Not happening. This is not happening. I kept telling myself this over and over again. And then, at that moment, I remembered the first time I ever saw him…

"I'm sorry do I know you?" The boy asked as I hastily put my camera down.

"Um, no sorry, you don't." My face flushed as he still didn't walk away.

"So, do you often take pictures of random people?" He asked, his lip ring flashed in the sunlight.

"Um, only when I'm going to draw them." I admitted, why did I say that? Why was I telling him this?!

"So why do you wanna draw me?" He asked flashing me a smile.

I blushed, why was he still talking to me? "Well, I mean, you, uh, you just looked…" I paused wondering how to go on.

"Amazingly sexy?" he finished tossing his hair out of his eyes.

"Um, I was going to say fun to draw, but that works too." I laughed.

"So you do think I'm sexy!" He exclaimed it like it was a shocking realization.

"Just a little." I teased. What am I doing? I've never been able to act like this around someone I hardly know. Usually I can't even talk to people.

"Well there goes your chance at a phone number." He said smiling.

"You're not gay?" the question left my mouth before I could stop it.

"What?!" He exclaimed.

"Well sorry, it's just the way you're dressed and all." I said taking in his appearance. He was wearing a black jacket with broken hearts on it, a light purple shirt, black cargo pants, purple converses, and various colors of snap bracelets. He had black hair that hung just in his eyes with two light blue streaks in it almost the same color of his icy blue eyes. He also had a silver lip ring.

"So what, I can't just have an amazing sense of fashion?" He asked, giving me a sly smile.

"Bi, then?" I asked, I had to check didn't I? By now I was certain we were getting odd looks from people passing by on the sidewalk.

He laughed, "No, I'm straight and single. You're free to fix that though."

I gave a fake appalled look, "You want me to make you gay?"

He laughed harder. "No that's not exactly what I meant." His laugh is amazing, I thought as he shook his head smiling. "So any chance you still want my number?" He asked sliding his hands into his pockets.

"Yeah, why not?" I asked smiling back. He dug around in his pocket and pulled out a sharpie.

"Got a piece of paper?" he asked. I shrugged and held out my arm.

"Here's my cell number if you ever want some more pictures." He said, capping the sharpie off and putting it back in his pocket. "See you around camera girl." He said, waving and heading off down the street.

"See you." I whispered as he disappeared into the crowds.

A week later I sat on my bed, my phone in my hand. I was sitting here with my finger on the call button almost calling for the millionth time that week. Finally I caved and hit the button. It rang three times before there was a click and a little girl's voice came on the phone. "Hello?" The little girl sounded to be about six.

"Hi. Um is…" My sentence died as I got a horrible realization, I didn't even know his name. Thankfully I was saved from trying to decide what to do.

"Anna, give me back my cell phone!" I heard a yell from the background.

"Why, in case your girlfriend calls?" The girl asked with a laugh, it sounded like she was running now. Then he must have gotten the phone back because I could hear him clearly.

"She is not my girlfriend. I only met her once, and she never even called me okay? Why the hell am I explaining this to my six year old sister?" He muttered angrily.

I blushed as I realized he was talking about me; and for the record, I was right, she was six.

"Sorry about that, who is this?" he asked.

"The girl that never even called you back." I answered, trying not to laugh.

"Oh…oh, so you heard all of that." He said, sounding tired.

"Yep." I said.

"Sorry about that. How about I make it up to you?" He asked hopefully.

"I'm listening." I said curling up on my bed.

"Well how about the movies, tonight?"

"Tonight?" I exclaimed looking at myself in a mirror.

"I know, I know, short notice. But think about it, you could meet me there at seven and the movie is your choice. As long as it's not some tear jerker chick flick."

I thought about it. My mom wouldn't care because it's still summer vacation and it's not like I have anything better to do… "I'll come."I said,

"That's okay I- Wait…. You'll come?"

I laughed, "Is that so surprising?"

"Well I've only met you once and I thought you might think I was some kind of freaky stalker or something and turn me down." He admitted.

"Nah, I wouldn't do that, see you at seven." I said cheerfully.

"See you." He said, and hung up.

We ended up watching a horror movie and he offered to walk me home. "So, did you like the movie?"He asked, walking beside me.

"It was pretty good." I answered.

"Really? I was under the impression that it takes away from the experience if you watch it through your fingers." He teased.

I blushed, "Well yeah, I get scared easily." I admitted.

He laughed, "So I've noticed."

"You know, I never did get your name." I said to him.

"Oh, my bad, my name is Reese." He said, smiling apologetically.

"Cool, my name is Cassidy" We walked in silence until we got to my house. "Here's where I live, thanks for walking me home."

He turned and looked at me, "No problem, it's dangerous out here at night."He said and started to turn and walk away.

"Wait." I said before he got far. "Um, one more thing." I said as he turned to face me again. I pulled out my camera, "Mind another picture?" I asked. He shrugged and smiled as I took the picture, the street lamp behind him casting his face into soft shadows and framing him in the dim light.

"Well then good night, Cassidy the camera girl."He said reaching out his hand. I gave him mine but instead of shaking it he lightly kissed the back of my hand before turning and walking away.

"Good night Reese!" I called after him. He raised his hand in acknowledgment that he heard me and disappeared in the night.

A couple of weeks later I was sitting on the couch watching TV as my mom was cooking dinner when there was a knock on the door. My mom said she would get it and she dashed for the door. It had always been like this as long as I could remember just me and my mom. I never asked her about my dad and she never offered any information. She never talked about it so I just assumed I wasn't supposed to ask her anything. I couldn't remember anything about my dad but I did find out that I wasn't their first child. My mom was going to have a baby boy but she had a miscarriage and then two years later she had me. I don't know if my dad left before or after I was born and I honestly don't care to know.

My mom walked to the entrance to the living room and gave me a questioning look, "Honey, there's a young man at the door, asking for you." I shrugged at her and walked into the hallway.

Standing in the doorway was Reese, "Hi." He said, sounding a little timid for the first time since I had met him. He looked nervous and he was shifting his weight from one foot to another looking from me to my mom.

"Sorry, mom this is Reese. Reese this is my mom." I said realizing my mom was waiting for me to inform her who the strange boy with piercings was standing at her door.

"Hello Reese, nice to meet you." My mother said shaking his hand.

Reese was still giving me a 'what do I do?' while my mother started questioning him.

"So Reese how long have you known my daughter?"

He took a minute to answer, "Um, about a month now." He said.

"I see, well Cassidy never has had any boyfriends to the house, in fact I'm pretty sure she's never had one, so it's nice see you here."

"M-mom!" I yelped, "He's not my boyfriend he's just a friend." I finished blushing.

"Oh, I'm sorry, that's what I get for assuming I guess. Well come on in Reese, nice to know Cassidy is getting new friends anyway." She said moving aside and gesturing for him to come in.

"Thank you." He said, walking into the house. My mom went back to making dinner leaving us to drown in an awkward silence. "Um, sorry about this, see my little sister is having a sleepover and I wanted to get out of the house for awhile and I didn't really have anywhere to go so I just came here." He explained.

"That's okay; if you want you can stay for dinner I'm sure my mom won't mind."

He smiled, "That would be great! As long as, you don't mind of course." He said cautiously.

"Nah, I don't mind. Hey, do you like video games?"

Thirty minutes later we were in my room playing a racing game and Reese was beating me for the fiftieth time. "Wow, you suck at this game." He laughed as I ran into my seventh building, on this round.

"Yeah, I notoriously suck at car games. But what can I say; they're too fun to give up." I said, struggling to keep my car on the road.

"Yeah well, you ready to give up for now? I'm just about tired of racing." He said leaning back on the beanbag chair he was in.

"Ok," I said shutting the PS down. "So now what?" I asked.

"So, your mom really thought I was your boyfriend?"

I blushed, "Um yeah I guess so. Stupid huh?"

He closed his eyes, "Yeah, like you would ever date someone like me."

I looked at him, "That's not what I meant."

He opened one eye and looked at me, "So would you?"

I felt my throat close up and my mouth goes dry, "Um, that depends, are you asking?"

He considered my question for a moment, "Maybe that depends on your answer."

I thought about it, "On one condition."

He opened his other eye and looked at me, his expression unreadable, "I'm listening,"

I sighed, "One more picture." I said holding up my camera. He leaned further back in the chair and just looked at me through the lens of the camera, not smiling, just looking with that unreadable expression on his face. I backed up so that I could get his full body in the picture as he lay reclined in the chair, his hair falling across his face. So far it was my favorite picture of him.

"Cassidy, dinner is ready!" My mom called from downstairs.

I hesitantly reached out and knocked on the door. Soon a little girl opened the door "Hi, are you Anna?" I asked, smiling at her.

She had brown hair and deep blue eyes; she gave me a solemn nod and then turned around to yell, "Reese, your girlfriend is here." She turned back to me, "Have you and Reese kissed?"

I blushed at her straightforward question, "Um, no we haven't"

"Kissing is yucky, don't you think so?"

I laughed, "Yeah sometimes."

She blinked and then looked like she was considering something, "I think Reese really wants to kiss you." She said unashamedly.

"R-really…" I stuttered.

"Yeah, like the other night he was talking in his sleep and he said-" she was cut off by Reese as he picked her up and deposited her in the other direction and gave her a push.

"Okay, that's enough Anna, why don't you go watch TV?" She walked off, looking back at me and waving. "Well, since that TV is now occupied, do you want to watch the movie in my room?"

I shrugged "Sure." The movie was some action move where everyone ran around shooting each other for no apparent reason. It was rather boring.

About halfway through Reese noticed I wasn't paying attention. He pulled me closer to him, "Not enjoying the movie?"

I made a face. "That bad huh?" He asked, laughing.

"Yeah pretty much."

He thought a moment, "I can fix that." He said and he pulled me into a kiss. I guess Anna was right.

Reese and I had been dating for six months now and I was sitting on a park bench waiting for him to meet me. When he got there I pulled a camera out and snapped a picture as he reached up to block the sun from his eyes. "Again with the camera. What does your mom say about all your pictures about random people and me, anyways?" He asked, sitting down beside me and wrapping his arm around me.

"Nothing, there are three major rules between my mom and me, one, I do whatever she tells me too. Two, don't touch Cassidy's camera, and three, never go into Cassidy's studio without an invite and my presence." My studio was the basement. My mom had helped me clean it out and furnish it, it's where I bring my developed pictures and turn them into artwork.

"How come I've never been in your studio?" Reese asked in a fake hurt voice.

"Because you haven't gotten an invitation yet, I'm in the middle of a scratchboard right now so how about you come see it next Saturday." Reese and I didn't get to hang out as much since school had started back since we got to different high schools.

"That works for me." He said leaning back and closing his eyes. I resisted the urge to take another picture and leaned forward, kissing him on the cheek. I got up and tugged on his hands,

"Come on lets go walk around." I begged.

"Fine, I'm coming." He said getting up lazily. He took my hand and we started walking through the park.

It was Friday, the day before Reese gets to see my studio. I had fourteen hours to mentally prepare myself to let someone other than my mother into the studio. I had gone to see a movie with some friends from school and I was on my way home. I had invited Reese to go but he had to work tonight.

Just as I was about halfway home someone grabbed me by the shoulders, "Hello sweetheart, how much money have you got on you?"

I panicked my heart beat sped up and fear gripped my chest. "I, I don't have any money left, please let me go." I gasped. It was true too, I had only brought enough money for the movie ticket, I hadn't even been able to buy a drink.

"Well then maybe you can give us something else, right boys?" From the sounds of agreement I guessed there were about three of them. The fear in my chest grew, restricting around my lungs making it hard to breathe.

The thug pushed me roughly against the wall and ran his hands down my sides. I shivered in revulsion and felt like I was going to puke.

Then I heard a voice, "Get your hands off of her." My heart leapt, Reese! The thug jumped back in surprise and I tried to run but one of the other two grabbed me. Reese lunged at the guy who was holding me but the other guy punched him in the jaw so hard he dropped to the ground.

"Reese!" I screamed, as I tried to pull away and go to him. He got back up and came at the guy again but the other two attacked him. There was a moment of confusion and then everything froze. Reese was looking down in shock at the large red stain spreading out from his stomach.

"What the hell did you stab him for man?" One of the thugs yelled at the guy holding the bloody knife.

"He ran into the knife I swear." The guy stuttered as Reese slowly fell to the ground.

"Fuck man, let's get out of here." One of them said and the guy holding me threw me down and they all took off. I half ran half crawled to Reese.

"Reese, oh god, oh god." Not happening. This is not happening. I kept saying it to myself over and over again.

Reese looked at me, his eyes barely focused, "Cassidy, did they hurt you?"

Oh god Reese, there was so much blood, he just wouldn't stop bleeding. "No, Reese I'm fine." I felt the tears begin to form behind my eyes. "You're going to be okay, I promise. I'm going to go get some help okay? I'm going to come right back."

He reached out and grabbed my wrist; I could feel the blood on his hand smearing onto my skin. "No," his voice was getting weaker, "Don't go. There's not enough time, you won't make it. Please don't leave me."

I bit my lip to hold back a sob as I reached out to brush the hair out of his eyes. "Cassidy," his voice was barely audible now, "I love you. I'm so sorry."

A tear fell down my cheek and landed on his face, "I love you too Reese, but you can't leave me either."

He gave me a weak smile, "I'm sorry." He let out a shuddering breath and the light in his bright blue eyes drained away. I stayed there and held him as the warmth left his body and he began to stiffen. The tear I shed was still on his cheek, his eyes looking at me, or more through me, were misted over and dull.

Without really knowing what I was doing I pulled out my camera and took a picture, the last picture I would ever take of Reese. I leaned down and kissed him, his lips were as cold as the metal ring in his bottom lip. There was no sweet breath coming from those lips, and there never would be again, I realized.

After what seemed like a lifetime the cops came with my mom and they pulled Reese away from me. I tried to keep him; I didn't want them to take him. They couldn't take him away from me, but they did and he was already gone from me anyway. Everyone kept asking me what happened but I wouldn't say a word. They thought I might have killed him for awhile, a crime of passion, they called it. But the autopsy proved me innocent. When my mom told me this at the kitchen table I shuddered to think of Reese lying lifeless on the table as they examined his bruises and cut. My mom brought me out of these morbid thoughts, reaching across the table and taking my hand. "Sweetie, what happened? You know you can tell me. It's okay." But it wasn't okay, I couldn't tell her, I couldn't say a word.

It's been two months since then and I still haven't said a word. I am sitting in my studio and I can hear my mom in the kitchen above me. Reese never got to see it, my studio. He was supposed to come over the next day. I get up and slowly, carefully, I walk to the back corner of the room. There are five pictures hanging here. A painting of the first time I saw him, his eyes meeting mine, holding a question. A scratchboard of him from the night he walked me home, a color pencil of him lying in the bean bag chair staring at me through the camera, a water color of him raising his hand to block the sun from his eyes.

The last one is just a regular photo, I couldn't throw it away for some reason; though I still wonder why I got it developed in the first place. So it just hung on the wall, tacked up with the rest of the pictures of him. Reese, lying on the cold ground, his beautiful eyes cloudy and unfocused and my tear on his cheek, dead.

People say a picture is worth a thousand words, I had so many words trapped inside. So many pictures hanging in my studio, just waiting to be seen. I walk out of the room and slowly up the stairs; my feet feel like they are made of lead. I walk into the kitchen where my mom is washing dishes. Her shoulders are sagging; she seems so much older and sadder lately.

"Mom?"My mother spins around, a look of shock on her face. My voice is hoarse from not using it, "A couple of months ago, something really bad happened." I hesitate a moment, wondering if I can continue.

Then I let it all out, like a tidal wave crashing the words come spilling out and I have to slow them down so that it makes sense. When the wave is gone it leaves me empty and confused, I've hung on to that for so long, with some naïve notion that it would somehow keep Reese with me as well, but now I'm all alone. Just me, and it's a horrible and wonderful feeling. If you go down in my studio, to the very back corner, they'll still be there I promise; my pictures of you.

Pictures of You by ~SoulessLove

Drag and Drop to Collect