Eve left a message for Cale, informing him of her whereabouts. The staff had given her directions towards the main hall. Their eyes popped out of their sockets when they saw her. Thankfully, they quickly caught on that she was a guest—based on her appearance.
From there, things passed by without a hitch.
She found a hallway that led to the ballroom where she waited for Cale. From what she knew, Luna had a designated room for the rainbow models. She advised them to stay there before the presentation. Eve actually didn't understand the need for this. They wouldn't even carry any bag.
It would just be them, walking into the scene.
She stayed close to the wall and bent forward. Her head peeked out of the hall. She gaped at the grandeur. Did she travel back in time? Most of the interior resembled a castle's with its white and gold paint. The chandeliers reflected on the wooden floor. Bronze velvet curtains hung over tall windows, blocking most of the sunset.
Eve estimated the number of people. There were probably hundreds. It wouldn't surprise her if it turned out to be a thousand. Among them, one person cut through the crowd. Swift footsteps broke away from the party.
They headed for where she stood.
"Eve!" Cale scolded as soon as he saw her. He put his hands on his hips and marched in her direction. "There you are! You almost gave us a heart attack when Ambryan came by himself. We thought he left you behind or you had a fight. Next time, inform us right away."
"I'm sorry, Cale. It was actually last minute," Eve apologized. His tone was scarier than the time they shopped for a dress. At this, she rethought about her plan. She really should have notified them/
"Okay, fine," her modelling manager huffed. He grabbed her wrist, keeping a tight hold. Who knew when she'd do another stunt? "Come on, let's do some touch ups."
Cale took her back down the hall and up a hidden staircase. It led to the upper floor for the indoor balcony which had a grand staircase. Behind the archway, several rooms occupied the corridor. Only one had its door open with bright lights inside.
The rest of the models already came before Eve. They all sat in their designated chairs, talking and refilling their make-up looks. Each one sported the same style as her—matching dress, wig and lips—but in different colors until they completed a rainbow.
The diversity impressed her. No one in this room had been picked at random. All of them rocked and slayed the color they got. If it weren't for this campaign, she wouldn't have known how mermaid blue looked beautiful on a deep skin tone. Or how olive green complimented medium tan complexion.
Each model represented a shade range.
"Alright, I heard about what you said from Avery," Cale spoke, gesturing Eve to a chair. She faced the vanity mirror and noticed the shine from her oily face. He grinned. "So let's light you up like a fire for your debut."
From outside, Athon commercials and logos played on LED screens on either side of the balcony. It displayed their awards, milestones and iconic moments. Some behind the scenes footage peeked out for a tease.
Avery stood in the middle of the floor. She had looped her arms around her son's. They had been joined by the hip since they entered the ballroom. She figured he'd run off to talk about work with other businessmen—something she frowned upon during these events.
Her presence also helped ward off most women. If not, her mouth would do the job.
Ambryan simply accompanied her. He spoke whenever he was addressed. With red wine in hand, he had little to complain about. He'd be able to survive the night with it alone.
"Yan! Aunt Avery!" Richard Kingston called out from behind them. He wore a white jacket over a gray dress shirt. His trousers had the same cream fabric while his shoes had black leather. He chose this style since his curly bronze hair already matched the motif.
"Richard!" Avery greeted him first. She let go of Ambryan to give him a brief hug. "It has been a while since I've seen you. I heard you had a hard time with the Board of Directors. Are you still okay?"
"It was nothing I couldn't handle," he replied with a snort. He drank a bit of champagne before turning to his best friend. A goofy grin stretched his lips. "So… where's the girlfriend? Did you sneak her in here so the media wouldn't see her? Come on, tell me I get to meet her tonight."
"No, you won't."
"Oh, you will!"
Ambryan sipped his wine and ignored another glare from his mother. With the glass on his lips, she couldn't force him to look at her—unless she wanted to accidentally spill the wine. It was a trick and she knew it.
Unfortunately, it worked for the time being.
"Really, Ambryan," Avery huffed as she faced him fully. Her hands clenched into fists, calming down her urge to strike. "How could you not introduce her to your best friend?"
"It's alright, Aunt Avery," Richard intervened. He laughed at the scenario and saved his best friend. He took Avery's hand and kissed the back of it. "Have I told you how stunning you look?"
Unlike most women, Avery opted for a white top and a black maxi skirt. The long-sleeved blouse had an off-shoulder cut on her right. A wide golden belt cinched her waist, connecting the two clothing items. Her black hair was tied up in a high ponytail and fell over her back like a waterfall.
"Always a charmer," she smirked at Richard. Her hand went to her hip while her eyes stared from the corner of her eye. She narrowed her gaze. "Should I set you up too?"
Richard coughed at the suggestion. It didn't help that Ambryan agreed to it. He had heard of the website's name. If he wasn't careful, he would become Avery's new target. The sidelines already gave him enough entertainment.
Besides, if he had a girlfriend, he wouldn't be able to pick on his best friend. That happened to be his favorite pastime and he'd rather keep it than meet a new chick.
"With all due respect, Aunt Avery." Richard cleared his throat. He gulped a mouthful of champagne, needing its confidence boost. "I don't think I'm ready yet to go back to the dating game."
Avery opened her mouth to reply but someone else's voice cut in.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen!"
Luna stood at the bottom of the grand staircase. A rectangular platform had been installed for the occasion. She stood taller than most guests and grinned around the room. Folds of a silver skirt cascaded over her legs. Lace wrapped around her shoulders in the same color. Glitters layered over her bodice, adding more glamor to her style.
A brown hair bun sat on top of her head.
Her black eyes smiled at the audience. She spoke to a microphone and her voice blasted out of the speakers. "On behalf of Athon Luxury, I'd like to thank everyone for joining us today. This is the mark of a new beginning for us. Billboards, tarpaulins, window displays and more will be up tomorrow for our brand new Rainbow Collection."
Cheers and applause reverberated around the ballroom. Luna paused, letting them take over the spotlight. She owed a lot of her success to these people. Words were never enough to showcase her appreciation.
"Of course, none of this could have happened if it weren't for our models," Luna continued, stepping over to one side. She wouldn't want to miss this part of the event. Her eyes already snapped towards the top of the stairs.
"So, please. Join me and welcome their presence for tonight… starting with my Ruby."
On the wall, the LED screens flickered into nothing. A lyre played softly. Its volume rose up as a new video came into light. The darkness faded away to unveil the Athon logo. The symbol grew smaller until it vanished completely.
A montage of the first set replaced it. Each photo lasted half a second before the next one popped up. The different bags filled up the screen until it coated everything in red, overlapping one another in fifty percent opacity. The result resembled an abstract painting.
Then, it became blank.
Blank as a canvas.
The camera zoomed out, revealing the background as a fabric. It fluttered against a silent breeze and flowed over the edge of a chaise. The shot crawled upwards in a diagonal slate. The fabric length soon ended on a pair of fair legs. Their ankles crossed as they rose up over the model's back.
The music kicked up its pace. The camera switched directions and followed the fabric once more. With the backrest of the white chaise, its color now looked more gray—almost like a statue.
The long duration of the shot had cleansed out the red color from everyone's minds.
So when it came again, all attention focused on it.
Crimson hair took over the screen. Its waves led to the side profile of a heart-shaped face. Cherry lips puckered up towards a red clutch held by a hand. The pose remained still as if frozen in time. Not even the camera moved.
All became motionless, including the music.
Then, the young woman snapped her head towards the audience.
She blinked and gasped as if she got caught. Her gaze immediately dropped from embarrassment. She bit on her bottom, suppressing a blush. Her head tilted slightly when she peeked back at them. To play it off, she lifted the clutch and hid half of her face.
The lights flared on the bag's Athon logo.
Her corner lip curled up...
And her eye winked at the camera.
Hehe. Hehehe. Hehehehe. I really do write too much. This chapter already hit 1.6k. Is this pacing alright? I imagine not many would want to linger on the party scene without Eve.
I do hope it managed to build enough suspense for when she comes out tho. |-^)v
This makes me wonder.. what color would you choose if you were part of the rainbow collection? :D
Status check: We're on Top 147 for FL Ranking (^-^)ゝ
Also, we have a feature under Potential Starlet?! What?! Thank you for this! To WN and to all of you, readers! Alabyu, guys!
Have a good day!
Other ongoing work: Trust and Believe in Love