Ever since then, I have been married to Rufus for 10 years. I finally discovered the fossil of a T-Rex! Thus, a great dinosaur museum had opened in the Stan territory!!
In reality, I only discovered some ferns and a fossilized snail shell. Once, I did unearth a shark’s tooth, though.
Even so, I still wore Rufus’ old clothes and a wide-brimmed straw hat that he had especially ordered as I dug through the soil.
Today, I feel like I’ll make a grand discovery!
Although, we didn’t actually have much time to stay in the territory. Rufus, who had recently succeeded his father as the chancellor, could rarely leave the royal capital. As such, that day was a precious summer vacation.
Upon returning from the mountainside, I spotted the sleeping figure of Rufus under the shade of a tree. He was lying on top of a mat with a book covering his face. Two black and white dogs—Dagger’s grandchildren—were sitting beside him. They were keen on protecting their masters.
He seems very tired…
I suggested he sleep peacefully in a quiet room while I was away, but he insisted upon coming along. “Don’t treat me like an outcast!” I remembered him saying.
Compared to the royal capital, his territory was a little cooler. We could take it easy here, since it was peaceful. Even so, I took out a water bottle, drank tea, and took a break so as to not get heatstroke.
“Mommy—! Look, it’s sparkling—!”
The miniature version of Rufus when we first met, but 100 times prettier, appeared along with the wet nurse, Sarah. The boy also wore Rufus’ old clothes and a precious straw hat from mother-in-law.
“Andrew, what did you discover?”
I sat there and lifted up the infant. Andrew was 3-years-old. When we first got married, my husband and I had a difficult time conceiving a child. Thus, rumors began to swirl.
However, as soon as Caroline entered a heavily-supervised monastery (Rufus’ account), my father-in-law, who somehow recovered from his illness, jumped into action and swiftly put an end to those rumors.
By the way, the former crown prince, Lex, handed over his title to his younger brother. Apparently, he’d be supporting the kingdom as a duke in the future. Although, he still relapsed from time to time. As such, he had to stay in the detached palace. The queen of the current crown prince was none other than Amelia. Each prince and princess were bestowed with a radiant beauty. Occasionally, when we met face-to-face at a social event, she’d take kindly to me. I was glad she was the future queen.
“I found something black, glittery, and awesome! I’m giving this to you, Mother!”
Oh, dear! It’s a biotite! And quite a large one, at that! Way to go, my son!
“How amazing, you managed to find a biotite. Andrew, let’s split it in half.”
“—Hey, let me join, too.”
Before I knew it, Rufus had awoken and was peering from above. I placed my hand on Andrew’s small hand and gently peeled the biotite together.
The cross section glimmers!
“Wow! It transformed!”
“Andrew, you’re amazing!”
The look-alike father and son beamed in unison.
Both of you are so cute…
“C’mon, let’s have lunch!”
Andrew, who was full after being fed by his parents one after another, fell asleep while being held by Rufus. To Rufus, whose hands were occupied, I offered a small sandwich. Rufus raised his eyebrow, yet ate quickly.
“Yes, and even more so when you eat outside.”
I stared alternately between the two people I cherished, who were basking in the sunlight seeping through the trees, and smiled.
“No, it’s especially delicious because Pia fed it to me. Isn’t that the norm?”
When he said that with a straight face, I became flustered.
“No way, could it be some kind of addiction?”
I tried to make a joke.
“Like that cookie? Perhaps. No, most likely—I haven’t had enough.”
Rufus cunningly hugged me with a hand that wasn’t holding Andrew.
“B, but everyone’s still present! Ah…”
The perceptive servants of the marquis family had disappeared off somewhere. Inwardly, I began to apologize to Sarah, Mike, and all the other servants who had sworn to protect us.
When I turned my gaze back and looked up at Rufus with an unbearable feeling, I could see his emerald eyes narrowing with passion.
Even though I’m dressed in such an unattractive way, why do you still want me?
I briefly wondered.
However, these two wonderful men would always hug me nonetheless. Perhaps, I should be a little more confident, because they loved me the way I was.
“Thank you, Lord Rufus.”
Before I knew it, I had spun those words.
From the bottom of my heart, I thought so.
Thank you for staying with me for the rest of my life since I was 10-years-old.
Thank you for saving me.
Thank you for blessing me with Andrew.
The wound from my previous life no longer hurt, for Rufus’ affection had mended it.
Besides, I’m now a mother. For the sake of Andrew, I can’t stay timid forever!
“…Kuh, why are you laughing so cutely?”
As if it was a dessert, he began to savor my lips. Once I realized that this terrifyingly smart, unforgiving, yet overprotective man was my husband, I drowned in kisses as usual.
I couldn’t think of anything but him.
“Do you know, Pia? Even though I won the bet, I lost in every other aspect to you.”
As we caught our breath, he whispered to me.
“Be it Pia, Andrew, and this territory, I’ll protect this happy time. This time, I’ll bet on my pride. That I promise you, Pia.”