My Dream Job
In between shaking hands, I coolly navigated the rooms, noting that everyone had adhered to costume and seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were two champagne fountains set up centrally and the buffets held warming trays with superbly prepared, gourmet level foods. After all, the event cost $2500 per plate, so at least the food had better be good and the booze plentiful.
“Hello John, how have you been? I don’t believe I’ve seen you since Singapore?”
“Well, Alec, you’re looking fine as usual. Always very fit. Any new deals you can let me in on? Yes, I believe it was Singapore.”
“John, you don’t mean to tell me your instincts are failing you?” I teased him. “Surely you’re the one with the tips to share?”
He shook his head as he left and turned back to the woman standing at his left. I assumed she was his wife, although I had never met her. I moved on.
“Alec! I hear you’ve taken on a new protégé.”
I nodded and looked toward the staircase. Callie hadn’t come down yet and I wondered if she was getting cold feet. “Yes Robert, as a matter of fact I have. Don’t try to steal her from me, now promise?”
“As good as all that, is she?” Robert eyebrows peaked with curiosity.
I neither confirmed nor denied and that was exactly what he expected. I was fairly certain once people met her, the question would come behind my back whether she was my business protégé or mistress. Let them think what they want, I thought to myself. Callie would set them straight.
I felt before I heard, the raised pitch in the conversation undertones. I knew something was happening and looked toward the staircase. Sure enough, Callie was coming down and there wasn’t a word strong enough to describe how beautiful she was.
She had interpreted the pirate theme to include female pirates. Most of the women there were dressed in 19th-century ball gowns, playing the role of the captured mistress or willing stowaway the pirates would use for their pleasure. But not my Callie.
Her beautiful, long legs were encased in black leather, the waist rising higher and ending just below her bosom. She wore a full-sleeved blouse, gathered at the shoulder and ballooning over her long arms before clutching her wrists in crystal studded bands. Its collars lay wide open, cut deeply below her décolletage, the suntanned mounds of her perfect breasts hugging one another in that curtained stage. Her long blonde hair had been drawn high above her neck, cascading in curls below her black, pirate’s hat. It, too, was studded with sparkling crystals. Black, high-heeled leather boots went over where her pantaloons ended and a cummerbund of crimson velvet emphasized her tiny waist. Every man in the room made a wish and every woman scowled. She was a diabolical mistress of the night and she was mine.
She waved at me over the heads of the crowd and I nodded and motioned her forward. People parted to make her path as she came toward me. There was no need to hush the crowd, they were already silent with appreciation. “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce my assistant and protégé, Ms. Callie Courtney. I’ve been fortunate enough to snap up this talented young lady and include her in my organization before the rest of you even knew she was available. I encourage each of you to meet her personally this evening as she will often be my personal representative. She will be authorized to discuss and execute all business on my behalf.”
My introduction drew an intake of breath across the room. I was not known for giving up control of any aspect of my business and the fact that I had just transferred trust onto Callie’s beautiful shoulders was rare indeed. A stuttering of quiet comments blossomed across the room and soon there was a general applause for her introduction. Callie beamed, smiling graciously and tilting her head to individuals around the room. She leaned toward me and whispered in my ear. “I’m so nervous,” she said, her voice higher pitched than normal in her anxiety.
“Honey, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them, I guarantee you. Everyone in this room owes me in one way or another. Think of yourself as a queen who can order heads chopped off.”
She looked at me, her eyes wide, her mouth forming an O-shape before dissolving into a smile as she winked.