In the bedroom of her Upper Least Side apartment, Parker Pryne opened the bottle of Prosecco she’d brought back from Positano the previous summer. She was saving it, refrigerated, for a special occasion, and when one never came, and while she was in need of an adult beverage she said, “Fuck it,” but she said it in Italian.
Parker was accustomed to need, so much so that she forced herself to do without. It was her diet, willing herself to be alone. Almost. Her almost is her "could be" Jack. She won’t refer to Jack as her boyfriend because she finds the term dim and lifeless after having had a fiance and husband. She stows away the rings from that earlier life in her family vault. She’ll use the money when something extraordinary happens. Parker is always waiting for extraordinary, for extraordinary and for Jack. "Could be’s" don’t count in the battle against alone; they’re eating while standing up.
Jack makes a pained face when she mentions her past. The casual way she mentions previous vacations and dinners while picking at her split ends sickens him. Her previous, any of it, he wishes she’d just swallow, despite knowing it’s part of who she is now. That’s the way it goes, right? The past makes us. He tells himself so but doesn’t believe it. He also doesn’t believe Parker isn’t her real name. Mid-sentence sometimes, when she’s talking, he thinks of this, how she one day just decided to change her name. Not formally, just mid-life, something new she wanted. She was deciding between Parker and Fig, names no one but an actor would have. She thinks it makes her seem important. White. Spoiled. Like she owns expensive shoes but doesn’t have to wear them.
He’s waiting for her with a live-in girlfriend these days, but Parker knows that would change if she were more convincing. As it is, he confides in Parker of their lack of sex, or dirty sex, admitting he sometimes imagines he’s with her. He tells her things like this via IM, where most of their relationship happens lately. He types in turn, spreading the details of his latest fight in small neat lines. And when he can’t sleep, he imagines she’s beside him, and it soothes him. And he tells her this, but not over IM; he saves it for phone calls when he’s drunk in the back of a cab sitting in a string of red lights. And these are her favorite calls. She remembers in these assuring moments, she can have him whenever she wants. And knowing it lets her be lazy, lets her live in now knowing there’s always the comfort of then. She can have him in her world in a word.
Fiona, the live-in, lives with it in their walls, in their bed, in the mirror. She smooths her hair with an oversized round brush wondering if she’s letting her past creep into her life, if she’s just being paranoid. Does it show in the lines on her face, the ones her mother insists she Botox. She’s insecure, and if she just stopped fearing Parker, building her into something grander than even Parker can imagine, it would all go away. "Fuck it," Fiona says aloud as she leaves the bathroom in direct route to the wine cellar that is the lower half of her closet, where shoes belong. Prosecco, she decides because it’s sweet and celebratory and nothing like her life. Wait, she already has a bottle saved in the fridge. She wonders how long she’ll last, how long she’ll give it, and knows there’s no point in wondering. She hangs on, like life, and lets him choose theirs.