Chapter 28.2: Birthday Present
“Theodore, happy birthday once again.”
“Thank you. I had a really happy day because you celebrated it with me, Ester.”
Finally, it was Theodore’s birthday. A small birthday party was held at the Count Kieza’s mansion, as per Theodore’s request. As his partner, I gave him a present just before the party, but I didn’t have the courage to give him the one that Angelica recommended. Instead, I gave him a normal bangle, but he smiled genuinely and happily.
That’s why I decided to give him a present that would make me want to cover my face and say, “Who would want something like this?”
“Um, so, this is your birthday present. . .”
Theodore, who had already moved to the royal castle with less than six months left until the wedding, was planning to stay at the Kieza residence for a family gathering on his last birthday as a Kieza. From that background, I mustered up the courage to hand him something as he came to see me off for my return to the royal castle through teleportation. I was so nervous that I accidentally used the formal “desu” when addressing him for the first time in a while.
“Huh? But you just said. . .”
“That was a backup. . .this is the real one.”
Saying that, Theodore received a small box that was small enough to fit in his hand, looking surprised. I suppressed the urge to run away and answered “yes” when he asked if he could open it now.
“Is this a rocket pendant? Oh.”
Theodore, who casually opened the rocket, froze when he saw what was inside. I started to worry if he was disgusted, but I waited for his reaction.
“I’m happy. . .”
“Huh?. . .Really?”
“Yes, I’m happy! Thank you so much, more than anything. . .!”
As he said those words, Theodore hugged me tightly with a smile of pure joy. I never thought that the pendant with my portrait that Angelica had mentioned would be so appreciated.
Let me say it again.
It’s my portrait.
“What is this. . .I’m so narcissistic. Who would be happy about this?”
As he hugged me, his brow furrowed and he muttered those words. I now know that this kol is not normal, but regarding this matter, I think his words are reasonable. I wonder if Theodore himself doesn’t find it strange to receive something like this? As I looked up at him, contrary to my expectations, he seemed to be concerned about something in a different direction.
“Um, this, my face. . .”
Theodore loosened his arms from the hug and stared intently at the portrait.
The portrait depicted me without a veil, and it looked so much like the real me that it was understandable for him to doubt if he had seen my face.
“Of course, I haven’t actually shown my face. Angelica was also present, and I only conveyed that this child had a face that seemed to have aged, but the result is surprising. “
“Oh, so that’s how it was… Ah, could it be the young man named Bruno from that time?”
“Yes, he is the painter who drew this picture. I heard that he has good memory and quick brush skills, so I requested him.”
Bruno is a person with an amazing memory who can perfectly draw a subject in one minute. Even though he was busy preparing for the wedding, he couldn’t spare hours to sit as a model without doing anything, so I chose him. As a result, the portrait itself turned out to be a splendid work of art. . .except for the fact that it’s my portrait.
“I was worried if it would be better with a veil.”
“No, this is good. It has more effect than any charm.”
If he was pleased, then my embarrassment could wait. The goal had been achieved. As I relaxed, Theodore suddenly asked me as if he had just remembered something.
“Come to think of it, if he’s such a painter, why did he glare at me when he left?”
“Uh. . .that was. . .”
I remembered that moment vividly.
At first, I thought of brushing it off, but Theodore stared at me as if he could see through my veil, so I gave in and told him the truth.
“. . .I also had Theodore’s portrait painted for my personal use.”
“I see. Did you also make it into a pendant?”
“A pendant. . .yes, I did.”
I commissioned Bruno to paint three portraits. One was a portrait of myself as a gift, the second was Theodore’s portrait to put in the pendant, and the third. . .
“. . .I also have it displayed in my room.”
I muttered like a guilty child confessing my sins, but it seemed that Theodore had heard me loud and clear. I expected him to be exasperated with me for doing something so presumptuous, but instead, his eyes sparkled.
“I want a portrait of you to display too.”
“That would ruin the scenery.”
“But you also have my portrait displayed, don’t you?”
“It’s not a problem because you’re very beautiful.”
“It’s the same for you.”
“That’s just favoritism.”
I don’t think I’m ugly. I don’t hate myself either. In fact, I take pride in having a well-proportioned face, inheriting the good traits of my beautiful parents and resembling my cute siblings. But when he’s around, it’s like comparing a beautiful pebble found on a riverbank to the world’s most valuable gemstone.
“No matter what you say, you are the most beautiful person in the world to me.”
However, he earnestly declares this, like a personification of beauty. If the world’s most beautiful man says so, one might suspect it’s flattery or sarcasm. . .but there’s no room for doubt, as his eyes, voice, and warmth all show that he truly believes it from the bottom of his heart.
All I could do was blush at his compliment.
“But still, even if it’s just an imagined image, it’s not good for anyone other than me to see a picture of Ester’s true face. . .”
Theodore began to worry about something that I couldn’t quite understand. If he’s this happy, maybe it would be nice to take the time next year to have a picture of the two of us drawn together. I realized the words of my sister, who insisted that “Onee-sama should be more aware of how loved she is.”