Wearing a simple black sheath and high heels, with her unruly curly hair pulled into a loose bun at the base of her head, Evie loved to get dressed up, but preferred to blend into the background. Her red hair and bright green eyes made that difficult. Evie stood behind the seating area, watching her staff of volunteers skillfully serve the crowd, just the way she taught them. She looked at the converted basketball court and play area, pleased at how the night was going. When JJ, the ER doctor who decided to run the community clinic in his free time, asked her to volunteer, she jumped at the chance. When she found out her first assignment was to help coordinate a dinner and fundraiser with Houston’s elite, she immediately declined, not feeling comfortable in front of crowds since her hand at being a concert pianist failed in her younger days, after severe stage-fright kept her from performing.
After considerable prodding, and encouragement, from JJ and her parents, she reluctantly agreed to manage the dinner. Now, she was pleased with her accomplishments, including having the teens serve as waiters. All seemed to be having a good time, and were learning about what they didn’t want to do for a living. Evie smiled as she overheard a few talking about staying in school and not ever waiting tables again. Good. You should stay in school.
The night’s honoree was taking the podium. He was the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. Evie let out a soft whistle as he began to speak. Damn, he is gorgeous. And that voice. I think I can feel his words working their way up my back. After a few moments, their eyes met. The intensity in his eyes took Evie’s breath away. It appeared that he was affected, too, as he gasped and chocked slightly, needing a drink of water. Evie felt the same, but was unable to move from her spot, staring at the man across the room from her, drawing her to him.
The crowd stood, clapping furiously, as Dylan rose to his full six foot three inches and buttoned the coat on his tailored tuxedo. He grabbed his father in a bear hug before he took his place, adjusting the microphone.
Dylan stood before the podium in front of two hundred business people gathered to honor his accomplishments, his dark eyes scanning the room, seeing some faces he recognized, but more strangers. He ran his fingers through his pitch black hair and laughed as he began to speak. “Thanks, Dad, for that bit of information. I had a feeling that there would be many laughs at my expense tonight, but it’s all in good fun,” Dylan started. “I remember being a young man growing up in Houston at the feet of my father, learning his business, how to make money, and how to be a man. As a child, I never wanted for anything. I never knew hunger, or want. My parents doted on me, as their only child, and I loved them as kind and supportive stewards of my future. As I aged, I discovered that their relationship was unique, full of love, and playfulness, and mutual respect. I had friends from broken homes, raised by single parents, or grandparents. I don’t envy them, and frankly, they don’t envy me. From my friends, I learned to be loyal, strong, and understanding. From my parents, I learned to love,” Dylan read from his neatly typed note cards. “Over time, I realized the kind of man I was becoming. In control of myself and my destiny, confident in my abilities, charming—almost sickeningly so.” And dominant, he thought. The crowd chuckled. “I worked for everything I have. Yes, my parents have considerable wealth, but their wealth is not my wealth. It was intriguing to me that a person could provide a service and get rich because other people wanted to borrow, partake, or use that service, even temporarily. I was determined to make my own way in the world, not ride the coattails of rich parents. Supportive and proud of me, they paid for my education, and I repaid every nickel. Business became a game to me.”
There’s one area of my life that’s not a game, nor is it even remotely humorous…my love life, he thought as he scanned the room. He continued on smoothly with his speech until his eyes locked with a pair or perfectly green eyes staring back at him, causing him to lose his breath for a moment. Who is she? He had to reach for and take several sips from a glass of water to calm his cough. As he replaced the glass, he looked back toward where she had been standing, but he saw nothing. For the next several minutes, he continued with his planned speech, skimming the faces in the room, looking for her, but she was gone.