Someone once told me that I would make it no where in life, and that ultimately, I would die alone. But you see, the person that told me that information did not know that I had already been places that they could only have dreamed of; that I had done things that most only get to do in the confinements of their own heads. This person also did not seem to understand that I would live forever.
Although, I'm pretty sure in the moment that I ripped their vocal cords out through the side of their neck, they started to understand quite a lot.
I look toward the oil painting that holds the moonlit night with its rays finding its way down toward a female's silhouette. The rays are illuminating her far more than necessary. It is almost as if they are drawn to her and only her. The woman's face is turned upward; like she is enjoying the light that has ridden her of her darkness. I must have had too much to drink the day I painted that. Even I know there is no such thing as light breaking its way through darkness. The darkness is far too strong to let something so meek and transparent break through its solid hold.
I take a tentative sip out of my glass. My throat almost recoils into itself. Rebekah has without a doubt found the blood I was keeping and replaced it with the animal garbage she has insisted that we start to drink.
I sit the glass of blood down onto my mahogany nightstand and turn toward the full length mirror to the left of my bed. I can see my veins protruding out of my neck and face as I force myself to transform into the beast of which I hate. I breathe heavily as I look into the mirror and make eye contact with the inhuman eyes that are looking back at me. I bring my hand up and swipe a finger over the steel-like fangs that are now jaggedly sticking out of my gums.
"Nik? Are you ready to go? I swear you take longer than I do to get ready." As my bedroom door swings open, I turn to face my sister; the beast gone and now a subtle smirk on my face.
"Dear little sister, I am sorry to keep you waiting. I only wanted a few minutes to indulge in a drink. I have come to the conclusion that you have now replaced all my blood with your...substitution. Correct?"
Rebekah only smiles as she walks over to the nightstand, picks up my glass, and takes a wistful sip of the imitation blood. I can almost see the grimace she is attempting to hide. Sure, it's blood, but there is nothing like the blood from a human's vein. To feel the warm life slowly draining from the throbbing vein is to feel something that is probably akin to Heaven. I feel that I am entitled to that feeling, since I know I will never make it to the place.
"Nik, you know I don't particularly like the blood as much as you do, but I just believe that this is a great step in the direction of actually living somewhere for a while."
"A while meaning until people figure out you never seem to age a day over eighteen and I a day over twenty-six?"
I start to walk down the extravagant hallway that leads to the living room. I try with failure to ignore the incessant talking of my younger, and much more optimistic, sister.
"Oh, but Nik, even while we're here, we can actually make some friends or something. Then, when we finally decide to leave Mystic Falls, we can just tell those friends that we are moving away, and that they may come to visit us whenever they feel the urge to!" Rebekah and I continue the walk to my car.
Once we are situated and on the way to the Mystic Grill for dinner, I decide to reveal my opinion about Rebekah's tactless plan.
"You know, that is actually such a great idea, Rebekah. Care to tell me what happens in, say about thirty years, when our friends start to look like they could be our parents?"
She doesn't even hesitate before answering.
"We just compel them to not notice the age difference. Come on, Nik. This is elementary!"
I can feel my eyes roll as I continue the five minute drive to the grill.
"Remind me again why two Originals are sitting at some less than two-star sandwich grill eating only God himself knows what?"
"Well, this is where everyone who's anyone hangs out." I roll my eyes yet again as I take a small bite out of the horrid sandwich Rebekah has ordered for me.
"I do not care about these humans, little sister."
"Maybe you should start, Nik. See the waiter over there? His name is Matt Donovan. He lost his sister, Vicki, in a car accident last year. Oh, look over at the bar! That's the History teacher, Alaric Saltzman."
I feel myself stifle a yawn as she continues to ramble on about several other people in the grill.
"Can't you see yet that I don't particularly care? These people, they do not concern you nor I. We are just drifters. We will live in the shadows of their lives never to come out to face them and be invited into their worthless souls unless it's time for a feeding. We are here to exist. That's all, Rebekah."
Rebekah smirks as she takes a bite of a too-brown fry. She continues to look down as she talks.
"And that, my dear Nik, is exactly why I am going to start my senior year of high school tomorrow. What better way to drift, then to blend in?"
"Oh, that's great, Rebekah. It'll give you something to do to stay out of my--"
"And you'll be joining me.”
I feel my eyebrows raise.
Rebekah actually looks sheepish as she tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, then smiles.
“Tomorrow, you're sort of starting your first day as the new permanent substitute teacher for AP Literature.”
“What on earth, Rebekah?”
“The current teacher recently died, and I figured you were more than qualified. Will you do it, Nik?”
“No.” I quickly answer.
“Please?” Rebekah frowns slightly.
“No.” I make sure my sister hears the finality in my voice right before I take a bite out of my disgusting sandwich.
I begrudgingly tug on the too-tight tie that Rebekah insists I wear. I doubt high school students would be paying that much attention to my wardrobe. Aren't they busy with their own dress? Are they not too wrapped up in some meaningless confrontation that will end with a trip to Starbucks and a group hug?
Facing the mirror that infinitely taunts me, I jerk too hard on the tie; effectively ripping it. Coincidentally, I feel another tie land on my shoulder blade as my sister breezes by.
"You're welcome, Nik. We have to leave in seven minutes and fifteen seconds if we want to make it before the first bell!"
I cringe as my sister's voice seems to hold so much hope and promise for our first day in the real world after over a decade. The fact that she is counting down the time to the seconds is enough for me to stop reconsidering going. I have to do this. If not for Rebekah, then for myself. I would never say it out loud, but maybe having one friend wouldn't be too bad.
I glance over my shoulder as my sister is stuffing a color coded binder into her extravagantly colored messenger bag.
"Rebekah, I know I'm not an expert at this 'indulge in humanity' thing, but I don't think even humans prepare this much for their classes."
"I'd rather be too prepared than not prepared at all, Nik. Did you think about what you were going to do with your three classes today?"
I squeeze pass my sister as she stands in the doorway and make my way to the kitchen. Of course she is right behind me.
"Nik! This is serious!"
I pour myself a glass of red wine and blood and lean against the counter. I stare at Rebekah.
I take a slow sip of the putrid blood. I really need to go to the hospital and compel some blood bags before I lose what ounce of sanity I have left.
"Niklaus! Are you listening to me?"
"If you're asking if I am listening to you droll on about the imbecilic idea of me actually trying to over-achieve at this bloody teaching career, then that would be a no, dear little sister. I am paying you no mind. Now, let's go."
I make sure Rebekah sees me pour the contents of my glass down the drain. She stalks out of the kitchen in a huff; bringing a small smile to my face.
I angrily stare at the clock as the bell rings to signal the start of my third, and final, class. Two o'clock could not come fast enough as I look at the ignorant children whose blatant disrespect for authority makes me seethe.
"Take a seat."
I attempt to use my inside voice as a couple of the humans, still standing after the bell has rung, continue to chat like they are at a Friday Night Football game. It doesn't work.
"Take a seat. This will be the last time I will say it."
I hear my own voice echo against the classroom walls in an even, powerful tone as the last rebellious group of my day take their seats. After introducing myself twice and having answered the same questions over and over again, I stand at the front of the class; visibly uninterested.
"Hello, future leaders of our society. I must say that the future of our society is a rather bleak one. My name is Mr. Mikaelson. You will address me as such. Not Mr. M, Mikey, Mick, or anything else your imaginative little minds can think of. I am here as a permanent substitute which means you will have me until the end of the semester. I hope you are as ecstatic about that as I am. Any questions?"
Before I barely have my inelegant speech finished, a fair skinned hand shoots up in the back row. I move my position over a few feet to the right so that I can see her clearly. She's an average blonde-haired, blue-eyed high schooler. From the ribbon in her hair and the multiple times I've seen that same ribbon in girls' hair today, I gather that she is also a cheerleader.
"Yes? You in the back."
"Yeah. I was just wondering. What happened to Mrs. Powell?"
"She died." I have to fight to keep the smile off of my face as the blond-haired girl's eyes grow big and she looks toward her tan, brunette friend.
I clasp my hands together in front of myself as I walk back to my desk and sit. I give the class the rest of class time to do whatever as long as they don't bother me. I tell them as much. This is why it surprises me when, as I am rolling a thumb tack around on my desk, the blond-haired girl from earlier does exactly what I asked of them not to do.
"My one request was that you all not bother me."
"I know it's just...I was wonder how grading is going to go in here. You see, without Mrs. Powell, I'm pretty sure this class is going to be a total wreck. No offense to you. She was amazing at her job. She prepared kids for their future. Without her tactful, amazing teaching, I'm afraid of how some of my other classmates will handle this change; especially so abruptly."
I bring my eyes up to look at her without even tilting my head in the slightest.
"Miss?" I raise my eyebrows a little in search of her name.
"Caroline. Caroline Forbes."
I stop rolling the thumb tack and finally tilt my head upward to look at her.
"It would be to your best interest to not worry about this class as a whole, but worry about yourself. Excuse my bluntness, Ms. Forbes, but in the end, you will only have yourself. That's all any of us will ever really have."
The bell rings before the silent girl can respond, and she keeps silent as she gathers her books. The class immediately clears out and I finally begin to head home. I pass by Rebekah as she seems to be following that waiter, Matt, around like a lost puppy. I do not even acknowledge her as I hear her bid me a quiet goodbye. It's her fault I'm in this mess.
As I reach the parking lot, I attempt to speed up my pace a little to reach my car that much faster. Opening my door to get in, I spot Caroline trying to hold the back door of the school open with her foot while juggling a box of who knows what in her arms. I'm not sure what comes over me.
"I've got it, Ms. Forbes." The box is transferred into my arms as she props up against the door. She lets out a deep breath as she follows behind me once we're inside.
"Thanks, Mr. Mikaelson. I have all these fliers to hang up for student council, the homecoming dance, my own homecoming candidacy, and, well, Ms. Mystic Falls."
"Busy, are you, Ms. Forbes?"
A big smile lights up her face. A funny feeling makes my stomach feel like it's fluttering for a moment. What is this feeling?
"Well, someone has to do it! I can take it from here."
She takes the box out of my arms and thanks me before briskly walking away. I'm beginning to think that around here, Caroline Forbes is a big deal.
As I begin to walk back toward my car, I notice a large wall portrait at the entrance of the building. It looks overly Photoshopped and blatantly hanged in an ostentatious manner. I walk closer to inspect it, and of course, Caroline Forbes is the image smiling back at me.
I guess my thoughts hold some value. She's a big deal. Too big of a deal.