Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Best Medicine by Dellani Oakes – Part 38

"Because we took an oath to help," Hal replied.
"Besides, it wasn't personal," Morgan added. "She gets in your head, makes you think you owe her something."
"Ghe doez!" The lawyer said, surprised. "I'b zorry, dude."
"I'm sorry you got hit," Morgan countered. "You have to be fast to avoid a collision. I got real good at ducking."
Together, the two doctors got the lawyer to his car and put him in the passenger seat. Hal, who had come with Caden, volunteered to drive. Morgan accompanied them to the hospital, leaving Tanya with Caden.
"Thank you," Tanya said again. "I know you and Morgan don't get along that well. It makes it that much more special that you helped."
"You're welcome." He smiled a little. "I couldn't see him worked like that. I always hated Vanessa. She tried to get me to go out with her," he confided. "Morgan and Hal don't know, but she was after me. hot and heavy for quite a while. I was seeing Erica, Hal's ex—my fiancee...." He waved it away. "It's complicated. Suffice to say, I wasn't interested in anyone as cheap as Vanessa. Which you'll understand, when you meet Erica."
"I'd like that."
"Good. She was going to meet us for lunch, then all this happened."
"Let's make it dinner. Give her a call."
"Good idea. Can I drop you somewhere?"
"Please. I need to head home and do some packing. I'll call Morgan and let him know."
Caden gave Erica a call before taking Tanya home. He admired the house, asking for a tour. Tanya invited him in, offering coffee. They sat in her sunny kitchen, after a short tour, sipping their coffee.
"Will you tell me what happened between you and Morgan? All I've gotten are bits and pieces."
Caden shrugged, shaking his head. "It was my fault—and Hal's. Erica's too, but I'd never tell her that. You know what med school is like, followed by internship."
"Years of hell. I imagine law school is no picnic, either."
"No. But it's not as rigorous. No one dies on my watch, ya know? And Hal, he takes losing a patient pretty hard."
"Morgan does, too." She nodded, understanding.
"He didn't have a lot of time for Erica. So I would step in and spend time with her. Only—"
"She didn't know it was you."
"No. I'm not proud of myself. Hal and I screwed up bad. But you get in a habit. Erica is very demanding. She refused to understand that he couldn't be there every second, to see to her wants."
"High maintenance, huh?" Tanya smiled.
"So high, she makes her own category. The only one worse is her mom. Eventually, I was spending way more time with her than Hal was, and I fell in love with her. He found out. It got ugly."
"And you thought Morgan told him."
He shrugged again, staring into the depths of his coffee mug. "What am I supposed to think? They've been friends for years. Morgan found out about us. He told me I had to tell Hal, or he would. I couldn't make myself do it. He's the nurturer, I'm the predator. I knew it would tear Hal apart."
"So you let him find out for himself?" Her hand flew to her mouth.
"I thought Morgan told him. After that, wouldn't you?"
"I confronted him, and we got into a hell of a fight. I did some serious damage, but he damn near caved my head in. We know how to fight, the three of us. And we're all—intense."
"Got that," Tanya giggled. "Sure did." She took Caden's hand. "For Hal's sake, you two need to mend this."
"Yeah, Erica says the same thing. She doesn't know I switched out on her," he added quickly. "So please don't say anything. She just thinks that I fell in love with her, and broke them up."
"Caden, that's no way to live. She needs to know."
He nodded. "I'm a shark in the courtroom, but a koi when it comes to my own life. How do I tell the woman I love, that all those times she thought she was making love to Hal, she was with me?"
"No good way to say it," Tanya said. "It will get ugly. But think how much worse it would be if she found out the way Hal did."
He chuckled. "My genitals would go missing."
"Thanks for letting me talk about this, Tanya. And for not judging. Even my own mother took Hal's side."
"We all do stupid things, Caden. If I told you the dumb assed stuff I've done, you'd understand why. Was it a mistake? You already know that. My passing judgment isn't needed. You do that to yourself on a daily basis. But you and Morgan need to put this to rest. It's over."
"Agreed. I'll give it a shot. We hurt one another a lot—not just with our fists."
They finished their coffee. Since Caden didn't have to be back at the office, he took off his suit coat, dress shirt and tie. Borrowing a T-shirt of Morgan's, he lent a hand with the packing. They got most of her kitchen packed. Much of what she had was going into storage in the vast, finished attic.
© 2020 Dellani Oakes

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The Best Medicine by Dellani Oakes – Part 40

"Not for us," Morgan said. "Sarducci's—piece of cake. And Caden can get a table at Moskva any time he wants." ...