She awoke this morning with the sun slightly kissing her face and her stomach all tied into little knots. Celeste could not believe that today finally had arrived, it seemed to take a lifetime to get to this point. She rose in the luxurious plush bed and gently folded down the 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, beneath the poly satin embroidered comforter. If this is Heaven, she thought, I don't ever wanna leave. A faint knock upon the door interrupted Celeste's dreamy thoughts. As she faded into the reality of today, she wiped away the previous night's sleep from her heavy, laden eyes. Not heavy due to girls' gone wild partying, stress, or worrying; but heavy from the sheer happiness of her today and tomorrow.
Celeste rose from her sanctuary, allowing the left shoulder strap of her satin sheer black nightgown to gracefully fall down her arm. She put on her matching robe, slipped into her padded flats and headed to the front door of her suite. A pristine maid entered the suite wearing a finely tailored, linen black and white dress suit, her flesh tone stockings led to perfectly shined, round toed, orthopedic platform shoes.
"Bonjour, Mademoiselle." Her mocha hair was twisted in a small coiffure revealing small silver stud earrings, and her immaculately French manicured hands carried a wicker basket filled with spa related toiletries.
"Morning," Celeste responded in astonishment that anyone could be so put together that early in the morning. "I don't recall asking for a service this morning."
The maid gently set her goody basket upon the deep, rich mahogany coffee table and proceeded to the window. As she swung back the golden tapestry curtains to allow the room's full luminous reception of the sun. She turned ever so slightly to answer "We were instructed by management to bring forth a full pampered treatment for your special day."
Returning to the windows in her slow, meticulous and calculating movement she opened the windows allowing the fresh, crisp air to circulate. The maid picked up her basket and proceeded to the powder room to begin the whirlpool bath, filling it with delicious aromatherapy scents of vanilla, lavender and mint.
Forgetting herself, lost in the moment of a foolish gawk at the maid service, Celeste closed the entrance door and leaned against it letting out an exhaling sigh of relief. As she listened to the raging waters gushing into the tub, she wondered who could have possibly arranged this little piece of wonderful. Of course only a select few might be equated to such an extraordinary patronage, especially after last night's festivities. The affair that was held in the hotel's conservatory rang in a tasteful, classy smorgasbord of socialites, debutantes and women's committee heads, wrapped in a catered spread of meatless sandwiches, exotic fruit and herbal teas.
The firm instructions of the "Queen Bee," Mrs. Walker, still permeated Celeste's mind, "Now ladies, we shall not gorge ourselves tonight otherwise an appearance of unsightly blemishes and bulges will arrive upon our bodies." Bitch. Celeste shook her head at the thought of "queen bee's" orders for the participants to conduct themselves in an appropriate and respectful manner at all times. She could not really complain over the function, after all, the gifts received were amazing: state of the art small kitchen appliances, a complete Lenox china set, fine crystal, Wallace silver flatware, items from Tiffany's and Bergdorf Goodman, and a total design package from the country's master interior designer Sharon Crete.
During the course of the evening, the guests made it their mission to dig into Celeste as being a less than adequate choice for initiation into high society. They continued to slew at the necessity of being perfect at all times; perfect body, perfect attire, perfect makeup, perfect demeanor. Perfect Bitches, Celeste thought, Virginia's elite did not concern themselves with love or happiness which was probably why those who were married had trouble and those who were single remained. "Uh uh not me, those uptight heffas ain't getting between me and my groove." Celeste chuckled at how the elite would gasp at her broken English.
Thank God her best friend, Tracey, attended the gala otherwise she would have never survived. She knew the strain the women had placed upon Celeste. After the soiree in the midst of undetected viewing, Tracey snuck over to Celeste's room with a bucket of chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans and Celeste's favorite dessert double chocolate cake straight from KFC. They laughed most the night away at the socialites' expense and by night's end Tracey assured Celeste that she was exactly where she was supposed to be regardless of others thoughts, feelings or comments.
Celeste walked into the suite's bedroom and sat on the bed, completely breathless about embarking on her new life's journey.
The maid quietly emerged from the bathroom "Excuse me mademoiselle, your bath is ready."
Celeste slowly lifted up her head snapping from her trance. She smiled appreciatively, Thank you."
"Is there anything else you need mademoiselle?"
"No. That will be all, merci."
The maid nodded her head and exited the room. Celeste got up from the bed and entered the enormous bathroom. Its combination of vintage detail integrated with innovative technology captured exquisiteness only few hotels could stylishly construct. The marble countertops atop the cherry wood base, stainless faucets showering aqua into frosted glass sink bowls. A pulsating sauna shower emitting therapeutic light, and a freestanding, acrylic whirlpool tub deep enough to cover one's body like a cocoon. Yes this room is definitely amazing, but even more so with low flickering candles and the subtle aroma permeating the air.
Celeste approached the sink to wash her face, splashing cool water to stimulate her senses. She examined the chiseled features upon her face; the high cheekbones, sable eyes, and pouty lips. In her examination of the slightly distorted reflection, Celeste saw another feature, one which was subtle yet illuminating. She viewed an aura, a spirit of happy, no not happy but bliss. That was the only word which could describe her emotion: raw, pure, unadulterated bliss.
Her disbelief at the truth of real love made her think, could this only be a dream? The night gown slowly fell from her finely sculpted body and pooled around her feet unleashing the bondage of confinement. As she slowly stepped into the depths of the hot steamy aroma, the beads of sweat enveloped her body permeating her skin with luscious relaxation. She laid her head against the cushioned pillow, closed her eyes and mentally prepared for her event. Huh an event, Celeste never thought she would refer to this particular day as an "event." Of course she seen them on television, grandiose affairs filled with all kinds of drama filled moments consumed by over-indulged, spoiled brats. Now after a year of preparation, here she is starring in her own reality show, yeah right reality show, at least that how it felt. Since the announcement, there had been an endless barrage of dress designers, printers, decorators, caterers, florists, photographers, videographers, journalists, production crews, and over 500 people all unbeknownst to Celeste. That was the direction her life had turned, social circles, women's clubs, garden parties, OH MY!! Am I really ready for all of this, she thought, sure I am? I can handle it, no problem?
Celeste took a deep, relaxing, meditative breath and redirected her focus on her luxurious bath. Grabbing a loofah sponge from the basket, she squeezed some rose scented bath gel and began the process of buffing and polishing the most intricate, unmentionable parts of her body along with her fears and insecurities. To some the spa experience alone would have been the best moment, but to Celeste her best was about to occur at sunset. Upon finishing her ritual, she gently laid back once more to close her eyes and revel in the quietness and solitude. A feeling Celeste had not experienced in a long while. That feeling that was quickly interrupted by Tracey.
"Celeste," she yelled "Girl where the hell are you?"
Celeste opened her eyes to the Heavens and shook her head, Tracey, that girl will never change. She chuckled at her friend's frankness.
Tracey and Celeste met at a homeless shelter where Celeste volunteered five years ago. She could still remember the first time she saw Tracey coming in all battered and bruised, make up running together, wearing a fiery red bustier, black miniskirt, knee length high-heeled boots and torn flesh colored stockings. Tracey held a scowl on her face and the attitude to match; qualities all which did not faze Celeste in the least bit. She had come across that type before, younger and looking much worst. She could tell at first glance that Tracey could definitely hold her own. He might have won this round but Celeste knew whoever the pimp or John was, she didn't go down without a fight.
Celeste fixed Tracey a plate of food and sat down next to her asking if she wished to report the incident to the proper authorities or just talk. Tracey declined both in non speaking protest, but after a few hours the throes of hunger pains won. Celeste being ever observant brought a fresh plate of food and extended her listening ear. As she heard Tracey's story, she was reminded of her own; absentee parents, trouble with school, finding comfort in the wrong men, just trying to find a place to belong. Celeste not only wept for Tracey but for every woman and girl who feels alone and frightened in a world that rejects them for not being enough: Not enough looks, not enough smarts, not enough money, not enough personality, just not enough.
After several weeks of living at the shelter, Celeste and Tracey became old friends. Within a month's time, Tracey was liberated finding herself steady employment and taking adult education courses to secure her high school equivalency aptitude. Tracey moved into Celeste's home and they had been inseparable ever since. Now five years later, the two kindred souls were getting ready to embark on another journey separately but still together in each other hearts and minds.
"Celeste, girl what are you doin? Don't you know there's a lot to do today…? I mean you are gettin' married."
Celeste raised her head up, "Yes I know Trace, but someone ordered this relaxation for me and I want to enjoy every breathtaking moment."
"I know, that's why I'm kidnapping you now, so get dressed."
"Um I thought you told the concierges to create this in suite spa."
"Are you crazy, first of all I don't know what a concierge is or where it goes. All I know is if we don't bounce soon you won't have it so relaxin."
Celeste rose up from the tub disappointed at leaving her little spa paradise.
"Ew full frontal," Tracey turned her back to Celeste and threw a towel. "Now cover up and hurry up."
"All right all right I'll be out in a minute."
As Celeste was drying off, Tracey went back into the bedroom and frantically searched out clothes for her to wear. She scurried along grabbing shoes, purse and a sundress. Celeste emerged from the powder room tying the belt of her silk bathrobe.
"So where are you kidnapping me to?"
Tracey stopped hurrying to turn and speak in excitement "Girl, we got an all day spa treatment at La Crux, La Crox, you know what the hell I'm talkin 'bout.
"Uh yea, it's La Croix and Trace you know you can't afford that," Celeste stated in a mature, sensible tone.
"Look don't worry 'bout what I can do, I got this, now get your bourgie ass dress." She threw the sundress at Celeste. Another knock came across the door as Tracey's eyes became hardened.
To order visit Angel Ah's storefront on the right.