Chapter 29- Family

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Quote of the day: "Family will be there when no one else is".

-Manhattan, New York

-Avelyn Perez

-Jardin Hotel Conference Lounge

Today marks my departure from Elliot's Incorporate. Looking at the woman before me, I was happy with how she transformed physically and mentally.

Her smoky red hair cut in a sleek face contouring bob with a side bang in dead straight strands. Her make-up done to perfection providing that soft hooded bronze eyeshadow lined with a wing eyeliner, contoured face, bronzed cheeks and rosy brown matte lipstick.

Diamond stud earrings with a diamond wrap necklace extending down the deep 'v' neckline of the white pantsuit. Ankle strap copper heels accentuated the look.

I was dressed to kill and no one has yet seen my new haircut. I am sure they would all flip out that I cut my long hair.

I exited the elevator and entered the lounge and was immediately spotted by my hawk of a boyfriend, Damian. I saw the way he seemed to contemplate whether it was me or not. A small smile emerged on my face and I winked at him.

I looked at the God walking up to me, dressed impeccably in a designer tailored suit of grey and white, Damian was a sight to cherish.

"Avy?" he seemed shocked and had to ask if it was really me. I smiled and stepped into his personal space.

"It is..."

With that, I pressed my lips to my boyfriend and as predicted, he immediately went from phased to relax. Knowing my body against his, Damian quickly tilted his head to kiss me better and wrapped both arms around my torso.

"What did you do to your hair, dove?"

I stepped back and smiled, "I wanted a what do you think?" Taking a quick twirl and striking a pose for him.

His eyes scanned my body before resting on my face. I saw the raw emotions in them and I was definitely bothered in the best way.

"You look hot...I love it". He grins pulling me back into his arms and kissing me once more before whispering in my ear. "I want you to come to my house tonight...I'll cook dinner and..." he inches near my jawline grazing his lips on my skin, "we can a movie and..." his lips brushing against mine, "...I can show you how hot you are". Leaving me with a hot kiss, he pulled away and grinned down at me.

"Hmmm...I'll think about it", I remarked giggling whilst taking his hand and walking together.

"That wasn't a question, princess, it was a request", he kissed my hand.

"Avelyn! Is that you?" I spun to see my colleagues approaching me. Letting go of Damian's hand, I welcomed them in a group hug.

"I am so sad you're more homemade surprise breakfast or lunch", Peter feigned crying.

I laughed and leaned into Damian as he came by my side. "I will still visit and bring you food, Pete".

"How about a glass of champagne everyone?" Damian gestured and I was again surprised at him mingling with his own employees on a friendly basis. They all agreed simultaneously and he signalled the waiter to bring us a tray of champagne filled glasses.

Soon we all cheered for my departure and Damian whisked me away to meet businessmen and women from all around the world.

This departure party was his idea and I let him have his way. All of Elliot's employees were invited along with our mutual friends, individual friends and family members, clients and colleagues.

My mom and my sisters were mingling with Damian's family and this would be the first time they all met.

After speaking to guests for approximately two hours, I heard the host clear her throat and announced over the microphone to have us all get our glasses refilled if they were empty. Damian left my side and was the centre of attention.

"Avelyn, before I toast to you, I want you to come up here and speak to us all about your journey in life. I know our colleagues are very interested in hearing you speak as it's the last time we have you here at Elliot. Do us the honour, please".

I walked over to the podium and smiled at him, taking the microphone and focused on ignoring the nervous wave washing over me.

"I didn't prepare a farewell speech but I'll speak from my heart", I chuckled a bit. The crowd before me laughed in response.

"Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to become an interior designer. It was not just a goal, it was a passion and desire. As I acquired knowledge, I learnt that Elliot was the ranking company in architecture and designing. It became my dream to get a job at Elliot's and I worked my way there. I'd share this funny story with you".

I looked over at Damian and he knew the story I was about to tell. His reaction said it all.

"My first day at Elliot's...I was scheduled to have an interview with Mr. Elliot or as we all know him, Ian. I personally didn't like him and found it very difficult to be in the same room with him".

They laughed at this and I shot him a wicked smile.

"He didn't hire me and aside from professionalism, which we both maintained, I think he also felt the same way. We were two ticking bombs. I got my first job to design the interior of a well-known boutique and have had the amazing experience of working with Bianca, my first client. The only client since then..." I ended with a chuckle.

"Ian saw my work and it was solid proof and evidence that I knew my work. I was hired to work for Ian at Elliot's and my journey since has been amazing. I have met amazing businessmen and women, made great friends with my colleagues and have grown to be in the same room as Ian".

Everyone laughed at this and I cast him a quick glance. His facial expression said it all, he was admiring me. At that moment, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

"I'm leaving here today with a wealth of knowledge I will always treasure. Working here has been a fantastic learning experience and I am thankful for the skills I've acquired. Ian has taught me so much in this business and as a boss, he deserves an award for the way he has worked with me and his clients. He allows his employees to shine with their own talent and I have noticed that. The level of trust and confidence he has in them is remarkable. Woo, I feel like we have to toast to the man himself".

I laughed with the audience.

"Back to completing this mental speech...I've learned how to take direction, criticism, and compliments. The skills I have learnt over the time here; I would not have learnt anywhere else which makes Elliot special. Being part of the Elliot team has taught me skills that I can use in more than just the professional area of my life. My wish for everyone here is that you all continue to experience success, to feel fulfilled in all you do, and to have nothing but pleasant results with each completed project! It's been a pleasure working here and I will truly miss it. I was not only Avelyn Perez to many at Elliot, I was a friend and still am...but most importantly, I became part of the family. I shall take with me fond memories, valuable skills, and I hope to one day leave an impression on others similar to the one you have left on me. Thank you all for being here to wish my farewell, it is greatly appreciated and I do hope to hear your future successes. To team Elliot".

I raised the glass of champagne and smiled.

"Team Elliot", they cheered.

To family.

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