The Daughter of the House is the Cutest
“Don’t worry. Just make sure to be yourself.”
I gently soothed Laurier who looked up at me worriedly as we sat together. The carriage is still trundling along… It’s only a month until Laurier’s third birthday, so today will be her first meeting with other children of nobility.
Well, since she won’t have any formal meetings with nobility until she’s reached the age of five, I suppose you could call this a test run?
Today was the birthday of the country’s Second Princess, Serena-sama… a special occasion where only noble girls around Serena-sama’s age, as well as the heads of their households, were invited to attend.
Well, in addition to finding suitable friends for Serena-sama, at today’s gathering there’s also the ulterior motive of discussing potential matches with houses that happen to have sons of the right age, but… there’s not much point in talking about such adult circumstances with Laurier, so I tried to put her at ease.
“It wouldn’t be good to be too impolite around the Princess, but… well, so long as you remember what you’ve learned so far Laurier, I’m sure you’ll be alright.”
“But… For our family, I have to be c… curtseyish…?”
Even if she stumbled on them a bit, they definitely weren’t words I’d expect to hear from a child not even three years old… but, it was obvious she was tense, so I took Laurier’s hand in mine and gave it a tight little squeeze.
“You don’t need to worry at all. It would be great if you could make friends with Serena-sama, but if you don’t want to it’s okay just to greet her. Of course, helping the family is important, but… what’s more important is that you put yourself first, Laurier.”
“That’s right. The most important thing for me is to always have the kind and caring Laurier around.”
As I said that, it seemed like Laurier calmed down a little bit. Well, as a Duke, usually I’d be expected to demand a little more than that from one of my children for the sake of the house, but… when it comes to my family, my child’s happiness comes first.
Certainly, it would be useful in the future if she could get along with Princess Serena, but I don’t want to force Laurier to do anything she’s uncomfortable with. It’s true I don’t know much about Princess Serena, but… if she turns out to be some sort of horrible brat, I’d feel awful if Laurier had to accompany or even adjust herself to such a person.
Of course, in high society sometimes it’s necessary to exercise patience, but… it’s also only natural for a father to want to protect his daughter, especially when she’s so young.
As for furthering the power of the house, even if Laurier doesn’t get along with Princess Serena, that doesn’t bother me too much.
Well, it’s merely the way of the world when it comes to the aristocracy to prioritize connections and potential alliances over personal feelings, but… I don’t think it’s too strange that I don’t want to push Laurier into something she’s not comfortable with.
Of course, I can’t shelter her forever. Real world experience is necessary for her to grow up… but, I’m content to keep that to a minimum for now. Laurier has endured an awful lot of loneliness up until this point. So, from now on, it’s necessary for me as a parent to protect Laurier until she can find someone who can truly support her.
“Laurier, because you’re a smart and kind girl, you’ll probably have to endure a lot… I just want you to know that you can always rely on me and your mother.”
“But… Father and Mother are busy…”
“What kind of parents would we be if we couldn’t make time for our child? To both Sasha and I, you are our dear and beloved daughter.”
Saying that, I ruffled Laurier’s hair… she giggled like I was tickling her, with a bright smile. When I saw that cute kitten like expression, it really did remind me of her mother, but as I looked at her, I felt a deep pain in my gut when I thought of her growing up and getting married one day. I know I’ve already become a soppy doting father, but I was still determined to take a hard line on the fact that only an excellent man that I personally approved of would be worthy to take my adorable daughter’s hand.
“Anyways… Laurier, you really should just act like you always do. You shouldn’t worry too much.”
Did it work? Laurier still seemed a little down… Well, of course, she’d be nervous on a day like today, so I gave her hand another gentle squeeze.
“I’ll definitely keep holding your hand when we get there, Laurier… so you’ll be okay.”
“Mm… father’s hand… I’ll be okay…”
“Unlike your mother’s, it’s quite an ugly hand, isn’t it?”
When I said that, Laurier shook her head.
“Mother’s hand is gentle… Father’s hand is… warm…”
“I see…? Well, anyways, don’t worry, since I won’t let go.”
She beamed at me like the sun… After all, as if I needed any more evidence, my daughter was an angel. That said, it was a desperate struggle to try and keep my face straight. Who would want to see a bitter looking man like me fuss over his daughter like that… besides, it may be vain, but I wanted to at least look like a cool father, for Laurier’s sake.