After the luncheon:
Twelve…eleven…ten…. The numbers pulsed in Roísín’s brain as she counted each deliberate step. Eight…seven…six…. Half way up the last flight. The crumbly green painted door hiding safety was just beyond the landing. Four…three…two…landing. Measured steps carried her charged and heaving to Cane 3C. Roísín pressed the key into the knob and turned it with a twitch that should have made her wrist snap, then her feet were over the threshold and she was rushing down the hall to her bedroom door which closed against her back as she slid down to the floor.
A show. A fucking show. What the hell? No matter how Elias had pestered her she never believed he would go behind her back to make it happen. “The opportunity arose,” he said. Fuck him and fuck his opportunity. Hugging her arms to her chest and leaning forward to press her head against her knees, the woman allowed her breaths to roll in long and deep for several minutes before forcing herself to raise her eyes and confront the greyer of the two smiling faces framed on the dresser table. She couldn’t. Lucy’s card found its way into her hand. It bent back and forth, hot between her fingers. Those eyes, once brown rested on her shoulders while ghostly sensations whispered. There were two things in her life that were sacred: form and melody. The one was already dead, and Roísín was not interested in giving the order to condemn the second. Yet she had.
At Elias’s Studio:
Elias had not had a straight look from her since taking Roísín to the meeting with Max and Lucy. It was probably for the best; he knew what would be there in her eyes if he did. The girl had even managed to arrange his supplies in an accusatory fashion, or so his riddled mind proclaimed. She might be the first to react so negatively to getting a break, but she was not the first he’d pissed off over the years and certainly wouldn’t be the last. “There’s the last pair of easels for you. Shouldn’t be too heavy I figure,” he offered over his shoulder.
Rather than acknowledge Elias, Roísín continued glaring at the set she had before her, scrutinizing the lot with an intensity such that one would imagine her capable of reordering them with her eyes alone. It was best for her to speak to him as little as possible. Her silence would hold until Roísín’s immediate instinct upon seeing him was not to realign his nose with her right hook. The five plaquettes lining the left side of the studio held her soccer related sculpts while the ones to her back held those from the ring. In the middle was an open space left for the few objects she was unsure of arranging. Perhaps Lucy could offer advice on the matter, but Roísín was disinclined to ask. As the woman was due within the next half hour to examine her work, it was entirely likely that said advice would be given without it being solicited just as her encouragement had been. What Roísín had not yet placed were her few free standing pieces, all of which were standing on a table near the doorway save for the one she had no intention of revealing- a set of hands, the larger folded over the other and the pair bent as to fold over a fret board. It was left huddling under a clouded sheet of plastic in the corner.
Parking her car just outside Elias’s building, Lucy was feeling somewhat apprehensive about this new talent that Elias had recommended for the Light Box gallery. Normally, clients were often thrilled, elated to have the chance to show off their creations in such a setting, and the media coverage that followed always led to bigger and better things. But at that lunch, Lucy felt that girl was not only unprepared for the meeting itself, but had been oblivious to the deals being made without her actual consent. She didn’t even have her own studio, for god’s sake.
Turning off the engine, Lucy sat with her fingers curled around the steering wheel – her lips pursed as she tried to weigh up in her mind whether or not this was such a good idea. Everything hung on what her quality of work was, if she had enough pieces, and if there was individual items that would capture the attention of buyers before the exhibition was launched. Elias had not let her down in the past with his protege’s, but this one seemed different. Lucy was pretty sure the girl didn’t trust her, which wasn’t totally unexpected, since they hadn’t really gotten to know each other, and business lunches tended to be more about the food than the actual dealing of business.
Releasing the wheel from her grip, she turned to reach for her briefcase and cell phone, before one last check in the rear vision mirror, and then opening her car door. It was a fairly mild day, and Lucy was dressed in a designer suit with skirt in charcoal grey, sheer stockings and black pumps. Clicking on the car alarm, she headed up to the building that was on Elias’s business card. It was in a part of town, known for the more eccentric artistic types – poets, painters and lovers of weed. She was pretty sure there was a commune nearby, and by the look of some of the local shop fronts, it was still the age of Aquarius in that part of the city.
Entering the foyer, she headed to the lift, and went up to Elias’s apartment floor, where she wandered down the hall, and reached his large steel door. Not seeing a bell, or intercom, she pounded on the door loudly, hoping that Roisin and Elias were there for her pre-showing inspection.
Shaking his head with a wry grin; Roísín would come around. Scuffing his boots along the concrete floor, the man exited the room intent upon inspecting his paint cabinet to ascertain whether or not a paint ball run would need to be made before he continued working on his recent project. No sooner had he pulled open wooden door than the audible knocking of a guest reached his ears. Ah-that would be the door. Spinning like some construction working with a penchant for frequent pirouettes, he went to answer it though he did so without haste. It would not be surprising if Lucy was beginning to grow impatient by the time he opened it to greet her. Elias leaned against the frame and offered her a cheeky smile. “Why dearest Lucy, whatever could have happened for you to grace me with your impeccable presence?” he drawled as if he didn’t know, giving her a once over. Oh, he was fond of looking, this on, but it was never in a predatory or demeaning way. He then straightened and opened the door. Throwing his right arm out, he ushered her inside: “The ever pleasant Roísín is in the back.” He would not be in the least surprised if she had in fact heard them but chose to pretend as if she had not. The man was also waiting for the inevitable round of questions about the girl and her antics, to say nothing of his role in bringing her to the lunch meeting.
Lucy was starting to wonder if the eccentric artist was even in his studio with the time that it took for someone to answer her knocks. Sure enough however, the grind of the rollers under the large door was heard as it was shunted back only to reveal the smug looking artist on the other side. He of course acted very much like the cat that ate the canary, and put on a performance as he leaned against the door frame, being so bold to put on a false air with his accent.
“Why dearest Lucy, whatever could have happened for you to grace me with your impeccable presence?”
“Very funny Elias, I think you and I both know the answer to that question.” Lucy played along as she gripped her briefcase and looked past him into his studio in search of the young protege’ before settling back on him. “Is Roisin here?”
“The ever pleasant Roísín is in the back.”
~Ever pleasant? More like ever guarded.~ Lucy thought to herself, as she glided in the door. The studio was in its usual state as you can imagine, with new works of art, much paint splatter from over shot paint balls, easels, draped plastic wrapped canvases, and of course down the back was Roisin’s own sculptures and work. The five plaquettes lining the left side of the studio held Roisin’s soccer related sculpts and there were more in behind her. Setting down her briefcase, Lucy took out her camera, and placed it around her neck, toying with the cap, as she then approached Roisin. Her hand outstretched she said.
“It’s a delight to see you again, Roisin. Do you mind if I take some pictures of your pieces, so that I can work out how to display them in the gallery. For size and also a couple of shots that can be used for the catalog. I imagine that you do wish to sell some of them.” Lucy remained business like, not trying to pretend to be the girl’s new friend.
At last Lucy showed up. Roísín had placed the last of her free standing samples and was standing with her back to Elias and Lucy as they entered. She remained as silent as Elias had imagined she would, yet thankfully, the edger had faded somewhat from her features when she at last turned around to acknowledge them. Her hair, curling down to the neck of her opened green and black plaid flannel button down, was pulled back with her usual black bandana and her grey tank was smeared with clay. The jeans she wore were so smattered with artistic detritus that one would be hard pressed to discern exactly what color they had been originally. Roísín was an altogether perfect rendition of a studio rat as Elias liked to call his ilk, and a saucy one to be sure.
Lucy was entirely correct in her interpretation of the girl’s boundaries, so her choice to approach this encounter with a comparatively formal manner was rewarded. Instead of answering in clipped sentences, Roísín made an effort towards civility in her response: “Go ahead. I can’t imagine what price any of these would bring, however.” Arms crossed over her chest, she lifted a finger and pointed towards her right before explaining, “These are focused on my experiences with teammates.” Raising a finger on her opposite hand and dipping her head the other way she continued, “Those are impressions of boxing matches, and these behind me were created from various ideas.” Stoic green hues returned to Lucy’s face upon the cessation of speaking. Their cagey mistress took an unconscious step backwards to block the partially exposed plinth with the plastic shrouded hand sculpture which had not been placed for viewing.
Elias said nothing, simply scratching his head and nodding calmly. To her credit Roísín was behaving better than he expected considering she was still in the room and had even offered a meager explanation of what she had made. She could have at least offered details on the medium, but Lucy would ask, he was sure. The plaqquettes varied in size but none were larger than 3×3 ft. or smaller than 5×4 in and were appeared to all be made of either bronze or some mix of tile and clay. The sculptures were of similar materials and heights. In his opinion, Roísín had a keen eye for details which manifested her subjects’ inner monologues in ways few others could. Roísín knew how to articulate a body in such a way as to allow for transparent communication without appearing forced or dishonest. He did wonder what was under the tarp behind her.
Lucy set down her briefcase on the nearest table that had a clear open spot. She unclipped it and the bag opened, so Lucy could take out her lap top, as well as an artist’s sketch pad, with pencil. Setting that aside and flipping open the pad, you could see a layout of the art gallery that had everything marked in it, so that when the exhibition was on, Lucy could pin point where all the pieces that Roisin had in their perfect positions. It was pretty clear that Lucy was well prepared, and she reached for her glasses case, taking out a pair of Christian Dior glasses and slipping them on, whilst the clay and paint splattered Roisin spoke about each part of her collection – their inspiration and also that she had no real clue as to how much they would be worth to the buyer. Lucy merely nodded, and made a notation on the top of her note pad, before taking up her camera and approaching each piece, taking angled shots of about eight per piece. She went about this with a light musical hum as she snapped away, walking back and taking more notes on size and then working out placement on the sketch pad.
The fact that each section of the collection had been inspired by sporting moments and the girl’s experiences, had Lucy smile as she came up with ideas for how to present them in a catalog. Once she had taken all the pictures required, she took out the memory card and connected it into her lap top, before madly typing in on the keys the various sporting style graphics that could be used. She was able to create a template for what would be the presentation catalog header as well as the number of pieces available. As for the prices, that was to be discerned later back at the office after some research on what the going rate would be. Lucy turned her lap top for Roisin and Elias to see, and there was the makings of the brochure on the screen, featuring both boxing and football images in blended colours. Roisin’s name as well as a bit of an introduction into the artist was also in bold type, along with the gallery opening hours and the contact details.
“This is what I have come up with so far as to what we will be giving interested clients. I will be working off that for our media campaigns.”
While the pair would be checking out the designs, Lucy stepped back to her sketch pad, and was sketching out where each piece would go, marking units with model numbers, as she kept looking back at each of the pieces and making mental notes.
It was while she was doing a final run through, she happened to spot the tarp covered mystery item at the back, the one Roisin had been trying to hide. Lucy pointed at it with her pencil.
“Is that item over there, the shrouded piece part of the showing, or a piece of Elias’s work?” Lucy was curious as to what was behind the tarp.