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hold onto me, i never wanna let you go

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ONE.

"You know," she says, plopping down onto his bed after she's taken her shoes off because 'it's the principle, Stefan; you don't wear shoes in bed,' "I don't think I've ever been inside your room before."

His brows furrow as he closes his diary, clicking his pen before resting it on the cover.

"Really?" he questions, "I could've sworn you've been in here before."

She sits up and Stefan, in the most un-weird and platonic way possible, kind of likes the way she looks there. He liked the little indent she made in his mattress and the way her golden hair fanned against the white of his sheets.

A part of him wanted to keep her there forever.

Caroline hums, "I don't think so. Unless…" she taps her chin in an exaggerated way for a second before gasping, "Are you dreaming about me, Salvatore?"

He can't help his reply, "Would it be bad if I was?"

What he hoped was a blush took over her face and she ignored his question, "Well this place is severely lacking personality. Oh, I know! I could get you a Bon Jovi poster. You like that band, right?"

Not that he really minded, obviously, but he didn't really know why Caroline was here. Sure, they were extremely close now and she was welcome here anytime, but her presence today was a little unexpected. She hadn't even called to say she was coming over, she just walked in. What happened to Bonnie or Elena?

"Is everything okay?" Stefan questions.

Caroline gives him one of the most adorable confused glances and he explains, "I mean, you just showed up unannounced. What happened to Bonnie and Elena?"

The blonde rolls her eyes and walks over to his desk, standing next to where he's sitting and leaning against the table to face him. Stefan can feel the fabric of her jeans against his and he pushes down any thought of how easy it would be for her to straddle him from where she was standing.

"Is it so hard for you to believe that I'm here because I genuinely like to spend time with you?"

He scoffs, "That's not what I meant. I just…"

She levels with him; a stare that he can't help but hold as well, "Well, yeah, actually. Cause you're you and I'm…" he finished with a gesture of his hand.

"My best friend," she says, cradling his face in her hands and completely taking his breath away.

His stare fell to her lips. Beautiful, pink, probably soft and right there in front of him. The distance between them was so short that with just one move they'd be kissing. Something he's wanted to do for months now.

Stefan blinks, remembering how overly affectionate Caroline was with everyone and telling himself that their proximity didn't mean anything to her, even though it meant so much to him. He thinks she's saying something, probably about how he should be confident enough to think that people would want to spend time with him, but he can't hear because of her eyes and her lips and her smile and her freckles and she smells so good.

"Stefan?" Caroline calls. It's enough to get him to focus back on her and realize that he had been leaning in subconsciously.

He pulls back to how he'd been before and she giggles, "If I didn't know any better I'd think you were trying to kiss me, Salvatore."

He lets out an awkward laugh and tries to think of a response, but she's already walking back over to his bed and rambling about how comfortable it is.

TWO.

He's not expecting it when she grabs his hand—his heart races dramatically and he's never been more thankful for the music playing or she would've picked it up. She hits their clasped hands against the armrest to the beat of the song as she sings along loudly.

He doesn't think it's physically possible for someone to be more adorable.

Stefan tries to keep his attention on the road, but it's hard when his head wants to take a mental picture of their hands together and he can see her blonde hair bouncing in the corner of his eye.

He nearly sighs with relief when they get to a stop light and it's then when she lifts her hand, still entangled with his, and holds it in the center of her chest.

"Hold on to me I, never wanna let you goooooooo," Caroline sings, looking to him with a little smile and sounding unbelievably incredible and was it even legal to be this gorgeous?

Her eyes are closed now, completely focused on the music and Stefan's just now realizing where his hand is and the thinness of her shirt. He can feel the center of where the cups of her bra join and God he can't believe he's thinking about this right now. She seems to notice that he's staring and she asks, "What?"

Her smile is everlasting, so contagious that he can't help but smile with her, "Nothing. It's just…" he debates on what he should say before choosing, sarcastically, "You're such a loser."

Caroline drops his hand and slaps his shoulder fondly, laughing, "Shut up."

Her infectious laughter, that he can't help but join in on, dies down with a hum and she stares at him; he stares back.

Right now would be a perfect time to kiss her. They're alone, she's right there, he really wants to, and the look on her face looks like she might want him to, though that could just be his imagination.

The thought is gone as quickly as it comes when she says, "Green-light, Stefan."

THREE.

"You should definitely keep the black one," Bonnie says, picking up a skirt from the pile of clothes on the bed.

Caroline's decided she's going to purge her closet and has appointed Stefan and Bonnie to help her pick which ones she's going to keep. The two are sitting on her bed, looking through the random pieces of clothing, as she leaves her walk-in closet occasionally to get their opinion on clothes she's not so sure about.

Stefan doesn't know why he agreed to this. The whole time he's been here, he's had to tear his gaze away from the multiple pairs of lacy underwear she owned and rid his mind off of the image of Caroline in some of these clothes.

The blonde in question walks out in a red crop top, looking at herself in her full-body mirror, "I don't know; I've always felt like I look really good in red," the blonde says from behind the door.

Oh. Now he remembers.

Bonnie's response is quick, "You do. I get really jealous of you in lavender, though."

Caroline walks back into her closet and the sounds of zippers and shuffling fabric muffle her response to Bonnie.

He felt like maybe he should say something, but when he opened his mouth nothing came out. It was almost like his brain had no idea what his mouth was going to do when it started to speak.

"What do you think, Stefan?" she asks, suddenly.

He can feel Bonnie's green eyes fall on him and he clears his throat, "About?"

The brunette explains, "She's asking you how you think she looks in lavender."

Bonnie gives him a look like she knows how uncomfortable this must be for him. He wonders if his crush on Caroline is so obvious that Bonnie's noticed it.

"Uh, you look great in it," he planned to just leave it at that, but accidentally adds, "It's actually my favorite color on you."

He can practically hear Caroline's smile, "Aww, thank you, Stef."

She says his nickname so affectionately, that it kind of feels like they're dating. Feels like, he reminds himself.

Bonnie's phone rings and she leaves the room with a promise that she'll be right back. He feels his palms clam up at being alone with Caroline in here. She says something about a zipper before she exits her closet in a floral dress that just so happens to be lavender and tossing her hair to the front of her left shoulder.

There are slits in the dress, on the sides of her abdomen, and the fabric is skin-tight from top to bottom; bottom meaning about mid-thigh. Why did she have to look so damn good in everything?

She turns around, "Can you help me zip this up?"

He agrees with an inaudible, "uh, yeah," before zipping her up and trying so very hard to ignore the pale skin of her back.

When he's done she gives him this look over her shoulder and his heart feels like it's trying to leave his chest. Like it wants to push Stefan towards her. To just kiss her.

There's a corner of his brain that thinks she wants him to, or that at least hopes he drives her as crazy she drives him.

"Oh my God, Caroline I even forgot you had that dress. Didn't Elena get the same one in red?"

"Yes! You know what? I'm keeping it!"

He's being pulled into a conversation about sweaters before the thought dwells any longer.

FOUR.

"Caroline," Stefan warns.

He's facing the cupboard, looking for cinnamon, but her footsteps hitting the ground and inching towards the unsupervised bowl was enough of an indication as to what she was doing.

Stealing some cookie dough.

Again.

Every couple minutes or so she reaches over to the bowl of cookie dough and dips her finger inside, picking up a dollop and licking it off, distracting him way more than he would like to admit.

She giggles, and a memory of her mentioning how she loved the way he said her name floods into his mind. His heart swells at the thought of her associating the word "love" with anything involving him.

"I didn't even do anything!"

He finally turns around, finding the cinnamon, and smiles with a motion of his hand, "Stay over there."

She moves back to the other side of the kitchen island, sitting at one of the stools with her head resting on her fists innocently.

He looks away for one second and he can hear her shift, so he moves back over and grabs her forearms, pulling her to look at him. When he looks down to his hands holding her wrists, he sees that there's a piece, with a couple chocolate chips and everything, on her finger.

"Care," he says and she laughs. She leans over to lick the cookie dough off of her finger again, bringing her face inches from his.

Stefan's eyes follow her over to where she sucks on her finger, and he shifts his weight. She pulls off her finger with a smile and damn, he needs to breathe.

Or take a cold shower.

Caroline looks up at him when she's done, gazing at him with a slight quirk at the corner of her mouth like she's teasing him.

She couldn't be.

But he knows that look. The way her blue eyes look up at him through her eyelashes to the innocent bite she'd pulled her bottom lip into when she was done. Maybe she was teasing him.

Maybe she noticed his lingering gazes, his hands always finding some reason to touch her, or maybe she just liked him, too.

He shakes himself from his thoughts and looks back down to her lips. His chest is heaving and he wants to lean in.

The oven beeps.

FIVE.

Her little head shifts against his chest and he twitches his nose when blonde strands brush against it. Her eyes are shut, but not in the way they usually are when she's sleeping; she's definitely faking it.

Stefan snickers and she breaks, "Okay, okay fine you were right, I prefer my bed."

She'd convinced him to watch Heathers for, like, the hundredth time and she had fallen asleep as soon as the credits rolled onto the screen. Stefan had asked her if she wanted to go to her room, but she mumbled out a no, saying something about how comfortable she was and how he was such a good pillow.

He could tell that she was having a hard time, with her constant shifting and readjusting that did things to him, considering she was laying on him.

Caroline, lying on top of him and wrapped in a fuzzy blanket Bonnie had gotten her for Secret Santa, poked her bottom lip out, "Can you carry me?"

Of course, his brain thought immediately. He didn't want to seem desperate, though, so he let out an exaggerated sigh, making sure to make it sound like this was too much work, and followed her off of the couch.

"You're the best!" She exclaimed, a wide-toothed smile painted onto her adorably freckled face.

For some reason, her eyes looked bluer than he'd ever seen them before and he didn't want to look away. She licked her lips and God this was torture. Should he just go for it? It could turn out great, maybe they could be together and he could stop pretending that his feelings for her were even remotely platonic.

It feels like he's been here a million times before, wanting to kiss her and something stopping him. He wanted to do it. Now.

Caroline sways a little, eyes closed and visibly tired, so he decides, reluctantly, that he should just take her to bed and let her sleep.

Instead of picking her up bridal-style like he knew she probably hoped, he swung his arms around the back of her thighs and threw her over his shoulder, releasing a fit of giggles from her. He couldn't help but laugh too, as he took her up the stairs.

She slammed her fists against his back, still exploding with laughter, "You know I didn't mean this way!"

He simply shrugged, opening the door to her room, "Should've been more specific, Care."

Stefan, unceremoniously, but very carefully, tosses her on to the bed and damn, that feels so right. She huffs dramatically, sending a few locks flying out of her face, and he smiles in response.

"You're lucky you're pretty or I wouldn't put up with you," she says mockingly, arranging the thousands of pillows on her bed.

And when she says it, he sees them a couple of weeks ago at the carnival she dragged him to when he said the very same thing to her before she pulled him to the Ferris wheel.

Giving her the same smile she had given him, he sits at the corner of her bed and debates with saying something, but she's already out. Hair splayed out over the pillow and mouth already drooling.

Stefan wants to lean over and kiss her forehead but just ruffles her hair affectionately before leaving.

He was so whipped.

PLUS ONE

Stefan sighs, leaning on a tree to catch his breath for a second, not that Caroline has even noticed. She's still marching away, her blonde locks, that she decided to straighten today, swaying behind her with every step. He still has no idea why she dragged him out here or where they're going, but he can't say no to her.

And trust him.

He's tried.

But then she pulls out her puppy dog face, with the eyes and the protruding bottom lip and he breaks. Why hasn't he told her about his feelings yet, again? He was pretty sure that if he waited long enough, some other guy was gonna scoop her up and he would lose his mind. So what was he wai—

"Stef, how are you tired already? Keep up, diva!" He hears her tease.

He glares at her and she giggles, slowing down to give him a chance to catch up.

"Y'know," Stefan says once they're side-by-side, "I'm starting to think that you're just making up excuses to spend time with me."

She turns around, already smiling, "How'd you know?"

"Just a hun—"

He doesn't get to finish before Caroline trips and he reaches over to hold onto her. He wraps his arms around her waist to steady her, but all it does is take him down with her, too. They tumble down the hill, rolling around each other in an almost comical way before they finally stop with Caroline on top of him.

They're both out of breath and she lays her palms flat on his chest, straddling him. He wills all inappropriate thoughts away with clenched eyes as his hands instinctively find themselves at her thighs.

When he opens them, he notices she's been staring at him and before he even gets the chance to think about asking anything—she's kissing him. It's slow and calculated, almost like she's testing the waters to see if it was okay, which it definitely was.

He kisses her back immediately, craving for her to know that he wants this, too. When her thin fingers scratch at the nape of his neck he almost moans. Ugh, this is even better than he thought it would be. His heart is hammering away in his chest and he doesn't know if his need for air is from that, his shock, or the fact that they've been kissing for so long.

Caroline pulls away with a smile and he speaks, well at least tries to speak, first, "I, uh, why did you—"

"I got tired of waiting for you to do it, so I did."

She shrugs nonchalantly and his head is reeling. He wants to reply, but her lips are on his again, and whatever he wants to say is the farthest from his mind when she bites on his lower lip.

He later learns that she dragged him out there just so he would kiss her. Everything from the teasing to falling had all been part of some elaborate last-minute plan because she was tired of waiting and wanted to push him.

But he doesn't mind.

Not when she's on top of him, grinding slowly, and he gets to kiss her again.