Chapter 3: Uno Spuntino
Doxie stared out the windows of the Bergdorfs Cafe onto treetops of Central Park, sniffing back her tears. The view was beautiful - a view most people found inspiring and romantic. But Doxie barely saw it at all. It had been three months since she’d seen her love, Fabrizo. Everything was ruined!
Her mother Hortensia, who sat across from her, looked away in the opposite direction. She was apparently studying the bird and branch patterned walls with epic curiosity.
Neither dachshund could bring herself to make eye contact with the other. They continued like this, seated stiffly in their Whisper Chairs for quite a while, breaking their silence only to thank the waiter for their afternoon snack of lobster mac and cheese and truffle frites.
Doxie sniffed the food disinterestedly. Thinking to herself about all the delicious treats she’d shared with Fabrizio. Uno Spuntino, he would have called this mid day treat. And it wouldn’t have been these over-the-top typical New York menu items. It would have been something simple. A shared cup of gelato, or a focaccia, eaten while sitting on the rocks watching the ocean.
I’d rather eat the table cloth, she thought to herself as she nibbled on its hem pitifully.
Hortensia now was watching Doxie cautiously. She usually would never encourage her daughter to eat carbs, especially with deb season approaching. But all that was gone now…
Hortensia had felt as though she had been living an awful nightmarish version of her life ever since the marriage fiasco. The chance for Doxie to enter society. The chance for her to marry well. It was all gone up in flames.
How could she have raised her daughter to make such a stupid mistake!? Marriage? Before her debut? And to an Italian. And not an interesting Italian, but just the son of a fishmonger… not even listed in the Canine Social Register because they don’t have an American address to correspond to their international summer residence because - get this - that hovel on the Italian coast is their year-round home.
It was almost unthinkable. The day she’d gotten the international call from Daphne she’d hardly been able to process it. She'd known Daphne and Doxie were spending a late summer retreat at Le Sireneuse to rest up for the many obligations they'd have during New York Fashion Week. Hortensia assumed this meant the two would spend their entire stay by the pool on a liquid diet in order to maintain a woman's size 2 and a dachshund size ultra petite for NYFW outfits.
But it seams the plan had derailed significantly. Hortensia answered the call to hear Daphne breathless and furious. She had found Doxie in the town square surrounded by barefoot little beggars, throwing wildflowers at her while she and this fisherman’s son publicly celebrated their marriage that had seemingly been planned and arranged that very day by some errant hotel waiter and a fisherman who were lovers...? It was all too much to comprehend.
When Daphne had begun to describe the ring she fully grasped the dire state of affairs. A petite antique store piece that was not G.I.A. certified and appeared to contain very pronounced inclusions?
Not for her daughter. Not at all. She had immediately booked the next flight and had arrived the next morning to find Doxie, annul the marriage and bring her home to begin the painful process of rebuilding her daughter’s future.
Hortensia had raised her sweet, intelligent, sartorially gifted only daughter, Doxie, with the focus of a surgeon in the middle of a brain transplant since day one. Carefully sculpting and choreographing the perfect childhood at all the right schools and summer camps for elite born and bred manhattanite puppies.
Her hard work paid off in the ultimate human adoption pairing when renowned fashion icon, Daphne had shown early interest in her when they crossed paths in the Madison Ave Celine boutique. Hortensia had immediately made sure that Daphne had all the right inroads with the agency to guarantee the two would be paired together. This adoption was the crowning glory for her as a parent.
Now all that was left was for Doxie to confirm that she was the cream of the crop was for Doxie debut this season and find a suitable husband. Both seemed like they were in the bag. Hortensia was tennis partners with Mrs. Gerald Mortimer De Wilder Turnbrough after all.
Tallulah Turnbrough, or Topper as she was known to her enviably elite circle of friends was notoriously backstabbing and generally terrible at valuing female friendships despite having so many. Yet she had taken a profound liking to Doxie - most likely due to Doxie’s petite figure and beautiful black and tan markings, only found in the purest of pure bred dachshunds.
Topper had made a point of making sure Doxie met her son, Charles. Charles was a disappointment on so many levels, but was worth billions as he was her eldest. Doxie was young enough and sweet enough, and Hortensia was determined enough that they just might be the perfect cocktail to finally get Charles married.
All was set for the two to become engaged in the spring and married in September and settled into a lifetime of reliable luxury in a classic six on the upper east….
She cleared her throat, a fresh wave of anger washing over her.
“Don’t chew the table cloth, Doxie, you’re not in the wife of an Italian fisherman any more, try not to act like one” she snarled under her breath.
Doxie retreated from what she thought was subtly chewing the table cloth and slumped back into the enormous chair. She couldn't believe her mother was still putting on the pretense of them enjoying their annual tradition of an afternoon snack at Bergdorfs Cafe after Christmas shopping given the situation.
“Honestly mother, this is delusional. Can we just go home now?” she asked.
“Not until you tell me what really happened. It’s been months of this horrible strain between us. And you and Daphne. Really Doxie, are you going to give up on these relationships all for some peasant…”
“He’s not a peasant mother! Not everyone has to inhabit the entire top floor of the Carlyle Hotel in order to feel successful, you know. And you’re the ones who made it this way! You’re no better than Daphne! Neither of you know what makes me happy! How many times do I have to tell you. I’m never going to be a debutante. I never wanted to be a debutante! I’m not going to marry that horrible portugese waterdog, Charles Debumpkin Turdface or whatever his name is”
“Charles De Wilder Turnbrough the the fourth, Doxie. And you most certainly aren’t going to marry him. Topper hasn’t spoken to me since I had to withdraw you from the ball.”
“Well isn’t that a tragedy”
“Don’t be sarcastic! You sound like a common mix breed chihuahua. You have no appreciation for anything that matters”
“Love. Love is all that matters to me!” Doxie shouted, slamming her paw on the white table cloth, sending truffle frites flying and upsetting baby Saint West who was eating oysters and wearing Dolce & Gabbana in her mother’s arms a few tables away.
Doxie hopped from her seat and tore out of the restaurant at top speed, shooting right through the legs of a gangly blonde who had just walked in, arms laden with lavender Bergdorfs bags.
Hortensia sat stunned, staring at the frites, trying to plan her next move while surreptitiously surmising whether or not the other diners had noticed her daughter’s outburst. Clearly that dreadful baby had noticed. And what on earth had the mother shoplifted and attempted to stash inside the back of her Herve Leger body-con dress. Surely that couldn’t be all her back there…
“Daughters,” she smiled at Kim and Saint, straightening her glasses with graceful ease while pretending she had planned the whole thing.
Just then the leggy blonde who had been storming through the restaurant apparently feverishly searching for someone slammed into Doxie’s empty chair across from Hortensia, dumping her armfuls of Bergdorfs merchandise at their feet.
“Thank God I found you!” she said by way of introducing herself as she began to dig into the lobster mac and cheese…