I wake up, tangled in covers, desperate to get them away from me. It's cold, I know, freezing with the window wide open; I jump when the blanket is pulled over my bare feet.


"Nightmare, love?"

I'd really rather he wasn't here, since everyone knows my hair is always perfect and it's not, tonight it's dirty, and there's blood under my fingernails that he's probably quite enjoying and I don't want him here, in all his shades of black and myriad necklaces like a surfer when water and sun and freedom and fun are the furthest things from his mind.

Normal fun, anyway.

"My dad died," I tell him bluntly.

"I heard that."

"Did you –"

"No, lovely." I can't remember if I've asked him this already but I know he killed his own father, so why should he be honest about mine?

He sits down on the end of my bed, beside my feet, which are suddenly hyper aware of his presence – stupid vampire feet. They begin to move away, up the bed so I'm all curled up in a ball and as far away from him as possible. It's kind of rude of me considering he gave me his blood and that beautiful bracelet and the dress and the sketch, but I feel odd about him touching me again. I doubt I'll ever get to know the real Klaus, not when one minute he's all, 'I fancy you' – which is not normal English – and the next he's about to rip my throat out on a park bench.

"What are you doing here?"

"No reason." Which means another gift. I wonder if it's the bracelet back again. I'm trying to peek round him and scout out the white ribbon with my super vamp eagle eyes when he says, "Would you like to go back to sleep?"

So rational, so reasonable. You wouldn't think he was a psycho who knew the waltz.

"I can't sleep after nightmares."

"What do you do, then?"

"Have a blood bag, watch some TV."

"Should you…" He hesitates. "Should you like to hear a story?"

I almost laugh at him, but you don't laugh at Klaus unless Klaus is making you laugh. "A story?"

"A story," he repeats, charging the word with all the enthusiasm he usually restrains for the names of those he hates. 'Damon' drags on forever, for example, while 'Stefan' comes out like a hiss and keeps on coming. 'Elena' is taffy for him, he'll chew it and roll it around like it tastes delicious and she'll blink her gorgeous big brown eyes at him and be more afraid than anyone, even though I'm the one whose bedroom he now seems to be entering at will.

"I should like a story," I say, because I like the funny way he talks.

There's a flash I can't track because he's an Original and he's actually in my bed, sitting behind me but a little to the side so my head naturally falls into his lap. No, I pray, don't let him touch my greasy hair. He'll probably murder me for poor hygiene. God clearly doesn't listen to vampires' prayers because Klaus picks up a strand of my hair, twirling it around and around his finger before choosing another and beginning to plait.

"The story?" I remind him.

"I like your hair."

"Thank you."

"I used to help Rebekah braid hers every evening."


"And then she'd braid mine."

That image amuses me even though it shouldn't, and my nose squinches up, just a little. I'm terrified, but he smiles at me.

"I'm not going to rip your head off if you laugh."

"Will I laugh at your story?" Things are getting desperate, he's getting dangerously close to the roots and pretty soon he's going to freak out over how disgusting they are, and then I'm going to die – either death by vampire or death by embarrassment.

"There isn't going to be any story tonight."

Oh God. He's going to kill me.

"The one I chose would bore you."

The braid is finished, and then he's looking down at me. I wonder if he's going to kiss me. I wonder if I'd kiss him back. He said he liked me being honest but if I didn't kiss him back, would that be worse than kissing him back and being dishonest? And what if I wanted to kiss him or, if I didn't, just kissed him back anyway and found I did really want to kiss him? He looks like he'd like to kiss me.

"Go to sleep, Caroline," is what Klaus compels me to do instead of kissing him.

Even though I've been taking vervain like the Salvatores do, I still close my eyes and breathe slowly.

I want to see how long he stays.