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Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes

XXIII: Present

Mr. Livesey knocked on Brendon’s apartment door at 8:59. The minute turned over as Brendon hurried to fold the blanket he’d used all night and straighten at least the worst of the mess in a mad dash fraught with pointlessness. Dressed in only a pair of sleep pants with graphite smudges across his fingers from last night’s desperate sketch, Brendon pulled the door open, a rush of early, humid summer wafting in from around Orion Livesey’s suited figure.

“Come in, come in. Good morning. I haven’t had coffee yet—haven’t even turned it on. Are you—I mean, do you live around here? Or you’re staying at the Marriott?”

With a peaceful, and far too awake, countenance, Mr. Livesey answered smoothly as he stepped inside, easily removed the door from Brendon’s hand, and shut it behind them. “Good morning, Brendon. Coffee would be perfect. And no, I live about three hours north so I’m staying locally.”

“Right. Of course.”

Brendon spastically clutched at his pants, bunching the fabric at his thighs as he suddenly remembered the sketch. The sketch that was thankfully facing the couch and not the door. He quickly backed up and made to look as if he felt the sudden urge to straighten the piles of books on the coffee table, scooping up the sketchbook and shutting it in one move before he laid a couple other books on top of it, needing to weigh down Orion Livesey’s drawn figure so it might not come alive.

When he turned back, Mr. Livesey was examining the myriad of tacked up sketches, canvases and framed pictures that coated Brendon’s walls like wallpaper. The color underneath was mauve, but few would have ever noticed, too much paint drawing the eye, too much contrast and shadow and paper. Brendon shifted from one foot to the other, his gaze finding every dusty spider web in every dirty corner.

“I don’t spend much time here.”

Mr. Livesey made a noise of acknowledgement, but continued his slow pace around the room. Brendon shifted again, this time toward the kitchen doorway.

“Black, Mr. Livesey? Or are you a sugar and cream?”

Mr. Livesey turned away from studying an unnamed painting of three mermen fighting an ancient squid. “Please call me Orion. You’ll make me feel like I’m in court otherwise. And however you take yours is fine.”

Brendon nodded and ducked into the adjoining kitchenette, releasing an explosive sigh as he leaned against the counter just out of sight. As he pulled down a set of mismatching ceramic mugs and filled the coffee maker with a new filter and a pile of toffee and rum flavored grinds, he found himself rambling, mind in a revolution, struggling to stay away from the sorts of dreams he vaguely remembered being woken from.

“Orion. That’s the name of the hunter in the sky. I went on a streak of painting constellations after one client. Did a forty by sixty canvas of Orion after a pile of sketches. Had it in the studio last year actually and it drummed up a lot of attention. I’d painted him in this transparent naked rendition, both the forest of his hunt and the stars overlaid within the scene.”

“Where is it now?”

Orion’s voice came from the entryway into the kitchen, causing Brendon to startle, the coffee bag he’d been closing jumping in his hand. Orion’s gaze drifted down to the bag, then back up to Brendon. The action was startling close to being raked over in a penetrating way, his every inch, including the crescent-shaped mar on his hip, filed away into Orion’s cabinet of a mind.

“Sold,” he said.

“Pity. I’d have liked to see it.”

“Maybe we will. Since, you wanted to visit my clients.”

Orion’s smile warmed. “We’ll make sure the hunter’s on the list then.”

Brendon stared, thinking he might be able to read the meaning behind Orion’s words. Then he spun around and pulled the coffee pot out before it was done brewing and made a bit of a mess that Orion very pleasantly helped clean up.


Next Chapter!