A/N: Are your eyes deceiving you? Nope! It's a new chapter. I never had plans to abandon this story. I have some new muse so I'm writing again. Already working on chapter 12.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters but I do love drag queens.
Chapter Eleven - 50 First Dates
The phone in Caroline's hand felt heavy. It was a little before two and she was seconds from bolting. Before that day, the last time she was face-to-face with Stefan, they were both naked and he was impregnating her with "the thing".
People came and went from the Fishbowl, starring at Caroline as she stood out front. She didn't want to start pacing like some crazy person, but her nerves were starting to get the best of her. She already spent her first class chowing down on her nails instead of paying attention to the lecture. Inspecting her poor nail-beds was the only thing keeping her from looking up the pathway; looking for him.
Was she going to tell him about the baby? She could barely think of the word baby without wanting to run to the nearest bathroom to empty her stomach. With each passing second, she found herself in a ping pong battle with her wants. She wanted Stefan to show up that instant and not at all, so she could retreat to the safety of her dorm room.
"I hope I'm not late," a voice startled Caroline out of her daze. Staring up, Stefan stood a few feet away, Duke Hoodie hung loosely over his frame, with dark jeans and converses finishing the look. Delicious was the only word coming to mind as she looked at him, but it wasn't what she should be thinking. She should have her mind on how she was going to figure out this predicament that their undeniable attraction put them in.
She shook her head to his question, finding difficulty forming words at that present moment. Instead, she tugged at the long sleeves of her sweater, waiting for him to fill in the silence, or kill her and put her out of her misery. Either option seemed extreme.
"Shall I approach or are you planning your escape route? If it involves parkouring over the benches and that wall then I might just have to marry you." A small grin touched Stefan's lips. However, when Caroline heard the word marry come from them, her throat seized up and she started coughing. Stefan's grin was gone as fast as it appeared and before Caroline could get her bearings, he was beside her, hand on her back rubbing soothing circles.
"It was a joke. I was hoping to hear you laugh or something. I didn't mean to do this." The sincerity in his tone wasn't lost on Caroline. As the coughing started to subside, she became hyper-aware of his hand still on her back. She was torn with wanting him to stop and keep going. Even as her coughing stopped, her breath was still shallow. Only after taking a step away and toward the door did she find it.
"Don't worry. You said something about the burgers being famous?" She found a smile through all the anxiety that she was feeling and gave it to Stefan. His reaction is one that helped ease her.
"I did say that. Lead the way." Stefan stepped aside and they headed into The Fishbowl. It was still pretty packed, but Caroline found an isolated booth in the corner and grabbed it before anyone spotted it.
It felt weird for her sitting across from Stefan. First off, they were both clothed and sober. Second, she knew that she was carrying, literately, this secret from him that could change their lives, and lastly, she knew jack shit about this guy.
She busied herself looking at the menu. She could feel his eyes on her as if they were his hands. Then the thought of his hands ran through her mind and as if she was Pavlov's pooch, Caroline couldn't stop looking at them as they held a beat up menu.
"Everything is pretty good here. I know I said the burgers were great, which they are, but I kind of would have said anything to get you to say yes." Stefan murmured.
"Wha-?" Distracted by his fingers, Caroline barely registered what Stefan said. Finding the willpower, she lowered her menu and focused just on him.
"Nothing. Don't worry about it." The waitress then appeared next to their table with a smile that looked more like an 'I hate my job, please kill me before another frat boy grabs my ass' smile.
Caroline quickly glanced back at the menu and picked the first thing that didn't make her want to puke.
"I'll have a diet coke, basket of cheese fries and a bacon cheeseburger, no onions or pickles." Handing the menu over, Caroline caught a glimpse of Stefan's face. His expression was one of wonder, or maybe amazement. Never has she eaten like that in front of a guy she was in lust with. A blush crept its way up from her chest, over her neck, and she felt the heat settle on her cheeks.
"I'll have the same." Stefan handed his menu over as well. Now there was nothing to distract them from each other and this made Caroline almost break out in a sweat. She hated the feelings that she was having. She wasn't the nervous wreck; that was Bonnie's job. She was the fun, flirty one that everyone wanted to be around. She wanted to be that girl again.
"Why did you sneak out that morning?" he asked. Curiosity clear on his face.
"Oh…" that wasn't the question she expected to hear.
"Yeah, I mean, we were both pretty drunk, but I don't know, maybe a thanks would have sufficed. Or your number?"
"Were you really expecting a repeat? It was a one night stand. I think one of the key words in that is night. It was morning and I had to go back home."
"To Mystical Springs."
Caroline rolled her eyes and tried to hide her smile. "Mystic Falls. Speaking of, I didn't see you rolling over and offering me up some coffee," she countered.
"Drunk. Remember? But when I did wake up, I was left with a little surprise. 34 C, black lace. Ring any bells?"
"You didn't do some weird masturbation thing with it, did you?" she asked as her nose crinkled at the image.
"Jesus, woman, of course I didn't. Do you want it back?"
"You have it with you?!"
"No, I don't make a habit of walking around with chicks' underwear." The comment alone made Caroline's hackles rise. Something about the thought of him being with other women made her stomach churn.
"So, what do you make a habit of? Bringing vulnerable women back to your room and having your way with them?" It was hard to keep the discontent out of her tone, but by judging Stefan's stunned reaction, it wasn't well received.
"From what I do remember, you were having your way with me as well. Also, since we were both pretty wasted, I would say we were both a bit vulnerable." Caroline watched as his jaw ticked with slight annoyance.
An awkward silence fell over the table. It was still there after the food and drinks arrived. Halfway through her basket of fries, Caroline couldn't take it anymore. Conversation halt and awkward silence felt like nails on a chalkboard to her.
"I'm…sorry. I maybe shouldn't have made those assumptions about you."
"And…" he egged on.
"And made it seem like you were the only one to blame."
"And…" he said once more.
"And what? I think that about sums it up."
His voice went an octave higher, "And I'm sorry for leaving after getting the best sex of my life. I have never felt a man like you before, Stefan."
Her own laugh filling the space, she threw a naked fry at him. Suddenly, that tightness she felt in her chest started to ease up. The want for him physically was still there. The fear of telling him that he was going to be a father still felt like an overcast cloud. But, at that moment, as she laughed at him and he smiled at her, they weren't two people about to have their worlds rocked. She was just a girl having a burger with guy she could kind of like, and he was a guy who kept wanting to make her smile.
A/N: Thank you for all your reviews and messages. It's really one of the reasons why I didn't want to give up writing this. I know the chapter is short, but it felt like a good place to end it. I know no Damon. Soon, maybe. I also know there are a bunch of Steroline stories around these days, but they are still my OTP since almost day one. My daily life has been shit, but I still want to keep this going.
Memo (EP) - Grace
See you soon!