1 Chapter 1

I stepped back from the canvas in front of me, mindlessly chewing on the paintbrush between my teeth. I knitted my eyebrows together, concentrating hard on the splashes of red and yellow and orange across the canvas. My next move was on the tip of my tongue and I was so close to breaking through that final creative block– to creating the masterpiece I was so sure about.

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"Kells, I think you're at a good stopping point," the TA for my art class, Alex Howard, laughed as he pulled me from my concentration. Alex was super laid-back, and probably one of my favorite art teachers. The best of the best. I looked up and smiled.

"Just like, five more minutes," I insisted, before turning back to my canvas. "I'm on the brink of something great, here."

"That's awesome, however, the class ended ten minutes ago and I know very well that you have a class to get to, when does it start again?" he sighed, checking his watch. This was a predicament I had run into many times before.

I looked up at him with wide eyes and it registered in my mind that I needed to book it out of there. "Shit."

I wasn't exactly the most punctual person as it was, and I don't know what possessed me to add my stupid Philosophy 100 class directly after my painting class. For me, art class was always the hardest to leave because I was just so into it. I loved art so much.

"Oh my god," I groaned, running over to the sink to wash my brushes. "Crap."

"Kellin, just leave those there and I'll pick them up," Alex insisted. "Get out of here! Don't fail your other classes, we've already had this discussion!"

"Right, right, I know!" I said, exasperated as I threw my belongings into my book bag haphazardly. I slung the sack over my shoulder and ran out the door. I promised Alex that I'd swing by later to clean up more.

I ran out of the art building, already flustered, and went to grab my bike off the rack. I grabbed a hold of it and pulled, yet was met with resistance because I forgot about the bike lock. I groaned and set my book

bag down so I could rummage for my key. Once I found it, I unlocked the bike and hopped on, speeding across campus to the philosophy building.

I rode up and parked at the rack, before running inside. I was completely out of breath and sweating as I entered the lecture hall full of people just staring up at me, including the professor.

"Is there a reason, Mr . . .what is your name? "

"Kellin Quinn," I gasped, still in the process of catching my breath.

"Right, Mr. Quinn, is there a reason you're busting in here so late? Class started ten minutes ago," he pointed out. The professor was this stern old man and the crooked scowl he gave me made me so uncomfortable. I felt my face burning red as I felt everyone's eyes boring into me.

"I just lost track of time," I said, sheepishly. "I'm sorry, sir."

"I'm sure," he said, smugly. "Find a seat . . . by the way, you might want to wash that paint off your face."

My eyes widened in horror as my hand flew to my face. I definitely felt remnants of dried paint. Fuck. Either way, there was no time to wash it off now, so I just continued on to the first empty seat I found. It was embarrassing, but I guess it could have been worse. People seemed to stop staring as soon as the professor dove back into the lecture.

I held an internal sigh as I pulled out my notebook and started scribbling down notes. This was by far my least favorite class, because I never quite understood what he was talking about. Because it was such a big class, there wasn't enough time to ask questions and my TA for discussion sections kind of really sucked.

It was very easy to lose focus, too. I found myself unintentionally drowning out the sound of the professor's voice, drawing elaborate doodles over the entire page. Doodling was way more interesting than class, anyway.

I had never really seen myself as good at anything besides art, honestly. I struggled with math, my writing skills sucked . . . I mean I guess for the most part I was fine with it. I loved art enough to make up for my lack of skills and passion in other areas. Sometimes it could be discouraging, though.

Toward the end of the lecture, I noticed a guy sitting in the row in front of me. I hadn't picked him out of the crowd before, but I was now that I noticed something interesting.

He wasn't even taking notes! He just sat there, leaned back and with his arms crossed over his chest. He looked so casual and relaxed and I decided there was no way he was sleeping or just blowing off the class. I wondered if he was good at philosophy and didn't need notes . . . and I really needed a tutor.

I waited a few minutes, until professor dismissed class. I packed up my stuff quickly and waited for the people next to this guy to move. Once they were out of the way, I jumped over the row and sat down in the seat next to him.

"Hi," I said, cheerfully, watching as he pulled sunglasses out of his backpack and put them on his face. It reminded me that I had sunglasses somewhere . . . now where they were was an absolute mystery.

"Hey . . . Kellin right?" he said, grinning. His voice was cool and casual and it sort of caught me off guard in a way I couldn't describe.

"How do you know my name?" I wanted to know.

"I heard the professor talking to you when you came in late . . . that was you, right?" he asked. I nodded, embarrassed. He just grinned and shook his head.

"Anyway . . . I just wanted to ask you how you're doing in this class . . . I notice you don't take notes," I said, smiling sweetly. Hopefully a friendly smile would give me an edge.

"I've got someone taking notes for me," he shrugged.

"Really? Is that allowed?" I asked, my mind reeling as I thought of ways I could get someone to take notes for me, too. Maybe there was some secret way to get that to happen, hell I would even be willing to pay for something that helpful. I liked to make a habit of keeping my morals in check, but I just couldn't concentrate in philosophy for the life of me.

"Well, yeah, I mean I physically cannot take notes, obviously, " he chuckled as he stood up. I stood up, too, and found that he was a couple inches taller than me, with messy brown hair and a slight air of perfection. Man I didn't realize –wait.

"Obviously?" I questioned. I couldn't imagine how someone would be physically unable to take notes. I mean his arms looked fine . . . He seemed to be competent enough. And as soon as I said that, I felt bad because what if he had some sort of learning disability and I was being rude and insensitive–

"Dude, I'm blind ," he laughed, taking off the sunglasses. I was honestly shocked by his statement, though it was more obvious when he took his sunglasses off. His eyes looked relatively normal, yet they were unfocused, almost as if he were looking through me rather than at me.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to come across as like, insensitive or anything," I said, panicking a little. Yikes!

"Don't worry about it," he insisted. He put his sunglasses back on and threw his backpack over his shoulders. We started moving and I watched as he ran his hand lightly along the back row of chairs. Once he got to the end of the row, he pulled something out of his pocket, which he revealed to be a foldable walking stick. He unfolded it expertly and began using it to test the space in front of him as he made his way to the front of the room.

"How did I not notice this before?" I wondered out loud as I walked with him out of the classroom.

"Well, for starters, you don't strike me as the most observant person ever," he joked. Well, at least he didn't seem to be offended by me. That was good.

"Hey!" I whined, a little pathetically as I went over to the bike rack. As I grabbed it, I realized it was only leaning against the bar, rather than locked to it. "Oh, shoot, I forgot to lock my bike . . . I guess I got lucky, huh?"

"Yep, my point exactly," he teased, his lips pulling into a short grin. "Well, I've got to head off to another class."

"Okay! Yeah, I'll see you Wednesday," I said, smiling. This guy was actually really nice!

"Yep, I'll see you - I mean, I won't, but you know what I mean," he smirked, starting to walk away as I realized something. I gasped and set my bike down to catch up with him for a moment.

"Wait, I'm sorry, what's your name?" I asked, eager to know. "I'm Vic."

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