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
POOR, POOR, POOR JANE ! Poor, poor little girl! The next morning, Michael waited outside Jane's fancy Park Avenue building, as he always did. It was a good thing he was invisible: his wrinkled corduroys, faded yellow golf shirt, and docksiders wouldn't cut it in this pricey neighborhood.
He was thinking about something pretty amazing that Jane had said when she was only four years old. Vivienne had been heading off to Europe for a month. He'd been concerned about how Jane would cope. But Jane had shrugged it off and said, "Love means you can never be apart." Michael knew he would never forget that – out of a four-year-old's mouth and brain, no less. But that was Jane, wasn't it? She was an incredible girl.
So what was he going to do with himself on this lovely day while Jane was locked away in school? Maybe a big breakfast over at the Olympia Diner – pancakes, sausage, eggs, keep the buttered rye toast coming. He might even get together with a couple of other imaginary friends who worked in the neighborhood. What exactly were the duties of an imaginary friend? Pretty much just to make it easier for the child to fit into the world without feeling too alone or scared. Hours? Whatever it took. Benefits? The incredibly pure love between a kid and an imaginary friend. It didn't get better than that. Where did he fit in the great cosmic plan? Well, no one had ever told him.
Michael looked at his watch, an ancient Timex that kept on ticking just as the ads promised it would. It was exactly 8:29. Jane would be down at 8:30, just like every other weekday morning. Jane never kept anyone waiting. Such a sweetheart.
Then he saw her, but pretended not to, as always.
"Gotcha!" she said, wrapping her arms around his waist.
"Whoa!" Michael said. "You're sneakier than a pickpocket in Oliver Twist."
Jane grinned, her smile lighting up the little face that he couldn't get enough of. She hitched her schoolbag onto her small shoulder, and they headed off to school.
"I didn't exactly sneak up," she said. "You were lost somewhere interesting in your thoughts." Jane had a cute way of talking out of the side of her mouth when she was with him, so people didn't think she was loony. Sometimes he let people see him; sometimes he didn't. She could never be sure which – or why. "Life is a mystery," he would say.
As soon as they were out of the doorman's sight, she took his hand. Michael loved that more than he could ever say. It made him feel like – he didn't know. A dad?
"What did Raoul pack for your lunch?" he asked. " Wait – let me guess. Squirrel on whole wheat, wilted iceberg lettuce, hold the three-day-old mayo?"
Jane tugged on his hand. "You're goofy," she said.
"Nah, I'm Sneezy."
"More like Dopey." Jane laughed.
A couple of minutes later – too soon – they were at the tall, imposing school gates, only a block and a half from Jane's apartment building. The entrance was a sea of little girls in navy jumpers over simple white blouses. They all wore either Mary Janes or saddle shoes, socks turned down just so.
"Tomorrow's the special day," Jane said, looking down at her shoes so her classmates wouldn't see her talking to an imaginary friend. "I just might get my puppy. I don't even care what kind anymore. Maybe he'll be at my party. First we have to see The Problem with Kansas, though. And you're invited, of course."
The school bell sounded.
"Great. I can't wait to see Kansas. You go in now, and I'll be back at three to pick you up. As per usual."
"Okay," she said. "We can talk about what we're going to wear tomorrow night."
"Yeah, you can help pick out some fancy clothes for me. So I don't embarrass you."
Jane's eyes met his squarely. For a split second he had an idea of exactly what she would look like as a grown-up – the serious face, her warm smile, those intelligent eyes that reached right into his soul.
"You could never embarrass me, Michael."
She let go of his hand then and ran toward the school building. Michael didn't blink until he saw her head of blond curls slip behind the door. He waited. Jane peeked out again, as she always did. She waved, smiled, then disappeared for good.
Suddenly Michael needed to blink. Several times, actually. He felt as if a giant had stepped on his chest. His heart actually hurt.
How was he going to tell Jane that he had to leave her tomorrow?
That was another duty of an imaginary friend, and possibly the worst.
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.