It came up that Elena Gilbert met Stefan Salvatore in ‘The Vampire Diaries’, but in reality, she had known and even flirted with Damon(Ian Somerhalder) long before.

With a series like ‘The Vampire Diaries’, which has spread across 8 long seasons and 171 episodes complete with flashbacks and complicated ancestral lines, it can become hard to keep track of a correct timeline of crucial events. With a little example, who did Elena Gilbert meet first?Damon Salvatore? or his little brother Stefan Salvatore? The real thing is that while it appeared that Stefan came into her life first, it was actually Damon.

We will show you now the events unfolded and the Damon-Elena love story began before Elena and the viewers even knew it:

When did Elena Meet Stefan

While many people believe that Elena Gilbert met Stefan Salvatore for the first time at Mystic Falls High school, as the series progressed, it was showed that he had already crossed paths with her before. In 2009, when Elena was in a car crash with her parents, it was Stefan who heard the crash near Wickery Bridge while he was in town visiting his nephew, Zach Salvatore. He went into the water, where Elena’s barely conscious father wanted him to help his unresponsive daughter first.

Stefan agreed on his wishes and saved Elena from drowning, only to be stunned into silence by the striking resemblance she shared with his old flame, the vampire Katherine Pierce. By the time he made it to back to the car, it was too late to save her parents, Grayson Gilbert and Miranda Gilbert. His curiosity to find out more about Elena kept him in Mystic Falls and made him join the school to get to know her better.

They met on the first day of school, just as Elena was emerging from the men’s room after scolding her younger brother, Jeremy Gilbert, who has turned to drugs to cope with their parents’ death. Distracted, she accidentally bumped into the “new guy,” i.e., Stefan Salvatore, she didn’t know, that she was saved by him — at least not until Season 1’s Episode 11, “Bloodlines.”

Her First Interaction With Damon Salvatore (Or So She Thought)

Elean met Damon Salvatore when she came looking for Stefan at the Salvatore Boarding House in Season 1, Episode 2. He intentionally told her about Katherine being a former lover of Stefan’s, and stressed that he was still heartbroken over their breakup. As time passed, Elena found herself drawn to the elder Salvatore, but she was conflicted about leaving Stefan. In Season 3, Episode 22, she even told Damon how things would have been different between them had she met him first.

It Turns Out, Elena Did Meet Damon Much Before She Met Stefan

In the same episode, a flashback revealed that Damon was also in Mystic Falls the night Elena’s parents died. He met the visibly upset Elena in the middle of the road and approached her, mistaking her for Katherine. Realizing that was not the case, he struck up a conversation with her and even flirted a little as he came to know that she was disconcerted by her then-boyfriend Matt Donovan’s plans for marriage and kids.

He told her that he knew what she wanted — an all-consuming, passionate love that would lead to adventures and a little danger. But as Elena’s parents arrived to pick her up, he compelled her to forget that she had ever met him, as he didn’t want people to be aware of his presence in town.

Since vampiric compulsion tends to wear off when one becomes a vampire, Elena regained her memories of Damon in Season 4, Episode 1 “Growing Pains.” She remembered how he had confessed that he loved her — as well as the fact that he was the stranger she met on the night of her parent’s death who told that he wanted her to have everything she wished for.