Ben stood near the doors of the large hotel ballroom. It was Bakersfield’s annual New Year's Eve party, the biggest party the company threw all year and the talk of the whole city until the next one. Ben was casually greeting the guests as they entered, barely recognizing any of them. It was a big company, he could hardly be expected to know all the employees and their dates. It was always a classy party for adults only, although Ben’s high school age siblings were in attendance tonight. Those who didn’t work for the company spent large amounts of money to be able to attend. Every Bakersfield party was about money and how much of it they could raise for another year of technology and parties.
Ben caught sight of Ellie entering the room and his whole body perked up. She looked beautiful, her red hair curled off to one side, her makeup dark, and the long pale pink dress with the low neckline hugged her body perfectly. Ben couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he moved towards her. He watched, his expression changing to a frown, as a man came up behind her, placing his hand on her lower back. The man wore a pair of jeans, a white button-up shirt, and tie, haphazardly done, and a worn blue blazer. Ben reached Ellie and she grinned as she caught sight of him.
“Hi Ben,” She exclaimed, in her normal bubbly personality.
“Ellie, you look incredible,” Ben said, glancing over her again. Ellie blushed, catching hold of her skirt in her left hand and giving a fake curtsy. The man beside Ellie snorted with laughter.
“She’s overdressed.” He said. Ben turned his attention toward him as the man extended his right arm. they shook hands, the man's grip painfully firm. “The name’s Arthur Wallace, but everyone calls me Art. I’m Ellie’s long-term boyfriend, we live together so don't even think about dating her. And you’re Benjamin Baker, next in line to run this disastrous corporation bound to destroy the economy of Apple Creek.” Ben’s eyes narrowed, anger creeping over him.
“Art,” Ellie said sharply. “I told you, not tonight.”
“And I agreed that I wouldn't share my views on Bakersfield when you told me we would be hanging out with your work friends and I assumed they were all pathetic data entry workers. But you changed the rules. You said nothing about knowing Benjamin Baker.” Art said giving her a stern look. Ellie sighed and glanced towards Ben.
“I know Benjamin Baker.” She said slowly.
“And you never mentioned this before because…”
“Because we only work together.”
“Ellie’s an exceptional employee, a valued member of our team.” Ben spoke up giving Ellie a smile. “You should be proud of her.” Ellie blushed.
“Team?” Art asked. “You call it teamwork to put small, hard working companies out of business? You’ve taken over most of this town with your pushy team.” Ellie lowered her head, her cheeks flushing, clearly embarrassed. Ben kept his eyes on Ellie, trying to decipher her emotions.
“We do what we can to keep the city’s economy stable, and if that means weeding out failing businesses and taking over then that’s what we’ll do.” Ben spoke hurriedly. “Anyways, this is a party. No fun in discussing work things. The bar is in that back corner, dancing in the center, and the drawings for giveaways should begin within the next hour...” Ben let his voice trail off, watching in surprise as Art began making out with Ellie, his hands firmly on her bare shoulders. Ellie lightly pushed him away, her cheeks turning bright red. Art turned his attention back to Ben, putting his arm protectively around Ellie.
“How much money did you spend on the giveaways?” Art asked. “I know you yourself are disgustingly rich, but shouldn’t that money be going to the people you’ve pushed out of business? Or the areas in the Island your factory explosion destroyed.”
“That was over eighty years ago,” Ben argued, his eyes narrowing. “Bakersfield has paid for the damage there already.”
“Not enough, clearly. We’ve got freaks running all over the city claiming they’ll either save or destroy the city. It’s a mess out there and it’s all your fault.”
“Art, that’s enough.” Ellie grabbed his wrist and began pulling him away. “It was nice seeing you again Ben.” Ellie muttered as she continued leading Art towards the bar. Ben frowned staring after them. He couldn’t comprehend why Ellie would date a man like that.
Ben sat at the table with his family. His dad was wandering, speaking to as many of his guests as he could. Kacey was critiquing the dresses of all the women on the dance floor, her twin brother Brad giving his own opinion every now and then, though his option was more often on the woman wearing the dress than on the dress itself. Ben was sipping on a beer watching Ellie on the dance floor. She seemed happy, laughing with Art as he held her close. Ben could feel the scowl on his face. He couldn’t help but feel annoyed with Ellie’s choice in boyfriends. There was only a handful of people in Apple Creek who despised Bakersfield, and it amazed Ben that Ellie would chose one of them as her boyfriend, especially considering she was an employee of His family's company.
“Hey!” Kacey shook Ben’s shoulder. Ben glanced towards her. “Isn’t that the girl who gave you your watch?” Kacey asked, pointing towards the dance floor. Ben didn’t bother to look back.
“Yeah,” Ben replied.
“A girl gave you a watch?” Reese spoke up. Ben turned to his mom, finding a surprised smile on her face.
“It was a Christmas present.” Ben shrugged.
“It was a really nice watch,” Kacey told Reese sternly. Ben tugged on the sleeve of his dress shirt, hiding the watch from view.
“It was nothing,” Ben said.
“Certainly sounds like nothing.” Reese gave him a gentle smile.
“Who’s her date?” Kacey asked. Ben glanced back to her.
“Her boyfriend, apparently,” Ben muttered. Kacey glanced over him, a smile slowly spreading on her face. Ben rolled his eyes. “I told you, Kacey, she’s just a friend.”
“She’s very pretty,” Kacey said. “That dress color looks really good with her hair.”
“Yeah,” Ben said through gritted teeth. He took a long swig of his beer, draining the glass.
“It’s even prettier up close.” Kacey continued. “Lots of details. Is that lace?” Ben frowned as Ellie spoke up from behind him.
“Yeah, it is.” Ellie smiled. Ben turned around quickly and pushed himself up from his chair.
“Ellie.” Ben smiled.
“Hey,” Ellie said grabbing Ben’s arm. “Can I talk to you for a second?” Ben nodded as he looked over her. She looked stunning and it was difficult to take his eyes off her.
“I’m really sorry about Art.” Ellie said her eyes darting between Ben and his family. “I warned him before the party not to discuss his personal views on Bakersfield with anyone, but I had failed to mention you were on the list of people we might run into, and he tends to not have much of a filter.”
“It’s fine,” Ben said, unable to keep from grinding his teeth. “Where is he now?”
“At the bar getting drunk.” Ellie glanced towards the back corner. “You wouldn’t expect it, but him drunk gets rid of his negative feelings for Bakersfield.”
“Excellent,” Ben said. Ben glanced back at his table. “Ellie, I’d like you to meet my family.” Ellie’s body froze slightly as she looked over the table. Ben began pointing out his family members. “This is my mom, Reese. Then my younger brother Bradley, and I’m sure you remember Kacey. My older brother Brian isn’t here tonight.” Ellie looked over him, catching onto the hint of irritation in his voice.
“It’s an honor to meet the Baker family,” Ellie said, her voice shaking slightly.
“And how do you know my son?” Reese asked with a smile.
“She works for the company,” Ben answered. “She does a lot for us so we meet often.” Ellie glanced toward Ben.
“Yeah, that’s… right, I… yeah.” Ellie stammered.
“I thought you weren’t going to date any more employees,” Bradley spoke up. Ellie’s mouth fell open and her cheeks flushed. Reese shot her son a glare.
“We’re not dating,” Ellie spoke up quickly. “I have a boyfriend. He’s actually right over there.” Ellie pointed towards the bar.
“I love your dress,” Kacey said, looking over Ellie.
“Thank you,” Ellie said glancing down. “It just a rental, actually, I could never afford to buy something like this. I’m no millionaire like you guys.”
“I think it’s billionaire now,” Bradley said rolling his eyes. Ben groaned.
“That’s great,” Ellie muttered. “I should get back to my date. It was such an honor meeting you all.”
“Likewise,” Reese said with a smile. Ellie gave Ben a weak smile before turning to walk away. Ben rounded back on his family.
“Seriously, Brad?” Ben shook his head.
“Bradley’s just now realizing he’s better than everyone else,” Kacey spoke up. “You should see the way he treats the other kids at school.”
“This is different,” Ben scowled. “Ellie is an employee at our company, very valuable. She helps make the money you’re bragging about. And she’s an adult so you have no right to speak to her like that.”
“Oh come on,” Bradley rolled his eyes. “We all do it. You treated everyone like garbage after you graduated high school. Kacey went through it at thirteen, and Brian’s still in his never ending stuck-up phase. You can’t get mad at me.”
“I definitely can.” Ben shook his head and turned away, rushing through the crowds back to Ellie. He placed a hand on her shoulder and she turned back to him. “Hey, Ellie, I’m really sorry. Bradley’s just going through a phase and…”
“Ben, you don’t have to apologize to me.” Ellie shook her head. “I grew up in the Island. We’re tough and we know we’re poor and just live with it.” Ben winced.
“I just…” Ben hesitated. “I just don’t ever want you to feel like you’re…”
“Ben,” Brandon Baker spoke up, approaching them. Ellie’s mouth fell open staring up at the single owner and CEO of Bakersfield. “Have you seen your Aunt Benny? She told me she would meet me here a half-hour ago.”
“No, I haven’t seen her,” Ben said. He glanced towards Ellie. “But I do have someone I’d like you to meet. Dad, this is Eleanor Washington,” Ben said gesturing to Ellie. “She works in the tech department as a data analyst.” Brandon held out his right arm towards her. Ellie took it timidly and they shook hands.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Eleanor,” Brandon said kindly.
“And you. I mean, I’m happy to meet you too.” Ellie began chewing on her lower lip and glanced towards Ben. He was grinning towards her, always entertained by the way she reacted when nervous. “But I’m not a data analyst. I’m in data entry. I just input the numbers that the data analysts look at. It’s basically a nothing job.” Ellie sighed, looking embarrassed.
“No job at Bakersfield is considered small,” Brandon replied with a smile. “Are you enjoying the party, Eleanor?”
“I am, I’m having a good time,” Ellie said. “You certainly know how to throw a lovely party.”
“Well, a lot of it has to do with my wife,” Brandon said with a smile. “I don’t know how I would pull these things off without her.”
“She is rather amazing,” Ellie said. “Your whole family is. Very well put together and a well-dressed group. Well, I wouldn’t know about your oldest son, I’ve never met him. But your... this son, I know quite well.” Ellie pointed to Ben. Ben laughed.
“It’s good to hear my son is branching out and getting to know more employees in the company.” Brandon glanced towards Ben. There was a shout across the room and the three of them turned, seeing a confrontation at the bar, Art in the middle of it. Ellie stifled a groan.
“I have to go,” Ellie said. “It was such an honor to meet you Mr. Baker.”
“Likewise,” Brandon replied. Ellie glanced towards Ben and gave him a smile before lifting her skirt and rushing across the room towards Art. Ben watched her a moment, amazed at how effortlessly she was able to pull Art away from the other rowdy drunks.
“Ellie built my new suit,” Ben said without looking towards Brandon. Brandon turned his head and looked over him carefully. “She also restored the computer system in my control center and installed a new communication system.”
“Did she design it?” Brandon asked calmly.
“Yes,” Ben said. “She’s brilliant. She’s overqualified for her current position. She’s capable of a lot more than what we’re giving her at Bakersfield.” Brandon let out a sigh.
“I’ll have to keep a closer eye on her then.”
“Please do,” Ben said sternly. “She’s been a great asset to my team and I need her around.” Brandon smiled looking over his son.
“You know I can’t promote her without good reason. Especially if she’s in data entry.”
“Just take a look at her background, she deserves it.”
“We’ll see,” Brandon said placing a hand on Ben’s shoulder before turning and walking away.
Happy New Years Eve! Only two stories left in this current rollout... one of which isn't completely written yet. I'm stressing out a bit. I have it all in my head, it's just a matter of writing it down. So I may delay the final story just to make sure it's completely finished and at the level I want it to be.
It's currently late, I'm nauseous and have a headache, so I only did minor editing on the above story. If there are big fixes that need to be made I'll correct them, but otherwise I'm not going to worry about it too much.
Sorry, I don't have a picture for this one. Again, I might correct that later, but I just never found the right place to take the perfect picture. Possibly at New Years celebrations tonight I'll find something and add it on.
I hope you all have a lovely and safe holiday and that you can make the best goals for what you want to accomplish this year. If you haven't already, check out my theme song for 2017 by CLICKING HERE.
UPDATE: I totally intended to show you Ellie's dress but somehow the dress that inspired this post vanished. So here are a couple other amazing dresses which combined together make Ellie's dress... or a fashion disaster. One of the two.
You can buy this one HERE, but I cannot promise the authenticity of the website.
This one is for sure the color I envisioned. Buy it HERE. Again, don't know the website, buy at your own risk.
I have an entire Pinterest board called Princess Dresses because if I had one wish it would be that I could wear dresses like this every day of my life. So if you love pretty dresses too, go follow my board.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!