Going Once-Twice-Sold!

Author: Jen/ AKA/Angel's Blue Eyed Girl/AKA/Jenluvsvamps

This is a fic written for the Holiday A2A Exchange hosted by the awesome and amazing Sar (Bad Boys Are Best) and based on a fantastic prompt by Princessme385

Rating: In the words of Damon Salvatore—Hello, do you know me? As if I write anything, *but* M stuff!

Okay…this fic just got away from me and turned into a massive undertaking. My musie was a bit rusty and she just got on a roll and this 3 part fic is what I ended up with. It is complete and I will post a chappie every day for 3 days.

Okay, on with the show…

The Mystic Grille:

Damon sat at his favorite stool at the bar. Liz Forbes was next to him and she had been trying to convince him for the last half hour to offer himself up as a prize in the latest Mystic Falls Bachelor Auction to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Unit at Mystic Falls Hospital. Damon had refused at first. He was in no mood to get up on stage and flirt with the desperate housewives of Mystic Falls this year! It may be Christmas, but Damon was definitely in the 'Bah-Humbug' frame of mind!

Liz was calling in her friendship card with him though, and Damon finally sighed and gave in.

"Fine, I'll do it," he said, sipping his whiskey. He glanced at the Sheriff sitting next to him at the bar. He wasn't exactly happy about capitulating, but Liz was his friend and Damon was well aware he had precious few of those. "But," he added, "I'm only doing this because you asked me, Liz."

Liz Forbes smiled softly at his aggravation. He'd bitch about it, but Damon would come through for her—he always did. "It's for charity, Damon," she reminded him.

His lip curled derisively. "Yeah, well I'm not feeling especially charitable towards Mystic Falls these days."

"Mystic Falls or Elena?" she asked.

"Both," Damon said. Not wanting to get into the complicated mess that was he and Elena, Damon switched gears and gave Liz his patented smirk. "But, if auctioning off my gorgeous self for charity will make you happy…" He batted impossibly long lashes at the Sheriff, making her roll her eyes at his flirtatious gesture. "Then I'm in, after all, with Ric gone, you're pretty much my only friend left in this town."

Liz's face showed her sympathy. She knew Damon was still mourning the loss of the History teacher. "Damon…" she started, laying her hand atop his, but Damon didn't want her pity and pulled his hand away.

He picked up his drink again and downed it, before leaning in as if sharing a secret. "Just make sure Old Mrs. Chester doesn't get her hands on me," he whispered, "I was in her bakery yesterday and her fresh baked cinnamon buns weren't the only buns she had her eye on." He waggled his brows, doing that eye thing of his that her daughter and Elena were always complaining about. "If she won a chance to get up close and personal with yours truly, she might not be able to control herself, if you know what I mean…"

Liz chuckled softly, letting him drop the uncomfortable subject of losing his best friend. She understood how hard it was for him to show his vulnerable side and sarcasm was Damon's self-defense mechanism for those emotions. She took a sip of her soda. "I can't control who bids on you, Damon." He pouted exaggeratedly, lower lip protruding, and she couldn't help but roll her eyes at him. "Just as long her cinnamon buns are the only thing you sink your teeth into—we'll be fine," she teased.

Damon's eyes widened comically, until he saw her small smile. "Ha-ha. As if," he snorted, signaling the bartender for another drink. "She's old enough—" He paused when Liz raised a brow. "Okay, so maybe I'm older," he conceded, "but still, she looks old enough to be my Grandmother." The bartender handed him his drink and Damon took a healthy swig before adding teasingly. "Trust me, Liz. You don't need to worry about her virtue."

Liz finished off her soda and got to her feet. "Maybe it's not her virtue I'm worried about." Liz couldn't help going in for the kill. It wasn't often she got the chance to throw Damon Salvatore off balance. "I hear she has a thing for younger guys…"

Damon choked on his drink. "Okay, now I'm scared."

"Oh, I think you can take care of yourself," Liz said, smiling, her affection for him obvious as she patted his hand and thanked him for coming to her aid, once again.

Damon waved her off with a flick of his wrist. "Just doing my good deed for the day," he said airily, "You can thank me later when you give me the intel on Professor Creepy."

Liz nodded. "I'll see what I can dig up."

And with that she was gone, leaving Damon to brood over how badly he did not want to do this damned auction tonight. He'd participated in one a couple years ago and had actually had fun, but that was before Elena had turned him inside out and upside down. Truth was, Damon was tired of being Elena's go-to guy when she had a problem that needed his special brand of determination, but for everything else, it was Stefan she turned to. She'd called his love for her a problem once and Damon was starting to agree with her. He needed a break from Mystic Falls—and not just a couple hours, like he took the last time with Katherine. Look how that turned out—he was still close enough to go running right back as soon as Elena needed him, like the good little lap dog he had become. It sickened him.

Damon shot back the rest of his drink angrily. And in what could be one of his life's most cruelest of all jokes; just when he thought he'd finally gotten the 'Golden Ticket' to the Chocolate Factory that was Elena's heart and they had shared one magical and perfect secret—special night and day, Stefan and Caroline and all their talk about the Sire Bond had come in and yanked it all away!

'Seriously,' he thought, 'had he been born under a bad sign, or what?' Why was he always 'Love's Bitch'?

It was time for a change. Damon didn't want to be a damned consolation prize anymore; the one that rocked their world, but never had their heart. And he sure as hell didn't want to be a damned Sire taking advantage of Elena's newbie Vampire status. Just the thought of it made his skin crawl! He deserved better than that and it was time he gave that to himself and with that thought in mind, he decided he would leave Mystic Falls tomorrow, after he did this last 'good deed' for Liz. She had really been a friend to him—had never turned her back on him, even when he'd given her reason to. The least he could do was add his hotness to what was sure to be a boring affair without him.

For the first time in weeks Damon felt a little like his old self and when a pretty blonde sauntered up to the bar and ordered a Cosmopolitan, he decided it was time to start acting like it too. He flashed his killer smile and bought her drink for her. Within a moment she was sitting in a back booth with him and had her tongue down his throat, a few minutes after that, they were in the bathroom and Damon was having lunch. After he'd compelled her to forget his feeding, Damon made sure to mention if she wanted to continue their conversation, he'd be up for auction tonight.

After his tryst with the blonde, he left the Grille, feeling a little high with the fresh human blood in his system and the new attitude on his life. He refused to think about the fact that he hadn't screwed the girl senseless (as he would have in the past) because he felt too damned good to ruin his mood with that glaring discrepancy in his past behavior and now. He simply refused to admit it had anything to do with Elena, plus, Damon reasoned, there'd be time enough for him to get his mojo back with the ladies after he left Mystic Falls…

********D&E********

Forbes' Residence

"What time are you going to the Christmas party at the Grille tonight?" Caroline asked as she hung garland on the tree in her living room.

Elena, who had been given the chore of untangling lights, sighed as she replied, "I don't know. I'm not really in the partying kind of mood, Care."

Caroline wasn't having that. She turned on Elena and gave her friend her most determined look. "You are not sitting around and moping on Christmas Eve. I won't have it!"

Elena rolled her eyes, but caved. "Fine, I can be there by seven."

Caroline practically leaped for joy. "Good. Plus," she said, a sly smile creeping upon her lips. "Stefan is going to be there. Maybe you two can talk…" Elena raised a brow, warning Caroline to stop, but Caroline went into hyper-pleading mode instead. "I know you're still all crazy with this 'Sire-Bond' thing with Damon, but Stefan understands, Elena, and he wants to be there for you while you go through this."

"Caroline, stop. Stefan and I broke up. There isn't anything left to talk about."

"Elena, you and Stefan are epic," Caroline said. "You'll work it out."

Elena shook her head as visions of icy blue eyes and soft lips that could take her to heaven and back filled her thoughts. She forced herself to ignore the tightening in her belly as desire licked upon her nerve endings.

"No, we won't, Caroline. Stefan wants to fix me and I…" She shrugged, "Well, I don't know what I want anymore."

Caroline's eyes practically flipped in their sockets with the dramatic eye roll she gave at that. "Let's just be glad that what you want isn't Damon anymore. I swear we'll all be a lot better off once we figure out a way to break that damned sire bond!"

The lights Elena had been untangling dropped to the floor in a heap at Caroline's words. "Damon did break the Sire Bond. He broke it when he demanded that I leave him alone and stay away from him."

Elena couldn't believe Caroline was going to bring this dead horse out again and beat it some more. She was so tired of everyone telling her that the damned 'Sire-Bond' was the only reason she had feelings for Damon.

"Caroline, you were the one who made me admit there were feelings there, how can you sit here and freak out now that I've finally admitted it?!"

"But Elena, he's a narcissistic ass who uses women like Kleenex! How can you seriously sit there and defend him after what he did to you…and to me?!"

Elena shook her head sadly. Her friend just wasn't seeing the big picture. "That's just it, Care, Damon hasn't done anything to me. He's almost died for me and for you, too! I think it was your boyfriend who bit him when he was trying to save you, right?" Elena took a deep breath, "You're mad about what he did to you a long time ago. It's not me and Damon you're mad at, it's how he treated you and I'm tired of you comparing my relationship with him with what you had with him. It's not the same thing and it never has been." Caroline opened her mouth to reply, but Elena wasn't done yet. "No. Hear me out for once, before you interrupt." Caroline's mouth snapped shut and Elena went on. "You weren't a total victim with Damon. You—"

"I was compelled!" Caroline cried, but her defense was flat and lacked the real heat to make a good argument. Both Elena and Caroline knew Damon had never compelled Caroline to desire him.

"That's not exactly the way it happened and you know it," Elena said, reminding her blonde friend of the truth. "I seem to remember you being more than a little bit happy to rub my nose in the fact that you'd snagged the 'older-hotter brother' when you first hooked up with him." Elena grabbed her purse and jacket. It was time to go. "Look care, I'm sorry he hurt you, but we both know if he hadn't used you—"

"Like a 'happy meal'?" Caroline cut in, her pretty face contorted with anger. "He used me for a chew toy, Elena! And I can't believe you're going to sit there and tell me you don't remember that. You even called him a self-serving psychopath with no redeeming qualities!" Caroline put her hands on her hips, "Remember?"

Elena stared at her friend for several moments. She did remember saying that, she also remembered how shamelessly Damon had abused the pretty blonde, and it had been terrible, but Caroline hadn't just fallen for Damon's lethal charm—she'd leaped on him so fast, it had made Elena's head spin at the time. In the last year, Caroline had changed from that vapid girl who didn't care about people's feelings, why couldn't she see Damon had changed too?

"If Damon hadn't hurt you, you know we wouldn't be having this conversation. As a matter of fact, you'd probably be telling me to go for it!"

"But, what about Stefan?" Caroline asked, totally ignoring Elena's comments. "He loves you, Elena…"

"And I'm not saying I don't love Stefan anymore, Caroline! But…what I feel for Damon…it's intense. It's…overwhelming, and I've been fighting it for a long time. I thought you understood that." Elena headed for the door, but paused before leaving. "You know," she said softly, "it's not my break up with Stefan that has me moping, Care…it's my break up with Damon. If you were really my friend, you would know that and help me, instead of bashing him every chance you get, and trying to force me back into a relationship with Stefan."

Caroline's lip trembled as she realized how badly she'd been treating her friend. "Elena, wait," she called, but Elena was gone and she was speaking to an empty room. "I'm sorry…" she muttered to herself sadly.

Gilbert Residence:

As soon as she got home, Elena tossed her purse on the island in the kitchen and headed for the fridge for a blood bag. She was still seriously upset with Caroline and so sick and tired of everyone telling her how she should feel!

Jeremy walked into the kitchen as she was finishing her second bag and for a moment there was an awkward pause; Elena lowered the bag, "Um…sorry, I didn't know you were here," she said, heading for the trash t toss the mostly empty bag away.

Jeremy swallowed down his revulsion. His work with Damon at the cabin had helped him to control his urges to slaughter all vampires. "No," he said, giving her a small smile, "go ahead and finish. It's who you are now, Elena. You're my sister. You're still the same person…"

He shrugged and Elena felt tears come to her eyes. "Thank you," she said, clutching the blood bag.

"Are you going to finish that?" Jeremy said, motioning to the blood bag.

Elena glanced down at the bag in her hand. "Uh…yeah." She turned her back to her brother as she drank the rest of it down, but he didn't try and shove a stake in her heart and she didn't want to leap on him and go for the jugular, so she decided they were making progress.

Again, she had Damon to thank for that.

She dropped the empty bag in the trash and wiped her mouth before turning to face Jeremy again. "So, I can tell the time with Damon went well…" Elena focused on the countertop, tracing its swirls and patterns in the wood with her thumbnail as she asked, "Have you…um…talked to him since you guys have been back?"

Jeremy looked away. He was aware of the uncomfortable position Damon and Elena were in and he didn't want to add to it or make it harder. "He told me not to tell you."

Elena's eyes flew up. "He—what? Why?"

Jeremy sighed. "Elena, he's trying to free you from the bond. If you keep contacting him or talking about him, you'll never be free."

'What if I don't want to be free?' Instead of blurting that out, Elena's brows furrowed and she asked, "Is he…okay?"

Jeremy debated answering that question because 'Drill Master Damon' who had kicked his ass six ways from Sunday up at the cabin for the first week he was there, was far from okay, but surprisingly, Jeremy had found he actually liked Damon, the vampire who had insinuated himself into their lives. Well, once Damon had dropped the 'I'm a Super Dick-Hear Me Roar' attitude, that is. They'd actually bonded in that last week they'd spent at the cabin and Jeremy had seen behind the snarky sarcasm Damon wore like a suit of armor to the man beneath. One thing was for sure, it was obvious Damon really loved his sister and Jeremy had decided that Elena could do a lot worse than Damon Salvatore.

"He's hanging in there," he finally said. "He's focusing on making you safe, Elena, and…making sure I don't turn into a mindless killing machine that wants my sister dead," he added looking down.

"Jeremy, you know it's not your fault…"

"I know, but still…Do you know how it makes me feel to know I jabbed a stake in your neck?"

She nodded. "The same way it felt the night I wanted to attack you and drain you dry." She met his eyes and gave him a sad smile. "We're a mess, huh? I guess Mom and Dad wouldn't be so proud now."

Jeremy shook his head. "I disagree. Elena, you've dealt with more crap than any 18 year old should ever have had to deal with and you've done it pretty well." He shrugged, "I even harder on you after Mom and Dad, because I pretty much fell apart…"

"But, that's changed Jeremy. You're not getting high anymore; all that is behind you now. You can do anything you want now, Jeremy."

He nodded. "I know and that part of my life is over, but I don't want to be a hunter, either. I want to find this cure for you, Elena. I do…" He paused and met Elena's eyes dead on, "but only if it's something you really want—not because someone else is telling you that you need it."

Elena reached across the island and squeezed her brother's hand. "Thank you, Jer…" She had tears in her eyes. Finally, someone was actually listening and asking her what she wanted—not telling her what was best for her.

He nodded, understanding the truce that had just transpired between them. No words were needed. Jeremy started to leave the kitchen, but paused in the doorway. "Hey, by the way…" Elena looked up and Jeremy gave her a small smile of encouragement. "Damon called a little while ago to check in on me—you know, make sure I didn't have any urges to kill and all that—but, he said he was leaving town for a few days…" Jeremy shrugged, "Just thought you might want to know."

Elena's heart about leaped from her chest at the thought of Damon leaving, but she kept it together in front of Jeremy. "Did he say when?" she asked, mind racing as she tried to decide how to stop him.

"He said it would be after that auction tonight at The Grille. I guess Sheriff Forbes talked him into being sold off again."

At that, Elena saw red. "What?!" She rounded the island in vampire speed, surprising both herself and Jeremy, because she hadn't intended to. Elena took a step back from where she had her brother pinned against the wall. "Uh…sorry, but what did you say?"

Jeremy glanced at Elena. He remembered Denver and what he had interrupted that night and decided to offer his sister a bit of her own advice. "Elena, you've never been a coward. You never cared what anyone else thought about you. You did what you wanted. If you want to be with Damon, why don't you just do it? You know the guy is crazy in love with you."

She put the island between herself and her brother again, before letting loose. "Do I? He sent me away, Jeremy! He told me it would make him happy if I left him alone, and even though I tried to fight it, it was like I was compelled to go!" She clenched her fists. "It's that damned sire bond! He says something and I do it. I hate it! Everyone keeps saying that's the only reason I have feelings for him—even Damon! What if they're right? I know I had feelings for him before I turned, but…what if everyone else is right and I'm wrong. What if it's this sire bond that created my feelings for him—I could end up hurting us both in the long run!"

Jeremy seemed to contemplate something for a moment before he said, "Hold on, I'll be right back." He headed out of the kitchen and took the stairs to his room, two at a time.

Elena watched him go with a confused look on her face before she remembered Damon was entering that damned auction tonight. Her blood boiled and she grabbed her phone and texted Caroline.

'Did u kno Damon would be in the auction 2night?'

Caroline replied almost immediately. 'Lena please don't hate me im sorry :(

Elena didn't want to discuss their argument right then, she wanted the truth from Caroline. 'Care could u plz answer the question…did u kno?

Caroline's reply was a little slower this time and Elena already knew the truth before she read it. 'Well yea. Mom talked him n2 it. Y?'

Elena glared at the phone before texting back. 'U kno Care, u may have issues with him, but did u ever stop n think i might want to kno that? Or how that might bother me?! Guess not! Nyhow thnx 4 nothing! Ur a real friend!'

Elena debated sending her message, she knew it sounded hateful, but she was so angry at Caroline for all her Damon bashing and for keeping that information from her, that she hit the send button, and then turned her phone off. She didn't want to see, hear or read Caroline's excuses right then.

Jeremy entered the kitchen again. "Elena, come here I want you to read this," he said putting a big, leather bound book upon the center island. He flipped through the pages until he found the page he was looking for and then he spun it so that Elena could read it.

Elena looked down and read the title aloud. "Vampires and the Bonds They Share…" Her head shot up. "Jeremy, where did you get this?"

He shrugged. "It was in some of the books Professor Shane gave me. I just found that part the other night."

"Why didn't you give me this before?"

"I wasn't sure you really wanted to be with Damon, Elena. You always said it was Stefan for you and I thought this might just confuse the issue even more, but now…" He glanced at the clock. Elena still had a few hours before the auction started. "Now, I think you should read that and then make up your mind before he leaves town." He turned to leave Elena alone with the book. "Or worse…he gets sold off to someone like Mrs. Chester at the bakery—you know she has a thing for younger guys, right?"

Elena gave him a mock glare, but there was a wealth of affection behind it. "Okay, go—now, because that is a visual will haunt me for eternity, thank you very much!"

After Jeremy exited the kitchen, Elena pulled up a stool and started to read…

******************D&E*****************

The Mystic Grille:

Damon showed up at The Grille promptly at seven, just as he'd promised Liz he would. He was dressed in an Armani black on black suit and tie ensemble, and if the come hither looks thrown his way were any indication, he looked as hot as always. The Grille was in full swing, Christmas lights and decorations adorned the place, reminding Damon of why he never celebrated Christmas—it was too flashy and commercialized. He noticed Carol Lockwood on the stage in perfect Mayor/Hostess mode as she ordered the final touches done to the stage decorations to get it ready it for the auction.

"Damon!"

Damon turned from the stage to see Liz Forbes approaching him. He flashed his killer smile as he took in her little black dress. It never failed to surprise him how different she looked out of her Sheriff's get up. "You look gorgeous Liz…" he teased, "Maybe we should auction you off tonight."

Liz Forbes flushed with pleasure, even as she self-consciously ran her hand down the front of her dress, smoothing out imaginary lines.

He stopped her nervous gesture by grabbing her hand and bringing it to his lips. "Seriously, Ms. Forbes—you look smashing," he told her flirting outrageously, but he knew Liz would take it in stride and she did. She swatted him on the shoulder and told him to save it for his date. Damon tucked her elbow in his. "Maybe, I'll just escort you to this little soirée and we'll let these other women eat their hearts out when they see I'm already taken."

"I don't think so. You already have at least one fan in the front row there who specifically asked if you were on the auction tonight."

Damon followed Liz's finger to where she pointed. He noticed the sexy little blonde from lunch, she giggled and waved. He flashed his patented half smile, but when his eyes landed on Rebekah sitting primly in the row, bidding paddle in hand. He mentally groaned and stared, stupefied for a half second. 'What the hell was Original Barbie doing out of her casket again?'

Just then he spotted Stefan entering the Grille; quick as he could, he politely excused himself from Liz and made a beeline for his brother. "Putting yourself on the block tonight?" he asked, by way of a greeting. "You know, nothing says I'm single again, better than auctioning yourself off at a bachelors' auction…"

Stefan rolled his eyes. "No. That's more your style than mine, Damon," Stefan retorted.

"Hey, I'm only here because Liz talked me into it."

Stefan nodded. "Yeah, well…I'm not in the auction. I just…needed to get out, you know?"

Damon's sarcasm immediately dropped and he sighed. "Stef, you know, I'll say I'm sorry again, if it would help…"

Stefan shrugged it off. "Don't. I know you are. You love her, too, Damon. I've always known that."

Damon decided to drop the oh-so-sore subject of Elena, Damon turned his brother's attention in the direction of Rebekah. "Speaking of getting out…Wanna tell me why Original Barbie is sitting in the front row with a bidding paddle in her hand?"

Stefan's eyes widened. "I knew Elijah was back…He must have un-daggered her."

Damon's face showed his irritation. "What? Elijah's back! When? And why am I just now hearing about this?"

Stefan shrugged. "You were up at the lake house with Jeremy when Elijah came back. He hasn't caused any trouble…"

Damon snorted and glanced pointedly at Rebekah. "No, of course he hasn't. He's only released the one woman in the world who's actually tried to skin me alive; and on the night when I'm conveniently up for sale to the highest bidder." Damon clapped Stefan on the shoulder. "Thanks brother, good to know you have my back," he said sarcastically and started to walk away.

"Damon, wait!" Stefan said, grabbing Damon's arm.

"For what?" Damon hissed. "For you to tell me you didn't know." He rolled his eyes. "I know that, Stefan, but the fact that you didn't see this coming is what really worries me."

"What, are you afraid she'll buy you for the night?" Stefan retorted, smirking. "It's not like you haven't been there—done that, Damon. Why are you so worried?"

Damon's jaw clenched and he had to count to ten to restrain himself from slapping Stefan upside the head. "It's not me I'm worried about. I can handle that Original bitch and anything she dishes out, but did you ever stop and think about why they're all back or have you become such good pals with Klaus—the two of you, arm and arm, searching for the cure—that you've forgotten Klaus only wants the cure so he can use Elena for his personal blood bank?!" Damon eyed his brother fiercely, waves of anger fairly radiated off him. "Or are you so set on restoring her 'Stefan-friendly' settings that you just don't care anymore?"

Damon left his brother standing there and headed straight for the bar. He'd just taken the first sip of his bourbon when Rebekah sidled up to stand next to him. He muttered a soft curse under his breath, but shot her his patented sideways smirk instead of showing his irritation. "Who let you out of your box? From what I heard, your brother had you in a permanent time out."

"Elijah set me free. Unlike Klaus, he is not a first rate bastard."

Damon snorted softly. "That's a matter of opinion," he replied, taking a sip of his drink.

"So," she said, eyeing him up and down, "a little bird told me you were placing yourself in tonight's auction…"

Damon rolled his eyes. "Just cut to the chase, Blondie. If you're planning on bidding on me, just say so, but just so you know…" He leaned in close, close enough to hear her sharp, indrawn breath and know that although she may hate him, she was definitely still hot for him. "Rough sex isn't on the menu for my date tonight," he whispered in her ear, "so if you wanted another round with me…" Damon pulled away and waved her off as if she was a fly he was swatting away, "you might as well save your rubles sweetheart, coz it won't be happening."

Rebekah flinched at the insult, but maintained her composure. "Maybe, I'd like another round of our last play-date…you remember that, do you not?"

"Hanging from your ceiling for twelve hours while you nearly drained me dry? Oh yeah, good times! How could I forget?" He finished off his drink and stood, but before he left, he dug the blade a little deeper. "You may be the Original Barbie-Bitch, but don't think it'll be so easy to ambush me next time and if you go after Elena again, it won't be Klaus sticking the dagger in you—it'll be me." Before Rebekah could react he ran his knuckles gently along her cheek. Her eyes dilated and she sucked in her breath at the physical contact. Damon couldn't help but smirk. "I know you still want me…it just kills you that I don't feel the same, doesn't it?"

Rebekah yanked her head back. "Well, I guess that makes us quite the pair then, considering you know exactly what it feels like to be second choice—don't you?"

Damon winced—that blow had landed below the belt. "Ouch!" Just then they were announcing the bachelors to come to the stage. "Well, this has been…fun, but that's my cue to leave."

He left her sitting there at the bar. Damon knew he had just royally pissed her off, but after the shit she had pulled on him, it felt damned good to put her back in her place—if only for a moment. Plus, he needed to make sure she left Elena alone. Damon may be sick and tired of Elena pulling him close and then pushing him away, but that sure as hell did not mean he wanted her gone! A world without Elena in it—well, that was a world Damon simply couldn't fathom. He didn't even want to try. He loved her despite all her drama!

As if he'd conjured her up, Elena walked in the door at that exact moment. She paused in the entryway, perusing the room and their eyes met and held for several seconds. Damon's eyes roamed her figure hungrily, taking in the short red dress, white knee high boots and he especially thought the Santa hat perched on her head was adorable. Dammit! She looked delicious—like a sexy little Santa's helper and Damon could think of several things she could help him out with. She smiled at him and waved. Damon gave a soft muttered curse and looked away.

"Great!" he growled softly, and seriously debated heading back to the bar before taking the stage. He wasn't nearly buzzed enough to handle an Elena episode tonight.

Unfortunately for him, Carol Lockwood spotted him first and signaled for him to come up to the stage. Rebekah took up her seat in the front row and Damon noticed she had that damned bidding paddle again. He noticed his lunch date from earlier had a paddle and made a point to wriggle his eye brows at her. She flushed and Damon knew she'd be bidding on him tonight, too. But when he saw Elena being handed a paddle, his steps faltered and it took all his concentration to keep it calm, cool and collected as he took the steps to the stage. He watched Elena take her seat in the front row and as Damon looked from Elena to Rebekah—who had also just noticed each other—his only thoughts were to get this entire debacle over with ASAP and get the hell out of Dodge with (hopefully) all his important parts still attached.

******************************D&E**************************

Okay guys, there was the first part. This is totally complete, but it just got epic as musie got more and more into this fic. Please leave her a tid bit of affection to let her know if she's still got the juice to pull off a fic like this anymore. God-I am so rusty. I swear, musie had cobwebs in her ears! ;)

Thanks for all the readers who still remember me and my work. It means a lot. :) I will be posting part 2 on Sunday and part 3 on Monday. Enjoy—I know I loved writing this.

Jen