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The invitations have been printed & mailed, announcements have been sent to the appropriate media outlets, the art is hung, well lit in their attractive gallery space in Santa Monica. Eleanor is vibrant & eager on the day of their opening reception: with Justin in charge of the catering, she has no worries about the success of the party. With his art on the walls, she has no fears about the success of the show. Justin's work thrills & amazes her with it's visceral beauty, and she expects the entire art world to agree with her on this. Eleanor approaches the gallery door the night of the opening with confidence, but turns as she realizes Justin is still hanging by the car. Eleanor walks back a few steps to join him: he seemed all right about this, once he had agreed to it, right up to this moment. "Elle, what am I supposed to do in there? Who am I supposed to be?" he asks, his voice complete devoid of the command it normally holds. Tonight is a big event for her, and if he were any kind of 'normal' person this would be a very big event for him, too, but he's just worried he won't live up to her expectations. If he were any kind of 'normal' person, he wouldn't be Justin, she thinks, and she lays her hands firmly on his chest as she tells him to be himself, that she loves him & not to worry about the show, she's got it taken care of. Above everything, he needs clearly defined parameters, Eleanor has learned: if he's confused, he panics. When he pulls her close & kisses her neck, she knows he's been soothed, and he's ready to go inside

The show is a great success, everthing from start to finish goes off perfectly, the guests include the right mix of Hollywood celebrities, art establishment somebodies and unknown 'artsy types' like her own friend Xtina to give the gallery the right 'authentic' tone. Eleanor can't publish her own reviews of Justin's work, but she has written them, has and endless flow of words of appreciation for his images, all of which she pitches now, making sure everyone here tonight recognizes his brilliance. Even while she's talking to one person, she's listening to what others are saying, and it's all everything she wanted to hear. And the prints are selling.

Eleanor opted not to tell Justin ahead of time her 'aunt' Beatrix might show up this evening: as bad as he is with surprises, she thought he would deal with it better this way than fretting about it in advance. Beatrix called Eleanor from Tokyo to say she would be stopping in L.A. on her trip back home: when Eleanor told her about the gallery reception, Beatrix said she would see if she could arrange her travel to be in time for it. Eleanor shows the woman, not really her aunt but a close friend of her mother, around the gallery, telling her about Justin's work and how proud she is of it. Finally she introduces her to Justin himself, openly calling him the 'love of my life', a more dramatic turn of phrase than she's used to, but Eleanor wants it spoken quite clearly, as it will be reported back to her mother. Beatrix is her mother's friend, but she isn't her mother, and doesn't have her mother's immediate disdain of Justin. Perhaps if Eleanor's mother had met Justin under circumstances like these, her reaction might also have been different, Eleanor thinks.

Justin handles the surprise introduction very well, though it leaves him with little to say, so Eleanor relieves him & continues her tour with Beatrix, inviting her to sample from what's left of Justin's incredible catering job. Of course Eleanor is all about the art, but she hasn't failed to notice the compliments the spread has been getting, especially from the art critics in the room, and she's been bragging about his cooking since they've been together, she's not going to stop completely, though it now takes second place to talking about his work. Before the reception is over, Eleanor invites Beatrix to visit them tomorrow at their house.

When it's over and they are getting in to the car to leave, Eleanor tells Justin how happy she is with how it all went. "You were magnificent, Elle," Justin answers, "You do an amazing job with the hard sell. You'll even have me believing I'm a genius if you keep it up." It's hard to accept, he doesn't love his own work like she does, he doesn't recognize his own talent. "Justin, I did do a bit of 'salemanship' in there. That's the business. But you are brilliant, you know, and I believe everything I've been saying about you in there," she says, needing him to understand how much his work means to her, not wanting him to think she's playing a game with the public. "Since when, Elle? Because of these pictures? I just don't get it, how all of a sudden I'm a different person, just because of these pictures..." Justin says, and Eleanor's heart twists inside it's cage. For a whole year, she would barely look at or listen to him, while she was falling in love with his online alter ego, and since they've been together, she's seen things in him that she can't believe she wasn't able to see from the start. He's held her up on a high pedestal, and Eleanor has to admit to herself that she revels in his unabashed admiration of her. But it isn't right for him to believe that she doesn't admire him in return. "No, not all of a sudden, Tiger," she whispers, stroking his hair, "It's taken me so long to recognize it, I'm ashamed of myself. I never paid attention to you at all, when we first met, I didn't see you for what you are, I told myself you were someone else, until you made me see you. Every day, I learn things about you that make me love you more, I'm always thrilled & amazed by you. Nothing has changed, about you, about me...I just see things more clearly now. I love you Justin, I always will."


Meet the Characters & Read the Stories. Stories are for Mature readers, and may contain content not suitable to children under 16 or more sensitive readers. Tour Sim L.A.: visit the lot screenshot galleries, get links to objects sites. (Lots available for download at calisims yahoo group) All the Misc. stuff: Out-takes section, Links, Calisims award, Contact info