posted by delenasalvatore
"I haven't dropped him. We're still friends." OK, maybe I'm stretching the truth a bit, but so what?
It's not like I don't want to be Damon's friend, because I do. I just can't, and that's not his fault - it's mine.
Caroline shakes her head slowly as we watch Damon ordering a drink. "Nobody that beautiful should be such a jerk on the inside." When she notices the expression on Matt's face, she protests loudly. "I'm only saying!"
"Actually, he's not such a jerk," I begin tentatively. "He has this other side to him..." I feel that I have to set the record straight, but Caroline and Bonnie merely look incredulous.
"You always see the good in everyone," Stefan teases, putting an arm round me.
"Apparently even when no-one else does," Bonnie adds under her breath.
As if he senses that he's being stared at, Damon turns round, and raises an eyebrow at us before turning back to his drink. "He's not as bad as আপনি think," I conclude quietly. "Believe me."
An awkward silence falls over the টেবিল which Caroline helpfully breaks দ্বারা leaving the টেবিল to go to the bathroom. Bonnie and Matt get up to talk to Tyler, who's just walked in. Stefan turns to me then. "I think it's nice of আপনি to defend Damon like that. আপনি don't have to, আপনি know."
"I know." But I was only telling the truth. I don't know why I did it - when I've barely allowed myself to breathe Damon's name out-loud to anyone these past couple of weeks, even though his name burned the back of my tongue with longing. Maybe it's a side-effect of normally being so controlled; like allowing yourself some চকোলেট after being on a strict diet - one bite and suddenly all your good intentions fly out the window. All your hard work becomes undone.
Stefan gets us some আরো drinks leaving me alone at the table. I steal a glance at Damon at the same moment he happens to look over at me. Our eyes lock and I know that tonight, my 'stay-away-from-Damon' mantra will be broken, the সেকেন্ড of the many rules I've been trying to set myself. I know I should get up from my আসন and hide in the bathroom অথবা something until Stefan returns, but I don't move. I don't want to.
I'm berating myself for feeling this way when a familiar voice drawls "What happened? Did আপনি chase everybody away?"
It's Damon. He smiles when I look up at him.
"You look deep in thought," he observes when he's sitting across from me. "Why are আপনি sitting দ্বারা yourself?"
"My বন্ধু are around somewhere and Stefan..." I look around trying to spot him, but I can't see him anywhere. Where did he go? "...Is supposed to be getting drinks for us. So, um how are you? I haven't seen আপনি since..."
"Since the night of the fire," Damon উত্তর without missing a beat.
"Yeah." I know perfectly well when it was, but I'm not letting on. "It feels like so long পূর্বে - I'm sorry I haven't, আপনি know...It's just that Jenna has been keeping me so busy with getting ready for her wedding, and then there's school and everything..." I change the subject. "Your new apartment seems nice."
"It's not exactly The Ritz but it'll do for now. It's a lot lighter, a lot brighter - and it's close to the woods for Stefan to go কাঠবিড়াল hunting," Damon উত্তর smartly.
I choose to ignore the last part. "Do আপনি have any idea who did it?"
"Not yet," he উত্তর grimly. "But we're working on it."
The night the Salvatores' house mysteriously caught আগুন was one of the worst nights of my life. Stefan and I were coming প্রথমপাতা from a party when we saw the skyline lit up দ্বারা the blaze, and were maybe the first people at the scene. We didn't know where Damon was and at first, thought he was still inside the house. দ্বারা this time, কমলা flames had consumed the front of the building and the sky was filled with thick black smoke.
It's funny what crisis situations do to you. I should have known long before that night - I had plenty of time before then to acknowledge what my true feelings for Damon really were, but I didn't. I couldn't. And in one moment of blazing fire, sirens and smoke, it hit me with full force.
The story in the local paper was that the আগুন was caused দ্বারা faulty wiring. Damon, Stefan, Alaric and I didn't believe that for a minute. We thought that the আগুন was started deliberately দ্বারা someone who knew that the Salvatore brothers were ভ্যাম্পায়ার - and wanted them dead.
"Well, if আপনি ever need anything, I'm here for you," I offer as Stefan approaches with the drinks.
Damon gets to his feet. "Thanks. I appreciate your concern. But I would have appreciated it a lot আরো if it wasn't six weeks too late."
"What's going on?" Stefan asks, before I can say anything.
"Elena and I were just catching up." His voice is nonchalant but I know him better than this. My absence has clearly not gone unnoticed দ্বারা him and he's hurt. He gives me a measured, cool look before he walks away. "I'll see আপনি guys later."
Stefan sets the drinks on the table. "What was all that about?" He looks puzzled.
"It doesn't matter." I want to run after Damon and explain to him that I didn't mean to hurt him, but he's gone. It's too late now.
Stefan is watching me closely. "Damon didn't say anything to upset you, did he?"
"No, no. Nothing like that." I try to smile at him. Fortunately, Bonnie is beckoning us over and I think he forgets about it. But I don't. Once I'm at home, I take out my phone. I could text Damon and tell him I'm sorry, maybe even give him a call...but the things I want to say can't be ব্যক্ত in one little message. And phoning him could be risky with Stefan around. In the end, I do neither. I lie awake for a long time. I was trying to do the right thing দ্বারা distancing myself from Damon. Why does the right thing have to hurt him...and me? Why does this have to be so hard?
Part 3 Coming Soon