“Added gratuity for gracious patience.” Well, she could handle that kind of surprise.

Sheryl’s Daily Prompt

Gabby Haines ran a small art supply business that provided a steady income, while she continued doing what she was passionate about, and that was painting. Her work was beautiful and sought after, but she was still in her infancy as far as being well known. She’d allowed a couple of clients to carry over for a couple of weeks because she knew and understood their circumstances.

Somehow, she’d slipped up and Montgomery Inc. hadn’t paid their bill in four weeks. She was positive she’d sent out a notice to that effect but she hadn’t received payment as yet. Normally she would have hated making the “phone call”. However, Montgomery Inc. was a large well-established company that could well afford to pay their bills and she expected prompt payment from them, and in fact, they’d never defaulted before. Since she hadn’t made any arrangements with Montgomery Inc. regarding a delay in payment, it was a cause of concern.

As they required a larger supply of equipment (in amounts she couldn’t afford to carry, especially if it didn’t sell immediately) they only used her services in a pinch when their regular supply was going to be delayed longer than expected. She filled their orders promptly and was paid equally promptly.

After placing a phone call to their accounts department, the last call of the day, she closed up and headed to her studio to finish the seascape she’d been working on.

A half an hour after closing, she heard the handle on the shop jiggle and someone knocking on the door. Surprised, she headed back to the shop and peered through the glass door. A tall handsome man stood there, his face pressed to the glass peering inside.

Carefully opening the door she asked, “Can I help you?”

“I’m Brad Montgomery from Montgomery Inc.”, he explained.

The surprise on her face was evident as she invited him inside. “Hi, Gabby Haines, owner of this fine establishment.” She smiled a mixture of amusement and pleasure.

“It was brought to my attention that we’d somehow overlooked payment and as I was on my way home, I thought I’d by-pass the system and drop the cheque off. I’d planned on arriving earlier but I was delayed. “

“I apologize for the tardiness of my staff in remitting payment and for keeping you after hours.”

“Not a problem. Come in, won’t you?”

“I just made coffee if your interested,” she offered.

“I’d love some. It’s been a hectic day all round.” He followed her through to the kitchen where she dragged a couple of beautiful ceramic cups from the cupboard.

After pouring she asked, “milk, sugar?”

“Black’s fine, thanks.”

“I’m not sure how the oversight happened, but I do sincerely apologize. I know you have been efficient and supplied our company in a pinch on several occasions. I make no excuse, I do apologize though.”

“It happens. I’m delighted that you responded however.”

He let his gaze roam through the lovely little house. “This is beautiful. Did you decorate this yourself?”

“Yes, as soon as I bought the place, I did a make-over and I’m quite pleased with the results.”

“You’ve created an airy freshness, both appealing and stylish. I’d say you have a flair.”

“It’s the artist in me. I looked at the bones as a blank canvas and started from there, which made the choices so easy.”

“Your a painter then?”

“Yes, not as well known as I’d like as yet, but with time, it will come.”

He caught sight of her work through the french doors and asked, “May I?”

“I’m not given to allowing anyone to see what I’m working on, as a rule, but please, come have a look.”

He walked beside her and feasted his eyes on the numerous paintings hanging on walls or nestled gently together. Some told a story, others begged you to enter as if you could walk down the path she’d painted. They were inviting, captivating, alluring and brilliant. “My god, these are exquisite.”

“Do you have a representative?”

“I do.”

“I hope your considered a top client, because your work is exceptional. These paintings simply draw you in. I can’t imagine anyone passing these up in favour of anyone else.”

“That is most kind of you, truly.”

“I’m quite serious. I think you need someone more involved with your work. If I may be so bold, I have someone in mind. Harold Franksworth. You may have heard of him.”

“Yes, indeed, I have. He handles some incredible artists.”

“That he does. With your permission, I’d like to give him your name and suggest he come take a look at your work for himself. I know he’d be delighted.”

“That is a generous offer. I’ll take you up on that, although I’m not sure my work is in the same league as his usual clients.”

“No, your right about that.” He paused and then added, “Your better!”

“Is there a more convenient time for you?”

“I work in the shop from nine to five and I close Sunday and Monday.”

“I’ll give him your name and he can contact you and make the arrangements. I’m sure he’ll be as excited at finding you as I am.”

“I must go, I have another stop to make before I’m finished for the day.”

After escourting him to the door, she said, “I’m in your debt.”

“No, no you aren’t. I’m passionate about art or I wouldn’t be in the business. I can’t paint a lick, but I know quality and beauty when I see it. You’ll be hearing from Franksworth very soon.”

He took her hand and shook it. “I’m delighted I made the trip personally.”

After she closed the door, Gabby couldn’t resist a little happy dance. Well well well, she sighed. This could be something. She tried to dampen her enthusiasm which was threatening to overtake common sense but she still gave one final little jig before heading back to her painting.

Noticing the cheque he’d stopped off, she picked it up and was about to place it in her purse. She stopped short, stunned at the amount of the cheque. He’d not only paid the account in full but added what he’d called a ‘gratuity for gracious patience’. This had been the day full of surprises, all pleasant ones too. She couldn’t help but smile and carry on to her studio with a skip in her step.

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Sat Aug 15 , 2020
The time had come for the judges to make their choices and a hush fell over the entire audience.

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