8. Unconditional Love
8. Unconditional Love
“You’re staring at that girl again.”
Following my gaze, Cliff, a friend of mine, saw long, strawberry blonde, hair in the shadow quite distance away from us. Cliff admired how I managed to find that girl despite her distance.
When I was told so, I sighed. “Recently, it has become a habit of mine to find her.”
It had been three months since I had enrolled in the magic academy. Since when did I notice the girl’s presence, whose name I didn’t even know? We had never talked to each other. She was a peculiar girl who just stared at me from a distance.
“From such a distance, she looks like the grain of a bean. Despite that, she looks so happy being able to stare at you. How cute.”
“Well, I don’t care.”
I grew up while looking at my parents who couldn’t express disagreement in words. I had lived thinking love was an unpredictable and unnecessary emotion. When it came to marriage, all I had to do was adhere to my father’s decision.
In the first place, I came to this academy to get employment is what I had been coveting for a long time. I didn’t have time to think about such a thing.
Besides, all the girls who claimed to love me only said so because of my appearance and status. We hadn’t even had any conversation—me and that strawberry blonde girl. She knew nothing about me. Sooner or later, she’d get bored and go away. At most, she’d probably resort to flirting with me.
However, half a year went by, and she was still staring at me from a distance.
“Oh, there she is! Is she under the shade of a tree today? She looks cute amongst the leaves like that!”
Cliff, too, was still keeping an eye on her. He looked happy to have found her. As for me, I had just begun to get interested in her. What on earth did she see in me? How troublesome.
During a lunch break, just like that, I found her in the school cafeteria. When I casually approached her, I discovered that she was happily gushing about me.
“Do you love Noel Anderson that much?”
“Yes! Exactly! In this world, I love him the most!”
Towards such a question, she answered without the slightest hesitation.
Her straightforward reply made its way to my chest.
Strangely, it didn’t feel unpleasant.
Her name seemed to be Sherry. The fact that she dared to talk like that—surely, she’d get greedy sooner or later. Never once did I doubt that.
“Is there anything you want me to do?”
“I, I shouldn’t ask anything out of you, Lord Noel! That’s just untoward!”
“Anything is fine, please tell me.”
Sometimes, I tried to say something like that.
“Then, why doesn’t Lord Noel take a relaxing bath and go to bed earlier than usual?”
“You look weary these days. I know studying is important, but I want you to take good care of yourself!”
…However, she always exceeded my expectations. She always cared about me, without ever asking for anything in return.
Even after a year, or two, she hadn’t changed.
In the end, I had to admit that Sherry was genuinely fond of me, but didn’t want anything in return.
Before I knew it, I realized how cute and adorable she was.
“I love you today as well, Lord Noel!”
“I see. Thank you very much.”
Her affection towards me felt very pleasant. I was enjoying myself, but I knew that those days wouldn’t last forever. After graduating from school, I had decided to get engaged with the partner my father had decided for me. Once she learned that, what would her reaction be?
Would she, as per usual, smile and say—‘—Please be happy!’?
Upon imagining that, my chest was struck with pain.
“—Because I don’t think I can fall in love with anyone other than Lord Noel.”
She nonchalantly said that.
Her words caused my heart to stir terribly.
—was it okay to trust her? Would she truly love me for the rest of her life?
I pictured that one day, she’d fall in love with another man and my chest felt as if it were about to burst from the pain. She was different from my parents, I was aware of that.
Nevertheless, I was still full of hesitation—did she truly mean it? The suffocating doubt piled up to the point I was rendered speechless.
“…Do you truly mean it?”
“Yes, in this life, Lord Noel is my one and only.”
But, when she looked straight and me and said that, I felt sure—
—Sherry won’t betray me.
I was convinced of it.
I didn’t remember being loved by my parents. I really wanted to be loved by someone. I wanted love that would never change. More than anything else, I wanted be loved unconditionally.
I absolutely believed she was the one who’d give it to me.
“I will never forget that.”
I declared so and dropped a kiss on a lock of her hair. With a bright, red, face, Sherry shook her head many times.
How cute she was!
I felt like I could do anything as long as it was for her.
Of course, I knew that my father wouldn’t easily let go of me. However, I knew what to do in case of that.
It wasn’t an easy decision. Regardless, I had decided.
That day, to get what I had always wanted, I abandoned my childhood dream.
***T/N: Noel is so selfish x’D!!! It’s ‘me, me, me’ all around with him, and you guys know what, it’s how grey the characters in this story that intrigues me to pick it up. Like, what drove them to do what they did is far from righteous, lofty, or noble, but it’s somehow believable. Personally, I can see someone doing it.