Caroline blinked her eyes open, feeling her face pillowed against a strong chest. Her lips curled instinctively into a smile as she tilted her head back to take in Klaus' sleeping form. Caroline lifted a hand to trace a finger along his lips before grazing across his stubble, remembering how that stubble had felt against her chin as he kissed her. She grinned again, running her fingers down his chest. Caroline would have lain there for longer, just watching him sleep, but nature called and she eased herself quietly out of the bed, careful not to wake Klaus. She slipped into the adjoining bathroom and did her business before walking back out into the bedroom. Despite how tempting Klaus looked lying there, Caroline's stomach was grumbling so instead of climbing back into bed, she pulled on a pair of jeans before making her way out of the bedroom and down to the kitchen.
Caroline had barely stepped through the archway of the kitchen when she froze.
Rebekah, who sat at the counter, looked up at Caroline and rolled her eyes. "Don't look at me like that." She said, taking in Caroline's cautious stare. "I'm having a shitty morning so let's call a truce, yeah?" Rebekah said, already turning back to the drink she cradled in one hand.
"Is that a mimosa?" Caroline asked skeptically, walking into the kitchen and heading toward the fridge.
Rebekah just nodded. "Orange juice and champagne. Breakfast of champions." She said, lifting the glass to her lips and taking another sip.
Caroline shook her head with a laugh, pulling the milk from the refrigerator before turning around to retrieve the cereal from the cupboard.
"Was that a laugh Caroline?" Rebekah asked, feigning shock. "Dare I say this truce is off to a good start?"
"I wouldn't jinx it." Caroline teased as she took a seat across from Rebekah, pouring cereal into her bowl.
Rebekah arched one eyebrow as she watched Caroline. "You can admit it - after everything that happened yesterday, I'm sure I rank rather high on your shit list." She didn't know much about Caroline's relationship with Elena but she knew enough to know Caroline probably took offense on behalf of her friend.
"I'm staying out of it." Caroline said, shaking her head. "Not taking sides."
Rebekah continued to cock one eyebrow at the other girl, clearly conveying her doubts about that statement.
Caroline rolled her eyes, digging in to her cereal. "I think now's a good time to change the topic, don't you?"
Rebekah just laughed, muttering "touché".
"Is my brother still passed out?" Rebekah asked, glancing once toward the archway as if expecting him to appear.
Caroline nodded with a smirk. "Yup. I guess I wore him out." She teased.
Rebekah's head snapped to the side as she turned to face Caroline again, a grimace on her face. "Okay, that's not something I needed to hear."
"Oh so I probably shouldn't tell you about that thing he does with his tongue-"
"Okay!" Rebekah said, slamming her hands on the counter as she stood up and strode back over to the cabinets. "I'm going to have to drink more to forget everything you just said."
Caroline laughed again, still eating her cereal. "You know, most people would say it's a little early to be drinking." She pointed out as she watched Rebekah mix another drink.
The other girl just scoffed. "That's what the orange juice is for." She explained as she poured the orange juice over the champagne in her glass. "Mimosas were created for the sole purpose of giving off the illusion that it's okay to be drinking before noon." Rebekah lifted her glass and strode back over to her seat. "Besides, 'most people' didn't have my kind of night yesterday."
"Fair enough." Caroline said, standing to take her bowl over to the sink.
Rebekah was silent for a moment before saying, "you have no idea how lucky you are to have my brother."
"Trust me," Caroline replied, still at the sink. "I know how lucky I am." She said, spinning around to face Rebekah and leaning back against the sink.
"Good." Rebekah said, keeping her eyes locked on Caroline's as she raised her glass to her lips again. "Don't forget it."
"You'll get lucky too." Caroline surprisingly found herself saying as she slid back onto her seat across from Rebekah.
The other girl just shrugged, looking down into her glass. "I already did." She sighed before trailing her eyes back up to Caroline's - her face slipping back into that care free mask. "But that was a long time ago."
Caroline opened her mouth to speak but Rebekah cut her off, not wanting to talk about that particular topic any more. "You're looking a little pale, darling." Rebekah said, already standing up and polishing off her drink. "Nik might not be up but the sun is. We can get some tanning in before it gets too hot or humid."
Rebekah was already striding toward the door and Caroline got the feeling that was as kind an invitation as she was ever going to get from the other girl. She shrugged to herself before climbing off her stool and following Rebekah out to the large patio. The other girl showed no shame in stripping down to her lace underwear so Caroline did the same- what was the difference between her panties and bra and a swimsuit anyway.
Rebekah dropped down onto one of the long lounge chairs and Caroline followed suit, sliding onto the one beside her. The sun felt nice on her skin and surprisingly Caroline found herself relaxing beside Klaus' sister. After a few moments, it occurred to Caroline that Rebekah might be able to answer some of the questions that continued to nag at the back of her mind. This was the most amiable Rebekah had ever been toward her and while Caroline was happy and secure in her relationship with Klaus, there were still something she was curious about. Or rather someone.
"So," Caroline began, keeping her voice nonchalant. "What happened between Klaus and Elizabeth?" She knew the story as Klaus had told it but that didn't mean Rebekah wouldn't have some further insight into this woman from Klaus' past.
Rebekah let out a short laugh. "I see you two had the pivotal 'exes' talk."
"Not exactly." Caroline said, shaking her head. "She just showed up so..."
Rebekah's head snapped to the side to face Caroline, her eyes widened in shock. "What do you mean showed up?"
"I mean showed up." Caroline semi repeated. "She's the SEC auditor handling the company's audit."
"Audit?" Rebekah asked, further surprised by this news.
Caroline belatedly realized that Klaus may have had his reasons for not sharing all that was going on with his business with his sister but it was too late to take the words back now. "So Elizabeth..." She pressed as Rebekah leaned back in her seat, facing forward again.
"The words frigid, unemotional, and tense come to mind" Rebekah said, tilting her head to catch Caroline's eyes again, "but the real question is why are you curious?" She smirked.
"The same reason Elena was curious about you, and you about her." Caroline shot back.
Rebekah's eyebrows cocked and she replied with "touché." She faced forward again, relaxing back in the lounge chair. "For the record, I wouldn't worry about Elizabeth. Even without you in the picture, I doubt Klaus would ever go back there."
"But they were engaged..." Caroline continued to press.
"One of convenience but yes they were engaged." Rebekah replied.
"I know about the baby and the miscarriage," Caroline informed the other girl. "But Klaus must have loved her to some degree if he was willing to marry her."
Rebekah scoffed. "Love had very little to do with it. What do you know about my brother's relationship with my father?" She asked. Rebekah had been surprised her brother had told Caroline about his history with Elizabeth and was curious about how much of his personal history he had shared with the girl.
"Not much." Caroline said. All she knew was that Mikael had gotten their family into a fair deal of public trouble but Klaus had never confided in her about his personal relationship though Caroline had gotten the impression it was pretty complicated.
"Well that isn't my story to tell." Rebekah continued. "But trust me when I say, that engagement was 100% about that child."
Caroline didn't get a chance to respond before a shrill ring interrupted their conversation. She dug into the pocket of her discarded jeans to pull out what she called her business cellphone. She frowned once at the unfamiliar number before answering the call.
"You've reached Caroline Forbes of Mikaelson Capital, how may I help you?"
She listened carefully as the man on the other end of the line identified himself as the assistant of Jonathan Rice, the CEO of one of the firm's bigger corporate accounts. It was only because they were one of the more lucrative accounts that Caroline didn't chastise the assistant about calling on a Sunday. She did, however, refuse to put her boss on the phone no matter how urgent the assistant insisted the issue was. Caroline had learned early on that everything was 'urgent' when someone wanted to talk to Klaus and if Caroline put them all through then Klaus would be listening to people talking his ear off 24/7. Caroline opened up Klaus' calendar on her phone and another five minutes passed before the two assistants found a time the following week that worked for both their bosses to sit down.
"Secretarial work sounds boring." Rebekah said as Caroline hung up the phone.
Caroline wanted to point out that of course Rebekah felt this way since she'd likely never worked a day in her life but instead said "well your brother makes it a lot less boring." She teased.
"Ah," Rebekah said, holding a hand up. "That's enough of that."
Caroline laughed and despite her disgust, Rebekah let out a laugh too.
And that's how Klaus found them. Sitting out on the patio laughing together. He blinked a few times, mildly convinced he was still asleep and this was a dream. He didn't want to interrupt the surreal moment but Klaus' curiosity got the better of him and he strolled out onto the patio, stopping behind Caroline's chair and leaning down to kiss the top of her head.
"Good morning love." Klaus murmured into her hair before turning to face Rebekah.
Before he could say anything, his sister was speaking. "Thank God you're finally up. Now you can treat us to brunch." Rebekah grinned as she stood up from her seat. "I'll go get ready."
Klaus rolled his eyes and Caroline just laughed as Rebekah disappeared back into the house. Klaus brought his hands to Caroline's bare shoulders and massaged them lightly as he continued to lean over the back of her chair and whisper in her ear. "Can I interest you in brunch sweetheart?"
Caroline leaned back into his touch, her lips curling into a smile. "I'll take that offer under consideration." She tilted her head back to smirk up at him.
Klaus growled low in his throat. "Minx." He muttered and Caroline just laughed.
She was so busy laughing she didn't see Klaus circle around her chair. One minute she was lounging back and in the next moment Caroline found herself lifted in his arms. Klaus carried her back up to the bedroom, deciding brunch with Bekah would have to wait an hour or two.
When Klaus and Caroline finally reappeared, Rebekah was downstairs flipping idly through a magazine.
"About time." She muttered beneath her breath, shooting the couple an impatient stare.
Klaus just smirked at his sister. He let Rebekah choose the restaurant and she perked right up, leading the way out to the car. Klaus was even further surprised when the brunch went smoothly. Both Rebekah and Caroline refrained from snapping at each other and there were moments when Klaus almost believed they could be friends. Certainly not the best of friends but not mortal enemies either and that worked in his favor.
So the day so far had been working in Klaus' favor and he was feeling rather pleased as he dragged Caroline back up to his room after brunch. That soft, tinkling laugh he loved fell from her lips as Klaus shut the door behind them before backing her up against the wall.
"You know you're insatiable." Caroline teased as Klaus dipped his head to run his lips along her neck.
He nipped lightly at her skin before replying. "Only when it comes to you."
"It's been a great weekend but we should probably talk about work." Caroline said, barely swallowing a moan.
"Mhmm." Klaus murmured, his lips trailing down to her collarbone.
Caroline tried to ignore his ministrations, continuing on. "John Rice wants a one on one sit down with you. I penciled him in for the following week." She said, subconsciously tilting her head back to give him better access.
"Fantastic." Klaus responded, one hand trailing up her body to cup her breast.
"Hey this is important." Caroline said, letting out a cross between a laugh and a moan as Klaus' thumb brushed across her taut nipple.
"Absolutely." Klaus replied, his teeth nipping at her earlobe now.
Caroline fell silent and Klaus pulled his head back to catch her gaze. Those lips he was now so familiar with curved into one of his favorite smiles, her contented smile. Her smile was infectious and Klaus couldn't help but grin back, lifting a hand to run his fingers through her hair and tucking the loose strands back behind her ear.
"You're happy." Klaus said, pointing out the obvious.
"I am." Caroline shot back with that same wide grin.
"Good." Klaus said grinning back before surprising Caroline by lifting her into the air and carrying her over to the bed. "Let's see if we can't make you even happier." He shot her a mischievous grin before tossing Caroline onto the bed and falling on top of her.
As it turned out, Klaus could make her happier. And he did - three times.
It was a little after four when they finally packed up to the city. Caroline was a little disappointed to be leaving the little paradise but she knew they couldn't stay in the Hamptons forever. The ride back was far more pleasant than the ride there had been, now that Rebekah had decided Caroline wasn't out to ruin her brother. They reached Klaus' building a little after six and Caroline waved to the familiar doorman before following Klaus and Rebekah over to the private elevator. She curled into Klaus' side, swallowing back a yawn.
The elevator door dinged open and the three walked down the long hall before freezing, staring at the woman sitting nonchalantly on one of the armchairs in the living room. Rebekah's bag dropped to the floor with a light thump and the woman looked up, swirling a glass of wine in her hand.
"There you are." Esther Mikaelson placed the glass down and stood, throwing them a somewhat stoic look. "I was beginning to think you'd never return."
Klaus lowered his bag to the floor before stepping forward, shooting his mother a wary stare. "What are you doing here mother?" Historically, Esther hated the states. She almost never made the trip out here and certainly had never ventured to make a surprise trip. And when it came to his family, Klaus was rather distrustful of surprises.
"It's lovely to see you too, dear." Esther said, striding forward and placing a perfunctory kiss on Klaus' cheek before moving toward Rebekah and repeated the gesture. "And Caroline," She said, looking the girl up and down indifferently before saying, "fetch me another glass of wine would you dear?"
"She's not one of your maids." Klaus cut in before Caroline could reply, his voice low and stern.
Esther just arched an eyebrow at him, glancing from Klaus to Caroline.
"It's fine," Caroline said, placing a soothing hand on Klaus' shoulder and leaning in to whisper to him, "you all probably need a moment alone." She turned back to Esther, pasting a smile on her face. "Red or white?"
"Red." Esther said with an aloof attitude.
Caroline nodded before spinning on her heel and heading toward the kitchen.
Once she was out of sight, Esther turned to her son again. "I see you've developed a taste for that girl. Perhaps you're more your father's son than you believe." She said slowly and Klaus knew she was referring to Mikael's rather blatant habit of fucking his assistants.
"What are you doing here?" Klaus repeated, ignoring her comment. His mother was a cold and manipulative woman and if he gave into his anger than she would win. Klaus didn't need to prove to her that he was nothing like Mikael because he already knew he wasn't. And he didn't need to prove to her that his relationship with Caroline wasn't some empty workplace affair because he already knew it wasn't. For the first time in his life, Klaus felt like a well-adjusted human being. So he acted like one, ignoring his mother's taunts and waiting calmly for her to explain herself.
"You know," Esther said, turning around again and striding back over to her chair. "Most sons would at least pretend to be happy to see their mothers."
Klaus followed her across the room and took a seat on the couch across from her. "Well you aren't most mothers and I'm not most sons." He said, shooting her a smug look. The only way to keep his mother from getting under his skin was to appear unruffled.
"How are things back home?" Rebekah cut in to break the tension, crossing the room and taking a seat beside Klaus.
"You'll find out for yourself when you fly back with me tomorrow night."
Rebekah's eyes widened and she tilted her head to the side in confusion.
"You need to be at home," Esther continued sternly, "with your family."
"And what am I?" Klaus asked, gesturing out with one arm.
Esther's gaze shot to him before returning to Rebekah. "I've let you have your fun. Time to come home."
Rebekah shook her head no. "No. I want to stay here."
Esther arched an eyebrow, fixing her daughter with a cold stare. Rebekah nearly shivered under that stare but held herself composed. The moment was broken when Caroline strode back into the room, a glass of red wine in one hand. She moved toward Esther but the woman was already standing, grabbing her purse.
Esther looked austerely down at her children before speaking. "I'm staying at the Plaza hotel. I trust I'll be seeing both my children tomorrow for breakfast." She was already walking away as she spoke. Their mother didn't bother trying to make it sound like an invitation because it wasn't. It was a summons.
Caroline still held the glass of wine in her hand as Esther glanced dismissively at her before walking past and toward the elevator. It wasn't until they heard the distant sound of the elevator closing that Rebekah stood up. She strode toward Caroline and snatched the glass of wine from her hand, downing it in one swig as she walked out of the room.
Caroline watched her go before turning back to Klaus. "What was that about?"
"Family drama." Klaus said with forced indifference, gesturing for Caroline to come over and join him on the couch.
She did, waiting until she'd dropped onto the couch beside him and snuggled into his side before speaking again. "You never really talk about your family."
Klaus only hummed noncommittally, reaching for the remote that slid away that panel that hid the TV. He kept one arm draped over Caroline's shoulder while using his free hand to skim through the channels.
"From what I remember, they all seem like interesting people." Caroline continued to press, eying Klaus from the side.
He ignored her comment and instead said, "you love this movie," as he lowered the remote to the table.
Caroline looked toward the screen to see Thelma & Louise playing. He was right, she did love this movie, but she also loved getting answers to questions. Still Caroline settled in and didn't ask any more questions. Once the credits started to role, Caroline snatched up the remote before Klaus could and turned off the TV.
She twisted on the couch to face him, folding her legs beneath her before speaking. "My dad is William 'Bill' Forbes the second. He lives in Georgia. Likes to rebuild cars. He and mom were only married for a short period of time and now he lives with his partner Steven who's really nice." Caroline rambled while Klaus watched. "My mom still lives in Mystic Falls where she's sheriff. Never remarried probably because she's a workaholic. She's strict but loving. Came to all my cheerleading events growing up and taught me how to fire a gun." Klaus arched his eyebrows in surprise at that last one but Caroline continued on after a brief moment of silence. "Do you see what I'm doing here?" She said, waving her arms back and forth between them. "I'm opening up to you about my family." She pressed, waiting for him to do the same.
Klaus just gave her a small smile before standing up. "Are you hungry? I should get started on dinner." He was already striding out of the room and Caroline scrambled quickly up from the couch to follow him.
They reached the kitchen before Caroline spoke again. "I'm not saying you have to give me your complete family history." She sighed. "But you can't avoid talking about them for forever."
Klaus let out a humorless laugh, shaking his head as he moved around the kitchen pulling things from cabinets. "There isn't much worth talking about Caroline." He said, pausing and turning to look at her. "It seems to me you had a very stable and loving upbringing and thank you for sharing that with me but my family however," Klaus said, throwing her a look, "my family wrote the book on dysfunctional. Let's just leave it at that." He said, turning back to the stove.
Caroline sighed, crossing the room to stand behind him and wrapping her arms around his waist.
Klaus could practically feel her disappointment and all he could think about was how he could make it better. Oddly enough he found himself saying, "would you like to join us for breakfast tomorrow morning?" Perhaps if Caroline got another taste of how venomous his family could be, she'd stop asking.
"Really?" Caroline perked up and Klaus didn't have to turn around to know that she was smiling.
"Really." His lips instinctively curling into a smile as well. "At your own risk though, sweetheart. You had only a mere taste of my mother when we visited. And that was her on a good day."
Caroline dropped a kiss to his shoulder before freeing him from her grasp and walking over to the counter to take a seat. "I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself."
Klaus shook his head. He didn't doubt that Caroline had thick skin but he also didn't doubt his mother's capacity to inflict harm. Only time would tell.
As it turned out, it wasn't Caroline Klaus had to worry about protecting. When they arrived at the Plaza Hotel his mother barely glanced at Caroline as she slid into the seat Klaus pulled out for her.
"And here I was hoping for a nice family breakfast." Esther said, nonchalantly as she glanced at her son.
Klaus only grinned, dropping into the seat across the round table from his mother while Rebekah slid into the last remaining seat, across from Caroline.
"I need a drink." Rebekah said, already waving a hand in the air to signal for a waiter.
A waiter appeared to take their orders and while they waited for their food to be prepared, Esther carried on a casual conversation with her children, ignoring Caroline entirely. That bothered Klaus but surprisingly enough, it didn't bother Caroline. She was happy to remain a silent observer. Klaus' dynamic with his mother was fascinating to watch and explained quite a few of his personality traits.
Things didn't take a negative turn until they were halfway through the meal and Esther brought up what she'd said last night. "Our flight leaves tonight." She said, her tone suggesting there was no room for debate.
"No." Rebekah replied calmly. "I'm not ready to go back."
Esther just shot her that same unaffected look. "Our family needs to show a united front right now. I refuse to allow your father to drag us all down with him so you will be coming home and you will smile, dear." Esther said, pasting on an austere smile of her own.
"And if I don't?" Rebekah spat back.
"Don't make a scene dear." Her mother replied, taking a sip of her water.
"Rebekah's welcome to stay here with me for as long as she pleases." Klaus interrupted.
Esther arched an eyebrow in his direction. "I wasn't asking her what she wanted, I was informing her on what's going to happen."
Caroline felt the tension at the table multiply by ten and decided now would be a good time to step away for a moment. "I'm just going to run to the ladies' room." She stood from her seat but none of them appeared to notice as she slipped away.
"I'm not some teenager anymore. You can't control my life anymore!" Rebekah said, glaring at her mother.
"On the contrary," Esther said calmly, "so long as your lifestyle continues to be funded by me, I'm in full control of it. Fly home with me tonight or I will cut you off. I will remove your name from every last cent."
Rebekah's eyes widened. "But Elijah said-"
"Elijah does not run this family." Esther shot back. "I'm giving you a choice Rebekah. Come home with me tonight or I'll sever your ties to the family accounts."
Rebekah's shoulders stiffened and she glared at her mother. "All our assets are frozen anyway." She said snidely.
"No." Esther's head shook slightly. "All your father's assets are frozen. The offshore accounts under my maiden name that feeds your bank accounts are still firmly under my control." She smiled coldly at her daughter.
"Tell me mother, how does it feel trying to buy your own child?" Klaus cut in, leaning across the table to stare at his mother. "Never mind, I don't want to know." Klaus said, waving a hand nonchalantly, "Rebekah isn't beholden to you and your wallet. I'm perfectly equipped to support her and her lifestyle."
Rebekah's head snapped to the side and she shot her brother a small, sad smile.
Esther stared at Klaus before turning back to Rebekah. "I love your brother but we both know he blows hot and he blows cold. Do you truly want to put your financial wellbeing in his hands?"
"At least I won't try to play puppet master." Klaus shot back, leaning back in his seat.
"Enough!" Rebekah cut in, turning to face her mother again, "Mother, I'm staying here."
Esther stared blankly at her for a few moments before nodding. She proceeded to pull out her phone and Rebekah watched on in silence as her mother called her banker and had Rebekah removed from any and all accounts that hadn't already been frozen with the investigation into her father. Esther did this quite calmly and once it was done, she hung up the phone and slid it back into her purse. Pulling out her wallet, she dropped a few hundred on the table before standing up.
"Breakfast was on me." She said, looking down at Klaus before turning back to Rebekah. "I wish you the best of luck."
"I can't believe she just did that" Rebekah's voice was soft as she turned to face her brother.
Klaus had no trouble believing his mother would take such a drastic step to try to force Rebekah back under her thumb but he didn't say that. Instead he said, "You're going to be fine."
"What if I'm not?" Rebekah asked frantically. "I'm not like you Nik."
Caroline reappeared again beside the table and Klaus caught her eye quickly before turning back to his sister. "You're going to be fine because you have me." Klaus said as he stood up, taking Caroline's hand in one of his before gesturing out to his sister. "Come on, let's go home."
Okay that was boring as shit. Give me a minute to get back into the groove of things.