Light shone through the large windows of a small apartment in New York, basking the space in an afternoon glow. Caroline rolled over in her covers, trying to bury herself deeper into the mattress. A light knock could be heard coming from the door, but she tried ignoring it. At first it was easy, but then the knocking became incessant.
"Go away," Caroline muttered to whoever was trying to disturb her peaceful slumber.
"Open up, Care," Elena demanded. Caroline moaned in response. There was no way that little brunette was making her get out of bed.
"I refuse," she responded, putting the pillow over her head. The knocking didn't cease.
"I can stand out here all day if you want, but I'm not going away," she said, singing the last part a little. Caroline's eyes narrowed. What time was it even? Her hands reached out to snap the alarm clock from the end table. How did it get to be one o'clock already? Caroline moaned and eased herself off of the bed, scratching her bedhead before walking over to the door and looking out of the peephole. Elena stood in the absolute center, glaring at the little hole.
"I come bearing gifts," Elena added, waving the two coffees in front of her.
"Are they both for me?"
"No, piggy. One is for me." Caroline could see Elena shake her head. The blonde unlocked the door and took the steaming cup gratefully.
"I'll live with just one then," she said as she walked into the kitchen. She opened her lid and saw that Elena had already put cream in it. It still needed a couple packets of sugar, whether Elena had put some in it already or not. Caroline rummaged through the cabinets in search of a sugary relief for her coffee. The cabinets squeaked just a bit as she opened them, showing their age. She sighed.
The apartment might have been small and old, but it was adequate for Caroline's needs. Brick walls surrounded the entire room, while a cement ceiling kept a roof over her head. The kitchen and dining room were decent sizes, but the rest of it was a bit smaller than that. Her bedroom was in the same area as her living room, with only a platform to separate them. She had tried to decorate the place as much as she could, but the dinginess of it all still resided. At least there were enough windows to bring in a lot of light in the mornings, and provide an excellent view of the city at night.
Being a yoga instructor didn't offer a lot of money, but it was enough to get by and make her happy. She lived right across from the studio, and it was easy to get to and from the place. Not to mention it was a great workout on the days she had a class. Caroline knew she wouldn't leave the apartment. It was right above the coffee shop her two best friends worked at, and she had gotten used to it in the amount of time she had been there. What, four years? Yea, she had moved there when she was twenty, so for four years she had been there. She had honestly gotten used to it, and was proud to call it home.
"You really should stop sleeping in so late," Elena chided.
"You're so motherly."
"Someone has to be responsible."
"I resent that fact," Caroline said, acting appalled, "I can be responsible most of the time."
"Right now," she stuck her tongue out, causing Elena to giggle and take a seat at Caroline's dining room table.
"Did you have a date or something last night? Is there a boy hiding in here that I should be on the lookout for?" Elena turned her head, pretending to look around the apartment. Caroline just gave her a face and sat down at the table with her.
"No, miss know-it-all. There was no date last night. Hell, when was the last time I had a date?" Elena only shrugged, so she continued.
"As much as I wish I had a date, I was just up late watching stuff on Netflix. The amount of shows and movies on there are endless," she said, amazed at the numerous titles she had scanned through.
"Chick flicks again?" Elena asked, slowly sipping her coffee.
That was Caroline's way of escaping reality. She couldn't remember the last time she had gotten a date. People would think being a yoga teacher would allow for a phenomenal body, and many ways to get acquainted with a guy. Except no one considered that most of her students were females, and that she was a homebody. She enjoyed staying in and reading, or watching movies on Netflix, or hanging out with her friends. Elena was probably…no, was the closest friend she had. Besides Stefan and Tyler, she was the one Caroline would share all of her secrets with.
"We're both pretty sorry excuses for girls," Elena said sadly. Caroline gave her a disapproving look.
"Are you kidding me? We're awesome. Do you remember what I gave you for your birthday?"
Elena covered her mouth, a small blush rising to her cheeks. "A necklace," she mumbled.
"Not just any necklace. A lesbian friend necklace, cause we're freaky like that," she winked and blew Elena a kiss. Elena started giggling uncontrollably. Caroline smiled and continued. "See? We're cool, and any guy would be lucky to have us. We're not sad excuses."
Sometimes Caroline wondered herself how true it was, but she knew Elena was gorgeous, and shouldn't be so worried about guys when she would nab one sometime soon. Caroline knew it would happen for her too, it was just taking longer than she had originally thought. She was the little girl who would wish on stars for her prince charming to come and sweep her off her feet. To have the kind of romance where it was all she could think about from the time she woke up, to the time she went to bed. Caroline would get that too, she just knew she had to be patient. In the meantime, she would watch chick flicks and wait for destiny to do its job.
"Speaking of guys, have you seen the new hunk moving in upstairs?"
"Wait, someone moved in upstairs? Where was I?"
"Sleeping," Elena deadpanned. Caroline laughed humorlessly before urging her to continue.
"Anyway, when I was being the great friend that I am and bringing you your coffee, I heard the ruckus being made from upstairs. I took a quick peek and saw a couple of blondes moving in. One male and one female in their early to late twenties were moving furniture into the open apartment."
"The one right above mine? It's been open for months. I was almost sure no one would take it."
"Yea, that one. You must have scared all the others away."
"You're so funny," Caroline said sarcastically, "but if anyone was scared, it was me! That creep who lived in it before was an asshole, and I was afraid he would rob me blind when I was out for the day."
"Luckily these two seem a lot more normal, which makes me question why they're here in the first place. Only weird people want to take up residency above the coffee shop," Elena said, attempting another jab at Caroline. This time, the blonde hit her playfully on the shoulder.
"Next time I'm leaving you outside!" The two girls started laughing and Caroline got up to throw her coffee cup away.
"It doesn't matter if he's a hunk either way. He apparently has another blonde to provide him some entertainment," Caroline reminded the brunette. Elena shrugged and finished up her coffee.
"They could break up. You never know."
"Very true. If that happens, then I just might consider giving him my attention. I still haven't seen him."
"If you'd get up earlier, you might actually see the world that lives outside these four walls," Elena offered. Caroline ran to tackle the girl, but she was already using a chair as her shield.
"Ugh! I'm getting changed. Start thinking of reasons why you're my friend, because I'm starting to forget!" Caroline chuckled and went through her drawers to find something to wear.
"If I did that, we'd be here all day," Elena quipped.
Caroline just made a face and continued looking in her drawers. It was still the beginning of August, so she might as well take advantage of what was left of summer. She closed her drawers and went straight for her closet. There was a white dress with blue flowers on it that she had been meaning to wear. It was a halter dress with a black ribbon around the waist, and ruffles around the bottom. Worn with black sandals, it would be just what she was looking for.
She quickly changed and turned around to find Elena watching some show on T.V. that she didn't recognize. Caroline quickly put her hair in a ponytail and motioned for Elena to follow her.
"Are you ready? Or am I just getting dressed for you?"
"Sorry, you just took so long I had to sit down for an hour," Elena said as she got up. Man, she was on a roll today.
"Someone woke up on the right side of the bed this morning." Elena just smiled and pushed Caroline to the door.
"Let's go. Stefan is going to be wondering where we are."
Caroline and Elena made their way down the four flights of stairs it took to get to the coffee shop. The brick walls continued down here, although the space was much, much bigger than it was upstairs. Lots of whites, and browns, and brick made the look of the place. A counter stood on one end, with two blackboards on either side behind it, showcasing the specials for that day. Lights were scattered everywhere for when it got dark. They would create a very homey atmosphere once it was nighttime. Tables, booths, and couches were also at various places in the little café. A newspaper and magazine rack stood by the entrance, along with a table to customize your coffee. Sugars, creams, powders, stir sticks, etc.
Behind the wooden counter, stood a man the same age as her and Elena. He had perfectly sculpted hair and bright green eyes. His work attire consisted of a black t-shirt and dark blue jeans, along with a white apron that had the logo on the front of it. The Blue Moon's logo was just that, a blue circle with the name of the shop in black letters over top of it. Caroline and Elena walked up to the counter and leaned over, both with an overly sweet smile on their face.
"Hi, Stefan!" Caroline said excitedly. He gave her his usual grin and kept going on about his business.
"Hello, Caroline," he said softly. The boy had always been soft-spoken, ever since she could remember. She had known both him and Elena since high school. In all that time, Stefan had never once gone wild or done anything very daring. He preferred to stick to his writing and his friends.
"And how are you today?"
"I'm doing just fine. Had to deal with Damon's bad mood today, but managed to get through it."
"What was it this time?" Stefan's brother, Damon, was some successful businessman somewhere. Stefan and Damon lived together in a penthouse about fifteen minutes from the shop. His brother was always in a bad mood it seemed. Whether it was some client for whatever his business was, or whether the girl he had hooked up with the night before was hard to get rid of, he was in a bad mood. Stefan was always the one to have to clean it up too. He couldn't necessarily help with the clients, but he would always manage to get the girls out one way or another. Usually it was done through genuine kindness and a couple white lies. Caroline had experienced a morning Stefan had to go through before, and it was somewhat funny how he dealt with them. Yet, it was a bit sad that he was left to clean up his older brother's messes.
"A girl he picked up at that Irish pub he went to last night. Some redhead that kept claiming her love for him was real," he said as he shook his head.
"I don't see how anybody falls for your brother. He is such a dick," Elena chimed in as she went behind the counter to help Stefan.
"You don't know him like I do, Elena. He's a good guy. You just gotta work to see it," he said, trying his best to make sure Elena didn't hate Damon. That was something else about Stefan. He always saw the best in people, even if they didn't deserve it. It was admirable, but not a quality Caroline herself wanted to possess. She was optimistic, sure, but she wanted to see people for who they really were. And sometimes, she wondered if Stefan was so blinded by his love for his brother, that he couldn't see what kind of man Damon really was.
"I'll take your word for it, Stefan. I've only met him on a couple of occasions, and he hasn't exactly left a great impression."
"Just try, that's all I ask," he pleaded.
"For you, I'll try," she said kindly, wrapping her arms around his arm and putting her head on his shoulder. Those two had been friends before Caroline had met them. The two had a close bond, and Caroline was glad Stefan had at least someone. His brother was obviously someone he couldn't connect with. His father kind of doted over him, but he wanted Stefan to make a career in athletics, not become a writer. As for his mother, she had died a long time ago. It wasn't a subject Stefan talked about often. That left Elena. Of course, Caroline and Tyler were his friends too, but Elena had known him longer than they had.
Caroline took this moment to sneak her hand over to where a plate of cupcakes were sitting prettily, asking for her to just grab one. She had to oblige. Grabbing the one closest to her, a nicely decorated pink one, she stuffed it in her mouth before Elena and Stefan could notice. By the time they did, about half of it was gone.
"You know you're going to have to pay for one of those eventually," Elena scolded.
"Yea. Eventually. Put it on my tab," she said with a nod. Elena only rolled her eyes before attending to a paying customer. Stefan just lifted his eyebrow and continued looking at her. She took another deliberate bite of her cupcake. He chuckled and went back to cleaning the counter.
"What about you, Caroline? Sleep well last night?"
"I slept great. Until Elena rudely woke me up this morning."
"Afternoon," Elena added from where she was standing. Caroline scrunched her nose up at the other girl.
"Whatever. Afternoon then. I was watching some movie where the guy could hear every woman's thoughts."
"That's an achievement," he said impressed.
"I wish all guys could know what girls were thinking."
"Sure about that?"
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"I'm just going out on a limb here," Stefan began nonchalantly, "but I bet you think of how great a guy's ass looks in a nice pair of jeans. Like so," Stefan then proceeded to turn around and show off his butt. Putting out the vibe, as he would call it. Caroline snickered and began nodding her head appreciatively.
"Mmm, dat ass," she commented.
"Exactly. So, would you really want a guy's ego to grow on an observation you never told him about?"
"You make a point. On second thought, I'm glad no one knows what I'm thinking."
"That's a shame, because it sure as hell would help me out sometimes," a voice said behind her.
Caroline turned around to see a muscular, black haired boy walking up to them, a half-smile plastered on his face. She gave him one of those looks, before bringing him in for a hug.
"Even if you could read a girl's mind, you still wouldn't know what to do, Tyler," she quipped. Elena and Stefan might have known each other for a long time before Caroline came into the picture, but Caroline had known Tyler since she was about four years old. They had played in the sandbox together, gone to many a first day together, and even went to prom together. Just as friends though. It had never been a romantic thing for them. They would have probably gone to the same college, except for the fact that Tyler had gone into the military four years ago, when she had moved into the apartment. He had gone so that he could pay for school, but she hadn't seen him until he came back at the beginning of summer. It was good to see him after such a long time apart.
"So, what are the plans for tonight?" Tyler asked, one arm still around Caroline.
"We haven't made any yet. It's Friday though, so it would be nice to do something," Stefan said.
"How about we just have a dinner here at my place? Just the four of us?" Caroline suggested.
"I like that idea," Elena said from where the coffee maker was.
"I'm okay with that," Stefan agreed.
"I was hoping to go out, but I'm cool with that. Gonna wear something sexy?" Tyler teased her.
"I was thinking sweatpants and a large t-shirt," she said seductively.
"Mmm, you know how to get a man's blood pumping," Tyler joked. She giggled and hit him in the chest, taking a double take at it afterward. It was a rock! She felt his shoulder and bicep.
"You've been working out," Caroline observed.
"Nothing gets by you," Tyler said sarcastically. She hit him harder this time. He just laughed and started walking in the direction of the bathrooms. "Just tell me what you guys decide to make, and I'll stop by the store. I need to take a leak right now though."
"Oh, keep talking dirty to me," she teased.
"Oh yea? I might even take a sh-"
"Ew! Ew, that's too dirty! Just go!" Caroline covered her ears, eliciting a deep guffaw from Tyler as he made his way to the bathroom.
"What are you in the mood for? I'm feeling something Italian," Stefan suggested.
"Of course you would be, Mr. Salvatore," Caroline rolled her eyes, knowing full well that was going to be his answer.
"Italian is good for me. You know I love your stuffed shells, Caroline," Elena added, this time walking over to join them in the conversation.
"Alright. With garlic bread on the side?" Elena and Stefan nodded. She shrugged and agreed to it as well. "I have some wine we can drink. It's good, trust me," Caroline assured them. The two smiled in response.
As the three of them talked, wondering what would be on the movie selection for that night as well, a man in his late twenties came down the stairs in a black t-shirt and shorts, heading straight for the entrance with a focused look on his face. Caroline raised an eyebrow at the determined man, turning back to face Elena and Stefan.
"Who was the grumpy looking man?"
"That is the man who just moved in above you with his girlfriend," Elena informed her. Caroline looked at her in horror.
"Are you serious? I mean," she trailed off, considering his appearance, "from what I saw, he wasn't bad looking. He seems to have something up his ass though," Caroline said as she frowned. Why did all the weird ones live above her? It was like the place advertised for freaks to get a room. She shook her head and ran her fingers through her hair.
"Was he going for a run or something?" she pondered aloud.
"Probably. Why does it matter?" Stefan asked.
"You were checking out his ass, weren't you?" He said knowingly.
"I was…I mean…no!" She sputtered, her cheeks turning a bright red. Elena and Stefan went into a fit of laughter as she crossed her arms over her chest. Tyler chose that moment to come out of the bathroom. His face showed his confusion at the laughter and the upset looking Caroline.
"I go to take a couple pounds off, and I miss everything," he sighed.
"Gross," Caroline scrunched her nose up at Tyler, "and you didn't miss anything."
"Yea, you didn't miss anything. Caroline was just checking out some guy's assets," Stefan said casually.
"I…just…nothing," she finished lamely. Tyler joined in on the laughter.
"It's probably a good thing I missed it. Did you guys decide on a dish?"
"Stuffed shells with garlic bread on the side. I just need the garlic bread and some ricotta cheese. Hop to it, servant boy," Caroline joked, shooing him toward the door.
"I like bossy women," Tyler said as he waggled his eyebrows. Caroline slapped him on the shoulder as he hurriedly walked out.
"Just be here by six!" she commanded as he waved a goodbye. Caroline walked back over to Stefan and Elena.
"Should we invite the athlete?" Elena asked, raising her eyebrow at Caroline.
"Ugh, I'm never going to hear the end of this," she said as she planted her face in her arms to hide her shame.
"Most likely not," Stefan added, wiping out a coffee mug with his towel.
"It's okay to be attracted to him, Care. I told you he was good looking."
"It is not okay to be attracted to him! He has a girlfriend! One who would surely kill me if I made a move on him."
"True. Like I said, they could always break up," Elena reminded her. Caroline just laughed.
"You're horrible! I'm not going to wish someone to break up just because I want to be with him. That's stupid."
"I didn't say you had to wish it," Elena shrugged. Caroline giggled at her answer. It was hard not to love the brunette. It was hard not to love Stefan and Tyler for that matter. She didn't know what it was that she had done to deserve such good friends. Caroline knew they would be there for her until the very end. She saw herself growing old with them and having grandkids and…well…she was getting ahead of herself now. It was something she wanted at least. Who knew what their plans would be years from now, or even months, but it was definitely in her plans.
"Hmm. I guess this means I have to go upstairs and start getting ready for guests, huh?"
"That might be a good idea, considering you're place was out of sorts when I went up there," Elena said.
"You are just sassy today," Caroline observed. Elena only giggled and gave her an amused look.
"Our shift is over in about three hours. We'll go home and then come back as soon as we've changed into more comfortable clothing," Stefan assured her. Caroline nodded and got up from her seat, taking another cupcake as she went.
"Payment for my wonderful dinner tonight," she shouted as she walked back up the stairs. Caroline shook her head as she wondered why in the hell she had bothered getting so dressed up. She would only get to wear it at their get together. It was a much-needed night, she thought. Especially after finding out a couple would be moving in upstairs, right above her. Caroline just hoped they wouldn't be as much trouble as the last resident had been.
A/N: Hello everyone! To those who are here after reading You Showed Me The Way, welcome back! To the new readers, welcome! If you haven't figured out by the summary already, option 2 won over the other two choices. Not to mention my muse really enjoyed this idea. Don't worry though! I'll get to the other ones. We're just starting with this one.
If I write this how it's supposed to be written, I'll make you laugh, I'll make you cry, and I'll make you squee from excitement. I've got this one planned out more instead of just pulling chapters out of my ass, so that's a plus too. Also, I know there wasn't a lot of klaroline in this chapter, but I plan on building up to them. Is anticipation not the best part?
Here's to another fabulous journey with you wonderful readers! And please, please don't forget to leave reviews so I know if this is something you all are interested in reading! The more reviews I get, the faster I update ;)
P.S. I did not make the cover. My friend was just nice enough to make one for me =)