Hey guys. First of all I want to thank you so much for even opening this chapter. I have never been that dedicated a writer, in that normally, I get lots of small bursts of inspiration before it fades away. However this story was different. I have wanted to write this story for a long time, and I have failed once. Luckily I have planned basically everything out this time and I have mapped out quite a few chapters so it won't be as long between posts (as an avid FF reader myself, I hate it when you have to wait 35,000 years for an update but I am so guilty of it myself.)
I hope you enjoy this start. I plan to update every week so let me know what you think.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Chapter One | Dreams
People talk about dreams more than anything else on this Earth and I don't mean the kind you have at night. I'm talking about the dreams that govern your very existence - your dreams. Everyone tells you what they are, why you need them, how to work your ass off to get to them, but no one really mentions what you do when you're holding your dreams so tight in your hand it feels like you're about to explode. And no-one talks about what to do when your dream leaves you.
But Elena knew.
Having been laughed out of eight studios with her writing in the past three months alone, she knew all about watching everything you have wanted evade you ever so slightly. And everything she wanted was to write. More specifically, to write for television. She was twenty-one and had somehow found herself marching into every major television network in LA over the last few months, smiling sweetly, and showing countless execs and producers the work she had done since leaving high school school.
She was from a small town called Mystic Falls, a place whose name was almost synonymous with despair. After losing her parents when she was seventeen, Elena had lived with her aunt Jenna and her brother, pouring everything she had into getting out of Mystic Falls and to LA, to write. After three years of working part-time at the local cable station and serving coffee to every low-life that passed through the town, Elena had decided enough was enough.
Now, she was struggling up the fire-escape of her new apartment with her old overstuffed suitcase, using one hand to search for the keys she had just been given by the real estate. It had been one of those days that people waxed lyrical about all over Facebook.
As she was leaving home, her aunt Jenna had fallen over and cut herself deeply resulting in her going to hospital. This was followed by the inevitable flight delay and then once she finally actually arrived in LA, her new housemate Bonnie had forgotten she was moving in today and wasn't home, so Elena had to run to the real estate to pick up the extra set of keys.
But even all these things couldn't dampen her mood.
She had gotten a phone call three days ago from Pearl Smith, a producer at Love Bites - one of the most popular shows in the country at the moment.
Although she thought she had destroyed any chance of getting a job there when she had misguidedly expressed her dislike for the male lead, but she was apparently a hit with the writers team. She had actually cried when she was told that would be a junior writers assistant to leader writer Rebekah Mikaelson, starting Monday.
She stomach turned when she thought of the question Pearl had asked her that day. "So what do you think of the show?," Pearl gave off the demeanour of being hard but she had a kind looking face. Not at all like the intimidating suited execs Elena had gotten in her interviews at other channels.
"I have watched it since the start and I'm loving it so far" Elena replied, not even having to lie. She HAD watched Love Bites since it started a year ago.
"But your male lead seems like a bit of a troublemaker," she had continued blindly. She tried to laugh it off as Pearl narrowed her eyes at her, but Elena knew it was too late. She had prayed for the ground to swallow her whole then and there and had kicked herself the whole train ride home.
She was as surprised as anyone when they called her two days later and told her she had actually gotten the job because the writing team had loved her samples.
But Elena was too honest for her own good and it often got her into trouble. The truth was, Damon Salvatore was a tabloid dream. He was known for his excessive partying, drug use, bedding slews of young women and for his bad behaviour in interviews just to name a few things. Elena hadn't heard much about him over the last few months though, so she supposed he was trying to get his act together.
It wasn't that she didn't like him, more that she didn't know him.
She pondered this as she forced her way through the wooden door. It was a sickly green and had a great deal of paint chipped away from it. Her new place wasn't beautiful, she knew, but it was close to the studio and most other things in LA, so it was a whole lot better than Mystic Falls.
Her new housemate wasn't here so she put her suitcase in the smallest of the two rooms and stepped out onto her balcony. She breathed in deeply, feeling relief sweep over her. She was finally here - LA stretched out beyond her, the expansive stretch of cityscape and trees making butterflies whirl in her stomach at the thought of all the adventures to come. She had never lived away from home before and as she stood alone on the balcony with the cool Californian wind sweeping her hair around her face, she had to admit she didn't miss it one bit.
8:55, Elena thought, glancing at her watch. Not too early, but early enough. Of course she had been there since 8:30, but she wasn't about to march in half an hour before her arrival time - she didn't want to look desperate.
Her cheap black heels clicked as she stepped cautiously into the lobby. It was an expansive room with a high ceiling and copious amounts of natural light that ricocheted off the large glass windows. In the centre of the room was a marble staircase that appeared as if it went on for floors and floors, twisting higher and higher out of sight. She also realised with despair that the lobby didn't appear to have an elevator.
Of course I wore heels today, she thought bitterly to herself, giving the staircase an annoyed glance.
She reluctantly climbed her way to the sixth floor and saw that it was very different to the Lobby. It was a much smaller room, still all marble and glass but it didn't have the same impressive effect. The ceiling was much lower and there was only one blonde girl sitting behind the reception desk. She was pale -in a beautiful way - slender, and could have been not much older than herself. Elena also noticed her Yves Saint Laurent shoes under the desk that she knew cost a small fortune, so she deduced the blonde was either rich or well connected.
The girl hadn't even glanced at her as she stepped off the 'staircase of hell' into the room and Elena clomped her way to the desk, hoping to attract some attention. She got it, as the girl jumped with a start and flashed her gaze up and down Elena, surveying her with narrowed eyes.
"Sorry we aren't doing studio tours today, sweetie" she gushed, pushing her blonde curls over her shoulder. She was playing distractedly with her computer and Elena felt a tinge of annoyance. Sweetie. She couldn't have been much younger than the girl in front of her, who looked no older than 22 unless she was using some very impressive skin treatment.
"Uh…sorry but I'm Elena. Elena Gilbert." She said, forcing herself not to blush. "This is my first day."
Her words caught the attention of the blonde and her blue eyes snapped up to meet Elena's warm brown ones.
"Oh my god. You're the girl that hates Damon Salvatore" she said, her eyes flashing excitedly.
Elena couldn't help the blush this time, and she felt warmth gather on her cheeks as she cursed the treachery of her body.
"It's okay, most people do. You're by no means original in that thought" the girl admitted, distracted by her computer again.
"Ms Mikaelson is expecting you darling. You can go through now," she dismissed her smoothly, gesturing to a glass door behind her.
Fiddling with her bag, Elena went through the door that the receptionist had motioned to, giving her a cold smile as she passed. If she was going to be icy, two could play that game.
Elena walked cautiously into the office, aware that she was suddenly very warm. She wasn't usually one to get nervous, as she was always quite confident in the work she did, but she felt a tightness in her chest as if an iron hand was wrapping itself around her heart. Okay, maybe she was nervous.
Her new boss Rebekah Mikaelson sat behind a computer that was perched on top of a large oak desk which took up a good portion of the room. She didn't look up as Elena entered, and continued to stare at her illuminated screen, her fingers hitting the metallic keys of her Mac keyboard with a kind of delicate poise as she typed away. She looked like the kind of woman that didn't suffer fools lightly and Elena thanked the heavens that for the most part, she herself was no fool.
She couldn't have even been thirty years old, Elena mused, and felt a tinge of envy towards the woman sitting in front of her. She was stunning, with light blonde hair that was pulled up into a high bun, and flawless, pale skin with rosy cheeks. She was wearing a crisp white shirt that revealed just the right amount of chest, a light grey skirt and Elena noticed a huge diamond ring on her left hand.
'Miss Gilbert' she said suddenly, still not looking up from her computer.
Elena approached the desk and stood next to a wooden chair with a plush red cushion in the centre of it. She fiddled with the strap of her bag again, something she was forever doing when her stomach was full of butterflies and fixed her warm almond eyes on Rebekah's blue ones.
"Thank you for coming in, Elena," she said with a small smile. "I am buried under my work so any help is really appreciated," she confessed, shifting papers around her desk distractedly. "I nearly cried when they said I could have an assistant."
Now that she was closer to her, Elena could see fine lines under around Rebekah's eyes and the faint trace of dark shadows that had been concealed. Wondering why she was still standing, Elena made to sit down on the chair next to her.
"Don't bother sitting," quipped Rebekah, standing up suddenly. "We're going to meet the cast and crew, they are filming as we speak."
She brushed past Elena.
"You can take your things with you- for some ridiculous reason your office is downstairs. We will be going there on our way past," she said quickly. Elena resolved then and there that Rebekah seemed to do everything quickly and she was careful not to trip on the rug on the way out of the office. For some reason she didn't think it would go down too well.
Damon Salvatore choked down his espresso as he pushed open the door to the hair and makeup room. Typically, he was on time to work but this week had his head in a mess. He had been late three of four days he had worked so far and though he had gotten away with it, he knew he wasn't going to be lucky forever. His brain was brimming with the events of the last three days, and try as he may he couldn't seem to push his thoughts back to where they should be.
"Damon!" his makeup artist exclaimed as she saw him, rushing over to pull off his leather jacket.
"Rose, save it. I know, okay," he said, rubbing his tired eyes as he collapsed into the makeup chair.
She rummaged in her brushes, her painted-on eyebrows raised in disapproval. Rose was twenty-five years old about five foot tall. Like many other makeup artists in LA she was a little wild and hence had bright red hair that she was constantly adding other colours too. Her own make up never failed to shock Damon and he was thankful she kept it tame when doing his camera makeup. Painting someone's face and pulling their hair into a style for an hour a day wasn't the best way to make friends, but this was Hollywood. Damon and Rose had become friends almost straight away and he kind of loved her 'I-don't-really-give-a-fuck' attitude.
"I don't give a crap that you are an hour late, but Pearl has come in here twice looking for you. I covered for you but… jesus Damon".
He smiled a muted version of his multi-million dollar smile at her and slumped in the chair a little.
"Thanks Rose. I owe you" he said, as he ran a hand through his disheveled mop of dark hair.
As the lead actor of Love Bites, Damon Salvatore was absolutely gorgeous, though sometimes Rose thought he knew it. He had beautiful pale skin that was set off by his raven hair, and piercing blue eyes that could light up the camera. And then there was his smile -he could charm his way out of god damn anything with just a flash of it. Not to mention his arms, bulging with thick cords of muscle and his hard, flat stomach. Combined with his ability to absolutely mesmerise his audience with his acting, it was to no-one's surprise that he was a fan favourite.
"I don't suppose you could tell me why you are suddenly sleeping past all five of your alarms?" Rose probed him, as she applied a layer of white camera makeup to his already flawless skin.
He grinned sheepishly, a slight blush creeping up his neck to his cheeks.
"Even if I could tell you, I wouldn't. You're the worst fucking gossip here."
She smacked him lightly across his defined jaw line with her powder brush. "Am not. You know Caroline is worse," she insisted, her tone slightly hurt.
Damon laughed in agreeance. The bubbly blonde receptionist was WAY worse. Which is why she, nor Rose, nor anyone else could find out his secret. He cursed his brain sometimes, and the way his thoughts constantly plagued him. He would lie awake at night and think about every decision he had made during the day and he would tell himself they were right and fine, all the while ignoring the terrible nagging feeling that he was kidding himself. About his life. His choices. About everything.
"Thank god you're here, Rose. We need you on set, right now -makeup emergency" came the producer Pearl's voice, crashing through his thoughts into the small white room.
Damon spun his head around to meet his producer, standing in the doorway, her arms crossed and her expression hard. Her normally calm demeanour seemed off somehow, and Damon searched for answers in her dark eyes.
Rose exchanged a puzzled look with Damon and dropped her brush immediately, flitting off down the hallway to the set.
"Damon, we're moving your scene up, you're due on in half now." Pearl told him briskly before turning on her heel and following Rose down the hallway.
Elena's ears were filled with the clicking of her boss' heels on the smooth white tiles. She was mesmerised with the walls of the studio. Every metre of so was a picture of the cast, crew and writers smiling, laughing in outtakes, having drinks. Elena wondered if she would ever fit in with them.
As if she could read her mind Rebekah broke the silence bubbling between them. "The word on the street is, you don't like our lead actor very much." she said, as they walked down the clean, white hall together. Rebekah was one of those women that had the innate ability to walk gracefully in heels, and Elena felt a twinge of admiration towards her boss. Next to her she just felt awkward and spectacularly ordinary.
Elena's stomach dropped. Did everyone know?
"Wow you say one thing…" she began, not looking Rebekah in the eyes. The last thing she needed was for Rebekah to think she hated the cast before she had even started.
The other woman laughed shortly.
"Be careful what you say Elena, especially in this industry. Even if you don't mean something - people will hear what they want to hear."
Elena looked down at her shoes, regret plaguing her. "All I said was, I had read some things about him from magazines, and it wasn't all good. But it wasn't all bad, either."
The blonde smiled gently. "First rule of show-business. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Or in this case, don't judge a celebrity based on what a tabloid says about them. Pearl hired you for your talent anyway, not your opinion," she said bluntly.
Rebekah stopped and turned into the next room before Elena could choke out a reply.
"We're here. Welcome to your office."
Elena felt her jaw drop as she walked into the room. If she had been alone she would probably have been standing in a pool of her own drool because her office was so beautiful. Compared to her crappy Mystic Falls cable studio cubicle, anyway.
It was a white room with hard wooden floors, and was much bigger than she had expected. Her large mahogany desk sat in the middle of the room with a chair behind it that was surely fit for a CEO, not a measly writers assistant. She also had a small platform next to her desk on top of which sat a bar fridge and a coveted Nespresso coffee machine. The best part about it though, was the sunlight. It flooded the room, bouncing off the walls and filling the air with the kind of late Summer warmth that she craved.
"I know, it's a bit small. But it should do for now," Rebekah said with a shrug.
Elena was fighting back a smile that could have spread from ear and ear. Be cool, she said to herself. The last thing she needed was to have a fangirl freakout over her office to her new boss.
'Thank you, it's great,' she said simply, going to place her bag down behind her desk. She was wondering briefly if she was ever going to be able to salvage her reputation as a professional writer when she supposedly hated one of the cast members, when a noise in the hallway broke her reverie.
Rebekah's head snapped up at the two blurs that seemed to flitter past the open doorway. A second later, they were back and Elena recognised Pearl, the producer, with a very short red-headed girl in tow.
"Bex, thank god you're here. Katherine won't be able to shoot until later today, so we are moving Damon and Stefan's fight up to eleven thirty. Can you please go give him your script revisions right away."
Elena thought it was strange that Rebekah had a nickname. She didn't seem like the kind of woman who could ever be friendly enough with someone to warrant one. She also noticed the almost pained expression on Pearl's face and saw the producer try to hide it as her eyes moved over to her.
"Elena I am so happy to have you with us. We need all the help we can get right now," she admitted. 'I do hope you like your office."
Elena opened her mouth to gush that she loved her office, thank you very much, but Pearl was gone, with the red headed girl following her.
Rebekah turned to Elena quickly.
"Assistant duty starts now. Can you run back to my office and get my script revisions and then run them down to Damon in makeup?" she asked breathlessly.
Elena just gave her a quick nod. As anxious as meeting someone famous - particularly someone she had admitted to not liking - scared her, she wasn't about to fail the first task Rebekah gave her.
Elena looked up at Rebekah and noticed her furrowed brow "I wonder what is wrong with Katherine" the writer mused quietly.
She frowned as if resolved about something and turned on her heel. "I'm going to talk to Pearl, I will see you on set in fifteen minutes. Studio B." And she marched out, without giving Elena a second glance.
Elena stood bathed in sunlight in the middle of her office, her head spinning. She had to run to Rebekah's office, find the script revisions, find Damon's makeup room, meet Damon, and then find studio B in fifteen minutes?
She slipped off her heels - this was going to require stability.
Review please, I would love to know if anyone is curious about what is next.
Thank you to my amazing friend Kim ( ohmyninadobreva) for pulling me up on my shit punctuation.
Follow me on tumblr: elenasfire or twitter elenasfire for updates :)