forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit
perhaps even these things will be good to remember one day
"Your Honor, considering the violent nature of Mrs. Burton—"
"Objection! We had Mrs. Burton tested—"
"Throwing a high-heeled shoe at her husband isn't a normal behavior!"
"As we established before, it was an accidental misplacement of the shoe towards Mr. Burton's head—"
"The heel was five inches high! It could've hurt my client!"
"Hurt? Oh please, as I remember correctly, your client enjoyed his twisted sado-maso session with a prostitute, didn't he?"
"Objection! He was accidentally caught up—"
"Tied in leather, with a muzzle over his mouth? I bet he woke up like this and had no idea what happened!"
A murmur of indignation spreads over the courtroom. The rumor was true—the Mikaelsons always go for the jugular.
"A muzzle!" Mrs. Burton breaks and starts sobbing. Caroline pats her client on the shoulder sympathetically. The woman's about to cry, glaring at her husband who's sitting across the aisle, his face beetroot red from embarrassment. Silent and defeated, he doesn't even need a muzzle right now.
Who knew Caroline's job in London wouldn't be that different from her practice in the US? The British hide quite a temper behind that stiff upper lip.
Justice Murphy shakes her head, tired of angry shouting. "I order fifteen-minute recess. Please leave the room. All of you."
Klaus raises an expectant eyebrow at Caroline. She nods.
He's the first to leave the room, and Caroline follows him after a minute or so, trying not to look too obvious.
The bathroom stall shakes when two hands grab her and pull Caroline inside so quickly she only manages to shut the door—with a loud bang, not subtle at all. But they're so done with subtle. He grabs the back of her head and kisses her so hard she barely keeps her balance on those goddamn heels. Leaning against the wall, Caroline's fidgeting with his zipper. Klaus' muffled growl resounds in the bathroom when her hand finally finds the target. They hear footsteps rushing outside. Oh well. It's not the first time they use a break to… discuss the terms of their clients' divorce. Ahem.
"You're showing claws today. I like it." He whispers and starts leaving a trail of kisses down her neck, smirking at the goosebumps he's giving her. She arches her back, molding into his body. When he grabs her skirt and slowly rolls it up, Caroline lets out an impatient sigh. It's court and they have just fifteen minutes. She's burning here, okay?! With one swift move she shoves his pants down his legs.
"You can admire my impressive skills late—oh God!" The makeshift wall creaks under their weight as they move together. Digging her nails into his back, Caroline's struggling not to tear his shirt into pieces. (It's a challenge she's failed once before. Don't ask how the courtroom reacted seeing this.) His hands wander up and down her sides, then back to her butt squeezing it tight, holding her in place.
"I wish I could undress you completely now." He purrs into her ear. When she responds by grazing the skin of his neck with her teeth, he reacts immediately. Moving faster, his muscles tense up, his grip on her thighs grows stronger. Caroline's quickened breathing and muffled moans drive Klaus over the edge. Their legs go weak, and for a second she's almost certain they'll land on the ground along with the bathroom door.
Fortunately, collateral damage isn't as big as it was the last time. She hopes people won't notice there's a button missing from her otherwise perfect shirt.
Caroline's still fixing her hair as they leave the restroom. "Have I told you I really like when you take divorce cases?"
"You're welcome, love. See you at lunch?" Klaus tries to hold back a grin forming on his face. To add some adrenaline to his otherwise boring corporate career, he agrees to take a divorce case from time to time. Nothing serves to let off some steam better than healthy competition at court. Or in the court bathroom.
"Sorry," she pouts apologetically, "I'm seeing Elijah. Armani drama."
Klaus grimaces. Don't get him wrong—he loves his family. When Klaus and his siblings were just kids, they made a vow to stick together always and forever.
Who would have thought that always and forever would be such a pain in the ass?
It's not that Caroline couldn't get used to London. After a month she could recite quotes from history books and draw a map of London with her eyes closed. She found her place surprisingly fast while Klaus was growing more and more restless. Family dinners, family Sundays, family trips, family everything.
Rebekah's been enjoying having a sister while Elijah... Well, his older brother and Caroline share a certain penchant for fashion. If neither of them are at home when Klaus gets back from work, it means they are maxing out their credit cards at Harrods. (Elijah would never admit he's a compulsive shopper because he's the face of Mikaelson Investments and one more suit never hurt anyone! Obviously.)
Eventually, Klaus—desperate and tired and oh no not another shopping trip with Elijah—hatched a plan of Prison Break magnitude to get away from his family: he accepted the apartment Mikael left him. The decision did not come easily, but when Caroline mentioned a holiday trip to Costa Rica with all the Mikaelsons, it was the proverbial last straw.
Rebekah was ready to block all the doors in the mansion to stop them from leaving. Elijah promised Klaus a dozen of his suits if they decide to stay. They're practically new, he said, I've worn every one only once. Esther just sighed, This house would be such a perfect place for all those chubby little cherubs running around. Klaus had to grab Caroline and drag her outside before she started protesting, But I'm not pregnant! And they wouldn't be chubby!
Only Kol, who doesn't exactly get along with Caroline—his newest pet name for her is the 'perky blonde angel of death'—couldn't be happier with the new arrangement. You two are getting your own place? He cooed. Magnificent! I'll help you pack. How about now?
This was not, however, the end of Klaus' trouble. Quite the contrary, actually. Caroline went into a frenzy of preparations. Painting, furnishing, redecorating accompanied by a ton of Feng Shui handbooks. Nightmares about an 'unobstructed flow of energy' were waking Klaus up in the middle of the night once again.
You can't seriously think there's a place for this monstrosity in the bedroom, she was raging at the sight of Klaus' collection of cacti once. Do you want a dry spell on your penis?
And so after three months the apartment still isn't ready. Klaus barely even stops by to see how the work's going. It's enough that Caroline is always coming home complaining about the progress. Sulking over how the renovation (and his escape from the mansion) is far behind the schedule, Klaus realizes Caroline's still talking to him.
"Hello? Earth to Klaus! Will you check on the crew around 6 pm? They really need your opinion on your study room and I can't be there."
He nods. The sooner they finish that goddamn loft the better.
Elijah's in the middle of uber-important and ever more boring Shakespearean monologue about to-be-or-not-to-be of the Mikaelson Investments when a crazy laugh of a wicked dwarf comes from under the table.
Kol looks down at his hands and pretends he'd rather die than play a stupid game during one of the board meetings. God forbid. Rebekah, on the other hand, is super busy doodling in the company notebook.
"Like I said—"
Then there's a buzzing coming from the very end of the table where Elijah's left his phone.
He looks around and squints his eyes at Kol whose oh-so-innocent face is saying he absolutely did not change Elijah's ringtone. Probably. Maybe.
There's a text message waiting for Elijah.
The usual place. You've got an hour. —C.
"Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. A family emergency. We'll get back to this." Elijah mutters and dashes out of the room, throwing his siblings a conspiratorial look. Rebekah and Kol share one as well.
"Let's see how the work's going," Klaus mutters to himself as he climbs up the stairs to the apartment. Considering what Caroline's told him so far, the place will be ready in a year… Or maybe even in a century.
He opens the door with a sigh—and his mouth stays open.
There's no crew renovating the place anymore. The apartment is done, with modern, floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere, but with vintage accents here and there which make it much more cozy. One of his paintings is hanging on the wall in the living room—he has no idea how anyone stole it from his secret studio in the basement. The patio featuring a breathtaking panoramic view on the Thames is full of exotic plants that soften the severe foggy atmosphere of London.
And there's even a place for his collection of cacti.
Caroline's there standing in the hallway with the brightest smile she's ever had. "Welcome home."
"Wow." Klaus chokes out. "But I thought you were just going to start the makeover."
Caroline laughs and winks at him. "I might have spent more time here than you knew. Rebekah and Elijah were extremely helpful."
Klaus shakes his head. So this was the real destination of those shopping trips she's made with Elijah lately. This was the subject of conversation between Rebekah and Caroline when the latter said, Oh, you know, it's huuuuuge, but I can manage. (Don't ask what his first thoughts were.)
"I knew you really wanted our own place so I sped up the process. I hope you like it." There's a coy smile playing on her lips, but she knows he's enthralled.
"Do I like it?" Klaus asks, his eyes fixed on Caroline as he takes a step towards her. "Do I like it?" One more step. Then he grabs her by the waist and pulls her close. His hands make their way up and down her back. Burying his nose in her hair Klaus smells vanilla and strawberries. "You are incredible." He purrs in her ear sending shivers down her spine. Caroline laughs, "There's another surprise waiting for you upstairs."
"Is it?" He grins mischievously.
"Yeah, I thought—" But he cuts her off with a kiss. His hungry lips work mercilessly on hers, muffling any sound she makes while his hands struggle with the zipper of her dress.
He just moans in response pressing her body against his frame, hot and bothered and ready to pick her up and go test the bed upstairs—
—then they hear a gasp coming from the stairs. "Ouch! It kicked!"
Caroline shuffles her feet. "Yeah, about that surprise…"
Katherine's looking at them from upstairs, clutching at her large belly. Along with her there's Damon, Rebekah, and a bunch of other people, all grinning awkwardly at Caroline and Klaus.
"Damn, I was hoping for more action." Damon wiggles his eyebrows, then throws his arms up enthusiastically, "Surprise!"
"Are you sure you don't want to join us in the company?" Rebekah hands Caroline a drink.
"Nope." Caroline grins. "I find the divorce scene in London much more entertaining. Plus, with the TV contract I wouldn't have much time for regular board meetings anyway."
Rebekah sighs. "Lucky you. They are more boring than watching grass grow." The deal is, Rebekah can't set up her own business unless she has a good grasp of economics and business in general. So she's learning from her brothers. So far she managed to use all the office supplies by throwing them at Klaus for her own entertainment, and she gets Elijah distracted by accidentally pouring cola on his snow-white shirt—three times a week. Kol doesn't show up much, but this is actually a blessing. The two of them would probably set the elevator on fire.
"And you'll be a TV star."
It's just a fifteen-minute divorce corner twice a month, Caroline says, but it will help her start fresh. She'll have many opportunities to visit the States and her friends. And of course her future goddaughter, little miss Nadia Salvatore who's on her way to the big, big world.
Talking about friends… "Um, Rebekah, do you know Marcel? That guy over there. He's been gaping at you for quite some time now."
Blood drains from Rebekah's face. "Pretend I'm not here. Pretend I'm not me. Just—"
"Too late. He's coming here."
"Oh, bloody hell."
There's a story behind this panic, Caroline thinks, but judging from Marcel's puppy-dog eyes watching Bekah's every move, it can't be that bad.
"I'll go and mingle. You two have fun." She grins at Rebekah who's trying to stop her hands from shaking.
"Don't. I'll kill you if you go."
"Oooh, do you hear that?" Caroline puts her hand to her ear, listening for a sound of knocking. "Someone's at the door. Another guest to greet! Sorry not sorry!"
"I'll kill you, Caroline Mikaelson."
"I'm still a Forbes." Caroline winks at Rebekah and wanders off in a hurry.
Caroline's watching the Salvatores argue while she's making margaritas.
"We are not implanting a chip in our baby's neck, Damon."
"Oh, come on, it can be a leg, I'm not picky."
"What if she runs away and marries a pirate? Or worse, a Lannister!" Damon's waving his hands so energetically he's spilling his drink all over the kitchen floor.
Katherine rolls her eyes. The effects of Damon's binge-watching of Game of Thrones still haven't worn off.
They hear a cough coming from the kitchen door. A familiar face is smiling right at them. "What do you have against Lannisters, guys? At least they always pay their debts."
"Bonnie!" Caroline's first to dash through the room and throw her arms around her friend's neck. She didn't expect Bonnie to get her message about the party. She was, after all, in the middle of nowhere with her boyfriend. "I can't believe you're here!"
Katherine slowly trundles towards Bonnie, one hand on her huge belly and the other on her back, but still with grace she mastered thanks to numerous red carpet events. Of course she snatches a pickle from the fridge as she passes by. "Before we shoot you for going MIA for half a year, let me tell you, this new haircut rocks, hun." She bends forward and kisses the air around Bonnie's cheek. "Mwah."
Caroline looks down at Bonnie's fingers and notices there's something missing. "I guess that's not the only change in your life, huh?"
"I guess we don't always get what we want, do we?" Bonnie's lowers her eyes. Her engagement ring is gone. Caroline doesn't have to ask any further questions seeing Bonnie's face. The gloomy expression is gone right away, though. "But you're the real expert on changes, Care. How dare you get married without telling me!"
"Well, you did go missing for a long time, Bon-Bon. The story's crazier than any CW teenage show. And I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you when you needed it." Caroline sighs. Then her eyes light up with a conspiratorial look. "But tonight I'll make it up to you."
"It will require many, many drinks." Bonnie laughs.
"I've got a better solution." Caroline's eyes wander to the balcony where Elijah's having a drink all by himself. "I've just found you a rebound!"
"Oh, come on, Care!"
"Hey, you've got to trust me on this one. It's Klaus' brother, very cool guy with impeccable taste, and he's funny too when he loosens up. Excuse me for a moment!"
Before Bonnie can say anything, Caroline's already pushing through the crowd. There's no way stopping this one when she puts her mind to something, she thinks. It's like trying to stop a tornado.
"Quite intense, my sister-in-law, isn't she?" Bonnie hears a snicker behind her back. When she turns around, she's greeted by a pair of deep brown eyes and a playful smile. The guy couldn't be much younger than her, and he's indeed well dressed.
"I'm Kol, Klaus' brother." They shake hands.
"Bonnie. Caroline's friend."
"Why has she been keeping such a beautiful friend a secret for so long?" Kol tilts his head not taking his eyes off Bonnie. There's something wild hiding behind his eyes, something Bonnie hasn't experienced in a long time. "I wish we'd met earlier."
"Well, I've been away for a while. Now I'm… back from the dead, you could say."
"Back from the dead?"
"Sounds like I'm a zombie, I know." She bites her lower lip.
"Sounds like you're a witch. I hold witches in high esteem."
She narrows her eyes at him studying his features, but he doesn't lose his composure under her gaze. He stands there, bold and self-confident, waiting for a challenge.
Then she lets out a short laugh. "You really are funny when you loosen up."
"Excuse me?" Kol frowns. This wasn't a part of the script he wrote for this night.
"Caroline told me about you."
He waves his hand nervously. "Nothing she said is true, I assure you."
"So you don't have a good taste. And you aren't a cool guy." She teases.
Taken aback, Kol blinks at Bonnie. "I— I am." He stutters. "I absolutely am, yeah, a cool guy." Then it dawns on him. Looks like fate's dealt him a truly lucky set of cards tonight. "It's just, you know, Caroline and I, we just love playing each other. We're… best buddies! Family!"
"Yeah, I can imagine." Bonnie pats him playfully on the chest, which makes Kol grin ever wider.
"I'll get you another drink, darling. Don't go anywhere." He winks at her and rushes away to the bar.
"I can't find that dummy!" Caroline pops up by Bonnie's side. "One moment he's sipping his drink on the balcony, next second he's gone. Ugh! But I'll find him, Bon. You two simply must be introduced—"
"Hey, easy there, Caroline." Bonnie shakes Caroline's arm. "He's found me."
"Really?" The blonde's eyes grow big like saucers. "Perfect!"
"And you were right about him. A cool guy. Can be funny too. A decent rebound, I must say."
"Told you so!" Caroline gives her friend a triumphant smile. "My matchmaking skills are beyond—"
Then she sees her least favourite member of the family approach them with two drinks. Just in front of Caroline's stunned face he hands one to Bonnie and raises his glass. "There you go! To being back from the dead."
"To being back from the dead." She giggles.
Caroline snorts. "Kol, what—" She doesn't have the chance to finish since he pulls her into a tight hug, squeezing her so tight she can barely breathe.
"Thanks for putting in a good word for me, sis." He snickers, whispering to her ear. "I appreciate it."
"Shhh. We're besties now, aren't we?" Kol smiles slyly, "And who knows, maybe we'll be seeing each other more often."
Chill fresh air is what Caroline needs around midnight. She leaves the guests for a moment and leans against the balcony rail with an almost empty drink in her hand and her head full of thoughts. The party's a success, no doubts about it. The guests get along, two couples have hooked up (even though she's still decapitating Kol tomorrow morning), and Katherine hasn't killed Damon so far. Even Esther's mingling with the crowd, quite merry if you know what it means, and predicting people's future out of drinks. There's one person missing, though.
"Why so brooding, love?" Klaus sneaks up to her, making her heart skip a bit. He wraps his arms around her waist and Caroline leans back against him. She closes her eyes trying to relax, listening to the hustle and bustle of the city. It reminds her of home.
"I'm thinking about my mother."
He sighs. Despite many invitations sent over, so far Liz couldn't reconcile with Caroline's choices. "Give her time. It's your mother after all, she'll come around. I'm sure she's proud of you just like I am." He buries his head in the crook of her neck and starts leaving a trail of soft kisses down towards her collar bone. "You're beautiful," a kiss, "smart," a kiss, "successful—"
Caroline bursts out laughing wriggling out of his embrace. "Yeah, admit you're just grateful I didn't throw your cacti away."
"And so kind!" He points out, mocking her. "I did however find the gardener's bill on my desk. Very subtle."
"Well, patios don't just grow up in the middle of London." Caroline sticks her tongue at him. "This one's on you. And the mini fridge in the bedroom."
"What about two first-class tickets to Las Vegas?" Klaus reaches into the pocket of his jacket and pulls out two pieces of paper. The flight's tomorrow, or rather—this evening, considering it's past midnight now. "I've just booked them."
Silence falls upon them like an anvil. Thunderstruck and speechless, Caroline can do as much as shake her head.
"One dream's come true tonight." He gestures at the loft. "And I couldn't stop thinking there's another one to fulfill."
"Which is?" Caroline's face brightens up, mirroring his expression.
She could find a hundred arguments why it's crazy, why they're both busy, why it's not the best time to ditch everything and go on a trip—but she doesn't.
They stare at each other like two naughty kids about to set off on yet another adventure when parents aren't looking.
"We've got an unfinished business in Las Vegas, don't you think?"
She takes the tickets and wiggles her eyebrows.
A/N: First of all, if you're here, it means you won the Nobel Prize in Patience, so thank you. I kept you waiting for this chapter and truth be told, I wasn't even sure it would be ever finished. I've wrapped up the story the way I thought would be best.
My adventure with klaroline fanfiction might end here. Inspiration I used to have seem to be gone now. My schedule's busy, too. I do, however, miss the other stories that I've started. Whether I keep writing or decide this has been a fun evening but it's time for me to leave (wink wink nudge nudge) I am incredibly happy that you, my dear Readers, shared so many pages with me.
Some of your reviews left me laughing out loud. Some were constructive criticism for which I am greatful. So again, thank you for your support. I'll miss you, you rascalz.