19. By the Lakeside
Summer was about to begin. The trees in the garden were lush and the berry bushes in the corner were bearing tiny little fruits.
“It’s about time.”
From the mansion’s second floor, Amelia’s room—Hannah watched the mansion’s gate through the window.
“Indeed. I can’t wait.” Behind Hannah, Amelia whom was also watching said so.
—yet, inside, she felt completely the opposite. In her heart, Amelia sighed deeply.
About three weeks had passed since the evening ball, in which Amelia officially became engaged with William.
Today, William invited her to go boating. The promised time was near.
“I heard Prince Arthur is also coming today~! I’m very confident he’s a nice person. Ugh, I hope I can get a glimpse of him!” Hannah was mesmerized.
It was indeed so—and that was the root of Amelia’s dilemma. …Spending time with Arthur, whom is this kingdom’s prince…
It’s nothing to be happy about—just thinking about it, Amelia got the stiff shoulders. But, she concealed it.
She could no longer express her true feelings—even when I’m here, even when I’m with her…
“Fufu~ Hannah, how could you! To harbor such thoughts regarding William-sama’s treasured friend, Prince Arthur, that’s inexcusable, you know!”
“Ugh! Milady is being cruel! You are distrustful of me!”
“That’s not what I am saying…”
Troubled, Amelia could only muster a smile.
—thinking about it for a moment…
“Well, having said that, the one who’s supposed to bring my luggage is you. When I’m about to get in the carriage, you can take a peek, I guess?”
“Milady! Are you sure!?”
“Yes—but, just a peek, okay?”
“Thank you, Milady!”
Seeing Hannah’s happy expression, Amelia laughed softly.
At the same time, Hannah exclaimed. “Here they are!”
Hannah pointed to the gate. Indeed, Amelia saw a black carriage approach—however,
“But that’s… the crest of Spencer?” Amelia frowned slightly.
—I heard Miss Carla’s also coming today…
An unpleasant premonition—
—and Amelia’s premonition was on point.
When Amelia entered the entrance hall, William had already stepped off the carriage and was waiting for her. His smile when he saw Amelia was refreshing—
—what a refreshingly fake smile.
Convinced about that, Amelia still smiled back at him for formality sake.
“Although the invitation was sudden, the weather is supportive today.”
“My, how true!”
Saying ‘how true’, Amelia was actually referring to the ‘invitation’ part—yes, it was indeed sudden, and no, to her, this good weather was actually a bad thing.
Two weeks ago, William sent the boating invitation letter to Amelia’s residence. However, it was addressed not to Amelia, but Richard. Perhaps William was sure he would be turned down if he asked her directly. He also went as far as choosing the day where Amelia’s schedule wasn’t tight for time—
—it feels like me, his fiancée, is getting ambushed…
Yet, they kept to themselves.
On the surface, no matter how anyone look at it, they would seem like a couple that got along with each other.
Even Hannah, who stood behind Amelia, was deceived by their fronts.
Seeing how ‘happy’ Amelia was at the sight of William, undoubtedly her Master was getting along with her future husband—the thoughts brought a smile on Hannah’s face.
“Now, shall we depart?”
William took Amelia’s hand, and as they were about to ride the carriage—
—he halted his foot as if he remembered something.
“Firstly, why don’t I introduce Lewis to you?” William said so and glanced at his attendant, whom was sitting next to the carriage door.
When Amelia followed his gaze, she found a young man with jet-black hair and eyes.
After seeing Lewis, it’s as if her voice had gotten stuck on her throat. However, Amelia immediately concealed her emotions.
“You are— …I see.”
Towards Amelia’s muttering, Lewis nodded respectively.
“Amelia-sama, I’m William’s attendant, Lewis. You can refer to me as Lewis.” Lewis said so, and lifted his face—he was smiling. Amelia too, smiled back.
“I’ve heard about your competence from William. You’re doing a very amazing job.”
“Your praise brings me the utmost honor.”
Amelia observed Lewis—a seemingly perfect smile. However, the smile didn’t reach his eyes. It was as if he was testing the other person—yet, without bothering to hide said fact. There was strength in his gaze. Despite the endless, absorbing darkness, warmth still emanated from within.
—not to mention, that aura.
His presence was such that if unannounced, nobody would realize he was there all along. But, once you noticed him, his presence became so strong that it forced eyes to linger.
Calm appearance; dignified voice—a young man with mysterious charm, very different from William and Arthur.
Although Amelia had lived for a thousand years, never had she met someone like Lewis.
Certainly, this person named Lewis isn’t a mere nobody…—Amelia thought, and said without thought;
“From now on, I’m counting on you, Lewis.”
“Yes. Amelia-sama, as someone who’s going to be William-sama’s future wife, you too, are considered my master. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you need anything.”
“You’re welcome, Amelia-sama.”
Lewis stared at Amelia’s back as William escorted her into the carriage.
—I wonder what was actually reflected on that pupils of her…
After confirming they were inside the carriage, he quietly closed the door and sat on his seat. There was no trace of his previous smile, now.
His eyes, however, swayed with faint sadness.
The carriage was being drawn slowly. There was still a long road ahead.
Lewis merely stared at one point in the sky—
—and thought about the girl’s strange twist of fate.
***T/N: Forgive me, Author-san… for finding Lewis more intriguing than William…