|In My Heart
Author: imyourlight PM
Mr. Monk is confused. He discovered feelings in his heart that seemed to be lost forever. What will he do? M/N shippingRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Adrian M. & Natalie T. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 15,402 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 04-29-13 - Published: 10-09-12 - id: 8596556
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So… what had actually happened to Adrian before to cause him such troubles?...And not only to him...
3- Oncoming date
Two days ago….
That morning he woke up early and since then he had been in a pretty bad mood. While vacuuming rugs in his apartment for the third time, he was waiting for Natalie to come.
His black thoughts were in a complete whirl.
When she arrived with the cheerful „Good morning, Mr. Monk, here´s your paper," he was just cleaning the vakuum cleaner. Without looking at her he muttered something back.
Holding a brown shopping bag that obviously was too heavy, she detected that something was wrong. „Mr. Monk, are you ok? Did something happen?"
Adrian straightened up and and gave her a furtive sullen glance: „You´re late. Natalie, you were supposed to be here at ten o´clock… ten…"
„But it´s been only eight minutes… come on, Mr. Monk… It´s a beautiful day today…"
„Yeah, I guess so… definitely for you," he grunted, but immediately wished he would have never said that. At least not with that tone. His assistat´s smile faded.
Abashed, Adrian grabbed the vakuum cleaner and headed to the closet, to put it back on it´s place.
Natalie took a deep breath as her eyes were watching his back. Today was going to be a special day for her and she was determined not to let her boss spoil her mood.
Natalie entered the kitchen, put the bag onto the island and started to empty it. Adrian came in after a while, still having a guilty expression on his face. „You… did shopping already?"
„Just popped into a grocery. I´m going to cook you lunch and some dinner…" After a short hesitation Natalie added: „And… here´s the bill."
Adrian unwillingly accepted the piece of paper and scanned it. „It´s…uhm…it´s crumpled…"
„I can´t pay you, the bill is crumpled, see? I can´t read the sum."
„Mr. Monk, are you kidding me?" Natalie crossed arms over her chest and added: „If so, than it is not funny… You haven´t paid me for last two months!"
„Mr. Monk, I have a child who needs to eat!"
Nervously rubbibg his hands, Adrian blinked. „I´m- I´m….sorry…."
„No, I´m sorry…"
Adrian blinked again and raised his shoulder in a nervous twitch. This conversation became too unpleasant for him.
„Natalie, you don´t have to apol-" he started, but Natalie cut him short immediately:
„What I´m gonna say is,…" she looked directly into his frightened eyes, „… I´m really sorry Mr. Monk, but If you don´t pay me, I´ll have to look for another job."
Adrian swallowed audibly. „Quit… me?"
„And what else should I do? Belive me, I didn´t mean to treaten you but- … Mr. Monk, are you ok?"
Concerned, Natalie thought for a moment, that he was going to break down, and said hastily: „Mr. Monk, I´m not quitting! I shouldn´t have said it. I just need you to pay me on time…"
„B- but, you know, there haven´t been any cas-…"
„… or as soon as possible, right?" she finished the sentence. „And really, Mr. Monk you have to talk to the Captain about the money… You should be paid for all the work you do!"
„I am… I mean… I will."
Feeling bad about talking to him in that way, Natalie gave him a conciliatory smile. Obviously, money had always been quite a tough nut to crack for him, especially those two parts where he had to ask for them and was asked for them.
She glanced at the clock.
„Ah.. Mr. Monk, I´m in a bit of a rush. Let´s do some cooking. Would you help me?"
Adrian stepped closer and waited for instructions. In fact, he loved cooking with Natalie. She was a brilliant cook and the shared activity somehow gave him the feeling of being… useful. It felt almost like old times when he and Trudy had prepared their favourite meals together…
Although Adrian became visibly more relaxed, Natalie knew something was still troubling him and was pretty sure she knew what it was. Nervously crumpling a towel, he seemed to be about to say something several times, but never did it. He didn´t speak at all. Natalie didn´t even force him, knowing, that he was going to tell her anyway. He always did… just needed to take his time.
Natalie tried hard to act normal, but of course, was a bit jittery from the oncoming date (like she had always been). She would never say aloud how much she missed kissing a man´s lips. No, she wasn´t designed to be single by nature, and her body had vigorously claimed a close presence of a man... And why not? She was young and healthy... and deserved to get the best that life had to offer...
And there was something else... Something Natalie didn´t fully understand and, actually, that made her scared a little too. And she hated being scared... Not too long ago, she had discovered that the way she perceived Mr. Monk, had changed. She hadn´t noticed it before (or hadn´t thought about it), but besides being handsome, there was something strangely exciting about him. She couldn´t describe it or point her finger at it, but therme was something in his behavior (that people usually found weird or awkward) that gave her butterflies in her stomach... The stumbling block was, she knew that Mr. Monk would never love anyone else but Trudy. That made him unique...
´Damn it,...´ Natalie mentally slapped herself. ´Don´t think about him like that!´
With all her mental strenght she pictured a chiseled face of Norman Cooper, a man she was going to spend a lovely time with tonight. He was the right one to think of... he loved her and she (probably) loved him. Mr. Monk was just her boss...an employer... ´and a friend´... She would never be anything more to him than an employee...´and a friend´... Nothing more!
„What?" she blinked as she was jolted out of the daydream.
„I said, what are you doing... You´ve just spilled oil!" Covering his mouth, Adrian almost cried over the havoc.
In one quick motion Natalie grabbed the bottle and closed it. „Oh... I´m so sorry, Mr. Monk, I´ll clean it up!"
After a short hesitation he replied: „No... I´ll take care of it, Natalie... Just stay here, I´ll be right back!"
Heading to the closet, Adrian quickly left the kitchen. But stopped in the hallway. In deep contemplation he pressed his fingers against his temple. Unlike him that was, he didn´t really think about cleaning right now. Another thing troubled him far more than the oil pool in his kitchen- Natalie´s date.
He had been thinking about it since yesterday morning, when she had asked him for a day off. Adrian had seemed to be so distraught that she had evenually settled for a half-day. And now it was almost here.
He didn´t even know why it bothered him so much. He had already experienced Natalie´s relationships with men in past and had always been concerned about them, but managed to deal with them (in his own way, of course). But this time it was completely different. He felt agonizing tightness in his chest and could barely breath.
It wasn´t that he didn´t want her to be happy, dating if necessary. The problem was that he didn´t think that those men were right for her. They weren´t good enough.
´No one´s good enough for her…´
He knew he had often ruined her dates but couldn´t help it. What if someone hurt her? What if she realized that the guy is the the guy and left? What about him? One Adrian Monk would be alone again... abandoned by everyone... helpless and hopeless, mercilessly thrown to the wolves…
Overpowered by fear and self-pity, Adrian decided to try to prevent his assistant (the one he really needed) from dating tonight.
„Uhm… Nat," standing sheepishly in the kitchen doorway, he cleaned his throat.
„Yes, Mr. Monk?"
„So… do you know where is Norman taking you tonight?"
„Yes, we are going to Rossi´s Perla di Mare… excellent restaurant, have you ever been there?"
„No," he said, fiddling nervously with his belt buckle.
„Alonso Rossi is a family friend…feels almost like eating at home," Natalie laughed.
´What should I say? What for god´s sake should I say?´Adrian took a deep breath and jumped into it feet first: „I don´t like the guy."
„Natalie, I don´t like Norman. I don´t trust him… He… maybe he might be dangerous…"
So, here it was!
Natalie gave Adrian a long serious gaze and said patiently:
„Mr. Monk, I understand that you´re worried about me, but trust me... Norman´s not dangerous, I know him for two weeks and this is going to be our first official date... Two weeks, that´s pretty long time."
„Whoa, I don't think so… two weeks is nothing if you´re about to make such an important step…like, for example, going out with someone."
That was actually true, in Monk´s world even two years wouldn´t be enough time for anything…
Nataie started to count on her fingers: „But he´s kind, never pushed me into anything, has a stable job, likes Julie… and what´s the most important thing to me, she seems to like him too… You met him once. Just tell me what clues made you suspect him?"
Adrian just stood there for a while, thinking. „I don´t know," he admitted, twitching. „Maybe the smooth talk…or the way he was holding the car key…"
„Stop it, Mr. Monk," Natalie interrupted him sharply. „I haven´t gone out with anyone in months... since when you were spying on me and Marcus Johanson, remember?"
„I didn´t spy on you! I was just watching over you…. And I don´t know what are you complaining about because, incidentally, I saved you..."
„Actualy, that was you and the Captain who saved me, Mr. Monk… but, of course, I am really, really, really, really thankful to you… You were right about Marcus. Getting to know about those rapes he had done was bloody awful, but you should understand that not everyone I date is a criminal. That was the only one case I really might be harmed. Don´t worry about me, you should trust me on this."
„Trust you on this…." Adrian slowly noded. He realized that he just suffered a crushing defeat. Opened his mouth to say something but closed it instead. Turned away and entered the living room.
As he reached the sofa, dropped heavily onto it and hid his face in his hands.
Just a few seconds later he could hear Natalie´s light footsteps approaching him. Then he felt her tender touch on his shoulder.
He raised his head a little, but refused to look at her. Fighting back tears, he blinked at the opposite wall. Natalie sattled down next to him and began to stroke his back:
„Mr. Monk, I know, this is not easy for you... But you just have to accept the fact, that people meet other people, go out with them, love them and do all those things that are part of human´s life. So do I… I am a human… Not only I am fully responsible for quality of my daughter´s life, I have needs too. I´m not giving up living just because my boss consideres it improper."
Adrian didn´t say anything, just stared ahead. That was pretty tough, but he knew Natalie was right.
After a short break, she continued: „I´m doing this for Julie. She deserves to live in a complete family. She deserves to be happy… don´t you think so, Mr. Monk?"
His facial expression changed, embodied misery. Adrian looked at his laced fingers and then kept raising his eyes sheepishly until he met her urgent gaze. Noded:
„Yeah…she deserves it." Then aded hoarsely: „Both of you do…"
Natalie stared at him for a while, studying his faded face, unable to read his thoughts. As many times before all she longed for was to hug him. But was afraid, because his fragile emotional balance had already been disturbed enough for that day. She didn´t want to cause him even more troubles. Why did he have to be so complicated? ´Oh boy you might be perfect…´ a sudden thought flashed through her mind again and made her take a sharp breath. She silently scolded herself. ´Stop thinking about that! He´s a boss, nothing more or less than just a boss!...BOSS!"
Adrian noticed her bewilderment and twitched. „What´s wrong, Natalie?"
„Nothing!" she replied maybe too forcefully, jumped to her feet and rushed back into the kitchen.
„It´s almost lunchtime, Mr. Monk, let´s finish cooking," she called out.