Nothing Like Romance
NOTE: This is a previously published work. The publisher has changed
G. A. Hauser writing as Amanda Winters
In this romantic comedy, thirty-one year old Kirsty Kennedy works as a psychologist in a small three woman office in Ballard. Her co-worker, Lara Cox, decides it’s time for both of them to find a partner to share the Christmas holiday with. Lara drags Kirsty kicking and screaming to a speed dating event in trendy Belltown.
Though her attitude was cantankerous, Kirsty manages to meet two men; Jake Benson, the twenty-seven year old, grunge-loving, espresso cart owner, and forty-six year old Microsoft executive, Michael Caffrey.
Both men are instantly enamored with Kirsty, yet she’s not convinced she has found Mr. Right.
When a soldier from the war in Iraq walks through her office door, even though the idea of dating a client is taboo, Kirsty spends her days and nights fantasizing about the handsome Robbie Mitchell.
Robbie suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome after a terrible incident he experienced while on active duty.
Juggling two men she doesn’t care for and a fantasy man she cannot have in between her hectic job and being on her own, Kirsty barely manages to keep sane. The one thing Kristy is sure of is her love-life is ‘Nothing Like Romance’.
“Still up for a drink after work?” Lara filled her coffee mug as she took a break in the lunchroom.
“Yes!” Kirsty held out her cup. “Can you pour? I’ve been a regular klutz lately.”
As Lara topped up her cup, she said, “Good. I’m looking forward to it. Penny is going to my sister’s for dinner after school. This is her last day of school for three weeks.”
“Christmas break? Already?” Kirsty checked her watch in vain. Telling the time did nothing to slow it down.
“I know. The year flew by.” Lara sipped her coffee. “Okay, back to the grind.”
“Right.” Kirsty followed her out and sat at her desk. She knew Lara had a photo of her daughter on hers. What was she supposed to have? A snapshot of her teddy bear? “I must be insane.”
She set her cup on a miniature electric hot plate and checked to see who was expected. A new patient. She had very little background on him other than Virginia Mason Hospital referred him and it was covered by his insurance. She read his name. Robert Mitchell. She opened her purse to check her face quickly, as if one of her patients could be a possible date. “I’m really losing it.” She threw her purse back in the drawer, stood and straightened her blouse, then went to look for Robert.
Two people were in the lobby reading magazines. One was a woman, and the other…
“Robert?” she asked, smiling sweetly.
The tall, handsome man acknowledged her and stood up.
She kept her professional demeanor intact and waited for him to enter her office, closing them inside in their secure domain.
She sat down with his information sheet, which he had filled out while he waited, and quickly read his date of birth, address, and…marital status.
“It says you’ve been through a traumatic experience.” She met his blue eyes.
“I…I just returned from Iraq.”
“I see.” She set the paperwork aside and gave him her undivided attention. As he fidgeted with his hands in a classic nervous gesture, she waited patiently.
“I’ve never done this before. You know, counseling.”
“Did your doctor recommend it?”
“He did. He said maybe just a few sessions, you know, to get me straight.”
He smiled shyly, took off his jacket and adjusted himself on the leather sofa. After the initial fussing, he cleared his throat and asked, “What am I supposed to do?”
“Well, you can just tell me about your experiences there. Or if it’s too hard to talk about right now, you can start by telling me something about yourself.” If she had met him in a bar, she would be in heat over him. Patients are strictly off limits, and she knew better than even to fantasize about him.
“I’m not very good at this talking shit— Err, sorry. Uh, you know, expressing my feelings or anything.”
“We don’t have to start that deep, Robert.”
“Robbie. My friends call me Robbie.”
“Robbie. All right.” She exhaled and sat back in her chair. “Tell me about your family. Do you have any brothers or sisters?”
As he spoke, she stared at his lips. He had perfect teeth. His skin was a lovely olive tone, contrasting with those incredible blue eyes. Dark thick hair cut in a very conservative style, faded jeans, soft cotton button-down shirt, and work boots, he was the ultimate pin-up boy. Nodding, she gave him those sympathetic sounds to encourage a long narrative.
For a change, the hour went too quickly for her. Though they hadn’t covered any of the issues, what they had done was develop a comfort zone and gotten some foundations laid. It appeared Robbie had grown up in the shadow of his older brother Mark, who had gone on to college and was now a successful attorney. A doting set of parents who spoiled him, and a dog named Max completed the immediate family tree. There was nothing remarkable about it. No lurking skeletons, no Freudian nightmares. A very normal childhood, a sports-minded student, a date for the prom, he was moving along at a simple pace…until he was called up for active duty in Iraq. Then his simple life had changed forever.
“Did I do all right?” He slid on his jacket.
“You did fine.”
“See you next week then?”
“Yup. See you then.”