In October 2016, I self-published my debut novel, Wilder and Wilder. Since then, hundreds of copies have been downloaded via Kindle Unlimited and sold in print. My novel is available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Wilder-Darcy-Mysteries/dp/1729427391/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=.
Most people don’t remember the worst day of their lives. But me? I remember mine down to the very minute: January 3rd, 2016 at 5:13 PM.
Before then, it had been a normal day. I woke up, showered and went to work on Newbury Street. When I came home, I plopped down on the couch with leftover pizza and a glass of red wine in hand. 100% normal. I cannot stress this enough.
And then I turned on the news.
Channel 7 at 5:13 PM: there he was, my ex-boyfriend’s name plastered across the screen. The headline read “Boston lawyer defends NYC tycoon against money-laundering charges.”
I choked on my wine, spilling red down the front of my white shirt.
“Fuck!” I yelled, wiping at the stain with my napkin as I rushed toward the bathroom, where I keep my unusually-large collection of Tide-to-Go pens.
And then my phone rang. I groaned as I set my wine down on the kitchen counter and ran back toward the couch, where my cell was comfortably nestled between the cushions.
I plunged my hand into the divot and answered in one fell swoop:
“Darcy, love. It’s your father.”
I collapsed onto the couch and wiped the beads of sweat off my forehead.
“Hey, Dad. How’s New York?”
I started to reach for my glass of wine to take a long sip when I realized it was still on the kitchen counter. Thankfully, the open bottle of cabernet was still on the coffee table.
“Darcy, I need to talk to you about something," Dad said urgently. "Something….important.”
I sighed and set the bottle down. Kicking off my flats, I lay down on the couch and settled in.
Whenever Dad needed to talk about something “serious,” it was almost never life-or-death, but almost always drawn-out.
“I’m listening, Dad. Lay it on me.”
He took a long pause, then gulped.
“Darcy, honey, I’m not sure how to tell you this,” he began.
My heart thudded in my chest as I reached, yet again, for the bottle of wine. I was expecting him to tell me he was getting remarried, or selling the family business. I never could have predicted what he actually wanted to say.
But before he could say it, the anchorwoman on Channel 7 answered all my questions. My dad’s picture - mugshot, really - flashed across the screen in high-definition.
The anchorwoman stood in front of his Boston hotel, the H.J.W. Royal Suites located across the Charles, as snow violently pelleted her umbrella.
“....New York hotel tycoon and Boston native Henry Wilder has been arrested on charges of money laundering through various foreign accounts…”
I spit out my wine in a double-take.
“Darcy,” my father said, “I can assure you this is all one big misunderstanding-”
“Money-laundering, Dad? You call that a 'misunderstanding?'"
“-and our lawyers are on the case-”
“You mean Miles is on the case,” I snapped. “You remember Miles, I'm sure. You know, the asshole who dumped me to move to New York....”
...only to move back to Boston two years later.
Miles had recently become junior partner at Ropes and Muir, a high-profile law firm known for defending local celebrities. Last time I’d seen his name on the news, he had been defending a Celtics player against charges of domestic abuse.
“-but I’m going to need you to call your mother and brother and give them the same reassurance,” Dad concluded with a sigh. “Can you do that for me, darling?”
As usual, I ignored him and continued.
“I can’t believe you hired my ex-boyfriend,” I sputtered. “You are unbelievable.”
“Darcy, this is strictly business. Miles’ firm is one of the best in the city of Boston - you know that.”
“Your headquarters is in New York. You live in New York. You couldn’t have hired a lawyer from, oh I don’t know, New-fucking-York?”
“Darcy, I don’t expect you to understand. I simply ask that you do me this small favor and talk to your mother for me...can you promise me that much, darling?”
I thought for a moment, chewing on my tongue, before concluding: a father like this didn’t deserve my help…
A father like mine didn't deserve anything.
“Fuck you, Dad," I spat, and hung up abruptly.
I groaned and chucked my phone across the room. It landed next to Alexander Hamilton, my sleeping tabby cat, who startled awake and fled with a meow.
“I’m sorry, Alexander Hamilton!” I cried out guiltily.
Exhausted, I slipped my blazer off and lay back on the couch with the rest of the half-empty bottle of wine.
Tomorrow is going to feel like hell, I thought, but at least for now, I can try to forget.
I was about to take another long drag of cabernet when the anchorwoman interrupted:
“...Santorelli, the suitor of Dutch model and photographer Hanna Van Der Waal…”
A photo of a beautiful, petite woman with a fashionable brown bob, who looked to be in her early thirties, flashed across the screen. She stared into the lens with the blank yet beautiful expression of an experienced model, a camera of her own dangling from a strap around her neck.
Her cold blue eyes are the last thing I remember before chugging the rest of the bottle and passing out on the couch.
Fuck, did January 3rd, 2016 suck.