Sorry this has taken so long guys, I have been coming up with the storyline. The next chapter shouldn't be too far around the corner. So enjoy!

"Damn it Stephan." Damon growled into his mobile, frustrated after hearing the 'Hi, I'm not here at the moment. Leave your message at the beep' emanate from Stephan's message bank for the forth time. "Where the hell are you?" he said thinking of the first time he heard the message bank, mocking Stephan that he hadn't said 'Sorry, I have an acupuncture appointment with Bambii" and now thought it wasn't even remotely humorous.

Damon paused to fasten the clasp of an old locket bracelet, he'd dug out of the basement, to Elena's wrist, careful to avoid the pendant he'd so carefully 'vervained' with from the stock from the cellar.

Glancing at the time on his phone (11:30pm) he futilely tried his brother again to no avail. "Ok Sleeping Beauty," Damon sighed, annoyed, turning back to Elena, "time to wake up."

Taking the damp cloth he'd used to clean Elena's bloodied nails from the coffee table, he placed a clean edge along her forehead then down her cheeks, the dampness easing her to consciousness.

ELENA'S eyelids flickered then opened to a bright hazy fog. Slowly she sat and blinked 'til the fog left. Her temple throbbed and she massaged it in slow circles. A handsome chiseled face floated into view. The dark eyebrows were drawn in frustration or concern, maybe both. It wasn't until the piercing blue eyes started drawing her to their depths that Elena realized...
"Damon!" she shot up, ramrod straight, a slight flush crawling over her cheeks. She avoided his eye.
"Good morrrning, sleeping beauty," he replied, his tone and face changed to a chirpier attitude, though his eyes remained serious. "Or, should I say evening?"
"What are you doing here?"
Elena rubbed her eyes again, trying to work the headache off.
"Though Stephan may like to deny it at one point or another, I do live here." he smiled mockingly, waiting for Elena to catch on.
"What?" she looked around the room through the brightness of the lights that seemed too close to her. "What am I doing here?" Elena asked sharply.

Damon stood and wandered to the nearest liquor bottle, pouring out a glass of amber coloured liquid. "Want one?"
"Damon!"
He poured another glass anyway.
"How did I get here? I don't remember anything-" she cut herself off, looking down at her neck. "Where is my necklace?" she asked very slowly in a dangerous suspicious tone.

Damon's heart clenched painfully at her suspicions. She must have noticed a change in his face because she dropped her gaze. "Sorry."
He pretended not to hear her.

Elena brushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear and noticed the locket on her wrist.
"Vervain?"
He dipped his head once.
"Sorry." she muttered again. "So where is my necklace? And what is wrong with my head?"

"Oh, yeah..." Damon paused. "Sorry about that."
He sat on the coffee table and offered Elena a glass, which she denied. She looked at him pointedly.
"Did you go outside tonight? Leave the house at all?"
"Uh, not that I can recall."
Damon swore.
"Damon, what's going on?"
He sighed. "tonight you were compelled. If you didn't leave the house then whoever it was- a woman- was invited in."
"I was...compelled?"
He nodded. "What," she cleared her throat, "What did i do?"
"A strip tease." he stated simply. "Which- I admit- I didn't think you had in you. I was pleasantly surprised."
She glared.
"Ok, ok. This 'woman'...compelled you to be afraid of Stephan," he took a sip of his whiskey.
"What- Stephan- why?"
He shrugged. "Entertainment. Boredom."
" 'Boredom'?"
"It happens. When you've been around for over a century, things get boring. Trust me, I know. But when you've been around for half a millennia, well that's got to be colossal."
"Half a millennia... are you suspecting Rose?" Elena asked, almost surprised.
"Seems stupid not to."
"But Rose is our friend. She wouldn't do this."
"I thought so too."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, where is she then?"

Elena frowned, uncertain and wrapped her arms around herself, as if seeking comfort in touch.
"See," Damon told her. "You can't help but suspect her too."
He offered her the glass again and this time she took it. "Now do you understand why I have so many close friends?" Damon's voice oozed sarcasm. He lifted his glass to chink against hers.

Ignoring the gesture she slumped her shoulders, exasperated. "How can you say that? You're not exactly an easy person to like. Or trust."
He leaned forward his face close to hers, snarling, "Every single person I have ever trusted has stabbed me in the back. Every single one! Starting with my own. Brother. You tell me who I should be trusting Elena, because you held the knife too."

She started to recoil, surprised at his outburst, a half hurt/angry look on her face. Before the anger took over.

"You killed, my brother, Damon!"
"Yeah, because I was still bleeding from the latest wound."
"And that makes it 'ok'?"
"No. Just letting you know that you contributed." his voice was bitter.

They both paused, Elena, uncertain, yet not as surprised as shed have liked to be, Damon, face set in an unpleasant expression. They both stared each other down for a minute and Elena opened her mouth halfway to retaliate, but changed her mind at the poorly concealed hurt in his blue eyes.

She became aware of the minimal space between their faces. Close enough that she could feel Damon's hot breath on her lips. His face slipped into a different expression too, one Elena couldn't describe, save for his travelling gaze from her eyes to her lips and back again, tattooing a tingling trail. She told herself it was anger that held her in place rather than the uncertainty that she didn't dislike his gaze.

The sudden blaring of Damon's mobile ringer snapped the two to life. Elena jumped backwards into the back of the lounge, sloshing alcohol on her jeans. Damon sprung to his feet and dug the phone back out of his jeans pocket. Elena was embarrassed enough at their intimacy to take a sip of the whiskey, which burned her throat with a fire weak in comparison to the trails on her cheeks.

Damon looked up from the caller ID on the ringing phone, his face hardened and wary.
"What?" Elena asked, noticing the change in him. "Who is it?"
"Rose." He swallowed and pressed the green button.