Chapter 26 - The Man Who Sold the World (David Bowie ; 1994)

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We decided to go back to Chicago the next day; not that I didn't want to be there for my dad, but I wasn't in the right emotional state to be around him. He understood, so did Brendon and my mom. Seeing my dad just lying in the hospital knowing what is going to eventually happen to him isn't something I can quite cope with or grasp right now.

When we got back to the apartments, I made my way back to ours as Brendon stopped outside Frank and Gerard's to tell them that we made it back. As soon as I entered the small studio, I was overcome with an idea to do something I wasn't used to doing and that I'd never done before.

"B-Brendon," I said softly as I heard him close the door behind me.

"Yes?" he responded, sounding unsure.

I turned my heard and looked over at my art supplies as the wheels in my head kept turning. "I-I want to sketch you," I said a little bit louder, hearing him chuckle softly behind me.

"Ryan," he said as he came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, "you sketch me all the time, you don't have to ask or tell me."

"I-I want to sketch you in c-color," I said quietly but with confidence as I turned to face him.

His eyes we a bit wide as he stared at me with an unreadable expression. "You've never done a portrait in color," he said softly as he furrowed his brows slightly.

I nodded softly as I walked over to my work desk and pulled out my paints, charcoal pencils and colored pencils. "I know," I said as i laid them out across the wide open space in the floor by the window and the piano. "You b-brought your guitar right?"

He nodded vigorously and dropped his things on the bed before kneeling and pulling the guitar case from under the bed. He pulled it out of the case and brought it over to where I was sitting in the floor, standing beside me anxiously as I spread out my utensils. After I laid them all out, I looked up to Brendon before pointing to a chair that was sitting on the front side of the piano. "S-Sit there," I instructed softly as I laid out a blank canvas in front of me, "and p-put your guitar strap over your shoulder."

He nodded and did as I instructed before looking to me for further instruction. "C-Can you hold the guitar like you're p-playing," I said softly with furrowed brows, "and t-turn your head to the l-left, looking down at the ground just a b-bit."

He nodded before situating himself on the chair exactly how I had asked. I nodded once to myself before picking up a charcoal pencil and beginning my work. Sketching Brendon didn't come to me as a challenge anymore, and it also didn't intimidate me as much as it used to. That's why drawing the arches of his shoulders didn't make me break into a sweat anymore; drawing the wisps of hair that fluttered across his face didn't make my face heat up anymore; creating the perfect shape of his perfect face didn't make me want to burst into tears anymore. Everything was so much easier now.

After I was done with drawing that position, I asked him to turn his head more to the neck of his guitar and give me a bit of a shy yet appreciative smile, like I'd just given him a compliment. The smile he gave me nearly blew me away and made me lose track of what I was doing, but I just smiled back at him and went back to what I was working on. Drawing Brendon's smile always made my hands tremble, that's one thing I'll never get used to no matter how many times I do it.

That sketch didn't take as long as the other since I knew what I was going for on this one, and once I as done, I asked him to set the guitar on the bed. He did as I asked and I motioned for him to come over to me for a brief moment. I covered the drawing as he approached me and when he leaned down to me, I put my hand on the back of his neck, pulling him to me and pressing a deep kiss to his lips. When I pulled back, he was smiling softly and I was blushing. "I-I just wanted to do that b-before I kept drawing," I said softly and he nodded before standing back upright.

I asked him, this time, to sit himself at the piano and place his fingers on keys like he was playing. I also asked him to lean forward and pantomime like he was singing into a microphone since we didn't have one. He nodded and situated himself before I picked up another charcoal pencil and started on the last part of the entire sketch. This sketch took a bit longer since including the piano was a bit more difficult that including the guitar in the previous sketches, but, once I was done, I felt my breath catch in my throat.

I lifted my head upon hearing Brendon yawning softly. I chuckled softly at him before covering the sketch and walking over to him. "Let's get you into bed," I whispered softly as I leaned down to press a kiss to his temple

He rubbed his tired eyes before tilting his head to look up at me. "Are you done with the sketch?" I nodded softly and he nodded back. "Can I see it?"

I smiled softly and shook my head softly. "Not until it's d-done," I said softly. "I have put in any c-color yet."

He pouted softly but nodded nonetheless as he rose from the piano chair and over to our bed, peeling off his clothes in the process. He removed his clothes down to his boxers before climbing into bed, trying to stifle another yawn in the process. I pulled the duvet over his body and pressed a soft kiss to his forehead before whispering to him softly. "I'll come to b-bed once I'm done."

He nodded and curled the duvet under his neck. "Better hurry up then," he mumbled sleepily, earning a soft laugh from me as I returned back to the sketch.

I don't know how long I sat there, using a blank canvas to blend an array of colors together to decide which would look best with the sketch, but I finally settled upon a mix of an abundance of green, some blue, minimum amounts of pink, purple, and red, and splatters of orange and yellow. Once I figured I was done, I stood up and took a step back to get a distanced look at the finished product. As my eyes scanned over it, I felt tears forming in them and I covered my mouth with my hand. I sat looking at it for a few minutes, tears rolling down my face as I tried to find my regular breathing rhythm.

Once I did regain my composure, I picked up the sketch and left our apartment, walking down the corridor to Frank and Gerard's room. I knocked on the door rapidly and sporadically until Frank appeared at the door, his hair a mess and rubbing his tired eyes.

"Ryan?" He was looking at me in slight confusion as he scanned my most likely tear stained face. "It's three in the morning, what's going on? Is everything alright?"

I held the picture out to him and tried to catch my breath as I never took my eyes off of him. "I w-want this to be the c-center of the d-display," I said breathlessly.

His brows furrowed and he motioned for me to follow him inside as he turned on their light and put on his glasses. He scanned over the drawing the brought a hand up to his mouth, his shoulders shaking slightly as he looked up to face me. His eyes were glassy and his brows were furrowed as he removed his glasses and set them on the dining table.

"The center of the display, you said?"

I nodded softly and watched as turned back to the drawing and wiped under his eyes. I felt my chest tighten as he placed the picture on the table next to his glasses before nodding and walking over to me and clapping a hand on my shoulder.

"You got it," he said in a hoarse whisper, patting my shoulder a couple times before turning back to the drawing. "What would you like to title it?"

I looked over at the drawing and let out a small stream of air from my nose, instantly deciding that there was only one thing I could call it:

"An Artist's Touch."

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