The Doctor Who Has No Closure by Victoria Quinn

1





Sicily





We sat together at one long table at a pizza place, taking up most of the restaurant and filling it with our loud voices. Dex sat next to his sister, and after she congratulated him, she went straight back to teasing him relentlessly.

I sat beside Derek, who had his two sons in high chairs between him and his wife, who sat on the other end. His parents were at the other side, Derek’s daughter Lizzie with them. I wasn’t family, but they made me feel welcome.

“Dex told me about your work with rockets and everything. That’s really impressive.” I thought Dex was the superhero of the night, but I was still surrounded by highly successful people.

Derek turned to me, his glass of beer held at his lips as he took a drink. “Thanks. I’m hoping my daughter will join me when she graduates.”

I looked at Lizzie across the table then turned back to him. “No offense, but you don’t look old enough to be a father of a seventeen-year-old.”

He chuckled. “She’s technically my stepdaughter, but she’s blood as far as I’m concerned.”

I smiled because the rest of his family was just like him, with big hearts. “That’s sweet. What does your wife do?”

“When she’s not taking care of three kids and putting up with me, she’s my executive assistant at my company. Oversees my intern program, keeps me organized, handles all my emails, makes sure I stay on schedule with my writing.”

I had so many questions, but I went with the first one that popped into my head. “Your writing? Are you a writer?”

He nodded. “I write science fiction.”

“Whoa.”

“And a little erotica for my wife once in a while…” He smiled then grabbed his beer once again and brought it to his lips for a drink.

I didn’t know what to say to that last part, but it was still sweet that he was so committed to his wife. He was brilliant, rich, and gorgeous, but he wasn’t chasing tail and cheating on his wife. He was faithful, loving, and a good father.

Why weren’t there more men like that? “She works for you?”

“Yeah. That’s how we met, actually. She became my new editor at my old publisher and kept hounding me for my manuscript. I hadn’t written more than a few pages, so I ignored her. But she’s got an ass that won’t quit, so she wore me down. Long story short, she got my life in order, and eventually, we got together.”

It reminded me of what I did for Dex, but there was nothing between us. He always had a wall up around me, like I was never a consideration. Maybe I just wasn’t his type. Maybe he put me in the friend zone a long time ago and couldn’t see me in another way. Or maybe it was because I had an affair with a married man…and he was divorced.

Derek watched me for a few seconds before he said, “How’s it working for Dex? Must be terrible.”

I rolled my eyes playfully. “It’s been the most rewarding experience of my life.”

“Really?” he asked in surprise before he nodded across the table. “That guy?”

I knew he didn’t mean that, so I gave him an amused look. “He’s the best guy I know. It’s an honor to work for someone who cares so much about other people, who’s committed to helping people, regardless if they can afford it or not. You just don’t meet people like that very often. I used to be around doctors a lot, and it was always about the money and the respect. Dex…is nothing like that.” I glanced at him, seeing him talking to Daisy, a grin on his face because she’d said something that made him laugh. It was obvious the two of them were really close. “It breaks my heart that he was so apprehensive about getting back in the game, but it was also a pleasure to get him there. It’s one thing to earn a paycheck, but it’s another to earn a paycheck and love your job so deeply. Makes all the difference in the world.”

Just the way his brother did, Derek studied me for a long time in silence before he gave a slight nod. “Looks like you’re one of us—because that’s exactly how we feel about work. Even my mom really enjoys her work and takes great pride in what she does. She genuinely loves making the lives of her clients more convenient.”

“I know. She used to be my boss.”

“Oh, that’s right,” he said with a nod. “Daisy told me Dex’s office is pretty fancy. That’s your doing?”

I shrugged. “I mean, I worked with a designer, but I got everything set up.”