Author's Note: Based on, actually, a Frasier fan fiction story I read years and years ago. It's stayed in the back of my mind, and produced this.
Author's Note Two: As Brian continues his life in Pittsburgh, brilliant-artist Justin is asked to teach a class at Columbia University. Comprised entirely of e-mails between one of his students, and her sister.
Disclaimer: Some places in here are real, some are not. But nothing is based on reality, so please don't sue the Poor Girl, as she has nothing to give. Except weed, but she just cannot give that away.
Subject: Holy. Fucking. Shit.
I cannot fucking believe this. Like, I am sitting at my computer, typing out this e-mail to you (hi, sis!) and I cannot believe it. Dude. Justin Taylor. As in, the Justin Taylor that drew four of the pictures on my wall at home, and two of the ones here in the dorm room, is coming to Columbia U. He's going to - take a breath - be teaching one of my art courses. Taking over for three weeks. I'm shaking, I'm so fucking excited. You remember when they canceled the Rage movie, and I was so upset about it; I thought nothing would bring me back from the total funk I was in, and now I'm so euphoric, I can't stop myself from playing the drums with my makeshift set, including three upside-down bowls and two wooden spoons. Which, actually, might be why Lauren (roommate) keeps looking at me over her Meg Cabot book.
To put it in terms you'd understand, it'd be the equivalent of you meeting Sarah Michelle Gellar during your Buffy phase.
How are things in Pittsburgh? The bar burned down in my absence? I miss you. And how are things with that guy? What's his name? Hunter?
Subject: You're a freak.
Firstly, as aforementioned, you're a freak. I'm, uh, happy for you, I guess, that you're meeting your idol, but please don't embarrass yourself. And try to remember that you're gay, dear.
Is he the one that drew the picture of the woman holding her kid? The one over your desk? If so, you can count me as impressed. I wish I was talented. But then, if that was me, who would have filled in for you at Hardigan's when you went off to your fancy school? So the moral is that you owe me your happiness.
Things with Hunter are . . . I don't know. We went to dinner the other night, and everything was fine, you know? He was all, "Oh, you look so pretty" and "Here, let me get that chair for you" and then out of nowhere it was, "Oh, shit, my dad's calling. The short one. I gotta go." And then he ran out of the place before I could even get a question out. But, oddly enough, he was clear-headed enough to leave money for the bill. So, naturally, I decide that maybe he doesn't like me like that, but when I wake up the next morning there are two missed calls on my phone, and a voicemail. What. The hell.
As if I could forget the drama revolving around Rage. You're a great sister, you really are, but that week I probably could have cheerfully strangled you with complete absence of guilt. Sorry, but do you or do you not remember going to Office Depot every day to make copies of those protest letters? You were pathetic. It is what it is.
Hardigan's is fine, thank you very much. And working on Liberty Ave. is pretty amazing. I met the lady that works at the Diner, which was an experience.
When's your first class with Mr. Taylor?
I miss you too. It's not the same without you.
Subject: (no subject)
Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you, but I had to have time to tell you about the awesomeness that was my evening class last night. Before you even ask, yes, my phone is disconnected, because I'm a poor college student. Leave me alone.
Anyway, so my class with Justin. Fucking. Taylor. (Relax, I'm only calling him that behind his back. To his face it's "Justin" all the way.) was just everything I could have hoped for. He talked some about his start. I'm going to try to recreate it for you.
He walks in, and everyone is silent, because, hello, it's Justin. Fucking. Taylor. And he looks kinda, like, overwhelmed, which only made me love him more. He's not a snob! Anyway, he has a few of his drawings, which he sets up along the dry erase board. A few I recognized from his site - a jacket, some man's face, and a sketch of the cover for Rage. And then, of course, the ones I hadn't seen before. A picture of himself, with the guy from before, a pair of hands, a toddler.
So, he gets them set up, and turns to us.
"I'm Justin," he says, and he half-grins. I burst into enthusiastic applause. No one joins me.
He glances over at me, which isn't hard to do, since, preparing for his arrival, I secured a seat up front. I turn red, but, thankfully, he doesn't address me.
"So, anyway. Yeah. Justin Taylor. You can call me Justin. I'm still pretty young." He smirks to himself. "Compared to most. And I'll be teaching this class for the next few weeks, as much as you can teach art. Personally, I think it's just something that you're either born with, or you're not. I've seen samples of each of your work, and I'm pleased to report that I'm probably not going to have to give false praise to anyone in here." Everyone laughs, which is a relief, as it hides my nervous cackling.
He walks over to the first sketch, the one of the jacket, and brushes his fingers against it. "I drew this the night I decided to go to art school. Which, with my dad, wasn't an easy decision to make. But I knew I was making the right choice, because almost nothing in the world could hold my attention like drawing. I was an excitable kid, but I could sit on my bed with a pencil and paper, and pass hours without moving from my spot." He perches on the stool in front of the teacher's desk. "You have to do what's right for you," he continues, and it's odd, but he looks a little melancholy. "You can't . . . Your life can't be about someone else, because, you know, then what's yours?"
He is so deep.
After the little introduction he asked us to each pick something in the room, anything, and draw a piece of it. You'll be pleased to note that I kept myself from drawing his hands, and chose the earring of the girl that was sitting to my left. When he peered over my shoulder to inspect my work, I'm pretty sure he noticed that I stopped breathing.
So, the class ended, and before I left I couldn't resist loitering, just a little, to examine the sketches he'd set up. He saw me looking, and raised an eyebrow.
"I'm a fan," I blurted.
He chuckled a little. "I suspected. It's okay."
"You're amazing. I have six of your drawings." Then I realized that this might sound a little too, well, insane, so I quickly changed the subject, and gestured to the drawing of the man's face, the one from the site. "This one's really great."
He glanced at it, and I have no clue if it was my imagination, but it almost looked like his expression softened. "Yeah, well," he replied after a moment, "the subject was something else."
The conversation ended there. I went ahead and left, in an effort to follow your "don't scare him" instructions.
Justin. Fucking. Taylor. is my teacher. Life can be so fucking weird.