Alex looked around the Starbucks in the West Village, hoping to spot a familiar face. Practically a surrogate big brother to Alex, Christopher Washington had grown up in Brooklyn and been best friends with Danny since Kindergarten. Now, he gave Alex a friendly wave from a high table cross from the bakery counter.
“Yo, bro!” Chris grinned, offering him a hearty half hug, at six-two, towering over Alex’s five foot ten frame. “Welcome back, man.” He lifted his coffee cup in salute.
“Thanks,” Alex grinned. “How have you been? How is Jenna?”
“Good, good. And you?”
Alex shrugged. “I am fighting jet lag and culture shock mostly.” He went to the counter and ordered a Grande White Chocolate Mocha before taking a seat across from Chris.
“So, what?” Alex repeated, sipping his latte.
“Have you seen her?”
“Good lord, Alejandro! Marina, that’s who. Have you seen her?”
Alex nodded slowly. “I have.”
“And…” He ran his hand through his hand and offered a nervous giggle. “I’m in purgatory. I gave her my script but I haven’t heard back yet.”
“She’ll love it.”
“We’ll see,” he shrugged.
Chris raised an eyebrow. “He’d want you to be happy.”
“Danny. He loved you. He wouldn’t want you torturing yourself like this.” He adjusted his ski cap. “Look, with Danny gone, I’m going to take it upon myself to be his voice of reason in your life.”
Alex smirked. “Says the guy who got kicked out of the homecoming dance for streaking across the dance floor.”
“Youthful transgressions are what have made me the man I am today.”
“You need to either step up and tell Marina how you feel about her, or you need to move on. For your own sanity. You wrote this show. Great. The world will see how talented you are. Your career will take off. But is that what’s going to make you happy?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Alex lied.
“Of course you don’t.”
“I had this dream when I was living in London. I would be walking in Central Park and I’d accidentally bump into Marina and Mollie and we’d hug and she’d take my hand and we’d start walking together as a family.”
“But, then we see a memorial to 9/11 and she drops my hand and starts sobbing. Every time I wake up in a cold sweat.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I am beginning to think that come back here was a huge mistake.”
“You won’t know that until you talk to her.”
“Chris, you were the bestman at their wedding. You don’t think this is a little bit in bad taste?”
“No. I don’t.”
Alex scowled. “Am I the only person in Manhattan who realizes how colossally fucked up this is?”
“Ah, you talked to Jared.”
“And my mother has made a few not subtle comments. Seriously, bro, I didn’t come back here to win Marina’s heart. I wrote this show to honor my brother. I want to work with people I love, including you. I have no ulterior motives here. I want to spend time with my niece and make peace with her mother. That’s it.”
“You keep telling yourself that when you’re standing center stage, staring into her gorgeous green eyes.”