Chapter 20: William’s POV
In a solemn private room.
As I turn the pages of the book, I secretly watch him, who always guards me every day unchanged.
His back stretches smoothly, a knight’s uniform perfectly fitted without a single gap.
Hair of flaxen color neatly arranged to the length of the collar.
His eyes, deep green like a lake in a forest, are always straight and unwavering.
I returned my gaze to the book and quietly sighed.
I realized that I had fallen in love with him, Leah Flores, when I tried on a sea-themed ear cuff he was handling at the jewelry stand.
I recommended he try it on, saying that the neutral design would suit him well.
In fact, it suited him very well.
The sight of him wearing the jewel the color of my eyes filled my heart and made me happy.
When feelings of [dearness] welled up from the bottom of my heart and enveloped me, I finally questioned the movements of my own heart.
A feeling of wanting to float, of being muddled, of wanting to make the other person mine.
When my thoughts reached the true identity of that feeling, a shock like being hit on the head struck me.
Since when have I been holding these feelings for Leah.
Was it when he swore to be a knight towards me in the midst of a burning sunset.
Was it when he freed me from the curse of being a [beloved and loving family].
Was it when he held my hand during a seizure in the town and said, “Let’s go out to the town together again.”
Maybe, I had been in love with Leah much earlier.
Before I knew it, Leah, wearing the ear cuff, was shaking my body while calling my name.
Looking at his face worriedly looking at me, I felt my blood run cold realizing that I had fallen for him with feelings that couldn’t be allowed.
On the way home, Leah kept talking to me worriedly, but to be honest, I don’t remember it very well.
That night, lying in bed, I tried to organize my thoughts.
I’m the heir to a duke’s throne.
If someone other than me becomes the heir, it’s a different story, but if I succeed the Moore duke’s family as it is now, I have the obligation to welcome a lady of noble birth as my wife.
After coming of age, I will welcome my wife without delay and eventually walk through life with the child born. That is the way I should be as a noble.
Even if it is allowed that the wife I reluctantly welcome is a commoner, it will not solve the problem.
Whether Leah is male or female is of no difference to me in terms of being a dear person, but in reality, he is a male and same-sex marriage is not recognized by the law of this country.
(If…if Leah were a woman…)
Thinking to that extent, I was terrified by my own hideous thought process.
(What am I thinking now? You wished he was a woman?)
Feeling sick to my stomach at my own selfishness to deny his gender for my own desires, I tightly closed my eyes.
(First of all, what will Leah’s feelings be? From a position standpoint, if I were to pressure Leah, he would have no choice but to accept. If he were to try to reject my love, he would likely be afraid of losing his job.)
He is devoted to me, but it is not out of love.
It would be a nightmare for a servant to be in love with their lord. Even if he were to reject my love, I have no intention of taking away his job, but if I were in his position, I don’t think I could bear it.
He is an orphan. The thought of him running away from here with nowhere to go as a result of my love for him crossed my mind.
(I shouldn’t have these feelings. I have to bury them.)
But that smile.
His always straightforward gaze.
The way his back straightens up when he stands.
The way his always well-groomed back of the head bounces unexpectedly when I find him asleep in the morning.
His voice calling for me.
The care he shows me at random moments.
As I think about him, everything about him is so dear to me, and every time I try to abandon these feelings, I feel a painful tightness in my chest.
As I came to my senses, my knight was looking at me worriedly.
“It’s good to study hard, but how about taking a break? You’ve been burying your nose in books for a while now… if you’d like, I could make you some tea.”
As he speaks, I smile and reply.
“Sure, I’ll take you up on that. Thanks.”
As I watch Leah’s back head towards the cupboard with a relieved expression, I stare vaguely.
(It’s unlikely that these feelings will come true. But I couldn’t bring myself to erase these feelings no matter what. At least I can try to make sure these feelings don’t show on my face.)
“William-sama, one sugar is enough?”
“I’ll take two today, please.”
As he turns around, I smile and reply.