A Collaboration between Bron and Suzie

Chapter 45

"Nick, I'm on my way! Geez, calm down."

Marybeth and Sheridan sat watching with amusement as Angel tried to talk Nick into letting her run up to the hotel room to change. "But I'm in a pink sweat suit with a pink wife beater," she whined.

"I know Angel, but the studio is only open for another 10 minutes. I would really, really love to have a picture of us from Patrick McMullan. Who cares what you are wearing? This is just for me. Tell the driver to gun it."

"I know babe. Trust me, he has been. We just pulled up to the hotel. I'm here." Angel heard a click in her ear and then heard the cab door open. Suddenly, she saw an arm reach in and pull her out of the cab. Nick tossed some money in the front seat, three times the fare.

"Thanks man, I appreciate it." Nick yelled at the cab driver, who had to break a few speeding laws to get Angel back in time. The couple took off in a golf cart that a concierge had arranged to take them to the studio setup a couple blocks away.

Marybeth and Sheridan graciously smiled at the driver and said their 'thanks.'

The driver's eyes lit up when he realized how much cash was thrown on his front seat. "Here's my card. Anytime you need someone to take you around Park City, give me a call, okay?"

Smiling, the girl's nodded their heads and quickly entered the hotel. It was quite cold outside; they were running out of time as well. Rushing to the elevator, Sheridan was looking around the lobby while tapping her foot. "I can't believe our plans for tonight changed so quickly. Why the hell did Nick need his damn picture taken now? I can give him hundreds of copies of studio portraits of himself." Turning her attention to the closed set of doors in front of her, she muttered, "Hurry up, goddammit," under her breath.

"In a hurry or something?" Marybeth was busting on her. Sheridan shot her a look. "Nick doesn't have any pictures with him and Angel."

"I can print some of the paparazzi pictures from the net." Exasperated, Sheridan ran her hand absent-mindedly through her hair. "Now Nick and Angel are definitely going to be late for dinner, I'll need to make sure I'm on time or Kevin will have a fit!"

"Well, you can just call….." Marybeth looked down at the business card the cab driver had just given her moments ago, "Jesus Cabrera."

The elevator dinged. As the doors opened, Sheridan cast Marybeth another look, "Oh, shut up. I think I need some Xanax. Do you know anyone who would have some? Maybe I can call Angel and beg her to hurry up."

"I'm just messing with you. Calm down. Your hair is done. Your makeup is done. All you need to do is get dressed. You've got plenty of time to get to the restaurant."

"Getting dressed will take some time. Besides, I don't want to go. I want to stay in my room and order room service." she whined causing Marybeth to snicker.

"It's not funny!" Sheridan's shouting could be heard down the hall. Sheridan entered the room and carefully unpacked the dress from the bag. Looking in the mirror she had to admit to herself that she looked very nice. Her hair and make-up were perfect. She proceeded to dig out the pumps that Kevin had requested. Eyeing them, she thought she was a fool for indulging her boss, but why not, just once she could. Tonight she would go to dinner and give serious thought to what Kevin really wanted. After dressing she grabbed her purse and gave herself one last look in the mirror. She felt the butterflies in her stomach and swallowed hard. "You can do this," she pointed to her reflection in the mirror. Closing the door, she headed downstairs.

"I can't believe we are getting our pictures taken in our sweat suits Nick. Why didn't you change? This is so bizarre. We can just call Andre sometime to help us out. I like his pictures." Angel's teeth were chattering due to the cold weather.

Nick looked at Angel, "I didn't want you to feel bad about what you were wearing so I stayed in my sweat suit. I can call Andre some time; he'd love to do that." He sounded so distance and not really caring what he was saying. Nick had a confused look on his face as he stared at Angel's hair. "What did they do?"

Letting out an exasperating sigh, "I have no idea, but that woman didn't know how to do an Up-do to save her life. It will be gone once we get back to the hotel when I get dressed."

Nick glanced at his watch, "We may not have time. Our reservation is for 6PM."

Angel shot Nick a look, "Oh, we'll have time. Trust me!"

Nick sat back with his arm around Angel, "Yeah, this will give Kevin and Sheridan some time alone."

'Breathe in….breathe out…..breathe in ….breathe out…'

Nearby, the concierge, Jacques, watched Sheridan carefully as she waited for her cab to take her to the restaurant. Kevin had called him earlier to arrange her transportation so she'd be on time. "Are you alright Madame?"

Sheridan let out a little 'yelp' as she was startled by Jacques' question. A little embarrassed at her demeanor, she shyly replied she was fine. A horn beeping from outside startled her again. "I knew I should have found some Xanax. This is going to be a long night," Sheridan mumbled as she headed towards the front door, wrapping her arms around her body to keep warm.

Jacques opened the door to the cab as he held out his hand to assist her getting in. "I wouldn't want you to fall in those shoes Madame. Have a wonderful dinner," he said as he shut the door.

Sitting in the back of the cab, Sheridan began talking to herself. Not really talking to herself; it was more of a pep talk. The cab driver eyed her in the rearview mirror wondering what drugs she was on, as she chatted away to herself. Sheridan felt the man's eyes on her; she pursed her lips together tightly to keep from talking out loud.

"Hear ya go, Ma'am. Grappa's Restaurant," came booming from the front seat, startling her once again. She took a moment to get her money ready and take a few more breaths. "You're a little edgy. Go get a nice glass of wine, it will help calm those nerves," the cab driver offered as he held open the door.

Sheridan offered him a small smile as she handed him the money, "Thank you."

Her legs felt like there were weights attached to them as she slowly walked up the stairs to the restaurant. Looking at her watch, she noticed she was a couple of minutes early. "HA!" she commented to no one, making her feel a bit more confident. 'It's just a business dinner. Time to go to work, y'all,' she stopped her mind before it finished. She rolled her eyes at herself then thought she could pretty much entertain herself if need be in any situation. "If I start answering myself or referring to myself in the third person. I'm doomed."

The Maitree'd walked over to Sheridan as she entered the restaurant, "Welcome to Grappa's. Do you have a reservation?" Panic settled as Sheridan tried to think of what name the reservation was put under. 'Oh God, help me'.

Composing herself, Sheridan answered demurely, "Yes, I think it's under the name Richardson?"

His eyes scrolled up and down the pages. Shaking his head, 'No' he asked, "Could it be under another name? How many are in your party?"

"Four. How about Carter?"

"No. Sorry."

Sheridan's eyes darted around the room wondering if Kevin was already sitting down and would come get her.

Blowing out a breathe she didn't know she was holding, she asked frustrated, "Do you have a reservation for Lydon or Anderson?"

"Ah yes, Lydon - party of four. Right this way. One member of your party is already here."

"Wonderful." Sheridan sarcastically said. The weights on her legs now felt like gigantic logs. She felt as if she was on a death march.

"Don't rush me!" Angel yelled at Nick. She was still upset with the photo shoot.

"You look beautiful. You don't need to fix your hair. You just need to get dressed, now let's go!" Nick was getting anxious. The photo shoot took a little longer than he expected. He was a pro at these things; Angel, on the other hand, was not.

"He made me take off my sweatshirt Nick. I had no bra on! That is beyond inappropriate for a photo!" Angel cried.

"No, it's not," Nick countered, "There are many celebrities who don't wear a bra even for their photo shoots."

"Do I look like a celebrity to you? I think not!" Angel was on a rampage; arms flying around, pacing back and forth.

'This isn't good,' thought Nick.

"Do I look like a size A or B cup Nick? I'm a C! I've never seen a big-breasted woman have her picture taken without a bra on, on purpose!" Angel stormed out of the bedroom to the bathroom to work on her hair that looked like an upset bee-hive. Getting more frustrated, she decided to change into her outfit. No way was she going to be wearing her sweat suit to dinner.

She pulled out a tight-fitted white blouse and her pushup bra. Then she grabbed her pants from the closet.

"Aren't you wearing a dress like Sheridan?" Nick commented.

"Did you feel how cold it was? Heck, no. I'm wearing pants." Angel said as she stuffed her leg into her Bridget Fit, cuffed wide pants. Next, she grabbed a pair of suede boots and slid them on. Nick wasn't getting dressed up either as he had on a pair of jeans and a red t-shirt. Angel stormed back into the bathroom to try and make her hair presentable.

Nick looked at his watch. It was just 6PM. Thinking in his head, 'If we leave in the next ten minutes, we could be there by 6:20PM. Perfect.'

The bathroom door opened, Nick embraced Angel. "I love you just the way you are. Now let's go." Nick grabbed Angel's hand and pulled her out the door with their winter coats tucked under his arm.

"I hate you. You're only saying that so we get there on time," Angel said with a pout while the elevator took the couple down to the lobby. The *ding* of the elevator gave Angel warning she could storm out any second. Nick knew she would walk at an Olympic rate and decided he would keep up with her.

"Good Evening Ms. Lydon, Mr. Carter. Your cab is waiting for you." Jacques graciously bowed toward the door.

"Evening," the couple responded in unison. As Jacques closed the door to the cab, again, they both said "thank you" at the same time.

Sitting with her arms across her chest, Angel sulked in the back seat. She was having a horrible evening. She knew being with Nick would end up in the public eye, especially with his fans. They would find those pictures and would most definitely have a field day making fun of her hair. God knows she had done the same thing to his other girlfriends.

Suddenly, a thought came to mind. She hadn't been bothered by any paparazzi since she left LA. She didn't know if she was getting used to ignoring them or if they really would leave them alone. She definitely knew they were there in Park City, but just maybe they were kept quarantined or something.

Relaxing into Nick's shoulder, he gave her a kiss on the top of her head. "Remind me to call my family tonight after the Premiere? I got a message from Johnny that Access Hollywood would like to interview me about what's going on now and my reaction to my mother's arrest."

Angel turned her body to face him, "Are you in the mood to talk about it to the media?" Angel questioned, "Because you really haven't said too much about it," Angel turned her head and sat back muttering, "To me anyways."

"Yeah, it will be fine." Nick wanted to change the subject, "I wonder what Sheridan and Kevin have been talking about?"

The cab stopped. "I'm sure we'll find out soon enough," Angel said coldly.

Running his hand through his hair, 'Great Nick, piss her off some more why don'tcha.' Nick said to himself as he entered the restaurant.

Kevin stood up from the table as he saw Sheridan approach the table. He pulled out the chair directly across from him for her to sit in. "Good evening, Ms. Anderson."

"Okay, so we are formal tonight Mr. Richardson?" Sheridan was shocked. She thought for sure it would be "friends" night.

Smiling, Kevin pushed her chair in and went back to his chair. "Yes, I think it would be best."

Sheridan was screaming in her head. He was messing with her mind again, 'the bastard.'

"I took the liberty of ordering us a bottle of Chardonnay while we wait for Nick and Angel to arrive." Kevin reasoned as he looked at his watch. The waiter greeted Sheridan and asked if she wished for anything else to drink.

In her mind, she was thinking a shot of Vodka would be nice, "No thank you. I'm all set."

"Awe now. What's the matter Sheridan? Didn't you like your day of beauty?"

'He's got to be kidding me.' "I've had a wonderful day - thanks to you. What makes you think something's the matter with me? I'm going to enjoy my dinner with this wine you've chosen. Besides, I don't want to drink too much or I may fall asleep during the Premiere."

"Mmm…speaking of that," Kevin interrupted, "You and I will need to go over some notes for an early morning meeting I've arranged. We'll meet in my suite after dinner. I'm sorry you'll miss the premiere." Kevin needed to find some alone time with Sheridan and the only way to do it was when Angel was already occupied. He hated to ruin her time at Sundance, but this needed to be done. And he needed to make Sheridan feel confident around him as his assistant. He would catch her off-guard as his lover later.

Sheridan's lips were pursed together closed in a straight line, 'you little bastard.' "That's fine." Sheridan took a sip of her wine as she looked around the restaurant. It had a rustic charm; much like that of a Tuscan country atmosphere. She was engrossed with tuning Kevin out as she looked for Angel to arrive. As she spotted the couple, she could tell something was wrong in paradise. 'Oh good, I'm not the only one in a bad mood,' she thought.

Angel spied Kevin right away and tossed a glance at her best friend. "Uh oh," she muttered loud enough for Nick to hear.

"What's wrong?" he questioned as he pulled Angel closer. His tone sounded more annoyed than sympathetic.

"I'd put money on tonight, it looks like it's not going as well as you think," Angel said as she eyed Nick.

"Great," Nick replied sarcastically.

Kevin and Sheridan both stood up to greet the couple as they approached. Leaning in to give Angel a hug, Sheridan whisper, "What's wrong?"

"Bathroom. After we order." Angel murmured back as she let go and went to greet Kevin.

Kevin reached out to shake Nick's hand and pulled him closer for a quick manly hug - which included a slap on the back. "What's up?"

"We'll talk later," Nick mumbled.

As the two couples took their seats across from one another, and immediately all studied the menus put in front of them. As if they were a shield, Kevin held it up to talk to Nick - or rather mouth the words. Using his foot, he tapped Nick's foot to get his attention, "Did you get into a fight?"

Mouthing back and shrugging his shoulders, Nick replied, "I don't know." Kevin nodded his head up to the ceiling signaling Nick to raise his menu higher so the girls didn't see them talking.

Kevin rolled his eyes as he finally figured out what Nick was mouthing. 'This is going to be a long night, I can tell' Kevin thought as the waiter returned to see if they'd like to order any appetizers.

"We'll take another bottle of wine," Kevin replied quickly.

"I know what I want to eat," Angel said as she put down her menu.

"Me too," Sheridan eyed Kevin, waiting for him to pounce on her or something.

The girls looked at the guys waiting to see if they were ordering appetizers or if they could order their dinner.

Nick looked up and noticed they were staring, "I don't want an appetizer, but I know what I want to eat." All three eyes turned to Kevin who was still holding up his menu.

"Do you need glasses Kevin?" Angel asked wondering why Kevin was reading the menu so close to his face.

"Huh?" Kevin said as he looked over the top of the menu. Realizing what she said and what he was doing, he quickly placed it in front of him. "I think we are ready to order our meals now."

There were two orders of lasagna made with grilled zucchini, wild mushrooms, and spinach, one horseradish-crusted salmon with garlic and herbs, and shrimp stuffed with fontina cheese. The four people now sat at the table without menus.

Excusing herself, Angel placed her napkin in her chair, "I'll be right back."

Taking her cue, Sheridan shot up, "I'll be right back as well."

The two men looked at each other, "You knew this was going to happen sooner or later. I never understood why women have to go to the bathroom together. These two take it to a new height."

"Nick, it's so they can have some alone time to talk."

"Well, why don't we do that then? It would be a hellof a lot easier than trying to mouthtalk behind menus!"

"Mouthtalk?" Kevin questioned.

Nick's voice rose, "You KNOW what I mean Kevin. I don't need this shit from you tonight."

"WHOA, hang on guy. What's up with snapping at me? Who made you pissed and why?"

"Women! They all seem to drive me crazy lately." Nick had had it with women lately. His sisters. His mom. His girlfriend.

"Men!" Angel snapped as she sat down on the loveseat in the bathroom. She explained to Sheridan about the photo op between her and Nick; then how Nick dragged her out of the hotel room to get to the restaurant at a reasonable time.

"No offense Angel, but I'm glad Nick dragged you out of the hotel. I was just informed right before you came that our plans for tonight have been changed. Mr. Richardson and myself will be working after dinner."

"WHAT?" Angel said louder than she meant to.

"In his suite," Sheridan fluffed her hair and then turned to the mirror to check it.

"WHAT? WHY?" Nick questioned Kevin after learning his after-dinner plans.

"We've got work to do." Kevin smiled.

Nick noted the smile, "Don't do it Kevin, don't try to seduce her while we are here. You're going to blow it."

"Do I tell you how to run your love life?" Kevin flicked the napkin over.

"NO," Nick picked up the napkin.

Kevin hoped he wouldn't tuck it in the front of his shirt. "Then don't run my love life."

"You don't have one," Nick raised his voice slightly.

A few heads turned towards them. "If you don't shut up Nick, we'll have a repeat of this morning."

"You didn't hurt me," Nick cocked his head to the side.

Kevin eyed the narrow hallway to the restrooms, "I didn't want to, I do now." Kevin saw them coming and sharply turned to Nick. "All we are going to do tonight is business, that's it. I have to get her comfortable with going out in public and build up her confidence. Nothing will happen."

Angel practically ran to the table from the hallway, leaving Sheridan behind. "If you lay one cottin' pickin' finger on her, I'll rack your balls."

Kevin's eyebrows shot up and he stared at her in shock, while Nick laughed. Sheridan came into his line of vision and he smiled, ignoring Angel's outburst and Nick's laughter. She looked beautiful in her dress and those damn shoes. Thank God they were sitting and would be for a while, he was getting hard just watching her walk towards him.

Angel plastered a plastic smile on her face, "I'm not kidding."

Just as Sheridan reached the table, Kevin whispered under his breath, "My balls are safe for tonight, now shut up."

"Thanks Angel," Sheridan stood next to her as Kevin stood up, walked around the table and pulled Sheridan's chair out. Sheridan sat, and Kevin leaned over the top of her head. His grin grew but only Angel and Nick could see it.

When they followed his line of vision, Angel let out a gasp and Nick once again began to laugh. Kevin was staring down the front of Sheridan's dress. By the look on his face, he liked what he saw.

"Your eyeballs aren't," Angel spoke and reached for her wine glass. She hid behind the glass as Kevin shot her a death glare.

Dinner was served as the group imbibed in more wine. The conversation turned to their own project. Angel knew how to get Kevin's attention and change his entire attitude about the rest of the evening. She only knew this because Nick told her about a conversation that he had had with Kevin. "So Kevin are you ready for the big love scene?"

Sheridan closed her eyes and dropped her head. 'I so want to kill her,' she grumbled as the lasagna suddenly tasted too rich and gooey to swallow.

Kevin's face reddened with embarrassment as he cast a glance at Sheridan. This was something he didn't want to talk about. He had thought about it on the trip up here. "My love scene will go just fine Angel. The scene was written very well so I feel as if I'm really there."

Sheridan coughed and raised her head. She grabbed for her wine glass and sipped.

"Sheridan did a great job writing that scene," Kevin paused to see if she was going to look at him. She did and when she did, he smiled.

A reddish face pensively looked back at him. She was waiting for the inevitable smart remark from him, although most of his remarks were saved for Angel.

"You'll do fine, you just need to practice." Nick raised his fork to his mouth only to drop it. He glared at Angel since she had a death grip on his thigh and her nails steel stakes being driven into the muscles.

Kevin smiled sheepishly, never taking his eyes off of Sheridan. "Something like that." There was a lot more he wanted to say on the subject but his practice he hoped would come from Sheridan and he was banking on the fact that it wouldn't be a dress rehearsal.

The conversation turned to celebrity watching as all four shared stories of who they had seen in the course of the day. "Did you know Demi is very short?"

Kevin laughed, "She's not that short, she's about Sheridan's height. Ashton is just very tall."

"I wonder?" Angel grinned and so did Sheridan as their heads moved from side to side.

"What?" Nick turned in his chair and gave her a hard stare.

Kevin chuckled in his head; he had never seen Nick so jealous or protective over a woman.

"Oh nothing," Angel shrugged not wanting an argument over a simple statement.

"May December romances are so wonderful. Too bad they don't work." Sheridan stayed on the subject but away from the hint that had upset Nick.

"What do you mean? Some work, it works for them." Kevin was now dipping into a piece of Turtle pie. Sheridan begged off on dessert. After seeing Kevin's, she wish she hadn't.

Kevin watched her stare at his food. "Want some?"

"I really shouldn't," Sheridan eyed the dessert; her mouth watered.

Kevin dipped his fork into the luscious dessert and leaned forward toward Sheridan, fork in the air.

Sheridan daintily ate the food that was offered. Her tongue darted out of her mouth and caught the whip cream on her lip.

"There's more where that came from," Kevin gave her an auspicious smile. The smile that drove every female crazy.

"It's getting hot in here," Angel deadpanned only to have Sheridan and Kevin glare at her.

Kevin ground his teeth together; Angel could be such a pain in his ass some days. Glancing at his watch, he looked up at Sheridan. "We should be going; we have so much to do."

Sheridan sat stunned in her chair, unable to move. She was having a sexual fantasy about the man that was speaking to her. An elbow from Angel brought her back. Sheridan's face turned fire engine red, even her ears.

"You're so cute when you blush," Kevin was now behind her waiting for her so he could help her from her chair.

"Where are we going?" Sheridan blinked as Nick and Angel snickered at her cluelessness.

"To work Ms. Anderson, to work," Kevin winked at Angel only because he knew it would piss her off. "Pay the bill boy, I have the next one. Don't forget to keep the receipt for reimbursement."

Nick nodded, not too sure what he could say that wouldn't get him into trouble with any of them. "Yes sir, Captain."

Kevin cast a questionable look over his shoulder at the comment. He smiled and waved his index finger at Nick, only causing Nick to laugh as Angel sat in the chair boiling mad over what Kevin had done.

"What is your problem?" Nick balked at Angel, since they were both in a foul mood. Kevin and Sheridan had donned their coats and were heading out the door.

Sheridan finally returned from her fantasy-mind and jumped right into business mode, "Receipts? Are we supposed to keep them too?"

Kevin looked down at the petite woman by his side, "Yes. But don't worry about it."

"But I forgot to get a receipt for my cab ride over here."

"I said don't worry about it. I'll take care of it." Kevin said as he held open the door of the cab for Sheridan to get in.

"What the hell do you call what he just did?" Angel fumed at Nick for not saying anything.

"Just desserts," Nick laughed but stood up quickly to avoid getting any limbs injured. "Come on, let's head over to the premiere."

"I swear," Angel shot a look at Nick. "If he even…"

"She'll be fine Angel. Kevin said they are working and that is just what they will do and that is all they will do. You started yanking his chain first, so don't get mad when he yanks back," Nick entered the cab. They had paid the bill and left the restaurant as they both argued.

"Men!" Angel grouched at him.

"Women!" Nick returned and he wasn't smiling when he said it.





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