Nate was scribbling away with a hot pink crayon when his phone rang. “Hang on one second. This is my girlfriend,” he winked and the little girl giggled at the thought of Dr. Nate having a girlfriend.
“Hi, there beautiful.” Nate lit up.
Lauren giggled loud enough to be heard through the phone.
“Where are you?” Carrie sounded amused.
“I’m at work. I’ll leave in a little while but my friend Lauren invited me to color for a little while so I’m going to finish my picture of…,” he turned to Lauren. “Who is this?”
“It’s Rainbow Dash.”
“Rainbow Dash, ” he informed Carrie.
“What’s a rainbow dash?” Carrie asked him.
“It’s a horse,” Nathan began.
David, Legacy, and Lauren protested in unison, though Lauren was much more soft-spoken. “A My Little Pony!”
“Whoa! Haha, pun intended. My apologies.” Carrie giggled. ‘Who are you people?”
“I feel like an ass,” Nate laughed at his own stupid pun and then realized what he’d said in front of Lauren. “Sorry,” he mouthed quietly. The little girl just beamed back at him He was her hero.
“I’m going home in a little while. Are you going to be done soon? ” She was anxious now to get home but also hoping for a little bit of prep time before he got there.
“Yeah. What are you doing now?”
“Hydrating after much libating. I had carbs and cheap wine for dinner and now I have regret.”
“Who is this? Where is my girlfriend?” Nate teased.
“It’s really me. I’m just out having some fun conversations with my friends.”
“Who are you with?”
“Just Legacy and David.”
“Tell them hi!”
“Nathan says hi.”
“Hi, buddy,” a sobering but still drunkish David called out. “Hey, lemme talk to my guy, Nate.” he reached across for the phone.
“No, you are not talking to your guy, Nate, David.”
“Why not?” he whined.
“Because you’re still impaired and you’ll say something stupid that’s why.”
“Hey, babe, let me talk to David a sec.”
Carrie slowly and reluctantly reached across the table with her phone. David had clearly been joking because he now held the phone like it was hot and answered with suspicion.
“Hello?” he said, slowly.
“Hey,” Nate said, not a hint of anything odd in his voice.
“How inebriated are you?”
“Not very. Why?” David replied, slightly defensive.
“Just making sure she gets home alright if she’s impaired. You’ll get her home?” Nate asked, matter-of-factly.
“Thanks. I’ll see you later. Give me back to Carrie?”
“Hey?” Carrie cooed.
“Hey, yourself. I gotta run but I’ll call you when I’m on my way okay?
“Yeah, okay.” she shrugged.
“I love you. See you soon.”
“I love you,” she laughed.
She hung up the phone and took one look at David and knew something wasn’t right.
“What’s wrong? What did he say to you?” For the life of her, she couldn’t imagine that Nathan would say anything unkind or upsetting to anyone. But David had a confused look on his face.
“He didn’t say anything to me. Don’t worry about it.”
“He just wanted me to make sure you got home okay, that’s all.”
“That’s all?” A slow, genuine smile grew across her face. She hid it quickly. Maybe Nathan and David weren’t going to be best friends but if they were going to play nice at the very least, she wouldn’t jinx it by getting overly excited.
“Okay, then.” Legacy shot her a look, signaling her to leave it alone.