It was a big night. The place was swarming with people. The red and white décor of the room had a stark contrast. The long satin curtains suspended from the ceiling made the place look enormous. The lighting was dimmed enough to make the place look cozy and comforting but not dark and mysterious. Music was the right kind – making the atmosphere calm, relaxed, and yet seductive in a very strange kind of way. Fog machines added to the effect. Drinks were flowing as the waiters moved around with plates of entree. Everybody was involved in a conversation of some kind. There were people constantly getting in but hardly anyone leaving.
The frequent flashes here and there proved that the paparazzi were having a field day tonight. It was a night to remember, a night that would make a splash in tomorrow’s newspaper edition and keep the cash machines churning.
Away from this entire hullabaloo she sat staring at her own reflection in the mirror. She combed her long black tresses mindlessly, the excitement of the night not getting to her yet. If she had a choice she would retreat back under the covers with a good book and a cup of steaming hot chocolate. She would read late into the night and fall asleep with her big reading glasses on. But tonight was not the night for her. She sighed.
The knock on her door brought her back to life. But before she could answer, a young handsome man looking dapper in a tuxedo, walked in. He looked at her and blew out a puff of air.
“Now what”, he asked impatiently.
“Nothing”, she answered.
“Oh it is definitely not nothing. You have something on your mind. So what is it? Come on spill out your guts”, he said picking up the dresses that had been cast aside mercilessly.
“Benji, you don’t have to do that”, she protested and got up from her place in front of the dressing table.
“Oh yes I do. I am your assistant and it’s my job to make sure everything goes perfect tonight”, he said as she continued with the cleaning up activity.
“You are not my assistant”, she disagreed strongly.
“I know I know, I am your friend cum family cum philosopher cum punching bag cum blah blah blah. I know all that. Right now what I want to know is what are you thinking”, he replied.
“I am not comfortable with all this Benji. You know that about me”, she shot a nervous look at the door.
“I know that about you. I also know that you are Bethany Hill – the Bethany Hill that has the world of photography going gaga over her. B, these people out there, they love you”, he said.
“They don’t even know me. They only love my work”, the brunette argued.
“And let me remind you that your work has been your life. This is what you do best B and they love that about you. Look I may be an average assistant but I do sense when people are genuine about their praise. And right now out there, they are all waiting for you to come out and unveil this show”, he placed his hands on her shoulders as a sign of support.
“You do know you are not an average assistant right”, she smiled.
“Yes I am fantastic at what you do. But tonight is not might night. Tonight they are all here for you. So let’s go out and rock their world. What do you say”, he held out his hand in anticipation.
“Let’s go partner”, the replied confidently.
Before they could walk out Benji stopped and turned around. He looked at his companion and whistled, “wow you look gorgeous.”
She was wearing an orange satin sleeveless dress with a slit that rode up high. The deep backline showed off a vast expanse of curvaceous back. The wavy black hair cascading down one shoulder ensured that the back got ample view.
The slit on the side of the dress gave a glimpse of toned and strong legs. The dangling black earrings made her neck look elegant but the red lips were the standout feature. Oh how many men would have agreed to die just to have a taste of those full and succulent lips. She had finished off the look with a delicate gold bracelet on one hand, a single tear drop pearl pendant riding dangerously low on a platinum chain and Jimmy Choo shoes.
“Damn you are good”, she smiled at the compliment.
“Hey stop teasing me. I was being honest”, the man replied as he tried to make his point.
“I know and thank you”, she placed a gentle kiss on the man’s cheek who perked up.
“Alright, here we go”, he said as she interlaced her hand with his arm and walked out the door.
Outside the stage was set for a grand entry. Close to the precipice the couple stopped. She let go of the man’s hand as he lightly patted her shoulder as a sign of encourage and stepped into the limelight alone.
The minute he came in view the patrons started cheering him with claps and even wolf whistles.
“Thank you folks. Thank you everybody for coming”, the man took over the show. “I am Benjamin Hart, assistant to Bethany Hill. I welcome you all to the show that you have all been waiting for. I welcome you all to Footprints.”
The place erupted once again with applause. This was it. This was the moment they had all been waiting for eagerly. And they were ready for it completely.
“Footprints has been a long time coming for Bethany. We have all admired her work. We have all been in awe of her. But what drives Bethany? What inspires her? What is she in awe of”, the crowd was dead silent now. They were all paying rapt attention to the man commanding the moment.
“Well only Bethany can tell you that. So I will not keep you guys waiting for too long. Let’s hear it for Bethany Hill”, he announced with high pitched enthusiasm as the star of the night came into partial view for the first time.
This time there was no holding back of applause and cheering. There were oohs and aahs coming from all corners of the room. She smiled and absorbed all the attention.
Benjamin came forward, took her hand and guided her forward so that she came in full view of the crowd. This time there was very obvious swooning.
She smiled at her audience and started slowly, “Thank you. Thank you everybody for coming here tonight. I appreciate it”, the patrons clapped once again.
When the applause died she continued, “Footprints is very close to my heart. Like any other artist even a photographer needs inspiration. For a long period of time I had struggled with creativity. So much so that I don’t even remember when I had my last show. I was lost. I felt useless. But then something happened. Now I am not going to tell you what that something was. But Footprints is a result of that something. Everybody knows that women are my specialty when it comes to photography. Footprints is about those women who have left a mark on my heart through their courage, their work, their dedication to their beliefs, and their character. These are women who I have come to respect and even love some. I hope you see them and appreciate them for who they are and how they make this world a better place. Enjoy the show”, she finished as the music took on a different encore.“People, I declare Footprints open now”, Benjamin announced as the curtains came off of all the photographs in the room. At the first visuals of the photographs on display people gasped and cooed. It was going to be an interesting night.