Disclaimer: Don't own TVD.
Somewhere In Between
Chapter One: Blank Document
Elena Gilbert stares intently at the open word document on her computer screen and tries desperately to think of something that could resemble the beginnings of a clever, opening line to open the first scene and restart the climb to the peak of the complex storyline that she's so carefully constructed.
The problem is, she thinks with frustration pulling a hand through her ebony tumble of hair, is that she's got no clue how to pick up where they'd left off in the last scene.
Blowing out a breath and leaning back in the computer chair she adores, she picks up her coffee mug and takes a sip, contemplating glaring at the screen and the blinking cursor that seems to be taunting her.
With a huff, Elena spins around on her chair to look at the cream wall that sits so close behind her that it reminds her how tiny this office actually is.
Sitting at the back of an old three story building in the middle of Mystic Falls, the office is only slightly bigger than a shoebox and just as bland with cream walls that she's considered covering up and instead decided to leave alone. The two main features in the room are a minuscule kitchenette in the back corner that holds a coffee pot which sits next to a sink and an array of mismatched mugs which sit next to the sink and the enormous worn desk littered with notepads, pens and discarded pieces of paper, which she currently has her back to.
Taking another sip of her coffee, Elena heaves a sigh and then decides it may be worth staring at the computer screen a little bit longer when she hears the bang of a door being shut and the tell-tale click of high heels.
It makes her grin and she spins back around to face both her computer and the door that led into the cramped room just as her co-writer Caroline Forbes stomps through it.
Fashionable, intelligent and sometimes flighty, Caroline is as blond as Elena is dark and as outspoken as Elena is quiet. It's a combination, Elena knows, which serves the purposes of their job quite nicely as the characters they've created together hold traits that both women know intimately.
One trait, Elena knows, is sitting comfortably on her friends face in the form of a scowl she has a pretty good idea stems from a certain actor who knows how to get under the blonds skin like nothing else.
"Hi. Good morning?" Elena asks conversationally as Caroline throws her handbag down by the desk and boots up her computer.
The blond flicks her hair over her shoulder and glowers a little. "I've had better. Do you know what I hate about men?"
"No. But I'm assuming you're going to tell me?"
Leaning back in her chair, Elena takes another sip of coffee as Caroline stalks over to their kitchenette to pour herself a cup of coffee and tries not to grin at the way her friend glares at the coffee maker.
"I hate that you spend one night with them. One. And they assume you're asking for a marriage proposal or, I don't know, a toothbrush or even buying a certain food to keep for you. Honestly, they're so stupid sometimes!" Caroline spits out, waving the coffee pot around like it's a weapon and causing the black liquid to come dangerously close to spilling over.
"Ah. So, Stefan freaked out this morning?" Elena asks again, finding this conversation much more amusing then her blank word document.
Caroline narrows her eyes. "No. No, Stefan didn't freak out this morning. Stefan wasn't even there. He bailed. And then when I called him, he was all weird on the phone, asking me if I'd picked everything of mine up and had it with me. Like if there was even a trace of me in his apartment it was tantamount to the serious relationship he's trying so desperately not to be involved with."
Elena can't help it. She hides her grin in her coffee mug and decides to not remind Caroline that by this afternoon she would have forgiven Stefan Salvatore for bailing because a huge bouquet of flowers would arrive by lunchtime as an apology to the blond.
"You were warned not to get involved with him, Care, remember?" She reminds and the blond huffs before taking a sip of her coffee.
"I know. Why didn't I listen?"
Elena decides it's best not to answer the question because she's pretty sure that it would only irritate Caroline further and she knows, from experience, that working with an irritated Caroline was hard enough.
She'd learned that in the first few months of working with the blond two, nearly three, years ago when they'd been thrown together as two new, fresh writers for the explosive new drama series Somewhere In Between that an irritated Caroline meant slow progress on both the writing aspect of things as well as the story development and she has no doubt that if she's not careful, Stefan Salvatore's character Jack, the leading man in their series, is going to end up trapped somewhere nasty if she pushes too hard.
As it is, Elena's got a feeling that Jack's storyline is going to be thrown for a loop anyway, just because Stefan wasn't there when Caroline woke up this morning.
Deciding she may as well find out what Caroline's got in store for Jack, Elena sets her mug down and leans forward as the blond moves to her side of the desk and sits down.
"Whatever. Doesn't matter. What matters is where the hell we're going to take Arianna and Jack. They're both single right now and - "
Caroline cuts her off. "In Arianna's bedroom. I don't know if we should have them hook-up just yet. I mean, Jack's just got out of a relationship with Jamie."
"I know. But he broke up with Jamie for Ari. Besides, Lexi's getting antsy about what's going to happen between the two of them." Elena points out, reminding Caroline of the conversation they'd had last week with Lexi Stevens who played Arianna the main protagonist of their show.
"What if we just open with them asleep. Jack can be more noble then his counterpart and still be there in the morning." Caroline mutters the last part even as she's clicking on her computer screen and Elena knows she's opening her email.
"But do we have signs that they hooked up or is it going to be totally innocent? Or do we just keep it completely ambiguous until they have to admit it?"
"We can't keep it ambiguous, everyone wants to know if they're going to hook up and they're going to want to see it, too. But it doesn't have to be totally innocent. Maybe if they go downstairs for breakfast and we deal with the sexual tension then?"
Elena frowns. "Maybe. But - "
She starts a little at Caroline's yelp of surprise and is grateful she's not leaning too far back in her office chair just in case she completely lost balance and the chair tipped.
"What the hell, Caroline!" Elena exclaims and the blond shakes her head in excitement at the words. "No, seriously, what the hell? Did Stefan apologize in an email?"
Caroline's blue eyes snap up to hers, the blonds grin wide and just a touch wicked as she only just stops herself from bouncing in the black office chair that's the twin of Elena's.
"Nuh-uh. We just hit the jackpot with our storyline's, my friend. We just hit the jackpot big time. Want to know why?"
Elena furrows her brow at the question, completely confused as to why this news is so exciting. As a general rule, the producers of the show leave them to their own devices and rarely throw something at them that would cause Caroline to react so excitedly.
"Sure, why not?" She replies frankly.
Caroline smirks a little at her answer and Elena rolls her eyes as the dramatic side to Caroline's nature makes an appearance as the blond waits a beat and then two before announcing the news.
"Damon Salvatore wants to come back."
Elena freezes at the news.
For a moment, she's got no idea what to say to the news and, for once, she can't think about how to respond to the announcement.
Then because Caroline's waiting for an excited answer, she slowly forces herself to relaxe into her seat, blowing out a breath and schooling her face to the excitement Caroline's looking for and not to the horror she's feeling inside.
"Seriously? He wants to come back?" She asks.
"Uh-huh. For a six episode story arc. Apparently, they've been in talks with him for a while and now they want us to come up with something that they can offer him before he seals the deal."
Elena eyes Caroline as the blond starts bouncing in her seat and then sighs, knowing that the producers of the show won't take kindly to her reacting unprofessionally to the news. Neither will Caroline but Elena knows she'd much rather deal with Caroline then explain to producers why she's horrified at the thought of the breakout star of Somewhere In Between returning to the show and character that made him famous.
"Okay. So, Aiden's coming back then?"
Caroline nods enthusiastically. "Yep. If we can get an outline up the producers by this afternoon and Damon's okay with what we've done then he's back. Shit, I can't wait to write his and Arianna's first meeting…"
Elena tunes the blond out as a quiet ache in her heart slowly starts to reopen as she wonders how she's meant to write Aiden when she hasn't given him – or Damon Salvatore – a thought in nearly a year and a half.
Swallowing hard, Elena reaches up and rubs the heel of her hand over the ache. The problem, she thinks, is that she doesn't want to write a new storyline for Aiden because she doesn't think that Arianna can handle having the love of her life returning to shake up her world when she's only just accepted Jack.
That's going to be her explanation when she suffers from writer's block when Caroline stops talking and they have to start on the outline for this new story arc.
Elena can only hope that Caroline accepts the excuse when it's only partially true. She can only hope that Caroline doesn't remember that the character of Aiden was her creation, that she doesn't remember that the bad boy with the inability to love anyone but Arianna and their subsequent relationship hadn't been based on the relationship between her and the actor who'd played Aiden.
She can only hope that her friend's forgotten the hint of a relationship between herself and Damon Salvatore.
She can only hope because she doesn't want to explain to Caroline – or anyone – just what that hint of a relationship had actually been.
"Elena? Elena, sweetie? Come back to earth."
Elena starts again at the hand being waved in front of her face and refocuses on Caroline, forcefully pulling her mind away from the thoughts plaguing it and pushing the quiet ache in her heart to the back of her mind.
"I'm back. Sorry."
Caroline leans back in her chair. "Thinking about how awesome it's going to be to write Aiden back into the show?"
"Sure. How long do we have before we need to get it up to the producers?" She asks and Caroline scans the email again.
"This afternoon. And they want rewrites for the break-up between Jamie and Jack as well." Caroline continues reading even as she replies and then smirks again. "Though we won't have to email it up to them. Apparently, Damon's already in Mystic Falls. He can't wait to get to work."
"So, what does that mean?" Elena asks, even though she's pretty sure she knows.
Caroline glances up. "It means that we've got to get the rewrite and outline done and hand deliver them to the respective parties. Which means you get to take the outline to Damon seeing as I want to make Stefan really uncomfortable this afternoon."
Elena considers arguing and then realizes that it's useless.
There's not much she can argue with when Caroline doesn't know that a year and a half ago, she and Damonwere caught somewhere in between the hint of a relationship and nothing at all.
Blowing out a breath, Elena can't help but think this is worse than staring at a blank word document.
A/N: Okay, so definitely not my best writing but, hey, it was fun to write. This isn't going to be as complicated as Sinner, for those who are reading my other story, but its going to be a fun, little romance because, God knows, I highly doubt that we're even going to get some nice romance between Damon and Elena in the coming season. And it's my first all human story, which is going to be fun, I think. Anyway, I hope you guys liked it and I'll try and update as soon as I can. Also, the title - and name of the show - is borrowed from the Lifehouse song of the same name. I do hope you enjoyed!