‘Hello. How are you?’ JJ and Rocks exchange a fond hug, ‘hey stranger.’ She greets Sebastian, Rocks’ husband, ever so fondly.
‘Don’t make me feel too guilty. It’s good to see you.’ Sebastian and JJ exchange a kiss on each cheek, they’d been friends for as long as she and Rocks reconnected in New York many moons ago. ‘How are you?’
‘Rocco and the girls?’
‘They’re good. We’re well.’ When he is not getting on her nerves.
‘Thank you for my flowers.’
‘The girls loved making them for you.’
JJ is at The Sinclair, one of Rocks’ properties for which she is florist, for a breakfast date which her friend insisted they have because their other friend Tallulah Barclay, is finally back in town after a spell away. She is bursting for time with her friends, things at home are still frigid following her mother’s impromptu visit. Rocco maintains he did nothing wrong, and she very much knows he did. They are at an impasse. The girls are oblivious to the stewing between their parents who appear as loving and devoted as ever.
She loves seeing Sebastian and Rocks together, to the trained eye, it is easy to see how utterly in love with his wife Sebastian is, it is there in the subtlety of their interactions; the slight touch of his hand on her face as he tucks wayward strands of hair behind her ear. There is a moment when she and Sebastian are connected through their fingertips, it’s only a moment before they let go, almost reluctantly.
‘Hey! Hey! My favourite people.’ Tallulah Barclay makes her grand entrance. Fashion’s most powerful editor. Times 100 most influential person. And all round powerhouse and one of Rock’s and JJ’s best friend though she has been friends with Sebastian longer.
Hugs and kisses are exchanged before Sebastian takes his leave of the three friends, but just before the door to the private dining room where breakfast is being served is shut, JJ peeps Sebastian and Rocks’ cute exchange, a brief backward glance at each other at the exact same time; he winks and she blows him a subtle kiss with her index finger. Swoon.
‘Right. Tell me, what have I missed?’ Tallulah hangs her coat on the hook in the cloakroom by the door, so very excited to see her friends whom she had missed so much. Between fashion weeks and a trip away with her in-laws she’d missed being in the swing of things with her friends, phone calls and facetimes were never enough.
Over breakfast, JJ does most of the filling in whilst the other two listen, throwing in questions sporadically.
‘How was it for the girls seeing your mom?’ Rocks asks.
‘They were excited, but I had to ask her to leave. I was just so mad at Rocco. What was he thinking?’
‘That she’s your mother and he cannot turn her away.’ Tallulah answers, ‘I’m not defending him, we know how things are between you two, and we know what you went through growing up at home.’
‘But?’ JJ can hear the but from a mile away.
‘She’s your mother JJ.’ Rocks tone is gentler than ever ‘and I know there is much more to your story.’
‘I heard her and my dad talking when I was five years old.’ JJ has never forgotten that conversation she overheard the night her parents had an almighty row. She’d tried to block it out over the years, but she couldn’t.
‘What was said?’ Tallulah refills all three glasses with mimosas.
JJ forces the lump forming in her throat down, as she recalls the words exchanged between her parents that night. They didn’t know she was listening, but their loud voices woke her up and she stood at the top of the stairs listening to her parents argue about her.