Allison Parker never trusted men who looked better in pink than she did. Especially when they were telling her that despite eight million people living in New York City, half of them men, there wasn't a single guy alive who might want to be with her.
"I don't get love from you, honey, nope, sorry. There's no man on the horizon," Beckwith Tripp, psychic extraordinaire, said. "Just totally not happening. Like, just let it go."
In case she hadn't gotten the correct impression that she was Not Finding Love, he definitely made sure to drill it home. She rolled her eyes at him. "Got it."
"But I do see financial independence."
She stared across the high top table at Beckwith, the alleged psychic. Her roommate Jamie had befriended him a year earlier and Allison had to admit, she'd grown quite fond of him, appreciating that he didn't give a crap what anyone thought. He was a loud and proud drag queen, and he had a palpable exuberance for life, but Allison wasn't sure she believed in the whole seeing the future thing. "So basically what you're telling me is everyone else finds love and I am going to die alone in a basement apartment in Queens with a bunch of money stuffed under my mattress. Awesome."
Beckwith paused with his martini glass halfway to his lips. He was wearing head—to—toe Chanel from a rent the runway website along with a disapproving stare. Even old ladies on the Upper East Side couldn't compete with the patronizing disdain he could display when his predictions weren't taken seriously. Usually by her. Everyone else seemed to be willing to swallow the concept of a six foot four ex—con having knowledge of events that hadn't taken place yet. Her? Not so much.
"Well, aren't we bitter, hmm?" he asked. "Don't worry, I don't get Queens from you." His eyebrow raised. "Which is ironic, when you think about it. Me, not getting Queens? Lord, I amuse myself. Anyhoo, I see a condo in Jersey City. So at least you get a view. And didn't I just say financial independence? Hello, most people would kill for a little cheddar in the bank."
"That sounds wonderful," Jamie said, her head bobbing significantly enough to make her auburn curls bounce. "See, I knew talking to Beckwith would make you feel better."
Said her best friend who was living with a millionaire boyfriend in Tribeca. Jamie had forfeited her right to be positive about Allison's love life when she had moved in with Jonathon and spent record amounts of time blushing over how happy she was and how good their sex was and how sweet and kind and generous he was. Blah, blah, blah. Was Allison deeply and genuinely happy for Jamie? Of course she was. But it made her attempts to cheer Allison up feel vaguely like pity, and that was a hell no.
"He just told me there is no love in my future." This wasn't news, precisely. But if someone was going to blow smoke up her ass, it should be a goddamn London fog. Like gushing promises of Mr. Hottie Hot Pants and how he was going to whisk her away to Paris for fashion week and let her pick out anything she wanted. Not "everything is totally going to suck, but you'll have a good friend in Morgan Stanley."
Beckwith could at least have the decency to make shit up.
Maybe having this conversation on a Sunday night was a bad idea. She had worked all weekend again, as usual, and she was tired. Tired of her boss, tired of battling rude people on the subway, tired of the rain, and tired of walking past storefronts filled with beautiful clothes she could not afford and most likely never would. Wait a minute. Maybe old Beckwith was on to something. If she gave up the idea of a boyfriend, would karma reward her with a fat paycheck? She could sleep surrounded by Michael Kors handbags. That was almost as good as sex.
"He didn't say ever," Jamie corrected, "just not now." Someone bumped Jamie's chair, and she turned to readjust her bag hanging off the frame.
The bar was crowded, which was typical for anywhere that served decent drinks. Allison was drinking a Moscow Mule because she liked to hold the copper cup. It seemed appropriate for October. Jamie favored drinks that were glorified sugar water, but in recent months Allison had been going for booze that grew chest hair. If she was going to drink, she wanted to taste the liquor. Her days of downing them in three minutes flat were over. Now she focused on the taste of the cocktail, nursing it slowly. She'd reached the age where she had learned to savor.
That was about all she could say she had achieved. She had learned to drink. Time to call her parents and brag.
She was twenty—seven and she had done nothing she had said she wanted to do. Where was the prestigious job in the fashion industry? Nonexistent. She worked retail.
The fabulous husband who adored her? Still looking, thanks. Which was a waste of time, according to Beckwith.
"I don't even really care," she said, which was only a half—truth. "I have bigger fish to fry. Like the fact that my cell phone is threatening to be shut off because of non—payment, I have nowhere to live, and last night I found a fucking gray hair on my head. These are real problems. Not worrying about happily ever after with a man."
"Did you just do a one—eighty?" Beckwith said, lifting his olive to his lips, and doing something so nasty to it with his tongue that it made her want to start a Save the Pimentos foundation.
He was right. She had. Damn it. "So I want a guy in my life, so what? It would be nice to get laid every once in a while."
"You don't need love to do that," he said shortly. "Trust me on this. I've done the research."
That made her smile. "Okay, I sound like a bitch, I admit it. I just had another run—in with my boss and I'm just over everything. I need a massage or something, only that requires me to pay for it, which makes it impossible. It doesn't seem like love or money is in my future, and I'm just tired. Exhausted. I need a nap and a life plan."