I searched his eyes, pleading. But he shook his head. "I'm so sorry Jessica. It's all my fault."
I shook my head, I was hiccupping now. "No, you saved me. My father is to blame."
Then a thought entered my head, "What you are... is Stefan the same?"
Damon just nodded, he knew where this was going and he knew it was going to hurt. Jessica continued,
"But he just watched. Why? He let this happen."
Damon spoke softly, "He couldn't get in Jessica. We have to be invited in. I got it out of your father before I killed him. He always knew where you were. He was turned when you were 11, that's why he stopped sending those cards. He knew time was on his side. He purposely waited until your 18th. Your mother invited him in."
Ok, now I was confused, "She wouldn't, I know she wouldn't."
Damon took my hand, "He threatened you. He told her if she didn't let him in he would find and kill you."
I looked into his eyes, "But what about you? I didn't invite you in."
He sighed and looked at our entwined hands, "Yes you did. I compelled you to the first day you moved here. Compulsion is a kind of mind control thing vampires can do. I compelled you to forget inviting me in."
I was remembering something, "I tried to invite Stefan in once. But I couldn't get the words out."
Now Damon let my hand go and stood, without looking at me he explained.
"Like I said, it's my fault. It was a game, just a stupid game. I compelled you to not invite him in. I knew it would annoy him and Elena and I thought it would be funny."
Now he looked at me, now it was his eyes that were pleading, pleading with me to forgive him.
"Get out!" I said it so softly I wasn't even sure I said it aloud, but I did, with hate in my voice. He tried to grab my hand again,
I pulled away and stood up. The strength that filled me, fuelled by anger and hate kept my body standing. It was me who this time forced him to keep eye contact.
"A game? My mother is DEAD because I was nothing more than a toy for you to use against your brother and his girlfriend. Well you had me fooled, made me think you cared for me and what, compelled me to think I cared for you. Are any of my feelings real?"
I was shouting at him now, he tried to speak but I cut him off,
"Well I know what I'm feeling now is real. Get away from me Damon. Cut your losses and leave. I'm sure you can find a new toy to play with, one that you don't have to compel."
I could feel the tears fighting to flow again, but I did not want to give him the satisfaction. So I stood my ground, he spoke one last sentence.
"Your feelings weren't compelled."
And with that he was gone. He left his car behind. He could move faster without it. Damon was never one to deal with his emotions very well. Chances were people were going to get hurt. Why couldn't Jessi see that it wasn't a game anymore, he thought to himself. All the feelings they both felt were real. Damon felt something on his cheek, he reached up and wiped his face. Looking at his hand he realised he was crying. He hadn't done that in over 100 years.
Back at my house I was sitting on the floor in my hallway. I was still trying to process everything that happened in the last few days. I had gone from having friends, family and a sort of boyfriend to having nothing. Everything was gone.
I heard someone approach. I felt rather that saw someone kneel in front of me. I looked up into Elena's face. Stefan was standing at the doorway behind her. the sadness on both their faces was the final straw. I pushed Elena away from me.
"Don't... don't stand there and pretend to feel sorry for me. Don't pretend you're sad for me."
Elena looked shocked and hurt, "Jessica, what..."
I cut her off as I spoke to Stefan.
"Stefan, why are you standing outside? You don't have to..." Stefan looked to Elena but I kept talking, "Oh wait you do, don't you. I can't let you in, not like I have a choice in that thanks to your brother."
Elena tried to explain, but again I cut her off, "Go on Elena. Explain how, as my friend, you knew this whole time Damon was using me like a freaking toy to piss you two off."
I was screaming at this stage, Jeremy came running in, "Elena, Stefan, just leave!"
Elena tried to speak, "But Jer... we were just..."
"It doesn't matter Elena," Jeremy snapped at her, "as far as I'm concerned Jessi has had enough vampire crap to last her a lifetime."
He turned to Stefan, "Can't you just give her space away from your kind?"
Stefan just nodded and he and Elena left. Jeremy came over to me, I tried to push him away but he put his arms around me and ignoring my feeble attempts at pushing him away, kept hugging me. Eventually I broke down. I buried my face in his chest and cried.
We stayed that way for a long time and eventually I cried myself to sleep. Jeremy carried me up to my bedroom and put me into bed. He then placed himself in the armchair across from me. He wanted to stay awake but eventually he drifted off as well.
Damon was outside waiting. He saw Jeremy fall asleep, he hadn't liked the idea of Jeremy touching his Jessica, putting her to bed but he stayed where he was. He had witnessed the whole nights events, what happened with Stefan and Elena, and then her total breakdown in Jeremy's arms. Now that Jeremy was asleep Damon let himself into the bedroom. He moved to the side of the bed, she was talking in her sleep,
"...Damon... don't... why Damon?... love you..."
Damon sat beside her on the bed, she was still crying, even in her sleep. He gently wiped the tears from her face and softly kissed her, first on her forehead then softly on her lips. He noticed that she stopped crying at his touch, but the pain on her face... looking at that pain Damon was sure his heart was breaking. He heard Jeremy stirring behind him and quickly left.
Jeremy stretched out in the armchair, he looked over at me. I was still asleep but I had stopped crying. He figured he had time to use the bathroom.