4 (1) – 6
Standing outside the kitchen, Camilla found herself glaring at Klaus once again.
“I was kicked out because of you!”
“No… I don’t think that one was actually my fault.”
Klaus, who had been told to leave alongside Camilla, said that as he stretched out his back. Even though Günter, the head chef, had thrown them out, he didn’t seem to be acting like it was much of a big deal.
“The Head Chef really is way too serious and sensitive about everything. I guess that’s why he’s still single.”
“Rather, I think you’re the one who isn’t serious enough.”
Camilla spat that out bitterly, rubbing her forehead between her fingers.
Camilla’s sudden outburst had genuinely hurt Günter.
He looked truly shocked when he heard her yell out how she loved Prince Julian. That usually rugged and strict face of his stood with mouth agape as if he had been stunned out of his senses. Even that usually vibrant red hair of his somehow seemed to lose a bit of its lustre.
Rough as he made himself out to be, it seemed that his true feelings were actually delicate enough to match his cooking. Although it wasn’t about himself, he still felt upset hearing it, telling them both to ‘get out’ through an unusually weak voice.
‘It’s best you stay out of the kitchen for a while,’ he said specifically to Camilla as she left, making her feel all the more bitter.
The door that Camilla and Klaus had been kicked out through now stood firmly closed.
Inside, Günter was all alone. Was he crying or shouting curses? It was eerily quiet. With a final glance at the door, Camilla sighed.
Klaus looked surprised as he gazed at her.
“You actually care about that kind of thing, huh?”
“What do you mean by that?”
As Camilla snarled, Klaus’ eyes perked up a bit while flashing her his particular brand of smile which she had really come to hate.
“Oh, nothing… I just thought it was pretty cute.”
Camilla only frowned in reply, turning away from Klaus. She didn’t even try to hide her disdain, but Klaus didn’t seem to be daunted by it, calling out to Camilla again with the same voice.
“Do you really love Prince Julian? The man who abandoned you for the girl from the Ende family? Can you really still like a guy like that?”
“That is just how I am.”
“I see. Very interesting. Hmm~.”
Klaus made all sorts of agreeable sounds as Camilla raised her head to answer him, looking at that face of his.
That lean and handsome face of his, similar to Prince Julian’s, was twisted slightly into an ill-natured smirk. She saw something in those eyes she had dismissed as those of a frivolous playboy’s before, something like a predator eyeing its prey.
“You should forget about an awful man like that.”
Klaus words snaked into her ear, soft as honey. As he did, he laid his hand across his own chest. As much as Camilla was irritated to admit it, the way he quit his usual irreverent way of carrying himself and bowed as he spoke did look good.
“Such a man doesn’t befit you at all. I’m a much better man. Unlike him, I’m kind to girls, I’ve never made any lover of mine cry. I might not be a prince, but I am a genius. Along with me, you would never feel any discomfort for your entire life.”
It was a gentle voice that would tickle at any girl’s heart. Shameful as the words were, they were spoken with confident bravado. The look on his face straddled the line between telling a joke yet still looking serious. Pretentious as Klaus might seem, the dedication to follow through on what he wanted to do with unwavering seriousness was reminiscent of Prince Julian as well.
A man well aware of other’s gazes, yet also being well aware of just what thoughts lay behind those gazes. With such impeccable calculation, he had probably captured the hearts of many young girls in the past.
“Oh, lady of the raven black hair who I so yearn for. I endear you to choose me. When it comes to His Highness Prince Julian, that guy can go and sc-”
But, Klaus is not Prince Julian.
“I am quite fine, thank you.”
Camilla cut Klaus’ words short and kept walking. Now that the kitchen was out, she thought about just returning to her room. From the beginning, she had never seen Klaus as a potential partner at all.
“Hey, wait a minute!”
After a brief moment of standing there stunned, Klaus chased after her quickly. Once he jogged to catch back up to Camilla, he walked by her side.
“I just don’t get it, y’know? Hey, at least throw me a bone here, do I really not have a chance?”
“My answer will always be no.”
Camilla didn’t stop her stride even once, still looking towards the front.
“In fact, are you even truly aware of your position? You are the heir to a barony. If you are constantly playing around like this, it will only hurt you in the future.”
Back in the capital, she definitely recalled stories of young lords and ladies giving over to their passions of romance, like moths to the flame.
Certainly, some of them still made good names for themselves. Even if they played around in their younger years, they would one day settle down with a partner of repute and leave the past behind them.
But, the number of those who instead tumbled into the abyss of profligacy far outweighed them. Such as the young noblewoman, pregnant with the child of some unknown man and cast out of her house. Or the noble’s son who made one licentious remark too many and tread on the toes of one who could orchestrate his fall.
And these ruinous incidents never reflected well on the family name either. Becoming the kindling to be lit ablaze in the realm of gossip and rumour, the debt is never shouldered merely by the offender alone.
That was true of Camilla as well. If someone merely listened to the stories, she was a young noblewoman who completely lost her reason in pursuit of love, dragging her family name through the mud as she herself fell from grace.
“I’ll be fine.”
However, Camilla’s words of persuasion, spoken from experience, didn’t reach Klaus. He gave her a carefree smile, brushing a soft lock of his curly brown hair over his ear.
“I have no intention of carrying on my family name anyways. That ever-serious younger brother of mine can take over the house, if he wants.”
“You… Aren’t you the eldest son?”
“So what? Even my father seems determined to have my younger brother be the successor anyways, raising him up in the background. Besides, that kind of thing doesn’t suit me.”
Camilla inadvertently came to a halt. Looking to the side, she stared at Klaus in a way she hadn’t before.
As she did, Klaus just tilted his head as if nothing was wrong.
“What’s wrong? Oh, are you finally interested?”
Camilla herself didn’t really know why she had suddenly come to a stop.
– It’s just that, somehow…
Those eyes that oozed playfulness, the same colour as his hair. They were the eyes of a playboy who never took anything seriously.
“Do you truly think that you can act like this forever?”
Looking away from Klaus, Camilla snapped that at him with a curt and severe voice. Then, she walked away, slightly faster this time in the hopes that Klaus wouldn’t try to reach her again.
Behind Camilla, Klaus merely shrugged his shoulders.
Leaving Klaus behind, she was alone. On her way back to her room, Camilla frowned.
She had thought that the way he looked and moved reminded her of Prince Julian.
But more than anything else, wasn’t he a similar person to Alois?
– Such a thing shouldn’t be possible. Alois isn’t a frivolous man like that.
Trying to drive those thoughts out of her head, Camilla angrily stamped down hard on the floorboards with her heel.