Chapter 2

Joe Briggs awoke with the distinct feeling that something was off. When he opened his eyes, he had the overwhelming feeling of disorientation and he had no clue where he was.

He realized that he was on an unfamiliar couch, in an unfamiliar living room, and when he looked under the blanket covering him he discovered he wasn't wearing any pants.

Briggs jumped up looking for his clothes, standing there in his boxer briefs and black t-shirt.

He saw his jeans, and leather jacket neatly folded on a nearby chair with his boots resting below them. He looked around himself, "Hello?"

An empty apartment greeted him. He was drawn to a wall of photos and after examining them, soon realized whose apartment he was in. Chloe Payne.

There she was smiling out at him from several life-filled photos. Chloe and the indignant Veronica at what looked to be a bar, Chloe and a huge group of people, that had to be her family, all smiling around a Christmas tree, and many others just like it. He felt a grin tugging at his mouth while looking at her infectious smile.

When he was done, he went about exploring her one bedroom apartment. Not in a creepy way, but in a is there anyone here kind of way.

"Chloe? Hello?"

He peeked into her bedroom and surveyed the unmade bed, glanced into the bathroom and then he was back in the living with attached kitchen. It was sparsely furnished, but neat and clean. Just like Chloe.

He chuckled. This place could fit into the living room of his penthouse.

He flashed back to college, dorm rooms, and crashing at friends houses. He discovered he missed that.

Missed having people around who wanted to hang out with you because of you, and not what you could do or how much money you made.

He snapped himself out of it and went to the kitchen to find something to drink.

From the pounding headache and cotton mouth he was sporting this morning, he deduced that he had been wasted last night.

How he came to be at Chloe's, he had no idea. He also had no idea why Chloe wasn't there as well. He was pretty sure that they hadn't hooked up, seeing as how he woke up on the couch and she was nowhere to be found.

Briggs poured himself a glass of orange juice and noticed a note on the kitchen counter.

If you use the bathroom, put the lid down when you are done. I'm at work, here is a key to my apartment. Please lock it when you leave. You can give it to me at work, or slip it under the door- whatever. Just give it back and don't give it to someone at work! ~Chloe

Briggs smirked. He could almost hear her saying the words out loud.

**

Chloe sat at the nurses station with her head propped up in her hands. She glanced at the clock. It read 8:37 A.M. She had officially been up 5 hours and was only into her first hour and a half of her 12 hour shift. Thank God she was in the ICU this morning. She didn't think she could handle the ER again like she did the morning of the bus bombing. Feeling the stares of her coworkers she turned to them, "What?!"

Veronica, Sonya, and Angel all leaned against the desk staring at her.

"Boot call," Veronica guessed.

Sonya shook her head, "Nah, she'd be smiling manically. Blackout drunk?"

Angel frowned, "No way. She wouldn't come out to Delaney's last night when I called. Said she was going to bed early. Loud neighbors?"

Chloe glared at all of them, "I'm so, so glad you all can make a game out of my life. I'm just tired!"

Veronica studied her carefully, "I still say boot call."

Chloe whipped her head around with slightly panic-y eyes, "No! No it wasn't!"

"A-ha!" Veronica cheered. "So there was a call."

They swarmed her and Chloe felt like she was being interrogated. "No! I mean, yes. It was just a call! No booty involved!"

Sonya frowned, "So what were you doing?"

Chloe looked to her guardian Angel and saw that he too was waiting for an explanation. "It was just a favor for someone. No big deal. Now, can we please just leave it alone?"

They continued to stare at her and finally released her. They went back to their stations.

Veronica sat down and looked up at Chloe, "Fine, don't tell us. We are here if you need us."

Chloe snorted, "I'm not in any trouble! It's no big deal." With that she grabbed her bag of normal saline for Mr. Patterson's I.V.

Her hands were shaking as she primed the tubing. She didn't want them to know anything about her and Briggs.

Not that there was anything to tell. She still didn't know how she got him up to her 2nd floor apartment, but she had deposited him on the couch and used her detached nurse's mind to take his shoes and pants off.

By the time she had done all that, it had been time to get ready for work. She briefly entertained the idea of calling in, but then realized she would be stuck there when he woke up.

So she had showered in a hurry, worrying the whole time that he was going to wake up and walk in on her, grabbed her navy blue scrubs, scratched out a note and ran from the apartment.

She kept thinking about his sunshine comment, and that made her nervous. It was probably drunk ramblings, but she couldn't get past it. That comment and the way he had stood behind her guiding her through that procedure, had totally thrown her for a loop.

Sometimes she would feel fluttering in her belly when she saw him, and then he would say something so heinous like 'funbags' and she wanted to puke. Why couldn't her body get in line with her head! She didn't even like him. 'I am so screwed,' she thought.