“Well then, Charles.”
After I had seen His Highness’ unsightly show of being dragged down the corridor, I abruptly turned around.
Standing before me was of course, Charles. Still the fear and nervousness I usually felt in front of him was gone. My heart had never felt so light.
It’s alright, with my heart lightened I think I can manage this somehow.
Sure, Endo’s a useless idiotic bastard without a single redeeming quality, but for a genius like me I could use that to my advantage. This was my only chance to fix the complicated situation we were in.
“I have something to tell you.”
“……What is it?”
Without looking away Charles wiped away the tears from his big blue eyes.In the light coming through the window Charles’ blonde hair seemed to shine.
Go on, say it. Right now is your once in a lifetime opportunity to clear this up. Say it. Just speak Christina Noir!
Spurred on by my inner voice I opened my mouth wide and-
“What nice weather it is today Charles!”
I was mistaken.
Just how deep into my unconscious was the urge to run away ingrained.
I didn’t want to say such a thing, and Charles didn’t want to be told such a thing. That much was obvious. Only in front of Charles did I become such an idiot, even then I still knew that.
Even Charles eyes’ seem terribly displeased.
“That’s right. The weather is nice. ……so?”
“Ah, no, that’s not it. That’s not what I wanted to say, ah…..”
“Yeah, then what did you want to say?”
My heart jumped as his voice dropped several degrees.
I’m not used to facing Charles when he’s like this, it’s making me jumpy. I’m too conscious of him, and too worried about his reactions. Even though I know that’s why I keep getting caught in this vicious cycle, I don’t know how to escape it and not knowing just makes me even more impatient.
I start to panic. It’s better if I run away than to have our conversations turn so cold. These helpless thoughts come out and I lose my voice.
His calling my name returned me to sanity.
His voice cracked a little as he said my nickname, I could feel his uneasiness.
I’ve been driving myself crazy over pointless worries. I’m not the only one annoyed at my indecisiveness, Charles is in the same boat. I have so many things I want to hear from Charles.
But now is time for Charles to hear my side. Charles has never run away from me once, and he’s never tried to force the conversation.
So there’s no reason for me to be so confused.
I take a deep breath.
That breath fills my lungs and circulates through my body. I gradually manage to return my breathing to normal and oddly enough my heart also calmed down.
I finally said the words I’d been holding onto for two years.
If I could say that, then the rest was easy.
“To avoid you all this time, I’m sorry I selfishly ran away. It doesn’t mean that I’ve come to hate you, Charles. I can’t say it well, but that’s definitely not what’s going on”
“It’s just, I don’t really understand it myself. EVen now I still don’t understand. But I know I’ve been acting like a fool. …..I kept running away, I’m sorry. I can’t apologise enough.”
“Yeah, that’s enough.”
In the middle of my words Charles squeezed my cuff tightly.
“Even if you don’t explain everything, I think I basically get it. Since it’s Chris, I had a feeling it was something like this.”
“But, I was scared I was wrong. Not knowing was so scary…..you can be such an idiot sometimes Chris.”
I puffed my cheeks up in frustration at the most unthinkable comment in the world. I, I –
I am a genius. I ran around the mansion freely at age one, could speak at age three, had read every book in the study by five, was praised as the perfect lady at my first ball at seven, realized my first love at nine, and now at eleven I could finally face that love. I am such a perfect lady that I have never received a complaint.
But only this time, I won’t complain and apologise instead.
“As long as you don’t run away anymore it’s fine”
Rather than wasting time on the past, I need to seize the now and the future. I intend to follow those great words.
But as a girl two years older than Charles, I couldn’t seem weak in front of him.
That’s why, I’ll smile instead.
A smile from the bottom of my heart. As if to show Charles that It’s really me I smile as only I can.
Finally after two years I’m smiling in front of Charles.
In front of the Charles I was so scared of, one day I will be able to be more honest.
That’s it, I finally get it.
To understand your own feelings, it’s just as Mariwa said.
This has to be what Mariwa was talking about. Impatience, fear, confusion, they’re all my emotions and I can own that.
This is the first step to being true to myself.
That’s why I could say these words honestly.
‘I won’t run away anymore.”
‘…I understand. with that it’s okay.”
Though he still looks a bit sulky, my fiance forgave me with that. With this small exchange he let my two years of dishonesty become the past.
Letting all the worries I’d kept in my heart unravel, I could finally feel relief.
I’m glad. Everything is back to normal now. It was concluded so easily I doubted why I’d been worrying all this time.
The load on my chest was finally gone, I felt the relief I hadn’t had for two whole years. Now at ease I made to stroke Charles’ hair as I once had.
“By the way Chris,
Chris caught my hand halfway.
As he held my caught hand I tilted my neck in confusion.
Charles muttered as he brought my hand to his lips.
“I won’t let chris run away anymore either”
To Charles who occasionally looked so much like Michelie I was frozen.
At the same time as he finished speaking, the face that looked just like my beloved sister’s, kissed my hand.
It was the way a gentleman expressed affection to a lady. It was often done as a formality at parties, but at those time a lady would have gloves on.
My hand was bare.
I held my kissed hand to my chest as Charles smiled cheerfully.
“What Chris? You’re face is bright red.”
Of course. No matter how similar they looked, the meaning was completely different to when Michelie did it.
Charles isn’t a member of my family yet.
I sent a disgruntled expression to the very calm Charles, as my cheeks burned.
“…..I’ll forgive you this time.”
In our two years apart he had become a bit conceited. I frowned. Charles didn’t seem to have even a speck of remorse for kissing a lady without permission.
‘That’s why next time make sure to ask first.”
Charles smiled a little as I berated him.
“As I thought, Chris is just too cute.”
“Guh-……! I’m leaving! Bye Charles!”
“Okay, I’ll come over to play soon.”
It seems that after two years things will never go back exactly the way they were.
I informed the servant of my departure, all the while gently stroking the spot Charles had kissed. A small smile plays on my mouth.
Rather than going back, it seemed we’d managed to take a step forward.
Where he had kissed still felt warm.