Hey everyone! I hope you like this new AU/AH story of mine!
Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of The Vampire Diaries but the plot is mine.
Caroline Forbes charged through the front doors of Saltz Productions with her head held high and her back ram rod straight. She was meeting Alaric Saltzman for the first time since she was cast as the female lead his new movie, Ghostly Echoes, and there was a bubbling pit if anxiety in her stomach.
"Don't chicken out now, Forbes," she murmured to herself as her heels clicked against the marble floor. "There's a reason you were given this opportunity. You're a great actress and you will do just fine!"
The elevator doors slid open before she could press the call button and she weaseled her way into the tight corner of the car. Other patrons gathered around her as she stood staring at the ceiling and counted each floor until the car came to a stop at the 9th level.
"Excuse me," she mumbled, elbowing her way out. "Please – excuse me!"
She had made sure to leave her rented penthouse an hour early that morning but she still managed to bolt into the office with only a minute to spare. The receptionist behind the desk barely glanced at her as she stumbled over the threshold and not so elegantly dropped her purse on the floor.
The woman behind the desk cleared her throat and Caroline felt her face flush with embarrassment as she leaned down to grab the bag in her fingers, clutching it to her stomach as she awkwardly met the other woman's gaze.
Caroline nodded jerkily and her blonde hair fell over her shoulders and into her face. "Yes, that's me."
The woman pursed her tight lips and raised an eyebrow. "Alaric will see you now."
"Oh – okay." Caroline took a deep breath and straightened her spine, silently repeating her positive mantra in her head. She came to a stop at the door and hesitated before grabbing the doorknob. "Do I just walk right in?"
The receptionist didn't respond; instead, she waved her hand absentmindedly as the phone began to ring and she answered with a polite greeting. Apparently, she was saving her lack luster attitude especially for Caroline.
Caroline forced another deep breath into her lungs and she wrapped her hand around the metal doorknob, thrusting the door open and taking her first timid steps into the room. Alaric Saltzman was sitting behind his lavish desk and was smiling to the other person in the room sitting opposite him.
Caroline watched as Alaric became aware of her presence and he smiled, slowly standing from his chair. "Miss Forbes! Please, come in and meet your costar!"
Caroline's eyes whipped to the other man and she watched in fascination as Klaus Mikaelson turned to meet her eyes. Caroline had to clamp down on her lips to make sure that her mouth didn't fall open in shock at the sight of him. She'd seen his movies but the movie screen didn't do him justice.
His eyes were the deepest shade of blue Caroline had ever seen and they were deep set and surrounded by light brown freckles. His full pink lips were pulled into a smirk as looked her up and down, taking in her appearance. Suddenly, Caroline felt a slightest bit self-conscious and she crossed her arms over her stomach, making his gaze snap to hers.
"Pleasure," Klaus said with a melodious British accent. "I'm sure."
Caroline felt the tension the moment she stepped farther in the room and she herself went rigid, surprised that Klaus didn't even stand to shake her hand. He just stayed seated in the chair in front of the desk and crossed his ankle of his knee, interlocking his fingers and twiddling his thumbs.
Alaric rolled his eyes as Klaus and came around the desk to greet Caroline properly, grasping her hand and pumping it in a comfortable greeting. "It's nice to finally meet you, Miss Forbes. Please, sit down! We have quite a bit to discuss!"
Caroline smiled into Alaric's kind eyes and followed his lead, taking the chair beside Klaus. "Thank you, Alaric; it's an absolute pleasure to be here!"
"Oh, please, call me Ric!" He smiled brightly at her and turned his gaze to Klaus. "Klaus, don't you have anything to say to Miss Forbes?"
Klaus' azure eyes once more fixed on Caroline and she squirmed underneath his attention, chastising herself when she saw he smirked at her discomfort. "Not much to say, I'm afraid. I'm sure she's heard all about me."
Caroline's mouth did fall open then and she scoffed. "Excuse me?"
"Okay," Ric said breathily, clapping his hands on the desk. "I can see you're going to be the best of friends. Now, let's discuss the movie!"
Caroline was bristling mad and she locked her lips in a tight straight line, turning her entire body to face away from Klaus. He watched in amusement as she tensed and trained her stare at Ric who was pulling open his desk drawer and taking out two thick manila envelopes.
"Caroline, this is all of the information you will be needing about your character and Klaus – ," Ric said hanging them both their envelopes. " – all of your information is in your envelope as well. There is also a detailed set of directions about how to get to the studio and information about your trailer. I hope you two can become better acquainted with each other before we start shooting but it's not necessary. Now…are there any questions?"
Caroline felt the breath whoosh from her lungs as she grasped the thick parchment in her hands. She stared down at it and felt excited tears fill her eyes to which she quickly blinked them away. This was something she'd wanted for as long as she could remember. Growing up in Eureka, California had given her high hopes of becoming an actress on the big screen since she was a young girl.
"Yes, I have a question," Klaus said, leaning forward on his crossed legs. "Has Miss Forbes been properly informed about my preferences?"
Caroline snapped out of her reverie to glare at her costar. She quickly set to work on mimicking his position and she batted her eyelashes, pursing her lips. "No, he hasn't informed me of your preferences."
Klaus' eyes merely skipped to hers for a heartbeat before he stood gracefully from the chair. He straightened his clothes and stepped around the desk to gaze out of the wall of windows that stood behind Ric's desk. He stared down at the cars and finally turned around to stare at Caroline as his lips quirked slightly in a crooked smirk.
"Don't mistake me for someone you can address so self-righteously, Miss Forbes. While you are a newbie actress with no real background to display your talent, I am Klaus Mikaelson. This is my movie and I'd like if you remembered that."
Caroline felt the color drain from her face as Klaus gracefully made the small trip back to his seat and picked up the envelope from the cushion. He grasped his iPhone in one hand as he reached across the desk to shake hands with Ric, pumping his hand twice. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Saltzman; I will be on the set bright and early tomorrow morning. Miss Forbes?" he questioned, turning back around to face her. Caroline was still staring at him with a pale face and a small smile lit his face; a smile, not a smirk. "I shall see you tomorrow, as well, sweetheart."
Klaus dropped Ric's hand and rounded the chairs to walk to the door where he pulled it open smoothly and shut it with a soft click. Caroline swallowed hard and gaped at Ric who quickly noticed she was shaking.
"Don't listen to him, Caroline," Ric murmured, shaking his head. "There's a reason you were given this role and it's because you earned it. You're talented, Caroline; don't forget that. Also, don't let it go to your head like that jackass."
Ric stood and walked back around the side of the desk to grasp Caroline's shaking hands in his. "Klaus' bark is much worse than his bite."
Caroline's laugh was watery and she cleared her throat of the unwanted tears. "If that was just his bark than I think I might need to buy him a muzzle."
Ric laughed with her and put his arm over her shoulder, leading her to the door. "Don't worry, Caroline. You wouldn't have been cast if you weren't a good actress. Besides! You could teach Klaus a thing or two about being a decent human being!"
She snorted quietly and walked out of the door to where Ric led her to the elevators. Klaus was long gone and Caroline was incredibly grateful to not have to share the elevator ride down with him.
"Thank you, Ric," Caroline side genuinely, smiling into Ric's kind brown eyes. "I'm unbelievably excited to work with you on this movie."
"Oh, don't thank me, Miss Forbes! You're going to want to kill me in a few weeks, I guarantee it!"
Caroline walked back onto the empty elevator and smiled sheepishly at Ric as he stood on the other side. "Depending on how it goes with my costar, I'm probably going to want to kill him."
The elevator doors slid shut and Caroline let out a final, weak breath. Meeting Klaus hadn't gone at all like she had expected but she was relieved to know that Ric wasn't a tyrant and seemed to be a nice person.
Caroline could feel it in her bones that this movie was going to do great things for her. She wasn't going to let some spoiled, British playboy ruin her chances of having an amazing experience. She would make herself forget his atrocious behavior; and she would definitely make herself forget the small tingle in her spine when he called her sweetheart.