29.1 Extra: The Past (Ryan’s POV)
When I saw her for the first time, her smile was so beautiful I was at lost for words.
It was during Ricardo’s engagement announcement.
My parents, who were officially invited, were busy with the tasks that had been assigned to them by the royal palace. As such, my younger brother and I participated in their stead.
Ricardo was the same as me—we were both the children of dukes, we were of the same age, and we even worked as knights. However, because our personalities didn’t match, I believed we’d never become friends for as long as we lived. I was slightly curious about what kind of woman he’d get engaged to.
I thought that she was a beautiful woman.
When I saw her from a distance, that was my only impression.
She didn’t even spare her surroundings a single laugh. She was subserviently following Ricardo around. As such, I didn’t find her appealing. Ricardo must had chosen her for her looks.
But then, that incident happened.
Ricardo did the worst thing ever.
As I thought, I couldn’t get along with that man.
My younger brother furrowed his eyebrows. On the other hand, I was so repulsed, I wanted to leave that place right away.
The woman—Ricardo’s former fiancée—trembled after receiving a public annulment.
That was only to be expected.
She’d surely cry.
Or so I thought.
But she smiled, instead.
She looked truly happy.
Then, she ruthlessly exposed Ricardo’s blunder, ridiculed him, and overturned the situation with brilliant dexterity.
I wasn’t the only one who was overwhelmed by the unexpected development.
When I mumbled to my brother, “She’s a beautiful woman.” on the carriage ride home, he replied with an aghast expression. “I’m honestly terrified of her.”
I disagreed, but my younger brother loved the cotton candy-like Princess Cattleya. As such, it might be inevitable for him to think that way.
Her beautiful smile and name were engraved in my memory.
Eventually, she too, would fade from my mind alongside the abomination called Ricardo.
…However, my memory of her only grew more vivid with each day.
Whenever I recalled her, I found my chest tightening.
…Would I learn the true nature behind the pain in my chest if I met her again?
But I didn’t know much about her.
Even if I were to ask Ricardo, I doubted he’d willingly answer me.
A year had passed without any opportunities to reunite with her happening—her smile only became abundantly clearer.
Why do I want to see her so much?
What is this pain my chest?
For some reason, my suffering had only increased.
I was sure it was because my memory of her, one which only grew more beautiful by the day. My mind was trying to come to terms with that fact.
I learned she was in a store I casually visited.
I, at having just been promoted, had a lot of unfinished work.
I was exhausted, and my mind was burdened. Thus, I left the castle for a break.
At first, I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go. Then, I suddenly craved something sweet. Enticed by the scent, I visited a certain store.
I didn’t notice her at first.
I couldn’t even afford to look straight at the clerk’s face.
The deliciousness of the cocoa I ordered and the baked goods she gave me as a service gradually unraveled my tense heart.
Upon catching my breath, I was finally able to look at the clerk. At first, I merely wanted to express my gratitude—
—Then, I was lost for words the moment I saw her smile.
I realized that my memory of her hadn’t become clearer, but had faded—
—For her actual smile was much more beautiful than what I remembered.
Stunned that I knew her name, she tilted her head.
Naturally, she couldn’t remember who I was.
I felt terribly dejected.
I was the only one pleased by our reunion, something which could be called a miracle.
Afterwards, I visited Flores’ store whenever I had the time.
I wanted to see her smile.
Our unexpected conversations were always entertaining and refreshing.
I also believed that the tea and baked goods she made were better than any I had ever eaten.
Her store had become a favorite of mine, and it had added color to my dull life.
Up until then, I thought that my desire to see her was merely because I was curious of her peculiarity.
She never acted like a typical noble lady. She never took anything for granted, and she would much prefer to strive towards something with her own power.
I thought that I respected her for her hardworking personality and because of our friendship.
I eventually realized how dense I was.
***T/N: Lololololol It’s always the love in first sight with this kind of story.
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