—Five days have passed.
Together with Sir Berland, who came straight from the Jenner duchy, I rode a carriage en route towards the royal castle.
I don’t know what kind of tricks she used, but as she previously asserted, Caroline will attend the party together with brother Orpheus.
‘Maynard was sulking.’
Berland says with a wry smile as we rode the carriage, but I am not the prince’s fiancée to concern myself with him anymore.
It’s been a whole month since I last met him.
He constantly visited our manor within the entire previous month, bickering back and forth with my father; so I don’t really feel that way, but according to sir Berland, Maynard had grown weak-spirited.
‘At least dance a single song with him.’
I guess, I should.
Naturally, my father was also invited to the party, but I’m sure he will try to hinder Maynard like a stubborn immature child. Dearest mother will attend too so she should be able to hold his reigns in that regard.
But still, Brother Orpheus will come too…
The oldest of us siblings, Brother Geoffront, will attend with his fiancée, Lady Ethel, but he’s not as childish as the two mentioned above. When he heard of me being kidnapped in the duchy, I heard he had some conversation with Rev. Robert, but other than that, he did not meddle with my relationship with Maynard.
‘If you’re worried about Orpheus, I’m sure Caroline will handle him.’
Sir Berland said as if he read my mind.
I responded to him with a small nod and lightly smiled.
Right after entering the castle, Maynard dashed my way.
He was full of vigor like he will dive into my bosom, but Sir Berland was there to put a stop to him.
Maynard gave him an annoyed glare in response, but immediately shifted his gaze to me and smiled.
‘Aileen! I missed you so much!’
Maynard, don’t be breaking into all smiles in such a crowded entranceway.
There is still time before the party starts so all three of us went to a separate room instead.
After asking for tea from the court lady, Maynard kept staring at me and as expected, went all smiles.
‘That earing. Is that the one I gave you before?’
Oh, he immediately noticed that.
I put my hand towards my ears and lightly nodded.
This earring was a gift from Maynard a year ago. It was a flower-shaped earing with a dark sapphire in it, the same color as Maynard’s eyes. It just so happened that it goes well with my light blue dress, and I—most certainly!—did not wear it for him.
‘Your dress suits you well too. Putting up your hair together like that suits you very well. You’re very slender after all; it makes you look like a fairy, Aileen.’
Because Maynard kept praising me with all the smiles in the world, I couldn’t help but look down in embarrassment.
He’s never been this much of a flatterer when we were engaged! What’s the matter with him today, goodness.
Sir Berland who used to sit next to was full of disdain and said that he felt like vomiting sugar, and left the room.
Oh my goodness, how very, very embarrassing! Maynard, are you an idiot?
With Sir Berland leaving, Maynard moved towards the chair next to me.
By the way, I’ve already lifted the three-step rule when we rode together on the way from our duchy to the capital. I mean, it would be difficult to keep that up while riding the carriage together, and besides, Maynard keeps approaching fully prepared to get hit regardless, so there’s no meaning to them.
‘Are you well? What have you been doing the past month? I’ve been wanting to meet you.’
Just when we were left alone together, Maynard puts on his sulky face.
It seems that he has already seen through my dearest father’s lies about my failing health.
I couldn’t leave the house the entire month so I did nothing but embroideries. Thanks to that, I was able to finish a splendid tapestry.
‘Embroidery?… Oh, I still take care of that embroidered handkerchief that you gave me before.’
‘Wasn’t that three years ago, sir?’
‘Yeah. I’ve never used it even once so there’s not even a spec of dirt in it.’
Maynard, I gave that for your to use.
‘How about you, sir. Are you well?’
I already know he is not well though; with all that daily bickering with my father. I still asked him nonetheless, just in case.
‘I couldn’t meet Aileen at all so I was lonely.’
I asked about your physical well-being, Maynard. Not how you feel.
Certainly, it’s the first time I haven’t met with him for an entire month, but that’s going to be the standard from now on.
‘Will you dance with me today?’
‘…If it’s only a single song, sir.’
Dancing more than one tune with anyone who isn’t your lover is a breach of etiquette. I dance with him for who knows how many songs when I was still his fiancée, but I will do no such thing anymore.
Yet, Maynard muttered to himself with a disapproving voice.
‘Then I’ll make it so that the song never ends.’
Maynard. Don’t you dare do that. Seriously!