A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Fourteen

Tony walked into the house and shut the door behind him.  It had been awhile since he had spent an entire day at Infierno and he had to admit to himself that he had missed it.  The camaraderie with Danny and Rafael, the business demands that broke up the monotonous parts of the day,  the constant stream of people coming and going….yeah he missed it.  Rafael had been staying at the Beacon while Marah and him figured things out, but he had to admit he missed the older man more than he cared to admit.

“Hello Mr. Santos.” Tristan walked down the stairs holding a bottle in one hand and a blanket in the other, bare feet hardly making a sound on the soft carpet.  Her toes were painted a pale pink Tony noticed, than mentally slapped himself for noticing.  Refocusing he realized she was still talking, “I just fed and changed Lanie.  She just went down for a nap.”

Tony put his keys in the bowl on the side table, “Was she any trouble?”

Tristan laughed, “Not at all.  She’s a cutie, and loads easier than the patients I deal with at the hospital.”  She walked over to the couch and began gathering her things.

“I bet.”  Tony scratched his chin, his five o’clock shadow sounding like sandpaper, “I never did get around to asking how being a nanny will interfere with your job at Cedars.”

Tristan looked up from putting on her shoes, “I am used to having more than one job.  Besides, I mostly work weekends at Cedars.”

“well that’s good, I wouldn’t want us to interfere with your job.”

Standing, Tristan put her bag over his shoulder and headed towards the door.  Stopping in front of him she looked up and smiled coyly, “No worries, I never let much interfere with plans.”

***

After a quick stop at her apartment Tristan looked fresh and dressed for her date.  Walking into Towers she scanned the room until her eyes landed on just the man she was looking for.  Sitting at the bar with his back to her she took the time to run her nervous hands along her dress.  She couldn’t believe she was actually nervous about a man.  She was almost like a virgin on her first date, but it had been a long time since she actually indulged in a personal life.  For so long she had let Richard rule her life.

“But he’s not here now.” Tristan said to herself.  She slowly strutted across the restaurant and when she was just a few feet away Jonathan turned and saw her approach.  She noted the appreciation in his eyes and the sexy as sin smile that crept across his face.  A smile she gladly returned.

Jonathan stood when Tristan reached the bar, “Well hello gorgeous.” He leaned down and kissed her cheek sweetly, mentally patting himself on the back for not mauling her right there in the middle of the restaurant.

“Hello.” She looked him up and down appreciatively, “You clean up well.”

Jonathan gestured to his outfit dismissively, “This old thing?”  He gestured towards the Maître D’, “Shall we eat?”

Tristan linked her arm with his, “Ready when you are.”

***

Marah slammed the front door momentarily forgetting there was a baby in the house.  When she didn’t hear a cry she let out the breath she was holding.  She threw her keys on the side table and called out, “Tony?  I really need to talk to you.”

And surprisingly she did.  She couldn’t believe she had another brother that no one told her about.  A younger brother fathered by a man she had actually had feelings for.  He was the first guy she felt free to be herself around after Tony and her crashed and burned for the hundredth time!   Just thinking about it made her want to retch, and it had made the day drag on endlessly.

Her mother and her had spent the majority of the day on pins and needles, any of the easiness in their relationship replaced by awkward silence.  But just as surprising was that she wanted to talk to Tony about it, to share her feelings.  She wasn’t a psychiatrist but she would consider that a break through.

“Marah you home?”

Marah heard Tony’s voice coming from the open kitchen door.  Heading that way she stopped in her tracks when she saw the candles burning, the table set for two.  “Did you make dinner?”

Tony came out of the kitchen carrying a bottle of wine in one hand and a large pizza box in the other.  “Sadly no.  I couldn’t boil water on my best day.  But I figured your return to work deserved some celebration so I got your favorite.”

Marah’s mouth practically watered from the aroma coming from that cardboard box.  Yummy melted cheese and…”You got pepperoni?”

Tony scoffed as he placed the box on the table, “But of course! ”  He came around to the other side of the table and pulled out her chair, “Now won’t you come dine with me Mrs. Santos?”

“This is sweet Tony, “Marah sat while Tony pushed her chair in like a gentleman.

Returning to the other side of the table Tony sat and began pouring the wine, “So you said you wanted to talk to me about something.”

Taking a sip Marah looked at her husband, at all the effort he had gone through today to make her day a bit brighter.  The flowers, the pepperoni pizza….she didn’t want to ruin it asking questions about her messed up family.  “Yeah but it will keep.  How was your day today?”

***

“So why Tristan?  I always thought that was a boy’s name which obviously you are not.”

“Are you sure about that?”  When Jonathan paused in cutting his steak Tristan laughed as she sipped her wine, “Just kidding.  Yes Tristan is typically a boy’s name.  It actually means “loud one” and my mom said I screamed so much when I was born that the name fit.”  Placing her wineglass on the table Tristan began cutting into her chicken, tonight’s date had been going well.  “So tell me, what do you do?”

Jonathan finished chewing his bite of steak before answering, “I am a foreman at my stepfather’s construction company.  Working alongside my half brothers can sometimes be a pain.  Hell they can be a gigantic pain in the ass.  But for a long time I was an outsider, I actually feel like a member of the family.”  He cleared his throat nervously.  He never revealed that much about himself to, well, anyone really.  Safer to change the subject, “You said you were a nurse at Cedars.  Do you like it?”

“I love it actually.  I can honestly say not two days are the same, there is always something new.  And I recently started a part-time side job as a nanny for the Santos family.”

Jonathan’s ears nearly perked up in interest, “Really?  Marah Santos is my sister.”

“Really?  Small world.” Tristan brought her wineglass to her lips and took a long sip.

***

“You should have seen her Bud, she was horrified.”

Josh looked up from checking Collin’s homework.  Not that second graders got much but he thought it best to be involved as much as possible. “Well Reva you had a child with her ex-boyfriend, fling, whatever he was to her.  I am sure she was just shocked.”

Reva supposed that was true but Josh hadn’t seen the look on her face.  It was enough to make her cringe, even hours later. “She didn’t even react that strongly when she found out the first time.”

Josh leaned back on the couch and motioned for Reva to join him.  When she was seated comfortably by his side he curled his arm around her and held her close, “Like I said, she was probably in shock.  She has lost so much then to have a sudden sibling foisted in her life was just unexpected.  She’ll come around.  Plus who could resist that little guy?” Josh motioned with his other arm at the boy playing with Legos on the floor.

Reva hoped Josh was right.

***

“So continuing tonight with your favorite things why don’t we go watch your favorite movie.” Tony stood and collected the plates, “I will clean this up and meet you in the living room.”

Marah walked over to the large television mounted on the wall, and at the large array of movies in the cabinet underneath.  “Um Tony, what is is my favorite movie these days?”

Tony entered the room and smiled sheepishly, “Sorry I forgot.  Your favorite movie is the Notebook.”  He walked over to the cabinet and picked up the all too familiar DVD, “As many times as I have sat through this one I could almost recite it line by line.”

He put the movie into the DVD player and pressed play, “I am just going to check on Lanie.  Don’t get too cozy without me.”

***

An hour later Tony nearly jumped when he felt Marah move hesitantly into his side.  He slowly lifted his arm in invitation, an invitation she responded too by curling into his side just like she used too.  Like she couldn’t stand to be apart from him for too long.  Tony sighed softly as he curled his arm around her.  And for the first time in weeks he felt almost completely happy.

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