Speaking of Rada…

keira asanna_karenina

I have to confess…Perfect Pop has taken a back seat to…now I know that I completely bought this book because Keira Knightly is playing her in the film so to look all learned, I downloaded it to my Kindle – Anna Karenina. I love Lifetime for Godsakes, is anyone really that surprised?

But at any whoozies…thus far, it is really really really good . The characters truly walk off the page drunk and ride in to work with me. It is one of those reads in which you simply do not want to put it down! I’m only 20% through the novel and so far am very impressed.

Aside from the book and getting more to my interest in wanting to read said book, Banana Republic also is excited for Keira Knightly’s most talked about role. I live in Seattle and while on the bus on the way home from work, I noticed that Banana Republic had devoted an entire collection to the book/film. Most of the retro collection, which was met with mixed reviews, seems to rely on black sheath lace dresses, pencil skirts, and shimmery tops  accompanied with faux fur stoles, capes, neck warmers , vests, etc. I have yet to actually view the collection in person for fear of walking out of the preppy store with every faux fur accoutrement available! (Yes, she likes herself some fur!)

Sneak Preview: I’m not worried about this minor setback because the Russian designer, Rada Belov (Part 1, Chpt. 5, Kimono Tease),  meant to collaborate with Perfect Pop’s anti-herione, Nora, will come to life in Part 3.  Through Tolstoy’s 19th century story, I can stand to learn quite a bit about Russian human nature and culture and therefore breathe life into my aristocratic character.

Here are some images I found perusing the web. In case you missed them, I’ll let you all be the judge!




moreakarenina collect


Perfect Pop – Part 2

Chapter 17

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


When he left the plane, he wondered what he had told her? In the moment, while keeping Jackson swimming in spirits, the flight attendant, a huge fan of the band, appeared as an ally. Unfortunately, finishing one drink after the other, he offered up Nora’s litany and had begged the flight attendant to please help him understand what he had done wrong. That his impotence had also been a topic of discussion in the first class cabin left him in a panic. Trying to soothe his immediate hangover, he pressed his fingertips to his temples and hoped his airplane antics would not end up in some gossip rag.

Due to the late season sleet and hail, his delayed flight arrived to JFK just after midnight. Not heeding the warning that the luggage had shifted, the long-legged brunette pressed her thighs against him and prematurely released the overhead storage. A small black heavy bag rolled out and dropped onto Jackson’s head. The leggy brunette quickly retrieved her bag and without so much as a “sorry”, vanished. At that moment, he was quickly reminded why New York was everything that he had not missed; unseasonably cold and wet, crowded and unnecessarily aggressive.

The sleet washed over the speeding cab. From his carry-on, Jackson retrieved some aspirin for his now throbbing head. He hoped that the aspirin would not only stop his headache but also erase his last memory of Nora. The doctor’s biggest concern for Nora, after her release from the hospital, was her anorexic tendencies. Dr. Fiora had informed a clueless Jackson that he would have to monitor Nora’s diet. Reluctantly, he thought it would be a good idea to leave her in Sara’s rigid supervision. He trusted Sara’s arrogance to make the right choices for his diminishing fiancé.  However, when Nora phoned him, only two days after his departure complaining how Sara had tried to drag her up and down the streets of Brooklyn, he guiltily questioned his own judgment. As the cab neared closer to Brooklyn, he felt his stomach get queasy. She promised him, before he left to record in LA, that she would be faithful and that he was okay to trust her. With the speeding tires of the cab rolling him closer and closer, he now wished that rather than promising her a multi-million dollar townhouse in Gramercy Park, he had warned her not to play with the man who had saved her not-worth-saving-life.

“Nora, what do you think?” Jackson asked for the third time.

Penny Dresser opened and slammed each kitchen cabinet. Jackson asked her politely to stop. Annoyed, he asked Nora again what she thought of the townhouse.

“So long as it’s in Gramercy, she doesn’t care,” Penny said, “isn’t that right Gossip Girl?”

Lost in the stained glass windows’ glorious colors of the first spring day, Nora was careful that they did not see as she rolled her eyes at Penny’s off-handed comment.  She crossed to Jackson and stretching onto her toes, she wrapped her arms about his neck and assured him that the spacious Edwardian townhouse was perfect. However, ultimately the final decision was up to him but didn’t he think it was a little big for just the two of them.

“Well I’m hoping it won’t be ‘just the two of us’ for long,” he winked before kissing her forehead, “Penny, what do you think?”

Penny opened the last glass cabinet in the kitchen and slammed it shut. Wincing, Jackson asked why she insisted on slamming his kitchen cabinets. She laughed loudly then warned him, that with the market the way it is right now, it would make sense for he and his future lovely bride to be either a tad bit more frugal or patient. Why not choose a smaller flat, even in the same building?

Jenny Soldeinbaum, Jackson’s realtor, unbuttoned her imitation Chanel tweed blazer, and putting her jeweled hand on her wide hip, attempted to sweeten the deal. Her high-pitched squeaky voice clanged out the park’s rules for the one percent.  In Gramercy Park, park residents (owners or renters), two exclusive clubs, a church, a synagogue and the Gramercy Park Hotel are the fortunate few to hold keys to the four wrought-iron gates opening up Manhattan’s private park. All others are excluded the pleasure of enjoying the two-acres of lush opulence. Jenny clanged that to improve the flat’s value, just for her favorite rock star couple, she would include the keys in either the asking price or closing cost. Stepping in front of Jenny, Penny pointed out that not only was Jenny’s blazer a knock-off but that the cost for owning the keys was a meager $350; but more importantly, Jackson, at this stage in his financial portfolio, was cash poor.

“I wouldn’t recommend borrowing against your savings for a flat that in 10 years may not have the same return,” she hurled.

Jenny, corrected Ms. Dresser by assuring the trio that to buy property in Gramercy Park was a solid investment – recession or not. Penny searched her phone for an article that she had just read to disprove Ms. Soldeinbaum. Jackson running his hands through his overly long hair, asked Ms. Soldeinbaum to give them a minute alone. She turned  abruptly on her tall black Michael Kors wedge pumps, and clip-clopped loudly out of the flat.

“Do me a favor? Do not undermine me while I am in the middle of a business deal!” Jackson roared.

“Undermine you?” Penny mocked rolling her crystal eyes practically to the back of her head, “Get over yourself Conlon! If not for me, you’d still be living in Texas with Dottie!”

“Oh whatever! I was in NYC before you were!”

“ ‘NYC’,” she mocked, “You stayed at my ex-girlfriend’s place!” she made well-known then asked Nora if she could give Jackson and herself a moment.

Nora began to button up her fur-trimmed jacket, an incredible Salvation Army find, when Jackson stopped her. “No, no, no, whatever you have to say from now on you say in front of us,” Jackson declared and placed his arm around Nora.

Jackson, increasing his tone, insisted that he had left his mother’s house for New York City long before Penny was even considered to manage his band. Fully aware that the next few moments would consist of Dawson Creek like dialogue between the two friends, Nora turned on her favorite Jimmy Choo ice pick like heels and escaped, unnoticed, out onto one of the four balconies. Nora thought that it was only a matter of time now before the Texas drawl would start ‘hee-hawin’.  She carefully lit her cigarette and winced listening to Penny’s laundry list of reasons why Jackson should leave her.

“You have got to be either an idiot or completely whipped to believe anything that comes from that pouty mouth,” Penny’s voice rose inside the flat.

“You’re the one that said to keep her! Something about her ambiguous skin color? – Or whatever the fuck!” Jackson yelled.

Jackson paced the dark wood briskly. Penny glanced through the Edwardian stained glass doors and discovered Nora vomiting.

Getting back at her point, Penny lowered her voice to lessen her friend’s burden,”Look Jewy Jenny is right; Gramercy is a sure investment – it’s golden. But my job is to ask what happens when you spend four million dollars today and little Miss Hunger Strike decides that Cialis isn’t really doing the job and cuts out on you again?  Then what?”

Jackson listened and duly noted that his copy of the Guardian’s expose on Nora’s affair with Ian, along with some bond statements, and other miscellaneous keepsakes, were kept in a small metal lock box.  Like some sort of celebrated self-flagellation, every other day, he would open the hidden newspaper and carefully pull each page open and study the images. He told himself as if mocking Antonio Banderas in the role of Zorro, that he had to memorize every line of the face of his rival in case they were to one-day meet again. His head would ache in agony with just the thought of being tossed aside for a soccer hooligan that liked to slap up women. In the mean time, Penny continued in a calm yet dominate manner.

“I’ll tell you what will happen, you’ll be fucked. And if you’re married, she’ll be sitting pretty in this palace with the coveted key while you pay for it from the Mark hotel!”

“Stop it!” he hissed.

Through the stained glass doors, his sharp voice pierced Nora’s ears. Penny insisted that she was only looking out for his best interest and that sometimes the truth is not a pretty picture. Jackson, silencing her again, ordered her to leave at once. Penny gathered up her purse and lap top bag.

Turning towards the balcony she started up again, only nastier, “You may have these boys fooled but those fat lips ain’t…”

“Penny, I asked you to go!” Jackson’s shocking volume silenced her.

The heavy black bespoke door shut loudly behind Penny.

“Baby, did you eat today?” his question hung high among the ceiling’s intricate cornices, medallions and moldings.

He joined his future wife on the balcony where her lips trembled and her breath became shorter and shorter.

“You okay, sweetheart?” Jackson reached out to her while she peered over the railing.

She breathed in slowly and watched in envy the few smiling Gramercy residents stroll the sunny streets below. Why was everyone smiling, she thought? The sun mocked her as it warmed her legs. Jackson’s defensive excuses for his high school friend were attempted as calming sentiments but they seemed to only upset her further. She searched the street for an angry pedestrian or someone as ugly as she felt. She agreed with Penny – Jackson was an idiot for taking her back, the four million for the flat, all of it.

Jackson put his long arm around her shoulders, kissed her head lightly and pretended not to see her sick spreading over the tiny balcony floor. He assured her that everything was going to be fine and that with time they could work out their problems. Ashamed of herself, she found solace in an angry man wearing a black and red hooded sweatshirt, a pair of jeans and black and white Vans sneakers. Jackson twirled one of her curls around his long finger and peered down below to what she had fixated on. Nora briefly watched the angry man as he seemed to stomp out large fires then left Jackson alone on the balcony. Too hot in the black and red sweatshirt’s hood, the cynical appearing stranger tore it off his head, and revealed a head full of fiery curly hair.

“Ian,” Jackson said recognizing his rival.

Nora tapped on the glass then carefully cracked open the door, “You okay sweetheart? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

Jackson turned quickly and was stunned at the beautiful vision that would soon be his wife. Her beauty would always take him by surprise, it was her subtle power which she held over him. His head swirled with Penny’s metallic insults.

Grabbing Nora by her tiny waist he said, “Let’s get married,”

“We are baby,” she was perplexed.

“I mean today. Let’s get married today,” Jackson’s voice reverberated through the townhouse.

End Part 2

“Sue Ellen, you’re a drunk, a tramp and an unfit mother.”

My entire inspiration for this blog is rooted in my obsession of the night time 1980’s soap, Dallas!  Loving to hate J.R. Ewing was an international past time. I found this video on You Tube created by Chris Early and uploaded on December 29, 2011. Thank you Chris and I hope my many readers enjoy it!

May Larry Hagman rest in an eternal peace. We thank you for your amazing talent.

Perfect Pop – Part 2

Chapter 16

Frozen Custard

London, 2002

The tired wood floors screamed under his heavy footsteps. Rising slowly, her skin peeled away from the chair’s Naugahyde upholstery. Unfinished and forlorn, the charcoal flannel fabric dropped from the sewing table and joined discarded scraps on the floor.  As she passed the box fan, her white mini skirt blustered madly in the fan’s wind. Too hot to resist, Nora paused, leaned over and let the fan attempt to cool her.  Nigel entered the living room and stopping immediately, watched the skirt teasingly rise and fall against the back of her tan thighs. With the back of his hand, he wiped the tiny beads of sweat that were gathering onto his forehead and continued to spy on her. The creaking board alerted her – she was not alone. While her skirt fought against the fan’s wind, she smiled and apologized. Confused by her apology, he laughed awkwardly and ran his large hands through his thick black hair and asked if Sara was home.

Nora shook her head and continued to battle the fan’s effective blades. Realizing he was a strange man in her home, Nigel stepped towards her, hand extended and introduced himself.

“Nora,” she said taking his hand.

“You’re American?” he asked noticing her black eyes staring though him.

“Yeah, I came to London to study design,” she told him, “please try not to hold that against me.”

Nigel smiled a wide grin and assured her that he was by no means a hater of the Americans. Charmed, she noticed that his teeth were quite nice for an Englishman.

“I am so sorry, can I offer you something cold to drink? I’ve been working all day in this blasted heat, I think it’s starting to affect my brain,” she apologized again and gestured him to follow her.

He desperately tried to ignore his girlfriend’s roommate’s flitting mini skirt as it danced to and fro, barely covering her. In a futile attempt to be a gentleman, he tried to listen to her chatter about a school project, which apparently, she had been working on since the early spring. He learned that at the last-minute, for her final project, she had decided to design a men’s clothing line. Tackling an innovative men’s line, according to her instructor, she gushed, would give her an edge over the rest of the class. Eager to please her mentor, she jumped at the challenge. In hindsight, however, the enormous undertaking, coupled with the heat wave, she mused that she should give up and like Sara, spend all of her time at the pub. He laughed in earnest at her anecdotes but couldn’t help but wonder whether or not he had been stood up.

“My God, it’s wicked hot in here,” she accused and flung open the back door.

“So you attend the institute with Sara, then?” he asked.

“Yep! Actually if it weren’t for her I don’t know how I would afford to live in this city.”

She offered him a cold beer, poured herself some water and suggested that they have their libations on the shaded patio. As the white skirt fluttered gingerly in the tiny breeze, he couldn’t help but wonder if she wore knickers. With moss around its edges, they sat around the cracking wood table on wobbly wire chairs. A small vegetable and flower garden climbed up wood trellises against an ancient stone structure – in another time it had served as a very cramped servant quarters. Presently, Sara, and mostly Nora, used it to store gardening tools and at one time, Sara’s old sewing machines.

“So any idea where she is? We were to meet about 20 minutes ago,” Nigel asked.

Nora sipped her water and recalled the early morning, and informed him that Sara was still in class and would not be home for at least another two hours. And that depended, she added, if she didn’t stop at the pub. Nigel leaned back in his chair carefully, looked up at the blue sky and sighed.

“Shit,” he said flatly, “I’m sorry, it’s just that, I live in Kent and at this time of day, the traffic will be a state.”

Nora made apologies for her housemate and insisted that she needed to take a break so why not spend the afternoon together, at least until Sara returned. Although, tempted by her attractive offer and his need to know if she wore underwear, Nigel insisted that he should go and asked Nora to tell Sara of his visit. He pushed himself up from the miniature patio furniture, thanked her for the beer and walked back into the house. She placed their drinks into the sink and rinsed them thoroughly. She turned to him and suggested that if he liked they could go out for some ice cream. Standing next to Sara’s Aunt Mimi’s French country dining table his eyes wandered away from the skirt and explored her pouty red lips. She scratched her shoulder and smiled.

“Well?” she asked uncomfortably.

Unable to resist watching that mouth eat ice cream, he agreed that a spontaneous outing would be much more pleasant than riding in his hot car. She clapped her hands, like a little girl, then lied that Sara too had been working on a project and with all that she was doing, his visit surely just slipped her mind. She pulled another beer from the fridge and tried to hand it to her guest. With one hand, he took her by the wrist and kissed her mouth.

Surprised, she pushed him, “What are you doing?”

He wiped the kiss from his mouth, “I’m sorry, it’s just that…my God you are gorgeous!” he insisted.

“I know!” she blurted, “My God, that sounded snotty. I mean, you’re gorgeous or handsome…or…No, no I owe Sara my life.”

“She just stood me up and you’re covering for her,” he accused.

She begged him to lay off the dramatics and to join her in some frozen custard or whatever it was that the English called ice cream. Nigel laughed and assured her that the British, as he corrected her, also referred to the frozen treat as ice cream. Whatever, she murmured half smiling.

“Do you have any of your men’s designs finished?”  he asked, “if so, I’d love to see them.”

Nora’s entire body shook when she laughed.  Determined to solve the knickers mystery, he insisted that he was very sincere and curious about her work. Still laughing, she told him to stop fucking with her and started for the front door. Managing to get hold of her thin arm, he pulled her back, lifted the white skirt and touched her bare skin. He buried his face into her  hair and breathed in coconut. Feeling her breath quicken, he quickly ran his hand up her thighs and entered her slowly.

“My designs are upstairs,” she managed to say and lead him by the hand up the narrow staircase.


Previously in Perfect Pop

The presidential election is over so I thought I could follow suit by having a “little election” of my own. Below, take a look back with the following quotes from your favorite or most hated Perfect Pop characters.

Send me a line telling me which stories you love, hate or think…why’d she even bother. If anyone is actually reading this ;-), once I tally the thousands of votes, for your viewing pleasure, I will post them!

The poles are open!

Thanks for reading!

Chpt 1 Lizard Lady:  “You have no right to know what he said, you cracked dried witch!” he finished. Paulie to Nora

Chpt 2 Always: Flowers would be worse than the slap she’d already been given. Jewelry or a new dress, I’d only destroy again. And sorry was a pathetic man’s excuse – my excuse. Ian about Nora

Chpt 3 Pinhead: Jackson eyed his competition, then slapped it out of Nora’s hand. The white salad plate lost its balance causing spoonfuls of sauerkraut, now stained with mustard, black slices of bread, and the greasy meat and cheese pile to splatter senselessly onto the cold stone floor.

Chpt 4 The King: He was not in the mood to negotiate nor was he ever going to let that Irish mongrel get away with destroying his life.  Robbie Johns to Nora about Ian

Chpt 5 Kimono Tease: Dropping down on one knee, he asked her to become his bride. Nora pulled her lazy kimono tightly about her then slammed the champagne. Wiping her tears she leaned over wrapped her arms around Jackson’s neck and assured him that she wanted nothing more than to become his wife. Nora to Jackson

Chpt 6 (pt 1) December: Prospect Park: “I know he’s your brother mate, but to come out onto the Holy Grail and play pansy with his new boyfriend, it just ain’t right, is it?”

Holding himself firmly, Ian shifted himself left, and pissed down the front of George. Ian and George at a football match. 

Chpt 6 (pt 2) December: No Sleep ‘til Park Slope: Hearing his sweet invitation, she was tempted to say yes and end the entire charade with Jackson. She imagined running off to the green hills of Ireland, eating and fucking their way across it. Nora after Ian’s Christmas invitation.

Chpt 7 Happy Christmas: “If you want my advice, I think you should keep her. She looks good on your arm and her ambiguous ethnicity still keeps you in the game,” Penny Dresser illustrated to Jackson then wound her thick blonde hair into a messy bun. Penny to Jackson after Nora is found cheating

Chpt 8 Bed-Stuy, Do or Die: “And who did you think of when you let me stick my hands up ya, only minutes after watching me assault your fiancé?” he accused, “admit who you are and spare the rest of us your bullshit!” Ian to Nora

Chpt 9 Fantasy Football “What?” she interrupted,”you mean to tell me that you went to jail over a made up football league?” Nora to Ian after she bailed him out of jail.

Chpt 10 The Realm: “I want to be responsible for putting someone on the map. I want to be the catalyst in transforming a career, a life,” he spoke as a philanthropist. Robbie Johns about Nora

Chpt 10 The Realm: “I see the way you look at her,” she interrupted, “don’t you even try to deny it. At Christmas time, condoning her sort of behaviour and what exactly for I am still not sure of. Is that what you want, to have an affair?” Sara accused. Sara to Nigel about Nora

Chpt 11 The First Snow: …he looked down in horror to see his girlfriend cowering under him. Ian after hitting Nora

Chpt 12 Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: … it was a good thing that I was a beautiful child because God had left me with little else. Nora’s mother about Nora

Chpt 12 Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Staring at the startled look in the mirror, I had hoped that the water, like the pink suds, would have washed away the red and bruises. Nora after waking up atEvan and Paulie’s

Chpt 13 Batboy: “Well maybe you’ll think of that the next time you bury your fist into someone’s face,” Evan hissed. Evan to Ian (while in jail)

Chpt 13 Batboy: He pressed his face to her nose and mouth; she was barely breathing. He called 911. Jackson to Nora

Chpt 14 (pt 1) St. Mary’s: Her stomach was pumped of its entire contents, alcohol and xanax. About Nora

Chpt 14 (pt 2) AT&T: …”I had fooled myself into thinking that his unbridled anger was what made him a man.” Eva St. Clair when firing Nora

Chpt 14 (pt 2) AT&T: The two fell over and landed in a heap on the ground. Rising to her knees, Sara got hold of Nora underneath her arms and tried dragging her down the street. Nora and Sara fighting

Chpt 15 Down and Out in Gramercy Park: “I threw you away like you were nothing. I let you murder our child. How is it then that when you see me, you can manage a smile?” Nigel asked and offered her the drink. Nigel to Nora

A Bad Eulogy

It’s been over two weeks since I posted. My father died very recently and I am still trying to get over the shock. It’s too soon for my head to accept our loss but I can say, I am very very sad and unable to put my thoughts right. I tried to write something in this blog while on a brief stop over at the Charlotte, NC airport. As I read it now, it doesn’t make much sense.

One never admits that death is a major inconvenience for the living. One would be considered callous or unfeeling rather than practical or honest. My father died Monday, September 10th. I live on the West Coast, got the news around midnight. My previous post mentioned that we were moving as well so now we are moving and, I, sans husband, are going to the service in Cincinnati, OH.

The mind is a very smart machine as it remembers how to departmentalize horrors and happiness. At times those are the same feeling but still the mind can differentiate. I’m still a tad bit in shock and am not sure that what i’m writing is making any sense.

Folks seemed to shed their skin when faced with another death – a need to embrace and try to erase the loss. I’m told that I need to choose between something that keeps me happy vs. someone that keeps me happy. Of course the someone is more important worth a mountain more yet to be asked to limit one love for another; one in which infidelity is not an option, and the other keeps the other from the grave is a struggle. My eyes are sturggling to keep open.

I’m not sure what half of those paragraphs mean or meant. Maybe I should’ve kept it to myself? – a little late for that. Well, I promised myself that I would get back to my story this week. For now I’ll embrace my good memories of papa and do what millions seem to do everyday, live with it.

Perfect Pop: Part 2

Chapter 15

Down and Out in Gramercy Park

Too drunk to remember Paulie and Evan’s apartment number, while she buzzed every tenant’s residence, her bare legs shivered, knocking together.

“Hello?” a tenant answered.

“Evan Smith? Evan?” she drunkenly slurred.

The tenant disconnected and on she went to the next, demanding Evan. Light flurries swirled out of the white snow clouds and disappeared onto the street. The graying evening carried promise to warm up the city’s stinging cold. Arm and arm, two men walked past the screaming diminutive drunk and insisted that she stay off the crack and get out of Woodside. Ignoring the cold and the taunts, Nora continued to buzz apartments and holler Evan’s name.

Sara lay on the tall bed while Nigel pressed an ice pack on her scraped bruised knees and listened to her lament of the late morning.

“I’m just glad you were able to get away,” Sara said relieved.

“Well, he needed to rehearse; Dirty Herberts are playing Madison Square Garden in a few days,” Nigel revealed.

He adjusted the ice packs and promised his wife that everything would be okay but she would need to be patient. Sara abruptly popped up onto her elbows and claimed that her patience had been worn thin.

“She’s in-love with a man who beats her! How in the hell am I to understand or accept that?”

Nigel cleared his throat and spoke slowly, “I didn’t say you were to accept it only that you be patient with her. She’s just been through an incredible ordeal and she needs us right now.”

She pushed him and the ice from her knees and got off of the bed. From the bar, she poured herself a straight scotch and watched the flurries dissipate outside the window. Her reflection in the dark window, revealed her mussed ponytail and tired eyes. She pushed hair behind her ears and with her fingers combed her bangs. Giving up, she tore the rubber band from her hair and finished her scotch.

“You weren’t there Nigel, you haven’t seen what she’s become,” Sara said.

Not convinced, Nigel reiterated that she be patient and joined her for a drink. He noticed Sara’s long thin neck, a feature he had always found attractive, and stroked it with his fingers. Brushing him away she went on to explain how Nora had purposely destroyed her phone and that her not eating was an age-old trick she used to grab at attention. Sara insisted that Nora didn’t need friends, she needed a bloody head shrink.

“Do you hear yourself?” Nigel asked, “Jesus shitting Christ you can be so- ”

“Practical. I’m only being practical,” she interrupted and continued, “you don’t know her like I do, you never lived with, that. Nora can be a black cloud that loves to rain on everyone else’s parade. Well, you were there; you remember when we first started dating. Oh God! She would become so gloomy the moment I mentioned your coming over or us going out or whatever. It got to the point that I felt I had to invite her on our dates! Surely you remember.”

Nigel disagreed, “Well, I don’t know about that, but she was a foreigner in England and from what I recall, she was always working.”

“You bloody men see a gorgeous face and it can do no wrong.”

“Oh c’mon, that’s not fair,” Nigel offered.

“Fair or not, it’s bloody true. Look, I’m to meet my Auntie Judy in less than an hour, I have to get ready,” Sara said and started for the bathroom.

Finishing his drink, Nigel asked if she wanted him to join her and his in-law. Sara insisted that Auntie Judy would certainly frown upon the fact that he had obviously been drinking. Rather than argue with her about his tolerance for booze, Nigel refilled his tumbler and got comfortable on the couch.

Pulling up his collar, the cold flurries, now a light cold drizzle, dripped down his neck. He hurried up the sidewalk and was met with Nora’s screams.

“Evan!” she yelled, “where is he goddamn it! You have no-“ she noticed Evan and stopped.

Wiping the tiny water drops from her face she marched towards him and asked softly, “Evan, please tell me where he is, please?”

He walked passed her and went to open the apartment’s security door. Nora quickly put herself between him and the door and insisted that he tell her of Ian’s whereabouts.

“Shut up!” he hissed, “he’s gone and he wants nothing more to do with you!”

“That’s not true and you know it,” she said, “Please Evan, don’t do this.”

“Go to hell!”

He tried to grab onto her waist but Nora struggled causing him to stumble off of the step. Unable to secure her footing, Nora tripped over him and landed on her butt on the damp sidewalk.

“Stay away from my family,” he warned and slammed the door.

When they had first arrived to New York, Sara complained that the large hotels made her miss England and didn’t make her feel welcomed or comfortable. She and Nigel had spent the first week looking at boutique hotels until Sara finally changed her tune and they settled on 450 square foot hotel room at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Nigel thought of that now as he sat buzzed in the second out of four rooms of their deluxe suite.

Wrapped in a white spa robe, Sara, combing her wet hair, emerged from the bedroom. She joined him on the couch and kissed his cheek.

“What was that for?” he asked.

Sara shrugged and replied, “I dunno, can’t I kiss my husband?”

Nigel kissed her neck and slid his hand inside of her robe and played with her small nipples. He loosened the sash on her robe and felt her legs open up slightly. He tried to lift her onto his lap but was stopped.

“Nigel, not right now, I’m already late,” she claimed and jumped off of the couch.

Nigel sipped his drink and switched on the television. Curious, he watched, Phineas and Ferb work their genius on a coffee-making contraption. Overhearing Nigel’s laughter at the animated series, Sara asked what on earth he was watching.

“Nothing,” he answered and topped off his scotch.

“Okay, the cab is probably already downstairs,” she said entering the room.

She kissed his cheek, promised him a rain check and hurried out of the room.

The loud pounding on the door startled Nigel awake. He had fallen asleep in the bedroom watching a marathon of Phineas and Ferb. The pounding continued. He groggily crossed from the bedroom through the large living area, down the long hallway and opened the door. Shivering, with bleeding scraped knees and chattering teeth, like a child, Nora stood on the other side and asked to see Sara.

“My God, what happened to you?” Nigel asked and by her arm, led her into the room.

“Is she not here?” she asked trying to resist him.

Nigel shook his head and asked that she please come into the room. He watched her long legs wobble across the beige carpet and noticed how thin she had become. Her dark curls were brittle and frizzy against her sallow skin. He offered her a cup of hot tea and insisted that she change into some of Sara’s clothing. Nora insisted that she needn’t be long and that she would take a cab home.

“Your lips are blue. There isn’t a chance in hell that I’m letting you leave this hotel until you’ve had a chance to warm up. You got it?” he threatened playfully.

He offered her his complementary robe and let her take a long hot shower. Donning Sara’s slippers, Nora returned to the empty living area and noticed on the small bar, a white teapot and cup. While she poured herself some tea she called out for Nigel. He quickly returned explaining that he had made up the extra room in case she decided to stay the night. Insisting that she would be out of his hair shortly, the hot tea burned her tongue.

“You’re really no bother, my wife has run off to spend the evening with an in-law that loathes me and I’ve resorted to falling asleep in front of cartoons. So you’re company may in fact redeem my  loathsome evening,” he said smiling.

Finding comfort in his familiar charms, she sat on the couch and relaxed. Nora watched him fumble with the bottle’s cap and noticed as he approached her, his slight stagger caused much of her drink to spill onto the carpet. Surprised at her feeling a tinge of shame, she laughed nervously.

“Your room is larger than my studio,” she spoke quickly, “I adore Gramercy Park. It’s always been my dream to own a townhouse here or something.”

“It’s a little large for my taste but Gramercy is lovely,” he muttered and sloppily seated himself.

“So, Robbie Johns doesn’t have you slaving tonight? Sara said that you are constantly working,” she asked taking her glass and setting it on the table.

“Oh yeah! He’s an over ambitious tyrant! I mean…he’s brilliant…but Jesus he can be a prick!” he blurted.

“I’m sure Sara gave you the low-down on our tiff this morning,” she said changing the subject.

He nodded then burst into a loud laugh. Confused, Nora sat quietly and finished her tea.

“I’m sorry, but I’d have killed to be a patron at that café. Simply priceless.”

She slapped his leg and insisted that it was not funny. Sara, she was sure hated her and because of the fight, her tights had been ruined and that probably had cost her, her job. Interrupting, he explained how it had been difficult for him to take his wife seriously as all he could imagine was she on her knees dragging Nora down the street.

“Oh stop it!” Nora ordered half-smiling.

“Wait. What do you mean you lost your job?” Nigel asked.

She shrugged and joked that the fashion world was apparently made up of conservative right-wingers rather than the God-hating, flag-burning liberals that everyone had thought it was. Apparently, according to Ms. Eva St. Claire, her lifestyle was too controversial.

“Your lifestyle?” he argued.

“I don’t know, it’s been a crap day,” she said, “and I have no idea how I ended up at Evan’s.”

She clarified for Nigel, Evan’s role in her daily sagas. Trying to salvage her self – respect, she joked how she had become the lead character of a Lifetime Movie drama. A joke wasted on a straight male, she rose and asked if she could borrow some of his wife’s clothing so she could go home.

“Are you leaving already?” Nigel asked.

“I need to sleep or this pity party is gonna get much worse,” she admitted.

“Here, at least have one drink and then we’ll call it a night,” he suggested.

They sat on the couch in a comfortable silence. Nigel rose to the window and reported that the snow had officially turned to rain.

“I didn’t have any dinner, are you hungry?” he asked

Before she could answer, Nigel was on the phone with room service, ordering burgers, fries and another bottle of scotch.

“Nigel, I’m not that hungry, I’m going to go, okay?” she asked standing.

“Please Nora, you are practically skin and bone,” he observed.

Embarrassed, she quickly scurried off into the bedroom. Vanishing into the gaping walk-in closet, her head spun wildly at the amount of clothing Sara had acquired. Many of the items, she noticed, still included their price tags. Settling on an old Juicy Couture tracksuit, one, which Nora was certain, had belonged to her at one time, she reappeared from the closet. Pulling the pants on, underneath the robe, she nearly fell over on her face. He entered the room and set her drink on the bureau, she turned her back and allowed the spa robe to fall to the floor. The tight velour jacket barely stretched over her large breasts – probably the reason she had given the jacket to Sara. He pressed his body against her back and wrapped his hand softly around her neck and unzipped the jacket. His large hands quickly covered her body and held her to him. Too weak to struggle, she allowed him to kiss and feel her. Feeling her listless malnourished frame, he stopped.

“Jesus, I’m sorry,” he said and as if at gunpoint, he held his hands up in the air and backed away from her, “I threw you away like you were nothing. I let you murder our child. How is it then that when you see me, you can manage a smile?” Nigel asked and offered her the drink.

The warm scotch soothed her achy fatigue and caused her head to swell. The large hail, beating against the windows, was deafening.

Facing him, her jacket still open, she answered, “I said it then and I’ll say it now, I’d do anything for you.”

A knock and a strong voice sounded at the door, “Room service.”