Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
Sponsored chapters by Yona (5/8). Thank you~! 💖
Nelia nodded and he happily took a seat in front of her.
“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Although she didn’t know who he was.
While Nelia eyed him warily, he cleared his throat with a look of realization.
“Seems like I’m late for an introduction. I’m Liam Clint, a cousin of Duke Hart.”
“You can address me as Marquis Clint.”
Marquis Clint gave her an appeasing smile.
‘He seems young, but it turns out he’s a marquis.’
It amazed her how everyone was able to inherit their family and ennobled at such a young age, including Duke Hart.
Of course, it was because of their competences.
Then, she heard Ton’s voice spoke in an uncomfortable tone as he was standing at the door.
“Marquis Clint, the duke has ordered not to let Lady Nelia meet anyone else.”
Marquis Clint answered nonchalantly.
“I will talk to her properly, so you don’t have to be concerned.”
“No, especially not the Marquis of Clint.” “No. In particular, he said to never let Lady Nelia meet Marquis Clint………”
“It’s all right. I’ll take the responsibility, so it’s up to me.”
Marquis Clint got up and pushed Ton away from the door so that he was able to close it.
“Now the disrupter has gone.”
Marquis Clint grinned.
The longer she looked at him, the more different he turned out to be, compared to Duke Hart. Because he was a lot more outgoing and lively.
Although their appearance resembled each other, their moods were completely opposite, which was fascinating to her.
“I’ve heard a lot about you from the duke. You must have become his handmaiden by now.”
“Yes, that’s true. But…… He talked about me a lot?”
Nelia tilted her head. Marquis Clint rolled his eyes for a moment seemingly in disbelief and smiled awkwardly.
“Oh, Haha. I apologize. I will correct myself. I didn’t hear a lot about you, just a little.”
“From Duke Hart?”
“There’s no one in this mansion who talks about you other than him, young lady. After all, he lives alone without his family here.”
Nelia opened her eyes wide.
“Duke Hart lives here on his own?”
“Yes, the only remaining family of Duke Hart, the duchess, who’s currently in the dukedom.”
So that’s how it was……
The description about Duke Hart’s family was not really detailed in the book.
After all, ‘Andrian’s Flower’ evolved around Carlos, the male lead and Charlotte, the female lead.
“Then, there’s only Duke Hart and his employees in this large mansion? I heard he doesn’t have any other maids and attendants.”
“That’s right. The head attendant was recently kicked out of the mansion…….”
When Marquis Clint didn’t continue, Nelia had to ask.
But he only shook his head and raised the corner of his lip.
“No, I was going to say that the head attendant recently returned to his hometown.”
“I’ve already been informed about that.”
Marquis Clint replied with a smile again.
Marquis Clint was someone who laughed a lot. He was the same as Duke Hart, but their characters were completely different.
The marquis’ smile was somehow mischievous.
Nelia took a sip of the tea Ton had served her, and there was another commotion outside again.
“Did Nelia come?”
“Yes. However, Marquis Clint is with her. I definitely tried to stop him…….”
Ton was slurring, as if he was trying to make up an excuse.
Soon, the owner of this mansion appeared.
His silver eyes checked on Nelia before they shifted to Marquis Clint, who sat beside her.
“I opened the door of the drawing room, and found Lady Nelia sitting on her own here. I was bored while having to wait for you.”
Marquis Clint shrugged as if he didn’t do anything wrong.
Duke Hart walked toward Marquis Clint.
“Give it to me and leave.”
She had never heard Duke Hart speak in a cold voice before.
“Are you kicking me out because we just talked a bit? That’s too bad.”
“If you want to be dragged out of here, I’m willing to call someone.”
Duke Hart spoke while leaning over the door.
“You can’t create such a scene in front of Lady Nelia.”
Marquis Clint reluctantly got up and handed something to Duke Hart.
The small glass bottle contained something that looked like a white pill.
However, it quickly disappeared from her sight when Duke Hart’s large palm wrapped around it.
“Don’t forget to take it right on time if you don’t want to go through it again.”
Duke Hart bobbed his head.
She wondered if she should bid farewell to Marquis Clint, but he stopped at the door and looked back at her first.
“I’ll see you next time, Lady Nelia.”
“Yes, Marquis Clint.”
As soon as Clint left through the door, it was closed again.
“You won’t see him again.”
Duke Hart’s voice was stern. Nelia was bewildered for no solid reason.
She was looking down awkwardly at the empty teacup when she heard Duke’s Hart voice again.
“He’s very interested in my personal life. I just didn’t want to make Nelia feel uncomfortable with him around.”
Nelia muttered an answer and rolled her eyes around the room. Then she came up with an idea to ask him.
“Your Grace, I heard that I’m the only maid here, is that true……?”
“Yes, I’ve sent them all away recently because they have something to do.”
She wanted to ask what it was about, but ended up going back on her words since she thought it wouldn’t have been a good thing if that caused everyone to be fired.
“I’ve never worked as a maid, so I’ll be lacking in my job. However, if I don’t have anyone to teach me……”
I think it would be better if you could find someone else to work for you now……
Nelia wished that the piece of her mind would reach Duke Hart.
“I don’t mind. Nelia will only have to do what I ask you to do.”
It seemed that the piece of her mind wasn’t able to reach him.
“Can you give some examples of what I will have to do for you…….?”
The duke seemed to be thinking about it for a moment with a hum, and began to carefully speak again.
“If I wake up late in the morning, you may wake me up, help me with simple tasks, help me take a bath, and so on, only those sorts of things.”
He was listing out things that weren’t really necessary, and anyone could do those things.
But there was one thing that was extremely irritating than the rest…….
“Tak, taking a bath………?”
Nelia opened eyes widened even more. Duke Hart smiled at the sight and attempted to cover his mouth with his hands.
“I’m joking. I usually take a bath by myself.”
Nelia soothed her heart that had been sent into a shock just now.
Really, this man…….!
“However, what I said just now is true. You have to stay by my side and do what I ask you to do.”
The duke looked at his bandaged foot.
“I think I will need a lot of assistance due to my uncomfortable foot for a while.”
“Yeah……. I caused that, so of course I will have to be of help as much as possible to you.”
Nelia, who felt awkward, stared at the teacup again, and that was when a white box was placed on the table.
The white box has a familiar design on it.
Nelia looked up and saw Duke Hart smiling gently at her.
“On the day of the party, you seem to like strawberry tart, so I bought it for you.”
Nelia stared with a surprised look at the box in front of her.
The pretty package box belonged to the Posh Bakery, the place she visited when she was running an errand for Leighton to buy him strawberry tarts.
She didn’t expect the duke to buy the strawberry tart in the Posh Bakery.
‘Strawberry tart from this place is really good…….’
She held eye contact with the duke a few times while savoring the strawberry tart on the day of the party, and he seemed to have remembered that moment.
Come to think of it, why did he look at her like that on that day……?
Was it because he had a different connection with Nelia at some point in the past?
Whatever the reason might be, Duke Hart had a good memory and was more susceptible than she thought. It was enough to make her forget about his horrible personality in the original story for a moment.
Nelia, who was looking down at the package box absentmindedly, finally looked up at him.
Oh right, she should have thanked him.
“Thank you, Your Grace. I’m grateful for the food.”
Nelia mumbled quietly as she stared at the strawberry tart she hadn’t seen in a while.
“Last time, I went to this bakery to buy the strawberry tarts, but they sold out so I didn’t have the chance to buy them.”
The smile of Duke Hart was soft and gentle like a whipped cream in the strawberry tart.
“But from now on, you don’t have to do that anymore. I’ll buy it whenever you want.”
Nelia thought she heard it wrong for a brief moment.
“You will buy it for me?”
On the contrary, Duke Hart’s answer was firm.
Duke Hart proceeded to open the box. There was a pretty-looking strawberry tart inside.
Nelia asked as the duke held out the fork that had been put inside which she was unaware of.
“I bought this bakery.”
The fork, which he handed over just now, fell from Nelia’s hand with a thump.
Duke Hart picked up the fork again and thoughtfully removed the dust stuck on it by shaking it off, before putting it in Nelia’s hand again.
“I said I bought it. This bakery.”
It felt so unrealistic for him to say that, as if he were saying that he bought apples when he went grocery shopping in the local grocery store.
This bakery was the largest and the most famous place in the capital.
The bakery owner has been taking so much pride in himself, it was said that he wasn’t affiliated to any nobles and wouldn’t want to sell his store to them.
Even the nobles weren’t treated with special treatment so they had to wait if they wanted to buy it.
“……Why did you suddenly do that? Were you taking an interest in the bakery?”
Duke Hart shook his head with a chuckle.
“No. I just wanted to.”
How the heck did he buy a bakery just because he wanted to?
“So, don’t hesitate to tell me whenever you want to eat this tart.”
Nelia could barely reply, the puzzled look was still apparent on her face.
She could barely eat the tart after waiting an hour to buy it, but now she could easily eat them without having to wait.
Free pass of working with Duke Hart, huh?
‘He does have a lot of money.’
She recalled the drama about the conglomerate she used to watch when she was young. There was a scene similar to this in the drama that featured four handsome guys.
‘The difference is that I’m not the female lead.’
Then, Duke Hart took out the tart and brought it closer to Nelia.
“Hurry up and dig in.”
Duke Hart was somehow looking at her expectantly.
Her hand naturally moved the fork in response to his sincerity.
……She tried to, but she suddenly remembered the man in front of her.
‘Now that I think about this, why is he so kind toward me……’
Not only did she step on his foot, but he suffered from a fracture, and out of all times in the year, his head attendant had to take a leave which left him uncomfortable doing things by himself.
But, what did she deserve to receive this tart?
“Why are you not digging in? Or perhaps, do you not want to eat it now……?”
The duke asked curiously when Nelia contemplated with the fork in her hand.
His expression seemed so immaculate and innocent that she couldn’t predict what kind of tricks he was hiding.
But, she realized it soon enough.
The man facing her was a villain.
‘There could be something added in here.’
She planned to appease his boundaries by talking about the bakery without restraint while feeding him this strawberry tart.
Nelia glared at the tart for a moment, and soon picked up a slice of tart with the fork.
“Please eat before me.”
Nelia put her fork in front of his mouth while putting on a determined expression.
However, contrary to Nelia’s intention, this situation in which she kindly picked up a slice of dessert and offered him to eat it first was similar to what lovers usually do with each other.