A fresh drink in hand, I glanced through the crowd and spotted the woman I’d been speaking to. She was already in the middle of another conversation with someone else.
Judging by the way his hand was resting on her hip, it appeared she was going to be making up for all the time she’d wasted with me – and good for her.
Finn sighed, turning around, and leaning against the bar. I took a sip of my whiskey and leaned next to him.
“I get it,” he said. “I do. Well, as much as I can.”
I tensed, knowing where this was going.
“Now, now,” he said, raising his hand. “Hear me out.”
“I know what you’re going to say. I mean, Christ, we’ve had the same bloody conversation more times than I can count.”
“Well, maybe we need to have it one more time. Bud, you’ve been single, for how long?”
“You know the answer to that one.”
“I do. You’ve been single since Saoirse passed, almost two decades ago. Now, you don’t need me to tell you that your wife was a damn good woman – brilliant and beautiful and all the other reasons you married her. But she was my friend too, and I knew her well enough to know that she’d bekicking your arseif she knew that you were languishing in eternal bachelorhood out of respect for her.”
God, just the mention of Saoirse was enough to make my heart hurt like mad. Seventeen years it’d been since she’d been taken from our daughter and me. “It’s not just out of respect. I’ve been too—”
“Too damn busy to date, not to mention you’ve got a daughter to worry about. Bud, I’ve heard it time and time again. And maybe that excuse worked when Cammy was a little girl, but she’s good and grown! Hell, she’s been out of the house for years, well on her way to being the next damn DA of this city.”
He was right, but it didn’t do any good in changing my mind.
“There’s work,” I said. “I just started at Pitt Medical after almost two decades working in public medicine. I’m going to need to make sure my head is in the game for at least a year or two.”
“Ah.” He waved his hand through the air dismissively. “Listen to you, talking like some boy fresh out of med school. Duncan and I didn’t hire you because you’re our friend, Noah – we hired you because you’re one of the best bloody OB/GYNs in the country. Hell,twocountries if you count Ireland. You’re so good at this job you could do it with your eyes closed.”
“Alright, alright,” I said. “Enough blowing smoke up my arse.”
He laughed that big, booming laugh of his, catching the attention of everyone nearby for a brief moment. “Just saying – it might’ve been a fire that finally got you to sign on with us, but it was your skills that made us want to make the offer in the first place.”
The fire. Other than Saoirse, it was the last damn thing I wanted to think about.
“Anyway, the reason I’m mentioning all of this is to make my case that it’s time for you to start looking for someone to spend your life with. It’d be a damn shame if you were single for the rest of your days, you know.”
“Now, you’re saying that like I haven’t tried dating.”
He laughed. “You went out on, what,threedates over ten years ago?”
“It was five – two of them were second dates.”
“All the same, five dates are hardly an attempt to get back out there.”
“Five dates were all I needed to realize that I didn’twantto get back out there. I’ve got my job and my daughter and my hobbies and that’s more than enough for me. And when I make partner at Pitt, I won’t have time for anything else.”
He grinned. “Already thinking about partner, huh? There’s that ambition.”
“I mean, if you’re going to go private, you might as well aim for the top.”
Finn nodded as he brought the whiskey to his lips. “Now, that’s what I like to hear.”
I ran my hand through my hair, my eyes drifting toward the exit.
“You know,” I said. “I think I’m ready to head out.”