I really honestly loved being around him. He was so different, in the best way. He was unique, and fantastic as a whole. But, he was keeping something from me, and it had to do with that stupid locker. I didn’t know how to approach him on it, not yet. I was picking my battles, I was focusing on his future tonight, that scholarship was so important. That had a time limit to sign up, registration was ending very soon. I couldn't give up, I had to give this my all even if it mean he'd yell at me.
“Can we talk?” I asked as we sat in his creative space. He nodded, organizing his paints. We were surrounded by his work, it went up to the ceiling. I loved being in this room, it felt intimate, another world, so personal. He let me in, he let me see the stacks and stacks of drawings, paintings, sculptures, all of it. He shared that much of himself with me, and that was something I had to appreciate. I knew no one but Mrs. Hollas had been in here, ever. I got to be, I got to see the stacks of his works, all of his pastels and charcoals, all his paints and stencils that he made himself. It was so special to me.
“How did you get so close to Mrs. Hollas?”
“Well, I came in as a freshman, really jacked up with my home life. The school knew my father had killed himself, and I had a lot going on at the time in my personal life.” I nodded. “The school immediately thought I was some risk, so they assigned Mrs. Hollas, who used to be a guidance counselor, to oversee me. She said how she was an art teacher, I told her I liked to paint and draw, and we’ve been friends ever since.”
He paused for a moment and thought. "Sometimes when someone commits suicide," he said very softly. "It can cause other people to do it as well. It sets off a reaction. You'll hear about it now and then on the news, one teen will do it, then three more will in the same town, same school. It's something that happens. They were worried I'd hurt myself or others."
"O-Oh," he nodded, staring. I knew he was wondering how I'd process this, if I could handle talking about something as sad as suicide. "That had to have been hard to carry that burden of what other people thought."
"Not really, didn't give a fuck."
I nodded at him and looked around. I wanted to change the subject. "So Mrs. Hollas, she gave you this space to use?” I looked around, seeing the walls painted, stacks of work, it was him.
He smiled. “Yeah, she knew I wasn’t into letting people see my work. Before she gave it to me I'd sit at a desk and stare. I refused to do anything for her. She cleared out this entire room, it was full of her own stuff, and put an easel, dozens of canvases, paints, pencils, everything I could ever need in here without my even asking her to. It took a good year and a half, maybe two before I showed her a single drawing. She was very patient with me. She changed the locks, and gave me the only key to prove that she wouldn’t sneak in here. It helped me trust her even more. She has a copy now, and I’ll leave a note on her desk when I want her to see something.”
I nodded. “I want you to enter an art piece.”
“Harry,” I got up, taking down an incredibly deep piece, I didn’t understand it but you just felt something when you saw it. The blacks, navy blues, touches of white and red coloring made you feel something. It was so intense looking. “This is something someone would go to a museum to see. Why are you counting yourself out? Why won’t you try? You deserve to go to school to enhance all of what you have.”
“Do you even know what the hell that piece is about?” I shook my head, and he took the very large vertical piece from my hands. He pointed. “See this figure, the black outline?” I nodded. “That’s me. Do you see this black hole, the red coming out of it? Think, carefully at what that could mean?”
I studied the piece, now seeing the outline of the little boy. I took in the rest of it, seeing an outline of a taller person, all black, with such a tiny glimmer of white. It was so subtle, painfully beautiful.
“Your heart is bleeding.” I whispered. “Your dad is dead and you’re alone.”
He nodded. “I am not making a fucking dime off his death. You can take that to the bank.” He threw the piece down and stormed out.
I shook, sucking a breath. This was my boyfriend, I didn’t need to be shy, or scared, or intimidated. I followed him out; Mrs. Hollas was more than understanding. I found him in the courtyard under a tree. I came over, sitting on my knees in front of him. He saw right through me. I reached up, and hugged him.
“What are you doing?” he whispered.
“W-We need a hug right now. I’m s-scared and you’re h-hurting.”
“Don’t be scared of me,” he pulled me in closer to his body, I melted a bit. “I’m sorry for shouting and throwing the painting.”
“Can I say something without you getting mad?” I said after a moment, calming down so I didn’t stutter.
“I can’t promise anything.”
I sat back, my hands on the nape of his neck. “Your dad… any dad… they’d want the best for their child, right? So… it’s not making a dime off of anything. It’s your interpretation on a tragic event in your life, as sad as I am to say it, it’s a beautiful piece. They all are even though they’re painful. Someone out there could relate, you have no idea who could connect with your pieces.”
‘I can’t sell my dad.” He half whispered. “Finley you don’t get it, those pieces are my dad.” He reached up and kissed me gently, taking my hand. “Come on,” he guided me back to the art room, shutting the door to his space. He took down a small square canvas. This piece was so beautiful; it was a violet color, with amazing complimentary colors to it. “This is his laugh to me, what it sounded like, what I remembered.” He took another square, it was bursting with pink. It actually reminded me of Harry’s lips, that amazing pale-cherry looking color. “This is his smile.” He set it down and dug out another. It was bright, so incredibly bright. It was bursting with color. "This is how I thought he used to look at me." his voice broke. "I can't sell him. I can't.”
My heart ached for him. “It’s not selling,” I took a breath and rubbed his shoulders gently. I knew he couldn’t take much more about talking of his dad. I needed to take a step back. “Didn’t you ever think for a second you could do a piece that wasn’t about your dad just to enter to try to get the scholarship? Harry you have so much talent, you should go to school for it and this will only help you.”
“Do something without my dad involved?” I nodded. “The only thing…”
“The only pieces that are… up to my standards that don’t have to do with my dad are the ones that involve you Finley. You know I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my work. I can't do a piece without any kind of inspiration, it's meaningless and crappy."
I looked up at him with a small smile. “Then… draw me. I just want you to try, please? For me?”
“Just you and not my dad?” I nodded, he sighed. “I will try.”
I smiled and wrapped my arms around him tightly. I hugged and kissed him. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he sighed.
It made me smile, because he was willing to try something for me. I won the battle of the scholarship. I had a feeling the war was going to begin, very soon.
A/N: Hey everyone! Thank you for reading this story! I've worked hard on this past chapters so if you liked them I hoped you'd vote for them. The next update is finally going to start the real mystery of this story so I cannot wait for you to see it! Check back soon. Thank you for reading!!!