Chapter 85 – Peaceful Summer Vacation…? (1)
The funeral was followed by a peaceful summer vacation. As evidence of that, Louise took a nap every day, and after those naps she would take a bath in that hazy period where it was not quite afternoon but not yet evening either. Her baths, though, just involved sitting in the tub and staring absentmindedly at the ceiling.
At any rate, Louise enjoyed those times. And as the sun went up, her full day began–if it could be called full anyway, she was not particularly busy with anything; she read difficult books, drank tea with her parents, or walked around in the greenhouse.
“I’m sorry. I’ve been strangely lazy these days.”
Louise sipped her tea with her parents and gave a small blush. Looking back on her vacation, she had been enjoying herself without limit. She couldn’t believe she was just hanging around without helping her busy parents.
“That’s no problem, right, honey?”
Her mother replied generously, and her father nodded.
“It’s summer, and Louise is very sensitive to the heat.”
“And now it’s vacation.”
Her mother set down her teacup and put on a very stern look.
“There is only one thing you need to do during vacation.”
“What is that?”
“You should clear your head first. That way, your mind will be refreshed and you’ll be able to focus on your classes next semester.”
Is that so? Louise tilted her head slightly, wondering if the human brain really was structured like that.
“It’s not just that.”
“It’s important to note that if you don’t do it now, your next chance will only come in the winter.”
“Chance for what?”
“The chance to be lazy. ”
Ah, she meant winter vacation.
“The Academy is a stressful place. When you go back you’ll be studying until your brain overheats. If you don’t take a break now, your next break will be winter vacation!”
Her mother’s shoulders shuddered and Louise laughed a little.
“What do you find so amusing?”
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you look disgusted about something.”
Mrs. Sweeney was a cheerful and optimistic woman who loved many things about life. However, the Academy’s classes and exams didn’t seem to be included on that huge list.
“The Academy is a scary place.”
Her mother sighed briefly, waking up a long dormant memory.
“The exam results determined how many reports I had to write, as well as the amount of hospitality I receive when I come home for vacation.”
She didn’t have good memories of her homecomings, and she would often be reduced to tears. She guessed that she never achieved the grades that were expected of her.
“So I thought to myself that I would never change my attitude to my child based on their grades.”
“And that’s what I did…”
She paused as she carefully chose her words. She had tried not to praise her daughter too much when she found out that she was the top student. She was worried that Louise would mistake her grades as the only way to receive praise.
However, she found that Louise’s hand was calloused from where she held a pen for hours and hours. At that moment, Mrs. Sweeney realized that not praising such a child as much as possible would be sheer negligence.
“Your grades don’t determine my love for you, but the evidence of your hard work made me proud.”
Thank you very much, her mother whispered in a small voice, as if it were a secret between the family. Louise was simultaneously touched but extremely embarrassed, so she sat fiddling with her cup of tea.
“Well, I just don’t want to lose.”
“But you’re the top student. I don’t think you have much competition except for…?”
Was this about the prince? Louise looked at her mother with widened eyes.
“Oh, I didn’t mean. When you said ‘I don’t want to lose’ somehow I thought of the prince.”
“Of course…I don’t want to lose to him.”
“It’s nice to have competitors everywhere. Cherish them.”
Cherish them? Louise regarded her parents’ words like jewels, but she had to do a double take on that.
Cherish Stella Lapis. That was a difficult expectation. Her parents didn’t know about the test cheating scandal, so she didn’t mention it and simply smiled and nodded.
“I’ll do that.”
It was better to tell her parents a lie rather than tell them about the incident. She didn’t want to worry them.
“And don’t forget to value your vacation.”
“At this rate, I’ll become part of my bed. Maybe I’ll start moving a little tomorrow.”
“What’s wrong with becoming part of the bed? The opportunity to be lazy doesn’t come very often. Enjoy it, don’t waste it.”
Louise smiled awkwardly and turned towards her father.
Her father was a diligent man who looked down on laziness. One day he had told Louise,
‘You should always be on guard against being lazy. It sticks easily, but it’s hard to shake off.’
He most certainly opposed Louise’s daily routine of lounging in her bed and bathtub.
He caught her eye and replied in a calm voice.
Take a good look, Mother. Father will criticize my laziness.
“Your mother is always right.”
“That’s what I always thought of your mother from the moment I first saw her until now.”
Now, wait, Father! You advised me to be on the lookout for laziness!
“Your mother’s words are always right, and she saved me. So always obey your mother, Louise.”
Louise at her father with tears in her eyes.
“But I remember you told me you had different beliefs in the past. I mean, about laziness.”
“Different beliefs? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
And her father declared in a solemn voice,
“Your mother is the only belief I have.”
Then he smiled slightly at her mother.
Father! You two should love each other only when you’re alone!
Louise buried her red face between her palms.
Louise’s request that she not be lazy anymore was accepted. Luckily.
“There’s a performance at the Royal Arts Center in a few days.”
“I heard. It’s a performance for the foreign ambassadors, right?”
Those who worked with her father had told her, which was why her parents had been so busy lately. Flowers were needed to decorate the concert hall and boxes, and well as celebrate the success of the actors. In particular, it was important for the box seats to be tailored to the individuals’ tastes, as they were the sponsors of the arts center.
In the meantime, her parents must have worked hard to obtain a list of ambassadors and identify their preferences.
“You know it well. But I will have to be at the harbor on the day of the performance.”
“Then Mother will go. May I come with her and help?”
“That’s just I wanted to ask.”
Her father patted her golden hair. Feeling a pleasant tickle on her hand, Louise giggled.
“I hope you will learn a lot from my best employees.”
“And I will learn elegance from Mother.”
“You have a lot of that already.”
Louise held her hands together as she confessed something.
“Not long ago, I jumped out of a window. So maybe ‘elegant’ isn’t something that can describe me.”
Her father let out a booming laugh for some reason.
“Ooh, don’t laugh. I couldn’t help it.”
“Did you get hurt?”
“Luckily, Lord Simon caught me.”
At that moment, the smile on his face disappeared as he gave her a rather sly look.
“Yes, and he landed me safely.”
“That is to say, you held on to him. Right? ”
Her father’s expression softened. She didn’t get what was the big difference between catching someone and holding on to someone.
“I’m glad you’re still getting along at the Academy.”
“Yes, Lord Simon is very kind. You know, he waited for me to enter the Academy to give me a hair ribbon. He also lent me his notes and if I have anything that’s broken, he fixes it.”
“Did you properly pay him back?”
“I bought him cookies. Well, I haven’t done anything else after that. Maybe I should do something more.”
Mr. Sweeney sighed as he watched Louise ponder how to pay back Simon. It was quite difficult to stay silent as he looked at his grown-up daughter.