3.2 New friends, new enemies
Many things have changed in the course of few weeks. At the beginning there was a lot of excitement and preparations. One day Babs and Beryl went shopping for perfect dresses for the fundraiser...
...and the next day everything changed. Andrew died. Babs became a widow and instead of a romantic pink dress she had to put on a black one. The heir vote occured and the title of heir was passed to Beryl together with written instructions from her deceased father. Andrew's remains were put to rest in the family crypt. In all that mess nobody thought of cancelling their attendace of the fundraiser.
And so here they were at Castelli Mansion. Bradley took Andrew's place as Babs's escort and Brian accompanied Beryl. Bernd and little Christian went to sleepover at Bao's place. Christian begged his mother to let him go with them to the party and couldn't understand there would be no kids he could play with.
They put on their smiles, eventhough they felt rather emotionally drained from the recent sad happenings in their lives. But as Babs pointed out, they had to think of the little ones they were doing this for. Building a new orphanage was a noble goal and missing this event would do more harm than good.
Girl at the reception desk: Welcome to Castelli Mansion, ladies and gentlemen. Is it your first time here? I have a good memory on faces, but I don't remember ever seeing you here, I'm sorry. Can you tell me your names to tick you off the guesst list?
Babs: Heffner Babs, Beryl, Brian and Bradley.
Girl at the reception desk: the Heffners, okay, got it. May I now ask you to..."
A woman in red, who was talking to somebody nearby, overheard their conversation with the receptionist and came closer.
Woman in red: "I'll take it from here, Debbie, thank you."
Marissa: "So you're the Heffners. Nice to finally meet you. I'm Marissa Castelli, your host. I'm so glad you could join us."
Marissa: "First of all, let me express my most sincere sympathies for your recent loss. I know it can't be easy for you to be here tonight. The happier we are to have you."
Babs: "Thank you. And you're right we were considering skipping this event, but the purpose of it is so noble, that we had to come."
Marissa: "Perfect. What we're going to do now is to take pictures of you ladies. Those will be auctioned later in the evening and the profit will be used to fund the construction of a new orphanage in Oasis Springs. Follow me please."
Bradley: "Did you see her?"
Brian: "Did I see who?"
Bradley: "That Marissa girl."
Brian: "I may wear contacts lenses, but I'm not blind, Bradley. Of course I saw her. She was standing right next to us."
Bradley: "So? What do you think? She's hot, isn't she?"
Brian: "Isn't she a bit too old for you?"
Bradley: "No, she's absolutely prefect! Girls like her have had their share of experience and are ready to get married. And that's where I come in."
Beryl checked herself in the mirror, before having her picture taken. Marissa watched her intently. Beryl have noticed it before that the woman has been glancing her direction way too often. Or am I imagining things? Why would she do that? Is something wrong with my dress? But her dress was ok. What is it then?
One moment Marissa was all smile and the next, when she thought nobody's watching her, she shot Beryl a look full of... was it contempt? It's just me. She doesn't look at anybody else the same way as she does at me. What could I possibly have done to make her dislike me? I don't even know her!
Debbie: "Now turn around, miss Heffner, a look at me over your shoulder."
Marissa: "We are all set now. Your photos are being displayed in a special room we prepared for this purpose so all our present gentlemen can admire them and choose which ones they're going to bid at."
Babs: "What a lovely idea!"
Marissa: "Thank you. Oh and before I forget, I really need you to meet someone, ladies! You're so gonna love him! Please, come with me."
Marissa: "Doctor? Do you have a moment?"
Doctor: "For you, Marissa? Always."
Doctor: "For you, Marissa? Always."
Marissa: "Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you doctor Angel Locklear, the brain behind the whole orphanage project?"
Dr.Angel: "What a wonderful assortment of new faces! May I compliment you on your most luxuriant hair, young man? You and I we definitely need to have a private discussion about the hair care products we use. That would be splendid!"
Marissa: "Oh. Everyone, will you, please excuse me? Looks like my boyfriend has just arrived. I need to give him a proper welcome."
Dr.Angel: "A boyfriend, Marissa? You're breaking my heart!"
All four of them were having a great time, until Beryl got the stupid idea to get a drink.
That was when she saw them and in that moment her heart shattered into a million pieces. Everything made perfect sense now. Marissa's looks, Tony's silence. She was nothing to him. Just a fling. He was with his real girlfriend, while Beryl was waiting and secretly hoping. She wanted to run away. Go home and cry herself into sleep. She started shaking. She couldn't breathe...
Author's note: Dr. Angel Locklear belongs to Sabreene. He made his first appearance in chapter 9 of her Elstree Legacy. Check it out if you haven't yet.