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Off Campus > Sparrow - An Art Gallery

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message 1: by E L L E (last edited Sep 07, 2018 08:51AM) (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod
Ren turned his van into the rickety cobbled road that led down to the highstreet. It was nearly lunch time, but as usual, the streets of the small Scottish village were close to empty. A few dog walkers and the odd elderly couple ambled down the pavements on either side, but no one gave a second glance as Ren Marlowe bumped the van up outside the row of shops and hopped out onto the street. The gallery owner was expecting him just after twelve, he’d met her a few months before when his boss had purchased a painting to hang in the lounge at Madison’s. From what he remembered, Miss Marshall was a pretty girl, blonde, American and with a killer smile. He was quite looking forward to laying eyes on her again. Not bothering to lock the cab, Ren strolled round to the back and opened up the doors.

Several boxes of wine, beer and spirits were stacked up inside, five cases with an extra one thrown in by the boss as a thank you for the painting. He unloaded a couple onto the pavement and then tried the bell. It rang out somewhere in the depths of the building, but Ren couldn’t make much out through the window. Through the glass he spied several canvas’ covered up in brown paper and a couple of dust sheets laid out in preparation for the grand opening, but he couldn’t see anyone inside. Stepping back onto the street, Ren shielded his eyes and gazed up at the building, wondering if the owner had forgotten about the delivery. A few of the windows were open and Ren could hear the music carrying through them, a sure sign that someone was as at least in. Ren ran a hand through his hair and rapped on the door this time. Peering through the window once again, he just managed to catch sight of a figure moving between the canvas’ and waved absently in their direction.


message 2: by E L L E (last edited Sep 07, 2018 09:15AM) (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod
(Second hot Irish guy this girl has run into this morning, unbelievable luck! ;D)

Ren balked a little when the stunning blonde opened the door. It wasn't just her face that had him looking momentarily surprised, but rather the hammer and the pile of other objects she'd somehow managed to tuck under one arm. He gathered himself enough to say good morning and watched with a slightly bemused expression as the young woman shuffled back into the gallery and deposited her belongings. Leaning against the door frame - not quite sure if he was allowed in or not - Ren eyed the open space and the variety of pieces already scattered across the room. "I'm from Madison's," he said, as he levelled a look at chirpy blonde. "Got the drinks you ordered, if you want to follow me out I'll talk you through what you've got." Ren jerked his head at the cases on the pavement and those still stashed inside the van.

He walked back out onto the street and snatched the clipboard from the top of the cases. Offering the woman a slight smile before glancing down the list. "The boss said you went for our evening catering package, so that's a crate of red, a crate of white-" he gestured to the cases in turn. "That one's your soft drinks, your spirits, and your beers. We managed to wrangle a few speciality ciders from the farm just off of Puddledock Lane, you know it? Those are in there with the beer." He frowned at the crates and then tapped the closest one with his foot. "Oh!" Ren grinned at her and grabbed a crate off the back of the van. "And the boss threw in this case of rosé as a thank you for the Fabian Perez that's now sitting pride of place at Madison's." He winked at her and set the case down on the pavement.

"Now, you paid up front so if I can just get your initials that would be great," he said, extending the clipboard and pen towards her. Ren placed a hand on top of the pile of cases. "Can I put these somewhere for you?"


message 3: by E L L E (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod
Ren laughed as Rosie took in the cases piled up on the sidewalk. “You’d be surprised how much people can drink in this village, there’s nought else to do but drink and walk the highlands,” he grinned, hauling the final case out of the back of the van. She handed back the clipboard and Ren eyed the name on the piece of paper, raising a brow. “Rosie Marshall, huh? You know we have the same initials Ms Marshall?” he chuckled, tossing the clipboard in the back of the van and stooping to pick up two of the cases. He tucked one under each arm and followed Rosie as she flitted through the open door and into the gallery itself. Ren paused half way through to take in the expansive room. The place had been boarded up for several years before Rosie had acquired it. Ren had only been here eighteen months so couldn’t vouch for what was here before, but he was certain the gallery would be a vast improvement. It was still in a state of chaos, with canvas’, sculptures and photographs still waiting to be mounted on the wall or placed on pedestals. He frowned at one abstract piece before joining Rosie in the back room. “Think you’re going to be ready in time?” he asked, setting down the crates in one of the few the spaces left on the floor.

He watched with a slightly amused expression as Rosie opened up one of the crates and dragged out a bottle of red. Ren patted down his jeans and produced a bottle opener he’d pinched from the bar. “Here you go,” he held it out to her. “You can keep that one, you’re gonna need it tomorrow.” Ren chuckled and ducked back into the main gallery room, going to retrieve the other cases from the pavement. The last three were stacked up exactly where he’d left them, something that Ren was still getting used to. Back in Galway you risked losing a delivery between the driveway and the front door. Ren made short work of bringing the crates inside and didn’t even bother to lock up the van as he brought in the final box and joined Rosie in the backroom again. Leaning against the doorway, he swept his gaze over the countless art pieces piled up inside. “Where’d you get all this stuff from?”


message 4: by E L L E (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod
Ren shook the hand she held out to him. “Oh no, don’t apologise. It’s a pleasure to finally put a name to your face,” he chuckled, releasing her hand. “I’m Ren Marlowe.” He stepped back and folded his arms across his chest, eyeing the chaos of the storeroom. Rosie seemed pretty positive about the opening, in spite of the current disorder it sounded like everything was going to plan. He raised a brow at her as she winked at him, and a slight smile touched the corner of his lips. “Now you’d have to do an awful lot to get me to kick you out,” he assured her. With the rest of the boxes safely stashed away in the backroom, Ren lounged just inside the doorway, listening as Rosie recounted her travels across the globe. He bit back a cheeky comment about her day-drinking as she helped herself to a glass of red from one of the bottles he’d brought it.

“You’ll be able to sell it around here no trouble. There’s all sorts living up on the cliffside; writers, actors, musicians. People who made their fortunes in the arts, they’ll lap this up!” He folded his arms across his chest, watching Rosie’s face as she spoke about the abstract pieces he’d admired only moments ago. Her brown eyes brightened up the moment she started talking about them and Ren found himself smiling as she’s reeled off the story behind them. “Sounds you’ve had quite the life,” he said, raising a brow at her. Rosie was well travelled of course, but it was her passion that he found interesting, the way she lit up the moment she looked at the pieces around them. “I have to ask,” Ren said after a moment, “Your from the states right? What brings you here to a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands, with only sheep and the odd rogue irishman for company?” he asked, tilting his head towards her. She could of course ask him the same question. Ren definitely stood out in the village, from an outside perspective he had no real reason to settle here. He didn’t work at the school, or own a business, he simply worked behind the bar at Madison’s. His excuse of ‘an ex-military man, looking for an escape’ had begun to wear thin in recent months.


message 5: by E L L E (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod
Ren lifted a brow. “If you want me to scold you, I’m sure I can come up with something,” he replied with a wry grin, somewhat bemused by her insistence on staying out of Madison’s. He would of course be more than welcome to have her in the bar, it would make a change from the usual regulars who cluttered up the booths. In fact, anything other than seedy middle age men and teenagers with fake ids would be a improvement. “Yeah, I mean you know better than me of course,” he gestured towards her. “I’m looking forward to seeing you make something of this place though. It was boarded up for the longest time, but I have to say, it looks great already.” Ren craned his neck to look at the sweeping ceiling above them, when everything finally came together it would definitely be worth a visit.

“Well it sounds like you’re here for the right reason at least,” he said. The amount of rich families that moved here just to get their kids into the academy was countless. So many of them uprooting their lives to move up to Scotland only to find that there was nothing more than the quaint village and highlands on the doorstep. He’d seen it a hundred times before and knew it would continue whilst Aldridge continued to enrol students from across the world. Ren glanced at the wine glass Rose proffered and shook his head. “I shouldn’t,” he said, glancing out the van. “I’m driving.” Rubbing a hand across the back of his neck, he smiled at Rosie once again. There was a nervous edge to his expression though, a slight break in the confident mask he wore. “Look, I know you’re real busy setting up, but you’ve still got to eat. Do you want to grab dinner tonight? I can always bring it here? You can put me to use - I’m a dab hand with a hammer and nails.” He lifted his shoulders in a shrug, suddenly appearing sheepish. Ren knew it was a bold move, they’d just met. But she was the first person in this village to grab his attention and he wasn’t about to let her slip through his fingers.


message 6: by E L L E (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod
Ren pondered Rosie’s words. The notion of destiny was something he could share in, although it wasn’t destiny that had brought him to the village as much as a cruel twist of fate. His brows furrowed as the memory of his brother’s death invaded his thoughts. Grief crashed into him as it had so many times before, not quite enough to bowl him over - as it had in the past - but enough to give him pause. Ren swallowed tightly, and was relieved to see that Rosie wasn’t looking at him. “I don’t think it sounds stupid,” he murmured, barely trusting his voice. “I know exactly what you mean.” And he did. Ren had come to the village not long after brother’s death, intent on seeing James’ killer for himself. He had hoped that laying eyes on Marcus Aldridge would rid him of the desire to see justice done. It hadn’t. Ren had only seen Marcus for what he truly was, a lying, remorseless coward. Ren’s need for justice had warped into something more dangerous that day, a desire for revenge, a belief that Marcus deserved to hurt the way he did, to lose something something just as precious.

He blinked those thoughts away as Rosie piped up once again and his features shifted back into that cool, unbreakable facade. Ren quite liked the blush on her cheeks and it took a great deal of willpower not to draw attention to them as she glanced sheepishly up at at him from her spot on the floor. He crouched down after that, close enough that he could see the expression of surprise that flitted across her face at his offer of dinner. The grin that followed was enough to make his heart stutter. “Well then, Rosie Marshall, you’re in luck!” he said, joining in her laughter. “Best chow mein this side the border, that I can promise you.” Ren smiled warmly and reaching into his pocket, produced his phone for her to take. “Pop your number in there. I’ll drop you a text when I’m done with deliveries and we can decide on a time.”


message 7: by E L L E (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod
Ren met Rosie’s gaze, wondering if he ought to apologise, to assure her that there was nothing wrong. He knew she’d seen the horror in his face, the haunted look that floated just beneath the surface. He could read the concern in her brown eyes and for a reason Ren couldn’t quite fathom, it made him wary. It wasn’t as if he possessed any great secret, he hadn’t hurt anyone or committed a crime, but in that moment he felt truly guilty. Perhaps he resented his thoughts, or maybe it was his intentions. Whatever it was, it left Ren on edge. That tension didn’t leave, even as talk turned to food and the evening ahead. The easy smile on Ren’s face didn’t quite reach his eyes and there was a tightness to his jaw that hadn’t been there before. He tried in vain to push those wayward thoughts away, if not for himself then for the girl in front of him. She was all sunshine and bright colours whilst Ren was decidedly grey in comparison.

Aware that he had been scrutinising her face perhaps a little too intently, Ren turned his attention the glass windows at the front of the store. The high street was looking busier now, more of the villagers out for their daily constitutional. Her voice brought him out of his furore. “Teriyaki, huh?” Ren mused, hearing her food of choice. “I’ll see what I can do.” He ordered frequently from the small business not two streets over and was certain the owners would be able to rustle up something she’d like. The notion of returning to the gallery that evening was already filling him with a nervous, yet vibrant energy. He’d had to tap his number into her phone twice as he’d managed to get it wrong the first time. When he was sure he’d got it down right he passed the device back to her with a sheepish smile. “Right number I promise, I’m just a tad clumsy.” He accepted his own phone back and slipped it into his pocket. “I’d better get going, but I’ll text you when I’m finished for the day.” Ren cast a glance at the sweeping ceilings above them. “Best of luck getting all this in order.” He grinned, rising to his feet and extending a hand to help her up.


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