If a picture could tell a story in a thousand words, my story would be just like the painting hung up on the white blank wall of the art exhibition.
The canvas was startlingly white and had dried black paint dripping from the top to the middle of the painting.
Barely noticeable, however, was the tiny drops of midnight blue that made the top half of the painting resemble a night sky and, the other half a sort of white heaven.
Maybe the inspiration behind it was that even in darkness the little things could give hope and the safe heaven we longed for could merge with it.
"FiFi, we should get going." Maria, my middle-aged nanny tugged my arm gently, reminding me of the time, "If we don't leave now, The prince will most definitely throw a fit." She urged with a solemn tone. I let out a sigh from my lips.
Nodding softly, I adjusted my coat and gestured to leave the building before stopping in my tracks. "But Maria, the artist hasn't even shown himself yet. I like this piece of his, I want to know the face behind it." I lamented.
"Time is not on our side. If we don't leave now, you might get another scolding." She reasoned.
I nodded but stayed fixed in my resolve. After a few minutes of waiting, a crowd began to form, whispering about the artist making an appearance. I was able to catch a few of their silent chatter.
"Will he show his face this time?"
"I doubt it, he prefers an air of intrigue."
"Rumors say he's able to get investors just by looking at them"
How ridiculous, I thought, the women who spoke looked to be about 50+ yet they dabbled in mindless gossip. Hypocritically, I listened further.
"If his looks are as good as they say I might not be able to resist spending some money on him too" the woman that said this giggled softly.
I couldn't understand, they paid more attention to his looks and less to his art. Once again, how ridiculous.
No matter how good looking he was, neither his face nor his body could portray the same sense of understanding his artwork did.
The voices around me became hushed as a man in a light blue masquerade mask walked up to the painting with the well-known curator of the exhibition.
He stepped forward and addressed the small crowd. "I'd like to thank everyone for taking their time to view my masterpiece. This particular one is dear to my heart and I'm grateful for the privilege to share it."
His voice was soft and dark. It held an air of captivity yet, in the next second one of aloofness.
I found myself being inexplicably drawn to it. It soothed my ears so much I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them up again, my gaze locked with his.
The elderly ladies' mindless chatter, I understood it now.
His eyes were intimidating and domineering, opposed to his voice and art. They gave off a feeling of diamonds not only because they shone brightly behind the mask in the chandelier-lit room, but also because although they were intense, they felt precious. At that moment tearing away from them seemed herculean.
"You've met him. We should head out now" Maria said, I let out a breath I had now realized I was holding.
"Okay then," I murmured, glancing once more at the art and artist.
I can't be greedy, I had a pair of sedimentary stone waiting for me back home. I let myself be dragged away by Maria to the car that waited for us.
My mind kept drifting back to the exhibition, skimming through all the beautiful works laid on display. Out of it I touched my ear and felt it was a bit bare.
Anxiety crept up inside me, causing my breathing to become irregular.
"Driver please turned the car around!" I yelled frantically. Maria looked up at me in surprise.
Feeling bad about catching her unaware I explained. "The earring! it's gone." I said with a painful tone.
Maria tactfully understood. The driver made a U-turn at an intersection and made his way back to the exhibition location.
In the 30 minutes, we had spent on the road the scene was cleared out and the gallery closing.
In a hurried state, I brushed past the security guards letting Maria handle the discussion, and went in to look for it.
The earring was a 4k carat sapphire gem with a customized engraving "J" on the gold ascents of it. It would've been much better if I lost myself instead.
I had a vague idea I might have lost it in the crowd earlier, so, I rushed back there went on my knees, and looked for it. My eyes were sharp and shuffled on the floor searching for it.
"You won't get much work done using your dress as a mop. There are instruments for this already. Why improvise?" An unmistakable soft voice said at a height above me.
Due to shame I kept my head down and focused on my search.
"I'm not a cleaner, I'm searching for an earring," I replied cutthroat. Leaving no room for amusement.
"I think I might have what you're looking for. It's Sapphire isn't it." The voice replied.
My head shot up in relief before dropping down again. I picked myself off the floor and looked away from him.
"Can I have it back quickly, I must be leaving soon," I said.
"Of course. But, it seems like I've done you a favor, isn't it impolite to not even look my way." He said, his tone cheerful.
"I heard you prefer to be anonymous. I wouldn't want to sabotage you." I lied effortlessly. The real reason I refused to glance his way was because of shame.
"You recognize me? from my voice?" He asked and I nodded in response.
"You keep glancing at that particular piece on the wall." He noted. After a moment of silence, he continued. "If you like it, I could give it to you."
"You sound like a conman..." I started but before I could finish the sentence, he interrupted.
"Of course for a steep price. From your earring, you must be very rich. It seems I must have hit the jackpot." He mused
I shot a look his way, "Shameless." I uttered forgetting my shame.
My eyes glared at him in an instant before the dawn of realization hit me. I turned away hurriedly but the damage had been done.
"Well, it seems both our covers are blown." He laughed.
I turned around to look at him in resignation. "I'm sorry." I apologized.
He reached for my right hand, pulled a blue stone-like object, and dropped it in my palm. The earring was warm from being in his pocket.
"Thank you," I said genuinely.
"I'm Haziel by the way." He introduced.
"Fiona." I replied, "I admire your work, it's very calming." I praised, softly avoiding eye contact and gazing at the artwork.
With a curt nod, I wished him goodnight and rushed out of the building.
Maria was just about to enter the gallery when I came out.
"Did you find it?" She inquired and I replied with a nod.
"Those stupid guards didn't believe me when I said you were part of the country's royal family. They had me calling Old man Kingsley to find a way to get you verified from their higher-ups." She stated, "If it weren't for my threatening they might have hauled you out." She ended her rant, sounding very proud of her efforts.
"All this trouble for an earring." I sighed getting into the car once again.
I brought the earring close to my eyes and felt the place where "J" was engraved.
"The Prince insisted." Maria lamented. The car began moving.
"Yes, he did. Like staking his ownership of me." I spat out distastefully. Grabbing my purse, I removed the one earring still left in my earhole and shoved the pair of jewelry into the purse.
"He doesn't even let me enjoy my hobbies without being possessive." I said, pulling my coat tightly towards myself and resting my head on the car window. With a silent scoff, I stared at the cold night sky.
"He's a bit rough around the edges but it's how he shows his love" Maria encouraged.
I nodded at her to pull the conversation to a close.
His love for me is great, he can't even keep it in his pants and rolls around in some other woman's bed.
I don't even care that much. The dream of a happily married life wasn't something I had since I was 7. In my dreams, I was free like a bat.
Ugh, I reminisced as the car pulled up to our driveway, he is probably is drunk right now, isn't he?
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