"That's just it Toby, two hours of work and the rest I get to spend in my own studio." I held onto his shoulders and jumped up and down. There was one week to go before I was off too Brighton School of Art with my scholarship to do my art degree. I finished Kingtown with five A* (one happened to be in Maths!) and 6 A grades. It was a dream come true. I went off to college to do Art for two years and that's when I got the scholarship and nailed the place at Brighton.
Toby finished Wentworth and was in his third year of an apprenticeship. After struggling with dyslexia, he finished with a B in English; it was a moment of triumph for him. But the rest of his grades weren't as good as he hoped and he went to do an apprenticeship in construction. He was doing well; it was the perfect thing for him.
We met up for our weekly catch-up coffee in the shopping centre. We settled down on a corner table, talking about my course. I saw his eyes widen over my shoulder and I turned my head to see what caught his attention. At the counter having his order taken and standing in a suit was Mr Raxberry – my old art teacher. I felt my whole body freeze and I hoped he wouldn't turn in this direction. He had no intention to until Toby shouted, "Hey Rax!"
His head turned in our direction just as I turned my face away, blushing and glaring at Toby under my hand. I heard him say hello and soft footsteps getting louder. I hid my face more, I couldn't bear seeing him. It has been over 4 years.
"Gosh Toby, it must have been two years since we last saw each other! How are you doing?" He asked.
"Not bad Rax, not bad. I'm still doing my apprenticeship; they said if I impress them this year then it might become permanent." Toby replied.
"Well done!" I heard the pat of a shoulder.
"Prue here is off to Brighton School of Art! But there's no surprise there really, is there?" Toby said. I closed my eyes and thought to myself oh god, oh god, oh god.
"Oh my, Prudence King!" I heard Rax gasp, "I thought I recognised you." I lifted my head from my hands and managed a smile. He looked better now a days, younger, and there wasn't a beard anymore, just a small amount of stubble. A sexy amount of stubble. His earring was gone. "But haven't you changed! And I always knew you would go on to study art!" He finished.
"Yeah, well I can't take a scholarship for granted." I slipped in, holding a smile on my face.
"A scholarship." He repeated. "I am so happy for you Prue, and so proud." He smiled, sounding really sincere and he reached for my arm. I felt myself flinch and my cheeks burn, just like they did when he first touched me all those years ago.
"Well, I've got to head to work." He said, standing up to leave, "I don't want to be late. Goodbye Toby, goodbye Prue. See you around." He shook Toby's hand and then mine before picking up his jacket and leaving the coffee shop. I watched him leave until he was completely gone from my sight and I turned back to Toby, his eyes fixed on me.
"I knew you still liked him!" He laughed.
I didn't say anything. I just held tight to the piece of paper that Rax left in my hand.