Chapter 34 – Former Fiancé’s Point Of View (1)
Their eyes met, and Ian’s lips curved upwards into a smile. Louise could only stare at him wide-eyed in return. There wasn’t the usual mixture of mischief and lightness he often had in his smile. Now his lips seemed to hold a very different weight and seriousness to it than before. As if the words held in his mouth would be said with the utmost authenticity.
No, no. Louise tried to deny the idea. At this point in time, a serious confession couldn’t come out of his mouth. Ian was an impartial person. He had told all his friends that he liked them and had given them strawberries and he was simply doing the same with her. She shouldn’t mistake his words that he had said to other people.
It was an opera singer who had said, “Thank you to my fans. I love you all.” That meant that only one person wasn’t particularly special. So Louise shouldn’t be confused.
She didn’t know why she kept falling into this illusion.
Now…she was sure he was going to say he liked her. And that it was that kind of strawberry and she had told him to do it.
Then what should she say in return? Oh, it’s an honor to receive the president’s confession, just like Claire did? Or should she answer back with the same thing?
Yes, I like you too.
“I’m sorry, Louise.”
“Yes, I like you too.”
His words rang in Louise’s ears.
“I’m sorry, Louise.”
It’s crazy! It’s crazy, Louise Sweeney! The idiot who was supposed reply about liking someone was apologizing instead! He wouldn’t be expecting Louise to say the same thing back!
“–strawberries. I like you also giving strawberries.”
Louise amended her sentence hastily, feeling like all of her hopes and dreams had drained out of her body.
“Your grammar is weird.”
Louise was forced to agree. According to the sacred grammar of Crond, the object came before the verb.
“B-but based on the Ajentin language it’s normal grammar.”
Louise quickly thought up a language from a faraway country that in reality she only knew the word “hello” for.
“Having international awareness is very important. Right?”
Ian was impressed at Louise’s conclusion.
“Knowing how to express one’s like for strawberries continues to be a necessity for international awareness.”
He tucked the last strawberry into his mouth, then he mumbled something. It was probably the Ajentin language with it’s breathy sounds and soft pronunciations. She didn’t know exactly what he said, but under the circumstances she guessed that it was “I like strawberries.”
“Anyway, I apologize for my ignorance in saying that cucumbers and strawberries were the same thing.”
“I’m glad you understand.”
Louise lifted her chin. The truth was she still felt embarrassed for her earlier gaff and wanted to crawl into a hole.
“Are you going back to the dormitory?”
“How did you know?”
“You’ll catch a cold if you keep walking around the Academy like that.”
He was right. It would be unfortunate if she caught a cold before exams.
“I’ll take you back, come on.”
Ian stepped forward and gestured Louise to follow him.
Louise’s voice came out as a high pitched squeak. To be honest, she didn’t want to be with him now. The stupid slip of her tongue was still ringing in her head. She would probably be teased over it for years to come. How could she keep handing over food to the enemy?
“I can go by myself.”
“Go by yourself?”
Ian nodded towards the window. Louise had forgotten about today’s weather conditions.
“How are you going to go out without an umbrella?”
“I’ll borrow someone else’s.”
“Good idea. Here’s one.”
Ian grinned as he lifted his umbrella. This time he had his usual mischievous smile he always made in front of Louise.
Louise nodded, feeling more relaxed at his lighter expression. On the way to the exit of the building, Ian was greeted by the students who had been given the strawberries. Ian, of course, answered kindly to everyone.
“You’re very popular.”
“Being well-liked is important.”
Louise was a little surprised at his answer. The Ian from the original novel wouldn’t have answered that, as he despised the attention of others.
“So you’ve compromised…”
Louise murmured to herself, and Ian opened his umbrella.
“It’s been a while.”
He reached out to Louise as he stood under the umbrella, and Louise walked a few steps up to him.
“It’s not a matter of compromises.”
He answered in a leisurely manner and gently pulled on her shoulder. The movement was so natural. She felt the warmth of his hand on her cold shoulders. Louise raised her head to look at him face to face.
“It’s the teachings of the Sweeney family.”
Louise allowed herself to be led by his arm on her shoulder. As they stepped forward, their ears were filled with the sound of the rain from the sky. No, the sound of the rain and umbrella meeting each other. Louise turned her gaze to him again.
“…The teachings of Sweeney family?”
“Make use of everything you have.”
His tightened his gripped on the umbrella as it dragged in the wind.
“It’s about accepting everything what you’ve been given. It may sound simple, but in practice it’s not easy.”
“Yes. The president–”
“No, I mean you, Louise Sweeney.”
She didn’t answer and he simply went on talking and warmly patted her shoulder.
“I know the situation about the Sweeney family isn’t always good.”
“Right. We don’t belong.”
The were too rich to be commoners, but lacked the power and blood to be nobles. The Sweeney family had a unique identity that didn’t belong anywhere.
“And you go on never complaining.”
Louise repeated the word and for a moment, remembered a girl. A girl who had many reasons to complain. A girl who had nothing. A girl who had no-self esteem.
“I have no reason to complain.”
Louise answered as calmly as possible with the image of the girl floating in her mind.
“Is that so?”
“I have had nothing but good things around me.”
The rain fell a little heavier, gradually rising to squall, and the water on the ground swirled as it sought for spaces to fill. She eventually saw a dormitory building in the distance with students rushing inside and folding up their umbrellas.
“Let’s go a little faster.”
Louise nodded and picked up her pace.
Ian looked at her with a concerned expression. The rain would occasionally sweep underneath the small umbrella and wet her hair, so he tilted his umbrella a little more to fully protect her. It was little more than useless. Why didn’t he bring a bigger umbrella? Still, he decided that he liked seeing Louise rushing shoulder to shoulder with him.
The dormitory entrance was close now. However, there was a small worry. Was it okay for the other students to see them so close together? There was the possibility of a misunderstanding.
Louise smiled brightly back at Ian then slipped from underneath his umbrella, taking a few paces to reach the overhang over the entrance steps. The heavy rain fell on her head, but only for a moment. Louise lifted up her foot towards the steps.
“Thank you. The president helps out students too–oh?”
Her foot slipped on the rain-soaked steps. Louise, who had a poor sense of balance, began to fall.
“Really, you idiot!”
She heard him yell. There was the sound of an umbrella being tossed to the ground.
TN: The grammar exchange works out differently in Korean, but I hope you get the gist.