Ms. Simon said, “She’s telling a pathetic story and making it nice.”
Ms. Simon shares the house with her boyfriend of 12 years, Richard Koehler, a surgeon who took this reporter’s coat, offered her tea and then repaired to a barn to work on a sailboat he is restoring. “He reminds me of Myles Standish,” Ms. Simon said.
Mr. Saw, a 43-year-old Englishman, has been playing music with Mr. Taylor for over a decade. Ms. Hiller, 30 and also British, met Mr. Taylor backstage after one of his shows in London when she was 14; they fell in love a decade later, after she’d been touring as a backup singer for Tom Jones, the Welsh crooner, among others
Mr. Forté, 43, and Mr. Taylor, 41, have been friends since high school. Soft-spoken but with a rock star’s sheen, Mr. Forté, a producer of the Fugees, the 1990s-era band, grew up in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn and went to Phillips Exeter Academy on a scholarship.
In 2000, he was arrested on charges of drug possession with the intent to distribute, and spent seven years in prison before his sentence was commuted by George W. Bush, largely through the efforts of Ms. Simon and an unlikely ally — Orrin Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah.
“Do you know how incredibly lucky I am to have them as close as I do?” Ms. Simon said scooping up the group with a wave. “Is everyone O.K.? I’m sorry there’s no background music but it’s a Sonos system and no one knows how to work it. I’m going upstairs to put some CBD oil on my knee.”
Ben Taylor, who wore a chest-length beard and enormous laced boots, asked if he could go join Mr. Saw and Mr. Forté, who were out on the porch and seemed to be generating their own version of a cannabis product, judging from the faint tang that had begun to mingle with the perfume of the peonies that crowded the room.