Chapter 17

I was so worried about her. I had no idea where she could have gone to. I felt bad about the whole situation. She was right, things were way too weird. I found myself pacing around the apartment, waiting for her to come back. I wasn’t even sure she would. I glanced over at the clock, seeing it was already midnight and she still wasn’t back. I was so exhausted that I ended up going in my room and falling asleep on my bed without even getting undressed with the portable phone in my hand.

“Taylor…” I could hear a small voice in my ear. I woke up to see her sitting on the bed next to me.
“Phyllis…I’m so…”
“Don’t worry about it.” She smiled. I could see that she had been crying. I attempted to sit up in the bed but she put her hand on my shoulder for me not to. Instead she lay down next to me and looked up at the ceiling.
“I’m sorry I left. You shouldn’t have to apologize for trying to talk to me. Things are just so strange and I’m just a little stressed out at the moment….” She said and turned her head to look at me.
“It’s all right. I understand. You have to realize something Phyllis, this is just as weird to me as it is to you.” I answered.
“How did you die?” She asked.
“Well…I got into a car accident with my little brother. He is paralyzed from the waist down.” I answered, letting myself choke slightly on my emotions.
“Why don’t you go and see your family?”
“I’m not allowed to interfere in their lives, that includes going to see them.”
“But…you are…uh…well…” She began to stammer.
“Interfering in your life.”
“No, no, I mean…you’re…you’re…” She stuttered again.
“I understand what you’re tying to get at.” I smiled.
“Good…it’s too hard for me to explain.” She said and blushed slightly.
“Well, I’m going to go to bed. I have classes tomorrow so you won’t see me.” She said and got up off the bed.
“All right. Uh…Phyllis…?”
“Yeah?” She asked, turning around.
“What courses does the school offer?”
“Oh…uh…art classes like life drawing, graphic design and stuff like that plus they have really awesome music courses.”
“Maybe I should think about taking some classes.” I smiled.
“Maybe.” She grinned back.

The next morning I got up extremely early and called the school to see if I could schedule in some classes. I waited for Phyllis to wake up and I started to make breakfast.

“Hm…what are you doing up?” She asked, rubbing her eyes as she saw me already dressed.
“I’m going to class with you.” I smiled and handed her a bagel.
“You are? Did you call the school this morning or something?” She asked, a little puzzled.
“Yeah.” I smiled.
“Oh…by the way, I would get ready or you’re going to be late.” I smiled and began to walk to the door.
“SHIT!” She yelled and ran to her bedroom. I just chuckled to myself.

We made our way to the school and we went our separate ways. I decided to take only three classes, two music and one life-drawing class. The last one I decided on for a new experience.
I walked into the school and immediately found my first music class, which happened to be a keyboarding class. What they were teaching I already knew so it was basically just boning up on some skills. While sitting there, I managed to come up with a chorus to the song I was working on. After that class, I went to my other music class, which was a vocal training class. I enjoyed listening to the people singing, it reminded me of home. I didn’t really talk to anyone because everyone was busy.
After all of that, I went to the last class of the day, which happened to be a life-drawing class. I had never taken one before.
I walked into the room and looked all around. I smiled to myself when I saw Phyllis over to the right, setting up her easel. She immediately looked up at me.
“What are you doing here?” She questioned with wide eyes.
“I guess you’re not too happy to see me.” I said, raising an eyebrow.
“Taylor! Have you ever taken a life-drawing course before?” She said in almost a panic.
“Taylor…” We were cut off when the professor, a woman by the name of Anne, came in and called for the classes attention.
“Hello everyone…oh…I see we have a new student.” She said, turning her attention towards me.
“Oh…hi…” I smiled. She smiled and went back to what she was about to do.
“Okay…today we are going to start drawing from human models. Many of you have down this before so you should be familiar with the human form. Would anyone like to volunteer to model for us today?”
Being the unknowing idiot I was, I volunteered. Phyllis grabbed my arm, her eyes pleading as she locked them with mine.
“You don’t want to do that!” She whispered softly.
“Why?” I asked, a bit confused.
“You model nude.”
She nodded, and I felt my throat clamp up. Looking around, I saw all the eyes staring at me. My stomach started to turn and then I clamped down on my fear, smiled at Phyllis, then walked up to the front of the room. She had a look of total fear on her face, and I knew exactly what she was thinking.
“Don’t worry Phyllis, no wings.” I thought.
I heard her let out a sigh and out of the corner of my eyes, saw her sit down.
The instructor smiled at me and told me to go “strip” in the dressing room. I nodded, and headed back to get ready.

When I walked back out, towel around my waist, Ann instructed me to sit on the tall stool on a raised platform. She must have sensed my nervousness, because she had me sit with my left side to the class, one leg propped up on a tall box and my head leaning on my right had while my left, keeping my balance by leaning on a box behind me.
“All right, now Taylor, stay perfectly still, and class, draw him as you see him.” Anne said, sitting at her desk.
I heard the rest of the class pick up their charcoal, and then heard the familiar scratching of pencil to paper. I closed my eyes, trying to forget what was happening to me. All the eyes. I could feel myself shiver just thinking about it. Eventually the feeling went away and I could relax.

When I finished changing, I walked back out into the classroom and up to Anne, who said she wanted to talk to me after class. I saw Phyllis picking up her supplies and knew she would wait.
“Taylor, you didn’t have to model today. As a matter of fact, I didn’t expect you to do anything but observe the class.” Anne said.
“I understand, but I just couldn’t sit here and do nothing while the rest of the class worked. It just seems a little unfair.”
“I understand completely. I’ve put a request in for your materials, I should have everything by class tomorrow.”
“Thank you.”
“See you tomorrow.”
She went back to her work and I walked over to Phyllis. As soon as we were out the door, she stopped, turned to me, grabbed my shoulders and looked me straight in the eyes.
“Are you crazy? Your first day and you volunteer to MODEL!”
“What’s the big deal? I would’ve done it anyway.”
“But your first day?”
“Phyl, first impressions are always the most important.”
“First impression? You’ve made an awfully good one Taylor!”
“Oh shut up!”

We had gotten into the car and Phyllis pulled out of the parking lot. I knew she was embarrassed for me, and she didn’t have to be. I really was fine with the situation. Halfway home, I decided that she had to laugh. Thinking for a few seconds, I finally decided how to go about it.
“You know what scared me the most while I was up there?” I asked.
“The fact that everyone was looking at you, studying you, mentally taking that towel off!”
“No, the fact that it was so quiet in there that had I farted, everyone could’ve heard me.” Although she had tried not to, she burst out laughing and I couldn’t help but laugh with her.
“That would’ve been so humiliating. Yet I would’ve laughed my ass off!”
“You would have?”
“HEY!” She smacked me playfully and we pulled into our parking space.

“All I have to say is you better not get too used to walking around buck ass naked.” She laughed as she began to unlock the door.
“Why not?” I smiled. She just gave me “the look” and opened the door.
She immediately grabbed the phone before I could say another word.
“Hey…I can’t come in…I’m really sick.” She must have been talking to her boss, she was attempting to sound sick on the phone.
“Okay…see you tomorrow.” She hung up the phone and walked passed me.
Why aren’t you going in?” I asked as I sat down on the couch.
“I need a drink.” She answered and went into the kitchen.
“What does that have to do with…”
“You want one?” She cut me off as she peeked her head around the corner and showed me a bottle of gin.
“Uh…all right.” I smiled.

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