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Overnight Therapy - Chapter Five


Title: Overnight Therapy

Author: LSM71059
Fandom: Spooks
Characters: Lucas
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Season Seven
Summary: Lucas North has someone to confide in and take care of him when the nightmares and bad flashbacks happen.
Disclaimer: All Spooks Characters are the intellectual property of the BBC.
The Inspiration for this story was taken from the song "South City Midnight Lady" by the Doobie Brothers
(Time Line for chapter: Episode 7.03)

 

Chapter Five

Lucas took the opportunity on the walk to his flat to sort out the day’s events and try to make some semblance of order out of them. 

He was so deep in thought as he strode along, he passed his building and had to back track. He entered the foyer and ascended to the stairs.

Reaching the second floor, he noted the light coming out from the bottom of #2’s door and heard the muffled sound of the television indicating his neighbor was in all likelihood still up. But did she want to have a drink? That was question. Lucas crossed the hall to his door and let himself in. He looked down expectantly hoping to find a note from her. He was not disappointed.

It struck Lucas she had used the same piece of paper the two previous notes had been written on. He unfolded the note scanning her response with a pleased expression on his face. Hopefully, she would not be too put out at his tardiness. “No time like the present to find out,” he thought. Note in hand, he went to her door and knocked softly. He did this in case she was asleep and would not disturb her rest.

Lori saw Lucas leave his flat on the feed. She picked up the Blackberry, programmed it back to regular phone mode setting it to vibrate and plugged it in to charge. She turned off the television feeds and brought up her Zune software for some background music. She thought the Jazz Instrumental playlist would be nice; the wallpaper of all of her albums and the name of the song currently playing shown on to the flat screen giving off a soft glow to the room.

Even though she knew it was him when he knocked, she let a moment pass so he would assume she had taken the time to peer through the peephole. She opened the door with her welcoming smile, a sweeping gesture with her arm and greeted him, “Hello #1, please come in.”

Lucas smiled back walking in to the middle of the room putting the note and his hands in to his coat pockets as he discreetly scanned the room taking in the details. Turning back to her, he responded, “Hello #2, thank you. I apologize for not being on time. I was detained at work and unfortunately had no way of notifying you. I hope it isn’t too late for you.”

Lori closed the door behind him listening to his explanation. “Apology accepted, although it is quite unnecessary. Trust me when I say I understand about being detained by work. It has happened to me more than I care to remember. And no, it’s not late at all for me. I’m still on Eastern Standard Time. So to me it’s a little before 6:00 O’clock,” she said crossing over to him but not so close as to invade his personal space.

“How kind of you to be understanding,” Lucas said. “I’m Lucas by the way, Lucas North,” he took his hand out of his pocket and extended it to her.

She took his hand noting its strength and warmth as she held it, responding with her mischievous grin firmly in place “Lori, Lori Montgomery, I’m not used to anyone thinking of me as kind or understanding. Apparently my reputation has not preceded me to England.”

“Nice to meet you formally Lori,” Lucas said cocking an eyebrow but letting her last remark slide for now.

“And you, Lucas, although I did like thinking of you by a couple of other names,” Lori teased. She reluctantly dropped his hand as she spoke sliding her own hands into her back pockets. 

He returned his hand to the pocket of his coat and smiled back at her. Lucas asked, “Would you like to go for a drink so I can find out what those names are or should we reschedule? My treat of course, since I was late.”

“Now none of that,” Lori said admonishingly pulling her hand from the jeans’ back pocket, shaking her finger. “I was the one who invited you, remember? “ She paused for a beat before continuing, “What would you think of staying here instead of going out? My boss saw to it that I have a well stocked bar, perhaps there is something that would strike your fancy. We could have a nice quiet get acquainted chat without having to yell at each other over a noisy pub. That’s what you Brits call it right instead of a bar?”

“Yes, we “Brits” call it a pub,” Lucas said with his lopsided smile. This woman had a way of amusing him and making him feel at ease all at the same time. He really did want to get know her better. He was enjoying her banter. “Getting acquainted with you would be my privilege.”

A quick witted retort formed in Lori’s head about whether it would be a privilege or not, but she tempered it thinking Lucas might think her nothing but a smart mouth. Instead she asked, “May I take your coat?”

Lucas shrugged out of his coat handing it to her. She said as she took it putting on the back of one the dining chairs, “Would you like to take a look at what libations are available?”

He nodded, following her to the kitchen. “See anything you like?” she asked. 

Of all the top shelf liquor he saw, the bottle of Imperia Russian Vodka stood out. “I do. Vodka straight up would by my preference,” Lucas said leaning against the door jam. 

“Vodka, it is,” Lori said stretching up on tip toes to retrieve two of the drink glasses from the cupboard above the sink. Lucas took in her outfit from head to toe as she did. He liked what he saw right down to the black socks with the pink bows. “She certainly has a touch of whimsy about her,” He thought before offering out loud, “Would you like me to reach those for you?” moving closer to Lori.

She could feel his breath on her neck. “Yes, thank you,” Lori said moving off to the side opening the bottle of Vodka. Their fingers touched lightly as he handed her the glasses. She poured him a shot then handed it to him.

“Thank you, are you joining me?” Lucas asked before taking a sip, savoring the taste before swallowing.

“Yes, but I’ll save the vodka for you.” she said opening the freezer for some ice before choosing the bottle of Disarrono Amaretto. Lori poured herself a shot over the ice.

“You look like you may have had a bit of bartending experience the way you pour drinks,” Lucas said.

“One of my many talents,” Lori said before moving past him back out into the living room. “Make yourself at home,” she said laying out two coasters on the coffee table and sitting down on one end of the sofa tucking her legs up under. He joined her at the opposite end taking another swig before setting down his drink. She spoke again, “Thank you again for rescuing me last night,”

“It was nothing anyone wouldn’t have done to help another neighbor,” Lucas said shrugging it off.

“My thanks all the same, it was greatly appreciated,” Lori said as she twirled the ice in her glass then took a piece out to suck on. 

“I saw you arrive from my window, and was curious as to why you were dropped off so callously,” Lucas said.

“Oh that,” Lori said looking down in to her drink then back at him, “You see I was to arrive six hours earlier than what I did. The person that picked me up at the airport and dropped me here was none too pleased at having to stay up late. But it’s all good, no harm, no foul.”

“Why do I sense there is more to this story?” Lucas asked looking sideways at her as he picked up his drink to finish it off.

“There is, but I don’t want to bore you,” Lori said noticing his glass was empty. Trying to change the subject she asked, “Can I get you another drink?”

Setting down the empty glass, Lucas would not be dissuaded from hearing the reason for her being delayed six hours. He looked back over at her, “You let me be the judge of whether I’m bored or not, tell me your tale.”

“Let me get you another drink first,” Lori said getting up from the couch going to the kitchen. While in there, she took the lid off the crock pot giving the chili a good stir. Lucas inhaled the enticing aroma wafting out in to the living room. As she returned, handing him the refill, his stomach let out a low growl. She asked, “Have you had your supper? Would you care to join me for a bowl of chili with a corn muffin?”

“I don’t want to impose,” Lucas replied politely.

“Nonsense, you aren’t imposing at all. I need to eat supper and according to that growl in your stomach so do you. I’ve got a whole crock pot full and frankly I’d enjoy the company, Lori said.

“I will join you on one condition,” Lucas said.

“And that would be?” Lori asked.

“Tell me the account of how you came to be six hours late.” Lucas said. 

“Done,” Lori said moving back in to the kitchen to serve up the chili. Lucas rose from the sofa following her. “Would you like cheese or sour cream on top of your chili? Sorry, I don’t have any fresh onions though.” She said.

“How ever you have yours, will be fine with me,” Lucas said leaning against the counter crossing his legs.

Lori took out place mats, napkins, soup spoons and knives to set the table placing them on the counter. Lucas scooped the settings up carrying them out to table and had set it while she filled the bowls with chili, topping them off with shredded cheese so it could melt. She came out carrying a tray bearing the chili, muffins, strawberry jam and butter. He’d even retrieved the drinks from the coffee table. “Quite the domestic, aren’t you? I’m impressed. Most men I know wouldn’t think of setting a table,” she said. “Would you like something other than your vodka to drink with your meal?”

“A glass of water, please,” Lucas said.

She returned to the kitchen for his glass of water and a glass of milk for herself. Lucas had positioned himself to take the seat facing the door. Lori thought to herself, “Of course he would take the chair with the best view of the surroundings and the best defensive position. I bet he did it without even thinking.” “Please, sit,” She said setting down the two glasses before taking her own seat across from Lucas. As he sat, he cocked his eyebrow curious about the glass of milk. It wasn’t a choice that came readily to mind for a grown woman.

“It smells delicious,” Lucas said stirring the cheese into the chili.

Giving it a taste, Lori said, “It is edible.”

“I’m sure it’s more than that,” Lucas said taking his own taste. “Brilliant” He uttered before digging in.

As Lori buttered her corn muffin, she began her story, “Here is the tale of how Lori came to arrive in London six hours later than originally planned. And if you get bored, just interrupt and we can change the subject.” 

Lucas gave her a look that said it was highly unlikely he would get bored as he continued to eat savoring every bite of the home cooked food.

“Yesterday morning, I received a phone call from my firm informing me that my associate in London needed to return home to handle a family matter. The firm requested I come fill in till he was available to return. Being that the project was to start in earnest the beginning of next week, my boss felt it was best I come over right away. That would give me enough time to familiarize myself with the project, the players involved and set up my office. They had scheduled an early flight for me. I should have arrived on the 9:00 p.m. flight.  Bored yet?” Lori asked.

“No, please continue,” Lucas said leaning back in his chair crossing his arms over his chest. He’d finished off the bowl of chili and two muffins.

“Would you like seconds?” Lori asked.

“Perhaps after you finish your tale,” Lucas said. He picked up his vodka taking a sip as he watched her over the rim of the glass.

“You don’t’ get distracted easily do you?” Lori said more of a statement than a question.

 Lucas set down the drink and looked her straight in the eye as he spoke, “I think you already know the answer to that.”

“True, ok, where was I?” Oh yea, they had scheduled an early flight. That didn’t exactly fit into my plans. I had tickets to “The Joe”, so I changed the flight time to later. Well, the game went into overtime and then a fifteen man shootout which the Wings won. So I missed my flight time and had to wait till we could get clearance to take off which put me here in the middle of the night” Lori said.

“What are The Joe and The Wings?” Lucas asked.

“The Joe Louis Arena is home to the Detroit Red Wings, the best hockey team in the National Hockey League. Not that I’m biased or anything, they are on track to the win the cup this year, that’s the Stanley Cup. I’m sure you have heard of that.”

“Lord Stanley’s Cup, the most recognized sports trophy in the world, yes I may have heard of it,” Lucas stated. He enjoyed the way her eyes sparkled when she spoke of her team. It was quite obvious she was quite passionate about them. It made Lucas wonder what else she was passionate about.

“So, due to the Red Wings, I was six hours late in arriving,” Lori finished her story.

Lucas gave her one of his endearing half smiles, “And I have a feeling your driver didn’t feel the game was a good enough excuse for being late.”

“No, he sure didn’t. He informed me the only game that would be acceptable to keep him waiting that long would be if Chelsea was in the finals of the World Cup. I can only assume he meant the soccer team, I mean football. I’m trying my best to catch on to British terms,” Lori said.

“You are picking up on them quickly. I’m sure you will do fine,” Lucas said.   He downed the rest of his vodka. 

“So that’s my tale, nothing too exciting, just the norm, Lori not adhering to plans made for her and being late. My boss is always saying I’ll be late to my own funeral that is if I don’t rearrange it first to suit me,” She said with the mischievous grin back on her face. “Now how about seconds on that Chili?”

“That would be grand,” Lucas responded. “But please, don’t get up, I’ll get it.” He rose taking his empty bowl and vodka glass to the kitchen. He called back to her, “Can I get you anything while I’m in here?”

“No thanks, I’m good,” she called back as she ate her food and drank her milk.

While in the kitchen, Lucas mentally ran through what he had learned so far about his new neighbor. He was impressed with her ability to tell an interesting story without giving away specific details. Lucas was soon back at the table with a full bowl of Chili heaped with cheese and a half full glass of vodka. He sipped some water before grabbing another muffin. It amazed him how much of an appetite he had.

They ate in companionable silence for a bit. The music played softly in the background filling the void. Finishing her food, Lori said, “So Lucas what about you? Have you lived here long?”

“Not too long, I moved in a couple weeks ago,” Lucas said.

Lori watched his face closely as he answered. A shadow had passed on it before he could school his features. She debated with herself how far to go with her questions. She didn’t want him to shut down plus it was important he finish his dinner. She decided on a path to take. “So we can be newbies together then,” Lori said brightly. “I like that idea, does it work for you?”

“It does,” Lucas said with a smile, clearly relieved to have the subject closed before he took his last bite of Chili. He washed it down with the last of his water before picking up the vodka to polish it off. “Thank you so much for the delicious meal,” He said patting his stomach.  “It really hit the spot.”

“You’re welcome and thank you for the company.” Lori said. “I never imagined lucking out with such a great neighbor!” She rose from the table to start clearing the dishes. Lucas followed suit to help. Entering the kitchen she said, “You are going to make someone a great husband some day.”

“Thank you,” Lucas said with an edge to his voice placing his dishes in the sink. He stood there gripping the lip for support his knuckles turning white

Lori noticed immediately. Here was her opening, getting serious she said sidling up beside him softly placing a hand over his, “Want to talk about it? I’ve been told on many occasions I’m a good listener. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger than family or friends. Plus, there’s only one rule I have, what goes on behind door #2 stays here and goes no further.”

Lucas looked down at the hand covering his then raising his eyes he looked at hers seeing them filled not with pity or suspicion like so many of his colleagues but genuine concern. His voice was so soft when he finally spoke, “I’m the lucky one to have met you. I don’t think I’m quite ready though to talk. Can I have a rain check?”

She gave his hand a squeeze then removed it saying with a smile, “Sure, after all I do owe you a favor.”

“I think you made up your favor tonight by feeding me supper,” Lucas said turning around leaning against the sink, crossing his legs at the ankles and his arms over his chest.

“Fair enough, but you still get a rain check. In fact, anytime day or night you feel like talking or hanging out, I’ll be there,” Lori said placing herself beside Lucas mimicking his stance. “One of my favorite things to do is hang out and do nothing. It’s right up there with watching the Red Wings play. What’s one of your favorite things to do?” She asked playfully shoving an elbow at him.

He liked the way how easily she could lighten the mood. He gave her an elbow back and answered, “I like verbally sparring with a witty American.” 

“Hey, I resemble that remark,” Lori said as they proceeded to take turns elbowing each other as their smiles widen. She finally playfully shoved him out of the way of the sink. “You best move, or I’ll draft you into washing up.”

Lucas laughed as he moved away picking up a dish towel. “You wash, I’ll dry.”

“I like the way you operate,” Lori said as she washed up the few dishes. Lucas easily kept up drying them. She put the leftover chili in a throwaway container and the muffins in a Ziploc bag. “Here’s your reward for being such good help,” She said handing Lucas the leftovers.

 “That’s not necessary but thank you all the same,” Lucas said looking at his watch. It was nearly 1:30 a.m. “I really should be going. I’ve taken up quite a bit of your time already tonight.”

“Don’t go on my account,” Lori said. “Remember I’m on Eastern Standard Time and it’s only 8:30 p.m. according to my clock. But I understand if you need to go crash. Let me give you my contact info before you leave. Can I have our note to write it on?”

Lucas nodded yes then walked over to the chair holding his coat. He set the leftovers down on the table before reaching in to pull out the note. Handing it to her, he commented, “Thank you for giving me your information, that way if we have plans and I need to modify them, I can get a hold of you. I must say, I’ve enjoyed our correspondence. I do hope we can continue it.”

“I’ve liked it too. It’s a nice change of pace in this day and age of instant communication. Gives you something to look forward to,” Lori said as she wrote down her cell phone number and the “AliasSamSmith” e-mail address. She handed him the note.

Lucas looked at the e-mail with a raised eyebrow. He was about to ask her about it when she volunteered the information putting her hands in her back pockets, “Let me explain the e-mail address name. I grew up in a neighborhood of ten guys and me. They thought Lori was too sissy a name so I acquired the nickname Sam. The Smith came along after my first marriage ended when I was 21. It was a Croatian name that no one could spell or pronounce so any time a guy at the bar would ask what my name was my friends would say Samantha Smith before I could give them my real name. It stuck, so I use Sam Smith as my professional name. In the business I’m in I’ve found it easier if they believe to be dealing with a man in the beginning through the initial correspondence stage rather than a woman. And by the time they meet me, I’ve established I know what I’m doing so they don’t question my ability, well, not too much anyway. I only give this e-mail out to a select few as it is my private one.” Lori gave him a wistful smile as she finished speaking.

It seemed the explanation had taken her back to memories that took a lot of her. It only lasted a moment, but Lucas noticed. He understood all too well of going to places in your mind, you would just as soon not. It also showed him another side to her, a vulnerable open one. “I am honored you would share it with me along with the story behind it,” He said. Would you like my cell phone number?” 

“Sure, ready when you are” Lori answered reaching over to pick up her Blackberry so she could program it in as he rattled it off. “Alrighty then, we are good to go. Now, I should kick you out before I talk your ear off all night though I am sorely tempted to do it. You are so easy to be around.”

Lucas smiled at the compliment. He crossed over to the table picking up his coat and the leftovers. “Next time, it’s my treat,” Lucas said as he opened the door to leave.

“I can live with those terms,” Lori said as she crossed over to him. She put her hands on his shoulders giving him the European double peck on both cheeks. He put his free arm around her returning the pecks. She said to him as he crossed the hall, “Goodnight #1, I was serious about my offer to talk or hang out anytime.”

“Goodnight #2, I appreciate it and I promise to take you up on it. After all, I never did find out what those other names you have for me,” Lucas responded as he unlocked his door. “Thank you for a delightful evening.”

“You are welcome,” Lori said before closing her door.  She was quite pleased he had said there would be a next time. 

Lucas closed his own door thinking he hadn’t had such a nice time since being back in England. He tossed his coat on to the nearest chair, put the leftovers in to the refrigerator then headed for the bedroom. All in all even though the day and evening had been tough on him, the night had turned positive. He’d list out what he had learned about her in the morning because it seemed sleep would be forthcoming fairly soon and for that alone, he was grateful to Lori.


 

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
lynbryt
Feb. 10th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)
Very happy to see a new chpater. I really enjoyed the banter between Lucas and Lori. Looks like she has done Lucas a bit of good already. Right now she's a freind and he needs that. There is so much lovely imagery in this chapter with the way you desctibed Lucas and Lori's bady language.

Looking forward to more.

Thank you
lsm71059
Feb. 10th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the compliment. Banter seems to be one of the easiest things for me to write. I do enjoy it. Hopefully the next chapter won't take as long to post. I lost the flash drive this one was on when I was half way through and had to start from scratch a second time. But it's all good.
lynbryt
Feb. 10th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
Oh that is tough when you lose something you have worked so hard on.

Of course I meant "body' not 'bady' language. It was late.

Looking forward to the next cchapter.
lsm71059
Feb. 10th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
Goes to show you how tired I was wjhen I read your comment. I could have swore it said body not bady.
karen747
Feb. 11th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
Okay, so I couldn't wait till I got home to read this chapter. I have to agree with lynbryt, your details are superb. The body language, quiet observations, the dinner, the food, the washing up - we were right in that kitchen with them. Well done! I can't wait to see where this is going. (Thankfully I was eating a much belated lunch while they were eating chili or I would have been seriously hungry. Nice carryover from the prior chapter, as our heroine clearly intended.) And yes, Lucas really does need a friend for now - nice that it's clearly a sensitive, attuned person (whatever the motivation). Your light touches of intrigue and flashes of attraction are VERY well done. Thank you. Eagerly awaiting more - when you can't fit in some time. Cheers!
lsm71059
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Thanks for the glowing review. Through keeping in touch with her cases even after they have closed and stressing to Harry how Lucas needed to believe in her unconditionally says to me that Lori's motivation is that she cares for these people on a much deeper level than being hired to do a job. She genuinely has a vested interest in helping Lucas otherwise Lori wouldn't have come out of retirement.
karen747
Feb. 11th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Sigh. Clearly I meant when you "CAN" fit in some time. I'm obviously tired too.
lsm71059
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
It's all good. I kinda figured that's what you meant.
karen747
Feb. 11th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
And I loved the banter too. Too often a lost art! And it can reveal (or hide) so much. ;-)
lsm71059
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Bantering is a fine art. I'm happy to know you like it.
leslieg
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
Wonderful rapport they're developing! Love it!


oraetlabora2008
Feb. 11th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
I am hooked! I look forward to reading more. It's so descriptive that I feel like I'm a fly on the wall, observing and knowing what's going on in their heads. It's better than seeing it filmed.

Thanks so much. i look forward to the next installments whenever you're ready.
lsm71059
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
Thanks for the great compliment! I'm glad you are enjoying the read.
lsm71059
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
Thank you.
mrs_tubbs
Feb. 11th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
So enjoying this - the central idea is intreging (sp), the detail is amazing and everyone is right, you do have a very good ear for banter. Looking forward to reading more. Thank you for sharing.
lsm71059
Feb. 11th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the compliment. It really helps with the inspiration to write when you know your work is being enjoyed by others.
herby_chick
Feb. 16th, 2009 11:51 pm (UTC)
Most of what I would have has already been posted, so I'll just add that I'm really enjoying reading this!

I can see that Lori cares deeply about her work, and she's clearly successful as the repeated contact with previous 'jobs' shows,but I still can't help thinking that Lucas will feel deceived...
lsm71059
Feb. 17th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
Happy you are enjoying the read.

Lori doesn't care about the job, she cares about the individuals she is helpiing. That's why even after the job is done, she still remains friends and in contact with them.
karen747
Feb. 17th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
Interesting point re: really caring about her former "11"! And one which made me go back and look things over...and made me realize that I had overlooked reading the Prolouge and had started with Chapter 1. Sigh. But NOT a big sigh, as it gave me a chance to re-read all 5 (now 7) chapters again, which was very enjoyable. I really like your writing and your style, and look forward to see what's up for Lori and Lucas...and I have to agree & wonder with the other poster, about this - her final assignement .. and Lucas...mmmm. The only thing that worries me is her ego-involvement, i.e. that they have to "trust her implicitly." Or maybe its simply what she's planning to do...Obviously she's the best and has had success, but that kind of verbage, used in a semi-(or not so semi-) mental health situation? Pushes my worry buttons. But that's prob. just me and reflective of some of the nutty professionals I have witnessed....Just a niggle. THANKS and Can't wait! ;-)
lsm71059
Feb. 17th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
It's a dozen not 11. Lucas completes her Baker's dozen which would be lucky number thirteen.

Thanks for the kudos on the writing and the style.

You all are getting too concerned over nothing. The point was if Lucas doesn't trust to the point he feels he can share with her anything, then it won't work.

Lori is not a professional mental health expert. She's just herself which is a very caring person who is good at getting people back on track.
karen747
Feb. 17th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Ahhh..."Baker's" dozen. Okay. Sorry. I think we're getting concerned because we're getting so INTO it and are loving your characters! ;-)
I'm glad that she's such a loving person. We all need more folks like her around. Glad that you're showing her being drained/ exhausted at having to be quietly and continually alert to his responses. Sometimes folks (clearly not you) underestimate that caregivers need care too. Thank again for a great read!
lsm71059
Feb. 17th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
No need to apologize, I just wanted to clarify how many there had been.
The response to my musings have been so positive. I just worry about you folks getting too worked up ond feel the need to reassure you.
Drained is an excellent way to put it.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )