A/N: Here it is the last and final chapter of Indiscretion.
Disclaimer: These characters are the creative property of LJ Smith and The CW. No copyright infringement is intended.
A pink tongue slithered through lips painted blood-red and ran across the pads of her fingers to which she used to flip a page of the glossy magazine. A magazine she had no business reading while out on the floor. The night was so dreadfully boring she needed something to keep her mind occupied, and to keep her yawns at bay. Only a handful of people were enjoying a late dinner at Monticello Restaurant. The hostess checked the time on the clock that was poised above her head. She frowned. There was still a good two hours left before her shift was over and she could go home.
Returning her attention back to the magazine, an ad piqued her interest. Before she could ogle the ridiculously good-looking male model, a rush of cold air came barreling in signaling the arrival of another customer. Grimacing and sighing, the hostess tucked her magazine away and then snatched up a pen. Her already surly attitude turned even more sour when she saw that the woman who just stepped foot inside of the establishment was stunning.
"Welcome to Monticello's…party for one?" Maci, the hostess asked politely enough.
The customer strolled up to the hostess' podium, smile in place. "I have a reservation under the name Salvatore."
Maci perked up a bit. She remembered the name yet more to the matter the face attached to that name. Honestly, seeing him had been the highlight of her otherwise dismal night.
"Of course," Maci said officiously. "Right this way. Your party is already here."
There was a flicker of emotion that crossed the woman's face that Maci barely picked up on, but if years of being a woman taught her anything, it was telling her the new arrival was nervous. Not that she blamed her. A man with an unblemished and perfectly symmetrical face with a hot body to match, she would have been a puddle on the floor.
Maci led the way. Yet that didn't mean she missed the Swarovski crystal encrusted stilettos that probably cost more than her rent, car note and insurance combined that the lady was wearing. Nevertheless Maci wove through the square-shaped tables that were covered with off-white linen table cloths.
The quiet chattering of the few patrons inside had momentarily forgotten their meals and companions as they watched the lady toss a strand of rippling ebony hair over her shoulder.
"Here you are," Maci announced when she arrived at the appointed table.
Mint green eyes brightened as she graced Maci with a beguiling smile. "Thank you."
Very quickly Maci looked between the man who had been fiddling with his cell phone and the woman who began to unbutton her coat. She wondered if they were married but discarded the assumption because neither one of them were wearing rings. Not that that meant anything in this day and time. People were taking a more casual approach to marriage these days.
The man had risen from his seat and was nearly incapable of taking his eyes off his dinner guest.
"Would you like to check your coat?" Maci directed at the woman.
"Under the same name as the reservation?"
"No…under the name Bonnie Bennett."
Maci nodded, and took the coat from Bonnie. "Enjoy your meal," she said and then reluctantly made her way back to her post.
Alone and on her own, Bonnie kept her gaze locked on the bluish-gray eyes that hadn't budged from hers. Her heart was screaming in her ears and she felt light-headed and afraid. There was never a time other than the day shit hit the fan that Bonnie felt mortally afraid to be alone with Stefan. She had fallen in love with him at the age of twenty-two, married him at twenty-four, and here she was flirting with twenty-nine, but she felt like she was thirteen. Butterflies were being chased by dragons in her stomach, and it was difficult swallowing only because her throat was extremely dry. It may have taken her a few minutes to realize that neither she nor Stefan had made any move to greet one another, or to take their seats. Eyes were on them, but she didn't really care about that.
For his part, Stefan had given himself plenty of pep talks throughout the day and then on the drive to the restaurant. He was back here in Virginia to tie up a plethora of loose ends; that's all this little visit was about. That's what his head was saying. His heart was another matter altogether.
Four months, that's how much time had passed since the last time they laid eyes on one another. Stefan thought he would be immune to Bonnie's presence and beauty, but clearly that wasn't the case. She hadn't done anything drastic with her look. She was just as he remembered. Only her eyes which had always been full of wisdom and laughter were now kind of closed off—shrouded to prevent herself from getting hurt.
Clearing his throat, Stefan extended his hand. A handshake felt foolish and impersonal considering all the history between them, but he didn't trust himself to do more.
Bonnie extended her hand which was swallowed up in Stefan's larger palm. His skin was tepid, his fingers a little calloused but other than that his grip was firm. She let his hand go after five seconds and then the both of them took their seats.
Now that they were sitting, Bonnie averted her eyes to check out the decorum of the restaurant. Lit votive candles burned in crystal holders which reflected off the surface of the cream china and sterling silver flatware. She had never been to Monticello's before, but a few of her colleagues had raved about its five-star service, and mouth-watering cuisine. Eating was the last thing on her mind, but she would kill for a glass of really strong wine.
"Were you waiting long?" Bonnie opened up the dialogue.
Stefan scooted his chair a little closer to the table. "I've only been here for about fifteen minutes. I already ordered some wine. The Pinot Grigio, I know that's your favorite."
A corner of Bonnie's mouth lifted in a smile. She picked up the menu and quickly perused the choices.
"How have you been?" his question interrupted her meal shopping.
Bonnie lifted her eyes from the menu. "I've been okay. What about you?"
"I'm closing on a property in Los Angeles. I'll soon be the owner of the next photography and design studio slash school."
When Bonnie smiled it erased the anxiety and weariness off her face. "That's amazing, Stefan. Congratulations! Photography has always been your passion."
Stefan nodded his head humbly. Little by little he was putting his life back together after he thought he had lost everything. He wasn't where he wanted to be, but he was getting there as each day passed.
Before their "breaking-the-ice" conversation could continue, their waiter came over and ran down the night's specials while another waiter filled their glasses with white wine. Bonnie decided she'd try the roasted lamb whereas Stefan wanted chicken.
Silence engulfed their table the second they were alone again. They never had this problem before, yet Bonnie conceded they weren't what they used to be. Bonnie hadn't known what to expect when she got a phone call out of the blue from Stefan who awkwardly asked her to join him for dinner. At first it took a minute for Bonnie to realize it wasn't a prank call, that she was indeed hearing Stefan's voice for the first time in close to four months, well other than the voice mail message he left her wishing her a Happy New Year. Bonnie had agreed to dinner, and then wondered if she should call him back and cancel. She was still reeling over how things went down between her and Damon over New Year's, and just as she turned her back on one Salvatore, here came the other.
There were things Bonnie wanted to discuss with Stefan and things she wanted to know about in the time they had been separated, but she wanted to remain objective about things. Now armed with the knowledge that he was opening up a studio out in Los Angeles it was more than clear he wasn't here to try to fix things between them.
"Why did you want to have dinner with me, Stefan?"
He didn't appear taken aback by the question, more like relieved that she finally brought up one of the pink elephants in the room.
"I wanted to see how you've been," he admitted. "I know things are the way they are between us…"
"You left and cut off all communication," Bonnie interrupted feeling anger take over unexpectedly. "I mean…" she sighed to cool herself down, "you had every reason to want to put space between us, but to not tell me and…and I had no idea where you were just brought up all those old feelings of the first time you disappeared."
A tick hammered in Stefan's jaw and he immediately broke eye contact with Bonnie. It had occurred to him that his leaving abruptly and then cancelling his cell phone service was perhaps not the best route to take. He hadn't concerned himself with how Bonnie might take him leaving; he only concerned himself with the fact that he needed to get the hell out of Virginia as soon and as fast as possible.
"I should have told you that I was going to take off for a while. So you wouldn't worry."
To Bonnie's ears it was like Stefan was eating raw lemons to have to admit that. "I know what you do with your time is none of my business anymore…but you are still important to me, Stefan. I just want to know that you're okay."
He looked up at her then and noticed she wasn't saying that just to say it or appear sincere. Bonnie meant it.
"I'm sorry," he intoned.
"No, I'm the one who's sorry."
Stefan shook his head. He didn't want to go down this road again, and especially not in front of an audience. Luckily their dinner arrived giving them yet another distraction. Bonnie thanked the waiter and spread her table napkin over her dress. Stefan followed suit.
"How were your holidays?" Stefan opted to change the subject.
Bonnie didn't respond until she swallowed her bite of lamb. That wasn't an easy topic to discuss either. "I spent Thanksgiving with Elena and Jeremy. Christmas and New Year's…I was in New York."
Stefan snapped his eyes up from his plate and stared at her. Hard. He shouldn't have been surprised by that but he was. His hand tightened on his fork.
"How is my brother?" Stefan inquired as casually as possible.
"He misses you," Bonnie replied watching as emotions coiled in Stefan's eyes. It was plain easy to see he was pissed.
Stefan said nothing to that, only picked up his wine glass and nearly drained the contents. "So are you two…"
Bonnie shook her head. Stefan's eyebrows arched. "I can admit this to you…I do love Damon, but he needs more than just me. He needs his brother. And I don't want to be the reason why the two of you never speak to one another again."
"So you let him go…you didn't even want to give things a shot?"
"Not if it meant that you lived the rest of your life hating him. I can deal with you hating me, but not him. You two are all the family you have left."
Sitting his fork down, Stefan worked his tongue between his teeth and looked away from Bonnie for a minute. On the plane ride back to Virginia he told himself that if Bonnie confessed that she and his brother were together that he wouldn't let the news faze him. Not to say that he would throw them a party, but that he would handle things as maturely as possible. Now to hear that Bonnie did in fact love his brother and he knew how Damon felt about Bonnie, and she was letting him go as not to ruin what was left of his relationship with Damon, Stefan hadn't prepared himself for that possibility.
As he looked at Bonnie again he could tell she was in misery but was putting up a good front. She could dress herself in pretty clothes and nice jewelry to mask her pain. But Stefan was fairly sure Bonnie resembled a desiccated corpse on the inside. Would it be justice or punishment to allow two grown people to use him as the scapegoat for why they couldn't be together? Stefan couldn't have felt more like he was caught in the middle of a Shakespearean play. Who the hell was he? Hamlet? Macbeth? King Lear? Romeo? None of the above?
"All right, look," Stefan said. Bonnie peered at him. "I don't hate my brother. And I don't hate you either. Yes, I'm still upset about whatever took place between you and Damon. Yes, I know he's my brother, he'll always be my brother; nothing can change that. You were my first real love, Bonnie and now you're his. Damon and I have been through hell, but we've always managed to survive. I can be politically correct about this whole thing and give you my blessing, promise to sing at your wedding, but I'm not at that point yet. And I don't think I ever will be because I still love you."
Bonnie's heart stopped, fractured, and then began to stitch itself back together.
"But…I think I'm falling in love with someone else."
And that joy she was feeling radiating deep in her bones evaporated. Her nose tingled and she offered Stefan a tremulous smile.
Stefan reached over and grabbed her hand. "Salvatore men are notorious for not letting things go. Part of me wants to give us another shot. Part of me just wants to close the chapter for good and move on. But this all hinders on what you want to do. This is your call, Bonnie. What's it going to be?"
The bill was paid now they were standing outside waiting for the valet to pull Bonnie's SUV around to the front. Valentine's Day was five days away and many shops around the restaurant had their front windows decorated with Valentine's themed decorations, or whatever product they were trying to push was in the color of blood.
The lights of the Range Rover nearly blinded Bonnie when it arrived. She walked towards it while trying to rub warmth back into her fingers. Stefan held the door open after the valet exited the car and accepted his tip.
Bonnie faced Stefan, and smiled. "Thank you for dinner."
He nodded. "So I'll see you in a few days."
Stefan leaned forward and kissed her cheek. When he pulled away he allowed himself to get lost in Bonnie's eyes that were as large and luminous as a cat's. He caressed the cheek he kissed with the pad of his thumb, and then quickly pressed his lips to hers. Bonnie gave a short gasp of surprise, but didn't move an inch.
"Drive safely," Stefan advised the second he ended the kiss. "There might be ice on the roads."
"The same goes for you too, Salvatore. Call me and let me know you made it."
"And you call me and let me know you made it home in one piece."
"All right. Good night, Stefan."
"Good night, Bonnie."
Climbing behind the wheel, Bonnie snapped her seat belt on as Stefan closed the door. She tossed him one final smile before pulling away from the curb.
Two weeks later…
It was Friday night and he in was the heart of DC sitting on the steps of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This was a neutral place. Not too close to Mystic Falls, and definitely miles away from New York. Damon looked out towards F Street as tourists and natives walked or drove by creating one large cacophony of noise. A slew of females did double-takes when they saw him sitting like a GQ model on the steps. A few even tried to urge their friends to go up and talk to him but ultimately chickened out.
He was used to that sort of behavior. It usually died down once people got to know him although very few people could say they knew the real Damon Salvatore.
Pulling the lapels higher on his coat, Damon tried not to let the cold air affect him.
But he hated waiting for people especially in the cold.
Damon wasn't sure how this particular scenario was going to play out. Since October he had had a variation of dreams and nightmares about coming face-to-face with Stefan. In one dream Damon had almost consistently, Stefan merely strolled up to him, punched his hand through his chest, and removed his heart. That was probably the most gruesome of the dreams he's had. In his least gruesome dream he and Stefan were kids at an overcrowded airport where they were separated, and no matter where he looked he couldn't find his brother.
He and Stefan being at odds was nothing new. In fact their relationship seemed to hinge or operate better when they had a falling out every ten years or so. He figured they were long overdue.
However, this time around things were much different. Severely different. If he could go back and change the past, Damon had been on the fence if he would change anything that happened. Of course he'd rather not go through the pain of thinking his brother was dead. And nope, he wouldn't want to fall in love with his brother's wife which had been such a stupid fucking decision from the get go. Damon clenched his teeth on top of one another. He added another strike to the list.
Thinking about Bonnie wasn't permissible. She screwed him over both literally and figuratively, and he owed her ass nothing. She left him and took his heart with her. She wouldn't get his soul, though. That was all Damon felt he had left.
Needless to say Damon had been undeniably surprised to receive a phone call from Stefan asking if he could meet with him in DC to talk. Damon had questioned why DC, and Stefan had given him a vague response to which Damon didn't push. He considered this the miracle of the century; that Stefan was even reaching out in the first place because he was sure his ass had been black listed for life.
As time inched by his nerves were starting to get to him. Reaching inside his coat pocket, Damon withdrew a packet of gum and popped a stick in his mouth. The lingering stench of cigarette smoke wafted by drawing his attention to the culprit. That was certainly one habit he was glad he never picked up.
The man in question instantly rose to his feet and turned around. He didn't move from the step he was standing on, only looked up as Stefan descended the stairs.
Once they were only a few feet apart the brothers assessed one another. Public displays of affection had never been their thing and neither saw any reason to change it. Moreover, that didn't mean the urge to hug Stefan wasn't there. Damon just got the impression that if he made any sudden moves Stefan might upper cut him.
"Hey," was the only thing Damon could think to say.
"There's a cafeteria inside…where we can…talk."
Nodding his head, Damon followed his little brother, spat out his gum, and stuffed his hands in his pockets.
Both brothers ordered regular black coffees that cost the same as a full tank of gas. Damon shook his head and was beginning to reconsider if living in the north was worth the cost of living. Everything was expensive as all hell.
The two brothers found a table that was far away from prying eyes and ears. They removed their coats, sat down, and then looked at everything but each other.
Damon cleared his throat. Stefan cleared his.
"So why did you want to see me?" Damon asked.
Stefan, after eyeing the packets of sweeteners decided to grab a few, ripped them open, and dumped them in his coffee. "I think its time for us to talk. We let our fists do much of the talking the first time around, and then…well after you dropped your bomb on me I wasn't much interested in hearing anything else you had to say."
"So what's changed?"
Stefan licked the coffee stirrer and took a sip. He grimaced. Now he remembered why he hated fake sugar with a passion. "I had dinner with Bonnie a couple of weeks ago."
Damon's eyes widened as his eyebrows lifted. That wasn't the explanation he had been expecting to hear, and of course it made color rise to the back of his neck before it settled in his cheeks and the tips of his ears.
"Did you now?" Damon replied coolly.
"I learned that things aren't so good between you two."
"And you wanted to gloat about that?"
"No. Just stating facts."
Damon's eyes narrowed on Stefan who was trying to maintain his impassive expression, but the elder Salvatore could definitely see some haughtiness lingering on Stefan's face.
"Did she give you the same bullshit reason that she gave me?" Damon's tone of voice took on a heated edge.
Stefan shook his head. "It's not bullshit if she's right. I can see where she's coming from, Damon and Bonnie has a point. We're brothers. Blood. Family."
Damon wished he could sit still and listen to what Stefan was trying to say, but unfortunately he had an impatient streak that refused to be placated. "What are you trying to say to me, Stefan? That you're ready and willing to forgive me for falling in love with Bonnie? Or are you here to tell me that the two of you have decided to work things out? If that's the case an email or text would have sufficed."
"Damon," Stefan said calmly because he knew how much of a hothead his brother was. "This isn't going right," he mumbled more to himself than to Damon. "I didn't want to see you to rehash any of that shit. I just wanted to see you. Okay? We don't have to talk about Bonnie because she's not important at the moment. Chicks they come and they go, but we're brothers and that means something. And Gran wouldn't want to see us like this. So that means we need to find some way to get past all this."
Shimmering down, Damon looked over his brother and then let it go. It would probably be best if neither one of them mentioned Bonnie ever again. From what he could tell she was no longer apart of either of their lives. With time Damon was sure the sting of that revelation would lessen, but right now in an odd way—being close to Stefan made him feel close to Bonnie.
"You really think it'll be that easy?" Damon still had to poke the sleeping lion. "I haven't given you any reason to trust me again."
"When has anything in life ever been easy?" Stefan questioned and then leaned over the table. "And who said you could trust me?"
Taking a sip of coffee, Damon muttered, "Touché." Pause. "Stefan…I'm…I'm sorry for what I did."
The younger Salvatore pinched the bridge of his nose. "I know you are, Damon. We'll always be fighting each other over something."
"I guess we're just following in the cursed Salvatore family footsteps, eh?"
Stefan smiled ruefully, "I guess. How are things at work?"
"I'm heading out to Dubai at the beginning of April. I'll probably be over there for a few months trying to hammer out this deal. Other than that everything has been the same. What about you?"
"Dubai…sounds hot," Stefan smiled. Damon smirked. "I'll be opening up my own studio in LA. Closed the contract last month and renovations are set to start in March."
Damon picked up his coffee cup and tapped it with Stefan's. "I'm proud of you, little bro."
"Thanks," Stefan mumbled.
"So you're relocating to LA?" Damon queried.
Stefan nodded. "Yeah."
"Where exactly have you been all this time?"
An ah-ha expression came over Damon's face. "I figured as much. So will anyone from Montana be joining you in the City of Angels?"
"Maybe, maybe not," Stefan replied vaguely.
For the next forty minutes the brothers discussed various topics making sure they steered clear of any talk about women not even Hollywood actresses. They were told to leave in a firm but friendly way by one of the cafeteria workers when the museum was closing.
"Hey you want to grab a drink?" Stefan suggested the minute they were outside. "A real one?"
"I'm down for whatever," Damon replied. The two brothers started walking towards Bar Louis.
Once inside they had to battle their way to the bar area and then proceeded to yell as if they were at a Redskins game in order for their drink orders to be heard. Within seconds they were swarmed by women who tried to hustle free drinks out of them. This wasn't Stefan's scene anymore, and he spent a good twenty minutes politely shooting down offers from whatever Mary Sue approached.
Damon on the other hand was much more accommodating. He winked, flirted, and kissed cheeks. Stefan certainly never envied his brother. He got his fair share of attention from the ladies, but it was never on Damon's level. How he could stand not being able to move two feet without being harassed was a wonder to Stefan, but then he knew this was Damon's element considering he was a bit of a narcissist.
Damon slapped a Corona and a shot of Johnnie Walker in Stefan's hands. The two brothers then scuffled off to a less crowded area of the bar and took in the sights.
After downing his shot and chasing it with a chug of beer, Damon pulled his lips back from his teeth and stared at his brother askance. "Is this a truce between us?"
At first Stefan pretended not hear, but then he shrugged. "Maybe it's the beginning of one. There's still a lot of stuff I need to work out in my head. But we're family. We'll always be brothers, and that's what I'm holding on to."
Damon nodded. It was certainly more than he deserved. He returned his attention back to the crowd.
Holding up a wall at a club or bar had never been his forte and he hadn't had any real fun not since…Damon blocked those thoughts from entering his mind but unfortunately it was too late. Caramel skin, green eyes, bowed lips, petite yet statuesque body filled his vision causing Damon to slump his shoulders a bit. When he inhaled deeply, the pull on his chest hurt. He wasn't even back at square one. He was at square negative one and it sucked ass big time.
But he wouldn't dwell on it. He'd kick Bonnie Bennett out of his system soon enough. Besides he had his brother back—partially—and Damon would hold on to it like a floatation device.
"Oh, sorry, man," Damon said to a guy he accidentally shoulder checked as he entered the hotel where he was staying for the night. He wasn't stupid drunk just a touch inebriated, but he was coherent enough to walk in a straight line, and he was sober enough not to call attention to himself to alert the DC Police.
Smiling at the lady behind the front desk, Damon went over to the bank of elevators to the right. Pressing the up arrow, he waited and started humming a little tune and snapped his fingers. The sound of a woman's laughter caught his attention prompting Damon to turn and face the lobby. When he did his eyes bugged out of their sockets. He couldn't believe it. That blissful feeling of being stuck between intoxication and sobriety all melted away until piping hot anger burst and rushed through his veins leading Damon to move away from the elevators.
He watched as the woman, completely unaware of the fact she was being followed, spoke softly into her cell phone as if trying to ease the fears of her new lover. He was livid! He wasn't sure where she was headed but when she stopped suddenly before entering the bar area of the hotel, she pivoted slowly as if she remembered she had forgotten something.
Damon went absolutely immobile. He wanted her to see him. He wanted her to know that he caught her red-handed about to go and have a midnight rendezvous with some jackass she probably picked up off the street. What the hell was she even doing in DC during the same weekend he would make a trip up here to see Stefan?
A cross between a growl and groan once her face was revealed to him escaped Damon. All of those feelings he had collected, bottled up, and thrown out of his emotionally available closet came rushing back in, spilling out like oil in a jack knifed tanker truck.
He watched with grim satisfaction as her mouth opened yet sound refused to come out as she attempted to yap away on her cell phone. Her finger instinctively hung up the phone, and slowly her arm lowered to her side.
"Damon…hey...w-what are you doing here?"
The man in question folded his arms tightly over his chest. If Stefan knew about this Damon would take great pleasure in hunting him down and giving him another nice thorough ass kicking for playing him for a fool once again.
"I could ask you the same thing," he replied curtly.
Hurt flashed on her heart-shaped face and she finally lowered her eyes to the floor. That's right, prostrate yourself before me, you jezebel, Damon thought.
But then she lifted her head and with it those haunting emerald eyes. "I'm here for a conference that's being held at the Convention Center. What are you doing in DC?"
Damon held his chin up, haughtily. "One word—Stefan."
Bonnie nodded and slipped her phone back into her purse despite the fact it started ringing.
"Aren't you going to answer that?" Damon's nostrils flared.
"It can wait." Bonnie sighed and maintained eye contact with Damon. It was more than apparent he was pissed off with her and with the decision she made. Running into him in DC after everything seemed like fate, or a very obvious coincidence, or a huge cosmic joke. Which one? Probably a little bit of all three.
Damon was almost tempted to grab her phone to see if she had been talking to Stefan, but he knew this was just the alcohol talking. He had no more right to know her comings and goings than she had of knowing his. Besides, what would it prove? Nothing and everything.
"You talked to Stefan?" Bonnie questioned.
"Yes I did."
"So that means you know."
Damon cocked his head to the side. "Know that the two of you had dinner a couple of weeks ago? Yeah, I know about that," his tone implied that he was bored with this conversation; however, he was anything but.
Bonnie pinched her lips. "And do you know about the other thing?"
"What other thing?"
"We're selling the house."
Damon blinked. "The house in Mystic Falls?" he asked for clarification realizing as soon as he asked it that it was a silly question.
"Yes, the house in Mystic Falls," Bonnie replied dubiously.
"Because you're moving with him to Los Angeles? Is that why?"
Bonnie stared at Damon quizzically. She laid a hand on her chest. "I'm not moving to LA with Stefan."
Now Damon was just confused. His kidneys were currently doing a backstroke in all the alcohol he consumed and this conversation with Bonnie was eating up what brain cells he had left. So during his short reprieve he put several facts together in his head. Bonnie was here for some type of convention. She was selling the house in Mystic Falls but she wasn't moving with Stefan to LA. All right, so where exactly did she plan to live? She couldn't be moving into the boardinghouse because it was three times the size of the townhome she and Stefan owned, and Bonnie had considered downsizing to an apartment when it was just her.
While he had been busy organizing his thoughts he failed to realize that Bonnie had closed the distance that separated them. The scent of her perfume, something light and fresh tickled his nose, and drew his attention back to the matter at hand.
He stared down at her getting lost in that face he loved so much it was a physical entity which fought for dominance inside of him. His hand was drawing up to touch her, but Damon immediately regained control of his motor functions and slammed his hand back to his side.
"So if you're not moving to LA why are you selling the house?"
"I am relocating just not to California." Pause. "I'm moving to New York."
Well, he lived in New York so other than him and possibly work there would be no other reason for Bonnie to pack up her life in Virginia, and come to his neck of the woods. He really shouldn't have downed all those shots because it was messing with his cognitive reasoning.
Damon swallowed thickly. "Why are you moving to New York? I didn't think there was anything or anyone you wanted in that state," he stated brusquely.
"We should probably take this conversation some place more private," Bonnie recommended and without another word led the way over to the elevator.
Unable to help himself, Damon followed like an obedient pet. He and Bonnie stood in silence as she pressed the up arrow for the lift. The silence continued once they boarded the elevator, and Bonnie pressed the number seven button. His room was located on the fifth floor.
Once they arrived, they took a turn to the left and continued down the hall to the second to last door on the right. Bonnie swiped her key card in the slot, opened the door, and snapped on the light to her suite.
The bright light stung Damon's glassy and watery eyes. He took off his coat and draped it on the nearest flat surface. Bonnie did the same and then moved over to the couch in the small sitting area. Damon joined her.
"You look like you could use some coffee," Bonnie said. She caught the lingering scent of cigarette smoke and alcohol clinging to Damon's Ralph Lauren shirt and his jeans, which added up to him patronizing a bar or club. Though he looked a little unkempt with a scruffy five o'clock shadow around his jaw, and hair that appeared as if it had been finger combed a million times, he was still annoyingly handsome.
"I probably should drink some, but later," he turned to her on the couch. "Why are you moving to New York?"
Bonnie licked her lips and replayed that moment of sitting across from Stefan at Monticello. He had asked her point blank what she wanted to do, and in the past she always had to think before answering that question, but that night the answer came so quickly that it not only shocked Stefan but her as well.
"I want to be with Damon. I want to make things work with him."
Stefan had sat still for a second, his face turning several shades of the rainbow before releasing all the air he collected in his lungs. Bonnie had studied his face carefully. As the color rose, faded, and drained until he appeared normal again, Stefan had nodded his head. From there they discussed selling their house and had made plans to meet with a realtor. If she wanted to be with Damon then she needed to be where he was and that was in New York. Stefan had been right. It was time the both of them closed the chapter in their book. Their house, coupled with their memories to which Bonnie would always treasure, was the only other thing standing in the way of their prospective futures.
She and Stefan shared a connection and they always would, but they had been treading on two different paths. Letting him go was not easy.
Back in the present, Bonnie tentatively pulled Damon closer by the back of his neck. "I want to move to New York so I can be with the man I love."
Damon couldn't blink, and his ears which were still partially ringing from the music that blared at Bar Louis, couldn't have heard properly.
"Ah…" he stammered, "but I was sure that if Stefan popped back up in the picture that you'd throw up the deuces sign up at him, too. I mean what about all that crap you spewed at me about not wanting to come in between me and my brother? What the hell did the two of you discuss at this dinner?"
Bonnie shrunk away from Damon and then got off the couch altogether. She should have known it wouldn't be that easy. She had given Damon so much hope and then she crushed it right in front of his face, tucked tail and booked it back to Mystic Falls. He didn't chase after her. He didn't call her and she didn't call him. Yes all of this appeared to be coming out of nowhere, but Bonnie was tired of fighting the truth. She was tired of living up to the world's expectation of what a woman was supposed to do when faced with a situation like this. Honestly she wanted to do the right thing, and the right thing was to step out of the way, and let Damon and Stefan handle the rift between them. Bonnie could do that. She had done that.
Believe it or not, Stefan had been the one to call her and tell her that he was going to talk to Damon. He certainly didn't have to do that, and he hadn't promised anything, but it was a start.
She turned to face Damon. "We…we talked about our futures. He told me about the studio he's opening and…he told me about Leah. He's found someone who can make him happy, who makes him happy. He suggested I do the same. And that's what I'm going to do."
Damon ran frustrated hands through his hair. "I don't understand this. So everything is supposed to fall back into place because my brother…in his own way gave you his blessing?"
"I wouldn't exactly say Stefan gave his blessing. He's trying but he's not exactly over everything. It would be unrealistic on both our ends to think he'd ever be a hundred percent okay with us…granted if there is or will be an us…it's all entirely up to you."
"Don't lay this down at my feet. I told you how I felt. You know where I stand; and now some weeks later you're willing to move to New York when you were just as willing to leave me in the dust! And you're doing this because you think you love me?"
Bonnie wanted to scream. She couldn't understand why Damon was being so difficult about this. Okay, granted he had his reasons to be, but still…
"I know I love you, Damon!" she argued. "I never questioned that. I only questioned the appropriateness of us being together. But I don't care anymore about what anyone has to say because I'm in love with you. And this is my life and I'm going to live it how I choose."
He shot off the couch. "Then prove it! Bring your ass here and kiss me."
Just as she was prepared to hurl out another rebuttal to his argument, Bonnie stopped and blinked at him. Damon's scowl of a moment ago morphed into a semi-angelic smirk that turned devilish in a New York minute.
One foot moved in front of the other and she was in grabbing distance. Damon caught her by the arms and pulled her forward.
"I need you to be sure about this, Bonnie. I don't want you coming to me in a week, or a month, or a year saying you think you made a mistake. That you picked the wrong brother."
Tears lined the bottom of Bonnie's eyes. "It was never about me picking, Damon," she said softly. "It was about me following my heart."
Damon smirked and then lowered his head as Bonnie leaned on her toes. Their lips touched gently at first. There was an exchange of breath and then finally their lips were sealed, joined together. Damon released Bonnie's arms who eagerly wound them around his neck as his went around her waist. They clutched one another, increased the pressure of their kiss. He grabbed her ass. She giggled and then slipped her tongue in his mouth.
The road they were about to embark on would be a difficult and hard one, but then again the course of true love never did run smooth.
A/N: This will officially be my last and final triangle love story. They are simply too complicated and messy and gut wrenching. Being the author I still had no idea what the ending should be. When I first started writing this it had been with Bamon as the endgame, but then when I got into the Stefonnie flashbacks, I switched to their side, and then somewhere past the mid-point I was thinking Bonnie should be noble and walk away from both brothers. But then watching 4x15 and seeing the Bamon hug kind of sealed the deal with this puppy. I really do believe that Bonnie and Stefan could have made things work if given time, and I didn't want to go with Damon simply because he was never picked "first", but I'm okay with this ending in that everything isn't exactly sunshine and rainbows. No weddings, no babies, nothing that says everything has been wrapped up with a nice shiny bow. All pairings Defan/Stefonnie/Bamon are still works in progress so for those who were campaigning for Stefonnie, I'm so sorry, and I'm not being sarcastic, I really truly am. There's just something undeniable about Bamon. So please don't be mad at me, this was not an easy decision to make. But thank you so so much to everyone who has followed, favored, and reviewed this controversial piece of work ;) Love you guys so much! Whew, I'm going on vacation now.