Author: lipzoldyck

 

What…?

 

The strength slipped from Eleanor’s hand, which was holding onto Adrian’s sleeve.

 

Tak.

 

She couldn’t tell if it was her hand or her heart that landed on his lap.

 

Eleanor’s eyes shook violently as she looked at her childhood friend in front of her. It felt as if she was facing a complete stranger.

 

‘Is he kidding?’

 

Yet Adrian didn’t laugh. Eleanor’s mouth went dry.

 

Eleanor couldn’t hide her bewilderment, she asked.

 

“You… Are you serious now?”

 

“Yeah, I’m serious.”

 

“If you’re joking, just stop here. If you tell me later that it was all a joke, I will get really angry.”

 

At Eleanor’s words, Adrian tilted his head slightly. There was a shallow gap between his smooth forehead.

 

“Does this sound like a joke? That can’t be.”

 

Eleanor’s face slowly turned red. Thump, thump, the sound of her heart beating rang loudly in her ears. It was as if her eyes were spinning around and around.

 

Eleanor, barely holding on to the strings of her reason, cautiously opened her mouth.

 

“It could just be a bit confusing. Originally, when a man and a woman stay together for a long time…”

 

“Ellen.”

 

Adrian called Eleanor in a low voice.

 

“My feelings are clear.”

 

It was a very firm tone, as if he didn’t want to hear such a thing any more.

 

Looking straight into Adrian’s eyes, Eleanor bit her lip tightly. He has unwavering eyes. His gaze was full of confidence and sincerity enough to look earnest.Although she was still bewildered, she couldn’t seem to doubt Adrian’s sincerity any more.

 

Eleanor squeezed the hem of her skirt to hide her trembling fingertips.

 

“…Since when?”

 

“It’s been quite a while.”

 

Adrian tried to be as calm as possible. But he couldn’t stop the slight trembling at the end of his words.

 

Yet he didn’t avert his gaze, nor did he make a hole to slip through, as he always did. Since he came this far, he had no place to back down from.

 

“I like you.”

 

Adrian nailed it again.

 

“That’s why I don’t want to give you dating advice.”

 

It was enough until now to walk a tightrope on the line of friends.

 

***

 

Teacher is weird.

 

Sienna, Lucas, and Demian all made the same judgment looking at Eleanor. It was a logical decision based on several reasons.

 

“Teacheeer.”

 

“…”

 

“Teeeaaacheeer.”

 

“…”

 

For example, no matter how many times they called her, she stared into space with her chin resting on her hand and her face in a state of fascination.

 

“Teacher, I don’t understand this table problem.”

 

“Brother…?”

 

(도형 ‘do-hyung’: table. 형 ‘hyung’: brother)

 

“No, three seconds is too much for the tagger. You won’t be able to run away before five seconds, will you.”

 

“Uncle…?”

 

(삼 초 ‘sam cho’: 3 seconds. 삼촌 ‘sam-chon’: uncle)

 

Like, being startled and spitting some words out of the blue.

 

It’s not hot, yet it’s common for her to be busy fanning her hands. Sometimes, even the nape of her neck turned bright red, and she buried her face in a book then sighed.

 

Anyway, she got really, really weird. Something clearly was wrong.

 

The three children, waiting for the carriage to return after class, exchanged glances with each other.

 

“Teacher, are you sick anywhere?”

 

Lucas, who was worse off, asked Eleanor abruptly.

 

“Hm? No… I just slept a little late. I’m okay.”

 

“Then go in and get some rest. When the carriage comes, I will go with the butler.”

 

Sienna quietly pushed Eleanor on the back and said firmly.

 

“No, but still…”

 

“Teacher, you look very tired.”

 

At that time, Demian, who had been calm, added his words. He stretched out under his eyes with his thin fingers, his face full of worry.

 

Eleanor was taken aback. It seemed that even to the children, she didn’t look like a joke.

 

After hearing Adrian’s confession, Eleanor was in a daze the whole time. She avoided any situation in which she might encounter him. Because she couldn’t overcome the awkwardness.

 

If she had guessed alone, she would have been able to pretend she didn’t know and treat him like she used to. Like Kaidel or the Crown Prince.

 

However, she couldn’t do that to Adrian. Eleanor couldn’t figure out how to deal with him.

 

‘After all, he didn’t ask for an answer, right?’

 

Should I treat it as if nothing had happened? Or should we try to have a serious conversation? If that’s not the case…

 

Eleanor quickly shook her head, trying to shake off her endless worries. Then the worried eyes of the children immediately followed.

 

She asked quietly.

 

“Do I look that tired?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Very much.”

 

From the darkened shade of her eyes to her limp wrists. She tried to maintain her usual tension in her own way, yet it seemed to be of no use.

 

After a moment of hesitation, Eleanor cautiously opened her mouth.

 

“Then, can Teacher go up first and rest?”

 

“Yes! Of course.”

 

As soon as Eleanor finished speaking, the children nodded at her. Their tiny hands pushed hard behind Eleanor’s back, where they could hardly lift her feet.

 

“Goodbye. Sleep well, Teacher.”

 

“See you next time.”

 

Eleanor tilted her head at the incomprehensible awkwardness and began to climb her steps at a slow pace.

 

“…Thank you. I’ll meet you in better condition next time. Albert, take care of the children. Please watch them from riding the carriage until they have gone.”

 

“Don’t worry, rest, lady.”

 

As soon as Eleanor was out of their sight, their bewildered gaze turned straight to the butler. They were obviously just cute children, yet somehow Albert felt his spine go down at their gaze.

 

“Why… are you looking at me like that? Anything I can help with?”

 

Sienna grinned and nodded her head.

 

“Yes, I need your help. It’s very important.”

 

***

 

Knock, knock.

 

Standing in front of the Count’s office, Albert cautiously opened his mouth.

 

“This is Albert.”

 

“Come in.”

 

Soon after, the Count’s pleasant voice was heard from beyond the door.

 

Unlike usual, Albert hesitated a little and opened the door. Standing in the doorway awkwardly, he scratched the back of his head and said,

 

“There are people who ask to see you…”

 

“Guests came so suddenly? I don’t think I’ve been contacted beforehand.”

 

The Count frowned as he took off his spectacles and set them down on top of the papers.

 

“Is this someone I know?”

 

“That is…”

 

Just then, small heads popped out of the open door.

 

“Hello, Count!”

 

***

 

Thus, an unexpected conversation took place. The Countess, who heard the news, also sat down with them, unable to overcome her curiosity.

 

Warm milk was placed in front of the children, and black tea was placed in front of the Count couple.

 

“Eat a lot.”

 

The Countess pushed the cookie plate a little towards the children.

 

“Thank you.”

 

Lucas quickly took a bite out of the cookie. Demian, who was watching him, also reached out for the cookie plate.

 

In fact, it was as if the two children had followed Sienna without knowing anything.

 

The Count, who had been looking at the three children happily, smiled softly and opened his mouth.

 

“Alright. You have something to ask me?”

 

“Yeees. It’s nothing else…”

 

After hesitating for a moment, Sienna squeezed her small fist tightly and asked.

 

“I was wondering if Teacher is sick somewhere.”

 

“Ellen?”

 

The eyes of the Count couple widened at the unexpected words. Sienna nodded.

 

“Why did you think that?”

 

“We kept calling her yet she didn’t hear us, and her eyes were dark…”

 

“That’s right.”

 

Lucas quickly nodded his head in agreement. The sound of children chatting among themselves created an uproar in the room.

 

The Count, who had listened attentively to the children, responded in a soft voice.

 

“It’s not that she’s sick, it seems like she has been a little busy lately. Ellen has been like that since she was little. When she took on anything, she did it until the people around her forced her to stop.”

 

“As expected… Even when she is studying?”

 

Sienna, impressed by the Count’s answer, asked with a flushed face. Excited by that response, the Count nodded his head exaggeratedly and continued.

 

“Well. I think she did well from the start as much as she studied. Right, Honey?”

 

“Right. Ellen has had a bit of an eccentric side since she was little. Even though her and Dwight are twins, they don’t really have much of a resemblance. Everyone was amazed at how grown-up she was. Even though Dwight is her brother, Eleanor, in fact, was raising half of Dwight.”

 

“That’s right. He wasn’t as meek as Eleanor, but she wasn’t as eccentric as she was.”

 

“What do you mean eccentric. You have to say she is special.”

 

The couple burst into laughter as they recalled their daughter’s childhood for the first time in a while. The reaction of the children who clapped their hands and asked them about this and that made them feel like talking about it.

 

Eleanor singing lullaby and patting Dwight on the shoulder until he fell asleep. That she hung on an oak tree, she read a book all day long on a swing. She had been writing in a diary every day since she was 8 years old, and the contents were just like those of an eighty-year-old man…

 

Small episodes poured in endlessly. It must have been boring, yet the children were strangely shining their eyes and begged them to tell them another story.

 

Sienna raised her hand and said.

 

“When I was little, I used to ride the swing every day. Just like Teacher.”

 

“I envy you. We don’t have a swing in our house.”

 

“It’s not even in the Imperial Palace. Shall I ask my brother to put one?”

 

Sometimes they told stories of their own ‘childhood’, which were so cute that the Countess buried her face in her hands and shook her shoulders.

 

‘As expected, there are children at home, so it’s lively. There were times when Eleanor and Dwight were just right.’

 

It hadn’t been this crowded since Dwight and Eleanor had grown up. It’s a bit early, but it’s like seeing their cute grandchildren…

 

The faces of the Count couple melted away.

 

At that moment, an idea flashed in the Count’s mind. He murmured softly.

 

“Ah, come to think of it, it was Dwight and Eleanor’s birthday soon.”

 

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Comments (2)

  1. I honestly don’t know who to root for, I’m stuck between Adrian and Kaidel 😭

  2. Quando eu era criança,ao contrário desses bebês que contam histórias de quando eram crianças ainda sendo crianças,eu contava sobre quando eu era adulta lkkkkkk não sei por que