Despite not being close friends, Anita felt a sense of guilt towards Edmund for the trouble he was going through for her. She had a bad feeling that Charles wouldn’t back off easily.
Growing increasingly agitated about why she should feel this way when she had done nothing wrong, anger welled up within Anita.
“I’ll give you one day to pack up and get the hell out of here.”
Edmund waved his hand as if he didn’t want to deal with Charles anymore. However, Charles, who seemed unwilling to give up, turned his head towards the direction where Anita stood. The look in his eyes making it clear he wasn’t thinking straight.
“You, you! How dare you think you know who I am.”
Feeling the rising anger, Anita took another step back. Charles, who seemed ready to explode without any provocation, turned his head around as if looking for someone to support him. However, the people around gave him scornful glances or turned away.
Unable to find anyone to support him, he hesitated for a moment, then turned away.
After Charles left, the surroundings became quiet. After a few moments of staring after Charles’ departing form, Edmund poked Anita in the shoulder.
“Come on, let’s go to lunch.”
“Ah, yes. Of course.”
Having received his help, it was only right to repay him. Anita was willing to buy whatever Edmund wanted.
As the two began to leave, the students who had been watching lost interest and gradually left. “I guess we’ll see all kinds of crazy folks. Not just muttering to themselves,” a comment reached Anita’s ears. Completely agreeing, Anita nodded to herself.
“But is it okay to be so loud about being the Count’s grandson, I thought you two didn’t get along?”
She was curious but didn’t want others to hear, so she whispered into his ear.
It seems there is a way after all, then, so why worry about it….
“We’ll figure something out.”
“I’ve never said anything wrong. Even though it’s a bother, the old man put me in the chairman’s position and he knows better than anyone that if he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s only going to lose face.”
He glanced at Anita’s face, which gave me a puzzled look, and then he added.
“Well, that’s good to know…. Would you like anything to eat?”
“Geez. Now it looks like I’m helping you so that I can devour my junior. It might seem like that, but it’s not.”
His gray eyes, looking at her, had a subtle expression.
Anita’s slightly stiffened lips finally relaxed a bit.
“I should’ve faced Charles Bennett at least once. I’ve been putting it off because it was a bother.”
Whether he helped Anita out of genuine goodwill or for some other reason, it didn’t matter much. What really mattered was that he had successfully detached Charles, who had been subtly irritating.
Still, since Anita was the one who received help, it was her duty to take Edmund to a nice restaurant. However, since coming to Aberdeen, Anita had never had a proper meal at a restaurant. The reasons were that it was bothersome and that she had always been too busy running away from Rutger’s gaze.
So Anita chose to pass the menu selection to Edmund, who had lived in the area longer than her.
“Do you have a specific restaurant in mind?”
“Senior, please order whatever you’d like.”
“There’s no need to treat me so formally. To be honest, it’s a bit overwhelming.”
“So what do you want me to call you?”
“It’s up to you. Hey, you. Anything like that is fine.”
If someone else had said it, Anita might have laughed it off as a joke, but because it came from Edmund, it felt somewhat intimidating.
As Anita was looking a bit bewildered, and suddenly his face was leaning in close.
“Or how about Ed? It’s my nickname.”
“That seems too intimate.”
“Well, what’s wrong with that?”
Anita cut off what she was about to say. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t have been a problem if she’d allowed it.
“I’ll think about it.”
Anita naturally delayed her answer.
“Just in case you’re worried, it really doesn’t matter what you call me. It’s a word that comes from your mouth, not mine. If the person calling feels comfortable, isn’t that enough?”
It was oddly logical, and Anita was about to nod in agreement.
“Then there’s nothing wrong with me saying it the way I do now, is there? I’m comfortable with it.”
Edmund remained silent.
After that, a few conversations, whether jokes or serious, went back and forth.
“How about here?”
Anita really didn’t care where they went. So, without even looking at the sign of the place Edmund pointed to, she entered.
It was well past lunchtime, and she’d spent most of her time arguing with Charles Bennett. Thankfully, the restaurant was quiet.
Anita, who had a somewhat dull taste, was fine as long as her stomach was filled. So, she randomly chose something, probably a salmon dish.
“By the way, what the hell did he do to you anyway?”
“Oh. It just happened.”
Who would want to hear someone else’s tedious story about a quarrel? Anita gave a vague answer.
However, upon seeing Edmund staring at her intently, she changed her mind. It seemed like Edmund wanted to fill the boring time before the dishes arrived with Anita’s story.
Anita unfolded a neatly folded napkin and placed it on her lap, starting the story. How they first met by chance. How persistent Charles Bennett was.
At first, Edmund listened with one chin rested on his hand, in a somewhat relaxed posture. But as the story shifted to the part where Charles Bennett intruded into her room, he straightened up.