‘I wonder if it’s better for me to look like a child to my dad.’
He had a very strange mind. He was a real man who had nothing to do with me, but I kept calling him ‘Daddy’ and… I felt like I wanted to do whatever he wanted.
His heart grew so large that his promise not to show him a childlike image was overshadowed.
‘A little… a little bit might be fine.’
Even if you didn’t always pretend to be brave and strong…
His hand felt unusually large.
‘It’s like a father’s…’
But suddenly, I couldn’t remember what kind of person my father was to me.
He was a nice guy. I had fond memories of my dad stroking my hair all the time…
‘Strange. What kind of person was my father?’
Something slowly faded from my memory. After living again ten times, the starting point was always after my father died. Like a very long time ago, most of my memories of my father are gone.
At that time… my other dad sat down in front of me and made eye contact with me.
I just felt like the Grand Duke was overshadowed by the memories of my father, who was unconditionally good to me.
“Then shall we open the present?”
It was a feeling I couldn’t define. But the Grand Duke approached me as if he didn’t even have to confirm his feelings.
I followed him to where the gifts were.
“That’s why my dad is just like my dad.”
“Your father is your father.”
“No. He’s… different.”
“Are you talking about your real father?”
Opening the unwrapped presents, the Grand Duke made eye contact with me.
“…What kind of person was the Emperor?”
“Dad… He was a really, really nice guy.”
“Okay? What kind of person was he?”
The Grand Duke’s hand, which had been violently unpacking, stopped momentarily.
“What kind of person…! A very good person! A kind and nice person.”
“A kind… and nice person…”
In an instant, the Grand Duke’s hand became more violent than before. Rather than opening the packaging, should I say he was shredding it?
“What did he do directly to you? Did he give his precious daughter land like me, or did he give her clothes that seemed endless no matter how many times she wore it? If not…”
“He didn’t give me anything.”
I thought about my father after the Grand Duke’s words, and it was strange. I remember that he was a good person, someone who truly cared for me, but I couldn’t remember what my dad did for me other than that.
‘Dad was there…?’
“…Does that mean you want a dad like that?”
And now the Grand Duke, who was crumpling with the box in his hand, asked with a more serious expression than before.
“Uh… uh. He was good. My mom said that he was a good person.”
“…That’s different from the rumors.”
“Right. The previous emperor, who was the older brother of the current emperor, wasn’t such a good person. But he was nice to you…”
The Grand Duke looked at me with a slightly sad expression on his face.
“Was he? Was my real dad… really like that?”
“It’s not a story worth telling you. Would he still be someone like me? At least from the outside, he may look like garbage, but he has a different attitude towards his children…. He must have been such a person.”
At that, I nodded my head.
“Yes. I would have! That’s right. Because my mother said he was a good person.”
“From now on, I will be a better person. At least so that you can grow up like a child.”
The words were reassuring, yet strange.
He smiled and spoke kindly, but his hands constantly tore the wrapping paper. It was also very bad.
“Is there anything that makes you angry?”
I even thought of that, because I was smiling, I tried to ignore it and try to open the box.
Just then, I remembered the box Theo held in my hand.
I was thinking of tearing it apart, so I ripped it off first. Then I saw a small ribbon pin with my name ‘Bebe’ engraved on it, though it was crooked.
Even if he didn’t tell me, I seemed to know who did this.
“Who gave it to you?”
After I stared at the ribbon pin for a long time, the Grand Duke sneaked up and gave it a glance.
“Do you like those ribbon pins?”
“I don’t know about others, but this one’s nice! Was this… was it done by someone dear to you?”
It was a pin that Cecilia prepared for me. Noticing that without difficulty, I put a pin in my hair beautifully.
“What do you think, Dad? Does it look pretty?”
“Yeah. It’s pretty. But I’ll buy you something prettier than that.”
“I’ll think about what to do with the other gifts, but my present seems fine.”
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