Here You Come Again
"Here You Come Again"
Here you come again
Just when I've begun to get myself together
You waltz right in the door
Just like you've done before
And wrap my heart 'round your little finger
Here you come again
Just when I'm about to make it work without you
You look into my eyes
And lie those pretty lies
And pretty soon I'm wondering how I came to doubt you
All you got to do is smile that smile
And there go all my defenses
Just leave it up to you and in a little while
You're messing up my mind and filling up my senses
Here you come again
Looking better than a body has a right to
And shaking me up so that all I really know
Is here you come again
And here I go
All you have to do is smile that smile
And there go all my defenses
Just leave it up to you and in a little while
You're messing up my mind and filling up my senses
Here you come again
Looking better than a body has a right to
And shaking me up so
That all I really know
Is here you come again
And here I go.
(Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Appears on Dolly Parton's album by the same name, on RCA Records, 1977.)
It was an indication of how weary Damon was in body and spirit that Ric was driving the Camaro up the gravel path to Lindsey's house. There was nothing pretentious about the white farmhouse, Ric thought, but the situation was lovely. A huge maple tree shadowed the front yard, with blooming impatiens and begonias planted around the base. A bed of purple phlox bordered the porch, and there were several hummingbird feeders in the yard, a couple on shepherd's hooks. Two large forsythia bushes in full yellow bloom flanked the house, while blooming redbud and dogwood trees edged the property.
"Damon, man, we're here," Ric nudged his friend. Damon, unbelievably, had fallen asleep somewhere outside Birmingham.
He was awake immediately and looked around. The yard had Lindsey's fingerprints all over it. Her car sat under a detached shelter and he could see the inviting front porch swing.
"This is a nice place," Ric said.
"Yeah, it is. Hasn't changed at all since I was here last. She's traded cars since then, but that's it," he answered.
"Will she let us stay?"
Damon chuckled. "Guaranteed. It's one of the few homes in any place where I'm always welcome." He saw the screen door open. "She heard us pull up. Her ears are nearly as good as mine." They got out of the car and Ric saw an attractive, curvy brunette come to the edge of the porch.
"You polecat!" she called. "What do you mean, showing up here without letting me know you're coming so I could get some supper ready for you? And you brought someone with you? I swear, I'm gonna beat the daylights out of you, Damon Salvatore!"
Ric looked over to Damon, who was grinning fit to crack his face open. Ric didn't think he had ever seen that look on his friend's face -- not even when he was with Elena. The woman slipped on a pair of flats and skipped down the porch steps and went across the yard at a dead run. She threw her arms around Damon. "You rascal! Do you have any idea how glad I am to see you?"
Damon put his arms around her and his cheek on the top of her head. "I think I get the idea, hon," he said.
Lindsey kissed his cheek and then went to Ric. She held out her hand. "Lindsey Hargrove," she said.
Ric shook her hand. "Ric Saltzman. Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you, too, Ric." Lindsey looked keenly at Damon. "You're worn out. I can tell." She checked her watch. "It's 4:30. Go feed, then get your behind upstairs and lie down for a while. Supper's at 6:30. Come on in, Ric. You can get a nap, too, or whatever you like. Come on inside where it's cool."
Damon reached for the cooler where his blood supply was, but Lindsey intercepted him. "I'll get it. You're about to drop, sweetheart." She put her arm around his waist and walked with him back across the yard, Ric following behind, feeling like he had stepped into an alternate – but very pleasant – reality. He enjoyed the heck out of watching this woman boss Damon the Badass Vampire around like they had been married 20 years. She got him upstairs, gave him three blood bags and then brought the rest down and stowed them in the fridge.
"Have a seat in the front room, Ric. I'll bring you a glass of tea."
"Gladly," he said, collapsing on the sofa and relishing the dimness of the room. It seemed like they had been driving in the sun for a month.
Lindsey brought him a glass of sweet tea with about four lemon slices in it. "I knew something was telling me to make up a batch of sweet tea. I drink unsweet. But Damon loves sweet tea – the sweeter the better. He likes it sweet enough to stand a spoon up in it. He about goes off the bourbon completely when he has plenty of sweet tea." She sat down across from him. "Damon's told me about you. What brings you two here?"
Ric took a long pull of his tea and sighed in contentment. "Chasing Stefan. Or rather, looking for him. Did you know about that?"
She nodded. "Some. Damon keeps me pretty up to date. Last email I had, you all were looking in North Carolina and Tennessee."
"We just got back from Pensacola. We were down there a week on the coast, looking. Always seems like we're a step behind him and that jerk, Klaus."
"And you're both worn slap out. I've only seen Damon like that once or twice. Bless his heart, he's worried sick about Stefan. Won't admit it, but he is. Well, I'll just take the awkward part out of this. If you two were looking for a place to stay and rest for a few days, you're more than welcome. I'm glad to have you here. You both look like you need some TLC that only a Southern woman can give you."
Ric grinned at her. "Damon Salvatore is a complete idiot."
"Really? You're just now figuring that out?" she chuckled.
He laughed, too. "Really. He's an idiot for ever leaving you and going back to Mystic Falls."
"That's a sweet thing to say, Ric. I take it he's told you about us."
"He has. I caught him at the bar, laughing his ass off at one of your emails. Not many people can make him laugh like that. So I had to find out."
Lindsey smiled. "So. What's the status with him and Elena, anyway? I can't depend on him to give me a straight answer about it."
Ric shook his head. "Hell if I know. Well, I say that. I think they've got a case for each other, but she's so young and she's been dating Stefan, and he's been seeing this TV reporter named Andie. It's strictly a booty call situation." Then he paused at the look on Lindsey's face. "Damn. I'm sorry. Here I am, running off at the mouth about all the women in Damon's life, with you sitting there having to listen."
"No, it's all right," Lindsey waved a hand. "I know the words 'celibacy' and 'Damon Salvatore' don't occur together in nature."
Ric laughed at that, then sobered. "And now, with all this about Stefan, Damon's about to go nuts."
"I can imagine. I'd like to slap some sense into that brother of his, and hang Klaus up by his ankles from my maple tree for about three or four days. See if some blood rushing to his head helps him."
"And you're one of the few humans I know who might actually be able to make good on that threat, if I can believe Damon."
She grinned. "If given the right set of circumstances. Tell you what. Keep an ear out for Damon. Hopefully, he's clocked out up there. I'm going to run to the store. I'll be back shortly. Make yourself at home." She grabbed her keys and purse and was gone.
Ric was dozing on the sofa, but woke up when Lindsey got back. She went upstairs to look in on Damon, and Ric took the groceries to the kitchen.
"Feeling better, sweet pea?" she asked him.
Damon was lying on the bed, facing her. "Yeah. Come here."
She went to the bed and Damon pulled her down to sit. He raised himself up and kissed her. "I've missed you."
"I've missed you, too," she whispered. She let her hands roam over his face and kissed him again. "Supper's in a little while. I like Ric, by the way. Come down when you're ready."
"I will," he said, pressing a kiss to her forehead. He would get up, but right now, he was glad to lie in a dim room, with nothing but peace and quiet surrounding him.
An hour or so later, he made his way downstairs, to the smells of cooking that took him right back to his childhood. Lindsey could always cook, though. She saw him in the kitchen doorway. "Come on in, baby. Supper's nearly ready. Pick your chair, Ric. Here's your tea. Damon, here's yours." She took a pan of cornbread from the oven, and Ric and Damon were both drooling as she cut it. She took the lid from a pan of pork chops she had braising on the stovetop and removed them to a platter which she set on the table. Then, she stirred a pan of creamed corn, then a pot of field peas. She set a plate of sliced tomatoes on the table and poured herself a glass of tea. "Dig in, boys," she said. "Butter for the cornbread is on the table." She waited until Ric and Damon had fixed their plates, and then she got hers. Absolute silence reigned at the table for about 10 minutes, as the men plowed through their food. Damon had never lost the taste for human food, and particularly not for Lindsey's cooking.
Lindsey noticed Ric had cleaned his plate. "There's plenty. Get seconds. Save room for dessert, though."
He smiled. "Lindsey, this is amazing. I don't remember the last time I had a meal like this. Probably the last time my mom cooked for me. Thank you so much."
She grinned at him. "You're welcome, Ric. It's just plain old country cooking, though. Nothing fancy."
Damon finished his glass of tea and went for more. "You're the only one who makes it sweet enough," he said, and to Ric, "She can cook like this, and then grab a cookbook and come up with something that looks like it came from a five-star restaurant."
"You exaggerate, my dear," Lindsey said, but she smiled at him, anyway. "Ready for dessert?" She brought out a large dish.
"Oh, my gosh," Ric said. "Is that banana pudding?"
"Sure is. It doesn't take any time to throw together, and I don't like meringue on it, so whipped cream is way easier." She helped herself to a small serving and watched in satisfaction as the boys wolfed down large portions.
"O.K. Now, you're gonna have to roll me out of here," Ric said. "Seriously. Oh God, but that was good."
"Lindsey doesn't feel like she's been a good hostess until her guests are in food comas," Damon said, stretching.
"I'm there," Ric said. "Definitely." He stood and kissed Lindsey's cheek. "Thanks again, for everything."
"You're more than welcome, Ric. Glad you felt like you could come here."
"Me too." He went into the front room and turned on the TV. Shortly, she could hear snores from the room and she laughed.
She stood at the sink and Damon's arms came around her. "I'm glad we're here, too," he said.
Lindsey brought her arm up to cradle his head. "I'm so glad to see you. Want to help me clean up?"
"Sure." He cleared the table, then loaded the dishwasher and started it. "It's so quiet out here, always."
"That's one reason I stay. You know that."
"I know it. I feel like the world can't get to me here."
"Well, it has to try a little harder, that's for sure," she answered with a smile.
"Let's go sit on the porch," Damon said.
Damon sat on the swing and held out his arm for Lindsey to join him. They sat in silence for a while, listening to the twilight noises and watching the breeze stir the leaves on the maple tree.
"You're more beautiful every time I see you," Damon said.
"And you're just as much of a charmer as you ever were."
"I needed this. I needed to be here."
"You know you can always come here, Damon. No matter what."
"And that means the world to me, Lindsey. It's nice to know I'm welcome." He tipped her chin up and kissed her. She returned the kiss.
"I've missed this," she murmured.
"So, at the risk of ruining the moment, what's up with you and Elena?" she asked.
"You had to bring it up, didn't you?"
She chuckled. "You know I did. What's going on?"
"I don't know. She runs cold and hot. Once we get all this resolved with Stefan, I guess we'll find out. But that has to be resolved, first."
"I know. But you love her."
He nodded. "Yeah. But I love you, too."
"I know that. And I'm grateful. I understand how you feel about her. Doesn't mean I don't wish you'd stay, but I understand."
"I'm here right now," he replied.
"You are. I've missed you. A lot."
"I have to say there have been a lot of days when I know if I had been here, I'd have been better off. If I'd been here, I'd never have gotten attacked by that werewolf, and wouldn't be looking for Stefan now."
"Well, we can't dwell on might have beens," Lindsey said. "You know that better than anyone."
"True." He brought her chin up and kissed her again. "You always kiss me with everything. You don't hold back."
"No reason to," she answered.
He grinned at her. "Upstairs?"
"Yeah," she agreed, then pulled back.
"What is it?"
"I need to know something. Have you and Elena slept together?"
He shook his head. "No. I have kissed her, but we've never had sex. And we won't, not while she and Stefan still haven't gotten their shit straight, or until that's resolved, one way or the other."
Lindsey nodded. "All right. That's all I wanted to know."
"Can I ask why?"
"Do you really need to?"
"You're not last on the list, sweetheart. You never have been. You know as well as I do that I'm the screwed-up one."
"You sure about that?" she teased.
"Positive." He scooped her into his arms and sped with her upstairs to her room.
She giggled wildly as he dumped her on her bed. "Let's keep it down to a dull roar. I don't want Ric to hear everything," she said.
"Spoilsport," Damon growled, but he was grinning as he started unbuttoning his shirt.
"Come here. Let me do that," Lindsey whispered. "It's been a while since I got to take your clothes off."
"And you love doing it."
"Of course," she answered. She finished unbuttoning his shirt and pushed it off his shoulders. She ran her hands through his hair, down the column of his neck and across his chest. "It's a shame I can't give you a huge hickey right about there," she said, touching the spot where his neck and shoulder joined. "But it would last about two minutes."
"You're welcome to try anyway," Damon said with a smirk.
"I know, and I probably will. I just want Elena to wonder what you've been up to, and with whom," she said with a wicked grin.
"You're an evil woman, Lindsey Hargrove," Damon answered, but there was a smile in his voice.
"Don't I know it?" She slipped her arms around him and put her cheek next to his, stroking his soft, sooty hair. "You're an addiction I can't shake, Damon."
"Well you don't have to tonight," he whispered in her ear, moving his mouth to gently nip her earlobe, then trailed his lips to her shoulder.
"I'm so glad," she answered, bringing his mouth to hers. Their kiss was entirely leisurely, sweet and hot, all at once. Damon couldn't help but think about how different it was from Elena. With Elena, it was all simmering passion, just waiting to explode into fireworks and the rockets' red glare. And when it did, it would be spectacular, he had no doubt. With Andie, it was satisfying a physical need. But with Lindsey, it was a slow burn, patiently making love, fanning the flames carefully, and coming together as a man and a woman, satisfying a soul-deep need Damon had to be loved as a man – a human man. Something in Lindsey's hands always seemed to heal him, while something in her kiss promised redemption, even for his worst sins.
Lindsey swayed in Damon's arms for a moment or two, then she pulled back. "I really need a shower."
Damon's expression was priceless. "Seriously?"
"Seriously. I've been working in the yard. I don't see how you can stand to be around me. I know I stink, especially to you."
He smiled and put his forehead to hers. "I wasn't even paying attention."
"Sure you weren't. Now go and tell Ric the room at the end of the hall is made up and ready. I'll be out in just a minute or two."
"If I get back before you're through, you can expect company," he purred in her ear.
"Scoot," she said, turning to go into the bathroom.
As Lindsey washed her hair, she cursed the timing that brought Damon to her. He had to go back, she knew, for Stefan. And for Elena. Lindsey genuinely harbored no ill will toward Elena, but she did think it more than a little unfair that she had both Salvatore brothers, while Lindsey couldn't keep just one on a part-time basis, at least. But she was going to enjoy every second of Damon being here, while he was here. Somehow, she made it out of the shower before Damon got back upstairs. She suspected he and Ric were talking. She was glad he had a friend in Ric Saltzman. He needed a good male friend.
Lindsey was sitting on the bed in her T-shirt when Damon came in and closed the door. "Since you had your shower, I realized how grungy I am. Give me a couple of minutes?"
"Of course," Lindsey replied. "Take your time. I know it's been a long day."
Damon grinned at her and was nearly undressed by the time he hit the bathroom door. When he came out, he had a towel wrapped around his waist and was briskly rubbing his hair dry with another one. Lindsey licked her lips. Damon just out of the shower – her absolute favorite.
He looked at the expression on her face. "What is it?"
"You know," she said.
He grinned wolfishly. "Oh yeah. The shower thing. I forgot for a minute."
"Yeah, right." She stood and went to him, taking the towel from his hands and nibbled tiny kisses along his jawline, to right behind his ear, where she licked a droplet of water from his skin. "Even better than chocolate," she whispered to him. "Or coffee." She ran her hands down his beautiful back, feeling his muscles tighten underneath her touch, to his backbone, his hipbones, then slid her hands back up his sides, up his ribs, back to his chest, then to his face again, tracing her thumbs along his cheekbones, down his jaw and around to the nape of his neck, when she brought his lips to hers again.
Damon sighed as Lindsey deliberately licked drops of water from his skin, taking her time, learning his body all over again. But she hadn't forgotten how he loved to have his nipples licked and teased, how well he liked it when she nibbled them and even bit them softly.
"You're killing me here," he rasped.
She chuckled and rubbed her face against his chest like a cat. "You'll make it," she whispered. She trailed one hand down his side and was gratified to feel his muscles twitch. She deftly loosed the towel around his hips, and as it fell to the floor, she brought her hands down to his rear and thighs. "I've wanted you naked ever since you got out of the car this afternoon," she said.
"You think I don't know that?" Here, he dropped his lips to her ear. "It was all over you. Tell me what you want."
"Well, I've developed a thing for feet, recently," she said with a grin and raised her eyebrows at him.
"I swear, Lindsey. What am I gonna do with you?" he laughed.
"Honey, if you have to ask..."
With a growl, Damon swept Lindsey up and fell on to the bed with her, kissing her with hot, open-mouthed kisses on her neck and he started to rip her T-shirt from her body.
"No," she said, pushing back on his chest.
"No? What?" Damon said, panting.
"I said no. No ripping my clothes to shreds. We can go at it like desperate rabbits some other time. Right now, though, we're not hurrying this. You're not a horny 19-year-old. You can control yourself." Her voice was low, but sweet.
He smiled and nuzzled her neck. "You're right. What's the rush?" He forgot sometimes that he didn't have to be the great seducer all the time. Lindsey enjoyed pleasing him as much as she enjoyed him pleasing her and while she certainly appreciated his ability with the hurry-up, quickie on the fly, she also loved to take her time with his body.
They lay together, kissing, touching, remembering what it was like when they slept together every night. Lindsey started moving down his body, kissing her way down, finding all her favorite spots, like the hollow of his throat, the tiny freckle on his side, the indentation of his hipbones, the bullet scar on his thigh.
"Lindsey, you don't have to..." Damon started, even as his whole body spasmed in response to her touch.
"Shut up. I want to. We both know we both like it. Lie back and enjoy yourself."
"O.K. Just wanted to…"
Lindsey grasped his erection firmly and kissed the tip. "I know. But, Damon, baby, you're my man slut tonight, and right now, I'm running this show." She took him into her mouth and ran her tongue up and down his length. Damon could almost feel his eyes crossing. She used her mouth, her lips, her tongue – even her teeth – as pleasure implements. She wasn't just something he thrust into.
"I love it when you can't even talk because of what I'm doing to you," she said, as she licked and nibbled on his hardness. Damon couldn't have told her his own name at that point. After several more minutes of the slow torment, when she would not hurry, would not allow him to speed anything up, she lowered herself down on to his body, sheathing him within herself.
He brought his hands up to her breasts. "Is that what I am to you – just a man slut?" He tried to look serious and failed completely.
She leaned over him and kissed him. "What's the problem? That you're a man slut or that you're mine – at least for the moment? Dispute either one."
"I can't," he said with a grin. Lindsey was moving and leaned forward to brace her arms on the bed. Then, Damon flipped her on her back. "Looks like the man slut wants to run the show now," he growled.
"That's fine," she whispered in his ear. "You just remember who fed you tonight, and who's gonna feed you now, if you're very, very good."
"How good do I have to be?" he asked as he nuzzled her neck.
"Twice, at least. Then we'll reassess."
"Too easy when you're as good as I am."
"Cocky much?" she said, as she raked her nails down his back.
"Very, very much. And you know I'm just that good."
She smiled at him. "Stop talking and kiss me."
Damon obliged and kissed her until she couldn't think, his mouth covering hers, and his tongue thrusting into her mouth, just as he was into her body. He brought his tongue wetly to her ear and nibbled her earlobe before he started whispering dirty things to her, and taking a perverse delight in feeling her move underneath him as he did. "Come apart for me, babe. I'm the only one who makes you feel like this. You're so tight and hot and wet, and you feel so good around my cock. Come hard for me."
"I'm close," she panted.
"I know you are. And this man slut wants his girl to feel good." His voice dropped even lower, his mouth covering her ear. "I'm your slut tonight, gorgeous. You tell me what you want, and you get it. I've been wanting this all day, too. Come for me. Come hard," he growled, and he could feel her body spasm and clench around his. Damon dropped his fangs and bit into her neck and she screamed with the force of her orgasm, and that, the feel of her body, the taste of her honeyed blood, gave him his release, and as he healed the neck wounds with his blood, he could feel Lindsey go limp in his arms, sated and happy. He was high from her blood and even though she was satisfied for the moment, he took his turn to kiss her face, her neck and down her body. Her skin quivered underneath his mouth and she moved to allow him to do what he wanted.
Damon moved his mouth to her center and she moaned again as his tongue flicked over her flesh, but he was relentless, and he teased her button, his fingers inside her, making sure he stimulated every sweet spot she had. When she cried her second climax, he sank his fangs into her inner thigh, for another mouthful or two of her exquisite blood. He healed the punctures and still on his blood high, kissed his way back up her body. He lay beside her, rubbing her back in the way he knew she loved, and said, "It's even better than I remembered."
Lindsey managed a chuckle and turned to him, embracing him, tangling her legs with his. "Me too. And I've got a good memory." She kissed him again. "I love you. Oh, I've missed you so much." She sighed into his shoulder, then looked at him, knowing he could see her face, even if his was only a pale outline in the moonlight for her. "I've never asked you for anything, you know that."
"I know," he said, almost hearing what was coming.
"When you get this mess straightened out with Stefan, when you figure things with Elena, please consider coming back to me. I'm not trying to force you. I wouldn't, even if I could. And I'm not talking about forever. Just for a while. If it doesn't work out with Elena, you have a home right here if you want it. I'll always want you, Damon."
"Oh god, Lindsey. You know I can't make you any promises. I wouldn't do that to you."
She kissed him again. "I know. The only promise I'm asking for is, if things don't work out, that you'll think about it."
Damon remembered why he had flipped the emotion switch. Lindsey's words were like tiny stakes in his heart. She had too much pride to try to compete directly with Elena, but she was willing to put it aside enough to say she would take him if he was only willing to settle for her, and not Elena Gilbert. "I promise I'll think about it," he said into her hair.
"That's all I want."
Sometime in the night, when Lindsey was sound asleep, Damon got up. He slipped on underwear and crept out of the bedroom to his favored spot: the upstairs porch. He could think there.
Not long after, Ric walked out and sat on the rocking chair beside him. He nudged him with a glass of bourbon, and Damon took it and sipped it.
"Sounds like you two had a happy reunion," Ric said, but there wasn't any mocking in his voice.
"We did. I'd forgotten how good it was."
"She's crazy about you."
"Yeah," Damon answered. "She asked me to think about coming back when everything calmed down in Virginia, or if things didn't work out with Elena."
"What'd you tell her?"
"I told her I'd think about it, but I couldn't promise her anything."
Ric shook his head. "Damon, you are a prize idiot."
"I know," he said quietly.
"You ought to know it. Here's this woman, who clearly loves you, and thinks you're wonderful. How often has that happened in the past 150 years if you didn't compel them?"
"Like not ever. Or hardly ever, anyway. I know you have a thing for Elena, and she's beautiful. She's smart, funny and all that jazz, and she helped save your life with the werewolf thing. I think she probably loves you, too. And this is not as her guardian or teacher, but as the old guy who can step back from the situation. Elena's a catch for anybody. But she's not even 18 yet. And in spite of some of the things she's been through, she's still a kid in a lot of ways. And she needs some stability in her life. But Lindsey, well... She's a grown woman. She's lived a little and you two know and like and respect each other. There's not the whole Katherine/Stefan history there. And you know what else?"
"What?" Damon said dully. Ric was right in so many ways.
"Lindsey's not the absolutely gorgeous girl that Elena is, it's true. But she's really pretty. And when she looks at you, the expression on her face makes her beautiful." He sighed. "Even though Elena wants you to be better than you are, or have been, there's something dark between you two. You two could either bring out the best or worst in each other. But Lindsey automatically brings out the best in you without even trying. You're different around her. Good different. You want to live a better life for a little while, at least? Come back down here. Love this woman, and let her love you like she wants to. Get some peace in your life. You need it. And I really think you need her." When Damon was silent, Ric shrugged and stood. "But I'm just a philosopher drunk. What do I know?" Good night, Damon." He went back inside.
Damon raised his glass in reply, but kept his seat. He couldn't imagine a life without Elena in it. She had worked herself under his skin, into his blood. But Lindsey had become immensely important to him, too. There was peace around Lindsey, and always had been. Was he that much of a thrill junkie that he had to stay where there was always a good chance some idiot was going to stake him or come after someone he loved? He was already a hero to Lindsey. Why was he driven to prove himself to everyone else? Why couldn't he be content with the one woman who truly loved him? He was so screwed up it was pitiful. He was pitiful. But he didn't have to make any decisions tonight. Tonight, he could go slip back into bed with Lindsey and touch her and kiss her and make love to her over and over again.