Hello everyone!:) Yes, I am aware that I have a very bad writing addiction... damn that Niles and C.C.!lol I'm currently in Canada on vacation (as some of you know) and all the travelling has given me a new idea. This is going to be the next big project for me. I have decided to explore Niles' and C.C.'s relationship step by step... the first few chapters will be completely created by my own ideas...I kinda wanted them to meet in an unusual way...and no, it wasn't a love at first sight thing, at least not for C.C. ;) I'm taking things slow with this at the moment and, although I have planned several following chapters, I will only write 1 A4 page per day. (1. coz I do need to enjoy my holiday :p and 2. because I want the chapters to be longer and more detailed) So yeah, I hope you'll enjoy this new project of mine and an update will be there within the next 7 days- wi-fi permitting!;) R&R coz I love em and they help me improve my writing!:)

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, only a notebook and a tiny little laptop to get some writing done :p

The First Encounter

Chastity Claire Babcock was pushing her way through the crowds at Waterloo station. London during rush hour was exhausting at best but what she was experiencing was completely and utterly unbearable. Her suitcase firmly in hand she headed for the nearest escalator, pushing her hair behind her ear in a nervous gesture. Checking her watch for the second time in a short while she saw that it was still 8.45, her plane to New York would leave at 10.50. It was possible to still make it but all in all it wasn't something that the usually so organized woman enjoyed. She looked around until her eyes caught sight of the brown line, indicating the Bakerloo tube. Another set of escalators waited before she finally reached the underground. The 15 minute ride to Paddington Station gave her enough time to catch her breath and stretch her arms a little, not that there was an awful lot of space. In fact, the entire carriage was packed with people and she had just managed to steal a spot near the door.

On the twenty minute ride from Paddington to Heathrow she reflected about the past couple of weeks. She was just returning from a somewhat exhausting summer holiday. She still couldn't quite comprehend what had made her agree to spend the summer with her mother in England in the first place. It had been maddening to the brink of insanity really…and her father was to blame, Stuart Babcock had suggested she should spend some time with her mother, it was important to him that they got along a little better than they had done in the past. And as much as she tried, she wasn't able to resist her father's wishes. But what had expired during those weeks was enough to make her reconsider… she was tough in all other aspects of life, why not when it came to her father? B.B. Babcock had decided that most of their time would be spent meeting with important businessmen- connections she could surely use in her just blossoming career- or meeting potential husbands. C.C. didn't know which one was worse…granted the meeting with the businessmen had at least led to some results. And to top it all of the small private jet her mother had hired for her hadn't been given permission to land at Heathrow and had landed at City airport instead, thus forcing her to race across town in a mad rush.

Arriving at Heathrow airport she noticed that it was nearly time for the check-in to close, but none of that mattered, at least she had made it. Her fingers were fumbling with the clasp of her purse, as she tried to take out her passport and ticket.

"Chastity Claire Babcock, I'm on the New York flight." she stated upon reaching the desk.

"Yes, I'm afraid I cannot find your name on the business class list."

"Check again." she demanded coolly and the clerk complied.

"I'm sorry, Ma'am, I still cannot find your name. Furthermore, the business class is completely booked, but if you look over there you will find the check-in desks for the economy class."

"But I refuse to fly in anything less than business- "

"Ma'am, as I said, there is nothing I can do. I would advise you to move over to economy class; otherwise you will miss your flight."

Huffing loudly as if to make a point her hand closed around the handle of her suitcase again and she angrily walked over to the line in front of the economy class desks. She was in such a bad mood at that point that she simply ignored the sandy haired young man who was politely allowing her to join the queue in front of him. In her mind a tirade of insults were flying out of her mouth, so consuming that she didn't hear the man mutter: "Thank you, sir, you're welcome." After five minutes it finally was her turn and she quickly lifted her suitcase onto the conveyor belt, slapping her passport and ticket down in front of the clerk's nose.

"Thank you, Ma'am. Here you are: seat 56f."

C.C.'s eyes focused on the number on the ticket and then flickered up to glare at the man.

"That's unacceptable."

"Pardon me?"

"I booked to fly business class, then I arrive here to be told my name cannot be found on the list and now you want to seat me at the rear of the plane? You have to be kidding. I'm a Babcock and I demand a better seat! The best you can offer and quick, I'd like to eat something before boarding the plane."

The clerk opened his mouth to reply, but C.C. merely put her hands on her hips in a gesture that clearly suggested that there was no room for an argument.

"I will try…" he mumbled instead.

"That's not good enough! You will get me the result I want, and if you don't I will have to call some friends of mine and they will make sure that you won't work at this airport any longer."

"Are you threatening me, Miss?" the clerk asked in an attempt to get back the high ground.

"Yes." C.C. firmly stated, drawing herself up as tall as she could, her eyes shooting daggers. Even the bravest of man was not able to hold that glare and so the clerk soon crumbled and hurriedly made some phone calls.

The situation sorted out the way she had wanted; she had just enough time to grab a cup of coffee and a croissant. Finding a small standing space at a table she placed everything down on the counter and risked another look at her ticket. A satisfied smile stole across her features when she saw that she had not only been given a window seat but that she was also seated in the front row, it might not be business class but at least it her gave extra leg room. She took a tentative sip of her coffee and immediately a look of utter disgust swept over her face: watery instant coffee. The croissant on the other hand was very nice, moist on the inside and crisp on the outside, just the way she liked it. As she savored the taste she tried to push away all thought concerning her mother-though this was easier said than done. Rolling her eyes she mused that she indeed had to have a problem when she couldn't even enjoy a pastry without thoughts of weight-loss and the need to look young and vibrant for a future husband popping into her head. Dabbing her mouth with the napkin to ensure that all the crumbs were gone she let out a sigh… Did she really have to find a man? Well, it wasn't exactly that she didn't want to; it was more a case of finding the someone that was right. Anyone she might possibly consider was sure not to please her mother and in return the men that her mother had suggested had bored her to tears. They were all a bunch of stuck-up snobs, interested in money and status alone but there was no-one who excited her. The trouble was that she had been brought up to pay particular attention to money and status as well, so it was only natural that she would give these men a certain preference… but where was that man that would make her live? The announcement over the speakers brought her back to reality, she had to get up and hurry to the gate because boarding had already begun. At this her stomach lurched somewhat dangerously, the prospect of an 8 hour flight suddenly looming ahead again.

Striding confidently through the crowded airport Niles Brightmore was making his way to gate number 35. He was late and he knew it and yet he was relatively calm, after all, he was still in his home country and knew Heathrow like the back of his hand. A bag draped over his left shoulder and his jacket neatly folded over his arm he was the last one to board the plane.

"Welcome. Seat 18 b is the front row to the right." the air hostess greeted him with a smile.

He smiled in return, a little smug maybe, because he could clearly detect the level of annoyance behind the other one's stepford-like façade. He wasn't an arrogant man by nature, but there was something appealing to enjoy the last few hours as a free man, knowing full well that it would soon be him who had to take orders and swallow back snide remarks. When he finally located his seat, his eyes fell on the blonde woman occupying the seat next to his. At the sight of her his smile grew even bigger, if that was possible. She was that gorgeous, curvaceous spitfire of a woman who had pushed in front of him at the check-in desk and had so steadfastly demanded a good seat because she was a- his forehead crinkled into a frown as he tried to remember her name- a Babcock, yes, that was it. He dropped his bag onto the seat and extracted his book while studying her closely. She, on the other hand, didn't seem to acknowledge his presence at all. Her eyes were staring off into space and she was absent-mindedly picking her nails.

"Nervous?" he offered warmly while stretching to reach the luggage compartment and stow away his bag.

"No!" she snapped defensively, her eyes focusing on him.

"Of course not." he muttered, sitting down and fastening the seat belt. They didn't speak again until the safety demonstration was taking place. "You're going to have a lovely view over the British coast during take-off."

"Look, I don't know you, I don't care about the coast, goodness knows I've had quite enough of it. And now be quiet and pay attention."

"Well, in case something does happen I'll be sure not to help you." he said, smirking as she rolled her eyes.

Deciding that the woman clearly was too tense he kept his mouth shut and instead continued to study her. She was wearing a pair of white shorts that showed off her beautiful long, tanned legs. His eyes travelled further north and they lit up like a little boy's at Christmas when he noticed that the V-neck top she was wearing was cut so low that he saw ample cleavage. As if having read her thoughts the young woman pulled her polo sweater a little tighter so that the sleeves were now blocking his view. Afterwards she wiped her hands on her shorts before they came to rest again in her lap. Making sure that the safety demonstration was over, he decided to start another attempt at engaging her in a conversation.

"You do know that flying is the safest way to travel."

"What are you babbling about?" she said tersely, looking at him properly.

The first thing she noticed were his deep blue eyes that were practically brimming over with warmth. The second was his tousled, dirty-blonde hair and his incredibly fit physique. So consumed was she that it took her a moment realize that he was, in fact, more than a couple of years older than her.

"I'm just trying to calm you down." he continued undeterred.

"Don't! I am perfectly calm."

Sighing he vowed that this was the last time he would attempt to help this woman but when the plane reached the runway and she drew in a sharp breath he found himself compelled to break his promise. Glancing over at her he saw that her hands were cramped in her lap, nails digging into her delicate skin, while her eyes were firmly closed. Instinctively he reached out to rest his left hand on top of hers, squeezing it lightly. Upon feeling the touch her eyes fluttered open, she was about to snap at him again but felt unable to do so because the fear had created a lump in her throat.

"Look outside, "he said gently "You don't want to miss the beautiful view."

Taking a calming breath she decided to trust him and peered out of the window. The perfectly clear skies allowed her to see everything as they ascended further and further.

"It's stunning." she whispered and after this the ice was broken.

"I'm Niles, by the way." he said, removing his hand again.

"C.C. Babcock." she simply said, but the tone of her voice suggested that she had called a truce "What brings you to New York?"

"My friend has recently moved there because he got married. I am going to be employed by him." he said, determined not to mention that he was going to be a butler. It wasn't exactly a job that was used to impress women… unless you'd mention that you were good at serving others… but they weren't at that stage yet.

"Interesting!" C.C. commented, nodding her head.

"How about you? You sound American, so I'm assuming you came to England on vacation?"

"Yeah well, that was my intention." she muttered.

"What? Didn't find England to your liking? You appear to have high standards."

"Is that so wrong?" she challenged but before he could answer she lifted her hand to stop an air hostess "Bring me some Scotch, will you?"

"You will have to wait a moment, Miss." the woman replied politely.

"I'm not very patient," C.C. said and pulled a 20 pound note from her pocket "If you get my hint."

"Money doesn't seem to be a problem." Niles said quietly.

"Well, it is certainly good at getting me something I want fairly quickly."

"Does it really get you everything you want?" he probed softly, his eyes boring into hers.

C.C. didn't allow anyone to stare her down and so she lifted her chin and said: "You're nearly as bad as my mother and to answer your question, this is why I couldn't enjoy my vacation."

"Now that we've covered the topic of your non-existent love life, how about business? With the sort of money you have I don't assume you're working?"

She blinked rapidly several times, trying to recover. This man was so damn infuriating, rubbing her the wrong way and yet she found herself unable to resist him.

"How do you manage to insult me with every word that leaves your mouth?"

"One of my special talents." he grinned, winking at her.

"Then you can't have very many, considering you are so proud of that one." she said with a triumphant smile.

"Touché." he conceded, letting out a throaty laugh "You are quite something, Miss Babcock."

He noticed with growing interest that she lowered her eyes at his compliment, suddenly shy for the first time.

"You were wrong, by the way. I am about to start a new job in New York City. A friend of mine got me a job with her husband, I'll be doing some secretary work but I'm certain that I'll move up to greater things."

He nodded, thinking that she was far too sharp to spend her days doing dull office work.

And so the 8 hour flight to New York passed very quickly. When they weren't chatting they were either eating or sleeping. When C.C. willingly grabbed hold of his hand during the landing he couldn't help but notice how much he felt drawn to her.

Walking together to the luggage belt he was trying to build up the courage to ask her for her address. New York wasn't exactly a small town and what were the chances that they would ever run into each other again? But more and more moments passed and lifting his suitcase from the belt he suddenly realized that he had run out of time. Politely bidding her farewell and wishing her good luck in her new job he walked away.

C.C. couldn't believe it, but she was actually staring after this man. There wasn't anything particularly remarkable about him, apart from the fact that he wasn't afraid to stand up to her. Clearing her mind off the fact that the first man who had excited her in a really long time had just walked out of her life, she went to pick up her suitcase. It was no use dwelling in the past; clearly he was only supposed to be her travelling companion.