I'll Be Right Behind You

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Chapter 4

“Answer your phone goddammit.” Nicole all but yelled into her phone as she walked through the living room towards her kitchen, stopping to look behind her to make sure she hadn’t woken up Ophelia.

It was still relatively early, about 10:30am; Ophelia still asleep in Nicole’s room and after the events of the past night, the blonde decided her best friend deserved to wake up to a stack of pancakes. Placing the phone between her ear and shoulder – waiting for Helios to answer, Nicole filled a glass with water and took a sip. The call went to voice mail,

Hey this is Helios Blake. You know what to do.” Followed be a beep.

Nicole rolled her eyes, – the least he could do about this whole thing was be mature about it and talk to her – hanging up, she placed the phone on the counter. Blueberry or chocolate chip…? Nicole thought for a second before deciding on the latter and grabbed the ingredients from various cupboards in the kitchen.

Once the batter was made and the first pancake was on the pan, Nicole went back to her phone and called Robin…who answered on the second ring, “Morning.”

“Morning.” Nicole greeted in return. “This is a courtesy call to let you know that Ophelia Blake has you on her hit list.” She informed her friend monotonously.

Robin sighed. “I’m sorry.” She started. “I know I should’ve told you guys but…I knew Ophelia wouldn’t approve so I-”

Nicole cut her off. “Yes, you should’ve told us but I’m serious Robin, she’s really pissed at you guys.”

Robin took a moment to answer, contemplating whether Nicole needed to know where she already knew that from. The blonde took the chance to walk back over to the stove and flip the pancake. She let herself a moment of triumph at the sight of it having turned out perfectly golden.

“I know,” Robin finally said. “Helios told me.”

“Did you see him last night?” Nicole asked in disbelief.

“No, no.” She said quickly. “But he called me…to, you know, warn me about you and O.”

“Can I ask you something?”

“Yeah shoot.”

“Why Helios? You knew Ophelia wouldn’t be okay with it so why him?”

There was a slight pause before Robin answered, “He’s always there for me. Well, for the three of us. And he’s not looking for a relationship, we figured we can just give each other a call whenever we need to you know…so we kinda figured why not?"

“Umm maybe because his younger sister is your best friend?” Nicole suggested rhetorically as she removed the pancake from the pan, onto a plate and poured more batter into it.

“How about this then,” Robin tried to give Nicole another reason, “He’s the most decent guy I’ve met so far.”

The blonde went silent for a moment, She’s not wrong. “Alright fine. I’ll give you that.”

“So you’re okay with it?” Robin asked after a brief pause, her question coming out in fragments.

“You and Helios, yes.” Her friend replied in defeat. If she was being honest with herself, this might actually be a good thing for both Helios and Robin. “Not telling me and Ophelia on the other hand? No.”

Robin sighed. “Fine.”

“Oh and,” Nicole said just as they were about to hang up. “give Ophelia a call some time today. Might calm her down.”

“Was planning on it.”

Nicole flipped the second pancake as they hung up and tried to call Helios again – who didn’t answer, again. So she opted for a text instead.

Nicole

10:39am

Can u please call me back?

Pressing send, she typed out another text,

Nicole

10:39am

Ophelia’s not gonna stay mad at u forever u know? She’ll understand but u need to talk to her.

Both Ophelia and Helios could be stubborn, especially with each other. They knew how to hold their ground, which made any argument between them – even a small one – drag out for quite a long time.

Ophelia walked into the living room about ten minutes after Nicole had sent Helios the texts. Breakfast was quiet; Ophelia didn’t feel like talking about it but made it very clear that she was still very angry at her brother and Robin.

“Wait,” The brunette said suddenly. “Don’t you have a date with Alex tonight.”

The blonde rolled her eyes with a sigh, “It’s not a date.”

“Whatever you wanna call it, Princess.” Ophelia responded. “But you are seeing her tonight, right?”

Nicole only nodded as she took another bite of her pancake.


“I don’t know what to wear.” Nicole whined to no one but herself as she stood in front of her closet. She’s supposed to be at Alex’s place in a little less than two hours but she was still standing in her bedroom in her pajamas.

“I thought you said it wasn’t a date.” A voice suddenly said from behind Nicole, making her jump.

“Jesus Christ O, don’t sneak up on me like that.” Nicole turned around to face her friend who stood in her bedroom’s doorway, arms crossed over her chest with a satisfied grin.

“Well you were talking to yourself.” She started with a shrug and walked over to the blonde.

“And no, it’s not a date.”

“So…you don’t wanna impress her?”

“No…” Nicole hesitated. Either a yes or a no would pretty much mean the same thing.

“Just wear whatever then.”

“No bu-” Nicole stopped herself, not really knowing what to say. Hanging out with Alex wasn’t a big deal…right?

Ophelia gave up trying to get her best friend to talk and stood next to her, looking into her closet. After a couple of second she spoke up, “Keep it casual. You don’t wanna seem like you’re trying too hard.” She stopped and added inaudibly, “which you clearly are.”

“I’m not.” Nicole complained.

“Keep telling yourself that.” She said quickly before going back to talking about what her friend should wear. “But also make sure its something cute.”

The blonde rolled her eyes in response and Ophelia thought for a moment before continuing, “How about jeans, t-shirt and…” She paused again and rifled through the closet in front of them for a couple of seconds before triumphantly pulling out an article of clothing “…and you’re red plaid.” She handed it to Nicole.

“You sure?” Nicole asked.

“Yep. It makes you look hella adorable.” She paused. “When do you have to be there anyways?”

“Eight-ish.” Nicole replied. “What about you and Lincoln? Are you two going out?”

Ophelia nodded as she walked over to the bed and sat down. “Yeah, we’re meeting up with Casper and Martin probably. We might come back here for the night though. You know, since you’ll be with Alex.” She told her with a smirk.

“We’re just hanging out. Is it that hard to believe?”

“Yep.” She responded, not missing a beat, before going silent for a few seconds. “Hey Nicole?”

“Hmm?” Her friend hummed in response as she walked over to the bed and sat down opposite Ophelia.

“Have you heard from Helios or Robin all day?”

Nicole nodded. “I called Robin this morning.” Ophelia probably wouldn’t want that but she knew better than to keep something away from her.

“To warn her about me?” The brunette took a wild guess.

“Partly.” Her friend started. “Also because I was kinda pissed at her for sleeping with Helios and not telling us about it.”

“And Bell?”

“I did call him but he didn’t answer.”

Ophelia nodded. “Because Robin called me. She apologized for not telling us. But…I don’t know…”

“I get you being mad at her.” Nicole started. “But she’s still our best friend. And yes she fucked up with this but you can’t hold it against her forever.”

“But I can hold it against her for, like, a couple of days right?” Ophelia asked with a small, unsure shrug.

Nicole sighed. “Yes, yes I guess you can.”

“Good.” Ophelia stopped, causing Nicole to suspect her of not telling her something.

“What are you not telling me?” Nicole questioned suspiciously.

She remained silent for a couple of long seconds before giving in. “Well I think they’d be good for each other.” Her sentence came out in fragments.

Nicole rolled her eyes. “If Robin’s anything to go by, they’re kinda just…friends who occasionall-”

“I GOT IT. Please stop talking.” Ophelia exclaimed quickly with a disgusted look on her face, stopping Nicole.

The blonde suppressed a smile, allowing her friend to continue, “That’s kinda why I think they’d be good for each other. Like, Robin could use someone who won’t force her into a relationship. And Bell needs someone he can talk to and stuff other than just the two of us.”

Nicole nodded. “But we’re still mad at them right? For a couple of days?”

“Yeah, definitely.” Ophelia replied, standing up from the bed. Nicole looked at her questioningly. “Lincoln’s gonna be here in a little while and I need to ge-“

Before Ophelia could finish, Nicole’s phone rang. “Who is it?” The brunette asked as her friend reached for the phone from the nightstand.

“It’s Alex.” Nicole smiled at the phone without realizing as she answered.

“I’m gonna go,” Ophelia mouthed as she left her best friend’s room.

“I’m so sorry,” Came from Alex’s end of the call before Nicole could even say hi. “I just got called into work.”

“Hey, its fine.” Nicole responded, hoping the disappointment she felt didn’t convey through her voice. There wasn’t much either of them could do about it and Nicole knew that.

“I’m really sorry. But something’s come up and they need all hands on deck.” Alex actually sounded disappointed that she was having to cancel on Nicole tonight.

On a Saturday night? Nicole thought. That’s a little harsh. “No really, its fine. It’s not your fault.”

She could hear Alex sigh on the other end. “You’re not mad? Because I would not really blame you if you were.”

“Not at all.” Nicole reassured her with a smile before realizing Alex couldn’t see her. “There’s not much you can do about it so why would I be?”

Alex swallowed the lump in her throat. “I was looking forward to tonight.” Nicole didn’t need to know that! The small voice in her head screamed.

“Yeah, me too.” Nicole confessed, her voice small.

There was a pause, Nicole not sure what to say next and Alex contemplating whether it would be alright for her to ask the blonde what she wanted to. Deciding she ought to, Alex spoke, “Well I could give you a call after I’m done…? You know, if it’s not too late by then.” This is a terrible idea. The small voiced in her head scolded her.

Alex was almost certain Nicole was going to decline. “Yeah, sure.” Her response took both her and Alex by surprise. The blonde was sure she sounded too eager, so she added quickly, “If you’re not too tired after you get back.”

“Mmm hmm,” Alex hummed in agreement. “How late is…late…” She hesitated.

“It’s Saturday night so if its still dark outside, its not too late.”

“I’ll probably see you later then.” Alex said, about to hang up, her smile apparent in her voice.

“Yep.”

Nicole walked out of her room after a few minutes and towards the kitchen to get a snack. It’s gonna be a long and boring night.

“Why are you still in you pjs?” Ophelia asked from her bedroom. The mirror on her wall was directly opposite the living room and if her door was open, she could see almost everything going on in there and partly in the kitchen.

“Alex got called into work.” The blonde said casually.

“On a Saturday? Damn that’s harsh.”

“I know right? But she said she’ll give me a call after she gets out…if its not too late.”


Nicole was sitting in front of the TV watching Kitchen Nightmaresthe only reality TV worth watching, as she liked to say – when her phone buzzed with a text.

Alex

12:47am

Hey,

I just got home. I’m not sure if you are still awake so I didn’t want to wake you up by calling.

The blonde smiled, that was nice of Alex. And it wasn’t too late, Ophelia was still out with Lincoln as well as Casper, Martin and Martin’s new “friend”, Jackson, if her Instagram was anything to go by.

Without thinking too much, she typed out a reply and pressed send.

Alex had only locked her door when her phone vibrated in her pocket with a reply from Nicole.

Nicole

12:47am

I’m very much awake. But thanks for being so considerate.

Nicole

12:48am

If u’re not too tired, I can be over in about 15 mins…

Alex

12:48

I’ll see you in a little while then.

Nicole walked back to her room and grabbed the cloths Ophelia had suggested. It didn’t take her more than a few minutes to get dressed. As she pulled on her jacket, she remembered how Alex had been at work since a little after six and probably hadn’t had dinner. There was one pizza place that Nicole knew off that did take out till about 2am.

Walking out her front door, she dialed their number and placed her order, letting them know she’d be there to pick it up in a few minutes, “Hey Harper, its Nicole.” She and Ophelia were regulars…especially late at night. And Harper was the unlucky employee who always had the graveyard shift.

“No wait, let me guess,” She said before Nicole say what she wanted. “One large four-cheese and a bottle of Coke Zero?”

“It’s like you read my mind.” Nicole responded, “I’ll be over in a few minutes.”

“See you then.”

The blonde arrived at Alex’s apartment almost exactly 15 minutes since they’d spoken. She parked her car across the street and walked over. Nicole decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator considering Alex only lived on the 2nd floor.

“Hey,” Alex greeted her with a smile, opening the door.

“Hey,” Nicole smiled back. “I brought pizza.” She said as she walked inside.

“You didn’t have to.” Alex closed the door and turned back to look at Nicole.

“You’ve been at work all night, I thought you…might be…hungry…” her sentence trailed of as she looked at the brunette, more specifically at her right arm. “Sorry, I’m staring.” She shook her head. “That’s a really nice tattoo by the way.”

Alex smiled sheepishly, “Thanks.”

“Sorry,” The blonde said again as she managed to look away. Quiet a contrast to the last time she’d seen Alex, the brunette was wearing a white tank top, which showed off her toned arms nicely, her hair was hanging loosely past her shoulders in soft curls.

Nicole followed Alex to her kitchen, grabbing a couple of plates and glasses and walked over to the living room. Placing the things on the coffee table, the blonde and the brunette sat down on either sides of the couch.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Alex started as she picked up the TV remote. “I went ahead and picked a movie instead of Game of Thrones. It just felt a little too late for it and I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate.”

“Not at all.” Nicole leaned towards the coffee table and grabbed a slice of pizza. “What are we watching?”

The Heat…?” Alex replied, unsure.

“I love that one.” The blonde responded. “Sandra Bullock’s great in pretty much everything.”

They both fell quiet as the movie started and it remained that way for the first few minutes when Alex spoke. “You were right, I was hungry. Thanks for the pizza.”


Alex wasn’t sure if it was a good thing that she was already so comfortable around Nicole. She’d only just met her yesterday but she felt at ease around her. One third through the movie, the two of them were throwing in their own commentary and laughing at almost anything that was remotely funny; something Alex didn’t usually do. Nicole had pulled her feet up on the couch and somewhere along the way; they’d found their way on Alex’s lap, which she didn’t mind. Also somewhere along the way, Alex’s hands had found their way to Nicole’s feet, messaging them gently.

As the credits rolled, the blonde felt a sudden jolt from Alex’s end of the couch, causing her to look over at the brunette who had fallen asleep not too long ago.

“Fuck.” The brunette cursed under her breath, shaking her head slightly before looking around her.

Nicole sat up straight and scooted closer towards her. “Hey,” She called. “You okay?”

Alex rubbed her eyes and let out a deep breath, “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” Nicole asked; she seemed a little shaken up.

She gave Nicole a reassuring smile. “It was nothing.” She stifled a yawn.

“Did you have a nightmare.”

Alex nodded slowly. “Yeah, but its nothing new.” She brushed it off and looked at her watch – which read 2:58 – to distract herself. “Wow it’s late.” Looking back at Nicole, she continued, “I’m so sorry I kept you up till this late.”

“No, no don’t apologize.” Nicole reassured her. “If it weren’t for you, I’d be sitting alone in front of my TV watching terrible reality shows.”

As Nicole walked up to the door, Alex close behind her, she turned around and looked at the brunette. “Are you sure you’re okay? You seem a little shaken up.”

“Yeah. But thanks for asking.” Alex nodded with a small smile. “Are you sure you’re going to be okay driving back this late? I’d be more than happy to drop you off.”

“It’s fine, really. But thank you.” Nicole told her as the brunette opened the door.

“Text me when you get home safe?” She asked, unsure whether she should’ve asked.

“I will.” The blonde smiled as she stepped out. “Are you sure you’re alright?” She asked again.

“It was just a nightmare. I’m used to it by now.” Alex shrugged. “I’ll see you…later…?”

“I hope so.”

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