Chapter 103 – The Last Thing I Want To Do (1)
In the presence of the former queen, Simon became the perfect Lord Hillard. Louise called him by his title, but in reality she didn’t really know that true side of him. He wore a picturesque smile, and his words flowed smoothly as if he had carefully prepared them beforehand. This was not the Simon she knew, who usually liked to think quietly and leisurely about every word.
When he said her name she looked up in amazement. She took hold of his proffered hand, and he pulled her towards him so that they faced each other. Louise released his hand and grabbed the skirt of her dress, the garment soaking up the sweat of her fingers.
The rehearsed words began. He bowed deeply, just like the prince from a fairy tale. When he straightened up, Louise wanted to avoid eye contact, but Simon’s advice came to mind.
“Don’t take your eyes off me from beginning to end. It’s traditional etiquette.”
He smiled like a friend to her, as if to say, “Well done.”
Louise blinked a few times, but Simon didn’t say anything else. The surroundings became quiet, allowing the sounds from outside to filter into the room. The rain was a constant gentle roar in the background.
Did it rain so often during this season? Simon was naturally reminded of a few things, like a black umbrella, yellow patrinia flowers, and fingers cold from rain.
“We were caught in the same rain….”
Her murmured those words, different from what he was supposed to say, but no one corrected him.
“First and second.”
Louise answered him with an awkward smile.
“Yes. And on the third meeting it’s raining too.”
“Louise Sweeney who loves nature may disagree with me on this.”
He took a step closer to Louise.
“There is not much difference between the sun, the clouds, the rain and the snow.”
“You’re doing opposite…what you said.”
She was surprised when he turned his head towards the window. He made her promise that she would never look away from him while they talked.
“But for me, those are four kinds of precious weather. And.”
When he answered he turned to Louise again.
“I give you rain.”
Simon couldn’t embrace the weather alone. He meditated on several precious memories one by one.
“What we celebrated.”
In all of those memories was sparkling rain.
“What you realized is that they were washed away.”
Even this moment it was raining.
“The memories of rain will hang on forever like moisture on your fingertips. Maybe the sun can erase it.”
When he said the word “sun”, two both of them naturally thought of the same person. Simon bit his lip.
Simon was speaking slower now. One word after another, deeply thinking, like he usually did.
“The rain comes again.”
Even after a few seasons, it was bound to return.
“From now on, every rainy day I have, every part of me will be devoted to you.”
He took a short breath and thought of his following words. He had already strayed too far from what he was supposed to say. In the end, he had to follow the proper format.
“Because of that, I dare hope.”
Simon thought about the old tradition. He knew that Louise cared about him. She had kept her word to not take her eyes off him. Maybe if he was stubborn, she wouldn’t let his heart slip away.
It is Ian’s role to tease Louise, not Simon. He was always on Louise’s side, just was Louise was always on Simon’s side.
“Please forgive me…I cannot ask you for a relationship.”
In the end, he couldn’t say the rehearsed words. Simon was supposed to be rejected for the sake of Louise’s honor. The opportunity to reject a young lord’s marriage proposal could’ve been quite a story in her personal history. Of course, Louise wasn’t in the least bit interested in that. It would be like taking Simon’s wounds as her honor. Perhaps he changed his words in consideration of Louise’s heart. He was so sweet, really.
But even at this moment…That didn’t mean he wouldn’t get hurt. Maybe it hurt even more.
“Please answer, Louise Sweeney.”
It was the voice of the former queen sitting some ways away. There was no sign of anger or discomfort.
Louise struggled and moved her lips several times, but she couldn’t find the right words.
” …My Lord.”
Her words started as a stammer and her voice cracked.
“I know you don’t agree.”
Louise straightened her neck and looked at Simon. She couldn’t help but notice his smooth jawline and raven hair.
“But I think black is a generous embrace of all the colors.”
Simon frowned. It was obvious that Louise was trying to smile.
“It hurts to be so generous to accept anything, but…”
Louise’s voice was getting smaller and smaller, and the end of her sentence became inaudible.
“….it is precious to me.”
Louise lifted the skirt of her dress and curtsied.
“Thank you for meeting with me. I wish I could accept your request, but I hope that God’s blessing is always with you. Under any weather.”
Louise looked up and smiled softly, so did Simon. They did their best.
It was still raining.
Thank you. After this rain stops, perhaps.
Simon will wait for the rain that will never fall.