Chapter 66 – Almost A Confession (1)
Louise set down a library book she intended to borrow. A girl with shining red hair wrote down the title and due date on the loan list, then pushed the book back to Louise.
“…I won’t apologize.”
Stella’s voice was cracked.
It had been a day since Louise was cleared of any wrongdoing. Louise had a rule for the liar Stella—If Stella came up to her first and apologized, Louise would accept it with a smile. It didn’t matter if Stella was sincere or not. Louise just didn’t want to increase the hostility.
But Stella didn’t come, and it wasn’t until the moment that Louise dropped the book on the table did Stella look at her. Then Stella said those words. It was surprising that she did not apologize. Was she still the heroine?
There were a million things Louise wanted to say, but she forced herself to stay calm.
“Even if I said that I was hurt by your lie?”
“You didn’t lose anything anyway, did you?”
“I don’t know. The grades haven’t been announced yet.”
Louise shrugged and took the book Stella handed over.
“Please wish me luck for first place. I want to remain friendly with you, too.”
Louise turned her heel, hugging the thick atlas close to her.
But when Stella called, Louise whirled around again.
At that moment, Stella’s expression was filled with doubt.
“All that I have.”
Louise could see Stella’s lips trembling as she said “all.” Louise sensed the meaning. That meant all the things Stella should have–the professors’ attention, grades, and even relationships. So far, Ian and Simon had been surprisingly indifferent to Stella. There was no feeling of either like or dislike. She was nothing more than a red-headed girl that attended the same Academy with them.
“All of it…is it really yours?”
Her words were barely above a mumble, and Louise had not caught half of it either. However, she could guess the words by the movement of her lips and the few faint syllables she was able to snatch.
Stella shook her head for a moment, thinking that Louise had not heard her.
Then she turned away again and began organizing the loan list. There was a deep sense of embarrassment hovering somewhere.
Louise gazed at the scene then left the library with the atlas in her bag. The bag was still broken and she could not hold the broken handle, so she had to carry it in her arms. It was inconvenient at first, but she soon got used to it.
Besides, the problem that Louise had to solve right now wasn’t something trivial like Stella or a bag. Anything was trivial in front of the distressing fact that some of her well-organized notes had been ruined with ink. To write the report on her incorrect answers, she really needed the help of her notes.
‘Anyway, I have to write my report one by one.’
Louise planned to go overboard for her report. She was going to write one for her incorrect answers of course, but she would also write a report on her answers she felt were a little lacking. The professors who saw Louise’s excellent work would be deeply impressed by her, and then no one would be able to object to Louise’s future honor.
She smiled contentedly to herself with this perfect and beautiful plan, when one of the boys standing from across the hallway met her eye. He looked surprised seeing Louise for a moment, then smiled broadly.
‘Who is that? I think I’ve seen him somewhere before.’
She didn’t think they’ve ever said hello properly. The boy came up to Louise and greeted her with a slight nod of his head.
“Nice to meet you. Aren’t you the sister of my dorm neighbor?”
“Oh, you must be mistaken. I don’t have a brother.”
“You don’t? I thought you were Louise Sweeney, the scary sister.”
The scary sister? There is only one person in the world who would point to Louise and call her that.
“Now I know what brother you’re talking about.”
“I’m glad that the precious princess knows.”
The boy chuckled at his joke. The reason why he called her princess” was obvious. If Ian was the son of the king, then his sister would be the only princess in the country. Anyhow, Louise was neither a princess or a scary sister of the devilish crown prince.
“I heard something big happened to you? Are you okay?”
He set his joking tone aside and looked worried. Louise smiled gratefully.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“Your big brother wasn’t very helpful, was he? When he saw it happen.”
Louise was a little amused because “unhelpful” was something she rarely thought about Ian.
“He’s kind of a devil, but he gave good advice this time.”
When Louise came up with the idea of asking help from Professor Hewitt–who administered the entrance exams–from Ian, who told her that the proctors left documents certifying that there were no irregularities during the test.
“That’s a relief.”
“Yes. Although now my notes are a mess.”
“That sounds like a disaster. The devilish brother doesn’t lend you notes?”
“The class notes I get from the devil are fine.”
The two laughed for a moment at the devil’s blessing.
“Well, what about Geography?”
“Those notes were ruined.”
“I happen to take that class. That’s great.”
Louise’s eyes widened and she stared up the boy’s face. She realized that the reason why he looked familiar was because they took the course together. It was a very large class, and they hadn’t had the chance to exchange words properly before.
“Talk to me if you need those notes. I’m right next door to Ian’s, so it shouldn’t be hard to find me.”
“That’s very kind of you…”
Louise bowed slightly in gratitude.
“Oh, I submitted my reports today, and I got some gummy candies.”
Louise tilted her head, but then recalled another one of the Academy traditions. Writing the report on incorrect answers was a long and challenging task. Each time a student would turn in a report, the teacher’s assistant would give them gummies. It was a good tradition. Give a report and get sweets in return!
Then, the students eating the candies would recharge with sugar to concentrate on their next report. Then you turn that report in, you get gummy candy again, you recharge with sugar, you work on the next report…
If there was one beautiful thing about that hellish marathon race, it was receiving those delicious gummy candies.
Louise watched as the boy pulled out a candy box and held it out to her. It was meaningful to share the candies with others. It meant that they wanted to build a close relationship before vacation started. The meaning wasn’t casual, but something more. Almost a confession…?
However, his face showed no hint of it. Just, here’s something for my dorm neighbor’s sister. Have a snack. I’m practically giving it away.
If it was friendly kindness, why refuse? Besides, no one was looking here, so there would be no strange rumors. Louise clutched her bag with one hand and held out the other.