It takes all the running you can do, to stay in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else you must run at least twice as fast as that.
Simon held the door open to the field house.
"And Karu is of course completely amazing. So district will be in the bag," Ro said, edging passed him.
“Umm hmm…” Esther followed, digging in her bag for her class schedule. "What time is it?"
"You have art next," Ro supplied as they moved into the small stair access way.
"Oh. Right." Esther glanced up, scanning the lawn beyond the front doors, propped open now as students passed back and forth. The rain had stopped and the way seemed clear, but...She bit her lip, unconsciously backing towards the stairwell.
Ro’s voice burst her concentration. "Tell me Sinclair isn't taking art. That's just too bizarre."
"He isn't but...Holon is." Esther zipped her bag closed and straightened the flap.
Leaning in, Ro's hand went to her hip. "Is he in every class with you?"
"Not...every class. No,” Esther said, carefully avoiding Ro’s gaze.
Ro sighed in exasperation. "Lunch isn't a class, Es."
Esther felt her face warm. “It’s not just lunch. And I don’t need you walking me everywhere. It won’t stop anything anyway and—”
“He’ll certainly think twice if I’m there, and you know it.”
A hesitant voice interrupted their debate."I'll walk you."
Startled, Esther turned; her satchel swinging into Ro in the tight corridor. Simon. I...I actually forgot he was there. He wasn't look directly at her again; as if looking just to the left of someone's ear while speaking was so ingrained he couldn't turn it off.
"Isn't that the opposite way you're going, Si?" asked Ro, with a sly grin.
Simon shook his head. "No, I--"
All three turned. Four boys and a girl in underclassmen uniform stood beside the pool doors. One of the boys, dark hair slicked back, waved. "Come on, man. We're been waiting."
"Just a sec." Simon glanced back at Esther. "JV team..." he muttered, shoulders sagging.
"Don't you usually walk with them?" Ro teased.
"Dude." The boy looked expectant. "We'll be late for Latin."
Esther looked from Simon to the boy, then back. Simon’s gaze dropped. "Later." He shoved his hands in his pockets and headed towards the underclassmen.
The dark haired boy clapped Simon on the back and they continued down the hall; the girl throwing a rather nasty look over her shoulder.
"Es?” Ro nudged her arm. “Esther."
"Hmm? Oh, sorry. What?"
"I can still--"
The warning bell sounded.
"Crap. Okay, never mind." Ro hiked her bag higher on her shoulder. "I'll see ya after school, k?"
Running across the English Building's lawn and into the Art Garden, Esther dodged around tall metal sculptures and hanging plants. She slipped on the damp grass just outside the doors and grabbed the ornate iron railing by the entrance, her foot skidding out from under her, barely managing not to fall. Pulling herself up, she hurried through the door and took the steps two at the time, arriving at room 4B just as the tardy bell rang.
Mrs. Aulder, waiting at the door with an attendance sheet on a clipboard, raised her eye brows. "Very nearly late, Miss St. Claire."
"Yes, Miss. Sorry, Miss."
"Mrs. Aulder, if you please. I am not something you failed to hit. Take your seat."
Esther hurried to the long table at the back. Holon sat across from her seat; his chair turned to the front, scarf wound tightly around his neck, hair holding a wet shine. Esther tried not to stare at the strands of blue as she settled in her seat.
Mrs. Aulder set the clipboard on her desk. "Today we practice sketching. I will place something on your table. Whatever angle you have with it is the angle you draw. Do not touch the object. Do not pick it up or re-arrange it in anyway." She took a large basket from the supply shelf under the bank of arched windows, rummaging in it without looking at the contents as she came to the first table of students. "Draw what you see directly in front of you." She pulled something out of the basket, set it on the table, and moved to the next set of artists.
Meagan Eloine’s red curls shook as she flopped back in her chair; arms crossed in a pout at the object set on the table between her and Jessica Kidd. "A rock. Really?"
"Find the inner beauty, Miss Eloine." Mrs. Aulder reached into the basket again, this time placing a handful of blue feathers in front of Martin and Holly. "Find the lines. The angles. Find the beauty in the chaos."
The artists tittered.
"Or at least find your charcoals Mr. Trevarten before I find a detention slip."
A few students guiltily dipped into their supplies, quickly bring up sketch pads and tins.
Holon spun his chair around, hands clasping in front of him on the table. Esther, her interest ebbing from the mysterious artifacts, couldn't help staring at the bandages over his knuckles. The blood was darker now, old and dried.
Holon cleared his throat.
Esther glanced up and met his eyes.
A strange purple flower plopped onto the desk between them, making her start. A few starry petals scattered, a leaf drooped. Mrs. Aulder gave her a curt smile then moved onto the next table.
Esther frowned at the flower; the curve of its thin stem like a branch with three dividing limbs; flowers protruding from the end of each set with purple petals pointed and ridged yet delicately curved back towards the stem.
With a whisper of paper Holon propped his sketch book against the table, and placed a tin of charcoals at his side.
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