On the first day, Aaron asked the class to take their paints and experiment with the canvas. “Just feel,” he had told them. When he walked around to inspect his students’ work, he suggested Lana brighten her painting up a bit.
“The black makes the painting seem dark and angry. Some viewers might think the artist is unapproachable.”
Before Lana’s marriage and subsequent divorce, she might have found his dark, curly hair charming. She might have gotten lost in the depths of his soulful brown eyes. And she might have even melted a little when he showed her his perfect, unpretentious smile. As it was, she simply took a paintbrush, dipped it in bright pink paint, and wrote I AM ANGRY across the canvas—with a smiley face underneath. Aaron raised an eyebrow, his expression showing only amusement, and continued on to view another student’s work.
The next day, Lana caught Aaron staring. When she scowled, he laughed and turned to help another student. The more she tried to be “unapproachable,” the more intrigued he seemed to become. The day after that, he found an excuse to help her perfect her technique by holding her hand with his as she painted. Somehow, no one else in the room seemed to notice the extra attention he paid her. Lana did her best to appear merely tolerant, but the smell of his musky cologne made it difficult.
Still, she wasn’t quite ready to admit she was attracted to him until the fourth day of class, when he asked her to stay after to discuss the project she was working on.
He paused. He’d expressly asked the class to call him Aaron, so she’d purposely done the opposite. His eyes were curious and, for once, his grin was uncertain. He was nervous. Why was he nervous?
“I was wondering if you wanted to get a cup of coffee.”
Lana immediately opened her mouth to decline the offer. This had nothing to do with her project at all. It was highly inappropriate for him to lure her to his desk under false pretenses. But then she felt it. A butterfly. There was only one—the feeling was faint—but it was there. And she’d missed that feeling.
“Okay,” she agreed.
“Great. But you know it might be awkward if you keep calling me Professor.”