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|Art sat gazing into Michael's deep brown eyes. They were hypnotic. And this was the fifth day he'd had the pleasure of doing so.
"Hello...? Earth to Arty...."
Art blinked, and looked at Michael, taking a drink of his soda. "I'm sorry, what did you just say?"
"I just finished telling you about the big, purple, cartoon tiger that followed me home yesterday."
Art snorted, almost shooting soda out his nose. After a quick recovery, he apologized. "I'm sorry, really...."
"What on Earth were you zoning out about anyway?"
Art looked down at his half eaten taco as if a substitute answer were written in its ingredients. "I was just....thinking."
"Oh...okay. Well, what I was saying is that I'd really like to see your sketchbook. That is, if you wouldn't mind."
The hopeful look was more than Art could bare. Reluctantly, he fished his pad from his backpack. Cursing himself for not removing the four pages dedicated to Michael, he handed it to him. "It's not much, really. Just some doodling I do in my spare time. Ummm, listen, I have to ditch lunch. I remembered I have a report to type up before next period in the computer lab. You can return my pad to me later."
Gathering his things hurriedly, he stood from the table, "I gotta go." He rushed away from the table, thankful that Michael didn't follow. He knew he was going to have to explain his graphic shrine to Michael. But he was totally unprepared to do it now.
Michael scratched his head in confusion as he watched Art's retreating back. Things had been going well. Oh well, he'd ask him about it later. He opened the sketchbook, slowly, he flipped through the pages. His eyes went wide. On the page before him was a familair face. The image was almost lifelike, were it not done in charcoal. The next page was a full length portrait of him in color on the day he'd first seen Arthur in school. In the margines were renderings of Michael's eyes. He looked up vacantly in the direction that Art had run.
Alex looked up from his computer as Art walked in. "Hey, what brings you here during lunch?"
Art plopped down in the seat next to Alex. Removing his glasses, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I have a problem...."
Alex looked at him with concern, knowing this familiar gesture as signaling a mental crisis. "Okay, buddy, calm down. What's so bad that you need my advice.?"
Art replaced his glasses, and heaved a plaintiff sigh, "Alex........I think I'm in love...."
Alex's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Oh....!!!"
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