Somewhere in a far away land, Chloe was vaguely aware that her phone was ringing. She rolled over in her bed and willed it to stop. Blessedly it did.
She smiled in relief and snuggled deeper into her pillow, only to again be awoken by the shrill ring of the phone. She reached blindly for it and squinted at the brightly lit screen. She definitely didnt know that number.
She debated for a spilt second not to answer, but then thought about Veronica. What if she was in trouble?
She pushed answer, "Veronica?"
Chloe heard a deep chuckle, "Didnt peg you for playing for the other team, Payne."
Chloe squinted as if that would help her identify the person on the other end of the phone. "Who is this?"
"Now Im heartbroken. Dont you recognize my voice?"
Chloe sat up and turned her bedside lamp on. She looked at the clock. It read 3:37AM. "Listen asshole, I have to be at work in 3 hours and 23 minutes. Youre drunk, and Im not in the mood!"
"Payne, I need you to pick me up and if you dont you wont have a job to go to."
Chloe paled as it instantly clicked in her head, "Briggs?! How did you get this number? Where are you? Why are you drunk?"
Joe Briggs pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration, "Just get your little ass in your little red car and come get me at the Lucky 7s tavern." He disconnected and pulled his black leather jacket tighter.
"What- He hung up! He hung up on me!" Chloe screeched indignantly. She looked around her to vent and realized she was alone in her apartment just like always.
She sat there for a minute chewing her bottom lip debating on what to do.
Veronica would go and then beat the shit out of him.
Sonya would just go back to sleep.
Chloe grunted in frustration and got out of bed. She was neither of them, she was Chloe Payne and even though Briggs was a major asshole, he also sounded majorly drunk. She couldnt just leave him out there.
She shoved her feet into some furry boots, and threw her blue pea coat over her oversized T-shirt that read, 'Nurses call the shots', grumbling the whole time. "Why doesnt he just call a cab? Wont have a job, he wont have a job when Im done with him!" She slammed her door on her way out.
It took her thirty minutes and a call to 411 to find the Lucky 7s tavern. She had tried to call Briggs back at the number on her phone, but he didnt answer. She had become a tad worried.
She pulled up at the side of the bar and almost missed him. He was sitting on the cold pavement with his back against the wall, out cold.
She left the car running and got out to stand in front of him. She stood there staring at him for a few minutes. She could see his chest rising and falling so she was relieved that he was breathing.
It occurred to her that in sleep, he was softer. No harsh lines on his face, no angry words coming out of his mouth. Just a soft, gentle, boyish face. She wondered how old he was.
She shivered and remembered that he was the reason she was out at- she glanced at her watch-4:35am. She took great delight in slapping him across his face.
Briggs woke up gasping, fighting to get his hands out of his pockets to defend himself, "What the fuck?!"
His gaze focused in on Chloe standing before him, "What the hell did you do that for?"
Chloe smirked, "I was checking your reaction to painful stimuli? Or I didnt have any water?"
"Fantastic bedside manner, Payne."
Briggs struggled to get to his feet and Chloe ended up assisting him and guiding him to the car. He smelled like scotch and cigarette smoke.
He leaned against it while she unlocked the passenger side. He gave her a once over and caught sight of her t-shirt, "Did I interrupt the freshman sleepover or something?"
Chloe glared at him, "How do you know that you didnt interrupt some very hot sex?"
Briggs laughed, "With yourself? Come on, Chloe. If a woman was with a man, she would never wear clothes like that to bed."
Chloe frowned and looked down at herself. Maybe he had a point.
Briggs somehow made it into the car without killing himself and settled into the warm oasis. Chloe stood beside him with the door still open.
Briggs opened one eye, "Get in the car, Payne."
Chloe stood her ground, "No. Were not going anywhere till you tell me whats going on."
He sighed, "Your bare legs are making me cold. Get in the car and Ill tell you."
Chloe slammed his door closed and made her way around the car. She sat there looking at him expectantly.
Briggs was so tired and just wanted to go to bed. He didnt want or need this nurses judgment. He just wanted a ride.
"I was at a poker game. I drank, I lost, I drank some more, and then I lost some more. The end."
Chloe glared at him, "And how did I become your D.D.?"
"Dont have cab fare."
"What about calling a friend?"
"Dont have any."
Chloe startled, "My number?"
"What about it?"
Chloe glared again, "How did you get it?"
"Called the hospital, abused my authority."
Chloe fumed and yanked her seatbelt on. She looked over at Briggs, "Put your seatbelt on."
He fumbled with it for a moment before she took pity on him and reached across him to help.
Briggs took a deep breath and sighed, "You smell like sunshine." Then he promptly passed out.
Chloe froze and sat there gaping at him. "Briggs?" she said softly.
She realized he was out and sat heavily back in her seat. "Great! Just great! The nicest thing ANYONE had ever said to me and it comes from the biggest asshole Ive ever met."