Ready or Runaway
I woke up early and found my self, feeling empty or something missing, staring at the sheets splayed out on my bed for the day’s planning. The bed felt soft and nice on my skin that I didn’t want to leave, but duty calls.
After I changed I packed up my bag and headed down. As I descend I hear voices seemingly having a good time. I take a peek and saw Riley conversing with Mrs. Maggie. Trying not to disturb them I slowly crept to the front door, but as subtle as I thought I was they caught me.
“Angela, dear, you’re up. Come, I’ve prepared breakfast.” Mrs. Maggie’s usual perkiness was overflowing from her.
“Oh, I’m fine, I need to find Lina, to discuss party details from her.” I apologized
“Come on, Ange. We all know Lina wakes up at noon.” Riley says inviting me to sit, not wanting to argue anymore I followed their wishes for me to eat.
I sat opposite to Riley. He was looking at me in a funny way, it feels as though he’s hiding something from me and I haven’t got the clue what he was thinking.
“Nothing. You seem stressed.” He asks with worry plastered on his face.
“Yup, you could say that. It’s this party Robert is asking me to do. I mean how could I even do this thing, I’m no expert. I barely know where to go. I so doomed- what if- what if Lina wants something out of this world? - Or-” I rambled
“Breathe, Angela. Here have a coffee.” Riley says offering me a cup of steaming hot coffee.
“You don’t need to worry, I’ll be at your complete disposal today seeing my meetings has been cancelled.” He says placing a hand on my shoulder.
“Riley it’s really fine, you don’t have to.”
“I don’t have to but I want to help. I can be as influential as my brother too you know.” He teased.
A little over 10 in the morning Lina, Riley and I finally were able to sit down and discuss her party. She was overly excited that I could barely make-out half the things she was saying. Minutes of looking through catalogues, Lina hasn’t come up with a theme yet and according to my schedule I needed her decision before lunchtime.
“I just want to say upfront first that I will not be able to plan all this because of a disadvantage of not knowing the people. So we’re actually going to meet with a planner that aunt Brenda recommended.” I say
“Oh, its fine I just need you to decide for me, cause I really am undecided when it comes to these things.” She smiles, she’s so cute.
“Sheesh Lina, choose already, I’m dying of boredom here. You must like something other than shopping.” Riley pressured his sister and enjoyed at her crumbling reactions.
“I have an idea but I don’t know if it’s doable.” She says placing the magazine down and facing me.
“I want my theme to ethereal and playful sort of a fairy setting on a garden.” She says getting lost in her thoughts and as she drifts off to her imagination Riley rolls his eyes and speaks
“Why don’t we add fuzzy animals and dwarfs? Could we get on now?”
We both give Riley a piercing look and ignore him.
“We can work that out. We’ll make that happen. Is this all you’re inviting? And do you have the picture I asked you about?” I ask looking at the list on Lina’s computer.
“It’s all in this folder” She smiles placing the cursor above a folder named best party ever.
“Ok do you mind if I borrow your laptop for awhile?” I ask and she shakes her head as I email lists of names and the party concept to Luke and CC Robert regarding the matter.
“Oh there’s also one thing I’d love. Riley could please, Please cater my party? Please?” She asks her brother pleading.
“No. No. Absolutely not. I’d rather mingle and meet your friends rather than be cooped up in the kitchen.” He says shaking his head
“You know Riley, I haven’t tasted you food, and I recall you offering me a dinner.” I say encouraging him
“Precisely, I asked you. Not fifteen hundred people.” He says
“Seven hundred fifty. I cut off some guests cause they were Mum’s and Dad’s business connections, I had to rid of them.” Lina interjects
“Well, you know Riley this could be free advertisement for your restaurant. Some media are going to be there. Plus women loves a man who can cook.” I say, as if he doesn’t know that.
“Fine. Then, I’ll have to plan this. Now, I’m not in your beck and call. I’ll drop you off where you’re meeting with the planner and we’ll just see each other soon. I have market shopping to do.” He gives up and whines.
“Thank you thank you thank you! I love you big brother.” She says hugging Riley who is trying to get away of the clutches of Lina who has a vice like grip. Like a Boa trying to crush its meal.
“So. Shall we go? We’re meeting Aunt Brenda to meet with an event company.” I say to break Lina’s grip Riley looked as if her was going to run out of air.
“Sure.” Lina agrees helping me pack my printed sheets and filed them accordingly.
We arrived at 18 Bay restaurant and saw Aunt Brenda chatting on with a dark haired lady, on the terrace, whose face was glowing with enthusiasm. As we approached the lady gestured towards us as to signal aunt Brenda we have arrived.
“Dears, Good morning, Um – Riley? You’re joining us?” Aunt Brenda seemed to be shocked as Riley caught up with us.
“Chauffer of her royal highness.” Riley says sarcastically
“Ignore, my peasant slave, he’s usually cranky in the morning.” Lina says whisking Riley away
“Ok. So dears, this is The Jill Gordon, event specialist extraordinaire, she planned your mum and dad’s 25th anniversary.” Aunt Brenda says
“Oh Brenda, Please call me Jill, and you must me Carolina Sleigh.” Jill stands seems bashful at Aunt Brenda’s praise but still oh so charming and welcoming. There and then I have decided that I must be like this person whose poise is ever present.
As we all sat, Lina begins with introducing us to Ms. Jill.”
“This is Riley Sleigh, my brother and slave and this is Ms. Angela Morely, Robert’s assistant.”
“A pleasure to met you both.”
“Pleasure is all mine.” I say as Riley nodded her way.
“Excuse me Ladies, but I do need to go I have a busy schedule today, Lina just text me where we’ll meet.” He says bidding everyone goodbye.
We discussed the event the entire morning starting with the theme of the party, all the way to the decorations and flowers. The discussion was full blown and excitement was in the air.
“This is going to be close, we only have three days to fulfill all these, but I owe your brother a favor so, I’ll be delighted to do this. All though I couldn’t run all these things alone.” Jill opens
“Well, that you need not worry, Angela will take care of that. You know she has a background on party planning. She was an assistant for the Editor of Confetti magazine.” Aunt Brenda gushes my ridiculous achievement.
“Oh.I love Confetti magazine, I sometimes get my inspirations from there, here I even have one.” Jill says producing a copy of our vintage inspired issue. I remembered that shoot; I had to over look it for Mrs. Grayson. It was the best time I had working for that magazine.
“The vintage party. I was able to work on that set. I just loved that theme.” I say smiling proudly at her.
“So, are we agreed on the situation? Do you think we can pull this off?” Lina says nervously.
“Of course, I’ll handle all the technical and since I know Angela has an experience, she could handle the end part on your estate and supervise.” Jill explains
“Are you sure? Shouldn’t I be the one going through the deliveries and what not?” I asked feeling very humble by this woman.
“Angela, you know this. Besides after all the technicalities, I’ll be with you as soon as it’s done and help you with the finishing touches.
“Ok. You’re the boss.” I say really excited and nervous all at once, I might even faint.
“Ok, so here’s how we do it. I’ll print out the final layout tonight and email it tomorrow, Angela, you show this to Lina at your end and give me a go immediately so I could pull out all the things needed. As soon as all the orders arrive at your place, begin the implementation and if you have questions ask me.” Jill says in a precise, calculated matter and I just stare in awe at her.
“This afternoon we’ll tour around to get an idea of what your cake will look like and of course, your dress. Since your brother is going to do the food we’re all set.” Jill continues
“Great. I do love a good cake. Shouldn’t I be asking my brother for the creation of my cake as well?” Lina asks
“Um, if you’d like we can, but I do think you’ll have to ask your brother.” She says
“Ok, hang on.” Lina goes in with a conversation with Riley on the phone and it doesn’t look good.
“He says I should hire someone else to do it.” She says
At around 1 we finalized necessary stuff on Jill’s checklist. As soon as it was over we head out to town and visited various pastry shops nearby Shelter Island. The day was perfect and the weather was superb, even though it was cooler, the sun shone its brightest. After half an hour of travelling we reach a place called Miche Bacher Sacred sweets.
As we walked in the smell of chocolate and freshly baked goodies circled the room. My mouth literally watered with delight. Aunt Brenda and I shared looks that we both new was perfect bliss for food. We sat down as Jill did her thing.
Not a moment too soon we received tasty looking deserts as the receptionist held books holding pictures of wedding cakes, birthday cakes and all sorts of cakes that they have created. Elegant and beautiful some cakes looked like they had flowers growing and others were designs brilliantly crafted that I wouldn’t be able to do if I tried. The most I could do was create paper roses and cartoon fondant and that was about it for me.
Aunt Brenda and I sat in our bliss as the tasty delicacy melted in our mouths, while Lina and Jill were discussing of various things regarding the cake as the lady took down notes, the excitement died down as did our cakes, Lina decides to do a little shopping before heading home.
“So, Jill tomorrow at our place?” Lina says as we stood on the docks of Shelter Island ready to head home.
“Yes, I’ll show you the progress reports and work starts tomorrow. There’s only two days left. Oh before I forget, Have you secured you’re gown for the party?” Jill asks as she places her large book in her bag.
“Yes, already did, Good thing Mom have close ties with Elie Saab. My gown is on its way here as we speak.” Lina says again with her head on the clouds.
“Good, I’ll leave you now that I have all the information, I have to head back to the office to compile all before tomorrow.” Jill says with an accomplished smile and leaves us.
“So, since we’re done. Is it ok if you guys come with me to Newtown?” Lina bats her eyelashes at us and pleaded.
“Oh, dear. I can’t I need to sort things out at home, but Angela can.” Aunt Brenda says, I could tell she was getting tired.
“Yup, I’ll go with you. No problem.”
“Great! Lets go!” Lina smiles her megawatt smile.
We reached Sag Harbor and the driver dropped us off at a bookstore. The car moved and another replaced it. The car’s passenger window drops down revealing Riley looking up at us smiling. As soon as we got settled, the car started going out of the curb and unto the carriageway. It took minutes before we reached our destination, Riley looked for a parking area as he dropped Lina and I off unto the streets of Newtown Lane.
The classic vibe and posh looking people looked unrealistic and I was a part of that only I might have looked like a servant in my peasant outfit. Lina dragged me from store to store as she searched for a perfect outfit, occasionally asks my opinion. Lina could wear a paper bag and will still manage to make it into a new trend. I had a lot of fun watching her and admiring how grown up she acts around people older than her. Finally as some of her favorite store closes we met up with Riley at the nearest Starbucks as he waited for us to finish shopping.
“So, Shopped away all you’re inheritance, Lina?” Riley teased looking at a paper bag Lina was holding.
“Haha… This is hard earned money.” She gloats
“Mhm. Meaning countless pleading from Robert?” Riley banters back
“No!” Lina says furiously at him as she punches his arm
“Ow, Kidding!” He says lifting his hands in surrender
It was getting late and we were too tired to find a place to eat we decided to order Starbucks sandwiches and drinks and head on home. It was a long drive going back, good thing Lina’s energy was still high she was able to keep us both awake. She was talking of her charity and asked opinions from Riley of any possible fundraiser she could do on her birthday.
“Well, how about a date auction? You might want to invite more appealing friends” He suggests with mischief in his tone.
“Yeah, right. Like I’d let you buy my friends? But seriously I could raise funds if you and Robert join. Right, Angela?” Lina asks as she turns to me
“Oh. Yeah. I’d bid but I don’t have that much funds.” I say almost laughing at the though of Riley and Robert being thrown to the ladies who’d spend so much for a date.
“Trust me Lina More gorgeous girls more funds. Trust me.” He says gleaming
We reached the mansion and stayed by the poolside as Lina continues conducting her energies to Riley who counterweights any banter she gives. It was most entertaining and fun to watch. I slip into my inner thoughts and somehow envisioning Robert being a part of this scene, but I couldn’t put the puzzles together. As I was finishing my beverage Lina turns to me and asks.
“So, Angela. Do you have your dress yet?”
“Um, No. But I’m sure I could just ask Aunt Brenda to pick one for me.”
“I just have the perfect dress for you, why don’t I show you, saves you the time to look for one that’s fit the theme. I don’t mind.”
“Oh, it’s ok. You really don’t have to.”
“Don’t fight it. It’s going to pester you until you say yes.” Riley urges me in a scared whispered voice that could still be heard.
“He’s right. Plus I love makeovers. If you’re not too busy tonight, I’d love to show you” Lina says giving me a dewy-eyed hopeful smile.
“Sure. I’ll check on my emails first, then I’ll join you.” I say as we all cleaned up our mess. We separated ways and I went on to check my email.
I quickly changed into a comfortable jugging pants and a plain shirt, hoped on my bed with my laptop on hand and waited for the loading icon to finish twirling. There was one email and it was Robert.
From: Robert Sleigh
To: Angela Morley
Subject: I trust everything is in order?
I trust the planning is in order since I have not received any distressed calls. Should I be worried? Is this a good sign or a bad one? Anyway, to add to good news, attached in this email is the design for Lina’s party invitation. I am quite pleased with the design; your friend does an extraordinary job. Tell me we don’t have to wear fairy wings?
Robert Sleigh Slightly concerned CEO, Sleigh Holdings Incorporated
I quickly opened the attachment for the invitation not taking into consideration how I feel about Robert’s out of character emails, this is the first time I have received an email that read as if coming from a very close friend whom I confide in. I guess after months of being around each other made us content with one another. After letting my usual calculating self ponder on our situation and how I should answer this email the image has finally finished loading.
The incredible invitation was perfect, the delicate design that looked as if a fairy wing has been embossed in the card and the light fairy colors made the invitation welcoming, Lina’s picture that was once sitting on a bench turned into a fairy dressed in an ethereal clothing, the glitters highlighted and pulled the design together. I printed out the picture immediately and started a reply to Robert.
To: Robert Sleigh
Subject: I haven’t packed my bags yet
Yes, the planning is going smoothly so far, you shouldn’t worry. Yes, it’s a good sign, and no I haven’t run away yet. The invitations are just as I expected impeccable. Tomorrow we’re going to be decorating the place and necessary preparations are on the way. Everything is according to plan and No; you don’t have to wear fairy wings unless of course you’d want one. Should you need anything contact me.
Angela Morley Assistant Secretary to CEO, Sleigh Holdings Incorporated
As I sent the email the image of the invitation has been printed, I head out and in the mansion. The whole grandeur always leaves me in awe. I go up and find my way to Lina’s room when I spot them both at the Library. I knock on the doorway and they look up.
“Hey, so I’ve got your invitation design. Do you want to see?” I say waving the printed invitation. As Lina sees she jumps off her seat and grabs the invitation.
“Oh my – what? Is this for real? god – it looks so amazing! Oh my goodness its everything I hoped it would be!” She says looking at the printed invitation jumping giddily and slowly settles.
“Thanks so much! Now, let’s do your makeover.” She says grabbing my hands and then she clears her throat and looks back at Riley who was leisurely sitting and reading something on his Ipad.
“What? Do you honestly think I’d be of any use to you while you have a makeover?” Riley grumbles
“Well, we need a male’s perspective on things.” She counter whines and Riley rolls his eyes in defeat.
We enter her room and boy was is amazing. All white and pink, flowers at every corner and her bed high up on a pedestal, her room was on of the best rooms I’ve seen in all my years. Riley settles on a Cleopatra chair and puts on her TV.
“I’ll be waiting here.”
Lina drags me to another white framed, mirror double doors and into a fantasy world of gorgeous clothes. All clothes neatly arranged by color, shoes displayed on one wall and gowns on the other, this room was beautiful I almost cried.
“This room is bigger than my apartment back in Napa.” I say
“I’m glad you like it, So, I’ve laid out dresses and the shoes for you to fit, then you show Riley and I once you’re done.” Lina says
“You’re way to small and these dress beautiful as they are wouldn’t fit me.” I say
“Nope, they’re just the right size. Now stop whining and fit.” She bosses me with the same stern commanding look as Robert has when he has clients over.
“I see where you got your stare from.” I say and she laughs really hard as she head out the door.
I tried on the first dress ruby red and way to feathers; I looked like a sparkling bird. I tried on went across the room to grab the sparkling shoes when I tripped over the dress and fell flat on the floor.
“Angela? Are you ok in there? Need help?” Lina calls out from the other room
“Nope. I’m fine. Almost done.” I say pushing myself of the ground and placed the shoes on.
I slowly took one step after another then opened the doors. I was going to step out a little furthers until I saw Lina’s horrified face as Riley was trying so hard not to laugh.
“I look like a bird I know.” I say and Riley wasn’t able to control his laughter and burst out he almost feel off the chair.
“Well, not good, try on another one there’s bound to be one that’d look great.” Lina says
“Where do you were these gowns?” I ask as I turn back and close the double doors.
I tried more and all was either to conservative, to showy that I wouldn’t dare open both doors. Fitting clothes was fun and tiring at the same time, I never had a chance to play around with clothes such as these because I couldn’t afford them. Only two dresses left and I was concerned if I’d ever find an outfit.
I tried on the white gown that had gold beading on the straps and around my waist; the length was good it’s safe for me not to trip over. I patted the fabric down before heading out the door.
“So, how bout this?” I ask Lina who was busy texting
“Wow, that’s a step up, the only thing is that you look like you’re attending a wedding.” She says as she walked towards me. She closed the double doors and I saw how the gown was on me, it was beautiful and yes it looked like a wedding dress, which made me think of Jane’s wedding in a few weeks and how I needed a date. Darn this dress…
“What’s wrong?” Lina says looking at me curiously
“Nothing, it’s just, this dress reminds me of my cousin’s wedding.”
“Why is it not good?” She looked all the more curious
“No its just, I need to find a date to show off in the wedding so I don’t look like a loser whose probably going to die an old maid.” I tell her in the quietest voice I could muster
“Why doesn’t Riley go with you?” Lina shrieks defeats the purposes of me whispering to save me from embarrassment.
“What?” Riley looks up
“Well, Angela needs a date to her cousin’s wedding, whom she could show off.” Lina explains
“First week August, it’s going to be a whole weekend thing. Jane’s husband is renting this vineyard for the whole family to bond.” I say spilling out every detail.
“I don’t have anything to do yet since my restaurant is waiting to be approved, so yes. Now change.” Riley says dismissing me and just like that I had a date.
“Try on the last one, I hope that would do.” Lina says pushing me back in the closet.
I remove the white dress and slowly placed it in the pile of dresses that I carefully splayed unto a chair. I walked towards the last gown and it looked promising. I opened the long zipper that stop at the small of my back and put on the dress. The moment it was in place I knew it was perfect. The inner plunging sweetheart neckline was overlapped with tulle fabric gathered at the back of the dress in a bow, adorned in small flowers gradually gathers towards the middle of the dress along the silk beige sash on my waist. The dress was flowed down two inches below my knee in a delicious champagne color with flowers scattering from my waist down. I quickly put on the sky high nude with embellishment on it’s side that matched the gown perfectly and opened the double doors.
Riley was laying over Lina’s bed watching TV, as Lina was reading her magazine and hadn’t noticed. I cleared my throat and Lina jumps off the bed shrieking while Riley just lays there looking at me.
“No freaking way! You look so beautiful, this is the one! Am I right?” She turns to Riley and back to me forcing me to face her floor length mirror.
“I love it, but don’t you think it’s a bit much? Are you sure you’re going to let me borrow this?” I ask admiring myself in the mirror.
“Of course, it’s not that much, I just wish it was longer like a gown maybe?” Lina says observing me from a distance
’Well I think it’s fitting. I’d have to manage the party and I can’t run around the place in long gowns.” I place out my point; I wouldn’t change a thing on this dress.
“Riley? What do you think? I think you need accessories” Lina asks Riley and rushes off to her jewelry stash.
Riley gets up and walks towards me. He stands behind me as we both look at the mirror.
“I think this is perfect.” He calls out
“If Robert doesn’t act quick when he sees you in this dress, I might just change my mind and pursue you instead.” Riley whispers and I’m stunned by his words.
Lina comes back and hands me a pair of dangling earrings that sparkled beautifully and a cuff bracelet. I look at it and it was so sparkly I’d die.
“Put it on. I want to see how it looks like.”
“Lina, I couldn’t possibly, these look expensive.”
“Exactly they look expensive, they aren’t real. I bought them somewhere.” She says, I relax and place it on, the jewelries tied the whole look and I was pleased.
“All you lack is makeup come, I’ll show you.”
“Ok. Lina, I have work to do, I’ll see you both tomorrow.” Riley
“Alright, be prepared to be amazed.”
“Yeah yeah Lina, you sound like a cheesy magician, I’m bushed and i’m leaving. Night Ange.” Riley says messying Lina’s hair then leaving us alone in the room.
“Right. Now that he’s out, we can start the fun.” Lina says dragging me to the makeup corner in her walk-in.
What started out as a makeover quickly turned to a slumber party filled with a bunch of munches, pizza and whatever food there was on their pantry, whole lot of makeup looks with matching fashion shows and chick flicks. Lina and I spent the rest of the night talking about her family and mine.
“Jane and I were very close until puberty hit us, she began going with the popular crowd and later that year she decided I was a nerd of a cousin who always was covered in paint. When her mom died she stayed with us and she became more distant and was hungry for competition even though I never did compete. She excelled at everything and never let’s me forget it and now she’s the first to get married.”
“I guess she’s just insecure. She might get married first but wait till she sees you with Riley, then she’ll eat her words.” She says
“We’ll, I think she just wants to prove that she’s always better than I am. Sometimes it’s ok but on most occasions her comments just goes through me like a rose stalk, painful and thorny.” I say and then she laughs at me.
Later, we decided to sleep since it was already 2 morning, if we hadn’t seen the clock’ we both would just talk till morning sun comes. I then bid her goodbye and sneaked to my cabana and not risk waking Mrs. Maggie. I dragged my feet up to my room not bothering to take off my makeup and fell flat on my bed.
The next morning I went in the house to check on things as workers haul in fake mushrooms and chairs and a bridge. Go figure. I went looking for Maggie in the kitchen when I saw a tent outside the kitchen. I was curious and headed there.
As I went in I was almost greeted with a chaffing dish full of clams to my face. It was incredible; it was a makeshift kitchen, fully equipped with chillers, burners and Riley. He stood there in the center of it all in his crisp white chef uniform looking amazing. He instructed the people around him, tasting, commenting, I was just in awe of how well Riley orchestrates everyone. I was headed out as to not disturb when Riley caught me and gestured for me to go in.
“Good noon Mr. Head chef. This is incredible.” I say praising him
“Thanks, come I’d like you to taste the pasta, its seafood, Lina’s favorite.” He says leading me onto the paste station.
He hands me the plate and a fork. Perfect. Lunch. I take the fork wrapped in pasta and taste it. The glorious seafood taste and the springy tenderness of the pasta swirled in my mouth. A symphony of flavors hugging my taste buds coating them generously.
“You are a genius. Riley you have a God given gift.” I say bite after bite.
“I’m glad you like it. Now for dessert.” He says and my eyes grow wider. Heaven!
“Here, this is one of Lina’s favorite, Choco mint cake.” He says handing me a work of art that could bring tears to my eyes. I’m so emotional when it comes to food. For me it is the ultimate good man could ever create with his hands.
“I don’t think I could destroy it.” I say looking up at an amused Riley
“Well, how will you get to the surprise?” He asks
The moment I heard surprise I dug into the cake and took a bite. Again I was in heaven, sitting on a cloud of deliciousness. The mint was so refreshing like a cool breeze in the winter after a few seconds, warm dark chocolate bursts in my mouth and boy was it a surprise giving me an explosion of sensations I have never felt before for food. This man is an artist and his masterpiece is stupendous.
“Marry me?” I ask in an I’m-high-on-drugs-manner
“I would if you weren’t kidding.” He says catching my humor.
“You have got to be kidding me. You are the boss of desserts. You have got to open that restaurant I’ll be your loyal client.” I say savoring each bite; it was an experience like no other.
“Thank you, I’d take you reaction as an approval to all my dishes?” He asks
“Uh – Yeah.” I say finishing up the scrumptious cake
“Might I suggest bigger portions?” I say
“Right. Now, would you like to help around?” He asks
“Yup, sure, what can I do for you boss?”
“Peal the potatoes and clean the fish.” He jokes and brings me to the dessert station. All afternoon we finished decorating the various desserts and placed them all in a chiller. Riley showed me how to make pizza and hors d’oeuvres. I had fun learning a few tricks from Riley and ecstatic to cook again.