Author's Note: After I wrote this, I had second thoughts about it, worrying that it might be seen as too stereotypical. I hope not. I felt very stongly about writing this. Nathan is usually seen as being very practical and serious. I wanted to explore his other side. I hope this is taken in the spirit it is meant.
Back to: JD
Nathan sighed as he looked around the den. He made good money with the ATF and could have afforded a much newer house than the two and two built sometime in the 1970's. But, unlike his friend and colleague Ezra, he preferred to save as much as he could rather than spend it on an ostentatious setting. It was enough for him, and for Rain when she came over. Usually, they ended up at the large apartment she rented with two other students.
But this weekend Rain was visiting her aunt and cousins and he was alone. His laundry was done. All the dishes were washed. He had cleaned out his in-box at home, getting rid of all the junk mail, and paid all his bills. The house was sparkling, upstairs and down. He had even taken his brown and beige Ford Explorer to the carwash and practically detailed the old truck. Now he looked around, alone - and lonely.
Nathan stretched impatiently. The past two weeks had been full of tension and anxiety. Now that their latest case was all wrapped up, he needed to find an outlet for the nervous energy left over. After a moment's consideration, he walked over to the phone.
"Hey, Pops," he said. "Yeah, it's Nathan. I know, too long. Look, would you have a room for me today? About three? That'd be great, see you then." Again, Nathan sighed. Four hours. Well, he could go to the store. He was almost out of dishwashing soap. And shaving cream. He walked into the kitchen to check his pantry and make a list.
Finally, two o'clock crawled around. Nathan changed into a pair of tight, black spandex workout pants, covered them with loose fitting blue nylon pants, and pulled a white sleeveless sweatshirt over his smoothly muscled torso. He got his black socks, then dug into the back of his closet. There it was, behind two suitcases and a box of old vinyl record albums, almost hidden beneath his rolled up sleeping bag. Almost reverently, he pulled the nylon bag out of its hiding place. No one knew about this, no one. Not even Rain. Although someday he hoped to have the courage to tell her.
Three o'clock saw him entering the front door and greeting 'Pops' Baskin, former star of stage if not screen, and now the proprietor of this small business.
"Hey, Pops, how you doing?" He greeted the old man warmly.
"Just fine, son." Maintaining a strong grip on his cane, the man pulled Nathan into a fierce one-armed hug. "Good to see you, boy," he said, stepping back to take a good look at the younger man.
After a moment, he continued. "Well, you bring some music?"
"Sure did," Nathan grinned, showing his white teeth.
"Well, get to it, then. Room three." With that, the older man limped off to supervise some of the others in the building.
Nathan made his way to room three and quickly loaded his CD into the player. He had asked JD to burn the collection of music for him, but hadn't told him what it was for. As the first strands of music filled the air, Nathan sat down on the floor and changed his shoes.
The sounds of 'Sweet Georgia Brown' pulled him back to his feet, and soon the staccato sounds of his tap shoes competed in volume with the music. 'Late Night Blues' followed, and was followed in turn by one of Nathan's favorites, 'Mr. Bojangles'. The sharp sounds of the taps alternated with the slides and shuffles as 'Cute' came to an end. Forty-five minutes later, Nathan was covered with a fine sheen of sweat as he pounded out all the anxiety and stress that had built up.
The music came to an end, and Nathan stopped, balanced on his left leg with his right extended to the side, arms over his head forming an arch. He held the pose for a moment, breathing hard, then whirled in surprise as someone behind him, in the doorway, began to clap.
Pops stood there, tears in his eyes, clapping his hands slowly. He came forward, regarding Nathan solemnly. "You still got it, boy," he said, his voice husky. "Don't know why you wouldn't turn pro."
Nathan looked away. "You know, Pops. Had more important things to do," he muttered.
"More important than bringing joy to thousands of people? Makin' 'em forget their troubles for a while?" The old man stared at Nathan.
Nathan caught his breath, looking around the practice room. This particular room was closed; it didn't have an observation window like the others. One wall was covered with a mirror, but Nathan hadn't watched himself dance. He had just let the music fill his body, turn him whichever way it wanted to.
"You know," he said, in a low voice. "I just couldn't... all those people. Watchin' me." Nathan shook his head sadly.
Pops nodded. "I know, boy. I know," he said sadly. "You had the talent, right enough. But that ain't all there is to it. You got to have the want to. You got to be able to get up there on that stage and say, 'Look at me!'. You just got all tensed up, couldn't listen to the music for watchin' all the people watchin' you."
Nathan just nodded mutely. One of the biggest surprises he had ever gotten in his life was when he had found his childhood dance teacher living and teaching in Denver. Pops had left the south for a career in live theatre, dancing his way across the country with troop after troop. Arthritis had sentenced him to a life of observation now, but the man's wisdom and experience were still valued in the dance community and his studio thrived.
"Don't worry 'bout it, boy. You are doing good work. Important work," Pops said. "Much as I would like to see you in front of those bright lights, that just ain't you." He was quiet for a moment, then added. "I'm proud of you, son. Just as proud as your father was."
Turning away, Nathan grabbed his bag and changed back into his cross- trainers. He stuffed his tap shoes back into the bag, keeping his face lowered so Pops wouldn't see the tears that threatened. "Thank you," he said huskily. Pulling himself tiredly to his feet, Nathan retrieved his CD from the player and tucked it into the bag, too.
"Thanks, Pops," he said again, louder.
"Anytime, son. Don't be a stranger." Pops walked Nathan to the door, checking his watch. "Well, got to get ready for the four o'clock classes. You call me, Nathan. You hear?"
"Yes, sir," Nathan said with a smile. He headed out the door and turned right, his steps easy and relaxed now.
In front of the studio, a young man pulled up on a Kawasaki Ninja. He held the bike steady as a young woman climbed off the back, holding a purple nylon dance bag. She handed the bag to the young man and took off her helmet, shaking her brown hair loose. Trading the helmet for the bag, she leaned forward to peck a kiss on his cheek.
When he didn't return the kiss, staring instead down the street, she frowned. "JD? What?"
"Huh? Oh, sorry, Casey. Just..." He stammered to a halt.
"Just what?" she asked, annoyance creeping into her voice.
"I just thought I saw Nathan walking down the street," he answered, then shook his head. "Must be seein' things." He planted a kiss on her forehead. "Have a good class, I'll be back to pick you up in an hour."
They said their good-byes again, this time with a quick kiss on the lips. With one last look down the street, JD secured the extra helmet on the back of his bike and took off around the corner.
|Secret Indulgence Index||On to: Josiah|
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