The World According to Vince - Jane Harvey-Berrick
It was close to midnight when my cell phone rang. I’d already worked another 14-hour day in the office plus two more at home, and I was wearing my pajamas, cocoa in hand, ready to call it a night and crawl into my enormous and comfortable bed. So when I saw the name ‘Knob-head’ flashing up on my phone, I let it roll over to voicemail. But then he rang again and again and again, and on the fifth ring, against my better judgment, I answered.
“Faith … I mean, Grace! Don’t hang up!”
Ugh, knob-head! The stupid British guy never could get my name right. Why had I answered? Oh yes, because he was the best friend of my best friend’s fiancé.
“It’s late, Vincent,” I said sharply.
At least I was able to remember that his given name was ‘Vincent’ and not ‘Knob-head’.
“What do you want?”
“I’ve been arrested. I need a lawyer.”
“What? Oh my God, what?! You got yourself arrested three weeks before Cady and Rick’s wedding! What did you do?”
I may have panicked slightly, but Vince’s voice was annoyingly calm.
“Yeah, I know. Fookin’ bummer. I told the policewomen that, but they were hard arses. They said they had to take me in, asked for a couple of selfies and booked me anyway. They let me use my phone though—cheers, girls!”
I heard a woman laughing in the background and wondered if this was one of Vince’s stupid pranks.
“What have you’ve been arrested for?” I asked skeptically.
“That don’t matter but…”
“It really does matter, Vince! It kind of matters a lot.”
“Um, hang on,” he mumbled, “I’ve got a list somewhere.”
I could hear rustling and in the background drunks were yelling. My stomach sank—this wasn’t a prank, which had been my first guess and fervent hope. Then Vincent’s voice came back on the line.
“Alright, yeah: burglary and larceny, whatever that is. I think that’s everything.”
My eyes bulged. It sounded serious.
“I know a couple of criminal lawyers who can…”
“No! I need you, Fa— Grace. Please! I’m at the 20th Precinct police station, but they’ll be moving me to Central Booking and then the Tombs. Fook me! I don’t like the sound of that!”
“Vince, I’m a corporate lawyer. I do mergers and acquisitions. I’m not a criminal lawyer. I can’t help you.”
“Yeah, but I’m not a criminal, so that’s okay.”
“Vince, no! Listen to me for once! You need…”
“Please, Grace! For Rick’s sake! For Cady’s sake! For the sake of puppies and kittens—especially the puppies. Please! You’re my only hope!”
He made it sound as though he was about to be taken away and locked up for a hundred years, which might have saved the world a lot of angst.
I heaved out a long-suffering sigh.
“Fine. I’ll come. I’ll do what I can … just … don’t talk to anyone. Don’t say anything. Don’t even comment on the weather.”
“Is it a nice evening?”
“Shut up, Vince!” I took a deep, calming breath. It didn’t work. “Anything else you want to tell me?”
My question was sarcastic, but I should have known better.
“Yeah, ta. Could you go to my flat and let me dogs out for a slash.” He paused. “And if they’ve shit on the floor, could you chuck it in the back garden.”
“Cheers, Gracie. You’re a mate.”
He hung up.
I really, really couldn’t stand Vince Azzo.
I really, really couldn’t stand Vince Azzo. Wait, let me back up and I’ll start at the beginning.
My best friend in the whole entire world is a superb human being named Cady Callahan. She’s kind, clever, funny as hell, and last year she ran the New York City marathon raising a ton of money for veterans’ charities. Seriously, my girl is awesome. She’s also the top radio breakfast host on the Atlantic seaboard and happens to be engaged to the almost equally awesome Rick Roberts, who owns the number one gym in Manhattan and used to be a professional athlete. He’s British, too, a little on the reserved side and quiet, like me. And to be fair, Cady creates enough noise and chaos for both of us.
It was almost perfect, as perfect as life can be, that is. We all got along great and I was really excited to be Cady’s Maid of Honour at their wedding in three weeks.
I did say almost perfect. Except for one thing—the proverbial fly in the ointment, the bump in the road, the pain in the ass that was Vincent Azzo—Rick’s best friend.
The trouble was, he thought the world revolved around him—the world according to Vince. Well, I had plenty to say