Chapter 12 - It's a Celebration, Part 1

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The night was full of glamour and gallons of champagne — a night to remember, or maybe to forget. It was up to he who held the glass.

Mia stared at her reflection in the large mirror. The bathroom stalls behind her stood still, reminding her that she was more than alone. She felt isolated inside a bubble, one that she was feared to pop.

Her emerald ensemble made her porcelain skin glow. Everything was in a beautiful dark green — her lace bodysuit tucked beneath wide legged trousers; her carefully tailored blazer; her murderous shoes that ended in a dangerous pointed toe. She had initially thought that it wouldn't work out — it reminded her so much of The Wizard of Oz — but after letting the material sink into place, she felt better about herself. More confident, despite the way she'd force herself to suck in her stomach for better posture.

The low neckline ended at the center of her bust, in between the valley of her breasts. Goosebumps formed too easily along her collarbone, and the exposed skin made her deep breaths obvious.

The stakes were high tonight: Work would coincide with personal life, and vice versa. Brett would meet Richard, and vice versa. More importantly, Mia was going to destroy the bar, and vice versa.

She patted her hair down, making sure each strand was securely tightened around the low bun. She looked at herself again and sighed. All she needed to do was get through the night.

Her heels clicked loudly against the tile as she made her exit, tumbling back into the likes of the magazine's executives and distinguished guests. She scanned the venue.

The theme revolved around the grandeur of New York City, highlighting one of its premium assets — the nightlife; hence, the black and gold. But the magazine didn't want their birthday to turn into a wild college party. Nightlife wasn't always about the bars and the clubs. The magazine had dedicated itself to be inclusive of all everyday life, including the dreadful work days and peaceful weekend nights. Some people preferred staying at home to read books and drink tea. Others checked into hotels for a night or two, splurging on whatever was worthwhile.

The black walls were adorned with abstract pieces in rose gold, reflecting off the black marbled tile. Tall cocktail tables were dressed in silk sheets, also in black, and to contrast the rest of the dark furniture were the gold chandeliers above. It seemed that the decorator had gone overboard, but then came the local artwork. Paintings, pottery, photography — even jewelry — were displayed throughout the event hall, providing not only color, but also more life.

Mia didn't know who had chosen the motif exactly, but she could tell that they wanted to encapsulate the idea in a single room that screamed "This is New York, do what you want!"

She found herself camouflaged into the background as she stood next to the speakers. The jazz music blared through her ears, but it didn't bother her. Involuntarily, her foot began to tap along with the melody. She maintained a soft smile as well, greeting passersby.

Suddenly a cold hand yanked her left arm, causing Mia to stumble. She turned to the source and sighed in relief.

"Jesus, Ines. I thought you were some maniac," she said, clutching onto her chest. "And your hand is so cold! You're like a corpse."

Ines rolled her eyes and giggled. "I just raided the ice chest behind the cocktail table. They're hiding a bunch of goodies back there. I'll slip you one later!" Her eyes landed on Mia's outfit, studying her from head-to-toe. "You look hot, by the way!"

The music was getting louder, and so were their voices. "Back at ya!" Mia yelled, staring at her friend's royal blue halter dress.

Ines took Mia's arm and pulled her aside, toward the black carpet. Rows of people lined up for photos, and it didn't take long for the two to indulge in the stardom.

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