Rosewood. That name may not mean anything to anyone living outside the valley, but to the natives of the Bay Area, this name meant one thing — prestige. Events held here were invite-only, and, filled with the big shots of Silicon Valley. This was the place the Oscars would have been held, had Hollywood been located 6-hours north. This was where the Nobel Prize ceremonies would have been held, if they were created by successful tech entrepreneurs.
But Richard had no idea. He did research on the Rosewood. He saw that it was a fancy hotel. He was well aware the social elite that frequented its facilities. So he should have known what to wear to the event. But, then again, this was Silicon Valley. This was where the famous Steve Jobs made his keynote speeches in jeans with a black turtleneck. This was where Mark Zuckerberg did his keynotes in jeans and a t-shirt. This was Silicon Valley. This made him second guess himself.
He was never this unsure about anything in his life. It was a silly thing to have a conundrum about, yes, but to be fair, this was the place where investors turned down entrepreneurs for wearing a suit to a meeting. Or so he heard. But then, again, there was the time-old mantra of, “it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed”. Back to square one.
Richard got in the Uber he had called minutes earlier. He was careful not to ruin his suit that he had chosen, after hours of deliberation. He decided to leave his car at home. He didn’t want to risk a possible DUI after the event. He stared blankly out the window. He recalled the strange invitation left in front of his hotel door the week prior. Who could it be? How would he thank them for inviting him to such an exclusive event? Would he know at the event?
The Uber came to a halt. He had arrived. There was now only one way to find out. He got out of the car and headed for the lobby. It was eerily silent. Was he late to the party? He walked up to the receptionist. He was shaken a bit, but the receptionist didn’t seem to take note.
“Do you happen to know this event?” Richard said, as he handed the receptionist the invitation.
“Of course sir,” replied the receptionist. “It’s over to your left, down the stairs.”
Richard thanked the receptionist, and headed for the event. He was glad he had dressed up. Everyone attending seemed to have formal ware on. He walked to the table with the name tags and searched for his name. Nothing. Of course not. How would they have known his name in the first place? He was almost set on heading back home when a strangely familiar voice called.
He looked over and saw a woman. A woman? Who was she? Her voice, and her face, were both so… familiar. He knew he had seen her somewhere before. He tried to recall who she was to no avail. But, perhaps, she was the one who had extended him his invitation?
“You made it!” exclaimed the woman. Made it? She knew he was coming? She had to be the one.
Richard showed her his invitation.
“Yes, I put that in front of your door! So you did get it! I did get the right room!”
“Yes, ma’am,” he responded. “But, I don’t seem to recall meeting you.”
“I’m rather offended,” she remarked. “I would have imagined a woman of my beauty would stay ingrained in your memory for more than a week.”
A week? A week ago, Richard was at the hotel. The hotel. The hotel! That’s it! She was the woman from the elevator! That had to be it! There was no other explanation.
“I do apologize,” said Richard, rather hurriedly. “I didn’t mean to bump into your shoulders that day.”
“No need for apologies,” she reassured Richard. “You made it here. This is enough of a gesture for an apology.”
And with those words, she took Richard by the arms, and pulled him into the grand ball room. She didn’t give Richard much time to gather his thoughts. He felt his thoughts playing catch up to his body. He looked around the room. The grandeur took him in awe. What did he get himself into this time?