Gala Masquerade Evening
The city lights flickered by against the black sky, as the hired Lexus drove past. Soft music played and I tapped idly on my leather mask. A hand touched my arm, giving it a light squeeze. I turned and found Rebecca looking at me, smiling. I twitched up the corner of my lip.
“The gala is going to be amazing.” She purred. “And you look very dashing and debonair tonight. Dressed in all black, so mysterious.” She chuckled and traced a finger up the edges of my ear.
I politely removed her hand and placed it down on the seat. “The gala better go off without a hitch. I can’t afford more mistakes. And the children’s hospital needs the funds for needed hospital equipment, I can’t let them down.” I said, returning my gaze to the window, feeling a slight anxiousness settle in. “You look very nice too.” I said as I turned to Rebecca.
She bit her finger seductively. “Look at you. Going all soft and gooey.” She laughed. “So, have you decided about officially taking the CEO position of the company? Where you belong.”
“I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. And you right, I should take things and my life more seriously. I’m almost 30 and I need to know what I want and settle down.”
Rebecca’s green eyes lit up and smiled. “I’m so happy to hear that Eric.”
She placed the gold mask on her face that only covered her eyes. It glittered, matching her tight lengthy gold shimmering dress. Unlike me, I just kept it sleek and dark, nothing but black. The masquerade titled was ‘Midnight Masquerade’ after all. I promised Rebecca she could be my partner for the evening, she shouldn’t read too much into it and get her hopes up.
“We’re almost there.” Her bright red lips curled into a grin.
The black Lexus pulled to a stop in front of the auction house. Rebecca climbed out and I climbed after on the other side, placing my dark mask on, that partially covered my face. We were met with a red carpet leading up to the open grand doors. Media clicked their cameras on the left and right. I was happy Bolt Investment and the children’s hospital was getting the proper media publicity.
Rebecca held my arm stopping me, prompting me to pose with her as the media snapped their pictures. Bright white lights flashed across my eyes. Rebecca grinned as she held my arm around her waist. I eventually took her shoulders and led her down towards the door, after I felt enough pictures were taken.
I walked towards the opened entrance. Bolt Investment Inc was emblazed in gold against a black board and underneath it’s chosen charity, St. Andrew’s Children Hospital that we were raising funds for, were seen as we entered the huge auction house.
The sight before me almost took my breath away. The massive hall held a venetian themed masquerade. The décor was dark with shades of gold and copper. The dimmed lights added to its illusion. Round big tables with candle lit candelabra’s sat on each one, accenting the enigmatic theme, with a huge dance floor and small bar at the back. It was elegant and formal. My eyes roamed the immense floor. Guests, co-workers, shareholders, and benefactors networked and mingled. The women in their evening gowns and the men in their tuxedos, each of them wearing a mask.
Rebecca grazed my arm and moved salaciously forward into the crowd of masked people. Fuck, this was going to be tough knowing who was fucking who here. The people hummed with eagerness; it electrified the air. The mystery alluded them further. It’s like their true selves were hidden for just one night.
I checked my Rolex, it was 7:17pm. I snaked passed the people. They were all smiles and chatter. I wouldn’t know if I knew them or not, nobody seemed to reveal themselves. How the fuck do you network?
Waiters in white shirts with black aprons walked in between. Silver large platters of canapes and champagne were carried in their one hand. Passing delectable eats and drinks among the guests.
“Big Bro!” I turned around and saw a man in a dark blue tuxedo with a venetian inspired mask.
“Jesse? Is that you.” I chuckled. “How did you know it was me?”
His shoulders shook with laughter. “It was quite easy, even with your mask on you still stick out among the crowd.”
I grinned. “Obviously, I’m one in a million, don’t you know.” I teased.
One waiter came around and wafted a platter between Jesse and me. I grabbed a crab puff and wolfed it down. Tasting its salty flavor.
Jesse rolled his eyes. “Wow. The gala looks fantastic. The marketing team really outdid themselves.”
“Yeah. So did Harper. She got the ball rolling for them.” I sighed.
Jesse turned to me. “It was best to let her go as your assistant. It was the right choice. Before the two of you did anything you’ll regret.”
My jaw tightened at his words, and I looked away. Was I supposed to regret something? I wasn’t sure. A short bulky man walked up to Jesse and I standing on the side of the crowd. His stubby steps were unmistaken and I knew who it was, despite his metallic mask.
“It looks like Mr. Williams came after all.” I said in a low tone to Jesse.
Jesse chuckled. “Yeah. He wanted to take his investment elsewhere and at the end decided to stay with the company anyway.”
I shook my head and blew out a hot breath.
“Eric.” Mr Williams extended his chubby hand.
“Mr. Williams, it’s so good to see you here at our gala masquerade.” I reached out and gave a firm handshake.
“Yes, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s one of this industry’s biggest annual events. He grinned. “It was sad news to hear about your father’s passing. But I’m sure Bolt Investments will be in capable hands. I’m glad I will continue doing business with the company.”
I smiled. “Thank you Mr. Williams, your investments are safe with us and Bolt Investments will always be in capable hands.”
He gave a firm nod and returned to his group of masked people.
My eyes darted around trying to see any familiar face, but only one I was interested in spotting. “Have you seen Harper?” I asked my brother.
He shook his head. “Nope. But she’s working tonight at the gala, isn’t she? I doubt you’ll see her much.” Jesse turned to me and raised a brow. “Why you’re asking?”
I shook my head silently, my brows in a crease as my eyes still roamed the floor.
“Let’s get seated at our table.” Jesse nudged my arm. “The dinner will begin shortly, and I hope you prepared for your speech later.”
I gave a nod and he walked along with the crowd that steadily drifted to their assigned tables. I lagged behind greeting a few guests and benefactors, and briefly chatted to them. But a moment later, I was distracted. My eyes glued at the auction house entrance.
A dazzling vision stood before me, unsettling my heartbeat.
Her bright evening dress clung to her body boasting a long slit up to her thigh, complementing her slender legs. Chocolate brown flowing hair fell across her exposed shoulders. On her left wrist, the signature rose gold charm bracelet dangled. She stood out in the crowd, like a rare purple diamond.
“Violet...” I breathed out.