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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Been There, Married That

A Novel

Gigi Levangie

St. Martin's Press



Happy(?) Birthday!

“A toast!”

Trevor, my husband, tapped his Saint Louis glass with a sterling knife, and the glittery couples chattering around the candlelit table snapped to attention. Everyone paid attention to Trevor. Even Pep, our tween with ADD, ADHD, and recent DOATM (Disgust of All Things Mom), paid attention when her father cleared his throat.

Trevor tapped his glass a few more times, sending out warning bells, then stretched to his six-foot frame. His lean shoulders curved into a question mark, a tennis player’s stripped physicality from destroying Dexter with his backhand on Trip’s court, Krav Maga with Uli in our home gym, and chewing each bite of food that passed his lips thirty-six times.

Even oatmeal.

He grinned, basking in the attention, then drew his long fingers through his internationally documented hair, thick and black and brushed with foil streaks. (Some smart aleck on Instagram had created @TrevorNashHair. His hair had more followers than I.)

Even if he wasn’t an Oscar-winning producer, you couldn’t not pay attention.

“To my wife, Agnes,” Trevor said.

I hate the name, too. Someone’s great-grandmother on some side somewhere was an Agnes. What can you do?

“Happy forty-eighth! You look amazing, darling!” A buttery blonde with a smoky eye and red lips screamed as she leaned across the table, ruby drops from her wineglass spilling onto the cream tablecloth, her extensions hovering dangerously near the candle’s flame. Karyn was the kind of friend who’s not a real friend but is more dangerous not to have as a friend. She’s the best frenemy a girl could have.

Trevor had handpicked the chilly private room at Le Figaro along with the guest list, and we’d crowded into the brick anteroom, enjoying a full view of the wine cellar. I had requested a small, manageable party. We’d recently celebrated a record exec’s wife’s fiftieth (before they broke up), and Flo Rida performed live on a damp Bel Air lawn for tons of money. We’d shimmied to Flo Rida’s three dance songs in a hell circle of rich people biting their lower lips and awkward twerking.

My ears rang for days afterward.

“I want to toast my wife’s incredible…” He glanced down at me and smiled. “Work ethic!” Cue a symphony of sterling silver on Saint Louis crystal. I blushed, but not because of my hardy stock. Trevor has saluted my work ethic in every speech since our wedding, as though he’s surprised that I, a Hollywood wife, still have a job. I blushed because my fertility is on its last heaving throes, my eggs scrambled and crapping out, waving the white maxi pad. All that’s left for me is flushing and sweat. Soon, I will be all dried out, a human tumbleweed, rolling along Sunset Boulevard to guzzle martinis at the Polo Lounge.

I sneaked a napkin between my legs. Sixty-six degrees in the room and my dress felt like I peed myself. What’s so hot about hot flashes? Who knew a person could sweat buckets sitting still as a rock, and in so many nooks and crannies? Forehead, ears, neck, cleavage, groin, back of the knees! Who has sweat glands on the backs of their knees? (Me, that’s who.)

I’d nabbed an appointment to see Izzy. Of course I had. Everyone in town called him by his first name. Izzy. Allegedly, he was a medical doctor. You had to wait six months to see him—and by that time, you’d inject rattlesnake venom, toadstools, gulp Xanax, your kid’s Adderall, anything, to get relief. He was the most popular man on the Westside, barring LeBron James sightings at the Brentwood Country Mart.

I raised my glass to the unlined faces aglow with candlelight, padded bank accounts, and wine. Karyn and Michael. Karyn you’ve met. Ex-assistant (to Michael, during his first marriage), current stylist. Hails from Ogden, Utah, with an acquired British-ish accent. Pleasant and bland Michael boasts verifiable Hollywood lineage guaranteeing him a lifetime parking spot at Paramount; I don’t think he’s ever had a bad day. Juliette and Jordan. Three kids, two from surrogates. Expecting another. From another surrogate. Jordan’s an impish, childlike comedy director who watches too much anime porn on his iPhone; lovely Juliette has a sandwich named after her at Malibu Promises. Henry and Elizabeth. Henry, a jock “super agent,” upped his meds because he didn’t get the big Sony job and his hard-ons have disappeared. Poof. Sporty Liz, quadracial daughter of a Jamaican-Scottish record company czar and Japanese-German model, has a Ph.D. she doesn’t use and is bored with Henry’s whining and no-rection. We’ve been on several vacations with these couples. Hualalai, Las Ventanas, Saint Barts. Oscar Weekend in Beverly Hills.

I felt lucky to be in my marriage, with our familiar problems. Problem. How to handle Trevor. I hear the song:

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Tre-e-vor?

For a brief, shining moment, no one was on his phone.

“Cheers,” I said. Thank you, muted candlelight. And wine, you, too, don’t ever leave me.

Trevor clinked my glass and dry pecked my cheek. “Happy birthday, champ,” he said, squeezing my shoulder as he slid a small box toward me.

“Thank you, honey,” I said. “Should I wait?”

“Go ahead, open it,” he said, and he trained his fluorescent smile on our friends.

“Now that’s an auspicious box,” Elizabeth said, her eyes crinkling.

I tugged at the blue ribbon and opened the velvet box.

“Martin Katz?” Karyn asked. “I’d recognize an MK box anywhere!”

“Is it Tiffany?” Juliette said, then turned to Jordan. “Love the name Tiffany! Write that down; that’s a good name for our next herby, or himby, or theyby.”

I blinked and held out the bracelet.

“Fitbit!” I said, as my upper lip perspired.

“Aggie’s been begging me for one,” Trevor said. “I train every day with it.”

“Me, too, every day,” Henry said, perking up. “I hit the gym, 4:30, rain or shine.”

Begged? I’d never even asked for one. I couldn’t program a banana. I willed myself to smile.

All eyes on me.

I feel you, Tupac.

“I love it!” I said, squeezing the napkin between my thighs.

Copyright © 2020 by Gigi Levangie