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Once Upon a December

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This story is a inspired by, and is a rewrite of the cheesy holiday romance movie “The Spirit of Christmas.” Obviously, rewritten in novelization form, and rewritten to include Bonnie Bennett and Damon Salvatore. Some things from the movie are the same, and other things have been changed. I do not own The Vampire Diaries, or The Spirit of Christmas and no copyright infringement is intended, this story is not being sold or monetized; however, this story itself is copyrighted by me, so I ask that no one re-post my story as their own.

A/N: This story is meant to be cheesy, quirky, and romantic, like the film; however several things that are different from the movie that will be in this story fall under mature content. So this story is rated Mature.

I would also advise that you don't go watch the movie before reading this story if you haven't seen it. Because even though there are different things, going into this story blind, so to speak, would be the best. However, it's your choice.


December, 1920

The faint but precise ticking of a clock had been heard in between whispers of snow scattering wind as a man opened a golden pocket watch in his left hand. The look on his faced was nervous, all except for the glimmer in his eyes that gazed upon the clock face of the pocket watch in his hand. Those eyes shot up to view the front of a white building decorated in red and green festive garlands, ribbons, and lanterns. The light from inside the house cast a glow onto the snow covered land in front of it, but did not reach to the man, nor allow his shadow to be revealed. The moons light, heavily clouded.

He stood there for several moments, as though he was waiting for something. Biting at his bottom lip for a second, the front door of the large house opened, and he closed his pocket watch. Just as his leg was about to move forward to walk, a woman came out onto the porch, but she wasn't alone. The man blinked, knowing exactly who the woman was, and his face became stricken with confusion and pain when he watched the woman lean forward, and hug the man on the porch. The man on the porch wrapped his arms around her, then leaned to kiss her.

“Katherine?” The man standing in the snow whispered.

Suddenly, a figure whose shadow could also not be cast, struck the man on the back of his head bluntly. Falling backwards to the ground into the snow, the man couldn't talk as everything went black, and the coldness of the winter lulled him into a quick death as blood soaked into the snow, and he died silently.

Part 1 

December 2016.


“Bonnie...” A word was spoken from the other side of the booth, as a couple sat face to face. Wine glasses and plates of food between them.

“Yes, Ben?” The woman, Bonnie, smiled very softly, letting the man taking her hand on the table.

“You are...incredible.” Ben told her, with a nervous look on his face, “I knew when we met, the man who won you would be beyond lucky.”

Bonnie shifted in her seat uncomfortable, pursing her lips and lifting one of her hands to her chin.
“Um...” she started, as crinkled formed on her forehead, and every single molecule of air around the two of them was shaking with uncomfortable tension. She felt her mouth and throat get dry, but Ben cut her off before she could say anything.

“That man...just isn't me.” Ben said quickly, his thumb still running over her hand in a tender and comforting way.

Bonnie blinked, her body going still in confusion. “I uh...What?” she asked him.

“You are stunning, and smart. I know that there has to be something deep inside you, that screams love, and affection; but...” Ben paused, and Bonnie pulled her hand from him as he was talking, “...I don't see that in you, and you don't show that to me.”

“Are you breaking up with me?” Bonnie asked.

“Yes.” Ben replied.

Bonnie's shoulders suddenly lowered as though a thousand bricks had been lifted from them, and she sighed with not sadness, but relief.

“Thank God.” she whispered loud enough for Ben to hear, and grabbed a bread stick from the middle of the table. Ben's hand still lying on the table where they had been holding hands.

“Huh?” Ben asked, and watched her pick up a glass of white whine, and lean back in her seat.

Bonnie took a large drink of the wine, then a breath, and spoke. “I thought you were proposing.”

She took another drink of the wine, set it down, and started to rip apart the bread stick, eating it while Ben began going on about why he was breaking up with her, and how sudden he knew it must be.

“Let me guess, I am an emotionless workaholic, and you don't feel you're a priority?” she asked, mostly rhetorical.

“I are incapable of expressing some emotions yes. And, being a lawyer is hard work, I'm not a priority of yours.” Ben responded.

Bonnie raised her brows for a second, casually with seemingly no emotional turmoil what so ever, eating. “No, you are not.” she agreed, and as a waiter came around the corner with several carry out boxes, she leaned over, grabbed three of them without asking.

“But you know, I'm not going to pretend to feel something that I don't.” Bonnie added, as she started filling the boxes with food, and then stacking them on top of one another.

“Are you going to drink that?” she asked Ben, who looked confused, but she grabbed his glass of wine, and downed it anyway before picking up her purse, the boxes of food and sliding out of the booth.

“You're just going to leave?” Ben asked, giving her a look of disbelief.

“Hey, I do you the favor of not crying and making a scene, and you pay the bill. Sounds fair, right?” Bonnie told him, and with that she turned on her heel and made her way out of the restaurant.

Friday morning right on time for work before the holiday vacation, Bonnie knew there was bound to be something that came up at the last minute. She was perfectly fine with this. Everyone else at the office was talking in front of doorways, gabbing about their Christmas plans, trying to prank each other with mistletoe, and giving each other presents. Bonnie had to admit the firm was friendly, and like family, for most people; but, on this morning she was typing at her laptop vigorously to get in last minute transcriptions for a client. Technically, they weren't needed until mid-January, but, she couldn't keep herself from getting it done.

Just as Bonnie was finishing up, a file folder was slammed onto her desk by her boss, Mr. Liam Waye.
“Lilian Salvatore finally died.” the man said casually, and she looked up at him while turning in her chair.

“And good morning, Liam.” Bonnie said quietly, tapping her fingers over the file for a moment.

Liam looked completely un-amused. “It was. Then the visions of my Bahamas vacation was replaced by this news. You know what isn't a fun pass time on a Bahamas vacation Bonnie?”

“Taking care of Lilian Salvatore's assets?” She asked, picking up the file and flipping through it's contents too quickly to get a look at anything.

Liam smiled a bit, “Exactly. I knew there was a reason I came to you first.”

“That, and I never have Christmas plans.” Bonnie said looking down to get a more careful look at the first page in the file.

“Well, yes, that also.” Liam admitted, shoving his hands in his suit pants pockets, “It's a simple execution of her will, mostly.

“How many assets?” Bonnie questioned, flipping through another page.

Liam paused for a moment, “Just the one.” he said rather suspiciously, and stepped closer. The tall gray haired man turned Bonnie's laptop towards him, “I've already sent you what else you need in an email.” He explained, before opening the Gmail app on her laptop, seeing his email first, clicking on it, and scrolling a new times before turning the laptop towards her.

“Mystic Inn.” he told her, waving her fingers over a picture of a large white Victorian era house, with a very large drive way, and newer makes of a concrete entrance, with enough room for several dozen people in front of the house, and stairs leading down to the driveway. To the left of the photo was a sign that said in festive lettering, “Mystic Inn.” there were painted mistletoe on the sign as well.

“Nice huh?” Liam asked, and Bonnie nodded sheepishly.

“So, who is it going to?” She asked, her arms crossed below her bust.

Liam tapped on the chest twice, “No heirs, so, to the trust. They want it sold quickly. Before they get hit with taxes.”

“By when?” Bonnie inquired, grabbing a pen to write a note on the first page of the file which contained information about the house.

“Before New Years.” Liam said casually.

Bonnie sat up straight, looking at the man like he was crazy, “That's in three weeks.”

“I know, I know... Between you and me Caroline just got a new gig in Toronto. That means the senior associate position here will be up for grabs. I can't make any promises, but I can go to bet for you.” Liam told her.

“That's...” Bonnie started, her eyes showing excitement, and her lips pulling up at the corners but she quickly blinked, and went into a neutral expression and tone of voice, “That's great. Thank you, Liam.”

“It's selfish, you know that. You work harder than anyone here, and makes things easier on me.” Liam smirked at her, and she chuckled softly, giving him a firm nod.

Bonnie looked down towards her laptop. “Well, I will get the business evaluations done right away, read the books, hire a local appraiser...”

“That is oddly, not as easy as it should be.” Liam said, flipping through some papers in the file before pulling a paper-clipped ones out. “I've already hired two local companies, both bailed.”

Bonnie looked at him confused, but then looked down at the paper he was showing her. It was a newspaper article, with a photo of Mystic Inn, the headline reading: HAUNTED MYSTIC INN.

“Oh, you're kidding me.” Bonnie scoffed at him.

“I know...but 45% of the population believe in ghosts, and as it turns out, so do 100% our appraisers.” Liam told her, with an equal look of annoyance at the situation. “I've hired a third man for the job. Mr. Murray will be at the Inn on the twelfth, and so will you.” He pointed his finger at her brielf.

Bonnie rolled her eyes, “You want me to hold his hand?”

“Pretty much.” Liam replied, “Don't worry, you've got this. You'll have it done in no time. You always do.”

Bonnie nodded a bit, and watched as Liam turned to walk out of her office. Licking at her hips, she tapped on the newspaper article before rolling her eyes and shoving it into a folder. There was no way, she was going to be scared out of going to this Inn, and she wasn't going to let the grown man appraiser, bail either. She found it hard to believe that the other two appraisers had bailed, over a haunted inn myth?

Shaking her head, she pulled her laptop closer to her on her desk, and finished up her work she had been doing before. At least now she had a new project, one that she was certain wouldn't last barely a few days. Then what was she going to do until vacation was over?

Three days later the Mystic Inn sign came into view as Bonnie grove into the snow covered driveway. As she pulled to a stop, she could see a man, likely the appraiser hurrying through the entrance of the Inn and to his car. She watched him confused, until she realized he was leaving, looking frightened.

“Hey...” She said, and then took her seat belt off, opening the car door, “Hey, wait!” She yelled but the man had already gotten into his car, and was taking off at a dangerous speed for an icy road. Having drove three hours to get to the Inn, Bonnie was not appreciative of being there alone with no appraiser.

“What the...” Bonnie whispered to herself, “We had a meeting...seriously.” She sighed, and stepped back to turn off her car, grab her keys, and files, and head to the entrance of the Inn.

As she walked, she eyed the house, there were chips, and long lines of the white paint on beams of the entrance and siding of the house pealing off. She noticed these things out of habit, she'd recommend they get the place repainted before selling. Then, Bonnie noticed one of the double doors into the house was open. Likely from Murray running out of them. Two holiday wreaths hung on them.

Looking curiously at the doors, she looked up as a crow cawed and then used her hand to push the door open the rest of the way. Walking inside, she closed the door behind her. The Inn was even bigger inside than it looked from the outside. Her eyes widened a little at it's beautiful décor and structure. A large dark oak staircase leg upstairs, with garland fastened up the rail from the first step to the last. Her heeled boots clicked on the wood paneled flooring as she stepped further forward.

“Anyone else here?” She called out, just in case the man she'd seen leaving wasn't the appraiser. She could only wish, right?

Stepping to the right into a parlor room, she walked along a shelve holding picture frames, and elegant vases. Her eyes scanned grayed and sepia pictures of older and younger women, several men. But the one she picked up, was of a tall, dark haired man looking directly at the camera. His expression was actually sort of hard to read. Bonnie couldn't tell if he was upset, or if the sun was in his eyes. Her eyes trailed the dark coat he was wearing. He looked interesting this was certain, and beyond handsome.

“Excuse me?” A mans voice came from behind her.

Bonnie jumped, nearly squeaking, and turned around to face a gray haired older man, dressed in a blue sweater. “I...I'm sorry the door was open.” she explained.

“It isn't, actually. I'm in the middle of closing up for the holiday.” The man explained.

Bonnie blinked, “Closing?” she questioned, “Isn't Christmas like high season for this place, why would you be closing now?”

“Tradition.” The man replied, with a slight smile on his face and extended a hand towards her, “I'm Walter Rafferty.”
“Oh..” Bonnie said quickly, and remembered her manners. She slid one of her gloves off and reached to shake his hand.

“I take it you're Ms. Bennett?” Walter inquired.

“Bonnie, with Patton and Turner. I'm here for the property appraisal.” she explained, removing her hand from his after their greeting.

Walter nodded, “Yes... Mr. Murray arrived early. Left early too.”

“What happened?” Bonnie asked, raising one of her brows.

“Ah, it was probably the ghost.” Walter told her.

Bonnie's eyes practically glazed over at this sentence, and any interest she had suddenly went straight to her feet and through the floor. Leaving her entirely.

“The ghost...right.” she said slowly, looking to the side, and pulling up her shoulders awkwardly.

“It usually is when this happens. Though, Damon's never hurt anyone, every once and a while he does...assert himself.” Walter said casually like it was a normal conversation.

Bonnie nodded slowly, still looking over to the side every few seconds and licking at her lips.
“Damon...mhm..You're on a first name basis with the ghost?”

“Oh well, when you've worked here as long as I have...” Walter said with a chuckle. Bonnie smiled a fake uncomfortable smile, and kept her shoulders nearly at her ears. “Damon Giuseppe Salvatore. He once owned this Inn a long time ago. It's of the utmost importance to him. Well, I'm sorry your trip has been a waste of time.”

Walter grabbed the photo from Bonnie's hands, placed it back on the mantel, and started for the door.
Bonnie looked at him confused, and walked forwards, placing a hand on his shoulder for a second.

“Oh, I'm not done. There has to be some appraiser somewhere who can help despite some...childish ghost story.” Bonnie said with a chuckle wiggling the fingers of her right hand. There was a thump from the floor upstairs. “Sorry....Damon.” she said with faux sincerity.

“Where do you plan on staying until then?” Walter asked her.

Bonnie gave the man a strange look, “Well...this is an Inn, isn't it?” she pointed at the floor with one of her red painted nails.

“Not happening, we're closed until December 26th,” Walter informed her, “The staff is already gone, and I'll be leaving within the hour.”

“Yeah, well, as executor of the estate, I have a set of keys. So, it is happening.” Bonnie informed him.

She couldn't believe she was having such a hard time with just an old Inn. How was anyone possibly falling for Walters little ghost myth he was clearly going along with and spreading? Granted, he seemed to have it very well thought out, she didn't believe it for a second. Bonnie was positive the only reason he was closing the Inn before Christmas was because he was going on vacation and didn't trust her to take care of it.

“Inadvisable.” Walter said slowly. “I'll be leaving soon. You will be alone.”

“Why? Because of a ghost? Trust me, I'm a big girl, I can handle myself, Mr. Rafferty.” Bonnie told him, more or less passively going along with what wheel this man was spinning. “It's just for one night, I'll lock up the place when I leave. You could stay here with me, if that will make you feel better.”

“Not at all. I'll be gone as I always am, by December 13th.” Walter said positively, and started to turn around to walk away from Bonnie.

Bonnie started following after him again. “Why December 13th?”

“Tradition.” Walter repeated an earlier answer. Then he walked off, and Bonnie turned around walking over to the pictures again, and looking at them idly. Wondering how long the strange owners, and family that revolved around Mystic Inn had been spinning the ghost story, and why Mr. Rafferty, seemed so absolute in his decision to leave, and do the same thing every year – so he claimed.

A little while later, Bonnie was standing in the bedroom she had chosen for herself. She was gazing out of one of the windows, pulling the powder blue curtain to the side with her fingers. She watched as Walter Rafferty opened his truck door, looked at the house before shaking his head, and then getting into his truck and driving off.

She sighed, slipping off her coat, gloves, and hat lying them on the bed. It was a King sized bed, with beautiful cream and blue colored bedding. Four posters, and a canopy the same blue color as the curtains, but more sheer.

Pulling her cellphone out of her pocket, she pushed Liams contact numbers and waited for him to pick up.

“Your new appraiser was a failure.” Bonnie said as soon as he answered.

“You're kidding.” Liam said from the other line.

She shook her head as though he was there. “Nope. He was running to his car when I pulled up.”

“So, what's your plan?” Liam questioned.

“Well, when I get home to Richmond, I'll hire one of the appraisers we've already used so they don't get caught up in the myth of this place, and fly them out here. With as much trouble as the others have given us, it's worth every penny.” Bonnie told her boss.

Liam chuckled, “Well, are you staying there tonight? Have you seen anything...spooky?” he asked teasingly.

“Don't even start.” she rolled her eyes, walking into the hallway, and stopping near a picture frame that held the haunted news paper article, and a picture of the tall dark haired man, the same one from downstairs. She walked past it, her heels clicking on the floor.

“You'll survive.” Liam told her.

“And you'll get the update when you get back from the Bahamas.” Bonnie reminded him, as she headed down the stairs, to the front door, and pushed in the code for the security system. “Goodnight, Liam.”

Bonnie hung up the phone, and headed back upstairs. She'd already put her suitcase and all her files into the bedroom. The sun had already set, and the moon was barely peaking out from the clouds in the winter sky. Stripping off her business clothing, she pulled on a pair of gray sweat pants, and a dark red colored tank top, pulling her curly brown hair into a pony tail, and slid into bed. Before she knew it she was four episodes into her favorite murder mystery series. Thankfully, the Inn's wifi, wasn't horrible like she assumed it would be.

As she was waiting for a fifth episode to load on the screen, the chiming tune of the clock in the room startled her. Bonnie took a deep breath, and saw that it was midnight. Though she could've saw that on her tablet as well. Shutting her tablet screen off, she set it to the side, leaned over to turn off the bedside lamp, and lay down in bed.

Not a single minute later, Bonnie was almost certain she'd heard the floor downstairs creaking; but, it was an old house, so settling wasn't uncommon. She closed her eyes again, and took a slow breath to relax; but, when the creaking turned into definite footsteps, Bonnie saw up in bed, and turned the light right back on. She grabbed her phone from the bedside table, but it wasn't working for some reason. The door to the bedroom opened quickly, creaking and hitting the wall before bouncing forwards half way. The light across the hall was on too.

Bonnie's heart beating harder in her chest, her first thought wasn't ghost, but robber, or someone trying to scare her. She grabbed the only weapon she had, a small pocket knife, and walked slowly out of her room with her phone in her other hand. Making her way down the stairs, she swore she saw someone move into the living room.

She turned to go into the room, walking by a book shelve that had one shelve of it made entirely for heavy vases and bowls. Bonnie swallowed hard, actually a little scared.

“You're trespassing.” A male voice came from behind her.

Bonnie gasped, and hurried to turn around, when she did she knocked into the bookcase, a heavy ceramic vase falling into her head. She stumbled, also hitting her head on the bookcase itself before falling to the floor. As everything was going blurry and dark, she saw the shadowed and dark man lean over her.