I Should Tell You


nicole2_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif

Scene Title I Should Tell You
Synopsis Ryans and Nicole discuss their complicated situation, which is a little more convoluted than one of them realised.
Date June 20, 2011

Solstice Condominiums: Nicole's Home

Morning light is bright where it peaks through curtains, muted through fabric. Still it has that distinct feel that it is time to get up. Benjamin has been up since the first hint of light started to color the sky. Possibly he didn't sleep much for whatever reason. Busy thoughts or other such things.

The scent of whatever Nicole has in her shower drifts with the moist billow of steams that escape through the bathroom door. Pattering and splash of water could be soothing to some ears, though the occasional hum of something unidentifiable might not be so much.

Those sounds might not be too unusual, since he tends to take advantage of her shower before he heads out to do whatever Ferry things he does. It's what comes after the distinct squeak of the shower handles that might be a surprise.



It's the sound of an electric razor, which coupled with the mowing away of hair can be a bit jarring that early in the morning.

Deeeeeeep breath and flutter of lids. Nicole is by now used to incorporating the sounds of Ryans' morning routine into the other sounds that come with the dawn. Like pigeons and cars and the murmur of voices on the street level as New York City begins to awaken. But the hum of the razor gets her attention and draws her out of bed.

With a dark green robe pulled around her frame, Nicole knocks softly on the bathroom door before she turns the handle to push it open. But she doesn't peek in just yet. "Morning, Ben. I'm going to put some coffee on. You want some?"

The razor goes off and the world sounds hollow and tinny in Benjamin's ears. He pulls eyes away from his reflection to the door. Leaning against the counter, with only a towel wrapped around his waist to keep him somewhat decent. "That sounds wonderful," he admits, before clicking the razor on again. HE has to speak up a little over the sound. "My apologies for the rude wake up."

His fingers brush through the already shorten lengths of hair, using one of the longest comb attachments. Ben has no desire to look like a skin head, so he went with the length that he used while an agent. After so many months of ignoring his appearance, it was odd to see himself like this.

Pausing in his shaving, Ryans runs a hand along his smooth jaw, having shaved that away in the shower. A small smile tugs at the corner of his mouth before he focuses on his hair again. "Just thought it was time to stop…" stop what? "…trying to hide myself." Not the best explanation, but it's something.

"Don't worry about it," Nicole assures, ducking in to look at Ryans' reflection through the crack in the door when he doesn't tell her not to come in. "Look at you. Quite the transformation." A smirk tugs at her lips, both mischievous and fond at once. "I'll miss the hair a little bit, but you look… Sharp."

Pulling the door shut behind her, she pads out to the kitchen in her bare feet to set about making a strong pot of coffee. She glances briefly up at the cupboard where she stows the liquor, but decides against it. It isn't that she's ashamed of it. Or that Ben makes her want to be a better person. (He does.) There's just a little flutter of doubt that keeps her from spiking the morning joe.

Amusement colors his features, pulling at the corners of his mouth into a wider smile. Ben doesn't say anything in return as she leaves him to finish up what he's doing. Once the last lock falls into the sink, he turns his head this way and that. Inspecting.

He couldn't shake how odd it looked to him after he's been scruff for so long.

Ryans won't emerge from the bathroom until he's able to brush up what he cut away and toss it. Possibly even rinse off in the shower again. When he does show up in the kitchen, he's at least got his jeans on, fingers brushing at damp and much shorter hair, with a bit of a lop-sided smile. "Maybe I should have asked, before shaving it."

The coffee's merrily dripping away into the half-full pot by the time Ryans is back in the kitchen. He receives a bright, if tired, smile from Nicole. "Nah. It'll grow back. Besides, it's about what makes you comfortable. Happy. And you look both right now."

Two mugs are dragged down from cupboards above the brewer. "Do you need to take off right away? Should I make breakfast? Or… Maybe we could go out and grab something on your way back to… Wherever it is you need to be today?"

Dating a so-called terrorist is almost as hard as being the sister of one. Nicole rests her hip against the counter and sweeps her gaze up and down Ryans' form a moment. It's appraising, but there's also some trepidation as well. "It's been… Really nice having you around. Even if we have to keep such odd hours. I sleep better," as opposed to not sleeping at all, "when you're here."

"I feel more human," he admits about his appearance, coming to stand not far from her, watching her.

The amusement stays, or maybe he just looks a little more relaxed. "I think I can dawdle a little." Not too much, as he has to catch a boat out. Feet shift on cool tile to bring him closer, a hand rests as the small of her back, maybe driven to it by her words.

"How about I fix breakfast for you for once. I promise that I do know some cooking. Delia might have lived with me, but I still learned how to fend for myself." After his wife died that is. "I think I can manage to fry up some eggs an what do you eat. Bacon? Sausage?" Both brows tick up as if expecting an answer.

Nicole laughs quietly, turning to slide both her arms around Ryans' waist and rest her cheek to his chest. "Okay. This time, you can cook." Her eyes close and she sighs contentedly. "Bacon. I prefer bacon. Nice and crispy."

A moment of silence passes before Nicole draws back and tilts her chin so she can peer up at Ryans. "Have you been happy, Ben?" A deceptively simple question.

It's a familiar question. Maybe not asked that way, it varies from woman to woman. Mary asked it often when they first seeing each other and a lot in the later years before the bomb. Fingers brush through Nicole's darker hair, strands catching on the rougher parts of his skin. "What a question," he chides gently, rubbing a small lock of hair between his fingers gently.

"I'm happy." It's truthful, punctuated by a press of lips to her forehead. She is shorter them him after all and he's probably being a touch lazy about leaning down any further. "Still feels a little odd." Probably because of how they came to be in that situation.

Shoulders shrug a little helplessly. What a question, indeed. "Sorry. Maybe that was a little unfair. But I don't… Our situation is weird. This whole idea that there's some destiny in us being together. I just don't want you to feel obligated, I guess?" It's Nicole who's less lazy, and comes up on her tiptoes to press her lips to Ryans'.

"I'm happy, too," she assures before the question can be turned back on her. One more quick kiss and Nicole drops flat footed again, unwinding her arms from around the man's torso and moving to sit on a stool at the kitchen island. Lower lip is drawn between teeth. Everything she thinks about saying, small talk, sounds too silly to put into words. So she lets the silence linger.

Free from the embrace, after returning each kiss of course… Benjamin glances around the kitchen with hands firmly planted on hips. "To a point I do." He's not going to lie. There is no asking where things are, he simply goes searching. "At least to get to know you." Finding the pan, he turns back towards her. It gets a flip around by the handle before setting it on the stove with a gentle clank.

"But." Ben holds up a finger. "It's interesting to learn what that future version of myself saw in you." He pauses there, staring at the pan, before looking at Nicole again. "I should be honest with you." This won't be the first time he has this conversation.

"Before the dreams, before you… walked into my life." Drawers are pulled out one at a time til he finds a spatula. "I was… sort of seeing someone." A glance her way to gauge her reaction. "I told her about you and about the dream. I told her I wanted to get to know you and while she understood she asked me not to just… drop her, just because of something they showed me."

The spatula is set on the counter before giving her a touch of a guilty look, "Admittedly, I didn't expect things as quickly as they did between us." Not that they are together together, they are further along then he excepted. "You just deserve to know."

"You're… seeing someone?" Nicole's eyes widen just a little bit. It's that expression women get when they're thinking you did what? Several blinks happen before she adds on, "Oh." Then she forces another smile. "You should have… told me. I would never have…"

Her lips draw in tight and her head shakes quickly. "It's fine. I just would not have made myself be the other woman is all. I'm… I'm so sorry. I had no idea."

A hand comes up to stall anymore. "It… is complicated. I'm not sure you are the other woman. It was after the Company fell and she was the woman running the safe house." Ben keeps himself busy, finding what he needs. "November 8th, things got complicated around then."

Why is he explaining this?

"We've enjoyed the company, but things keep us busy." Meaning they never got overly serious. "She's not much of the settling down type." He explains, before starting to drop bacon in the pan. "Told me she's not the type to get serious." By his tone, Ryans might not be the same way.

"She is my friend," with benefits, isn't spoken out loud. "First and foremost that."

Should she be mad at him? Nicole isn't sure. She laces her fingers in her lap and stares down at her nails while she listens to him explain. "So what are you saying, exactly? I've never been one for serious relationships before, because… I've always gone for men who didn't want to be serious. Or men I couldn't have at all. But I don't…"

Words are hard. "I just don't want to stand in your way if you're wanting something with this other woman." When Nicole laughs again, it's bitterly. "I don't even know what to think right now. I don't know what I want out of this."

"And yet… in a future you end up married to me." Benjamin points out, making it sound like he pities her being stuck with him, but yet giving her a small hint of a smile. "And I don't really know what I am saying, Nicole."

Eyes are on the pan, turning bacon and watching it slowly shrivel up. Brows furrow in thought as he tries to think of the best way to say it. "She knew about you, " Maybe not the sleeping with part, but… "at least that there was a wife in my future that wasn't her. I… know we don't know where you and I are going, if it does. There is no knowing if us finding each other early destroys what could have been.

"It just hasn't set well, not telling you." The words are sighed out, sounding no so much relieved as every muscle in his body is tense. "Not fair to you, just like it wasn't fair not telling her about you and those dreams."

"I like you, Ben. A lot." Bare feet swing off the chair rung and through empty air anxiously. "I thought things were going well. I do think things are going well. But I don't want to be second. That's maybe selfish, but I've been second or third or tenth in my last two relationships and… I'm almost thirty."

Nicole looks up again, slant of brows plaintive. "I don't have to tell you what that means for a woman. I need to stop looking for fun in clubs and think about settling down with someone. Not that I'm saying we need to get serious right now. But… Do you understand what I mean? At all?"

"I don't blame you for not wanting to be second, I wouldn't want that either." Benjamin manages to keep cooking through the tense conversation. "Though I think I can understand her stand point. Losing a… lover," there is no other way to describe it really, "to a woman from a dream. Tho' I've also been raised that you don't sleep with two women…"

"Look…" The skillet is abandoned for a few moment, so that he can close the distance. To lean close, setting a hand on the island to balance him. "This whole thing is crazy, you have to admit it." Cause it is. "But I'm not telling you this to make you feel like the second woman, but I don't think it would be fair you find out there was another woman to begin with. Even after her and I slip into strictly friends category." Is that really possible, he doesn't know.

His head drops down a little, eyes on her lap for a moment, "In hindsight, I should have mentioned her the day we met. That is on my head, but I wanted to know." About them. Benjamin's voice softens a little as he says, "I'm not playing a game with you, Nicole. She might have pulled me out of the dark hole that Mary's death put me in, showed me I was still alive. You've been my hope, that maybe, just maybe my heart didn't get buried with her, too. For the first time in a long time, I've actually looked beyond one day at a time. It took a little help from our grandson," Cause Benji kinda is… even if it's step to her, "and our daughter, but I have." His blue eyes study her own for a moment, before straightening and retreating to the food again.

"Either way, you're not second," Ben rumbles out over the skillet. It's something he realizes even as he says it.

It takes a small amount of restraint for Nicole not to reach out when Ben approaches. The fact that he's levelling with her, being honest (or so she hopes) goes a long way to making her feel better about this crazy situation. "So you… are planning to break it off with her?"

It sounds worse out loud than it did in her head. Nicole winces immediately. "I didn't mean that to sound mean. I'm sorry." She slides off her seat and finally moves over to the counter next to the stove to fill their coffee mugs. "I'd like to meet him. O- Our grandson."

The words feel awkward on her tongue. "I bet he's beautiful, like his mother." One mug is nudged over Ryans' way while she lifts her own to her lips and rests her hip against the counter. "I'd like a chance to talk to him about… where I went wrong with Ingrid. That poor girl." There's a lot of guilt harboured over something she hasn't even had the chance to do yet. It's impossible for someone like Nicole to avoid feeling responsible, though.

There is definitely a wince at her question. "I imagine she was aware that it could happen." His words are soft over the sound of sizzling bacon, a pile slowly forming on a paper towel covered plate. The eggs will get cooked in the same skillet. He's never been one to worry about clogging his arteries.

"As for Benji, you might have a better time finding him" there is a pause, brows furrow before he corrects himself "her… through Delia, or maybe our other grandson, Kincaid… Russo's boy." There is a sideways glance, a curious glance. Benjamin can't remember if he told her about all of them. "He might be able to pass on a message."

"Brad son?" Nicole's eyes grow wide again and she lets out a breath from puffed out cheeks. Dodged a bullet there. "That's… awkward." Moreso than dating her ex-fiancĂ©'s father already is, though? Maybe not. "Kincaid August is Brad's… Wow." She'd seen the man in the halls of Studio K. He'd been there when Russo surprise proposed to her on Christmas Eve/her birthday. "That… might not be a bad idea, then."

Dark blue eyes lid heavily and she takes a deep drink of her coffee. "I have grandchildren," she murmurs with a hint of disbelief. "I'll talk to Kincaid. Delia's got a lot on her plate right now as it is. I don't want her to worry further about me." Nicole's already unintentionally burdened Delia with more of her issues than she's meant to share. "Ben… I'm glad you were honest with me. Thank you. That… must have been difficult."

"That's what happens when you marry an old man," Ben points out when it comes to the grandchildren. "If lightening strikes twice, it's gonna happen. Even if I'm not overly thrilled about the title granpa." There is a blandness in that word that labels him as old in his mind.

And arm snakes out to hook her hip and pull her against his side if only long enough to give her a quick — okay it lingers just a bit — kiss her and state, "Difficult and awkward, but the right thing." Nicole will learn that's a thing about. She'll be set free so that he can finish fixing their breakfast without the distractions that might come from her being so close.

Nicole giggles as Ryans pulls her in and returns the kiss, lingering as well. "You're only as old as you feel. And from where I'm standing…" She steals another quick kiss before he releases her. "You are definitely not an old man." She sets her coffee aside and chuckles. "I'm going to go get dressed. I'll bring out your shirt."

With a wink and a smack to his backside, Nicole heads down the hall to leave Ben to finish breakfast.

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