Unobtrusive yet elegant in beige, Lucy stood in the gallery staring at the painting. It was abstract in a way that she thought she understood, but would never know for sure.
Two men stood in front of her, gazing at the same artwork. The taller one spoke in a confident drawl.
‘Yah, it’s by Ella Carter. Raw emotion in every brushstroke. Some people said she was only at the college because of her famous mother. Not true. The girl had real talent. Tragic that she died so young in that awful accident.’
A slight pause followed.
‘But maybe just as well she’s not on the scene any more. At least I’m still with my wife, if you get what I mean.’
Then came the other male voice, quieter and with a tinge of West Country in it,
‘Sebastian, are you telling me...?’
‘Well, yeah. All that raw emotion – just like in her art. It was electric. But we both knew what we were doing. It was all under control, you know.’
‘Honestly, no. I don’t know. I thought your students were off limits now, after Eloise nearly left you over the last one.’
‘Oh, that was nothing to..’
The shorter man turned briefly away from his companion towards Lucy. She watched as recognition and horror crept across his face.
He tapped the other man’s arm urgently. ‘Sebastian!’
A jerk of the shorter man’s head in her direction and the taller one turned to face her, his features revealing nothing but arrogance and entitlement.
Lucy held out her hand to shake his. He didn’t respond.
‘Good afternoon. Lucy Carter. Ella’s famous mother.’
‘I know damn well who you are.‘
He bent towards Lucy.
‘How long have you been standing there?’
‘Long enough. You and I need to talk. ‘
(c) Maisie Bishop