Claude had grown so used to seeing Matt in everyday life that he had almost forgotten the nature of the first glimpses of his form. This meant that when Matt found the sketched drawings of himself in the secret compartment of Claude’s notebook, Claude had been slightly startled too.
It was the second weekend after Matt had joined Claude’s class. Since that day Matt had had lunch at Claude’s house, the boys had watched a football game on TV (during which Claude had been more amused by Matt’s reactions than interested in the actual game, having no real love of televised sport), they had taken a film out of the local movie rental store and they had gone bowling. Every occasion had been enjoyable for Claude though he was losing the sensation of the novelty of socialising, which was to be expected and not really an unpleasant thing.
Today was Saturday and Matt was at Claude’s house again, though no real plans had been made and the pair was just relaxing.
Claude went downstairs at one point to fetch drinks for the boys and when he returned he found Matt gazing at some pieces of paper with his brow furrowed in confusion, the notebook lying beside him on the bed.
“Hey,” he said mildly; “who said you could pry?”
Matt looked up and blushed.
“Sorry, it was on your desk and curiosity got the better for me.”
Claude vaguely remembered taking the notebook out the previous night to jot down some ideas for today (not that he had come up with many) and since he had left it out, he supposed he couldn’t blame Matt for being inquisitive.
“It’s fine,” he said, walking over to set the glasses of juice on the desk before sitting next to Matt. “What were you looking at?”
Matt showed Claude the pictures of himself.
Claude blinked in surprise but then recalled the former days when he had, frankly, been a larry, lacking Matt in his real life.
“Yeah, I forgot about those,” he confessed. “You’ve just become such a natural part of my life,”
Matt looked at him sideways.
“What d’you mean?”
“Well, you’re not going to believe it but I drew those before I met you.”
Matt frowned. “You’re right. I don’t believe you.”
Claude shrugged. “When you came into our class on your first day I wondered how on earth it had happened. But I never asked, for fear of embarrassing myself, and, besides, you were my first real friend and I forgot everything supernatural before last weekend.”
“This isn’t funny,” Matt said, his tone politely puzzled. “Why did you draw me?”
Claude regarded Matt’s face and sighed.
“Because you’re gorgeous. Just look at you. Such fine hair, such cool eyes, such a smooth face. How could I have ever forgiven myself for not attempting to capture you every time I had a daydream about you?”
There must have been something indisputable about Claude’s tone or the expression in his eyes because in the next moment Matt was backing away, shock in his eyes.
“You mean you’re telling the truth?”
Claude frowned and began to tuck the drawings back into the notebook.
“Yes. But we can pretend this didn’t happen if you’d prefer.”
He stood up and put the notebook in the drawer.
Matt had stopped moving away and was now staring at Claude with a look of incomprehension on his face.
“But... I don’t understand.”
“Neither do I,” Claude replied, still on his feet. “Though it was a wonderful shock when you walked into the classroom. But if you want to forget it, fine, we’ll forget it. I still would like us to be friends.”
“You ... you promise you’re not some weird stalker?” Matt asked hesitantly, his tone cautious.
“Yup, though when you use the word ‘stalker’, it suggests you do actually wear Victorian and Tudor clothing in your spare time,” Claude replied, trying to make a joke by referring to the fashions in the drawings.
“Well,” Matt said nervously, not smiling at the joke at all,” you could just have a good imagination.”
“I’m not a stalker,” Claude said. “Don’t you think I’d have acted just a little bit weirder if I were?”
Matt looked considering then nodded.
“I guess you’re right. I’m sorry for making that sort of accusation. But ... it’s difficult to get your head around, you know? Do you think you’re maybe psychic?”
“I don’t know,” Claude said honestly, sitting down on his bed, though at a small distance from Matt. “I don’t think I’ve had any premonitions.”
He thought about the dark and haunting dreams he’d had. Were they an insight into the future? They had stopped since he had met Matt. Were they being fulfilled, somehow? Were they connected to Matt?
“Maybe we have a strange connection,” Claude suggested, speaking his thoughts aloud.
“I never saw you in my head,” Matt pointed out.
“I don’t know, then. I couldn’t tell you what it meant. Though... I always felt close to you when I got the mental pictures. And ... secure in your presence in my mind.”
“How’ve you felt since you’ve known me?” Matt questioned.
Claude looked directly into his eyes. “Really happy.”