Sapphire Blue

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Summary

Lily's life went from a simple, happy one to a rollercoaster since the death of her parents. Now she's found a new family and while her past still haunts her to this day, she's determined to start a new life as a new person when she's given the chance, leaving everything she had behind. Then one day the man she's always idolized since she was a kid makes an appearance and the new world she so carefully crafted for herself begins to crumble and she realizes she can't escape her past after all and secrets are bound to be revealed. But what if her ugly secret can ruin her family for good?

Genre:
Romance / Erotica
Author:
eli
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
47
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1

Today’s a wonderful day, I think to myself. In fact, it’s an exceptionally amazing day.

Zurich never looked as magnificent as today. Truth be told, the capital of Switzerland has always been a charming, dazzling masterpiece of a well-made mosaïque composed of all types of architectural orientations. This city must be an architect’s paradise, dreamland. You can find any sort of architectural style here. You name it. Starting from ancient Roman, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, to Modern architecture and post-modern.

The type of city you can find in at least one painting made by talented hands. A city made to be painted and stared at in awe and then weave dreams of a romantic life built here.

And today that city looked more breathtaking than ever. My fingers twitched to run away and sit on a skyscraper’s rooftop overseeing the city and capture this place on a big piece of paper. I’m unusually inspired just by staring out at the window. I can’t take my eyes away from the view displayed in front of me.

Even though spring is almost over the weather’s great today. The roads of the city are filled with people walking happily to god knows where. There are all sorts of people out there.

I see the familiar, lovely, old couple sitting on their usual spot on the bench positioned right beneath the big dogwood tree proudly standing in the park beside our college. The trees’ stunning pink leaves are sprinkles in dots of brown as they prepare for the long swiss winter. Some of the leaves falling over the elderly couple like soft rain. They hold each other’s hands and smile warmly at each other, talking, ignoring the world buzzing around them. Sometimes they laugh wholeheartedly. Who knows, they might be reminiscing about the good old time? Recalling comical situations they might’ve gone through? Embarrassing things the man might’ve done to win her over? Remembering the time they first met? Or the time they fell in love? Really, who knows?

The sight pulls at the corners of my lips to make me smile.

Then my eyes fall on the families passing by, a little boy with fluffy hair and cute chubby cheeks adorned by freckles— holding onto both hands of his parents as his parents stare down at him lovingly. The child’s smile is so big and bright, maybe even brighter than the scorching sun observing from above with me. They look so happy.

And my smile drops. This sight, unlike the other one, grasps my heart in its tight grip and squeezes. For a second I see a little girl tightly holding onto her parents instead of the boy.

And then there are young people rushing to their jobs, looking so well put together, beautiful girls and handsome men— excluding confidence, giving you the impression they have everything put together while I’m here stuck in school, struggling to not quit and shoot myself, wondering if I’ll ever get a decent job. I never expected I’d have such weak willpower but school proved me wrong.

If my father could see me right now, he’d be so disappointed his girl turned into such a weakling and then proceed to train me into shape with methods that would put even a military commander to shame.

I can clearly imagine the torture I’d go through. Heck, my self-defense classes would seem like child’s play compared to my dad’s kind of training.

Heaving a sigh once more, I turn my eyes to the unfinished painting I was working on. It was a painting made for my adoptive parents for their upcoming anniversary. The more I stare at it, the less confident I feel. Would they even like this unprofessional crap? I could’ve bought them something but making something for them which isn’t bought with their own money seemed more appealing. Now, I’m regretting my decision. I’ve been working on this painting for two or so weeks now and I’m nowhere near satisfied with what I’ve done. There’s something missing and I can’t find out what.

Making myself more comfortable on the chair, I place my legs on the table and cross them, making sure I’m not flashing anything to anyone - not that anyone would pay attention to me. But you never know. Somehow, there’s always someone as if pushed by god to witness your most embarrassing moments.

I chew on my pencil and take my phone out. As soon as I unlock the lock screen, the photo of the poster I took earlier shows up. My heart does another flip like a professional acrobat and I forget to breathe for a second as I read the contents for the thousand times now and my eyes freeze on one thing.

Gabriel Hale.

My idol. The artist I admire. The man whose paintings I’ve loved since I was a kid. That Gabriel Hale is holding an exhibition here. In Zurich. For the first time here in my city.

I almost fainted the first time I laid my eyes upon this. I read the thing countless times to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and I even asked Grace to read it for me too. I could’ve almost missed this. The flyer was hung among many other ones on the wall facing the teacher’s lounge. I and Grace had skipped physics today, and while hiding so we wouldn’t face any of the teachers, we lost track of time and got late for our art class. We began to run like our lives depended on it and walked past this treasure here.

I can’t even comprehend how I was able to catch sight of this while running at that speed but somehow I did. This is a sign from the skies. Yup, that’s right. There’s no other explanation. God is telling me to go to this damn exhibition and finally meet or at least see my idol form up close.If only I could.

I know papa won’t allow me. I’m sure of it. There’s no way he’ll allow me to go here. And the fear of this very expected response, from him, is keeping me from mentioning this to him.

I’ve spent a good half an hour trying to think of anything I can do or use to convince him to allow me to go here but I’ve come up with nothing. In all of the scenarios I made up in my head, the answer was the same. A big, loud, bold NO.

No amount of sad, pitiful faces and childish pouts or a shower of affectionate kisses can help me this time. It might’ve been possible if it was my biological dad however papa isn’t swayed by my “cute, pitful daughter” mode at all. He’s the best example of the controlling, un-swayed businessman who doesn’t let anything cloud his judgment.

On one side I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy papa is so overprotective of me. I feel loved. My dad was the more laid-back type so it’s a first for me experiencing the suffocating type of fatherly love I so much read about in books. But then again my biological father was probably the strongest man to live on earth and I was also always by his side so it’s understandable he’d not worry as much as papa does.

I open the messaging app and stare at the careful and well-thought message I wrote but never sent and chew on my bottom lip. My finger hovers over the send button but in the end, I groan and delete the thing.

You’re such a coward! I’m almost ashamed to be you. Poor me.Ugh.

“Ah, what is it? What?!!” Grace sputters from beside me and startled I turn to my right to have our eyes meet. Mine surprised, hers shooting daggers at me.

“Huh?”

“You’ve been sighing and sulking for half an hour now! It’s distracting me. Spill it, sis! What’s wrong?”

“Nothing!”

“Bullsh*t! You think you can fool me? Me?!!” She emphasizes “me” exaggerated, pointing to herself fiercely while attracting attention on the way.

Thankfully other students’ eyes don’t stay long on us when they see it’s Grace causing the loud noise. They’re already used to her to the point her... unique personality no longer catches them off guard.

“Is it because of your hair? I told you blue suits you, b*tch. I did an amazing job so stop sighing!”

I roll my eyes, turn off my phone and stare at my reflection on the dark screen. Of course, the screen isn’t able to reflect my blue hair that well but I still cringe at the sight.

I shouldn’t have taken up Grace’s offer to dye my hair. But my best friend was way too convincing, she made herself sound like a professional hairstylist. I was awfully impressed. I actually thought my hair would turn out like one of those hair models with beautiful hair shown on social media by those famous hairstylists. That’s how good she made herself sound. I was professionally fooled!

This girl should try marketing as her future job, that or being a spokesperson or anything having to do with fooling people Oh, I know She’d make an exceptional con woman!She’s indeed the daughter of a politician. The talent of tricking people must run in the family.

“It’s blue. Way too blue. It wasn’t supposed to be blue. It was supposed to be brown! Brown. How could you mistake blue for brown?” I ask in disbelief, even cackling by the end because the whole situation is ridiculous. “Didn’t you read the instructions?”

Frankly, I’m not that upset. I love blue. It’s one of my favorite colors. Both my mom and dad had blue eyes and I do too so the color holds a special place in my heart. I also don’t care much about my appearance or how I look at others but lately, I’ve been regretting my decision for changing hair colors so often. I miss my old black hair. Maybe I could turn back to my original color and just use wigs instead?

Blue doesn’t suit me. Dammit, it looks like such a beautiful, color when other people on the internet try it but on me, it doesn’t look half as good.I can’t also help but feel as if I’m being mocking by the heavens for my hiding my real eye color with contact lenses. I’m not showing the blue of my eyes so now it’s on my hair. Life’s messing with me.

“I did.” She confirms without blinking, looking way too serious but for some reason, I think she’s mocking me. “They were in Spanish. No hablo Espanol estupida.”

I shouldn’t laugh at her but I do and even Grace’s serious face cracks as she grins at me. Quickly after tho, she returns to complaining.

“I hate school! I swear if I knew who invented it, I’d kidnap the person in my secret basement and torture him until he begged to be dead then I’d torture him some more and leave him alive.” She grumbles while furiously going through the content of a page she’s “reading”.

“Don’t be sexist. How do you know it’s him? It could be her?”

“Only men are dumb enough to create something as useless as school.”

Grace jokes, pretending to hate the male race when I know really well she doesn’t. Dylan O’Brien after all is a man.

“What’s the point in learning all these when I’ll never use it in real life?”

Well, so you’ll have a basic understanding of a lot of things and won’t be clueless when they’re mentioned?

Then Grace being Grace has to add. “Why the hell do I need to know what a penis is made of? So I know what sort of monstrosity is invading my body when I’m about to have sex? To make the reproduction process more successful? The f*ck?” She curses. “This book is trying to ruin my sex life.”

If you had one, to begin with, Grace.

As if your sex investment portfolio is better. You might as well be considered a failure in the sexual world, with millions of a loss! If you were a businesswoman you’d have gone bankrupt when it comes to sex. This happens when you don’t know how to choose your investments! The return on investment (aka d*cks size and skillfulness) is pathetically low.

Maybe I should spend less time with my grandpa. I’ve begun to see d*cks from a financial view now. (All finance students out there, wya?)

I choke on my own laughter and turn to her, cocking one of my eyebrows questioningly. “Aren’t those things your favorite topic?”

She narrows her eyes at me. “Penises, Lily, penises! You avoid the word like a disease. And no they’re not. Unicorns are.”

Well, that’s because penis kinda sounds weird on the tongue. Or is it just me?

“Whatever,” I mutter and look down at her book. “You know you don’t have biology this class, right?”

I ask just to make sure. She nods, her eyes remaining on the book.

“Yes but I have a test on biology next class.”

“What’s with all the colors in your book?”

“I’m doing the same thing, my baby, Stiles does. Like green is for things I know, yellow for things I don’t know that well and so on.”

“What’s red for?” I ask interested only because the page of her book looks pleasant to look at. It resembles one of those study pages found on study blogs online that entice a sudden urge for you to be a straight-A student and spend half of your life studying. But that’s just it. They incite the wish to do so, not the will.

Since I’m jobless I might as well try this useless method of study. It won’t help me but at least my notes will look pretty.

“The things I don’t know.”

“But the whole chapter is underlined in red.” I splutter almost in a laugh and a little in pity. My poor friend’s gonna fail.

“Exactly.” Grace perches her head in her hands and groans in frustration. “I’m never going to make it.”

Reassuringly, I pat her back. “Hey, you will. Maybe I can help?”

“Do you know anything about penises?” She questions and I shake my head.

“Uhm, no?” Am I even supposed to? “Unless you want to sound like you’re writing a finance report on male reproductive organs while taking a biology test, I don’t think I can help.”

Grace stares me down without blinking as if it to say “you’re growing weirder by day”.

“And this my friend, she begins waving at me with her hand, happens when your gramps is your only friend out of school.”

I laugh. “At least my gramps is cool.”

She nods her head, completely approving with me then mutters. “You lucky b*tch.”

“Anyway, what were you doing all day yesterday and the other day and the day before that—”

She covers my mouth with her hands, looking annoyed. “I get it, I get it. But I had more important things to do than study.”

I cross my arms over my chest, amused. “And what was so important it couldn’t wait?”

“Watching teen wolf.” She states in a duh tone.“For the fourth time.”

This time I can’t hold it in. I burst out laughing and Grace joins me as well. After we’ve both calmed down, we sigh in unison, and Grace turns back to her book while I take a good look around the class and notice people scattered away in their perspective seats, chattering happily. A November ray of sunshine peaks through the curtains of our art class window, making the color painted walls shine.

I smile to myself. God, I love this class. Today is a great day. Too bad I’m stuck here in school.

“By the way where’s Mrs. Brown? It’s not like her to be late for class.” I ask, only now realizing the class should’ve started already.

“I’ve been told that she’ll be late today since an artist is holding a seminar here.” The girl sat behind us says with wide eyes, obviously hearing our conversation. “Some of my friends saw her and our other art teachers talking to him. They said he was hot!”

“An artist? Who?” She shrugs her shoulders.

“How hot? Dylan O’Brien level of hotness?” Grace buts in too, the girl behind us having spiked her curiosity.

“You know that’s almost unreachable.” The girl chuckles and both of them high five. They also proceed to list and talk about all of the hot guys in Teen Wolf and their other favorite shows while basically spilling the whole story. I haven’t watched any of those shows due to my laziness but thanks to Grace I already know what goes on. I don’t think there’s a reason to even watch them anymore. Grace is that type of person who can’t stop talking about a thing she dearly loves.

“What about you, Lily? Who’s your celebrity crush?” The girl whose name I can’t recall suddenly asks me.

I blink at her before quietly muttering as my cheeks flush the tiniest bit. “You wouldn’t know them.”

“Don’t even ask. I don’t think she even has one! My girl here is weird as f*ck.” Grace comments while purposely patting my back hard. “I’ve never seen here drool over a guy or girl. If I didn’t know better I’d have thought she was one of those creepy, realistic robots.”

I roll my eyes at her teasing and say nothing. It’s true that I’ve never had a crush on someone or openly fawned over anyone but that’s just because I’m truly not attracted to anyone. I don’t think I’ve ever been. Sure, there are guys who can be considered good looking but none of them impresses me.

Because none of them is him.

Anyone but he seems dull in my eyes.

A man I’ll never meet or have the chance to talk to has ruined everyone else for me, it’s kind of pathetic. Can I be considered a crazy, overly obsessed fan now? Dammit, at this rate I’ll die an old wrinkled lady stalking her idol in social media and building a shrine of him somewhere in the faraway forests of Switzerland in an old wooden cabin. I can clearly picture it.

I’ve already got a hundred sketches of him hidden in the darkest corners of my room waiting to be displayed all over my cozy, creepy little cabin in the woods.

As my mind wanders towards those drawings, my face heats up even more in shame. Forget about ever meeting him, the guy would run away for his life if he caught wind of how overly obsessed I am with him. He’d put a restraining order on me!

I sigh loudly once more and turn on my phone, the face of the man who’s been tormenting me since I can’t remember greeting me. He’s got a smile on his face, one charming and hot enough to melt a few hearts while his hair is messily pulled back. A black shirt tightly hugging his upper body, showing his well-sculpted body, muscled arms holding onto a sports bag as he walks. The same arms I’ve dreamed countless of times holding me.

It was a recent photo posted by the paparazzi. My favorite one so far. He just looks so good in here. But then again he looks good all the time.

As I glare at the phone, I grow even sadder at the fact that someone like him even exists in this world and I can’t even look at him up close. Life truly sucks.

“Psst! Lily!” Grace nudges me but I shoo her away unconsciously. I’m too busy dreaming about someone like a fool to pay attention to anyone or anything else. I’m too high up in cloud nine, nothing could probably bring me down.

Or so I thought.

Grace out of patience, slaps me hard on the back. “B*tch, the teacher’s here!”

I look up, pencil between my teeth and legs on top of the desk. My eyes roam over the class to see everyone staring at me, the boisterous noise long gone. Then my eyes land on the front of the class where two figures stand.

My eyes lock with mesmerizing grey ones and I’m knocked out of breath. A simple sight of those eyes even is stronger and far more efficient than Blake’s punches.

I gasp out loud, my heart trembling at the sight of the person in front of me. My imagination personified. I must’ve dreamed so much about him and meeting him that my mind is playing such dirty tricks on me right now. A mirage! Holy freaking- that’s it. I’ve finally lost it. I’ve gone crazy. I really am.

I want to stand up and get close and touch this masterpiece of a human to see if he’s really here flesh and bones.

I break eye contact using a great amount of effort just to take a good look at him before he vanishes again.

He’s tall. Extremely tall. He looks even taller up close than in the photos taken of him. A black dress shirt hugs his muscular upper body tightly, probably as tight as I would if I had the chance, showing his great physic. Sleeves rolled up to his elbows, arms crossed over his chest making him seem more intimidating and hard to approach than he already looks. Tousled, thick, and lustrous black hair pulled back, strands falling over his forehead. Hair I’d imagined of running my hands through countless times. His face is strong and defined as if molded from granite. His eyebrows are dark and slop downwards in a serious expression. His usually professional smile, the one he always reserved for the cameras, has drawn into a hard line across his face. His perfect lips are ripe for kissing. His nose is slender and rounded. A prominent jaw curved gracefully.

This man is craved by God with the utmost carefulness and details. He is beautiful. He is the most beautiful man I have ever set my eyes on. No sculpture from Michelangelo could ever compare. Perfect. Pure perfect living, breathing art. That’s what I’m having the privilege of setting my eyes on right now.

It was as if a giant meteorite hits me the moment I see him, shattering my brain to pieces because I suddenly can’t think straight. My brain’s going through an error.

Jesus, what’s happening to me? I had seen this man millions of times in magazines and TV but seeing him personally was an entire thing. He looked even more handsome than in the photos. How is that even possible?

“Holy sh*t! He’s f*cking hot.” I mutter out loud with a laugh, flinching as soon as I realize what I did.

From the corner of my eyes, I notice my art teacher’s eyes widen in shock, and a few of my classmates laugh. The man, the center of my attention, is taken aback. He arches an eyebrow at me, the corner of his lips twitching and my whole face flashes red in shame. He heard me! F*ck no.

That! That little lip twitch punches my heart like a professional boxer so hard, it throws the stupid organ off the sky and I suddenly feel dizzy. That’s it, I can die without regrets after this. He shakes his head and finally looks away from me, clearing his throat. Although I didn’t want his attention on me before, I feel empty and sad now that I don’t have it anymore.

“What happened to you?” Grace sputters in giggles, eyes swaying from me to him. I can already tell she’s gonna tease me for this the rest of my life. “This was..wow. I’ll add this day to my calendar! The day Lily finally got flustered by a guy.”

I glare at her playfully.

“It’s him,” I murmur lost in my own world right now. Everyone else disappears and all I can see is him.

I must be dreaming. This must be a dream among all the other dreams I’ve had of him during the past several years.

But it feels too real to be a dream though.

I grab Grace’s hand, placing it on my arm, still looking at him. “Pinch me. Please, pinch me.” My lovely friend doesn’t hesitate at all. If anything, she joyfully does as I say with a pleased smile on her face while applying all the strength she can probably master in those fingertips of hers. I flinch, glaring at her, and rub my arm while she shrugs with a smile. “I only did what you said. Anyway, who’s that? You know him?”

“That’s my favourite artist of all time! Don’t you know him?” I ask in disbelief to which she shakes her head. “Really, Grace? He’s literally the Van Gogh of the modern world! Do you live under a rock?”

I want to slap her for not being enlightened enough. How can you possibly not know him? The shame!

“No, I live in a world with unicorns. I get to ride them sometime. It’s fun. You should come to visit.” Sarcasm drips from her voice but I’m too excited to have a legend of modern art in my class to care.

“Holy shit!” I mutter once more, turning to him once again and our eyes lock a second time.Mine shining in excitement, his shining in annoyance.

“You might want to take that pencil out of your mouth. You know it’s not edible?”
Your d*ck isn’t either but that does not stop my brain from going downwards, is it?

His eyes freeze on the thing I’m chewing with my teeth from nervousness and for some reason, the temperature of the room gets warmer. Then his gaze travels downwards and stops on my exposed legs, still on top of the desk in a very un-ladylike position may I add. It might be my imagination but I swear his cold gaze turns into something much warmer. As if he’s enjoying the sight, appreciating the exposed skin while multiple shameful scenarios pop up in his head.

I don’t know if he’s thinking of such things but I sure am. I imagine me and him being the only people here. Him angrily coming to me, stopping right in front of my desk, his displeased gaze stopping on my exposed leg until he grasps my waist in both sides and makes me sit on the desk, his body positioned in between my legs, where it should be, his hands immediately taking hold of my thighs after.

His intense gaze laying upon what I’m hiding under my skirt, a tiny teasing smile lighting up that handsome face.

“You shouldn’t be this disrespectful to your elders.” He scolds me. “Weren’t you taught well? Hm? What a pity. It seems I’ll have to teach you myself.”
He whispers as his face comes so close to mine, our lips almost touching. His fingertips graze my thighs as his hands travel all the way up my inner thighs and underneath my skirt, stopping exactly where it hurts. Slowly, his fingers rub circles through the fabric of my panties and shivers run down my spine. I have to grab his arms tightly to stop keep myself in place. My nails dig into his arm as his lips begin to lay kisses all over my neck and collarbone. His lips are warm, pleasant, planting goosebumps all over my skin, sucking, licking, kissing- slowly going further down until they hover over my chest and his free hand comes to help, slowly pulling the fabric of my shirt together with my bras down, his eyes watching me as he does so, the pads of his fingers finally grazing my puckered n*pples begging for attention—

“And please sit up straight so we can start!”

My imagination is broken by his stern voice and I fulfill his requests, my face flushing like a tomato.

After he confirms that I’m sitting properly and paying attention to him, he turns to face the class, flashing the whole class a warm but professional smile. My heart does another flip just with a smile of his. I’m already mesmerized.

“Now that everyone’s listening. I’ll go ahead and introduce myself. My name’s Gabriel Hale and as you might’ve already guessed I’m the painter who’s going to take over for your teacher today. I believe a lot of you might find the art class bothersome and I hope I’ll give you a new light of seeing things and make this lesson as interesting as possible. I truly hope you come to love art just the slightest bit more after we’re done with this lesson.” His smile turns genuine and the sight makes me smile too.

That’s right! This is really him. The man I’ve admired for most of my life. Right in front of my very own eyes. I can easily tell how much he really loves what he does just by the way he talks about art and how he turns into an excited child. He almost resembles Grace when she talks about Dylan and trust me, Grace... loves Dylan a lot.

“This class today isn’t mandatory so everyone who wants to leave is free to go now.” He informs us, going to the door and pulling it open. “If you choose to stay here, just keep in mind that I would very much appreciate it if we could have a peaceful, productive, pleasant evening without another disturbance.”

He turns to stare at me for the briefest second, his smile faltering before he looks away.

I feel my poor heart fall in the pit of my stomach. Great first impression Liliana. You nailed it. You shoot yourself straight to his dumb b*tches I should avoid at all costs list.

A few guys stand up and go out. He waits a little bit after the group leaves to see if someone else wants to follow them. During that time, our eyes meet and he arches an eyebrow at me as if asking me why the annoying pest isn’t getting up to get the hell out of his sight. Goosebumps rise all over my skin and I break eye contact first.

He closes the door and smiles once more, positioning himself in front of the class. “How many of you are thinking of art as a serious future career choice?”

A few people raise their hands. I don’t. I’m surprised by the number of people who raise their hands. I wasn’t aware arts had gotten so popular lately.

Mr. Hale seems satisfied, nodding his head and chewing on his bottom lip in thought. My eyes can’t help but be drawn there, and I recall where those exact lips had been on my body in all sorts of shameful imaginations I’ve built around this man. That achingly annoying pulse in between my legs dimly comes to life and I shift uncomfortably in my seat.

“All right, how many of you have been drawing as a hobby?”

Almost all of the class raises their hands this time. I do too. For some reason, his eyes settle on me once more as soon as I raise my hand and my whole face flushes under his scrutinizing gaze.

“For how long?” Questions he, looking away.

“For one year or more.” A girl responds for all of us and others nod their heads. This is a private college so most of the students here come from well-off families. It isn’t surprising that most of them have been taking at least one or two different courses outside of school, be it art, dancing, or learning to play an instrument.

I used to be the same. My mom didn’t hold back when it came to enrolling me in all sorts of courses. You name it, I’ve tried them all. I was lucky she never insisted I continue taking that class in case I didn’t like it though. Poor mom. If only she knew this would come back to bite her later. I found the type of classes I wanted to take the day my dad took me to his training studio for the first time. Since that day I insisted on taking self-defense classes. My mom wasn’t so happy with my newly found hobby. I used to think that was because what I liked wasn’t something dumbly considered “feminine” like ballet or playing the violin but eventually, she gave up and came to accept it. Later I found out she was just worried about me getting hurt during training.

Hah, if she knew she had every right to worry. I wonder what she’d have done if she saw the bruises on my body, all of which I’ve gotten playing around with Blake. The poor guy might’ve had his gym burned by the flames of her anger.

My lips twitch in a half-smile at my imagination.

I was too much of a kid to understand my mother at that time. I always thought she was cold and controlling. That she loved her work more than me. I thought she wanted me to follow her steps so that I could be the perfect daughter. That’s what I thought she wanted. She was a perfectionist and the only thing of hers that wasn’t perfect was me.

Maybe these stupid thoughts of mine are what pushed me to be closer to dad and distance myself from mine. I was too stupid to realize that she was just trying to get closer to me in her own way. That she was searching for something we could call ours just like I and dad did. That she just wanted to see me love something she also did and that way she could help me, talk to me, tell me stories of herself when she was a kid doing the same thing as me.

Even back then, everyone told me I was the copycat of my dad. I even liked the same things, I followed him around everywhere, I wanted to be like him. I was never interested in what mom did. Of course, she wished to have something in common with me too.

If I had known back then our time together would be so insanely and unfairly short, I’d have taken all of the classes she wished me to take so we could practice together, talk about the things I’d learned together and I could see her excited and proud over me. Perhaps, she’d have opened up to me more, and together, along the way, I’d have learned to be a better daughter and she a better mother. I’d have taken a hundred courses, followed her around, asked her about her job even if I wasn’t interested, I’d have worn all of the dresses she made even though I hated dresses and I’d have thanked her for everything.

If only I knew, I’d have not ended up a mess made a hundred types of regrets today.

“Then I’m looking forward to all of your works. I’ve got high expectations.” Mr. Hale’s voice snaps me out of my self misery. I lookup and during the time I wasn’t paying attention, another person joined the class.

A woman is standing next to Mr. Hale. She’s as tall as him, long black hair freely cascading down her thin body, shiny brown eyes that remind you of those lush forests in faraway nature paradises, a sweet smile plastered on her face as she proudly stands next to Mr. Hale, a pink robe-like dress hugging her body, held together only by a thin knot.

“Today we’re drawing a human!” Mr. Hale declares, clasping his hands together.

“Her?” One student asks.

“Yes, her.” He confirms. “Her name’s Cynthia and she’ll be your model for today.”

After being introduced, Cynthia greets Mrs.Brown and the class then takes a seat on a bench Mr. Hale fetches for her.

Mr. Hale then quickly takes hold of a piece of chalk and goes to the blackboard. “Now, before you start please pay a little attention here.”

Mr. Hale begins to draw a circle, a perfect circle may I add, and then other lines follow that circle and so his hand moves all over the place, adding new white lines over the blackboard and wiping others. Everyone’s enchanted, looking at him with the most interest. I’ve never seen the whole class so quiet and I’m unbelievably happy everyone is noticing what a great, talented person my hero is. Heck, I’m like a proud mother.

A few seemingly short minutes. That’s what it takes him to create art. The messy lines and circles and what used to come across like children’s scribbles at first have taken the form of a human face, a beautiful face made of chalk, and nothing more. If someone saw this, they’d never think this man created this in just a few minutes. Mr. Hale has drawn Cynthia so beautifully, so amazingly well, I’ve suddenly lost all confidence that I can draw her better. F*ck, even a professional artist who’s been drawing for ears would lose their confidence if they saw this. They probably wouldn’t dare to even try and draw this same woman. They’d know from the start that they wouldn’t do it like him.

When Mr. Hale abandons the chalk, Mrs.Brown whose jaw almost met the ground a moment ago begins to clap in amazement and everyone follows suit.

Mr. Hale smiles in appreciation at her and then turns to face us with that same charming smile. God, he looks even more attractive now. This! This is why I’m utterly obsessed with this man! My heart is crazily beating against my ribcage, trying to break free after witnessing the one and only art genius in action. It’s suddenly hard to breathe.

“So I’m guessing that when you begin to draw her you’ll follow the same basic steps I just did and in the end come up with something similar like this.” He points to his sketch.

This man is way too humble. There’s no way anyone here would draw anything close to that. Sure, he might’ve spent only a few minutes in that simple sketch but despite that, the outcome has written “Gabriel Hale” all over it. It’s his unique style. Anyone would see it.

“Well, I don’t want that. I don’t want you to copy what I just did.” Mr. Hale continues to talk as he goes over to the teacher’s desk and perches his fine ass there.

This is the first time I’ve wanted to be a desk.

“Look at Cynthia and tell me what you see? What goes through your mind when looking at her?”

A boy excitedly raises his hand and Mr, Hale signals him to talk.

“Boobs! Big ones!”

Mr. Hale titles his head to the side and furrows his brows at the guy. “If you were my student, I’d have failed you for life.”

“Thank f*c- god, I’m not then.”

“I shall consider that.” Our art teacher jokes, sending the guy a disapproving look. Everyone laughs.

Mr. Hale listens to everyone else share teir thoughts. I don’t dare to open my mouth. I know that if I tried to talk to him I’ll stammer like a fool from my emotions getting the best of me. But life as always has other plans.

“You? What do you think?”

I wasn’t paying attention nor did I expect him to call out to me so when he calls out someone several times I don’t expect it to be. I just keep my head down so I won’t attract a lot of attention and burn holes in my blank sketchbook with my stare. That until someone’s hand appears in my view.

My head shoots up and my jaw goes slack when I see him staring down at me in disapproval. My brain goes into error due to our close proximity. I never dreamt I’d even be in the same room as this man let alone be this close.

“Are you even paying attention?” He scowls.

No, I’m too busy jumping your bones...in my head.

“I...uh... yes?” I sound like I’m questioning him. I want to slap myself.

He glares at me and sighs heavily before pointing to Cynthia with his head. “Would you like to share your thoughts?”

I gape at him in exasperation, proverbial sweat dribbling down my face from stress as my eyes switch from Cynthia to him, waiting for my wonderful, intelligent brain to come up with something. Anything. But, perhaps my brain must’ve been so exhausted after today’s unexpected events, it decided to take early vocations on its own.

I stare at Cynthia and I stare and stare and stare as if inspiration will knock if I keep staring at her. And I also thought Mr. Hale would move on if I remained silent but he stays rooted on the same spot, patiently waiting for me.

Oh for god’s sake, I can’t think of anything if you’re this close! If you could move just a little bit further away!

Before thinking twice, I blurt out to save myself. “Nothing!”

Shoot.

Mr. Hale arches a brow in disbelief. “Nothing?” He must be wondering how dumb I could possibly be.

“What do you expect me to think...sir?” I add sir to not sound as rude and exasperated as I am.

“She’s a stranger. I don’t know her nor do I know anything about her. Sure, I might be curious about her when looking at her now but at the end of the day she’ll leave and we’ll never meet again so what could I possibly think of her at first glance? She’s someone distant, a locked room I’ll never try to open or that one book I’ll never read among other man passing books, the one I’ll only briefly judge by the cover and move on with my life. She’s not someone who has impacted my life to make me think of anything deep when looking at her or to come up with certain characteristics she might possess. So that’s it. I can’t make myself think of anything when looking at her. I could say I think she’s this and that but then I’d be lying. ” My big mouth goes on and on and before I know it I’ve said shit to of b*llshit.

Well, I actually sounded pretty smart.

Hah, smart bullsh*t.

He observes me for a while and I try hard not to look uncomfortable under his gaze. I’m preparing myself for the bad remarks to come for my seemingly arrogant response but he says nothing and moves on. That’s when I’m able to release the breath that I’d been holding. Mr. Hale looks unusually satisfied for some reason and rather happy and my tummy flutters thinking I made him happy with my response. Did I really? Did I actually say something right during school?

“A lot of people when starting to draw faces— they focus unusually hard on sketching the subject’s face exactly as it is. It’s a rather terrifying task at first. Human bodies, human faces, everything related to a human is complicated and might seem too difficult to be drawn exactly as it is. Well, today we’re not doing that. I don’t want you to struggle and draw me a blank face exactly like the model’s. We’re doing something much more fun and less intimidating.”

He crosses his muscular arms over his chest, grinning. “Today, I want to see how much you’ve developed your unique styles. Your own unique style is like your identity card. That one thing that distinguishes you from others. It’s thanks to that unique style, that others when looking at a nameless painting you’ve done will immediately say: Ah, yes. This one’s from that artist. This is definitely their work. There’s no doubt about it.”

The same girl that spoke before raised her hand again. “But most of us do this just as a hobby and we’ll most likely never present our works seriously to others so why do we need to have our own unique drawing style?”

“That’s a good question. Hm, true you’ll probably only ever draw for yourself and if you want you can remain as you are however you’ll never experience the great pride and happiness you’ll feel when discovering your own style of doing things. Trust me, the self-accomplishment and confidence boost you’ll experience that day can’t be compared with anything. I don’t want you all to think of your style as something impossible to acquire. Everyone’s got a unique way of doing things. You’ll eventually find the style that suits you best. And I certainly don’t want you all to see art as a job or a waste of time. Did you all know that people who draw have more active brain cells? They’re more observant and can concentrate better. They have a sharp memory. And more importantly, those people can release depression through drawing or reduce their stress?“Mr. Hale stops for a short time to breathe and goes on.

“People can express what they feel through drawing and share with others, things they wouldn’t be able to say through words. As Edward Hopper once said: “If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.“. Just because art won’t be your future career doesn’t mean you shouldn’t draw. Art has helped me in my toughest times, has been that one thing I could express myself with when I didn’t want to talk about my problems with anyone. Just like you, I never thought it’d turn into such a big part of my life. Frankly, if you all could see my first paintings and were aware of all the hard work it took to arrive where I am today, maybe my works wouldn’t seem as “magical” as they do today. I know most of you aren’t satisfied if your painting doesn’t look like one of the professionals from the start, or you’re only looking forward to the finishing line ignoring your journey but let me tell you that no one is perfect from the start and you should actually look forward to your journey rather than the ending product and that’s applicable not only for your journey as an artist. Don’t forget that art is supposed to be fun and you’ll feel more satisfied and happy with yourself along the way than you’ll feel when you’ve reached the “end”. And if you want to quit art that’s also fine. To those who want to explore art more though I truly hope it’ll be as an exceptional experience as it was for me... And I think I talked too much. Now, let’s continue, shall we?”

Grace who most likely noticed the way I keep looking at Mr. Hale, whispers in my ear. “Psst, wipe your drool and close your mouth before you drool a lake in here.”

“Shut up!” I glare at her and she chuckles.

“So, as I said through drawing you can express various emotions, train of thoughts, what you feel, what you want, and so on. Just like your friend said, you might feel or think nothing when looking at a stranger however even feeling nothing is something. If you feel nothing then try to express that. How would you see a stranger whom you know nothing about? To those who want to get to know her, you might draw her as someone mysterious and cold on the edges around yet with a warm smile reaching towards you as a welcome maybe? Who knows? Use your imagination and get to work!”

Everyone, inspired by his speech diligently begins to work.

I tap my pencil on the white sheet, staring at Cynthia who’s got a polite smile on her face, facing the class. The robe-like dress has slid down her shoulders, showing a good amount of cleavage, Her n*pples are covered with those stickers I often see social media models have when they often pose nude. She looks enchanting without being vulgar or looking too inappropriate. Strands of hair fall over her lush breasts, lips pink and puffy, eyes big like a doll’s, and cheeks flushed. If I had to draw a mermaid who seduces people into the deep sea, I’d draw her right now.

I chew on my bottom lip and begin to draw the outline of her face and body. Mr. Hale walks around to supervise others and help when students call out to him for advice.

I notice Mrs.Brown sneak a peek at his amazing, pants-clad, firm ass. Jesus, Mrs.Brown, you’re married!!

How do I know his ass is firm? I had my sneak peeks since he’d entered this class.

I’m halfway done when my hand stirs and suddenly my brain goes blank and that part of my brain that’s responsible for my creativity stops working. I know how to draw. I’m not the best but I’m not the worst either, however, right now I can’t draw Cynthia for the life of me.

I sigh, place my pencil upon the paper over and over, and frustratingly leave it for now. I glance at my hand watch and I’m relieved to see there’s still plenty of time till this class is over. Then I peek at Mr. Hale and see him chatting with Mrs.Brown. I gnaw at my bottom lip with my teeth, my hand twitching to grab the sketchbook and draw someone else instead.

Should I? This is probably the last time I’ll have the chance to see him up close so I can’t let this opportunity go. I’m sure I can quickly draw him and then finish Cynthia’s drawing as well.

Just the outline? That would be fine, right?

Convinced by my little mental talk, I hurriedly take my sketchbook out. With a content smile on my face, I begin my drawing. The tip of my pencil slides across the paper with ease, my hand never stopping once. Thankfully, Mr. Hale is too preoccupied focusing on others to notice my little harmless stares.

I’m skillful enough to not get caught rudely staring up until I’m almost done with the drawing. I stop, straighten myself up, and inspect my work proudly.

“What are you doing?” A low, bittersweet voice is murmured close to my ear, and I jump, gasp, and turn around my eyes locking with the same pair I just drew.

My heart flies to my throat as my eye roam all over his face and the hair on the back of my neck stand up. His too stay on my face for a long time before he takes a glimpse at my unfinished painting of Cynthia and then eyes my painting of him. You might as well call me a tomato right now. My face flashes and lady shame pats me on the back reassuringly.

His eyes burn holes at my sketch of him before he scowls. I want the ground to open up and swallow me whole.

“I don’t recall saying I was the one to be painted.” He speaks, his voice freezing cold just like swiss winter.


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