Claiming Cinderella(4)

By: Amy Brent

“I’ve decided to host another gala. It’s been a while, and I’d like to focus more on the younger generation, so I’ll be sending out invites accordingly.” My blood boiled. Mother had been known for hosting lavish events before my father’s death, and they were usually a way for her to find a new lover, which is what the tabloids had all said over the years. I wouldn’t have held much stock in those sources if I hadn’t known it to be true, but aside from that, it seemed like a terrible time and a huge waste of money. I didn’t need her using me as an excuse to do her trolling.

“Is it really appropriate for a ritzy event? It hasn’t even been a full two years. Don’t you think you could give it more time?” I kept my tone clipped, but she wasn’t having it.

“You dare talk to me about what is appropriate when you’ve been bringing in women like this guest house has a revolving door? I’ll decide what’s appropriate.”

With that I met her eyes, mine still narrowed with anger and hers equally as fierce. “You always have, Patricia.” Calling her by her first name instead of some maternal endearment was like throwing ice water in her face, but then she stood a bit taller and squared her shoulders.

“We’re having the gala. I suggest you be prepared to use the event to find a nice girl and settle your ways before you impregnate some gutter trash waitress and spoil the family name.”

“I don’t know, Patricia, your gutter trash reputation didn’t spoil it.”

Zep stiffened beside me and mother’s shoulders drooped for a moment before she held her head high. She’d had a troubled life and spent her teen years rebelling again an abusive mother only to claw her way up in the music business as a producer.

“I want better for you, and with the opportunity you have, that I didn’t have, that I had to beat a path to, you will have better.” She turned and stormed away, her heels clicking against the floor like a soldier’s march until she was gone.

“Wow, that was a little brutal, don’t you think?” It was a bad thing when even Zep thought I was being too hard on Patricia. As a master at insults, I’d have thought he’d be proud, but then again, he’d always had soft spot for my mother. She had taken him in when his father had been killed in a plane crash along with the rest of his band, when he was just a kid. He’d never known his mother, and Patricia had filled that role long enough to earn his respect.

“You’re always taking her side.” I turned and went to the couch where I plopped down, covering my temples with my fingertips.

“It’s a party. Even you know the Galas always attract the ladies, and this one is for you. Hey, I know, let’s talk her into making it one of those masquerade things, then you can hire a body double and slip out.” He poured himself a drink at the bar as I sat straight up.

“That’s not a bad idea. If everyone wears masks, then she’d never know who I invited.”

He threw back his bourbon and stood in front of me. “I was only kidding. Those parties are a teenage girl’s wet dream as it is, all fairy tales and magic and a reason to dress up in a gown. It’s bad enough we’ll have to get tuxes.”

“Yeah, but we’ll do that anyway, and with Patricia hell-bent on me meeting the girl of my dreams, I’d like the guest list to be more than just rich bitches and trust fund brats. I’d like to meet a real girl, one not spoiled by wealth, who has a simple life with hobbies and a job. You know, brain cells.”

Zep laughed. “Good luck with that, man. You know your mother will be sending out the official invitations. No one can get in without one.” He was right. She always took special care to make sure that the guest list was nothing but the elite.

“That’s why you’re going to help me send out duplicates of our own. We’ll simply have the same company make extra invites, and we’ll hand them out all over town. Everyone gets to bring a plus one, and we’ll make sure to tell them to bring a friend.”

“Patricia is going to kill you when she sniffs them out at the event. She can smell cheap perfume a mile away.”

“That’s because she grew up wearing it. The only reason she doesn’t want me to end up with someone real, whose parents aren’t in our social class, is because she’s afraid the girl will remind her of her youth.”

“You’re serious about this? Surely there’s a girl out there with money and enough brains to have a hobby, be a freak in the sheets, and still make your mother happy.”