~ ~ ~
Already, even before the trip had started, two of the most difficult and discouraging things had occurred to Leon. First of all, bane of his existence, the shower. Despite there being some kind of basic principle to showers, ie one direction gets hot water, one direction gets cold, every single shower Leon had ever encountered was different by some design choice or other. These differences would leave a frustrated man, slowly coagulating in his own clammy, sweat soaked skin, to fiddle with the mechanism until he was sure that he wouldn’t turn into an icicle or melt completely. Fortunately he had time to shower, dress and make himself as comfortable as he could before the RV had hit the highway, the telltale sign of the lumbering beast crawling it’s way from the parking lot as Leon toweled off, cued him off to get situated quickly. The second thing? It came after the fact.
The air was heavy and thick with tension, and even though most everyone had gone their separate ways to different corners and sections of the bus, whether to nap, relax or just idly pass the time; the mood was more than apparent. It was like a team just before the big game, wallowing in the fact that their lucky stick, knick knack or knockoff was gone and stolen, or just plain broken. It was a dour situation with sour notes in between, an abstract sense of loathing that, despite Leon being emotionally ready, was not mentally available to draw in this sense. It was a feeling he couldn’t really place other than a black shadow that seemed to grow in intensity with the passing moment and seemed to cascade down in the lobby of the hotel they arrived in. Where the time had gone, he wasn’t entirely sure as Leon had spent the majority of his time to himself, idly watching the world go by before it collapsed into the argumentative group of people before him. Even as he took his mint to signify which room he’d be staying, the young man kept wondering what he could do to help? He didn’t feel as though he was the root cause of the problem, but even so, he wanted to figure out some way to lift everyone up. Hell, this was supposed to be a final hurrah and here they were, bitching like little kids, having adults to break them up and find a compromise. They were supposed to be their own people now, their own adults. Was this what Leon was going to look back on when he left town? Years of memories, drowned and sullied in kids trying to be something they weren’t? ...This was getting to be too much.
Leon wasn’t entirely sure when he left the lobby, when he stepped in or out of the elevator, or how he even managed to follow his group to their suite. When the door opened though, it was like a veil had been lifted and all the bad feelings suddenly washed away in brilliant light. The suite itself was amazing, filled with glistening tile, thousand dollar furniture and open space, but what really caught his attention was that gorgeous Vegas skyline. In that instant, his imagination turned on and...everything else sort of turned off as for the second time that day he dropped all of his luggage and anyone else’s who thought they’d use the muscled athlete as a pack mule. “Yo! Check that shit out!” Leon scrambled for his art bag, as he dashed through the open space past everyone else. Anything that Nate had said, completely disregarded. Sami’s lecture? In one ear, out the other as he nearly tripped over a bar stool, knocking it to the floor, as he headed out onto the balcony and planted himself firmly into a chair. Sketchbook, graphite and eraser in hand, he got to work crafting the daytime view of the Las Vegas Strip. Night would probably be more magical with it’s bright neon lights and the sounds of drunken gamblers clambering through the streets, but the daylight brought its own sense of magic with it. What better way to share that magic, than with the people he cared about the most, “Nate! Vee! You gotta take a look at this!”