If that’s what he was going to do, why did he even bother coming to class. If this was the Edmund she’d gotten to know so far, she’d have stormed out of the room already.
“Are you having fun?”
“I don’t know.”
The gaze that had been fixated on the professor’s bald head suddenly shifted towards Anita.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of botany, it’s really boring. Aren’t you sleepy?”
“You’ve never heard of it before?”
“Yeah. I thought, who would ever listen to something as boring as botany, and it turns out to be you.”
He smirked, as if he’d just caught a criminal. To Anita, it was surprising, even shameless, just finding out that he was disrupting the class but his audacity was astonishing.
Anita opened her lips to argue but then closed them. She was already preoccupied and busy, and she didn’t have time to listen to Edmund’s nonsense. Moreover, judging by the mischievous tone in his voice, it was clear that he had brought up the topic just to tease her from the start.
“Isn’t this the perfect time to ask why I’m here?”
Anita wasn’t genuinely curious. The peculiar increase in encounters since yesterday wasn’t welcoming, and his persistent probing was uncomfortable. However, if she didn’t ask, he would continue to be a nuisance. Thus, Anita spoke up.
“Why are you here?”
“Indeed. Why am I here?”
“…Are you asking me?”
“Okay, I’ll tell you.”
“The reason I’m here is…”
At that moment, Edmund’s calm and sharp expression as he began to speak vanished in an instant. He returned to his usual mischievous self, raising his eyebrows. His clear intention to play the victim was evident.
“You don’t remember?”
“With Lice and you.”
On the word ‘you,’ Edmund’s long finger pointed at Anita.
“Not only did you abandon me, but you threw me into the bushes.”
It had happened. Anita was deeply concerned for his well-being, but those thoughts evaporated when she came face to face with Edmund. He was in pretty good shape for someone who had been sleeping on the streets for so long.
His hair was as soft and golden as ever, and his skin glowed as if it had never been exposed to the chill of the early morning air. Anita assumed he had made it back to his dormitory in one piece.
“Anyway, the caretaker rudely locked the main gate and went to sleep, so I couldn’t get in late.”
He scratched his cheek and trailed off. As if he was embarrassed to say it. Anita’s mouth dropped open.
“You mean… you slept here?”
“Well, not exactly.”
After staring intently at the corner of the book Anita had opened for a moment, Edmund lifted his head again.
“Did you know that Professor Evan, the botany teacher, is a bit of a slacker and often forgets to lock his classroom door?”
“That’s really unfortunate.”
Anita felt quite sorry for Edmund sleeping in an empty classroom due to the dorm being locked, but she didn’t know how to comfort him. She had always been clumsy in such situations since childhood. While she pondered what response might make him feel less sad, she realized that overthinking might be impolite.
Anita, feeling concerned that her attitude might be misunderstood, emphasized once more.
“You don’t have to take it seriously. I just made it up. So, what I meant was…”
The professor’s voice interrupted as Edmund lowered his voice and continued. The corner of his mouth twitched, and Edmund jumped to his feet.
“Why are you still here? It’s been a while since the lecture ended. Are you waiting for a special class?”
At his words, Anita looked around. The lecture hall, once packed with students, was now empty. She couldn’t believe she’d lost an entire lecture to chatter.
“No. Now that I think of it, waiting for a special class doesn’t seem likely. You’re not on my attendance list.”
Judging by the way Professor Evan’s expression hardened, it wasn’t the first time this had happened. Anita didn’t care what Edmund and the professor were talking about. Closing the open book noiselessly, Anita slowly pushed herself to her feet.
She had planned to slip out through the back door before being discovered but ended up making eye contact with Professor Evan.
Struggling awkwardly to leave without pulling out the chair, Anita replied.
“It appears you haven’t been listening to my class. It’s not a punishment, but I might need you to run an errand.”
“I have something to deliver. Take that vagrant along when you go.”
Anita was handed a thick file to carry. As an added bonus, she was now responsible for a weird senior as well.
Despite being scolded by Professor Evan, Edmund seemed perfectly fine. He was even smiling, showing no signs of distress.
“I don’t know about the other professors, but I hope you’ll behave in my class, because I don’t want to be called in by the chairman at my age.”
“If even I don’t attend, it might lead to the cancellation of the class.”
Professor Evan smacked Edmund on the back of his head with the pile of documents he held. To Anita, who was standing nearby, the force didn’t seem significant, yet Edmund acted as if it were a severe blow.
“If I report everything to my grandfather, you might be in trouble.”
“Oh, no. I’m afraid not. I heard you were kicked out because you were disliked by the chairman.”
“…They say there was a pitiful incident where tears were inevitable.”