At the end of the road, and across a short ferry, is the Esowista Market Barge.
Sam stood at the plate-glass wall of The Muse gallery, looking down at the busy vendor stalls in the courtyard below.
Sam’s attention was focused on one stall, in particular. “She’s at it again.”
“Of course she’s at it, that’s her job,” said Sally Austin, who was at The Muse eating lunch with her friend, and who was used to Sam’s muttering.
“Her job is costing me money! Ever since she moved in,” Sam insisted.
Sally rolled her eyes, and hid her grin with a sandwich.
“What was that?” Sam asked.
“Nothing,” said Sally.
Sam said nothing, but tapped twice on the window abruptly.
“She’s drawing caricatures for eight bucks each. Her customers and yours will never overlap,” said Sally. “What’s the cheapest thing you’ve even got in here? I bet it’s four hundred dollars,” she exaggerated.
“Not the point,” Sam grumbled.
“You know what your problem really is,” said Sally, gesturing with her sandwich. “You like her.”
Sam made a sort of surprised cough.
“Every day I come up here it’s ‘New Girl this’ and ‘New Girl that’,” Sally continued.
Sam walked purposely to the other side of the shop, and looked out the opposite window toward the water.
“Silence is not a denial,” said Sally. “Just go talk to her. Who knows, maybe you’ll even enjoy it. And maybe she’ll capture your lips, just so.”