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15 December 2005 @ 08:32 pm
Admittedly Edie was the last person I expected to show up at my art gallery opening. I wasn't disappointed that she was there, just...surprised I guess. Edie had made it more than clear to me last year that she wanted nothing else to do with me. I sort of got that impression between her sleeping with Anita, making a public spectacle out of me in one of her shows and generally blowing me off the last time I saw her. It wasn't my fault that I was confused by all the feelings I had for her! I wasn't a lesbian. At least not technically. I'd never really had feelings for a girl before like I had for Edie. Maybe a few times back in high school when I was drunk or strung out on something I thought Parker was kind of hot for all of ten seconds but it wasn't the same thing. And the fact that Edie told me she'd never slept with Anita didn't really hold much water at this point.

My show went over pretty well and as expected- Margaret Chenowith ended up dropping at least a few grand in my photographs. I didn't even know where she'd hang them considering her living room was a shrine to Billy's collection. Not that I blamed her for that. Not only was Billy her son, he was also a brilliant artist. I kept telling him all night that he should have his own show but he would just glare back at me before smiling and telling me it was my night to shine. I knew what the real story was, unfortunately. Billy hadn't picked up a camera in months. Not since they upped his new dosage of meds and I knew it was just another part of the endless Billy cycle. He goes on his meds and turns into a zombie. When you're a zombie? You couldn't really make any art. So he'd get frustrated and come off the meds only to completely flip out and pull some crazy shit like he did with my brother that one time. I was just hoping that he could keep it together this time. He swore to me that he would but I knew if he went crazy again Nate was going to flip out. He already hated the fact that I was living with Billy anyway.

I was on my way home from school when I pulled over into the grassy lot I'd been spending the last few afternoons in. Just me and my hearse and my wizard shaped bong and no one else to bother me. Even if Billy did call me oh say twenty five fucking times everytime I was home late from school. He'd been acting really weird lately and I knew I should just be happy that he managed to be nice and not ruin my art show but still. He was kind of driving me insane and if both of us were going insane it was just going to end badly.

I ignored the incessant buzzing of my phone as I packed my bong and turned up the radio in my car. My head rested up against the cool window as the hot sun beat down through the trees and suddenly I was kind of bored. I mean, I was high but I kind of wanted to hang out. And definitely not with Billy, he was just going to kill the buzz that I had going. Chewing on my lower lip I began going through my phone list. Anita. No. Russel. Definitely not. Jimmy...probably not a good idea. My thumb rested lightly on the button just as I hit Edie's name in my phone book. Edie. I was supposed to call her for a drink anyway and sure it was a little early for drinking but it was never too early to drive around and get high with me. Besides, I'd kind of missed Edie. The least I could do was call her. Right?

I bit my lip. Part of me wanting to just say fuck it and not bother with her since that was pretty much how she'd dealt with me up until recently. Then the other part of me remembered how much I missed her. Before I could talk myself out of it I dialed her number and pressed the phone to my ear, waiting for her to pick up.

"Hey Edie. It's Claire. What are you up to?"
Current Music: Falling Upstairs- Fastball
Stepping out of the cab I looked around and wondered what the fuck I was doing here. Why am I going to do this shit when I know it’s all going to turn out and be one big beating with the shit stick?

Claire doesn’t want to see me, I made sure of that on open-mic night a few weeks ago. I was angry and just pissed off, so I vented. I know it all got back to her, it always does; after all she knows everyone here so I’m sure someone opened their big fat mouth.

Most likely Anita. Stupid cunt didn’t tell me Claire had come by that day until nearly a month later. That’s just fucked up, it makes me think of ‘what if’ and I hate doing that.

Taking a deep breath I fixed my shirt and looked down at my jeans, making sure I looked decent enough if I did see her even though I hoped she was too busy selling her art to see me. I just want to go in and then out, giving her silent – every silent – support for tonight.

The place looked great, they actually did a decent setup for once around here. I’m sure Claire made sure to be up their ass the entire time to make sure that her art was shown right. There wasn’t too many people, but thankfully – for Claire’s sake and my own – the place wasn’t empty.

It would be easy to hide in the clusters of snotty people as they silently ripped her work apart. After being there for only twenty minutes there were more then a hand full of women that I wanted to bash their heads in, do they not know talent in this down?

It wasn’t long before I had enough and was getting ready to slip out before I was noticed when I saw her standing by one of the walls, three people walking away from her and leaving her there alone. She ran her fingers through her hair and I could tell even from a few feet away that she wasn’t having a good night.

I couldn’t stop myself from walking over towards her. “You don’t suck…” I stopped a few feet from her, taking now the time to keep any of my usual added comments to myself – for the most part – for the moment. This wasn’t about me, at least not now. The fighting could and would come later.

She turned and looked at me, almost like she was seeing a ghost or something. I wasn’t able to read her reaction clearly. I continued to ramble, thinking it was for the best at the moment. “You know your work doesn’t suck, everyone else knows this too. If they say or think otherwise it’s for two reasons. One they are obviously deficient in some way and can’t see it or two they’re jealous.” A small smile twisted the corner of my lips. “Yeah, that’s it. You know what jealousy does to a person. They can’t believe that such a young kid could have such talent.” Rolling my eyes I leaned in a bit closer to her, smelling her shampoo. “Apparently talent comes with age…along with social security and BenGay.”

Yeah, I was still pissed off at her; I’m sure she is at me. But that doesn’t change the fact that her art is good, that’s all there is to it.

Not giving her time to react I turned on my heel and headed over towards one of the other displays on the other side of the gallery, I think it was all black and whites.

It was strange to be back here, even stranger to see Claire. I didn’t plan on it, then again I didn’t plan on any of this, especially us not being friends.
"You're gonna do great tonight, babe." Billy's voice was low and smooth in my ear as his hands clamped down on my shoulders and he pulled me closer to him. Kissing me once firmly on the lips he pulled away and I smiled unsurely up at him. It was nice to know that at least someone had a little faith in me, and my abilities as an artist. Not like Mom who was totally flipping out because I'd dropped out of art school. I'd told her about my opening tonight at the gallery and she'd said she'd come as soon as I got a real job. What the hell did that mean? I didn't need a real job, and I definitely didn't need to go back to the Misfit Island that I used to call college and now just sort of laugh at. There was nothing they could teach me at the school and despite popular theory? I hadn't quit because I was sleeping with one of the professors now. It wasn't even like Billy was a real professor, he was just standing in for Olivier, while he travelled around the world with Billy's Mom who was like three times his age. Seriously, who hasn't Olivier slept with?

"I know." I said, but I knew it didn't sound like I knew at all -- I was trying way too hard to sound like I did know. I did know that I was an artist, I was a brilliant artist who was going to sell alot of my work tonight. At least I didn't have to worry about Billy pulling a Russel and buying one of my pictures just because he felt bad for me. We'd already had that discussion. With a nervous sigh I ran my hands through long red hair and smoothed out my skirt. It was time to fake smile and schmooze with the few people who'd actually show up tonight. I knew Nate and Brenda would be here, and David and Keith, even George said he'd stop by but as far as I knew Mom had him under house arrest for being totally insane. Aunt Sarah couldn't come but she'd sent me a ton of flowers and this really weird bohemian little spiritual card. I really didn't get it but that was my Aunt for you.

Billy and I walked side by side through the gallery and I couldn't help but eavesdrop on all the people who were studying my work, almost like they were scrutinizing it for some hidden flaw.

"I like this piece, it just seems a little...what's the word I'm looking for?" Some suburban poshe wannabe said to her friend as I walked behind them.


"That's exactly it."

Billy took me by the arm and quickly propelled me away from them. "Cavalier?" I hissed at him as he pulled me towards the back of the room where the champagne was waiting for us. Champagne? Right now? Yes fucking please. "My work is not cavalier!"

"Don't listen to them. They don't know what they're talking about." He assured me as he handed me a glass filled with alcohol. Taking a deep breath I scowled as I took a sip and looked back over at the women who were criticizing my artwork. "I know those women. This is how they fill up their boring lives, by coming to art shows and picking every single thing apart, but at the end of the night they end up spending bucketloads of money on all the pieces they'd spent so long criticizing. Besides, you shouldn't be so sensitive about this, every artist has a critic."

"I know, but it's just so fucking personal, you know? It's like they're picking out all of my flaws just to wile away a boring Thursday night." I frowned as I took another swallow from the glass, feeling the alcohol start to warm my skin.

"Claire! These are fabulous, simply. Aren't they, darling?" The loud familiar WASP voice cut into me and I knew exactly who was coming up from behind us.

"Yes, but what can you expect when I have taught this one personally." Olivier smirked at me condescendingly still holding onto Mrs. Chenowith's arm. God, why did he have to come here? Last time I had a show he kept saying all this shit about how I was corrupted after my first success. So not! Those were my photographs, not Russell's.

"Mom. Have you seen her grey tone series?" Billy said quickly, shooting me a look like he was saving me from the Bourgeois attack. He let go of my arm and took his mother's, leading Mrs. Chenowith and her new boytoy away from me. Thank you.

With a sigh I ran another hand through my hair and turned around to look at one of my photographs.

"Why do you suck so much?" I asked myself in a voice just under a whisper as I studied the photograph.