Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lomax Family Ch. 9 Elle's Art Gallery

For a while now Elle Lomax had been talking about quitting her job and opening an art gallery. Her husband Corky made very good money as a top medical researcher and he had no objections--as long as Elle still had plenty of time for him. He'd always been very proprietary with Elle, but she didn't mind; she was in love with him and he pleased her in all ways--except for his jealousy. It wasn't out of control, but when it came to another man talking to her or worse, flirting, his sense of humor went right out the window. 

When they had become a couple, just before they started college, the attraction was pretty much instantaneous on both their parts. Elle, however, had dated a couple of other guys in high school while Corky had never dated anyone before her. In fact, Elle had given him his first kiss at the pool party that Lori Ferguson had thrown days before they all left for Sim State U. 

The thing was that Elle, like Lori Ferguson, was especially curvy and, in fact, had to watch her weight closely. Both of these women attracted more than their fair share of attention at times, although Elle was much more voluptuous than Lori. The thing was Lori secretly enjoyed admiring looks from men, but Harvey was not the jealous type. At least not so it showed. Whereas Elle did not want men to flirt with her at all, except for her husband, of course. What Lori did or thought was not of much interest to Corky, but what Elle did was another thing. She never gave him reason to worry about her actions, though, he was more worried about men's reactions to her. He went off to work happy and whistling every day and sometimes worked long hours, not obsessing about Elle at all, but the minute he was home he wanted attention from her. He shared her with the art world and her family, but little else. This gallery was important to her, though, and, even though it would consume a lot of her time, Corky wanted her to be happy. Maybe not that many men would come to an art gallery...

Telling him that she still needed to think a little more about the venture anyway, Elle mused on her way to work, and pondered when she was home. She continued to work as a conceptual artist at Pathways Foundation where she could paint to her heart's content as well as paint on weekends if she chose to do so. Painting was still so important to her--if she opened a gallery she would have to paint in her off hours alone, could she be happy? Elle loved sharing her passion with others, though, and thought that exposing people to the artwork that she admired and had spoken to her and making it available to them would be exhilarating. 

Meanwhile, Elle had been growing out her very short, spiky hair. She had not had long hair since high school and Corky had thought she was sexy with short hair, but she knew he would really like her to grow it long. He'd been so supportive and loving about her art gallery, Elle thought she should please him in this small way. 

Finally, as she made dinner one night and they had their meal she talked again with Corky and they reviewed their finances. 

"It think you should go ahead, otherwise you'll always wonder if you could have made a success of it," he advised, "Let's go look at that building again and if you still want it, we'll pay the money and you can start decorating it and choosing what you want to offer for sale."

"But, what if it's all for nothing and I stink at sales?"

"Don't talk crazy--I've never known you to stink at anything, babe. You'll be great. And if you don't like it after you've given it a fair trial, well then, you can go back to what you're doing now. I think they'd take you back in a heartbeat."

They were in no hurry to have children so this was her chance to try something new and exciting.

"You are the sweetest guy," Elle marveled, "I think I just fell in love with you all over again."

"Prove it," he grinned wickedly.

"Oh, don't you know I will, babycakes."

The next morning while Corky hit the exercise machine, Elle dressed and then called the realtor and they started the process of starting her new business. Corky was with her all the way. Elle couldn't think of a really catchy name for the gallery so for the time being they simply called it Elle's Art Gallery.

There was plenty to do for Corky when Elle was busy; he still liked to tinker with cars along with playing his beloved piano, or even the drums or guitar, and had recently started learning to garden. He kept an eagle eye on his wife just the same. On the days she knew she would have to work late, instead of driving herself there, Corky dropped her off in the morning before he went to work and came by when he got off. He helped her with any restocking that needed to be done, hung new pieces of art, went through the sales receipts and kept track of the bottom line. As far as Elle was concerned, her name was on the building, but the business belonged to both of them. Art, and as it turned out, selling that art were something she was good at, but she hated the finances part. Corky took care of all of that for her. 

The art gallery was a success almost right away. Elle hired all women just to give Corky's overworked imagination a break. One of them was MacKenzie Goth, Colby Goth's new wife. MacKenzie admitted she was a novice at sales, so Elle didn't tell her that she, too, was actually a novice at that. Instead she started her out as a restocker. MacKenzie did well at that, but near the end of the days the gallery was open late Elle had her put aside restocking to tidy up and then go home. Once the business was closed for the evening Elle and Corky did the rest of the restocking.

Many of Elle's friends in Pleasantview came into the gallery. In fact, Lori and Harvey Ferguson were two of her very first customers on opening day. Melanie Caswell's father, Errol Flynn showed up, too, as well as one of Elle's sister-in-laws, Lucy Burb Lomax.

Besides not caring for the financial end of the business, Elle found out that she was quite slow as a cashier. This bothered her since she'd figured she would have time to talk at length with a customer and still ring up their sales. She finally gave in and hired a cashier but then had to fire the other salesgirl she'd hired. The girl was too pushy and lost as many sales as she accomplished. Elle's policy was that she would rather not sell a painting than have a customer harassed. As for her own sales technique she was quietly enthusiastic about the works of art she sold, and was happy to show any artwork. She thought people should make up their own mind, though, about what appealed to them.

On the days Corky worked he got off before Elle, but always greeted her with a kiss when she arrived. On her days off, she always made a special supper for him and they talked about his day and hers. Since the gallery was making a profit, Elle was pleased and so was Corky. What lay ahead they did not know, but right now they were happy and content.


Lomax Family: Is Chelsea Lomax Lassiter missing?


Ordinarily the update on Chelsea (2nd in line of the Lomax siblings) would go in at this point, but now that she has married Trey Lassiter that has changed. From now on Chelsea Lomax Lassiter will be found under the John Lassiter Family updates. When I get to those I will go back and put a link to her update here, but for now this will be the only information I can give out on the couple; although you may expect to see them appear occasionally in other updates as peripheral characters before I update them. Not to worry, they will be back with their own update before too long (That is, I hope before too l long!)

Trey and Chelsea on the return from their surprise Las Vegas nuptials:

So, with the next Lomax Family update we will move on to Larry Max's third oldest child, Corky and his wife, Elle and then on to Andy and Holly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 7 More Decisions Pt. 2

Lori was still quiet the rest of the evening after her husband Harvey had talked to her about the job options open to him and he presumed she was doing just as he asked; considering which option would make her the most happy. Harvey couldn’t be happy if Lori was not.

In the middle of the night, though, she woke him--her voice soft and a little anxious,

"Harvey? I have something to tell you.”

“What is it?” he rubbed his eyes and turned over to face her.

“I’m…I’m pregnant, Harvey.”

This, of course, was what they had wanted, but these two new career ventures had not been in sight when they made their decision. Now Lori was worried that Harvey would think a baby would complicate things immeasurably and he would regret that a child was now on the way. But his face lit up,

“Honey, that’s great!”

Sighing with relief, she said,

“Oh, thank goodness. I was so worried.”

“You shouldn’t have worried, Brat. This is what we both wanted, remember?”

She nodded. Harvey wrapped his arms around her and they both fell asleep.


The holidays were fast approaching and Lori decided to practice up on her cookie making skills. She loved Christmas so much that she usually starting putting up decorations a week after Halloween. It had taken a while, but now Harvey was used to this. In fact, she always made him watch Christmas DVD’s with her as soon as fall began.

“I think I know every line from A Christmas Story by heart now,” he had told his friend Gareth Caswell, “And I could probably sing every song from Holiday Inn and White Christmas. I don’t mind The Santa Clause movies, but she makes me watch all those really old movies too; some in black and white. And we have to watch both versions of The Grinch, the one with Jim Carrey and the cartoon one from fifty years ago. Oh, and don't let me forget to mention A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Gareth had only laughed,

“Man, I know what you mean; Melanie is nuts about old movies, too. I have to put up with Christmas in Connecticut, Miracle on 34th Street and about four versions of A Christmas Carol, including a musical. You know how I hate musicals everyone talking and then suddenly prancing around or singing to each other.”

“Yeah, Lori has all of those ones, too. Well, I guess I don’t really mind,” Harvey admitted, “She always makes crazy-good snacks and desserts when we watch that stuff. And she’s really in a romantic mood afterward. I’m not sure why, but I’m definitely not complaining.”

Now that he knew a baby or babies were in the near future, Harvey put off a decision on the on St. Marisa Island job vs. the gym at least until after Christmas. Of course, he could lose the architectural job by delaying, but he saw no way around it. He didn’t really want to move Lori so far away from her family while she was pregnant and he just could not seem to concentrate on it right now. Lori was in a very high spirits lately even though morning sickness plagued her for a while. Once her pregnancy was evident she blathered on about names every single night before they went to sleep. Harvey just smiled indulgently.  

Lori was worried she would put so much weight on during her pregnancy she would  never get it off and so she worked out faithfully every day. Her mother fought her own weight constantly and had all her life and Lori was built just like her. To add to that, Lori loved her own cooking too well.  Harvey said he didn’t care at all if she did gain weight. He thought she was a knockout either way, but Lori knew how dedicated he was to fitness and she just didn’t want to disappoint him. Besides she was a bit vain and as a bipolar really did have a stronger than usual need to be desired and thought beautiful. By nearly everyone. That was a plain fact and Harvey accepted that about her.

Although she was watching her weight, Lori indulged her sweet tooth with cherry cheesecake quite often. Of course she tended to eat it on the sly—waiting until Harvey was out of the house or at least taking one of his naps.

To her surprise he had begun a new painting and it was of Lori—one where she was sleeping quietly in their bed.

“What in the world?” she smiled when it began to take shape and she recognized herself.

“Yeah, one night I woke up and you looked so sweet and peaceful I was sure you were dreaming about babies, so I took a photo of you with my phone. You were really tired that night and never even woke up when I did it,” he admitted, "I've been working off that photo."

The doctor had said Lori would probably have her baby a couple of weeks after Christmas. This meant their holiday would be relatively quiet. But babies often surprised even doctors…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 7 More Decisions Pt. 1

Harvey Ferguson had a decision to make and he had thought about it for weeks before he planned to talk with Lori about it. He knew he should have told her right away since it would definitely affect her too, but he was one to mull things over a long time. Although Lori had high intelligence—she’d always aced her studies with time to spare in school--she tended to be emotional and would push for quick action. Harvey wanted to figure out what the pros and cons were before bringing it up for discussion. Logic and caution were his hallmarks.

He was now a city planner and had been approached by another company with big plans and they wanted him for the project. It was early morning as he sat at his drawing board. The prospect of this project was exciting and challenging. But it meant moving out of the U.S. and away from Pleasantview. It was a Saturday and Lori was getting ready to go clothes shopping in Bluewater. Harvey decided to go to the gym in the hope that it would fine-tune his brain as well as the rest of his body. 

At Amelia’s Closet Lori ran into Chelsea’s mother, the infamous Jenny Lomax Hammond. Lori knew that Chelsea and Jenny were estranged, but the woman had always been nice to Lori and she seemed eager to talk. While there Lori noticed Dylan Ottomas, Brian's older brother, shopping nearby. She kept running into him and it unnerved her although she wasn’t sure why. The last time he’d barely noticed her but this time he was watching rather closely as she conversed with Jenny.
When Jenny left, Lori noticed to her relief that Dylan had gone, too. Stopping at the new restaurant Le Magnifique! she was happy to see Elle’s mother, Bobbi Jo Cooke.
After her meal she got up to visit the powder room and ran smack into Melanie, who had just had her baby a couple months ago. Lori had not even seen little Scarlett yet and Melanie said she and Harvey must come over.
“That would be great but I’ll have to check with Harvey what day we can come,” Lori told her.
“No problem, give me a call tonight or tomorrow after you’ve talked to him. I’ve missed you!”
Lori still had more errands to run, so she could not stay with Melanie while she dined, but they hugged and she promised to phone her. 

Next she went by Chelsea’s new flower shop. It was doing quite well, evidently, and she had to compliment Chelsea, the place was beautiful. She chose some fresh flowers and some silk ones to bring home.

Meanwhile, that same morning Harvey worked out at the 1-2-3 Gym and couldn’t help thinking it could be a much better place and make more money if he was the one running it. Elle Lomax was there and they spoke a few minutes after their workout. When he left there he stopped off at the Good Eats Café for lunch, still thinking about the gym and how he would change it if he owned it.

When he got back home Lori was still in Bluewater Village so he read for relaxation but pondered a bit more. Should he choose to take Lori and go to the island of St. Marisa to plan virtually a whole city there as the architectural company wanted? It was the opportunity of a lifetime, he knew. Or should he stay here with family, make less money and run the gym where he could enjoy one of the three hobbies he liked most after gaming and just above fishing? Of course, the owner might not want to sell it, but Harvey was willing to give him a very good price and he knew the man. He was not too ambitious or business savvy, that was why the gym was not doing all that well.

By the time Lori arrived she was carrying bags of new clothing and a lot of flowers he had to help her bring in so he waited until supper to tell her about the job offer. Neither of them had ever lived anywhere but Pleasantview except for their time at the University. She seemed very quiet.

“Living on the island would be wonderful—like living at Twikkii all the time,” she said, “And it would really be a feather in your cap. Besides I know you are dying to prove you can do it.”

“Well, here’s the thing…”

And he told her of his other idea regarding the gym. Again she listened silently without interrupting. This was unusual for Lori. When she did speak she sounded a little less cautious. 

“That sounds like a wonderful thing for you to try, too, Harvey. And we could stay right here in this house. Of course,” she paused, looking serious, “it would be a gamble and you would probably not make as much money as you do now. At least not for a while. But I don’t care about the money, really, you know that.”
Harvey smiled slightly,
“I know you think you don’t care about money but you are used to having money.”
He was referring to the fact that her father, John Lassiter, was a billionaire. He had quite a few lucrative business investments in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina, plus he’d inherited land and money from his mother. The Lassiters owned a second home on Twikkii Island, and whatever they needed they could have. Their house was no mansion, but it was quite large and right on the water. Of course, Harvey’s parents were on the water, too, but the house was more modest and his father was a retired private investigator, so he was no billionaire nor even a millionaire.
In point of fact, neither Harvey or Lori had ever had to worry about money except when they were starting out and buying a home. Her father would be leaving all four of his children a great deal of money and, in fact, was gifting each of them quite a bit of this every year.
“It helps with my taxes,” he always claimed.
“With what investments we have and the money Daddy gives us we should be able to take a chance on the gym, don’t you think?” Lori asked.
“Well, I believe I’m going to talk with your father. He has owned and run several businesses.“
Lori laughed,
“That’s the thing; Mom says that he always preferred to take over a business, get it on its feet and then he would get bored and sell it—at a large profit—just so he could do the same thing with the next company. I guess  he would be the best man you could talk to about it because basically that’s how you’re thinking: I can make this gym better.”
She grew quiet again.
“What do you want to do, Harvey?”
“I don’t now, I’m still trying to decide. You know me, I’ll need to think about it some more. I don’t like to rush into things. I want you to think about it too, honey, I need to know your honest opinion after you’ve done that.”

Lori nodded. Harvey waited for her to say something else, but she kept her own counsel. He knew she would tell him eventually a little more of what she was thinking, but it was really unusual for her to be so reticent. More than unusual, it was almost odd...