- Vol. 02
- Chapter 08
Image by Sigrid Calon
Elise'I don't like it either,' he whispers in her ear.
Elise doesn't hear him approach, doesn't hear his gentle cough-cough. She turns to him, appraises him, his glasses and the Gorbachev birthmark on his temple. Bruised red.
'I'm actually undecided,' she replies, taking a sip from her glass of white wine. Too tart, she thinks.
'I misinterpreted your frown.'
'I was frowning at the frame. It doesn't suit the picture. Too much white.'
He stares at the picture, his head tilted to one side. 'I'm undecided about that,' he says, then smiles.
'Touché,' she says.
'Come here often?'
She laughs, a tipple of laughter, her head thrown back. 'Nice try, '
'Markus,' he says, holding out his hand.
'Nice to meet you,' she takes his hand, but withdraws it quickly.
'And what about you?'
'What about me?'
'Won't you tell me your name?'
'I never liked mysteries'
'Is that what I am?' she asks. 'A mystery?' Her gaze turns back to the painting and its mess of diagonal candy-coloured stripes. 'It looks like a mistake, don't you think?'
'You're changing the subject.'
'I am?' Elise indicates to the catalogue in his hand. 'Thinking of buying?'
'Perhaps,' Markus replies. 'Do you know the artist?'
'Now that's a tough question,' she says, her brow furrowed. Then she smiles at him. 'Her bio's at the front. When you sift through the hyperbole, you'll see she hasn't done that much.' She leans into him, lowers her voice. 'And I wouldn't buy this one.'
She drains her glass. 'Nice meeting you, Markus.'
He watches her slink away, the side to side swish of her narrow hips, all dressed in black. Straight shoulders, straight back. Her long neck. Alabaster white, almost as white as the picture frame she so dislikes. A touch of Audrey Hepburn about her.
Markus glances down at the catalogue then flips to the artist's bio. Elise Costa. There's a black and white side profile of her. She's wearing a white shirt, but the smile's unmistakeable. And then he smiles to himself.