Chapter Seven: It's Like Starting Over...
A WEEK LATER - WASHINGTON D.C.
"Frank, what are we doing here?" Murphy howled, as Frank ushered her into the elevator of the old FYI building in D.C.
"Just come on, Murph." She hesitated, as Frank continued his ushering.
"You promised me there'd be free food? Where's the food, Frank?"
"We'll get the food later."
Once Murphy was finally in the elevator Frank pushed the seventeenth floor. Murphy was too busy making a fuss to notice which floor Frank had pushed. Murphy continued her nagging and Frank his persistency.
"Listen, Corky called me this morning and said we needed to meet her here and I should make sure you were there, it didn't matter how, I just had to get you here. That's all I know!"
"Corky! What does she want?" Murphy didn't really seem to care for an answer.
"That's all I know!" Frank shielded himself from Murphy.
Murphy looked at Frank strangely. "Frank, your roots are growing in? You should really get them done."
"I'm leaving it that way. I think it makes me look distinguished."
"I think it makes you look like Captain Stubing!" The elevator opened onto the seventeenth floor. It was dark. Murphy looked up at the elevator numbers. "What the hell are we doing on our old floor Frank?" Murphy peered out.
Frank put his arm out to block the door. "Maybe we should go back downstairs and wait." Frank removed his hand.
"What? You made a fuss about us coming all the way up here!"
"Corky said if we got here before her we should wait for her…"
"What?" Murphy was really confused.
"That's what she said."
"Well, I'm not standing in the elevator, Frank!" She took a step.
"No!" Frank put out his arm.
"Fine! Fine! Then I'm going home!" She stepped back in.
"No. Don't go home. Just stay. Just a little. I'm sure she'll be right here!"
"Fine! But I am not standing in the elevator, Frank!"
"Well, for one reason, Frank. We're in the side of the building with one elevator which means Corky can't come up to meet us."
"Oh…" Frank felt stupid and Murphy felt smart as she smiled slyly. Murphy stepped out and Frank followed.
"Where the hell is that light?" Murphy rounded the corner and suddenly the lights turned on one by one.
Frank adjusted his eyes to the lights. The floor looked the same only sparse. The same sliver and grey colors, but empty chairs and desks, and of course the coffee Island and the glass table.
"Ok, here's the deal, Frank!" Murphy came from the left hallway. "If in five minutes Corky doesn't get here or I don't have a hamburger between these hands." Murphy put her hands out. "I'm going home!"
"And what... sulk around her house all day doing nothing!" Frank was confronting; the only way to deal with Murphy in this situation. And in a tone only Frank could take with her.
"I do not sulk!"
"Murphy, you haven't left your house for a week!"
"I left my house." Murphy walked past Frank over to the coffee Island. "I had to get the paper." She took her Mommy mug from the mug rack and filled her cup from the water cooler.
"This is what I'm talking about!" Frank took his mug off the rack and poured himself a glass of water. "You don't do anything. You just sit in that house probably cutting Jerry out of all your old pictures! Murphy we're all worried about you."
"Is that what this is? An intervention! No. No! NO!" Murphy set her mug down with a bang. "It didn't work the last time! And it's not gonna work this time!"
"Murphy… two days later you checked yourself into Betty Ford!"
"That was on my own Vo-lit-ion pal! None of that stuff had anything to do with that! All that stuff was just a coincidence. That's all!"
"Yeah. Right!" Frank was not convinced.
Murphy reached for her mug and stopped. "Frank?"
"What is my mommy mug doing here?"
"My mommy mug?" Murphy picked up her stork mommy mug and showed it to Frank.
"Who says that yours? Someone else must have left it here."
"How many mommy mugs are out there, Frank? And look there's a chip there." She pointed to the edge. "That's from when I threw it at Kay after she parked in my parking space that first year…"
"Maybe you left it here?"
"Six years ago, Frank! And besides, I know I took it with me to New York. And look!" She pointed to Frank's mug in his hand. "Isn't that your mug, Frank?" Frank looked at his mug with amazement.
"AHH! You're right?" Murphy walked past him towards her office while Frank walked behind the coffee island and noticed not only Corky's pink mug, but the fish mug he bought Jim. "Jim's mug here's also… and Corky's... This is weird, Murph!"
"Oh, my lord!" The sound came from Murphy's office.
"What? What?" Frank asked, as Murphy exited her office.
"All my stuff is in my office." Murphy pointed towards her office.
"What?" Frank walked over to the door.
"All my stuff! My desk, my pictures. It's all there!" Frank looked in the office. "This is really weird Frank!"
"Yeah." Frank walked out of the office and looked at Murphy. "What is going on here, Murph?"
"I don't know, Frank?"
"It's like we've been pulled into some parallel universe."
"Or worse... the nineties."
The elevator door dinged and off walked Corky in a blue suit, sunglasses, and a bit of a tan. Her hair was long and pulled behind her head.
"Oh, no. You all got here before me! Oh no. Frank! You ruined the surprise!"
"What surprise, Corky!" Murphy screamed, as she approached her. "What is going on here?
"Yeah, why is our stuff here!" Frank motioned toward the room.
"Is Jim here yet?" Corky looked around. "I'd like to wait until Jim gets here."
"No, Jim's not here yet. Corky, I demand to know what is going on here!" The elevator dinged and a man dressed in black and sunglasses got off the elevator.
"Excuse me, Ms. Sherwood?"
"Yes, Arnold?" Corky seemed to be very friendly towards him.
"Mr. Champion wanted me to tell you he has decided to wait for you on the plane - and will be leaving me with the car for you whenever you're done."
"Thank you." Corky smiled and the elevator door opened to reveal Jim.
The man got back on the elevator and Jim noticed the group as he stepped off.
"Oh, there you all are?" Jim walked over looking confused.
"Corky, you're dating Champion?" Murphy asked. "Oh, hi Jim."
"Hey there, Slugger. Frank." He looked at Corky. "Corky, you asked me to meet you here."
"Yes." Corky smiled at Jim.
"So, when did this happen?" Frank asked.
"About a week ago?" Corky glowed
"When did what happen?" Jim asked.
"She's dating Victor Champion," Frank whispered to Jim.
Jim nodded in the realization of who he was. "Victor Champion - the greasy mogul we did that report on three years ago?" Jim questioned.
"He's not greasy. And he's changed his ways. I mean he was never greasy before that. He's learned from his mistakes. And besides were not dating." Corky smiled. "We're engaged." She showed the group her hand – a large ring was attached to it.
"Corky? I don't understand?" Murphy walled. "What about all that stuff about marriage just being a bottomless pit, the fiery pillars of hell!"
"I know I said all that, but I guess something taught me life is short." Corky smiled.
"So, you're just gonna rush into marriage with some guy because life is too short!" Murphy was agog.
"I'm not getting married right away! At least not just yet. I think I'm just going to be engaged for a while. I never had that. I never had that engagement period. With Will we were so excited we didn't want to wait. One minute I was engaged and the next I was married. And with Miles, I didn't even get half that. I think I'm going to see what this is like for a change." Corky beamed. "Take my time."
"Wow, Corky. You're really happy aren't you?" Frank was owed.
"Yes." She seemed very proud of herself. "I am"
"That's really great, Corky," Jim and Murphy chimed in.
"So, is that why we're all here?" Jim asked the group.
"Sort of," Corky said slyly.
"Yeah and why does this floor looked like it did back in 1996!" Murphy squawked.
"Ohh, that was a bad year!" Frank winced.
"Tell me about it," Murphy did an aside.
"I'm getting to that! I'm getting to that!" Corky cleared her throat with excitement. "For the last week Victor and I have been on vacation in Bermuda..."
"If she drags out slides I get to kill her don't I, Frank?" She tilted her head towards Frank. He tried to hold in his laughter.
"AND!" Corky tried to get Murphy's attention back.
Frank got his composure back.
Corky continued, "As I was saying. Well. To make a long story short -"
"Too late," Murphy muffled her remark.
Corky gave Murphy a look. Frank smiled as if he and Murphy were kids cutting up in class.
"Victor asked me what I wanted as a gift for our engagement. And I racked my brain. I mean I have everything I could possible want! I have my health, a job I love, a man I love." Murphy stuck her finger in her mouth, as Corky circled the floor leaving her back to Murphy. Frank tried not to laugh. "And then it hit me. All I needed was my friends to be happy." She smiled at her friends. "So, I thought of a way in which he could help me do that." There was a pause while the group waited for an answer. "So I bought this!"
"You bought the seventeenth floor?" Frank asked. "Why?"
"No, I bought the network, silly! Well, Victor did!"
"Wait a second here, Corky?" Murphy chimed in. "Corky...You're the new president of CBS?"
"More like CEO," she glowed.
"Corky owns CBS?" Frank asked. "I have to sit down." Frank pulled up a chair at one of the desks closest to the elevator and sat down.
"Corky, this still doesn't explain why my office is back?" Murphy questioned.
"And our mugs?" Frank asked.
"Shut up about the mugs, Frank!" Murphy wanted to keep the conversation on track.
"What mugs?" Jim questioned
"Don't you see? I own the network now! I can do whatever I want! We were all so happy here." Corky explained, as if it were gospel.
"Corky, you can't bring FYI back. It's over. It's in the past- we have to move on," Murphy demanded.
"I know that. But that doesn't mean you can't?" Corky continued.
"Corky… you don't mean..." Murphy was just getting it.
"It's all yours, Murphy. You too, Frank." Frank stood up. "And Jim? If you want it? I had the entire floor changed back to news." Frank walked over to the group, as Corky handed Murphy a key. "You can do whatever you want, Murphy. It's your offices' now." She turned toward Jim and Frank. "You too."
"Really?" Frank asked.
"Yes." Corky beamed.
Murphy smiled and Corky handed a very touched Frank his key.
"I don't know what to say, Corky," Murphy spoke.
"I think you just did."
"Now, Corky." Jim stepped in. "Before you give me my key. I just have to say. Don't bother. Doris' been bugging me to get to some chores about the house. I just think it's time I take it easy for a while." Murphy and Frank made their protests. "Please, don't push me on the issue." He put his hands up.
"Actually, Jim, I don't have a key for you…quite yet," Corky said plainly.
"Oh," Jim said, impressed by his actions.
"I have this." She handed Jim an envelope. He looked at Corky and opened it. "Victor had this small newspaper in Virginia he was trying to get rid of so... I bought it from him, for a profit of course. If you want it? Otherwise…"
"You're giving this to me, Corky?" Jim was touched.
"Yes. It's all yours. Do with it what you want? Make it your dream, Jim."
"Jim!" Murphy was so excited for him, as was Frank.
Jim looked at the papers with awe and with held back emotion looked up at Corky. "I will do you proud, Corky." Jim smiled. There was a moment between Jim and his friends.
"If you're waiting for a group hug, Corky - don't count on it!" Murphy broke the loveliness of the moment, as usual.
"Oh, come on." She put her hands out.
"What do I look like Mary Tyler Moore? No!" Murphy pushed away. "I thanked. Be happy with that. I don't hug."
"Well, I know you want to give me one and that's all that matters." Corky looked at her watch. "Oh! I have to get going. Victor and I are going to Martha's Vineyard for the weekend."
Jim spoke up, "Yes, I should go to. I must go and tell Doris! Oh, she'll be so happy!"
Jim and Corky went for the elevator. Murphy walked over to her secretary's desk and sat in its edge. She looked deep in thought. Frank watched her, as Jim and Corky got into the elevator.
"You coming, Slugger?" Jim asked, holding the elevator open with his hand.
"No, I think I'm going to stay here for a little bit." She only moved her head to speak to him.
"Frank?" Jim asked.
"No, you go ahead."
Jim nodded and the elevator closed.
"Murph?" Frank paused and began to approach her, not sure what to say." You want to get that hamburger now?"
"Ahh, you go. I'll catch up with you later." She didn't look at him.
"Murph?" Frank walked closer. He had that, all knowing, best friend look. "Come, on. You can talk to me." Murphy said nothing. "Now... I've been trying to reach out to you for a week now. You can confide in me." Murphy paused and collected her thoughts. "Come on, Murph? It's me, Frank." there was a pause again.
"I don't know, Frank. I just didn't think it would take this long." She paused, while Frank tried to make sense of what she was saying. "I guess I didn't think it would hurt this much."
Frank plopped himself down next to her. "Yeah. I know. But, it's ok, everyone needs a grieving process. Besides, it's only been a week."
"I know, Frank. But it feels different this time. It's not like the last times." She looked at Frank. "Why do I feel like this one's going to take longer to get over?"
"Because maybe it just... is."
"I just don't know why I keep doing this to myself, Frank! Why do I do this over and over again? I never learn from my mistakes. I never learn. I mean - am I doomed to repeat the same pattern over and over again."
"Maybe… " Murphy looked at him with an appalled glare." Or maybe it's this time that makes it different. Maybe it's this experience that shakes you up. What makes you change everything; maybe this is the experience that makes you learn. So, the next time it won't happen."
"You really think so, Frank?"
"It's got to be." He took her hand. "You can't think of this as a failure. Believe me; I did that for too long." Murphy looked at him. "Oh, I still do it. So, you can take it from me that I know it's hard now. But you have to see this as the beginning to a new life. Your chance to start over. Not the end of something, but the beginning. Maybe then you can really be in love."
"Start over, huh?" Murphy seemed to like the idea.
"When did you get so smart, Frank?" She set her head on his shoulder.
"Ahh, I don't know, I guess all that therapy had to go somewhere?" Murphy and Frank laughed. There was a long pause. Murphy started to stare up Frank's nose. "This is nice."
"Frank, you really should clip your nose hairs it looks like the pine valley up there." She lifted her head off his shoulder.
"And here I thought you were being nice, so I'd give you your present."
"A Present?" Murphy perked up. Frank smiled. "Why do I have a feeling you knew more about this meeting here then you let on to, Frank?" Murphy stood up.
"Maybe." Frank took a small thin cardboard box, with a bow, out of his pants pocket. "Let's just say I knew there would be something to celebrate."
Murphy opened the gift. "Oh, Frank. Number two pencils!" Murphy was touched
"Number two soft. I figured being inside for a week you must have chewed the hell out of all the ones at your own house. You'd need reinforcements."
"Oh, Frank. This is really great. I mean really great." She looked at the pencils.
"But there's more." Frank entered the small room off Murphy's office and then returned with a small bowl – a fish bowl, which he set next to Murphy on the secretary's desk.
"A fish?" Murphy spouted off the desk, as Frank set it down. Murphy beamed.
"I noticed you never had one in your office in New York. It made your office naked. I thought it'd be a good office warming present."
"Wow, Frank. This is sooo great. I mean you're the best friend a girl could ever ask for. Really. Trying to cheer me up like this." She smiled. "It's not working that well, but the try is really amusing me."
"Ahh, Murph." Frank put his arm around her. "It'll come." Murphy looked into the tank.
"Frank, there's no fish in this tank."
"Yeah, it's hard to find a pet shop open on Sundays." Frank scratched his head. "So, all I could get was the tank. But there's a little swimmer in there. I couldn't think of name for him though."
Murphy smiled. "Well, he just sort of sits there and does nothing. We could call him George Jr." Murphy smiled again and so did Frank.
"So, come on." He motioned with his arm. "Let's go to Phil's. I owe you a hamburger."
Murphy lit up. "You're right, Frank. I can't just sit around and sulk. And you were right, I was sulking. Well no more! This is the new Murphy Brown. And this is my new life. And I'm actually going to learn from my mistakes..."
"Right on, sister!" Frank joked and made a hand gesture for support.
"And I'm going to come out of this ok..."
"Better for the wiser..."
"You heard it..."
"It's the new me!"
"You will love again!"
"Don't be a clique, Frank!" Suddenly, Murphy's phone rang. "Is that me?"
Frank looked at his own phone. "Yeah, that's you."
"Jeez..." Murphy searched in her bag for her phone. She found it and stopped herself from opening it. "No, I'm busy. I'm out. Who says I want to talk to anyone. Whoever it is they can reach me later. I didn't want this thing. I never did. I always use to make fun of those people who used their phones on the freeway! And now, look. I'm one of them. ME! ME! Not anymore! I'm doing what I want to do! You hear me!" she yelled at the phone. "You hear me! It starts with portable phones and ends with little chips in your brain. I tell you, Frank! It's just one step closer to big brother. Here's to technology." And Murphy dumped her phone, splat, into the fish tank. Murphy was pretty proud of herself. "Come on, Frank. Let's get out of here." She cleaned off her hand, as a job well done and walked towards the elevator.
"Ha ha! She's back!" Frank shouted
LATER THAT NIGHT: Very Late…
After spending a good old time at Phil's Frank finally dropped Murphy off at home. She opened the door, and closed it - a loud echo permeated through the empty house. She set her purse on the chair next to the door. Murphy walked through the foyer and noticed a large package on the foyer table, with the mail. She set her finger on the postmark recognizing it immediately. She took the package under her arm and walked to the living room. With her free hand she hit the lights and then hit the CD player, starting her favorite song.
Murphy looked at the player longingly as Natural Women carried through the air. The piano cords played and Murphy was converted. She kicked off her shoes and circled the couch, setting the package on the coffee table and herself on the couch. She quickly sifted through the few pieces of mail she had and then tossed it to the side, anxious to open the big brown box.
Now, I'm not longer doubtful of what I'm living for…
She slid her fingers around the edges in excitement. Then with the sharp end of her house key slit open the box to reveal the contents. She pulled the sides of the box aside and dug her hands into the shipping material. When her hands, emerged from the box she had a nice, new looking, shining Emmy attached to it. She held the gold women in her hands, looking at her with pride. She moved the statue around, checking out the fix it job the academy had done. There wasn't a scratch on her.
"What do you know? Good as new."
And if I make you happy I don't need to do more.
Murphy lifted the golden woman up and looked at her from below.
She stood up and walked the woman over to the mantel and then set her down lightly. She stepped back and admired it. It sure looked good.
"Ding, Dong!" The doorbell rang.
"I'll be right back." Murphy put her arm out. "Stay." She smiled. "Good, Emmy," Murphy joked and went for the door. On her way she turned off the radio. "Jeez, Frank, what do you want now?" The doorbell rang again. "Yeah, Yeah. I'm coming." Murphy opened the door and her jaw dropped. Standing in her doorway was Jake Lowenstein. "Jake?"
"Murphy… I know I'm the last person you expected to see…"
"Well, that's the understatement of the year." Murphy was in shock. "What are you doing here?"
"I know it's late..." He changed the subject. "May I come in?"
"Oh? Yes, sure." Murphy stepped aside and Jake walked in. He looked a bit agitated. He glanced up towards the stairs.
"I hope I didn't wake Avery up?"
"Actually, Avery's spending time with his Grandfather." Murphy closed the door.
"You're surprised to see me…"
"Well, yeah. I thought you'd be in Argentina by now?"
"I was. I can explain all that..." He stopped. "Can we talk in here?" He pointed to the living room.
"Sure." Jake put his arm out and Murphy walked past him. Jake followed and the two stood next to the arm of the couch. "Why are you here Jake?"
"Murphy." He looked at her passionately. "Ever since I left New York. I can't stop thinking about what you said. On the plane, in the airport. I can't get you and Avery out of my head. You'll all I think about." He set his arms on her shoulders. "And it hit me. This is my son. Our son. I can't just walk away from that. And if the woman I'm with doesn't think that my son is a priority. Well, she's not the one for me. So I left. I got on a plane and here I am." Jake caught his breath.
"She kicked you out didn't she…"
"That's not the point, Murphy. We weren't meant to be together. We both realized that. You were right Murphy." He rubbed her shoulders. "Some people just will always love each other."
"Jake." She paused. "I think it's great that you want to be a part of our son's life. But you can't just come here and assume that I come with the package. That because you're back in Avery's life, your automatically back in mine. I don't need a man. If that's why you're here?"
"And who do you need Peter, Jerry..." Jake got defensive.
"I don't need Jerry, and I don't need Peter. I don't need any man, Jake… I'll be with a man because I want to, Jake. Not because he's the one who's left."
"Oh, come on, Murphy. We both know that we're meant to be together." He rubbed her shoulders. She looked into his eyes. "I love you, Murphy. And I think I always will. And I know deep down inside you know that too," he spoke softly.
Murphy looked into his eyes as Jake took his hand and slowly touched her cheek. He leaned in and kissed her deeply, sending Murphy onto the arm of the couch. Jake pulled away, leaving a bewildered look on Murphy's face. As if the kiss had given her a sudden realization. She leaned her hand on to the arm of the couch to balance herself. Jake smiled with the satisfaction of a job well done.
Murphy looked into his eyes with a new feeling. "Your eyes." She paused. "They're crinkling," she whispered.
Jake grinned. "I knew you'd know." He smiled and leaned in.
"Jake. I think I understand know." The doorbell rang. "I think I know what I need to do." Jake laughed a short laugh. "Jake…" The doorbell rang again. "Jake…" And again. "Jake...Let me just get this. And then we'll talk. Stay right here." Murphy took long strides for the door and opened it with a long arm. Again her mouth dropped.
"Jerry!" Murphy was agog as a very serious Jerry Gold, wearing a tux and looking sharp, stood in the doorway. Murphy beamed.
"Hi," he said sheepishly.
"Jerry, what are you doing here? I thought you were in LA?"
"I was." He stepped in the doorframe and gestured with his arm, revealing a golden Emmy attached to it.
"Jerry, you won!" Murphy spoke with a big deal of surprise and happiness in her voice.
"Yeah," Jerry was pretty surprised with himself, as he moseyed in. "Pretty cool, huh? Best talk show host."
"Jerry!" Murphy was so pleased, as Jerry set the Emmy on the foyer table and stared at it with amazement. The door shut behind him.
"Yeah, I was pretty shocked myself. So was the audience. I've never heard a more collective, "huh?" since Sherwood won the Humboldt." Jerry laughed and took in Murphy, changing his mood to a more serious tone.
"Why are you here, Jerry? Shouldn't you be out celebrating? Why did you come all this way…?"
"I guess I've been thinking..."
"Oh, about what?" Murphy tried to pretend she didn't know what he had been thinking about.
"I see." They looked into each other's eyes.
Murphy looked at the Emmy. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" Murphy looked at the Emmy and Jerry looked at her.
"Yes, it is." Jerry looked back at the Emmy and picked it up in his fist. "Where's yours, Brown?"
"In the living room."
"Come on. Let's put them side by side. See who's bigger…" Jerry went for the living room.
"Jerry, wait!" Murphy ran after Jerry. She caught up with him, as Jerry entered the living room and caught sight of Jake.
"Jake!" Jerry was not pleased.
"Jerry!" Jake looked at Murphy. "What's he doing here?"
"Oh, of course. Why am I not surprised? He's here. I should have guessed as soon as I'm gone the vampire Lestat just swoops on in!"
"Jerry, let me just explain what's going on here!" Murphy tried to speak.
"Oh, no. I get what's going on. It's what always happens. You're getting back together with Jake." He looked at Murphy. "Mazol Tov, Brown! I hope you don't mind if I don't stay and find out where you're registered." Jerry went for the door.
"Jerry, wait!" Murphy ran after him.
Jerry stopped at the entrance to the foyer, as Jake spoke, "Murphy, you don't have to run after him! You just said you didn't need him." Jake stood, still confident in his comment.
Jerry stopped in his own defense. "What! You told him you didn't need me?"
"I didn't say that!" She turned to Jake. "Do you mind!"
"Don't lie, Murphy..." Jake demanded and walked forward. "You just said it!"
Jerry looked at her.
"Yes, I said that, but…"
"I hope the two of you are happy together." Jerry went for the door. "You deserve each other!"
Murphy ran after him. "Jerry, wait." They entered the foyer. "Yes, I told Jake I didn't need you..." Jerry opened the door. "I may not need you, Jerry... But I want you, Jerry! I want you!" Jerry stopped and looked at Murphy. "I choose you, Jer." She paused as their eyes met. "I choose you." She smiled. Jerry was agog.
Jake entered the foyer. "What? Murphy? You actually want to get back together with this jerk…" Jake reached the couple and stood behind Murphy.
"Brown, what are you saying? Are you saying what I think you're saying-"
Jake interrupted Jerry, "-You can't tell me you're choosing this guy over me..."Murphy turned toward him.
"Shut up, Jake!" Murphy looked back at Jerry.
"Yeah, shut up, Jake…" Jerry was pretty happy with himself.
"No, I will not shut up! Not when I see you making the biggest mistake of your life!" Jake confronted Murphy.
"You're the mistake, pal!" Jerry chimed in.
"Hey, Hey!" Jake exploded
"Stop it you two!" Murphy made them stop, but Jake spoke again.
"Murphy, I don't understand! That kiss we just shared. I know that meant something. I felt it. You said so yourself. It made you realize something..."
"You're right, Jake, it did, but…"
"You kissed this guy!" Jerry took a step forward and motioned with his Emmy.
"Jake." She looked over at Jerry and then back at Jake. "Yes, that kiss showed me something. Jake. It showed me…" She was trying to put it lightly, as she averted his eyes for a moment. "I didn't want to do it like this..." She looked at Jake. "But when I kissed you this time… I didn't feel... anything." This was not what Jake was expecting. "I'm sorry, Jake. Yes, we will always love each other. That's a given. But that kiss showed me. Jake, I'm over you. Finally. I can't believe it myself. But I'm finally over you..."
"Yes!" Jerry jumped for joy.
"So just like that... I'm out of the picture. You'd deny your son his father."
"Jake! You always have a place in Avery's life. I told you that. I just don't come with the package. Now that's your choice. You can do what you want. It's your choice."
"So what happens when I'm not around? You're gonna let this guy be a father to Avery. You're gonna let this guy influence our son, Murphy. A man who thinks the Vietnam War, wasn't that bad after all!"
"No, Jake! Just because Jerry's in my life doesn't mean he becomes Avery's father. Avery's father will be the same man it's always been! If I can still get him back after all I did."
"And who the hell is that?" Jake demanded
"She means me!" Eldin emerged from the study with a paintbrush in his hand.
"Eldin? You're still here?" Murphy was astonished.
"You did mean me, didn't you?" Eldin leaned over and whispered. Murphy nodded. "Good." He regained his ground.
"Him?" Jack was more than shocked " This painter guy is gonna take care of our son?"
"He has been taking care of our son, Jake. For a very long time. And he's done a hell of a good job. Better than me sometimes. And he's the closest thing Avery ever had to a father. "
"So this is how it's going to be? Is it?" Jake was defiant in his way.
"Jake. I want you in Avery's life - but only if you want to be there. I won't force you. And I won't deny you access." She paused.
"I don't like this, Murphy. Don't think I like this."
"That's fine, Jake. But right now, since Avery's not here, I think you should leave. Avery will be back on Monday. We can talk then." Jake opened his mouth looking for something to say.
"You heard the lady." Eldin walked up to him with his paintbrush. "I think she's asking you to leave."
Jake looked at Eldin and then at Murphy and then walked for the door. "I'll be back," Jake retorted.
"I hope so, Jake. I really do." Part of her didn't believe him.
Jake walked past Jerry to the door.
"Here, let me help you." Jerry smirked and opened the door. "And let me just say..." Jake walked out the door, turned around, and looked at Jerry. "And I think I speak for everyone when I say..." And Jerry let go of the door letting it slam in Jake's face - Jerry was elated.
Murphy didn't say anything but she still gave Jerry a smirk.
Eldin took her hand. "That was a very brave thing you just did."
"Eldin! You came back." Murphy was agog.
"Well, you know - I still had something I needed to get done and…" He looked down and then up. "Did you really mean all those things you said?"
"Of course, Eldin. And I'm sorry I didn't realize it sooner. I'm sorry I..."
"No, you don't have to apologize."
"Does this mean you're back?" She smiled and smirked at the same time.
"Yes, I'm back." The two hugged and when they let go of the hug Eldin looked over Murphy's shoulder at Jerry.
"Well, I'll leave the two of you alone." Murphy nodded and Eldin walked towards the door. He nodded at Jerry as he left and the two acknowledged each other.
Jerry and Murphy were left alone feeling a bit awkward. Murphy looked at Jerry in awe.
"You came back?" Murphy finally broke the silence.
"Did you mean what you said, Murphy? Do you really want me?" Jerry took a step closer.
"You came back…" She beamed.
"You gave you story to Rachel? Why did you do that?"
"Is that why you're here, because I gave Rachel my story?"
"You gave up that story. To run after me. I didn't know that."
"I didn't think to bring it up."
"I couldn't stop thinking about it all week. That you would give up something so big for me. And then when I won this baby." He gestured with the Emmy. "It was so amazing! It was the highlight of my life! And all I could think of, when I was up there on that stage was...I couldn't share it with you. I couldn't get up there and thank you for being with me. With me. And the next thing I knew I was on a plane. So, I guess what I'm saying. Is if you'll still have me..."
"If you'll have me..." She beamed.
Jerry gasped and they kissed. A long hard kiss that sent the passion through them; now that was a kiss. They wrapped their arms around each other and parted breathlessly - their foreheads where only inches apart.
Our life together. Is so precious together. We have grown., We have grown. Although out love is still special. Let's take a chance and fly away. Somewhere. Alone.
No ones to balm how time flies so quickly.
But when I see you darling, It's like were both failing in love again. It'll be like just starting over. Starting over.
~ It's Like Starting Over ~ John Lennon
"Go get dressed," Jerry whispered.
"Jerry?" Murphy paused. "I know it's been a long time, but isn't this usual the part when you ask me to get undressed."
"No." Jerry pulled apart from Murphy. "Go upstairs and put something nice on. I want us to celebrate. I mean how many times do I ever wear a tux? Let's take advantage of this."
"Believe me, Jer, I love a man in a tux." She wrapped her arms around his neck. "And you look good by the way. I mean really, really good." They kissed again. "But I was hoping we could spend the night in tonight... Preferably without a dress code."
"Well, I'm not ruling that one out. You know me." Jerry lifted his eyebrows. "But I have a special place I want to take you to." Jerry let go of Murphy's hands.
"It's a surprise." He stepped away and motioned toward the stairs with his head. "Now go upstairs and put on someone nice. The limo is waiting." Jerry parted completely from Murphy and set his hand on the door. "I promise you won't be disappointed?" Murphy looked at him with an odd look on her face. Where could Jerry be taking her?
TIME 1:25 A.M PLACE: Water Street.
Jerry and Murphy walked into the very empty drug store. It was one of those chain stores and so the lights were big and the place was large. Murphy was dressed in an elegant black dress that wrapped around her body. It was the kind of dress that helped in those places she was lacking in and showed off what she did have. She held her clutch purse to her side and looked over the place in disappointed angry. The same went for Jerry. The two looked completely over dressed for a night at the Duane Reade.
"Jerry, if you made me get all dressed up to buy condoms - I'm going to have to strangle you with your own shoe laces?"
"Will you just get back in the car, Brown!"
"No, I will not get back in the car! We have been circling this block for an hour! What is going on?"
"It was here. I swear it was?" Jerry muttered to himself.
"What was here?"
"Just get back in the car, Brown?" Jerry took an employee as she walked past. "Hey. I'm looking for 455 Waters Street?"
"Yeah, his is it." And the employee walked away.
"Waters Street?" Murphy asked. "What are we doing on Waters Street!"
"This can't be happening!" Jerry buried his face in his hands, before looking back up. "This can't be it! Of course it is? This is me we're talking about!"
"Jerry, what's on Waters Street? Wait. I knew a place on Waters Street? What was it? Larossas?" Murphy smiled. "Larossa's was on Waters Street. Remember you…" Murphy paused. "Jerry, you're taking me to the place where we had our first date? Ahh, Jer."
"It was right here! It was. Right here!" Jerry was still in a state of denial.
Suddenly, Murphy got it. "Wait a moment; you're saying this was Larossas? Is it? It couldn't be?" Murphy took a step. "I mean that would mean…" She took another step and felt something. "On, my god. It is. There's that same slant in the floor." Murphy slid her foot over the slant." She started to laugh.
"It's not funny!" Jerry demeaned. Murphy kept laughing. "I don't believe it! I don't believe it. It was just here!"
"When was that, Jerry?" She kept in her laughter.
"I don't know, 1998."
Murphy laughed again. Jerry was not happy.
"Oh, come on, Gold. It was a good idea. Really, I'm touched. I'm sure we can still get the last seating at Sardellas. Come on."
"But I wanted to take you here! To Larossa's! I wanted to seat in the booth where I first kissed you. I wanted to..."
"Get over it, Gold! What's the big deal? It's not like you were going to propose to me or something?" Murphy laughed. Jerry's face shot up and Murphy saw the deer in headlights look in his eyes. Her face froze. "Right?" There was a brief moment of tension as they were both struck in fear.
"You're right, let's get out of this place." He took hold of Murphy's arm and went for the door.
Murphy stood still. "Because you wouldn't do a thing like that, would you? I mean it's against our nature to get married, right?"
They both laughed
"Yeah, of course. Come on, we'll just call it a night."
"You weren't were you? Jerry answer me?"
"Let's just forget it." Jerry, again, took her arm and went for the door, but Murphy wouldn't move. "You're right. It's a crazy notion."
They caught eyes.
Jerry paused, as he saw the seriousness in Murphy's eyes. "What? Do what? Come on, Brown."
"Do what you were going to do." She paused. "Propose to me," her voice was calm.
"Don't deny, Jerry…"
"Are you out of your mind?" He walked closer to her.
"You can do it here." Murphy ran down the large aisle about four steps. "This is about where the booth would be." She laid her hands out.
Jerry followed her, begrudgingly. "Murphy, I am not proposing to you here - in between the Rogan and the home pregnancy tests, although apropos to this relationship."
"Why not?" She made Jerry angry again. "What are you too scared to!"
"Fine! Fine! I'll do it. I'll do it! You want me to propose? Fine! You got it!" He ran through his pockets. "Where the hell is that ring?"
"Excuse me." A very frail woman tried to squeeze her way towards the shelve behind Murphy.
"Do you mind lady? I'm being proposed to here!"
"I need to get to the…"
"Now listen, lady, a woman only gets proposed to three times in her life! So, buzz off before I make you hair blacker then it is blue." The lady stormed off.
"I found it." Jerry opened the box and showed it to Murphy.
"I don't know - you've done this before?"
"What? You're done it more than me..."
"Just do it already!"
"And you wonder why I get distracted during foreplay." Murphy gave him a look. "OK, ok. I did prepare something." He paused. "Murphy." He paused. "I have loved you since the first moment I set eyes on you. I should say the moment you opened your mouth." Murphy smiled. "Long before I took you here. I have never been so happy then when I'm with you. It would be my joy. If you'd agree to be my wife." There was a pause, as a touched Murphy looked up from the ring and then up at Jerry. Jerry smiled back at her.
"No, I can't marry you, Jerry."
"You had me go through all that and you're saying no?"
"I got caught up in the moment, ok! I'm sorry!"
"You're sorry! You got caught up in the moment! I don't believe this!"
"Jerry. It's crazy for the two of us to get married. You and me. We're not built for marriage. Why can't things stay the way they are? What's wrong with that!"
"Because, I love you, Murphy, and I want to show the world!"
"I don't care what the world thinks!"
"Well, I do! I like the idea of referring to you as my wife. It shows the world I love you."
"So, what, marriage to you is just the equivalent of a big giant foam finger? It's just a piece of paper, Jer!"
"Yeah! And that little piece of paper gets you into the hospital if I get hurt or killed! Did you ever think of that!"
"Oh, great! A piece of paper that says I get to watch the death of my loved one first hand. Owww, yeah, sign me up for that!"
"You know you are unbelievable..."'
"I'm unbelievable! Look who's talking…"
"Why do we have to have this same argument? All I'm trying to do…"
"I know why, because you always need to feel better than me, its needle, needle, needle…"
"Oh, no don't go and pin this one on me..." Jerry looked down at the ring box. "Where's the ring?" Jerry stopped fighting with Murphy.
"What?" This was strange to Murphy.
"The ring. It's gone." Jerry looked around. "The ring is gone!" Jerry got down on the ground.
"Don't worry about it, Gold! I'm not wearing it!"
"I don't care if you wear it or not, Brown! But that thing cost me a fortune. And I'm getting it back to that high priced jeweler in Beverly Hills!" He stood up. "Well help me find it, Goddamnit! It's your fault I lost it!"
"Great! Another evening ending on my knees!"
Murphy didn't want to, but she did sort of feel responsible. Murphy and Jerry felt around for the ring with no avail. Of course Murphy didn't look too long. She found a small area under some high shelves and sat herself down in a huff. She looked out onto the misery she felt her life always turned into.
After a short while, Jerry crawled up and sat himself down next to her. "Well, I can't find it!" He let out a big sigh. "I hope you're happy!"
"Aren't we something, Gold? Not together more than an hour and were over again."
"Over? Brown? Why does everything have to be so black and white with you?"
Murphy looked at Jerry. "But you asked me to marry you and I said no."
"So?" Jerry smirked. Murphy smiled and looked at him.
"You're amazing. Just amazing." She was shocked.
"Yeah. I'm like "the pyramids" that way," he smirked. Murphy smirked back. Jerry sighed and set his hand on one of his knees.
"So… what did this ring look like?" Murphy was a little curious.
"You didn't even look at?"
"I forget! It was a hazy situation!"
"It was large."
"Large? Can you be more specific? Like big compared to what? You?"
"Ha. Very funny." He paused. "It was old looking. And the band had a gold and brown color." He looked away from her." I thought it was appropriate."
"Oh," Murphy mouthed silently. There was an awkward pause. "And you're not mad at the fact that I refused you, lost the ring…."
But before Murphy could finish Jerry had leaned in, grabbed the back of her head and kissed her. And when he leaned in to kiss her, he really leaned in, because he didn't move from his spot on the floor. His only movement was the leaning of his head, neck and part of his body towards her. It was a sweet and semi-long. He lifted away in a soft sensual way, his hand still on her cheek and head.
"Hey, I was talking here!" Murphy didn't miss a beat.
"I just had the impulse to grab that kiss from across the table..."
"Sounds good to me." Murphy smiled, as if she finally understood where Jerry was coming from, and kissed him back.
Our life together. Is so precious together. We have grown., We have grown. Although out love is still special. Let's take a chance and fly away. Somewhere. Alone.
No ones to balm how time flies so quickly.
But when I see you darling, It's like were both failing in love again, It'll be like just starting over. Starting over.
Every day we use to making love. Why can't we be making love nice and easy.
It's time to spread out wings and fly. Don't let a day go by. My love. It will be like starting over.
Why don't we take us alone. Take a trip far far away. Were be together all alone again. Like we use to in the early days.
But when I see you darling. It's like were both are falling in love again. It will be just like starting over…"
It's Like Starting Over ~ John Lennon
ALMOST EIGHT MONTHS LATER
The Brownstone was empty of people, but busy with excitement for the impending day. White bunting ensconced with pink and peach flowers lined the home. A chuppah, a traditional Jewish wedding canopy, stood in the living room in front of the fireplace, and all the furniture had been replaced with folding chairs. It looked as if the room was set for a little action, but if one would follow the white bunting up the stairs and down the hall to Murphy's room, they would see where the real action was going on.
Murphy looked at herself in the mirror. She set her hands up to her neck to adjust her off-white pearls, which went perfectly with her off-white, tailored dress and jacket. She looked at herself from the front and then the side. Unsure whether to leave the jacket unbuttoned and show off the line of the silk blouse, or leave it closed snitching her waist together. The truth was who knew.
Suddenly, Murphy felt Jerry's warm hands around her waist and his distant smell linger around her neck, as he rested his head in her shoulder blade and the arch of her neck. It felt good, but shocked Murphy, with the surprise of his presence, and she jumped.
"What are you doing here?" Murphy looked towards the bathroom and then at Jerry. "You know no one's supposed to see the bride before the wedding!"
"Oh, come on, Brown! Since when do you believe in stupid superstitions like that?"
"I don't!" She motioned toward the bathroom. "But if Attila The Wedding Hun gets a load of you, look out. I won't get the end of it. This is more of a selfish thing really on my part." She smiled.
"So, this would be different from usual?" Jerry said sarcastically.
Murphy gave him a look in the mirror that reflected back to Jerry. Jerry kissed her neck. Murphy rubbed his hand with hers. There was a flush sound from the bathroom.
"See, you better go." She motioned him out with her hands.
"Ok, Ok." Jerry fixed the lapel on his tux, as Murphy ushered him towards the door. "Believe me this has nothing to do with sentimentality, and everything to do with the fact that I'm out of Advil." Jerry stopped at the door. "It's for the greater good of both of us." Murphy looked towards the bathroom.
"So, I'll see you out there." Jerry opened the door and turned to Murphy, as she checked the bathroom door again. "I'll be the one up front in the tux."
"Ha." Murphy didn't smile.
"Ok, just checking."
"Ah, huh." Murphy didn't care.
"In case there's something. You wanted to tell me."
"No, Jerry. Now go."
He went for the door and stopped. "Oh, I forgot. I'm supposed to give you the message your "present" is here?"
Murphy smiled. "Good."
"Murphy!" Rachel's voice screamed from the bathroom.
"Go!" Murphy pushed him out and slammed the door.
"Murphy, I borrowed your hair pin." Rachel emerged from the bathroom dressed in a strapless Vera Wang wedding dress creation; a sixties style dress with a bell shirt and beaded bodices. She put her hand to her head and placed the bobbie pin, from her mouth, into the back. She leaned down to check herself in the mirror. Her hair was pulled back half way, causing her now slick hair to form a bob and flip hairdo. She looked like Jackie Kennedy without the pillbox hat. She licked her teeth and pouted her glossy lips. "I tell you, Murphy. Picking a crinoline dress was the biggest mistake I ever made. I just spend the last five minutes sitting down and actually sufficing in my own my petty coats. I had to go retro - I don't know how you ever dealt with it?"
"That's what pot was for. Besides, do you really think I ever could produce that much of a fire with just this bra?"
Rachel pushed down her dress and stuffed her bosom into the top. "Murphy, can you tell me if I missed any buttons in this thing?" Rachel turned around.
Murphy sat down at her bureau and crossed her legs toward Rachel. "Do I have to do everything? I thought Corky was supposed to help you with all that "girl" stuff. I just promised to be here and watch. You know supervise. Make sure you don't break anything."
'Murphy! I've thanked you for letting us use your Brownstone so many times I'm going to have to start building an alter at your door, so will you knock it off. Jezz!" Rachel turned her head quickly and looked at Murphy on her final comment. "And since Corky's downstairs. I don't think I have any other choice." She presented her back to Murphy. Begrudgingly, Murphy unbuttoned Rachel buttons and re-fasten them as they talked. "Were you downstairs at all? Is everyone there?" Rachel asked.
"Did he come?"
"No. I didn't see him."
"And why are you doing this again?"
"Because I love him," Rachel said definitely, with her hands on her hips.
"You're not pregnant are you?"
"Because you know you don't have to that anymore. If you don't want to.…"
"Yes, Murphy, I'm aware. I think they sent a memo! Oww." Rachel turned around.
"Sorry, did I get your skin." Murphy smiled. Rachel frowned and looked ahead again. "My god. How many buttons are on this thing! They're so tiny it's like I'm reading brail!"
"Should I get help?"
"No, I have it." Murphy finished the last of the buttons. Rachel walked up to a full-length mirror and checked out her back. "I just want to make sure you're not rushing into anything. That the both of you are going into this for the right reasons."
"We are, Murphy?" She looked at Murphy funny.
"Is there something you know you're not telling me, Murphy? I though you of all people would be happy for me."
"I am, Rachel. I am. Don't get me wrong. Anything that gets you out of my face is fine by me." She paused. "It's just that we've gotten to know each other...very well in the last year and ... I just want to make sure you're doing this for the right reasons."
"I am, Murphy." She paused, touched. "And thank you." Murphy smiled. Suddenly, the door opened and Corky, about four months pregnant, walked into the room dressed in yellow. "I'm sorry, Rachel, I couldn't find your garter anyway!
"Oh, Jezz!" Rachel spoke. "Now what do I do!"
Murphy almost rolled her eyes half way. "What is with you two with theses wedding superstitions, anyway? It's just a wedding."
"Murphy. They're not superstitions. They're traditions," Corky was defensive.
"And they're important Murphy," Rachel chimed in.
"But Murphy's right. I'm sure you'll be fine without it..."
"But I don't have anything blue. And blue happens to be my signature color!"
"I'll just check one more time downstairs and then I'll come back and we can get you prepped..."
"Corky, you don't have to do that. You should sit. I'm fine," Rachel insisted.
"No, I want to help." Corky went for the door. "And since I seem to be the only one who's willing..." She looked at Murphy.
"Really, Corky," Murphy chimed in. "You shouldn't be running up and down those stairs."
"Ahh, Murphy. It so nice you care about me. Will you really stay here and help Rachel? "
"Yes…" Murphy was not happy. "I'll stay here."
"Thank you, Murphy." She hugged her, but Murphy didn't hug back. "And besides you really should be the one doing this. After all technically you are the mother of the bride."
"Just go, Corky!" Corky let go of the hug. "And I'm only doing this so you don't go throwing up on my staircase and that's all..."
"Oh, morning sickness? It's funny, I never really had that." Corky smiled and left an annoyed Murphy.
Rachel smiled. "So, Cher, why don't you go get Sonny and we'll get this thing on the road." Rachel put her hand to her neck. "Oh no, did my aunt send my grandmothers necklace from Chicago?"
"Oh! She sent this telegram this morning." She handed Rachel a yellow envelope.
"I swear the woman still thinks it 1940 and she's Lana Turner." Rachel opened the letter and read it out loud. "Sorry, Dear, forgot to mail it. But best wishes on your… Bar Mitzvah?" She crumpled up
the telegram and tossed it. "What? Great! First, I lose my something blue when I threw my garter at that stripper last night. And now I don't have my something borrowed!" She plopped down on the bed. "This wedding is ruined!"
Murphy walked over to her dresser and opened and closed a drawer.
"Come over here." She motioned with her head.
"No!" Rachel whined into her hands.
"Get your boney young BUTT over here!"
"I have a hundred reporters down stairs I happen to know intimately. So, if you don't want your face alongside the headline Michael Jackson's love child all over the papers tomorrow. I'd get over here."
"Ok, Ok." Suspiciously, Rachel lifted up her petty coats and made her way over to Murphy. "What?" She looked at Murphy and expressed her words with lethargic hand gestures.
"God, you're worse than him!"
"You know that was so low!"
"Just be quiet!" Murphy lifted up a large jewelry box and opened it, leaving Rachel speechless. It was Murphy's mother's pearl necklace. "This was my mothers and I'd like you to wear it."
"Murphy…" Rachel was touched.
"It's just a loaner you know."
Murphy took the necklace out of the box and laid it around Rachel's neck.
"I always thought I'd give this to my own daughter." She attached the latch and Rachel looked at Murphy. "But I guess this is the next best thing."
"Thank you, Murphy." Rachel was filled with emotion.
"You're welcome," she said softly.
"So, I guess I have everything. Except for something blue."
"Leave that to me." Murphy smiled and walked towards the door. There was a short knock at the door followed by the sound of the song "shave and a haircut", in knocking form, at the door. Rachel was confused. "And perfect timing!"
"What is it, Murphy?"
"Let's just say you need something blue. I got you something blue." Murphy with great enthusiasm opened the door to reveal none other than Gladys Knight.
"Oh, my god! Gladys Knight!"
"So, I hear someone's getting married." Gladys said with great joy. Murphy beamed.
"Murphy, you got Gladys Knight to sing at my wedding! I love you!"
"I'm singing? You didn't say anything about singing," Gladys said with attitude.
"I didn't mention that. I'm sorry."
"You said you just wanted me to congratulate the woman?"
"Congratulate, sing her down the aisle, same thing."
"I thought you wanted to do a special on me?"
"And I do. But you wouldn't want to disappoint the girl after you got her so excited about you, a legend, singing at her wedding."
"I still get the free food right?"
"Define free…" Murphy walked towards the door.
"Ok. But we're still talking about that special to promote my next album." Gladys still tried to get something out of Murphy.
Jerry turned up behind the women. "We're starting." Jerry looked nervous.
"Come on, we'll talk about it downstairs." Murphy escorted Gladys out the door. "I was thinking. Could you bring The Pips on the show with you?"
"Murphy, I haven't worked with them for over twenty years."
"Yeah, I know. But who's to say you don't need them…" They trailed off.
"Wow." Jerry beamed.
"Thank you." Rachel smiled.
"As ready as I'll ever be." Jerry took her hand and led her to the door and the top of the stairs.
"You sure you want to do this?"
"Yes. I told you. I do. I know you don't like him, but I do."
"Ok. I'm shutting up" There was a pause.
"But thank you, Dad." And Rachel leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.
"You just called me…"
"I know." The music started. "It's time..." She motioned for Jerry to start walking.
And Jerry walked his daughter down the aisle. Gladys Knight sang one of her soulful love songs and down the stairs they went - past the foyer, through the threshold of the living room, and down the aisle of seats, passed all the guests. Corky, Frank and Kay where all sitting on the brides side and in the third to last row was Murphy looking on as well. Even Eldin had showed up sitting next to Doris and Jim.
"I always get emotional at weddings." Jim sighed, as he cried tears for what seemed like no reason.
Rachel and Jerry reached the chuppah and the smiling groom smiled back at them. Dapper and dressed in a black tux, Joe Greenberg, Rachel's fiancé stood there beaming. Jerry led his daughter in front of both Rabbi's and sat himself down in the front row.
Jerry turned around and whispered to Murphy. "Why are you sitting up there?"
"That's for family. I'm not family." She leaned back.
Jerry gave her a look. "Brown. Sit up here with me."
"No," she whispered.
"Brown," he greeted through his teeth.
"They're starting." Murphy leaned back and Jerry turned around. Rachel gave them both a look and Jerry and Murphy both have Rachel a, "I wasn't doing nothing" look. Rachel turned around and the ceremony started.
It was then that Murphy heard the sound of her front door open and close. She turned to see Miles standing in the foyer. He didn't look in the best shape. He was dressed respectable, but he wore a two-day-old growth of bead on him.
"Oh, no." Murphy was shushed. "Oh, hush and shush your own self."
Murphy got up and proceeded to walk down the entire rest of the aisle to get herself out. Again, Rachel turned and looked at Murphy. Murphy mouthed, "I'll be right back," and then ran towards the foyer. She grabbed Miles by the arm and pulled him off into the side of the foyer - out of sight of the guests.
"Where have you been? She's been asking for you, Miles. Why are you here? And why do you look like one of those hobo clown figurines!"
"I'm here to see the wedding, I was invited!" Miles looked a little upset, as he moved his head to see the ceremony.
Murphy took his arm and pulled him back away from the door. "And you just happen to just show up during the ceremony."
"I'm sorry. It just took me a little longer to get here then I thought."
"Good. You shaved - somewhat? You were starting to look like Paul Bunyan there. Well at least you're here. Why are you here, again."
"Rachel invited me. I should be here."
"And you just happen to show up as the ceremony is underway?"
"I had car trouble."
"In a BWM? And, ha! You said you were caught in traffic."
"Yeah, first my car didn't start and then - why do I need to explain this to you. What are you getting at, Murphy?"
"I don't know, Benjamin. You tell me?"
"Hey, what do you think I'm here to stop the wedding?"
"Well, as a matter-a- fact, yes!"
"Give me a little credit, Murphy. It's like you said last night, Rachel didn't choose me. I respect that."
"Good. I'm glad. And it will ready mean a lot to Rachel that you're here..."
The sound of Mazal Tov and the breaking of the glass were heard.
Miles turned his head towards the room. "Well, they're already married now. So…" Miles looked down.
"Yeah." Murphy knew he was in pain, but really didn't know what to do. "Well, come on. Let's mingle. You can be my date." She put her arm out and smirked. Miles laughed. "What's so funny?" The light sounds of a wedding band filled the room.
"Nothing." Miles shook his head like a child and looked over at Murphy.
"I was just thinking how if this really was The Graduate. And I was Dustin Hoffman that would make you, Mrs. Robinson." Miles all of a sudden realized what he said.
Murphy and Miles both literally shook off their disgust.
"You know, I'll just meet you in there." Murphy exited the foyer and Miles wouldn't look at her, as he spoke in time with her remark
"Good idea." Miles looked off in disgust.
The music of Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra rang through the room by the swing band playing in Murphy's small backyard. Doris and Jim stood in the corner trying to figure out what the hell was in the food being passed about on trays. Murphy roamed the room searching for someone, which the way Murphy did it made it completely obvious what she was doing. Her eyes locked and her body and head curving around every corner.
"Hey, Frank." She hit him on the arm. "Have you seen, Miles?" Frank turned his body to reveal a little baby in his arms.
"Watch it, Murph."
"Oh, sorry, Frank. I didn't know..." Murphy leaned in. "Well, hello there, little sweetheart."
"Murphy, this is Anthony. Sarafina's upstairs."
"Oh." Murphy seemed embarrassed. "I'm telling you, Frank. You need to tag those kids. They both look the same to me.
"Say hi to, Aunty Murphy, Little Anthony." Murphy looked around the room again, as Frank waved his young son's arm towards Murphy. "Come on, Murph? Say hi to, little Anthony."
Murphy looked at Frank. "I'm sorry, Frank. But I will not refer to your son as Little Anthony. And where the hell is Jerry? I'd be just like him to…oh no…" Murphy turned her head and put her arm up to her the side of her forehead to hide. "It's Rachel's new in-laws." Frank looked. "Don't look. Don't look."
"Murphy!" A man came closer to Murphy, followed by a woman. "Here she is Miriam." He waved the woman in a blue silk dress over.
"We have been looking everywhere for you and that husband of your."
"He's not my husband." Murphy said stoned fast and angry, as if this was not the first time the couple had made that mistake.
"Well, well," Miriam winked.
Murphy was about to pouch when Rachel jumped in. "Murphy! Miriam, Richard. You've found Murphy." Rachel took Murphy's hand. "Remember, you promised," she whispered.
"No, I didn't." Rachel took Murphy's hand and squished it with her forefinger of her other hand "OWW, your nails."
"Richard. Why don't I refresh your drink?" Rachel asked.
"Oh, no, Honey. You're the bride. You don't have to do that stuff 'till after the wedding." He laughed.
Rachel laughed uncomfortable.
"You know, Murphy. I've been wanting to talk to you," Miriam remarked. "I tried to find you last night. I thought I saw you go into the bathroom, but then I never saw you come out."
"Funny." Frank looked at Murphy who loved to see her squirm.
Miriam continued speaking, "You see my daughter is trying to get pregnant without her husband knowing. I was hoping you could tell me what kind of contraceptives you used, so I can be sure to recommend it."
Murphy took a quick look at Rachel. "Oh, god," Rachel muttered.
"I'm sure it's old, but you can find anything these days on E-bay. Right, Miriam," Richard remarked as Murphy fumed.
Rachel was anxious as to what would happen.
Eldin came upon the group, holding a cracker. "This thing tastes like plywood on toast." He picked the back of his mouth with his finger. "Hello, happy bridal family. And what wonderful wedding banter are we discussing?" he said gleefully.
"Murphy…" Rachel took her hand. "If you'll excuse me, I need to talk to Murphy about something in private."
Rachel took Murphy off to a quiet corner. "Murphy, I'm so sorry. You'll only have to bare this for a few more hours."
"Yes, where you have to deal with them for the rest of your life! How can you stand them?"
"I don't, Murphy. I just don't get how those two produced Joe."
"With his family and yours I'd think hard before I jumped into that gene pool. Speaking of your reason to adopt? Where is that father of yours? He promised to help me avoid those two, or at least throw pieces of the buffet at them."
"Last I saw I had to stop him from stabbing James Carvile with the ice sculpture."
"Well, tell him to find me. I wanna dance."
"Just don't try to sing again, Murphy. You already threw off the band once." Rachel walked away and Murphy made a face.
"Wait, Rachel. You haven't seen…"
"Never mind. Never mind."
And Rachel walked away. Murphy made her way out of the foyer and back to the room. She found Frank again handing the baby off to Eldin.
"What are you looking for, Murph?" Frank asked.
"Miles? Have you seen him?"
"Miles is here?" Frank looked around.
"Yeah, he came in during the ceremony."
"I didn't see him." Murphy took a cracker off a plate that went by. "This house isn't that big. Where did he go? And I still can't find Jerry. How can I lose two short Jewish men in a house this size, it's like losing Shaquille O'Neal in China" Murphy took a bite of the cracker. "Jeez!
"Plywood" Eldin spoke to continue Murphy's sentence.
"Hey!" Murphy yelled to her left. "Yeah, I'm talking to you!"
Outside Murphy's Brownstone, Miles Sliverberg sat. He sat on the stoop like he had been sitting there for hours and he had been. He hung his body on his knees, as if he was deep in thought. Suddenly, the door opened and a young man, followed by a few others in catering uniforms, ran out. They look scared and crazed, as Murphy's voice was heard behind them.
"Yeah, Yeah! Run away!" Murphy stopped at her front door. "We don't need you. And I'd better get my deposit back! And don't run on the grass!" Murphy looked down.
"Miles? There you are. I thought maybe you left." Murphy took a step closer. "Getting some air?" She looked out into the night. Miles said nothing. Murphy sat down next to her. "Did you talk to her?"
"No, not yet."
"Miles! She's about the throw the bouquet. You better get a move on," she droned.
"Murphy. I don't think I can."
"What? What was all that talk about respecting her decision. Miles, it's been a year, you need to get over this."
"You know it's not that easier as it sounds. And I have accepted this. I'm just… I'm just…"
"Scared? You're scared that's all. Well I see." Murphy stood up. "I never through I'd say this, Miles. But for this first time I'm actually ashamed of you. Stay out here. Don't be a man. See if I care. Don't forget to tip the valet when you leave."
Miles wouldn't look at Murphy. She gave him a final stern look and walked back into the foyer. It was pretty empty. But then Murphy saw them, the in-laws, coming toward her.
"Oh, Jeez!" Murphy looked around for somewhere to hide. Then, all of sudden, she felt a tug on her back and she found herself in the closet. A light was turned on and Murphy was looking directly at one of the men she had been looking for.
Outside the hall closet, Rachel walked into the foyer seeing Frank coming down the stairs.
"Frank, have you seen Murphy and my father, we're about to leave."
"No. I've been looking for my coat. I have to get the kids to bed. Maybe I didn't have a jacket? Did you remember me having one?"
"No, Frank, I don't remember. I was busy getting married. I have to find my father." She walked away.
Corky entered the foyer from the stairs and Frank faced her.
"Corky, I didn't see my jacket up there? Have you seen it?"
"Jeez, Frank. Why do men think women have a homing device in our uterus? Did you look in the closet?"
"Oh, yeah," Frank smiled. Corky huffed off, Frank, very happy with himself, reached for the closet doorknob when he heard a voice.
"Mr. Fontana?" It was Joe's Mother.
Frank tried to hide, but was caught. "Oh, hi, Mrs. Greenberg, is it?" his voice went up an octave. Well I'd love to chat. But I really need to go. The kids, you know…" His excuses weren't coming out too well.
"Oh, I'm not looking for your, Mr. Fontana." Frank looked deflated and opened the closet door. "I was looking for Murphy have you seen her?"
"Seen Murphy?" Frank quickly closed the closet door and faced Mrs. Greenberg, with a fake smile on her face. "No. Of course not. Why would I see, Murphy." He paused. No. I haven't"
"Oh?" She looked at him funny. If you see her…tell her I'm looking for her."
"Sure will." Frank fake smiled and Miriam looked at him strangely.
"Mr. Fontana your coat tail is stuck in the closet door." And she walked away.
Frank looked embarrassed and Murphy opened the door.
"Nice work, Frank. Why didn't you just wear a sign that read she's in the closet!" She hit his arm.
"Hey! I think I did pretty good considering … your hiding in a closet, Murph!" Murphy gave him a look." What were you doing in there?"
Jerry walked out of the closet. "Hey, Fontana." Frank watched Jerry's walk out of the foyer with an appalled look. He then looked back at Murphy.
"Nothing. Just hiding, Frank, why?"
"Oh, Murph!" Frank was disgusted. "I don't believe it! You had sex in the closet! My coat's in there!"
"Jeez, Frank, where do you get there's ideas? Can't two people hide in a closet without you assuming they had sex!"
"No, Murph, my jacket's in there!"
"How do you know that? Frank, I heard you say just say you didn't know where your jacket was."
"That's true it might not be in there…"
"Actually it is, Frank…"
"Ahh." Frank held his head. "I have to get out of here." He went for the door. Frank stopped at the threshold. "And thanks a lot for ruining another perfectly good bomber jacket."
"I wouldn't call a jacket you bought at Kmart a bomber jacket, Frank!" Frank looked at Murphy to speak, but looking at her only gave him the shakes. "UGG." He shook his body and left. Murphy headed for the doorway and called after him. "I DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH JERRY IN A CLOSET!" A waiter, coming from the catering truck, entered through the door way and looked at Murphy. "What are you looking at!" He recoiled and walked off in a fast dash for the living room.
Murphy disappeared and Miles entered the open door looking around.
"Miles?" Rachel was caught off guard, as she entered the foyer and found herself smack in the path of her ex-boyfriend Miles Sliverberg. The impish man, who with a sudden surge of confidence entered the brownstone, had not at all expected for Rachel to be the first sight he saw.
"Rachel?" He said with a question, although it really wasn't.
"You came. I didn't think you would."
"You invited me. I'm here." He smiled.
"I didn't think you'd come. You didn't have to. I mean…"
"No, I wanted to." He walked forward. "I…" He put out his hand. "I wanted to congratulate the bride in person." He took Rachel's hand and shook it, but it was more like a touch then a hand shake. He held her hand and looked at it. Rachel did the same and looked Miles straight in the eye. As she did Murphy walked into the foyer and saw sight of the couple unnoticed. "Have a happy life, Rachel." He said with all the sincerity in the world.
"Thank you, Miles. Thank you." It seemed like an entirety as they parted hands - each seemingly not wanting to let go. Suddenly, the door opened and Jerry walked in. The two broke away. Miles coughed.
Jerry saw the tension of sorts. "Rachel, Joe is waiting outside for you."
"Oh." She looked at Miles. "I have to go."
"Sure." Miles turned around and watched, as Rachel walked out the door.
"Good–bye, Rachel." Miles spoke, as if he hadn't had the impetus to say it before.
Rachel smiled. "Goodbye, Miles." She smiled and walked out, as Murphy entered the foyer.
"Brown, I'm just going to say good-bye to Rachel and Joe." Jerry exited as well. Murphy nodded. "Sliverberg." Jerry acknowledged Miles, gave Murphy a kind look, and shut the front door behind him. It did not go acknowledged that for the first time in their relationship Jerry hadn't left Miles with an insult.
"Miles, Miles." Murphy walked up to him with a sense of pride. She put her arm around him. "Have I mentioned how proud I am of you?"
"Oh, well…" Suddenly, the door opened and Jerry came back in and walked to the closet. "Brown, I have to drive them to the airport." He took his coat out of the closet. "I guess I'll see you, in what, a year and a half." He put his coat on.
"Why do you need to take them to the airport? I thought they had a car."
"Some jerk slashed their limos tires, can you believe that?" Jerry spoke, as he reached for the doorknob and left. "I'll be back." The door shut behind him.
Miles looked towards where Jerry had exited, as Murphy grinned, looked over at Miles. Miles shook his head and then looked at Murphy. "Who would have done a thing like that?" Miles wondered.
"Miles, have I mentioned how proud I am of you?"
Miles put his arm around Murphy. "Well, I do learn from the best."
"Excuse me, Murphy," a British accent was sent sailing across the room. "I'm afraid I must be going."
"Audrey?" Miles was taken aback and turned into the child like boy he once was. There, standing in the foyer, was Miles old flame, Audrey Cohn – the one that got away.
"Oh, hello, Miles. I didn't think I'd see you here."
"Audrey, what are you doing here?" Miles was struck.
"I'm in town for a couple of weeks and I happened to run into Murphy and Rachel and they invited me. I hope it's alright?"
"Oh, of course. Yes." Murphy smiled and looked at Miles and then back at Audrey.
"How have you been, Miles?"
"Good and you?"
"Very well." She paused.
"Audrey, so you really have to go, the party has just started." Murphy smiled. "Hasn't it, Miles?"
"Well, I really would love to stay, but I've left my daughter with the sitter…"
"You have a daughter?" Miles was shocked.
"Yes, Gina, she's three."
"I see. So, you must be traveling with your husband then?" Miles seemed deflated.
"No." She paused. "He's back in England." She paused again "Ever since we divorced. I don't travel with him anymore."
"Oh." Miles perked up.
"And I'm not really traveling. I was actually thinking of moving back to The States. I was thinking about New York…" Audrey took a step closer to Miles and looked into his eyes. "If only I had someone who knew about New York to show me around…"
"I live in New York now. I could show you around, Audrey." He paused. "If you like?"
"Yes, I would Miles." She moved closer. Murphy looked over at Miles who glazed lustfully at Audrey. Murphy smiled at a job well done.
Audrey looked off coyly. "I guess I better call myself a cab. Although, I hate cabs. There always so dark and strange, you just never know who's picking you up." She looked away from Miles, knowing what she was doing. "But that's okay – I'm sure someone else can raise my child, if something were to happen to me."
"Audrey." Miles stepped up. "Would you like me to drive you to the hotel?"
"Oh, yes, Miles. Would you?"
"Only if you want me do?"
"Well, only if you want me too."
"Just drive her home already!" Murphy went for the door and opened it for them.
Miles took Audrey's coat off her arm and held it out for her. She slipped herself in and Miles walked Audrey out of Murphy's Townhouse.
Murphy seemed very pleased with herself. She smirked and raised her eyebrows.
Finally, Murphy had driven the crowd away and the caterers had vanished with their belongings. A few remains of the party were left, but not much at all to suggest that a wedding had taken place there only hours before. A few chairs still sat in the corners of the rooms, not to mention a few streamers along the banister. Murphy had even moved her beloved sofa back into the middle of the room, even if it was a little off-center. That was all she could get Eldin and Jim to do before they left. And Frank before the valet found his car.
Murphy had thrown herself into a hot bath and then straight into her favorite green silk pajamas. Feet bare, she nestled, as much as Murphy could nestle herself, into the curves of the back of the sofa, with her glasses and the copy of Time magazine.
"Hi, kids!" She heard Jerry's voice enter the house, he looked surprised to find Murphy alone.
"You're back? What took you so long?" Murphy questioned and turned her head towards him.
"What took me so long? I was at the airport. That's like asking Congressmen what he got done at work today?" Jerry stopped and saw the state of the room. "What? Did the teamsters go on their lunch break?"
"I got tired. So, I gave up." Jerry looked at her. "Ok, Jim and Frank got tired. But the point is, it'll be moving it back in the morning." She sat and looked at Jerry. "So what was the problem this time?" She took off her reading glasses.
"Oh, nothing," Jerry said in his sarcastic way." It just took us an hour and half to get through security. And is it just me or is asking for your autograph and then asking for an ID redundant? I wouldn't have minded so much if he has asked me after he frisked me." Murphy grinned and Jerry leaned in to kiss her, before sitting down, exhausted, next to Murphy on the couch. "You changed already?"
"Jerry, you were gone so long you should be happy I didn't change the locks."
"Well.." Jerry laid back in his exhaustion and undid the bow tie around his neck. Jerry looked over at Murphy. "What ya reading, Brown?"
"Oh, nothing really, just an article in Time." Murphy yawned.
"Obviously, it's not that interesting."
"I could do better…"
"What time is it, Brown?"
Murphy looked at her watch. "Ten."
"Well..." He leaned in and kissed her. "I'll leave you to your magazine." Jerry stood up.
"Where are you going?" Murphy looked at him in confusion, following his departure with her head.
"It's late, Brown. I was going to my place."
"Oh…" Murphy feigned not caring.
"I just thought you'd be staying over here tonight. That's all," Murphy spoke quickly.
"I would, but I have to get up early for my flight. I didn't want to wake you."
"I don't mind."
Jerry looked at Murphy strangely. "You don't mind! One night, I woke you up by shifting in my sleep and you made me sleep on floor!
"I did not! You fell out of bed."
"You kicked me out!"
"Wait a second, Brown..." Jerry got a sudden idea. "Are you trying to say you miss me?" He walked closer to her.
"If missing you means the same thing as needing someone to rub my feet tonight, then yes." Murphy put her feet on the couch. "Just remember my left toe is little sensitive." Murphy smiled up at him in a cocky way.
"You miss me," he said in a taunting way.
"You better get started now if you want to make that flight in the morning."
Jerry gave her his all-knowing look and put his hand in his pockets.
"OK, OK, I miss you." Murphy stood up. "Jeez, I hate when you do that!" She put her around his neck and kissed him slowly.
"Are you happy now?" Murphy moaned.
He kissed her again. "Not yet." They kissed again. They parted and Jerry held her face in his right hand.
"You know I have admitted I missed your before."
"I know." Jerry shook his head and lifted his hand off of Murphy's cheek.
"So, this isn't some big revelation."
"Did, I say it was?"
"With what? Am I kissing with sarcasm? "
"Just because we were at a wedding today don't think you're going to get me soft and vulnerable. I'm not built that way."
"After almost fifteen years of this, you have to tell me? Believe me, Brown, I know what I signed up for here. How could I not? I mean twelve years of dating, New York, and I knew you while you were drinking. I know you're tough, Murphy. That's what I love about you." Jerry put his arms around her. "I love how tough you are, hell, you're the toughest person I ever meet, and I'm including myself in this equation, and the time I met Mike Tyson and he tried to throw a punch at me."
"I tried to deck you the first time we met." Murphy smiled.
"I remember vividly, you hit the bus boy who toppled over the buffet table."
"You really have to stop that ducking thing, it's a nasty habit." She smiled; so did Jerry. "So, are we all done? Can we go to sleep now? Not that I'm tried or anything," her eyes said sarcastically.
"Actually, no." Jerry looked at her as if the thought had just occur to him. He then left a puzzled Murphy, as he walked over to the archway. Jerry lowered the lights and hit the tape deck. "I was gone so long I didn't get to dance with you." He put his arms out as the music started – it was Aretha.
my love has come along
my lonely days over
and life is like a song
Murphy smiled and walked to the center of the room. She took Jerry's hand and they danced close.
Ooh At last
the skies above are blue
well my heart was wrapped up in clover
the night I looked at you
I found a dream
that I could speak to
a dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill
to press my cheek to
a thrill that I have never known
"God, Gold." Murphy lifted her head to face Jerry. "It's just so funny."
"What is, Brown?
"Just how much things have changed over the years."
"Changed, Brown?" He paused. "Nothing's changed." He looked at her as they danced. "Yeah, maybe we're a little older," Jerry paused and spoke sarcastically, "Not you of course." Murphy gave him a look. "Maybe we have to dye more of the grey out of our hair then before," Jerry looked at Murphy. "Not you of course," he said sarcastically. "Sure some of us have gained some weight; some of use has lost some weight. But I think we're both pretty much the same people."
"You don't think we've mellowed?"
"Mellowed? No. Why?"
"I mean this, weddings and kids…"
"Why don't we just not focus on those things now? Besides, we're not getting married, we went through that, and we don't have kids… together. Can we just dance?"
"OK." They danced close again. "Jerry?"
"Yeah, Brown," he said sweetly.
"Would you ever consider asking me again?" Murphy tried to pretend the question wasn't serious.
"Asking you what? Oh? To marry me?"
"Yeah…" Murphy tried to throw it off.
"Why? Would you say yes this time?"
"Then no, I won't ask you again, I promise." They danced again for a short while.
"Gold?" Murphy looked Jerry in the eye.
"Not now, but...maybe..." Murphy got oddly vulnerable. "Sometime in the future...ask me again sometime."
There was a brief pause between them.
"I'll think about it," Jerry said, in his usually harsh, teasing tone, yet with a sarcastic smile and a raise of his eyebrows.
Murphy raised her eyebrows at him and tried not to smile. Jerry smiled back at Murphy and the just enjoyed the dance.