Chapter 100 – …What Do You Like? (2)
The official date with Simon ended without any problems. Louise said she would call a carriage separately, but he disagreed.
“We don’t want to be discovered that we met as friends.”
And so Simon would come with Louise to her house safely.
“The next date.”
Louise nodded. She knew he had to meet Simon three times.
“I’d like to delay it as much as possible.”
“I don’t mind, but why?”
Simon had a troubled look on his face.
“It’s not fair to hide from you what Ian knows, so I’ll be honest.”
Louise nodded, and Simon explained how he had come to accept the marriage offer and how the royal family was concerned about the treatment of the Sweeney family.
After a moment of processing this information, Louise couldn’t help but express herself frankly.
“I’m causing a great deal of harm for you.”
“I just didn’t want to see you with another man–”
Simon hurriedly corrected himself.
“I mean, have marriage talks with other men besides Ian.”
He continued on a little further. It was amazing to think that the normally reticent Simon would speak this much.
“The best thing, of course, is to make your relationship with Ian official. But unless you’re ready, it will only hurt Mr. Sweeney.”
“Yes. You should be careful until the Sweeneys have a proper aristocratic background.”
“Besides, Ian and I owe you a lot.”
“You took care of us with a lot of love, so we have to pay you back at least once. If…if you don’t mind meeting me like this, of course.”
His last words trailed off, and Louise shook her head passionately. She didn’t hate meeting with Simon. She just didn’t want him to have to go through with all this nonsense.
“Not at all.”
Louise then asked carefully,
“Does this cause any harm to you? It is a marriage offer from the royal court.”
“Not at all.”
He answered lightly; there was no real damage.
“The former queen could say something.”
“It won’t happen. Marriage talks aren’t very common, and them coming to fruition is even rarer.”
“Well, if not, it can still be…uncomfortable.”
“It’ll be uncomfortable if you continue to be so cautious and apologetic.”
Simon spoke with a calm tone as if to soothe her.
“I’m fine with it. And you?”
“Of course I’m fine, but…”
Louise did not want to agree with him. She felt strange about all this, but she didn’t know where it came from. However, if Simon was uncomfortable with her nagging, she had no choice but to nod her head.
The carriage stopped at the front door, and for a moment there was only the noise of the rainfall. The cold sound filled the interior of the carriage.
“Shall we wait a little?”
Simon murmured as he looked out the window.
“Wherever Ian is, I hope he doesn’t run into too much trouble if it rains like this.”
He briefly recalled his friend who left to oversee the flooded areas. Ian was probably going through a lot of trouble having to wear the thick, waterproof leather clothing.
A cautious voice spoke opposite from him. The voice was faint enough to be drowned up by the sound of rain, but Simon did not fail to miss it.
“…What do you like?”
“What do I like?”
Louise squeezed the hem of her damp dress.
“Now that things have come to this, at least…I thought it would be better to do what you like.”
“Well, I wonder.”
He stared at Louise as he dragged his words. If he could put everything he liked into one pocket, there would be only two people in the world he would put in. Even Simon himself would not fit in there. Or maybe he chose not to go in on his own. Perhaps it would always be like that.
He closed the pocket in his mind.
“I like it the way it is now.”
“The way it is?”
“You’re too selfless. Sometimes it’s okay to have your own way.”
“You can ask me for a present, or tell me to find a funny story.”
“Hmmm, maybe I’d like to hear a funny story.”
“Shall I get ready?”
“As long as you don’t overdo it.”
“I will. I’ll prepare many stories for you to laugh at.”
“I look forward to it.”
Simon patted Louise on the head.
“Thank you for helping my parents and me.”
“That’s what I wanted to hear the most.”
“I don’t know how many times I can say it, but I mean it.”
“A few times is alright.”
“Well, I’ll say it again. Thank you.”
He reached out and touched her long, damp hair with his fingers. He smiled faintly, and Louise didn’t take her eyes off his face. She looked so precious when he cradled her head like that…
It…it seemed like the meaning of his heart was conveyed to her.
Louise gazed at Simon.