It’s just a night out with girlfriends, not the Academy Awards, thinks Gabby, frowning at her wardrobe as she endlessly pushes hangers back and forth, hoping something compelling, something worthy, will suddenly appear and jump out at her: the perfect shirt, the perfect dress.
It shouldn’t matter, this being a girls’ night out, but of course it matters far more than a night out with Elliott. She is dressing for the other women, not to attract the attention of men, although she has heard that on these girls’ nights out, it is not unusual for men to gather round the girls, not seeing, or ignoring, the wedding rings on all their fingers; ignoring the wedding rings so often on their own.
Gabby doesn’t care about these men, but she wants to fit in, wants to at least look like she has made something of an effort, that she too can scrub up into something of a glamourpuss, that she deserves her place at the bar, just like the rest of this particular group of friends.
She settles on black pants, all the better to hide her thighs with, and knee-high boots, the only pair in her wardrobe that have something of a heel. These boots are almost ten years old, old enough for them to have gone completely out of fashion, then revolve full circle to be not dissimilar to all the boots she passes in the store windows in town.
She bought them when it seemed important to look good, before life, children, pots, and pans got in the way, before it was easier to slip her feet into furry Merrells and be done with it.
In their thirties, all her friends wore the same dull uniforms, but suddenly, in their forties, these same girls are reemerging from their self-imposed cocoons, eschewing the dull blanket of motherhood and grind, emerging in a flurry of bright chiffons and silks as their children no longer needed babysitters, tripping out on girls’ nights out in impossibly high heels and blown-out silky hair they flick flirtatiously, wanting to be seen
Gabby does not have bright chiffons and silks, would
not have bright chiffons and silks for that is not her style, but she does find a black floaty blouse that no one needs to know was $15.95 from Marshalls. As long as you didn’t look too closely, you might think it was silk organza rather than the eminently more practical polyester.
There. A shake of her hair, a brush of mascara, a slick of gloss. She looks good, she thinks, without looking as if she is trying too hard. Unlike some of the others, in their plunging blouses and glittery jewelry, Gabby looks as if she is out to have fun with the girls, men be damned.
* * *
Gabby orders a second martini, knowing she won’t be able to leave anytime soon, wishing she had turned down the invitation to go out, was tucked up warmly in bed, watching a movie, her husband by her side.
When Ella invited her to a girls’ dinner, Gabby had looked forward to a large table of fun women in the corner of the Grey Goose, but when she and Claire arrived, the women had already established themselves at the bar, and were lapping up the attentions of a swarm of eager, older lotharios, flicking their hair back as they gave the men flirtatious smiles, punctuating every sentence with loud and, to Gabby’s ears, slightly forced laughter.
The energy these women are giving off, their overt flirting, is making Gabby uncomfortable. Used to seeing them with their husbands, or occasionally during the day by herself for walks around the beach or lunch, she is unused to this transformation. It is discomfiting to see these women, who she had assumed were just l
Praise for Tempting Fate:"A Scarlet Letter for the twenty-first century." –Kirkus Reviews"Captivating" –Booklist"Green once more proves her skill at exploring the complexities of the human heart. This is a sure bet for her fans and new readers who enjoy well-written women’s fiction." –Library Journal, starred review"Green skillfully depicts a woman trapped between contentment and temptation, crafting an insightful look into married life and middle age." –Publishers Weekly"If you’re in the mood for a juicy, heartbreaking page-turner, you should definitely give it a try." –OKMagazine.com"Likely to stir debate and lively book club discussions." –Danbury News Times"Her compelling tale reflects an understanding of contemporary women that’s acute and compassionate, served up with style." –People magazine