“So, are we going to talk about your fight with Lizzie?” Caroline asked , walking in the kitchen.
Her mother was back home just for a while, to help organizing the Miss Mystic Falls Pageant.
When Caroline interrupted the fight between her daughters after her hook up with Penelope, Josie refused to talk , shifting attention towards her mother’s travels.
Obviously , Caroline noticed that her daughter didn’t pay so much attention and it was so atypical. Then she left her dad’s office and hid in the kitchen.
“There’s nothing to talk about.” Josie answered, without looking at her and Caroline sighed.
“I don’t want you to bottle up your feelings. Talk to me.” Caroline said, reaching her.
“I don’t know what to say , mom. I’m just tired to do always the good job.” Josie said as she sat on the kitchen’s counter and Caroline stayed silent, encouraging her to talk. “Lately it’s been difficult to deal with Lizzie’s issues and I feel so guilty because there’s a part of me that wants, needs to be selfish and that part of me blows up when I’m with…” Josie explained but suddenly stopped, before words came out of her mouth.
Caroline frowned , curious. “When you’re with …?”
Josie bit her lip and her mother placed her hand on her leg to reassure her.
“When I’m with Penelope.” Josie admitted.
“I thought we hated Penelope.” Caroline said frowning and Josie chuckled.
When Penelope broke up with her daughter , Caroline swore she would have hated for the rest of her life- forever.
“Well, I still hate her. Sort of. She broke my heart but…” Josie said and Caroline was so curious to know.
“Hey, you can talk to me. I won’t judge you, I’m just listening to you. I don’t know what happened when I wasn’t here, don’t be afraid.” Caroline said and Josie tried to hold back the tears.
She had missed her mom, she had missed someone to talk to freely.
“Lizzie casted a wrong spell against me and it had a side effect.” Josie said while Caroline was shocked.
“I have told you a thousand times to not use magic for revenge. And your dad didn’t tell me anything about that.” Caroline said disappointed.
“Dad doesn’t know and I hope it remains so.” Josie said and Caroline nodded reluctantly.
“Is this spell broken or should I contact Bonnie?” Caroline answered focused on the main theme of the conversation.
Josie shook her head. “Hope did the reversing spell yesterday thanks to the help of her aunt.”
Caroline felt relieved. “But why is Penelope involved in this situation?” The vampire asked confused.
And Josie wanted to run away. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea.
“The spell required Penelope’s help.” She said, without specifying the real issue.
“But you told that Hope’s aunt helped you.” Caroline said and Josie felt nauseated.
“Uhm, she gave another kind of help.” Josie said and she want to slap herself when she felt her cheek blush.
Caroline frowned and Josie was thinking about a way to run away quickly from her vampire mother.
“I can hear your heartbeat, it’s about to blow up and you’re sweating.” Carole reminded her and Josie sighed, blushing even more.
“Mom , please. Don’t make it harder, you don’t need to know the whole story.”
The realization hit Caroline square in the chest, her eyes wide open and Josie covered her eyes with her right hand.
“Oh God. It wasn’t a lust spell, was it?” Caroline asked but she knew the answer. She understood it from the look on her daughter’s face. “You slept with Penelope?!”
“Mom, please! It’s embarrassing and I don’t want to talk about my sex life with you.” Josie complained, blushing.
“Ok. Ok, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to judge you but I’m surprised. No judgment, I swear.” Caroline promised and Josie sighed. “So, you slept with Penelope.”
“Yes, I did. There’s no need to repeat it, I was there when it happened.” Josie snapped and Caroline nodded.
“You should think about what you want , baby.” Caroline said and Josie smiled sadly. “Maybe the Miss Mystic Falls Pageant will be a good chance to fix this.” The blonde said , trying to reassure her.
But Josie was anything but calm.
“I am withdrawing from Miss Mystic Falls. Effective immediately.” Lizzie said, walking into the room with all her dramatic attitude.
“I thought you had something important to tell us.” Hope said amused.
“Come for the underwhelming announcement, stay for the epic meltdown.” Penelope said back.
Actually Penelope was gladly surprised by Lizzie’s decision. Maybe that was the right time for Josie to reach the spotlight she deserved – finally.
“Okay, why are you quitting?” Josie asked worried.
“A personal issue with one of the judges. A direct result of that bitch Dana’s sabotage.” Lizzie answered and Penelope rolled her eyes.
Of course, it was for that.
“She’s dead, Lizzie.” Hope let her notice.
“Correction: that dead bitch Dana’s sabotage. Costing me the crown from beyond the grave.” Lizzie said and the twins sat on the chairs contemporary while Penelope looked at her, amused. “The head judge is her mother , the town pharmacist. There is always next year for me. But it doesn’t mean that we here at the Salvatore School shouldn’t bring home the title and stick it to those townies.” Lizzie added and Penelope rolled her eyes. “So I have studied all of the stats and advanced metrics, and I have chosen a replacement…Hope Mikaelson.”
It was the final shot.
Penelope was sitting on the sofa while a bunch of people were busy with the organization of the pageant and it was a mess.
The wolves were helping move furniture from the main hall, the vamps were helping move the chairs and Penelope was looking at them pretty bored.
“Enjoying the view?” A voice asked behind her and she turned immediately.
“Miss Salvatore.” Penelope said surprised. “I didn’t know you were back.” She said, standing up and fixing her school uniform.
That woman always intimidated her.
“Well , you were too busy being naked in a bed with my daughter.” Caroline said with a smile printed on her face and Penelope never felt so embarrassed in her teenager life.
“Uhm..wha-Josie … did she tell you what happened?” Penelope stuttered, her voice barely came out.
Worst day of my life.
“She told me what I needed to know.” Caroline said and Penelope knew she was being tested, so she just nodded.
“I need help to organize the pageant. You should come and help me with decorations.”
It sounded like an advice but Penelope knew it was an order.
She was in a life threatening situation.
“Of course, of course!” She hurried to say and they walked to the main hall.
“Josie is going to be a contestant.” Caroline said out of the blue and Penelope scoffed.
“What?” Caroline asked and Penelope couldn’t take it back.
“She’s a contestant just because Lizzie can use her to get rid of Hope’s main opponent.” Penelope said and Caroline frowned.
“What are you talking about?”
Penelope sighed. “You should talk to your blonde daughter because she’s clearly blinded by her own ego.” Penelope said.
Caroline was caught off guard and couldn’t answer back because Miss Lilien took place on the stairs, next to Miss Thompson.
“Time for rehearsal.” The woman said, after clearing her throat while Caroline saw Lizzie walked into the room with Hope- arm in arm- and Josie was already stretching.
The music started and Josie looked around her.
“Where is MG?”
Well, at least it wasn’t that bad. MG’s absence helped to get Josie out of the way.
“Are you alone?” Miss Lilien asked her and Josie looked around her, shrugging.
Penelope rolled her eyes and left Caroline’s side, walking towards Josie.
Then Josie felt an arm wrapped around her waist and a familiar perfume invaded her lungs.
“I’m here. Sorry, I was helping to decorate.” Penelope said, with her best smile and Miss Lilien nodded, smiling tightly, walking away and heading back on the stairs.
“What are you doing here?”
“I would have said that I’m here for you but your mother kindly invited me to help her with decorations. And now I’m your escort.” Penelope said and Josie looked at her mother on the other side of the room.
“MG is my escort.” Josie pointed out annoyed.
“Honor your partner.” Miss Lilien said and they took their first move and bowed to each other, Penelope’s eyes fixed on Josie’s.
“Right hand around.” They both lifted their right hands while they circled until they were back in their original spot.
“Flirt with your eyes.” Miss Lilien suggested and Penelope looked at her smirking and Josie rolled her eyes.
“Left hand around.” They put the other hands to repeat the movement except in the other direction.
“Both hands.” With both hands up, they circled again. As Josie turned, she saw her sister look at her and she suddenly remembered the plan.
“I’m gonna trip now.” She said as she pretended to fall.
“What?” Penelope asked and she immediately took Josie between her arms before she could stumble, placing the right hand on Josie’s hip and the other hand took Josie’s wrist, dipping her elegantly.
Caroline sighed in relief while Josie looked at Penelope disappointed. “Oh! Very nice. But there’s no touching during this part. It’s all about the simple intimacy of the near touch.” Miss Lilien said and Penelope smirked at Josie.
“Don’t ruin this for me.” Josie scolded her while they lifted both hands up and circled again.
“For you or for Lizzie?”
“For both of us. There’s a plan. That plan involves helping Hope.” Josie answered and Penelope took her hand while she placed the right hand on Josie’s back and the other witch placed her left hand on Penelope’s shoulder. “I already told you I don’t want to win.” She added as they started to waltz with the music.
“But did you mean it? Or would following in your mother’s footsteps be cooler than you could ever imagine?” Penelope asked and she knew that her words affected Josie. “Would winning Miss Mystic Falls bring your family history full circle in a way that Lizzie would never appreciate?” Penelope continued , taking a quick look at Lizzie who was staring at them.
“Why would you say that?” Josie asked her as they both stopped and Penelope loosened her grip on Josie and she took a step back.
“Let’s just finish the dance.”
Penelope was walking into the kitchen when she felt someone’s gaze on her.
“I thought we were done decorating.” Penelope said, without turning around, pouring herself a glass of water.
“You love her.” Caroline said and Penelope scoffed.
“Of course I do.” Penelope said as it was obvious and Caroline reached her.
“Then why did you break her heart?” the vampire asked and Penelope finally turned around, looking at her.
“Silencio.” Penelope murmured and the room was isolated.
Nobody could hear them.
“I know about the Merge.” Penelope admitted and Caroline gasped.
“How did you….” Caroline started to say but the words couldn’t come out.
Penelope sighed. “That doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that Josie is going to die under my watch.” Penelope said , her voice trembled.
Caroline sat on the chair , astonished and she looked at Penelope. “I’m looking for a cure.” Caroline confessed and Penelope nodded.
“I know. But it will get harder if Josie keeps that up, always putting Lizzie first. And you know Josie will always put Lizzie first, even if that means she has to die” Penelope said, the anger increased inside her. “And I tried, I tried so hard to set her free but at the end of the day things always stay the same.” Penelope explained and Caroline sighed. “I’ll keep making her hate me because that’s the only time she stands up for herself.” Penelope said , walking out of the kitchen , leaving Caroline speechless.
Josie’s heart was beating fast.
She looked around her. People was filling the main hall of the Salvatore School, waiting for the girls to walk down the stairs.
“You look beautiful.” She heard her mother’s voice . “I’m so proud of you.” Caroline said, hugging her and Josie closed her eyes, hugging her mother back.
“Are you nervous?” Caroline asked and Josie nodded, toying with her fingers nervously.
“Well, you should think about the moment the crown will be on your head.” Caroline said on purpose and Josie slightly smiled- knowing that it wouldn’t have happened.
Caroline sighed, her daughter was lying to her face and it seriously hurt her.
“I have to go.” Josie whispered, without looking at her mother.
Caroline placed her hand on Josie’s wrist and gave her a kiss on her head. “You deserve this.” Her mother remembered her and Josie smiled sadly, then she walked away.
“Miss Josette Saltzman.” Miss Lielien’s voice made her blood stop. “Escorted by miss Penelope Park.”
Her heart jumped out of her chest, her mother pushed her slightly towards the stairs, smiling at her, and she felt everyone’s eyes on her.
She took one more breath, a fake smile on her face , and head towards Penelope who was looking at her like the most precious thing of the world.
Josie looked at her, without even know what she was really feeling.
Penelope was standing there, at the bottom of the stairs, wearing a black jumpsuit and a fancy cape that covered her shoulders.
Josie elegantly walked down the stairs as their eyes were intertwined intensely, trying not to think about their matching outfits.
Penelope offered her hand and Josie gently grabbed it.
She tried to hold back the panic that was blowing up inside her but Penelope’s touch calmed her.
“Where’s MG?” Josie whispered and Penelope smiled ,as they walked to the dance floor.
There was no way that was a coincidence, maybe it was another plan elaborated by Penelope’s evil mind to ruin that day.
“I don’t know.” Penelope replied as her fingers stroked Josie’s hand to calm her.
“What are we going to do?” Josie whispered panicked.
“We just have to get through this.” Penelope said, a little smile on her face as they reached the dance floor.
They lined up on their respective sides, the music started and Penelope looked at her intensely. Then they stepped towards each other.
“Don’t be nervous. I’m here.” Penelope whispered as they bowed to each other, never breaking the eye contact.
Those words had an immediate effect on her, her blood pressure decreased and she could normally breath.
They put up their right hand, never touching as they began to circle slowly.
It was like the world stopped for a while, Penelope’s eyes fixed on hers , looking at her softly, making her heart tremble.
“Did you convince MG to step aside?” Josie whispered as they were back in the original position, pausing for a second.
“I’m not involved in MG’s disappearance.” Penelope explained firmly, annoyed by Josie’s insinuation.
They lift the left hands and repeated the turn in the opposite direction.
“So how did you put your name as my escort on the list?” Josie asked and Penelope smirked slightly.
Although they were still not allowed to speak during the dance.
“Your vampire mother is pretty convincing.”
“You are playing with fire , Penelope.” Josie said firmly – she wanted to sound threatening.
“We both know you’re a little pyromaniac. I’m sure you can handle it.” Penelope said, winking at her and Josie rolled her eyes annoyed as they stopped.
After another short pause, they held up both their hands and started the final circle.
Penelope’s eyes fixed on hers and Josie couldn’t even try to advert her gaze, she felt like a magnet and it was impossible to pull away.
Because it was that way for quite a while: Josie pushing Penelope away, failing every time.
The final circle ended and Penelope took a step closer to her, wrapping delicately her arm around Josie, placing her right hand on Josie’s small back while the other hands wrapped Josie’s right one.
Dropping all the thought, Josie placed her hand on Penelope’s shoulder, the sudden closeness sending shiver all over her spine.
Penelope continued to stare into Josie’s eyes as she started to move, dragging Josie with her with elegant moves.
Josie thought she was a wonderful dancer, leading her across the dance floor so fluidly that she didn’t have to worry about anything while they twirled gracefully through the other couples.
Penelope smiled slightly at her and Josie simply stared at her.
“I didn’t think you knew how to waltz.” Josie whispered as Penelope lead her, with experienced and agile movements.
Penelope stroked her small back, the contact – light but beautiful- made Josie shiver.
“I used to practice last year.” Penelope confessed as they kept spinning around elegantly.
“Why?” Josie asked, her heart beating furiously.
She didn’t want to hear the answer.
Or maybe yes.
“I knew it was important to you and I wanted to be prepared, I wanted it to be perfect for you .” Penelope answered and Josie was trying to hold back the tears.
“You broke up with me.” Josie whispered, her voice trembling.
“One day, you will understand why …” Penelope said, her voice cracking too. “…I did everything I did.” She added, her voice full of regrets and pain, her eyes digging and scraping away inside Josie’s soul.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Josie whispered, lowering her gaze because it was too much; she couldn’t stand there - under Penelope’s intense eyes.
“You look breathtaking, I can’t even describe how beautiful you are.” Penelope said firmly and Josie’s mind was spinning fast.
“You just can’t say stuff like that to me.” Josie said, almost begging Penelope to avoid certain words because Josie knew they had an effect on her.
“Why? It’s not a lie. Every time my eyes lay on you, I feel my heart stop.” Penelope whispered, her words hit Josie square in the chest. “I know Lizzie doesn’t think that you can’t win, but I do. Your mother does. Forget the stupid plan and fight for yourself , Josie.” Penelope said as they were dancing next to Hope’s main opponent.
According to the plan, she had to fall on Sasha Stoteraux .
Josie noticed Lizzie’s gaze on her and Penelope slightly pulled her closer. “Stay here with me, Josie. Stay here with me.”
“What the hell were you thinking, Josie?” Lizzie stormed in the crowned garden while Josie was drinking a glass of orange juice.
She turned to her sister, sighing and trying to keep her nerves calm.
“Hope still won, why are you acting all annoyed?” Josie asked frowning.
“I thought we had a plan.” Lizzie reminded her, folding her arms and Josie scoffed.
“What about your sister’s feelings? Of course you don’t care. You never consider anybody’s feelings but your own.” Josie said angry.
“What? This isn’t fair.”
“Isn’t it? It’s bad enough that you didn’t think I’d want to enter, but not a single part of you thought that I could ever win.” Josie snapped , her disappointment clear on her face.
“Is that what Penelope told you while you danced together?” Lizzie asked annoyed and Josie shook her head.
“That’s what I can finally see. She’s been telling me all along , but I could never hear it.” Josie answered, leaving Lizzie speechless.
She noticed Penelope look at her from the patio.
No smirk, no smile. No expression.
She was just looking at her, in all her glory, fiercely standing up in her expensive black jumpsuit.
She was just looking at her and Josie couldn’t even care about Lizzie calling her, about the voices and the laugh, and the music.
Josie’s legs started to move automatically.
It seemed that the world slowly spin as Penelope walked down the stairs and Josie walked towards her firmly.
And when they were finally close, the first thing Josie noticed was that her arms were wrapped around Penelope’s neck, pulling her impossibly closer and Penelope’s hands were on her back, tightening her against her own body.
Josie felt her stomach twisted and felt her heart was going to combust any second. She felt weird, her head was spinning and Penelope was there.
She put her hands on Penelope’s face and finally their lips met, their mouths pressing against each other softly.
It was sweet and delicate, like their first kiss.
It was gentle, full of affection and unspoken words, promises and love.
It was different from the other kisses they had shared in the last few days; there was no rush, there was tenderness.
It was calm but intense, soft but fierce.
It was so perfect.
Josie slightly pulled away when the oxygen wasn’t enough and their foreheads touched, their eyes met , their lips brushing.
“I didn’t win.” Josie whispered with a sad smile.
Penelope kissed her again, almost wanting to push her pain away. Then she placed her hand on Josie’s cheek, smiling.
“You did more than just win, my love.”
Penelope felt that everything was back to normal, like it was supposed to be while Josie was underneath her in her bed, panting and moaning her name , eyes fluttered shut and her mouth open as her legs were spread open and Penelope slotted their hips together, making her gasp at the feeling of soft, warm slickness pressing against hers.
It was the most intimate thing they ever did in the last few days; Josie’s hands on Penelope’s back, stroking the skin, pulling her impossibly closer as Penelope leaned down, still grinding, and softly kissed Josie’s exposed neck.
“You’re so perfect.” Penelope whispered in her ear as she pressed further onto Josie, rocking now faster, one hand placed on the back of Josie’s leg and the other was intertwined with Josie’s right hand.
Josie’s breath hitched and she gasped, moving against Penelope more insistently, now her hands placed on Penelope’s cheeks, pulling her down for a sloppy kiss.
Her stomach was tensing up, she could feel herself getting close as Josie moaned loudly.
Penelope tried to angle herself just right , in a way that had Josie’s legs tremble and one of her hands slowly made its way up Penelope’s ribcage, tracing between each bone with delicate touch, making Penelope shiver.
After a few thrusts, the heat started in Josie’s stomach then it spread through her whole body; her mind went fuzzy before being overwhelmed with completely ecstasy.
The orgasm shook through Penelope a moment later, making her shudder as Josie wrapped her legs around Penelope’s hips , kissing her breathless.
Penelope collapsed on Josie’s body as their mouth kept moving together softly and she felt Josie’s smile against her lips.
She slightly pulled away curious, looking at those brown eyes, trying to discover what was in Josie’s mind.
“What?” Penelope whispered, still catching her breath, stroking gently Josie’s cheek.
“I love you.” Josie said firmly, biting her lip, her hand flat on Penelope’s chest.
Penelope’s heart stopped for a while.
She had waited a long time to hear those simply three words again. Sure, it had taken so much time, two broken hearts, a wrong spell, hot sex and a romantic dance but it was worth it.
For Josie, it was always worth it.
“I know.” She automatically answered and Josie panicked because that wasn’t the answer she was looking for. “ I love you too.” Penelope said amused and Josie rolled her eyes but she was relieved.
“It’s kind of our thing. You know, you say something and I always answer like that.” Penelope explained and Josie chuckled.
“Yeah, it’s our thing. I’m still getting used to it.” Josie said laughing and Penelope’s heart melted.
Penelope felt that everything was back to normal, like it was supposed to be.
At the end of the day, Josie was still in her arms.