Her foot tapped impatiently against the ground. He was late; exactly 15 minutes late according to her phone. She pulled it out now to check again. No missed calls and no overlooked text messages. It wasn’t like him to be late and Elena was hovering between worried and royally pissed off.
She crossed her arms tightly over her chest. She bounced from foot to foot in an attempt to stave off the December chill. Time had slowed and the cold was seeping into her bones.
If he is not lying dead in a ditch somewhere I’m going to kill him, Elena decided. She was definitely pissed off. Her anger only grew when she saw him round the corner.
He clearly saw the rage burning in her eyes. His previously quick stride slowed to a snails crawl when he saw her.
30 minutes late.
Reaching for his phone he cursed when he saw the low battery signal. He attempted to make a phone call when the infernal device died in his hand. In hindsight he knew he should have sent a text instead. Glancing at his watch he sighed. He was 20 minutes late, and it would take him another 10 minutes to reach Elena.
She is definitely going to kill me, he decided taking the small box from the clerk to tuck in his jacket. He thanked her before he all but ran from the shop.
He sped down the icy streets as quickly as he dared. His stride slowed when he rounded that final corner and saw the furious look in his girlfriend’s eyes.
Yup, He gulped before shuffling the rest of the distance to her, she’s going to kill me.
“Elijah,” Elena growled when he approached. Now that she could see him and knew that he was alright, and not lying dead in ditch she was furious. Her relief had dissipated and been replaced with pure rage.
“Where have you been?” Elena spun on her heel and stormed into the tree lot. “I’ve been worried sick.”
Elijah followed closely behind her watching the smoke stream from her ears. “I’m sorry,” he reached for her arm to turn her around to face him, “I had an errand to run.”
“Then you should have called,” Elena pulled her arm free and used it to give him a small shove causing him to stumble into the pine trees. Needles rained down around him catching in his hair and sticking to his jacket. Elena advanced on him to point an accusing finger, “I thought you were dead somewhere!”
“I,” Elijah took a step back from his fuming girlfriend. Unfortunately he had nowhere to go. “I did try to call, but my phone died. I hurried here as soon as I realized how late it was,” he presented his mobile as evidence.
“Next time call me if you are going to be late,” Elena whispered, “preferably before your phone dies.”
“Of course, darling.”
“Good,” Elena took a deep breath before stepping back. “I’m sorry for over-reacting.”
“After what happened to your parents I think you have every right to over-react.”
“Still I am sorry,” Elena looked him over. She stifled a giggle when she took in his appearance. His eyes were wide, and he was covered in pine needles; he made a truly hilarious sight. “Are you going to tell me what was so important?”
“I had to pick up a Christmas present,” Elijah’s hand brushed against the box in his pocket when he slid the phone back in.
“Must have been s-some,” Elena trailed off as her laughter burst out. “I-I’m sorry. You’re cov-covered in pine.” She began brushing needles from his jacket.
“It must have been something small,” Elena continued when he was clean and her laughter was again under her control. “I’m sorry I pushed you.”
“It’s alright,” he took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I’m sorry I scared you.”
“It’s alright,” Elena wove her fingers with his and tugged him away from the mess of pine needles. “Come on. Let’s pick a tree before they are all gone.”
They had selected the largest tree on the lot. Somehow it seemed bigger now that it was in their living room. Or maybe it just appeared that way because he was attempting to move it into the perfect spot.
“Wouldn’t it look better by the fire place?” Elena stood back by the door to survey the room. “No, that would be a hazard.” She decided chewing on her bottom lip.
“I’ll be right back,” Elena pushed back from the doorframe to answer the bell.
“Take your time,” Elijah muttered stumbling slightly when the tree shifted. He could her voices in the entry as their guest brushed the snow from their clothes.
“Having trouble Elijah?” Niklaus strode into the room with his wife Caroline. Elena trailed behind them.
“You could always help,” Elijah suggested over his shoulder. Niklaus scoffed but moved forward to wrap his hands around the other side of the tree.
“Where do you want this thing Elena?”
“How come you don’t ask me?” Elijah quipped.
“Because we all know that you could care less where the tree is,” Niklaus joked.
“Fair enough Niklaus,” Elijah turned to look at the women, “Where do you want the tree darling?”
Elena considered the room before turning to her best friend. Caroline definitely had a better eye for this sort of thing.
“What do you think Care?”
“Have you tried in front of the window yet?” She gestured to the opposite side of the room and the picture window that looked out on the front yard. “I think it would look great to the side of it.”
Niklaus and Elijah began dragging the tree to the other side of the room.
“I see you’ve been at this for a while,” Nik observed nodding to the needles that littered the living room floor.
“It was like this last year as well,” Elijah admitted with a grin. “Elena had me moving the tree all over the room.”
“And that was before she moved in.”
“Actually I think it would look better in the center of the window,” Elena observed.
“You’re right,” Caroline chimed in, “More symmetrical.”
“Can you guys centre it please?”
“Of course, darling,” Elijah chuckled. He rolled his eyes at his brother and pushed the tree further to the right. It took a few minutes because Elena and Caroline kept having them move the tree a few inches this way and that.
“Did we have plans tonight?” Elijah asked when they had all settled on the couches. “What brings you over tonight?”
“Can’t a man decide to spontaneously visit his big brother?” Klaus grinned looking at his wife. The light from the fire danced in his eyes.
“You always were spontaneous,” Elijah conceded. He brushed needles from his sleeves onto the floor. “I suppose I should be grateful. At least you knocked first.” His eyes cut to Elena who’s cheeks had flooded with colour.
“Who didn’t…” Nik trailed off as realization hit him. “Oh… that’s why you took away Kol’s key. What did he walk in on?”
“Let’s leave that unsaid shall we Nik,” Elena insisted. She plucked an imaginary piece of lint from her sleeve in order to avoid his eyes. “Please?”
Nik however was not to be denied answers. He ignored the glare from his brother and wife.
“Oh come on,” he insisted, “it couldn’t have been that bad.”
“Elena,” Caroline cut him off. “I thought you might like to join me tomorrow for some last minute Christmas shopping.” She leaned closer to breath in her friend’s ear, “I could use your help with something.”
“Sure, Care,” Elena nodded thinking that she could use some help selecting a gift for Rebekah as well.
The remainder of the evening was spent in light conversation. Everyone was quick to cut off Nik whenever he brought up the subject of Kol’s key. They made plans to meet up tomorrow after the girls were finished with their shopping.
Light was streaming through the window; clean, clear, bright light. Elena found it personally offensive.
How dare the sun wake her early on a Saturday? She groaned quietly and rolled away from the window. She collided with Elijah’s bare chest. She snuggled closer and dozed off again.
Elena’s nose twitched. Something was tickling her face. It was feather light and touching down quickly. No part of her face was left untouched. It was only when the light pressure met her mouth that she realized it was another set of lips; Elijah was peppering her face with kisses.
This is a much better way to wake up.
Elijah’s mouth made another quick round of her face before settling on her lips again. This time Elena smiled and returned the kiss.
Elijah grinned against her mouth. He tugged her lower lip between his teeth causing Elena to gasp. He wasted no time in slipping his tongue into her mouth. He stifled a groan when he felt her massage his tongue. Eventually he was forced to pull back for air; he moaned when Elena nibbled on his lip.
“I’m supposed to meet Caroline in an hour and a half,” Elena breathed peering at the alarm clock. She found it extremely difficult to concentrate on the numbers with Elijah kissing along her jawline. She moaned when he nibbled on her ear. She ran a hand through his hair and tugged causing Elijah to groan.
“I have to get ready,” Elena gasped running her hand down his back.
“You have an hour and a half,” Elijah countered.
“I have to shower,” Elena protested weakly. He was kissing her neck now; his hand was inching up her stomach. She was just reaching to pull him up for another kiss – Caroline wouldn’t mind if she was a little late – when he abruptly stood up. She couldn’t help the pout that appeared on her face.
Elijah merely grinned down at her before pulling her from the bed. She squealed when her feet hit the cold floor.
“What are you doing?”
Elijah smirked and tugged her towards the ensuite. “You said you had to shower,” he opened the glass door before settling his hands no her hips. His thumbs began rubbing small circles along her hips lighting a fire in her abdomen. “I thought I’d help you,” Elijah murmured against her neck, “it would save time.”
“That seems counter-productive,” Elena giggled closing her arms around his neck.
“Only one way to find out.”
“I guess so,” her fingers ghosted down his chest to pull at the draw string of his pajama bottoms; she made quick work of them. She hooked her thumbs under the waistband to remove the offending garment.
Elijah stepped out of his pants to tug off her bottoms. Within seconds they had rid themselves of every last stitch of clothing.
“Are you going to join me?” Elena had stepped into the spray of the shower. She was confused when he didn’t immediately follow. Looking over her shoulder she found him staring after her, “or are you too busy admiring the view?” Water cascaded around her body making every inch of her glisten. She stretched out her hand to beckon him closer.
“There’s no power on earth that could stop me,” Elijah stepped into the shower. He pulled her hair to the side to bare her neck, “nothing could keep me away from you.” Elijah dropped a kiss on her neck before capturing her mouth with his own. Their tongues battled for dominance: he won.
Breaking away from her mouth he placed small open mouthed kisses along her jaw line up to her ear. From there he began nipping and kissing his way down her neck.
Elena leaned back against the shower wall when he sucked a pebbled nipple into his mouth. She moaned when he flicked his tongue against the hardened nub. Her head fell back against the shower wall when he switched breasts and his fingers rolled the first nipple. Elena felt every inch of the shower wall along her back; her knees were resting against the bench. Her fingers tangled in his wet hair. He groaned when she tugged sharply.
Elena whimpered his name when he pulled away from her chest. His hands splayed around her hips and guided her down onto the shower bench. She was now eye-level with his stomach; glancing down she was met with the sight of his erection.
Elijah groaned when she wrapped her hands around his length and squeezed. He gently removed her hand and sank to his knees in front of her.
Elena grinned down at him as the spray ghosted over her face. Elijah stroked the skin of her inner thighs; he nipped at the flesh there before switching to the other thigh. She threaded her fingers into his hair and pulled placing his mouth where she wanted it.
“Don’t tease Elijah,” Elena stroked back his hair.
“As you wish, darling,” he chuckled placing a chaste kiss above her clit. Elena was going to reprimand him for quoting The Princess Bride when his tongue darted out to run along her slit.
“Uhh,” Elena threw her head back to thud gently against the shower wall. She bit her bottom lip to stifle a moan when his tongue slipped inside of her.
He kept up a steady assault on her clit. Elijah alternated between sucking on her clit and delving into her folds to fuck her with his tongue.
Elena felt a fire igniting in her belly; her breathing grew more erratic as her orgasm approached. She felt like she was sitting on the edge of fence; her entire body had tensed waiting for the moment she would tip over the edge.
Elijah could feel the tension in her quivering thighs. Smirking against her slit he raised his right hand to slide two fingers into her pussy. He pumped them in and out crooking them upwards to made a come hither motion that stimulated her g-spot causing Elena to tumble over the edge with a sharp cry.
As her orgasm subsided Elijah pulled his hand away and rose to his feet pulling Elena with him. Taking a firm grip beneath her thighs he lifted her to straddle his waist.
Elena wiggled her hips attempting to shimmy further down to take him his. She glared when Elijah stilled her shimmying hips with his hands.
He grinned and kissed her soundly. Elena moaned when she tasted herself on his tongue.
“What do you want Elena?” Elijah nibbled on her ear lobe. Again she tried to pull him inside, but Elijah’s grip was firm. “What do you want?” He breathed against her neck.
Elena moaned at the feel of his cock rubbing along her slit. She mumbled an answer.
“I can’t hear you, darling,” Elijah smirked pulling back to gaze into her hooded eyes.
“I want you,” she tugged on the back of his neck, “to make love to me.” She leaned forward to whisper seductively in his ear, “I want you to fuck me.”
Elijah thrust upwards inside of her enveloping his cock in her slick heat. Elena gasped at the feeling of being filled completely.
“You’re beautiful,” Elijah breathed against her lips he paused his movements to stare at her. Slowly he began to move. Elena’s hands slid smoothly across his slick back.
“Faster,” Elena urged tightening her vaginal muscles around his cock.
He complied and with a grunt began thrusting faster. His speed only grew faster with her breathy moans. She was quickly approaching her second orgasm. Elijah could feel his own release closing in so he increased his speed and slipped a hand between them to rub her clit.
She came apart breathing his name. Her vaginal muscles fluttered milking his cock. Elijah buried himself deep inside of her and came apart with a low groan.
They stayed that way for a moment before he slipped out. When Elena was steady on her feet again she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a languid kiss.
“I love you,” she smiled pulling away.
“I love you, too,” Elijah grinned. He gave her one more kiss before snagging the shampoo off of the shelf.
In the end Elena was on time. She had to eat her toast and drink her coffee in the car, but she made it to Caroline’s on time. She hopped out of her car to see Nik hanging the Christmas lights on the porch.
“Hey Nik,” Elena stepped up behind him. “Is Care ready to go?” Elena was a little surprised her friend wasn’t waiting on the porch.
“Yeah,” Nik finished hanging the lights and turned to face her. “She just ran back into the house for something she forgot.”
“Caroline forgot something?” Elena raised one eyebrow; the corner of her mouth quirked up with a tiny smirk.
“I know,” Nik chuckled and began to brush the snow from his trousers. “I was surprised too.”
Caroline chose that moment to come sprinting from the house with a handbag. She paused to kiss Nik’s cheek before grabbing Elena’s hand to drag her towards the car.
“Bye Nik.” The girls waved once they were in the car before backing out of the driveway.
“Are you alright, Care?” Elena had been sneaking glances at her friend as she drove. She pulled into the mall parking lot and turned her gaze to the right. “You look a little pale.”
“Can you keep a secret?”
“How long have we known each other?”
“Touche,” Caroline snickered. “You do know most of my secrets; I know you’d take them to the grave.” Caroline started to rummage in her bag. “The truth is I didn’t forget anything in the house,” she passed a small slip of paper to Elena, “I ran back inside to throw up.”
Elena stared at the black and white picture in her hands. “Care? Is this what I think it is?” She squealed when a grin bloomed on her friends face. “That’s amazing,” she leaned across the car to wrap her arms tightly around her friend’s shoulders, “Congratulations.” She pulled back to give her friend an inquiring look. “You are happy about this right?”
“Yeah,” Caroline laughed through a few tears. “I’m happy about this.” She took the photo back and replaced it in her purse. “I – umm – I haven’t told Nik yet.” She motioned towards the mall. “That’s what I need your help with actually.”
“You want to get him something for Christmas to tell him you’re pregnant,” Elena giggled. “I love it. Did you have anything in mind?”
Caroline shook her head slowly and opened the door. “No, I’m not sure.”
“How about this?” Elena held up a t-shirt that read: ‘Be Nice to Me My Wife is Pregnant.’
Caroline shook her head and held up a couple of Christmas ornaments. “Do you think he would notice if I put these on the tree?” They were bright red with Mommy and Daddy written in cursive writing.
“I think it would be fun to see how long it takes him,” Elena laughed and picked up a sign. “What if you slowly add baby themed decorations to the house? The ornaments, a sign like this one: ‘this will be out last Christmas with Silent Nights’, and some of those little chocolates with letters on them. You can literally spell it out for him.”
“Just put these things out and not say anything?” Caroline chuckled and picked up the items in question to head to the cash. “This could be fun. Grab the t-shirt too,” she called back to Elena. “I’ll put that under the tree.”
Elijah sighed when he realized exactly what he had done. Taking a step back from the tree he found himself tangled in Christmas lights; so much for putting them on the tree before Elena returned from shopping. His head jerked towards the window when he heard her car pulling in the driveway.
“Elijah,” Elena skipped through the door to shed her coat. She dropped her bags on the floor when she saw him in the living room. “If you were going to wrap yourself in Christmas lights then why did we bother with a tree?”
“For the smell, of course,” Elijah chuckled, “That’s the real reason people put trees in their homes.”
“I should have guessed that,” she started pulling the lights from his body. “Have I told you today that I love you?”
He pretended to think about it for a moment. “Not today,” the last of the lights hit the floor.
“Well I do,” Elena stretched up to kiss his cheek. “Maybe next year wait for some help to put up the lights,” Elena suggested teasingly.
“Care to help me now?” Elijah bent to pick up the strand of lights again.
Elena nodded and together they untangled the string of lights to hang it on the tree. Twenty minutes later they had finished.
“How was shopping with Caroline?” Elijah asked as he pulled out the box of decorations.
“It was fun,” Elena took a few Christmas bulbs from the box and hung them on the tree. “I finished most of my Christmas shopping, and got a few new ornaments for the tree. Would you mind grabbing them?”
“Sure. Which bag are they in?”
“The blue one,” Elena bent to lift some green balls from the box and place them on the tree. She could hear Elijah returning with the bag. Tissue paper rustled as he pulled out one of the decorations.
“Elena,” Elijah whispered behind her. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
“No,” she hung a few more bulbs, “I don’t think so.” She glanced back to see him staring at something in his hand. “Did you find the ornaments?”
“Yes,” he gazed at the back of her head. “Are you sure you don’t have something to tell me?”
“Umm,” Elena scrunched up her nose in concentration, “I wrote another chapter of my book. Other than that nothing really comes to mind.”
“Nothing?” Elijah edged closer to her. The ornament from the bag was still in his hand. He used his free hand to turn her towards him. “Are you sure?” He passed her the bright red ornament.
“I’m su-,” Elena trailed off when she saw what he was handing to her: a bright red ornament with cursive writing. Her brain scrambled for an explanation that wouldn’t reveal Caroline’s secret; nothing came to mind. “I, um, those aren’t the ornaments I bought.”
“So you’re not…”
“No,” Elena gently put the ball back in the bag beside them. She squeezed Elijah’s hand gently. “I am not pregnant.”
“How did it find its way into your bag?” He gazed at the bag in question.
“Would you believe me,” Elena wrapped her arms around his neck to force him to look at her, “if I said I didn’t know?” She smiled in an attempt to distract him.
Elijah shook his head and splayed his hands along her lower back. “There’s only one plausible explanation,” he evaded her kiss to continue. “You and Caroline mixed up the bags.” He smiled when Elena stiffened in his arms. “Is Caroline pregnant?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Elena pushed back a bit. Her pulse raced with the lie, and a flush flooded her face.
“That’s a yes then,” Elijah chuckled, “and she hasn’t told Niklaus yet which is why you can’t tell me.”
“If you ever decide against teaching you could be a detective,” Elena rolled her eyes.
“I told you that you should know better than to lie to a teacher,” he laughed and bent to brush his lips against her forehead.
“You can’t tell him,” Elena cupped his face forcing him to stare into her dark eyes.
“I won’t,” Elijah grinned gently removing her hands from his face.
“Thank you, Caroline would kill me if she knew that you had figured it out.” She teased. She turned her eyes towards the half decorated tree before quickly cutting back to Elijah. “You thought I was pregnant? What was going through your head?” Elena laughed passing him some more decorations. “Were you freaking out?”
“I forgot how to breathe for a minute there,” he admitted taking the ornaments to place on the tree.
“What would you have done if I’d told you I was pregnant?” She turned a serious gaze on him.
“I would have been ecstatic,” Elijah pulled her in for a hug, “after I regained consciousness.”
Caroline finished arranging the cookies on the platter. She had decided to go with the subtle approach. She had baked small sugar cookies and added icing; rather than the usual dollops of colourful icing she had put a letter on each cookie before arranging them on the plate. She leaned back to admire her handiwork; the green and yellow icing spelled out ‘you’re going to be a dad’.
She set the last of her supplies in the sink before joining her Nik in the living room. She set the plate on the coffee table. Tucking a curl behind her ear Caroline moved to stand beside him at the tree.
“Hello, love,” Nik secured the tree lights before dipping to brush his lips against her cheek. “Did you finish you’re baking?”
“Mmmhmm,” she nodded turning to capture his lips in a searing kiss. She pulled back before running through the list of baked goods now cooling in their kitchen: “snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, cinnamon buns, and gingerbread.”
“No wonder the house smells so good,” Nik smirked and wrapped his arms around her waist. “You smell like cinnamon,” he sniffed her hair and dipped down to kiss her again; his tongue darted out to run along her lips before he pulled back to gaze at her hungrily, “and you taste like ginger.”
“Nik,” Caroline gently slapped away his wandering hands, “focus please. We still have a tree to decorate.” She slipped away towards the hall with the intention to get the ornaments. “Eat some cookies if you’re hungry.”
She opened the closet in the hallway to pull out the Christmas ornaments. She took a couple of the boxes and stacked them together before she walked back into the living room.
“Did you have some cookies?” Caroline teased him calling around the boxes in her hands. She was half expecting him to rush over and grab them, but he did not.
Caroline set the boxes by the tree before she looked at the coffee table. The plate was empty.
“Sorry,” Nik opened the first box, “the cookies were so good I ate them all.”
“Did you happen to notice anything about them?” Caroline raised her eyes and motioned to the empty plate.
“They were rather small,” Nik took out some icicles and began placing them on the branches, “almost bite sized.”
“They were delicious,” Nik spun to wrap her in his arms again. He turned her and pinned her to the wall raising a knee to separate her thighs. “I can think of only one thing that tastes better,” Nik smirked.
“Nik,” Caroline groaned when his lips ghosted over her pulse point. She rolled her eyes before surrendering to the ministrations. I can try again later.
An hour later after they had straightened their clothes Caroline insisted that they finish decorating the tree. She left Nik to straighten out the ornaments before leaving to retrieve the new decorations from the bedroom closet.
“I bought some more decorations today,” she waved the bag as she entered the room.
“Is there enough room for any more,” Nik finished with the bulbs before moving on to the little drummer boys. “I think it’s time you admit you have a problem, love.” He gently took the bag from her hands before settling an earnest gaze on his wife. “You are a Christmas addict, and this is an intervention.”
“Nik,” Caroline giggled and reached for her shopping bag, “its only two ornaments.”
“It starts with two,” Nik fought the smirk trying to take over his face, “and the next thing you know we are drowning in a sea of tinsel,” he heaved a sob to hide his laughter. “Is that what you want, love?”
“I promise there are only two ornaments,” Caroline reached again for the bag now being held just out of her reach.
“I can hear at least four ornaments in here,” Nik gently shook the bag.
“What?” This time Caroline succeeded in pulling the bag from her husband’s grasp. There were indeed four ornaments inside. “I must have taken the wrong bag from the car. I’ll run over and get the right one from Elena.” She peered up at him through her eyelashes. “Can you work on the ornaments? I’ll be back soon.” She kissed him quickly before sprinting for the door.
“Caroline,” Nik called after his fleeing wife. “Are you going to brush your hair first?” He fondly shook his head when he was answered by the slamming door.
Caroline knocked on the door before pushing it open and sprinting inside and calling out: “Elena? I think we had a mix up…”
She trailed off when she spun into the living room. Her entire body froze when she took in the scene in front of her.
Elena and Elijah were sitting on the couch, or rather Elijah was sitting on the couch and Elena was straddling Elijah. Luckily the back of the couch was to the entry.
Elena hastily reached for the throw on the back of the couch to cover her chest.
“Hey, Care,” Elena choked out once she was somewhat covered.
“Caroline,” Elijah greeted over his shoulder. Caroline could see the flush on his neck, it almost matched the one colouring Elena’s face.
“I’m assuming this was why you took away Kol’s key?” Caroline locked her eyes on the fully decorated Christmas tree.
“There was less fabric involved,” Elena whispered.
“And the couch was in a different position,” Elijah mumbled.
“Do you need something Caroline?”
“I,” she made the mistake of looking at the couple on the couch, “I-I took the wrong bag from the car. I n-needed to get the other one. Is it here?”
“Mmmmhmmm,” Elena leaned back to pick up the bag on the coffee table. She held it across the back of the couch as far as possible. “Here you go. Take it and leave quickly.”
Caroline took a few tiny steps forward and reached for the bag. She set the wrong bag on the floor before leaving the house. She paused at the front door. “Are you going to take away my key?”
“Alright, I’m leaving.”
Elena heard the door slam shut. She waited a few seconds before tossing the blanket aside.
“What are the odds that she will never mention this again?” Elijah gripped her hips. His thumbs caressed the skin, rubbing circles into her hips.
“She’ll never say anything in front of you,” Elena stroked his hair back from his forehead, “or to anyone else. I however will never hear the end of it.”
“Should we take her key?” His fingers ghosted up her body to stroke the skin under her breasts. Leaning down he gently sucked on her collarbone.
“No,” Elena sighed and leaned into his ministrations. “She’d just end up breaking in when she needed to talk to me. Besides I highly doubt she’ll do that again.”
Elijah chuckled before crushing her lips in a bruising kiss.
“Are you alright, love?” Nik looked up from the box of ornaments. All that was left was to put the star on top of the tree. “You look a little pale.”
“I-uh,” Caroline put the blue bag on the floor and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, “I think Elena may take away my key.” She admitted softly.
“Why would she do that?” He reached to put the star in place. “Oh…”
“I think next time I’ll count to 30 before opening the door,” she dropped onto the couch and smirked up at him. “Just to give them time to cover up.”
He joined her on the couch before offering her a candy from the dish. She popped it into her mouth and admired his handiwork. The tree looked beautiful; he definitely had an eye for decorating.
“Do you think they are going to take my key?”
“No,” he teased shaking his head, “they know you will just break in when you need to. There’d be no point.”
He laughed when she playfully shoved his shoulder. “I would not break in,” she insisted, “I’d pick the lock.”
“My mistake,” Nik bowed his head before looking up at her. “Did you get the ornaments, or were you too distracted by Elena and my brother?”
“I got them,” Caroline passed him the bag with a smile. Colour was beginning to return to her cheeks. She bit her lip in anticipation when he took the package from her hands. “What do you think?”
“I think that you are a Christmas addict,” he swooped in to kiss her cheek, “and I love you in spite of your obsession with the holiday.”
“I meant about the ornaments,” Caroline tapped her fingers across her knee. She stretched one arm up along the back of the couch to still it’s movement.
“Do we really need more ornaments?” He reached out to hold her hand effectively stilling her drumming fingers.
“These are important,” her leg started bouncing. She looked at the bag before peering into his eyes. “They will complete the tree this year.”
“The tree is perfect the way it is,” Nik released her hand to open the bag. He quickly removed the first bulb which was unwrapped. “More bulbs Caroline? Really?”
“Look at them,” she turned the ball in his hands so that the writing was facing him. “Nik?”
His body had gone stiff when he took in the cursive lettering. He had grown so still that Caroline couldn’t tell if he was breathing. She watched his finger lightly trace over the white letters.
“Caroline?” Nik breathed. His stared at it with wide eyes and reached for the second ball: Mommy and Daddy stood out against the red glass. “You’re – you – are you…?”
“Yes,” she cupped his face with her hands forcing him to look at her, “yes I’m pregnant. We are having a baby.”
“We’re having a baby?” He dropped the bulbs onto the couch behind him before hugging her tightly. “When are you due?”
Elijah's final speech here was taken from @wordsnquotes on tumblr. The quote itself comes from Lisa Kleypas
“The house looks amazing,” Katherine gazed at the spectacle that was her sister’s living room.
Elena and Elijah had decked out the house in green, red, and blue. There were piles of baked goods on the coffee table for the plethora of guests who would later make their way through the house.
“Caroline made cookies,” Katherine sat on the couch.
“How do you know I didn’t make those?” Elena bounced Miranda on her hip. The baby kept trying to reach for the colourful cookies. “I could have made them.”
“You can’t bake,” Katherine laughed as she popped a cookie into her mouth. She closed her eyes to savour the sweet treat. “Everything you bake is inedible, and these are like little drops of heaven.” She grinned and ate another cookie.
“I resent that,” Elena dropped into a chair with her niece, “I am an excellent baker.”
“I love you Elena,” Elijah placed a hand on her shoulder soothingly, “but your sister is right. You are a terrible baker.” He took Miranda when she reached out to him.
“You can sleep on the couch tonight,” Elena snagged a cookie for herself. She moaned when it hit her tongue. “They are like little drops of heaven.”
“Is Caroline here?” Katherine looked around the living room as if expecting the blond to materialize at the sound of her name. “I’d like to compliment her on the cookies.”
“You two are terrible,” Elena looked up at Elijah. He was gently swaying the baby back and forth. Elena reached out to tickle her tummy. “You’re my only friend Miranda. You think I can bake right?”
Miranda blew a raspberry, and scrunched up her nose causing everyone in the room to break out in laughter.
“I think that’s a no, ‘Lena,” Katherine came around to wrap her arms around her sisters shoulders. “If it helps any I think you are a wonderful cook.”
“It doesn’t,” Elena hugged her back. “You can complement Caroline’s culinary prowess at the party tonight.”
“Do I still have to sleep on the couch?” Elijah had sunk to the floor and was playing with Miranda. He lifted her up to blow on her tummy causing the little girl to giggle and grasp his short hair.
“I’ll think about it,” Elena dropped beside him and ruffled Miranda’s curls. She gasped when he wrapped an arm around her waist to pull her closer.
“Miranda you don’t think I should have to sleep on the couch,” Elijah ghosted his fingers along the child’s toes making her grin. “Tell your auntie I shouldn’t have to sleep on the couch.”
“That’s not fair,” Elena placed one hand on his chest and the other on Miranda’s back. “You know I can’t say no to Miranda.” She shoved his chest and used her body to push him back to the floor where she started tickling, “Help me Miranda.”
“I’m going to take back my baby,” Katherine took the giggling child from Elijah, “before this escalates.”
“I haven’t seen this many teachers in one place since graduation,” Katherine stepped up beside Caroline.
“I haven’t seen this many ugly Christmas sweaters since high school,” Caroline made a silly face at Miranda. “Do you remember senior year when we pranked the school.”
“Yeah, we told everyone it was ugly sweater day,” Katherine smiled at the memory of Alaric with a giant snowman on his chest. “I still can’t believe how many people fell for that.”
Miranda yawned and used a tiny fist to rub her eye. “She’s tired but she doesn’t want to miss anything,” Katherine fingered a brightly coloured ornament beside them, “Miranda loves the colours.” As if on cue Miranda reached for the bobble. Her drooping eyes were glued to it.
Elijah came up beside them and handed them each a glass of punch. Katherine stared at the giant tree on his sweater; it lit up.
“I’ll take her upstairs if you like,” Elijah was already reaching for the baby. “You should enjoy the party.” Miranda wasted no time before she tried to grab the lights on his chest.
“That would be nice Elijah, thank you,” Katherine relinquished the baby. “I just have one question. Did you pick out the sweater or did Elena?”
“I did. Why do you ask?”
“No reason. I think you’re Miranda’s new favorite person though.”
“That was the idea,” Elijah called over his shoulder. Miranda rested her head on his shoulder when he started up the stairs.
Elijah opened the spare bedroom where Katherine had set up for the night. “How about we get you some jammies?” He pulled a onesie from the bag and quickly switched her clothes. Miranda stuck her fingers in her mouth and stared at him.
“Can you keep a secret?” Elijah chuckled when she smiled around her fingers. “Of course you can,” he reached into his pocket to pull out a small box. “Who are you going to tell?” Picking Miranda back up to rest against his hip Elijah checked to make sure no one had followed him up the stairs before opening the box.
Miranda cooed and reached for the ring he held just out of her reach. “This is for your auntie, Elena,” his eyes focused on Miranda, “do you think she’ll like it?” He leaned forward to murmur against her ear. “I’m going to ask her to marry me.”
Miranda’s attention focused on Elijah. Her eyes drooped closed when she yawned and leaned against his shoulder.
Elijah tucked the ring back into his pocket. When his other hand was free he used it to stroke the little girls back. When she finally drifted off to sleep he laid her in the crib and picked up the monitor before returning to the party.
The party started winding down around 10:30. After Elijah saw the last of the guests out, he returned to the kitchen. Elena and Katherine were putting the left overs in the fridge. Elijah cleared away the dirty dishes and placed them into the dishwasher before helping Elena put things away.
Katherine excused herself when she heard Miranda starting to fuss on the monitor.
“Have you decided what you want for Christmas, Elena?” Elijah turned on the dishwasher and began wiping down the counter.
“hmmm,” Elena considered him while pouring a glass of water. “I don’t know,” she admitted. She closed the distance between them to wrap her arms snugly around his waist. She peered up at him through her eyelashes. “What do you want for Christmas?”
“You,” Elijah smirked wrapping his arms around her back.
“No,” Elijah shook his head slowly with a grin. “I want you anyway I can get you. Not because you’re beautiful, or clever, or kind or adorable.”
“I’m not sure where you’re going with this,” Elena breathed deeply and ran her hands along his back. “If this is your attempt to avoid sleeping on the couch tonight it’s not working very well.”
“You didn’t let me finish,” Elijah admonished. He placed a hand on her lips to keep her from talking. “I was going to say that you are all of those things; that’s just not why I want you.”
“Then why do you want me?”
“I want you because there is nobody else in this world like you,” he untangled himself from her and reached into his pocket. He fiddled with the box before pulling it out. “And I never want to start a day without seeing you,” Elijah sank down on one knee and opened the box. “Will you marry me?”
Elena covered her mouth with a hand to stifle the gasp. A diamond ring stared up at her; two blue stones flanked the diamond that was set in a white gold band.
“I don’t ever want to start a day without seeing you either,” she swiped a stray tear from her cheek. “Yes.” Elena threw her arms around his neck and peppered his face with kisses. “Yes,” she mumbled between kisses. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Elijah slipped the ring on her finger before kissing her soundly. Elijah pulled back to rest his forehead against hers and panted: "Where did we land on the couch?"
Elena’s foot tapped impatiently against the booth. She checked her watch again. Caroline was due to arrive any moment; and Elena couldn’t wait for her friend. Maggie approached from the counter with a fresh pot of coffee; she had donned an elf hat in acknowledgement of the season.
“Morning Elena,” Maggie poured a cup of coffee. She was a kindly older woman who had taken a special interest in Elena, Katherine and Jeremy after their parents died; Maggie was the grandmother they had never had. “How are you this morning?”
“I’m doing fine Maggie,” Elena wrapped her fingers tightly around the steaming mug. “How’s your granddaughter? Didn’t she start at Whitmore this year?”
“Olivia is great,” Maggie set the carafe on the table as she caught Elena up on the latest gossip. “She’s got a new boyfriend. He’s supposed to come up for Christmas to meet the family.”
“Have you decided if you’re going to be scary or sweet?” Elena teased tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The sunlight streaming through the window caught on her ring. Maggie’s eyes were immediately drawn to her hand.
“Is that what I think it is?” Maggie dropped into the booth across from her and reached for Elena’s hand. “It is. That man of yours finally proposed.” She peered at the ring with a broad grin. “When’s the wedding?”
“Well,” Elena chewed on her bottom lip. She could feel her cheeks straining under the grin she couldn’t hide. “We haven’t actually started planning yet. He just proposed last night.”
“Well you let me know when you start making plans.” A warm smile rested on Maggie’s face.
“Maggie you will have the first invitation.” Elena swore as Maggie stood up to return to work.
Elena poured cream and sugar in her coffee. Taking a sip she glanced up at the door. The ringing bell announced Caroline’s presence. The blond bounced to the table before dropping across from her.
“That was a great party last night,” Caroline shed her scarf and coat. “I didn’t hear from you after I got home though. I thought you were going to call me after you finished cleaning up.”
“Sorry,” Elena attempted to hide her grin. “I got a little distracted.”
“Not another couch situation?” Caroline shuddered at the memory of her near naked friend and brother in law. “You two should lock your door.”
“You have a key, Care. A locked door wouldn’t have stopped you,” Elena kept her arms crossed effectively concealing her hands.
“Are you going to take my key?” Caroline slumped against the back of the booth. “Is that why you called me out this morning?”
“I’m not going to take your key, Care,” Elena shook her head with a laugh. “We took Kol’s key because he was constantly walking in with no notice.”
“Just how many times did Kol … interrupt the two of you?”
“That’s really not the point,” Elena shuddered at the memory of Kol strolling into the living room. The couch at the time had been facing the opposite direction so he had gotten a clear view of her back. “The point is we are not taking your key. And I called you out today because I have news.”
“Are you pregnant too?”
“No,” Elena laughed. “I don’t think so anyway.” She uncrossed her arms and stretched her hands across the table. “Elijah proposed last night.”
“Elena,” Caroline gasped when she took in the ring. “That is amazing. You’re getting married. We’re going to be sisters.”
“Yes,” Elena captured Caroline’s hand and squeezed. “Will you be my maid of honour?”
“Of course,” Caroline grinned. “When’s the wedding? Have you guys set a date yet?”
“Not yet,” Elena admitted. “We talked about maybe in the summer,” she lowered her eyes to the table, “but like I said we were a little distracted.”
“I completely understand,” Caroline grinned at the very clear memories of Nik’s proposal. “I remember the ‘we-just-got-engaged’ sex. It can be very distracting.”
“What?” She shrugged her shoulders. “It can be distracting, and incredibly hot.”
Elena just shook her head at the antics of her best friend.
“A summer wedding, then?” Caroline switched topics seamlessly. “What about June? After you finish teaching for the year you can get married.” She pulled a planner out of her purse and flipped to the month in question. “June 27th would be a good day for a wedding; it’s a Saturday. I’ll be huge, but the wedding will be beautiful.”
“Don’t you think the groom should be present for this part of the planning?”
Caroline sighed before pulling out her phone. She pressed the icon for Elijah and held the device to her ear. She grinned when the call connected.
“What do you think of June 27th?”
“It’s a day in June?” Elijah’s amused voice held a note of confusion. “Why do you ask Caroline?”
“That’s the day I have penciled in for the we- “ Elena snatched the phone from her friend and held it to her own ear.
“Elijah,” she greeted her fiancé – she loved the way the word sounded in her mind. “I just told Caroline and she’s jumped into planning mode.” She could practically see the way his head shook when she heard him chuckle.
“Now the question makes sense.”
“You know Caroline,” Elena mock glared at her friend. Caroline had started motioning to the planner where she had circled the date and was now pointing to it. “How does June 27th sound? Care may strangle me if I don’t ask.”
“Sounds wonderful,” Elena could hear the grin in his voice. “I’d marry you tomorrow if I could.”
“Caroline may have something to say about that,” Elena’s eyes twinkled.