Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

Page 66

The driver swivels in his seat to look at me. He’s huge and swarthy, and his face is creased in a frown.

“What about the Guggenheim?”

“Erm… I’ll go later on.”

“Later on?” says the driver. “You can’t rush the Guggenheim. The Guggenheim is a very fine museum. Picasso. Kandinsky. You don’t want to miss it.”

“I won’t miss it! Honestly, I promise. If we could just go to Sephora now? Please?”

There’s a disapproving silence from the front.

“All right,” he says at last, and starts the engine.

As we drive off, I sink happily into my seat. I think lunch went really well, actually. Except maybe when I told them the anecdote about Rory and the guide dog. And when I tripped over on my way to the loos. But then, that could happen to anybody. The truth is, I really am settling into New York. It’s only been three days, but I’m getting the language and everything. Like, yesterday, I said “Go figure” without even thinking. And I called a skirt cute!

We pull up at a pedestrian crossing and I’m peering interestedly out, wondering which street we’re at — when suddenly I freeze in horror.

There are Judd and Kent. Right there, in front of us. They’re crossing the road, and Kent is saying something animatedly, and Judd is nodding. Oh God. I can’t let them see me heading in the wrong direction. Quick, hide.

My heart thumping, I sink down off my seat and kind of crouch on the floor, trying to hide behind my Wall Street Journal. God, why isn’t there more space in these taxis?

“You OK back there?” says the taxi driver.

“Fine,” I gulp. I raise my head cautiously — and thank goodness Judd and Kent have disappeared. As I scramble back up onto the seat, I bump my head on the window.

“Hey there!” says a disembodied voice, making me jump with fright. “You be careful! Safety counts, OK? So buckle up!”

“OK,” I say humbly. “Sorry about that. I’m really sorry. I won’t do it again.”

I fasten my seat belt with clumsy fingers, and catch the eye of the driver in the mirror.

“It’s a recorded announcement,” he says scornfully. “You’re talking to a tape machine.”

I knew that.

We arrive at Sephora on Broadway, and I thrust wodges of dollars at the driver. As I get out of the cab, he looks closely at me.

“Have you been drinking, lady?”

“No,” I say indignantly. “I mean… yes. But it was just a bit of wine at lunch…”

The taxi driver shakes his head and drives off, and I head unsteadily into Sephora. To be honest, I am feeling a little giddy. I push open the door and… wow. Spotlights are dancing about the bright interior, landing on shiny black counters; on the deep-red carpet underfoot; on the glass packaging of a thousand nail polishes. There’s music pounding, and girls milling everywhere, and trendy guys in black polo necks and headsets handing out goody bags. As I turn dazedly around, I’ve never seen so much makeup in my life. Rows and rows of lipsticks. Rows and rows of eye shadows. In all the colors of the rainbow. And oh look, there are little chairs where you can sit and try it all on, with personal mirrors. This place is… I mean, it’s heaven.

“Hi, Becky, you made it!” I look up to see Jodie waving across a display of hairbrushes. She’s wearing a stripy red-and-white jersey dress today, and as she gets nearer I see that her nails have been revarnished stripy red-and-white to match. “Ready for your makeover?”

She ushers me to one of the little chairs and I get into it, feeling a pleasant anticipation. A girl in black comes over with a friendly smile and introduces herself as Mona, my makeup specialist for today.

“Had you thought what look you were after?” she says as she switches on a spotlight and guides it toward my face.

“Well, it’s for lunch with my boyfriend’s mother,” I explain. “I want to look kind of… groomed.”

“Polished but subtle?”


“I have you,” says Mona, nodding. “Taupes and beiges. The hardest look to pull off.”

“Taupe?” says Jodie, wrinkling her brow. “Did anyone ever look good in taupe?”

“And maybe a soft color on the lips,” says Mona, ignoring Jodie. “Let me start with a light base…”

She reaches for a cosmetic sponge and smooths color gently over my face. As she starts shading my eyes I see Jodie standing back, a critical look on her face.

“For this elegant look, less is more,” says Mona.

“Right,” I say, nodding knowledgeably. “Absolutely.”

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