1: Another Day At The Office
City of Atlanta, Georgia 2017
“Avery, you are coming to the company annual masquerade ball this year?” I hear both Emily and Brendan, my two best friends ask in unison.
“I'll try to make it, but I can't make any promises,” I say all the while knowing the answer was a flat-out no.
“You don't have a choice but to come this time. The invitation states at the bottom that all employees must attend!” Brendan said with a wicked smile on his face.
“What invitation?” I asked, my voice rising in pitch as I did so.
“The one I'm issuing you right now,” Emily said as she placed the envelope into my extended palm.
I read the invitation aloud. The date of the ball stood out like a big neon sign. “Don't tell me the ball is today?” I asked, but I already knew the answer.
“Yep, it sure is,” Emily answers with a smile.
“Emily, when did you receive this invitation and whom did you get it from?” I asked.
“Well, I got them last Thursday from Mr. Choi,” Emily said.
“Let me guess, and you conveniently forgot to give me mine until just now, I replied with a roll of my eyes. I wasn't surprised Emily forgot to give me my invitation, as she was known to be forgetful.
“No, I didn't forget! We just knew you would make up an excuse not to attend but this time you can't,” Emily retorts ruefully.
“Emily and I made a unanimous decision that we felt it was time for you to let your hair down for a change.” Brendan tried to explain their actions.
“What exactly am I suppose to come as, Myself? I don't even have an outfit.”
“Hell No! We see this side of you all your round,” they both said in unison.
“What's wrong with the way I look?” I asked gesturing towards my body.
“Nothing at all, but we're tired of seeing the schoolgirl look. We want to see you dressed a bit more provocatively for a change,” Brandon replied.
“Avery we want you to have a little fun for once.” Emily chipped in to say.
“I guess I don't have any choice at this point now, do I? Are you two going shopping with me for an outfit?”
“We thought you would never ask,” both Emily and Brendan replied as they both jumped to their feet.
Just as we were about to enter the elevator, I hear Mr. Choi demands, “Avery, I will see you at the ball tonight!”
“Yes Mr. Choi, I will be there,” I say while feeling like my parents have just scolded me.
“Please don't tell me you plan on wearing anything that closely resembles what you are wearing now?” Reese asked me while scrunching up his face in displeasure.
“Why does everyone have a problem with my choice of clothing?” I thought to myself.
Before I could ask that question out loud Brendan answered, “Trust me, she won't look anything like this at the ball, Mr. Choi!”
I covered my face and walked into the elevator. I mentally hoped and prayed that no one chose to follow me, but that was wishful thinking on my part. It seemed that the whole world was having way too much fun at my expense. Everyone got into the elevator even Reese, and all eyes were trained on me, making me feel self-conscious about my appearance. If the floor had just opened up, I would have gladly jumped right in. Soon as the elevator opens I ran out but not before hearing Emily and Brendan yells, “wait for us.”
“Thank you guys for standing up for me,” I said sarcastically with a little anger. “When did you two become close buddies with Mr. Choi?”
“We aren't buddies with him Avery.” Came Brendan's reply.
“It seems like we're not the only ones that want to see you dressed up a little differently either,” Emily said smiling.
“I know what that smile means Emily and you are out of your mind if you think that Mr. Choi is interested in me. Neither am I'm into him.” I try saying convincingly.
“Avery, you have to be off your rocker if you think that Reese isn't a desirable, unattached bachelor that any woman in her right mind would be glad to have her claws in.” Emily slings at me while licking her lips.
“Emily, I'm not saying that he isn't sexy. All I'm telling you is that he's not for me! There's no telling how many women's hearts he's broken.”
“I don't know what you two ladies are talking about over here, but we have to get going because I don't want to be late,” Brendan says over his shoulder while getting into my car.