Chapter 9: Inauguration
Everyone clapped when Uncle Lucas was called to the stage. I looked at Rueben, who’s sitting beside me, and I didn’t notice any signs of nervousness like he was prepared for this for a long time.
“Are you not nervous?” I asked him.
“Why?” I asked again.
“What do you mean “why”? This is my company,” he boasted.
My face went blank. I can’t believe this man is actually my brother!
“Good evening,” Uncle Lucas started.
All eyes went to him.
“Thank you to each and every one of you for being here with us tonight. We are able to welcome those of you who have been with us for a long time and those who are new to the family. Before we get started, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all of you who generously helped us make this event come together to become a success regardless of what happened to my beloved brother, Arthur, and his wife, Harriett.”
My eyes went down to my hands as I played with them. Some of the guests looked at us when our parents’ names were mentioned. I don’t know why but I wouldn’t say I like this feeling.
“Arthur, my brother, is a great person. Of course, he couldn’t have done everything so far without Harriet. They’re life partners. It pains our family to see them in a situation where we least wanted them to be, but I guess... life isn’t all about happy moments. We are trying our very best to consider this part of our life as something that would help us grow and be strong more than ever as a family.”
A picture of my parents from last year’s annual celebration flashed behind Uncle Lucas. Mommy was holding the bouquet Daddy had given her with a broad smile plastered on her face. Daddy was all hands on her.
Were they still okay that time? Does the affair hasn’t occurred yet?
I wish I could think only about the happy moments that I saw them shared, but it wasn’t applicable to me anymore. I knew something others don’t. And it hurts so much like crazy.
“In today’s gathering, I would like you to divert your attention to the new leader who will take VDD farther from what Arthur had reached. He had taken almost every quality Arthur had, so we decided that he is the best fit for the CEO position in Valmonte Development and Designs. The board of members carefully and thoroughly discussed this matter and finally came up with the decision. Let us welcome the oldest of Valmonte’s next generation of leaders and will now be appointed as the temporary CEO of VDD... Rueben Thiago Valmonte.”
Rueben stood up and walked proudly to the stage. He faced everyone with great pride and might that is shown on his face.
I even heard some of the women from the other table gushed over my brother.
Rueben kept his acceptance speech short and direct. He just said that he’s sad about how things turned out and grateful for the opportunity to learn. He promised to give his best for the company, the employees, and everyone depending on it. He bowed a little bit to everyone, and the room was filled with applause.
“So this is what the three of you do when the company has events like these?” Abi commented as she wandered her eyes around while feasting on the main course.
“I told you it’s boring,” Hana added.
“It’s not boring when you go out there and meet a lot of people. Dad has been introducing us to everyone, so we don’t have the time to get bored,” David butted in.
Rueben offered me a small bowl of dessert, but I refused because I’m already cold.
“I like being in crowded places. I just don’t like the idea that I have to repeatedly introduce myself and memorize their names,” Sara said and accepted the salad from Rueben.
“Those people are vital for your business. You memorized every bone in the human body; their names are a piece of cake for you,” Aaron teased with a smirk.
I hope I could just go to the room where Naomi and the twins are. They were not allowed by Uncle Lucas to be here because they’re too young, and of course, they’ll just run everywhere.
“Where are the pictures? I want to see it,” I caught their attention.
“You can just search it. It went online already,” Rueben answered my question.
I nodded and pulled out my phone from my purse. I went online like they said, and there are articles already published about what happened earlier.
“I love the shots....”
Hana immediately switched seats with Rueben so she could take a look also. Sara peeped in my phone, and Abi went behind me.
“You look stunning here!” I pointed to a picture of Hana where her hair is in front, so the design of the gown is seen, and the lighting looks so good with her morena skin.
Hana ignored my compliment and just scrolled down to look for some more.
“Why are my pictures few?” Abi asked.“Because you’re all over the place, Abigail,” David emphasized it. “The photographers couldn’t get a hold of you.”
We all laughed because of it.
A photographer went to our table and asked us if we’re done eating because he wanted to take a picture of us.
“Sure. No problem,” Rueben agreed, and the boys immediately went behind us.
We gave them random poses especially, formal ones. According to the photographer, anyone who looks at the picture should be intimidated by us, so none of us smiled and gave our best serious looks.
I think we looked fine because I saw people from other tables turn their heads and gossiped about us.
He expressed his gratitude and was about to turn his back, but Abi stopped him and asked for another shot.
“Let’s do a wacky shot! Please, please!”
Rueben and Aaron looked hesitant, but David is down, and so am I.
I saw Hana and Sara already stretching their faces and fixing their hairs. David has to push the two, so they would get in the frame. I was all smiles until the photographer counted to three.
I was the one who stood up first so I could look at the picture. I smiled from ear to ear when I realized that we looked crazy wearing formal attires.
Rueben showed a cross-eyed face. David did the extreme tongue-out. Aaron slipped his tongue to the side and did a cross-eyed, too. I did a stink eye while Hana displayed a duck face. Sara did a fish face, and lastly, Abi had her mouth wide opened and gave a wink.
“I will post it on my Instagram!” I raised my hand immediately.
“Whatever you like, Jael,” Aaron said while smiling, looking at the picture, too.
I went back to my seat, happy. I can’t wait to share that picture on my social media accounts. We look so cute there!
After the intermission, all the guests went back to their seats because Rueben suddenly wants the attention of everyone.
“Thank you for sparing your time and attention to me until now. My family and I are more than grateful to everyone for showing sincere support in times like these. And in return, I wanted to give you a gift.”
The crowd applauded. My cousins and I were all confused. Even Uncle Lucas glanced at our table to see if we know something about this.
“What kind of gifts?” Sara asked.
“I have no idea,” Aaron said.
“What is it, then?”
A staff handed him a guitar case. He opened it and took the guitar.
“No way!” David can’t believe it, too.
My eyes widened while my cousins almost fell out of their chairs because of excitement.
That’s my guitar!
“I’m going to sing?!”