Stefan was at the wheel and Elena in the passenger seat as they left behind Mystic Falls in her silver Toyota Camry Hybrid. They drove down the ribbon rode that curved around the pastoral landscape of tall grass, huge trees full of thick green leaves. The hills rolled on forever.
Jenna went to do some shopping for wedding knick knacks and Damon had left to the boardinghouse. Stefan wondered if he were partying with sorority girls.
The windows were rolled down and the breeze hit his face along with the warm sun rays. He glanced at her hair doing a small dance from the wind. This was his reason to live -- Elena. He came to a slow stop at the shoulder of the road where he smelled a waterway nearby.
"I think this is far enough," Stefan said.
They both got out of the car, Stefan with a rolled blanket and Elena carried a small cooler. They walked onto the green grass with a huge oak tree serving as an umbrella. They lay down looking at the sky on the spread out pink and white comforter. It was the first thing Elena could think of grabbing before leaving the house after Jenna had left. He hadn't rested like this in ages and his heart never felt this peace, except that night when he had made love to her.
She was right next to him. He couldn't believe it.
"I can't go another day without having you here," Elena said, still gazing at the sky spotted with columnus clouds.
"You know I don't deserve you."
"You deserve everything good, both of you do." Her voice was soft, but firm.
Stefan knew she meant Damon, too. He smiled and turned his face to her. "You've just signed up for a lot of trouble. You know that, don't you?"
"That's life's middle name. Trouble with a capital 'tee'. Do you think that I'm going to worry about that?"
Stefan watched her eyes, how bright they were even while they were the color of chocolate. Beautiful. But he had to see, to convince her a life with him was too dangerous.
"Yes, you should worry."
"Well, Stefan, I think we've come to an impasse because I don't worry about it and you shouldn't either."
He searched her brown eyes. "How could you still be here with me after all the things I've done?"
She didn't smile and looked away. "Don't worry, I haven't forgotten how your dad turned against you, killed you and you turned into a vampire from feeding off him. He shouldn't have shot you both." She turned to him. "But if he didn't, I wouldn't know you, Stefan. From what you've told me, I know it hurts when you remember turning Damon and the vow he made against you. I get it. It's a lot of guilt to process."
Elena propped herself up on her elbows and leaned close to him. "You and Damon couldn't help it. There's a lot of pain and guilt both of you have been going through for...for a hundred and forty-five years." Stefan was about to touch her lips to interrupt her train of thought, but she stopped his hand and caressed his cheek with her fingers.
She continued. "Listen to me. There's a song that says we need compassion and forgiveness. I love you and you saved me. Bottom line, we're even. But there will come a time for you and Damon. Do you understand?"
He shook his head. What she said sounded like a fairy tale. It would never happen.
"Bad things always follow me." His heart tore, cursed heart. "People die around me and I can't risk your life to be with me."
He could see it in her eyes. He was a coward backing out like this. He hadn't plan it to turn out this way. But that fear of seeing her die at his, Damon's, or anyone else's hands crippled his plans.
She grabbed his hands and stepped off the comforter, bringing him toward her. Her gaze was long, soft, warm, and unbending.
"It's your choice. Fight or be a coward, but there's one thing. Whether you like it or not, I'm here. For you, Stefan. Only you. I'll always be here whether life is good or bad ... or ... people live or die." Elena gently rubbed his forearm up to his elbow...it was arousing him. The warmth radiated from her touch and then her hands curved around his while she continued to speak.
"Whether you stay or go."
Stefan put his hands around her tiny waist then they worked down to her pelvis. He pulled her to him, to feel no air or space between them. His hand went up to cradle her lovely, gentle face.
"I'll never go ... never." Stefan breathed those words into her neck, made butterfly kisses on her neck, up her cheek, then her lips and gave one lasting long kiss. He felt her tremble, she felt it too, their bodies responding to love.
"Wait here," Stefan said and paced back to the car. He pulled out a five by seven inch box from the glove compartment that he had gotten from the black sedan before Damon left. He had moved the gift when Elena had went back for the comforter.
"I've got something for you."
"Wait!" Stefan grinned at her. "I've been mandated to deliver this to you for all your troubles."
Stefan took Elena's hand and gently walked her to a certain spot on the grass where the wind hit their backs. He opened the box and blew on a dandelion. Stefan frowned because the dandelion seeds started to float away in the breeze. Then the little seeds like feathery parachutes floated and one by one a few feet away in the air and lined up to form:
Elena, will you marry me?
Elena grabbed her face and yelled. She jumped into Stefan's arms and hiked her legs around his hips. He could stand and carry hundreds of pounds. Elena was light as a feather. What made him want to fall flat onto the comforter under this bliss? Her sweet round face, close to his nuzzled. Before she could start kissing him, the little seeds raced around the wind to her direction of sight and formed:
Yes, Stefan, for forever.
Elena couldn't believe it! She leaped down from her clamped hold on him. A marriage proposal done in dandelion seeds, like Bonnie's feathers floating
She gasped. Shook her head. "It couldn't be."
Stefan's mischievous smile crept on his face. The one where he looked innocent of being caught with the cookie from the cookie jar.
He nodded his famous New York style nod. "Yes, it's Bonnie."
Elena adored him. His emerald eyes that glittered like a jewel. This moment she could tell he was at his happiest.
"Bonnie couldn't be here so she wanted to deliver this to you for all your troubles and her attitude with me. Yeah, she's let me out of the doghouse."
Elena had been the brunt of so many highs and lows. This time she was grabbing what was meant for her. She took his face and kissed those soft perfect lips. She wanted to ravish him, tear off his tee-shirt to see that perfect chest. Without an explanation. She pulled up his t-shirt over his head. He understood and wanted her too.
A vampire, who would have thought. Smooth flesh, warm
was pure pleasure to her touch. His heart, not a dead thing, beat in her ear as she put her head to his chest. He let her do these things without protest. He didn't stop her rediscovery of him, but waited like a spring ready to be sprung. She could tell he was excited by his quick breathing.
I love you. The dandelion seeds swirled then formed her thought.
They fell to the ground, the comforter wasn't near enough, but Stefan braced her fall beneath her. She lay on top of him.
"You know," Elena said, her voice soft with pleasure. "Eternity isn't promised to us."
His smile stretched across that handsome face of his.
"I'm beginning to believe that."
"Come on, let's make the most of this!" She was shocked when he lifted her up and stood up with her.
"I agree. Let's skinny dip." That twinkle in those green eyes made her dizzy.
Elena laughed as they took off their clothes in the warm breeze. "Won't we be seen."
"Not the way I do things. I've got a few tricks under my sleeve."
"I love it when my Stefan is naked! Let's race!"
you're so beautiful." His eyes gaze made her feel like tiny spots of flames were erupting the areas he watched her.
He took her hand and said, "Let me give you a little surprise."
"How far. I didn't see any water."
"It's about a mile away."
!" Before she could finish he scooped her up.
"No one will see us."
At vampire speed, he sped away, carrying her as if she were light as a dandelion to the clear pond a mile away.