down, down, never come again Who: Nish & BB What: Nish is going for a run, and BB is following her Where: The beach outside Pax When: February 8, around 6:30 a.m.
Her eyes snapped open at 5:58 and she glared at the alarm clock as if it had offended her. Bear was sleeping curled up against her stomach and she reached down to idly stroke his soft fur for the next two minutes until her phone alerted her that it was officially ‘morning’.
Now used to her routine, Bear sat up and stretched, looking at her expectantly to start moving and give him his morning offering. With a sigh she slid out of bed, doing a few lazy yoga stretches in the thin morning light before padding out of her room and down the hall with Bear following close and purring loudly beside her, muttering softly to him that he only loved her because of her opposable thumbs.
It was a run day, and she quickly got dressed, turning on the coffee maker on her way out the door so it would be ready when she got back upstairs. Still yawning, she took the stairs down, taking the emergency door out into the sunlight that warmed skin that tingled pleasantly in the still cool morning air. She was wearing a tank top, yoga pants and good running shoes, her hair hastily tied up in a ponytail. Not exactly a fashion statement, but she was going for a run, not a photoshoot.
After a few light stretches she took off, taking the now-familiar paved path that followed the beach, finally able to relax and let her mind drift, processing the events of the other night. Puzzling out Rafael and her and what exactly she’d gotten herself into.
Another runner appeared out of her peripheral vision, clearly pushing herself to catch up with the taller runner. BB was no slouch, up and running nearly every day. It was a habit ingrained in her by her father, who'd been big on exercise for his whole family. She found it was a great way to burn off excess energy and set the right tone for her day, even when all that excess inevitably seemed to come back. She glanced to her right, noticing Nish, and then doing a double take when she realized just who it was.
She matched Nish's stride, her own long, dark hair streaming behind her. BB popped an earbud out, grinning widely as she tried to make her pumping arms look like a wave even as they continued moving.
"Well hello again, stranger! Funny seeing you here!"
Nish wasn’t paying any attention to her surroundings, instead running in deep thought, but as soon as she caught sight of something in her peripheral she swerved just slightly, in case it was an almost collision. It wasn’t, and when she saw what it was, she groaned audibly.
“Stalking is illegal in all 50 states,” she called over to her, picking up speed just slightly and hoping the shorter woman wouldn’t be able to keep up.
BB laughed, moving her smaller form to catch the taller woman without too much effort. "Oh, please don't flatter yourself. If anything, you're the one who's encroaching on my territory, lady. Isn't it a stereotype for up and coming lawyers to sleep in their offices to save on rent? Why are you even in this area?!"
Nish rolled her eyes as her attempts to dislodge the parasite from her side failed. “Not that it’s any of your business, but I happen to live here,” she said, annoyance plain in her voice. “I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the world is not made up entirely of just you and your groupies.” Yes, she’d done some homework, and yes, she knew who she was. After a bit of thought Jessica had actually recognized her from the online gossip magazine and been incredibly embarrassed that she hadn’t noticed earlier.
If there was meant to be a slight in Nish's comment, BB ignored it in favor of focusing on the fact that Nish was a local. "Oh my god, I live here too! Which complex? Are you on the beach? Oh my god we can hang out and braid each other's hair!" She dropped the sarcasm, though her grin was ever present. Nish stopped running, fixing her with her ‘are you fucking kidding me’ stare.
"Ooooor you can just tell me what I wanted to know about Bullock's stalker, because at least I haven't invaded your home with a loaded shotgun. Yet.”
Nish opened her mouth to retort, but was cut off. "Also, that right there's called a joke, princess, before you spout off some other piece of the law in my face just to prove your fancy law degree."
She closed her mouth and narrowed her eyes. “You’re a real piece of work, you know that?” she laughed. “What makes you think I’d give you that kind of information? And besides, I’m not even prepared to comment on whether or not I actually did take that case.” She couldn’t blame a reporter for being persistent, but she definitely wasn’t going to get anything out of her. “Go home, little girl, you’re fishing in the wrong pond.” She turned and started running again.
BB followed with ease, now far too curious to leave 'Ms. Bariss' well enough alone. "Don't you know you're just dropping a bigger lure? Besides, there are other ways to find things out.”
She stopped running again, throwing her head back in exasperation. “Oh my god, then find them out that way, you gnat!” she cried.
“You might not have confirmed anything to me, but the fact that you're being pretty damned evasive says a lot on its own. And yes, I know I'm special. My daddy tells me every day.”
Nish sighed and closed her eyes for a moment before answering. “Okay, one, if I was on that case, I could not confirm it so as to not breach client privilege, and two, if I wasn’t I still could not deny it, because then you’d just go stalk somebody else and that might come back on me.”
“Seriously, though, where around here are you living? I've been scoping out new apartment complexes."
“Alaska,” she retorted, turning to start running again, “at least that’s where I’d rather be,” she muttered to herself.
BB tilted her head, her smile malicious. "Hm, haven't heard of that one. Maybe I'll just list some in the area for you, and you can stop me when I'm hot?" Without waiting for acquiescence on Nish's part, BB tilted her head back to the sky as she continued to match Nish's pace.
"Riverside? Lackham? Coronado?"
A smirk tugged at the corner of Nish’s lips when she said that. Okay, she could guess. She could guess for as long as she wanted. She kept running, and stayed silent, wanting to see just how long she’d keep guessing before she finally gave up.
BB's eyes narrowed, watching Nish's face for any hint of a confirmation. She didn't let annoyance wheedle its way into her face or her perseverance, at least, not yet.
"The Bays? Balboa? Pax Letale?"
Nish didn’t stop running, didn’t react, didn’t make any outward signs that any of those places meant anything to her, but she did shift her eyes to the horizon beyond the beach. Already the path was circling back home, her usual route more of a circuit so that she got back in time to have breakfast and a quick shower before heading to work. Her glance had nothing to do with what BB was saying, it just happened to be at the same time as she said ‘Pax Letale’. Regardless, BB took it as a sign.
"You know, if you really want me to earn that stalker moniker, I could always just follow you home," she teased, watching Nish's face. "Though Pax Letale is pretty nice. I live there, so I think I could say so. Lotta celebs popping up in the building, too, it's like a magnet or something. So weird."
’Ohh please god, no,’ the voice whined, and for once she agreed with it. Her breath hitched slightly as she thought of the implications of a fucking TMZ reporter living in the building. A lot of celebrities around. Yes, like Rafael. Who she could clearly be seen entering and exiting the building with Monday night on an obvious date.
“You live there?” she mocked instead of allowing her reaction to become obvious. “Where, in the cupboard under the stairs?” it was a sloppy jab, but she had been thrown off balance. They’d need to be more careful. Their date on Thursday will need to be more discreet.
"Sadly, no, I didn't opt for the Harry Potter special," BB quipped back. "Second floor, actually. Whole studio to myself. Why, you looking for a comparison to your digs? Because I'd be happy to come look and give you some pointers."
They were getting closer to the building, and now that she knew the reporter lived there too, there was nothing she could do about hiding where she lived anymore. Yes there was, she lived on the second floor...at least she wouldn’t find out what floor Nish was on.
“Wow, a whole studio? How fun,” she said, her voice dripping with condescension. They were almost there and she was running out of time to think something up to get rid of her. In the end she decided to let it go, there were more important battles after all, and she needed to be sharp for her day in court and not waste all her energy on her.
So when they ended up heading back into Pax Letale, she didn’t say anything to her, just acted normal like BB should have already known. Breathing hard, she nodded to Stephan with a smile as she headed to the elevators, wiping the sweat from her forehead with the back of her arm. BB likewise offered the stylish concierge a wiggle of her fingers, but still followed Nish toward the elevators.
"So what's on the sched, today, counselor? Gonna help out another stalker, or maybe some druggies? Any dirt you wanna shake off before you head in?" She crossed her arms over her chest as she took up a small amount of room and oxygen next to her harassee near the elevator door.
Nish rubbed her forehead with one hand as she waited for the elevator, rolling her eyes behind her hand. “Do you count?” she asked rhetorically. The elevator opened and she stepped inside, thinking fast and hitting the button for a higher floor she didn’t live on. “Actually there is this one case I’m working on…” she said as the doors closed. “He’s a serial killer who only stalks annoying internet magazine reporters…”
BB jumped forward, hitting the open door button.
"Hey! HEY!" But the doors closed in her face, leaving her stepping back with a pout as Nish effectively out-maneuvered her. "He's a serial killer who stalks annoying internet magazine reporters," she repeated in a high-pitched, lilting voice muttered under her breath; sarcasm nearly pooled on the floor. She didn't look back to see what Stephan thought of the whole event, instead turning to the door leading to the stairs and bounding up the two flights to the second floor.