Then, while my daily life seemed the same as before, it had actually changed quite a bit.
In high society, it seemed that the interest in me now that I had publicly assumed the position as the wife of that Agedilus Von Lancent would never run out. The invitations to tea parties and evening parties were endless.
Today I was sent an invitation to have tea on the terrace in the courtyard. Checking the sender of the accompanying letter, I sighed.
「I received another one…」
Just the other day I had declined an invitation from this same person, and I was starting to get annoyed. The invitation resembled the rest. Before I even opened the envelope, my mood started to worsen. Seen my reaction, my husband, who was sitting across from me drinking herbal tea, laughed scornfully.
「Each and every one of them is just trying to satisfy their curiosity. Just refuse them.」
「It’s not that easy.」
He said it like it was simple, but I had to act befitting of my position. Just the other day, I had finally attended a tea party hosted by that gourmet friend, and that had been hard enough as it was. I had resolved myself to be criticized for not speaking of my and Edi’s relationship, but happily, that didn’t happen. The fact that staying quiet about it was not of my accord, but was Edi’s decision, had been shown at that evening party, and with none other than the princess watching over us, and it seemed to be quite effective.
That was all well and good, but instead, I was questioned about everything that had happened from the moment we first met to our marriage. My friends seemed to prefer the “love story” of Edi and I that spanned all the way back to our childhood over a love story between Edi and Lunamerie.
「It must have been painful when Agedilus went on that journey, right?」 and 「The realization of a childhood love, how wonderful~」 and 「A love that overcame all obstacles, how inspiring~」 etc etc. Hearing them talk about me like that made my uncomfortable, and I ended up feeling extremely ashamed.
Was what had happened between Edi and me really the inspirational love story that these ladies were talking about? …Nope. Not at all. Even if it were, it wasn’t the sweetly painful story they were exalting, it was more sour than that.
「Filmina, what are you smiling at?」
「Oh, it’s nothing.」
I shook my head in response at Edi’s quizzical voice. The fact that I alone had the privilege of experiencing this side of Edi, sitting drinking herbal tea, made my feel happy. It made me smile unconsciously. And speaking of privileges, I had one more.
「Edi. Edi, why did you treat Luna differently to how you usually treat other girls?」
The most evident privilege he gave me, the use of that name. Not Agedilus, but Edi. His treatment of that lovely girl who wanted to gain that privilege for herself was definitely different then how he treated all the others. My question must have been unexpected, because his eyes widened slightly.
Perhaps this was a topic that he didn’t want brought back up, because he looked at me with a distasteful expression. But I didn’t cower away. I stared right back at him, and after some silence, he replaced his teacup in its saucer and gravely started to speak.
「Did it look that way?」
「Yes. Normally, you would mercilessly reject them from the start.」
「What kind of person am I in your mind?」
「I’ll leave that to your imagination.」
I declared smiling. Edi pursed his lips. Normally he completely disregarded how other people would take things, conscious of that fact but doing it anyway. It wasn’t like he didn’t understand what I was asking.
No matter how important of a noble Lunamerie was, he wasn’t the kind of person to change his speech and conduct because of that. And since he had become the head royal court magician, and a hero that had saved the world, he had gotten even worse. In response to my question his expression twisted, as if despite the fact that just remembering it was annoying, he still wanted to say something.
「The Valentine House, outward appearances notwithstanding, is capable of anything. They’re tricky. I knew at first glance that the girl was of the same breed. It looked like if I provoked her in the wrong way, it would be a pain.」
「Oh, was that the only reason?」
Even Edi was a man. Being approached by a girl that cute… Regardless of the original intent… Being followed around adoringly, it would not be unheard of if he enjoyed the situation, perhaps reluctantly went along with it… As those thoughts ran threw my head my doubts piled up. Edi’s sunrise-colored eyes blinked as if he had been asked something surprising.
「Was there anything else besides that?」
That mysterious light in his eyes lost all hint of malice.
If he says that, I guess we’ll leave it at that. I wasn’t completely satisfied, but with him in this mood, asking anymore would be a waste of time.
Perhaps it was the fault of the curse, but even so, I felt like I had been an idiot for being so troubled. Sighing and taking a sip of herbal tea, I suddenly felt a gaze. Edi was resting his elbow on the table and was staring at me. Those sunrise-colored eyes twinkled with a mischievous light, and he tilted his neck and asked,
「And speaking of you, I didn’t think you’d raise your hand there.」
I reacted with a start. He was probably referring to the time in the prison of the Valentine House, when I slapped Lunamerie in the face.
「Were you disappointed with me?」
Even if I had let my emotions get the best of me, I had done a fearsome thing. I’m saying this about myself, but normally I endeavor to be ladylike and refined. For me to show that sort of behavior, no one could have imagined that. Even I myself couldn’t imagine doing that. In Edi’s case, it must have been even more unexpected. The image that I had built up for myself had been ruined. I waited for his response anxiously, and he quietly shook his head, then smiled gently.
「No. It made me fall in love with you again.」
Being told that sort of thing out of nowhere, I almost missed it. Sipping my herbal tea, I stopped trying to calm myself down, and looked at Edi. His smile quickly disappeared and he put on a blank face. But if he thought that would fool me, he was sorely mistaken. Why would he be trying to pretend that he hadn’t just said what he just said, I wonder?
「Edi, what was that just now?」
「What was what?」
「Well, wouldn’t this make the first time that you’ve said that you loved me?」
「…Is that so?」
「Yes, it is.」
Yes, up until now he had shown his feelings through various actions, but this was the first time that he explicitly said those words. During the wedding vows, he had said 「I love you」, but that was more of a formality. But just now he had certainly said those words.
「Hey Edi, could you say that one more time?」
I urged him with my eager gaze, but instead of responding to my wish, he suddenly stood from his chair.
「I’ve still got some more work I have to finish tonight, so I’m going to head to the palace. I’ll be back late again tonight, so don’t wait for me to go to bed.」
「Surely you have the time to say just one word though? Wait a second – Hey!」
In an instant, he disappeared from in front of my eyes. Teleportation magic.
「He got away…」
I grinded my teeth unthinkingly. And he had said that today was a day off. Geez.
「There’s no helping him.」
Of course the empty space voiced no response to my muttering. Then, relishing in the feeling of being alone, I leaned back against my chair and stretched out. That voice suddenly replayed itself in my ear,
「Please, never forgive me.」
At that voice, calm, concealing his sincerity, I closed my eyes and nodded from the bottom of my heart. As he said, I would probably never forgive Sir Celves. And he, and Lunamerie, I would never forget either of them, as long as I lived. Together with Edi.
I live on, together with Edi. No matter what happened, no matter what obstacles occured along the way. It might be cliche to say, but even something impossible for one of us, if its the two of us, surely we’ll be able to overcome it. So 「I」, will continue to live in this world.
「For now, when he gets home, it will be game on!」
When he returned, I would definitely make him say it, I vowed to the expanse of blue sky that filled my vision. Aah, today too, was a beautiful day.