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“Joo Hye, it’s time for you to get up and go to school! You can’t be late every day.”
My hair was brushed by a warm hand.
This voice, who is it? Mom?
“Oh, what should I do with this sleepyhead?”
The silhouette of my mother, who had died from illness, shimmered faintly.
Mom, are you alive? Or did you just come to see me?
No, any excuse would do.
I reached for my mother.
Don’t leave me behind. Now stay with me.
I held my mother by the collar.
“Joo Hye, your mother is happy now. Now go find your happiness.”
My mother smiled sweetly at me as usual.
But when I opened my eyes, there was another person looking at me.
Is this the Cassiar Duke’s face? The Duke is staring at me, why?
Recognizing the face I was seeing, I opened my eyes wide and looked at him.
I must have had a sad dream, but when I saw Duke Cassiar, even the hazy afterimage had vanished.
“Are you awake now?”
“Why is the Duke here?”
“Well, you are in my carriage.”
It was then that I realized that I was in the Duke’s carriage.
Right. I was on my way to the Marquis’ residence in the carriage of the Duke of Cassiar, right?
I tried to fight off my sleepiness, but I felt like I was drifting off to sleep.
But how much have I slept?
The sky abruptly turned a bluish shade of darkness at sunset.
Come to think of it, this was Marquis’s residence, right?
It was odd that the carriage had stopped as I looked out the window at the Marquis Alioth’s surroundings.
The ride in a horse-drawn carriage from the salon to the Marquis was only a short distance.
The fact that this much time has elapsed indicated that I have been dozing off for quite some time.
“Could you please wake me up when we get there?”
I released the collar holding Duke Cassiar and hurried away from him.
“Because I’m so sleepy that no one can catch it.”
The Duke looked at me like he was having fun.
I slept as comfortably as in my bedroom. Hopefully I wasn’t snoring or drooling, was I?
I would have faced another kind of doom if I had.
In a moment, the image of Riel AliothI had built would be left in ruins.
“Wake me up as well when you awaken.”
“I didn’t have the courage to move. As you can see, I could feel your drool dripping onto my shoulders.”
The Duke of Cassiar turned to his wet shoulders.
No wonder my cheek was so wet.
Please say this is also a dream.
It couldn’t have been my saliva that soaked the Duke’s shoulder.
I squeezed my cheeks ruthlessly while wiping the drool off with my sleeve.
The scene in front of me did not go away, just my cheek hurt.
Why is reality being so unkind to me?
In shame, my cheeks turned red.
“I made a big mistake.”
I hurriedly took out my handkerchief and wiped Duke Cassiar’s shoulder.
I would have immediately crawled inside a mouse hole if my body had been small enough to do so.
“There you go. The traces have been deeply ingrained. There’s no way you can get it back.”
Isn’t it enough to put on such an empty expression? Duke.
The Duke of Cassiar was looking at his clothes as if his life had ended.
Come to think of it, I seem to have forgotten something important.
Duke, wasn’t he going to the Imperial Palace after he took me home?
“Duke, can you take a break like this? You said that you must enter the palace afterward!”
I pressingly asked of the Duke of Cassiar about the appointment for a meeting with the imperial family.
Unlike me, who was nervous, the Duke was as serene as a lake.
“It doesn’t matter.”
It doesn’t matter for you, but it does to me!
It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the Duke.
We’ve got a date for the wedding.
“How does it not matter? It’s a meeting with the Imperial Family. What will you do if they later become irate?”
The rise and collapse of the Duke’s family was nothing less than my future when I became the Duchess.
Although I was preventing the madness from happening, the wrecked finale could still occur at any time.
“Are you worried about me now?”
Duke Cassiar seemed to be always at ease even though the unexpected scenario was irking him.
“I’m worried. For whatever reason, the Duke is now my husband. Therefore, stay away from anything that could harm you.”
If it even harmed the Marquis, you won’t be able to sleep and won’t have any soup to eat.
For the sake of today’s peace, I decided to omit the latter.
“I’ll be careful.”
The Duke of Cassiar was unexpectedly obedient to me, contrary to my expectation that he would pick a fight about something else.
It seemed that somehow he had become more gentle than usual.
Do you feel good when you wake up after sleeping for three days?
After three days without sleep, do you feel good when you awaken?
The feeling that followed a restful night’s sleep was undoubtedly the best feeling there was. Similar to me at this moment.
“Since it’s late, I’ll just go inside. Please hurry to the palace, Duke.”
The coachman opened the carriage door as I stood up from my seat and nagged nonstop till the end.
I was the first to wake up, but Duke Cassiar was the quickest for me.
From beneath the carriage, he extended his hand to me.
“You can’t fall back in your sleep.”
Come to think of it, I almost fell several times today.
I took his hand and got off the carriage safely.
“Thank you for taking me. Duke, please go now.”
Duke Cassiar was looking at me without even considering getting into the carriage, so I was going to see him enter the carriage and leave as a courtesy.
“I’ll let you go inside your house first.”
Well, he told me to go in, so there was no need to decline.
I gave Duke Cassiar a small smile before entering the Marquis’s mansion.
I noticed the Duke’s carriage as I walked into the estate and peered out the window.
“Are you still there?”
I thought you left early, but did you watch me return home safely?
Duke Cassiar was only now getting into the carriage.
The carriage carrying the Duke slowly left the Marquis’ residence.
What a mysterious man he is. He’s feisty and sweet.
Could it be that he fell in love with me at first sight like any other possessive person?
That thought shattered when I returned to the room and looked in the mirror.
In the mirror, I had sparsely dispersed hair, smeared on makeup, and even had spit stains on my lips.
There’s no way I’m going to have a personal relationship with the Duke over this.
By doing so, I exhaled.
I slept endlessly.
I slept soundly in the carriage until I drooled, and I woke up with a good night’s sleep.
I was delighted to see my skin glowing, then I heard a knock.
“Lady, it’s me.”
Lili knocked on the door and then entered.
“You came just in time. Lili, I was thinking about the lunch menu. How about a beef steak? Oh, with salad too! Salad is served with pineapple. It’s got the savory taste! What do you think?”
As if waiting for her response, I recited the lunch menu.
Thinking that eating time was the most important of the day, I was also careful in choosing the menu.
Lili, who had usually replied, appeared just as distressed today.
“Even just hearing about it makes you hungry, but it seems difficult to have lunch at the mansion today.”
I had an ominous feeling.
I had a feeling I was going to be disturbed while enjoying a peaceful meal in the mansion.
Who is standing in the way of me and the beef steak?
“I think you should go downstairs first. There’s a present you like more than beef steak.”
What was better than beef steak?
Whatever the case, there was no doubting that it was fantastic.
“I’m leaving now.”
What kind of gift do you have?
I’m hoping it tastes better than beef steak.
I pretended nothing was wrong, but I had high expectations.
“Lady, you shouldn’t go there, I think you should go out the front door.”
The fact that it was more special than beef steak led me to believe she had specially prepared a meal, but Lili pointed in the direction of the front door.
Is there any delivery food here?
I’d never heard of that.
After all, the Marquis’ food is opulent as well, so if you want something more special than that, you’ll need a talented chef.
“I’ll make sure to greet you kindly.”
I started down the hallway by myself.
“Welcome to the Marquis.”
The moment I flung open the front door, a familiar face emerged.
“I didn’t know you would welcome me so much.”
It was none other than Duke Cassiar who was giving me a cold stare.
My mood, which had risen to the sky, immediately fell to the floor as soon as I confirmed he was coming.
Lili, you claimed that it was a better gift than a beef steak?
But the gift was Duke Cassiar.
You degraded my precious steak of meat.
“What has brought you here at this time?”
Was it not enough to fall asleep in the carriage yesterday?
Duke Cassiar, nevertheless, appeared energetic.
The weather was pleasant, so it even looked refreshing.
He would be casted immediately if I ran an ad for an ionic drink.
“I’ll give you this.”
Duke Cassiar brought me a bouquet of flowers as I was relishing the sensation of having my eyes cleansed.
It was a bouquet full of purple hyacinths and mist flowers.
I think he brought it for me.
Which day is it right now?
I recalled the anniversaries associated with me in my head.
But there was nothing special about it other than the fact that it was the day I was going to eat beef steak for lunch.
“Are you giving it to me?”
“Thank you, but did you have an appointment today? I’m not sure what I missed, but there’s nothing to mention.”
I went over to Duke Cassiar and asked in case I had forgotten something.
He gave me a direct glance in response to my question.
“Because purple hyacinths look as beautiful as your eyes.”
Did I mishear?
If that was not the case, then Duke Cassiar said that my eyes were really beautiful.
I couldn’t believe it, so I looked at the Duke and he handed me a bouquet of flowers.
He must have said something else, and I must have heard wrong that he bought the flowers because my eyes were beautiful.
Yeah, for sure.
“The bouquet is so pretty. Thank you. Did you come all the way to the Marquis to deliver this?”
The Duke of Cassiar pondered for a moment before responding when asked what to do.
“Do you have any other plans today?”
Even though I didn’t have a set schedule today, I tried to enjoy lunch alone today.
I haven’t worked with the Duke on any tasks lately.
“I don’t have an appointment with anyone, but I had a plan to have beef steak and pineapple salad for lunch.”
I was going to tell you to come see me after lunch if you wanted to get some sleep.
But I didn’t expect Duke Cassiar coming back to ask me.
“Can I join you?”
I was adamant that I would not skip lunch no matter what we did as we conversed, but Duke Cassiar spoke to me softly.
“I would like to join you for your lunch.”
He put a big hand over his mouth, as if in shyness.