ADVENT STORIES #13 | DIAMONDS ON ICE

ADVENT STORIES #13 | DIAMONDS ON ICE

Ava watches precariously as the workmen settle the last of the ice sculptures on the glass exhibition table. The Cartier Holiday Launch is officially the hottest invitation in London town. The party is being held at the iconic walkways of Tower Bridge, after hours; one bridge passageway is the main exhibition unit with the diamonds on ice, and the other will host a dinner for dinner for seventy-five distinguished guests. The space between both walkways features a DJ booth encased in ice and a space for guests to mingle on arrival for champagne and hors d’oeuvres. London unfolds beneath them, a perfect winter evening. The city sparkles from above with the lights and below from the glistening River Thames. At least it looks romantic at night, you would never know to see the colour of the water in the day.

Ava and Pamela carefully place exquisite pieces of diamond jewellery on the ice sculptures; it is sculpted in the shape of the Bridge itself, complete with the opening below the walkways and guaranteed to last for ten hours before the first signs of defrost. They will only be here for half that time.

‘You are nuts you know that?’ Pamela carefully places a diamond ring on one of the ice spikes.

‘Why?’

‘Because you are serving vodka in shot glasses made of iced vodka.’

‘They can then toss the ice glass in a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes.’

‘I know! What made you think of that?

‘Oliver, I loved how his hot chocolate looked last night when his grandma made him one and then she kicked mine with a shot of vodka. The woman is mad. She swears its why she still has her voice.’

Pamela roared with laughter at the thought. ‘I love your mum, only she would think that.’

‘It tasted amazing so I rang the mixologist and told him what I wanted. Gabriel Sharn is going to kill me when he sees the bill.’

‘Ah but, if we sell all these tonight he won’t.’

‘You think it’ll all sell.’ Ava worried incessantly about the night’s success; it is after all one of the reasons she has been away from Oliver so much. Making sure nothing was left to chance. Every excruciating detail had been seen to by her, alongside the press team. She needed tonight to come off without a hitch and if they happen to sell a few pieces then it would be worth it.

‘You know that everyone coming here tonight will buy something right? We only have fifty pieces and seventy-five people.’

‘Murder on the dancefloor.’

‘The sculpture is sharp enough.’

‘You mad cow.’

‘Ms Sinclair, the caterers are here.’ One of the attendants informs her.

‘Thank you, show them where to set up and I’ll be there soon.’

Pamela and Ava exchange a look.

‘I still maintain you should have cancelled.’

‘I know, but I don’t need to bring my personal baggage into work with me. Besides Rocks cancelled and I know it is because of me.’

‘She’s a legend I love her.’

‘I need to call her.’ Ava feels a guilty pang having not called her cousin or answered any of her calls. ‘Let me go see to the caterers. You got this?’

‘Sure. Go. Scream for back up.’

‘I will.’

Whilst things between herself and AJ are not perfect, they are at least civil. He saved her bacon with the food he made for Oliver; which he made for her as well it was enough to feed an army and her son is back to eating normal again. The cook will start soon and she will not rely on him anymore than she has to. For anything.

‘Hi.’

‘Hi.’ AJ is setting up with his team in the make shift kitchen. Every thing served will be freshly made from scratch. In the corner is the fridge he’d rented for the event, he has a team thirty waiting on the party and a team of fifteen in the back of house. Nothing can go wrong.

‘Are you all set?’ Ava asks, observing the action unfolding around her.

‘All set. Guests will start arriving at seven and I have a team ready to serve the cold and hot appetisers, the bar team are all set, drinks are chilled so everything will be ready to go when guests arrive.

‘Dinner?’

‘Served at seven forty-five prompt. The butlers will announce at seven-forty and guests will be escorted to the dining walkway. I have twenty wait staff for tonight, so more than enough to cover.’

‘Okay. I’ll see you later.’

‘Do you have five minutes?’

‘Now?’

‘Later, or whenever I just need five minutes.’ The conversation he needs to have with her is more than five minutes long.

‘We can talk later; I need to drop Oliver with my parents and get ready.’

‘Sure.’

Ava looks around before leaving the kitchen, no sign of Wendy the sous-chef. Good. One less thing to worry about tonight.

*

‘Daddy, stop. You cannot wear a basic tuxedo, this is a big deal everyone I know is talking about it so you need to up the ante.’

Wyn has been trying to put her father in anything other than his navy Tom Ford suits and he is hearing none of it.

‘I prefer the Tom Ford.’

‘You wear Tom Ford every single day. This is a holiday party, where some of the most beautiful people will be in attendance. You have to dress up. Back me up here Ralph.’

Ralph looks up from his game console, ‘the velvet jacket is way cooler dad.’

‘See. I know what I’m talking about.’

‘It makes me feel like Hugh Hefner.’

‘Hugh Hefner wishes.’

River gives up the battle and Wyn puts the other suits from the stylists away. ‘I need to talk to you about something.’ He takes a sit on the armchair in the wardrobe.

‘What’s up dad?’ Ralph put away his game console, noting the serious tone of his father.

‘Your mum would like you to attend the christening. Would you like to?’

‘Do you want us to?’ Ralph asks.

‘It’s your decision, not mine. If you want to go, you can. I won’t stop you.’

‘Would you have a problem with it?’ Wyn asks.

‘No. She’s your mother, no matter what happened between us, she is your mother.’

‘Still. I don’t want to go.’ Wyn is obstinate.

‘Ralph?’

‘I don’t want to, but I don’t think its fair that none of us be there.’

‘What do you mean fair?’ Wyn rounds on her brother. ‘Is it fair what she did to dad?’

‘No, its not and you know I don’t think it is.’

‘So why would you say its not fair.’

‘Because she’s our mum. I don’t like her for what she did Wyn, but at the end of the day, she’s our mum and now we have a half brother.’

‘He’s not my half anything.’

‘Okay, okay, okay. Enough.’ River steps in before it descends into chaos. ‘Wyn doesn’t want to go, Ralph you can go with your grandmother.’

‘Is that okay with you dad?’ Ralph asks his father. He too is mad at his mother, but the divorce has been two years gone now, unlike Wyn, he cannot hold a grudge that long. The divorce was hard on all of them. One day they went to school and came back and their mother was gone. They moved to a hotel whilst the house was remodelled in record time. Their father would not tell them what happened only that their mother no longer wished to be married to him and that was that.

‘It’s fine.’

‘No, it’s not fine.’ Wyn has had enough of that. ‘Mum cheated on dad. In this house. With Uncle Raymond. In this house, probably on their bed which is why he had the house remodelled after she left. She cheated on all of us for two years, with our Uncle, and now she is off to have a new family with his brother and you want him to be fine with that?’

‘Wyn, stop.’

‘No dad, I cannot stop. Maybe it’s fine for him to go play happy families with her and Uncle Raymond I won’t be a part of it.’ Wyn stomps out of the wardrobe leaving her father and brother in her wake.

‘Who told her the details of what happened?’

‘I think mum did when she confronted her about a year ago. I didn’t know and maybe I didn’t want to know because I didn’t want to think mum could do something like that. To you, to us…’ Ralph is conflicted. ‘I don’t think I’m going to go to the christening.’

‘No, you go. You’ve committed to it so go. It’s not the baby’s fault he was born and he didn’t ask to be born in these circumstances. In all of this, he is innocent. And I don’t want you to think I was the perfect husband to your mother, I wasn’t. I worked hard building Huxley and I wasn’t there as much as I could and sometimes, these things take a toll. I’m sorry.’



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