"Oh god," Elizabeth starts, moaning as if she falsely remembered something embarrassing. "I met Patrick at, oh god, the Kentucky Derby in '86 - no, '87, and..." She turns to me. "You were hanging out with that bimbo Alison something... Stoole?"
"Poole, honey," I reply calmly. "Alison Poole."
"Yeah, that was her name," she says, then with unmasked sarcasm, "Hot number."
"What do you mean by that?" I ask, offended. "She was a hot number."
Elizabeth turns to Christie and unfortunately says, "if you had an American Express card she'd give you a blow job," and I'm hoping to god that Christie doesn't look over at Elizabeth, confused, and say "But we don't take credit cards." To make sure this doesn't happen, I bellow "Oh, bullshit," but goodnaturedly.
"Listen," Elizabeth tells Christie, holding her hand out like a fag offering gossipy information. "This girl worked at a tanning salon, and" - and in the same sentence, without changing tone - "what do you do?"
After a long silence, Christie turning redder and even more scared, I say, "She's... my cousin."
Slowly, Elizabeth takes this in and says, "Uh-huh?"
After another long silence, I say, "She's... from France."
Elizabeth looks at me skeptically - like I'm completely crazy but chooses not to pursue this line of questioning and asks instead, "Where's your phone? I've got to call Harley."
I move over to the kitchen and bring the cordless phone to her, pulling up its antenna. She dials a number and, while waiting for someone to answer, stares at Christie. "Where do yo u summer?" she asks. "southampton?"
Christie looks at me and then back at Elizabeth and quietly says, "No."
"Oh god," Elizabeth wails, "it's his machine."
"Elizabeth." I point at my Rolex. "It's three in the morning."
"He's a goddamn drug dealer," she says, exasperated "These are his peak hours."
"Don't tell him you're here," I warn.
"Why would I?" she asks. Distracted, she reaches for her wine and downs another full glass and makes a face. "This tastes weird." She checks the label, then shrugs. "Harley? It's me. I need your services. Translate that any way you'd like. I'm at - " She looks over at me.
"You're at Marcus Halberstam's," I whisper.
"Who?" Leaning in, she grins mischievously.
"Mar-cus Hal-ber-stam," I whisper again.
"I want the number, idiot." She waves me away and continues, "Anyway, I'm at Mark Hammerstein's and I'll try you later and if I don't see you at Canal Bar tomorrow night I'm going to sic my hairdresser on you. Bon voyage. How do I hang this thing up?" she asks, even though she expertly pushes the antenna down and presses the Off button, tossing the phone onto the Schrager chair that I've moved next to the jukebox.
"See." I smile. "You did it."
Twenty minutes later Elizabeth is squirming on the couch and I'm trying to coerce her into having sex with Christie in front of me. What started out as a casual suggestion is now at the forefront of my brain and I'm insistent. Christie stares impassively at a stain I hadn't noticed on the white-oak floor, her wine mostly untouched.
"But I'm not a lesbian," Elizabeth protests again, giggling. "I'm not into girls."
"Is this afirm no?" I ask, staring at her glass, then at the near-empty bottle of wine.
"Why'd you think I'd be intothat?" she asks. Because of the Ecstasy, the question is flirtatious and she seems genuinely interested. Her foot is rubbing against my thigh. I've moved over to the couch, sitting between the two girls, and I'm massaging one of her calves.
"Well, you went to Sarah Lawrence for one thing," I tell her. "You never know."
"Those are Sarah Lawrence guys, Patrick," she points out, giggling rubbing harder, causing friction, heat, everything.
"Well, I'm sorry: " I admit. "I don't usually deal with a lot of guys who wear panty hose on the Street."
"Patrick, you went to Patrick, I mean, Harvard, oh god, I'm so drunk. Anyway, listen. I mean, wait - " She pauses, taken a deep breath, mumbles an unintelligible remark about feeling bizarre, then, after closing her eyes, opens them and asks, "Do you have any coke?"
I'm staring at her glass, noticing that the dissolved Ecstasy has slightly changed the color of the wine. She follows my gaze and takes a gulp of it as if it were some kind of elixir that could soothe her increasing agitation. She leans her head back, woozily, on one of the pillows on the couch. "Or Halcion. I'd take a Halcion."