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Near Life Experience 8/13

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.

Author's Note/Plea/(maybe some begging)...

Few things give me anxiety...worrying about the kids, the dogs...and most recently, The N&N Files Fundraiser Campaign and really, given the pace, it should you too if you want to see it.

Currently, we're (the collective we) at 51.5%. The pacing on the campaign will put them at the end 82.5% of their goal of $50K. =0/ This causes stress. The per day contribution has averaged about $1,288 and to hit the goal they'll need an uptick of $732/day on top of the daily pace...What that means...

We, the collective, need a bit more exposure and maybe to shake down some couches of friends/family (I'm sure their couches would appreciate the attention), maybe their cars too to pull together a bit more dinero to make this happen.

I'd totally queue up an ASPCA commercial if it'll help with the sympathy, maybe post some sad eye pictures of my own dogs if it'll work.

In short, help? Please? Pretty please with something delicious that you'd like on top?

Also, two last things:

Mindschmootz featured Liz Vassey and Christina Cox to talk about The N&N Files - check it out.


Ch. 8 – Weak Knees, Shaking Hands

I pinch the bridge of my nose and shake my head. My eyes flutter shut as I bark, “Stop!” Shirley Manson’s voice is cut right before the she hits the last line before the bridge. I wonder if anyone will actually notice the song once we get this number running smoothly? “Sex is Not the Enemy” was one of my more inspired choices. The only problem is that I think I’m over estimating the intelligence of Rusty’s usual crowd.

There’s an audible groan from the stage and I hear Chrissy start to whine. “Oh, no!” I snap at her. “You will not be sighing, rolling your eyes, or giving me any lip when your ass is three steps ahead of the Goddamn song!”

I’ve tried.

I’ve been patient.

I’ve shown her. I’ve explained it until I was blue in the face and yet…

She’s not even close to nailing the routine Geno asked me to put together.

I’m going to throttle her.

I finally crack my left eye open and look up from the dark blue quartz-blended floor to the dark stage, and at the cause of my boiling indigestion. Chrissy’s…it’s a disservice to call her a ‘typical blonde’ because while she has her moments, she can be fairly insightful and self-aware…

But for the life of me, the girl has two left feet. The fact that she’s a decent stripper is more than likely due to her disarming sense of humor and silicone enhanced bust. She makes more doing lap dances than stage work, but she’s also filling in for a vacationing Jenna.

“I swear to God, Chrissy, those two left feet you have are about ready to do me in,” I grumble and let my hands fall to my sides. She’s looking down at me, sweaty, annoyed, and if I didn’t know that she knew leaping off the stage to strangle me would get her fired, I’d be worried.

The front door opens, allowing the afternoon sun to spill in briefly before Geno’s frame fills the doorway. He stomps in being followed Patsy Casella and Scott Serway, two of the marks from Saturday night. I watch the group pass by. A small smile and a nod the only acknowledgement I receive. Moving through the heavy black curtain that blends with the wall, they head to the back of the club.

I’m already following. I call out over my shoulder, “Take fifteen. We’ll see if we can start fresh or find both your feet and a sense of rhythm before we get back.”

I look over my shoulder and see Chrissy’s mouth open in protest. I ‘shh’ her before a word is uttered. I’m not in the mood and I now have more important things to do. Slipping behind the curtain, I barely ruffle the heavy fabric.

The location of Geno’s office, sitting right next to the men’s bathroom, the up or down side is entirely dependent upon Mike. If he’s been in there, then it’s bad. If he hasn’t then it’s good. I know he hasn’t. So lucky for me, I’ll be able to stomach going in.

There are two stalls sitting off to the right of the doorway while the urinal and sink are on the left. The stall closest to the entrance is the one with the shared duct to Geno’s office. I’m not sure he knows or if anyone else knows that when the club’s quiet you can hear every word spoken in the next room.

Taking my usual spot in the grimy three by four foot space, I make sure the stall’s locked before settling down on the scarred, dingy-white seat to listen.

It doesn’t take long for Geno’s voice to carry though, “Rusty didn’t say how Saturday went.”

“It was adequate…” Scott answers quickly.

“That’s what you’re calling that cluster…” Patsy follows up, cutting Scott off. “The party part was fine. The after was…”

“Unfortunate, but a necessity,” Scott cuts Patsy off this time.

“What happened?” Geno asks.

The soft hum of the air conditioner fills the silence as it stretches. It’s moments like this where I wish I actually could see what’s going on. Whatever’s not being said is just as important as the bit of ease dropping I’m doing.

I wonder if Nora, in all her Supergirl glory, actually has x-ray vision and if so, I wonder if she can pass that along to me…?

“Look, let’s just put the false pleasantries to rest,” Scott finally speaks. “There was an issue; the issue was properly disposed of. I’ve got somewhere to be in an hour and furthermore, the less you know Geno, the better…for all.”

There are twin coughs before Geno’s voice fills the silence, “Right…well, we’ll have everything on our end ready for you when you need it.”

“Greatly appreciated,” Scott’s voice has lost some of the tension, far more placating than normal. No doubt compensating for the small skirmish. I’m surprised it wasn’t Patty that got snippy. The brief interaction I had with the man Saturday was enough tell me that he was unpleasant and just a wee bit psychopathic.

“Should I expect payment at delivery, or…?” Geno trails off, coming through a little unsure. He probably is. This isn’t the man’s usual forte. He’s a business manager. From my observations, he doesn’t make it a habit to get involved with things like this.

“I’ll be taking care of everything at deliver...” Scott starts.

“Hey,” Geno cuts him off, “This was partly a favor for Rusty, but...”

“You’ve been…” Patsy’s voice is rough, biting as he butts in.

“Patsy,” Scott warns. “Geno,” he directs his attention back to my boss, “I understand and appreciate the risks…”

“I don’t think you do, Scott, but as long as everyone’s ducks line up…” There’s a break in the conversation before Geno fills in, “I couldn’t care less. You’ve handled your end today. I just want to make sure the rest of the people that I’ve brought in are taken care of.”

“At delivery all remunerations will be shored up. I assure you,” Scott answers right away.

“I think that means we’re good,” Patsy truncates the conversation.

“We are. I’ll message you when the pick-up is ready,” Geno says.

I can hear the creak of the chairs and I know I need to go and make myself scarce. Quickly, I stand, throw the lock on the stall door and slip out of it and then the bathroom. I cast a glance over my shoulder to make sure Geno’s office door is still closed and stride towards the front of the club.

Chrissy should be ready to start up again. I slip past the curtain at the end of the dark short hallway just as I hear Geno’s door open. Squeezing between the part in the curtain and the wall, I look towards the stage and see Chrissy’s not back yet.

Not that I’m surprised by that, but my steps falter anyway. Darius is sitting at the bar, chatting easily with Mike. Curious, I step up behind him and place my hands on thin shoulders. “Darius,” I purr into his ear.

His head turns to look at me and he greets, “Nik!” I hear the three men coming down the hall and I can’t shake the sudden need to get Darius out of their line of sight.

Quickly, I pull him to his feet and tug him as fast as possible behind the bar and into the stock room. He sputters a protest as I push him inside and shut the door, shoving a case of Jack Daniels in front of it to keep anyone from coming in.

I round on him as he snaps, “What the actual fuck, Nikki?”

I stop and look at him as the heavy beat my heart was drumming begins to settle to a more even paced tempo. I can’t really explain the reaction. Instinct? Maybe…I just know that if they would have seen him, it wouldn’t be good.

So I don’t really respond to the question. I place my hands on my hips and wait out his annoyance. It takes a few beats but he finally calms when he realizes that I won’t be answering that question.

“What are you doing here?” I need to know. He doesn’t often pop in here without talking to me first. And on the two occasions he’s done so, at any club I’ve ever worked, unannounced, it’s usually bad news.

With Darius, I go by the adage, ‘no news is good news.’

“Why don’t you tell me why I was shoved in here first?” he counters, mirroring my stance.

My lips purse as I suck my teeth, deciding on the truth or not. My fingers drum across my hip bone before I answer, “Serway and Casella were in with Geno. I just didn’t think it would be good for them to see you.”

“Huh,” Darius grunts as his brow furrows. “Why for?”

“Why for, what?” I ask, slumping against the corner of the closest shelving unit.

“Why are they here?” Dar clarifies as he hops onto a stack of boxes his legs knocking off the sides.

“A few reasons…from what I could eavesdrop on. Payment was discussed but…” I trail off not sure how to word the unease I felt from Scott’s dismissal of the “issue” they ran into. I wish I knew what the “issue” was—

I watch him suck his teeth as the ideas he’s not sharing roll around in his head. “What else?” he finally asks.

“What else, what?” I stall. Huffing, he stares at me. Should have known I wouldn’t get away with that twice. “There was mention of an issue. Scott insisted it was taken care of…apparently it happened Saturday night.”

His eyes grow large at the mention of Saturday night and I swear his dark skin lost a little color. Licking his lips, he says, “Well, that’s why I’m here. Word ‘round town is that Penny Bullock got round tabled all the way to St. Peter.”

Using the edge of my towel I wipe off the steam covered mirror in Nora’s bathroom and shake my hair free of the towel it’s wrapped in. The damp strands fall around my shoulders far curlier in their wet form than when they dry. Having thick wavy hair is nice, most of the time. The maintenance on it can be a bear. Sighing, I start the process of taming the beast.

I’m not sure where Nora ran off to, but when I woke this morning to cold sheets, I did take note of the car keys resting on the nightstand. So off I went to grab a shower, happy with the idea that she didn’t go far. Trying not to feel too put out, I really wanted to repay Nora for the last orgasm I had before drifting off. From waiting in my dressing room over an hour as I closed Rusty’s down, to being far more attentive a lover than I had anticipated, the blonde had earned a healthy payback.

With the last clean swipe of the brush, I set it down satisfied I won’t have a mess of tangles and it’s good enough to put in a ponytail until work. I toss my wet towels on the hook that Nora freed up for me the last time I stayed the night, flip the light off and head for clothes. I quickly pull on panties, a pair of basketball shorts, and sweatshirt of Nora’s. Noise, Nora’s laughter and another, decidedly male, voice filter through down the hall. Curious, I stride out of the bedroom towards my hostess’ laughter and call out, “Nora?” I stop at the kitchen’s threshold where she and a young man with Nora’s shaggy blonde hair and green eyes blink back at me.

“Nic,” my lover squeaks and stammers, “Uh, ’morning and uh…this is my brother, Bobby.” Her head turns to Bobby and she says, “This is Nikki.”

“Nice to meet you,” Bobby grins and stands with an outstretched hand.

I reach out shaking the offered hand that’s smooth yet calloused in a semi-firm grip. “Pleasure’s mine.” I return his grin and let his hand go to take the seat being offered by Nora. She slides a cup of coffee over to me.

“We can share,” she explains by way of a sheepish grin.

“If I’d have known that my big sis had company, I’d have brought more,” Bobby offers his own version of the grin that passed over Nora’s lips mere seconds ago. It reminds me how scary genetics can actually be.

I quirk an eyebrow and Nora fills in, “I was going to let you sleep in a bit and grab us breakfast…”

“But I ran into her on her way out,” Bobby finishes off and holds up a pastry box from Miss. Winston’s.

“Are you usually up at this hour?” I wonder and pluck a beignet from the box. “And thanks.”

“Closed down a bar,” he answers around a mouthful of his own donut. “My band’s played the last set at Emma’s the last three nights.” Even with the half masticated donut stuffed in his mouth, Bobby’s smile is charming and boyish.

Nora sends me a look with a slight shake of her head. Lifting my chin in question, she speaks, “Sorry. His manners leave little to be desired.”

The jab causes Bobby’s face to bloom red and his jaw snaps shut with an audible clack.

I recall the long forgotten debutante of a past life and manage to mind my manners, nibbling at the food and sipping at the coffee offered to me. I even manage to stop the groan of pleasure from escaping at the taste of the food. Except for the last bit of bread I toasted yesterday, this is the first I’ve had to eat. At some point I’m going to have to make it to the super market and restock the usual meager amount of food I keep in the pantry.

“So,” Bobby breaks the easy silence that had settled over us, “how long have you been seeing each other?”

The question gets an immediate smack to the back of his head from Nora. “Bobby!” she barks his name.

He just grins. “Aw, come on, Nor. You know mom’ll want to know.”

“Breathe a word Robert Peter Delaney, and so help me, God…” she rumbles. I smirk at the ire in the invocation of his full name. Aggressive Nora isn’t new to me, but I forgot how sexy it can be.

“Now, Nora, don’t be like that,” Bobby chides, “you carry on any more and you’re liable to give your pretty lady the idea that she’s good enough to share a bed with, but not to be introduced to your family.”

His tease causes her to blanch and shake her head my way. “Nikki, that’s not…Look mama’s just…Our mom takes everything to the extreme. She’d be picking out China patterns the second she saw you.”

Robert Peter Delaney snickers a little, but nods his agreement with Nora’s assessment. I’m not shocked Nora’s family is like that. Knowing what I do of her, it fits. I am shocked that she’s reasoned her argument to imply that she’s thought of making introductions to her family.

Admittedly, there was that whole birthday thing, but if I’m honest, we both knew that wasn’t even an option or in the realm of happening.

“Nora,” I say and try to reassure her with a smile, “I do get it. I may not have much family of my own anymore, but I do remember what a mother can be like.”

Her brows knit together. It’s the first instance where I’ve mentioned family or the possibility of one.

“You from around here?” Bobby asks breaking off the exchange between us.

I shake my head. “No, North Carolina,” I lie with a smile, recalling the pieces of the cover story I’ve used for the last few years.

“Family must miss you,” Bobby continues on oblivious. Nora’s past attempts at knowing my history prevent her from pressing. She does not stop her brother from making similar inquiries though.

Relenting, I try for a vague politeness, “Not so much. My mom passed on a while back and my father and I’ve never really saw eye to eye.”

He rubs at the back of his neck. “Sorry,” he mumbles, “didn’t mean to…”

I wave him off and smile. “No need to apologize. Some ask about family, it’s only natural. I’m quite used to it.” I feel Nora’s hand slide across my thigh and give it a slight squeeze in support.

“Well, glad that you’re here at least,” Bobby says. The genuine note of gratitude does not go missed. The charming, politeness is another genetic trait I’m learning.

That or perhaps, it’s a product of their parents influence in behavior.

“If you don’t mind, how’d she pass on?” Nora asks boldly.

I resist the eye roll. Knowing that a good lie is better with peppered truths, I say, “Cervical cancer back in Ninety-two.” Her lips purse and she nods.

“Must’ve been hard. We got family coming out our ears, so if you feel the need, I’m more than happy to loan out to you whenever you’d like.” Bobby manages to break the tension with his joke.

“Ha!” Nora barks. “I wouldn’t burden her like that.” She side eyes me and informs, “I’d not wish them on my worst enemy.”

“Hey, I’m not that bad. You like Kev and Kira enough,” he reminds her.

“You’re a pain. If I didn’t promise daddy to look out for you heathens…”

“You’d be bored,” Bobby cuts her off and grins.

I’m about to interrupt the sibling back and forth when the front door opens. We all look in the direction of the man sauntering through like he lives here.

“Partner!” the man from the first night I met Nora calls out. He’s obviously been working out; the sweat drips down his brown, balled head and his chest glistens. His tank top is tucked into the waist band of loose-fitting, black, basketball shorts with the New Orleans Hornets logo on the right leg. He stops short at the small congregation we make at the table.

“You could knock, Harney,” Nora grumbles from next to me.

He shrugs in apology. “Didn’t expect you to have company,” he says honestly. “Stopped by to see if you wanted to finish off the last few miles of my run with…”

Nora’s glare shuts him up.

“Brother!” Bobby greets.

“How’s it going, kid?” Dan asks Bobby. Dan seems to not take offence at the greeting.

“Good. Made a killing the last few days,” Bobby answers.

“That candle I lit at mass last week must have paid off. Covering your half of the rent again was going to make us have a sit down with Mama D.,” Dan chides with a smile. He turns the bright, white-toothed grin my way and nods. “Nikki, right? Good to see you again.”

I expect more from him on our first and only introduction, but that’s all. The ruffle of my feathers calm as I realize he’s going to be as respectful as possible to Nora. “Right. Good to see you again as well.”

“You two’ve met?” Bobby asks. “Dan, you’ve been holding out on your little brother?” And just like that it clicks; the man’s a bit closer to Nora and her family than I originally thought. Nora’s down play of ‘coworker’ was a tad misleading.

I let it go and cover Nora’s hand on my thigh with my own. I suppose relaxing this morning won’t be bad. She shoots me a small smile and I wink at her. I’ll worry about everything else later.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2013 05:34 am (UTC)
Glad for another chapter! Hope the kids and dog are alright.

I am watching N&N website, crossing my fingers.
Apr. 15th, 2013 04:09 am (UTC)

Kids are usually all right...the middle one just went to their sr. prom...jesus...OLD...I'm old!

Apr. 11th, 2013 06:15 am (UTC)
I just discovered this couple a few days back and I must say that this is my favorite fanfic of the ones I've read so far (though I feel there's a whole gold mine of stories waiting to be found for this pair...and waiting to be written! you might have inspired me to start something....) But this one is probably my favorite. Normally I don't like AU, but I like what you've done with Nikki. I'm curious to know how it will turn out between them because Nora will feel an obligation to the law...ahhh! You must finish this! Please post again soon!

<3 <3 <3
Apr. 15th, 2013 04:13 am (UTC)
I'm OCD about unfinished fic. It'll happen sooner than one might think.

I am glad you like it. There's a lot of good stuff out there, older, but still around. I hope you enjoy what you find.

Apr. 11th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
Just found this story! Love it! Can't really figure Nikki out though. I'm starting to think either her and Darius are con artists or they are some sort of PI's and always work as a team. Can't wait to read more!!
Apr. 15th, 2013 04:14 am (UTC)

Apr. 12th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
Was so happy to see this update!! With all the talk and activity about the new web series it's wonderful to read a good N&N story. Hopefully we will be able to see them soon on the screen!

Wondering about Nikki though, is she a really a stripper or something more???? Can't wait to read more! :)
Apr. 15th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been bad. I blame work, really. That and my lack of discipline with the new job and the whole thing that happens when I get home from work and want to shut my brain down.

We'll see them soon, I'm pretty sure.

I, also can't confirm or deny anything regarding Nikki...I will be annoying and say that what she and Darius are is not settled on my end either. I just finished up chapter 10 and nothing's set in stone yet.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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