Libby nods slowly, her features quizzical in the candlelight, and stands up. "Excuse us." They leave. Daisy stays, sips Caron's champagne. I imagine her naked, murdered, maggots burrowing, feasting on her stomach, tits blackened by cigarette burns, Libby eating this corpse out, then I clear my throat. "So it was really hot out today, wasn't it?"
"It was," she agrees.
"Ask me a question," I tell her, feeling suddenly, well, spontaneous.
She inhales on the cigarette, then blows out. "So what do you do?"
"What do you think I do?" And frisky too.
"A model?" She shrugs. "An actor?"
"No," I say. "Flattering, but no."
"I'm into, oh, murders and executions mostly. It depends." I shrug.
"Do you like it?" she asks, unfazed.
"Um... It depends. Why?" I take a bite of sorbet.
"Well, most guys I know who work in mergers and acquisitions don't really like it," she says.
'That's not what I said," I say, adding a forced smile, finishing my J&B. "Oh, forget it."
"Ask me a question," she says.
"Okay. Where do you..." I stop for a moment, stuck, then, "summer?"
"Maine," she says. "Ask me something else."
"Where do you work out?"
"Private trainer," she says. "How about you?"
"Xclusive," I say. "On the Upper West Side."
"Really?" She smiles, then notices someone behind me, but her expression doesn't change, and her voice remains fiat. "Francesca. Oh my god. It's Francesca. Look."
"Daisy! And Patrick, you devil!" Francesca screeches. "Daisy, what in god's name are you doing with a stud like Batman?" She overtakes the booth, sliding in with this bored blond girl I don't recognize. Francesca is wearing a velvet dress by Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and the girl I don't recognize is wearing a wool dress by Geoffrey Beene. Both are wearing pearls.
"Hello, Francesca," I say.
"Daisy, oh my god, Ben and Jerry's here. I love Ben and Jerry," I think is what she says, all in a breathless rush, shouting over the light din - actually, drowning out the light din - of the jazz band. "Don't you love Ben and Jerry?" she asks, her eyes wide, and then she rasps out to a passing waitress, "Orange juice! I need orange juice! Jesus f**king Christ the help here has got to go. Where's Nell? I'll tell her," she mutters, looking around the room, then turns to Daisy. "How's my face? Bateman, Ben and Jerry are here. Don't sit there like an idiot. Oh god I'm kidding. I adore Patrick but come on, Batman, look lively, you stud, Ben and Jerry are here." She winks lasciviously then wets both lips with her tongue. Francesca writes for Vanity Fair.
"But I already..." I stop and look down at my sorbet, troubled. "I already ordered this grapefruit sorbet." Gloomily I point at the dish, confused. "I don't want any ice cream."
"For Christ sakes, Bateman, Jagger is here. Mick. Jerry. You know," Francesca says, talking to the booth but constantly scanning the room. Daisy's expression hasn't changed once all evening. "What a y-u-p-p-i-e," she spells to the blond girl, then Francesca's eyes land on my sorbet. I pull it toward me protectively.
"Oh yeah," I say. "'Just another night, just another night with you...'" I sing, sort of. "I know who he is."
"You look thin, Daisy, you're making me sick. Anyway, this is Alison Poole, who is also too thin and makes me sick," Francesca says, lightly slapping my hands covering the sorbet, pulling the dish back toward her. "And this is Daisy Milton and Patrick - "
"We've met," Alison says, glaring at me.
"Hi, Alison. Pat Bateman," I say, holding out my hand.
"We've met," she says again, glaring harder.
"Uh... we have?" I ask.
Francesca screams, "God, look at that profile of Bateman's. Totally Roman. And those lashes!" she shrieks.
Daisy smiles approvingly. I play it cool, ignoring them.
I recognize Alison as a girl I did last spring while at the Kentucky Derby with Evelyn and her parents. I remember she screamed when I tried to push my entire arm, gloved and slathered with Vaseline, toothpaste, anything I could find, up into her vagina. She was drunk, wasted on coke, and I had tied her up with wire, slapped duct tape all over her mouth, her face, her br**sts. Francesca has given me head before. I don't remember the place, or when, but she's given me head and liked it. I suddenly remember, painfully, that I would have liked to see Alison bleed to death that afternoon last spring but something stopped me. She was so high - "oh my god," she kept moaning during those hours, blood bubbling out of her nose - she never wept. Maybe that was the problem; maybe that was what saved her. I won a lot of money that weekend on a horse called Indecent Exposure.