As long as she didn’t shirk her duties, drink by the bucketful, and sleep on the floor. It was true that Anita had a narrow circle of friends, but she wasn’t socially awkward, so she kept her mouth shut and focused on her work.
“He’s not really your stalker, is he?”
“Then why are you avoiding him?”
It wasn’t easy to find the thin paper on the floor by touch. Frowning and scanning the floor with her hand, Anita came up with a suitable answer.
“Is there a law that says you only run from stalkers? Why did you go into hiding?”
“Because she’s obsessed with me.”
Anita was stunned. She knew Rutger had complicated relationships with women in the past, but she hadn’t expected him to have a crush on a man, much less Edmund, whom she’d barely met. Since when….
Was it that day?
Rutger, who had followed Anita, and Edmund, who was helping her. When the three of them were together…. So what does Rutger have to do with Liliana?
“There’s been talk of marriage in the family, though I’m against it.”
As Edmund continued, Anita realized she had misunderstood. There would be no marriage talk between Rutger and Edmund, so Liliana must be the one Edmund was referring to. Once she realized this, Anita’s face flushed red.
I was about to commit a major rude awakening.
Anita replied nonchalantly, as if she had guessed.
Something warm touched the back of her hand on the floor. Anita unconsciously fumbled to remove his hand.
“You caught me.”
“Isn’t that the hand you were playing with earlier? Let’s clean up together.”
Anita’s left hand was suddenly lifted up by Edmund’s hand and shook gently. She couldn’t help but giggle at the thought of her hand fluttering in the air.
“What are you laughing at, now is not the time to laugh.”
“I’m sorry, I haven’t been playing that long.”
“If you’re sorry, buy me a meal.”
“Because I don’t have money.”
She felt like an idiot for apologizing so quickly to Edmund. At this point, Anita even wondered if Edmund had dropped the papers for this purpose in the first place.
“Oh. I forgot about that.”
His grip on her wrist slipped away. Anita’s arm fell limply to the floor.
Releasing her, Edmund pushed himself to his feet.
A curtain I hadn’t realized was there opened. At the same time, sunlight poured in from the windows that covered more than half the wall. The warehouse was suddenly bright.
Anita frowned at the sudden light in her eyes.
“…So there’s a window, then why didn’t I see it until now….”
Anita muttered in disbelief.
“You didn’t say anything. I didn’t think you needed it.”
Anita’s mouth opened to say something, then closed again. Realizing that hoping for a common sense answer from him was a luxury.
“Come on, let’s clean up and get out of here. I think the two are gone.”
Anita shut her mouth and checked the sounds outside. Sure enough, as Edmund had said, she could no longer hear them talking. They must have left while Anita and Edmund were doing something stupid in the dark.
Anita’s face brightened, and she stood up, picked up the paper, and resumed her walk.
At Aberdeen University, buildings are numbered. It’s a rather rigid system, but it’s handy to remember. Starting from the fountain in the center of the grounds, the building on the left is number one, then number two. And so on.
“I was supposed to stay away from the art department at all costs….”
“Should I just go back? I’m sure I can talk Professor Evan into it.”
“You can go back. I can go by myself.”
Anita had come this far and didn’t want to turn back.
And with Edmund beside her, who was making it clear that he didn’t want to go inside the stone building, she was relatively calm.
And, if we’re being honest, she wondered what Rutger was doing.
Wait, you’re curious?
Anita, who had been walking fine, stopped dead in her tracks. This was not a good sign. It was only a few days ago that I had vowed to shake off any lingering regrets, to look away, and what if I came face to face with her and faltered again?
As Anita stood as still as a statue, Edmund snatched the papers from her hand.
“It’s not like there’s a monster living in there, so what the hell, let’s go.”
His fingers nudged Anita’s back. It was as weak as an ant swat, but Anita was pushed helplessly forward.
The building was a dark, cool place with little light. The hallways were lined with marble statues of all sorts, as if they were part of an art museum, and the walls were adorned with artwork that seemed to belong to graduates.
“I really don’t like cold places.”
It was a piece of information I didn’t think I’d ever need to use. Edmund rattled off a string of bullshit, despite Anita’s noncommittal response. The image of Edmund in Anita’s mind was becoming increasingly trivialized.
The doors lining the hallway didn’t have plaques on them. And since Professor Evan had only said building four, she had no clue where to go. As Anita led the way, rolling her eyes and trying to find her way around, Edmund stood idly by and watched.
The doors were all firmly closed, as if to exclude outsiders. Anita was about to open one of them, when she spotted a door around the corner that was wide open. As she raised her arm to knock, someone called out sharply.
“What is it?”