Talk about dropping the ball. Nothing could have gone worse than it had so far. At least to her.
First, she’d misread the invitation: that thing started at 5pm, but for some stupid reason, someone found it funny to write in 24 hour time. How was she supposed to know that 17:00 meant 5pm? She wasn’t French or something. So when her boss called to ask where the hell she was at 5:10pm, she’d been in her jeans, not all ready to take the cab that would bring her here. She had to get ready in 20 minutes. So of course, she was nowhere near as sophisticated in her looks as the other ladies.
Second, she obviously misunderstood the theme of the evening. Who organized a ball for fundraiser these days? So yes, she’d expected some nice clothes, but she planned some sort of black tie evening, not a Renaissance type of event. The dress she wore wasn’t her usual, it was obviously an evening number, but she felt like Amy Adams at the ball in Enchanted. Not at all dressed for the event.
“What the hell Bree?” Her boss asked, as he stomped towards her when she finally made it. She almost laughed: Jude looked dashing in his 18th century costume, but definitely not frightening. He was livid though, she could tell. He looked at her outfit and there was nothing seductive in his gaze; he might as well have told her that she’d bought the stupid dress in a second-hand store. “Why aren’t you dressed up?”
“I am Jude, gee. Do you truly think I’ve got this kind of dress in my closet?”
“Did you even read the invitation for God’s sake?”
“I did. We invite you to the Fairy Godmother’s Ball. I got an evening dress. What else was I supposed to do?”
“Get a ball gown. Duh!”
“Don’t bust my balls Jude. You know how I like dresses.”
“That ain’t a reason. Gee Bree! I can’t believe you’d mess up our chance at hitting it big.”
“Mess up…? What? Jude look. Ok so it’s a misunderstanding.”
“It’s a major faux-pas Bree. You’re an hour late.”
“If you want me to leave and handle this yourself fine.”
He hesitated; but people had seen them talk. He couldn’t well send her away; but she’d dropped the ball and he would make her pay for it one way or another.
“Jude,” That had to be the Governor, dressed with a wig in a costume of gold and bronze. “Who is this lovely lady?”
“Mr. Governor, this is Bree Thompson, head of our R&D department.”
“I see. She’s the brain behind your genius technology.”
Jude smiled. He might be busting her balls but he valued her work. That’s why she was here and not Sheila from communication. She’d have been the better asset really but still.
“She is. She can be a pain and sometimes I wonder if she can read anything that’s not science related, but she’s the best.”
“Oh I know. I’ve been hearing many people here tonight hoping to steal her from you.”
“Not going to happen Mr. Governor. Jude might be a pain sometimes but he’s the best boss for someone like me.”
“And what does being “someone like you” mean?”
“Well. A person totally oblivious to such a thing as being on time or dressed as expected.”
Jude paled at that but he knew they had to play it for all its worth. People would have noticed she was an hour late. The Governor laughed.
“I’m sure no one will mind. Scientists should never come in such a lovely package; it will make many a trophy wife jealous.”
And that… was absolutely insulting. She glanced at Jude. She knew he felt exactly the same way but they couldn’t afford another misstep. Tonight they needed to hit it big. He was right. But she didn’t have to like it.
“Mr. Governor, I’m sorry to interrupt.” His assistant thankfully approached. “It’s time for your speech.”
He sighed and with a grandiloquent gesture shrugged.
“Time to get people to support our little endeavour.”
The moment he turned, she faced Jude. Did they really want to get in bed with such a pig? He shrugged. Maybe not. But maybe the evening wasn’t wasted. The Governor wasn’t the only player in the room.