Holding Back The Years

by Miles Rost

An old radio in the background of the bedroom was playing a quaint little song as Silvia Montgomery sat in front of her mirror. The head of the old money Montgomery family, she was an elegant lady who dealt with things bluntly. Sometimes too much so, such as the case of firing the head of the Montgomery Foundation in front of a televised audience.

She pulled a brush through her silky shoulder-length silver hair, as she counted the number of wrinkles on her face. She was pushing 55, and the stress of being the heiress of one of the biggest charitable foundations in the Western Hemisphere didn’t help much. The mirror betrayed this fact like a tattling child.

She put on her favorite earrings, the ones that got her notice with people. She looking in the mirror and smiled. It was a fake smile, to be sure, but she needed to keep up the appearance that she was a powerful force to be reckoned with. Wearing a long and black dress that hid the cellulite and the age in her previously envy-provoking legs, she took one last look before standing and pulling on her black arm-length gloves.

Grabbing her purse from the edge of the dresser, she slowly walked out of her room and down the ornate stairs of her palatial estate in rural Rockland County. She reached the bottom of the stairs, and looked around for her husband, real estate mogul Howard O’Connor. As she turned to look towards his study, where he spent most of his days instead of with her, she saw him walk out with a bored look on his face.

“How much longer are we going to have to keep this up, Silvia?” Howard asked her, “I really believe I need to get moving on with life.”

“The papers are being drawn up as we speak, they should be ready within the month,” she replied, looking straight forward with an Anjelica Huston-like smirk on her face.

The same song that was playing in her bedroom also played on the radio in the hallway downstairs. A song that neither of them cared for, but was quite appropriate for their current situation.

They looked at each other one more time, and they both walked out to the limousine that was waiting to take them into New York City. A charity affair featuring many of New York’s most wealthy was occurring, and it was one of the last places that Howard and Silvia needed to go to.

The drive down from the outskirts of New City into the bowels of the West Side was boring at best and tense at the worst. Howard sat with his hands on his Blackberry, sending off notes about new real estate holdings in Buffalo and Detroit that could net him some cash. Silvia looked out the windows, with a bored look on her face. She loved looking up at the buildings and the neighborhoods that were her home for such a long time in the past. The same drive, with no passion or love in her life, it showed a side of her that she didn’t really like.

The limousine pulled up in front of the center where the charity auction and ball were to be held. Howard and Silvia looked at each other, sighing at the difficulty of the display they would have to show. They then both smiled at each other, trying to put forth their best loving face, and proceeded out of the limousine. With the cameras flashing and the smiles going around, the couple walked up the stairs of the Benoit Center for the Performing Arts, and proceeded to meet with major donors and public officials.

After a while of putting on the airs, as everyone started to settle down, the couple separated themselves and proceeded to do what they usually did at events like this: Howard would work his way to the bar, find a couple of real estate minnows, and try to pry information from them by plying them with liquor, while Silvia would go around to the different tables and chat for a minute with people and get the information that would be useful to her bids down the line.

She would reach the table where she was supposed to be seated for the dinner, and put down her purse. She sat down, and sighed at the amount of effort that she had to put forth.

“It’s hard having to talk to people when some of them don’t even care for you,” she said aloud to herself, reaching for the bottle of champagne in the middle of the table and pouring herself a flute.

“I don’t usually care for most of them, myself. But, that goes with my territory.”

She whirled her head around and stared into the eyes of someone who she never usually saw at these charity functions. Someone who bore a stony frame, but had a simple and refreshing look in his eyes.

“I wonder how I got the same table as the New York City Police Commissioner. I never usually get law enforcement where I sit,” she said, with a little shock in her voice.

“I think the organizer put the folks who weren’t as happy to be here with each other. How are you doing, Silvia?” the commissioner said, looking at her from through spectacles he never really wanted to wear.

“Judging by what has been said so far, I think you’ve read me pretty well.”

“I’m trying to make my show of support here, at the behest of the mayor, then I am going to get out of here.”

“I wish I could join you.”

“You should wait until your divorce from Howard is final.”

She looked at him, with wide eyes.

“How did you…”

“…you know how I know.”

Silvia blinked for a second, then she shook her head with a slight smile.

“Your daughter. The ADA. She’s connected with the major attorneys.”

She smiled for the first time, genuinely, as she looked at the commish.

“I now realize why you’re so good at your job.”

“Really? Maybe you could tell me, because I still am wondering how I was convinced to take this job.”

Just as she was about to answer, a broad-shouldered man walked up to the table, and smiled.

“Ah, seems like you two are having a conversation. I’ll leave you.”

“No need, Barrett. Are we free to go?”

“Your obligation has been met.”

He stood up and gave her a mustachioed smile.

“You know where to find me when things are done.”

The commissioner walked away, as Silvia looked on in wide-eyed wonder.

“This shall be interesting indeed…” she said to herself, a sly look in her eyes. She downed the rest of the flute of champagne and poured another glass, thinking of the steely police commissioner of the Five Boroughs.

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