Title is from Stitches by Young Guns. Thank you to everyone that reviewed & added this to alerts etc etc. x


"Damon, please check on your brother and make sure he is ready, whilst I inform the coachmen that we will be leaving promptly."
"Father I…"
But before Damon could finish his sentence, his father was out of the kitchen door and headed in the direction of the stables.
He let his hat fall limp in his hands and sunk onto one of the oak chairs that sat in the kitchen.
"I'm sorry sir, but I believe that you had better do as your father has asked. Forgive me, but I am sure he will be back soon and I would hate to see nothing more than to see you anger him today."
A small, meek voice spoke from behind Damon, an olive skinned hand patting him lightly on the shoulder.
Adrianna. She was young, only seventeen and her crush on Damon was no secret.
He admired her affections but never returned them, simply smiling politely and letting her have her break early.
He began to rattle off the old "It's been a long day and the sun is especially hot today, why don't you take your break early and get a nice glass of lemonade?" line, but something caught his tongue.
He arose from the chair and bowed his head towards her.
"Adrianna, what ever would I do without you? Of course my father will be back soon, maybe it is time that I started paying attention to the things he tells me to do."
He winked and left the kitchen, leaving the poor maid clutching her hands to her chest and staring wistfully at the chair Damon had previously vacated.

"Stefan!" Damon banged loudly on his brother's bedroom door, growing steadily impatient.
Cursing under his breath in fluent Italian, he pushed open the heavy wooden door to find the curtains still drawn and a Stefan sized lump under the bed sheets.
Shaking his brother roughly, he prayed silently that there was a hold up at the stables and the carriages were not yet ready.
"Damon, what are you doing?" Stefan said, waking suddenly and batting his brother's hands away.
"Stefan it is one o'clock! You're late!"
"Dannazione!" Stefan exclaimed, jumping out of his bed swiftly.
Dammit. - Damon rarely heard Stefan curse.
"Brother that language is not like you. I am surprised, even a little proud. Wherever did you hear such a thing?"
"Damon, please. That language is a prime example of some of the profanities that fall out of your mouth ever so casually each day. Do not patronize me."
"Patronize? Me? Never." Damon said, a smirk spreading across his face. He threw a shirt and tie at his brother.
"Put these on and make it quick. I can delay father but not for long, you have about five minutes." He ordered, as Stefan buttoned up the crisp white shirt.

"Damon! Where is your brother?" Giuseppe demanded.
"He is almost ready father, simply tying his shoes. I, however, seem to have ripped my blazer… Would you mind terribly if I asked Adrianna to sew it quickly?" Damon asked, presenting to his father the magnificent tear in the expensive fabric that Damon had implemented moments ago with a shaving knife.

"Damon! How did you do that? No, no time for explanations! Go, quickly!" Giuseppe said, shooing his son into the kitchen.
He sighed heavily and leaned against the banister of the stairs.
Stefan appeared moments later, hair out of place and jacket inside out.
His father sighed heavily once again and began to fuss over his hair.
"I do not know what you do, boy! Look at your jacket! All I ask is that the both of you be presentable but neither of you appear to be able to do that successfully!"
"I am sorry father, I… I was distracted."
"Distracted by what?" Giuseppe demanded, his eyebrows raised in suspicion.
"I had thought of… of…"
"Fixed! Are we ready to go?" Damon announced, entering the foyer.
"Yes, yes of course!" Giuseppe said, leaving the house through the front door swiftly.
"Thank me later." Damon whispered.

"Stefan, you will travel with me in the first carriage. Damon, you will travel with Katherine in the second."
"Yes father." Both boys sounded at the same time.

"I have the pleasure of travelling alongside Damon? Oh Mr Salvatore you are too kind." A soft, melodical voice spoke from behind them.
Katherine was wearing a sleek, sleeveless black dress with lace detailing, a wide skirt and a train at least a meter long.

"Although, I must admit I would rather have both the Salvatore brothers alongside me." She said once Giuseppe's back was turned.
She winked and accepted the assistance of a coachman to help her into the carriage.
Stefan tried to hide his envy, but found himself resenting his brother as he sat in the carriage with his father, knowing that meters away Damon was hearing the tinkling laugh he loved so much.

"I am sure you are bored of my company already, Damon. I am sorry. I am not feeling too well today."
"Au contraire, Katherine! I find your company delightful, as always!"

"Ah, you know French?"

"Oui madame, bien sûr! Ne pas chaque respectable depute?"

Yes madam, of course! Doesn't every respectable gentleman?

"Oh Damon, you are far from respectable!" Katherine giggled, clapping delightfully at his fluency in the language.
"And you told me you struggled with languages!" She said and Damon laughed.
"I struggle yes, but my father's insistence that we learn meant that it was drilled into my brain so that even I could not forget it."

"Ah, it appears that we are here! I have never seen the De Luca estate."
"It is one of the most expensive estates in town. They pride themselves on their lush gardens. They are simply breathtaking." Damon explained, looking into Katherine's wide eyes as he did so.
If I keep looking, Damon thought to himself, if I just keep looking into those eyes, I am sure to see her soul. And I am sure to find it shimmering and golden.

The De Luca estate was grand to the extreme.
The gardens contained three mazes, two small ponds, a large lake, countless fountains, a vineyard, stone walkways supported by ivory coloured columns and a large lawn area where the invitees were gathered.
A band was set up in the far corner of the lawn, a harp playing loudly but softly.
Francesca De Luca was greeting her guests warmly at the front door, her husband stood by her side, shaking hands warmly.
"Giuseppe Salvatore! Welcome! I must introduce you and your sons to my daughter Daniella!" She indicated to a small, slim brunette girl that stood talking to a friend not too far away.
"She is very much like you, Francesca. I thank you warmly for your invite. I hope that your family and mine can put our past behind us and move on." Giuseppe said, smiling gratefully.
Francesca laughed and waved a gloved hand in the air.
"Of course, of course! Now go, and please, enjoy the party!" She said, smiling warmly at each Salvatore man and nodding at Katherine when she bowed her head.

"It truly is a lovely estate, do you not think Stefan?"
"Yes father, it is rather beautiful. I wonder why we do not have so many mazes on our own estate." He asked tentatively.
"Because your mother did not care for mazes on our estate. On other estates, she found them delightful. On ours, she simply discarded a maze as a waste of space that could be used for something else. She demanded to have a larger stable built instead of a maze. She was truly unique, your mother." Giuseppe finished, his eyes were no longer glazed over and were instead focused on his son.
"I want you to inherit the estate, son."
"But the estate…"
"Should go to Damon, I know. But I fear that Damon does not have the correct level of… maturity. You posses much more responsibility. I would rather see the estate fall into your hands."

"Father… I do not think I could take it away from him. He is my brother… I would hate to take this from him."
"Oh Stefan, you are not taking it. I am giving it. And besides, you won't inherit it for years yet, I hope."
His father chuckled at his attempt at humour, but Stefan did not laugh.
His brother would be nothing short of furious when he found out.

"Daniella, I am afraid your advances are at the disapproval of your mother." Damon laughed, removing Daniella's hand from his thigh.
"My mother wishes me to dance, and I want to dance! Who I dance with does not concern her."

Francesca De Luca shot disapproving glances at Damon. When she said she would introduce her daughter to the Salvatore brothers, she of course meant to Stefan.
Everybody wanted their daughter to marry Stefan.
Respectable, well mannered Stefan. Not rebellious, womanizing Damon.
"I am very sorry, but this dance was reserved for me. I am sure Damon will return to you soon enough." Katherine said, pulling Damon from his seat and taking him to the small clearing where other couples were lining up to dance.
"Thank you. The girl was way too young and, quite frankly, annoying and clingy. I don't do clingy." Damon said quietly.
"I admit I did feel a tug of jealousy. I do not appreciate silly girls stealing my possessions!" She said laughing.
"Your possessions?" Damon enquired, moving around her in a circle as the dance began.
"Well, we arrived together. Back in England, that would mean that all of your dances are reserved for me."
"I see but, alas Katherine, you are not in England anymore."
"No. I most certainly am not." She said, smiling from under her eyelashes at him.

He returned her smile, reassured by the fact that she was jealous when another woman pursued him.

Stefan has no chance, he thought to himself.