Chapter 60 - Gifts
Last year, Clara stopped them when she discovered the gift Cladis was planning to give. It wasn’t because of Clara, Cladis decided to change the present. He thought Ella would find a pen more useful when she’s older, so he accepted her suggestion. Even after this, they only saw Ella as a young girl.
Realizing that the only meaningful gift they prepared was the pen, Ethan, with a bitter smile, said, “It probably would have been if it wasn’t for Clara’s advice.”
‘Thought so.’ There was no pen among the gifts that Cladis gave to Luciella in the book. Instead, there was a dollhouse. It was a very random gift, but Ella now realized how it came to be. The ball to the doll, then to the dollhouse. It would have been better if there was a dollhouse here instead of a pen. She would have understood that they only saw her as a young girl at the Academy. Ella glared at the problematic pen.
“She stopped you,” said Ella.
“Yeah. She said that you don’t play with dolls anymore.”
“She was right then. I probably studied harder than you at the time,” Ella snapped.
“We never imagined you were. You did talk a lot about studying in your letters, but I never… we never…” Ethan couldn’t continue.
“Never gave it much thought. Together, you two are so simpleminded.”
This was why Cladis never talked about politics with Ethan. The prince, who was known for his intelligence, acted like a fool whenever Ethan was around. Ethan was the only one Cladis could talk to about Ella, so it was easy to imagine what happened between them. Her simple brother would talk about an adolescent Ella as he last remembered while Cladis listened.
Ella remembered about her 13-year-old self. She was too young, hard to consider herself a lady at the time. It almost felt stupid to realize that in Cladis’s mind, Luciella was still 13. On the other hand, Luciella saw Cladis as a man and waited for him. He, however, was longing for a young lady who would stay by his side forever. It was an inevitable outcome.
She then thought about Cladis, who would have missed young Luciella. She was the only person who he could be relaxed with, close to, and actually miss. He was away from this person for three years. ‘Cladis must have missed her so much.’
The Academy had strict rules about visitors. It only allowed visitors once a year during the festival. Letters and packages were limited to direct family members. Even then, the Academy checked each letter in case there were any suspicious ones coming in. As such, Cladis and Ella weren’t able to communicate with each other, and there was no way to meet if she didn’t come to the festival. They could only meet if Ethan wrote a letter to her asking for her to come. From Luciella’s memory, Ella remembered the contents of Ethan’s letter.
Ella, you must come and visit this year. His highness misses you very much, and so do I. It has been two years since we last met. Please come this time. I want to show you something. It can only be shown to you here. Aren’t you curious? I hope you come this time. Please. Please come.
Ethan was told not to tell her about the secret present. Not only that, he couldn’t mention Clara as letters were checked before being sent out. In addition, he wasn’t good at writing either, so he did his best to persuade her by letter.
After including a few other details in the letter, Ethan added another plea for her to come. It was not like any other time. Unfortunately, Luciella, who was following the storyline of the book where she hadn’t seen Cladis in three years, ignored the letter. As a result, she wasn’t aware of what was going on at the Academy because of her busyness. This was two months after Clara entered the Academy, and a month after she began following Cladis. It was also a month before Ranhee’s arrival to this world.
Perhaps Ethan sent the letter not because of Clara but out of concern for Cladis. After the festival was over, Ella received a letter from Ethan, who accused her of being a bad girl. Then, it was Ranhee who received the next letter. This letter was from Ethan, who wrote to apologize for all the rude things he had written in the previous letter. He also wrote that he wished she had visited.
Ranhee initially thought they were good siblings to each other. But Ella had never imagined that there was such a thing going on behind them.
Bad girl. It was a childish thing to say, but Ella sure was a terrible person to them. She was a bad girl who ignored their feelings. Ranhee knew how it felt to long for someone as she began studying abroad at a young age. She missed her parents, who never came to visit her, and she blamed them for it. The shock to find out that they were forever gone was…
Suddenly, Ella heard a voice she had forgotten about, and darkness covered her vision.
“Ranhee, why weren’t you answering your phone?! Your mommy and daddy… Oh God, what should we do… Ran- are you listening?” At that time, Ranhee was shopping with a bag filled with food for her parents, who were visiting her for the first time in three years. She spent a month of savings on them. Now, they were scattered all over the floor, but she couldn’t care less. This was the day when Ranhee’s world had begun to crumble. It was also the day when she learned what it meant to feel her heart sink.
Ella closed her eyes tightly as she remembered that day. The shock from that incident overwhelmed her.
Ethan became startled as she swayed and cried, “Ella! Are you alright? Ella!”
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