Lazy Sunday
by Heather Markle

Nick smiled as he heard her car pull up. It had been so long since
they had last gotten together for a video night. Everything seemed so . . .
tense between them lately. He was glad they were going to have a quiet
evening together, just like old times.

When the lift doors opened Natalie walked into the loft. Her hands
were full of shopping bags. Nick took the bags and gave her a light kiss.


"Hi, thanks" she smiled.

Nick brought the bags into the kitchen and started taking out the

"What do we have here? Popcorn, diet soda, butter, chocolate bar
and a seafood salad sandwich. Interesting combination, Nat"

Nat merely grinned in response. She got a glass and some soda. Nick
began making the popcorn as Nat melted the butter in the microwave. They
worked well in the kitchen together, like a team.

Natalie casually wandered over to Nick's desk and started flipping
through his calender. She stopped on Wednesday, February 12 and wrote:

Valentines Day is Coming!
Buy Nat Chocolate!!

underlining the last word three times.

"What are you doing?"

Nat jumped "Nothing!"

Nick slipped his arms around and her nuzzled her hair, "How do you
know I haven't already bought you chocolate?" he asked.

Natalie spun around to face him and wrapped her arms around his
neck. "Then, buy more." She kissed him. They grinned at each other for a
moment until the smell of popcorn brought them back to the kitchen.

As Natalie got the popcorn ready, Nick checked out the videos she
had picked out.

"Let's see now. `A Walk in the Clouds', very romantic". Natalie
gave him her `innocent' look. Nick took out the next tape. "`Broken
Arrow', uh oh. Whenever you get one of these action films it's to make up
for something I won't like. What is it?"

Natalie said nothing, suddenly quite interested in pouring melted
butter on the popcorn. Nick pulled out the last tape.

"This?" he said, dumbfounded.

"Well, its a musical and you know I like Tim Curry."

"Muppet Treasure Island!?!"

"We can watch your movie first," she said. Nick knew that this was
her way of giving in while not giving in.

They settled down in front of the big-screen TV. During the first
movie Nick sat in the leather easy chair while Natalie stretched out on the
couch. When it was over, they rearranged themselves so that Nick sat on the
couch as well.

Early in the film Natalie took Nicks hand in hers. As the film went
on, they moved closer and closer, until Natalie was snuggled up with Nick,
his arms wrapped around her. They both knew instinctively how far they they
could go, where the invisible line was. They took comfort in each other's
closeness. It was a beautiful love story and it touched both of them
deeply. When the film was over Natalie turned to face him. "Nick", she
whispered. Her eyes filled with tears.

"Shhhhh, shhhhh, it's okay". She lay her head against his shoulder,
her tears falling unchecked. He stroked her hair, murmuring softly to her.
He knew the pain that was in her heart. He felt it too. He wanted to hold
her close, to never let go. He longed for the day when they could be
together, and dreaded that it may never come.

Nick felt the unhuman hunger inside of him. Natalie was so warm. He
could smell her, hear her blood calling out to him. The strong emotions he
was feeling wasn't making it any easier. He pushed it aside.

Natalie pulled herself together. Nick handed her a tissue. She
smiled gratefully. "You okay?" he asked. His hand stroked her cheek.

"Yeah, sorry".

"Don't. Don't do that to yourself. You have nothing to be sorry for."

Natalie caught his hand, holding it tightly. Then with a rueful
smile she released it. "Thanks Nick."

Natalie got up and retrieved the wool blanket from the closet,
while Nick set up the next video.

"Nat", he whined "Do we have to watch this?"

"You know the answer", she replied sternly.

Sighing, Nick sat down with Natalie on the couch. He was careful
not to get too close.

Within forty minutes Natalie was asleep. A part of Nick was
secretly glad. He didn't want her to see how much he was enjoying the
movie. He knew she would tease him to no end if she did. But Nick had to
admit it was a funny film.

Natalie woke up as the credits were rolling. She had a puzzled
expression on her face.

"Have a nice nap?"

"I had the strangest dream", she frowned.


"Yeah. We were doing an investigation and I was me, but at the same
time, I wasn't? I had this really strange falsetto voice. You were there
too, only it wasn't you. I can't really remember it. All I can remember is
saying something about tell him his goose is cooked. Does that mean
anything to you?"

Nick shook his head. His face showed a mixture of amusement and
concerned. "Nat, maybe you should sleep here tonight."

She nodded, "yeah, okay", she said sleepily.

Nick quickly got pillows and more blankets. She got on the couch.
Nick tucked her in tenderly.

"Good night." He kissed she on the head."See you for breakfast."

"`Night." Natalie couldn't be sure, but she thought she heard
Nick's voice say "I love you, Natalie".

"I love you too, Nick" she answered softly as she fell back asleep
and dreamed much more pleasant dreams.