As I spent my time preparing for their arrival, it seemed like the day of their visit arrived in the blink of an eye. That being said, since it was only my parents visiting, it wasn’t necessary to get too much pomp and circumstances cobbled together. The most important thing was that they are welcomed warmly to the home that used to be theirs.
Typically, after retiring and leaving their work to their heirs, nobles will find a comfy retreat out in the country… Well, that being said, this house is out in the country as well, but at any rate, the point is that I could hardly let them think that the home they used to live in has become any less warm and bright in their absence.
At any rate, the cleaning went off without a hitch because the servants do an excellent job lately, and there weren’t any problems with the decorations either since it was all done according to Duchess Sasha’s detailed instructions, and she has an excellent sense of style.
If Sasha was feeling well, I’d have asked her to receive my parents for me, but… since Sasha still wasn’t healthy and putting any strain on her might cause her to feel depressed again, I decided to finish up my work early and waited for their arrival.
“Father? What are grandfather and grandmother like?”
As I waited for them whilst sipping a cup of tea, Laurier who had already finished her classes and was sitting with me asked me that.
What should I say… everything I could say about my parents in this world would just be what I could recall of Callis’ memories.
“They are very virtuous and kind people.”
“Kind… Like father is kind?”
Somehow, my adorable daughter seems to have me pegged in the ‘kind’ bracket. As a parent, I was so happy I could burst, but I did my best to keep my dignity as a father intact as I smiled gently, running a hand over Laurier’s hair.
“Well… I don’t know if you could call me kind, I’m an unsightly man who put the interests of the house before anyone else.”
“Father is super kind!”
“Mm. Thank you, Laurier.”
“Ehehe…” Laurier giggled as I tussled her hair again. Just as I thought… my daughter is too cute! Dangerously cute!
“Callis-sama. Oscar-sama and Lishana-sama have returned.”
As I enjoyed my time talking with Laurier, Zeke came in to deliver a report with uncanny timing.
Indeed… Well, as much as I treasure quality time with my daughter, I can’t keep those two waiting. Turning around, I held my hand out to Laurier.
“Now then… Laurier, shall we be off?”
Laurier joyfully grasped the hand I held out to her with a big happy smile. It was a bit painful for a middle-aged man like me to stoop down to hold her hand, but… if that was the price to pay to squeeze in a bit more time being close with Laurier before meeting her grandparents, then it wasn’t anything to complain about.
“It has been quite some time. Mother, father.”
I greeted the two of them in the entrance hall with a smile.
The older looking man with a slightly surprised look on his face… a man who looked almost like a mirror image of Callis, if he were aged about twenty years. No doubt that this man was Callis’ father and the former Duke, Oscar Fall.
“It has been a while, Callis… but, I’m relieved to see you’re looking so cheerful.”
And the woman beside him, whose warm expression of relief matched her words was Callis’ mother and the former Duchess, Lishana Fall.
“Yes. I’m glad to see that both of you haven’t changed either. And… Laurier, would you like to say hello?”
Laurier, who was hiding behind my back, looked a little tense as she meekly stepped out from behind me.
“Grandfather, grandmother. Hello…”
“Laurier, huh…? It’s been such a long time since we last met, only just after you were born… you sure have gotten bigger, haven’t you?”
Mother smiled at Laurier kindly, as if they were already very close. As mother began to talk softly with Laurier, I called out to my father, who was still silent and stiff in surprise.
“Father, how have you been?”
“Callis… is that truly you?”
“Yes, but… is there something wrong?”
“No, it’s just… I’m a little surprised by how much soft your expression has gotten since the last time I saw you.”
Well, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a man like Callis showed that stern expression of his even to his parents, but… I tried to answer as naturally as I could.
“Having a family can change a man. Did you experience something like this as well, father?”
“Is… that so…?”
Of course, it would be hard to swallow the fact that his son’s personality had changed so suddenly, but I don’t think I said anything particularly wrong in my reply, so there shouldn’t be a problem.
And so, in that way, father rubbed his temples in slight disbelief whilst mother spoke to the still nervous Laurier with a smile. Although the couple seemed to have managed so far, they had no idea that the surprises would just keep on rolling in one after the other after this.
…Well, it’ll be about 90% my fault, though.