Cons And Artists


Grant_icon.gif Gwen_icon.gif

Summary: Grant tries to put a crimp in Gwen's evening, but she's an artist of her craft.

Date It Happened: December 16, 2001

Cons And Artists

A Gallery In LA

Believe it or not, Los Angeles has an art scene.

Of course, compared to Manhattan, it might be considered on the tacky side. Everything about Hollywood is big, see. 'Subtle' is not a word commonly found amongst its denizens of culture, save perhaps at certain writers tables back at the studios. But tonight, the up and coming artist being shown is definitely on of the nouveaux Hollywood - some poor sap is going to pay a ridiculous amount for one of his pieces, showing it off to friends until a few years down the line when it'll be of little more use then a doorstop or a paperweight.

But Gwen isn't here to take in the featured artist's works. Well, not really, though that's her cover, and her little purple cheongsam mini dress with matching gold opera gloves marks her as just another pretty LA face swimming in the shark tank of Hollywood's medium cooked elite. She ooh'd and ahh'd in all the right places, tasted the champagne, ate the hors d'ouvres, but it's one of the other works in the gallery that she's got her eye on. It's a painting of a young girl in the stylings of the Paris ballet chorus, standing at the bar which overlooks a window showing nighttime. There's a trail of scarlet at her shoulder going down her back, easily mistaken for a red ribbon, and hinted at in the window is the shadow of a man.

While most of the art scene of Hollywood is not exactly his cuppa, Grant does still attend the rare show that happens to look half-promising. This one is not quite up-to-par with what he would find in New York, but it's better than the last show that he was invited to. He would never buy a piece from it, however. He likes to spend money on art that is worthwhile and will accumulate value over time. None of what he sees here fits the bill, but at least there's socializing. Dressed in a suit without a tie (who needs to be super-formal at an art show in Hollywood anyway?), he approaches the painting Gwen is examining. It doesn't even take a glance at the woman's face to tell him who it is. He's good at reading people. "Subtle, isn't it?" he remarks.

Gwen looks over her shoulder and up at him. "Are you stalking me?" she queries, not altogether sarcastically. She looks back at it. "I suppose." she says. "But Toulouse-Lautrec was never known for subtlty, which is why this particular piece has never been brought to much attention despite his renown. The resale value on it is pretty pittance." But probably worth an astronomical amount to a private collector, given the subject matter. "I'd call it an interesting reflection on the dynamics of male and female interactions of the period and in the context of the darker aspect of Bohemian culture." A waiter passes by, and Gwen swipes up a champagne glass. "Wouldn't you?" she turns to face him directly, a brow arching as she sips from the flute.

Grant does not touch the champagne that passes by. His hands have been rather empty all night, actually, with little more than an hors d'oeurve here and there. "Stalking you? Whatever gave you that impression?" He smirks a little at the observation. "I would call it fine to look at, but hardly worth the money. You seem to know art, but that is hardly unusual for a woman in your line of work." He clasps his hands behind his back. "Are you here to purchase or … acquire?" The last is asked with a lift of both eyebrows.

"I'm a business woman." is Gwen's mild reply. She seems to think she can handle her liquour, though it's clear she's nursing it. "It's always good to keep an eye on the market. Why are you here tonight?" she volleys back.

"I'm a simple man who enjoys beauty, therefore I'm here to see beautiful things." Whether or not they're on canvas is another matter entirely. Gwen, for example, is beautiful, and Grant is enjoying such. But unlike Monsieur Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, he's fairly subtle. "Shall I assume you enjoy the arts, then?"

"You shall assume anything you'd like, I imagine." Her champagne glass gets placed on a passing waiter's tray, and yet a second one is robbed of a small pastry. "Ooh, petit-fours." she pops it into her mouth, not bothering to take out her gloves. "I love these things." She looks back at him squarely. "You're going to get in my way," she observes thoughtfully, "Aren't you?"

Once again, Grant passes up the tray without even so much as a glance. He's too busy studying Gwen. Perhaps not the classiest of women — maybe she wasn't raised in an upper-class household. But he could be wrong. It isn't unusual. The smile returns to his face. "I was just thinking about how nice that painting would look on the wall in my study." Yes, yes he plans to try to get in Gwen's way. Because it's fun, and he enjoys challenges.

Gwen's buyer isn't willing to wait for the amount of time that she'd have to in order to let Grant thing she's become disinterested in the painting in order to steal it. But then again, Grant doesn't know just how much she can do with the modern day security system. "I don't know." she remarks. "Are you much for the feminie mystique? You seem more a brandy and leather bound books sort of man. It'd upset your masculine feng shui."

"Mystique is one of the more charming aspects of a woman, and as I said, I am a simple man who enjoys beauty." Grant casts another glance at the painting as though seeing it in a new light and with new appreciation. "It would look perfect on the wall opposite the desk. The sunlight won't fade it there." Is he doing this on purpose? Yes. Turning his attention back to Gwen, he adds, "Of course, you are more than welcome to purchase it before me."

Gwen's expression turns from mildly pleasant to pissed off faster then it takes a NASCAR drive to pull his vehicle out from the starting line. She doesn't say a word, just sets her jaw and takes a step as if to get away from Brent. If he makes the purchase, she'll have to steal it tonight, and that's if he doesn't opt to have the piece sent home with him. If he does, she'll either have to rendez-vouz the shipment, or steal it from his house. Either way, she's going to get that painting.

Of course he would opt to have the piece sent home with him. It would be impossible to keep an eye on it if he didn't. Grant makes no moves to stop Gwen from leaving — in fact, he just finds more amusement in the anger he glimpses in her face. "I will see you later then, miss," he utters before turning to glance around the gallery. He has a man to see about a painting.

So somewhere along the way between the gallery and his luxurious Bev Hills home? His car battery goes out on him. He'll have ample opportunity to slow down and pull to the side, but it's on a fairly dark, not very well populated stretch just off the freeway.

Car trouble? Coincidence? It could be. It could also be something more devious at work. Grant manages to get the dead car safely off the road and put into park. After checking the starter again to make sure it's not a fluke, he exits the vehicle and reaches into his jacket pocket for his cell phone, all the while keeping a sharp eye out — and especially on the back seat, where the newly purchased painting lies.

Now here's a funny thing - it's not there. Now, he's been driving almost continuously from the moment he hit the parking lot and had the tube placed in the backseat to the moment he stopped here on the road. So where is it?

Good question. At first he thinks it could have fallen onto the floor, but opening the back door, he finds that it is indeed gone. Surprised, perhaps, but not angry, he takes a whiff of the car's interior — surely there are some pheromones in the air, however faint — eyes searching all about inside and outside through the windows for any signs of movement. She has to be somewhere nearby. Her power is related to touch.

Yes…there's definitely the scent of a woman in the backseat. But it's faint, and there's nothing to be seen outside. Until of course, he hears a soft click and his trunk pops open. There's a shifting sense of weight in the back which lightens after a moment. In his rear view mirror, he can see a feminine figure walking down the road, the tube in which the painting had been rolled strapped to her back.

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