Title: Sleeping Habits
Spoilers: Season 2
Summary: “Tami,” Eric replied his voice rising as he continued, “I hear what you’re saying honey, I really do. But it does not change the fact that Julie is sleepwalking into bed with Tim Riggins!”
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit made - played with for fun only.
Beta: Brophy - Thankyou!
“Morning Mrs Taylor, Coach,” he responded politely despite the fact that he wasn’t really a morning person as he emerged from the bathroom fully dressed and ready to start another day.
He was barely out of the bathroom when Shelley brushed past him, all but slamming the door shut behind her.
Coach sat at the table, still looking half asleep despite that fact that Tim knew he’d already started on the second pot of coffee that morning.
He glanced at the time, surprised that Julie wasn’t up yet.
Helping himself to cereal and juice set out on the table, he couldn’t help but smile at seeing Tami fuss over Gracie.
“No Julie this morning?” He couldn’t help commenting.
Tami looked over at him, and Tim couldn’t decide whether or not she knew that Coach had caught him in the hallway about to tuck her eldest daughter back into bed.
“She’s still asleep.” Tami told him. “We’re going to let her have the day off and catch up. If she wakes up in time for classes in the afternoon then she can come in for those, but at the moment I think it’s better that she catches up on some rest.”
Tim nodded and gulped down the last of his orange juice, “Yeah, she was looking kinda tired.” He attacked his cereal and once he was finished with that bowl he poured himself another.
They were all rather quiet that morning without Julie chattering away, Tim noticed the dark bags under Tami’s eyes, the strained look on Coach Taylor’s face but refrained from mentioning something.
Catching sight of the time, Tim stood and rinsed out his bowl, spoon and glass, stacking the cleaned kitchen ware on the draining board. He’d already used up one too many of his late warnings, and now he was living with Mr and Mrs Coach he didn’t want to do anything which might rock the boat.
Picking up his school bag which he’d left by the side of the sofa he announced, “I’m off. I’ll see you in school?”
Tami smiled “Sure hun,” she answered not really hearing what he’d just said, her attention focused on Gracie who’d decided it would be a good idea to chew on her Mom’s hair.
“No problem son,” Eric said, “Make sure you’re on time for practice.”
Tim nodded and fished out his truck keys and started to make his way to the door.
“Tim,” Eric called out behind him.
He stopped and turned around to face his Coach. “Yes Sir?” He replied, instinctively knowing that it would be about last night with Julie.
“In future, if Julie should fall asleep on the couch, you come and find myself or Tami.”
Locking eyes with his Coach, Tim gave a curt nod to show that he understood. “Yes Sir.”
“Good.” Coach Taylor replied. “You have a good day son.”
“Sure thing Coach, see you on the field.”
Unlocking the front door to the Taylor household, Tim stepped through into the hallway and closed the door behind him.
The faint buzz of the tv was the only indication that anyone was home.
It was some girly program, with ladies in long dresses and men in weird pants, distinctly British accents and somebody called ‘Mr Darcy’ that had been uttered in a breathy feminine way similar to how some of the cheerleaders and rally girls sounded when they greeted him.
Hearing the front door, Julie sat up on the couch and went to investigate, Shelley and Gracie had gone to a baby swim class, and if it was her Mom or Dad they wouldn’t have been hesitant about making any noise.
“Tim!” She scolded him letting out the trapped air in her lungs, “You nearly scared the life out of me! Make some noise next time.”
He grinned at her, eyes scanning her body and taking note of the fact that she was still dressed in his hoodie and the pair of pyjama shorts that she’d been wearing the night before.
Self consciously Julie ran her hand through her hair and tried to pat it down into some kind of order. She’d only woken up recently and was still feeling a little drowsy and was aware that she wasn’t her usual put together self.
“What are you doing back?” She asked. “If Dad finds out that your skipping classes…”
Tim shrugged, “It’s lunch time Jules.”
Watching him with an eagle eye, Julie felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. “Did my parents send you to check up on me?”
When it quickly became obvious that he was searching for an answer Julie gave a small groan. “I’m sorry.” She said, “Honestly, you don’t have to stay or anything. I can call and let them know that everything is fine and that you did your duty and stopped by.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Tim told her brushing the offer aside.
“Seriously, I know you have plenty better other things to be doing than checking up on me because of paranoid parents.”
“It’s cool. Gets me out of the cafeteria food at least.” He joked.
Julie snorted at the quip, “Don’t play that card with me Tim Riggins. Don’t think I haven’t seen the way you’ve shoveled that food away as though it’s your last meal. And don’t get me started on the number of milk cartons that you get through.”
Grinning at her Tim said, “I’m a growing boy, and that was before I had tasted your Moms cooking.”
Julie shot him a skeptical look.
“It’s true!” He persisted. “You think Billy can cook?”
“What about the cheerleaders?” Julie asked. “Game days they swarm in the hallways with brown bags that they hand out to the players.”
“Yeah. Cookies Jules, cookies. That’s not proper food like, ribs, or fried chicken, or steak and mashed potatoes. A guy cannot survive on cookies and cupcakes alone. Plus,” he confided, warming to his theme as he teased her, “they put these weird glittery sprinkles and stuff on them, and they’re cut in these girly shapes, of like hearts and things…”
His explanation garnered a laugh from Julie and she rolled her eyes in amusement. Who’d have thought that Tim Riggins had a sense of humor that didn‘t involve those awful jokes?
“You’re telling me that you don’t ever get invites for dinner from any of them?” Julie chortled.
The wicked grin that Tim sent in her direction instantly put Julie on her guard.
“Girls invite me to do plenty of things with them, but eating dinner with their family isn’t one of them.” The second part of his answer came out with a thick, bitter twang, even as he tried to sound unaffected. “I might be good enough to sleep with, but I’m not good enough to take home to Mommy and Daddy.”
Julie bit her lip, catching sight of a vulnerable part of Tim that she’d never seen before. “Don’t say that Tim.” She said softly. “Don’t.” It wasn’t true. He was good enough. He’d looked out for her so many times.
Her heart went out to him and much to chagrin she felt her eyes become glassy and the tell tale sign of impending tears. Swallowing hard she ducked her head and blinked them away.
There was such hurt and bitterness in those words.
“Why shouldn’t I say that Jules? Why?” He spat sharply, a derisive tone in his voice aimed solely at himself that Julie didn’t like.
Suddenly she wondered how a light hearted conversation could go wrong so quickly.
He was about to lash out, Julie realized from previous conversations with Tyra where she’d spent time ranting about Tim and dispensing various bits of advice of how she should handle Matt. He’d bottled everything up over the past few weeks, since Mexico and it was about to all come out.
Living with her family meant that there had been fewer parties, girls and beers. His usual coping habits of gorging on all three had been curtailed to a great extent. Had Tim Riggins ever had a curfew before?
“I mean, let’s face it; that’s why I’m here. Out of the whole of Dillon, it was only your Dad that offered to take me in. Everyone knew what was going on. Everyone knew the circumstances. Don’t say that they didn’t because we both know that’s bullshit and they did - everyone knows everyone else’s business in this town.
Street, Tyra, Lyla, Jackie, the guys on the team, any of my so called friends, none of them offered anything. Hell, even Billy…”
Tim’s face was pale, his eyes dark with emotion as the sour, biting words poured from his mouth.
She didn’t think that she’d ever heard him say so much.
“We both know what they’re all saying, ‘Tim Riggins has fucked up again, no surprise there. Slept with Jason Street’s girlfriend Lyla Garrity while he was still hospital after being paralyzed. Got kicked off the team for going on some harebrained scheme to Mexico and let the whole of Dillon down.’” He crowded her back against the wall, coming forward and penning her in even as her back came into contact with it. He was trying to scare her, trying to prove face to face that he was a fuck up and that she should feel the same distain for him that everyone else did.
“That’s enough Tim!” Julie snapped referring to the bitter words streaming from his mouth as opposed to his physical actions.
“That thing with Lyla, yeah, it was wrong. But you were both hurt and upset and sure, it wasn’t the best way to deal with the pressure and the guilt about what happened to Jason, but it happened and you’re both equally to blame. You need to let it go and move on.” She told him bluntly.
“Mexico? Yeah, it was stupid. Learn from it.” She looked him straight in the eye, refusing to back down as she moved closer to him to make her point.
“As for the whole Jackie thing…” Julie let out a sigh knowing that he probably wouldn’t pay any more attention to what she was about to say than he advice and Lyla and Mexico but needing to say it all the same.
“No matter the tough man, macho attitude you put out there, you’re seventeen. Seventeen. And Jackie’s in her thirties. It doesn’t matter how good you are in bed, how many girls you’ve slept with or the number of beers you can down, it doesn’t change the fact that you are seventeen, a teenager. She should have known better, it doesn’t matter how good you were at seducing her or whatever, she knew the facts and she made a conscious decision based upon them. I get that that there was mutual consent and stuff, but it doesn’t change the fact that she should have known better. Her Tim, not you.
If she had been a thirty year old man with a kid sleeping with a seventeen year old girl still in school, there would have been hell up.
It also doesn’t change the fact that it was pretty sleazy of her to move onto Billy after being involved with you either.”
Tim was staring at her, letting her have her say, but his face was unreadable and Julie honestly didn’t know how much he was taking in.
“Just because the majority of Dillon are so blind that they only see you as two things, the panthers fullback and a fuckup, it doesn’t mean that’s what you necessarily are, or that’s all you ever will be. Everyone makes mistakes. Just make sure you learn from them.”
Julie gave a little huff and then said, “If you think about we’ve got a few things in common.”
Looking at the blonde in disbelief, Tim couldn’t stop himself from asking “What?”
“Well, think about it.” Julie stated plainly. “You cheated on Jason with Lyla, and I cheated on Matt with The Swede. Your ex Jackie is sleeping with Billy, while Matt is sleeping with his grandma’s day nurse. You don’t have a bed to sleep in and are stuck on the couch and I’m too scared to sleep in my bed at the moment.”
“Too scared?” Tim echoed.
At that Julie’s eyes darted away and she shuffled her feet.
“Confession time Taylor,” Tim told her bluntly pushing the issue and giving her no chance to backtrack.
Instead she tried to down play the situation. “It’s nothing,” Julie replied, forcing a brief laugh.
Tim didn’t say anything, but from the look in his eyes he was telling her that the conversation wasn’t over.
Growling in annoyance Julie forced the words out of her mouth. “They’re just about the storm. That’s all. Nothing interesting. Only this time, I freeze. I can’t move, and you’re not there to drag me along. I don’t feel safe. So,” she finished with a cheerful demeanour that was slightly too perky, “You should feel duly complimented that I feel safe enough to fall asleep on the sofa with your smelly feet in my lap.”
Fighting valiantly for something to say, Julie ducked under Tim’s arm and grabbed hold of his hand to lead him into the kitchen. “Come on,” she said over her shoulder to him, “I’ll make you a sandwich. A manly one, I won’t even bother to ask if you want salad or whether or not I should cut off the crusts.”
Obediently Tim allowed himself to be towed along behind Julie and took a seat on one of the breakfast stools that were seldom used but provided an excellent view of the kitchen when she released his hand.
Opening the fridge, Julie began to rifle through it’s contents. “What do you fancy?” She asked. “We’ve got chicken, ham, cheese, salami,” Julie suggested, turning to face him and depositing a cold can of soda on the counter in front of him.
“Ham sounds good.”
“Ok.” Julie said, pulling out the packet of ham and placing it on the counter. “Do you want any mustard, or mayo with that?”
“Mustard.” Tim replied and tacking on a belated, “Please,” swiftly followed by a “Thanks” as he cracked open the can of coke.
Julie grinned at him in amusement before her face creased up into a long yawn that seemed to go on forever as she held her hand over her mouth, “Sorry.”
“You weren’t kidding were you? That storm really got to you.” Tim stated.
“Yep, guess we all have our weaknesses. It appears that Mother Nature is one of mine.” Deliberately Julie turned away from him, trying to put an end to the conversation. Taking out the relevant bits that she needed, she set about making Tim a couple of sandwiches. She’d seen the boy eat, there was no way that one would suffice. “How much mustard do you like?” She asked holding up the jar of mustard and a knife poised to spread the yellow substance across the bread.
“That enough?” Julie checked a moment later having applied a liberal amount.
A moment later and she slid across a couple of sandwiches on a plate and then dug around in the cupboard for a couple packets of chips. Randomly she tossed one of bags over to him, knowing that he didn’t have any preference.
Hungrily he tucked into the food placed in front of him, only taking the time to issue her with a brief smile of gratitude.
Julie smiled to herself, shaking her head in amusement as she made up her own sandwich and walked round the counter to sit next to Tim.
Pulling herself up off the couch, Julie hit the pause button as she yawned and walked over to the phone.
Her Mom’s voice sounded clear over the phone line, “Hey Honey.”
“Hey Mom,” Julie replied struggling to hold back another yawn her eyes watering with the effort.
“How are you feeling?”
Julie gave a shrug that her Mom couldn’t see and transferred the phone from one ear to another. “Tired still. But fine other than that. You can tell Dad that Tim has done his duty and checked up on me, he left a few a few minutes ago so he should be back in time for his next lesson.” She commented.
“Yeah, you didn’t have to send him to check on me. Uh,” she groaned, “It was so embarrassing having Dad send him home to make sure that I was alright, could he have not just called?” She complained to her Mom. “He was real nice about it, but I mean, I know he’s way out of my league and Dad would kill him if he ever looked at me in that way, but do you have any idea of what it is like to have one of the most popular boys in school sent home at lunch time to check on you, because you’re too much of a baby to go to sleep? It’s humiliating Mom!”
“I’ll have a word with your Dad honey,” Tami assured her daughter, doubtful that her husband would have sent the fullback home to check on his baby girl. At least, she thought, Julie viewed the social difference between her and Tim as being so vast that nothing would ever happen between them. And, she reflected, there had been no signs of flirting between the pair of them. Nothing to hint of anything in that nature at all.
“But other than that, is everything ok?” She asked Julie.
“Yeah, everything’s fine, we had some lunch and then Tim left to get back in time for class. Mom?” she said quietly.
Tami frowned, catching the underlying seriousness in Julie’s tone of voice that was so rarely heard. “Yeah?”
“This town’s really done a number on him haven’t they?”
She heaved a heavy sigh, “Yes.” Tami responded softly. “Not just the town, but yes.” It was a lot of pressure to put on a teenager. When the team won, the players were regarded as invincible, it was inevitable that when they lost, or were regarded as having a bad game, or as having let the team down that they’d be brought back down earth with a bang, scorn and derision all the way until they proved themselves in the next game, and up they went again.
Jason Street had been charmed in that respect, as far as Dillon was concerned, he could do no wrong. Tim Riggins’s wasn’t so lucky, and his surname meant that people were always looking to point out that the apple never fell very far from the tree.
“Did he say anything to you?” She asked Julie.
“Nah,” Julie responded, unwilling to share Tim‘s outburst with her Mom. “We just talked for a bit that was all. Random stuff, nothing in particular.”
“Ok. Well, the reason I was calling anyway, not just to check up on you. I had a word with your Dad earlier, and since it’s Friday, we decided that we’re going to let you have the rest of the day off to try and catch up on some sleep. This is a one time only thing Julie, you hear me? Come Monday it will back to school as usual.”
Julie nodded, another yawn creeping up on her before she could answer. “Ok, I understand. If you speak to my teachers and get any assignments that I missed I‘ll do them over the weekend.”
“Ok honey,” Tami said hearing the bell ring distantly in the hallway. “I have to go, but I’ll speak with you later on this evening ok?”
“Ok,” Julie responded. “Speak to Dad will you?”
“I will.” Tami assured her. “Bye.”
“Bye.” Julie said, hanging up the phone. She muffled another yawn with her hand and lay back down on the coach, her head on one of the cushions her Mom liked to have scattered everywhere and reached over to un-pause the dvd she’d been watching.
As Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett toured the grounds of Pemberly, Julie felt her eyes growing heavier and unconsciously snuggled deeper into the sweatshirt she’d not taken off since Tim had leant it to her the night before.
“Take five minutes,” Coach Taylor shouted out, ignoring the relieved groans from a few of the players as they headed out over to the water stand.
“Riggins!” Eric bellowed before his Fullback could get a drink. “I want a word with you. Now.”
Tim glanced over, jogging over to Coach Taylor aware of the eyes on him that were wondering what he’d done wrong now.
Unclipping his helmet and pulling it off on the way, he took a deep breath and came to a stop before Coach Taylor.
Eric meet his fullbacks eyes and studied the boy hard, his conversation with Tami running through his mind as he did so.
“You went home at lunch time.” He stated already knowing the answer.
Tim ducked his head and then brought it up to face him once again. “Yes Sir.”
Eric pursed him lips and crossed his arms across his chest in displeasure. He hadn’t been happy with Saracen dating Julie, and while he was willing to help Riggins out and let the kid sleep on his couch he didn’t want the boy getting involved with his daughter.
He was willing to bet that there were a lot of fathers that felt the same way he did. The boy was one fine Fullback when he was sober and had his head in the game, but those times were few and far between.
“There something going on between the two of you?” He asked straight out his voice a low growl.
“No Sir.” Tim replied immediately his words clear and strong.
Eric asked his next question on the off chance, Julie had told Tami a bit about the nightmares she‘d recently been having, but she hadn‘t been exactly coherent when talking about them. Whenever the subject had been brought up again she‘d become suddenly evasive on the topic and shown a stronger defence than his football team did. “You know anything about those nightmares of hers?”
Tim knew something. The boy wasn’t any good at lying. He glanced away and shuffled his feet obviously uncomfortable with the situation.
“Riggins, you know something, anything that Tami or I don’t, you better start talking.”
“She…” Tim’s voice trailed off as he became aware of Seven standing a few feet away from where they were talking.
“Son?” Eric pressed ignoring the fact that Matt Saracen could hear their conversation if he wanted to.
Tim stepped forwards and leant towards his Coach, taking care to lower his voice so that only he could hear. “The, uh, dreams she’s been having? They’re about the storm.”
“The storm.” Eric said to himself after a moment for lack of anything else to say. The words replayed themselves back once again in his mind. The storm.
“Yeah, y’know, the one recently where we were at the grocery store?”
Eric refrained from rolling his eyes but couldn’t stop the sarcastic comment from leaving his lips. “I know which god damn storm you’re talking about Riggins!” He snapped. Loudly.
If his earlier bellow calling Riggins over to him hadn’t caught their attention, his short tempered outburst certainly had the rest of the team looking over.
Huffing in frustration he pulled off his cap and ran his hand through his hair trying to make sense of things.
“Did she say anything else?” He asked a moment later.
Tim tried to answer the question, tried to overcome the resentment he was feeling for some indescribable reason. Well, actually it wasn’t indescribable, he knew why he didn’t want to tell Coach what he wanted to know. Julie had told him. No-one else. Just him. She’d confided in him, it was like their secret, something that only the pair of them knew. It was a good secret too, not like the one he and Lyla tried to keep under wraps or anything like that. “Well, uh…err…”
“Hell speak up Riggins!” Eric barked out at him. “You’re beginning to sound like Saracen!”
Gritting his teeth, Tim fought down the urge to be stubborn and refuse to answer. Common sense spoke up, one of the few times it did, and this time, an occasion even rarer, he decided to listen to it. Coach would find out eventually, and he did owe Coach Taylor too for letting him crash out on his couch, and get back on the team.
“She doesn’t feel safe.” He admitted quietly. “When the storm hit, she just kinda, froze, I guess. That’s what the dreams are about. She freezes and she’s stuck there by herself with no one to snap her out of it.”
There was a long pause and then Coach Taylor demanded to know, “What did you do to her last night?”
“Last night?” Tim repeated.
“Yes, last night! What did you do, what did you say to her?”
“Nothing.” Tim answered honestly.
This time it was Coach Taylor repeating his Fullback. “‘Nothing?’” He questioned. “‘Nothing?’ You really expect me to believe that son? You did not say or do anything to her last night which resulted in her going back to bed and sleeping through the night until gone nine this morning?”