“Now if you take the end of your paintbrush and do what we call scratching back. There you go. Perfect. So now we’re exposing the colour you used as the primer and it creates highlights on the painting. Good!”
Sarah beamed at me as I scratched eagerly away at my portrait painting, picking out the blond highlights in our model’s hair. I felt a bit sorry for her, perched stiffly on a chair for us to all study and draw. But I guess she was being paid for it so it was worth it. I looked over at Kathryn’s painting, feeling a bit dismayed. Hers was so much better than mine! I’d messed up all my proportions as usual. There was always something so quirky and pleasing about Kathryn’s style. Picking up my pencil, I leaned over and scribbled my compliments on the now bulging notepad that was clipped to the corner of her easel. I was getting quite quick at speed writing now and the fact that she could decipher my scribbles, I regarded as quite a feat. I guess she’d seen many handwritings in her time.
We laughed as a blob of yellow paint smeared across the page and I swiped at it pointlessly. It’d happened so many times it was like tradition now.
“We going out for the usual Starbucks after class?” I scribbled down. She leaned over, pulling a sly smile. I returned the coy gaze.
“Well, I was thinking you might want to come and meet my brother back at our house. I told him about you and he seemed interested in meeting you. So how about it? Sarah said we’re finishing early today anyway.”
I tried not to show too much excitement but I think she guessed anyway. She seemed to have this knack of reading me better than I read myself.
“Of course! I’d love to meet your brother. I’m already looking forward to it!”
As Sarah concluded the class, my heart started to beat a little faster. I wondered what her brother was like. I really hoped he liked me. What if he was one of those really protective brothers who if he doesn’t like you, just beats you up? What a childish thought. But all the same, I couldn’t help feeling somewhat apprehensive about the whole thing. How much was I overanalysing?! It would probably be fine!
The air outside was chilly and I folded my arms tightly around my chest to keep warm. If I was feeling the chill, I bet Kathryn was freezing. She huddled as we walked along and I noticed a strand of hair fly out across her cheek. My hand flinched and I had to stop from reaching out to tuck it behind her ear. Even though it was one of the best feelings, I still felt bad about the chemistry that seemed to hover between us. I didn’t want her to think I was taking advantage but I so wanted to be close to her; even just to hold her hand. She hadn’t made any moves on me and I was beginning to doubt myself as well as the sexual tension between us that I was finding hard to ignore. But I was too chicken to make the first move and find out if she felt the same. Next opportunity, I would definitely go in for it though. And if she didn’t like me, well, I would just have to take that risk.
The walk was silent but tranquil. That feeling of awkwardness that I’d had initially at our speechless walks, I’d let just melt away. And in a way, it was refreshing sometimes. But at times, I think she sensed my frustration at not being able to talk. And I had to admit; the novelty of writing notes had worn off somewhat. After a short while of weaving through busy streets, we walked into a quiet residential area and she turned into a path which led down to a smallish white apartment. The garden looked crammed yet tended and we walked up the three wooden steps. As we stood outside the red door, my heart quickened. Why was I feeling this nervous....why was I so anxious for his approval? And I was abruptly seized by panic.
“Are you sure he’s not gonna mind!?” It felt suddenly peculiar vocalising my thoughts and though I hate to say it, almost liberating to be talking to her for once. I longed to ramble on to her. It was difficult to make a page feel.
She turned to me, astonished, as I rubbed my palms in uneasiness. Her quick reassuring nod and a small smile sealed any more talk as she turned back to the door and began unlocking it. I felt glad she hadn’t got annoyed at me for speaking aloud.