Chapter 18: The Unexpected

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." –When Harry Met Sally

Elena's stomach churned furiously as she tapped her fingernails rhythmically against the cool leather interior of Damon's car. It had been nearly a month since the night on the roof that had changed their lives forever and since then life had seemed to move around Elena in a quick blur of motion that seemed to happen without her.

Shortly after she had found out about her pregnancy, Elena had started her job with the New York Post. She had been hired as a contributing editor and quickly learned that meant that she contributed her ideas and someone else used them in their pieces. She also realized that meant that she was a glorified coffee maker and errand runner. Her boss seemed to scrutinize her every move and most of the people in her office looked past her as if she wasn't there, they all knew who her boyfriend was and all assumed that he was the reason why she was there. It took a mere ten minutes to realize she definitely wasn't in Mystic Falls anymore and about ten more to realize that she actually missed it.

To add to the stress of the new life that was forming around her, Damon had started a new case the same week that the news had dropped about her pregnancy. He was handling a very high profile murder case that took more time than he seemed to have. He spent his days in court and his nights hunched over his desk working furiously over the stacks of papers that grew higher with every passing day. Elena tried her best to support him when she was home by cooking him dinner and bringing him bourbon as she noticed the stress building behind his blue eyes, but sometimes just standing behind him and gently massaging her fingers into the tense muscles of his shoulders seemed to be the only thing that calmed him.

But, with all the stress that moved through their lives as work and life exploded around them, Elena had never been more terrified of anything than the moment she was speeding toward at that very second. Damon had insisted they return to Mystic Falls for the weekend of the Founder's Day party and see their families while they both had the time to do it. Elena had agreed, but knew deep down that if she stepped foot in that town, by the time she left the world would know about her pregnancy and the rumors and opinions would begin to spread like wildfire. She no longer feared her pregnancy like she had that day on the bathroom floor, but she did, however, fear her mother and that woman was definitely going to have words to say about all of this.

"You're going to break your nails off if you tap any harder over there." Damon quipped sarcastically as he smiled from the driver's seat. Elena pulled herself from her thoughts and turned to look at Damon as she carefully pulled her hands into her lap.

"Sorry, just a little nervous I guess." She said quickly as she began to twist her fingers in her lap and tap her foot against the floor mat. Damon nodded carefully as his eyes returned back to the highway.

"You know we don't have to tell everyone right now if you don't want to. We can wait and tell them whenever you are ready, we still have eight months." He said with a laugh. Elena smiled, but shook her head.

"No, I need to tell my mom. I have nothing to be ashamed about and so I should be able to tell her this without worrying that she is going to cause a scene. I guess, I just worry about…" She started, but she really didn't want to finish her sentence. She didn't want Damon to realize how petty she really had become at this point. Damon's smile faded and he sighed.

"You're worried about what everyone will think." He said in a very matter of fact tone as he leaned his head back against his headrest. Elena looked town and twisted her fingers together slightly faster.

"I know that probably makes me sound ridiculous." She mumbled to herself. Damon smiled and shook his head.

"No, it makes you sound human Elena. It's fine to worry about what your parents think, but in the end it is your life. No matter what your mother thinks about us or the baby it doesn't change anything, at least not for me." He said as he stared out over the highway. Elena turned her gaze from her overworked fingers to Damon's profile. She smiled for the first time since she had been in the car that day as she admired the beauty of the man that she had loved for longer than she could remember. Slowly, she reached her hand across the center console that separated their bodies and slid her hand onto Damon's jean clad thigh. He turned his head toward her and smiled as he met her warm chocolate brown eyes.

"It doesn't change anything for me either Damon…not a thing." She said softly. Damon nodded and then dropped one of his hands from the steering wheel and intertwined his fingers with Elena's. He raised her small hand to his mouth and placed a gentle kiss to the soft skin on the back of her hand. He knew that this trip back to Mystic Falls was the last thing that Elena wanted to do, but deep down they both knew they had to do it. Their families would find out sooner or later about the baby and after years of experience, Damon was sure sooner was definitely better than later especially now.

After a few more hours on the highway and a short nap, Elena finally opened her tired eyes in fear as she felt the car come to a stop. She took in a long deep breath preparing for the vision of her mother's house, but felt confusion wash over her as she looked out the window and found herself in the small parking lot of the Mystic Falls Cemetery just on the edge of town. Elena turned her head and stared at Damon who was slowly pulling his keys out of the car's ignition. She titled her head to the side as she studied Damon's expression that now seemed unreadable and suddenly realized exactly why they were there.

"Do you want me to wait in the car while you…?" She started to ask, but stopped as Damon began to shake his head. He looked up at her and his soft cobalt blue eyes nearly turned her to jelly as they seemed to stare into somewhere deep inside of her.

"I want you to come with me Elena, she would want to see you probably more than me." He said with a smirk. Elena smiled softly.

"I highly doubt that Damon." She whispered. Damon nodded and then reached for his door and slowly stepped out into the orange glow of the mid afternoon sun.

Damon walked slowly through the yellowing fall grass of the cemetery and led Elena behind him by the hand. He hadn't been to see his mother's grave since the day he had left Mystic Falls after her funeral and now that he was back in town he knew she was the first stop he needed to make for many reasons. After a few minutes of walking through the eerily silent distance that surrounded them, Damon stopped in front of a large beautiful marble headstone that was adorned with beautiful bright flowers. He knew his father must have been their recently since all the flowers looked relatively new and he wondered to himself how often his father had sat alone at that stone since he'd been gone.

"Hi, Mom." Damon whispered as he stared down at the stone that his mother's body lay beneath. Elena squeezed his hand, but remained silent next to his side. They stood in silence for a few moments as Damon fought back the tears he had been avoiding while in New York, but finally he released Elena's hand and turned toward her.

"Elena, I brought you here today because there is something that I want to talk to you about and this was the only place that I could think of that was right. God, this is going to seem morbid, but I need you to please hear me out, alright?" He asked in an almost desperate voice. Elena stared at him in silence for a moment and then finally nodded her head. She couldn't imagine what Damon would want to talk to her about when he had came there to visit his mother, but she wasn't about to object when he seemed so unusually fragile.

"I'm here for whatever you need to talk about." She said as she prepared for the emotional breakdown that she had been waiting for ever since his mother had passed away and they had returned to New York. Damon nodded as he took in a deep breath and before Elena knew what was happening she watched as Damon sunk down to one knee in front of her and took her hand. She stared at him in confusion as she felt her breathing begin to pick up.

"Damon what are you…?" She started to ask, but before she could finish Damon began.

"Elena, the past few months have been the best months of my entire life barring what happened with my Mom. After that day that I left you on Bonnie's doorstep I never thought I would find true happiness again and I had resigned myself to the fact that my work would bring me my only happiness and that was the life I was destined to have. Then you blew back into my life in that purple dress and ever since my entire worldv has changed. I have never loved anyone the way that I love you and being with you makes me feel like I'm not just an attorney with a reputation to protect, but a man." He said as he finally took a breath and cleared his throat. Elena felt her legs begin to shake as tears began to well up in her eyes.

"You are a man Damon, you are a wonderful man." She whispered softly. Damon let out a breath and then looked down before he continued.

"I have only been that man since you came back to me Elena, and that is why I brought you here today…there's something I need to ask you." He said slowly. Elena swallowed thickly.

"Something you wanted to ask me in a cemetery?" She asked with a small smile trying to lighten the mood before she fell over. Damon smiled as he shrugged his shoulders.

"I made a promise to my mom about this one and you know I keep my promises Miss Gilbert." He said with a light sarcasm. Elena tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes at him.

"Promise to what?" She asked. Damon swallowed and for the first time Elena saw anxiety cloud his beautiful blue eyes.

"Promise that she would be the first person to know when I found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with." He said softly. Elena swallowed again and felt her heart begin to hammer in her chest. Her mind raced and she finally realized exactly what was happening.

"Damon…if this is because…." She started, but Damon shook his head quickly and a stern look moved across his face as he dismissed her thought.

"Elena, I wanted to be with you forever far before that pregnancy test came out positive so never ever think that is why I am asking you this. I am in love with you Elena and I want you to be my wife." He said as he dipped his free hand into his pocket and pulled out a small black velvet box. Elena's legs shook harder beneath her as Damon opened the box and lifted it next to her trembling hand. A beautiful princess cut diamond sat in a perfect platinum setting just inches from her fingertips. It was intricate, classic, and beautiful…just like Damon.

"Marry me Elena, not because you're pregnant but because you love me and because I am hopelessly in love with you." He said as his eyes burned brightly into hers. Elena let out a breath and as the air left her lips, tears began to spill down her cheeks. Fear flashed through Damon's eyes, but it was quickly replaced with relief as he saw a smile break out over Elena's lips as she nodded her head.

"Yes Damon. I will marry you, God yes." Elena whispered as she fell to her knees and joined him in the grass. Damon smiled and let out a sigh of relief as he pulled the diamond ring from the box and slid it slowly onto Elena's long thin finger. Tears poured down Elena's face as she watched Damon's fingers shake slightly as he put the ring in place and then finally return his gaze to hers.

"I love you Elena, I promise I will never leave you alone ever again. I will spend my life trying to make you happy." He said as he stared into her teary doe eyes. Elena nodded and moved closer to him.

"I love you too Damon, I have always loved you and I always will." She whispered as she pulled him closer to her and crushed her mouth against his in a loving kiss that sealed their hearts promise.

After a few more moments on the ground, Damon finally pulled away from Elena and slowly pulled them both to their feet. He smiled at her as he held her hand in his and then turned his gaze back to the large stone that sat before them. He reached his free hand out and ran it over the smooth top of the marble stone and let out a ragged breath.

"I love you Mom…thank you." He whispered as he stared at the flowers and engraved lettering of his mother's name that stared back at him. Elena wiped her eyes and fell silent as she allowed Damon to share this moment with the memory of his mother.

It took a few minutes, but slowly Damon pulled his gaze from his mother's grave. He ran his fingers through his thick onyx hair and let out a sigh as he stepped back.

"Well, I do believe we have a party to get to." He said with a smirk as he squeezed Elena's hand. Elena sighed and rolled her eyes as she moved closer to him and put her head on his shoulder.

"Do we have to? Why ruin such a beautiful day?" She moaned as she closed her eyes and imagined the evening she had in store for her at her mother's hands. Damon laughed quietly as he slowly began to pull them back toward the parking lot that sat on the opposite end of the cemetery.

"We are founding families Elena; of course we have to go. How could they have a party without the most attractive couple in town?" He asked with a smile. Elena groaned as she followed behind him dragging her feet slightly.

"Would now be a good time to try to seduce you? Why go to the party with my mom when we could just celebrate our wonderful news in the back of your car?" She asked in a humored but desperate tone. Damon laughed as they reached the parking lot and he turned toward her as he lifted one of his brows at her.

"Are you asking me to have sex with you in a cemetery just so you don't have to see your mother?" He asked as he tilted his head to the side and narrowed his eyes at her. Elena shrugged her shoulders and looked down at the ground.

"Maybe." She said in a sweet girlish tone. Damon laughed and shook his head.

"That's morbid, you know that right?" He asked as he moved toward the passenger side of the car to open the door for her. Elena let out a sigh and smiled.

"Morbid? Coming from the man that just proposed to me in a cemetery, I don't think you have any room to talk." She said with a small laugh. Damon smiled and moved closer to her so that his face was just inches from hers. Elena felt her breath catch in her throat immediately and her knees feel weak once again.

"You said yes, didn't you?" He asked seductively. Elena smiled and moved slightly closer to his lips.

"How could I say no? You are the best attorney in New York." She said with a smile as she softly ran her lips over his. Damon smiled and lifted his hand and ran the soft pad of his thumb just over the soft curve of Elena's bottom lip.

"You can sweet talk me all you want sweetie, but you are getting in this car and we are going to see your mother." He said sweetly as his cobalt blue eyes danced with life. Elena let out a sigh as she slowly tore her body from Damon's and slowly lowered herself into the passenger seat in defeat.

"You are no fun Damon." She said as she pretended to pout and crossed her arms over her chest. Damon laughed and shrugged his shoulders at her.

"Oh I'm fun; just wait till we get to your mom's. I'll show you fun." He said as he turned and finally shut the door behind her. Elena closed her eyes and let out a sigh as she settled back in her seat. Fun was far from what she expected once she got to her mother's, let alone what she expected once they got to the party.

The drive across town to Elena's mother's house didn't take near as long as Elena had wanted it to and before she knew it Damon's car was pulling into the long driveway that led up to the large white colonial home that Elena was sure one of her mother's recent boyfriends had paid for.

"I'm really scared Damon." Elena finally admitted as she felt her stomach begin to churn once again at the thought of facing her mother and the rest of the town for that matter. Damon nodded and smiled softly as he reached across the car and gently touched the side of her face. Elena closed her eyes and relaxed into the softness of his touch as fear radiated through her.

"I know, but I'm right here and everything is going to be alright." He said quietly. Elena nodded and then slowly moved her hand and opened her door.

Just as Elena closed the car door behind her, she looked up and saw her mother appear in the doorway of her over sized home and smile as she began moving closer to her. She was wearing a white pant suit that made her auburn hair seem even more vibrant in the fading sun. She walked up to her daughter and put her arms around her and squeezed her tightly as she let out a sigh.

"You made it honey. I am so happy you are here, you look radiant." She said as she brushed her fingers through Elena's hair. Elena sighed as she relaxed into her mother's embrace. Maybe this wasn't going to be as bad as Elena had thought.

"I'm happy to see you too Mom. You look great." Elena said as she slowly pulled away from her mother's embrace and raised her hand to shift her purse onto her shoulder. Miranda froze and stared at her daughter as the smile faded from her lips. Elena felt her heart begin to thud in her chest as she watched her mother's eyes move from her face to the large diamond that protruded from her long thin finger.

"Mom…I…" Elena stuttered as she tried to formulate an explanation for her mother, but it was too late, the look in Miranda's eyes was far past explanations. Miranda let out a sigh as she stepped back from her daughter and crossed her arms over her chest.

"So Elena, when are you due?" She asked in a condescending voice as she smiled sarcastically. Elena felt her heart drop into her stomach as she recognized the cold woman re-emerge that she had been trying to avoid since she was a teenager. Elena took in a long deep breath as she stared at her mother and straightened her stance. In that moment she knew she was no longer the little girl in the car that was afraid of everything, she was a woman who was in love and as much as her mother might hate it, she was not running this time.

Is anybody still with me? God, I am so sorry this took me so incredibly long to update but my writers block has been horrible and I didn't just want to churn out crap for you all to read so here it is. I think just maybe my muse has returned! What did you all think? Please let me know, read and review and keep reading I am trying to update as much of my stuff as possible since it's been so long. Click the button! Nikki