The rain poured down as Nigel got out of the taxi. He was soaked from head to toe, with the rain washing away his tears. The tired-looking Englishman made his way up the fine stone steps at the front of the mansion. Defeated, he rang the doorbell and slumped against the wall. In a matter of minutes, a well-dressed butler answered the door, sliding the heavy oak open with practiced grace.
"Mr. Bailey?" he asked shocked, grabbing the man's bag with a gloved hand. "Come in, Ms. Connors has just retired to her room. I'll go fetch her. Anna will take you coat and bring you some towels." With that, the butler vanished down the hall in a flurry of black and white suit.
The maid that handed Nigel the blue, terry-cloth towels, was a short, elderly woman. He remembered seeing her the last time her was here. He and Sydney had been looking for the idol of Ishtar. The memory brought up painful reminders he'd rather forget, so Nigel shook his head to clear them away and proceeded to dry his hair with the cloth.
"Nigel?" came a youthful Scottish brogue. "What are you doing here? Where's Sydney?" Seeing the pain in her friend's eyes, she made a mental note not to mention the American relic hunter. Not caring that he was soaked, she pulled him into a hug and dismissed the maid with a wave of her hand.
"She, she kicked me out," he said, close to tears again. "And fired me on top of it all. Georgie, it hurts. I can feel the pieces of my heart stabbing me in the chest. I never… not Syd. I didn't think I could lose her." His tears fell, mingling with the raindrops, to soak the girl's shoulder.
"Shh, it'll be okay. You can stay as long as you like," she said pulling him back to gaze into his eyes. Her heart was breaking just looking at him; she couldn't imagine how he felt. Not sure what else to do, Georgie pulled Nigel into another hug and soothingly ran her fingers through his dark hair. "I'm here for you, no matter what. You will always have me."
"Come on, I'll get you a room ready," she said, picking up his bag. She guided the broken Englishman through the various highly decorated halls, stopping at a seemingly random room. Opening the door, she set the bag on the floor and helped him into bed. Placing a gentle kiss on his forehead, she whispered, "Sleep now," and closed the door. Making her way to the library, she sat down at the large, antique desk and picked up the phone. Dialing a number Sydney had once given her, she waited. A few rings later a distinctly feminine voice answered, still hazy with sleep.
"Is this Karen?" Georgie asked.
"Yeah," answered the secretary, now fully awake. "Who is this?" She didn't think she knew any European people, except Nigel.
"My name is Georgette Connors, I'm a friend of Sydney and Nigel's…" she paused, unsure of how to continue. "This is technically a message for Sydney, if she asks, okay?"
"Uhh, sure?" Karen wasn't sure where this was going, but she sensed it was important.
"If she asks and only then, tell her Nigel is with Georgie so don't worry. Also that she can call anytime. Got that?" Karen nodded, but then remembered she was on the phone.
"Yes, I've got it. This is only if Sydney asks?"
"Yes, now I have to go, but Sydney has the number if you need me." Karen was about to ask another question when the line went dead. Shrugging, she lay back down and went to sleep.
Back in Scotland, Georgie stood from the chair and walked to Nigel's room. Silently opening the door, she smiled slightly to see he had kicked off the covers in his sleep. Going to pull them back up, she noticed that he had something in his hand. Trying not to wake him, she slid the item from his fingers. She was surprised when a familiar diamond ring fell into her palm.