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[personal profile] brilliant_ideas
Story: A Little Help From My Friends.
Summary: Angie asks Nicoletta for some help.

Angie's attention span was shot to hell and back that day, but he thought he had a good fucking reason to be a bit spacey at the moment. He'd been waiting at Andy's shop since he woke up and convinced himself to roll out of bed and leave his and Rayne's apartment, sometime late that morning. He'd been waiting in the front of the parlor ever since. Sarah knew something was off - Sarah always knew - but stopped asking after the first few "Are you okay?"s got answered with nothing but blank "I'm fine"s.

He really hated lying to his sister.

He still knew when Nicoletta walked in. Maybe not right away, but he knew. She, for probably the first time ever, was the person he was actually waiting for.

"Mind if I talk to you about something, Boss Lady?" he asked, once one of the other employees fled to the back to tell Andy that his wife was here. He glanced over at Sarah, and quickly tacked on, "In private?" when he saw how hard Sarah was watching.

Nicoletta paused, glancing toward the back and then giving Sarah a significant look. Sarah practically squeaked and retreated, and Angie did almost smile at her reaction. "Yeah," she said to him when it was clear. "What's going on?"

He decided to just get it over with. "I need money." Maybe not like that. "Doctors are stupid fucking expensive. We can't..." Angie sighed and rubbed a hand over his eyes. "I have cancer," he finally spat out.

She was silent for a minute before asking, "How advanced? What kind?" and setting her purse on the counter, rifling through it to pull out her wallet.

He laughed humorlessly. "Breast cancer, of all the fucking--and stage three."

She eyed his chest and raised an eyebrow, but just said, "How much is the surgery? Chemo and meds?"

"Too fucking much," he muttered. After a moment, he told her what the hospital had estimated, almost feeling sick with it, because who had that much fucking money just lying around?

Nicoletta did, which he was been betting on. He hadn't expected her to even say yes. Asking her was a desperation act, before he had to tell Sarah, and deal with doctors and hospitals and more fucking meds. He silently shook himself out of those thoughts, and made sure to look her in the eye before he continued. "I'll pay you back every damn cent of it. I just... need some help to stay around long enough to actually do it."

"Oh shut up," she said dismissively, and signed a check with a flourish. "You're Sarah's sibling. If my brother needed help because he was sick and didn't fucking ask, I'd kick his ass. If you need more, let me or Andy know--I'll tell him that we talked." She handed the check to Angie, who took it reflexively.

The fucking check was one and a half times what Angie had said they'd estimated. He shoved the check into his pocket before the number could burn into his brain, not really trusting himself with it. He'd give it to Rayne as soon as he could.

"Thanks," he said, hoping it sounded sincere. He still wasn't used to saying it. "And I'm gonna pay you back anyway. I know you're stupid rich and don't need it, but I don't really like having debts."

"Hey, normally, I don't like being owed money, but I like your kid sister, and my big brother almost died of leukemia, so take your time. You can't really work after a mastectomy, I bet." Nicoletta shrugged. "Start paying me back by fucking telling Sarah, or I'll kick your ass."

"It was the next thing on the list." And he didn't like the insinuation that he wouldn't tell Sarah, but he was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. "I thought I'd see if I could get some good news to go with the bad first. Thanks for that."

She nodded briefly and then called to the back, "Someone tell Andy I'm taking Angie to lunch if he doesn't get out here." To Angie, she added, "Reservations are for two. You're coming if he doesn't hurry up."

Hell, he wasn't going to turn that down if he had the chance. "Big check and a free meal? I'm starting to like you more and more, Boss Lady," he grinned, for what probably was the first time since he had gone to the doctor.

Of course his luck wasn't that good. It was only a few more seconds before Andy walked out of the back with Sarah how on his tail. "I still think you're overreacting," he was telling her.

"You don't know that!" she hissed, before quite literally snapping her jaw shut at Angie's quizzical look.

"Sarah thinks you want to hire Nic to kill someone," Andy dryly told him.

Angie couldn't help but start laughing. Of course she did.

Nicoletta cracked up. "Like he could afford to hire me," she got out, which Angie couldn't even pretend to be offended by, considering the check burning in his pocket. "Your imagination is overactive, munchkin."

And that, combined with Sarah's indignance, just made Angie laugh harder.

"Sorry, no free meal, Angie," she added to him. "Apparently, he's hungry or something."

"I would have been up here sooner if I didn't have a midget hanging off my arm, spouting theories," Andy said, grinning.

"Well, now I'm hungry, so." Angie glanced at Sarah, who still didn't look all that pleased. "Want to order some Chinese?"

"Fine," she muttered, crossing her arms over her chest. "You didn't have to laugh that hard."

"Sarah, think about how much it would take to hire me personally. He had to laugh that hard." Nicoletta reached up to kiss Andy--Angie was pretty sure the height difference there would never be funny--and said to him, "So you're ready? Because I'm starving."

"I'm all yours," Andy told her.

He snorted as he walked, grabbing Sarah's cell phone out of her pocket. "No doubt about that," he said mostly to himself, ignoring Sarah's annoyed glare. "Have fun at lunch. Thanks for the talk, Nic."

Nicoletta gave him a meaningful look, but said teasingly, "I think you mean Boss Lady," just before she and Andy left.

Which left Angie with his little sister and a giant check. And a lot of news. They could talk about that later.

He plastered on a grin. "So. Sesame chicken, like always?"
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February 2012

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