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Shooting a furtive look towards Ethan, Reina then glanced at the approaching Fran.
‘Seems like you don’t even think of me as a fiancée candidate.’
It certainly seemed like it, given that he wasn’t looking at her any differently.
“How have you been?”
Ethan thought for a moment, his expression remaining to be aloof, but a perfunctory smile soon graced his features at the other man’s greeting.
“Yes, I’ve been well, Sir Carter.”
Originally, Reina wouldn’t have greeted him first. But since her own situation had changed, she acknowledged him first.
“Hello, Fran. It’s been a while.”
Sighing, Fran gave a half-hearted wave back at her.
Fran of House Carter, the family of merchants amongst the nine major households.
Fran looked at the world in numbers, and so ‘love’ was the same thing as the autumn leaves, which would turn into nothing but trash after the season has passed.
However, after he met Lehman, everything changed.
He couldn’t understand. He had no idea why he kept looking at the other man, why he was overcome with an endless stream of inferiority whenever faced with Jeremy, who had monopolized Lehman’s love.
And yet, there was no denying it.
Fran Carter loved Lehman Karr. He loved him so very dearly. 」
‘This kid’s supposed to have a serious case of Lehman-mania, too, but…’
Somehow or another, he wasn’t even going anywhere near Lehman.
“You look fatigued these days, Your Excellency. I guess there’s something bothering you a lot these days.”
Prodding at Reina directly, Fran threw out this statement. He even clicked his tongue. Reina’s warm mood instantly cooled at the sight of him.
‘What kind of engagement am I supposed to have with a punk like that? Seriously, Father.’
Reina shook her head.
“Perhaps so,” Ethan replied.
Well, Reina thought that Fran was out of the question anyway, so she would continue focusing on Ethan.
“Oh gosh, my love, you’re tired? Let me see.”
“Cough… My lo… What?”
“It looks like my love is very tired, Fran. We’ll go ahead now.”
“N, No, w-wait. ‘My love’…?”
As soon as he heard the two words, Fran stuttered out, perhaps frighteningly.
“Ah— my love?”
She truly looked crazy, given how the person she gave this nickname to was ‘that’ Ethan, but then again, the guy who did nothing to stop this was also quite strange.
“Hoh… So the two of you really are dating?”
As they answered differently, the two looked at each other. Ethan’s expression was ever so slightly distorted.
“That’s too much of a jest, Miss Reina.”
“I told you though. My love will soon become my ‘honey’, right?”
“That kind of joke shouldn’t be said in public.”
“Oh, then you’d rather have our relationship be secret?”
As the woman continued to spout a stream of nonsense, Ethan looked down quietly.
“Let me be clear right now. There is nothing between you and I.”
“It’s not nothing, you know. We’re bound by the same destiny we’ve been born with, aren’t we?”
In the end, he couldn’t help but smirk.
Off to the side, Fran was already shocked enough, but he soon had no choice but to shudder.
The reticent Ethan Liam was smiling! He had never seen Ethan smile in his entire life! Was this even the same Ethan who was birthed by the duke and duchess?
“Why, my love? We’re both future leaders of the Pluntria Empire.”
Unaware of one man’s shock towards her demeanor, Reina shrugged her shoulders.
Ethan’s reaction at that was stern, but who knows. Even this seemed so unusual to Fran.
‘Why are you just accepting all this…?’
Ethan wouldn’t have normally paid this conversation any more mind in the first place.
“But that’s the same for all members of the nine households.”
“Oh my, don’t be so heartless. Can’t you just consider that as something special that connects you and I, my love?”
“No. It’s not possible.”
Ethan drew the line sharply and Reina clicked her tongue in response, turning her head to the side.
Standing between the two, Fran staggered back a little. He didn’t know what exactly it was, but he didn’t want to stay in a place like this where he’d just be left cringing so hard.
“Uh… T-Then… I’ll be off now, Your Excellency.”
As he tried to escape from that spot, Reina watched him and rolled her head a bit.
‘But just in case… Shouldn’t I keep Fran as a back-up choice?’
She already flirted this much with Ethan in front of Fran, and obviously, Fran didn’t like her. But wasn’t that how aristocratic society worked anyhow? Engagement and love were two separate things.
Murmuring with a troubled voice, Reina soon naturally winked at him.
After the unexpected farewell, Fran immediately ran away in a hurry, as if he was prey being pursued by a predator.
As soon as he disappeared, she was soon left with Ethan, who was looking at her with narrowed eyes. It seemed as if he wanted to see through her.
“What is it, my love?”
His long eyelashes drooped and rose once more as he blinked, then he calmly spoke.
“I didn’t know you had a hobby of winking here and there.”
Reina widened her eyes.
“My love, are you feeling jealous?”
“…I am not jealous—”
The unforeseen word inevitably broke down his poker face. At the same time, his pupils began to shake as though he had encountered a ferocious storm.
Indeed. That’s possible, too.
He had never heard anyone tell him in his life that he’s cute… Right, well, except for the days when he was still being raised by a nanny.
But now that he’s all grown up, he’s hearing that he’s cute. And, to top it off, it was from Reina, who was younger than him by a few years.
Entirely incredulous, Ethan couldn’t help but snicker. He swept a hand over his face, but as he lowered his hand, he asked.
“Are you in need of money?”
“I have a lot of money.”
“Or, is it that you have a favor to ask of me?”
“Tch. I’m doing this because I love you.”
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Comments for chapter "Chapter 21"
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