>

“Okay.
I can sit here, right?”

Rere tapped the seat next to her.

“Yup!”

As soon as I sat down, Rere hugged my waist and leaned her body on mine.
On the other hand, the Duke watched us with a frown on his face.

“Will you be going with that pose?”

“Yes!”

I then hugged Rere to my heart’s content as well.
Shortly after, Rere instructed the painters.

“We’re ready now.
You can start drawing.”

“Rere, what about daddy?”

“Why do we need to include daddy in the portrait, too?”

“Be-Because we’re family?’

“Ahh, that’s right.
Daddy is my family, too.
You can sit beside us if you want.”

Rere spoke as if she couldn’t help it and slightly moved her buttocks toward the Duke.

“Rere.
The couch is too cramped for Daddy…”

“What? It’s because daddy’s butt is too big! If you keep on complaining, I will go to sleep, okay?”

“Okay.
I’ll do as you say….”

“My daddy always acts like this when I praise him too much.
Honestly, you did well today, oh no, you didn’t!”

Suddenly, Rere began to scold the Duke.
She looked so cute that I couldn’t help but smile.

“Rere, did daddy make a mistake once again?”

“Yes.
Because you’re having our portrait drawn even when you haven’t officially ended the party! That’s your mistake! Because of that, you need to be spanked on the butt 100 times!”

“Oh right, the party.
I have to wrap it up first.
How annoying.”

I couldn’t even fathom how irresponsible he was.

“You need to go and wrap it up first.”

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“Listen to Big Bunny!”

“…Hmm, I’m worried at the thought that Rere would instruct the artists to begin drawing the portrait without me.”

“I got caught.”

Rere then stuck her tongue out shamelessly.

“Then I have no choice either.
Luca.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Go and wrap up the party on my behalf.
Just like usual.”

“I’ll heed your order, Your Grace.”

On my behalf, you say? No matter how alike their outer appearance was, their eye colors still differ.

While I wondered about that, Luca, who made eye contact with me, smiled gently.

At that moment, he lightly swept his eyes with his hand.
His golden eyes then suddenly turned red.

“Lu-Luca’s eyes….”

“Wow! Luca’s eyes turned red.
Now I won’t be able to tell the difference between Daddy and Luca!”

Just as Rere said, I won’t be able to tell the difference between them right away, especially if they stood next to each other.
Perhaps the only difference between their faces was that Luca’s face was radiating kindness.

“Then I’ll be back, Your Grace.”

“Alright.”

“…D-Do you…often have Luca do such errands?”

As if it happened often, Luca turned away and left with light steps.

“Not often…..
Only sometimes, I think.”

“Surely, he does that often.
Most times, I can’t meet Luca because he’s busy doing daddy’s job!”

“No, Rere.
You don’t know how busy daddy is.”

“I don’t believe that.
Stupid daddy.
But why do daddy and Luca look so alike?”

“I know.
Maybe because Daddy is too handsome, Luca…”

At that time, Rere shook her head with a tired expression.

“Daddy is not attractive.”

“What do you mean I’m not attractive?”

“Look at you shamelessly saying you are handsome.
Because of that, your charms fell to the ground in a split second.”

“Re-Rere!”

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“Hmph.
Stop calling me.
Otherwise, you’ll only get more obsessed with me.
You guys, hurry up and draw us.”

“Ah, y-yes!”

The painters, who were listening to the seemingly never-ending bickering of the two, began to move their hands in a hasty manner.

I was born in an era where photos came out immediately with only a press of a button.
That’s why when I had to stay still for a long time and listen to nothing but the sound of artists drawing, I couldn’t help but yawn because of how bored I felt.

What’s worse, we’ve been in this position for over an hour already.
And then, as if I wasn’t the only one who was bored, Rere suddenly fell asleep with her body leaned on me.

“Why does it have to be today?”

“Hmm?”

“I asked the reason why you decided to get our portrait drawn today.”

“Well, Rere was so excited about wearing matching clothes with her mom, so I wanted to have the memories we created today retained.”

At his words, I looked down at Rere, who was sleeping in my arms.

“…Ah.
So you’re doing this for Rere’s sake?”

“It’s also for my sake.
Even though other families get their portraits drawn every year, I never had one with Rere.”

The Duke, who rested his chin on his hand and leisurely crossed his legs, slowly turned his head and made eye contact with me.

“Not even once…?”

“…That was how I felt back then.”

“That would mean you’ve been pretending, huh? As if you were a father who loves his child, and a dad who does everything for his child.”

“I think so.”

The Duke clenched his fists for a brief moment.
I thought he would deny my words, but he agreed and looked at the child in my arms.

“Sometimes, when you’re being so straightforward….I get the feeling that I actually hate you.”

“Then I’ll have to be straightforward at all times from now on.
Because I also hate you.”

“Do you hate me that much?”

“Yes.”

“…You don’t even hesitate.”

“You did terrible things to me, so there’s no way I’d hesitate.”

“…That’s…”

“You hurt people without hesitation, and now that you’re not doing so anymore, you act as though you want to move on even though you are the assailant.
In the first place, you don’t even know how much pain you’ve inflicted on people, yet you want to move on as if it’s all just in the past.”

“….”

“That being so, you can hate me all you want.
Because I’ll hate you as much as I want, too.”

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