It was not easy. At all. The pretending was clearly a desperate act of surviving and self preservation, as Jenna once said.
Acting as if anything had happened, as if she hadn't kissed Damon—again—then treated him like dirt, and saw him being on the rebound to Rebekah's arms. Not that she cared that much though. Acting as if Klaus and all those original vamps were not out there, trying to kill her or the Salvatores at any time, or whatever it is they do in their free time in Mystic Falls. Acting as if Bonnie hadn't wanted to see her, because everything was her fault, acting as if she hadn't lost her best friend because she always needed to be saved at some point. It all hurts because they might think that it was easy for her to be here having both Salvatore brothers to protect her... but it wasn't. She had had to give up the most important things she had in life: she had lost her parents—biological and adoptive—, she had lost Jenna, she had lost Jeremy even though she told herself that he was faraway for it was the best.
But above all, she had lost him. She had lost Stefan.
Elena look into the night from her window. She has been sitting there for at least two hours and it was already dark. She was getting all broody lately, and though she had a lot to think about, to write about in her journal, she simply wasn't able to form any word in it. So, she closed it and threw it into her bed. She was getting hungry all of a sudden.
The house was in a complete silence since Jeremy was gone, and Rick didn't show up last night to check up on her as he usually did. He was probably at his home now that Elena was all by herself; it wouldn't look good that the History teacher was living alone with one of his students. Straight to the kitchen without thinking twice and to the fridge. Great! I've been so busy trying to stay alive that I've forgotten that I also need to eat, not that I am a vampire or anything. Just a chocolate ice cream pot... Well, Elena, go for it...calories are the least of your problems right now. Closing the fridge and there's Damon, giving her the fright of the year and smiling at her:
"Shoot! You scared me! Can you just knock like normal people?"
"I am not normal, and I am certainly not a people," he said with an obvious look.
"Right, my bad. What do you want this time, then? Is there any evil plan to ruin for the killer family?" she asked trying to avoid his eyes, but it's not like it's going to work.
"Haven't heard from any of them since I turned Mamma Witch into a vampire. My guess: they are gone", he said. Elena just looked at him for a couple of seconds. "What?"
"Did you really have to do it? Did you really have to turn her into a vampire?"
"Of course, the other option was to kill her, and that would have been fatal for my friendship circle which is too large for my taste actually. Believe me, I am not a Benet liker, but they kind of piss really off when a vampire kills them. So, I thought this might be better."
"Yeah, I used to do that a lot lately."
"Nice to hear that all this chaos is helping you with your personality issues."
" I do not have any personality issue."
"Yeah, you do".
"No, I don't. I am a vampire, so that kind of sums it all up."
"Meaning that you can be forgiven for everything?"
"Think what please you the most, Elena. You know I really don't care."
"What are you doing here anyway? Don't you have a big mansion to be at?" she asked while finally opening the can of chocolate ice cream.
"I was just in the neighborhood, thought to stop by and see how you were".
"I am fine, as you can see, all my limbs are here, so... you can go back to that little bitchy vamp girlfriend of yours now" she blurted.
"WOW, WOW! Wait a second! OK. Granted: Rebekah might be a bitch, but is a hot vamp bitch!" Elena just rolled her eyes at the comment. "Besides, you knew how I feel about you after we kissed, I mean, I kissed you first..."
"So no the point Damon!"
"Okaayy! But then you... you... set perfectly clear that that was it, right?" he said wanting to look angry but with still those astonishing blue eyes looking with warm at her.
Just let it go. I have no right to hold any grudge, he's free to do whatever he wants. Why am I doing this? I don't really care that much if he's having sex with the bloody vamp! Well, actually I did, but just a little... I would care a lot more if it were Stefan instead...Stop it, Elena!
"I... I am sorry, Damon. I shouldn't have said that to you. It's just that..."
"Let's talk about this like adults. You felt that way for one reason only: because you have feelings for me, right?" he was already next to her, looking so intensely into her eyes that she thought he was compelling her to do something. "I know you do, we both know that, even the broody Stefan knows that, you just have to let my brother go".
"It's easier said than done" she blurted. "I didn't mean what I said at the party also, I am sorry about that too. I was... angry because..." she stopped herself before saying something stupid. "But you know how much I care about you..."
"Don't give me that crap, Elena! I don't want you to care about me! I want you to love me! The same way I love you". His last words were like a whisper. They all sounded more like his last chance to make her see through him, to give a final opportunity to his feelings for her.
"I... I..." she just couldn't said a word after watching him confess like this...again.
Damon took some steps back, with a hurt look after she failed to say the words back to him. For the second time in less than 24 hours he confessed to her that he loved her, and the outcomes have not been pleasant both times. This was not him, he could not be humiliating himself again for a woman who seemed not to love him back. He was doomed with unrequited love for the rest of eternity. He hated himself for falling again for his brother's girlfriend, he wasn't supposed to do that, not after the Katherine thing, but he just couldn't help it. And damn Stephan! He was so damn chivalrous, perfect and pure... and still in love with her. But his brother was still mourning over the collateral damages of his tour with Klaus around the coast, over the things he did to Elena that he couldn't see the reality of all this. But that's just Stefan, he just couldn't help to be like that, and she liked that about him, and respected him for that. Damon wanted to fight all the demons of his heart, to turn off the switch to feel about her nothing more than friendship, but feelings were troublesome things, even when you are a bloody vampire.
Elena looked at him and knew that this was the moment to clear things up between them. Everything has turned so blurry because she hadn't openly talked about it, but she thought it was not necessary. They were looking for Stefan, his brother, her boyfriend. There was nothing to talk about. He knew that she was in love with his brother, but at some point he kept being there for her all the way, and Stefan wasn't. Not that he didn't want to. She saw him struggling with his feelings and he looked up and gave her one of his melting smiles.
"You knew it, you always knew it so don't pretend it was a newsflash for you. Since Isobelle told you. I always tried to fight it, because I didn't want the story to be repeated, but it's hard, Elena... even for me."
"Damon... I just thought it could be a silly crush because I look just like Katherine and you loved her so much..."
"Also did Stefan, and there you were, with him."
"He proved that he loved ME, and not a copy of Katherine. He proved that I was not a replacement."
"You are not a replacement for me either, Elena."
"Stop lying to yourself, Damon! You spent 145 years looking for a woman, a woman who looked exactly like me, a woman you were madly in love with, and you want me to believe that there's no connection in your feelings for me?"
"You just said the magic word: WERE. I was in love with her, but now..." he drew closer then, and Elena hold her breath but did not move. "Now I am in love with you, Elena."
But I am still in love with Stefan, I know that for sure now.
"Damon..." she started to say but couldn't finished because his lips were already on hers, tasting and trying and wanting her desperately.
But she couldn't answer him back this time. Stefan was in her mind all the time. That hurt look in his face when she told him that she had kissed Damon, that look was real, maybe because he never thought that the story will be repeated. It pained her saw him like that, and she does not want to do it again. She broke the kiss and still felt Damon's hands on her face, his eyes intently looking at her. He deserved the truth. No more longing, no more gray areas between their relationship, no more hopes.
"Listen to me, Damon..."
"You know I never listen to anyone..."
"Listen to me, Damon, please," she took his hands and hold them in hers, away from her face and looked at him in the eyes. "I am going to say this just once because I don't want to hurt you, confuse you or give you any hope. I care about you, a lot, you've become my friend, one of my best friends I could say, my protector, my saving angel sometimes, I even consider you as another brother...
"A sister don't kiss her brother, Elena"...he interrupted her.
"Seriously. You can not kiss me again. I don't want you to do it."
Damon stared at her, but he saw some determination in her eyes and his voice. He freed his hands from hers. It was time then for her to admit her feelings for his brother.
"Don't play this game, Damon, please. You know why."
"I want you to say it."
"I can't do this anymore. I think it's best if we stop believing we are in some kind of a platonic relationship, because we are not."
"You are avoiding the answer, Elena."
"No, I am... You heard me right. I won't be in the middle of two brothers because it's not right, and because it's not what I want. As I told you once before: I am not Katherine."there were a couple of seconds of silence and she resumed talking "Now, I think that it is better if you go..."
"The hell I am going now! You just opened Pandora's box, now face it. I want you to tell me what you've been holding so long. Those feelings, emotions..."
"What do you want to hear?" she asked confused.
"The truth! That would be a good way to finish this you said you wanted to end. I think I deserve it after all."
Elena stared at him for a moment then looked to the floor. She took some deep breaths and looked back at him. She was a fool to think it was going to be easy. Nothing was ever easy with Damon.
"The truth is that I still love your brother. I love Stefan. That's the only truth I can give you. I still love him, and I would do anything in my power to get him back to me. It doesn't matter how much I would choose to let him go, my heart just won't do it. And I can't go against the desires of my heart, Damon, you of all people should know that. I never meant to cause any pain to you, or any of my friends, my family..." at this point she was feeling her eyes pooling with water, but she fight them back. "I just don't know what to do anymore..."
Damon step away from her and slowly started his way to the living room. This was the end of his dream, a dream he never thought could come true, but still had the hope. She had kissed him too. That hadn't been a dream, but he hoped so much that her love for his brother ended, and he was being a complete fool for believing so. She loved him even after telling her that he was a vampire, even after he fed on that blond girl at the founder's day ball in front of her, even after he left with Klaus, broke up with her and tried to fed on her as well. Even after he threatened to kill her. Such kind of love never dies, Klaus had said. But he hoped it did. He was mistaken all along to think that. And now... all he could feel was freedom. A weird sensation. All things cleared up. He thought he should probably be feeling sadder, but he wasn't. In some way, he felt free from his feelings for her, and that freedom felt good. He decided it was time to change his life...or unlife... or whatever.
"I don't think there's much you can do at all. Anyway, the real reason for me to be here is that we want you to move to the house, I mean, our house...or is it still yours? I can't remember exactly now..." he saw her frown trying to think about what he had just said.
"Move Elena, you know, carry your stuff to our big mansion? There's plenty of space there for just the two of us, and you don't have to be here all by yourself, and we can keep an eye on you more closely".
"No, I don't... need that. I am perfectly fine here."
"God, you are so predictable! Thought that you might have a better excuse.
"Sorry, the truth is that we all know you are not fine, not even close, my dear doppelganger."
"Don't call me that. And I don't want you to worry that much about me."
"Trust me, we already are worried about you, and in this way, I don't need to interrupt my drinking hours to watch out for you. And Stefan wouldn't have to stay out there until night falls."
"What did you just say"?
"That I hate having to leave my whiskey home."
"Can you not do that for a moment? What's that of Stefan outside until night falls?"
" Yeah... about that..." He just said too much. "He was supposed to tell you, in fact he probably will since I am not here anymore because I have errands to make..."
"Wait! Errands? Really? Are you that bad at changing a topic of conversation?
"I went to Ric's apartment this morning to see how he was doing after that late concussion Klaus gave him, but he wasn't there. He's probably at his psycho doc's apartment, so I am heading there".
"Have you tried calling him?"
"Of course. Voice mail. Not Ric's style, at all. The guy believes he's a secretary and pick up all his calls. Especially mine since I am so much fun to be around."
"Seriously, Damon. Do you think something happened to him?"Elena asked starting to look worried now.
"I don't know but I'll find out." he made a pause. "That's why Stefan is coming to help you to move." saying this he headed to the front door and opened it to step outside, but before closing it he popped his head inside. "A tip of advice: tell him what you just said to me."