Author’s Note: This is my first version of the Damon/Elena roadtrip- later changed to the Vampire Jesus conversation and explanation of Damon’s tattoo. I still like this version though, with Damon talking about why he loves his Camaro and why he left for Thailand.
Once we’re alone in the car, I start to rethink my decision. We haven’t really talked since he got back from Thailand, and now it’s just the two of us for an overnight? And I agreed to go dancing? Dancing with Damon is risky. It makes me want to do things I shouldn’t.
I watch him out of the corner of my eye and wonder how many of those things are still things I shouldn’t do. I don’t think I’m ready to sleep with him yet. I mean, I am, obviously, because I want to have sex with him at least seventeen times a day. But that doesn’t mean the thought doesn’t completely freak me out.
I’m so aware of him next to me that I could draw a 3-D map of his whole body without having to look over once. I try to think of something to say to break the silence, and come up blank.
The third time I steal a glance at him, I catch him looking over at me, too. I shake my hair down in front of my face to hide my smile.
“So do we have any idea who booby-trapped my house yesterday?” I ask, because murder attempts are always a safe topic.
“Best guess is the new vampire-sticker in town, but we don’t know a thing about them. We don’t even know if it’s just one or a whole anti-fang posse. But,” he looks over at me and smiles, though it doesn’t hide the concern in his eyes. “I do know that no one has been following us, which means that whoever it is can stay and terrorize Mystic Falls while we have a weekend off.”
“Should we really be leaving right now?”
He shrugs. “Stefan will call if they have any leads. In the meantime, who cares? It’s always something and at least on the road, I can pick motels at random so I can be sure they don’t have exploding nail traps in them. Relax, Elena. There will be plenty of time for the hunter to be a pain in the ass next week.”
The word ‘motel’ sends gooseflesh trickling down my arms. I push my gaze toward the passing cars, attempting to not spend the whole car ride gawking at Damon like I’ve never seen him before.
“When I was little and we would go on vacation, my mom would make up games to keep Jeremy and me from killing each other in the backseat. License plate poker, and slugbug, and how many blue cars we could count,” I smile. “I was totally just about to ask if you and Stefan ever did that. Sorry.”
“Our games were more along the line of using a stick to try and keep an old wagon wheel rolling down the road. And racing our horses, and fishing. Our father used to take us hunting a lot.” He gives me a crooked smile. “Stefan was crap at hunting, ironically enough.”
I laugh. “Who won the horse races?”
“Stefan, usually. I swear my horse was faster, but he always used to edge me out. I told him it was because I was heavier than him, but he was actually a better rider. I just wanted to get on and go. Stefan took a lot more time to train his mounts.”
I curl up against the door and rest my head against the glass so I can watch his profile without seeming to stare.
“I’m bored,” he says, though he doesn’t sound bored. “Play a game with me.”
“Twister?” I tease.
“I’ll pull over right now,” he offers.
I laugh. “Of course you would. Okay, you know license plate poker, right? We can pick a car, and that will be your hand, and then the next one will be mine. Don’t wreck, though, okay? Jeremy and I always played from the backseat.”
He looks disdainfully at me. “I think my superhuman reflexes can keep this bucket of bolts between the lines.”
“What are we playing for?” I ask and then want to kick myself. Because it’s Damon.
“Clothes, obviously,” he says. “You don’t have enough money to bet against me.”
“No way.” I shake my head. “We’ll get arrested.”
“Okay, we’ll play for questions. If you win a round, you get to ask a question.”
I think that was a trap I just walked right into.
On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t hurt us to tell each other the truth for once. After all, I already told him I loved him. What other secrets matter, after that? As for me, there’s only one question I want the answer to, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have the guts to ask it.
“Jack high,” says Damon. I wasn’t even watching yet, so I’ll have to take his word for it. There’s no other car just yet, and my brain is whirling with all the things he could ask me. All the things I want to ask him.
“Pair of eights,” I say finally, squinting at a Volkswagon.
“Ladies first,” acknowledges Damon, then snickers for some reason. I decide not to ask.
“Why the Camaro? I mean, you could probably afford any hot-off-the-line sports car you wanted.”
“Big engine, big trunk.” He flares his eyes at me. “Big back seat.”
“Yeah, but don’t you ever get tired of it and want something new? You’ve had that thing for how long?”
“I bought it new.”
“Wow.” I don’t know why that should make his age more real to me, but it does. He bought a classic car, new.
“It’s the car I want, Elena. Why would I get a new one?”
I toy with my daylight ring and wonder what it would be like to be married to Damon. He’s got this huge reputation as a womanizer but somehow I don’t think he’d cheat, no matter how long he was married for. On the other hand, I know better than anyone that forever is usually shorter than you think it will be.
“Full house,” Damon says.
The next car is an SUV with vanity plates that say “A SEA PA.” It had a Yacht club license plate holder around it.
Damon eyes it scornfully.
“What? You pun all the time,” I point out.
“Not on my license plate.”
I shrug. “Three of a kind. Fire away.”
“When you fed, while I was away, did it go okay?”
“Are you asking if I killed anybody?” I bristle.
“No. If you had, your manipulative little brother would have used it for leverage to get me to come home.”
“I can’t believe he found you when Stefan and I couldn’t. It’s humiliating,” I complain. “He’s sixteen!”
“He cheated. Ric did it for him. You’re avoiding the question.”
“No, I mean, it was fine. Caroline took me and she always tries to make it fun, like a girl’s night out. Except of course that we had to do it every night. And I always kind of feel like a freak when I feed. It wasn’t ever fun like it was at that frat party.”
“Ah. So that’s why you agreed to go dancing with me,” his eyes cut sideways to me for an instant, blindingly blue with his sly smile.
“I want to dance with you without feeling guilty for it,” I tell him. It feels good to say what I really mean for once.
His eyelashes flicker in response, and he looks carefully back at the road.
“Why did you leave?” It comes out before I think it over and I’m terrified even as I’m so, so glad that I got it out. I should know.
Even if it’s not what I want to hear.
I should know.
“Jumping right into the heavy stuff, hey?”
I swallow and pull one of my legs up onto the seat with me, hugging my knee.
“I’m not that great at thinking ahead,” Damon says dryly. “In case that’s news to you. I’ve wanted you for so long, taunted Stefan endlessly about you. We even talked once, about what would happen when you picked one of us. How mature, right? And nobody got staked.”
“Very impressive,” I agree. “When was that?”
“When we were driving Klaus’s coffin around. Still, it wasn’t until Stefan told me that you guys had broken up that I really saw what it would be like if I tried to be with you, right under his nose. The look on his face…” Damon shakes his head. “I’m a dick. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about other people’s feelings, and I haven’t in a long time. But even I couldn’t look at him every day if he looked like that.”
Damon down-shifts and the engine growls as he powers around a slower car. He makes my soccer mom SUV sound like it has guts.
“I probably shouldn’t say this, but I didn’t think it was worth it.”
I suck in my breath like he just punched me in the stomach.
“I figured you’d change your mind again,” he explains. “You’ve picked Stefan dozens of times, and broken up with him at least that often. Even if you didn’t go back to him, I figured it was a decent bet that you’d get pissed and take off on me, sooner rather than later. I was used to not having you, and I thought it would be easier than having you and letting you go again. And I wouldn’t have to hurt my brother, to be happy for a few weeks or months or however long it took for us to implode.”
I bite my lip. That’s not as bad as I thought, but it’s not good. “So if you thought we didn’t have a chance, why did you come back?”
He shoves my knee playfully. “Look at you, all insecure. It’s hilarious, if you think about it.”
“I’m thinking about it, and it’s pretty not hilarious.”
“I came back because your brother followed me around with his damn Gilbert eyes until I threw him in the ocean, and then he said you needed me.” His jaw flexes, but he’s watching the road with great concentration. “Also, I wasn’t having that much fun.”
“You threw Jeremy in the ocean?”
“Kid broke my neck,” Damon mutters. “I should have fed him to that shark.”
My mouth is so wide open I think I just felt my jaw unhinge. “Jeremy broke your neck? And why was there a shark?”
“It’s a long story.” He glares at me. “If you tell Stefan, I will make you regret it.”
I throw my head back and laugh. I’m half tempted to call Jeremy right now and try to squeeze the full story out of him but I have more than a suspicion that Damon will throw my phone out the window if I try.
“My turn,” Damon says promptly. “Favorite sexual position?”
My laugh ends abruptly as I choke. “Wait, what?”
“It’s my turn,” Damon explains slowly. “And I would like to know what your favorite sexual position is. The one that brings you the most pleasure,” he clarifies helpfully.
“I’m not- there’s no way–” I sputter. “And you didn’t win a hand!”
“Fair is fair. You think I wanted to talk about all that angsty bullshit? This is much more fun.”
I’m blushing so hard, it’s a wonder I don’t feel light-headed from low circulation. “It’s not like I’ve experimented my way through the whole Kama Sutra,” I protest.
“Yeah, but you have to have tried at least a few.”
He might be surprised.
“You’re as bad as Caroline,” I tell him.
“Caroline wanted to know your favorite sex position?”
“No, she just wanted to make fun of me for not–” Too late, I realize my mistake.
Damon looks interested. “Not what? Don’t tell me you’re a virgin.”
I cross my arms. “I am not a virgin.”
He’s looking very pleased with himself. “We’re all adults here, Elena. It’s okay to admit you like sex. We can talk about it. If we’re going to have a mature, adult relationship with good communication, isn’t that what we should do? Talk about our future sex life?”
That gives me some pretty amazing images. I wonder what position he likes. I wonder if I will like it too. It feels really hot in this car.
“On my stomach,” I mutter. I’ve only ever done it for a minute, but it was a really, really good minute. After which Stefan realized his face was way too close to my neck and we had to go back to missionary. Yay.
“Was that so hard?” he teases, his eyes gleaming dangerously. “Why would Caroline tease you about that?”
I clamp my mouth shut, but I can see the wheels spinning in his head.
“Because you haven’t tried something? Doggy style? Oral sex?”
“Oh my God, Damon, take me home!” I shout. “This is the most embarrassing road trip in the world!”
He pats my thigh. “I don’t know. I’m having fun.” He rubs his hand up my jean-clad leg, and I realize how sensitive my skin is right now. I feel a squeeze deep inside when his hand gets to the upper part of my thigh. I squirm away from him.
“Vampire sex,” he says suddenly. “You haven’t had vampire sex.”
I look out the window. “Nope.”
This is why everyone calls Damon when something goes wrong. He’s always the first to put the pieces together, damn him.
He’s oddly silent. There’s no way he bought my lie. He always sees right through me. I steal a peek at him through the curtain of my hair.
“What did he say to you?” Damon asks, his voice tight.
“Yes, Stefan.” He spits the word as if it offends his mouth. “What the hell did he tell you about sex and vampires?”
“Nothing. Nothing, Damon, its fine. I was just too wrapped up in everything that was happening to want to. Can we please stop talking about this? Ask me something else. Anything else. I know you had a question in mind when you started this whole game, and I bet you haven’t asked it yet.”
He shoots me a disbelieving look, but lets it drop. He takes his hand off my leg and puts it back on the wheel. My leg feels too cold and I reach for the knob of the heater.
“Did you pick me because I gave up?”
“What?” That’s not what I thought he was going to ask.
He doesn’t respond. The engine growls as he accelerates.
“You gave up?”
He glances at me. “Obviously, yeah.”
“Not so obviously, Damon. I mean, I know you backed off a little bit on the flirty stuff, but I was pretty sure that was because I was a vampire and everybody was wrapped up in the whole bloodlust business.”
“That’s not really an answer.”
“I- I didn’t know what I felt for you for a long time, Damon. I knew I loved Stefan. That was a feeling I’d had before. I didn’t know what to call the things you made me feel. There were too many different feelings, too much of everything. It was more like a force of nature than a crush. It didn’t make sense. So I thought that’s what people meant by lust. I’d never really been super sexual before, and…” I blushed again.
“So I figured it was lust. But after I turned, it got so bad that I couldn’t even look at you. I probably seemed kind of bitchy.”
He doesn’t deny it.
“It was Stefan that finally put a stop to it. I was going to, but he was the one who said it first. And I was so glad that he made the choice for me.” I shook my head. “I can’t believe I had the guts to talk to you at Miss Mystic Falls because I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of surviving those feelings if I just gave into them.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
I laugh, the sound a little hysterical in the closed car. “You’ve seen what bloodlust does to Stefan. I’ve had bloodlust, Damon and I have about a hundred times more chance of controlling that than I do of fighting the feeli- God, do you remember that motel in Denver? If what I wanted was your blood, you’d be dead three times over.”
He hits the brakes. I grab the dashboard reflexively, looking for something in the road. There’s nothing, but he pulls over to the shoulder anyway. He puts the brake on and unbuckles his seatbelt and is on top of me in less than a breath.
The space is too small and there are hands and hair and lips everywhere, his knees colliding with mine. I don’t care about any of it, all I can feel are his hands cradling my face, his tongue hot and dominant in my mouth, demanding that I feel every bit of too much.
“Damon!” I gasp out as his mouth shifts to my neck. His muscles are resilient under my fingers, and they feel so good. I pull him closer, tweaking my back at a weird angle as I find his mouth again and bury my hands in his surprisingly soft hair.
He pulls back, soothing my lips with a softer kiss, then one more before he climbs back into his seat. I can only stare at him, my skin irritated by the clothes that muffle the sensation of him.
His hair is all ruffled from my hands, and it looks sexy as hell. I lean across and kiss him again. He tries to keep it chaste, but I tease his lips with my tongue until he lets me do exactly as I please. I forget why I should stop until I hear a car go by. Then I slump back into my seat.
“Why are we driving anywhere?”
He gives me a look that makes me want to rate his eyes NC-17.
“We’re taking it slow. As far as I can tell, that means I need to keep you in public at all times, because there is nothing else on earth that is going to keep our hands off each other.”
I smile, thinking of getting my hands on him in private. His breathing catches and his eyes drop back to my lips.
“Let’s go dancing,” I tease. “I bet that’ll help.”
He laughs and makes a quick adjustment to the front of his pants. “Help. Yeah. Right.”