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Chapter 46 - Side Story 1
That night, Sid sat in his study with a somber expression, facing a letter. In the afternoon, when he visited the Marquis's mansion for work-related reasons, he received a letter from Jean. Sid and Mary had recently moved to this estate, which was close to the Marquis's mansion, and since it was only recent, it wasn't rare for letters addressed to Mary to arrive at the Marquis's mansion, so that wasn't surprising in itself, but the sender of today's letter was the issue.
Cedric Anderson, Viscount Anderson's son.
Sid hadn't intended to ask, but from what he overheard Marius and Jean talking about, this Cedric person seemed to be an old acquaintance of Mary's, and not an ex-lover. Although he was also curious about Mary's past relationships, comparing them to his own past would only lead to confusion, so he chose not to worry about it. Nevertheless, since falling in love with Mary, memories of other women had honestly faded into the background, and now he was completely captivated by her.
Setting that aside, Mary had never mentioned Cedric to Sid. Even when she talked about her family's downfall, the name Cedric never came up.
'Should I... ask about it?'
He never thought he had such a weak side to him, but when it comes to Mary, He's fully aware that he tend to be overly cautious because he doens't want to be disliked by her. However, no matter how he try, he can't help but be curious about this Cedric person to the point it bothered him... So Sid made up his mind to ask Mary about him.
"Wow, Cedric-sama sent a letter! Oh, he doesn't know about our engagement yet, I should write about it in my reply!"
Contrary to Sid's determined resolve, Mary casually mentioned Cedric's name as she sat on the edge of the bed in their bedroom, looking happily at the letter in her hand.
"Cedric... Is he an old acquaintance?" As he cautiously asked, Mary looked at him with surprise.
"Oh, wait. Did I not tell you about Cedric-sama?"
Sid confirmed it from her reaction—yes, it's true. let alone being her lover, Maybe Cedric wasn't even her first love.
Feeling slightly relieved, Sid relaxed his guard and nodded with a smile-like expression. Then he sat down next to Mary.
"Cedric-sama is a friend of my brother's, the same age as him. He's always been incredibly kind and seemed like a prince. Honestly, I couldn't believe he was the same age as my brother. He was always so dashing and cool."
'...That's just an overly flattering description, isn't it!'
Sid was absolutely confident that she wouldn't speak about him in such a flattering manner to someone like Clarisse. In that sense, he started feeling somewhat down, and his dislike towards Cedric grew. He knew it was a trivial matter, but he couldn't help but feel jealous of the Cedric, who resided in Mary's memories.
After all, it was a story from a time before he had even met her, which made it even more painful to hear. He was aware that he was drowning in his feelings for Mary. If someone like Marius, who had witnessed his romantic history up close, knew about Sid's inner turmoil caused by Mary's words and actions, they would likely burst into hysterical laughter rather than be surprised.
"Was Cedric your first love, Mary?"
Despite the excessive flattery, Mary shook her head in a way that surprised Sid, and his feelings instantly revived. Mary hesitated for a moment but then looked at Sid as if she suddenly was having second thoughts.
"I'll tell you, Sid, but please don't mention this to Clarice... Cedric is someone who is not interested in women. He secretly told my brother and me. It's been a long time but I believe he's still the same."
This caught Sid completely off guard, and he was left speechless.
"Clarice was still young at that time... I'm not sure if she noticed or not, so I don't want to bring up this topic. But anyway... he's a kind person, and I think he's still struggling between wanting to meet his parents' expectations and his own desires."
In this country, same-sex relationships are not taboo to the extent of being punished if they are revealed. In the aristocratic society, there are indeed individuals who engage in same-sex relationships out of curiosity (of course, there are also those who can only engage in same-sex relationships with people of the same gender because they have no other options), and it is spoken of as an open secret. However, in noble families of a certain class where it is expected to produce heirs, same-sex relationships are unfortunately not welcomed. Cedric is undoubtedly struggling between his parents' expectations and his own sexual orientation, as Mary stated.
"If I were still a Baron's daughter, I might have considered an engagement with Cedric for camouflage," Mary said quietly.
"I don't think Cedric would have forced me into a marriage of convenience, but if we had been engaged and then broken it off, it would have preserved Cedric's reputation, wouldn't it? The criticism might have eased a bit too."
"That's true, but..."
If that were the case, Mary herself would become a discarded engagement partner, which would leave a mark. However, she didn't seem to care about that, and in fact she probably care if she could only help Cedric.
Seeing Mary wholeheartedly following Clarice, Sid caught a glimpse of her true nature. Mary seemed bright and a bit unconventional, showing her energetic side (although he believed she had that aspect from the beginning), but she was truly devoted and wholeheartedly dedicated to the person she considered important. And Sid himself was fortunate to have someone like Mary, who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, and he gradually began feeling that joy welling up inside him.
"But that's just my own assumption. I don't think Cedric would want something like that because he's a kind person, in any case, may I read the letter now" Mary said cheerfully and Sid nodded.
He tightly embraced Mary, who happily opened the envelope and started reading. He loved this person. He was in love with her. He didn't want to let her go.
"Uh, I'm trying to read the letter... You're in-interrupting.."
"Doesn't matter. Right now, I'm just savoring the fact that I love you so much," Sid said with a sweet whisper, embracing her tightly.
Mary's ears instantly turned red, unable to resist such affectionate words.
"What are you saying? Th-that's not true at all! Where did you get such...?"
"Never mind that. Just read your letter. I'm just celebrating my own good fortune," Sid said.
"Hehe, you're such a strange one Sid" Mary lightly tapped his arm that was around her, leaned against him slightly, and began reading the letter.
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