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Arc 1.10

Baths were lovely. All the stress and worries of the day would just melt away under the steam. He could fall asleep any moment. Sleep actually sounded nice right about now. He got out, lightly dried himself and tied the towel around his hips. He felt as if he was forgetting something as he walked out the door. The shiver that came with being watched reminded him exactly what he had forgotten. He ran back into the bathroom and shut the door forcefully as if that would protect him from her eyes. What was he thinking? Walking practically naked and dripping wet for all cameras to see? Was he trying to provide her with material for her wet dreams?

Ugh, let alone what happened, but how was he going to leave the bathroom? He had forgotten his clothes on the bed. He had no clothes in the bathroom beside the laundry, and he really did not wish to wear unclean clothes. Besides, it would look mighty suspicious, especially after the way he had run back into the bathroom.

Tristan sat down on the floor, back to the door, irritated. After being so careful, he had ended up prancing around like this. Most people wouldn’t care, but his education, his attitude toward such things was more conservative. His home world wasn’t as casual about nudity and relationships, and he couldn’t help but hold a more traditional view towards it himself, although, in a completely different manner than this weird patriarchal world at least.

He could feel his cheeks redden at what Brigitte would think once she saw the recording, if she had not seen it already.

He had enough. He wanted to wait some more before he exposed her, but he had to get back at her for this. He had been getting too comfortable in this house.


That night, Brigitte Pruitt returned from work annoyed and tired. The board had been so utterly dense and ludicrous that she had only been able to sneak in a quick call during lunch with her beloved. She grabbed some ibuprofen for her headache before sitting up on her bed. This was the best part of her day, every day — except for when she could be in the physical presence of her beloved, of course. She started looking through the recording from the cameras at Tristan’s house. As she saw him go about his day, she began to relax. Ah, there was no better medicine than his lovely existence. A few hours in, she saw him go for a bath before he would sleep. It was the same every day; her dear was a creature of routine and habit. She moved the recording forward for an hour. Ah, just in time for her beloved to get out of the bathroom all naked—Naked?!

Brigitte spluttered incomprehensibly at the screen. She rewound the time a bit and waited with bated breath for the hallucination that her eyes must have seen. But there it was. Her beloved, in all his beauty, coming out of the bathroom with just a short towel covering his hips. She zoomed the screen subconsciously. His skin was covered in shivers at the cool air of the bedroom, and still painted with a few water droplets. His hair was wet and gloriously dripping on his face and shoulders. His cheeks and upper body were pinked from the steam and his thin waist... Brigitte had to stop the video to grab a box of tissues.

It then continued. Her beloved took a few steps into the room, in all his sublime perfection (she would definitely cut parts of this recording and make a montage that she would guard furiously for the rest of her life before burning every other copy and record of it) and then he ran back into the bathroom. She hesitated for a moment. That was unexpected after such a promising start. He couldn’t have...? She studied his facial expression just before he started running. Two words: horrified realization. She was hoping against hope that he hadn’t discovered the cameras. She looked through the next few minutes. He walked out, calm and in no hurry. No horror. No realization on his face. Still naked and wet. He picked up the clothes laid out on the bed and went back into the bathroom to change.

Brigitte covered her eyes. Her beloved, no matter how he pretended, was brilliant in all manner of ways. Her equal, if not her better. He hid behind his art and a facade of innocence and inexperience but at times... at times his lips would upturn in mischievousness and a wicked gleam would enter his eyes that promised she would be suffering for the next few hours. Usually, he would end up testing her patience and control with his ‘unintentional’ flirting and seduction attempts whenever such mischievousness was shown. Sometimes, she would be assuming that they had walked one step closer together, while he pulled a ‘Mr. West’ between them just to frustrate her. Truly, her beloved was frightening and so very, very cute. Like a kitten brandishing its claws. Or a bunny nipping at your fingers. Ah, she would get overwhelmed with the cuteness of his very existence at times.

But now... Now that he was acting so very normal after a scare... He had probably known about the cameras for a long time, if not since the beginning. It was likely that he even knew she was the reason for them or that she was his patron as well. Well, how many times could she lie saying that she hadn’t found his patron before it started sounding idiotic even to her own ears? Last time she had apologized for this, she could swear she had seen an aborted eye-roll from her beloved.

She should better be prepared for lying like crazy in the morning. Deny, deny, deny. That had been her policy until now and it had yet to fail, even though it was looking more like her beloved had allowed for it not to fail.

Decision made, she started rewatching the part where he just came out of the bathroom, tissues at hand and on her nose.

And if she were wrong, if he did not know about the cameras and this was just a coincidence... she was going to send people to install cameras and mics in the bathroom first thing in the morning. Screw her dying morals, she had already seen the forbidden fruit once, and she wouldn’t be kept from it again.

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