Renovation & Revelation

Zane's Hardware

Zane's Hardware is the very typical locally owned hardware store. Upon entry there is a large desk with a cash register on it. Behind the desk on a wall are several items that may be best kept out of reach of children or those not quite of age. The store then opens up into several isles of merchandise, all neatly arranged by type and size. It's a modest sized store, not nearly as big as one of the box stores in the market.

One large room is set aside as a demo room. This is where classes are held to help instruct those who wish to learn to do things themselves. It features everything from plumbing issues to building small items.

The store hours are always different on Sundays to account for church. It opens late and closes early, allowing those who work more freedom on their weekends. Usually the one working is the owner, but some day that may change. Currently the store is void of customers, and immediate inspection may prove that there are no clerks inside either. Just out of sight in the back room is none other than Zane Wright, owner of Zane's Hardware. The door will chirp if anyone enters so he is using the time to get some restocking accomplished until he is needed to assist someone.

There are times when Desiree really hates the building that houses the studio and her apartment. It's old, built God knows when, and though it's held up pretty well over the years, things break. Important things like wiring and plaster and such. Lighting in the studio is in drastic need of updating, and so it's to a hardware store Desiree heads, hoping for answers and maybe a lead to a good contractor who could help renovate part of the studio before fall classes begin. It's after church, to which Desiree goes every time she can, though she doesn't do the confession thing, and she's free, so it's at Zane's Hardware she ends up. The door chirps when she enters, a little bewildered at all the things she sees. Some she recognizes (regular tools), but other stuff leaves her baffled. Finally, she just walks up to the main counter, waiting for service.

The chirping alerts the clerk to the presence of a guest at the exact moment his hands are completely full. It takes a brief period of fumbling around and a muffled call from the back room before he finally emerges. Despite working in a hardware store the man is extremely clean and well kept; a familiar face around the immediate community. "I apologize for that, Miss. I should have been paying more attention." This is said as Zane steps towards the counter. Once he reaches it he stands on her side rather than the other, taking a personable approach. "Is there something I can do to assist you?"

A face easily recognizable, even by Desiree who doesn't pay much attention to politics in Dallas. "You're Zane Wright, aren't you?" she queries. "I recognize you from TV." Her smile is wide and pleased. Her appearance, likewise, is neat and clean, comfortable for a Dallas summer, save for a scarf tied around her neck. It /could/ be for accent or decoration, but it's placement is a little high on the neck for that. "I hope you can help me, Mr. Wright. I'm in dire need of someone who can point me to the lighting repair area and tell me what I'd need to fix these kind of lights." She pulls out some photographs of her studio interior. The lights are old fashioned spotlights, and recessed lighting from the 60s. "Not enough light for a dance studio." Wright might recognize Desiree as well; she's done enough commercials and ads around Dallas, as well as for Vampire Rights and the AVL.

The immediate recognition by someone not considered a regular is almost surprising but he doesn't seem to react all that much. Instead he nods firmly as he even offers a hand in greeting. That is what a proper gentleman should do, at the very least. "Indeed I am. I think that puts me behind in this because I'm not certain who you are. Although, you do look familiar to me." Regardless of if the offered hand is taken or not, Zane listens to her situation and even views the pictures. "I've seen these before. They likely could be fixed up a little but I'm not sure if they'll provide you with the lighting that you want. Have you considered drop down lighting for the studio? Perhaps some florescent bulbs? I could point you in the right direction, but it might be best if you have someone do the work for you if you're unsure of what needs to be done. I'd be mighty upset if I learned that you electrocuted yourself on something I could have helped you with."

The handshake is accepted, her hand almost delicate. Certainly not suited for hard work. "Well, I'd rather not get electrocuted myself," she replies, smiling widely. "Desiree DeVilliers, owner of Studio 10," is said by way of introduction. "You've probably seen me on local commercials and such. I did the Pig Shack ads where I was dressed as 'Effie the Pig,' if that jogs your memory." A horrible ad where Desiree wore a sexy leotard, ears, nose and curly tail, and danced around the barbeque place. "Though that's hardly one of my most memorable roles." She laughs. "When money's short, you take what you can get, right?" Affable, friendly, a pleasant expression. "So, can you recommend someone who can help?" she asks, eyes hopeful. "I'd have to consider price, though. I'm not all that wealthy, though I could probably arrange a loan, if need be."

Her delicate hands considered, the handshake is firm yet gentle. Respectful. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss DeVilliers." When the pig commercial is mentioned he gives a hearty laugh. "I believe I know what you're talking about. As you said, we all take what we can get. Besides, it's better to be recognized for that than for something even more demoralizing." Zane's mind instantly goes to porno, or an Old Navy commercial. Those usually are career enders. The photograph is examined more as he considers the possibilities. "If you'd like the names and numbers of some electricians closer to you, I'd be more than happy to get that information. I could probably do this for you myself, though. It would be short work, honestly, and I'd only charge you for cost of equipment." As Zane's business primarily is not his electrical work he tends to not charge labor fees. "I'd just need to see the studio to take some measurements, take a day or two to ensure that I have everything needed and then a few hours to install the new lighting."

"I like the idea of drop down lighting," Desiree muses as Zane speaks. "I don't now about florescent lights, though. I suppose they could work, but the studio really needs … I don't know. Perhaps it will be best for you to see the place first." She nods, tapping a perfectly manicured fingernail on the photos. "To be perfectly honest, the entire building needs renovation. I blow fuses all the time, and I might as well forget running too many devices at one time." She sighs. "Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely old building from the outside, but the interior needs work. Serious work. I … I just don't have the money to do as many major overhauls as it needs—-hot water heater, plumbing, painting, all that."

A thumb and forefinger begin to play at his chin as he considers all of the options, including the additional information that he's receiving. "I can still install some drop down lights for you easily enough. I'll determine the type once I get there and really see the type of lighting that you need. That is, if you'd like me to. If not, I can get you those names you requested." There's a pause as Zane actually reaches over the counter and finds a clipboard with some information on it. "I keep the information as it's needed and don't mind making you a copy." With this explanation out of the way, he decides to tackle the bigger issue. "If it's truly an older location, it likely doesn't follow the current recommendations that are used for new structures. You'll need outlets every six to eight feet, although they can easily be hidden if you're worried about the overall appearance of your studio. Fixing all of that, and updating the wiring so it can handle your needs is a time intrusive repair. I can't lie to you, Miss DeVilliers; if you ask that of one of these guys, you'll likely need to take out a small loan to afford it. That is, if you're looking for this to be completed within the next week or two."

She chews her bottom lip, then seems to make up her mind. "It's Desiree, please. No need to be formal," she tells him. "And, I'd be glad to take you up on your offer. I've a couple of months before Fall classes begin, so I'd like to get the job done as soon as possible, but there's not an immediate rush." She looks at the man, smiling, her expression friendly and her appearance fresh and lovely. "Today isn't good for me, I have evening Mass, and I need time to get ready, but maybe you could visit the studio sometime this week? I could at least pay you for mileage, since it's quite a ways to my place from here." Again she chews her bottom lip. "I know it's not up to code. I keep my fingers crossed all the time. It was grandfathered in on a lot of things, and the other half-owner has made some improvements. She just doesn't have much interest in the business these days."

"Very well; Desiree it is." He smiles at this, as if they've been friends for some time as opposed to strangers meeting for the first time. "I tell you what; I really hate to see a pretty young thing like yourself so upset. I have to tend to the store most days during the day, at least until my other staff arrives. The immediate lighting fixture can be done within a matter of days, whenever it fits your schedule. After that?" The clipboard is then returned to the proper location behind the counter before he removes an organizer. "I have little league to coach, and a few church activities in the next few weeks, plus some meetings since I'm still trying to be convinced to make that step into politics." Zane has already decided to do so but he hasn't made this decision official just yet. "What I can offer is that over the next few months, as it works for us, I can spend a few hours here and there going over the building. I'll just charge cost, of course, to any repairs that I have to make. And it it's going to be too expensive? We'll work out a payment plan of some kind."

Desiree's expression is very difficult to read. ON the one hand, she's extremely pleased to hear all that, but on the other… well, let's just say she knows there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. "That would be wonderful, but…" She stops, looking down at her hands, both of which are resting on the counter top. "…I don't want to intrude on your life like that. I understand commitments, especially to kids. I'd not want to take you away from all that." She bites her bottom lip, apparently trying to make a decision. "Evenings are fine, as long as I get some warning. I … ah, sometimes have guests for dinner." Her cheeks turn a little pinkish. "I'm not certain the sounds of carpentry would be very pleasant for them." Hammers + wood + vampiers? Nope, doesn't work.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Everyone has their own agendas, but some simply aren't nearly as bad as expected. "Can I be frank for you for a moment?" Many people know his life story but many more do not. He'll spare her the details, for his own benefit especially, but he's still telling the truth. "When I'm not volunteering my time, I usually just sit alone in my home. It actually does me good to go out and do things, which is why I normally never charge labor fees." Zane also is quite comfortable in his life and is in no need of that additional income. "If it doesn't suit you, then that's fine. You honestly won't hurt my feelings. But if you'd like me to do it for you I don't mind. We'll just keep a nice schedule so I don't interrupt your personal life. You're too young to have something like that happen." For all he knows she's just gotten a new boyfriend. Having been in that situation before he will be the last one to stand in her way. "But I wouldn't be very businesslike if I put you on the spot, so don't feel rushed into a decision." From his planner he produces a card for her to take. "You can think about it and let me know."

"Oh, you misunderstand," Desiree says, taking the card. "I've already decided, Mr. Wright. I'd like you to help fix up the studio, if you have the time. I'll get the money I need. I'm not poor, just … have to be cautious. I want to purchase the other owner's half, and I'm having to cut a few corners to save up the money. I could get money from friends, but I don't like owing favors." Not when they come with strings. "So, evenings will be fine. I'll just let you know when it's inconvenient, or I'm expecting guests. I'd love to soundproof the studio, but … that may have to come down the road a bit." She says all this with a smile while she opens her purse and hands him her card. Not before she scribbles a number on the back. "That's my cell. You can reach me anytime on it. Just let me know when you want to come out and see the place." She clears her throat, then asks, "Do you have catalogues with the lighting you have in mind? If so, please bring them along? I don't have time to go over them right now. Evening Mass isn't all that far off." Yes, she's a church goer, just not one of the more politically active ones in the "Great Debate" about vampire rights.

Needing to be on her way for any reason is understandable but the desire to go to church so badly is respectable to boot. The card is taken and slid into his organizer. It's relatively neat, all things considered, and many times better than the way his books are looking at the moment. "Sound proofing? I can look into that later, as you'd like. I'll focus on making sure the building is up to code, first." Again that thumb and forefinger come out to play with his chin. "I'll invoice you as I go, and you just pay as you can. I'd rather the building be safe and you be able to own it outright before even concerning myself with the cost. Besides, sometimes it's just nice to be able to make payments." Having been there at one point in his life, Zane more than understands. "When I come out, I'll bring catalogs of everything and I'll plan it all out before I do any work. I'll get it looking how you'd like, even if it can't be fully completed in a few days."

"I'd rather not be responsible for the death or injury of any children if there's a fire," Desiree says flatly. "I mean, I have insurance, but it's an old policy taken out by my partner years ago, like back in the 60s!" That seems forever to Desiree. "I worry about that. I teach anywhere from toddlers to teenagers, and even adult ballroom. I don't want anyone to be hurt, not even me or my cats." She smiles. "I just want the kids and their parents to know they're safe." She reflects back on something he said before. "No one should have to sit home alone," she says softly, understandingly. "You should get out and meet people. Go to the museum, or the library. Take a college coursem something to make the nights less … lonely." There's sympathy and understanding in her voice and expression. "I'll at least offer you my company while you work, if I'm not busy with anything myself. I do have quite a few committees I serve upon." It's a genuine smile she turns on him. "I really need to rush away now, but please … call me."

"That is a very valid point. Insurance is good for medical bills but you're still open for many civil suits if your place isn't up to code. Not to mention the guilt that you would have to live with. We'll get it all taken care of for you so you can rest easier." This is said with a reassuring smile, the smile of a man who is confident in his abilities. When Desiree offers suggestions as to what to do with his evenings, he suffers the briefest moment of discomfort before chuckling. "Well, if I do plan to run for Mayor then I'll be begging for some time to myself, I'm certain. Don't worry about me, little Miss." When she mentions needing to leave once more he nods and offers his planner up into the air as if to point out that he has it tucked away. "I'll be in touch. It was a pleasure to meet you, Desiree. Be well and enjoy evening Mass."

"I will. Father Albert is a most appealing speaker," Desiree says, pushing away from the counter. "Good luck on your campaign. I'll be sure to offer a prayer of gratitude for your help, as well." She turns away, then, making for the door. "Have a good Sabbath." And she's gone.

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