ten. Date With The Devil

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Warning: this chapter contains some explicit content. Not like extremely explicit but kinda explicit.

"I'm presenting you with your final semester project this soon because from my past experiences and student feedback, I know that you will need some time to think about the theme you want to explore and the medium through which you will present that theme."

I chewed my pen nervously while trying to guess what it could be, but I came up blank.

"You will be realizing a project composed of multiple pieces –anything from four to ten will do. The subject of these pieces is of your choice. You will have the freedom you need to let your creativity free. Along with the pieces, you will be required to submit an essay."

A couple of people groaned and Mrs. Locke frowned, but continued as if she hadn't heard anything. "I say "essay" because a vast majority of students decide to present me with an essay. What I want is a written testimony of the artistic journey you are embarking upon. I want you to document your inspiration and your influences –it can be in the form of an essay or a journal in which you will simply consign everything and anything concerning the project –it's your choice. This will be worth ninety percent of your final grade. The top three final projects will be displayed at an art gallery –it has yet to be determined which one and at what time, but it is definitely an opportunity I want to offer to all you young artists."

A stunned silence followed Mrs. Locke's final statement and she smiled. "The deadline to submit your subject choice is Febuary 21st. You can submit it via e-mail or simply let me know after one of our classes. Think it all over and if you have any questions, send me an e-mail! Have a nice evening." At that, she grabbed the huge canvas bag she always carried around and exited the classroom. Her entrances and exits were always brusque and unceremonious. It sometimes seemed as though she simply materialized in front of us or vanished right before our eyes at the end of a class, like some sort of hippie, new-age witch.

I remained seated as the people around me gathered their notebooks and sketchbooks, tapping my pen against the desk. I'd never been obsessed with being the best or winning, but for some reason, I realized that I really wanted my work to be one of the top three projects.

When I finally regained awareness of my surroundings, the classroom was empty except for some people lingering by the door. As I quickly stuffed my things into my backpack, I heard one girl say something about "Salvador Dali-esque" dreamscapes and I tried to push down the discouragement I felt as I remembered that most of these people were at least twice as good as me. I still had to master my watercolors and oil paint while they were obviously at another level, which made me feel pretty basic with my ink and pencil sketches.

But for once, I decided that I wouldn't let that stop me from aiming for that spot at an art gallery.

For once, I wanted to be the one in the spotlight –no matter how egotistical it sounded.

~♠~

"What does semi-formal even mean?" I asked Tina, who was –as per usual when it came to fashion –freaking out.

"You need to wear something semi-formal? I thought you were going to see a movie or something!"

"I don't know where we're going, actually, but apparently, I'm supposed to wear something semi-formal." The word felt strange in my mouth, too officious and stiff.

"And now's the best moment to ask me what to wear?!" Tina screeched, sheer panic evident in her voice, even through the phone.

"I've had a couple other things in my mind," I muttered as I opened my closet and stared at its contents, which were mostly composed of black hoodies, t-shirts and skinny jeans, with only a couple exceptions.

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