Tap tap tap.
The sound of fingers drumming a book.
A room in a church on the outskirts of town, Leon Nardo looked around the place he could finally meet his friends in – if only just once a week.
In the room with him was a girl who you could tell was a noble even with just a glance.
Her unfriendly red-brown eyes were narrowed to slits. In contrast to her white, almost translucent skin, her light brown hair that went to her back was long and heavy. Although she was still a young girl in years, her beauty had a matureness to it.
A daughter of the high aristocracy She wasn’t even attempting to hide her annoyance behind her book.
Though she address Leon, Surfania didn’t lift her gaze from her open book.
Even though she had been holding that book open for a while now, she hadn’t turned a single page. Probably not a bit of the book’s contents could make its way into her mind right now.
Though he was exasperated with Surfania, since he had guessed the reason behind it, Leon continued speaking.
“Christina already said she wouldn’t come, so quit being so jumpy. Next week is the entrance ceremony for the Academy right? She’ll have no choice but to meet you then.”
“This has nothing to do with Chris!”
Since she snapped back at him it was obvious it had everything to do with Chris.
“Chris isn’t coming, so what? I’m not annoyed just because that idiot said she wouldn’t be here. Rather, this isn’t this peace a nice change?”
“Sure, sure, it’s just as you said, young miss.”
He shrugged his shoulders at her obvious overreaction.
Leon honestly couldn’t understand why she hid behind harsh words. She’d be better off being honest, he thought.
“Well, Christina probably has all sorts of things to prepare before entering the Academy. Setting aside her not coming here, hasn’t she gone to your house at all?”
“…She hasn’t. I don’t care even if that idiot doesn’t visit me.”
With a humph Surfania turned away stubbornly. Such an easy reaction to read. His mouth was itching to grin, but it would be annoying if she took issue with him instead, so he suppressed it.
“What should we do? How about a board game?”
“…We’ve already had a match today.”
It was just like Surfania said. Since Surfania just kept improving, soon Leon wouldn’t be good enough to play against for her.
Well then, as he was considering what they could play instead, he heard the creak of the church door opening.
Surfania jumped at the sound, of course.
“Ah-…I’ll go and have a look.”
Though it was obvious Surfania was desperate to go look herself, without getting up she just stared at the door instead. He couldn’t just ignore Surfania when she was like this, so Leon went instead.
Surfania was the type where,If he tried to approach her, she would pull away. Having said that, since he was too clumsy, even if she wasn’t like that he’d probably still mess up.
Honestly, she was a troublesome girl. Not only did it seem to take forever, it was annoying as hell. You had to be super patient, and even then it was a bother to do.
“Hmm, well I also like that part of her though…”
Since there was no one around, unintentionally the words that came out reflected his true feelings.
During these two years, he’d ended up hopelessly, stupidly, in love with that surly young lady.
Being with them, I’d forgotten I’m just a lowly commoner, how stupid am I. Smiling bitterly he walked towards the entrance.
To try to gain even a bit of favor with the one he adored, Leon was now an expert at being playing gofer for her. But the person he saw at the entrance was someone he knew well.
“Eh? Ms Mariwa, and…Ugh”
Inclining her head slightly at Leon’s word choice, was Michelie. Even from afar, that blonde hair and blue eyes seems to shimmer. Looking so lovely. ‘Lovely’ was the best descriptor for her, even if you tried you wouldn’t be able to forget her beauty.
“Good afternoon, Mr Leon. While I understand your feelings, please refrain from showing them so obviously.”
“Ah, no I- Excuse my rudeness…”
To behave as I had in front of ladies was inexcusable, so I bowed my head in apology.
Did Michelie notice or not? Whichever, she doesn’t seem to care.
“It has been a while, Leon. Have you been well?”
“Ah, um, yeah. It has been a while. But, why is Michelie…?”
“From today we shall be holding her classes here.”
Without waiting for Leon to understand, they entered the room.
Right now Surfania is impatiently waiting for Chris to appear. In a panic Leon tried to stop the two, but he was too late.
“Who was it, Le..on…?”
Her energetic voice withered to nothing. Surfania who had been expectantly jumping and fidgeting about the room became suddenly still with disappoint when she saw who had arrived.
“Good afternoon, Miss Surfania”
Michelie quickly bowed her head in a show of good manners to Surfania who’s disappointment now neared open hostility.
“Good day, lady Surfania. Excuse our rudeness, however we will be using this room for this child’s classes.”
To Mariwa and Michelie, who had come in, it seemed Surfania wanted to say something, but she just bit her lip.
Though among her friends she was intensely confident, at times like these Surfania became quite timid, so Leon stood in front of her as a buffer.
“Um, while it seems that Ms Mariwa and Michelie are doing well, as for Christina, what’s going on? That girl, she hasn’t come here in a long time.”
“Even if you wait here it’s useless. Bis Sister, she won’t come here anymore so.”
The one who answered Leon’s question was Michelie.
But rather than Leon who had asked, her eyes were on Surfania when she spoke.
“Even once you’re all together in the Academy, it won’t be like it was. Since Big Sister isn’t coming here anymore, didn’t you even suspect this a little?”
“…Shut your mouth.”
Michelie’s words seem to have a provoking tone to them. Her anger exceeding her shyness, Surfania who had been silent until now was now glaring with sharp eyes at Michelie.
“Why is someone like you talking like they understand what’s going on with Chris? Acting like you’re all that. All you’ve ever done is cling to Chris, when did you become Chris’ spokesperson, huh?”
“…as I thought. Is it that Ms Surfania dislikes me?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Thinking you can get away with any and everything by using your face, you’ve, made a big mistake. Pretending to be all depressed like that.”
The atmosphere had grown uneasy, Leon felt a trickle of cold sweat.
Though he hadn’t noticed until now, somehow it seems these two really don’t get along. He appealed with his eyes to Mariwa to rescue them, but as cold as ever, it seemed Mariwa had no intention of meddling in this.
“Is that so? To think that you hated me.”
“Exactly. But so what?”
In response to Surfania whose eyes were burning with fighting spirit as if she was issuing a challenge, a laugh slipped out of Michelie’s lips.
“But, in front of Big Sister you couldn’t say that…what a cute ‘rival’ you are.”
Surfania’s face turned bright red, her shame was now greater than anger it seemed.
Since she didn’t retort right away, it seemed this was Surfania’s defeat. Right when Leon was wondering whether he should step in to protect her or not, Mariwa broke into their conversation with perfect timing.
“Michelie. No more. Apologise.”
“Sure, Ms Toinette…My apologies, Ms Surfania.”
With Ms Toinette’s intervention, Michelie easily retracted her claws.
“…tch. I’m not particularly bothered ”
At the moment when she could have gracefully retreat, with her bruised feelings Surfania still acted tough.
“You have my apologies, Ms Surfania. This child hasn’t received an education term and it still quite impolite.”
Continuing from Michelie’s apology, Mariwa also bowed her head.
“However, if you stay outside for so long you shall cause the Calibrachoa household to worry. Before it becomes a commotion, I think it would be best for you to return home.”
“…I know, okay”
Clenched hands trembling, Surfania stood up and left the room.
Mariwa also called out to Leon, who in a daze after not being able to do anything, hadn’t been able to see Surfania out.
“You should also should return home soon. You also have quite a bit to prepare for the Academy, right?”
“Ah, yes. well then…”
“Yup. Goodbye for now, Leon”
As he stood up to leave, the smile Michelie showed was the same innocent look at that time during the National Day festival.
“Y- yeah. See you, Michelie.”
That he could someone force this out from his stiff face was a godsend.
His thoughts on the indescribable fear he felt towards that girl two years his junior, Leon went to chase after Surfania.