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“Dahlia, can you come over here for a moment?”
Isaac, who was seated before the desk, tapped the edge of the desk lightly with the tip of his pen and gestured towards the assistant’s chair with his jaw. As such, Dahlia, who was reading a book while squatting in the corner, walked over hesitantly and sat in the chair as he ordered.
Just then, the maids rushed in like they had been waiting. Isaac cleared away the pile of office supplies and books that were scattered on his desk and nodded at the maids.
“Please prepare it here.”
The maid that was pushing the cart arranged the plates onto the desk deftly. After placing down the cutlery, napkin, and a small vase, the maid that was watching over the situation from the side poured tea mechanically.
Dahlia just sat there and stared blankly at that maid. This was because the maid that’s pouring the tea was someone familiar.
Thelma, who was her superior just a few days ago, was pouring tea before her and bowing politely. She could clearly see that her courtesy wasn’t just for Isaac, but also for the dedicated maidservant that assisted Sergeant Eufgenschult.
“Please call for me if there’s anything you require.”
After finishing their preparations perfectly, the maids bowed their heads and withdrew from the room. Dahlia sneaked a peek at Isaac’s mood with a restless face.
Isaac moved the plates in front of Dahlia and placed the napkin-wrapped fork onto her hand. His deep-set black eyes, which were looking downwards, looked upwards furtively and bent into a gentle curve as soon as he met Dahlia’s gaze.
Whenever she was met with a smile blooming on his beautiful face, it had a strange power to move her heart. However, Dahlia, who was already used to his handsome face, lowered her gaze and turned away while grumbling in a small voice.
“Young Master. If you require someone to run an errand, please order me to do it. I don’t have anything to do anyways.”
“It’s even more discomforting that I’m not doing anything. I’ve already told you so many times to let me take care of the trifling matters instead of ordering the maids.”
“I read books in my room every day and play with the Young Master… If I was caught being so lazy by Mrs. Prada, I’ll be scolded by her severely.”
“Raise your head, Dahlia.”
She could feel an urging tone from his deep voice. Once she raised her head, Isaac used the fork to hold out a piece of the cake in front of Dahlia.
“Ahh, open up.”
“……Young Master, you didn’t listen to any of the words I said, right?”
“Hurry. Don’t you like this?”
Dahlia lost her fighting will at the way he smiled brightly while raising the cake. When she looked down, colourful desserts were lined up on the black desk and stimulated her salivary glands with their splendid appearance.
‘Oh, I don’t know.’
When she opened her mouth with an “Ahh”, Isaac quickly pushed the cake into her mouth. While she chewed on the cake quietly, his black eyes sparkled with life, and the smile on his face deepened.
“Is it good?”
“Try this, too.”
It was a moist mousse cake that gave off the scent of oranges, which imbued her mouth with a splendid taste. Subsequently, a soft chiffon cake and a crispy chocolate pie entered her mouth alternately.
These were expensive and delicious desserts that she wouldn’t even dream of having normally. Dahlia, who had been eating diligently, belatedly realised that this was the same situation yesterday and the day before, and held Isaac’s hand.
“I’m fine, so please have some, Young Master.”
“It’s too much for me to finish by myself. Dahlia has to help me.”
He looked at her composedly while propping up his chin.
A clean cut faceline, somewhat dark eyebrows, and deep set eyes transformed him into a mature youth that could no longer be referred to as a boy. A thick neckline, wide shoulders, and a broad chest that rose and fell slightly underneath.
It’s funny how instead of being repulsed by the Young Master’s matured appearance, Dahlia was more intimidated by his appearance that was finer than before.
But there were things that didn’t change.
Underneath the slowly flickering eyelashes, the affection within his pitch-black eyes was the same as it used to be. When she faced him, Dahlia was embarrassed for no reason, so she reached for the tea cup with a lowered head.
Recently, for some reason… the young master had been acting weirdly.
It has almost been a month since she began to work at a maidservant. Even though she was very nervous about how to attend to him, Dahlia spent each day idling.
The only things she had done was read a book next to him like today, starting a conversation intermittently, or even going on a walk around the garden together when it was stifling.
After Isaac moved from the annex to the left wing, the servants that were in charge of the left wing became in charge of completing all the trivial chores such as cleaning and dressing. Dahlia tried to count how many days it has been since she placed the duster down, before giving up on counting with a sigh.
Are all maidservants supposed to be this free…
‘I want to work.’
For Dahlia, who was used to going through each day busily, the overly peaceful daily life was a continuation of her suffering. She had only ever rested for one or two days, and so for a body that’s been tamed by labour, resting was something puzzling.
“Shall we go into town the day after tomorrow?”
At his low voice, Dahlia quickly gathered the hand that was fiddling with the teacup onto her knees.
“The day after tomorrow? Is there anything that you need?”
“In that case, I’ll go by myself. You have been quite busy these days, so there’s no need for you to go in person…”
“How can you go by yourself when we’re going on a date? We should be going together.”
After he finished speaking fluidly, Isaac poured tea into an empty cup.
As he spoke in a strange tone, Dahlia was confused whether the date was a word that she knew. After coming to her senses with the sound of teacups clinking together, Dahlia asked with widened eyes.
“Young Master. Are you, perhaps, asking me out on a date?”
Isaac’s lips curved up smoothly into a smile. With his chin resting on his linked fingers, Isaac tilted his head. And, with a sorrowful expression on display, he asked probingly with a subdued voice.
“Why? You don’t want to go?”
Dahlia, who had been opening and closing her mouth a couple of times, closed her mouth firmly and shook her head. Her flushed cheeks made her agitation obvious.
“Young Master, is it fun to tease me like that?”
“I’m not teasing you. We haven’t gone on a date ever since last winter, when we sneaked out.”
“That isn’t considered a date. I went out as Ms. Thelma needed me to run an errand, and the Young Master invited himself.”
“It was a date to me.”
Isaac looked down at the table with his half-lidded eyes, before raising his eyebrows slightly and gazing at Dahlia again.
“…It was a date to me. Now, as well.”
The hand hovering at the side of the table naturally brushed against Dahlia’s chin and came up to her cheek. Isaac, who was touching Dahlia’s cheek with an outstretched arm, leaned his upper body forward and came a little closer.
“Young Master, You’re… teasing me again.”
The green eyes darted about without finding a place for her to look at. Isaac often joked in this manner, it was the first time he made skin contact at close quarters in a long while.
Was the Young Master’s hand always this big?
She could feel that the palm covering her cheek was particularly hot.
Her heart pounded thoughtlessly. While her reason still recognised him as a younger brother, her instinct recognised that he was a man.
‘Oh goodness. What’s this?’
Embarrassment welled up as soon as she realised it, and Dahlia hurriedly lifted the teacup and retreated backwards. She couldn’t face him, so she pretended to be as calm as possible while keeping her gaze in the air.
“W–whether it’s a date or something, I’ll follow whatever the Young Master wants. Understood.”
“It isn’t a date or something, but a date. Let’s hold hands, eat at a restaurant, and drink tea at a cafe. Let’s take a look around while talking the entire day. That’s a date.”
It felt very strange to summarise an outing with the word ‘date’. Dahlia kept flapping her hands and denying with a serious expression.
“I–I don’t call that a date….”
“Then what do you call a date?”
“A date is when people who like each other… Hold hands, have a good time together…”
“We did that.”
Dahlia shook her head with a dumbstruck look.
“No! It’s essentially different from that… Hug… No. K–Kissing.”
Isaac got up with the rattling sound of his chair and stretched his long legs to quickly approach Dahlia. Isaac stood beside Dahlia and the corners of his mouth curled up imperceptibly, before he lifted Dahlia’s chin.
His sleeves were rolled up and veins popped out on the wrist that was exposed. Isaac, who forced her to look upwards, leaned down very slowly. As his face approached, a masculine scent as well as the scent of the wind in winter, which was unclear whether it was his scent or belonging to a perfume, entered her nose.
“Is it a date if I kiss you?”
Isaac stopped moving at a distance where the tips of their noses were brushing against each other, and slowly parted his lips.
“Then, if we kiss now, is this a date?”
A low voice permeated, along with a hot breath. Dahlia could tell from the strange reverberation that he was smiling at the end.
“Close your eyes.”
While he spoke softly, his words contained an undeclinable spirit. She wondered if it wasn’t a joke, and Isaac stared at Dahlia with his gleaming eyes.
The pitch-black eyes that were engulfed in darkness such that his pupils and iris couldn’t be distinguished. Even though the red sunset that leaked out of the window was encroaching on his side profile, his black eyes didn’t contain any colours, and Dahlia was reflected within them with a dim light.
Beyond the darkness, Dahlia, and only Dahlia was dimly illuminated in the afterimage.
Dahlia gulped as she looked at the reflection of her in his eyes.
If… she closed her eyes.
From the looks of the current atmosphere, it didn’t seem to be a joke. She felt as though she was about to cross an irreversible line.
She didn’t know what to do. She tried to veer her face backwards, but another hand was holding her head firmly.
She could feel his breath surging forth from his agape lips. His eyes, which were sharply raised, became narrowed before she knew it and were staring at her with an odd gleam.
Dahlia closed her eyes tightly just as their lips were about to touch. At the moment she thought that the feeling of their soft flesh being pressed together wouldn’t be that bad.
“Y, Y–Young Master!”
The door burst open with an urgent cry. The expression was washed away when she opened her eyes and she was met with Isaac’s insensitive face.
‘Why at a time like this?’
The thoughts of the two, which was unknown whether they found it fortunate or not, were quickly washed away by Hoover’s next words.
“Currently, His Grace the Duke! H–He’s unconscious!”
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