Crazy rich, p.1
Crazy Rich, p.1Meta Smith
Copyright ©2012 Méta Smith
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Peyton Chandler took a final sip of her Pellegrino as her Town Car pulled in front of an intimidating fortress on the Upper East Side called the Carlyle Building. Peyton checked her make-up in her compact mirror while she waited for the chauffeur to open her door. This was it. Today, she was going to seal the biggest deal of her career. She had to look perfect. She did look perfect.
“You’ve got this,” she told herself. “Everything’s totally under control.”
Peyton slid gracefully from the supple, dove-gray, leather interior and walked toward the skyscraper with the confident, elegant strides of a runway model.
“Avery!” she called out to a tall, svelte woman emerging from the building. The woman struggled with three Hermes dog leashes, trying to regain control of a hyperactive trio of yapping Bichon Frises that ran around her feet. A man wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a suit two sizes too large trailed in their wake, carrying Avery’s purse.
“Peyton, ma cherie! How are you darling? Bisou, bisou!” Avery greeted Peyton with an air kiss on each cheek. “You look absolutely marvelous! And so tan! You look practically like a Zulu! Have you been in St. Maarten?”
“I haven’t been anywhere,” Peyton told her. “Remember, we had lunch two days ago.”
“Oh, how I love St. Maarten! Fabulous beaches,” Avery enthused, ignoring Peyton’s reply. “And well-endowed natives galore!” she added in a stage whisper through clenched teeth, followed by raucous laughter. “I went there after the divorce. Anonymous sex can be so therapeutic.”
Peyton jolted at Avery’s declaration. Avery didn’t flinch nor did her escort, who stood silently behind her, seemingly content to hold her handbag and have his ankles attacked by the dogs. One of the dogs lifted its leg and started to pee on his foot. The man gave the dog a little kick and then shook his foot vigorously attempting to flick off the urine.
“Would you stop agitating the dogs, Stuart? You know how testy they are in the morning,” Avery snapped at the man. “Oh dear, where are my manners? Have you met my fiancé, Dr. Stuart Nussbaum? He’s Jewish darling. Isn’t it a scream?” Avery roared. “He had a Bat Mitzvah and wears one of those chic, little satin hats and everything!”
“Bar Mitzvah. Girls have Bat Mitzvahs,” Stuart said, gently correcting Avery.
“Right darling,” Avery said, waving Stuart off. She turned to Peyton. “Isn’t he an absolute scream?”
“I believe we met at the benefit for the Haitian Amputees,” Peyton said extending her hand and shaking Stuart’s.
“It’s a pleasure to-”Stuart began.
“Ah yes, Haiti. I remember it well,” Avery interjected, cutting off her fiancé. “I had so much fun at Father’s compound running nude through the brush, climbing coconut palms and weaving baskets of straw with my nanny. I did that well into my teen years you know, until I grew interested in more than one of Father’s stable hands. They were quite interested in me too. I took several of them as lovers. Oh, did I have fun then! You couldn’t have told me that I’d enjoy something more than basket weaving in Haiti. But I did! Then AIDS came along. Dreaded.”
Peyton jolted again. All this talk of Zulus and natives and Haitian stable hands was so unlike Avery.
“Well Avery, I think we should get going. We don’t want to leave the co-op board waiting,” Peyton said, ushering Avery, Stuart and the dogs to the car.
Once they were all inside and en route to their destination Peyton observed with professionally detached curiosity as Avery and Stuart canoodled. Avery looked blissfully happy, but Peyton could see that beneath the carefully polished veneer of one of Manhattan’s most well-known socialites, was a woman on the brink. She had witnessed the disintegration of more than one well-heeled, Park Avenue Princess’ marriage, and had watched many women drink and drug themselves into oblivion as a result of being suddenly single. Avery’s situation was different however. Peyton was sure that Avery wasn’t abusing any illicit substances but something was definitely amiss.
Peyton liked Avery. After Peyton helped Avery find an investment home in the Hamptons, her career had flourished, not to mention her bank account because Avery gave Peyton countless referrals. And if Avery liked you, everyone liked you. Avery lavished Peyton with designer clothes, jewelry and various other trinkets, “just because”. Peyton admired Avery’s lack of materialism and her selflessness and grew to view her as more than just a client; she was a friend with fabulous benefits.
Avery could afford to be generous. Worth an estimated $70 billion, her family pioneered the publishing industry in the northeast, though it was rumored that there had been a rum-runner or two hiding in her family tree. For years Avery had been as noted for her beauty and social grace as she had been for her money, and as the queen of the Manhattan philanthropic set she was no stranger to Page Six or Vogue Magazine’s society pages. She was an absolute media darling and a class act all the way. Never gauche or publicity hungry, Avery could teach the most discerning and cultured socialite a thing or two.
Avery met her former husband Warner Reynolds while at Harvard, and the duo seemed unshakable, producing four darling children and many legendary dinner parties. But, it all ran amuck once Warner retired early from his family’s brokerage and went through a mid-life crisis. Avery was fine with her husband’s flashy new wardrobe, the exotic cars and the trips to the islands with mistresses. She didn’t make a fuss because Warner always fancied himself a bit of a playboy. He could live out his boyhood fantasies of manifesting the spirit of Hugh Hefner, just as long as he didn’t leave her or have a love child. They had an image to uphold, and tarnishing that image would undoubtedly shake the Manhattan social structure to the core. But when Warner met Bambi, within six months Avery found herself with a generous divorce settlement and the heavy burden of shame that often accompanies being left for a much younger woman.
“Avery is strong,” people whispered behind her back. “A woman like her won’t stay single for long.” And they were right. Shortly after Bambi and Warner announced their engagement and the impending birth of their first child, Avery announced that she and the city’s top fertility doctor Stuart Nussbaum were to marry. Avery’s profile soared higher. She was a model of strength. She handled the tabloids and her circle of friends with elegance and dignity. She’d moved on with style, triumphing over adversity. Now, Avery and Stuart were in the market for new digs, and had their hearts set on a Fifth Avenue pre-war.
“Avery, must we bring these dogs everywhere?” Stuart whined as the pooch perched on his lap grabbed a hold of his cuff between its tiny, pointed teeth, and began to chew at it with vigor.
“Don’t mind Stuart,” Avery said to Peyton, ignoring him.
“Actually he has a point,” Peyton offered gently, thinking that she’d make a coat with the dogs’ hides if they made a mess in her car. She regretted what she knew she had to suggest.
“I think we should leave the dogs in the car for the interview. While your beautiful dogs meet the co-op requirements, we wouldn’t want anything unfortunate to happen. Sometimes pets can become a bit skittish during these things.” Peyton could gauge from Avery’s reaction that she did not want to leave the dogs in the car. “They’re so much like children,” she added in an effort to please her client. “You wouldn’t subject your babies to a co-op board, would you?”
“You wouldn’t leave
Peyton looked to Dr. Nussbaum to rescue her. Cuckolded wimp! He couldn’t even meet her gaze. He simply stared out the window blankly.
“You’re right, Avery. You wouldn’t leave your children in any old car. But this is a Town Car. We’ll put on some Brahms and pour them some nice cool water. Do they prefer tap or spring?” Peyton asked Avery.
“Spring, naturally,” Avery replied.
“Naturally. We’ll pour them some nice cool water and the driver will keep an eagle eye on them. We’ll adjust the temperature for their comfort. They’ll be fine. They’re survivors, just like their mommy.” Peyton concluded. Avery smiled at this.
Avery clutched the pooches to her bosom as if they were
Crazy Rich by Meta Smith / Humor have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on36 votes