Chapter 2 is when we first meet Dr. Michael Walsh, the hero.
I originally had him playing a Sudoku game trying to tune out a complaint he'd heard many times from a hypochondriac patient.
One of my critique partners said that made him unsympathetic. So I changed the scene and put in a three-year-old with a stuffed toy bunny.
I hate the name I came up with for the bunny. Please give me a new name for the bunny. And I wouldn't mind a new name for the three-year-old.
Reward: $5.00 Amazon gift card. The Rafflecopter is at the end of the chapter.
Here are the three bunny images I found.:
Here's the little girl. This image matches her in my mind.
Here's the Chapter
Chapter 2 Michael
Dr. Michael Walshe removed his stethoscope from the tummy of Ashley Carter’s pink stuffed bunny. “Princess Fluffy is as healthy as a horse.”
“She’s not a horse,” the three-year -old protested. “She’s a rabbit.”
“Dr. Michael means there is nothing wrong with her, Ashley.” Her mother turned to Michael. “I am worried that she thinks her toy bunny is alive. Did I tell you how she . . .”
Michael tuned out Prissy Carter’s mosquito-like whine. He put the stethoscope to Ashley’s ears so she could hear her own heartbeat.
Ashley squealed in delight. “Let Princess Fluffy hear.”
Michael transferred the stethoscope’s earbuds to the bunny’s floppy ears. He heard a question mark in the stream of consciousness that was Prissy and nodded.
“That’s wonderful, Michael. I’m so glad you can come.” Prissy trilled.
Michael looked up. What had he agreed to?
Prissy’s smile was scary. Full moist lips revealing pointed incisors. “Ashley’s been saying how much she wants Doctor Michael to come over and have dinner with her.”
Michael cursed himself for drifting off. He’d been avoiding that damn dinner invitation for months. The woman had too much money, a child she paid scant attention to, and a blatant desire to acquire him as Ashley’s next daddy. One little bit of inattention . . .
The intercom buzzed “Dr. Walshe, you have a call from Mrs. O’Brian on line one.”
Saved by the intercom.
“Sorry, Ashley, I have to take this.” Michael handed her a lollipop. “Don’t share this with Princess Fluffy,” he whispered. “Candy is bad for bunnies.” He turned to Prissy. “Ashley’s personification of her toy is perfectly normal. She has a healthy imagination.”
“I’m so relieved to hear that.” Prissy squeezed his fingers meaningfully. “Don’t forget. Saturday, at seven. See you then.”
He couldn’t refuse with that heart-shaped face beaming up at him. Michael waited till Prissy followed a skipping Ashley out the door before picking up the phone. “Essie, what’s wrong?”
Essie’s voice had more spring in it than he’d heard in months. “And can’t a body call you without being sick? I was wondering if you could drop by today, Michael, I’ve got to go home to Ireland and I’m not sure I can do it by meself.”
Couldn’t be a funeral. She sounded too perky. “Somebody getting married?”
“More than one, dear boy. I’ve got a mission to fulfill.”
Not good. That sounded delusional. “Of course I’ll come. I’ll even make dinner. Spaghetti ok?”
“That will be grand. I’ve some of your favorite shortbread on hand.” Essie lowered her voice to a whisper, “It’s not just the trip. I don’t know what to do about the cat.”
“Relax. We’ll figure it out. See you soon.” He flicked the intercom. “Lynne, how many more patients?”
His nurse poked her head through the door. “Prissy was the last one. She told me she’s got a date with you for Saturday. How’d she manage that?”
“Ashley and I were doing a bunny checkup and I zoned out on Prissy’s voice.”
“Doctor Adorable bites the dust again.” Lynne lounged against the door frame, her rocker-punk hairstyle contrasting oddly with her broad moon face. Her daughter must have been playing hairdresser again. “You know they wouldn’t try so hard if you weren’t hot.”
“Stuff it, Lynne.”
“I’m serious. You look exactly like the new doctor on As She Turns. Tall dark and dreamy.”
Michael turned on the faucets in the small office sink. Lynne needed a new hobby. “Watching soaps will rot your brain.”
“That hint of beard on your strong, manly chin. And that aloof but rumbly look in your eyes and . . .”
He took the last paper towel out of the dispenser. “We need more towels.”
“Your only fault is you don’t have a romantic bone in your body.” Lynne clasped her plump hands over her Hello Kitty scrub top. “I’m having a fantasy here. Don’t ruin it.”
He would never understand women. “What do you need a fantasy for? You’re in love with your husband.”
“So? He has fantasies too. Part of being happily married. His is Tracy Jay.”
Michael winced. Growing up with a well-known actress for a godmother meant he’d met lots of A-list stars, but his heart had been immune till Lorena introduced him to Tracy Jay at the wrap party for Just the Girls two years ago.
“Come on, Michael. Don’t you have fantasies?”
“None that I care to tell you about.” His relationship with Tracy was classified. Tracy had wanted it that way. He exchanged his white coat for the tan windbreaker he kept in the small closet. “I’m off to check on Essie. We have a dinner date. I’m making her my secret-recipe spaghetti sauce.”
“Big deal. I know you use Ragu.”
“What is it with this town? You know my grocery list?”
Lynne patted his cheek. “I think there’s a town website devoted to your every move.”
“Go home and annoy your children. We’re done for the day.”
Lynne blew him a kiss and shut the door behind her.
A quick stop at the market, and off to Essie’s. What kind of secret mission could she be fantasizing? His phone buzzed. Another phone call from Tracy. They’d been coming like clockwork all day. He pushed delete without answering.
Lynne’s question echoed in his mind. Don’t you have fantasies? His heart twisted, remembering his last sight of Tracy.Not anymore..
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