A girl in the front row of the packed auditorium raises her hand.
Was it easy to draw Jalen since you’ve known him so long?
You step out from behind the podium, confused by the question. It didn’t have anything to do with your presentation.
Yeah, I’m curious, too. If you know the subject it must help, right?
How do they know about Jalen? You didn’t mention him during your lecture.
It must help, right?
Sure it can.
For the drawings I’m commissioned to do, I usually don’t know the subject. But pictures from a lot of angles does help.
You grab your sketch pad from the podium and make your way across the floor toward the front row.
Brushing your charcoal across the blank page, an eye takes shape.
By the time you’re to the girl in the front row, you have her left eye captured on the page.
You hold it up to her and smile.
What’s your name?
Her slate eyes widen as you hand her the quick drawing you just did.
Oh wow. That’s me. You even got the scar.
If you find something that can pull you into the drawing, that’ll help. Not that she’s defined by her scar, but it’s part of her. Part of her character.
It’s true, if I knew her more, maybe I’d find out she’s got a mischievous streak, and I could portray that in her eyes more. But it’s not necessary.
You’d been able to capture that in Jalen tons of times. You haven’t seen him, kissed him, or hugged him in days, but you could still capture, by memory, his very essence on a page.
You sure did miss him.
I can’t believe you drew that as you walked over to me.
You smile and step back from the front row.
We have about five minutes left. Any questions on technique or—
Stephanie, the girl you just drew, raises her hand.
I tried something before you got here. May I show it?
She hops up from her seat and hustles toward the easel in the far corner of the speaking area.
You weren’t sure why it was there since it wasn’t anything you’d asked for the presentation.
Okay then, let’s have a look.
She flips the page but stands in front of it.
Pushing up your glasses, you take a deep breath. Doing live critiques wasn’t your favorite thing to do.
She steps away from the easel, but there wasn’t a drawing on the paper. Only words.
Standing next to the easel, the girl smiles.
You move closer to read it, and realize your name is at the top, written in fancy cursive.
Will you be mine?
You put your hands over your steaming cheeks.
Oh my gosh.
Did you read the right?
Will you be mine?
You hear murmuring behind you, so you turn around.
Jalen is standing at the bottom of the middle staircase, holding a rose.
Tears sting your eyes.
Wait. Be mine?
It’s Valentines’s Day?
You hadn’t even realized.
What do you think, Jazzy?
Jalen steps closer, holding the rose out.
Here, in front of everyone...of course. He knows you feel most comfortable talking about art, sharing your passion with young, aspiring artists.
You look down at your sketch pad and scroll out the biggest, most fancy letters you can muster with your shaking hands.
Y. E. S.
It wasn’t your best work, but hopefully he can read it.
You toss the charcoal to the floor and flip the sketch pad around.
Cheers and whistles erupted throughout the auditorium.
Two long strides bring him to you.
You grab the rose, and he sweeps you into a massive hug, twirling you around.
I love you, Jazzy.
He settles you to your feet, but you don’t let go of him.
How did you do this?
It’s a secret.
I mean...how… after Ace—
Don’t talk Jazzy.
I really want to kiss you.
You push up to your tiptoes and plant a whopper of a kiss on his lips.
He was the sweetest, most patient man alive.
To put up with your quirks, with Travis’s attitude, then to bow out while you worked through your fears...
You’re amazing, you know that?
I love you, Jasmine Gould.
I love you, too.
You kiss him again, and the crowd behind you goes wild.
You know this will end up on YouTube, right?
Good. We’ll have something to show our kids someday.
You lean back.
More cheers filter through your excitement, and you hear people shuffling toward you.
Can you sign this?
Someone shoves a magazine in your direction.
You grab the magazine, and realize it’s flipped open to Rhianna’s article.
I was so busy prepping for class and taking care of Travis, I didn’t realize it came out today.
Travis was doing great, getting better and better each day.
So this is why some of the students were asking me about drawing you.
I read the article yesterday and knew I had to do this.
You twine your fingers with his.
I’m so glad you did. I was lost without you.
A girl shoves a sharpie in your direction and smiles.
Can both of you sign?
Guess I’ll read the article later.
Doesn’t matter, anyway. Jalen is back. We are together.
Nothing will ever come between us again.
Read more interesting stories!
Go to Chapter's Taptales and read more stories~