4 (1) – 4
“Oh, so you met Klaus, then?”
Camilla stomped her way straight from the kitchen all the way to Alois, where her complaints were met with a grimace.
Alois was in his office, buried up to his neck in a mountain of documents as he sat at his desk.
But just for now, he set aside his pen. Who knows if that was because he was truly worried about Camilla’s concerns, or he pragmatically realized that ignoring her in that obviously enraged state of hers would be a very unwise move?
Camilla herself felt guilty for interrupting Alois, who was obviously in the weeds. At least, she thought that feeling was guilt. But even if she felt guilty, that feeling came second to her anger.
“‘Oh, so you met him’, my foot! Did you not hear a word of what I just told you!? He called your meal, ‘pig’s food’, Lord Alois!”
Camilla herself had often cursed the man in front of her a toad or a frog, because of his round belly and rough skin. Even if her social position compared to Alois didn’t give her leeway to call him that, the man himself didn’t seem interested in refuting her words, so there wasn’t really a problem.
At least, Camilla does not call him a pig. There was something sharper to those words compared to the word ‘frog’, a deeper sense of malice and mockery imbued in them.
“In the first place, Lord Alois, you are not even that much of a pig anymore! You are just a bit meatier than the average person!”
Seven months had passed since she first met Alois. His neck was no longer ringed with excess chins, and his eyes and mouth were no longer obscured by the fat puffing out his face. Even his toadish skin was beginning to improve bit by bit thanks to the ointment she had brought from Einst.
Slowly and steadily, he was surely escaping the frog zone. All that remained was to shave away the last of the flab, chisel the sagging meat on his arms into muscle, pick out a new wardrobe, and tackle that greasy mop on top of his head he had the gall to call hair. Then, perhaps, he might be ready to face the public eye. His skin was still the biggest hurdle, but that could be vaulted through liberal use of makeup.
“Thank you very much… Wait, should I be thanking you?”
Alois was always quick to deride himself, but this time he laughed unusually loudly. Was the reason he wasn’t hurt at all because he had begun to understand just who Camilla was?
“Why are you fine with this!?”
If he truly understood Camilla, he wouldn’t have laughed.
“Do not say thank you! Shouldn’t you feel some shame in being told such a thing!? Are you simply going to let this lie in such a way!?”
Even though Camilla had been the one who had said it, she was the only one who got angry. But because Alois simply took the insult on the chin with a laugh, she felt like a fool getting frustrated all by herself, which ironically only made her angrier.
“The only people who say things like that to me are you and Klaus, you know?”
Alois shrugged his shoulders as he said that.
“He’s a good man.”
“A good man!?”
Just what part of him could ever be called good? Camilla couldn’t help but repeat his words back at him incredulously.
It’s true that his face wasn’t bad at all. That’s only ever more apparent when she compared that face of his she remembered to Alois’ who sat in front of her now. His curly hair was neatly combed into shape whilst he wore his chef whites in an unorthodox yet presentable way, somehow making them look fashionable. What’s more, he had an intrinsically stylish air to how he walked and carried himself.
For a fleeting moment, she thought that fair skin and slender form of his held a candle even to Prince Julian.
But as fine as his appearance was, that attitude of his spoiled everything. Klaus was rude and disrespectful, not knowing his place at all.
In the first place, Camilla hated frivolous flirts like that.
“He’s not a good man at all! If we were to compare, then you-”
Camilla swallowed back the words that would have followed.
She felt the passions that had flared up in her from the moment she stomped back from the kitchen cooling down rapidly. Not believing the strange words that were about to tumble out of her mouth, Camilla blinked in disbelief.
Taking a deep breath and then releasing it, Camilla cast her eyes down. That unnatural silence only lasted a few seconds, but it felt like a lifetime. After a few moments, Camilla continued where she left off, her voice changing pitch oddly as she repeated that word.
“…Julian. Prince Julian is a far better man.”
She was barely thinking about the anger she held towards Klaus anymore.
“I feel sorry for him, suddenly being compared to His Highness.”
Alois breathed something halfway between a sigh and a laugh as he listened to Camilla’s words. There was a faint melancholy in that expression of his.
“He is incomparably superior when it comes to personality and appearance… And most importantly of all, he’s the man you fell in love with.”
Fell in love. She truly did love him, but that love of hers never bore fruit. She had suffered both a broken heart and severe retribution from the man she had so earnestly loved.
Still, Camilla could never forget.
To Camilla, he was the only man she had ever thought of that way. Back then, still now, and forever.
– No matter how much he might hate me, I still love him.
“There’s no man that can compare to Prince Julian.”
Saying that as if she were convincing herself, Camilla clenched her fists and raised her face.
The first thing she saw was Alois. All the while she had kept her eyes on the floor, he must have been looking at her. Camilla could see herself reflected in those red eyes of his that were slightly narrowed.
“You truly do love him, then?”
“That’s right. My love for him won’t ever change.”
“Hmm,” Alois breathed out as he rubbed his chin, his expression difficult to read. Then after a moment’s hesitation, he asked Camilla a question without taking his eyes off her.
“Can I ask just how you came to love him the way you do?”
Camilla frowned a little bit as she felt locked in Alois’ gaze.
Camilla and Prince Julian had first met about eleven years ago.
At the time, Camilla was only seven.
Their first meeting had been a complete coincidence. It had happened when Camilla was visiting the Royal Palace along with her parents.
From the beginning, Camilla had always been quick to anger and prone to losing her temper. She took umbrage with some minor trifle that day and ran away from her parents, deeper into the palace.
As she wandered the palace halls alone, Camilla eventually ran across Prince Julian. Back then, she had no idea that the boy was a Prince, so she had called out to him without any reservations.
Prince Julian had been all alone. As she looked at him, she was struck by that inherent beauty that seemed to come to him so naturally. But, she also thought he looked lost at the bottom of a well of loneliness.
So Camilla held out the biscuits she was holding onto, it was the first time she had made cookies like that in her life.
Then after a moment’s hesitation, Prince Julian had taken one of those biscuits and eaten it.
He had told that young girl that the wonkily shaped and slightly burnt cookies she had made were delicious.
It was the first time that anyone had ever called her food she made ‘delicious’.
“…Is that all?”
Alois blinked, looking at Camilla.
However, that was the end of her story.
In her mind, Camilla had told him exactly what he had asked for.
“That is all.”
Camilla said. Startled slightly by how strongly she said those words, Alois’ eyes widened a touch.
Those surprised eyes of his kept Camilla’s gaze, Camilla meanwhile believed she was aware of just what he was so surprised about.
“What is it, do you have a problem?”
She was obviously irritated, her voice trembling ever so slightly as she tried to suppress it.
Camilla could feel her face turning red. Her hands were already clenched into fists as she glared at Alois, daring him to say a word.
Much to her chagrin, she could feel something in the corner of her eyes. The more she bit her lip, trying to bite back those feelings, the more frustrated she became.
Shame, anger, and a dull pain echoed through her chest. She regretted bringing it up at all. Those forlorn feelings of love that she couldn’t ever toss aside swirled like a vicious storm inside of her.
Like this, Camilla had loved Prince Julian for over ten years.
What was wrong with that?
Up until now, Camilla had never told anyone about what happened that day. She hadn’t told Therese, of course, but neither had she ever told her parents or her friends.
She knew that they would laugh at her for how much importance she placed on such a trifle, mocking her for how she felt. How can you love someone for such a silly reason? They would have sneered, making light of Camilla’s feelings. But no matter how trivial or silly other people thought it was, Camilla still held it dear to her.
It’s possible that some of the people around her might have heard her out and taken her feelings seriously. However, Camilla still feared to let people know.
Camilla didn’t want to be laughed at for the most important moment of her life.
As Camilla glared at him with her eyes trembling slightly, Alois shook his head.
“I just felt a little jealous, that’s all.”
“Jealous, you say?”
Camilla furrowed her eyebrows skeptically at Alois, who nodded. His red eyes gleamed earnestly, not wavering at all as he looked at Camilla.
“If I was in his place, I would have said the same thing. That’s why I was slightly jealous of His Highness for having met you back then.”
Alois didn’t laugh or make a fool out of her.
He said that with a calm and serious face, his voice ringing with an honest timbre.
I fixed the comment section so replies should work again.
Edited by: ApoPie