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Nigel Holmes
Red Leather Woes
Mon Nov 27, 2006 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 – which was quick and old fashioned, practically more suited to an open fire, and not the grill variety, mind you – and then she was stealing his dishes and flatware, pointing at the sofa insistently. Frankly, he was afraid of what she was about to do to him. “Sit.”

Grudgingly, and due to curiosity than anything else, the professor finally did sit upon the sofa after it was obvious he’d never win the staring match. God help him, when he finally did sit down on the sofa, he was almost scared to turn his back. Especially when he felt her weight settle on the back piece of the furniture! Nigel knew his breath came in a gulp once Lara had settled her knees to either side of him, and he repeated the action when her hands were laid upon his shoulders. For God’s sake!

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

One of the last coherent thoughts in his head was the fact that Lara blamed herself for him sleeping on the sofa. Her fault why he was so tense. Well, the latter was true, but not because of the sofa. Then his mind turned to mush.

Lara’s hands were strong and sure, everything considered. Well, she was a musician, so he didn’t see why he should have expected anything else, honestly. Any tension that Nigel did have due to her close proximity – hadn’t Benny been crushing on her just last week? It felt like it – soon melted away beneath her steady hands. Weeks of stress and strain quickly began to vanish. Head lolling, and eventually drooping, the professor soon found himself straining to hear the hummed lullaby that seemed so far away.

It was the sound of running water that made Nigel crack one eye open God knows how long later. Shower? Furrowing his brow, the professor slid upright from his tilted position on the sofa, rolling his shoulders experimentally. While the tension wasn’t completely gone, it was infinitely better. And by the sounds of it, Lara now seemed to be in the shower. Well, at least she wasn’t going to be smelling his cologne or anything now. Could she have seriously not realized that he slept in bed with her last night? He nearly felt guilty about it too, or really would have if she hadn’t been so upset.

Frowning, Nigel glanced towards the kitchen, and then the bathroom door, then back again. Why not do a few dishes while she was occupied? God, he was bored, no classes on the weekends, and spring break was all next week for the university. Scraping a hand across an unshaven cheek, the professor quickly made the bed, and became intent upon washing the few dishes that were in the sink. If nothing, at least he was a neat houseguest. Nigel couldn’t gripe at him for trashing the place, though throwing a student party was tempting…

Snickering to himself at those silly thoughts, the college man’s attention turned towards the bathroom once the door opened. “Your clothes are pretty…” He wasn’t all too sure why, it wasn’t as if he had anything to say. Old habits die hard. Especially when one had a young, nubile woman clad only in a terrycloth towel. “Ah.” Giving a half smile, his head tilted towards where her clothing was. “I can get them washed and dried before noon if you’d like.”

“Yes, than you.” Well, the young woman was polite, he had to give her that much. And she really did seem to be a good influence on Bennett. As long as she kept those idiot friends of his away, that was. Hah, little chance of that! Drawing in a deep breath suddenly, with Lara’s brief touch, he quirked a brow after rinsing the last plate. “Next time you cook breakfast for me, I’ll do the dishes, okay? It’s only fair that the chef gets to relax.” He barely gave a noncommittal grunt in response.

“Hopefully, there is some hot water left—” Knock-knock-knock-knock-knock!

Jesus Christ! Barely even paying attention to Lara, he absently patted her shoulder while stepping to the door, asking – loudly – who was there. Oh, sure, he got a smart-assed reply in turn, but the voice was unmistakable. Why the hell was his father here?!

“Good morning Nigel… Lara.” Why the hell was he suddenly feeling embarrassed? “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.” Now this didn’t surprise Nigel one bit, his father really was a considerate man despite the gruff exterior.

“That was… how can I repay…” Chuckling at the singer’s inability to speak, he watched her rush into the bathroom to change. Nor did it take long for the young woman to dress in what was a pair of extremely bright pants, making him shudder inwardly. Then came uber-possessive Bennett to the rescue!

“Later Nigel. Dad, see you at home.” Quirking a brow as his brother practically dragged Lara out the door and down the hall, which was highly curious. The patriarchal influence of the family merely shrugged, before heading out the door himself.

“Right. Bye then,” Nigel muttered to himself, tossing the door shut.

Several days later, he was still in a fairly sour mood. Especially this morning, sacked out on Declan’s sofa, since the large Irishman had returned from his impromptu vacation the evening before. But it was the ringing of his cell phone that had woken Nigel.

“Mmm’lo?” It wasn’t English, but who could really expect that at… Oh God, it was before seven in the morning! “Uh huh… Uh huh—Wait, what?” Sitting upright, Nigel scrubbed a hand through his hair, trying to make sense of whatever the other person on the line was saying. “How long?! No, no. Get a third assessment and call me back.” Click.

“Problems?” Declan was already in the kitchen, wearing his robe. How the hell was the professor always so nattily dressed? No matter the time of day! It was disheartening.

“Yeah…” Nigel mumbled, attempting to stumble up from the sofa, before failing miserably and giving up, to only work at his stiff neck. “The first assessor wanted to demolish the house, and this one says that the foundation may be compromised. Maybe I should just start paying you rent.” Sighing, he flipped on a morning show at random and buried himself underneath a blanket and pillow, hoping maybe the world would just go away.

So here they are, Manhattan’s own Synchronicity playing a song from their newest album!

“Isn’t that your brother?” Chancing to peek out from beneath his little hidey fort he had created for himself, Nigel peered blearily at the television screen tucked away in the corner. “Looks like your father has been dressing him.” Snorting a laugh, the professor allowed himself to listen to the music.

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)

That was likely Bennett’s influence on the lyrics right there. Watching the performance with his brother on backup vocals, Nigel realized that he had never seen the band perform. Once or twice he had heard the music played in snippets on the radio, but that was it. Amazingly, the soothing tune was enough to relax him, eyes drifting shut…

“Wake up, knucklehead.” Rap-rap-OW! Nigel batted at the fist that was currently knocking upon his skull like it was a freaking door, being met by laughter as he wound himself into the sheet. “Come on, up and at it, boy-o. You promised to help me break these in.” A face-full of red leather – and unfortunately not the kinky variety – later, and the formerly slumbering professor was groggily sitting upright, staring at a pair of boxing gloves.

“Oh, come on, you have got to be kidding me Declan. I just woke up!”

“Aye, but I’ll be easy on ye, pup.” That little—! Muttering profanities to himself, Nigel stumbled upright with a not-so-helpful nudge from Declan, he grumbled and glared, but nevertheless put on a better pair of pants for this. Sure, the blue jeans were worn and faded, but comfortable. Maybe he could get blood out of them…


“Hey, you can answer that, I’m the one with the gloves on,” Nigel muttered acerbically, pulling the laces tight with his teeth as best he could in this position. It was like a set of overly large mittens, entirely infuriating. But a woman’s voice caught his attention, and he wondered how long he had been asleep. “Declan, this is Lara. Lara, this is Declan. You plan to stand there all morning and stir up gossip?” Snorting at the other professor’s assessment of Lara, he shook his head.

“Ye can watch this young pup get his arse kicked, lass. Grab yourself a beer, they’re in the fridge.”

“Oh really now, old man?” By the time Declan had his gloves on properly, because he really wasn’t that mean, they were off. The fight was brief, all things considered, only five or ten minutes, especially seeing as how Declan used to be a skilled boxer. In the end, it was nearly a draw with all the feinting and jabbing at one another, though Nigel was definitely going to walk away with a set of sore ribs. The older man had always favored the torso, while Nigel had always aimed to block the vision.

“Not bad…” he huffed and puffed. “For an old guy!” Grinning impishly, Nigel rushed into the kitchen to hide behind Lara’s chair, though he was only met with amused laughter from Declan. Tugging the ties loose with his teeth, the gloves were tossed onto the table. “I need to run some errands, want me to drop you off at home, Lara?” She nodded her assent by finishing off a bottle of Guinness, and tossing the bottle into the recycling bin. “You want anything while I’m out?” No? All righty then!

“Try not to kill the new car, aye lad?” Rolling his eyes at Declan, Nigel snatched up a shirt off the back of the sofa and haphazardly buttoned it, before grabbing a jacket off the hook at the door.

“C’mon, girlie.” It was a testament to how not-awake and sore the professor was, to be using terminology like that. Tromping down a few flights of stairs with Lara in tow, and they made it to the street where a new-but-used Chevy Tahoe was parked at the curb. “My car finally died,” he explained, hitting the alarm key to unlock the doors. “It was a piece of shit anyhow,” he snickered.

One thing was going for Nigel, at least. He took Lara’s directions well after asking what street she lived on, using side roads to their advantage, but never exceeding the speed limit. Aside from that, it was still fairly early on a weekday, everyone was in work by this time. Well, except for the professors. Damn spring break.

“Front door service!” he proclaimed happily, tossing the machine into park. He even went so far as to get out of the car and open Lara’s door for her, never mind out they must have looked. Her in a Grateful Dead tee and red leather pants, while his clothing was hardly any better, looking worn and comfortable, complete with his hair sticking up. Fabulous! Without even asking, he walked to the building’s front door with her and opened that as well, before escorting her up to whichever floor she lived on.

Hey, gentlemen never had to be mouthy, now did they?

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