Friday, March 11, 2011

Worth (Part 3 of 3)

I turned the page and was stopped short by a sudden burst of color. A green so bright against the Manila paper it seemed to float above it. My favorite shade. The drawing was unfinished, but I could tell that the two people in it were me and Fiona.

And this time things were very different.

If it weren’t for what had happened earlier, I would’ve called Porter a pervert. What kind of freak draws pictures of other people making out? But the more I stared at the half-finished faces, the more I hoped what he drew was somehow a glimpse into the future.

On the paper, my fingers grazed Fiona’s cheek, my thumb just near the corner of her mouth. It was a touch I’d imagined so many times, but it never felt like a possibility, especially now with the throbbing reminder of her fist in my face.

I slapped the ice pack over the lump on my cheek and fell back into bed with Porter’s sketch pad, flipping between the picture of Fiona punching me, and the green one. How many days had passed since he drew that picture before she hit me? There was no date on that one, but the picture of me about to make my lame apology was dated two days earlier.

I flipped back through all of the drawings, trying to remember if I’d witnessed any of the other scenes play out. Nothing stood out to me, except that they were all in pencil, black and white.

So why draw me and Fiona, the one thing he probably didn’t want to happen, in green? I didn’t have an answer for that, but I knew I wanted this drawing to be finished. Now.

I was no where near as good as Porter, but I fleshed out the scene with a green colored pencil. Shading Fiona’s brow the way I’d seen it in his other drawings was the hardest part. I’d never actually seen her like that, so open, but staring at the two of us made me want to more than ever. And at whatever cost. I would prove my worth to her. I would make that kiss happen, with or without Porter’s sketch pad.

The next afternoon, after the last bell rang, I waited for Fiona by her locker. I’d already tried to apologize to Porter and all it did was set me two steps back. She was the one I needed to see.

Fiona came rushing down the hall with books clutched to her chest and a scowl pinching her face. When she saw me leaning against her locker she froze, rolled her eyes, and turned around.

“Fiona, wait!”

“What do you want?” She spun around so fast I nearly crashed into her. My mouth hung open, the words on my tongue evaporating at the sight of the tears on her cheeks. She swiped at them, a tiny frown creasing her mouth in just the way I knew it would.

“Get a life, Ryan.”

I couldn’t chase her. I was too busy digging Porter’s sketch pad out of my bag to find the date at the bottom of the page. He’d drawn that picture just two days before.

There was no indication of where, when, or how the kiss would happen from the sketch. So all that next day I was on edge, looking over my shoulder for Fiona, perfecting my best smile and tossing around apologies and excuses in my head. My phone buzzed in my pocket and for a second I hoped it was her, but Fiona didn’t have my number. It was a text from Amy.

Ryan, need to see you in my office.

How did she expect me to treat her like an authority if she was sending me texts with little x’s and o’s at the bottom? I shoved the phone in my pocket, stared down the hall for Fiona one more time before I headed to the nurse.

I knocked twice on the cracked door. “Am—Miss Kensington?”

“She’s not here.”

I swung the door open to see Fiona sitting on one of the beds that I usually took my naps on when Amy was the only one here.

“Ah, hey, Fiona.”


I closed the door behind me and took a seat across from her on the other bed. “Are you sick?”

“No. Miss Kensington asked me to meet her here.”

“Me too.” All the things I’d wanted to say to her vanished. Blurting out an apology to Lindsay didn’t work out so well and I really didn’t want to be reunited with Fiona’s fist. A girl like Fiona needed to be dealt with carefully. She wasn’t fragile, not at all, but she needed to be approached a certain way. Lindsay’s sketches and ten years of warning glares taught me that.

“Listen, Fiona. About the other day, I—”

“Where did you get that?” She yanked my backpack. The corner of Lindsay’s sketch pad was sticking out of the zipper.

“It’s not—I mean, he left it in class.”

“So you took it? What did you do to him? Did you draw something?” She flipped through the pages, looking for what, I didn’t know. “If he didn’t give it to you, you can’t draw—”

“Ryan. Fiona. Thank you for meeting me,” Amy said smiling, oblivious to Fiona’s panicked look. The clipboard she held to her chest had an oversized sheet of green notebook paper hanging off the edges. I lifted up on my seat trying to catch a glimpse of what was written on it as she passed, but I didn’t see anything.

“Is everything okay, Miss Kensington?” Fiona asked. “Is this about Lindsay? Is he okay?” She glared at me.

“Lindsay?” She shushed me and I slouched back. What about Lindsay?

“No. At least I don’t think so. This is about the two of you and this.” Amy flipped the clipboard around. In the center of the page was another drawing, one I recognized as Lindsay Porter’s.

Fiona gasped, and judging by Amy’s face, my reaction probably wasn’t much different. The drawing was of me with a pencil in one hand and Fiona’s fingers entwined in the other, and Porter flying above our heads with butterfly wings. The expression on his face made the drawing even creepier. He was smiling.

“Either of you guys want to tell me what this is about? I mean,” Amy turned the picture around and I felt myself relax a little, “it’s not the two of you dismembering him and that’s a pencil in your hand, not a gun, but I still don’t think Principal Llewellyn would be pleased. You both know the no tolerance stance this school has on bullying.” She looked right at me, probably remembering my last visit in here.

I shook my head. “No. Lin—”

“Lindsay is my best friend, Miss Kensington.” Fiona stared down into the sketchpad, keeping the cover angled up so I couldn’t see what she was looking at, but whatever it was it seemed to calm her down. “I don’t know what that drawing is supposed to mean, but it’s not what it looks like.”

Amy studied us both. “Okay. I won’t report it. But whatever might be going on, stop. Okay, Ryan?”

“Uh, yeah. Whatever.”

Amy walked off taking the notebook paper with her. I half wished she’d dropped it so I could figure out what the hell it meant. Wanting to get out of there as fast as possible before Fiona grilled me, I jumped up to leave, and flinched when she grabbed my arm.

“Ryan, wait.”

“Look, I don’t know—” Fiona put her mouth on mine. Instinctively my hand went up to brush her cheek. When she pulled away I stared at her for a minute before I could ask, “What was that for?”

“Because you drew this.” She pointed to a picture in the sketch pad, one I toyed with after I finished the green on. One of Fiona the way I saw her, fierce and beautiful in the way that no other girl could be. And beside her right where he belonged, I drew Lindsay, faithful and understanding. The way I wish I could be.

“So what?” My words were defensive, but I wasn’t sure why.

Fiona smiled and handed me the sketch pad. “It’s yours now.”

Thanks for reading! We come back on Monday with a brand new short started by Valerie!

Image courtesy of swan-t via Flickr Creative Commons

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