A/N: I know... What am I doing, uploading another story? The thing is, one of my other stories is about to be wrapped up, so this one will take its place. Also, this storyline continued to bug me, even showing up when I tried to sleep at night. My muse takes me wherever she wants to drag me and I have to follow obediently. I'm not the most regular updater and my muse is a fickle one, I am very much aware of that. However, I would feel honoured if you took this journey with me, no matter how long it takes for me to reach the end of the line. Thank you in advance.
The Torture Called Love
It's a funny thing; from the moment we are first introduced to fairy tales, we become obsessed with the idea of a knight in shining armour. Our parents read us bedtime stories about Snow White, being saved by a kiss from a handsome prince or about Cinderella, finding her true love at a ball. It always ends with the same line: "They lived happily ever after…"
As a little girl, we believe in these things. We start dreaming about a man, willing to risk it all for us, who fights to be with us and who will do whatever it takes to make us happy. We dream about a wedding and a pretty white dress. When we hit our teens, we are introduced to romance novels and Hollywood's idea about perfect love. The story is never any different; girl meets boy, girl gets boy. There is not a single book or movie that has the boy ending up with somebody else. They make the concept of love seem easy, that it's something beautiful. 'There is somebody out there for everybody,' they say. These fairy tales, novels and movies brainwash us; we start fantasizing about it happening to us. A hero who comes to save us, a handsome man who completes us.
Only then, real life happens. Disappointments happen. Romance seems almost none existent. Our handsome prince turns into a sweaty, drunken guy who can't keep his hands to himself, or an adolescent, oversexed teenager, trying to drag us into his bed. The prince becomes an illusion, and love… Love isn't only beautiful. It can be a terrible thing; it cuts us open and reduces us to a sobbing mess. Even if we don't want it to happen to us, it puts its claws into us and never lets us go. It throws our entire lives upside down and turns us inside out.
It's a terrible thing to know that one person can tear us apart completely; take our hearts into their hands and grind it into a bloody pulp.
So is all romance dead? Was Cinderella wrong?
If we could live in a world without love, maybe we would know some peace. But we would be hollow inside. So, somewhere in the back of our minds, that little girl who believes in fairy tales still exists. She still continues to hope that someone will come around for her…to save her from the big bad world out there.
I stared at the words I had just written down with a frown. It almost seemed as if I knew what I was talking on earth had my editor asked me to write a piece about the one thing that completely baffled my brain? I could write about everything else; clothes, labels, how to make your way through New York without spending hundreds of dollars… And yet, here I was, wracking my brain about a concept that was completely unfamiliar to me.
Oh yeah, my name is Elena Gilbert. I've never been in love…
"Are you still writing that piece?" a voice behind me interrupted my musings. I turned to see a perfectly styled blonde trying to peer over my shoulder to see what I had come up with. Her name was Caroline Forbes; gorgeous, bubbly, pretty damn vocal about her opinions and I loved her to pieces. We grew up together, stuck together through everything and we now even shared an apartment.
"My editor should have just given this one to someone like you. I don't even know what I'm doing here," I complained as I buried my head in my hands.
"I'm sure you'll do fine, Elena. You just over think things too much. It will come to you," Caroline told me.
I watched as Caroline was getting ready for a hot date with her latest boyfriend; some guy with a name that reminded her of Santa Claus. At least my best friend didn't have any problems with the opposite sex.
"I can't believe I'm going to get fired over not knowing how love works," I pouted.
Caroline eyed me in the reflection of the mirror, as she was just finishing up putting in her hoop earrings.
"Would you stop? Isobel is not going to fire you over troubles with one article."
I got up from my seat at the desk and went to stand next to my friend. I looked at our appearances in the mirror; one completely dressed up, the other having a bad hair day in skinny jeans and an oversized t-shirt.
"This love thing isn't for me, you know. No matter how many guys I go out with, I just can't seem to fall in love. How pathetic am I for not knowing what butterflies in your stomach feel like? Seriously, I'm 25 years old! There must be something wrong with me."
Caroline turned my way and put her hands on my shoulders. "There is nothing wrong with you. You just haven't found that guy that is worth having your stomach twisted in knots over. Believe me, when you do, it'll be the best and worst feeling in the world at the same time."
I frowned at her. "Okay, now I'm not sure if I ever want to fall in love. Really, the worst feeling in the world?"
Caroline released me and went back to check on her appearance.
"Well, it has its ups and downs. Being sick to your stomach whenever he's in the same room as you is not exactly my idea of fun. But hey, it pretty much takes away your appetite and that is a plus. I went from a size 6 to a size 4 when I met Klaus. My body has never looked better."
I laughed at her assessment. Caroline could be naïve as hell, but her slightly shallow views on some topics really made my day sometimes.
"Maybe it's not just those butterflies, Care. I think the fact that the two of you go at it like bunnies also might have something to do with the fact that you look well trained."
"You heard us?" Caroline squeaked a bit.
"Please," I rolled my eyes. "Your bedroom is right across the hall, and you don't exactly hide the fact that you're enjoying yourself. Of course I heard you."
"Oh… Well, I'll try to keep it down the next time."
"Don't worry about it. We knew that this could happen if we moved in together. Of course, I had hoped I could give you a run for your money in the screaming department at some point. Now it's just a one woman show."
"Then don't spend your days cooped up in our apartment, working your ass off. Go out and live a little. Who knows who you might run into," Caroline advised me. "You need someone to make you forget about the train wreck that was your so called relationship last year."
Ah yes, my own personal train wreck. How could I forget? Matt Donovan had been perfect for me; a New York Giants' Linebacker with a heart of Gold. He loved me and had wanted to grow old with me. I stayed with him until I realised that I was fooling both myself and him. I didn't love him back. I was actually in that relationship to prove to people that I wasn't completely disabled when it came to men. But I realised that I wasn't being fair to Matt. He deserved better; he deserved someone who was head over heels in love with him. I wasn't.
"I'll be fine, Care. I don't want to end up hurting someone else over the fact that I can't seem to ever love them."
Caroline turned around to face me and sighed.
"Stop being melodramatic, Elena. Who said anything about love and a relationship? You need sex, and there are plenty of men out there willing to provide you with that without any strings attached."
I shook my head. "I'm not the one night stand type of girl. Besides, I don't just need sex. I need to know what it's like to really make love to someone, with all my heart and soul. Maybe that should be the new title to that article Isobel wants me to write; Elena's quest to learn about love and making love."
"We're young and we should actually enjoy that. Live a little before love finds you and tackles you. Because it will happen, Elena. Nobody can escape it, not even you, little miss 'I'm incapable of falling in love.' Love will always catch up with you, one way or another, and I'm going to be here when you finally fall victim to it."
"Yeah yeah, go out and have fun with the guy that had you fall victim to it. I'll be here…working…"
I went to bed around midnight, giving up on my article. Isobel could stuff it with her ideas on love! I was going to let her know that I couldn't do it first thing Monday morning. That idea had me relaxing a little, and I drifted off into a dreamless sleep. I woke up again around two in the morning, to the sound of Caroline and Klaus having hot and loud sex yet again. I rolled my eyes at Caroline's promise to keep it down, since that obviously wasn't happening right now.
"Oh yes! Oh Klaus, that's it! Give it to me!"
I buried my head underneath my pillow, squeezing my eyes shut and trying to drown out Caroline's vocal cords and the sound of the bed rocking against the wall. It made me think back on my sex life with Matt; it had been…kind of flat and boring. There was no passion. Well, it sure sounded like Caroline felt a lot of passion for Klaus right now.
"Yes! Yes! Ooohhhh, Klaus! I love you!"
My eyes snapped open again at Caroline's love confession. I was actually feeling jealous right in that moment. Could Caroline be right, though? Would love really catch up with me? Was there a guy out there that could buckle my knees with just one look? Were all those sappy love songs right about electricity flowing between two people? Could I be in a room full of people and only have eyes for just one guy?
Time would tell…
I wrung my hands together nervously, while Isobel looked over what I had written down in the name of love. I had decided to hand in my piece about love being a fairy tale and just wait and see what she would say. If she didn't like it, my work on it was done and I could move on. I actually blamed her for dragging up my issues with love again. I was fine with not experiencing love until she had to go and make me think about it.
"Elena," Isobel sighed in her trademark sing-song voice. "I actually think you could be onto something."
My eyebrows rose up to my hairline with her words. That was certainly unsuspected!
"I can already picture it; 'A woman who doesn't believe in love, falls head over heels for someone.' Women will just eat this up! There are so many women out there disappointed by love. We can restore the fairy tale again. This is perfect for Glamour Magazine. Keep going with this."
My mouth opened and closed again, but no sound came out. She wanted me to write about a woman, starting to believe in fairy tales again? There was just no way that I could do that.
"I…,"I stumbled on my words. "I don't think this piece is for me, Miss Fleming. Love isn't exactly my favourite subject."
"That's what makes you perfect to write this. You're on of those women who don't believe in love anymore. You think that this can't happen to you. Well, I'm offering you the chance to make it happen here."
I shook my head. "Miss Fleming, in order for me to write about the fairy tale being real, I would have to experience it. I'm a single woman… No boyfriend here and I'm not in love."
Isobel leaned in closer to me, placing her hands palms down on her desk.
"Then fall in love, Elena. Find someone to make your heart do summersaults in your chest. To be honest, your column was on the verge of becoming scrapped. It was boring and failed to bring in the enthusiasm I wanted to see with the readers. You can only write about shoes, labels and money for so long, Elena. I want your column to become like Carrie's in 'Sex and the City.' Women need to be able to relate to what you write. They need to read your words and recognise themselves in your experiences. If you deliver, you'll get a raise. If you don't…"
The threat hung in the air, and I nodded. Message received. I was boring and needed to get a life, in order for me to continue writing that column. I got up from my seat and held my head high as I tried to go back to work.
"How did it go?" Caroline's voice resounded through my phone after I had called her.
"Not great. Isobel basically told me to go out and fall in love. If I don't, my ass is probably out. She wants me to become freaking Carrie Bradshaw in my column!"
"Really? Hot damn! I would be perfect for your job."
"Not funny, Caroline! Besides, you enjoy the fact that you're a personal shopper way too much."
"Very true. So what are you going to do now?"
I bit my fingernail as I tried to contemplate that answer. "Maybe I could take some notes from your experiences with love. You could give me some pointers and I'll try to write my own story around it."
"That could work."
"It better! You know, right now I absolutely detest the concept of love even more. If this gets me fired…"
"It won't. I'll help you with it. You know, Klaus has this really good looking brother. If he won't knock your socks off, I don't know what will!"
"My, aren't we funny today? You can't just throw some random guy on my doorstep and have everything fall in place for me. Seriously, me falling in love right now would be a miracle."
"You never know, Elena. Someone could be waiting around the corner for you."
"Let's just hope that I make it to that corner then, and I don't miss it completely," I joked.
After I hung up the phone, I glanced at the clock on the wall. 12.30 p.m. was a reasonable time to take my break. I locked my computer and made my way towards the cafeteria, which was one floor below my office. It was already pretty busy with people milling about. I made my way over towards my regular table, where my regular break-companion was already seated.
Bonnie Bennett was an employee of the New York Gazette, located on the floor above mine. In my six months as a columnist for 'Glamour', she had always been there during my breaks, listening to my rants about work.
"Hey Bon, how has your morning been?" I started conversation.
Bonnie looked about as irritable as myself, practically scowling in her seat.
"Horrible! We have this new editor who thinks he's God's gift to writing. He's also drop dead gorgeous, which has the women in my department falling all over themselves to get him a cup of coffee. I mean, seriously! It's not like he's the only handsome man in this world. Get over it already!"
I raised my eyebrows at her words. "Really? That gorgeous, huh? Maybe you could introduce me to him. My editor wants me to write about falling in love. Maybe he's the one," I joked.
Bonnie took a bite out of her bagel.
"Yeah well, he's not up for grabs anyway. I hear he has a girlfriend. Figures…no guy that hot is walking around single for very long."
I smiled at her, before taking a sip from my coffee and looking around the cafeteria. Suddenly, my eyes were riveted to one particular spot.
A guy had come into my line of vision and he was making it pretty damn hard to concentrate. He was wearing a suit, and his shirt clung tightly to his chest, indicating that he was muscular beneath. He had jet black hair, and when he turned around completely, I could see that he had spectacular blue eyes.
Bonnie noticed my lack of attention and eyed me in a funny way. "What's wrong?" she asked me.
I wasn't paying attention, however.
"Oh please! Not you too!" Bonnie exclaimed when she saw what I was looking at. "There must be at least one woman out there who is immune to Damon Salvatore's looks!"
"That's your new editor?" I asked when I was able to focus on something else again. "Lucky you."
"How exactly am I lucky? He's making my co-workers not pay any attention to actual working."
"Come on, Bonnie. Even you have to admit that he's a feast to watch during office hours. It's a nice change of scenery," I grinned at her.
Bonnie leaned back in her chair and held up her hands in a dramatic gesture. "Nice! I see that I've lost you to him as well."
I shook my head, smiling.
"You haven't lost me. If you want me to mock the man with you, I'll happily do it."
"Good. I should get back, though. Good luck with your assignment. I hope you find someone you can fall in love with. Just not Salvatore, okay? Anyone but Damon Salvatore."
"I doubt I'll be falling in love anytime soon, anyway. Don't worry about Damon Salvatore. I've got your back. Besides, how stupid would I be if I went and fell in love with someone who is taken?"
Bonnie got up from her seat and picked up her trey.
"You've got a point there. I'll see you tomorrow, Lena."
I watched her go, shaking my head at her words, before glancing over at Mr. Hot Guy once again. His eyes crossed mine briefly, and my heart jumped a bit. I felt my cheeks starting to burn. Damn, he was gorgeous!
My eyes followed him around the cafeteria, until he disappeared in the same direction Bonnie had went off to. Even the way he walked was kind of sexy and masculine. Now that guy could be my type! I had spent years trying to figure out what my type was exactly. I just knew that Matt wasn't it. But this man…
My eyes widened considerably with the direction my thoughts were taking. I couldn't go there. Damon Salvatore was not someone to think about in the concept of love and my assignment. He was taken and therefore off limits. He was not the one for me to fall in love with…
Thanks to Mollie (everythingbasedonlove) for her advice :)
Reviews = feed the muse!