Cold Feet/C3 Chapter 3
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Cold Feet/C3 Chapter 3
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C3 Chapter 3

VIOLA

“Steve, this is really difficult. I can’t just increase the band’s fee. You know this wedding was booked months ago. I calculated the fee based on what I was paying you then. Whoever is offering you this, obviously has the budget to pay what they’re offering.”

“I’ve spoken to the band,” Steve replies. “They want extra pay.”

“Look, let’s talk about extra pay for the wedding after this one and all future weddings. Just not this one. I’ve cut my profit a lot already just to get this wedding. It’s important to me. Having this wedding is good for my resume.”

“Well, it’s not good for our pockets,” Steve replies firmly.

“Steve, c’mon. Where is this coming from? We’ve always been able to negotiate. Why the big push now?”

“I only have a few hours and then the offer’s off the table.”

“Well, can I ask who it is that’s making this offer?”

“Does it matter? It’s not going to change anything,” Steve replies.

“Sure, but I’ll find out anyway.”

“Christine. Christine Jackson.”

I feel my anger rise instantly. The woman who I idolized and held as a role model until recently. My heart tells me this is deliberate. It’s not a coincidence. I almost swear but I bite my tongue.

“Vi?” Steve asks.

“Yes. Okay, look. I’ll pay you fifty percent more this weekend and from now on. Just don’t do this to me again, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Promise me, Steve,” I say firmly. “I can’t afford these kinds of problems so late before a wedding.”

“Okay,” Steve says. “I’m sorry.”

“Do me a favor please.”

“What’s that?” Steve asks.

“Not a word of this to anyone okay? If this gets out, everyone else is going to demand more money and I can’t pay it right now. Okay? Will you tell your band?”

“Sure. We can keep it quiet.”

“You better,” I say.

“Um, Vi,” Steve says.

He wants to tell me something and seems hesitant about doing so.

“What is it, Steve?” I ask.

“I let it slip that you use a wedding whisperer,” Steve says.

“What is a wedding whisperer?” I ask, confused.

“Ashley,” Steve replies.

I hang my head. I don’t know what to say. I have always thought of Ashley as a counselor. And I’ve kept her a secret for so long. Everyone in my team knows about her but that’s as far as it goes. It's something I don’t advertise not even to my clients. No-one else in the game uses one, at least not that I know of and now the cat is out of the bag.

I want to scream at Steve but I hold back.

“Vi?” he asks prompting me to break my silence.

“I’m here,” I reply.

“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make any problems or let your secrets slip. I was just trying to tell her how much better you are than her.”

And yet, you’ll go and work for her because she’s offering more money, I think to myself. I immediately feel guilty for the thought. I have known Steve for a long time. We have worked together for a long time too and I would have expected that he would approach me in a more professional manner about increasing their income.

“I appreciate that, Steve,” I say. “Just don’t say another word about it to her or anyone okay?”

“Sure. I’m sorry,” Steve says.

We end the call and I pace my living room angrily. I am livid. I want to call Christine and give her a piece of my mind but I resist the urge to do so. I’m even angrier that she knows about the wedding whisperer. I’m angry at her and I’m angry at Steve.

For some reason, I have a bad feeling about the fact that Steve has told Christine about my ‘wedding whisperer’. I never advertise it to anyone as I don’t think it’s something to advertise as something that sets me apart from other wedding planners. Sure, I charge for it but the fee is built into other fees when I provide a breakdown to clients.

It’s not about the cost because I’m still cheaper than people like Christine. It’s about the fact that I don’t think people will feel it’s nice to feel like they’re being pushed into a wedding if they’re having last-minute, second thoughts about getting married. The truth is that many people do have last-minute, second thoughts and it’s a silly thing really since they usually go ahead anyway and get married. But if they don’t, just in case they don’t, they stand to lose a lot of money which is non-refundable. Money paid for the caterer, the MC, the venue, the band and so much more. There is my reputation to think about too and I’m not about to have a wedding canceled because someone’s having second thoughts. I do have a reputation to uphold. So, is it ethical? My own jury’s still out on that but so far, it’s worked and everyone’s been happy.

I’m sure Christine will be quick to copy the idea now that she knows about it. Especially since I’ve managed to prevent Steve from leaving. She’ll be pissed about that and will surely be looking for the next thing she can come at me with.

I guess she’s taken a dislike to me because I’m her competition. I can’t imagine why though other than that I might have taken a client that she dearly wanted. A client like the one whose wedding I am doing this weekend.

Well, she can go after my band and whatever else she wants but it’s too late to take this client.

Better luck next time, bitch, I think to myself. I am quite amazed at how fast my view of her has gone from idol and role model to stomach twisting anger when I think of her or hear her name.

I wonder if she’s going to go after my other resources as well now that she has failed with Steve. Rather than sit and fume, I decide to start finding alternate resources to step in at short notice if necessary. That’s the right thing to do.

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