First, the last time I smiled was on the day of Brother’s engagement ceremony. Seeing my smile, Brother turned white as if I was not from this world.
‘Jane, what should I do to smile naturally?’
‘Hmm……. Then, smile in front of the duke, the madam, and the young master.’
‘With this face now?’
I asked, forcefully twisting the corner of my mouth. I could feel Jane’s smile pause for a moment.
Yikes, how sad.
As expected, compared to the time when I made Brother look white, it seemed that I hadn’t made any progress.
Rather, it was because I was tired after a walk, so I felt like I had taken thirty steps back.
However, unlike my momentary hesitation, Jane looked at me with confident eyes and nodded her head.
‘Yes! After that, I’m sure you’ll be able to smile naturally, too.’
That just sounded like nonsense.
Yes, at that time, I think I dismissed Jane’s confident words as that.
After that, contemplation on how to be happy was buried because I was trying to find a hobby.
“M…… ss…… Mi…… Iss…….”
I raised my heavy eyelids carefully when I heard the sound of a faint voice coming from somewhere.
My vision was a little blurry because I had just woken up. But I could tell who it was from the voice.
Hi Jane. I see you in my dreams and I see you in reality.
Drunk with sleep, my head was fuzzy. Ah, it would be nice if I lay down like this and slept just seven more hours…….
“Did you have a good sleep, Miss? You have to get ready now.”
Perhaps she had read my thoughts as Jane gently greeted me and urged me to move.
Yes, I have to get up. How happy my family was earlier.
I have to wake up. Of course.
I rubbed my eyes and lifted my upper body, and Jane began tidying up around my bed, as if she was satisfied now.
The curtains on the window, which had been half-draped, were also completely drawn.
I got up from my seat, dazed by the pouring daylight.
I stretched to relieve my tired body. I obviously didn’t make any big moves, but my crappy muscles screamed.
Shh, be quiet. I know my body is garbage.
The moment I looked down at my thin white left arm while massaging my particularly sore left shoulder and elbow, someone came to mind.
The same person who healed my left arm and served as an occasional tonic.
I got up from my seat and brushed at my wrinkled dressing gown. I also combed and tidied up the hair that stretched out here and there.
Originally, when a person goes to ask for something, they have to be at least formal.
Yep, good. This is pretty neat.
After tidying everything, I turned around and saw Jane’s eyes looking at me with a questioning face.
What, why are you so surprised?
I shrugged lightly and spoke to Jane in a lighter tone.
“Jane, I’ll get some stamina from the priest and come back.”
My family looked at the item I took out with their eyes wide open.
I was a little excited because I thought that all three of them had the same expression and looked like they were really a family.
It was about an hour ago that we arrived at the lake shore. Thanks to Ian’s recharging, I was able to arrive at the lakeside in pretty good shape.
As soon as we arrived, we rented a tent (it was called a tent, but it felt like a building with mats, chairs and tables fixed to the ground) and ate sandwiches.
After filling our stomachs, we continued the conversation on trivial and light topics, and when silence came for a while, we took out our things.
“What is…… this, Selena?”
Among the three who looked at the object in silence, Brother was the first to open his mouth and ask.
Well, what is it? I shrugged once, then lifted the cloth covering the object.
Even though I lifted the cloth to reveal the goods, my family members’ expressions did not change. Rather, the mouth was slightly open to match their round eyes.
Is it something to make that face?
I touched the object with my finger and inspected it again.
Yes, I don’t think it warrants that kind of reaction.
A muttered question came from Mother’s mouth.
It was like a self-talk that came out without realizing it, but it was in a question form anyway? Questions need to be answered.
“Yes. It’s a fountain, and you can put a drink in it. They say you don’t have to worry about hygiene because it’s a magic tower product.”
As I gave a kind explanation about the fountain, my family glanced at me.
They still looked like they didn’t understand.
No, to be precise, they understood the product, but why was this suddenly appearing here…… ? They had that questioning expression.
“It’s a gift I said I would buy for you yesterday. I was fascinated by it when I went to the festival, so I wanted to show it to my family…….”
I ended up explaining how the time came out.
However, my family members still presented with blank faces and only stared at the fountain over and over again.
In a way, it seemed that their faces were firmer than before.
Oops, maybe the gift failed……. I thought everyone would like it……. well, it’s okay. People are supposed to fail, too.
I was trying to pass today’s failure calmly, but Mother quietly stepped in front of the model fountain. Then, taking a good look at our family’s faces, she placed her hand on the lower part of the model fountain.
“I will take this.”
I glanced back, then fixed my gaze on the lake in front again.
My family was having a serious discussion under the tent behind me about who should have the fountain.
If I had known it would be like this, I would have bought three fountains.
Oh, the seller said it was precious.
But when I think of all the places……. If I look around the festival grounds, maybe one or five more will be found.
Well, it’s already past.
“Ah, it is beautiful.”
Looking back at the strange quarrel, the lake was absolutely beautiful.
A lake with a green lawn, a clear sky and white clouds reflecting like a mirror.
People running and playing in front of it, lovers and families playing in the water.
Yes, this whole sight felt more beautiful than ever.
I was standing there blankly looking at the scenery, when I suddenly heard a voice next to me.
“Would you like to come close, too?”
It was Aiden.
When I turned my head to where he stood, Aiden, shining in the sunlight, was looking down at me with a grin.
Oh my, this one is beautiful, too.
I responded to Aiden’s question while admiring his proud beauty.
“No. I don’t like getting wet.”
“I can dry you.”
Wow, as expected, the wizard seemed able to easily perform at least the function of a hair dryer, too.
The world is so convenient and nice.
Contrary to that thought, however, I shook my head. In fact, I didn’t want to go because I hated standing alone with a stiff face in a crowd of smiling people, regardless of whether I was wet or not.
I don’t care if the smiling faces of my family are familiar, but being placed among happy other people…… ugh
It will become a landscape that does not suit me, as if black paint was smeared over a bright flower painting.
‘Ah, come to think of it, I think I heard somewhere that smiling makes you happy.’
Suddenly, I remembered Jane’s voice that I had heard in a dream earlier.
I’m sure they’re all smiling, so they all look happy.
I raised my hand and stroked the muscles on both sides of my mouth. Again, it was a bit hard.
“Look at this.”
I forced the corners of my mouth up.
I expected how awkward his smile would be without looking at the tight facial muscles.
Aiden must have thought so as well, since he erased the smile from his face and put on a bewildered face.
No, you don’t have to react like that.
I shook my shoulders lightly and allowed myself to drop the corners of my mouth that I had struggled to lift.
“How is it? Isn’t it strange?”
I could tell the answer from the look on his face without hearing a reply, but I still wanted to hear it.
Even after I changed my expression to normal, he was still looking at me with a bewildered face, but when he heard my question, he hurriedly turned his head that way.
What? Have you learned how to evade an answer so well?
Yes, so I don’t have to smile.
In fact, it was just a half-impulsive attempt after having a vivid dream of the past.
Is this why people shouldn’t do things they wouldn’t usually do?
When I sighed, Aiden’s head slowly turned my way.
However, the head stopped in the direction facing the river, not my face.
I observed Aiden’s side face, glistening in the sunlight. The newly exposed ears of his hair appeared red.
Was it because of my feelings?
A small, calm voice leaked out from between his awkwardly pursed lips.
“Your smiling face suits you very well. But, I also like your usual face. So, do as you please.”
Oh right. My smiling face.
He likes my smiling face that suits me well? What, I thought he was confessing again.
If he doesn’t do it right, people may misunderstand, so you have to put the subject well.
After giving a small reproach, I kicked the ground a few times while looking at his superior side profile.
“Yes, thank you.”
For some reason, I felt like I was stabbed in the side and bowed down, but I heard that my smile suits me well…… so I didn’t feel bad.
…… no, is it…… ?
“You seem upset.”
Aiden immediately turned his head and responded to my murmur.
His gaze was directed toward the riverside, yet it seemed that he was constantly focused on me. The round eyes on the face facing me were vivid.
Why was he doing this? I’ve never felt so easily annoyed by people.
Strangely, I tilted my head and stared at Aiden’s face.
As expected it was sad and a bit annoying. I don’t know why, but I just felt that way.
In the end, I couldn’t find a reason for this unknown sadness, and just like Aiden, I silently turned my head to the lakeside.
“What are you doing?”
Lucas turned his head for a moment upon hearing the approaching Aaron’s voice then looked ahead again.
Following Lucas’ gaze with his eyes, Aaron was able to spot Selena’s back.
More precisely, the backs of Selena and Aiden.
‘This is serious.’
Aaron let out a deep sigh and dragged a chair and sat down next to him.
Then, without saying a word, he followed Lucas’ example and watched Selena’s back.
Such a small child. What if she gets blown away by the wind?
Seriously thinking about such nonsense, he was watching Selena’s fluttering hair, when suddenly Lucas opened his mouth.
Aaron tilted his head at Lucas’ subject-less declaration.
But Lucas didn’t say anything, while Aaron tilted his head filled with curiosity.
Aaron was very curious about the next word, or the subject, but the moment he noted Lucas’ bitter profile, he had to quietly put aside his curiosity.
‘Could it be that Selena smiled?’
He couldn’t completely stop the speculation that rose within him.
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