Chapter 10 – Why Did You Run Away? (1)
Ian’s silvery hair waved gently in the spring breeze. He swept his fringe off his face with long fingers and his blue eyes glimmered in the sunlight. Louise stood frozen holding the door handle as she gazed at the figure.
‘Is dramatic wind only allowed for the main characters?’
It was a truly beautiful effect compared to Louise’s displays, whose long hair would get twisted and tangled as the wind blustered through it. Still, this was no time to admire the male lead.
Louise forced a smile on her face. In times of trouble, smiling was the best option. The other person would smile automatically on impulse. Sure enough, Ian’s lips curved gently upward. It was subtle, but it was a smile.
Now, let’s walk out naturally.
Your Highness, I don’t know why you’re here, but I hope you will enjoy your pleasant life. Then I will take my leave as a supporting role.
Louise slowly backed away into the hall, never taking her eyes off his face. She quickly slammed the door with a sudden bang then and sighed deeply. The stiff smile on her face was quickly dropped. She turned her head sideways and looked at the door sign, wondering if she came to the wrong place.
This was the place, right?!
‘Was Ian on the student council in the original novel?’
She could swear he wasn’t. It had been almost two decades since she last read the novel, but she was sure of it. First of all, it was against his character archetype. Ian Audmonial Crond was the lonely prince who trusted no one. The smile on his face was never really sincere, nor did he tell jokes unless it benefited him in some way.
The people who were near him usually tried to take advantage of him, and the original Louise was no different, who wanted to marry him to become part of the glamorous aristocratic society. Stella Lapis was the only one who expected nothing from him, and he became obsessed with her.
The word “obsessed” was no exaggeration. “The Fake Lovers of the Academy” tag was filled with keywords like #obsessiveguy #innocentguy #backupimpossible and #donotturnyourfaceaway.
‘Well, it doesn’t matter anyway.’
It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. If Ian was part of the student council he would be more likely to encounter Stella, who worked part-time at the library.
‘Anyway, I should stay away from here.’
Beyond that door was the road to hell. No, it was the highway to the final boss of Hell that crooned, “Come on, come and meet your bad end.” She couldn’t risk stepping foot in that place.
Louise fiddled with a lock of her golden hair.
She couldn’t get Ian’s smile out of her mind. Of course, it wasn’t because she fell in love with him or because she thought he was cool. Never! She only noticed it because she had been his friend for so long.
Louise gripped the door handle again and after a moment of hesitation, twisted it and pushed the door open.
Ian was still standing in the same spot, this time with his back was turned as he stared wordlessly out of the window. Maybe he was thinking hard about something. Whatever it was, it seemed to be bothering him. That smile he showed when he saw her…
‘It rarely happens, but he only wears that kind of smile when he needs help.’
She walked inside the student council room and asked in a quiet voice,
“…So, what’s going on?”
He didn’t look at her immediately. Louise watched the dapple of light and shadow play on his back. After a few more moments he finally turned around.
“I was thinking about flowers.”
He tapped his chin as if he still couldn’t make up his mind.
“We’re going to throw a party for the new semester. And for the party–”
“You’ll need flowers.”
“You know me well.”
Louise felt a little relieved when Ian gave her an appreciative smile. She didn’t think he was keen on her little flight from the room earlier.
“If you’re thinking about flower arrangements to use for the party, consider the venue and atmosphere. There’s a garden you can look near here.”
As Louise was talking Ian walked slowly towards her.
He stopped right in front of her. Their toes were almost touching.
“–and make a list of tasks to deal with…Your Highness?”
“…You’re still calling me by that title.”
Louise smiled awkwardly and brought her fingertips to her mouth for a moment.
“Habits aren’t easily fixed.”
Louise took a step backward.
“I agree. You need to be more mindful.”
Ian took another step forward and was slowly narrowing the distance between them. Louise backed away until she bumped into the door behind her. A dead end. Louise looked upwards. Ian was looking at her with a wicked expression.
“Don’t get into a new habit of backing away every time you see me. “
There was probably a hidden meaning behind his words, like:“I’ll drag you down to hell for running away when you see my troubled face.”
…What a scary person! He could ruin her social standing if he wanted to. Louise tried to smile as sweetly as possible.
“Oh, it’s impossible for me to run away from someone in need.”
Ian smirked and stretched out an arm to lean over her while Louise looked up at him with a frightened expression. She was trapped in his shadow. You’re crazy, Louise Sweeney. She should’ve had ignored his troubled face. She was right!
“The truth is, while I was thinking about flowers I thought I could use a consultant.”
The consultant probably meant Louise. She had studied flowers and trees in her parents’ greenhouse since she was young.
“Of course I’ll help you–”
“But as soon as our eyes met, you backed away and soon the door closed.”
He added a loud sound effect, as if he were simply unhappy with the sentence.
“I didn’t close that hard. I closed it gently. Maybe–”
He ignored her timid protests.
“You slammed the door, like I had offended you and you were giving me the cold shoulder.”
She wasn’t giving him the cold shoulder, she was running away. It was a code of behavior for her to survive!
“I remembered stopping you from rushing over that rail.”
“Thank you for that. “
“I remembered agreeing to keep our childhood engagement a secret.”
“Thank you for that, too.”
Ian leaned inwards and looked at Louise face-to-face. He was so close she felt his breath on her.
“Why did you run away?”