I’ve Returned But My First Love Is Suspicious - chapter 0
Chloe liked Demetrian. Perhaps, he also liked her….
“Oh my, Lady Lacroix.”
“Now that your best friend is here, we are going to excuse ourselves.”
When Chloe approached and called him with the nickname that only she and Demetrian use to call each other, the people, who had been crowding around the infamous Young Duke of Crevel, naturally left his side.
Chloe liked those moments. When Demetrian, who was surrounded by brilliantly decorated people, raised his head and looked at her.
When the blue eyes under his neatly combed black hair were directed at her, Chloe felt as if she was the most special person in the world. The moment when the band music, the brilliant light of the chandeliers, and the sound of people’s laughter seemed to exist solely for those two.
“Did you drink a lot again?”
“When you come to the banquet, I’ll ask the horseman to stand by at the palace.”
The edge of Demetrian’s mouth went up along with his sarcastic remark. Only she could make him smile like that. Chloe was well aware of that fact.
“They must be very close.”
“They’ve been so attached to each other ever since they were child, the Young Duke of Crevel was more like her real brother than the Young Count Palatine of Lacroix.”
“Mind your words, don’t you know that the Young Duke…”
“That’s right…the Duke of Crevel made an oath to the Grand Duke of Campo.”
It didn’t matter what kind of rumors the high society made about their good feelings.
After putting Chloe on Lacroix’s carriage first, Demetrian sat next to Chloe swiftly as if he was accustomed to it.
Every time Chloe attended a social banquet, she would always look forward to this moment. Since her debut in society, Demetrian had always asked for the first dance to her only, and the high society did not misinterpret their friendship. At the end of the banquet, when Chloe gets drunk and the air around her was already dominated by the fine wine, Demetrian always took her away.
Since the beginning of her memory, Chloe had already liked Demetrian.
He was the successor of one of the five Dukedoms in the empire, Crevel Dukedom. He was a celebrity who had never lost his popularity, whether it was during his academy days or in the present social world. A promising young bureaucrat who became the assistant of Duke Crevel, the current chairman of the senate.
He had a lot of labels, but there was something else that Chloe liked about him.
It was the hand that she held tightly when she was walking through the maze-like garden of the Crevel Dukedom. The seven-year-old boy who was intentionally putting on a mature expression and taught her about the symbolic meaning of flowers in the Crevel’s greenhouse. And with an expression that is superior to anyone his age, he listened to her story as if it was the most important teaching in the world.
Unlike the brilliant boy’s appearance that he showed to others, he had a mischievous smile and a rather cynical way of speaking every time he discussed politics and classical with her. Those were the things only she knew for nearly 20 years of her life.
“Why do you get so drunk at every banquet knowing that you can’t handle the liquor?”
So that you can see me off. Chloe swallowed those words and chuckled.
The flushed cheeks and twinkling emerald eyes. After looking closely at Chloe’s face, Demetrian’s lips drew a crooked line.
“Sometimes your brother is not Etienne, but me.”
“Don’t make such a terrible sound.”
Chloe pouted her lips.
Chloe, who roughly pulled out her hair ornament that was fixed on her tangerine hair, leaned against the carriage’s window and nodded to the rhythm of the horse’s hooves before falling asleep. The endangered head was soon moved to Demetrian’s shoulder as usual. His gaze sank indifferently into the night sky outside the window, but his heart melted into that tranquil, ticklish air that seemed to exist only for both of them in the world.
When Lacroix’s townhouse was close, Demetrian tapped his finger to her round forehead. Chloe’s eyes were squinting in regret, followed by his sarcastic remark that was easily interpreted as affection. Everything made her heart race silently.
“You must enclose a manual in Lacroix’s expensive products. If you drink more than a bottle of wine, you will fall asleep anywhere.”
“I will put a malicious word on a product that was reserved by Campo so that they can’t return it.”
Even their usual bickering is about comparing each other’s political situation as if it was a product.
“Yes, it’s time for you to return home, milady.”
As always, he got off first and stretched out his hand towards Chloe. Beyond that was a smile from his boyhood, a conviction of this long-lasting friendship, and a certain feverish feeling that was mixed together.
She held his warm hand and jumped down playfully, and he held her firmly to support her staggering body.
The dusk moonlight was illuminating the entrance.
When the carriage headed back to the stable and Crevel’s carriage reached the front entrance…
“Yes, you too.”
Even in the night, he was dressed in a neat tailcoat as he walked with a big stride to the large Crebel’s black carriage that looked as tough and cold as his personality.
That’s it. It was time to wake up from the night fairies’ magic.
Chloe, who was neither drunk nor tired, turned back with a light step.
“Have you arrived, miss?”
“Yes. Are my parents still awake?”
While giving the maids her ornaments and gloves, Chloe took a glimpse of the drawing-room, which was still brightly lit.
Chloe, who made her debut in the social world last year, often returned home after midnight because she was invited to a various banquet, so usually, her parents were already sleeping.
“Yes, they are waiting for you, miss.”
The butler’s face looked apologetic, but Chloe entered the drawing-room without having much thought.
“Mother, Father. Your second child is here!”
Have you arrived? Did you have fun? Oh my, our drunkard. There was no such answer from the Lacroix couple, instead, it was a grim expression that greeted her. His older brother, Etienne, who had returned from the banquet first, and her younger brother, Asheel, who always pretended to be shocked by his sister’s profligacy, were both silent.
“Why? Is there something wrong?”
When nobody opened their mouth to speak, the apologetic expression of the butler occurred simultaneously.
“Roi, my dear.”
Her father, the Count Paladin of Lacroix, opened his mouth heavily.
“A political marriage proposal came for you.”
TL/N: Count Palatine = Count of the palace/ Palsgrave. A nobleman that ranks above that of an ordinary count. A count who administered the royal authorities in his own domain. In short, it’s a county version of a Grand Duke/Archduke.