A/N: This was written for a PPMB thread called 'A Different Type Of Writing Challenge', where writers were given prompts by other writers and had to come up with something. My prompt for this was "Claire Defoe has been lonely for altogether too long. One of her student's fathers is now a single man with a finalized divorce; his ex bailing on him with a much younger man. Who is Claire'sv lucky guy, and why? How/when does she ask him for a date?"
GOING, GOING, GONE!
Claire Defoe opened the door of her small apartment, a dripping umbrella in one hand and a stack of mail in the other. It had been an unseasonably rainy day in Lawndale, but she was thankful that she always came prepared for such things. She hooked the umbrella on her coat rack and put the mail on a nearby table before taking her coat off and adding that to the rack.
Yet another graduation over, she thought to herself as she went to the bathroom and grabbed a towel to dry her hair. While she was proud to see another group of students, she had noticed a couple of students seemed somewhat distracted and unhappy for some reason. I hope Rachel and Link are going to be alright.
Sitting down with a cup of green tea, Claire began to contemplate her life situation, something she'd been doing a lot lately. She'd been feeling somewhat alone lately. Her mother had passed away suddenly a few months ago, the last family member she really had left. But Claire another shock at the reading of her mother's will, where she'd been left quite a decent sum of money. She knew her mother was very careful with her money, and had drilled the importance of saving into her from a young age, but she had no idea just how frugal her mother had been. The inheritance had given her enough money to buy her apartment outright and still have a little bit of money left to put away, on top of her own personal savings. She wasn't rich, but she could certainly take retirement a few years early if she wanted.
Her social life wasn't much to write home about either. She would often go to local art fairs and exhibitions, but it was more to look at the displays rather than socialise. She hadn't been on a proper date in about 10 years. She'd signed up to an online dating site a couple of years before, but very quickly gave up on that idea after receiving a few somewhat questionable messages.
Claire decided to distract herself by reading today's copy of the Lawndale Gazette. She scanned the front page and sighed. Divorce Shocker, younger man, I really don't want to read that, she thought to herself as she quickly flicked through to the Arts section, reading about local events before tackling the pile of mail. Among the usual collection of bills and junk mail was a letter from the Maryland Arts Society, of which she was a member. Curious, she opened the letter and read it.
Dear Ms. Defoe,
Next Saturday, the Society will be hosting a special auction as a way to raise funds to help fund a new exhibition for local artists. We feel this is a worthy cause for our society, and as a member, we would be honoured if you could attend.
Please get in touch with us at your earliest convenience if you wish to attend the event. We hope we will see you there.
Director, Maryland Arts Society
Claire sat and contemplated the letter for a while. It wasn't often she was invited to these more formal events, but helping the local artists, including some of her more talented students, had always been something she enjoyed doing. She stood up and walked to her bedroom. Opening the closet door, she rifled through her outfits until she found one particularly garment, a simple, yet elegant sleeveless purple dress which she'd bought for special occasions.
Well, it has been a while...
Claire sat at a table, as she finished off a glass of wine. The auction had done well, with some interesting art pieces being sold. A couple of the paintings that had been sold were by Jane Lane, and she was proud to see one of her former students starting to get the success she felt her talent deserved. Her attempts to socialise with some of the other attendees hadn't been as successful, however. A lot of them were high society types whose topics of conversation didn't interest her, and the only other people she had any interaction with were a couple of so called 'gentlemen' who were clearly intoxicated.
The current series of auctions were bids for dates with various people, but she wasn't particularly paying attention to it. As she stared at her wine glass, running a finger around the rim, another woman's voice interrupted her.
"Excuse me. Claire, is it? Claire Defoe?" the woman asked, causing Claire to look up at and see a very well dressed woman with short, brown hair and a warm smile, "Kay Sloane."
"Oh, Kay. Lovely to meet you at last," Claire replied, shaking her hand.
"I hope you're enjoying the evening," Kay said.
"Oh, it's wonderful. It's great that everyone can come together for such a cause."
"Oh, and thank you for recommending Jane," Kay remarked, as she looked at some of the paintings on the wall, "I knew she was an artist, but I hadn't really seen her work before. It certainly drummed up some interest."
"I'm sure she'll be delighted about that," Claire replied with a smile.
"Well, if you'll excuse me, I have some business to attend to. Enjoy the rest of the evening," Kay said as she walked away.
Claire sat for a few moments and looked around the room at the art herself, a surprising array of styles on the walls. It pleased her to see the society was opening itself up more from the stuffy conformity of just a few years ago. She was completely oblivious to everything going on in the room, including the auctioneer.
"And now, our next potential date, sure to be in high demand..."
Claire turned her attention to the ornate sculpture in the middle of the table she was sat, a strange, blue, cube-like looking object with a complex, symmetrical pattern with small green gems lining some of the edges. She went to grab her wine glass to take another sip but remembered it was empty.
"We've got a bid of $9,000. Do I hear $10,000? Anyone in the room, or are we all done at $9,000? At $,9,000 going once, going twice..."
Claire raised her arm to get the attention of one of the waiters to order another glass of wine.
"And we have a new bidder in the room, at $10,000 with the lady in the purple dress..."
Claire looked up and at the stage and suddenly realised what had happened. She didn't notice the waiter who had brought her some wine.
"And any advance on $10,000? Going once... going twice... for the last time and sold."
It was only at this moment that Claire looked at the date that she'd inadvertently bid on, and suddenly things clicked into place. A divorce that made front page news in the Lawndale Gazette, Rachel being miserable in class. Suddenly it made sense.
"So, that's $10,000 for a date with Andrew Landon. Thank you for your generosity, ma'am."