I purse my lips.
“Well, I was thinking about cooking up a romantic dinner for Anthony. We haven’t talked much lately but I want to let bygones be bygones. Hedidinvite me to dinner later this week.”
It’s not entirely a lie because I do have a sort-of boyfriend named Anthony. We’ve been on the outs for months now, but I got a text from him earlier this week, so my words are true. There’s going to be a dinner later this week, although it might not be romantic.
But Sydney merely grimaces.
“Anthony? Really? That loser? Why would you go to the trouble of cooking to pleasehim?” she asks, rolling her eyes. “You know he would never appreciate it because he’s so entitled. That guy thinks he’s God’s gift to the world.”
“I know, but … okay, yeah, he tends to be picky about food. Still.”
Sydney fixes me with a look, her brown eyes serious.
“Anthony is the worst, Tay. I didn’t even know you two were still dating.”
“Well, I guess we’re not ‘dating’ technically. It’s complicated. But he did text, and we’re going to grab something to eat. We’re just seeing where things go.”
Sydney blows out a breath, rolling her eyes.
“Come on, Tay. You’re so much better than him, and you know it. I mean, there are a million guys out there who would love to date you, so why do you keep going back to Anthony? Is it his greasy black hair? The way he envisions himself as Al Pacino fromScarface? Or Michael Corleone from theGodfather?”
Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes.
“He’s notthatbad, Sydney. I think if you got to know him better, you’d see that he’s a pretty decent guy deep down.”
Sydney stares at me.
“No, I don’t want to get to know him better. That’s the point. Besides, this is the same guy who was cheating on you not that long ago, isn’t it? You know what they say: once a cheater, always a cheater, so actually, it’snotcomplicated at all.”
I’m silent for a few seconds as I take a sip of my hot chocolate. It’s lukewarm now, but the sugar tastes good at least. Meanwhile, I consider trying to change the subject, but I know it won’t work. Sydney’s making some good points, and I should try and address them.
“Yeah, technically Anthony did cheat on me, but that was months ago, and he says he’s a whole new person now. He’s seen the error of his ways, and he’s no longer with that floozie, whatever-her-name-is. He said her fake tits were too big, and that they freaked him out.”
“Yeah, but he should have known thatbeforehe cheated on you. Those fake tits were huge! They’re Double Hs, at least. What, he couldn’t see them before he took up with her? Does he not have eyes?”
“Listen, Syd. It’s not every day that you meet a man who’s willing to accept you as you are, and at least Anthony does that. Especially because he knows what you and I do for a living, and seems more or less okay with it.”
My friend nods because she’s also a hostess at Club Z, and it’s hard to keep a boyfriend who you’re entertaining other men. As a result, most of the hostesses are single, although quite a few are now dating clients from the club.
Still, Sydney throws me a knowing look.
“Yeah, but this is Anthony Genovese we’re talking about. The one with halitosis that smells like garlic and cigarette smoke mixed together. Vomit.”
“I know it’s not pleasant, but he’s using nicotine patches now, so hopefully, it’s gotten better.”
“Ugh. I can’t imagine what fresh hell it must be to kiss him. Plus, he’s always pale, puffy, and sweaty for no reason. It’s weird. Are you sure he’s not on meth or something? You could do so much better, hon. I mean, look at the guys you’re entertaining at Club Z. There is no bigger contrast than between our clients and Anthony Genovese.”
I sigh because it’s true. Our customers are powerful, handsome billionaires who have the world at their fingertips. Meanwhile, my ex is a scrawny, pale shadow of a soul, even if his dad is the head of the Genovese crime family. But that’s neither here nor there because I’m dating the son, and not the father, although Roman Genovese is a handsome man, all dark power and animal magnetism. But where am I going with this? Disgusted with myself, I put Anthony’s dad out of my mind.