This Monday in March, an ordinary day for most people, was the happiest day of Coleman Greene’s life.
Everyone she liked best had gathered to celebrate with her. Long before she bought ArtSmart, her first magazine, she’d dreamed of owning a family of publications—perhaps ten, or even more. Today, with the acquisition of First Home, she—Coleman Greene, thirty-three years old, with financial help from her brother—was a step closer to making that dream come true. In the five years she’d owned ArtSmart, she’d changed it from a dowdy flop into the most successful art magazine in New York. She’d do even better with First Home. And then onto the next one.
Coleman looked around at the glittering crowd. So New York: artists, actors, antique dealers, landscape gardeners, architects. People Coleman had written about in ArtSmart. People she hoped to persuade to write for First Home. Her cousin, Dinah, ravishing in a lavender-blue silk suit Coleman had designed and made, with her husband, Jonathan Hathaway. Debbi Diamondstein, not only a friend but Coleman’s publicist, who had arranged the lunch at the hot new restaurant on Central Park South. The immense windows allowed guests to see almost to the north end of the park—a spectacular view. A pianist played music from South Pacific, Phantom, Les Misérables, and other Broadway hits in a corner of the room. A buffet enticed the guests with delicious odors: smoked salmon, miniature crab cakes, tiny toasted cheese sandwiches, garlicky lamb on skewers. Huge vases of forsythia and pussy willow and smaller bowls of yellow tulips and daffodils decorated every surface, their delicate scent heralding the approach of spring. The perfect party.
Uh, oh. Not quite perfect: a man she knew and detested, greasy black hair hanging to his shoulders and in his face, black T-shirt and torn jeans, was mingling in the crowd. Trying to act invited. As if.
Debbi appeared at her side. “What’s the matter, Sunshine? You were glowing, and now you look like a thundercloud. Cheer up, Madame Media Mogul, this is your big day! And you look great. That satin suit is exactly the shade of the daffodils, and your hair—clever choice.”
“Two magazines don’t a mogul make, but just wait, someday I will be one. Meanwhile, I just spotted that no-talent photorealist who calls himself Crawdaddy. He never stops badgering me to write an article about him. He calls me all the time and turns up in places where he knows he’ll see me. He’s close to being a stalker. How in heaven’s name did he get in?”
Debbi shrugged. “A few crashers always make it through the cracks no matter how tight the security. I can have him thrown out, but he’ll make a scene.”
“No, I’ll ignore him. I won’t let him get anywhere near me.”
But a few minutes later, when she and Dinah were standing by the piano listening to “Some Enchanted Evening,” Crawdaddy shoved his way between them, threw his long simian arms over their shoulders, and shouted, “Photo op!” A flashbulb went off in their faces.
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