Park Avenue Prince(2)

By: Louise Bay

“You can’t just eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches now that you live here.”

I grinned, amused at how Angie could read my mind. “What, like there’s a rule? I like them.”

“You can’t still like them. You ate nothing but for two years.”

After I’d started working, I’d saved every penny I made. I’d begun with buying and selling everything from knock-off sneakers to small pieces of electrical equipment in the hours I wasn’t at the store. I’d since moved on to real estate. From my perspective, just because I could buy whatever I wanted didn’t mean I would. As far as I was concerned, there was no point in putting money into something that didn’t make money. So, no staff. And no more rent checks.

But all the PB&J I wanted.

“But now that you have a home, things can be different,” Angie said.

Home. Images of my childhood bedroom—before my parents died—flashed into my mind. It was the last time I’d ever thought of the place I slept as home. I spun, taking in the space. Would this place ever feel like home?

Angie ran her hands along the creamy gold wall opposite the windows. “Even this wallpaper feels like it cost a million bucks. You’re going to need to spend some money. I think Ikea stuff is going to look a little weird in this place. I don’t even know where you’d shop for things for a place like this.” She spun around, her arms out wide. “What are you going to do for furniture?”

“I have my couch being delivered tomorrow. And I bought a mattress and some kitchen stuff from Ikea. I’m done.”

I glanced at Angie when she didn’t say anything. “That disgusting couch you got on Craigslist a hundred years ago?” she asked, staring at me blankly. “You’re bringing it here?”

“Well, your husband wouldn’t help me move it, so no, I’m not bringing it here. It’s being delivered tomorrow morning.”

“Unbelievable.” Angie threw her hands in the air.

“What?” I could tell she was about to lose her shit, but I didn’t know why.

“This place must have cost you ten million.”

She was out by eight figures, but I wasn’t about to tell her that and make myself sound like a total douchebag. “And you’re buying an Ikea bed and having a fifty-year-old Craigslist sofa delivered? What the fuck?”

Angie was always telling me to enjoy my wealth, and I did . . . kinda. I just didn’t need expensive stuff.

“Furniture doesn’t make me money. This place is an investment—one I can live in so I don’t have to pay rent.” I shrugged. I wasn’t being entirely honest. I could rent this place out and live somewhere a lot smaller, but there was something about that tile in the kitchen, about the way the sun came through the huge living room windows in the afternoon, something about the sheer amount of space that made me want to stay. It was almost as if living here would lead to something better, something happier.

Angie had her hands on her hips. “Seriously, you need some stuff. Like vases. Or pillows. Something to make the place . . .”

“If it makes you feel any better, I’ve hired an art consultant and we’re going to a gallery this evening.”

Angie scrunched up her face. “A what consultant?”

“Someone who’s going to find some pictures for the walls.” I nodded once as if I’d just presented her with a royal flush in poker. She couldn’t complain about that.

“Because art is an investment, right?” She rolled her eyes.

“So?” I shrugged. “Doesn’t mean it won’t look nice.”

“I think it’s a good idea, but you can’t just sit on your beat-up sofa in this huge apartment with expensive art on the walls. If you’re going to do it, go for it.”

“I don’t care if it looks weird.” Angie was being a little hypocritical. She was notoriously careful with her paycheck. “Surely all that matters is that I have what I need.”

“Need? You don’t need an apartment on Park Avenue or five bedrooms or two kitchens. But that’s okay. All I’m saying is relax a little.” She pushed me out of the way and I followed her into the kitchen where she began opening and closing cupboard doors. “You’ve earned it. You don’t have to be overly indulgent, but get some things that will make your life more comfortable. This is New York fucking City. If such a thing as an art consultant exists, there must be someone who buys furniture for rich dudes like you.”

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