Angelina Carter looked at her reflection and shrugged. She had just put on her second outfit, a pair of pants and a light blue flowered shirt. She shook her head and rolled her eyes.
“The first one was too sexy and now this is too official,” she thought as she looked at herself. “Great, now I’m talking to myself.” She took off the pants and shirt and looked at her closet. “Damn it, Olivia,” she thought as she looked at the rack of cloths. Ever since she stopped working at Romaine’s, her ideal evening was sitting in front of the TV watching criminal drama reruns. But Olivia, her very close friend had suggested a new gallery downtown.
“The place has a fancy name. It’s very you,” Olivia had said one time as they caught up over lunch.
“Since when do places with fancy names translate to me?” Angelina asked as she looked at Olivia. Her best friend always seemed to have an idea of what she was about even though most of the time she was always dead wrong.
“Come on, you have always been this fancy person. Knowing all the finer details in life. I mean who else can tell the difference between a genuine Van Gogh and a cheap imitation?” Olivia asked.
“I am an art dealer. Knowing the difference between a real art piece and an imitation is kind of my job description,” Angelina rolled her eyes.
“Yes, but you also have this…fancy thing around you. The whole idea of having you at this art museum is just ideal, to say the least,” Olivia had said, sounding somewhat hopeful.
“Art museum?” Angelina asked surprised. “Since when do you visit art museums?”
“You have been to my place right? You’ve seen that I actually do have a number of artwork displayed on my walls, right? And the abstract pieces around the apartment?” Olivia asked matter-of-factly. Angelina tried hard not to smile.
“I picked out every single art piece in your house. And don’t be modest. I have an apartment. You have a duplex,” she said rolling her eyes.
“Well, I did approve every single one and my place is in an apartment building. Therefore it is an apartment,” Olivia pointed out. Angelina shook her head.
“Well, if you must say so.” She said taking a bite of her sandwich.
“So, are you going to come? It’s the grand opening of the place. You are going to love it,” Olivia said looking at Angelina. “Pretty please?” she asked making puppy eyes at Angelina.
“Is there something you are after? Because the last time you insisted on something this much, you were in it for something,” Angelina pointed out. Olivia raised an eyebrow over the other as if she had no idea what her friend was talking about. “Two thousand and eight, November. You suggested we go to the fire and ice ball in Hull, freaking Europe for God’s sake,” Angelina started.
“You have to admit, that was a great idea. That’s where I met Alex,” Olivia said almost too happily.
“Yeah, too bad you had to divorce,” Angelina said as she looked at Olivia.
“And we got back together in Brazil two years ago,” Olivia said as she looked at Angelina. She had a queer smile as Angelina shook her head.
“Now that you brought it up, I have to ask. Why did you get divorced only to get back with the man?” she asked.
Olivia shook her head.
“I honestly don’t know. We are always so good together but as soon as we got married things just went south. After the divorce, we just couldn’t keep our hands off each other,” she said as she looked at her. “I think we have been together apart more than we have been married,” she added.
“I’d say. You were only married for eleven months,” Angelina said with a smile.
“Yes but we have been together for almost eight years. The only time we were not together was during the divorce proceedings,” Olivia said.
“Yeah, just the two months,” Angelina said although a little cynical.
“I don’t care what you say, not being married is working for us,” she said as she looked at her phone. “Damn it, my lunch break is almost over. I have a little under ten minutes to get back to the office.” Angelina put a few bills on the table. “Hey, I was going to do that. I am the one who is still working here, remember?” Olivia asked.
“Why does that sound a little mean?” Angelina asked.
“You know me, I had to get back at that cheap shot you threw at my relationship,” she smiled as she stood up. Angelina stood up and gave her a quick hug. “So, see you at the art museum on Thursday night, okay?” Olivia asked as she walked away. She barely gave Angelina any time to respond. Angelina shook her head and headed out of the restaurant…
She picked out a sleeveless burgundy dress from the rack and looked at it. It was simple enough not to look like she was trying too much and sexy enough to flatter her curvy figure. She put on the dress and looked at her reflection. It was perfect. The sweet heart neckline made her cleavage pop, not that she needed any help. The dress had a zipper all the way down the middle to the bottom. She looked over her shoulder and smiled at what she saw. She put on a pair of black shiny pointy toed heels and touched up her make up. She had considered holding her hair up but she thought that having it cascading over her shoulders would be so much better. She was still looking at her reflection when her phone rang. She knew it must have been Olivia calling. She was already late. She walked to her bed and, sure enough, it was Olivia calling.
“Hey,” she said when she picked it up.
“What do you mean hey? Where are you? You were supposed to be here an hour ago,” Olivia said sounding a little rattled.
“I’m leaving now. I’ll be there in half an hour,” Angelina said.
“You are missing out. An abstract structure just sold and I needed you to tell me if it was good enough for the wall next to the window upstairs,” Olivia said.
“Wait, what do you mean sold? Isn’t this thing in a museum?” Angelina asked, obviously confused.
“Well, if you know the right people, anything can happen,” Olivia said. Angelina rolled her eyes.
“See you in a few minutes,” she said before she hang up. She looked at her phone and shook her head. Why the hell would anyone buy anything from a museum and even more, why would any ethical person sell something on exhibition at a museum? “Maybe I will get more answers once I get there. I will probably be able to save the art world from the likes of Olivia,” she thought as she put on a coat and headed out.
She was trying to make sense of her conversation with Olivia as she drove to the museum but somehow, she could still not help but wonder what she was missing out on. “I would give anything to go back and watch some good old CSI or Castle,” she thought. When she got to the address Olivia had given her, she pulled up and handed her keys to the valet. She was still unsure of her decision as she walked into the museum. But as soon as she saw what was on display, she suddenly hated herself for not getting there earlier. She was still looking around when Olivia walked up to her.
“Finally,” she said almost breathlessly.
“Whoa. Is Alex around?” Angelina asked. Olivia tucked a stray strand of her hair behind her ear.
“Why?” she asked as she turned around to pick two glasses from a waiter walking by. Angelina looked at her short black lace dress and shook her head.
“The dress you are in makes you look like you just stepped out of a Victoria’s Secret fashion show,” Angelina said.
“Alex just came back from his business trip and I wanted him to be blown off his mind the first time he saw me,” Olivia shrugged.
“So, what is this about buying pieces at a museum?” she asked.
“Oh yeah, there are a number of new artists here looking to showcase their work…you know, as their big coming out thing. And some of them, those lucky enough, are getting quite a few clients already,” Olivia explained as she handed her one of the glasses. Angelina looked at her and shook her head as she took a sip. “Oh, there’s Alex. I’ll see you around,” Olivia said before she ran off without giving Angelina enough time to say anything.
She turned and looked around. She had to admit, the whole museum was more of an exhibition. She wanted to get every single piece there. Even the simplest of photographs were exquisite. She stood in front of one abstract piece and marveled at it. It was just wood but to an inexperienced eye, it could have very well passed for painted ivory. A smile played on her lips when she noticed something interesting about the piece. It was two curvy pieces with thin cylindrical pieces arranged in parallel. If she didn’t know any better, she could have sworn she was looking at a DNA strand. She was still looking at the piece when she suddenly became aware of a strong masculine scent around her. After working with men who had a taste for the finer things in life, she knew almost right away what she smelled: Bvlgari.
“It’s hard to find a woman who appreciates art nowadays,” she heard a voice say. She turned around and came face to face with a tall dark haired man in a navy blue suit and a light blue shirt. He had matched his suit with a burgundy tie. Angelina knew almost immediately she was going to hate being there with him. She had worked with men like him long enough to know that she was going to hate his company. He probably didn’t know anything about art and the only reason he was there was actually to pick up women. She looked at him and smiled before she turned to look at the piece. “Adrian Corday,” he said.
“Angelina Carter,” she said looking at him.
“I can’t help but notice that the piece looks a little like a DNA strand,” Adrian said. She turned around and raised an eyebrow at him.
“I’m impressed you noticed that,” she said.
“Let me guess, you thought I was one of those artistically clueless people who only go to art shows to pick up women,” he said.
“Right on,” she nodded. Adrian took a sip of his drink and nodded. “I have a feeling that is not the first time someone is telling you that.”
“You have no idea,” he said. She looked at him and smiled. “So, who is the DNA strand accredited to?” he asked. She looked at the fine print at the bottom of the piece.
“Mario Velasquez,” she said and then raised an eyebrow. “Wait, Mario Velasquez. I know that name.”
“Wait, I think he is a photographer, if I’m not wrong,” Adrian said.
Angelina reached for her phone. “Thanks to Google, we can settle this quickly and efficiently,” she said as she looked at the search results. “Perfect. Here we are…whoa. He had been a professional photographer for the longest time before he decided to explore his other artistry.”
“Seems like it is working out for him,” he said as he took a sip. “If only this was for sale.” He looked at her and she smiled up at him.
“Would you believe me if I told you that this is not the first time I have heard someone wish the pieces here were for sale,” she said smiling. “But there is a very big possibility that he could be somewhere here,” she added as she looked around.
“Really? What makes you say that?” Adrian asked.
She looked at him and wondered if she really wanted to answer his question. It was a very big possibility that he was trying to get her talking, most probably because he didn’t have anything to talk about. She was not in a position to entertain new company.
“I’m sorry I have to go,” she said before she walked away from Adrian. If there was anything she wasn’t ready for, it was another relationship. She had sworn off men for a while after her last two terrible ones. She walked to one of the paintings and looked up at it, admiring it. She was still looking up at it when Adrian walked up to her. He looked at her and rubbed his chin.
“I couldn’t help but notice that you blew me off back there,” he said. She took a deep calming breath and looked at him. “That usually doesn’t happen,” he added.
“Really? You are not used to people blowing you off?” she asked as she looked at him. He looked at her and a smile played on his lips as he shook his head. “I wouldn’t have expected you to know what being blown off is like anyway,” she thought as she looked at him.
“Actually no,” he said as he looked at the painting she was looking at. “You do have an eye for the finer pieces of art, don’t you?” he asked.
“I’d like to think so since art has been my business for most of my adult life,” she said before she turned her attention back to the painting on the wall.
“So I must say, I couldn’t help but notice you said something about Mario Velasquez being here,” he said.
“I should have answered this question back when he first asked it. He might be one of those freakish stalkers,” she said as she looked at him.
“Well, is he?” he asked.
“I’m not very sure but he could be,” Angelina started.
“And how would you know that?” Adrian asked. Angelina took one last sip of her drink before she placed her glass on one of the waiter’s trays.
“A friend of mine…the reason why I came here told me something about new artists showcasing their work here,” Angelina explained.
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