“Go on, let me take a look.” He whined as his friend kept his back to him, clutching the black zip-up art folder tight to his chest.
“No, you wouldn’t like it. It’s not very good.”
“Aw, come on, the teacher likes your art work, and you’ve shown me other stuff before.” He wheedled. “Just a quick look at your new project. Please? I’ll get you a can of coke?”
“I don’t, look, no, I don’t want a can of cola, and I don’t want to show this stuff off. It’s just… no.” His friend shook his head and started off down the corridor towards the steps.
He had to hurry to catch up to him. “I’ll let you borrow my new Call of Duty when it gets here. Just for a quick glimpse. Ten seconds for a weekend of the best FPS action out there?” Whatever Dean had been working on, it had taken up nearly all of his free time for the past month. Matty was at the point where he was considering chaining the folder up so his mate could get a weekend of gaming, a kick-about in the park, or some biking done.
“For the last time, no. Look, I’ll see you later.” Dean said, putting his foot firmly down on the step below before vanishing into the crowds pushing their way down the steps to escape school for the weekend.
Matty sighed. How much harm could a quick look at his friend’s charcoal and chalk drawings do?
He finally got his chance that weekend. He’d popped over to Dean’s house and saw him heading down to the shops with a shopping list in one hand and a wad of re-usable bags in the other. Grinning, Matty headed to the front door and knocked.
“Oh, hello Matthew!” Mrs Turner smiled as she came to the front door. “How are you doing?”
“I’m well thanks, Mrs T. Is Dean in?”
“He’s just popped down the shops for me, my back’s playing up a bit again.” She stacked shelves in one of the local retail stores, working alongside Matty’s older brother.
“Can I wait for him here?” Dean asked.
“Of course, Matthew.” She smiled, before looking apologetic. “Could you give me a little hand with the ironing?”
“Always.” He smiled at her.
The ironing had all been done, and Matty carried the dark green basket for Mrs Turner up to the landing. There were two piles separated in it. One for her, and one for Dean. With her permission he put the pile on top of her bed, then carried his friend’s into his room for him. Art supplies crowded several of the surfaces, and it took him a moment to find the folder his mate had been carrying at school the other day.
Slightly nervous, he put it on the bed and quickly unzipped it to look at the sheets of A3 inside. His fingertips carefully flicked through the pages as he took each in, struggling to process just what he was seeing.
Downstairs he could hear the front door opening and shutting. Matty made no hurried effort to close the folder as Dean thundered up the stairs and flung his bedroom door open. Looking up from the art, he could see it all written on his mate’s face. A quick look was all he took, yet it let him see deep into his best friend’s soul.
Dean’s fists clenched as he surged forwards, right hand pulled back to take a swing. His face was mottled with red as rage, fear, and hurt struggled to dominate his expression.
Matty easily blocked the punch and used the opening to step forwards, pulling his friend into a bear hug. “It’s okay.” He said, though he knew it never would be.