The thing of it was, I wasn't crazy. No, no, I wasn't crazy at all. I was just eccentric; different from everyone else. Most people prefer being normal. I like the way I am. However, that doesn't mean that everyone else likes the way I am. Yup, I was bullied. It's no big deal really. I mean, bullying is a big deal but….you know what I mean. I wasn't suicidal and I didn't let their comments get to me. Hell will have to put in an ice skating rink the day I let their comments get to me. In other things, I was as normal as people are. I wanted my classmates to like me. I just wasn't going to change myself so they will. Like my mother always said to me, if they can't accept me for who I am, then they don't deserve to be my friends. She was my mother, she was supposed to say things like that and my job was to listen. But I have moved on.
You might be wondering what I am going on about. What I was bullied for? See, I'm smart; smarter than most people. At sixteen I graduated high school and went off to college. But I wasn't about to major in science or math or literature. No, I was going to major in art. And that's where my eccentric nature goes up a notch. When I paint, or draw or sketch, I lose myself in my work and I don't realize sometimes that I am humming to myself. Or if I am listening to music, I don't realize that I am singing out loud. In high school and even in college, that was considered a sure sign of crazy. I wasn't really. I just couldn't be normal. I mean, normal was so boring.
When you're sixteen, though, everything is more important than it should be, even being normal. I think in my conquest to find normalcy, I lost myself somewhere. I thought going to college at sixteen was going to be fine and I was somehow going to get through it. But it wasn't fine and I didn't get through it. I got involved in some serious shit and at the end of it all, I sunk into depression. My parents thought I was going to kill myself. I thought I was going to kill myself. But I fought through it and now here I am, newly turned seventeen and ready to get back on the saddle; new town, new college and a better me.
However, the thing that really sucked this time around was that I had to stay in a dorm. I was so not ready to share my room with someone. But my mother was adamant that if I was going to school away from home then I had to live in the dorm. I was sure that it wouldn't last very long. I needed a lot of space.
My roommate was out right now, though. I stood in front of the mirror hanging from the back of the door. That was another thing. I was used to having everything big; a big room, a big closet, a big gold gilded mirror. Everything here was so small. But I was getting through it. I sighed for the millionth time and looked at my outfit. I was wearing a pair of dark blue jeans with a grey tank top and a grey lace shirt over it. I slipped my feet into my grey flats and grabbed my bag. I turned around to look at the clock on my night stand. It read 4:45 PM. I only had one class today and that too in the evening. The good thing was it at least ran until 7 PM. I pulled my hair over my shoulder and made my way out of my room.
The hallway was quiet, as it usually is during the evenings. Most students went to a pub that was just around the corner. During the day, it functioned as a study hall and during the night, students let off steam from all the studying. I made my way to the elevator and pressed the down button. I could hear the faint sound of a familiar song coming from behind one of the closed doors and I tapped my foot to its rhythm while I waited for the elevator. When it finally arrived, I pressed the button for ground. The woman sitting behind the security desk looked up when I walked by and them immediately went back to her magazine; some security.
Outside, the sun was dipping low in the sky, ready to set. There was a gentle breeze and it played with my hair as I walked across campus to the art studio. The class I had right now was a basic introductory course, which I didn't really need but it was apparently required. Don't you think the people who enroll themselves in this course will know the most basic things? I mean, you just don't become an artist with the snap of your fingers. It's an acquired taste, so to speak.
I walked into the art studio and took a seat beside a girl I remembered from last class. She looked up and smiled at me and I smiled back. Okay, I had nothing to be afraid of. I was in my natural environment.
"Hey, I don't think we met last week. I'm Lila," she said. I turned my attention to her.
"I'm Rose," I replied, giving her a small smile. Lila seemed nice. She had short strawberry blonde hair and warm light brown eyes. She seemed a little older than me, maybe eighteen or nineteen. I couldn't quiet tell.
"So, I am assuming it's your first year in college?" Lila said. I shook my head.
"No, actually," I said.
"Ah, you're one of those geniuses' types. Cool," Lila said. She gave me a big warm smile and I smiled back at her. It was nice to talk to someone without wondering whether the other person thought you were crazy or not. The teacher walked into class then and asked everyone to look to the front.
We were supposed to sketch a bowl of fruit.
I'd been to art class before so this was a pretty lame exercise for me but I did it anyway. But I knew I would be dropping this course as soon as morning came. I wasn't here to learn to draw fruit. I had spent approximately nine years in art classes; drawing a bowl of fruit was the most basic thing. The two hours of class went by in a hurry and at the end, even my teacher agreed that I shouldn't be in this class.
As I was packing up my stuff, ready to head back to the dorm, Lila stopped me.
"Hey, you got a busy night ahead?" Lila asked. I turned to look at her.
"Not particularly," I said.
"A bunch of us are heading to the pub. I heard there's a local band playing there tonight and their singer is really hot," Lila said, smiling at me. I smiled back at her. It's not like I was interested in the guy. I thought there was no harm with hanging out with a bunch of people from school. Besides, I was kinda curious about this local band. I wondered if it was any good. I guess I got that from my father. He was a very big singer back in his day and now he owned a record company and my mother's an artist, so I guess music and art flow in my blood stream.
"Yeah, sure, that sounds like fun," I said.
"Great! We're just heading back to dump our stuff in our rooms and then we'll just meet in the lobby," Lila said.
"Cool," I said. We walked out of the art studio and across the campus to the dorms. In my room, I turned on the light and looked around. There was no sign showing that my roommate had been here while I was at class. Vaguely, I wondered where she was. But I quickly changed my bag for my purse. After making sure I had everything I needed—wallet, cell phone, room keys—I headed back down to the lobby.
Lila was standing in the lobby with a group of other girls. They were all dressed in skimpy clothes that made me blush. Hey, I was all for short skirts and I wore them all the time but I was still ridiculously shy. I walked up to them and one of the girls looked me up and down. I knew that look she wore. She was one of those mean girls and she disliked me, even though I had yet to speak a word. I pushed my hair behind my ear nervously and looked at Lila.
"Hey, Rose, you ready to have fun?"
"Yeah," I said, nodding.
"Are you even old enough to come with us?" I looked at the girl who had given me the look of pure disdain. Was it any surprise that she wasn't thrilled I was coming along? Now that I was close, I could see that her face was perfectly made up. I would imagine her to be good looking without the make-up. With it, she looked downright terrifying. She had stick straight blonde hair and her blue eyes were rimmed with black eyeliner. What a cliché.
"That's not for you to decide Shelby. I invited her. Last I checked, no one invited you," Lila said. I bit my lip to keep from smiling. Shelby narrowed her eyes at Lila and she narrowed them right back. Then Lila turned her back on Shelby, who looked at me. I raised my eyebrows at her.
"Freak," she mouthed. I smirked at her and rolled my eyes. Did she think her calling me a freak was going to bother me? I mean come one, I was seventeen years old. Half my life people have been calling me a freak. It's almost starting to feel like a compliment. Shelby turned around and walked away, followed by her two minions. Her heels clacked against the marble floor of the lobby.
"Ignore her, I do," Lila said, turning to me. We followed after Shelby and the other two girls. The pub was only a block away, so I wasn't surprised that we were walking. The night was dark and there weren't a lot of people on the streets. I wrapped my arms around myself.
"What's her problem, anyway?" I asked, referring to Shelby. Lila rolled her eyes.
"I have no freaking idea. I mean I should. I created her," Lila said. I furrowed my brows.
"You created her?" I asked. Lila glanced at me, almost guiltily.
"Yeah, we went to high school together. I was the cool one. I had all the friends in all the right places, so to speak. I took her under my wing freshman year and six years later, here we are. I am Frankenstein and she's my monster," Lila said with a chuckle. I gave her a half smile.
"You know some people think that the monster was called Frankenstein," I said, trying to end all talk of Shelby. I vaguely wondered if Lila was still the Queen Bee but as she walked along with me, I didn't see it in her. Lila laughed.
"I know right? I guess not a lot of people want to read the novel. I left it about halfway through," Lila said.
"I've never read it. I started to and after the first couple of pages, I had this weird itch to draw the monster and my mother took away the book," I said. Lila chuckled. I looked ahead at the three girls in front of us and they seemed to be having a conversation of their own. We were only a few feet from the pub and I could see the neon sign glittering in the dark. I laughed at the name.
"It's called the Dinner Party?" I asked. Lila shrugged.
"Places like this are known for their weird names," Lila said. I nodded in understanding. Shelby and her minions walked into the pub before us and we followed after. The place was loud and packed with students, and a lot of them were girls. I guess it was the allure of the hot singer. The lighting was dim so I was barely able to see anything a few feet ahead of me. Shelby and the girls had disappeared somewhere in the crowd. I thought we were going to have to stand in a dark and humid corner the whole night until Lila grabbed my arm.
"Come on, I know a waitress. She saved us a table near the front," Lila said loudly. I nodded at her. I was surprised to learn that there was a table saved for us. I mean there was barely room to move. We weaved through the crowd and finally reached the table. It was near the front but it was tucked into a corner and we were able to see the whole place.
"What do you think?" Lila asked.
"It's great," I said, looking around at the place. There was a band playing on the stage and I tapped my foot to the beat of the music. It was good. I turned to Lila.
"Is this the band?" I asked. Lila snorted.
"Oh no, honey. This is not the band. Don't worry, they'll announce it," Lila said. She raised her hand and waved to someone. A moment later, a waitress walked over to our table. She was dressed in a pair of black short shorts and a tight t-shirt that left nothing to the imagination—every guy in the place was following her around with his eyes.
"Hey, Lila," she said. Her red hair was piled on top of her head and her green eyes were focused intently on Lila.
"Hey, Carrie, how's it going?" Lila asked. Carrie shrugged her delicate shoulders and leaned forward, displaying her décolletage.
"Busy night," Carrie said, pouting seductively. She was hitting on Lila! I looked at Lila to see if she noticed and indeed she had. She leaned across the table towards Carrie and grabbed a stray piece of her hair. I watched the interaction in stunned silence.
"I'm sure you'll find a way to make it fun. So tell, when is the band coming out? I brought Rose here to see the boys," Lila said. At the mention of my name, Carrie glanced over at me and her eyes lit with appreciation. I shrunk back against my chair. She looked back at Lila.
"They'll be out soon. I think you'll appreciate them," Carrie said, glancing at me again. I gave her a tentative smile. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, I was that nervous. I wasn't an idiot, I know she liked me but I had no idea what to do. This was actually a little strange.
"Don't have too much fun without me," she said. Then she winked at us and walked away, swaying her hips. I looked over at Lila, who burst out laughing.
"Oh my god, you should see the look on your face. You look…scandalized. Clearly you're not used to being hit on by a girl," Lila said between fits of laughter. I waited for her to calm down before I replied.
"Actually, I've never been hit on, period," I said. Lila's jaw dropped open as she stared at me in shock.
"Are you serious? You're hot!" She said. I blushed and nodded my head. I've always been the class freak so it's not guys were lining up to take me out on a date. I don't think I've ever had those kinds of feeling for a guy before. That's not to say that I was into girls because I was pretty sure that I wasn't. It was just that I hadn't found a guy who was...someone I wanted to be with; someone who made me feel like he would never stop loving me.
The band that was on stage finished their set and loud applause rang out through the crowd. The lead singer thanked everyone for coming out tonight and then the guys and the one girl walked off stage. There was a moment of silence in which I watched Carrie walk to the front and climb onto the stage to the sounds of hoots and catcalls.
"Ladies, your patience is about to pay off because next on stage is….Pandemonium," Carrie said into the mike; deafening applause and hoots followed her little speech. Carrie took a little bow and walked off stage and the lights dimmed on stage so it was hard to see anything. I was guessing this was 'the band'. I glanced over at Lila who was still leaning across the table.
"This is almost better than sex," she said, looking over at me. I raised my eyebrows and gave her a small smile. Why did I have this feeling that I was in way over my head? I was hoping to keep history from repeating itself. A college campus is huge with lots of students. It's hard to know a person for who they really are. Everyone is trying to be someone different.
But it was too late to get up and walk away because the lights on stage were coming back on. It was like every girl in the room was waiting with bated breath and when the lights were on they all let out a collective sigh. I think my jaw dropped open as I focused on the band. Everything around me disappeared. It wasn't the band, or the music or even the lead singer.
It was the drummer.
I was mesmerized by him. His focus never strayed from his drums. The beats of his drums was all I heard. His back was straight and his arms were extended over the drums, executing every beat perfectly. He had messy dark hair that was falling over his forehead but it didn't seem to bother him. And because I was so close to the stage, I could see the sinews of his arms as he played. My fingers itched to draw him. I could do it all night long and I wouldn't get tired.
The band finished the song and started on the next one. They played five songs and if someone had turned and asked me what songs they played, I would have had no idea. I heard nothing and I saw nothing but him and the beat of his drums. In that moment, I wished I had the guts to talk to him; not just talk. I wanted to climb up on stage and kiss him. He didn't even know I existed and would never know.
They finished the set and loud applause rang out, startling me out of my reverie. I looked around the room. I had completely forgotten where I was. I looked back at the stage again and he was gone, almost like he had never been there. I looked around the room and the stage area, trying to find him in the crowd but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. There were too many people around.
"So what did you think?" Lila asked. I turned to look at her. Her light brown eyes were wide and excited and I realized I had no idea what to say to her. She was completely psyched and I had missed the whole performance. Although, I could imagine it must have been wonderful the way everyone was applauding afterwards.
"It was…" I began and trailed off. Nothing was good enough. Nothing could sum up the beat of his drums and how he made me feel in the few moments that he was on stage. I could feel my face burning.
"I know, the first time I saw them, I was speechless too," Lila said. I smiled at her and sat back against my chair. Carrie got up on stage and announced the next band but I scarcely heard her. I wanted him to come back. Carrie climbed off the stage and made a beeline for our table.
"So what did you think?" She asked me.
"She's speechless," Lila said before I could say anything. Carrie gave me a half smile. I stood up and Lila gave me a questioning glance. I grabbed my purse which I had left on the table.
"I…I think I'm going to go back to the dorm. It's been a long day. Thanks for bringing me. I had a lot of fun," I said.
"Yeah, sure, I'll see you later," Lila said. I waved to her and Carrie and made my through the crowd to the door. When I got to the bar, I saw Shelby talking to some guy and I rolled my eyes and was about to walk away when I heard the conversation she was having. All I heard was the guy saying something about visiting the Louvre and Shelby said that the Mona Lisa was one of the best paintings by Picasso. Picasso. The girl was crazy. It was one of the most famous paintings in the world and she thought it was painted by Picasso.
I stopped and turned. When Shelby saw me standing there, she scowled.
"What do you want?"
"Actually, I was just walking by and I heard your conversation. Mona Lisa was not painted by Pablo Picasso. It was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century. It's also referred to as la Gioconda or the laughing one. It's so famous because of the smile on the woman's face. Some people say if you look at it closely, you can see that the painting is slightly higher on one side representing the role of man and woman," I said. The guy looked at me up and down, clearly too drunk to have heard anything that I had said and Shelby glared at me. I nodded once and left the pub. Once I was outside, I obviously regretted interrupting Shelby's conversation. It was like adding fuel to the fire. I should have just let her be wrong. The guy was too drunk to pay attention to anything anyway. But I had to correct her. I mean come on; she thought Picasso painted the Mona Lisa.
I quickly made my way back to the dorm. Everything was quiet on campus and I found myself running the rest of the way. When I got to the dorm, I quickly walked inside and made my way to my room. Taking out the key from my purse, I unlocked the door and stepped inside. The curtains were pulled back from the window and light streamed in from the lamp outside. The room was empty. I think in the two week that I had been here I'd seen my roommate once, maybe twice.
I closed and locked the door behind me. I hoped that wherever she was, she was okay. I took off my clothes and changed into a pair of shorts and tank top. I hadn't unpacked. In fact, everything that I had brought here was still in the trunk of my car except for a duffel bag. I pulled out my glasses and sketchbook from my bag and sat down at my desk.
I picked up the pencil and started sketching the drummer.
AN: Let me know what you guys think. Next chapter will be coming soon, probably by tomorrow. Review away. XOXO.