“Excuse me,” Miranda said leaving the room.
“What are you two doing?” Jolie asked.
“Nothing,” Carrie said. She looked at the bride-to-be, who was holding up a pair of red, silk crotchless panties bordered in black lace. Everyone was laughing. Which is what you do at showers.
“Could you believe the photograph?” Miranda asked. They were rocking gently on the train back to the city.
“If I ever get pregnant,” Belle said. “I’m going to stay inside for nine months. I will see no one.”
“I think I could get into it,” Sarah said moodily, staring out the window. “They’ve got houses and cars and nannies. Their lives look so manageable. I’m jealous.”
“What do they do all day? That’s what I want to know,” Miranda asked.
“They don’t even have sex,” Carrie said. She was thinking about her new boyfriend, Mr. Big. Right now, things were great, but after a year, or two years—if it even lasted that long—then what happened?
They saw the city, dusky and brown, looming up as the train went over a bridge. “I’m shaking,” Miranda said. “I need a drink. Anyone coming?”
After three cocktails at E.C., Carrie called Mr. Big.
“Yo, yo,” he said. “What up.”
“It was awful,” she giggled. “You know how much I hate those kinds of things. All they talked about was babies and private schools and how this friend of theirs got blackballed from the country club and how one of their nannies crashed a new Mercedes.”
She could hear Mr. Big puffing away on his cigar. “Don’t worry, kid. You’ll get used to it,” he said.
She turned and looked back to their table. Miranda had shanghaied two guys from another table, one of whom was already in deep conversation with Sarah.
“Where are you?” Mr. Big asked.
“Out,” she said.
(Next week: After their suburban jaunt, the city women freak out and do self-destructive things.)
Candace Bushnell began Sex and the City as a column in The New York Observer in 1994; it subsequently became a book and a series on HBO. She is also the author of Four Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle, which is being filmed as a pilot for NBC starring Brooke Shields. Ms. Bushnell is also the host of Sex, Success and Sensibility, a live weekly talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, New York City Ballet principal dancer Charles Askegard.