Chapter 47 – How Far Will You Allow (2)
However, there was little chance for her to say thank you, not with Louise swamped with classes today. In addition, it was not easy to find a specific person in the crowded library or the classrooms, which were filled with people studying. And of course, she didn’t run into him in student council room. Louise peeked into the greenhouse and garden. Her efforts brought her no gain other than accidentally running across the caretaker, who gifted her a jar of strawberry jam.
‘Where on earth are you?’
Her neck was soaked with sweat from wandering around campus. Her frustration was rising. Maybe she should just go to the rooftop and yell “Thank you for the notes!” If she yelled loud enough, maybe her voice would reach him wherever he was.
Louise panted as she climbed the steps of the dormitory, holding her messenger bag in one hand and the jar of strawberry jam in the other. As she pushed open the rooftop door, a gust of wind whirled over her face and caused her high ponytail to flutter. She squinted at the sun against the cloudless blue sky and frowned. The wind died down after she passed the iron gate.
Louise approached the low rails of the roof, brushing her loose bangs in order. Come to think of it, she remembered when she ran towards the railing and Ian had caught her, warning her it was dangerous. Louise looked over the railing. She saw students walking between different buildings.
“…What are you looking for?”
The voice came from behind her. Louise hadn’t been successful so far, and she whirled around in surprise.
He sat with his back leaning against the railing on the other side of the roof. He had an awkward expression, and he must have debated whether to talk to Louise of not. After an uncomfortable silence, Louise spoke first.
“Well…I want to say thank you.”
“Yes. Simon brought me a copy of notes yesterday.”
Louise pulled out the stack of papers she had received yesterday from her bag.
“Simon is always worried about you.”
“If you’re looking for him, he’s probably in his room. He doesn’t like hanging around without purpose.”
Louise shrugged her shoulders.
“I know that.”
“Then what’s the point of looking for Simon on the roof?”
Louise hesitated for a moment, clutching the notes given to her.
“While Simon is the one who delivered it, it’s the president who wrote it.”
Her voice was small, but there was some deep conviction in it. Ian hung his head and sighed.
“I thought I was confident in copying handwriting.”
“I know. You said it was a necessary skill for you.”
“Since I was young, my teachers have been pretty complimentary. I’m good at remembering things and imitating them.”
Louise looked down at the text, written with so much kindness. At first she really did think it was Simon’s handwriting.
“I just know. I can tell.”
“It’s from the president and not Simon.”
Louise smiled a little. She didn’t mean to. It was just satisfying to point out Ian’s little lie. Just, somehow.
“So, I’ve been looking around for you. Thank you. I really was in trouble.”
“I’m glad if it helped my friend.”
He carefully added in the word “friend” in his answer. That way, Louise’s smile would last a little longer.
“And I’m sorry about back then. I surprised you because I didn’t know the boundaries.”
“Yes. The boundaries between friends.”
Is that so? When Louise tilted her head questioningly, Ian smiled.
“Here’s an example. It’s okay if you don’t want to imagine it. Anyway, how would you react if Dean Crissis had done the same thing?”
Ian quickly swallowed and continued with the next question.
“And what if Claire did the same thing?”
“Claire?! I, I…I’m sure I would be happy. I would’ve kissed Claire’s eyes too. Because she’s precious to me, and she’s so beautiful.”
…Seriously? Ian should have been born a princess. Louise would probably find her very beautiful too. Ian was annoyed with his gender for the first time.
“Anyway, Dean and Claire are your friends, right?”
“Yes, they are.”
“But even you have different levels of tolerance between your friends.”
Louise’s expression relaxed and she clapped her hands, like a kid who discovered something new. So maybe that was the conclusion. Ian and Louise had different tolerances for each other. Ian was a little upset for it, but he had never seen such a scared face on Louise.
Ian looked again at Louise across from him. She was smiling radiantly under the warm sun and the blue sky, and was now sitting down with her back resting against the railing. That’s what Louise Sweeney was like. After a moment of thinking, Louise opened her mouth to speak again.
“So you kissed my eyes that day.”
Because you were beautiful. You stupid girl.
“It was because you didn’t know what my boundaries were.”
“Well…something like that.”
“But something’s wrong. I don’t know why.”
Ian flinched at Louise’s suspicious glance. Was the excuse too unbelievable? He thought it was a satisfactory solution. They could maintain their relationship and not put much weight on that day.
Louise shook her head.
“I’ll take it.”
“The young lady finally learned to be generous.”
Ian answered jokingly and got up from his sitting position.
“It’s not generosity. I just want to concentrate on the test.”
“You’ll do well. “
“I don’t know. There’s so much on my plate.”
“The main character always has to face conflict.”
“Well, the main character–”
Louise shut her mouth quickly. She was about to say “is you.”
“Anyway, I don’t want to make another mistake.”
Ian stopped in front of Louise until there were about five steps between them.
“I want you to show me.”
Ian answered with a smile.
“Your tolerance for me.”
So, how far he could touch or reach? Was that the question?
“I hope I will learn it right this time and not be rude to you.”
“Oh, I haven’t really thought about it.”
“Think now. The weather is nice.”
The weather wasn’t of concern, but Louise paid no mind. It would be a very good idea to set a distance between the two. Then her heart wouldn’t beat so hard in the future.
Louise looked up at Ian. Then she followed his example and stood up for a moment.
“Well, it’s okay to face each other like this.”
“…A little closer will be fine. It’s always been like that.”
At Louise’s reply he narrowed the gap at a space of a step or two.
“Yes, that’s about right.”
And he didn’t move. He just smiled at Louise. Like he was waiting for her permission one by one.
A strange idea occurred to her. He had no reason humor Louise this far, even if they were friends. Now that this incident had happened, she had been…she had been thinking the same way as the original Louise in the original story. This man. She wondered if she really had any feelings for him.
…She was probably mistaken. It had to be an undeniable illusion. Everyone, please don’t throw stones at the original Louise Sweeney for her obsession over Ian. If a male friend did this to you, anyone would be mistaken.
Miss Louise of the original novel, I’m sorry I called you names without knowing the circumstances. I regret joining the hate brigade. It was possible to fall for this guy. What a horrible male lead! He got me infatuated with him! I’m a fool!
Louise looked at Ian with a dejected face.
“Tell me, Louise Sweeney.”
But he was waiting with a face unchanged.
“How far will you allow me.”
A face of a lion setting a sweet trap.