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A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 14

Hearing the phone ringing as she unlocked the door, Angelina ran to the phone.

"Hello," A little breathless as she shoved the door closed with her foot.

"Hello, is this Angel?" a southern woman's voice drawled.

"Yes. Who's this?"

"Hi Angel, its Leighanne Littrel. Did I catch you at a bad time? Are you working today?"

"Oh no, I'm off on Sundays. I just came back home from working out in the gym. What can I do for you?" Angel asked as she put her gym bag down on the floor.

"I was wondering if you had any plans for next weekend?" Leighanne asked.

"Um…hold on." Grabbing her organizer and date book, Angel flipped through her calendar. "Next Saturday, November 1st?" She walked over back to the couch and got comfortable.

"Yes, well actually from Thursday thru Sunday."

"Well, I sort of have this movie project I'm working on…" Angel laughed at her, "But you know that, don't you?"

Leighanne laughed, "Yes, I know that. But are you planning on working at the Bar that weekend?"

"We haven't gone over our itineraries for next weekend yet so I have no commitments to the bar yet, why?"

"Brian and I were wondering… if you didn't have any plans… if you wanted to come to our house for the weekend."

"Leigh, do you need me to baby sit for the weekend? I can do that, no problem. Are you guys going away?"

"Sort of. Actually, we would all be going away for the weekend." Leighanne said with a nervous laugh.

Brian and Leighanne had discussed Nick's current relationship with Angel. Both could see something special growing between them, whether Nick or Angel knew it yet, they couldn't tell. They also knew Nick's track record with women and they wanted to help him out. Nick appeared to be the happiest when he was working, and more importantly, when he spent time with Angel.

"We? Ah… I think I'm missing something here Leighanne. Who is we? And going where?" Angel was completely confused.

"I'm sorry Angel, let me start from the beginning. Brian and Nick have a game to play in Atlanta next Saturday, and I would love if you would come along with us and keep me company."

Angel pulled the phone away from hear and stared at it. Did she just hear what she thought she just heard? Go away for the weekend to Atlanta?

"Ummmm… Leigh. I don't know." Pulling out her checkbook, she did a once over of her finances. She did have some money saved after receiving a couple of paychecks from "The Production Company." Her extra shifts at the Bar were able to replenish her savings account that was depleted by her car repairs.

Leighanne wondered what Angel was doing or thinking. "Angel?"

"I'm sorry Leigh, I was just looking to see if I could afford a weekend vacation."

"Our tickets have already been bought and we would all be staying at our house. So you don't really need any money. Besides, if you and Nick watched Baylee for Bri and I one night while we were there, we could call it even."

Angel's mind raced 'Weekend away? Tickets already bought? Nick? Did Nick know about this?' As soon as the idea hit, she spoke aloud, "Does Nick know you are asking me to go?"

"I do believe Brian is telling him now as we speak." Leighanne could sense the woman's hesitation, who wouldn't.

"Oh, I don't know if this is a good idea, Leigh."

"Angel, listen to me for a minute, please. We've known Nick since before he began dating. Brian knows how to read Nick very well. I wouldn't be asking you this if we knew it wasn't a good idea."

"Leigh, what does Nick's dating history have to do with me going away for the weekend with you guys?"

"We also know when Nick likes a girl for more than a friend. Not to get into his past too much, we know what he fears."

Angel simply replied with an, "oh."

Angel's line beeped, indicating she had another call, 'oh thank you God' she thought. "Can you hold for a second Leigh?"

"Sure."

Angel pressed the button, "Hello?"

"Hey Angel, whatcha doin'?" he said with a smile in his voice.

"Hi Nick. I'm talking to Leighanne. What are you doing?"

"I just finished laying down some tracks in the studio and got a surprise visit from Brian."

"Really? So what did Brian want?" Angel tried to sound nonchalant, but it was hard trying to keep her voice steady.

Nick's face fell, "Did Leighanne talk to you about next weekend?"

Meanwhile, Brian called Leighanne to let her know that he talked with Nick and all was good. Leighanne told Brian she wasn't sure how Angel was going to take this. She was completely surprised by the invitation, which was understandable.

"I think she'll go if she knows Nick wants her to go too. I caught her completely off-guard."

"It doesn't surprise me. She's been running around ragged for the past four weeks. From what I've gotten from Nick, he's been taking it very slow with her. He really likes her, but there's something stopping them from getting it together."

"Did he say what he thought it was?"

Brian looked over to Nick on his cell phone with Angel, he was watching Nick's face, which looked concerned.

"Angel, if you don't feel comfortable, you don't have to go. Brian and Leighanne just thought you might enjoy getting away," softly he added, "with me."

"It sounds like fun, really. Leighanne just told me you didn't know about it, and I wasn't sure if this was something you would want." Angel said nervously while twirling her hair.

Nick smiled hearing her words. Brian sighed a relief seeing his smile, "I think you're right Leigh. It looks like this is going to happen."

"Angel, it will be a blast. Of course I want you to come."

Grinning from ear to ear, "Okay then. Atlanta, here we come."

Nick gave Brian the thumbs up as he said his goodbye and closed his phone. Brian told Leigh the news and said goodbye.

Angel and Leigh both clicked back over at the same time. "Angel?" "Leigh?" they said simultaneously.

Both laughed. "That was Brian." "That was Nick." In unison and now they were giggling.

"You go first," Angel said.

"Brian just wanted to tell me that Nick loved the idea we had and he was wondering if I had talked to you about it yet."

"I take it he told you my answer, huh?" Angel got up off the couch and went into her room. "So tell me Leigh, what's the weather like in Atlanta this time of year?"

Angel had one more road block, Kevin. She smiled as she spoke to Leigh on the phone. "I really don't think I should do this. Kevin lectured Nick twice now for having relations with the employees."

Leighanne snorted, "Kevin needs to get a grip on reality and drop the act. Trust me, he is either jealous or ticked off, because from what I hear, Sheridan isn't thawing out like he is used too."

"Oh tell me more," Angel cracked up laughing, this would be a good thing for all parties involved.

Sheridan arrived home later that day. She had spent the morning with Howie and A.J. trying to get their sets the way each of them wanted them.

Angel heard Sheridan come in the front door, "Hey Sheridan, how did it go today?"

"Christ, don't ask. You got it easy with Brian and Nick. Howie and A.J. are too damn picky, especially Howie. Ya know, I am really afraid to be the one who has to work with Kevin and his set. Can you do it with him, please?"

Angel was laughing at Sheridan watching her massage her feet as she told Angel about her day. "Yeah, if you want, I'll go over it with him and the designers, carpenters, and whatever else those people call themselves."

Sheridan eyed Angel as she spoke, "Okay, what gives? I didn't think you would seriously do this with Kevin."

Angel walked into the kitchen grabbing a soda, "What something to drink?"

"Yes please. The usual."

Walking back into the living room, Angel sat down in her beanbag chair. "Sheridan, just because you wrote Kevin's character doesn't mean I can't work with him, ya know. You've dealt with Mr. OC for five weeks now. Let me work with him for a bit."

Noting the sly smile on Angel's face, "Why am I not trusting that face you are making? What gives?"

"Nothing. I just think Kevin and I need some time to get to know one another, that's all."

Switching gears, Sheridan began, "Angel, by the way Kevin treated us the last time, I really don't think he wants to get to know either one of us very well. The man is all business. Kevin asks personal questions but he doesn't answer them. I don't think we are going to be best friends anytime soon. Kevin appears to be very private. I'll hang in there. Oh, I talked to Gene this morning. Since the guys all have personal engagements to attend to next weekend, there is nothing for us to do. I'm going to catch up on some things at work. I didn't know if you were planning on working at the bar?"

"Um….actually…..I've got plans to go away next weekend."

"Oh really? With whom? Where? With what money?" Sheridan acted like Angel's mom sometimes and it drove Angel crazy.

"Not that it matters to you, but I'm going to Atlanta on Thursday with Leigh, Brian and Nick." 'Wow,' Angel thought, 'that wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.'

"Run that by me again? You are going back East to Atlanta? Why?" Sheridan paused, "Oh never mind, I know why. Nick and Brian are playing in that basketball game right?"

Angel shook her head up and down. She was waiting for the twenty questions from Sheridan. This was the girlie weekend and now Angel just added more fuel to the fire about her relationship with Nick.

"So how was dinner Thursday night? I've always wanted to eat there. Did you see any celebrities?" Sheridan's inquisition began. Angel told her all about her dinner and then when they went back to Nick's place to watch the movie. This was almost too much for Sheridan to bear.

Sheridan smiled as she began, "Time to spill Angel. What the hell is going on with you and Nick?"

"Honestly, nothing is going on."

"Do you honestly believe that I would believe you? I know you Angel. Confident, sexy, horny woman that you are. You are attracted to the man and you are going to tell me nothing is going on."

Angel thought about what her roommate had said. It was true. Angel would have slept with him by now, no doubt about it. Looking over at Sheridan, "You're right. You are totally right. It's not that I don't find him attractive. I find him very attractive, and sweet, and sexy," Angel's lips made a goofy grin, "He's smart, and caring, and what the hell is wrong with me?" She said the last part a little louder than the rest causing Sheridan to jump.

Now Angel was pacing back and forth, mumbling words and throwing her hands in the air. Sheridan sat and watched, amused.

"Come to think of it, Nick has never even tried to kiss me yet. Oh sure, on the cheek. Hell, I kiss Howie on the cheek. That doesn't mean anything."

Sheridan brought her hand up to cover her ever-growing smile with each word Angel was saying.

"I can't figure him out. I honestly think he and I are just friends. Nothing more."

"Angel, you've slept in his bed."

"So, I've slept with my men friends and didn't have sex with them. They were my sleeping buddies."

Sheridan blinked; she was stunned, "Angel, I don't think you and Nick are just friends and sleeping buddies. I see the way you look at him when he's not looking."

Angel blushed and put her head down.

"And I also see the way Carter stares at you when you aren't looking."

Angel's head snapped up, "He stares at me?"

Laughing, "Yes Angel. God, and people say I'm blonde. Getting back to next weekend, how did that happen?"

Angel filled Sheridan in on her earlier phone calls. For the remainder of the afternoon, they had their girlie time together with some pizza, beer and a movie. Oddly enough, Angel chose "The Banger Sisters."

After the movie, Angel asked Sheridan about what had been going on with her and Tom.

"Well, it's hard to say. Just when it's getting on the good track, something always seems to push us back to the bad track. I honestly am not sure. But I do know one thing, I'm headed off to meet his family during our Thanksgiving break."

Angel choked on her beer hearing the last of Sheridan's words. "Seriously?"

"Yes, I'm the first girl he's ever brought home."

'I bet I know why,' Angel thought. "Sweet. Have you made your hotel reservations yet?"

Sheridan shifted nervously in her chair before speaking, "No, not yet, Tom is going to do it. Hell, maybe something will happen finally. Are you going to fly home for Thanksgiving?"

"Sheridan, I can't."

"Angel, if it's the money, I know..."

Angel cut her off. "It has nothing to do with money Sheridan. I don't want to talk about it." Getting up from the beanbag chair, Angel went into the kitchen to get another beer.

Sheridan was hot on her heels, "Why Angel? This isn't like you. What's going on?"

"Nothing is going on,I just don't want to talk about it, that's all."

"God, you are stubborn. What the hell is keeping you so damn afraid to go to see your folks…." Sheridan stopped mid-sentence, her eyes lit up. "Joey's going to your parent's house, isn't he?"

Trying to stay in control of her emotions, Angel replied softly, "Yes."

Pulling out the blender and Tequila, Sheridan walked over to the freezer to pull out some ice. "Okay, that's it. Enough of this bullshit. We are going to drink and talk, and drink and talk, til you tell me what the hell happened." Sheridan mixed a blender full of frozen margaritas.

Angel smiled at Sheridan's plan, "Thanks anyways Sheridan. I'm really not in the mood to talk about this. I'm actually quite tired. I'm going to bed, good night." Angel turned and entered her room, quietly shutting the door.

"Well, that went well," Sheridan thought as she took a sip of her frozen drink. "Hmmm… good batch if I do say so myself. I need to get loaded, I have to deal with Kevin face to face very soon. Angel offered but it isn't fair when she puts in as many hours as she does. Hell who am I kidding," Sheridan drank the rest of her triple strength beverage and went for a refill. "I'm jealous." An hour later Sheridan fell into her bedroom, toasted and happy. "I think I know my way around the kitchen well enough," she giggled as she slipped out of her jeans.

Sheridan tried all week to reconnect with Angel. They were close as roommates, they got along well but neither of them had really discussed with each other their pasts. Bits and pieces would come out of Angel as she fretted about her upcoming weekend with Nick. Little things that didn't seem right such as Joey going to Angel's parents home when they weren't even together.

When Sheridan wasn't meeting with the guys, answering Kevin's mail, or meeting with everyone else, she managed to get some time with Tom. Wednesday night they set a date for him to come over for dinner. They would rent a movie and kick back and relax. Tom had wanted to take her to dinner but Sheridan begged to stay home telling Tom that Angel needed her.

"Needs you? What do you mean she needs you?" Tom's suspicions grew by leaps and bounds at the remark.

"Angel is going away this weekend and she is a little uptight about it." Sheridan quipped as she sat at the computer typing up the forms. "If you have a problem with that, then you can stay home."

"I want to spend time with you, not you and Angel." Tom gave her a puppy dog face.

"What would the point in that be Tom, it's not like we do anything that can't be done in front of others." Sheridan's dry remark hit home.

Hands slowly worked her shoulders back and forth. A whisper in her ear, sent chills down her spine. "Whatever you want honey."

"You know what I want Tom, I couldn't have made it any clearer." Sheridan grabbed the stack of papers that had just spewed out of the printer. "I have to run these over to O'Rourke and then I'm going home. I'll see you at six."

Tom was blown away by Sheridan's loss of shyness over the last few weeks. "Two jobs and two men, that's your problem honey. Well one of them is going to be eliminated tonight."

Going into his office, he shut the door and made a few calls. He found a day spa that was the plushest in town and booked it for Saturday and Sunday for both of them. With Angel out of the way for a few days he had a chance to get Sheridan back to the way she was before her hormones seemed to drive her every move and every date they had.

A call from the main desk was put through to his office. He literally glowed when he was told who was on the other end of the telephone line waiting to speak to him. It was his Mom. "Hello Mom, how are you?"

Tom danced around the uncomfortable conversation he was having with his ultra-conservative mother. Then and always then did the guilt kick in, it weighed so heavily on his heart where she was concerned. When his father picked up the spare line and they began to talk football, Tom relaxed slightly.

"I had an offer to be head coach at the University," Tom's father Ralph spoke to his son.

"Seriously Dad? That's wonderful!"

Tom hesitated, great just what I need, my dad the head jock coach at the university. All those men around him, the stature, the press. What else could go wrong?

"Your Mom says that you are bringing a gal home. Is that true?"

Tom just realized what else could go wrong, "Yes Dad I am."

"Is she the one for you son?" The knowing father presented the question.

"So far," Tom's voice replied with a small lilt and a high pitch.

"I see," the voice became distant. "I'm happy for you."

"I have to go Dad, I have a meeting." Tom had to stop the conversation now before things became heated like they always did.

"Sure son, see you at Thanksgiving."

Tom hung up the phone like it scorched his skin. "Dammit!" Tom grabbed the phone and made one call. "Are you home?"

"Obviously, I answered." The voice was not Sheridan's either.

"I need to talk to you." Tom was about to hang up the phone.

"I thought you had a date with your girlfriend tonight."

"I do dammit, but things are getting messed up, please?"

"Fine but it will have to be short, I have things to do."

Tom raced out of the office and to his car. There was one person he could talk to about this before he went over to see Sheridan.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
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