“Put the red lippy on—it’s about damn time you get laid.”
Eliza’s words break me out of my trance. She’s right—I mean, it’s been exactly twenty-two months, three weeks, and four days since I’ve had sex with an actual, real-life man...fuck.
Don’t get me wrong, my vibrators and toys have kept me busy, but it just isn’t the same.
I miss that passionate, goosebump-giving, orgasmic bliss of fucking a man.
Almost two years ago, the typical, cheating, bad-boy-cliché ex broke my trust. I don’t think I truly ever loved Jack, but it was easy and comfortable.
Ever since then, my best friend Eliza has been on a mission to help me move on. This exclusive A-list masquerade party is apparently my ticket to a no-strings-attached one-night stand while keeping some anonymity.
I usually settled when it came to men, finding myself in a relationship purely out of fear of having to date someone new all over again.
Dating terrified me.
Who wants to put themselves out there and potentially face rejection?
I’m not naive—I know my past prevents me from opening up, but if I’m being entirely honest, the people from my former life never gave me reason to trust.
Over the years, Eliza’s family slowly broke my walls down and taught me how to love. Though dating again is a whole new obstacle, and I’m not sure that I’m ready.
How do you even know if you are ready?
I have my hesitations about this one-night-stand plan, but Liza rarely takes ”No" as an answer.
I grab the bright red lipstick from the vanity drawer and shift my focus to the mirror in front of me. “Ugh...fine. If you insist, I’ll put the lipstick on, but we both know I don’t belong at these types of parties.”
“Liv, shut the fuck up! You are insanely gorgeous and if I wasn’t your best friend I’d probably hate you.” She playfully tosses a pillow from the bed at me before continuing. “You don’t need to change anything to fit in with these people—you are literally perfect inside and out.”
I get her frustrations. This isn’t the first time we’ve had the conversation about me fitting in with her famous friends. I’ve never been the type to lack self-confidence—I recognize that I have naturally pretty features based on societal beauty standards. But being around Eliza’s supermodel friends makes me insecure.
Who wouldn’t feel intimidated?
These people aren’t just beautiful and smart, they’re also next-level rich. Their clothes and shoes cost at least ten times the value of my used ’96 Ford Taurus that takes at least two attempts to turnover.
My life hasn’t exactly been easy—not that I’m looking for sympathy, but I’ve come to terms with my past.
When I was three, my parents died of an accidental overdose. I didn’t have any other family, so into the system I went. I grew up in and out of shitty foster homes, without a penny to my name, the parents only looking for their next child to earn a government check off of. Most days, I was lucky to eat or use hot water.
I met Liza when I was seventeen, while living on the streets as a runaway, after foster parent number sixteen raised a hand to me. She welcomed me into her life and I never looked back.
Nine years later, we share a cute two-bedroom condo overlooking Central Park in the heart of Manhattan. Eliza is my sister in every sense of the word, even though we come from completely different worlds.
Her father, and my boss, Frank Alvarez, runs Vortex Innovations Corp. (V.I.C), as the CEO of the second largest tech company in the world. Liza followed in the footsteps of her mother, Victoria, an award-winning plastic surgeon and supermodel icon. She models while managing a clothing line that she built from the ground up.
Eliza completely changed my life and I’m forever grateful for her friendship, so if I have to go to these stupid fucking parties from time-to-time just to appease her, I will.
“Let’s go Liv—the driver’s here and I want to get shit-faced tonight!”
I pull the ribbon of the black lace mask behind my head and tie it into a bow. Looking at myself one last time in the mirror, I admire Eliza’s handiwork.
My black floor-length gown with a provocatively high slit leaves very little to the imagination. Long lashes and perfect black liquid liner wings frame my bright blue eyes as my blonde hair falls straight against my back.
To my surprise, my lips look plump and seductive in the bright red that Liza encouraged me to wear. I don’t normally wear a colored lipstick, but I feel confident and desirable. Tonight is going to be my night.
Who knows? I might just have a one-night stand after all.
As we pull up to the glamorous estate, I’m immediately overwhelmed by the amount of people and paparazzi.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath, whispering to myself, “You can do this. You are Olivia Graham. You’re a strong, confident woman and you don’t need a man. You just want to grind on the dance floor, drink with your best friend, and just maybe...get lucky with a stranger.”
Eliza chuckles as she listens to my soliloquy.
Our driver slows to a stop and Liza gracefully gets out of the luxury town car, her giant dark-brown curls bouncing with every step. Her purple mask matches her purple lace gown and her silver stilettos make her legs look twice as long, if that’s even possible.
She looks to me with her beaming green eyes and reaches out her hand. I grab it with urgency and she knows...I’m nervous.
Once I get out of the car, Eliza places her arm in mine and whispers, “You’re a badass bitch.” She smiles and I let out a laugh as the nerves begin to fade.
We pose for the cameras, then enter the remarkably loud, outrageously extravagant mansion.
As we walk through the giant doors, security stops us to verify Eliza and her plus-one are on this invitation-only list. I roll my eyes at the exclusivity. They inform us that all guests are on a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” basis while inside the party. There will be no social media posts and our identities are to remain confidential. We turn in our cell phones and receive keys to get them back at the end of the night.
The security guard goes over the rules as I look over my shoulder, observing the masked attendees flooding into the party. Beautiful gowns and tuxedos stop to pose for the cameras, appearing composed in the clamor and flashing lights. Each guest is more elegant and compelling than the next.
One major perk of these affluent parties is the people-watching. My interest is officially piqued, but I refuse to admit this to Eliza. I just don’t understand why rich people continue to waste money throwing these over-the-top lavish parties, but whatever.
It’s free alcohol and a night full of potential regret...