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 loathe 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.
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. No matter what Adams says, it’s a joke worth laughing at; no matter how unskillful his administrative skills, everyone takes him to lunch for a job well-done. It’s like he’s some alpha canine and all the other boys in the Precinct his pup followers. He 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.
“This is Detective Nate Adams; he’s just transferred from LAPD North Hollywood Division to the 84th; 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.” Morrow nods at the big box of cream sticks that’s already half empty.
I’m not paying attention to this; 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 bit brother, Nate.”
Now I look up; yep. Not only does dark hair and blue eyes run in the Adams’ family, but … oh, my God! They’re twins! I feel my eyes widen to the point where my eyebrows must be disappearing up into my bangs. I’m at a loss for words, which Nick has 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.”
“Nice to be here. Nick says you’ve got the fastest fingers in the city.” He’s grinning, not smirking. Could it be that looks are the only thing they have in common? Because I know I can’t handle double Nicks.
“Thanks; I do okay.”
Nate turns, takes a cream stick out of the box, and heads back towards a couple detectives gathered at the white board.
“What happened, Nick … couldn’t cut being a Detective like your brother?” I whisper. Nick’s eyes narrow and I can tell I’ve hit a sore spot. “Bet he’s really good at what he does.” I can’t help myself; taunting him is a lot more fun than him taunting me.
“Don’t get your hopes up, Cupcake; Nick only goes after women in sports – actually, bikinis in Sports Illustrated.” He pauses to see the effect of his words on me. I don’t flinch or bat an eye. “The last woman he dated had a spread in S.I. like nobody’s business. She was really hot.”
I need to say something, anything; but I’ve got nothing. His insults hit me on so many levels, and they all hurt like hell. I move my chair back, round the desk, and head off for the copy room – my normal escape route whenever Nick starts on me. I hate this man and pray his brother is different – or I may have to look for another position here at the 84th. There’s only so much I can take, and I’ve had it up to my eyebrows with this douche bag.
In my rush to escape Nick, I almost run into Nate’s heels. Can this day get any worse? Nate turns around and smiles – a genuine smile.
“Sorry; didn’t mean to be in your way.” He smiles; not just to be nice, but a real smile that goes all the way to his eyes. Nice, white teeth, kind of crooked, little-boy grin, twinkling eyes. Maybe he is different than Nick!
“No problem,” I reply.
“Last donut?” Nate holds a cream stick out to me.
“Thanks, but no; you go right ahead.”
Nate takes a bite, cream shooting out the end of the donut onto his shirt. “This 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 laughs at himself like it’s no big deal. He talks to me like we’re already friends. “And so I don’t have to be embarrassed when I decide to ask a pretty girl out for dinner.” There’s that smile, again.
“Sounds like a plan,” I say.
“A good plan, I hope,” Nate remarks, “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 came up beside me, put his hand on the headrest of my chair, and interrupts.
“Don’t think dinner’s a good idea, big brother.” Nick’s voice is low and sounds … threatening. I’m confused.
“Didn’t ask you, little brother; I ask the lady.”
The brothers eye one another like two coyotes wanting the same slab of bacon.
“And the lady says ‘no’; I already have a date for this evening.” I interrupt. “But thanks, Nate; some other time.” I flash my brightest smile, hoping knows it translates into catch me later, handsome.
I wheel past the two brothers back to my desk, forgetting all about the copy room. There would be another time because I want it. I’m looking forward to getting acquainted with the many ways Nate is obviously different from Nick Adams.