- Eat Together
Although he was sweating profusely, Mouchet was meticulously decorating the end of the dish. He placed a chunk of roast beef on a heated white porcelain plate and poured the gravy and wine sauce over it. The aroma from the sauce stimulated the salivary glands hidden under the tongue, causing saliva to pool in the mouth.
The meat is covered in a dark brown sauce, again sprinkled with rosemary leaves and a few spices, and various kinds of cooked beans are mixed with mashed potatoes and placed around it.
That plate alone would make you feel full, but he only had Lena push the handle of the cart, adding the seeded grapes and cherries then slicing it in half and setting it to perfection, adding toasted biscuits and honey, and finally a bottle of wine.
‘It looks delicious.’
When she came here, Lena was eating much better than in Barony Fidelia. But when she saw the food in front of her that was sure to be delicious just by looking at it, she was craving it. She doesn’t know if she’s salivating because she hasn’t eaten yet.
Lena pushed the cart back into the dining room. Meanwhile, Kahel had eaten almost all of the pre-meal food and was wiping his lips with a napkin. Lena hurriedly removed the pre-meal dish and placed the steaming main dish in its place.
“To, today’s dish is beef, no, veal…… Meat. Uh…… And the sauce is wine…… Ah … what was it…….”
It was hard to memorize the words that the chef had explained while cooking, but when she stood in front of Kahel, her head went blank. She crumpled her apron as if squeezing out her memory but she couldn’t remember it. It was only a few minutes after she thought that she would become a useful maid, and that her attendance for a meal was a golden opportunity, but she was already blinded by the fact that she had made such a mistake.
“I just wish it hadn’t been poisoned and as long as it tastes good, that’s it.”
Kahel had no intention of berating Lena, who was overly nervous. Since he normally ate alone, he didn’t hear such explanations, and he still had no problem with eating. Rather, it was much more important to fully enjoy the feeling of cutting into freshly cooked hot pieces of meat.
The meat he put in his mouth was so tender and delicious that the expression that it melts in your mouth is just right. Obviously, the same chef would have made the same level of food before, but he felt that the taste itself had changed. He was amazed that there was such a big difference between the taste of a freshly prepared dish and a cold dish.
When Kahel showed that he liked the food, Lena was greatly relieved. She then realized that she had not yet poured wine into the glass, and she hurriedly uncorked the wine bottle. Kahel looked at the red liquid that was pouring out, and smiled as he followed it.
‘It was so convenient to have someone to help you with your meal.’
From the moment Lena placed the bowl of water for washing hands in front of him and dried his hands with a towel, small emotions came through. In his life before the age of seven, he always ate like this. All he had to do was shove the food into his mouth. Mealtime has always felt melancholy and somehow gloomy, but from today on, it feels like it’s going to be quite enjoyable.
Then, all of a sudden, Lena, who was watching his meal from a distance, started to pay attention to him. If he drank water or wine, dropped something, or needed anything else during a meal, she had to attend right away, so it was only natural for Lena to look after him. At first, he thought it might be difficult because it was her first time to attend a meal service, but he soon realized why.
Lena was swallowing her saliva. It was also due to the fact that his senses were more sensitive than normal people because of his magical powers, but Lena also swallowed saliva without being conscious of it. And yet, sometimes she suddenly looked down and looked at her toes, as if she had realized that she was gazing at Kahel’s meal. Of course, he could hear the sound of the saliva gulping down in her neck.
‘By the way, it must be meal time.’
There was no way the maid ate first before meal time. If she looked at luxurious food on an empty stomach and smelled its scent, she would naturally be hungry and salivate. It wasn’t until now that he was 23 that Kahel realized it anew. Because he had never had an experience like this before.
He was always wary of others, but it felt a little strange because he had never cared for others in this way. He felt ashamed of being ignorant for eating alone in front of a hungry person.
At the sudden call from Kahel, Lena responded in surprise.
“I think the food is not enough.”
“Really? Oh no, it’s not…… I, I’ll bring you some food soon.”
It was such a large amount that it overfilled the stomach of an adult man, and she couldn’t believe that it was not enough. But she shouldn’t have asked him why. Lena hurriedly went to the kitchen and said the Duke asked to bring more dishes.
“Is that true? That’s weird. He used to leave food all the time… … .”
While tilting his head, Mouchet placed a small veal on a plate, drizzled the sauce over it, and added the rest of the garnish. Kahel gave an unexpected order to Lena, who headed back to the dining room, adding a plate of clam soup, just in case it wasn’t enough.
“You sit there and eat the food on that plate.”
Lena wondered if she had heard it wrong. But Kahel kindly gave the order again. Lena was born and raised in the countryside, and she was a maid, but she knew that the lower one wouldn’t dare to use the same table as the master.
“That, tha…… I can’t do that…….”
“Isn’t it meal time soon anyway? I hate wasting time.”
There was an unfamiliar feeling of intimidation in his words. Lena hurriedly placed the food on the table, pulled out the chair and sat down, looking down at the fragrant food in front of her. Her saliva was overflowing, but she couldn’t tell what the hell Kahel was trying to do, and she panicked.
‘What kind of torture is this? Maybe it’s like, every time you have a bad meal etiquette, you get hit one, or something like that?’
Thinking about it, she thought it was a plausible assumption. But if so, she was a little confident. Because before she was brought here, she learned dining etiquette with countless times of palm slapping in preparation to marry Viscount Delroins. She said it was a bit unfair that she was beaten, but she thought it could be put to good use this way!
But she didn’t know if the duke’s etiquette might be stricter. Lena squinted at the motion Kahel is doing, carefully slicing the chunks of meat. From the reddish cross section, there was gravy that pooled on the bottom of the plate. As she saw Kahel not staring at her, she seemed to pass.
‘Phew, that’s a relief. Let’s eat and clean up.’
Lena shoved a piece of the meat into her mouth and her eyes widened in an instant. It tasted like it could overcome all discomfort and fear. The food served to the maids was also much tastier than the ones she ate at the Barony, but this was on a different level of taste.
The savory taste of tender meat, the flavor of wine that lingers on the tip of your nose, the exotic aroma of pepper and spices bursting everywhere, the sweetness of the juice that embraces all the flavors and aromas!
At the admiration that Lena whispered without realizing it, Kahel couldn’t help but smile. But Lena was so obsessed with the meat that she didn’t see it.
Her lust for taste surpassed her fears, and her hands were busy. It has been a long time since she put her worries about eating etiquette far away. Kahel glanced at her and ate his own food. It was a bit strange to say that it was a new dish, but it was weirdly delicious and he was happy.
‘You’re eating well considering you didn’t want to.’
Lena was so focused on the food that she didn’t even notice his glance. When she ate three pieces of the meat, her desire for meat was satisfied, she scooped out the garnish on the side of the meat and ate it, shaking her hands again. But she thinks she liked the soup more than that. Her wide opened eyes were not enough, she even raised her voice.
“This clam soup is awesome! Delici……ous… … ?”
Impressed by the taste of the clams soup, Lena quickly lowered her voice when she realized that she was rambling at Kahel. But Kahel, who she thought might be glaring at her, gave her a surprisingly normal answer.
In response, Lena gained a little courage.
“Dried clams from the Ivanna region…… These clams.”
“Ivanna’s seafood is famous.”
“I…… It was my first time eating it.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
Kahel didn’t look too offended, so Lena smiled a little. It reminded her of the time she chatted with Uncle Theo over meals.
It was thanks to the warm meal time that she was able to endure every day of hard work without having to stretch her back. She had no pain in her arms or back, but Lena chose to run to the stables rather than eat alone in her room.
Others looked down on eating in a place that smells like horse manure, but Uncle Theo and Sid always welcomed her warmly, and the meal they ate together was much tastier than the meal she ate alone.
‘Perhaps…… Did His Excellency not like eating alone?’
Lena squinted as she scooped the clam soup. But she couldn’t tell what was inside of Kahel’s head. As he ate such delicious food, he was not surprised, and the gesture of wiping his lips with a napkin was elegant. Lena then realized that she had been thinking presumptuously.
‘That can’t be true. Me, what am I thinking…….’
However, eating with someone after a long time melted Lena’s heart, which was always nervous and anxious.
* * *
Kahel smiled secretly as he glanced at Lena by his side.
The Knight Commander Voltaire, who taught him hunting and archery as a child, had taught him. To allay the vigilance of an animal, it is necessary to constantly feed it.
Again, that method worked. Of course, Lena is not an animal, but as they ate together and occasionally talked a few words, he could see Lena’s nervousness, like a frightened rabbit, eased.
Her fear of him didn’t seem to have disappeared completely, but maybe she was a little bolder, and she would sometimes turn around and pout her lips or giggle silently. She had no idea that it was visible to him through the mirror.
If such a poor appearance was a result of careful training, that would be really scary.