Without further adieu, I'd like you to meet Carter Reece and Isaac Brannigan.
I was still mad when I got to work the next day. His behaviour dumfounded me. We’d had the best afternoon, and the more time I spent with Isaac, the more I realized I liked him. Not just liked... I admired him.
But his moods turned on a dime, and he had a sting in his temper.
I had no doubt it was a defence mechanism of some sort, and I could understand that. But I had no idea what had changed, what I said, what I did, what triggered his tirade at me.
I hardly slept a wink because I replayed the conversation over and over in my head, and by morning I was tired and cranky, and quite frankly, pissed off at him.
I gave up on sleep and took Missy for an early morning walk with hopes of clearing my head, and I didn’t technically have to work being a Sunday, but figured I may as well get my head around the Animal Hospital now that Dr. Fields was gone. By mid-morning, I’d done near a whole day’s work and was feeling pretty good. Tired, but good.
Until Rani put her head around my office door and interrupted me. “Dr. Reece?”
“Phone call, line two,” she said quietly, obviously not sure if I was officially on duty. “It’s Isaac Brannigan. I told him you weren’t the vet on call today, but he insisted.”
Insisted. I bet he did.
I gave Rani a smile. “Thanks. I’ll take it.”
She left and I stared at the blinking button on the phone. I really had no idea what this phone call would entail, whether he was calling to make a complaint against me, tell me he’d like referrals to another not-gay vet, or apologize.
With Isaac, I’d gather any of those three options were likely. I sighed when I realized it could very well be all three.
I picked up the handset and pressed the flashing button. “Hello, Carter Reece speaking.”
There was a fraction of silence. “Um, Carter, it’s Isaac. Isaac Brannigan.”
His voice sounded sheepish, even a little sorry. I still played it professional until I knew which way the conversation would go. “Isaac, what can I do for you?”
“I didn’t think you were working today,” he said. “I’ve been calling your cell phone, but it just goes to voice mail.”
I pulled my phone out of my pocket. “Oh, it was switched to silent,” I said absently. There were three missed calls from him. One last night, two this morning. Then something dawned on me. “Is Brady okay?”
Isaac cleared his throat. “Oh, he’s fine,” he replied softly. “That’s not why I wanted to speak to you.”
I took a deep breath and asked the loaded question. “Why did you want to speak to me, Isaac?”
He cleared his throat again and I thought I could hear him fidget, or shift in his seat. “I wanted to apologize.”
I still couldn’t believe what he’d said. “Apologize?”
“Yes,” he lamented. “I was rude to you, and I’m sorry.”
“Isaac, it’s fine,” I told him, though I’m sure my tone said otherwise.
“No, it’s not.”
“Isaac,” I started, but he cut me off.
“Could you come over?” he asked quickly. “I know it’s a lot to ask, all things considered, but I’ll make lunch. It’s the least I can do.”
I rubbed my temples. “Um...”
“You don’t hear the word no very often, do you?”
“Uh,” he stopped. “Not very often, no.”
I smiled. “Fine. I should be done around one-thirty. See you then.” I was still smiling when I hung up on him. I could have been there at his specified one o’clock but figured I’d make him wait.