Thursday, January 23, 2020
The Best Medicine by Dellani Oakes – Part 5
Morgan takes Tanya out for a steak dinner. He introduces her to some of his nephew, Duke. Predictably, Duke hits on her.
"Yeah," Morgan interjected, clearly staking his territory. "She reads the films, and I patch up the boo-boos. Speaking of which, how's the arm?"
Duke rolled up his sleeve, revealing a bronzed and muscular forearm. A line of small, neat stitches ran from wrist to elbow on the top of his arm.
"Better, but still stings like a mother-fu.... Sorry," he glanced at Tanya.
"I've got brothers, chances are good I've heard the f-word before, Duke. What did you do to it?" She admired Morgan's masterful work. It wouldn't leave much of a scar.
"Had a disagreement with a barbed wire fence," he said, grinning.
"He was trespassing on private property, and got hung up in the dark."
"No, I was running away from a disgruntled male parental unit in the dark, after I climbed down from his daughter's bedroom at three o'clock in the morning. I couldn't see where I was going and got tangled in the fence."
"Could we get some food, Duke? We're starving," Morgan quickly changed the subject.
"Sure!" He grabbed a pencil and pad of paper out of his apron and flipped the pages back with an expert flick of his wrist. "What would you like, my lady?"
Tanya didn't even look at the menu. "Twelve ounce sirloin, medium-well and a baked potato with all the fixings. Oh, and I'm told you have the best rum runners in the state. Is that true?"
Duke grinned, his white teeth flashing in his tanned face. He tossed his long, curly, blond ponytail over his broad shoulder. "So the bartender tells me, and I don't intend to argue with her. She's my mom." I laughed heartily.
"I don't argue with her either," Morgan confided. "She's my older sister, and she owns the place. If I ever want to eat here again, I keep my opinions to myself. But they are good. Keep the rum coming, nephew. The lady and I intend to relax."
"Not if you're driving home, Morph. Mom won't serve you if you if you're driving a lady home."
"I'll stop at one, Duke. Tell her to make mine light, okay?" He winked as his nephew walked over to the bar, giving the woman behind it their drink order. "She'll come over personally to meet you, so be prepared."
"Is she likely to give me the third degree? Maybe we should get our stories straight." Tanya grinned at Morgan slyly as he winked at her.
"The Spanish Inquisition has nothing on my sister. She takes my social life like her own personal crusade, but she's determined I won't hook up with another gold digger, who is just after my money."
"I'm not after your money, Morgan. I'm just here for the food."
He squinted at her trying to decide if she was serious or not. When he saw she was teasing, he chuckled. "Molly's okay, she just takes her job as a big sister seriously, since our mom died."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
He shrugged. "It was over twenty years ago. She was killed in an accident with a drunk driver hit her. She was pregnant with my baby brother. The doctors saved the baby, but Mom didn't make it. That's why I became a surgeon."
Tanya cleared her throat nervously. She sensed they were treading on sensitive ground here. "I became a radiologist after my grandmother died. She had a cancer the doctors didn't diagnose early enough. So I changed from family practice, and here I am."
Morgan seemed to relax a little after that. He sat with his chair tipped back on two legs, his fingers tapping on his knee to the rhythm of the drums. Tanya sat and watched him enjoy the intricate music, his lips twitching with the guitar riffs and his toes following the bass. She tried not to stare, but he was so incredibly handsome, it was hard for her to keep her eyes on anything else. She found herself enjoying his company far more than she had when they first met.
A tall, red haired, well built woman in tight jeans and a cropped, black tank top, with the restaurant logo on it, walked over to their table with two rum runners on a tray. She set the drinks in front of them with a click, handing them napkins from her apron.
"Hi," she said, her voice slightly gruff and somewhat deep for a woman's. "I'm Molly."
She didn't look or sound friendly and she didn't hold out her hand when she introduced herself. Tanya decided to try and break the ice she felt forming between them, before the woman got really frosty. She held out her hand and smiled warmly.
"Hi, I'm Tanya O'Toole, a colleague of Morgan's. We just met today, I'm new in town."
A little of Molly's chill lifted and she wiped her hand on the apron before taking Tanya's in a firm grip. She actually smiled slightly as she glanced at her brother. He hadn't said anything, in fact he seemed to be in a world of his own, listening to the music.
"The band is great," Tanya said truthfully. "Are they local?"
"Yeah," Molly said, pulling up a chair and sitting on it backwards, facing their table. "Mostly family, so I let the kids play here. Our youngest brother, Cullen, is the front man. My older two boys, Ken and Danny, are the bass player and guitarist. The drummer is a replacement, but he's not bad. He isn't family, but a good friend of Cull's. The one on keyboards is a college friend of my son, Danny. The other two they just happened to come across in other bands or from open mic night here."
"What happened to the other drummer?"
Molly chuckled, glancing at her brother. "He decided to become a doctor," she laughed. "You should go play a song or two with them, Morph. That kid's not bad, but he lacks your surgical precision."
© 2020 Dellani Oakes
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