TITLE: Who the Hell is Elena Gilbert?

SUMMARY: Damon Salvatore, Hollywood's highest paid actor, is reluctantly cast alongside an unknown daytime actress, the fetching Elena Gilbert, in a major motion picture. He is not pleased. AH, AU.

RATING: M, eventually

DISCLAIMER: Vampire Diaries is the sole property of zzzz... What? Oh sorry. Fell asleep for a minute there. Anyway, I think you get the idea.

AN: Inspired by the cover of last week's Entertainment Weekly (02/17/2012). All I can say is THANK GOD I got the one with Delena, and not what's-his-name. I cannot tell you how much fun I am having writing this. It will be about 8-10 chapters and I've gotten about half written already, so look for frequent updates for a while (then, you know, the long-ass wait while I battle writer's block and laziness). I'm rating this M for later chapters, but this isn't just an excuse to write porn, as, ahem, my other stories have been. This is romance BABY.

Oh, and Katherine and Elena look similar, but not identical in this one.

Also people, can you PLEASE let me know about typos? I re-read these stories dozens of times before posting but I still miss things. Then it drives me crazy later when I find them.

"Seriously, Ric, who is she?" Damon Salvatore's foot tapped impatiently on the floor, the beat erratic and increasing in pace the more agitated he got. It was a nervous tic that had served him well over the years, alerted countless agents, directors, producers, and journalists that this major Hollywood movie star was about to go ballistic. Each reacted in different ways, but each sought to capitalize on the actor's temper. The agent would cajole, the director would smooth over, talking in nice quiet tones about how next time it would be better; the producer might or might not match his outburst; and the journalist would gleefully take out his pencil or tape recorder, sure they were about to strike tabloid gold.

Alaric Saltzman was perhaps the only director in Hollywood not terrified of Damon Salvatore. The two had known each other since undergrad, Damon had acted in some of Alaric's earliest student films, and both had risen to a fame that early on they could only imagine in their wildest dreams. They had made three previous movies together, all very successful action franchises, all high grossing. It was due to their friendship and enduring partnership that Damon was even considering Alaric's harebrained idea.

Ric thumped the cover of Soap Opera Weekly on the desk in front of Damon. A pretty, dark-haired girl glowered from the cover, her arms wrapped tightly around an older, well-known soap opera actor.

"I'm telling you, she's good. Really good," Ric said for the third time that morning. "She's stunningly gorgeous, classically trained, and has single-handedly turned around ratings on a dying show."

Damon cleared his throat. "Let me be clear, I am not acting in this film with some glorified soft-porn actress."

Alaric scoffed. "Soap acting is not porn and you know it. There are several good actors who have transitioned over from daytime, Sarah Michelle Gellar for example.."

Damon flipped through the magazine, to the cover story, unimpressed by Ric's example. "Please. To what? Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Hardly Oscar-worthy."

Alaric's face took on the stoic, hard look he only broke out for his volatile friend. "Actually, it doesn't really matter what you think. She's already signed the contract, and you yourself have a contractual obligation to make this movie. There is nothing more to discuss." He left the magazine where it lay open in front of Damon, a centerfold of Elena holding a butcher knife against the throat of the same man she embraced on the cover. Alaric returned to his desk and sat down, plopping his feet in the corner. "Whine and cry like a little bitch all you want Damon. Elena Gilbert is your next co-star."

Damon tore his gaze from her ample cleavage and scowled at him, "What about Katherine? You told me she could do the next film. She's free, ready and willing. And certainly a bigger draw than a nobody only fat housewives and shut-in have heard of."

Ric frowned. "Katherine's not right for it. The character of Nina is a vulnerable creature. Katherine is about as vulnerable as canned goods in an apocalypse."

"Hey, that's my girlfriend you're talking about!" Damon was outraged, but not by much. Even he knew the ice queen reputation his girlfriend had.

"You know it's true. If there was a part of a beautiful villainess, she'd be top on the list. But we need someone sweeter, a Bulgarian girl-next-door as it were."

"How do you know this woman is any sweeter than Katherine? She's an actress, for God's sake." Damon cocked his head to the side. "Wait. Did she manage to play you like women always do?"

Ric swung his feet off the desk. "Ok. That's enough." Ric had bad luck with women, but it was a low blow for Damon to bring it up. He looked at the clock on his desk and ran a hand through his hair. "You know, I can't figure out what your problem is. You get to spend several months with a beautiful young woman who will probably lie at your feet in supplication and wonder, she'll be so excited to work with you."

Damon rolled his eyes and stood, flipping the magazine shut and turning it over, so that a picture of a vacuum cleaner stared out at him instead of the sexy daytime vixen. "I don't need another groupie, Ric. And I'm sure her charms have been, er, over-sampled we might say. I'll work with her, but I have no interest in meeting her before the first rehearsal and especially have no desire to be BFF's with her. Swapping makeup tips and so forth."

There was a knock on the door and they both turned towards it. Ric glared at him and spoke softly. "Well, not much choice there buddy. She's here now. Try and behave yourself." He stood and walked over to the door, opening it to reveal the girl in question who froze in mid-knock stance: hand up-raised, chin slightly raised as if she was preparing herself to enter a difficult situation.

"Oh hi, Mr. Saltzman," Elena said quietly with a small smile. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. She was dressed in a green halter dress and gold sandals and Damon had to admit, she looked even better in person than in print.

Damon snorted loudly. Mr. Saltzman? Really? Who did this girl think she was fooling? She was pretty, he'd give her that. Shorter than him but still tall for a woman. She slightly resembled Katherine in that they both had dark eyes and long brown hair but the resemblance stopped there. Katherine had a more refined beauty. This girl looked like a cheerleader. Great, he thought. Rah rah.

She turned towards him and cast him a shy smile. "Hi," she said a little breathlessly like she was star-struck.

"Hi," he breathlessly replied in a mocking tone.

Elena frowned, her eyebrows meeting in the middle of her face.

"Ahem," Alaric interjected. "Let me introduce you two. Damon Salvatore, meet your new leading lady, Elena Gilbert of Mystic Falls Va. lately of the soap opera, Love of Our Lives. Elena, meet Damon, who probably needs no introduction."

Elena tried again and forced herself to smile. "Nice to meet you Damo..."

"Mystic Falls? Where in the hell is that? Not in the Beltway I'm assuming?"

"No, it's further south near..."

"Whatever. Anyway, nice to meet you, see you at rehearsal next week." He strode past the two of them and stood in the doorway. "And Elena Gilbert? One piece of advice."

"Yes?" she replied tentatively, turning to him.

"Don't fuck up my movie." With this final barb lobbed, he turned and sauntered down the hallway towards the reception area, giving Ric's assistant a 100-watt smile.

Alaric took a stunned Elena by the arm and led her to the chair Damon had been sitting in. "Ignore him," he said as he crossed to the other side of the desk and sat down. "He can be a real dick sometimes."

"I for one," he continued, "am thrilled you are on board. This is going to be a great movie." Noticing her alarmed expression he added, "Don't worry Elena, he'll come around. You're too nice to ignore for long."

Elena smiled and composed herself. "He lacks basic manners, I see. But you've known him for a long time. Is it his natural inclination to be horrible or did fame make him that way?"

"Bit of both, I believe. You aren't born that good-looking and not be used to getting your way. He's just pissed I didn't cast his girlfriend."

"Katherine Petrova?"

"Yes, do you know her?"

Elena blushed. "No, not at all, just from the gossip rags, you know."

"Right. Well, rehearsals start next week. Excited?"

Elena relaxed and smiled brightly. "Sure am. I looked over the script and had a few questions."

Alaric returned her smile. "I'm sure you do. Let's get to it."

Elena pulled the script out of her bag and they set to work. Her mind, though, kept creeping back to those sardonic pair of ice blue eyes that looked like they wanted to cut her dead. Was he going to be a problem? She was more used to the other problem of actors or directors wanting to date her or propositioning her outright. A temper tantrum from a star actually sounded kind of refreshing.

Her thoughts and feelings about him squared away, she turned her attention back to the director and the script in front of her.

This was going to be a piece of cake.

AN: Please read and review.