Disclaimer: Not mine...and I've said it before, but I'll say it again...I'd like to own some of those sweaters Nathan wears on the show but only if Lucas Bryant comes with them.
Lord, but she's easily distracted by him when she wants to be.
Audrey Parker, formerly of the stoic FBI variety who drank the sludge that rested in the bottom of the office coffee pot, has taken to bringing her own coffee in from home in the mornings.
(Technically, it isn't her coffee – she typically steals it from the kitchen in The Gull on her way out the door when Duke's fast asleep on his boat and the early morning staff is too busy to care – but that's semantics and if there's one thing Audrey doesn't do, it's split hairs. At least not on purpose and never without a reason.)
She started bringing her own cup of joe ever since she burned her hand a week earlier, her eyes focused on something other than the mug in her hand. In fact, they were focused on her partner idly stretching at his desk in the Chief's office, shirt riding up to reveal the smallest amount of toned stomach beneath. That's all it had taken for her, Always Alert Audrey (the nuns had called her that when she'd shown proclivities for investigation of things like missing communion wafers and sacramental wine), to be distracted. Hot coffee had overflowed the mug and washed over her hand.
Shattering a mug – Nathan's mug, to be exact – in a room full of equally observant cops was enough reason to start bringing her own coffee into the office, safely locked away in a spill-proof, shatter-resistant travel mug Duke had given her with only a handful of awkward (and, for the smuggler, amusing) questions asked.
Today, it's paperwork. With her coffee safely stowed away in the bright orange (subtly never was Duke Crocker's best trait) travel mug, the paperwork in front of her is taking the brunt of her absentmindedness. She's been staring off into space ever since the Chief – her partner – had arrived in the squad room fifteen minutes earlier, clean shaven and wearing a tie (are those…geese?) that's a good three inches too short for his tall frame. She wants to laugh at how ridiculous he looks, but then he glances in through her (formerly their) office window, smiles, and the urge to laugh leaves her like the air from a popped balloon.
Even in awkward green ties covered in geese, Nathan Wurnous is handsome.
He waves, a quick swipe of his hand through the air, and quirks a small smile before he settles his attention fully on the three uniforms standing in front of him. She sighs, thinks of how much work she'd get done if he'd just agree to blackout the damn windows in her office. She looks down at the incident report in front of her and swears under her breath.
It's ruined; doodled geese and hearts covering the triplicate form from margin to margin. She stares at it a beat longer before she drops it into the shredder next to her desk. She knows better than to leave that particular kind of evidence (the kind that could lead to awkward conversations with the janitorial staff) lying around for prying eyes to find.
Nathan seems over it, the touching thing. He looks at her less often now, his usually dreamy expression tempered and shuttered like a summer home in winter. She thinks maybe he's changed his mind about…who the hell knows what. Like his New England forefathers, Nathan communicates with the flare of a long dead starfish. Whatever his thoughts (of which there are many, and of which well over half are devoted to the blond woman with blue eyes and a penchant for attracting troubles), though, his actions suggest disinterest.
Audrey does what any smart and rational woman in her situation would do: she takes a few days, eats a few dozen cupcakes, and accepts it as is.
When Chris Brody arrives with his backwoods charm (i.e. uncommunicative starfish impression) and scruffy jaw (god, she's a sucker for an unshaven man – she can't remember when that started, has a feeling there was a rental car and a Captain & Tennille song involved) and he asks her to dinner, she thinks of Nathan's recent disappearing act and she says yes.
Nathan's distance spirals into absence within a day of Audrey's first date with the ornery biologist.
He no longer stops by her office to say good morning, he insists on taking separate cars to crime scenes – when he goes to them at all – and he barely speaks to her outside of work. He even turns down pancakes – pancakes! – the one time Audrey offers to buy him breakfast in an attempt to pull him back in from the cold.
Audrey takes it in stride, lets him throw his (manly, so very manly and mature) temper tantrum, and manages along as though nothing has changed.
(She still loses focus every time he enters the room, like he takes all the breathable air away from the space and leaves her gasping for oxygen. She still wishes he'd look at her, notice her. She'd take a frown at his point – anything but the shuttered expression he constantly wears these days. It's beginning to take all her willpower not to slap him, just to see what he'd do.)
When the thing with Brody fizzles (which was inevitable because the man isn't an idiot and Audrey doesn't have a particularly good poker face), she walks the solid two miles from her apartment above The Gull to Nathan's bungalow near the Point, and she bangs on the door with both of her fists, taps out the rhythm of her frustration with the heels of her hands.
"Jesus," Nathan says as soon as he opens the door and sees Audrey standing on his stoop. Her eyes are wild, cheeks flushed. She looks…angry. "What's wrong? What's happened?"
"I get that you're a man – a man from coastal Maine, no less – and that as such you're inclined to act like an idiot on occasion." She takes a step closer to him and he unconsciously (or, maybe, consciously considering the amount of damage she's caused others twice his size in the past) takes a step backward. "But I've got two words for you right now, Nathan Wurnous." Her pointer finger invades his personal space and jabs him in the chest, hard. "Jess Minion."
He opens his mouth to protest, to argue that it wasn't the same, that the circumstances were different, but even he knows he's wrong. He stares at her a moment longer before he hangs his head, steps back fully to allow her inside. She storms into the house and he loses himself in the scent of her that breezes past him. She smells like lilacs and the ocean, like a woman who walked a good distance to call him out on his monumental stupidity.
(He's pretty sure that's what love smells like.)
"I get the lack of talking," she says as he closes the door. "I know communication for you is like pulling concrete teeth from a titanium jaw."
"Shut up, Nathan."
She's on a roll; she's had time to think about what she wanted to say and she's warmed to her topic. He snaps his jaw closed and does as he's told.
"You disappeared. You pushed me away and faded out and you did it even before Brody asked me to dinner. I don't get it, Nathan. One minute, you're there and the next you're missing in action on the friend front."
He stares at her, chagrined and embarrassed, and immediately defensive in spite of it all. "You're the only thing – the only person – I can feel in the entire world. I'd be lying if I said it didn't change my feelings for you, Audrey, but the idea of you reciprocating out of sympathy…or worse, pity…and then Brody shows up…"
He watches the tension leave her body, sees her posture relax. It's like watching water puddle.
"We make our own choices in life, Nathan. If there's something between us," she motions between them with her hand, almost hits him in the chest she's standing so close, "then it's there despite everything else. I care about you because you're you. It just makes sense when you think about it."
(And she had. Audrey had thought about it nearly every day since the man with a day's growth of scruff and a wool sweater that had seen better days had pulled her out of her rental car and saved her life. So far, in all of the things she'd learned and seen in Haven, the way she felt about Nathan was the only thing that made sense.)
"I'm an idiot," he says after a few quiet seconds.
"Most of the time, yes."
"He said something about glowing algae and spawning carp in Maryland before he broke up with me."
He braves a step closer to her, shortens the distance between them by a few more inches. She reaches out to brush invisible lint from his ancient sweater.
"He broke up with you?" He sounds absolutely surprised; gob smacked, even.
(Audrey likes that tone in his voice. A lot.)
She shrugs, her eyes focused on the point just above his collar where his Adam's apple bobs. "We had different interests."
"He likes bugs and plants and I like you."
Nathan smiles, blushes without really meaning to. "What are your thoughts on dinner?"
She grins. "I'm a fan." He motions toward the kitchen and she nods, pauses on her way by. She leans up and kisses him, quick and light and on the side of his mouth. He feels his whole body respond, has to remind himself to breathe. "I love breakfast, though," she says, her breath tickling the side of his face as she whispers into his ear. "And you owe me a week's worth of good mornings."