The Paint is on the Wall
Chapter 1
“Mia! Great news! I get to paint a mural on the wall that will surround Arrowroot’s new art museum!”
“That’s great Leo!” Mia replied, brushing her dark red hair out of her face. She had recently been enjoying her “vacation” from detective work and spending time with her friends.
“Yeah! I’m so excited! I have so many ideas! First, I have to-“
A tall man bumped into them as he hurried past, knocking all the books out of Mia’s arms.
“Um, excuse you!” Mia called after the man.
“Oh yeah. I know who that was,” Leo said, glancing over his shoulder as he helped Mia pick up her books.
“That was Moritz Ivrington. He also applied to try and get the spot to paint the wall. When they announced that I got the job, he got really mad and stormed out of the building.”
“Huh. Seems like a touchy guy.” Mia said. Leo nodded.
“So what were you saying earlier? About the wall?” Mia asked.
“Oh, yeah. I have to prime it first with white paint. Do you want to come to the store to buy some with me?”
“Sure! I’m not doing anything else, so why not?” Mia followed him towards the paint store.
“Wait, I thought the paint store was that way?” Mia pointed as Leo led her down a different street.
“Yeah, but that particular shop doesn’t sell the shade of white I need to prime the wall.” Leo explained. I thought there was only one shade of white... Mia thought as she shook her head. She obviously didn’t know anything about paint. They turned into a crumbling old store.
“Ladies first.” Leo bowed dramatically.
“After you, then.” Mia replied. Leo rolled his eyes and walked in.
“For a paint store, I’m surprised they haven’t given these walls a new coat of paint.” Mia muttered.
“Eh! I heard that!” An old man popped up from behind the front desk.
“Whaddya want.” The old man grumbled.
“Ah, yes, uh, we need some white priming paint.” Leo said. The man grunted.
“Why’d ya come ta me then? That other store sells it. Now you and your wife need to get out. You’re wasting my time.” Leo’s face turned a shade that would put a tomato to shame.
“She’s not my wife. I’m opposed of marrying until the age of 25.”
“Leo, we’re 26.” Mia whispered.
“Oh. Well that’s not the point. The other store doesn’t sell the right kind of paint that I need.” Leo told the man.
“Alright, alright. Whatever. What kinda paint do ya need? Oh, and make it quick.” The old man added.
“Well, I need some priming paint in the shade...” Mia began walking around the store.
“Bone white, lead white, fingernail white?” Mia read aloud from the labels on the paint bottles.
“Slime green, acid green, poison green, Paris green,” That actually sounds quite nice, Mia thought.
“Venom orange, radium orange, tiger hair orange?” These are some weird paint names...
“Hey, come on Mia! I’ve got a wall to paint!” Mia hurried out after Leo.
The sun was setting over the canal as they came out of the store.
“Oh...” Mia whispered. Leo stopped.
“Wha- Oh.” He noticed the sunset.
“It’s beautiful.” Mia sighed.
“Yeah.” Leo said, looking at her, “It is beautiful.” Mia met his eyes. He glanced away, blushing.
“Um... so...” Leo struggled to find words.
“Well... I... uh... um... I was thinking...” Leo began.
“Um... I was thinking that maybe... um... after I finished painting the wall... well the museum is giving me a free one-day pass to all exhibits... and I can invite a friend... and, um... maybe we- I mean, if you wanted to come. You don’t have to. But... well... I was thinking afterwards we could go and have dinner at that new Italian restaurant? Maybe?” Mia chuckled.
“Are you asking me on a date?” she asked Leo. He blushed even more.
“Well... no... I mean... kind of... I guess.” Mia shook her head.
“Leonardo Tollson, I’ve known you since we were 13. It took you way to long to ask me out.”
“Yeah... I thought... you probably wouldn’t want to go...”
“Leo! Are you kidding me? Of course I want to go!”
“Really?” he asked.
“Yeah!” The bell tower began to ring. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong. Bong.
“Well, I’d better go.” Mia said.
“Yeah, yeah.” Leo replied.
“So... see you tomorrow?” he asked. Mia looked at him.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Be- Mia turned her alarm clock off. She put on some clothes, pulled her hair into a messy ponytail, and went downstairs. She hopped on her bike and rode towards the museum. Her watch read 5:45. The sun was just beginning to peek above the horizon. After three days of priming and working well into most nights, Leo said he was ready to start painting the wall and Mia wanted to be there to watch him. She pulled up to the museum and looked at her watch again. 5:50. The museum opened in 10 minutes, but they had been allowing Leo to work at night so he was probably still here. Mia wandered around the wall for a little bit.
“Leo?” She called out. Nothing. Probably just sleeping, she thought. She turned around a sharp corner and gasped. Leo was laying on the ground.
“Leo?” Mia shook him.
“Leo, wake up! Leo, come on! Wake up!” She shook him more and checked his pulse.
He didn’t have one.

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