I did a double take when I walked into my fashion art class. This was a senior level class and only fashion majors took it. To my horror, I saw Crystal Wilkins sitting at one of the computers with a satisfied smirk on her face. The last time I checked, she was a marketing major. What the hell?
I knew she was doing this just to get at me. But I wouldn't allow her bullying.
Ignoring her, I eased into a seat at the front next to a cool looking girl in yellow. She was kind of plump and really pretty. She oozed fashion sense. I hoped we could become friends. She grinned at me as I sat down.
Leaning toward me, she said, "Tulip."
I leaned back and said, "Siobhan."
She winked then our professor made the usual salutations to start the class.
Since most of us weren't art majors, Professor Damon wanted to see what type of art skill levels we had. I actually had taken a lot of art and was pretty good at it. Another guy in our class who was a total fashionista also was fairly decent at it. But the rest. Egad. Professor Damon told them to do their rendition of the freezer bunny. He gave them all a picture to go by.
But Crystal was too good to go to the canvas.
Instead, she perused something online. I had no idea.
Sitting next to her, Professor Damon said, "Miss, what is the matter? I've asked everyone to start on their first art piece."
I heard Crystal say in a huffy way, "Why should I do that? My skills are way above everyone in this class. You've seen my portfolio."
I almost laughed when I heard his answer. "Then wow me."
Hearing the chair scrape the wood, I felt Crystal's negative aura permeate our circle. Coming up behind me, she surveyed everyone's art like she was the teacher.
"Pretty good for an amateur," she said of the guy next to me.
I had to try really hard not to gag. I've seen Crystal's work. It was good but by no means was it exceptional like she thought. She truly believed Picasso and her could have been collegues if only she hadn't been birthed a centruy too late.
"Oh my God!" the fashionista guy exclaimed. "I'm a GENIUS!" He sang out "genius" like Badam Sambert. He sort of acted like him, too. A true diva. I was already a fan.
Turning around, I snuck a peek, and I was very impressed with his skills. Way better than mine. If we had a group project, I was totally going to try to join him.
But then Crystal was in my face. "My, it's too bad with all the money you received from your father's trust fund, you couldn't come to a fashion class in more than a soggy t-shirt and clashing pants."
Oh, no she didn't. I was NOT going to put up with her shit. I did it at home but this was my turf now. "Um...what?" I hissed.
"You heard me. I mean, everyone else in this class has fashion sense but you. Why would you dare to even wish to become a fashion designer when you have absolutely zero taste?"
Tulip spouted from behind her, "Oh wait! Is that the famous writer of the blog, 'Sucks to be Me!' who just walked in? I think it is...or was the name of it, 'I'm a Raging Whore Hound', not sure?"
Crystal snarled, "What did you say?"
Not missing a beat, Tulip added, "I don't see how anyone wearing an ill-fitted dress in last season's colors gets off criticizing anyone else; especially given the drab presentation of your outfit as a whole. And is that a...puppy on your tits?"
"Fuck you," was all Crystal could say to Tulip's witty remarks. I wanted to clap right there!
"Fuck me? You only wish you could, toots. Let me give you a few tips. If you're going to succeed in the fashion world, maybe you should spend more time focusing on getting your design credentials up to snuff and less time being catty toward your classmates out of some misguided desire to convince yourself you're superior." Her eyes rolled over Crystal up and down. "Because, sweetie, you're not."
"Oh...this is getting GOOD!" the fashionista boy squealed with glee.
Professor Damon strode up, but he didn't try to stop them.
Putting her hands on her hips, Crystal spat, "You have no idea who you're talking to. This girl happens to be my sister. I can say what I want."
"You're her sister? More like bully. Is that how you get off by belittling people? Or are you just naturally a raging bitch? Maybe both? Either way, keep it in your pants; no one in this class has time to indulge the delicacy of your ego! If you need to pick on someone to make you feel better about yourself, there's probably a playground full of elementary kids somewhere nearby."
After that genius comeback, Professor Damon got between them and stopped it before they could start pulling hair. I got the feeling he allowed Tulip to have her say. He probably knew what kind of person Crystal was. I'm sure he had one narcissistic jerk in every class--a person who could never view anyone else's art or talents but their own. One who could never take criticism or dare look at anyone else's work as valuable.
She was nauseating. But a part of me felt sorry for her at the same time.
After class, Tulip came up to me and said, "God, I'm so sorry about that in there. Is that nightmare really your sister?"
"Step-sister. Her father is married to my mother. She left that part out."
Nodding in commiseration, she said, "Ah, the wicked stepsister does exist. Well, Cinderella, if you ever need a fairy godmother, you can always count on me."
I smirked. "Hey, you don't know what you're signing up for. I'm pretty sure I'll need your fairy dust all semester."
"No sweat. Now, I've got to take a shower before I see my boyfriend. She put a bad film of disgust all over me."
I had to admit. This new friend, Tulip, was just the thing I needed to nudge me out of the black cloud that descended upon me since Julien vacated my life. I struggled with the sadness so much this week, and thinking about dealing with Crystal twice a week was enough to put me over the edge, but tonight was fun. I was really looking forward to this class now. I had a knight-in-shining-heels to help me!
Siobhan wasn't herself in class today. And I was giving her the best Theo Wolff charm--sexy gap tooth and all. It didn't get any better than that. But I couldn't crack her. She looked as if someone stole her last friend. So, I gave up and focused on my work, hoping she'd be in a better mood next time I saw her.
But the good Lord, yet again, rained sunshine on me. Later that afternoon, I saw her studying in the quad. She was looking so fine in that Simtoria Secret Pink tube top and tight, scraggly jeans. I could look at her all day but that wouldn't get me anywhere. I was determined to be her number one man.
In this lifetime, anyway.
Strolling up next to her, I asked, "Whacha reading? How to pick up Theo Wolff? Cuz you know it's working."
Not hearing a thing I said (and I knew it--that's why I was messing around), she said, "Huh? Oh...hi, Theo."
She scooted over for me to sit next to her then she got a text.
Her face dropped instantly. Hum. Probably what had been bugging her all day.
I snuck a peek over her shoulder.
She had a boyfriend. But from the look of it, there was trouble in Siobhanland.
"Everything okay?" I asked, trying not to seem nosy although I was all kinds of nosy.
"Yeah, um...well..." she sighed. "No. I'm sorry. I guess I'm just in a bad mood today. It'll pass."
"You know what turns my frown upside down in situations like this?"
A smile tugged at the edges of her lips. I almost had her.
"I get the coffee at the Garden Cafe upstairs."
"But I heard that coffee sucks."
"Yeah, it's so bad you've got to taste it to believe it. I challenge you to drink one whole cup without throwing up. Then your problems won't feel so bad when you think you're about to blow chunks."
She almost cracked.
"I got you, didn't I?"
"Their coffee isn't that bad."
"I know but I made you laugh. You laughed inside, didn't you?"
Rising up, she pulled on my arm. "Come on...let's get some coffee. I need the distraction anyway."
I teased her all the way upstairs to the cafe. She didn't laugh but she looked happier at least.
After she got a mug of coffee, took a sip and made a face, I said, "So...they tell me I'm like a bartender. I'm really good at listening."
Raking her fingers through her hair, she said, "I don't know if I want to unload all my problems on you, Theo. You seem like a nice guy."
"So...nice guys can't listen? Whoever said that?"
"I just...I don't know. I think it'll make me feel worse if I talk about it. Tell me something about yourself. That'll help me. Why are you here at Folumbia?"
I shrugged. "I've lived here in San Myshuno all my life and Folumbia is where my parents went to college, so...I guess it seemed like the best choice."
"Your dad's a lawyer. What does your mom do?"
"She's a bioengineer. She works on saving the world. You know...like Wonder Woman only in a lab coat." I said this all serious so maybe she'd loosen up.
That made her smile for one fleeting second!
But then she looked solemn again. "Wow. Your parents sound so intelligent."
"What the heck is that supposed to mean? Are you wondering what happened to me?"
Lifting the side of her mouth in a cute way, she answered, "Well...you said it..."
I pointed at her. "For that offense, woman, you have to let me take you out."
"To the worst horror movie playing. I've got a few classes left today, but let's go tonight. Meet you at the Movie House at 7. Deal?"
Taking a swig of her coffee, she nodded. "Deal."
My God. Sometimes I wonder about my brain. I hate horror flicks. They make my skin crawl faster than a millipede in a rainstorm. Now how was I supposed to act all manly with Siobhan when I was the one screaming?
"Aw, now that's just gross," I cried.
But this made her laugh!
"What are you laughing at? You can't tell me that's not the most disgusting piece of rotting flesh you've ever seen. I don't care what you say, zombies are grody."
She giggled. "Has anyone ever told you you're cute when you're scared?"
DAAAANG! She called me CUTE! But I had to play it off cool.
"Yeah....All the time."
After the movie, I decided Siobhan wasn't thinking one inkling about that douche of a boyfriend of hers. I didn't know him. Didn't know squat about what happened, but if anyone can make her feel that bad, they had to be scum.
She asked me inside to watch a better movie. Oh, this was going so well.
But then she stopped dead in her tracks as we walked inside.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
She jerked her head toward the small guy on her sofa.
"That's my boyfriend."