Chapter 108 – Ch. 108 Rushed Into An Empty Classroom (2)
“Are you trying to avoid me again?”
Louise nodded with a large frown on her brow.
“I thought so. I can tell from this profane expression.”
He swept his fingertips near Louise’s lips.
“Don’t bite your lip too hard. You’ll hurt yourself.”
It wasn’t painful, so she shook her head.
“I wish we could be alright, but I feel like I’m being a bother to you.”
Louise nodded before he could finish. It could be interpreted as, ‘It’s true! You’re totally bothering me!’
“I won’t bother you, really.”
Louise released her lip and it slowly regained it color, while Ian opened his mouth to speak.
“The truth is…I’m nervous.”
Louise’s head tipped slightly.
“Because how can I say that I don’t know?”
She gasped in spite of herself and quickly covered her mouth. She wasn’t supposed to answer in words. In any case, she understood a little bit what made him nervous.
“You love Simon a lot.”
There was no denying it, and so she nodded her head.
“Look, I’m nodding too. I love Simon very much as well.”
Louise smiled at his reply.
“Besides, Simon has many advantages that I don’t have.”
Advantages like being friendly or being good with his hands. Louise was always so relaxed with him, whereas she was squeamish whenever she and Ian met.
“Excuse me for this, but I’ve been imagining. If you could–”
He leaned over a little so their gazes met.
“It would be nice if you could think of me while watching the sudden heavy rain.”
That wasn’t all he had in mind.
“And I was hoping…you would cherish the words I left behind. I told it like a joke then, but still.”
He still held her face and while he whispered to her affectionately.
“They’re really the only words I have.”
He was silent. The hand on her cheek seemed to heat her body.
Louise thought for a moment, then finally spoke. She couldn’t help it. She couldn’t explain it by a gesture.
” …I cherish them.”
Sometimes, she thought of her twitching lips before she went to sleep.
Ian could tell by Simon’s reaction. Louise had never wavered. Ian felt evil being relieved at the fact.
“It’s not just you that I’ve been thinking about. Because you know…I have this personality.”
He gave a smile, and Louise recognized that it was a forced one.
“Even if your heart is wavered by Simon’s kindness…I don’t think I could ever let you go.”
He couldn’t help but confess his cowardice.
“If he kept you from me…I would have taken back your heart by any means possible.”
She needed to know exactly about his ugly nature.
“I’m so…so disgusting.”
Even though Ian felt guilty for obstructing Simon’s life, he didn’t think he could give up the single thing he desperately wanted the most.
“I just wanted to let you know that the man that you’re choosing is this detestable.”
Louise vigorously shook her head.
“You’re trying to comfort me again, aren’t you? I appreciate your compassion. You were so kind, even from the beginning. And you were always sweet to me…”
His voice trailed off, but his gaze became clearer. The hand that held her cheek swept through her hair, and the gap between them grew even smaller, until finally their foreheads touched lightly.
He changed the word “you” to her name. To make it a little clearer.
“I want to keep Louise Sweeney to myself.”
Before Louise could fully process the meaning, Ian spoke first.
“I love you very much, Louise Sweeney.”
After the lingering effects of his words had passed, he ventured forward cautiously.
“…Are you alright with that?”
He recalled the shortcomings he had mentioned earlier. Should an ugly, selfish, and obsessive man be allowed to have such feelings?
She was generous in her reply.
“Please treat me as your one and only.”
She spoke as if she was trying to reassure him.
“Just like I already do for you.”
“Of course. I’ve been doing that for a long time.”
He kissed Louise lightly on her lips and stepped back.
“…Well, somehow I feel like I’m still losing to a prince of a fairy tale book.”
“You still care about that?!”
“You know it’s nothing. I wanted to show you how good I can be. I don’t know why I rushed into an empty classroom like this though…”
“Because you were you impatient?”
Ian lifted his brows. Sure, maybe he was a little bit impatient.
“I couldn’t help it. I’ve never gone this long missing you so much.”
“We barely saw each other last year.”
“I thought you were smart and cute then, but…”
He didn’t know she was a perfect creature that was this soft and delicate and sweet.
“Anyway, I wondered when we’d get to meet again, and now these two unscheduled interruptions were sent from the palace.”
“It is a little awkward.”
“Yes, and now you’ve come back even more beautiful than before, but I can’t even touch your hair!”
“Do you want to touch it?”
“I always want to touch it if you let me. It’s obvious.”
For some reason it sounded embarrassing when he admitted when he wanted to touch her hair.
“Ah! But I do like it.”
Louise clasped her hands near her heart and smiled.
“You said you were impatient.”
“Because you’re usually so relaxed. It makes me feel a little special.”
Louise shrugged, and Ian stretched out his arms.
“Then let’s actually do something special.”
She glanced at his outstretched hands.
“We’re going to dance?”
“No way. We’re not ballroom dancing lessons now. If you don’t mind, please come closer.”
That wasn’t any reason to protest, so Louise walked into the circle of his arms.
“Yes. Can I hold you now?”
“That’s alright. But what will happen?”
“Not to me, but to you.”
At her question, he lifted her body in the air.
Louise managed to steady herself by grabbing onto his shoulder.
“Y-you scared me.”
Their eye level changed and now Louise was looking down on him.
“But this is quite unique.”
She had never looked down on him with this viewpoint before.
“… I want to ask you something.”
The special thing he was talking about was probably not a new vantage point.
“I really want you to listen. It’s only you now.”
There was a faint sense of loneliness in the way he softly spoke his words.
“If you don’t mind, then.”
He hesitated for a moment.
“…I wish for a blessing.”
Louise finally understood what he meant when he said “special”. Blessing someone was the act of kissing another person’s forehead and wishing them happiness. Even ordinary people shared friendly kisses with someone close to them. It was a small thing any ordinary person on the street could have.
However, Ian was an exception. He was of such high status that no one could dare gave him such an intimate gesture. The only ones officially allowed to do it were the highest priests, parents and lovers.
“I had the blessing of the priests and my parents when I was young, but now it’s hard to expect it from anybody.”
He used to envy the people who could share a kiss of friendliness. He couldn’t have that.
“Only if you don’t hate it, of course.”
“What can I say?”
Louise swept her fingers on his hair.
“You can expect a blessing from me anytime. And always, I–”
Louise brushed away some of his hair on his forehead as kissed it.
“I believe in happiness at the end of Ian Audmonial’s journey.”
“Does that mean I’ll have you?”
Louise laughed playfully and shook her head.
“I actually meant something a little different. I meant when the officials would find out that the president was missing.”
No sooner had she finished did the voices of the officials searching for Ian began to echo loudly in the hall.
Ian sighed a little. It was time to climb back through the window. He prayed that it wouldn’t be recorded in history.