“Uuunnn… father? Mother?”
When Laurier’s eyes slowly flickered awake, she saw Sasha and I looking down on her.
Smiling as much as I could, I spoke to her.
“Good morning, Laurier. Are you feeling okay?”
Laurier gazed up at us quietly. Since she isn’t fully awake yet, I’ll keep my voice as gentle as I can.
“Then that’s good… but for now, you should rest.”
“You can always do that tomorrow. Also, Laurier… if you ever have something you need to say from now on, you should always be able to tell me.”
“But… father and mother… are busy… I’d annoy you… teacher said…”
…I really should have mounted that old hag’s head on a spike. But, managing to grit my teeth and hide those feelings, I looked Laurier in the eyes.
“That’s not true at all. You are our one and only precious daughter… you could never be a nuisance to us. Therefore… from now on, you should rely on me. I’ll do anything for you.”
“I… don’t need…”
“But we need you, Laurier. We’re a family. Isn’t that right? Sasha?”
I looked over at Sasha, who finally seemed like she couldn’t hold herself back anymore as she pulled Laurier into a hug.
“I’m so sorry, Laurier… for not giving you the attention you deserve… but even if it might be too late now… But, I too… I need you…”
“Yes. Because you’re my precious little girl…”
And with those words… I wonder if Laurier couldn’t hold it in anymore, as she clung to Sasha’s dress and tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Uuu… hic… Mother…!”
“I’m so sorry, Laurier… truly… I’m so sorry…”
Perhaps it was because they were both mother and daughter? Both in terms of figure and personality they come across as slightly awkward at first, but the two of them truly are very kind. Reaching out my hand, I gently caressed both of their heads until they stopped crying.
It’s clear to me now… these two are both the type that wouldn’t easily share their burdens. The type that would let all their woes fester inside them behind a pained smile… the type that needed someone to stand beside them in support more than anyone.
Of course, Sasha was my wife, and I could support her for the rest of my life, but one day, Laurier would walk her own path… as in, she would marry. It would make do to be sure that the person she ends up with can support her well… but, in the meantime, I should take advantage of being a Duke and Laurier only being two. Even if there are engagement talks, I could drag things out until I’m sure the suitor is right for her.
Actually, the thought of letting my cute daughter become someone else’s bride is… of course, it pains me as a father to let her go, but it would pain even more if I caused her to be unhappy by hanging onto her forever. Since I love Laurier with all my heart, I’d have to find Laurier a partner that she can truly be in love with as well…
“Now then… what do the two of you thinking about spending some time together tomorrow, just the three of us?”
As soon as they calmed down, I made a spur of the moment proposal. Of course, both of them nodded without refusing but… somehow, it looked like Laurier wanted to say something more.
“What’s wrong, Laurier?”
“Um… you see… father, mother… I wanted to go to bed with you today… no good?”
“Of course you can.”
I answered straight away. With such a cute girl giving us puppy dog eyes like that, of course, there was no way either of us could say no as Sasha nodded quickly.
Well, of course, time together as a couple was important too, but… even more important was spending as much quality time as we could with Laurier, to make up for how lonely she must have felt until now.
Ah, but… after a quick thought, I leaned close to Sasha and whispered in her ear.
“Next time it will just be the two of us… I promise, okay?”
When I said that, a slight blush spread across Sasha’s cheeks, but she nodded silently. Yeah… even in broad daylight, my sense of reason might be at risk if Laurier wasn’t here, huh? It really would be bad to develop a hobby of getting a bit too lovey-dovey as a couple in front of my daughter, after all.
And so, just like that and from that day forward, the three of us started anew as a family.
I suppose I’m doing this now.