Faye Scarl lifted the small black brush to the wall and lightly pulled it around the sun, leaving a trace of orange paint creating a glare. She looked back at it, and mixed a little big of white with the orange, and made another line directly next to it.
Suddenly she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around, shocked at who she was seeing. "Hey, it's Mr. Popular. What are you doing here?"
It was Jake Benson. The star football player. The Jock.
"I'd like to know what I can do to help with the mural..." He said, looking away a little bit.
"Shouldn't you be at football practice?" She asked, crinkling her nose.
"Oh come on, like you don't know." He said, still not looking directly at her.
Faye pushed her auburn hair back behind her ear and spewed at him, "No. Enlighten me. The entire school does not worship your every move."
"I know that, ok?" He was clearly upset. "I'm not on the team anymore, got it? I was kicked off."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh. That's nice," Moving on, she asked "Do you actually know how to paint?"
He shrugged, "I little. I took Art I last year to get an art credit."
She stared at him for a second, wondering why he was really there, and responded "You can help Brian paint in the C on Class..."
"Just the C." She warned, "When you finish that, come see me."'
He nodded, and she brushed a light yellow across the edge of the sun. The mural was so bright... She wished it were darker, but she hadn't come up with the design. After looking at it for a second, she became frustrated, and walked over to where Jake had just started painting in the C with red pain.
"I want to know why you're here." She commanded, "You're not into art at all."
"I can't play football, so I need something for colleges to look at as to why I didn't. Ok?" He answered angrily.
"How come you got kicked off the team?" She asked, nosely.
He rolled his eyes at her question, but shrugged, "Well, the whole rest of the school knows... Haven't you noticed that I haven't been hanging out with the same people - anybody actually - over the last week?"
She stared at him blankly.
"No, I guess you wouldn't... Everybody's scared of me cause I just found I've got AIDS."
"Oh." Suddenly Faye felt bad. Had she said something? She backed away a step or two. What if she caught it? "Sorry, I... I didn't know. I mean, I didn't think anybody really had it other than guys who... Sleep around with other guys. A lot."
He looked up at her, finally, noticing her dark black eyeliner and her baby blue eyes, which were offset perfectly by the auburn in her hair. "It doesn't have to be a lot."
She looked at him blankly still, "Oh."
"Stop looking at me like that... I'm not a freak."
"No, it's just... Didn't you have a girlfriend? One of the cheerleaders?"
"Oh." She wondered how many times she'd responded that way, and looked at him the same way for a minute. "If you don't mind me asking..."
"I probably do. But go ahead."
"Who'd you get it from?"
"This guy. You wouldn't know. There's no way you'd know him."
"I wouldn't picture you the type..." She blinked. "Does it hurt?"
He laughed, "The AIDS? No, not yet anyway. That isn't what it does."
"Oh." Not again... "Sorry I was rude to you before."
"It's ok... It's just nice to talk to a human being again."
Suddenly Faye remembered that Jake had tapped her on the shoulder. "Oh shit," She mumbled under her breathe, "I don't wanna seem rude, but would I have... could I... catch it by, touching you? O-or standing here?"
"No." He answered.
"Are you sure? Isn't it fatal? I can't, I mean, if it's possible you ought to tell me..."
"It's not. The doctor gave me all sorts of information on it... To get it, you have to get somebody else's blood running in your own. You can't get it by standing there."
"I see," She responded, trying to avoid saying 'oh' another time.
"You don't have to be scared of me... But if you are, just go away, don't mess with me. I won't care... everybody else is scared, one more isn't so bad."
"No... I'm not scared of you... Just of what you have." She said, being honest.
"That's ok. I get it."
"No... it isn't ok... I mean, You're not my kind of person. AIDS or not."
"Of course not."
"Yeah." She started to turn back toward her brushes and pain, walking away.
"Because you know what kind of person I am, right?"
She turned back around, suddenly. "I do. Football player. You hang around with people and create an image that makes you into a God. Then suddenly you get AIDs and all your so-called friends abandon you. What a shock. Then suddenly you think, Gee, some things are more important than people popular. But you're still the same guy."
"Wow, and you don't want people labeling you? You're one to talk"
Faye narrowed her eyes, "It's not labeling. It's true... Isn't it?"
"No, it's not." He insisted.
"Well, it usually is." She roller her eyes. "If you really want to help here, go ahead. Paint the C."
"I will." Jake lifted a thick brush and dipped it in the red paint.
"Hey! That brush is dry. Get it wet first. We aren't going for a dry brush look."
"Oh." He said, in the same lifeless way Faye had before.
Suddenly she burst out laughing, she couldn't help it. "Don't mock me."
"It made you laugh."
"Thanks. I needed that. You know, you're pretty cool... for a football player," She added at the end, to clarify.
"You're pretty cool yourself... for an art freak."