A/N: Well, I'm back! And procrastinating like there's no tomorrow! I have kept my word and edited the chapters so they are at least tolerable so I hope everyone enjoys this first chapter. The chapters will probably come pretty slowly, so if there are actually any people who really like this story - completely doubtful - I'm sorry. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognise.
Falling For You
'Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.' – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Caroline doesn't want to go to work today.
Call her crazy, but between staying in her warm, comfortable bed and getting picked for Frumpy Employee of the Month again; Caroline will tear her way through anything for the bed any day.
Her alarm clock – 'Get your arse out of bed!' – continues to shriek even as Caroline moans sleepily, trying to slam a hand on it and press her face in her pillow at the same time. She suddenly tumbles out of bed, falling to the floor clumsily, with an unladylike 'Oof!'
She has never been a morning person, she thinks as she wages war with her unrelenting alarm clock – 'Are you up yet? No? GET OUT OF BED, ALREADY!' – which refuses to shut itself off.
'I AM UP, YOU ARSEHOLE!' Caroline yells at her alarm clock, smacking it hopelessly. 'STOP YELLING AT ME!'
Her alarm clock finally goes silent when Caroline slams her clenched fist on it and she groans with pain. Karma, she thinks, you artful bitch.
'That's another one gone,' she mutters to herself, as she throws the broken alarm clock in her overflowing bin – overflowing, she might add, with alarm clocks.
Her mornings are never peaceful.
When Caroline gets out of the shower, feeling refreshed and awake, covered in a soft, fluffy towel, she immediately trips over her overfilled bin that has suddenly tipped – probably because of the amount of smashed alarm clocks stuffed in it – and falls headfirst into her bed, momentarily grateful that she has never invested in one of those huge beds with the headboards.
Face enveloped by swathes of white sheets, Caroline pulls herself out of her bed and straightens, slightly self-conscious. She glances at the time – realises her alarm clock is smashed, lying on the floor –, gathers the fact that her hands had slipped on the towel and she is basically naked, and her stomach grumbles in loud protest.
Caroline grabs the pale blue top and white skinny jeans she'd set out the night before and steps into her clothes hastily, almost falling over. She grabs a handful of damaged alarm clocks and throws them in her bin, making a mental note to take the bin out later.
When her phone rings, Caroline is rushing around the kitchen, having seen the time – 'NINE O'CLOCK? HOLY CRAP, I'M LATE!' – on her TV and trying to stuff a piece of not-very-well-buttered toast in her mouth.
''Lelena?' Caroline says, wondering why her close friend, Elena Gilbert is phoning her.
Elena never calls early in the morning – she's too busy with her job. What if she's been kidnapped and needs Caroline's help? What if she's been kidnapped by one of her angry ex-boyfriends, intent on getting her back, who's found out where she works? What if Elena's tied up in the back of a van and she's being driven halfway to Mexico? Elena, nice as she is, would never survive in the Mexican lands – she failed Spanish, twice! – and Caroline would have to get lots of gas to drive over there, but Caroline's loyal and she would do anything for a friend.
'Don't move, Elena!' Caroline swallows and begins choking, gulping down a glass of water. 'I'm on my way! I'll save you! That ex won't know what hit him!'
'…Caroline, are you okay?'
'I'll punch him so hard he'll never drive you to Mexico ever again! You tell him Caroline's coming for him!'
'Caroline, what are you talking about?'
After Elena has patiently calmed Caroline down and convinced the blonde that she hasn't been tied up, kidnapped by an ex-boyfriend and driven to Mexico, it is already nine twenty-four.
'Caroline, I only called to see when you were gonna deliver that care package my mom sent me and Kat.'
'Oh, yeah,' Caroline says, remembering and a slight flicker of jealousy reignites within her; why couldn't hermother make care packages for her? Then she shakes her head, getting rid of the green-eyed goblin – get your green arse out of here! – and continues, 'Yeah, I'll drop it off with Katherine, is that okay?'
'Yes, thanks,' Elena replies and Caroline can practically feel her best friend smiling. 'I can't wait to go back home for the weekend, Caroline. What about you?'
'Dreading it – methinks Mom probably forgot – again,' Caroline forces a laugh.
Elena's voice is soft and compassionate. 'Don't worry, Caroline. Your mom's probably counting down the days!'
Caroline doesn't bother correcting Elena – it's almost certainly Elena's mother counting down the days.
When she finally tumbles into work, literally – Caroline rushes inside the office, slams her face on the glass door and falls flat on the floor –, she gets up, brushing herself down, blushing. To add a little more humiliation, her stomach rumbles loudly, echoing around the silent-as-the-grave room.
Instantly, every person in the room turns to her, staring at her unflinchingly.
Seriously, she thinks, all I did was fall through the door and you stare at me like I've just broken the record for the clumsiest person ever?
'Thanks, Caroline, for finally honouring us with your company,' Katherine Gilbert smirks at her sarcastically. She looks gorgeous in a beautiful midnight blue halter-necked dress that hugs her slim figure and her dark blue heels are the highest Caroline has ever seen.
Caroline gives Katherine a fake smile and face burning with embarrassment, she mutters a quick prayer – please, God, please, I beg you, have mercy on me today – and thrusts her name in the Bowl of Doom, as she has unimaginatively christened it.
Please don't be me again, please – last month was barely tolerable, the last, last month was bearable, the last, last, last month was endurable, the last, last, last – Caroline stops her train of thought; she's getting a headache.
Katherine digs her hand in the Bowl of Doom and Caroline swears she can hear the clock ticking as Katherine draws a name out dramatically. She opens it up and smiles secretively, her crimson lips opening softly. 'And this month's Frumpy Employee is …'
Please don't be me, please don't be me, please don't be –
Freaking kill me freaking now, if you please, God.
'Again!' Katherine tilts her head, brown curls cascading down her back. She lets out a laugh. 'What a coincidence, right, Caroline?'
'Bitch,' Caroline mouths and Katherine laughs again, pretending not to see.
As Caroline makes her way to where Katherine is standing, she hitches on a bright smile and gives Katherine the care package. 'Here you go, Kat – your mom's care package for you and Elena.'
Katherine takes the care package and she scowls, looking through it. 'Typical,' she mutters. 'It's all Elena's things.'
'Elena said your mom packed cookies, cakes and your favourite teddy bear, Mr Snuggles,' Caroline says, trying to make Katherine smile.
Katherine smiles and then she gapes. 'Caroline, if you say anything about Mr Snuggles –,'
'Oh, like the fact that you used to wet the bed unless you had Mr Snuggles? Or –,'
Katherine pulls out a bag. 'Here's your Frumpy Employee costume!' she interrupts with a smirk.
Eyes narrowing in suspicion, Caroline peeks inside.
'Oh, God, no…'
'Oh, and another thing, Caroline?' Katherine clutches the care package tightly, as Caroline goes through the bag.
'Yeah?' Caroline says, looking up.
'The Originals are coming today so you'd better look good!' Katherine puts a hand over her mouth. 'Oh … youcan't, can you?'
Self-obsessed, arrogant, demanding singers stuck in one room with her and a fanatical Katherine is exactly what she put on her Christmas list (!)
'What?' Caroline snaps.
'I get to do your make up, as well!'
I hate my life.