Limited Time, Kitchen Maid of the Fourth Knight Order ~I Got a Job Because I Don’t Want to Get Married~ – Chapter 71

𝐍𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭’𝐬 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐟

That day, I had a long-overdue conversation with Thor and we decided to have dinner together.

“I’ve missed Nee-sama’s cooking so much!”

I got all fired up and cooked as promised. It was fried chicken and ramen loaded with vegetables, but Thor was delighted.

“Even with just a little time apart, Nee-sama, you’ve become an amazing cook. You’re incredible!”

“Thank you, Thor. Making noodles at home is tough, so let’s look for a place that offers them.”

Bread is the staple here, so we don’t often see noodles or rice. And they’re a bit more expensive than bread.

“When you make ramen next time, let me help. Protecting Nee-sama is my duty!”

How adorable! So gallant! And he definitely shows signs of being a siscon!

“Thank you, Thor. Don’t you have a special girl in your life?”

“No, I don’t. . . Ah, but I intend to get closer to Marina and together we’ll support Nee-sama.”

Hmm, that’s not what I meant.

But seeing Thor after so long, sitting closely as we ate, made me feel like now wasn’t the time to say it.

After eating dessert, Thor said endearingly that he didn’t want to go home. Yet, he knew he had to.

He hugged me many times before leaving with Chris.

Thor has always been good about returning to his room every night, so sharing the room with someone else might raise suspicions.

The person sharing the room is an old friend of Thor’s who knows that if Thor does anything, it’s usually related to me. So any unusual behavior could be suspicious.

After talking so much, I felt tired. I apologized once more for the events with Thor and decided to go to bed early.

Though I know Thor the best, I had underestimated his siscon tendencies.

“To think that just by walking, he would be so certain that it was me. . .”

At school, I must find some clues to give back to Roa-sama and the others.

I flopped onto the bed and quickly fell asleep.

Suddenly, I woke up wide-eyed. The surroundings were dark, and I felt the presence of night.

I tossed and turned in bed, but couldn’t find the feeling to go back to sleep.

“Maybe it’s because I went to bed earlier than usual. . .”

I got up and drank some water, which unfortunately made me even more alert. Feeling a bit hungry, I decided to go to the kitchen.

I wore a modest but cute rose-colored dress that I found in my day clothes. I simply tied my hair back, a rarity these days as Chris usually braids it or does more elaborate styles.

I cautiously opened the door and found darkness and no one around. The usually occupied sofa stood quietly in the dark.

As I stealthily opened the door leading to the kitchen, something moved in the dark.

Could it be. . . an assassin?

“Ah. . . eek!”

A hand covered my mouth just as I was about to scream like a proper young lady.

“It’s me, Edgardo.”

I cautiously looked up and indeed, it was Edgardo. He gently removed his hand.

“I apologize for scaring you.”

Holding down my racing heart, I nodded.

“No. . .”

“I’m truly sorry. . . I reached out thinking it might be an intruder, only to realize it was Miss Alice.”

 ㅤ

Edgardo looked downcast, as if he were a dog with drooping ears.

“I should have just come normally. I got a little hungry and came to the kitchen, but I was worried that Chris would get mad if he found me.”

I thought reducing dinner because I’ve been sampling fried chicken every day would lead to weight gain, but that was a mistake.

“Same here.”

Edgardo gave a light smile.

“I got hungry and was having a late-night snack.”

In Edgardo’s hand were ginger cookies we had made today.

“They’re good fresh from the oven, but also good when they’ve cooled down.”

“I’m glad. I made them for you, Edgardo-sama, so please eat plenty.”

For Roa-sama and Rolf, who don’t eat sweets much, I made a less sweet version with plenty of ginger and spices.

For Edgardo, I made it sweeter by adding a lot of honey. I also made extra so Chris and I could snack on them, but it looks like they’ll be gone sooner than expected.

Rene and Arthur prefer hearty foods, so I’ve prepared rice balls and pizza with lots of ingredients and frozen them so they can eat right away when they come home.

“Shall I make some hot milk as well?”

I asked Prep-kun to make hot milk for two.

There are no chairs in the kitchen, so we both leaned against the wall while standing and enjoyed the warm milk and spiced cookies.

“It feels like that day, doesn’t it? When I went to grab a late-night sandwich and was caught by Miss Alice.”

We speak in hushed tones at close quarters so as not to be discovered. It’s a bit thrilling, like we’re doing something naughty.

“Fufufu, indeed. Did the hand I bit leave any scars?”

“No. Though it would have been fine if it did.”

“If a scar had remained, Edgardo-sama’s wife would resent me, wouldn’t she?”

I’d rather not deal with any violent confrontations or soap opera drama.

Edgardo quietly set down his cup.

“Miss Alice, I do understand that you don’t look at me with such feelings.”

. . .His face is. . .

Something about Edgardo’s face is different. Confused by the intense gaze he’s directing at me, I’m at a loss for what to do.

“Could you please be conscious of me as a man? I know it’s a cruel request to make of Miss Alice, who has been hurt by a man before. Perhaps I should wait for your emotional wounds to heal.”

“. . .Wait, please wait.”

If I hear any more, I won’t be able to play it off as a misunderstanding or not having noticed.

“You saw me as Edgardo, not as Edgardo Valka. You have no idea how happy that made me. . . I am younger than Miss Alice. But it’s just a one-year difference. Because of that single year, you see me as someone to protect, like a younger brother. While I appreciate that you can talk to me without being tense, I. . .”

Edgardo’s large hand gently reached out and enveloped my cheek.

“. . .Even when I couldn’t escort you, even when I couldn’t gift you a dress, even when you ran away here. . . All I could do was watch.”

My body and mind are frozen, unable to move.

“. . .I love you, Alice. Please, direct your heart towards me.”

Edgardo took my hand like it was a treasure and pressed his lips to it.

What remained was the unmistakable proof of an unforgettable night, marked by the unexpectedly warm back of my hand.

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