whedonist: (Brit/Nurse Lopez)
[personal profile] whedonist
Title: Near Life Experience
Disclaimer: Not my characters – except for one or two. The rest of the ladies and gentleman contained herein belong to entities with a higher pay grade. Thanks for allowing li’l ole me to play; I promise to return them as I found them…just like the tools I borrowed from dad when I was a kid. Also, this is unbeta’d so…mistakes are really all me. Sorry about that.
Fandom: Nikki & Nora
Pairing: Nikki/Nora
Rating: PG-13-ish, there are some adult concepts and themes, but nothing too over the top.

Summary: Nikki's not really "Nikki" and Nora's sings a different tune.

A/N: I've been absent. Between moving, a new job and a 6 hour commute for a month, it's been a bit crazy. Life's starting to right itself so I thought I'd get this up and running to motivate me more.

Aside from above, this story is an A.U.-like really A.U. The two aren't a working two and don't each other, yet. Dan's still Nora's partner and Nikki, well, you'll see. Read, enjoy. Church has started so I'll be there.




Ch. 4 – Night Is My Friend


Looking around the bathroom, I realize that I really should have some type of clock in here. Given that I’m always running a few minutes behind…

I’ll have to think about that—right now, I need to make sure that I look decent enough for my date. I manage a sardonic half-grin at the thought. It’s not like I didn’t try going on dates when I first started doing this. None of them ended particularly well. The ones that didn’t know that I worked in a strip club were good up until they found out that I did. I became more property than person afterwards.

Those ended quickly.

The other, I tilt my head in thought, two, my eyes squint, no, three that knew before the date were all good until after we had sex. After that it became more of the same, ‘but you’re mine and you can’t do this.’

Well, all but one, Jessica was the sweetest. I just couldn’t stick around to figure out where things were headed with her.

Sighing, I do a check in the full length mirror on the back. Shoes, Charlotte Olympia rainbow pumps, really do seal the deal on the outfit, if I say so myself. Fun, sexy and Nora seemed out and proud so I hope she can appreciate them. My favorite pair of Seven for All Mankind skinny jeans, fit just like they are the supposed, snug and low on my hips. The raspberry Trina Turk halter top is a nice color and all I’ll need is my Ella Moss jacket to complete the outfit.

My make-up is good, not too much; I really don’t like wearing a lot of it unless I’m working.

My hair…

It’s a different story. I turn back to the bathroom counter and spray a little more mousse into my hand. Rubbing it through my hair in hopes of giving it a little more body tonight, I hear the doorbell chime.

Shit.

I’m late or she’s early. I drop my hands from hair, rinse them quickly and dry them on the damp towel leftover from my shower. One last mirror check causes me to roll my eyes. Guess I’ll just have to live with my hair tonight. I call out from my bedroom, “One second!” as I rush from the bathroom, to the bedroom for my jacket on the bed and then to the kitchen counter for my purse.

Slinging it over my shoulder, I undo the chain on the door and manage a beaming smile at the sight of Nora standing there with her hands stuffed in her jeans’ pockets. Her outfit is cute, something I can tell she’s very comfortable in. The tight, faded black of her t-shirt is nearly brown in color and the blue jeans are worn in all the right places. The shoes are a well-cared for pair of Chucks.

I laugh a little and think that this outfit’s been with her since before college. That or a variation of such. I cover up the laugh and greet her, “Hi.”

“Running late?” she asks by way of a greeting. The smirk threatening the corner of her mouth wins after a brief struggle and then blossoms into a full, playful grin.

“Absolutely not,” I reply. “You are just early.” Leaning against the frame of the open door, I watch the brief shock and my playful accusation register.

“My mistake then,” she says and offers her arm for me to take. “So, what exactly are we doing tonight?” she asks as I snake my arm through her offered one. I lead us down the short hallway of my apartment building, down the outside walkway and stop in front of the building trying to figure out which one is her car.

I would have driven us around tonight, but Darius needed the car. He refuses to buy a car every time we move. It’s not like we have to, he just thinks we do. I just scrub the VIN from any system it might be in and have the plates changed. Only once have needed to give her a fresh coat of paint.

She pulls me towards an old muscle car, an El Camino. If memory serves right, it’s a Sixty-eight or nine. “Thank you for picking me up tonight. I’d have just met you, but...”

Nora stops me and says, “Hey, you said your friend needed the car. I don’t mind.” Her words are genuine and God help me because a small flurry of butterflies erupt in my belly. She unlocks, holds the passenger door open for me and waits for me to secure my seat belt before closing it. I watch as she jogs around the front of the car and I lean over to unlock her side.

I need to be cautious. It’s not like people in my line of work get the fairytale ending. There are only a few ways my occupation allows for outcome: death, addiction or old, used and too much of a shell to be good to anyone. I understood that when I started this.

I shake off the thoughts. I’m here to have fun and hopefully show Nora a good time. There’s no harm in that and I will take pleasure where I can.

“Thank you,” she says as she slides on to the thick leather of the seat.

“My pleasure,” I purr and run a hand up her arm. I feel the shiver run the length of muscle under my touch. She turns the car over and I direct, “Take the Ten towards Mid-town and exit South Carrollton. Hang a left off the highway.”

She squints at me, nose slightly scrunched and asks, “Towards Mid-town? If you’re gonna go to...”

“Leonidas. There’s a club there that I thought we’d both enjoy,” I tell her, hoping that she likes blues music.

She hums her approval, but doesn’t take my direction. Before I can question her, she explains, “Easier to take the surface streets, if you know how to get around.” Nora glances over and offers me a wink. “I’ve lived here my whole life. I can get you across town quicker than most in midday traffic.”

“I’ll have to remember that,” I say as I shift and twist so that I’m facing her while she’s driving.

“As a non-native, where are you from?” she asks signaling left to cut across town.

I shrug to buy myself a little bit of time. There’s an art to lying. You can be vague, which will serve its purpose if the time is right; the trick with being vague is to give the recipient enough information so they feel like they’ve gotten an answer when in all actuality they know no more than what they did before they asked the question. Then there’s the full lie; the information is completely false and more often than not, will get you into hot water.

In doing what I do, I’ve learned the best lie is one that’s holds an element of truth. It helps keep the lies cohesive enough that you can either talk your way out of a screw up or that you keep them straight enough that you can’t screw up. With Nora, I opt for mostly the truth, “Around, I’ve spent some time the last few years moving around.”

“And the state lucky enough to be on your birth certificate?” she asks smiling, pressing, but not.

“Florida, for those enquiring minds in the car.” I grin and rest my head in my upturned palm.

“Lucky Florida,” she flirts.

“Hmmm, I don’t know about that, sug. The more I see of Louisiana...well, it may just be the luckiest state of all.” The blonde across from me blushes at the comment. The conversation lapses into the sounds of the traffic outside and the quiet melody playing from the radio.

While she seems content to drive through light traffic, I study her. Growing up, mama used to point out all sorts of interesting things you could learn by just observing. The way a person wears their clothes, not necessarily the type of clothing were always indicators. She would spend time pointing out the people that were dressed nicely and tell me that just because they look a certain way doesn’t mean they are.

She said that more than anything it was how a person carried themselves and not how they dressed that would always give you the information you needed. Over the years, I am a believer in her words, and as I watch Nora, there are the usual tells. From my observation, I’d wager a month’s pay that she’s not an only child, probably from a working class background, and she doesn’t do the work on her car herself. Her hands are too clean for it. While her arms and hands are strong, the muscles underneath the supple skin ripple as she moves; they are not the hands of a mechanic.

One thing I’m having a hard time with is her ability to be so bold with me and then as soon as I turn the tables, she’s about as bad as a blushing virgin on prom night. That dichotomy’s intriguing and if I’m honest, endearing and a bit of a turn on.

I think we’ll have fun tonight and at the very least, keeping a count of how many times I can get her to blush will be entertaining. Eventually, I turn my attention to the road in front of us and realize that Nora’s made short work of getting us to Carrollton. I direct her, “Take a left and go down...” I pause trying to remember how many blocks down it is.

“What’s the name of the place?” she asks, clearly amused by my floundering.

“Carrollton Station,” I answer as I finally orient myself. “Actually, it should be about three blocks down on the left.”

Bobbing her head, she says, “I know it. I was there once to see my brother perform.”

So she has a brother. I want to question her a little more, but the club is coming up, so I tell her, “There’s some decent parking around back. Why don’t we head in before I use my feminine wiles to find out more about this brother.”

“Feminine wiles, eh?” she pokes fun and I just smile and bat my lashes.

“Oh,” I purr and lean towards her as she slides her car in to a parking space, “I’ll get you to talk, sug.”

Where I expect her to back down, she doesn’t. For the briefest of moments as she leans into me, I expect to feel her lips on mine. Instead, right before they meet, she slips away and whispers in my ear, “Being you is enough.”




She’s been doing her best, I’ll give her that. We got into the club, ordered drinks as we settled at a table, and she’s even managed to take me for a spin on the dance floor before our dinner arrived. “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing,” I inform her as I sip at my Cuba Libre.

Her brow knits together and she frowns. “What am I doing?”

“Tell me more about this brother.” I prop my elbows on the table, lace my fingers together and rest my chin on them. For good measure, I cross my legs and kick my foot out.

The action earns me a light, airy laugh. “Fine, fine. Bobby, he’s the youngest of the Delaney siblings, he plays guitar and trumpet for various bands and groups. Pretty much if it pays, he’ll play.” Her grin spreads as she continues, retelling a story, “In fact, last year, my mom got him signed up to play for some event. Told him that it was for the L.G.C.C., but if he did it, she’d give him fifty bucks. Bobby thought it was decent for three hours of his time so agreed. Little did he know that he’d be auctioned off for a date afterwards.” Nora snickers.

“What’s the L.G.C.C.?” I wonder.

“The Lesbian and Gay Community Center. Bobby’s a supporter, but not family,” she supplies. “Kev and Kira still won’t let him live it down. Last time we went to pride, Dad bought him a t-shirt with a rainbow bar code with the word ‘certified’ under.”

“So there’s more than you two?” I press her.

“Four, actually. Never a dull moment growing up.” She takes a sip of her own drink, a whiskey neat, and grins. “You?”

“Only child. So tell me about them. I always thought having a brother or sister would be fun,” I lie. Truthfully, I was quite happy being an only child. Spoilt to no end and no need to worry about looking out for anyone else. Just me, myself and I, thank you very much.

“Well, I’m the oldest, then there’s the twins, Kevin and Kira, and Robert or Bobby. And trust me, having younger brothers and a sister is not all it’s cracked up to be.”

“And what do they do?” Leaning back in my chair, I fold my hands in my lap and look over Nora’s shoulder to see the next band start to set up. Food and then another dance.

“Well, My dad, Kira and me work for the city, Bobby’s the musician and Kevin followed in my mother’s footsteps.” her right shoulder gives a little half shrug.

“Mom?”

“Teacher, high school child development. Kevin teaches history thought,” she answers promptly and looks behind her. She turns back around just as the phone in my right jacket pocket starts ringing.

Sheepishly, I hold up a finger while I answer the phone, “Hello?” Nora smiles at me and motions towards the bathrooms.

Nodding at her, I hear Geno say, “Nikki, it’s Geno. You got a minute?”

“For you, only a minute. I’m on a date,” I say.

This stops him and prompts the inevitable, “With who?”

“Tell me why you called first and then I might share who I’m with.” I lean back in my chair and tuck my arm under the one that’s holding the phone to my ear.

He growls, “Look, you know how I feel about...”

“And I didn’t say they were, but if they were a customer, you and I both know that policy’s in place due to some of the less than savory folks passing through our door.”

“A customer’s a customer’s, Nikki,” he tuts.

“Yes, but the rule’s in place to keep some of our girls away from Guest Relations. Besides, Geno, you actually like her.”

“Her?” he asks confused right before I hear the realization and his next question, “The blonde, the one that popped that piss-ant?”

“That would be her. Geno, she’s not looking for a free blow job, okay? We’re here on a legitimate date that I’m having fun at, so what do you need because she’s not going to spend all night in the bathroom.”

“I’m not sure I like this, but if you think...”

“I do,” I interrupt him.

“Fine, but if she tries some dumb shit, woman or not...”

“I know, you don’t need that kind hassle. We all learned our lesson with Kathy,” I say trying to stop the rant. On some level, I’d like to try and feel bad for the woman, but...well, sometimes you get what you give.

“Right,” he coughs. “Look I was callin’ ‘cause I know you’re off till Saturday, but we got a coupla V.I.P.’s coming in tomorrow and the next night. I want to put you and Beth on them. Keep ‘em happy, flirt, provide a show or two.”

“From out of town?” I ask.

“D.C. friends of a friend of Rusty. He called to see if I could set something up. We both don’t want any one that’ll offer personal services so you and Beth are my go-to for this,” he explains.

“Names?”

“Don’t have them yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. They fly in tomorrow and will be here around nine at night. You and Beth do your best. If these guys get the wrong idea and ask for more than what you aren’t willing to give...”

“I’ll let you or Mike know,” I appease him.

“Good. I’ll see you tomorrow?” he clarifies. It’s not as if I’ve said yes, but he should know I won’t.

“Tomorrow. Now, I need to go. Nora’s coming back,” I say and hang up the phone to an echo of goodbye from my boss.

“Everything okay?” she asks sitting down as I slip my phone back into my right pocket.

I look up and smile at her. “Yes, that was work. They need me tomorrow and Friday as well as my regular shifts for the weekend.”

“What is your work schedule, usu-do you have a regular work schedule, I guess is the better question?” she asks quietly.

“I give them a schedule every two weeks,” I tell her. “The night you and your...”

“Dan,” she supplies.

“Your Dan...that sounds awfully strange,” I tease, leaning forward and running a hand up her arm.

She licks her lips and offers me a bit more, “He’s the honorary Delaney. Like a third brother really.”

“Well, you and your Dan came was the start of a three day work week. I don’t usually work much more than that.” I tug at a ring on her right hand to twirl and play with.

She bobs her head.

“So, your birthday, did you do anything else? Family party?” I wonder. She seems to be close with her family and I hardly think that a night in a strip club would be something they’d discuss over dinner.

“Saturday evening. My mom’s having supper. Fact is I feel kind of bad.” She pulls her hand away and I perk up.

“Bad, why?” I have to ask.

“Mama’s good about a few things, meddling and cooking. She’ll combine the two on almost all occasions if she can.” She looks at me, her green eyes traveling north and south as she looks at me. “She invited a friend’s daughter, a girl I used to know when I was in middle school.”

“Oh,” I manage as the implications become clearer. That piece of news sits heavy in the pit of my stomach. It’s not as if I have a right to be upset or to feel territorial. Nora’s a free and beautiful woman. Quickly, I shake it off and offer her a sympathetic smile. “You call me if she turns out to be hideous.”

She shrugs off the joke and says, “I’m sure it’ll be okay. I think I’d...” Nora trails off, shaking her head. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Her smile’s tight and the shift is subtle, but apparent.

For a second, it almost seemed like she was going to...

I let that thought die. We’ve only just met—our first evening of which we spent with me in little to no clothing. I know exactly what type of girl I am, being brought home to the parents for a family birthday is definitely not one of them...at least not now.

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