covers on her bed. She's curled up beneath them wearing her short pajama shorts and a tank top. She gasps at his action and begins to yank the covers back over her. But his strong hand stops them, pulls them back down at the foot of the bed. She hisses his name and he rolls his eyes at her.

"Come on, Blondie. It's nothing I haven't seen before." Her mind flashes back to the days he fed off of her, compelled her, made her a fool and she wants to hate him for it. But then she looks up, sees somber eyes looking back at her, and lays her hands back down beside her.

"You need something, Damon?" She asks because what else is she supposed to say? Come on in, have a good time?

He weighs down the edge of her bed, stares at her shelf full of pictures of before him, before vampires, before he screwed her up. She follows his stare and suddenly feels like she's eight and she's embarrassed about what he sees.

"Tho-Those are old...stupid -I don't know why I even – I..." She stops talking because she hears her voice, how ugly it sounds, and decides that she's been made a fool enough.

"They're nice." God, why is he here. "They're you, Caroline."

She sighs, "Yeah, I guess they are."

And then he's hovering over her, staring at her forehead because he can't seem to look into her eyes, feels her suck in his hot breath. It's so scandalous: him, her, him on top of her, her wanting it, him wanting it to be someone else.

She pushes him off of her when he closes his eyes. Doesn't even know why she does it.

–;

When Caroline Forbes used to think about the future she always saw herself with Matt, sex that was sweet, pool in the backyard, extravagant parties on the weekends. She'd roll in her money, smile in every single family picture, read a book while Matt read the newspaper, sip ginger ale often. (She used to say she'd be wishing it was alcohol instead, but that wasn't picture perfect. So she would settle for ginger ale.)

Caroline Forbes thinks about the future now and realizes it will be nothing less than a royal fuck up because that's all she's ever gonna get. And she better appreciate it.

(Because in that future, she images that she'll have Damon on weekdays and maybe he'll still throw her away on the weekends.) But at least she'll get that much.