HAPPILY EVER AFTER(7)
“Oh my, Sir. Taran. How unexpected to see you here.”
Seeing the face of the middle-aged woman who was greeting him, Damian quickly plastered on the expression of a dignified and upright youngster.
“I hope you’ve been well, Marchioness.”
Marchioness Philip’s eyes were filled with satisfaction as she looked at her son’s reliable friend. If she had a daughter under her roof, she would definitely fight to have him as a son-in-law, and the fact that she couldn’t, made her feel regretful. As Bruno approached and greeted her as well, the Marchioness felt like it was truly a pity as she looked at the two dignified young men before her. Her son should have also been beside them.
‘Oh, Chris. I’m vexed because of this childish son of mine.’
What ‘traveling around the world’. This wasn’t the time to do something so useless. The Marchioness was more than a little worried that at this rate, Bruno would fully occupy the position of Damian’s closest aide.
As the Marchioness warmly discussed the current hottest topics in the social circle with them, the noblewomen who came with her covertly showed their interest and approached.
“Marchioness, you must have fate with these lovely gentlemen.”
“Goodness me, you didn’t know? Marchioness’ son is close with Sir. Taran and Sir. Matin. Very close.”
Hearing the envious voices of the noblewomen, Marchioness Philip’s mood was greatly lifted. The two young men thought to themselves that if their friend, Chris were here, he probably won’t be able to stand it.
The Marchioness was a very typical noble madam. She liked gossiping, bluffing moderately and worldly things. Chris didn’t like that side of his mother.
[It would be so good if my mom resembled half of the Duchess.]
Chris had once said lamentfully.
“What brings you gentlemen here?”
“I came to buy a cake for my mother.”
“Oh my, as expected. The Duchess must be so happy to have such a reliable and filial son.”
Damian and Bruno were being courteous towards their friend’s mother, so they quietly went along with the Marchioness’ long chat.
After they managed to free themselves, Damian stood in front of the shop’s counter to buy the cake they came for.
“Can you please write down the name of the cake you would like to buy on the order sheet in front of you?”
Damian was very relieved to hear what the staff said. He was glad he didn’t need to say the embarrassing name of the cake. As he positioned to write the cake’s name on the slightly yellowish paper like the employee said, he glanced at the note his father gave him. Damian alternated glances between the note in his hand and the bakery order sheet, comparing them. Both papers had the same size and material. He put down the pen and handed the note he was given over to the employee.
“Your order has been received. Please wait while your product is packaged.”
Damian came to the conclusion that his father had come here at least once. He wasn’t shifting the responsibility over to his son. It looks like as long as his mother was concerned, his father wouldn’t care about entering a pink looking bakery to buy a cake for her.
Damian took in the entire view of the bakery and tried to imagine his father coming inside here, alone. But he couldn’t imagine it at all. Damian really respected his father, in various ways.
In the carriage heading home, Bruno glanced at Damian’s expression. And as usual, Bruno’s eyes looked upset for some reason.
“Why don’t you just get people to go search?”(Bruno)
“Are we still talking about Chris?”(Damian)
“Not Chris. I mean, Ted. Although her real name is probably not Ted. Do you know her name?”
“I said this before but, it is at times like this you’re supposed to use your power as heir to the Duke.”
“Our Ixium’s youngest Shyta is really talented, huh. Even gets to date in the Academy teeming with dudes. Since we’re on this topic, when did you find out Ted was a girl?”
“At the beginning of the school year.”
“What. So you knew not long after Ted came to school. That said, I don’t think Ted went to you and told you she was a girl herself. How did you find out?”
Damian chuckled instead of answering. Who would have thought that a girl would dress up as a man and come to the Academy? If not for an unexpected event, Damian wouldn’t have known, and he wouldn’t have paid attention to the one girl among the numerous newly enrolled students.
“Anyways, when I think about that time, I really…When I thought you were romancing a man, I was unexpectedly scared. Chris, that guy didn’t even give me a hint even though he knew.”
“Look for her. Instead of being heart-broken here.”
When they returned to the Academy after summer vacation, Ted had withdrawn from school and disappeared.
“…I only know her name.”
“You don’t know which family’s daughter she is? Or her home country?”
Bruno looked at his book-smart friend and clicked his tongue.
“Well, since she enrolled into the Academy, there should be a clue there, somewhere. If you dig, it’ll show up.”
Seeing that Damian wasn’t replying, Bruno didn’t say anything more.
Ted had disappeared after leaving one letter with Damian. Bruno didn’t know what was written inside but his friend, who seems like he was going to toss everything aside and rush out to look for her, merely locked himself up inside his dorm room for one day, then
returned to his daily life like nothing had happened.
But sometimes, Bruno could sense it. Damian hadn’t forgotten Ted, he was just pressing down his emotions and enduring for now.
* * *
Lucia’s face was full of smiles as she read the letter from Norman. She opened the book that was delivered alongside the letter and read the quote on the first page over and over.
<< I dedicate this book to my dear friend and sister, Lucia. >>
It was a novel written by Norman, who had picked up her pen again after a long time. She hadn’t been writing novels since she got married.
Norman had become the mother of two children, and she was enjoying a life of happiness with the little things. Norman’s letters were packed with events where she sometimes got annoyed with her husband, or whined about her two troublemaking sons, and she made little things sound extraordinary, so her letters were as interesting as novels. Her letters were one of the ones Lucia anticipated the most.
There was another letter Lucia was happy to see today. It was a letter from Kate in the north. Kate was also already married and the mother of two children.
Initially, Lucia only exchanged New Year greeting letters with Kate. But after she went to the north three years ago due to hearing the news of Madam Michelle’s passing, the both of them began to exchange letters more frequently. Kate was very grateful to Lucia for taking the lengthy carriage journey down to the north.
After she was done reading all her personal letters, Lucia began to organize the invitations. There was still an enormous amount of invitations sent to her, but there was a difference from the past. Majority of the invitations weren’t aiming for Lucia but wanted to invite Damian and Bruno, so they intended to conquer Lucia.
There were also letters from girls who were inquiring after Lucia’s wellbeing, out of nowhere. It was very obvious to Lucia that the girls had a crush on either Damian or Bruno so they were asking even though they weren’t curious at all and after reading such letters, she couldn’t help but laugh for a while.
With the invitations organized, there were various other letters left. Among them was advertisement letters from designers. Although people thought Antoine was the Duchess’ exclusive designer, Lucia didn’t have an exclusive contract with Antoine. She just couldn’t find a design she liked better than Antoine’s. She had already thought about commissioning another designer if she found a better design. Hence why she was always interested in looking at the advertisement letters that designers constantly sent to her.
It wasn’t only cloth designers that sent advertisements, jewelers did the same. As Lucia was looking through, she caught sight of a letter from some jeweler and her eyes open wide with surprise.