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By:Amanda Lance

All that changed pretty quick, though, when I got a look at what was in front of me. I could see her, standing in line for coffee like the dozen other idiots who had come before her—only this one wasn’t no dummy, with her pretty little nose stuck in a big book; I could tell that right away. The rest of her was just as nice with soft but noticeable curves and legs that went on forever. Shiny, blonde hair bounced in the center of her head, and ’cause it was all pulled up, I could see how her shoulder blades curved in just the right way—straining maybe, to hold that big book in her arms.

My feet started moving before my brain was working. I shoulda just walked away right the moment I saw how beautiful she was, but it was as if my toes had magnets in ’em, and my body wasn’t letting me go nowhere until I got to see her up close.

She was young, that much I could tell. And though she was real pale-like, I swear she smelled like sunshine and maybe the outside after it rains.

She hadn’t seen me yet, hadn’t seen much of anything outside that book of hers—definitely hadn’t heard those squeaky boys walking past her, acting like they had the ability to see through her clothes—not that I could blame them. But it made me wonder if she had any idea just how pretty she was, how attractive. Being unsure and protected under my sunglasses, I closed my eyes and inhaled her smell. Did all real pretty girls smell so wonderful, or did they just smell so good ’cause they were pretty?

Suddenly, I really wished I could see her face better. With only a side view, I had no idea what her mouth or eyes looked like and found myself having a hard time picturing them. Maybe, though, if I could get her to talk to me, she would turn in my direction. Hell, I wasn’t stupid enough to think I’d get her number or anything, but who would pass up an opportunity to have a conversation with a pretty girl? I watched as she turned a page and smiled. Searching my brain for even something remotely clever to say, I felt like the dunce everybody always said I was. When it finally did come to me, I had to clear my throat once, twice, and dig my hands into my pockets to keep ’em from shaking.

Why’d I have to do it? Why’d I have to go and open my big freakin’ mouth?

“Did you know the Vitruvian Man was named after General Marcus Vitruvian? It’s s’posed to be ’bout balance in man and all that.”

Great, I scared the hell outta her. I musta, since she jumped so high she coulda been reaching for the ceiling. Not knowing what else to do, though, I laughed. Later on, I told myself it was just ’cause of the look on her face, though—not ’cause she made me so nervous.

“Sorry ’bout that,” I tried. “Didn’t mean to scare you.”

More people had gathered in line behind me, making the line go almost to the building’s center pillar. After she noticed this, she glanced back at me, her frown getting deeper when she noticed the smoke behind my ear. The second I realized she disapproved, I kinda found myself wishing I had thought to hide it in my pocket.

It didn’t take a detective to figure by her clean nails and fresh smell that she wouldn’t like a smoker. But she was looking at Da Vinci, so I knew she had a brain in her head, and that gave me something to work with—so I could find some common ground to get her to talk to me.

By all of my accounts, most girls who looked the way she was lookin’ tended not to bother learning anything beyond grade school… along with some other choice skills, of course. Even as I thought it, I knew I should have backed away. What if she started thinkin’ about the fact that I was wearing a jacket in the summer? Or sunglasses at night?

But I didn’t back off. Instead, I just stared into those emerald eyes that weren’t lookin’ away from mine.


What did she just say? Was that even English? “Huh?”

“You didn’t scare me.”

Even if I had wanted to, I couldn’t look away then. A sheer rosy color blossomed on her cheeks as she whipped her back ’round, and it spread to the fine muscles of her slim arms, bringing out freckles I hadn’t noticed before. I wasn’t so sure I hadn’t ever seen nothing so beautiful in my life. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I kept right on lookin’ at her…

I knew I could never sketch nothin’ that good looking.

It coulda been my imagination, but it seemed like the more I stared at her, the more she changed color—going from a light pink to a bright red then back to pale white again. And just as I was about to rub my eyes and question if I was seeing stuff, she blushed one more time, and I thought maybe she was having a hard time breathing, like those kids with asthma..