The evening sun shining in the car window warmed Bob on his drive home from Lochlann’s in Slidell. The end of February and early March had been unusually brisk and dry for South Louisiana, which had him slightly concerned for his crawfish farms outside Bayou Des Allemands, and even though his partner hadn’t contacted him, Bob made a mental note to call him over the weekend. He’d been trying to reach a more important person for the past hour—his eldest son. Living in Dallas, Dr. Sol O’Malley couldn’t be as involved with the “Operation” as much as either of them would have liked, but his successful plastic surgery practice and a volatile marriage to River’s head OB/GYN Dr. Christine Caissy made living out of state rather appealing. Deciding to try him again, Bob dialed the number and waited.
“Hey Dad, sorry I couldn’t answer. I was on the phone with Sloane,” Sol said, speaking of his seventeen-year-old daughter. “How’d your meeting with Andrew go?”
“He’s cautious, but that won’t be a problem. We’re in. We’re really in.” Bob’s voice was bursting with excitement. “I can’t believe it. After years of planning, this is finally a reality.”
“You and Millie have put in a lot of hard work into making it happen,” he added. “Still a lot left to do, but getting in Rivers—that was our biggest hurdle.”
“As much as I hate to admit it, Nash has really been an asset. Of course, I’d never tell him or Millie that, especially since it was her idea to bring him in,” said Bob.
“Watch those two, though. I’ve never trusted Millie. And anybody in Andrew’s circle—well, you know how I feel about him.”
“I know, Son. Me too. Seems like a lifetime that we’ve been waiting for this. Andy Douglas and that bastard Jamie Caissy, they’ve taken so much… so much from us, but, our time is now. And Sol, you just don’t know Millie the way I do.” He smiled thinking of the woman who had been in his life longer than any other. Their beginning had started out rough, but she eventually found her way back to him. As she always would.
“I’m glad you’re so confident, Dad. But be careful. We all lie and cheat to get what we want. Some of us more so than others.”
Bob laughed. Sol, at thirty-seven was practically his mirror image, in every way.
Following in his father’s footsteps, the boy had joined the Marines after college, but proved to have better control of his temper than his father. “Yeah, you’re right. Speaking of, I’ll call our “friend, the congressman” soon to let him know it’s started. I believe he’s already arranged for the purchase of a house in Mandeville.”
“Good. Glad you’ll have him there, since I can’t be. May’s the earliest I’ll be able to break away from Dallas, and that’s out of necessity for Sloane’s graduation.”
“Hey, I understand. Besides, having you in Texas gives us more contacts there. We’ll talk soon, Sol.” Ending his call, Bob grumbled driving past a red Chevy Silverado parked in front of his house. He knew who owned that truck and was not looking forward to this conversation.
Dr. Andrew Nash Douglas III stood tall and proud against his truck, clad in green surgery scrubs. Today, he was wearing wire-rimmed glasses. With his dark hair and hazel eyes, Nash resembled a young Andrew. Following in the Douglas tradition, he was in his first year of residency at Rivers. Driven and dashing like his father, he had his pick of women and never wanted for anything else either. Bob always thought Nash needed to be brought down a notch or two… or ten.
“Where’s Millie?” Nash asked as he met Bob by the garage. “I thought she was coming.”
“Do you see her with me, Nash?” he answered in his most caustic voice. Unlocking the door, the two men entered the house.
“I don’t know if she is inside. Don’t get an attitude with me. I just came over to see how it went with my dad.”
“Good. We’re in at Rivers. Now, all we have to do is get Millie hired back and we’re good to go. You’re sure St. Tammany’s anesthesiologist has privileges at Rivers too, huh?”
“Yeah, according to what I saw on the hospital mainframe, he did a surgery with my dad a few months back. But in my opinion we need another anesthesiologist in New Orleans,” Nash stated. “And your guy can stay at St. Tam.”
“Oh… really?” Bob shot back. “Pray tell why do you, Mr. First Year Intern, think we need a second anesthesiologist?”
“Why are you jumping down my throat, Bob? Jesus. I’m working with you, not against you.”
Nash sat on the couch, crossing his legs. “I’m just trying to think of ways to fly under the radar. That’s all. Dr. what’s-his-name will need to do some non-Operation related anesthesia cases with us so people like Gregory don’t start questioning the types of surgeries he assists with.”
Pouring them a glass of Gentleman’s Jack, he replied, “Don’t worry about Gregory. Your idea was excellent and he’s got more than enough on his plate to keep him occupied.”
“Thanks,” Nash said, taking the drink. “What did my dad say about Millie?”
“He didn’t. I didn’t ask.”
“Shit… Bob. We gotta have her in. Dad can do surgeries and it’s good to have Christine to harvest eggs and shit, but we need Millie’s privileges restored at Rivers.”
“Don’t you think I know that, Nash?” He sneered, tired of this arrogant and smartass child telling him how to run his business. Nash’s skills were invaluable—especially his ability to hack into almost any computer—but at the moment Bob could do without him. “The Hope Benefit is a week from tonight, and my goal is for Millie and me to walk arm-in-arm on a red carpet they’ve laid down especially for us.”
He laughed. “That’s a lofty goal. Won’t be a problem to convince Dad that she should come back. But Greg?”
“I told you not to worry about him,” Bob yelled, irritated that Nash was acting as if he were the leader of their group. He knew a way to shut him up. “Plan B is always available… if this doesn’t work out.”
“I hate Plan B,” Nash muttered under his breath.
“You agreed to it, and I swear if you breathe a word to anyone…” Bob glanced out the window when he heard Millie’s silver Lexus turning in. “Especially to Millie… I will kill you, Nash.”
“Shit…” He held up his hands as if in surrender. “I won’t, man.” Nash hated Bob—eclipsed only by the hatred he had for his own family. His blood. The ones who had shunned him and sent him away. The ones who preached tough love but offered none. If he had any success in this world, it wasn’t because of his parents, but because of the woman who entered Bob’s home now. She was his father’s ex-wife—Dr. Millicent Douglas. Their friendship began thirteen years ago when a young Nash hitchhiked his way to Slidell, and she had become the one person he trusted with his life.
Bob attempted to kiss Millie’s lips, but she turned her head so he got her cheek. “Hey sweetheart.”
“Bobby…” she said, writhing away from his embrace and extending her arms to a standing Nash. “Hey baby, I brought you some chili and cornbread for work tonight. It’s out in the car so don’t forget it on your way out.”
“Thanks Mills. You didn’t have to,” Nash said, kissing her forehead, “but I’m glad you did.”
“Well, I know you won’t eat until tomorrow if I don’t.” She patted his chest. “You tell that girlfriend of yours, I said she should start taking better care of you.”
“Nobody will ever compare to you, Mills.”
Bob sipped his drink and made a sour face. When Nash was around Millie, Bob might as well be dead. He was her pride and joy. Her prodigy. And she was his unattainable angel. The one woman who would never return his feelings. Bob suspected that Nash had been in love with her since he was a teenager, but Millie’s connection to Nash’s father kept his jealousy at bay. She’d never cross that line—even if she wanted to. Bob was sure of that.
“Do you have time to stay and visit?”
“Wish I did, but I gotta be back in an hour,” Nash replied, opening the outside door. “Thanks for the drink, Bob. And Mills, thank you for my lunch.”
“Anytime, Nash. Be careful,” Millie said, returning to the couch.
When Nash drove away, Bob relocated next to Millie and inconspicuously began to rub her arm, surprised she didn’t slap his hand away.
“How was your day?”
“Long. Had back-to-back open heart surgeries today. Pass me Nash’s drink.”
Bob reached for the glass and watched her down it. She was in the mood to get drunk tonight and nothing pleased him more. Millie was always amazing in bed, but alcohol enhanced her ability to be free. No inhibitions. Quickly, he handed her his drink.
“You want me drunk, Bobby?” she asked, reclining against the couch, white-blonde curls framing her face.
“I want you to stay with me tonight, yes. And if getting you drunk will do that, then I’m not protesting,” he admitted, kissing her neck, up to her cheek, then her lips. “You taste so good.”
“You’re tasting the Gentleman’s Jack.” She licked her lips and closed her eyes. “Was Nash here to find out how it went with Andy?”
Exhaling loudly, Bob huffed, “Yeah…”
“What?” She opened her eyes, certain he was pissed that she’d mentioned Andrew or Nash. She didn’t care.
“Can’t we go one evening and not talk about the Douglas men? I can’t get away from them,” he said, turning to face her.
“Excuse me? I asked one question, Bob.”
“Did I get any chili and cornbread? Did you cook for me? No. But after a hard day at work… you… you cooked for Nash. I bet if he hadn’t been here, you’d driven all the way to Rivers to take him lunch.”
“And you’d be right. He’s just as precious to me as my own children. Maybe even more so because he has no one.”
“He’s got a whole damn family,” Bob screamed.
She stood and carried both glasses to the kitchen. “I don’t have to answer to you about my relationship with Nash.”
“He’s in love with you, Millie.”
Slamming her hands on the counter, she returned an acrimonious smile. “I’m not having this fight again. You are a paranoid, insecure, poor excuse for a man. And you need to know your place.” This was an easy game with Bob—she always had the upper hand, and always got what she wanted. Millie knew he was serious about Nash and his feelings. She thought there might even be some truth to his accusations, but their relationship was none of Bob’s concern—ever, and apparently he needed to be reminded of that. “I came here for one reason, and one reason only, and if you can’t get your ass up and give me what I want, I can find someone else who will. So, what will it be, Bobby? Can you give me what I need?”
“Yes… Millie,” he whispered in a meek voice.
“Yes, what O’Malley?” She hissed.
“Now, show me what you’re wearing underneath your pants,” she demanded, sauntering towards Bob. He was fumbling with the button on his jeans.
“Hurry the hell up. I don’t have all day.”
Pulling down his boxers, he revealed an indiscreet bulge in a pair of lacy light blue panties.
“You look absolutely ridiculous, and you can’t even follow directions.” Covering her eyes, she laughed and attempted to get back into character. “Twenty lashes.” Millie pointed to the bedroom. “And no climax again tonight.”
“What? That’s what you told me to wear today,” he complained. “I did what you wanted. The blue ones.”
“No, Bobby.” She grinned, following close behind. “I said wear the dark blue. Those are light blue. Our actions yield consequences, and unfortunately…” Millie opened the closet, retrieving a leather whip from the top shelf. “These are yours. Now, lay your ass down and take it like a man.”
– The picture isn’t of Slidell (where Chapter 3 is set), but it is of an old sugar mill on the Northshore.
– Chapter 3 is one of my favorites in Book 1 because you get a feel of the dynamic between the characters mentioned. Though I adore the relationship between Millie and Nash, Bob and Millie’s interaction is some of the most fun (and controversial) to write. I must admit, I held my breath when I sent the manuscript to the editor the first time. I felt sure she would be offended and think I was disgusting. Luckily, she ‘caught the vision’ early on in the book, and viewed their storyline as plot enhancing – which was my goal.
– Sol’s name (pronounced ‘Saul’ not ‘Soul’) came from a local doctor named Sol that I worked with at an outpatient surgery center. Ironically, the real Sol and the literary Sol are similar in height and build. I didn’t plan that.
– From the first moment of their interaction (even in the very first draft of The Waiting that will never see the light of day), Millie and Nash had an undeniable chemistry. I had no intentions for their story to be so central, but despite all the reasons they are wrong for each other, there are a million more that make them right. Out of all the friendships I’ve written in this series, the one between them is the most balanced. They compliment each other perfectly.
That’s it for fun facts.Today I start the outline for Book 3 of The Waiting Series…The Wanting. Honestly, I feel that this book has the potential to be even CRAZIER than The Watching. We shall see. Have a great day!!!