null and void
make law not war
Glasses clatter as people raise their drinks. Yet another crushed divorce case. Once again this blonde petite girl has torn an unfaithful husband to pieces leaving him without money, without house, and without hope. No, not her own husband. Caroline Forbes (soon-to-be-Lockwood) is a divorce attorney, one of the best (and the youngest) lawyers in Chicago. Don't let that pink nail polish mislead you.
''To Caroline!'' Bonnie announces. ''For kicking another unfaithful ass!''
''Sometimes I think proposing to such a fighter was a mistake.'' Tyler wraps an arm around her waist and looks at Caroline, his eyes full of appreciation and pride. His Westwood suit fits him like a glove—a very, very expensive glove. It's Tyler's middle name, Expensive. (Or maybe it's Hot, Caroline can't decide.) As Tyler puts it, a suit is his armour. As a junior financial adviser he's having a permanent dress code, because men always meet other men in suits. He doesn't care the garment was blatantly disregarded by such great minds like Steve Jobs. He doesn't care that suits mean conformists. There's no such thing as Casual Friday on his agenda.
Since Caroline's parents' failure of a marriage, when her father left her and her mother for Steven, a car mechanic from San Francisco, Caroline Forbes wanted to get her revenge. She wanted a weapon, but one with style, without causing actual bloodshed, a little shiny knife that cuts to the quick. So she went to Law School.
Years of studying hard and diligently and a broken heart later (Matt, a small town boy that moved to Chicago to work as a bartender would never understand her dogged determination), Caroline graduated with a motto:
make law not war
(law is twice as hard core)
With the din of cars honking coming from the street, Caroline is flipping through Brides magazine (Find your dream wedding dress! Wedding shoes you'll want to wear! Your perfect honeymoon spot!) when somebody knocks on her office door. She quickly shoves the magazine back in a drawer of her beautiful mahogany desk and clears her throat,
''Please come in.'' At least she tries to look busy, even though she's spent all day in the lacy world of Brideland. The door opens, and a pair of impossibly high red heels walks in. Two extremely graceful legs follow. Boobs Caroline would kill for if she didn't already like her own. And that bitch-face the whole country knows as a face of a serial killer. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it's Katherine Pierce herself, an actress, a rising star, a top-notch name on a silver screen right now.
She also happens to be Caroline's best school friend.
''Oh. My. Goodness!'' The blonde squeals and jumps up from her seat, while Katherine runs to meet her halfway, and so they trot towards each other, still screaming with joy.
''I can't believe it!'' Caroline throws her arms around an old friend.
''It's been ages.'' Katherine purrs in her famous low and sexy-shmexy voice. ''But look at you, Miss Divorce-You-All!''
''Look at you, Mrs. Kill-You-All.'' Caroline laughs.
''I am faking it on the screen, but you are ruining men's life for real!'' Katherine admits, not without admiration. She used to ruin boys in high school—forget it, she even ruined teachers. But then she met Damon Salvatore—yes, THE Damon Salvatore—and she became a lionized celebrity. And so a quickie in an elevator turned into an engagement ring, and then into a wedding of the year: a quick tempered lady and a quick-witted man. Young, beautiful, brilliant, living happily ever after, or so it seemed.
''So, what brings you here?'' Caroline gives Katherine a concerned smile.
''Damn my eyes! Damon Salvatore! What brings you here, mate?'' Klaus takes his feet off the desk and greets his drinking buddy that settled down a few years ago ending their crazy bar-raids as a result. They used to drink through the supplies of any bar that was on their way. Jack Daniels on the rocks was their best friend those days, and Klaus almost got expelled from Law School for his barmy, crackpot lifestyle.
But Klaus Mikaelson was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a middle finger stuck to the world. He used to outwit every lecturer during his studies, and eventually outdid all of his colleagues graduating with the best results. He celebrated his victory with a bottle of whiskey on the roof of his university, shouting at the top of his lungs that he could wipe his ass with the Juris Doctor degree.
Like everything that comes without a fight, it didn't matter anything to him.
''Before we go for a drink or two, Klaus, I need to know one thing.'' Damon didn't change. Always straight to the point.
''Will you divorce me? I mean, you know.'' Damon's face suddenly becomes sour, and it's not just one lemon, it's a whole shipment—definitely too much to just make lemonade. That is the last thing Klaus would expect from Damon the Happy Husband. He thoughtfully drags a hand over his face.
''I think we'll need more than just one drink.''
''I want him crushed! Destroyed! Crucified!'' Katherine's fist slams down on Caroline's desk making the lawyer jump. ''Sorry.''
''That's okay. It's your decision that shocks me. You two seemed perfect for each other. I remember your wedding.'' Yes, she remembers it too well. She went with Matt who couldn't handle his liquor, so it was a total disaster. But the wedding itself was excellent, beautiful, moving, and perfect, just like the newlyweds.
Katherine bites her lip, her jaw tightens, her nostrils flare. She's sitting there perfectly still, with her long legs crossed as well as her arms, but Caroline can see there's a storm raging inside her.
''I want you to make him bite the dust. I want to see him in the gutter.''
''What happened, Kat?'' Katherine's divorce feels almost as painful as Caroline's parents'.
''Damon—He—I mean—'' She takes a deep breath, and looks Caroline right in the eyes. ''I'm pretty sure he cheated on me.''
It falls onto Caroline like a piano from the ninth floor. She can feel the pieces of shattered glass coming down on her smashed form.
That bastard. She wrinkles her nose. ''Don't worry. He'll get what he deserves.''
''A psychotic, insanely jealous—'' Damon downs his whiskey in one huge gulp. Klaus raises his glass and follows in Damon's footsteps. He shakes his head when the burning sensation travels down his throat.
''I gave her everything I had!'' A glass hits the table with a clank. ''Everything. But it was never enough. Selfish, manipulative—''
''I almost regret I didn't get to know her.'' Klaus laughs and tilts his head back, staring absently at the ceiling of his luxurious office. It's simple but classy, with a comfortable black leather couch (suitable for two, just in case he wants to stay overnight) and Klaus takes great pride in his huge, Resolute desk. It's all about money, isn't it? Dead presidents that rule the world. He could sleep under a blanket made of dollars patched together, every day a new one.
''Yeah, by the way, why didn't you come to our wedding? God, I hate to even mention that day. The biggest mistake of my life.''
''Family affairs. But I saw some photos in the magazines, you did choose a horrible tie.''
Damon refills their glasses.
''Cheers. To horrible mistakes.'' Klaus smirks. Of course he feels bad for Damon, but now, when they sit and drink cursing the whole world, it's just like the good old times.
''Yeah. I'm great at that, just never missing a chance for an epic failure.'' Klaus' guest nods to the glass like it's the only thing in the world that understands his pain. He's right—Klaus doesn't, but he'll help him get his revenge.
''Down the hatch.''
''So, how did you meet your golden boy?'' Katherine spins around in a swivel chair. She's such a little girl sometimes. Her dark curls, soft and shiny like from a shampoo commercial, revolve with her.
''I was his mother's attorney while she was divorcing his father.'' Caroline's telling the story for the thousandth time in her life. She knows exactly what Katherine's reaction will be.
Caroline Forbes was just a rookie then, but a very determined one, and Carol Lockwood, the Mayor's wife, just reached a deadlock. Like the old saying dictates, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, mostly because Caroline didn't know what she was getting into. She didn't get scared and bravely tackled the case. Call it beginner's luck, or maybe lack of any inhibitions (because for Caroline it doesn't matter whether it's a popular politician, Chris Brown or a simple plumber—any man that breaks a woman's heart or skin should be punished) but despite being a rookie, she won the case boosting her client's career. Six months later Carol Lockwood was elected the Mayor of Chicago instead of her ex-husband. During a victory party Carol introduced her son to Caroline, and one thing led to another.
Tyler, with his regular jaw and perfectly tailored suit (did you know that the jacket's lapels can be notched aka "stepped", peaked aka "pointed", shawl, or "trick"?), proposed to Caroline after eight months of being together. Romantic dinner, candles, Tiffany's, violin, sweet-talk and will you marry me?
''You were the attorney of Richard Lockwood's wife?'' Her friend's eyes get big like saucers. Score.
''He knew all the lawyers in the city. She needed someone young, naïve, and desperate enough to risk everything and take that case.''
''Incredible,'' Katherine's satisfied grin spreads from ear to ear, ''you managed to rip the enemy army to shreds.''
''Yes, I did.''
Katherine laughs and claps her well-manicured hands. French style, nothing flashy. ''Well, soon-to-be Mrs. Lockwood, I want you on my side. Be a bitch and help me, like in the good old times?''
Caroline beams at her. ''High five sister, we'll make him crawl.''
Tyler places a quick kiss on her nose, and buttons up his shirt. This is how their life looks like. Dinner, cab, sex at Caroline's, a peck on the nose and I have to go, you know my mother. Right. His mother. Caroline shouldn't complain, really, after all almost every girl on this planet dreams of acceptance coming from her mother-in-law. Carol Lockwood adores Caroline with all her kindness, yet she's a strict mother and a conservative politician. Her only son will not live with his girlfriend under the same roof until they marry. It's for the best, Tyler, she says. As a wedding gift I picked a lovely apartment for you two, she announces. It's just a few blocks away! We'll see each other every day, isn't it fantastic? She gushes.
''Sure, go,'' Caroline hisses. He never stays overnight. No matter how tough she is in court, no matter how many husbands she can chase away, she still feels lonely in an empty bed at night. She dreams of waking up next to the man of her life, having breakfast together, showering with the same body wash so they can both smell like strawberries or ginger or vanilla. All those things that should constitute a lovers' routine are completely alien to her.
She can't even keep a cat because Tyler's allergic to fur.
''When we're married you'll be seeing my unshaven face ever morning. You'll kick me out after a month, I'm sure.'' Tyler jokes stroking her messy blonde curls. Caroline just rolls her eyes. She hears the same old song every day. When they're married he'll belong only to her. When they're married he'll spend every night with her. When they're married his mother won't be poking her thin Republican nose into their affairs.
When they are married. Six months left, Care, only six months.
Tyler kisses her goodbye, long and passionately, and Caroline's anger subsides a bit. Just when she's about to smile and forget about Carol Lockwood, the Mayor deals the final blow.
''Mom wants you to give a speech during her charity ball this Saturday.''
Kicked, stabbed, knocked out.
''Why me?'' Why Jesus, why?!
''Because there will be a lot of lawyers, so a familiar face should convince them to donate.''
''But...'' She stutters fiddling with the white sheet wrapped around her body. ''I have this case I need to prepare myself for, you know, Katherine's getting divorced, so I'll have a lot of work and this ball—''
Tyler gives her a grave look. ''Caroline. It's my mother.''
Of course. It's always his mother.
''I want to see her suffer!'' Damon viciously stabs the steak on his plate with a silver fork. ''I want her to cry her heart out!'' Klaus just smirks and chews on his meat. Yesterday they had an opportunity to catch up, today it's strictly business.
The restaurant is close to Klaus' office, just round the corner. It also happens to be close to Caroline's office. So when Katherine and Caroline stride in with clicking of the heels, Damon chokes on the food.
''What is he doing here?!'' Katherine covers her mouth and hisses, pretending not to see her poor excuse of a husband. Caroline glances at him from the corner of her eye.
''Act cool.'' The blonde commands. So they nonchalantly stroll to a table by the window, swaying their hips and keeping their heads high.
Damon's lip curls upwards. ''What the hell is she doing here?''
Klaus' eyes dart to two beautiful women sitting across the room. The dark-haired fiend looks too familiar even to Klaus, but the blonde accompanying her is quite a vision.
''Oh no,'' Damon whines, ''and she's with Blondiezaurus.'' Klaus can't stop himself from laughing out loud at his friend's comment.
''What's so funny, idiot?'' Katherine mutters under her nose when she sees Damon and Klaus cackling madly.
''You know that other guy?'' Caroline surely doesn't. Katherine nods her head with disgust.
''Klaus Mikaelson, a pest.''
''Who's the blonde?'' Klaus reaches for his glass of red wine. The girl has a curious look on her face as she prods at a vegetable salad with her fork.
''Caroline Forbes, Miss Legally Blonde.'' Damon rolls his eyes.
''Are you serious? She's a lawyer?''
''What do you think those two witches are doing there? Plotting my slow and painful death in a courtroom!''
Caroline catches Damon's friend staring at her, smirking, giving her the creeps. Big Bad Wolf seems to be doing everything he can to make her feel like Little Red Riding Hood. She knows that look, she knows it well. It's the very same look she used to receive from her mother, then from her classmates, then from her lecturers—the look saying, you're too weak to enter this world. But she showed them. And she'll show this, this... pest, that he's very much mistaken. Very much.
Caroline straightens up in her chair and puffs her chest, brushing her perfect golden locks off her shoulder.
''Mikaelson may be good, but not only am I better, my dear. I am the best!'' Caroline winks at her. Katherine's been complaining and panicking about him being a pit bull among lawyers.
''I want her broken and devastated!'' Damon still rages with his mouth full of meat and salad. Klaus squints his eyes at his legal opponent. Too bad he has to defeat such a pretty face.
''No problem mate, she'll beg for mercy.''
''Don't worry Kat. I'll be the iceberg to his Titanic.''
A/N: Like I wrote on tumblr, I'm not abandoning Paradise for the Lost. It's still priority.
This story was born in really sad circumstances when everyone around me was getting divorced including one of my closest friends whose perfect marriage was falling apart. But it won't be a tear jerker, k? Don't worry.
So tell me: Yes? No? Go to Hell?