CHAPTER FOUR: Seeing Double
Halloween was over ten days ago and I’m still in the witching zone. Two months of Nick Adams has been two months too many. The man is an egotistical, know-it-all womanizer and I loathed him! I don’t know why Detective Morrow doesn’t fire him; he’s always a half-hour late in the morning, drinks all the coffee without thinking about starting a fresh pot for anyone else, takes ninety-minute lunches, and is still sitting at the desk facing mine.
Ever since before the holiday, our workload at the 84th has been insane. We’ve been swamped with more homicides than I care to think about; it’s like hello, it’s just a children’s holiday – nothing to kill people over! Now there’s a rumor going around that we’re getting a new detective here at the 84th. I hope it’s a woman; I’m sick of working around all these men. Especially Nick Adams.
No matter what Adams says, it’s a joke worth laughing at; no matter how unskillful his administrative skills, everyone takes him to lunch, pats him on the back, thanks him for handing them a file. Whatever. It’s like he’s some alpha canine and all the other boys in the Precinct his pup followers. Makes me sick.
“Ahem; your attention, please.”
Detective Morrow is getting ready to give his “this is the new guy” speech and, sure enough, it IS a guy. If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have none at all. I couldn’t care less; I stared down at my laptop, still typing.
“This is Detective Nate Adams; he’s just transferred from LAPD North Hollywood Division all the way to the 84th here in Brooklyn! Let’s give him a round of applause for making a great choice - and don’t forget to be generous when you show him around.” I glanced up; Morrow’s nodding at the big box of cream sticks that’s already half empty.
The file on my desk with a yellow sticky marked “Urgent” has all my attention and I barely listened as the Captain talked on about the new detective. I’m not interested; let him eat our donuts and smile at all the guys lining up to shake his hand in welcome. I’ve got work to do.
“Hey, there, Cupcake.” Nick just won’t let that nickname go. “Like you to meet my older brother, Nate.”
I look up. What? another Adams? I casually glanced over at Nick’s brother. Guess dark hair and blue eyes run in the family … Oh, my God! They’re twins! They looked identical, except this Adams was taller than Nick by at least a couple hairs and older by – what – minutes? Yet something about him felt older. I shook my head, my eyes widened to the point where my eyebrows were most likely disappeared up into my hairline.
I’m at a loss for words, which Nick had no intention of ignoring. “Cat got your tongue, Cupcake?”
“Ah, no … nope. I’m good.” What do I say, now? “Welcome to the 84th, Detective Adams.” I didn't offer a handshake.
“Nice to be here. Nick says you’ve got the fastest fingers in the city.” He grinned, not smirked, and graciously ignored the fact that I didn’t offer him my hand. Could it be that looks are the only thing they have in common? Because I knew I couldn't handle double Nicks.
“Thanks; I do okay.”
Nate winked at me, turned, took a cream stick out of the box, and headed back towards a couple detectives gathered at the white board.
I couldn’t help but wonder what the scoop was with these two and certainly didn't plan on keeping my mouth shut. “What happened, Nick … couldn’t cut being a Detective like your brother?” I whispered. Nick’s eyes narrowed; I'd hit a sore spot. “Bet he’s really good at what he does.” I couldn't help myself; taunting him was fun.
“Don’t get your hopes up, Cupcake; you’re not Nick’s type. My brother only goes after women in sports – actually, women in bikinis - in Sports Illustrated.” He paused to see the effect of his words on me. “The last woman he dated had a spread in S.I. like nobody’s business. She was really hot.”
I didn’t flinch or bat an eye, ‘cause the one who blinks first loses.
I needed to say something, anything; but I had nothing. His insults hit me on so many levels, and they all hurt like hell. I moved my chair back, wheeled around the desk, and headed off for the copy room – my normal escape route whenever Nick starts on me. I hated this man and prayed his brother was different – or I may have to look for another position here at the 84th. Not that it’d be too difficult; every floor had support staff vacancies. Maybe I’d ask for a transfer since that seemed the popular thing to do.
In my rush to escape Nick, I almost ran into the back of Nate’s heels. Could this day get any worse? Nate turned around and smiled – a genuine smile that lit up his baby-blues.
“Sorry; don’t mean to be in your way.” He was still smiling; he had nice, white teeth, kind of a crooked, little-boy grin, and awesome eyes that twinkled down at me. Maybe he was different than Nick. My heart did a serious flip-flop. You’re in trouble, said the little devil on my shoulder.
“No problem,” I replied.
“Last donut?” Nate held a cream stick out to me.
“Thanks, but no; you go right ahead.”
Nate took a bite, cream shooting out the end of the donut onto his perfectly ironed blue shirt. “This only happens when I eat; I have an invisible hole in my chin, and stuff just goes right through onto my shirt. It’s why I always have an extra in my car.” He laughed at himself like it was no big deal. “And so I don’t have to be embarrassed when I decide to ask a pretty girl out for dinner.” He added.
“Sounds like a plan,” I say. There's that smile, again. I hope I don’t have some goofy, school girl crush look on my face!
“A good plan, I hope,” Nate remarked, “because I’d love it if you’re free for dinner tonight.”
Sometime between Nate taking a bite of that donut and asking me out to dinner, Nick had come up beside me and put his hand on the headrest of my chair.
“Don’t think dinner’s a good idea, big brother.” Nick interrupted, his voice low - almost menacing. Now I was totally confused.
“Didn’t ask you, little brother; I asked the lady.”
The brothers eyed each another like two dogs salivating over a bone.
“And the lady said ‘no’; I already have a date for this evening.” I interrupted. “But thanks, Nate; some other time.” I flashed my brightest smile, hoping he’d know I meant catch me later, handsome.
I wheeled past the two brothers and back to my desk; forgotten were the copies I'd intended to make. I was looking forward to getting acquainted with the many ways Nate Adams was obviously different from his brother.