Caroline had spent all but five minutes of the past three hours secluded in the hotel bathroom, sans all but a measly terrycloth robe, a cozy pair of frog-embellished pajama pants, and a half-emptied bottle of cinnamon schnapps (which were, over all, pretty terrible). She'd managed to create her very own 'Camp Caroline' for the night. The enormous Jacuzzi tub was overflowing with pillows and blankets she'd stripped from the bed, leaving a shivering Klaus to his own devices on a bare mattress, and she'd even managed to wire the telephone beneath the door. Thus, the five minutes she had used to ignore Klaus in all ways, shapes, and forms possible, and retrieve the room service she'd ordered when it came.
Klaus, on the other hand, had taken to pacing the balcony overlooking the Paris skyline, regretfully turning to the Eiffel tower, its lights twinkling from afar. He'd personally never let himself live it down if he didn't take her to the top; after all, the Eiffel tower was the very staple of Paris itself. It'd been a constant in his life for a while, an anchor compared to the hectic days he had lived and survived through. It, with a certain witch, had been something he'd made a point to visit each time he returned.
The witch, aptly named Esmeralda (Klaus had always thought it a particularly witch-y name), had assisted him through some sticky spots in the past with her impressively strong magic ability. There had been yet to be a case that Esmeralda didn't have a spell to solve. He was sure that she had to have something for bouts of overwhelming emotional weakness, too.
Thus, at the present moment, Klaus came to stand before the hotel bathroom door, a resigned sigh passing his lips. If he started to relent, both guilty and lustful thoughts of Caroline would come to him, and he wasn't sure if he could stop himself from going in there and claiming her.
In the words of Phoebe Buffay, his sister's most beloved television character, she was his lobster.
Caroline just didn't know it yet.
But that would all change soon, wouldn't it? That had been Klaus's original motive behind kidnapping Miss Forbes and dragging her off to Paris. If Klaus was anything, he was certainly persistent. It was only a matter of time until things went his way.
He couldn't wait a moment longer. "Caroline?" He called softly, tapping his knuckles against the wooden door.
"I said I didn't want to see you, you dick!" She screeched from the other side, and the sound of glass shattering came as she chucked a vase of lilies and baby's breath at the door. Water began to seep out from underneath, and Klaus internally groaned.
"Must things always go the hard way with you?" He sighed. "Caroline Forbes, you have four seconds to open this door, or so help me, I will come in there and snap your pretty little neck, love."
The door remained locked and shut.
He counted down in his head, leaving a little breathing room between each numeral. If it had been anybody else, he wouldn't have allowed them the kindness, but here he was dealing with a heartbroken girl. Such matters needed to be handled delicately.
"One," He breathed, the word barely audible. He formed his hand into a fist, slamming his knuckles into the very center of the door - the weakest point. The wooden object groaned and swayed before it collapsed on the tiled floor with a slam. His eyes met Caroline's fearful ones. She had curled herself up into the corner of the room, her blonde curls spilling into the bathtub. A brush, snapped in half, rested nearby, little pale yellow strands of hair entangled in it. She'd balled her dress up in the bathroom sink in a rather unceremonious way, and in her hands she clutched her cell phone, a white mug of coffee sitting beside her.
"Are you really gonna break my neck?" Her voice trembled.
"No," Klaus sighed, sitting down at her side and slinging his arm around her shoulders. Just then, a little ding sounded from her phone.
He glanced at the tiny screen; it was a three-way chat with Bonnie Bennett and Elena Gilbert. It appeared that for the past half hour, Elena and Bonnie had been reassuring Caroline of what a douche bag Tyler was.
'He's just a douche bag,' Elena had sent.
'No, he's THE douche bag,' Bonnie corrected.
'He's the king of douche bags, actually.'
'Should we have a crowning ceremony for him?'
'Nobody likes a man whore.'
'He's worse than the vampire gigolo.'
On and on it went, as the girls dissected every solitary flaw of Tyler's until Caroline finally admitted that none of it had been making her feel better.
Klaus tried to remember what Rebekah had done with her entourage of friends when one had had their heart broken. Granted, it had been a very different time. Instead of holing up in the bathroom, they would sit in the parlor in a circle and sip tea between swipes of a monogrammed silk handkerchief.
"He doesn't deserve you," He reassured quietly. Caroline glanced at him with bleary red eyes, sniffling deeply. She tossed her cell phone onto the rug laid out in the bathroom, watching as it clattered against the tile beneath, ultimately unharmed.
"I'm not letting you spend the rest of time together wallowing in despair over...how did our dear Elena put it? That's right. The king of douche bags."
"What else do you want me to do?" She grumbled.
"Get up, and get dressed. I'm taking you out."
"We just came back from dinner and - " Caroline began to protest, but Klaus held up his hand.
"This is our second-to-last day in Paris, and I'll be damned if you don't see the Eiffel Tower before then."
"Where else are we going after Paris?"
"Doesn't matter now, does it, love? Now hurry up; you're wasting moonlight, love."
Caroline stumbled behind Klaus as he power-walked, his long, lean legs moving at a speed only slightly lessened than that of his full ability. He clutched her hand tightly, as though he were afraid he would lose her had he let go, guiding her through the dank, dreary backstreets of Paris. The very same streets of of which Caroline had made her unsuccessful escape through earlier.
"I thought you said we were going to the Eiffel Tower?" Caroline asked innocently, weakly attempting to make idle conversation.
"Patience," He replied sharply, though, she tried to imagine he'd thrown a smirk, 'love', and maybe even an eyebrow waggle in with it. Even his most annoying quirks were preferable to this.
"What else is in Paris?" She asked, continuing to chatter on after that about books and magazines she'd read, things she'd wanted to seen. She was rambling on about even personal things, stories from her childhood, dreams, ambitions. Eventually, though, it came to a point where she wasn't even aware she'd stopped talking anymore. She only came to this realization when she almost rammed into him, having blindly fallen into step from behind him.
"We're here," He grumbled, and Caroline assessed her surroundings.
They stood in a dank, lifeless back alley. Not even a single door was present; only damp, crumbling stone. She'd half-expected to see the Eiffel Tower, in all its majesty, rising up above, to a point unforeseeable from her perspective, but there was nothing.
"Wow, um..." She tried - truly tried - to think of something nice to say about the armpit of Paris he'd led her to. The best she managed was pathetic by anyone's standards.
"It's...really...suitable...for what I wore?"
Klaus chuckled softly, and finally, Caroline was able to relax, seeing he had calmed.
"You really believe that, of all the things we could do in Paris, I'd take you to stand in a dark alleyway?"
"Well, we're here, aren't we?"
He chuckled a second time, and without answering her, he turned to the stone walls. She began to question his actions once more, but she was silenced abruptly when his hand disappeared within the confines of one of the stones, as if it had been severed at the wrist. He seemed calm, though, almost as if he were searching for something.
"Esmeralda, come out, come out, wherever you are," He called playfully, and suddenly, he was shoved away from the stone wall with an invisible brute force.
"Niklaus," A thickly accented, feminine voice wafted out from some unknown place, and several of the stones began to dissolve in midair.
Normally, Caroline would've stood there with her mouth open, gaping at the sight. However, after witnessing so many of Bonnie's supernatural displays, she was a tad more experienced in the matter than she had been only a year or so ago.
Where stone and mortar had once been present, Caroline now saw an open door, a caramel-skinned woman standing in the midst of it. She raised her eyebrow at the site of Caroline, and it became apparent to her that Klaus didn't typically bring visitors with him to this place. It almost made her giddy, to think that she was some sort of exception to him. An exception to the rules, his rules.
As Klaus came to stand at her side once again, he brushed off his dress shirt and smiled up at who Caroline could only presume was Esmeralda.
"So kind of you to allow me in," He started, heading towards the doorway, but Esmeralda stood her ground firmly.
"Not so fast, Niklaus," She said dryly, assessing Caroline from afar. "Who's the pretty little girl you have with you?"
"This is Caroline," Klaus informed her, placing both hands on Caroline's shoulders and pushing her forward gently.
"Caroline." Esmeralda wrinkled her nose in distaste but regardless, held out her hand. She seemed satisfied as Caroline took it. "She's like you." She then addressed Caroline directly for the first time. "My name is Esmeralda, but if you have the pleasure of earning a place as a friend in my book, you can call me Ezzie."
"If I start calling you Ezzie right now, will you just go ahead and check me off as one of the good guys?" Caroline was joking, but her stomach had formed a knot of nerves. She was positive Ezzie could sense it.
Nonetheless, Ezzie laughed sharply, and gestured for them both to enter. It instantly put Caroline at a reluctant ease, and Klaus followed her inside.
Inside, the atmosphere instantaneously took on a much different vibe and energy. Something so potent that it seemed almost as though it could be touched. Two small passageways opened up on either side of the room, one leading out, and, with a very skewered view, Caroline could see that it led to an upper level. Wooden bookcases lined the wall, filled to the point of almost bursting with yellowed papers and leather-bound books. A very rustically-styled rug was spread across the floor, with long golden tassels. A short, light tan wooden table rested atop, adjacent to a desk constructed of the same material in the closest corner. More books were spread over it, along with small leather bags, charms of all sorts, and vials. From the ceiling hung crystals and in the very center, a deep crimson dream catcher. On all the shelves were more of the knickknacks that were present on her desk, and an entire shelf dedicated exclusively to tall bottles of herbs.
"It really works, you know," Ezzie said in her thick accent, catching Caroline looking at the dream catcher. It was apparent that it was intended to be the centerpiece. "Only if you do it right, though."
Caroline found the place far more homely than anything Bonnie had ever managed to whip up, which included her basement and garage. The least 'magical' of all had been Caroline's living room.
"So, Caroline, you have a witch friend? Bonnie?" Ezzie asked, and Caroline furrowed her brow, whipping around to face Ezzie. Then she relaxed, though, realizing that her knowing that her friend's name was Bonnie, and that she was a witch, must have been pure witch-y intuition.
Any sort of ease she'd felt instantly dispersed, though. If Ezzie could uncover that much, who knew what else she was getting a reading on? Did she know that Caroline had dreamed of Klaus last night? That'd she'd woken up, desperately trying to recover the dream again?
"It's a little more complicated than that, love," Klaus said, and Caroline turned to face him as he spoke. Only then, she realized his lips weren't moving. He was in her head.
Get out! She cried, trying to establish any sort of wall she could.
He's right about it not being simple, you know.
She turned to Ezzie, practically in hysterics at this point. Get him out!
I would, but my magic isn't powerful enough to influence that sort of spell. This is a place of magic, and consequently, a place where things are not as they seem. Many strange things take place here, as the barrier between the underworld and the physical world is at its thinnest. One of the many things that comes with that is the barrier between minds being so thin that telepathy is a real possibility, even for mortals. That said, try to control your thoughts.
You dreamed about me? Klaus's voice sounded in her head, and if she hadn't been worried that her arm would go straight through him, she would've struck him.
Don't act so smug.
Niklaus, play nice.
Ezzie shot Klaus a warning glance, and he held up his hands, as though he were some sort of innocent victim. Much to her irritation, though, Caroline found that his thoughts were not open to probing - somehow, he was influencing what he projected to the two females in the room.
It's a learned skill, love. One that may take you a few centuries to pick up.
I hate you.
Not according to your dreams.
"Unfortunately, the hybrid is correct. You are projecting your entire thought process, Caroline. Fortunately for you, however, it is impossible to further probe your mind after your immediate thoughts." Ezzie sighed, retrieving a book from the top shelf of one of her bookcases. She glanced at Klaus guardedly. "What is it you came for, Niklaus?"
"I came for Caroline's sake. You wouldn't happen to have a remedy for heartbreak, would you, Esmeralda?"
"Klaus!" Caroline jabbed him with her elbow, but he didn't flinch in the slightest, only shooting a bemused glance her way.
"I may have something prepared. Tyler was his name?"
"Something quick, please. We haven't got all night, Esmeralda."
"It was," Caroline interjected.
"Is that all you came for?" Esmeralda wore a mock pout as she handed Caroline a vial of pretty, rose-colored liquid. Caroline only assumed she was to drink, and Ezzie nodded approvingly as she did. "I thought my favorite hybrid might pay a more worthwhile visit."
She handed a small leather pouch from her desk drawer to Klaus, and as he tucked it into his jacket, they shared an exchange that Caroline could only begin to imagine.
"You're a witch, right?" Caroline managed to break the pair up, a tinge of jealousy shooting throughout her body. As much as Caroline despised it, it was practically natural, and she couldn't help but to despise any female that Klaus so much as glanced at, nonetheless one whom he could share a supernatural bond with.
Jealousy doesn't suit you, He commented, clearing his throat.
Ezzie rolled her eyes, but more or less ignored his commentary. "I prefer something more...vanilla. A caster, if you will."
"Bonnie used to do my tarot...fortunes...stuff like that." Caroline was beginning to get excited. She'd never really had anybody more credible than an inexperienced Bonnie or a mall fortune teller read her palms. "Could you...maybe...?"
"Consider it a favor, for a friend of dear Niklaus." She narrowed her eyes in Klaus's direction, approaching him. "Out. This is between the girl and I."
He rolled his eyes theatrically, but regardless, he was out the door in a matter of seconds.
"Come." She gestured for Caroline to follow her lead to the upper floor of the residence. "Work is to be done."
When Caroline bounded down the stairs to the outside, Klaus was already waited, leaned up against the stone wall and tapping his foot. Ezzie remained in the doorway, leaning out only slightly so that she could see him.
"That took a long time. Longer than I expected." He seemed annoyed, in a way his tapping foot reflected.
"Niklaus? May I speak to you for a moment? Privately?"
Caroline was far too busy studying the gorgeous new gemstone that hung from her throat, and didn't detect the note of urgency in Ezzie's voice. From her earlier session, she could only assume that Ezzie intended for her to stay outside. She was correct.
She barely paid any attention as sharp, angry voices arose from within the residence, but snapped to attention when Klaus stomped back out into the open night air.
"It was nice to meet you, Caroline," Ezzie called, but when Caroline turned, the doorway had already faded back to stone.
"You, too," She called, only hoping that Ezzie could hear her. For all she knew, Ezzie was standing right there, an invisible part of the endless stone walls.
"Are we going somewhere?" She asked Klaus. "Is everything alright?"
"Eiffel Tower," He snapped. Caroline instinctively knew not to press on, and merely followed behind. She was sure that he had enough good judgment to express discretion with what and what not to tell her.
She bounded along behind him, hoping he'd calm by the time they reached the Eiffel Tower. If only she'd thought to ask.
Author's Note: It's been such a long time since I last updated. Since last year! I was really disappointed by the lack of reviews, but I'm hoping for a better outcome now that I've started to pick up a budding plot. I really hoped you enjoyed my injection of Ezzie! Fun fact: Esmeralda was a consideration for my name when I was born. If this fic was a movie, I think I'd choose Zoe Saldana to play Ezzie. Regardless, reviews motivate me to write! Review, review, review! I really hope you liked this update!
xoxo - Hope
If you want updates and sneak peeks, find me on Tumblr at themagicalgirlnextdoor!