Consider this BEYOND a rough draft. A snapshot of something I started.......
Laila tapped on her Blackberry slowly as she leaned against the reception desk at Blake Hill Galleries on the corner of 77th and Madison. “Sweetie, you need to get rid of those things, they cause premature aging” Susan Keates strolled through the pristine glass door and narrowed her blue eyes at her friend. Almost thirty years older than the petite brunette – but not looking a single day over 35, the blonde curator took Laila’s Blackberry away and tossed it into her purse. “You get it back after we eat” she sighed, ushering her out of the door.
“Yes, mom” Laila mocked, her laughter echoing through the gallery halls. They stepped out onto the sunny street and looked around.
“You’re glowing” Susan murmured as she hailed a cab gracefully, her blonde hair blowing across her face. Laila squinted at her slowly.
“You always glow after you shop. It’s your trademark, honey” Laila exploded in laughter as they got into the cab and directed him to Asia de Cuba.
“You caught me. I went to see Mona. I got THE hottest red dress for Ella’s party tonight.”
“I love Mona – I’d marry her if it was legal in New York.”
“You’re already married” Laila reminded Susan, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips.
“Sure. But in no way is Kevin as useful as Mona is!” Even the cab driver laughed at the statement. Susan tucked her Versace sunglasses into her bag and smoothed her hair. Their friendship was an odd one. What seemed like ages ago, Laila’s best friend from college, Owen, had dated Susan. At first, Laila disapproved over their age difference and, of course, Susan’s marital status. But when Owen took them both to Saks and they fawned over the same Michael Kors bag, their friendship blossomed. And when Owen died in a car accident the night before his 25th birthday, the two women sat in the ER waiting room holding hands - and in that stunned silence, a powerful bond was formed. They were confidants; seeking comfort in each other when life became too rough. Susan encouraged Laila to overlook the age difference with Walker and give him a chance, and in turn, Laila encouraged Susan to work on her marriage. Through the men and the style seasons, they stayed friends and every year on Owen’s birthday they went to visit his grave with a bottle of tequila and a special box filled with all of their favorite photos from the year to “show” him. And now, communication was daily; between phone calls, e-mails, texts and meetings, Laila was never hesitant to say that Susan was her best friend.
“I saw Alex this week. First time in ages. He looks so…haggared.” Laila spoke between bites of calamari salad.
“And was he drooling over you? Eyes glazed over?” Susan laughed.
“If you can’t see that he is completely and totally in lust with you, then you’re blind, babe.” Laila ate her salad in deep thought for a moment.
“Theirs is a very…unsettling marriage” she finally spoke.
“Why? Because they clearly do NOT love each other right now?”
“Well…yes. I love Walker. And Walker loves me. And…I just feel like…”
“Not all marriages are black and white. Some people stay together because it’s better than being alone. Doesn’t mean they didn’t love each other at one time” Susan swallowed the last of her Diet Coke and leaned back in her seat.
“I know that. But they WERE so happy. And then everything went downhill from there so quickly.”
“I’m going to take a shot and say that it was Cassie’s weekend in the Hamptons with Jack Knoller? That about the time?” Laila thought for a moment and nodded slowly. Jack Knoller was a famed mystery novelist with sandy blonde hair that fell over his wicked blue eyes. His body was a perfectly sculpted gym body, with a perfectly sculpted model always hanging off of it. Cassie knew Jack from college, and they’d always kept in touch. Last summer after his book tour in Europe ended, he returned to New York and invited Cassie up to his house in East Hampton.
“Oh my god…do you think they…”
“I know Jack. He’s a great writer, but he’s a notorious womanizer. And I’ll bet anything that Alex found out.” Susan shook her head.
“Did you know all this time and not tell me?!” Laila gasped after a moment of processing.
“I figured you two were friends, and if that was the case, she would have told you something.”
“Well, shit. Explains so much. Oh my god. I wonder if that’s why everything went sour because…she and Jack got dirty…”
“Well, things will sweeten up tonight. Jack’s going to be at Ella’s party.”
“Oh..ehm..gee” Laila gasped and ate her salad in silence for a moment. “Why would Alex stay with her if she cheated?” Susan smiled across at Laila for a moment.
“Everyone has their own secrets, Laila. Maybe Alex isn’t as innocent as you’d like to think?”
“You are one wise Yoda” Laila murmured in awe. Susan laughed and swiped the bill before Laila could reach for it.
“You have much to learn, Little Grasshopper” she smiled and stuck her platinum American Express into the leather folder and handed it to the waiter. “And much will be learned tonight” she arched an eyebrow and sighed.