Lucy accepted Róisín’s response without question, finally standing and walking round her desk to the door. Róisín straightened and followed the woman out wondering how long it would take. There was no further sign of the woman (Felecity) whom Ro had seen entering the Gallery earlier, but she had no intention of asking. If she were to meet the woman, she would find out whatever was relevant then.
Thomas greeted them coffee in hand as they came to the end of the hall. His smile was warm. Róisín took him for the sort that could make most feel comfortable around him. She did not feel uncomfortable around him, per say, but there was an emphasis on most. Taking her drink from the offered tray, she gave him a nod with the barest hint of a smile before offering, “Thanks.” The warmth of the cup informed her that it was still a bit warm for drinking, but she tipped it to her lips all the same. She stared at the blank wall at which Lucy stopped for a long moment. How would her name look embossed over it? The idea was not one she would have chosen herself, and it was much showier than her taste. But considering Ro’s lack of ideas for the show, what grounds did she have for denying it? She gave a vague nod but was still considering it as Lucy went on, completely missing the fact that Maxwell walked out behind them. In response to the catering question, Róisín said, “Not sushi..something, European maybe? Or just usual for this area. Whatever.” Her tone was far away. There was no reason not to let Lucy use her name. Yet it made her skin crawl. That’s when it hit her.
“A pen name,” she said. Right. Perfect. How had she not already thought of that? Her comment fell on the heels of Lucy’s promise of non-vulgarity. Turning to the woman, Róisín elaborated: “I don’t mind if you put a name on the wall. But I’d rather use a pseudonym. It’s just occurred to me, really. But since no one knows me anyway, I don’t see how it would matter….I’ll go by Clarke Morrigan.” She had not, however, considered the implications for her presence at the showing. Róisín did not hear Thomas’s statement.
Lucy’s mind was already working out who to contact to organize the catering since sushi was a no go. There was a firm that specialized in this sort of affair with delicacies that were enjoyed by those of the area. Light finger food and of course served with wines and champagne from local vineyards. It always paid to network this sort of event, so to help with sponsorship, but also to encourage sales for local businesses.
Talk of the signage brought an interesting response from Roisin. She preferred to go by a pen name, as opposed to using her real one. It was not totally unfamiliar to Lucy, who showed her approval with a light nod, setting down her coffee on one of the nearest stands, and then taking out her iphone to take notes.
“Clarke Morrigan? Alright, I can have that worked on just after we conclude here today.”
It was just another thing to add to the growing list of jobs for the Assistant director. She took it in her stride of course, at least that is how it appeared.
Thomas was already hard at work moving stock and paintings off the gallery floor, and Lucy pocketed her phone before offering her hand to Roisin to shake, as though closing the deal, or finalizing business between them.
“I do want to thank you for taking the time to come out and present your thoughts on our ideas. I am sure this will be a wonderful night for you and your family. Feel free to look around before you head out. I have to go and change before I start handling the exhibits. It’s been a pleasure.”
That said, Lucy picked up her cup of coffee and went back into her office, where she had a pair of overalls and shirt waiting. When she emerged ten minutes later, it was hard to believe it was the same woman. She had gloves on and worn overalls that had some paint stains on them. Her sleeves were rolled up, and her hair fixed neatly in place. It wasn’t just her appearance that changed, but her demeanor as well – you could call it a transformation of sorts. Thomas went to pipe through some music for the pair to work to as they got stuck into the task of moving stock.
You could hear Thomas cracking jokes and laughing all the while Lucy carefully wrapped up some paintings and occasionally you heard her laugh at the lamer jokes told.
It was almost like Lucy was two different people. One for show….and the more elusive Lucy – the one you would like to meet.
There was no more talk of details. Lucy agreed to the idea of a pseudonym without question. How that would go over with the showing would be a discovery for them both, especially since it suggested that perhaps Ro would not herself be there. What kind of debut show would that be? Then again, such a choice could inspire a bit of mystery which, while possibly cliché, could be quite marketable. Róisín waited while Lucy took notes on her phone. When the woman again spoke and referenced how wonderful a night it must be for her family, the girl’s lips tensed almost visibly but she made no comment and her face was unreadable.
Taking the offered hand, Ro nodded and wondered past Lucy into the rest of the gallery. She paid Thomas no heed as she was focused on her reconnaissance. However, she did not have any desire to remain long and was heading out the door as Lucy again emerged. Hearing her, Róisín glanced backwards over her shoulder and paused only to remain silent and continue out the door.
Sliding into her car, Róisín cranked the engine and swung out of the parking lot heading for Elias’s studio, stopping for tacos along the way.
Elias was snoozing over a cup of cooling Joe when he heard the bang and rattle of the elevator coming up the shaft. Rather than pushing himself out of his chair to answer it, he waited to see if the door buzzer sounded or if it was someone who could open it themselves, in which case it could only be Róisín. Sure enough the door clattered back on the metal frame as she rolled it open. He waited.
Pulling the door closed behind her, Róisín swung her sack of Tex Mex goodness in a circle. She had intended to go right into the studio, but then, eating in there was always a hazard. Clay dust tasted nothing like the powdered sugar it sometimes resembled. The light was on in Elias’s office, so he had to be there, likely asleep at his desk from the lack of noise. However, she found her assumption to be only half correct. He greeted her drowsily as she stepped inside: “You’re here earlier than I expected.”
“And you’re still trying to wake up from your nap as usual,” she countered with amusement tinged snark. “Stopped by the gallery this morning…not bad. Thomas will be here later for everything.” Her tone was informative as she explained, and she did not look for any reply from Elias. She plopped down on the couch next to his desk and pulled out one of her tacos. Elias’s graying head stared down with distaste into his almost cold coffee. His eyes peered over at her puppy like: “Bring me any?”
The moment that Roisin left the gallery Lucy and Thomas set to work with the remaining exhibits and paintings that needed to be packed and prepared for storage. There would be no sign of Maxwell for the rest of the day even though it was barely 10am in the morning. Though Lucy felt aggravated by his lack of leadership, she knew that this was just how it was with him. Someone had to pick up the slack, and it was always left to Lucy. Thomas knew how tiring this must get for Lucy, the countless times he had left to go home and then come driving past on a night on the town with friends, only to see Lucy still in the gallery…night after night. Thomas sometimes wondered if she had a home life.
Coming past her with another trolley, he had just told another lame ass Irish joke, when he stopped the trolley and leaned on it for a moment.
“Do you …do you ever go out…like with friends, you know hang out at a bar or maybe catch a show?”
The sticky tape dispenser stopped in the middle of the bubble wrap as Lucy froze for a moment. Why was Thomas asking her about her social life, or lack of it. She made a face that was one of a person that didn’t like being interrogated.
“I don’t have friends in this city…or time for it.”
Now this had Thomas look worried. He knew the hours she was putting in and he honestly thought that if she didn’t take a break soon, she was going to have a melt down. In some ways he wished Max would pick up on what his Assistant was going through, and having to do his work as well as her own. Thomas pressed further out of concern.
“Don’t you think it would be a good idea to….try and make some?” He meant friends, and he awaited her answer, as she continued on with packaging the painting. “I think that is easier said than done, Thomas. For one, you need the time to go find new people to mix with. I work from 6am to 10 pm and by the time I get home, I just want to get a good book and go to bed.” Lucy glanced up from her work and then showed a stern face. “I left everyone behind in New York to come here. I thought this would be temporary. But with Max drinking himself to oblivion and my obligations here to make this gallery a success and not a stain on my reputation, I am going to have to put in the time here. Not worry about a social life.”
Thomas sighed and adjusted his hat. “If you say so, Boss.
Lucy was a tough egg to crack, that was for sure. Thomas worried about her a lot, but how can you help someone, that won’t help themselves.
The hours ticked by and soon it was well after 3pm. The floor had been completely freed up, and Lucy was now onto the sign writers about doing the pen name on the walls for Roisin. Thomas came in to get the truck keys and announced he was heading over to Elias’s studio to pick up the pieces for the exhibit. He walked up to Lucy and asked.
“Want me to grab you some dinner on the way back?”
“No, it’s fine. I might stop at Taco bell on the way home.”
Thomas patted Lu’s shoulder and then headed out to the truck, leaving Lucy sitting alone in the empty gallery. The walls all stark white, the floors stained timber all cleaned and glossy. A vast empty space with a lonely girl left sitting in the middle. She sat there for a moment, before getting back to work; heading into her office and turning on her lap top.
The truck pulled up just outside Elias’s studio on a busy street, with the cap wearing Thomas at the wheel. He smiled as he looked about the neighborhood. So this is where Roisin came from. A stark cry from the other end of town where the gallery was. Getting out of the truck, he ran around back and flew open the roller door, before getting the hydraulic tray to come down making it easier to transport the pieces back onto the truck.
Thomas then made his way to the front door and looked up and down the tenant list, trying to find Roisin’s name. He found Elias’s and pressed the intercom.
“Hello…this is Thomas from the Light box gallery. I’ve come to collect Roisin’s pieces.”