As Damon arrived home after his visit with Vella, he was greeted by his brother, Stefan's questioning looks.
He was really starting to get annoyed by this habit of his.
Damon decided to play it cool and just go to his room and pretend his brother didn't exist, he had wished that many times in his long lifetime so it wouldn't be a stretch.
Damon began walking up the stairs to his room when his brother called out his name.
Damon paused on the stairs, turned around and gave Stefan the evil eye, daring him to question him about his whereabouts again.
"I just wanted to apologize to you," said Stefan, "for my attitude the past two days."
Damon raised his eyebrow a bit at this statement.
"Are you saying you trust me now, little brother?"
Stefan squinted at his brother, "I don't know if I would go that far, but I haven't heard about any unexplained attacks lately so I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt."
Damon rolled his eyes, mumbled something to his brother under his breath and continued up the stairs to his room.
He decided he was going to have a nap, he wanted to be more alert when he went out later tonight.
When Damon awoke from his nap, the sun was just beginning to set.
He slowly got out of his bed and got dressed in some clean clothes and headed down the stairs into the kitchen.
He went to the fridge, grabbed a cold beer, making a mental note to pick more up soon and went into the livingroom to relax on the couch.
His brother, Stefan walked in the house a few minutes later, followed by his girlfriend, Elena.
They both greeted Damon and walked down the long corridor to the library in the rear of the old boarding house.
Damon assumed they were doing homework. He didn't feel like company right now any way.
He finished his beer and headed out the back door of the house. He wasn't sure what he was doing but he felt like going for a walk.
Damon walked through a path in the trees that had been there for as long as he could remember. It led to an old well that hasn't been used in years. But before he got there he sensed he wasn't alone.
Damon could suddenly feel the presence of another vampire and they were close, but before he could move they were gone again.
He ran as quick as he could all over the forest searching for this vampire, but he never found them.
Damon decided it would be best to head home and let Stefan know.
As soon as he told his brother, he decided it was time to head over to Vella's house.
He knew she wouldn't be home for another hour, but he wanted to watch over her house. Just in case, he told himself.
As Damon approached her house, he sensed the same vampire again, but by the time he parked his car and got out to look for it it was gone.
He walked over to sit in the tree he had used only two days ago to watch Vella from, it made a good vantage point.
As Damon sat watching Vella's house, he had a strange thought. Why hadn't I asked her where she works?
He felt uneasy just sitting in the tree not knowing where she was, though he wasn't sure why he felt that way.
Didn't she say she needed my help? Maybe this was why she knew so much about vampires. Maybe a vampire was after her, but why?
Damon started to smile at what he thought next. I'm more dangerous than any vampire Vella could know.
Before he finished his thought, he saw Vella pull her car into her driveway.
He stayed in the tree until she was in her house with the door closed. This way he knew she was safe. No vampire could get into her house without being invited in first.
Damon climbed down the tree, walked across the street and stood in front of her front door.
He was about to knock when he decided to just walk in.
Vella turned her head and smiled at Damon as he walked in the door. She wasn't surprised to see him walk in, which surprised Damon.
"So what would you like to do tonight?" she asked him. "Do you want to go out and do something fun?"
Damon was about to say yes, but he remembered what he had sensed tonight and thought better of it.
"Nah, I would rather stay in, just the two of us," he said as he gave her one of his mischievous smiles.
"That's fine with me. But I'm not going to stay up too late tonight. I hope that's okay with you?"
"Do you have to work early again?" Damon asked her.
"No, I have tomorrow and Saturday off. But a friend from work is having a party tomorrow night and I need to rest up," she paused then asked, "Would you like to come with me, Damon?"
Damon didn't think going to a big party was a great idea, but he couldn't let her go alone. He wasn't sure why, but he didn't want anything to happen to her.
Geez, Damon, you're getting soft in your old age, he thought to himself.
"Sure, just let me know when and I'll be here."
Damon and Vella began to make small talk, while she made herself a snack. It seemed that both of them were beginning to be comfortable around each other. They talked about Vella's job, she was a nurse at the hospital. They talked about Damon and some of the interesting things he had seen over the years.
When Vella was done eating her snack of a bowl of cereal and a banana, they went in the livingroom, sat beside each other on the couch and turned on the tv. They weren't really watching, but the noise filled in some of the uncomfortable silences at times.
Damon had to admit to himself he really enjoyed Vella's company.
It wasn't long before Vella began dozing off, so Damon picked her up and carried her up to her room, gently put her in her bed and covered her up.
As he was about to leave he heard her whisper, "Thank you."
Instead of going home, Damon decided to stay at her house. He could go home in the morning and go to sleep.
He found some blankets and a pillow in the linen closet in the upstairs hallway and brought them down into the livingroom and threw them on the couch. Damon didn't plan on sleeping but he was feeling a bit sleepy, or was it hungry maybe?
He got comfortable on the couch, flipped the channel on the tv to a bad movie and fell asleep almost instantly.
Vella woke up the next morning with the sun shining in her eyes. She had forgotten to close the curtains the night before.
It took her a minute until she realized what must have happened. She practically jumped right out of her bed, then looked around.
Vella was still wearing the clothes she was in last night, so Damon must have put her in her bed. At least that's what she figured.
She hurriedly found an old pair of sweat pants and a sweat shirt to change in to and then went to the washroom to brush her teeth and hair and wash her face.
Maybe I can trust him, Vella thought.
As Vella walked down the stairs and the livingroom came in to sight, she got a shock. There was Damon, fast asleep on her couch.
She had to snicker when she saw he was wrapped in her pink comforter.
Vella was going to wake him up, but instead figured she would just go through her morning routine and let him sleep, she didn't know if he was grumpy in the morning.
She went out on her front step, picked up the newspaper and brought it into the kichen. She then made a pot of coffee and some toast, which she ate while reading the newspaper.
A story on the front page almost made her spit out the mouthful of coffee she had just taken.
The headline read, Two campers attacked by a wild animal.
Vella quickly scanned the article to see if her hunch was right.
She suddenly felt sick to her stomach. It has to be a vampire, she thought.
Vella didn't think it was Damon, he was obviously here last night when it happened, but she almost wished it was him, then she wouldn't be so petrified.
She was so lost in thought she didnt notice when Damon walked into the kitchen. It had startled her so much she dropped her coffee cup on the floor, where it broke into a few pieces.
Vella covered her face with both her hands and was breathing quick, shallow breaths.
"I'm so sorry, Vella," Damon said apologetically. "I didn't mean to startle you like that."
"You didn't startle me, Damon. I'm just not awake yet," she lied.
Damon stared at her shrewdly, he knew she was hiding something.
"I thought we had come a long way last night, Vella," said Damon. "I thought you trusted me...at least a little."
Vella looked at him and opened her mouth and then quickly shut it again. She didn't want to lie to him but she didn't want to tell him the whole truth either.
"You startled me, but it wasn't you I was scared of. It was a story in the newspaper I was reading."
Vella got up from her chair and grabbed her little vacuum cleaner she kept in a tall cupboard in her kitchen. She was happy she had already finished drinking her coffee or it would have been a bigger mess to clean up.
After cleaning up the broken shards of her cup, Vella grabbed another cup of coffee and sat down at the table with Damon. He had got himself a coffee as well. Her stomach was still doing flip flops, so she didn't finish eating her toast. Instead she turned the newspaper to the comics. She needed a laugh right about now.
Damon was sitting sipping his coffee and studying Vella's face. He had read the front page of the paper while she was cleaning up the broken cup, so he knew why she was rattled. He just wished she would tell him what was going on, but he didn't want to push her.
Vella looked up from the newspaper towards Damon and smiled.
"Thank you, by the way. For putting me into my bed last night." She added, "And behaving yourself."
Damon looked at her with a smile and winked. "A promise is a promise."
Vella started snickering. He sure could be cute when he wanted to be. She needed to be more careful.
"I will be back in a few minutes, Damon. I need to have a bath and get some better clothes on."
With that she left the kitchen without giving Damon a chance to respond.
After having a bath, getting dressed and putting some make up on, she came downstairs to find Damon washing her dishes.
Oh this is just too much, she thought.
"You know Damon, if you keep doing nice things for me, I might get used to it," she said sarcastically and laughed.
Damon turned and laughed a mocking laugh, "Ha, ha, ha."
"Thank you, Damon."
"I was just bored, don't get used to it."
Vella stuck out her tongue playfully, pretending to be offended and said' "Fine!"
All Damon could do was smile at her. He hadn't known anyone who was so comfortable being with him in a very long time and he was enjoying it.
She seemed to be melting the layer of ice Damon had on his cold, dead heart.
After Damon, finished the dishes, Vella put them away where they belonged and they both went into the livingroom and sat on the couch.
They sat there for a minute just looking into each other's eyes.
It was Damon, who spoke first.
"When are you going to tell me what it is you need my help with?"
"I told you I needed to know if I could trust you first," she answered.
"Do you trust me?" he asked her.
Vella pondered this for a moment before speaking. "I think I actually do, and I can prove it to you."
Damon looked bewildered. He wondered what she had in mind that could convince him.
He watched as she reached into her shirt, pulled out her necklace with the vervain pendant, took it off and laid it gently on the side table beside her.
Damon didn't know what to do. Was this a test?
"I trust you enough to take off my necklace in your presence," was all Vella said.
Damon moved closer to her without taking his eyes off of hers. He looked deep into them and looked for any sign of distrust but didn't find any. Instead, he felt something inside him stirring, something he hadn't felt for awhile.
Vella reached out and touched her hand to the side of his face. She never once took her eyes off of his. She wasn't even afraid of him, even though she knew she should be terrified.
Damon reached out with both of his hands and touched either side of her face, while never taking his eyes off of hers.
"You are the first person in a long time to trust me like this," Damon declared.
"I don't know why, Damon, but I feel that I can trust you."
Damon wasn't sure why she trusted him either, but most of all, he couldn't understand why he didn't want to hurt her. Instead he felt an overwhelming urge to protect her.
He was thirsty, he knew he could compel her right now if he wanted to. He even noticed that she had not taken her dose of vervain in her coffee this morning. He could definitely take her right here and now and she couldn't do anything to stop him. But he wouldn't, or was that, couldn't?
Damon and Vella dropped their hands at about the same time, which made them laugh nervously.
Vella was shaking so much on the inside, but she knew it wasn't from fear this time.
"I will make the promise this time, Damon," she said. "I will tell you everything very soon. But first, I want to have a good time at this party tonight."
It might be my last, she thought.
They both sat on the couch not knowing what to say.
As was Vella's habit, she checked her watch. She had had plans today to buy a new dress for tonight and it was getting late.
She explained about having to go shopping, which Damon, definitely did not want to do with her.
Damon got up from the couch, grabbed her necklace and put it back around her neck.
He winked and said, "Don't forget this. It's a crazy world."
Vella gave Damon a thank you smile and said, "I will be ready at 8 tonight."
With that, Damon bid her goodbye and walked out of her house. He didn't go far though, until he saw her car drive safely away.
With all the thoughts running through his head he had forgotten how thirsty he was.
Damon decided he had better find something to eat before the party tonight.
With that thought, he left in search of someone to quench his thirst before going home.