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Nigel Holmes
Nights in Trench Coats Pt 2
Sun Nov 19, 2006 14:43
74.128.174.83

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 that time the student was proficient at babbling and winging it as they went along, or they were seriously screwed when it came time to write their thesis. No, it was just a four hundred level linguistics class. He just really hated reading Greek with all the foreign symbols. Sighing, and settling a pair of earphones on his head tuned to some satellite radio news station, he went to work beneath the dim desk lamp’s glow.

It wasn’t long into his readings – just on the third paper – when the murmured voice in his ear caught him. Nigel stopped trying to read the terrible grammar the paper was composed of, and turned his attention to the news broadcast. Out of the corner of his eye, his saw Lara shift in her sleep. The woman seemed restless, one arm tugging futilely at the blankets.

“... that was Duran Duran's The Reflex and I'm Casey Kasem. In our next half hour, I'll be interviewing Harald McGrath, author of the newly released, and unauthorized, biography of Eddie Sorensen. I understand there are some explosive secrets that you've uncovered, including an old police report charging one of the band members with molesting Eddie's daughter Laramie?”

“That's right, Casey. I was surprised to find the report, actually. His manager was ruthless about squelching any hint of wrongdoings from the public...”


Nigel was immensely glad the woman was asleep now, because his jaw had just dropped to the floor. Mentally picking it up and dusting it off, he closed his mouth with a click of the teeth and pressed the power button on the damn radio. Setting the headphones aside, the professor fetched himself another drink. It wasn’t his place to pry or get involved. Lara was simply his little brother’s friend and band mate – that was weird to say, even in his head – and he offered a shoulder when the dope wasn’t around. That was it.

Two drinks later and easily halfway through the immense stack of papers on the desk, Nigel was feeling rather pleased with himself. After all, who wouldn’t be? One would think that a fourth year student – or one taking level four hundred classes – wouldn’t have red ink all over their paper. Yet there it was. He was ruthless enough to use a permanent marker, knowing how much the kids hated it. All right, so now he saw why his old professors enjoyed tormenting the students; it was fun. At least sometimes.

He was beginning to think of calling it a night after the next paper or two, when a quiet whimper caught his attention. At first he thought maybe it was the dog that the neighbor walked at odd hours of the morning, but the sound came again, quickly followed by a muffled sob. Quirking a brow, Nigel had enough peace of mind to check on Lara to make certain she was all right, and then he would head to bed.

But, of course, she wasn’t ‘all right’. The young woman was sobbing her heart out into the pillow, and he wasn’t really certain if she was actually awake or not. Where the hell was Benny when you actually needed him for something besides lifting a heavy piece of furniture? For a few long moments, Nigel stared down at Lara, almost feeling… conflicted. Hadn’t he stopped doing this seduction act? It seemed all too familiar to ‘help’ a woman through some hard time and roll with the punches.

Sighing, he settled on the edge of the bed and leaned against the headboard before daring to touch Lara’s shoulder. She stilled almost at once, but the muscles were tense. Maybe the quack on the radio was right. Who the hell knew? Well, the woman in his surrogate bed did, but that was beside the point. “Lara, it’s just me…” Nigel tried to make his voice as soothing as possible, wincing when it came out like some cheesy seductive line.

Imagine his surprise when she rolled over and let out a sob, right into his chest. Sighing, and thinking Jay would absolutely kill him if she saw him like this right now, Nigel gently rubbed her neck and shoulders, easing some of the ache there as best he could. All the while murmuring platitudes in her ear with a soothing tenor of voice. Amazingly? It worked! After a short while Lara resume her slumber while he gently dried her tears, trying not to wake her. She just must not have been awake, that was all. Quietly tucking a few strands of hair behind her ear, he took stock of the situation. Glass of whiskey on the desk with the light still on, papers not graded on the desk, and a woman that had his arm pinned beneath her head.

Well, you win some, you lose some.

Nigel woke God knows how many hours later with the slam of a door just down the hallway. Cringing at how his neck felt, he took a chance to glance down at Lara, who had rolled over in her sleep and was only using his hand to hold now. Well, that was easily escaped from, allowing him to head off to the bathroom. After washing his hands and forsaking the papers that littered the desk, he dumped out the old whiskey – Declan would have killed him for that one – and rummaged through the fridge for breakfast. Coming up with some suitable items a bit later, which consisted of everything from potatoes to other assorted veggies, he began to methodically dice and chop his way towards a meal.

Once it was all dumped into the cast iron skillet, Nigel cleaned his hands off and plucked his cell phone off the table. The little digital display told him it was only nine in the morning, but Dad would be awake. So he dialed.

Holmes residence, James speaking. Why was he still so proper?

“Hey Dad, it’s me.” Nigel paused, flipping the skillet’s contents a few times. “Where the hell is Benny?”

Asleep, upstairs. Maybe. I saw him come in last night. Why? It wasn’t like James to not care about where his children had been, which likely meant Benny had come home absolutely lit, and the old army officer was pissed.

“I ran into Lara on the Square last night, crying her eyes out. Why the hell wasn’t he with her on the anniversary?” He spoke like he knew this all along. Hah! An outsider only twelve hours ago, my my, how things changed quickly.

God help me. All right, I’ll go get him up and find Lara—

“No, don’t bother. She stayed here last night, didn’t really look much like she wanted to be alone.” Benny was probably having the time of his life, being the drummer and backup singer for one of the newest and hottest bands out on the circuit. “I’ll see if she wants to stop by later, okay?”

Sure, sure. Tell her I said hello, she knows she’s always welcome here. And the distinct click of a phone being hung up buzzed over the line. Well, that was that. Frowning at the cell phone, and then at the pan which threatened to burn breakfast, Nigel cursed and quickly recovered the food. Jesus, where the hell was his head?

Eggs were started after that, and just within his peripheral vision did the professor notice someone finally moving out from beneath the covers. Well, one long leg did, then the woman bolted upright, hair flying wildly. Bite your tongue, bite your tongue! Tending to breakfast while she gained her bearings, he glanced over at the right time, just when she decided to stumble out of the bed.

“Morning sunshine.” There wasn’t even a wry note to his tone, completely conversational as he began brewing a pot of strong coffee. There was no way he was going to get through this day without it. His neck and back were killing him. “My father said…” Pausing, Nigel managed a pretty fair imitation of the aging Holmes, complete with gruff voice. “Hello… and, You know you’re always welcome here.” Flashing her a quick grin, he quick scrambled some eggs into a hot pan and whipped them up. “C’mon, take a seat.” Motioning to the table with the spatula, even waving it at her in a teasingly threatening fashion if she really didn’t sit down. Didn’t give much thought to the fact that she was wearing his top, and he wore only the bottoms. Had likely been in this position far too often to care any more.

“Here you go,” came a minute later. It definitely wasn’t the healthiest meal in the world, but it wasn’t the omelets that Devon cooked up either. Skillet fried potatoes, veggies, spices, and some scrambled eggs. A bachelor’s meal, but at least a bachelor that could cook. Some orange juice completed the table after he grabbed the morning coffee. “Seriously though, I know Dad wouldn’t mind seeing you later. He likes you, which has to mean something good.” Briefly he paused, sizing her up. “That or maybe he wants to run some secret government experiment on you? Nah.”

So his humor wasn’t the crudest around, and the wit was a little higher than usual. Regardless, he didn’t mention a thing about the night before, and the only way any one would know it was by their current clothing predicament. He could always wash her clothes right quick if she wanted, or at least steam them so they didn’t look like hell when they walked out the door.

But the silence definitely wasn’t uncomfortable.

  • Nights in Trench Coats Pt 1Nigel Holmes, Sun Nov 19 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... more
    • Nights in Trench Coats Pt 2 — Nigel Holmes, Sun Nov 19 14:43
      • 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
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                “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
                    • NotesLara, Sun Jan 14 23:57
                      Omelets. The smell drew her from beneath the covers. Borrowing a tee shirt for modesty’s sake, and deciding that if Nigel was man enough not to mention her nudity then she would do the same, Lara... more
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