Chapter 30 - A Man’s Privilege
“What is this?” Isabelle asked as she looked at the velvet box that had been pushed in front of her.
She carefully opened the velvet box, revealing a diamond necklace and a pair of matching earrings inside. “This is…?”
“His Highness prepared this.”
From the jewels’ size to even the craftsmanship—all screamed to Isabel, who was utterly clueless about precious gems—that they must have been a hefty price.
“Uhm… for me?”
“That, I’m not sure of, either. However, His Highness has instructed us to help you wear them.”
“Then, may I inquire after His Highness?”
“Yes, please do so.”
“Where is His Highness?”
“He is waiting in the reception room. Please follow me.”
Isabel followed the maid. As the door opened and she walked out, she saw Agares sitting on the sofa drinking tea. Agares raised his head when the door opened. When their eyes met, he smiled gently. Isabel’s heart quivered upon seeing his smile. She could not believe that his gaze and his smile were directed towards her.
“There you are.”
“Sorry to have kept you waiting.”
Agares smiled at Isabel’s apology. “Waiting for a woman is a man’s privilege.”
Waiting for a woman is a man’s privilege.
This was her first time hearing such sweet words. The phrase was so lovely that it garnered a weak laugh from Isabel. Agares stared intently at Isabel’s light smile. When she noticed his gaze, the faint smile on Isabel’s lips disappeared. He clicked his tongue in disapproval. Not knowing the reason for his displeasure, Isabel could only shift her gaze. Had she done something wrong? Or did he not want to see her smiling face? Isabel called him sullenly. “Excuse me, Your Highness.”
“Yes, what is it?”
“There was jewelry.”
“Indeed. Why aren’t you wearing the necklace and earrings?”
“Of course. Come here.”
Isabel approached him. The quick-witted maid standing beside Agares opened the velvet box after she helped Isabel sit down. Agares, holding the necklace in one hand, carefully wrapped the chain around Isabel’s neck. Isabel felt even shyer than when her body joined with his, even though the tips of his fingers only grazed her neck. Then, he carefully helped her wear the earrings. Her heart skipped a beat as his fingertips touched her earlobe.
“Thank you, Your Highness.” She worried her voice would shake just from expressing her gratitude.
“Then I’ll return them to you next time I see you,” she said, hoping there would be a next time. Isabel wanted to meet him even if she had to use this type of excuse, but Agares frowned at her words.
“Did I say to give it back?”
“Do I look like someone who wants the gift I have given to be returned?
“Of course, it’s a gift. I’m giving it to you so take it. I’m not a man wretched enough to want back a present I gave.”
“That wasn’t my intention, Your Highness!”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Absolutely not.” She was afraid that he would think she had insulted him. He laughed as Isabel shook her head and denied his accusation repeatedly.
“Then please accept it.”
“I’m… ever grateful for this. Thank you, Your Highness.” Isabel nodded her head. She was pleased and thankful for the gift, but she was sad that there was no reason to meet him anymore. No, actually, she realized that if she changed her perspective, then she had something to be happy about. Now she had something to commemorate their time together.
“When is the next banquet you are going to attend?”
“I am going to attend one t-tomorrow.”
“I was going to go to Viscount Garth’s banquet.”
She had initially planned to go in order to wait for Agares. There was little to no chance that he, the Grand Duke, would attend a function as small as a Viscount’s banquet, but Isabel even enjoyed her time waiting for him.
“Then I shall attend that as well. See you there.”
Isabel did not immediately register what he was talking about and just repeated after him.
‘Is he trying to say, ‘see you again tomorrow’?’ Isabel could not believe that that was what he meant and blinked in confusion. Was he really trying to say they should meet again? “Y-you’re going to attend V-viscount Garth’s banquet tomorrow?”
“Are you serious?”
“Why, you don’t like the idea?”
‘Did she think it would end with just one night?’ Agares thought with a frown. There were plenty of times when he parted ways with the woman first, but this was the first time he had heard a woman suggest the same.