When Tad got home that night after seeing Marilyn, he pulled his very frigid wife Babe into his arms for a very deep, very passionate kiss.
"So, how is she?" Babe all but hissed, venom practically dripping from every syllable. "How does poverty look on the formerly fabulous Marilyn Astor?"
"Could you please drop the attitude, Babe? Reach into that Xanax-riddled mind of yours, buried under $300 worth of hair product and find your common sense. I know it's hard but I have faith in you."
She shrieked a string of four-letter expletives and he held his head in his hands. Thank God for pre-nuptials. After he let her have her hissy fit and she had taken her nightly dose of mind-benders, he settled her into bed. This was the way they had done things since they had started dating, and this was the way things would be for the rest of their lives. Rest of their lives meaning enough time to pop out a few kids, enroll them in boarding school and bang a few secretaries before getting a publicized divorce and causing a commotion in the society papers. Marriage vows seem to have a different time frame for the rich and famous than everyone else. Tad again gave thanks for the holiness that was called the pre-nup.
And as Tad slipped under the Egyptian cotton sheets with his betrothed, there was only one woman on his mind. He always did have a thing for blondes.
* * * * * * *
As I walked out of the theatre, I was fairly skipping. A grin tickled my lips. It wasn't for certain yet, but I was almost positive I had just scored my first job. And what's this? Music was in the air! Guitar music, to be more specific. Someone was playing a song I had never heard of. Emboldened by my newest achievement, I walked over to investigate.
A thin, freckled boy in a graphic tee, chinos and sandals was strumming on an old acoustic, tapping his feet with his eyes closed, as he were actually feeling the music. The guitar seemed to be an extension of his person and his fingers moved up and down the fretboard like they were tiny little dancers. I sighed. It was a treat just to watch him play, let alone the melody he was creating.
Sensing my presence, he put his guitar down and lifted his shaggy, auburn head.
"Hey, I'm Nate," he smiled, friendly but almost embarrassed.
"Well," he chuckled, "it's nice to meet you, Marilyn."
We talked for almost an hour, about his guitar, the song he was playing (he wrote it - it was called "I'm So Twitterpated") and my new job. I didn't tell him my sob story and it was nice to meet someone who didn't feel bad for me. This Nate was probably as poor as myself, judging from his clothing, and he felt like a breath of fresh air.
* * * * * * *
"Ow", I winced. I had invited Nate to my house and was attempting to cook him dinner. It wasn't going well.
I had never cooked a day in my life. Who knew a salad took so much skill? Ugh, nothing makes a good first impression like bleeding in the food.
We sat down to eat. I dug in first, worried that it wouldn't taste very good. Nate kind of just stared at me apprehensively. "Do you think maybe we should have ordered in?"
"Yes, I know I can't cook but it's not so bad. It's just lettuce with some vegetables and dressing. Oh and a little blood."
"Kidding!" I laughed. "Please at least try it. I'm sorry to endanger your stomach, but you see, I don't have a garbage disposal so the more you eat, the less I have to stink up my kitchen."
He laughed and took a few brave bites. As we ate, we asked each other all of the usual questions - astrological sign, favorite color, favorite music. I felt very comfortable with him and hoped that I had found a friend. At least with Nate, there wasn't any of the shame I felt when I was hanging out with my old friends.
"Do you have any plans tonight?" he suddenly asked me.
"Later this evening." I smiled. "Why?"
"There's somewhere I want to take you."
Fishing. He took me fishing! With rods, reels and baits. I didn't understand it at all. I loved fish. Sushi, beluga caviar, iced lobster, tilapia... But let's face it. No one wants to see the behind the scenes. They just want the finished product. I felt as if I had stumbled into Oz's chamber and met the man behind the curtain. Oh, if Babe could only see me now. We stood there for what seemed like hours until suddenly...
Wait. THAT'S what all the hoopla was about? One tiny little anchovy?
The worst part wasn't sweating, touching slimy bait, unhooking scaly fish or standing for forever in my old Chanel flats. The worst part was that I was hanging out with a boy with no trust fund, no title, no inheritance, no fashion sense, no career and most presumably, no future.
And I was enjoying every second of it.
* * * * * * *
"Yes, Carter?" I said his name quite deliberately as if to focus on the man I was dancing with. The club was fairly empty and the music was loud so it was easy to let my mind wander.
"Let's go grab another drink." He smiled with dimples, a Pomeroy trademark feature that had been playing with the hearts of young ladies for generations. Every girl at Smugglesworth Prep had melted at that smile but I had been too busy trying to get Tad Horowitz to notice me to notice the blond, muscular lacrosse playing Cassanova. Even now, I felt his charm escape me.
I took two big swigs of my gin and tonic. Gone was the easygoing camaraderie of our youth and in its place was something I couldn't quite put my finger on.
"So I've been thinking. What do you think about us?"
Oh there it is. It all makes sense now. I recognize this feeling. It's a guy friend who wants to be more than friends. After all, to guys, a girl who is a friend is just a girl they haven't WooHooed with.
I took two more big swigs of my drink and swallowed. "Carter, we've been friends for a long time. I was in love with your best friend."
He snorted. "And obviously he never gave a fig about you. He left you out to dry. We all did. And now you need someone..."
I didn't let him finish. "Why does everyone think I need someone to take care of me? I have a job. I have a house and the utility bills cost less than my bi-weekly mani-pedis. I'll be FINE."
"Marilyn, look at your hands. They're smooth as satin. You've never had a callus and the only blister you've ever had was when you wore your new Manolos to your debutante ball. You're not made for hard labor."
He had a point. You could feed a family of four for a year on what I used to invest in moisturizers, facials and sea salt body scrubs, and personal masseuses for a month. Barney's and Fifth Avenue were my very fondest memories and I had never met a Centurion card that I didn't like.
His eyes softened. "Just consider me. I care about you. I never did think you and Tad were right for each other."
I mumbled something or other and we left. When we got outside, I told the valet to wait as I led Carter to the plaza. It was a beautiful crisp night and the fountain in the moonlight was especially breathtaking. It reminded me of a scene from Oceans 11 after the crew had completed the heist. They had stood in front of a fountain with "Clair de Lune" playing in the background. It was some damn good cinematography.
But instead of enjoying the view, Carter was on the phone. My father, his father and every male in "our circle" seemed to have their stupid cell attached to their stupid heads at all hours of the day.
I sighed and walked back to the waiting limo.
When I got home, I flopped down on my bed and passed right out. I dreamt of an auburn haired boy with freckles who was playing a guitar.
And I wondered, if somewhere, he was dreaming about me too.