"God, where are my keys....."
Elizabeth 'Liz' Allan fumbled through her bag for all of five minutes before finding them, shoving the correct key into the keyhole and pushing the door to her Manhattan apartment open. Tossing them carelessly on the counter, Liz dumped her bag and pulled her blonde hair out of the ponytail she wore it in for work.
Padding to the bathroom, she looked at herself in the mirror. There were the beginnings of faint circles under her eyes. Circles that hadn't been there a month ago. Liz sighed and began running a bath, intending to spend a quiet evening in with a cosmopolitan and her Sex and the City dvds.
That was before she heard the incessant ringing of her cell phone. Seconds later, she yanked it from her handbag.
"Liz honey, I have a party to attend tonight. I need an escort....can you make it?"
Liz rolled her eyes and smiled. "Sure, dad."
Phillip Allan straightened his tie. "How's the tie, Liz? Did I pick the right one?"
The blonde smiled, eyeing the pale grey sliver of grey silk knotted around his neck. "It's fine, dad. How do I look?" she asked, smiling in the direction of one of her father's investors. That night, she'd dressed in a simple black cocktail dress accentuated by a dark red beaded shawl. A suitable uniform for the New York socialite slash business woman in the making.
"You look gorgeous, sweetie. Every inch the student voted prettiest girl at Midtown High."
Liz blushed and muttered "Dad, that was two years ago."
"But it's true!" Phil smiled indulgently at his daughter. "You're gorgeous, and you're gonna do me proud when I can't handle this business anymore."
Liz shook her head. "Dad, you'll be doing this forever."
Phil laughed as he escorted her away from the crowd inside. He was silent for a moment, contemplating.
"How are you holding up, princess?" he asked, his voice lapsing into a more serious tone.
Liz frowned, not wanting to think about the recent events that had left her with a broken heart. "I'll be fine."
"Hasn't Harry called you at all to apologise?"
The young woman flinched at the mention of her ex's name. They had broken up a few weeks ago, when his alcohol problem reached a point where she no longer felt safe. Liz loved Harry, but unless he sobered up, there would be no future for her with him.
She shook her head. "I think I'm just better off leaving him alone...I mean, he has to sort through this problem himself." she sighed, the dull ache of loneliness filling her being.
"Yeah, well, the moment anyone hurts my daughter the way he has..." Phil shook his head fiercely.
"I know, dad." Liz smiled weakly. "Trust me, Harry will call if he wants to. And if he doesn't...." she trailed off and shrugged her shoulders.
Phil smiled. "I can't believe this is the same girl who was crying over that Thompson boy four years ago."
Liz chuckled. "I grew up and made my own choices, instead of mom making them for me."
He nodded. "Say honey, what say you and I get out of here early and have coffee. My shout." Phil grinned.
"Sounds good. But please.....anywhere but Starbucks." she groaned.
"Aw.....and I was hoping I could get a discount for being an employee's father." he chuckled, escorting her back into the party.