The Presumed Villainess Is Being Married Off to the Ugliest Man in the Country – Chapter 21

Chapter 21

Perhaps out of consideration for Rudy-sama, who seems restless and conscious of others, we were guided to a two-seater sofa seat in the back of the cafe, which was less visible to the surroundings thanks to the partition nearby.

As expected, Rudy-sama tried to let me sit alone there while he stood by my side and waited. However, I forcefully made him sit next to me, firmly holding his hand to prevent him from escaping, and leaned my head on his shoulder. I won’t let him go.

The gentle Rudy-sama, unable to shake me off, remained stiff as a board until the tea and cake we ordered arrived.

“If you try to escape again, I’ll sit on your lap.”

With a smile, I released his hand that had been held tightly all this time. I don’t want to let go, but I can’t eat the cake like this.

“Uh, ah. . .Well, I’d appreciate it if you could spare me that.”

Seemingly trying to escape, Rudy-sama, who momentarily lifted his hips from the sofa, muttered softly and gently sat back down. 

Oh, the position he returned to is slightly farther away from me than before.

“Oh, so you want me on your lap?”

Pressing further with a smile, Rudy-sama shook his head vigorously, almost trembling too fast and making a rattling sound. 

“Please stop! Excessive happiness and Emmanuella, it’s obvious that I’ll die from overconsumption! Even now, my heart is so. . .so noisy. . .”

With a groan, Rudy-sama, still trembling, returned to the position of leaning against me. He must really dislike being on my lap.

Well, this is a cafe, not our mansion. Moderation, discretion, appropriate timing, they’re important. I’ll save the lap-sitting for another opportunity.

Regaining my composure, I shift my gaze to the berry tart I ordered and the cheesecake Rudy-sama ordered, placed on the table in front of us.

Hmm, they both look delicious, and there’s no strange smell or unpleasant feeling from the tea and utensils. It’s safe.

“Fufu, shall we do a taste test right away?”

“Understood. . .?”

I cut a piece of tart with a fork and bring it in front of his mouth. Rudy-sama tilts his head curiously.

He still doesn’t get it, huh.

“Here, Rudy, open wide.”

As I say that and smile, Rudy-sama’s face turns incredibly red in an instant. He finally understands what ‘open wide’ means.

“Oh no, I, I’ll eat it with my own fork. . .!”

Saying that, he scoots back while still sitting, but I deepen my grin.

Oh? If you keep trying to escape, it’ll be lap-sitting, you know?

“Oh no, I don’t want that. This is a taste test, right? Maybe the fork is coated with poison. So, come on, open wide.”

Closing the distance that was created by his retreat, I say that, but the persistent Rudy-sama continues to inch back, still resisting.

“Well, in that case, could you pass me the fork then. . .?!”

“Oh no, I won’t.”

“I-I see.”

As he firmly declares that, Rudy-sama looks surprised and finally stops retreating.

Ah, or rather, there’s no more space for Rudy-sama to escape, is there? The sofa isn’t that big either.

“Yes, I won’t. I want Rudy to say ‘ah’ for me.”

As I firmly and selfishly state that, Rudy-sama’s eyebrows droop as if he’s truly troubled.

“Well, if it’s Emmanuella’s wish, I want to fulfill it. However, this is, well. . .”

“. . .Rudy doesn’t like being fed ‘ah’?”

“It’s not like that! I’m just scared of being too happy!”

As he lowers his tone with a sad expression, he immediately denies it when asked. 

Push and pull, huh? But isn’t he a bit too easy to persuade?

Although I’m slightly worried about my husband’s easygoing nature, oh well. I got him to admit it.

“That’s great! Well then, open wide.”

Once again, I apply pressure with a smile. Physically and mentally cornered, Rudy-sama’s gaze wanders, but he finally, reluctantly opens his mouth.

“Uh, ah. . .Ahh. . .”

Confirming that he took a bite of the cake, I gently pull out the fork and watch him chew. How adorable.

After confirming that his throat moved with a gulp, I asked.

“Fufu, did you enjoy it?”

“I don’t know. The taste and everything. I was too nervous. With an excess supply of happiness, everything is a blur. . .I mean, how much should I even pay for this. . .?”

“Well, it’s obviously an equal exchange, right?”

As I tilted my head, Rudy-sama nodded with a “Hmm.”

“Which means, even our entire family fortune wouldn’t be enough. . .It might increase a bit if we go wyvern hunting, but even if we increase it a bit, it’s still far from. . .”

What is this guy saying with a serious face?

While feeling a headache from his troubled expression, I slowly continued.

“Why does it have to be like that. . .? Since it’s an equal exchange, can’t Rudy do the same thing to me? In other words, this time, Rudy, please feed me.”

Saying that, I gently placed the fork that he had desired so much earlier into his hand.

“?! Um, but I’ve already put my mouth on it. . .!”

“If it’s just a taste test, isn’t that fine?”

“No, it’s impossible. My goddess will be defiled. . .!”

Looking at his expression as he placed the fork on the plate and shook his head, it was not just embarrassment from an indirect kiss, but it seemed to be a color of fear.

Hmm, even I get excited about indirect kisses in my heart, but because Rudy-sama was so flustered, I had to remain calm and forcefully bring it closer, resulting in me behaving like a little devil. And as a result, Rudy-sama becomes more cornered.

What should I do?

“. . .Ugh, I’m so tired of this. . .Because of me shamelessly basking in the honor of being Emmanuella’s husband, my goddess will be defiled. . .”

“Wait, wait, wait! Why does it have to be like that?!”

Desperately trying to stop Rudy-sama, who said something outrageous while I was contemplating.

“No, well, as a married couple, it’s desirable to have a good relationship. That’s why Emmanuella is making an effort like this. I feel guilty for making her go this far. . .”

“Well, it’s not out of obligation or anything. I’m just doing it because it’s fun.”

To the slumped Rudy-sama, I told him the honest truth.

Upon hearing my statement, which could be taken as mean-spirited, he raised his gaze and tilted his head.

“Is it fun. . .? Does Emmanuella perhaps have very peculiar hobbies?”

It was more of a confirmation than a question.

Rather than Rudy-sama thinking, “It’s tasteless to mock someone so much just for fun,” it’s more like, “Because our tastes and sensibilities in this world are different, I don’t think Rudy-sama is ugly, and I love him, so it’s fun to be affectionate with him.” But in any case, I am certainly a heretic in this world.

So I nodded firmly and openly admitted it.

“Whether it’s Lilyria or the servants of the Margrave Santorina family, anyone who interacts with me daily can tell you that I’m quite different.”

“I see. . .Well, that’s, very. . .good, I suppose. . .?”

As Rudy-sama said that while tilting his head, I felt a slight sense of urgency.

Uh-oh, did he become disillusioned?

“. . .When I’m with Emmanuella, there are moments when I forget about my own ugly appearance.”

“You can forget about it! It doesn’t matter what you look like in reality, right?!”

I couldn’t help but instantly latch onto the words he muttered, and even did a little victory pose.

Because, in reality, it’s better to forget about appearances. Rudy-sama should be aware that he maintains perfection through effort in everything else. If he believes in my love, I want him to be even more conceited.

Perhaps this might work.

Maybe this time, he’ll finally acknowledge that we have mutual feelings.

My heart started pounding with anticipation. In the tension of not being able to afford any mistakes here, my fingertips stiffened.

Without realizing it, I found myself staring at Rudy-sama, holding my breath, and he suddenly gave me a faint, gloomy smile.

“If I were to forget my own ugliness, I would become unable to let you go, wouldn’t I? Clinging to this current happiness, I would be consumed by anger when it’s lost. For example, if you were to love someone else, I would feel unjustly robbed of you. And what would I do to the one who has gained your love. . .”

He said such threatening words in a somewhat nonchalant tone, stating something that seemed obvious.

Not understanding what the problem was, I tilted my head and responded.

“Well, please do that. Even if you let go, give up on the happiness of the two, or tolerate infidelity, it would be troublesome. It’s not twisted at all. We are a married couple after all.”

“. . .Huh?”

Wait, huh? That’s my line, isn’t it?

While staring intently at me, still tilting my head, Rudy-sama timidly spoke.

“Well, um, but Emmanuella is beautiful, isn’t she?”

“?. . .Thank you?”

“You’re welcome. No, I mean, because Emmanuella is beautiful, it’s like. . .there are many options, right? I’m just one of the countless beings who are attracted to you, the absolute goddess not only to me but to others as well. It would be presumptuous of me to have possessive feelings when there is such a difference in status. . .”

To summarize Rudy-sama’s stumbling explanation, it seems that he’s worried because the beautiful girl, me, is too popular, but he thinks that it’s natural for me to be unfaithful because he considers himself ugly (probably because of his birth mother), right?

“I have no intention of being unfaithful, and as a married couple, there’s no need for you to forgive such a thing. If by any chance I were to be unfaithful, you should just pour oil on my head and set my hair on fire so that I can never do such a thing again.”

“Why would you say something so dangerous! Even if it were another man, there’s no way you could do that to Emmanuella!!”

Waah. I got scolded. Maybe my example was too graphic. 

No, the problem isn’t that it’s gruesome to burn a man. It’s more about whether I can do such a thing.

Is it because no matter what I do, I won’t be harmed? Well, indeed, even if I were cheated on, I couldn’t burn Ruth-sama.

As for the other woman. . .hmm, I wonder. For now, I definitely want to burn the woman who gave birth to Rudy-sama if I can find her whereabouts. I also want to curse her with the same curse I placed on Lilyria’s parents and see how she would react to becoming such a “hideous existence”. . .But. . .

. . .Ah, that’s it.

With this, there’s no danger to my life. It should eliminate the difference in status.

“Rudy, if it makes you anxious, I’m willing to turn my hair completely white! I have the power to cast such a curse!”

“No, please don’t do anything like that. I want Emmanuella to be happy, no matter what. . .”

Even though I thought it was a great idea, Rudy-sama responded with a look of disbelief.

Hmm, I guess it would be like melting your face, so to speak, if we go by the sense of my past life.

“Oh, right, if my hair were to turn white, you would end up hating me too.”

Hmm, he nodded in understanding, and Rudy-sama let out a sigh of exasperation.

“That would never happen. Although the initial attraction was based on appearance, now, everything about Emmanuella is precious to me. No matter what color, as long as you are you, my love for you will never change.”

“. . .!”

My cheeks grew hot at his unexpectedly passionate words.

But now is not the time to be embarrassed.

Taking a deep breath, I gaze directly into Rudy-sama’s eyes sitting next to me, hoping my feelings will reach him, and carefully weave my words.

“W-Well, no matter what color you are, I love you. I truly love you. If it means you’ll understand my sincerity, if it means you’ll believe in these feelings, then I don’t care about my hair. Even if it turns white, as long as your feelings don’t change. . .”

“Please, absolutely stop. If you were even slightly harmed because of someone like me, I would be consumed by guilt and perish.”

I was interrupted in a serious tone.

Although the point seems to have shifted, well, indeed, if Rudy-sama were to get burned because of me, I might cry in guilt and wither away.

“. . .I understand. I’ll take care of my hair.”

As I said that, Rudy-sama visibly sighed in relief and let his guard down. It was the perfect opportunity to insert my threat.

“But if you continue to doubt my feelings, I might do something reckless, you know? While trust takes time, if I’m made to wait for years, even decades, I might naturally turn gray with all the waiting.”

Rudy-sama gasped, and I deliberately smiled.

Under the threat from his wife, Rudy-sama let out a heavy sigh and, with an expression that seemed on the verge of tears, softly confessed.

“. . .Even if I end up deceived or betrayed later, I’ve always thought that I want to return the words Emmanuella wants from me, that I should return them. I’ve always wanted to respond to your words with ‘I love you too.’. . .”

Accepting and returning the words of love. That is certainly what I desire. No, not deceiving or betraying.

“But, in an instant, I felt that my ugliness was presumptuous, and my past self kept telling me that I couldn’t have such happiness. . .and I couldn’t say anything.”

. . .It’s deeply rooted, isn’t it.

But just being able to draw out positive words can be considered a step forward, for now.

“Thank you. Just saying that you want to return them makes me very happy. And surely, once we get used to happiness, it will become just an ordinary everyday thing. Then, at that time, I’ll naturally be able to return them, don’t you think?”

“Yes, perhaps.”

“I’m sure. So, come on, let’s be happier. . .or rather, let’s get used to me!”

I say this with an elevated tone, changing the atmosphere, and once again, I place the fork in Rudy-sama’s hand.

“. . .You still remember, ‘aah’.”

He chuckles and says that, then neatly places a bite-sized tart on the fork.

Both cakes were delicious.

Well, um, when it was my turn to say ‘aah,’ I was too nervous to taste it properly, so maybe, I don’t know.

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