"Niklaus, why don't you go and mingle with the other guests?"
I casually turn a page in my book while laying on the bed in the room I've claimed as my own.
"Because they are your guests, mother. Not mine."
She sighs and walks away without me looking at her. If only she knew this would be one of the last gatherings she'd have...
"Nik, why won't you come out to the party and have some fun?"
I turn my head away from the painting that my hands are currently shading.
"Well, for one thing, those people out there are my students. I will not indulge in adolescent behaviors with them. But mainly, I will not join your little party because of the reason I've already stated. It is your party, little sister. Not mine."
Rebekah sighs, and I hear her too high stiletto boots stalk down the long hallway. I continue to move my brush over the painting; altering in shades of black and grey as I do so.
I look at the re-creation of the dining room table I had sat at numerous times; ridiculed by my family. The mere sight of my family's shadows shrinking into their chairs as my solid shadow holds its rightful place at the head of the table is all I can focus on to keep from throwing my head back in satisfied laughter.
I let a harsh, dark black be the shade that lets the picture drop off of the canvas in its entirety. I have come to find out that black can suit a lot of things.
I hear the door open and without turning around, I begin to speak.
"Rebekah, I've already said that I'm not--"
"Oh, sorry! I'm looking for the restroom."
I turn around as soon as I hear the voice of Caroline Forbes. Her blue eyes stare into my light brown ones, and her embarrassment become tangible. Something tells me that Caroline Forbes is never wrong.
"Ms. Forbes. It's quite all right. Believe it or not, even I open the wrong door in this house once in a while."
Of course this is a lie. I have every door, entrance, and exit memorized.
"I'm so sorry, Mr. Mikaelson. If you could though, could you maybe point me in the right direction of a bathroom? I really have to, well, go. And please, call me Caroline."
I feel a foreign smile create itself on my face.
"All right, Caroline. The guest bathroom is on the other side of the house--"
"But my bathroom is right through that door. Go ahead."
"Thank you so much!"
She quickly walks past me and into the facilities. I turn my attention back to the painting. I scour over the picture; making sure that any white spots are filled with the darker grey that should represent it instead. After a few minutes, I hear the bathroom door open, then shut again.
Caroline is looking over my shoulder. She smells of vanilla, lavender, and cheap alcohol. She realizes this.
"I'm sorry. A freshman spilled a drink on my shoe, then I had to go to the bathroom, I just--Do you mind if I have a seat?'
I turn around and see that she is looking toward the footrest in front of my bed.
"Oh, be my guest."
She sighs as soon as she sits.
"Believe it or not, Mr. Mikaelson, I'm not much of a party goer."
I turn back to my painting; making minor tweaks.
"I've concluded as much."
She laughs a little as she kicks off her heels.
"Yeah. I used to be the person Elena relied on to make it back safely from the average out-of-hand high school party. Now that she has Damon, and Stefan, and at times even Alaric. I don't know what to do with myself at these things. I'm more of a formal gathering than a house party type of person, honestly. I'm only here because your sister invited me. She's great."
"Ah, Rebekah. How someone couldn't like her is beyond me."
I swipe a little more at the painting.
"So, Mr. Mikaelson, is it just you and Rebekah here in Mystic Falls?"
"Please, Caroline. Just for tonight, call me Klaus. But yes. It's just her and I."
"Oh. Is the rest of your family in another state or?"
"No. They're all dead."
I hear Caroline take in a sharp breath just as I finish the last brush stroke. I turn around and lean against my dresser.
"I'm sorry to hear that, Klaus."
Hearing her say my first name is unnerving, but in a deliciously good way.
"It's all right. They died a long time ago."
Instead of dragging out the conversation further, Caroline stands up and walks over to the finished painting.
"I know I just said it, but this is amazing."
Her eyes light up as she takes in the scene. She lets her hand hover over the blackened paper.
"I can't even imagine a color other than the blacks you used in this scene. It's weird because whenever I think of art, I imagine colors popping and splashing everywhere."
I join her in front of the painting.
"Well, Caroline, have you ever considered the fact that maybe in some instances, color doesn't belong?"
She quickly turns her head to look up at me.
"Is it just me, or do you always sound like some reverse fortune cookie?"
I feel myself smirk.
"A reverse fortune cookie? Care to reveal what exactly that means?"
She smiles back and laughs as she starts to explain herself.
"Well you know how fortune cookies give you vague statements to contemplate the future?"
"You do the opposite. You give me vague statements and questions that make me contemplate the past."
Her face is serious by the end of her explanation, and I feel her eyes screaming an unknown emotion at me. If I could keep eye contact with her forever I would.
"Nik! Have you seen Carol-"
Rebekah pauses in the doorway. Caroline quickly looks toward her.
"Sorry. I got lost looking for the bathroom."
Rebekah smiles brightly.
"That's quite alright, Care. I see you've discovered one of my brother's nerdy hobbies."
Rebekah walks over to where Caroline and I are standing. I know she recognizes the scene immediately as she frowns a little. Caroline walks away to gather up her shoes.
"I think I should get going. Tomorrow is the only day I have to rest and do miscellaneous things around the house. I wouldn't want to waste it sleeping because I was up all night. Thanks for inviting me, Rebekah. See you tomorrow."
I can't stop myself as my hand shoots out and lightly touches Caroline's wrist.
"Caroline, would you by any chance like to have this painting?"
I feel Rebekah's eyes on me.
"Oh no, Mr. Mikaelson, I mean yes I would love to, but it's yours."
"Nonsense. Yes, it's mine. Which is why I have the right to give it to who I desire to give it to. I'll have Rebekah drop it off tomorrow."
A brilliant smile graces her face.
"Thank you! I'll see you Monday, Mr. Mikaelson."
"See you Monday, Caroline."
I can feel Rebekah's eyes still on me even as Caroline leaves the room.