Soothe Me Baby
Rob Murphy has no trouble getting dates. It's keeping his dates off his metaphorical couch that proves tricky. But things are about to change for this frustrated psychiatrist. Three women want more from him than just a shoulder to cry on. Can he satisfy them all and find lasting love in the bargain? Even I don't know yet.
Work in progress.
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Read the first chapter_
“Couldn’t help noticing you got home from your date a little early last night, Doc. Alone.” Reggie turned with a wry smirk as soon as her hook shot whooshed through the net.
“Nice,” said Rob Murphy, admiring the shot while scuttling backwards away from the basket, his rubber soles squeaking on the pavement. “You noticed, huh? Maybe I need to start telling women up front what I charge for a session when I pick them up.”
“Yeah, I don’t understand it,” Sam broke in, clearly perplexed. “If they went out with a dentist, would they ask him to look at their teeth during the date?”
Reggie passed Sam the ball and she dribbled, keeping her back to Rob as he moved in and tried to steal it away from her. He managed to foul her just enough that when she released the ball, it bounced off the rim and fired right back at them. He leaped up and snatched it out of the air. Now both women came at him. Rob spun to evade them, but Reggie managed to steal the ball anyway, then broke left before sending another sweet swish right through the center of the net.
“State champion three years running, suckers,” she said, finally passing the ball back to him. She skipped backwards and offered a suggestion of her own. “The next time one of your dates starts emptying her emotional purse at the table, you should slide the bill right back to her when it comes. If you ask me, these chicks are still getting a good deal.”
Rob’s shot hit the backboard before dropping through the net. Sam rushed in and spun away with the ball.
“Why is it so hard to meet a decent woman?” he asked, tugging his shirt off and using it to mop his face.
Sam and Reggie passed the ball back and forth, both grinning.
“I never noticed that,” said Sam.
Reggie snorted. “Me neither.”
Rob pitched his damp shirt at the bushes and it got hung up on a branch. He stared at it for a second, shaking his head, then left it where it was. At least he didn’t have to pick it up. “It’s not like you’ve been out there for a long time. You two are the perfect couple.”
Reggie’s head tipped sideways and she smiled at him. “Aw, just for that I’m going to do you a favor. I’ve got a phone number if you’re interested.”
Sam’s head spun around, her brow furrowed. “Whose?”
“Oh, that’s right.” Sam cut around Rob and bounced up off her feet as she made another perfect shot.
“I think I’m done with women for a while,” he said ruefully.
Reggie grinned. “Perfect. That’s just what she said too.”
Rob was about to slap the ball away from her when he let his arm drop. “She’s gay?”
“Bi,” Sam broke in with a laugh.
“Thanks a lot. As if I’m not discouraged enough already by dating straight women.”
“They don’t know what they’re missing,” said Sam.
“It’s true. Show me your stuff, stud,” said Reggie, giving him an interested once-over.
Rob laughed. “Like you’d care.”
“Maybe I would,” she said cryptically.
He cocked an eyebrow at her and Reggie glanced at her partner. They were both suppressing smiles now.
“What do you think?” Reggie asked her.
Sam studied Rob thoughtfully. “I say we do it. No time like the present.”
Rob was poised to make a shot when he paused and lowered his hands. “I’m waiting,” he said warily.
“We want to be moms,” said Sam, the more straightforward of the two.
Rob broke into a big smile. “No kidding? That’s great!” He raised the ball again. “So what . . . are you thinking of adoption then?”
“Not exactly,” Reggie said carefully.
Rob’s hands came down a second time. “Oh yeah?”
“I won the coin toss, so I’ll go first. We both want to try pregnancy, with the same donor, spaced no more than two years apart.”
“That’s cool.” He lifted the ball a third time, laying up his shot.
Sam was watching him with an interesting smirk on her face. “We want to have your babies, Rob.”
The basketball rolled right off his palm and bounced into the bushes running along the driveway.
Sam looked over at Reggie, her eyes were dancing with amusement. “Have you ever seen him that pale?”
Reggie laughed. “Never. We should take a picture.”
“You want me to . . .” said Rob, so stunned he couldn’t finish.
“Don’t faint, Doc. It’s not like we want your body,” said Reggie.
“Not that you don’t have a pretty fantastic body,” added Sam.
“Right, if you’re into guys - which we’re not. You’re really handsome, but we’re more interested in your genes.”
His eyes cut back and forth between them, his mouth going dry and his body pumping up the sweat output. “You’re parting me out right now, aren’t you?”
Both women laughed as their eyes swept over him from head to toe.
“Maybe,” Reggie admitted without a qualm. “I’d love to have a kid with your eyes.”
“Oh, I totally agree,” said Sam. They both looked him up and down again. “I think the Doc needs a beer.”
“I’ll get it.”
“Need to sit down?” Sam asked, understanding perfectly.
Reggie ran into the front door of their connecting townhouses.
“I don’t know what to say,” Rob admitted, still looking a little shell-shocked.
“It’s understandable. How many guys get this kind of proposition? My guess, not many.”
All he could do was nod.
“Come on. Sit down on the step. Let’s get you out of the sun.”
Rob shuffled over to the shaded overhang and dropped down onto the flagstone landing. He stared across their wide conjoined driveways to the houses across the street without even seeing them.
Reggie returned and passed a cold bottle over his left shoulder. He reached up and absently accepted it. Then she moved around to settle on the step beside Sam, passing her a beer as well. As Sam twisted off her cap, Reggie silently rubbed her back in big lazy circles. It took a second before the obvious finally registered with Sam.
She lowered her beer and stared at her partner. “Hey! You’re not rubbing my back in support. You’re drying your fricking hand.”
Reggie laughed. “Can’t I do both?”
“Bitch.” Sam knocked her shoulder into Reggie’s and they both chuckled.
Reggie took a swig then aimed the mouth of her bottle at their male companion. “How’s our boy doing?”
“Who knows?” Sam elbowed him gently in the side. “How’s it hanging there, Rob?”
“No pun intended,” added Reggie with a snort.
He finally turned to ask, “Why me?”
Sam looked at him, a sweet affectionate smile lifting the corner of her mouth. “Because we love you, Rob. We’ve been good friends for so long, and neighbors for what, seven years now? You’re a great guy – and you’re smart.”
Reggie leaned forward and nodded. “A psychiatrist.”
“We figured you’d be the rare person who could actually handle something like this. We’re not asking you to be the father figure.”
“Sam’s got that covered,” said Reggie.
Rob laughed softly at that.
“More like an interested uncle. We can afford to raise these kids by ourselves. We’re not looking for anything else from you really. You can decide how involved you want to be.”
“This is so wild,” he said, bringing his bottle back to his lips.
“Will you think about it?” asked Reggie.
“How much time do you need?” he asked them.
“As much time as you need. You’re our first and only choice. We could use an anonymous donor but we know you. We prefer you.”
Rob rubbed his head in bemusement. “Huh. This is so weird but I’m kinda flattered too. Give me some time to think about it, okay?”
* * *
Gabriella Ziti rounded the secretary’s desk and pushed her way into the office, closing the door behind her. The woman bolted out of her chair and pushed back, fighting to keep the door open.
“Back off Joan. I’m talking to Phillip so you’d better hold his calls,” she warned impatiently.
The secretary looked to her boss for permission and he nodded. “Let her in.”
Joan’s eyes narrowed on Gabby as she allowed the door to close between them.”
“Lock it,” said Phillip Lawrence, coming out from behind his desk with his arms wide open, that old familiar leer in his eyes.
“This isn’t a social call, Phillip. I’m pissed at you. How could you?”
“How could I what?” he asked, closing in, that smarmy seductive smile of his making her anger burn even hotter.
Gabriella stepped away from him, keeping the two guest chairs safely between them. “You know damn well why I’m upset. You led me to believe we were putting on Little Women next. I’d already started the preliminary work on those costumes.”
He moved around the chairs, quietly pursuing her while she kept the same orbit, not allowing him any closer. “I thought you’d appreciate the challenge. This is going to put you on par with top Hollywood costume designers.”
She snorted. “On a rinky dink budget. Thanks a lot.”
He held up his hands and smiled. “You want to negotiate better terms? I’m not entirely inflexible.”
“I don’t like how you negotiate and I know I’m not going to like your terms. Besides, you’re lying to me. I heard you’ve already cast Geoff Rigby as Batman.”
“Gabby,” he shook his head, “You know we’re good together. How can you say you wouldn’t enjoy it? And Geoff is our Batman. No one else comes close to him vocally. He’s going to sing it to the rafters.”
She watched Phillip warily as she stepped behind the desk. His hungry gaze tracked her the entire time. “Geoff weighs 130 pounds soaking wet, at the most. He’s going to faint under the hot lights in anything I put on him when I try to bulk him up on stage.”
Her boss eyed the desk between them. “Stay right there,” he said his voice low and seductive as he patiently moved toward her. She backed away. “Why are you resisting me, Gabby? You know you want me too.”
She laughed in amazement. “Your ego is incredible, and would you stop throwing my lapse in judgment back in my face? It stings.”
“I don’t regret anything we did.”
“Well I do. Accept it and let’s keep this professional. I’m going to need another five thousand dollars if this is going to work.”
“I might be able to get you three.”
She kept stepping sideways, feeling a little like an old Marx Brothers routine as he mirrored her perfectly on the other side of the desk. “I need five.”
“I need to see your budget proposal before I agree to anything. You know money is tight in theater right now.”
“It always is but you just made it worse by choosing to put on your friend’s new play.”
“You have to read it.”
“I don’t even want to see it.”
He sighed. “You’re a hard woman to bargain with.” He looked her over, clearly not done pursuing her but lust took a backseat to business. “Put together your budget and we’ll go over it.”
“Thank you.” Gabriella fled his office, leaving the door open once more.
“He’s all yours,” she said to Joan on her way by. From what she’d heard, his secretary was yet another convenient and willing outlet for Phillip Lawrence’s monumental tensions. Lecherous pig.