She doesn’t even get why people were warming the table with Lucius’ mistakes instead of their own. When Deatrice said something strange about it, Lucius joked that it was because he was handsome. People say they chose to spoil him a little to break the ice so that they could approach him.
“I am pretty, but I hear no insults about me.”
“That’s why people find it hard to approach you.”
“Do you feel that way too?”
She had asked and Lucius answered, pulling her back and kissing her on the cheek.
“Of course. Though, I do hope you’re a little bit crooked yourself.”
Breaking free from her trance, Deatrice suddenly saw Dixie avoiding Raymond’s hand. Raymond grabbed Dixie’s hand out of habit and tried to whisper something to her, but Dixie avoided his hand as if it burned hers.
It was the first discord she had ever seen in this seemingly perfect house.
Was that not the case?
Come to think of it, the Raymond she met a few hours before the luncheon was strange. At that time, Deatrice was waiting for the temple’s attendant to arrive so she could deliver another letter. As she walked around the area, a servant, who thought she had come to claim something, held out a tray containing a few letters and said to her.
“Do you have a letter you are waiting for?”
As she was about to explain, Raymond marched from afar, shouting the name of the servant holding the tray.
“Didn’t I tell you to always come to me first when letters arrive?!”
It was the first time she had seen him so angry. After approaching him with wide strides and nervously rummaging through the tray, Raymond found his desired letter and looked at her, then nodded his head briefly and walked away.
It felt like he was receiving a letter no one should know about.
Of course, all of this could’ve been an illusion created by her desire to somehow find dissonance in a happy family.
Deatrice tried not to care and concentrated on her meal. It wasn’t until they separated that Dixie regained her composure as the lady.
“I’m ashamed. You’ve had a hard time coming here, but I couldn’t even welcome you properly because of my condition.” Dixie leaned over to Raymond, and the couple looked as solid as before.
Deatrice reached out for Dixie’s hand, thinking that the strange feeling she had felt was nothing in the end. Then Lucius also pulled his sister and kissed her forehead.
“There’s nothing to worry about. We came here to congratulate you. Take a good rest and contact me whenever you need anything.”
“That’s true, Dixie. The atmosphere of your home is so good that it already feels comfortable just by staying here.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
Dixie smiled hard as she came out of Lucius’ arms. After that, the process of tedious formalities and pretense continued. Deatrice, who had been adding one word at a time, suddenly felt that everything was unbearably boring, so she shut his mouth and looked elsewhere.
Then, her eyes met with Philip, who had been quiet. The child clung to the nanny’s legs with a look as if he had lost his soul. He would stare at the adults here and there, and as soon as his and her eyes met, he became startled and hid behind the nanny.
Dixie noticed Deatrice’s gaze was focused on Philip and blinked at the nanny. As the nanny whispered something to the child, the child handed Deatrice and Lucius a small corsage with a thoughtful expression.
It was a sloppily made corsage of the flowers blooming in the garden. Handing it over, the child ran out of the room and Raymond burst out laughing at how cute his son was. It turned out that the little gift Philip made was a must-have gift after visiting their mansion.
But no matter how meaningless the gift was, Deatrice felt her heart sway at the corsage made of incompatible flowers, such as roses and daffodils.
Deatrice stared at it for a long time throughout her return to the carriage, and Lucius stared at her for a long time too.
The weather was dazzling on the way back to Northum. From the silky feel of the wind, the clear sky, and the gentleness of sunlight—it seemed like it was foretelling that a bountiful harvest and beautiful gardens were soon upon them.
Lucius, who had been leaning against the cushioned wall and looking out the window, rang the bell, and stopped the carriage.
“Let’s take a break. It’s a nice day, and it’s almost time for lunch anyways.”
It was a bit early for lunch.
Besides, the food wasn’t even fully prepared.
Due to managing their busy daily routines with no rest, the servants naturally rushed their way to the manor and thought that the masters would only eat after they got back.
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