AFTER FYI: Part Two
Murphy in Purple and Gold
Chapter One: RE-OCCUPATION
NEW YORK CITY - LATER THAT NIGHT
Rachel Margolis "Gold" sat at her desk asleep "at the wheel". She had begun the night with an assignment for herself. The assignment had been to relax, but unfortunately it hadn't worked. Since it was one of the first Fridays she had to herself, in a long time, Rachel had decided to catch up on some reading, maybe clean up her apartment, and just all and all make it an early night. She was on call for the weekend at work, and for the last two weeks was so behind on sleep her body felt like a sack of potatoes, heavy and caving in on its self. But Rachel, being Rachel, her brain cooked up an amazing idea for a story on the way back from the laundry to her apartment. All of which was perhaps a two-minute walk. So while typing away, all her thoughts from her head to the screen, she somehow ended up with her head on top of her laptop instead of the contents inside it.
Her "nap" lasted form precisely 7:02pm to 8:35pm on the nose when it was interrupted by the drone of her buzzer and the yelping of her small dog. Rachel shot her head up and took a large breath in through her nose. She opened her month and rolled her tongue over her gums and teeth, as a deterrent from the sleep taste in her month. She pushed her hair out of her face and mouth, still in a sense of confusion as to where she was, how she got there, and what was going on. This was a woman still in dreamland. The buzzer sounded again and Rachel made her way to the buzzer-intercom in the kitchen. She pushed the button with a groggy, hello.
"It's Miles," said the voice on the other end of the line.
"Nothing - can I come up?"
Rachel let go of the talk button and buzzed Miles in. She stumbled through the kitchen, as she slid her hands through her hair and scratched the back of her head with her thumbnails, before letting out a sigh. She then cleared the kitchen and made her way to the door at just the right moment to open it for Miles.
"Happy Birthday!" Miles grinned with his soft sweet smile and bright eyes.
"Thanks, but my birthday isn't until next week," she said confused.
"I know, but I just found out I'll be out of town, so I thought we could celebrate tonight."
"These are for you." Miles handed Rachel a small bouquet of roses from behind his back
"Ah, Miles, you didn't have to…" Rachel smiled.
"I know how you love having fresh flowers around... And I noticed you haven't had any around lately." Miles walked into the doorway and Rachel closed the door behind them.
"Well, money's been tight lately." She walked through the living room towards the kitchen.
Miles followed her. "What happened to that trust fund of yours?" Miles asked sarcastically.
"It's not a trust fund Miles! What am I Princess Grace? It's just some money my father set aside for me. Besides, I used most of it for college - there's not a lot left."
"If you're in need of cash?" Miles reached for his wallet.
"No, Miles. I don't want your money." Rachel crossed the threshold of the kitchen.
"It would just be a few hundred - you wouldn't even have to pay me back." Miles leaned on the doorframe of the kitchen while Rachel took a vase out of her cabinet and filled it with water.
"No, Miles, how many times do I have to tell you I don't want to have to on relay on others...for anything. I want to be able to make my own way without any help from others."
"Yes... you "don't to rely on others, for food, shelter, or reputation. I know." Miles rolled the back of his head around the doorframe. This was a conversation in many forms they had had before.
"Yes, Miles, I demand respect. Respect and trust. Is there anything wrong with that?" Rachel ran the roses under the faucet and cut their ends. "...ok, this conversation has become redundant." She looked over at Miles.
"What about your father's money? You can take his and not mine?" Miles asked innocently.
"Oh, no. That money is mine. I earned that money. That was money owed me. The day he left. Oh, can we not talk about my father!" Rachel looked over at Miles and changed the topic quickly. "What's in your hand?" She turned the faucet off and placed the roses in the vase.
"Oh, this is also for you." Miles reached out his hand and presented a small cardboard box.
"Dog biscuits?" Rachel dried her hand on a small dishtowel.
"They're for the dog."
"I know, Miles." Rachel threw the towel down and rolled her eyes. "You're afraid I'm going to kill it aren't you?" She picked up the vase and set it on her kitchen table.
"No. Of course not."
"Well, you should! I don't know why you decided to get me a puppy of all things." She moved the vase slightly and looked back at it until she was happy with its position. "You know, I still don't feel right keeping it." She spun around to face Miles.
"It was a gift." Miles adjusted the side of his glasses.
"Yes, a makeup gift that didn't work."
"You told me you didn't like it when I bought you jewelry to apologize." Miles became very adamant with his hands, as he often did.
"I meant the gifts, Miles. I didn't want you to think you could buy me off with gifts."
"It was something Frank told me to do." He squished his brow
"From what you've told me about Frank why am I not surprised." Rachel walked over to the refrigerator and Miles crossed the kitchen and sat down at the kitchen table.
"Whenever we would walk past that pet store you always stopped to look at the black dogs. You said they were cute? I thought it would be a sweet gesture?'
"I also comment on how cute the babies are in their strollers. It doesn't mean I want you to give me one!" She took an orange juice container out of the fridge and slammed the door shut. "Do you want anything?"
"No." He refused with his hand, as well as his words.
"I'll take the dog back if you really want?" He leaned forward in his chair.
"No." Rachel took a swig of the orange juice and leaned back against the refrigerator. "I already named her. I'm officially a dog person. I am now the epitome of the pathetic single New Yorker."
"Come on, let me take you out?" Miles could see the sadness in a face he knew so well.
"We're not dating anymore, Miles, you don't have to do this?"
"I know, but we decided to be friends, right? This is what friends do. They do things for each other, you're my friend and I want to take you out for your birthday. So when you're sitting home alone when you really turn twenty-five you won't feel depressed you didn't do anything."
"I have work I should be doing. I got this idea and if I get it into Russ by tomorrow..."
"You can't work yourself so hard."
"I have to if I want to keep succeeding…"
"You're fine where you are? If there's one thing I've learned its pace yourself. I may not be able to follow it, but I leaned it."
"By my age Murphy Brown was a foreign correspondent. By the time she was twenty-nine she was the anchor of a major news program. And when she turned thirty-nine she was on the cover of People magazine, Time, had an Emmy, and I don't know how many Humbolts! And was at the height of her profession!"
"And at forty she checked herself into Betty Ford. Do you want that?"
"I don't drink, Miles!"
"That's not the point. She drove herself into the ground. It didn't have to be alcohol or cigarettes..."
"If you're trying to say that I'm going to turn into my mother you're so wrong!"
"No, I'm just saying..." Miles got serious. "I love Murphy, but she always and still does drive herself too hard. I don't want to see that happened to you."
"Maybe you should take some of your own advice."
"I'm not as ambitious as you are."
"By twenty-five you were the executive producer of a national news magazine!"
"And look at me, I'm divorced, I spent all my time at work, I have ulcers the size of most undeveloped countries…" Miles made a face and dipped his fingers into his side.
"Miles?" Rachel ran over to him.
"I'm fine." He pushed her away with his hand and made his way over to a chair.
Rachel ran to the refrigerator and seized a bottle of water and handed it to Miles.
"You have your pills?"
Miles shock his head and took a small prescription bottle from his pocket. He downed two of the capsules with some water and leaned back. Rachel stood behind him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Miles relaxed and rubbed her arm to signal he was all right
"Ok, I'll get changed." She rested her chin on Miles head. She stared at the vase in the center of the table. "Where did you ever find orange flowers?"
"Orange? I thought they were peach?"
"No, those are orange?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure. Those are orange." She nodded her head.
"Don't be sorry, Miles."
"But peach are your favorite roses."
"Orange is in the peach family," she tried to make him feel better.
"I'm going to get changed." Rachel laughed and walked out of the kitchen. A moment later, Miles little "makeup present" breezed into the room and up to Miles feet. He leaned down to pet the dog's forehead
"What did you name her?"
"What?" Rachel yelled from the bedroom
"The dog!" he yelled. Miles looked up as Rachel's head peered around the counter of the doorway, making Miles realize he didn't have to yell anymore. "What did you name her?"
"Yeah...the first female investigative reporter."
"You had no idea." She tilted her head at him.
"Yes, I did." Miles tried to cover for his blunder.
"No, you didn't." Rachel laughed and walked back into the bedroom.
Miles stood up and tossed his fingers through his hair. He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes with his other hand.
Not too long later Rachel entered the living room, where Miles sat waiting. She wore a simple black cocktail dress and very little make-up. It was a rush job, but her natural beauty didn't need much. That was at least what Miles always thought. She checked her purse for all the contents she needed and walked towards the door. Miles stood up and smiled at her. Rachel smiled back. Then Miles opened the door for Rachel and the two went to dinner.
"I'm, I'm so in love with you.
Whatever you want to do
it's alright with me
'Cause you make me feel, so brand new.
And I want to spend my life with you
Me sayin' since, Baby, since we've been together
Ooo, loving you forever
Is what I need
Let me, be the one you come running to
I'll never be untrue
Let's Stay Together ~ Al Green
LATER THAT NIGHT: In Washington D.C
Murphy lay on her bed with her laptop resting on her legs. She typed away furiously, keeping her eyes glued to the screen. So much so that when Jerry appeared in the doorway she acknowledged his presence with only a small eye glance from behind her glasses, and then back to the screen. This was of course more for the benefit of trying to ignore what had caused Jerry to leave in the first place. She squished her lips together in an attempt to mask the fact that she didn't care he was home, when in fact she did. Jerry stood awkwardly at the door, out of his own uncertainty as to what emotions his actions had left Murphy in.
"Hey." Jerry looked at Murphy.
"Hey." Murphy didn't look at Jerry. Jerry walked over to the dresser and took off his watch, tossing it in-between Murphy's earrings and necklaces. "You left your wallet downstairs." Murphy's typing faded in and out with her words.
"Yeah, I got it." Jerry took his wallet out from his back pocket and threw it next to his watch.
"Kay left the tape if you want to take look at it." Murphy threw a black cassette tape from her nightstand on to the bed in-between her and Jerry.
As the tape hit the bed Jerry turned around and looked at it. Murphy glanced out from under her glasses to catch his reaction, and then quickly back to the computer screen, so that Jerry wouldn't catch her staring. This whole exchange was cold, and nonchalant. Again, Murphy tried to pretend she didn't care when she really did. Jerry looked at the tape for another moment as if a lead weight had hit the floor.
"Yeah." Jerry turned around, took off his jacket before throwing it on an empty chair. Jerry began to take his tie off and there was another silence, as Jerry loosened the knot around his neck and slowly slid the tie off. He whipped the tie onto the chair and looked at himself in the mirror above the dresser. He looked unhappy with himself.
"Murphy, I don't want to talk about it!" He pushed her off with a gesture of his hands, only slightly moving his head to speak to her.
"Ok, I just thought if you can't talk to me about it..."
"Murphy!" Jerry spun around. "I'm just not ready to talk about it now! But believe me, when I am, you'll be the first person I go to, ok. So, can we just drop the subject?"
"Ok." Murphy face still remained frozen and seriousness.
"Thank you!" Jerry sat down on the corner of the bed and began to take off his shoes.
Murphy went back to work. "Oh, Ira called while you were gone," Murphy voice's spurt up, having just remembered the thought.
"Yeah, he called me on my cell." Jerry ran his fingers through his hair and scratched the back of his head with his thumbnails before letting out a sigh.
"Is it about the Viacom job?"
"Yeah, he wants me to go to New York for a couple of days, have a few meetings with Viacom, maybe a few smaller outfits. Help me narrow down my choices, my decisions."
"When are your leaving?"
"I catch the red eye tomorrow." Jerry took his socks off, balled them up and threw them on the ground.
"Tomorrow? So soon?"
"Ira says they're all getting antsy," he spoke, as if he half believed it. "I have to make a decision soon, before they withdraw them all together. I can't keep dragging my feet." This part Jerry sounded like he believed.
Jerry pushed his hands into his knees, let out a loud grunt, and rose from the bed. He turned and looked at Murphy.
"But, Jerry, you're moving into your new apartment tomorrow?"
"I don't have to be there when they move in! I'll just leave the key."
"Well, I see you've thought of everything." Murphy peered from behind her glasses again. They rode even father down on her nose; she was irritated.
"Jeez, don't look at me that way! You look like my grandmother when you do that with your glasses…" He took off his pinky ring and placed it next to his watch, and his wallet. "You should do what I did, have that laic surgery."
"No, way. I like my glasses just fine thank you."
"It's no big deal. In and out. You're awake through the whole thing. You see and hear everything the doctors are doing. I had no problems. Of course all my doctors were speaking German."
"I told myself I would never have another surgery for the rest of my life if I could at all help it."
Jerry again spread his fingers through his hair and scratched the back of his head with his thumbnails. He could tell something was bothering her."What's wrong, Brown?"
"Nothing..." She took a breath. "I just thought we set tonight out for us. You're last night in the house and all." Murphy put on her makeshift guilt voice. "But if other things are more important... well then fine." Murphy was a bad actress when it came to these situations, but knowing her the way Jerry did, it made it easier to read her mood.
"The night is still young. My flights not until noon." Jerry got a devilish look on his face. "I was going to take a shower."
"You go ahead." Murphy didn't look at him.
"I thought you could join me?!"
"I'm a little busy here, Jer…" Again she looked only at the screen.
"What happened to "this night was set aside for us"?"
"That was before you decided to leave." Murphy seemed quite pleased with herself. "So, I decided to do some work. I happened to be in a groove, I'd rather not stop."
"Yeah, well I was hoping to get my own groove going here." Jerry raised his eyebrows.
"Go take a SHOWER, Jerry!" she smirked at him.
Jerry frowned and walked towards the bathroom and his side of the bed. He plopped himself on the bed next to Murphy. "What are you working on that's so important!?" He folded his arms and tried to sneak a peek at Murphy's screen, but she quickly slammed the laptop closed.
She turned her head toward him crossly. "Since when do you care!?"
"I don't. I just wanted to be close enough to you to do this." Jerry slid his hand around the back of Murphy's head and pulled her close for a long kiss, gentle at first, and then long and passionate. Murphy kissed him back. They begin to rise to their knees while Murphy slid her laptop off her lap with her right hand and then rested her arms around Jerry's neck. With the laptop out of the way Jerry and Murphy quickly slithered down onto the bed. Murphy giggled, and Jerry chuckled.
Got to be there (got to be there)
Got to be there in the morning
When she says hello to the world
Got to be there (got to be there)
Got to be there in her down time
And show her that she´s my girl
Ooo, what a feeling there´ll be
The moment I know she loves me
Cause when I look in her eyes I realize
I need her sharing the world beside me
Got to be There ~ Jackson 5
Early, that morning, well early in Murphy terms, Jerry kissed Murphy on the head and snuck out of bed. By the time Murphy woke up, he was gone; his plane had left the terminal and was off to New York. She hadn't even heard him leave. The last thing she remembered was failing a sleep in his arms, only to walk up sprawled out over the entire bed.
It was Saturday, which meant she didn't have to be at work, she would work from home. Not that it mattered because for the last month Murphy had not had a regular nine to five job, make that in Murphy's case a ten to eleven a.m. to whenever- type job. Being the only on air talent on her own show, there were no story meetings to attend, and with no air date, or executive producer in site, no film days either. It was only out of habit that she never went into the office on weekends. It wasn't like she went into the office too much during the week. It really depended on her mood whether she worked at home, or the office, as well as two other factors: Eldin and Avery. She wanted to stay home with her son as much as she could, but if it became too difficult to concentrate it was another reason to go to the office. But in the end, it came down to one thing, going to an office Monday through Friday gave Murphy that feeling of having a job, that feeling that nothing had changed.
As for the limbo situation of her special it was entirely the network's fault, that and the three executive producers who backed out on her. Murphy seemed to be going through executive producers lately like she did with secretaries and telephones. If things didn't work out soon Murphy through she might have to storm the evening news just to get her stories on the air. But like a belligerent bear stuck in a trap she was forced to wait it out. Murphy got dressed and checked her messages.
"Hey, Murph, it's me." It was Frank. "Why is it whenever I call you get this machine? We got to stop playing phone tag like this. We're on our way back from the Hamptons. Call my cell, ok?" There was a pause. "...I miss ya... talk to ya soon."
Murphy picked up the phone and called Frank's cell phone only to get his voicemail. "Frank, it's Murphy. I'm at home. Call me." She hung up the phone and made her way downstairs. All she could think of was how hungry she was and how all the fiber of her being had no desire what-so-ever to make anything worth consummation. As Murphy hit the last step, into the foyer, the doorbell rang. To her delightful surprise she opened the door to find Frank standing there.
"Frank?" Her face widened with a large grin. "I just called you," she said with surprise.
"Yeah, with all this phone tag we've been playing, and our faulty cell phones I thought I should just stop by. Do you know yours is broken?"
"Yeah, and so is the pollster who threw it in the reflecting pool."
"Man, Murph, didn't you lose your last one that why?"
"No, I ran that one over with my car."
"What was it doing under your car?"
"I put it there. Frank, why are you just standing there, come on in." Frank peered around the corner of the doorway.
"Is he here?" Frank whispered.
"Who, Frank, deep throat? Because you know that's not 'till next week," she said sarcastically.
"No, HIM," Frank continued to whisper.
Murphy rolled her eyes and head at him. "You mean Jerry, Frank! No, he's not her! In fact, he's out of town at the moment."
"Oh, well then." Frank smiled and walked into the room confidently, but then stopped. 'He's not coming home anytime soon is he?"
"No, Frank, he's away for a week, and actually he has his own home now."
"Really!?" Franks face beamed.
"We're still together, Frank!" Murphy shut the door.
"Damn." Frank made a childlike face and lowered his head.
"I thought we said we would talk about other things."
"Give me a hug." Frank and Murphy embraced for a quick hug.
"Ah, Frank, it's so good to see you. I missed you like crazy."
"Yeah, I love Lesley, but she can't talk sports to save her life…" Frank laughed. "I was thinking we could spend the day together?" Frank gave Murphy a huge smile. "Unexpectedly, I have a clear day. How about it?" he said scarcasticly.
"I'd like that." She smiled.
"What shall we do?" Frank wrapped his arm around Murphy's neck and the two walked into the living room. "We could go to Phil's, or see a movie, have some lunch?"
"Ohh, food. I could go for some breakfast. Let me just get dressed."
Murphy turned and walked towards the foyer and stopped. "Frank?"
"Yeah." Frank turned his head "On second thought. Would you just mind if we just frittered around the house together? I've got playing cards? We could order in?"
"Yeah, I'd like that. And I think the Maltase Falcon is on channel nine tonight." Frank rubbed his hands together and the two smiled at each other. Murphy walked over to her desk and took out a stack of playing cards. She lobbed them into her hand like she was packing a pack of cigarettes and walked towards the couch.
ONE WEEK LATER: New York City
Miles walked through the hallways of CBS News. He was the big kahuna there and he walked with a stride of confidence. It happened to be a good week filled with winning stories and nothing bad to jumble the somewhat fragile man. Miles breezed into his office and quickly checked the AP on his computer.
"Want lunch?" Rachel stuck her head in.
"Rachel." He was glad to see her.
"I don't have much time. Chinese on the corner?" Her face gleamed.
"Sure." He smiled. "Give me a moment." Miles started to fiddle on the computer and Rachel sat on the windowsill and lit up a cigarette. She opened the large window and blew the smoke out into the air. Miles was going to say something, but he knew his attempts, at Rachel's request no less, to tell her to stop smoking wouldn't work
Since he was the executive producer of the CBS Evening News Miles Sliverberg's office was big and roomy. There was a couch, and a kitchen he almost never used because who had the time, televisions, and wall to wall carpeting. It was a vision in greys and blacks.
Miles phone rang. He picked it up and placed it next to his ear. "Yeah?... Really?.. Yeah! Send him in!"
"Hey, Miles!" Frank Fontana burst into the room excited to see his old friend.
"Frank, buddy, how are ya?" Miles and Frank gave each other a manly shaking hands and pat on the back type hug. "What are you doing in town?"
"Lesley and I are on our way to the Hamptons I thought I'd stop by and say hi."
"Frank, you remember, Rachel."
"Hi, Frank." Rachel looked towards Frank with a smile. She didn't want to put out her cigarette.
"Of course. We played a mean game of pool the last time I was here." Frank turned to Miles. "And she came to my wedding."
"Yes, and I thank you for asking me, Frank. It was a beautiful service."
"It was, wasn't it?" Frank beamed.
"Speaking of your bride. Where is she?" Miles looked out the door.
"Lesley's buying baby clothes on Fifth Ave." Frank clasped his hands together. "I thought we could have lunch. Catch up."
"Well, I was having lunch with Rachel..."
"You too go ahead." Rachel blew a puff of smoke out the window.
"You should come with us?" Frank chimed in.
"No, you guys want to catch up - I don't want to be a bother." Rachel looked out the window as if she noticed something. "Hey, you!" she screamed. "Get off my car!" She looked at Frank and Miles. "He's leaning on my news van!" Rachel leaned farther out the window. "Yeah, I mean you! Get. Off. The. Car!"
Frank started to stare at Rachel's backside, as her body crept further out the window, revealing the shape of her body in her blue dress. Miles noticed this and hit Frank on the arm.
"What?'" Frank whispered flinching away to avoid further abuse.
"You're a married man!" Miles whispered back.
"Yeah, I'm not dead." Frank straightened up.
"You want me coming down there? Yeah! Yeah!" Rachel popped back up into the office looking heated and ready for battle.
"Some hood is jumping on my hood. I gotta take care of this." She grabbed her purse and handed Frank her lit cigarette. "Here take this for me." Frank took it, but didn't know what to do with it. "I'll see you later, Miles."
"Want to have dinner next week?" Miles eyes lit up.
"Sure. Give me a call." She turned to Frank. "Nice seeing you again, Frank."
Frank smiled and watched her leave. Miles took an old Tums bottle from a drawer and gave it to Frank to put the cigarette out in.
"Where do you want to go to eat?" Miles walked behind his desk. "There's this great pub two blocks down... Now, where did I put that menu for it... it has the address."
Frank nodded his head like he knew something special and began to tease Miles. He had a huge smile on his face. "You still have a thing for her, don't you?
"No. Margaret Trudeau," he said sarcastically. "Yeah – Rachel."
"That's old news."
"Not to you and I'm not sure to her either." Frank voice had the tint of a child like taunting.
"What? She was the one who broke up with me. Really? Because I have been getting these vibes lately. No, no..." He shook it off.
"I was right, you do! And why not, the body on..." Frank walked closer to Miles.
"Ohh, it's worse than I thought!" Frank leaned in towards Miles, as he reached the front of his desk. "We're just friends. Just friends."
"I'm telling you, Miles, you two have unresolved feelings for each other. I know these things. I have developed a very good system over the years for women in this way. How do you think I got Lesley to marry me?" Frank seemed very sure of himself.
"You knocked her up."
"I'm sorry, Frank." Miles pushed his glasses up the brow of his nose. "But we all know it's true. Doesn't mean you don't love each other, but we all knew there were only two ways you were getting married. That was either by way of brain damage or faulty birth control. And with your reckless behavior on the job... either way it was a fifty-fifty shot."
"Listen, there's more than that. You have to charm first...oh, what am I saying." Frank sat down on Miles executive couch and buried his head in his hands.
"You really think she still has a thing for me? I mean what should I do?" Miles stopped and laughed insecurely. "Look at me; I'm taking advice from a man who has a "ladies system"…" Miles made little quotes with his fingers. "That took him over fifty years to per-fect!" Miles sadly grabbed his coat. "Come on, Frank, let's go eat." Miles looked like Linus dragging his blanket behind him.
"You know she reminds me of someone and I can't figure out who?" Frank followed behind.
ABOUT THE SAME TIME
Jerry Gold walked out of his meeting at thirty Rockefeller Plaza and decided to take a walk. It was a sunny summer day with a slight wind, so much of a wind it caused people, such as Jerry to wear a light trench coat. He took out his cell phone and tried to call Murphy on her cell phone, but he got a message that it was disconnected. Jerry was not surprised by this since Murphy seemed to be going through cell phones lately like she did secretaries. He called her at home, but hung up before the message asked him to leave one after the beep. He was going to try her at the office, but then he decided it felt too clingy, so he didn't.
There she goes…
There she goes again
Racing through my brain
And I just can't contain
this feeling that remains
There she goes…
There she goes again
Pulsing through my veins
And I just can't contain
This feeling that remains.
There she goes ~ Boo Radleys
Somehow he found himself around the CBS building – aka "The Black Rock Building". He wasn't sure if it was by accident or subconsciously that he had made his way past the building. It was the second time that week it had happened. He walked past the Twenty-One restaurant and their array of lawn jockeys until he stood across the street from the CBS building. He dug his hands in his pocket and a gust of wind blew his coat. He stared at the building like he wanted to go in, but he didn't.
He wasn't there for a moment or two when Rachel came bursting out of the building. He watched as two hooligans took sight of her and ran off a Channel 2 News van. She slide opened the large door and took out her coat. Jerry was surprised to see her. He wasn't expecting her to just be there. It seemed like another weird coincidence.
He figured he'd stand there, like last time, just thinking about going in to see her, but never actually doing it. Rachel threw her coat on and took out her cigarette case releasing one from its small sliver coffin to her lips. She lit it and stood there with her smoking arm in the air and the other around her waist. After a moment, a group of men, who looked like cameramen, came up to her and bummed a cigarette off her. They laughed, but she looked uncomfortable for a moment. Then, one of the men went into the van and she looked fine.
Jerry just watched her. He felt strange. Like he was spying, but he couldn't look away. The man from the van came out and singled them to come in. Rachel tossed her cigarette to the ground, turned towards Jerry and snuffed it out with her shoe. Jerry saw that she was turning towards him and began to make his quick exit. Rachel caught sight of him as he walked away. Not enough to fully recognize him, yet just enough to get a funny feeling. The other cameraman got her attention and she walked away, looking back one more time before entering the van and sliding the door shut with a loud bang.
ALMOST TWO WEEK LATER
Murphy sat at her usual table in a lightly crowed Phil's. In fact, it was a perfect crowd; if there ever was such a thing as a perfect crowd of anything. She was waiting for Frank. He was a half an hour late. She looked at her watch, ordered another club soda, and looked at her watch again.
"Waiting for Jerry?" Phil came up to Murphy on her right side.
"No Frank - he's late. Jerry's in New York."
"Still? I'd think it wouldn't take that long to negotiate a contract?"
"He's not negotiating a contract, Phil - he's meeting with potential offers."
"Oh." Phil looked away.
"What do you mean by "Oh", Phil? Phil, what do you know?" Murphy looked at him intently.
"Nothing, I was just wrong."
"Phil, you're never wrong."
"I think Jerry should tell you."
"It's not my place, Murphy."
"Ok, ok." Phil leaned in closer. "Let's just say from what I heard he went to New York for one job only."
"Why would Jerry spend two weeks in New York having meetings for one job, when he has so many other offers?"
"Not any more, Murphy."
"Phil, what are your talking about?"
"Word from the grapevine says that Jerry's waited so long to decide on which job to take, that most of them have resided their offers. Moved on to new prospects."
Murphy looked stunned. "Why would he wait so long?"
"Beats me." Phil gave Murphy that all knowing look. It was the glint in his eye. His guess: the reason was Murphy.
"Well, I'm sure I just miss understood Jerry and he'll tell me all about it when he comes back from New York. It's no big deal." She tried to sound like she wasn't hurt.
Finally, Frank burst through the door.
"Well, here's Frank." Phil walked away. "I'll be back to take your order."
"Murph, I'm sorry I'm late. I got stuck in traffic."
"Where? On the Beltway?"
"No, the Long Island Expressway."
"Frank, you're just getting back from the Hampton's now!"
"Lesley isn't feeling so well, so she's saying up at the house, so I didn't get a change to leave until this morning. I wanted to make-sure she was alright."
"Ah. Well as long as she and the babies are ok."
"Yes, of course." Frank looked around the room. "Did you order?"
"No, I was waiting for you." Murphy looked around for Phil. "Phil should be right back. He was just here."
Frank looked around the room again. "Did you talk with...anyone else while you were waiting?"
"No, Frank, why?" Murphy got a weird feeling.
"No reason, no reason." Frank looked around again.
Murphy stared at Frank strangely and then decided not to make anything of it. "So, did you land Hammerstein as your executive producer?" Murphy inched her chair closer to Frank. "Or is he still whining about how commercial news magazines are. This from a man who started out doing infomercials. Ha." She threw her head to the side.
"No, I got someone better, remember that..."
"Frank?" A strong male voice came from behind Frank.
Murphy looked up to see a very good-looking man in his mid-forties standing by their table. He was tall, dark, and very good-looking, just Murphy's type. Frank gazed up and seemed to make an over exaggeration of how much he knew the man. This made Murphy suspicious.
"Harry Terrill? Funny running into you here?" Frank turned to Murphy. "Harry and I play rocket ball at the club."
"Really? Nice to meet you, Harry." Murphy looked around. "Where is Phil?"
"And you're Murphy Brown." Murphy swung her head around, as Harry extended his hand to Murphy." And my I say you're more beautiful in person then on television. A goddess really."
"You can say anything you want." Murphy smiled and extended her hand, being the sucker for a good-looking man and a nice compliment that she was.
Harry took Murphy's hand and kissed it instead of shaking it. This took Murphy by surprise. She pulled her hand away. There was long pause while Harry just gawked at Murphy in a way that made her very uneasy. Usually, Murphy wouldn't mind it, but since the pursuing was not mutual, it bothered her.
"Well, Harry, why don't you join us?" Frank broke the silence.
"I'd love too." Harry pulled up a chair.
"Well, actually, Harry, this was sort of a private lunch between Frank and I so..."
Harry looked at Frank and then at Murphy and back at Frank again. He looked like he was looking for something to say.
"Oh, come on, Murph..." Frank waved the idea off with his hand.
"Really, Frank. I've had a really horrible week. I can't get a producer. Avery developed a fixation on knock, knock jokes, and I think I saw my new secretary on American's Most Wanted last night. Seeing you, taking to you… is the only thing I look forward too. Today of all days I don't feel like being polite!"
"But, Murphy!" Frank whispered.
"It's ok, Frank." Harry pushed back his chair, and stood up. "But you are completely charming."
"Excuse me!?" Murphy spun her head around, again.
"How about we finish this little talk over a nice dinner at Sardella's?" Harry leaned in so close to Murphy she could smell his cheap after-shave.
"Listen. Harry. While all of this is very flattering. I'm seeing someone right now." Murphy's ego was at its zenith.
"Yes, I am." Murphy laughed, in way that said, "yes, I'm taken so suffer."
Harry turned to Frank. "Frank, I thought you said she was hard-up for dates?"
"FRANK!" Murphy's voice grated like nails on a chalkboard.
Frank pretended he didn't know what was going on with incomplete gibberish like sentences. Harry got up from the table and excused himself.
"I don't believe you?" Murphy paused for a moment, as she correlated the ideas in her head. "It's all making sense know."
"What?" Frank looked down and around the room. Any place, but into Murphy's eyes.
"Why is it that everyplace we go this week we just happen to run into eligible men you know?"
"What are your talking about?" Frank laughed it off.
"The baseball game, the office, the cleaners?"
"What are your talking about?" Frank was sometimes just as bad at lying as Murphy was.
"How is it that your lawyer just happened to show up at that basketball game, you're trainer at the movies, and that guy at your poker game who kept wanting to play strip poker with me, alone, in the laundry room?" Murphy leaned in towards Frank." You're trying to fix me up, Frank, and I don't like it."
"Is it my fault that all my friends find you attractive? You're a beautiful women, Murphy, who could have her pick of anyone that's out there. Anyone."
"You're going have to face facts, Frank. Jerry and I are a couple, we're together. I thought you used that week to think this all over, what we're sitting around coming up with little plots to break us up."
"I'm only doing this for your best interest, Murphy!" Frank shot back his true colors.
"I'm sorry, Murphy, but you said you were lonely. I thought if you meet someone else you'd see that Jerry is only taking advantage of your vulnerable state."
"Frank! I am not being taken advantage off! This is ridiculous. I mean that guy Harry wasn't even my type."
"Oh, he was so your type, Murphy. Tall, good-looking. He's got Murphy Brown written all over his face."
"I don't have a type, Frank."
"Yes, you do! Whenever some dark and handsome man crosses your path you go gaga. Hell, you giggle."
"I do not!"
"Peter, Jake, Miles brother Josh…"
"Hey, hey, don't bring Miles brother up, ok – so, I was blinded by his good looks, and his deep eyes." Murphy started to drift off. "And his supple lips and..." Murphy came back to reality. "Come on, Frank, it only lasted a week! And you know why, because I got to know him. I got past his rugged good looks. But that was a one shot deal, Frank. When it all comes down to it I always fall for men that arouse my intellect."
"And that's why you married Jake after knowing him less than six hours, because he aroused you intellect!"
"Ok, OK, Frank! So you're right! So, I tend to, at first, go for the superficial outside, but it's their mind that I eventually fall in love with, Frank. Those are the ones that last."
"That's why I don't get this thing you have with Jerry he looks nothing like the men you usually date."
"So you decided you would blindside me with skin, Frank! It that it, Frank? I may be shallow, Frank, but not that shallow."
"Face it, Murph. You're a sucker for a pretty face.
"Ok." Murphy thought to herself. "So. Jerry doesn't look, on the outside, like the usual men I date. It doesn't mean I don't find him attractive. But maybe that's why it's different. I mean sure on the inside he has some qualities of the men I date. He challenges me, has very strong opinions..."
Murphy shot Frank a look."Frank!"
"With your track record I'm surprised you didn't go after Miles."
"Frank!" Murphy got Frank to back down. "What I'm trying to say is that maybe the one that comes and changes your life. Is the different one. The one that challenges you in a different way. The same, but different…" Murphy was surprised by her own comments because it was the first time she was thinking them. "For fifty-five years I've been dating the same type of men and look where's it got me."
"God, Murph, you sound like a hallmark card. What has he done to you?"
"This is a no win argument, Frank! You're gonna have to promise me you're going to stop fixing me up with people behind my back." Frank looked flustered. "Frank. This is not hard! I will not keep asking people to ask Murphy out, or I will. It's a life or death decision here, FRANK!"
"You mean not a life and death decision."
"No, I mean life or death, Frank. Life or Death." Murphy gave him an evil look.
"I promise, ok!"
Murphy smiled and looked around for Phil. She turned her eyes towards the door and caught site of Carl in the doorway. Carl was FYI's ex-cameramen who just happen to be in love with Murphy. He was dressed in a powder blue suit and held a bouquet of sterling steam roses, Murphy's favorite roses.
"Frankkkk?" She lowered her head and looked at Frank like she knew he was guilty of what stood at the door."
"Who else have you told?"
"What?" Frank looked over at the door. "Oh, no." Frank looked back at Murphy with a guilty look on his face.
"You sent Carl, Frank?! Carl!? Where you also planning on hitting me over the head with a large heavy object!"
"Ohhh. They must have hired him for my new show..."
"And I may or may not have told a few people on the staff and crew that you were in an abusive relationship and in need of someone to take you away from it all." Frank tried to disappear into his hand.
"Well, I may or may not have put a large sign up." Murphy was fuming. "A large sign with an itinerary of all the times and places we were hanging out."
"Frank, you're dead. A dead man. Are you happy now? Your children will be fatherless! " Murphy's head shook.
"Murphy!" Carl's loud voice bellowed through the bar.
"Hello, Carl." Murphy voice was unenthusiastic.
"These are for you. I believe they are your favorite." Carl handed Murphy his bouquet.
"Thank you, Carl." Murphy tried to be nice, as she always did with Carl. She placed the flowers on the table.
"Murphy, Frank told me of your plight."
"My plight?" She looked at Carl not knowing what to do.
"I know how hard it is to leave a man such as Jerry Gold. They beat you into submission. Well, I'm here to take you away from all that. Sure, at first, it will just be an act. An act of protection. But soon you'll learn to love me. I know you will." Carl leaned down on one knee." Murphy, be mine? Let me take you away from the madness?"
"Carl." Murphy rolled her eyes. "Get up!"
"Murphy, I know we can have something special." Carl began to nuzzle Murphy's arm.
"Carl, stop it!" Murphy pushed him off.
Carl stood, but still looked determined. "I was always afraid to use this. Because I am a gentlemen and I wanted you to love me for me, and not my animal magnetism. But now, I must use it, because some how he has obviously brain-washed you beyond normal means. You'll thank me later for this, Murphy." Murphy looked scared and perplexed and was caught off guard as Carl planted a huge kiss on Murphy's lips.
Murphy pushed Carl off her and screamed at him. "Get off me, Carl!" People in the bar started to look.
"It must be stronger than I thought. I'll have to use plan B."
"Plan B!?" Murphy squealed.
Carl leaned in and looked like he was trying to kiss Murphy's neck. Murphy screamed and pushed Carl off her, as a man's voice was heard near the door.
"Hey! Hey!" It was Jerry's voice.
Murphy pushed Carl off her completely. "You licked me?" Murphy looked at Frank in shock and anger. "Frank, he licked me!"
"What's going on here?" Jerry busted his way in between Murphy and Carl."
Murphy grabbed some napkins and tried to get Carl's salvia off her neck with a disgusted look on her face. Murphy turned her head and noticed Jerry. "Jerry, what are you doing here?"
"Change of plans. Who's the beached whale?"
"I'm Carl." Carl dug his thumb into his chest.
"Well, isn't that great, he can say his own name. Now, why were you sucking on the neck of my girlfriend?" Jerry began to get in Carl's face.
"It's ok, Jerry." Murphy said in an aggravated tone, as she laid her hand on Jerry's arm.
"See, the lady's with me, so why don't you skedaddle." He waved his hand away. "Tell Flipper and Free Willy I say hello."
Carl looked like he was going to overheat and then glared at Jerry. "Don't worry, Murphy. I'll think of something. I'll be back!" Carl lifted his head like a super hero and walked away.
Jerry watched him leave not knowing what to make of it and then threw his copy of the New York Times on the table. Jerry noticed a sour look on Frank's face, as Frank glared at him. Jerry moved in for the kill. "And well hello to you, Fontana, long time no see!" Frank made a face and grunted Jerry's name. "Congratulations, I heard you got married. I guess you finally saved up enough money for that mail-order bride you've always wanted." Jerry laughed; Frank didn't.
"Jerry, I thought you weren't coming back 'till Saturday?" Murphy tried to stop the paralyzing banter.
"Yeah, nice surprise, huh?" Jerry leaned in and kissed her. They both smiled gleefully. It made Frank sick and he moved his head away from view. "Move over, Fontana." Jerry put out his cigarette in the ashtray and motioned with his hands. Something he always did when he was so close to Murphy; putting out the cigarette that is.
"Actually, I was just leaving." Frank began to get up.
"No, Frank, don't go!" Murphy motioned for him to stay with her hand. Frank sat down with a disgruntled look on his face. "Jerry, would you mind leaving Frank and I alone? I'd really appreciate it."
Jerry looked at Frank and then at Murphy. "Sure." He smiled awkwardly and picked up his paper. "Is it ok if I stop by tonight?" Jerry leaned in.
"I'd be insulted if you didn't." She gave Jerry a short kiss; Jerry looked elated.
There's something I want to discuss with you. "
"Nothing bad." Jerry tried to hide a smile that began to emerge. "I may have some good news." Murphy smiled and stood up. Jerry smiled and raised his eyebrows at her
"I'll see you tonight." Murphy kissed Jerry and turned to Frank. "Frank, I'm going to wash my neck! Try not to fix me up with anyone before I get back!"
Jerry watched Murphy leave and then glared at Frank. "What's this Fontana?! You're trying to get dates for my girlfriend."
"It's none of your business, Jerry!" Frank was fuming from the emotions he held in.
"I think when you trying to get some for my girlfriend, it is my business."
"She's not your girlfriend, Jerry!"
"I beg to differ, Fontona, and I have the Polaroid's to prove it." Jerry smirked.
"See, that's it. That's what's going to do you in, Jerry… She'll get sick of your vulgarity, your rudeness and self-absorption real quick." He shook his head with confidence. "Just like she always does."
"Why? She hasn't with you?" Jerry took out a cigarette and looked for his lighter. "Or with herself for that matter."
"You'll see... She'll see the light and you'll be out on the street just like all the other times."
"You know what, Fontona." Jerry was about to insult Frank, but he stopped and composed himself before speaking again. "I'm going to lay off you because I'm in a good mood. But if you ever. I mean ever try to fix Murphy up with another man... And I say this with the knowledge that you've been best friends with Murphy for the last twenty years and so you know the brunt of a true belligerent... But you haven't seen rudeness, vulgarity, and self-absorption 'till you've seen the wrath of me! Because even though you don't believe it…" Jerry's voice became sweet for a moment, taking Frank by surprise." I love that woman. And I will for the rest of my life." Jerry voice quickly changed to his aggressive self again. Jerry lit his cigarette. "Get that, Fontana!" Frank was in shock. "And I would never do anything, intentionally, to hurt her." Jerry put his newspaper under his arm. "And I know we both know all about that." He took a puff, blew it in Frank's face and left.
LATER THAT NIGHT
Murphy opened her door into the foyer. She shut the door just in time to hear a voice coming from her den that she was not happy to hear.
"I'll wait out here." It was Ira Walters, Jerry's long time executive producer. He was a balding man about the same age as Murphy and he held a lit cigar.
"Murphy." He looked at her as pleased as Murphy was so see him, only he had a bit of an evil grin.
"Ira." Murphy's voice grated on her larynx. "What are you doing here?"
"Nice to see you too, Murphy. Hope you didn't manage to get pregnant on your way over."
"What did you say? I'm sorry I was distracted by the blinding shine off your head. When are your leaving!?"
"Soon, I have business with Jerry. But isn't this banter fun." Ira took a puff on his cigar.
This made Murphy very unhappy. "Do you mind? This is my house and I don't allow things in my home that make it smell like an Asian bordello. Now you, I can make an exception for because your Jerry's guest. But I have to draw the line somewhere." Murphy smirked.
Ira looked at Murphy for a moment before speaking. "NO." Ira hit the edge of his cigar, sending ash all over the floor.
"Is there a reason you don't like me?"
"Yeah, I'm not sleeping with you so I don't have to." Murphy made a face at Ira. "The same reason you hate me. We both stand for everything each other detests. Although, I like to think it's your cheery disposition."
"And you have no common curtsy to behave for Jerry's sake."
"The fact that you're doing Jerry makes no difference to me one way or another. Just because he's getting the goods from you doesn't mean I have to play nice. Because frankly, people like you make me sick. What you're doing to Jerry and the world."
"What have I done to Jerry?!"
"Hey, what's going on out here?" Jerry came out from the den with a folder in his hand, interrupting Murphy in pre-insult. "Ira, what are you doing?"
"You have those papers!?" Ira put his hand out.
"Yeah, here." Jerry handed some papers to Ira. "What's going on here?" Jerry questioned Murphy. Murphy picked up her mail, gave Ira a face, and walked into the living room.
"You haven't told her yet, have you!?" Ira was testy.
"I haven't decided yet..."
"Jerry, you can't turn this down."
"I'll tell her in my own time."
"You have an answer for me by Monday or else I walk."
"Ira…" Jerry whispered in his little boy confessing voice to get Ira to be quiet.
Ira got quiet with a brooding look on his face. He walked towards the door and opened it. "I'll see you, Jerry." His voice was soft, but it soon became loud so the entire house could hear. "I want your decision on that job by Monday!" Ira left and slammed the door.
Jerry stared at the door with his stifled anger. He put his hands in his pockets and walked into the living room.
"What was that about?" Murphy questioned.
"Nothing." Jerry walked up to Murphy and kissed her passionately. It lasted long and produced a lot of heat.
"Whoa, hello to you too."
"I missed you." Jerry leaned his forehead against Murphy's.
"I see." She kissed Jerry back. "So… what was so important you wanted to tell me?"
"I miss spoke. Never mind."
"New York didn't go well?"
"No. Not really." He seemed distracted.
"What was Ira talking about, Jerry?" Murphy began to get suspicious.
"Some job he wants me to take."
"You don't like this job?"
"It's alright." Jerry broke away from Murphy and plopped down on the couch.
"Jerry, how many offers did you and Ira feel out in New York?"
"Oh, I don't know a few dozen."
"Jerry. Don't lie to me."
"Why would I lie?" He was lying.
"Jerry, I heard it from Phil."
"What's with that guy - it's like the Internet runs straight through that bar. How does he know?"
"He's Phil." Murphy walked closer to Jerry. "Jerry, why are your lying about this? Do you have a woman there? Because if you do - god help me..."
"No, no, no! Of course not!" Jerry jumped up from the couch.
"Then what is it?"
"The jobs in New York, Murphy."
"Yes, what about it?"
"No, Murphy, the job Viacom is offering is based in New York."
"It can't be anywhere else?"
"That's what I've been doing for the last week and half trying to get them to change their minds, but the job comes with New York."
"Oh." Murphy looked down and her voice became a monotone. "What's the job?" She looked up at Jerry.
"It's not that good. I don't even think I want it." Jerry walked over to the mantel leaving his back to Murphy.
"Jerry, you wouldn't have spent a week and half in New York City - if you didn't want this job! What is it?"
Jerry turned to face Murphy. "It's radio. I don't want that. I take this job, next thing you know I'm hosting some morning zoo show, and then I might as well kill myself."
"What type of show would it be, Jerry?"
"Politics. Plus, anything else I feel like adding. I'd get two hours of time during drive time, Monday through Friday. Call in, guests. I can say, and do whatever I want." Jerry couldn't help, but get excited about what he was saying. "And they're gonna film it for CSPAN! CSPAN! So, that's double the exposure...and then…" Jerry stopped and realized what he was doing. The smile disappeared from his face.
"What else?" Murphy knew there was more. Jerry said nothing with a sad look on his face. "What else, Jerry!"
"On Sundays mornings I would host my own Meet The Press meets Political Incorrect type show for FOX."
"That's great, Jerry!"
"Jerry, it's an amazing offer."
"I don't know..." Jerry looked away and put his hands in his pockets. "That was general idea for my last show in the States -"
"You want the job don't you?"
"NO." Jerry looked Murphy in the eyes and lied straight to her face.
Murphy was surprised how real it looked. "Come on, Gold, you were almost beaming when you told me."
"CSPAN? What? Melatonin to the masses. Come on, Brown…" Jerry ran his hand over his mouth and walked behind the couch. He paused for a moment before speaking, "Ok, so it's a really great offer, ok a really, really great offer. And it's the first time I'd get a real change at being taken seriously. I mean no ten-minute spot on FYI, or some entertainment shtick talk show. Not that that wasn't great, but I'm really getting sick and tired of every time I see my name in print, having the words "King of Trash TV", follow right after it. I'm not ashamed of anything I've done, in fact, I'm proud... it's just..." Jerry turned around and faced the fireplace. "There's just something to be said for…."
Jerry turned to face her. "Yeah…"
Murphy lowered her head.
"Well, this is crazy. I can't take this job that means... I'll just take that syndication offer." Jerry flared his arms about.
"Syndication!? Jerry!? A show like yours couldn't last in syndication today! That's why you last show in the states failed."
"But the jobs in D.C."
"We can't think that way."
"How? The city comes with the job."
Murphy through for a moment and then looked like she had a brilliant idea. "I have an idea." Murphy ran over to her desk by the staircase and came back with a deck of multi colored index cards and a pen. "See these index cards." Murphy made her way back to Jerry. "We take all the offers you're been offered." Murphy began to lay the cards on the coffee table like a game of memory. "How many do you have left?"
Murphy stopped for a moment in her action. "Only five left?" she said with surprise in her voice. "Okay." She shook it off for Jerry's sake. Murphy handed out five cards on the table. "See you write the offer on one side and the city on the other. This way we read the offer without the city. That's how we decide. And whatever one is left. Is the winner."
"It's so simple, yet so right." Murphy handed Jerry the pen.
Moments later Jerry and Murphy sat on the couch looking down at the square pattern of red and blue cards. They held hands and looked at each other. Jerry proceeded to look down at the cards and read aloud their titles, as either he or Murphy shot them down, until they were left with three cards.
"Syndication." Jerry read the title out loud. He looked at Murphy. "My own show, creative freedom."
"National exposure, no small markets."
"Affiliates that can decide not to pick you up."
"Which means less markets."
"Less money." Jerry picked up the card and turned in over.
"It's in DC."
"It's a no Jerry." Murphy could tell by the look on Jerry's face. She took the card and tore it up.
Murphy picked up the next card. "Cable. You can say whatever you want."
"Yeah, but who will see it. It's TNN. My audience will be consist of two hillbillies in their underwear married to their cousins who still think pillow cases look good on their heads. I don't think so. I'll just be an intro to He Haw - Next!"
Murphy rolled her eyes and her head and ripped up the card.
Jerry and Murphy looked over at the remaining card. They looked at each other. It was the Viacom card. It wasn't until they looked at the table that the two realized they were down to one.
"So, it's syndication." Jerry got up off the couch and walked behind it.
Murphy slumped back into the couch. "You can't turn this job down, Jerry."
"Of course I can. Watch me."
"Jerry, you can't take a job you don't like."
"So, I'll keep on looking!"
"Jerry, they're not going to offering theses jobs forever. I've tried to pretend, but I'm in this business too, Jer. I hear things." She paused for a moment. "This could be your last change."
"This could be our last change!" Jerry paused. "Our relationship doesn't do well over distance."
"You'll be closer this time."
"That's true, but..."
"Jerry, if it's one thing I've learned about us over the years is that we're both the type of people who are happiest when we're working. And if we're both not working and happy in it, this crumbles."
"So, it's New York."
"So. It's New York." It was a bittersweet moment. An awkward pause proceeded.
Jerry walked around the couch and approached Murphy. All of a sudden he seemed to have an idea. "Why don't you come with me?!" He smiled gleefully and sat down next to Murphy on the other side of the couch.
"With you, Jerry!? My life is here."
"What's that's supposed to mean!?"
"No, I'm serious, Murphy." He paused for moment. "You're living in the past, Brown. FYI is over. This is now; this is your life with me in the present."
Murphy became excitable. "Jerry, I can't just pick up my life and move to New York City! There was more to my life in Washington then FYI. FYI is not the only reason I stay here. I have friends here, I have a life here."
"Who, Fontana? He has his own family now."
"He has his wife. Murphy, they've all gone on with your lives! Why can't you?"
"There are other reasons, Jerry. My life is here and it's has been here for the last twenty years. My son is here, my job is here. This is where my work is, Jerry. It's like I said we compromise this part of our lives, it compromises the other!" Murphy calmed down a few notches to her serious tone. "I think we'd be the first to admit we're both not the easiest people to live with. And what we both don't need is for one of us to be unhappy."
"So, I'm going to New York."
"And I'm staying here."
"Well, I'm glad were both happy," he said sadly and with a hint of sarcasm.
I guess neither one of us…
Neither one of us wants to be the first to say good-bye
Neither One Of Us ~ Gladys Night & The Pips
A WEEK LATER
Murphy's doorbell rang and she took long strides through the foyer and opened the door.
"Jerry, what are you doing here? I though we said we weren't going to say good-bye." Jerry appeared on the doorstep with one hand behind his back and a brown paper bag, with a handle, in the other.
"I know we said that, but my flight got delayed an hour and I wanted to see you before I left." Jerry looked at Murphy with the look that made her melt.
"I am glad you came," she confessed.
"These are for you." Jerry thrust what was behind his back in front of him.
"Romaine lettuces?" It was a head of Romaine Lettuces with a small ribbon around it made up to look like a bouquet. It made Murphy laugh, which of course was its intention.
"I stopped off at some market to get you some flowers, and for the life of me I couldn't remember what your favorite flower was. ... So, I figured this was more practical. It doesn't wilt or die and you'll actually have some nourishment in that graveyard for perishables you call a refrigerator."
"Well they're...beautiful, Jerry."
"I also got you a gift." Jerry smiled and handed Murphy the bag from his hand.
Murphy looked at Jerry funny and took the package. "A gift, Jerry? You're the one going away. Shouldn't I be the one getting you a gift?" Murphy walked over to the foyer table and moved the flowers out of the center to place the bag on it.
"Well, it's a gift we can both use." Jerry followed behind with his hands in his pockets.
Murphy took a box, with a small white kitchen appliance on it, out of the bag and looked at it in a sort of amazement. "A George Forman Grill?" Murphy placed it on the table.
"Yeah, it cooks in only three minutes. I figured even you could figure out how to cook with it."
"But the George Forman grill?"
"What, I should get you one made by Brain Boitano!? It's a good grill, Murphy!"
"It's sweet, Jerry." Murphy smiled and then looked at Jerry funny. "But how is this a gift for both of us, you don't eat meat?"
"Scratch that...I use to not eat meat."
"I thought you we're die hard to stay a vegetarian, again. How'd it happened this time?"
"Sort of the same way it happened the first time. I was driving on the Autobahn, on my way to Baden and Baden or some Kraut name like that, and I caught the smell of this bar and the best smelling hot dogs I have ever tasted. And that was it. I was gone." Jerry made a "gone' type gesture with his hand
"What changed you back after that?"
"The sausage making factory next to the great smelling bar." Jerry looked at his watch. "I took my show on a tour once." Jerry laughed and then looked at his watch. He had a look of distress on his face. "Well, I better get going. My flight leaves soon. I only had a few minutes." Jerry took Murphy's hand and they walked towards the door. They stopped in front of it and stood there for a moment. It was awkward and sad and Jerry made note of it first "Murphy, don't look so sad. This isn't good-bye."
"Then why does it feel that way?"
"I know." Jerry took a pause." Listen, in two weeks we'll see each other again."
"Yes, and once the show gets started we can meet every weekend."
"Every weekend." Jerry's tone changed from optimist to pessimistic, "Then why am I so scared I'm losing you."
"I wish I had an answer that would calm our fears, Jerry, but I don't have one."
"You know I don't have to take this job. There will be other jobs."
"Jerry, there are no other jobs... You back out of this now, what are you going to do?"
"I'll make my own job. I could write a book, I've always wanted to do that."
"A book, Jerr?! That's not work! That sitting around in your bathrobe complaining you're not working. I know more relationships that have ended because of the statement, "I think I'll write a book."
"Like Corky's marriage for example!" Murphy deflated. "Oh god, I'm comparing myself to Corky! This has to be the beginning of the end."
Jerry was left confused by Murphy's comment, but before he could say anything a car horn sounded. "That's my ride."
"You better go…" Jerry kissed Murphy passionately, as if it were their last kiss. When they parted Jerry let go of Murphy's lips as slowly as he could.
Murphy's head was lowered and they held hands. "I'll see ya." Jerry kissed Murphy's hand. Without looking into her eyes he walked towards the door, holding on to Murphy's hand until doing so would have pulled her with him. He opened the door and closed it behind him.
Murphy turned and looked around the foyer. Thinking to herself how unsure she was of the entire situation, but still knew it had to be done. Then she heard someone at the door and expected Eldin to enter next.
"What if..." Murphy turned around to see Jerry emerging through the doorway again. "I could somehow get it in my contract that once my show's a hit I can move it wherever I want, would you - at least come with me to New York... for the time being, just a temporary thing, at least the summer."
"Can you do that?"
"I could...I think...and my guess is I can make this show a hit by August. I guarantee!" Murphy looked at Jerry unable to think of an answer. "What do ya say?"
"Jerry, I don't know... I mean there's Avery and..."
"Think about it...Would you at least think about it."
Murphy thought for another moment and smiled. "Ok, I'll think about."
"That's all I wanted to hear." He smiled. "I have to go!" Jerry hurried to the door and grabbed the doorknob. He opened it and spun around. "This is gonna work, no matter what. I'll call you when I land." He blew her a kiss.
"Sterling silver roses and black orchids," Murphy yelled to Jerry, as he closed the door.
"What?" Jerry held the door in mid-pull.
"For further reference... my favorite flowers. Sterling silver roses and black orchids."
"You had to be a high maintenance girl, didn't you?"
"Would you like me if I weren't?"
"No." Jerry raised his eyebrows, smiled, and left.
Murphy had just enough time to take in another breath, when Jerry sprung through the door again. "Ah, one more thing…"
"What are you Colombo?! Get out of here, Gold, before you miss your flight!" she smirked gleefully.
"I forgot, this is for you." Jerry handed Murphy a purple orchid around the corner of the door. He smiled slyly.
Murphy took the orchid in shock. She shook her head in disbelief. "You and the pyramids..."
"….Never cease to amaze you. I know, I know." Jerry continued Murphy's famous line in a sheepish way. "See you in two weeks." Jerry smiled and shut the door behind him.