Caroline toyed with the corner of the foam board birthday sign on her locker. One of these years she was going to give up waiting for other people to plan her birthday parties for her. She went all out for her friends, and she was happy to. However, she got a decorated locker two days after her birthday. Okay, it would have been kind of hard to give her a decorated locker on her birthday this year since it was on a Saturday. It wasn't really the lack of a big party that upset her though, it was the fact that they knew she loved parties, but they didn't even think that she would want someone to plan a party especially for her.
If she were being honest with herself –and it was something she had been trying to be—her mood wasn't really about her birthday or the level of give and take in her friendships. Getting out her morning books and closing the locker, she had to admit to herself that she was feeling overwhelmed. She knew there were things she was forgetting, something important that she had overlooked. She had pored over her notes endlessly this past week, though that was mostly in a bid to fight off the newbie vampire cravings, and she still hadn't figured out what it was that she was missing.
So far, she had been lucky. While she had realized she couldn't turn in her own home, she hadn't really planned on how to get an invitation in without it seeming suspicious. Thankfully, her mother had come home while she was sitting on their porch trying to figure out how to get in. Seeing the expression on her daughter's face, Liz had assumed something was bothering her. She had told her daughter to come in, have some ice cream, and they could talk about it.
While it had felt good to talk to her mom about how her friendship with Bonnie seemed to be on rocky ground –without any real details, of course—she knew that they couldn't rely on her being lucky all the time. She had to be more proactive in figuring out all the information Bonnie didn't, or couldn't give her before sending her back.
Hearing the unmistakable sound of Elena and Bonnie coming up behind her, she made a quick decision: She needed more help, so it was time for other people to be let in on the secret. Well, let in on some of the secret. She'd keep the time traveling to herself for now. Spinning around with a beauty queen smile firmly in place, she put her plan into action.
"Just the two I wanted to see. Given the severe lack of party in my birthday celebrations so far, you owe me. Tonight, meet me at my house, and I'll let you know where we're going from there."
Caroline could see Elena preparing to weasel her way out of it. However, she was not above guilt tripping her friend. What was the point of having a mean girl attitude in your arsenal if you didn't occasionally use it to get your way?
"I'm sorry, Caroline, I can't come. I'm supposed to be going over to Stefan's. We have some things to talk about."
As much as Caroline was all for Elena and Stefan's epic love, some things were more important than date night.
"I'm sorry, Elena, who is it that has been planning your birthday party every year since forever and has yet to have her friends plan her one?"
While the people pleaser in Caroline wanted to sooth away the guilty look on both her friend's faces, she was on a mission and couldn't afford to be merciful. The Queen of Mean had to take over.
"You both owe me. Tonight, after school, my place. And, since I'm so understanding, you can bring the boy toy along."
Both girls nodded in somewhat reluctant agreement and turned to leave. However, before Bonnie could get far, Caroline grabbed her hand to get her friend's attention. Leaning in close, she spoke low enough so that the other students in the hall couldn't overhear.
"Call your Grams and let her know we're coming over after school. It's time we started letting some people know what's going on."
Before Bonnie could ask what had brought this on, Caroline gave a large grin, waved, and strode off to her first class. During that class –and all the other classes as well—Caroline couldn't keep her mind off who she would be telling about her vampire status, and who she wouldn't be telling. While her mother had come around before, there was no guarantee that would happen this time. Of course, there were key parts of their plans that hinged on her mom being in the know, so there wasn't really a choice.
Waiting at her house later that afternoon with Bonnie, Caroline could admit to being a bit nervous. Of course, given that both of them knew about vampires –Stefan being one was a plus in this situation—and neither of them were vampire haters, this would probably be the easiest confession she would have to make. That didn't mean she didn't still have memories of Elena being too busy to be there for her. Yes she had good reason at the time, but it still stung.
Looking over at Bonnie, she reassured herself that, like with Bonnie, her relationship with Elena would not hit that big of a snag. Caroline chose to ignore the fact that Bonnie was still a bit cold to her. Again, with reason but painful nonetheless. Who it was that Caroline was supposed to be killing in Bonnie's vision was still a mystery, and the witch wasn't really comfortable talking about it yet. Taking a deep breath, Caroline did her best to remember that she was trying to be patient with her friend.
Hearing Elena's SUV pull up in front of her house, she motioned to Bonnie and headed to the door. When they got to the porch, Elena and Stefan were just beginning to get out of the vehicle.
"Get back in the car, losers, we're going to granny's house."
She could see Stefan come to a dead stop and watched as a mild look of panic crossed over his face. Much like when she told him once upon a time that wasn't going to happen now, this one didn't really stray far from his 'hey, it's Tuesday' look either.
"I, uh… I can't really go. I was just going to stop by and say a quick hi. I've got some stuff I have to take care of."
As excuses went, it was lame. Of course, if she didn't know why he really didn't want to go, she would have thought it was nice of him to make his excuses in person. However, he wasn't going to get out of it that easy.
"Sorry, Stefan, you're going to have to take care of whatever it is some other time. Grams is expecting you."
While he did seem confused and suspicious, Stefan got back into the passenger's seat and didn't try to talk his way out of the visit any more during the ride. The only person in the vehicle that didn't seem tense or nervous was Elena. Of course, once she found out what was coming for her, she would be more tense and nervous than all of them put together.
For a moment Caroline entertained the fantasy of going back in time and stopping Klaus' mother from cursing him in the first place. How many lives would be saved? How many would be lost? Of course, if there was no curse, Katherine would never have been a vampire on the run, and would never have turned Stefan and Damon. There would have also been no one turning her. It was all pointless to wonder about anyway. It took a lot of power just to send her back this far, it would probably take more power than they could get hold of to send her back a thousand years.
Caroline was pulled out of her thoughts when the ignition cut off. Putting on a wide smile, she stepped out of the vehicle and made her way to the front porch. After knocking on the door, she turned to hurry the others along. Stefan, of course, was bringing up the rear. When Sheila opened the door and saw Caroline's bright smile, she gave a small smirk in return. As she made her way to one of the chairs Sheila had brought into the front room for the occasion, she heard the witch make a point to invite Stefan in.
When everyone was in the house, Sheila sat in the chair next to Caroline, while Bonnie, Elena, and Stefan all sat on the couch. The latter two looked extremely confused, so Caroline decided to take pity on them and get started.
"As you can probably tell, this isn't exactly a birthday party. It's more like a supernatural roll call slash 'oh, by the way, some vampire heavyweights are going to be making their way to town' kind of a meeting."
Even before she finished, Bonnie was widening her eyes and mouthing her name.
"It's like pulling off a Band-Aid, Bonnie. It's less painful if you do it quick and all at once."
Turning to back to Elena and Stefan, Caroline continued, "Bonnie and Grams are witches, Stefan and I are vampires, and Elena is a doppelgänger."
With each person Caroline spoke of and gestured to, Elena's eyes got wider and her jaw began to drop a little in shock. Stefan's face had gone blank, though. He hadn't lost his voice, nor his ability to connect the dots.
"That's why Sheila wanted my blood: She wanted to turn you. But why turn you, and how long exactly have you been a vampire?"
Grateful that they were starting with the easy questions first, Caroline answered with a smile.
"Sheila needed a vampire she knew she could trust because, as I said before, there are some very dangerous vampires on the way. As for when… I turned around the beginning of the month. Shortly after Sheila got the blood from you and I stole the pocket watch from Jeremy's room."
At this, Elena shook free of her stupor, moved forward to the edge of her seat on the couch, and began her questioning.
"First off, doppelgänger? Second, what do you mean you stole the pocket watch from Jeremy's room? Why would you do that?"
Before she could try to defend her minor foray into criminal behavior, Sheila stepped in to explain what was going on, minus a few bits here and there. Caroline sat back in her chair and nodded along, as if everything had been Sheila's plan to begin with. When she, Bonnie, and Sheila had discussed how things were going to go, they decided that until Klaus and Elijah made their appearances –or they decided to let everyone know about Caroline's back to the future experience—it would be easier for everyone to accept that Sheila was the one who had gotten all the information and set everything into motion.
It took hours to get them both to believe what was going on and to believe that there was a good plan in place to make sure no one died and stayed dead. After a small moment of panic, though, it was easy to assure Elena that no one was planning on turning her into a vampire. Caroline only had a small twinge of guilt over the fact that, even though they told Stefan and Elena that there was an elixir to bring her back after the ritual, they neglected to tell them that they hadn't actually found the elixir yet. She was able to keep from blurting this out by remembering that, if worse came to worst, Elijah had the elixir they needed. She really didn't want to rely on him, though.
What she wasn't able to keep herself from blurting out, though, was the fact that Elena was adopted. There were days where she thought that her blunt and straightforward approach to most things was an asset. This was not one of those days. Given that she had just thrown that out there without any smoothing over or preparation, she felt that Elena handled it damn well. There were some hugs, a few teary apologies, and then Sheila let them know that there was still more than needed to talk about.
Elena was only too happy to hand over the necklace Stefan had given her in exchange for a new one –also filled with vervain, of course—once she learned that a witch that had been dead for a thousand years might use it to try and come back to kill off all vampires. Even thinking that, along with everything else that was going on, made Caroline feel like she was in a cheesy B-grade horror movie.
It was dark before the discussion began to wind down. As Stefan helped Sheila gather up the cups they had been drinking from, Elena started to question Caroline about how being a vampire was different from being a human. While she answered readily enough, she began to wonder if Elena had ever put these same questions to Stefan. Before she could give in to her urge to ask, Sheila walked back into the room, followed closely by Stefan.
"Saturday, I'll be heading to North Carolina. There's a witch there who knows the location of something we can use as a bargaining chip with Klaus."
She turned to Bonnie, her expression softening slightly, and asked, "Are you wanting to come with me?"
Bonnie's expression, unlike her grandmother's, was almost stony. She shook her head in reply. Caroline reached out to hold her hand, knowing that it was too soon for her to confront her mother, even knowing now why her mother had left. Caroline thought that it possibly hurt worse, knowing that her mother had left because she was without magic, as if her daughter wasn't enough of a reason to face living with the memory of that magic. She could only hope that Bonnie and her mother had a chance to bond this time around without any dire circumstances or vampirism involved.
Shortly after, Elena drove Bonnie and then Caroline home. Caroline had a feeling that Elena would either be inviting Stefan home with her, or staying at the boarding house that night so they could talk more about what was going on. She, however, had no plans to think about it anymore that night. She didn't think about it anymore for most of the week either, despite Elena's obvious attempts to steer conversations in that direction.
Friday morning, however, she did think about it. Watching from beside a parked bus, she waited for Tyler to pull away from his fellow jocks and make his way back to the school. As he passed by her, she quickly grabbed him and pulled him out of the view of other students, moving too fast for any of them to see what had happened.
"I'm sorry, Tyler, but this is something I have to do."
While he looked confused and a bit annoyed, he didn't look at all afraid. Caroline sent up a quick thank you to whatever it was in him that made him either dismiss the fact that he had just been moved faster than humanly possible or miss it happening all together. Before he could question what she was doing, Caroline made eye contact and compelled him to skip class with her and head back home. Following Tyler in her car on the way to Lockwood Mansion gave Caroline time to contemplate the fact that she didn't really feel all that guilty for compelling Tyler so that he could show her where the moonstone was located.
This was her life now. Caroline reasoned that she had to let go of certain levels of guilt in order to survive and function in a manner that would help her friends. It was this urge to help those she cared about that made her decide that she was going to do everything she could to ensure that Tyler's werewolf gene was never triggered, and that he never got involved in all of this supernatural business.
She realized that this meant that she and Tyler would never be together and he would never fall in love with her, however, he would have the possibility of a happy and normal life, free of painful changes and sire bonds. As her eyes began to tear up, Caroline realized that she had never contemplated what she would lose with this plan. She and Tyler were supposed to finally have a chance to be together but, in order for that to happen, she would have to open him up to a world of pain and suffering. She couldn't do that to him, she had to let him go. It was for the best.
By the time they arrived at Tyler's home and Caroline opened her car door, no one would have been able to tell that she had been on the verge of crying. When necessary, she was very good at pushing down everything else in order to get done whatever needed to be done.
Listening carefully for any sound from inside the house as Tyler unlocked his door, Caroline found that, thankfully, both of his parents were away from home. While Tyler had told her about finding the moonstone, she had never thought to ask where the hiding spot had been. It hadn't really crossed her mind that she would find herself sent back in time and needing to get her hands on the moonstone before anyone else did. After the front door had closed, Caroline turned to Tyler and caught his eyes once more.
"Tyler, is there a secret hidey-hole or safe your family would keep very important family heirlooms in?"
Tyler stopped and thought for a moment before he nodded his head and said in a nearly monotone voice, "There's a safe hidden in the floorboards."
Ignoring the creepy feeling she got at his tone –this was all for the best, after all—she smiled and took his hand.
"Take me to the safe and let's see if we can open it."
Luckily, it turned out that Tyler knew the combination. The first box that Caroline opened –its scrimshawed starburst gleaming dully against the aged ivory—didn't contain the moonstone. Instead, she recognized what she found inside as part of the compass Damon had her use to find a vampire the first time around. God, she was an idiot. She should have realized that the pocket watch she had taken from Jeremy's room didn't look the same; it was missing a piece. Slipping the device piece into her purse and replacing the box, Caroline continued rifling through the floor safe until she came upon the last possible hiding place for the moonstone.
Lifting the square wooden box with its engraved heraldry on the lid, Caroline sat back and sent up a small prayer to whoever would listen that this would be it. When she opened the box she found the moonstone resting in a nest of fur –how appropriate and yet tacky. Slipping the rock into her purse, she then placed everything back in the safe and closed it up.
Standing up and walking over to Tyler, she looked in his eyes and gave him one last order.
"You won't remember I came here. If someone asks and implies that they know I was here, you'll suddenly remember that I cornered you and nagged you until you were forced to bring me here so I could check something out that was supposed to help me with the planning of some town function or something. If they press you, you'll tell them you don't remember exactly what it was because you honestly didn't care, you only brought me to shut me up."
As Caroline drove back to school, she was feeling very good about her plans. So far, she had everything she needed. Now she just needed to take the moonstone, find Emily's grimoire, open the tomb, make sure only Pearl got out, and then wait for John Gilbert, Isobel, and Katherine to show up. Thank god she wasn't doing this alone, because when she actually thought about all that had to be accomplished, it seemed like an impossible task.
Caroline was both so cocky from her success thus far and so engrossed in what she still had to do that she missed the fact that she and Tyler had been followed. In a car idling a short distance from the mansion, Vicki Donovan sat gripping the steering wheel tight and fighting back tears.
She had followed Tyler at the school, hoping to get him alone to try and convince him that they should get back together. For a second she had lost sight him, but then she saw him talking with Caroline Forbes. When they made their way to the parking lot, she decided to follow, trying to convince herself that it wasn't what it looked like. Watching them enter Tyler's home and watching Caroline leave with a large grin on her face, though, she couldn't lie to herself. Caroline was just the kind of girl his family would embrace. He wouldn't hide her or refuse to take her to town functions.
Driving down the street, Vicki headed away from the school. She couldn't face going back there knowing that Tyler had moved on to a girl who could give him everything she couldn't. Needing to get rid of the mental image of them together, she decided to head into the woods where she knew there would be a few people willing to share something to help her stop thinking. Maybe later she would text Jeremy and he could remind her that she wasn't always being rejected.