After 1966
by Liz Muller

Nick sat at his desk, finishing paperwork on yesterday’s incident. He
stared down at the desk, his mind drifting back. When he saw Nat,
with a shotgun at her back, his heart froze. The fear that he might loose
her, nearly overwhelmed him. Her courage amazed him, then, later,
he marveled at her resiliency when she joked and laughed with them.

The phone interrupted his musing, and he sighed as he picked it up.
“Knight.” “Nick, hi, its Nat.” Nick smiled at the sound of her voice.
“ Hi, I was just thinking about you.” he replied. “Whats, up?”
“I was wondering if you’d be up for a movie? I could pick up
something, and meet you at the loft.” Nick detected an odd note
in her voice, and became cincerned. “ Nat, whats wrong?” He
listened to the silence for a moment, before she answered him.
“I..... I just don’t want to be alone, Nick.” she whispered.

“Nat, that would be great, I’ll meet you at the loft in an hour,
Nick’s mind raced as he thought about her words. “Thanks, Nick.
see you then.” he heard the relief in her voice, then a click. He
hung up the phone, worried. There was something in her voice......

Natalie got to the loft before Nick, so she let herself in, dropped
her bags on the kitchen table, and walked over to the couch.
She picked up the remote, closed the shutters and turned on the
fireplace. Dropping the remote onto the table, she lay down on
the couch, staring into the flames. She was tired, but was afraid to
sleep. Roger and the guy with the shotgun invaded her dreams.
Sometimes, she felt as if Fate had singled her out. If it hadn’t been
for Nick.......

Nick pulled into the garage, seeing that Natalie was here. He made
hi way upstairs, and heard the familiar heartbeat. He saw the bags
on the table, and then the top of Nat’s head, just visible over the edge
of the couch. “Nat?” he called with no reply. He leaned over the couch,
and touched her shoulder. He was shocked when she flinched.

Nat felt a hand on her shoulder, and she flinched, caught up in her
memories. She looked up and saw Nick, saw the shocked look on
his face. Tears began to fill her eyes. She turned her head, so he
wouldn’t see them, as she struggled to pull herself together.

Nick quickly sat next to her, and pulled her gently into his arms.
He held her, her head hidden in his chest, as he said softly. “Shh, Nat.
Its okay. Its okay, Nat. Tell me whats wrong, Nat.” He knew, but she
needed to say it.

Natalie burrowed deeper into him, muttering something about Roger
and the guy last night. Nick held her close, as she sobbed, her tears
soaking his shirt. God! How he wanted to make her pain go away!
But he couldn’t. He couldn’t even blame himself for it. He felt so
helpless, listening to her cry. He rocked her gently in his arms, just
letting her cry, whispering soothing words to her. Her tears began
to slow, and he felt her breathing begin to slow, as she fell asleep in
his arms. He wanted to tell her how he truly felt, but was afraid it
would bring her nothing but more pain. He shifted slightly, pulling her into
his lap, holding her while she slept, offering her the only thing he
could right now, his comfort. He drifted to sleep, with Nat in his arms,
dreaming of a day when he could do more then just hold her. They
both slept, peacefully, in each others arms, for the moment, safe from
their demons.

The End