Serena walked into the shop on Saturday morning and looked around despondently. Despite Xav’s claims of brilliance, he was unable to fix the electricity on Friday afternoon and promised to return after lunch on Saturday. Whether he would manage to fix it then was anyone’s guess.
Still, Serena figured she might as well get on with something while she waited. The main shop floor had enough light coming in through the gaps in the paper covering the windows that she thought she could finally finish painting the last wall. Groping around in the cupboard, she pulled out a tin of paint and some brushes and started work. It was relaxing in a way, those smooth motions up and down the wall, and it wasn’t long until she had completed the first coat and left it to dry before starting on the next coat.
She nipped out to the sandwich shop down the road for some lunch and returned to find Xav sat outside in his van.
“I’ll crack it today for sure,” he said as she unlocked the door and held it open for him. Behind his back she raised her eyebrows. There was no “for sure” when it came to Xav.
She left him to it and spent the rest of the day on the phone to the marketing firm she had employed with last minute questions about the campaign. She wanted as many people in the shop on opening day as possible and so that meant posters, leaflets and a huge banner to go outside the shop.
There was a cry of triumph from the other room and the lights came on. Xav sauntered into the room.
“Told you I could do it,” he announced.
“I had no doubts,” Serena replied. She pulled her cheque book out of her handbag. “How much do I owe you?”
It was just as Serena was handing over the cheque to Xav for a horribly large amount due to his weekend rates, that he looked over at the wall she had painted that morning and pulled a face.
“Did you know that wall is a different shade to the one next to it?” he asked.
Serena turned slowly, not wanting to discover whether he was correct or not. At first glance, she decided he wasn’t. Yes the wall looked a little different but that was only because she hadn’t added the next coat of paint yet. In time, it would be fine.
But then she looked closer. And it began to become very clear. With the lights now on in the shop, Serena saw what she hadn’t seen during the painting stage. The two walls in front of her were two different shades of green.
She let out a strangled cry and Xav backed away from her.
“Erm, I’ll just be going now, let you get on with sorting that out,” he said, backing towards the door.
She ignored him, her head in her hands, once again wishing that Bernie was here with her. Why even was there two shades of green paint in the cupboard? And why didn’t she check before starting? It looked like another late night at the shop.