Chapter 8 - Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden ; 1994)

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Ross


After spending the entire day with Brendon, I felt completely invincible. I felt like I had been given strength and confidence that I had never had before. He left Mr. Way's small studio about an hour ago because he had to go back to his dorm to finish a project, and I was now left to my own vices as I sat on the leather couch adjacent to the front door.

The radio played softly in the small space and I wasn't really focused on the song itself, but the tone that it produced as I swiftly moved the small pencil in my hand across the notebook page in my lap. I was working on sketch; another sketch of Brendon. Obviously, more so lately, all my sketches have been of Brendon, and I wasn't complaining, but I was also internally frustrated.

I couldn't get the boy out of my mind, especially now since we've kissed. We've reached a certain level of intimacy now, that the part of my brain where he resides demands attention. It demands every bit of my attention and I wasn't sure if that's a really good thing, or a really bad thing. He serves as an amazing distraction from all of my internal troubles, but he also just serves as a distraction in general. I couldn't get him out of my head, and I wasn't sure I wanted to.

As I finished the sketch, I held it arms length away from me as I took in every detail I had just created. I sketched him from an image that had been planted into my brain merely two hours ago. He had his head laid in my lap, the back of him facing my body as I gently stroked his hair and he began to drift to sleep. He looked so peaceful and calm and content and beautiful, it nearly pained me to shake him awake to inform him of the time. He kissed me again before he left, and this kiss had my mind reeling so fast that I became dizzy from the rush it gave me.

I nodded approvingly at my own sketch, closing the sketchbook and placing it back into my messenger bag just as another song finished on the radio. I lifted my arms over my head, interlocking my hands as I stretched slightly, feeling sleep begin to take over me. I kicked off my shoes and laid on the leather couch with my knees pulled up slightly as I pulled the throw blanket from the back of the couch and threw it over my body. I let my eyes flutter closed as images of Brendon Urie danced behind my closed eyelids.


~ ~ ~


I walked into Mr. Way's classroom the next afternoon, a small amount of confidence radiating from my composure as I made my way to my easel. I took a seat on my stool and began setting up my station just as other students began pouring into the classroom. As the minutes passed, the time for class to start came closer and closer and Brendon had still not shown up. Either he was late again, or we were doing something today that didn't require his presence..

"Good afternoon, class," Mr. Way beamed to us just as the last few students piled in. "As you've noticed, your model is not here today. That is because we do not need him today."

I felt disappointment settle itself on my shoulders as a few other students sent confused glances toward Mr. Way, and some of the girls let out audible sounds of disappointment, causing me to roll my eyes.

"However," Mr. Way continued, "we do have something particularly special planned for today. Up here in this briefcase," he said as he lifted the rather large, leather briefcase, "are all of your portfolios from this year. If you've been in this class before, I even have your work from the previous year or years. Mr. Healy," he said, motioning to a student - who I knew as Matthew - seated closest to him, "would you please pass out the portfolios? Each one has the student's name on them."

The boy nodded and began passing out our folders as Mr. Way continued speaking. "Here in a few moments," he said, "a man is going to come into this room. He's a dear personal friend of mine, I've known him for many years, he was the best man at my wedding and we even attended the same art school together. He's an art critic for the Chicago Times, and he's the curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. He's here today to analyze your work and give you some constructive criticism to help you and push you to make improvements if needed."

A few of the students nodded timidly, some excitedly, and some acted like they were completely disinterested in what was about to take place. I, however, had become paler than my white canvas papers. Matthew brought my portfolio to me, smiling softly as he handed it to me before running a hand through his curly hair and going to the next student. I stared at my portfolio with hesitation in my eyes and was about to ask Mr. way if I could be excused for a moment before the door was opening in what seemed like slow motion.

"Ah," Mr. Way said, walking over to the man who entered the room. "Glad to see you still know where my classroom is." The smaller man just rolled his eyes with a smile as Mr. Way led him to the middle of the room. "Class, I'd like your undivided attention please."

All of the students stopped their small conversing and turned to the center of the room. I sat up a bit straighter on my stool, giving my full attention to Mr. Way and the man next to him.

"This is Mr. Frank Iero," he said as he ushered the man forward a bit. "Those of you who have done your studies on independent critics and contemporary artists, it is very likely you know who this man is. Frank," he said, motioning to the him, "if you have anything you'd like to say to the class before you start your analysis, feel free to do so."

Mr. Iero nodded at Mr. Way before looking out to the class with a small, friendly smile graced on his face. "First of all," he said softly, "I would like to thank Mr. Way for asking me to come take a look at your works. That shows me that he sees real promise in each and every one of you, and that isn't something that's very common in the art world today. Secondly, I would like to say that all of you who have chosen an artist's path as your path for the future, congratulations. It takes a lot of confidence and raw skill to want to be apart of this, and all of you are very brave."

He earned some scattered applause throughout the room, and a few nods from those who didn't clap. I stayed silent. I had read almost every one of this man's columns in the Chicago Times, and I had studied almost all of his works and I was probably the most nervous person in this room right now.

"Lastly," he said, "I believe, like Mr. Way does, that there is promise in all of you. You all have your own forms of raw, unsolicited talent and I'm very prepared to see it all."

His eyes drifted over the class before landing on me, and I swear I felt my heart rate increase in anxiety and nervousness as another small smile landed on his lips.

"Let's begin, shall we?"

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