Chapter 16 - The Moonlight
“You seem desperate. But why?” Venio muttered, as if talking to himself. But soon, he continued, as if he wasn’t expecting her to answer, “I’m only saying this just in case, but I abide very strictly to terms listed in a contract. You won’t ever see me helping you with things that are not my responsibility unless there’s a very good reason.”
She looked utterly innocent and didn’t seem to understand why he was saying such things. Venio felt a little awkward, but as he was feeling pretty good about things, he said with a smile, “Alright then. Let’s do it.”
“Acting like we love each other.”
“I said, acting like we love each other. You said earlier that we could just pretend to be in love with each other.” Venio chuckled and even seemed to look amused.
“We’re going to pretend to be in love. That’s going to be interesting.”
Laila was staring blankly at him.
‘Well, that was definitely abrupt,’ he thought. With a beautiful smile on his face, he said slowly, “I know. I would find this strange too, since I had already rejected you earlier. But as I gave it more thought, it didn’t seem like it would be such a bad thing. I am going back on my words here, but it was a great suggestion, Lady.”
The dark purple eyes were mysteriously growing bright. They held Laila tightly in their grip, carving out a wonder she did not know. Laila realized that her last wish had just come true.
“Let’s do it, the contract.”
It was small like a star, a flower, a leaf, or a butterfly, but the moment was perfect. His black hair was tousled, and he was smiling brightly, lighting up the depths of the night.
He had just accepted her request and would pretend to be in love with her. Now, she was finally going to know what it would feel like to be loved. But, but…
‘How did I end up liking him so much?’
She had only seen him once, but she was already not able to control it. It seemed to her that she was already thinking about him too much. She had thought he would be scary as he was the ‘Evil Duke’, but she began to think that he was rather a good man.
It was a perfect moment. She realized that she liked him. Laila felt a little like smiling, yet also felt a little like crying. It had been a while since she had a smile on her face. Suddenly, tears rolled down Laila’s face.
It was her idea. She wanted to pretend she was loved. The plan seemed scary to her at first, but now everything was fine as she would finally be able to remember someone loving her. It was something she couldn’t even imagine before, and she now thought this was the happiest moment of her life.
“I don’t know why…”
Seriously flustered by Laila’s reaction, Venio drew closer to her and carefully helped her up. He laid out a handkerchief on the spot where she had been sitting, then looked at her again and started laughing.
“Lady. You can either cry or be startled, but just choose one.”
Pale and melancholic, Laila was just looking at him, unable to say anything. Her eyes were red, making her look like a rabbit. Venio chuckled at his own thoughts, and then, while helping her sit down on his handkerchief, he whispered to her, “Or you could smile.”
But Laila, who was surprised by his words, started to hiccup. Venio held back his laughter once more.
Hiding his smile, he put on a cold tone and said to Laila, “What do you think? Would you be okay with me pretending to be in love with you?”
Suddenly, Laila stopped breathing. After a moment, she started breathing slowly and stared at him quietly.
Moonlight shone down on them and in Laila’s bright gray eyes. After staying silent for some time, Laila nodded quietly, looking at peace.
At that moment, Venio couldn’t say anything for the woman in front of him—the tiny, lean, and ashy woman who didn’t smile even once—looked strangely beautiful.
“I see. I guess I’ve…” Venio said while staring at her bewildered face, then continued, “…made a decent contract.”
That was the first day of their fake relationship.
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