He was standing with his back turned to her, chatting politely with one of the straggling guests. He looked a little trapped but it was cute to watch him fidget. She’d let him suffer a few more seconds giving her just enough time to steady her nerves. She took a few deep breaths and deciding to come to his rescue, slid up beside him.
“Hi,” she cooed,”ready?”
“Ready,” he echoed and then to the woman who’d been holding him hostage,”Nice talking to you.”
He helped her into her white leather trench coat and they strolled out the door, not exactly holding hands but not exactly trying not to accidentally touch fingers. A few minutes later, he ushered her toward a little booth in the back of the diner, helped her out of the coat and laid it carefully on the bench beside him. She inched delicately across the bench, given her short dress, and settled in. Suddenly nervous, she fiddled with the charm on her bracelet, prompting Nathan to ask about it.
“You were going to tell me all your stories before I rudely abandoned you.” he touched her bracelet when he spoke.
“Oh, yeah. You want the cliff notes or the long, long version?” she quipped.
“I have nowhere to be,” he smiled. His smile, she was sure, could melt rocks. “What does the engraving mean?”
“My birth mother was 17 when she got pregnant with me. She actually ran away to keep her mother from making her get an abortion. She and my birth father broke up, it was a lot to handle in high school. But, 6 years later, they ran into each other at a gas station on Christmas Eve. They got married a few months later and have 2 kids who are my full biological siblings.” she said.
“So, when they needed a donor…”
“Yep. What’s your family like?” she asked him, leaning in to listen.
“Well, my mom and dad started young too. They met when my mom was just 16. My dad was “visiting” from Ireland for the summer, working in his uncle’s restaurant. He was thinking about college here. And he met this cute curly haired Hispanic chick who came in for lunch with a friend and that was that.” he shrugged.
“Okay, that explains the Irish name. You don’t look Irish.” she squinted at him.
“I look more like my mom. The Irish comes out when I say certain words.”
“Like what?,” she quizzed him.
“Like, ‘air’ and ‘perfect’, and,” he paused
“sweetheart.” he said with an adorable lilt.
“Cute,” she blushed, shaking her head.
“It gets worse, when I’m tired… or drunk.”
“Well, we all get a little Irish when we’re drunk.,” she said, coyly. “How did we get on this subject?”
“I don’t really remember.,” he said, not really caring. He loved talking to her, the topic didn’t matter.
A funky waitress with short lavender hair popped out of nowhere., “Can I get you some coffee while you decide what to have?”
“Yes, please!!!,” Carrie jumped, startled.
“I love your dress.,” Lavender said.
“Thank you,” Carrie said sincerely, “my friend Legacy Price made it.” She turned her attention fully back to Nathan. “Do you have a big family? ” she asked him.
“Yep, 4 kids, a big Catholic clan. The summer my parents met, they had to get married.,” he made air quotes ,”and my sister came along soon after, then my older brother. They had 2 kids before they were 20. It’s worked for them, though. My brother Ethan and I were last, a surprise I’m sure, and we’re twins.”
“You’re a twin?” she gasped.
“And the baby?” she teased him.
“Yeah and I was born second so I’m the baby, baby.” he winked at her and she blushed…again.
“Awe,’ she giggled. “That’s so different than how I grew up. We’re Catholic too, no birth control and all, but my mom had cancer and chemo killed her ovaries and they finally adopted me. I never had to share a bathroom.,” she bragged.
“I went from home to the college dorm and med school where I had roommates. I didn’t get my own bathroom until I was 30!”
“You’re making that up. No one lives like that?
Minutes ticked by and then an hour. They drank their coffees which proved to be better than adequate, though perhaps it was the company, and Nathan occasionally picked at a waffle though mostly they leaned across the table, engrossed in conversation.
“The lawyer that handled my adoption kept records and my dad never moved so it took a few hours. My dad was freaking out. Suddenly I was going to meet my birth parents and possibly undergoing major surgery.” They were discussing how she’d come to know her birth family.
“That had to be scary. It was very selfless and brave. Of you and your dad.,” Nathan insisted.
“Well, he didn’t get much of a choice and he did tried to talk me out of it. I was always so good and never gave him any grief but I had a complete fit saying that Sarah and Rick, my bio parents, had given them a daughter and it was our chance to return the favor. He came with me to get tested and I am sure he was crossing his fingers, hoping I wouldn’t be a suitable donor. But I was and the next day we were on a plane to Florida.”
“What was that like?,” he leaned in.
“I don’t know. You’d think it would been really emotional but I think the gravity of the situation made it so overwhelming that I didn’t feel any of it. I mean, I fell in love with my siblings and I have a great relationship with all of them now. My mom died when I was ten and it had just been my dad and me for years. Suddenly I had this whole family resting all of their hopes on me and if it didn’t work…,I’m talking way too much.”
He shook his head. “You were so young. You had to have been so scared.,” he said, sipping coffee.
Hmmm, yeah. I don’t do fear well. I’m much better at avoiding.” she sighed.
“What, could you, Miss Davison, possibly be afraid of?,” he challenged, eyes twinkling.
“Hmm, my shadow.,” she said slowly, almost sad.
“Seriously?,” Nathan ventured. “You seem to have so much together. You’re so accomplished.”
“Yeah, that’s work though, its not real…Why am I talking so much?,” Carrie said.
“Don’t stop.,” he leaned on his elbows, looking intently, waiting for her to continue. “What, could you, Caroline Davison possibly be scared of?”