AN IMAGINARY FRIEND
Jane Margaux is a lonely little girl. Her mother, a powerful Broadway producer, makes time for her only once a week, for their Sunday trip to admire jewelry at Tiffany's. Jane has only one friend: a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael. He's perfect. But only she can see him. Michael can't stay forever, though. On Jane's ninth birthday he leaves, promising her that she'll soon forget him.
AN UNEXPECTED LOVE
Years later, in her thirties, Jane is just as alone as she was as a child. And despite her own success as a playwright, she is even more trapped by her overbearing mother. Then she meets someone–a handsome, comforting, funny man. He's perfect. His name is Michael...
AND AN UNFORGETTABLE TWIST
This is a heartrending story that surpasses all expectations of why these people have been brought together. With the breathtaking momentum and gripping emotional twists that have made James Patterson a bestselling author all over the world, SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S takes an altogether fresh look at the timeless and transforming power of love.
Part One | Once Upon a Time in New York
EVERY DETAIL of those Sunday afternoons is locked in my memory, but instead of explaining me and Michael right off, I'll start with the world's best, most luscious, and possibly most sinful ice cream sundae, as served at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
It was always the same: two fist-sized scoops of coffee ice cream, swirled with a river of hot fudge sauce, the kind that gets thicker, gooey and chewy, when it hits the ice cream. On top of that, real whipped cream. Even at eight years old, I could tell the difference between real whipped cream and the fake-o nondairy product you squirt from a can.
Across from me at my table in the Astor Court was Michael: hands down the handsomest man I knew, or have ever known, for that matter. Also, the nicest, the kindest, and probably the wisest.
That day his bright green eyes watched me gaze at the sundae with undisguised delight as the whitecoated waiter set it in front of me with tantalizing slowness.
For Michael, a clear glass bowl of melon balls and lemon sherbet. His ability to deny himself the pleasure of a sundae was something my child's brain couldn't wrap itself around.
"Thanks so much," Michael said, adding extreme politeness to his list of enviable qualities.
To which the waiter said – not a word.
The Astor Court was the place to go for a fancy dessert at the St. Regis Hotel. That afternoon it was filled with important-looking people having important-looking conversations. In the background, two symphony-worthy violinists fiddled away as if this were Lincoln Center.
"Okay," Michael said. "Time to play the Jane-and- Michael game."
I clapped my hands together, my eyes lighting up.
Here's how it worked: One of us pointed to a table, and the other had to make up stuff about the people sitting there. The loser paid for dessert.
"Go," he said, pointing. I looked at the three teenage girls dressed in nearly identical pale yellow linen dresses.
Without hesitation, I said, "Debutantes. First season. Just graduated from high school. Maybe in Connecticut. Possibly – probably – Greenwich."
Michael tilted his head back and laughed. "You're definitely spending too much time around adults. Very good, though, Jane. Point for you."
"Okay," I said, gesturing toward another table. "That couple over there. The ones who look like the Cleavers in Leave It to Beaver. What's their story?"
The man was wearing a gray-and-blue-checked suit; the woman, a bright pink jacket with a green pleated skirt.
"Husband and wife from North Carolina," Michael rattled off easily. "Wealthy. Own a chain of tobacco shops. He's here on business. She came to do some shopping. Now he's telling her that he wants a divorce."
"Oh," I said, looking down at the table. I let out a deep breath, then took another spoonful of sundae and let the rich flavors unfold in my mouth. "Yeah, I guess everyone gets divorced."
Michael bit his lip. "Oh. Wait, Jane. I got it all wrong. He's not asking for a divorce. He's telling her that he has a surprise – he's made arrangements for them to go on a cruise. To Europe on the QE2. It's their second honeymoon."
"That's a much better story," I said, smiling. "You get a point. Excellent."
I looked down at my plate and saw that somehow my ice cream sundae had completely vanished. As it always did.
Michael looked around the room dramatically. "Here's one you won't get," he said.
He pointed to a man and a woman just two tables away.
I looked over.
The woman was about forty years old, well dressed, and stunningly pretty. You might have taken her for a movie actress. She wore a bright red designer dress and matching shoes and had a big black pocketbook. Everything about her said, Look at me!
The man she was with was younger, pale, and very thin. He was wearing a blue blazer and a patterned silk ascot, which I don't think anyone was wearing even back then. He waved his arms enthusiastically as he spoke.
"That's not funny," I said, but I couldn't help grinning and rolling my eyes.
Because, of course, the couple was my mother, Vivienne Margaux, the famous Broadway producer, and that year's celebrity hairdresser, Jason. Jason, the hothouse flower, who didn't have time for a last name.
I looked over at them again. One thing was for sure: My mom was beautiful enough to be an actress herself. Once, when I asked her why she hadn't become one, she said, "Honey, I don't want to ride the train. I want to drive the train."
Every Sunday afternoon when Michael and I had dessert at the St. Regis, my mother and a friend had dessert and coffee there too. That way she could gossip or complain or conduct business but still keep an eye on me, without actually having to be with me.
After the St. Regis, we would cap off our Sundays at Tiffany's. My mother loved diamonds, wore them everywhere, collected them the way other people collect crystal unicorns, or those weird ceramic Japanese cats with the one paw in the air.
Of course I was okay, those Sundays, because I had Michael for company. Michael, who was my best friend in the world, maybe my only friend, when I was eight years old.
My imaginary friend.
Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson
Ellen Archer is an award-winning narrator, actress, and singer. She has performed extensively on the New York stage and in regional theaters across the country in addition to frequent appearances as a soloist with chamber orchestras. Ellen has narrated a number of bestselling audiobooks. She is also a 2007Audie Award winner.
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Alyssa Milano, who also serves as producer, stars as Jane Claremont, who, as a young girl, would accompany her mother Vivian (Stockard Channing) to Tiffany’s in New York every Sunday and bring along her imaginary friend, Michael. Now, 20 years later, Jane is a successful businesswoman, set to marry Hugh (Ivan Sergei), her handsome fiancé, until Michael (Eric Winter) suddenly reappears, all grown up, to warn Jane about the path her life is on. Initially shocked and in disbelief, Jane slowly realizes that not only has Michael returned to her when she needs him most, but he may also be her one true love.