“Remember, Suit, art is the expression of the deepest thought in the simplest way.”
And so Mozzie leaves with that last quote, leaving you observing his back that is drifting away, while your head fills with doubts.
That man, besides being one of the smartest people you've ever had the chance to talk to, is one of the biggest enigmas you've ever met.
Your way of thinking and life principles are completely opposite, the only thing you two have in common is the affection you share for Neal.
In spite of this and your not liking him, though, you can't deny how much he’s worth as a person. (However, you’ll probably never admit it to any one but yourself.)
You turn your back and keep going your way; your destination is close by now.
June, as smiling as always lets you in, and you walk that way you could now pass through blindfolded.
You're thinking about the reason of your visit -the umpteenth case- without worrying about the last, cryptic sentence of that little guy.
You knock at the door, but no one comes to open it.
You know, however, that Neal is home - you’ve just met Mozzie outside and you’re sure that, disagreements aside, he would have told you if he weren't.
You turn the knob and come in, well-aware that you shouldn’t - you don’t live there anymore after all - but you can’t control pure instinct.
The room seems to be indeed empty at a first glance.
You even spare a glance at the terrace, but the tea-table he’s used to have breakfast on is lacking of any human trace.
You’re heading out to have a proper check, when your attention gets caught by some sheets left on the table.
You can’t help but check them, drawn like always by that uncontrollable drive to know everything concerning Neal, everything he does - professional bias, a voice in your head tries to say, and he’s still under my care; whatever he does, it reflects on me.
You turn those few pages with increasing astonishment, observing many little you portrayed while engaged in various tasks.
You don’t know whether you’re more surprised at being the subject of those drawings or at not having the slightest idea of when he could have made them - you’re pretty sure you would have noticed if he were holding pen and paper.
You look closely, unable to take your eyes off yourself, and then you realize.
These drawings picture you while at the Bureau.
He probably made them while sitting at his desk, when he's supposed to be working.
There’s something you can’t understand just yet, a thread that escapes from your fingers; something that makes you stop to study those perfect lines picturing your face like it was your first time seeing it.
And it was true somehow; you never saw yourself in that way, even though you still were not able to explain how 'that way' was.
Neal's voice, just come out from the bathroom, makes you suddenly raise your head.
When you cross his eyes, you feel yourself blushing, cheeks red like those of a child caught stealing jam.
Even though being the subject of those drawings made you feel somehow authorized to see them, you couldn't feel any better.
All this thinking prevented you from noticing the scared voice he just called you with and the insecure light in his eyes.
“Neal… I- I’m sorry”, you mumble while moving far from the table while he arranges the sheets closing them in a folder.
“Everything's fine”, he replies without looking at you, “they’re just some sketches to stay practiced… It’s easier drawing someone you know well.”
You barely nod and keep silent until he turns to you with one of his usual smiles and finally speaks to you. “So, this visit is due to…”
“There's news on the Abercrombie case, it’s about a gallery customer”, you start explaining diligently.
He listens to you, interrupting from time to time to ask some questions or to suggest possible explanations.
It seems like everything has gone back to normal, like those draws had never existed or had never been seen - you even sat on the couch to talk in a very relaxed way.
That is, until Neal comes up with a question that particularly catches your attention.
“He stole his own painting just because it portrays the woman he loves and he didn't want it sold with an arguably legal contract…” he says; you find yourself wondering when he got lost in his romantic world, his tone as dreamy as when he spoke about Kate.
“You can’t even begin to understand what it means to portray the person you're obsessed with.
It’s not just a mere academic exercise. It’s the merging of a person's deepest feelings so that they can be freed in the most immediate way possible.
“Art”, you whisper while your gaze focuses on where you’re sure his was for most part of his speech, the kitchen table.
“Exactly”, he replies making you turn in his direction just to see him smiling before he stands up.
“If you want to go and arrest him, go, but I cannot come with you”, he adds, before hiding himself behind the open fridge looking for something. You don’t follow him.
Your mind is focused on what he said before, thinking back to what Mr Havershame said to you and to the portrays on the table.
You finally ask yourself whether Neal actually needed that kind of training, the spontaneous “no” as an answer got you to wonder more.
New questions you didn't want the answers to at the moment, too scared of those new sensations.
You're about to stand up and go away but stop yourself with a hand on the knob, door almost completely open. You turn back.
The kid reappears behind the fridge and looks at you with the same hint of a smile, perhaps a little strained - or is it your own nervousness you want to see on him?
“Those drawings…” you start, turning towards the table, looking for something to say.
“I'm going to throw them away and won't make any other, don’t worry”, he precedes you without losing his light tone. This time, though, he doesn’t meet your eyes.
“No, no”, you quickly say, “it doesn’t annoy me…”
“Good”, you repeat and keep standing there.
You forget for a moment what it is that you have to do.
“Peter, are you leaving?”, June’s voice shakes you; you turn back, seeing her with a coffee tray she had put two small cups and the coffee-pot on.
“I’ve brought you some coffee”, she adds, indeed.
“Yeah, I have to go… Keep it for the next time. Thank you.”
Taking advantage of the situation you disappear in a rather poor way, saying goodbye nodding just a little.
You quickly reach your car, a few dozens meters far from the luxurious house.
You’re trying not to think about what you believe to have read between the lines.
Not like you could think about it, even if there actually were lines.
You have a thief to catch before going to lunch with your wife.
These two things are the only ones you can afford to focus on right now.