It was during the last weeks of the summer semester. The sun smiled at the shining blue sky. Of course, this put Leonie into a good mood, as she joyfully strolled through the park to her university. Occasionally, some rays of sunlight would gleam through the treetops to caress Leonie’s long, brown hair, which she wore loose as usual. The scarcely cut denim hot pants clasped her hips, and her shirt emphasized her feminine shape while looking casual. As always, she wore her bag on her shoulder; in it, one could find a notebook and various drawing materials, which Leonie was going to need soon.
The art course she was about to visit was a significant part of her studies, and to her surprise, more than half of the enrolled students were male. Not a fact Leonie had a problem with. Her girlfriends, who were studying for a teaching profession, were always annoyed by the low rate of fellow male students. Leonie, on the other hand, was surrounded by attractive, educated men, and had free choosing — if it wasn’t for her shyness. Every time she met a cute guy, she had no idea what to say, and before she knew it, the chance of a potential flirting was already gone.
As Leonie arrived in the lecture hall, most of her fellow students were already there and had taken their seats. The lecture hall was designed to fit 300 students, yet the art course only comprised 30 students, all of which seated themselves in the first two rows, as usual, to have a better view. Leonie sat down in one of the last free spots in the first row and looked around. Next to her sat her best friend Melanie, who had dreamed for a long time of taking part in this study, just like Leonie.
Another girl, Sophia, sat down at the opposite end of the row. Since the beginning of the course, Sophia and Leonie had a dislike for one another, yet it was a mystery to Leonie why that was the case. Perhaps it was to blame on Sophia’s condescending nature against everyone who didn’t share her opinion. It made Leonie sick. She quickly turned her eyes away from Sophia and caught sight of Thomas.
Dreamy as usual, he was glancing around aimlessly, as he ran one of his hands through his messy hair. Yes, this guy was to her liking, yet however close he was to her, the further away he seemed at the same time. Leonie sighed as she opened her bag to take out all the needed drawing materials.
At that moment, Victoria Lenz, the lecturer of the course, arrived. She only graduated from the same program less than three years ago, which was why she offered everyone to call her by her first name. This created a pleasant atmosphere. She looked through the rows, smiling; with a course of such small size, she could quickly recognize that everyone was present.
Then she began the ninety-minute-long class: “The topic we will engage in for these last two weeks — is the nude.”
Silence spread throughout the hall.
Despite the friendly, communal relations within the group, the lecturer never faced any disciplinary issues. There were a few times where she needed to remind a few students to stop talking, but that was it. At that moment, though, there was not only silence, but also tension, and everybody in the room could feel it. Drawing nudes promised to see people naked and for a prolonged period.
“As you know, the faculty doesn’t have the necessary means to hire a model, and, as expected, nobody volunteered either.” For a short moment, she paused, and a few students were already sensing where all these explanations would lead.
“At the beginning of this course, all of you gave written consent to serve as a model, should it be required,” Miss Lenz reminded her students. It happened a few times that some of the students posed as models, yet always fully clothed. “Besides, you all are aware of the consequences, in case you oppose.”
For a moment, the lecturer looked into the faces of her students in front of her. Everyone knew they’d be disallowed to continue the course, should they be picked as a model and deny the task. The sword of Damocles was hovering over all of them, and so the lecturer almost felt sorry for having to enable pressure and force, but she also knew there was no other solution.
“Well, because I don’t just want to appoint someone,” she explained, “fortune will decide.”
Thus, she grabbed a bunch of scraps of paper out of her purse, on which, apparently, the names of all students were noted. She carefully spread the scraps on the table in front of her, with the letters facing down. She then slowly walked in front of the first row and stopped next to Sophia. As class representative, it was her task to be lady luck.
As Sophia walked towards the table, everybody followed her with a nervous glance. In the meantime, Miss Lenz began to lecture on nude art, yet due to the tense atmosphere, nobody had the nerve to listen to her. Indecisively, Sophia stood in front of the table and let her eyes first glance at the paper scraps, then at her fellow students.
Finally, her eyes stopped right at Leonie — Sophia grinned. Leonie wasn’t sure how to interpret Sophia’s looks, but something about it seemed fishy. It seemed as if Sophia was looking down at her as if she wanted to say: “Careful, girl. In a moment, I will pick your name!”
A second later, Sophia put her focus back on the table in front of her and started to circle her finger over it, sort of like a vulture on its prey. Suddenly, she let her finger drop onto one of the paper scraps.
“So, who is the lucky guy or gal?” Miss Lenz wanted to know.
Sophia picked up the piece of paper, turned around and began to read the name with a big smirk on her face. Postponing during the Academy Awards was nothing compared to the show Sophia was granting her fellow students before she happily announced: “Leonie!”
For a moment, it seemed as if time stood still, yet Leone felt as if she fell into a deep hole, all the while everyone else let out gasps of relief. Unable to say anything, unable to move, Leonie just sat there and let the verdict settle in. Meanwhile, Miss Lenz scraped together the papers with the names on them and let Sophia sit back down on her seat.
~ 9,800 words
(approx. 31 pages)