DISCLAIMER: Nikki & Nora are the property of Nancylee Myatt and Warner Bros. Television. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to the wonderful atfm for the last second beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Nikki kissed her lover's brow, smiling when a sleeping Nora instinctively snuggled closer. Their lovemaking had been sweeter than ever, almost as if it were the first time. Nikki's eyes fell on the gorgeous arrangement of flowers on the dresser, the card sitting prominently against the beautiful vase, the bold writing visible across the room. Nikki couldn't quite make out the words from her position, but she didn't have to. She knew exactly what the script said, and more so, what it meant. Words from the heart that cemented her relationship with the woman she held in her arms.
Closing her eyes, Nikki drifted towards a peaceful sleep. What a difference a week had made.
The previous Monday
Her name was whispered so softly, Nikki almost hadn't looked up from her report, certain that she was hearing things. The sight of Bobby Delaney, standing in the doorway, shifting his weight from foot to foot, and worrying at the brim of his hat with both hands, caught Nikki's attention immediately. Something was definitely wrong.
"Hey, Bobby, what's up?" Nikki smiled warmly, hoping to offer relief to the tension that was radiating from the patrolman. She watched as Bobby nervously glanced left and right before he slowly approached her desk.
"Um, where's Nora?"
Nikki tilted her head and quickly appraised the situation. From all indications, it appeared that Bobby wasn't really looking for Nora; rather, he was trying to avoid her. She leaned back in her chair.
"She's downstairs in the file room. One of our cases has similarities to another case from the '60s. The case only has a reference to a shelf in the archives, no other mention in the computer's data base." Nikki gave her lover's brother a moment to let the information sink in. It shouldn't take him long to figure out that Nora would more than likely be poring over the files for at least an hour. She smiled once again and turned on her southern charm. "Is there something I can help you with?"
Eyes darted around the room as Bobby contemplated his next move. Nikki studied him closely, noting the moment Bobby had made the decision to flee. Standing quickly, she grabbed him by the arm and tugged him toward the exit, only stopping when they'd reached the bench underneath the majestic oak that sat in the middle of the courtyard between the station and the courthouse.
"Now," Nikki began, practically shoving Bobby onto the bench. "You're going to tell me exactly what's going on. Nora's finally gotten over the doldrums from the two of us not being able to spend Christmas together, and I'm not about to let you do or say something that'll bring her back down again."
Bobby looked up sheepishly before turning his attention to his hat. He rotated the headwear around and around, not knowing where to begin. He'd really screwed up this time.
"Bobby," said Nikki in a much calmer tone. "Please, just tell me what it is. I can't help if I don't know what the problem is."
"I've made the biggest mistake of my life, and Nora's going to kill me." Bobby's voice broke, and he clenched his hands tightly. He was going to be in need of a new hat before the discussion was over.
Taking a seat beside the distraught man, Nikki reached for his hand. "Tell me; we'll figure out what to do together."
Sighing, Bobby finally made eye contact with Nikki, and she was stunned to see the tear-filled eyes gazing into her own. Whatever Bobby had done, it was something big; something very big.
"I told Momma."
Unconsciously, Nikki squeezed the hand she held hard. To Bobby's credit, he merely flinched, figuring he deserved far worse, and when Nora found out, he expected he'd be on the ass end of her boot.
"You told your momma what, Bobby?" Nikki was certain she knew the answer to her question, but she had to ask. If her relationship with Nora was going to be threatened, she deserved to know.
"Well, I actually didn't tell her, tell her." Bobby hem-hawed around. If he'd been standing, Nikki was certain he would've been digging a hole in the ground with the toe of his shoe.
"Okay then, what exactly didn't you tell her?"
"We were talking, just talking, and Momma shifted the conversation to Nora, kind of like she always does; only this time I wasn't able to change her focus." Bobby shook his head. "She was like a dog with a bone, Nikki."
"And what kind of bone was she chewing on?" Nikki was about ready to strangle Bobby. If he didn't come forward with the information soon, she'd be forced to use one of Nora's methods.
Bobby glanced around the courtyard, making certain that he wouldn't be overheard. "She started in on the 'when is Nora going to settle down and give me grandchildren' spiel. I just sat by quietly, waiting for her to run out of steam." He met Nikki's eyes. "She didn't run out of steam, Nikki."
"Maybe you misconstrued the conversation. What did she say, Bobby?" Nikki hoped with everything she had that Nora's momma hadn't made the connection that Nora had tried so hard to keep from her. As much as Nikki wanted Nora to tell her momma about their relationship, she certainly didn't want the elder Delaney to find out on her own.
"She started talking about my cousins. First, she pointed out that Cousin Jessie has five children now. I made sure to remind her that Cousin Jessie's husband just recently ran off with her youngest child's school teacher. Then, she moved on to Cousin Mary, talking about how she had a set of twins and another one on the way. I countered with the fact that Cousin Mary has never married, and that the father of the unborn baby wasn't the same as the twins'."
"Sounds to me like you handled her pretty well." Nikki couldn't understand how there could be a problem. Bobby had matched his mother with perfect comebacks.
"Yeah, well, then she changed tactics on me. She went on about how poor Cousin Sara doesn't have any children and how sad it was that Aunt Grace was being deprived of having grandchildren. I explained that nuns aren't allowed to have children, and that's when Momma got real frustrated."
Nikki was barely able to contain her mirth over Cousin Sara. Instead, she focused on the frustration level of Nora's mother. "What do you mean, she got real frustrated?"
"She threw her hands in the air and said, 'Well, Nora's not a nun. She doesn't date, she doesn't even act interested in finding a man. You'd think she was one of those lesbians.'"
"Oh shit." Nikki stood quickly. She didn't need Bobby to tell the rest of the story. She knew very well what had happened. Bobby's eyes had widened comically; he'd opened his mouth to lie, turned beet red, and had hyperventilated. He was perhaps the worst liar Nikki had ever met.
"C'mon, Bobby, we've got to get to Nora before your momma does. Good thing she's in the archives. No one can find their way around that room."
"Damn it." Nora sneezed for the fifth time in as many minutes. "Someone should dust this place every now and then." Placing her hands on her hips, she glanced around the room. "A person could die in here and not be found for weeks." Just the mention of death made the blonde jittery, and the voice that came from behind had her literally jumping in her boots.
Exhaling dramatically, Nora put her hand to her chest. "Momma, you scared the living daylights out of me."
"Nora? Are you a lesbian?"
Nora just thought she'd been frightened by the sudden voice in the room. She now personally knew the definition of 'scared shitless;' however, she was extremely happy that the room could indeed hide a dead body for quite some time. No one else could have possibly overheard her mother's question.
"What made you ask that?" Nora went for the end-around denial.
"Don't change the subject, Nora. Answer the question."
"Momma, where did "
"Just answer the question, Nora Jean!" The older woman practically stomped her foot. "Are you a lesbian?"
Nora looked at her feet and swallowed hard, her reply but a whisper. "Yes." She looked up with tear-filled eyes. "Please don't be disappointed in me, Momma."
"I am disappointed, Nora." Mrs. Delaney was clearly shaken, her voice filled with hurt. "You've been lying to me." With one last look, she turned and walked away.
Nora could hardly breathe as she watched her momma leave. She waited until she was certain that the older woman had made it to the door before she crumpled into a ball on the floor; the position Nikki and Bobby found her in moments later.
For the next several days, Nora went through the motions of living. She'd get up, go to work, perform her duties quietly, and go home. Nothing Nikki could do or say seemed to pull Nora from her funk. Nora hadn't tried to contact her momma, and her momma hadn't bothered to seek Nora out either. It was tearing Nora apart, and Nikki was helpless to sit back and watch. By Thursday, Nikki had had enough. It was time to get her lover back.
Friday morning, Nikki lay in bed, watching Nora dress. She waited until her lover had slid her gun onto her belt before announcing her plans for the day.
"Nora, I put in for personal business today; I'm not going into work."
"Okay." Nora turned back toward the dresser and reached for her shield.
"Aren't you even the least bit curious as to why I've taken off?" Nikki had actually expected the nonchalant response from Nora, but it hurt nonetheless.
Nora shrugged. "Figured you might want to do a little shopping or something." She glanced back over her shoulder and offered a slight smile. "You deserve it, you know."
Nikki noted that the smile was forced, but she was pleased that at least Nora had tried. It was the first time she'd smiled all week. "Well, I might stop by Saks later."
Nora shook her head and started for the door. "Hope they've got enough shopping bags." She never heard Nikki's chuckle; she was already halfway down the stairs.
That evening, Nikki lit the candles in the antique candlesticks Nora had bought her for Christmas. The pair had made the perfect centerpiece for her romantic dinner. She'd slaved over the stove all afternoon and had set the table with her best china. Nikki glanced around the room, pleased with the results. The lights were turned down low, music played softly in the background, and the dishes sparkled in the glow of the candlelight. Now all that was needed was her lover, and minutes later, Nora stepped through the door.
"What's all this?"
"I cooked up a little something for dinner. I thought we'd sit down and have a proper meal."
"Good china?" Nora slid off her coat and laid it over the edge of the sofa.
Nikki smiled and moved closer, reaching out to touch Nora, but a slight flinch by her lover had Nikki pulling her hand back as if she'd been burned. The chime of the doorbell interrupted the very uncomfortable moment.
"I'll get it." Nikki turned towards the door, but a hand on her arm stopped her. Nora looked into her lover's eyes, offering a wordless apology.
"No, you sit. I'll get it." Nora smiled slightly before turning toward the door. Nikki blew out an exasperated breath and plopped down on the couch.
Seconds later, Nora reappeared with a beautiful arrangement of flowers.
"Wow, someone really loves you." Nikki stood and walked over to admire the arrangement.
"You didn't need to order flowers, Nikki." Nora placed the arrangement on the table between the candlesticks. She suddenly felt sick to her stomach, and she had no idea why. How was she going to tell Nikki that she really wasn't up to eating?
"Is there a card?"
Nora reached for the card penned to the white ribbon. She peeled the envelope open and pulled the card free. Tears began to flow down her cheeks as she read the sentiment, and when she reached the end, she sobbed aloud. Nikki rushed over and pulled her lover into her arms, holding on tightly. Nora melted into the embrace, allowing the strong arms to offer her the comfort she'd been denying herself all week long.
For the rest of the evening, the couple engaged in quiet conversation as they consumed the soup Nikki had made, storing the rest of the meal for another time. Later, they moved to the couch, just enjoying the moment by snuggling and exchanging soft kisses. Finally, the pair moved upstairs to the bedroom where they reaffirmed their love for each other, making love slowly and reverently.
In the wee hours of the morning, the moonlight crept through the window, shining its glow over the peacefully sleeping lovers before it continued its way across the room to land on the arrangement of flowers, the card illuminated by the moon's light.
You're my baby girl, and I love you no matter what.
I expect to see you and your lady friend at dinner this Sunday. Oh, and Nora? Don't be late.
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