Chapter 23: Preparedness to be happy
Tears, they never wither.
Happiness, on the other hand, wilts at the slightest provocation.
Diana wanted to curse Leon, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
The small door opened.
Ilsa peered in, looking worried about her younger sister.
“. . .Diana.”
Diana remained silent.
“You know, Diana. Tell me alone. What happened? The reason you’re feeling down, it’s not just because of the war, I thought.”
She’s still my sister. Diana turned her tear-stained eyes towards her.
“Well. . .George-san seemed to know something.”
“. . .Onee-sama.”
“Thinking too much is toxic for the body. I want you, Diana, to be well. Tell me anything. I’ll do anything to make you feel better.”
Inside Diana, the fear of making the situation worse by speaking up and the fear of going mad and deteriorating without saying anything clashed.
Diana let out a sigh of resignation.
“Promise me you won’t tell anyone.”
“Yes. I promise not to tell anyone.”
“I. . .I want to live with Leon.”
Time seemed to stop for a moment.
“. . .Huh?”
“I love Leon. But he said he can’t make me happy.”
Ilsa widened her eyes even more, gazing at her sister with tear-streaked cheeks.
“That’s. . .”
“He told me he feels the same way. But maybe, because he’s loyal to Otoo-sama, he can’t touch me. And on top of that, he lives a poor life, so he couldn’t choose to keep me.”
Ilsa gasped and sat heavily on the bed, her mind in turmoil.
“Since when. . .?”
“Well. . .for me, it’s been since he started working on the Heinz estate’s garden, all this time――.”
“What about Leon. . .?”
“I’ve never asked him in detail, so I don’t know.”
“So, Leon started living with you and developed feelings?”
When summarized, it felt frustrating.
“Anyway, I want to see Leon.”
“. . .Diana.”
Ilsa embraced Diana’s shoulder and fell into deep thought.
“You know, Diana.”
“. . .?”
“Gustav has brought a marriage proposal for you.”
Diana looked at her sister with agitation.
Her sister stared at her as if troubled.
“But, maybe, it’s――.”
Ilsa hesitated in her words, then continued.
“The beginning of hell.”
Diana furrowed her brows.
“I know that very well. That’s why I don’t want to make you feel the same way. You should choose someone you love even a little as your life partner. But. . .”
Suddenly, Ilsa raised her eyes.
“If Leon doesn’t like it, I think it’s better to give up.”
Diana was taken aback.
“He might make you unhappy, or it would have been better if he could live in a better house, or because he feels inadequate, he would live his whole life blaming himself. Even though I don’t have much credibility saying this, marriage isn’t always about good times. There are times when it’s difficult. If you push Leon away at some point, he won’t be able to recover. Both sides need to be prepared for it, or marriage won’t work.”
When it comes to married life, I’m the senior here. Diana felt flustered by her own immaturity deep down.
“Gustav and I don’t love each other as a man and a woman, but we’ve made a commitment to support each other’s families. It’s ironic and unhappy, but I don’t think of separating because we both feel responsible.”
“I don’t want to say this to you in your current state, but marriage depends on the man. If a man can’t support you, it will fall apart. The breadwinner is inevitably the man. So, what should I say. . .If he decides that way, then that’s how it is. There’s no role for a woman.”
Diana rested her forehead on her sister’s shoulder, trembling. Her sister stroked her back.
“But, it’s good, isn’t it? To be able to live with the person you love, even if it’s only for a while. I’ve never had that experience. Love, I’ve never experienced it. . .”
“Uuuh. . .Onee-sama.”
“What has Leon done for you? Tell me too.”
Diana answered in a muffled voice.
“He made a crown out of flowers for me, and he kissed me. . .”
“Oh my, how envy-inducing! Gardener-san, you’re quite the romantic, aren’t you?”
“. . .Yeah.”
“It’s become such a wonderful memory. I’m sure even on your deathbed, you’ll remember that perfect moment――.”
After expressing her emotions, Diana finally calmed down.
At that moment. . .
There was a knocking sound on the door, and a voice from the servant called out.
“Diana-sama, there’s a guest.”
Diana and Ilsa separated from each other.
“A guest on a night like this?”
“Yes. They want to return the horse that Diana-sama forgot.”
Upon hearing that, Diana’s heart stirred intensely, and in the next moment, she dashed out of the room.
Ilsa also lifted the hem of her dress and ran after her. Hearing the commotion, Gustav also quietly came out of the room.
The next thing Ilsa and Gustav saw was Diana, clinging to a tall young man at the inn’s entrance, crying uncontrollably.
“Leon, Leon. . .!”
“. . .I’m sorry, Diana.”
Leon hugged Diana tightly and affectionately pressed his cheek against her head.