The next morning, neither one knew what to say to one another, so Lisa dropped Kristy off

at school. Looking at her clock, she knew she’d have to learn to wake up earlier. Kristy

takes more time in the bathroom than I do. At least it gave me time to finish up my

painting. After getting her painting out from the trunk of her car, Lisa entered the small

building across from the other shopping malls in the promenade. She never thought she

would be late for work. Never thought she would have a roommate. Can’t believe my sister

would do this to me! She wanted to scream and hit something. Lisa pushed opened the

door with her back, causing the entrance bells to ring.

“Morning, Maggie,” Lisa said.

“Hey Lisa,” Maggie said, she wore a black vest jacket and suit pants to match, and she

came out from around the cashier counter to hold the door open. After Lisa brought in the

panting she leaned it on a wall and unveiled it. Maggie gasped. “That’s so beautiful!” Her

blue eyes sparkled in the fluorescent lighting. Maggie looked around on the fabric walls

that gave the gallery a cozy feeling. Paintings of huge sea ships that came out toward you.

Cities lit up at night. Lisa followed Maggie around a corner under some darkened art lights.

On the wall hung nature paintings, the lights highlighting certain areas of grass and trees.

She found a blank spot. “I think this would be good. People will see it when they walk in so

maybe it’ll have better luck.” Maggie took the panting of the angel and hung it up. “I like


“Thanks,” Lisa said, “even my niece liked it.”

“You babysitting?” Maggie asked.

“No. She’s fourteen. Last night my sister asked me to take in my niece for a few months.”

“A few months?” Maggie asked. “Now that’s a commitment.”

“That’s why I was late. Waiting for her to get out of the bathroom. It’s going to be tough

times ahead.” Lisa looked at her painting with her arms crossed. “I have a good feeling

about Celestina.” Not to mention a strange one as well.

Lisa and Maggie proceeded to open up the store. Lisa pinned her gold nametag onto her

vest pocket. People were starting to come in and look around while some others looked in

the window but kept walking. A couple with a child asked Lisa if there were paintings of

ships and she pointed them in the right direction.

While the parents looked at the paintings the child roamed around while Maggie watched

her every move. I don’t know why she doesn’t put up aKEEP AN EYE ON YOUR KIDS” sign.

A tall man in a trench coat strolled by the window, his collar turned up against the wind.

He stopped and looked back at the window with his shades on. It seemed he was staring

right at Lisa. He stepped inside and strolled up to the counter. She considered herself tall,

but she had to crane her neck to see his Adonis-like face. “How may I—” The man

removed his shades, revealing jade green eyes. Lisa forgot what she was going to say.

“Um, is there a restroom I can use?”

She pointed him toward the back. She eyed his short black hair above his broad

shoulders. Where did he come from? Lisa began filling papers in a drawer. Lisa noticed

that the girl had started to trowel around, but that Maggie was keeping an eye on her

without being obvious about it. The guy with the shades returned and, walked up to the

desk. “Can I ask you something? Who did that painting of Celestina?”

“That would be me,” Lisa said.

“Lisa Gale,” he read off her nametag. “Very elegant. Looks so real. I’m Joe. I just moved


Lisa held out her hand. “I hope you like it in our little Haven City.” She smiled. Can I be

your personal tour guide? “And what do you do?”

“I’m a mechanic. I work out of my garage for right now. I was just getting some spare

parts when I needed to stop. I’m glad I did because I wouldn’t have gotten to see your

painting. I need to go, but I’ll be back to see what else you’ve painted.” Joe’s trench coat

swept the brown carpet as he headed toward the door.

5   7