Chapter 21 – There’s A Perfect World In Here (2)
Her purple eyes turned to look at Simon again. She blinked slowly as she tried to understand the meaning behind his words.
“I have a favorite place here?”
Simon did not answer. Louise decided not to question him further and allowed him to guide her towards the destination. She found it pleasant to walk beside him.
They passed the dormitories and the library, and Louise looked around to observe the still new and unfamiliar Academy. Students rushing to make it in time for class. Faculty members carrying piles of heavy documents.
Louise’s eyes stopped at one point. Where the warm sunlight shone was a shimmering building. Louise recognized that light.
“They have a greenhouse?!”
Louise yelled with amazement, and Simon nodded. Louise now understood why he so confidently said this was her favorite place. She loved a greenhouse. When she arrived in this world with a worn out heart it was her parents’ love and the time at their greenhouse that healed her.
Louise was the one to take the lead in walking this time.
“It’s where Professor Wayne Hill conducts his experiments.”
Louise paused. She was cautious about the word “experiments.”
“Are we allowed to go in?”
“Professor Hill welcomes all visiting creatures, and you’re a good specimen.”
“I’m a creature!”
“I didn’t expect a day when I would be happy about being a creature.”
Simon gave a rare smile at her enthusiasm. Louise picked up a brisk pace towards the greenhouse again.
When they arrived at the building she peeked through the glass, but unfortunately Professor Hill was not there.
Perhaps this was Simon Hillard’s secluded spot too. Louise felt a strange sense of reward that he chose the greenhouse as his haven. If he liked plants or insects at all, it would’ve been because of her. Louise said, “Excuse me, Professor,” in a small voice then carefully pushed the door open.
The smell of healthy soil filled up her lungs. That alone made Louise’s heart beat happily.
“…Simon isn’t wrong,”
“This is my favorite place.”
She looked back at Simon, who was still holding the door of the greenhouse. As always, she found him looking at her.
“I’m in love,”
Louise said from her heart.
“I love greenhouses.”
Simon nodded his head.
“Louise Sweeney loves greenhouses,”
he repeated, like he trying to master a whole sentence.
“And you also like drinking Assam tea in a greenhouse.”
“Yes I do.”
“It will be ready right away.”
Ready? Simon seemed determined to keep surprising her today. He had brought her to a greenhouse that had never been shown in the original novel, and now he was going to serve her Assam black tea.
Finally Simon fully walked inside. It was not a large space, only about the size of a dormitory room and was densely packed with plants. At first glance there seemed to be vegetables she could eat, but judging by the sign that said “Caretaker’s garden” it already had an owner. In the center of the greenhouse was a long bench with a cushion, and an old tea table and chair. It was a relaxing display.
Louise smiled happily and eased herself at table. She closed her eyes and breathed for a moment, imagining herself returning home to the Sweeney greenhouse.
A few minutes later, she heard the delicious sound of tea being poured from a teapot. Louise admired the fragrance and color.
“What should I do?”
Louise gently lifted her teacup and resisted the urge to roll around in giddiness.
“There’s a perfect world in here.”
Even at the highest compliment, Simon simply sat opposite of her with a cup of tea.
“Thank you for showing it to me.”
Louise kept looking around her, naming each plant one by one, while Simon simply stared at her awed expression. He wondered if she was really all right. He didn’t grow up with a lot of relationships, but he knew it could be a difficult time with a broken engagement. Her purple eyes sparkled in delight, and he hoped her happiness was genuine.
Louise was almost his only friend, and there may be a depressed Louise that Simon couldn’t see. Perhaps her happiness was a special look that she only gave to plants that she loved. However, if she was going through an emotionally complex and difficult time, he knew she would be okay. This place would help her heal.
“Come to think of it, Simon.”
“Do you remember when I gave you a lily of the valley?”
“Actually, I had a dream about that last night.”
Louise sat up and looked at him with a serious expression.
“When I gave you that flower you said something, but I couldn’t hear it right…Maybe that’s what’s been bothering me all this time. Although you probably won’t remember if I say it out of the blue like this.”
Of course he remembered. Simon picked up Time of Records and in between the pages pulled out a bookmark decorated with dried petals. He handed the bookmark to Louise as his answer. Though pressed flat, she recognized the shape and color of the petals at once.
“Did you mean to make a bookmark by drying it?”
He didn’t answer.
‘I will cherish it.’
He was embarrassed to say that…
He couldn’t figure out why though.