Chapter 20 – There’s A Perfect World In Here (1)
Louise swung around and stood face to face with Simon only to find that she was below his eye line.
“I didn’t really want an apology. I’m just envious.”
“…Is that something to envious of? “
He scratched his head for a moment. Maybe he didn’t quite understand that Louise was jealous of his tall height. It wasn’t completely surprising, as neither Ian nor Simon had ever experienced being short for their age.
Simon was silent for a moment, and Louise waited patiently for him to think about what he wanted to say. He always went over words and their meanings before turning it into speech.
“Are you looking for Time of Records?”
Louise nodded her head. She had a ray of hope. When Simon called her name just a minute ago, he had said the name of the book.
“Is it that book?”
No way. Louise clasped her hands together. She had a good feeling.
“I borrowed it.”
“Really? If you’ve read everything…”
“I haven’t finished yet, but I can give it to you.”
“It’s okay! I can wait. I only have to read by next week, and I have to read A Historian’s Library first, anyway.”
“I’ll give it to you,”
he repeated. No one could persuade him otherwise when he spoke so bluntly. He had already come to his conclusion after much thought.
He probably meant “Should I lend it to you now?”
“Is that alright?”
“I don’t have classes until the afternoon. “
“Same with me.”
Louise turned around and faced Stella.
“That’s great, Louise.”
She handed Louise A Historian’s Library, the lending process completed, and looked at Simon Hillard with a friendly smile.
Simon moved his gaze towards her slowly. Louise gripped the book and honed in on their interaction. She was dying to know what Simon’s warm, affectionate voice sounded like.
“I don’t need it,”
he replied coldly. He seemed to be wary of her. Louise carefully looked up at Simon’s face but there was no emotion in his blunt eyes.
‘It must not be time yet.’
He moved his gaze towards Louise, who quickly looked away. She didn’t want to seem like she was staring at him.
He turned his heel and began to walk away. Louise waved to Stella and immediately followed him. Simon walked a few paces before pausing and looking back, making sure he didn’t leave Louise behind. When Louise arrived by his side, he reached out his hand.
“Give it to me.”
His eyes were on the book that Louise was holding on to. He was telling her to do something? Why?
“I heard you were injured.”
Oh my god, there were rumors. Louise smiled stiffly and shook her head.
“I feel better. I’m not hurt anymore.”
“I’m saying this because Ian’s face was pale.”
“The president is overreacting. I’m fine.”
Simon didn’t withdraw his outstretched hand. Louise didn’t want to embarrass him, so she handed her book over. He started walking again with a slower pace, with Louise’s treasured book in his arms.
“Why the president?”
Louise began to complain. Frankly speaking, there was no better person to complain about Ian than to Simon. After all, the three of them had shared their childhood together.
“I don’t know why he’s making such a fuss. He’s seen that I’m fine with his own two eyes.”
As usual, Simon didn’t answer immediately. He had barely opened his mouth after the two of them had left the library building.
“I’m worried. About the engagement.”
The engagement. Ah, she remembered that Simon knew about it, though he was the kind of person that took those kinds of things seriously. Louise would have to explain the new contract she had with Ian, and she trusted that Simon wouldn’t go around spreading rumors. Rocks were more talkative than him.
Simon was a precious friend to Louise, and she wanted to tell him the truth. But how to say it?
‘Our engagement has been broken off.’
There was something wrong with saying it this way. In the first place, Louise hadn’t even been formally engaged to him.
‘The engagement wasn’t real.’
The wording wasn’t right either. Ian, who had used the phrase “my fiancée”, would appear to be careless and frivolous.
They finally arrived at Simon’s room, but Louise hadn’t spoken a word. Naturally, Simon had kept his silence as well.
Simon entered his room, and Louise glanced through his open door. Perhaps it was a little rude, because she was curious about other students’ rooms as she had only ever seen her own so far.
She glimpsed a bed and desk that looked similar to Louise’s. She thought there might be some preferential treatment because of his status, but it didn’t seem to be the case.
Simon exited his room and presented a rather thick book to Louise.
“Thank you, My Lord.”
Louise held out her hands to take the book.
The book was pulled teasingly out of her fingertips, and when she looked up she saw Simon holding it high above her.
“…I didn’t expect you to play a trick.”
“It’s not a trick.”
He held the book out to her again and pointed out her error.
“Hillard, not My Lord.”
“Did I call you My Lord?”
“That’s natural for me. But it’s weird to call you Hillard all of a sudden.”
Louise smiled awkwardly. She felt like she was addressing a grand duke, though Simon would make an excellent one in the future. Simon paused as he racked his brain for another name that she could call him.
“But My Lord…can I really just call you by your first name?”
Despite the rules of the Academy, Louise felt a strange sense of resistance in calling Simon by his first name. It was even more strange because of his seniority and mature looks. While she got away with calling Ian “President,” she couldn’t do the same with Simon.
“That’s the rule. “
“If you say so, then I won’t argue.”
Louise readied herself and faced him. What she found interesting about Simon was that whenever she looked at him his eyes were always on her, as if he had been staring at her all along. Of course that had to be Louise’s delusion.
“Thank you for lending me the book, Simon.”
“I hope you return it in time.”
“I’ll return it at this time next week. Is that okay?”
Louise reached out her hand again. She wanted him to hand over the two books he was holding, but instead of returning them to her, he spoke carefully.
“It’s okay to talk.”
“If you’re worried about something…”
He swallowed visibly and carefully examined Louise’s face. He must have paid attention to her while she was still trying to figure out what to say to him on their way to his dormitory.
“What happened was…”
She glanced around furtively to confirm there was no one else around, then lowered her voice.
“I spoke to the president.”
He nodded his head to encourage her to keep talking.
“About, uh, the childhood engagement.”
“You know, it was a promise of friendship between our mothers, and, um, there’s no actual obligation or political agenda behind it.”
Louise could feel herself starting to ramble. She didn’t want to lose the meaning of what she was trying to say, so she shut her mouth for a moment. After taking a deep breath, she decided to simply let out.
“So, for a moment, I decided to break the engagement for a while.”
He had caught the hint of a deadline.
Louise said quickly.
Simon was silent, no doubt trying to pick out an answer.
“Are…are you free to spend time with me?”
“If it’s okay with you.”
Of course it was okay. And since Simon had a serious face, it was hard to refuse. Louise nodded.
“I’m going to take these.”
It seemed that he wanted to bring the books along. He closed his door and took several steps into the hallway, with Louise following closely behind.
“So, where are we going?”
“Your favorite place?”
He gave a sidelong glance at Louise. He thought it was amusing to see long hair flopping like a tail whenever she walked quickly.