Nov. 6th, 2010 07:55 am
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“Are you coming to mine tonight?”

Nicholas looked up from his notebook, shaking his head slightly. “I can’t,” he said. “I have Sam for the weekend.”

Janine’s eyebrows arched questioningly. “Sam?”

“My niece,” Nicholas filled in quickly. “Sorry, I thought I’d mentioned her.” As he said it, he realised that he had completely neglected to make any mention of that particular part of his family. “Anyway,” he continued, “I really should stay where Kate can reach me if she needs.”

“Just as well,” Janine said, sitting down next to Nicholas. She ran her fingers over his short hair in exactly the sort of way that she knew would distract him. “I’ve been meaning to try to talk my way into going over to yours for once, anyway.”

She smiled lightly, enjoying the way Nicholas very briefly lost focus on what he was writing.

“Hmm?” He shook his head slightly, and utterly failed at stopping Janine in what she was doing. “Right. Only if you feel brave enough to meet my parents tonight, since that’s where we’re going for supper.”

“Meeting the parents. Sounds terrifying.” Her smile suggested otherwise.

Nicholas put his pen down, giving up on his notes for now. “I’m serious,” he says. “I’m not really in the mood to be lectured or dragged off to confession.”

Janine nodded. “That’s right,” she said. “You break so many of the rules that I keep forgetting.” She kept running her fingers over his hair.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that while I’m trying to work,” Nicholas said quietly. Then, after a few moments, he added, “Don’t stop.”

Janine didn’t stop. She traced light circles with her fingernails in his hair, watching him as he slowly relaxed in his seat. “Have you ever grown it out any longer?” she asked. “It’s hard to really properly play with it when it’s this short.”

Nicholas closed his eyes so Janine couldn’t see him roll them. “If there’s an innuendo in that, I’m choosing to ignore it.”

Getting out of bed proved to be a bit of an acrobatic trick, Nicholas discovered. As it happened, the placement of his rather small bed in his rather small bedroom was not ideal for being shared with a second person. He tried not to wake Janine as he rather skillfully managed to crawl over her and get to his feet.

He automatically reached for his trainers by the wardrobe before remembering that going out for a run would probably not be the best idea while he was meant to be watching after his four-year-old niece. Instead, he reached for his dressing gown and pulled it out as he quietly made his way out to the kitchen to put the kettle on. He was surprised to find Sam already awake and at the kitchen table with a stack of newspapers and as many different pens and pencils as she had been able to round up (several of which looked suspiciously like eyeliner pencils stolen from Janine’s handbag).

“You’re not taking things that don’t belong to you, are you?” Nicholas asked, delaying his plans for tea.

“No,” Sam said, keeping her head down as she drew some sort of bird on one the newspaper photographs.

“Are you sure?”

After a few moments, Sam gathered up the eyeliner pencils and various pens and sheepishly handed them to Nicholas. “I’m sorry, Nic’las,” she said.

Nicholas set the collection of stolen art supplies on the counter. “Next time, be sure to ask,” he said softly. “After breakfast, we’ll go back up to Nan’s and pick up your markers, all right? Here...” He gave her back the biros, since there wasn’t much chance in her doing any damage to those, and turned her bird drawing slightly so that he could look at it. “I think he needs a friend, don’t you?” he asked, pointing at the bird.

Sam nodded, and put one of the pens to the page, holding the tip on the paper for a few moments. She gave the biro to Nicholas. “Needs to be a hedgehog,” she declared.

“Okay, draw a hedgehog,” Nicholas suggested, turning the page back so that it was orientated in the direction she had it.

Sam pushed the biro at Nicholas’ hand. “No, you.”

Nicholas frowned. “I’ve never drawn a hedgehog, but all right.” He took the biro and drew next to the bird, which he could now see was meant to be a swan, a spiky hedgehog approximation.


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Police Chief Inspector Nicholas Angel

September 2013

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