John had listened in silence while Henry gave him a summary of what had happened at the clinic earlier.
“Poor MJ, though it’s easy to guess why your Ms White has such a chip on her shoulder about her, and I can understand her lashing out at you and her. Ah, come on, don’t look so panicked. That’s a classic in one on one therapy after all. You should know not to take that personally. I think you were right to try and refer her over to me, try a different angle to resolve her issues. She’s got some big ones alright, an interesting case. I hope she turns up at my practice. There’s nothing else you can do for her right now.”
“You’ll let me know, if she calls on you, won’t you? I can’t help feeling responsible. How did I not see this coming?” Henry pushed the file across the table toward him, “Take that with you and have a read through it. She won’t come back to see me, I’m sure of that, so it’s no use to me.”
“Now lighten up, will you? Go home and put your feet up. You’re still on half day visiting hours at your place, aren’t you, you lucky bugger? Listen to some Bach or Pergolesi. With MJ maybe,” he winked, “Drink up now, have that Whiskey.”
“You’re alright, man, you have it. I think I’m going to take the scenic route home and have a bit of a drive up the mountains.”
“Sounds good,” John downed the Whiskey in one gulp and waved at the dark-haired girl behind the bar. She made her way over to them hips swaying.
“Dottore,” she said, “is there anything else you and your friend would like?”
“I’d like nothing more than to stay here for the rest of the afternoon, Mariella, but alas my sense of duty is preventing me from doing so and I have to go back to work. How much do we owe you?”
John extracted two crumpled twenties from his back pocket and waved Henry’s proffered twenty away. “Keep the change, bella.”
The girl’s husky laughter followed them after they had squeezed through between her and judging from the high-speed sound of their animated conversation, a group of Spanish surfers.
They stood in the door for a moment. It hadn’t been a bad summer at all, but today the rain hadn’t let up all day. It was coming down hard and fast and the wind had picked up since this morning.
“No wonder all the surfer dudes have gone to the pub, let’s hope it’s not the first day of their holidays. Isn’t she a bit too young for you?”
“Yes, how long have you been seeing her?”
“Mind your own business, my friend. Off you go, get yourself home to your MJ. You never said there wasn’t anything going on between the two of you, so…”
“Piss off. Oh, and call me if you hear from Ms White. Actually give me a ring after you’ve read her file. I’d like to hear your take on it. Italian, eh, this Mariella girl? Molto bella, sei un uomo fortunato.” Henry sprinted over to his jeep before John could land a retaliatory punch in his side.
© Ash N. Finn, 2016