Espresso, Reubens, and Dancing
Siobhan Martin was a man-stealing little bitch.
Greer had been around when Andrew brought Siobhan home, fresh off the truck from Hicksville, all vulnerable doe-eyes and put-on airs. She'd just started dating Jeff and hadn't exactly fit into that lifestyle yet herself, and Siobhan came off as the sympathetic one, the one who was unfortunate enough to fall in love with a married man and had to hold her head high while navigating the whispers behind her back.
Greer had liked that Siobhan, had made her a good friend and ally in this cutthroat world of Real Housewives of Manhattan, but at some point over the last few years, that Siobhan had slowly given way to the hard-set mouthed, conniving-eyed liar Greer found riding Henry Butler in a swimming pool.
Once, though, it had been Greer and Siobhan, brought together by Andrew's friendship with Jeff. Later, Henry came into the fold, the newest addition to the gold-digger, trophy wife brigade that they definitely were not (but kind of were). Gemma and Siobhan had clicked, Gemma more overt to Siobhan's reserved personality and Greer's nice-girl-with-an-edge (as Jeff liked to put it). It took Greer longer than she wanted to admit to reconcile that the reason Siobhan and Gemma clicked might have a little less to do with Gemma's overt personality and a little more to do with Gemma's established standing in social circles Siobhan had trouble accessing as the second wife of a financier who was so fresh off the boat he still had an accent.
So Siobhan was always a bitch, but then she stole Gemma's man and nothing was the same again. Bitchiness amongst girlfriends did not extend to stealing husbands, and Greer really wanted to hold on to Jeff despite the gamine quality of Siobhan's lying eyes, which seemed to be a sirens' call to men.
Who knew why, really?
Greer hadn't been worried Siobhan would go after Jeff. The idea had never even crossed her mind, and she trusted Jeff to resist her, but jealousy wasn't very rational. It had only taken a few short words from Siobhan and Greer was on high alert.
They were standing on the terrace of the Perry's two level Penthouse, the party spilling onto the garden-level below them, giving the illusion of an estate in downtown Manhattan. Space in the city was a commodity, so it was vaguely impressive. Normally, in a situation like this, Siobhan would make a snide comment about how if she wanted to see grass and nature, she'd look at her view of Central Park, and gawd, wasn't that what the Hamptons were for? Or, god forbid, the rest of the country.
Instead, she seemed distracted, her eyes clearly not looking for imperfections to point out in snide tones, and it was a relaxing change to Greer. She pitied the poor sucker on Siobhan Martin's radar. He didn't stand a chance.
"I wonder if Jeff has seen the detailing on these marble balustrades," Greer mused. Ok, she missed the snide comments a bit. "I haven't seen him since we arrived."
"Oh," Siobhan responded without thought. "He's over there next to that fountain discussing his status as master of the universe with Andrew." Then she pointed to the direction she had clearly been staring in for the past five minutes.
Greer felt her stomach turn over as she looked over and found the back of her husband's head.
"Come on," Siobhan urged, tugging at her elbow, "that bench has opened up and I might be a champion high-heel wearer, but this pair takes definite inspiration from the Inquisition. I thought expensive shoes were supposed to be more comfy. That's a myth they definitely don't refute in charm school. Ow."
"It's not a matter of comfort. Rich people hardly stand, let alone walk." Don't let on you suspect her, Greer told herself, just observe. She thought this Siobhan with the change of heart was too good to be true – could it be all a ruse so the other woman could get her claws into Jeff and become the other woman?
Siobhan snickered. "That's certainly not true," she pointed out. "They run for politics all the time."
Greer wasn't sure what Siobhan had heard about Jeff's intentions for the next campaign, but she didn't find that very funny. She allowed Siobhan to pull her down onto the bench, the marble cool beneath the delicate material of her dress. She hated to admit it, but at least Siobhan was right about one thing. Her feet did feel better, though she had learned a long time ago to take a few painkillers before these things. It allowed the evening to be less painful on multiple fronts.
"How's Juliet?" Greer asked sympathetically, knowing that bringing up a sensitive topic like that would normally be a snide dig, but she genuinely cared. It wasn't every day she was put in the situation where one of her benefits actually traumatized young girls by bringing her rapist into her home. At least, not that she knew of.
"She's doing well," Siobhan answered, not looking like she thought Greer meant anything other than what was on the surface, which was odd. Siobhan always leapt to the defense. "We're getting her help and her lawyer is confident that we have a sound case."
"Good. The law firm you hired is the best at this kind of thing."
"Andrew believes so as well."
"How's your marriage?"
And ok, so that one was a dig. So sue her, Greer wasn't a saint and being nice was exhausting when you suspected your companion of making moon eyes at your husband.
Siobhan's face lit up, the ambient lighting highlighting her features and for the first time in their friendship (at least, for a really long time) Greer remembered how pretty Siobhan was with her golden hair and pale, but sun-kissed skin. She looked real and healthy and like any woman who was clearly happy in her marriage. "There are no words to describe how amazing of a man – of a husband – Andrew is."
This was coming from the same woman who said "I'm sorry, but do you really expect a woman not to look elsewhere when they haven't had an orgasm in three years?"
Right. Greer didn't believe that for one second. If Andrew Martin couldn't find Siobhan's buttons a year ago, he sure as heck couldn't find them now unless he had severely changed his reading material and practiced on someone who wasn't his frigid wife.
She was just trying to come up with a way to phrase the question, when Siobhan answered it for her, letting out a startled, choked sigh that sounded like pure lust. Greer had never heard anything like it in any of these parties, not from Siobhan at least, and she certainly hadn't heard her make lust sounds with Henry Butler in that pool. Immediately, her eyes tracked to Jeff, but he had moved away from the men and was no longer in view. Then she followed Siobhan's line of sight to Andrew. Andrew who was moving through the crowd towards them, the lighting playing with his features as well so that he was so darkly compelling, like a hero right out of a Jane Austen novel or a bodice ripper, that Greer almost sighed lustily after him as well.
His eyes were intent on one thing, and one thing only, and Greer definitely couldn't blame Siobhan for anything.
"Greer," Andrew nodded. "Siobhan, will you dance with me?"
Siobhan didn't dance unless it helped her socially. She was pretty terrible at it, and Andrew (or the gentleman in question) always ended up leading her around woodenly. Usually it wasn't terrible, but it always came off as looking amateur and Siobhan hated reminding people of her roots.
Siobhan didn't seem to remember this. She giggled and fluttered her eyelashes at him. "I can't refuse my husband a dance. What would our friends think if I was a negligent wife?"
Siobhan typically said things like that to Andrew, in colder tones than the one she was using now.
"Besides," Siobhan continued. "How can I deny the handsomest man here whatever he desires?"
Andrew smiled at Siobhan, Siobhan beamed at Andrew and jumped to her feet with far more enthusiasm than someone who had once humiliated herself by stepping on the hem of another woman's gown and tearing a huge rent in the train had any right to display. Then they were on the dance floor and Siobhan was grinning at Andrew, keeping step with him and occasionally throwing in a small shimmy to her oddly fluid movements that had every man in a twenty foot radius pausing to look.
She never looked away from Andrew's eyes.
It was all rather sweet and touching, Greer realized, as the two circled the room in a dance that was partially the proper steps and partially impromptu moves to compensate for the people moving around them. Most importantly, they looked to be having fun.
Something was very wrong.
She thought she had to keep an eye on Siobhan for husband-stealing reasons, but now she couldn't help but wonder if she had to keep an eye on her for brain damage.
It was impossible to tell with Siobhan because the face she showed in public was the more pleasant half of her two-faced personality, but there had always been a clear distinction, a delineation between private and public that Greer just couldn't see anymore. And there were just some things Greer couldn't put down to Siobhan trying to be a better person. Being a better person didn't mean you suddenly started dancing like a pro, and it didn't mean you suddenly started drinking triple espressos without wincing or that you bolted down Reuben sandwiches in secret after leaving a luncheon where you were given the vegetarian option comprised mostly of limp lettuce with non-fat dressing on the side (Siobhan's lunch of choice for Mondays).
Those had nothing to do with being a better person.
At supper Siobhan was being her normal flirty self, if a little more... unreserved than usual. She laughed at jokes, not just politely but with true humour, and her smile always, always came back to Andrew, somehow growing wider, a cute wrinkle scrunching up her nose as she made a slightly silly face at him or raised a shoulder in flirtatious defeat. Andrew would smile back, always, despite what he was doing or who he was talking to, his dimple momentarily softening his face. Greer had forgotten his face could soften like that, but it put a lot of her worries at bay. Not even Siobhan could fake that kind of mutual regard, so there was definitely something going on that wasn't just one-sided.
There had been a lot of things about her friends she had forgotten, and it just drove home how miserable they had been with each other for a very long time.
So why the sudden change?
When their supper arrived, one of the courses out of order, Greer automatically looked over to Siobhan. Even a nice Siobhan would find it impossible to resist the urge to make the error known, and it was impossible not to notice that the moment their supper was placed in front of them, Andrew looked over at Siobhan in concern as well. His concern didn't seem to be that Siobhan would shame the Perrys', a nice couple relatively new to this whole entertaining business, even as Greer braced herself for what was coming when Siobhan picked up the wrong fork.
Andrew's fingers brushed against the cloth of Siobhan's shirt, and her eyes cut to him automatically. Oh Andrew, Greer winced internally, don't you remember what happened the last time you tried to correct Siobhan? Don't you remember how she found every etiquette book in existence to back up her claim that she was right, and didn't talk to you for days unless it was to present irrefutable proof that she knew more about fine dining than even the Queen of England?
Greer was ready, braced for the verbalized or unspoken disparagement that was about to come from Siobhan when Andrew subtly placed his finger in front of the proper fork. If anyone knew the repercussions of correcting Siobhan, it was Andrew.
He had no one to blame but himself when Siobhan handed him his testicles as their missing course.
Instead Siobhan blushed and quickly changed utensils, her free hand settling on top of Andrew's. He gave her a secret look, head bowed and eyes focused on her, and in return she entwined her fingers with his.
Siobhan and Andrew, Andrew and Siobhan against the world.
Which would be wonderful for them both, Greer conceded, if the woman sitting across the table from her was Siobhan. In that moment Greer was certain she wouldn't have to worry about Jeff since the only man the Anti-Siobhan looked interested in stealing was her look-alike's husband.
Greer couldn't resist a good mystery. That was how Boston started, when she saw two people who looked like Siobhan and Henry from a distance, and after an inquiry at the front desk to see if both the Martins and the Butlers were vacationing together (only to find neither registered at the hotel), she launched her own investigation. So the idea that Siobhan wasn't Siobhan was kind of the most exciting thing to happen to her that week. Could Andrew have found a woman with similar stature and (with a little plastic surgery) have Siobhan eliminated and replaced? Could it be a clone? A particularly realistic android? Maybe amnesia or brain-wiping so he could reform Siobhan with all her good qualities and none of her bad.
Greer also had a weakness for science fiction, but it wasn't one she readily admitted to anyone.
So Ockham's Razor.
"Siobhan?" Greer asked sweetly. "Did I hear you have a twin?"
Siobhan looked taken back, surprise masking an undercurrent of tension as her eyes narrowed at the question, clearly wondering where Greer had heard such a thing.
"Yes," Andrew answered, seemingly casual. "Her name is Bridget."
Andrew never did anything casually, especially not socially.
Greer nodded. "Bridget."
In that moment she was sure that she and Andrew were on the same page. She could be friends with this "Siobhan" without worrying about ulterior motives based solely on the way she looked at Andrew, trusting and devoted but not blindly so. Greer kind of enjoyed the idea of the Head Bitch In Charge being unroosted by her twin sister. There was a kind of beauty to it, an inherent irony, that was appealing and romantic all at the same time.
Greer loved a good romance.
So, when, a few months later Bridget sobbed into a pillow on top of the covers of her guest room, Greer was a little confused by what the problem was. Bridget was apologizing profusely for her ruse between choking, heart-broken sounds, the story pouring out of her. Greer didn't say a word, just silently passed Kleenex while stroking her friend's hair and wondered if being angry at Andrew was justified. He had floored her when he publically accused Siobhan of the affair with Henry and the surprises just kept coming. She couldn't help but wonder, a little uncharitably, if Andrew had a twin as well, one who hadn't been let in on the secret she had been so sure they all shared.
"Everything will be ok," Greer murmured. "You'll marry Andrew Martin someday."
"But Siobhan's not dead," Bridget hiccupped, "and he can't see beyond the fact I'm a drugaddictprostitute."
"He knows who you are, and it isn't a drug addicted prostitute stripper. Well, maybe a little of the last one. You do know how to dance."
Bridget broke off a choked laugh. "Andrew enjoyed those particular skills."
"Ew." Greer paused. "You'll teach me, right? I don't see the point in being friends with a former stripper if I can't learn a few moves for when Jeff and I role play Striptease."
"Friends?" Bridget question meekly, but her sobs had stopped and she was peering out from under the blankets.
"Of course, Bridget. It might be the consolation prize, but you're a far better friend than your sister was."
This seemed to be the validation Bridget had been searching for, someone who saw her for who she was and accepted it without rejection. Greer's heart broke a little for her, that the only person who gave that to her was someone who hardly mattered.
"Everything will work out," Greer murmured, a promise she wasn't sure would come true, but this friendship thing went both ways, and Greer had always been the kind of woman who stood by her friends.
A/N: I really liked Greer's character and by the finale, where she seemed to be a close confidant of the Martin family, I wanted to see how they got there.