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Smudged Pencil

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The sun hung low in the sky to the west, and Evelyn knew that that meant the shops would be closing soon and all the shopkeepers would soon be spilling out onto the hard worn dirt paths that wove throughout Sharance. Most of the children were out already, and from her seat on the bench, Evelyn could see her sister and her friends playing in the dirt by the general store. Well, playing might not have been the best term - Sofia was standing, wearing her usual formal dress which she didn't want to get anything on while Karina and Raven were sitting. They were talking - well Sofia was; Raven was never much for talking, and Karina was usually content to listen as well.

Evelyn looked around the town, trying to find something. The flowers creeping up the side of the blacksmith's shop caught her eye, and she picked her pencil up to begin sketching. Soon, though, her mind wandered and the flowers began to lose their life and looked more like a pattern than anything. Frustrated, she doodled the rough outline of a knee-length skirt around it before flipping to a new page.

The bell over the blacksmith's shop jingled then, and Evelyn looked up to see who it was. Surprisingly, it was no one she knew. She knew she’d remember if she’d ever met the man before, but alas his was a completely unfamiliar face.

Evelyn set aside her sketchpad and pencil, and skipped over to him. She stuck her left hand out, just as she'd been taught. "Hey, I'm Evelyn," she introduced herself with a smile. Without waiting for a response, she continued, "You're not from around here, are you? I've never seen you before."

He shook his head. "I’ve just arrived - I’m going to be working at the blacksmith’s.” He smiled brightly and shook her hand. “My name’s Gaius.”

She wrinkled her nose slightly - she’d never been too fond of the interior of the shop (it was, in her opinion, too hot with too many things to injure oneself on.) But she digressed.

“You’re probably going to be staying a while, then. Do you know where you’re living?” she asked, a smile appearing on her face again.

Gaius nodded, “I’m staying at the blacksmith’s, and,” he shrugged at this point, “I’m planning on being around a while.” He glanced around.

Still smiling, Evelyn said, “C’mon, I’ll show you around town! But first I need to drop something off at home.” She went back to the bench where she’d abandoned her sketchpad and picked it up again, Gaius trailing after her.

He pointed at the sketchpad. “You draw?” he asked.

She nodded. “It’s more of a hobby than anything, but yeah.” She blushed slightly. “Most of the time, it doesn’t turn out very well.”

He frowned, and opened his mouth to say something, but she continued talking.

"I can show you some of my drawings sometime," she offered, "But for now, let's introduce you to everyone!" She grabbed his hand and, with her sketchbook in the other hand, pulled him through the streets, where people were just beginning to mill around after work.

"You're going to love it here!" Evelyn exclaimed with a light laugh.

He smiled in return and nodded. "I don't doubt it."