Caroline thought he forgot. She honestly, seriously thought that he forgot about the entire engagement debacle, because three weeks later and there wasn't any progress. She had held her breath for the first week, nervous every time they went to dinner or had a moment alone, thinking that maybe this was The Moment. Except that it never was. She would wait in anticipation and spend extra time getting ready in the morning, just in case today was the day. After a week of constant anticipation, she just decided that it wasn't worth it. Maybe he changed his mind or maybe he decided that the time frame wasn't right or just maybe whatever.
She almost asked Klaus about it constantly, the words always on the tip of her tongue, but something was holding her back. If he did change his mind, she wasn't sure how she would handle that. She'd already gotten her hopes back up, scrolling through the wedding forums on the internet and reading online bridal magazines.
She'd pretty much decided all of the details of their wedding in the days since the fake proposal and her hopes were up and if he crushed them, so help her, she may just castrate him. Or throw the biggest fit known to man and vampires since the Rebekah Tantrum of 2019.
He forgot. Or he changed his mind. Whatever he did, the offer on the table three weeks ago wasn't on the table now. Caroline was having a very hard time not letting her frustrations show. She wanted to snap at him, to demand where the eagerness of three weeks ago was, but it all felt too much like a clingy girlfriend move and she couldn't bring herself to do it.
So she waited and she held her tongue and she pretended that nothing was wrong, everything was dandy, but she couldn't stop herself from pulling away or second guessing when they kissed.
Yeah, she was mad, but the anger was nothing compared to the hurt she felt at his sudden change of decision. It felt like another rejection and it was almost too much to take.
"I want to go to Paris for fashion week." Rebekah says, her voice echoing through the phone that sat on the bathroom counter. Caroline was pressing moisturizer into her skin and attempting to brush out the tangles in her hair.
"When is it?" Caroline asks. She'd done the whole fashion thing already, years ago, but it was a hard gig when everyone noticed everything and you didn't age.
"Tomorrow. There's a train leaving in about an hour and I've already reserved two rooms. Meet me at mine in twenty." Rebekah demands, clicking off the phone before Caroline even graced her with a respond. She stares at her phone for a second, contemplating, before she shrugs and starts gathering her things.
Maybe some time away from Klaus and his Non Proposal would be good for her.
She gathers a few items of clothing, some shoes, and some toiletries and shoves them in a small carry-on bag. The distraction would be good for her, maybe, and Paris was the best distraction she could really ask for. She'd fallen in love with the city the first time she stepped off the plane, only days after her high school graduation. She'd been back several times since, even gone as far as living in small flat in the middle of the city one summer. Perhaps a few days in her favorite city would make her feel better.
She was zipping up her suitcase and shoving some reading material into her purse when Klaus came into the room, paint smudged on his hands and smattered across his t-shirt.
"Going somewhere, love?" He asks, walking towards her and squeezing her hip as he passed.
"Paris." Caroline replies shortly and she has to calm down and stop from letting her frustration out at him. "Rebekah wants to go to fashion week," she elaborates, her voice softer.
"When are you leaving?" He asks, turning away from her to grab a clean t-shirt from the dresser drawer. He changes quickly, a swift flash of movements, and she has to force herself to look away because staring at him physically hurts her right now.
"Now," Caroline says with a shrug. She hikes her purse up on her shoulder and reaches for her suitcase. "See you in a few days."
She heads towards the door without even so much as a goodbye kiss and Klaus's eyebrows furrow.
"Sweetheart," he starts, moving quickly to wrap a hand around her forearm, halting her in her movement. "Are you alright?"
Caroline took in a deep breath, letting her sigh penetrate the distance between him. She has to keep reminding herself that he doesn't know that she's mad, that he doesn't know that she's so profoundly hurt at his dismissal that she can hardly even look at him. The thought of kissing him again, of letting him have that much power over her, makes her cringe.
"Fine. I'm fine." Caroline mumbles, looking up at him through her lashes. "I'm just running late." She lies.
Klaus moves a hand up to touch her face, lets his fingers rest on her cheek. He presses a kiss to her lips slowly, softly, the same goodbye kiss they've shared many times before. Caroline forces herself to not respond as enthusiastically as normal, fearful for getting trapped in again.
She broke the kiss too soon, hoping Klaus wouldn't notice, but he totally did and he's looking at her in confusion, eyebrows furrowed and mouth pulled down.
"I've gotta go." Caroline reminds him. "See you in a few days."
"Text me when you arrive, please, sweetheart." He requests. "Just so I know you're safe." He presses a kiss to her forehead, then her mouth and finally releases her. "I love you." He says.
Caroline nods. "Love you too." She says and then she leaves.
The train to Paris is short, the minutes passing the quickest with Rebekah's chatter and their usual inside jokes. Caroline is always surprised by how close she has grown to the original, but Rebekah is basically Caroline's best friend, save for Stefan, who took that title years ago. She can tell Rebekah anything, she thinks, and so even though she knows that Rebekah is awful at keeping secrets and will most likely tell Nik about her insecurities, Caroline has kept her anxiety inside for too long.
"Nik proposed to me," Caroline announces as they quickly approached Paris. She is fumbling with her bag in her lap, nervous at Rebekah's reaction.
"Did you say yes?" Rebekah immediately asks back, her eyes wide.
"Um," Caroline continues to fumble with her bag. "Not exactly? I kind of told him to do it over?"
Rebekah's eyes narrow instantly, her mouth dropping open, about to attack, and Caroline immediately interrupts her.
"He didn't even ask me!" Caroline immediately fires. "We were getting ready for bed and I was taking off my makeup and he just kind of pulls out this velvet box and is like, 'here, darling', all super casual and I freaked, okay? I never, ever thought he would propose but then when I knew it was an option, it was all wrong. I might have told him that he should've done it differently, and okay, yeah, maybe I should've just taken the damn ring because your brother is very hit and miss and he hasn't said anything in the three weeks since and I'm kind of nervous that he took it back. Like maybe he realized I'm really not worth all of the trouble and so he's just not going to anymore?"
Rebekah blinks at Caroline, digesting all of the information quickly before reaching over and slapping Caroline on the arm.
"You rejected him?" Rebekah immediately seethes.
"I didn't reject him!" Caroline protests. "Seriously, you think I would reject him? I've kind of been in love with him forever! No, I didn't reject him. I just told him to…do it over? Like, maybe add some romance? I don't want to look back and tell the story of our engagement and start it with, 'Well, I was taking off my makeup and…', y'know? I want it to be special."
"Caroline, this is Nik we're talking about. He doesn't always do romance. Frankly, you should have been satisfied that he even went as far as to give you a ring."
Caroline reaches a hand up to rub her temple. "I think he might have changed his mind." She confesses.
"What?" Rebekah asks.
"He asked three weeks ago, Bekah. He hasn't even mentioned it since."
"Three weeks? You managed three weeks without exploding at him?" Rebekah questions with a laugh and immediately Caroline feels slightly better.
"It hasn't been easy," Caroline manages to giggle, but then suddenly her face drops. "I just…it's kind of hard to look at him right now, because even though maybe he doesn't mean it to be, it feels like rejection all over again. Like he took it back because he realized how awful an idea it is or something. I couldn't even really kiss him goodbye this morning, because it hurts."
"Is he still with you, Caroline?" Rebekah asks her, her face stern.
"Obviously, Bekah, I just told you that I saw him this morning—,"
"Then he hasn't given up." Rebekah announces. "If he's still there, he hasn't given up and he hasn't moved on. Nik moves slow, Care. You of all people should know that. It took decades to get you this far, so you might have to wait a bit to get your beautiful proposal, but that doesn't mean it isn't coming."
"Are you sure?" Caroline second guesses. "Because I don't know if I can do it if he takes it back? I got my hopes up already. I've already figured out the wedding details and drawn up my dress and your dress and I—,"
"He hasn't given up, Caroline." Bekah assures her, just as their train reaches Paris. "And don't for a second think you're drawing up my dress without my opinion."
Caroline laughs, and even though it sounds hollow and slightly forced, she might feel a marginal bit better. If Bekah thinks he hasn't given up, maybe he hasn't, right? Three weeks is nothing compared to a few decades. She can wait, Caroline thinks. She just has to stay strong.
Paris is just as amazing as she remembers. Caroline forgets Klaus in between bites of strawberry crepes and various dressing rooms. She watches people strut down runways and fashion photographers take pictures of everyone they pass and she forgets about the insecurity and the doubts. She lets go and has fun. For two days, they shop and eat and drop in bed late at night, stomachs full of French pastries and blood bags.
They head to the hotel early on the third day, Rebekah insisting that they need to change into party dresses for the dinner party they've been invited to. Caroline is excited, yes, but she's just at the point where she's starting to miss Klaus. She's only talked to him once, the awkward phone conversation when she got off the train in Paris, and she hates that it feels like this between them.
She wants the ease and comfort of their relationship again, the reassuring love she felt every time she thought of him. She's starting to think that it doesn't even matter if they get married anymore, because she can't imagine life without him and that's marriage in an essence, right?
Maybe they could just have a nice party instead.
Caroline drops Rebekah off at her hotel room and then makes her way down the hall. She touches her finger to the keypad and waits as the light turns green and the door clicks open. Immediately, light fills the space and Caroline is instantly on guard.
Her phone is already out of her bag and into her hand, clicking on Klaus's contact and waiting while it rings. It's kind of a silly first instinct to danger, really, calling her lover from hundreds of miles away, but it's the first thing that pops into her head.
Immediately a telephone ringing fills the room and Caroline pushes her hotel door completely open. She can see the black phone ringing on the bed.
"Nik?" Caroline calls out, waiting for a response before she enters the room. "Nik?" She calls out again and in steps Klaus, all dressed up in a suit and tie.
"Good evening, darling," he drawls with a smile and Caroline enters the hotel room, closing the door behind her.
"What're you doing here?" She asks, depositing her bag onto the floor and then immediately goes to him. She didn't realize how much she missed his physical contact until he wasn't there.
She wraps her arms around his body, folding herself neatly into the crevice of his chest. Immediately she feels warm, secure, slightly dazzled as the nerves on her body start to fire off.
"I missed you," she mumbles into his neck, nuzzling her face deeper into his collar.
"I missed you too, sweetheart." He chuckles back at her, before pulling away quickly and depositing a kiss on her lips. He means it to be chaste, she thinks, but she has missed him too much and his presence is reminding her that it doesn't even matter anymore, the whole marriage thing, because married or not she won't be able to walk away from him. She presses herself into the kiss, lets her lips mold against his and nibbles on his bottom lip, sipping from his mouth desperately.
He pulls away hesitantly, obviously enjoying their shared kiss, but he has on his plotting face, like he's got an agenda to keep.
"Why're you here?" Caroline immediately asks, once her brain catches up. "Is something wrong?"
"I can't come visit you, sweetheart?" Klaus asks.
Caroline rolls her eyes. "Obviously, you can do whatever you want, as you've made so apparent many times before, but I'm wondering what spurred on this particular visit."
Klaus just laughs, pressing another kiss to her lips before untangling his arms from her waist. "I had some business to attend to." He says.
"Oh." Caroline says, slightly disappointed that he can't just spontaneously show up for her, but then he turns her towards the balcony, where there is a table set with wine and candles and food and her hotel is overlooking Paris, the Eiffel Tower shining in the distance.
He says, "Come have dinner with me," and Caroline completely loses her shit.
"Seriously? Oh my God — You – you asshole." Caroline seethes, because she realizes that this is the moment, this is what she's been waiting for, and she's in Paris which should be perfect but her clothing is rumpled and her makeup is mussed and she is completely caught off guard.
Klaus looks shocked. "Problem, sweetheart?" He asks, leaning in close to her.
Caroline's thoughts are moving quickly. Paris. Fashion Week. Rebekah. Three weeks. Was she in on it the entire time? How long had this been set up?
"You've been – I thought -," Caroline stammers. "I thought you'd changed your mind." She whispers.
She's expecting Klaus to look surprised, perhaps even a little appalled at her lack of faith, but he nods knowingly. "I've been informed. Did you really think I would tell you of my intentions and then take it back? Do you think me so cruel?"
"Well, to be fair, I've seen you do much worse," Caroline counters automatically, but her thoughts aren't racing as quickly and the incredulous irritation she felt earlier is slowly easing out of her.
"Never to you," Klaus objects.
Caroline opens her mouth, ready to say, Tyler, but then she thinks better of it, because this is her proposal and she isn't going to ruin it now. Lesson learned.
"You planned all of this?" Caroline asks. "For me?"
Klaus smiles. Not a smirk, but a real, genuine, happy smile. "Paris was the first city I showed you, love. It seemed fitting."
She is trying to control the feeling in her stomach, the baby birds that are flapping right beneath her ribcage. She still feels giddy around him, like a lovesick teenager. She had been nervous once that eternity would be too long for them, that they would grow bored of one another and fizzle out, but it doesn't feel like that's ever going to happen when he's staring at her like she is his world, the one being in which his entire existence orbits.
"Rebekah? Fashion week? It was all a part of the plan?"
"I wanted to surprise you," Klaus confesses. "I needed a reason to get you to Paris and have your guard down. I do apologize for making you wait so long, sweetheart, but that's how things worked out. If I had known that you'd immediately start questioning my intentions in our relationship, I might've just settled on dinner the next day."
Caroline blushes. "Sorry. I overreact. Caroline Forbes, drama queen." She laughs.
"Soon to be Caroline Mikaelson." Klaus corrects and immediately Caroline shuts up. She is still in shock that this is happening; he is actually going to do this for her.
"Shall we?" Klaus asks then, offering his arm to her. Caroline is pulled out of her thoughts and accepts his arm instantly, walking with him to the balcony.
The table is gorgeous and the lights of Paris blink up at them. They eat fantastic French food and expensive wine cut with blood and indulge in rich chocolate desserts that make Caroline's tongue tingle. They chat about fashion week, his plans, the entire debacle, and they fall into their usual comfortable banter and laughter. When their plates are cleared, Klaus stands up and offers her his hand.
"Dance with me, darling?" He requests, his eyes smoldering in lust and adoration and perhaps a bit of trepidation.
Caroline wants to stop this moment, freeze it in time and encapsulate it for future viewing, because she doesn't think anything else can be quite as perfect as this.
She isn't paying attention to her surroundings, not really, but soft music clicks on and he is pulling her to him. They fall into the same familiar waltz, their steps in sync as she melts into him.
"The ball was the first time that I realized I could potentially have feelings for you," Caroline confesses, staring straight at him.
Klaus raises an eyebrow. "Did my impeccable dancing skills woo you?"
Caroline laughs. "Amongst other things. I hated that you tried to buy me off, with the dress and the gifts, but a part of me was flattered that anyone would give me something so beautiful. You paid attention to me, made me feel special and appreciated in a way that no one else had."
"You deserve to be appreciated, sweetheart." Klaus replies immediately, pulling her closer to him. He dips his head and places a soft kiss to her neck.
"So do you." She murmurs. "You might be the best thing that's ever happened to me. I love you. Even the parts of you that irritate me, like how you play with your food or seem to be completely inept at cleaning."
Klaus chuckles into her neck, pressing a few more lingering kisses on her neck and collarbone. I love you, he kisses into her skin. I will always love you.
He takes a deep breath in, calming his nerves, before he releases her and slides down on one knee. Caroline has to make a physical effort to stop herself from hyperventilating.
"I fancied you from the moment I saw you on your bed, so young and hopeful and dying on your birthday. I wanted to save you, wanted to show you the world, despite how heavily that contradicted my persona. You're the only person I've ever let domesticate me, Caroline Forbes. I am in love with you. Will you marry me?" Klaus has pulled the ring out of his jacket pocket and popped the velvet box open, showing the same beautiful, opulent ring as before.
Caroline isn't sure Klaus Mikaelson has gotten on his knees for anyone before and she is completely overwhelmed at the thought that he will do so for her. She can feel the moisture already pricking at her eyes, tears pooling and ready to fall.
Caroline nods frantically. "Yes. Yes. Totally, completely, absolutely yes." She says.
Klaus slips the ring on her finger and is up in a moment, pulling her towards him. She finds his mouth instantly, molding their lips together. She is trying to convey her happiness in her kisses, trying to tell him how monumental this moment is.
Her life wasn't supposed to be like this. She was supposed to graduate, go to college, meet a nice boy, get married, have children, and become a soccer mom. She was going to live a simple, happy life in the suburbs and travel every ten years on vacation. She wasn't supposed to become a vampire and deal with mounds of supernatural drama and fall in love with the Big Bad Hybrid. Her life map had gone in a completely different direction than the one she'd drawn out in sixth grade but she knows that this way is better.
She is in love with a man that needs her, wants her, appreciates her and she has infinity to fall in love with him over and over again.
So basically here is 3500+ words of a complete cheese fest, but I think our fandom deserves some fluff this weekend. I hope you enjoyed!