It was the most alive I've ever felt. I would wake up in Elijah's arms every morning and see first-hand how imperfectly perfect he was. His hair tussled in different directions, a peaceful expression on his face. He was handsome in his sleep as if he was awake. It didn't take long for him to wake up after I did. Elijah always seemed to sense me watching him and would just smile as he opened his eyes at me. A very peaceful and intimate memory that we both shared.
Our days were filled with very leisure activities. Elijah had taken me horseback riding and to boat rides at a nearby lake. There were times we would go out to the garden to stargaze and other nights were we laid in bed and read to each other. It was the most peaceful time we've ever had together. All of the stress we've been bearing for the better part of our lives was gone.
Not every waking moment was spent together. Aya would pull me away sometimes and show me the intricate workings of the Strix. The agents they had around the world and the one's that worked nearby. Though it was nice spending some time with another strong, influential woman, I knew that something was being hidden from me. Aya was being used to distract me while Elijah and Tristan were speaking behind closed doors. This wasn't a suspicion, it was the truth since every time I asked Elijah about it he would deflect the question.
It was because of these rising thoughts of mistrust that I turned down Aya's invitation to have tea together and decided to spend time alone. I walked around the hallways mindlessly, not really caring where I was going. It wasn't until I realized that I was at the arts wing that I made a choice and entered the music room that was nearby. My violin case had been set on top of the piano, as if they had anticipated that I would take advantage of this small working space at some point. I unlatched the straps of the case and took out my mother's violin.
I could only look at the violin at my hands. It's been a while since I've played and it felt heavy in my hands. I sigh as I take a seat on a nearby stool. I tuck the violin under my chin and close my eyes for a very brief moment. I let the music take the lead and let it encompass me. The sound was resonated back to me and the room was surrounded by the melody. At some point I was no longer seated on the stool and had managed to stand up, waltzing around the room in tune. I couldn't help the smile on my face as I played for myself for once, not with an audience present.
I slowly started to unwind and the song comes to an end. I couldn't help but just sigh as I felt my mind clear of all the worries it once contained. I open my eyes and take a deep breath. The moment of serenity was quickly diminished as the door of the music studio opens and Aya walks in. She seems surprised to see me but smiles as she catches sight of the violin in my hand.
"Sorry for the disruption," Aya states.
"It's fine," I say setting down the violin back in it's case. "Did you need something?"
"I just came for him," Aya replies.
"Him? What him...?" I begin to ask confused before noticing the direction of Aya's stare. I turn around and find a quiet Carter standing up from his hidden position behind some stacked chairs. He was silent as always but his stare conveyed slight fear at being caught. "Huh, I didn't notice you there."
"Come on Carter," Aya calls out to him. "Mrs. Langue has been looking everywhere for you."
Carter didn't move from his spot, just rooted there silently.
"Don't make this harder than it has to be, Carter." Aya says tiredly.
Carter glanced at me for a split second before returning to stare at Aya. He looked tired and it was obvious he didn't want to return to the rest of the group.
"He can stay with me, Aya." I state causing Aya to look at me with surprise. "I don't mind a little company."
"Are you sure?" Aya asks me.
I nod and looked down at Carter who seemed as surprised as Aya was for my proposition.
"I always play better with an audience, it seems." I tell her. "I'll look after him and make sure to return him to the day care before dinner starts."
Aya doesn't argue with this and just nods at me and leaves us alone. Once the door of the music studio closes I turn to Carter.
"So..." I say, unsure of how to go on with this. "How long have you been hiding there?"
Carter just looked up at me silently, not giving me an answer.
"Ok," I whisper as I realize that we were off to a pretty rough start. "My name is Griselda Saltzman, but people just call me Gris for short."
Carter remained silent as usual, just staring at me.
"Umm... as you can notice, I'm not really used to kids so..." I start to say before I notice Carter's stare drift to my violin. His stare returns to me and I couldn't help but smile at seeing something that caught his attention. "Do you like music Carter?"
For the first time, Carter responds with a simple nod and I couldn't help the smile on my face.
"Cool," I answer as I glance at my violin before taking account of the piano under it. I walk over to the piano and take a seat on the bench. I look up at Carter and pat the seat next to me. He only watches me silently and I just sigh. I kept the smile on my face up anyways and placed my hands on the piano keys. A very slow and choppy melody fills the air and I couldn't help but giggle at how badly I was failing at this.
Tristan and Elijah had finished their meeting earlier than expected. Elijah had then gone to search for Griselda but had no luck in finding her. He did find Aya in the midst of his search. She was glancing outside a room but not entering it. Elijah knew that this was very suspicious behavior and when he cleared his throat, Aya's slight jump confirmed it.
"What are you up to, Aya?" Elijah asks her as she turns around to see him.
"Nothing of trouble," she responds.
"Oh really?" Elijah asks her sarcastically.
Aya couldn't help the smile on her face as she nodded towards the door.
"I couldn't help myself," she answers as she looked to the window of the door. "She's good with kids."
Elijah didn't understand about who Aya was talking about until he glanced through the door and noticed Griselda on the piano. He could hear how badly her playing was but the melody continued. A young boy was watching her and he slowly inched forward. Griselda didn't pay him much time until he slowly took a seat next to her. Griselda stopped playing and looked down at the boy with a soft smile.
"I'm not good at the piano, but my boyfriend is." Griselda tells him as she played a few keys. "He can play the piano with the same grace I play the violin with. It's beautiful to watch."
Elijah couldn't help but smile as he heard that. Not just because Griselda had spoken about him, but because the young silent boy slowly placed his own hand on the keys. Griselda smiled at this before replaying the simple one-handed melody and he slowly matched it.
"This is the first time I've seen Carter act around like this with anybody," Aya tells him.
"I can say the same thing about her," Elijah replies as he watched Griselda continue to teach the young boy how to alternate his fingers to the keys.
"She'll be a great mother someday," Aya states before taking her leave.
Elijah knew that Aya meant well with the comment but it only served to unsettle him. The idea that he could never offer that to Griselda hurt him. She would never have the chance to carry a child and bear it with him. The idea of having her own family was taken from her. Elijah couldn't watch them anymore and took his leave. His mind was now heavy with these thoughts and he needed to clear them out.
I spent the whole afternoon with Carter. I taught him more short simple melodies on the piano before I ran out. After that he seemed contempt to just hear me play the violin. The time spent together was simple and I had done all of the talking. Even though he didn't talk to me, he seemed more relax than before and I took that as improvement. As I told Aya, I dropped him back to the daycare before dinner with promise that I'll see him again tomorrow. This caused him to smile at me for the first time and it shocked Mrs. Langue as well as me.
I wasn't in the mood to spend an hour with Strix members for dinner so I opted to return to my room and have dinner brought to me instead. After I told Aaron of my intended plans, I started to make my way back to the room only to find a waiter already bringing up dinner.
"Wow, vampire serving service does have some fast perks," I whisper as I opened the door for the man who was wheeling in dinner. It wasn't until I stepped inside did I realize that the fast dinner service was due to the man working on the desk. Elijah didn't pay the waiter any mind and so he didn't notice me step in.
"Are you avoiding the dinner company as well?" I ask Elijah, startling him in the process.
"I didn't realize you came in," Elijah replies.
"I snuck in with the waiter," I answer. "Which by the way, dinner's here."
Elijah turned around and found the set table served. I smiled at him and motioned him over to come eat. He hesitates, a sign that something was obviously wrong, before slowly standing up and making his way to the table. I took the seat across from him and was concerned by the unusual silence.
"Something's wrong." I state after a while. My mind jumps to the worst possible conclusion as he looks up to me with a pained expression. "Did something happen to Luka or Jonas? My brother? Are they ok?"
"Everything is fine in Mystic Falls," Elijah answers. "Your brother is still mourning your loss and Jonas and Luka are working with Elena to find the witches' burial ground. Everything is going according to plan."
"Then what's wrong?" I ask him, a bit more relaxed but not quite. "I can see that's something is causing you trouble. What is it?"
Elijah sighs and pushes away his plate. His eyes avoid me and he focuses on the hanging portrait above his desk.
"Elijah..." I begin to call out to him before he finally turns to look at me.
"Have you ever thought of having children?" Elijah asks me.
"Is this what all of this is about?" I laugh out, breaking the heavy tension in the room. I couldn't help the laughter escaping my throat due to relief.
"Griselda, this isn't a laughing subject." Elijah says with a still grim expression.
His heavy tone cut my laughter short and I was confused as to why Elijah was so upset about this subject. It was obvious from the very start of our relationship how things were going to be, but it was too early to have this conversation.
"You're a vampire and I'm human." I state. "It's not that hard to see how the idea of having a family is not going to happen between us."
Elijah seemed surprised by this and I could only shake my head at him.
"Of course in another life I would have loved to have kids." I tell him. "Raise them unlike how my grandparents raised me. Having a household based on love and freedom of choice, not fear and disappointment."
"Then why not?" Elijah asks me. "You can still have that."
"Why are you asking me this, Elijah?" I ask him instead. "Why are you so stubborn about this topic?"
"Because I can't give you this, Griselda." Elijah answers. "And if I'm holding you back, maybe we should..."
"Don't you dare say it." I interrupt. "Don't."
Elijah closes his open mouth and I take a very deep breath.
"If you dare say that we should go our separate ways, after everything we've been through, I would... I can't..."
I shakily take another deep breath as I try to stop the rising tears from falling. Elijah's whole demeanor changes as he gets out of his seat and pulls me out of mine. He embraces me and I just wrap my arms around him and relax.
"I'm sorry," Elijah answers. "I didn't mean to upset you."
I couldn't help but tearfully laugh into his chest.
"It's ok," I answer. "I just feel more now and I'm still struggling with that new aspect of myself."
Elijah presses a soft kiss on my forehead and wipes away the stray tears.
"What started this conversation of kids, huh?" I ask Elijah with curiosity. His eyes lighten up at that which confirms my rising suspicions. "You saw me with Carter today, didn't you?"
Elijah nods at this and I couldn't help but chuckle.
"When and how long?" I ask him.
"I saw you play the piano and heard you say how the piano wasn't your forte." Elijah answers. He looks down at me with a bright smile. "You called me your boyfriend."
"I mean... I didn't... we haven't decided on labels but you are..." I stumble in my words and I could feel the warmth of my blush. "We're together, kissing and sleeping on the same bed, so yeah... boyfriend."
Elijah couldn't help but chuckle at that and I narrowed my eyes at him.
"How long did you stay?" I ask him.
"Not too long," Elijah answers. "Up to the point where Carter started to play alongside with you. Aya commented how you would be a great mother someday and I couldn't get that idea out of my head."
"Believe me, neither can I." I answer honestly.
The time I had spent with Carter was eye opening. Once upon a time, so long ago, I did dream of having a family but after Noah's death and my search for Klaus that dream was forgotten. Carter reminded me of that fantasy of mine and I couldn't get it out of my head.
"Elijah, just so you know, you're not taking something away from me." I confess to him. "How can you lose something you never had?"
Elijah narrows his eyes at me, confused as to what I just said.
"What do you mean, Griselda?"
I bite my lip and pull myself slightly out of his arms. I twirl the ring on my finger as a slight distraction before taking a deep breath and facing him once more.
"I mean... I don't have the ability to have a child." I answer. "I had a choice and I made it."
"Please explain," Elijah says with a furrowed brow. "You're not making much sense."
I motion for Elijah to take a seat again and he does. I pace for awhile, trying to find a way to explain this well before just giving in.
"Everything comes with a price, and I knew mine and I still took it,” I tell him. “Sealia explained to me that every time my ring brought me back to life that I was reducing the chance of creating it. I had only died once and I didn’t care. It’s been 3 years since then and I’ve died a hundred times. Even if I wanted to have a normal life with some normal person, I wouldn’t be able to have that family. I gave that fantasy up when I started hunting Klaus down.”
I step towards him and take his hands in mine.
"I actually hadn’t expected to come this far, find someone else to love, and have this idea of being a mother implanted in my mind." I tell him. "I never thought I would want all of this again. The idea of a happy life being so close to my grasp but..."
"But what?" Elijah asks me.
"I made a name for myself." I say with a shrug. "Vampires will be after me and having a kid around would just add another weakness I have. They'll come after him to get to me."
"And added with the enemies that I have, they'll come for him too." Elijah responds. "Let's not forget Klaus himself. He'll use Carter at his advantage."
"Carter?" I ask him surprised. "Where does..."
I trail off as I take notice of Elijah's knowing eyes.
"I saw how you acted around him," Elijah answers. "He makes you happy."
"Adopting Carter... it shouldn't be about how it makes me feel, it's more about how he feels." I tell Elijah. "Yes he finally interacted with someone but he hasn't said a word."
"You're right," Elijah replies. "But you still have time to change that."
"Would you really want to adopt a child with me?" I ask him. "Isn't that too soon?"
"I once had a big family and I lost them," Elijah tells me. "Of course I would love to have a family of my own and with you by my side."
"But we can't do that now." I answer. "Not when we have Klaus to worry about and everything in Mystic Falls." I shake my head at the thought of it. "I can't just pop back into town alive and with a kid. My brother would completely freak and Jonas and Luka would not let me hear the end of it..."
"Then we'll finish what we started and we'll come back here." Elijah replies.
"We'll see," I answer hesitantly. "With Klaus, you never know what will happen."
Third POV, Mystic Falls
Jenna had had a long day. Alaric had been avoiding her for the past few days and with John still staying over and Elena and Jeremy being rarely at home, she felt paranoid. Something was going on that she didn't know about. Especially as Elijah had disappeared all of a sudden and so did Griselda. Every time she mentioned the couple, someone would change the subject. Jenna hated the secrecy and the lies and had drowned herself in alcohol because of it. Now she was back at home, eating ice cream, as Elena came to join her.
"Are John and Jeremy asleep?" Jenna asks her.
"I think so." Elena responds.
Elena knew what Jenna had been up to and had made sure she came back home safely. She didn't know what to tell Jenna. She knew that this wasn't Alaric's fault but her own. It was the only way Elena could keep Jenna safe and so that's why Jenna was still oblivious of everything occurring in Mystic Falls.
She had yet to find the burial ground. Damon had hinted that he knew but was refusing to tell her the location. Jonas and Luka were pressuring her to find out since Damon refused to let them in on their kill Klaus mission. With Elijah still roaming around, Damon refused to trust the two volunteering witches and that was putting Elena between a stone and a hard place. She was getting close though. Damon seemed to be ready to trust everyone with the location.
"If I go to bed, right now. There's a chance I'll wake up hangover-free." Jenna mumbles to Elena. Before Elena could respond, the doorbell rings.
"Who's that?" Jenna asks as she rose from her seat.
Jenna hands the ice cream carton to Elena and walks to the front door. Elena takes Jenna's seat and was about to take a bite of ice cream before suspicion and paranoia got to her. Who would be knocking at their door at this hour? The only time this happened was Griselda and soon Elena jumped at the idea that Elijah was back.
Elena made her way to Jenna and finds that she's already opened the door. The person standing outside was the last person she had expected to come visit.
"Hi! You must be Jenna... I'm Elena's Mother."
Jenna steps away in shock, knowing that Isabel was the missing, thought dead, wife of Alaric. She looks back at Elena in surprise, waiting for an explanation. Elena had nothing to say as she herself was wrapping her mind at this new bombshell.