Thursday, May 21, 2020
The Best Medicine by Dellani Oakes – Part 39
Morgan came in a couple of hours later. Caden met him in the foyer.
"Is that my shirt?" Morgan said after saying hello.
"He's helping me move things to the attic. Hal said he wouldn't need the space."
"Thanks," Morgan said, grudgingly. "And thanks again for today."
"That's what friends are for," Caden replied with a shy smile. "I guess we haven't really called one another that for a while, but you are my friend, Morgan. You and Hal—you've been best friends for so long, and I envy you that. I never have had that with anyone. Hal and I aren't as close as you two are. I'm jealous as hell, if you wanna know the truth."
"Caden, I've always considered you a good friend. Before we started med school and law school, we were close, man. I knew you'd always have my back."
"And you had mine." Caden nodded. "Where'd we jump track, Morgan?"
"I'm not sure. I'd love to blame Vanessa. I feel sure I could justify it someway." He chuckled.
"I'd like to blame world hunger and global warming on her, too," Caden added. "I wonder if there's a legal precedent for it."
"I'm sure you can find one."
Just like that, the matter was laid to rest. Tanya hoped that ended their quarrel, but she wasn't convinced it was over. Too often, undercurrents remained, even after a matter seemed settled. For the time being, they'd resolved their anger and distrust.
"So, how's Peyton," Caden asked.
"The lawyer? Funny, I didn't know his name until now."
"Eli Peyton. He and I were in law school together. Not a bad guy, really. I was a little surprised he'd take this case."
"Another Vanessa Victim. He wasn't thinking straight. She has this way—" His hands tightened into fists. "The good news is, his nose was an easy fix. Hal set it, and I stitched up the split cheekbone, free of charge. I even sprung for the suture kit. I pity the guy." He grew silent.
"So, dinner?" Tanya said a little more loudly than she'd intended.
"Yeah." Morgan smiled. "You're bringing Erica, right?" he asked Caden.
"Yes. She's anxious to meet Tanya. Is Hal bringing anyone?"
"No idea. Since he left Catherine in Belize, after meeting her in Uganda—"
"Celistina in Brazil, after meeting in Uruguay," Tanya translated for Caden.
Morgan waved it away as unimportant. "He's not dating anyone."
"I can bring Erica's sister," Caden offered.
"The crazy one?" Morgan looked worried.
"They're all kinda crazy," Caden admitted. "The least crazy one."
"I've had enough crazy for one day," Morgan said.
They were still discussing it when Morgan's phone rang. He answered, rather distractedly. "Yeah, Hal." He walked into another room, speaking softly.
"Listen, I'm gonna bow out on dinner. One of Uncle Jacob's employees fell, and hurt herself. She's here at the hospital, and he asked me to check up on her. And since I was here anyway, Dr. Cosmo asked me to consult on one of the accident victims. He doesn't like how the fracture looks. We might have to go back in and put in some pins."
"So, not coming to dinner."
"No. Got to miss it, buddy. Sorry."
"Hal, is this because Erica will be there, and you don't have a woman?"
"Partly, yeah," his friend admitted. "I can't face her right now. I can't tell you what a wreck my life is. I lied about Celistina from Brazil. She had a boyfriend, she didn't bother to tell me about. We got together a couple times on the ship, had some fun, then she dumped me."
"Man, that sucks."
"Tell me about it. She was hot! Please tell Caden I can't make it. Give him some excuse."
"You need to tell him the truth, buddy. That seeing Erica with him is like a knife to the balls."
Hal's chuckle sounded forced and full of pain. "Maybe sometime. Meanwhile, I need to check on Uncle Jacob's wedding planner. Love to Tanya." He hung up.
Silently, Morgan made his way to the kitchen. Tanya knew something was wrong the second she saw him.
"He's not coming?"
Morgan shook his head. "Something about one of Uncle Jacob's co-workers, and helping out Cosmo. Not really sure what he's talking about."
Caden nodded. He understood, even if he didn't say so.
"I'm starving," Tanya said. "Where are we going? How fancy?"
The men jumped slightly, having virtually forgotten her. Their stances were so similar, she almost laughed. Both stood with their hands in their back pockets, smiling at her.
"We can do Sarducci's," Caden replied.
"Or there's the Moskva," Morgan added.
"Both exceptionally hard to get into," Tanya tried a reality check.
The men just laughed.
© 2020 Dellani Oakes
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