16. Love Without a Target
“Thank you for your help.”
Pretending that nothing happened, I stood with the help of Ryan.
When I thanked him and smiled, Ryan relaxed his expression, as if he was a little relieved.
Seeing that, the beating of my heart intensified.
I was truly sad.
I just pretended that I didn’t mind it.
I could only imagine beating Ricardo to pulp.
It was a futureless love—I knew that much.
Although not yet announced, the engagement between the first princess and the Clifford family had become reality.
My shop was also frequented by people who went in and out of the royal castle.
Even if I didn’t want to hear it, I still received the information.
It was a terrible story.
From the beginning, he was already out of reach. Before I knew it, our worlds had become separated.
The moment I became aware of my own feelings, it was already hopeless.
I stood up and was surprised by how close he was.
Ryan looked straight at me and narrowed his eyes painfully.
“…It’s so red and swollen.”
Ryan gently touched my cheek, the one which had been struck by Ricardo.
Shocked, my shoulders trembled.
“F, forgive me, that must’ve hurt…”
Ryan immediately retracted his hand.
“Yep, he’s indeed the worst! Aah, all my customers are gone.”
I took that as a chance to distance myself from Ryan.
I had to behave like usual. However, I still hadn’t organized my mind yet.
At that rate, I wasn’t confident I could stay calm.
“Well, I can’t show such a terrible face to my customers. I feel terrible. I should just close up for the day.”
As I said that, I went to the entrance and changed the sign to ‘CLOSED.’
“Oh my, the kettle is still boiling!”
I turned around in a hurry at the sign of his approach.
I slipped past Ryan and entered the kitchen to escape.
“Would you like a cup of tea? Oh, but you have to get back to work, right? I’m sorry… even though you’re busy. You must’ve been surprised.”
I couldn’t even make eye contact with him as I said that in quick succession.
If I stayed silent for even a second, my feelings for Ryan would overflow.
“Were you about to have a break? That was a disaster, wasn’t it? I got you involved in something like this, but at the same time, thanks to you—”
When he quietly beckoned to me like that, I became speechless.
With a terrified look, I stared at Ryan. His eyes were calm.
“None of that matters, come here.”
I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I turned off the stove and went to the counter.
Ryan sat in his usual seat. As I sat on the chair the opposite of him, we stared at each other.
“You must’ve been scared.”
He gently covered my cheek with his palm.
More than anything, my heart ached.
“…I, wasn’t scared.”
“You don’t have to act strong.”
I laughed at the fact that I was easily caught.
Certainly, I was scared.
I had never thought he’d hit me.
I became emotional, and the fact that I had triumphed over him once went to my head.
I was being foolish.
I completely underestimated what he was capable of. I completely underestimated the power of a man.
“I’ll never let you suffer through the same thing again.”
Yet, the hands of another man—Ryan’s, were so kind.
Ryan wasn’t bad. He helped me when I was in danger, and he even sympathized with me.
Did he have a stronger sense of justice than others do to being a knight?
…Well, that scum was also a knight.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not good at healing magic.”
While he apologized, he channeled some magic into his palm.
My cheek felt warm, and the pain gradually subsided.
“…Amazing, you can do this, too.”
“It’ll take a while, so, if you’ll excuse me…”
With my cheek against Ryan’s palm, I couldn’t escape his gaze.
The sound of my heart was still noisy, but I stared back at him.
I couldn’t let him know that I was upset. I couldn’t let him discover my love.
Doing that was the only route of escape left for me.
***T/N: Aww… when you fall in love with someone but they’re like, the nation husband, so you gotta curb your love cuz u don’t want the pain…
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