Read Dancing in the Gray Online

Authors: Eydie Maggio

Tags: #romance, #contemporary, #womens lit

Dancing in the Gray

Dancing in the

By Eydie Maggio

Copyright 2013 Eydie Maggio

Smashwords Edition

This eBook is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given
away to other people. If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or
it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy.

Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.

This book is a work of fiction and any
resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or
locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of
the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

Adult Reading Material

Chapter 1

“You’re not leaving!” said Elise DePaul
pouting like a child. It was the last day of work for her best
friend, Ashley Graham since she was going on maternity leave and
would no longer be Elise’s assistant.

Ashley and Elise were assigned as dorm
roommates their freshman year at NYU. Ashley was enrolled in the
College of Arts and Science, whereas Elise was enrolled in the
Stern School of Business where she ended up graduating summa cum
laude with a minor in Marketing Science and Advertising.

They were both only children so their
relationship developed quickly to be something that looked more
like sisters than friends even though they each came from
completely different backgrounds. Elise came from a struggling
single parent household and was raised by her mother. Ashley’s
parents were still together to this day, and her family was very

They were the ying to each other’s
yang. Once they both graduated, Ashley helped Elise build her
beauty company from the ground up. She was a 20% shareholder and
chose to be Elise’s assistant even though Elise begged her to take
executive roles numerous times. Ashley was the one who put up the
money to start the company. Elise products were an overnight
success which allowed her to pay the loan back with interest within
18 months.

Ashley met the man of her dreams two
years ago, and they were married and pregnant in no time. Caleb
Graham worked on Wall Street for a brokerage firm so there was no
need for Ashley to work; not that the fact that her family money
wasn’t reason enough. Elise was responsible for Ashley and Caleb
meeting. They were at a bar after work when Caleb and his
co-workers sat at the table right next to them. Ashley was
instantly attracted so Elise, who is known to make things happen,
grabbed Caleb and dragged him over to the table to introduce him to
Ashley. Two drinks later, Elise was declining a third gentleman’s
advance, and Ashley was in love.

When Ashley told Elise that she wanted
to stay home with her child, she was so happy for her and supported
her decision. Even though they were in the final stages of the
interview process to find a replacement for Ashley, it did actually
hit Elise until today. She was in full-on temper tantrum

“Leesie, I have one month left of my
pregnancy, and we talked about this already.” Ashley was the level
headed, calm, and realistic one – Elise was not.

“I didn’t think you were serious! How
can you just up and leave me?”

“You have two assistants to choose
from. Either choice will be a great one. They are both fabulous

“But I want you!”

“Elise, do I need to get the

“See, how will these people know that
there comes a point where a glass of wine is necessary?”

“I’ve already done a field test with
the applicants where we ran through scenarios to see if they could
gauge what situations would be “wine required.” The final two
scored the highest.” Elise knew she was serious. That’s the kind of
thing that Ashley did. She thought of everything, and that’s why
Elise loved her so much.

“No one will ever replace you,

“Aww, Leesie!” Ashley was fanning her
eyes, “You know I’m hormonal.” Ashley reached for the box of
Kleenex on Elise’s desk and started dabbing the corners of her

Elise walked around her desk and gave
her best friend a hug.

“Hey bitches! Did someone say wine?”
Elise’s number two, Jeremy Anders, made his usual grand entrance
into her office. Jeremy was the Executive Vice President and
Creative Director of EDP Cosmetics. Jeremy was also a 20%
shareholder and Elise’s other very best friend; although she
referred to him as her gay husband.

Elise had many jobs in college. One job
was working at a cosmetic counter in Neiman Marcus where she met
Jeremy. She knew absolutely nothing about the industry, but the pay
was phenomenal and worked around her school schedule. Jeremy loved
her instantly and took her under his wing so she wouldn’t lose her
job. He was a freelance make-up artist who worked at the cosmetic
counter for a steady paycheck, but had a pretty nice sized private
client base.

He brought Elise along for some of his
freelance jobs, and she noticed that depending on what type of
event the client was going to depended on the technique Jeremy
would use to apply the makeup. If he was doing makeup for a photo
shoot, he had to cake on the makeup which looked fabulous in the
pictures but horrible in person. If his client was going to a live
event, her makeup looked fabulous in person, but horrible if her
picture appeared in the newspaper or a magazine. That was the
moment that EDP Cosmetics was born.

Elise was a genius, literally. She had
a weird photographic memory where she absorbed and retained
information very quickly. She did some research about the cosmetic
industry and the science behind the makeup. Most makeup that was
out in the market couldn’t hold up to the flash and lights that
photographers, cinematographers, and runway’s used, that’s why
Jeremy would have to cake on the color. She ended up creating a few
prototypes of foundation, eye shadows, and lipsticks that Jeremy
used on Ashley’s mom before a couple of big events. When Ashley’s
mom appeared in the newspaper and her makeup looked just as
fabulous in print as it did in person, Elise knew she hit it

She patented the formula behind her
cosmetics and created a micro-line with the money that Ashley let
her borrow. The word of mouth press that she received from Ashley’s
mom and her connections, coupled with Jeremy’s talent and network,
took EDP cosmetics from their small Manhattan apartment five years
ago, to being a household name. Elise had been approached many
times by other beauty companies that wanted to buy her out or
become partners, but she held out, wanting to grow her own
business. But now, she had a major player that wanted to get into
bed with her, and they had an offer on the table that would be
stupid for Elise to refuse.

The deal they offered was an over $100
million dollar buyout where Elise would remain as the face of EDP
Cosmetics strictly for marketing and publicity reasons. She and her
shareholders, Ashley and Jeremy, would split the initial payout,
receive stock options for the company, and contingent consideration
which are incentive based payments depending on how well the makeup
line continues to do.

When she received the offer months ago,
she brought it to Ashley and Jeremy to get their thoughts. They
both thought she would be stupid if she didn’t take the deal. All
of her hard work and ingenuity would payoff big time, and Elise
would be able to take care of everyone she loved. They were
scheduled to close on the deal in a few weeks or so, but Elise
continued to work her ass off like she normally did. She refused to
think about all the free time she would have on her hands once the
deal closed.

“Elise, what the hell are you still
doing here? I thought your flight was leaving this afternoon?”
Jeremy looked down at his watch.

“It is, but Ashley’s leaving me today.”
Elise was putting on her best pouty face hoping it would change
Ashley’s mind. She knew, deep down, it wouldn’t.

“And? Darling, you know this day has
been coming for months now. You missing your flight to Paris will
not change the fact that Ashley is going to abandon us for very
selfish reasons.”

“Jeremy!” Ashley shrieked.

“I’m kidding, Ash!” Jeremy went to
Elise’s desk and grabbed her purse. “Here!” He grabbed Elise’s arm
and started pulling her towards the door.

“I can’t go yet, Jeremy. I don’t even
have a replacement hired for Ashley, yet. I just need to reschedule
the Paris trip.”

“NO!” Both Ashley and Jeremy yelled at
her simultaneously.

Jeremy started in on her first, “Elise,
you have worked your ass off since you were in high school and you
planned this trip as a reward for all of your success. But, you
continue to reschedule it, and this time we aren’t letting

Then Ashley chimed in, “And, you
deserve to go out there and have some fun. Remember fun,

“I have fun!” Elise felt compelled to
defend herself.

“Honey, we all love Fun Elise! But
let’s be honest, we haven’t seen her since before

Elise’s eyes widened and her lips were
in a very firm, thin line. “What is the rule about saying his

“NOT to.” Both Ashley and Jeremy rolled
their eyes and spoke in unison.

They were talking about Rixby Storm -
the infamous rocker. He and Elise had a fling her senior year in
college. Ashley thought that he was Elise’s one true love. The only
problem was that he was married at the time. He pursued Elise
relentlessly claiming to be in a bad marriage. She finally gave in
to him and after a nine month affair, he broke her heart. Well, he
actually ripped it out, stomped on it, used it as a punching bag,
and then rolled over it with his tour bus.

Elise was semi-comatose for about three
days after the break up. Ashley and Jeremy were about to get her
mother involved because they were seriously concerned about her.
But on the fourth day, she came out of her room and told them she
didn’t want to talk about it, ever, and that his name was not to be
mentioned in her presence ever again. If his song came on the
radio, the station was changed. If he was on TV, the channel was
changed. If he was within a hundred mile radius of her, she would
leave the state on a business trip. It had been over six years
since his name had left her lips.

Elise carried on with her life. She was
determined and focused when she graduated, and she made a really
good name for herself. She dated a few guys here and there, but
none of them were really serious. She wasn’t the same Elise that
Ashley met as a freshman. Rixby stole a very small part of Elise,
roughly 5% or so. Ashley thinks its happiness, Jeremy thinks its
passion, but they both know something just wasn’t the same, and
they both hoped that one day she would find that small part of her
to make her whole again.

Elise, you have been
Focused Elise, Smart Elise, Beautiful Elise, Caring Elise,
Corporate Elise, and sometimes Crazy Elise, but what Jeremy means
is that Fun Elise doesn’t make an appearance as much as we’d like
her to.” Ashley cared for Elise like a sister, and she wanted to
see her enjoy the benefits of her success.

“Ash is right. Go to Paris….see the
city…..fall in love ……. or have an affair. But find her. Find Fun
Elise and bring her back here for good.” Jeremy grabbed Elise’s
arms and shook her. He was such a drama queen.

“What about my assistant?” Elise hated
the thought of having someone new here when she

“Jeremy and I will make the final
decision. You’ll be in Paris for 6 days so by the time you get
back, you will have someone in place and trained. We promise.”
Elise trusted Ashley completely.

“Alright. Will you guys check on my mom
for me?”

“Absolutely. I’ll take her out to
dinner so we can catch up. You know I love me some Martie.” Jeremy
and Martie got along really well. He loved her like a mother, and
she loved him like a son, which is more than Jeremy’s actually
parents felt for him.

Martha “Martie” DePaul was Elise’s mom.
She was a legal secretary who raised Elise all on her own. She
never explained to Elise the story about who her dad was and why he
wasn’t around. Elise tried to have the conversation with her mom
once, but her mom barely got through the first couple of words
before she started to choke up. Elise couldn’t see her mom go
through that, so she dropped it and never asked again.

Other books

Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spear
The Glass Highway by Loren D. Estleman
Sudden Impact by Lesley Choyce
A Lady of Secret Devotion by Tracie Peterson
The Reluctant Duke by Carole Mortimer
Captive Star by Nora Roberts
Burying the Shadow by Constantine, Storm Copyright 2016 - 2024