CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY-THREE
Thursday night — 10:45 p.m.
“Nash?” Noelle whispered.
They were sleeping in the den of Seth O’Malley’s house. True to form, Teddy was sound asleep on the floor. Nash was on the big couch, and she was lying on the smaller love seat. Noelle could hear Nash’s silently crying.
Samantha Hargreaves had come to talk to Valerie after she’d talked to Nash. Valerie brought Samantha into Mike’s studio where Noelle was working on the miniature painting Mike had assigned. Noelle had listened to these great women worry over her brother. She knew that he was suffering but Noelle was pretty sure they had no idea what was wrong. Mike had nodded for Noelle to contribute to the conversation but she’d just remained silent and worked on her painting.
How could these women possibly understand?
Noelle had promised herself that she would talk to Nash when she got back to Seth O’Malley’s house, where they were staying. But Nash was moving heavy plants for Delphie in the green house. Teddy was learning to cook from Maresol so she wasn’t able to talk to him either. She’d been hustled off to the shower. By the time she was done, dinner was waiting in the big dining room.
Mike had insisted that she take her the piece she was working on with her so that she could look at it in different lights to see what it needed. Of course, Seth’s Dad, Bernie, had seen her painting and wanted to talk about it.
To Noelle’s horror, she was the center of attention at dinner. It was a portrait of her mom, Sandy in watercolor on a polished Mammoth bone Mike had gotten from Snow Mass. Her painting was a miniature, not more than three and a half inches high and a little more than two inches wide. Noelle hoped to finish it before Sandy got home from the hospital.
Much to her surprise, the adults actually knew a lot of about art — even Maresol. They had some really interesting things to say about her miniature. They asked her why she was working on bone. (Because ivory was cruel.) They asked her how Mike had obtained the Mammoth bone. (A Lipson construction guy who had worked the Snow Mass site had sold it to Mike. Yes, he had a permit to sell it.) And then they started talking. She’d taken notes. Even Nash and Teddy had listened in fascination.
At Bernie’s encouragement, Seth had gotten up to get a small painting that had belonged to his mother. He returned with a miniature masterpiece about the size of her painting. Noelle knew off the bat that this was painted by Eulabee Dix. She’d been bold enough to talk about the piece like she knew something. She’d told them that it was watercolor on ivory — they didn’t know any better then — and that this was a picture of Ethel Barrymore.
That caused a lot of loud conversation as no one had known the woman in the miniature. The adults made a big effort not to use electronic tools. Bernie had brought out an enormous, heavy book of New York artists from the American Society of Miniature Painters. They were finishing their pie when everyone agreed that it was indeed Ethel Barrymore.
Noelle had been so flushed by the attention that she’d lost track of her worry for Nash.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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