“Thank you, sir.” Suzaku shook his outstretched hand. The President smiled at him as he clapped him on the back.
“We’re proud to call you one of our own.”
“I’m happy to be one of your own, sir.”
He gave a bark of a laugh before exchanging a few more polite pleasantries and obligatory congratulations before moving on to higher and more powerful people more worthy of the valuable attention of a president of a university. Wiping his hand on the pants of his dark blue suit, Suzaku nervously glanced around. Where had the rest of his teammates gone?
“I didn’t know you rowed.”
He turned to see none other than his professor. Surprised, he blinked. He had had no idea she was interested in sports enough to fly all the way over to England just to watch the Royal Regatta, and yet, here she was in a stunning tyrian purple dress. If he had been nervous before… Yikes.
“Oh, uh… Yeah,” he stammered. “Started senior year of high school. It’s just for fun though.”
“It certainly didn’t look like it.”
He flushed. He supposed she was right. Who won the Henley “for fun”?
“So, um… Do you usually come to these?”
She snorted as her eyes fluttered. “Never. I only came because we were visiting a friend of my husband’s who wanted to come.”
Suzaku swallowed hard as he tried to wrap his head around what he’d just heard. Husband? What husband? But sure enough, a twinkle caught his eye and he saw a diamond-crusted ring shining on her finger and then, as if on cue, a warm smile light up her face as she saw something – or someone – over his shoulder. Suzaku turned to see who was capable of inspiring such warmth in someone who was usually so frosty. He was not disappointed.
“Here you are, my darling.” He handed her a soft brown coat before realizing who his wife had been speaking to. A pleasant smile took over his handsome face.
“And here’s the hero of the hour. May I offer my congratulations, Suzaku? You must be quite proud of your accomplishment. Not to mention how magnificent you were in shutting up my friend. He used to row for Cambridge, you see.”
As her husband helped her into her coat, his wife quipped, “I’d have thought you’d want Cambridge to win. Shouldn’t you have more loyalty to your alma mater?”
He gave a short laugh. “Normally.”
Suzaku struggled to close his mouth. So then… So then he wasn’t a student? Or he could be a graduate student, and that was how they had met. But Professor didn’t really feel like someone who would allow herself to involve herself with a student, no matter how charming or good-looking he may be. Though honestly on closer inspection, Suzaku could see how he’d already graduated. Professor Corabelle was what, 30 years old? He could see him as a 30 year old – albeit a 30 year old with a youthful face.
He watched with a sort of heartbroken fascination as the man stooped down to whisper something into her ear. She nodded as she took his arm.
“Unfortunately, we have to go now, but congratulations, Suzaku, on your victory. Mind you, don’t celebrate too much. I still want that assignment after the holiday ends.”
He nodded obediently, and they left with a smile. He watched them leave with mixed feelings. So Professor Corabelle was married, huh? No wonder he’d taken her home that afternoon. Because her home was also his home.
But why hadn’t he noticed sooner? Or even suspected?
Fortunately for Suzaku, he didn’t have long to mull over his blindness because it wasn’t long before the superstar was pulled away to greet the Duke of Windsor and his beautiful daughter, her Grace, the Duchess of Windsor, Euphemia li Britannia.
And who could possibly think of one’s tiny crush when in the presence of such a lovely lady?