Title: the boys next door

Pairing: Caroline/Klaus; Slight Caroline/Kol; and some Caroline/Damon (if you squint)

Rating: M

Warnings: Language and Sexual Situations

Author's Note: It's been a while since I've updated. Life's been hectic and I've been getting a lot of good ideas for new fics. So, I wanted to update before I tried starting another fic. If you haven't checked out my Caroline/Eric fic and you're a fan of the ship or just a general True Blood fan I encourage you to check it out. I'd love your feedback! This chapter is kind of short because I am preparing to go on a trip but I wanted to update before I leave.


She looks good swiss cheese put your head from the hose

A pistol's sneaking tease more than I can ignore

A quick lap round the track, man, she's keeping me active

She looks good

The girl's attractive

The Girl's Attractive, Diamond Nights


VII

She bit her bottom lip, brow raised slightly in consideration. She had been trying to ignore the intense gaze sending sensations of warmth throughout her body all afternoon as the two made their way around the gallery. The blond tilted her head, taking in the contemporary painting hanging from the bland, white backdrop.

A cough disrupted her train of thought. Nik. She sent him a sideways look that read seriously? before rolling her eyes and continuing on to the next piece of display.

"What did you think of that one, love?" He inquired, accent thick as he spoke. She sighed, a shake of the head being her only response.

They were officially on their second date—which meant that her first date with Kol had only been three days ago. Three days for her to sit in her room and contemplate which Mikaelson suited her better…which had the better smile…which one smelt better (a hard decision when Nik smelt of his own masculine musk and cinnamon, while Kol's scent was more sweet and earthy)…

She'd been surprised to learn that Niklaus had a fondness for art. And even more surprised to discover he owned his own gallery in England. Of course, she'd simply had to see it.

"It was too—violent." Her face scrunched up with distaste and Nik chuckled at the display before ushering her over to a more pleasant visage.

It was of a horse—a beautiful dark mare. A small smile curved at the edge of her lips as she took it in, eyes shimmering with sudden delight.

"You like it?" The man prodded gently, noting the unexpected shift in her exterior. She nodded, staring up at him with that brilliant smile.

"When I was a little girl…my mom used to take me, Bonnie and Elena to the stables on the Lockwood property. It was nothing fancy, you know, but there was this one horse…I named her Apples." At his expression she gave a sheepish shrug, "She really liked apples, anyway…she was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen, not taking into account that I was eight and the only other horses I'd ever seen had been old and grey. But Apples, she had this mane that was darker than the night sky sometimes…"

"I loved horses when I was a boy, too." Nik informed her after a moment of silence passed between them. "My favorite horse…well, quite frankly died, but…I rode that horse whenever I could. Took him out of the stables twice a week…Bekah even learned how to ride on that horse…It was like he'd been part of the family."

Caroline nodded sympathetically. She recalled crying for hours after she'd received a call informing her that Apples had passed.

"Sometimes, the things you love…you lose," He said so softly she'd almost missed it. The blond was afraid to admit she found his sensitivity alluring in the strangest of ways. There was more to him then met the eye, and she wondered if the same could be said about Kol.

There she went again, thinking about one brother while she was with the other. She was pathetic…and deranged if she thought this was going to end well.

She cleared her throat, letting her eyes wander around the patrons of the small gallery a few doors down from an old pub. "So…where's your art?"

She had been waiting for this in practically all morning. It was exciting…and nerve wrecking to see a bit into the soul of the man who could potentially be the one.

A grin graced his countenance, dimples epic-ally on display for her. "Now, love, I don't show a girl my art until at least the third date."

:}{}{}{}{:

There was a thin line between love and hate. She loved Stefan, but hated Damon—well at least a majority of the time. But at that moment, they were the only two she had, seeing as Elena had been whisked away to some cottage on the country side by Matt and Lexi and Bonnie had decided to have a day at the spa (and not invite her).

She stared between the two Salvatores, taking in their mirrored expressions of amusement.

"This is not funny!" Caroline exclaimed eyes wide and wild, looking from Stefan to Damon.

The younger Salvatore scratched the back of his neck, "Actually it kind of is, Care. I mean—you practically were begging to see his art and now you're freaking out about whether or not it's going to be good."

"I'm with Blondie on this one," Damon spoke up, surprising the woman. The feeling of appreciation quickly vanished as he continued. "I mean, I dated this one chick…seriously hot…that thought she was a poet. Like the next Jane Austen or something…the problem was she couldn't write to save her fucking life. Honestly, the shit she spouted was enough to make me want to kill myself. She was a good lay, though."

"Wow, Damon. You've reached a new level of asshole." Caroline jibbed, recalling the woman in question being one of the girls from her old high school cheer-leading team that had come to visit her and Elena only a few months ago.

He shrugged, grin firmly in place. "You came to us for advice Blondie, remember?"

"If I remember correctly, I came to Stefan for advice and you decided to be an ass and add your two cents where it isn't wanted."

She crossed her arms over her chest, scowling back at him.

"Whoa, feisty! I think you're seriously letting this dating-two-brothers-at-the-same-time get the better of you, Care." Damon said, brows returning to their usual perch, standing from his seat in one swift movement. "You really need to invest in some yoga."

"Damon," Stefan sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose at his brother's abrasiveness. "Not helping…like at all."

The green eyed man returned his attention to the blond, offering a sympathetic smile—one he'd been using frequently since hearing about her quasi-ménage a trios. His kindness was simply one of the reasons he was her best friend.

"Honestly, Care, I think you're over thinking this a bit." The Salvatore admitted gently, before continuing. "I mean, so what if he's a shitty artist? I'm sure he'd appreciate your honesty, whether or not you like his work."

"Yeah, Blondie," Damon interjected with a thoughtful expression—for once. "If he can't accept your honesty, and it's brutal sometimes, then tell him to fuck off and go on your merry way with his brother—what's his name? Kol?"

The blond rolled her eyes, though mentally she hated to admit she found herself agreeing with him. She had allowed herself to bend to the whims of Tyler when they'd been dating. There were things she could never be honest with him about because she knew he would develop a complex about it or through a bitch fit over her lack of sensitivity and support. She couldn't—wouldn't allow herself to hold back how she really felt. And if Nik was serious about showing her his art then he'd just have to accept whatever way she felt about it, be it good or horrendously bad.

:}{}{}{}{:

She stared down at the list of party guests—noting the ones Niklaus highlighted. They were family. Finn Mikaelson, Elijah Mikaelson, Kol Mikaelson, Klaus Mikaelson, and Mikael Mikaelson (a bit redundant, she thought, eyes dancing over the last name). Mikael—she didn't recall either Nik or Kol mention him. Was this another brother? Their father? The first name was familiar—Elijah had been the man that shared a past with Katerina (a.k.a. the bitch).

She'd managed to book high-profile decorators for the event. A Jonas and Luka Martin—a father and son duo that had made headlines for the last extravagant event they'd been hired on to. And she had to admit…it felt good to actually be doing what the Mikaelson's hired her to do; especially when the party for their baby sister was now only a week away. That thought however, did little to ease the tension she felt in the pit of her stomach whenever she found herself in the company of Nik and Kol. She had yet to make a decision and she had her third date with Kol tonight. It was like she was some fence sitting politician that couldn't make up her mind. Where Nik was worldly, Kol was daring. Where Kol was amusing, Nik was intellectual. Put them in one body and they'd be the perfect man.

Her eyes skimmed over the open folders littering her desk. She definitely needed a break. Her hand moved to her phone, pressing the number combination designated for Lexi; waiting to hear her voice come over the speaker.

"Pearl's Events and Planning, this is Lexi speaking, how may I direct your call?" The blond rolled her eyes at her friend's overly chipper tone.

"Lex, it's me." Caroline muttered into the other end, leaning back in her seat, seeking the comfort of its plush back. "I need a break. Join?"

"Oh thank god! I've been sitting behind this desk for at least four hours." The older blond breathed out hoarsely. "I need some java juice oh mighty caffeine fairy."

"Meet me in ten."

Fifteen minutes later they were sitting across the street at a quaint café that reminded Care of the outdoor seating arrangement of the Mystic Grill back in Virginia. She stares down into the dark contents of her mug, hands wrapped around it, soaking in the warmth if provided her hands.

"Spill." Lexi commanded, like only she could, in a way that was both demanding and gentle.

"I have my third date with Kol tonight." The blond informed her, though it seemed her friends were already well informed when it came to her ever entertaining love life. "I really like him, Lex."

"So you're choosing Kol?" Lexi inquired with obvious interest, chin resting on her wrists as she leaned forward to listen intently.

"No…that's the thing. I really like Nik too. It's like they are completely different people…but everything about them that's different is equally appealing to me." Caroline explained, flailing her hands about her as she spoke with frustration. "I mean, not one of them has exhibited any red flags that would turn me completely off."

"Not one?" The older blond asked with surprise in her voice. The last guys she'd dated, before she'd met Lee, had all sent off some signals that had her running for the hills after the second date.

Caroline shook her head. "Not a single thing. No nail biting, nose picking, ball scratching…nothing. And that's why I can't seem to decide. I mean—two amazing men and they want me to choose between them after so many dates…it's insane."

"Well I always knew you were a little crazy." Lex chuckled lightly, smile brimming on her face as she continued. "Maybe you should make a list of Pros and Cons."

"Pros and Cons?"

"Yeah, you know a list of reasons why you should pick Nik or why you should pick Kol. That sort of thing." Lexi explained.

"Lex, I can't make a decision like this based off some list." Caroline said wait a sigh, shaking her head, "This is something that…requires listening to my gut. Do what it's telling me to do. I didn't do that when I was with Tyler and I'm the one that got burned. So now I have to."

And her gut was telling her she need to make a decision. Soon. Before anyone got too attached. She was giving herself until the third date for each, and then she'd make her choice. No matter what she had to make a choice. She couldn't be the kind of girl to string anyone along. Kol and Nik deserved better than that. She was better than that.

Yeah, third date and then she had to end it with one of them.


Thanks for reading! Please leave a review.