Chapter 90 – A Man Who Is Courting You (2)
Louise remembered her father’s words.
“I hope you will learn a lot from my best employees.”
She soaked in so much knowledge. The employees’ quick and efficient movements, which had long served the requests of the arts center, were truly divine. Louise had a stronger appreciation for their experienced careers. Their mastery, cultivated over time, perhaps could never be matched by Louise.
After they finished with the decorations, they all cleaned up with the help of the arts center staff. It was completed when they finally removed the sheet covering the sofa, and at that moment, the ring of a bell indicated that the performance was soon to start. Louise hurried out without even looking back at the box seats, and bowed her head to her father’s staff and to Sean Wood, who had pushed themselves for the sake of her last-minute contract. Of course, it was Mrs. Sweeney who let sent them, but it was Louise who brought them all this way.
“Don’t worry, young boss. There’s no harm in continuing the contract.”
They all cared about Louise since she was a child, and they all spoke encouragingly of her even though they were all exhausted.
“The boss would have made the same decision as you.”
“If it was you, it would not end with just the walls and handrail decorations.”
After walking with the employees to the carriage, she returned to the arts center. The performance had already begun, and the building was quiet save for the occasional sounds of the performance. Given that there was no commotion, perhaps everything was going well?
Louise sat in a deserted corridor. The upside to being in the arts center was that there was beautiful art and comfortable chairs everywhere. She let out a long sigh. She couldn’t relax, so she took out the quickly drawn contract. Louise and Ian took turns checking and rechecking it, so she was sure it was fine. However, the both of them and the director were still pressed for time, and perhaps she had lost her composure and made some mistake she couldn’t afford down the line.
Louise began rereading the documents from the beginning to the end. When she reached the final line, she saw two familiar signatures. One belonged to Louise. The others was Ian’s, who was granted the right to be her guardian. It was quite an honor for the name of a member of the royal family to be under her name.
“There’s one good thing about being an adult. I get to be your legal guardian.”
Louise raised her head at the sound of his voice.
Ah, she said the wrong thing again. She thought on it for a moment, but in the end she didn’t bother to correct herself. Last time he said that what she called him didn’t matter.
“Since when did you come here?”
She didn’t hear any footsteps. Perhaps she was too focused on the papers.
He held out a glass of cold water, and she accepted it quickly. Her fingertips cooled, the heat soon forgotten.
“Drink. Sorry that you favorite fruit isn’t in it.”
Louise momentarily felt like she was back at the Academy.
“So how was the delegation?”
He briefly looked sheepish at Louise’s question.
“…Is something wrong?”
At her careful tone he shook his head.
“You saved me today. To be exact, you saved the honor of the royal family.”
“More like I saved the Chancellor’s respiratory system.”
Louise corrected him.
“Yes, you’ve saved both the honor of the royal family and the Chancellor’s respiratory system. If you weren’t there everything would have been disastrous. So.”
He put one hand on his chest and gave a deep bow.
Louise jumped to her feet.
“Wh-what are you doing…?!”
“I’m expressing my deepest gratitude towards you.”
“If that’s the case, a simple word is enough.”
“That’s not enough for what you’ve done.”
“I didn’t do anything. It was done by all of my father’s expert employees. And what if you bow to me? If they see you, I’m going to be killed, right?”
“What are you talking about?”
Ian returned to his position as the proud crown prince.
“If I bow down, then everyone should bow before you with me.”
“…And my neck won’t be mounted on the wall the next day?”
“Don’t worry. It’s only a sore throat.”
“Don’t kill Sir Hesse!”
“I’ll think about it a little bit.”
Ian guided Louise back into her seat. She had been running around with her high shoes on, and he knew that her soft feet would hurt terribly. After shuffling the documents around a bit more, Louise turned and looked at Ian.
“I have a question.”
“How did you get the papers from my mother? I was surprised to see you at the exact moment I needed it.”
Louise’s eyes went huge when she said “the exact moment I needed it,” and Ian smiled a little.
“There was a report.”
“A profane report that Hesse dared to have a tryst with a girl I cared for deeply.”
“We were caught.”
Louise made a joking face.
“Of course you were caught. Anyway, I thought something must have happened if the two of you were together.”
It was simple after that. He found out about the irrational breaking of the contract and the problems of the arts center, then came up with an efficient solution.
“I knew that you would try to solve this situation.”
“And so you acted.”
Louise clapped her hands and beamed.
“We worked very well together, didn’t we?”
“Yes, it was quite easy.”
Ian pulled out a handkerchief.
“The lady has some dust on her face and hair.”
“How much dust?”
Louise touched her face with her hands, but the dust stubbornly remained on her face. Ian gave a slight frown and gestured towards her.
“Come here. I’ll wipe you.”
“I’ll do it. There’s a mirror over there–”
“I want to do it for you. Please allow a man who is courting you to do so.”
Louise hesitated for a moment then tilted her face forward. Ian and carefully brought the white handkerchief to her face, but the sight of her grubby cheeks made him laugh.
“How will we get this face clean? Are there any other cleaning tools at the arts center?”
“…This isn’t courtship, you just wanted to make fun of me, didn’t you?”
“Don’t worry, I’m definitely courting.”
“Don’t lie. How is this winning me over? I’m not excited at all.”
“That’s not fair. I’m taking this seriously. Just the way you like it.”
The touch on her face was very careful and gentle. It was even a little ticklish. Louise closed her eyes slightly, a little shy at a close distance. Ian’s hand paused as he looked at her.
…This was nearly an incredible misunderstanding. No, it was a little more dangerous than a misunderstanding. If Louise opened her eyes, she would see that his face was almost touching her lips. Fortunately, Louise bit her lips at the ticklish sensation so he corrected his actions. He was being toyed with again. Far from getting his payback, he was beaten once more. However Louise had done this subconsciously, so he couldn’t lay any blame on her.
In any case, he turned back to focusing on removing the black dust on Louise’s face. Today Ian owed a debt to Louise, but he wanted to help her, with pure intent…
Well, it wasn’t a pure intent, but he attempted it anyway. Really. However, he was fascinated with something about Louise. He thought perhaps it was because of the loveliness of her dress, but that just wasn’t it. His whole senses were shaking. The skin on his fingertips felt tight. The sweet scent of her hair hung in the air, and his eyes are drawn to the gentle rise and fall of her breath.
Ian smiled bitterly. Was his sense of composure so easy to lose?