17. A Precious Someone
“…Thank you so much for visiting.”
“I’m sorry for being late.”
“Or rather, that’s exactly why your timing is impeccable.”
“…There should’ve been a couple here.”
I told him with a bitter smile.
The couple who took their leave first had recently become regulars.
“Yes, what an adorable couple they are. How do you know about them?”
“The man is my subordinate.”
“Is that so!?”
“Yes, he’s the one who notified me of Ricardo’s arrival.”
“I see… what a great coincidence.”
So that’s how it was…
I had to thank that subordinate of his someday. Thanks to him, I only had to suffer a slap. I’d give him tons of baked goods through Ryan later.
For some reason, Ryan averted his gaze and spoke with genuine relief.
“…I heard rumors that Ricardo has been looking for you. Therefore, I asked some of my subordinates to visit this store on their days off.
He looked embarrassed.
Was he feeling guilty for having people secretly watch over me?
To be honest, I was glad he cared about me to that extent.
“I didn’t notice at all.”
I was impressed with how considerate he was.
No wonder the number of new, young male, customers had increased.
However, not only were they kind, they also weren’t intrusive. I was happy to get a glimpse of Ryan’s capabilities.
“…What I’ve done is power abuse. As a leader, I’m a failure.”
“Rather, I’m grateful for the increase of customers. I wish you’d have told me, though.”
“You told me that you don’t want to hear about anything related to Ricardo.”
He sighed briefly. It seemed that he just didn’t want to make me uneasy.
“I thought that it’d be better if you didn’t know. When I mentioned him the other day, you didn’t seem to care.”
“I’m sorry for making you worry…”
“I should be the one apologizing. After all, what I did is selfish.”
When Ryan apologized, I tilted my head.
I didn’t see anything wrong with what he had done.
As such, he had nothing to apologize about.
“…Since he’s your former lover, I thought that you might want to get back with him.”
Upon hearing that, I immediately spoke of my mind without a single care in the world—
“—Even if he were the last man on Earth, I won’t choose him.”
I’d rather kill him and become the last human in the world.
“I’d rather return the alimony and die instead than getting back with him.”
Ryan burst out laughing.
“I’m sorry for laughing despite you’re just suffering through a terrible experience, kuku…”
His hand, which was touching my cheek, was trembling.
“…Also, the prick had the audacity to claim that the alimony is his, ‘Return my money!’—he said.”
“Ahaha…! Flores, please stop…!”
Ryan suffered and panted when I added that annoying information.
His wave of laughter didn’t easily subside that time.
He was truly cute.
I was aware of it.
I merely said that he was ‘cute’ to deceive myself.
Instead of saying ‘I love everything about him.’, I could only say that he was cute.
Be it his facial expression, his words, or his gestures—they were all cute—
—and that would continue as it was.
“…Thank you for keeping me safe.”
“But… I’ve failed to do exactly that.”
After both the pain and the magical sign on my cheek had disappeared, Ryan’s hand remained as it was.
He gently stroked my swollen cheek with a regrettable look.
“…I should’ve cut off one of his arms.”
“Don’t say something scary like that.”
I laughed bitterly at his serious expression.
“I’m glad you didn’t dirty your hand with his repulsive blood. Your hands deserve better than that—they’re for protecting the kingdom.”
I put my hand on his cheek.
It was warm.
When I unconsciously caressed his cheek, Ryan tensed up.
“I, I’m sorry…”
“No, it’s alright.”
We let go of each other in a hurry.
An awkward silence followed, and I unintentionally lowered my gaze.
…This is bad.
The progression of my lovesickness had become rapid once I was aware of my feelings.
“…Anyway, I’ll take proper measures to prevent Ricardo from getting in your way anymore.”
“Uh, yes, thank you, alright…”
I began to rummage around inside of my apron pocket.
I offered Ryan something as small as a coin.
“This is for you.”
“What is this?”
“A recording tool. I switched it on the moment Ricardo came. Do make a good use of it.”
It was my favorite magic tool. I continued to carry it with me even after my engagement had been annulled.
It should had saved the exchange, which Ricardo was basically screaming the entire time.
I smiled and put it inside Ryan’s hand. He beamed almost immediately.
I love you. You’re so cute.
“…Flores, you truly are—”
Ryan squinted as if to start laughing.
Satisfied with his expression, I laughed too.
One was free to fall in love, but love itself was never free of pain.
***T/N: Aww, Flores, hang in there!! I’m sure everything will go well for you!!
Please also consider donating to my ko-fi! It’ll greatly support me in action, no matter the amount!