A Conversation Over Drinks
I’ve failed… I hadn’t expected to be driven into a situation like this at all.
“Thash why… you lishenin’, Callish…? When it comes to me…”
“Yes, yes. I’m listening, father.”
I was surprised to see such a different side of my father, who had already begun to lisp and was barely managing to hold himself upright, but… yeah, we’ve only had a few cups, you know? Apparently, my father was quite weak to drink. I thought the slight slur in his voice after one cup was just my imagination, but I quickly came to regret ever agreeing to go drinking with my father as he poked at my chest.
“Whenever I’m talking about you to Lishana, she always comforts me… uuu… I really did cry when I heard Laurier was born…”
“Is that so?”
I wonder just how many times I’ve heard him say that over the past hour… it’s hard to understand his drunken ramblings completely, but the gist of it is that apparently he was always worried about me and talked to mother a lot about it, and even though it was hard, he managed to get through it because she was sweet on him… well, from my memories, I recall that father looked as composed as ever when he came to visit Laurier after her birth, but apparently he was barely holding back his tears.
Whenever he talked about how my mother would comfort him, his eyes seemed to be wistfully staring at something far away… but, well, I’m not really one to admonish someone else when it comes to deeply loving one’s wife, so I stayed silent.
Of course, I’d much prefer to be loved by Sasha than hated myself… well, I’m still fairly sure that I’m still quite well loved, but I can almost see that maybe my heavy love for Sasha become something that blurs her own love for me in time.
Maybe if you asked someone else, they’d say I’m much too overbearing and Sasha might even look like a victim, but… well, Sasha is the type to need someone to depend on at times, so I suppose it’s fine.
“Uuu… My head hurts…”
“Are you alright, father?”
As I was lost in thought, father might have been sobering up a touch as he complained about a headache. Yeah, that seems like the case. He’s both fast to get drunk as well as fast to return to sobriety. I offered him a glass of water as I kept that thought to myself.
“Father, you aren’t particularly good with drink, are you?”
“…Back in my prime, I could have drunk twice as much. Thanks.”
“No, it was nothing.”
Father thanked me and gulped the water down. After finishing it, father stared at the cup with a slightly lonesome look on his face.
“It has already been three years since Laurier was born, hasn’t it…?”
“I suppose that’s true?”
“I really was surprised when I talked with her today. Even though she’s young, she’s already so bright, but more than anything I was stunned by just how happy she looked…”
“How happy she looked?”
Certainly, I was surprised by how bright Laurier was myself. Even though I’m sure all parents would like to raise their child on a pedestal as advanced for their age, Laurier really did seem to be quite special for someone so young. I know that at an early age girls do develop faster than boys, but when I think that the true cause for how mature she is now was the horrible circumstances she grew up in, my heart aches… but, all that’s in the past now.
“Yes. She looks the happiest when she talks about you, you know…? But, really, I’m just glad to see such a smile on my granddaughter’s face…”
I don’t know what Laurier talked about with my father when I wasn’t there, but just hearing that she spoke about me with a smile lit up something in my heart. Oh, this is bad… my daughter’s cuteness is beyond imagination!
“I am sure that, in the future, if she married into royalty she would become an excellent Queen… C-Callis…?”
Father’s words trailed off, probably because he saw the look on my face. Maybe it was because of the alcohol, maybe it was because father and I were alone, but the moment he brought up Laurier and the word marriage in the same sentence, my face became the spitting image of a Hannya mask.
“Father. I hope I’m mistaken, but when it comes to offers of engagement for Laurier, you haven’t received any… have you?”
“O-of course not. Well, nothing quite of that sort, but…”
“There has been, haven’t there?”
I wonder if even the original Callis had ever looked so threatening as I must look to my father. Father’s face went pale, as his plan to bond as father and son over drinks had suddenly turned into a hard-boiled interrogation scene, but… he eventually managed to stammer out an answer.
“That is… well, there were the letters from Duke Matera and Marquis Victaire… and there were also the messages from my acquaintances of peerage abroad… O-of course, these were just formalities! They weren’t official offers, and anyways, their families don’t have children around Laurier’s age at all, so there shouldn’t be any problems, but…”
Father gulped before continuing.
“The inquiry from the Victaire family… might have been a bit more serious than the others…”
In case you were wondering what a Hannya mask is, it’s these