I'll Be Right Behind You

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Chapter 13

Nicole looked at the time on her screen, it had been ten minutes since she’d received Alex’s text but was unable to respond. That text was the last thing she had accepted. Nicole had thought by now, Alex would probably be angry at her considering everything that happened – if she was in her place, Nicole knew she would be. She couldn’t stop reading over the words over and over again I miss you, Nicole. After typing out three different replies, Nicole decided to just call her.

She waited, listening to the phone ring…“Hello?” Nicole heard from the other end after the second ring, and removed the phone from her ear pressing the end call button immediately. Nicole groaned out loud, pressing her face against the pillow. I hate you so much.

About a minute passed when her phone rang, she turned her head, looking at it in her hand. It wasn’t a surprise when she saw that the call was from Alex. Instead of answering, Nicole just stared at the screen until the ringing stopped.

Nicole Griffin

1:22am

Pls don’t apologize. That’s on me. I shouldn’t have run out like that and then not call u or answer u’re calls or texts. It was really immature and stupid. And I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you but saying that won’t change anything. Like this is completely on me, you had nothing to do with me being an asshole, so please don’t think this was u’re fault. If u’re mad at me, I totally get it.

Nicole Griffin

1:22am

And Alex? I miss u too.

I did not just send that. Nicole thought as let her face onto her pillow once again.

Alex did a little double when the text appeared on her phone. She was not even expecting a reply, let alone one like that.

Alex

1:24am

So can I expect to hear from you? Or maybe see you tomorrow at The Hourglass?

Nicole couldn’t get herself to reply. Hell she couldn’t even get herself to read the text. She remained face down as her phone buzzed every couple of minutes notifying her off the text. Nicole couldn’t be bothered to put the phone on silent either. Sending that text was embarrassing enough.

About 15 minutes later, the door swung open and Ophelia walked inside, “Answer your phone goddammit, people are trying to sleep!”

“But I can’t.” She whined, her voice muffled by the pillow.

“Then let me.” Ophelia reached for the phone on Nicole’s nightstand.

“No!”

“Jeez, fine. At least put it on silent.” She left the room, unsure of what was going on with her best friend but it was too late and Ophelia was too sleepy to question Nicole.


Alex was standing by the counter, waiting for Helios to get her coffee. She was starting to think that Nicole wasn’t going to show up. It was Saturday anyways, and unless she wanted to see her, Nicole wouldn’t be here today. Her texts last night gave Alex hope that maybe they could go back to…what? Being friends? That didn’t really sound right, but it was better than not having her around at all. But maybe Nicole changed her mind, it wouldn’t really surprise her after what happened when they kissed. Yes, Alex was more than just a little pissed off at Nicole for ignoring her for an entire week but at the same time she wanted her around. Alex lingered for a moment longer after Helios handed her her coffee cup, hoping that the blonde would show up.

She sighed, about to leave when she heard Nicole behind her. “Morning.”

Alex turned around to face her, a bit too quickly and eagerly perhaps. “Morning.” A small smile broke out on her face out of relief.

“How are you?” Nicole asked.

“I’m okay…” Alex nodded. “What about you?”

She shrugged. “Alright.”

Helios walked up to the two of them with Nicole’s coffee in hand, stopping in his tracks when he noticed the two of them talking. They hadn’t at all the past week and he didn’t expect today to be any different. He approached them slowly and carefully, “Hey…” Helios greeted Nicole, handing her the cup.

“Thanks Helios.” She gave him a smile, turning back to Alex, trying to hold a conversation without it getting awkward. “How’s work?”

“You know, busy.” Alex paused; this was getting awkward. “How’s school?”

“It’s been busy, but just one more week till the term ends so that’s something.”

She nodded, trying to think of something to say. Alex could feel the awkwardness beginning to fill the air. Opening her mouth to say something, her phone rang. “Sorry,” She muttered, pulling it out of her pocket. Nicole waved it off with a smile as Alex answered, “Detective Woods.”

She hung up a couple of seconds later, turning to Nicole, “I’m so sorry, there’s been a murder and I have to go.” Alex apologized, looking genuinely disappointed.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s fine.” Nicole replied, walking out of The Hourglass with Alex.

“Can I see you later?” Alex asked, unlocking her car. “…to catch up?”

“Yeah, let’s do that.” She nodded. “Call me after you get out of work?”

Alex smiled. “My place or yours?”

“Ophelia’s not going to be home tonight and I mean it this time.” She almost laughed at the memory of what had happened the last time Alex stayed over.

“I’ll see you tonight, then.”


“Were they talking to each other?” Murphy asked Helios as he stood behind the counter watching his friend walk out of the coffee shop with Alex.

“So I wasn’t the only one that saw that?” Helios remained in his spot, unsure what had just happened because the last few days, Nicole didn’t even notice Alex was there let alone talk to her. “Go back to work, Murphy.” He turned his head, telling off his barista before pulling out his phone and walking away to one of the rooms at the back.

“You don’t usually call me on Saturday mornings.” His sister complained as she answered from the other end, from her voice it was clear that she wasn’t completely awake.

“Nicole and Alex were just in.” Helios paused. “And they were talking to each other.”

“They were WHAT?” Ophelia exclaimed, no hint of exhaustion in her voice anymore.

“What the f- …fudge happened over night?”

“You can swear when talking to me, you know that right? And how should I know what happened? I thought Nicole forgot Alex even existed.”

“You two live together, come on, something must’ve happened.”


Ophelia had asked her about what had happened at The Hourglass but Nicole wasn’t sure what to tell her friend other than “I think I was being a little immature so…” It didn’t entirely convince her, but it did manage to shut her up about it. It was a little past 11 and Nicole was sitting in front of the TV, a couple of minutes into a rerun of the new Quantico having received a text from Alex saying she’d just gotten out of work about ten minutes ago; meaning she wouldn’t be here for about another five minutes. Nicole needed something to distract herself from thinking about Alex. Not having seen her the past week meant it would probably get at least a little awkward between them. Nicole didn’t really want to talk about the kiss but knew it would come up. She wasn’t ready to admit it to herself – let alone anyone else – that that kiss was more than just a kiss, it made her feel something and that’s what was scary. She didn’t want anyone to make her feel anything, they were good as just friends and Nicole wasn’t too keen on being with someone. Well, she wasn’t too keen on the power that gave the other person over her. The doorbell rang, bringing her out of her thoughts.

“Hey,” Nicole greeted as she opened the door to Alex.

“Hey,” Alex greeted back, stepping inside. “Brought pizza.”

They were both sitting on either ends of the couch, putting as much distance between them as possible and doing their best to avoid any awkward contact. Their pizza box lay on the coffee table, now half eaten and the episode of Quantico having just finished. They hadn’t talked much since Alex got here; just the usual, asking how the other had been the past week, doing their best to tiptoe around the kiss. So far, they were doing a pretty good job of not bringing it up.

“I like the new painting.” Alex commented as the credits finished rolling.

“Thanks.” Nicole smiled. “It’s been a busy week but somehow I found a little time to myself. And I don’t know, I was feeling…inspired.”

“So…” Alex started. “Are we going to…talk about it?”

Nicole made a face, “Do we have to?”

She sighed. “Not now, if you don’t want to. But eventually…”

“What is there to talk about though?”

Alex tilted her head slightly with a small laugh, “Really?”

Nicole groaned, “Might as do it now. What do you wanna talk about?”

“Why did you run off like that?” She asked without having to think about it.

She turned in her seat to face Alex, biting her lower lip. “I want to say it’s a long story or it’s complicated but I have a feeling that’s not good enough. Especially after what I did all of last week.”

Alex shook her head slowly, “No, it’s not.”

“I’m not ready for a relationship.” Nicole told her, lowering her head and looking away from the brunette. “My last one ended…badly to say the least. Well it was mostly just bad and I’m just not ready to be with anyone.” She looked back at Alex waiting for her to respond.

She nodded slowly, not saying anything for a few moments. “You could’ve just said that.”

“But I really like you.” Nicole continued, forcing the words out quickly before she can change her mind. “And that scares me.”

“Why?”

She didn’t say anything. Honestly, Nicole didn’t know what to say. Whatever she wanted to say sounded stupid inside her head.

“Don’t do that again. Please.” Alex tried. “Say something.”

“I don’t know what to say.” She shrugged. “Like I said, after my last relationship, I’m not up for another one yet. And I don’t know when I will be. No one since then has made me feel anything, Alex. But after we kissed…who am I kidding? Even before, you were making me feel something and I thought I could stop it and I think was doing a pretty decent job but then we kissed and the fucking dam broke.” Nicole let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “And I was scared. I was scared that it would end up last time.”

“What happened last time?” She asked gently.

It’s self-explanatory really, Nicole thought. “Phillip Collins.”

Alex’s eyes widened, her jaw dropping wider than Nicole thought was possible. “No…” She breathed out.

“Yeah, I thought you’d know him.”

Alex knew all too well who Phillip Collins was. About a month before she and Reyna had gotten their detective’s badge, they were on the task force for a case, Phillip’s case. To call him a killer would be the very least. Killing his victims in three’s, he would leave them in public places like a lot of serial killers; but rather than just killing his victims, he’d torture them for as long as their body could keep up. Sixth time around, they were able to stop him, saving a victim in the process. Alex had read Phillip’s file, he wasn’t the…nicest person to be around – go figure. It had mentioned that during the almost 3 month long murder spree and about 5 months prior, he had a girlfriend; but her name was not in any of the paperwork. “I was on the task force.” Alex muttered after a moment of silence, trying to take in the information.

“So you know him really well.”

“Yeah.” She nodded. “Oh god, I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.”

Nicole shook her head. “Crazy thing is, I did love him…for a very long time.” She let out a shaky breath. “But that just gave him the power to do what he did. To hurt me the way he did. He isolated me from my friends, told me I was nothing without him – and soon enough I believed him, letting him do whatever he wanted.” She still wasn’t ready to talk about it. Nicole had worked through it, putting it behind her and that’s exactly where she needed it to be, behind her. Talking about it, even now, was more than just difficult. “He had that power over me because I loved him, because I cared about him. And I feel like if I feel anything for someone again, open myself up to someone again, they’re going to rip me apart…again.”

They let a few moments pass, letting the heaviness in the air subside a little. It was a lot for Alex to take in, not that it made her see Nicole any differently, no, she’d read the files, she knew what Phillip was capable of, now Alex understood why Nicole didn’t want to be with anyone.

“You’re turn.” Nicole finally spoke, her tone back to normal. “So tell me, why doesn’t Alex Woods do relationships?”

“I guess that’s fair.” Alex smiled, nodding. “Do you really wanna know?”

She nodded, “Yeah.”

“I just feel like everyone deserves better than me, deserves more than what I have to offer.” She said with a shrug, not really knowing what else to say.

“Why would you even say that?”

Alex let her head fall against the back of the couch, looking up at the ceiling. “Have you met me?” She asked rhetorically.

“As a matter of fact, yes, I have.”

“I feel like I’m messed up and no one should have to put up with that.”

“Alex…”

“I’m more than a little fucked up, Nicole.” She looked back at her. When Nicole didn’t say anything, she continued. “Let’s just say my parents weren’t the greatest.” Alex stopped herself. “Scratch that, they were awful and they did a really good job at setting it in my brain that I’m not good enough for anyone.”

Nicole sighed, contemplating whether to move closer. “You can’t believe that.”

“You hear something enough times, you begin to believe it.” Alex told her. “And I don’t really want people to see that side of me, so I prefer one-night stands to relationships. I can be enough. But with relationships, I know I can’t. I can’t be there for someone the way they need me to be. Costia was an exception and look how that turned out.”

“Tell me more about your parents.”

“They were as shitty as it gets with parents,” She shrugged. “I hated them with every fiber of my being growing up and I still do.” She stated. “My dad was worse than my mom, he was drunk and angry more than half the time and…it just wasn’t nice. My mom wasn’t much better either, but she stuck to being just verbal, disapproving of literally everything I did or liked; from the fact that I’m gay down to the color of my trainers.” Alex told her, not a hint of emotion in her voice. She hadn’t talked about her parents to anyone really; although this was quiet vague; it was more than she’d ever told anyone else. Reyna and Lincoln were the only ones that knew, obviously. And it felt strange saying it out loud. “What about you? You and your mom don’t seem to get along too well.”

“Yeah,” Nicole laughed. “Nothing I do really matters because I happen to like girls as well as guys. It’s mostly the girls that bother her rather the both thing.” Alex nodded. “One of the reasons I want to be a doctor is because of her. But it’s still not enough to “excuse” the fact that I’m bi.” She shrugged. “I don’t know, it’d be nice if she saw me as more than just my sexuality. I really don’t get why it matters as much as it does…And yeah, that’s why we don’t get along too well.” By the way she said it, it seemed to Alex like it didn’t bother Nicole as much as it pissed her off now. “But my dad was great. We were really close and he was always there for me. Me and my mom got along better with him around, I don’t know…he could keep us under control because the two of us could have a falling out over anything – it was actually kinda funny.”

“Can I ask you something?” Alex asked after a beat of silence.

“I think we’ve asked each other a lot of things tonight, so yeah, go ahead.” Nicole replied with a smile.

“What do we do now? I mean do we go back to being just friends, forget that I ever kissed you? If that’s what you want. ”

“I want to say yes but I really like you and that kiss…” She trailed off with a frustrated sigh. “You’re a really good kisser.”

“So give me a shot.” Alex tried. “This goes against everything I’ve said about why I don’t do relationships but…I really like you too and call me crazy but I think we could work.”

Nicole remained silent, thinking about her answer. It would be awkward going back to just friends, hell, after this, it would be pretty fucking impossible to go back to being just friends.

“I can’t promise we will work but I can promise one thing,” Alex spoke when Nicole continued to not say anything. “I promise I will never hurt you…so what do you think?”

She didn’t say anything, only moved closer to Alex, before bringing her hand to her face and pulling her in for a kiss. Alex’s eyes fluttered shut, she wasn’t even sure what had just happened before kissing back. Nicole pulled away, causing Alex to open her eyes. They’re faces were still once inches apart when she spoke, “Nicole if you run off again, I swear to go-”

Nicole silenced with another kiss, speaking between breaths, “Does this answer your question.”

Alex couldn’t say anything, not with Nicole’s lips on hers again, so she only kissed back, humming into it in acknowledgement. Nicole moved her body closer to Alex’s, straddling her hips, making her gasp. Alex’s hands moved to rest on her waist, her brain finally catching on. Nicole was more handsy than she’d have thought, tangling her fingers in her hair as the other found their way on her boob. Nicole’s mouth moved up, nipping at her ear before making its way to Alex’s neck. She tilted her head back to give the blonde more access, holding back a moan. Sucking on her collarbone, Alex felt Nicole’s hand making it’s way further south, slipping into her pants. She put her hand on hers, suddenly stopping her, “Bedroom.”

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