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Side Story 4. At the End of Peaceful Days
The morning sun was shining brightly and flooded the bedroom when Aris opened her eyes. Pushing aside the blanket that was snuggled wrapped around her, she raised her upper body. Glancing to her side, she found Roy sound asleep next to her.
“You are indeed very handsome,” Aris muttered and stroked his cheek.
His blue eyes immediately fluttered open. Gazing up at her, he asked, “Are you up?” Yesterday, he had been the first one to wake and had stroked her cheek. Today, their roles were reversed.
“I love you, Roy,” Aris replied. It was her usual morning greeting to him, and a smile hung on his lips.
“I love you too,” he answered, before raising his body to wrap his arms around her from behind.
“Even though you hugged me last night, you still want to hold me?” Aris joked.
“No matter how many times I hold you, it’s still not enough,” Roy answered with a nod.
“Oh dear. Just when will you be satisfied?” Aris teased, smiling affectionately as she leaned back into his embrace. “What does your schedule look like today?”
“I need to head out to inspect the farms to determine how much manure we need in the morning, but there’s not much on schedule for the afternoon.”
“Then, let’s have tea in the afternoon.”
“I’ll also tag along for your visit to the farming villages.” In her role as the count’s deputy, Aris still had much to familiarize herself with so that she could effectively manage the businesses should Roy be indisposed.
“Alright,” Roy agreed, breathing in her scent, before releasing her.
* * *
After washing and dressing up, Aris and Roy went down to the dining room. Today’s breakfast consisted of soup and bread, and steaming bowls of soup were already set out on the table.
As they dined, Roy explained, “We’ll meet with the chief of the village.” Since the fief was a granary, the primary occupation of the residents centered around agriculture. It was impossible to meet with all of them, so a shortlist had been drawn up of the farms necessary to visit for the business. “Thurwin’s worked hard.”
“I’ve noticed that he’s been busy visiting many places for quite some time,” Aris nodded.
Thurwin’s effort hadn’t gone unnoticed by Aris. Thanks to his hard work, Roy could space out his visits to farmers. Since most farmers faced similar circumstances, it was possible to estimate the needed resources based on a sample. Aris and Roy continued to chat as they finished their meals. Later, Aris returned to her room to change into attire for their morning outing.
“How would you like to be dressed today?” Cianne asked.
“I’d like something simple.”
Looking at Aris, Cianne cocked her head as if something came to mind. “Countess, there was a pink dress that you purchased not too long ago. It’s perfect for a spring day like this. What do you think?”
After receiving Aris’s approval, Cianne brought the pink dress and began instructing the maids to begin applying Aris’s makeup.
“Please match my makeup with the dress,” Aris instructed.
“Of course,” Cianne replied.
Aris relaxed and let the maids get to work. Cianne’s skills were so remarkable, even Aris, with her high standards, was satisfied by her work. This was no easy feat since Aris had high expectations after having been under Lucine’s capable hands for many years. When the maids were done, Aris looked into the mirror and smiled. The woman in the reflection looked fresh in her pink dress. She hoped her appearance would match well with Roy.
* * *
When Aris went downstairs after she finished getting ready, she found her husband waiting for her. Taking in Roy’s attire—a black formal suit—she couldn’t help but marvel at how well it matched him. “You look great today,” she said, moving to his side.
“And you’re beautiful, as always,” Roy smiled.
“Well, I dressed up for you. Not to mention, I need to make an effort to look good in front of the residents too.”
“Yes!” These days, Aris made an effort to dress well wherever she went. She was far more diligent about her appearance since becoming his wife. She was spurred on by her desire to look good in front of Roy, and to dress appropriately as the count’s wife.
“You’re still pretty even if you don’t dress up.”
“That’s only because you’re biased towards me.”
Roy and Aris affectionately clasped hands and boarded the carriage. Soon, they were on their way. Inside the carriage, the two were seated side by side. Roy cupped Aris’s cheek, while she held his hand in hers.
“I’m wearing light makeup,” Aris said.
“Oh, I see,” Roy nodded. Stroking her cheek tenderly, he added. “It’s soft.”
“Yes, it shouldn’t be rough.”
“It reminds me of kissing you every night.”
Aris felt strange whenever any references to the ‘night’ was mentioned. Giving him a quick glance, she asked, “What do you want to do now?”
“I want to kiss you.”
Aris thought to herself that she would always let this man kiss her to his heart’s desire. He loved kissing her, and was always looking to steal kisses from her whenever they were alone. “Alright,” she agreed.
As soon as she closed her eyes, he enveloped her lips with his. They continued to kiss long after the carriage began to move.