Caroline woke up the next morning and looked out at Papa already out working. She walked down the stairs slower than usual, to see if she could hear Stefan. When there was no noise, she walked on and entered their small kitchen. She took mama's apron off the coat hanger and tied it around her slim waist. Caroline wanted to have breakfast ready on time, late was not like her.
As she mixed the ingredients , her mind was racing… thinking about Levi and how the war was. Thinking about mama and how much she wished for her to be there. She could ask her what to do and how to feel. Her mama always had the answers… She might have just been a little girl when she was alive but had important questions. Well at the time they were important, and mama never treated them as anything less. Caroline felt a tear escape and run down her cheek, as if its goal was to make it into the batter. She caught it and wiped it away "I don't know what to do Mama… If you are watching over us like Papa says, I really need you right now. I need help. I need you. What do I do?"
"Care? You okay?" Benjamin said, walking into the kitchen. He would usually stop at the door and tell her he was back from rounds. But when he walked in, he heard her and just walked on in.
Caroline almost jumped out of her skin when she heard her father behind her, turning around "Papa… you scared me." she caught her breath and wiped her eyes "I'm okay. Just making breakfast."
He nodded at her and took a seat at the table, taking off his farm boots. They sit there in silence for a while as Caroline was getting breakfast ready. "Caroline." He said looking up at her "I heard what you said. I am not your Mother and I don't think I will ever be able to be that, but I am here if you need someone."
Caroline set the table and smiled at him "Thanks Papa but I am okay." She looked at the food in front of her, laying on the table. "I am not hungry this morning papa, I will take Mr. Salvatore a plate and start on folding laundry. If that is okay?" She knew she was breaking her one rule but could bring herself to eat right now.
Benjamin nodded at his Daughter and watched her make a plate for their guest. He hated to see her so distraught but wasn't sure how to help. He would never be Elizabeth and still didn't know everything about raising a Daughter without her.
Caroline went and knocked on Stefan' door "Mr. Salvatore. I have your breakfast." she said in a soft tone, with a knock on the door.
After a few moments had passed he answered "Come in Ms. Forbes." in a raspy morning voice.
Caroline opened the door and walked in, giving him the plate "Breakfast Mr. Salvatore. If you need anything let me know, I will be in the laundry room." Once again breaking her one rule, the one she introduced to him the day before but she couldn't stay. She just couldn't.
He smiled at her "Thank you ever so much, Ms. Forbes." He said as she was going to leave "When you finish up, come back if you have time. I still owe you a story."
Caroline felt a huge smile form on her face. It was the type of smile that made her cheeks hurt and her eyes crinkle up. One that helped make her morning better. "Well I will have to be sure to finish up then. Won't I?" She said as she walked out of the room.
Caroline spent her whole time finishing up the laundry and hanging it on the line to dry, thinking about him. She couldn't help it, it consumed her and she felt her best with him. Once she had finished and cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast, Caroline went back to him.
He looked up from the book he reading "Back so soon Ms. Forbes." He smirked at her and laid the book on the bed "Ready for the story now? To figure who I am.
Caroline nodded at him with a smile as she took a seat. She sit there beside him, where she had told him about her life the day before.
He began "My Father Giuseppe Salvatore moved to America from Florence in his 20's. He always said that he wanted give him future family a good life. Once he got here, he took up residence in small Virginia town by the name of Mystic Falls. There he met my mother, Lillian Blair, and was soon to be married and got involved with the town council. Not very long after my parents were married, my older brother Damon was born. When my brother was five years old, my mother had me. The longer my parents were together the more you noticed how terrible of a man Giuseppe was. Things kept getting worse, they fought all the time and it got to the point of violence. I remember being terrified at night as a child because of the screaming and the sounds of things breaking. Damon would always come and hold me, he was best big brother you could ask for. Anytime Father would plan me for something or ask who did it, Damon would take the blame and get punished. He said he was afraid of what Father would do to me and didn't want me hurt." He stopped her a moment a looked at her, listening intently. "When I was 10 years old my mother passed away with consumption and I knew Damon was all I had left… So here I am Ms. Forbes, with you as a wounded soldier of the Confederacy."
Caroline listened to him talk so calmly about the events in his life, hers was nothing compared to his. When he finished, she looked up at him "Mr. Salvatore, If you don't mind me asking is there a reason you joined the war instead of your older brother? Or did you both?"
"Father told Damon he had to join the war, but his Fiancee had just found out she was pregnant. That would be very looked down upon if it was to get out, and he didn't want anyone to know, except for the three of us. So instead of telling Father about the baby, I volunteered to come in his place. I was only a couple weeks over 18 but he had always been there for me. I couldn't let him down" Stefan answered.
"You were barely even a man, Mr. Salvatore. I am very sorry about you having to do this." Words came out of Caroline's mouth before she could stop herself or know what she was saying. She looked down and couldn't believe she had just said that. "I'm sorry" she said.
"It's quite alright Ms. Forbes. If I wouldn't have, I would not be her talking to you." Stefan said and smiled at her, acknowledging that it was okay.