Chapter 1

Elena Gilbert was an ordinary girl with an ordinary life. But she had extraordinary beauty. Her beautiful doe brown eyes were surrounded by a flawless face and beautiful, stick-straight brown hair. Of course she didn't believe it when people told her how pretty she was. She was very shy and didn't think much of herself.

She lived in New York City in a small apartment building. Not that she was complaining; she had a door attendant who wouldn't let anybody up to her room. Mike was very protective of her in the fact that she lived alone. She had no pets to keep her company because she didn't want them. She loved cats but was never home enough to take care of one. There were very few pictures or anything decorative in the apartment itself. She didn't think she needed a lot.

Despite what she told herself about her life and whether she wanted to admit it or not, she was extremely lonely. She had no family and rarely dated. Not that this little fact bothered her a lot.

I don't want a repeat of my last boyfriend. I'm not going there ever. Period.

Elena did enjoy her job at a bank. She was one of the top full-time tellers in Original Inc. She had many compliments on her flawless attendance record and outstanding jobs when handling customers.

None of this mattered to Elena. It was a job to pay the bills, that was all. She didn't know what else she was good at and liked her simple life. Her life had been excessively complicated when she used to live in Mystic Falls. She was never going back there ever again. Even the memories of what happened there caused her eyes to brim with tears.

Coming into work on a rainy Tuesday morning, Elena shook her umbrella from the water droplets on it. She didn't have a car and took the bus to and from work every day.

"Elena! How are you doing today?" asked Elijah, her boss, as she was walking into the building.

"Very well, thank you Elijah," she responded politely before walking to the associate's break room.

"Morning Caroline," she said to a pretty blonde girl who was sipping her coffee at one of the tables.

"Morning Elena. Hey, a couple of the girls and I were going to head to one of the bars after work to have a few drinks and hang out. Do you want to join us?" she asked.

"Sorry Caroline, but I already have plans tonight," Elena said firmly.

"I know you're lying Elena. Why not? You never go out and have fun! All you do all day is work then go home. And you never meet any cute guys. I'm going to change that-" Elena wanted nothing to do with Caroline's so-called dating plans. She heard rumors that she slept around a lot with a different guy in her bed every Saturday night.

"Caroline, I said 'No Thank You'" Elena repeated firmly. She didn't ever date and didn't want to for different reasons.

"Ok, ok, just asking," she said again before exiting the room. Elena finished her own coffee before heading out to the front desks of the building.

People were starting to come in. Elena helped the customers with a polite smile and her day went on as usual.

About ten o'clock the busy hustle was starting to die down. Elena was organizing her desk when she heard someone approach her on the other side of it.

Looking up her eyes were looking into the bluest set of eyes she had ever seen before in her life. And they belonged to probably the most gorgeous guy she had ever seen. He had a beautiful smile, dark black hair that was a little long and wet but still framed his face like a black curtain, and she could tell from his upper body that he was very well built. But what really struck her were his clothes. He was wearing black shoes and black pants as well as a dark black scarf. His jacket was most likely expensive leather and a bright red t-shirt underneath.

"Hello miss…Elena," he said reading her nametag in the sexiest voice she had ever heard.

"Hello sir. How may I help you today," she said politely, trying to hide her nervousness in her voice.

"Well, actually, I'm not here to do any banking. I came here to look for someone," he spoke softly.

"Ok, did you want me to page someone for you?" she asked.

"Actually, I think you'll do just fine," he said with a smile.

"I beg your pardon?" she asked in surprise. She was hoping this guy wasn't some pervert.

"Would you like to have lunch with me?" he asked her politely.

"I'm sorry sir, but I don't even know you!" she exclaimed, getting defensive.

"Please?" he asked with a puppy-dog expression.

"Is there a problem over here?" asked a voice from behind her. It was Elijah.

"No, Elijah, this gentleman was just leaving," Elena said while glancing at the man.

The man looked at her with a kind look.

"If you change your mind, here's my card with my cell phone number on it. Please give me a call. I know it must be strange and nerve wrecking for a stranger to ask you out, but I promise I don't bite and I'm not a rapist, I assure you. I just wanted to ask a pretty girl out," he said calmly before exiting the building.

"Well, that was just bizarre. Elena, are you alright? Do you know him?" asked Elijah when he turned to look at her.

"Yes, I'm fine, thank you. No, I don't know who he is and I would like to get back to work if that's ok with you?" she said timidly.

"Of course, of course. Carry on then." Elijah generally spoke with propriety.

No sooner had Elijah left Elena when Caroline bounced over to her. It was obvious she had heard the whole thing.

"Elena a guy asked you out and you didn't even respond? What the hell is wrong with you?" she asked excitedly.

"I don't go out with people I don't know fairly well," explained Elena.

"Well, now's your chance to take a chance! Go out with him, see where it will lead. Just for safety reasons go somewhere public, meet there in two different vehicles, make sure to not leave him alone with your drink, etc., and you'll be fine. But just in case, here's my number if you need a ride home," she said before handing her a piece of paper. Before Elena could reply, she walked away.

Elena now turned to look at the card the mysterious man had given her.

"Damon Salvatore? That's his name?" she asked aloud. In any normal circumstances she wouldn't even think about dating a guy she had just met. She was a very private person and it had been that way for many years. But maybe Caroline was right; maybe she did need to get out of her shell for once in her life and take a risk.

Before she could lose her nerve, she picked up the phone and dialed the number on the card.

"Hello?" said the sweet, sexy voice she had heard only minutes before.

"I was wondering if I could take you up on your offer?"