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It was hard not to notice him. For the first few days after Nicholas had come home, Travis had been walking on eggshells, going out of his way to give him plenty of space.

Nicholas did appreciate the space, but he couldn’t help wondering if Travis had been tipped off, or if he was doing all this on his own. After all, it had been a very long time since he’d voluntarily cleaned the kitchen.

He lay stretched out on the sofa, reading an old favourite when Travis walked into the flat, slamming the door open.

“Oh, you’re home,” he said, very quietly closing the door.

“I’ve been all day,” Nicholas replied, not looking up from his book.

“Thought you might be with Janine.”

Nicholas shook his head, watching as Travis moved into the kitchen with the shopping he’d apparently spent all day doing. “She had shift today, and I don’t think Denise likes me much.”

“You? What’s not to like?” He was going out of his way to be as out of the way as possible, and it did sort of grate on Nicholas, though he wasn’t sure why.

“Travis, really,” he said, getting to his feet. “I’m fine. It was just a bit of stress because I was overworked.”

Travis turned and looked back at him, a little surprised. “Can I say it?”

“No, you can’t,” Nicholas said simply as he returned to the sofa. Even when he was wrong, he didn’t like hearing ‘I told you so.’ Then again, who does?

“When do you go back, then?” Travis asked, putting the last of the shopping again.

“Not for another week or so,” Nicholas answered absently. “And I may not be able to make it to the pub this week. Janine wanted to go do something, I think.”

Travis tried not to cheer at that. It had been a while since he’d seen Nicholas break routine willingly, let alone seem t look forward to it.

Maybe he could get away with sneaking back out and letting Nicholas figure out his own supper if things kept going this well.
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Police Chief Inspector Nicholas Angel

September 2013

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