Mrmph…the sound, a reaction to a robust vibration, issued from a pile of punched up pillows piled like a fort on Róisín’s grey and green smattered bed. If one were to inspect the fluffy fortress more closely, they would easily find wisps of her hair poking out of it. The drone sounded throughout the room once again. This time the response was more violent. A pillow clutching fist flew outward and fell upon the location which was presumably the site of the offending device. Alas, the action was ineffective. Rising, her head punched through the fort followed by her body. Her hand finally located her phone after an unnecessarily long search which could have been easily avoided if Róisín would only have opened her eyes. That accomplished, she mashed buttons until the alarm ceased. It was only then that her eyelids began to crack, revealing slits of a green so venomous it was a miracle the phone did not melt in her hands- but then, it was a Nokia.
The screen displayed the notification for her morning messages far more cheerily than was decent at that hour, but her reason for ignoring them had nothing to do with the perky text. Róisín at last threw herself from the bed and shuffled to her bathroom door shrugging off night clothes as she went. A quick shower and a set of clean clothes later, the red head was seated at her kitchen bar and chugging down a delightful breakfast of instant coffee and cold sausage pizza. She finally deigned to read the inevitable message from Elias whilst doing so: “Saw the sculpture; got your message! Forwarded it to Lucy! I’m glad you came around. See you at the studio later?” She mentally grumbled at his response, nearly missing the only other text she could not for the moment ignore in the process. Lucy had invited her down to the gallery. Might as well, she thought. There was no sense in allowing the need to take care of the remaining details to fester in her head. Green nails snagged her keys from the wall hook as she walked out the door chewing the last bite of chilly tomato and cheese goodness.
The Light Box
Róisín’s hunter green Impala, clearly a classic, rolled into the small parking area outside the gallery. It didn’t seem to be opening hours. It had taken her a few tries to find the right street since Róisín was, oddly enough, a rare frequenter of this part of town. Now that she had found it, she gave herself a moment to sit starting at the door. Meanwhile another female waltzed into the building. Her step bespoke the circles in which she ran and marked her as a person Róisín was not inclined to meet. So she waited a few more minutes so as to avoid her. Unfortunately the woman did not exit the building and must therefore either be on staff or have some sort of business which would not be over quickly. Either way, Róisín knew she had to exit her car and walk inside. Her efforts were greeted with an obviously hostile atmosphere and the slamming of a door as people disappeared into offices down the hall.
Turning to eye the door behind her, Róisín shook her head and gawked at the space. The artworks still hanging there was pleasant to the eye, but she did not long observe it due to the male who was busy removing parts of the exhibit. Making room for her work. Spinning on her heel with her eyes to the floor, Róisín aimed herself to the door marked with Lucy’s name determined to ignore the sickening thrill the realization had given her. Pushing it open without a knock, she announced herself abruptly:“You messaged me, Lucy.”
In Lucy’s office, the assistant was already going through her notes and sketches that she had taken at Elias’s gallery when Roisin appeared unannounced. She must have come straight from her home after getting the text message about viewing the space in the gallery. Considering that she had already been seriously peeved by Felicity and her brother Maxwell that morning, it took a lot of restraint to show a more calm exterior. The last thing she wanted to do was take out her aggression on the young artist. Lucy rose from her chair and gestured for Roisin to take a seat just opposite her, as she got on the intercom to the loading bay.
“Thomas, can you pop by my office please?’
“Sure thing, Lu.”
Switching off the intercom, she then gave Roisin one of her rare smiles. Lucy’s office itself was spotless, organized with various plaques on the walls of her achievements in art promotion, her family and her travels around the globe. She was dressed smartly in a conservative suit and had her hair bound up in a neat ponytail that trailed down her back.
The door to her office opened and Thomas stuck his head in.
“Could you be kind to go down to the corner coffee shop and get a couple of lattes for myself and Roisin please?”
“You got it boss.”
He then closed the door leaving the two women to talk business.
“As you have seen by the work that Thomas has been removing this morning we are in transition phase so that we may accommodate your collection. I hoped you would come by so you can check the layout and perhaps offer suggestions of how you would like your pieces to be displayed or any special requirements.”
Lucy was straight business when it came to dealing with clients and artists alike, never allowing herself to get over emotional or show any real part of herself. It was almost like she had built up a wall – a veneer that was impenetrable.
“I do have one question, however. What made you decide to show your special art work piece?”
Róisín’s eyes rolled up and down as she watched Lucy. Stepping forward at the gesture to seat herself, she did so with apprehension. The buzz of the intercom shot through her ears. Her muscles tensed even as Lucy spoke. Taking the sensation as a cue to deactivate her emotional engagement switch (as if it worked that way), Róisín drew her legs up into the seat and leaned forward on her elbows. Soon enough the guy from the front poked his head in. She could hardly look like a client in her jeans and hoodie, not to mention her eternally disheveled looking red hair. The obvious clay stains on her sneakers, however, ought to erase any confusion in his mind. She contrasted sharply with both Lucy and her office. Róisín offered something like a nod in response to his unsure greeting. At the mention of lattes, she hesitated then said, ”Actually, I’d prefer a straight coffee.” She took it for granted that it was not an issue. Black coffee was cheaper and Lucy had already requested a beverage for her anyway.
As Thomas departed, Lucy continued on with in a purely professional manner. All the same Róisín’s response was immeasurable. When she finally spoke her tone was neutral: ”So your message said. I’ll need to walk through the rest of the gallery and get an idea of what types of housing and plinths and such you have. It would be easier if the space was empty, but that’s not a big deal and probably isn’t practical given the time frame.” Lucy’s next question resulted in a dangerous flash in Róisín’s eyes. ”For Elias’s sake.” Her tone made it clear the issue was not to be pressed further. ”Do you need anything else from me before they pieces are sent over? When do you need them here?” Her manner remained flat.
Thomas hesitated as Roisin put forth that she preferred a straight coffee to a latte. A quick glance at his boss, Lucy and she acknowledged the request with a light nod of the head. Thomas took his leave, closing the door again with a light click so leaving the two women alone again to discuss further matters of business. When it came to clients, Maxwell was far more the people person and approachable than Lucy who took her work very seriously indeed. Whereas he could be the deal maker, she was the force that closed it and got a good deal for the gallery. After all that was her job. Lucy was a business woman first and foremost and a connoisseur of the arts second.
Taking note of the way Roisin held herself, and her sitting on the chair as though scrunching up into a ball was highly unusual in Lucy’s books. Then again, she attended the meeting looking like she had just stepped out of the studio, which she probably had.
Lucy interlocked her fingers as she let her hands rest on the desk, holding herself upright and paying full attention to Roisin as she explained what she had expected from the Gallery that morning. More of an open space to work with as opposed to the state the Gallery was in in transition.
Clearing her throat Lucy replied calmly.
“As it stands there is only Thomas and myself to handle the removal of the previous exhibitors works due the fact that Maxwell is under the weather.” Yes, she was making excuses for her boss, and doing it in such a way not to add more salt to the wound since his illness was self inflicted. Lucy knew that Roisin probably didn’t give two shits about that piece of information.
“I do have the layouts on paper and computer, which you can measure up with the floor space that is currently free from clutter. I am aware this is not the most professional way to start off such an arrangement with us, but as it stands time is of the essence and once we have concluded talks, I shall get right on to moving more stock out.”
That being said, Lucy released her fingers and then leaned back in her leather upholstered executive chair, when Roisin made it point of fact that the only reason she was showing her piece of resistance was that it was all for Elias’s sake. The tone of her voice gave Lucy the conclusion she did not want to discuss that further. Lucy pursed her lips and then made a light shrug of her shoulders.
“I am more than aware of the emotional significance that piece is to you. I would be a fool not too. But have it your way, if you say it is for Elias, then I give you that….however, if we do sell it, are you prepared to part with it?”
Green eyes stared the girl down, as she folded her arms. ” Oh and Thomas will be coming by this afternoon to pick up all your pieces, Roisin. So long as that does not interfere with your schedules.”
A vague nod was Lucy’s reward for her unnecessary explanation as to why the Gallery was not currently empty. Lucy was perfectly correct in her assessment of the girl’s interest in Maxwell’s condition. Róisín actually hadn’t paid much thought to the use of measurements in the space, though the fact now struck her as an oversight. Even so, she could easily eyeball any suggested location and Lucy had the measurements anyway. ”I’m sure it’s fine. We can go take a look now.”
Róisín made as if to rise from her chair, but froze when Lucy asked her next question: “are you willing to part with it?” She looked for a moment like she would sit back down to think about it, but a steely determination seemed to darken her gaze. ”Yes.” Turning for the door once more, she looked back at Lucy when the woman informed her that Thomas would be dropping by the Studio to pick up the sculptures later. That meant she’d have to head in to pack them after she was done here. Guess Elias would be seeing her that afternoon after all. ”That’s fine. I’ll be there.”
The Assistant director of the art gallery was very good at reading body language, and the fierce determination that came from Roisin’s gaze showed that she was just as hard headed and forthright as Lucy had anticipated. Her true emotions buried deep beneath her exterior behind a wall that was impenetrable. So unusual, and yet Lucy was very much the same, except more the flip side. Perhaps it was in their upbringings that these two women, who were no where near regarding each other as friends, or even associates, were more alike than one may have thought. Was it possible that Roisin expressed her inner child through the very art she crafted? Was that why her main piece was so significant in both Elias and Lucy’s eyes? Time would tell how she would react when the time came for the exhibition to open, and many buyers would want to own a piece of Roisin’s work. In particular, that one sculpture.
Closing down her lap top, Lucy started to move out from behind her desk, so that she may show Roisin through the gallery and highlight the places that she would be using for the exhibit. Naturally, Lucy would be changing out of her designer suit, into something more casual as she tended to moving the stock, but for now she would wait until Roisin was satisfied with the arrangements and the exhibit plinths.
As they exited the office, Thomas approached with their coffees and a warm smile. A generous man and a hard worker, he was always one to lighten the mood, if that was possible on a day like today.
“Latte…and one straight coffee, ladies.” Such politeness. Lucy took her cup from the cardboard tray and held it in her right hand, as she gestured to the end of the gallery that already was cleared of stock. The walls were stark white, along with the housing stands and plinths.
“What I would like is to get a copy of your signature, so that our sign writer can actually emboss it on the walls. Sort of putting your name out there. It will be lit tastefully. Nothing vulgar I can assure you.”
It was customary for the lead artist to have their name put predominantly on the walls, so people take that away with them on their memories of the exhibit. Walking Roisin through the gallery floor, Lucy kept the conversation strictly professional, as though she was well aware that Roisin was not wanting to get informal with the assistant director.
“One question, I was wondering about the catering. We do often provide this as part of the service, but do you have any preferences for what to serve the patrons? Sushi, or something more to your own tastes?” Lucy asked, sipping her latte while Thomas went past them to get back to loading up the current exhibits.
“See you at your studio, Miss.” He offered a wide smile before going back to work.
Maxwell finally emerged from his office, and again he put on the dark sunglasses as he was escorting his sister Felicity out of the gallery. He noted the young artist from the restaurant, but after a stern glance from Lucy he quickly hot footed it out the door. He really was in no fit state to be dealing with the clients or artists.
Lucy coughed as she heard the gallery doors close and Maxwell was off on his way to lunch….no doubt.
“Looks like I am going to be putting in some extra hours today.”
It was all part and parcel of her job.