AU/AH. When Klaus told his brother Kol to get his head together, he didn't necessarily mean for him to start the first serious relationship of his life with a woman so beautiful. He didn't mean to fall in love with her either. Kol/Caroline, eventually Klaus/Caroline.
A/N: Hello there! First of all, I really want to thank every and each single one of you who has voted this story as Best OT3 Fiction at the Klaroline Awards. I was so ecstatic at have even been nominated in the first place, because it was so unexpected and it made me feel so appreciated, I would have never thought I could actually win. So thank you, from the deep bottom of my heart, this really means the world to me and it just gave me even more desire to write and update for you all. By the way, if you want to check the winner banner the story received, there's a link to it on my profile.
Also, the biggest thank you's obviously go to my beta, Bethany, and Leah (approvesomuch), who made an amazing new cover for the story!
That's all, hope you enjoy this chapter!
"Okay. Yes, Kol, I promise," Caroline giggled into her phone. "I love you, too. Bye."
She sighed as she put her Nokia back into her handbag and looked outside of the car's window.
After he had thanked her for helping him out with the whole girlfriend thing, her and Klaus hadn't really spoken much during their flight, and Caroline was grateful that the silence, somehow, hadn't been an uncomfortable one—she had listened to her iPod and done some school reading while he had composedly sketched away on his leather notebook.
Once they had landed, she had been pleasantly surprised to hear that, since theirs was a private flight, they didn't need to wait to retrieve their bags and belongings from where they had been stored inside the jet itself, at the back—"We were the only people on the plane," Klaus had stated with a shrug noticing her puzzled expression. Obviously. But Caroline couldn't really complain when it got them outside the airport in only fifteen minutes.
Klaus had also arranged to have someone waiting for them there, which was why Caroline was currently seated inside a very fancy and probably expensive, Italian?—maybe—black car driving them to the hotel they would be staying at for the following four days.
"It won't be much longer," Klaus' voice broke through her reveries, taking her contemplation for boredom. "We should be there in ten minutes at most."
"Oh, it's okay," she reassured him with a somehow strained smile, turning to look at him.
Honestly, it didn't seem to her that they had been driving for long, but she quickly conceded in her head that she had probably spent close to twenty minutes or more talking on the phone with Kol, whom she had called as soon as she had entered the car. She figured she didn't really need to apologize for that, but she was Caroline Forbes after all, her life was one, big apology.
"I'm sorry," she mumbled out quickly.
Klaus' head shot towards her, his eyebrows corrugated and slightly raised, a confused expression on his face.
"I've been terrible company so far," she elaborated before he could ask, a nervous smile on her lips.
For a moment, she thought he might have laughed at her then, but instead he became very serious.
"Please, Caroline, do not feel like you have to entertain me," he smiled faintly, almost sad. "Of course, I would love for us to become friends while we're here, but I do not want you to feel obligated to act a certain way towards me or around me. You're already helping me... and you're my guest here, so I want you to feel at ease and free to do and go as you please."
Caroline felt a little surprised at his speech, and merely nodded her head, unsure of what to say.
They both stayed silent for a moment, and she turned her head to look outside of the window once again.
"Of course, maybe not really go as you please," he chuckled. "Kol would have my head if I lost you or if something were to happen to you," he added with a teasing tone to lighten up the suddenly tense mood.
"I could serve as your guide of the city," he suggested after a moment. "If you'd like that?"
Caroline quickly turned to look at him once more, a genuine smile on her lips and big, wide eyes excited to see and learn. "I would love that, Klaus."
"That would be all for now, thank you Thomas," Klaus politely thanked the porter, tipping him probably more than Caroline earned in a week as she saw him pass the young boy a couple of fifty dollar bills.
He carefully closed the door and turned towards her.
"I hope it's okay that I chose adjoining rooms. I just thought it would be more convenient," he said, moving further inside the room and placing four key cards on the small, round table at the side of the king bed.
"Uhm, sure," Caroline replied, not thoroughly convinced. While she had enjoyed the little bit of talking her and Klaus had done so far, she didn't exactly feel comfortable knowing he could just barge inside her room as he pleased.
Klaus caught on her hesitation. "I'll leave you both cards for the through door, if that's better?"
"Yes, thank you," she sighed, a grateful smile on her lips.
With a quick nod, he tentatively smiled back at her. "Don't worry, I understand we are still strangers. And like I said before, I want you to feel comfortable here."
"Thank you," Caroline repeated, not really knowing what else to say.
Neither of them spoke for a moment, both looking around at the room.
"Well, I think I'll go take a shower now," Klaus said, taking the key card to his own room and slowly moving backwards towards the door.
"Oh, you can use–" Caroline stammered out quickly.
"No, it's okay," he reassured her with a small smile. "I'll just use the normal door. But feel free to come to me in case you need anything, that's why I chose adjoining rooms in the first place."
Caroline simply nodded—she felt like she was doing that a lot around him.
"And, uhm. There's the first art show tonight, so..." he trailed off hesitantly.
"Oh, sure! That's why we came here after all."
"Yeah," he sighed. "I don't know what you packed but you'll need a rather elegant dress. It's, uhm, going to be kind of a fancy thing."
"Oh. I should have–I mean–right,"she exhaled, closing her eyes and bringing her hands up to her head to massage her temples. "I should have thought about it."
Klaus scratched the back of his head for a second. "No, it's my fault really, I should have told Kol. It's just that everything happened in such a rush, I didn't think."
"We can go shopping if you'd like," he suggested after a moment, trying to find a way out. "All on me, of course."
Caroline pondered that for a moment. She really wanted to say no because, hey, Caroline Forbes does not like using other people's money, who do you think she is?—but she hadn't really brought anything even remotely worthy of the word fancy with her, so shopping was really the only solution they had.
"Alright... I guess," she answered a little uncertainly.
"Good, it's settled then," Klaus concluded with a smile, clapping his hands together once. "We can both freshen up and then you can just come to my room or knock when you're ready to go."
Caroline nodded. "That sounds perfect."
"Yeah..." he agreed, moving towards the door again. "Okay, I'll go. See you later," he added, although it came out almost like a question.
She nodded again once. "See you later."
"Uhm," Caroline hesitated, not daring to enter the door of the very expensive store Klaus was leading her into, looking up at the bright sign above their heads.
They had been walking for over twenty minutes now, and while she had tried to tell Klaus she didn't want nor need anything overly fancy as they passed stores like Macy's and the already too-elegant-for-her-comfort Ann Taylor, he seemed on a mission to get her the dress of her life as he politely dismissed her protests and kept on leading the way through the mass of people dancing around them.
Klaus turned to look at her, his hand already pushing the door open for her. "Something wrong?" he asked with knitted eyebrows and that hint of concern Caroline was beginning to notice every time she did something out of the ordinary. Like, I don't know, not wanting to enter a store most women would kill to go shopping in.
She wanted to roll her eyes and say 'Gucci, mister Ass? Seriously?', but they weren't at that level of confidence with each other yet, so she opted for a strained, and slightly panicked, smile.
"Do you know how much dresses cost in here?" she asked with a pointed look.
Klaus gave her a faint, kind smile. "I told you, Caroline. It's all on me," he reminded her in a soft tone, almost as if he was talking to a child.
Caroline exhaled angrily, crossing her arms over her chest. "But I don't want you to spend that much money on me," she bit back, almost petulantly. "I'm not even really your girlfriend, and I don't care if it's a fancy thing or whatever, I doubt anybody will really even notice what I'm wearing."
Amused by her little outburst, Klaus couldn't help the chuckle that escaped him.
Caroline huffed, turning her head to the side. "And now he's laughing at me, great."
"I'm not laughing at you, sweetheart," he said, the hint of a laughter still present in his tone, bringing one of his hand in front of him as if apologizing. "But I have to say, anger is quite endearing on you," he added, prompting Caroline to roll her eyes.
"And believe me, people will look at you. I don't want you to get nervous about it, but that kind of people are used to scrutinizing and judging for a living, of course they will notice how we are dressed, how we talk, how we act. You will feel more comfortable knowing you're wearing something worthy of your beauty."
Caroline scoffed, turning to look at him again with raised eyebrows and purposely ignoring his compliment. "Isn't that a little classist?" she accused, sure that she definitely was not going to feel more comfortable in high heels and a tight dress.
He shrugged. "Maybe. But that's how my world works. Now," he paused for a moment, looking rather annoyed by her comment and attitude. After all, all he had wanted to do was show her that he was capable of not being a jerk the whole time, but she had only shown hostility and acted defensively—that was not how the day was supposed to go. "Should we get you a proper dress or not?"
Caroline opened her mouth as if she wanted to say more, shout at him, demand him to take her back to the hotel. She started wondering if maybe it was too soon to call Kol and ask him to come and get her, because—hey, who did Klaus think he was ordering her around and choosing where to buy her clothes for her? They were not in a What Not to Wear episode, and he most definitely had no right to boss her around only because he wanted to impress his sister's friends. What was he, seven?
Instead, she clenched her jaw—how had this man put her in a mood in less than a minute?—simply straightened her shoulders, and walked right past him as he kept the door open for her.
Klaus closed his eyes for a second, sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose between his fingers in a nervous habit before hastily following her inside the store.
So much for having made some tiny progress. They were back to square one.
The sudden hostility became even more evident as Klaus barely paid any attention to Caroline once inside the store, immediately entrusting her to the help of a very eager shop assistant who had all but smiled ear from ear as he asked her to find something elegant and expensive for his friend. Friend. Yeah, as if.
He wondered mindlessly through the store, somehow upset at her fickle behavior. Pot, kettle. Yes, he knew. But she had seemed just fine up until minutes before, and he was confused. Never before in his whole life had he had problems with persuading a woman to let him buy something for her; she had caught him off guard. And for someone like Klaus, who despite the myriad of well-built walls he hid behind, could easily read other people—the perk of being an art expert, an observer, living on the sidelines—and was just as easily bored by them, was something completely new, completely unexpected.
It both bothered him and intrigued him, that for some reason, he hadn't been able to decipher her yet. Granted, it had only been a couple of hours, yes, but he usually prided himself of being not only a good, but a quick judger at that. Most of the times, it was easy, really. People were selfish, shallow, narrow-minded. There very rarely was more than that to them.
But Caroline—she never seemed to act on a singular line of thought. She was constantly switching from one trait of her personality to another, constantly on edge, torn between falling and resisting just a bit longer, just some more. She was in a constant state of second guessing her own intentions and going up a completely unexpected road on a whim, some sort of silent protest to herself.
It was something that forced Klaus well far out of his comfort zone, a zone he wasn't willing to leave so easily.
No, the enigma that was Caroline Forbes had to be resolved. Because, come on, she was dating Kol, for God's sake, she really could not be that interesting at the end of day. No, she had to be analyzed and stripped of what only seemed to make her out of the ordinary, she had to be boredified just like everybody else; and luckily for Klaus, he had four days to do just that.
Caroline ended up choosing—although she much preferred the term being coerced to buy—a black, jersey and lace dress, and some ridiculously high black Gucci pumps (one expensive store was more than she could handle in one day and with a grumpy Klaus at her heels). Not that she didn't love the dress, mind you, quite the opposite really—she was a girl; what she didn't like at all was spending so much of another person's money, even if this person had been the one asking, or more like forcing, her to spend said money. But mostly, she just really hated the idea of being about to be used as a nice, shiny, wrapped-in-expensive-nylon, piece of jewelry on Klaus' arm and nothing more. And a mute one at that, apparently.
Klaus had indeed informed her on their way back to the hotel that Camille was an Art History major and that therefore, in order to not let their cover be blown because hey, does your sister have freaking bugs hidden on her friends or something?, Caroline should just refrain from commenting on the exposed works and paintings. At all. "Obviously, sweetheart, you don't have as much knowledge on the matter,"—oh, yeah? Well, do you want to get intimate with my knowledge in kicking your arrogant, high-class, British rich ass back to Neverland, UK?
Somehow, she had managed to hold back her tongue, and had merely flashed him a very strained, very fake smile, as he grinned in satisfaction and quickened his pace, leaving her to trail angrily behind him.
Caroline scoffed. Was he seriously mad at her for having being hostile at the idea of spending his freaking money? Had she flown to New Orleans that morning or into some sort of alternative universe? What the hell was wrong with that man?
So what, she had been a little difficult, she would admit to that. But hey, she was in a foreign city with an obviously very easily annoyed almost stranger—she had a moment, sue her. And seriously, he should know. Chances were sky high that a full-size, high-resolution photo of none other than mister Klaus Mikaelson himself could be found in every dictionary next to the word 'difficult'. So, really, let's not go there, shall we?
Finally, Caroline let out a sigh of relief as the building of their hotel came into view. She took a look at her phone and noticed that it was already half past two and she had completely forgotten about lunch. As if on cue, her stomach grumbled embarrassingly, and she had never been more grateful that the streets were crowded and loud and that Klaus was enough far ahead to not hear it.
She hugged her black leather jacket more tightly around her frame as she marched towards the hotel's entrance surrounded by the chilly New Orleans' air. Apparently, the temperatures had considerably lowered today, go figure. Or so that nagging shop assistant had told her anyway, because what did she know about New Orleans after all?
The doorman opened the lavish glass door for them, and, ever the gentleman, Klaus let her go in first. Old habits die hard, apparently, even when he's mad. Caroline just had to roll her eyes.
She gladly welcomed the much more comfortable temperature of the hotel's lobby, stopping to look behind her at Klaus for him to lead the way. Certainly, she could have very well walked up to her room by herself, but she wasn't that inconsiderate. Although, she wouldn't really put it past Klaus to storm inside the elevator without sparing her a glance.
Instead, Klaus smirked, at least apparently more composed than he had been when they had exited the store. Talk about PMS-ing.
"If you want to go freshen up, I was thinking we could have lunch at the restaurant in, say," he shrugged his right arm, bunching up his coat's sleeve with the other hand, and looked down at his silver wristwatch. "Fifteen minutes?"
Grateful she wouldn't have to resort to room service, but still hesitant towards Klaus, Caroline gingerly nodded her head affirmatively.
"Good. I'll go make sure they keep a table reserved for us. Let's meet back here, then."
"Okay," she agreed with a small smile, before turning to walk towards one of the elevators.
Back in her room, Caroline took her time to wash her hands and face and change into some warmer clothes. For a moment, she pondered texting Kol to keep him updated on the Klaus front, but she figured he would already be worrying enough without knowing they already had their first argument in the short span of a couple of hours.
That man was seriously giving her the headache of her life with all of his sudden mood changes. So, now they were sort of friends again? Not that she minded, because, really, she would have not survived another three and a half day with a brooding Klaus, but it was all so confusing. She was majoring in Psychology, how hard could it be to understand how to handle him, right? Right. She just had to remember to leave her over-reacting, dramatic, tantrums-throwing personality locked in a drawer for a couple more days. She was Caroline Forbes, she could do it.
Sighing, she looked at herself in the large mirror hanging from one of the walls of the luxurious ensuite bathroom, carelessly throwing her hair up in a quick bun. She really had no idea what she would do with this messy hair of hers for the art show tonight.
Since they had been on foot, Klaus had arranged for her dress and shoes to be delivered by the store to the hotel later in the afternoon, and for that she was immensely grateful. Clumsy and incident-prone Caroline Forbes in the same room with not only one, but two, highly expensive possessions for a whole day? No, thank you.
She ran her hands over her face once more before finally deciding her fifteen minutes were probably up. She took her phone and went back downstairs, where she spotted Klaus waiting for her near the spacious stairs that gave way to the hotel's luxurious restaurant.
"Yup!" she answered, jovially popping the 'p' and earning herself a weird, almost analyzing, look from Klaus.
After a second, he simply sighed and entered the restaurant, dismissively waving off an attendant trying to lead them to their table as he made his way to it himself instead. He politely helped Caroline to her chair, pulling it out for her, and then went to sit at the opposite side of the elegantly set table.
Caroline picked up one of the two menus and opened it in front of her, scanning through the various dishes with a hint of uncertainty.
"I hope, sweetheart," Klaus cleared his throat and she looked up at him, eying his smirking face warily. "That you won't mind to know I have already taken care of ordering a delicious salad for you."
Caroline's eyebrows furrowed, hiding behind a fallen band of her blond hair. Over-reacting drawer of her personality?—Wide open.
"Are you fucking serious?" she whisper-yelled indignantly, catching the attention of an elderly couple with her inappropriate wording. "You–ugh. You're seriously not even worth the calories I burn talking to you!" she slammed her hands against the table's surface and rose from her chair. "I swear to God–"
"Please, dear, sit down. You're making a scene," he mocked her.
Caroline gasped, even more outraged, her glare cutting through him like a knife. Oh, if only she had a real knife. And, hey, she actually had one because—cutlery, anybody?
But he was still smirking and she just wanted to slap him, and–
"I was only joking, by the way."
She sat back down, aware of having most people's eyes on her, and put the menu back up in front of her, mostly to try and cover her very much reddened face than for anything else.
"It wasn't funny," she seethed through gritted teeth.
"Of course not, sweetheart. My bad. British humor and all that," he apologized and she could hear the smug grin on his lips.
"More like British damaged brain," she whispered back. Seriously, what the hell was wrong with this man? One minute he was swaying between ignoring her and looking at her in a way that made her feel like some sort of scientific project, and the next one he was cracking jokes? Bipolar, much?
But despite herself, Caroline had to bite back a smile at the mental image of how terribly awkward and out of place she must have looked standing up outraged in the middle of a full, classy and expensive restaurant.
"I'm going to have to order at least half a dozen lobsters now. To make you pay for it, you know," she added, raising her chin pompously. Two could play this game.
He looked surprised for a second at her quip, but he quickly hid that behind a somewhat satisfied smile. "I'm sorry to inform you, sweetheart, but unfortunately they do not serve lobster here," he answered.
"Whaaat?" Caroline put her menu back on the table between them and looked at him teasingly. "Excuse me, but what kind of half-assed five-star hotel did you bring me to?"
Klaus laughed wholeheartedly, probably about to answer something himself again, but any comeback he might have had was cut short by the arrival of their waiter.
If anything, as they ordered their food, the mood between them had finally lightened up again, one way or another. If their interactions so far were any indication, the rest of the day wasn't going to be any boring, and maybe—just maybe—it wouldn't be as bad as they had thought either.
A/N: Here's to hoping these first proper Klaus/Caroline interactions didn't disappoint you! At first, I wanted to put the art show in this chapter as well, and I'm sorry I ended up cutting this so short, but I really wanted to update for you guys before college started, and I also thought it would be cute to end it like this. To be honest, I'm still not sure when my classes will actually start, but since this is going to be my first year, and I don't really know what to expect, I didn't want to risk getting too caught up with everything else and leaving you hanging for longer than necessary. I hope to be able to publish one more chapter before September ends, but I can't make any promises. Reviews certainly make me want to update faster, so hit that box, my lovelies.
Also, I know it might seem weird that Klaus and Caroline just sort of go from almost friends to sworn enemies to best buddies all so quickly. To be completely honest, it's mostly because that's just how this chapter came to me—and believe me, this is the most sense I could put into it—but I promise it will all make more sense in the next chapter(s). Klaus does have a plan to 'borify' Caroline after all. I don't just put things out there for no reason, I swear, ahah.
That would be all, sooooo,
until next time, Giulia.