"I have to get home to the girls."
"Yeah, Brady has soccer practice early. I hate to cut out early but…"
"Don't worry about it. Smith has an early call time and I haven't seen him all week."
"John finally comes home in the morning, so I have to get to JFK early anyhow."
There had been a time when late nights dominated their social lives, but the four girls barely had enough time to meet for a quick dinner lately. Charlotte was wrapped up in motherhood and Miranda was still trying to get her own firm off the ground while spending time with her family and Samantha had recently reunited with Smith and Carrie was trying to manage a bicoastal lifestyle with Big. Life had changed so much for them over the past year, so much in fact that this was the first dinner they'd had together in almost two months.
There had been times when one or the other hadn't been able to make it but they still managed to get together in trios and pairs. First, Lily had caught the flu and then Carrie had spent two weeks in London with Big while he was negotiating a major merger. Samantha had flown to Auckland last month to be on set while Smith filmed in the latest Peter Jackson project and Miranda had put in too many late hours trying to get her client roster up to par. It was only when Carrie had insisted they make time when they'd missed Charlotte's birthday last week that they had really made a concerted effort to all four be in the same place at the same time.
"It was nice getting together. Harry and I keep saying that we should have everyone over for dinner."
"I'd offer, but no one wants to come all the way out to Brooklyn."
"You're right about that, honey. Besides, Smith is a big star now. He can't be seen in a borough."
"You know that Bridge & Tunnel is very hip right now, Samantha. I thought you read my column."
Samantha smiled and shrugged apologetically before waving over the waiter to pay the tab. Carrie's phone rang from the tiny confines of her bejeweled Judith Lieber bag, which Miranda took as permission to check her Blackberry for any word about the brief she had turned into the judge that afternoon. Charlotte decided to order dessert to-go to take home to her daughters.
Once the tab was finally paid, the four of them piled out of the restaurant and into the cool crisp air of late fall. Carrie started to wave down a cab when a dark town car pulled up to the curb. She smiled gratefully at her driver, knowing that Big had probably sent Raul since he hated for her to be out late on her own anymore. She thought about suggesting a night cap until she glanced back at her friends, all of them busy tapping away on their phones.
"Well, we will have to do this again soon!"
"Yeah, let's not wait too long."
"I'll set something up this week, send you all emails so we can get it on the books."
"Wow, has it really come to this?" The other three girls stop messing with their phones now to look up at Carrie. She wonders when they quit having time for each other and when she started to find that acceptable. Sure, they all had their own lives now and their priorities had changed. However, that didn't mean that it had to end up like this. "Let's go get a drink. Just one, without talking about our kids or our men. I miss you all so much."
Charlotte shakes her head at Carrie. "We just spent the last hour together."
"An hour in two months, Charlotte," Carried replied. "When did that start to be okay?"
The brunette grimaced down at her Kate Spade ballet slippers. "I don't know…"
"Carrie's right," Samantha exhaled. "I can't believe it was that long."
"I know we're all so busy, but I feel like I'm losing this," Carrie explained, waving her hand amongst the group for emphasis. "We vowed this would never happen."
Miranda wrapped her arm around her friend's shoulder and hugged to her side. "So we slipped."
"Let's get a drink," Charlotte agreed. "Harry can put the girls to bed for once."
"I'm used to not getting any sleep anyhow," Miranda shrugged. "I'll just order an extra big coffee tomorrow morning before practice. Maybe it will make those soccer moms less annoying."
"Good luck with that," Samantha bit off sarcastically. "Send Charlotte in your place. She'd fit right in."
"Hey!" the brunette countered while the other three laughed in unison.
Raul smiled appreciatively as the four women crawled into the back seat of the luxurious car, calling out directions to one of their old favorite haunts. Carrie leaned back in the seat and listened to the three of them talk before discreetly sending a text to her husband to thank him for the car. She didn't wait for a reply before burying her phone back in her clutch. She loved John more than anything, but meals with him were never quite like this.
Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha would always be her favorite dinner companions.