Episode 35


“Does Rebecca Sherman want to get along well with Caleb? Or does she want to disrupt Caleb’s marriage?”


Rose hesitated vaguely. It wasn’t that she was avoiding an answer, but because Rebecca’s feelings were truly uncertain.

“It’s my heart, but it doesn’t feel like it’s mine.”

Rebecca often said such things.

“I like Caleb and I hate him, and it changes dozens of times a day. I feel like my heart has become someone’s marionette. It moves without my will. Rose, you’ve never been like this before, have you? You probably won’t understand.”

Rebecca’s words were true. Rose recognized Rebecca’s state in her mind, but she couldn’t empathize with what it meant.

“Liking someone is truly dreadful.”

Rose vaguely guessed that love might not be as good as she had imagined. Watching Rebecca, she gained a new perspective on love. While she had learned only academics at the academy until now, lately, it seemed like she was gradually discovering the world beyond books.

She realized that if you didn’t get along with the person you loved, you would eventually end up suffering. Caleb didn’t seem to get along with Rebecca, and he didn’t seem to be a positive influence on her either.

“Caleb isn’t that great of a guy.”

Jasper said at that moment. Rose nodded with a puzzled expression.

“But it’s true that he liked Rebecca.”

“…Really? How do you know?”

“Caleb let it slip. He seemed pretty serious about it.”

This was unexpected. If Jasper was saying this, it seemed that Caleb’s feelings were not as lighthearted as they appeared.

“So why… does it feel like he’s avoiding Rebecca now?”

“Because he can’t be honest. Caleb has always been like that. He’s a bit timid.”

“Oh… it would be good if they could talk properly. Like this, nothing will be resolved, and they’ll just end up hurting each other.”

Even if they had liked each other, things could end up like this. Rose’s confusion deepened. Her head tilted on its own, and her lips slightly protruded.

Jasper gazed at Rose in silence and then spoke.

“I wonder if we could create a situation where they can talk seriously, even if it’s forced.”

“Um, how?”

“We’ll have to think of a way now. You and me.”

“Both of us?”

“Who else is there besides us? You can take care of Rebecca, and I’ll handle Caleb.”

“So you want to help untangle their complicated relationship?”

Jasper nodded.

“Jasper, you…”

Rose looked at Jasper with eyes shimmering with gratitude.

“You’re really… surprisingly kind. Thoughtful.”

He said he wasn’t close to Caleb, and from the way he talked about him behind his back, he seemed to care about him more than he said he did.

Jasper let out a small cough in response to Rose’s words.

“Alright. Let’s help them together. It seems like there are a lot of misunderstandings between them. We need to start by clearing those up.”

Since Jasper unexpectedly offered to help, Rose felt even more determined to assist Rebecca.

As Rose was making this resolution, Jasper suddenly extended his hand to her. Rose looked at Jasper’s large hand in confusion.

“Shake hands.”

“Huh? Right now?”

“Sometimes you need a ritual like this to strengthen your resolve.”

Upon reflection, it made sense. Rose hesitantly reached out her hand toward Jasper. She initially intended to lightly touch his hand, but Jasper firmly grasped her hand with strength. She was held tightly in his large grip.

“I thought you said you weren’t cold, but your hands are.”

Jasper spoke softly, sounding more like he was muttering to himself, not expecting a response.

Rose was feeling rather cold. Due to a history of not eating well since childhood, her health was far from robust, and she often fell ill. Fortunately, she hadn’t experienced any major illnesses.

On the other hand, Jasper’s hand was remarkably warm and strong. Even from a brief handshake, Jasper’s body heat seemed to seep into Rose’s hand, dispelling some of the chills.

Jasper slowly released Rose’s hand.

“You should consider doing some exercise.”

Rose flexed her fingers, and then she clenched her fist. The part of her hand that had been in contact with Jasper felt tingly and somewhat numb.


* * *


With a soft click, the door to Room 413 swung open, and as soon as she entered, Briley’s boisterous voice filled the air.

“Rose! Rose!”

Briley, who had been sprawled on the sofa, jumped up and rushed over to Rose. Returning to the dormitory, Rose felt like the events of the day had been a dream, hazy and distant. However, the fatigue lingering in her body served as proof of her outing today.

‘Still, it was nice to ride the carriage to the main gate.’

Jasper had gotten off the carriage a bit earlier and walked to the academy, while Rose had taken the carriage right up to the main gate. They both knew that if they got off together, it would surely lead to various rumors, so Jasper had been considerate.

Jasper was the owner of the carriage, but it seemed like he had been the one dismissed this time, just as he had been crying on the street when they first met.

Briley came up close to Rose and looked at her with sparkling eyes.

“Rose! How was it, how was it? Tell me!”

Briley had an impatient expression, eager to hear about Rose’s trip to the expo. She wrapped her arms around Rose’s shoulders and led her to the common area.

“It was fun.”

Rose said quietly as she plopped down on the sofa. Briley sat right next to Rose and leaned in expectantly.

“First, let me undo your hair, so turn around a bit.”

“Okay. Thanks, Briley.”

“If you’re thankful, then tell me everything that happened from the moment you left until now!”


Rose began explaining one thing at a time, going chronologically and recalling the details. Her tone was somewhat dry as she stuck to the factual events: taking the carriage, traveling for some time, getting off at a certain place, and the exhibits at the expo. It was mostly straightforward information.

As Briley removed hairpins while listening, she grumbled.

“Rose, this isn’t what I meant. Weren’t there any more exciting events?”

Rose hesitated for a moment then spoke.

“Oh, Jasper wants to join our club.”

“Huh? Really?”

“I don’t know why he wants to join, but…”

“Oh my, Rose!”

While Briley continued to deftly work on Rose’s hair, she suddenly grabbed Rose’s shoulders and turned her towards her. Only now did Briley’s face light up with curiosity.

“Why would he want to? Well, my club plans are quite attractive, you know, especially to someone like Jasper Conway! Besides, the more club members, the better, right? It’ll be fun! I’m so excited! Oh, tell him to join right away from tomorrow!”

Without giving Rose a chance to interject, Briley poured out her words. Rose nodded amidst the enthusiasm.

“Yeah, okay, I’ll tell him.”

Briley chuckled and then turned Rose back to face the opposite direction. As she gently unraveled Rose’s braided hair, she asked.

“So, what else did you talk about?”

“I drafted the report summary.”


“We toured the expo, and…”

“Is that it?”

“We talked about Caleb too. Yeah. You need to hear this too, Briley.”

Rose briefly explained what she had heard from Jasper. Briley, who had a mischievous look on her face earlier, listened quietly.

“This is something the parties involved need to discuss.”

“Yeah. What should I say to Rebecca?”

“Let’s keep our mouths shut for now. It’s better if Caleb speaks for himself about how he truly feels if he is sincere.”

Briley, who was usually cheerful and carefree, now had a serious expression.

‘Briley seems to be much deeper in thought than she appears.’

She seemed to always quickly grasp the situation despite her usual lively demeanor. Perhaps it was the wisdom she had acquired during her long separation from her family while studying abroad. The more Rose spent time with Briley, the more she thought of her as mature.

Briley let out a sigh, her forehead slightly creased in thought.

“Ugh, things are getting more serious than I thought, aren’t they? Why is Caleb acting this way? I want to give him a piece of my mind! But if I do that, Rebecca will probably hate me, right?”

Briley protruded her lips in frustration. Rose nodded in agreement.

“Rebecca still really likes Caleb.”

“Oh, it’s maddening!”

“She probably feels that way because she hasn’t seen him for a long time.”

“It’s no good. Let’s do what you guys suggested and confront that sneaky guy in front of Rebecca! That way, Rebecca can sort out her feelings too.”

“Yeah, it would be great if Rebecca could firm up her feelings somehow.”

Briley wore a serious expression, but her hands continued to work on Rose’s hair. Before they knew it, the braided hair had all been undone, and Rose’s crimson hair cascaded down her back.

“Your hair is all done.”

“Thanks, Briley.”

Rose turned to face Briley, and after letting out a long sigh, Briley asked.

“But is there any other news? About you and Jasper, I mean.”

“There wasn’t much…”

“That’s it? Really? There’s nothing more?!”

Briley’s shocked expression led her to grasp Rose’s cheeks, squishing her cheeks in her palms. Rose’s cheeks were compressed beneath her hands.

“Uh… Briley.”

Rose murmured while being held by Briley.

“Rose, think harder. There must be an interesting story you can tell me.”

“I really don’t have anything…”

“No way! You must have forgotten something in your excitement at the expo.”

“The expo was really amazing…”

“Look at you! I knew it. You’re only thinking about the expo, aren’t you?”

“Oh, no, wait…”

Under Briley’s urging, Rose retraced various scenes in her mind. There were indeed many events, but she couldn’t pinpoint anything particularly interesting.

The encounter with Theo and Jasper’s annoyance about it wasn’t exactly an exciting story. Rose’s large eyes darted around quickly.


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