The Lady in Red

Three Simple Words

After a much longer drive then was necessary thanks to a traffic jam in front of a broken stoplight, Damon finally pulled up in front of the bar that Elena had mentioned. It was a red brick building and the sign out front, made in green neon, was only half lit and flickered on and off. The music coming from inside was loud and pulsing.

He got out of the car slowly and shut the door behind him, wondering why she would come here of all places. Maybe there was more to her than he realized. Maybe his first thought had been correct, and despite what she claimed, she and the girl in the photo under his mattress weren't the same person after all.

He opened the door to the bar slowly, not wanting to bring attention to himself, but even when the little bell jingled, no one turned around to stare like he thought they would. The music was too loud. People were dancing. And some were looking at the bar and cheering loudly.

Wondering what they were looking at, he strode further in, and realized with a jolt that it was Selina herself everyone was cheering for. She clearly had a few drinks in her and was shimmying on the bar. Damon walked over and ordered a beer of his own before turning back to Selina. She didn't look at him as she danced, and, he had to admit to himself, she looked good. She was wearing a black silk tank top, a pink miniskirt, and a black leather jacket. Her hair was loose and cascading over her shoulders. He liked her hair that way, better than the short wig she wore when she went out into town and didn't want people to recognize her.

Finally, the song ended and the next one began. Only then did she turn her eyes toward him and acknowledge his presence.

"Damon! Hi!" she chirped, smiling at him. She held out her arms and when he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her off the bar, she kissed him.

"You'll never guess what," she said, grinning at him mischievously.

"What?" he asked smiling, even though he knew what she was going to say.

"I'm spifflicated!" she said and giggled.

He put his forehead against hers. "Sweetheart, not only are you spifflicated, you're ossified, trashed, wasted, and drunk."

She paused. "Don't those all mean the same thing?"

He nodded. "Yeah, that's how bad it is."

Now that she was off the bar, he noticed the three seemingly empty beer bottles. "What do you know," he said, gazing at them for a moment. "Three dead soldiers."

"Well technically," Selina grabbed two and held them up, "we have two dead soldiers and one that's only wounded." She gestured at the third. Damon picked it up and shook it, realizing that the bottle did indeed still have some left in it.

"Great," he said, finishing it off.

"I know why you're here," Selina said as soon as he put the bottle down.

"And why is that?" he asked.

She managed to get herself to a table and sit down. "You're here to tell me that my relationship with Tyler is sick, twisted and unnatural, and that I should end it. Well, you don't have to worry, because I already did. He wanted us to be a couple, but I told him no way, 'cause I'm already engaged."

Damon pulled up a chair and sat down beside her. "Good for you, but why did you come here afterward?"

She looked up at him. "I came here because I thought I didn't have anyone left in the world. But you're here, so obviously I was wrong. Not to mention the fact that they have really good giggle water."

He laughed. "From the state of you, I don't doubt that."

They sat in silence for a moment, and then she said "look, I know I've been a bit of a pill, and I want to tell you that I'm sorry."

He nodded. "I accept your apology. Now, do you want to come home with me?"

"Yes," she nodded. She stood up and tried to walk, but promptly fell flat on her face, erupting into giggles again.

"Okay, come here." Damon scooped her up and carried her out, depositing her in the passenger's seat.

"Thanks for coming to get me," she told him when they were on the road again.

He nodded. "No problem. It's heartening to know that even after being around for over a hundred years, you still do things that require people bailing you out."

Selina nodded. "Yeah. And you know, there's one more thing I want to tell you besides thank you and I'm sorry."

"What's that?"

"I love you."

At that he almost ran the car off the road, but managed to hold it steady. He was about to reply, but as he looked over at her, he saw that she was asleep. When he got to the broken stoplight, instead of honking his horn and swearing at it like everyone else, he thought about what had happened tonight. It was the first time since they'd been reunited that she'd actually needed him for something. Back when they'd been alive, she'd been somewhat needy and he hadn't minded being the one to tell her she was pretty, or smart, or worthy. And then he'd gone off to fight and just left her. That's probably why she'd run off with Dr. Stensrund in the first place. Because he, Damon, hadn't been there for her when she needed him most.

He looked over at her sleeping form, and brushed hair away from her face. "I'm sorry too," he said to her.

He parked the car in the street and picked her up to take her inside.

"Did you get her?" Stefan asked as he and Elena rushed toward them.

"Yeah," Damon nodded. "You should have seen her. It was brilliant. She was drunk out of her mind and dancing on the bar."

"When'd she finally fall asleep?" Stefan asked.

"After we got on the road," Damon replied. "She'll be okay, but she's going to have a wicked hangover tomorrow."

He took her upstairs, and put her in her bed. As he was about to leave, she seemed to stir.

"Damon," she said, "will you stay with me tonight?"

"Sure," he nodded and stepped back into the room, sitting next to her on her bed. She put her arms around him and put her head on his shoulder.

"Goodnight," she whispered as her eyes closed.

He hugged her tighter. "Good night, sweetheart."

*dead soldier= empty beer bottle

*Giggle water=alcohol

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