A Haven fanfic
By Jeannine Trevizo
Chapter 3 – A Stunning Answer
Nathan closed his eyes for a moment and just focused on what Audrey had just said and how his hand felt in hers. Then he started to really think about her answer... had she’d just admitted that it meant something that he could feel her?
As he considered what she could have really meant by that admission he started to recall all of what Duke had suggested when he’d pushed her to ask about Carpenter’s Knot. Nathan had only been thinking how the pain in his ass con man seemed to be trying to out his feelings for Audrey, which he feared would make things more complicated between them.
But with her actions, her words… the emotion that seemed to be behind it when she’d asked about him feeling her, how she seemed to have agreed that it was fate that he could only feel her made him start to wonder if there had been another reason for Duke suggesting ‘they’ talk…
What did Duke know about Audrey that he didn’t?
“So, let’s get back to the case,” she suggested quickly, jolting Nathan from his thoughts as she released his hand from her grasp with a brief squeeze when she suddenly realized that she might have said too much.
Audrey turned around and hurriedly walked towards the opposite side of the room her eyes staring at the rows of boxes once again, pointedly trying not to think of Nathan or the close quarters they were in and the fact that with them stuck in the vault that he had plenty of time to analyze her words and start figuring out what she’d actually meant by them.
Nathan stared after her feeling suddenly bereft at her abrupt change in subject and her hasty… retreat across the vault floor to the opposite side of the small room. He watched her stand ramrod straight as she stared at the wall before her and he found himself worried that she’d moved away from him so hurriedly because she was afraid or upset, unhappy or… nervous, and it hurt him to see her like that.
“Nothing. Maybe the items are really there but we just can’t see them or feel them?” she replied, her voice sounding strained and rushed, even to her own ears even as she fought to redirect the subject back to the bank heist.
The way she sounded and was trying to avoid his question was just like he’d been doing earlier when he’d been trying to dodge her questions. He wasn’t sure what had happened. One minute she seemed fine about him telling her about him being able to feel him, then the next she was holding his hand, telling him it meant something that he could feel her. Then she was putting space between them? It didn’t make sense to him… what was going on? What didn’t she want to tell him?
“Parker, something’s wrong… I can tell. What aren’t you saying?” Nathan pushed, his head still trying to process what he thought she’d meant by her answer moments earlier and what her unwillingness to talk to him now meant.
She stood there with her back to him and pointedly didn’t reply as her own emotions roiled within her. If she was honest with herself she knew exactly what he was asking her to say but she didn’t know how to have this conversation with him… or if she was ready to.
But he’d ended up being honest with her… shouldn’t she just get it out there and let them deal with it? She couldn’t imagine that he’d hate her, or hold it against her; she was his friend and partner first. That was more important, wasn’t it, than anything else she might feel… and that he couldn’t return. She just needed to find a place to start to explain…
She sighed and pressed the flats of both her hands against the safety deposit boxes, one on top of the other before she leaned her forehead against them. Nathan watched her studiously, the worry coiling in his stomach becoming more pronounced as each long minute she stayed silent ticked by. He desperately needed her to tell him what was wrong, why she was distancing herself from him like this.
“Parker…” Nathan started quietly before she eased from her position against the wall and turned her head to look at him, the conflicting emotions in her eyes making him freeze in place even as his breath caught in his chest. “Audrey… “
She took a deep breath and held his eyes as best she could. She could do this. He was her friend… she just needed to make him understand… give him some context as to how she’d gotten here, how she’d let her fear keep her from saying what she wanted.
Maybe confessing to one half of the secret that had been bothering her for a long while would lead her to tell him the rest of it…
“That night… on the dark man case… I called you…” Audrey said haltingly and slow, turning away again quickly, unable to look at him while she admitted this to him. “I know I could have found a way to get the Teagues out of the police station by myself… shot the lights like you did. But instead I called you for backup… even though I knew you were… with Jess.”
“Okay…” he started to say, confused at what that incident had to do with the way she was acting now.
“I… wanted you to come…” she stammered, not being able to articulate all the things that had made up her…need to have Nathan come and help her deal with something she should have been able to handle on her own.
She remembered standing in the station, hiding in shadow while a little voice in her head told her that this was her excuse, that she could call him… knowing full well that she could be interrupting something.
He stared at her, taken aback at the idea that she’d used the situation to… drag him away from Jess and help her? It didn’t make any sense. She was the last person that needed someone to come rescue her… but that was what she’d done, wasn’t it? She’d called him, wanting him to drop what he was doing and come to her? Make a choice…
“You’d wanted me to choose you over Jess?” Nathan questioned, a bewildered tone to his voice as he continued to try and wrap his mind around the idea that she’d… needed him.
Had she wanted to know that her partner still valued her over the woman he was seeing romantically? Somehow it didn’t fit… this self assured, stubborn, brilliant investigator Audrey Parker had wanted him to show up like a white knight and to come to her aid?
“Okay, when you put it that way…” she argued quickly, turning to look at him with a glare as she crossed her arms over her chest defensively.
But he could tell immediately that it was a half hearted attempt at defending herself and her actions. Nathan could see in her eyes that she was embarrassed, angry and scared all at the same time. Audrey looked at him with those emotions blazing in her eyes while she tried to draw herself up, even though he could tell that she knew he was… right.
She’d needed the reassurance that if she needed him that he’d come. That what he was starting to develop with Jess wouldn’t overshadow his friendship, his partnership with him.
That she still came first…
Audrey watched Nathan’s face, almost wishing she could hear the thoughts in his head. She knew that he’d look at it as her wanting to make him chose between them… that was certainly part of it. But there was still so much more to it than that. And she was still so very fearful of breaking this thing between them by admitting that she’d wanted more than what they had.
He watched her suddenly start to turn away again and he just felt something in him… tear at the idea of her pulling away from him once again. He strode across the space and caught her upper arm in his grasp, slightly disappointed she was wearing a shirt with long sleeves and he couldn’t feel her skin under his hand. Tugging lightly he maneuvered her back to where she’d previously stood and she reluctantly looked up at him, her face a mask of… apprehension?
“Audrey…” he started and could almost feel the tension in the room and could see it in the way she held herself. “Please, tell me what’s going on?”
She stared at him, her mouth starting to open several times before she finally got the courage to answer him.
“I was all supportive of her because I thought she’d be good for you… she was throwing herself at you… and I joked and laughed about it because I thought that…” she rambled, her eyes finally darting down and away, making Nathan ache at the sight.
When she trailed off he desperately wanted to reach up and touch her face and raise her eyes back to him, knowing he’d feel the soft skin he’d find there but he didn’t know if he had the right to do so. So he settled for trying to prompt her to finish explaining what was wrong with his words rather than actions.
“You thought what…” he questioned, his eyes staring down at her, hoping she’d feel the weight of his stare.
“That you didn’t see… that I was…” she tried brokenly and then stepped back, stretching his arm between them even as he refused to let her go. “I don’t even know why in God’s name I would think you would see…”
She quickly stopped herself from saying anything more and Nathan stood there, his mind trying to fit all the things she’d said together, to see the whole picture that he couldn’t see. What was it that she thought he hadn’t seen that had to do with her and how had that caused her to push him at Jess? What did she want him to see her do or feel…
Could she have meant she had wanted him to see her… like he’d seen Jess? That since he hadn’t, she’d let him be with Jess because he’d responded to the other woman’s more aggressive overtures? That she’d joked about the relationship because it was all she could do? Had she been… jealous of Jess?
Thinking back to her admission that she’d called him, wanting backup even though she knew he was with Jess lent some credibility to the idea. And now, as she stood before him, her breathing becoming ragged as she nervously looked at him, it made a lot of sense.
But why hadn’t she said something? Why had she shoved him at Jess if she’d wanted… him?
Then the snippets of conversations they’d had about her childhood, the foster homes and the loneliness, about her having no friends, no *life* played back for him like a movie reel. She was good with crime scenes but not with people, Nathan being the exception it seemed, except for his coffee. And having finally found a friend, it made sense that since he hadn’t made any moves in her direction she hadn’t been willing to risk losing his friendship by pushing for anything more. Even if that meant she had to watch him date Jess and seem happy while he did, no matter what she might have wanted.
It made so much sense to him now, and he understood that reaction; he’d been deathly afraid of telling her he could feel her for much the same reasons. And now, realizing that she could feel that way, he realized he needed to tell her about what else had happened on Carpenter’s Knot.
“I kissed you,” Nathan blurted out suddenly and Audrey pulled her head back a few inches to regard him with a stunned and confused look on her face.
“What?” she said, her startled her eyes going wide as she stared at him.
Nathan breathed in and held his breath for a moment, trying to collect himself as he prepared to explain something that he knew could permanently change things between them… even if he already felt as if they were past the point where they could go back to the way things were.
And the memory of her hand clutched in his and the way just that simple touch made him feel… he couldn’t not imagine being able to have more than just that. So he had to tell her…
“At Carpenter’s Knot…
Audrey looked at him, her eyes boring into his, trying to understand what he was saying. Memories of being with him at the hotel, both before and after she’d been… body snatched filled her mind, and no where in any of that time could she recall him kissing her.
“No, you didn‘t… I’d remember…”
She continued to stare at him, her eyes indicating ever so unsubtly that he needed to continue. Nathan clenched the hand that hung to his side into a fist to keep it from shaking as he pressed on with the truth he’d yet to tell her.
“When I realized that the other Audrey had untied me and I hadn’t felt it… I decided I needed to test the theory…” he said and then paused, letting her process what he was telling her; he wanted to make sure she understood exactly what he was saying.
Audrey stood there, his hand holding her in his grasp as she turned his words over in her head. He was saying he tested his theory that the chameleon was wearing her form by kissing her... it… she couldn’t put the pieces in her head correctly… how... why… it was making her so confused, she needed him to explain this to her.
“So you kissed her, it, me…” she stumbled, trying to make sense of what he was telling her.
“After taking its hand in mine and trying to feel it that way, yes.”
She tried to recreate the scene in her head as Nathan was explaining it. He’d said that he could feel her but not the chameleon, so he’d held it’s… her hand to test his theory and found out it wasn’t her.
But then if he already knew it wasn’t her, why would he kiss her, it… it didn’t make any sense.
“So what made you kiss… me then? If you already knew it wasn’t me…” she asked, her voice hushed as a single unbelievable thought suddenly filled her mind.
It couldn’t be that, she told herself, even as she gazed at Nathan’s face, trying to read his expression, trying to see if what she thought would be even vaguely true, and if it was…
Nathan was silent for long minutes. He knew that deep down the real reason he’d kissed the facsimile of Audrey, even though he was already nearly 100% sure that it wasn’t her wasn’t because he had needed one last confirmation that he was right. At that moment all he’d been able to think about was the thought that the real Audrey was dead and he’d just wanted to have that one moment to fantasize that the kiss was real; that he was kissing her and not a thing that was wearing her form…
He gazed at Audrey, her eyes so blue and pleading, asking him without words to tell her the truth, explain why he’d done that…
And he couldn’t deny her an answer any longer.
“Because,” he finally admitted, surprising not only Audrey but himself, “I badly wanted to kiss you.”
Author’s note: I made some personal insights into Audrey’s motivations in “Ain’t no Sunshine” because to me, I couldn’t figure out why she needed backup… she’s a trained FBI agent and everything Nathan did she could have done alone, so… I made some shipper assumptions. J
So anyway, this was a short chapter but there was a lot in it. Hope you enjoyed and again, let me know if you did… I’m still trying to feel out the characters here and make sure its quality N/A as well. Thanks for reading, Ms. J.