< — Ducal couple — > (8)
TN: Most of y’all seemed to like stewards like I do. Great minds think alike (jk).
During the timeframe of the tea party, Hugo was having a meeting. Hugo held regular meetings with his vassals, knights and local lords.
From their point of view, holding a meeting once a month was good enough to know the state of things but all of Hugo’s other meetings were held at least once a week and then met frequently to hold meetings.
His style of meeting aimed to provide solutions to the issues that are raised during the meeting. So, when he enters a meeting, people were only able to come out after it was over and with faces full of exhaustion. There were many cases where the meeting had started in the morning and lasted till evening.
Today’s meeting took a long time too and was only done sometime after the tea party had ended. Thankfully, the time for dinner had not yet passed.
The current time was a bit too early to have dinner but it was also a time without any particular purpose so Hugo asked Jerome about Lucia’s whereabouts.
“Her grace is on the terrace.”
‘Ah. The tea party.’
[Since it is her Grace’s first event, what do you think of sending a congratulatory gift?]
‘Damn,’ He lamented a little. He’d wanted to send a present but then forgot about it.
Yesterday, his mind was focused on something else, and today, he’d been in a meeting since morning and hadn’t had time to think of anything else. Well, at least today still wasn’t over. Even if it was a little late, as long as it was given today, there probably won’t be any problem.
“Is she still having a tea party at this time?”
“No, Your Grace. It’s been a while since it ended. Her Grace is just passing her time on the terrace. And…since you did not give any orders on a gift for her Grace, I used my judgement and sent flowers and decorated the terrace.”
“Hmm? Okay, you did well.”
As expected, his steward was very capable.
“You said she was on the terrace, right?”
Looking at the back of his master, Jerome couldn’t bear to tell him that her Grace was currently suspicious of whether his Grace had truly sent the gift of flowers.
This incident was undeniably Jerome’s fault. It was the first time in his life as a steward to hide his mistake from his master.
Ignoring Jerome who was busy drowning in his sense of shame, Hugo took light steps towards the terrace. As the day drew to a close, the red glow of the sun was cast on the terrace and the moment Hugo reached the terrace, he stopped walking.
Lucia was sitting down with her eyes closed, supporting her chin with her hand on the table. It was as though terrace was enveloped in a blanket of silence, it was not a heavy silence but a serene and calm one.
‘What is she thinking of?’
He didn’t want to disrupt her contemplation but he was also curious as to what she was thinking about and was tempted to immediately bring her back to reality. Looking at her peaceful face, his heart couldn’t help but grow calmer. She looked so comfortable and at ease that it took his breath away.
Hugo slowly closed his eyes then reopened it. Sometimes, when he looked at her, he felt strange. He felt like there was something pressing down on his chest and he couldn’t quite make out what was in front of him, like something unknown was gnawing at him from the inside.
It was not a pleasant feeling but this feeling did not make him unhappy or uncomfortable. In his life which had always been clear and precise, she was a puzzle piece that he’d been unable to find a place for.
Suddenly, her eyes flew open. When she discovered his presence, she gave a smile that was radiant as sunshine. Hugo momentarily furrowed his brow. His heart suddenly felt like it was being pricked with a needle and seemed to ache.
These days, he kept having abnormal symptoms in his body. So far, he’d never fallen ill and as for wounds, his body recovered remarkably fast so he never needed doctor and had lived without one.
‘…Do I need to ask them to call in that old geezer?’
What was he thinking? Philip’s face was one face he didn’t wish to see even in his dreams. Lucia quickly got up and ran towards him.
The very enjoyable tea party, the fragrant scent of the flowers and the sad but beautiful glow made by the slowly setting sun, all of it had slowly elevated her mood. She had been enjoying the quiet peace on the terrace and just when that happy feeling had reached its peak, he arrived.
Lucia expressed her currently bubbling emotions by running into his arms.
As she had suddenly ran into him, he was stunned for a moment. He held her waist firmly with his arms as she rubbed her head on his chest and relaxed into his arms.
He responded by embracing her soft bosom to his body then he lowered his head and kissed the top of her head. She was doing cute things she’d never done before.
If this was what she had learned at the tea party today then he didn’t mind opening one every day.
He smiled tenderly, lightly grabbed her chin and gave her a soft kiss.
“Was the tea party fun?”
“Yes, thank you for the present.”
His gaze immediately took notice of the terrace which was covered in flowers. It would seem that the gift that Jerome had sent on his behalf had made her very happy, and with that, he was satisfied.
‘Just why do women love flowers? They can’t even eat it.’
He couldn’t understand it but in the first place, he could never understand the existences called women anyways. His sight moved towards the bright and blossoming red flowers that seemed eager to show off their beauty, and his gaze landed on the rose flowers.
His eyes slightly stiffened.
[Please send me a rose.]
Suddenly, the words she had said came to mind. He then felt an ominous foreboding.
‘When did she say that?’
In his extraordinary memory which could remember everything from the day he could walk, an error seemed to have occurred.
As his heart grew restless and desperate, his memory became more disordered. He struggled to remember the memory of something that had happened just a few months ago.
‘Right. The contract…the condition she gave me the day we made a contract.’
[If you believe that I am unable to control my heart, please send me a rose. ]
‘This… Damn it.’