Prompt: #16.02 - Canvas
Title: A long-forgotten painting
Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Zeke & Casey
Word Count: 1532
Disclaimer: Of course, I don't own The Faculty nor the character :( - I'm just borrowing them for some fun
"Case? What's happened?"
Alarmed Zeke eyed his boyfriend, who was standing in his garden with wild sparkling eyes and a dark red face.
"You won't believe it," he wheezed out of breath as if he had made the way from his house to Zeke's in high speed.
"Remember the old canvas we did find on your attic two weeks ago when we cleared out it?"
Zeke's confusion raised even more. Of course, he could remember. The attic had been filled with a lot of old stuff from his grandparents no one cared about anymore. Most of it they had burned in the yard behind the house, some better items put aside, to bring them to the shelter later where Casey helped out from time to time. They would sell all the donated stuff at their yearly flea market to bring in some extra money for the animals.
The painting though had Casey taken home with him. How did he call it? A breathtaking mixture of colors and shapes, abstract painted but beautiful in a special way. To be honest, for Zeke it had looked more like some random blurs of colors, painted by a five-year-old child.
"Lemme guess. Your mom threatened to delete you from her last will if you don't get this thing out of the house," he joked.
"No, she actually likes it that I'm not a philistine. And you will love me for that too when you hear the news."
Casey grinned wide.
"I took the painting with me to school today."
Zeke rolled his eyes.
"I wanted to hear Mr. Brown's opinion about it," Casey continued unperturbed.
"He is not only a great photographer but interest in painting too. The canvas aroused his interest and he found a little signature I did overlook.
A. R. for Adolph Reinhardt. He is born in Columbus in 1913 and grown up in Akron. Last year he died, though."
"Adolph Reinhardt," Zeke repeated.
"My grandpa went to school with an Addy Reinhardt. They were close friends back then until Reinhardt moved to New York to go to College. My grandpa stayed back here, he married and established his company. But I remember that he sometimes went to the east coast, to visit his friend."
Casey's eyes sparkled exited.
"Reinhardt studied at the Columbus University, literature and art history. Later he became a member of the American Abstract Artist Group in New York and worked together with some famous artists.
Mr. Brown thinks that your canvas might be a first draft of one of his best-known paintings, done long before he went to New York. Maybe it was a gift for your grandpa.
Do you know, what this means?"
"That my grandpa had the same excellent taste like me when he decided better to hide this work of art on his attic?"
"You are an ignorant shit."
But despite his words Casey giggled slightly.
"Reinhardt is for sure not one of the big artists of his time, but there are art collectors who are willing to pay a lot for his work."
Now Zeke's interest was piqued.
"I went to the library and looked it up," Casey admitted.
"Some of his pictures were sold at auctions for about 70.000 $. Of course, you need to take the canvas to an art-gallery first, to make sure that it is not a fake. But Mr. Brown says there is a good chance that it is an original.
70.000 $, Zeke, and you were ready to burn it."
Zeke really needed a moment to let this sink in.
"Just good that you are geeky enough to fall in love with this thing. Now you are a rich boy."
"What do you mean?"
"The painting. It's yours, remember? I've told you to take it and do with it whatever you want."
The boy paled visibly while he shook his head.
"No, of course, I can't keep it. You didn't know about its price."
"But I would have given it to you anyway. It doesn't mean anything for me but you seem to like it. And if you have changed your mind, you can still sell it. You know, I don't need the money."
He knew instantly that this had been a mistake when he noticed the annoyance in Casey's eyes. It was right, money was not a problem for him. His grandparents died when he had been about twelve years old, a stupid car accident, and they had not only left him the house but also their share of the company. Until he would turn 21 years old a lawyer had the full authority about the company but the monthly check Zeke got was more than generous.
He would have loved it to spoil Casey a bit, but the boy was stubborn when it comes to that. He barely allowed him to pay for the pizza they ordered at Antonio's now and then.
"I don't want you to spend money for me," Casey used to tell him.
"It feels as if I'm only together with you because you are rich. But I would also love you when you would live somewhere under a bridge."
It actually was a great feeling to know that someone loved him just because of himself. Since his grandparents died he had never felt so safe again with someone else around. But sometimes this boy did drive him crazy. Like ... now. The money the painting could realize would change nothing for him but all for Casey.
"Think about the School of Visual Arts," he said.
"That was always wishful thinking. Like I was dreaming about it to flight to far away planets one day, but back then I was about ten years old. Today I know that an exclusive private school isn't up for debate. Getting a scholarship for the New York Academy of Art is the best what could happen to me, and it's a great College."
"Why to content yourself with the second-best when you can have the best?"
Casey pulled the face.
"I know what you have in mind," he growled.
"No chance, Zeke. You will take this stupid thing back. That's my final word."
And Zeke had known that this debate would go nowhere; when Casey was resolved like that, nothing would change his mind. He really was the most stubborn guy he knew.
Two weeks later. If Zeke would have had his way they would have donated the canvas to the shelter. He was just not interested to find out if it was an original by Adolph Reinhardt or just a children's painting. But Casey, of course, had insisted on bringing it to a gallery. Now they were on their way back home from Akron. Casey kept quiet, still shocked from the information they had just gotten, Zeke was entrapped in his own thoughts.
200.000 $ at least, the guy from the gallery had told them, after inviting them into his huge office, offering them tea or coffee, or maybe a soda, he would be able to get for the painting. He would be happy to undertake the selling, he said, and also recommended not to put into an auction but offer it directly to some museums.
"This is such a wonderful, unique piece of art. It would be a shame if it vanishes into a private collection again."
Even Zeke hadn't dared to tell him that it had been carelessly lying around at an attic for ages. If Casey was a geek this guy was the boss of all geeks, measured by the way he looked at the canvas in front of him.
"What are you going to do now," Casey asked with a still shaking voice when Zeke parked the GTO at the driveway of his house.
"You sure you don't want it?"
"Not this again, please."
"I thought so."
Zeke nodded with a slight smirk on his face.
"But maybe we can find a compromise."
"A compromise? What's that supposed to mean?"
Zeke looked at him affectionately, hard to put it into words how much he loved him. All he wanted was to see him happy. And Casey would be happy, in New York, at the School of Visual Arts.
"Case, without you these 200.000 $ would have ended in a fire at the backyard of my house. And it's only fair when you take at least some advantage out of it."
He lifted his hand to cut off Casey's protest.
"We will sell the painting. And you will take the money you need for the photo-school. We can make it official, with a contract and all.
I do believe in you. One day you will be famous and you will earn a shitload of money with your photos. Then you will pay me back. With a small profit-sharing. I'm sure you are a good money investment."
Casey needed a while to think about this offer.
"Can I sleep it over for a night," he finally asked.
Zeke nodded. He was sure that he had achieved his aim, the excited sparkling in Casey's eyes talked volumes.