lay where you're laying, don't make a sound
i know they're watching, they're watching

Tuesdays were the worst days of my week. First, I had AP Calculus, which is possibly the worst, most boring, and awful class I have ever taken in my life. It was hell and I've had Algebra II and Geometry in the same year. Every day. One after the other. However, AP Calc was not the only annoyance. That was just the icing on the cake.

Because I found myself at the receiving end of a one sided conversation. From school to Uno's my cousin Rachel was talking my ear off.

"Oh my God he is so good looking," my cousin Rachel fawned over Bright Svetlichnyy, a friend of mine. We weren't close but because we had the same friends we hung out with each other a lot. Thankfully, I had no harboring attraction to him or Rachel's pining would have killed me. Of course, Rachel only liked him because he was attractive. "I think I'm going to try and seduce him."

"Isn't that what you came here for?" I asked her as I took my pizza from the cashier. I paid the woman begrudgingly. One slice of pasta pizza and water should never be over six dollars. "You know, your parents couldn't handle you because you were too wild. It is why you're here right?" Rachel was shipped from New York to California three weeks ago, the third week of my senior year, because of her, uh, (more than) promiscuous and stupid behavior.

"Whatever," she slid into our booth. "I don't think that it was a big deal."

"Ok," I shrugged while I ate my pizza. I thought she was wrong but I really didn't want to judge her. Or tell her that. "So, how do you like it here?" I bet this was like the one-thousandth time I had asked her that. I couldn't relate to her very much. I think I should have stopped with the questions, like, a week ago.

"I don't. Ok," she gestured at something in the air. "No offense Cam but I prefer the weather in New York, the people, and the…people. I have friends back there. Then and again the friends I've made here are pretty great. I had sex for the first time in a month yesterday. With Dan Pine."

"You knew him for like five minutes," I laughed. "Rachel, you literally just met him two days ago. I've known him since like fifth grade, he sucks." I had gone to the same school with the Pines' from fifth grade until we were freshmen in high school.

Naturally, Rachel, being as typically "pretty" as she was, had soon become friends with the (totally amazing) popular people. Melissa Pine was a popular girl with a male slut (Dan) for a brother whose parents forced him to go to an all boys school. His parents had hoped he'd become something more than another rich kid who didn't have to try hard for anything. Too bad that idea went out the window when he continued his vigorous sporting activities. These included: sex, drugs and alcohol. I did not oppose sex, alcohol, or drugs but it was like Dan was an Olympic gold medalist with that shit. Certainly the Michael Phelps of his kind.

"Your friends aren't too great either," she stabbed at her salad.

I didn't bring up my friends but I'd leave Rachel to her own argument methods. Since I'm seventy and old fashioned, two days seemed a little hasty to fuck someone so fast. But I'm not quite an expert on sex or human relationships. So, whatever, if she wanted to attack them she was free to do so.

"No offense," she laughed. "I mean you only have three. Danielle's okay. Thomas and Mat are very attractive. I honestly don't see how you didn't jump either of them yet-"

"Please stop talking." I had more than three friends and she knew that. Not only that, but, I had a lot of ups and downs with Danielle. We had some tiffs and I tried so hard sometimes in friendships…for me relationships didn't come easily. They still don't and sometimes my friends hurt me more than I'd let them know. A lot of people tended to think that I was a bitch and that I didn't let much, if anything, bother me. Pretty much everything bothers me.

"Okay," she rolled her eyes. "Touchy subject. But if that was me…"

Then I drowned her out.

All she ever did was complain. Talk about sex. Complain. Talk about her.

I supposed I was just not in a good mood due to the fact that it was Tuesday. And yesterday was Monday.

"She's so odd," I whispered to my dad as we set the table while Rachel was in the shower. Secretly, I feared that Rachel would hear and start pulling out all our knives and screaming at the top of her lungs. I could kick her ass but we could do without drama. "How long is she staying? Dad, why the hell are we eating dinner together?" We started eating dinner together when Rachel showed up. I think the point was to make her

"Cameron," he passed me forks. "Stop asking so many questions. Go get Emilie. And don't yell for her from here. She's your sister, not your dog." Of course, I didn't listen to him and Emilie came into the kitchen annoyed.

"Your voice is like nails on a chalkboard." She groaned. My sister was another one of those people that made my days more miserable.

At fifteen, she had already managed to get in more trouble than I ever had my freshman year of high school. It was stupid stuff: numerous suspensions for ditching classes, breaking one girls nose, and being a rebel without a cause. She was a sophomore now and I sincerely hoped that she would be smarter. But like any other fifteen year old she knew absolutely everything already and couldn't possibly be wrong.

"I can still beat you up," I warned her. I had taken martial arts since I was three. I stopped last year simply because I had no time. My sister took them for one year when she was three as well. She kept on going until she was thirteen along with ballet. Now she's a rebel ballerina. I guess that made her cool.

We bickered ("Why are you so stupid?", "Cam, shut the hell up!" etc.) until Rachel graced us with her presence. "Rachel how has it been so far?" My dad asked her as we started dinner. I shook my head because this question had now been asked 1001 times.

"Oh, it's great," she said. I could tell she wasn't lying. She didn't love it here but she didn't hate it. Which meant she would never leave this year. God, help me. "I've made a few friends."

"Who?" Em asked.

"I don't think you'll know them." Rachel laughed. "Oh but I think Jenna Coltrane's sister goes to your school? Helen, right?" My sister went to an all girls' catholic school called Holy Angels but I liked to call it Holy Daughters of Bitches. God, forgive me, it's true. I'm so glad I had the choice of picking slutty/bitchy public school over slutty/bitchy private catholic all girls school.

"Yea, I got suspended for breaking her nose last year." Em shrugged.

"Unintentionally," I pointed out.

"Helen Coltrane's a bitch." Em sighed.

"Language," my dad glared at her. "Your reputation got you into that position Emilie." Please. My dad shrugged off the whole situation. Ok, maybe he cared and felt bad for Helen but he didn't freak out. He acknowledged that the situation actually wasn't that serious and that suspending Em wasn't fair either.

"She was in front of a moving door. You're an idiot if you just stand there!" She glared at my dad. "She is an idiot," she addressed Rachel.

"I'm going to bed," Rachel got up from the table. As quickly as Rachel's decent mood had come it was gone.

No one asked her what was wrong or where she was going. Emilie simply whispered, "Dad, she is so weird."

"Smoke?" Rachel asked me. We were playing a game of twenty-one questions. I guess Wednesday was on my bad day list as well. Actually I made every single day of the week bad day week. Rachel's mere existence thwarted my happiness.

"Occasionally." There was a pack in my purse right now.


"Occasionally," I answered as I shifted in my drivers seat. She was evaluating my coolness by illegality. Dear God, did she have her priorities in order.


"Why?" I was fed up with the Spanish Inquisition at this point.

"Just interested," she sank down in her seat. "I've been here for a while and hadn't thought to ask you those questions. There must be something we could relate over. In my household I'm the only lying bitch that drinks, smokes, does drugs and sleeps around. Except, I know you're a virgin."

None of this was in jest. I was concerned.

"Haha, so between you and Em, I'm the good kid? SOL, girl."

"You just proved you're not perfect," she put her aviators on. Oh my God, she has on aviators. She is an angry badass. "What the fuck is SOL?"

That question was so sharp. Sometimes, I wonder what I really did to her to make her such a bitch. So far, I had kept all my bitchy thoughts to myself but one more week and I swear to God I would tear her apart. It seems that people checking up on her and caring about her wellbeing struck a chord with her. It brought out the bitch side. At this moment, I wanted her gone just for that.

"Shit outta luck." I replied icily.

This proved that her looks couldn't solve all her problems. Her looks couldn't get her away from the criticisms of others. Rachel had blonde hair down to her collarbones and a tiny body. She had light freckles across her cheeks that complimented her dark brown eyes. She lured boys in because of her Unlikely Hot Girl syndrome. For example, a boy sees a girl like Rachel. Rachel's not perfect. She's easy, vapid, okay looking, and confident. Which is, like, sex on fire to a boy.

"I never mentioned this. You know, my mom didn't like your mom and dad being together?"

My heart dropped at the mention of my mom. "No offense, I know she's somewhere in Spain right now but, my mom thought it just caused friction between Gram and your dad. Their whole relationship." She just shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal.

Newsflash, braintrust, it was a huge deal.

"Because my mom was black?" I preferred to keep my mom a repressed memory in the back of my head. I also preferred to keep all the problems and arguments I had to witness in my dysfunctional family due to the color of her, and me and my sister's, skin. "Or, because she wasn't rich? Rachel, do you know how much-" I cut myself off. No, she couldn't possibly comprehend. "I don't want to talk about it."

I wanted this uncomfortable conversation to end. Now.

When we got to school I thanked the Gods. We parted ways. Hell if I knew what she was going to do but I was going to the art room away from her.

On Wednesdays I had Art first period. I sucked at art (I had decided to take it for the last four years for reasons beyond me) but I could always read, look around the dark room and look at the pictures people shot with film cameras.

I didn't shoot film very often and when I did I got the shots printed at the pharmacy. After, I would scan them on my own and edit them. It was time consuming. I learned how to develop pictures but I only did it once. My photography class was digital or film, whichever was one's preference. Sadly, I preferred digital to getting my film developed at CVS. It was so much easier to do it the digital way. Although, there's something magical about SLRs (film) compared to DSLRs (digital). I think it's the concept that you put all your trust in your camera (literally your film is your trust) and you don't know what's going to come out on the other side.

When I entered the cave (which is what the art rooms were called because they were all located in a gigantic white room) I saw Bright. I wasn't used to seeing him this early in the morning. I thought of Rachel for a second when I saw him.

Bright was, in fact, too smart for Rachel. He was kind of socially awkward, quiet, and possessed above average intelligence but at the same time he was nice and funny. He was an artist, a photographer, a singer, a junior Olympic swimmer (he started two years ago), a lacrosse player (nice ones were hard to come by especially when they met girl lacrosse girl players like me), and an ex model (fashion has taken up a big portion of my life so to brag and say that I know some kid that walked Burberry Prorsum '05 is pretty impressive to me.)

Bright was French and Russian and a little on the pale side. But in the summer (I do hang out with him a fair amount) he tanned quite well. He was sinewy, of course, because he was a swimmer but not disgustingly muscular. He had light brownish blonde hair and two different colored eyes. One blue eye and one green eye. That's all Rachel cared about. If Rachel got know Bright she would be repulsed. Plus, she thought she was out of his league. I could tell.

So, here Bright was in a red flannel shirt and black skinny jeans stretching his body out. His long legs reached to the next table. It's not fair people get to be 6'5 and I get stuck with being 5'8.

"Hey," Bright greeted me with a tiny wave. He was working on a sketch of a famous painting that was going to be translated onto canvas. It was one of those easy beginning of the year projects. Well it was easy for the painters and the drawers. It was hard for the girl behind the camera.

"Hey," I smiled at him. I sat down at his table. I figured this out: he wasn't going to talk to me but he wasn't going to object to me sitting across from him. "What artist?"

"Delacroix," he said in a perfect French accent while he shoved the white paper a little my way inviting me to see.

"Uh, what's it called?" I asked. "Oh, the painting on the Coldplay cover!" Realization dawned on me. Cute, but Coldplay was not my cup of tea. I knew that they weren't his either. We did have music interests in common. I knew this because when a band was brought up in a conversation he'd grunt, nod, or mumble a 'yea.'

"Actually it's La Liberté guidant le peuple. Not only known for Coldplay's album cover," he laughed quietly. I felt a little stupid. It was my first year in art history but I loved marveling at other people's art. I should have as much knowledge on paintings as I do on models and fashion houses.

"Désolé," I shrugged. I could speak his language too. I wasn't perfect at French but I spent a month at French camp over the summer and my French improved dramatically. Out of the five people that took French in my huge school, I was the best. Well, next to Bright. Along with English he spoke Russian, French, and was very good (or so I was told by my friend Adam) at Italian. I was admittedly jealous of all the things his brain could do.

"C'est pas grave," he responded. For the record, this is probably the longest conversation I've ever had with him. I was truly honored.

Bright's very good artwork almost made me want to start working on my project but as usual I had no clue what to do. I was totally incompetent when it came to a brush and for all the years I've taken art I've barely managed a B+. Until I became a junior and realized that I actually needed to get into college, I never cared about my grades. But now I worked harder than before to achieve good marks. It's not like I killed myself over school, sure I was stressed but putting a little effort into work that I could do easily wasn't suicide-inducing (except for AP Calc, fuck AP Calc!)

He shocked me when he spoke again. "What are you doing?" He asked me but his voice was a little louder.

"Eh," I shrugged. "No clue. Haven't really started. I'm not inspired. I'm not surprised I'm not inspired. I suck at art."

"It would probably help if you looked in this book," Bright handed me a large book that read 'Art of the Renaissance.' "I remember you did a Bruegel-esque painting of The Tower of Babel last year."

I can't believe he remembered that piece of shit painting. But I didn't really pay attention to the mention of my painting—he was still talking to me. We were having a full-blown conversation. Now, I really wasn't going to let this go. I'd heard Bright say some funny things and I'd heard from others he was so awesome. But never had I experienced a one on one conversation with him. God, that sounds so pathetic. "It has Bellini, Bruegel, da Vinci, Titian, Van Eyck-"

"This is the only year I've been in art history," I deadpanned after I cut him off.. By now, I was sure he guessed my stupidity when it came to an artist that didn't own a fashion line.

"Sorry," he apologized with a sheepish grin. "Anyway, I think it would help you."

"She had this?" I referred to Mrs. Rolf, the art teacher. Mrs. Rolf was a hippie. She had naturally white hair down to her shoulders and always had a smile on her face. She often told us stories of how she tried to defy the man on a daily basis and that's what drove her to art.

"Yea," he shrugged. "Yea, I found it about a week ago, it was really dusty."

"Thanks." I smiled. The last fifteen minutes or so we sat in the quiet and worked on our sketches. The book really did help. I decided to go with Titian. Maybe I had a knack for the Renaissance period.

When class started everyone settled into their chairs. A quiet din floated around the room. The comfortable atmosphere was so easy to work with. "I see you're off to a very nice start," Mrs. Rolf commented. "I really like it."

"Bright gave me the book," I gestured toward the heavy block. "Remember that Bruegel painting I did last year? He suggested I try my hand at another Renaissance painting. I guess it's my calling? If I don't make it anywhere else I can scam blind people into buying my rip-off Renaissance paintings."

"Great idea Bright," she nodded and ignored my comment.

My Wednesday had just gotten a bit better.

A/N: I've been trying to get this story right for years (and my writing is still extremely bumpy) but I think this is finally it. The story is 97 percent fiction and three percent my life. Maybe those statistics will change. It's more of her background and what she likes that comes from me that I can relate to. I adore fashion, art, and photography. All of those things put together please the crazy out of me. I would like to be a fashion photographer and I do know French. Some of the males are named after models as well because I feel it suits them. And Mrs. Rolf's name is inspired by Viktor and Rolf. They had a very impressive season. ;) Anywho, an update will come soon. Please r/r, thanks.