Disclaimer - I don't own the vampire diaries or any of it's characters.

I slam my hand on the snooze button of my alarm clock for the third time this morning. I'm just not ready to go back to school. I've had the most amazing summer and I'm not ready for that to end – Even if it is senior year.

I snuggle back under the covers on my bed and close my eyes to try and get 5 more minutes of sleep before I absolutely have to wake up.

After what feels like a few minutes, I roll over to look at the clock and my eyes bulge out of my head when I notice the time. I fell back asleep for 40 minutes!

I jump up from the bed and quickly rush around my room trying to get dressed. I tie my hair up on top of my head in a messy bun and add minimal make-up before brushing my teeth and pulling out the first clothes I spot in my closet.

"Jeremy." I rush into my little brothers room to make sure that he's awake and find him sat on the edge of his bed, dressed and ready to go. "You ready?"

"Yeah." My brother nods quietly and grabs his school bag before following me down the stairs. My little brother was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4 and it hit everyone in my family hard. Jeremy has trouble making friends and as a result, doesn't really have any – not his own age anyway. 7 year old Harry next door doesn't really count as my 16 year old brother's friend. He sometimes gets bullied at school by the sick bastards who don't have anything better to do, but he doesn't seem to care too much.

As we set foot downstairs, I spot my mother passed out on the couch with her perfectly manicured fingers still wrapped around a wine bottle. This has become a very familiar sight these past few months. Ever since my dad left with another woman, my mom has used alcohol to keep her company.

"Close your eyes Jere." I whisper to my little brother who takes my hand and closes his eyes while we walk past our mother and out the front door.

"Have you got everything?" I ask Jeremy once we get into my car and he checks his bag twice before saying a quiet yes. Jeremy doesn't really talk a lot. He never has. He talks to me and a few of my friends that he knows well but other than that, he doesn't say much.

"Are you excited to be a junior?"

Jeremy shrugs his shoulders and looks out on to the road, not making eye contact with me. Another thing that Jeremy doesn't do a lot is make eye contact with people. He once told me that looking in other people's eyes make him feel uncomfortable. I'm used to talking to him while he looks down at his hands or the wall behind me.

We pull up at the school parking lot a few minutes later and I turn the radio off before getting out of my car.

"Elena Gilbert!" My best friend Caroline Forbes shouts excitedly to me across the school parking lot and a few people I don't know turn their heads to look at who the crazy loud girl is shouting to. Caroline runs over to me and hugs me tightly.

"We're freaking seniors Lae!" She giggles and pulls away.

"Really? I never knew that?" I roll my eyes at Caroline and she smacks my arm lightly before turning to face Jeremy.

"Hey Jer."

"Hi Caroline." Jeremy greets Caroline but looks down at the floor and rubs his foot into the floor a few times.

Caroline goes to say something else to Jeremy but looks behind him and groans instead.

"Urgh, Damon is back for another year then."

I follow her gaze and spot Damon Salvatore exiting his blue Camaro and sliding into his infamous leather jacket before walking into school. Damon Salvatore and his group of friends are the school badass's. By that I mean that they are kind of a gang who create trouble and try to act big and tough. Damon has done some pretty horrible things. He's beaten people up, set things on fire, stolen cars and money and even broke into the school to steal the answers to the SAT's back in junior year. He has nearly every girl he meets swooning over him – but not me. I personally think that Damon Salvatore is a first rate jackass.

"Why is he even here? It's not like he actually goes to class?" I mumble to Caroline and she shrugs.

"I don't know but speaking of class, we better go or we're going to be late on the first day of SENIOR YEAR BABY!" She yells and I laugh.

Jeremy, Caroline and I walk into school together and I say my goodbyes to them before walking to my first class of the day – Chemistry.

"Good morning seniors." Our chemistry teacher Mrs Wilson greets the class in a happy tone. She turns around to face her desk and picks up a piece of paper. "Now, I've already paired everyone up with a lab partner. This person will be your partner until you graduate, so if you don't like it, suck it up." Wow, she really doesn't mess around.

She begins reading names off a list and people begin to move around the room so lab partners are able to sit together. I wonder if Jeremy is okay? I always worry about my brother when he's in school. As I'm a year older than him, we don't share any of the same classes so I can't keep an eye on him. I know it's stupid to worry about my sixteen year old brother, but I do.

"Elena Gilbert." Mrs Wilson gets to my name on the list and effectively snaps me out of thinking about my brother.

"You will be lab partners with…" Please don't be a weirdo. "Damon Salvatore."

WHAT THE FUCK! No. I'd happily take a weirdo over Damon fucking Salvatore.

I slowly turn around to face Damon who is sat at the back of the classroom and looking at me the same way I'm looking at him – with disgust. We seriously don't get along. I wouldn't go as far as hate, but it's a very strong dislike.

With a sigh, I gather my things and stand up to sit next to Damon. Damon is sat on one stool and has his feet on the other so that I can't sit down.

"Will you move your feet please?" I ask in the nicest tone I can manage to use when I'm around Damon.

"Nope." Damon smirks and annoyingly pops the p.

"Are we seriously going to do this Damon?" I sigh. Damon raises an eyebrow and shrugs.

I throw my bag and books down on the table with a bang and push Damon's feet from the stool before sitting down.

"Jesus Christ, Gilbert. Someone's cranky this morning." Damon patronises me.

"I was in a great mood..." I fake smile and then suddenly frown. "Until I got paired with you for a whole year."

"Yeah, well feelings mutual honey." He murmurs and pulls his phone out to begin texting.

"Just to warn you Damon…" I begin after a few moments of silence. "If you think that I'm going to be doing all the work for you for the next year, then you're sadly mistaken."

"And just to warn you Gilbert, if you think that I'm going to be doing all the work for you for the next year, then you're sadly mistaken."

"That's rich. The big bad Damon Salvatore actually doing school work. Never!" I mock. "And stop calling me Gilbert, I have a first name you know."

"Wait, you're first name isn't Gilbert?" Damon pretends to be shocked. "Well look at that. You really do learn something new every day."

"Ha ha, you're hilarious Damon." I say in a mono-tone.

"And you're a bitch Gilbert." He smirks and I clench my hands into fists because I so desperately want to smack that stupid smirk off his arrogant little face.

I turn away from Damon before I do something that I'm seriously going to regret and notice that Mrs Walters has begun to teach the lesson.

I begin to copy down some of the notes that Mrs Walters has written on the huge blackboard and try to ignore the presence of the devil sat next to me. Half-way through writing down a word, I feel Damon nudge my arm on purpose so that my pen skids from the paper and I have a huge pen line through my work.

"Oh no, look at that." Damon teases me and I have to put my pen down on the table before I jab it into his eye.

"What the hell Damon?"

"What? It was an accident." He shrugs before smirking again. "Is little Miss Perfect upset because I've ruined her perfect work by making her smudge her perfect handwriting?"

"No, I'm pissed because little Miss Perfect has to sit next to Mr Asshole."

"Oh Gilbert, you wound me." Damon places a hand over his heart and pretends to wipe a fake tear.

"Stop calling me Gilbert Damon." I hiss through gritted teeth.

"Why? It's your name isn't it? Would you prefer for me to call you little Miss Perfect instead?"

"Why do you think that I'm perfect?" I demand.

"I don't think that you're perfect. You think that you're perfect, you always have." He mumbles.

"Oh believe me, I don't think that I'm perfect. I'm far from it."

"Well, I'm not going to argue there." Damon laughs. "And of course you think that you're perfect. Everyone thinks that. You never skip class, you get straight A's, you have the perfect friends and everyone loves you. All in all, you have the perfect life."

"I don't think that I'm perfect. I don't skip class because I actually want to do well in life. I get straight A's because believe it or not, I am smart. I have nice friends because I don't hang around with dickheads that belong in some gang like you. Not everybody loves me, but the people that do, love me because I'm a nice person. And I don't have the perfect life – you don't know the first thing about my life." I argue back and feel pretty damn proud of myself by the look of surprise I managed to leave on Damon's face. I don't think he's used to having people argue back to him.

"Well well, little Gilbert sure has a mouth on her." Damon tuts. "And believe me honey, I've met judgey little girls like you before, so I know exactly what your life is like."

"You know what Damon; you always say how you hate people who judge others before they even get to know them. Well maybe you should follow your own advice and stop criticising me before you even know the first thing about me." I exclaim loudly and Damon laughs a little at me. "You're seriously laughing at me now?"

"Sorry." Damon holds his hands up but doesn't sound the least bit sorry. "I'm just thinking about how fun this year is going to be with having to sit next to you 4 times a week."

"Oh yeah, a bundle of joy." I reply sarcastically and Damon rolls his eyes.

"Come on Gilbert, admit it. This year is going to be a blast. You're the luckiest girl in this class right now – you get to work with moi." He points his thumbs back at himself. "Do you know how many girls would kill to be in your position right now?"

"They could seriously have it. In fact, I think that I would help them to kill someone if it meant that I wouldn't have to work with you." I smirk.

"Oh wow." Damon laughs. "You really don't like me do you?"

"Oh look at that, you actually got an assumption about me right."

"Okay, so I've told you why I don't like you. Why don't you like me?" He asks curiously with a sly smile.

"Because you're a dick." I say casually and Damon rolls his eyes.

"I already know that."

"Because you're some asshole that thinks he can do whatever he wants. You think that you're better than everybody else because you know that most people are too scared of you to actually stand up to you. You think that you're God's gift to women and act like every girl you walk past is head-over-heels in love with you. You think that you can bully your way around school and people actually let you get away with it just because you're in some 'gang'." I bend two of my fingers when I say the word gang and look up from my work to Damon who is watching me with an unreadable expression on his face. "Did you know that?"

Something flashes across Damon's eyes and I recognise it as hurt but then change my mind when I remember that Damon Salvatore doesn't care.

"No, I didn't realise that you actually saw me that way." He says sadly and then places a smirk on his face. "And I know that I'm God's gift to women. I mean, look at me."

"Add cocky bastard onto that list too." I mutter and Damon lets out a quiet laugh.

We sit in silence for the rest of the chemistry lesson and I actually manage to get some work done. Before I know it, the bell rings signalling the end of first period and I let out a sigh of relief. Damon grabs his chemistry book before walking away from the table. Just before he leaves the classroom he turns back to face me and shouts my name – my last name.

"Gilbert! Same time tomorrow?" He winks. "You know what; I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship." He mocks and leaves the classroom when I throw him a deadly glare.

I run a hand through my hair and sigh again. I honestly have no idea how I'm going to get through the rest of the year with Damon Salvatore sat by my side. I groan loudly just thinking about spending a whole year with Damon and collect my things to begin making my way to my next class.

XXX

"Wait a minute, Mrs Walters actually paired you with Damon? As in Damon Salvatore?" My other best friend Rebekah Mikaelson asks me at lunch when we are sat at a table in the cafeteria and I nod my head yes.

"That bitch." Caroline sighs and I nod my head.

"I know. I seriously think that I might fail that class with Damon by my side. I couldn't concentrate at all in chemistry today." I mutter and run a hand through my hair.

"Because he's so hot." Rebekah nods and Caroline and I stare at her in shock.

"No! Because he's such a dick!" I cry and Rebekah makes an O shape with her mouth.

"Okay, he's a dick yeah. But what guy isn't? I mean, it would be a hundred times worse if he was a dick and ugly. At least you have something nice to look at while fighting with him." She reasons.

"He isn't hot Bekah." I sigh and Rebekah gives me a funny look. "He isn't… Shut up!"

Jeremy walks into the cafeteria and looks for me. I wave him over and he sits down at our table for lunch. I'm so lucky to have the friends I do who accept Jeremy even though he has autism and is a year younger than us.

"Hey Jere, how was your morning?" I ask him and push some fries in his direction. He pops one in his mouth and stares at the fries before answering me.

"It was fine. I like my teachers this year." He says quietly and I smile.

"That's good."

"Hey Jeremy. I like that jacket, is it new?" Rebekah asks Jeremy and he shows a small smile before muttering a quiet yes. "It looks good on you."

I hear loud laughter coming from across the other side of the cafeteria and spot Damon and his friends crowded around one small table and throwing chips into each other mouths from far away. Damon must feel me gazing because he looks up and meets my eyes. He smirks at me before sending me a sly wave. I wave back before I turn the wave into just my middle finger so I'm flipping him off. He laughs and resumes the boyish game he was playing.

"Hey Elena." I hear the voice of a guy say and turn around to see Mason Lockwood approaching me. Mason has been my crush since before I can even remember. His grey eyes stare into mine seductively and I find the brown curls on his head so sexy.

"Hi Mason." I breathe out and can't stop the smile from spreading onto my face when he sits down at the table I'm at and in front of me.

"How was your first day back?" He asks me and I shrug.

"It was okay I guess. Isn't over yet though." I laugh at my own sentence and end up snorting. I immediately stop laughing and I can feel my cheeks heating up with embarrassment. Did I seriously just snort in front of Mason Lockwood. I'm such a fucking idiot!

I turn to see my so called best friends also laughing at me and even my brother has a smile on his face.

"Good." Mason smiles casually as if he didn't just hear me snort. He's such a cutie.

"How was yours?" I ask him after I've managed to turn back to the normal colour my skin possess' instead of an embarrassed red.

"It was fine. It's got a lot better now though." He smiles and looks directly at me. I see Rebekah roll her eyes from the corner of my eye and hear Caroline make a gag noise. I think it's safe to say that my best friends don't really like Mason too much. Caroline told me that she thinks that Mason is just trying to get into my pants, but I don't believe her. Mason isn't like that.

We continue the light flirting for the rest of lunch and when the bell rings for the beginning of next period, Mason even walks me to class. Seriously, what doesn't this guy do? He's perfect.

XXX

I spend the night doing homework instead of going out. I don't really feel like doing anything tonight. The first day back at school always drains the energy out of me.

I finish what homework I have and put it in my bag before going downstairs. My mom is nowhere to be found so I begin to make Jeremy and I dinner.

When I've perfected the macaroni and cheese I decided to make I go upstairs to Jeremy's room and find him sprawled out on his bed and playing video games.

"Jere, dinners ready."

He pauses his game and follows me downstairs to the kitchen table and sits down in front of a plate of macaroni and cheese. I manage to have a small conversation with him before I hear the front door swing open and my mom strolls in.

"Oh, hello children." She smiles and sits down at the end of the table where Jeremy and I are eating. "How was school today?"

"Like you care." I mutter and my mom sends me an evil glare.

"Of course I care Elena, I'm your mother."

"Huh, could have fooled me."

"Don't you dare talk to me like that!" She hisses.

"Why not? I'm only speaking my mind. If you want to be our mother then you should start acting like our mother." I tell her and my voice slowly becomes louder and louder.

"I do act like your mother Elena. So what if I like a drink every now and then?"

"Every now and then? Mom, you drink two bottles of wine every single night. It's actually a surprise to find you not passed out on the couch in the morning."

"I'm a single mom now Elena. Do you even know the pressure that I have?"

"What pressure? You don't have any responsibilities apart from work – which you always turn up late to!"

"I take care of you and Jeremy don't I?"

"No! I have to take care of me and Jeremy because you're always too drunk to even function properly!" I'm yelling now.

"Don't you dare say that I don't take care of you! I give you everything that you need! I think that you-" My mom starts yelling but is cut off by Jeremy.

"Stop yelling, stop yelling, stop yelling!" He shouts over and over and pulls on his hair hard – something he does when he's scared or nervous. I jump up from my chair and place my hands over Jeremy's so that I'm able to pry his hands away from his hair before he pulls it out.

"It's okay Jere." I say in a calm voice and place my hands on his shoulders. "We're not yelling anymore. Why don't you go back up to your room?"

Jeremy lets go of his hair and nods his head before standing up and heading up the staircase to his room. Once I hear the door to his bedroom shut, I turn to face my mom again.

"Mom, seriously, you need to stop drinking so much. I'm only 17. I can't take care of Jeremy by myself and concentrate on the most important year of my high school life."

"I don't drink that much Elena." She scoffs and I let out a humourless laugh.

"Mom, you're an alcoholic-"

"I'm not an alcoh-"

"No! Don't say that you're not because you are. The cupboards are full of bottles of wine and vodka and everything else that you like to drink so much instead of food." I move closer to her and take her hand in mine. "Mom please, I've never asked you for anything, but I'm asking you for this. Please, please get help and stop drinking."

"Elena, I don't need help. I'm not an alcoholic." I nod my head at her answer and sigh loudly.

"Goodnight mom." I whisper and kiss her cheek before heading up the stairs to be able to sleep the day away. Just before I manage to close my bedroom door, I hear the faint clicking of wine bottles coming from the kitchen. With a loud sigh and tears forming in my eyes, I close the door, turn off the light and slide underneath the covers.

A/N: Let me know what you think...