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Before the meal began with dishes set on the table, Claude addressed an issue that needed pointing out.
“Julian. Why are you so late? You shouldn’t break promises so casually.”
Since she was his only younger sister, Claude’s voice was gentle, without a hint of sternness.
Julian replied with a seemingly teary-eyed look.
“I’m sorry. Young Lady Iva offered to help me with my dress up. I was so happy with the offer that I lost track of time.”
What? Me? I offered to help? Wasn’t it you who insisted?
“Having always been in recovery, I have no close friends, so I couldn’t decline Lady Iva’s kindness.”
Oh, what a story she’s spinning. Surely he’s not buying this, right? Iva looked at Claude, her incredulity evident.
He totally bought it.
“It’s wonderful to hear that the two of you have become such close friends. It makes me happy.”
Close friends? I’d rather choose five 5-year-old Chase over being friends with Julian.
“Regardless, you should apologize for being late.”
At Claude’s hint to apologize to the Lawrence couple, Julian did so without even glancing their way.
“…I apologize for the tardiness.”
“It’s quite alright. At our age, even waiting becomes a pleasure.”
“That’s right. We’re just grateful to Young Lady Iva for inviting us to this precious dinner.”
Lady Lawrence overlaid her hand atop Iva’s, who was seated next to her.
“Not at all. I’m grateful you forgave my rudeness at the party.”
“Has the Young Lady been rude? I can’t imagine you doing anything of the sort.”
Just as Claude posed the question she seemed to have been waiting for, Iva answered as if she had been expecting it.
“I was insensitive to Mrs. Lawrence’s pain and spoke out of line. I hesitate to bring it up again…”
Seeing Iva’s regret and unfinished sentence, Lady Lawrence kindly interjected
“We had a tough time because we couldn’t have children for a long time. But she seemed to misunderstand that we had adopted a child.”
“I apologize once again.”
While her lips she apologized, but her gaze was fixed on Julian, who didn’t even glance in the couple’s direction.
“It’s understandable. When a man and woman marry, it’s natural for others to assume they have children.”
“Well, we are currently considering adoption.”
At that moment, Julian’s gaze swiftly shifted toward Lady Lawrence.
“Oh dear, honey, I’ve told you not to mention that. It’s just my husband’s idea. I have no intention of adopting. Raising a child at our age is challenging.”
As Lady Lawrence playfully negated the idea, Julian’s gaze darted away once more. Iva quietly observed this.
“Recently, I’ve heard of people adopting adults instead of young children. Perhaps considering that could be beneficial.”
Claude remarked while eating his meal.
“That does sound like a good idea. If we do bring home a wonderful child, we hope Your Highness would look upon them favorably.”
The Count jokingly commented, to which Claude responded with a familiar smile.
“Of course, if it’s a good Young Lady.”
“My, Your Highness, do you also have an interest in Young Ladies? I thought you were not interested in marriage like other princes.”
Upon hearing that question, Claude’s gaze naturally shifted to Iva.
“As a man, wouldn’t I naturally be interested? I’ve even seriously considered a proposal I’ve received.”
Ah! These words will really chase me for a long time.
Iva deliberately pretended not to notice Claude’s gaze and focused intently on the food in front of her.
Noticing her reaction, Claude was in the midst of flashing a self-satisfied smile when suddenly, Ray came into his line of sight.
To others, Ray seemed his usual quiet self. But to Claude, the emotions stirring in Ray were evident.
Ray was so angry that he couldn’t even pick up his utensils.
“Proposal to Your Highness? Truly a woman of great courage.”
“Yes, she’s truly a remarkable woman.”
Noticing the blatant atmosphere, Iva was perplexed. Why was there such tension amidst what should have been a casual dining conversation?
The reason soon became clear. Ray, who was filled with rage, momentarily raised his head and gazed at Iva who was sitting across from him
With that brief glance, some of Ray’s anger seemed to melt away. It wasn’t a conscious action; it was an instinct to regulate emotions. The instinct of one’s gaze naturally follows the person they love.
Having sensed Ray’s emotions, Claude’s expression sharpened.
“Princess Julian, are you feeling better now? I was genuinely concerned when you fainted that day.”
Count Lawrence asked Julian with a face full of concern.
Julian’s face began to tense up, but sensing Iva’s gaze, she quickly put on a smile.
“Thanks to your concern, I have fully recovered. I’m grateful for your consideration.”
“It’s a relief. I can’t explain why my heart ached so much when the princess collapsed.”
Lady Lawrence also expressed her relief. But Julian’s expression gradually hardened with their evident concern.
“… Thank you for your concern.”
“However, you do look a bit pale today. Are you alright?”
“Yes, please don’t overexert yourself.”
As the couple’s worried gazes converged on her, Julian’s face visibly paled.
It looked strikingly similar to when she had collapsed at the party.
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