“That’s not to say I don’t love you Don, I truly do–but I don’t love you in that kind of way,” the woman spoke as she stared at the small fuzzy white face of the man across the table. She leaned in and spoke in a slightly hushed tone, “and it’s not… that. I see you as a person, you know that. We’ve worked together for years now Don.”
Dr. Foster stared blankly down to the floor while his paw rolled his wine glass slightly as the words sank in, He smiled bitterly. “You know mother said there’d be days like this.” He looked up and started into the icy blue eyes of the professional woman packaged in a red blouse and long brunette shoulder length curls. “You’re right Daphne, I’ve seen with my own eyes that you don’t view color, species, or fur for that matter. You wouldn’t believe how many dates I’ve gone on where the women were simply enamored with the concept of having a intelligent cuddly pet, even in these days.”
It was time for damage control. The moogle motioned for the waiter from across the restaurant patio to come and pour more wine. “Let’s dismiss this as simply a brief exploration in the possibilities of our friendship. In fact, I propose a toast–to honesty and openness between two life-long colleagues and friends.”
Daphine gestured not to refill her already mostly filled glass before raising to toast. Her lips pressed thin as the lunch companion clanged glass slightly too enthusiastically. “To honesty, Don.”
“Its probably not necessary to be said, but you know that I will always treat you as a professional.” He leaned in and tapped the white tablecloth. “Daphne, you’re the best goddamn neurologist in all the universe, not just at Saint Starlet National. I will never put my own personal feelings before our work, especially with lives are on the line.”
To this the woman chuckled slightly to herself. She folded her arms, rubbing her forearms slightly and sipped on her drink. “You have a way with words when it comes to the fairer sex, Don. I’m sure there’s some lucky woman waiting for you to discover her.”
The moogle leaned back in his hair and tugged on his suit collar. “Thanks Daph.” He reached into his coat pocket and clutched his lighter nervously. He relaxed his paw and settled back into his chair, shoulders sunken.
“Did I tell you, I have it on good authority that both of us are on the short list to make Health czar?”
“The Avalon Secretary of Health? Frankly I don’t know if I’d want to be appointed. Half the council meetings are after work hours, and Loogie still needs help with his homework.”
“I think everyone could benefit from a feminine voice on any council. Most of the council members–”
Daphne rolled her eyes. She leaned in and pressed her hand on the moogle’s paw. “Avalon Council is just a big collection of provisional city councils, Don. Its just a step up above PTA meetings.
The moogle frown slightly, “Yeah but–”
She reached into her purse and peeked at her sPDA. “The whole government just sits on their hands and lets things play through the motions. As long as the basic markets are still growing, and nothing really rocks the basic framework, not one really cares.”
“How we doing on time?”
“I have to get back to work. I have a meeting in twenty,” the woman muttered as she folded and closed the electric notebook. He laughed light to herself as her eyebrows raised, “heh. Speaking of PTA meetings–Loogie has a parent teacher conference tonight. Those teachers don’t know anything”
The woman smiled faintly as he grasped the check before the waiter could finishing placing the check on the table. Don reached into his pocket, but the brunette pushed the small leather booklet back into the man’s hand with a credit card.
“This one is one me. Next one is on you though Don. Maybe next time we can invite Geoff to join us?”
He tilted his head back slightly and gulped down the last of his wine. “I don’t see Geoff that often these days. He was running housecalls to nomads for a few years, but it seems lately he’s been up to farming or something.” He paused and stared at the residue at the bottom of his glass. He’s his own man.”
“I wouldn’t have never guessed you were raised together as brothers. Ah, thanks,” spoke Daphne as she received her card back and signed the receipt.
Don smirked, “Well, I’ve said it a lot, but its stupid not to admit that a guy like me would grow up with a chip on his shoulder. I always had something to prove–he didn’t.”
She leaned across the table and kissed the moogle on his forehead. “You’re a good man Donovan. This doesn’t change nothing. I gotta go–take care.”
She hurriedly walked away from the table and out of the restaurant. “Yeah Daph, you’re right. Nothing ever changes.”
The moogle adjusted his collar and sighed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a box of mint slims and lit. He took a big puff as he looked out the across the restaurant patio to the brick framed windows across the street. Dr. Foster exhaled a deep puff of smoke. His brow relaxed as he chest sank.
It was at this point that Donovan noticed the reflection of a massive battleship sink below from the overcast sky. His head jerked around as he eyes checked the mirror reflection of the Reinhardt crashed down what seemed to be miles away. The moogle’s chair jostled as he learned back to process what he was seeing, nearly falling off.
He took another puff of his cigarette as his mind began to race around the aspects of damage control. His sPDA began to buzz frantically. For the next few days, it was going to every man on deck. His teeth began to grind as he clicked to speed dial.
“Geoff this is your brother. When you get this come home. Something just came up. You’re needed”