I was disappointed, while at the same time admiring my mother’s skill in silencing him in an instant.
It was a very excellent skill because it could make Orion silent, but .
It’s not a skill that I can utilize.
After dinner, Mother suggested that I sleep at the Duke’s mansion for a day.
“You can do as you please.”
Sir Duke gave his permission with a faint smile.
Orion seemed like he wanted to stay with us, a pair of mother-daughter, but he couldn’t join us chatting while wearing pajamas on the bed.
“I didn’t even move much, but I’m tired from traveling long distances.
I’ve gotten old.”
Mother grumbled as she sent off the maids, then took off her accessories one by one.
Bright red ruby earrings rolled on the dressing table.
Loosening the strap of her tightened dress, Mom asked lightly,
“What happened to the necklace you usually wear”
It was an unexpected question.
When I tilted my head in confusion, Mom repeated herself while loosening her tied hair.
“The locket one.
The gift from your peculiar friends.
You usually wear it so dearly.
Did you lose it”
“There was a problem.
I left it to service.”
She gave me a blank look.
As I was puzzled with her rare smileless gaze, she didn’t ask more.
“Tell me if something happens.
If not me, you should tell Orion.
You two got a lot closer, huh”
We’re not close.”
I answered firmly.
Due to Orion’s remarks earlier, we seemed like we drank tea together in the afternoon, ate dessert and dinner together, and also exchanged updates throughout the recent exam period.
Wait, come to think of it, we really do that.
I tried to refute what Orion said but stopped and looked at my mom.
If I look at her reaction now .
“Do you know about that necklace”
“The one with fastidious protection magic How can I not know”
“Why didn’t you tell me”
The fact that something worth the price of a house hung around my neck.
Perhaps because my devastated expression was funny, my mom laughed and tapped my cheek.
“If you knew, you wouldn’t have worn it, would you Though they may be a bit mean to me, they are good friends to you.”
I swallowed my breath, then stared at my mom.
She was standing under the moonlight.
I could sense her beauty just from the silhouette in the dark room.
“So, what’s the problem”
“I’m still not sure.”
I should be careful about the curse.
Because I had to think about the after effects of it when I acted upon it.
Just like how I went to public academy instead of the imperial academy because I didn’t want to get found out as my mother’s daughter.
Now that I had become the Duke’s stepdaughter, I became more careful about my identity.
“If, perhaps .
She stopped her words and stared at me.
She was a person who always spoke according to her mood— it was rare for her to carefully choose her words.
She gave me advice with a serious expression.
“If something happens, you should choose the best option for yourself.”
“There’s no need for you to think about me or other people.
You should think only of yourself.”
“I will do so.”
She looked at my empty neck and soon laughed.
Then she playfully added.
“I should buy you a new necklace soon.
I’m really bothered because something that was always there isn’t present right now.
How about we go to a jewelry house tomorrow”
It’s obvious that you will choose accessories with shining beads.
To your taste, not mine.”
I, waving my hand, suddenly became curious.
Mother always lived inside someone’s gaze for her whole life.
It meant that while she was loved passionately by someone, she could also be hated passionately by others.
Looking at my mom who lived with countless gazes trained on her at all times, I just wanted a normal, lukewarm life.
“Mom, don’t you feel tired living like this”
“If you always remain sincere, you’ll be hurt by others, right And after that sincerity cools, there’s also that empty sensation.”
“Then, I should fill that empty space.
With another passion.”
Mother answered simply.
I was amazed by her quick answer.
So that is your reason for not looking back at the leaving men and passionately searching for a new man.
“It’s hard for me to easily fill that space.
I also think it’s hard to see them leave.”
“Yes, that may be the case with you.”
“That’s why it’s a little burdensome if people keep trying to squeeze in.”
“Are you talking about Orion”
I didn’t say anything, yet I was seen through.
“Why don’t you ask him later”
“Ask him why he treats you well.
Ask him, if we split ways, will you be back to being strangers Isn’t that what you are afraid of now”
I blinked my eyes.
Uhm, I don’t think we have reached that phase.
If that was the case, shouldn’t Orion have already occupied some space in my heart
“Not that, but .
As I tried to make an excuse, I lost my train of thought.
When I mulled over the words of my ramble, it was indeed going in that direction.
I was surprised by Orion’s presence, which already took a place in my daily life while I was unaware of it.
“Did his continuous attack work on me .
It seems like I’m really an easy pushover.
I didn’t know why, but I was even more sad with this newly found fact.
That was the end of our first serious conversation in a while.
I couldn’t sleep all night.