‘Is it because it’s raining?’
Alec turned his head and stared out the window. The reason he had followed Lauren in the first place was because of the pheromones she had emitted. If he happened to encounter a bad male on the street, it could be a big problem. In case a situation arose where comfort was needed, he also had a hidden desire to embrace her like before, revealing his dark intentions.
But now, he couldn’t clearly explain why he didn’t want to leave this place.
‘Perhaps it was me who needed comfort.’
Thanks to Lauren lighting the fire and heating up the fireplace, a warm breeze circulated indoors and condensation formed on the window. The scenery of the rain falling steadily began to blur, and Lauren’s face sitting across from him became more distinct.
Alec admired her face, which was waiting for the tea to cool down. The sound of rain that could be heard through the window gradually faded away, and a warm silence mixed with the aroma of coffee slowly filled the room. All senses were focused on sight. Each small expression reflected in the hazy window was imprinted vividly in his mind.
“Do you hate the rain?”
When he heard a soft voice, Alec’s slightly blurred focus became clear again. I hate the rain. His lips, which had been tightly closed, uttered a low voice.
“I hate the lukewarm temperature that touches my skin, I hate the ground becoming muddy. Breathing becomes annoying when it gets humid, and if I get wet, I feel irritated. What’s so good about that kind of rain?”
Alec slowly stirred the handle of the teacup. It was strange even to himself how he usually would give a casual response and explain in detail to questions, but now he found it fascinating.
“But you… You said you liked the rain.”
“Yes. If it rains, the dry land will become abundant, won’t it? Then the people of the kingdom will be pleased.”
“You should be crying.”
“According to what you said, if you were a true god, even if you were asleep, you would have had to wake up and cry for the sake of the dry land. But still, you like the rain?”
Lauren, who had been looking down at the fruit tea for a while in response to Alec’s question, raised her gaze.
It was the first time someone had worried about her position as a guardian deity.
Lauren couldn’t answer that question right away. Strangely, her heart felt heavy.
“I’ve been talking too much today.”
Alec snapped his fingers. As he did, the closed windows opened wide, and with the scent of damp soil, the noisy sound of rain entered the room.
Lauren’s voice mixed with the sound of rain wasn’t loud or soft. But for Alec, it was enough. Even if she had murmured in a much softer voice, he would have heard his mate’s voice clearly.
Lauren nodded her head again. As Alec had said, she had shed tears for the rain every time, but she had willingly done it because she thought that her tears made many people happy.
So when she heard the sound of rain from the ground, her heart was at ease. It was the same now.
Lauren shyly lifted her teacup.
That crazy woman forgot that the tea was still hot. When Alec flicked his hand again, the hot tea cooled down to a drinkable temperature.
Alec, who usually didn’t use magic, used it excessively only in front of Lauren.
Thanks to him, Lauren could drink the tea without burning her tongue.
After that, they lost track of time. A comfortable silence lingered between them even without speaking.
Ding! The grandfather clock on the wall announced seven o’clock in the evening.
‘Oh no, today is the day that Dustin is supposed to come.’
Waking up from her reverie, Lauren quickly got up from her seat and started to tidy up the table. Alec made a disappointed face when she hurriedly cleaned up.
“Hey, I haven’t finished my coffee yet.”
“My brother is coming soon. Your clothes must have dried somewhat, so hurry up and go.”
“Is it because we shouldn’t get caught by our families? I didn’t know that we’re in a fairly dangerous relationship.”
“Don’t joke around and go. Brother Dustin is very strict.”
“Oh, it’s not because you were worried about getting caught, was it?”
Only then did Alec get up from his seat and follow Lauren. He touched the umbrella he had received from her and stretched his lips.
“But what should we do… It seems like it’s already too late.”
Lauren blinked her eyes roundly. At the same time, with a clinking sound, the door opened.
Holding a document bag, Dustin stood there with a frowning expression.
His gaze lingered on Alec for a moment before turning to Lauren.
His voice contained an order to speak.
Lauren quickly walked towards Dustin.
“You’re back, no, you’re home, Brother.”
Her stiff tongue didn’t roll as she wanted it to. One foot wavered behind her, and she bent her knee to make a proper greeting as a lady should do, but because she was nervous, one leg couldn’t find its balance and wobbled.
‘What should I say?’
Lauren watched Dustin’s expression. Angry brown eyes scanned her up and down, burning with fury. It was a big problem. It seemed that he recognized Alec’s pheromones.
‘No. If things continue like this, your brother will be disappointed.’
Her lips trembled sweetly, trying to say something, but her mind went blank, unable to come up with any excuses.
“What were you doing that you didn’t even change your clothes.”
Dustin asked Lauren, glaring at Alec.
Alec wasn’t the type to avoid a gaze. This was her brother who she didn’t share a drop of blood with. Alec smiled awkwardly and looked up and down at Dustin. Despite his smiling face, his golden eyes were dry.
An uncomfortable atmosphere flowed between the two.
To calm the situation, Lauren awkwardly smiled and stood in front of Alec.
“Um, I just arrived here and this gentleman was just borrowing an umbrella, brother.”
Lauren held out both hands to Dustin. Dustin familiarly took off his coat and handed it to Lauren with his bag.
“It seems like you didn’t just borrow an umbrella.”
Dustin stared at the empty teacup with a frown. Then he took a deep breath. The pheromones mixed with the smell of rain weren’t his sister’s.
“The person who borrowed the umbrella has covered someone else’s little sister with his pheromones.”
“Why don’t we start with greetings since we’re meeting for the first time? Well, you probably know who I am.”
Alec reached out his hand for a handshake.
“I am Alexander Zancaser, the lord of the Black Snake Company.”
His words were mixed honorifics and casual language. Dustin looked down at that hand and then shook it with a hesitant face.
“Seems like I’m meeting a famous man in a ramshackle teahouse. I’m Dustin Roosebeck.”
“I think you’re pretty famous too.”
“I heard you’re the first beastman professor to be appointed at the Academy. Specializing in magic, right? You’re pretty good.”
“I wonder where your lordship has seen my skills?”
“I already know, so why do you have to ask.”
Alec rolled his eyes and shook his hand. Blue veins pulsed up the backs of their clasped hands. Despite their childish power struggle, neither of them forgot their fake smiles.
After Lauren neatly organized Dustin’s bag and coat, she quickly returned.
“You’ll get hurt if you keep doing that.”
Lauren looked worriedly at the hands of the two men holding each other’s hands. Both hands were red from the grip, like wringing out laundry.
“Will this little handshake hurt this young master?”
Dustin stared straight into Alec’s eyes and replied to Lauren. Alec was the same.
“It’s just a simple handshake, you worry too much.”
Both of them stared intensely at each other without blinking, exerting strength in their hands.
“Both of you, please stop it.”
Using honorifics, Lauren forcefully separated the hands of the two men, which were tightly held together.
With a loud sound, the hands of the two men, tightly attached like clams, separated. They let go of their tightly held hands, but they still kept their cold gazes on each other.
“What kind of relationship do you have with my younger sister that you came all the way here?”
Alec’s gaze shifted to Lauren at Dustin’s question. There was something ominous about the smirk on his face, and Lauren shook her head, telling Alec not to say anything. But Alec was not a man to be trifled with.
“Hey, what kind of relationship do we have?”
What a condescending little bastard. Lauren scolded Alec in her mind and quickly read Dustin’s mood.
“Oh my, you’re growling so fiercely. You might get eaten again.”
Despite Alec muttering to the back of Lauren’s head, she tried to explain to Dustin with as much patience as possible.
“He really just came to borrow an umbrella, brother.”
While saying that, she forcefully pushed Alec’s back towards the entrance. I should have kicked this obnoxious man out sooner. But for once, Alec wouldn’t listen.
“Why are you pushing me?”
“I gave you the umbrella, now leave.”
“Hmm, I don’t want to.”
Most men would have been kicked out in an instant. But Alec grinned shamelessly and held on to Lauren’s hand.
This guy has no clue! Lauren poked his side secretly, but he remained oblivious. Only Lauren’s finger hurt from hitting his firm muscles.
Dustin frowned as he watched the two bickering, apparently not pleased with the current situation.
“Give me a number, your lordship.”
There was disgust in Dustin’s brown eyes as he asked the question.
“What are you asking me now?”
Alec tilted his head nonchalantly, even though he knew what Dustin meant.
“If you’re feeling uncomfortable in front of Lauren, let’s change the question.”
Dustin lifted his glasses and looked tired.
“Until when are you going to meet my sister?”
Alec raised his eyebrows and asked.
“It’s a well-known fact that you change women like clothes.”
“Haha. I’ve been hearing that a lot lately.”
The king had mentioned it not long ago. Why did all the men involved with this woman repeat the same words like parrots?
Alec smirked at Lauren. She must be leading a tough life. His gaze seemed to say just that.
“Isn’t it up to Lauren to decide when and how we meet?”
“No. Lauren can’t do anything yet.”
“You have a harsh evaluation for a grown woman. Professor Dustin, are you planning to keep your pure sister locked up forever?”