43 | paint

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AN:
Double update for Chapter 42 & 43

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N E V A E H


I stare at the painting room in amazement after Aiden opens the door. I can't believe that we're here. To paint.

Seeing all these previous works created by him makes this moment feel even more surreal. I can't hold my excitement.

My painting will look like a total failure compared to all these masterpieces, but I don't give a damn about that. I'm going to learn from the best. What matters is that I can see Aiden paint again.

Aiden leads me toward an easel with a blank canvas and pulls a stool for me. I sit down.

"What do you want to paint?" he asks.

I stare at the canvas with a lost expression. My mind goes blank, just as blank as the canvas.

Oh my God, I don't know. I'm so bad at this.

"It can be something that your parents love," he tries to help. "Do you know anything special to them?"

Something close to their heart.

It has to be something meaningful, but it can't be hard for me to paint as a beginner.

Dad loves the sky, the bright and blue one. Mom loves the ocean, deep and dark blue. The reason why they love them is simple. It's the color of each other's eyes.

"Can I paint the ocean?" I ask. "With the blue sky above it."

Right. That's perfect. Who would fail this? This should be easy. Even a kindergarten kid would laugh at me if I failed this.

"The ocean and the sky?" Aiden asks with smiling eyes.

"Yeah. They love them," I say. "In fact, they had their wedding at the beach. I think it's perfect for their anniversary gift."

Aiden nods and takes a pencil from the table next to him. "Do you want to sketch?"

My face flushes in embarrassment. "About that," I pause, "I don't know how I should draw it. If you can show me..." I bite my lip.

Aiden sits on the stool next to me and starts sketching on the canvas before we can add layers of oil paint. I watch as the blank canvas gradually turns into a beautiful sketch.

My eyes are also drawn to Aiden's face. He looks calm and contented while his eyes narrow toward the sketch he's working on. I wonder what he's feeling right now.

When Aiden puts the pencil down, I gaze at the finished sketch in adoration. It's simple -- a beach with some swaying grasses growing on it, an ocean, and the sky above them with a few birds flying in the distance. But the picture feels so alive.

Aiden shows me how to mix the colors on the palette, but I'm too excited to focus on what he's teaching me. All I can think about is the fact that he's holding his paintbrush again.

He gestures for me to start applying the color to the canvas. I take the paintbrush from him reluctantly. I'm afraid that I'll ruin his beautiful sketch.

I'm sure that my fear shows, because the next thing I feel is his hand wrapping around mine, guiding me.

"It's okay," he says. "For the first coat of paint, you can use this color for this part."

My heart thumps hard, because he's technically painting again.

My fear might have made him forget his own even though it's nothing compared to his. He has vowed to never paint again because of his fear to get in touch with his emotions, but he seems to not care about that now.

When Aiden lets go of my hand, I'm no longer afraid to apply the color.

He shows me how to add more textures and paint the fine details. I watch him intently before letting him guide me again. By the time he steps back to watch me paint by myself, I've already felt much more relaxed.

"You're doing good," he says.

I smile, dip the brush into the color palette, and swipe it on the canvas again. "Are you not going to paint something too? It would be fun if you could paint with me here."

My heart is beating fast with anticipation. Please say yes.

Aiden stares at another easel with a blank canvas and sighs. He pulls a stool there and sits down.

My smile is so big, from ear to ear. I feel so happy that I feel like screaming and crying at the same time. Quickly, I look away from him and focus on my painting to hide my over-excitement.

I can't believe that he starts painting again.

I steal a glance at him and find him starting to sketch. Happy is an understatement. I feel so much more than happiness, I don't even know how to describe it.

That's enough, Nevaeh. You have one job to be done right now, and that is to finish your painting.

I paint with warmth filling my insides. I'll never forget this precious moment. Ever.

I can't help but think about Mom and Dad. This painting of the ocean and the sky indeed reminds me of them. I realize all over again how much I miss them.

Will they like this gift? I'm sure that they will. Mom and Dad will be so happy, won't they? I can't wait to see their happy faces.

Is this why Aiden didn't want to paint? If I can feel all these emotions while painting a gift for my parents, I can't imagine what Aiden must have felt while painting. He's an artist. He must have felt so much more.

When I finally finish my painting, I stare at my work in awe. It's not bad, thanks to Aiden.

"I did it." I giggle, feeling proud of myself.

For a girl who sucks at drawing, this is a major accomplishment

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For a girl who sucks at drawing, this is a major accomplishment.

I turn my head toward Aiden and find that he's still painting. He looks so immersed in it, which makes curiosity build up inside me. I can't see his painting from where I'm sitting.

"What are you painting?" I approach him.

When I see the canvas in front of him, my heart skips a beat.

It's a painting of me sitting on a stool in front of an easel, a paintbrush in my hand, my gaze fixed on the canvas.

He was painting me.

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