Disclaimer: Not mine.
Thursday. 8:00pm. Forbes house.
"Seriously, Care?" Elena stared at the blonde vampire in disbelief. "What makes you think I'm going to agree to this? The last time I got all dressed up for a big town event was Miss Mystic Falls, and look how that turned out."
Caroline's face screamed determination. "It's a charity fundraiser, that's all. You get to dress up and be pretty and have fun like a normal person. What's so wrong with that?"
It was a late Thursday evening, and the girls were sitting on Caroline's bed. Some ridiculous reality show was playing in the background (one of those dating programs, Elena was sure, but she wasn't paying attention enough to recognize which one) and they were gorging themselves on popcorn and having a girly night. Bonnie had been invited, but she was out with Jeremy for the evening.
With a roll of her eyes and a smile, Elena relented and nearly had to cover her ears from the shrieks of her best friend. She was so absorbed in tuning out Caroline's voice that she nearly missed the words 'costume party'.
Caroline immediately stopped her rambling when she saw Elena's face. "What? What part do you have a problem with now?"
"You never said anything about costumes," Elena retorted with a playful glare.
The blonde paused for a few moments, not realizing that would be an issue, but chose to continue on as planned. "Well, it's more of a costume themed party. But don't worry, I promise I'll take care of everything! You just have to show up. I'll be your personal stylist and even find you a costume."
Elena found it hard to turn her down; Caroline's enthusiasm was growing contagious. "Okay, fine. When is it? And I have a few requirements for this costume; you have a tendency to put me in outfits that barely exist."
"Tomorrow night," she replied quickly, continuing before Elena can argue. "I've already got everything covered, actually. I promise your costume isn't slutty, it's actually really classic. All you have to do is show up at Tyler's at 5:30 so I can get you ready."
"Tomorrow?" the brunette repeated, "And you're just telling me now, when you've clearly already had this planned?"
Caroline at least had the decency to look apologetic. "I'm sorry, Elena, it's just that... well, it's been almost seven months. It's pretty obvious he's not coming back, and you can at least try to live a normal life again." She paused for a moment, recognizing that she was treading on thin ice. "I mean, he wouldn't want you to be like this. He's got his free will back and hasn't returned to Mystic Falls, and I don't think he'd want you to put your life on hold. He'd want you to live, Elena. I'm just trying to make sure that you do."
The serious moment was borderline awkward, but given that they'd been friends for longer than either could remember, Elena understood that Caroline had nothing but good intentions. She also had a point. Their lives may have been irrevocably changed; after all there were still a witch, a werewolf and vampires left in town; but that didn't mean that they couldn't at least attempt for a sense of normality.
It hurt to think about it, but Elena had to admit that Caroline was probably right. Stefan was always so concerned with preserving her humanity, no matter what he was up to now he wouldn't want her to spend forever mourning him. She'd been serious when she promised Damon after homecoming that they'd let him go, and now it was time to move on. It also didn't hurt that the elder Salvatore who'd stayed behind was keeping her occupied as much as possible. Sometimes, Elena was sure that he was doing it just to keep her mind off of Stefan.
Okay, maybe it was only half about keeping her mind off Stefan.
She was pretty sure the other half was that he was in love with her and just wanted to spend time with her.
It was crazy, really. Damon had come into town nearly three years prior, hellbent on leaving destruction in his wake. As their friendship developed he became the town's fiercest protector, and after Stefan's departure he'd also become her closest friend. She wasn't entirely sure how she'd functioned without Damon Salvatore for so long, but these days it seemed like he was becoming a necessity.
It was these thoughts that provoked her to ask Caroline, "Is Damon going?"
The knowing smile the blonde gave her was enough to make Elena blush. Was she really that transparent? She'd spent the last seven months refusing to even think about feeling something more for Damon (though she knew deep down somewhere buried under all that denial, there was more than just something there for the raven-haired vampire), but now...
"I don't think so," Caroline said with a knowing smile. "Since the council is pretty much convinced our little 'vampire problem' is over for now, he hasn't been keeping up the super-involved attitude."
"Oh, okay. Well, is Bonnie at least going? I mean, I love spending time with you but I'm pretty sure Tyler won't be able to keep his hands off you when you're all fancied up."
The blonde nodded. "She and Jeremy are both going. I don't think they mentioned it to you because they didn't want to remind you of all the bad memories. It seems like every time there was a dance or town function, something royally screwed it up."
"Then why did you insist I go?" Elena asked, curious.
"Oh come on, Elena," Caroline huffed with a roll of her eyes. "You and I both know that you love this sort of stuff, but you're too busy wallowing post-Stefan to let yourself be happy. And between you and me, I know that you're still attracted to Damon and refusing to do anything about it because you're terrified of becoming Katherine. Well, newsflash! You're not! Stefan's gone, Damon is here and head over heels for you, and you keep him at arm's length because you're so terrified of being like your doppelganger. It doesn't count if you're not with them both at the same time!"
After taking a breath she didn't need, Caroline quickly studied Elena's surprised (but not angry) face before continuing.
"Look, I know you had this great epic romance with Stefan. And that ended. Badly. And it sucks. And I never thought I'd be Team Damon given our history, but I'm starting to think you were with the wrong brother from the beginning. Every time Bonnie or I have seen you since Stefan took off, you've been down in the dumps and even if we get a smile here or there nothing snaps you out of it. When you're with Damon, my God, have you seen yourself, Elena? You light up around him. You smile and laugh and he brings out something in you that I haven't seen since your parents died."
Caroline was right, Elena had to hand it to her. She did feel different with Damon, more alive. She always had. It was a bit shocking, having it all thrown in her face at once and being forced to confront feelings she'd been keeping buried for so long, but at the same time it was like a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Her silent contemplation was starting to make Caroline nervous, however, and she just had to throw one last thing out there.
"When are you going to realize you couldn't be Katherine if you tried?" she asked softly, angling her head to meet Elena's eyes. "She toyed with them both, at the same time. She played them against each other and hurt them and was a raging bitch for it. The only times you've ever hurt Damon are when you've pushed him away because really? You've wanted nothing more than to pull him in closer."
After a few moments of gathering her nerves, Elena nodded her head just once. "You're right." It wasn't easy to admit it, but Caroline was absolutely, one hundred percent dead on. And with that one small admission, everything she'd kept hidden and ignored for so long bubbled up to the surface. "You're right!" Elena repeated, a little giggle escaping her lips as she realized what was happening.
It was so easy to see now, Damon had stopped being mean and violent – at least where she was concerned – and more often than not she found herself thinking of him as kind. She strongly suspected that he more like his 1864 self than ever before, and realized that he'd been right the night he was dying; she would have loved him as a human.
Not that his vampire nature stopped her from loving him now.
"You see it now, don't you?" Caroline asked her, far more insightful than Elena ever gave her credit for. "You're in love with him. I'm pretty sure it happened somewhere in between Rose kidnapping you and him nearly dying, but you are."
Elena thinks it's absolutely insane how Caroline has seen this all along, but even crazier is that she hadn't seen it in herself. It was a heady feeling, realizing that she was in love with the darker brother, and she couldn't help but smile as she realized how good it felt. "How do I tell him?"
Caroline couldn't feel anything but happy for her best friend and started to come up with a plan.
"How about we just get you through the fundraiser tomorrow night, and then we'll tackle the mystery that is Damon Salvatore?"
They both dissolved into girlish laughter, and for the first time in months Elena was finally ready to move forward.
Friday. 5:45pm. Lockwood Mansion.
"You're late!" Caroline lectured as Elena rushed through the front door of the manor. Caterers and decorators were swarming everywhere, making sure that everything was set up for the party due to start in a couple of hours.
"I'm sorry!" Elena exclaimed as she caught her breath and then lowered her voice. "You still haven't told me what I'm wearing and I didn't know what sort of underwear I'd need!"
With a laugh Caroline caught her arm and started to head upstairs while explaining to Elena that they'd be getting ready in Tyler's room. "It takes him what, 5 minutes to shower and put on a suit and he's ready? He can do that when we're done. I needed the space."
When they entered the room the first thing Elena noticed was two large garment bags hanging from the door to Tyler's closet. "Costumes?" she asked, pointing in their direction.
The vampire nodded, and headed for Tyler's desk to make sure her styling tools were all switched on. "I just need to pop my hair up into hot rollers before I get started on yours. I did my makeup before you came over so all we have to do is get you ready. Thank god you didn't bother doing your hair after you showered," Caroline said, relieved. Elena's hair may be gorgeous when it's long and straight, but the style she needed to wear that night would not have worked had she already styled it. "Just sit here, play with your phone or something, and I'll be like 5 minutes, I swear."
Before Elena knew it, she had zipped into the bathroom and left her unattended. In the hopes that Caroline was fully distracted with putting in hot rollers at vampire speed, Elena made an attempt to stealthily cross the room to investigate their costumes.
She made it as far as reaching for the zipper on one garment bag before she was interrupted by Caroline. "Elena. You've been around vampires for how long now? It doesn't matter how hard you try to be quiet, I can hear you. Now get away from the closet! You don't get to ruin the surprise."
"Damn vampire hearing." Elena muttered as she returned to her seat, earning a chuckle from the direction of the bathroom. She resigned herself to fiddling with her phone, and noticed a text from Damon.
Waiting for Caroline to style my hair. She's making me go to the fundraiser tonight. Elena didn't want to nag at him for not attending, but she was curious what he'd be doing instead.
Sounds like fun, came the reply. Miss me yet?
She hadn`t seen him since Wednesday and after the heart to heart with Caroline the night before, she was most definitely craving some attention from him.
Maybe just a little bit. Tonight would probably be more fun if you were here.
Is Barbie driving you that crazy already?
Elena laughed. You have no idea. She won't tell me anything about my costume or what the theme even is. She's lucky I love her.
You'll look beautiful no matter what she puts you in.
The huge grin was still on her face when Caroline came in from the bathroom moments later, her hair up in rollers. "Texting Damon?"
She received a nod in response, and watched as Elena tucked her phone away.
"Okay, Caroline. You win. Let's get through tonight so I can start worrying about Damon tomorrow."
"I'm so glad you said that, Elena," Caroline smiled mischievously as she began to advance on her friend with a hand behind her back. "Now you just sit there and let me work my magic!"
Next thing Elena knew, Caroline had blindfolded her.
"Trust me! I know what I'm doing!"
Friday. Lockwood Mansion. 7:56pm.
Over two hours later, Elena had been blow-dried, curled, and pinned within an inch of her life. She'd managed to compromise with Caroline and agreed to keep her back turned to the mirror and not peek if the vampire took the blindfold off. Caroline's counteroffer had been that she had to put it back on and let her help with putting on the costume so she could see the final product all at once, and Elena had reluctantly agreed.
Secretly, she was intrigued and starting to get excited about the tricks Caroline was clearly hiding up her sleeve.
With her hair and makeup done (and the growing noise from downstairs indicating that the guests had started to arrive), it was time for both girls to get into their costumes. Caroline had managed to style her hair in less than five minutes, and Elena had a sneaking suspicion that her best friend was planning on being a princess of some sort. Her blonde hair was swept up into a neat pile of curls on top of her head, and she looked beautiful.
"What happened to Tyler?" Elena asked.
Caroline's reply was muffled as she was digging through a bag of accessories. "I sent him a text and told him we were running behind. He showered in another room, and I ran his suit over to him."
"Poor guy, getting kicked out of his own room," Elena lamented.
Light blue headband in hand, the blonde came over to Elena. "He'll deal. Now, put your blindfold back on. It's time!"
Elena's world went dark once more, and she could feel Caroline flitting about like a hummingbird. Thirty seconds later she was being helped into a standing position, and Caroline started plucking at her clothes.
"Care, I can take off my own clothes!" she cried in protest.
"Okay, fine, but hurry up! And you get points for being prepared with a strapless, but you won't be needing it. Panties only, Gilbert!"
Elena huffed but complied with her orders, and in a few moments was standing with her arms crossed over her breasts in nothing but a small pair of cheeky pink panties.
Caroline was gentle, and helped guide her into her costume. Elena had to step into what she assumed was a skirt, and then felt her arms being placed into some sort of sleeve. When the dress was pulled up high enough she dropped her arms and felt the fabric slide down to rest just past her shoulders. She moved to hold the dress in place at her chest as Caroline began to fasten it, and discovered that it felt satiny smooth.
The dress was being pulled tight around her and it dawned on Elena that there was some sort of corseting in the dress; it felt like Caroline was lacing it behind her. After a few sharp tugs she was secured in her dress, but it seemed like the blonde wasn't done.
"This will be way too awkward if I do it, so if you could adjust the girls a bit that'd be great."
Elena laughed, following Caroline's orders as she made sure the corset emphasized her breasts rather than flattened them. All the old-fashioned gowns she'd had to wear for town events had made her rather familiar with corsets.
The skirt rustled at her feet (Elena was silently thankful that it seemed to be a floor-length gown and covered all the important bits) and Caroline instructed her to lift her feet alternately as she helped her put on her shoes. They didn't feel like anything insanely special, just some comfortable pumps that she was confident she could dance in.
"This might be a little tricky to manage without seeing, but you have to wear gloves. Can you just hold your arm out? I'll get them over your hands, you can do the rest."
Elena complied and once Caroline had made sure her fingers were in the right parts, she tugged the gloves up past her wrist. They were longer than she thought, and she found she was able to get them all the way past her elbow.
"Is there anything more?" she asked impatiently. Now she was really curious; a floor length gown, off the shoulder, heels and elbow length gloves? There were too many possibilities.
"Just give me a second here... I want you to see everything all finished, but I can't reach my zipper! Can you?"
It was awkward for sure, but with Caroline's help Elena managed to find the bottom of the girl's zipper and pull it up, all while still blindfolded.
"Now can I look?"
Caroline guided Elena around what felt like Tyler's bed, and then made a few adjustments to the dress. Then the blindfold was taken away, and Elena stared into a full length mirror, stunned.
Staring back at her were Belle and Cinderella.
"Now I get why you wouldn't let me see you," Elena commented.
"I know, right? Totally would've given it away."
Elena was impressed; Caroline had outdone herself. Their gowns were beautiful, and her golden dress was incredibly accurate. The corset lacing in the back was definitely non-Disney, but it was pretty and she liked it. The golden silk draped off her shoulders, and the full skirt even had the ruching and lighter swoop of fabric between each panel. Caroline's dress was slightly different; instead of a puffier sleeve her dress had a soft drape off the shoulder just like Elena's.
"Tyler is going to die when he sees you," Elena giggled. She couldn't stop looking at herself in the mirror; Caroline had done her hair and makeup perfectly. Her chocolate brown tresses were lightly curled over one shoulder, and as she turned she was able to see it was pulled up in the back with the small golden loop. They were the grown up versions of their favourite Disney princesses, and the night was suddenly starting to look up. "Is the whole fundraiser Disney themed?"
Caroline shook her head. "More like fairytales come to life. I was watching Never Been Kissed when we were planning it, and the whole 'Meant for Each Other' prom thing was too much fun not to do it! Anyway, the boys are ready, so shall we?"
Elena happily looped her arm through the one Caroline offered and then paused as they reached the top of the staircase. "Wait. Boys? As in plural?"
"Don't say I never do anything for you, Elena," Caroline said with a wink, and then began to descend the staircase as gracefully as she had for the pageant two years prior. Elena peeked over the railing to see Tyler waiting for her at the bottom, dressed as Prince Charming. It was adorable watching him bow to her, and Caroline's answering curtsey, before he led her into the party.
Taking a deep breath as she placed her hand on the banister, Elena looked down and made a mental note to thank Caroline later.
Waiting for her at the bottom was Damon, looking insanely handsome in a royal blue tailcoat, golden vest and black pants with gold trim. He was even wearing the ascot with the small pin in the centre. His blue eyes sparkled and a smile spread across his face at the sight of her.
Elena had to remind herself to breathe.
"Shouldn't you be hairier and beastly?" she quipped as she reached the bottom of the stairs.
He took her hand in his and bowed as Tyler had done earlier, and Elena sank into a curtsy.
Damon pulled her up and dipped his head to whisper into her ear. "I'm the beast after the spell is broken; after he's learned to control his temper and fallen in love with the brunette who eclipsed his entire world."
Elena's eyes drifted shut at his words, and she couldn't ignore the double meaning behind the fairytale.
"You know Bonnie's the witch who would've cursed me, right?" Damon said with a laugh, breaking the moment.
She couldn't help but smile at him. "True, but then what does that make Caroline? I'm assuming she's the reason you're here."
He contemplated that for a moment. "Probably Mrs. Potts. She spent a lot of time trying to get Belle to realize there was a decent man under the scary face."
Shock spread across Elena's face. "You've actually watched a Disney film, Damon?"
"What can I say? Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourites. Just goes to show that a gorgeous girl can fall for you even if you're a dick," he said with a smirk.
Elena smacked his hand as he led her towards the outdoor terrace. "She didn't start to fall for him until he saved her from the wolves and started to control his rage issues. Once he stopped being so angry she saw the good in him and that's when she fell in love."
They both paused for a moment to look at each other.
"Oh my god, just stake me now," Damon moaned, throwing a hand over his face. "I've become a Disney character. I've been neutered. I used to be the big bad scary vampire, next thing you know I'll be gifting you with a library in the hopes that you'll fall for me!"
Laughter burst out of both of them, and the happiness in Elena's eyes was obvious to anyone who looked at her. "It's June, Damon. There's no chance of a snowball fight and as much as crows love you I doubt they're going to start eating out of the palm of your hand. Just because there are some... similarities, well, it doesn't mean you've lost your manhood and been turned into a prince."
"Oh, I still have my manhood," he said in a low tone as he backed her against a pillar, pinning her with his gaze.
All signs of joking dropped from Elena's face as she met his eyes and bit her lower lip.
Damon's eyes immediately dropped to her mouth and the sexual tension between the pair was suddenly overwhelming. He slipped a hand around her waist and grasped her fingers with the other. Before either one of them could speak, he'd whirled them out onto the stone terrace in a flawless waltz.
The sun hadn't completely set yet, but Carol Lockwood had spared no expense making sure the grounds would be fully lit. There were tiny twinkling lights surrounding the lawn, and paper lanterns strung across the terrace. It was absolutely beautiful.
Elena couldn't help but think of the last time she'd been in the very same spot, dancing with the very same vampire. The tension was still there between them, but this time Elena was free to act on it. That thought encouraged her, and she was relieved knowing she didn't have to hold back anymore.
Just over Damon's shoulder she saw Caroline dancing with Tyler, and she caught the blonde's gaze. Caroline not-so-subtly mouthed 'you're welcome', to which Elena nodded her thanks. Next to Cinderella and her prince she saw Bonnie and her brother Jeremy, and couldn't help but smile at how awkward poor Jer looked. It seemed like Caroline had taken charge of all their costumes, and had decided Bonnie would make a wonderful Princess Jasmine. Her dress was lavender and also off the shoulder, with long sleeves and a matching headband. Jeremy was unfortunate enough to have been stuck with the full Prince Ali getup; as sweet as he and Bonnie looked together it was still amusing watching him dance in harem pants.
Damon continued to spin Elena across the terrace for a few more songs, and then he started to lead her away from the dance floor. Silently he guided her to a stone bench nestled under a bedazzled tree, and they sat together while Elena caught her breath.
"I can't believe you let Caroline talk you into this," she finally said, gesturing at his Beast/Prince costume.
"Are you kidding? As soon as she told me what you'd be wearing I was in. I know I said before that I prefer you in modern clothes but there's just something about the way you wear corsets..." He trailed off, leering at her breasts and waggling his eyebrows.
It was getting to a point where Elena couldn't remember the last time she'd laughed so much in one night, and she loved it. "Hey, I may be stuck in a corset but have you seen how tight your pants are?"
"And they're only getting tighter the longer I'm around you in a corset."
Their eyes met, and Elena knew she'd have to be blind to miss the burning lust she saw in Damon.
"Please tell me we're more than just constant sexual innuendo," she said breathily, struggling to keep her eyes off his lips.
The side of Damon's mouth came up in a smirk. "I could show you just how sexual we can be, no innuendo required."
Elena flushed and lowered her eyes. She was trying to keep her wits but the way he was talking was driving her crazy. She decided to just take the plunge and start talking. He couldn't keep being perverted if she was pouring her heart out, could he?
Of course he could. But hopefully he wouldn't.
"Damon, I have to tell you something."
Immediately all trace of swagger was gone and he couldn't take his eyes off of her. Elena could feel the muscles in his arm tense under her hand, and she spoke quickly so that he could stop worrying.
"It's nothing bad, I promise. Well, at least I hope it won't be bad and that you won't be angry with me, but—"
Damon's finger brushed her lips to silence her. "Elena. Breathe. You're starting to sound like Barbie. Take a deep breath and start from the beginning, okay?"
She nodded, biting her lip and looking up at him with wide eyes. "I should've told you a year ago, but with everything that was happening there just never seemed to be a good time... and then it seemed like it was too late."
Gingerly he took her hands and held them, encouraging her to go on.
"Remember when you rescued me from Rose and Trevor, and my necklace mysteriously reappeared?" She paused for a moment until she saw recognition flash across his face, followed by a look of panic. "I was so antsy without it, so I had a cup of tea with one of Jenna's herbal blends that I snuck vervain into."
Damon blinked, completely frozen.
"I should've stopped you or at least told you, but I couldn't. I was completely captivated by you. In that moment you were the most honest and human you'd ever been and I couldn't ruin that. At the time I wasn't really sure what to do and it was driving me crazy every time I saw you after. When you survived being bitten I was so relieved, because I didn't have to pretend I didn't know anymore." Elena had to pause for a moment and gather her thoughts. Her silence made Damon worried.
"Why aren't you mad at me for trying to compel you?" he asked her.
She shrugged. "How could I be? You know, for all your insisting that Stefan deserved me when you didn't, that night proved just how far you'd come. You weren't the psychopath that came to Mystic Falls determined to destroy it, you were becoming the man I always knew was buried somewhere underneath the vampire. What you did was one of the most selfless things I've ever seen from you. I can't be mad about that."
"The way I feel about you has never been a secret, Elena," he said softly, his eyes fixed on their joined hands.
"I know, but I needed you to know that I was on vervain that night."
They continued to sit there in silence for a few minutes until Damon couldn't take it anymore and had to break it. "I get the feeling that's not all that's on your mind."
"How do you always see right through me?" Elena asked.
"Because," he replied, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead, "I know what's in here," and another to her bare collarbone, a few inches above her heart, "and in here."
Elena had to suck in a deep breath to calm her trembling hands. "You were right. Ages ago. And it took me what feels like forever to come to terms with it. There was something going on between us, there always has been." She reached for his hand and looked straight into his blue eyes, wanting to make sure he knew there was no doubt in her mind. "I was lying to everyone. To you, to Stefan, to myself... and I didn't even know I was doing it. I'm just sorry it took me so long to see it, and that I hurt you so much in the process."
"I'm a big vampire, Elena, I can take it," he said with a smirk.
"I know, but it wasn't fair for you to be in that position. I want you to know how sorry I am for not realizing it sooner. It seems like everyone could see it but me, and it took me months to even let myself consider the possibility but now that I have..."
He stared at her; almost positive he knew where she was going with her little speech but unable to believe that he might be right.
"I can't deny it anymore. I'm in love with you Damon, and—"
"Forget the and," he said, moving so that his lips were a hairs breadth from her own, "If you don't kiss me right now, Elena, I think I might die."
Her lips curved upward in a smirk reminiscent of his own, and she breathed against his mouth, "Now that I can do."
She tilted her chin up just a fraction of an inch and their lips met, soft and hesitant at first but quickly giving way to something infinitely hotter. One of his hands gripped her waist and pulled her closer while the other rose to tangle in the curls falling over her bare shoulder. Letting out a moan as she broke away for air, Elena couldn't stop the lazy smile from spreading across her face.
"There you two are!" Caroline exclaimed, shattering the moment. "You guys need to get back out on the dance floor; your song is coming up!"
Damon glared at her, beyond annoyed with her for interrupting. "Our song?" he spat out, "Couldn't you see we were a little busy?"
Caroline laughed. "There'll be plenty of time for that later but right now Jeremy and Bonnie are finishing up and since Tyler and I have already danced to So This is Love, you two are next."
"You know if we don't do what she wants she won't leave us alone," Elena said to Damon in a conspiratorial whisper.
"You know that if she doesn't go away I can just rip her arms off and beat her to death with them," he replied with a crazy smile.
"You know that she is right here, and has incredibly sensitive hearing, right?" Caroline fumed, grabbing Elena's arm and pulling her up to stand. "Come on, do you realize the work I put into this? Mrs. Lockwood hired a band! I had to find the sheet music for all the instruments that went with all of our outfits because she refused to let me use a CD. Please? For me?" she pouted.
Elena relented, holding her hand out for Damon as Caroline let out a happy squeal. "May I have this dance?"
He rose to his feet and took her gloved hand, bowing before her. "If the lady insists."
Together they headed for the terrace, where they were surprised to see there was a crowd gathered as Jeremy and Bonnie finished up their dance to A Whole New World. Elena was surprised to see how well her brother was handling the steps, and presumed that he'd spent some time practicing to impress his girlfriend.
The music ended and the crowd clapped politely as the couple bowed and left the dance floor. There were a few moments of silence before the band began playing again. It started softly at first as Damon stood next to Elena, their hands joined and raised between them. As if they'd been dancing together their whole lives, they began moving towards the centre at the same time. Damon had his shoulders back and his chin raised, while Elena was carrying the skirt of her gown in her right hand.
Once they reached the middle, he bent at the waist to bow as Elena dipped in a curtsy. When they rose she slipped her right hand into his left, and securely placed his other hand at her waist as she picked up her skirt again. In one fluid motion they began to glide across the floor together just as the singer began singing the theme to Beauty and the Beast.
Elena had never felt more like a princess in her life, and she was surprised at how easy it was to dance with Damon. It was almost as if they were born to move together, and as her feet flawlessly performed the steps she never needed to take her eyes away from his.
It seemed too soon but the song was quickly over, and they stopped right in the middle of the dance floor. The spectators burst into applause, and on an impulse Elena stretched up on her toes to plant a kiss on Damon's lips. He was surprised when she broke the kiss, but the grin on his face couldn't get any wider.
"I love you, Damon," she reminded him softly.
Unable to stop himself (not that he'd even try), Damon bent his head down for another kiss.
"I love you too, Elena," he answered. "I always have, and I always will."
A/N: I went to see Beauty & The Beast 3D last weekend, and have had this idea stuck in my head ever since. It's a bit of a departure from the drama of You Make Me Feel; more light hearted and fun. I've been contemplating writing an M rated part two, but I'm not really sure if anyone would want to read that. Anyway, let me know if you do and I hope you liked it!