“Ah! Perféct! Belle!” Said the guy, among other words that were alien to Claire.
Lucky for her, a translator quickly translates what the guy wants from her.
“Madam, this is Jax LeVoir, he was asking if you want to help us with the auction?” Said the translator.
“Er,--uh, h-how--?” Claire chuckled, feeling confused.
“As one of the models, Madam,”
“Eh, heh!-- I…I don’t know if I can be of help–” Claire nervously said as she noticed a line of girls near them.
Mr. Levoir was talking quite fast as the interpreter interpreted.
“We didn’t prepare the models for tonight, we were going to use the boxes to present the goods for auction…– but Mr. Levoir wants them to be presented on models–! This is for a good cause! Why wouldn’t you help?!” The translator said before realizing he didn’t need to copy how Mr. Levoir raised his voice.
“Pardon, Madam, that was what he said…” he added.
“No– It-It’s not that I don’t want to help, heh–” Claire stammered and got cut off by Mr. LeVoir’s babbling again. Apparently, he knew when Claire seemed to be refused.
“--O-Okay, okay…! What do I have to do…?” Claire asked the translator.
Mr. LeVoir clapped his hands once, feeling satisfied when Claire agreed before walking away and checking on the other girls.
“You just have to wear this necklace, and when your turn comes, you will get on the stage to present the necklace… the auctioneer will take notes on your name,” the translator explained while showing a diamond necklace inside a box.
“W-wait… Actually, I-I can find you another model that is m-more qualified–” Claire said, panicking.
Never in her life would she think about being a model, not to mention there are lots of girls there that could replace her.
“Didn’t you hear what he said, Madam? You’re perfect, beautiful! He visions you. A small tip, madam? You will not want to upset Mr. LeVoir…especially when you already said yes.”
Claire sighed nervously.
“Fine then… How hard would it be?” she thought, slightly shrugging.
Hunter was already at their table since everybody started to take a seat at their tables because the charity show was about to start. He noticed that the host of the show and the auctioneer were already on the stage.
But where is Claire? He thought, searching around the hall.
Mr. Ronald was already there with Hunter too, noticing how Hunter got a bit stiff. He put his hand on his shoulder to calm him down.
“Don’t worry, she’ll be back hehe--where would she go?” He teasingly laughed.
Hunter was about to respond in denial when he saw a lady come approaching Ronald.
“Ah, Hunter… this is my love,--Marian Everly,--” said Ronald. “My love, this is Hunter Colten, the finest businessman I’ve ever known–!”
“Heh… That’s an overstatement,--” Hunter said humbly as he took the hand that she let out first. “--Ma’am… pleasure to meet you,”
Listening to Marian’s last name at first was just normal for Hunter, but then he quickly realized the familiar name he had heard before.
It might be a coincidence, but his guess could be right too. Not to mention, the more he paid attention, the more similarities he could find, the same hair color, the same eye color too.
“Oh, the pleasure is mine…!--” Marian said with a vague laugh. “--Are you alone…? I have a daughter here, somewhere–” she said ignorantly.
“Pfft– Darling, he’s married…to a lovely lady… you’ll see,” Ronald said as he pulled up a chair for Marian to sit.
Hunter was sitting with his jaws clenched.
Is it possible that this is just a coincidence? If it’s not, is this the reason why Claire is not here, right now? Hunter thought inside.
This is NOT good… Hunter drank a glass of white wine in front of him, thinking about whether he should find Claire.
Meanwhile, the host has started the opening words. He explained the order of the shows and all about the auction process which will be different from the last event. One of them was how the auction goods would be presented by the models of the guests.
The host started to ask the models to get on stage as a preview for all the goods. And when all the model guests were on stage, the other guests in their seats started to clap their hands.
“Oh! There she is! Hahaha,” Mr. Ronald said between his clapping and laughing.
Hunter was almost choked by the wine in his mouth when he saw Claire on the stage, looking shyly beautiful with her nervous smile.
What the heck–?! Hunter thought as his eyes met hers. Claire’s eyes were almost as confused as his eyes.
“If you’ll excuse me, uh, I--better…check on her,” Hunter said before heading toward the side stage.
Their table was close to the stage, so Hunter didn’t need much time to go there.
“What’s…going on?” Hunter asked gently as he gave his hand to help Claire climb down the stairs with her heels.
All the models on stage were getting off the stairs too. They will present their item one by one.
“...T-they said they needed my help–” Claire was in the middle of explaining when Mr. LeVoir came to them.
Mr. LeVoir started to talk with Hunter, who apparently spoke the same language as Mr. LeVoir. Claire couldn’t help feeling even more attracted to Hunter as she listened to his accent.
Mr. LeVoir was a jewelry designer and that night, he supported the charity auction with a few of his designs. Including the necklace that Claire had been wearing, a necklace that made her look more gorgeous and classy.
During his conversation with LeVoir, Hunter looked cool as usual, but he seemed to disagree with something. He glanced a few times at her before sighing.
“Are you okay with this…?” He asked, staring straight into her eyes.
“Ehm,... Well…not feeling really good to be on stage, but–” Claire was hesitating for a second. “--Yeah, it’s fine… it’s not like I’m the one who gets sold, right?--Heh…It-it’s for a good cause,--” Claire said nervously before slightly glancing at her mother.
“--Besides… I already said that I would help… And…I think the stage is better than sitting at our table…–” Claire added, looking at her feet for a second.
“Um--Hunter, there’s something that I–”
“I know,” Hunter said warmly, cutting her words.
For a second there, Claire could feel that Hunter was on her side, supporting her in that difficult situation for her even without a single word from him.
“I’m,--uh, I’ll…see you in a while then?” Hunter said after breaking their looks and Claire responded with a single nod.
After that, Hunter walked back to their table. Meanwhile, the auctioneer and the host were getting ready for the first item. The first item and its model were back on stage.
The auctioneer almost opened the bid when a few gents made a proposition to the host. They were asking if they could add an extra buck donation if they got to have dinner with the models that represent the items they bid.
Just for the sake of making it more interesting.
Hunter was not pleased with what he had heard from his seat. Not to mention, he knew the guests that were asking such requests.
Mostly a player. The kind that thinks money can buy everything, including friends, loyalty, intimacy, love. They were even there to boost their own ego, their image, and their own agenda.
The host soon told them general polite answers, explaining that not all models were single, but the particular guests started to push more. So, for the sake of the auction, the delayed time every time they made amends, and a few model guests seemed don’t mind or happy about it either. The host said that if the models and their partners agreed, they could have their negotiations after the bid.
Nothing could happen without an agreement from every party.
Then, the auction began.
The four girls before Claire all agreed to have dinner with their bidder, for the sake of charity, as they and a few of their partners said.
It’s just a dinner with a hundred people around them, so the host explained.
When it came to Claire’s turn to be on stage, a few people were muttering in admiration. Claire was calming herself down.
All the lights that blinded her eyes, the cold feet, the anxiety just creeping in.
They admire the necklace.– they admire the necklace…It is a good necklace. She said inside a few times between her sweet anxious smiles on the outside.
When Mr. LuVoir started to spin her slowly to show how the necklace had a long chain on the back of her neck which went beautifully perfectly with her softback skin. A few guests started to let out a whistle.
“So, Mr. Colten…” The host came to Hunter’s table. “Are you gonna give your consent to your wife?” He asked with a grin, leaning the mic to Hunter.
“No,” Hunter answered shortly, flatly.
The guests were laughing, thinking that Hunter was sweet, or joking.
Mr. Ronald’s laughter was the biggest of them all, while Marian had just noticed that the wife they’d talk about was Claire.
“It’s just dinner, Mr. Colten…” He said, trying to reason with him.
“Yeah, that’s still not gonna happen,” Hunter said again, staring sharply at the host.
A few guests started to mild-booing Hunter, teasingly, especially the kind of womanizer.
On the inside, Hunter was upset with the way the event turned out.
An auction event rarely becomes unorganized, or ends up with some kind of who-gets-the-girl kind of bidding, apparently, that night was different.
“Well, I guess we’re gonna ask the gorgeous Mrs. Colten–!”
The host announced as he looked at Claire from where he was standing.
“--Mrs. Colten, what do you think…? Are you willing to go to dinner for an extra donation?”
I swear if she said yes–. Hunter was thinking inside between his clenched jaws.
Knowing how gentle-hearted she was, he wouldn’t be surprised if she said yes. And what’s more upsetting was the true annoyed feelings and jealousy that he felt the whole time.
Claire nervously chuckled as the auctioneer gave her his mic.
“E--heh, I’m…with him,” Claire said kindly with her charming smile.
“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, it seems like we have to proceed with the bidding first–! Hopefully, they’ll change their minds…!” The host gave the act to the auctioneer.
“This is Amessie, a diamond necklace by LeVoir… the bidding started at 250.000 dollars! --270! 300!--” the auctioneer was working as the bidding went up fast.
Even though Hunter had already made it clear that he wouldn’t let Claire go with the dinner, he still couldn’t stand the idea of someone winning the bid just to try and persuade her again to agree.
So, it didn’t take much time for Hunter to decide to join the bidding.
No one and no one can mess with what’s his! He thought.