Chapter 55 – Childhood Trio (2)
“What I want now is a hairbrush.”
“I promised you that I’d brush your hair.”
“That’s not a gift. Tell me what you want instead.”
“But that’s what I was hoping for. It seemed like fun whenever I saw Simon doing it.”
“Well, tell me something else other than a hairbrush.”
As his anxiety grew longer, Louise cautiously put forward an opinion.
“Hey, how about a letter?”
“Yes. A heartfelt letter. One that makes the reader happy with kind and beautiful words!”
“You’re going to write a letter for me?”
Ian looked at her suspiciously.
“Who, me? What matters is that you like the letter.”
“No, it matters to me who writes it. If Professor Hewitt sent me a letter with kind and beautiful words, I’d be terrified. All night I’d be wondering what I did wrong.”
“Don’t worry. I don’t think Professor Hewitt is going to send you that kind of letter.”
“That’s a relief.”
“But you like letters anyway, right? Right?”
“Yes, as long as the sender is not Professor Hewitt.”
Ian seemed very pleased, like he was expecting something special when receiving the letter. Louise was unable to contain her smile and beamed again. She was sure the stupid president would be deeply moved by Stella’s letter. He looked so hopeful already.
“By the way, I think it’s your first time writing a letter.”
“Yes. You’ve always acted wild from an early age, but I think you can make beautiful words. I look forward to reading it.”
“Oh, I…Do I have to write it?”
Louise looked back at him with a tearful face, while Ian looked at her in surprise.
“As long as you’re not Professor Hewitt, then I want you to write it.”
“I can’t use fancy words.”
“I look forward to reading the kind and beautiful words that are sure to make the reader happy.”
But that was Stella’s style. Louise find the words to speak, when suddenly they heard a knock. Ian and Louise smiled mischievously at each other. They were in a room surrounded with cake and frosting, and they knew what kind of face Simon would make. Simon hated sweets. The door opened, and Simon looked around the room with a stern expression. Louise saw a subtle twitch in his normally smooth eyebrows.
“…This is awful.”
It was such a rare response from Simon that Ian and Louise burst into giggles.
“I’m sorry, Simon. I didn’t realize today’s gathering was a cake tasting meeting until I arrived. If I had known earlier I would have told you. “
“I wish for that very much, Louise.”
Simon opened a drawer on Ian’s desk in small protest.
“Instead, I will make my tea as strong as I like.”
“I also like Simon’s strong tea. Especially when you add a little milk to it…”
“We will all drink it straight today.”
Simon gave them a cold stare, with a look that said he wouldn’t allow a drop of milk. Ian and Louise immediately straightened their posture. As expected of Simon. He scared them stiff when he was truly angry.
“…I’m joking. There are just so many sweets, I just thought it would be good to balance it.”
Simon, who seemed to have talked enough, heated up the teacups and teapot without saying anything else. While he was preparing the tea, Ian slid down from the window and arranged the tasting dishes in order while Louise, the only one who had nothing to do, sat on the windowsill and swung her legs. Finally Ian offered her a plate with a few slices of cake on them.
“Let’s start with this.”
Ian climbed back up on Louise’s left. Then he stuffed two different flavors cake of cake into his mouth at once.
“Don’t you feel sorry for the people who had to prepare this for someone who has such a lack of taste?””
“It’s alright. I have two diligent friends. Right, Simon?”
Simon sat on Louise’s right side and accepted a plate from Ian.
“…I can’t believe this is how Your Highness repays me.”
Simon shook his head and pushed the white cake into his mouth. He carefully sampled the taste and texture carefully, living up to Ian’s description of “diligent.”
“The room smells too sweet, and I can’t taste properly.”
“Shall I open the window?”
Simon nodded at Ian’s proposal.
“Wait a minute. It’s too dangerous to open the window!”
Regardless of Louise’s objection, both young men flung open the windows from both sides. A sultry summer wind swept past them. The fresh air was great, but this was the second floor and a terrible accident could happen.
“We might fall!”
“Don’t worry. Simon has very good reflexes, right?”
“Not enough to catch someone who falls backwards.”
Louise looked at them with alarm and tried to plead with them.
“We’d better close the windows. I don’t want to leave when I still have a lot of work to do!”
“Don’t worry. Do you think the crown prince and this lord would put you at risk?”
“You’re putting all of us at risk!”
“It’s okay. It’s safer than you think. We won’t die if we fall from the second floor.”
This time Ian shoved three different mouthfuls of cake at the same time. Louise whirled towards Simon. Unlike Ian, he was the serious and rational one. He also said he could not catch a falling person, so he wouldn’t agree with Ian’s ignorant lack of safety.
“It will be safe.”
Simon’s face was intermingled with a shade of mischief. Louise suddenly remembered something. This childhood trio was made up of two delinquents who would risk their safety to tease and bully the other.
“Really, this isn’t any different when I was a kid.”
“Louise was the one who enjoyed my suffering.”
…It was true, she enjoyed it. She wanted to laugh until her stomach hurt. With nothing to say, Simon held out a cup of black tea to Louise. With the tea and cake perfectly ready, the tasting started in earnest.
“It’s pretty soft. I like how it melts in your mouth.”
Louise was around her fifth cake now.
“It’s not exactly bad, but it’s not good either.”
“I’d like it a bit more solid.”
Louise wondered if they could pick a cake tonight, with all their different opinions over one cake flavor. However, all three agreed that the bitter tea went well with it. Hopefully they would find a dessert that would satisfy all three of them too.
“I like this one because it’s tart.”
“Isn’t it a little sloppy?”
“No, it’s too sweet for now.”
Reaching an agreement…could that be possible?