My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn.
"...Sorry to disappoint you Elena, but last time I checked I was still a Vampire."
"Yeah, I just wish that you didn't have to act like one!"
She was furious.
This wasn't him. It hadn't been him for such a long time, not since he'd killed Jeremy, and even then he'd had a reason. But she was furious to see him acting like this, and just when she needed him to be the good guy...now that Stefan was -
"I am not Stefan." He spat, and she stumbled back slightly as his words, mirroring her thoughts exactly, hit her like a tonne of bricks. "How about you stop trying to turn me into him!"
And his words hurt, because she knew that they were true. But as she lay in bed that night, stiff with nerves and stress, she angrily pushed away the guilt she could feel sneakily creeping up within her, and feeling restless she grabbed her book.
As much as she admired Scarlett, if there was one thing she could do, it was make Elena realise that there was a whole other level of selfish she was nowhere near reaching. Maybe she was trying to turn Damon into Stefan, but it was only because she missed him so much. She might have been hurtful to Damon, but Damon had hurt her in so many worse ways, so many times.
Feeling secure in that reminder, she let her back slide upright on her pillows as she sat up and bent her legs, resting the open book on her knees.
But as she read, she gasped, biting her lip as she reached for her phone and text Caroline quickly, asking her to meet her in the morning. As she typed into her phone furiously, the book lay open on the bed beside her, mocking her.
"You think men as such fools, Scarlett. It never pays to underestimate your opponent's strength and intelligence. And I'm not a fool. Don't you suppose I know that you've lain in my arms and pretended I was Ashley Wilkes?"
Elena didn't know when, but she'd reached Scarlett's level.
How she came to be in Damon's arms, when she woke in the middle of the night, she didn't know.
She'd fallen asleep so quickly as she mumbled sleepily that she'd tell him the rest tomorrow, so comfortable, so bone-weary she didn't even try to kick him out of her bed.
But as she awoke, she found him asleep beside her, his arm draped casually over her hip as though it belonged there. She realised, after a moment's pause, that she must have kicked the covers off in the night and moved her way closer to keep warm. And as much as she tried to ignore the fast, excited beating of her heart, she couldn't help but think that there was something so comforting about laying in Damon's arms. Something she couldn't explain.
She stiffened as she noticed the direction her thoughts had taken her, and she shook her head slightly to clear them. It had been far too long since somebody had held her so close. That was why she revelled in this feeling of safety, of security, the feeling of protection Damon's arms gave her. She was missing the way Stefan always held her so lovingly in his arms.
She sighed as she closed her eyes for a moment and thought back to those lazy morning's where she'd lain with Stefan, refusing to get up until he did, just so she could stay with him for another minute, before the hell that was their life came knocking on the door.
A light smile on her face at the memory, she opened her eyes. She froze as Damon's hard, icy gaze met hers and her smile immediately dropped as his jaw tightened.
In a second his arms were gone from around her and he had jumped up from the bed. Before she could so much as open her mouth to protest, he muttered with a dark laugh "It's always going to be Stefan", and then he was gone, leaving her curtains swaying with the breeze from her open window.
She couldn't sleep, guilt consuming her like a fast working drug, spreading through her bloodstream before she could even try to stop it. Desperately she turned to Scarlett for help, grabbing her book from her bedside table where it sat beside her long abandoned diary, and flicking to her bookmarked page.
For once, Scarlett didn't help. She made it worse.
"Frequently when she lay drowsily in Rhett's arms with the moonlight streaming over the bed, she thought how perfect life would be if it were only Ashley's arms which held her so closely, if it were only Ashley who drew her black hair across his face and wrapped it around his throat.
Once when she was thinking this, she sighed and turned her head toward the window, and after a moment she felt the heavy arm beneath her neck become like iron, and Rhett's voice spoke in the stillness: "May God damn your cheating little soul to hell for all eternity!"
And, getting up, he put on his clothes and left the room despite her startled protests and questions."
Elena frowned as she looked into the mirror, wondering why on earth she had thought it would be a good idea to tell Caroline to get ready at her own house, and that she'd meet her at the dance.
She looked down at the corset in her hands, then to the long pouffy petticoat which sat on her bed, and bit her lip as she then wondered why on earth Caroline had thought an '1864 Mystic Falls' themed ball would be a good idea.
"Need some help?"
She almost screamed aloud at the sound of the voice behind her, and she whirled around holding the corset up like a shield. Her anxiety didn't fade as she saw Damon standing by her window, his stare as cold as ice.
"Damon." She almost whimpered.
They hadn't spoken since they'd screamed at each other at the Boarding House and she'd tumbled down the stairs. The only thing indicating that he knew she existed being the old, yet cared for copy of 'Gone with the Wind' that he'd left by Stefan's bedside as she'd recovered.
"What are you doing here?" She asked timidly, frightened by the calm fury in his eyes, reminding her of the calm before the storm.
"Well," he said with a cold smirk. "I thought you might need help getting ready for your date tonight."
She froze immediately, her grip on the corset slipping. He knew. He knew she was going with Stefan.
"How did-how did you-"
"Know?" He said, his lips twisted yet his face still as terrifyingly empty. "You didn't think how much Stefan would just love to throw it in my face? Rave about how much better he is for you?"
She felt her heart clench at his words, and devastation filled up within her.
She gasped as, in the space of a second, he appeared right in front of her and spun her around to face the mirror, his hand grabbing the corset from her weak grip.
"There's no getting out of this now, Elena." He whispered mercilessly in her ear, making her tremble from fear, terror...excitement? "No excuse of not being able to get dressed now. You've accepted your fate and now you're to execute it. Come along now, you've got to look the part." He smirked, "Being the Ripper's mistress."
"Wear that," he said, tossing it on the bed and coming toward her. "No modest, matronly dove greys and lilacs to-night. You flag must be nailed to the mast, for obviously you'd run it down if it wasn't. And plenty of rouge. I'm sure the woman the Pharisees took in adultery didn't look half so pale. Turn around."
In the next second she felt the corset wrap around her middle over her cotton shift, and she cried out as he yanked at the strings, pulling them tight, so tight that her ribs screamed in protest and tears sprang to her eyes as he continued to painfully torture her as he pulled on the strings harshly.
He took the strings of the stays in his hands and jerked them so hard that she cried out, frightened, humiliated, embarrassed at such an untoward performance.
"Hurts doesn't it." Damon sneered contemptuously. "Well, trust me, it will hurt a hell of a lot more when Stefan decides he can't hold the ripper in any longer, and takes a bite out of you."
As he moved back, her legs failed her and she fell to the ground in a heap, blotchy tears streaming down her face as she let out a pained sob. She didn't even need to turn around to know that he was gone. Desperately, as she fought to breathe through the pain in her ribs and heart, she curled up on the floor hugging her knees to her chest, crying as Rhett's words flew to the front of her mind.
"Hurts, does it?" He laughed shortly and she could not see his face. "Pity it isn't around your neck."
She didn't go to the dance.
Outtake 1: It was a choice between this one and the one I had last chapter set during 3x04, but I really wanted to have a quote that showed the similarities between Rhett and Damon's characters and the way they make Scarlett and Elena feel, so I kept the other one.
Outtake 2: Unfortunately, this one didn't fit because Elena hadn't reached that part of 'Gone with the Wind' at that point in the story, and I really wanted to keep the quotes in the order they came in the book.
Outtake 3: Probably the darkest thing I've ever written! When I re-read it, I didn't think it fit with the show's Damon and Elena, and seemed much more like something that would happen between their book counterparts. So I left it out to keep Damon and Elena in character. But honestly such an amazing part of 'Gone with the Wind', had me on tenterhooks!
A/N: I'm so overwhelmed by the response this story has gotten, so thank you to every one who's reviewed and favourited, it means the world to me.
I apologise for any spelling errors. I don't have spell-check on my laptop and I noticed a few typos after I uploaded the last chapter that had me fuming, because they were such silly mistakes that I'd missed. I'll probably reupload the chapter typo-free over Easter.
Please review and let me know what you think.