Your high heels not only make you taller, they make you feel confident. Normally, you do not want people to look only at your feet, but now you hope that others would notice them and envy your Louboutin pumps. Your dress makes you look more mature and sophisticated than ever before. It is short, but not too short. If it were up to you, you would show more leg. Your dainty Prada purse has no signs of wear and tear, but higher costs usually bring higher quality. You rustle what is inside of it to find your compact mirror. As expected, not a hair is out of place and your makeup is not smudged. Everything about you is picture perfect. Mr. Paulson, your driver for the night, holds the door open for you and you smile at him. He takes your hand and ensures that you are safely inside before carefully closing the door. Inside your head, you hear your mother’s nagging about acting appreciative. Even though he is kind and cooperative, you still do not feel any obligation to thank him. Your father’s money is already enough to thank anyone. You decide to tell him thank you, despite the discomfort and pain it causes you. “Thank you,” Gulp. “Sir.” You cringe at your words.
He looks over from the front seat of the car and smiles. He replies, “You’re very welcome, Chantel. Oh, sorry, I mean Ms. Strazza. ” Suddenly, he corrects himself. The man seems scared of you and that is just how you hoped he would be.
“It’s fine, Mr. Paulson.” You giggle at his nervousness. After all, it does humor you. “You know the drill. Less talking and more driving.”
You look for the red button to close off the back of the limousine from the chauffeur. As you slowly fade away from his view, Mr. Paulson briefly glances at you through the rear view mirror. He sighs and focuses on the road again. No one is with you but you look around as if someone is, because you snuck in a tiny bottle of wine from your parents’ wine cellar. Your friends wanted you to bring in more for them, but you are the star of the show. Today, you do not owe anyone anything. After ten minutes of driving, your driver lets you know that you will be there in twenty minutes. He says there is too much traffic. At that same time, your phone starts to ring. It’s your mother. You accept the call and hiss, “What is it, mother?”
She sighs and calmly states, “Chantel, you are late. Very late, actually.”
You check the time. Calculating in the traffic and your tardiness, you notice that you will be extremely fashionably late. It is your sweet sixteen, not anyone else’s. Dana and Mia, your best friends, were late to theirs and no one minded. Their parties were unforgettable, but everyone has forgotten how delayed the starts of their celebrations were by now. So what if you’re around forty minutes late? Today is your day, the others can wait. Everyone is celebrating you. Not your mother, not anyone else. Just you. You roll your eyes and snap, “Mom, you have to just deal with it! Tell everyone that the princess is late. Tonight, everyone else is simply a normal person. They’re like commoners in my castle. I’m the star, the celebrity, the wonder of the world.”
“Chantel, honey. I know that. But it’s not fair on everyone else and deep down, you know that.” She pauses and you know that she had a sip of whatever the adults’ alcohol was. Whenever you overwhelmed her, she would take a smoke break or sneak in a sip of whatever booze she felt like having at the time. “We are trying to keep everyone entertained, but it’s not that easy. A couple of people have talked about leaving if you don’t show up soon.”
Rage starts to boil up inside you. How can anyone leave without seeing you? You whine, “Mom, I get there when I get there! It’s my night and my birthday bash, not yours! Tell anyone who leaves that they cannot have their goody bags or any food, understood?” You angrily end the call and take another sip of wine. Before now, you never noticed how horrible the wine from your cellar tasted. But it calms you down and that is what is most important.
The ride seems to slow down as time passes. Honestly, you are excited and want to be there as soon as possible. You have a reputation to maintain though, one that allows for no decency towards others. People enjoy calling you a spoiled brat, for whatever reason. Having a sweet sixteen is something you have dreamed of since you were ten and an event that you have been meticulously planning for over a year. Everything has to be completely precise and perfect. You cannot plan the biggest night of your life in one day. So, you find thirteen months an adequate amount of time to prepare. You have seen MTV’s show about sixteen birthday bashes and aspire to be like the girls on the show. That is what has made you who you are today and what inspired your party. Others find the brats on the trash television show unbearable, but you idolize them. Meltdowns, beautiful dresses, DJs who play better music than ones at school dances, huge cakes that could feed hundreds, receiving gifts of the newest cars, attention from and dancing with every cute boy in attendance. What more can you wish for? Thinking about the stress you have had to make this night perfect forces you to take a look back at every time you have dreamed about this day. Three and a half months ago, you began looking for your perfect outfit. Your father agreed to go with you after a lot of insisting, because he is always more willing to pull out his checkbook than anyone else you know. The both of you went to a minimum of seven shops before you found the perfect one. The six thousand dollar price tag did not scare either of you. For your family, a few thousand is like a few cents. Every single thing had to be perfect. Looking for venues was not an easy task. None of the ones you visited were out of budget, but finding one that was available was the most difficult part. Mia’s vendors served delicious meals, so you had your eye on them from day one. Persuading your father to pay them more than their asking price helped hire them. You made it clear to your parents, multiple times, that your sweet sixteen celebration must be better than any other one you had been to. And, surprisingly, that demand has continued to look promising. The famous baker you recruited to get you the best cake was surprised when you told him you wanted a five foot long cake, but promised to help you. The cake resembles a giant version of your favorite type of lipstick. Truthfully, the baker did a better job than you thought he would do. Turning sixteen is one of the most meaningful milestones in your life. So much so that your over the top sweet sixteen bash is not the only party that you have had to celebrate this new year of life. You have already celebrated with only your parents and then with your entire family. Having three excuses to receive gifts overjoyed you. Now, it was everyone in your life. Everyone at school sees you as one of the mean girls in the rich clique, but that means nothing to you. You are convinced that they are nothing and only envious. How could anyone think less of you for any reason. They will never see the success and riches that you have. Well, the success and riches are from your billionaire father, but that is besides the point. You were surprised when half of those you asked to come declined your invitation. You still have five minutes until you arrive and you know that this night will be the best of the year. Who would want to turn down being able to experience that?
The last few minutes of being in the limousine have you in a daze. Never were you nervous for tonight or any other night of your life, really. Mr. Paulson opens the door for you and helps you out. Your parents did listen to your wish of having photographers outside. It feels like you are surrounded by paparazzi and it energizes you. Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton have nothing on you. It is your time to shine and also prove yourself.
Before stepping inside, you check the time. You are not forty minutes late, instead, you are 45 minutes late. Perfect. Too bad for your guests, but who cares about them, right? People wait for celebrities all the time and never complain. You look down at your outfit and you are admiring your appearance more than usual. As intended, you have arrived fashionably late.