"Oh, Pipe." I sigh. Everything else forgotten, I place my pen down and push my chair away from the desk. "What was it this time"" I ask, while making my way over to the couch. Taking a seat next to her, I grab her hand, holding it tight and offering my support.
She lifts her free hand and waves it in the air. "Oh, you know, the normal. I"m not willing to quit my job. I don"t wear the right "sophisticated" clothing to all his fancy functions"even if the ones I wear cost more than what most people make in a month. My hair should be straight, not left in a "disorganized bunch of curls that a toddler would favor." How he can"t see me ever being mature enough for children"not to mention the fact that I don"t want to have children anytime soon. Just a normal day, so take your pick."
Anger swirls in my gut. I hate Piper"s fianc". If there was a stronger emotional response to someone other than hate, that is how I would feel about Matthew Scott. However, hate or not, he"s the man she"s chosen to spend her life with, and I learned my lesson when the one and only time I tried to talk her out of it went terribly.
"Pipe," I start, but just sigh when she shakes her head.
"I know. I know. It"s just not that easy, Ari. I"ve been with him for almost fifteen years. I don"t think I know how to start over."
"You guys started dating when you were too young to understand what a relationship should be about, babe. It might be fifteen years, but a big part of those were when you guys were just teens. You know I"ll support you either way, but do you really think that staying with him just because it"s what you"ve always known is the right answer""
"No. I know it isn"t. I just, I"ve got no one else."
"You have me."
Her worry lines relax slightly, and she gives me a small twist of her lips. It"s not a full smile, but I"ll take it.
"You"re always there for me when I need you, Pipe. You always have been. What on earth would make you think I wouldn"t do the same for you" Just think about it. Even if you just stay with me for a little while to get your head clear and straight. Maybe a break is all you two need to get back on the right path."
Okay, so I"m stretching it thin here"but I"ll do just about anything to get her away from him.
"I"ll think about it, okay""
"That"s all you can do, babe."
"Enough about my problems. Let me get out there and get to work." She doesn"t wait for me to say anything else on the subject before she plasters a smile on her face and walks out of my office.
That is just like Piper to effectively get what was bothering her out, and then return to business as usual. Only, I know my best friend, and behind the perfectly put together blond bombshell dressed head to toe in designer wear"even if it isn"t ever perfect enough for her man"she can still be just as broken and lost as I am.
Enough of this, Ari. It"s time. You"ve let yourself be dragged down enough.
With a shake of my head, I stand from the couch and walk over to my office doorway. Located in the very back of my store, it gives me a perfect view of the large space before me. My eyes go directly to the massive glass jewelry case situated in the farthest corner from my office by the front door, where Piper is standing to get the computer turned on and the accounting program we use up and running before we open for the day. You would never know by looking at her right now that her personal life is a mess. Not my Pipe. She"s smiling to herself, clearly aware that anyone inclined to do a little window shopping before store hours will be able to see her through the glass storefront, and everyone knows first impressions are everything in life.
I guess we"ve really both perfected that mask over the years"for different reasons"but we wear it well. I consider myself thankful for the fact we were able to hone that skill from an early age. It was our norm growing up as the daughters of very well-off families to often find ourselves in social settings that required a certain air of perfection. It"s ingrained inside us to always put our best foot forward when in public. Of course, we also broke that rule and marched to our own beat"but it"s true what they say, old habits die hard.
"Hey, Pipe"" I call out, and I wait for her to look over at me before I continue. "What do you say we head over to Barcode tonight for some drinks" It"s been one of those days, and I think it"s the best way to close out the week."