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.I’m stronger now.Let’s go in there and show them how the ‘Princess of Las Vegas’ gets it done.” The air quotes that I added were for good measure.I hated that name.Princess.It was absurd and cliché.Did I have a tiara floating around my head? Who anointed me to be the Princess? I disliked Barbie when I was a kid.I hated tiaras, pink ponies, and Cinderella even more.Just ridiculous.Daria’s chuckles lasted for a few seconds until we reached the entrance of the ballroom.Game on, Ava.Show time.The air in the room boasted of egos and pride.The designer outdid herself with the decorations – the understated elegance of purple, gold, and black hues evident in the mirrored walls and painted walls brought the feeling of luxury and sophistication without being blatant about it.The 7500 square feet room, the biggest room in this hotel, provided the open space for a high profile event such as this one.I mingled with a few rising celebrities – a member of a boy band, a recently divorced actor, and a founder of an internet website.As I looked around, I began to notice something odd about this setting.I’d been to many events, but this one had a weird feeling to it.I racked my brain trying to figure out what it was.As a server holding a tray of champagne walked by, I counted the number of guests.It was easy because there weren’t so many.Seventy-two.The room felt ten times bigger than it was because of the small number of guests.I saw more women earlier downstairs when I was walking through the media gathered by the hotel’s entrance.Most of the guests were men.They were a combination of old and young guys, in their suits, gleaming dress shoes, and shiny cuff links.I could count the number of women on my fingers.I knew most of them.Some I wasn’t familiar with.Realizing this as I was speaking with Senator Joe Civens, I caught the tail end of our conversation – he was requesting for me to plan a golf day with his daughter, Marie.I nodded my head and was about to excuse myself when from my peripheral vision I saw him lift his right forefinger – a distinct sign that he was waiting for me to greet him.“I’ll give Marie a call,” I replied to the Senator of California.He was a charming guy.It was just too bad that his daughter was a blonde bimbo who couldn’t keep her legs closed even if they were nailed tight with a hammer.I’d be calling her when I was ninety and the world had gone into a complete apocalypse.He was a head taller than me, taller than most of the men in attendance.As I neared him, I placed two of my fingers by my right ear and pressed on the small diamond earring that adorned it.He was wearing a black notch-lapel jacket with a black dress shirt underneath it, all custom-made and custom-fitted by his designer, Emilio.His gray eyes honed in on me, the right side of his mouth lifted, his voice commanding as he said, “Gentlemen, do you remember my daughter, Ava?”“Hello, father.” I gave him a small tilt of my head to acknowledge him.To the two men he was conversing with I said, “Nice to see you again, Emmett…Senator Powers, please tell your wife I’m still swooning over the art pieces she sent for Christmas.”Emmett, the only son of Melinda and Bob Powers, was a blonde, blue-eyed, fine male specimen.When we were kids, he was one of the boys I hung out with, especially when my best friend, Brynn, was confined to the hospital for a year.I heard that he recently graduated Columbia Law School and was set on following the political aspirations of his father.Emmett’s gaze lingered on me as he spoke, his voice now deepened like the maturity in his eyes.“It’s been a while, Ava.You look beautiful.”My cheeks warmed at the compliment.This was the boy who I played sweaty soccer with, traded spit with for a ride on his new bike, and the one who wiped my tears when I felt sad about Brynn.He was all grown up now.And at the moment, he looked at me like I was the strawberry ice cream in a chocolate-covered wafer cone that he had overpaid ten dollars for each time I brought him one.His mom was super strict, and no sugars and sweets were allowed in her house.It was a good thing we were neighbors, because I kept a running tab and became his ice cream dealer.My father’s voice interrupted my childhood flashback.“Ava, now that Emmett’s back in town, maybe you can show him around, catch him up on what’s changed since they moved to D.C., and give him a tour around our hotels, maybe even accompany him to the new shows?”I detected a hint of my father’s matchmaking attempts.He has never done this before.At least not in a blatant, overt manner like this.“Of course,” I smiled, this time a genuine one.Emmett was a nice guy, a childhood friend.I looked forward to catching up with him.Senator Powers had a huge smile on his face as he watched the exchange between Emmett and I [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]