Chapter 23 - Mikhail’s Regrets
After I picked out Rose’s gift, I thought about what else I needed to buy. The escort knights continued to follow me, but I did my best to ignore them.
‘Cosmetics, colored ink, and paper… Oh! This looks nice as well! I’m glad I can shop comfortably now that Father isn’t here.’ I sighed when I thought about Father’s pendant, which was still tucked away in my drawer. ‘When should I return it to him, anyway? I hope I don’t get scolded for keeping it for so long without telling him.’
As I mulled over my predicament, something caught my eye. ‘Wow, this is very neat and pretty.’ I studied the set of blue gemstone cufflinks with silver rims. It would be a suitable accessory for my father.
‘Maybe he won’t be so mad if I return his pendant with this.’ With these beautiful cufflinks as a bribe, I would be able to keep him happy.
I pointed at them without hesitation. “I’ll be buying this.”
The clerk placed the cufflinks in a wooden box and handed it to me.
‘This should be enough, right?’
At that moment, someone greeted me. “Oh, who is this? If it isn’t Lady Floyen!”
When I saw the person who greeted me, my expression hardened. ‘It’s Radian, a man who possesses the tongue of a viper.’ He usually led social gatherings and was infamous for starting rumors. I avoided him even before I recalled the memories of my past life, which goes to show how notorious he was. Even worse, he was Mikhail’s cousin.
“This is the first time I’m seeing you after your aunt’s birthday banquet.”
‘Isn’t it common sense to not acknowledge your cousin’s ex-girlfriend?”
Although I was displeased, I smiled and greeted him. “Yes, it has been a long time, Esteemed Son of Droil.”
“What do you mean by ‘Esteemed Son of Droil?’ I’m disappointed that you are calling me so formally. It’s not the first time we’ve met.” He kissed the back of my hand and laughed eerily. “Please call me Radian, my lady. You’re as beautiful as a daffodil.”
Asking someone to call them by their first name and kissing the back of a lady’s hand without permission was improper, even if the two had met in the past. I wanted to point this out but refrained from doing so. The last thing I needed was for him to start rumors about me.
‘Things will also become complicated if he talks to Mikhail about me.’
“I wish I could talk to you more, but there’s somewhere I need to be. Please excuse me.” I hurriedly removed my hand from his and spoke sternly.
Radian laughed. “Why are you in such a hurry, my lady? It’s as if you are running away from something…”
I cut him off. “I have a strict schedule,” I said firmly.
Although my words probably made him feel unpleasant, Radian laughed and said lightheartedly, “Ah, I see. Well, it was nice to meet you. I—”
“Yes, it was nice meeting you as well. Goodbye.”
I didn’t want to waste any more time, so I cut him off again and turned around. The escort knights formed a barricade around me.
“This way, Lady Floyen,” Geraldine said politely.
‘I guess they do their job at times like this.’ I feigned a smile.
In the end, it didn’t matter if Radian started rumors about me because his reputation was just as bad as mine. Even so, he had ruined my mood, so I decided to continue shopping at another time. It was fortunate that I was able to get away from him quickly, otherwise, he would have too much to say to Mikhail about me.
‘I hope we never meet again…’ I shuddered at the unpleasant sensation that lingered on the back of my hand and rubbed it against the hem of my skirt.
* * *
An unexpected visitor arrived at Marquess Hessen’s townhouse before dinner.
“It’s been a while, Mikhail.”
It was Radian Svel Droil. Mikhail’s expression twisted when he saw his cousin, who he didn’t get along with.
“My legs are sore. Can I sit down?”
“Get ou—” Mikhail tried to order him to leave immediately, but Radian was one step ahead of him.
“Oh, you want me to sit down? Thanks,” he said.
Mikhail frowned at Radian, who cut him off and promptly sat down on one of the parlor chairs in the drawing-room.
“What do you want?” Mikhail asked wearily.
Radian laughed and spoke in a relaxed tone. “Now there, I came with good news. Shouldn’t you bring me some tea?”
“Spit it out and leave,” Mikhail said coldly.
Radian wasn’t intimidated by his cousin’s tone. He shrugged and said, “I guess this attitude of yours is why Lady Floyen left you for a new lover.”
When Radian mentioned the words ‘new lover,’ Mikhail’s face twisted. “Nonsense. What are you talking about?”
Without a hint of concern, Radian pulled out a pipe cigarette from the inside pocket of his coat. “Nonsense? Aren’t you being too harsh to me? I haven’t even said what I saw today.” He grinned as he lit the pipe cigarette. “She was buying a set of cufflinks. I saw it with my own eyes.”
‘Cufflinks?’ Mikhail widened his eyes. Cufflinks were usually given to family members or lovers. It was a way for women to demurely reveal their love and possessiveness to the receiver.
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