Ben's hand was warm in hers, the cool fall air sending a chill through her body. The church was crowded, the sunny morning providing a beautiful shine through the stain glass windows and illuminating the poorly lit alter. She couldn't completely contribute the cool weather to shivers running down her back, though.
Danny was here and goddamnit he looked so hot in his suit.
Attached to Danny's arm was Sarah, wearing black tights, knee-high black boots, and a three-quarter length black knit dress. Mindy couldn't bite back the smirk when she recognized the dress as a knock-off. She suddenly felt much taller in her black McQueen dress, the five inch Louboutin heels adding to her actual height. She tugged on Ben's hand and wordlessly nodded towards her ex and his wife. Ben squeezed her hand back and guided her over to the other couple.
"Danny," he greeted, his free hand reaching out to shake.
Mindy was thrilled for some reason by the look of jealously that crossed Danny's eyes before it was replaced by a forced smile. It was brief, but she was an expert in all of his looks and she recognized it immediately.
"Ben, Mindy," he nodded, gripping Ben's hand firmly. "You remember Sarah."
"I'm sorry we have to run into each other like this," Sarah spoke up, her voice timid and shy.
What the hell was with Danny and these waify blondes?
Shaking herself from her thoughts, Mindy smiled sadly at the woman. "Yeah, Dr. Goodman was a good... man." She frowned, feeling super awkward. Danny snorted and Mindy glared at him, but her lips quirked up at the sound of his laughter. "Shut up."
The organ began to sound and the group of four quickly stepped into the chapel to find a seat. It seemed like half of New York was there, most of the pews filled with colleagues and family members. There was a pew near the back with some space so they all shuffled as quietly as possible over to it and sat down. Sarah was at the end with Danny and Mindy sandwiched between her and Ben who was sitting next to a few other nurses. Mindy spotted the back of Jeremy and Anna's heads a few rows up as well as Morgan and Tamra next to them. More people crowded into the pew at the opposite end which cause them to squish together even more, Danny's thigh hot against hers. Mindy quickly crossed her legs, her foot angled away from Danny. She didn't miss his gaze as it landed on her slightly exposed thigh from the high slit in her dress. Busying herself with the service program she softly cleared her throat. Her mouth suddenly felt dry and she had a gross aftertaste from the bear claw she shoved in her mouth on the car ride to the church.
"Babe," she whispered to Ben, her hand landing on his thigh. "Do you have a mint?"
Ben shook his head, tilting it down to whisper back. "No. I left them in the car. You said you didn't want one."
She refrained from making an annoyed sound and turned to her ex, poking his knee insistently until he turned his attention to her with a growled "What?"
"Gimme a mint."
"What makes you think I have a mint?"
She rolled her eyes. "Please, you're like a billion years old. I know you have a mint on your person at all times. Probably a handkerchief and some tissues, too."
Danny glared down at her, but wordlessly reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a lifesaver. Mindy smiled triumphantly and graciously took it from his palm. "Thanks, Dan."
A few minutes passed and the funeral procession began. They all remained respectfully quiet as the service began, but soon Mindy found herself bored. She forgot how grueling Catholic services could be and her eyes began to wander, people watching. She looked to her left and saw Sarah with a rosary in her hand, her eyes closed as she silently prayed. Oh. So maybe that's why Danny was attracted to her so much. She snorted to herself, not realizing how audible it was until Danny's head snapped towards her.
"What are you staring at?" he asked, his breath hot against her ear.
Mindy nodded towards his wife. "She's very dedicated."
Danny glanced over at Sarah and then back to Mindy. "Yeah, she is." His face changed slightly to one of inconvenience. "She prays like six times a day and goes to church three times a week. Drives me nuts."
Mindy smacked a hand to her mouth and her shoulders jerked as she choked on her laughter. Danny smiled at her, but his face turned stoic when he felt Sarah place her hand on his arm. Ben was frowning down at Mindy and she quickly sucked in her lips, looking straight ahead. The service continued on for a few minutes and she felt Danny shift beside her, the sound of his lips smacking together lightly signalling that his lips were dry. Without even thinking about it, she reached into her clutch and pulled out her lip balm, handing it to him with her eyes still glued to the alter.
Danny grabbed the lip balm and applied it to his lips, muttering a soft "thanks" as he handed it back. As she put the tube away, she saw Ben lean down.
"Is everything okay?"
She raised her eyebrow at him. "Yeah, fine."
He stared at her for a moment and then at Danny before sitting back up, his hand slipping into hers, fingers twisting together possessively. Mindy regarded her husband for a moment and then turned to her ex when Dr. Fishman walked up to say a few words.
"I heard she and Deb Deb adopted a baby from China," she whispered to him.
"They named him Daniel James. I think Deb Deb is still obsessed with you."
Danny shook his head, a smirk playing at his lips. "She invited me to the Christening." A smile broke out when Mindy gawked that him. "Wanted me to be the godfather."
At that, Mindy let out a "ha!" and then quickly covered it with a fake cough as she earned herself several stares. Danny was the one hiding his laughter behind his hand this time and she smacked his leg, letting her fingers linger a little too long as she leaned into him.
"You made that up," she whispered harshly.
"It's the truth. I was so excited when I found out they moved to Tucson. Now she only calls once a week."
"Danny!" she giggled. "Do you answer every time she calls?"
"Not every time," he shrugs, his cheeks red. "But every so often, yeah."
They both chuckled lightly, their faces close together. A few people from the row ahead turned to "ssh" them, sobering the exes up quickly. A few more minutes passed and then it was time for communion. When it was time for their row, they all stood to shuffle out into the aisle. The line of people in front of them suddenly came to a stop and Danny brushed up against Mindy's back, his hands reaching to steady himself, landing on her waist. Mindy gasped lightly and Danny muttered "Sorry" into her hair before stepping back. Mindy spent the rest of the time in line ignoring the tingling feeling that shot through her body at Danny's touch. When they made it back to their seats and the kneelers were dropped so they could pray, Mindy felt a hand brush her hip and she glanced over to Danny only to see him staring straight ahead, his hands clasped in front of him. With a frown she looked over to Ben to see his arm draped across her back, his fingers caressing her hip. She tried desperately to tamper down the disappointment that surged through her and swallowed hard, closing her eyes respectfully. They moved back into their seats after saying a few prayers and Mindy realized the service was coming to a close. A knot formed in her throat and she swallowed hard, unsure why she wanted to spend more time with her ex.
As the procession started down the aisle, their row prepared to be dismissed to exit the church. Everyone turned their knees, ready to stand and Mindy froze when she felt Danny's finger on her bare thigh. Her breath caught and she bit her lip as he traced letters into her skin subtly. Her heart fluttered when she recognized he was spelling "M + D + L" over and over. She didn't dare glance at him, but she did grab his finger and squeeze it lightly before she stood up with Ben. They all filed out of the church and stood together on the stairs with the rest of the mourners, mingling and saying their condolences to the family.
When they all stood awkwardly after the family left for the burial site, Mindy and Danny's eyes connected. Without realizing what she was doing, Mindy blurted out "Lunch!"
Ben looked down at his wife, his hand on her lower back. "What?"
"We should get lunch," Mindy said through the lump in her throat. "All four of us."
It was quiet for too long, the group just staring at each other. Ben eventually cleared his throat, gaining Mindy's attention.
"Uh, I have to be at the hospital."
Sarah nodded, squeezing Danny's hand. "Yeah, I picked up a shift for Tommy so he could visit his mom in Buffalo."
"Oh." Mindy squeaked, licking her lips nervously.
"Why don't you two go to lunch?" Sarah suddenly suggested.
"What?!" The other three squawked.
Bashful, Sarah smiled warmly at her husband. "You guys barely talk unless Leo is involved. It will be good for you. To catch up."
Danny looked over at Mindy and she shrugged, a small smile on her lips. She turned to Ben, tugging his arm. "You mind if I take the car? The hospital is only a few blocks from here."
Ben stared down at her, seeing the hopeful look in her eyes. He sighed and nodded, leaning down to kiss her lightly. "Have fun."
"You're not slick at all," Mindy said as soon as they were seated at the diner.
"What?" Danny hung his suit jacket on the back of the chair and rolled his sleeves up to his elbows as he sat down. "What are you talking about?"
"In church," she grinned. "Your message on my leg?"
"Message?" His voice cracked and a blush rose from his neck to his cheeks. "I simply wrote some random letters."
Mindy shook her head, fiddling with the plastic menu. "Right, our family's initials. Very random."
The waitress came around to their table and before Mindy could open her mouth, Danny spoke up. "I'll have a black coffee and a water. She'll have a mimosa and a bottle of Pellegrino with a lemon on the side."
The waitress grinned, writing the drink order down before allowing them some more time to look over the menu. Mindy stared at Danny, her heart thumping in her chest. "I forgot how well you know me."
Danny smirked, leaning on his elbows on the table. "Does it annoy you?"
"Surprisingly, no." She flashed him a smile. "It's kind of endearing."
Was she flirting with her ex? In a diner after a funeral of a former colleague?
"So, why did you do it?" she asked as the waitress put down their drinks. "Write our initials on my leg?"
Danny shrugged. "Funerals, ya know? They put things into perspective. Makes you think about the bigger things."
"And your wife isn't a 'bigger thing'?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I didn't say that." He sounded defensive, but also slightly defeated, a hint of sadness in his voice.
Mindy's eyebrows knit together, trying to make eye contact with him, but he kept his gaze on the steaming cup of coffee. "Danny, is everything okay?"
Danny cleared his throat, leaning back in the chair. "Sarah and I are having some... problems."
Trying to keep her emotions in check and also squashing down the excitement she felt at his sad news, Mindy licked her lips. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Danny looked at her, a battle going on in his eyes. "She wants kids."
Mindy's heart suddenly plummeted to her stomach and she felt queasy. "And you... don't?"
He took a long moment before he said anything and when he did, the butterflies in Mindy's stomach returned.
"You and Leo are my family."
All the insecurities about Mindy's own marriage came flooding to the forefront of her mind and her tongue stung from her teeth biting into it. Before they could continue, the waitress came back for their food order.
After they had their orders put in, the subject changed to their son and stayed light throughout the rest of their meal. Way too soon for their liking, they found themselves standing on the sidewalk outside the diner.
"I had a really nice time, Min," Danny told her, his fingers brushing her hand until she curled hers, trapping his digits in her palm.
Danny opened his mouth to say something, but his pager went off. She dropped his hand as he checked it and bit back a pout when he told her he had a patient in labor.
"Well, I'm glad we did this. It was good seeing you for longer than five minutes at drop offs."
He smiled and stepped closer to her, tilting his head down so his lips brushed her cheek. "I'll see you tomorrow? You're picking Leo up, right?"
Her eyelashes fluttered against her cheek and her breath caught at their close proximity. Before he could step back, Mindy wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her chilled nose into his neck. Danny's hands slid around her back and he felt more than heard her say "Yeah, tomorrow."
They held each other for a few minutes until Mindy finally stepped back, taking in one last deep inhale of his familiar scent. They smiled and then both took off in opposite directions, their hands only parting at the last second.