Oh my god, wow, how much do I suck for not updating for a month! I can't believe it's been that long and I sincerely apologize for the wait, and I hope that there are still people interested in reading this story! Long story short, I got a new job and have been working nonstop with the demanding hours and it's just taken a lot for me to sit down and write. But, I hope you enjoy this latest chapter!
Bang. Bang. Bang.
Rebekah rolled over in bed and groaned at the intruding noise.
Pound. Pound. Pound.
Nope, no way. She was not going to answer her door. She didn't have to look at her alarm clock on the nightstand table next to her bed to know that it was an ungodly hour.
Slap. Slap. Slap.
"Rebekah!" came a muffled screech. "Open this door this instant. I don't want to wake your neighbors."
Rebekah groaned again and sighed, opening her eyes. She blinked to clear her vision before she sat up slowly and stretched her arms above her head. She moved the blankets off of her body and got up, walking out of her bedroom and to her front door.
She looked through the peephole and frowned, confirming her suspicions about who decided that waking her up early on a weekend morning was a good idea.
"I know you see me, open up, young lady!"
Rebekah held back a giggle and unlatched the chain, unlocking the door and opening it. "Good morning, mother. So nice to see you at," she grabbed the cell phone out of her mother's hand and looked at the time, "six am." She sighed as her mother pushed past her into the apartment, and closed the door.
"Your apartment is messier than I remember," Esther commented, clearing a space for herself to sit on the couch. She set her purse next to her and looked up at her daughter expectantly. "Well? I'd love some coffee."
Rebekah rolled her eyes. "Of course. It was so nice of you to not want to wake my neighbors, but you can come all the way over here to demand that I make you a cup of coffee?" She walked into her kitchen and started a pot for her mother, also looking around for something edible, knowing her mother would demand a pastry, or biscuit, or her first born child.
"Really, Rebekah, all of these dramatics are unwarranted. You shouldn't sleep so long, anyway. Not when the city is going to be beautiful today and you have a date."
Rebekah gripped the counter and turned around slowly to face the older woman. "A date? I'm sorry, but I don't remember making any plans for a date today."
"I know, dear, but I was speaking with Kol and you've already blown him off so much. You need to meet the Gilbert boy and see if the two of you are compatible."
It wasn't Rebekah's fault that it had been a week since Jeremy had stood her up at Donovan's…a week since the last time she had seen Matt.
"My and Jeremy's schedules just haven't been able to match up. I figured he would call and let me know when he was available and wouldn't stand me up again."
Esther sighed. "I understand your hesitation. This whole contest seems silly to even me sometimes. But, your father's end goal is to ensure your happiness."
The coffee pot dinged, signaling Esther's cup was ready. Rebekah added half a teaspoon of sugar and some milk to the cup before walking it over to her mother. "At this point, I don't care about this little contest. I doubt any of them will find someone I like, so what's the harm?"
"Kol seems to think he's found the perfect match."
"Kol also thinks he's the most handsome man in the world. I don't see your point, mother."
Esther frowned. "You're meeting with Kol for breakfast in one hour. Go and talk to him and settle things so that you can meet with Jeremy later. Stop being so negative."
Rebekah could not believe her mother was lecturing her over this. She and Jeremy had tried to get together a few times since he stood her up and it was not her fault if she was busy when he was free, and vice versa. But, instead of arguing with her stubborn mother, she got up and headed for her shower, rolling her eyes as she watched her mother rifle through her mail.
"Ah, there she is," Kol acknowledged, as he stood up from his chair and kissed his sister on the cheek. She joined him, sitting across from him and setting her things down in an empty chair at the table. "Thank you for joining me."
Rebekah shrugged. "I like free breakfast."
Kol laughed. He'd asked Rebekah to join him at the Sir Francis Drake in Union Square, knowing it was a favorite of hers, to make sure that he was on her good side before she was finally going to meet with his choice, Jeremy Gilbert.
"I took the liberty of ordering you a mimosa," he told her, as she grabbed the menu.
"Thank you." She glanced up and eyed her brother as he sat there, staring and smiling at her. "Okay, what is this? What's the catch?"
"Catch? There's no catch," Kol replied, a grin spreading across his lips.
Rebekah narrowed her gaze. "Oh really? Because, you hate me, Kol. In fact, you hate everyone. It's wonder that that Anna girl is even dating you. So, is this some sort of trick to get me to pick your choice?"
Kol sighed as their mimosas reached the table and they told the waiter that they'd need more time to decide what they wanted to order. "I just want…I wanted you to see that I'm taking this whole thing seriously. I know at first it seemed like one big joke that father was playing on all of us, but I am taking it seriously now. I honestly do think that you and Jeremy could hit it off."
Rebekah was quiet as she listened to her brother and could see that there was a kind of sincerity to his words. It might not have been much, but it was there…somewhere.
"Well, I am going to take the date seriously, too. I know it seems like a dumb idea, especially to me, but what have I got to lose?" She reached for her glass and sipped from her mimosa. "It just already doesn't bode well for him as he stood me up."
Kol sighed again. "I know, I know. We both feel terrible about that because that's not how we wanted this whole introduction to start out. But, he's meeting you this afternoon. I give you my word, little sister."
"Alright," she agreed, looking over her menu again. "I am anxious to meet him. I didn't know that you even had any friends. Especially college students."
"I met him through Anna a long time ago."
"A long time ago? Haven't you just started dating her?"
"Yes, but she's had a crush on me for ages. I just finally decided to give her a shot."
Rebekah arched an eyebrow. "Well, how very thoughtful of you, Kol. Always a giver."
Kol rolled his eyes. "Right. Anyway, just give Jeremy a shot. I'd really love to be the one to take over the company when father retires…for real this time."
"Why, so you can stick it to Niklaus and Elijah?"
Kol shrugged. "I can't lie, that is part of the appeal. But, I also feel like I'm ready to take control. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to amount to something."
Rebekah's jaw dropped a little. "Alright, who are you and what have you done with my brother, Kol?"
Kol laughed. "Relax, I'm still here. But maybe…maybe I'm not the only one who is looking for some life altering changes."
The waiter came back and they ordered and Rebekah thought over Kol's words. It hit her that her brothers had just as much to lose or gain as her and while she, of course, was going to treat her date with Jeremy with seriousness, she now wanted to make this a fair fight against all of the Mikaelson men.
Matt looked up from his paperwork and saw his sister standing in the doorway to his office. "Hey," he greeted, not expecting to see her in the city, let alone his office. "When did you get in?"
She shrugged. "Earlier this morning. I hope you're not mad, one of the bartenders let me in."
The bar wasn't open yet but Matt had a couple of the guys come in early so they could set up while he caught up on paperwork. "That's fine. Have a seat," he said, motioning for her to sit in one of the chairs across from his desk.
Vicki nodded and sat down, putting her feet up against the desk. "I feel like I haven't been here in so long."
"You haven't," he agreed, frowning at her feet on his desk but not pushing them off. "When you came back a couple of weeks ago, you went straight to Michelle's."
Vicki looked at her nails. "I didn't want to be in the way."
"In the way of what? Look around you, this is my life. It's not like I have much going on for you to get in the way of."
Vicki grinned. "You have a girlfriend."
"Now why would you –" Matt started and then he remembered that Rebekah had gone with him to pick up Vicki last week. "Oh, her. Yeah, she's not my girlfriend."
"Then why did she come with you to pick me up?"
Matt shrugged and looked down at his papers. "Because she offered to come. And I thought, hey why not, I could use the company."
"Right," Vicki said, smiling.
"No, don't even, Vic. It's not like that with her. She's…she's…just, no."
Vicki nodded her head in mock understanding. "Yeah, I can see that. I mean, you're obviously so articulate when I just mention her so yeah, nothing is going on between the two of you."
Matt rolled his eyes. "Knock it off. Trust me, she and I will never be anything. I bet you won't even see her again."
Vicki moved her feet off of the desk and sat up. "And what about you, Matty? How many times have you seen her since you picked me up last week?"
"Zero," he answered with a triumphant grin on his face. Sure, he'd thought about Rebekah in the past week and wondered why he hadn't seen her. But then he'd had to remind himself that nothing was going on between the two of them and his mind moved onto more pressing matters, like making sure he had his record books straight.
"Whatever," Vicki said, in the mood to change the subject. "How's Tyler?" "He's fine, traveling I think. Or he just came back to the Bay. I can't remember."
Vicki was quiet for a minute. "Is he…seeing anyone?"
Matt frowned as he glanced up at his sister. "No, Vic. I'm not going through that again with the two of you."
"What? I was just asking about him. Besides, he and I are ancient history."
"Uh huh," Matt said, shaking his head. "And yes, he's seeing someone. Well, I think he still is."
"Oh? Some model again?"
Matt scoffed. "He wishes. No, he's seeing this nice girl named April. She's too good for him but probably won't figure that out until he's an ass to her. She's friends with Rebekah."
Vicki grinned. "Ah, the plot thickens."
"Nothing is thickening. Now, if you don't mind, I have work to do."
Vicki stood up and started to walk away before turning around. "I'm going to be crashing at your place for the next couple of days. I need a break from Michelle."
Matt fished his keys out of his pocket and tossed them to his sister. "Be careful with my truck, don't eat all of my pop tarts like you did last time, and no dirty underwear on the bathroom floor."
"Yes dad," Vicki mumbled before stepping out of his office.
After breakfast with her brother, Rebekah had done some shopping to pass the time before her meet up with Jeremy Gilbert. He'd picked an interesting spot to meet her at, The Golden Gate Bridge. Rebekah had driven across it a few times but had never walked across it, which was exactly what Jeremy had proposed.
She'd parked in the parking lot, happy to find a space, and walked over to the small restaurant next to the lot and bridge to wait for him. She fluffed her hair and checked her make up, looking up every time she heard the door open. She was nervous. She'd been nervous the night she'd been stood up too, but there had also been the added nerves of Matt Donovan to make that night worse.
She shook her head to rid her mind of his face, not wanting to think about him right now when she was about to go on a date with another guy. She'd been a little childish and petty when she'd wanted to bring Jeremy to Donovan's, but she was past all of that now. She wanted to take this seriously, especially after hearing Kol's little speech this morning. She'd basically written him off when the competition had first been announced, but now she wanted him to have a fair chance like her other brothers' choices would. She may not get along with Kol as easily as with Klaus and Elijah, but she did love Kol and in the end she didn't care who got to take over for their father.
"Rebekah?" she heard someone say as she blinked a few times to clear her mind and focus on what was in front of her. Or, who was in front of her.
A brown haired guy with dark eyes and a nice smile was looking at her expectantly and she got up from the chair she was sitting in and smiled back.
"Oh hi, Jeremy?" she asked, reaching her hand out to shake his. "I'm Rebekah, yes."
"Hi," he said as he shook her hand back. "I'm really sorry about last week. I just had this big project due and Kol didn't give me all of the right information, and I just didn't want you to meet me with already low expectations."
Rebekah shook her head. "No, it's fine. It wasn't a big deal." She looked him over and noticed that he had an impressive build for an art student. She usually thought of art students as more lean and lanky, surviving off of cigarettes, chocolate bars, and coffee. "You're here now, so that's all that matters."
Jeremy nodded in agreement. "Yeah. So, I thought we'd just walk the length of the bridge and back. I know it's a little windy and foggy but this is my favorite kind of weather, and why I love the Bay so much."
"That sounds fine." She gathered her hair into a ponytail and tied it back, not wanting it to irritate her in the wind. "I've never walked the bridge in all of the years that I've been here."
"Really? I just thought it'd be nice to get out and do something, and talk and get to know each other. It seems better than just sitting at a table and doing the same thing."
"Okay," she agreed, following him outside. She took a mental note that he held the door open for her and she liked that. "You lead the way, I don't know where the path begins."
Jeremy nodded and put his hands in the pockets of his sweatshirt and led her to where the path along the bridge started heading north. He smiled at her as she fell into step with him and admired her beauty. "Kol didn't tell me you were so attractive."
"Oh? Did you think I was going to be hideous?"
"No, not exactly," Jeremy said with a laugh as he moved out of the way of a passing biker. "He just didn't say much."
"Well, what did he say?" Rebekah knew that the brothers weren't allowed to tell the guys that they chose the reason for the dates or about the competition at all, so she was curious as to how Kol had persuaded Jeremy to go on a date with her.
"At first he said that you were dying of cancer and I was your only shot at getting laid."
Rebekah stopped walking and felt her cheeks burn in embarrassment. "He what?"
Jeremy laughed to try and defuse her anger. "He said he was just kidding right after, if that's any consolation."
"Not really. I'm going to kill him regardless of what you say next."
"Well, he just said that you were looking to be set up and that he thought you and I might hit it off."
Rebekah was quiet for a few seconds, taking deep breaths, and then she started to walk again. "Well, he didn't tell me much about you either."
"That's okay," Jeremy said, "I can do that myself. Hi, my name is Jeremy Gilbert. I'm a twenty-two-year-old art student at the Academy of Art Institutes. I live in a loft by myself thanks to a lovely fortune left to me by my dead parents, and I like hockey."
Rebekah looked over at him, seeing that he wasn't joking about the dead parents part. "I'm sorry to hear about your parents."
Jeremy shrugged. "It happened when I was younger. I've had my time to grieve. My sister, Elena, was worse about it. They died in a car accident and she was in the car."
"Oh, that sounds horrible," Rebekah added, sighing. "I don't know what I'd do in that situation."
"Yeah. It was pretty rough on us, but we made it through okay. She's better now. She lives in New York with her boyfriend, Damon."
"That sounds nice. Do you see her a lot? Do you like him?"
"He's alright. He's kind of a dick a lot, but she likes him so that's more important. If he were totally wrong for her, I'd voice my opinion more." Rebekah nodded as he spoke, liking that it seemed like he had a strong relationship with his sister. It reminded her of Matt, but she let that thought pass quickly. "I'm an adult, she's an adult, and we both have to just make our own decisions."
"That's good," she commented. "I like that you both seem pretty level headed. But, I mean, I don't know her to really say much."
"You don't know me."
"Yes," Rebekah agreed with a grin. "But isn't that the point of today?"
"It is. So, tell me about you."
"Okay. Well, I have four brothers, and three of them work with my father and one lives in England with his wife. I don't see him much. He's kind of a recluse and likes to be away from the States and us. He says we're a dysfunctional family and he'd rather be on his own. He's also a little bit of a dullard so no one minds the absence too much."
Jeremy laughed softly. "That sounds weird. I mean, I've never met your other brothers but Kol always talks about them in high regard."
"The three of them are close," she agreed. "Kol may be annoying most of the time, but Niklaus and Elijah do respect that he takes his job seriously."
"Yeah. He is always rambling on about some sort of new technology and I try not to be rude, but sometimes I don't care. I'm not an electronics kind of guy, but more of a paint and brush or drawing type."
"That's awesome. I work at the art museum in the city."
"You do? I'll have to come and say hi when I'm there next. I try and go a couple times a month, especially when you guys have new exhibits."
Rebekah nodded, moving out of the way of a line of school children on a field trip. She looked out over the railings and saw a few sailboats in the harbor. The fog was rolling in but it was still visible enough to where she could see the Presidio and parts of Golden Gate Park. "Well, I'm a social media coordinator there. I'm not there five days a week or anything, but I pop in at least a couple days a week. But yes, definitely, I'd love company whenever."
Jeremy smiled and grabbed her hand to move her out of the way of a biker going way too fast. "Sorry," he said, dropping her hand. "That asshole would have clipped you."
Rebekah bit her bottom lip and shrugged. "It's okay. I'm not a prude. If you wanted to hold my hand all you had to do was ask."
Jeremy leaned in a little closer to her and he could see as she visibly swallowed. "If I wanted to hold your hand, I don't think I'd have to ask your permission."
Rebekah looked into his eyes and could see the playful smirk spreading across his lips. She just might like this Jeremy Gilbert after all. "Isn't that a little rude? You're assuming that I wouldn't mind it if you held my hand or not."
Jeremy let his eyes dart to her mouth as she licked her lips and his smirk widened to a grin. "Something tells me you like it when a man takes control."
Rebekah's jaw dropped a little and she shook her head, pushing him away from her with a playful laugh. "Whoa, slow down there, Gilbert. You don't even know my favorite color yet."
"Pink?" he guessed as they started to walk again.
She shook her head. "Nope. Maroon. I like how it's almost a mix of red and purple. I just like dark colors."
"You probably look really hot in maroon."
Rebekah felt her cheeks grow warm. It was nice to be complimented by him. She wasn't sure how this little date was going to go, so it was comforting to see it wasn't going to be a complete disaster.
"Come here," Jeremy said, grabbing her hand. He walked her closer to the railing and pointed out onto the horizon where the fog was really starting to roll in. May in the Bay Area didn't mean much in terms of summer weather, and Rebekah was glad she'd brought a jacket. "You see that?"
"See what? The fog?"
"Yeah, the fog," Jeremy replied, shaking his head. "Instead of just looking at the fog and how it just brings bad weather, look at the way it's going to coat the city. It's almost like it's rolling in like a blanket. Doesn't it look awesome?"
Rebekah watched as he pointed out the meaning of his words and she nodded. She'd never really thought to look at fog as more than just fog, so it was cool to see Jeremy's artistic perspective. "It does look interesting," she agreed.
He smiled at her and zipped up his jacket as the wind picked up. "Maybe we should head back. It's getting a little chilly. But, Kol and I were thinking that we could double date, like me and you and him and Anna."
"Oh," Rebekah replied, not really having thought of that as a good idea until he'd mentioned it. "Okay. Yeah, but not tonight right?"
"No. We were thinking tomorrow night, if you're free."
Rebekah thought for a moment to see if there was anything she had going on. "Yes, I'm free. What did you guys have in mind?"
"Oh, you'll see," Jeremy said with a wink as they made their way back towards the end of the bridge that they started at.
"Bowling?" Rebekah asked as she walked into Lucky Strike with Kol, Anna, and Jeremy. When the Gilbert boy had suggested a double date she'd never in a million years thought that bowling would be the answer. She looked over at her brother who was smiling as if he had not a care in the world. "You really want to go bowling?"
"This was Anna and Jeremy's idea," he whispered to her, "Stop being a brat and let's have a good time."
Rebekah rolled her eyes but followed them all to the counter. The boys fought over who would pay, with Kol eventually winning out, and then shoes were given and they were directed towards a lane.
"Have you ever been?" Jeremy asked her as they walked together with Kol and Anna a little ahead.
"Um, wow, not since I was little maybe. Bowling isn't exactly high on my to-do list." She glanced over at him and noticed that his face fell a little. "But, I'm happy we're here. Since I obviously don't get to do this much, it's a nice change." He perked up a little at her added response and she let herself relax. This could be fun. After all, wasn't she supposed to be embracing new things?
She sat down next to Anna in a chair and started to remove her shoes to replace them with the supplied bowling pair.
"I'm sorry if you hate it here," Anna said as she laced up her own pair. "I just like this place. It's a little more classy than most bowling alleys."
"It's fine, honestly," Rebekah told her, realizing that Kol was right – she didn't want to be a brat tonight, she wanted to have fun.
Just as she was done putting on the rental shoes, there was a loud cheering noise from across the room and Rebekah shook her head. "Some people just have to be so loud – oh my god!"
"What?" Jeremy asked, glancing over his shoulder at the noise. "Oh, whoa, is that Tyler Lockwood?"
Rebekah's fist clenched as she saw Tyler, April, Matt, and Vicki all at a lane together. "Excuse me for one second," she huffed as she practically stomped across the room over to them. How the hell was she supposed to enjoy her second date with Jeremy with Matt Donovan's stupid face getting in the way?
She reached them and was met with a surprised look from April. "Oh, Rebekah, hey – ow, that's my arm," she groaned as Rebekah grabbed her firmly by the elbow and pulled her away.
"What the hell are you doing here, April?"
"I'm bowling, silly. What the hell are you doing here?"
Rebekah rolled her eyes. "I, too, am bowling. And I'm on a date!"
April looked past Rebekah's shoulder and spotted Jeremy standing next to Kol. "Oh! Is that Kol's choice? Wow, he's cute!"
"Who cares if he's cute! Why are you here with Tyler Lockwood?" Rebekah hissed, placing her hands on her hips.
"Um, because we're kind of dating."
"Ew, I thought that was a one time thing."
"Obviously not. What's the big deal, anyway?"
"I don't like him for you."
"Okay, thanks, mom," April said with a roll of her eyes.
Rebekah sighed and was about to reply when she saw Matt walk over to where she and April were standing. "Is everything okay?" he asked, looking first at April and then Rebekah.
"Yep, everything is perfectly fine," April responded before giving Rebekah a narrow glance. She backed away and mimicked a texting motion with her hands before turning around to rejoin Tyler and Vicki, leaving Rebekah alone with Matt.
"Hey," Matt greeted, putting his hands in his pockets.
"Hi," Rebekah replied. "I see Vicki looks to be in better spirits."
"What? Oh yeah, she's fine. She's always fine. Just staying with me for a couple of days."
Rebekah nodded. "That sounds nice."
"So, are you here to join us?" Matt asked, and Rebekah told herself that she did not hear any kind of hopeful tone in his voice. She had to have imagined it.
"Oh, no. I actually had no idea that you guys were going to be here."
"That's cool. Who are you here with?"
Rebekah looked back over her shoulder. "My brother and his girlfriend. And my date."
"So he finally showed up," Matt observed jokingly with a smile.
Rebekah rolled her eyes. "Yes, and how kind of you to remember me getting stood up. Thanks."
"You're welcome, Princess." He dodged a smack from her and laughed. "I wouldn't have pegged you for a bowler."
"Well, there's lots you don't know about me, Donovan."
"Oh, well, excuse me."
Rebekah sighed. This could go on forever. "Well, I should be getting back to my date."
Matt nodded. "Sure. Have a good time. Try not to break a nail."
Rebekah turned on her heel and started to walk away from him with a shake of her head. She could do this – she could be on a date with Jeremy with Matt in the same room. She had wanted to do it at his bar last week, so tonight would be no different.
"Everything okay?" Jeremy asked as she rejoined her group.
"Yes, fine. Who's first?" she asked, deciding that distracting herself with actually playing the game was going to be the best bet when it came to ignoring Matt Donovan for the night.
Yay! The competition has officially begun! And oh would you look at that, Rebekah just cannot escape Matt wherever she goes ;)
Leave me reviews and let me know what you think!
I'll do my very best to update faster, I definitely do not want to have it be another month before I update again!