CHAPTER - 1 : Gala
“Dear, are you ready?” Mom asked coming into my room.
“Yeah, just let me grab my purse.” I smiled and grabbed my silver purse with small stones.
“You look beautiful.” Mom smiled.
“Thanks, mom,” I said and we descended downstairs.
“My, my. Lord, look who’s coming. Darling, Lora; you both look beautiful.” Dad complimented.
I hugged him, “Thanks, dad. You also look quite handsome.”
“Can any lady fall for me today at the party?” He whispers at my ear.
“Yes, Lora. And also take your dad with her at her residence? I don’t think that your dad is getting the chance to sleep in our bedroom today.” Mom glared and then innocently smiles.
“Sweetheart, I was just kidding,” Dad said and wraps his arm around her waist.
“Well, dear, I wasn’t.” She walked past her and I burst into laughter.
God, they are so cute.
“Your mom is something,” Dad muttered. He wraps his arm around my shoulder.
“You made her angry and you have pacified her now,” I said.
“That I have to do.” He chuckled.
We got into the limo and drove off to our destination.
My dad’s close friend has thrown a gala today. It’s quite normal and usual for us to attend these stupid parties at least once a month.
Dad’s phone went off notifying him with a new message. He checked his phone and clenched his jaw. He whispers something into mom’s ear and mom sighed with ‘I knew it’ face.
I decided not to ask since it’s their matter and if they needed to inform me then they would.
The limo stopped and we got the message that we’ve reached. I saw some flashes around and also many people shouting for attention.
I looked at my parents and they sighed heavily. Dad looks at me in apology.
I blinked my eyes with a smile indicating that it’s okay. He smiled. I got out of the car and my parents followed my suite. Instantly two bodyguards covered us up.
Paparazzi were firing questions after questions. We ignored them and got inside the venue.
“Sorry, dear,” Dad whispered to me.
“It’s fine,” I assured with a firm hold on his hand. He smiled and kissed my forehead.
We got entered the ballroom and everyone’s attention was on us.
I internally rolled my eyes and flipped them off.
Can’t they just mind their own business?
They all smiled at me and the men roam their eyes shamelessly all over me. I ignored them and smiled back those who smile at me as greeting.
I hate all the guests present in this ballroom.
I never curse loudly since I have to put up a ‘lady’ act in front of them. Being a respectable and influenced family here LA has not always had its perks.
Media and paparazzi always following you around. Rumors and scandals spread like spilled water on the marble floor.
In a snap!
From my childhood, I had to act like the perfect girl and now, a woman. My parents never pressurize neither forced me to do anything. I was always on my own most of the time but they always advised me to act formally when I’m outside.
For the world, I’m the perfect woman. The perfect potential bride, daughter, daughter- in- law, woman, influencer, blah, blah, blah; you name it.
Because I’m trained like that. No, it’s not like my parents trained me to be the 90’s ‘perfect housewife’.
I’ve graduated in Economics from one of the most reputed universities in the state. I also know martial arts, playing a different musical instrument, cook different types of continental foods, sing, dance, have good fashion sense; which explains me being an influencer; money, status, and good name in the society.
Who wouldn’t want to associate themselves with me and my family?
I’m not being arrogant or proud of what I have. I won’t. But sometimes it’s good to have everything but not always.
Because of that, I have everything; I can never have some certain things that I want. I never can.
“My, my, look who’s here? Oh, Alora darling, how are you?” One of the snobby guests asked me. This mid-aged hag won’t leave us until she shows off her acquaintance with we; Richardson’s.
“Mrs. Cooper.” I acknowledged. Mom nodded and rolled her eyes secretly when Mrs. Cooper wasn’t watching.
“Are you enjoying the party?” She asked.
I just arrived and on top of that what would you even do know that am I enjoying the party or not? You aren’t the one to throw this party, are you?
“Yes, I certainly am.” I grinned. Fake.
“It’s nice to hear. Rodriguez always throws the best parties.” She giggled putting her manicured hand on my bare shoulder.
I tapped her hand on my shoulder and slowly remove her hand without any suspicion.
She hesitantly laughed but didn’t say anything. Mom and I excused ourselves and went away from them.
I saw dad was talking with some men at the party. Mom and I socialized with other clingy women.
God, give me the strength to suck up.
“Excuse me ladies, but can I have my wife and daughter?” Dad came from behind and politely asked the women with whom we were talking.
“Sure, Mr. Richardson.” A woman said flirtatiously.
Mom glared at her and dad chuckled.
“Excuse us,” I said and we went away.
Dad leads us to a man in his late forties, I think. He looks the same age as my dad’s.
“Greg,” Dad said aloud looking at the man. The man looked at us and grinned widely.
Who is he?
“Greg, meet my wife, Alexa, and my daughter, Alora.” Dad introduced, “Dear, Lora, this is Greg Rodriguez. We are friends since high school.”
The one whose party this is.
“Hello, Mrs. Richardson. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He pecked my mom’s hand as a kind gesture.
“Oh, call me Alexa and the pleasure is all mine.” Mom said smiling kindly.
Mr. Rodriguez smiled and turned towards me, “Hello, dear. It’s so nice to finally you.” He pecked my hand.
“Thank you, thanks for inviting us to the party.” I smiled.
He nodded, “I feel so happy that you guys attended. Rick, I know you haven’t met my son, Xavier, have you?”
“No, the last time I saw him was when…” dad trailed down. Mom and Greg look down as well. I saw a sadness in Greg’s face.
Is there something that I don’t know?
“Anyways, let me call Xavier,” Greg said changing the topic. He looked around and his face lit up when he seems to spot his son. “Xavier.” He called when he saw him.
The guy looked at his father and excused himself from the men with whom he was previously talking. He smiled and made his way towards where we were standing.
He had grown out jet black layered hair. His eyes were emerald green glinting with fun and mischief. His perfect square jaw cleaned shaved. A piercing on his left ear with a black small ring giving him the complete bad-ass look. His body was muscular. His tux was hugging his body; especially his biceps.
Okay, shut up, Alora.
He came and stand beside his dad with a grin. His eyes went to me and roamed all over my face and body.
I looked at his face and he looked at me with a smile. I internally rolled my eyes but gave him a small smile.
Not having good vibes.
“Rick, meet my son, Xavier.” He turned to his son, “Son, this is Rick, his wife Alexa and beautiful daughter, Alora.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He said in a soothing husky voice. Xavier shook my dad’s and mom’s hands. I forward my hand and he took me by surprise when he kissed my hand. His lips lingered on my skin which led tingling sensation through my whole body.
I slowly freed my hand from his. I’m damn sure he felt my hesitation which made him smirk.
Xavier turns to me, “The dance is about to start. Would you like to dance with me?”
I looked at his forwarded hand and compensate for myself.
I looked at my parents and encouraged them.
One dance won’t hurt.
“Okay,” I said and put my hand on his strong, firm hand.
He guides me to the dance floor. We were dancing on some slow music playing on the background.
“You are really good at this,” Xavier complimented referring to my dancing skills.
“Thanks,” I said blushing slightly.
Why is he making me blush? I hardly blush.
“It’s nice to finally personally meet ‘Ms. Perfect’.”
God, not again…
“Hmm,” I hummed.
“Wanna get out of here?”
“Huh?” I said widening my eyes. What’s with him?
“From the dance floor. Let’s go that way.” He motioned to the big open balcony.
The place was open and people were around. There’s no chance that he’ll take advantage of me, right?
“Okay,” I said.
What did I say?!
He smugly smiled and slowly starts dancing again.
“What are you doing?” I asked in a whisper.
“Just follow my lead. Sway your body with the rhythm and dance.” His voice was full of mischief.
I shortly glared at his way but followed his instructions. We slowly dance and I feel Xavier while making our body dance, shifting his feet. As we are dancing and walking at the same time.
We keep doing it until we get closer to the balcony. I watch him curious.
What is he?
When we were close to the door, he let go of my waist but not the hand.
“Come,” He dragged me in the balcony.
We both are now standing in the wide and big open balcony. The fresh, chill night air touching our faces.
I intake a heavy breath and exhale it.
“I guided you through dancing because people were around. If they notice that we were going out from the ballroom, then they would spread another rumor. It’s not that I’m not used to it. But I don’t think that a scandal attached to the ‘perfect girl’ will sound good, would it?” He said.
I rolled my eyes at him. “Thanks,” Sarcasm was sensed in my voice.
“Did Ms. Perfect just sarcastically answer me? Wow!” He smirked.
I glared at him. He laughed.
“You know, I’m proud of myself today.” He suddenly said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because…” He leaned forward, “I make ‘The Alora Richardson’ glared. The one girl who doesn’t show any violent act or expression publicly.” The smug smirk on his face.
I glared at his way harder. He seems unaffected.
I thought he was not that bad but now…
He’s the worst.
It hasn’t even been an hour and he’s irritating me.
“I think we should get back to the party,” I said smiling.
He smirked, “Sure, sweetheart.”
I kept the smile on my face and we both went inside.
“Oh, the kids are here.” Mr. Rodriguez said when he saw us approaching them. I smiled at him and my parents.
“I hope you guys enjoyed each other’s company,” Greg asked.
“Of course, dada. Alora was so sweet and a good dancing partner.” He dragged the word ‘so’ longer than necessary.
I don’t know why but I’m feeling like having his head for my breakfast tomorrow morning.