She quietly held her breath and waited for Edmund to start eating.
“It looks fresh.”
Edmund picked up the smallest fork on the outer edge of the table. She quickly followed suit, picking up the salad fork also placed on the outside.
“Mmm, it’s really fresh! It has a nice texture, too!”
For a moment, Edmund’s red eyes glanced at her. She had felt that same regard before.
It was a look that said, ‘What’s this woman up to?’—a disdainful glance. Edmund then put down his fork and picked up a small spoon, which was also on the outer edge. As before, she quickly followed.
“What… are you doing?”
“Haha, the soup tastes great, doesn’t it?”
She smiled awkwardly and started eating the soup in front of her.
Something felt off. Edmund briefly responded and picked up the innermost fork and knife. This time, it was for the cutlet.
“The cutlet looks great in color. It seems super tasty, haha.”
“Why are you mimicking me this whole time?”
“Mimicking? I’m just… eating what I feel like eating.”
She shrugged and moved the knife over the cutlet. Just as she was about to cut it—
The knife slipped, making an annoying metallic noise.
‘Damn it! I can’t even cut properly now?’
Her eyes blinked quickly at the stupid mistake. Sure enough, Edmund’s forehead wrinkled in displeasure at the cutlet, half-cut.
“Ah, my wrist feels weak, maybe because of the accident. I think it hurts… I should call Doctor Mars again.”
She put down the knife and fork and tried to save face. She even acted as if her wrist really hurt, rubbing it and wincing.
“Ow, ow, ow! It hurts…”
Edmund had been watching her, sighed deeply and spoke to Sasha, standing next to him.
“Make sure the lady doesn’t worsen her injury.”
“What? Oh, yes!”
Sasha hurriedly responded to the unexpected instruction. Meanwhile, Chloen buried her face into the table, trying to contain her laughter.
It was because of the unexpected attention. She began to eat the soup in front of her again, feeling better. However, her hungry stomach wasn’t going to be satisfied with just soup.
‘I want shrimp, too. How do you eat shrimp here? Duke Randolph, please eat so I can follow!’
Her mouth watered as she looked at the perfectly grilled shrimp.
“Rettin’s shrimp dishes are second to none.”
Edmund picked up the general-use fork and skewered a piece of shrimp. She swallowed her saliva, staring at it.
“Wow… that looks really good.”
She spoke in a pitiful voice, still pretending that her wrist hurt. After a while, a peeled shrimp was placed on her empty plate.
“Is this… for me?”
Watching Edmund nonchalantly change the topic, she felt even more embarrassed.
However, her hunger came first. She quickly popped the peeled shrimp into her mouth. The salty taste of the sea mixed with the flavor of butter, and she couldn’t help but smile.
‘Rettin is definitely good. It’s like it melts in my mouth.’
The shrimp was arguably the best she’d ever had, bursting with flavor.
“Mmm~ It’s tasty.”
But she didn’t notice the corners of Edmund’s mouth subtly lift as he watched her smile happily.
* * *
“Ma’am, is this all you ate?”
Sasha whispered as she cleared away the remaining dishes. Unlike Edmund’s empty plate, mine was almost as full as when the meal started.
“My wrist is hurting, so how can I eat properly?”
“But you must be hungry…”
That was true, and very much so.
Given that I had eaten so little and was also putting on an act, my stomach was loudly protesting, but I ignored it.
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”
Although disappointed with the poor meal, I forced a smile and responded briefly. I really wanted to vacuum up all the food in front of me, but of course, I couldn’t.
‘If it wasn’t for him.’
I glanced at Edmund, who was sitting quietly across from me. Throughout the meal, the unnerving gaze of the handsome man scrutinizing me had felt like too much to bear.
Soon, a pot of warm tea and an array of colorful desserts arrived. There were macarons that looked delectable at first glance and golden-brown madeleines.
My eyes widened, and my mouth watered again at the sight.
‘Can I eat these with my hands?’
I picked up one of the macaroons and quickly popped it into my mouth.
I let out a satisfied sigh before I even knew it. Just as I was relishing the sweetness, I felt an intense stare.
“Is there a… problem?”
Why is he looking at me so intently? Edmund’s eyes silently met mine.
“I didn’t know you liked this kind of thing.”
Edmund smirked and adjusted his clothes.
“Where are you going?”
“Do I need to stay?”
“Didn’t you see how much is left?”
“Sorry, I’m not interested in lumps of sugar.”
Indifferent, he shrugged and stood up, walking swiftly toward the exit.
Is he really leaving just like that?
As his silhouette began to disappear, I scrambled up from my seat and blurted out.
“D-do you want to take a walk with me?”
At my invitation, Edmund slowly turned around.
“Yes! A walk. It’s been a long time since we’ve been together, so let’s go for a walk. I saw that there’s like a flower garden… courtyard? Something like that around here.”
“Staying inside all day isn’t good, you know. We have to soak up some sun and get some fresh air to feel good.”
I smiled brightly.
* * *
Sunlight shone down from above. As the striking platinum blonde hair gleamed brilliantly, a subtle change occurred in Edward’s previously icy gaze.
“So, are you coming?”
Seeing her completely transform, Edward couldn’t help but be taken aback. During their three years of marriage, he’d never seen that smile, yet here she was, showing it off so frequently in just a little over an hour.
‘What’s she up to?’
After a moment’s thought, he quietly nodded.
* * *
The garden was better kept than expected. Though there weren’t many types of flowers, there were some plant-like things that looked like flowers, and a big tree could be seen in the distance. Of course, I didn’t particularly want to go there.
‘Today is just perfect: dinner, tea, and a walk. A textbook date.’
I smiled, satisfied with my perfect plan. Edmund, who had been watching me, finally spoke.
“You seem to be in a good mood.”
“Who wouldn’t be? The weather is nice, and the sun is shining.”
And a handsome man is with me.
As I was thinking this, my eyes caught sight of purple flower buds.
“Ah, there is lavender?”
I felt oddly nostalgic seeing something familiar in this unfamiliar place.
I quickened my pace, reaching for the lavender and wafting its scent with my hand. Inhaling the calming fragrance, I felt at peace.
Then, I broke off a sprig of lavender and offered it to Edmund.
“What are you doing?”
His voice was sharp, though I hardly noticed because I was too preoccupied with the flower.
“It smells lovely. It would be so pretty to decorate the house with them. What do you think?”
Edmund’s face turned icy cold. Slowly, he nodded.
“I knew something was off. You never change, do you?”
His piercing eyes were fixed on me. His tone had shifted, and I felt hurt.
I just wanted to give him a beautiful flower. But somehow, the situation kept taking strange turns.
‘Wait, why is he angry?’
I tried to make sense of Edmund’s hostile reaction, connecting various thoughts and concluded:
‘Is it… his favorite flower?’
* * *
Despite the hot weather, Edmund’s office was devoid of any breeze.
All the large windows were tightly shut, and thick curtains blocked out any incoming light. The room was suffocatingly dark.
Except for one place. Around Edmund’s seat, a chilly air circulated. A blue aura fluttered around him, making it evident that he was not pleased.