The hottest loves have the coldest ends.-Socrates

Present Day

Elena Gilbert finished vomiting for the fourth time that day, put the toilet seat down, rose and swished some lukewarm sink water around her mouth. Her hair hung lank against her pallid complexion and she tried to remember a time when her sickly appearance would have bothered her. Now all she felt was layers upon layers of heavy guilt, filling her up until she would be able to do nothing but let it drown her. Today, the last remaining link between Damon and Stefan Salvatore would be severed. Their brotherly bond; which admittedly in the past she had done a lot to devastate, would be cleaved completely in the next few hours. Elena had played hopscotch with them as children, and now, as adults, she had played with their hearts resulting in fatal consequences.

Smoothing down her onyx funeral dress, Elena made her way back into the church, trying to ignore the way the eyes of the mourners and suppressed whispers followed her carpeted path up the aisle. They all knew what she'd done. Even Violetta Savatore, who was crippled with Alzheimer's and hadn't recognized Elena in years seemed to turn her blank eyes and glare as she slid into her place in the front pew. Violetta didn't remember much, but now faced with one of her sons laying dead in front of her, she could do nothing but accept the full extent of the havoc Elena had caused to both of her children.

If there was one truth Elena was sure of it was that she'd genuinely and fully loved both Damon and Stefan at different points of her life. Never at the same time though, loving a Salvatore took your whole heart up, leaving little room for much else.

Elena sensed rather then saw the remaining Salvatore brother enter and sit on the opposite row. She couldn't bring herself to turn and meet his eyes, to see the accusation in them. She understood well enough by herself that she had good as killed his only sibling.


"Elena freaking Gilbert, you do not just get to ditch us on prom night. The Lockwood's after party is Mystic Falls High legend. It's our last big blow out as seniors!" Caroline Forbes whined, about an inch shy of stamping her foot. "Besides" she continued, switching suddenly to being mischievous "Your prom date will be heart broken if you don't come."

"Jesus Caroline, you know Stefan and I just went as friends." Elena retorted, annoyed and rubbing her arms trying to eradicate the goosebumps while they stood in their formal dresses outside the auditorium with the slightly chill Virginia breeze around them. "I came. I did the dancing and the spiking of the punch and got the full experience. Now I'm ready to go home." Turning to the third point in the triangle of her best freinds that were more like sisters, Elena pleaded "Back me up Bonnie?"

Bonnie sighed, by now used to her role as mediator between the blonde and brunette who were equally hard-headed as each other. She dealt with Elena first "Gilbert, why you may only see Stefan as a friend, you know as well as I do that boy wants you. Bad." Bonnie swiveled the other way "And Forbes, we talked about this before we came. Not pushing Elena, remember? We're just glad she wanted to do prom? She's obviously not in the mood to go to a high-school kegger. Even if it is the deluxe version."

Caroline pouted, subdued by her friend's admonishment. "Fine. Whatever. I guess that means more boys for the rest of us." Suddenly brighting, she leant over to hug Elena with a wink "Wish me luck with Tyler, he has a VIP invitation into my panties tonight."

"Care" Elena groaned, fighting a smirk at her friend's candor. "Bonnie, look after her will you?". She embraced her friends once more, listened to another failed attempt from Caroline to get her to go to the party and then made her way to the little red VW bug she'd gotten as a 16th birthday present from her parents two years ago. Once safely inside, she exhaled out a steady stream of breath and let the forced smile she'd had plastered on her face all night slip off.

Yet again she was the one bringing her friends down with her negativity. It wasn't their fault she was no longer the free and uninhibited girl they'd known all their lives. It wasn't their fault her functioning alcoholic of a father had decided to drive drunk, crashing off Wickery bridge six months ago and killing himself and her mother in the process. Elena's parent's deaths had changed her into someone she didn't even recognize. Now suddenly she had responsibilities, things that used to matter didn't anymore. So no, the infamous Lockwood rager that had been something to look forward to since freshmen year no longer did anything for her. All she could do now was mourn over the should haves. Like tonight. Her mother should have been there to take too many pictures of her in her dress and been there to squeal over the corsage her date had given her. Her father should have been there to warn Stefan about there being "no funny business tonight" and to "have her back by curfew or else". But they weren't there. So they didn't

As she drove the darkened roads back to her house, she realized she couldn't face the deserted rooms just yet. Wasn't ready to smell the thin layer of dust that covered all her parent's belongings she hadn't had the heart to box up. The only remaining family member she had now was her younger brother Jeremy. He had been shipped off to family friends in Denver when their parent's death caused him to fall into a drug spiral. The move was hopefully a fresh start for him, something to kick start his life again.

Relieved to be somewhere quiet, Elena found herself parking on the outskirts of the woods and pulled a blanket out of the trunk. She made her way through the trees, disregarding the branches that scratched her arms and tried to remember her way to the hidden waterfall and pool that her family had picnicked at during her childhood. Not really believing her luck, she wrestled her way into a clearing and it was all set out in front of her exactly as she had recalled it, the moonlight giving it an ethereal quality.

She lowered herself to the rocks at the edge of the pond, pulled her dress up and let her feet dangle below into the surprisingly warm water. The noise of the falls crashing down provided a nice background noise that was the perfect distraction to stop any deep thoughts to obsess over.

"Why if it isn't my little bro's girlfriend" She heard called out behind her about half an hour later. "Shouldn't you be getting wasted at the mayor's house and making bad decisions right about now?"

Unfortunately, the sound of the waterfall did nothing to disguise the voice coming from the person that had interrupted her peaceful safe haven. Elena would know that intonation anywhere, it had been needling and teasing her since she'd been six years old. "Damon" She greeted coldly without turning around to confirm her guess. What could she say about Damon Salvatore? Stefan's older, ruder brother that she'd could never seem to escape.

The epitome of an enigma, he had never really been out of her life. As children, the two brothers and Elena had been joined at the hip, until Damon turned ten and inescapably realized he was much too cool and sophisticated to associate with the pair of kids that followed him around like he was the prophet. Then he had taken on the role of the older brother in her life, playing pranks and pestering her until all she could do was scream bloody murder. Of course, next, he inevitably grew up and discovered girls, his admittedly blisteringly good looks helping in his endeavor. As she progressed through high school he was Damon Salvatore to everyone else, the untouchable womanizing jerk that everyone ether wanted to date or be. But to Elena he was just Stefan's annoying older brother that always seemed to be at the boarding house with the soul intent of baiting her whenever she would visit.

"Stefan's not my boyfriend, asshole." Elena corrected as Damon sat noisily down next to her. She reveled in the familiarity of their antagonistic banter. Strangely, it felt nice to have someone not treat her like glass after what had happened. "And how did you find this place? Do you just have a honing beacon so you can turn up wherever you're not wanted?"

Much to her chagrin, Damon didn't take her poorly disguised dismissal to heart and let out a bark of laughter, singing out. "Oh my, someone's inner bitch is showing." She could see the ever present smirk on his mouth out of the corner of her eye as he carried on "Easy little one, you aren't the only person that knows about this place. In fact I would go as far as to say that you're on my turf."

She mentally kicked herself, of course he knew this area. She'd forgotten his family often came with the Gilberts when they picnicked here. Mollified, she shrugged "Whatever." Appreciating he wasn't going to leave anytime soon as he knew it was annoying her, she broke the silence "Weren't you supposed to be at prom too? Rebekah Michaelson has been talking for weeks about how she was bringing a college boy as her date."

"Rebekah Michaelson wishes" Damon scoffed, pulling a stainless steel hip flask from the pocket of his scuffed leather jacket and swigging from it. "I told her a vague maybe months ago so she'd let me sleep with her. Girl couldn't get enough of me. Like I'd go to a high-school prom." He mock shivered "All those cheap streamers and rented tuxes."

"You're a pig" Elena grimaced, disgusted at his cavalier attitude.

"And you're a prude" he rebutted. "Don't act like such a virgin."

Elena blushed and tried to bow her head before he could read her face. "I'm not acting like anything" she muttered.

"No way" Damon cracked up disbelievingly. "No fucking way are you a virgin. I would have thought my brother would have popped that cherry long ago."

Mortified, Elena pulled her feet up and moved to stand "That is none of your business." She wasn't ashamed of her virginity by any means, but she'd be dammed if she let Damon act like he understood anything that personal about her.

Damon reached up, grabbed her wrist and for once looked genuinely apologetic "Wait, don't go. C'mon I didn't mean anything by it, you don't have to get all embarrassed and haughty."

"I'm not embarrassed" Elena spat out, wrenching her arm from his grasp but sitting back down anyway. She really didn't want to have to go home yet and Damon was providing a distraction, if not a aggravating one.

"So you've nev-"

Elena shot Damon a glance until he held his hands up in surrender "Alright, I'm sorry. I'll shut up." He was quiet for a few minutes before speaking again, quieter this time "How are you doing? After, you know, everything?"

"I'm doing fine" Elena replied automatically.

"No, I mean how are you really doing? And don't bullshit me with "I'm fine."

Elena turned and studied him contemplatively, his vividly blue eyes in a rare honest mood. Maybe she could tell him the truth, he looked like he actually wanted to know and not just the society friendly version either. She suddenly remembered how hard he took it when his dad had died two years ago. Stefan had taken it in his stride but it had hit Damon hard. Perhaps he would be able to offer some perspective. Every once in a while, he had these strange moments and something happened between them where it seemed like he was the only person she could relate to.

"Sometimes I am fine for a few seconds, then something will bring it all rushing back and it cripples me. Like i'll be walking to class and it'll hurt so bad I just want to crawl up in a ball."

Nodding understandingly, Damon cleared his throat "That'll pass you know. I realize that's not much help for you now, and I wish there was a instant fixit that could take the pain away but there's not. I can promise you though it hurts a little less every day, until it's bearable and you can breath again."

Amazingly, his words did bring Elena a sense of peace she hadn't felt for a while. Just believing this pain wouldn't last forever helped a little. "Thanks" she acknowledged earnestly, quickly squeezing his lower arm once.

As per normal, as soon as Damon had done something halfway decent, he felt the need to balance it out with something equally douchebaggy. "So why won't you give little brother the key to paradise?"

Elena sighed knowing the moment had passed. She reached over to snag his flask out of his hands and ignored his pointed look as she drained the rest of it's contents. Her eyes burned as the drink bit down her throat "If you mean why won't I date Stefan? We're going to have to have way more alcohol to have that conversation."

"I like this version of Elena" Damon commented, grinning. He jumped up on the balls of his feet, disappeared for five minutes into the trees and came back clutching a bottle of wine. "Ask and you shall receive" he announced proudly, placing the bottle in the small gap between their legs.

"Red wine?" Elena questioned, scrunching up her nose. "Ugh"

"Hey, it's all I had in the back of my car. It's a good vintage too, stole it from the Michaleson house." He wrapped his hand around the neck of it and started to move it away "But if you don't want any.."

"No, it'll do" Elena spoke hurriedly, taking it back from his loose grip, popping the cork and taking a long swallow.

Damon watched her for a moment and then turned back to face the falls, the dappling of the moonlight through the swaying branches doing something wonderful to his skin. "So, why not Stefan? He's not completely hideous and he's all boring and bleeding heart-y just like you. A match made in heaven."

Although not meant maliciously, his words struck something in Elena. Is that what he thought of her, that she was boring?

"Don't go getting all offended again" Damon nudged her side with his elbow, noticing her face. "I just meant that both of you are not really risk takers."

'Well maybe, unlike you, we don't all think running the risk of becoming a giant walking billboard for Chlamydia is exciting." Elena retaliated, stung.

Again, Damon took her insult in his stride, chucked and grabbed the wine back. "Touche."

Elena sighed, knowing this was just Damon's way of getting her to open up. The majority of people in her life often tried to pair her and Stefan up, and she was sick of the pressure and everyone saying how perfect they were for each other. Ignoring it was his brother they were discussing, maybe she could explain why to Damon without the judging she was used to. She tucked her chin onto her knees "I don't lead him on you know? I've made it clear to him that I don't like him like that and he says he understands but I just feel so guilty when I'm around him. And he looks at me like I'm just delaying the inevitable." Another drink from the bottle "I don't know, maybe I am."

"You wouldn't have to lead him on, that boy is like a lost puppy. Doesn't understand no." She could feel his searching expression against the side of her face "Don't feel guilty, if it's not there, it's not there. Not your fault." Damon grinned "Besides, now I think about it, you two aren't alike at all. You have a fire that he doesn't."

Brightly smiling, Elena felt warmed from the alcohol and the fact that somebody, anybody thought she had an intensity in her. Eager to not have to talk more about Stefan tonight, Elena let a childhood secret slip and giggled "I used to have the hugest crush on you when I was twelve."

"Is that so?" Damon inquired arrogantly, puffing out his chest and looking smug. "I'm not surprised."

When she had to push her hand against her mouth to stop another stream of laughter escaping, Elena realized she was riding the line of being drunk. "Well, I did until you put green hair dye into my shampoo. Killed stone dead any fantasies I may have had."

"Oh shit, I'd forgotten all about that. I was a pretty hilarious kid." Answering Elena's glare, he relented "Alright, it's been like eight years. Am I forgiven yet?"

"Maybe" Elena answered coquettishly, flushing when she realized she was flirting with Damon Salvatore. But for right now she couldn't bring herself to care.

"You have to seal it with a kiss" Damon tapped his cheek and smirked.

Wanting to hold on to the levity she hadn't felt in so long, Elena leant over to place a kiss on his cheek bone, gasping when Damon turned at the last second and captured her lips with his wine soaked ones. She froze and her breath hitched for a second, forgetting to enjoy the moment before he pulled away. He sat back grinning, obviously thinking he had just gotten one over on her. She examined his lips for about a second before moving her hand up to behind his neck and pulling him back in.

What the fuck was she thinking? This time it was him who was stunned into inaction before coming to and running his slick tongue along her bottom lip. Elena's hands moved to twist into his hair, her foot knocking the half full bottle of wine over and her mind deliciously blank as his mouth did exquisite things to hers. For the first time she understood why the female population of Mystic Falls was so batshit crazy over this man.

Surprisingly, it was Damon who broke the kiss first. Breathing heavily, he rested his forehead against hers and whispered "Elena, we can't do this. You're drunk and you'll regret it."

"So are you." Piqued and humiliated, she pushed herself away from the expanse of his chest. Was she really that undesirable that the guy who would sleep with anything with tits wouldn't want her? Not sparing him a glance, she stormed off, his calls going ignored. Frustrated and angry it took her longer this time to find the way back to the car, the hem of her dress becoming muddier the more she walked. When she eventually arrived, Damon stood against his baby blue Camaro, looking as self-possesed as she'd ever seen.

"Hey" Damon spoke firmly as she tried to move past him. "All I meant is you're too good for that. Too good for me." He expelled a derisive laugh "I know it, you know it, the whole damn town knows it."

"Don't try to placate me Damon."

Before Elena knew what was happening, she was pulled back up against him. His mouth ghosting kisses up her neck and his hand slipping up her the dip of her waist to caress the curve of her breast. "I'm not placating you Elena." He wrenched ou out gruffly. "Is this what you want? To be felt up against the side of my car?" Letting his hands drop, he took one look at her "Didn't think so."

Flashing in front of her eyes, Elena could see her whole, long life mapped out in front of her. Going to college, getting the mundane job, marrying Stefan and having the kids and the white picket fence life. It was like she was on a ride she couldn't get off. She didn't want to be boring anymore. Damon represented a chance to break the mold and set her own path. "Don't presume you know what I want." She ran her fingers softly over his jawline and looked him square in the eye "I know exactly what I'm doing here."

Like something had snapped in him, Damon tunneled his hands through Elena's long hair, using it as leverage to once again acquaint their mouths. He spun them around so Elena now had her back to the car and he was pushing her up against the metal, both of their hands exploring the other's body. This time Elena could taste all the fervor Damon had obviously kept reigned in before.

Elena knew they had passed the point of no return when he hitched her leg around him and she realized she'd been brazenly rubbing against his clothed erection for at least the last five minutes. She also realized she didn't want this to stop anytime soon. With that thought in mind, she reached behind her to open the door and let Damon guide them down onto the backseat.

"Fuck Elena, we need to stop. Now. Before I can't anymore." He hovered above her as he spoke, his fingertips trailing under her dress, going against everything he was saying.

Letting her head rest against the leather seat below, Elena shook her head "No, I want this." Her arousal spiked "I want you." She hastily started to unbutton the top of his black shirt before he could retreat, her hands trembling and fumbling.

Damon's eyes darkened, and he took her hands in his, stilling them. "Okay Elena," He whispered resignedly "Okay." He helped her out by unbuttoning his shirt and throwing it carelessly somewhere into the front seat.

Trying to stop herself from staring unabashedly at the length his toned chest, Elena sat up and pulled her dress over her head in one fluid movement, figuring it would be better to just get it over with before the second thoughts came rushing in. She lay back down, avoiding his eyes when she realized she was wearing simple cotton, striped underwear. Jesus Christ, what had she been thinking? This was all so far out of her league. He was used to lace and satin and experience. Suddenly, she felt very naive and childish.

"God, you're stunning." Damon's hands danced up her naked sides, tracing the top cusps of her breasts.

Shocked, Elena looked up at his words, his aftershave providing a peculiar sense of comfort. His wide eyes reflected back at her, and his neck bobbed as he took a deep swallow. Encouraged by his expression, she bent her arms awkwardly behind her and unhooked her bra, holding onto it as she shimmied her panties down her legs and threw both items the way of his shirt. Turning back, she saw that in the time she had fully undressed, Damon had shucked his pants and boxers. She waited for the crippling fear to come when she coomprehended for the first time she was fully exposed in front of a man, but it never did.

As Damon eyed her hungrily, Elena allowed herself to do the same to him, feeling the dampness between her thighs grow as she scanned up from his legs to his face.

"You know" Damon started, his voice hoarse. "Stefan's not the only Salvatore you have wrapped around your finger."

Before Elena had the chance to fully contemplate what he could mean by that, Damon's hands stroked over her stomach, the muscles under his hand tightening as he brought them up to her breasts. She mewled as his callused thumbs rubbed her nipples into tight peaks and bucked as his other hand dipped the opposite way and ran a gentle finger up her slit, collecting the wetness and rubbing it onto the small bundle of nerves at the top. It was all too much, she didn't know how long she could last with this feeling building inside of her, before she exploded with need. Reaching down she halted his hands and intertwined them with hers "Damon, please" was all she could verbalize, embarrassingly breathless.

Damon nodded, his face raw and candid and so very open. He lowered his body down to cover hers, and the warmth radiating from him was all she needed to let go of the last of her nerves. Slowly, as she exhaled, he pushed himself inside of her, holding still when she let out a whimper of pain and turned her face to the side. "God, Elena, are you okay?'

Biting her lip, Elena nodded, holding one finger up as she grew used to the the pressure and fullness inside of her. Eventually the quick nip of pain lessened enough for her to meet his eyes and give a slow nod. "All good."

"Glad to hear that" Damon finally allowed the tension to break a little, and smirked. The smile completely dropping from his face as Elena gave an experimental thrust and his head dropped, his eyes flying closed. "Shit, I should have know how tight you'd be."

Elena blushed, worrying he would change his mind. Her fears were alleviated a second later as he began to sink himself carefully in and out of her, his fingers never staying in one place on her body, as if they couldn't take in enough skin before this was over.

Realizing the pain was more than bearable now, Elena stopped grinding her teeth together and rose tentatively up to kiss Damon. Their kiss had a whole new level to it now he was inside of her. Slowly at first so it was barely noticeable, a warmth, then a spark radiated from her core until it had travelled all the way through her. Moaning, she instinctively brought her legs up to tighten around him, no longer caring that she was having sex with the one guy who she'd barely tolerated her whole life.

Their hips now rocking together, Elena stopped feeling shy about the noises she was making. She was too caught up in the pleasure surrounding her to notice that Damon was also groaning, his thrusts becoming reckless and unmeasured. "Don't stop. Please, just, don't stop." As her skin tightened she had the presence of mind to understand that this wasn't supposed to be like this, not her first time. Where was the awkwardness and clumsy fingers? Instead, she got her every nerve ending set alight.

Damon shook slightly as her walls clenched around him and he released one hand to bring back down to her clit. Stroking it slowly until she bit into his shoulder, she spasmed around him and cried out, her arms flying around his neck as she orgasmed. He took one look at her face and jerked, following her over the edge. "Fuck" he breathed, resting his head against her chest as they came down, her fingers absentmindedly stroking the nape of his hair.

She tried to hold onto the moment as their heart rates decreased and the sweat dried, but eventually he moved, taking the warmth with him and leaving Elena cold to her bones. Without speaking he moved forward collecting their clothes and handing them to her. Feeling the ache in her core now that reality was seeping back in, she pulled her underwear back on as he yanked his trousers up his legs, the silence becoming deafening.

"Losing your virginity on prom night huh?" Damon spoke, a strange warped smile on his face. "Who'd of thought you'd be so cliche?"

If Elena had been older, or a little wiser, she would have understood that his flippancy was just a defense mechanism to combat what he was feeling about what had passed between them, and she would have known that what had just happened between them wasn't always like that. But she was young, so all that came flooding back was Damon's earlier cruel, offhand comment about popping her cherry. She abruptly felt very nauseous and her hands shook for a completely different reason this time as she put the rest of her clothes back on.

She was just like Rebekah. She'd fallen for his pretty words and now all she was left with were regrets and a painful memory. As Elena turned to leave, she whispered without looking at him "I'll never forgive you."

The next morning she went up to Stefan at school and asked him out on a date. Elena had decided she no longer wanted to break the mold, people were meant to follow the lives set out for them.


This place is still as backwards and outdated as ever Elena thought contemptuously as she inhaled the recycled air of the limo she was riding in. Mystic Falls flashed past the tinted windows and she couldn't quite believe she was back in the town she'd left in her rear view mirror seven years ago, hoping she'd never have reason to return.

The car drew to a stop and Elena pulled a compact out of her Chanel purse, making sure her make-up was flawless. She adjusted the blue haute couture dress she was wearing and checked that her hair was still contained in a neat chignon. Taking the deep breath needed to complete the task she'd been set, she opened her door and set one foot encased in a five inch heel out onto the gravel below before stepping up and fully exiting the vehicle.

Savatore Auto Repairs glared at her from a faded blue sign hanging over the building she was currently in front of. Catching her eye, a young man dressed in dirty, oil stained overalls gaped at her with his mouth open, twisting the rag in his hand.

"Excuse me" Elena smiled tightly, trying to suppress a shudder as the man leered up her legs. "I'm here to see Mr. Salvatore. Is he available?"

"Wow, you're not from these parts are you?" The worker unhelpfully stated, gummily smiling, the bill of his hat bent over his eyes. "What's your name honey?"

Elena bit harder on the inside of the cheek, resisting the urge to tell him exactly who his honey would be if he didn't move his ass and stop asking inane questions. "Salvatore" she responded severely. "Mrs. Salvatore."

His eyes widened and he motioned to himself "I'm Steve". Steve thought for a moment, something that looked like was a great effort for him. "Now Damon doesn't have a sister. And no wife that I'm aware of. So you must be..."

"His sister-in-law, you idiot" Elena snapped, so far past keeping her patience that it wasn't even funny. She took a breath and smoothed her perfectly coiffed hair "Is Mr. Salvatore here or not?"

Obviously shocked by the visitor's rudeness, Steve squinted his eyes and nodded, taking off into the shadows of the inside of the building.

"Ah, Elena. I should have known it was you who scared my employee into hiding." Damon stepped into the forecourt, wiping his hands with a cloth and grease smearing his forehead and clothing. He took one look at her attire and chuckled "The devil wears Prada indeed."

Elena ignored his acidic commentary and felt a surge of irritation go up her spine that he was still as good looking as ever. She was even more irritated she'd noticed. "It's not my fault he couldn't comprehend simple enough questions." Smirking, she observed "Maybe you shouldn't hire employees with below average IQ's."

Face hardening, Damon walked up and peered over her shoulder "So what did I do to rate a visit from the queen of Chicago? Did golden boy accompany you?"

"My husband couldn't make it" Elena corrected bitterly, the reason for her visit coming back to the forefront of her mind. Stefan was busy with his company back in Chicago and even if he could have made it, he tried to avoid his brother as much as possible, so inevitably the task had fallen to Elena. The fight that had erupted from that decision had a fallout of weeks. "Do you have someplace more private? There's something we need to discuss."

Damon rolled his eyes and motioned with his hand to a door, leaving Elena to wobble after him on the uneven ground. Entering a cluttered and disarrayed office, she took one look at the stained chair opposite his scarred desk and chose to stand.

"Let's make this quick then" Damon offered, obviously enjoying her discomfort. "What could possibly be so important to drag you away from attending all those important, life changing social event's of Illinois' elite."

Preferring to rip the band-aid off as quick as possible, Elena spoke in what she hoped was a confident tone "I've come to put the boarding house up for sale, and to stay as long as it takes to make sure it all goes smoothly." She nodded once to finalize her bombshell.

Damon laughed incredulously "You don't honestly expect me to believe you came here to put my house up for sale?" Noticing Elena's face was firmly serious, his eyes narrowed "And you can't be stupid enough to believe I'd let you do it."

"Well, that's not really my problem if you believe me or not, is it? You signed over the deeds to the house to Stefan when you needed a loan to buy this place." Elena paused to wipe her finger along the edge of desk in front of her, brushing the dust off her fingertips as her eyebrows rose. "Although I'm not really sure why you bothered." She met Damon's eyes "Stefan no longer wants to pay for the upkeep, it's a money pit."

Putting his head into his hands, Damon scraped his fingers through his hair "This cannot be happening right now." He glanced at her, looking like he was searching for something in her eyes. Evidently not finding whatever it was, he pointed out "Why don't you hock that rock on your finger? It'd probably cover the cost of the house for the next century."

Elena glanced down at her gold wedding band and diamond engagement ring. Flustered, she placed her other hand over them, hiding it from sight. "Maybe if you weren't such a college drop-out you wouldn't have to ask for someone to sell their jewelry to cover your living expenses."

She knew she'd gone too far before the words left her mouth. Damon stood up, the chair he'd been sitting on flying backwards and slammed a palm down onto the wood, causing Elena to flinch at the sound. "I wouldn't be drowning in debt if my perfect brother would help me with the price of my mother's hospital bills and care. Do you have any idea how much everything costs?"

Showing the first sign of humanity since she'd arrived, Elena timidly asked "Is she bad? I had no idea it had become worse."

"Did all the facials you've been having squeeze out all your brain cells? She has Alzheimer's. Of course she's deteriorating." Damon yelled, shaking his head "God, what happened to you, Elena? I don't even recognize who you've become. Over the years you've gotten worse every time i've seen you."

As if he said the magic words, Elena clammed up, the walls solidly back in place before he could get a hint that he was getting close to hitting a nerve. She had her reasons for being such a first-class bitch. "I don't have time to get into petty arguments, Damon. I'm just here to do what Stefan needs, it's neither here not there if he can afford it or not. He wants the boarding house sold." As a matter of fact, there was no way Stefan could afford much of anything anymore, but letting Damon know that was the last thing she'd let herself expose.

"Then you'll have a fight on your hands." Damon promised.

Screaming inside, Elena deplored the fact it was looking like she would have to stay even longer in this hell hole. "Fine, if that's how you want to play it, go ahead. But you won't get rid of me that easy." She ground the toe of her shoe into a pen on the floor, needing something to let her frustration out on and struggling with the words she wanted to call the man facing her. "You are the most, absolute,..."

Damon smirked, the pleasure of watching her suffer in his eyes "Oh trust me, the feeling is mutual princess."

She pivoted and reached for the door handle before he called after her. "Don't forget where you came from Mrs. Salvatore. I'll always be your first."

Hating that he would have the last word, Elena turned with a sneer "If you're referring to that inebriated, disgrace of a mess that we had in the back seat of your shitty Camaro." She paused and looked out the window "Which, oh look, you still drive. How quaint." Walking over to the door she finished her sentence "Then I prefer to forget it ever happened." With relish, Elena slammed the door shut behind her, making the glass shudder and strode back to the limo, fully aware of the turbulent blue eyes following her departure.

A/N- As Anybody Else But You Comes to a close, I thought now would be the time to introduce a new story. I hope you can give it a chance! And also I want to make clear that all is not as it seems. Elena has her reasons for being like she is, and as usual takes a lot of guilt onto herself that shouldn't necessarily be hers to carry. Hope it was somewhat enjoyable a read :)