Come to think of it, I didn’t know if Lakis had gotten to Carnot already. Of course, even if I don’t concern myself with it, he would take care of himself.
“So, did you see…I mean, did you learn anything?”
I felt Genos slowly taking his hand away, so I asked. Hearing that, a deep sense of melancholy arose on Genos’ face.
“No…I didn’t get anything.”
It wasn’t an ability that could be activated at will, so his attempt this time seemed to have ended in vain.
“Um, can I maybe try next time…”
“Sure, you can try again when you come next time.”
Genos’ entire body was shrouded in a gloomy aura as he spoke in a voice full of hesitation. Seeing his hesitation, I immediately realized what he wanted.
“Is that okay with you?”
It wasn’t that much of a big deal, so I didn’t really understand why he was mentioning it so carefully.
“I don’t see why not. You’re doing it for my own good.”
After agreeing to it lightly, I tried to stand up from the table. When I pulled my arm back, the hand that was overlapping my own fell off till it was almost at my fingertips.
But before our hands fully separated, Genos suddenly caught my hand and held it firmly.
Oh, what is it? Did he suddenly see something?
While thinking that, I lifted my head and looked at the person opposite me. And I was greeted with the sight of Genos staring straight at me in the same manner.
I could see his calm purple eyes peeking between the gaps of his scattered bangs.
Somehow, his eyes seemed to be swirling with emotions that were difficult for me to grasp. But soon enough, Genos lowered his eyes, so I wasn’t able to see them for very long.
“I’m sorry, but can you bring me some sugar? I’ve been using my brain a lot lately, so I am craving something sweet.”
He let go of my hand and smiled softly as if the strange atmosphere earlier had nothing to do with him. I replied to show that I understood, then I got up and left the table.
* * *
After downing the coffee with heaps of sugar, Genos quickly left the coffeehouse. He didn’t say anything else but for some reason, I felt like he was strangely in more of a hurry than usual so I figured he must be quite busy today.
Or maybe it was something else?
…I hope it wasn’t related to me.
I remember how he hurried out of the coffeehouse after seeing my face last time so even though Genos’ behavior could be described as minor, I still felt suspicious.
“Ms. Yuri, we’ll get going first then.”
After Genos left, Anne-Marie and Hestia also got up from their seats.
“Alright. Be careful on the way.”
The number of customers had reduced, and the store was somewhat quiet, so I went outside to see them off myself.
“I think the blonde oppa is better.” 
Right then, Hestia who had been staring blatantly at me from beside Anne-Marie blurted out.
I unconsciously repeated the remark then I paused. Other than Lakis, was there any other blonde oppa around me?
“Hestia, what are you talking about?”
Anne-Marie hurriedly whispered in Hestia’s ear with surprise. And when Hestia continued speaking, I knew I was correct.
“I saw Yuri unni with blonde oppa once by accident. But I think the blonde oppa is a better choice for Yuri unni’s boyfriend than that mister…” 
“Oh gosh, this kid?”
Anne-Marie was startled out of her wits and blocked Hestia’s mouth.
“You’re being rude to Ms. Yuri right now, do you know that?”
Ah, I guess both of them also saw me holding hands with Snow. If someone didn’t know what was going on, it could definitely seem a little like that. And so, Hestia seemed to have misunderstood.
Hestia frowned and forcefully removed Anne-Marie’s hand which was covering her mouth.
“I mean, if Yuri unni is fine with it then I can’t do anything about it. I was just saying that because I don’t think that mister is good enough for Yuri unni.”
When Hestia didn’t stop talking and even kept on adding more, Anne-Marie’s face was flooded with embarrassment.
“You…what do you know to talk like that?”
“Of course, I don’t know anything. But the number one thing is: Blonde oppa is more handsome.”
Once she heard that, Anne-Marie looked like she was about to pass out.
“You shouldn’t compare and judge people by their appearances.”
“Well, appearance aside, that mister’s personality is a little weird.”
“What do you mean weird? Of course, he has a bit of a unique side to him, but everyone has something…”
“Sis, you always try to see everyone in the best way, right? Honestly, I’m worried about you too, Unni. You’re so innocent, what if you meet a weirdo…”
In the end, Anne-Marie’s voice grew stern. I watched Hestia flinch at that.
She shut her mouth as if she’d gotten some kind of sign from Anne-Marie. Anne-Marie looked at Hestia without a smile on her face, then she said:
“We are going to have a talk when we get home.”
Oh. This was a little unexpected.
I’d always thought of Anne-Marie as a gentle and soft big sister but to think there were times when she was this strict.
Hestia kept opening and closing her mouth but in the end, she didn’t say anything else and just glumly lowered her head.
Anne-Marie took Hestia’s hand to straighten her up then she apologized to me.
“I’m sorry, Ms. Yuri. My sister is still young, so she doesn’t know how to watch her words.”
“It’s fine. I’m not upset so don’t worry about it.”
In the end, Hestia headed home with Anne-Marie in low spirits.
As I watched their backs from afar, it looked like Anne-Marie was already scolding Hestia instead of waiting till they got home. Hestia seemed sullen and quietly listened to Anne-Marie without saying a word.
Then just before their figures disappeared at the corner of the building, Anne-Marie gave Hestia a hug. When I saw that, I couldn’t help but think sisters are nice.
* * *
“By any chance, did a red-haired man or a brown-haired man come to the store today?”
What the, is today seriously some kind of special day?
Seeing the man who showed up just before the coffeehouse closed up for the day, I couldn’t help but have serious doubts.
A handsome man with black hair and silvery-grey eyes.
He was none other than Kalian Crawford.
Just how many people have come looking for me at the store today? If they were all friends, I might have thought they planned it together.
Anyway, a red-haired man or a brown-haired man, he says. I could tell exactly who he was talking about.
“No red-haired man came to the store today and as for brown-haired men, there were more than a few.”
I had a hunch that Kalian was talking about Genos, but I acted like I knew nothing.
What the hell, Genos. I thought he was strangely in a hurry earlier; did it have something to do with how Kalian was checking his whereabouts now? Don’t tell me he was skipping work.
“Then, of the brown-haired men, was there anyone named Snow who came to store today?”
Kalian frowned slightly when he heard what I said. Then he picked out the name Genos used when he was in disguise and asked me directly.
“I guess you two know each other?”
Instead of answering, I returned the question.
However, Kalian seemed to have figured out the answer on his own.
“If he happens to come again, can you send him out of the store instead of dealing with him?”
Kalian ignored my question in the same way and spoke again.
‘This guy, he’s just saying what he wants to say.’
I wasn’t exactly offended but something about it made me think ‘what is this now’, so I tilted my head professionally and said:
“That is not something I can decide. Nor is it something you can decide, Mr. Kalian.”
I didn’t know what was going on but if he wanted to limit Genos’ actions, he should talk to the person concerned instead of doing this to me.
After hearing what I said, Kalian was silent for a while. And a moment later, he slowly opened his mouth again.
“You’re right. I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry if that upset you.”
Kalian apologized to me more courteously than I expected.
“And I would be grateful if you could please forget what I said just now.”
Still, he seemed to truly regret his actions, so I nodded without saying anything else. Honestly, the fact that a noble of such height would apologize to an ordinary person so sincerely was surprising enough.
“I guess I came when the store was about to close.”
“Yes. I was just about to tidy up.”
Gilbert had been observing from a distance, but it seemed he couldn’t just ignore Kalian, so he approached and asked hesitantly.
“Uh…would you like a cup of coffee?”
“No. I’ll come next time.”
But even after saying that, Kalian didn’t turn around and walk away. He stared at me as though he had something else to say.
Just when I was about to ask why, he opened his mouth and said:
Was this an extension of his earlier apology? But for some reason, the look in his eyes and the emotions in his voice seemed heavier than before.
I stared at him for a while too then I said.
To that, Kalian gave a faint smile. Somehow, his smile seemed to contain self-mockery and reproach.
With that, Kalian left the coffeehouse and the long day was finally over.
* * *
A few days later, I visited the Crawford family. As always, Bastian welcomed me with open arms.
But as soon as I sat down, Bastian began to speak with a serious look on his face.
“Actually, there’s something I have to tell you today.”
 This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this phrase about wanting some sweetness after using your brain. Is there some truth behind it? My teacher used to give us lollipops before exams for the same reason.
 Oppa: Used to refer to a young older male. Literally means big brother.
 Mister: The term here is ‘Ajusshi’. I didn’t want to keep it in, unlike Oppa. Used to refer to elderly older male(in comparison to the speaker).
 Err, to be more precise: she says that Yuri is losing too much if that guy is her partner. I reworded it but wanna make sure it comes across accurately.
Question for readers: Is it ever confusing as to who is speaking? I just want to make sure.
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