Okay, so I'm almost finished with The Wedding and I've been thinking of new ideas because the other two stories I have going right now just aren't doing it for me and this idea came to me. I'm still not sure I love it enough to keep going so that's where you all come in. If you like it and want to keep reading, you gotta review and tell me. If not, I'll scrap it and start over. It'll take place in the present but flashbacks would happen occasionally to explain how certain things happened in the past. So, let me know. Reviews/favorites/follows; they're all helpful. Oh, yeah, they're all humans in this one. Thanks!
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
Camille found herself drawn to the photo of the smiling blonde girl again as she looked around Klaus' walk-in closet. It used to frustrate her, not knowing who she was or why she was important enough for him to keep her picture on his dresser but now, three years later, she'd just accepted that she would never know until he wanted to tell her. Klaus was a very guarded man and she took what she could get from her fiancée.
"What are you doing in here?" Klaus asked, coming up behind her.
"Sorry," she apologized. "I was looking for a pair of socks."
"Socks are in the second drawer," he said, reaching around her to open it. "You know that." He eyed the photo. "Stop obsessing, Cami."
"I'm not," she lied. "She's beautiful."
Klaus clenched his jaw. "The most beautiful woman I've ever known. Now, come on, let's go to bed." He took her hand led her back out to his bedroom.
Camille climbed into the bed and rested her head on his chest. "Goodnight."
He knew she was irritated that he wouldn't tell her more about the girl in the picture. "Her name is Caroline and I met her when I was twenty; she was a friend of my sister's from school."
"You're using past and present tense," Camille, a psychologist, noticed.
"In Caroline's particular case, they're interchangeable," he muttered mysteriously.
"Did you love her?" Camille wanted to know.
"More than life itself," he confirmed; he'd never have admitted such things to her face in the light but he felt braver in the darkness. "I was in a bad place when she came into my life and she saved me from falling over the ledge. I got serious about school and went on to law school because she believed in me."
"Where is she now?" Camille wondered. They'd been together for three years and this was the first she'd ever heard of Caroline, even though she knew he'd been in a relationship before her.
"Back in Mystic Falls," he answered, referring to the small Virginia town he'd lived in before moving to New Orleans.
Camille took one more risk. "What happened between the two of you? If you loved her so much, why didn't she come with you?"
"She couldn't," he explained with finality in his voice that she knew not to press. "Is that sufficient information on her?"
"Yes," she breathed, hugging him tighter. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he yawned. "Goodnight, Cami."
"Night," she replied, closing her eyes, a vision of Caroline in her head.
When Klaus woke up the following morning, Camille was long gone; she often saw patients as early as seven. He ate his breakfast in peace and showered before heading off to his law office in the heart of the French Quarter.
"Good morning, Klaus," his assistant, Diane, greeted him. "Your nine o'clock is running a little late and your brother called."
"Which brother?" he asked, taking his messages from her.
"Elijah," she reported.
Klaus rolled his eyes and pushed open the door to his office. "I'll call him later."
"He said it was urgent," Diane went on, using the intercom system. "He seemed...distressed."
"That's just how Elijah sounds," Klaus assured her. "He thinks everything is important."
Diane frowned. "I don't know, Klaus. I wouldn't wait too long."
"Diane, please," Klaus warned. "Just send my nine o'clock in when he arrives."
Elijah called four more times that morning and Klaus ignored him every time. He knew if it were truly serious, Rebekah or Henrik would call him so he went on with his business. He hadn't become one of the most successful defense attorneys in Louisiana by spending his time making personal calls.
"Knock-knock," Camille interrupted him around one-thirty as she stood at the door to his office with lunch. "I have a break between clients and thought you might want to eat together."
"I suppose I could take twenty minutes," he agreed, standing up. "We'll eat in one of the conference rooms."
"Hi, Diane," Camille greeted the assistant.
"Camille," Diane nodded coolly. "If you're eating, I'm going down to the cafeteria."
"Twenty minutes," Klaus called after her.
"How's your day been?" Camille asked as they settled into one of the small conference rooms down the hall from Klaus' office.
"Fine," he replied, opening the styrofoam container she handed him to find a burger and fries. "I set a court date for the McNamara case and had the judge throw out charges against Hayley Sewell; not enough witnesses."
"There weren't enough witnesses to see her stab her boyfriend in that bar?" Camille scoffed. "I find that hard to believe."
Klaus shrugged. "The judge did."
Camille knew Klaus sometimes went to extreme lengths to win—lengths she would've been uncomfortable to hear about—so she rarely asked.
"Do you want to have dinner with Marcel and Sophie tonight?" she asked, changing the subject. "She passed her boards and he wants to take her out to celebrate."
"Maybe," he said noncommittally. "It will depend on how much work I need to bring home."
"It's Friday, Klaus," she whined. "We never go out anymore because you're always working. Can't you take one weekend off? I am."
"Our jobs are just different," he reasoned. Klaus wasn't a believer in therapy but telling her that upset her so he tried to use his words wisely.
"Well, I'm going," she declared. "I would like you to come, too, but if you don't, I won't let that stop me."
"Quite all right," he agreed. "You deserve a night out. Perhaps you should invite Davina, as well?"
"It sounds an awful lot like you're trying to get rid of me for the night," Camille realized. "Are you?"
"I'm not," Klaus shook his head. "You're free to do whatever you want. I like having you with me, but I don't want you to think you have to spend every night there."
"I like to," she shrugged. "We're getting married. But I also like going out with you, too. We did meet at a bar once upon a time so you used to have fun."
He chuckled. "I was still new to the bar then; I didn't know how time-consuming this career would be."
"Really?" Camille deadpanned. "You didn't know how much time it would take to be a lawyer?"
"The life I had in Virginia was much different than the one I came into here," he admitted. "I had different priorities there and when I first came to New Orleans, I was looking to let off a little steam."
Camille could tell by his tone that his "priorities" back in Mystic Falls were Caroline-related but she didn't push. She'd won a major battle last night by getting him to share about his ex and she didn't want him to retreat back now.
Diane suddenly appeared then. "Klaus, it's Henrik."
The fear that had settled in the back of Klaus' mind since hearing of Elijah's first call made its way to the front. "Patch him through," he said, nodding at the phone on the table.
Moments later, it rang once.
"Henrik?" Klaus greeted his youngest sibling. "What is it?"
"I just had Henrik call," Elijah's voice came through. "I should've known you wouldn't take me seriously."
Klaus groaned. "What do you want, Elijah? I have a very busy day."
"Well, clear your schedule, brother," Elijah advised. "You need to come to Mystic Falls."
"Why?" Klaus murmured. "Is Rebekah having another relationship crisis? Has Stefan finally wised up and left her for good?"
Elijah sighed. "They're married now, Niklaus, so you know it isn't that."
"Then what?" Klaus demanded, looking to Camille, who was trying her best not to blatantly eavesdrop. "What is so important that I need to come home for the first time in three years?"
"It's Caroline," Elijah told him softly. "She woke up this morning. And she's asking for you."
And just like that, Klaus' perfectly structured world came tumbling down.
"What?" he whispered, turning away from Camille. "That's impossible. Doctors have advised the sheriff to take her off life support for years now. How can she possibly be awake?"
"Call it science or perhaps a miracle," Elijah replied. "Either way, she's awake and she would like to see you. Does that change your mind about coming home?"
"I-I suppose it does," Klaus muttered in defeat. "I'll get on the next flight out."
"Good," Elijah said. "I'll see you soon, Niklaus."
Klaus hung up the phone and found Camille waiting expectantly. "I have to go home right away."
"I'll come," she offered.
"No," he shook his head. "I need to go alone."
"Klaus," Camille interrupted. "We're supposed to be getting married and I've never met your family. I know next to nothing about them and now you're just up and going home for the weekend? What is the deal with Caroline?"
"She just woke up from a four-year coma," he told her harshly. "And Elijah said she's asking for me, which I suppose makes sense, seeing as we were engaged when the accident happened."
Camille was overwhelmed with the rapid-fire information. "So there's a girl—the presumed love of your life—a thousand miles away who thinks you're going to marry her?"
"Yes," he confirmed, standing up to go back to his office. "And I need to go see her."
"See her?" Camille repeated. "And then what, Klaus? Are you going to just forget all about me now that she's awake?"
He continued to his office without responding to her.
"Klaus!" she yelled. "Do not ignore me right now!"
"I don't have time for this insanity," he finally told her. "No, I do not intend to forget about you now that she's awake but I did love her for a long time and I'm sure she's wildly disoriented right now. When that car went off the bridge, she was twenty-one and now she wakes up at twenty-five? I'm sure she's terrified. Four years of her life are just gone."
"But that isn't your fault!" Camille cried.
"Yes, it is!" he yelled, before taking a deep breath to calm down. "I was driving the car that night. I was the one who lost control and went over the bridge."
Camille sighed. "Fine."
"I will return to you on Monday," he assured her, cupping her face in his hands. "I have every intention of marrying you, Cami, and of introducing you to my family. I just want that to happen under better circumstances." He pressed a kiss to her forehead, picked up his briefcase, and hurried away from her.
"You know he just lied to you," Diane spoke up when Camille left the office a few minutes later. "Right?"
"What are you talking about?" Camille asked.
"He definitely won't be back by Monday and he probably isn't going to marry you," Diane explained. "I know that Klaus loves you and all but that's nothing compared to how he felt about her once. I know all about Caroline Forbes and you don't come close."
Camille fought back the tears that threatened to fall. "I think you've made your dislike of me very clear over the years, Diane, but this is a bit much."
"This isn't about me not liking you," Diane assured her. "It's just the truth, hon. If Caroline is awake and he can get her back, he's going to. I'm sorry if that isn't what you want to hear but it's how this is all going to go."
"He wouldn't do that to me," Camille shook her head. "He loves me."
Diane shrugged. "Don't say I didn't warn you then."
Camille walked out without hearing another word.
Klaus' flight to Richmond didn't get in until almost seven and from there he took a sixty-minute cab ride to Mystic Falls General Hospital.
"Sir, visiting hours ended at eight," the nurse on Caroline's floor told him as he walked past the nurses' station.
"It's okay, Elise," Liz spoke up as she approached them. "He needs to see her."
Klaus nodded at Liz as he continued down the hallway to the room he used to spend every day in. He had to lean against the doorframe because seeing her awake, after all these years, took his breath away.
Caroline, who'd been looking out the window at the steadily falling rain, sensed the new presence in the room and turned her head. "Nik."
He smiled at her. "Hello, sweetheart."