The Problematic Prince
e raise her head a little.
Thank you.” Pavel said, stumbling over what to call Erna.
At Pavel’s request, Erna awkwardly raised her head.
“Is this alright?”
“A little lower, sorry.”
“Like this?” Erna was trying to do as requested, but this time bowed her head a little too deeply.
Still the same Erna, over eager to please.
Erna used to love posing for Pavel, but as soon as she got in front of an easel, she went as stiff as a plank of wood.
He had always preferred to draw Erna doing something she was comfortable with; running in a field, reading a book under a tree, picking an apple, driving a goat.
She was the soul reason he had perfected his croquets skill.
As if she was recalling the same memories, Erna smiled shy and awkwardly.
Those clear, kind eyes and sweet smile.
Definitely the same Erna Pavel had always known.
Pavel sketched for a moment, then slowly approached the Ducal couple, looking at Bjorn as if asking permission before doing anything.
“If you could look in this direction, head this way.
You can leave your hands a little more natural here,” Pavel gestured and held Erna in her posture.
The Prince moved as Pavel struggled to get Erna in the right pose without touching her.
Erna could not get a sense of what Pavel was trying to do.
“Here, just bow a little deeper,” Bjorn said and gently moved her chin, “hands like this,” he arranged the position of her hands so they sat a little more naturally.
It showed that Bjorn had sat through a good many portraits.
“There, I think we are done now, Mr Lore,” said Bjorn, adopting his pose once more.
Pavel felt like Bjorn was being more than a little arrogant as he sat straight backed, but he could not complain, Erna was finally sat like a true model, just as he wanted.
Pavel went back to his easel and started sketching again.
There was no need to add comment about the Prince’s pose and posture, he was perfect.
The sunlight shone bright between the two men staring at each other.
“Would you like to take a break?” Pavel asked as he stepped back from the easel.
Bjorn turned to see that Erna was looking a lot more pale than she usually did.
He felt a little ashamed that the painter noticed it before he did, but he had been looking at them the entire time, Bjorn had completely spaced out.
“I do feel a little dizzy,” Erna said, “but I will be okay to continue if I can just rest a little bit.”
“If you’re tired, we can stop for the day,” Bjorn said.
“No, no, that wont be necessary.”
“I’m fine, really,” Erna smiled, shaking her head.
After Erna assured Bjorn she would be alright, she left the room with Lisa, leaving Bjorn and Pavel together.
Bjorn went to sit on the couch and lit a cigar.
He called Pavel over, who hesitated a moment, before reluctantly going over to the couch.
“I’m sorry, I don’t smoke cigars, Your Highness,” Pavel said when Bjorn offered him one.
Bjorn poured out a glass of whiskey and ice, offering it to Pavel, but again, Pavel declined the drink respectfully.
“Don’t you enjoy drinking either?” Bjorn said, taking a sip of it instead.
“I do, You Highness, I apologise.”
“It’s fine, your working, I get it,” Bjorn said, ringing a serving bell and requesting the servant bring a cup of tea for Pavel.
“Mr Lore, what do you like? besides painting, obviously.”
Pavel turned to look at the Prince, “I enjoy reading, when I have any spare time.
I’ll go for a walk and read a book.”
Pavel answered with all the courtesy he could muster.
He behaved politely, without seeming servile.
Bjorn looked at him for a long moment.
The model student that wasn’t quite as boring as Leonid.
Bjorn came to the conclusion that Pavel had quite a noble baring about him.
Had Erna decided to run away with him, she would no doubt still be playing house.
He could almost see Pavel as a friend, or even a brother.
Their conversation was interrupted by the servant bringing in tea.
Bjorn leaned back on the couch as he considered Pavel, slow cigar smoke drifted lazily to the ceiling.
“When do you think the portrait will be completed?”
Bjorn changed his conversation as he brushed the ashes away.
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