After the death of Caroline’s twin brother, Matt, she quickly develops progressive mutism. Shortly after she is placed in a mental hospital, where she meets Stefan Salvatore, an intern, who may just change her life for the better. (Warning: I do not know anything about this condition, so I apologize before hand if I have written false information.)
It’s been three years. Three years since Matt’s car drove off of Wickery Bridge, and into the murky water below, never to be seen again. Three years since Caroline’s voice was locked in a box and buried with her twin brother’s lifeless body. Three years ago, to the day, Caroline lost a piece of herself. One that she wouldn’t ever get back.
Shortly after Matt’s death Caroline became cold and distant. A shell of her former self. She wouldn’t speak, not even to her mother and father. She was lost. Lost in a world of sadness and grief, slipping further and further away from reality. She often felt the strong urge to sob and scream, but her voice never came, so instead she just let her tears fall.
It was a month before Caroline’s parents began asking questions about the brunette’s silence, and every time they would not get an answer. Caroline couldn’t give them one, no matter how hard she tried.
Only days later she was admitted into Mystic Falls Psychiatric Hospital. Every afternoon she would go through a series of rehabilitation classes that did no good. She made no progress, not for three years. Not until Stefan started his internship at the hospital.
Stefan was a senior studying at University of Pennsylvania to become a psychiatric nurse. He was meant to do an internship at a nearby mental hospital and take a patient under his care to help restore them to normality. He was starting the next day, and if recalled correctly his patient’s name was Caroline. Caroline Forbes. She had been suffering from progressive mutism for the past three years, and was showing no signs of improvement. She had gone through multiple treatments to help trigger her speech, but all attempts failed. Stefan wondered if she wanted to be helped. If she even had the desire to get better. In order for her to be treated she would need to wish to be cured.
The thought of her giving up made Stefan’s heart clench. She was only 18 years old, she still had her entire life ahead of her. She was supposed to graduate from college, get married, and have a family, but it seemed that Caroline was just about ready to throw that all away. The only problem was that Stefan wouldn’t allow that to happen. He was going to help her get better. She was going to be able to speak again.
Stefan walked through the automatic doors in front of him with a sense of confidence. Today was the day. The day he was starting his internship at the hospital, and officially taking Caroline Forbes under his care.
After meeting with his supervisor and talking about the guidelines he needed to follow and what was expected of him, Stefan made his way to the exam room where he was to meet his patient for the first time. Stefan could feel himself becoming more nervous with every step he took. First impressions meant everything in his case, if the patient wasn’t comfortable with their caretaker it would be almost impossible to make any progress with them. He paused as he finally reached the door, taking a moment to collect his nerves, and make himself look professional.
Caroline’s eyes shot up from the whiteboard in her lap when she heard the doorknob jiggle and twist. Not even a second later the door opened to reveal a tall, rather attractive male with light brown hair, completely different from the blonde shade of her own tresses. He was dressed in blue scrubs, along with clipboard tucked under his arm. She almost went to say ‘hi’, but stopped herself, realizing she couldn’t. Instead she settled for writing it on her whiteboard and holding it up for him to see.
Stefan read the writing and gave her a genuine smile. It wasn’t often that she got one of those anymore. Most were sympathetic. Even when the other nurses and doctors tried to pass it off as friendly she could tell it was all a façade. Caroline knew that just about everyone in this hospital had given up on her. Their encouraging words no longer held any meaning, neither did the vast amount of ‘get well’ cards she got from her family. But she had stopped caring about that a while ago, mostly because she had given up on herself as well.
“Hello, Caroline. I’m Stefan, I’ll be your nurse for the next few months.” He responded, stretching his hand out towards her to shake. Caroline took a moment to stop fiddling with her Expo marker and wrapped her fingers around Stefan’s. The warmth of his palm against her cold one almost made her jump. She couldn’t control the sense of comfort that washed over her. She frowned at the loss of contact when he pulled his arm back to his side. A sudden thought crossed Caroline’s mind, so she quickly grabbed her writing template and jotted something down. Stefan looked over at her when she held it up, his eyes making brief contact with her soft, blue ones..
‘Why are you only staying for a few months?’ It read in a neat, curvy script.
“Oh, I’m just interning for the late summer and fall, but in December I need to go back to school for finals.” Stefan explained, holding up his I.D. It had the word ‘Nurse’ on it with ‘Intern’ in parentheses. Caroline nodded in understanding, a feeling of sadness sneaking up on her at the fact Stefan wasn’t going to be her permanent nurse, just temporary. She could already tell that she trusted him and that maybe, just maybe, me might be able to get her to talk again.
It had been about two months since Stefan started his internship, and during so Caroline had made close to no improvement. There was once or twice when she had almost said something, while being triggered by memories of her brother, but all Caroline could really got out was a barely audible squeak. By the end of almost every speech rehabilitation class Caroline had, she would become more and more upset over her failure.
Other than Caroline’s lack of success, she and Stefan had gotten much closer. Both of them could sense the strong bond that had been created, as well as the feelings attached to it. Multiple times Caroline caught herself wandering into the uncharted territory of ‘More Than Friendship’. But every time she felt herself wanting something more than a platonic relationship from Stefan she would berate herself, and mentally say that it was wrong. Let alone did he not like her back, but he was also her nurse. It just wasn’t right for her to feel that way about him. No matter how chiseled his facial features were, or how it seemed like she could just drown in those beautiful eyes of his, she just couldn’t feel that way.
Stefan wasn’t able to explain what had happened either, but it seemed like his feelings got the best of him and now he was falling in love with Caroline Forbes. His patient. He didn’t know if it was her stunning personality or the way her smile could light up a room, but he was completely and utterly infatuated with the flaxen haired beauty. He knew it was wrong to feel how he does, but even if he tried with every fiber of his being, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from falling in love with Stefan.
“Okay, Caroline, can you picture what your favorite memory with Matt was from when you were kids?” Stefan asked, as he followed the same procedure he did during every single one of Caroline’s therapy sessions.
He watched as Caroline closed her eyes and pictured the memory she was thinking about, before opening her mouth and trying to articulate her thoughts. Stefan waited with baited breath, hoping that maybe this one time Caroline would be able to speak. But not even a few minutes later the blonde’s icy irises were showing again, and she was vigorously shaking her head back and forth.
”No, no, no, come on Caroline, don’t give up that easily.” Stefan encouraged, grabbing the hands that Caroline suddenly entwined into her curly locks. “Try again, you can do it.”
As Caroline’s eyes reconnected with Stefan’s, he felt his stomach drop at the tears he saw there. It physically hurt him so much to know that she was in such emotional pain.
‘I can’t.’ Caroline mouthed, wrapping her arms around herself. She really was trying the best she could, but she just wasn’t able to do it. The thoughts of her brother weren’t help at all, in fact they were making it harder. It was his death that caused her to become a mute, and thinking about Matt just reminded her that he was dead. Gone.
Stefan took Caroline into his arms, gently spooning her figure against his own as she cried. Her sobs were silent, and the only solid evidence of her sadness were the tears that were staining Stefan’s scrubs navy.
“Please don’t cry, Caroline. You’ll get better, I promise you that you’ll speak again. We’ll do this together, even when I leave, I’ll make sure I come back to visit.” Stefan declared, mentally scolding himself over the fact that he just made a promise like that. He had no right making promises that he might not be able to live up to. He had no idea if Caroline would ever speak again, and he had no intentions of giving her false hope. He briefly registered Caroline nodding against his shoulder, and burrowing deeper into his embrace.
You could say that Caroline was in denial or maybe she was just pretending she didn’t care, but deep down inside she was one hundred present aware that Stefan was leaving tomorrow. And it hurt more than anything. Caroline wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. She wouldn’t ever be. She had come to care deeply for Stefan, maybe even love him. Sure, he promised he would come back to visit, but eventually he was going to move on and settle down. He would forget about her, leave her in the dust. The thought alone made her nauseous, she didn’t ever want to think of the day that that would happen.
Currently Caroline was waiting in an exam room for Stefan to show up for their last therapy session. She had a brief flashback to when she first met him in this same exact room. It seemed like that had happened only yesterday, but in reality it had been four months ago.
Caroline was shaken from her thoughts when she saw Stefan enter the door, and a smile automatically appeared on her face. But it soon dropped when she remembered it was their last session together.
“Yeah, I know it sucks, but why don’t we try to make the most of it, and try not to think about that.” Stefan said, sensing what was upsetting Caroline.
She shrugged dejectedly, before writing something on her board and turning it around. ‘Yeah, but still it’s sad. I’m going to miss you a lot.’
Stefan felt his heart almost break at her words, he was going to miss her a lot too. He didn’t want to say goodbye, but he knew that he had to.
For the next two hours the two of them reminisced and joked around rather than doing what they were supposed to. They both pretended that they couldn’t see the clock ticking down the time until they had to part ways. And they kept pretending, until the shrill beeping of Stefan’s watch timer went off, signifying the end of their last few minutes.
Caroline and Stefan both simultaneously sighed, but neither one of them moved from their current position of sitting next to one another.
“I guess this is where we say goodbye.” Stefan announced solemnly, breaking the comfortable silence.
Caroline nodded in conformation, not wanting to really believe that she needed to say bye, and let Stefan leave. His hand suddenly shot out the grab her own, bringing it between them.
“Caroline, I know how hard it is to say goodbye, and I know I’m going to miss you as much as you’re going to miss me, if not even more. But I need you to promise me that you are going to try your hardest to get better. No matter what, never give up.” Stefan said, his head coming closer to Caroline’s with every word, their breaths now mingling. “Can you promise me that?”
Caroline slightly shook her head, seemingly panting for air. The tension surrounding them almost took her breath away. She could see how close his lips were, close enough for her to reach out and capture with her own. Caroline glanced back up, looking into Stefan’s eyes almost for conformation to do what she’s been wanting to do since she first saw him. Caroline could sense nothing other than encouragement coming from Stefan, so she gently tilted her head forward, pressing her lips against his. Caroline immediately felt as if she could breathe again, as if she was finally seeing the world a hundred times more clearly. As if kissing Stefan had finally showed her that the past three years weren’t just for nothing, but for this moment.
After a few seconds of hesitation, when Stefan was getting over his initial shock, he eagerly returned Caroline’s kiss. Cupping her cheek, Stefan brought Caroline’s face even closer to his if possible. His lips moving passionately against her own, as they breathed one another in. A few moments passed before the pair slowly pulled away, trying to regain the breath they lost. Their eyes met in an intimate exchange, and in those few seconds Caroline felt genuinely happy, and carefree. She felt loved. She felt like she belonged there with Stefan in that room.
“Stefan…,” Caroline rasped out, feeling the overwhelming need to just say his name, say it like it was prayer meant for God. Speak it with all of the emotions that she was experiencing so he would just understand how she felt. It took a few seconds for Caroline to realize what had happened in which she emitted a gasp and slapped her hands across her mouth.
“Caroline,“ Stefan said in disbelief, a bright smile forming on his lips. The brunette carefully peeled Caroline’s fingers away from her mouth before continuing, "try to say something else!”
“I…I can talk.” Caroline uttered, her voice quiet and gravelly from lack of use. The blonde’s features visibly brightened when she heard her voice again for the first time in three years. “Stefan, I can talk again!”
Caroline waited patiently for her parents to finish filling out the release forms, so she could finally go home. After three long, painful years she was finally going home. And she owed it all to Stefan.
After Caroline was all settled down back at home her and Stefan were going to talk about what was to become of their relationship, even though they both knew they wanted to become romantically involved. Stefan actually gave her his number, so when she got her cellphone back she could call and text him.
Despite everything that Caroline had missed out on in the last three years of her life, she was happy. She was happy about where she was now. She couldn’t wait to just get out of this hospital and live her life to the fullest. She wanted to see her friends again, and spend time with her mom and dad. She wanted to learn how to drive a car and catch up on her school work, then go to college. She wanted to do all of that, all of that with Stefan right by her side.
And that is exactly what she did.
You know, I’m not really sure what this is, but I was given an assignment by my English teacher to write something, and it kinda just morphed into this. So I hope you enjoyed, even though I thought it was awful, and thank you for reading!