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Nick Books Off
By Amanda Berendt
Copyright July 2005
Friday July 15, 2005
It had been a very slow night, thought Natalie. In her line of work, it was a good thing. She had spend most of her shift catching up on all the paperwork she had been neglecting. Leaning back in her chair, she stretched and looked at the clock. 11.30pm. Nick hadn't stopped by or called all night. In fact she hadn't even spoken to him since yesterday.
Thinking maybe he was just as swamped in paperwork as she was, she decided to stop by the station on her way home to say hi - she needed to drop off some reports anyway.
Fifteen minutes later, Natalie threaded her way through the homicide bullpen. She had already dropped of her reports to the respective officers working the cases and now she was check in in with Nick. Approaching his desk, he was surprised to see it empty. It didn't even look as if he had stepped away briefly, the computer was off and all of the paperwork was stacked neatly in the bins.
She asked a detective at a neighboring desk and he told her Nick was finally using some of his time off. He had called in that afternoon and said he couldn't come in.
Natalie thanked him and walked away. She was confused and worried. Nick never called in sick unless something was really wrong, and then he usually called her. Was he in trouble? Had something happened?
She got into her car and drove out of the parking lot. Instead of going directly to the loft, she took the 'long way around'. Pulling up across the street from The Raven, she was slightly relieved to see that the caddy was not parked out front. Of course, if Nick really was in trouble, he might have used other forms of transportation. Not wanting to go inside the club unless absolutely necessary, Natalie pulled away from the curb and headed towards Gateway Lane.
It was midnight as she pulled into the gravel parking area of the loft. She looked up and saw there were no lights on. Was Nick wallowing in some kind of guilt trip? But he had seemed so happy lately.
Natalie grabbed her purse and got out of the car. The caddy was not parked in it's usual spot. Where had he gone? She keyed in the alarm code and stepped into the elevator. When she reached Nick's floor, she slid the door open and stepped into the loft. She flipped the light on by the elevator and stepped into the empty room.
Natalie flopped down on the couch. She began to feel silly for barging in on Nick's apartment, but when he just disappeared like this, she got worried.
The elevator gears came to life. She looked at her watch - it was 12.30pm. She got up from the couch and crossed the room just as the sliding door opened.
Nick steps out of the elevator and his surprise was very much evident in his face. "Nat, what are you doing here?"
"I stopped by the station and they said you called in sick." She said. "You never call in sick unless something is really wrong, so I got worried. I called but you weren't answering your cell phone."
Nick laughed and held up a shopping bag from Chapters. "Nat, you worry too much. I was at the bookstore all night,"
Nat screwed up her face in confusion. "The bookstore? All night? For what?"
Nick laughed again and pulled his purchase from the bag to show her. "Tonight was the release party for the new Harry Potter book."