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Lila was in too much of a hurry to look behind her. This was her favaourite job, the one time she actuallly looked forward to going to work. But she knew if she kept on showing up late then it wouldn't be her job much longer.
She arrived at the community hall to see a few of her students who had turned up early. She glanced at her watch; three minutes to get everything set up.
After she had set up her canvas, Lila let everyone in. Usually the first five minutes were where everyone set up their supplies and went to look at the work people had done during the week. Lila always found it encouraging to see people improving week by week.
For the first time though, she was counting down the minutes until she could leave for her restaurant shift. She was secretly hoping to see Jefferson again.
Jefferson banged through the front doors of the community hall and almost fell on his face. He caught himself and glanced around to make sure no one was staring. Being visible all the time was really throwing him off; when no one could see him, he still thought they could.
Jefferson followed the sound of Lila's heart, noting that Micheal was not anywhere near it. He let out a sigh of relief as he settled in to watch her. If her match wasn't on her mind, then she was safe for awhile. There'd be some messy work to sort through later for running into him, but he'd deal with that when it came to it.
Lila clapped her hands for the class to begin. "Alright everyone, welcome back. I hope you've been practising the crosshatching technique I taught you last week," she began brightly. "I'd like everyone to come and sit down once I've called their name on the register."
Lila bagan to list the names of her students, ticking each one off as they answered and took a seat in front of her canvas. Soon the only person left standing was someone who looked very familiar. It took a moment for Lila to work out who it was. She stared at Jefferson, trying to work out if this was just some elaborate daydream which she was about to snap out of.
Jefferson turned to look over his shoulder. Lila couldn't see him, he knew, because he wasn't visible... Was he? How did I forget to slip it? Well, no leaving it now.
"Can I join?" Jefferson asked with a shy smile. His face had to be red. He felt like an idiot- barging into her class in full visibility. He hadn't slipped up like this in ages, maybe it was Lila?
Lila nodded. "Take a seat," she told him. "Seeing as you don't seem to have your own sketchbook I'll lend you mine, but it would be a good idea for you to bring your own next week. If you see me at the end I'd be happy to advise you on good art shops." She smiled at him and held out her own sketch pad, hoping he wouldn't bother to look through it.
Jefferson didn't intentionally brush fingers with her while taking the sketchpad, but the rush he got made his mind a bit fuzzy. Little tingles swept up his arm from his hand. His smile widened into soemthing more genuine.
"I'll make sure to do that, Lila. Thank you." When his back was to her, he flipped through the book in his hands. Jefferson had already known that she was a talented artist... but this was.. wow.
Lila felt a shiver go up her spine when their fingers brushed. She shook her head, clearing her throat. "Right... where was I?" she said quickly, trying to stop herself from getting distracted. "We'll be using watercolours this week. Now, can everyone see the still life arrangement I've set up on the table over there? That's what we'll be painting this week. Still life may not be the most exciting, but it certainly helps with the basics."
Jefferson sat down, ready to participate in Lila's class. She was very generous with her time- teaching her skills to those who came seeking. Not many people would be willing to do something like this... Especially if they had a job or other responsibilities.
He eyed the still life. Rewind two centuries and a person would find theirself watching Jefferson while he sketched. He'd never been much of a painter, nor much of a drawer. No, his talent lay in sculpting. Jefferson had had a passion for forming beauty out of nothing and his hands still remembered the motions. He hadn't indulged himself with art for over a century and a half.
The day he lost his charge to the sea was the day his eye for beauty left him; only to be replaced by self-hatred and cynical thinking.
Jefferson shook his head, there was decades of muscle memory flowing from his hands, begging for him to put charcoal to paper. He ignored the urge and let his eyes slide back to Lila.
After Lila had done a short demonstration to the class, explaining the basics of still life, she sent everyone off to their own table. She made sure that everyone had a good view of the random objects arranged on the table and prepared to walk around the classroom, helping people with their own artworks.
It was a large class, and it took her a while to get round to everyone. Still, she eventually reached the last person on her register. Jefferson.
"Can I have a look at what you've done?" she asked gently. Some people didn't like to share their work and that was fine. She understood where they were coming from, so she always aimed to check first.
While Lila had made her rounds, Jefferson had twirled his pencil through his fingers. The drawing in front of him wasn't quite what she'd meant by still life. He'd drawn a loose portait of Lila; on he'd definitely be able to sculpt later.
Behind the pencil-Lila was the still life. But around her was the sort of aura-esque light he sees when a heart is blooming. Jefferson was a bit rusty, but his hands had taken over his thoughts.
Jefferson was lost in his sketch, adding details to pencil-Lila's face, when actual Lila got over to him. "Hey," Years of practice stopped him from jerking the pencil across the page in surprise. "No, I don't mind." You might, though... He took a deep breath and angled away from the sketchbook so that she could see it properly.
"Oh," was all Lila could say. Jefferson obviously had a great degree of talent. She allowed her eyes to study the drawing, taking in all the pencilled details.
"It's a brilliant drawing," she complimented him. "Although if I were to criticise in any way I'd say that you'd made it look almost too good. I wish I looked like that in real life." She smiled at him, still surprised by how good he was. She ha assumed he was an amateur, but apparently not.
Jefferson's eyes softened a bit. "You look just like this." He gestured toward the drawing. Lila's smile was exactly the way he'd drawn it. As were her eyes and the way she moved. In the still of the drawing you could see her dancer's fluidity.
"Thank you, though, for the criticism. Does me good to not get a big head." Jefferson smiled up at her. He knew his face was the lightest shade of pink. If I stay around her, I'll be perpetually red-faced. He swallowed the thought down and looked back towards his paper.
Maybe Lila hadn't noticed the blush. Jefferson could hope, couldn't he?
Upon noticing Jefferson's blush, Lila felt her own cheeks heat up. What was he blushing about? She glanced quickly at her watch and noticed the time. "Look, I have to finish up the class now," she told him. "But come and see me at the end and I'll give you the name of that art shop. I'd be interested to see some of your other work too. You're very talented Jefferson." She smiled at him before moving to stand at the front of the hall.
Jefferson's smile widened and he nodded. The pink tint to her cheeks only made her more beautiful. Of course he'd stay, there was no reason for him to be anywhere else.
As soon as he thought it, his body turned towards the door. There was a breaking heart out on the sidewalk and it would kill him to leave it. But if he left, she'd think he was leaving her. Jefferson's knees bounced discordantly as he tried to find a way to take care of the heart while still taking care of Lila.
Finally his body made the choice for him, jerking him up from the chair and leading him outside. Jefferson told himself that he'd make it back in time to not miss her. but the promise felt empty, and it made him angry to think he couldn't control himself.
Lila watched helplessly as Jefferson got up and left. What had she done wrong? She couldn't think of anything. What of he knows that I like him? What if he knows and thinks I'm pathetic and doesn't want anything to do with me?
She dismissed the class soon after that and helped people pack up their things. Once all of them had left, she slid down the wall and sat cross-legged on the floor. Sunlight was streaming in from the windows set high up near the roof of the hall and she shifted into a patch of sunlight. It was deliciously warm, but for once she didn't feel happy because of it. She waited for Jefferson, knowing in her heart that he wouldn't turn up.
Jefferson sat with the broken-hearted girl while she cried. He soothed her aching heart and planted the smallest ray of hope. The girl would be okay eventually.
When he'd done all he could do, Jefferson raced back towards Lila. If she'd already left; which he was sure she had, he'd scream. Jefferson wasn't usually the type to throw a fit, but he would.
Jefferson lay sprawled on the floor directly inside the doors after a failed attempt to walk through the door. He honestly needed to pay attention, but how could he when Lila was curled up against the wall?
He stood up and went over to her. "Are you alright, Lila?"
Lila squinted up at him, a hand raised to her forehead to protect her eyes from the sun - or Jefferson, she wasn't sure which. "What are you doing here? You left," she said accusingly.
She stood up and started to put her belongings in her satchel. When she had finished she perched on the end of a table and looked at Jefferson. "Well?" she asked.
Jefferson watched her move and his chest constricted. It wasn't his fault that he'd left, but that wasn't something he could explain to Lila. He leaned against the wall she'd abandoned.
"I'm sorry. I really wish I could tell you-" Jefferson's voice caught in his throat and he choked on it. What the heck was that? He tried again, being vague. "I left because I have duties I'm obliged to carry out. Trust me, Lila I didn't want to leave." He shook his head and looked away from the eyes that haunted his dreams and drove him to distraction.
"I didn't want to cut short the time I had with you," dropped out of his mouth and Jefferson cursed himself. Could I drive her further away? Why don't I just tell her I'm a freaking centuries-old match-maker?! Idiot. Idiot.
(( bump ))
((Sorry :/ I posted a thread saying I was doing my show until tonight but it must have it lost in the pages somewhere...))
Lila's eyes softened. She took a long moment to process what Jefferson had just said. Could it be that he might like her the way she liked him? But that was impossible. She wouldn't allow herself to think of it.
"I'm sorry for snapping," she said quietly. "It's just been a long morning, you know? Why don't you tell me a little more about those 'duties' of yours? I'd be interested to hear about them," she said earnestly.