Patty was a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. For as long as she could remember, she only had two dreams. One was to get a college degree. The other was to find true love.
Her dreams of college never materialized but at the tender age of twenty, she thought she had found her knight in shining armor when she met Ted. He was brilliant, erudite and sophisticated. They literally bumped into each other on the street one day, which led to apologies, a cup of coffee and the exchange of phone numbers. After a two month courtship, they were married.
Patty had stood by Teds’ side throughout an illustrious career that took them all over the country. It hadn’t taken long for Ted to reach the epitome of success. He had literally gone from paper-boy to publisher and she had been with him almost every step of the way.
Patty had longed for children but Ted had repeatedly said that he didn’t want to be tied down with kids. She capitulated and tried to fill her life with other interests but that emptiness had never left her.
Ted had introduced her to a world she had never imagined possible and in return she had quickly become acclimated to the “rules” that applied to her position as his wife. Her beauty, intelligence and quick wit were assets that were obviously appreciated by Ted as well as his colleagues. She was welcomed into his tight little circle of friends, which included Lisa, Paul, Charlotte, Sean, Julie and Rick.
Lisa and Paul owned convenience stores in several states up and down the Eastern coast. Charlotte’s husband Sean, was the CEO of an off-shore drilling company and was considering a transfer to China. Julies’ husband Rick was a successful defense attorney who had just been named a senior partner at a huge law firm. Ted was the publisher of the largest newspaper in the state.
For the most part they were regular upper class people, who did regular upper class things. They lived in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods, drove the most expensive cars and ate the finest food. They hosted parties for the upper echelon and made sure they were seen at all the charitable fund-raising events.
Lisa and Paul were happy with their lives and each other and it showed. They met in college and had been inseparable ever since. Neither one of them wanted children, which suited their lifestyle.
Charlotte and Sean had been dating for three years when Charlotte discovered she was pregnant. Since she came from old money, a marriage had been hastily arranged to avoid having the black mark of an illegitimate child in the family. Charlotte miscarried shortly after but the marriage stayed intact. Only Patty knew about the pregnancy.
Julie met Rick when she wandered into a convenience store while it was being robbed. She was a key witness and while giving her deposition, she met Rick, who at the time, was a public defender. Julie always laughed when she said “who says crime doesn’t pay?”
They were all tied together by friendship and social status. Although all the men were confident and successful, it was clearly understood that Ted was the alpha male. He always exuded an air of superiority which didn’t go unnoticed but was also never challenged.
Every week-end, Paul, Sean, Rick and Ted would go to the Country Club to play golf and drink beer. The girls would get together to play Bridge. They would laugh, tell dirty jokes, make plans for the next function and gossip about who was getting their kitchen remodeled. Patty was the comedian in the group and the other girls would complain that their sides were aching after every game.
Seans’ transfer came through and quick preparations were being made for a send-off party that would never be forgotten. Each girl had a specific responsibility from catering to decorations. Patty came up with the idea of giving them a special memento to remember the friends they were leaving behind.
Charlotte was Pattys’ best friend and she was leaving. All of the girls were special to her but there was something different about her relationship with Charlotte. They had shared many secrets but Patty had never told her the deepest darkest secrets of her life. She decided that it was time.
Patty called Charlotte and asked her if just the two of them could have lunch.
Charlotte agreed and they met at the Clubhouse. Charlotte sat in stunned silence as she listened to Patty. All she could say was “I had no idea. We thought you were the perfect couple.” Patty said “I know. I worked hard to keep up appearances.”
They left the Clubhouse, both in tears and Charlotte wondering how she couldn’t have seen the suffering of her dear friend.
They never spoke of it again but for the next two weeks, Charlotte was noticeably watching the interaction between Patty and Ted. At times it was difficult for her to hide her disdain but Ted being Ted, never even noticed.
Their farewell party was a combination of sadness and joy. The circle of friends had been broken but well wishes were abundant when they left. Charlotte and Sean were on their way to China.
The company had taken care of the move and the sale of the house. Nobody in the neighborhood was concerned that their house would sit empty very long and it didn’t.
Two weeks later..he moved in.