The voice was kind, soft and gentle, probing him to look up, to glance at her, whilst he merely tucked himself away in his sketching, earphones shoved angrily into his ears, blaring his odd taste in music.
The voice was stricter now, louder and far more aggressive, and within an instant, he was lifting his head and yanking out the small blue buds, gazing up at his teacher, her expression imposing as she stared down at his hunched position, tucked awkwardly into a desk.
"I have news," She sighed, pulling back and standing up straighter, arms crossing over her torso while her foot tapped the ground impatiently.
He liked Ms. Harvey. She wasn't too empowering or hateful. She was young, late 20s perhaps, always flying around the school and the classroom in petite dresses and little-girl skirts, bright blouses and cashmere sweaters. She cared for him, unlike a lot of the other teachers at Laketown. She got annoyed, she got irritated, aggravated, pissed off, but she never sent him out of the room, or to detention, or gave him any kind of referrals. She honestly wanted him to pass her class, seeing as it was art, and he honestly wanted to pass himself; it was a win-win situation, his relationship with her.
"And I want to enter your piece."
Her voice startled him to life, yanking him by the shoulders and shaking, pulling, tugging, yanking, shoving. He cleared his throat, staring up into her expectant, wide eyes, her small, hopeful smile, his music still blasting muffled rhythmic tones, though the headphones were tucked tightly in his fist.
"Sorry," He swallowed, "What?"
She groaned and then scoffed, tossing her hands in the air, as though fed up with his behavior.
She probably was. But she'd never admit to it.
"Honestly, do you ever listen to a thing I say William?" She sighed, reached forward, grabbed a chair, yanked it backward, and sat down, hard and rather irritably, "Contest. Next week. I want to enter your piece."
William swallowed and looked down at his hands, fingers calloused and sore, eraser wearing thin (he'd need a new one soon) as it sat atop his sheet of white paper, completely bare other than the small, lightly sketched construct of a person.
As though sensing his discomfort, Ms. Harvey leaned forward, crossing her arms on the table so that her torso could lower atop them, pillowing her shoulders and chest, "Look, Will. I know you don't like to show off your work, but your work is worth showing off."
William scoffed and shook his head in disbelief, though he found himself falling into a sudden state of forgotten depression; something he hadn't felt in a while. Something that reminded him of his parents. And, to be honest, that wasn't okay.
Clearing his throat, he glanced up at Ms. Harvey's forgiving expression, the dip of her eyebrows pitying him overtly. He knew which piece she wanted to enter. It was a recent work of art, something he'd spent a lot of time on. Something he didn't exactly want people to see. Especially now that certain people attended this school.
"Think about it," Ms. Harvey bobbed her head toward him, an encouraging gesture that simply felt patronizing. "Let me know by the end of this week."