Lady To Queen - Chapter 120
Chapter 120 – [Side Story] Ch. 12 The Female Lead of My Life
“…Don’t you think you’re being too excessive?” Countess Bradington asked, but Rothesay’s demeanor was confident.
“I was taught that safety must take priority when one is sick, Mother.”
Countess Bradington looked at her son awkwardly. She distinctly remembered him saying ‘I have no intentions of marrying’ not even a few days ago. She did her best to respect her son’s wishes, and she decided to let him go down his own path, but…
“Are you sure that you’re my son?”
Then this happened.
For the first time ever since her son had been born, Countess Bradington could not hide the embarrassment she felt towards him. Of course, her son was a model gentleman who was kind and polite to anyone he met, but never before had he ever shown interest or consideration for the opposite gender, much to the dismay of the Countess.
Yet now, her son was like this. Granted, Countess Bradington didn’t necessarily hate the idea. She was just completely taken aback at the stark contrast in her son’s behavior.
“You make sure not to burden Lady Grochester as much as you can,” she advised.
“That’s true.” Uncertainty then crossed Rothesay’s face. “What should I do if she is burdened by me though?” he lamented.
“That’s something you need to take care of yourself. But since you’re doing it out of genuine concern, I don’t think Lady Grochester would consider it to be a burden unless she truly doesn’t like you.”
“Really?” Rothesay’s expression relaxed, as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He gently kissed his mother’s left cheek. “I’ll be off then, Mother,” he murmured.
Petronilla couldn’t hold back her admiration upon the abundance of gifts that Rothesay brought. It included a colorful bouquet of flowers, with Rothesay saying that good scents were a great way of easing the mind and body; some exotic tea leaves from the East that the Bradington family had recently obtained; and foreign jelly candies that were said to be good for fatigue.
Petronilla was utterly baffled at the sight. “My cold isn’t so severe as to warrant all of this…”
“Regardless whether yours is mild or not, all colds, when not treated properly, can get worse, Petronilla,” Rothesay said gently as he fed Petronilla one of the jellies. Petronilla automatically accepted the jelly into her mouth and chewed. It was sweet.
“That’s good to hear.” Rothesay beamed, as if he couldn’t be happier. Ah, it was worth preparing all of this.
Seeing that, a bright blush bloomed across Petronilla’s face. This man is so emotive, she thought.
“Are you feeling unwell?” Rothesay asked. He couldn’t help but blame himself for Petronilla’s cold. If only he had shielded her from the rain a little faster, she might have not been bedridden like this. At Rothesay’s depressed expression, Petronilla immediately responded.
“That’s certainly not the case. I’m feeling perfectly fine.”
However, she coughed as soon as those words left her mouth, and the apples of Petronilla’s cheeks tinged red in embarrassment. “It’s rather dusty in this room. I think some of it got stuck in my throat,” she hastily said as an excuse.
“In any case, resting up is crucial, Petronilla.
“Will you stay here, Rothesay?
“Ah…” Rothesay hesitated for a moment before continuing. “Is it alright if I stay here?”
At those words, Petronilla’s cheeks turned completely scarlet. Seeing that, a thought crossed Rothesay’s mind. Is she blushing because she’s embarrassed, or is it just her fever?
“…Please do,” she said.
Well, it doesn’t matter either way. What’s important is that right now, I’m next to her.
He heard the faint sound of someone calling him. It was a familiar voice, and one that he liked hearing. Even in his sleep, a soft smile graced his lips as he called out her name.
“…Nil,” he murmured, and gently opened his eyes. He blinked twice, and his vision focused on the form of a beautiful woman.
It was Petronilla. She smiled at him.
“Are you awake?”
Rothesay slowly raised his body. It seemed that while he was nursing Petronilla—after getting permission from Marchioness Grochester, of course—he fell asleep.
“How… are you feeling?” he asked in a slightly groggy voice.
“I’m fine,” Petronilla replied in a soft voice. “I’m sorry that I made you fall asleep in such an uncomfortable position.”
“Oh, no, no. That’s certainly not the case, Petronilla.” As if to prove a point, Rothesay exaggeratedly shook his arm. “I’m not uncomfortable at all. I was very comfortable… Actually, that in itself was a bit of a problem…”
“Ahahaha.” Upon seeing the rare sight of a flustered Rothesay, Petronilla couldn’t help but break out into laughter, and Rothesay flushed pink.
“I seem like an idiot, don’t I?” he said.
“Ahaha—no, no.” Petronilla forced herself to calm down and quell her laughter. “I’m not laughing at you because I think you’re stupid. You were just…” It was Petronilla who blushed this time. “Very cute.”
“Ah, do you happen to not like hearing things like this?”
“Oh, no, no.” Rothesay quickly shook his head. “I like it. A lot. Very much.”
“If it’s something that you say, My Lady, there’s no way I wouldn’t like it.”
“…I’ve thought this before, but you say such sweet things so effortlessly,” Petronilla murmured, dazed. “By any chance, have you been taught these things?”
“No. I never made the effort to learn how to talk like this.” Rothesay thought for a second before replying. “It could be hereditary, or it might just come naturally to me, as you said, Lady Petronilla. My parents are even worse than me.”
Besides, it’s not like I really said anything particularly flashy, he murmured to himself. “That aside, how are you feeling?”
“After taking a nap, I feel much better.” Petronilla stretched her arms over her head. “Forget about me—you were in quite an uncomfortable position… You fell asleep hunched over.”
“As I said earlier, I’m fine.”
“Erm, sir…” Petronilla then tentatively called Rothesay, who immediately answered.
“His Majesty’s birthday is coming up. There will most certainly be an extravagant banquet, so…”
“Would you like to accompany me?” she proposed.
“Of course,” Rothesay answered, beaming. It was such an obvious answer. He was in love with her. “From the party’s start to its end, I will stay with you.”
“Will you allow me to do that?” he asked.
Petronilla nodded. “So long as it’s not tiresome for you… it doesn’t matter to me.”
“Thank you for giving me permission, My Lady. And…thank you for asking me.”
“It’s nothing special, yet you seem to be quite happy.”
“What do you mean it’s nothing special?” Rothesay shook his head as he refuted Petronilla’s words. “Anything you say is ‘special’ to me.”
“…Did you learn to say this as well?’
“I’m being serious.” Rothesay beamed as he continued. “Sincere confessions are sometimes thought to be words from a play. Did my words seem like that to you, Lady Petronilla?”
“If that’s the case, then am I the female lead in your play?”
“You are the female lead of my life.”
“…How embarrassing,” Petronilla murmured, her cheeks deliciously pink.
“But you like it,” Rothesay grinned. “Isn’t that so?”
His words were stupidly true. Petronilla couldn’t hold back her laughter.
When Rothesay returned home, he decided to get Petronilla a gift in commemoration of their date.
‘I wonder what she likes.’
Giving a gift was one of the most important things in a relationship, yet he hadn’t asked her preferences directly. Rothesay was contemplating it thoroughly on his bed when someone knocked on the door.
“Who is it?” he asked.
“It’s your father, Ro.”
“Father?” Rothesay sprang up from the bed and yanked the door open. A broad smile instantly shined on his face in delighted surprise. “Father!”
“Have you been well, Ro?” Count Bradington smiled gently before embracing his son. A while back, he had left the Bradington estate for a territory pilgrimage and seemed to have just returned.
“You’re already back?” Rothesay asked. “How early.”
“I couldn’t stop thinking about your Mother! So I urged the horseman as much as I could to hurry back.” It was evidence they were a happily married pair.
“But Mother hasn’t really mentioned you, Father,” Rothesay snickered.
“Your Mother gets so easily embarrassed. She was like that when we were dating, too,” Count Bradington said with a rogue-ish grin. “May I come in? I feel like there’s a lot to catch up on.”
“Of course. Shall I brew you some tea?”
“How refined of you. It’s fine, let’s just sit over there.”
The father-and-son pair who seated themselves at the guest table couldn’t be mistaken for anything else, as the son was the spitting image of his father. The ever-so charmingly dignified Count Bradington then addressed Rothesay.
“I hear that there’s a young lady that you’re currently meeting right now.”
“So Mother has already told you.”
“That’s right. It is Lady Grochester?”
“I’ve heard that she’s a bright and amiable young lady. Isn’t she the older twin sister of Her Majesty the Queen?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Your mother was telling me how you’ve been insisting that you will never get married… but it seems that you’ve taken after me.”
“How come?” Rothesay asked curiously.
“I was the same way. Did your Mother not tell you?”
“Ah, she did mention it when I told her I wouldn’t marry.” Rothesay gave an embarrassed smile. “Guess I’m truly your son after all, Father.”
“It seems so. But that doesn’t mean you have to take after me in these aspects as well.” Count Bradington gave another smile, before asking a question. “But your face doesn’t look too well. Did the date not go well?”
“No, it’s not that…”
In a sincere voice, Rothesay told his father about his worries.
“A few days ago, we started dating, and I wanted to give her a gift in commemoration, but I forgot to ask her what she liked…” Still regretting it, Rothesay then asked, “Father, what did you do? Do you think I’m just overreacting?”
“No. You can never go overboard with giving a gift, no matter how many times you’ve already gifted them. Moreover, this is your first one, so it’s all the more special.” Count Bradington offered a kind smile. “If you really can’t think of anything, a present that ‘anyone would like’ would be a good option. But in the end, the ‘best’ present would be one that meets the needs of the person you’re gifting. In other words, a present that ‘only that person would like.’”
“You say it as if it’s an easy thing to do.”
“It wasn’t difficult for me. You’re just stupid, Ro,” Count Bradington teased, but it was softened with the gentlest of smiles. He calmly continued to give his advice to Rothesay. “It’s not something difficult. Haven’t you spent some time with Lady Grochester before the two of you started dating? Think over those times together. What are the things that you wanted to do for her during those times? What are the things you wanted to give her?”
“If you still can’t think of anything, then you’re clearly not suited to date her.”
“That’s too harsh, Father!” Rothesay protested.
“Women are much more delicate than you think. How happy will they be if you give them a sincere present from the heart? Think about it for a while.”
With those words of advice, Count Bradington got out of his seat.
“Are you leaving already?” Rothesay asked.
“I must go see your Mother now.”
“Gosh… you just have to show off that you’re living a happily married life. I’m envious.”
With a final hearty laugh, the Count left Rothesay’s room. Rothesay laid back down on his bed. After spending a long time mulling over the advice that his father gave him, he suddenly sprang up from his position, as if he suddenly had an idea.
A single gift came to mind.