This was supposed to be part of a longer story, but between work shenanigans and everything else these past few weeks, my muse is hiding. So here is a small pick me up for everyone, because we all need it. I’ve a few more drabbles floating around that I’ll try to post.
Caroline wasn’t exactly bored, per se, but she found herself floundering. Usually her winters were spent lounging on a beach, enjoying cocktails and the sun on her skin. Winter Wonderland was only really fun in theory, and rarely for more than a week.
In the three years since she’d caved to Bonnie’s quiet pressure to be closer and settled in New York City, she’d never stayed past the first blistering cold snap. NYC was as close as she’d allow herself to settle to Mystic Falls, her adamant refusal to involve herself in any Salvatore stupidity required space to maintain. She wasn’t quite so young anymore, had lingering emotional scars to show for it, but she wasn’t willing to risk it.
She’d fallen in love with New York City in the Fall, and it remained her favorite season. Pumpkin spice, changing leaves, and air just chilly enough to get away with cute scarves and cuter boots. Halloween was a fun rush of costumes and blood, the supernatural community enjoying the chance to let a little fang and fur out. Usually, she was packed up and gone, long before the first Christmas lights were strung.
But that year, she’d found herself waffling.
Something about the winter chill had her lingering, and it wasn’t loneliness that kept her feet rooted to US soil. Caroline had spent part of her summer with Bonnie, chatted with her on a weekly basis. But as Thanksgiving rolled around, she contemplated possible tickets and travel plans, and found herself staying put.
She baked her grandma’s pumpkin pie receipt for the first time in decades. She’d spent a amusing day cooking over Skype with Bonnie, complaining about potatoes and turkey brining. Made faces at an assortment of grand babies and her nieces and nephews.
Now, the first real snow flurries hissed softly against her windows and she felt restless. She’d attempted to book flights to Barcelona three times that afternoon, thoughts of her favorite Tempranillo dancing in her head and somehow, she hadn’t managed it. It wasn’t due to financial concerns. Those Finance classes she’d been stupidly bored in had been useful, and the occasional tip dropped by older vampires she’d met around had been more so.
So why wasn’t she currently sprawled on a beach, eyeing the nearest cabana boy as desert?
Closing her laptop in frustration, Caroline headed for her jacket. She’d never done well with indecisiveness, and her apartment was starting to feel suffocating. Dinner and wine might clear her head, maybe a walk to burn off her jitters.
A little tipsy from a few of her favorite stops, she stared up at lights on the tree at Rockefeller Square. Closing her eyes to hide the pretty Christmas tree lights, Caroline resigned herself to popping into Mystic Falls for the Christmas. Bonnie had grudgingly allowed her solitude on Thanksgiving, but there was no avoiding the Bennett Family during Christmas if she was stateside.
Which meant she’d have to see Damon.
God, she could already imagine how those comments would go. He’d never forgiven her for refusing to help find a way to bring Elena, and Caroline refused to apologize for encouraging her friend to live. The antagonization between them had shifted into a razored dislike, and Caroline was looking forward to the day she never had to see him again.
Caroline hadn’t talked to Stefan is years. Last she’d heard he was somewhere in Canada, tucked away in the wilderness. She’d wondered if he’d found what needed, surrounded by caribou and wolves. But Stefan wasn’t her emotional weight anymore, hadn’t been for decades, and Caroline had no intention of bridging the gap between them.
Some scars healed slower than others.
Buried in her thoughts, she missed the sounds of a growing commotion, right up until someone in a hurry clipped her. Stumbling, she hissed as her boot slipped on the thin layer of slush, ankle turning sharply. Off balance, she nearly ended up on her ass when the party chasing the previous jerk slammed into her as well. Instinctively, her hands reached for anything to stop her tumble and she grabbed a fistful of jacket.
Somehow, they stayed upright, even as she head threads pop.
She’d have felt bad about it, but he’d ran into her. Glaring up, angry words on the tip of her tongue, she froze in shock as she took in a very familiar face. The nearby street vendors buried his scent beneath an assortment of cooked meat, but the feel of him was unmistakable.
He wasn’t looking at her, gaze flecked with gold as he reflexively moved to shift her impatiently to the side, jaw tight and eyes hunting sharp. Caroline’s fingers went lax, and he shockingly murmured a clipped apology, clearly tracking the ass who’d rammed her. With her jacket and hat, he hadn’t recognized her, and he froze as she stammered out his name.
Caroline Bingley : You are such a great man Mr Darcy. I admire you very much. Mr Darcy *annoyed* : Thanks. Caroline Bingley *trying to charm* : I wish there was something between us. Mr Darcy : Me too. Caroline Bingley*getting excited* : Really X) ! Like what ? Mr Darcy : A WALL.