Title: Fate, or Something Like It

Summary: Elena Gilbert decides that enough is enough and is tired of waiting for "the one" to give her a family. After taking it upon herself, she gets artificially inseminated. What happens when she meets Mr. Right soon after?

Disclaimer: I don't own LJ Smith's/Julie Plec's characters. The plot is loosely based on 'The Backup Plan,' but the twists and turns belong to me. Don't be a thief. If you steal from my story, I'll have Damon go after you. He's…well, he's Team Kate. Don't piss him off. ;)

Rating: M for adult scenes in later chapters and coarse language.

Note: First of all, thank you to Sandra for looking over this first chapter and giving suggestions and to Morgan for being a beta to this story. If you haven't read their stories yet, you should. Their usernames on this site are dutchtreat and morvamp. As for what you're about to read... this is very different than my other stories. It's sort of an experiment, so I'm a bit nervous. I hope you enjoy it. ~Kate

I never thought that at twenty-eight I would still be waiting to be a mother, let alone waiting for my perfect match. I wasn't sure if I even believed in soul-mates, but I knew that there was at least one person in the world that was right for them.

Maybe there was something wrong with me; something that screamed, 'You won't be happy with this one. Look elsewhere.' Who the hell knows, but after being screwed over time and time again, either with an ex-boyfriend coming out of the closet, someone cheating on me behind my back – better than in right front of me, like another ex-had done – and many other rotten experiences that brought me to this point, I've decided that I'm done.

I never thought I'd be the one to say it the one to say, 'Screw it. I'm done waiting.' But here I am, in the waiting room, waiting to be seen by Manhattan's most prestigious reproductive specialist.

I, Elena Gilbert, will be getting artificially inseminated.

I hear the door open and a nurse is calling out a woman's name that isn't my own. The lady stands up and she's round with child as she walks through the door with her husband hand-in-hand. He's got his other hand wrapped around her waist and she's looking up at him like he's God's gift to Earth. Lucky bitch, I think to myself.

Yeah, can you tell I'm a bit envious?

I don't get it. I really don't. I'm a good girl. Not saintly, or anything like that, but I don't smoke, I'm not that big of a drinker and I've never broken the law. I mean, I'm not exactly a do-gooder either. I screw up every now and then, but who doesn't? For example, I once got drunk and had a one-night stand with an old friend from high school the same night we bumped into each other after not seeing each other for five years. Awkward? Nah. We've always been – and still are – great friends. Was the sex good?

Well…let's just say I wasn't left satisfied.

I pick up a baby magazine and start flipping through the pages. Most of the pictures are of Mom and Baby strolling through the park or breast-feeding and I honestly can't help but to picture that I'm the mother pushing that child in its stroller, or sitting in the rocking chair while the baby drinks from me, and…

And I need to calm down.

I haven't been tested to see if I'm even eligible for this procedure yet. I see the nurse at the reception desk cast a glance my way before jotting down something on her clipboard. I look back down at my magazine and start reading…well, more like fantasizing again.

"Elena Gilbert," her chipper voice calls and my head snaps back up. "Doctor Fell is ready to see you now." My pulse quickens and my heart thumps in my chest. I don't know why I'm nervous. Well, scratch that; yes I do, because this lady's either going to tell me the procedure will work, or she's going to tell me I can't because she either finds me unsuitable to be a mother, or something's wrong with the plumbing inside or…

"Okay," I reply, standing up and banishing all negative thoughts. I follow the nurse through the corridor and into a small, eerily neat white room. There are screens and ultrasounds and utensils that all look extremely sterile. Well, that's encouraging. My heart jumps when the doctor knocks on the door. I tell her to come in and the next thing I know she's jumping to sit on the counter, as if she's a family member, getting ready to make some casual conversation.

Which is ironic, since this conversation is about to be anything but casual.

"How are you today, Miss Gilbert?"

I shrug and push a rebel hair behind my ear. "I'm…fine," I tell her, though it doesn't sound all that convincing.

"There's no reason for you to be worried. We're just going to converse, okay? I know you've been waiting for this appointment for quite some time now." I nod. That was an understatement and a half. I'd been waiting months for this day to finally get here so these experts could tell me what I craved to know; if I would be eligible for going through the procedure.

"I'm going to ask you some questions. That's it, that's all." Her smile is warm and the tension in my shoulders fades immediately, believing her. "Relax."

And despite the magnitude of the situation, that's what I do.

Ten minutes later and she's shaking my hand. Apparently I've passed the verbal portion of the test. Turning around, Doctor Fell is pulling open a drawer and handing me a gown. "That wasn't so bad was it?" I shake my head and she instructs, "I'll give you a few moments, but I'd like you to change out of all your clothes, minus your bra. You can leave that on and change into this."

"Okay," I reply, nodding in agreement. Then she's gone so I can put on the ugly outfit. I hop onto the bed and lay back, trying to figure out if I should place my feet in the stirrups or not. I test it and succumb to my curiosity. The metal's cold, and I immediately remind myself of those women in those television shows and movies where their lady parts are open for the world to see so they can push out their baby - certainly not an image I want to be visualizing just yet. I yank my feet back and shake my head, swallowing when another knock sounds on the door. "Come in."

"Are we ready?" the woman smiles and I nod, watching her like a hawk as she moves to the foot of the bed and sits down on the stool. I shrug. Is anyone ever ready to be probed and examined? I feel her searching my cervix, poking and prodding around in there, and she's staring intently at me. And by at me, I'm referring to my vagina.

Another period of time passes before she's pulling back and peeling off her gloves. I'm trying to gauge her answer by looking at her expression, though she's giving me nothing. My mind is flying like a rocket. Am I okay to be inseminated? Do I have the green-light? How about a yellow-light? I'll take anything but a red-light. Please just –

"Well, Miss Gilbert, I don't see why having this procedure can't work for you," she says, cutting off my frantic whirl of thoughts and I want to do a happy dance. I can have a baby? She's going to inseminate me! Granted it'll be by the sperm of a man I've never met, but who cares? I'm finally going to be a mother. "Come back in two days. According to your charts, you'll have just started ovulating. I'll set up the appointment for Wednesday at two in the afternoon."

Those pictures of those mothers and babies will soon be describing my baby and mine's relationship. I'll be able to take a stroll with him down the park or have her drink from me. The thoughts are wonderful and I want to tell her how happy she's made me, maybe even give her a hug or something, but all that comes out is a tearful, "Thank you."

She smiles the same kind smile she gave me before, and then closes the door behind her. I change back into my clothes and examine myself in the mirror that's hung on the back of the door. Turning to face the wall, I place my hands over my flat stomach. Hopefully, the procedure will be a success the first time around – I've heard of it sometimes taking multiple tries – and I'll have a being inside me, someone that will look up to me and call me Mama, or Mommy in a few years' time.

I wave to the nurse as I leave the office in bliss, feeling insane amounts of confidence pump through my veins. Who needs a husband? Who needs a boyfriend for that matter? I'm making this happen all on my own and I'm damn proud. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner.

I decide to celebrate by running to the coffee shop. No, not to drink it, of course – it's unhealthy for a mom, or a future mom – to have so much caffeine. No, I'm going for water and a blueberry scone. It's probably irrelevant to even discuss it, but my mom used to make me scones all the time. She's a phenomenal pastry chef. However, she lives back in Virginia in a tiny town known as Mystic Falls. I rarely see her, though we talk all the time.

I wonder what she's going to say about my decision to have a baby.

I'm sure she'll support me. Miranda Gilbert is one of the kindest people in the world – and it sounds like I'm just saying that because she's my mother, but it's the truth. She'll support me like she always has. I know she will. My dad on the other hand, will probably be apprehensive, and I get it. I'm his little girl. I'll always be his baby, blah blah blah. But when all is said and done, I know he'll be there for me too.

Speaking of having a support system, Caroline Forbes – also know as my best friend - is going to lose her freaking mind. A blonde bombshell of fun, she'll probably be as excited about my having a baby as I am right now. I have no doubts that she'll be my go-to girl. She'll probably even beg me to let her be there for the delivery.

I can't stop the bubble of giggles that erupt from me as I think about it. I'm not even pregnant, haven't even had the procedureyet, and I'm thinking nine months into the future.

Shaking my hyperactive thoughts aside, I open the door to the little café and the little bell attached to it rings, announcing my arrival. It's quite busy and I'm reminded that it's currently noon and people are on their lunch break.

"Elena!" the woman behind the counter beams at me. I wave to Bree Montgomery. One of the nicest women I've ever met, she's holding up a bottle of water and asks if I'd like a glass with ice and lemon. I've gone to this café practically every day for the last three years. I nod happily and she hands it to me. "Would you like the usual today, sweet-cheeks?"

I nod with a giggly, "Thank you." She does a double-take before going to fulfill my order.

"Elena Gilbert," she smiles with a suspicious gleam in her eye. "You are in quite the mood. Care to share?" she asks, handing me my blueberry scone.

I don't want to share my news with her before I've had a chance to tell Caroline, or my parents, but I give her a telling grin. "You'll find out soon enough."

"Wha-well, what is that supposed to mean?" she laughs and I shake my head at her as if to say 'not yet.' She pleads with me before finally giving in. "Alright, alright. I'll try to be patient."

I walk out of the café realizing I left without paying. Spinning around on my heels with my scone in hand, I smack into a body and my favorite treat flies from my grasp.

"Shit!" the voice hisses and I see there is coffee drenching his shirt and tie. He's holding his hands out wide, as if that helps, while trying to pat himself dry with napkins at the same time.

"Oh, my God!" I gasp, biting my lip in embarrassment. "I am so sorry!" I reach out to help dry him off and his gaze flickers to meet mine just as I look up at him. My breath catches in my throat and I'm sure I've never seen eyes quite so striking. They're as blue as the ocean and they honestly leave my mind a jumbled mess. "Are you okay?" I ask, thankful my question hasn't come out as garbled as I feel.

He nods slowly, staring intently at me and I see him swallow before holding a hand out. "Damon."

"Elena," I say breathlessly, feeling his large hand wrap around mine with a tender strength and I don't want to let go of it. "I really am sorry about your coffee. I was meaning to go back in to pay for this, but…"

"You mean you stole it?" he asks with amusement and I'm quickly shaking my head, blushing when he yanks his hand out of mine.

"No, of course not! I'm just…I forgot to pay, and Bree, the owner, she forgot to tell me the price. Anyway, I'd like to buy you another coffee to make up for spilling yours all down your shirt."

"It's fine," he shrugs, running a hand through his jet black hair. I'm finding it hard to restrain myself from running my own hands through it. "It just hurt like hell. Though, nothing's better at getting you alert than to have scalding coffee seep into your shirt."

"Nice rhyme. And…again, sorry," I say for what I feel is the tenth time.

"Eh. Don't worry about it."

"Come on," I gesture for him to follow me back inside. "I owe you." A drink, a make-out session, a lap-dance, whatever the hell your heart desires.

"You do," Damon nods, but a smirk plays on his lips along with a playful look in his eyes and my stomach jumps. "But instead of coffee, how about dessert?"

"Dessert?" I squeak and he laughs. I was already thinking of the many ways he and I could enjoy each other's company and he says that? And dessert? Together? Strawberries, chocolate syrup, whipped cream…oh, the deliciousness of it all…

"But, it'd be my treat," he tells me, bringing me out of my tempting thoughts.

I blink at him and he reaches into his pocket to pull out his wallet. Opening it and taking out a card, he hands it to me then gives me a pen. "I'd love to take you out. Here, just write your name and number, and I'll call you sometime."

I nod mutely and fill out the card. I hand it back to him and he places it into his wallet, flashing me a pearl-white grin. I nearly fall over as he drawls, "See you around, Elena."

Yes, please. I remember how the two of us met and search for my poor scone. After finding it trampled by the bustling feet of New York's pedestrians, I enter the café and purchase two. One for myself and one for the scone I sent flying when I met Damon.

I walk into my apartment and lock the door behind me. Hanging up my jacket and placing my keys on the entry table, I hear my phone buzz three times, signaling that I have a voicemail waiting for me.

Could it be Damon?

I quickly shake off that thought. Nah. He doesn't seem like the desperate type – far from it, actually. He probably has a million girls waiting for him, and could easily grab anyone he desires. With those eyes, it's impossible not to want him.

Clicking the 'play' button, I hear a bright, "Elena!" and I know it's Caroline. "So, it's been an entire six hours since you and I have talked, and that is just not okay! I hope you're not on your deathbed or anything because I would be extremely offended if I couldn't hold your hand and wow this message is turning morbid fast." I laugh at her depressing, albeit peppy rambling as she quickly says, "Anyway, I miss you, lady! Let's have a girls' night soon, shall we? Call me back, love you, bye!"

The message cuts back and I can't hold back the grin. There's so much I have to tell her and I'm honestly thinking about calling her right now and telling her of my plan. Do it,the excited future mommy within me pokes, and I'm helpless to deny her.

Picking up the phone, I dial my best friend's number and she picks up on the second ring. "I haven't talked to you in ages!" are her first words and I roll my eyes.

"I called you at like, midnight, Caroline."

"Did you get my message? Let's have a girls' night sometime this week. We're in desperate need and I have something huge to tell you!" I open my mouth to say something, and she cuts me off with, "I'm sure you have news, too! Especially since you were acting way weird last night and you sounded weird, but now you sound…I don't know, not…weird. You sound relieved? Anyway, what gives? Spill!"

I laugh into the phone at her excited rambling words – as well as her eerily accurate words. "You're right, I do have something to tell you, but it's not something I want to share over the phone, okay? Please. Let's have our night tonight and then we can gossip till we're blue in the face." Lord knows she loves to do that.

"Fabulous! I'll come over around five, see you soon!"

"Bye, Caroline." Click.

When five o'clock finally rolls around, I hear a quick knock pounding happily on my door. Caroline's not only so peppy and optimistic that one may think she's on cocaine, but she's also extremely punctual. She's always anywhere she needs to be on time and not a minute later.

I open the door and before I have the chance to greet her, she's throwing her arms around me and bouncing up and down with so much enthusiasm I have to wonder if she's going to burst. "You okay?" I jokingly ask and she's bobbing her head up and down with a beaming smile. "Okay…" I finally say since she doesn't say anything more, and I walk into my kitchen to put a kettle on the stove. I need to start drinking herbal tea.

"Well, aren't you going to guess?" Caroline finally squeals (she's also quite impatient) and I overdramatically tap my index finger on my chin, pouting contemplatively.

"You've met a supermodel?"

"No!" She playfully shoots a glare at me and shakes her head. "I wouldn't do that to Stefan, Elena!" The moment she says his name, I know it's related to him by the look on her face and my mouth drops open; I know where this is going. She sees my reaction and Caroline squeals, "He proposed!"

My smile threatens to rip my face in half and she's in my arms in a second. I'm squeezing her and I feel tears well in my eyes as I choke out, "I'm so happy for you."

And really I am, Stefan's always been good to her and will always be good for her. They've been together for three years, known each other since high school, and Caroline and I were beginning to wonder if he'd ever pop the question. "How did he ask you?"

She flashes me her ring and my eyes bulge out of my head, I'm sure of it. It was a platinum band with a beautiful tear drop diamond; it's absolutely stunning. I look back up at her and her eyes are bright with eager bliss, but while I'm still emphatically happy for her, I can't stop the stab of jealousy in the pit of my stomach.

I know I said I didn't need a husband…but that didn't mean I didn't want one.

"Last night he brought me to SoHo. You know that little Chinese restaurant I told you we went for our first date? Well, we went there and he had our spot in the corner so I didn't think much of it. All that was on the table was a little take-out box and he told me to open it so I did and when I did I saw the ring!" Caroline inhales deeply from the extremely long run-on sentence she's just spewed at a mile a minute with one breath. Her eyes were shiny, but she looked so euphoric that I wasn't worried. "He told me he wanted to have a million more Tuesday nights stopping by Mooncake Foods and then Stefan showed me the ring."

"Awe," I smile, turning the heat up for my kettle of cool water. "So, what happened then?"

"We had sex, of course!" she giggles. "Lots and lots of celebratory sex," she adds with a wink. She gazed down at her hand and the piece of jewelry sitting perfectly there. "Elena, I'm so happy."

"I'm happy for you."

Caroline sits up straight then, and still keeping the ring in her line of view, she asks. "So, what's your big news?"

Suddenly what I have to tell her doesn't seem so important, well…not nearly as important. I knew Caroline well. I knew when she was lying and so I prepared myself. I take in a deep breath and tell her, "I'm going to be a mom."

"YOU'RE PREGNANT?" Caroline shrieks, and now it was her turn for her eyes to be as big as saucers. Her jaw drops and when she finally screeches, "Really?!" I didn't think it was possible, but my best friend's smile just grew about three sizes. "Why didn't you…how long have you…" It's obvious she's at a loss for words, but then she manages. "WHO IS THE FATHER?"

I shake my head, stifling my laughter. "There is no father."

"Wait," she furrows her eyebrows in confusion. "What? What the hell are you talking about? If you're pregnant, there must be –"

"There's no father, Caroline." At least, not one that matters and not one that'll be around to raise it. "And I'm not pregnant, yet."

"But –"

"I'm going to be artificially inseminated."

Caroline closes her eyes, cocks a brow, and then opens one of them. "…You're going to use some unknown man's sperm to impregnate you? I know you're tired of waiting for the right guy, Elena, but…"

"That's just it, Caroline. I'm tired of waiting. I can't seem to find 'the one,' and I'm starting to wonder if he even exists. I know that I want a baby, and sure I want a man, but I want to be a mother more. I need to do this now; I can't wait forever. I don't need a husband to make it happen."

"Of course not," she agrees with a shake of her head. "I didn't mean to give you the wrong idea, I'm totally here for you. It's just…are you sure?" I nod. "Really sure?" I nod again. "One hundred percent –"

"Yes, Care," I laugh. "I don't have doubt in my mind. This is the right thing for me; it's what I want."

And it is. I firmly believe it is, and I'm not just saying it to placate my eager best friend. After seeing the ring on her finger, though, and hearing how Stefan proposed…I can't help but wonder if I'm acting a smidge too soon.

"What if I introduce you to Stefan's brother?" she suddenly questions and I gape at her. What brother?

"Stefan has a brother?" I ask. "I didn't know that."

"I didn't either," she giggles and waves her hand to stop me from interrupting her. "Yes, he has a brother. He's a bit…well, he's a bit intense, but funny and sexy as hell and I think you'll like him." She thinks about it for a moment as she purses her lips and stares at me as if I'm some sort of abstract painting. "Yeah, I think you'll like him. I'll call up Stefan real quick and we'll see if we can meet up Wednesday."

"Sure." I blink and then frown, realizing what Wednesday means. "Wednesday…what time Wednesday? That's when I'm supposed to have the procedure."

She shrugs. "We can have it be tomorrow?"

"I work tomorrow," I sigh; this only further solidifies the idea that being inseminated is destiny, and my only chance at having my greatest desire…well, second greatest desire come true. Caroline's face falls and she places a hand on my knee giving it a comforting squeeze. "Elena, it's okay. We'll figure it out. I'll see if Stefan can't set this up for Wednesday night."

"I'm not sure if I'll feel up to it," I admit. I mean, I've never had a procedure where the result was conceiving a child. The only other procedure I've had was a surgery where they had to re-break my arm because it didn't set the right way. I'm sure insemination won't hurt as bad, but then again, what do I know?

Caroline nods in agreement. "Then, we'll play it by ear. He's totally hot, Elena. I think you'll really like him."

"You said that already," I retort with a ghost of a smile as she looks down at her phone when it buzzes. She frowns, and I know she's about to cut our night short.

"Right. Well, like I said, he's a catch. But hey, I've gotta go. Stefan wants to play," she smirks mischievously. "We'll have to continue girls' night some other time! I'm glad I could tell you my news, and hear yours. I'll tell you, though…I'm not sure whose news is more impressive," she winks and I stand up to hug her.

"Yours," I reply. "Definitely yours."

"Mommy Gilbert," she smiles, pulling back and patting my arms as if she's my mother. She laughs when I roll my eyes, and that's when I realize the gesture was to get that reaction from me. "I like the sound of that."

"I'm not anything yet," I correct, but my heart squeezes with the approval I knew she'd have for me and I tell her. "Go home to your fiancé."

Caroline bites her lip, bright-eyed and eager as she nods. She's out the door in a flash and I go back into the kitchen to prepare the tea I'd forgotten about.

After making my cup of tea, something I'd tried before, but had always sweetened with honey or German sugar, I nearly spit it out. Herbal tea? Gah! It's more like glorified mud water. I force myself to remember why I'm drinking this crap plain.


I'm drinking this for the baby, trying to get a start on the healthy routine as soon as possible, even if it is only a two day head-start.

What? It counts.

I force it down and involuntarily shiver. I give up. As I get ready to pour the rest of the horrible drink down the sink, my cell phone starts to ring and I'm sure it's my doctor calling to confirm my appointment. Hurrying over to answer, I pick up the phone with an eager, "Hello?"

"Hi, Miss Gilbert." I'm psychic, apparently. "This is Doctor Fell. I normally would have had one of my nurses call you, but is this a bad time?"

"No, no, not at all." Is something wrong? "I was just drinking some tea."

"Getting ready I see?" she says with a warm laugh over the phone and I smile eagerly. Good. Then I'm doing the right thing. "I was just calling to confirm your appointment for Wednesday at two." Right again.

"I'll be there!" I say a bit too quickly and wonder if she can hear my excitement. I wonder if my excitement's normal. I decide I don't care; I'm excited and I will let it show. She gives me an, "I'll see you then," and I hang up the phone.

In less than forty-eight hours, I'll be getting a procedure that's going to change my life forever. And ever and ever.

I have the urge to call Caroline, to tell her it's really happening, that I'm going to be mom, but I hold it back. She should be celebrating her own happiness tonight. And I'll be celebrating mine.

It's not like I can go to the bar for shots, or margaritas or whatever. Maybe…I look back at my tea kettle and grimace. I really hate that stuff…but yeah. I'll just add honey to it. It's a simple solution that still keeps the drink healthy but also makes that shit taste better.

I just had the procedure. I don't feel any different. "Should I be feeling any different?" I ask Doctor Fell who simply shakes her head as she stands up from the foot of the bed.

"You'll feel different in about a month, if the sperm took," she tells me. "Either with a late period or other tell-tale signs. If you want to help it along just keep your legs elevated." She reaches over, presses a button and suddenly I'm starting to see the ceiling as I'm being tilted backwards. "Just keep still for about fifteen minutes, give the little guys a better chance, and then change back into your clothes. You'll be free to go afterwards. Be sure let me know in a few weeks if we've been successful, or if we have to try again." She's still smiling her sweet smile at me and the second she leaves the room my excitement morphs into terror.

What if it doesn't take? What if the 'little guys' are too slow?

What if I just wasted all that money for nothing? I mean, I make a more than decent living. I'm a lawyer for crying out loud, but still. Money is money and I don't want to find out that I just wasted…

Holy shit, I need to stop. I'm panicking. No, dammit. The sperm did take.I am going to be a mother on the first attempt because my body's phenomenal and it doesn't… it won't need more than one insemination.

I check my phone and after twenty minutes (can't be too careful) have passed, I push a button to lower the bed, get out of it, put on my clothes and exit the office. "Thank you," I tell the receptionist before leaving.

I push the 'Down' button located by the elevator doors and wait for them to open. I don't have to wait long because a few seconds later, they're pulling apart, and I'm walking inside with my eyes on the floor. As I reach for the button with the number '1' on it, I hear a velvety voice that made my groins ache just two days before.

"Going down?"

I look behind me and smile, hoping it's not too desperate-looking. "Yes. Are you?"

A cheeky smirk tugs at the corner of his mouth and I try not to melt. He gives a look of amusement by biting his lip and I'm sure I'm going to die. "If you want me to," he laughs and my eyes have to be popping out of my head with his bold remark. He laughs again with a twinkle in those brilliant oceanic eyes of his. "Yeah, I am. My shift's over, I finally get to go home," he tells me.

"You work here?" I ask, quite surprised.

What? He wasn't wearing a white coat, so how was I supposed to know?

Damon gives a nod. "Doctor Damon," he clarifies as he holds out his hand for me to shake. "Nice to meet you…again." His smile is nearly enough to take me out at the knees. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were stalking me."

"What?" I ask, my voice jumping an octave. "No, definitely not. I was," getting impregnated by a guy I've never met, "just leaving an appointment."

"An appointment," he repeated, his eyes dipping together. "Are you sick?"

"No," I shake my head. He looks worried, and his blue eyes are examining every inch of me. "I'm…I'm fine."

"Good," he smiles with a relieved expression. When the bell suddenly dings, he holds his hand out for me to go first.

And he's a gentleman! The romantic in me squeals with delight.

Damon's following me out of the elevator, but before I can leave the building he grips me by the elbow. I turn around, and suddenly he's yanking his arm back as if I've burned him. "Uh…" he mutters, and then chuckles. "So, this is the second time in one week I've run into you –"

"First time was literal, and my fault," I interject with a sheepish smile, which produces a grin from him.

"Right…well, I know I said I'd call you, but since we're here, and we're both not busy…" he pauses, tilting his head at me. "You're not busy, are you?"

No! No she's not! Romance screams and I'm shrugging. "Eh…I had plans with a friend later."

I'm lying. I'm so lying. I have plans with re-runs of I Love Lucy and a tub of Ben and Jerry's. This sexy doctor man is perfect: polite, charming, funny…I'm surprised he's even giving me the time of day, but holy crap I wasn't expecting this and I don't want to seem desperate.

"Oh," he frowns, but quickly masks it with a look of indifference. "Well, looks like you'll just have to wait for that phone call then, won't you?"

"Looks like it," I purr.

Did I…yeah. I actually purred. Was I trying to be sexy? What the hell? Welp, I'll be waiting for that phone call for a long ass time then because I just shot any hope of going out with Sexy-Doctor-Man straight to hell. I don't have a chance to see if I'm right, because I haul ass out of there before either of us can say anything more.

Alright, so Caroline's expecting me for dinner. My earlier words to Damon were a lie…at the time. And then, thirty minutes later, she's calling me and saying, "I have a surprise for you! Get your cute little booty over here because you're going to lose your mind! Oh, and there's a meal in it for you, too. Come over at seven. Dress up. Love you, bye!"

I'm raising my hand to knock on her front door, and naturally she's opening it before I have a chance for my knuckles to meet the surface. "Hi!" she beams. "Come in, come in."

I walk in and instantly smell the most delicious aroma. She's leading me into the dining room and pouring a glass of champagne. Before I have the chance to tell her I may be pregnant, that I shouldn't be drinking any forms of alcohol, she's pouring me a glass of water with a lemon wedge hanging on the rim. "The champagne's for me. This is for you. You know, just in case," she winks.

My best friend, ladies and gentlemen.

I give her a grateful smile and she bends over to whisper in my ear. "Stefan's in the kitchen finishing up, but are you okay? How'd it go today?"

I nod with a shrug. "As well as it could go, I guess? I don't know, I've never been art –"

"Hey, you," Stefan greets with a flash of teeth as he comes out with a handful of utensils. "It's been a minute since you've been over. How's it goin'?"

Why is he holding all those utensils? It's just the three of us and it looks like there are enough to feed four or five people. "Umm…yeah I've been busy. But good, I suppose. How've you been, Stefan?" I ask as he disappears into the kitchen to grab what I guess is the food.

"Fine," he calls from the other room. "Hey, Care, can you grab the garlic bread out of the oven? It should be ready and I don't want it to burn."

"Sure thing," she replies and then they're both coming into the dining room with enough food to feed an army.

"Are you sure there's enough for us?" I ask with enough sarcasm to drown a wimp. "There's no way we're going to be able to finish it all."

Stefan goes to open his mouth, but Caroline nudges him forcefully, her eyes igniting dangerously.

What the hell is that about?

"I like big portions," he answers instead of whatever I know he was going to say, and I'm narrowing my eyes at the blonde girl patting his arm. It's clear she's satisfied with his response. Caroline sticks her tongue at me.

Before I have a chance to call her out on it, to tell Caroline I know she's got something planned, the doorbell's ringing and Caroline's clapping her hands excitedly. Inwardly I'm groaning.

Oh, no. N-n-no, no.

She went through with it.

Caroline vanishes to answer the door and Stefan's smiling at me as he takes a seat kitty-corner from me. "Don't worry. My brother's a decent-enough guy, Elena. Besides, I wouldn't have let her go through with it if I thought for a second that this was a bad idea," he promises me and my stomach drops further. Stefan's not exactly the most strong-willed guy around – a total sweetheart, but the biggest push-over known to man.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath, waiting for whoever Caroline thinks is my match made in heaven. "You can take a seat across from her," she tells him and, keeping my eyes closed, I blindly grab my water-filled champagne glass to take a sip. I'm going to kill her.

"Well, I'll be damned. Hello, again."

My eyes whip open and I'm staring. You have got to be kidding me! Sexy-Doctor-Man is Stefan's brother? Well, the world must be as fucking small as they say, because holy shit.

I think I'm in shock right now.

Three times I've seen this guy. In less than a week? That has to be some kind of sign. I've never been one to believe in destiny, or fate, or any of that 'You're meant for me' bullshit. But…this is just a little too coincidental for my cynical heart.

I turn to look at Caroline and she's just smiling away, totally oblivious to the fact that I already know this guy. Until she blinks and sputters a few time as if it's finally clicking with her.

"Wait a second, Damon. Rewind, please. What do you mean by again? You two…you two know each other?" she asks him and he adjusts his placemat with an easy smile, like it's no big deal that we've met three times over the time span of what, seventy-two hours? Then again, he's probably used to women fawning over him and going crazy.

Stefan starts laughing and then Damon scoots out of his seat, following him into the kitchen. Caroline and I hear muttered whispers – Really? They're gossiping? – before she starts her own impromptu girl-session. "So…were you ever going to tell me about meeting Damon, or?"

I give a shrug and shake my head, because, no. I wasn't planning on telling anybody about Damon. Other than his looks, and charm, and career, and…and…okay, dammit – he's perfect, but there was nothing to tell.

Nothing huge, anyway. Any sane woman would've gone bat-shit crazy over seeing him – I'm one of them, no doubt– but after a few hours, I realized that our meeting was nothing special.

"He asked me for my number when I spilt hot coffee on him the other day. There wasn't much to report."

"You drenched him in coffee? Smooth, Elena," Caroline winked, giggling. "Real smooth."

"I hope you're hungry, ladies," Stefan says, right on cue, as he brings out two more glasses of champagne – I'm assuming they were for himself and Damon. He goes to set one in front of his plate, which is across from his fiancée's, who's seated next to me, and the other glass goes…yep right in front of Damon's plate. I avoid his gaze like the plague, silently cursing myself for making this so awkward.

We all sit at the mahogany table to enjoy our meal when Caroline speaks up. "I think, in my opinion, there is way, way too much tension in this room. Where's that knife?" she giggles.

"Tension?" Damon smirks. "Nah. There's no tension."

Oh, so he's got jokes.

Well, at least he's making light of the situation…even though there isn't one. His eyes find mine and I'm stupidly helpless to resist staring into his.

Blue. His eyes are so fucking blue!

"So," he says to my blonde friend as she stabs at fettuccine noodles with her fork before swirling it neatly with a spoon. "I think you forgot about Elena."

"Hmm?" I ask, and I'm confused as to what he's referring to. "Forgot about me? What do you mean?"

"You're stuck with water while the rest of us are sipping champagne." He makes a move to get out of his seat and says, "That's hardly fair. I'll go pour you a glass."

"No!" Damon blinks at me in surprise and I feel my cheeks burn with heat. I know I'm blushing now, and I run a hand through my hair. "I mean…I just…I don't feel like drinking tonight, that's all."

Damon relaxes into his chair with a perplexed expression. He doesn't need to know anything. We barely know each other. That is none of his business. I look at Caroline, praying she hasn't told Stefan and she shakes her head. Relief washes over me and I take mercy on her - I'm not going to kill her anymore.

"Probably prefer scalding coffee, huh?" Damon says, winking at me and I'm thankful I'm already seated because my knees would've buckled at the action, I'm sure of it.

"I still can't believe you guys know each other," Stefan chuckles, taking a bite of his dinner. Damon and I nod in response because we're both…well, we're both having trouble taking our eyes off each other.

Caroline is sipping her champagne and she looks at me knowingly. I know that look. "Why aren't you speaking to him more?" she's scolding me with her stare and I look back at her, telling her, "Because I don't know how the hell to act around him!"

We've always been able to communicate this way; we know each other so well we can tell how the others' feeling just by looking at each other. Then again, we've been the best of friends since we were in the sandbox, so…I guess, naturally we'd start to pick up on each others' tells.

After dinner, Stefan and Caroline insist we stay seated so that they can clean up. I drink down the rest of my lemon-soaked water and when I look up, Damon's eyes are still locked on mine. "What?" I finally ask, although my voice is quiet.

His gaze softens and he scoots out of his seat, before gesturing for me to follow him out the front door. I choose to listen to him – like there's any other choice I'd want to make – and when the door closes with a soft click, I realize I can finally breathe. The fresh air is instantly relieving and I don't feel trapped anymore.

"My brother and Caroline…they're something else, aren't they?" he says, chuckling and I look at him to find him gripping the brick wall located outside Caroline's door.

"They didn't know," I mutter beneath my breath as he turns to face me.

"No, but they didn't make the situation any less awkward once they did."

"No," I agree. "But then again, I probably made it too awkward to fix."

He's shaking his head, laughing a deep-throated laugh. I wish I knew what he was thinking. I want to know what he finds so funny. "Well, I don't know about you," he grins, "But I think I'm about ready to head out of here."

"Yeah?" I say, frowning when Damon opens the door and heads back inside. He waits before I'm in the house to close the door and then I see him head back over to the Table of Unbearable Awkwardness. He slips his jacket off the back of his chair and puts it on.

"Stef! Blondie!" Damon calls. His brother and my best friend enter the dining room with their arms around each other. "I'm heading out. Thanks for dinner."

Caroline doesn't like that. Twisting her head, she automatically protests with a, "But –"

I shake my head at her just drastically enough so that she can see, but small enough so that the men hopefully don't notice. She shuts her mouth and sighs in obvious frustration.

"Yeah, it's been an eventful night, but I've got an early shift tomorrow." Damon turns to leave, opens the door and both Stefan and Caroline are giving me apologetic looks – they're looks of pity. Like, 'sorry it didn't work out with this one, either.'

You see, this is why I'm glad I did this artificial insemination thing. I don't need a man and the disappointments that come along with him. I don't –

"Need a ride?" I suddenly hear and I see he's smirking at me, gesturing to his blue Camaro from the foyer. I hesitate for all of a second, but a tiny voice screams at me.

Screw your pride! Go with him!

My heart skips a beat and even though I drove here, I swallow and nod. He walks out the door and I glance at the couple who are looking just as confused as me. But then Stefan gives a reassuring smile and Caroline gives me two thumbs up, beaming and bouncing in excitement. She shoos me out the door with a tap on my bum and whispers, "You two behave."

A giggle erupts from her when I respond. "Caroline," I hiss, hoping Damon hasn't heard us.

I close the door behind me and as we walk over to the car, his hand grazes the small of my back and I nearly jump out of my skin. The gesture sets the area he's touched on fire and I take in a sharp breath.

"You okay?" he asks, removing his hand and I feel the loss of heat to my displeasure. I nod and when I go to open the passenger door, he smacks my hand away. "I got it," he smiles, reaching over to pull it open, and holds a hand out for me to take. When I slip my hand into his to climb in, I notice the fit is perfect.

Awwwe, the romantic in me sighs and I shake her off. I don't need her getting in the middle of this.

The drive to my house wasn't awkward in the slightest. After giving him the directions to my house, Damon made small talk with one hand on the wheel and his free arm lounging carelessly on the armrest in between. Every now and then I'd catch his eye and I'd snap my attention back to the road. Sneaking a peek at him, carefully, I saw a corner of his lip turn upwards as if he was pleased with himself for causing my cheeks to blush again. Every time he looks at me, the hairs on my neck stand straight up. The windows were rolled down, creating a cool breeze through the car. I cross my arms over my chest and shiver.

"Cold?" he asks and I give a small nod. It's a little cold, but that's not the only reason for my reaction. He quickly rolls up the windows and holds his hand out to me, again. "Here," he says with his eyes still on the road and I don't make a move. "If you want to warm up, this is one of the best ways. Here," he repeats, wiggling his fingers and I give in, placing my hand in his and once again noticing the fit.

"Better?" he asks after a few minutes, stroking his thumb over mine.

"All toasty," I say with a roll of my eyes and he gives me a crooked smile.

He doesn't pull his hand from mine and I don't remove mine either. It feels good.

"See?" he asks lightly with a gentle squeeze. "I don't bite." I giggle and he looks at me. I give him a confused look, and he's smiling – smirk-free; it's real. "I like you."


"You're warm."

"…Because you're holding my hand and the heat's on," I quip and he laughs again.

"You've got a sense of humor. You know how to laugh," he says.

Much too soon I realize I'm home and he's pulling into my driveway. "This was fun," he says after pushing the gear shift into 'Park' and looks at me again. "Not the way I thought our first date would go, but it was something."

Something? "Yeah," I say and he grins at me.


"So..." he repeats. Okay… I stare at him, waiting for him to continue and his brow shoots upward, his sideways smile still in place.


With an almost sad look in his eyes he tells me, "You're going to have to get out of my car if you expect me to –"

The next thing I know I'm grabbing his face and pulling him in for a kiss. Holy shit. I'm not sure what just came over me, but it doesn't matter because he's kissing me back. His lips feel so, so good against mine; they're soft and his lower lip is deliciously plump and I can't help but to nibble at it. The space in which this is happening is small, and when his hands cup my neck to deepen the kiss, lust explodes, blasting us both with the force of its shock waves.

He groans and soon I'm unclicking my seatbelt, he's unclicking his and then he's gone.

I'm left panting and before I know it, my door's being ripped opened and he's pulling me out of the car. After shutting it forcefully, he's pushing me against the passenger door and our lips clash again. I moan into his mouth, feeling his hands go from cupping my face to cupping my ass.

You want him, dammit! I manage to breathlessly say, "I don't want you to go yet."

"Good," he gets out before swirling his tongue with mine. "I'm not ready to leave."

I'm placing my fingers into the loops of his jeans, dragging him backwards up the walkway to my front door. I try to continue kissing him while I fumble in my purse for my house-keys, but there's so much shit in there I have to wrench my mouth away, much to my disappointment. That doesn't stop Damon though, because his mouth continues placing scalding kisses along my neck and collar bone, causing me to shiver and I can feel his smirk against my skin. After finally finding the damn thing and opening the door, Damon's hands are diving into my hair. He's kicking the door shut and moving to push me against the nearest wall.

I let him have his wicked way with me.

He presses himself into me, continuing his relentless kisses. I feel his bulge. You want that, too! I banish my inner romantic, the one that's craving a man's touch, so that I can think on my own for once. "Please," I beg when his fingers caress the undersides of my breasts.

"Where's your bedroom?" he mumbles against my lips with a squeeze of my ass; his fingers press into my skin and I can't answer because his tongue is tracing lines along my lower lips and once again begging for entrance. Who am I to deny its entry? He lifts me up and I wrap my legs around his torso. One of his hands is tangled in my hair and the other arm is wrapping securely around my waist.

He's moving me away from the wall and stumbling into every chair, lamp, table, and corner until we finally reach my room and I whisper, "Here."

"Do you," he asks in between hot pecks along my jaw, "live alone?"

"Yes," I pant, already longing for his burning touch when he lays me down on the bed to remove his shirt.

"Good," he breathes, reaching to unfasten the first button. By the time his shirt is off, I'm swallowing thickly at the sight of his chiseled body. "Because I'm going to make you scream."

Holy shit!

AN: So here it is: the first chapter! If you liked this, or are intrigued to read more then please share your thoughts by leaving a review! ~Kate