Chapter 30 : Proof of Promise

Four days into the school’s month-long summer vacation, Alejandro was picking out clothes for a day out.

Alejandro was in a good mood as he was now scheduled to meet with Natalia.

In the end, Natalia did not get to see Leopoldo even until the last day before the summer vacation.

Both interpersonal trauma and object trauma that Alejandro had carefully imprinted on her was enough to frighten Natalia and amuse him.

As a reward for this, he thought that he should take her out to the theater today.

He had enjoyed the look of anxiety on her face for more than a month.
What he missed now was Natalia’s smile.

That man too, this time… he gave up Natalia so unexpectedly.
He thought he’d stick around a little longer.

When he went to pick up Natalia after getting ready, Alejandro felt a sense of discomfort as she greeted him with a bright smile, the sense of her melancholy had vanished.

What the h**l?

The bright and cheerful expression on her face was so bright and sunny that it was hard to believe that she had been living in tears until the other day.

Alejandro soon learned why.

She said she received a letter from Leopold.

Alejandro asked, while suppressing the irritation that welled up inside him.

“I see.
What did he say in your letter?”

“”Um, let’s see.
I’m sorry I made you feel so lonely.
I’m having a hard time at home right now, so I won’t be able to see you for a while, but I hope you’ll wait for me.”

“Heh.”

“It was written that he would definitely pick me up…”

Saying this, Natalia swept her sky-blue hair and smiled happily.

“…I’m glad to hear that.
Good for you.”

Natalia nodded her head, not even noticing that he had replied with a flat tone with no sincerity at all.

He used to like this kind of stupidity, but now he rather hates it.

What are you smiling about?

Alejandro kept the corners of his mouth gently curled up, but his heart was full of poison.

Words like that…

Natalia felt happy easily at such trivial words from such a man.

You’ve been anxious and crying all this time for the past month and a half.

During that time, it was me, not him, who was by Natalia’s side.

Do you like that guy so much?

Is that man really that good?

So much that you want to escape from my hands.

Ahh, I feel uncomfortable, and I don’t even know why.

Something black and hazy welled up inside Alejandro.

This was an emotion that hasn’t been around for a long time.

It was something that he has been able to forget for a long time since he found Natalia.

You’re my little toy that cries and laughs at my every whim.
That’s you.

You’re only there for that.

For the first time in a long time, I wanted to see Natalia smile.
But not in this way.
Never.

I was supposed to make her laugh.
I was supposed to make her laugh today.

But now that smile makes me want to vomit.
I want to hit her right now.
I want to make her face wet with tears.
I want to paint her face, which has been filled with joy because of him, with the color of despair.

I wanted to snatch that letter, or whatever it was in Natalia’s hand, and tear it to shreds immediately.
I could stomp on it, burn it to ashes, and then pour sewage all over it.
But I don’t think that would have made me feel any better.

But even Alejandro, in his current agitated state, was able to determine that this was not possible.

It can’t be helped.
I’ll give up for now.
But sooner or later, I will.

With a look of possessiveness and obsession, Alejandro looked at the letter that Natalia was holding in her hand.
But he did not notice that the letter was not the only thing that her hand was holding at her chest.

It’s hung from Natalia’s delicate neck under a buttoned blouse.

She was instructed not to let it be seen, and she chose to hide it under her clothes.

The letter was delivered to Natalia three days before Alejandro’s visit, late in the evening on the day the school went on summer vacation.

The curtains in her room shook, and Natalia stiffened with fear as a figure appeared.
But in an instant, she was held in place.

“…quiet.
Don’t make a sound.
I’m not a suspicious person.
I’m just here to deliver a letter to you.”

She was about to scream when he covered her mouth and whispered to her.

Nodding silently, the shadow easily took his hand away from Natalia’s mouth and held out a letter.

“It’s a letter for you.
I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you, he said… Leopold Reinapha.”

“Leo…?”

She received the letter with trembling hands.

Without regard to the man in front of her, Natalia opened the envelope and took out a piece of stationery from inside.

“It’s definitely his handwriting… surely you can see that, right?”

“Y-yes.”

Natalia nodded, but kept her gaze down on the letter.

It said that he apologized for worrying her by taking a sudden leave of absence from the academy, that he would still be taking this leave for a while to help out at home, and that he would pick her up after the matter was resolved.

Tears of joy slowly welled up in Natalia’s eyes.

But the man in front of her opened his mouth with a cold stare, in contrast to Natalia.

“It was a dummy letter.
Of course, it was written by the real Leopold, so there’s no lie in it.”

“Dummy, huh?”

Not understanding the meaning of his words, Natalia asked back with a puzzled look on her face.

“Well, umm, what’s that?”

“It means it was written in anticipation of being lost.
Take another good look inside the envelope.”

“…?”

She was unsure of why, but she did as she was told and looked into the envelope.
Then…

“Memo…”

On a small piece of paper, small enough to fit in the palm of her hand, were written simply the words, “I love you”, in Leopold’s handwriting.

“That’s the real deal.
Put it between your textbooks or novels.
It is much safer than keeping it in a drawer.”

“Eh…?”

“It will be taken away immediately, anyway… it’s always been that way, hasn’t it? I’ve heard that nothing important ever stays in your possession, is that right?”

“…”

A look of confusion came into Natalia’s eyes.
She understood half of what was being said, but she didn’t understand the other half.

“Take away…?”

The man snorted in response, apparently satisfied with her response.

“Oh, you still haven’t realized it, have you? You’re just as easy going as he is… oh well.
It seems you can’t do belly tricks either.
I won’t explain any further.
Just trust Leopold and wait.”

“I’ll wait for Leopold… trust Leo… and wait.”

“Ah yes.
Can you do it?”

“Y-yes…”

“Then put the note between the books like I said.
Don’t let anyone see it.
And then… there’s this.”

The man took out a small box from his pocket.

“It was a gift from him.
He wants you to always wear it until he comes to pick you up.”

The man then continued.

Keep it on you at all times, in the bath and when you go to bed.

And then…

Hide it under your clothes and don’t let anyone see it.

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