Her foot tapped impatiently against the ground. He was late; exactly 15 minutes late according to her phone. She pulled it out now to check again. No missed calls and no overlooked text messages. It wasn’t like him to be late and Elena was hovering between worried and royally pissed off.
She crossed her arms tightly over her chest. She bounced from foot to foot in an attempt to stave off the December chill. Time had slowed and the cold was seeping into her bones.
If he is not lying dead in a ditch somewhere I’m going to kill him, Elena decided. She was definitely pissed off. Her anger only grew when she saw him round the corner.
He clearly saw the rage burning in her eyes. His previously quick stride slowed to a snails crawl when he saw her.
30 minutes late.
Reaching for his phone he cursed when he saw the low battery signal. He attempted to make a phone call when the infernal device died in his hand. In hindsight he knew he should have sent a text instead. Glancing at his watch he sighed. He was 20 minutes late, and it would take him another 10 minutes to reach Elena.
She is definitely going to kill me, he decided taking the small box from the clerk to tuck in his jacket. He thanked her before he all but ran from the shop.
He sped down the icy streets as quickly as he dared. His stride slowed when he rounded that final corner and saw the furious look in his girlfriend’s eyes.
Yup, He gulped before shuffling the rest of the distance to her, she’s going to kill me.
“Elijah,” Elena growled when he approached. Now that she could see him and knew that he was alright, and not lying dead in ditch she was furious. Her relief had dissipated and been replaced with pure rage.
“Where have you been?” Elena spun on her heel and stormed into the tree lot. “I’ve been worried sick.”
Elijah followed closely behind her watching the smoke stream from her ears. “I’m sorry,” he reached for her arm to turn her around to face him, “I had an errand to run.”
“Then you should have called,” Elena pulled her arm free and used it to give him a small shove causing him to stumble into the pine trees. Needles rained down around him catching in his hair and sticking to his jacket. Elena advanced on him to point an accusing finger, “I thought you were dead somewhere!”
“I,” Elijah took a step back from his fuming girlfriend. Unfortunately he had nowhere to go. “I did try to call, but my phone died. I hurried here as soon as I realized how late it was,” he presented his mobile as evidence.
“Next time call me if you are going to be late,” Elena whispered, “preferably before your phone dies.”
“Of course, darling.”
“Good,” Elena took a deep breath before stepping back. “I’m sorry for over-reacting.”
“After what happened to your parents I think you have every right to over-react.”
“Still I am sorry,” Elena looked him over. She stifled a giggle when she took in his appearance. His eyes were wide, and he was covered in pine needles; he made a truly hilarious sight. “Are you going to tell me what was so important?”
“I had to pick up a Christmas present,” Elijah’s hand brushed against the box in his pocket when he slid the phone back in.
“Must have been s-some,” Elena trailed off as her laughter burst out. “I-I’m sorry. You’re cov-covered in pine.” She began brushing needles from his jacket.
“It must have been something small,” Elena continued when he was clean and her laughter was again under her control. “I’m sorry I pushed you.”
“It’s alright,” he took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I’m sorry I scared you.”
“It’s alright,” Elena wove her fingers with his and tugged him away from the mess of pine needles. “Come on. Let’s pick a tree before they are all gone.”
They had selected the largest tree on the lot. Somehow it seemed bigger now that it was in their living room. Or maybe it just appeared that way because he was attempting to move it into the perfect spot.
“Wouldn’t it look better by the fire place?” Elena stood back by the door to survey the room. “No, that would be a hazard.” She decided chewing on her bottom lip.
“I’ll be right back,” Elena pushed back from the doorframe to answer the bell.
“Take your time,” Elijah muttered stumbling slightly when the tree shifted. He could her voices in the entry as their guest brushed the snow from their clothes.
“Having trouble Elijah?” Niklaus strode into the room with his wife Caroline. Elena trailed behind them.
“You could always help,” Elijah suggested over his shoulder. Niklaus scoffed but moved forward to wrap his hands around the other side of the tree.
“Where do you want this thing Elena?”
“How come you don’t ask me?” Elijah quipped.
“Because we all know that you could care less where the tree is,” Niklaus joked.
“Fair enough Niklaus,” Elijah turned to look at the women, “Where do you want the tree darling?”
Elena considered the room before turning to her best friend. Caroline definitely had a better eye for this sort of thing.
“What do you think Care?”
“Have you tried in front of the window yet?” She gestured to the opposite side of the room and the picture window that looked out on the front yard. “I think it would look great to the side of it.”
Niklaus and Elijah began dragging the tree to the other side of the room.
“I see you’ve been at this for a while,” Nik observed nodding to the needles that littered the living room floor.
“It was like this last year as well,” Elijah admitted with a grin. “Elena had me moving the tree all over the room.”
“And that was before she moved in.”
“Actually I think it would look better in the center of the window,” Elena observed.
“You’re right,” Caroline chimed in, “More symmetrical.”
“Can you guys centre it please?”
“Of course, darling,” Elijah chuckled. He rolled his eyes at his brother and pushed the tree further to the right. It took a few minutes because Elena and Caroline kept having them move the tree a few inches this way and that.
“Did we have plans tonight?” Elijah asked when they had all settled on the couches. “What brings you over tonight?”
“Can’t a man decide to spontaneously visit his big brother?” Klaus grinned looking at his wife. The light from the fire danced in his eyes.
“You always were spontaneous,” Elijah conceded. He brushed needles from his sleeves onto the floor. “I suppose I should be grateful. At least you knocked first.” His eyes cut to Elena who’s cheeks had flooded with colour.
“Who didn’t…” Nik trailed off as realization hit him. “Oh… that’s why you took away Kol’s key. What did he walk in on?”
“Let’s leave that unsaid shall we Nik,” Elena insisted. She plucked an imaginary piece of lint from her sleeve in order to avoid his eyes. “Please?”
Nik however was not to be denied answers. He ignored the glare from his brother and wife.
“Oh come on,” he insisted, “it couldn’t have been that bad.”
“Elena,” Caroline cut him off. “I thought you might like to join me tomorrow for some last minute Christmas shopping.” She leaned closer to breath in her friend’s ear, “I could use your help with something.”
“Sure, Care,” Elena nodded thinking that she could use some help selecting a gift for Rebekah as well.
The remainder of the evening was spent in light conversation. Everyone was quick to cut off Nik whenever he brought up the subject of Kol’s key. They made plans to meet up tomorrow after the girls were finished with their shopping.