Chapter 4: Through the Looking Glass
Tyler saw his opportunity to make things right. Of all the people who had to know he was not Damon, Elena was number one on his list. She looked around the Grill and spotted him, and he waved.
She looked anxious. Probably had something to do with Stefan, he figured. She came over to him.
"Damon. Where have you been? We were supposed to meet at my house at like an hour ago, to talk about finding leads on Stefan."
"I know, I'm sorry. It's been a…interesting morning to say the least. Can you sit down, please?" She sighed and then sat. Her hands faced squarely on the table. Tyler put his hands over hers. "Okay, Elena, I need to tell you something and everything I'm about to say is true. It's going to sound crazy, but I need you to believe me. Okay?"
"Damon, what are you talking about? Is this about Stefan?"
"No. It's not. Okay, first of all, I'm not Damon." Elena rolled her eyes.
"I don't know what you're doing, but we don't have time. Stefan is missing. Okay and whatever game you're playing, I don't want to play." She went to get up, but Tyler grabbed her arm.
"I'm not playing. I'm not Damon." She sat back down and folded her arms.
"Okay, then who are you?"
"As in Lockwood?"
"Yes." She laughed.
"Right, and I'm Angelina Jolie."
"No, really. I'm Tyler. Look, I can't explain what happened. I woke up this morning in Damon's body and he woke up in mine. I don't know what is going on. Really. He was just here and he left with Caroline, which is why I need your help. He's with her, and I don't know what he's going to say to her or do. Please."
"You really expect me to believe that you're not Damon, but Tyler Lockwood and somehow you've ended up in Damon's body?" He nodded. "Have you been drinking?"
"No! Elena, I'm serious. Ask me, ask me something that Damon could never know, only something that I would know." She had this weird smirk on her face.
"Okay. We were twelve, it was my birthday party. My first boy-girl party. You and I were picked to go play Seven Minutes in Heaven, which really annoyed Matt. And because I liked Matt, and you were Matt's friend, what happened?"
"We didn't kiss. We sat in there and talked about our fears. Our biggest fears. Mine was, or rather is, spiders. Yours was thunder." Elena's mouth widened.
"How…how is this possible?"
"We live in Mystic Falls and you're asking me? I don't know, maybe some kind of spell. Look, I don't know and to be honest, I don't care. I just know I want to be in my body and…." But he couldn't finish.
"And you want to make sure Caroline's okay?" He nodded. Elena stood up. "Well, if it's a magical problem we need to go to the expert in magic." Bonnie. "I have my car. We'll drive there," she said, giving him the 'let's go' head nod. And he followed.
Tyler realized this was the most time he'd ever spent alone with Elena Gilbert since that night of her birthday. She was pretty. Everybody thought so, but he never saw her as anything other than a friend. But he could see , or feel, that Damon loved her, and that sucked. For once him and Damon were in the same place, looking in from the outside at something they would never get. He'd never have Caroline and Damon would never have Elena. She would always be Stefan's, and Caroline? Well, Caroline would always be someone else's.
They drove in silence, until Elena decided to speak. "You really care about her, don't you?"
"Is it that obvious?"
"Kinda. You're not exactly Mr. Feelings, Tyler. Never have been, but when you're around Caroline, or talking about her, I can tell." Tyler shook his head.
"I know it's stupid. She'll never see me as anything other than a friend, and it's stupid to think we could ever work, but we have this…"
"Connection? I know. So do me and Damon. I mean, Stefan." Tyler chuckled. "What?"
"You sure you don't mean Damon? I'm not a psychology major, but I know a Freudian Slip."
"No, I meant Stefan. It doesn't have to make sense, Tyler. Love doesn't make sense sometimes. And I don't think Caroline thinks of you as just a friend." He smiled, wildly, like a fourteen year old girl.
"Really? Has she said something?" And then he realized how lame that sounded. "Sorry, didn't mean to sound so…eager." Elena laughed.
"No, it's okay. This is actually getting my mind off of Stefan."
"Yeah, I know. It sucks."
"Yep. But as far as Caroline, it's not what she says, but how she says it. You know? You're always in her stories, and she just gets this look when she talks about you. Even if she doesn't realize it yet. She will." Tyler shrugged.
"Not if Damon has his way."
"Damon can be an ass, but…he's not as bad as you think."
"To you. He loves to screw with me."
"Well, look, we'll go to Bonnie's and everything will be fix…" Elena stopped suddenly. "Shit."
Tyler looked at her abruptly, concerned. "What?"
"I just remembered. Bonnie's visiting her mom this weekend. Out of state."
"What? What the hell am I going to do?"
"I don't know, but we'll figure it out. I promise."
"Yeah, we'll figure it out." He listened to the words, but they didn't resonate and somehow he feared he'd be stuck as Damon Salvatore for the rest of his undead life.