“Unpredictable fortune, my past
Lights up my future, at last
Ending my torture
Like gravity like love,
You get up after you fall
Like gravity like love
I’m not afraid anymore
Like gravity like love,
You get up after you fall, I ain’t afraid no more
If gravity was love, if gravity was love, if gravity was love…”
Poets of the Fall – Gravity
Chapter 12: A Vegas Ending
Damon laid awake, staring at the hotel ceiling while contemplating life, the universe, and the fact that, even though he was technically younger than Damon, Hugh Hefner’s wrinkly ass was getting more action than him at the moment.
Well, not if one counted Isabella’s dream Damon, he supposed.
As if in response to the thought, Bella gave a kitten like mewl from where she cuddled beside him and her leg hitched around his, her thigh giving his cock a teasing caress.
“Damon,” she breathed out in a low moan fit for a porn star.
Isabella, he decided, gave new meaning to the word cocktease.
He clenched his jaw and the hands looped around her sleeping form briefly tightened on her hips as he fought the instinct to roll on top of her and situate his hips between hers and teach her how to really dance. Thankfully, she settled again, her breath hitting his neck in small puffs of air that made him uncomfortably aware of her entire body.
It’d been apparent from the first night after he’d scooped her up and ran off with her that Isabella was a very vivid dreamer. Sadly, not all of her dreams were as good as the one she was currently having – and Damon knew it to be a very good dream because even dream him had to know his way between the sheets.
He recalled the first time he’d heard her speak in her sleep. It’d been that first night in his car. Isabella had fallen asleep against the window and it’d been easy for Damon to pretend she wasn’t there, easy until she’d started mumbling short phrases like he’s gone and not wanted in between nearly silent whimpers. He’d written it off easily enough having already known some douche Cold One had toyed with her like a dog with a chew toy before spitting her out.
But then the screaming started and there was no ignoring that.
He’d swerved into oncoming traffic, nearly hitting a semi head-on before gaining control of the car once again. Isabella hadn’t even awakened, not from the jerking movement of the car, not from the angry blare of the semi’s horn, and not even from her own screams. It was at that moment he’d known that the Cold One hadn’t only broken her before discarding her like a toddler callously throwing out a toy, but he’d completely shattered her, maybe even beyond repair.
He’d been so shocked by the abruptness of the whole situation that his hand had flown to hers on instinct alone, his fingers curling tightly but gently around it. She’d stopped screaming almost instantly, but the tears still fell like tiny shards of glass in silent testament to her pain.
But she’d proven him wrong, his mina. Slowly, she began to blossom, her arms melting away from her chest and her head turning up from the ground. She had a surprisingly dry sense of humor that complimented his wicked mind perfectly and Damon learned there was a strength to Isabella Swan, a resilience that trembled – do not go gentle into that good night. She fought unthinkingly, not even really knowing how, to survive.
She’d been glorious earlier that night as she stood up to him. Calmly, she’d spoken up for herself, told him in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t going to play his game, at least not only by his rules. It had terrified her to do so. Damon had seen the fear brewing behind her eyes despite how she’d steadily held his gaze. Fear of the unknown, fear that he’d leave her if she wouldn’t bow down.
But where was the fun in submission, Damon smirked. He was not one to submit, and it was so much better being in the company of someone who could equally stand strong. She’d not condemned him, but also hadn’t excused him. She’d been the perfect balance of forgiveness and chastising.
It was puzzling how she’d been able to dress him down without being condescending, without making his defenses snap up – not to mention without him wanting to take a snap at her. Stefan had tried so hard to reach him in such a way throughout the decades, and each and every time Damon either brushed him off with some annoyingly witty comment, or he snapped – well, snapped someone’s neck.
But when Isabella spoke, he listened. When she asked, he wanted to give. For over a century he’d lived only for himself and his misguided mission to “rescue” that bitch Katherine. He’d only ever been accountable to himself until he’d stumbled upon mina. She’d been an echo of the heartbreak Katherine had wrought within him and despite how resentful he’d been at first with being forced to witness the devastation he so skillfully hid, even from himself, something had resonated. Instead of snapping someone’s neck, this time it was Damon himself who snapped; he broke and reformed, not into some saint who’d seen the light, but into a man who’d finally felt a true connection with someone else. A man who suddenly wanted that connection more than anything he’d ever wanted before.
Damon needed Isabella like a drowning man needed a life preserver.
So, in his typical fashion, he’d acted. The necklace, his plan, the blood… all measures he was willing to take to keep Isabella with him. He regretted nothing about his actions save for her upset. Despite the argument and despite the fall-out he anticipated when she learned about everything else, if he was given the chance, he’d act the same again. Because that was Damon Salvatore – no regrets, no holding back. He was completely unapologetic. When he wanted something, especially something that called to him like never before, he went for it no hold’s barred.
And in spite of the anger Isabella had showed, he knew her better than to take it at face value even if he’d felt the urge to shake some sense into her. Deep down, she’d liked that he’d been selfish with her. Above all else, Isabella Swan wanted to be wanted – he wanted to be wanted. They both wanted to be the first and only choice.
Damon recognized she was a person with feelings, needs, and wants, but he also recognized what a prize she was, and while that douche Eddie had tossed her away, Damon was smarter and would hold onto her for as long as she’d let him. Forever, if got his way – which he usually did. He knew he’d hit the honey pot with Isabella Swan.
Speaking of sweet, sweet honey… Beside him, Isabella moaned again, her thigh giving his cock another achingly sweet stroke as the cloyingly sweet scent of her arousal hit him with all the subtlety of a boulder landing on his chest. Fucking hell, the woman nearly had him cumming in his pants and she was doing nothing but sleeping. He couldn’t wait to see what she could do while wrapped around him and awake. An active participant…
But that may take some time considering their little argument earlier. They’d reached an agreement, much to Damon’s satisfaction, but he was no fool. He knew it would take sometime for them to get back the same level of comfort they’d enjoyed before. But still, he regretted nothing. He’d gotten Isabella to drink his blood in the hottest way imaginable; Isabella had stood up for herself in a way she’d never had before, but still maintained that understanding of his actions that she always seemed to have; and she’d agreed to keep taking his blood, even if she was still uncertain about eternal life. Each one was a small victory for him in the war he’d started for her affections.
And a war it was. He had to fight battles against himself and his selfish nature, against Isabella’s insecurities, and against Doucheward’s memory and the seeds he’d planted which Isabella let fester in her psyche. Good thing Damon enjoyed a good fight, that he never lost one when he set out to win.
At the thought of battles, Damon reluctantly pulled away from his mina, the loss of her soft warmth leaving him metaphorically colder than before. She frowned, always aware of his movements even in her sleep, and her lower lip stuck out in a sexy pout. Damon wanted to bite it. Instead, he gave her lip a gentle swipe with his thumb, smiling slightly when her lips curled in response as she breathed out a contented sigh while stretching out her neck. His possessive eyes swept the curve of her neck and saw his mark there, a purple bruise right at the juncture where her neck met the shoulder.
Unable to resist such a tempting offer, Damon leaned down and ran his tongue across the mark before letting his teeth graze along it in a darkly erotic show of possessiveness. Bella arched into him and he was rewarded with another porn star moan.
His lips curled in male satisfaction. “Soon, cara mia,” he promised.
Straightening back up, he moved to the far corner of the room where a lush, red velvet chair rested, plucking up his cell phone along the way. Really, he ought to make the call in the hallway, or the bathroom even, to not disturb Isabella, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave her. Some would say it was ridiculously unhealthy how co-dependent they’d become in such a short amount of time, but Dr. Phil could suck a bag of dicks as far as Damon was concerned. Man wasn’t even a real doctor.
He collapsed carelessly into the chair, dread making the small, black cellphone feel like a cement brick in his hand. But it was only fair. Isabella was working to make whatever it was between them flourish, and for the first time in his life, Damon felt like he owed someone the same effort. That she deserved better from him. If she could open herself up, expose her emotional wounds even as they were still healing, then Damon could certainly make a phone call. He could do the groundwork now in order to make things easier for her when they eventually reached Mystic Falls.
He held a button down on the phone and the speed dial started. There was the tell-tale click of someone answering on the other line.
“Damon,” the annoyingly somber voice drifted out on an exasperated exhale.
Despite his good intentions – for they were only really good for him and Isabella – Damon couldn’t help but smirk, thinking of all the ways he’d toy with the speaker. “Hello brother…”
Bella woke up aware of having dreamt, but the actual dream slipping quickly through her fingers as if she was trying to hold fog. For once, there’d been no screaming, no Edward, and no symbolic gestures. None that she could recall, anyway, and those were usually scenes that haunted her.
No, this time she had a pleasantly warm feeling resonating throughout her body and the sensation of being well rested made her smile into her pillow.
Said pillow moved under her and a light chuckle made the hairs on the back of her neck stand.
“Sweet dreams, beautiful?”
Something about the way he said it made it seem like he knew more about her dreams than she did.
“I suppose they were,” Bella allowed, rubbing her face against his chest where she rested. “I don’t really remember them, but I feel good.”
Damon snorted and Bella glanced up to seem his staring down at her with an incredulous tint to his usually sardonic leer.
“Really?” he drew out disbelieving.
She frowned and tried to summon up the images of the dream she knew she’d been having. But it seemed the harder she tried, the more illusive the vague images and impressions became. Shrugging dismissively, Bella said, “Yes really. I think there was something about handcuffs and feathers. I don’t know… it’s gone now. Although,” she frowned abruptly as another vague impression from her dream hit her. “There was also something about a room with gold wallpaper… a crystal chandelier…”
Damon made a low choking sound.
“Damon, are you alright?” she asked carefully, propping her head up to look at him in concern.
His eyes were wide and darker than normal. He had the incredulous, almost delirious look of someone being told they’d won the lotto. “Damon?” she prompted when he appeared lost in his thoughts.
He twitched slightly and cleared his throat, the look melting away into the more familiar cocky smirk. “Oh mina, you are absolutely delectable. Handcuffs and feathers, eh?”
She noticed he completely ignored the room and chandelier reference. Shaking her head, Bella wondered if their argument from before had knocked a couple screws loose in his pretty little head. “Okay,” she drew out slowly before deciding to change the topic. “Um, how about breakfast? I’m starving.”
He leered at her. “Oh I just bet you are, honey pie.”
It was no use, she decided. He was impossible.
Probably expecting her to snap at him if he didn’t start making sense, Damon suggested, “How about room service and breakfast in bed?”
She pretended to think about it. “How about… yes.”
With a saucy wink, Damon leaned over her and grabbed the hotel phone. He then proceeded to order them way too much food while hovering over her, his body lightly pressing her into the mattress.
Bella had a sudden flash of her dream and the sensation of a body moving over her as she clung to broad shoulders. Her cheeks caught fire. Suddenly Damon’s taunting about her dreaming made sense. Maybe if she was lucky Damon wouldn’t comment on her blushing; but alas, as he finished up the room service order his lascivious smirk widened and he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively while subtly pressing his body further into hers.
“Why what a lovely shade of red that is, mina,” he purred, lightly tracing his fingers over the apple of her cheek. “My new favorite color, I think. Whatever are you thinking about?”
She glared at him. “Nothing,” she said with a stubborn tilt to her chin.
His chuckle was all velvet and made her insides warm like a scoop of ice cream melting into a cup of hot chocolate. “Sure,” he allowed, finally reclining back onto his side of the bed.
Bella took the opportunity to snuggle against him again, hiding her face into the crook at his shoulder. Damon chuckled again in response and she gave him a reproving pinch to his ribs.
“Well that’s not very nice. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that pinching is mean, little girl?”
“Shuddup Damon,” she mumbled into him.
He snickered again and Bella smiled in response. She’d been worried about how they’d be together in the light of day. It’d been easy enough to reconcile in the evening, but after sleeping on it, having extra time to think and analyze, she’d been worried he’d change his mind about her.
Bella should’ve known better, though. Damon wasn’t one to second guess himself. He said what he meant, and meant what he said – each and every time he spoke. While he did enjoy verbal mind games, if he said something directly, she knew she could take him at his word. Just as she hoped he knew he could trust her.
They spent the majority of the day in bed watching cheesy horror vampire flicks and it was the most fun Bella had during their entire time in Vegas. They ate, joked around, and Damon even started a pillow fight – of all things! – up until they decided to pack and get ready to hit the road once more.
It’d been just what they’d needed after such a big misunderstanding the night before. The light mannered frivolity seemed to recharge them both and by the time Damon was checking them out of the hotel, Bella was as light as a cloud.
It was such a different scene than when they’d checked in. Bella remembered the raggedy flannel shirt she’d been wearing, the feeling of inadequacy that’d had her staring at the marble tile, and the slight condescension of the concierge that had her shrinking into Damon’s side in an attempt to melt away from his sight.
There was none of that now. Bella wore a casual but obviously classy new outfit Damon had bought her; Bella thought of it as kind of a designer version of jeans and a t-shirt, comfy but so very well made. There was no sense of inadequacy today, not with Damon keeping his arm around her waist, one hand casually slipped into the back of her jean pocket. It felt natural in a way she never expected such an overt public display of affection would, and even though she’d given her token blush when he’d first slipped his hand in, Bella hadn’t said anything about the gesture even though she’d seen Damon’s challenging smirk from the corner of her eye.
It became apparent then how much she’d changed from that sad girl in the meadow. How much she surprised even herself with her new strength and resolve to move forward into the uncertain future. She’d seen Damon kill someone, had gotten drunk enough to pass out and lose memories, witnessed several bar fights, danced with Damon in a way that was just shy of letting him fuck her on the dance floor… all of these experiences that she’d once judged others for, had thought herself above experiencing, and yet it was these experiences that broke her out of her shell and were helping her heal. Her time her in Vegas, time with Damon, had enlightened her in several ways. It’d helped her find a strength she never knew she had.
It seemed she was full of surprises – even to herself.
After Damon had settled their nonexistent bill, the bellhop wheeled out their bags to the valet. When his car was brought around, Damon made no pretenses about inspecting for damage and the likes while giving the driver a menacing look. Rolling her eyes, Bella opened the door and climbed in while Damon played his games.
Soon enough, Damon was starting the car and steering them up the strip to a freeway that would take them out of Vegas.
“So,” Bella said as the got onto the I-15. “Where to next?”
Damon tilted his head towards her with a challenging glint to his eyes. “I’m feeling like a white Christmas, mina. What are your thoughts on Aspen, Colorado?”
Bella frowned. “Skiing, snow and cold?” she asked in distaste, already knowing his answer would be.
The curve of his lips widened into a playful grin. “Exactly, my little snow bunny.”
“I hate the cold,” she groused, but said nothing else knowing he was already decided.
The look he gave her then was downright sinful. “Don’t worry, mina, I’ll keep you warm.”
As he’d probably known it would, the vague image of him moving above her from in her dream flashed through her mind.
Her cheeks heated; she was feeling warmer already. Maybe Aspen wouldn’t be so bad, after all.
She hadn’t known she’d said the last bit out loud until Damon laughed, his head thrown back as his hand reached over to hers, tugging her as close to him as possible as his foot turned to lead against the gas pedal.
“Not bad, at all, mina,” he said in his dark chocolate voice. Each word held the solemn hint of an erotic promise. “Not bad at all.”
(A/N): Thanks again for being such awesome, patient readers! Please visit my homepage for the link to the Burning Diamond Awards and get your votes in before the 15th!
Next up on Damon’s road trip of sin… Aspen!