observatory were available, though pricey, and the line to wait for the elevator wasn’t out the door. The elevator was fast moving and her stomach heaved as it raced to the top of the building. It was a feeling she wasn’t particularly fond of, but this time she didn’t mind. She could have ridden up and down all day long, standing behind Tony and studying, unobserved, the whirl of chestnut hair at the crown of his head and the hard broad muscles of his shoulders under the cloth of his shirt.
When the elevator opened, Tony took the wheel and steered himself out to the observation deck. Whether this was out of habit or because he had intuited her ogling him, she couldn’t be sure.
They made their way past a school group to the windows. “What a fabulous view,” she said.
“Not too high?”
“I could get to like it,” she said. “Being a tourist is kind of fun. We should do all the sites—the Statue of Liberty, the Bronx Zoo.”
“Times Square, Rock Center,” Tony added.
“I could give you a personal tour of Rock Center.”
“Do you miss it?” he asked more seriously.
“I haven’t had time to miss it,” she answered with equal seriousness. “There was this big hole in my life and it got filled in. At least it has been so far.”
“I know what you mean. Sometimes you lose something and it makes room for something else.”
“Yes, exactly. I hadn’t expected it to be this way. It’s not so bad, is it?”
“No, it’s not.”
They stopped by one of the massive windows to admire the view. The city spread before them in
miniature as though it was a plaything and Georgette could imagine a child’s hand reaching down through the clouds to rearrange the buildings and the bug-sized yellow cabs.
“I haven’t been up here in twenty years,” Tony said. He studied the scene before them. “My wife and I came here on our second date. She was from this tiny town in western Pennsylvania and I was using Manhattan to impress the hell out of her.” He glanced down and Georgette wasn’t sure if she was pleased he’d shared something so personal. He had mentioned wife and that word twisted her feelings.
“Your wife? You mean Vida.”
Tony looked at her as though she’d said something both fascinating and appalling. “Vida? You thought Vida was—”
“You and she went to Hampton for the weekend.”
Tony laughed. “Oh God. She’s my therapist and my trainer and she’d probably be more interested in you than in me. Though I warn you, she has a girlfriend. It’s serious, they’re talking marriage.”
“Oh.” Chagrined and relieved, she tried to figure out the mystery wife. He wore no ring. He hadn’t
brought the wife to Hampton. “Ex-wife?” she ventured.
“I’m a widower.”
The word widower hit her like an electric shock. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. It was a long time ago. Ten years.”
“She died young.” Georgette imagined a tragic heroine. Electra had been at death’s door more than
once before her final demise. Sad and beautifully dramatic.
“In a car accident. The reason I’m sitting.” He brushed a hand over his thigh. “I’m the one who ought
to be sorry, dragging you down my maudlin memories. You’re surprisingly easy to talk to.”
“Why is that surprising?”
“Because your—you seemed larger than life when I first met you.”
“And now you’ve figured out I’m just a Jersey girl who got lucky.”
Tony appraised her again. “It’s more than luck. You’re talented and beautiful.”
It was the second time he’d called her beautiful. Was he flirting? Georgette decided to take a leap of faith. “Have dinner with me.”