Green Card

(Inspired by the Peter Weir film)

Klaus is an art grad student at Hunter College whose student visa is about to expire. Caroline is a journalism grad student and Today Show intern who's dream apartment only accepts married couples. Their marriage of convenience proves to be harder to pull off than they thought when INS comes knocking.

Author's Note: HELLOOOOOO KLAROLINERS! Thank you so much for sticking around and keeping up with my fic! I'm sorry I take forever between updates! I'm trying to get better about that...

Before we start the fun, I just wanted to let you all know of how I cast Stephen in my head. I typically adhere to the casting of John Barrowman as Bill Forbes' boyfriend/husband Stephen, but I began thinking of Matt Bomer in my head as I was writing because I like the added scandal of not only leaving his family for a man, but a hot younger man at that! So in discussing these prospects with my Tumblr bffl and partner-in-crime Alex (klarolineepiclove), I created a gorgeous gay hybrid of the two. You can see the picture of him on my tumblr. :)

OKAY, ENOUGH BLABBERING, BECKY! Please enjoy, read, and review!

Chapter Eight

"Mom?! You're here!?" Caroline squeaked.

"Yes! Stephen said that we were due to visit you and your new apartment, so here we are! Is this a bad time?"

"It's never a bad time to see your mother and your fabulous stepfather!" Stephen's voice was suddenly talking over top of Liz's. "Especially when he has a new pair of glasses that make him look like John Slattery on Mad Men..." Liz and Stephen's laughter filled the speaker and Caroline looked up at Klaus, her face painted with absolute horror.

"Uh, yeah! Sure! Come on up!" She said, trying to make her voice sound as normal and sober as possible.

"Great! Now buzz us in before Stephen starts humping my leg in excitement," Liz laughed.

"No offense, Liz, but you're not my type..." Stephen said before Liz released the page button.

Caroline stared at the speakerbox for a minute, not sure what else she could do before slowly moving her finger over to the entrance button to buzz them in. She pushed it and a millisecond after she had, she suddenly became one thousand times more alert and frantic than she'd ever been in her entire life.

"MY PARENTS ARE HERE!" She screeched, nearly breaking Klaus's ear drums as she ran around in a frenzy, attempting to clean and straighten up as well as get rid of any evidence of Klaus staying there.

"Your parents!?" Klaus said, confused.

"YES, MY MOM AND MY STEP-DAD, STEPHEN! MY DAD'S DEAD. KEEP UP, KLAUS!" Caroline shrieked as she stumbled around, cleaning as best she could.

"Caroline..." Klaus said calmly, trying to get her attention. He did his best to catch her eye, but the frantic blonde continued moving around the apartment like the Tazmanian Devil, a blonde hurricane, causing more destruction in her crazed attempt to perform the exact opposite. "Caroline...CAROLINE!" He finally said with a raised voice and grabbing her shoulders, forcing him to look him square in the eye.

She gazed back at him, panting slightly from her frantic episode, and he gazed back into her bright blue eyes intently.

"You're about to see your parents for the first time in the new apartment. You also have been day-drinking and I'd venture a guess you would not want them to know that you're inordinately pissed during the day."

"You're right..." Caroline murmured with a gasp, her eyes widening absurdly.

"Yes," Klaus said, taking a breath with her in order to keep himself from laughing at her hilariously inebriated epiphany. "So you're going to go to the bathroom, splash some cold water on your face, and pull yourself together while I brew a pot of coffee so we can sober you up as quickly as possible. Okay?"

"Okay!" Caroline said, nodding her head emphatically before turning and striding out of the living room.



"Bathroom's the other way, love."


Klaus took her by the shoulders again and steered her down the hallway to the bathroom for good measure before turning his attention back to tidying up. Once the common areas were in order and all his belongings were tossed in the broom closet, Klaus began filling the coffee maker. He'd just pressed the start button when the doorbell rang and Caroline's hysterical voice echoed from the bathroom.

"OH GOD! THEY'RE HERE!" Soon a blur of blonde hair raced past Klaus and to the foyer and he did his best to catch her before she flung the door open in a panic. "WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!" She whirled around to face him, her messy blonde curls spinning around her and lightly grazing Klaus's face. He didn't have time to appreciate the sweet smell of her shampoo because in a split second, her fists were grabbing the front of his shirt and shaking him. "WHAT DO WE TELL THEM ABOUT US?!"

"Bloody hell, Caroline, relax," Klaus said with a gentle but commanding tone, wrapping his hands around hers. "We've stuck to the friend story, so let's go with that. If you want more backstory, let's just say that we met at school."

"Great! Okay! Good plan!" Caroline nodded and Klaus visibly saw Caroline's panic meter drop before his eyes and he slowly released her hands when he felt hers releasing his shirt. "Yes, okay. Yes... It's gonna be good," she said, giving him a double thumbs up and a small smile and Klaus did his best not to laugh as he took in her newly quieted calm, although her pupils were still a bit dilated.

Caroline took a deep breath before turning to the door. She slowly brought her hand up and turned the lock and opened the door with a smile. However, her and Klaus's smiles slowly slipped from their faces as they took in the doorbell ringer on their threshold.

"Good afternoon, might I have a chat with you and your husband, Mrs. Mikaelson?" The short, toady woman Caroline hadn't seen in weeks clucked.

"Uhhhh-of course, Ms. Plec!" Caroline said. She knew that Klaus had no idea she was one of the co-op board members and, besides the fact they were committing fraud, her showing up on their doorstep with her parents there any second was the worst possible thing. "We're actually expecting some company, so if you wouldn't mind-"

"I want to have a chat with you about these government people!" Ms. Plec squawked at them, and Caroline found herself wishing she had magical powers and could just make this thorn in her side of a woman disappear. "AND-" Plec leaned in and whispered angrily and accusatorily, "I heard loud music playing...rock music playing..." and she threw a suspicious look at Klaus, and Caroline remembered the woman voicing her concerns over Klaus's art practices at her interview. She and Klaus had agreed that he would keep his more eccentric art practices that could disturb her Central Park West neighbors either at his apartment or at a studio at Hunter College.

"No no no, Ms. Plec, you must have been mistaken!" Caroline pleaded desperately, trying to calm her paranoid, hallucinating neighbor's concerns. As she kept throwing glances over toward the old fashioned elevator, the cables visible in the little window and the whirring told her that its passengers were fast approaching.

"And then these government agents come snooping around!" Ms. Plec continued squawking, as if Caroline hadn't made a peep the entire time. "He's not a spy or something? Is he?!" She jabbed an accusatory finger at a bewildered looking Klaus, who seemed undecided as to whether he should be offended or start laughing.

"OF COURSE HE ISN'T, MS. PLEC!" Caroline finally screeched, overpowering the nosy, pushy woman just as the elevator dinged and the doors opened, revealing her mother and stepfather's smiling faces.

"Hello, sweetie!" Sheriff Forbes said with a happy expression, stepping off the elevator and towards her only daughter.

"Hi, Mom! Hi, Stephen!" Caroline called, plastering a smile on her face and stepping past her wretched neighbor to wrap her arms around her mother and usher her inside.

"But... but... but..." The old crone of a woman tried her best to interject, but no words or gestures could interrupt the brief family reunion.

"Alright, let me at that new apartment! You better have put those gift cards I got you to Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel to good use!" Stephen said after giving her a firm hug and following Liz inside.

"Of course, Stephen," Caroline said congenially, ushering Klaus in after them in an attempt to shake off their pesky neighbor.

"But, I..." Ms. Plec started, but she stopped short of their doorway.

"Not now, Ms. Plec!" Caroline hissed.


"I SAID NOT NOW!" Caroline hissed loudly before swiftly and quietly slamming the door in her face. She locked the door for good measure and turned in the foyer to the still bewildered Klaus.

"Who was that?" Klaus asked, mostly mouthing the words, his voice barely a whisper.

"She's from the co-op board..." Caroline replied, her volume matching his and her mouth clearly outlining her words.

"What is she doing here?"

"I DON'T KNOW WHAT SHE'S DOING HERE!" Caroline mouthed back angrily.

"KEEP IT TOGETHER!" Klaus mouthed firmly, a serious but commanding look on his face. Caroline opened her mouth to throw some sort of retort back at him, but the murmuring of her parents in the kitchen and dining room captured her attention and she pushed past him to get closer to them.

"I love what you've done with the place, Carebear," Stephen said proudly, admiring the decorations that he must have sent her along with the ones she obtained herself. "I always knew your lovely tastes must have skipped Bill's generation."

"Must have, I was more of a homebody than Bill was, and that's saying something!" Liz replied with a chuckle. Her policewoman body language wasn't lost on Klaus as she naturally settled with her right hand resting on her belt where he bet a gun would have been otherwise residing had she not been out of her jurisdiction.

"Yeah, I told him if I weren't sleeping with him, I wouldn't think he was gay at all..." Stephen laughed as he draped his jacket over one of the dining room chairs and settled in. He looked around but his gaze doubled back as he finally took in the fact that there was a fourth person in the room. "Well hello there! Didn't see you there, we haven't been introduced..." he strode towards Klaus with his hand extended.

"Hello, nice to meet you," Klaus said congenially, shaking Stephen's hand firmly. "I'm Klaus, Caroline's-"

"HANDYMAN!" Caroline said, practically shouting over top of Klaus and she felt her cheeks turn beet red as Klaus, Liz and Stephen turned to her with confused and disbelieving expressions. Klaus, knowing that Liz and Stephen couldn't see his face, mouthed, "Your handyman?!" to her and Caroline quickly tried to repair the dikes she'd unwittingly torn down herself.

"I mean, he's a friend of Stefan's, but I've, like, adopted him as my handyman, because you know, Stefan's not very...handy."

Klaus rolled his eyes as Stephen chuckled, and even though Liz smiled, her eyes still regarded Klaus and Caroline with the slightest hint of suspicion.

"So yeah... Klaus, would you like to go and fix that...thing... that you came here to fix?" Caroline said, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other and wringing her hands.

"Yes..." Klaus deadpanned. "Excuse me, I have to go fix...that...thing..." He turned awkwardly and crossed to the kitchen, smiling politely to Liz and Stephen as he walked past.

Caroline slapped a hand over her face in embarrassment and soon she heard her stepfather's unmistakable murmuring.

"Mmm mmm mnm," Stephen said, looking off to where Klaus had exited. "Got an accent and an ass like a kumquat..."

"STEPHEN!" Caroline shrieked as Liz snorted amusedly.

"What?! Oh don't pretend you haven't noticed, Caroline Renee Forbes. Dimple Boy fills out that pair of jeans mighty well... And I'm not just talking about his glutes..."

"Oh my god..." Caroline muttered, covering her face with one hand, trying hide the rosy blush that spreading across her cheeks.

"Seriously, Caroline, I hope you're tapping that like a maple tree... If you're not, can I?"

"Kill me now..." Caroline muttered, busying herself by taking her parents' coats to put away in the coat closet.

"Alright, Stephen, down boy. Don't make me whap you on the nose with a newspaper..." Liz said with an eyeroll and a chuckle.

"Don't be such a pill, Liz. Anyway, if Caroline won't, I call dibs. I love a rugged hottie with an accent..."

"For god's sake, Stephen, give it a rest! He's married!" Caroline said as she slammed the door of the coat closet. In half a second, she tensed up as she realized what she'd let slip in her slightly inebriated state and she wished more than anything that she could suck the words back into her blabbering pie hole.

"Damn! What is it with me and my attraction to married men?!" Stephen said with an anguished sigh.

"I don't know," Liz sighed. "Must be a curse..."

"Oh well..." Stephen shrugged. "I guess if the good ones aren't gay, they're taken... It's only when they're straight that I have a problem..."

"You're the worst," Liz chuckled, crossing to her daughter and wrapping her arms around her only child. "Please ignore your stepfather, Caroline."

"I always do, Mom..." she murmured, folding into her mother's comforting embrace. They hadn't always been very close, but it was during her tumultuous time in college that Caroline had really begun bonding with her formerly austere mother.

"Well come on now, give us the grand tour, Carebear!" Stephen said, switching gears quickly and efficiently.

It took Caroline all of ten minutes to show her parents the apartment and it took Stephen all of nine minutes and fifteen seconds to be drooling all over Klaus again. Liz took it as an opportunity to catch up with her daughter one on one, even if Caroline was a little distracted trying to keep tabs on her secret husband and her overzealous stepfather. Eventually Klaus finished fixing "the thing he had come over to fix" and, after a light and casual meal at Stephen's insistence, excused himself to go back to the studios at school.

"Oh, please, handsome, don't feel like you have to rush off on our account!" Stephen said, standing quickly and gripping Klaus's shoulders and giving them a friendly massage. "All work and no play makes Klausy a dull boy!" Liz snorted at her late husband's lover and Caroline turned her sixteenth shade of red for the day while Klaus chuckled and cleared his throat with slight discomfort. "That reminds me, Carebear, I went shopping for you since I know how you always get wrapped up in your work. Don't worry, I saved all the receipts just in case you want to return them or whatever, but I left the bags out in the car. Come give me a hand with them!" Stephen said, waving a hand at Caroline to escort him outside.

"Okay, okay..." Caroline said, taking a quick sip of her water, finally feeling normal and down from her day drinking buzz, and getting up from the table. "Be right back," she added to Liz and Klaus as Stephen wrapped his arm through hers and happily strode with her to the door.

Once they were gone, a silence fell over the apartment as Liz and Klaus turned back towards the other from watching the pair leave. Klaus, normally not the faintest of hearts, felt himself gulp as he remembered that not only was he alone with a cop, but Caroline's mother, and he didn't know which fact was more intimidating.

"So... you're a friend of Stefan's?" Liz said after a while, taking no measures to hide the fact that she was silently regarding Klaus from across the table.

"Uhghm, yes," Klaus said quickly, clearing his throat. "He and I met years ago by chance then reconnected a few years ago. I consider him to be one of my closest friends."

"Hmm," Liz murmured. "Yes, I always liked Stefan. He's a great guy. He was always there for Caroline when she truly needed it... When she needed me, but I couldn't be there..." Klaus noted the hint of sadness in Liz's voice, but before he could ask her about it, she fired off another question.

"So tell me, do you often find yourself here in my daughter's apartment playing handyman?"

"Uh, well, I... yes," Klaus mumbled. "Like Caroline said, Stefan doesn't exactly know his way around a toolbox, so she enlisted me...rather begrudgingly I might add..." When Liz raised an eyebrow questioningly, he added, "We don't really get along, your daughter and I... My family has told me that I can be rather stubborn and Caroline's not quite-"

"Mother Teresa?" Liz offered. Klaus laughed with a nod and Liz chuckled to herself. "Yeah, it's hard to say who she got that pigheadedness from, me or Bill... Or worse, she got a mixture of both of us! Don't get me wrong, Bill was a great man and he was a great father. It's just he kept secrets for so long and finally when he was honest, I could tell that a weight had lifted off of his shoulders..." Liz had gazed around and at the table as she spoke candidly with Klaus, but soon her gaze flicked back up to his and her eyes bore into his. "I just hope that Caroline will be honest with me, but I know it'll happen when she's ready."

Klaus knew in an instant what the sheriff was implying, and he knew she suspected that there was more to Klaus and Caroline's relationship than they let on, but she was acknowledging that she'd give them space and he made a mental note to send a fruitbasket to both Caroline's parents when this was all said and done. He could tell from the way she spoke about her daughter and the look in her eye that Liz Forbes was not someone to cross for any reason, especially when it had to do with Caroline.

Mercifully for Klaus, Stephen and Caroline returned, arms full of shopping bags, and barreled into Caroline's room with the loot before he and Liz said their goodbyes and departed.

"So...I think they bought it..." Caroline said, a minute after the door had closed behind them. Klaus chuckled and shook his head.

"Yes. That was a regular Oscar winner there, love..."

"Oh my god, that is too funny..." Stefan said, reaching for his wine glass and taking another sip of the merlot Caroline had picked out.

"I mean, at least it went better than that first meeting with INS," Caroline said, setting the plates of risotto that Klaus had made down on the table. "I was able to give the tour so he didn't introduce the broom closet as my bedroom..."

"Are you honestly still holding that over my head?" Klaus asked as he carried the basket of rolls and bowl of shredded parmesan cheese from the kitchen to the dining room. "I have been a perfect gentlemen and have not reminded you how you were completely pissed when your parents showed up..."

"That was your fault! You got me drunk!" Caroline cried, pointing an accusatory finger at him before reaching for the wine bottle from Stefan to refill her glass.

"Yes, yes, it was all my fault. Everything's always my fault, what else is new?" Klaus muttered before crossing back into the kitchen to make sure everything was turned off and as it should be.

"Well if we don't have you to blame, what do you expect us to do? Take responsibility for our actions?" Stefan asked with a smirk.

"A novel idea, isn't it?" Klaus chuckled as he returned from the kitchen, a corkscrew in hand, which he passed to Caroline who was struggling to open a new bottle of wine.

"Hey, I'm not deflecting blame, I'm just merely stating facts. You lead the INS agent to the broom closet just as you got me drunk before my parents popped in for their little surprise..."

"Next thing you're going to be telling me that I made that old bird from the co-op board appear on our doorstep..." Klaus said with feigned hurt in his voice as Caroline burst into peals of laughter.

"Oh god, I forgot to tell you that bit, Stef," she said in between bouts of laughter, as Klaus took the wine bottle out of her hands and opened it for her. She refreshed all their glasses and told him about Ms. Plec's unexpected appearance amidst Liz and Stephen showing up, and Stefan laughed along with her as Klaus sprinkled parmesan on all of their plates.

He watched the pair unknowingly move seamlessly and effortlessly around each other, as if they had been together for years and not just a few short weeks. He saw what he'd known from the beginning, why he'd tried to set them up at his brother's party a few years ago. But he didn't say anything. He just sat and watched silently, enjoying the delicious food and wonderful company of his two closest friends.

"You know, Klaus, you've been doing an awful lot of cooking considering the Leaning Tower of Takeout Boxes I saw at your apartment..." Caroline said with a wry smile as she took a bite of risotto.

Klaus smirked as he sprinkled pepper on his risotto and stirred the food on his plate as he said, "Yes, well, cooking for one does get rather depressing after a while, and as you well know there are plenty of singles in New York so I don't get judged by the delivery boy."

Caroline's eyes went to Klaus's face and she saw the shred of loneliness that he was doing everything in his power to hide. He of course cleared his throat then quickly added, "Besides, I can turn the attention and energy that would've been focused on cooking onto my artwork, which truly needs my attention..." Caroline murmured and nodded in agreement, but she quietly studied him, not fooled by his attempt to smooth over his previous statement of singledom. The rest of their dinner with Stefan was relaxed and enjoyable, and soon there was nothing left but empty plates and empty wine glasses.

"That was delicious, man," Stefan said, clapping Klaus gratefully on the shoulder.

"Mhmm, my compliments to the chef," Caroline said, touching Klaus's forearm gently. Klaus smiled at his two companions, yet he and Stefan didn't miss the intimate gesture from Caroline...or the fact that her hand rested on his arm much longer than Stefan's on Klaus's shoulder. "Okay, Klaus cooks, and Caroline cleans..." she added, releasing Klaus's arm to stand, gathering the dishes up.

"Nonsense, love. This is your home and I'm a guest in it. I'll do the dishes," Klaus said, standing and taking the dishes out of Caroline's hands.

"Well, that's only partly true. Isn't your name on the deed?"

"Shove it, Stefan," Klaus replied, shooting his friend a look, who grinned sheepishly and raised his eyebrows, sinking lower in his chair.

"Yes, he's right, Klaus. It would be completely unfair of me to force you to do all the dishes when you're the one that cooked!"

"Yes, but haven't we already determined that's for the best since you aren't the best candidate for meal preparation?" Klaus replied.

"That's an understatement," Stefan muttered.

"Shut up, Stefan!" Caroline growled, shooting him a look and he replied with the same sheepish expression and a shrug.

"Fine, I assist you in washing the dishes, and that's my final offer," Klaus said. "And I'm not taking no for an answer."

"Fine! God, you're so stubborn," Caroline scoffed with a smile, carrying a few dishes to the kitchen.

"Hello, Pot. Meet Kettle," Stefan said, standing and picking up his own plate and glass.

"STEFAN!" Both Caroline and Klaus raised their voices at their friend and he finally laughed in response.

"Okay! Okay! Since I'm being such a pest and my name appears nowhere on the lease, I'll take that as my cue to leave," the young Salvatore said, placing his dishes in the sink.


"So kind of you."

"Alright, I'm out. Thanks again for a great night, you two," he said, wrapping his arms around Caroline and hugging her before clapping Klaus's shoulder again. "I'll let myself out. Have a good night, guys."

"Stefan," Klaus nodded as he rolled up the sleeves of his henley.

"Night, Stef," Caroline said with a smirk, bidding their friend goodnight as she reached under the sink to get the dish soap and sponge out. "I wash, you rinse?" She said to Klaus.

"Sounds good to me, love," he smiled as he plugged the second sink basin to fill with water as Caroline filled the first with sudsy water. Stefan crossed towards the foyer, watching the twosome as he put on his leather jacket.

He didn't care if he was being a creeper by hanging around and watching his friends silently from the next room, but he watched his two friends laugh and wash dishes together, Klaus splashing Caroline playfully with water and Caroline blowing bubbles on him, with a smile.

He chuckled to himself with a little shake of his head before turning and quietly letting himself out of his friends' apartment.

"STOP, KLAUS! YOU'RE GETTING WATER EVERYWHERE!" Caroline cried, laughing as a splash fight between her and Klaus ensued.

"A MIKAELSON NEVER SURRENDERS!" He called back, refusing to halt his defensive splashing as the blonde laughed and splashed water at him heartily. "I WILL NOT HAVE MY HAND FORCED BY YOU OR ANYONE ELSE!"

"IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY, THEN PREPARE TO LOSE!" Caroline yelled back, grabbing the spray hose from the side of the sink and pulling it out to the maximum length to get some distance between her and Klaus before she fired upon him with a steady stream of water. "I FEEL SORRY FOR YOUUU-" Suddenly Caroline slipped in the water that was gathering on the linoleum floor of the kitchen and began flailing to try and regain her balance.

Klaus reached out to try and keep her from falling, but all he did was get tangled up in Caroline's thrashing. Soon they both began to slip and slide while grabbing at the other before eventually crashing to the ground. Caroline fell smack down on her rear with a shriek and Klaus landed hard on his side, a moan escaping his lips. They both made noises of surprise, pain, and mirth, but eventually Klaus rolled over and saw Caroline lying on her back, both hands covering her face.

"Caroline?" Klaus murmured, crawling over to her carefully. "Are you alright, love?" He finally heard what he surmised was a snort and Caroline's hands fell away from her face, her expression confirming that she was indeed laughing and not crying as he'd feared.

"Oh my god," Caroline moaned with a slight laugh, her cheeks flushed. "I don't know which hurts more: my ass from the fall or my stomach from laughing..." Klaus smiled and chuckled as he watched the blonde hold her abdomen, her face twitching a bit from being so stretched out by her big wide smile.

"Need my help with anything, love?"

"Yeah, you can feel free to mop this mess up! Get crackin', Cinderfella!" She laughed, gesticulating around her, still lying on her back.

"Wow, looks like a fairy godmother, acts like the evil stepmother," Klaus remarked, sending Caroline into a whole nother fit of giggles, her hands flying to her face as her cheeks stretched from smiling and laughing. "You're a fascinating woman, Caroline Forbes." They both chuckled and laughed for a while before their laughter simmered down and soon an electricity filled the air as they took note of the position that they were in.

Klaus was lying on the floor beside her, but his upper torso was poised over her from crawling to her aid, and she remained lying down on her back, gazing up at him. During their bout of laughter, Klaus had settled a hand on her waist and Caroline's had settled on his bicep while her other rested on her stomach. They remained as they were in silence for a while gazing at each other. As Caroline's hand slid down his arm and rested on his wrist, the hand that had rested on her stomach suddenly moved up and began lightly touching the skin of his neck.

"I never realized how many freckles you have," Caroline murmured, her fingers trailing over the skin of Klaus's neck, touching each of his brown freckles gently. She saw his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed and her eyes travelled up to his eyes before flicking down to his lips. Her eyes flicked back up to his for a moment to see his eyes set on her own lips. It was only then that she realized that all he had to do was lean down and close the short distance between them and...

Caroline cleared her throat as she cleared the thoughts out of her mind and her hands dropped from his neck and the wet fabric on his bicep as she turned her face to the side. She heard Klaus clear his throat and soon he was moving away to stand up and she took a calming breath before sitting up herself. She turned to plant one hand on the floor to push herself up, but she suddenly saw two hands outstretched, offering her a lift and she looked up and gave their owner a small, grateful smile.

Once Caroline was standing, she moved to exit the kitchen but Klaus's hands held hers and halted her leaving. She looked up at him quizzically and even though he was giving her a small smile as well, she saw a seriousness in his eyes as he spoke to her.

"Thank you."

"For what?" She breathed, then laughed lightly. "For giving you a nice post-dinner shower?"

"I've been so stressed lately," Klaus continued, ignoring her lighthearted joke. "I've been busting my ass working on my exhibition and I really needed this. Today was lovely, Caroline. Thank you. I've been so stressed..." He'd taken her hands during his speech and pulled them into one and clasped them with the other as he spoke. "...You took my mind off of it. You brought me back, Caroline." Caroline gazed back at Klaus, unsure of how to respond before she gave him a slight shrug and a shy grin.

"Anytime," she murmured. He smiled at her warmly before she cast her eyes away again, and he finally released her hands. He cleared his throat again and she sighed, both of them busying themselves with tidying up both the kitchen and themselves. Eventually, after being dismissed by Klaus who'd insisted on finishing the dishes for starting the water fight, Caroline retreated back to her room and she rested her back against her closed door.

She laughed as looked down at her soaking wet clothes and she thought about how they'd gotten that way. As she peeled wet garment after wet garment off and slid into her pajamas, her mind drifted to that brief and intimate moment, and she felt the same twisting in her stomach and her breath became a little shallow at the memory. She sat on her bed, reached into her nightstand and took a quick puff from her inhaler. Even though she felt considerably less winded, she still felt her heart pounding in her chest like a jackhammer. She settled herself down beneath her covers and took deep breaths trying to still her racing and ever changing heart.

Author's Note: Hmmmm the tables are turning, aren't they? Doesn't seem like the affections are quite so one-sided now, are they? Anywhoozles, please review! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks to the best beta team in the whole world, my Sister Wives, my dirty mistresses: Alex (klarolineepiclove), Leah (approvesomuch), Ashley (jomosfamilyjewels), Miranda (livingdeadblondequeen) and Katie (hybridlovelies)