Episode 9 ~ A Near Encounter
Updated: Sep 1
Early the next morning, functioning on very little sleep, Nate jumped into a cab and rode the 15 minutes to Saleté. It was a family favorite and he, his two brothers, and sister met for breakfast at least once a week. Today, it was just him and Ethan. From the outside, Salete’ didn’t look like much. It was in an old historic building that had once had a pub, a dry cleaners, and grocery. The first step through the front door revealed a completely new experience. The basic hardwood floors had long been replaced by reclaimed heart pine, popcorn ceilings blasted and covered in antique, stamped tin and recessed lighting. Rich wood paneling reclaimed from a farm upstate concealed the wainscotting. He was greeted by several of the staff as they bustled by with trays and mimosas, coffees, and Bloody Mary’s.
”Good morning, Dr. Dorough.”
”Hi, Jenna, is my brother here?”
Before the pretty server could answer, Nate was rushed by the maître d’ and greeted with a big hug.
“How are you, Uncle Joe?”
“Not bad boy, how’s the heart business?” The older gentleman nods his head toward a booth near the middle of the restaurant where the mirror image of Nate, sat staring into his coffee.
“The beat goes on.” Nate teased the older man. Their laughter carried, causing Ethan to look up as the two walked over.
“You know that you two are the only ones who think you’re at all funny?,” Ethan said shaking his head. Joe walked away, tousling Ethan’s hair, to greet an incoming party. Nate slid into the booth across from his brother.
“You holding up? ” Nate asked, giving his twin a sympathetic look.
“No, I…nope. I shut down my office for a few weeks. It’s already been 6 months but for some reason, it hit me out of nowhere. I can’t do much of anything.”
“Give yourself a break. I’m glad you’re out of the house at least. Man, Brooke has only been gone 6 months. You know this takes time.” Nate reassured.
“I know. We are supposed to be getting married at the end of the month and instead, I’ll be bringing flowers to her grave. How’s that for a kick in the junk?,” Ethan remarked sadly.
Ethan was a doctor as well, a Ph.D. in psychology. He was a part of a large mental health group but was finding it increasingly challenging to serve his patients after the death of his fiancee’ when her car was T-boned by a drunk driver several months prior. The driver was 17 and was now doing jail time, which really was no consolation.
“I know.,” Nate empathized. “I flipped the page on my calendar over the other day, and there it was. The week was marked …for the wedding. I’ve agreed to speak at the Donor Prom that week…don’t ask me how that happened… but other than that, I am free. I’m gonna be here brother.”
“Thanks," Ethan said soberly and then more playfully, “So what do we do about you? I have a good excuse.”
“Not this.,” Nate rolled his eyes. “Breaking up with Amy was the right thing to do. Don’t think I don’t feel like an ass. I have to see her nearly everyday at the hospital and she still can’t decide if she’s going to give me puppy dog eyes or daggers.”
“The poor girl was blind-sided man. I never thought she was the right girl for you but she is the wronged party here. Even if she did go all bunny boiler on you?” Ethan joked.
“Is bunny boiler your official diagnosis?”
“No, no, bunny boiling is a manifestation of a deeper problem.,” Ethan said seriously with a smirk “It’s merely a symptom of mental illness.”
“Nice, fist bump! Seriously, I am glad you are taking a bit of time off. I can’t see how it can be good for you to treat your patients while you are trying to process your own grief. Anyway, Amy will be fine. She loves her job as much as I love mine. It’s why we didn’t fit. We both loved something else way too much. It was you and Brooke that opened my eyes. Seeing her with you, at some point, I started to see that after 4 years, with Amy and me, it just didn’t run that deep.
”So it’s done then?” Ethan asked.
“Ah, more or less. This whole break was a stupid idea.” Nate said shaking his head.
“Oh, I don’t know. You have to work together so making a clean break is challenging no matter what.” Ethan reassured.
The door to the bistro flew open and two young women battled a gust of wind to pull it closed. Joe dashed over to help. Nate and Ethan craned their heads at the sound of giggling. Inspecting the scene, the ladies looked the typical New York socialites, except for their windblown hair and scattered shopping bags. The one with the long, blonde hair and silky, navy blue jumpsuit pushed her sunglasses to her head, following her equally stylish, if not slightly edgier friend toward a booth in the back of the restaurant.
The guys returned to their coffees, Ethan snickering despite his morose.
Carrie and Legacy clipped quickly to a semi-quiet spot in the back of Saleté. They ‘d only been a few times; it was a challenge to get a table for dinner, no matter who you were. As it was, Legacy had made the reservation for a weekday brunch 2 weeks prior as a sort of a “Yay, you’re not getting sued anymore celebration.” It was the perfect way to spend the day. They’d spent the morning playing dress-up, shopping, and getting blow-outs at the salon; basically indulging the fantasy they’d dreamed up for themselves the first time they’d visited the city. They clipped along looking straight ahead until Legacy stopped, adjusted the shoulders on her flowered romper and noticing the set of dark haired men at the table diagonal from theirs.
”Oh look, Carrie,” she said much too loudly, ”bookends.”