“Am I just supposed to sit still?”


Anita asked in a light tone, not wanting to give away what she was thinking about the painting or how she was handling the situation. If she acted like it was nothing, it would be.




With that, Anita sat down with Rutger at the easel. Rutger picked up a tool and began to paint on the canvas.


“So. I saw that weird guy in the neighborhood on the way here, What’s your relationship with him?”


The person he’s referring to must be Edmund. He’s the only person Anita’s been close to since she’s been here. I thought he’d disappeared, but apparently he’s still around.


In this situation, it would be fair to say that she’d had a little emotional interaction with him, just to make him jealous, but Anita didn’t want to go that far. Besides, she and Edmund really didn’t have a relationship. They’d only just met, and she still hadn’t figured out who he was.


“We don’t have a relationship.”


“That’s your conclusion, you don’t know what he’s thinking.”


“So what do you want me to say?”


Anita asked offhandedly. She really didn’t know what Rutger was thinking. If it was simply a crush or jealousy, that would be fine. But she knew better than anyone that his feelings for her were more complicated than that. Or maybe it was something less than a feeling.


Or maybe it was just lust without affection.


“Are you going to give me the answer I want?”


Looking across the canvas, his brow furrowed slightly. As Anita stared at him, it quickly straightened.




She was familiar with this kind of rudeness from Rutger. Anita hadn’t bothered to ask what exactly his relationship with Liliana was.


A stupider, more naïve Anita would have been thrilled that he was even interested in her.


She’d almost fallen for it again earlier, even though she’d grown tired of his tricks.


Grabbing hold of her distraction, Anita faked an expressionless face and replied.


“No, pretend you didn’t hear that.”


“Pretend I didn’t hear that?”


With that, he stood from his seat, and Anita jerked back as he suddenly stood at eye level with her. Regardless, Rutger strode over to where Anita was sitting.


“What, what….”


His long fingers touched Anita’s ear. The sudden contact startled Anita.


His fingers slid down the side of her face and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. The warmth of his hand slid down the back of her ear to her jaw, where it suddenly stopped.


With a crooked smile, his fingers lifted Anita’s chin slightly. Forced to look up at him, Anita’s brow furrowed in embarrassment.


“Chin at this angle.”




Rutger smiled in satisfaction as Anita lifted the tip of her chin slightly. Their eyes crossed briefly before his fingers slipped away.


“Just right.”


His gaze dropped from her face, and he pushed himself back upright and turned back to the canvas.


Anita sat there for two hours, as still as a statue. The stiffness of her back and the constant flow of her hair made her uncomfortable, and the slightest movement caused her to whimper as if to soothe a child.


But it wasn’t his pleading voice that kept Anita glued to the chair, it was the look in his eyes. The seriousness in his eyes, minus the playfulness, was unfamiliar. His eyes were sharp, searching, and serious at the same time.


Had she offered to model for him out of curiosity?


It was too late to regret it. Even if it didn’t look like it, Rutger was persistent, and he wouldn’t let her go until he had a picture he was happy with.


Anita wondered how she had gotten herself into this predicament. Apparently, she’d gone on an errand for Professor Evan to deliver some papers, but when Edmund saw Liliana, he ran away.


If Edmund was right, Liliana was obsessed with him. Does that mean she and Rutger have nothing to do with each other?


I don’t know.


Exhausted, Anita closed her eyes.


She clearly remembered coming to the workshop, but she already couldn’t remember what conversation she’d had with Rutger or what had happened afterward. It’s not like I’ve ever been forgetful.


The smell of the room filled with plaster statues and the peaceful air seemed to stand still. She wondered how long she’d been like that.


Anita gently opened her eyes. Rutger should be nagging her to open her eyes by now, and if she hadn’t heard him calling her name yet, hadn’t she noticed?




Anita opened her eyes and saw his face staring back at her, startled. He quickly grabbed her arm as she lost her balance on the backless chair and nearly fell backward.


“Are you okay?”


“Oh, yeah. I’m fine.”


“Are you sure you’re okay? You fell down there.”


The topic she hadn’t wanted to bring up was on the chopping block. Anita wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened. She wanted to cover it up.


For a moment, she lost her mind and thought, whatever, the kiss, his ex did that.


“Let’s just call it a day.”


“Just call it a day. Draw.”


If I let it slide, I’d be sitting here, in this seat, next time.


“It’s not going to be done today anyway. I’ll give you something else instead.”




Anita’s eyes blinked in confusion, but then they cleared.


“You’ll have to pay me a modeling fee.”


“Never mind.”


“Give me the back of your hand.”


His tone was so forceful that Anita pouted and gave him her right hand.


“Not right hand, left.”

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