If You Only Knew Page 2

He agreed, and I can still see his omnipresent, sweet smile, the Dr. Perfect Smile, as I called it. It’s his resting expression. Very reassuring to his patients, I’m sure. Owen is a plastic surgeon, the kind who fixes cleft palates and birthmarks and changes the lives of his patients. Ana-Sofia, who is from Peru and speaks five languages, met Owen eleven weeks after our divorce when he was doing his annual stint with Doctors Without Borders in the Sudan and she was digging wells.

And I make wedding dresses, as I believe I’ve already said. Listen, it’s not as shallow as it sounds. I make women look the way they dreamed they would on one of the happiest days of their lives. I make them cry at their own reflections. I give them the dress they’ve spent years thinking about, the dress they’ll be wearing when they pledge their hearts, the dress they’ll pass on to their own daughters someday, the dress that signifies all their hopes and dreams for a happy, sparkling future.

But compared with what Owen and his second wife do, yeah, it’s incredibly shallow.

In theory, I should hate them both. No, he didn’t cheat with her. He’s far too decent for that.

He loves her, though. Ostensibly, I could hate him for loving her and not me. Make no mistake. I was heartbroken. But I can’t hate Owen, or Ana-Sofia. They’re too damn nice, which is incredibly inconsiderate of them.

And being Owen’s friend is better than being without Owen entirely.

The quilt has made the rounds of admiration and is passed back to Ana. She strokes it tenderly, then looks at me with tears in her eyes. “I don’t have the words to tell you how much this means.”

Oh, shut up, I want to say. I forgot to buy you a gift and dashed this off last night with some leftover Duchess satin. It’s no big deal.

“Hey, no worries,” I say. I’m often glib and stupid around Ana-Sofia. Andreas hands me another cream puff. I may have to give him a raise.

“I’m so excited about your new shop,” Ana continues. “Owen and I were talking about how talented you are just last night.”

Andreas gives me a significant look and rolls his eyes. He has no problem hating Ana-Sofia and Owen, which I appreciate. I smile and take another sip of my mimosa, which is made with blood oranges and really good champagne.

If I’m ever pregnant, though the chances of that are plummeting by the hour, I imagine I’ll have the unenviable “I sat on an air hose” look that my sister had when she was percolating the triplets. There was no glow. There was acne. Stretch marks that made her look as if she’d been mauled by a Bengal tiger. She gnashed on Tums and burped constantly, but in true Rachel fashion, my sister never complained.

Ana-Sofia glows. Her perfect olive skin is without a blemish or, indeed, a visible pore. Her boobs look fantastic, and though she is eight and a half months pregnant, her baby bump is modest and perfectly round. She has no cankles. Life is so unfair.

“We just found out that our daughter’s classmate is her half brother,” says the taller woman in Lesbian Couple #1. One of them just became a partner in Owen’s practice, but I don’t remember her name. “Imagine if we hadn’t known that! She could’ve ended up dating her half brother! Marrying him! The fertility clinic gave out fourteen samples of that donor’s sperm. We’re filing a lawsuit.”

“It’s better than adopting,” says another woman. “My sister? She and her husband had to give back their son the fourth time he set fire to the living room.”

“That’s not so bad. My cousin adopted, and then the birth mother came out of rehab and the judge gave her custody of the baby. After two years, mind you.”

On the other side of the circle, there seems to be a heated debate over whose labor and delivery was most grueling. “I almost died,” one woman says proudly. “I looked at my husband and told him I loved him, and the next thing I knew, the crash cart was there...”

“I was in labor for three days,” another states. “I was like a wild animal, clawing at the sheets.”

“Emergency cesarean eight weeks early, no anesthesia,” someone else says proudly. “My daughter weighed two pounds. NICU, fifty-seven days.”

And we have a winner! The other mothers shoot her resentful looks. Talk turns to food allergies, vaccines, family beds and the sad dearth of gifted and talented programs for preschoolers.

“This is fun,” I murmur to Ana-Sofia.

“Oh, yes,” she says. Irony is not one of her skills. “I’m so glad you are here, Jenny. Thank you for giving up your afternoon! You must be very busy with the move.”

“You’re moving?” one of her extremely beautiful and well-educated friends asks. “Where?”

“Cambry-on-Hudson,” I answer. “I grew up there. My sister and her family are—”

“Oh, my God, you’re leaving Manhattan? Will you have to get a car? Are there any restaurants there? I couldn’t live without Zenyasa Yoga.”

“You still go to Zenyasa?” someone says. “I’ve moved on. It’s Bikram Hot for me. I saw Neil Patrick Harris there last week.”

“I don’t do yoga anymore,” a blonde woman says, studying a raspberry. “I joined a trampoline studio over on Amsterdam. Sarah Jessica Parker told me about it.”

“What about brunch?” someone asks me, her brow wrinkling in concern. “What will you do for brunch if you leave the city?”

“I think brunch is illegal outside Manhattan,” I answer gravely. No one laughs. They may think I’m telling the truth.

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