Chapter 29 – Body Heat (2)
Lord Simon Hillard was enjoying his elegant dormitory life. Louise and Ian felt an unapproachable glow in the morning scene of him serenely drinking tea and reading a book. He had willingly allowed in his two talkative friends who had arrived saying, “Please fix her hair.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt your reading.”
Simon pulled out a chair, and Louise sat down. His broad hands swept through her hair.
“It’s been a while,”
he murmured. He loved Louise’s hair since childhood. He had done her hair many times with his dexterous fingers. Of course, it was a small secret that the son of a Grand Duke had such a delicate touch.
“It’s a lot longer than before, isn’t it?”
“Your mother loves your hair.”
“And so does Simon Hillard.”
Ian stepped in and gave Louise a cup of tea.
“This is Darjeeling, My Lady,”
Ian said, imitating a butler.
“Thank you, Simon. I will enjoy it.”
“Why are you thanking Simon, not me?”
“It’s his tea.”
“I didn’t expect the lady of the household to be so picky.”
Ian laughed and sat on the table opposite of her. Louise gently sipped the tea. The warmth that touched her lips soon spread throughout her body and the gentle tug of the brush against her hair calmed her as well.
“Should I tie it up? It gets fairly hot during the day,”
Simon asked suddenly. Ian responded before Louise could say anything.
“Go ahead. Louise doesn’t do well in heat.”
For some reason, Simon added his own opinion.
“But Louise loves summer.”
What they both said was true, and all Louise could do was smile. Both of them were very compatible cousins.
“Are you two like this even when I’m gone?”
Louise looked between the two young men. Of course when she turned back to look at Simon he warned her to stay still or her hair would be ruined. Either way, both young men made an expression that seemed to say “Why am I with that guy?”
“You have to cherish your relationship. You are each other’s only cousins.”
At Louise’s advice Simon answered first.
“I cherish it enough.”
Of course Ian had to contradict him right away.
“I don’t remember being treated so dearly by you.”
“I’ll do that after you return my old vocabulary notes you borrowed.”
“Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity, my beloved cousin.”
“…Oh get out.”
Louise was surprised to see Simon telling such an aggressive joke. He also seemed to have changed a little under the influence of the Academy. It was very welcome. Louise used to think Simon needed to be more aggressive.
“Should we put it up like this?”
he said as he wound a ribbon through her hair.
“You keep a ribbon in this room?”
Louise carefully touched her head.
“I was prepared for this to happen if you happened to visit me.”
“…You were expecting it.”
Simon finally finished tying up her hair. Judging by the small braids, he must have done something intricate and extraordinary.
Louise smiled as she swung her head from side to side, flicking the ribbon in her hair.
It was difficult to explain. Right now everything was perfect and was is deeply imprinted in her mind. The sweet fragrance of the tea that filled the room. The fresh morning sun shining through the windows. Friends who had not changed at all since childhood.
“I wish the three of us could always spend time like this.”
Of course it would be difficult.
“I can be here often.”
Ian gave a positive answer. Maybe he was being considerate as to not ruin Louise’s mood.
“Now that Louise is here,”
Simon said at Ian.
“Now do my hair, Simon.”
“I’ll do it if you’ll wear a ribbon.”
“I’d be happy to wear the same color as Louise.”
Simon looked at Louise for her permission. Could Ian wear of the same color on his hair?
Of course not!
Louise shook her head vigorously, so Simon simply brushed Ian’s hair. The time they would laugh together lasted a little bit longer. It was comfortable being like this. She was happy and relieved that it was the three of them.
But Louise knew it couldn’t stay like this forever.
Ian and Simon will soon realize their true devotion. All Louise has to do is try not to be hated by two people in love, and to never be jealous of Stella. She could keep the beautiful memories of their childhood.
“Thank you for coming here, Louise Sweeney.”
Louise’s flower care visits were a great success. This would be the last visit, and she would free from her joyful obligation. She made many new friends and received many gifts as a result of the flowers. Louise, however, was a little surprised at some of the disasters like this one.
“Um…did you put water in the vase?”
“You put water in there?”
The girl’s eyes shimmered. Louise quit trying to ask, “Did you not listen in biology class?”
“Yes, you need to add water.”
“Aha, I see.”
“I’m happy to inform you.”
Perhaps the Academy should make Professor Wayne Hill’s “Plants, Insects and Soil” class mandatory. It was a large issue if students weren’t interested in living things and their environment. In the future the ozone layer, glaciers, and cute polar bears would be in danger. Of course there was such a thing in this story.
“Thank you for bidding on the flowers.”
At Louise’s formal gratitude the girl quickly waved her arm.
“Huh? No, I didn’t bid on it.”
She turned red. Louise easily guessed what had happened. Some boy must have bid on the flowers instead and given them to her together with some magnificent speech.
“Well, I was so surprised when all of a sudden I got a confession.”
A radical progression in relationship seems to have been made, from friends to lovers. It was already the fifth time that Louise had heard this story. At this point, it wasn’t a new semester party, but a big confession party.
“I wish you would have come. Who knows? Maybe you would’ve received flowers too.”
“I don’t think there are any boys that would give me flowers. Only someone who tells me to order flowers.”
“You mean the president?”
The girl giggled for a moment. She had heard the rumor that this year’s top student was being bullied by the student council president.
“That’s the most accurate rumor I’ve ever heard.”
“Then I’ll spread for you.”
“Yes, please. If he hears other students saying it, maybe he’ll think of me with some pity?”
“Wouldn’t he annoy you more with a rumor spread like this?”
That was a very reliable future.
And she clapped her hands as though something had come to her.
“Can I ask you something?”
She had a curious, playful expression on her face. A little ominous, but Louise nodded.
“Whatever it is, ask me.”
“Did you hear? On the night of the party.”
She lowered her voice even though it was her room.
“The president danced.”
Louise pulled an awkward face for a moment. The president had danced in the greenhouse with Louise that night. Did anyone see it from the outside? His silver hair did stand out from a distance. She hoped someone wasn’t mistaken. The moment was…it was nothing. They were just reminiscing on old ballroom lessons. That’s all.
“You heard, didn’t you!”
“Oh, no. I’ve never heard of it. Rumors are slow to come to me.”
Louise shrugged her shoulders and pretended not to know.
“Really? It’s quite a hot topic but I guess you don’t know…There’s something I’m curious about anyway.”
She looked at Louise with her eyes shining.
“I was wondering if you had to teach Stella Lapis how to take care of flowers too.”
Stella? Why were they talking about Stella while they were still talking about the president? Stella wasn’t even on the list.
“What about Stella?”
“Actually, at the party, the president asked Stella Lapis for a dance all of a sudden.”