Chapter 45 – Shouldn’t Love (2)
“Oh, hello. President.”
Louise’s voice was strained, devoid of any naturalness. Ian nodded lightly.
With a blank expression.
And then the door closed.
He did not enter the student council room, likely because of Louise’s reaction.
“…What do I do?”
Louise also collapsed into her chair next to Dean. Her head was a mess. It was because of her heart. It was frustrating when her heart beat at a different tempo in her eardrum.
She knew better than to flirt with crisis. Louise Sweeney was the villainess who loved Ian and tormented the heroine. In the end she would be abandoned by Ian, and the family business would suffer and collapse.
There was only one way to stop this terrible ending.
‘I shouldn’t love the president.’
She did not want to be mean to Stella, fearing the downfall of her own family. But most of all, she wanted to prove it that she was a wonderful person who could be loved and live a successful life.
Louise clenched her eyes shut. Ian’s smile still haunted her. She couldn’t help but be attracted to him. It was the instincts of this body. However, she was also a determined girl who desired a proper life. She may have wavered and lost her balance, but she could take control again. She just needed a little longer.
‘It’s going to be okay.’
Her pounding heart echoed in her eardrum, as if against the idea. What a wicked thing to do.
The teacher’s assistant had warned Louise that she wouldn’t be able to borrow anyone else’s notes. Louise visited three other students in turn, except Ian. She expected some camaraderie from her classmates because they took the same class together, but all three answered the same, as if they had planned it together.
“Uh, look…sorry. I’m not finished with them yet…”
Of course. She failed to get any notes.
Instead, Louise put her nose to the grindstone and studied in the crowded library instead. She flicked her pen as she relentlessly crammed facts into her brain.
The topic on escapism was unexpectedly easy, so Louise was able to understand more pages than usual. Before long the lamps on the long table lit up, and eventually more students began to return to their dormitories one by one. Louise stayed a little longer. She was going to study until she was exhausted. She could fall asleep as soon as she got back.
More time passed. When she looked up, there were not many students left. A yawn escaped her mouth, and her fingers were cramped from holding on to her pen. Louise quietly stood up and left the library.
It was black night, as the moon had hidden its face behind the clouds. She had to be careful not to trip on a night like this. Louise carefully climbed the stairs of the dormitory, silence pressing in all around her. It was a little terrifying to walk all alone.
When she finally ascended to the top of the stairs, she entered the hallway and saw a familiar silhouette. Her small fear of the dark withered away.
She was about to call out to Simon, but then she shut her mouth, feeling that she shouldn’t disturb him. Louise stood there and simply stared at Simon for a moment. The soft glow of the night lingered on his nose and on his fine jawline.
Louise realized something. Until now, she thought that the darkness didn’t suit Simon. It was just a sensation she had. However, when it was dark all around him, he was the only one with light, like the moon in the sky.
Simon noticed her presence, and he turned around while Louise started to approach him. For some reason he was standing in front of Louise’s room. Did he come to see her? The fact made Louise smile sincerely for the first time today.
Louis stopped in front of him, and Simon looked directly into Louise’s eyes.
“…Are you okay?”
Louise hesitated when she heard his anxious tone. She couldn’t figure out specifically what he was asking about.
“I was afraid of the dark, but I feel better after finding you.”
She gave him the closest answer she could.
“You’re afraid of the dark?”
“A lot of people are afraid of the dark.”
He paused for a moment, but his gaze continued to search her face.
“Your eyes are red.”
“Don’t forget to blink consciously.”
Louise blinked twice at his advice. Blink. Blink.
“Your hair is messy.”
“I was reading a difficult book.”
“So that’s why you look tired.”
Simon reached out with his long fingers to skillfully untangled her hair.
“That’s not all.”
Too much had happened today. She had a meeting with the professor, she couldn’t borrow any notes, she ran into the president, but he left and…
“It’s all a terrible mess. So that’s me.”
Louise tried to laugh.
“That sounds like a bad day.”
Simon’s voice was soothingly calm.
“But I don’t agree that Louise is a mess.”
“Even though my eyes are red?”
“You just have to blink consciously.”
“My hair was messy.”
“It was, but it’s better now.”
In response, Simon took his hand off Louise’s head. When Louise touched her hair she found that it had been smoothed neatly.
“It’s my pleasure.”
Simon’s answer made her remember something.
“Oh, I’ve got something to give you. Can you wait a minute?”
He nodded and Louise hurried into her room. After she put her bag down, she picked up the package of cookies that she had placed on her desk yesterday. She completely forgot she bought it for Simon. Louise went back outside where he was still waiting for her.
“I was going to give you this, in return for the ribbon.”
“Yes, but they’re hard.”
“That’s my favorite texture.”
“That’s why I bought it. Well, the president kept complaining behind my back about it though–”
Louise, who had been rambling unintentionally, quickly shut up.
“Ian likes it to be soft. Just like Louise.”
Simon accepted the cookies, while Louise quickly protested.
“I’m not soft!”
“…I meant that Louise likes soft cookies.”
Haha. She was crazy! What a nonsense illusion…
“Of course, your hair is soft too.”
She flushed even more in embarrassment.
He picked up something propped against the window and held it out to Louise. Maybe this was the reason he was waiting for her.
“You were waiting to give me this?”
Her eyes misted over as he handed her a stack of notes.
“But it’s so late at night…”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Still, it’s so late.”
“It’s okay. I love waiting for my friends.”
Louise cherished the relationship he spoke of.
Thank you. She only had to say a word, and he would probably be on Louise’s side at any time, just as Louise would do for Simon.
“Yes, we are friends. The…closest.”
“And a long time shared.”
Louise smiled again. It was her second smile of today. Simon was a little relieved to see it, then took a step back and said a farewell.
“Good night, then. Louise.”
Louise clutched the stack of paper with sincerity.
After parting with Louise, Simon walked through the hallway and descended down the stairs. As he came down to the last floor, he saw his cousin sitting on the bottom of the stairs.
“…I’m sorry for the strange favor.”
“It’s my job.”
Simon sat down beside Ian. There was silence for a moment, then Simon spoke first. That was a rare occurrence.
“I told Louise, one time.”
Simon raised his chin a little and looked at the dormitory ceiling. There was an ominous shadow seeping through the narrow cracks.
It looked like Simon.
“I hope your relationship is very strong. No one should dare interfere.”
He slowly closed his eyes.
“Keep out of the way…”
There was a sound on the cracked ceiling. The moon emerged from the clouds, driving out the darkness.