July 2013 – PRESENT DAY

The sensation of fingers on my bare skin is the first thing my half-asleep mind registers. The second is the warmth of the sun on my back and the grainy sand beneath my stomach.

I roll over and smile sleepily at Damon, who is lying on his side and tracing patterns with his fingers on me with a smirk on his face.

"You woke me up!" I complain, flinging my arm over my eyes to shield them from the sudden bright light.

"I was bored," he grins, mischievously, pulling my arm away and leaning down to kiss me.

Damon decided to surprise me this summer by whisking me away for a trip to California. We're staying at a five-star resort with a private beach and a stunning view of the crystal blue ocean, and I've never known such luxury. He didn't tell me where we were going until we boarded our flight – he's lucky he thought to bring Caroline in on the secret to pack for me, and I'm wearing a bikini of her choosing: a black and white patterned designer label set that flaunts every inch of my sun-kissed, silky skin.

Needless to say, Damon loves it.

His wandering fingers start to unravel the strings of my bikini bottoms and I giggle, half-heartedly trying to still his movements.

"Damon! Not now," I scold, but my voice is muffled into his lips and I lose my train of thought as he growls softly and moves to kiss behind my ear, his hot breath against my neck causing tingles to run through my whole body.

The next thing I'm aware of is the sudden absence of pressure around my hips as my boyfriend succeeds in his attempt to untie my bikini, and I squeal indignantly.

"We're in public, Damon!"

"There's nobody around," he murmurs, his hand running slowly down my side before lifting my right leg to wrap around his waist. The change in position means I can now feel his hard length pressing against my center, separated only by the thin fabric of his boardshorts.

"But what about the sand?" My voice is barely more than a whisper and I can feel my restraint slipping away.

"That's what the ocean is for, sweetheart," he breathes, and in a flash I've essentially torn his shorts from him and he's buried himself deep inside me.

I moan with satisfaction and he smirks, covering my mouth with his as we move together. When we're finished making love on the beach, he pulls me into the sea and we repeat the process as we rise and fall with the gentle waves, tasting salt in our passionate kisses.

Later, we're lying on the sand again, covered with a towel and glowing with blissful happiness. Mentally I tick off 'on the beach' and 'in water' on my list of sexual experiences – a list that grows ever longer and seems never-ending, thanks to his imagination and adventurousness.

However, my favorite time will always be our first: a night I remember as if it happened yesterday and a night I will always cherish for the leaps and bounds we took in both our physical and our emotional relationship. I find myself lost in the memory of it, recalling every moment so clearly it's almost as if I'm reliving it.

"What are you thinking about?" His voice breaks through the nostalgic haze in my mind and it takes me a moment to separate daydream from reality. "You look like you're a million miles away."

"I'm thinking about us."

"Mmm," he murmurs appreciatively against my ear. "Anything in particular?"

"Our third date."

He smirks. "One of my favorite memories. The image of you unraveling for the first time is imprinted on my brain for the rest of my life."

I slap him playfully for his dirty reference but it doesn't wipe the smug grin off his face.

"What are your other favorite memories?" I ask curiously.

"The first day I met you," he says simply. "You?"

I consider his question carefully before answering. "Katherine's wedding. For lots of reasons."

His face spreads into a genuine smile and my mind wanders again.

October 2012


I rush into the gorgeous room with the high ceilings, tripping slightly over my stiletto heels, my arms stacked with bags.

My beautiful sister is standing wide-eyed and panicked by the mirror. Her long brown curls are swept up in an elegant knot, with the odd loose tendril cascading down to her shoulders. Jenna spent two hours perfecting Katherine's makeup, right down to curling her thick eyelashes with a strange contraption that looks like a stainless steel interpretation of a medieval torture device. The dress is pure white, contrasting beautifully with her olive skin tone, and silk wraps tightly around her corseted torso before tulle layer upon layer of skirt puffs out at her hips like a princess from a Disney movie.

The Mikaelsons are a very proud and traditional family, so they've pulled out all the stops for the high society wedding of the year. We're in a beautiful seventeenth century church, where all the intricate decorations and stained glass windows have remained perfectly intact. I've peeked inside the room where the ceremony will take place, and white and red rose petals litter the aisle, leading to a beautiful wrought iron archway with brightly colored flowers woven through it. Every last detail is carefully planned down to the very last baby pink ribbon tied on each pew, and I know Jenna was relieved that Esther Mikaelson insisted on covering the costs of the lavish affair, because we never would have dreamed of anything like this.

Despite our humble upbringing, Katherine fits into this lifestyle like the central diamond fits into her extravagant engagement ring. She moves with the grace and dignity of a socialite, but she doesn't always rein in her explosive side when it comes to Elijah's mother, and for that, I think Esther admires her. Isobel calls it the 'Gilbert fire', and she says we get it from our father.

Speaking of our mother, the woman breezes in from the adjacent bathroom pulling a comb through her hair.

"Hi, Elena. Your sister is freaking out again."

"What this time?" I sigh, but Katherine can see the laughter in my eyes.

"I'm starving. I haven't eaten in a week to make sure I fit into this monstrosity of a dress!"

"That's your own fault," I tell her, digging through one of the bags I brought with me and pulling out a banana. "Luckily, your amazing little sister and maid of honor has it covered. Also, you chose this monstrosity, so you only have yourself to blame."

"Don't get that on your dress!" Isobel scolds as Katherine demolishes the fruit in two bites.

The relationship between Katherine and Isobel has been strained, but somehow we've maintained the peace in the two weeks since she came back. It seems like Isobel's really trying to make up for being such a terrible mother for the past fourteen years, and although Katherine is nowhere near forgiving and forgetting, I'm happy they've managed to remain civil.

"Where's my veil?" Katherine asks after she swallows, beginning to panic again. "Oh, god." Her eyes widen. "Shit, should I say that in a church? Crap, should I be swearing in a church?" Her voice rises in hysteria and I'm floored to see my normally sassy, collected sister in such a meltdown.

"Calm down; your veil's here!" I assure her, passing it to her. Isobel and I gently fix it on her head.

"My bouquet?"

"Right here," a voice calls from the doorway. Jenna's dressed identically to me, wearing a pale pink, one-shouldered dress with a white leather belt at the waist. The other two bridesmaids, Lexi and Rebekah, file in behind her. Rebekah and I exchange awkward glances – she's still on-again, off-again with Matt, but surprisingly enough we've both been getting along in the lead up to the wedding, as Esther insisted on having her in the ceremony.

Damon will partner me, as the best man, and Elijah's three brothers are his groomsmen. I haven't spoken much to Kol since the incident at New Year's, but Elijah told me that he's given up drinking, and that he genuinely feels remorseful about what happened.

Finally, Jeremy walks into the room, announcing that everything's ready to go. The bridesmaids pick up their bouquets; Isobel blows Kat a kiss and hurries out to get a seat; the groomsmen offer us their arms and Jeremy takes Katherine's – he's giving her away.

The music begins to play and Kol and Rebekah are first out, the blonde girl holding her head high, a disdainful look on her face. Klaus and Lexi follow, after Lexi berates him for trying to flirt with her at the final rehearsal dinner last night. Finn and Jenna are next, and Damon turns to look at me, brushing a curl out of my face.

"You look beautiful," he tells me, and I can't help returning his warm smile. "I have something I want to ask you afterwards, okay?"

It's an odd thing to say, but there's no time, because our cue in the music sounds and we're walking down to the altar. Damon shakes Elijah's hand as we get there, and we take our places either side. My eyes flicker to meet his and the intense gaze we share sends shivers down my spine.

I then watch my sister glide gracefully down the aisle, and she looks flawless, demure, radiant. She gazes at Elijah adoringly as Jeremy places her hand in his and kisses her lightly on the cheek before going to sit next to Isobel in the front row. I'm both stunned and ecstatic to see tears of joy on my mother's cheeks.

I find my eyes drawn to Damon like magnets throughout the ceremony, and they glint like he knows a secret. Before I know it, the priest is instructing Elijah to kiss Katherine, which he does with fervor, and then we're being bustled into the limousine again to be taken to the reception.

As soon as we arrive at the hall, Damon pulls me to a small loveseat in the foyer. He takes my hands in his, seeming a little anxious.

"Out with it. What did you do?" I ask suspiciously, only half-joking.

"Nothing. Well, no; that's a lie. I brought you this."

He pulls something small, metal and flat out of his pocket, but I don't get a good look at it.

"I started thinking about this when we talked about your mom moving back. I figured she'd probably want the house, and if things were too tense between you, I would have an out for you to take. But things were going okay with you two and I didn't want to push…"

"What are you talking about?"

He hands me the object, and it's a silver key.

"It's yours, even if you don't want to use it yet. I love you, Elena, and I would love nothing more than to have you live with me and wake up with you every morning, but if you're not ready to just yet, keep the key just in case."

"You want me to move in with you?"

He nods, still looking apprehensive. I bite my lip to hold back a smile and attempt to look serious, but his look of utter dejection at my hesitation stabs me with guilt.

"Of course I will, are you crazy?" I exclaim, flinging my arms around him. He scowls at me as I pull away and I smile sweetly, slipping the key on my chain and giving him a chaste kiss. "I love you too."

We walk to our table for the dinner hand in hand, and Katherine instantly takes in our expressions and fixates me with her infamous Katherine Gilbert - Mikaelson? - glare.

"What aren't you telling me, midge?"

I sit beside her, smirking, and her eyes narrow further.

"You smirk just like he does now; you spend far too much time together."

"You're just going to have to get used to it, unfortunately, because he asked me to move in with him."

Katherine's ear-piercing shriek is worthy of a fourteen-year-old, and she hugs me excitedly.

"Oh my god, that's amazing; I'm so happy for you!"

We chatter excitedly all through the dinner – a Thai beef salad as a starter, followed by grilled chicken with Mediterranean vegetables and crispy-skinned potatoes, and a rich chocolate and raspberry tart for desert. Speeches are made, the cake is cut, and then it's time for the newlyweds' first dance together.

The captivated guests watch them in awed silence – few of them have ever seen Kat and Elijah so intimate, as they tend to refrain from PDAs. Eventually, a few others get up to dance, and as Esther drags Rebekah up to dance with Elijah, I spot my opportunity with Kol and take her newly vacated seat.

"Hi," I begin, trying to remain calm.

"Hey," he says, not quite meeting my eyes.

"How are y-"

"I'm sorry, Elena," he blurts, cutting me off. "I'm sorry for what I did to you."

I can see the guilt in his face and I know it's sincere.

"I believe you. I can't forgive you, yet, but we're family now, and we can be polite, at the very least."

He looks happy enough with my answer. I'm not over what he did to me, but he made a mistake that nobody immediately close to him is going to forget any time soon, so I decide that's punishment enough.

He excuses himself to the bathroom and I'm found by Stefan, who pulls me up to dance to an upbeat, light-hearted number. We laugh and chat for a while, and I notice Damon watching us suspiciously from his seat, although he poorly tries to cover it by pretending to text on his phone.

"So, what's got you so willing to put yourself in the crosshairs, hmm?" I ask him, my eyes sparkling, and he rolls his eyes.

"Okay, you caught me. Fine. I just wanted to thank you for whatever you've been telling Damon."

I blink in confusion, trying to recall if I've said anything in particular recently. "What are you talking about?"

"He's been a lot more open with me lately, a lot nicer. You're good for him. Since you guys started dating, he's treated me more like a friend, like a brother. He said that being with you showed him how important it was to hold onto the people you were lucky enough to have. He said that the fact that you could forgive your mom showed him that he had to be the one strong enough to forgive what happened with our family. You inspire him, Elena. And you make him happy, and you make him a better person."

My eyes have filled with tears during this speech, and Damon makes as if to stand, concerned, but I shake my head and smile softly at him over Stefan's shoulder.

"He's become a better person on his own, Stefan," I protest, but he smiles knowingly at me and bows politely as the dance finishes.

"If you'll excuse me, I should go find out where Caroline is… I think she's had one too many glasses of pink champagne."

I walk back to my seat, only to find Isobel waiting for me, twisting a pale green linen napkin nervously in her hands. Oh dear, I say inwardly, but I sit beside her regardless.

We sit in silence, watching Elijah and Katherine in the centre of the dance floor, heads on one another's shoulders and swaying gently.

"Has she always been like this?" Isobel wonders aloud. "From what I've seen when I visited, and what Jenna told me in between, I never would've guessed that she could be so…"

"Romantic?" I supply, and Isobel nods. "Elijah brings a soft side out in her. She loves him, and love does that; it changes us. Since she met him, the wild partying, the hatred, the danger… it's not a big part of her anymore. I think that was just a result of how alone she felt, how she had to take care of herself, and then he came along and he was the best thing that ever happened to her."

"Do you think she'll ever forgive me?" She asks, her blue-gray eyes wide and anxious.

"I think she already has. As long as you stay and you keep trying, it's going to get easier."

We remain silent for a moment, and I decide to just rip off the band-aid.

"Damon's asked me to move in with him."

She blinks at me, completely astonished.

"I said yes."


"I know you're staying in Mystic Falls for good, and I figured you could have the house to yourself, if Jenna and Ric move out, or maybe sell it-"

"I got a job in Richmond."

Now it's my turn to stare at her in surprise. A job? That will really tie her down and test her limits of responsibility.

"It's a secretarial position for an advertising firm. I was going to get an apartment a little closer to the city, but it's still close enough to Mystic Falls for me to visit all the time. I was going to give Jenna the house… I don't want you to rush into moving out because you feel uncomfortable with me around."

"It's not about that at all! I love him, mom," I swallow hard because it's the first time I've called her that since she left us, "and I honestly didn't feel uncomfortable at all having you stay with us. He asked me to move in and I told him I would."

"Only if you're sure."

"I'm sure."

She looks thoughtful for a moment.

"You're lucky to have him, Elena."

"I know." I know.

I feel the arms of my savior drape around my neck, and I can't help but smile when I'm in his presence.

"Hey, you," I murmur.

"Hi, pretty girl," he smirks.

Isobel excuses herself to go and talk to Jeremy, and I'm left alone with Damon. I can't stop gazing at the smile on his face – he's happy and I feel a sense of pride to know that's partially because of me. He seems like he's enjoyed today, so I can't help thinking back to a certain conversation we had about weddings.

"Do you remember our movie night?" I ask him curiously.

"When I forced you to watch Paranormal Activity and you spent the whole time hiding your face in my shoulder, even in the daylight scenes?" He grins.

"No!" I laugh. "When I was sick and we watched 27 Dresses."

"Yeah. What about it?"

"I was wondering, because you seemed to have a lot of fun with all the wedding stuff… have you changed your mind about marriage?" I regret asking the question – Damon and I are still yet to have an explosive fight but I fear that this is a topic that could potentially induce one.

"I think that Elijah and Katherine are perfect for each other, and this is what they wanted," he begins, and my heart begins to speed up a little. Is he beginning to consider a future?

"But I can't see myself as husband material… I guess the whole idea really just doesn't appeal to me. I'm not that kind of person. Ultimately, the only things that matter in a relationship are love and trust. Who needs a certificate to prove those things?"

I'm disappointed, but I see his point. I love and trust him, and I know he would never hurt me – he'd have to face Katherine, and she can be scary if she wants to be.

For Christ's sake, Elena, I scold myself. You're about to move in with the guy. What more do you want?

The opening strains of Ed Sheeran's Kiss Me begin to play, and Damon presses his mouth against my ear.

"Want to dance?"

He leads me out onto the floor, and we're the only couple dancing, as many people are too tired or have already left, and my sister and her new husband are being swarmed with people to say their final congratulations. Damon's arms pull me into him, and I rest my forehead against his, looking deep into his ice-blue eyes as we sway to the music.

Settle down with me
Cover me up, cuddle me in
Lie down with me
And hold me in your arms

And your heart's against my chest, your lips pressed to my neck
I'm falling for your eyes, but they don't know me yet
And with a feeling I'll forget, I'm in love now

Kiss me like you wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
This feels like falling in love
Falling in love
We're falling in love

I close my eyes as we kiss, losing myself in his scent and taste and the beautiful music and the feel of him holding me in his arms, like he won't ever let me go, like he's both protecting me from the hidden dangers of the world and carrying me onwards into uncertainty.

I love him.

I don't ever want him to let me go.

I will face any danger or uncertainty as long as he is by my side.

I know in this moment that what I told my mother is true: love does change us. Damon taught me to smile from the very day I met him and I taught him the power of forgiveness. We are living proof that love changes us, but most importantly, I believe that it also saves us.

It saves us even when we didn't know we needed saving.

This feels like falling in love
Falling in love
We're falling in love


"I'm so glad everything worked out so well," Damon comments, and I nod in agreement. Katherine and Elijah had taken off to Europe immediately after the reception on their honeymoon, thus beginning Katherine's love affair with travel. Last week, they flew south to New Zealand – Elijah had some important clients to meet with for his and Klaus' publishing company and had brought Katherine along to go skiing. According to her, it's strange to be looking at snow in mid-July, but she seems to be having the time of her life, regardless.

Isobel is living in Richmond and visits every other weekend. She's currently seeing one of her coworkers; blessedly, he's her age and he seems really nice, although surprisingly a little serious. Jeremy's also found somebody: a schoolteacher named Anna. They've been seeing each other since Christmas and he really couldn't be happier. Jenna and Alaric are expecting their first child together: a son. They've been arguing over names since they found out the gender but finally agreed on, with a week until their due date, William.

Caroline and Stefan had moved to New York together shortly after we graduated to attend college there – Caroline studies interior design, and Stefan studies psychology. They travel back to Mystic Falls every holiday and long weekend to visit, and I'm glad Caroline has found somewhere where she belongs, somewhere more fast-paced and exciting than our peaceful hometown.

As for me? I spent the last year taking a writing class at the local community college. Damon convinced me to follow my dreams of becoming a published author, and although right now the only work I've had published was a short story in a local journal, I'm not planning to give up any time soon. Damon still has a year left of his teaching course but he's been volunteering twice a week at Mystic Falls Elementary and I'm sure there'll be a place there for him as soon as he graduates.

I've had enough of this trip down memory lane, so I stand up and shake the sand off me, all over Damon. He narrows his eyes at me and I giggle, running down the sand towards the water's edge as he gets up to chase me. The sea is cool and refreshing after lying in the sun for so long and I dive gracefully under as soon as I'm out far enough.

When I surface, I spot Damon standing where the water is knee-deep, his arms crossed over his chest disapprovingly.

"What's the problem?" I call out.

"It's cold!" He complains.

"You were in here before!" I slowly swim back to him, trying to keep an evil smile off my face.

"That was different. I had you to warm me up."

"You're weak, did you know that?" I tease him, and he scowls at me. "Cold-blooded, like a snake."

"You're just a freak of nature who likes the water too much."

"Freak of nature, hmm?" I question, and he nods. "Well, I'll just have to teach you to love the ocean too." With a quick sweep of my arms, I send a wave of water crashing towards him, and he's stunned as it drenches him. "Gotcha!"

"Elena!" He growls, but I'm already trying to move away as he runs after me.

He reaches me before I can get to safety and his strong arms curl around me, dragging me back towards the water. I shriek and struggle playfully as he dunks me, and I retaliate by pulling him under the salty waves too.

When we've finished our fighting, I wrap my arms around his shoulders and my legs around his waist as we bob gently with the pulse of the sea, and he's holding me close enough that I can see the drops of water glittering on his eyelashes.

I kiss him – the attraction between us is too powerful to resist. The sensation that spreads through me is warm despite the cold of the water as I open my mouth beneath his. His tongue dances with mine and the feeling is dizzying, exhilarating; I pull away and I'm breathless.

Even after more than a year together, his touch and taste are still electric. I find myself craving him when he's not near – although, thankfully, these times are few and far between since I moved in with him, and each night is spent making love and each morning waking in his embrace, and I can't get enough of it. Every night of passion in each other's arms is just as fiery and beautiful as the very first night we spent together.

Our foreheads are resting against one another and he has a strange expression in his eyes as he seems to search my own for something unspoken. It's an intense gaze, intimidating, but he doesn't offer any explanation for it.

I let go of him and slowly wade back to the shore, a little confused. As I stand on dry sand, I wring the excess water from my long hair, shaking it out like I'm in a Pantene commercial.

I watch Damon continue a half-formed sandcastle we'd been making earlier, taking handfuls of the darker, wetter sand from the shoreline to build a wall around it. He's so determined to make it perfect, because that's just how he is, that he even traces little windows in the side of the towers.

"If you're going to do that, you're going to need shells to decorate it. Oh, look!" I exclaim, spotting a pale pink conch shell half buried in the sand. "It's so pretty." I pick it up and then excitedly scan the shore, looking for more shells to add to my collection. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him slip something into the little 'door' of his castle, right by the driftwood drawbridge, but I don't think much of it.

I'm just picking up a large cream-colored cockleshell when the next words out of his mouth have me dropping everything in shock.

"Marry me."


I whirl on him, expecting to see him laughing at my disbelief, but he looks serious.

"Marry me," he repeats.

"Yeah, sure," I say sarcastically. "While we're at it, why don't we have four children and a puppy, too?"

"If that's what you want," he says calmly, and I can do nothing but gape at him. "What do you think about naming our daughter after Jennifer Lawrence?"

"Are you fucking kidding me?" My voice rises in hysteria. "You can't mean that. You loathe the idea of marriage. What kind of proposal is this anyway? Where are the flowers; the romantic gestures; the rock?" I cry, pointing at my finger for emphasis.

He observes me in my freak-out for a moment, his expression unreadable, and my eyes fill with tears. What the hell is he playing at?

He begins to pace wordlessly around the beach, staring at the ground. Still stunned speechless, and still soaked from our swim, I wait exactly where I am waiting for an explanation. He bends over for a moment, retrieving something from the ground before he stands upright and walks over to me. He places the object in my hands – it's a small white pebble, weathered by the sand and wind and warm from the sun.

"You want a rock? There you go. Whatever it takes for me to show you that I mean every word of this. Marry me, Elena. I know we're still young, but I know I want you for the rest of my life. We won't have the wedding right away; I just want you with an engagement ring on your finger to show the world that you're mine. I want to give you the promise of forever."

I'm actually sobbing now, trembling and overwhelmed with an onslaught of emotion.

"You told me you never wanted to get married."

"I know, and I didn't. But then you came along and you showed me how wrong I was. I want to spend every day with you. I want to share my life with you, Elena. I want a piece of paper with our names on it that says that you belong to me, and I belong to you. Being with you made me need things I never knew I needed, and I'm telling you this now because I can't imagine going another minute without your promise to call yourself Elena Salvatore someday, in a year or two or five or more. I'm so in love with you; I will never stop loving you."

I'm sure I've melted into a puddle on the hot sand, fighting to find words to answer the man I'm hopelessly in love with and still not sure if I want to accept or try to talk him out of this crazy idea. His eyes are anxious, vulnerable, wide in fear; he's standing so close to me that I can see every thought, every feeling that crosses his mind.

I manage a half-laugh through my tears, wiping at my eyes with the back of my hand. "I love you, Damon, but a rock?" I toss the thing aside and step forward to embrace him, summoning up the courage to turn him down. He loves me, of that I'm sure, but he's just caught up in the romance of it all and hasn't really thought this through. He's trying to give me what I want, but I don't want to be responsible for manipulating him into something he'll regret.

He gently disentangles himself from me and gestures to the sandcastle.

"Why? Is that more of what you had in mind?"

I blink at him in confusion but when he offers no explanation, I bend down to look and see a royal blue velvet box inside the castle - maybe his proposal isn't so spontaneous, after all. Shaking slightly, I retrieve it and place it in his proffered palm, watching in wide-eyed astonishment as he kneels down on one knee. He opens it slowly, revealing a princess cut diamond, with tiny ice blue diamonds embedded along the platinum band.

I can't breathe; my mind has gone blank; my heart has stopped completely. It seems like an eternity has passed before he speaks, his voice soft and loving and warm. I can't help but smile at him, tearfully reaching down to caress his cheek.

"Elena Gilbert, will you marry me?"

A/N: And there you have it, guys. I hope you all enjoyed reading this even half as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please take this last opportunity to leave a review and share your thoughts, feelings, and anecdotes with me; I'd love to hear them. I'd like to thank my loyal readers (to name a few: MelissaSomerhalder, Dark-Supernatural-Angel, Cherriesandapples, bellax0xchristina, superfan24, BlueBoxAngel, justbecause3, chelsaboolove, Skating-on-glass, DelenaFreak0422, alwaystakeheart, Debbie1689, and the rest - you know who you are!) who reviewed many times, chapter after chapter, and of course everybody who's taken the time to read my silly little love story. It's been an overwhelming compliment to reach 200 reviews and 100 favourites, and to see some of my favourite authors' pennames in my notifications. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I hope you like the way I chose to end this, and that it wasn't too cliché. I feel like Kiss Me was very fitting for this story, not solely because of 4x07, but because when I saw Ed Sheeran live in concert a few weeks ago, he dedicated the song to 'all the people out there who are in love with their best friend'. Also, I'd like to thank Cher and Ina in particular for their input into this chapter.

On a slightly more bitter note, I'm glad Elena and Damon get to have their happy ending, as in reality, 'Damon' is still going strong with 'Andie' while 'Elena' lives vicariously through the story she wrote, having never gained the courage to tell 'Damon' how she feels. That's why we have fanfiction, right? But I'm so thankful to each and every one of you for sharing in my unrequited love story with me.

Thank you to every person who helped along the way - my pre-readers, Ina (Dreamspheres) and Nadia; my smut consultants, Lucy and Jess; my late-night listener, Cheryl (Cher Sue); my twitter cheer squad, Elvire, Vanshika, Natalia, Katarina, Sam, and Taylor; and of course, my real life Damon and Katherine for being my inspirations to write this story.

I'm not sure what I'll be writing next - I have quite a few stories in the planning stages as well as my unfinished ones to go back to, so please select author alert if you'd like to be notified of any of my future work. I'll be around until then, reading and beta-reading, so I'll see you when I see you.

Thanks again.

~ Kim xo