3. A Thousand Years of Memories (3)
“Welcome, Earl Falmouth, to my household.”
“First; allow me to express my delight for the invitation. My schedule is quite busy, yet here I am—I can hardly believe it myself.”
“Oh no, I hope this wasn’t too burdensome…”
The day had finally arrived;
Today, I shall be having a tea party with Earl Falmouth.
Cloudless skies—truly pleasant for such an occasion.
My dress was pale red, while my hair was loosely tied.
I wanted to avoid overdressing because it would make me seem vain. Besides, there is no use, anyway.
From the moment he alighted from the carriage bearing the Falmouth crest, until now when he greeted me, my pokerface was as unchanging as ever.
Coincidentally, the color of his suit was also red, although it was darker than mine.
As if we’ve become a coup—…not a chance!
More importantly, Hannah and I have made extensive preparations for this day.
Failure is not allowed.
I led the Earl to the courtyard. It wasn’t as spacious as his garden, obviously—still, I thought it was beautiful. Especially around this time of the year, when the roses were in full bloom.
Each petals shone, touched by the light of spring. Fallen and scattered across the ground were not only the flower’s petals, but also the sun’s reflection.
I instructed Hannah to prepare the tea as I sat on a chair with Falmouth.
By the way, Earl Falmouth’s presence brought a smile each one of my maids and butlers.
This too, was the same as always.
Even though a thousand years had passed… I still felt nostalgic. Mostly because of his profile.
He and I, with the same faces we had a thousand years ago, now sitting together.
Truly, this was the first time it had happened.
Falmouth had the exact same smile as that man. That man who died a millennia ago, right in front of my eyes—…
“…Lady Amelia? Is there something that troubles you?”
While I was recalling our previous lives, Earl Falmouth seemed to have noticed something. thus, he peered onto my face—
Even before I had fully comprehended what was happening, my heart had already decided I wanted him to stay close.
How big of an idiot am I?
Why do I keep picturing him—the one from a thousand years ago!?
I returned his gaze with a steady look.
“Are you certain? Look, your face is pale…”
“Earl Falmouth, you are being brazen. I’m sorry, but that’s rude.”
An expressionless and indifferent woman with an icy stare. One not afraid to speak her mind—that was me; Countess Amelia Southwell.
That was how Amelia behaved.
For a moment, Earl Falmouth looked stunned, but he immediately reverted to his original smile.
He seemed cool with it. So he was the type who didn’t get offended easily…
“Ah, indeed, I was too brazen just now. But how could I not? You are too beautiful.”
I had to admit, he got me there.
I never expected him to also be this type of person. From the look of it, he was accustomed to this—a smooth-talker.
Hannah had told me many things about him, but flamboyance wasn’t amongst them.
“I am beautiful, you say? Well, of course, that much is already obvious. You think I didn’t already know?”
“Well, isn’t that harsh…”
All my previous statements about Earl Falmouth being similar to him—I take them all back.
This guy was nothing but a playboy, and a good one, at that. Only their appearances were similar.
Those thousand years, I had always remembered him. His appearance changed every time. Personality, too. Environment might also played part in forming that—but that wasn’t too much of a big deal.
Because his soul—its essence—stayed the same.
But between now and a thousand years ago, the gap was too big! Especially in terms of environment—it was completely different.
“Earl of Falmouth, I’m not one for being roundabout, so I’ll ask you straight away.”
“Yes, what is it that you need me to answer?”
I had two reasons for inviting Falmouth today. One; for him to hate me to the point of annulment, and two; discovering the reason of his proposal. Depending on the reason, I might be able to get away with just recommending him another woman.
“Why would you ask for my hand in marriage? We’ve barely spoken. I don’t remember ever exchanging a greeting with you.”
This entire time, I was facing the garden. Only now did I looked at him—even if it was a mere side-glance.
My inquiry caused him to be at loss for words. Yet, he still tried.
“You might think so, but …but there you are. You stand out.”
At the last moment, he even stood up to make his point.
I turned my back to him and reached towards a single rose blooming beside me.
I thought he was really elegant. No wonder a lot of women fell for him.
“The one who stands out is you, Earl Falmouth. There has never been a shortage of noble ladies crowding you.”
“Haha, I think that’s more because of my birth. They want to get closer to my father, not me. I am no one.”
He does not actually think that way.
I tried to hold back my sneer, yet I failed.
“I needn’t make my own reputation any clearer to you, right?”
I snapped my fan shut, and slowly turned towards Falmouth.
My expression was too ordinary, he looked a little frustrated.
“’A cold-hearted, in-human, Ice Queen.’”
“Quite. That’s a fact.”
I stared at Earl Falmouth.
In-human Amelia. Ruthless, uncouth …and also never smiled.
Arrogant, high-handed, I was everything that wasn’t a noble lady.
Never helped others—never flattered others, either. Unforgiving toward any faults. I rejected everyone who asked me for a dance. I also mercilessly turned down every party invitations I received.
Those were the undeniable truths.
By no means, even if this man fell in love with my appearance and my appearance alone, it still didn’t equal jumping into marriage this fast.
There’s high chance this is a trap, and Amelia certainly had the right to suspect so.
“So, Earl Falmouth, are you ready to make a wife out of me?”
Falmouth’s expression was firm.
The marriage of the nobles in this era—well, it wasn’t that complicated, per se.
The thing that mattered most was the form. There was no exception even if the marriage was based on love. After all, most nobles married for the benefit of their house.
…Now it makes sense.
A variety of rare ores could be mined from the Southwell’s territory.
That would be the advantages of marrying me. And the disadvantages was, well …me.
With me as a wife, nothing good would happen.
Even if he were to take a mistress or two, it wouldn’t cause any trouble for me, the true lady of the house. I would handle all his personal affairs. I would make sure of that.
Earl Falmouth didn’t say anything.
He looked uncertain of what to say.
After all, his affection for me was nothing but a false pretense.
Good, this is good.
If it goes well, then surely…
—I sent a signal to Hannah, who was watching the entire scene from the edge of the garden. Her position was such as to not be noticed by Earl Falmouth.
***T/N: My god, of course you would stand out if that’s the way you do it. Not in a good way, but still, stand out.