(Professor Layton is property of Level-5. Albert Bridge belongs to JackSpicerChase. Please support the official releases.)
Today is the day. Estelle didn't think this would happen. She spent most of the morning setting up her office at the Gressenheller University. Estelle finds herself more at home here than in her new apartment nearby. It's funny to her to be comfortable for the first time in a week since she moved from France. England is very different from her home, and she's still getting used to the change. Despite this, Estelle will start her first day as the university's historian. It will keep her busy and that's all she wants. A knock on the door reach her ears, and she stops her work. Estelle carefully gets down from her step ladder from one of the shelves.
She sets the books in her arms back on her desk, and opens the door. Estelle smiles at the elderly man who steps into her office. "Bon matin, Monsieur Delmona." "Good morning to you, Miss Petit, and please, no need for formalities, my dear."
"My apologies, sir. I vill remember zhat next time. " Estelle says, and gestures for the dean to come in. "I see you are getting settled here. I hope this office is to your liking."
"Of course, sir. Et vill be just fine.Vould you like a seat?"
"No thank you, I'm afraid I am in a bit of a hurry. I wanted to drop by and see if you needed anything." He looks about the room to find maps, stacks of books and journals piled high on the desk, coffee table, and by the window. "Hm, perhaps you should take a break soon. You need to get to know the other staff members before you start some serious business." Delmona says, knowing she spent more time in her office, and she wasn't supposed to start her job for another three days.
"Erm, meet zee others? I suppose I could, but I hate to be of disturbance." Estelle smiles, but she wasn't excited in stepping out of her comfort zone. Not many people in the streets of London were patient with her accent.
"Oh, you would be no trouble! None at all. In fact, I know someone who can show you around. His lecture should end soon." The dean steps out the door and beckons Estelle to follow. "Come now, you need a break anyways. You've been working hard all morning." Estelle hesitated, but she knew she had no choice but to follow him. She hate to get lost, and meeting the new people made her nervous. Estelle is glad that most of the general education and social sciences were in the Central Hall. They make their way upstairs to the Carter Wing while the dean went on with stories about his granddaughter.
"I must say, she is such a brilliant little one! She gave me a puzzle the other day, but I could never figure it out. Thankfully, Hershel came to my rescue with that one." Delmona to stops in his tracks, turning around to look at Estelle. "Ah, do you know Hershel Layton?" Estelle paused before answering his question. 'Excusez-moi, but do you mean zee 'Erhsel Layton?"
"Of course, dear! He's the professor in the university's Archeology course. He's the one who I'm sure would be delighted to help you get to know the others." He chuckles, but Estelle feels very close to an anxiety attack. "Oh, I don't zink it is best. Perhaps zee professor is too busy."
"Nonsense! He would be delighted to meet a new face." "Cher Dieu, s'il vous plaît aidez-moi." Estelle's says under her breath. Thankfully, Delmona didn't hear her. The thought of meeting the famed archaeologist and puzzler solver, Professor Layton, made her sick in the stomach.
"Vhat if I look like an idiot in front of 'im?" Her thoughts made the poor girl drag her heels. She bites her lower lip when she and the dean stop before a door with the plague, "CWC 112."
"Ah! Here we are! It's almost time for Hershel's lecture to end. He will be available by then." He looks back at her with a smile. Estelle pales, but smiles to be pleasant and steps inside. She swallows hard when Delmona opens the door. They move to the side to wait for the professor to finish his lecture. Estelle looks around the room It's a large room with the desks and chairs arranged in tiers with stairs along each end of the room with a wider staircase along the middle of the room leading to the professors desk and black board at the bottom. Estelle takes notice of the students filling the seats, she's somewhat surprised that most of the students in the room were women. A few of the students stop listening to the professor to look at them. Most of the small number turn back to the lecture while one or two gave Estelle odd looks. They weren't sure who Estelle was or why in the world she would be here. Estelle paid no mind to the occasional glances, directing her attention to the desk at the bottom of the steps. There he is, the Professor Hershel Layton! She couldn't believe he's right there, teaching the class about the possibilities of the existence of King Arthur and the artifacts suggesting it. She's almost afraid of what the professor will think of her when they meet.
"And that will conclude today's lesson. We will continue this tomorrow morning." Professor Layton says and the students gathered their things into their bags, leaving their seats to leave the room. Many of the students smile at the dean, and give their greetings as they left. The only one who left is a young woman with short, red hair and vibrant green eyes. She beelines straight to the Professor who erase the words and diagrams involving today's lecture. Estelle watch Delmona make his way down the stairs. She follows close, but she has serious thoughts of turning around and make a run for it. Her heart races, her palms sweating, The poor girl is a bundle of nerves.
"Mister L, how did you like my paper from last week? It must have been the best one you read." The red haired woman exclaims. The Professor smiles to his student while straightening the papers on his desk. "Well, your paper is fairly good, Rosetta. However, there is always room for improvement. We will have to work more on the writing of the Tintagel Castle starting next week." "Teehee! No problem, Professor! I look forward to it!" Rosetta giggles, smiling brightly. It was then the Professor took notice of Dean Delmona and Estelle.
"Please excuse me. You must hurry or you will be late for Professor Bridge's History lecture." Layton says and he leaves Rosetta's side. She sighs, rather annoyed by the Dean happening to show up with what she sees as a blonde, doe-eyed hussy. She regains her composure with silent reassurance that she will always be the Professor's favorite.
"Of course! I understand how busy you are. Until next time, Mister L!" She exclaims with a wink and takes her leave. Estelle isn't sure what to think about that woman. She seems a bit...how could she put it nicely?
"Forvard, wery forvard. I vill go by zhat." Estelle thinks, nodding to herself in agreement. Her thoughts cut short and she squeaks to see Professor Layton coming her way. "Good morning, sir. What brings you here?" Layton greets and Delmona grins with a wave.
"Hello Hershel, it so good to see you here again! It's been a while since you held your lectures with one mystery after another popping up for you to solve."
"Indeed, it's been too long, and who might this be?" Layton asks, directing his attention to Estelle. She thought her heart stopped. She bites her lower lips, holding her hands tight together, eyes glued on the professor.
"I-uh! Bonjour! 'Ello! I am Estelle! Estelle Petit. 'Ow do you do?" Estelle trembles with nerves wracking her body. The Professor chuckles, tipping his hat to her.
"It a pleasure meeting you, Miss Estelle. I am very well, thank you." He says and Estelle smiles. She can't believe she is actually meeting the Professor Layton. A weathered hand clasp on her shoulder. She looks back to see it belongs to Delmona.
"Miss Petit is our new historian. Today is her first day on campus, and she hasn't met the staff yet. I'm afraid I have important matters to attend. Since you finished the last class session for the day, I was wondering if you could show her around."
"It would be an honor to, sir. It will be no trouble at all." Layton replies and Dean Delmona clap his hands together.
"Splendid! I am sure you two will get along swimmingly! I'm afraid I must be off now. Oh, and Hersehel." Dean Delmona makes his way to Professor Layton. They take a few steps away from her, then the Professor leans over when the Dean beckons him closer.
"Make sure she doesn't cross paths with Professor Bridge. That man does not like to be disturbed, especially with new people. You know how he is." Delmona whispers with a hand over the Professor's ear to keep the request secret.
"Yes, sir. I know very well. I will keep her out of his way." Layton answers softly. None of them are aware that this strikes Estelle's curiosity. What could they be talking about?
"Excellent. I will see you later, Hershel. Good luck, Estelle!" The Dean says and he takes his leave. "Au revoir." Estelle waves to Delmona who returns the gesture as he climbs up the steps to the door.
"Well, shall we be off?" Professor Layton says and Estelle nods. The Professor smiles and they make their way out of the classroom. "We'll start with Central Hall. The social sciences, such as Archaeologist, and the general studies are here in the Carter Wing. My office along with the other instructors will be downstairs at the Victoria Wing, just across from the Shakespeare Wing and Globe Theater. That is where our fine arts take place" He starts as they start the tour downstairs to see the theater. Estelle debates on asking Layton about what was said between him and Delmona back in Room CW 112. It shouldn't be about a touchy subject.
"Mister Layton? May I ask a question?"
"Of course, my dear." He says, looking to her.
"Vell, I 'ate to sound rude, but vhat vere you and Mister Delmona talking about? Is it somezing I done or said?"
"Oh no, it's nothing for you to worry about. What's important now is to have you see the campus, and get to know most of our staff here."
"Most?" Estelle asks, confused on what he means. "There's a few you won't see very much. They're quite busy most of the time." Layton says and he directs her to the Globe Theater. They step inside and Estelle can see the velvet curtains at the back of a grand stage. Rows among rows of seats surround the front of the stage, behind the orchestra pit. The intricate moldings along the balconies above added to the elegance of the large theater.
"Impressive isn't it?" A smooth voice says from behind. Professor Layton sighs and turns around to greet the man. Estelle spins around to see a tall man with slicked back blonde hair, striking hazel eyes, and well dressed. "The world of the theater is a glorious temple for the beauty of the world." The man says, casually walking around the professor and historian.
"Ahem, yes. I suppose so, Professor." Layton says, and the man looks at him, and smiles to see Estelle. "Dear me, Layton. It's a shame that you have not introduced to me to your friend. I must say, that is certainly not what a gentleman does at all." The man chuckles, yet Layton doesn't seem fazed by the man's taunting.
"Yes. Of course, I would like you to meet our new historian, Estelle Petit. Estelle, this is Professor Jennings, the vocal music instructor." Layton says, before Estelle could utter a hello, Jennings takes hold of her hand and bows to her.
"Professor Oliver Jennings, but you may call me Oliver, my dear. Many of the women here often do." He brushed his lips over the back of Estelle's hand. Once he lets her go, she blushed, feeling very uncomfortable from the gesture.
"Wee, pleasure to meet you, sir." She says, trying to be polite. There's something about this man that makes her uneasy. Professor Jennings raise an eyebrow at Estelle, sensing that she doesn't have interest in him. Odd, the women he come across seem to fall over him very quickly.
"I was just showing Estelle around the place and meeting our faculty here." Layton intervenes for Estelle's sake. "I see. Tell me, Mister Layton, but will you be showing Miss Petit to Professor Bridge? You know that brute of a man does not appreciate newcomers. He's scared many people away, did you know that dear?" Jennings chuffed.
"Vhat makes you zhink 'e is a brute? Vhat makes Professor Bridge terrifying?" Estelle asks, sensing this as a challenge.
"Oh my! Professor Layton must be keeping you in the dark about it all! You poor girl." Professor Layton frowns from Jenning's words. The blonde man wraps an arm around Estelle's shoulder. She pulls away, not caring that it seems unladylike. Professor Jennings doesn't advance because Professor Layton is nearby and he steps closer to Estelle.
"Ah, well Albert Bridge is a monster! You do not know how many girls he terrifies on a daily basis. Thankfully, he spends most of his time in his office, where he should be." Jennings sniffed, his nose in the air, seeing himself as the superior. Professor Layton glares at the other man. He is very unsavory, to say the least.
"I keep him in line. All the students and even others among the staff look up to me. If you stick close to me, I will be sure Mister Bridge will not bother you. In brutal honesty, he is a jerk!" He adds while as he examines his fingernails after running them on his chest.
"I see..." Estelle ways, crossing her arms over her chest. Professor Layton opens his mouth to speak in Albert's defense. Estelle is the first one to speak up. "In brutal honesty, I vill have to disagree." She starts, moving closer to the music teacher. She looks him straight in the eye. Professor Jennings tower over Estelle. That does not make her cower.
"One, I can care for myself. I always 'ave. Two, I never met Mister Bridge yet, but I vill not allow you to set a bias for me. If you ask me, I already met the jerk, and I'm afraid zhat is you." She says, poking a finger at Jenning's chest. He's taken aback from how his plan back-fired. Layton clears his throat as Estelle takes her leave with him. "Farewell, Professor Jennings." She says, leaving Professor Jennings to stew in his failure.
"Dear me, Estelle. I apologize for having you to cross paths with Professor Jennings. I should have known better."
"Oh no, it's not your fault. I vould meet 'im sooner or later. I'm sorry for interrupting, but zhat man. I feel 'e deserved zhose words." Estelle rubs the hand Jenning's kissed, still unnerved from it.
"I known Professor Jennings for a while now. Quite frankly, I feel he deserved it." Estelle laughs from Layton's opinion. She couldn't agree more.
Despite the mishap at the theater, Layton continues the tour throughout the Central Hall. It's been a while since they started. Estelle couldn't complain with the other professors and members of the faculty. They're all pleasant people, unlike Jennings. However, one person comes to mind. "Professor, where's Professor Bridge?" Layton paused, not sure how to tell Estelle without being harsh.
"It's best not to bother him. He is...a very busy man. Lots of important work. Courtesy should be considered with these matters." Estelle raised an eyebrow, sensing the discomfort from Layton. He too is hiding something from her about Professor Bridge. Is he really that bad? He couldn't be.
"Well now! I believe we have covered the Central Hall. Would you like me to show you around the campus? There's more than meets the eye."
"I vould love to see more off zee place, sir. Zhat is, if you are not bust."
"Of course not. I always have time to help. After all, that is what a gentleman does." Estelle giggles into her hand when Layton said this. Everything people said about him is true, he is a kind man of refinement. Then, someone caught Estelle's eye as she walks alongside her new friend down the hall. The passed the teacher's lounge, and a man was just leaving with a steaming mug of coffee in his hand. She never saw him before,and she's sure she met about everyone in Central Hall.
He didn't seem to notice her, and Layton didn't seem to pay any mind to the man. Estelle decides she should come out of her shell and meet this stranger.
"Professor, please vait. I zhink ve missed someone over zhere. I'll be right back." Estelle says and she spins around to go to the man who makes his way down the hall.
"Wait! Estelle!I wouldn't- Oh dear..." He sighs, and follows her at a brisk pace. He is aware that is Professor Bridge, and he hoped Estelle would just leave him alone. She slows down when she reached the man. The historian looks up at him, clearing her throat. He heard her and he stops in his tracks.
"Excusez-moi?" She asks and he turns around. Estelle is taken aback to see the red eyes boring at her. She smiles, yet the man didn't seem amused. "Bonjour, I do not believe ve 'ave met, sir." She starts with her hand extended to shake it. Professor Bridge just looks at her offer, and at Estelle. He heard a few of the faculty members talk about getting a new historian. If she is the one, that is somewhat disappointing. She doesn't seem anything special. Nevertheless, he saw Layton with her, and that is more than enough to decide about her.
"My name is Estelle Petit. I am zee new historian for Gressenheller."
"Yes, yes. How lovely to finally meet you." Sarcasm drips from each word.
" I heard of you. You're the new historian for this place. Hmph, I didn't think she would be a kid." Albert says in a low tone, not accepting her hand.
"Pardon?" She asks, blinking in confusion. Judging by the man's appearance, he's not much older than Estelle.
"I think you heard me, girl. Listen, I'm not the type who is buddy-buddy with everyone."
"Professor, that isn't necessary." Layton says, standing behind Estelle. She turns her head to see him, then back to Bridge who rolls his eyes. Of course, Layton always to the rescue. It's like Layton will never leave Bridge alone.
"Professor Bridge? You're Albert Bridge?" Estelle asks and Albert laughs.
"Ah, you already heard what everyone had to say about me? I guess I'm quite popular around here." He snickers, then he glares down at Estelle. She took a few small steps back, not sure what he is going to do.
"Since you are new, let me give you some ground rules: My office is off limits! No one is allowed in there for any reason. I'm sure Mr. Perfect here told you about one time when someone he knew had the audacity to disobey that rule."
"Now, now, Professor, she will not bother you. I am sure you two won't be crossing paths again. Come along, Estelle. I think it's time to leave Professor Bridge be." Estelle didn't seem to hear Layton at first. She noticed something about Albert. She can't explain it, but she noticed something about him. There's something more to his anger. His eyes held sadness when they walked by him the first time. She also saw something on the mug in his hand. It had pink words, "BEST DAD" scrawled on it. Does the have anything to do with his hidden pain?
"Hey kid, why are you standing there, gawking like that?" Estelle snaps out of her thoughts, looking at the irritated man. "Tch! Whatever, I don't have time for this." He mutters and takes his leave with a turn on his heel.
"Are you all right, Estelle?" Layton asks and Estelle gives a small nod.
"Yes, I am fine. So, zhat is Professor Bridge?"
"Indeed. He...Well, it's the friendliest man to meet. Many people come to learn to leave him alone. I wouldn't take any of his words to heart, it's how he is." Professor Layton says as he watches Albert disappear into his office. Estelle looks on, still thinking about him.
"How did 'e get to be zhat vay?" Estelle asks while she makes her way out side Central Hall with Layton.
"Now that is a puzzle. I'm afraid I do not know. He never speaks to anyone, not even me. I used to try to reach out to Mr. Bridge. He refused it every time. I'm afraid we may never know." He replies, his smile gone. "There is something, but it's not polite to bother him if he is not willing to share."
"I suppose so." Estelle looks out to the garden in the Foxworth Plaza.
"Come now, let's not have a sour face. We still have things to see and people to meet. We'll continue this at the Museum . It houses many of our archeological from my students and my past expeditions." Professor Layton further explains everything Gressenheller has to offer. Estelle listens intently, yet her mind is elsewhere. She wonders why Bridge seems so harsh. The historian has been with worse, and she can tell Professor Bridge is putting up a front, to protect himself. He doesn't have any friends and everyone seem to not like him. Professor Layton is not as judgmental as the other professors, but he seems to have given up on him. It doesn't seem right to Estelle. Perhaps there is someway to reach out.
Estelle Petit can't let her first impression of Albert ruin her chance in helping him, and maybe gain a new friend.