The first thing that came to mind when I read that today was National Talk in an Elevator Day, was the opening scene from To Love and To Cherish…the book that’s got all the tropes and a talk in the elevator scene to boot!
Here’s the scene:
To Love and To Cherish ~ Chapter 1: Elevators and Couch Surfing
The elderly man shifted in the wheelchair, and Nash Marino tucked in the loose blanket around his patient.
“There, that’s better,” Nash said. “I don’t want you to get chilled.”
Nash glanced up as the elevator stopped, then blinked and stiffened when a familiar figure from his recent past stepped in. Not that he had anything against Truman Greene—he’d always enjoyed the company of this man and his entire family. In fact, he missed them. A lot.
It wasn’t Truman’s fault things had gone so wrong between his son and Nash. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. That was one of the things that pissed off Nash the most about the whole situation. He couldn’t reasonably be angry at anyone involved, not without looking like a jackass. He was definitely more than a little peeved at fate, however.
Nash cleared his throat. “Hello, Mr. Greene. I hope your family’s well.”
Truman’s head jerked up as his attention was drawn from the phone he’d been studying. “Nash! How are you, son? Yes, yes, I’m here visiting a friend. The family’s all healthy. And for Pete’s sake, I’m still Truman to you. None of this Mr. Greene nonsense!”
Nash couldn’t help but return Truman’s welcoming smile. The genuine warmth in the man’s voice cheered him. “I’m doing okay.” It wasn’t entirely a lie. He’d certainly been a mess four months ago when it had all gone down. The pain of his broken engagement still hurt when he was feeling lonely, but it wasn’t crippling him emotionally anymore.
“Sam’s stayed in touch, hasn’t he?”
“Yeah, he did.”
Nash stopped himself from elaborating. It was a painful subject that he didn’t want to rehash with his ex-fiancé’s father. Nash had realized he was never going to be able to move on with Sam contacting him every other day to check up on him. He’d let it go on as long as it had only because Sam had seemed to need the reassurance, and he loved and cared about Sam, regardless of the way things had ended. Nash could honestly say that he wished his former fiancé happiness.
“The breakup was hard on Sam, too, you know.”
Nash clenched his jaw and took a deep breath. Sure, but there wasn’t really any comparison, was there? Of course it had been hard on Sam, he didn’t deny that, but he somehow doubted Sam had spent weeks crying into his pillow. And Nash’s former fiancé sure as hell hadn’t spent his nights alone on a friend’s hard, lumpy couch. No, Sam was sleeping on the pillow-top mattress they’d once shared, and he was lying next to his husband, Henry. But, Nash wasn’t going to unleash that rant on Sam’s father.
“I do. It wasn’t his fault. Wasn’t anybody’s fault. Didn’t make it easier, though.”
The elevator stopped at the lobby. Truman stepped toward the exit, then turned back to Nash. “Is it okay if I give you a call sometime? If you don’t have plans for the upcoming holidays, we’d like to include you in ours.”
“Sure, call anytime,” Nash replied. He’d never refuse a call from any of the Greenes, although he had no intention of intruding on their holiday celebrations. He had his friends, so it wasn’t like he’d be alone if he didn’t have enough time off to visit his own family.
A shiver ran up his spine at the very thought of the awkwardness of sitting around the Thanksgiving table with the Greenes as they made the rounds of what they were thankful for this year. His own answer was a big fat “nothing,” but he’d probably say something cliché about being thankful for his good health. Or he could go the passive-aggressive route and state how thankful he was for Harley’s lumpy couch. Yeah, better to avoid that scene altogether.
The elevator doors closed, and his patient, Bernard Meacham, with all the discretion of someone who was beyond caring what people thought, cackled. “Sounds like there’s a good story behind that conversation.”
The elevator continued toward the basement. There wasn’t a soul working in the hospital who didn’t know all about his relationship drama. Considering the media shit-storm that had surrounded the event, most people in the country were aware of the story, even if they wouldn’t recognize him on the street or even remember his name as a mere bit player in the larger drama. So what the hell, he might as well give the man something to hoot about.
“I was engaged to his son, who turned out to be the husband of one of those TransOceanic survivors rescued back in June.”
Mr. Meacham chortled. “Hoo boy, that must’ve been a rough week for you! I think everybody I know was rooting for that Henry fellow over you.”
Sadly, he was well aware that the bulk of the public sentiment had been for Henry. That had probably been a subconscious factor in Nash’s decision to bow out of the relationship before Sam had said the inevitable words. In hindsight, he knew there was no way Sam would have chosen him over his long-lost husband. Nash had simply been unable to accept that fact at the time without a fight.
The doors opened. Nash pushed the wheelchair out of the elevator and turned left to roll down the long hallway toward radiology.
“Water under the bridge, Mr. Meacham. Water under the bridge.”
“It’s Bernie, I keep tellin’ ya. Call me Bernie.”
“Sorry, Bernie. I’ll remember.” Apparently, Bernie had issues with his memory as well as with his knee, since this was only their second encounter, and the man hadn’t mentioned that when Nash had introduced himself earlier. To be fair, Nash did have a similar build and coloring as Bernie’s previous nurse until the old man had been inexplicably switched over to Nash’s care a few hours ago.
“And my name is Nash,” he reintroduced himself, since it appeared a refresher might be useful. “I’ll be your daytime nurse for the rest of today and the next two days if you’re here that long.”
Bernie squinted at him. “Oh, I see it now. You’re not the same fella, are you?”
Nash bobbed his head. “Right. A different nurse took care of you yesterday and earlier today.”
Bernie hooted. “I should’ve known you weren’t the same guy. You both have blond hair and green eyes, but that other fella mentioned a wife, and you’re one of them funny boys, like my grandson.”
Funny boys? Well, Bernie’s tone was cheerful, and he’d certainly been called worse, so Nash grinned. “Well, I try to maintain a good sense of humor.”
Bernie slapped his knee—the good one—and cackled louder. “That you do. My grandson needs to get one of those. Maybe he will now that he’s finally figured out he’s one of you funny boys. He’s the one supposed to be so smart, but I had it figured out way back when he was a teenager.”
Nash pushed the button outside the entrance to the radiology department and the doors swung open. He wheeled in Bernie and introduced him to a waiting tech.
“They’re going to take good care of you in here, Bernie. I’ll check in on you when they bring you back up, to see if there’s anything you need.”
About the Story
The backstory Nash is referring to in this snippet happened on-page in ’Til Death Do Us Part. Nash was the guy we weren’t rooting for in that book, but he wasn’t truly a bad guy, and deserved his own HEA. But of course, he couldn’t go about it in the usual way…
Jilted by his fiancé two weeks before their wedding, Nash Marino’s outlook on life in general, and love in particular, is jaded. After months of couch-surfing, Nash is fed up. He’s sick and tired of his living conditions, worn out by the demands of his nursing job, and despairs of ever finding love again. In fact, he doesn’t think he’s capable of true love. Monogamy, commitment, companionship, and regular sex…that’s all he wants, and the sooner, the better.
When Nash crosses paths with a like-minded man who’s also in need of a live-in nurse for a beloved relative, Nash figures all his problems are solved. Matters are complicated by a freak accident and amnesia. When Nash’s marriage of convenience scheme is muddied by notions of love after his memory reboot, will their plans go awry, or will Nash’s new outlook on life be just what the doctor ordered?
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