13. Disaster, Invasion
After talking about the Sterling family, Ryan listened to my hardships from back then.
“That sure was difficult…”
“Now, it’s nothing but an amusing story.”
He was deeply sympathetic and laughed bitterly. …Even though I had intended for it to be a funny story…
Certainly, it was difficult.
Whenever I faked words of love to Ricardo, I’d felt so disgusted I could vomit.
Even so, I managed to overcome it when I told myself that once everything was over, I’d receive a consolation fee. That if I could endure it, it could fund my dream.
“But you wasted precious time.”
Ryan said in an angry tone.
He might be angry with Ricardo’s treatment towards me which was nothing like how he’d treat a lady.
“But in the end, I managed to acquire my own store because of that.”
As if giving up, Ryan finally laughed.
“Flores sure is positive.”
“Yes, there’s nothing wrong with that, right?”
He smiled and nodded deeply.
“You should learn from me, Ryan.”
“Sure, why don’t you give me the secret to living positively next time?”
I joked with a bossy attitude. Ryan purposefully made a serious expression and said, “Come at me!”
It could be said that Ricardo’s stupidity was the reason why I could talk to Ryan like that.
With that in mind, I felt a little grateful for those years I wasted.
…Was it because I thought like that?
The storm came out of no where.
It happened three days after I talked with Ryan.
Midday on weekdays.
While I was busy standing and working, my number of customers was reasonable.
Recently, an innocent couple would visit at least once a week.
There was a group of four older gentlemen whose conversation was too intelligent for me to keep up with.
The ladies who’d gossip around.
Students who came to have tea.
There were various types of people.
Some were regulars and some were new customers.
When I cleared up the vacant seats and returned to the counter, the bell at the entrance rang.
I turned my eyes to see if a new customer had arrived, and I almost dropped the glass I held.
The word ‘welcome’ was stuck to my throat. I was unable to make a single sound.
A sweet and gentle voice.
The man entered with a sloppy manner, and scooped up my long, blonde, hair.
I felt nauseous just hearing him call my name.
“I came to see you.”
A man I thought I’d never meet again. He appeared before my very eyes. I immediately withdrew.
If I had a boiling kettle in my hand right then, he’d be burnt already.
I suppressed my urge and thrusted my hands into my apron’s pockets.
…I had almost become a criminal.
“Can you go home?”
“What is it? Are you turning shy? Is it because you haven’t seen your beloved husband for a long time?”
Alright, let’s boil some water.
To conceal my murderous intent, I showed him a smile.
“…That’s right, Flores, you should’ve just been honest with yourself from the get go.”
The stupid fool misunderstood my smile as one of happiness. He looked so damn proud about it, too.
It had been over a year since then, but it seemed that the number of his brain cells remained nonexistent.
I pressed the ignition button on the stove without hesitation. I desperately endured my urge to yell by exhaling.
“…Aren’t you Lilia’s husband?”
“Lilia? Oh, that thieving cat who robbed me from you?”
“No, I don’t think that’s how things went back then.”
“You know that my heart always belongs to you.”
“No, don’t even start.”
“Aren’t you the same, my darling?”
“Now you’re just asking for it.”
Due to his absurdity, there was a snapping noise in my head.
I wondered if his head was filled with nothing but flower fields.
I didn’t know why he was visiting me, but if all he wanted to do was blabber some nonsense, he should just go home.
“Karen, let’s leave.”
The couple in my store whispered and stood up.
Quick to detect the disturbing atmosphere, they refused to get involved.
What a wise young man.
“Excuse me, I want to pay.”
With an apologetic look, I headed to the cashier while still glaring at Ricardo.
He returned my stare with a wink. Perhaps, my fury hadn’t been conveyed.
After finishing the checkout, the man glanced at Ricardo before awkwardly rushing out of the store.
That was the right decision.
Perhaps he realized that oaf was the son of the Sterling family. It was best to not get involved with him.
I wished Ricardo was as smart as him.
Because Ricardo wanted to stand out, he’d always attend useless and stupid ceremonies.
He’d always expressed his greetings in absurd way. He purposefully acted flashy to attract attention.
Maybe that young man recognized Ricardo from somewhere.
Starting with the couple, the customers in my store fled one after another.
Oblivious to my frustration, Ricardo sat at a table for four and was starting to relax.
“Can we continue with our conversation?”
“We have nothing to discuss.”
“Listen, that day… we shouldn’t have separated.”
Despite my abject refusal, he continued talking incessantly. Was he drunk or something?
What a waste of time.
I opted to cleaning the tables of the customers who had left. I also properly listened to his words to avoid being blindsided.
However, it turned out that he had twisted the event to suit his own convenience. At the same time, I also knew it was useless to rebuke him.
Even if I were to directly point out the contradictions, he’d just twist my words and make it sound like I was being shy.
Apparently, his relationship with Lilia wasn’t going well. For him to complain about such a topic to me—he was the worst. How pitiful for Lilia.
The store was finally empty while my frustration was at its peak.
“Can’t you just leave? You’re getting in the way of my business.”
I spoke quietly with serious eyes. Ricardo’s blabbering mouth finally stopped.
“…If you come back to me, you won’t have to work so hard in such a tiny store.”
The moment he said so in a pitying tone, I saw red.
I had finally reached the limit of my patience.
***T/N: Get the salt! We shall banish this evil presence! …No, on second thought hand me that boiling kettle.
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