In the end they'd gone to the nice little place that Lagerfeld said he knew. It was a strange sort of café bar that they were led to, on the floor above a Greek Cypriot restaurant, its custom now dwindling for the night. It was a darling little place, apparently, and of course being relatively unknown gave it the right sort of clientele. Why go anywhere that doesn't have some level of exclusivity?
That village in the jungle with the ever-so-large-breasted barmaid and that awful drink – had it been eels that they put in? – that had been forced upon them… Yes, he was well used to exclusivity.
Nigel knew well by now the conflicting abundance of emotions and adrenaline that presented itself after situations like that, situations that arose after every hunt. It was best to talk through what had happened, preferably aided by something alcoholic, just to get it out of the system.
Of course this time it was different having a third member along. Sydney would walk off every so often to make calls to whichever of her contacts it happened to be that that particular hunt's gain was going to, just as she did every time. Normally it gave Nigel space to himself in silence, to reassure himself of the normality of a life where nobody was trying to kill him. Sitting in a booth with another man trying to stroke his thigh didn't particularly help in that respect.
"So, I don't think I've had the pleasure of meeting you before. Syd's been hiding you, I expect"
"I've not been working with her long"
"How are you liking America? I imagine it's taking a bit of getting used to?"
"It's different" Sydney paced past their table, evidently still listening to the dialtone of whoever she was trying to reach "I can't imagine that it's office hours for anyone in this country" Nigel remarked "I shouldn't think people are going to be too happy being woken up"
"Well it gives us more time to get to know each other, don't you think?"
"Ah how sweet!" Claudia teased him when he recounted that part of the conversation
"It's not funny!" he insisted
"It really is"
"Don't tell me you've never had some creep hit on you before?" the girl considered this for a moment whilst she applied the top coat to he nails and then shrugged
"I guess they know I'm out of their league" Nigel sighed. Sometimes Claudia was lovely – a breath of freash air and youth in the stuffy office. Ther times however, their playful teasing of each other would spiral into a spiteful fallout for an hour or so until Sydney came along to distract them. For once his employer was taking a class so he tried to change the subject
"I can't believe I missed that commet"
"Oh did I tell you that I went to that place in the end?"
"Well you got so worked up about it so I went to see what all the fuss was about"
"There was this really nice astrology guy that worked there who showed me round"
"You mean astronomy – astronomer. What was it like?"
"Well" Claudia paused "he was lovely"
"So do you do this kind of thing often?" the art dealer asked
"Increasingly so it seems. To be honest it's the most tenuous job requirement of a teaching assistant that I've come across, but there you go. It's different"
"It's not really you though, is it?"
"What do you mean?"
"No offense intended of course" the other man drowned the remaining mouthful of wine from his glass and raised it in the air to catch the eye of the man working there "I think perhaps a bottle this time?"
He didn't elaborate and Nigel didn't ask.
"That reminds me" Claudia was saying "Your date called to cancel"
"What?" that broke him out of his thoughts "Why?" Claudia wrinkled her nose
"Can you blame her?"
Nigel's relationship with women was a tricky one sometimes. He loved them all if they were pretty, and some found his awkwardness endearing. Though often single it wasn't an arduous search for a replacement, and indeed many of the girls he taught (and sometimes ones who he didn'yt) wouuld've agreed had he not thought it would be inappropriate and wrong to ask. Yet for all this he wouldn't call himself popular with the ladies. This ones he had really wanted, the ones that he could consider spending a large proportion of his life with, always alluded him. Each girl was always lovely of course, but their relationship ultimately ended, and some like this ended before they had even begun.
"Don't worry thought. Someone else called asking if you were free and I said you were"
"You got me another date?"
"Nige" said a voice behind him, and his heart both sank and simultaneously became lodged in his throat. She hadn't, had she?
"So you'll be leaving today then?"
"Most probably" Nigel stifled a yawn "We'll need to be back as soon as possible really. Syd gets a lot of leeway in her job but we try not to push it too far"
"So…how can I contact you then?"
"Um, through Sydney's office?" it had reached that point where all he wanted to do was sleep "I'm there most of the day I suppose"
"Very funny Claudia" his head was in his hands when she closed the door to Sydney's part of the office behind her
"Are you scared Nigel?" she teased him
"No, I'm just straight!" he snapped back "How could you think it would be funny Claudia?"
"Because your face would be exactly like it is now"
"What would it take to get you to get rid of him?"
Lagerfeld was sat on the edge of Claudia's desk when he crept out into the room
"Nigel-" he began, but Nigel interrupted him
"So where are we going then?"
It was one of those moments where he wished he could have taken a picture of Claudia's face.
If he had woken up at that moment and found that it was all a dream then he wouldn't've been surprised.
Thing was, he didn't.
So in clearing out my inbox I found an email sent to myself from an email address that I didn't realise that I had. This account turned out to be linked to it. I do remember writing on this site a long time ago, but not under this username. Anyway, I saw that this story was unfinished and that I had some messages about it so I'm endeavouring to finish it. I can't remember what I had in mind when I started it (and in all honesty I probably need to watch the episode again) but hopefully it will all come back to me…