"Oh, Josie," she exclaimed, playfully grasping my arm. "We did it! All these weeks planning and working and here we are! Aren’t you just so excited?"
"Absolutely!" I agreed, smiling, her enthusiasm contagious.
"Oh, look! There’s Britt!" Maisy flitted away in Britt’s direction. Britt Epps, the honorary chair of the Gala and the most influential lawyer in town, was looking downright dapper, his bulk well disguised in a custom-made tuxedo. I watched as they air-kissed.
Later, after I’d greeted and chatted with dozens of attendees and finished a pretty good dinner, I realized that the event was on track to be a roaring success—the leaders of Portsmouth’s social scene had come to my venue and were, by all appearances, having fun, which was excellent news for me, and they seemed to be bidding well on the antiques, which was excellent news for the Guild.
As the waiters cleared dishes, refilling wine for those of us who wanted more and pouring coffee for those who didn’t, I sat idly chatting with my seatmate. Just as I picked up my dessert fork, my assistant, Gretchen, rushed across the room in my direction.
"All set!" she said, her emerald green eyes sparkling with delight, handing me the envelope containing the names of the winning bidders.
"Great!" I responded. Without opening it, I passed it on to Britt.
He stood up and leaned over to Maisy, seated at the table next to ours. "Maisy," he said in a stage whisper, waving the envelope to catch her eye. "We’re ready to announce the winners."
Maisy jumped right up, her cheeks flushed with pleasure. Britt turned and motioned to Dora Reynolds, holding the envelope high above his head to flag her attention. Dora, the volunteer in charge of the event, nodded her understanding. She looked forty, but was probably on the shady side of fifty. She was all gussied up in a full-length black silk slip dress that glittered with gold sparkles. As she approached us, she cooed to various people, working the room like a pro.
"I bet you’ve won the tureen!" she called to someone. "I have a witchy feeling about it! You’ll see!"
Maisy squeezed Britt’s hand. "I’m just so excited!" she exclaimed, beaming. "And curious!"
"Want to venture a guess as to how much we’ll bring in tonight?" Britt teased.
Maisy giggled. "Oh, no! I just hope it’s a big number!"
When Dora arrived at the front, Britt asked, "Ready, girls?" sounding more like a stage manager at a burlesque show than an important lawyer hosting a serious charity’s most significant fundraiser.
"Can I see the bid sheets before we announce the winners?" Dora asked.
"Of course," Britt replied and handed her the envelope.