Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed begins with protagonist Rachel White celebrating her 30th birthday in a swank New York City restaurant with her childhood friend Darcy and others. As Rachel observes the activity around her, she reflects on an event from fifth grade involving a perpetual calendar. When Rachel and Darcy found the calendar, they looked up the days of the week on which their birthdays would fall. Darcy, always the lucky one in Rachel's eyes, would naturally have a weekend birthday while Rachel was stuck with a school-day birthday.
On a whim, the girls check to see when their thirtieth birthdays would be, and Rachel believes she has won a small victory when she finds out that her thirtieth will be on a Sunday. She imagines hiring a sitter for her perfect children and going out to an elegant restaurant with her handsome husband. As Rachel mentally returns to her actual thirtieth birthday party, she realizes how different her life is from her schoolgirl dreams. While she did accomplish leaving behind her "average" life in Indiana to pursue a law degree, she hates her job as an associate at a Manhattan law firm. She is single with no boyfriend, while Darcy flourishes in her role at a glitzy PR firm and gloats over her handsome banker fiance, Dex.
As the party goes on, Rachel becomes more sullen, and Darcy becomes more drunk, to the point that Dex must usher her home. Rachel is surprised to see Dex return a short time later, but he simply came back to collect Darcy's forgotten purse. After a few more drinks, Dex escorts Rachel out and hails her a cab but then asks her if she would like another drink. She agrees, and as she and Dex spend the evening together, their judgment lapses, and they end up at Rachel's apartment where they make love and spend the night together. A shrill telephone ring awakens both characters to reality, and they hear Darcy's panicked voice on Rachel's answering machine; she reports that Dex never came home the night before. Dex hurriedly dresses while devising a plan to tell Darcy that he and his friend Marcus stayed out all night. Rachel agrees to go along with the story but immediately feels the weight of what she has done. Thus, internal conflict between her heart and conscience begins.
As Rachel analyzes her motive for sleeping with her best friend's fiance, she wonders if she did so out of jealousy. She recounts many of the painful events from her childhood...
(The entire section is 2464 words.)
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