Liars By Nature


nicole2_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Liars By Nature
Synopsis A friend will help you move. A best friend will help you move bodies. And if you marry that friend, they can't testify against you later.
Date December 27, 2010

Nicole's Buick

Hands at eleven and one. A step up from ten and two. A sign of agitation. "It's almost curfew, Bradley," Nicole grits out between her teeth, glaring at the man in her passenger seat out of the corner of her eye. "And there is a body in my trunk."

A deep breath.

"How far is this place again?" The yellow lights of street lamps make Nicole look jaundiced as they shine through the windows of her Buick and onto her face.

"Just breathe," Brad soothes as he leans back in his chair, and turns his head to stare out the passenger window. "We'll get there in short order and everything will be fine." Darkness had fallen hours ago, making the move to the trunk relatively easy. He sighs quietly, his own tension growing within his muscles, and particularly forming along his jaw.

His eyes clamp shut when he turns back to face her, almost concealing his inner thoughts, inner stress, inner nerves. The butterflies in his stomach anxiously press against his insides while moisture forms along his palms. His eyes open and he rakes a hand through his hair, convinced of the trouble he's brought on both of them, written across his eyes, cheeks and mouth when he looks at her, not that she can necessarily catch it.

Finally the apology touches his lips, "I am sorry about this. I never would've done what I did if I'd known I'd have to do this. I didn't want to drag you into this— it's my problem."

"It's fine," Nicole snaps too quickly for things to actually be fine. Then, she breathes like he tells her to. "I don't know why you left your— She's the girl from the club." Her tense gaze is flickered only briefly to Russo again, too concerned about the road ahead to give him the full brunt of her emotion right now. "It's good we got her out of there. That place… Richard Cardinal is a murderer."

So is Nicole, but she's very convinced that her reasoning makes her the lesser of two evils in this particular case.

"Look. You… You chose well with me, okay?" Nicole's chin tips only a fraction to betray the look she gives to the extra weight on her hand. Unused to it. "I'm no stranger to… I just don't usually do stuff like this for people I actually care about," Nicole admits. "That's the only thing that makes this different."

"I would've done it myself, but Stella— " his beloved SUV "she's been toast for awhile and I wasn't in a rush to replace her. I'm going to get a truck…" Russo's tone is almost casual like the pair were talking at brunch on Sunday. But then, "And you can't tell me you wouldn't do the same for your sister." He sighs, considering family is the reason the pair of them are in this particular mess.

"And I know nothing of this Richard Cardinal, but I do know I am one of Carrot's best bets. I think she's a good kid, and I have plenty of resources to keep her under wraps."

He whistles a high-pitched whistle, "Don't worry about it. I won't get any lofty ideas through your help. I'm not totally out to lunch."

"I never said I wouldn't," Nicole points out. "I definitely would do the same for my sister. I've done worse for my sister. It's why I'm here." When she shoots another glance Russo's way, it's reassuring with a ghost of a smile. She even turns her head enough for him to see it, brief as it may be. "We're fine, Brad."

With a heavy sigh he points, "Take a left here. It's faster." He'd know. They're going to a home he's known all of his life; the one his mother grew up in. "And thanks." With a heavier sigh, he manages a tight, and oddly convincing, smile. "Most people play tennis or go to the movies. Or have some mundane hobbies." He pauses. "We bond by moving bodies. Go us."

He actually fights a chuckle in his throat now. With a vague nod his grin extends. "All things considered I may need to work on that whole foresight thing more often."

Nicole chuckles breathily, turning her full attention back to the road as she slows down and prepares to turn. "Best power couple in all of New York," she quips. And his comment about foresight makes her laugh again. "That's what you have me for, isn't it? I'm the plan ahead type. At least when it's an eventuality a rational human being can actually see coming."

This is not one of them.

"And did you know I can tell when your smile isn't real?" Nicole's own smile fades and she swallows a small lump in her throat before continuing. "You don't have to fake it with me. I'd prefer if you didn't." She sniffs quietly, approaching this much like Russo does. Like it's the most casual conversation two people could have. "No secrets between us, Brad. No secrets, no lies."

"I thought Delia would be fine at Redbird; she'd been there so long." He smiles grimly before genuinely chuckling, "Sorry. Old habits die hard. I can't help it, some of us are liars by nature. The truth… is so… asinine. And variable. It's all variable. What I know is true one day— well, it's no longer the truth the next."

The back of his hand rubs against his forehead, the smile actually fading now as he motions her to turn right ahead. "Can you handle the truth, Nicole?" the question brings a flicker of a smile and a shake of his head. "Just one layer at a time. That's all I offer."

Nicole laughs out loud. It might be nerves. Okay, it's mostly nerves. "Can I handle the truth? Yes, darling, I can handle the truth. You think you've got skeletons in your closet?" She actually smirks and shakes her head. "Try working for Danny for a while. Yes, I can handle the truth."

"Well…" he murmurs with his charming television smile. "The truth is…" he points to one particularly large manor on the block. "We've arrived. This is my grandparents' home. My grandfather died awhile ago… and grandma is in a home now." His eyebrows furrow, "I don't visit often, turns out she's still angry at my father and we look somewhat alike." With a twitch of a smile he gives a vague nod towards, "Come on, Gidge, let's get my sister set up."

Gidge earns a bit of a look from Nicole as she puts the car in park, and shuts it off before hitting the button for the trunk. "Don't think I don't see what you did there. You have met your match in me. I'm not going to let you dodge like you're a politician. I wrote the book on this." And though she's calling him out on it, she doesn't pursue it. She just leaves him with the promise that she will later.

Stepping out of the car and rounding the back to pull open the trunk, Nicole stares down at the redhead there. "Poor Carrots," she sighs. "I'm dreadfully sorry for the indignity your brother and I are putting you through."

"Well I'm not. I wasn't going to leave her in someone else's clutches. Besides, I can fire a gun, you look wiry enough— seriously, in a fight, I'd bet on the Nichols-Russos… or… whatever…" Russo's eyebrows arch expectantly with moderate good humour. "We need to get set-up. Her friend— or whatever he is— should be joining us in the near-future. Then we can take shifts or something."

"Whatever it takes to get Carrots home."

"Team Nichols-Russo. That's… Okay. I can work with that ticket," Nicole teases. But she's serious again by the time she turns her face back to Russo. She reaches out to take his chin in her hand, ensures that he meets her gaze. "We'll do whatever it takes. I promise."

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