As I was in the middle of the last-minute edits of Say You’ll Let Me (which is now in review on amazon and should be published sometime tomorrow morning, by my estimate), my brain suddenly sparked an idea for one of my Idol topics.

I said okay, fine. I’ll reread the old entry I want to base this idea off of. Further spark of inspiration. Decided to run with it, wrote a small entry of about 470 words. Told myself well, I actually like this, so let me go ahead and freewrite something for the other topic, slap something up there, and call it a day. I mean, two topics, had since Friday afternoon to write them, and they were due 12 minutes ago. I started at around 1pm, finished by 3:15pm, and read Shingeki No Kyojin’s newest manga chapter afterwards. Once I was done reading, I went back and finished up my edits.

So it’s been a productive day — especially when I didn’t expect to write anything, really. So here’s what I submitted for one of my topics: %($)#*^#

***

She breathed in through her nose, her eyes focusing somewhere beyond the easel that stood before her. Her painting stood before her, a colorful beacon amongst the drab, dusty bricks that comprised the attic. As she closed her eyes, she released her breath, no longer wanting to hold it captive within her chest. Her fingers twitched, the weight of the brush preventing them from moving fully.

In a few moments, he would come up the stairs. In a few moments, he would want to see what she had accomplished that day. Her chest heaved and tears fought their way to the surface. She bit her lip. She wouldn’t cry. Not now. Not when she had come so far. Not when she had finished a piece for the first time in ages.

She wiped her brow, careful not to smudge the wayward paint that had found its home on her fingertips. She breathed in again, this time to steady herself as she looked over her painting one last time. No flaws from what she could see. No color that could be brighter. Slowly, she placed her brush back down. Her fingers furled at her sides, her shoulders tensing at the sound of the attic door opening.

“What do we have here today?” he asked, his voice a low rumble, like that of an incoming storm.

She didn’t answer. Instead, she stepped away from the easel, giving him plenty of space to move forward. He was a large man, his eyes wide and expressive. She kept her hands at her sides; kept her back straight and her lip free from underneath her teeth. 

Those black eyes of his narrowed, a slight frown twisting his features. A hand flew to his chin, rubbing it thoughtfully as he picked the canvas up from the easel. Her heart changed its cadence, one faster and harder than its normal fare. Sweat beaded on her brow, though she could at least blame that on the stuffy, poorly ventilated attic instead of nerves. 

“Not good enough.”

Tears stung her eyes, but she blinked them away. Not good enough meant it was better than usual. Meant that she might avoid a punishment. Meant that she might get to sleep in a bed instead of the harsh floor of the attic. 

“Did you paint anything else today?”

She swallowed thickly, turning her eyes to the remnants of the painting she had deemed unworthy hours ago. The wood stretching the canvas had split; she could still hear the resounding crack it had made. “No, sir,” she dared to answer, focusing her eyes on him instead. If he knew…

His frown deepened. His eyes flickered over to the far wall, to the place she had looked at only seconds before. Those eyes of his hardened as he opened his mouth to speak: 

“Then where’s the second canvas I gave you?”

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