What's in a NamebyChiara23©
This story is solely my property and may not be reproduced or published without my express permission. Any resemblance to people living or dead is merely a coincidence.
For those of you who have read the previous incarnation of this story you know I botched it pretty badly. This is essentially a re-write of the original story. There are some elements that will survive the chopping block, and some that will not much to my chagrin and my husband's delight. You were RIGHT honey, get over it! I am hoping by taking the time to do this re-write I will be able to recapture the initial ideas that would have made this a decent story.
Darcy had placed his ad on Kijiji for a roommate. Fortunately the apartment sold itself, it was a spacious two bedroom walk up with tons of upgrades.
The first few responses were complete busts, one guy was a stoner and the other seemed to think that he could stay rent free.
Then he got a response from a guy named Alex which seemed too good to be true. This guy was willing to pay half the rent and utilities and would pay his first and last immediately with a security deposit.
Darcy sent Alex an e-mail to arrange a meeting at a local Tim Horton's coffee shop. They both described what they'd be wearing and agreed to meet at six.
Darcy got there a bit early and picked up a coffee, finding a table that he could watch the whole shop from. A few minutes later he choked on his coffee as a pretty girl wearing the combat jacket he was looking for walked in, he pegged her at around twenty-eight. She pulled back her hoodie, and he saw that she had long reddish brown hair and very straight even features. Just like she'd described.
A sharp pain and blinding flash of light ripped through Darcy's head and he winced. His right eye began to water with the pain behind it. Darcy wiped his eye and shook his head, trying to clear it.
The girl looked around and saw Darcy, her eyes widened in surprise. She paused for a second then continued over to the counter and got a coffee. Drink in hand she walked over to Darcy, and held out her hand with a quirky smile which made Darcy melt inside, "Hi I'm Alex Nolan. You must be Darcy?"
Darcy stood up and took Alex's hand. "Hi Alex, I'm Darcy James. I was ah, expecting someone else," he said as the pain gnawed through his brain.
Alex smiled and laughed, her laughter tinkling like wind chimes. "Well you're not what I expected either Darcy. Mind if I sit? Or has the room mysteriously been filled now?"
Darcy grinned as the pain slowly subsided in his head, "Nope, last time I checked there was only one eligible candidate on my list. Some guy named Alex, do you know him?"
Alex grinned back at him, "Nope, you know a girl named Darcy?"
"Nope, haven't heard of her."
"I'm still interested in the apartment though. Can we go see it now?"
"Sure, it's only three blocks down the street."
They walked the three blocks, chatting back and forth. He didn't know why, but every time he looked into Alex's eyes he got a sharp pain behind his eye.
Darcy led Alex upstairs to the apartment, unlocking the door and letting her enter first. He took a good look at her and thought it might not be a bad thing if she moved in. She was extremely easy on the eyes and he thought she had a great personality and sense of humour.
Alex looked around and was really impressed by the place. It sure beat the hell out of sofa surfing like she had been doing for the past few months. Her ex-husband had pretty much screwed her for everything but her clothes and her car.
She caught Darcy checking her out out of the corner of her eye. A slight smile played across her lips. She had to admit he was a good looking guy, and he seemed pretty decent. She turned to face him, "So it's five hundred a month plus one-fifty for utilities? What's the security deposit?"
"Three hundred for the deposit."
Alex smiled her quirky smile which made Darcy's heart skip. She pulled her wallet out of her purse and began counting out bills. When Alex was done she handed the stack to Darcy.
"Is it okay if I move in today? I don't have much stuff, I just have to bring my car over."
Darcy was a bit surprised, "Uh, yeah, sure that's fine. Did you want me to walk you back to your car?"
Alex smiled at Darcy, "Thanks but I should be fine. Back in a few 'kay?"
Alex slipped out the door and gave him a quick wave.
Darcy frowned and went to the linen closet. 'What the fuck was that? God it felt like someone drove a dagger through my eye,' he thought to himself.
He pulled some clean sheets and towels out and took them to Alex's room. Darcy quickly made the bed and placed the towels at the foot of her bed.
A few minutes later there was a buzz from the intercom, "Hey it's me," Alex called up.
Darcy buzzed her through and opened the door. Alex came in with two large military style duffels, struggling a bit as she wedged them through the door.
Darcy offered to take one for Alex and just about fell over when he took its full weight. "What have you got in these bags, bricks?" Darcy joked.
Alex got a sad look in her eyes, "No, just the little bit of my life I have left after my ex jacked me for everything but these two bags and my car."
"God I'm sorry Alex, I feel like a complete ass." Darcy said as he showed Alex to her room.
Alex smiled shakily at Darcy, "It's okay, you didn't know." Alex thought back to the Dear Jane letter she'd gotten during her second tour in Afghanistan. It had included divorce papers. She'd managed to get leave to deal with the divorce, but had had a total breakdown afterward and was subsequently discharged as medically unfit to serve. Alex could feel hot tears coursing down her cheeks. She swiped at her eyes with the backs of her hands.
"Goddamn it! Don't cry dummy, you're tougher than this. You used to train people to kill bare-handed for Christ's sake!" she muttered to herself.
Darcy moved to Alex and wrapped his arms around her. "Shh, hey now it's okay. Calm down, why don't you go take a bubble bath and I'll bring you some wine okay?"
He gently lead her into the bathroom and started the water, adding some aromatic bubbles to the water then closing the door as he headed to the kitchen to pour Alex a large glass of wine.
Darcy picked up the phone and rang the restaurant downstairs. "Hi Steve? Yeah it's me. Look could you send up two specials, and an appetizer platter? Thanks man, a pleasure doing business with you, ha ha. Bye."
He walked the wine back up the hall and lightly knocked on the bathroom door.
"Yes?" Alex said in response to Darcy's knock.
"Hey is it safe to come in? I have some wine for you."
Darcy heard water splash and Alex said it was all clear.
Darcy opened the door and eased in to the bathroom. "How you doing Alex?" He set the wine on a small table within easy reach for her. He couldn't help but notice that her breasts were just barely hidden by bubbles.
Alex smiled at him. "When I was deployed I would've killed for a bubble bath. It still feels totally sinful."
"Deployed like in the forces deployed?" Darcy asked somewhat incredulously.
Alex flashed her quirky grin and saluted, which made her breasts do wonderful things under the bubbles. "Sergeant Alex Nolan ex-Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry at your service."
The flash of light and pain rammed through his brain again. Darcy slumped onto the stool at the foot of the tub. "I wish you wouldn't do that Alex. Are you okay with me in here? I can leave if you want."
"Do what Darcy? Get are you okay?"
Darcy blushed, "The smile, saluting, uhm both?" Darcy shook his head and blinked a few times, "Yeah I'm okay, just a bad headache."
Alex looked down, realizing that her breasts were almost fully exposed. She slid down into the bubbles as she grinned slyly behind her wine. It had been a long time since she'd had a guy act this way around her. "Sorry Darcy, I hope I'm not making you feel uncomfortable. Growing up with five brothers and one bathroom meant that there was an endless chain of kids going in or out in various stages of dress."
"No it's okay, it's just that you're like wow, and since I broke up with my ex, well to be honest you're the first woman outside of work I've spent any time with."
Alex smiled at Darcy, "Well I think you're like wow too Darcy."
"So where were you deployed Alex?"
"I was in Afghanistan for almost two full tours." she said proudly.
"Wow. Were you front line? Are you even allowed to talk about it with me?"
Alex smiled at Darcy, "I helped train the Afghan Security Forces in unarmed combat. Apparently being the youngest of six and the only girl, I have a natural affinity for fist fighting. What kind of work do you do?"
Just as Darcy was about to answer, the intercom buzzed. "That should be our dinner. I'll go get it, did you want to eat in the kitchen or...?"
"Well I'm kind of pruney, if you hand me my towel we can head to the kitchen." Alex said as she stood up, revealing her lean 5'8" frame.
Darcy gaped for a second then grabbed Alex's towel, gently wrapping her in it as the intercom buzzed again. "I'll meet you in the kitchen," he said as he gave her one last look, stepping out into the hall.
Darcy shook his head as he buzzed Steve up. Whatever was happening here was sure going to be interesting at the very least. He just couldn't figure out why his head was aching so badly. His doctor had told him that he would occasionally have problems but hadn't mentioned the blinding pain and flashes of brilliant white light.
Steve came in and placed two trays on the counter. "So boss what's the scoop? Got a heavy date tonight?" he said with a slight West Indian accent.
Alex came out still wrapped in her towel, "Well if this food tastes as good as it smells he just might. I'm Alex, his new roommate." she said as she held out her hand.
Steve grinned at Alex, and over her shoulder at Darcy. "I'm Steve, I manage the restaurant for Darcy. Plus I help him out with other things as necessary."
Alex grinned at Steve, and Darcy could see that her weapon of mass distraction had made a direct hit, making him chuckle. This girl definitely knew how to kill bare-handed.
Steve made a hasty retreat, saying goodbye to them both as he left.
"Not much makes Steve turn tail and run like that. So was that killing people bare-handed?"
"No that was a different kind of unarmed combat." Alex said with a giggle.
Darcy laughed, "Remind me not to piss you off okay? Well let's dig in while the food's hot."
Darcy pulled the lids off the food and delicious odours filled the apartment. They tucked in and Darcy watched Alex, "So I'm thirty, I figure you're what? Twenty-eight?"
Alex's laughter tinkled through the room, "No I'm thirty-three, but thanks for the compliment."
Now it was Darcy's turn to laugh, "Fuck off you are not thirty-three!"
"Yes I am thirty-three, I'm just blessed with youthful genes." Alex said with a slight blush and tingle through her body.
Darcy looked across the table at Alex with new eyes, he noticed a few grey hairs that he'd missed earlier and saw laugh lines at the corners of her blue eyes. These few hints at her actual age only enhanced her underlying youthful beauty.
Alex bore Darcy's scrutiny bravely, knowing she had nothing to fear from him.
"So, what do you do to pay the bills Alex?"
Alex smiled, "I've moved around a lot since I was discharged. Unfortunately my pension doesn't really pay the bills so I've been working at the Golden Garter lately to pick up the slack."
"The strip club? I'm sure you give the younger girls a run for their money."
Alex smiled at Darcy, "Again, thank you for the wonderful compliment but I don't dance there, I'm head of security."
"So I guess you get to break heads on a regular basis then?" Darcy asked as he tried to fight back the pain and nausea again.
Alex shrugged and grinned, "Sometimes, but I usually let the bouncers handle the rowdies. Mind you it is fun shocking the hell out some bruiser with a nerve punch that makes his arm go numb. When I was twelve I found a book on Jeet Kun Do at our library, my brothers never wanted to fight me after that. So Steve said he manages the restaurant for you? How long have you been doing that?"
"A few years now, I bought the building with some money I had stashed away and I thought I'd revamp the old place and see if I could make a go of it. So far we've been able to stay in the black."
"Steve mentioned he did other things 'as needed', what did he mean by that?" she asked with a calculating stare.
Darcy shrugged, "Well you could call him my head of security too. He helps me with some personal matters that occasionally crop up."
"Ah, okay. So if you've got a good business and are in the black why do you need to have a roommate Darcy?"
"To be honest I don't really have a great social life, between running the restaurant and what not I don't have a lot of time for myself. I figured a roommate might be what I needed to actually have contact with people outside of work."
"Not to be rude or anything, but what on earth possessed your parents to give you a girl's name Darcy?" Alex asked with a giggle.
"Hey technically it's a guy's name too, it's just more common as a girl's. So what about you Alexandra?" Darcy teased.
Alex laughed, "The only people who've called me Alexandra since I was five are my mom and dad. And it usually meant I was in trouble. I've always been a bit of a tomboy, but don't get me wrong, I can still get girly sometimes. My dad says I can clean up pretty good when I try."
"So I guess the tomboy thing is what got you into the army?"
"Yeah, I was an army cadet in school, then I joined the reserves hoping to be a tanker. My CO saw that I'd be wasted in a tank and had me train some of the other troops in unarmed combat just to see how I'd do. I got 'noticed' by the brass and was accepted into the army and had a fast ride up to Sergeant. If I hadn't had my meltdown I was on my way to officer training."
"Wow, it sounds like your dream life got blasted to smithereens."
"Pretty much. After my divorce I lost it, went to a base psychiatrist and learned that I had bipolar disorder. I've been on some pretty serious medication cocktails since then. The one I'm on right now has me pretty stable. If this is too much info tell me to shut up okay?"
"No it's okay Alex, this is obviously something that you've needed to talk about. Uhm, when you stood up in the tub I kinda noticed you had scars. Are they bullet wounds?"
Alex blushed slightly, "Yeah, I got those near the end of my first deployment. Some of us were on a weekend furlough and decided to check out a local bazaar. We were having a good time, wandering through the stalls and buying some items when out of nowhere we were in a crossfire. One of the guys had half of his head blown off. I held him as he died, then the bastards shot me up too. I ended up in and army hospital in Germany for three months."
Darcy stared at Alex, the pain behind his right eye making him squint. "You got shot then went back for another tour? Holy shit you are one brave woman Alex."
Alex looked at Darcy with a sad smile, "I'm not brave Darcy I'm stupid. It was my idea to go to the bazaar."
"Alex you can't blame yourself for what happened. You didn't know that you'd get ambushed."
"God aren't we a gloomy pair. Why don't we talk about something else? Do you have any brothers or sisters?"
"I have a brother and sister. Bill and Kate, they're both younger than me. Bill's been married for a few years now and Kate just got married last month."
"All of my brothers are married too, well everyone except my brother Dale. He's a self proclaimed bachelor. Listen Darcy, I've had a rough couple of days. Between the wine and the great dinner I'm ready for bed. Maybe we can talk more in the morning?"
"Yeah, sure Alex. I've got some paperwork to do but I'll be quiet. Good night." Darcy said with a smile.
Alex went back to her room and crawled under her blankets. She had no idea where this was going but she hoped that it didn't leave her on the streets again. She couldn't bear that. To have fallen so far, from a decorated and respected soldier to a homeless person just barely scraping by. She felt ashamed of how her life had turned out. She didn't want him to know how she'd gotten the money for her rent. Alex started to cry softly, tears slowly streaking her cheeks.
Darcy sat at the table for a little bit. The pain and flashing light had returned, he felt like he was going to puke his head was hurting so bad. He rubbed his fingers at his right temple, he could swear he could feel the plate there shifting under his fingers.
A few weeks had passed. Alex and Darcy had gotten to know each other and learned they had many things in common. Both were history buffs and tended to gravitate toward military history. They were keenly interested in world news, especially anything related to the Afghan war. They also loved to watch anything 'Monty Python', sharing their favourite skits and nattering at eachother in cheesy English and French accents.
With Alex's job being primarily a night job she spent a lot of time at home during the day. Darcy went back and forth between the apartment and the restaurant working on the books and dealing with issues that Steve figured he needed to handle.
Alex had made herself quite comfortable in the apartment. Often times lounging around in skimpy little shorts and oversized tees, or wandering from her room to the bathroom in just a bra and panties or a towel. Darcy found he was having a hard time ignoring Alex when she did this. He really couldn't be blamed for noticing though, Alex was an attractive woman.
It was around nine o'clock on a Saturday morning when Darcy smelled fresh coffee and delicious greasy food. His eyes squinted open and he saw Alex wearing one of her baggy old tees and shorts, carrying a fully loaded tray in to his room.
"Good morning handsome! Breakfast is served. I drove down to Timmies and got you an extra large triple triple. That's what you like right?"
"God, you are an angel Alex. Let me guess, breakfast from downstairs?"
"Yeah, for some reason our fridge is always empty. I know you own a restaurant and all, and it's really easy to just order food up, but I do know how to cook you know."
Alex set the tray on the bed and sat cross-legged across from him, giving Darcy a very good view of her shorts clad mound. She'd ordered them French toast with eggs, and sausage. The one good thing about having a roommate that owned a restaurant was that she could order anything she wanted and they'd cook it up for her. As long as they had the ingredients the sky was the limit.
Alex had actually put on a few pounds since moving in, but considering that she'd lost weight over the past few months she actually looked even sexier and healthier because of it.
Alex dug in to her breakfast and began munching away. She dipped a piece of sausage into some syrup then popped it into her mouth.
"So don't you ever go out Darcy? It doesn't matter what time of day I'm home you always seem to be here." she said around a mouthful of sausage and egg.
Darcy blushed, "Now you know what I was talking about when you moved in. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a prison cell."
Alex grinned at Darcy, "Well I don't think it's healthy for you to stay cooped up in here. I'm going to take you to a movie tonight, and no arguing."
"Okay, we'll go see a movie. Anything in particular you had in mind?" Darcy said with a chuckle.
"Tell you what, you pick the movie and I'll buy the popcorn. I don't care what we see as long as you have fun okay?"
That evening they went to see an action/comedy movie. They were really enjoying it, laughing and sharing a big tub of popcorn. Alex eventually snuggled under Darcy's arm and they sat that way until to credits rolled.