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So I hope everyone in LJ land is having a fantastic Sunday! Life is good! XD I've officially finished my latest class for this semester. I'm just waiting on the final two grades to post, but I'm pretty assured I aced the class already. It was nice to have a breather after the last three classes gave me a bit of hell... I had to really WORK to get an A in those ones! oO Next class starts next Sunday, so I have all week homework free! Yay me! XD Next semester = financial management... ew yuck... sounds exciting right? LOL! ;)

I've got the next chapter in the Oswald and Jim epic under the cut! :P I absolutely am in heaven being able to pump out chapters of fic with [profile] cat2000! After going so long without writing anything, I honestly had gotten to the point I didn't think I ever was going to really write in any kind of significant amount again. I gather I just needed a bit of inspiration, and that makes me feel really awesome to be back on the writing horse again!

Speaking of! Three more things made of win fanfic wise!

I have been chatting with a fanfic fan of mine that I ended up sending my Black Sails disks to share, and she adored the show so much that she wrote me a one shot spank fic! =D It's a little out of character, but I'm not complaining! It was really sweet of her to write it for me, and I squee'd! LOL! XD

Another fanfic fan wants to write with me a Fish/Oswald fic from a previous plot (much darker than the current one I'm writing) with me *evil grin* I let her know after [profile] cat2000 and I wrap this one up, we can work on that one! =D

Lastly, Jason and I worked out yet another Oswald fic (as if the poor boy isn't getting tortured at my hands enough! LOL!) This one concerns the last two episodes and is another redemption fic with Jim/Oswald cause I really like Jim as a parental figure to Oswald *giggle* Anyways, four spankings have already been worked out, and Jason is going to write the plot for me for Valentine's Day! Aw! My hubby is the best! *does a jig!* Sorry, I am just feeling elated right now! Yay! XD

Chapter 5

Settling In

Jim sighed quietly to himself, not sure if he was doing the right thing... but at least he was doing something. He walked through to the bedroom, trying not to wake Barbara up as he undressed and slid into bed next to her.

Barbara stirred her eyes fluttering open as she reached out to cup Jim to her. She mumbled still quite sleepy, "I must have passed out... Is everything okay? It's really late?"

Jim slid his arms around Barbara. "Everything's fine," he said quietly. "I'm sorry I woke you... Go back to sleep. I'll tell you what happened when we get up."

She yawned running her hand up the arm embracing her and squeezing it tightly to her as she mumbled softly, "Sounds good..." Once wrapped safely in Jim's arms, Barbara pleasantly drifted back to sleep.

Oswald woke a few hours later blinking away sleep and having to assess where he was momentarily before yesterday came flooding back and he groaned rising to sit on the bed only to frown feeling the reminder of last night still tingling like a phantom sting not only to his bottom but to his pride. It was not a pleasant reminder.

He sighed pulling himself out of bed and moving to the dresser where his bag packed by his mother lay. Grabbing all the hygienic essentials he needed and a change of clothes, he moved slowly across the hall to the bathroom to take a long shower.

Barbara was already moving about the house doing small chores and brewing a pot of coffee for Jim.

Despite having been up much later than he normally stayed awake, Jim came to earlier than he would have thought. He got out of bed and went through to the kitchen, planning to speak to Barbara about what had happened with Oswald in the early hours of the morning.

Hearing Jim come into the kitchen, she turned a bright smile on him, "Well you're up earlier than I expected. I'm glad you didn't have to go to work today. The paper is on the table, why don't you take a seat, and I'll bring you some coffee."

Jim smiled as he took a seat, watching Barbara instead of picking up the paper. "I'm sorry I woke you up last night," he said, referring to both times.

Barbara waved him off, "You know you don't have to worry about that," pouring herself a cup of coffee as well, she brought it to the table to join Jim. Looking at Jim with concern, she inquired, "So… what exactly was all that about last night?" She was unaware of the second instance, but having walked in on her fiancé spanking Oswald was no small amount of shock that she definitely wanted to hear the story behind.

Jim reached out to pick up his coffee and drink some, the caffeine helping to give him energy. "I caught him trying to sneak out, and I realized I couldn't just let that go. But I wasn't prepared to do something that would cause him lasting harm. Or end up with him cut and bruised... needing to go to the hospital." He set the cup down. "I know it's going to take a lot of time... but I think he has a lot of potential to be a good person and do the right thing."

Barbara took it all in giving a nod of acquiescence, "I don't know Oswald, but from what I have seen of him, he seems… a little misguided. I did kind of push you in this direction to take Oswald in, and even though I didn't think you'd have to go to such extremes, if you think doing so will help him get on the right track, I won't question your methods."

She took a pause to sip on her coffee thinking on the matter a little more before responding further, "I think he needs a friend Jim, if you're going to get through to him, I think you need to show him there is something worth changing for."

Jim nodded, taking his time to think over his response before speaking. "I've told him I believe in him. I don't intend to just be harsh all the time. Change has to come gradually... but I know it won't come at all if I don't believe it's possible."

Barbara smiled lovingly at Jim reaching out to touch his cheek affectionately, "The size of your heart never ceases to amaze me Jim Gordon." Leaning in, she gave him a quick kiss and stood, "I know you've got to be hungry, how about I make you some eggs?"

Jim smiled. "Eggs sound really good," he admitted. "I asked Oswald to make a list of what he likes to eat and drink... I'll drive round to the store later on to pick up some more groceries anyway."

Barbara moved to the kitchen to start pulling out the eggs and pan; she cocked her head to the side listening a moment, "The shower is running, he must be up as well." She glanced back at Jim, "If you'd like, I can take Oswald out to pick up a few items to give you a chance to unwind and give both of you a breather?"

Jim considered the offer before nodding. "That might be for the best. I think I'm already making him feel a bit stifled, and I'm sure we could both do with some space." And he felt it would give Oswald an opportunity to sneak out from what he was sure the other man considered his 'watchful eye'.

Barbara smiled adding, "Besides, this will give me a chance to get to know him a little better to."

Oswald had finished his shower and was just now turning the corner to enter into the main part of the house. He glanced up to see Jim sitting at the table and looked back down again still a bit ruffled from the night before. He made a point as he shuffled forward to say good morning to Barbara only before easing down into the chair furthest from Jim.

Barbara asked if he'd like some coffee and eggs to which he gratefully agreed. She brought a cup of coffee over to set next to him, "Cream or sugar?" she asked, and Oswald smiled up, "Lots ma'am, thank you."

When she had returned with the items, she set them down for him to use and asked, "So, Jim and I have been talking about restocking the pantry since you'll be staying awhile, and I thought it might be nice if you joined me… saying you're up to it?"

Oswald wondered if 'up to it' was concerning what she saw last night, and he blushed slightly at the thought. Of course another minute alone with Jim was considerably less appealing, so he simply gave her a wide grin responding, "That sounds very nice Barbara."

Jim wasn't surprised that Oswald made a point of not saying anything to him. He could have just ignored the other man himself, but he remembered what Barbara had said about Oswald needing him as a friend as well. "How did you sleep?" he asked Oswald

Oswald frowned sipping his coffee as he grunted, "I'd sleep better in my own bed, but for a gilded cage, I suppose well enough."

"It isn't safe for you to stay in your own place," Jim said, trying hard to be patient. "I'm sure it's frustrating for you... but while you're here, you're not going to suffer any permanent damage. You're not going to end up in the hospital." He wasn't sure if the reassurance would help, but he wanted to lay it on the table anyway. Just in case.

Barbara interjected, "Oswald, I know Jim isn't your favorite person at the moment, but please try to see he's only got your best interests at heart."

Oswald wrinkled his nose thinking that Jim didn't have the right to take it upon himself to be his personal protector, but it was a little flattering that he would put forth such a concentrated effort on his behalf even if Oswald didn't want his interference.

He sighed feeling that perhaps civility would get him more in the way of freedom than his current course. Looking back up at Jim, Oswald gave him a small nod, "Of course, you're right Barbara. I apologize for my less than pleasant demeanor detective."

"It's not like I don't understand how you feel," Jim said. "And you don't have to be happy with me. When you're ready to talk about this new situation, we'll sit down and do that. But the one thing I do want you to know is that I'm not going to treat you like Fish... Maroni... the others."

Oswald grimaced speaking softly, "I know you're not like them..." If Jim was, Oswald would already be six feet under he knew. No, Jim was a good man even if he was also a harsh man.

Oswald wasn't ready to talk about this new situation since talking about it meant acknowledging it, and that was something Oswald wasn't prepared to do.

Barbara brought the two men a sizzling plate of eggs setting them down in front of each, and Oswald more than eagerly focused his attention on it to step away from the subject at hand, "Thank you Barbara," he gave her a quick smile before digging in to the food.

Jim began eating as well, smiling at Barbara. "Thank you," he said. "Are you going to join us? Or have you eaten already?" He didn't push Oswald to talk to him, thinking the bit of space might be helpful for both of them.

"I did earlier, you know I don't eat much in the mornings any way." She squeezed his shoulder affectionately giving him a wide smile, "But, I thought I'd make meatloaf and my famous hash brown casserole tonight. Your favorite."

Jim's smile grew and he wrapped an arm around Barbara's waist to hug her to him. "That sounds good," he said, his voice sincere.

She gave a small laugh kissing Jim on top of his head before moving back to the kitchen to let the men finish eating while she made a quick list of groceries to pick up.

Oswald ate in silence glancing up every now and again to watch Jim, and once he was finished, he brought his plate and cup to the sink where Barbara grabbed them from him and quickly washed and stuck them in the strainer.

"Are you ready to go Oswald?" She questioned wiping her hands on a dish towel and hanging it back on the oven door.

Oswald glanced back at Jim smiling at the affirmation that he wasn't going to be a captive like he'd originally wondered, "Sure. I'm ready when you are." He hadn't premeditated on a contingency plan to leave just yet, but outings such as this would definitely provide a good avenue he thought absently.

Jim carried his own plate and utensils over to the sink, washing them so Barbara wouldn't have to. "I'll take care of some work while you're out," he said, kissing her cheek.

"Try to take it easy. I've got my phone on me if you remember anything you might want me to pick up," she kissed him back grabbing the car keys off of the counter and heading towards the door, "Come on Oswald."

Oswald practically chirped, "Coming," as he gave Jim one last glance before following Barbara out.

Jim watched the two of them leave, then stepped through to his office to take care of the paperwork he needed to complete. He was a little worried, but he decided that Barbara would call him if anything happened. And since Oswald seemed to like Barbara, he figured there wouldn't be any problems between them.

Barbara set a brisk pace moving towards the elevator before slowing realizing Oswald was having pains to keep up with her stride. She smiled apologetically, "Sorry; I wasn't trying to be rude."

Oswald smiled back; he decided then he really did like Barbara as she'd been nothing but nice and accommodating to him thus far. Sidling up next to her in the elevator his smile widened as he felt much less constrained, "So, tell me Barbara, what do you do… outside being Jim's lovely fiancée that is?"

She blushed at the compliment responding, "Well, I own an art gallery downtown… in the art district."

Oswald enjoyed culture even if he wasn't raised high society, "Really!" he stated overzealously, "I do so enjoy the arts," as he said this he bobbed his head enthusiastically as if his words had not stated his interest enough.

Barbara's smile widened and she let out a soft giggle, "I see. Would you like to go by sometime?"

Oswald was beaming now genuinely happy to be invited, "I would enjoy that very much. Maybe we could go by your gallery before shopping? If that's alright with you that is… saying you don't have any plans to get to."

Barbara hesitated a moment thinking that she did want to spend more time with Jim before he went back to work, but seeing as it was Saturday, and Jim wasn't due back to the precinct until Monday, she figured a small trip to the art gallery might be a nice diversion for Oswald after all he'd been thru. She nodded her smile brightening as well, "I think that'll be okay; although we can't stay too long or Jim might worry."

Oswald let out a characteristic snort of glee, "Of course not! Wouldn't want to worry Jim." Although at this point, Oswald really could care less if the other man was to become upset and in some ways wanted to upset him just enough to aggravate him but not enough that he'd have cause to do anything about it. Besides, the longer he could keep Barbara out, the longer he could think on what his next move would be. He knew one thing for certain, he had to get back to the cash he had stashed under the floorboards in the back hallway closet in his mother's apartment. He hadn't expected that he'd need to have grabbed it before as he'd intended to slip Jim's grasp rather easily.

The two headed to the art gallery, and before both had realized it, they had been there going on four hours. Oswald was amazed at how much Barbara knew about the pieces in her gallery. He had expected her to be vapid in regards to the actual pieces, but she seemed to flourish with excitement the more the two conversed about them. She knew about the histories of the art, what they were worth (which Oswald definitely took note of) and how they came to be in her possession.

He discovered that she had in fact come from a wealthy upbringing, but she hadn't wanted to be supported like her family had raised her to be. She had struck out on her own wishing to prove herself, but she'd been humiliated and discouraged having to return home once more. Oswald could tell this had bothered her, and he related to that particular loss seeing as he was still, or at least up until yesterday, had been living at home with him mother in hopes of showing her that he was actually quite capable.

Oswald could tell though, unlike his mother, Barbara's parents seemed to be rather cold and uncaring, and this fact drove her to push herself past her previous humiliation using the money set aside for her to open up her art gallery to which she was slowly paying her parents back for, so that she could feel some semblance of freedom from them. She did not however divulge her pill problem to Oswald, although while the two were sitting on a bench talking, he had noted the prescription of valium in her open purse.

Seemingly shocked by the time, Barbara got up suddenly, "Oh my! It's already almost five! We have got to get going Oswald!"

Oswald rose gesturing towards the door with a smile, "Yes. Yes. Let's. We still have shopping to do."

Barbara grimaced taking her phone out to call Jim now feeling bad that they would still be out for about an hour later getting the shopping done. She was surprised he hadn't called only to see that he had called four times in the past two hours. The volume of her phone had been turned down unbeknownst to her on the drive by Oswald as he was definitely in no rush to be interrupted by Jim.

Jim had spent a couple of hours doing paperwork before beginning to grow a little worried about the two. Although he was pretty sure that they were both safe, as the time continued to move past, he couldn't help growing more and more worried, which was why he'd tried calling Barbara repeatedly... at first just to check what time she was due back; and then, when there was no answer, because he was getting more and more worried.

When his phone rang with Barbara's number flashing up, Jim answered immediately. "Are you all right?" he asked, not bothering to hide his worry.

Barbara assured Jim they were fine, "I saw you called, but my phone volume was down. I must have done so and forgot to turn it back up. I'm so sorry to have worried you! We just kind of lost track of time here at the art gallery. I still have to head to the grocery store before coming home. We should be about another hour or so."

"All right." Jim relaxed, relieved to hear from Barbara. "I'm just glad you're both all right. I'll see you soon."

Barbara apologized again before hanging up making her best effort to hurry the rest of the trip along by only picking up the essentials to get back home and start on dinner.

Oswald was slightly annoyed that their outing was being rushed now as he didn't really wish to return to the feeling of imprisonment the flat encompassed. Hanging out with Barbara had been surprisingly nice, and he was in no hurry to have it end. Nonetheless, he did his best not to let his disappointment be noticed.

For her efforts, Barbara was able to get all the necessary shopping done and get back to the brownstone in forty minutes, "We're back!" Barbara called out bursting through the door with several grocery bags in hand while Oswald carrying a couple bags of his own followed much less enthusiastically behind her.

Jim had set out the table for three places and, when the two of them came in, he walked over to Barbara to give her a quick kiss and then took some of the bags so that he could start putting the groceries away. "Did you enjoy the art gallery?" he addressed Oswald trying to draw the other man into a conversation.

Oswald brightened at the subject, "I did in fact. Barbara is quite knowledgeable I found. I could spend all day there," Oswald's smile seemed to widen at the thought. He shuffled over to the kitchen counter laying the bags down for Barbara to put away and moved to the table noting the set places and feeling like contributing offered his help, "Is there anything I can do Barbara?"

Barbara smiled warmly at Jim reciprocating the kiss and moving in to the kitchen to begin preparing food. "Dinner won't be ready for at least an hour guys, so why don't you go relax in the living room."

Oswald shrugged as he moved in the direction of the living room, "Sure."

"I can help you with the groceries," Jim offered. He wouldn't mind spending time with Oswald, but at the same time, he didn't want to abandon Barbara to do all the work herself. With his work, there wasn't much he could do to help her during the week.

Barbara smiled waving him off, "Don't worry; I got a handle on this. Besides, you know cooking is my quiet time. Go ahead and relax." She leaned in to whisper, "Why don't you see if he'll play a game of checkers or chess with you? It'll give you guys a chance to spend time together."

Jim nodded and smiled at Barbara. "Give me a shout if you do need help." He walked through to the living room to join Oswald and smiled at him. "Do you like playing games? Checkers or chess, maybe?"

Oswald wasn't much for chess although he had the mind for it, he didn't have the patience, "Checkers sounds okay, but maybe after dinner we could all play some poker?" Now poker was a game Oswald could get in to using what he considered a much more suitable skillset.

"We could play checkers before dinner and then Barbara could join us for poker," Jim commented. "Maybe watch a movie... if that's something you like doing." It occurred to him that there wasn't much he knew about Oswald and he hoped to change that.

Oswald had not grown up with a TV in his home as his mother found the news quite upsetting and the act of watching TV to be a waste of time. She had encouraged Oswald to read more which made him clever in many ways if not academic. Often bullied as a youth, Oswald kept his nose buried in a book and as such had not gathered much in the way of social skills and felt slightly awkward and uncomfortable in settings that required being a part of communal gatherings.

He couldn't deny that he was very curious about Jim and as much as it made him feel like an irrational victim of Stockholm syndrome, he really did want to be Jim's actual friend. Oswald rubbed his hands together nodding agreement, "I could go for that. I'm not well versed in the cinema, but I'm not averse to watching it either."

"We can look through the movies we have after we've eaten and see if there are any that particularly catch your interest." As he spoke, Jim walked over to the small cupboard, where he and Barbara kept their games, to find checkers.

"A nice relaxing evening in sounds ideal," Oswald's smile widened at the prospect of just hanging out without any expectations. As Jim set up the board, Oswald's mind drifted back to the previous night and the fact as nice as this was, he would still need to get back to Maroni and explain away where he'd disappeared to if he planned to report back to Falcone and eventually get his much sought after revenge against Fish.

Jim had to know he couldn't just sit around the brownstone doing nothing, and neither Jim nor Barbara could keep tabs on him 24/7. Oswald hated the feeling of apprehension that came over him at the notion of Jim catching him, and he decided he would definitely be very careful he had a solid plan in place when he did finally make his move.

Jim finished setting up the board and took a seat, indicating for Oswald to do the same. "Your move," he said, sitting back so as not to crowd the other man. He wasn't sure if he should bring up last night or not and decided to wait and see if Oswald indicated, one way or the other, if he needed to talk.

Oswald smirked sliding the first piece forward, "I get to go first; that may prove to be your undoing detective." As the two moved pieces around the board, Oswald studied the board carefully before each move tentatively placing his pieces where Jim seemed to move with sure and direct actions a testament to how each tended to approach the world as a whole.

Jim focused a lot of his attention on the board, but also on Oswald and reading the other man. He found himself caught up in the game and concentrating on it, not paying attention to what was going on around them. He expected Barbara would come in and tell them when dinner was ready anyway.

Jim had much to Oswald's chagrin won the first round and Oswald had wanted to immediately play a second game hating to lose. They had nearly finished their second game when Barbara called out to them, "Alright guys, dinner is ready!" Oswald clucked his tongue in dissatisfaction. He wanted to finish the game they'd started feeling victory was his within the next few moves, "Just one moment Barbara! We're near a conclusion of the game!" As a second thought that he hadn't considered Jim's thoughts on the matter, his bright eyes turned up to meet Jim's as Oswald gave him a sheepish grin, "Of course saying you don't mind finishing the game before adjourning to dinner that is."

"We can always finish after dinner," Jim suggested, knowing that Barbara had spent a lot of time cooking, but not wanting to suggest halting the game right then and there. "I don't know if you're hungry... but I am," he added.

Oswald was reluctant, but he did his best not to show it nodding fiercely with his characteristic plastered on grin, "Of course. How rude of me." He rose taking one more glance at the board as if mentally making his next move before moving towards the kitchen.

The table held three ceramic dishes steamed over with condensation as Barbara grabbed Oswald's plate gesturing for him to take a seat, "I hope you like meatloaf Oswald. I make it with a Worchester sauce. It's a bit tangy, but Jim seems to like it that way. I also have a side of green beans and a hash brown casserole."

Taking a less than subtle sniff at the air, Oswald beamed gratefully, "It smells exquisite Barbara. You might consider a red wine as I think it would complement it well."

Jim leaned over to give Barbara a quick kiss. "It does smell good," he said. "Would you like me to pour the wine?"

Barbara was pleased to see the two getting along, and the prospect of enjoying a little wine with dinner did sound nice, "Thanks dear; that sounds perfect."

It wasn't long before everyone had been served a dish alongside a glass of wine. Compliments were given and graciously accepted as everyone ate.

As the meal wore down to the last scraps of food, Oswald asked Barbara if she was interested in a game of poker after dinner to which she politely declined. Oswald seemed a bit disappointed, but Barbara explained that she had to get up early to go help with an art exhibit set to open that night and so she needed to retire early.

Looking to Jim Oswald stated, "Well I gather that means it's movie night. Since I am not overly familiar with what's out, I'll leave the courtesy to you."

Jim moved to start on clean-up, collecting the plates, cutlery and glasses and beginning to wash them as he spoke to Oswald. "We can finish that game of checkers and then we can look at the movies we have available. I'll let you choose which one you like the look of best."

Oswald was looking forward to beating Jim at their previously halted checkers match and joked while downing the last of his cup's wine contents, "You're in quite the hurry to lose I see."

Barbara let out a soft giggle, "Aren't 'we' confident Oswald?"

Turning a big grin on Barbara Oswald countered, "Well, he did beat me once, but I'm quite assured that this time around the stakes are in my favor." His smile waned slightly as he looked momentarily at the door thinking that his words applied to more than just a game of checkers. He and Jim would have almost the whole day together without Barbara tomorrow. He had things that required tending to, and his patience for playing house were wearing thin. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy this time together, it was unpredictably calming, but it was also rather mundane reminding Oswald that he had ambitions in life that rose above 'movie night.'

Excusing himself from the table, he moved over to the movie shelf studying the titles, there weren't many to choose from he noted, he wasn't familiar with many of the titles as from what he could tell, Barbara was the main contributor with sappy chick flicks. He smiled at the animated Disney movies and lingered momentarily on the movie, The Princess Bride, which he had actually seen a long time ago and had enjoyed thoroughly although he was askance to admit that fact. He ended up settling on, The Shawshank Redemption, moreover because he'd heard on several counts that people had liked the movie and its synapsis appealed to him most from the selection available. Pulling the movie from the shelf, Oswald turned to see Jim had already seated himself back in place to continue their game. Oswald held the movie up solidifying his choice and shuffled over to his seat making his already premeditated move to king his piece, "Hope you like this one," Oswald set the movie gently on the coffee table looking up to see Jim's expression on his choice.

Jim didn't make his move straight away, instead glancing over at the movie Oswald had chosen. "That's a good choice," he commented. "We can put it on after we finish the game. Maybe make some popcorn to go with it." He made his own move.

Oswald seemed pleased with the fact Jim liked his choice, "I've been told as much, but it's good to know you approve."

The game concluded with Jim as the victor much to Oswald's annoyance, and he was grumpy over the end result having been so assured he would win this time.

The trio settled down to lounge on the couch and watch the movie. Oswald was quite enraptured by the tale having understood what so many others had seen in the film by the time it concluded. Barbara had fallen asleep on Jim's shoulder stretching languidly upon noting the credits rolling and rising slowly she yawned a soft good night before heading to bed leaving the two men alone in the dimly lit living room.

"That was a pretty interesting film… the spoon bit… spending twenty years to finally escape seems like a horrid waste though," Oswald reflected thinking he would have found a better way to escape that hadn't taken a life time to achieve.

Jim nodded in agreement. "I'm sure there are plenty of people who would have found a less time-consuming way to escape," he commented mildly. "Did you enjoy the movie apart from that, though?" He watched Oswald, but more from curiosity, wanting to see what the other man thought and giving him his full attention.

Oswald was smitten with the level of attention he had been receiving from both Jim and Barbara and readily carried on with his opinion on the movie. The two went back and forth about what the movie meant to them which Oswald found quite engaging.

It was easy to lose track of time and Jim was surprised to realize that it was getting on towards midnight by the time he finally looked at the clock. "It looks like it might be time to turn in," he said. "Is there anything you'd like to do tomorrow?"

Oswald contemplated what to say as the first thoughts that came to mind involved doubling back to his mother's to get the money he had stashed there. Money gave mobility, and in his current predicament he had very little. With how good of a time he'd been having today, Oswald felt slightly guilty for wanting to ditch Jim now. Why couldn't the man just be his friend without trying to control how he led his life? He could make them both made men in this city, but Oswald knew that wasn't what Jim wanted or would accept in any fashion. Jim's stubbornness made it difficult in this way for both of them to get along smoothly. No, Oswald would have to get free of Jim and lay low until he could talk some sense into him.

Realizing he had been thinking too long on the subject Oswald let out a nervous titter, "Well uh, we could surprise Barbara and take her out to lunch? I know a nice Mediterranean restaurant in the art district that I can get a substantial discount from." Oswald had collected payments from the restaurant on Mooney's behalf long ago, but the owner was still quite fearful of his reputation and as such always had plenty of 'on the house' additives to gift him which he often times shared with his mother when he had brought her there. "Maybe we can take Barbara by to meet my mother after she's finished setting up her exhibit… and if Barbara isn't too tired and doesn't mind perhaps we can also take my mother to see it. I know she would enjoy such a show immensely."

Jim nodded. "Those all sound like good ideas." He wasn't expecting Oswald to willingly 'lay down' and accept the new restrictions Jim was putting on him and he was already mentally preparing himself to have to respond to what he expected would be several challenges even over the course of one day. "We could always go and get breakfast in the morning, too," he commented. "Or perhaps stay in and play a game or two."

Being late as it was, Oswald relished the idea of sleeping in, "Maybe breakfast here with a little more relaxing would be nice. If it wouldn't be rude, I have a book I've been reading that I'd enjoy catching up on a bit in the morning. Sorry. I'm not used to spending my mornings with others and have grown rather accustomed to having a little quiet time." This was of course a half truth. Oswald did enjoy a bit of time in the mornings to himself usually soaking in the tub and thinking over the day's events to come, but if he was to be honest, Jim and Barbara had kept him so occupied during the course of the day that he hadn't been able to really formulate a good line of defense to follow in order to connect ideas to make his next moves regarding Maroni, Falcone, and avoiding Jim in the process.

Jim began tidying up after them, even as he replied to Oswald. "If you want to read before or after breakfast, that's fine. We can always eat together and then I can take care of some work while you relax before we go and meet Barbara."

Oswald was pleased that Jim seemed more than amiable towards his suggested plans for the next day. Rising with a stretch Oswald gave Jim a small smile, "I gather I'll see you in the morning for breakfast then, and you can ask Barbara around when she thinks she'll be wrapping up, so we can meet up with her." Oswald turned to shuffle in the direction of the bedroom giving Jim one last look, "It has been a pleasure being in your company tonight; rest well detective."

"Good night," Jim replied, giving Oswald a smile. Finishing tidying up, he walked through to the main bedroom to climb into bed next to Barbara.


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September 2017


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