She reluctantly decided to heed Mr Bartin's advice and get a "decent" outfit for the gallery. She didn't head back home, though. Instead, she headed to her best friend's house. Her best friend works for Harper's Bazaar, so she is kind of well-off. (More like filthy rich, but hey.)
"Celesta, I need your help." Her friend looked at her curiously. "Does it involve money? Because I'm broke this month." She shook her head. "No, it's a fashion emergency for Saturday."
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
SATURDAY, 2.00 PM.
Sometimes, she regrets asking her best friend for help. Sometimes refers to now, by the way. Her friend is sponging her face roughly and attacking it. She's getting panic now. "I can't believe you got that random splashes and blotches into that gallery." She gave Celesta a glare. Celesta backed away a little. She is very sensitive when it comes to her artworks. "You are ready to go to that gallery. The way you are looking right now is as though you are one of the people who are buying the works at the gallery. God knows you can't afford anything there." She gave her a stare-down glare. "But I really hope that this work of yours will be able to pay off your rent." She can agree to that. She hopes so.
SATURDAY, 3.03 PM
She arrived at the gallery three minutes late. When she got there, it was surprisingly empty. She raised her eyebrows at this. Mr Bartin came out when he heard heels clinking on the wooden floor. He looked at her, trying to mask his pleasantly surprised face, but failed. She was wearing a Catherine Deane Selest Laser-Cut Leather And Silk gown. It was accompanied by a pair of Alexander McQueen's studded white leather pumps. Only she knows that it all belongs to Celesta and not her, but she wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to flaunt this and rub it all over Mr Bartin's face. She wore a smug look. That smug look wasn't there for long.
Apparently, Mr Bartin being the dick he is, told her to come at 3 p.m when the event will "start" when the gallery actually didn't start until 6 pm. He just wanted her to arranged the things that are needed for arrangement. Fucker. If he had come clean about it, she wouldn't be as mad as she is now.
By the time the clock strikes 5.50, she was sweaty and uncomfortable in her outfit. The guests are ushered in and they went and look around the gallery. She smiled a little when she saw five people crowding around her work. Potential buyers. She wanted to rub her eyes as the makeup was irritating it, but resisted as she didn't want to smudge it. She walked to the table where they served food and beverages. She grabbed a glass of champagne and was about to drink it when someone decided to make a conversation with her.
"It's not you." She looked to her right and a guy with a small yin and yang symbol tattooed on his left arm. She looked at him curiously, debating if she should reply. She did not had to reply because he spoke up again. "The outfit, I mean. It's so not you." She started to freak out a little. This guy might be a psychotic maniac or something. Should she entertain him or not? But she was rather curious about what he said. "How would you know?" She asked, feeding her curiosity. He faced her directly with a taunting smile. "Because you look uncomfortable in the dress and you are stumbling around in those heels and your eyes are twitching because they are itchy because of the eye shadow." He said nonchalantly. She was fascinated now. This man right here, notice everything about her. Yet, she doesn't want to show him that she was impressed. "What if I'm just drunk?"
He just shook his head while showing her a small smirk. "We both know that you're not 'cause you just picked up the glass." She decided to just let it be. "My my, we got ourselves a stalker eh?" She questioned teasingly and he just chuckled. "It'll be an awful bore to just stand around here when there are many beautiful creations here." He said, hinting that they should walk around the gallery. She wanted to roll her eyes. I've spent the last three hours lifting those beautiful creations around. She thought. But nevertheless, she did accompany him around the gallery. Who know? He might be a potential buyer of her work. They walked around, her glass of champagne accompanying her while the man, who she still did not know the name of, was drinking mineral water from the plastic bottles that were provided. Somehow, they made their rounds with small little talks about the works. Then they got to her display. She wondered if he knew that she was the artist. He looked at the painting and frowned.
"The artist don't impress me at all. He or she, is not that good. Fair, but not good." Guess that he did not know that she is the artist. She was quite mad. He had been giving reasonable and constructive criticism, so she wanted to know why her artwork is not appealing in his eyes. He must have seen the upset look on her face because he gave her a light laugh. "It's not her."
She looked at him with a confused look. "How would you know?" And he simply gave her a smirk as he knew where this conversation was heading. It was kind of like déjà vu . After a few minutes, he decided to reply to her. "Her hand is not made for painting. See the strokes she made with the brush?" he pointed at a particular stroke that was in yellow. "She's not comfortable with it." She didn't know if he was a creep or beyond genius. He knew that she was not used to painting. He looked at her to gauge her reaction. She looked, unreadable. He then faced her directly. "So the question is, why is she still painting when it's not her forte?" It was as though he was asking her. She shrugged casually, and then looked at the painting longingly. "Desperation."
And then, it was silent. He looked at her with a frown etched on his forehead. "who are you?" She snapped her gaze from the painting to look at him. "Lucy McNeil." He looked at the description of the painting and saw her name. "Figures." He murmured, amusement dancing in his eyes. "I'm Zayn Malik."
She gasped, not even trying to hide her shock. Zayn Malik. She had been talking to the Zayn Malik for the past hour? Zayn Malik had given his opinion about her work? Now she wished the ground would just open up and swallow her. She should not have questioned his comments. Stupid Lucy. You are doomed. You questioned the thought of Zayn Malik, the owner of Harbora, one of the world's most successful gallery branch and one of the youngest art entrepreneurs? She felt stupid.
He just laughed at her reaction. It was a posh laugh. He looked at her fondly. "So what do you actually do?"
She smiled fondly, not at him, but at her answer. "Spray paint."