Clint realized that he hadn’t been truly nervous in a long time. But tonight, as he stood in the middle of the art gallery and surveyed the opening of his very first photo exhibit, he could feel his palms sweating. Jus the act of watching people pausing in front of one of his pictures left him feeling on edge.
He looked round for Nikki. She’d been spending the first hour flitting around the gallery, greeting all the friends and acquaintances that she’d invited. He had to give her credit. There was a good crowd.
Nikki caught sight of him and excusing herself from her current group made her way over. She intertwined her arm through his and kissed him on the cheek.
“I think it’s going really great,” she whispered.
“I’m reserving judgement until the end of the evening.”
“Pessimist. Come on. Smile and try to enjoy yourself. This is an important evening for you. And the pictures look lovely. Everyone’s been saying so.”
Clint glanced around the room. Half the photos hung on the walls while the other half were propped up on easels. He and Nikki had come up with the idea together and he had to admit that he liked the effect. He smiled.
“There,” said Nikki, “See? A smile doesn’t kill you.”
“Thanks Nik. Also for inviting a ton of people. And just for…”
She saw that he was at a loss for words and so she kissed him. “I know. Thank you too.” There was a long moment where they just looked at each other, saying with silence things they could never have put into words and then he took her hand in his and they let the moment pass.
“It is a lot of people you brought here. You must have badgered everyone you knew.”
“I didn’t badger anyone. I know people who are interested in photography and I told them about it. There was zero badger. And I showed them some of your work.”
“Yes. I snitched a couple of the sample copies. Sorry. But I wanted to get them excited about the showing and I didn’t want to tell you I was showing them your work in case…” She glanced up at him a little guiltily.
“In case they hated it and didn’t come?” he finished for her, grinning.
“I never thought the word ‘hate’. No one could hate your work. It’s beautiful. But, you know, it might not have been their style. Or something. But they did love it, and they told their friends and got them to come. So many of these people are actually here because they liked your work. And tonight is absolutely going to be wonderful.”