Anita rolled her eyes, feeling the pitying stares of the class. Most of the students sympathized with her as the professor called her out while leaving the others alone.




“About nucleotides or base sequences….”




Suddenly realizing that the professor’s question was something she had studied just a few days earlier, Anita continued her explanation with a calmer face. When she finished, the professor motioned for her to sit down with a look on his face that said, ‘Don’t bring your mother’s reputation into disrepute.’








Everyone else is enjoying college life to the fullest.




Anita felt sorry for herself for choosing to work at the café just to avoid men.




Liber Bookstore & Cafe




The shop, with a fairly unassuming sign hanging from the entrance, was surprisingly tidy inside.




On the left side of the shop was a counter and countertop, with bookshelves lining the opposite wall. In the center was a clean-lined wooden table and plush armchairs.




It was a cozy place, with the smell of strong coffee and old books mingling together.




“This is an apron. These booklets here are some sort of cookbook with recipes for drinks….”




I decided to give it a go. Anita listened to the boss’s explanation, remembering her father’s words that the earlier you start socializing, the better.




After all, she had nothing to do after her regular classes.




As expected, the job wasn’t too difficult. When customers came in, she took their orders, made their drinks, and put the books that were wandering around on the tables back in their places. That was the extent of the work.




Anita’s father, Nathan Rodel, was a man who thought he should earn his own money when he was young. He was overly obsessed with being a self-made man and talked to his daughter, Anita.




‘There is value in everything, no matter how insignificant it may seem.’




Of course, Anita didn’t need the money right away, so she didn’t really listen to how much she would be paid. It didn’t matter to her whether she got 10 riels or 500.




It had been bright when she first arrived at the store, and now it was pitch black. As she walked home from work by the light of the street lamps, Anita sighed heavily. Nothing seems to work these days. Is it because of her mood?




“Where are you going?”




Anita jumped at the sudden unfamiliar voice in the darkness.




“We’re not weirdos.”




“Assh*le. People who say that are usually the most unreliable.”




The whiny voice and the berating tone were eerily familiar. Anita squinted her eyes and stared into the dark alleyway. Two figures staggered out of the darkness. The shorter one seemed to be helping the taller one up. When they finally stepped out into the streetlight, Anita realized who they were.








The man dragging his long legs across the ground was Edmund, the student body president, and the woman supporting him was Richie Neuheim, the vice president.




What the hell are they doing here, at this time of day?




“I’m sorry, can you hold the other arm of this guy, he’s so drunk he can’t even drink.”




“Oh, sure.”




Seeing Edmund’s one arm flailing in the air, Anita rushed over and slung his arm over her shoulder. Neither Richie nor Anita spoke for a while, overwhelmed by the effort of supporting Edmund.




Strangely, I didn’t smell much alcohol on Edmund. He could barely hold himself together.




“He passes out after one drink. Isn’t it interesting? He’s a study subject.”




Edmund flinched, afraid to say the word ‘study’. He soon mumbled something with indistinct pronunciation.




“Speak straight.”




Richie grunted, and Edmund’s head lifted up. Soft golden hair that reached his shoulders brushed past Anita’s cheek.




“He always wants to put me on the table, and what do you think he said last time? Take out my brain… and who are you anyway?”




Edmund suddenly asked, speaking as casually as if they’d known each other for ten years. His gray eyes, like rain clouds, pierced Anita. He’d been relying on her for half an hour, if not more, and now he was wary.




“Anita Rodel.”




“Oh, right. The stalker…. Wait, your name is Anita Rodel, the Rodel?”




“Yeah, I think that’s probably right.”




Edmund’s eyes lit up.




“Oh, why are you telling me that now, you mean you’re Dr. Miranda Rodel’s daughter?”








“Damn it! I always wanted to be the adopted son of someone like Dr. Rodell, not some old man who only cares about money.”








His pronunciation was clearer than before. The words that came out of his mouth were Imperial, but Anita couldn’t quite make out what Edmund was saying.




“Do you want to be my brother?”




Anita and Richie’s eyes met as she leaned back to avoid Edmund’s excited tone.




Riches gaped at them soundlessly.




‘Ignore him.’




But Edmund didn’t seem to want to be ignored.




“Richie, what was his name again…?”




Anita hadn’t had a drink yet. But if alcohol was powerful enough to make her forget his own name, she didn’t think she’d want to drink it for the rest of her life.




“Edmund. Fascium.”




Richie frowned, saying his name syllable by syllable. She didn’t seem to remember it well.

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