You Made A Fool Outta Me
“You spend all your time with her!” Juliette yelled.
“There is nothing going on between us, she’s my friend.” Nick put his hands up and forced every ounce of annoyance down; Juliette had every reason to be angry at him, not about Elly. Elly Monroe was the last thing she had to be worried about but Nick knew that even if she was wrong here she could be angry at him for lying to her, and getting so good at it, for never being home between being gone so much with his actual job and gone more for his ‘destiny’.
“Then explain to me why you are spending more time with her than you spend with me?” Juliette looked at him and her eyes were pleading with him to give her something to make this okay somehow and Nick knew even if he did in the end she was going to leave because he couldn’t bring her into his new world, Marie had been right. Juliette had been hurt and it was all Nick’s fault. He couldn’t let her go though; he loved her too much to let her go without fighting for her.
“She was a suspect in a case, a long time ago when Aunt Marie was here,” Nick said keeping his tone low and steady like he’d been taught. “I went over to watch her, even when she’d been let out I thought there was something off, she saw me and invited me inside to search her house if I wanted.” Nick felt the lies rolling over his tongue and hated himself a little more every second for having become so very good at this. “I searched and there was nothing, but she likes to go hiking and she knew of this old cabin in the woods said there was someone there the last time she’d been running on that path, I went out there and that was where we found the missing girl.”
“She helped you with a case?” Juliette said the anger draining out of her voice leaving nothing but weariness.
“Yeah, then she was dragged into another one when her friend was murdered, but it turned out that her grandparents knew Marie,” a stretch but not much of one. “She recognised my name, we met up and swapped some stories, I should have told you but it just didn’t feel like a big deal.”
Juliette was watching him carefully waiting for more because she knew there was more, lying and saying Elly had simply helped out on some cases was not an option because it had been almost six months and Elly was his best friend and Juliette was right, he did see the Blutbad more than he saw his girlfriend. Nick wanted to tell her the truth, he wanted to explain that he was a Grimm and that there was creatures in the world and everything, a part of him wanted to tell her everything but something deep down in his gut that always, always seemed to be right screamed it was a bad idea like it had told him that night to go into Monroe’s house and accept that beer.
“Then she helped me and Hank out of a case, antique watch, she’s a watchmaker. That was when I was attacked, I asked her for help with some stuff, I knew how shaken you were and I couldn’t go to Hank since he was in lockdown.”
“Some stuff?” Juliette demanded and Nick nodded knowing he was going to have to be very specific here.
“Hank was supposed to lure the man who attacked us into a trap but he told me that he was doing something else. Monroe was coming to visit me and I asked her to follow Hank, keep an eye on him, until the police could get there from where they were supposed to be.”
Juliette nodded but didn’t say anything else just waited for Nick to continue.
“Then she was attacked, some group jumped her when she was going to work on a clock, she doesn’t have any family, doesn’t have a lot of friends just me and a few other people who love clocks. I went and visited her in the hospital,” Nick could still see her split lip, the way she’d held her ribs – his own beating so fresh at the time he had felt like he could feel it as well, he’d wanted to beat something and he’d been so frustrated because she didn’t know who it had been. There had been no clues but a scythe painted with Elly’s own blood, Nick had washed the blood off when Elly had been sleeping. It had all been his fault too. “We never found who it was but I kept an eye on her for a few days and we got to talking, she is a nice person and it turned out that we had a bit in common. I should have said something, I should have introduced you but she is almost a hermit and I just didn’t want to…” Nick was lost for a second; he didn’t know how to say that he didn’t want to mix all the different worlds in his life. “I didn’t want to upset you at the time you were dealing with the woman who had was hanging out outside, you were upset and it just seemed like it was best not to complicate things more, I didn’t realise she was going to become such a good friend.”
“And when you did know? When you realised that you were spending time with her you could have been spending with me? When you found yourself going there for coffee in the morning and dinner at night what about then?”
“That’s when I introduced you,” Nick said quietly. “As soon as I realised that she was becoming one of my best friends I had her over for dinner.”
“So you only just realised last week, really? But you still didn’t tell me how much time you were spending together,” Juliette said her tone still accusing him but all Nick could really do was nod.
“So she got hurt…”
Nick picked up the thread of the conversation at Juliette’s prompting. “She used to run with a group of people, she was involved in some bad things, she knew a group of people who were involved in another case, you remember those two street kids we took out to dinner,” Juliette nodded and for a second her eyes turned soft Nick felt his chest tighten at the sight he wanted her to be happy and he hated himself for making her think he would ever cheat on her, it was not something he could ever see himself doing. “She helped me get an in with some people, I followed the lead and while it didn’t end up helping the case I did end up arresting someone else for some illegal practices.”
“So it was all about cases?” Juliette asked.
Nick couldn’t bring himself to lie even though at the time that had been all it was. Nick would go to Monroe and ask her all his questions, Elly had grown up with all the knowledge of the other world that Nick now had to live in and Nick was always playing catch-up. He didn’t blame his Aunt Marie for the normal life he got to live but sometimes he wished she had found a way to show him, bedtime stories, anything that could have helped him when she was gone and all he had was a trailer full of things he didn’t know.
“At the time yeah, it was about cases. I’d only really talked to her about work, she complained about it actually but in all honesty that was all it was.”
“But it changed,” Juliette said quietly.
“No, not really even though she was only helping me with work she became a good friend we just didn’t spend much time discussing other things,” Nick said honestly. “You are right though, sometimes I’d go over and have a coffee in the morning, and sometimes I go there and we’d have a beer and talk about clocks. She is the reason I listened to Vivaldi, you loved that concert,” Nick knew that was a bad idea the second it was out of his mouth but it was honest, he’d enjoyed himself at that concert and just because Elly was the reason he’d gone didn’t mean his date with Juliette was anything less than great.
“She is the reason you took me to see that concert?”
“She is the reason I bought the CD, the fact I liked it was the reason I took you to see the concert, I wanted to do something special with you for our anniversary especially after I was late to dinner.”
Juliette glared at him and folded her arms over her chest. “What other thoughtful dates was she the cause of?”
Nick took a deep breath, if it was anything but this, anything but cheating on her he might have just admitted it and accepted the truth he had been figuring was coming for a little while now; eventually Juliette was going to leave him and it might be kinder to let her go even though Nick really didn’t want to, she was part of his life from before things turned to crap, he’d wanted to marry her she was going to be the rest of his life until everything in it changed and he wanted to keep that – he wanted to keep her and everything she meant to him then and now in his life.
“She only introduced me to the music,” Nick said again not knowing if it would do any good. “I promise you that she is only my friend, nothing more. She and I just hang out sometimes; it’s no different to when I go out with Hank and Wu.”
“You don’t lie to me when you are out with them though do you?”
“I never lied to you about going to see Elly either,” Nick said.
“That’s odd because I don’t remember hearing about her before a month ago and it turns out you’ve known her for over six months and never once mentioned her to me.”
“Do you tell me about all the people you meet?”
“Yes Nick,” Juliette said glaring at him. “When I go to someone’s house for coffee I tell you about it because you’re my boyfriend and I want you to know what is going on in my life and yet more and more I am discovering that you don’t want me to know what’s happening in your life Nick, you cannot keep me in a little box marked home and not let me know what’s happening to you.”
“I know that Juliette, but what I do, it’s dark and horrible and most of the time I don’t want to know about it so why would I bring that home?”
“But you’ll bring it to her?”
“What? No…she was already involved,” Nick said quickly knowing that he did allow Elly in further but she had done dark things and she had seen worse than what he showed her, what he asked of her.
Juliette sighed. “She was involved in a couple of cases but what do you talk about when you guys catch up?”
Nick swore silently because he did talk about cases but she was involved in them and more than that she was the only reason he was still alive, without Elly Nick knew he’d be dead. “German fairy tales.”
Juliette just stared at him. “I beg your pardon?”
“His grandmother and my aunt had known each other at university, his grandmother had been a professor of German folklore and my aunt took the course,” sometimes Nick wondered if this was another Grimm legacy the ability to make up utter crap at the drop of a hat. “Monroe studied it with her grandmother and Aunt Marie used to tell me the stories at night so we talk about them, do you have any idea how many fairy tales the Grimm Brothers actually wrote, not just the popular ones, there are thousands.”
“You talk about German fairy tales?” Juliette said her face pinched. “I cannot believe you are saying this, why the hell would anyone believe you?”
“It’s the truth, I can tell you about them.”
Juliette scrubbed a hand over her forehead and eyes. “So you are telling me that you get together a couple of times a week, at her house, and you talk about fairy tales?”
“Not all the time but yeah we talk about fairy tales sometimes.”
“What else do you talk about?”
“Music and football and why Australian swimmers always do so well at the Olympics and VW beetle maintenance,” Nick found himself being completely honest for the first time in the conversation he and Monroe did talk about all of this stuff it was just that they also mainly talked about Wesen and all the ways that they now ruled Nick’s life. “And Hank’s new girlfriend and sometimes I tell her about you and how much you mean to me.”
“Oh yeah? What does she say about me?”
“Only nice things, she wanted to meet you.”
“I’m sure she did.”
“Juliette, you have to understand I know I did the wrong thing, I know that I should have told you I met her and that we were hanging out, I am so sorry I didn’t but you are wrong there is nothing going on between us.”
Juliette started at him for a few moments and Nick held his breath silently praying she wasn’t going to walk out. “Tell me about her.”
“Pretend I didn’t meet her, tell me about her.”
Nick stood with his mouth open for a moment having no idea what to say but Juliette wasn’t looking like she was about to walk out so he took a deep breath and started talking. “She has an issue the colour red; I think it’s a phobia or something. She drives a VW beetle that’s yellow and does all the maintenance herself she said her uncle taught her how. She makes cuckoo clocks in her spare time but fixes any clock for people to make a living. She speaks some German, because of her grandmother. Her grandfather was murdered. She used to date a man named Angelo who dragged her into some bad stuff and she still has a soft spot for him – one of those can’t seem to help herself things. She’s a vegetarian and works from home so she’s basically a hermit. I don’t know what else to tell you,” Nick stopped he really didn’t know what else to tell her, there was so much he knew about Elly but there was so little of it he could tell Juliette. “She thinks I’m a heathen for preferring ordinary black coffee to her special French pressed stuff. She likes dogs but would never get one because she would prefer if they were allowed to still be wild animals. She prefers wine to beer with dinner but other than that only drinks beer. She does pilates every morning and gets really pissed off when I interrupt it. She is sarcastic and grumpy most of the time but she always helps anyone she can. She plays the cello but refuses to let me listen to her play for some reason she won’t tell me. She has an incredible sense of smell. Hank thinks she’s a little weird but likes her if only because she’s helped out on some cases. She is a whiz with-”
“I found the ring,” Juliette says interrupting him suddenly her voice loud.
“The ring?” It takes Nick a second to catch up he’d been too busy thinking of things to say about Elly to switch topics so quickly. “Oh the ring, yeah. I bought that just before Aunt Marie came back and it wasn’t the right time.”
“No,” Juliette said quietly deflating a little. “I found it the day of our anniversary, well the day before, and then you stood me up.”
“I’m sorry about that,” Nick said.
“That’s not what I am talking about, I have a question. Are you ever planning on giving me the ring?”
“Do you want it?”
“That’s not the question I’m asking. I just want to know if you ever planned to propose after she died.”
Nick took a moment because honestly he wasn’t sure it was a good idea anymore, with his life as it was dragging her further in was a bad idea. “I don’t know.”
Juliette closed her eyes for a long heartbeat and then opened them again and nodded at him. “That’s what I thought.”
“Things have been strained between us; it’s not that I don’t still love you. I do, so much but I am worried that proposing isn’t a way to solve problems but what to do when we have sorted things out.”
“That makes sense Nick,” Juliette said resigned. “I don’t think I could say yes anyway but I wanted to know.”
Nick nodded and watched Juliette who was staring at him wearing the face he knew meant she was thinking on a problem trying to work something out.
“What’s her favourite colour?”
Nick laughed at the sudden memory of Elly’s sheepish face as she told him what it was. “Red.”
“I thought she had a phobia.”
“She’s weird,” Nick said honestly. “Why did you want to know?”
“Who is her favourite fairy tale character?”
“The big bad wolf,” Nick knew that wasn’t really true but she was the big bad wolf at least a little.
“What colour are her eyes?”
“Hazel,” Nick said without thinking even as he pictured her red eyes as she let him see her real face.
Juliette dropped down onto the couch behind her and dropped her head into her hands.
“You really aren’t cheating on me,” Juliette muttered into her hands.
When Juliette looked up her face was long and sad and Nick could tell she was close to tears.
“Juliette, please. I swear I know that what Michelle saw looked bad but I will swear on anything that nothing romantic or sexual had ever happened between Monroe and I, it won’t happen either.”
Juliette started crying, fat heavy tears trailing down her face. “You don’t even realise. You aren’t doing this to me deliberately but you are cheating on me with her.”
“No!” Nick said reaching out but Juliette flinched away. “I don’t have feelings for her, nothing has ever happened between us. I promise.”
“I believe you that nothing has happened but you do have feelings for her, you’re in love with her.” Juliette’s entire face crumbled and she sobbed for a moment while Nick watched her helplessly shaking his head because she was wrong he didn’t love Elly she was just the only person in the world who could help him with his new life.
Finally Juliette forced her sobs to slow and she looked at Nick. “You don’t even realise it but I know,” Juliette’s eyes closed and she continued in a whisper. “You used to look like that when you loved me, you used to talk about me like that when you called Marie.”
Nick clenched his hands into fists and swore. “No, you don’t understand she is just a friend, she’s helped me with a few cases. It’s not like that.”
“I don’t know whether to be angrier that you don’t even realise what’s happening or that I have to be the one to do this.”
“Do what?” Nick asked his body going completely still as he watched Juliette.
“Leave you,” Juliette said. “I’ll go and stay with a friend. I’ll come back for my stuff when you’re at work.”
“Juliette,” Nick said his stomach twisting and his ribs feeling like they were shrinking down on his organs. “Please don’t leave me. I do love you, there is nothing between Elly and I. I will never speak to her again if you like. I never meant to hurt you.”
Juliette shook her head. “That wouldn’t solve anything even if I thought you could do it.”
“I can, I won’t see her again,” Nick said desperately stepping towards Juliette trying to get her to see she was wrong, he could walk away from Elly, it would be hard because she knew so much, was so helpful, but he could do it. He could do it for Juliette if that is what she needed.
Juliette’s entire body shook as she stood up and stepped back away from Nick, she grabbed her bag slung over the hook next to the door and shook her head. “I have to go.”
Nick froze and watched her leave; he listened for her car before he let his body go, collapsing down onto the floor and then he let himself cry.