(A/N: I am really sorry that these updates have been taking so long. Please don't hate me, it's here now! My little reward to you guys for nominating this fic for the Klaroline Awards again this year. ;)... That being said, I do have to say that the end of this chapter has a TRIGGER WARNING. The fic has been pretty mild up to this point, and I rated it 'M' for a reason. The title/song for this chapter is "It Doesn't Hurt" by Katie Thompson. I actually got the inspiration from this song by watching a video on youtube of 'So You Think You Can Dance – CANADA'. There's a contemporary dance to this song where the girl is in an Insane Asylum and the guy is her lover coming to visit her. You can watch it on youtube if you search: SYTYCD It doesn't hurt. It should be the first video that pops up. OMG YOU ALL HAVE TO WATCH. PROMISE ME YOU WILL WATCH IT, AND GET THE FEELS. Haha, so anyways, that's why I chose the song. Listen. Read. Review. Enjoy!)
The time drags painfully slow every day that I don't get to speak to Klaus. Dr. Gilbert still lets me see him every once in a while, but only in moderation. I guess he thinks that too much of a good thing will distract me from my ultimate goal of getting out of here. He just doesn't want to see me get carried away into my 'fantasies'.
Oh gosh, that's so embarrassing. My psychiatrist knows that I fantasize about my former caretaker. That man sure knows how to weasel information out of me when I'm unconscious. There's a special place in hell reserved for the person that invented hypnotherapy. So far, it's done nothing to help me since I've been in here. It's just a manipulation tool that shrinks use to open you up and find out your deepest, darkest secrets. Then they use those secrets to continue over-analyzing the crap out of you, so they can give you a diagnosis for what you already know you are: Broken.
This 'new information' is besides the point though. He's right to ration my time with Klaus. I have to stay focused. I need to make progress.
And no one's better at keeping me accountable than Lexi. She doesn't watch me like a hawk, thank goodness, but she does happen to show up whenever I feel tempted to go look for him. It's like she has a sense for when I'm thinking of him, and a radar for whenever we're in close proximity.
It's even happening right now as I'm sitting here in the lobby. From the window, I can see Klaus's car pull into a parking space just out front. As if on queue, Lexi walks out of a nearby room and spots me.
"Hey girl," she greets, sitting down across from me, "Watcha doin'?"
"Reading," I reply softly, bringing my eyes back down to the open book in my lap.
"May I?" she asks, gesturing to the book.
I nod my head and hand it to her.
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," she reads aloud, "This book is a trip, why are you reading it?
I shrug, "The story is all over the place, but I like it. It's bright and imaginative... and realistic."
"Realistic?" She scoffs, now flipping through the pages, "How?"
"Well, realistic for me at least," I reply with a soft chuckle, "Lewis Carroll wrote about his hallucinations. Only... his were happy."
She pauses for a moment and looks up at me, "I'm sure they weren't all happy."
"Still..." I respond meekly, "I'd trade mine for painted roses and a mad tea-party any day."
"The man was sick, Caroline, and he never got better. Even if you could change your hallucinations, it's not going to take away the underlying problem."
I nod my head in agreement.
"You're right," I say, defeated, and turn my gaze back outside the window.
My eyes focus in on the front two car seats. There's someone with him, on the passenger side. A girl. She leans in and gives him a quick kiss.
I've never turned my head away so fast in my life.
I watch Lexi continue to carelessly flip through the pages of my book before she hands it back over to me. She hesitates before speaking again.
"It must be nice to have a temporary escape though," she says with a sympathetic smile.
I close my eyes and focus on her words, temporary escape.
"How can I make myself believe that something's not there?" I ask quickly, voice cracking.
"With force," she replies simply.
I open my eyes and look at her disbelievingly, "Easier said than done."
"Of course it's not easy, it's not meant to be easy. The brain loves patterns, Caroline. And when a pattern is changed, or altered, it creates stress."
"But the whole point of changing my 'pattern' is so that I won't be stressed," I say, running a hand through my hair, "Isn't there any way I can avoid that?"
"Ya can't," she says, shaking her head and scrunching her nose, "That's why it's so hard."
I give out a frustrated sigh and slump down in my seat. She gets up to leave and gives me an encouraging pat on the shoulder.
"Your brain is always dealing with stress Caroline, whether you're aware of it or not. It's called coping. It's called life."
With that last bit of wisdom, she turns her back and starts to walk away.
"Well I guess you'll just have to teach me your ways then," I call out sarcastically.
"That's why I'm here!" She calls back.
I chuckle at her last remark.
One of these days I'm going to learn how to take charge over my hallucinations, but for now I've got to figure out how to take charge on the other areas of my life. Starting with Klaus.
I can't just go on with my day after witnessing that display in the car. One minute he's all sweet and giving me his stuffed bear from childhood, and the next minute he's all over some other girl? No. I need to know what's going on now, because I can't take this anymore. I'll keep my distance from him later.
He's probably in the staff room by now, clocking back in from his lunch break. So I hide behind the door frame to the rec room and wait for him to come back out. When he does, his eyes are glued to thick file he's holding. I follow close behind and try to keep my composure.
"Hey," I greet, walking with him down the hallway.
"Hey," he replies, a bit startled.
My eyes flash down to the file in his hands.
"Whatcha got there?" I ask, trying to sound as light as possible.
"Documents of personal items that patients have checked-in with over the years," he explains, "They're in a big storage room in the back. I have to clean out the ones belonging to the patients who aren't here anymo-"
"That sounds really interesting," I say quickly, cutting him off short, "How was your lunch break?"
I don't have a lot of time with him, might as well get right to the point.
He stops dead in his tracks and turns to me, "You saw."
It doesn't sound like a question or accusation, but more of a sudden realization where he seems to be internally kicking himself. I answer anyway.
"See what? I saw nothing. I was just wond-"
"Caroline, I can tell when you're lying," he interjects, "You start talking really fast and your voice gets really high pitched. It goes up about five octaves."
"Oh..." I say quietly, my face turning a light shade of pink.
After a moment of silence, he sighs and rubs a hand over his face, "I was with Tatia."
"Oh... you're still seeing her?" I ask in pleasant tone. I don't know why I keep pretending to sound chipper, I can feel myself swallowing back the tears.
I just need to find some glimmer of hope. Something that salvages any feelings he might have for me.
"Yes," He says affirmatively, looking directly into my eyes.
It's not hard or defensive, but rather careful and precise. I do my best to not look hurt, and instead, nod my head understandingly. This is the way things are. This is what it has to be.
"I've got to get going," he says flatly, avoiding eye-contact, "Anyways, we really shouldn't be talking right now, ya know?
"I know," I agree, voice giving in and cracking, "It's not the same anymore. Things have changed."
He closes his eyes for a moment, there's a look of consideration on his face, and when they open again, they finally meet with mine.
"Not everything," he says softly.
"What is that supposed to mean?" I ask quietly, no longer trying to mask the hurt in my voice. I've given up. I've lost my patience. Klaus may be able to wait until I'm out of here to talk about this, but I can't. I'm tired of playing these games.
Stefan appears suddenly, giving Klaus a pat on the back.
"You coming?" he asks.
"Yeah," he replies hesitantly, "See you around, Care."
And just like that, he walks off with him.
I turn on my heal and head straight to my room, forcing back tears the whole way there. I don't stop for any reason, and ignore every person that tries to greet me on the way. As soon as I'm there, I go into the bathroom and lock myself inside.
Being in a camera-free zone, I finally give in to the aching pain in my chest. I allow it to seep into my bloodstream, course throughout my body, and sink me to the floor. There, I start letting out quiet, but heavy sobs, willing the pain to release itself through my tears. I try to think of something, anything, that can distract me from this horrible sensation.
I think back to what Lexi said... about forcing myself to believe that something's not there. She was referring to blocking out my hallucinations, but who says I can't try it with this?
So I close my eyes, and do just that. I force the pain away and make myself believe that it's not there.
Nice work there, Klaus. Could you be anymore obtuse?
Stefan quickly grabs a bin needed for a new patient and makes his way out of the storage room.
"I'll be right back," he says.
After he leaves, I lock myself inside and use the file in my hands to hit against my forehead repeatedly.
I am such an idiot. Of course I mention Tatia and then continue to lead on Caroline. What is wrong with me?
I run a hand through my hair out of frustration, tussling the short blonde curls and making them poke out in every direction. I've got to end this once and for all, I can't take it anymore.
Stefan knocks on the door, saying it's him. I unlock it and let him inside.
"Nice hair," he teases, "What did you do in here, make love to yourself?"
I play along, "You know you wish it was you."
"Oh, but who could resist those pretty blue eyes?"
"Alright," I say, "Enough flirting, let's get to work."
Elijah asked us to clean out anything that would be considered as junk, and to hold onto anything that we could donate to 'Good Will'. Usually the contents are supposed to go back to the owners when they leave the hospital. But in this case, we either no longer have contact with them, or the owner's didn't want to collect their things. Most of the time, it's the latter. Bad memories I guess?
Out of sheer curiosity, the first bin I decide to recover is Tyler Lockwood's. I pop open the lid and observe the contents inside: ripped jeans, a black t-shirt with a logo of the marijuana leaf, a digital watch, a wallet with no cash or credit cards, and an unused condom.
Why am I not surprised?
"Of course" I mutter under my breath.
Stefan drags the big trash can to the center of the room where I immediately empty all of Tyler's junk.
"Hey, wait," Stefan protests, "Is any of that stuff useful?"
"Does any of it look useful?" I retort.
Stefan grabs a few things back out and takes a quick look, "Oh hey, you found the Tool kit."
I snicker at his remark.
"You see what I did there?"
"I see what you did," I confirm, grabbing the things out of his hands and putting them back in the trash.
After hours of cleaning out forgotten items left by former patients, Stefan and I finally get to rearranging the bins marked by the ones still checked-in.
Elijah comes in to take a look at our progress.
"Well done, boys. Keep up the good work," he says, "Klaus, may I speak with you for just a moment?"
"Sure," I reply, and we walk over to the other side of the room.
"Caroline has been exceedingly moody today," he starts, and points to a nearby shelf, "I want you to take her bin and just show her some things she had when she first checked-in. I think it would cheer her up. Then place it back here you're done."
"Are you sure you want me to do this?" I ask carefully.
"Yes, it would mean more to her if it came from you," he replies, and starts to walk out the door, "Just be careful what you say to her, as always."
I take in a deep breath and let it out when he exits. I do as he says, walking over the shelf he pointed to, and grab the small plastic container with a label on the side that reads, Caroline Forbes.
Stefan is minding his own business, organizing the bins on another shelf.
"I'll be right back," I say, leaving the room before he has a chance to respond.
When I get to her room, the door is already open. I take a peek inside and see her laying on the bed, flat on her stomach, reading a book. She doesn't look upset, just tired.
"You can come in if you want, Klaus" she says, not even glancing up at me.
"How'd you know it was me?" I ask, entering the room, "I didn't even say anything."
"I just knew," she says, closing her book and giving me her undivided attention.
"Look, I didn't mean to get you upset earlier, it's just-"
"Klaus," she interjects, holding up her hand for me to stop, "Don't worry about it, really. I didn't mean to get so defensive, I had no right. What's your business is your business."
She's sincere. If only I could tell her the truth.
"Are you okay?"
"Mhm, I am now," she says, nodding her head, "Lexi gave me something to think about for whenever I hallucinate: forcing myself to believe something's not there. It doesn't work too well with pain though..."
I cringe at that last sentence, "I don't want to cause you pain."
"Let's just forget it happened," she says in a more chipper tone, and seats herself up on the bed, "What's in the box?"
I can tell she doesn't want to think back on it, so I decide to drop the subject too.
"Your things," I say, seating myself down beside her, "Wanna see some stuff you had when you first checked-in to here?"
"Yes!" She says excitedly.
I pop off the lid and we take a look at the contents inside. The first thing she pulls out is a small blue t-shirt with a picture of a white horse.
"Aww!" She exclaims, and continues looking over the other things: Yellow shorts, a polka dotted head band, and a small bottle of pills.
"Hey, I remember this!" she says, grabbing the bottle, "These were the pills that made my pee turn orange!"
Wait a minute, "Orange?"
"Yep, I remember they were supposed to make it hurt less when I peed."
"Let me see that," I say, taking the bottle from her hands, "Phenazopyridine... Did you have a U.T.I. when you were a kid?"
"U.T.I... that sounds familiar. What is that again?"
"It's a urinary tract infection."
"Ew, why would I have that?"
"Well, many reasons," I start to name a few, "Poor kept hygiene, dehydration, swimming in public pools, waiting too long to urinate-"
"Sex..." she says, looking down and staring off into space.
Her eyes flood with terror and I suddenly get a horrible feeling at the pit of my stomach.
"Caroline?" I ask carefully.
She shrieks and clasps her hands over her mouth, "I REMEMBER!"
(A/N: Don't forget to leave a review!- Or just nag me to update. You can message/follow me on tumblr as well. My user name on there is the same as here.)