Chapter 320 – The Teddy Bear And The Lady (3)
“Why are you…”
Despite Mirabelle’s puzzled expression, Kuhn only repeated his words.
“Please answer. I asked you if you were crying because of me.”
Of course it was because of Kuhn. She cried because she despaired to see him go. But Mirabelle could not bring himself to answer honestly. Kuhn might move further away from her if he knew her real feelings, so she shook her head.
“No, I’m not crying because of Kuhn. There’s just dust in my eyes…”
“You can curse at me for being bad.”
“No, I said it was dust.”
“You want me to believe that?”
“I’m telling you, I’m fine, so you don’t have to worry.”
Mirabelle knew she was making ridiculous excuses, but she couldn’t step back. If Kuhn discovered the foolish feelings she harbored, he really may not want to see her again.
But that too made her sad. Nothing hurt more than never being able to see him again. Even if her heart was shredded into a thousand or ten thousand pieces…she would still miss him.
Kuhn looked at Mirabelle and sighed.
He wiped the tears off Mirabelle’s cheeks with the handkerchief he had offered. Although Kuhn’s touch was meant to console her, Mirabelle’s eyes overflowed again, but she bit hard on her tongue to swallow them back. No matter what happened, she couldn’t cry in front of him. Her effort was so hard that her lip started to bleed, and Kuhn spoke in a soft voice.
“You were honest before, so when did you start hiding your feelings?”
“It’s not like that.”
“Very well. If the Young Lady does not want to answer, then I’ll let myself be deceived.”
It was as if he was implying the Mirabelle of the past was better than the one now. A sense of unfairness bubbled up inside Mirabelle. Was that true? It was as if her heart was being squeezed. She felt bitter as she cowardly tried to understand the feeling inside her.
“If…if I said I cried because of you, what were you going to say in reply?”
The hand that was wiping away her tears with a handkerchief suddenly stopped. Kuhn seemed to find it difficult to look in her eyes, so she smiled vaguely and continued.
“See…that’s why you don’t ask difficult questions in the first place.”
Mirabelle spoke firmly in conclusion, and Kuhn gazed at her with his gray eyes.
“My Lady…you must be mistaken.”
“Don’t worry. I don’t think you like me.”
“That’s the problem.”
Mirabelle looked at Kuhn questioningly. Mistaken. That didn’t make any sense. She thought back a moment…
As the thought deepened, Mirabelle’s eyes began to tremble. Something was wrong. It sounded like he had feelings for her. But it couldn’t be. Kuhn broke up with her and never contacted or saw her afterwards. Even after reuniting again with her after a long time, he was distant from her.
Was he really distant at all? During dinner, he mentioned dishes from the past, and afterwards he gave his jacket to her without hesitation.
He had come back for Mirabelle.
She frowned as she laid out these events in her mind. Kuhn looked at her confusedly at her sudden reaction.
“How should I interpret your facial expressions?”
“You don’t like me. Don’t…don’t confuse me anymore. Do you know how torturous it is to have hope?”
For the first time, Mirabelle spoke out against him. But, for the first time, a small smile appeared at Kuhn’s face when he heard those words. Even that tiny reaction was monumental considering his usual expressionless face. It was even more special for Mirabelle, who loved him.
Mirabelle stared in surprise at the smile on his lips.
“How long have we been apart? I’m taken aback when I look at you because you look like a mature woman.”
This conversation was moving in a direction she didn’t expect, and her tongue felt numb. Although Kuhn looked the same as ever, from his point of view, Mirabelle must have changed a lot. She might have been a naive young girl in the past, but anyone could see she was an elegant woman now. Mirabelle managed to continue with a trembling voice.
“If you keep doing this…I might misunderstand.”
“Don’t you know yet? Why do you think I’ve come all this way?”
“It was on business…”
“Yes. There was a job in the Freegrand Kingdom, and I volunteered to do it. I also took charge of the supplies sent by Her Majesty.”
“Yes, it can’t be a coincidence, can it?”
Mirabelle’s eyes widened at his confession. It was so profound that she doubted whether she interpreted it correctly. No matter how hard she thought about it, there was only one correct answer.
“Does that mean you wanted to see me?”
“Yes. I came all this way here for you.”
Mirabelle covered her open mouth with her hands. Her eyes brimmed with tears that threatened to spill over once more.
“I didn’t mean to make you cry again…”
But the tears she shed were silent. She never thought that her love would be requited. She never expected a happy ending.
But things turned out differently.
As she blinked, her tears began to fall. They weren’t tears of sorrow like a while ago, but tears of joy.
“Why didn’t you tell me straight from the beginning?”
“You may not have been waiting for me.”
“So if my heart was settled, you would have given up?”
“Yes. I thought it would make you happier, if possible.”
“How can that be? I…I can’t be happy without you.”
In the three years she hadn’t seen Kuhn, Mirabelle had learned many things. A person didn’t literally die when a love was over—it was just a time when they breathed but didn’t feel like living. If she was asked what she wanted most in this world, she would be able to answer without hesitation.
It was Kuhn. The only one Mirabelle desperately wanted the most in this world was Kuhn. And now that earnest desire had come true. It was a happiness that she thought would never come into her life. Her tears streamed endlessly down her cheeks.
“It’s not a dream…”
Kuhn carefully brushed Mirabelle’s cheeks.
“No. But it’s like a dream.”
“It would be unfair if this was a dream. If I woke up tomorrow and this was a fantasy, I’d truly resent God.”
“Don’t worry. It won’t happen.”
Upon hearing his answer, Mirabelle immediately launched her body against Kuhn to hug him. They fell back and collapsed on the floor, but Kuhn never pushed Mirabelle away from his arms. His hand, which had been wandering in the air without knowing what to do, sank gently over Mirabelle’s shoulder. The faint touch made Mirabelle cry louder than before.
This was beyond description. It was a happy moment.
Three years ago, Kuhn was unexpectedly granted the title of baron. Considering his origin as a slave, it was a tremendous elevation in status. Outwardly, it was a reward for his contributions in winning the war, but he realized that it was Carlisle’s and Elena’s personal consideration. They provided him a path for him to go to Mirabelle.
His only desire was to be devoted to her. As soon as he became a noble, the feelings he had suppressed so far burst forth. Wasn’t it possible for him to stand proudly next to Mirabelle now? He didn’t have to hide his heart anymore, right?
The greed that has been hidden deep inside his heart quickly grew. And so, Kuhn wanted to run to the Freegrand Kingdom where Mirabelle was and speak to her honestly. The truth was, he liked her too. Ever since he first met her, she never left his head. He was just afraid to hold her hand.
But Kuhn’s absurd idea did not last long. One day, he happened to hear a conversation between two aristocrats.
—Did you hear? There’s a Blaise girl who hasn’t married yet.
— Her Majesty the Empress and her sister have a great background.
—Yes. I hear that not only is the girl the Empress’ younger sister, but a precious one at that. Many nobles are trying to get close to the Emperor and Empress.
—It didn’t use to be the case, but the Blaise family is powerful now, even if I can’t put a name to that girl.
— Of course. There are so many noblemen out there who want to marry that lady now.
— Dammit, why don’t I get in line?
—You? Wake up, haha.
It was a conversation spoken jokingly between aristocratic men, but it made Kuhn realize many things he had never thought of before. Mirabelle was not an ordinary aristocratic girl, but the Empress’ beloved sister. Not only that, but Mirabelle was also a young lady who grew up like a sheltered plant of the Blaise family, who was now regarded as a prestigious clan.
‘If I proposed, would the Blaise family accept it?’
Mirabelle might repeat her words and say that nothing else mattered as long as she had Kuhn. But Kuhn didn’t want her to abandon her life. That was why he didn’t take her hand in the past.
‘…No matter how hard I try, the distance between us hasn’t narrowed.’
Even if Kuhn was a noble, Mirabelle was not a noble lady who could easily be overlooked by others. He thought he had been getting a little closer, but she was still as distant as the sky. The best he could do would be to make her the wife of a lowly baron.
But…strangely, he did not want to give up. Hope was so cruel that once he embraced it in his heart, he could not live without it. Kuhn had nothing more to offer Mirabelle other than his position, so there was only one way left. He had to become a man suitable to her.
‘You don’t know…but you have the talent to push me to the limit.’
Mirabelle had a knack for seeing him for what he wasn’t. When he was with her, he kept envisioning a life different from his own.
And so, for the next three years, he collected wealth and made many great achievements. He wanted to be a man that deserved to stand next to Mirabelle. Then he would finally ask the Blaise family if she could be his wife. Of course, it couldn’t be done in just three short years. Kuhn, however, would continue to increase his position, as he was no longer a dark assassin, but a confident knight.
He then decided to see Mirabelle. In his original plan, he would hide his feelings and let go of them if she didn’t wait for him. He believed she would be happier that way.
But when he met Mirabelle in person, Kuhn seemed to have reached the end of his own patience. He was happy to see her. He realized it when she said she no longer ate chicken. When he covered her with his jacket. When she cried with a smile on her face. Every moment he spent with her was an unbearable temptation.
At the final moment when he decided to walk away, he heard her faint cries. A surge of emotion welled up in him.
‘I was glad that she was doing well, but I thought she must have forgotten a lot of the past memories if she was treating me so casually. If I said that I was happy to see her crying…how would she react?’
Kuhn smiled softly and leaned his head into Mirabelle’s shoulder. Her sweet fragrance that he once dreamed of tickled his nose. Mirabelle was not alone in this moment of happiness. To him, her presence was like his salvation. Kuhn closed his eyes in contentment as he held her in his arms.
Unfortunately, Mirabelle’s and Kuhn’s joy was short-lived. They were holding each other when they heard a searching voice.
“Where are you, Captain?”
“We are all set to leave.”
With their calls getting closer, Mirabelle looked up from Kuhn’s arms.
“…Do you have to go now?”
“Yes. But I’ll be back here soon after I finish my urgent work.”
It seemed like a dream, but Mirabelle smiled.
“It’s a must.”
Mirabelle regretfully untangled herself from Kuhn, and Kuhn stood up and helped Mirabelle from the floor. At that moment, the members of Kuhn’s party arrived.
“Ah! The Captain is over there.”
“Come quickly, Captain.”
Kuhn gave one last glance towards Mirabelle and turned away.
Suddenly, Mirabelle grabbed Kuhn by the wrist. Confusion flickered on his face, before Mirabelle cupped his jaw, lifted herself to her toes, and pressed her lips against his. When she pulled away, Kuhn looked at her with a startled expression. Mirabelle, meanwhile, resumed her composure.
“I’ll wait. If you’re going to be late, then don’t worry, I’ll go to you myself.”
Kuhn briefly glanced at Mirabelle’s appetizing lips before looking up at her eyes again.
“Where did you learn that?”
“Do you think I’m still a child? I’m twenty now.”
A small smile spread across Kuhn’s lips. Then he turned towards his party and spoke in a low voice.
“Wait a moment.”
Before anyone could say anything, Kuhn grabbed Mirabelle by the waist and kissed her deeply.
It was not the simple pressing of lips that Mirabelle did a little while ago, but a passionate kiss shared between adults. Mirabelle’s legs gave out as soon as the heat overtook her, but Kuhn firmly supported her with both hands. Soon, Kuhn eased away, and spoke in a whisper.
“That is a goodbye kiss.”
Mirabelle looked up at Kuhn with a dazed expression. Her cheeks were as red as a rose. Kuhn’s eyes softened as he looked at her.
“If you want, I can teach you more later. But that’s it for today.”
Kuhn released Mirabelle then looked up, and saw the servants watching in astonishment. As he walked towards them with his usual expressionless face, a loud voice called out to him from behind.
“D-don’t forget to teach me!”
A faint smile crossed Kuhn’s face. The party, sensing the hot atmosphere between Kuhn and Mirabelle, cheered and celebrated.
“My goodness! Congratulations!”
“Wow! I can’t believe you two are together. You both look wonderful.”
Whistles and applause poured out towards the two. It was a pity that they should be separated as soon as they confirmed each other’s feelings, but happiness remained embedded in Kuhn’s and Mirabelle’s faces.
One the winter night of the first snowfall, the couple’s relationship began.