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Working for the Weekend

Song - Working for the Weekend by Loverboy

I drum my fingers anxiously on the steering wheel as I wait for the huge, metal gate to roll open.

When the guard waves me through I smile and cautiously drive onto the property. I can’t help but to look around in awe. People live here? It looks more like a castle than a home. Who are these people?

When I called the assistant to Mrs. Alistair set up an initial meeting where we will discuss their expectations for the piece, I got the impression that these people came from private island type of money. I definitely wasn’t wrong judging by this house.

After parking I sit in my car for a moment. Maybe I should have dressed more...formally? This doesn’t strike me as a jeans type of place.

I walk on wobbly legs to the door and ring the loud, echoing bell.

I gasp and my blood freezes.

No.

No.

No.

I sniff the air, hoping I’m wrong. Fuck! I’m definitely not wrong.

I turn around to sprint away just as the door opens. The woman behind the door looks murderous, her eyes glowing red with her mouth twisted in anger.

“A wolf?” Her voice shakes.

“A vampire,” I barely whisper.

Her eyes soften as she looks over me.

“You didn’t know?” She asks.

“No.”

“You’re the artist, then.”

“Yes.”

She huffs and steps to the side, gesturing for me to come in.

I instinctively take a step back.

“Come in, I’m not going to hurt you. Your work is very impressive. Maybe we can still come to some sort of arrangement. I really need this portrait.”

I don’t know what possessed me to take a step forward, but I do. I follow her into a chic office and we sit at a small sitting area with tea set out.

“I didn’t realize there was a wolf in the art program at Stanford. Your kind don’t usually...branch out into the human education system.”

What she said was true but it felt like a dig, like she meant that wolves are uneducated.

“Everyone in my family went to college,” I say calmly.

She quirks her brow.

“I found your technique to be unique and interesting. My son doesn’t want to pose for a portrait but it’s customary at his age. I thought maybe if he saw your work and liked your style he would work with me.”

I’m picturing a spoiled eight year old who will wiggle and whine through the whole process.

“So you still want to hire me?”

“Yes, though I’m not sure if Leo will sit for a wolf. Maybe if we spring it on him unexpectedly.”

I want to laugh at this mother plotting against her child.

“How would we do that?”

“Do you mind working at night? He’s a bit of a night owl. He’s having a party for his birthday on Saturday. If you came by after hopefully his mood will be more agreeable, then once it’s started he’ll have to comply for the rest of it.”

“I don’t mind working at night and Saturday would be plenty of time to get the supplies prepared.”

We spend the rest of the meeting discussing the size of the canvas and different aspects of the pieces itself.

I’m wracked with guilt as I drive away. I’m not going to tell my parents about any of this until after the job is done. I’ve never lied to them before, we don’t hide things from each other. I just don’t want them to stop me from doing the job. I can handle a bratty child. I’ll be careful, obviously, vampires aren’t the most trustworthy but I truly didn’t get the impression that she wanted to harm me.

I stop at the art supply depot to buy a roll of canvas. The dimensions she wants for this thing are insane!

I guess it’s normal for people who live in a castle to have eight foot portraits of themselves hanging around.

I feel much more relaxed since the meeting. I’m still nervous about taking on such a massive project and I want it to exceed expectations but at least it’s a child. I won’t have to be scrutinized by an adult whole I try to work.

I browse the paint section and end up buying most of the colors. I’m not sure what I’ll need for the fine details of his skin, hair or eyes. It’s better to be over prepared.

-------

Mrs. Alister sent me an address to meet her. I assumed I would be painting at their castle mansion but my gps brings me to a luxury high rise apartment building.

Shes waiting for me in the lobby.

“His loft is on the top floor,” she tells me as we step into the elevator, the attendant brings us up.

His loft?

“Where are your supplies?”

“I left them in the car. I’ll go down for them after I see the space. It’s a lot, I’ll have to make a few trips.”

She turns to the elevator attendant, “help her bring everything up when she’s ready, Cedric.”

He bows his head respectfully. He’s definitely a vampire, too. I don’t miss his strange glances. I’m sure he’s wondering what a wolf is doing here.

The loft is beautiful, industrial and masculine. The panoramic views look out over the city. I can see the Stanford campus in the distance.

There is a strong smell of paint, most of the windows are open, letting air flow through freely.

“We just had the walls painted. It should be cleared out by now but the incompetent people didn’t open the windows!” She huffs angrily.

“It’s ok, Mrs. Alister. I work with paint,” I smile at her.

She hums in what I would guess is amusement?

“I’ll have you set up here,” she points to an area off to the side of the sitting room.

“That’s perfect.”

“You can have him sit or stand, whatever he prefers.”

I move around the space, trying to find the best place to set up. It’s going to be dark by the time we start but the lightning is perfect. Maybe I can talk him into working with me for one day so I can paint with natural light.

After Mrs. Alister leaves the elevator attendant and I make two trips to bring all of my supplies up.

“Good luck,” he chuckles as he leaves me to set up.

That seemed like a warning.

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