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Arc 1.12

This pervert’s insane obsession became even worse, didn’t it? He wondered if there was a rehab for her type of addiction because really, she had gone off the deep end. Where was the Victorian manual of love? What happened to taking things step by step? Did those get thrown out of the window once Brigitte got a taste of more?

“We suggest you do not stay in the house for the next few weeks.” Detective Harris told him once they finished searching the house a few days later. The number of mini-cameras had been astonishing and obviously high-tech by the look of admiration some cybersecurity officers had on them. “It is not safe here any more, and we do not know whether the stalker will do something more drastic now that we have disrupted their plans,” she seemed a bit embarrassed as she spoke, although it was standard procedure to advise him as such.

Seriously, how was he supposed to stay there, listen to all this bullshit and not call it for what it is? Brigitte had one thick face, for she stood by his side as the detective spoke and very calmly nodded along. Tristan started to regret trying to one-up this pervert. Her shamelessness knew no bounds, how did he ever imagine he could win against her?

“Is there anyone you can stay with during this time?” Harris continued.

“I wonder if Mr. West—”

“West,” Brigitte interrupted him with quick precision. “... is married and with children. It would be an inconvenience, and he really wouldn’t be able to help you for longer than a few days.”

“Jane—”

“— is out of the country for a music video. Even if she were to return, her work schedule and travel itinerary really wouldn’t be compatible with long-term house guests.”

“I could go to a hotel,” he challenged.

“While I would, of course, help you with the expenses if that were your choice, living in a hotel would be difficult for a painter’s lifestyle. No studio. No private space. Bustling tourists and conferences,” Brigitte smoothly answered.

She had an excuse ready for everything, didn’t she?

“I could rent a flat,” it was a weak effort, he knew that.

Seeing the early signs of resignation settle on him, she continued with a smile in her voice. “It would take time to find a good one. In addition, we do not know if your stalker, with the resources they seem to have, would find out about the new location. No, the best solution would be for you to move in with a close friend who has no family to inconvenience, with a compatible work routine, with ample space to set up an atelier, and with the wealth and resources necessary to keep you safe.” She seemed to be checking requirements off a list as she spoke. At the end, her eyes were dancing with mirth.

“I assume,” he grumbled, patience long-drained for acting innocent. “—that you wish to suggest yourself as the optimal choice for this?”

He sounded, even to his own ears, defeated. Tristan was certain that if he chose the hotel, either his bank account would freeze, his bank would close/bankrupt or every hotel room available in the city would be bought out. She was crazy and had the riches to indulge in her craziness.

Brigitte, in contrast to his suddenly muted spirits, was full of joy and enthusiasm.

“Pack something light for now,” she told him because the issue was decided just like that, wasn’t it now? “I’ll have everything else sent over to the house tomorrow.”

He entered the house, left with no other choice. Well, he could always just run away to another country, but life on the run was so exhausting. He should have swallowed his pride, admitted that he had been careless and exposed himself to her and just continued as if nothing had happened. But no... He wanted to scare her just as he had himself and now here he was, packing his clothes to move in with her. Because make no mistake, he was moving in. With how greedy, shameless and perverted she was, how could she ever let him go after having him so close?

He could only hope she wouldn’t install cameras in her own house. Thinking of her grabby hands and self-satisfaction, he lowered his expectations and hoped she wouldn’t install cameras in the bathrooms.

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