Chapter 28.1: Birthday Present
Since the day I awakened my mind-reading magic and thought that Theodore disliked me, I chose only safe gifts for him. Basically, whatever was trending at the time. If onyx was popular, I would give him cufflinks with onyx, if chain brooches were popular, I would give him a chain brooch, and if there was nothing suitable, I would give him high-end stationery. And for all of them, I didn’t engrave his name or anything that could be given away or sold. Looking back, it was a very petty thing to do.
Because of that, on Theodore’s birthday, which I would celebrate with him for the first time after truly connecting with him, I didn’t know what to give him anymore. It was so embarrassing that I ended up seeking advice from my six-year-younger sister…
“Hey. . .Angelica. Are you serious about that?”
Ignoring my skeptical question, Angelica confidently replied, puffing out her chest.
“You shouldn’t joke around when Onee-sama is seriously troubled.”
“It’s also troublesome if it’s not a joke. . .”
“Why? I can’t think of anything else.”
Did I choose the wrong person to consult with? However, she was not the kind of child who would tell meaningless lies. I knew that even without using my magic. . .but.
“What Brother Theodore would like is. . .”
Although I knew it in my head, it was difficult to accept the words that followed.
I was invited to the wedding of Benedetto, a close friend from my knight school days. However, it would take two days by magic train to reach the territory of the Viscount Fontana family, where he was marrying into. With less than six months left until mine and Ester’s wedding, Ester was particularly occupied with preparations.
So I had mixed feelings about leaving her behind, as she was very busy, and I also simply didn’t want to be away from her. I was considering sending a message to decline the invitation.
Because they’re important friends, right? I’m sorry for not being able to accompany you, but at least celebrate with Theodore. During that time, I’ll arrange for additional guards.
With that, she easily sent me off. I felt a complex mix of gratitude and loneliness, but when I saw Benedetto looking so happy at the event, I thought it was good that I came, and I became excited at the thought that we would soon become a couple like that too.
However, I couldn’t relax and enjoy myself, so I left on the night of the wedding and was able to return half a day earlier than planned.
Before the misunderstanding was cleared up, Ester would smile in a troubled way, saying that she was relieved but embarrassed when I returned early like this. But now. . .now that our hearts are connected, I hoped that she would be happy to see me and say that she missed me.
As I hurried to her, what came into my view was. . .
“. . .Well, it’s embarrassing, but it’s wonderful.”
“Hehe, I’m glad you’re pleased.”
Ester was sitting on a bench in the garden, looking at something small, while an unfamiliar man knelt in front of her. Judging from his appearance, he seemed to be a common citizen, but why was he here? And what was he doing?
“Ester, I just got back.”
“th-Theodore. . .You came back early. Didn’t you stay overnight?”
“I see. I’m glad you’re back safely.”
Although she was visibly shaken by my unexpected presence, Ester smiled and spoke to me without reading the atmosphere. . .While quickly hiding something she was holding in her sleeve.
There were maids and guards around, so I didn’t think anything unusual would happen, but I couldn’t help but wonder about the situation after hearing their conversation.
“Ester, could you introduce this man to me?”
“Ah, um, nice to meet you. My name is Bruno! My occupation is-“
“Wait, please keep that a secret. . .”
Ester quickly stood up and stopped Bruno, who nervously greeted me. Overwhelmed by her momentum, he covered his mouth with his hand.
I became even more confused by the whole situation. What kind of occupation did he have to keep it a secret? Seeing my confusion, Ester also seemed to be at a loss, holding her head in her hands.
“Um, then, I should excuse myself now. . .”
“Wait, please wait a moment.”
Unable to bear the awkward atmosphere, Ester stopped Bruno, who was about to leave after bowing deeply, and whispered something to him while opening her fan. Bruno, who had been nervous until then, suddenly nodded seriously and said, “Yes, ma’am,” before turning to me with a strong gaze. . .Why?
“. . .Yes, it’s all right now.”
I had no idea what he meant by “it’s all right now,” but Ester looked up at him with a respectful gaze for about a minute after he said it while glaring at me. It was a scene that made me envious, as if she was relying on him.
He then bowed again and left. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but he walked up to Ester and hugged her before leaving. I didn’t know what his position or relationship was, but Ester’s fiancé was me. I wouldn’t give her up to anyone. . .Even though Ester was a princess and it was natural for her to have various interactions with people, I hated my own narrow-mindedness.
Perhaps sensing my agitation, Ester also hugged me tightly from behind.
“I’m sorry for making you anxious. Just to let you know, there’s nothing suspicious going on. He just delivered the goods I requested. . .”
Even though she buried her face in my chest, her apologetic tone and demeanor made me smile and relieved my tension.
“It’s okay. I fell in love with you as soon as I met you, Ester, so I just get a little defensive when it comes to other men. . .So, I’m sorry for being narrow-minded.”
“You’re being too possessive. You’re the only one who loves me this much.”
I was about to deny those words instinctively, but I closed my mouth. There might be other men who have fallen in love with Ester, but there should be no one who loves her more than I do. I love her deeply, so much so that I can confidently say that I am the only one who loves her this much.
“Besides, even if someone were to fall in love with me, you are the only one I will ever love.”
Ester said with a slightly embarrassed but clear voice. Although I couldn’t completely erase my curiosity about the man named Bruno, the happiness of being told something pleasant by Ester surpassed that question.
“. . .Me too. I also love only you.”