“Jun this turned out beautifully! How long did you work on the decorations?” Ms. Wyndham is in awe at how the little rinky dink community center has been transformed into such a lavish formal space.
“I and a friend worked most of the evening getting it together. I think we did pretty good.” Jun is dressed in a beautiful, flowing full length navy gown with jeweled accents throughout the neckline and bustier.
“You definitely have a creative eye. There’s no way I could ever have visualized this, which is sad to say given that I deal in real estate.” Ms. Wyndham laughs while eying the fabric that has been suspended from the ceiling and draped to cover the dingy walls. There are chandeliers with accented beads and luminaries that make this appear as if it costs tens of thousands of dollars to prepare. “How much did all this cost?”
“Not more than a couple hundred bucks.” Juniper smiles.
Ms. Wyndham looks astonished. “A couple hundred bucks? How?”
“You’d be surprised what you can do with some of the things at your local second hand store. It’s really not that difficult. You just have to know where to look. And I have a crafty friend. She can almost always make something from what we would just toss in the trash.”
Ms. Wyndham removes her wrap to unveil a beautiful knee length black dress that is brought to life with jeweled heels and a matching evening bag. Her look is classic. “The two of you should be in business. This is impressive.”
“Perhaps we’ll consider it. In the meantime, enjoy the evening. The program with begin shortly. For right now we’re just mingling. There’s a champagne fountain near the ice sculpture and some hors d’oeuvres. Oh, and if you plan to participate in the auction don’t forget to sign in for your number there.”
Juniper points out sign-table and directs Ms. Wyndham toward the others gathered near an area where Alesandra has created some beautiful dainty hors d’oeuvres.
“Tish, it really doesn’t look good for you to be standing here playing with the food. Can you please stop rearranging those platters!” Alesandra is trying to smile, but Tish is her usual annoying self and is working her nerves tonight.
“It’s just that I can’t decide if it looks better this way….” She rearranges the platters again. “Or like this. What do you think?”
“I think nobody is paying as much attention to that as you are. Now leave them as they are.” Alesandra smiles as another guests places some foods on his plate.
Tish sighs as if in distress. “You really should be a bit more appreciative. The Epicurean has made a formal debut with this fundraiser. These mouths seem pretty happy,” Tish giggles and adjusts the catered by nameplate that boasts of the business she has assisted her sister in forming. “We’re sure to get some business after tonight.”
A stocky gentleman with a limp nears the table. “Pardon, ma’am. Would you mind filling a couple glasses with beverage? That pretty lady over there would like to wet her throat.” He points over to Geneva seated near the center of the room.
“Certainly, Sir.” Tish ladles the beverages and carefully passes the glasses to Quincy, who thanks her and makes his way back to his date.
“There you go. For you, my lady.” Quincy hands Geneva the punch. She’s giggling like a school girl again. He takes his seat. They’re both looking around, taking in all the excitement.
“This is really nice. I don’t think I’ve been to anything like this since my high school prom.” Quincy gives a few bellowing chuckles. “Did you go to prom?”
“No, Quincy. This is the first formal event I’ve attended in all my… 40 plus years.” They share another laugh together and sip some of the beverage.
“In that case, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a dance. So if you’ll do the honor of dancing with an old fart before the night is over, that would make this a magical evening I’ll likely never forget.”
“It would be my pleasure, Quincy.” Geneva takes another sip of beverage and smiles. She and Quincy are distracted by a lady that accidentally bumps into their seats.
“Pardon, I wasn’t watching where I was going,” she smiles down at them.
“That’s quite alright,” Geneva smiles. Nothing is going to ruin this evening for her.
Maria nods again and eases over a couple rows before taking a seat. She feels somewhat awkward here alone. She’s not been to a formal event since happier times with Gabe. As she continues to look around, she notices the beautiful flamingo ice sculpture that illuminates different colors. Her mind begins to wonder how much less those tenant association dues that have been collected would have been had they not opted to invest in a fancy waste of money like an illuminating ice sculpture. Then again, Juniper seems quite resourceful. She could’ve gotten it donated or discounted. Subconsciously she checks the time, wondering what Valissa is doing at this hour. She’s made arrangements for her to spend some time with her father, but hasn’t settled the most recent disagreement between them. Her feelings are still a bit fragile at the thought of what happened. It has finally dawned on her that she never really found out where Valissa was or what happened that she skipped school. Her actions only closed the line of communication between them. Reminiscing of how close the two of them once were causes tears to well in her eyes. So much has changed. Things are so different now. Maria fans her face to keep from ruining her freshly applied cosmetics. She needs something to curb her now increasingly emotional state. As she continues to fan at her eyes, she notices some people gathered around what looks to be an open bar. At first she struggles with the notion to get a drink. But at functions like this, the liquor is always watered down. There’ll be just enough in the drink to taste, not nearly enough to do any damage. She eases from her seat and begins a slow tread towards the bar, bypassing the champagne fountain.