Summary: Matt gets an unexpected visitor.
November Picture Prompt:
"Can we at least eat dinner first?" Matt grumbled as he pulled the box of depositions from the back seat of the car. "Or are you going to start on these as soon as we get inside?"
"I said I'm sorry, I know we planned to go out to eat," replied Taylor. "But this meeting tomorrow is important and I promised my father I'd handle it. We're the ones who need all the clients we can get, remember?"
Matt smiled sarcastically at yet another dig at Posner Klein's dominance in the client wars against Wethersby Stone and Associates. Another dozen former clients of Jordan's had opted to stay with PK that week, further demoralizing his firm.
"You shouldn't have to work this hard, Taylor. Especially now."
"Please, when you're in the middle of a court case you're just as single-minded," she said as they made their way out of the garage.
"And yet here I am still able to have dinner with you. Every night."
Taylor sighed. "Fine. No work tomorrow night."
Matt stuck his key in his front door but didn't turn it. "And tonight?"
"I promise, no reading at the table. But then you'll have to find something to do to amuse yourself."
He smiled and opened his mouth with a suitably dirty rejoinder but she pushed the door open and walked ahead of him to spare herself from having to hear it.
When she saw that the lights were on in the living room she figured Matt had left them on yet again – she was familiar with his story about how Sonny Bono didn't like it in the dark. So she started in fright when a figure emerged from the bathroom. Within a split second, however, Taylor's shock turned to anger when she saw the figure was female wearing a short robe that left little to the imagination, toweling her hair dry.
"Oh, hello," the woman said, surprised herself on seeing Taylor. "Is Matt with you?"
Taylor glared over her shoulder but he was still at the door locking up for the night. She crossed her arms.
"Matt, I think you have a visitor," she said coolly.
He walked in behind her, the box of files still in his arms, when he looked up and saw first Taylor, then the other woman.
"Sez?" he said in astonishment. When he dropped the box unceremoniously on the floor Taylor's eyes narrowed.
"Hey, crater face!"
The two of them laughed as they stepped towards each other and hugged. Matt pulled her off her feet and swung her around. Taylor's mouth was open but she managed to close it before the two of them separated.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, his face split by a grin.
"Making myself at home, of course."
Matt kept his arm around her as they turned to face Taylor. He tilted his head towards the woman. "Taylor, meet my wayward little sister, Sarah."
"Oh," Taylor replied, breathing a very small and well hidden sigh of relief. "Hi, I'm Taylor."
She held out her hand automatically which seemed to amuse Sarah as she shook it.
"Nice to meet you. I'm kinda relieved, because unless you have a new hobby, bro, I'm guessing those heels in the closet belong to you, Taylor."
"You've already been through my closet?" Matt asked, though there was no annoyance in his voice.
"Sure, what else was I going to do while I waited for you to get home?" She elbowed him in the ribs as she moved away from him and gave her damp hair a last rub. "I'm gonna go throw on some clothes."
"You got rid of the dreads I see."
"Yeah, what can I say, they even got to me after a while." Sarah ran her fingers through her shoulder length blond hair. "What's for dinner? I'm starved. And I want to hear all your news."
"You're the one who hasn't been home in three years…" Matt called after her, but she had already disappeared into his spare bedroom. He still wore a hint of a smile when his eyes met Taylor's.
"My sister," he said as he gestured down the hall. "She's not one for announcing her arrival."
"You haven't seen her in three years?" Taylor couldn't help but be affected by the obvious joy the unexpected visitor brought him. Matt's face was lit up like a kid's at Christmas.
"No, but she does send a postcard occasionally." He set about retrieving the box of her files and placed them on the coffee table. "She took off after a year of college and has only been home a few times. She's worked her way across Europe and South America, Australia, God knows where else."
"How long does she usually stay when she's back?" Taylor asked, then realized it probably sounded more territorial than she'd intended. Though she still had her apartment she never stayed there – without really discussing it they had been living together since Jordan's recovery. But Matt didn't seem to notice as he cleared the dining table of some work he'd left behind.
"Your guess is as good as mine," he said.
"Probably as long as I can stand staying with old crater face here," Sarah offered as she reentered the room.
Matt laughed good naturedly but when she slapped him on the shoulder a playful fight ensued during which she tried unsuccessfully to get her six foot tall brother into a headlock. Taylor looked on with amusement at first, but when they didn't stop and more colorful name calling began she shook her head at their juvenile behavior. It was times like these she was thankful she was an only child.
"So, where did you get in from this time?" he asked after calling a truce. They were both out of breath.
Sarah collapsed into a chair. "After Barcelona I headed to Portugal. Trekked around for a while."
"And in all that time you couldn't find an Internet café? You know, to let your family know where you were."
"What was the point, I knew I was coming back here right after."
Sarah rolled her eyes. "I even called the parentals and promised to go visit for a while before I head off again."
"And when will that be?"
"I don't know. I mean, I don't want to intrude. I didn't expect to find you shacked up with someone. How long's this been going on for?"
"Not long," said Taylor quickly. Both Matt and Sarah turned to her and she wondered if they'd forgotten she was even there.
As Sarah looked at her she was not subtle about sizing her up. "Judging by the suit, I'm guessing you're a lawyer too?"
"Never was a truer word spoken," Sarah replied.
Matt's hands went playfully to her throat. "You have to forgive my bratty sister. She doesn't approve of the law."
"I approve of the law, I just have a problem with the litigious nature of this culture and the system that kowtows to the lowest common denominator."
"Well, you'll be pleased to know that Taylor's firm fights on the side of right. They only take on socially responsible clients."
"And you?" Sarah asked and gave his hand a hard pinch.
"I'm still a blood sucking lawyer," he said with a grin.
"How is it that we're related?"
"Well, speaking of work, I'm going to get started on these depos. Let you two catch up," said Taylor. She couldn't stand around feeling awkward any longer. She collected the box of files when Matt didn't move to help.
"I'm going to order dinner," Matt said as she walked away.
"Something I said?" Sarah asked after Taylor had disappeared into the bedroom.
"I doubt it," said Matt. "What do you want to eat?"
"Whatever will get here the fastest. I'm starving."
Matt ordered pizza and they drank beer as they caught up on Sarah's most recent adventures. She picked up work where she could to fund her travels and spent most of her time as a cook. Matt explained to Taylor that she was actually quite talented but Sarah shrugged off the compliment. She preferred to think of it as just work that she could leave whenever the mood took her.
Taylor stuck with water and ate little as Matt and Sarah dominated the conversation which grew increasingly loud as more beer was consumed. She checked her watch with regularity until she interrupted them long enough to let them know she had work finish up. Taylor waited but there was little reaction beyond Matt smiling at her briefly before turning back to his sister. Taylor spent the rest of the evening working and feeling just a little left out.
A couple of hours later, Sarah lit a cigarette when she moved outside onto the balcony. Matt followed a minute later and handed her another beer.
"How'd you guess?" she said. "Where's Taylor?"
Matt shrugged. "She works hard."
"So do you, Mr. Partner. She's not pissed I'm here is she?"
"No, she's not like that."
"She wasn't exactly giving me the warm and fuzzies..."
"Taylor's not really the warm and fuzzies type. You'll like her when you get to know her, Sez," Matt said as he took a seat.
Sarah raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "So, is this serious? Last time I was here you were sleeping with anything in a skirt."
"Things are a little undefined at the moment," he admitted.
When he didn't clarify further she didn't bother pushing him. "Well, she's hot, I'll give you that."
"Yes, she is. She's also pregnant."
Sarah's eyes bulged. "What? Are you serious?"
"Yep." Matt was suddenly watching her reaction carefully.
"Oh my God, I never would have believed it. You're going to be a father?"
"How do you feel?"
Matt let out a long breath. "Um, considering I only found out a couple of weeks ago I'd say shocked, dismayed, scared out of my wits… and kinda excited."
Sarah's face softened. "Aw, Matt! Have you told Mom and Dad?"
"Not yet. It's early... we're still working out what it all means."
"But you're keeping it?"
"Yeah," he replied with a small smile.
"That's awesome," she said and shook her head at him. "God, I'm so... impressed. My brother, settling down."
"You should try it sometime."
"Getting knocked up?"
"Staying in one place for more than a few months," he said indulgently. "Actually seeing your family for more than a few days at a time. Seriously, Sez, you're going to be an aunt."
"I know. That's weird... I admit I've been thinking about it." She dropped her cigarette butt into a discarded beer bottle. "Staying put, that is."
It was Matt's turn to be surprised. "Really?"
"Maybe. I mean, I'll be thirty soon. I suppose it's as good a time as any to make some plans."
Matt smiled happily which made Sarah grin.
"Dork," she said.
0 0 0 0
Matt finally came to bed several hours later. He slipped under the sheets beside Taylor and wrapped an arm around her after he shifted closer.
"Hmph," Taylor grunted as she stirred.
"Go back to sleep," he whispered and kissed her bare shoulder.
"You smell," she grumbled more clearly. "Have you been smoking?"
Taylor rolled over and took one sniff, then pushed him away. "Gross. Since when do you smoke?"
"When my wayward sister comes home every three years?" he replied hopefully, but was met with only a stony glare. "I'll just be sleeping over here."
Taylor rolled over and pulled the sheets sharply with her.
"That's fine. It's warm tonight," he said lightly. His good mood at Sarah's decision to stop traveling could not be dampened.
0 0 0 0
Taylor slept late and had to shower and dress hurriedly for work the next morning. She had intended to go in early, having gotten less preparation done than she would have liked for her meeting, but she was finding that she was sleeping more than usual. She knew it was normal, that many pregnant women felt this way early on, but she still surprised how energy-sapping that a baby so small she wasn't even showing could actually be.
To her surprise Matt and Sarah, who'd stayed up most of the night talking, were both awake and impossibly lively when she joined them in the kitchen.
"Morning!" Sarah said cheerily and presented her with a glistening plate of sausage, eggs, bacon and innumerable other ingredients that turned Taylor's stomach as soon as she saw it. "I hope you're hungry because I did a full English fry up."
Taylor tried to smile but she was fighting a losing battle. Without a word she fled and just made it to the bathroom in time.
"So much for making up for last night," Sarah murmured, and Matt wasn't sure if she meant herself or Taylor.
"It's okay," he said as he took the plate from her and set it on the bench.
"I didn't realize it would make her sick."
"She's been pretty lucky with the morning sickness. But I think the blood sausage was probably a bad move."
"It's black pudding. You have to have black pudding in a fry up. I bought it specially."
"What happened to pancakes?"
"I never worked at an IHOP, sorry." Sarah brushed past him with her own breakfast and proceeded to eat.
Matt went in search of Taylor and found her still retching over the toilet bowl. He made a revolted face that immediately turned into a sympathetic one when she caught him looking at her.
"You okay?" he asked gently.
"Oh, just great." She pulled herself up, still feeling shaky, and flushed.
"I can make you some cereal instead."
"Please don't talk about food." Taylor rinsed her mouth several times and swigged a mouthful of Listerine while he continued to watch her. He laid his hand against the small of her back in support which finally elicited a wan smile from her.
"Maybe we should just tell Sarah I'm not much of a meat eater," Taylor suggested.
"Oh. I told her last night. About the baby," he admitted sheepishly. "I know we said we wouldn't tell anyone yet but..."
"It's okay, she's your sister. I told my father. Well, he guessed. What did she say?"
"She was surprised, but happy for us. She's even thinking about sticking around for a while, maybe finally stopping traveling."
Taylor didn't miss the hint of excitement in his voice. "That's... nice," she finally ventured. "You've really missed her, haven't you?"
"Yeah," he said nonchalantly but he couldn't hide his smile for long. He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
Taylor frowned then. "When you say sticking around, do you mean..."
"Not here, don't worry," he replied in good humor. "She'll find her own place."
"No, it's fine. I mean, good, but it's okay if she stays for a while," Taylor continued, not wanting to disappoint him.
"You wouldn't mind?"
"Of course not." It was only a small lie and she was happy to tell it when she saw his eyes light up. He kissed her properly, ignoring the fact she had just been throwing up a minute earlier.
"Let's just skip the big breakfast productions though," Taylor said as they left the ensuite. "And she can't smoke inside. And you can't smoke at all."
"Deal," he replied, giving her hand a squeeze.
0 0 0 0