Grabbing his cell phone from the pillow beside him he quickly sent off a text message to Corey.
‘Can’t make it, headache.’
He resisted the urge to text his boss too. He’d sleep for another two hours and then decide if he could manage to go to work or not.
Kyle took a sip of his hot cappuccino and sighed. He rolled his eyes when he caught Corey watching him with a grin.
Corey chuckled, “You always get this really blissfully satisfied look on your face when you drink your first sip of coffee. Does tall and sexy get jealous of your friendship with caffeine?”
“Oh hush up and let’s focus on more important things like your wedding,” Kyle said.
Corey grinned and sat down, “Oh by all means let’s focus on my wedding and off your love life.”
“More like non existent love life,” Kyle muttered before clearing his throat. “Where’s Nick?”
Corey shook his head, “He’s not coming. He woke up with a bad headache and went back to sleep. I’ll fill him in later.”
Kyle nodded and set his coffee cup down. “Him not being here works out in a way because I need to talk to you about something.” He looked seriously at Corey. “We need to know if he’s bringing a date or not. I can’t leave the seating chart open for much longer.”
Corey sat back in his seat and sighed, “How does it stand right now?”
Kyle flipped his book open. “The way things right now I had evened out the main tables with Nick and Brian since neither had been sure if they were bringing a date. Now Brian has confirmed that he’s coming sans a date. Nick hasn’t decided yet.”
Corey bit his bottom lip while thinking. “What will you do if Nick has a date?”
Kyle pushed his book to the middle of the table so that Corey could see a miniature version of the seating chart. “Then everything would be perfect. Your friend Alex has confirmed that he’s coming without a date as well, so we’ll simply put him next to Brian and put Nick’s date next to him. Or if he doesn’t want his date at the main table we simply work around other tables. But in order to do so I need to know how close to the main table he wants his date to be. Do you see my problem?” Kyle asked gently knowing Nick was a touchy topic for Corey.
Corey nodded while studying the seating chart, “I’ll ask him and let you know in a day or two for sure Kyle. Thank you for being so patient with all this.”
Kyle smiled, “Just doing my job.”
“Oh!” Corey suddenly sat up straight. “What about Robert Carter?”
Kyle chuckled, “Already taken care of as per Matt’s instructions. You don’t need to worry about that. I’ll show you the completed welcome basket tomorrow. We’re just waiting for the CD’s to get done.”
Corey smiled and relaxed back, glad for the wonderful support system he had.
Nick checked the temperature of the shower to make sure it was perfect before slowing moving his body under it. The drums in his head had been playing a steady beat since he woke up. With a soft groan of pain he began washing his hair, figuring he may as well finish off his shower quickly instead of dilly dallying.
‘Migraines, allergies.. Dad sure has given me some awesome genes,’ he thought while tilting his head back to rinse off his hair.
After drying off Nick reached for his rarely used hair dryer and plugged it in. Today was definitely not the day to let his hair dry in its own time. ‘God please don’t let this turn into a migraine. Please let it just be a really bad headache,’ Nick thought.
Forgoing his contact lenses he slipped his glasses on and got dressed. With a soft groan he grabbed his cell phone and made his way towards the kitchen while checking his messages.
He rolled his eyes and deleted the first few messages after giving them a cursory glance. Deciding to leave the others until he got into work he entered the kitchen and stepped short at the sight that greeted him.
“You didn’t have to do this,” he said softly.
Corey smiled, “I know. But it’s my right as your best friend to take care of you when you’re not feeling well.”
Nick sat down and immediately drank the glass of water kept in front of him. “Thanks Core. You want to bring me up to speed on what I missed?”
Corey looked at the redness in Nick’s eyes and the way he was squinting slightly and shook his head. “No hurry. We can do it when you’re feeling better. Now eat,” he said and set a bowl of warm oatmeal in front of Nick.
Nick smiled as much as he could in the state he was in and began eating.
“Have you called for a cab? I can drop you off at work if you haven’t.”
Nick marvelled at the way his friend had changed. A year ago Corey didn’t drive and now he loved being behind the wheel thanks to Matt’s encouragement and support.
“No that’s ok; I’ve asked Alan to come get me. What’s the plan for tonight?” Nick asked.
Corey looked closely at Nick, “Maybe you should skip tonight and rest Nicky.” Seeing Nick shake his head he sighed,” Dinner at Shiro’s. You’re obviously exhausted. Why don’t you skip it and rest? AJ’ll be here by the end of the week and you’re not going to be able to entertain him if you’re feeling miserable.”
Nick knew that what Corey was saying made sense. He needed to sleep well for a few days to make up for all the late nights he’d been having. But he hated the thought of cancelling on his friends.
“Let me see how I feel by the end of the day. If I’m feeling better I’ll come, otherwise I’ll go home,” Nick said with a sigh.
Corey nodded in agreement.
Kyle who had been on the phone, entered the kitchen and exchanged a smile with Nick.
When the phone rang Corey answered it so that Nick wouldn’t have to stand up.
“Thanks, he’ll be down in a bit.”
Nick and Kyle looked at Corey.
“Alan’s here,” Corey said.
Nick immediately checked his cell phone for any calls that he’d missed and found none. “That’s strange. He usually calls me when he’s two blocks away.”
Corey smiled slightly, “He probably wanted you to finish eating.”
“I’m done,” Nick said and Corey saw that he’d finished the small helping of oatmeal that he had given him.
He grabbed a bottle of water from the counter and looked at Corey, “You’ll catch me up on everything I missed later right?”
Corey smiled, “Of course. Feel better Nicky.”
Nick gave him a small smile in return and turned to Kyle. “I’m sorry about the delays Kyle. I promise I’ll be all caught up on it soon. Please give tall and sexy my regards.”
Kyle rolled his eyes. “Get outta here you brat," he said with a laugh.
Nick got into the elevator with a smile on his face while Kyle and Corey exchanged a significant look as the elevator doors shut.
Nick nodded at the doorman and slid into the silver Mercedes that was waiting for him with a small sigh. “Morning Alan.”
Alan smiled, “Good morning Nick. Are you feeling better?”
Nick nodded slightly, “Yup, slightly better. Thank you for picking me up.”
“You’re welcome kid.”
They sat in silence, content to let the sound of traffic and the soft music playing on the radio as the only source of sound between them.
Nick walked into the building that housed the offices of Carter-Richardson and stopped when he saw the chaos near the elevators.
“What’s going on?” he asked the security guard as he entered after passing through security.
“Elevators are being serviced so only two are working. I’m sorry Mr. Carter but it looks like a long wait if you aren’t taking the stairs today. Unless you allow me to take you to the front of the line,” the man said apologetically.
Nick sighed at the thought of putting his already aching head through the exercise of climbing up seven floors. But the thought of standing in a long line or using his name to get to the front of the line was even more unappealing and something he couldn’t do.
“No it’s alright Paul, thank you. I’ll take the stairs,” he said and smiled slightly at the man before walking away.
Four hours later Nick was pulled out from the document he was reading by his phone buzzing. After glancing at the screen and seeing that it was Matt calling he sat back with a tired groan.
“Hey… all ok? You don’t sound too good.”
Nick smiled at Matt’s concern. “Woke up this morning with a bad headache which may just turn into a migraine yet so it’s not the best of days. How’re you doing? Is your best man back in town yet?”
Matt winced in sympathy for Nick, “I hope it doesn’t turn into a migraine. I’m doing ok, desperately trying to control my work and hoping nothing comes up to ruin my honeymoon plans,” Matt said causing Nick to smile and ‘aww’ at him.
Matt chuckled and continued, “Yes, he’s back and so is his ex wife,” Matt said with a sigh.
“WHAT?” Nick hissed before wincing as pain flared up in his head. “Jess is back? How come?”
“Can you talk for a bit?” Matt sat back in his chair and turned to look out the window behind his desk.
“Well your guess is as good as mine about Jess.”
Nick frowned, “How did you find out?”
“My parents told me. Mom asked me this morning if I was going to invite her for the wedding. Apparently Jess’ mom mentioned it to my mom last night.”
Nick massages his forehead, “And what did you tell her?”
“I didn’t say anything. Corey’s dad called to speak to me so the conversation was thankfully left unfinished.”
“Well you won’t need to make any personal excuses if you don’t want to,” Nick said slowly, “assuming of course that you don’t want her to be there.”
Matt sighed, “Of course I don’t want her there Nick, she broke his heart. I would like him to actually enjoy himself there and not be stressed and on his guard. And all the women invited are going to be there at Corey’s pre welcome dinner too and I don’t want to put him through the ordeal of dealing with her. Any help you can give me is welcome.”
Nick nodded slowly glad that Matt understood that Corey wouldn’t want the ex Mrs. Littrell there. “She did receive an invite to the wedding Matt. She RSVPed with a ‘No’.”
“What? Corey actually invited her? Cause I sure as hell didn’t,” Matt said in frustration.
“Calm down,” Nick said. “You know him, polite to the core. You really must work harder to break that bad habit of his Matthew. So anyway he did invite her since his parents were so insistent but she said no. So now you have a ready and genuine excuse that everything is already set and you cannot make changes to it all just for her, especially after she already declined your invitation.”
“What would I do without you Nickolas, thank you so much! I will work harder on breaking Corey’s habit. Apparently I haven’t been trying hard enough.”
Nick smiled, “I have complete faith in you Matthew.”
Matt chuckled, “Thanks. Am I seeing you tonight?” He asked, feeling less agitated after having spoken to Nick.
Nick sighed, “I’m not sure. If my head doesn’t feel better I’m just going to go home and sleep it off. I’ll let you know.”
“Alright babe you do that. Let me know and I’ll come fetch you,” Matt said.
Both said their goodbyes and hung up.
‘Back to work,’ Nick thought with a soft groan.
“Nickolas!” A strong voice boomed causing Nick to sit up in surprise.
“Jake,” he said with a small smile when he saw his boss standing just outside his cubicle.
“What’re you still doing here kid? It’s after 6,” Jake said while moving closer and leaning his hip against Nick’s desk.
“You’re still here too,” Nick pointed out. When Jake rolled his eyes in response Nick sighed, “Tomorrow’s report came here full of mistakes from the upstairs office with orders for ‘one of the interns’ to deal with it. So… I’m dealing,” he said simply.
Jake sighed, “Stanton again?”
Nick nodded slowly not willing to lie to his supervisor.
“What time did he send it down?” Jake asked curiously while his sharp eyes picked up the way Nick was squinting instead of opening his eyes all the way and the fact that he had his glasses on.
“Um… around 4.30.”
Jake looked at Nick in exasperation. “He knows full well that all my interns leave at 4 and you’re the only one who is staying late while training with the other departments. Why didn’t you just go up to your own office and finish your work? Hell why didn’t you just go home? You’re obviously not feeling well.”
Nick pouted slightly, “How was I to know he’d need things done for him? And I’m fine.”
“You have to face the fact that he’s got it in for you at some point Nick and I’d rather it be sooner than later. And as for you feeling fine,” Jake slammed his palm down on the desk causing Nick to flinch and grab his head.
Nick glared at Jake, “Was that really necessary?” he asked piteously.
Jake nodded, “Yes it was. Now come on, get outta here.”
Nick shook his head, “I haven’t finished this yet.”
“Nor are you going to.”
Nick looked at him in surprise. Jake shook his head, “I will not have my staff be taken advantage of in this manner. Now come on, get up.” Seeing the hesitant look on Nick’s face he continued, “Nickolas as your superior I am ordering you to leave that report alone and vacate the premises immediately,” he said seriously.
Nick knew that he wasn’t joking and shut down his computer before standing up. “What do I tell Stanton?”
“Nothing. I’ll deal with it.” When he saw that Nick was about to protest he continued, “When he picks on you as a member of the board it’s one thing but to single you out when you’re here as a senior level intern it’s quite another thing. He had no right to ask any intern here to do anything without clearing it by me first and you know it! The meeting was meant to be today and he didn’t have his reports ready. He’ll just have to deal with the consequences tomorrow.” Jake took a cleansing breath before continuing, “Now, did you drive today?”
Nick shook his head slowly, “Alan dropped me.”
“Good because you don’t look like you’re in a fit state to drive,” Jake said while walking to the elevators with Nick.
Nick pushed his glasses up and rubbed his eyes tiredly. “I’m exhausted.”
“You better start taking it easy kid or you’re going to make yourself sick before the wedding.”
Nick groaned, “Oh please don’t say that, don’t even think it cause it SO isn’t an option!”
They exited the elevator and walked out into the basement parking lot.
“You want me to drop you home?” Jake asked while unlocking his car.
“No, thank you, you go ahead. I’ll have Dave call me a cab,” Nick said.
“Sure?” Jake asked and slid behind the wheel of his car when Nick nodded.
Nick watched him drive away as he walked towards the security booth.
Kevin sighed as he checked his phone while sliding behind the wheel of his car the next morning. No messages. He clicked in Nick’s cell phone number and frowned when it went to voicemail again.
“Hey Nick, it’s me. Call me when you have the time.”
Setting his phone down Kevin put his Bluetooth headset on and drove off.
-X- TBC -X-