As the weeks went by, my excitement for my work’s annual holiday party soon turned to dread. I was worried that the older man I was developing feelings for would change his mind at the last second. What if he had his eye on someone else in the company?
Brandon had the reputation of being a flirt and playboy, so why was I putting all my time into analyzing our own flirty exchanges? My hopes were high that they were more than just for his entertainment purposes; I was hopeful that he might actually have a thing for me. And it was not until the day he insinuated an interest in me that I was ready to strut what I had to offer at that company party. Whether he was just flirting around and playing with my emotions, I was determined to prove to him what a prize I was—even though most of my confidence was just a front.
The weekend of the party finally arrived. It was on a Saturday and since I worked every weekend, that meant I had to get ready at work. I came in Saturday morning with my dress and makeup bag in hand. “Well, aren’t you ready for tonight?” Joanne, the other weekend receptionist, smiled and winked as I sat at my desk.
“Oh you know, have to make sure I have everything,” I grinned back. “Nothing gets left behind.”
The work day went by slow with hardly any calls, and just before closing down for the day, I used my unused hour of lunch to get ready. I was meeting my best friend Melinda, who worked for the same company, at her place, since it was close to the hotel where the party was being held.
I re-did my hair and put on a meticulous smoky eye. Since the dress I had put myself in debt for had glitter shimmering throughout, I put on a small pair of teardrop earrings. Simple and elegant was the exact look I was going for and if I did say so myself, I had achieved it. With only an hour left to swing by Melinda’s place and get to the party, I scrambled out the door, heels in hand.
As we arrived at the party, both Melinda and I walked through the lobby doors of a big ritzy hotel; the company did not slack in providing their employees with a good time. “Wow! Now that’s a Christmas tree! And is that an open bar?” Melinda squealed. Seeing as how we were both only 20, we did not expect to get away with getting a drink without getting carded. To our surprise, we made our orders and were given our drinks with no questions asked.
The minute I had stepped in through the doors, I was already scanning the faces at the tables and the ones on the dance floor—there was no sign of Brandon. A part of me felt embarrassed of the effort I put in, getting dolled up for the night. Sure, I was getting stares and compliments on my dress, but they weren’t coming from the one man I really wanted them from.
“It doesn’t look like Brandon is here. I see Joanne and Ben at your guys’ reserved table; do you wanna head over there?” Melinda asked as she pointed towards the table near the dance floor.
“Sure. That way we can watch everyone dancing,” I smiled, trying to cheer myself up.
A buffet of food and two cranberry vodkas later, I settled on the fact that Brandon wasn’t showing up. I felt humiliated and the buzz from my third drink was starting to kick in. All the money I spent on my dress and the time I took to look just right seemed to have been a waste. Or so I thought…