Chapter 7 — Broken Pieces of Tomorrow

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An extract of a fun girlie chapter where Georgia escapes to New York with her best friend Thalia...she let's her hair down and does lots of thinking about her marriage and life and her feelings.

A few months passed and the girls’ trip to New York was almost upon them. Thalia had been very persuasive and eventually Georgia, having discussed it at length with Nicolas and her mum, and with Nicolas’s permission albeit somewhat half-heartedly at first, had agreed to take the four day trip in celebration of Thalia’s thirtieth birthday the following Easter.

 In the final few weeks leading up to their departure Georgia wondered whether she made the right decision but knew she could not back out. On the one hand she was looking forward to escaping the everyday and on the other hand she worried about leaving the boys and leaving Nicolas. Her mum had wholeheartedly said she would rally round and help with the boys and to be fair, Nicolas’s mother had said she would have the boys for a day too. She knew deep down that they would be in good hands but she still felt like she was abandoning them all. That niggly feeling of being irresponsible tugged away subconsciously at her like a subliminal advertising message. She also wondered whether she could trust Nicolas to look after the boys. To be committed to them in her absence.

Although he seemed more connected with her as the months passed by, more attentive, less critical than he had been over the past couple of years she still heard the nagging voice in her head, the antagonist, planting doubts.

‘Hey. Let’s get a takeaway tomorrow. Save you from cooking.’

‘Ooh, lucky me,’ said Georgia leaning in to kiss Nicolas on the lips.

The following evening Nicolas came home with a bunch of roses, bursting with the vibrancy of a rainbow.

‘What are these for?’

‘Does there have to be a reason?’

Georgia smiled. She tried to stop herself from analysing his every move over the previous few days to see if anything didn’t sit right. She enjoyed the attention and the affection and less criticism from him. He hugged her and gave her good morning kisses and good night kisses.

Thalia had talked about nothing more than what an amazing time they would have and she was delighted with the planned short break, her excitement overflowing whenever they had a catch up. Thalia, more selfish in some ways than Georgia, relished the thought of being child-free for a few days and talked about shopping trips and nights out and drinking in bars and dancing in clubs. All this excited Georgia too but she still felt guilt-ridden about leaving her family behind.

Georgia slept badly the night before the trip to New York. A road accident diverted their taxi through picturesque villages and past quaint pubs, adding half an hour to their estimated journey time. When Georgia and Thalia finally arrived at Gatwick Airport they ran along the main concourse towards check-in conscious of how late they were. Georgia stifled her giggles as she watched Thalia struggling with her big bold animal-print suitcase.

‘Bloody hell, Thalia, we’re going for three nights!’

‘I couldn’t decide which shoes to bring and then I thought I might need my boots as well and then I thought if we go clubbing I’d need my high heeled ones as well. Better safe than sorry hun.’

They queued for less than five minutes when a chirpy blond ground steward summoned them to the check-in desk. Georgia handed over her compact navy Samsonite suitcase, placing it on the scales with ease unlike Thalia who struggled to lift hers onto the conveyor belt.

‘You’re lucky he didn’t charge you excess baggage – you were overweight by four kilos!’ Georgia said as they walked away from the desk.

‘Darling…I’ve never been over weight.’ Thalia’s laughter attracted the attention of all the men in another queue as they walked past.

‘I can’t argue with that. You look like an athlete and you never exercise!  It’s not fair.’ Georgia placed her arm across her bloated belly.

‘Well, I do exercise actually,’ said Thalia, ‘just not the traditional form.’

‘Well, listen to you. No more than me so how come I don’t look like an athlete?’ Georgia smiled to take the sting out of her comment. She knew that Thalia was struggling with ‘no sex’ since her separation.

‘Show off!’

‘Just saying it as it is, babe. You know me,’ said Georgia.

‘Yeah, sex mad and insatiable.’

‘Not quite insatiable. I’m going without sex for four days to be with you, my honey.’

‘Such a sacrifice, thank you my darling. Will make it up to you. This holiday will be worth it.’

 

They both looked up at the departures board, scanning row after row of information for their flight number.

BA227 New York (JFK) B32 08:25 Go to Gate 27

‘Come on, babe. It’ll be miles away,’ said Georgia, looking across at the huge yellow sign, a black arrow pointing the direction to Gates B1 to B32.

‘We’ve plenty of time yet,’ said Thalia, up-dating her Facebook status with a selfie she had just taken.

‘The plane won’t wait for us. You can do that later.’

‘It’s done. Look already got four likes and one comment.’

           

Waiting for their boarding numbers to be called up they babbled, Thalia already flirting with the older gentleman sitting opposite them in the Departure Lounge.

            ‘You girls are going to make this an interesting flight for sure,’ he said to both of them.

            ‘We will indeed,’ said Thalia, ‘Where are you sitting?’

            ‘Up front. I always travel Club World when on business,’ he drawled, his American accent booming at them.

            ‘Well, we will make an excuse to come up front and see you,’ said Thalia.

            ‘Don’t worry about her. I’ll keep her strapped into her seat,’ said Georgia, ‘it’s me you have to worry about,’ she said, giggling.

            ‘Yeah, the quiet ones and all that,’ said Thalia.

            ‘Sounds like you are both quite a handful,’ he chuckled.

            ‘Well, Georgia’s more like two,’ said Thalia, tilting her head towards her bosomy friend.

            ‘Can’t argue with that,’ drawled the American a mischievous twinkle in his eye as he winked at them both, ‘And I’m Bobby by the way.’ He leaned across and shook their hands in turn.

            ‘Thalia and Georgia,’ said Georgia, trying not to lean too far over as she became conscious of her buxomness.

            ‘Well it’s my pleasure. If you’ll just excuse me.’

Georgia and Thalia watched him walk off and carried on chatting, Thalia’s laugh like a brass bell clanging across the relative quiet hustle of the waiting area. An announcement over the public address system shushed them both:

 

‘Passengers Mrs T. Ellinas and Mrs G. Josephides, Flight BA227 to New York,

please make yourselves known to the airline staff at the check point with your boarding

passes and passports.

Passengers Mrs T. Ellinas and Mrs G. Josephides, Flight BA227 to New York,

please make yourselves known to the airline staff. Thank you.’

 

‘That’s us,’ said Thalia, looking at Georgia.

‘Bloody hell. It’s got to be your overweight luggage.’

‘Attracting more attention, eh?’ Bobby said as he walked back towards them, lowering himself into his seat.

They walked over to the staff checking passengers’ boarding passes clutching onto their hand bags and made themselves known. They both handed over their travel documents.

‘Really? No way? You’re joking?’ said Thalia. Georgia just looked from the stewardess to Thalia and back again, not saying a word.

 

‘I am gob-smacked,’ said Georgia on the plane.  The air steward, took her hand luggage from her and positioned it in the overhead locker. ‘I still can’t believe this is happening.’

‘It had to happen like this,’ said Thalia, ‘it’s my birthday, after all!’ she shrieked, handing over her bag and already making herself comfortable in her very wide seat.

‘If it’s your birthday, ma’am, we will make sure you get an extra special gift,’ he said.

‘Why thank you, Jake,’ said Thalia, reading the name on his badge, ‘and my friend too…we can’t leave her out, can we?’

‘They will not believe it when I tell them back home. It’s like a dream come true,’ said Georgia, ‘I’ve got a good feeling about this trip. Not that I didn’t before. But this is just awesome!’

They both fell about laughing at her very bad American accent. The excitement didn’t fade the whole flight.

 ‘Smells gorgeous,’ said Georgia, rubbing the Elemis lotion into her hands, ‘needed that. My hands are dry today.’

‘It’s cos you’re getting old hun,’ said Thalia, ‘I’ll make you young again on this trip.’

‘Shut up, you cow. I’m a mere seven years older than you. What else is in our ‘complimentary amenities bag’?’ she said in her dreadful American accent again.

‘Anti-wrinkle cream.’

‘Love you too.’

‘Love you more,’ said Thalia, reaching over to squeeze her friend’s now soft, silky hand.

 

Before they knew it, they were making their lunch choices. They chose the same starter of Smoked Shetland salmon tartare with pickled cucumber and a radish salad. Georgia selected the roasted corn-fed chicken with summer truffle and wild mushroom sauce, herb mashed potatoes, baby fennel and honey glazed carrots and Thalia dithered before finally opting for the penne pasta with red pepper pesto, basil and chilli sauce, courgette and piquillo peppers.

‘We didn’t order those,’ said Georgia as the steward approached them with two sparkling glasses full of bubbly pink champagne.

‘They are from Bobby with compliments,’ Jake said.

‘That’s it,’ said Georgia looking at Thalia, ‘The up-grade. It was Bobby. Oh. My. God.’

‘Those boobs babe, who can resist?’

Georgia felt her face redden as a slow panic filled her. She wasn’t in a position to do anything and she hoped that Bobby wasn’t expecting anything from her. Her mind was racing. Fuck. What a situation to be in. If she had realised sooner that he was behind the upgrade she wouldn’t have accepted. Economy class would have been fine. She forced herself to have the dark chocolate fondant with caramel sauce in front of her, all the while a sickening feeling increasing each time she swallowed.

‘You’re quiet.’

‘I’ve got my mouth full.’

‘Bet Bobby wished it was full with something else though!’

‘Stop it Thalia. It’s not funny anymore. I’m still married for goodness sake.’

‘Relax Georgi. He’s not going to jump you on the plane is he?’

‘That’s not the point.’

 ‘I feel so full,’ said Thalia in her silly American accent again. She stretched her legs, rotating her ankles. She pushed her head back into the memory foam headrest. ‘Absolute heaven. It’s what we deserve hun.’

‘You’re right. We do,’ said Georgia as she tried to shake Bobby and his possible looming attention away. ‘I still can’t believe it.’

‘I’m telling you. The next few days are going to be incredible. New York here we come!’ yelled Thalia, not caring about disturbing the other passengers.

‘I’m taking a nap.’ Georgia closed her eyes. If she didn’t talk she could hide her sudden lack of enthusiasm from Thalia. Georgia didn’t want her own mood which had shifted from flirtatious to cautious to dampen Thalia’s.

‘I don’t think so,’ said Thalia, pressing the service button on her arm rest, ‘I’m just getting started.’

            Georgia had a snooze and an hour before landing Thalia persuaded Jake to allow her into the World Class section of the plane to thank Bobby. Georgia refused to go, asking Thalia to tell Bobby she was sleeping off the champagne.

‘He can’t argue with that, can he?’

‘Bet he does.’

 

They touched down at JFK and collected their luggage within twenty minutes of strolling into the reclaim baggage area. Georgia kept an eye out for Bobby but didn’t see him and it was with relief that they hopped into a yellow cab for the hotel. Cars, trucks and buses raced along the streets, corn yellow cabs, just like in the movies, dotted along the highways and wide streets. The traffic noise and roar of engines came at her from all angles and Georgia slipped another two headache tablets into her mouth taking a swig of the last drop of water in her bottle.

At the hotel, an American flag blew in the light breeze above the huge brass-trimmed rotating doors, which sparkled in the mid-day sun.. The porters assisted them with their luggage. Their smart uniform with the Radisson Martinique logo, across the front right-hand side of the jacket, which stood out against the inky black fabric, was in deep contrast to Thalia and Georgia’s casual attire.

Behind a high-shine mahogany counter two efficient-looking receptionists checked them in and before they knew it Georgia and Thalia were walking across the marbled lobby, following the porters, who carried their luggage for them. As one of the porters inserted the key card into their bedroom door, he waited for the green indicator to light up and pushed it open with his foot. Thalia swept past him as he lent against the door, holding it open with his back and she flopped, with a ceremonious plop onto the bed’s king size mattress which dominated the room.

 ‘Darling, however will I find you in this big bed!’ she exclaimed, before she winked at Georgia. The porters had already put the luggage down onto the racks either side of the huge mirrored wardrobe. As they backed out of the room Georgia waved goodbye and thanked them as she tried to stifle her giggles.

‘The look on their faces,’ said Georgia, as the door closed. ‘You really are mad! Happy Birthday honey! May all your wishes come true in New York! This room is fantabulous. Look at the size of that TV screen and that sofa. You sure this isn’t a mini suite or something?’

‘They like things big in New York.’

Georgia threw herself onto the bed next to Thalia. They both sighed, looked at each other and then rolled around laughing and screaming, ‘We’re in New York!’

 

That night, the girls toasted their awesome trip with a cocktail each, sitting in a Bar and Karaoke Lounge, walking distance from their hotel. The atmosphere was one of sophistication. The polished bar gleamed and the mirrors sparkled. Georgia thought the muted lighting was just right, so she could see Thalia and those around her without having to fight against the glare of overhead lights in her eyes. The bar was getting busier by the minute, men in suits, women in high heels and short skirts, men in jeans and shirts. As they chatted, the barmen were busy plunking ice cubes into glasses, un-corking bottles of champagne, refilling the coolers, adding a splash of this and a splash of that to all colours of cocktails.

Both Thalia and Georgia were laughing, excited to be out, and getting looks from all directions, from men and women alike.

            ‘Well, the men want to be with us, instead of their boring wives,’ said Thalia.

‘And the wives wish they could be having as much fun as us, instead of being with their boring husbands,’ said Georgia, laughing and then almost choking on the cocktail the barman had recommended. He looked over and smiled at her.

‘Well, you should’ve stuck to the non-alcoholic one you chose first missy,’ said Thalia, ‘I mean mescal and peppercorn what’s-it Cointreau?’

‘And Lillet rosé and cilantro,’ read Georgia off the cocktail list, pulling a face as she took another sip, still not quite sure of the taste which hit the back of her throat as she swallowed.

‘Anyway, cheers honey,’ said Thalia, clinking her tall glass of ‘Beaten Gypsy’ against Georgia’s.

            ‘Fuck,’ blurted Georgia out of no-where, ‘I think those two are coming over.’ No sooner had the words come out of her mouth, she heard Thalia’s perky, ‘Hi.’

            ‘Hi,’ repeated Georgia, putting out her hand to introduce herself while she tried to re-position herself on the bar stool which, covered in soft nubuck was rather slippery to sit on. She bit down on her lower lip realising she’d come across a little bit tipsy as she tried again to balance herself on the seat.

            ‘You’re from England?’ said the taller of the two dark-haired guys, his jeans so tight Georgia was surprised his voice could be that deep.

            ‘Yeah, from London actually,’ said Thalia, re-adjusting her posture so her back was straight and she was sitting tall.

            ‘Oh, that’s awesome. You don’t look British,’ chipped in the second guy, his voice smoky, his T-shirt stretched across his tight muscle bound chest.

            ‘We’re of Greek origin. Greek Cypriot,’ said Georgia. She felt her infectious smile lighting up her dark eyes.

            ‘No way. Jeeez. We’re Greek too. We live here in Manhattan. Our parents are Greek.’

            ‘Both of you?’ said Thalia.

            ‘Yeah. We’re siblings. I’m John and this is Panos.’

            ‘I don’t believe this,’ said Georgia, ‘I knew there were lots of Greeks in New York but to meet Greeks...’

‘That’s got to be a coincidence for a reason,’ chimed in Thalia.

‘How long are you here for?’ said Panos.

            ‘It’s our first night,’ said Thalia.

‘Well, let’s make it a first night to remember,’ said John, reaching out to stroke Thalia’s upper arm. She beamed at him, enjoying the attention. Georgia thought maybe Nicolas was right about Thalia enjoying the limelight. Without warning she thought of him and missed home. She felt a long way away from him and the boys and wondered if they were all okay. She wondered whether allowing Thalia to persuade her to come to New York had been such a good idea.

           

They ordered more drinks and as they moved to a secluded corner, Georgia leant into Thalia and whispered in her ear, ‘What the hell are we doing?’

‘Having fun, Georgi…we’re not doing anything wrong so just chill,’ said Thalia.

A ‘reserved’ sign was positioned on the low rattan coffee table surrounded by an emerald green velvet sofa and four tub chairs in a turquoise and cream stripe.

            ‘You must be more than regulars if you have reserved seating,’ said Georgia, as she lowered herself into one of the tub chairs, always the observant one.

            ‘Well, we are what you call big in New York.’

‘Oh, yeah? How big? What do you guys do?’ asked Thalia.

‘You know the New York Yankees, right?’ said Panos.

            ‘Well, we’ve heard of them but don’t know them,’ said Georgia with a sarcastic tone.

            ‘Well, we do all their catering — every game, every function, every event, every PR session.’

            ‘Wow, that’s amazing. You must be rolling in it,’ said Thalia. Georgia knew the money impressed Thalia.

            ‘Yeah, we live the high life here, don’t we bro?’ Panos nodded in agreement.

            John sat on the couch just big enough for two, his broad shoulders taking up almost half the width of the sofa and chatted to Thalia next to him. A bit too close, Georgia noted. She listened while Thalia told him everything about her separation and how awkward Tony was being, not believing how open Thalia was being with a complete stranger. Panos sat and listened too for a while, sipping his drink straight from the bottle. He made polite small talk with Georgia who chatted without thinking too much, careful not to be drawn into a situation, whatever that might be.

            ‘Yeah, how about we get out of here now. Where do you two want to go? Anywhere. We’ll take you. We have a limousine outside,’ said John.

            Thalia looked at Georgia. ‘Oh, my God!’ she screamed. ‘It’s like Pretty Woman.’

            ‘We can go up west, there’s a great Lap Dancing Club.’

‘Lap Dancing?’ said Georgia.

‘No funny business. We’ll just have a drink,’ said Panos. He seemed to sense her awkwardness, the edge to her voice. Somehow Georgia didn’t believe him. He looked almost as nervous as she felt.

            ‘And I’ll pay one of the girls to dance for you,’ said John, eyeing Thalia up and running his tongue over his lips.

            ‘Let’s do it,’ said Thalia jumping out of her seat and dancing to the tune that had just been pumped across the bar, ‘Whoop!’

            ‘God help me,’ said Georgia, but she forced a smile and jumped up too, swaying her hips and waving her arms around in the air to the beat. She wondered where this was going to lead?

            ‘Told you I’d need the high heeled boots,’ shouted Thalia, to be heard above the music, as she carried on moving in time to the beat.

            ‘Go, girl,’ said Georgia, but her mind was full of panic.

           

They sat in the back of the white stretch limousine, quiet at first and Georgia wondering what they were getting themselves into and more importantly if they would be able to get themselves out of it. They both sipped at the bubble pink champagne which had frothed over the edge of the glasses as Panos poured for them and leaned in towards Georgia, ‘You deserve to be treated like a lady. Total respect.’

Thalia and Georgia looked at each other, and then both screamed at exactly the same time. ‘We love New York!’

‘Wow!’ John high fived Panos who was now enjoying himself too, singing along to the music. The girls were shouting at the tops of their voices stood precariously on the back seats, waving from the open sun-roof. Georgia tried not to slide across the leather seat and into Thalia every time the car turned a corner.

Georgia couldn’t quite believe what was going on. It would never have turned out like this in her imagination and although she was pleased for Thalia, who deserved a birthday to remember, she couldn’t help thinking about the boys again, and Nicolas. The boys would have jumped with joy in the limousine, Andoni pretending to be a famous footballer. She flopped down into the luxurious leather seats and reached for her phone. She had no idea what time it was in London but she wanted to let them know she was thinking about them all. She sent a text.

 

The lap dancing club was more like a strip club and Georgia felt uncomfortable although she went along with the evening’s entertainment, trying to hide her embarrassment by exaggerating her enjoyment and giving the impression that she was more tipsy than she actually was. This meant she could laugh and flirt and be a bit silly without coming across too naïve or ill at ease. It meant she could let her barriers down, just a little, and enjoy herself just as much as Thalia appeared to be, even though Georgia wasn’t eligible to. It was her way of protecting herself because she wasn’t relaxed in the brassy, sweaty-smelling bar; the faded velvet seating and curved wooden tables scattered in no particular order in front of the open stage in front of where they were sitting. There were two gleaming chrome poles and Georgia watched a girl, probably no older than twenty, writhing up and down one of them. Her fuck-me-pink leather skirt was the width of a wide belt and her fishnet stockings topped with a row of diamante beads sparkled in the lights flashing pink and white in turn from the other side of the floor. Georgia stared at her high heels and wondered how she could even walk in those let alone dance in them and then remembered that she could boogie better in her heels than she could walk, and burst out laughing. She couldn’t stop.

            ‘Hey, what’s up?’ said Panos.

            ‘Nothing, just having a great time. How often do you come here?’ asked Georgia.

            ‘Twice, three times a week,’ said Panos, looking apologetic, and giving her that puppy-dog look which reminded her of a picture that used to hang in her yiayia’s hallway by the front door which always made her feel soppy inside.

            ‘Really? That’s a lot. What about work?’

            ‘We check in in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Our management does the rest.’

            Panos leaned into the seat and his body slumped against Georgia, brushing her side. She felt a bolt of electricity run through her. Fuck she thought. And then he leaned in and kissed her. Not wildly. Not shyly. Panos kissed Georgia on the lips, a slow lingering kiss which passed her lips, his tongue probing hers. She momentarily kissed him back and then coming to her senses pulled away.

            ‘Where did that come from?’ asked Georgia, stumbling on her words, the sensation of his kiss still fluttering inside her as she looked over to Thalia who, thank God, seemed oblivious to what had just happened between her and Panos.

Panos laughed, his dark eyes resting on her cleavage. ‘Order more drinks for the ladies, John.’ Georgia shifted in her seat, sliding over towards the arm where she rested her elbow, her hand hiding her face. But she didn’t want to run. Her reaction to the kiss confused her.

John ordered the drinks and signalled to one of the girls draped over a cream leather bar stool to dance for Thalia. Georgia forced a smile. Thalia gave Georgia a strained smile in return. Thalia was not enjoying the obvious attention from the dancing girl as much as Georgia guessed she would. But she noticed Thalia didn’t push John away as his fingers brushed up and down one of her legs. Perhaps she’s embarrassed thought Georgia as John squeezed her inner thigh as she felt her own cheeks glowing like red embers after Panos’s kiss.

 Georgia coughed in the direction of Thalia and gave her a look which she ignored.  Georgia was in turmoil. Conscious this trip was all about Thalia’s thirtieth birthday she didn’t want to say or do anything to spoil it. She sat back in her seat and crossed her arms. She knew Nicolas would be furious with her if he knew where she was let alone two random guys had brought her here. She kissed a man she knew nothing about.

But oddly the place excited her, Panos excited her. It reminded her of her uni days where no-one knew her background or her sworn commitment to Nicolas. She could pretend to be an ordinary university student and a single girl out for some fun.

She watched the dancer and could feel Panos’s eyes on her. She liked the way that made her feel. Georgia looked over at John who was watching the dancer, his eyes bright with desire, with lust. It had been a long time since Nicolas had looked at her like that. Made her feel desirable, wanted, sexy.

Her mind wandered back to the days when all they seemed to do was have sex. In bed she could be whoever she wanted to be. She imagined herself thinner, prettier. It was easy to create the perfect fantasy and get lost in it. Her reality was different though. Deep down she wasn’t the confident girl everyone believed she was and that girl had become a less confident woman with conflicting feelings, views and ideas about who she was and how she should live. In New York, vibrant, bright and loud, Georgia was questioning her beliefs and values.

 

The next day after a huge breakfast of waffles with syrup and bacon and a chocolate muffin the size of a birthday cake, Georgia and Thalia took a carriage ride across Central Park. Their slim Philipino tour guide, Edwin, had a crooked smile showing white teeth too big for his mouth and a high-pitched voice. They listened and laughed and giggled marvelling at the sights he pointed out.

Georgia craned her neck to look down the hill at the Wollman Rink and imagined it in a snowy white park with skaters and how the boys would love to skate there. The carriage trundles gently down the path and through a red and white brick archway to a beautiful carousel.

            ‘This is favourite attraction in the park. It has 57 horses and runs every day in the summer. Tourists with children come here for fun rides,’ said Edwin.

Above the thick canopied foliage of the tall trees Edwin pointed excitedly to The Dakota Buildings and specifically to the apartment where Yoko Ono the wife of John Lennon now lived. Georgia wondered how she could live there after losing her husband and a wave of sadness washed over her.

‘You okay?’ asked Thalia, squeezing her hand.

‘Yeah. Just thinking how sad she must’ve been when he died.’

‘You soppy thing, you.’

‘Now you see the Bethesda Fountain with the Angel of the Waters statue. This is the

fountain you see in the American soap Friends. Georgia clicked away with her camera wanting to catch everything to show the boys and Nicolas. She wondered if Nico was missing her.

In the afternoon, as the temperature dropped slightly, they shopped along Fifth Avenue. Georgia strutted up and down the shop in a pair of high heeled sling back shoes from Guess. She felt sexy in them and threw caution to the wind as she punched in her pin number and smiled at the young model-like girl serving her. In DKNY she bought a blue and silver glass beaded necklace. Thalia bought two tops in a slinky stretch lace fabric; both left nothing to the imagination, one in black and one in red from Armani.

The following morning they took a visit to the top of the Chrysler Building mid-afternoon. Georgia looked down on the busy city, cars, people, buses, taxis…dots of every colour moving around frantically like twinkling fairy lights flashing on and off. She thought about how small she felt. How small they all were in this universe. She found the thought overwhelming and wondered what life was all about. Was it about getting things done? Was it about finding love or happiness? Was she happy? Did she really love Nicolas? Did he really love her? He used to…in the beginning. She was sure of it. She remembered the look in his eyes after they made love. That glazed over full of love look. What was she doing here? She should be home with her boys, her husband. She brought her fingers up to her lips remembering Panos’s kiss. Guilt consumed her. She felt her temperature rise.

‘Awesome view,’ said a tall American in a baseball cap and white Lacoste polo top next to her.

‘Incredible,’ Georgia said dreamily.

‘Makes you wonder how we can feel so big when actually we are but specs.’

‘I know what you mean. I was just thinking the same.’

Thalia nudged her in the ribs. ‘Flirting again?’

‘Stop it. I was just talking.’ Georgia poked her in the ribs with her elbow; they both giggled and moved around to another viewing point but the words of the American played over in her head. Was she now only a small part of Nico’s life, his thoughts?

Back on solid ground Thalia pounced on a group of police officers.

‘Come on Georgia. Don’t be shy.’ Georgia cautiously allowed the stocky blue-eyed police officer closest to her put his arm around her. ‘Closer big boys,’ urged Thalia. The other three officers crammed in around her as Thalia clicked away and then grabbing a lycra-clad jogger, Thalia jumped in and had her photo taken too. Georgia scooped loose coins from her purse and fed the change into the benevolent association collection tin being shaken by one of the officers as she waved goodbye, Thalia’s enthusiasm igniting her own.

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