Excellent article. Here's how it starts:
Elizabeth Albanese sat near the front of the massive ballroom, sipping champagne. The 43-year-old loved champagne. In social settings such as this one, it was all she drank. It was part of the image she sought to cultivate, that of a genteel Southern lady. The same could be said of the pantyhose and the red lipstick and the kitten heels she wore. Co-workers had never even seen her in a pair of slacks.
True, she had lost some of her figure. The long, willowy neck had filled out, and her arms had gone a bit fleshy, but she was still what she had always been: a pretty little redhead who knew how to work it. And tonight she was working it—the Texas-sized smile, the easy charm, a shawl over her freckled shoulders and a green dress that showed just enough cleavage. She had spent $3,500 on the dress, and it was worth every penny. The truth was, friends would later say, she looked better than anyone in the room.
And she should have. In the hours before the evening's gala, while two of her underlings scurried to ready the ballroom, she had been upstairs in her master suite, having her hair and nails done. In a few minutes, she would take the stage, and all eyes would be on her.