"No Room at the Inn"


Logline: Heath and Nick find it hard to get comfy in a confined room. Part of the Heath-Meg series



No response.


"Uh...What.... What is it?"

"You're squashing me into the wall?"

Heath sighed loudly, still very much asleep and moved off his brother, turning over on his other side as he did so. "Sorry," he mumbled, falling asleep on the last syllable.

Nick sighed. It wasn't Heath's fault. It wasn't his either. Two to a small bed and one that was more suited to one person than two didn't make for comfortable night for two fellas who were six foot and muscular built. Still, the only chair in the room offered less comfort and since neither brother would see the other use it, they had decided to share the bed. Now Nick had slept with Heath before, loved him dearly, but this was the third time during the night he had found himself squashed up by the wall and Heath with a good six inches spare on his other side.

Carefully, Nick rolled over reclaiming some of those six inches back. He thumped the lumpy pillow which had seen better days and momentarily woke Heath again with the frustration of his sleepless night.

"Ni..ck!" Heath moaned. "I'm trying to sleep."

"What the hell do you think I am trying to do?" Nick responded with his usual level of indignation.

"Shush. Everyone wants to sleep." Heath pacified.

"Funny enough, it's something I would like to do too."

"You want the bed to yourself, Nick?"

Nick felt guilty. "No. Stay put. C'mon let's settle down. It's 3.30am. Sleep gotta come sometime."

With one spooned behind the other, both brothers bodies contorted their heights and frames into the small bed and space and Nick tried to let himself drift off to sleep. And he found himself succeeding, succeeding very well until Heath shuffled again and a stray elbow hit him in the chest.

"Uhh!" Nick moaned, quickly coming awake.

"Sorry," Heath mumbled again. "I'm not usually this restless. Must be the bed. Can't get comfy. Even a hard piece of ground would feel more comfy right now."

"It's okay, Heath. Look what about you resting your head on me. That way we won't take as much room up independently and we might just be able to get some sleep."

Heath arched an eyebrow as well as his head. "You don't mind?"


"You could rest yours on mine, I guess." Heath offered.

"I'm the older brother. You rest on mine. Geez, I'm tired. Look, let's get to sleep."

Heath pressed his head to Nick's barrel chest. "Feels funny." he observed, the position, other than for illness and being wounded, foreign to him. He lifted his head a moment.

"I'm your brother for heaven sake. Nothing funny about it." Nick responded impatiently.

Heath lay his head down once more. "Okay." And then to tease his brother some more he said, "You going to to read me a bedtime story too?"

"Oh I'll tell you a story Heath. A story of how one brother lets his kid brother book a room ahead by wire in a town that is celebrating it's founding day and which has visitors coming in from all over the damned neighbourhood. So many that we can't book a decent room, even one with a half-sized decent bed in it for the night."

"Gee Nick. You sound mad at me?" Heath teased more.

"Mad? Now why should I be mad at you? We're doubling up in this pokey room with this sorry excuse for a bed. I got me a brother that can't lay still for more than five minutes. Why the hell would I be mad? I tell you, I don't know how Meg puts up with you?"

"I got me other things on my mind when I lie with Meg. Sleep ain't exactly my priority." Heath smiled into his brother's shirt.

"I don't want to know." Nick responded.

"'Sides." Heath continued. "I don't usually move around this much. Guess I'm just uncomfy 'iz all."

"Yeah, well the bed has a lot to answer for. What gets me is the price we're paying for this room. Daylight robbery. That's what it is."

"We'll only be here one night," Heath said sleepily and with a big yawn.

"Well next time I gets to choose. And brother we're going to sleep in style!"

"Won't find an argument from me. Hey you know?"

"Know what?"

"After a while big brothers feel kind of comfy."

"Pleased I could be of service."

"Night Nick."

"Night Heath." And with that the brothers closed their eyes and for the remainder of the night slept.


The next morning Heath found himself being shook awake. Nick was out of bed, washed and dressed, itching for his breakfast and to get on with the day. Leaving Heath to wake up, he picked up Heath's jacket from where it had fallen from the end of the bed and saw the picture of Heath's twins and little girl tumble out of its inside pocket. Heath's five year olds, nearly six now smiled back at him with their five year old faces and his daughter did the same. A moment of envy tugged at Nick Barkley's heart. It didn't last long. It couldn't. Heath was generous with his young family and Nick and Jarrod were indulgent, loving uncles. He snuck the picture back into his brother's jacket and patted his own breast pocket where a similar picture was housed. Seeing his brother still sleeping, Nick shook him again. "Heath I'll see you downstairs. Let's hope this place can make up in breakfast what it lacks in sleeping accommodation." A non-coherent mumble emanated from the bed.

Nick sighed. Putting on his hat he opened the door and went out into the hallway, the sight of a pretty young woman and her mother distracting him from shutting the door properly. The door remained open and slightly ajar. Nick Barkley escorted the two women down to breakfast, laying on the charm.

After a few minutes, Heath Barkley rolled out of bed and quickly made use of the chamber pot underneath. Hell, that bed looked even smaller this morning than it did last night. No wonder him and Nick had got little sleep. Sleepily, he made his way to the wash stand and poured some fresh water in the basin, the standing water freezing cold, another 'luxury' and one guaranteed to make sure that any remnants of sleep soon disappeared with its use. Heath felt like he could do with a bath, but short of such luxury and availability he decided to change into fresh longjohns and clothes. He sorted out his clothes and then slipping his arms out of the sleeves and lowering the longjohns down his long legs, began stepping out of them, first one leg then the other. It was then that the unlocked door added its own memory to their visit.

Really, there was no other way to describe Heath Barkley state of undress when the door swung open and his eyes stared out in shock as two young ladies passed by. Ladies who could be no more than seventeen, eighteen at a push. He was stark naked, all of him on show and boy howdy did they notice, their eyes taking him in.

Heath, ten years their senior blushed deeply from head to toe as if he were the callow youth, not them. He was caught off balance by the two young ladies boldness and fell ungainly to the floor, legs a-flying and other parts too. Mortified, embarrassed and scrambling for his longjohns he covered himself up quickly, got to his feet and lunged for the door, shutting it fast in front of him, no introductions necessary. Leaning heavily against the door he heard the girls giggle and talk of him in admiring and bold terms, making the situation worse and even more embarrassing. He prayed to God that he wouldn't run into them again.

Quickly he dressed, his morning already ruined. Bad temper made the task of dressing longer than usual despite his haste. Brushing his hair dismissively he put on his jacket and left the room, making sure the door was firmly shut, something his brother should have done before he mused angrily like a modest maiden.

Finding his brother sitting at a table with two women, fortunately not the two who had seen him a few minutes before, did not improve his temper, nor the fact that Nick was clearly on a charm offensive with the daughter of the pair. Ever the gentleman, Heath made his apologies for his lateness in front of the ladies and listened as Nick introduced him. Suddenly, the daughter's attention turned to the younger of the two brothers and remained fixed, much to Nick's annoyance.

It wasn't long before Nick made it patently clear that Heath was married and out of bounds and duly her affections returned to the darker haired of the two. Heath ordered his breakfast. Having to sit on his anger with his brother, his eyes wandered around the room". Oh no!" Sitting right across at a table some four tables away were the two young ladies who knew more about him than even his wife did before they were married. And worse still they were smiling with the knowledge that they knew. His head found its way to the palm of his hand where it remained hidden for most of his breakfast. He heard neither the conversation of his brother or the ladies in return, his only desire was for him and Nick to be on their way.

Finally, when they were on their way, his brother turned to him and demanded to know what was wrong.

When he heard Heath vent what had happened since he had left him, there was silence for a moment or two. Heath was at least hopeful of getting an apology. Instead Nick let out a deep laugh and continued laughing until they were ten minutes out of town.

"It ain't funny." Heath insisted when his brother had stopped laughing.

"No it isn't." Nick squeezed out between a need to laugh again, which he was trying ever so hard to suppress. "No, it isn't. And I'm not laughing, honest!"

Each time he said it, his voice got more strained and higher until he had to release the laugh and then he laughed until they were well down the road. He was still laughing when Heath rode on ahead unimpressed. Knowing Nick, this story was going to get back to Meg and Mother. Boy Howdy, next time he would travel alone and this time he would be the one who locked the door!!!!


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