a knock on the door

"I'm not opening it." Eon said.

"Oh, yes, you are!" Simon said, darting into the kitchen. Eon, rather than pursue him, sighed and opened the door. He almost slammed it shut again. The girl from the stairs was standing in the hallway. He gasped and sputtered something, apologized several times while the girl stared at him with wide blue eyes.

"Uh…sorry." Eon said one more time. "Simon!" he called, "you have company!"

"No," the girl said, "your friend -he ….uh…left his baskets on the landing…eh-" she stopped abruptly and covered her mouth with her hand, stifling a giggle. Eon's face blanked and it was his turn to stare at her. She was pretty good looking, but what was she laughing at?

"I'm sorry." she said, turning away. "You're just…very funny. You stand there and apologize but I don't understand why."

"Then…" Eon trailed off.

"That was funny too! Though, I don't think you thought so and it was quite embarrassing. I'm sorry."

"Yes, um…er- Simon!" Eon shouted, not taking his eyes off the girl.

"No, no, no!" she said reaching for his arm, "I just thought I'd drop by and return the baskets. Your friend-"

"Simon!" Eon called again as Simon walked in from the kitchen.

"What? …oh-" he gasped when he saw the girl.

"This is Simon." Eon told her, "and Si, this is…" he trailed off, not knowing the girl's name.

"Emerson. Emerson Grey." she said, extending her hand. Simon shook it briefly and turned away. His face was furious red as it always was when dealing with girls. Eon proceeded to introduce himself as Simon returned to the safety of the kitchen. Eon also invited her in for popcorn but to Simon's relief she declined and left. Eon made popcorn anyway and crashed with Simon on the slightly shabby couch for a movie. About halfway through "The Princess Bride" Eon grinned.

"She's cute isn't she?" He asked.

"Who? Buttercup? That's not quite the word I would use but our tastes in girls is bound to be-"

"No, stupid, not Buttercup. I meant Emerson. What did you think of her?

"She was very nice."

"And beyond that?

"She was…lovely." Simon blushed furiously again. Eon slapped the side of his face.

"Stop doing that. Normal people don't blush every time a girl is mentioned. And don't even think about apologizing." Simon stopped his apology as it set on his breath. He turned his attention to the Rodents of Unusual Size being skewered to their deaths on the television.

There was an old man in the city named Mr. James Hawkins. A very intelligent man who had made a large fortune in the stock market and done a lot of work on computers and such things. Simon had run into Mr. Hawkins on Fifth Avenue one day. James Hawkins had just pulled up in a cab and a distracted Simon had crashed into the open door, knocked himself to the ground, and dumped two folders full of papers all over the sidewalk. This event occurred when Simon was still a student at the university; hence, these papers included plans for a house that Simon had designed for a class. As James Hawkins had knelt to help Simon, he happened upon these plans. He was awestruck by the art in the architecture, the originality, the symmetry, and the detail of the plans.

"Did you make these?" He asked as the cab pulled away. Simon nodded and stuffed papers back into his folders. Over coffee, James Hawkins and Simon got to know each other a bit. The afternoon ended with Mr. Hawkins offering Simon a fair price for a copy of his plans and a job. Ever since that day, Simon had been James Hawkins' personal assistant and confidant. Hawkins hired him to do whatever he needed. If James Hawkins wanted a building designed, Simon would design it, if James Hawkins wanted someone to sing for him Simon would sing, if Hawkins wanted someone's honest opinion about anything from spoons to shoes to the moon Simon would give it. From storytelling, to report writing, to designing almost anything, and back again Simon was Hawkins' man for any oddball job. The day following Emerson Grey's visit to the apartment Hawkins had Simon writing music for him. He was throwing a fashionable party with a seaside theme and had decided on all sorts of classy ocean music. However, James Hawkins could not have all the same classy ocean music as every other fashionable seaside themed party. James Hawkins would not settle for mediocrity. Therefore, he had asked Simon to write and record music for his party. Hence, Simon sat on the piano bench, guitar in hand, picking out chords for song whose words were sad, and bittersweet, and entirely his own. It was a song about a girl, and an ocean, and footprints in the sand. A song about the sound of waves and a girl who cried like a gull. And it was a song about something found and something lost. Joy and melancholy. It was a song that Simon was proud of because it was written from his heart. Mr. Hawkins sat at his desk, listening and watching Simon. The stock report on his desk sat untouched. Finally, he stood and walked to a position just behind Simon. Laying his hand over the strings of the guitar to stop the gentle music, he sat down next to the boy and gently took the instrument away.

"Simon." James Hawkins said, "Simon. Simon. What's wrong?"

"Nothing, Mr. Hawkins." Simon replied.

"Simon, I know you better than that. You've written songs for me before but none of them have been as beautiful as that one. None of them have ever been about a girl either."

Simon looked away. Blush was creeping up his neck. James Hawkins reached across and, with a gentle hand aside Simon's cheek, turned to boy's head back to look at him. "Tell me about her." he said quietly. At first Simon was afraid. He had not intended to tell anyone- not even Eon- about his affection for Emerson Grey. But James Hawkins was practically a father to Simon. The closest thing to a father that he'd had for fifteen years. and as he looked into the elder man's eyes he knew the he had to tell someone. Why not James? Simon closed his eyes and trailed his fingertips over the keys of the piano behind him. His other hand slid through his blonde hair and he told James Hawkins everything. He told James about the girls in the park who followed him and went out of their ways to talk to him and stole the Sharpie markers out of his guitar case so that they could write their phone numbers on his arm. He told James Hawkins about Emerson Grey and how she made him nervous than any other girl he had ever met. James Hawkins seemed fascinated , yet sympathetic with Simon's multiple problems. Simon felt a lot lighter after telling James Hawkins about his life and problems. He knew he could trust the old man. He felt like a window had been opened, allowing sunlight and a fresh breeze into a stuffy room. James turned around on the piano bench and played several chords on the piano.

"Simon, I find you a very fascinating and complicated young man." he said. " how I would love to get inside your mind and find out what makes you tick."

Simon wasn't sure how he felt about this but Mr. Hawkins had always been interested in how people think so he was not too concerned." All I have to say is that you should not be afraid of getting to know this girl better if you like her. After you're friends perhaps you could work on pursuing a relationship."

Simon nodded, knowing that conquering that barrier of fear could be one of the hardest things he had ever done.

"And about the girls," Mr. Hawkins chuckled, "consider it a compliment and don't carry Sharpie markers anymore. But whatever you do, don't stop playing in the park on Wednesday nights. I told you to do that for a reason. You're a good lad, Simon and you're lucky to have a friend like Eon." He was finished, his words all said. So he rose and returned to the work at his desk, leaving Simon to write down chords and notes and words on paper. His heart beat within the guitar in his hands, spilling out onto the paper in song. Notes and chords, heart and soul.

On the way to the underground station back through the park footsteps pounded on the sidewalk behind him.

"Simon! Simon! Simon!" a girl's voice resounded in his ears. He felt a blush creeping up his neck and over his cheeks. A hand fell on his shoulder, forcing him to turn and look at Briala. She smiled broadly ay him. Simon dropped his messenger bag, strewing Sharpie markers over the sidewalk. He gathered them up as fast as he could and ran. He didn't stop to catch the bus or to wait for the underground. He simply ran as fast as he possibly could until he reached his apartment. He slammed and locked the door behind him and sat against it, chest heaving, breath coming in gasps and spurts, sweat pouring down his face and body. He could feel his chest tightening and he tried to slow his breathing to avoid an asthma attack. Usually exercise didn't bother him but that much running could do it to anyone. Eon ran into the entryway, crashing to his knees in the floor next to Simon.

"Simon, are you alright?" he gasped. Simon threw his messenger bag aside and tried to slow his breaths. His left hand searched the outside pocket of the bag for his inhaler. "Simon, can you hear me?" Eon gasped, "are you going to die? Please, Simon, speak to me!" Eon grabbed Simon by the neck of his t-shirt. Simon pulled away and wiped sweat off his face.

"Water!" he managed to gasp at Eon through cracked, dry lips. His friend darted into the kitchen. Simon shed his t-shirt and used it to wipe his face. He used his inhaler then turned his attention to inspecting the tear in his corduroys and the bloody gash beneath from when he had tripped over a lamp post and skidded across the pavement. It hadn't slowed him down much. Eon returned with a glass of water. Simon dumped half of it down the front of him but after swallowing the rest and using his inhaler again, his breath slowed and his voice returned. He fished in his pocket for chapstick which he slathered over his lips. Eon sat watching him, impatient.

"Sorry." Simon said, finally.

"You ok?"

"Yeah."

"What happened?"

"There was this girl in the park. I ran."

"You ran all the way from the park?" Eon was disbelieving.

"Yeah." Simon breathed.

"Wait a second." Eon paused to stare at his friend. "You ran all the way from the park because of a girl?" Simon's face reddened. Eon snatched his sweaty t-shirt and smacked him aside the head with it. "What's wrong with you?" he demanded. Simon shrugged and returned to inspecting his bloodied knee. He rolled up the leg of his pants to get a better look at it. The fall had obviously been worse than he thought. The skin had been removed from his entire knee. Blood oozed down his leg. Eon looked annoyed. "Don't expect me to take care of that. I do enough of those at work."

"I can do it myself." Simon said, rising and walking to the bathroom. He stashed his inhaler in the medicine cabinet before washing the wound and covering it with a cause pad and medical tape. He heard a knock on the door and Eon called his name. Simon stalled. His brown corduroy pants were torn and bloodstained. He couldn't see company looking like that. Eon's black pinstripes hung over the drying rack. His name echoed down the hallway again. He shed his pants, exchanging them for Eons which were much too long and darted into the hallway. He stopped short, unsure which was more important, being polite or his personal safety. Briala stood in the entryway, talking with Eon. Simon was amazed. He thought he had lost her a mile ago.

"There he is." Eon said, "Hey, aren't those my pants?" Eon's pants were long enough to nearly cover Simon's size 10 feet.

"Mine were all bloody and I ripped out the left knee." Simon looked at the floor.

"what happened?" Briala gasped, running to him, eyes wide.

"Oh…I fell. Tore up my…uh…knee. I'm fine. Really." Simon continued to look only at the floor and wondered why she was in his house and how she had managed to follow him. He awkwardly pulled Eon's pants out from under his feet. He was barefoot. He hated being barefoot around girls. Around anyone for that matter. Eon didn't count.

"You forgot your silver marker." Briala held up his silver Sharpie.

"What?" Simon gasped, trying to find a way out of this uncomfortable situation.

"When you dropped your bag in the park you forgot your silver marker on the sidewalk. I brought it to you. That's why I came." she held out the marker. Simon took it.

"Thank you…uh…Briala. Now, please excuse me. I need to go get my…uh- laundry. He smiled at her briefly and ducked out the door, feverishly hoping that she would be gone by the time he returned.

A/N: appologies, needs editing, critique required.