Max raised her eyebrow towards Caroline. “You say that now, but when you give them that talk ten years down the line and they start puking everywhere all over your sure-to-be expensive carpets, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” She continued tapping her foot impatiently, getting aggravated with the slow pace in which they were moving forward. “Ha, parents warranting therapy sessions. I know all about that. The first time dearest mother and father told me that Aunt Caroline and Uncle Tyler were the same age as them and gave me the reason they never looked a day older than myself, I almost thought I had literally lost my mind. Seriously, I didn’t leave my room for days after that.” She laughed lightly, thinking back to how afraid she had been of the supernatural, and ironically now she was a part of it.
Finally, Caroline compelled them to the front of the line, bringing Max true Christmas joy as they walked past the dozens of people. The children went up to “Santa” to get their photos taken, and even Max couldn’t help but acknowledge how vomit-inducingly cute the entire thing was. She sighed, groaning a little. “I swear to god Bonnie cursed me or something. Seriously. My lack of a love life and… other things is just unnatural at this point. I mean, a partner I can understand not having but why the hell has it been so long since I last had… cuddles with someone”, she said, being cautious of the children that were near.
She laughed, shaking her head, “I think they’ll be fine. I’m not worried. They have a life time to forgive us. And really it’s not our fault. Most parents have time to get old and unattractive, the sex is supposed to dwindle. You’ve seen my husband, he’s going to look like that forever, of course my kids are going to be a little scarred when they discover that all of those ‘oh god’s they heard were not actually me praying.” She chuckled a little, adjusting the two coats over her arm as she waited for the kids to smile for their picture. “I’m sure that went over well. Despite the hybrid thing, Tyler and I were great aunt and uncle to you, Jenna, and John. We did lots of cool things with you guys. I don’t think most six year olds own anything from Chanel or have met every member of One Direction,” she said with a smile, nudging her gently.
When Max spoke of curses, Caroline gave her a look, “Bonnie did not curse you. She did a lot of horrible things from beyond the grave, but I don’t think she ever cursed you. It was mostly her trying to kill all of us.” She shook her head, not wanting to think about how screwed up the Bennett line was. She watched as Henrik hoped off Santa’s lap before turning to help Kiley. He was such a good older brother, Nik and Elijah had clearly taught him well. After the two kids ran back to Caroline and Max, the blonde scooped up her son, giving Max some time with Kiley. “Did you tell him everything you wanted?” she asked him, to which he nodded. “Good. I bet Santa will get you everything on your list.”
“Oh please, they may not know now, but eventually in ten years when you give them that talk, their little brains are gonna flashback to that time they went to see Santa at the mall with their dearest mother and their awesome Aunt Max, and Henrik’s gonna start projectile vomiting at the memory. You laugh now, but trust me, in this world it’s not like it no entirely plausible”, she said, laughing at the fact that their very existence proved that anything in the world could be possible. Max looked around, enjoying the sight of the Christmas decorations surrounding her. Of course, in her almost two centuries of existence technology had grown exponentially, and the mall had taken no liberties this year, with fake snow even falling softly above Santa. However, she groaned when she saw the line, turning towards Caroline. “Okay, are you going to compel them or am I going to have to myself”, she said under her breath.
Max sighed, rolling her eyes in a somewhat child-like manner. “Seven hundred years? You’re telling me I have to wait another five hundred to get la…. oooved?”, she diverted her sentence awkwardly, remembering the children surrounding her. She groaned, her eyebrows furrowing. ”May as well stake myself now if I have to wait that long. No way in hell am I waiting another five hundred years to have ex-nay in the… oh for god’s sake who am I kidding, I can’t talk in secret code and you know what I’m talking about.” She tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for the line to move forward. “Look, I know not to go after anyone who doesn’t deserve me. Why the hell do you think I’ve been single for this long? Because I don’t settle for anything less than me, so between that and the small amount of people they can actually handle me, it’s going to be a long road out of single-dom. As for that New York offer, I may have to take you up on that. I went to Amsterdam a couple of months ago where there’s plenty of there kind, but y’know… it was Amsterdam. They were into some freaky stuff over there”, she said, shuddering jokingly.
She gave Max a look. “They are so not going to remember one mention of the word when they were four and two. That’s just not going to happen. They will be fine. I have not scarred them for life. My father left my mother for another man when I was seven and I turned out fine so I think that they will survive living with Nik and I.” She said, shaking her head. “Besides, parts are supposed to be embarrassing, I’m just giving them material for their inevitable therapy sessions later on in life.” She said, letting out a small laugh as she adjusted Kiley on her hip. As she looked at the line, she wrinkled her nose. She knew she shouldn’t compel. She should wait in line like everyone else, but she still had to find a dress for Christmas for her and one for Kiley. “Fine,” she whispered back in the same hushed town. Making her way to the front of the line, she knew Elijah was going to kill her for this later, but she looked the line attendant in the eye, “The mayor’s niece and nephew get to go to the front of the line,” her eyes dilated as did the woman in front of her. “Go ahead.” She said pulling the rope aside for the four of them. If Caroline had a gift, it was most certainly compulsion.
“Better,” She asked Max as they waited for the current occupant of Santa’s lap to go back to her mother before it was their turn. She crouched down to Henrik’s level. “Now you have to tell Santa what you want for Christmas and you might have to help Kiley and tell him what she wants too. Do you think you can do that?” She asked him with a smile. “I can do it, Mommy.” He told her. “Good job sweetie.” She said as he took Kiley’s hand as they walked up to Santa. She turned to Max then. “No I’m not telling you to wait seven hundred years, I’m telling you that you never know when it’s going to happen. Look, I love you, you are a catch and you will find someone and have your own version of this,” she pointed towards Henrik and Kiley. “Whether that means kids or a dog or just a man to travel the globe and never settle in one place with is up to you. You will not be single forever, but I can’t give you an ETA on the love of your life. You just have to be open when it comes.”
Max pulled a disgusted face, quickly covering Henrik’s ears with her hand. “You did not just mention the S word in front of the child”, she gasped jokingly, whilst also being incredibly disgusted as well. She took her hands off, laughing at Henrik’s confused reaction. “Don’t worry munchkin, Mommy just said something mentally scarring”, she said with a laugh. Max groaned as she saw the amount of people in the mall, she may like Christmas, but she had always loathed the amount of people it forced her to come into contact with.
She looked over at Caroline, somewhat rolling her eyes. “But that’s the thing, Caroline. Where the hell do I find one? Every person I meet eventually runs off with their tail between their legs immediately after meeting me. And not to mention I’m a little more than a tad picky as to my romantic conquests. There’s very few people I deem worthy of my time, and then when I do, they just back off scared anyway.” She cast her mind back to Liam, her former best friend. For a while there, it seemed as if their friendship could progress further. But after a drunken one night stand he ran off without even so much as a goodbye, further proving to Max that she just wasn’t worth anyone’s time anymore.
“They are four and two, they have absolutely no notion of what that word means unless you give it meaning,” she said, laughing as Max went as far as to cover Henrik’s ears. Her children were far too young for the birds and the bees and she certainly wasn’t looking forward to ever having that conversation and them connecting the dots that all of the time they heard noises and walked in the room to their parents scrambling under the covers meant they had been engaging in some extracurricular activities. She was dreading that day really. The mall was decorated in a manner befitting even Caroline’s picky holiday tastes, complete with lights, fake snow, and enormous Christmas bulbs. She had to smile at the set up they had going, but she did not enjoy the line.
She walked over to it, silently debating whether or not to compel the people away when Max spoke again. “I think it probably takes time and I know that’s the last thing you want to hear, but look at Elijah and Katherine. It took them seven hundred years to pull it together and figure out how to make it work. You have all the time in the world and while I hate seeing you lonely. I think it’s better to be alone then be with someone who doesn’t deserve you. You know there’s always a guest bedroom with your name on it in New York. There’s A LOT of our kind there. So many options.” She offered.
Max side-eyed Caroline, fighting the laugh that was threatening to spill out of her mouth. “You know, with how whipped your husband is I’m starting to think he’s not that scary after all. You on Christmas eve might be more terrifying than him if I’m being perfectly honest.” She knew how neurotic Caroline could be, especially during something as important as Christmas, and she dreaded to think what she would be like with two children’s Christmases at stake.
After finally finding a park after what seemed like hours scouring for one, Caroline immediately set to taking the two children out of the car. Henrik immediately headed towards Max on his mother’s instructions. Holding out his tiny little hand to her own. Grabbing it, she watched with awe as Caroline took her daughter out of the car, the look of love on her face undeniable. If she was being completely honest, Max had to admit she was slightly jealous of what Caroline had. A family to call her own. And not just close family friends or ancestors, a real family, something Max doubted she’d ever have. Shaking away the thought, the two walked side by side with the children near. “Well that may be true, but a) I don’t even have a heartbeat. And b) I don’t know if it’s my winning sense of humour or the fact that I’m about two hundred years older than the average person, but something about me seems to send men running off the moment they meet me. I think sometimes I’m a little too intimidating for my own good. Y’know, this talent for sarcasm I have that everyone just loves doesn’t always work in my favour”, she said with a hint of ironic sarcasm.
She smirked, “He really is whipped and I have to laugh when he tries to deny it. It’s adorable when he tries to assert his authority, play the ‘I’m the original hybrid, most powerful creature in the world’ card. Then I either bribe him with sex or threatening him with something seemingly harmless but truly annoying like Justin Beiber. Keeps them in line. Life lessons from your Aunt Caroline here, Max. They may be powerful, but they are still men. We can win because our brains don’t turn off the second a naked girl is sitting in front of us.” She chuckled, adjusting her hold on Kiley as they entered the busy mall. With everyone attending to their last minute Christmas shopping, it seemed busier than usual, but Caroline knew it wouldn’t be a problem.
She gave Max a look, “It’s a figure of speech and if you are that intimidating, then you clearly aren’t going after the right guys. You and I are strong women and we need equally strong and fierce men to balance us out. Look at Nik and I, or Katherine and Elijah, Charlie and Kol, Damon and Isabella. You need the balance. That’s why I married Nik. Your dad and Uncle Tyler couldn’t handle me,” She teased, knowing she would probably embarrass Max, but that was practically her job.