"Ah, umm, Edgar, ......I have a favour I'd like to ask." Lydia held both her hands together as though in prayer, cocked her head slightly to one side, and tried to speak as cutely as she could as she did her best to follow Tompkins's advice.
Edgar stopped writing and looked up from his desk. He smiled eloquently at her. "Why so formal? We're married now, so there's no need for restraint."
"Yes, y-you're right." Lydia held her pose as she tried to think of what to say next. Just as she realised Edgar had gotten up, he reached where she was standing and gazed down at her. He wrapped his hands gently around hers.
"Sorry, I've been busy with my duties. Were you lonely?"
"No doubt. It's only been four days since we got married, after all. Really, we should be on our honeymoon and spending time together right now."
"But...... that can't be helped. Our wedding was quite sudden, we'll be arranging our trip from here on, and you're trying to finish off your work, too."
Their conversation seemed to be getting sidetracked. Lydia tried to pull her hands free, but he wouldn't let go.
"If you'll wait just a little longer, I'll finish up early for today."
Just as Lydia finally worked her hands free, he wrapped his arms around her waist. Edgar pulled Lydia close and kissed her lightly on the cheek.
"......Rather, umm... my favour..."
"Yes, what is it?"
Edgar was pulled her more firmly towards himself making Lydia blush. She still wasn't used to having his face so close to hers or having her body pressed against him.
Edgar thought her blush was because of what she wanted.
"Are you embarrassed? In that case, shall I guess?"
"Hmm, let's see. You'd like to have kids soon?"
"Wh-what are you say......"
"Since they're a gift from God, things might not go exactly as hoped for, but I'll try harder."
Flustered, Lydia pushed him away with both hands.
"That's not it! I want to go on a short trip with Lota."
"A short trip?"
"Yes. The hotel where Lota's grandfather, the Grand Duke of Cremona, was staying for awhile is just outside Windsor. Apparently, the fields are full of saffron flowers which are in bloom at this time of year, and it's supposed to be quite beautiful. We talked about wanting to go before, but then the wedding suddenly came up, right? She said we should still be able to catch the flowers in full bloom, though. Umm, it'd only be the one night tomorrow......"
"Tomorrow!" Edgar exclaimed taken aback. He quickly recovered and asked gently, "Umm, alone with Lota?"
"One of the maids from the Grand Duke's household will be accompanying us. This sort of thing is a first for me--going on a short trip together with a friend."
Flustered, Edgar considered Lydia's request as he wandered back to his desk and sat down again.
"We only just got married."
Granted, most likely going on a short trip with a friend at such a time was very unusual. Perhaps she needed to be more mindful of her position as countess. And even though it was only for a night, it would not leave a good image.
But at the same time, since she felt that it might be okay as long as Edgar agreed, Lydia had decided to try to ask him in this manner.
"We haven't even decided where to go for our honeymoon yet."
"We can decide that and prepare for it as soon as I get back."
But Edgar sighed deeply. "I'll join you in the tearoom later," he said ending the conversation and looked down at his papers again.
Having no choice, Lydia left his study.
Edgar was always wanting to spoil Lydia more. After all, they'd only just married. And Lydia felt the same way, too. But it wasn't like she would be very good at asking for things all of a sudden, not to mention what she wanted this time was probably something Edgar would be unwilling to agree to.
While she tried to be ask him as cutely as she could, she couldn't help feeling it'd had the opposite effect. Disappointed, Lydia sat down on the sofa in the tearoom.
"How'd it go?" Lota asked.
Lydia's best friend had been raised in the inner city and readily came for tea even though Lydia had just recently married. Of course, Lydia, too, was more than happy to have her friend visit. Lydia was a fairy doctor, and up until now, she'd never had human friends. So for her, spending time with Lota was something new. And while Lota was rather different from most girls, Lydia always enjoyed having tea with her and spending some girls only time with her.
"It might not be possible."
But right now, she was rather disappointed as she drank her tea.
"How about just going anyway?" the grey fae cat said irresponsibly as he deftly held a silver spoon and stirred his tea.
"Nico, it's not like I'm running away from home."
"No doubt the master doesn't want you to leave his side for even a moment, Mrs. Lydia," Tomkins said awkwardly as he placed cake and scones on the table. "Mrs. Laine, do you have any good ideas?" he asked the housekeeper as she passed by getting her involved.
"Hmm... well, what about having Miss Lota ask him?"
"If I said anything, that Edgar would be against it just to be a pain."
"In that case, I'll go and tell him, 'Don't get ahead of yourself, and quit trying to constrain Lydia!'"
Looking towards the voice that suddenly butt into their conversation, they saw a curly, black-haired young man standing there. He went to the cart and picked up the cake sitting there and took a bite. Tompkins and the housekeeper both looked slightly flustered as they pretended not to see Lydia's fae friend.
"Kelpie, do you even know what we're talking about?"
"Not really, but that's essentially the issue, isn't it? --For all the troubles between you and the earl."
Licking his fingers, this time he approached the table and plopped down in the seat next to Lydia. He reached out to pick up the teacup in front of him only to have Lydia slap his hand away.
"That's Coblynau's tea."
"What, is that runt here, too?"
The fae miner wasn't comfortable around the savage water horse and had hid behind the teapot, but Kelpie spotted the tip of his triangular hat and plucked the little fairy up. Coblynau thrashed his arms and legs about.
"Quit being mean to him. And please don't do anything, Kelpie. Things will only become more complicated if you say anything."
(My lady, for the most part, the wife is the strongest in the Blue Knight Earl's household. There's no need to refrain from having fun.) Coblynau knew how the earl's household had been in the past, and he was giving his support to Lydia.
"I see. So the earl's trying to deny you something you've been looking forward to, huh?"
"......It's not like that."
For Lydia, spending time with Edgar was also both new and fun.
There was a time when she'd steeled herself to break-up with him, and the time she'd been unable to see him had been very painful. Now that they were married and she no longer had to put up with such loneliness, she simply felt happy.
But for some reason she couldn't get the want to go on a short trip together with Lota out of her mind.
"Hey, Raven, what do you think she should do to get the earl to say yes?" Nico asked the young man who had just entered the room with a fresh pot of tea. It was Edgar's servant Raven.
He thought for a moment, and with his usual expressionless face, he calmly stated his conclusion, "I think all she needs to do is to deny him having any."
"......I see, how very true." Nico nodded with a strange look on his face.
"Eh? Any what?"
Lydia cocked her head as she looked around. For some reason everyone had a look of agreement on their face, but no one would answer her.
"Raven, kindly don't suggest anything like that to Lydia." The door to the tearoom opened and Edgar entered frowning.
"Honestly, is everyone in this residence on Lydia's side?"
The butler and housekeeper quickly left the room at his annoyed tone.
Edgar pushed Kelpie aside as he went to Lydia's side and smiled in resignation.
"I'll be lonely, but if it's only for one day, I'll put up with it."
"Really? Is it okay, Edgar?"
"Yes. There's no way I can say no to what you want. Lota, please make sure to keep the vermin away from Lydia."
"Sure, I'll punch any man who tries to speak to her," Lota said energetically as she waved her fist in the air.
But from Edgar's unhappy expression, most likely he'd been very reluctant to agree.
When it came to Lydia, Edgar tried to understand her more than anyone else. And he understood her love for the fae and her pride in her work as a fairy doctor. He didn't want her to be ensnared in what was expected of a noblewoman, nor did he want her to become trapped by societal norms or appearances.
If she trusted and loved him, that was all that mattered.
In which case, it was only natural for him to agree to what she wanted. His feeling jealous of Lota was pointless.
But he couldn't help feeling a bit shocked at the thought that Lydia might enjoy being with Lota more than him.
"My lord, we'll reach the hotel soon."
Edgar pulled himself out of his thoughts at the sound of Raven's voice. He had come to the place just outside Windsor to pick Lydia up. He figured that, most likely, Lydia wouldn't be upset if he suddenly showed up to get her when she was about to leave. He could see the palace-like exterior of the hotel by the river that was commonly used by foreign nobility.
Edgar stared absentmindedly at the scenery from the window of his carriage when he suddenly ordered to have it stopped. He got out of the carriage alone.
Looking about, he saw a field of purple saffron flowers by the river. It was the perfumed carpet of flowers that Lydia had said she wanted to see. He ordered Raven to continue on ahead while he walked in the field. After a short distance, he spotted a small copse of trees beyond the field of flowers. There was a bench under the trees.
Reaching the bench, he found Lydia's bonnet lying there and stopped. He could hear the sound of girls' laughter coming from somewhere. Looking beyond the small grove, he spotted the two having fun by a large tree. Lydia was sitting on a swing that hung from a thick branch. Lydia's hair streamed behind her as Lota pushed her. She took no notice of how her light pink dress flared in the wind as she threw her legs out like a child. He had no idea what was so funny as the two continued to laugh.
The trees and undergrowth were showing the signs of autumn painting the scene a light sepia. Lydia looked almost as though she had wings as she lightly pumped the swing to go higher.
As Edgar watched, he couldn't help thinking that he'd robbed Lydia of being able to spend time as an innocent girl a little early. While becoming a bride at 18 wasn't too young, until recently, Lydia had never known what it was like to spend time together with friends her own age.
Going away on a trip together with Lota by train, and staying up late chatting. Running through the fields or laying on the grass and not worrying about what others may think. Even young ladies who normally couldn't behave so shamelessly would act more freely when with friends.
That wonderful time before becoming an adult. Regardless of how he might try, it was something Edgar might not be able to give her.
But he wanted Lydia. He couldn't wait any longer. And Lydia accepted that.
Not wanting to stifle Lydia's still girlish heart, he hoped to be able to embrace all of her.
Lost in thought, Edgar gently pinned the saffron flowers he'd just picked to Lydia's bonnet before starting back the way he came.
As soon as Lydia returned to the residence, she immediately went to the study. Edgar closed the book he'd been reading and got up from the arm chair he'd been sitting on.
"Welcome back. You're home early." He gave her his best smile and held his arms open for her.
Lydia still couldn't bring herself to jump into his arms, and instead went up to him and hugged him gently. While it made her heart race, at the same time it felt so warm comfortable. Lydia relaxed as she leaned into him.
"For some reason, I felt like I needed to come back quickly."
"Because you thought I'd complain?"
"No......" she said as she shook her head.
Edgar seemed a little startled as he gazed at her. But she couldn't make out his face very well.
"I wanted to see you......" she murmured as a tear ran down her cheek. "It's strange. It was only one day that I didn't see you. ......And yet, I wanted to see you so much."
He looked at her longingly as he wipe her cheek with his palm.
'I'm glad. Nothing has changed. He's still here.'
More tears fell at her feeling of relief.
"Did you enjoy your trip?"
"Yes, very much."
He took her bonnet off. The saffron flowers he'd pinned to it were still there, and her hair still held traces of the colour and fragrance of that field. Lydia closed her eyes as Edgar buried his fingers in her hair. He gently traced her teary lips with his tongue.
[X-posted between shadow and kagedreams]