Ford had dinner with Wayne every Saturday and Sunday of every week at the Garden Grill without fail. His schedule was strict, and it was his breathing room that he fit in between his work. Wayne and Ford were good friends, and they had been ever since they met. Their relationship was fluid, and uncomplicated, because they understood each other so well. Ford knew that Wayne wasn't really the playboy postman everyone thought he was, and Wayne knew that Ford wasn't a cold hearted doctor and was just doing the best he could. They learned to live with what the people thought about them because they had each other for company, so when Ford was interrupted on his way to the restaurant, he was quite irritated.
He opened the doors to clinic and was about to step outside when he saw a girl. The late afternoon sun shone on her face and she squinted at him, observing his features.
"Hello." she said, waving shyly. Ford hadn't seen her before, and he was acquaintances with all of the Westown residents. Except this one.
"Can I help you?" Ford said exasperated, not wanting to keep Wayne waiting any longer.
"Well, I came by to meet you. Megan said you'd be back sometime this week." Holly explained, sensing his annoyance, "I'm sorry I caught you at a bad time."
Ford immediately felt bad for brushing her off. "Would you join my friend Wayne and I for dinner?" He wasn't sure if he said the right thing, and he studied her face closely. "My name is Ford."
"Holly." she smiled and he reached out his gloved hand to shake hers gently. She agreed to join them and they walked to the restaurant together in silence. Every few moments, Holly would look over her shoulder and study him. He looked so composed and was quiet throughout their walk. In one instance, when she looked at him, he met her glance, but quickly looked away. When they arrived, Ford opened the door and motioned for Holly to go in first.
"Thanks." she smiled gratefully, and Ford nodded. He knew it was the respectful thing to do, and thought nothing more of it, as he followed Holly inside. Ford spotted Wayne at their usual table, and Carrie greeted them with menus.
"I see you've met Ford." Wayne smirked as he helped Holly into her seat. She raised her eyebrows at him in annoyance at his teasing. Ford heard Wayne's remark and his eyes darted to the menu even though he already knew what he would be ordering. Wayne was too busy chatting it up with Holly to notice.
"Hi Wayne, how are you? I hope I'm not intruding on your dinner with Ford." She couldn't help but feel bad for getting in the middle of Wayne's first meeting with Ford since he arrived.
"I invited you." Ford chimed in, whether to make his presence known or to reassure, he didn't know which.
"Thank you again, Ford." She said earnestly. She smiled and then glanced at her menu, letting the two of them talk while she chose what she would get. She decided on the fish pie, not wanting to order anything too expensive in case Wayne insisted on paying like he had before. Carrie came back a few minutes later and they all ordered. Ford wanted a salad and Wayne wanted the omelet with rice. After not speaking for a moment, Ford decided to talk to Holly. He had invited her after all.
"So what made you want to come to Westown? It's quite literally in the middle of nowhere." At this question, Holly's face lit up.
"I came here to be a farmer, and I live on the ranch just outside of town. Also I have family here. I'm Frank's niece." She answered enthusiastically. "How long have you been a doctor here?" She tried to keep the conversation going.
"About four years now." He said, then added, "I moved here shortly after finishing medical school."
"We've been lucky to have him." Wayne put in, nudging the doctor's shoulders playfully. Instead of being annoyed like Holly thought he would be, Ford smiled. It was the first time she had seen him smile since they'd met earlier that evening. His energy was infectious, and she soon found herself smiling as well. Carrie interrupted by returning with their food.
Just as Holly thought, Wayne paid the check, and the three of them separated so that Wayne and Ford could officially catch up. Holly headed back to her farm and finished out the rest of her daily chores, Ford's smile in her mind.
Wayne and Ford had headed back to the clinic to finish out the rest of the evening. They sat in the upstairs living area, making up for lost time over a cup of tea.
"It's a shame you missed Holly's move here. She's a bright girl." Wayne began telling Ford all about Holly.
"Hmm. Yes, indeed she is." Ford couldn't think of anything else to say. He saw Wayne's eyes sparkle the way it does when he talks about something he's interested in. "Do you like her?"
"She's a good friend. Why? Do you like her?" Wayne said with a smirk. Ford, however, almost spit some of his tea.
"Pfft. Of course not." Ford said, setting his cup down on the wood table. "We only just met." Then Wayne did the most absurd thing Ford could think of. He started laughing. A deep, amused laugh so infectious that Ford couldn't help but smile. He was glad to see his friend again.