Book: Choices Crossover (Open Heart and Red Carpet Diaries)
Pairing: Dr. Ethan Ramsey x Thomas Hunt
Summary: Ethan and Thomas meet up at their usual spot for their weekly lunch date, but their conversation turns into a choice about their future together.
Rating: Teen+ (adult themes, brief language, fluff)
Notes: This is part of my Ramsey and Hunt series. A big shout out to hopelessromantic1352 for helping me get through finishing this story. Your writing continues to awe and inspire me. Thank you for always being there through my writing blocks and insecurities.
Word Count: 1598
The coffee shop was bustling, which was normal during the prime lunch hour. With the crowd, it was easy to disappear and be unrecognized. Ethan enjoyed this specific spot for that very reason alone. No one knew he was a doctor there, and for Thomas, his high profile status as a top Hollywood director was also invisible among the lunch crowd.
They found this spot near the hospital to be a common lunch date during Ethan’s breaks. There was a specific booth in the back corner that Thomas usually snatched up while he waited for Ethan to join him. Due to his partner’s schedule, sometimes Ethan was early, a few minutes late, or even as much as an hour late. In the beginning, Thomas found the tardiness unforgivable, especially when he ordered their coffees ahead of time. But after a while, his understanding of Ethan’s schedule grew, and he timed the order of their drinks almost to the minute of Ethan’s arrival.
And just like clockwork, the bell of the door rang, the ringing slightly muffled against the chatter of the crowd. Ethan entered, wearing his work clothes, sans white lab coat. He was coordinated in all blue: dark blue slacks with light checkered stripes, a light blue dress shirt, and a matching dark blue tie covered with a pattern of light grey dots. His pager was attached to his hip, in the event that there was an emergency while he was away.
Thomas lifted his head from his notebook. He slid it off to the side of the table with the pen settling within the fold of the binding. His normal serious lines that formed his signature, neutral expression remained but were contrasted by a subtle softness that shimmered in his eyes the moment he met Ethan’s gaze. Ethan gave a wide, sincere smile as he approached, taking the seat across from Thomas.
“It’s much busier here today.” Ethan began to converse as he grabbed the coffee that Thomas had waiting for him. Light billows of steam floated out from the cup, as he took a sip.
“There’s a special on their espressos.”
He smirked as he put down his café mocha. “It seems you didn’t take advantage of the special.”
“You know espressos are not something that agree with my pallette.”
Ethan leaned forward and lowered his voice, while flashing a soft and gentle smile. “But they agree with mine.”
Thomas quickly grabbed his mocha. He took a modest sip as he subconsciously glanced away, his cheeks turning a hint of pink under his warm skin tone.
Ethan also took a few more sips. He took in his partner’s flustered state, something he found uniquely attractive. But Thomas’ gaze moved to the side. Ethan followed it and noticed the notebook that was spread open on the table. It was the same notebook Thomas carried with him ever since he came to Boston. And just like the first time Ethan was met with the notebook, even now the same first page was blank.
“How’s the writing? Any new ideas for your next film?”
Thomas closed the notebook and set it aside next to him on the booth seat. “The same progression as before. How’s work?”
Ethan’s smile dulled and he settled back into his seat. One hand fell into his lap, while the other rested on top of the table, his fingertips lingering on the handle of the coffee cup.
“Interns as usual are…” Ethan’s nostrils flared as the sentence continued in his thoughts.
Thomas swallowed his laughter, it tickling in the back of his throat, before he responded. “At least you have that one competent resident.”
“Casey? Also a pain in my ass, but the most talented resident I have ever mentored. The potential I saw in her application doesn’t even compare to what I have witnessed already. I see myself in her a lot.”
“That’s quite the compliment for yourself.”
“You out of all people would understand the difference between confidence in one’s self and just complete and utter arrogance.”
“Remind me. Which one are you describing of yourself?”
“Thomas.” Ethan’s tight lips now turned upward into a smirk.
“You act as if I’m joking. You know that is never my style. But you tend to always speak highly of her.”
“Well, Naveen gave me a new perspective on family.”
Thomas placed his elbows on the table and sat a bit more forward in his seat. “What perspective would that be?”
“That I’ve had a family all along with him. Naveen has always been like a father to me. And Casey, well, she’s become more like a little sister.”
“That would explain the pain in the ass.”
Ethan chuckled softly. “True. But speaking of family.” His eyes locked onto Thomas’. “I was hoping to ask you about something related to us.”
Thomas raised an eyebrow as he cupped his café mocha in both hands. His fingers tapped against the porcelain cup in soft staccato beats.
“I own my condo, and you’re only renting your place. But I’m tired of the sleepovers and the visiting back and forth between apartments. Perhaps you could move in or we could find a place of our own.”
Thomas’ fingers froze against his cup. “That’s a serious step you’re proposing.”
“Is it? I believe this is right for us now that we’ve reunited after all these years. Years we’ve wasted. Why should we be wasting any more?”
Thomas let out a deep, long sigh that vibrated in his chest. “I wasn’t planning on staying in Boston, Ethan.”
Ethan folded his arms across his chest. “Then what were your plans with me then?”
Thomas grew silent, as he stared down into his coffee. The milk froth was already dissipating into the mocha. “You could move to LA.” He offered in a confident tone.
“People in your field don’t have to live in Hollywood. Some live in New York, for crying out loud.” Ethan’s breath was slow and steady, but his tone deepened.
Thomas’ gaze darted up to match Ethan’s. “And you’re the top diagnostician in the country. You could work practically anywhere.” Thomas’s eyebrows were forced together into a pronounced frown.
“I can’t leave Naveen or my team. Not now. You know that.”
They both sat there, glaring at each other and hearing each other’s comments repeating in their minds, which only made heat flush through both of their now tense bodies. Without a word, Ethan slid out from the booth with his empty cup. Thomas watched him leave and stand at the end of the line with five people ahead of him. He observed the tense fist at his side, the heavy heaving of his chest, and the creases between his eyebrows, but Ethan never once looked back at him. Thomas pushed his cup away, the aroma of the mocha now making his stomach turn.
10 minutes later, Ethan returned carrying two items. He placed them on the table and rejoined Thomas in the booth. Thomas was staring at the same blank page of his notebook, his pen motionless between his fingers. But the sounds of the dishes meeting the table alerted Thomas to look up from his daze. He was met with Ethan’s half-smile and him sliding a small plate in his direction.
“They didn’t have any cinnamon rolls. But I got you this cherry danish instead.”
Thomas’ chest felt lighter at the simple gesture. He dropped the pen into the notebook, and pulled the plate closer to him.
“No. Cream cheese.”
Thomas took a bite and nodded in approval. Ethan sipped on his espresso, while watching Thomas finish his treat.
“I apologize for my assumptions before actually discussing what we both want from each other.”
“I apologize, too. I made you believe I didn’t intend to stay, but the truth is, I do.”
Ethan’s posture straightened. “You do?”
“There’s something I’ve also been considering.” Thomas grabbed a napkin from the dispenser and wiped the sticky residue from his fingers. Once he folded it and placed it on the crumb covered plate, he finally made eye contact. His chocolate brown eyes were sucked in by Ethan’s crystal blues. “You’re right. I can have a permanent residence here, and travel to LA when I need to. So I’ll make a proposition. We reside here in Boston, and we move to San Francisco when we retire.”
San Francisco was Thomas’ most cherished city. He dreamt about the days when he would settle there after a long and successful career. But now, Ethan became part of that dream, and it had become difficult not picturing his partner there with him, especially sitting together watching the sun set over the city from the view at Twin Peaks.
“Retire? Are you proposing a life with me, Thomas Hunt?”
“Perhaps I am.”
Ethan reached across the table, placed his hand on top of Thomas’, and tenderly caressed along the knuckles with his thumb. He felt Thomas’ hand relax. They stared at each other in silence. The sounds of the coffee shop became nothing but hushed background noise, as they searched knowingly into each other’s eyes, and saw their future together in them. Ethan loved this man more than he could ever express. But at that moment, that comforting touch was all that he could give him publicly.
Soon his feelings were cut off by the vibration of his beeper. He groaned and detached it from his hip. He glanced at the message but ignored it.
“Is it not important?”
“This is what’s important right now. I want to hear more about your proposition.”