Chapter 1: The Admission

I was nervous; naturally, because my dad was someone to be afraid of when he was upset. I stopped the car in front of my parent's house and turned it off.

"Don't worry, Damon. It's going to be fine, okay?" There was something about Elena's voice that could reassure me in seconds. She reached over and held my hand gracing me with a smile.

I nodded bringing her hand to my lips for a kiss. "Thank you." It had been just over two weeks since I ended it with Rebekah and I had been doing my best to avoid my father's phone calls. There were numerous messages.

Damon, there was too much planning that went into this wedding for you to just throw it away. Call me.

Why are all of Rebekah's things gone, not that I mind, it has been much quieter around here, but your mother has been less than forthcoming. I'll be at the office.

Damon…I just got a phone call from Roger Mikaelson. We need to talk.

The last one was received this morning. If Rebekah's dad was calling mine, it wasn't just to shoot the shit. Roger was a strictly business kind of man. Elena and I got out of the car and I reached for her hands as soon as I came around. "How much does my mom know exactly?"

She looked down shyly. "Um, basically all of it. I left out the more explicit details, but I'm sure she's figured it out by now." I could tell she was worried by my reaction.

I chuckled to ease her mind. "Well mom loves a good story…I'm sure you made her day." When we reached the door, my nerves came back and my brows furrowed. "Can we not do this and say we did? There are things I'd much rather be doing." I raise my brows in a way that always makes her flush. It sent a jolt of pride and excitement through me.

Elena smacks my arm lightly her eyes widening in mock shock. "Damon! We're at your parent's house." She whispered coyly playing the innocent card as she bit her lip. God, she had no idea how crazy that made me.

I pulled her flush against me, resting my hands on her lower back, as hers rested on my chest. "That didn't stop us last time." I murmured seductively in her ear as I nuzzled her neck. She giggled pulling back to stare at me with that look, her head tilted to the side. That look she gave me every day since I made my decision; love…unhindered, unconditional, and endless love. I hated that I depraved her from sharing that look. It was always about me for her…and because of my fear of being alone, Elena was forced to be alone too. I caressed her face. "You know how crazy I am about you, don't you?" I needed her to know I was serious. For some reason I couldn't say the words I really wanted. Partly because I didn't think she would believe me.

She blinked and a 100 watt smile lit her face. "You might have to show me later." She teased ringing the doorbell before I could stop her. Elena never stopped surprising me, and I could never get my fill of her.

My mother opened the door and graced us both with a kind smile. "Hello darling," she directed the Elena. "Damon, you think you could have told your father something, anything, about where you were and what's going on?" she sighed dramatically and rolled her eyes skyward. "You know I'm not very good at damage control." She scolded lightly.

I stepped forward to hug her. "I'm sorry, mom…Elena and I just needed time to process and figure this all out." It was partly true, but we were mainly busy doing other things.

She raised a brow high on her forehead, and lips formed a sly grin. "I bet you did." Her tone suggested that she knew better. "Come on in…your father's in his study." She ushered us into the living room where Elena and I sat on the couch opposite my father's large leather chair. "I'll go get him." My mother sauntered out of the room.

When she returned after five tense minutes, my father followed with a terse look on his face. He lowered himself into his chair, his left ankle resting on his right leg and his hands folded on his stomach. My mom perched on the arm of the leather seat. "Where were you?" was his immediate question. More like a demand; he was always that way with me.

"At John's Lake House…with Elena." The pad of her thumb drew soothing patterns over the back of my hand.

His eyes darted to Elena, regarding her with a tight smile. "Hello dear…thank you for looking out for him." His gaze shifted back to me. "Lord knows he needs it from time to time."

I shake my head and my eyes narrow in offence. "What's that supposed to mean?" I could never hold a civilized conversation with the man, he always had to go and rub something in my face.

"I mean, Damon that sometimes you do things without thinking them through." He grumbled disappointedly. I opened my mouth to counter him but was cut off as he continued. "I mean, marrying Rebekah had to be the single, most dumb idea you've ever had." There must have been the word 'shock' written across my forehead because a mischievous smirk curled my dad's lips. "Your mother filled me in on some new developments, after much persuading, and Damon I must say it's about damn time." He chuckled rising to his feet to stand in front of me. I slowly and unbelievingly rose to my feet and took his proffered hand to shake. What?

"I thought you wanted me to get married, settle down." I asked in misperception. He was so pleased when I told him of my pending nuptials.

Dad scoffed. "I do, son, but I want you to be happy with the woman you do that with. Plus…Rebekah was a pain in my ass." It was probably the first and only time I'd heard my father use such casual language. He stared past me to Elena, who I was pretty sure was 'that woman' and smiled kindly. "You could have saved yourself a lot of trouble Damon."

Elena's brows furrowed in confusion glance up at me; she clearly didn't know what he meant by it. Years of being blind to what was right in front of me, and as fate would have it, she came to me anyway. So much time wasted on Rebekah and a love that wasn't real. "I know." I replied simply, a content smile clouded by the bitter aftertaste of regret. Elena looked to me for some kind of explanation.

"Well!" mom stood with poise and clasped her hands together. "Shall we open a bottle of wine? It seems there are a few things to celebrate." She rushed into the kitchen and returned minutes later with four wine glass, more like goblets, and bottle of 2004 Brunello Di Montalcino. "Giuseppe and I picked this up two years ago while travelling through Sienna. It's divine dear, you'll love it." She says to Elena placing the glasses on the table and fills each one about halfway. "To our son finally finding happiness, to Elena, for helping him find it…and to Rebekah for finally getting the hell out of my house." She raised her glass and we all followed suit with laughter. "Salute!"

"Salute!" we echoed.

"Are you okay?" Elena murmured into my chest as she crawled into the bed next to me. We decided to spend the rest of our summer at her Lake House, because staying with either of our parents just wasn't ideal especially with John watching me like a hawk. We're still friends, but he didn't love the idea of Elena sharing her room with me. Obviously.

"Yes." I answered pulling her in closer and kissing her forehead. I could feel her smile against my bare skin. "I'm very content."

She angled her head up to look at me. "So am I." Elena paused in contemplation. "What did your dad mean when he said you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble?" I knew this would come up sooner or later.

"That night…" my heart was pounding, and I'm sure she could feel it. I absentmindedly played with her hair. My voice strained as I continued. Why is this so hard? "The night you've been trying to forget-" I didn't mean for it to come out as bitter as it sounded.

"Damon-" I could tell she wished she could retract that.

"I haven't been able to forget it. I was conflicted and the only person I could confide in was my dad." I sighed; a huge weight fell off my chest. "I picked Rebekah…and every day after I regretted that choice. I made the wrong choice, Elena." I swallowed against the tightness in my throat. I stared down at her, and for the first time, I felt right about the woman in my arms.

Elena spread her fingers out over my chest and trailed them up and down in a caressing gesture. "It doesn't matter now." She whispered. "Everything is the way it should be…" she kissed my shoulder and her lips felt so soft. "I love you."

Fuck. Why couldn't I just say it back? I wanted to; I felt it, but it was like I physically couldn't let it past my lips. What the fuck was I so afraid of, rejection? I already had her! I said it silently to myself as I turned on my side to face her, curling my body around hers to stare at her; in a way to assure myself that this was real. She wasn't Rebekah mumbling it in a drunken slur or with a peck on the cheek before walking off with my credit card. This was Elena: the woman I hurt so many times without realizing, that was sharing a bed with me and loved me despite how I caused her pain.

And I got it then. I was so worried that her love wasn't real that I was withholding my own. For a man that prided himself on being so damn confident I was acting like a fucking pussy. I must have had a strange look on my face because her hand came up to trace the crease between my brows. "What's wrong?"

I shake my head immediately. "Nothing's wrong…" I grab her hand and kiss her fingertips. "I love you. I'm sorry I made you wait so long to hear it." I wasn't sure if I meant since we started dating or before that. Beautiful was the only word I could think of when she smiled at me. It was like I hung the moon just for her and scrawled her name across it. I mentally shook my head. When did I start getting all corny and poetic?

"No…don't apologize. I'm just happy to hear it at all." We were so close she barely had to move to touch her lips to mine. God, how could I have denied both of us this for so long?

Content didn't even begin to cover it.