The Male Lead Knelt Before Me
Vol. 17: Where You Are
My whole body was pounding pleasantly as his sweet words echoed.
“Permission… There’s no way I won’t.”
Such a truly consistent person.
But that’s probably why I like him even more.
I rose from my chair and stretched my arm towards Caleb.
As if he had foreseen what I was about to do in a short time, Caleb drew away the sword in both his hands to the side.
Thanks to that, I was able to hug him without much difficulty.
I kissed Caleb with my arms around his neck.
Like a little bird hitting its beak, I kissed Caleb lightly and put our forehead together, and laughed.
A soft smile lingered on Caleb’s face as he looked at me.
“I love you, Elena.”
“Yes, me too.”
I love you, Caleb.
As soon as I whispered quietly, our lips interlocked again.
I hugged Caleb tightly.
The happy moments that followed were long and intense.
The preparation for the stage in the Imperial Palace was carried out easily under the full support of the emperor and the guidance of the Theater’s owner.
As it turned out, it was thanks to the troupe’s lord being an actor with a history of appearing on stage before the emperor banned the performance in the Imperial Palace.
And finally, today, it was the day of the stage performance in the Imperial Palace.
Having completed all the preparations, I was welcoming an unexpected guest in the waiting room.
It was Mila’s voice as she saw me.
The child, who stopped after entering the waiting room, opened her eyes wide as soon as she saw me.
It made me nervous. Since the makeup on the stage had to be a little thicker than usual.
‘It might be scary for a child to see.’
As I was thinking like that……
“Eonni, you’re so pretty!”
“You are so pretty! You look like a goddess!”
Mila rushed over and circled around me, exclaiming ‘Wow!’ in her admiration.
‘So it wasn’t because she was scared.’
I felt more relieved, but there was a sense of embarrassment. It was because of the word ‘Goddess’ that Mila had uttered.
Last time she said that I was a fairy, but this time it’s a goddess……
No, is it because of the costume?
I glanced at the dress I was wearing now.
Overall, the hem of the skirt, which was covered with several layers of see-through fabric over snow-white fabric, was voluminous and fluttering.
As a rule, the goddess was portrayed as wearing a plain white dress, so in the child’s eyes, it might look similar.
“Good day, Lady.”
After looking at Mila for a while, I saw Natalie with a bouquet of flowers.
“Congratulations on your performance today. Please take this.”
What Natalie held out to me was a large bouquet of flowers.
It was full of flowers in full bloom, enough to feel the scent of spring without having to go outside.
“You could have just come……”
“It’s your first stage in the Imperial Palace. How can I come empty-handed?”
“I’m just grateful that you came to see me.”
“You don’t have to worry about that. I haven’t told you before, but I really like watching plays. Mila likes it, too.”
“That’s right! I like it! I watched it with my mom and dad a few times before!”
Mila smiled brightly.
For a moment, I flinched without realizing it. Because Mila’s parents are dead.
Reflectively I examined Natalie’s complexion, but she looked indifferent.
“But where are the other actors? I don’t see the Commander either.”
“Everyone uses a private waiting room. And Caleb went to the Knights.”
“The Commander went to the Knights?”
“Yes. He said he had something to deal with urgently. But he said he’d come before the performance started.”
“Huh? Ah, eonni, I saw that earlier, he…… heup!”
At that moment, Natalie moved urgently and covered Mila’s mouth with one hand.
It was an unnatural and awkward behavior for anyone to see.
“Dame Seria? What’s wrong?”
“No, nothing. I see the number of escorts is smaller than before.”
Obviously, she was trying to change the topic.
Dame Seria, it was so obvious……
Moreover, she tried whispering quietly so that only Mila could hear it, but unfortunately, I heard everything.
“Milla, what you saw earlier is a secret,” she whispered.
Then I could see Mila nod her head lightly.
Looking at it, I thought I knew what the two of them were talking about.
“The number of escort knights has really decreased.”
“Oh, yes. I’ve shortened it a lot.”
I thought of the escort knights standing outside the door.
I used to carry ten people, but now I have five.
It was the result of negotiations with Caleb a few weeks ago.
Mentioning that the prince and Vivian were already not around, I asked for the number of escort knights to be reduced.
Ten people were really burdensome and I didn’t think I needed them that much.
But Caleb was tough. Referring to the fact that I’m still “Kitara” and other reasons for safety.
‘Well, it was my side who won the victory in the end.’
In fact, the five were still large numbers. As a noble lady usually carried two to three escort knights.
Still, ten reduced to five was already a big accomplishment.
Of course, only my personal escort has been reduced to five, meanwhile, the place I often go to…… Anyway, knights belonging to the Duke of Egon were even placed in the theater.
It was said that it was for the purpose of protecting actors belonging to the theater, but it must have been a guard deployed out of his concern for me.
I thought the Theater’s owner and the actors would feel burdened and hate it, but on the contrary, they rather liked it.
Among the customers, the number of patrons who have been hanging out around has decreased compared to before, and the number of female customers has increased significantly.
And since it seemed that the patrons were significantly fewer than before, it felt like safety was guaranteed and that they could live in the theatre with a light heart.
I told Natalie that story as I sat down in the middle and finished talking.
Natalie nodded when I finally finished talking.
“I see. But wouldn’t it be good for the troupe?”
I’m sorry for the knights, but I also liked the changed situation more.
The conversation was cut off for a moment, but there was no time for awkwardness. Because Mila, who was sitting next to us and shaking her legs back and forth, called me as if she had been waiting.
“Eonni, eonni! Is there nothing different about me?”
I looked at Mila’s appearance.
Her bobbed hair hovered over her shoulders and her face was still round, so her gentle face seemed to remain the same……
‘What has changed?’
I wanted to ask her, but I couldn’t.
This was because Mila’s face looking up at me was full of expectations.
‘What is it?’
It was time for trouble to creep in.
Behind Mila, I could see Natalie gesticulating alternately between the top of her head and the ceiling, blinking her lips.
“Tall……? You get taller?”
“Yes, that’s right!”
Mila nodded with a smile, and Natalie also nodded violently as if it was the right answer.
“Eonni, eonni. I’ve grown a lot! I used to be slightly taller than Ryan, but now the top of his head can only reach my eyebrows!”
The last time I saw the two at my engagement ceremony, the two were similar in height.
However, it was certainly a big change that Ryan only came to Mila’s eyebrows.
“You’ve really grown a lot……”
“Right! I can’t wait to grow up and grow as big as you and Natalie eonni! So I’m going to look down at Ryan and say!”
Mila took a deep breath and shouted.
“Stop turning on the nonsense and stop harassing Elena eonni, you stupid shit idiot!”
S-stupid shit idiot……
I laughed awkwardly.
Mila continued to talk about the current condition of Ryan.
Mila said that even after my engagement, he often talks about me, or pretends to be as faint as he is, saying, “If I become a wonderful man, won’t my noona come back?”
“Then did Ryan come to the concert today, too?”
“No. He said he would cry if he came, and that he would come when he thought things would be all right even after looking at you, eonni.”
The thought of Ryan made me feel complicated.
Of course, it was something I couldn’t do anything about, so he had no choice but to solve it on his own, but I couldn’t help it.
At that moment, Mila jumped up, clenching her hands tightly.
“Don’t worry, eonni! I’m much bigger than him, so I’ll protect you!”
Oh, my heart!
When I patted Mila’s head, the child smiled.
“Then we’ll get going. We were told to sit at the audience seat 10 minutes before the performance starts, but there are only 20 minutes left now.”
Natalie’s words brought me to my senses.
I can’t believe the time’s already come.
“I lost track of time since we were talking. Then Dame Seria and Mila, see you later.”
“Yes, eonni! Have a good performance.”
“See you next time.”
After seeing Mila and Natalie off, I sat down again.
Lastly, it was when I was turning over the script because I wanted to point out my role.
I heard a knock on the door.
‘Did Dame Seria leave something behind?’
It was when I walked toward the door with my head tilted and opened the door.
A bouquet of flowers fell into my arms. It was a huge bouquet of yellow roses that I had to hug with both arms.
When I received a bouquet of flowers reflexively, a strong rose scent brushed the tip of my nose.
I checked the face of the person who gave me the bouquet while hugging it.
“Forgive me for being late.”
“What do you mean late? The performance hasn’t even started yet.”
I shook my head and asked Caleb to come inside.
Holding a bouquet of flowers reminded me of Natalie and Mila’s strange behavior earlier.
“Did you buy this bouquet just now?”
“How did you know?”
“I just have that feeling.”
I shouldn’t mention Natalie and Mila here.
I looked at the bouquet that Caleb gave me, speaking bluntly.
“This reminds me of the old days.”
“The old days you mean……”
“The day Caleb first gave me a bouquet of flowers. It was a yellow rose. Don’t you remember?”
“I was quite surprised back then. I thought you gave it to me on purpose because you knew the meaning of the flower. Do you know the meaning of flowers?”
“I know because the clerk told me. Nor is it recommended as a gift.”
“Actually, when I entered the store, I had no intention of buying any flowers. However, when I entered the store, the first thing that caught my eye was the flower. And all I could see was that flower.”
Caleb said while looking straight into my eyes.
“I think it resembles you, who was strong and beautiful on stage.”
“Apart from the language of flowers, it seemed that it would have to be that flower.”
His face flushed with the sound of a fast-moving heart.
“The language of flowers? But just now, you just said you didn’t care about the flower’s meaning, didn’t you?”
“I definitely thought it was then, but now that I think about it, I think I was a little jealous.”
“To whom? Are you jealous of me?”
Caleb added after a brief laugh.
“It was your colleague.”
I picked someone in my head that Caleb might be jealous of. But I can’t think of anyone.
“The other time, when I was leaving the theater with you, your fellow actor ran up to you and asked you about jasmine flowers.”
As I tilted my head, I could think of who it was after refining my memory a little.
“Rael is just a colleague.”
“I know. But I think I was jealous that the colleague knew about your past and was sharing something that I didn’t know. So I think I decided to buy the flower even more when the clerk stopped me by talking about the flower language.”
An airless laugh escaped from my lips.
“It can’t be helped even if you think I am petty, but I think I also had that feeling. I want you to think about me a little bit.”
“Then that’s a success. Every time I saw Caleb, I only thought of a yellow rose.”
Is that so?”
“Yes. And I think I’ll keep thinking about it in the future.”
I smiled and winked at the bunch of flowers in my arms.
“I’d rather you remember something else.”
Caleb took his hand into his arms without saying a word.
After a while, there was a small box in his hand.
It was certainly the first time I had seen a small but luxurious box.
But somehow I felt like I knew what was in there.
Caleb opened the box. Inside, there was a ring as I had expected.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the brilliant ring under the lights of the waiting room, even at the moment Caleb puts the ring on me.
A new ring was fitted over the engagement ring. The ring with diamonds was not excessive but pretty.
“It’s a jewel that means eternity. Like the jewel in this ring, I will also love you now and forever.”
Caleb grabbed my hands and squeezed them slightly.
“Will you keep being with me?”
“You say the obvious thing. I can’t if it’s not Caleb.”
I laughed as I tried to swallow the tears that were about to soar. And at that moment as I was about to say I love you.
At the knock of the door, Caleb’s and my eyes turned to the door at the same time. Before long, Veloka’s voice was heard.
“Lena? Are you in there?”
“Eonni, are you in there?”
Without even a second for me to say anything, the door burst open.
“Hurry up and come out! The performance…… Whoo!”
Veloka, who was shouting vigorously opening the door, immediately saw us and inhaled as if she were embarrassed.
After that, I saw Lina, who seemed similarly surprised.
“Uh, uh…… I’m sorry to disturb… finish it, then.”
Then, uncharacteristically for Veloka, she closed the door with a gibberish talk.
Caleb and I burst into laughter when we saw the door closed.
Caleb said, letting go of the hands he was holding.
“Yes, I’ll be back.”
I put down the bouquet and turned around. Having just taken a couple of steps, I turned around again and hugged Caleb.
“It’s a pity to go on like this.”
I grabbed Caleb by the shoulder and he bowed his head.
I laughed at the familiar consideration and slightly raised my heels.
As soon as I felt our lips touch each other, I let go and whispered.
“Let’s do the rest later.”
In an instant, Caleb’s eyes widened, and soon his face turned red.
Looking at him, I rushed to the door and shouted.
“Then I’ll be right back!”
When I open the door, I see Veloka and Rina still in front of me.
“Oh? Oh? You came out right away?”
“I know right? It is fine to finish it and then come out.”
“What’s the point of doing it? It’s time for the performance. Come on, let’s go.”
I led them with my arms folded between Veloka and Rina.
The red curtain that was drooping over the stage rises and dazzling light pours in.
It was the beginning of a new day.
The Male Lead Knelt Before Me
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