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Nigel Holmes
Nights in Trench Coats Pt 1
Sun Nov 19, 2006 14:43

“Professor Holmes!”

… Not again! Nigel hunched his shoulders, as if that were actually going to make him smaller in this instance. Already students had been harassing him on campus. His office hours were booked beyond capacity, and he was working well past dark, though that didn’t amount to much this time of year. Well it did when all of your classes were morning and early afternoon sessions! He had even resorted to giving his cell phone number to a few unfortunate students that seemed to be having an exceptional amount of trouble with their work.

God, he hated Midterms. Finals were worse, but at least that was a test and not an essay paper, in most cases. He was an idiot, why didn’t he just become a lazy professor like the old blokes in the antiquities department?

“Hey, Holmes!” Crap. His steps slowed, hands fidgeting with the satchel slung over his head, the strap resting on his shoulder taking most of the weight. He really didn’t want to turn around, because the voice was familiar. Very familiar. “Hey!” Rachel Beaumont possessed an amazingly bubbly personality, one that could grate on your nerves after a while. She had moved up in the world though, no longer his graduate student, but instead professor’s aide. It allotted her a small pittance for all the work, but at least he had time for family. Occasionally. “Wow, who pissed in your Cheerio’s, mister?”

“Very cute, Rache. Its cold as hell out here, give me a break.” The woman was stylish, normally the type he would have gone straight for if she wasn’t working beneath him. Straight, highlighted hair, intelligent, and holy mother of—“What in the hell are you wearing?!”

“Like it?” The young woman spun about, a pleased smile lifting the corners of her painted lips. He really didn’t know what to make of her clothing. He thought he had seen revealing stuff before, but those people had nothing on this! It was a keyhole pattern dress, except maybe the designer had run out of fabric. Extremely short, extremely flattering to the figure… Damn. She was insane.

“You’re insane,” Nigel muttered, shaking his head. “Don’t think I’ll let you off next week if you’re out with pneumonia. Not after wearing that get up.” The woman snorted, but demurred and ceased flaunting her body in various poses that were garnering the attraction of quite a few men – and women for that matter. “Did you get those quizzes graded? Oh, and the copies of—”

“On your desk. And I thought you were a slave driver when I was your student!” But the smile took any sting out of Rachel’s words, who was being called over by some friends that were crossing the velvet rope line into some swanky club. “I’ll see you Monday morning!” she called over a shoulder, already bouncing off.

Seriously, people were simply insane. Or at least, he was beginning to this she was after witnessing the various poses in that outfit. Nigel shook his head, unable to imagine Jay in something like that. Then again, they didn’t have the greatest relationship right now, either. Cringing not-so-inwardly, the professor hitched his coat shut and adjusted the satchel before plowing onward, down the street and through the Square.

This was nearly impossible, taking so much time it was ridiculous. Why did Declan have to live so damn close to the university? And the bastard still had a working car! Which was currently in storage, but the Irishman had offered to let him use it since the Taurus was in the shop – again. Well, he had found out about being able to borrow Declan’s car after speaking with him on the telephone. And Nigel had taken the initiative, calling him, and whoever answered knew who he was after stating his name. There had been a flurry of sound, and a quiet chastisement in the background about how the older woman didn’t know Declan’s ‘friend’ knew their native language. God help him.

That was what had drawn him into his current line of work, honestly. It had been a fascination with languages, archaic and modern, quickly falling in love with several. It had seemed for the longest time he would be a permanent bachelor and student. Well, one of those things was still true. But studying a country’s language was only a sliver of what a person could learn. Soon he had gone into politics, marketing, and finally archaeology. It seemed like a natural progression, since he really had no affinity for the other things. Language he knew, it was easy to read, easy to write, even easy to speak. There was comfort in returning something well beyond his years to a rightful resting place, made him happy in some small way.

Nigel was soon pulled out of his reverie with a grunt as a passerby ran into his shoulder. That would serve him right, wouldn’t it? Wandering along the Square completely not paying attention. Sighing, he plowed onward, fastening his trench coat shut with a gloved hand, fumbling a bit. He was cold, never had the affinity for the cooler climate of New York, even growing up here. Didn’t know how Bennett could run around in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter, the kid was nuts. Of course, there was haven on the corner. A brightly lit green sight that spun about on a pole, declaring fresh coffee. Starbucks! I’m saved! Nigel thought with a giddy giggle, rushing in through the doors as soon as possible. Coffee was what he needed. God, did he ever need it.

“Poor thing…” It was the manager – who would have thought management possessed a heart in a national chain? – that drew his attention. At first Nigel thought the woman was talking about himself, but her gaze was off in another direction, towards the seating area of the establishment. A small group of girls were huddled about a table, along with several waitresses, and an elderly couple. The woman was patting a young female’s shoulder as if consoling her. The professor almost turned his attention away, but the receiver of consolation finally turned her face up to reveal reddened eyes and drying tears upon her cheeks, a face that was fairly familiar considering everything.

“Can I get a tall mocha latte? No foam.” There wasn’t a line, and the people behind the counter weren’t doing anything but staring. It afforded in maybe a minute of time to study the woman, recognition slowly clicking in his mind. Her face never seemed so distressed any other time. And she was seriously overwhelmed right now. “Thanks,” he murmured for the latte, before stepping over to the crowd.

“Lara.” Nigel was surprised when the group of gawkers parted for him, and felt even more surprised when the young woman went with him willingly. Without a word. Keeping her snugly to his side, the professor watched the young musician keep her face turned down toward the pavement, sniffling coming every few moments. It was only until the crowd thinned out that he slowed their steps and moved away from her, offering up the latte. Maybe a bit of caffeine would get her breathing to calm down.

“You are Lara, right? Bennett’s friend.” He was beginning to doubt his powers of observation, which normally never failed him. But the young woman had said nothing, and still didn’t. But the way she answered to his brother’s name gave him hope. “Nigel Holmes. If you’ll permit me a brash statement, you look like hell.” He couldn’t help but wonder if Benny had upset her.

“Yeah, well, it’s been a hell of a day.” Obviously.

“Why is that?” Nigel paused, astonished at his own behavior for a brief moment, before backpedaling. “Sorry, probably too personal a question.” He was being stared at. Shit.

“Because… my dad died today.” There went the sniffles again, though he could understand to a degree. “Well, ten years ago today.” That was an awfully long time.

“Ah. I’m sorry. Who was he?” Bennett had mentioned she came from a musical family, but he wasn’t especially into his brother’s taste in music, rock included. There came the stare again. Jesus, he was stepping on her toes a lot, wasn’t he? But soon enough an arm raised, finger pointed at the Titantron on the Square.

“Eddie Sorensen. He overdosed.” Ah. It always seemed to be that way with rock stars, at least the good ones. Watching the video, inscribed with the words, “In Memory Of…” at the bottom, he listened for a few moments to realize he had heard some of the man’s songs. Huh, and this was Benny’s friend?

“I’m sorry, Lara. May I give you a ride home?” Nigel’s eyes widened with her abrupt response, and he could only wonder how to take it. The hiccups were coming to an end, but the sniffles and watery eyes were not.

“Where’s Benny? Were you supposed to meet him back there?” Usually people told him to shut up with all the questions about this time, but not Miss Lara. Instead she glanced down at the coffee cup, fiddling with it. Well then, that was settled. She could stay with him for the night, judging by her emotional state, it wasn’t wise to leave the girl to her own antics.

The walk to Declan’s apartment was short, literally right off of the Square. He was pretty sure it cost the Irish boxer a fortune, but he seemed to like where he was just fine. Nigel explained about his cohort in crime being away on vacation, though wasn’t going to explain that he was staying here because of the state of his home at current. Beyond shambles. Some men were working to repair it now.

Lara was quiet the entire time, following him up the stairs without huffing or puffing, and only giving a vague nod when he mentioned the studio apartment was modified from a two bedroom. But the woman seemed more like a zombie instead of a living person, and he couldn’t help but wonder how he’d react if she suddenly lunged at him screaming, ‘Braaaains!’ God, he had been watching way too many late-night terror flicks on the Sci-Fi channel again. The girl just didn’t seem to have a way with words right now.

Frowning as he took her coat, Nigel went over to the collapsible wardrobe, pulling down a set of pajamas. The pants would fall right off her, but the top would do, along with a pair of boxers. So it wasn’t the most honorable looking thing, but he doubted she was going to care right now. Once Lara began to eye the sofa hungrily, he turned her around with a point to the bed, and wordlessly handed over the clothing. If she was in this kind of shape after ten years of mourning… What the hell had happened?

While Lara changed, Nigel went into the kitchen. He needed a stiff drink after today, and the girl obviously did as well. Two doubles it was! The professor figured it was safe to step back into the main room proper when he heard her set down the telephone after a brief message. One glass was set upon the desk, another in her hand. “Here. Drink this up and ignore the burn.”

“Thank you.” Very quiet. Where the hell was his oaf of a brother? It was late – really late – but he was still tempted to ring the little bastard up and find out why he wasn’t with Lara if she was in this kind of shape. It only took a moment to help her situate the heavy down comforter before plucking up the glass.

“Good night, Lara.”

“Good night, Mist—Nigel.” Snorting a laugh, he turned off the bedside lamp and went off into the kitchen to put the glass in the sink. By the time he walked past her to change in the bathroom, Lara was already breathing quietly, and evenly, which was by far more important. His clothing was hung in a garment bag hanging off the back of the bathroom door, and finally changed into a pair of pajama bottoms; the man was ready to sleep. He wished.

  • Memories Pt 2Lara Sorensen, Sun Nov 19 00:11
    “Why is that?” He quirked a brow, much like a Vulcan. “Sorry, probably too personal a question.” Lara stared at him. “Because … my dad died today.” Another hiccup, they were slowing down now. “Well,... more
    • Nights in Trench Coats Pt 1 — Nigel Holmes, Sun Nov 19 14:43
      • Nights in Trench Coats Pt 2Nigel Holmes, Sun Nov 19 14:43
        He wouldn’t have minded being able to curl up in bed – er, on the sofa at least – but there was a stack of papers waiting on the desk to be read through. At least it wasn’t for a graduate class, by... more
        • Knights in Blue DenimLara, Sun Nov 19 22:20
          One minute she was practically dead to world. The next, mere seconds after a foot slid away from the cocoon of warmth and encountered the chill of an early New York morning, Lara awoke with a... more
          • Red Leather WoesNigel Holmes, Mon Nov 27 01:16
            “See, I really should have taken the couch last night. C’mere.” Nigel stared at the woman that was the very epitome of an abomination before his eyes. First he received a compliment on his cooking –... more
            • Tea Totaling Pt 1Laramie, Wed Dec 13 00:40
              It was sitting on her pillow. The rose bore a black satin ribbon just below the leaves. The crimson silk of her sheets were barely a shade darker than the petals, allowing the note beneath the flower ... more
              • Tea Totaling Pt 2Laramie, Wed Dec 13 00:42
                Nevertheless, she eased herself into the off-white sleeveless gown, and ignored the suspicion that she looked more like Mae West than the character she'd be portraying. At least Jay wouldn't be... more
                • Crash & BurnHolmes, Sun Dec 17 10:18
                  “Lucifer, where’s the large suitcase?” “Back of the closet, top shelf!” Caleb scraped a hand over the daily growth of beard he somehow hadn’t managed to shave this morning. It had been early, very... more
                  • The Danger ZoneMichael | Laramie, Tue Dec 19 21:56
                    Mick stared down at the prone lump on the ground, vaguely wondering if he’d hit the young man too hard. Devon was still catching his breathe from pulling one brother away from the other, a hard glint ... more
                    • More than Traveling WoesHolmes, Sat Jan 13 19:30
                      Note: Italicized text is spoken Italian. Caleb hated trans-Atlantic flights. They were boring as hell, especially if you were stuck in a commercial airliner. Luckily for his family, they had not... more
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