Chapter 24


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“Shall we do it every day?”




As Ana solemnly asked back, Garcia, whose face had visibly relaxed, lifted her hand to his lips and gave a brief kiss.


“What did you do today?”


“I rested comfortably. Oh, Eliza visited for tea time.”


“Eliza?” Surprised by the unexpected mention, Garcia raised his eyebrows as he led Ana to the living room. He intently observed her expression.


“What did she come to see you about?”


After all, he still doesn’t know, does he? Ana thought as she recalled her prepared excuse in response to Garcia’s reaction. “She felt guilty for not visiting for so long and brought a handicraft from the estate. She said she had already given one as a gift to Charlotte.”


“They are quite close, after all.”


Considering Eliza’s usual thoughtful and cautious personality, Garcia easily accepted the story. He then added, “Did she say anything else? I hope my sister didn’t disturb you on your day off.”


“What do you mean? If she’s Garcia’s family, she’s my family too.” Ana quickly waved her hand dismissively and thought that it was somewhat cold of Garcia to speak that way about his sister, who had come home after a long time.


Usually, Garcia would have been excessively considerate of his wife’s comfort, but maybe because of what Eliza had said, he seemed indifferent and mildly warm as he spoke about his sister. Ana glanced briefly at Garcia’s profile, which was calm and different, without any particular emotional reaction.


“My wife is indeed very kind.” Garcia smiled broadly. He then belatedly asked about his sister’s health, but Ana knew by now that it wasn’t a genuine concern, just a superficial procedure.


Suddenly, Ana remembered the letter she had written to Oliver during the day and realized anew how distant Garcia’s siblings seemed compared to her own brothers. This made her feel more pity for Eliza.


Now that Garcia’s parents were gone, the only trustworthy guardians were her siblings and husband. Lanten was not someone to rely on but rather needed help himself. And her stern brother-in-law seemed distant. So, it made sense why Eliza visited her not-so-close sister-in-law.


Hesitating whether to intervene, Ana then softly broached the subject as she noticed Garcia’s mood hadn’t worsened since the morning. “Garcia.”




“You are kind and generous. Everyone under the wings of this mansion, including myself, thinks the same.”


“My kind wife is giving me excessive praise.” Garcia, leaning on the armchair, smiled and intertwined his fingers.


After the maid placed the tea set between them and left, a brief silence fell. As Garcia looked at her with narrowed eyes, Ana placed her hand in his. Understanding the unspoken words, she continued, “I think sometimes you should pay attention to your closest family too. They might have already married, but your young sisters might need someone to rely on and throw tantrums at occasionally.”


“Did she throw a tantrum at you?”


“You know that’s not what I mean.” Ana scolded, and Garcia chuckled briefly.


“I sometimes miss the carefree days of my childhood at my parents’ home. Not that I’m unsatisfied or think you’re lacking, but I miss those innocent days when I ran around and played without any worries under the protection of my parents. Sometimes, I miss my brothers for no reason and wonder about their wellbeing…”


As Ana spoke at length, Garcia, resting his chin on his hand, listened quietly. His long fingers, like playing piano keys, gently touched his white fair flushed with a faint pink hue, then slowly stroked her palm. His touch was as delicate as handling a precious instrument, a young animal, or thin porcelain.


“So, my point is, show a bit of affection to your sisters. They might secretly hope for or enjoy it.”


“That’s what you think.” Garcia opened his mouth softly after a brief pause. “Indeed, that’s something you would think. My relationship with them is different from your brothers.”


“I wasn’t comparing,” Ana replied, and Garcia halted her with a smile.


“But there’s a misunderstanding,” Garcia spoke calmly. “My closest family is not them. It’s you, Ana.”


“My point is…”


“I know. But I wanted to make it clear. Now that I’m married to you, you are my priority, and it will always be so. I have no intention of changing this principle.”


It was a strict yet polite kindness. Ana silently watched as his long fingers caressed her hand. Despite the affectionate touch, his answer was appropriate and straightforward, like a judge responding to a petition.


“Of course, I’m not a perfect brother. I also have immature and lacking parts, so if they feel neglected, I’ll pay more attention in the future. Thanks for the advice.”


“Thank you too.”


“Don’t mention it.” Garcia, smiling broadly, then asked about her other activities for the day.


Relieved, Ana talked about a few minor tasks she handled within the household and gradually shifted to lighter topics. Since the conversation about her brothers had already come up, this direction wasn’t particularly surprising.


“So today, I wrote a letter to Oliver. No matter how busy, how can he not come to the capital for years…”


Thanks to being a great listener, Ana casually mentioned this when suddenly, she exclaimed, realizing something. “Now that I think about it, Garcia, you attended the same military academy as Oliver. You even served in the army together, right?”


“Yes, that’s right.” Garcia acknowledged briefly.


“I can’t believe I forgot that. It was a hectic time, though. There were a lot of incidents around the time we got engaged. But how can neither of you say anything about it? Ah, you did mention once that you went to the same school.”


“Did I?” He frowned and then relaxed his expression.


Ana cautiously gauged his reaction. “Were you and Oliver not on good terms?”


As far as Ana knew, Garcia was the most gentlemanly person of his time, and Oliver was the most lovable and pleasant person she knew. She firmly believed that the two couldn’t possibly have a bad relationship. They were important people and family to Ana.


Noticing her worried gaze, Garcia burst into a short laugh. “Anais.” It was the softest voice he had used all day. “I wouldn’t dislike my wife’s family. Don’t worry.”


His extremely kind tone reassured Ana.


“And speaking of family matters…”


Garcia, lounging in his chair, tapped his fingers on the table. His gaze briefly scanned the fruit tea in front of him before he lightly suggested, “I remember giving a modest New Year’s gift to Madam Denian. It might not be a bad idea to send the elderly couple on a trip.  Since they wouldn’t accept anything else.”


His voice was as smooth as a song, as thoughtful as a priest’s. Surprised by the unexpected suggestion, Ana’s eyes widened.


Oh, that’s a wonderful idea.”


Perhaps because he became the head of the family at a young age, Garcia cared for the members of his household but had a strangely strict side, which applied even to Madam Denian, his nanny. Despite their close relationship, they treated each other formally.


Ana was a bit surprised to learn that the dignified elderly lady who didn’t show much was Garcia’s nanny. But seeing him take care like this was quite thoughtful. Ana felt excited but then worried.


“But she said her knees hurt. Wouldn’t a long trip be difficult for her?”


“Then Lunan, famous for its hot springs, would be good.”


Her concern was briefly resolved with a light suggestion. Lunan was a secluded tourist spot where the sea route and the southern sea intersected. With delicious seafood, hot springs, and canals extending from the capital for comfortable boat travel, Ana thought it was an excellent choice.


Her husband indeed had appropriate discernment and insight. Was he paying such immediate attention because of her advice to look after his family? Ana’s lips curled into a smile, pleased with the idea.


Garcia, watching her silently, smiled. Somehow, Ana felt that his gaze was observing something unfamiliar.


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