A Smattering of Stories
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters or the show.
A/N: Thanks to ncisnewbie, blue dogs rock, TMVH50, Guest M, shestarsky, and BH72 for the reviews! And no, Hetty has yet to discover an antidote to Eric's pants allergy.
Prompt: 'How Nell and her sister set up her internet dating profile'
"Linda Mae Jones. What. Are. You. Doing." Nell ground the words out once she saw what her sister had unsuccessfully tried to hide on her computer screen.
"I have a plan." Linda, although slightly taller than her slightly older sister, shrunk back at the disapproval in her voice.
Nell snorted. "Every time you utter those words disaster soon follows."
"That's not fair" Linda grumbled, "not always."
Nell began to tick reasons off on her fingers. "There was that time I had a black eye for my school picture. And when we had to buy Mom all new bowls. Not to mention the summer spent scooping poop off the lawn."
"First, you agreed to play back catcher, second, I would have been fine juggling if Dad hadn't scared me, and you loved that goat that I won!"
Nell's eyes narrowed. "I bet you didn't think Paul would tell me that he's now trying to grow his brows back."
A sigh emerged from deep within Linda. "It was his idea to build a demolition derby car. I was just helping."
The two sisters stared at each other, stuck in a stalemate. This was just what Nell feared when Linda had showed up on her doorstep with a bag in one hand and a box of Mom's muffins in the other. She knew her family worried about her being out in LA by herself, but this was the first time one of them had made the trek out unannounced to check on her. She suspected Paul, her brother, had masterminded the trip to give their hometown some peace from the mayhem that seemed to follow Linda. Nell watched as her sister narrowed her eyes and started to pout. Unfortunately Nell was well acquainted with that look – it signaled Linda's unwillingness to deviate from her plan. Best to get on board instead of being swept away by the ensuing storm.
"Why don't you just tell me what you're doing?"
Linda's pout began to transform into a small smile. "Making you a dating profile."
"And you decided to do this because?" Nell was already forming her own plan to make sure the page was never seen by anyone after Linda finished making it.
"You're out here all alone, what if you need a date for a work function?" Linda frowned again, "Unless you're sure that an office romance is out of the question."
Nell felt the heat move up her neck and she willed it to go back down. "No, company policy."
"What about people you meet while working?"
"I've told you, the network has me working on true crime stories. The only people I meet are either victims or criminals, neither of which are preferable as a date." She had told her family she worked at a TV network which explained her ability to be very up-to-date on the latest stories.
Linda tapped her chin with a finger, "I don't know, it would be helpful if you were ever locked out of your car. You could get one of them to pop the door open for you."
Nell squeezed her eyes shut. "You are not going to teach yourself how to break into a car."
Linda gave her best 'who me?' innocent face, but she failed to be convincing. Realizing that Nell wasn't buying her act, she changed the subject. "C'mon, this'll be fun. It's like building a whole different identity." She gasped, "It's like making an alias!" She buried her head in the keyboard, typing away in the various boxes.
A quick turn on her heel had Nell facing in the opposite direction. She started to run through the pros and cons of this situation. On the one hand it could be dangerous for her cover and Hetty might not be happy with this popping up on the internet. On the other, she missed the chaos that she and Linda used to cause. There was something special about landing up laying on the floor laughing while other people just rolled their eyes.
"Okay. Let's do it." She spun back around and gave her sister a big smile.
Linda matched her smile. "Great!" She fished around in her bag. "One rule though, every time you say 'this is a bad idea' or something like it, you have to take a shot." She clunked a bottle of Scotch on the table beside the computer.
"Isn't this the brand Dad drinks?"
Linda nodded, "He asked me to pick up a bottle to bring home. Something about him not wanting a trinket for a souvenir."
"Are you planning to buy another unopened one for him?" Nell's eyes widened when Linda shook her head. "That's not a good plan, he won't like that it's not full."
A quick twist popped the cap off. "Drink! And, it'll be just like when we were younger and slipped drinks out of the liquor cabinet."
Nell's shoulders dropped and she marched into the kitchen to get a glass. She had to watch what she said or Linda would get her completely drunk and then she wouldn't be able to watch what was put on the profile. She trudged back with the glass and watched as Linda poured the first shot. She saluted her sister with the drink and downed it in one quick glug. She coughed slightly, "Why does he drink this stuff? It burns!"
Linda laughed. "Let's get started." She closed her eyes and waggled the mouse around. "Let's start…here!" She clicked in a box. "Interests."
Nell started ticking some off on her fingers. "Monster trucks, rock & roll, and demolition derbies."
"That's a terrible idea, we're trying to get you a date!" Linda looked slightly horrified.
"A-HA!" Nell grabbed the bottle and poured a shot. "You said it was a bad idea, drink up."
Linda made a face, but she paid her dues and threw the shot back. "Where did those come from?"
Nell hitched a shoulder up. "If we're going to make a different persona, let's go all the way. My friend and I went to a monster truck rally together and I'd go again."
"Note to self, report back that Nell has made friends and is having new experiences."
"I knew it! You were sent here to check up on me!" Nell dropped her jaw, aghast that her sister would let that slip.
Linda gave a small smile. "We worry about you being out here by yourself. Well, when they're not worried about whatever insane scheme they think I'll pull next."
Nell pulled her sister into a hug. "I love hearing about your stunts, they make me miss home." She squeezed a bit tighter, "but I also love my job."
"We know that. Which is why we've stopped bothering you about moving back home." Linda squeezed back. "But it wouldn't hurt for you to visit, y'know, explain to the rest of them how my ideas are good for your health."
Nell busted out a laugh. "I'm not lying to them. You've shortened all of our lives." They sat back in their chairs and Linda pulled the laptop closer.
"Let's do this."
In the end, Nell stopped worrying about hiding the profile or trying to rein in her sister because after they were done with hers, they went on a journey through many others. They giggled until their sides hurt as they scrolled through the website's matches for Nell. The next morning Linda set off on her journey back home with a glowing report of how Nell was doing in LA and a part-bottle of Scotch for their dad.