Please be Patient, Grand Duke - Chapter 12.1
“Help yourself,” Claude offered.
Lia turned her head at Claude’s words, “I’m not hungry and the food looks too pretty to eat!”
“You aren’t hungry? Are you sure?” It was Wade this time. The two acted like they wanted to feed her in any way possible and began dishing her some food on a plate.
“Then, I will have only one. I’m not hungry.”
“You’ll change your mind once you’ve tasted one of these sandwiches,” Wade said.
“Only one then.” Lia chose the sandwich which he’d recommended. The prince had said Claude was annoyed with him, but Lia didn’t believe that. Claude’s gaze did not waver from her, and she wanted to punch his face. She bit into the sandwich, which was a ham masterpiece and Wade chuckled at Lia’s widened eyes, as he watched her enjoying it. A cup of earl grey was placed in front of her, as she could not drink liquor, and she sipped it elegantly.
“So, Rosina is finally engaged.” Wade sounded sentimental, and Lia looked up as she licked the sauce on her lips. Claude frowned and handed her a napkin, but she used the one on her lap, hoping that he’d get the message to leave her alone.
“Canillian, how about you?”
Lia spoke awkwardly at Wade’s question, “My brother is not engaged yet…”
“Oh, so you don’t know then?”
“Rosina is engaged to Kieran, and they will officialize their engagement on her birthday next month. I assumed you knew.”
The Marchioness had gone back and forth between the north and the Marquis’s estate for four years, and Lia had only seen her once a month, therefore, she hadn’t heard the news. The Marchioness wouldn’t have said anything to a girl who would return to Louvre one day. Lia understood her position after four years, and she had asked to go to the academy since that was one thing she could do on her own.
“The Marchioness is in the north now, so that’s probably why Canillian doesn’t know of this yet.”
Lia found a new sandwich in front of her, and she looked up at Claude who had covered for her. He nodded to the sandwich, “Eat more.”
“No, thank you.”
Claude smiled at Lia’s flat refusal and said, “Eat.” While his tone was oppressive, he was still smiling.
“Because you make me feel hungry by not.” Claude pushed the plate closer to her. Lia thought him crazy but stared at him as she took the sandwich.
“All right, I will do my best to satisfy your request,” she said sarcastically as she bit into the sandwich.
Claude smiled as he bent forward, and a finger brushed against her soft lips. Lia froze as she watched him lick his finger, “I’ll be waiting, as I expect your loyalty to be beyond my imagination.”
The day was now dark and stars twinkled in the night sky, adding more beauty to the peaceful setting, and gaslights lit up across the expansive garden while the phonograph filled the air with violin music. Claude looked at Lia as she walked away from him with a servant. The child was now quite the nobleman, which was impressive. He couldn’t help but tease her after he met her here, as that meant she’d overcome the Marchioness. Lia was quite cute in her responses.
Cute? Claude’s face turned rigid at the realization of what he was thinking about and Wade smirked as the young Duke’s brow furrowed, “Why are you so mean today? You aren’t your usual self?”
The prince looked tired as he closed his eyes, “I was not.”
“You weren’t? Now you lie,” Wade replied with a smile on his face, “Your Highness seems to be taken by Canillian.” He added, “I like pretty things, and that’s why I like you and Kieran.” The prince’s eyes became sharp even though his tone was mellow, “Don’t be so mean to Canillian. He will be one of my people even if he is imitating Kieran, as you claim.”
Claude murmured that he would follow his master’s will and bit into a juicy green apple, not enjoying the sweet and sour flavor today, for some unknown reason. Servants holding candles bowed to them as they passed the young men and then lit up the lamps that still used candles in the garden. The entire palace filled with soft light, and the sound of live music drifted from the banquet hall; they stood up in unison.
Claude would spend the next six months at the academy, learning military science in the university, and then enter the navy afterward. An image of Canillian entered his mind as he thought about the six months ahead of him but he wasn’t sure why.
“I don’t know how many banquets I’ve attended this month. Father is quite set on me marrying, isn’t he?” Wade remarked.
“How about the Marchioness of Shelby?”
“Claude, don’t joke. Marilyn is your fiancée.”
“I am not engaged to her,” denied Claude.
Claude felt irritated while changing into formal attire for the banquet. When they climbed into the carriage, they had dressed appropriately, to fit the status they held. The carriage started to move and it felt like just another normal spring night.