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Knights in Blue Denim
Sun Nov 19, 2006 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 vengeance and sat straight up in bed. Unruly curls cavorted around her shoulders, momentarily blinding her to an unfamiliar room. Which wasn’t all that strange, considering how many hotels she’d crashed in over the last year, but this one was devoid of the oh-so-charming(not!) beige wallpaper that grated on her sensibilities.

“Morning, sunshine. 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.” Lara frowned, absently as she crawled out of bed, much steadier on her feet then the previous day. Using an overly long sleeve to rub the sleep out of her eyes, she approached the table cautiously, various aromas insidiously taking control of her brain. It wasn’t hard to settle down at his bidding and then eye the plate of food soon plonked in front of her.

Definitely beat the take out that Benny usually ordered.

“I like James. He’s got a really wicked sense of humor,” Lara grinned impishly before attacking the eggs. She didn’t talk again until the plate was completely empty, leaning back in the chair with a sated sigh. “Not bad. I think I’ll take your cooking over the roadie cook. He thinks lard is a food group by itself.” Head tilted, eyes briefly obscured by the mass of hair. “Could be right, for all I…”

No more tears. No more staring. Wait. Rescind that. She was staring again, watching the subtle tension across his shoulders. “See, I really should have taken the couch last night. C’mere.” Rising of her chair in much the same way that a knight would dismount from his horse, she took her plate to the sink, stealing Nigel’s along the way. Good thing that it had been licked clean as well.

And then she pointed at the couch, resembling nothing so much as a womanly spectre without all the pale skin and gothic dress. “Sit.” Sure, it took a few minutes of keeping her gaze locked on his until Benny’s brother finally gave up and settled himself on one end, but that meant she won.


His breath hitched once she’d scurried up behind him, bare knees blocking his equally bare torso. Another quick breath as artistic fingers settled across his shoulders, though he expelled the air pretty quick when she pinched him.

“It’s my fault you’re sore. Stop squirming and lemme repay you, ok?”

Sheesh. Were all men this squeamish about massages? It wasn’t as if she were a complete novice in this regard, though it was true she was a far cry from the vaunted Swedish experts – first hand knowledge gained somewhat painfully. In Sweden, naturally. So it was in all seriousness that Lara rooted out and undone most of the knots garnered from Nigel’s unusual sleeping position, quietly humming a wordless tune. When his entire frame relaxed on its own, the singer knew her efforts had not entirely been in vain. Easing herself away proved harder, especially when it appeared that he’d fallen asleep. But freedom prevailed, allowing the house guest to sneak quietly across the hardwood floors and claim the bathroom. Once nature had taken its course, she shrugged out of the borrowed clothes and hung them neatly on the hooks against the back of the door.

The mirror was set pretty high, but Lara managed to get a peek at herself by balancing between the toilet and the sink for a minute. Eyes puffy from prolonged crying, a reddened nose; it was a wonder she hadn’t been mistaken for Rudolph, especially with the brown hair. Oh, well. Nothing to do but get cleaned up. It didn’t take more than ten seconds to pry open the walk-in shower (now this was the kind of bathroom she wanted in her own house), figuring out that the glass was the special sort that frosted over once the stall was occupied.

Always a plus.

Borrowing some sort of organic shampoo, she spent the next twenty minutes vigorously cleaning herself up from the previous evening’s pity fest before turning off what was left of the hot water and drying herself off with a towel big enough for the jolly green giant. There was a stack of new toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet; Lara snagged one and made a mental note to formally meet this Declan fellow and thank him for the hospitality, then automatically looked around for her clothes.

Which were dirty and folded on a chair near the bed. Damnit.

Making the towel as secure as possible, she unlocked the door and sauntered as casually into the living room as a woman could dressed only in a towel. A bright yellow towel, no less. Nigel was standing in front of the sink, still in his pajama bottoms, rinsing a glass before placing it in a rack to dry. Both plates, the second glass, and the cooking skillet were obviously recently cleaned. “Your clothes are pretty …ah,” he paused, glancing up to smile casually, “I can get them washed and dried before noon if you’d like.”

“Yes, thank you.”

Lara moved up behind him, placing a hand against one shoulder blade to see if her tension demolition had held. Muscles rippled silently under her fingers, but Nigel seemed pretty calm. “Next time you cook breakfast for me, I’ll do the dishes ok? It’s only fair that the chef gets to relax.” As if there was going to be a ‘next time’. Never the less, she felt bad that he’d gone to that extra trouble on her behalf – and here she was playing Lack-A-Daisy queen.

“Hopefully, there is some hot water left—“

The rapid fire knocking against the door drowned out the rest of her quiet statement, causing an involuntary step back towards Nigel for … protection? Awe, hell, she’d begun channeling Captain Kirk. Any port in a storm, right? Her host stepped around her, inquiring loudly as to the identity of the noisemaker, and then hurried across to open the door once he recognized his father’s voice.

James was standing in the hallway, with a hung-over and sullen Benny looming behind him. “Good morning Nigel …Lara.” He eyed her poor state of dress with military precision before offering a large paper bag, the kind you put groceries in, towards the singer.

“I thought you might appreciate a change of clothing. My daughter Moira wore these years ago, so you’ll have to roll up the pants, but they should fit.”

Lara picked her jaw up off the floor a few moments later, a happy blush staining her cheeks. “That was … how can I repay…” She valiantly held back the chance to start sniffling, instead darting forward to plant a kiss against the patriarch’s cheek before grabbing the bag and scooting right back into the bathroom with it.

Inside, there was a pair of lime green socks, a navy NYU sweater and neon orange pants. It touched her heart to realize that Benny’s dad had noticed her proclivity for extremely bright clothing, so she dressed quickly (the pants length was almost four inches too long), feeling almost like Punky Brewster by the time she stepped back out.

Benny was at her side in an instant, leaning down to plant an extremely possessive kiss against her mouth, before hauling her against him. It was entirely unlike the easygoing drummer, to the point where Lara was tempted to kick him in the shins …just in case he was a pod person in disguise. Or something.

“Later Nigel. Dad, see you at home.” And then he strode out of the apartment, his long stride forcing her to move quickly or possibly lose an arm.

Three days later, Lara was settled at a piano outside the Good Morning, America studio, listening to the anchors introduce her to the ohmygoditsearly morning crowd that had gathered. Benny was perched behind his drums, looking like a recruitment poster for the Armed Forces in his camo pants and black turtleneck, and there was a stand-in guitarist as the third band member had come down with a cold.

“.. so here they are, Manhattan’s own Synchronicity playing a song from their newest album.”

One. Two. One, two, three…

I woke up with a killer hangover
Hope it was worth all this pain
(I'd do it all over again)
By the time the party was over
Tequila was my claim to fame
(I couldn't remember my name)

The crowd began to sway along as Lara belted out the lyrics, her fingers flying across the piano keys in front of her. There was nothing quite like performing in front of a live audience; it was this devotion to the music that marked her as her father’s daughter.

Oh my God!
I woke up with a snake tattoo
Oh my God!
And I think that my tongue's pierced, too
Oh my God! Oh my God!
It's the Sunday morning after and baby who the hell are you?

By the time she sang the last note, people were starting to mob the table that held a hundred free copies of the cd. The money didn’t matter to her so much as the fact that her songs were understood by the populace, at least the ones who lived in New York, any monetary gain was just icing on the cake. Stepping down off the stage, Lara spent an entire thirty minutes just signing autographs and chatting with fans, painfully aware of Benny’s … well, he’d been acting odd the last couple of days. Reason unknown.

That wasn’t her problem this morning. She sat patiently through a ten minute interview, fending off very personal questions and answering the ones she felt had merit; anything to do with her music and the band, for instance. It was nine o’clock by the time she embarked on her second mission for the day. A fifty dollar bill took care of a certain watchman’s memory, Lara found herself actually sneaking up the two flights of stairs to the two bedroom-cum-studio apartment.

Knock, knock.

A stranger opened the door, middle-aged, very handsome and … built solidly enough, to judge by the snug jeans and lack of shirt. “Can I do something for ye, alanna?” The Irish lilt gave it away, this was Declan.

“I .. ah, I was …”

Sure. Stutter in front of the gorgeous celt.

“My name is Lara, Mister Gilchrist, and Nigel was kind enough to let me stay over this past weekend when I needed sanctuary. Since it is your apartment, I wanted to convey my gratitude …even though you didn’t technically say it was ok if I crashed—“

Her rambling was interrupted by a bark of laughter somewhere behind Declan. Nigel wandered into view seconds later, also shirtless, and sporting a pair of boxing gloves on his hands.

“Declan, this is Lara. Lara, this is Declan. You plan to stand there all morning and stir up gossip?”

Well, if he put it that way. She found herself ushered in when Declan reached out and tugged her inside, tsking over the Grateful Dead tee and red leather pants she was currently sporting for the concert, and guided her over to the kitchen table.

“Ye can watch this young pup get his arse kicked, lass. Grab yourself a beer, they’re in the fridge.” He turned away, picking up a second pair of gloves, thus allowing the young lady to freely admire the tall, muscled back. Biting back a cheesy Dracula line, Lara helped herself to a chilled Guiness and twirled a chair around before straddling it, an arm draped across the back.

Well, it was more exciting that going home and tossing out the army of now dead flowers before her mom came home.

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    • Knights in Blue Denim — Lara, Sun Nov 19 22:20
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