✧Let’s Get Married✧
The spring season came a little earlier in Ratz, the capital of the Berg Empire, which was located in the southernmost province of Carlsbar. Arvis estate was starting to bear buds as May came, but the whole city of Ratz was already awash with the sweet scent of roses.
Matthias had a sudden glimpse of thought over the changing of the season while passing through the gardens of the Crown Prince’s Palace. He suddenly halted in his steps, and the other officers who were trailing from behind stopped as well.
“No.” Matthias answered short, “Nothing.” He smiled a little, the tip of his lips lifting.
The brief silence broke after Matthias got his stride back. The young aristocratic guard officers continued to converse playfully. Their faces and voices glowed with excitement while discussing how to spend this fine spring weekend and roughly met with a very similar conclusion altogether.
Party. Horse racing. Alternatively, having a spring date with a lover.
“Our Captain will leave his fianceé and spend a lonely spring.”
The horde of officers giggled in a bunch when one of their peers cracked a joke. Matthias just casually grinned and gave a faint chuckle in response to his men’s jesting.
The engagement ceremony between Duke Herhardt and Lady Brandt, which was hosted at the end of last summer, took place successfully. Over several weeks, the couple who had been officially betrothed had become a hot topic of buzz within the society.
However, Matthias didn’t feel much of a change from his everyday life. A week after his engagement, he was assigned to the Berg’s army garrison and had to leave for the capital the day after. Meanwhile, Claudine, who had been staying in Arvis estate, returned to the Brandt’s estate, which was situated in the center of Carlsbar, a metropolis that was a long distance away from the capital city of Ratz.
So, nothing had changed from their previous mode of living, except for the fact that their engagement had been made public. During the social season, Claudine stayed at the mansion the Brandt’s had in Ratz for a while. It was nothing new for her, however, since she had been a regular visitor to the estate on a seasonal basis for quite some time before then. Aside from that, they also attended the social events together, as they always did in the past.
Everything else basically remained the same, except that they now had a definite official status as each other’s fiancées, which was the only thing that had altered in their life.
“I’m about to finish my military service soon. What about you, Matthias?”
A fellow officer who was strolling alongside him posed a question that drew everyone’s attention to Matthias.
“Currently, I’m thinking about extending it for another year.”
As soon as he said that, those around him seemed to be taken aback by his surprising answer.
“Aren’t you going to get married and focus on the family business?”
“The wedding? Maybe next year.”
“Is it because the hot dish over Duke Herhardt’s marriage has eased in social circles? So you want to postpone the wedding?”
Matthias flicked his chin instead of answering. Rather than calling it a postponement, things went that way naturally like it was supposed to. He intended to stay in the capital for another year. At the same time, the Brandt’s wished for their daughter to spend her honeymoon in Arvis with her husband.
When the Brandt’s first requested for the engagement to be tabled for one more year, the Herhardt family consented without hesitation.
Given her young age, there was no pressing need for Claudine to get betrothed so soon. And more than anything else, both families yearned for this marriage to be perfect from the beginning.
After leaving the Imperial Palace, Matthias didn’t waste any time returning to his home.
In terms of age, the old brick mansion, which was located in the heart of Ratz, was the second-oldest building among the Herhardt family’s properties after the Arvis mansion on their estate. That mansion served as the family’s headquarters for generations, during the time they were responsible for the capital’s work. The architecture of the house was more modest and classic compared to the Arvis manor, which epitomized the aesthetic tastes of the hostesses.
“The two madams are here,” reported the servant as he approached Matthias, who had just got out of the car.
“My mother and grandmother?”
“Yes, the madams arrived this morning. They said, “they came here to attend the forthcoming wedding of Her Majesty the Crown Princess.”
Matthias nodded his head and slowly entered the mansion.
The princess, whose pride had been crushed after being pushed out and losing the seat of the Duchess Herhardt’s, was eager to find another running mate so that she could proceed with the wedding ceremony as she planned. Thereafter, the title of her spouse fell to the Grand Duke of a nearby duchy with the same social standing as the Herhardt’s.
“It’s been a while, Matthias!”
Catharina von Herhardt, waiting for Matthias to enter the foyer, greeted him with a bright smile and wide opened arms.
“Son, we can see your face only when we come here like this.”
While his mother Elysee, stayed the same as always; her approach towards her only son was more straightforward.
Matthias approached the two with a warm smile on his face. It was another Saturday afternoon, as much as every other day. Just like the brimming garden of blossoming roses during the early season of spring.
“The weather this evening is so nice, Leyla.”
Kyle walked up to her with a jolly face after parking his bike. Leyla, who was busy helping Bill clean his cart in the garden, quickly turned her head towards the voice, so did Bill, who was holding a shovel.
“Let’s get married.”
After hearing it over and over again, his marriage proposal no longer came as a surprise and it sounded more like a daily morning greeting these days. After having taken a slight pause for a moment, Leyla and Bill nonchalantly returned to their work.
Leyla greeted him brightly as she carried whatever was leftover of the planted seedlings.
“I’m not getting married.”
Leyla spoke in a friendly tone afterward, emphasizing her firm rejection of his proposal.
Bill heaved a sigh. He seemed to be feeling the pain of Kyle’s broken heart. But in contrast, Kyle appeared unfazed by Leyla’s constant rejection. He just smiled gently and volunteered to help her without being asked.
“Fine, I’ll accept your rejection today. I’ll ask you again tomorrow, then.”
“Enough. Don’t ask anymore.”
“No, I will keep asking. A person’s minds is bound to change.”
With the way he was behaving, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that Kyle’s shameless and stubborn spirit was maybe the toughest in the whole Berg empire.
Bill tried to maintain a straight face as he looked at Kyle and Leyla while struggling to stifle his laughter.
Kyle Etman began to propose in the late summer, and stuck to his guns until the seasons changed several times.
When Bill first found out that Kyle had proposed to Leyla, he believed it was most likely due to one of the two possible causes. Either that kid was drunk, considering he couldn’t drink well, or he was insane. That’s why Bill didn’t smack him in the head with the shovel after all. But the following day, Kyle showed up again with a very sane face and repeated the same thing.
‘How many times has it been since then?’
Kyle stopped by the cottage without missing a day throughout fall, winter, and even this spring, saying the same thing every time. Only to be rejected on every one of those visits.
At first, Bill was cheering for Leyla since she was so staunch, but he began to feel sorry for Kyle and his plight as time went on. If it weren’t for his father, Bill would have been excessively vocal with Kyle to get him to stop his doing. Bill, however, opted not to speak more since Dr. Etman had granted his son a green-light.
‘How about sending Leyla off to college?’
Said Dr. Etman when he paid a visit to Bill at his cottage last fall.
Bill’s heart suddenly slumped like a dreary chimney pot. Even if he wished Leyla could pursue her study to a higher level, his current circumstances, in which he was forced to live from hand to mouth, prevented him from doing so. When he replied hesitatingly, ‘I can’t afford it.’ Dr. Etman’s face was lit up with a smile. He continued.
‘If our children have feelings for each other and want to become a couple, it would be good to get them married and send them to college together.’
Bill stared blankly at the doctor in stupefaction. He couldn’t believe what he had heard, though he was thrilled with the offer.
To him, Leyla was the most wonderful child in the world. Yet, he soon realized that the rest of the world had its own set of standards that he couldn’t grasp. One of those was regarding the Etman family’s social standing in Carlsbar society, something about which he had been entirely clueless up until today.
Dr. Etman seemed to understand his befuddlement, so therefore, he spoke first.
‘Kyle said that Leyla is the one person who could bring out the best in him, so he wants to live by her side as a decent person for her.’
Bill was reasonably surprised, as he learned that the young boy who spent most of his time lounging lazily in his cottage and stuffing his stomach with free food had said something like that to his father.
‘It was a very sincere thought that came from youngsters who are still in their adolescence.’
‘But Doctor, Leyla is….’
Bill clammed up, but Dr. Etman’s expression grew kinder.
‘I don’t require his future bride to come from a wealthy family or have a perfect upbringing, because I know that Leyla is a good child even if she doesn’t have such privileges.’
He said so with a smiling face that resembled that of his son.
‘If Kyle doesn’t change his mind till he decides on his career path next year, I’d like to allow them to be together. How about you, Mr. Remmer?’
Deep down in his heart, Bill Remmer was on a cloud nine and felt grateful that he was willing to carry Dr. Etman-whom he regarded to be an angel in human form- on his back and run across the Carlsbar or even the whole Berg Empire. It didn’t matter how tired his physical state was; Bill would be able to endure it every time he pictured Leyla’s happy face in front of him.
Those were his true feelings.
Kyle’s stupid proposal may have ended up being a blessing in disguise for Leyla.
Bill tossed the shovel into the warehouse as he had made up his mind to do something about this matter.
“Oh, Matthias. You know Dr. Etman’s son, don’t you?
Elysee von Herhardt lowered her voice a smidgeon amid a boring talk on the princess’s nuptials. It was just the two of them at the spacious dining table, savoring their blue-plate dinner since Catharina had gone to bed early that night.
“Yes, mother.” Matthias nodded calmly, putting down the glass of water from which he had taken a sip on the table. “Kyle Etman. Dr. Etman’s only son.”
“You’re right. That kid, Kyle, he’s getting married.”
Her voice sounded keen. It was a hint that the woman who became Kyle’s Etman’s companion was an unwelcome figure. But Matthias remained quiet, patiently waiting for his mother to finish her story.
“She’s an orphan raised by our gardener, if I’m not mistaken, her name is Leyla.”
Matthias muttered, with no sound flowing from his lips.
“It doesn’t seem to me that she will satisfy the criteria of the Etmans as their prospective daughter-in-law.”
His throat felt a little tight when he heard his mother mention her name.
“It’s amusing, don’t you think?” Matthias then came up with a bland retort. “Sadly, all of Grandmother’s efforts to find him a good mate have been in vain.”
His voice was a bit taut for some reason.
Matthias didn’t give a further response, but Elysee enthusiastically recounted Kyle Etman’s marriage story, which had been garnering a lot of snooping in the Arvis estate these days.
Mrs. Etman was teed off with Kyle’s decision to marry Leyla since she had been striving for years to get a title from her in-law’s family, which now she was unable to get because of her son’s choice. However, it seemed that she was actually put on the spot in the face of her husband and son’s wishes.
If all went according to plan, rumors said that Leyla would marry the doctor’s son and continue her education. After they went for their honeymoon in Ratz, they would attend college together.
After the upcoming summer passed. Shortly after the season of roses.
“Grandmother must be heartbroken. She eally adores Dr. Etman’s son.”
“Yeah. She must be.” Matthias put down his cutlery and grabbed a napery on the table with his alabaster hand.
“I feel so sorry for Mrs. Etman. She was a respectable doctor’s wife, much more so than them, who were nobles in status. But she lost her hard-earned social standing because of a ridiculous daughter-in-law.” Elysee took a sip of wine to moisten her lips. “What kind of noble would want to befriend a wife who takes a lowlife orphan as her daughter-in-law?”
“The situation may change.”
Matthias straightened his posture and turned to face his mother.
“Because they’re not married yet.”
“Well, Matthias, if things could be changed, Mrs. Etman wouldn’t have been so depressed like this. As you know, Dr. Etman is a persistent person and above all, Kyle is completely smitten with that orphan child.”
Elysee flicked her tongue, expressing her sympathies for the doctor’s wife, who was about to-be-shunned by society as of now.
“She’s a remarkably pretty girl. It was a troublesome reason why her son couldn’t get away from her.”
When she rang the bell, the waiting maids started to serve the dessert on the table.
“I can’t believe that girl was able to take over Mrs. Etman’s position in such a blatant way. She’s a real freak. No, should I say she’s smart?” Elysee shrugged her shoulders lightly and slid her dessert fork into her mouth. “Actually, it’s absurd to place the blame on her alone. The most foolish is Mrs. Etman’s son, who got blinded by a girl and brought disgrace upon his whole family.”
After she was satisfied with schmoozing and reaching her desired conclusion, Elysee von Herhardt finally changed the topic of her talk.
Now, she was back to bring up the topic of her social life, which included a slew of well-known and uninteresting names.
Matthias, on the other hand, stayed deafeningly quiet while listening to her drone on.
That name lingered on the tip of his tongue, like the sip’s taste of wine that had left a sweet mark on him.
Translation : Moonvielle
Editor : Sasha_00