Kai awakes the next morning, pulling himself from his blissful sleep reluctantly. He could easily roll over and welcome his well-needed slumber with open arms, but he was supposed to meet Bonnie to practice their little charade. He groans at the thought, pulling his pillow over his head to block out the annoying sunlight.
If he was honest with himself, the entire situation wasn’t that bad. He had a decent amount of faith that they could pull this off. Kai wasn’t worried about Jo or his family finding out he lied or fucking up the act, or Bonnie finding out embarrassing stories about his childhood. He was worried about his ‘feelings’ and how they might... evolve over Christmas break.
The thing is, Kai has liked Bonnie since the second he met her.
They met four years ago at the first frat party of their freshman year. Klaus had dragged him to it. He insisted that since he was an exchange student from England and Kai had just moved from Portland, this was a really good opportunity to meet people. Tired of arguing, Kai gave in, and an hour and thirty minutes later he was alone. He was nursing a red cup with some sort of alcohol mixture in it, but it tasted so bad he couldn’t bare taking another sip. Loud pop music was blaring in his ears, the walls thumping as horny college kids grinded on each other on the makeshift dance floor. It reeked of cheap weed and sweat, and right then Kai wanted nothing more than to be back in his dorm room. He leaned against the wall near the corner of the living room and decided that even though it tasted awful he might as well get a buzz. Taking a sip of his drink, he winced as he glanced around the house when a familiar face caught his eye.
Near the kitchen, some blonde girl was talking to Klaus, her head knocked back in what he assumed was laughter. Right, so she’s the reason he was dragged to this dumb fucking party. Anger rises in him, and Kai downs the rest of his drink in one go. He ignored the burning in his throat, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and began walking towards Klaus and the dumb broad. Kai pushed through the sea of hot bodies, earning complaints and curses thrown his way. When he got close, he noticed Klaus mutter, ‘oh, shit’ under his breath.
“Hey, Klaus! How’s it going?” Kai’s voice was dripping in false happiness with an even more fake smile plastered on his face.
“Kai!” Klaus replied through gritted teeth, smiling back and clasping a hand on his shoulder. He squeezed it hard.
“I was just going to get another drink and I noticed you over here,” he turned his attention toward the other blonde. “With her. Who’s this again?”
She beamed at Kai, showing all her teeth. “Hi! I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Caroline Forbes.” Caroline extended her hand for him to shake, and Kai took it, shaking it gingerly.
“That’s because you haven’t. Caroline, this is my roommate, Kai Parker.” Klaus said, folding his arms into his body.
“Nice to meet you.” She said warmly, and it kind of made Kai want to barf.
“Likewise,” he looked at Klaus. “I’ll leave you to it. I can take a hint.” He left them, entering the kitchen to pour himself another drink. There were a few people in there talking amongst themselves, and a couple was making out lazily in the corner. He scrunched his nose up at the sight. “Gross.” He muttered, taking the pitcher of the sorry excuse that the frat boys called a drink and poured out a heaping amount. He filled it almost up to the rim. He took a quick swig, hoping it would taste better but was only left with the same nasty result.
“Yeah, try dealing with them making out like that for two entire years.” Said a voice from behind him. Kai set the pitcher down and turned his head around to see quite possibly the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Her hair was cut short into a bob and she was wearing combat boots and a pair of overalls with a long-sleeved shirt underneath it.
He realized his mouth has gone dry, probably from his jaw being on the floor. He swallowed quickly and said, “Friends of yours, I take it?”
“Yeah, since high school, unfortunately. That’s Stefan and Elena. I’m Bonnie Bennett.”
Like any eighteen-year-old boy, he had immediately thought she was sexy. He spent the rest of the night in the kitchen with her, and the more they talked he found out that he loved that she could keep up with his witty remarks. Most times she would deliver even funnier comebacks than him. Over the years he figured out how she ticked, basic things she liked and disliked, and more complicated, intimate things. He knows how she takes her coffee and what songs she hated so he could skip them when they came on. Kai narrowed down her type in men and absolutely loathed every single boyfriend Bonnie had had, and he rerouted his brain into never acting like those men. Predictably, the relationships all ended and he was always there to comfort her as best as he could, which usually involved lots of alcohol.
Kai had always liked Bonnie, but he never pursued her, because he thought that feelings were dumb and so were relationships. He learned a lot about himself over the years: he was pretty good at hiding his feelings (even though Klaus tells him often hat he’s not) and yes, he was the jealous type, and yes, he was possessive over a woman he could never have. He was always the first person to leave parties or casual hangout sessions because being around Bonnie for more than three hours at a time was too fucking much. He distanced himself as much as he could without being a total dick about it. And Kai slept with tons of women to try and forget about Bonnie, but in the end, he just imagined it was her underneath him. Every time.
He was fucked.
And now he’s still stuck three years later with these stupid goddamn feelings, nibbling and tugging at his heartstrings every time Bonnie laughed at one of his jokes or smiled at him. He was stuck with this constant tightness in his chest when he was around her like a weight was on top of him and making it increasingly difficult for him to breathe. Kai knew that this was going to make pretending they were in a relationship easier because the feelings were already there. But he also knew this would make everything so, so much worse. Bonnie Bennett was going to be the death of him.
Kai shakes his head in annoyance and pinches the bridge of his nose. Remembering his sheer stupidity is starting to give him a headache. He rolls over to the opposite side of his bed where his phone lays, charging. After unplugging it, his eyes begin skimming through his notifications.
He had quite a few texts from Bonnie, and even more from the group chat everyone was in, and one from Jo. Kai sighs and decides to deal with the group chat first.
Klaus sent a picture early this morning of him kissing Caroline on the cheek in front of the fucking Eiffel Tower. Bonnie and Elena sent messages with various heart emojis and screaming how they couldn’t believe how cute they are and why didn’t you tell us you were going to Paris?!?!??
Damon sent an emoji of someone throwing up, and Matt and Stefan sent some sappy shit about how they were happy for them. Tyler didn’t respond. Yikes. Kai quickly began typing out a message.
i was rlly hoping the pda & not so discreet relationship bragging would end once you went overseas
Sorry, not all of us can be single, brooding, assholes. :)
He checks Jo’s message next, which is just about how excited she is and Kai purposefully does not reply to it. Finally, he reads Bonnie’s messages.
I just realized that I'm not going to be here to work in the library and those poor old ladies are going to come back to a mess.
Unless I do all the work before I leave. No one is going to be in there anyways bc it’s supposed to be closed.
Of course it’ll get done a lot faster if I had some help. ;)
wait...... how am I foing to disappear without Elena knowing???? I'm supposed to be going back to mystic falls too .
also. Klaus and Caroline are fuckign assholes but don’t tell her I said that
Kai sat up abruptly. Was she... drunk last night? Alone? He frowns, thinking, Why would she do that?
bonbon, did we get into some of the adult apple juice last night?
text me when you wake up and i’ll meet you at your dorm instead of the library
He sighed for what felt like the eightieth time that morning, which was far too many times for his liking. Kai removes his blanket cocoon and decides to shower. He stands and stretches, pads over to his desk and grabs his bag of toiletries. He doesn’t bother making his bed or putting on a shirt; the dorms are mostly empty with the exception of a few lingering souls, and he doesn’t have the energy this early in the morning to care if they see him wandering around in his boxers. So, he tries his best to ignore how fucking cold his feet are due to the hardwood floors and makes his journey towards the communal bathrooms. This was without a doubt the worst part of college in Kai's eyes: showering in public with a bunch of strangers. He had hated it in high school when it was just a quick rinse to rid himself of sweat and to smell a little better, and now he had to do the whole nine yards. It was literal torture. But now, Kai was walking to the showers with a faint smile on his lips. It was mostly because he knew he would finally be able to shower alone for once. But, he would be lying to himself if he said it wasn’t because the thought of Bonnie in so much distress over fake dating him made her drink copious amounts of alcohol to calm herself. He pictured her laying on the floor, spread eagle, as she realized she liked him and how awful these next weeks are going to be. Maybe she screamed into a pillow, denying it for a while but finally gave up and pulled out her hidden alcohol stash and going to town.
He couldn’t wait to tease her about it.
Kai took his sweet ass time in the shower, enjoying the hot water and not being anxious about someone barging in on him. He was also banking on Bonnie sleeping for another two or three hours, but checking his phone after his shower told him otherwise; she had texted him ten minutes ago.
Shut up you ass
Sorry (not really) for sleeping in. Text me before you get here and we can talk about our stupid plan all you want.
He looks at himself in the mirror. He needs to shave really bad; his stubble has grown out into his terrible version of a beard. But Bonnie awaits, and he has shit to do beforehand. Kai dries himself off quickly before throwing on his new pair of boxers. He grabs his phone, opening the messaging app and begins walking back down the hallway.
no problemo, bonster. i'm a little hurt you didn’t invite me to your party
i have to run a few errands but i should be there within the hour >:~)
You? Where could you possibly have to be? Also wtf is that smiley face
Typing out that last message almost caused him to walk past the door to his room. He scoffs once he realizes. Then, he gets dressed quickly, not wanting to miss the ten o’clock bus that takes him into town. Kai throws on a jacket and a beanie, knowing that his wet hair would freeze due to the cold air and leaves.
True to his word, an hour and some change later he’s standing outside of her door. Kai’s hands are full; he has a drink holder doing its rightful job and holding both of their hot coffees in one hand. His right hand is holding a paper bag from the same café containing a scone for her and a chocolate chip muffin for him. He also has a plastic bag from a gas station tied around his wrist; Kai had a sudden craving for pork rinds and bought some. He frowns, staring at the door in defeat once he realizes he cannot knock. He weighs his options, deciding they’re all too much work, and simply kicks his foot on the bottom of the door to do the trick. He kicks it super hard, for a second he thinks the door is going to fly off of the hinges.
From the inside, he can hear Bonnie curse at him and the door swings open a moment later. “Jesus, Kai,” she sees the food and snatches it from his grip. “You’re forgiven, I guess. But only because you brought food. You scared the shit out of me.”
“I couldn’t knock!” He retaliates, but there’s a huge grin on his face. “I guess I should have just screamed at you, then.” He mutters, walking past her and shrugging off his jacket. He sets it on the back of the chair at her desk, his curious eyes scanning the open textbooks and notebooks on top of it. His cheeks are red from the cold, along with the tips of his ears, and he couldn’t be gladder to finally be inside. Kai sits down onto the edge of Bonnie’s bed, but not before taking his coffee and his muffin with him.
Kai ignores her promptly rolling her eyes at him. “Where did you have to go?” She sits near the headboard, crossing her legs, coffee in hand. “Don’t get crumbs everywhere.”
He scowls, then pops a piece of muffin in his mouth. “I got snacks and I had to get my paycheck from the Scull.” Kai doesn’t mention the part where he picked up a load of extra shifts in preparation for her little shopping spree.
Bonnie nods, sipping her coffee. She winces a little at the heat. “Thanks,” an afterthought, she adds in, “Is this my favorite kind?”
“Yup.” He fidgets for a second. Not beating around the bush, he says, “So, why did you get drunk last night?” He waggles his eyebrows at her.
She scoffs and narrows her eyes at him. “I had a few drinks, I barely got drunk. I only slept in because I didn’t go to sleep until like, four,” she tries to say this nonchalantly but it just comes out defensively. “And I just... wanted to.” She finishes with a shrug and sips her drink to say that she is done talking about this.
But Kai isn’t. He could be completely wrong about this, though, and she could be telling the truth. He really wants to hold onto this possibility that Bonnie was just as worried about this as he was, for the same reasons. So he plays it safe, and simply hums and says, “Okay, Bon.”
Those two words were bait hanging in the air between them, and Kai was focusing on his chewing as he waited for her to either take it or swim away. Her mouth opens, closes. “What the hell does that mean?”
He tries and fails not to smile. “What?”
She straightens and replies, “Okay, Bon,” she says this in a deep, mocking tone - one that is clearly supposed to be him. “What is that?”
Kai barks out a laugh, leaning back against the wall and clasping his hands together. Bonnie arches one of her brows, not amused. He sighs wistfully. “I'm not judging you, or laughing at you. It’s just funny and...” he pauses, sparing a glance at her and smirks. This one look at her makes him fold; She actually looks kind of upset, but mostly confused. Her fingers are dancing on her coffee, waiting for him to respond. He decides that half of the truth will do. “You’re just so cute when you get worked up.”
Bonnie’s face contorts into surprise and she immediately goes beet red. She wasn’t a stranger to Kai flirting with her but it always left her reeling. She splutters for a second, and settles for saying, “Shut up!”
His smile grows. “And you’re even cuter when you’re embarrassed, Bon!” He notices the fondness and genuinity in his voice and falters, his cheeks turning red again but this time it wasn’t from the cold. Too far, you asshole, he thinks. Kai rips off another piece of his muffin and eats it. Mouth full, he asks, “So... Elena?”
Bonnie nods once and clears her throat. “Right. I don’t know how I forgot about this yesterday, but I agreed to Christmas dinner with the Gilberts.”
Kai raises his eyebrows as he swallows. “You agreed to that even after the whole Jeremy clusterfuck?”
She chuckles. “Yeah. I don’t really know why. Thank God I don’t have to deal with that awkwardness now.”
He hums in response. “Of course, except now you have to deal with a different awkwardness now. Spoiler alert: it’s fake dating me.”
She flashes him a fake smile. “Thanks, it completely slipped my mind.”
“You’re welcome. Well, it seems we have to break a rule already.” Kai finishes his muffin, rolls up the wrapper and tosses it in the direction of the trash can, yelling ‘Kobe!’ and missing completely.
Bonnie sighs but smiles at his idiocy nonetheless. “If I tell Elena, she’s just going to tell everyone.”
“Come on, you two have basically been best friends since birth. What’s the worst thing she could do? But, uh, maybe spare her a few details, though?” Kai says, bringing his knees up to his chest.
The ghost of a smirk tugs on the edges of her lips. “Fine. I’ll text her right now,” she pulls out her phone. “And come on, you know I can’t do that. It’s the best part of the story. Plus I get to tell her how pathetic you are.”
Kai knows that she’s joking, but the comment can’t help but sting him a little. He sips his coffee, focusing on that burn as opposed to the other funny feeling in his chest. “So you wrote the contract, are we writing a literal script today?”
“Hm, I figured we’ll just wing it.”
He frowns. “Really? We’re not being thorough?”
Bonnie just shrugs, her eyes still on her phone. She sends the text and draws her attention back to Kai. “If we follow a script it won’t be genuine, you know?” she freezes slightly. “Or at least as genuine as we can be. I feel like Jo is pretty smart if she went as far as to Googling me.”
“She was just curious.”
She arches an eyebrow, wondering how her friend can be so dumb. “Kai, come on. You talk about me and Elena being close since birth but you two literally shared the same womb. You think she doesn’t know you?”
Kai purses his lips. Curse Bonnie Bennett for being so ridiculously smart. “Fine. Yes, the thought crossed my mind that she sniffed out my bullshit story the second I told her. And yes, we’ll just wing it. Happy?”
She grins at him in satisfaction. “Yes. I love it when you tell me I'm right.”
“Well, it doesn’t happen very often, so.” He quips back. Bonnie’s phone starts ringing.
She pulls her bottom lip in between her teeth and chews on it as she reads the caller ID. “It’s Elena,” she puts the phone to her ear. “Hello?”
Due to their relatively close proximity, Kai can make out Elena’s voice. “Hey, I'm driving back to Mystic Falls with Stefan and I couldn’t read your text. What’s up?”
“Oh, um, I have to cancel on having Christmas dinner with you guys.” Bonnie scratches the back of her neck. She was really counting on being able to do this over text, and without Kai and Stefan listening intently.
“I'm, uh,” she meets Kai’s stare and locks eyes. She inhales, and finishes, “going to Portland with Kai.”
He can very clearly hear Elena now because she screams, “You’re what?!”
Bonnie flinches and angles her head away from her phone. She bites back a sigh and replies, “I’ll explain why later when you’re not driving and I'm not... busy.”
“Busy?” Elena parrots. “Oh my God, are you with him right now?” She says the last bit in a loud whisper, even though Kai can still hear what she says clearly. He takes a sip of his coffee to hide his smile.
“Bye, Elena!” Bonnie says, and before she hangs up on her, Elena squeals. Bonnie tosses her phone back on her bed with a defeated groan and puts her head in her hands. Kai’s smile turns into a shit-eating grin as his face as he watches Bonnie go through the five stages of grief. “Not a word, Parker. Can we just get focus on the task at hand?” Her voice is muffled.
He hums in pleasure and nods, even though she can’t see him at the moment. “Okay. We’ll start with my siblings, basic Kai Parker knowledge, and then we’ll dive into our very elaborate back story.”
“Jesus Christ.” She mumbles.
Kai ignores her. “So, I have seven siblings, including Jo.”
“Seven?” She repeats. For once in her life, Bonnie is glad to be an only child.
“Yes. I know, try growing up with them. I know how thorough you are and how you’re a visual learner; should I draw a diagram?”
Bonnie pauses, considering it. “Actually, please do.” She slides off her bed, walking over to her desk and grabbing the notebook and pen on it.
He laughs, clearly amused. He takes it from her and begins drawing two squares and a line connecting them. “Of course, there’s my parents, Joshua and Ann Parker,” Kai swallows the lump already forming in his throat as he jots down their names. “But, uh, you won’t have to worry about my mom. She died four years ago.” He finds himself nodding, even though Bonnie didn’t say anything yet.
She leans forward and puts her hand on his knee. She gives it a squeeze, rubs it once, and removes it. He always fucking hated this. The pity, the awkward apologies and the inevitable ‘sorry for your loss.’ He finds her eyes, expecting a false sincerity and all the other things he hated in the brown eyes he’s grown to love.
Instead, her eyes are filled with sorrow and understanding. They’re watering, and at first, he doesn’t notice this, but the Christmas lights hanging in her room are reflecting off of her tears and makes it more prominent. His breath hitches at the sight, his own tears forming and fighting their way out. Bonnie reaches for Kai again, this time for his hand and she grabs it. She squeezes it, threads their fingers together. “Kai, I am so, so sorry.”
He wants to say that it’s fine, he’s over it. It’s been four years. He can’t do anything about it. It’s okay. But he can only nod, the lump in his throat still lodged there like a piece of food and he was going to choke any second now. He swallows, once, twice, his Adam’s apple bobbing. He settles for a shaky exhale, nodding again and closing his eyes. This is so frustrating. To simply say that he hates this is an understatement. This is uncharted territory for he and Bonnie; they don’t do emotions, let alone crying over his dead mom and fucking holding hands. Seriousness between them is nonexistent, and it’s one of the few things in Kai’s life he can depend on. And now he was ruining it with his blubbering.
But at the same time, he really doesn’t hate it. If he knew all it took for Bonnie to hold his hand was shedding a few tears for mommy dearest he would have mentioned it a long time ago. Kai focuses on the way their hands slot together perfectly, her warmth radiating over him. He always had cold hands for some reason. Maybe it was because Bonnie wasn’t there to warm them up. Kai smiles at the thought and begins rubbing circles over her knuckles.
Like a gift from the gods, Bonnie’s phone starts ringing again. It seems to snap them out of their trance, becoming hyper-aware of how close they really are. Bonnie untangles their hands with such a speed that it almost offends Kai, and retreats back to her side of the bed. He sniffles, wiping his eyes as heat runs to his cheeks. She clears her throat and then answers the phone. “Hello?” If the loud, high pitched voice yelling through the speaker didn’t indicate who it was, Bonnie muttering, “Jesus, Caroline!” did. She was speaking at a much higher volume than Elena was; Kai didn’t even have to focus his hearing to make out what she was saying.
“Tell me why I just got a call from Elena saying you were going across the country with Kai for Christmas and I didn’t know about it?” Caroline stresses every other word, trying to get her point across as if it wasn’t already crystal. Kai and Caroline didn’t have the strongest friendship; she was too perky and controlling for his tastes and he was too boring and dark for hers. He begins driving his attention on drawing the rest of his family tree, pretending that he couldn’t hear.
“Care, can we talk about this later? You, me, and Elena can Skype and I’ll tell you all about it. ‘Kay?”
“No, not 'kay! Why didn’t you tell me?” She presses.
“Because he asked me last night and the time difference and you’re with Klaus. And if you want to get technical, you didn’t tell me you were going to Paris!” Bonnie takes one look at Kai’s face, which was slightly amused but mostly annoyed, and says, “Look, Caroline, I'm busy right now. But I will tell you anything you want to know later, okay?”
“Fine,” quieter, Caroline says, “You know, Klaus and I have been trying to get you two together for years now.”
Bonnie ignores how fast she flushes. “Yes, I know. You guys aren’t exactly subtle about it,” a laugh rings out on the other line, a laugh Bonnie and Kai know very well now.
“Seriously, Klaus? Eavesdropping?”
“Not eavesdropping if you’re on speakerphone, love,” he replies.
“For fuck's sake. Bye, you assholes.”
“Bye, Bonnie! Have fun with Kaaaaaai—” Caroline says in a singsong mockingly sweet voice, and Bonnie cuts her off with a frustrated groan.
“The teasing is already too much and only Elena, Caroline, and Klaus know.”
“Damon is gonna give me so much shit,” Kai deadpans without looking up.
She giggles, literally giggles, and Kai could die happy right there. “Yeah, he is,” she continues laughing and he just smiles at her in what can only be described as awe. “So, is your little art project done?”
“Right. Yeah, here it is.” Kai hands it to her and she reads it over and over again, trying to process.
“Holy shit,” she breathes out. She scans it once more and then flips it upside down to hide it. Eyes closed, she recites, “Okay, let me see if I got it. It’s you, Jo, Leah, Joey, Sophie, Ethan, Luke, and Olivia.”
Kai nods, impressed. “Yup. Bonus points if you remembered their ages.”
“Oh, God, no,” Bonnie replies, earning a hearty laugh from him. “I know Olivia and Luke are twins and they’re five years old. That’s all I got.”
“Mind like a steel trap, huh, Bonster? Also, Olivia likes going by Liv.”
“Noted. Is it just you guys for the holidays?” she asks.
“Yeah. My Dad’s brother died before I was even born. They were twins. Twins run in the family,” he mentions offhandedly. “And my mom was an only child.”
“Sorry.” Bonnie nibbles on her bottom lip, feeling a bit awkward.
“Nothing to be sorry about. Honestly, I think it’s why my parents had so many kids. They wanted a big family and wanted us to have one, too,” Kai reassures. “Moving on to the Kai Parker anthology series! Time for all my greatest hits.” He clasps his hands together.
“This should be interesting. I realized yesterday that I don’t really know that much about you,” she admits.
He scratches his head. “Really?” She just nods. “Okay, we’ll start out easy. I’m assuming you know when my birthday is?”
“Your birthday? I know your birthday, dumbass. I was talking more about your life before you moved to Virginia.”
He pauses. His past, with the exception of the bare minimum, has been something he’s avoided talking about for three years. “Eh, it’s not important. And I’ll leave out stories because I'm sure you’ll get a load of those,” Hoping to divert her attention, he says, “But really? You don’t have to pretend to know my birthday. I get it, it's okay. God, I can’t believe you don’t even know your boyfriend’s birthday. I'm absolutely hurt, Bonnie Bennett.” Kai presses a hand to his chest in dramatization and scoffs.
“Fake boyfriend,” Bonnie corrects and rolls her eyes. “Your birthday is on June tenth. A Gemini; very fitting since you’re actually a twin, it seems like you have multiple personalities, and you never shut up.” She replies, listing them off on her fingers with a smirk on her lips.
He hums, pleased that his deflection worked. Kai scratches his head in faux thought. “Say, did you know that Geminis and Aquarians are supposed to be one of the most compatible astrological signs? My mind is a little foggy, but could you remember what star sign you are again Bonbon? It’s on the tip of my tongue...”
Bonnie purses her lips. “I never believed in astrology anyway.”
Then why did you bring it up? he thinks. Instead, he says, “Right. Okay then, you know my birthday. How much do you know about me? Well, post-Portland me, I guess.”
“I know you’re best friends with Klaus and the rest of us. You like to party but you’re always the first to leave. You love grunge from the ninties even though it’s terrible. You’re majoring in criminal justice, but you’re not gonna be a cop like Matt because that’s ‘boring.’” She air quotes this, using her designated voice for Kai Parker impressions. “You want to be the guy manhandling dead people. Whatever that’s called, I forget.” She continues droning on, Kai just staring at her dumbstruck. Bonnie recounts small details he never would have thought she would have remembered, like his hatred for pickles, his favorite movie, and of course, the ‘boring’ thing. He said that when they first met at that dumb party three fucking years ago. Granted, Kai can’t be too surprised she remembers this since it’s usually him remembering everything. He supposes he just isn’t used to someone else reminiscing about the little things.
“Forensic pathologist,” he points out once she’s done. That seems to be the only coherent thing he can say at the moment. “It’s just a suped-up word for a coroner, but you might want to know the technical term.”
“Forensic pathologist,” she repeats.
He nods once, clears his throat. “Well, I mean, yeah. That’s—yeah.”
Bonnie smiles in amusement at his sudden loss for words, something that happens rarely, but furrows her brows anyways. “What?”
“Nothing. I just never realized you actually listened when I went off on a tangent, talking about myself and stuff.” He goes red and scratches his neck, unknown what to do with his hands suddenly.
She just chuckles at him. “Kai, we’re friends. Things about you, that’s important stuff. If I didn’t know those things, what kind of friend would I be?”
“Well,” he starts. I’ve never known someone like you, Bonnie, his brain supplies for him. “If you want me to say that you’re right, that isn’t happening.”
“That’s okay. Knowing that you’re thinking it is enough,” she replies. “So, onto the whole... couple thing?”
He nods. “The story is that after years of being a pussy, I finally asked you out and we’ve been dating for four months. That’s all I told Jo, so we can make up stuff if you want.”
Bonnie laughs at his choice of words. “Okay, then we have to come up with a whole backstory. How did you do it?”
“Ask me out.” She states like it was right in front of his face the whole time.
“Oh,” is all he says. This scenario has gone through his head multiple times, usually when he’s drunk or in the late hours of the night when he can’t sleep. Pretending to mull it over, he waits a few seconds and then, “It was a gesture of some sort. Nothing too romantic or cheesy, because I hate that shit, but it was enough to get my point across and show you how I felt. You, of course, said yes because how could you say no to this?” He chooses his words carefully, making sure he stays in the past because apparently, all this had already happened.
“What was the gesture?” Her voice is softer and distant, and Kai resists every urge he has to look at her. His facade might break if he does.
He takes a moment to pause again, to collect himself and his words. “Okay, um, I treated it just like any other day, but it was still special. I took you on a drive. I only played the music that you liked, which is the biggest gesture of all gestures. And uh, we stopped somewhere to get lunch. I just... told you. No bullshit or lying or stupid jokes. It was awful. And then you confessed you were madly in love with me. Then we made sweet, passionate love for a day straight.”
Bonnie throws her pillow at him, heat rising to her cheeks. “God, you’re so gross!”
A laugh escapes his lips, and he just smiles at her. “We’ll touch up on the details, but is that fairy tale good enough for your liking?”
She only nods, her fingers finding a loose thread on her comforter and tugging at it. “No complaints here. Except for the sex, obviously. I’d like to keep it as PG-13 as possible please.”
Kai goes back to his dorm at seven o’clock. It took them three more hours to iron out all the wrinkles in their plan, and he even made flashcards for Bonnie so she can remember his siblings’ names. They ordered Chinese food after that and watched two movies to calm down and forget everything for a little while. It’s nothing that they aren’t familiar with; at least once a week they do this, whether it’s just them or with everyone. It gets old hanging around with couples all the time, so they silently agreed to treat themselves to some well deserved alone time. With each other.
He agrees to help her with the library, since Bonnie unofficially added it to their rules, and partially because he feels a little bad. They planned out the next three days; tomorrow will be spent in the library, Friday will be spent finishing whatever work they have left and then packing, and their flight leaves at seven in the morning on Saturday.
Now, before anything has even happened, Bonnie feels exhausted. She’s not so sure she can go through with this anymore, but she’s already in too deep and can’t back out now. Her laptop begins trilling. “Shit,” she says into her pillow. As soon as Kai left she flopped face-first into her bed and let out a guttural scream. She had been there ever since, thinking things over and completely forgot about the Skype date. Bonnie stands, sighing as she answers the call.
Caroline is wearing no makeup, her hair tied up in a loose bun and only a lamp is on to illuminate her features. “Hey!” She greets, smiling at the sight of Bonnie.
“Hi, Care,” Bonnie replies, not even coming close to the amount of energy Caroline has. To this day she still can’t figure out how she’s so upbeat all the time. “Is Elena coming on too?”
“Yeah, I was gonna call her next,” the sounds of a mouse clicking and typing fills the silence. “How have you been?”
“You’ve never been good at small talk, but I’ve been good.” The corners of her mouth go up anyways at her friend’s attempt.
“A girl can try,” a beat later Elena’s face pops up on the screen. “Hi!” Caroline crows.
“How was your drive, Elena?” Caroline asks.
Bonnie holds back rolling her eyes. “Okay, you guys can just ask, you know. That’s the whole reason we’re talking.”
“It’s not the whole reason, I miss you guys and I wanted to say hi!” Caroline retorts.
A second passes, and then, “Fine. Tell us everything.”
Bonnie does, highlighting over Kai being pathetic multiple times and telling them the details of the contract. Klaus comes out when he hears them talking and he gets the full story too. When Bonnie’s finished, it grows quiet, and Caroline nudges Klaus lightly.
“Right. I’m going to bed. It was nice seeing you girls.” He kisses Caroline’s forehead and leaves, and the blonde pointedly plugs in her headphones.
“Okay, onto the juicy details,” she starts. Whispering, she asks, “Do you like him?”
Elena grins happily at the question, and Bonnie sighs. “I don’t know. He’s so hard to read. We had a few moments, but either Caroline calling me ruins it or he makes a stupid joke and changes the subject.”
Caroline’s face turns into a scowl, and she’s about to defend herself when Elena speaks before she can. “What happened between you two?”
“Well,” Bonnie wants to respect Kai’s boundaries as much as she can, so she’s vague in her description: “He shared something really personal with me, and I comforted him. It was the first time he was... raw. He never really lets his guard down like that. When the phone rang, the walls went right back up.”
“Care, I’m not blaming you, in fact, I think you saved me. I don’t know what would have happened if you didn’t.” That was one of the things that kept running rampant in Bonnie’s brain; was that a friend comforting a friend, or was it something more? How would they recover from that intense moment they shared had Caroline not called?
“Oh.” Was all Caroline said in response.
“What did you want to happen?” Elena asks.
“I’m not sure. I’ve been asking myself that question for years. I don’t know if I want more with Kai. It’s hard to know that when I feel like I don’t know him completely. And I’m afraid that on this trip, the real him will come out and I won’t like him.” Bonnie admits.
The other girls just nod, and Elena says, “That thing he told you, no one else knows right? Or at the very least none of us?”
Caroline picks up on where Elena’s going, but Bonnie’s still clueless. “Did he cry?”
Somehow, her best friends share a knowing look through a computer monitor. “You have nothing to be afraid of, Bonnie.”
“That’s the real Kai.” Elena agrees.
“If he trusts you enough to share that information with you, and he let those walls come down, you have nothing to be afraid of. I highly doubt the ‘real him’ is anyone you won’t like.”
“Dare I say... love? ” Elena teases.
Bonnie sighs, burying her face in her hands. “God, fuck you guys.”