The Wager

By: Calista Kyle


She shot me an irritated glance before catching herself. "Yes, but you should have seen this woman. I don't even know how she got invited. Cora's standards are surely slipping if someone like that four-eyed freak managed to make the guest list."

I held my tongue, not mentioning the fact that Helen wasn't invited either. She had been excluded from the guest list for the last five years and the only reason she was here tonight was because her brother, who was safely overseas in Asia, badgered me to take her.

"Oh look there she is, right over by the bar," she said.

I looked over to where she was pointing and noticed a woman standing by herself. She seemed harmless enough if it weren't for the combative stance she took. She wasn't an unattractive woman, from what I could see, but her dress did nothing to flatter her figure. It made her hips look wide while she was practically spilling out of her top. Her breasts were pleasantly perky and full though, but it was all overshadowed by the hideous glasses she wore on her face. I had no idea if this was a fashion trend she was trying to start, but she looked utterly ridiculous. If it wasn't for Helen pointing her out to me, I'd have taken no notice of her whatsoever.

"She's not bad," I said after my perusal. I knew I was being overly generous in my assessment, partly to shut Helen up and partly to goad her.

"You can't be serious, Roman!" she spluttered. "Don't tell me you actually find her attractive. I've seen your ex-girlfriends and this girl couldn't even hold a candle to them."

"Why thank you, Helen. I'll be sure to mention that you said that next time I see them," I said drolly.

Helen was too flabbergasted to make a reply and I hid a smile behind my champagne glass.

"Roman's right," Warren said. "She's does have somewhat of a pretty face, if you can look past the unfortunate glasses, though she could stand to hire a stylist. Who is she?"

"I don't know. No one knows who she is. Like I said, she's probably a nobody that managed to sneak in," she answered before she turned and shot Warren a resentful glare.

"You seem to be taking a lot of interest in her," I said to Warren. "Do you fancy her?"

"She's not really my type. Besides, it's a moot point. The Ice Princess obviously thinks we're all beneath her. Look at how she looks down her nose at everybody here. I don't even think you could win her over."

"Care to make it interesting?" I said. I smiled as I hit on a brilliant plan.

"I'm listening."

"I bet you I could make her fall in love with me in one month, tops," I said. "If I win, you give me the Bugatti."

His eyes widened in interest. "You really rate your charms highly, don't you? I mean don't get me wrong, I have no doubt you could make her fall in love with you, but making it happen in one month is moving pretty fast."

"So you're afraid to take the bet?" I asked.

Warren looked me over appraisingly, before he turned his attention back to the Ice Princess, as he had called her. His lips pursed in thought before a slow smile spread across his face. "No, I'll take the bet. Something tells me it's going to take a lot of work to crack that hard shell. But if you lose, I get the Cézanne."

I stared long and hard at Warren. He knew the Cézanne was worth more than twice the value of the Bugatti, and he also probably knew how competitive I was. I had to give it to the man for sheer audacity. I'd never failed at a challenge I set for myself yet, so I had no doubt that I could pull it off. My confidence was unshakable as I agreed to Warren's terms. Our handshake sealed the deal, and I smiled as I thought about the fact that in one month I'd finally be the owner of a Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic.





***

I didn't waste a minute starting my plan of action. The first thing I had to do was find out who the Ice Princess was. I excused myself from Warren and Helen, and made my rounds around the room, always keeping an eye on her. There must be someone here who knows who she is, I thought. There was no way she snuck in here and crashed the party. She looked like she'd rather be anywhere else.

Truthfully, I could relate to that sentiment. I hated these formal black tie galas as well, but as a member of the board of directors, this was one event I couldn't skip out on. After making my second pass around the room with no more information to go on than what Helen had already told me, I was ready to bite the bullet and introduce myself to her directly.

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