I walk into the Salvatore Boarding House annoyed and frustrated because Damon Salvatore is avoiding me like I'm the god damn plague. Every single time I tried to talk to him, tried to tell him that I – that I – what I – how I feel, he's busy or wastes time with chitchat sprinkled with everything we've left unsaid subtext. And I'm sick of it, sick of this delayed happiness. All I've done is hide, waiting for myself to break, and it's about time I grow up. Because maybe if I don't put things into motion than nothing will ever change.

Or maybe this new found clarity has an expiration date and it's now or never and never is too heartbreaking a concept to bear.

I march determinedly down the hall with these thoughts all chanting and blaring in my head. But before I enter the living room where I know Damon will be, standing in front of the fireplace after this complete fuck up of a day, I take a deep breath. Because whatever happens in the next five minutes is going to change the whole dynamic of my universe. There will be no more denial and friends understanding my feelings better than myself, there will just be him and me and everything that's been left unsaid for so long, so very long, exposed, honest, and real.

For Damon to see, to know, to understand, to believe, to cherish, to reciprocate.

I know Damon can hear me, just standing and breathing in the hallway and this thought alone makes me want to bolt for the door. I could leave right now and Damon and I can go on pretending that I never wanted to tell him something and he never wanted to hear it. But I know that even if I run away, this tension can only go on for so long. Feelings are funny that way, always rising from their hidden places deep within even when they've been there, buried for so long.

God dammit, Elena Gilbert, you do not get to chicken out this time. No more cowardice, and lies and denial – face the fucking music. And with these last internal words of encouragement, I walk into the room, or as much in the room I can handle which would be the exact line where the door opening stands, barely in the room and barely out of it.

And I waste no time admiring the room, my eyes just devour Damon, just as selfish as my heart and head and hands. His raven black hair swept into its I'm-a-badass-and-could-care-less-way, his broad shoulders holding up his insanely attractive neck that is equal parts smooth and rough, and then his face. The face that used to represent a monster, a cold heart, and danger but somewhere along the way turned into goodness, warmth, and light.

And as I gaze into his criminally deep, blue eyes I realize that it doesn't matter when my feelings for him changed, just that they did.

He sighs while returning my stare and it is written all over his face, in big bold letters, that he'd rather be doing anything else than have this conversation with me. But can't he see the hope and love written on mine? Or maybe all he sees is the fear I can't seem to erase but when has any worthwhile action not been fucking terrifying?

"Damon, I – I just wanted to say that, I – that I…that StefanandIbrokeup." I huff out in an awkward slur of words and I want to bang my head against the wall because that was not what I had wanted to say.

And Damon is looking at me like he was expecting me to say something else but the surprise doesn't last long before he replies, "Hate to break it to you, Elena, but everyone already knows. It was all over the internet. I believe it was even trending on twitter." Damon is all snark and spite and I know I shouldn't be annoyed because that wasn't the best opening line but does he have to be so mean?

"You know, you could actually enter the room, Elena. I mean, I know it's impossible for you to commit to a feeling but you could commit to a location." And okay, the hits just keep on coming, and ouch, my heart, bleeding over there on the floor can't take much more.

"Damon, I don't know what you mean." I rasp out shakily. But don't you?

"Really? You have no clue what you've done to deserve that comment? None at all?" Damon practically yells, slowly walking toward me. "Because I know why you're here, hell, everyone in the entire world knows why you're here! You've come to tell me that you've had a breakthrough, that you've realized that you do feel something for me, that I make your heart skip a beat." He's right in front of me now, preventing me from leaving the house and forever pretending that his words aren't hurting me, aren't reminding me of all the damage and hurt I am capable of causing.

His voice is low and harsh when he spits out, "But let's fast forward, Elena, let's fast forward to a fucking week after this soon to be forgotten moment, when Stefan's home and you begin to act rationally again and you realize that you made a mistake, that you weren't thinking straight and run back into the good brother's arms. And I'm left exactly like I was before without the girl, without the brother, and without my fucking dignity."

His breath fans my face and I will not cry, I will not cry. Yet, my eyes betray me and tears are slipping out, trailing down my face. Damon face instantly softens and he hesitates for a moment before reaching his hand up and wiping the tears away. Because even when he's mad and hates me, hatesme, he still can't stand the thought of being the cause of my hurt. And if I ever needed something to make me brave, to make me stay here and tell him the truth he so deserves to hear, this side to Damon that hurts when I hurt, gives me that.

"Go home, Elena. Because I can't handle another episode of this Dawson's Creek tragedy that Stefan, you, and me created." He whispers, staring intently in my eyes before retreating to the fireplace. And for a moment, I'm still catching my breath and letting the last of my tears dry up. But once they're gone, I'm pissed. So annoyed, frustrated, and angry. He does not get to tell me my feelings aren't real when he did this!

Because this is all Damon's fault, his fault for saving me, his fault for constantly forcing me to confront my feelings, his fault for always telling me the truth, and his fault for loving me unconditionally. And now I'm here standing in front of him and he thinks it okay to say these things?

"Damon Salvatore, you are not going to scare me off that easily." I yell, using my new vampire speed to throw him up against the wall. "I'm not here to say that I didn't love, Stefan. That the whole time I was with him I was actually thinking of you or you complete me or something equally as ridiculous. I'm here to tell you that you're frustrating, and reckless, and completely insecure even though try so hard not to be – and to say that out of all the people in the entire world who should never be together it is definitely you and me – but I'm tired, so tired, of being scared and making decisions based off of what people think instead of what is right and I just want to kiss you and laugh with you and wake up in the morning with one of your stupid quips and just be happy – no guilt, no drama – just love. So go on Damon, keep pushing me away because I'm not going to –"

And I was going to end my sentence with some meaningful statement that would maybe wrap everything I just confessed into a nice little I will always choose you bow, but Damon's lips cut me off. Because maybe he doesn't need promises of happiness, maybe he just needs action and truth and his lips on mine and mine on his, both fighting for control, both consuming – the only kind of promise that lasts, that's real.

I pull away breathless and relieved and happy and lean my forehead against his. His lips can't seem to stay away from my skin though, brushing against my hair, my cheeks, and with each brush of his lips I know he is marking what is his and I could tell him that he's being stupid, that of course I'm his, that of course I won't leave but words aren't enough because words fail, break, and lie but actions – me wrapping my hands around his back, him grabbing my hands, us dancing in front of the fireplace, won't (can't) betray us.

I'm content swaying slowly here with him in silence because Damon and I have never been about showy declarations or promises of forever just stolen glances, wordless understanding, and love, somuchlove.

So when Damon takes my hand and leads me upstairs, I know he sees, he knows, he understands, he believes, he cherishes, and he totally reciprocates everything we have between us.

He shows me for the rest of the night, in his room under covers.