DISCLAIMER: Nikki & Nora are the property of Nancylee Myatt and Warner Bros. Television. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Day After
Nora Delaney slept soundly, a slight smile on her face as she dreamed of the evening she'd shared with her lover. The pair had danced until the wee hours of the morning and had come home to make glorious love. It was a perfect end to their anniversary, and Nora was especially pleased that Nikki had actually remembered the date they were partnered together on the force.
The bright sun struggled to breech the barrier of the vertical blinds, hoping to disrupt the peaceful sleep of the blonde, but not even the chirping of the birds nestled in the nearby trees seemed to faze the sleeping detective. The morning was absolutely perfect.
"Nora! How many times do I have to tell you to put your crawfish in the refrigerator in the garage? They've leaked on the eggs and the oranges. I was going to surprise you with fritters this morning, but you can just forget it!"
The shrill yell of her partner, coupled with the slamming of the refrigerator door, brought the blonde from horizontal to vertical in a matter of seconds. The bliss was over.
Nora crept slowly into the kitchen, looking left and right for her irate lover, but the room was empty. "Nikki?"
The room remained silent, so the blonde increased her volume. "Nikki!"
The sound of tires squealing on the driveway alerted Nora to the brunette's location. She ran to the window just in time to see the back end of her lover's car speed away from the house. Turning towards the refrigerator, the blonde found the source of Nikki's anger.
There, in front of the refrigerator, was a small puddle of juice, crawfish juice to be exact. Even purged crawfish could make a mess when the bag had sprung a leak, and Nora cringed knowing the job she had in front of her. Sighing, she grabbed the paper towels to begin the cleanup. Somehow, she didn't think Nikki would be in favor of cooking her famous Crawfish Étouffée tonight.
Nora walked into the station a half an hour late for her shift. She'd had to scrub the inside of the refrigerator with bleach and throw out the oranges and eggs. The job had taken her longer than she's expected, and she'd barely had time to shower and put on some makeup. If there hadn't been a major wreck on the interstate, she would've made it to work right on time. Her day was getting worse by the minute.
"Well, nice of you to finally join me." Nikki drawled, her smile belying her words as she took her unsuspecting partner by the arm and pulled her into the nearby restroom. Turning the lock, she grabbed a stunned Nora and kissed her passionately, and only after the blonde had relaxed against her did she slowly release the captured lips.
"Nora, I'm sorry about this morning. I overreacted. We had such a lovely evening, and I just wanted to make you a special breakfast, but you know how much I hate crawfish in my refrigerator."
The blonde nodded. Nikki loved her kitchen almost as much as she loved to shop. She should've known better than to put the crawfish in her lover's fridge. The one in the garage had been specifically designated for Nora's crawfish and beer.
"No, I'm sorry. You've told me a hundred times, but I was in a hurry and just threw them in there without thinking. I planned to move them to the garage but, with everything happening at once, I just forgot."
Nikki pecked Nora's lips and reached for the lock. "You're forgiven. Now, let's go to our desks. I stopped at Brennan's and got us some beignets." Nora shot threw the door. Her day was starting to look up; deep-fried doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar were certainly a good sign.
An hour later, Dan sent the detectives to a crime scene in the Garden District, insisting that the situation needed to be handled delicately. The pair quickly climbed into Nora's car and headed for the homicide.
"Hey Nora, you know Daddy has a table reserved for the Preservation Society Dinner..."
"You haven't even heard what I'm going to ask yet."
"I'm not going, Nikki, so don't ask. I'd stick out like a sore thumb. Besides, I'm sure I'd make your daddy uncomfortable."
"He said you could come. He even hugged you yesterday."
Nora took the next turn and glanced at her partner. "You turned on those sad, puppy dog eyes and begged him, didn't you?"
Nikki looked out the passenger window. "Well, I might have had to ask him twice, but he did say yes."
"I'm not going, Nikki."
The brunette crossed her arms and stared out the window, watching the buildings of the French Quarter go by. Nora gripped the steering wheel and sighed; her day was going to hell in a hand basket once again.
A few minutes later, Nora pulled behind a police cruiser, and she frowned when she recognized the woman leaning against the side door.
"Huh, I wonder what Georgia's doing here?"
Nikki turned and looked out the windshield to see the other detective walking towards their car. Opening the door, she climbed out, leaving Nora sitting in the car still waiting for an answer to her question.
"Hey, Georgia. What's going on?"
The dark skinned detective shook her head. "You'll see. C'mon, the bodies are upstairs."
Nikki followed Georgia while Nora stayed a few steps behind trying to figure out what she could possibly do to get back on her lover's good side again. Today definitely wasn't her day.
Upstairs, the three women stared down at the bed. "Well, I guess we know why Dan sent the three of us." Nora walked closer to the victims and turned her head from side to side.
"Yep, I guess he figured we'd know what to do." Georgia stepped next to Nora to try to get a better view.
Nikki's face went slack as recognition set in. "Oh my God, it's Jeri Applewhite."
"Which one is she?" Nora had a very good idea which body was Jeri Applewhite's, but she thought she should ask just in case.
Nikki pointed at the woman lying on top. "This is going to be headline news for sure."
"I wonder who the other woman is," Georgia asked, looking around the room for some sign of identification.
A thought immediately crossed Nora's mind, and a chuckle escaped. She quickly put her hand to her mouth to try to push it back in. "Sorry. This isn't funny."
Georgia grinned. "I bet I know exactly what you were thinking."
"Please don't say it," Nikki said, then quickly changed the subject. "Georgia, who else has seen the bodies?"
"The maid and the responding officer; the crime scene people haven't been allowed inside. Dan thought we should get our first impressions before anything was touched."
"Well, I don't know about you two, but this is an impression I could certainly live without." Nora chimed in, placing her hands on her hips.
Nikki glanced at her lover. Nora's response could easily be construed as a commentary on her displeasure of finding two women in bed together. What truly bothered the brunette was that her partner was always saying something to deny their relationship whenever the opportunity arose.
Georgia gave the room a cursory glance. "By the looks of the various pictures and things, I'd say these two were more than just casual acquaintances. I don't know what else we can do on our own. I'll go get the others."
"Yeah, I guess you should. You better give them a heads up though." Nikki moved next to her partner as Georgia left the room.
"Okay, what were you thinking, Nora?"
"You said you didn't want to know."
"Well, I've changed my mind. Now, tell me."
"You don't want to know, trust me."
"C'mon, the others will be here in a minute."
"I just wondered what the media was going to focus on."
Nikki looked at her partner in confusion. "What?"
Nora pointed at the bodies. "Look, your Jeri Applewhite person is lying naked on the top of another woman, a black woman at that. What would be worse in your society, her sleeping with a woman or her sleeping with someone who's black?"
Nikki grimaced and slapped her lover on the shoulder. "That's a horrible question."
"I told you that you didn't want to know."
"Nora? How did they stay . . . um, attached?"
"My guess is that the dildo is double-sided."
"Okay, then how do you think the murderer was able to kill them both without one of them trying to, well, dislodge and run?"
A whistle sounded from the doorway, interrupting the conversation as Charlie walked over and stood next to the couple.
"Wow, every man's fantasy."
Nikki frowned. "What? Two dead women?"
"Huh? Oh no, not the dead part. Georgia said one of the ladies was high in the social circles, is that true?" Charlie moved next to the bodies and studied the wounds.
His question was never answered as a new revelation caught both women's attention.
"Holy shit. I think these women were killed with the same bullet. C'mere, Nora."
The blonde walked over and stood behind the kneeling coroner. "Look at the woman on top. She has an exit wound which matches up to the other woman's entry wound. I think they were nestled together, and their heads were turned the same way, kind of cheek to cheek. Whoever shot them stood above the woman on top and pressed the gun to her temple and fired. The bullet would've gone through both temples. Talk about a lucky shot."
"More like unlucky, if you ask the two women," Georgia said, overhearing the comment on her return. Turning to Nikki and Nora, she held up her cell.
"Ladies, Dan just called and said the killer is already in custody. A neighbor of the Applewhite's called 9-1-1 about fifteen minutes ago. When the units arrived, Paul Applewhite was sitting on his front porch with a gun lying in his lap. He told the responding officers that he'd just killed his wife and another woman. Dan wants us to stick around and keep the media away."
Nikki took one more look at the bodies and walked out the room. Shrugging, Nora followed her lover while Georgia stayed behind to assist the coroner.
Nora found her partner, leaning against the car. "Hey, you okay?"
The brunette faced her lover. "Is that what you're afraid of? Negative publicity?"
"Hon, there's no way I'd be caught dead in a situation like that."
Nikki stared hard at the blonde. "Sorry, Nikki. I wasn't making a joke, really. It just came out that way. Let me try again. That's not the way I'd want others to find out about us."
"Nora, you don't want anyone to find out about us, period. If Bobby hadn't walked in on us, you probably wouldn't have told him either. Exactly how do you want others to find out about us?"
"Damn it, I'm not saying this right. What I mean is that when I make love, it's with you, and only you. I would never want to bring anyone else into our bedroom under any circumstance. I'm just not ready to tell anyone, but Nikki, I do love you."
Dark eyes softened. "I know, Nora. It's just that I wish you would at least tell your parents. Of course, I'd love it if everyone else knew, too."
A stream of cars headed their way. The media was out for blood.
Taking advantage of the last moments before the news people flooded the scene; Nora tried to make amends by acquiescing to her lover's earlier wish.
"I'll go with you to the dinner Saturday, how's that?"
Nikki smiled broadly. "You mean it? You'll really go"
"Yes, I promise."
Doors to vans opened and reporters dashed towards them. The two women turned to face the oncoming mob.
"What made you change your mind?"
Nora smiled. "Everyone will be so busy talking about Jeri Applewhite that no one will pay any attention to us."
Nikki shook her head at her lover's reasoning but, whatever the case, she was just glad that Nora would be by her side. Maybe one day, they could share their love with the rest of the world, but for now, they needed to put a lid on someone else's secret life.
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