2007-02-28: Worse


DL_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: D.L. and Niki's already fragile marriage finds itself on another rocky road. OF LIES.

Date It Happened: February 28th, 2007


Hilton de la Paris Hotel

Craziness. Things have been crazy. It's only been, what, a day or so and D.L. hasn't even taken his wife to see their son yet. It's not exactly a good husbandy thing to do, but with him figuring that anybody looking for her might go to his family first… well, it's the safer bet.

His card is slid into the slot and the door to the slightly expensive hotel room is opened. He's got a bag of Niki's stuff hanging off his shoulder and he looks worn out. Tired. Maybe he hasn't slept. Maybe he's been keeping guard. Maybe that's just how he looks. Whatever the case, he's back at the room now and everything seems to be looking up for the couple doomed with tragic love.

"Niki!" He's looking around, as he closes the door, praying that nobody found them. "Baby?"

Niki should be thrilled, in some ways: D.L. came all the way to New York for her, and she's here with him, and she'll get to see Micah again. But the wait… it's killing her. The anticipation flood her head, the reunion-to-be tainted by darker thoughts. When D.L. calls out to her, the door to the bathroom creaks open. Safe and sound - relatively speaking - she slips into the small, dim room, tying the terrycloth belt of the hotel's robe, which happens to be an interesting shade of lilac. Her hair is damp and not quite brushed through. "Hey," comes her soft greeting and she makes her way over, leaning up to give D.L. a quick kiss. "Did you see Micah?"

There's a visible sighing of relief that comes from D.L. as he lays eyes on his woman. His other half. His life, really. Which means that he can be comfortable in setting the bag down now. He almost smiles as she plants one on him, but as the topic immediately goes to Micah, as it always seems to these past couple days, he ends up returning his features to the standard grim frown. "Yeah. He's doing fine. I brought your things." He sighs and throws his hands into his pockets, moving off towards the window to look out at the city. "Listen, Nicole. There's something I gotta' talk to you about…" Uh oh. He said her full name. That means that this is probably something not of the good variety.

Niki looks to be on the verge of asking more questions about Micah, but sees the telltale grim features of her husband and holds off. She crouches down to retrieve the bag, which she tosses on the bed while D.L. heads off toward the window. "Real clothes," she murmurs appreciatively as she rifles through the bag. The use of her full name prompts her to turn her head quickly - and stiffly - in his direction. Only her father calls her that, and well— let's not go there, please. "You're calling me Nicole now?" she asks with a faint edge. The shirt she was holding drops back into the bag and she frowns, prompting: "…D.L. What is it?"

Maybe it's not as bad as he's setting it up to be, but… "We lost the house." Must be talking about Vegas. Has to be talking about Vegas. "They fired me when I came here to look for you. And, I couldn't get the money in time." No matter how many illegal events he tried. "I got it now, but Graves ain't tryin' to hear it. So…" Yeah, that stupid Landlord sort of kind of made D.L. and his family homeless. Not a good thing. "I wanted to tell you. Before you saw Micah. So we can figure out what to do." He leans his head against the glass of the window. "It's so hard without you, baby. So hard."

Niki looks at her husband like she can't believe what he's telling her, but it nevertheless manages to hit her hard. Like a truck, actually. "You—what? We've lived in that house for…" she trails off. "It's our /home/." A hand lifts to press against her forehead and she has to close her eyes and turn away for a few seconds. One, two, three, four, five… "/Damnit/, D.L. You shouldn'tve come." The woman drops onto the very corner of the bed and shakes her head. "What the hell are we going to do now? You should have just left me there, I woulda come home. On time," she adds. "Look, I know it's hard. Trust me, I know. And I didn't want to do that to you and Micah again, but how do yo think I felt when /you/ were supposed to be locked up, D.L.? I did what I had to, to make it without you there."

D.L. stays at the window, knowing that he's messed up. "We can get a new house, Niki." Immediately, his defenses are up. He knows it was his fault, but he's needing to do something to try and stay afloat here. Make it sound like he's got a plan. "I've been looking for work. Here. In New York." Yeah, leaving out the part about how it has something to do with being of the illegal type of work. Can't be adding that to the list of things he's messed up with. "Maybe we should just start over." He turns around to look at her by this point, searching for something to say that she's not about to put him through a wall. "A new city might do us some good. Micah could go to a good, better school. You could get the help you need…" Sell it, D.L.

Niki rakes her fingers through her wet hair, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees. The floor is good for staring holes through, right this second. She shakes her head slowly, but it's not to D.L. or any of his selling points, not really. She's just thinking, trying to process. "I don't know… maybe, I mean, we don't really have a choice." She drops her hands into her lap, looking at them instead, downcast, but after awhile her slightly wet blue eyes search out D.L.'s. Looking for his confidence, maybe. For reassurance.

Time to be the strength in the family again. D.L.'s sliding over to teh bed as quick as he possibly can. Sitting next to her and wrapping an arm around her. Definitely pulling her closer should assist with the reassuring factor. "We can do this, baby. I know we can. You, me and Micah? Together we can make this work." He needs more, he's wagering. More to convince her. "I've got money. Like… /money/." He's not going to just spit out where he got it, but he's got some. "I can start looking for a place. Once we're sure we're clear of those freaks from the hospital. We can stay with Nana until we get things settled…"

It does help - for a little while, anyway. Niki leans against the solid, reassuringly real form that is D.L., closing her eyes with her head on his shoulder. Presently, however, her eyes snap open and furrows sneak across her brow. "…wait." She sits up and looks warily at him. Oh, money helps alright, they're going to need that to start this new life - oh /God/ what did they get into this time? - but D.L.'s reassurances have Niki questioning him more than being comforted when she realizes two-and-two don't fit together. "How much money? … D.L. What money?"

D.L. can't lie to Niki. He just can't. But he ends up looking off to the side, since she's all sitting up and giving him that look. "About twenty grand." He's not going to just be giving out information. "I just had to do a little thing. And it's done now. And we're clear. But… we needed the cash." He's trying to make sure that nothing can come back to bite them in the ass. Especially, now. "I had to do what I had to do. Like you said." Yeah, use the Niki Defense, D.L.

This just keeps getting better. Niki's eyes widen at the admitted number. She /knows/ no legit job could rake in that much cash so fast. "Yeah, I meant /legally/." She finds herself standing up and heading for the window. Looking out over the dismal city and hugging herself around the robe, she chews over this new development, shifting from bare foot to bare foot. "You're back in the business again, aren't you?" she asks - accuses - and turns to face D.L. again. "I thought you were /done/ with that life."

D.L. rubs at his face. This is not going well. Not at all. He sighs and pushes up from the bed, moving to go stand behind Niki. He's hesitant, but moves to wrap his arms around her. Staying close is the only thing that can probably make this better. Not that there's anything wrong with it, because, "I am done. It was… one job. I had to drop something off." He looks down at the floor. "I was headed out this way to find you anyway. The money was… we needed money. So I said yes. But it's over. Done with. No more jobs. No matter how small." He's said this before. Lots of times.

Niki stays tense in D.L.'s arms, her own arms still wrapped about herself tightly. She looks starkly out the window. Eventually, she gently tries to break free so that she can regard him face to face again; the look in her eyes verges on desperate in its imploring. "You promise? that was it? No more jobs. Promise me. You get one more mark on your record, no one's going to hire you for anything legit. You know how hard it is already. If we're gonna start a 'new life'… we have to do it right."

D.L. sighs. He wasn't sure this was going to go this bad. But it's something he needs to do for her. For Micah. For himself. He rewraps his arms around her, now that she's facing him and he's facing her. He gets himself lost in her eyes again. Always lost in her eyes. God, he loves her. "Promise. No more." He's going to have to head back to Ling and pull out of that last job. "Besides, I don't even have a crew over here. I wouldn't even know where to look." A small joke, though it may be too early to be doing that.

You bet it's too early to be making jokes, but aside from gaining a somewhat unamused look, D.L. doesn't get chastised. Not for that, anyway. "…Okay." Niki lets out a long, slightly tremulous sigh and leans against her ex-con of a husband. It's not exactly a hug; she just presses her cheek against his chest and closes her eyes for a while again. This is one of those moments where she's going to have to trust him and hope.

Great. Now he's being trusted, but only slightly. And then there's the hope thing that's attached to it. All of this sends D.L. for a mental loop that means he's going to have to step his game up. Not that he's being hugged, but he's hugging her close and he rests his chin on the top of her head. "Get dressed. I'm taking you to see Micah." Maybe that's him trying to get back into her good graces. Or maybe he just feels that they all need to be together right now. Whatever the case may be, he's definitely going to make sure she gets dressed first.

Magic words! As she tip her head back to look up at D.L., it becomes obvious that Niki's face has lit up with a rare, bright smile. It would be difficult for her to look more excited in that moment, really. A certain seriousness settles in, though her smile stays exactly where it is, and she regards D.L. - bit by bit, she's starting to look more alive, more hopeful, and less PO'ed. "I love you. You know that, right?" Now she unfurls her terrycloth-clad arms to embrace him tightly, affirmatively, before she skips off toward the bathroom, snagging the bag of clothes on her way.

D.L. watches her, his own smile on his face. He waits for the bathroom door to close, before he turns and faces the window again. He leans his head against it and sighs, shaking his head. "Remember that, Niki. Remember that." His own cellular phone rings and he hesitates in reaching down to pick it up off his hip. He holds the phone and closes his eyes. The Ring Tone? What I've Done by Linkin Park.

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