Matt wasn't so sure when it happened. When her laugh wasn't just a careless thing and when her eyes became so hungry. The days strung together like sunsets and clear skies. He had been with her for so long, he forgot what anyone else could feel like. Matt wasn't going to deny that he enjoyed it. There was a small thrill he felt when they stormed the town limits that warm day, no particular expiration date to their summer away. He liked the habit her hair had of fluttered in the wind as they sped down a dirt road somewhere in the north of Ireland, where Rebekah insisted his family came from. He couldn't deny that he liked being with her. She was patient and funny. She had a way with the people they encountered that had him convinced it wasn't just a vampire thing, but a Rebekah thing. She was charming and though he tried to fight the feelings; she was the most beautiful thing that had ever lived.
He kissed her on a beach in Greece. Her skin was shimmering like the sun reflecting off the Mediterranean. Her golden hair lightened from the constant exposure to light. She tasted the same, just as she did the day she saved his life. Matt wasn't sure if it was from not drinking enough water, or if the feelings had always been harboring there inside of him, and both Rebekah and his subconscious were waiting for him to figure it out. He explained his no vampire zone concept, and couldn't deny how surprised he was to find Rebekah sticking to it.
He only trembled slightly when her soft lips brushed against his neck. Cloaked in an intimate darkness within a little Italian Bistro, memories guarded him. And without a word she understood. She smiled flippantly, and he knew it was the exact wrong thing to do. They had come so far, and the sunsets still strung together, but her eyes were the color of a sharp winter. The barren, icy stare chilled him in Germany and the Switzerland countryside. When he went for her hand, she was only a little reluctant. But he promised himself that he'd make it right, because Rebekah didn't deserve his apprehension. She was more than just another vampire.
He was injured while fishing in Capri. Rebekah rented a brilliant yacht. It was larger than Matt's house, and while momentarily distracted by how breathless she looked in a yellow bikini that matched her prom dress, he hooked himself good. His hand shook with the aftershock and the swell of pain that throbbed from his open wound. Rebekah was at his side in a second, gently holding the hand he maimed and ushered him into the spacious cabin to treat him. She watched his eyes, effortlessly bandaging him, his blood pooling in his hand, on her skin; the heady smell encircling them. But Matt wasn't scared, he wouldn't make that mistake again. She sensed it. When it was over, she kissed him tenderly. A thank you to his apology.
Matt handed himself over on the fourth of July. Gave in completely to the twisted, powerful, magnetic thing that was happening between them. Fireworks lit up the sky, clearly seen from the open balcony in their Paris hotel room. Rebekah had insisted that it was a custom for the American abundance in France, but Matt had the sneaky suspicion that it was all Rebekah's doing. When it was the two of them like this, it was effortless to forget what she was. She wasn't dangerous and she wasn't a monster. She was strong and confident. It was in the way she flipped him easily, and she was delicate and shy, in the timid smile she gave him when it was over. He knew then, while the bright blue and gold bursts of light glowed across her skin in the dark, that he could love her. Give him enough time in paradise, he may never want to leave her side.
He got the news in India. Their summer nearing its end. They were almost at the end of the world, Mystic Falls and all it's inhabitants a second thought for Matt Donovan. The burning sun cast it's red glow on the sea, and his insides twisted together painfully. She wasn't going back to Virginia. She said her brothers needed her, and no matter how far either of them ran, they had lives to live. Matt believed truly that that was what heartbreak felt like. Being with someone for so long, learning everything about them, and then knowing it had to end. He kissed her because he hadn't any other idea what to do. He couldn't tell her to stay, Matt didn't know what he was doing with his own life. He couldn't lock Rebekah in the same fate.
The Lockwood Manor was filled with familiar faces when he returned in August. Rebekah left him at the airport and caught her own flight to New Orleans. Caroline ran to him immediately, squeezing the life out of her friend with unnatural super strength. Matt was shocked to see Jeremy standing there with a knowing smile and Elena next to him, better than she'd looked all year. Tyler marched over with a beer and threw a dark bundle at him once Caroline nodded. Matt unwrapped a Whitmore College sweater with furrowed brows. "I opened your letter." Caroline squealed. "Isn't this great? We're all going to college together!" Matt smiled, genuinely surprised that he'd gotten in. He didn't give it another thought when Caroline begged to send in an application, but then he remembered the woman who helped make it happen, and his first impulse was to call her and tell her the good news. An uneasiness settled over the teenager, she should have been there.
Once Tyler broke out another package of beers, Matt excused himself. Back in the room he had called his own since accepting the Lockwood Mansion, he tossed the duffel bag and his jacket. Matt felt restless and wired. It could've been the jet lag he'd always heard about, or he was foolishly denying that he missed Rebekah. They had been apart for about six hours and he missed her perfume dusting his clothes and her voice sending sensitive shivers down his neck. Matt knew this was just from the startling change. Things would go back to normal in a day or two. Going back to his job at the Grill and meeting with someone to talk about college funding, that would take his mind off of Rebekah.
But he didn't want to stop thinking of her. Rebekah was a part of Matt now. They had shared probably the single greatest experience of his life and he didn't expect to forget the dream trip anytime soon. Or the girl. He unzipped the bag to find a clean shirt, his hand hitting into something that felt a lot like paper.
The long white envelop was void of words. Opening it up, his curiosity turned warm in his chest. Sitting inside was a single plane ticket. He caught the words New Orleans and no expiration date, and it gave Matt a funny feeling, that someone was expecting him, that he'd be able to leave his tiny town and be face to face with a beautiful, blonde vampire anytime he wanted.
Just like the sunsets and blue skies, life was going to go on and Matt Donovan along with it.