I acted as though I was someone who feared nothing in this world.
But since Astra was a very bad-tempered woman, I still had to be careful, especially when I turned my back on her.
Even now, I could hear Astra’s steps gradually become faster.
For that reason, I was worried that she would grab my hair from behind.
Since, after all, she had a crazy personality.
‘But why are you pretending to be close to me?’
In the meantime, my legs started to tremble, perhaps because I’ve been running all over the place for a long time.
In addition to that, I believe it’s also because I was quite stressed by the aftermath of my actions today.
But at that time,
“Mom, mom! Big Bunny…!”
I didn’t even hear the child calling out to me.
“Why are you in such a hurry?”
“Uh? No, nothing, Haha.
I’m sorry, Rere.
Did I go too fast? Do you want me to carry you?”
“Yes! My legs hurt!”
At her words, I quickly scanned the area.
Fortunately, no one had followed me since then, including Astra.
She just glared at me as I walked away.
The reason as to why is most likely because she had been told to get along with me today without causing a disturbance.
Having collected my thoughts, I took Rere in my arms and quickly climbed the stairs.
“By the way, Rere.
Can we just go back like this?”
I was a little relieved when I arrived at a spot where I didn’t have to worry even if someone came to pick a fight with me.
“Daddy will take care of it somehow.”
“Huh…? There must be something left I have to do, right?”
“I think he told me to go back after I’m done playing….
Ahhh, I don’t know.
I just want to go back to my room with mom.”
I looked down the stairs as I listened to Rere, and noticed that there were a lot of people looking up at us as if they were expecting to hear me say something.
Despite their expectant gazes, I still left the banquet hall.
As even at the mere thought of standing in front of them again, I trembled in anxiety.
“We’ll prepare a bath for you right away as soon as we arrive at the room.”
Although they could not attend the party, the nanny and the maids, who were waiting outside the door, followed us with a pleasant smile.
‘Are you happy because the party ended well? Or is there a different reason?’
While I was agonizing about why they were smiling so brightly to the point it was suspicious, we arrived in front of Rere’s room.
At the same time, Rere fell asleep in my arms, perhaps because she was too exhausted.
Let’s lie down on the bed and sleep.
Change your clothes first.”
“Uhmm…But I don’t want to take off my clothes.”
Rere reluctantly pushed her eyelids up, rubbed her eyes, and yawned.
“Since it’s an outfit that matches mom’s, I feel so happy about wearing it that I don’t even want to take it off.”
“But it’ll be uncomfortable for you to sleep like this….”
Almost immediately after I said those words, the door opened.
I was thinking of going to the bathroom, taking off my clothes, and taking a bath, but I was rendered speechless by the sight in front of me instead.
Rere’s sleepy gaze headed in the same direction as mine.
A man’s baritone voice then greeted us.
“What are you zoning out for?”
“…What’s going on here?”
“We’ll have our portrait drawn.
Because we don’t have a family portrait.”
“But that portrait…”
I understand the reason as to why you want artists to draw us a family portrait.
Of course, I also understand, although I’m more puzzled, the reason as to why you want to have our portrait drawn on a busy day such as today.
I do understand, but…..
“…Daddy, how many artists are here?”
“I’d say about ten…?”
“…Why did you call for so many artists to draw us! On a day like this, too! I’m so tired! Damn….!”
Rere wriggled in my arms again, so I had no choice but to put her down.
Perhaps because her legs hurt, Rere, who had been standing in place while stretching her ankle, ran towards the Duke.
The Duke hurriedly protected his leg, presuming that Rere would kick him again.
But Rere ran past him and jumped onto the sofa.
“Daddy, what are you doing?”
“Don’t just stand there, Big Bunny.
I know it’s bothersome, but we need to get our portrait done.”
“Huh? Do you want to get our portrait drawn?”
“Yup! I can’t help it.
It’s my stupid daddy’s wish, so I have to grant it.”
“I-I never said it was my wish.” The Duke stuttered as if he was embarrassed.
“Say what?! So you don’t want to do it, huh? Is that so? Daddy, are you really going to be like this? If so, then I don’t wish to do this anymore!”
Daddy made a mistake.
A big mistake.
Of course, this is daddy’s wish.”
The Duke even went as far as to make hand gestures in disagreement to convince Rere.
Clearly, he was greatly embarrassed.
But Rere continued to be stubborn even when she saw her father act in such a way.
“I don’t want to.
Go away, daddy.
Big Bunny, let’s go to bed.”
The painters, who watched the scene from afar, were confused by the situation.
However, their faces looked more tired than confused as if they had been waiting for ages to draw our family portrait.
In the meantime, Rere insisted on not wanting to have the portrait drawn.
For that reason, I decided to interfere.
“Rere, let’s have our portrait drawn just once, hmm? Mom really wants us to have one, too.”
Since Big Bunny wishes for it so deeply, I have no other choice but to grant her wish.
You can sit next to me.“
I can sit here, right?”
Rere tapped the seat next to her.
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?”
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.
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?”
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?”
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.
I couldn’t even fathom how irresponsible he was.
“You need to go and wrap it up first.”
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“…D-Do you…often have Luca do such errands?”
As if it happened often, Luca turned away and left with light steps.
Only sometimes, I think.”
“Surely, he does that often.
Most times, I can’t meet Luca because he’s busy doing daddy’s job!”
You don’t know how busy daddy is.”
“I don’t believe that.
But why do daddy and Luca look so alike?”
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.”
Stop calling me.
Otherwise, you’ll only get more obsessed with me.
You guys, hurry up and draw us.”
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?”
“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.
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?”
“…You don’t even hesitate.”
“You did terrible things to me, so there’s no way I’d hesitate.”
“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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