Julie stood in the doorway of William's study, waiting for him to speak. She had thought, at first, that he would look up in a moment, and see her there, but as time went on she began to wonder.
There was a point at which it became embarrassing to just stand there, and she was tempted to just slip away. But what if he looked up, just as she started to leave?
No. She should knock, or say something.
She cleared her throat.
He didn't look up.
She cleared it a little louder.
His head moved a fraction, as if he had suddenly remembered something, and his eyes searched the room until they came to rest on Julie, standing in the doorway.
"Oh. Julie. Hello."
"Do you know where Tim is?"
He waved her into the room.
"Tell me what you think of the new plans. Only be complimentary, because I'm a little sensitive lately. Do you like them?"
She had to walk around next to his chair in order to see what he was talking about. To her dismay, it was a new sketch of the restaurant, except it was no longer called The Golden Mermaid.
It was renamed Willini's, and instead of fishnets and mermaids and seashells it now was designed around a circus theme. There were huge awnings over the entrance, designed to look like circus tents.
Two life-size plaster figures, of a roaring lion and a top-hatted ringmaster flanked the doorway. The building itself was painted with bright yellow stars and circles. It looked completely out of place on the beach, and reminded her, somehow, of a fast-food restaurant.
She had a nagging suspicion that all of the paint would be thick and glossy.
Mr. Hogan was still waiting for her to comment.
"Yeah," she said vaguely. "They're… nice. Do you know where he is?"
Mr. Hogan still had his eyes on the plans.
"Nice, hmm? Nice. Well that's certainly… Where he is?"
"Oh. He may be up in his room. You think it's… nice?"
Julie did not want to have this conversation.
"Did you design it yourself?" she asked.
Mr. Hogan seemed to be flattered.
"No. Really? Myself. Oh no. I hired the best for this. Everything. Architects, food designers, marketing experts. How do you like the logo?"
"It's all so—so different. From that pipeline thing."
"That's it. Exactly. Completely different. That's the idea."
Something told her she shouldn't have said that.