Daughter of Albert House

Chapter 76 – What happened after that *Parfait* – One

 

“Why don’t you look at our garden? The Albert family’s garden is quite majestic.” Mary told Parfait.

“Oh, yes! I will! I will go alone!” Parfait exclaimed.

Then, without looking back towards him, who was still chasing her, she moved to the Albert family’s garden.

Flowers were in full bloom all around the venue, music could be heard wherever you went, and the scenery was truly spectacular. It was no wonder that Mary was proud of this garden.

However, even this scenery didn’t make Parfait feel any better. No matter how gorgeous the flowers were; no matter how wonderful was the scent that reached her nose, she just couldn’t fill her depressed heart.

Of course, this was because of Gainas Eldland, who walked right behind her.

He just silently followed her. He probably thought that he didn’t have the right to talk to her.

Even if he did talk to her, Parfait wouldn’t respond like she usually did. She’d just ignore him.

Still, his footsteps were enough for Parfait to know that he was still following. She wasn’t sure of the distance, but he was probably just a few steps away from her.

Maybe it would be easier if she just screamed ‘Don’t follow me!’, but… Even if she thought those things, she didn’t say them.

Before she realized it, she had already gone around the garden. She couldn’t remember a single flower that she passed through though, as the thoughts muddling her head dragged her down like a noxious swamp would.

She looked around and saw no traces of Mary nor Alicia. The breeze blowing past her made her anxious. Even if she could still hear the lovely music, she felt like she was in a completely different world than everyone else.

She wanted to celebrate Mary’s marriage from the bottom of her heart, but the wound within her chest didn’t allow it.

Everyone overcame this pain, but… Just thinking about it made her legs heavy. She couldn’t bring herself to move back to the venue.

Parfait thought, ‘the other ladies already recovered from their pain and moved on’, but the reality was not that simple.

They were both half angry and half refreshed at how things ended.

That said, some of them did move towards other houses and are now enthusiastic about climbing to even greater heights, but Parfait, who still longs for Gainas, is hurt. She is hurt and suffering, and has no way of knowing about the feelings of the other ladies.

Then, as Parfait was struggling, not knowing what to do, a familiar person walked up to her from the venue.

A person with rust-colored hair who was wearing a formal attire with the Albert family’s crest embroidered on it…

“Lord Addie.” Parfait said.

“… Uhn?” He replied.

The person who appeared was Mary’s husband, Addie.

For some reason though, he acted strangely after his name was called. He looked behind him as if there was someone behind him, then back to Parfait, then looked behind again.

“You mean me!?” He suddenly exclaimed.

“What happened, lord Addie?” Parfait asked him.

“Please stop, lady Parfait, don’t call me like that again.” Addie told her.

“But that would be discourteous to the Albert family.” Parfait replied.

The two of them seemed to be panicking at the same time. It must have been a laughable scene to an outsider.

But it can’t be helped when considering that Parfait’s house was considered of a low position amongst the aristocracy, while Addie was originally a servant.

Then, after a while of them both struggling and humbling themselves in face of one another, they were able to regain their composure.

Addie then awkwardly turned his gaze towards Parfait, and towards Gainas who stood behind her, “Perhaps I have interrupted you…?”

“No! I was looking at the garden alone!

“Lord Gainas…” Parfait shook her head, “I don’t know who that person is, but he is just following me!”

“How troublesome…” Addie muttered to himself.

After hearing those words from Parfait, Addie sighed and stared at Gainas.

Parfait on the other hand was still unable to regain her composure, so she extended her hand.

“Lady Parfait?” Addie tilted his head, looking down at the outstretched hand.

“M-me!” Parfait exclaimed. Her voice was clearly forced, but nobody pointed that out, “I-I’m going back to the venue. Lord Addie, please escort me!”

“Me…? You sure?” Addie replied.

“There is… There is nobody else around!” Parfait exclaimed.

It goes without saying that her tone was not one of a haughty lady ordering her servant, but of a weak lady who was making a plea for help.

In fact, Parfait’s hand was still trembling, and her eyes were still downcast.

After seeing her like that, Addie sighed and pondered for a small bit… But then, “Do you think this me, from the Albert family, would take your hand!?” He screamed his refusal.

His figure was quite reminiscent of a certain someone, and almost anyone would be able to understand what he was trying to say.

However, the other party was Parfait, not anybody else, “Of course…! The Albert family wouldn’t deal with someone like me…!”

Her eyes were instantly filled with tears.

Moreover, there was also Gainas this time around, “Lord Addie, no matter how great the Albert family is, this is still too rude…!”

After hearing that, Addie couldn’t help leaking out his real thoughts, “Wow, it’s harder than I imagined…”

When dealing with those two people who are foolishly honest and take things at face value, it just can’t be helped that Parfait started crying when faced with those words.

After Addie realized that, he hurriedly started calming Parfait down, “You know… It’s not that I have a problem with taking your hand, but rather… Doesn’t it feel wrong for me to do so?”

“Wrong…?” She asked.

“It’s not me that should take it, is it?” Addie said.

Prompted by Addie, she turned her gaze towards Gainas, who was behind her.

She was aware of it, and that was why she was lost and stuck, without knowing what to do.

“It’s honestly embarrassing to talk about it, but milady was actually my first love.” Addie suddenly told her.

“Lady Mary?” Parfait asked.

“I thought it was crazy to go after that first love, but… After going through enough things together, look at where we got to.

“That’s why I think it’s important to cherish the ones we love, and why I can’t care about a man who gives up on what he has for the sake of going after other women.” Addie sent a chilling gaze towards Gainas.

Gainas understood what that gaze meant and could only shrink back apologetically in response.

“So, I don’t know what will be of lord Gainas from now on, but I can’t overlook you, lady Parfait, who is a dear friend of milady. Not when you’re stuck like that.” Addie told her.

“Lord Addie…” She muttered.

“If you want me to, I can take you to the venue, but once again, think about it. Think if it’s me that you want to hold the hand of.” Addie told her.

In response to his words, Parfait took a deep breath.

Her hand was still outstretched, but before she realized it, her trembling had stopped, and her fingertips retracted a little.

“Well… I… I…” Parfait’s voice quivered as she muttered each word.

She was scared, but she withdrew her outstretched hand. She pulled her hands to her chest, and squeezed them tightly.

“I think I… I’ll keep looking at the garden for a while longer.” Parfait told him.

Addie smiled at Parfait and bowed his head, “As you desire.

“Please call me if you need anything.”

“Y-yes…” Parfait replied.

“Please excuse me then.” Addie said.

While saying those servant-like words that didn’t fit a member of the Albert family at all, Addie turned around and started leaving.

Once his silhouette disappeared, all that remained was an incredibly heavy mood.

A stifling space that almost choked them. A space that let one hear the other’s movements; a space where one hoped that the other would take the initiative; a space that was too heavy to let anyone move.

It was Gainas’ uneasy voice that broke it, “Parfait…”

At the sound of his voice, Parfait squeezed her hands and turned around, finally making her decision.

******

“Flowers and words of love?” Mary asked.

She had just finished hearing Parfait’s story when she asked that.

Parfait, who had just taken a bite of cake, nodded with a red face.

Half a month after the party at the Albert’s house, Mary and Karina were asking questions about Parfait and Gainas, who had slightly changed their behavior with each passing day.

Their current location is on Parfait’s house. Her room, in fact.

Mary and Karina felt a bit uncomfortable in such a feminine room that was filled with cute things, but it was also a very Parfait-like room.

“Every day from that day onwards, I told him to give me a flower that symbolized the Eldland family and to tell me some words of love.” Parfait told them.

Mary muttered, “I want to lick salt” when hearing that. Because this story of Parfait was far too sweet.

Of course, everything in this room was sweet. Parfait story, her blushing cheeks, the room’s decoration, everything.

As for Karina, who also had troubles with her fiance just like Parfait, she drank a sip of the tea that was served to her and said, “So, in other words, if he meets this condition for an entire year, you’ll forgive Gainas Eldland.

“I supposed that’s an acceptable forgiveness condition…”

“Yes, yes.” Mary said.

Differently from the extremely emotional Parfait, Karina was looking quite calm.

Mary then decided to ask her, “What about you?”

Karina smiled gracefully in return, “As far as Lilianne goes, I don’t care for as long as she doesn’t enter my sight.”

Her tone made it look like it was someone else’s affairs, but this was probably because she forgave Lilianne in her own way.

Originally, they were both people who had the same memories of the previous life, and they were all suffering from this ‘too late love’.

She couldn’t accept Lilianne’s actions, but she was not going to suffer over it after Lilianne was driven away.

Especially because Karina decided to leave the game behind and move on. Her feelings for Patrick were just a memory now, so Lilianne to her was nothing more than ‘that disgusting woman from the academy’, but also someone whose part in her life was over.

But that was only about Lilianne… “But aside from Lilianne, what about…” Mary asked.

The words ‘ex-fiance’ were left unsaid.

Karina smiled beautifully. The smile as beautiful as the one of a saint.

… She only smiled in response.

“Scary…” Mary muttered.

“Oh? I haven’t said anything yet.” Karina replied.

“That smile is enough of an answer.” Mary said.

“You really don’t want to hear it?” Karina asked, still keeping that smile on her face.

Mary just shook her head in response.

Karina could be quite cruel in executing a revenge, so… If her anger hasn’t cooled down yet, then Mary definitely doesn’t want to hear it.

She wanted to tell Lilianne that she should be glad that she escaped.

With those thoughts in mind, Mary turned her attention to Parfait and Karina while gracefully enjoying her tea.

They were both rival characters in Dora School, and they were both abandoned by their fiances, but the way things ended for them both was completely different.

Mary could only sigh when thinking of it, “I pray that they both find happiness.” She muttered to herself.

Ironically, both of them nodded with a charming smile that would captivate any man in an instant.

******

It’s been a few months since the promise with Parfait.

Gainas has been running around a lot and his days have been very hectic.

Flowers are the gifts for Parfait, and while the requested flowers certainly do bloom in the Eldland garden, they don’t bloom year-round.

That’s why Gainas himself, without asking for the gardener to get them for him, went to neighboring countries to buy the flowers too.

Even if he needed to bow down his head for it, he just did everything he could to obtain those flowers.

It was just one flower, but it had to be done every day.

Also, Parfait would sometimes go out and prank him, forcing Gainas to run around all day long while searching for her. It was not uncommon for him to find him only barely before the date was about to change.

And then, after seeing Gainas keep on running around all the time; after seeing how he refused to simply rely on the gardeners and instead did all the flower hunting himself, the parents who had once disowned him had now started to regain the trust on him.

And above all else, they could see that Parfait still had real feelings for him, just like he had for her.

In fact, when Parfait was crying as Mary went to the Karelia academy, when she kept on muttering, ‘Lady Mary… Lady Mary…’ at that time, Gainas had been by her side.

Parfait’s over-dependence may be a problem, but Mary was the one who saved her from having her fiance robbed by a commoner woman. She was the one that stopped her from being completely exposed to the academy’s curiosity without any place to stay safe at. She just couldn’t help depending on her.

And exactly because he knew that, because he knew that he was the cause of Parfait’s troubles, Gainas could only rub Parfait’s shoulder while she tearfully called Mary’s name.

And after a while, Parfait stopped crying and looked up to Gainas, as if to say something. Her right hand gently presented itself, as if urging him to do something.

Gainas noticed it and took out the flower in a hurry. Then, while having a face red enough that it almost made a popping sound, he presented the flower to Parfait, “Parfait, I know you’re lonely because miss Mary is gone, and I’m not arrogant enough to say that I can be a replacement for her, but… Please don’t cry. When you cry, I… It hurts me so much that I feel like my heart is being torn apart.”

With an unsophisticated tone, Gainas delivered such sweet words. He has always been a serious, but clumsy person who is no good at trying to deliver sweet lines and words of love. Even though he turned bright red just from trying to say those, he still wanted to tell her these words from the bottom of his heart.

And in response to his words, Parfait’s tearful eyes shined and she answered, “Yes!” while receiving the flower that he gave her.

Seeing this sweetness, both Karina and Margaret, who were present at the time, looked at each other and just shrugged their shoulders.

Every day Gainas presented Parfait with words of love and flowers.

Of course, it was not a repetition of simple words like ‘I love you’ or ‘I like you’. Gainas instead tried putting out words that came from his heart and that fit each occasion.

Gainas was fairly clumsy and had a hard time putting out those words well though. Sometimes he was told to restart from scratch, but he kept on trying.

In fact, Gainas even started reading romance novels, watching plays and listening to recommendations of others around him in order to keep finding better ways of expressing his feelings.

His words started with ‘I’m sorry’, then moved to ‘I beg you to forgive me’, then ‘just one more time’, then ‘I want you by my side’… And then, Parfait finally felt like her wounds were healed when the words ‘I love you’ were told at the end of this long process.

Meanwhile, Karina and Margaret, who were often seeing those scenes, struggled to endure them.

Margaret wanted to complain to Mary, who left Parfait and returned home.

And Karina was basically suffering heartburn from this sweet air, as it further reminded her of her ex-fiance.

But if you just look at Parfait and Gainas, most people were thinking that it would all be okay. That it was only a matter of time before they got back together.

******

One year has passed since that day.

Parfait was restless since the morning.

But when noon came, Gainas wasn’t there.

She swelled her cheeks as he said nothing about it.

Then evening came… Then night had fallen…

“Lady Mary…! I-I don’t know what to do anymore!” Parfait exclaimed.

She was wallowing in self-deprecation while drinking tea at the Albert family’s mansion.

“Alright, uhn… Why did you come to this house?” Mary asked her.

“By carriage…” Parfait replied.

“Well, I’d be surprised if you had walked here!

“I asked the reason though! The reason!” Mary exclaimed.

Mary was a bit angry at the sudden visit, but she poured tea for Parfait, who just kept on bursting into tears.

“Lord Gainas… Even if he had plans, he always told me about it in advance…” Parfait muttered.

“Well, he is also getting back his position at the Eldland family, so he must be busy…” Mary tried calming her down.

“I stopped by the Eldland house before coming here, he wasn’t there…” Parfait’s voice was shaking, she just couldn’t stop her tears, “I wonder if lord Gainas got tired of me…”

“Parfait…” Mary started saying.

“Lord Gainas must… He must hate…!” Parfait exclaimed.

As her tears kept on falling, Parfait’s voice shook more and more. She couldn’t even bring herself to finish the sentence of ‘he must hate me’, for even this hypothetical sentence terrified her.

Trying to calm Parfait down, Mary thought, ‘there’s no way that’s true.’

Gainas Eldland was not such a man. Even if he was captivated by Lilianne, he still cared for Parfait. He was a clumsy, but straightforward man.

No matter how much he had to struggle due to his promise to Parfait, he is still in a blessed position when compared to the other men.

Besides, this situation is his fault in the first place. Gainas was surely aware of it, so there was no way he could hate Parfait for it.

As Mary thought those things, she was suddenly brought back to reality by a sudden vigorous knock on her door.

Just what was that!?

When she got up to open the door, she saw Addie, who had a very serious expression on his face.

“What’s the matter?” Mary asked him.

“Milady, lady Parfait, your schoolmates came to see you. Please come right away.” Addie told them.

“Schoolmates…?” Mary repeated.

Who on earth was coming? Mary tilted her head while thinking that.

Parfait stood up behind Mary, while still having her eyes filled with tears.

And suddenly, the Albert family was now extremely noisy when hearing of the sudden visit.

The Albert family, who was on par with the royal family, could certainly entertain a sudden visitor, but… There was a reason to the sudden noise.

“Is it true that lady Mary has friends?!” One person exclaimed.

“Friends! Lady Mary has friends other than lady Alicia and lady Parfait!” Another person exclaimed.

“It’s not a dog nor a cat she is feeding!?” A third person exclaimed.

That was the reason.

This also meant that Mary, who was being rushed by Addie to leave the room, had to stop in her tracks, “Hey, they’re not dogs nor cats! That’s way too rude!” she exclaimed.

“Actually, they were all very rude.” Addie calmly told Mary.

But then, they reminded themselves of what was the real topic at hand, so with a, “That doesn’t matter right now.” they continued moved to the mansion’s hall.

Karina and Margaret were there.

They looked at Mary for a second, but then, as soon as they saw Parfait’s ragged silhouette come from behind Mary, they instantly rushed towards Parfait and hugged her.

Differently from people from the countryside, Karina and Margaret don’t simply rush at people when they see them. They first give courteous ladylike greetings, but this time… Things must be really serious right now.

“Parfait, do you know where lord Gainas is?” Karina asked her.

“Lord Gainas? I-I don’t know that person!” She exclaimed.

Parfait looked away as she said that, while Karina and Margaret looked at each other.

It was the same exchange as usual, but today… Their facial expressions aren’t the usual bitter smiles.

Rather, they seem pale.

Perhaps she noticed their expression, for Parfait looked at them with a terrified gaze, “L-lord Gainas… What happened to him?” She asked.

“Parfait… Listen calmly to it.” Margaret said.

“… Okay.” Parfait replied.

“Gainas Eldland is gone.” Margaret told her.

Mary widened up her eyes at those words.

Then, Karina muttered something in a very small voice, “It’s my fault.”

Karina’s expression was downcast. Her expression was distorted by anxiety and there was no trace of her usual dignity there.

Mary was about to ask what that meant, but… She had to first catch Parfait, who had suddenly fallen.

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