Please Be Patient, Grand Duke - Chapter 20.2
Claude didn’t avoid Ian’s gaze as he chewed on the meat, but he spat it out in a napkin a moment later. He tilted his head at Ian with disgusted cold eyes, “I excuse my ill manners, but Geore’s food doesn’t suit me.”
“Is that so?” Anastasia asked.
“The dish was cooked with rotten meat.” Something was getting out of control within him, and Claude threw the napkin on the floor before rinsing his mouth with wine. “I will excuse myself and promise to be at the after-dinner drinks later.”
Ian Sergio didn’t seem annoyed but looked very much interested in the situation. Claude knew how insulting it was to the host, for someone to get up during the meal, but he didn’t stop. He stood up and went out of the dining room while buttoning his jacket. Climbing the stairs, the servants hesitated on where to guide him. His hand gripped the barrister hard, and the after-taste of the wine was bitter in his mouth. His irritation was apparent as he reached the second floor.
He was behaving out of character and wondered why his emotions felt like this about Canillian. Perhaps he liked the fact that Canillian seemed aggravated only by him. Then, why was he so angry and not at all enjoying himself? Claude didn’t welcome these feelings he had about Canillian and had to cut the boy off, as he seemed to be affecting his emotions negatively. If he found himself interested in Canillian, he needed to nip it in the bud so things would not deepen. Canillian couldn’t be the object of his desire.
Claude’s frown deepened as he approached the servant holding the goblet on the tray. He picked the cup up as he passed the servant by and bluntly said, “I’ll give it to him.”
“Your Highness!” The servant stood behind him as Claude faced the door that seemed to lead to Canillian’s room.
“The young master is not in.” The servant’s voice was tense as Claude looked at him with fierce eyes.
“He seems to have gone out for a walk as the room is empty.”
Lia couldn’t hide her surprise when she arrived at the riverside and smiled from ear to ear as Pepe led her to a comfortable chair.
“We wanted to do this for you, as we may not see you much when you go to the capital. We are all so disappointed that you are leaving,” one of the maids said.
There was a table covered with a white tablecloth, under the tree. The lantern lights showed the servants who had gathered, and the table filled with Lia’s favorite dishes. There were seasonal fruits, chicken with beans, sandwiches with fresh vegetables, and tomato soup. Lia met the eyes of those who looked at her sadly.
“Don’t forget us after you go to the capital,” another maid added.
“The food there is terrible and made with strange herbs! You will become thinner,” a third maid said. “I made a fishing rod, so come visit so we can go fishing.”
Lia felt her tears well up, and the servants’ eyes were also wet as they watched her. She went to Betty, who was looking sideways, her eyes red from crying. Lia hugged her from behind, and the old maid trembled as she patted Lia’s shaking arms.
“You will have no trouble since Pepe knows what to do.”
“Find what you want.”
“Don’t hurt yourself, don’t go out late at night, and be wary of those who are kind to you.”
“Yes, Betty. I will.”
Betty finished her sentence and she also wiped her eyes. Lia’s chest filled with mixed emotions. She didn’t know whether she was crying tears of joy or sorrow. However, she managed to smile as she sat on the chair that Pepe had led her to.
Lia dished up some of the delicious food and savored the flavors. After a few bites, she looked around, “Everyone, sit down and eat. Party food is meant to be shared.”
“Would that be all right?” Pepe asked shyly.
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“How can I eat all of this? It’s an order. Sit and eat until every dish is empty.”
The servants all dished up and sat down to use their forks. Lia didn’t need music or fancy chandeliers. If she could enjoy people’s laughter, good food, and feelings of gratitude, that was enough for her.
“Thank you, everyone. I will be back to visit.”
Lia had managed to say that without crying, when a servant from the dining hall appeared unexpectedly and placed a goblet, filled with cotton candy, in front of her. The servant bowed with an awkward smile and went away. She then saw another shadow, and she knew who that tall and dignified silhouette belonged to.
She looked down at the goblet while swallowing the food. Lia had never tried it before, and she slowly took some and ate it. The candy melted like sweet snow in her mouth, and the taste was surprisingly simple and sweet. She licked her sticky fingers and had to laugh. I am not a child who likes sweets anymore, sir…