note: some from a mixture of laziness, general writer's block, unexpected adventures, and sleep deprivation, I am, unsurprisingly, behind. I'd said I was going to try to have part 1 finished by the time I get back to school, and right now that's looked like it ain't gonna happen. Though I'm still going to keep writing. Jsyk. It's just. Yeah. I'll probs have this part finished by next weekend or some time the week after next weekend. Actually no, I'm not going to put any dates to it. I'm writing lol. Just know that. Now have funs reading.
30 April, 1996
“I’m serious, Dominic. Please, you have enough talent and drive, more than anyone I’ve ever seen your age, to succeed. Please think about it. Your pieces would fit perfectly in that gallery.” Dominic’s art teacher, Mr. Prevost, very nearly begged as he helped him place several sheets of canvas back into the large portfolio case that Dominic kept in the art room. The blonde sighed as he snapped shut the case and lifted it with both arms to walk the short distance and place it on the bottom shelf in his teacher’s office. Mr. Prevost had taken a liking to Dominic after he had learned that the boy actually loved art and didn’t take the class because it might be deemed as easy or as a “blow-off” class. They both had a certain amount of respect for each other; Dominic because of his admiration and strive, and Mr. Prevost because he was one of Dominic’s only teachers who actually seemed to enjoy his job and want to help his students truly do better. Since Mr. Prevost trusted Dominic to not steal or do anything wrong, he allowed him to come into class during lunch or after school to work on his paintings in peace, and to even store his portfolio in his office so he wouldn’t have to worry about other, less respectful students messing with his artwork.
“I will, I will. I just don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of spotlight yet, you know?” Dominic said as he pulled his jacket on.
“Yes, I understand. I was that way too with my drawings. But I, too, had a persistent teacher who would not let me pass her class unless I entered a portrait of Aubrey Hepburn into a contest. And believe it or not, I won the contest and got a scholarship to a university of my choice. Though, that teacher was my mother and I wouldn’t go as far as to make null your grades. I will respect your choice either way, Dominic, just understand that, from someone who knows what he’s talking about, you’re ready for that spotlight.” Mr. Prevost smiled. “The real question though, is the spotlight ready for you?”
Dominic grinned. “It was born for me, obviously.” He shared a laugh with his teacher before excusing himself and left the classroom with a goodbye and a promise to think over the gallery. Dominic liked his teacher and appreciated that he cared enough to push him towards furthering his artistic career.
Mr. Prevost, or William as he sometimes asked the class to call him if he was in a fair enough mood or if he was having a pre-mid-life crisis, was Dominic’s youngest teacher, the man only ten years older than himself, but had what his mother would call an “old soul.” He was good-natured and had a dry sense of humour, but unfortunately for some he wasn’t forgetful; if he assigned a project to be due in two weeks, it was due in two weeks, with no time for “Oh, I’m sorry, sir, I forgot about it. Can you make it due tomorrow?” He was also terribly persistent if he wanted something. For instance, Mr. Prevost seemed to have made it his life’s work to persuade Dominic into entering a couple of his more realistic paintings into the upcoming Art of the Young Adult exhibition at the Hayward Gallery.
Dominic’s teacher had, from the moment he saw that his student had serious talent, continuously searched for things that the boy could do, be it entering a competition or visiting an art museum, in order to broaden and further inspire his creative horizons. He was, in fact, the reason Dominic had been attending an art class at a small fine arts studio near the school every Sunday.
Dominic walked out of the school building and headed in the direction of his house a few blocks away, taking the route he did every day after school. It was cool outside though he welcomed it, considering most of the classrooms in his school had the heater turned up to the max for no apparent reason. He hummed to himself, politely smiling and giving a short nod to an elderly lady walking a tiny dog on the sidewalk. He hoisted the strap of his messenger bag up higher on his shoulder and crossed the street leading to his neighborhood.
As he walked he began to hear voices, male-sounding jeers coming from the other side of a recently closed convenient store at the end of the block that started the neighborhood he lived in. He couldn’t understand anything that was being shouted but as he came closer he distinguished at least three different voices, and much to his worry, a fourth that sounded painfully familiar.
His heart began to race and he became increasingly nervous as it became apparent that the fourth, smaller, quieter voice was indeed who he was hoping it was not. Dominic ran up the side of the building and turned to walk behind it, his eyes immediately falling on the backs of three figures crowded around the smaller form of another, their voices loud as they backed their victim against the wall. Dominic felt himself fill with anger, his vision turning red, as he caught a glimpse of Matthew’s wide eyes between the shoulders of two of the boys surrounding him.
Unable to think above the wave of rage washing over him, Dominic quickly pulled his messenger bag over his head and let it fall beside him and stood to his full height, briefly thanking himself for playing football every weekend with Chris and gaining a substantial amount of lean muscle from it. Though he wasn’t the tallest guy around, he could tell he had the advantage in either height or bulk. Despite one of the three being at least six inches taller than Dominic, he was nothing but skin and bones and the blonde knew that if worse came worse, he would hopefully be able to handle himself.
“Oi!” He shouted as he began to slowly walk towards them, glaring at the trio of faces that turned to look over their shoulders. Matthew’s eyes flickered towards the voice and widened even further, this time in surprise, and Dominic held his stare for a moment as if to say, I’ve got this, you’re okay now.
“The fuck are you?” Replied the shortest, a red head with a stumpy nose and a petulant expression, with equal volume.
Dominic glared at him. “Doesn’t matter. What do you think you’re doing?” He gestured with a pointed tilt of his head at Matthew, who was now slightly shaking.
The average sized guy’s eyebrows raised in mocking disbelief. “Y’know this twat?” He jabbed his thumb at Matthew. Dominic’s fist clenched a little at the name they called his friend.
“ ’s not going to change anything if I know him or not. I asked you a question, I’d like an answer. What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?” Dominic’s chest expanded, his broad shoulders pulled back a bit and his chin somewhat tipped upwards as he continued to slowly walk towards the group.
The red head snorted. “It’s none of yer business what we’re doin’ and who we’re doin’ it to, ‘kay?”
The third bloke nodded, expression bored and Dominic swore he was stifling a yawn. “Yeah, go on back to your fancy lil home and let us take care of this.”
“Wait, I think I seen him before,” the middle heighted boy said. “You hang with him, dontcha? Hey, Andy, I think that arsehole hangs with that fairy.”
Dominic was now standing within an arm’s length of the trio, all of them now sharing glances as they stared at him. He could hear Matthew gulp tightly and watched in his peripheral as the boy pressed against the wall like it would make him turn invisible.
“Holy shite, you’r-”
Dominic muttered a quiet, “Oh, for fuck’s sake” before drawing his arm back and letting his fist collide with the red head’s – Andy’s – jaw, making him yelp and teeter backwards a bit, his two companions gasping in unison as they stared in shock at both Dominic and Andy. Dominic ignored the dull throb in his knuckles and resisted the urge to shake his hand, instead intensifying his glare as he met their stares.
“Whoa, mate, what the fuck?” The tall one said, and Dominic couldn’t help snorting at his audacity to be amazed.
“Leave.” Dominic ordered, arching an eyebrow at Andy as he began to massage his jaw, a bruise already beginning to form.
“Ya don’t have any sa-”
“Get the fuck out of here.” The blonde’s voice rose and he took a threatening step forward, his height and muscle advantage causing him to overshadow the three.
The red head jumped a little at his advance, and nudged the others before staring angrily at Dominic. “Watch yourself, fairy,” he snarled at Matthew, the boy frozen against the building.
Dominic watched them as they left, tossing curses over their shoulders and calling Matthew a variety of names, before relaxing his posture and turning to his friend with a worried look on his face. “Are you okay, Matt?” He automatically went to gently grab his friend’s shoulders and pull him into a hug, Matthew rigid in his embrace and still slightly shaking. “What was that all about anyway?” He leaned back, still close and holding onto him, and moved his head to try and catch Matthew’s eye.
After a moment, Matthew looked at him, his blue eyes wide. “Dunno. I was walking home and they were there. Like they were waiting for me.”
“Do you know them?” Dominic dropped his hands from Matthew’s shoulders and took half a step back.
“No. I’ve seen them around at school but I dunno them.” He let out a breath he seemed to have been holding for awhile. “I’m…I’m- Thank you, Dom. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. Thank you for being here.” He looked up at him, his eyes shining.
“Always.” Dominic reached out to lightly punch Matthew’s shoulder, a small smile on his face. “I think you should start staying with me if I’m at school after class so you don’t have to walk alone anymore, okay?”
Matthew let out a quiet giggle. “I think that sounds good.”
“Good!” Dominic grinned. “Now, c’mon, let’s get you home.” Matthew returned his smile and nodded, both turning to start the walk back to their respective homes.
They walked in silence for a few minutes, simply enjoying the comfort of each other’s presence, before Matthew made a soft noise as if he’d remembered something. “Oh, so how are those weekend classes going? The art ones.”
Dominic snorted and glanced at him sideways. “You say that like I’m taking so many different ‘ones.’”
“They’re alright so far. I’ve only been twice, but I enjoy it.” Dominic paused for a moment as they neared Matthew’s house. “I forgot to tell you; I have a date tonight.”
Matthew looked at him in surprise. “Really? With who?”
“A girl from my class. Her name’s Jade. She’s nice. Asked if I wanted to go to dinner sometime and I gave her my number and she called me last night, so we made plans for today. I think she’s a year older than me though…” Dominic said the last bit to himself, Matthew staring at the horizon quietly, his expression blank.
“Huh. Have fun, I guess?”
Dominic silently noted how Matthew’s voice had suddenly become absent, but he paid it no mind as he nodded and waved at Matthew who had already started to walk up his driveway. “Yeah. See you tomorrow.”
“I really had a good time tonight, Dom.” Hazel eyes smiled at the blonde as Jade shyly walked beside him, Dominic walking her home from the small restaurant a short distance from her house.
Dominic couldn’t lie; he had as well. He was shocked how much he’d enjoyed their time and how awkward-free it had surprisingly been. All of his previous, though few, encounters with girls had been uncomfortable and weird, but Dominic felt himself at ease with the pretty, brown haired girl, her personality sweet and interesting.
“I did too.” He smiled back at her, stuffing his hands in his pockets as he watched the ground move under him.
After a few quiet minutes, she stopped in front of a tan house. “Well, this is me.” Dominic looked up, glancing at the house, before looking back to see her gazing at him. “Thank you.”
Dominic instantly recognized the look in her eye and braced himself for a possibly terrible and awkward kiss, but the moment he felt her soft lips press against his he relaxed, the pressure nice and welcoming. The kiss was chaste, and within seconds she quickly pulled away and said a quiet goodbye.
The blonde smiled to himself before biting his bottom lip and called after her, “I’ll see you on Sunday, yeah?”
She turned halfway up her lawn, a wide smile spreading across her face. “Yes.”
7 May, 1996
Dominic sat in front of a half-complete canvas with a plate full of several globs of acrylic in one hand and his paintbrush dangling between two fingers of the other, Matthew lying on the guest bed behind him and watching. They’d been like this for the last hour or so, barely talking, and when they did, it was brief and over whatever random subject Matthew could think of. Dominic enjoyed Matthew’s company despite how bored he probably was, though he never said anything but compliments and occasional suggestions so he didn’t question why he stuck around.
As Dominic bent to grab the bottle of crimson that he was running low on, Matthew decided it was a good time as ever to say something. “So I kissed someone.”
Once again, Matthew surprised Dominic without a moment’s notice. “Pardon?”
“I kissed a girl. For the first time. Two days ago. Well, more like she kissed me, and I think it might’ve been a dare, but yeah. I was hanging out with Morgan and Tom while you and Chris went and did whatever you two do in that field,” Dominic snorted and muttered quietly that they were just playing football, “and this random group of birds came up to us and one walked right to me, said my name, and kissed me in front of everyone. I’m surprised they didn’t say anything to you.”
Dominic had looked away from his canvas to look at his friend. “I haven’t seen them since Wednesday. Damn, Matt, you’re playing the field.” Matthew giggled. “That’s shitty though, I wonder why it would’ve been a dare. So how was it?”
The younger boy snorted. “Wet, fast, and kind of messy. I was not impressed.”
Dominic laughed loudly at the description, a knot of discomfort settling in his belly while he resumed squirting paint onto his plate. “You’ll have a proper kiss someday, dear.”
Matthew smiled softly. “Someday.”