Chapter One – Déjà Vu
I think I've been here before
I think I've run into you
I know the things that you do
Cause this is déjà vu.
"Elena, get up and get dressed. We're done doing this," Caroline said, pulling the blankets from over top of her best friend. The two girls had been on the couch for the better part of that Sunday afternoon and the three Sundays before. It had become part of their routine; work Monday thru Saturday and wallow in self-pity on Sunday. It was pathetic really and they both knew it. "Come on, Lena. I'm serious. We're single. It isn't the end of the world. It's time to get off the couch and go to the real world again."
"I don't like the real world. I don't think the real world likes me very much either," Elena said, attempting to pull the blanket back over her and cover the sweat pants and oversized 'Mystic Falls Football' t-shirt she was wearing, but Caroline was stronger.
"Oh my gosh, Elena. Seriously!? Matt broke up with you and moved back to Virginia a month ago and you are still wearing his t-shirt. I cannot let this happen any longer. I'm calling in the best friend code. I simply cannot let you go on like this," The blonde said overdramatically.
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday night. The bars and clubs are going to be empty. This is pointless. We don't open the bar on Sunday nights for that exact reason." Elena argued from her spot on the couch. "I'm wallowing. There's nothing wrong with wallowing."
"We don't open the bar on Sundays because we would never have any time to do anything if we didn't have one solid day a week that we both had off. We're not going to just a bar anyway. I managed to get us on the list at the Zanne opening tonight; that new bar on New York Avenue that they have been advertising and PRing for months. Everyone is going to be there and there is absolutely no reason we shouldn't be to. So get off the couch, get your ass in the shower, and put on your sluttiest dress. Tonight isn't about finding Mr. Right, it's about finding someone who make us forget about Matt and Tyler." She pulled her up from the couch and began shoving her towards the bathroom. "No more wallowing. Wallowing isn't sexy, it's just sad."
"Easy for you to say. Tyler is a little easier to get over than Matt," Elena grumbled as she walked into the bathroom.
"Well, that's because Tyler and I agreed we were going to stay friends. Just be thankful Matt didn't decide to come out while you were planning your wedding. I don't have a choice, but to be friends with Tyler. He's dating your little brother now. He's going to be in my life for as long as they date," she told her as Elena closed the bathroom door. "Alright, I'm running across the hall to shower and get ready. I'll be back in an hour and I swear to god, Elena, if you are back in that t-shirt, I will burn it," she warned before exiting the apartment and heading across the hall to her own.
Caroline began running the shower and stripped out of the terry cloth shorts and tank top she had been wearing all afternoon before wandering into the closet to find something to wear. It was easier said than done; a large portion of Caroline's closet was tank tops and t-shirts with 'Moonlight Bakery Bar' silk-screened onto them. She spent most of her time at the business that she and Elena had started two years before. It had begun as a bakery, Caroline had been famous for their cupcake recipe during finals while in school at Virginia State University, when they graduated they decided to start charging. Caroline came up with the menu and Elena handled the business side. The bar had come along a year later. They were doing well enough with the simple bakery, but there were hundreds of bakeries within the city limits of DC and they needed something to set them apart. A month of construction and a liquor license fiasco later, the two girls were selling drinks along with their cupcakes.
Once she found a tight-fitting, red bandage dress and a pair of sky high black heels, Caroline slipped into the shower and tossed her hair up in a few curlers. It had been a while since she had been out anywhere besides her own bar. Her relationship with Tyler had ended nearly two months before and she had spent much of those two months on the couch, doing exactly what Elena was trying to do now, but it had not worked out for her either. That evening would be different though. Caroline was on a mission to have fun and break out of their routine and when the blonde put her mind to something, it usually happened. With her hair and make-up perfect and her dress hugging all the right places, she wandered back across the hall into her best friend's apartment.
"We are so getting free drinks all night," Caroline remarked as Elena came into view wearing an white dress that dipped low enough to show ample cleavage.
"I still can't believe I let you talk me into this," Elena sighed as she and Caroline climbed into a cab.
"Stop with that. We're going to have fun tonight," she said, before turning towards the cab driver. "Fifteen hundred New York Avenue, please." She settled back into the seat and checked the contents of her purse before looking back to Elena. "Just please try to have a good time tonight? We haven't been out in months."
"Alright," Elena reluctantly agreed and soon the two girls were walking into the newly renovated bar.
| Oh What A Night |
"Father will not be happy about us staying out until the wee hours of the morning on the Eve of his promotion announcement," Kol commented as the two of them walked into the overcrowded bar opening.
With the amount of whining Kol had been doing since they left the ambassador's mansion, Klaus was beginning to seriously regret bringing his younger brother along. Kol had practically invited himself, it's not like he had much choice. "Since when do you give any thought to what Mikael thinks about our actions?"
"Since I've decided I don't want to lose the diplomatic immunity his career path affords me," Kol said, lifting a glass from the tray one of the waitresses was carrying around.
"Good to see you finally gave in and let him begin buying your affections," Klaus spouted sarcastically as he took his own drink, downing the scotch before he scanned the room. His taste had changed over the last year. The way his disastrous relationship with Tatia had ended, he wanted someone who looked nothing like her. No commitment, no dating. He had allowed himself to become far too vulnerable with her and she used it against him. He would never be in that position again. As he looked around the room, his eyes fell upon a small blonde sitting at the bar next to a brunette. Perfect, he thought to himself. "Get yourself another drink," he said, pressing his glass into his brother's chest until he took it from him. He stepped away from the entrance and headed towards the bar. "Bourbon, neat," he told the bartender, leaning into the bar between the two girls.
"Excuse you," Caroline said, her brows furrowing as she looked at the man who has so rudely made his way in between them in his haste to get to the bar. If there was one thing she could not tolerate, it was people without manners. She had a policy at the bakery that if anyone cut in line she sent them to the back like a kindergarten teacher. This was just plain rude.
"Oh and whatever these two lovely ladies are drinking," Klaus added, trying to soothe the tension he had purposefully created. He laid on the charm thickly as he refused to budge while waiting for his drink. He had never needed to employ any tricks or lines to take girls home with him, but he found if he ruffled a few feathers first they were all that much more feisty when he got them home later. He loved a good challenge.
"We're trying to have a conversation here," Caroline said, trying not to let her anger fizzle as he turned to look at her with his piercing blue eyes.
"You do realize this is noisy bar, correct? It's not exactly conducive to a conversation, love. Perhaps, you should try the library or a coffee shop if you are looking for a quiet place to chat," he thanked the bar tender with a nod before laying a fifty dollar bill down on the counter to cover the three drinks that he placed in front of them. "I'm sure I'll be seeing you girls later," he said, smirking devilishly as he picked up his drink and walked away, making his way back over to Kol.
"Ouch. Rejected already, brother? I thought you were supposed to be teaching me something tonight?" Kol asked, the corner of his mouth turned up in a smirk as he brought his own drink to his lips. Taunting his older brother had always been one of his favorite past times, especially when he saw an opportunity to attack his arrogance.
"Simply planting seeds for later. The night is young, Kol."
"What an asshole," Caroline said, picking up her martini, the one that she had paid for herself, and taking a sip.
"That's exactly why I have been spending every Sunday on the couch. That's what's out there and available to us. I think I prefer dating my TIVO and a bottle of wine," Elena said, shaking her head before she tilted her head back and drank the rest of her vodka cranberry like a shot.
"I don't know why women fall for guys like that. Rude and cocky and self-entitled." Caroline shook her head, following Elena's gaze over to where the man was currently hitting on another petite blonde who seemed to be eating up everything he had to say like it was the finest caviar.
"And hot," Elena added.
"Ridiculously hot," Caroline nodded in agreement, "but hot does not compensate for having a horrible personality. Now, come on. We're going to find someone hot with manners and we are going to forget about Matt and Tyler. We're young. We need to rebound, it's healthy." She set her empty glass on the counter, leaving the one Klaus had bought her untouched as she pulled Elena out to the dance floor with her.
The two girls danced provocatively fitting the mood of the club and drawing the attention of most of the men surrounding them. As Caroline had pointed out earlier, they were young and this night was about finding someone for tonight not forever. Caroline was normally not a one night stand kind of girl. She had been with Tyler since she was seventeen and that had certainly limited her sexual experience. She needed something new and she didn't need to have her heart broken again.
As the night wore on, the prospects began to dwindle, Caroline was seated alone at the bar as Elena made out with some drummer she had met a few minutes ago. It was so unlike Elena, but she guessed the four drinks she had that evening had something to do with her newly found inhibition. Caroline was beginning to wonder if she would be the only one going home alone that evening. She wasn't jealous, if anything she was happy for her friend. She needed a night of fun as much as Caroline did, but it did nothing to make her feel better.
"You look like you could use another drink," Klaus said as he took a seat in Elena's empty bar stool. He followed his eyes over to the corner Caroline was staring at. "Girlfriend problems?" he asked in a teasing manner.
"I'm too smart to be seduced by someone like you.."
"Klaus," he filled in the blank. "And who says I'm trying to seduce you. I offered to buy you a drink because you are beginning to bring down the mood of the whole bar."
"Caroline." She rolled her eyes, "Where did your little buddy go?" she asked, trying to make conversation if she was going to be stuck there, waiting for Elena to decide if she was going home with that guy or not. "And a glass of whiskey, no ice. Preferably a double."
"Kol? I believe my younger brother left with a pretty little brunette a while ago. Hard to keep tabs on him," Klaus spoke, picking up his drink as he looked over at her.
Caroline finally pulled her eyes away from Elena and looked at her companion. Perhaps it was the alcohol, but he looked even more attractive than he had earlier. His blue eyes were still his crowning feature, but the defined jaw line and perfect lips weren't hurting him either. She could just imagine his stubble brushing against her inner thigh as he made his way up before she shook away the thought. It truly had been too long. She picked up the glass from the counter, taking it all back in one impressive swallow. "Do you want to get out of here?" she asked. She was tipsy, but not drunk. Sober enough to know this was a terrible decision but too buzzed to care. She needed to stop thinking so much. He was an ass, but he was also hot and that was all she really needed tonight.
It was all the preamble Klaus needed. He took her hand and led her out of the bar and into a waiting town car, telling the driver to take them back to his apartment. His lips found her neck, peppering impatient yet skillfully placed kissed over her skin as his hands found their way under her dress. It was exactly what she needed, her hands tugged at the collar of his jacket as they stumbled into his apartment. She had already come this far, talking or more drinking seemed unnecessary and the second her body was writhing underneath his, she knew she had made the right decision.
The next morning, however, she wasn't so sure. Her head pounded in the judgmental morning sun as she made her way home. She was already burying herself in regret over the night before, she didn't need the sun to add to her self-loathing. It was so unlike her. Sure, it had been her idea, but she was normally one to plan every detail of her life. She had standards and morals, rules to live by, rules that she had broken last night. While it had been what she needed to take her mind off Tyler, she knew for sure that these weren't for her. She would never be a one night stand kind of girl and she was okay with that.
When she unlocked her apartment door, she was more than surprised to see Elena seated at her kitchen counter, "Well good morning, how was your evening?"
"Do we have to talk about it?" Caroline asked, thankful that Elena had already gotten her coffee pot going and she would not have to wait for the one thing that could make her feel better.
"That bad huh?"
Caroline poured herself a mug before turning back towards her, "He was phenomenal. Apparently assholes are great in bed. I feel like I would have known this already if I had not wasted eight years of my life on Tyler, but it's a lesson every girl needs to know. That being said, one night stands are not for me. I feel gross. I need to shower and about a gallon of coffee." She wrinkled her nose.
"I take it you aren't planning on talking to him again?" Elena asked, bringing her coffee mug to her lips.
"No. I don't think he would want me too. I don't have his last name. He was just looking for a night and that's all I was looking for too. He was hot and fantastic in bed but that was literally his only redeeming quality."
"Well, drink up, we have to open in twenty minutes," Elena said hoping off the counter top with her toast.
"How are you so chipper? You drank as much as I did?" Caroline called out as she closed her bedroom door, peeling her dress off from behind it.
"I did, but I went home alone. I'm battling a hangover, but no regret," she teased, heading for the door. "I'll see you downstairs, twenty minutes, Caroline!"
"Fine, fine, and be a good friend, stop reminding me of my indiscretions."
ONE MONTH LATER
Caroline tapped her leg anxiously as she waited for the timer to ding. Elena was no better. She was seated on the edge of Caroline's bathtub, trying and failing to come up with something to say. It was the longest three minutes of Caroline's life.
"Are you going to be okay if you are?" Elena asked.
"I don't even know how to answer that," Caroline shook her head. Both girls jumped when the timer went off. Caroline stood from her seat and walked over to the counter where the test was sitting.
"Well, are you pregnant?"
"According to the stick."
"Well those can be wrong." Caroline picked up the trash can and showed Elena the five positive tests she had taken before calling Elena over to take one with her.
"Damon will never going to stop making bun in the oven jokes will he?"
"Okay well don't panic. You have options. Lots and lots of options," Elena said, beginning to pace the length of the small bathroom in Caroline's apartment. "There's a lot of things you can do. I mean you can have the baby, you can get rid of the baby, domestic adoption, let someone you know raise it. I don't know, Care. You have choices, you don't have to make that choice right now."
Caroline had not moved from her spot on the counter. She was still in some kind of trance. Pregnant. Pregnant. It hit her like a freight train. All of the tequila she was no longer allowed to drink and the coffee she was going to have to set aside. All of the sushi she couldn't eat or the clothes sitting in her closet that wouldn't fit in a few months. It was superficial. She knew that, but the moment she thought about the real ways a child would change her life, she was going to cry. She was going to fall apart. She couldn't keep goldfish or plants alive, what the hell was she supposed to do with a baby? Sure she had always wanted kids. She figured when the time was right she would have them. Settled down with a nice husband and a house outside the city, maybe even a dog if her husband wanted one. Her life would be perfectly in order before she had a baby, it would not be now.
She couldn't afford to take time away from the business. The bakery was her baby. She didn't need another one. Her head swirled with all of the possibilities, sinking down to one of the chairs in the living room and resting on her hands as she leaned against her knees. "I don't know, Elena." Her hands ran over her face before she brought her thumb to her lips, biting her nail in a nervous tick. "I really don't know." She pushed herself off the edge of the counter, walking away from the room and dropping the incriminating test in the garbage can.
"You should probably call Tyler," Elena said, following her best friend out of the bathroom. She was trying to be helpful, but truthfully she didn't know what to say. What was the right thing to say under these circumstances? She had never been pregnant; she had never even thought she was pregnant. The only person she knew that had been pregnant while Elena was old enough to recall was her Aunt Jenna and she remembered the woman looking a lot more joyous than Caroline did at the moment. "Maybe telling him right away would lighten the blow? Give him time to warm up to the idea?"
"It's not Tyler's baby," Caroline said, quietly. She sighed again, trying to make sense of it in her head so she could explain it to Elena. "The last time Tyler and I had sex was almost three months ago. It can't be his kid."
"Then who's the father, Caroline?" Elena asked, trying to hide her confusion.
Caroline bit her lip, closing her eyes as she tried to remember the man's name. She was going to hell. That was it, it was over, she was pregnant and she couldn't remember the name of her child's father. "It started with a K or a C," she offered up. "I'm going to be the worst mother ever. One day it's going to ask who it's dad is and that will be my only response. Well sweetie, I think it started with a K, but it might have been a C. We'll never know will we?"
"Oh," Elena said. It was strange how much judgment one syllable could hold. After earning a glare from Caroline, she bit her lip. "When was it?"
"That night I dragged you out to the bar opening. The one time in my entire life I do something even slightly questionably and I'm being punished," Caroline said.
"You have to tell him," Elena said firmly.
"I know. I think I still have his card somewhere. I suppose that will put an end to the K verses C debate," she ran her fingers through her curls before standing up, "I should probably get this over with."