How Many People You Got In There?


elisabeth_icon.gifgina_icon.gif niki_icon.gif

Scene Title How Many People You Got In There??
Synopsis Niki pops in for coffee, and Liz gets the surprise of her life — and that's saying something when it comes to Niki.
Date December 27, 2008

Elisabeth's Apartment

She knew that Niki was working last night, so she waited until after lunchtime to call and ask the other woman for coffee. It's a way to check up on how Niki's doing, but …. she needs the company today too. So by the time Niki arrives and comes in, the apartment is full of warm scents. Strudel coffee cake, coffee, chocolate chip cookies, and even blueberry muffins. It start to become clear to Niki that the thing Elisabeth does when she's bored (or upset) is cook. She's full of smiles when she opens the door to admit the other blonde, though. "Hey, c'mon in! Don't mind the mess." The apartment, with its tabletop Christmas tree, is spotless except in the kitchen itself, where there are all evidences of the baking frenzy.

Niki arrives, and knocks gently at the door. She's got a light jacket on, and she looks back to Liz, and then steps inside. "Hey there. This place smells like a bakery." She points out, looking to Liz. "How're you doing."

Elisabeth grins and replies easily, "Doing good. IA came back with their report, clearing my of the shooting. I think they're calling it 'friendly fire' or something. And I've been puttering around getting some holiday goodies ready to drop off at the hospital for my friend Norton, and for some other people. Please, for the love of God, help yourself. I always make too much." She heads toward the kitchen. "How about you? Coffee?"

Niki smiles. "Some coffee would be great, yes. Thank you." she says. "I'm glad things are looking up for you at work. Be a rotten season to have bad things happen."

Elisabeth rolls her eyes. "You know…. at least something is going my way this week," she replies with a shrug. As she pours coffee, she gestures to the breakfast bar, where some stools sit for easy conversation while people are in the kitchen area. "Doctor it up as you like," she says as she sets the cup at one of the spaces. She's clearly planning on getting back into the dough she's working with. She's wearing jeans and a loose T-shirt, and her feet are bare, her hair up in a ponytail. She's got flour all over her pants and shirt, too, now that we're back in the kitchen lights. "How was your shift?"

Niki chuckles. "It was. I make no bones about this being any kind of fulfilling work. But it's work, and it keeps the money rolling in, and right now that's what counts. I'd like to say it's expanding my circle of friends, but not so much. Drunk assholes don't count." A wry smile crosses her face.

Elisabeth smirks. "Yeah, no… drunk assholes don't count." She goes back to kneading the dough for sweet bread, getting it ready to pop into the oven. Now that Niki can see what's in the kitchen, it's not just blueberry muffins, there are cranberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, and half a dozen loaves of banana bread too - with and without nuts. The kitchen table is buried beneath boxes of plastic-wrapped goodies. The strudel coffee cake on the breakfast bar is cut and waiting to be nibbled, and there are two more of them on the counter cooling to be wrapped. And what appears to be about 12 dozen chocolate chip cookies wrapped up to go too. As she puts the bread dough she's working into the pans and pauses, Liz comments mildly, "I think I went a little overboard."

Niki laughs as she watches a little. "I'd say so. You cook entirely too much for someone who isn't married or has kids. I'd offer to help, but I don't want to get in your way."

Elisabeth mmms softly. "Italian grandmother and Catholic guilt," she tells Niki. "There are also a ton of casseroles in the freezer. I cook when I don't know what else to do." She sighs and shakes her head, then moves to pop the round sweet breads into the oven to bake. As she washes her hands so that she can pick up her coffee and join Niki, she tells the other woman, "Take some of whatever you want with you … really. I'll never eat it all. I usually take it to the precinct." She trails off and hehs softly. "You know,I say that like I was never away from the precinct. Like the two years in between when I left and when I went back don't exist. But in those two years, I don't think I once cooked like this. Odd."

Niki laughs. "I'd gain twenty pounds if I took a quarter of what you've got in here." She says, and she looks back to Elisabeth, more seriously. "Sometimes it's nice to be able to pick up where you left off. It's all in what works for you. Sometimes you just need a coping mechanism." The tall blonde looks tired as she says it.

Perching in the chair next to Niki, Elisabeth says quietly, "Yeah. Well, cooking's mine. When things go to hell and I royally screw the pooch…" She laughs at the pun she just made. "Literally, in my case… I cook. It takes me away from everything in my head." She looks at Niki. "What do you do?"

Niki laughs. "Good question. Used to be drinking, till THAT got out of control." She says that more seriously. "But being a mom doesn't leave a ton of time for coping mechanisms. You're too busy being mom." She smiles wanly. "Which explains the headache I have, probably. Lack of coping mechanism."

Elisabeth slants Niki a glance and says quietly, "I'm sorry." She doesn't know what Jessica's been up to, but well… she attributes most of Niki's physical problems to Jessica. Sipping from her own coffee cup while Niki nurses hers, Liz says mildly. "Could be worse. You could jump in the sack with any guy who offers," she comments. "It's a sure cure for forgetting what ails you, but could get dicey in the long run. We'll just have to help you figure out a new strategy for coping, maybe." She grins a bit. "You could… jog."

Niki laughs. "If that's your way of telling me I need to lose some weight, you're a cruel woman. And I have to get back into the dating scene at some point, I guess. It just…it's too soon." She pinches the bridge of her nose. "You wouldn't have a couple ibuprofin I could beg off you?"

Elisabeth snickers. "Not a bit," she comments. "I was suggesting you could jog and STILL take home some of this stuff, so that *I* don't gain fifty pounds!" She nods, though, sliding off the stool to get the ibuprofen from a cabinet over the stove. "I don't want to play the dating game right now. The guy I just broke up with," got dumped by, "he… means something to me. I'm just trying to work out what." She smiles a bit as she comes back. "Of course… being my best friend, he's also usually the one on whose shoulder I cry when things go shitty. You know… I can't just go tell him this time 'Geez, my boyfriend dumped me because I was being a complete nit, and my response was to go get laid!' I think it'd hurt his feelings." Heh… and so explains the cooking jag. She hands over the pills.

That causes a doubletake. "You keep it in your kitchen? I hate to think of how many headaches you must get." She heads over to the sink, to pour some water in a cupped palm for taking the pills.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes and says, "You can have a glass, you know." She shrugs. "I keep some in here, just because it's easy to get to and I spend most of the time in the living room. There's some in my bathroom too." There's a faint grin. "I don't know. My folks always did it too. Maybe because the guest bathroom in their house didn't have a medicine chest, just a mirror over the sink."

Niki swallows down the pills. "It's just as easy to do it this—" She closes her eyes tight, and grabs to the counter like she might fall.

Elisabeth blinks and starts to jump toward Niki…. and then stops. "Niki?" she asks cautiously. Because she's got a real good clue what's happening here.

Niki wobbles a bit, and sways, before seeming to catch herself. "I'm fine." she says, offering a smile back. "Just a really nasty headache there for a minute."

Elisabeth puts out a hand now to help Niki stabilize herself. "Are you sure?" She looks worried now, but… well, although there's no such thing as being too cautious when it comes to Jessica, there's such a thing as being weird around Niki. It's a fine line. "C'mon, let me help you sit. Have you actually eaten today?"

It's a pleasant smile that's offered back. "No, but I can address that at Bakery-R-Us." She reaches out to steal a cookie, and nibbles. "I think I'm gonna get outta your hair a little bit. Let you keep going on the epic cooking marathon and see if I can't find something to relax."

Elisabeth frowns a little. "If you want to lay down for a little while, you're welcome to use the bed. Now you've got me worried about this headache. How bad is it? Is ibuprofen going to be enough for it?"

A very bright, beamish smile is offered back to Elisabeth. "No need!" She all-but-chirps. "Little sugar buzz here'll knock it out in no time. I'll catch you later."

Uh…. what the HELL just happened here. Niki's…. not herself. "All right… what's going on?" she demands quietly. "And don't go giving me the sugar buzz answer, either. I think I know Niki well enough to know when she's acting odd." Oh please, God…. please, don't let Jessica kick her ass for this. "What's wrong with her?"

The answer that she gets might not be the one she's expecting. "Niki just needs to relax, that's all." She winks back to Elisabeth. "So that's what we're gonna go do." She stands, and starts towards the door.

Elisabeth's eyes go wide. "Wait… who *are* you? You're not Jessica!" Cuz no WAY is Jessica going out to 'relax'. "You're not going to get her into trouble, are you?"

Right in one. It's decidedly NOT Jessica. "Not unless she's developed an allergy to a good party!" The tall blonde calls over her shoulder, still heading for the door.

Elisabeth follows her, but makes no attempt to stop her. "At least tell me your name, so that if I run into you again I know what to call you," she comments mildly. "And for God's sake…. don't party too hard. Niki wouldn't appreciate going out and getting laid."

Niki makes the classic "pfft" sound. "Do her some good. Do me some good too!" She laughs at that. "Gina." And with that, she's made it as far as the door, which she starts to open.

Okay… that response decides the waffling cop. Elisabeth wasn't sure whether Gina should be stopped or not, but that? Yeah, no, Niki would NOT appreciate that at all. "~Stop,~" she insists, lacing the word with as much command as she can muster. Which honestly, isn't all that much 'command' as 'suggestion'. "~C'mon… Niki's exhausted, she needs to rest before she can have that much fun. Otherwise, it'll just keep getting worse. Go lay down in the bedroom, Gina, let Niki have a good sleep in a safe place. You're right that she needs to relax, but she needs to do it herself, not just be forced to it. The bed's comfortable, and she looked wiped out. And she has to work tonight again too. C'mon,~" she tries to coax.

And as is not uncommon for MPDs, she proves rather susceptible to that sort of thing. Gina looks rather petulant at the suggestion for the first moment, but then those comforting waves of sound hit her, and her eyes just glaze over a little. "Mmm…okay." Gina's also far from being the willpower queen. She heads towards Liz's bedroom, just a little mechanically, before opening the door, heading in, and laying down on the bed.

Oh thank God. Really. Unfortunately, that PROBABLY means she's about to get visited by someone else….. and now LIZ has a headache from the idea. But… at least it keeps Niki from waking up in some stranger's bed. With a sigh, she heads back to the counter to pick up her own coffee and settle in to babysit her friend's body for as long as it sleeps.

It's a day for misconceptions, it seems. Because her eyes do close there, but it's only a couple minutes before they open again, and there's a vaguely confused blink. "How'd I get in your bedroom?" comes the confused question as she looks back to Liz.

Pleasantly surprised by Niki's return instead of the mega-bitch that is Jessica, Elisabeth smiles. "Wow, that headache must have been a doozy. You took hte ibuprofen and walked in here when I offered my bed. A few minutes in the dark has a way of giving the headache a chance to go away. You've only been there a couple minutes. How're you feeling now? Ibuprofen kicked in yet?"

Niki smiles. "Seems to have. It's not pounding on the back of my eyes now. God, I must have really needed it. I don't even remember coming in here." She sits up, and makes a face. "Clearly, since I got on your bed with shoes on. I'm sorry, Liz."

Elisabeth pffts mildly. "Whatever," she tells Niki. "Shoes on the bed are the least of my concerns. I'm just glad the headache eased off for you. C'mon… come finish your coffee, it should still be warm. You didn't lay down for long." She heads back toward the kitchen. "And you should definitely eat something. Here," she says as she pulls a crock of something out of the fridge. "I have some homemade vegetable soup that'll help. The headache was probably partially not eating today. You have to take better care of yourself," she scolds gently.

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