༺ The Executive Manager is Satisfied with You (2) ༻
Marghetta, who was taken aback by the sudden words, showed no signs of calming down even after some time had passed. At least her face had calmed down, but her ears still displayed a reddish hue. I didn’t expect her to be so pleased with a compliment. I somewhat felt sorry for being stingy with compliments in the past.
I thought that maybe I should start praising her, but I couldn’t help but hesitate. It felt like that would be giving her false hope. It’s a complicated and apologetic problem to figure out how to treat Marghetta.
“W-Well. Then, shall we go?”
Marghetta cautiously extended her hand and spoke. I waited because I thought she would hesitate if I spoke first, but fortunately, it seemed like she’d regained her composure.
“Yes, let’s go.”
I smiled and grabbed Marghetta’s hand. Holding hands while entering the banquet hall was natural, and I felt that not doing even this would be too much. Besides, ignoring a lady when she reached out first would be rude.
“I look rather dull compared to the beautiful lady. I’m afraid that I’m going to embarrass you.”
Comparing Marghetta’s attire to mine, I naturally became concerned. Compared to the bright red color, mine was plain-looking. I don’t even have suitable clothes to wear on formal occasions other than my Prosecutor’s Office uniform.
“Well, would anyone dare to make fun of us?”
“We don’t know what’s inside their hearts.”
“It doesn’t matter. In my eyes, Sir Carl looks cooler than anyone else.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at Marghetta, who was blushing after saying bold things. Marghetta lowered her head in embarrassment and I bit my lips slightly, fearing that she might run away if I laughed any louder.
Why did she say it so confidently if she was going to get so embarrassed at my reaction? Marghetta seemed to be the type of person who had a strong drive but is weak when it comes to endurance.
Anyway, I opened my mouth to comfort the embarrassed Marghetta. If she was embarrassed by what she said, wouldn’t it make her feel better if I also said something embarrassing?
“I think that Mar looks more beautiful than anyone else right now, so let’s call it even.”
She seemed like she wanted to let go of my hand and run away, so I held on tighter and didn’t let go. During the journey to the banquet hall, Marghetta kept looking down and didn’t say a word.
Marghetta Valenti is strong in offense but weak in defense…noted.
No, come to think of it, she didn’t seem that good at offense either. What a shame.
The banquet hall was not located within a building but was a separate building entirely built for banquets. It was natural considering it was built during the apex of luxury in the Apel’s era. It was slightly smaller than the main building, but it was still quite a massive banquet hall.
As we got closer, we began seeing students. Some were alone, while others were accompanied. There were also a few that were walking in groups. Everyone was going to the banquet hall.
Seeing them dressed up made me feel like I was walking on the city’s streets instead of the Academy.
Ah, come to think of it, the city was unfamiliar to me as well since I rarely left the office and walked around.
“As expected. Sir Carl, you’re the best.”
Marghetta looked around and whispered to me. Then, she grabbed my hands tighter as if she didn’t want to let it go.
“I think the same as before.”
At my words, Marghetta nodded without trying to escape. This time, she seemed determined to act confidently, knowing that many eyes were watching.
Seeing her like that made me feel relieved. Thankfully, the Prosecutor Office’s job ended up a success, and I was able to relieve a bit of the lump in my heart. That’s why I was able to react like this to Marghetta’s actions.
What would have happened if the banquet happened a day earlier? I wouldn’t have been able to respond to Marghetta’s behavior as well as I’m doing now. Of course, Marghetta would have still maintained a smiling appearance, but I don’t know what kind of expression she would’ve made when I’m not looking at her.
“It’s a great day for holding a banquet.”
“Haha, is that so?”
Marghetta laughed at my random mumbling. Yes, it was a good and satisfying day.
Moreover, Louise’s pink hair fluttered in the wind from afar, looking as if cherry blossoms were embroidered in the sky. How did she know that my tortured heart had become slightly more at ease? It felt as if Louise was personally congratulating and comforting me.
Why’s she here alone?
‘What about the others?’
I thought she would’ve come here with the other club members.
It seemed like Louise had noticed me and came running, holding the hem of her dress in both hands. No, what if she trips while running in that dress? Those shoes were probably not the ones she usually wears.
For a brief moment, I was able to see the newspaper club publishing a headline that said, ‘Louise Naird, esteemed daughter of Baron, falls over in front of the banquet hall while running without grace…’
“Mar, I’ll be back in a moment.”
I let go of Marghetta’s hands for a moment and ran toward Louise in this potentially disastrous future. Sure enough, Louise stumbled and leaned forward. In her panic, she wasn’t able to release her grip on the hem of her skirt. If she fell like that, she could get seriously hurt.
“Did you want to be alone in the infirmary while others enjoy the banquet?”
Fortunately, I was able to catch Louise’s stumbling figure and prevent her from getting hurt. What would’ve happened if I wasn’t here? Although knowing Louise, she wouldn’t have been running if I wasn’t here in the first place.
Louise, who was looking around in surprise, chuckled and let go of my arms to straighten up. Her face was as red as Marghetta’s face when she was in front of my quarters.
I wasn’t sure if it was because she almost fell before others or if it was because she was held in someone’s arms to prevent falling. I’m not sure. Maybe it could be both. For a young lady of an aristocratic family, both were probably embarrassing.
“Why would you run while wearing high heels?”
I frowned as Louise thanked me. I was thinking about letting her go seeing how she was lowering her head in shame, but considering that she almost got hurt badly, scolding her properly was the right thing to do. To think that the club’s president would get hurt while I’m around. It was something I didn’t even want to imagine.
“Still, thanks to oppa, I didn’t get hurt. So it’s fine, right?”
“Do you want to get scolded more before entering the banquet hall?”
I refrained myself from pinching her lips as I used to do to the 1st Manager for saying such a ridiculous thing. That would be too harsh for her for a first mistake.
In the end, I just told her to be more careful in the future and moved on. After all, Louise wasn’t someone who would make such mistakes. It was probably because she was too excited about winning the club fair today.
“But why are you alone? I didn’t think you’d come without the other members.”
“If we came together, everyone would’ve had to wait a long time for me, so I told them to go first.”
Indeed, it seemed like it took more time for women to prepare compared to men. Louise was wearing a dress that seemed like it would have taken a lot of effort to wear.
“You look pretty. Pink definitely suits you well.”
I nodded while looking at the pink dress Louise was wearing. Even before coming to this world, I’d never seen someone to whom pink suited so much.
Upon seeing Louise smiling happily in response to my compliment, I heard Marghetta’s voice from behind me.
Although I’d come here as her partner, I had neglected her for too long. As I turned around, I saw Marghetta looking at me and Lousie with narrowed eyes.
* * *
I almost ran out on the spot after seeing Louise nestled in Carl’s arms.
‘I… I haven’t been hugged like that yet…!’
However, I desperately restrained myself.
The Valenti family is firm on matters of propriety. We clearly distinguish between public and private matters.
The fact that the pastry club won and I brought Carl to the banquet as my partner and the fact that Louise was in Carl’s arms represented the balance of public and private. The scale tipped in favor of the ball, considering that Carl had to take responsibility for managing the club. Yes, Carl’s actions were purely for the sake of being the club Advisor. It was an inevitable situation caused by Carl’s kindness.
After thinking about it for a while, I concluded that Louise had done more good than harm. Although she’d hugged Carl, thanks to her having won, he would participate in the banquet. However, I was upset with Carl because he kept talking with Louise even though I was his partner.
When I called his name, he turned around while making a troubled expression.
‘So he knows he’s done something wrong.’
If that was the case, I could let it slide. It wasn’t difficult to show leniency to someone who willingly admitted their mistake. As expected, Carl acted for the sake of the club, so it seems like he prioritizes me.
“Lady Louise, it’s been a while. Oh, I heard the news. Congratulations on your win.”
“Thank you, Senior.”
As I greeted Lady Louise, I glanced at Carl. It was satisfying to see him awkwardly raise the corners of his mouth. Carl was aware of my gaze, after all.
As I reached out my hand, Carl approached and held my hand again. It was deeply satisfying.
“Lady Louise, did you come here alone?”
“Ah, yes. I sent the others ahead because I thought it would take me a long time to get ready.”
When I checked Carl’s expression beside me, he was looking at Lady Louise with a worried gaze. It seemed to bother him to leave the club president he was responsible for, especially when Lady Louise had just almost tripped. Although she seemed fine now, she could have sprained her ankle.
“Then, shall we go in all together?”
I heard mixed reactions in response to my words. It’s understandable that my words were unexpected.
‘It’s important to look at the bigger picture.’
Anyway, Carl was already in my hands, so there was no need to push too hard. Carl would be tied to me after the Academy. That was almost a certain future.
On the contrary, forcing the issue and displaying excessive restraint and jealousy could provoke Carl’s resentment. That cannot happen. I cannot allow myself to receive a negative response from Carl for such a trivial action when we are supposed to spend our lives together.
‘I should show some leniency.’
Carl was worried about Louise in this situation while feeling sorry for me. In that situation, what would happen if I were to extend my hand to Lady Louise first?
I’m sure this will move Carl. Yes, it will definitely work.
The generosity to not blame him for being distracted, the generosity to fulfill the burdensome task first, and the generosity to be okay with it all.
‘A perfect appearance!’
In a short time, I managed not to be consumed by anger and thought of the best course of action. I’m proud and impressed with myself.
“Mar, would that be okay?”
“Of course. I’m fine now, but who knows if Lady Louise might have gotten hurt?”
I also showed concern for my junior. Even Carl was probably surprised and in awe. Louise was looking at me with sparkling eyes as if she was touched.
“Fufu, if you’re sorry… then we could dance together at the banquet.”
“If you’re okay with that, then I’d be more than happy to.”
And naturally, I was also able to secure a dance with Carl.
Everything had gone perfectly.