Suddenly, the students who had circled them were shouting for Anita to take him in. So many eyes were pressing down on her. Anita clutched her book as if it were a lifeline.
“We don’t even know each other.”
“We’re just getting to know each other.”
Judging by the way he was holding back, he wasn’t going to give up easily. As Anita rolled her eyes, searching for a way out, her gaze paused. There was a familiar face in the crowd.
Rutger, standing with his arms crossed and the corner of his mouth upturned in a pout, spoke up.
“You two look good together. Good luck.”
Anita jumped to her feet, but the man in front of her held her back, squeezing her hand gently.
“He says we look good together, too. What do you think?”
“I said no!”
Anita swatted his hand away with all her might. She knew she’d regret it if she ran, but she couldn’t bring herself to stay where she was. Behind her, a soft voice called out.
“She’s just a little sensitive.”
Rutger’s face was nowhere to be seen, though the situation was similar. A little relieved, Anita chose her words of rejection.
“What is this assh*le?”
Anita’s body stiffened at the sudden voice.
“What? Who is this assh*le?”
The man’s eyes widened, but he shrank back a little when he realized my crown was barely touching Rutger’s chin.
“Tell me, Anita, do you two know each other?”
His words were addressed to Anita, but his gaze was still on the man, his eyes slowly sweeping from his toes to his head, and with his trademark sneer at the end, the man began to poodle.
“You don’t know, will you get out of here?”
The man glared at Rutger, hesitant, his pride wounded. Anita pushed herself up off the bench, ruffling her hair.
“I’m sorry, but I have a crush, so I don’t think I can do this, and I’m sure you’ll find someone better.”
Mouthing the clichéd refusal, Anita’s gaze fell away from the man. She kept her eyes fixed on the ground instead of Rutger.
“Are you thanking me? Why aren’t you looking at me?”
He asked with a faint hint of laughter in his voice. Unfortunately, Anita was in no mood for jokes. What’s more, she wasn’t grateful at all. Rutger had gotten himself into a problem he could have solved himself, and there was no one she wanted to avoid more than him.
She was going to say a proper goodbye and let him go, but he stood in her way like a man stuck with glue.
“I’m going to go. I’m tired.”
“I’ll walk you to your dorm.”
“I’m going alone.”
“Who do you have a crush on?”
“…I don’t. I’m just making stuff up.”
Please go away. Anita looks away, but his blue gaze follows her steadily. Anita took a deep breath, feeling as if she’d been laid bare.
“I’m sorry, can you get me a sandwich? I haven’t eaten since breakfast.”
Anita pointed to the sandwich, which was now lying in the dirt. Lutger smirked. As if he knew all her tricks, but he was falling for them.
“I’ll be right back. Sit down and get some rest.”
As soon as Rutger was out of sight, Anita took off running in the opposite direction he’d gone. She felt like she had to do something or she would go crazy.
After running for a while, Anita came to a suspicious building. Normally, she wouldn’t have thought to go inside, but right now she needed a place to hide. Somewhere that wasn’t open and surrounded on all sides.
Luckily, the building’s door was unlocked. Anita pushed open the door, her hand slipping and missing the doorknob, and the steel door slammed shut behind her.
The room was dark with no windows. Anita moved slowly, searching for a candle or something.