The Millionaire Makeover (Bachelor Auction)By: Naima Simone
Ouch. The truth didn’t just hurt, it threw a freaking haymaker like the playground bully, then waved na-na-na-na-boo-boo.
“Bennett just needs to see you as a desirable woman,” Morgan continued. “Then he’ll realize his perfect mate was right under his nose all along. And the number one thing a man finds desirable about a woman? Another man wanting her.”
Morgan emphasized her statement with a decisive nod. And her conviction almost convinced Khloe. Her friend should know, since her beautiful taste in style and men were often commented on in the society pages. Still… Khloe gulped down more wine and battled the nerves, the doubts.
“The auction’s starting.” Morgan claimed the ivory paddle with the number 82 emblazoned across the front before facing the stage dominating the end of the room. The lights in the room dimmed, the large spotlight on the platform the main source of illumination.
“I do get a say in who you bid on, right?” Khloe whispered.
“Of course,” Morgan assured her, gaze fixated on the stage.
Music that sounded as if it’d been pirated from Dancing with the Stars rolled through the ballroom. The spotlight widened and contracted before stretching to include the entire platform. A woman with a slit in her dress so high, she risked exposing her Victoria’s Secrets with each step, emerged from backstage and sashayed out, waving to the crowd with a big smile.
Oh boy. Khloe fought not to roll her eyes.
“Welcome to the Rhodonite Society’s eleventh annual Masquerade Bachelor Auction,” she announced. “And a wonderful night filled with luxurious dates, fun, and ten of Boston’s most handsome, eligible bachelors. Every penny of the proceeds will benefit the Blake Literacy Foundation, which raises awareness of illiteracy as well as provide programming, tutoring, and technology to Boston’s underprivileged youth.”
The room filled with applause and chatter. Khloe refrained from rolling her eyes. Who would’ve guessed literacy caused so much excitement?
“So, let’s bring on the bachelors!” the woman proclaimed, and within moments, a tuxedo-clad man strolled onto the stage. Shoulders straight, head tilted at a cocky angle, he paused in the center of the platform, his self-assuredness as evident as the tailored cut of his black formal clothing. Even the white mask concealing his face couldn’t hide his confidence.
“Our first bachelor may be a transplant from the West Coast, but he proudly calls Boston home. In the ten years he’s lived here, he’s become a bleeding heart liberal, is a rabid Patriots and Sox fan, and understands that war—and driving—are hell.” Laughter erupted in the room, and Khloe grinned at the stereotypes that many associated with native Bostonians. “A busy investment banker, he’s been accused of being married to his job, but he would one day love to divorce the fifteen-hour work days to fall in love with a woman of humor, wit, and a philanthropic heart. The woman lucky enough to win him for the evening will travel west with him to enjoy a charming weekend getaway in gorgeous, picturesque Aspen, Colorado. Three days of skiing, romantic sleigh rides, fine dining, and wine before crackling fireplaces. And of course, shopping.” Their female emcee—whom Khloe had named Peek-a-boo—smiled at the ripple of animated murmurs and continued reading off her card. “This sounds absolutely dreamy, doesn’t it? Let’s open the bidding at $5,000.” Someone in the audience immediately responded, and Peek-a-boo nodded in acknowledgement. “We have $5,000? What about $6,000? Six. Seven?”
Morgan lifted her paddle at seven thousand, and Khloe’s chest seized in horror.
“Seven thousand dollars?” she hissed, latching onto her friend’s arm when she went to hike her arm again. “Are you crazy? I can’t let you spend that much money on a date! Who does that?”
Morgan shot her an exasperated look, but Khloe shook her head, adamant. Heaving a loud sigh, her friend lowered the paddle.
After a round of whirlwind bidding, the first bachelor went for $14,000. Good God. She’d allotted three thousand for this fool’s errand. No wonder Morgan had waved off her financial limit. Hell, the bidding didn’t even start at her limit.