A.N. Hello again, friends! So if any of you follow me on Tumblr, then you know I've been teasing this story for awhile. This was originally going to be my next project after Rescue Me before Fallen took root, but since I have Fallen plotted out, I thought I'd throw this one out and see what you all think!
I would like to point out that this is a Klaroline story, but Carlijah is very much a fun little crack!ship that I entertain far too often. So while there isn't any Klaroline in this first introductory chapter, I hope you can still read and enjoy until they finally meet.
Thanks a million to Becky, Leah, and Miranda for their constant help and advice on this one, and to Leah, Mel, and Nicole over on Tumblr who all made incredible covers for this story.
As always, I hope you enjoy!
You never really think your life is going to become one of those awful movies that most people cringe at. You don't wake up one morning and go "Let's make a mockery of everything I've worked so hard for by telling some stupid white lie that's going to completely spiral out of control." No, no one ever thinks this is actually going to happen to them.
But that was the very thing that happened to Caroline Forbes.
The first thing you need to know about Caroline is that she was a woman in love. That crazy out-of-your-mind kind of love that had you planning out your future and thinking about where you would retire when you're old and gray. The kind of love that you just kind of knew, right away, that it was going to be epic.
The other thing you need to know about Caroline?
The man that she's so head over heels in love with…has absolutely no idea who she is.
"There you go. Can I assist you with anything else today?"
Caroline repeated the mantra that had been drilled into her head since she started this job at KLC Banking six years ago, a perfect customer service smile spread across her face. She watched as the young red headed woman barely acknowledged her with a glace, shoving her envelope full of cash into her handbag as she twirled around on her heel, thumbs flying away at the keyboard of her phone.
She sighed, drumming her fingertips on the counter before she turned, a frown on her face. "Tell me I wasn't that rude at 18."
From her place at the drive through window, Bonnie Bennett laughed, her long dark ponytail swinging around her shoulders as she shook her head. "You were worse," she said, glancing over her shoulder to throw her a smile. "The ultimate Mean Girl. But you've toned down since then. We don't hold it against you."
Caroline Forbes and Bonnie Bennett had been best friends since kindergarten. They'd developed a strong kinship when Nathan Fell dipped both their pigtails in Elmer's Glue during Arts and Crafts before throwing a handful of uncooked macaroni over their heads, proudly proclaiming that they both now had noodles for brains.
They didn't hold it against him. He was a stupid boy, with stupid cooties and stupid ideas. They didn't hold it against him at all.
They certainly didn't hold it against him as they cornered him on the playground the next day and used the razor Caroline had swiped from her mom's shower to wipe his high raising eyebrows off his head while he cried like a little girl.
No, Bonnie and Caroline were classier than that.
Well, regardless, a life long friendship was born after that. They followed each other through elementary school, middle school, the dreaded four years of high school, and even college, where they rented out a shabby little house for their adventure into higher learning.
Now here they were, in the heart of Chicago. Sure, maybe Bonnie wasn't a surgeon yet. And no, Caroline wasn't exactly a world renowned fashion designer. They were both working their way towards the lives they wanted, and they realized that working at KLC Banking was just another stepping stone until they both realized their dreams.
"Well, I certainly hope not," Caroline laughed, turning around to straighten the various items that adorned her tiny little cubicle at the counter. "I don't hold your freaky little Wiccan phase against you."
Her friend's laughter chimed in time with the bell above the front door, signaling the arrival of a new customer, and Caroline turned on her heel to greet them, her friendly smile freezing on her face as her breath caught in her throat.
There were very few things that could leave Caroline Forbes speechless.
The scene in The Notebook, where Noah proclaims to Ally that he wrote her letters every day. Pranks gone so horribly wrong that there's nothing to do but stare and gape in abject horror. Strep throat or laryngitis, certainly.
And one Elijah Mikaelson.
This is probably the part in the story where you expect the dashingly handsome man walking through the doors to smile, stride towards his waiting lady, and pull her in for a devastatingly passionate kiss that leaves them both breathless, quietly proclaiming his love to her as his fingers caress the skin of her cheek.
However, that's not part of this story.
No, there would be no epic declaration of love, or scorching lip lock that Caroline could feel all the way down to her toes. There would be no fond caresses or whispered passionate promises.
Because while Caroline could tell you numerous things about Elijah Mikaelson-like his social security number, the exact amount he had in each of his bank accounts, that he often smelled like sandlewood and his dark eyes were like deep pools that you could spend the rest of eternity drowning in-she was almost positive the only thing he could tell anyone about her was that she was the perky blonde cashier at the local bank who smiled just a bit too bright at him each time he came in.
But it was all moot really. Because Caroline was just as in love with him today as she had been when she first saw him years ago.
She knew she was being borderline creepy, watching as he made his way across the lobby, his tall, broad shouldered form clothed in an impeccably tailored suit that did little to hide the muscled form that lied beneath. His dark, soulful eyes were dancing as he smiled at the bank manager that stepped out to greet him, a friendly, flawless smile on his face.
Caroline sighed as she watched him, ignoring the snort of laughter that erupted from behind her as Bonnie caught her smitten ogling.
"Way to be on the downlow, Forbes," the other woman muttered as she turned back to the drive through window.
"Bite me, Bennett," she muttered through her smile, rolling her eyes discreetly before straightening her shoulders and bouncing on her heels as Elijah finally made his way up to her window, one hand holding his suit jacket to his stomach as he weaved around the velvet roping. "Good afternoon, Elijah," she greeted, her voice a high octave than normal as her heartbeat roared in her ears.
There was a smile on his face as he stopped in front of her, reaching into his suit jacket to pull out a dark green leather checkbook.. "Hello, sweetheart," he said jovially, settling his hands on the counter. "I need to make a withdrawal, if you'd be so kind."
He slid the checkbook towards her, and Caroline nodded as she reached for it, her fingertips grazing his as they settled over the leathery cover. She ducked her head to hide the sudden blush that took over her face, clearing her throat as she turned towards the computer to enter in the necessary information.
As she typed, she peered at him from the corner of her eyes, taking in his strong jaw and and refined posture. Every inch of the man screamed class and dignity, from his perfectly coiffed hair to his perfectly shined shoes. He exuded an elegance that Caroline had only fathomed in Austen novels, a near Darcy-esque persona that she admitted frequented her thoughts most of the time.
She always pictured moonlit dinners and starry night walks, filled with refined conversation and hushed declarations. Whispered caresses with smitten smiles before his lips would graze the skin of her skin, igniting a passion that engulfed every inch of her writhing-
A loud thump behind her made her jump, and she gasped, turning to see Bonnie sending her a withering glance as she stacked another box of rolled coins onto the back counter. There was a muted warning in her coworker's eyes as they traveled from her face to the man that stood just behind her shoulder.
Caroline merely grimaced, turning back to Elijah with an apologetic smile, quickly filling out the account withdrawal ticket and sliding it over to him for his signature. He smiled at her, signing his name with a flourish-how did THAT get her heart pounding-and returning it to her.
She counted out his bills-as always trying not to react to the large amount. There was no doubt that Elijah Mikaelson was a wealthy man. She'd been handling his accounts for years, so she knew very well that he didn't lack much of anything. She slid the crisp bills into a KLC envelope, sealing it firmly and sliding it across the counter towards his flattened palms. "Will there be anything else, Mr. Mikaelson?" she asked, keeping her tone level despite the numerous thoughts that accompanied her question.
Elijah chuckled, tucking the envelope of cash securely in his inside pocket. "No, I think that will be all for today," he said, straightening his lapel and letting his gaze wander over her for a brief moment before settling on her nametag. He smiled, nodding towards her. "Have a nice weekend, Caroline."
She grinned, her toes curling in her peep toed shoes at the shiver that coursed down her spine as he said her name. "You too," she called after him when he turned to walk away, casting a last glance over his shoulder with a smile as he headed towards the door, waving farewell to the bank manager before disappearing outside.
Caroline sighed as she watched him go, her brain screaming at her about all the other things she should have said to him. Wonderful weather, isn't it? Any big plans this weeked? I like your suit. You have pretty hair. We'd make beautiful babies together. I love you.
"You know the only reason he knew your name is because he saw your nametag?"
A frustrated groan left her lips as she glared at the woman who had appeared at her side, leaning against the counter with her arms crossed over her chest. Bonnie was looking at her with near sympathy, her glossed lips quirked up in a small smile as her brows furrowed in concern, and Caroline merely rolled her eyes.
"You know, just because you've given up on the whole happily ever after thing doesn't mean you have to rain on my parade."
Bonnie laughed. "I'm not raining on your parade, Caroline. I just...you've gotten so infatuated with him. You've never even seen him outside this bank, and I just don't want you to have your little Elijah bubble burst."
"Who says it has to burst?" Caroline asked, ponytail swinging as she turned her head to look at her friend. "I mean, who knows, maybe my bubble can stay all pink and pretty, and one day Elijah and I will actually talk and connect on a more intimate level than 'what's your account number' and the bubble can just grow."
Bonnie's look of concerned sympathy deepened, and Caroline sighed again. "I know you think it's crazy, Bon. But do you remember that old saying your grandma used to tell us? 'Sometimes what you need is right in front of you?'" The brunette nodded, and Caroline shrugged. "Maybe Elijah is just what I need."
The street was quiet when Caroline left the bank ten minutes later, her shift finished and her head aching from her constant defense against Bonnie's lectures. She wanted nothing more than to return to her apartment, prop her feet up on the couch, and tune into some bad reality TV with her roommates and forget about the day.
She was tightening her jacket around her thin form when she heard the muffled sounds of a scuffle a few feet ahead of her, and her steps slowed as she tried to pinpoint where the sounds were coming from.
A million warning bells were going off in her head, the most prominent being the voice of her sheriff mother warning her of the dangers of living in a big city- "thefts and rapes and murders, Caroline, that's all big cities have to offer you. Don't ever go walking the streets alone, if you insist on going at all." She walked on the balls of her feet as her hand frantically dug through the large handbag hanging from her shoulder, her fingers searching for the familiar tube of pepper spray her father had insisted she invest in.
There was more shuffling, and the deep grunts of two men in conflict, coming from the alley just to her right. Her fingers wrapped around the pepper spray, her other hand digging into her coat pocket for her cellphone, just as she cautiously peered around the corner, her breath halting in her throat when she saw Elijah struggling with a man nearly twice his size against the brick wall.
His teeth were gritted as his hands fisted into the lapels of the man's black jacket, his feet shuffling against the cracked pavement as he staggered under his opponent's weight. There was a cut on his lip, and the skin under his right eye looked swollen and already beginning to discolor. His jacket was hanging off one shoulder, his tie askew and a button was missing from his white button up shirt.
Caroline watched in horror as the two men struggled, and of their own volition, her feet began to carry her further into the alley. Her mind was screaming at her to run and get help; to call the police or scream for anyone else, but her fingers were already pressing down on the safety of the pepper spray and her voice was screaming out a loud "Hey!" as she rounded the corner.
Startled, the two men halted in their tussle, both looking to her in confusion before the larger man's expression gave way to panic. Before she could even take another step, he slammed his body into Elijah's, subsequently slamming it into the hardened brick behind them. Caroline let out a startled scream when Elijah's head hit the brick and mortar with a sickening thud, his body falling limp and crashing to the ground in a heap.
She raced over to them just as the other man took off in the other direction, his body hurling itself at the wrought iron fence that blocked the end of the alley. He climbed it in a fury, grunting as he propelled his body over it and to the other side, his feet hitting the pavement with a thump before thundering away.
Caroline barely spared him a glance as she sunk down next to Elijah, hands hovering over him in panic before settling on his broad shoulders and rolling him onto his side. She cradled his head in her hands, gasping when she felt the steady trickle of blood seeping from the wound at the base of his skull. "Oh, God," she whispered, gingerly settling his head in her lap as she pulled out her cell phone, fumbling with the swipe screen before frantically punching in 911.
"911, what's your emergency?" a generic voice asked from the other line.
She explained in a rush that someone had been attacked, rambling off the address of the two nearest buildings and demanding they send an ambulance as soon as possible. The voice of the operator assured her that one was on the way, and asked her to please stay on the line until help arrived.
Cradling the phone between her head and shoulder, she looked down at Elijah, stroking the hair away from his face as she whispered hushed reassurances to him. She barely noticed the blood that was staining her pink pencil skirt, or the way the pavement dug into the skin of her knees as she kneeled down next to him.
The sirens of a racing police car resounded through the air, and she let out a relieved breath as the brakes squealed on the road a few feet away. She shifted on the ground, resting a hand Elijah's chest, the steady thumping of his heart under her touch sending a calming wave through her.
"They're down here!" a voice boomed from the entry to the alley, and there was a shuffling of feet and the sound of a stretcher being wheeled across the sidewalk.
Beneath her, Elijah began to stir, a soft moan of pain escaping his lips as he cringed. Caroline watched as his eyes blinked open, his gaze clouded and confused as they focused on her face. She smiled reassuringly when he frowned, nodding her head and running a hand across his forehead. "You're going to be okay."
He blinked at her, grimacing when he tried to move his head. He looked at her when she shushed him, his lips parting, and then he whispered a confused "Caroline?" before his eyes drifted shut again, his body going limp as he fell into unconsciousness.
Caroline couldn't help but gape down at him, ignorant of the sudden flurry of medical technicians around her until one braced a hand on her shoulder, tearing her attention away from the man in her lap.
"Ma'am, we're going to have to ask you to move," he said gruffly, helping her to her feet as another paramedic carefully lifted Elijah's head from her lap.
She stumbled to her feet, watching in a daze as they spoke loudly to Elijah, trying to draw his attention. They checked his pupils when he remained unresponsive, and after affirming a steady pulse, quickly shifted him onto the stretcher.
They rolled him down the alley at a brisk but careful speed, and Caroline followed along numbly, nodding towards the police officer that was talking in her ear about filing a witness statement and talking to a sketch artist.
But all she could focus on was that Elijah Mikaelson had remembered her name.
And there we have it! The prologue is out!
I hope you all enjoy, and that you'll sound off in the reviews and let me know what you all think.
An update should come soon, but since I'm also writing Fallen, I can't promise exactly when, but soon!
Follow me on Tumblr: klarolineepiclove.
Until next time!