The artist, p.1
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       The Artist, p.1

           Kay Gee
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The Artist
Poppy Parsons tapped her foot impatiently, she hated being kept waiting. She never ran late, it had been ingrained into her by her ex-army father and police officer mother. It wasn’t just the lateness that was bothering her as she waited in the large lobby of the Chelsea flats. No, it was just how unwelcoming this place was, it was basically designed to make people like her feel uncomfortable. To remind her that she didn’t fit in. Five more minutes than I am leaving she told herself, but she wouldn’t leave. She needed this job too much.

  Tapping the toe of her brown boot some more she sighed, it seemed Bennett Clay was late out of habit. Poppy had barely caught him before he he’d stormed out of the meeting with his agent. He was a renowned artist whose latest show had been delayed one too many times. That’s where she came in, broke and desperate she’d applied for any job that didn’t need qualifications, and now here she was, a muse. It sounded like such a joke but apparently, they’re out there, behind paintings, books, movies, music and more.

  But Bennett didn't want her here, that much had been clear when he stormed out of his agents’ office in a huff. She didn't want to be here. He'd all put thrown the table at the meeting before leaving, she didn't even have a chance to go in and introduce herself, his reputation was formidable. He was arrogant, intimidating, frightening and volatile; no one else would work with him. That really should have been her first warning.

  However, Poppy didn't have a choice. Her sponging loser of an ex and his string of bad investments had left her broke and homeless. Jason thought he was the next Del Boy, but his love of money and women quickly go in the way of any potential success. His latest ‘modelling’ scheme had done more than just drain her money, it had also caused him to run off with his 'top model'. Poppy couldn't help but smirk and the failure that was Lisa Barkley’s modelling 'career' but still Jason was enamored with her and tried to force her on the world like she was really something special.

  Poppy’s bitter thoughts were interrupted when she saw Bennett walking across the lobby, his black leather jacket was worn and only added to his stereotypical bad boy image. He approached the lifts without looking at her and she followed him in. He didn't even ask her which floor she wanted to go to, he was too busy scowling to move when she leaned in, he was in the penthouse of course and she planned to follow him up there.

  'Bennett Clay?' she asked him, keeping her voice steady despite the nerves she felt at being in this confined space. ‘You here to save my soul?' he mocked, ‘or maybe you’re a model? That’s code for groupie, right? Helps you sleep at night?' She could've slapped his arrogant face, instead she kept her face impassive, ‘No I’m not here to save your soul nor am I a groupie. I’ve been hired by your agency to help you with your work.'

  He looked at her properly for the first time, 'I don't need help,' he answered, the lift wasn't moving fast enough for his liking. He'd already had a bad morning and now this blonde was here making it even worse. 'Well you are several months late on your next show, and you are contractually obliged to accept help from your agency until you produce your paintings. So you don't really have a choice,' she tried reasoning. Take a deep breath and stay calm, he looked like he wanted to hit her.

  He moved closing the gap between then until she was backed again the wall, 'listen sweetheart, today has been a long day and whilst a pretty thing like you would usually cheer me up - and don't think for a second that has anything to do with your personality, I’m really not interested.’ He looked her up and down slowly, ‘So why don't you take your nosy self, with your sad little life and stay out of my way.' As he finished the lift pinged and reached its destination, he walked out smoothly but she followed.

  He could hear her boots as she followed him into his home. 'Let’s get this straight,' she started, he had succeeded in pissing her off and her voice was raised, 'Unlike your art you are simply average. Don't flatter yourself, you couldn't get me or have me if you tried. My job is to get you to finish your work, you need to produce twenty-three brand new pieces to complete the collection and I don't give a shit how you get it done but you are getting it done. You want me to leave? Fine! I will leave when you finish your job arsehole. Now as per my agreement with your agency I'm moving in tomorrow morning. While I’m here you will paint, you will produce decent work for your show. You will not have any parties or girls over all hours of the night. The sooner you finish the sooner I leave which let’s be honest we both want. Now I will see you tomorrow at 8am sharp.' And with that she walked out leaving a stunned Bennett watching her leave.

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