Shirley found the sweater one day in the corner of her bedroom closet, finished and folded inside a wicker basket along with a pair of knitting needles and several balls of yarn. She held up and examined her handy work, a cream-colored turtleneck with a strip of coffee brown across the chest. She had obviously spent much time on it, but she could not for the life of her recall who it was intended for. The size—albeit slender around the waist and shoulders—was still rather large for a girl, yet too small to have been for her father, who recently passed away.
"Perhaps if I bring it to school I will remember."
The next morning she took the sweater to school but made no connection as she went through the day. She knew that it was popular for girls to knit for their boyfriends and young men they fancied, but there was no one like that for her.
At 3:30 in the afternoon she entered the student council room only to find the vice president, Lelouch Lamperouge, by himself. The others, said the frowning teen, had all been drafted by the president for errands off campus, leaving just the two of them to go through the thick stacks of requests, accounts, and schedules… again. He smiled apologetically and poured her a cup of tea as the two sat down across from each other and set to their task.
For the next hour, the room was quiet but for the sounds of typing, writing, and the bubbling and whistle from the teapot in the kitchenette. The work was repetitive and bland, but Shirley found herself strangely at peace alone with the boy she was supposed to know but did not. From asking around (and receiving strange looks from her classmates in return), she knew that he was well-liked amongst the girls at Ashford—that he went about his business with machine-like efficiency and yet liked to doze in class, that he was perfectly polite but distant to all except a select few, including her.
She wondered why he showed her such consideration, checking often to see whether there were any parts of student council work which she did not understand and volunteering for her share when assignments were handed out. After a great deal of courage gathering, she made up her mind to learn more about the boy who tried so hard to make life easier for her when he had no reason to. "Lelouch."
He turned around, the two of them standing in the empty school hallway lit by the hues of fading daylight filtering through the floor to ceiling windows. Shirley held out the bag that she had kept with her all day and smiled warmly. "I know this is rather out of the blue, but I would like you to have this."
"What is it?"
"A sweater I made. I found it in my room but just can't remember who I was supposed to give it to."
For several moments she wondered if he might refuse because of the conflicted expressionon his face, but in the end he accepted the gift to her great relief. "… Thank you."
"Go ahead, try it on! I've been meaning to thank you for all the help you've given me."
Lelouch obliged, and when he had finished pulling the sweater on, Shirley was delighted to see that it was a perfect fit. "It's like it was made for you!"
And she wondered why when she spoke those words his eyes filled with such sadness even as he smiled in return.
And she wondered why she felt tears in her chest after they parted ways, as though she had lost something precious but had forgotten what it was.