33. Up Until now, and in the Future
After leaving the drawing room, a nearby maid guided me to Philip’s room.
Upon arriving, I spotted Cedric. He looked at me as if troubled.
“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. It’s no good…”
His shoulders sagged as he sighed.
“…Lord Cedric, forgive me, but can you leave me alone for a moment?”
“Yes, I understand.”
Cedric smiled when he heard my request and left with the maid. While thinking I should thank Cedric again, I approached the door.
“Phil, this is me, Viola. I’m sorry for my sudden visit. But I really want to talk to you.”
“Can we speak for a moment?”
There was no reply.
…If I hadn’t heard Vio-chan’s words, I would’ve given up and left.
At that moment, it was different.
He still loved me. That fact supported me above all else.
“Then, let me ask you a question.”
I was sure he was listening. Believing that, I gently put my palm against the door, and continued.
“…Ever since I was a child, I thought of you as a distant person. I always thought of you as a perfect being—someone who was outside my reach.”
Be it status, appearance, intelligence—we were both unmatched. You who did everything perfectly, and I whom was clumsy.
Because I had been with him ever since I was born, I was made painfully aware of our differences. After all, everyone praised him. As such, I began to feel inferior. I fell in to self-loathing over and over again.
Thus, I concluded that if we were to get married in such a situation, we would never attain happiness. Without marrying him, he’d find someone more suitable, and I wouldn’t have to keep hating myself.
At that time, that was what I believed. I never doubted it.
“As a result, I desperately wanted to break off our engagement, to the point of feigning amnesia. That day, when you lied and told that we loved each other, I was surprised. I thought you were harassing me.”
I thought of what he said as some kind of crazy lie.
I thought that all those words of love from him were simply that—lies.
“However, I came to know that Lord Philip is different from what I believed. You are not good with people, but at the same time, you kept on saying and doing outrageous things. I never imagined you would do anything like that before.”
My field of vision gradually blurred. I desperately reigned my tears.
“In truth, you aren’t a perfect being.”
Inviting me to the river for a date, reading a strange book…
Being overjoyed over my poor embroidery, naming and talking to a parakeet as if it was me….
Suddenly putting on an ice bucket…
…When I remembered that, I wanted to laugh.
“…And that’s what I love about you.”
I fell in love with him before I knew it.
I wanted to stay by his side all the time.
“I love Philip who’s kind, tense, clumsy, but genuine.”
Tears overflowed from my eyes. My voice trembled, and I was stuttering. Still, I clenched my palm tight and continued.
“From now on, I want to call you ‘Phil’ not because you wanted me to, but out of my own volition. I want to remain as your fiancée. I want to stay with you, forever…”
When I said that, the door flung open. Because I was leaning my hand against it, I lost my balance and fell forward.
But the ground never hit me. Before I noticed it, I was being tightly embraced by Philip.
His voice, as he muttered that, was wavering. His warmth, scent, and voice engulfed me. My tears spilled even more.
“I’m really sorry.”
“I made you cry. You’re hurt because of me.”
“No matter how much I apologize, it won’t be enough.”
After that, I remained in his embrace for a while. Eventually, we gently separated. He anxiously gazed at me.
“I’m sorry for avoiding you all this time.”
“No, I’m the one at fault. I lied to you…”
Still, never once did he blame me.
Regardless, I felt that we were seeing eye to eye.
“…As you say, I’m not perfect. I think of myself as a very ugly man who told lie after lie, and I am also not good at speaking.”
“Yes, I know.”
Hearing my answer, Philip lowered his face and laughed. His right hand gently touched my cheek.
“Still, I’m confident that I love you more than anyone else.”
His passionate eyes put me on a standstill.
Although I had been with him since I was born, I felt that I was finally able to face him properly for the first time.
“I swear to you that I won’t lie ever again… can I still be by your side?”
“I also promise to never lie again.”
When I said to him, “Please stay with me forever.” Philip was baffled.
After a five minute long mysterious silence, Philip hesitantly opened his mouth.
“You… do you truly love me?”
“Yes, I love you.”
When I answered immediately, Philip crouched down, covered his mouth with his hands, and sighed for a long time.
His face and ears were surprisingly bright red. I crouched down to match his eye level.
He looked so, so adorable, and that was when I realized how scary love was.
“At a time like this, aren’t you supposed to say something?”
“…I can finally die in peace.”
Gradually, his expression changed. He seemed ready to cry at any moment. That time, I gently touched his cheek. A tear drop spilled from his golden eyes.
“…I’ve always loved you.”
With his face buried in my shoulder, Philip muttered so. That confession alone appeased my past self.
***T/N: …Award. GIVE THAT DAMN BIRD AN AWARD!!!!!!!!!!!
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