Lady To Queen - Chapter 122 – [Side Story] Ch. 14 A Heart-Pounding Proposal
These days, Rothesay was completely engrossed in baking desserts. If one asked why, the reason was simple. It was because he discovered that Petronilla enjoyed desserts of all kinds. His interest in the art was spurred on when Petronilla visited their estate one day and she completely savored the desserts provided by the servants.
Since Countess Bradington wasn’t a huge fan of sweet foods, dessert baking was something that not even Rothesay’s father, Count Bradington, could help with. Instead, Rothesay had the family chef assist him. The chef had prepared food for a banquet before, and so Rothesay—a complete novice—had no trouble finding someone to teach him how to bake.
Rothesay was an excellent student. He had the servants send his handmade desserts to the Grochester estate and even gave them to Petronilla himself when they met up. Of course, Rothesay preferred the latter method. That way, he would be able to see her at least once more.
“Do you think we haven’t been meeting enough these days?” Rothesay said to Petronilla in a sulky tone. Today he was visiting the Grochester estate to deliver freshly baked butter cookies to Petronilla. However, Petronilla did not have as much free time as late, and she often went back and forth for various errands.
‘At this rate, I’ll forget what she even looks like.’
That was an exaggeration of course. The times when they were separate weren’t that long, but to Rothesay, who loved Petronilla so much, it felt like time just wouldn’t pass when they were apart.
“I’m sorry, Ro. I have been doing some important work lately…” Petronilla said apologetically.
That definitely seemed to be the case. Though Rothesay was saddened by it, there was nothing he could do. Being understanding of his significant other’s schedule was an important thing to do in a relationship. Even so, it was hard for him to hide his disappointment.
“Well, it can’t be helped…”
Why are you so beautiful, Nil? I can no longer focus on my everyday life anymore. Rothesay bent down slightly to plant a soft kiss on Petronilla’s forehead.
“I miss you so much that I can’t do anything recently,” he murmured.
Petronilla blushed. “Hahaha, where did you learn to say that?”
“My parents always say this to each other.”
It was true. Count Bradington was especially well-versed in this type of behavior, so Rothesay was able to pick up a thing or two from him.
“I want to have a life like that in the future,” she said almost enviously.
Goodness. To think she’d say something like that right in front of me!
“Don’t you worry, Nilla,” he said in a firm voice. With the most gentle smile, he murmured to her, “I take after both of my parents, so I can do it all day, nonstop.”
“So, are you proposing now?”
Please. He smiled loosely. No matter how impulsive his confessions of love to her were, he would never make such a lighthearted and sloppy proposal like that.
“Of course, but I have no thought to make do with this kind of proposal. Do look forward to it. Are you looking forward to it?”
“Hmm…To be honest, a little?”
“Oh no. I’m in trouble. This isn’t a proposal, Nil. You can look forward to it though.”
“You’re confident when I haven’t even accepted yet.”
“If it doesn’t work,” he said gently, “I will do it until it works.”
Since I’m a patient man.
He locked eyes with Petronilla and smiled widely. For about ten seconds, the two of them continued to look into each other’s eyes. Petronilla was the first to break their eye contact, feeling a little embarrassed.
Unable to hold himself back, he pulled her into an embrace. “Since I love you that much.”
“…Thank you,” Petronilla said.
“Please.” Rothesay shook his head as if her words were nonsense. “I’m more thankful that you have accepted my love.”
What is the chance of the person who I love loving me back? To have two hearts that share the same feelings. To have such a thing be true was something that Rothesay was extremely grateful for.
He tenderly looked at Petronilla’s eyes. “I love you, Nil,” he whispered.
It was only when things were coming to an end that Petronilla explained to Rothesay about the business that had been keeping her busy. Though Rothesay was a little sad that she didn’t share such crucial information with him earlier, when he thought of the fact that she didn’t tell him for his sake, the sadness instantly disappeared.
In any case, what was important was that Petronilla had more free time now. And because she had been spending the majority of it with him, it was impossible for Rothesay to feel anything other than happiness. When he met up with Petronilla today as well, he looked upon her with soft eyes and listened to her intently, as if he was listening to an innocent child speaking. At some point, he got curious and asked her something that had been on his mind.
“So, have I been treating you well, Nil?”
Petronilla, who had been calmly walking down the path, giggled at his question, and Rothesay smiled at the loveliness of the sound. Now that her work was finished, her smiles seemed much brighter and purer than before. It was a subtle change, but Rothesay easily noticed it. This was one of things that he was grateful for.
“You are a great prospective husband, Ro. No matter how hard His Majesty the Emperor tries, there’s no way he’d compare to you. Desserts? Presents? Goodness, you can frankly do all of that as well.”
Rothesay was flattered. “Goodness, I’m being compared to the Sun of the Empire. I might be arrested for offending His Majesty.”
It was a little embarrassing, but Rothesay could confidently say that he was doing his best. The number of people in the empire that loved their significant other as much as he did could probably be counted on one hand. That was something Petronilla also acknowledged. She pressed a small kiss on Rothesay’s cheek.
“There’s no way that will happen, dearest Ro,” she murmured. “How could they ever arrest such a loving man such as you?”
That was another thing that had changed from the past. Petronilla was being more affectionate and initiating skinship more. As her lover, it was quite a joyful change for Rothesay. With a gentle smile, he placed a kiss of his own on her cheek.
“It’s an honor that you think that, Nil.”
“I’m being serious, Ro.”
“But I have something to say.”
“Something to say?”
“Next week, after Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday celebration…can I see you briefly? There’s something important that I need to do.”
“Of course, Ro.”
Seeing her nod her head in response brought a smile on Rothesay’s face. Such a lovely woman. A woman that radiated beauty. To be able to meet up with a woman like this was truly the greatest blessing of all. Rothesay slowly lowered his head and left another kiss, this time on Petronilla’s forehead.
“There’s no woman as lovely as you on this earth, Nil.”
“I plan on proposing to her, Wilter.”
Rothesay hadn’t visited his friend in a while, and that was the first thing he said to him. Wilter looked at Rothesay with a stunned expression.
“It hasn’t even been half a year since the two of you met. You know that, right?” Wilter pointed out.
“Of course I do.”
“So you really know that?”
Despite Wilter’s rather shocked voice, Rothesay didn’t bat an eye as he responded.
“I’ve already received permission from my parents.”
“They were pretty happy about it.”
Wilter shook his head. “I’m not saying that Lady Grochester is a bad woman, and I’m not saying that the two of you shouldn’t marry. But Ro, don’t you think this is a little too fast?”
“Time doesn’t matter when it comes to love, Wilter,” Rothesay insisted. “My father proposed to my mother a week after they met.”
“But that’s an extreme case. Even now, I still hear about it. I heard that it was quite the new back then when it actually happened.” Wilter fell silent for a moment before speaking up again. “It seems that you can’t deny that your father’s blood runs through your veins. Then again, compared to Count Bradington, you’re a late bloomer.”
“Lady Petronilla had to deal with other circumstances as well, so I purposefully delayed it.”
Otherwise, I would have probably proposed to her after the second date. Recalling that day brought a giddy smile on Rothesay’s face.
Wilter’s expression pinched as if he had seen something that he shouldn’t have. “You should have just sent me a wedding invitation. Why are you telling me that you’re going to propose to her?”
“Because I’m worried. What should I do if she rejects me?”
“Hey, that’s something that you should be asking Count Bradington instead. Why are you asking a bachelor over an expert?”
“I thought it would be more fitting to ask someone my age. Should I try again if I get rejected?” Rothesay asked with a grave expression. The man who formerly said that he would repeatedly ask until Petronilla said yes was nowhere to be seen. Wilter looked at his friend in pity and sighed heavily before shaking his head.
“Proposals aren’t made to ask whether they truly want to get married to you. They’re made to take the next step after both sides agree to getting married. In other words, there should be some implicit mutual agreement on the marriage before you ask the question.”
“But then there’s no thrill to it,” Rothesay said.
“So you would be okay with making things uncomfortable if she rejects you on the spot?”
“That’s true. That’s why I’m worried.”
“Why are you worried? She likes you, too, right?” Wilter asked.
“Well, you don’t have anything else to do.” Wilter clicked his tongue once, then continued, his expression complicated. “That aside, to think that you’re about to become a married man. I feel like I should start preparing for my marriage now.”
“But you’re still young… Actually, I guess we’re no longer at the age to be saying that.”
“Either console me or insult me. Don’t try to do both.” Wilter gave a sideways glance at Rothesay. “Introduce me to someone. At this rate, I might just die single.”
“Your mother would never let you end up like that.”
“Argh, but my mother’s taste in women is the complete opposite of mine. No one’s been a match.”
“Even so, don’t you think it’s even stranger if I’m the one who was selecting your future wife?” Rothesay pointed up.
“That’s true.” After dragging out those words, Wilter started tearing at his hair. “Why won’t my other half show up?!”
“Be patient. Everyone in the world has a soulmate. Just like me.”
“If there was a woman that I fancied, I’d do my best to build a connection. But I still haven’t met a woman like that yet, and no one that’s made my heart beat fast.”
“They’ll show up one day,” said Rothesay reassuringly.
“I really hope they show up before I turn thirty. My life partner.” Wilter heaved a great sigh and changed the topic. “In any case, congrats in advance. I guess I’ll be hearing the good news soon.”
“I still haven’t proposed to her,” Rothesay said with a furrow etched on his forehead.
“She’ll probably say yes. The two of you suit each other. Seems like she really likes you, too.”
“Thanks.” Rothesay offered a smile to his friend. “When I get married, I’ll do my best so that you can do the same.”
All he wanted was to do was to be together with her.
Everything started smoothly. He Wiltzed with Petronilla and had an amicable chat over cocktails. However, the more time passed, the more conscious Rothesay became of the upcoming proposal. Granted, anxiety wasn’t particularly surprising for an attempt like this.
When the party’s atmosphere was coming onto a high note, Rothesay finally decided it was time to act on his plans. He leaned into Petronilla’s ear and whispered,
“Can you come out for a second?”
Petronilla didn’t ask any further questions and simply followed Rothesay out of the banquet hall. His goal was to give the most marvelous proposal ever. When they arrived at the garden, Rothesay addressed Petronilla.
“Could you close your eyes here for a moment?”
At last, it was the beginning.
Rothesay’s heart was racing.