Author: alyalia

“Congratulations on becoming an adult, Arianne.”

 

“Thank you. Please speak comfortably.”

 

“Then, shall we? Because we’re family now.”

 

Family…

 

I shed a self-help smile, recalling my family, which was worse than anything. That’s right. They might be closer to a family than my father, who only saw his child as a tool, and my mother, who abandoned her daughter like a burden.

 

I wouldn’t even throw away my dog like that.

 

Although my mother knew how her daughter would be treated in the Bornes mansion, she still abandoned me. I compared them to my blood family. Even just for a year, during that time, they will put me inside the fence called ‘family.’

 

Whenever I saw the over-friendly madam, I felt a certain pressure. Was it called guilt?

 

She gave me birthday presents too…

 

Was it just because of birthday presents? In addition, I couldn’t help but know the gentle care of madam, who was considerate of me living in an unfamiliar place.

 

Where the hell do people see that they’re a strict and arrogant family?

 

They were so kind and caring. The dining room was calm and quiet but warm. The soft and itchy sensation rising from my heart was not bad. That’s right. These people… maybe… They could be my family, right?

 

Then, when Sebastian pushed the tray in, all of my emotions cooled.

 

“It’s… a cake.”

 

A cake decorated with white cream and various fruits was placed on the table.

 

“You can’t miss a cake on your birthday.”

 

“…that’s right.”

 

At the glance of madam, Sebastian sliced the cake, put it on the plate, and placed it in front of me.

 

Umm.

 

Just looking at the cake made my stomach hurt. The memory of my first cake, stuck in my mind, still haunted me. It wasn’t until Sebastian gave the cake to others as well that madam talked.

 

“Everyone digs in. The chef said he made it with special care for today’s main character.”

 

He didn’t have to pay that much attention…

 

Should I say I can’t eat cake? However…

 

If it was in County, I would have yelled, ‘Why did you bring this!’ and fired the chef. But this place wasn’t my home, and the chef’s broad smile came to my mind.

 

“Cooking has become more enjoyable with the arrival of the young lady. Please tell me if you have a particular food you like. And you can always find me when you need me. Haha.”

 

Was it only the chef? No, all the servants of this mansion treated me in the same way. What if everyone found out I wasn’t like what they thought of as a savior? Such warm and friendly considerations would disappear without a trace. And everyone looked at me coldly, thinking I had lied to them. 

 

Seeing me in deep thought, Charter asked, “Are you okay?”

 

Only then did I come to my senses, smile awkwardly, and say, “Yes, I’m okay. I’m just a little full…”

 

“You don’t have to force yourself to eat.”

 

As expected, Charter seemed to have noticed my uncomfortable appearance. Then he took my plate and began to scoop up the cake.

 

“Ah, that’s mine…” utter me.

 

The cake, which had been mangled with a fork, was eaten by him casually.

 

“The chef said that he paid special attention to it, and it was more delicious than I thought, so I’m tasting it a little more.”

 

“Then it would be better to get a new one,” told me, who looked at my cake that only had half left.  

 

“Wouldn’t the chef be disappointed if your plate remained intact?”

 

Ah…

 

“I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you.”

 

I was always surprised by this man’s other side, which at first glance seemed insensitive. I didn’t expect him to care about the chef’s feelings as well as my feelings.

 

If it wasn’t for Charter, the chef would have been very disappointed.

 

If I had told the chef about the situation later, his heart would already have been hurt.

 

I need to talk to the chef later. I can’t eat cake.

 

That way, I won’t waste someone else’s time and effort. And I didn’t want him to be hurt.

 

Charter hinted at me as I stood up after the dinner.

 

“Can you spare me some time?”

 

“Yes, of course. I can spare time. So what?”

 

I followed in the footsteps of Charter.

 

Layla, who stayed until the end, was still sitting with a face that looked like she had been beaten.

 

“What? Did he eat the food that someone else touched?”

 

He never ate something when I brought it to him. Didn’t he even take her plate on his own a while ago? Huh.

 

“What the hell!”

 

The servants, who were arranging the seats, were startled by Layla’s shout. Sebastian, who was watching this, stopped what he was doing and left the dining room. The butler’s duty was to understand and respond to the guests staying in the mansion. Even if that guest was an uninvited guest to them for now.

 

 * * *

 

“What is this?”

 

“It’s beer.”

 

“What about beer?”

 

Charter tilted and spoke to me as if he didn’t understand my words.

 

“I remember that I promised to serve you a beer on your coming of age.”

 

“Ah~”

 

It was during the night market. He remembered every little thing. And I couldn’t believe he had prepared this. Was it a lie to say that he was too busy to even care for me? Whatever.

 

I smiled at the beer and the simple snacks on the terrace.

 

“Thank you for remembering. But is this all for my birthday present?”

 

“?”

 

At my mischievous question, Charter was speechless.

 

What more did I need?

 

The corners of my lips twitched.

 

The man who didn’t even know of ‘romantic relationships’ in his life must have done his best to prepare for this. Even though I knew it, looking at him full of anguish made me somehow want to tease him more.  

 

“It’s nothing~ Your mother bought me three of these wonderful dresses. Along with a diamond set.”

 

But have you prepared anything? Is this really all? Seeing my expression as if asking those questions, Chart was perplexed.

 

“I didn’t know that I had to prepare a separate gift.”

 

Pfft.

 

I couldn’t hold back my laughter and eventually laughed out loud.

 

“Ahaha. It’s a joke, just a joke.”

 

“Are you sure it’s just a joke?” Charter asked. He knew well that I had a straightforward personality, so he hoped he wouldn’t make any mistake without knowing my true feelings.

 

“Of course. Your birthday present is my favorite.”

 

Actually, his mother’s presents were better. But that was a secret.

 

Charter’s narrowed brow loosened. As I stood in front of the chair, Charter escorted me by pushing the chair in when I sat down. Then he filled my glass by himself and said, “Happy birthday, Arianne.”

 

I replied with a bright smile, “Are you sure you’re not going to have a drink?”

 

“Yes, I’m fine.”

 

I said with tears in my eyes, “It’s not fun because I drink alone. Pretend to drink, then.”

 

At Arianne’s request, Charter glared at the beer glass in front of him. 

 

It will be fine. It’s been 10 years ago. 

 

At the age of 15, he participated in the battle of the neighboring kingdom as if he was pushed back by his uncle. After the first battle, he drank with the imperial army and lost his mind with just one gulp.

 

Charter never drank alcohol after that. The moment he lost his mind, he knew exactly the assassins would come out to target him. Even after the threat of being assassinated disappeared as he became an adult, the habit of not drinking still remained.

 

But now that he was an adult, wouldn’t it be okay to take a sip? Her partner said he was no fun. He didn’t want to be a boring person.

 

Gulp.

 

The slight stimulation that flowed down his esophagus was not very pleasant.

 

“It’s an interesting taste, right? First of all, what is this feeling! It feels like it’s scratching my neck! But after a few sips, it felt refreshing. So this what beer tasted like.”

 

“…”

 

“Do you know what Madrenne said? What? Why aren’t you answering?”

 

I, who had been swearing hard at Madrenne, turned to Charter, who didn’t answer.

 

Huh?

 

When did we get so close?

 

I was surprised to see Charter sitting close to me with his upper body and head leaning toward me. A strange color flowed from Charter with his half-closed eyes.

 

“What are you doing? Are you setting the mood?”

 

Despite my words with an absurd tone, Charter slowly closed his eyes, then opened his eyes again, staring at me, and opened his mouth.

 

“Arianne…”

 

Then he closed his eyes again and… huh? Don’t tell me?!

 

His face was slowly approaching.

 

No! Wait a minute! It’s too early!

 

I was restless and pulled myself back as far as I could.

 

What should I do? To kiss all of a sudden? No matter how we’re engaged… Should I do it by pretending I can’t win against him? What should I do?

 

Too close!

 

His face came too close that she could feel his breath.

 

Pow!

 

Thud.

 

There was a sound of something getting hit hard.

 

I took back my outstretched hand and spoke as if making excuses.

 

“You were too close… that’s why I pushed you away… Are you okay?”

 

Charter’s head, which had been bent to the back, returned. After a while, a streak of blood flowed down from his beautiful nose.

 

“!”

 

Charter, who still closed his eyes, didn’t seem to have any intention of wiping his nosebleed. Was it because he was embarrassed?

 

“Hey, Charter, are you okay?”

 

No matter how many times I called him as I was looking at him, he didn’t answer.

 

“This man… Did he fall asleep?”

 

And the next day, I couldn’t even see Charter’s shadow all day long. It was said that after waking up at dawn and leaving the mansion, he didn’t come back until midnight. 

 

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Comments (2)

  1. I was expecting the opposite. He challenged his trauma in this chapter, but she didn’t. Interesting.