My First Quarter Schedule:

Daily:

1. Life Drawing - Professor Glorious Goddess Gaia (Should be fun)

2. Interspecies Bio, Blood and Reproduction - Headmaster Crumpet (Can I die now?)

3. Lunch

4. Lunar Psychology - Professor Skender Woolfson (Werewolves and the moon! Fascinating!)

5. Math is Cool! - Professor Gil Fishwater (Does he really think anyone is buying this course name?)

And on full moons:

6. Enchanted Dance - Fairy Princess Iridessa (Pickles says we're not allowed to stop until our feet  bleed)

Today is our first Life Drawing class at West Marin High. At least we get to have class outside on the beach! The sun is fat and yellow today. We are in a semi-circle facing the water, each of us in a chair with an easel and oil pastels.

Mermaids are not known for their drawing and painting skills. Graphite and watercolors and such don't work that well in an ocean setting.

Pierce is next to me-his paper half-covered in confident strokes, his fingers stained with color. Pickles is on my other side. She has zapped all her pastels so they sparkle, and now the colors won't stick to the paper. They lift off and rearrange themselves into spiral galaxies. Meaning, her drawing looks nothing like our volunteer model-Cupid.

The god of love is lying on his side across a boulder, important "parts" swathed in nothing but seaweed. The only other thing he's wearing is his bow tie, which he refuses to remove. He thinks it makes him look 'fetching.'

He and the teacher Gloria (short for The Glorious Goddess Gaia-the one who wears mud and leaves) got into a big argument when we first started about motifs and artistic integrity and freedom of expression, and after a while my eyes glazed over because I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

All I know is that I wouldn't want to piss off this goddess. But Cupid doesn't care at all. He keeps smirking at her. I think he might get detention.

I'm still working on Cupid's torso. I'm trying to get his pectoral muscle just right, because it is perfectly defined and gorgeous and deserves a decent rendering. It's good to be able to think this without worrying that Pierce can hear my thoughts. Thank Neptune that nightmare is over. He is never, ever, ever,  tasting my blood again.

Pierce looks at my work and frowns.

"Why are you making that face?" I say.

"What face?"

"Give me a break, Knightgard. This is my first try."

Gloria walks behind us and leans over to get a better look at my work. A plop of mud lands on my thigh. (I'm wearing my first pair of shorts courtesy of Pickles!) I try to wipe it off surreptitiously, but only end up making it worse as my fingers are coated with flesh-toned pastels.

"Very nice, Miss Fishwater," she says.

"Thanks," I say. I'm practically beaming now. Maybe this whole vampire school thing will work out! After the party last night on the yacht when everyone was so nice to me, and Gloria's encouragement, I'm starting to think maybe the school year won't be an exercise in humiliation.

"Miss McPhee?" Gloria is frowning at Pickles.

"Yes?" Pickles says.

"Please control your artwork. We cannot have the oils running amok. Remember, this is your creation, and your materials must bend to your will!"

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