Chapter 26 - Not A Dream
“Well.. for now, we could go somewhere where there’s no one around? You are okay with that, right?”
At that moment, Laila felt an unimaginable amount of care coming from him. She couldn’t deny it. She wiped her tears and looked at his face.
“Yes, I’m okay with it.”
“All right. Then first, please excuse me.”
Laila exclaimed involuntarily as she was suddenly wrapped in the huge blanket he had brought. Looking at Laila, wrapped up in the soft and luxurious blanket with her face like a scared rabbit’s, Venio almost laughed aloud. Definitely, she was lovely. He swallowed his laughter and lifted Laila, then asked while holding her firmly in his arms, “How is it? Is it comfortable?”
“Please… please let me down.”
“I apologize, but I don’t think I can do that, because today, I’m a thief.”
Laila’s face showed that she couldn’t understand what was going on. Venio enjoyed teasing her and never imagined he would do something like this and find it so satisfying. While thinking these silly thoughts, he changed direction. He was trying to avoid meeting Laila’s family on the way. After walking for a while, they were far away.
* * *
Laila didn’t want to continue thinking. The blanket that was wrapping her entire body was warm and the Grand Duke who was walking with Laila in his arms was also warm. No, he was actually a cold person. But she wondered why he seemed so warm to her.
Laila glanced up at him curiously, and was startled. Laila didn’t know when it had started, but Venio was looking down at her in his arms.
When their eyes were met, Laila avoided them, then asked after a pause, “Where are we headed?”
Her voice was hoarse, and she sounded even more exhausted than last night. He assumed it was probably because she had cried. Venio’s expression darkened a little, but as if nothing happened, he said, “If you call me by my name as you promised, I will tell you where we are going.”
“Oh, your name.”
They had agreed to call each other by name the next time they met, regardless of if they were pretending to be friends or pretending to be in love. After Laila vaguely recalled the promise, she said with a straight face, “Please tell me now, Venio.”
Venio was surprised because it felt better than he thought it would. But that was just for a while.
“A place where there’s no one around and where it is good to pretend we are in love. I know of a few places like that. I’m planning to visit all of them one by one.”
He paused. Laila carefully turned her head to look around after they arrived.
“It’s a place I used to visit from time to time when I was young.”
The lake was sparkly from the sunlight. They sat down on a large tree next to the lake. To be exact, Venio sat down, hugging Laila who was still wrapped in the blanket. Laila became a little embarrassed.
“Um, wouldn’t it be better if you let me down?”
“I don’t think so. I’ve decided to become wicked, so just give up.”
He said wicked. Laila squinted as if she heard a very strange word and just nodded. Actually, he might suffer with her weight on him, but she liked it. It was her body that was wrapped in the blanket, but she felt like her heart was wrapped up too.
When she agreed, Venio looked up at the sky with a mysterious but relieved expression. After that, silence fell.
Laila’s breathing became more consistent. Her eyes were constantly absorbing the quiet afternoon scene. She didn’t seem to be bored with this still scene.
Suddenly, Venio was looking at her.
“In summer, the festive fireworks are spectacular in the skies over there.”
But it was still some time before summer, and by then, a month would have already passed. Venio watched silently as her face darkened. At that moment, he was determined.
“Laila, I have a request. Will you grant it?”
Laila turned to look at him blankly. He changed his posture so Laila could look at him more directly and comfortably.
“What is it?”
“After thinking about it, for you to be my great shield, I think this is the best solution, so I’m suggesting it.”
“Yes, please tell me.”
After thinking for a while, his lips parted and he said in a serious tone, “Laila, will you be engaged to me for a month?”
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