Again, as long as she"s happy, then I"m happy because my business is a full-service party planning and catering company. We set everything up, serve the food, and then take it all down afterwards. I started the company fresh out of college and it"s grown beyond my wildest dreams. I have twenty employees for big events like this one, four chefs taking care of the food, and eight highly trained servers. It took me a lot of work to get here, but every grueling step was worth it. After all, this is my passion, and my success has been unexpected but gratifying. The only problem is the financial aspect of the business. Every cent of profit either goes into expanding my company or paying off my student loans, so I don"t have much left over. I get by, but sometimes it"s a choice between a shower and air conditioning during the hot summer months. Definitely not both, seeing that cash is tight.
I survey my work proudly for a few moments longer. My employees are scurrying around, putting the finishing touches on all of the tables and wall decorations. This isn"t the biggest venue we"ve ever worked, but it"s certainly the most grand. I trust my employees not to break anything valuable, but seeing the antiques everywhere still makes me nervous. I"m so ready for this night to be over. Once we clear out and cash the check, I can forget this place ever existed.
Amanda saunters out of nowhere, dressed in a slinky floor-length gown. Her face crumples into a frown as she looks me up and down.
"Is that what you"re wearing, Katie" Guests will be arriving soon. Everyone needs to get to their party posts. You need to change into something appropriate, otherwise you"ll stick out like a sore thumb, and I can"t trust you to stay out of all the photos. Hopefully you have something""
I force myself not to roll my eyes and keep my voice neutral. "Of course, Amanda. Happy to. I have a dress in the kitchen. I just didn"t want to ruin it during setup."
"Well, go get it on, then. And get your people to their posts!" she snaps, clearly enjoying her position bossing me around.
I sigh as Amanda stalks away. I"ve worked with some terrible customers, but Amanda takes the cake as the worst. Her tall, skinny frame and perfect blonde hair just add to my dislike of her. She"s like a Barbie come to life. That is, if Barbie never smiled and only ate lemons.
Plus, at five feet five, I"m not super short, but I"m not model tall like her. I"m a healthy weight for my height, with curves in all the right places. My brown hair is straight without needing to fry it with an iron every morning. I keep my makeup light, only using enough to subtly enhance my natural features. By all accounts, I"m an attractive woman. But I still look like a slouch next to Amanda with her modelesque frame.
"All right, everyone," I clap my hands into the echoing ballroom, calling my staff to attention. "Our invitees will be arriving soon. Please put the finishing touches on what you"re working and then get ready for the welcome event. You all have your assignments for the duration of the party."
A few mumbled responses reach me through the large room, and my employees move a little faster to get the job done. Within five minutes, all of the workers are gone and the room is ready to be filled with glamorously-dressed men and women. I retire to the kitchen to grab my dress and change in the bathroom before the party begins.
My dress is calf-length and black with a beautiful peacock design on the bodice. It"s a little funny because I match the centerpieces, but I"m okay with that. After all, my purpose is to blend in with the background. I don"t need to be seen; I just need to keep an eye on my waiters and waitresses, make sure everyone is being fed, and that nothing catastrophic happens. I"m not here to attend the ball, just babysit it.
When I emerge from the bathroom, there are already guests taking off their coats inside the foyer. Most are wearing masks as the invitation requested, but some are barefaced. I ran the idea of having extra masks on hand by Amanda, but she immediately overruled the idea.
"You wouldn"t be able to find what we want," she sniffed.
I was taken aback, despite the fact that my expression didn"t change.
"I"m sorry"" was my question. "What do you mean""
"What I mean is that Mr. Moore is a billionaire, and his guests are wealthy business magnates as well. The type of mask that they go for wouldn"t be in your party budget. Nor would you be able to locate anything suitable."