Right Now, in this Moment
Even though Yulan and Violette’s father had said the same words, what differentiated them was surely not just their voice and tone.
In Violette’s dark blocked view, his single boyish hand completely covered both of her eyes. Flickering in the darkness again and again, he kept waiting for her, until her tightened lips loosened.
He became such a kind, big boy. His physique had grown to where he could even wrap someone completely.
Violette was happy about that, but she also felt a little lonely. The boy who followed Violette’s back while crying wouldn’t stay young forever.
(I never thought that I could feel my little brother’s growth up close.)
Had this been Maryjun, who was undoubtedly her sister in both both relation and family register, she wouldn’t have been lonely or happy. She would just feel a little relief, and that’s it.
That’s why she thought that she would never have any relations with anyone. If she could experience this, what a happy thing it would be.
But even now, Yulan gave her the words she sought.
Violette wanted to pay him back, but before she could give return the favor, she received two or three other things. It was disappointing that she could never catch up, but it seemed that their relationship would never change. The grown-up Yulan was no longer just cute, but he was still her important little brother.
“Do you feel better now?”
“Yes, I’m sorry for worrying you.”
“That’s good… But for the time being, let’s take a break somewhere.”
It was only a moment when the darkness gradually subsided and the light dazzled.
Surely, their natural relationship would continue even if Yulan didn’t say anything to her teary eyes. She managed to endure her gears from flowing out, but how her nose was getting runny and the depths of her eyes were hot was definitely not an illusion. The reason why he didn’t mention it was probably because he had sensed Violette’s wish.
“There’s a recommended shop just a little bit more ahead from here. I’m sure Vio-chan will like it!”
“Is there something Yulan can eat there?”
“They serve some snacks too, so it’s okay.”
“Then, let’s go there.”
With no sense of incongruity or unnaturalness, Yulan took Violette’s hand and started walking.
There were a lot of times when he had walked beside her before, but what Violette could see now were his peeking ears from his brown hair as he led the way. Although his walking pace should have been faster than hers, she didn’t feel like he was dragging her along at all. He would look back only occasionally, and when he did his expression would turn even sweeter.
It was like his footsteps were dancing happily and delightfully, hitting the ground within a tap.
Only now, Violette felt like she was blessed by the world.
“Fufu, is it delicious?”
After repeatedly nodding in desperation, Yulan bursted out laughing, as if to say he couldn’t endure it anymore.
Violette couldn’t allow herself to talk with something in her mouth, but she believed that telling him how delicious the food was with her shiny eyes inside this restaurant with casual atmosphere was okay.
In front of Violette was a round puffy pancake. She wanted to ask just how many layers this volume of plumpness was, but she guessed that it was only one layer. Although the pancake was wrapped in cream, it was indeed one lump when she cut the cake to have a bite. Due to the softness, the shape gradually distorted over time, but Violette’s mouth was full of happiness now, to the point that she didn’t even mind such a thing anymore.
“I’m glad if you liked it. I was a little worried since Vio-chan doesn’t really eat pancakes a lot.”
“It’s very delicious.”
“Yeah, I can see that. Bringing you here wasn’t a mistake.”
In front of such a Yulan were simple sandwiches, with lettuce and ham between the bread.
As Yulan had said, this restaurant had some snacks, but they mainly served sweets. The ratio of snacks that wasn’t sweet was extremely low.
He brought Violette her and worried about her choices, but he most likely didn’t want to eat anything special. The proof was that even though there were four sandwiches lined up on his plate, he’d only had one until now.
“Rather than watching me, Yulan should eat too. Your sandwich will become hard soon.”
This place was not a bakery, so their foods wouldn’t try to preserve their food that much. Since they sold things that were easy to eat, situations where people left their food untouched should be out of their calculations.
“I want to see Vio-chan enjoying herself just a bit more.”
“You don’t have to watch me.”
Violette made a sour look atto that, and Yulan lightly apologized to her. It wasn’t like she was really angry, but she didn’t like having someone watch her eating.
Without moving the fork and knife in her hands, she looked intensely at Yulan, and apparently he surrendered. Although he pouted his lips as if he was sulking in displeasure, he grabbed the sandwich and ate one with two bites.
For him to have an expression different from his usual gentle one made him look more lively than elegant. In social circles, it didn’t change that most boys had to watch their manners. Even wiping their mouth with their thumb looked somewhat rough.
Even so, the person in front of Violette was like a stranger to her.
“Ah… sorry. It’s just rare for you to look at you like this, so…”
“Is it really that rare… We always eat our lunch together, right?”
“Since we have to care about our manners in school even when eating snacks, it’s rare to have you eat like this now.”
In the school where manners were also practised, they had to mind others’ gazes even when they were on a break. If someone had witnessed their current eating manners, it was not unlikely that people would rebuke them for being rude.
Basically, Yulan and Violette usually ate together at the school or in a social community. There were only a few places where they could stay without wearing their masks.
“You’re right… Actually, we steel ourselves considerably, eh? Even if it’s completely unconscious.”
As an aristocratic lady, it was almost her instinct to be aware of her every move. With imprinted education, manners were always her warming-up exercise in one corner of her head.
Nevertheless, there’s no one who could stay perfect for 24 hours a day 365 days a year without losing their focus for a minute.
That’s why, people used their mask unconsciously. Then they would find a good place to relax and remove it.
The store they visited this time was one of those places. In this ordinary, informal restaurant, it would be more rude to focus on formality.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The right person in the right place, one could just misread their actions as a point of compromise.
“It’s been that way since I was a child, and it’s not that hard to do now, but… I need to relax in a place where I can have fun.”
“Sometimes, you have such a rough temperament.”
“Is that so? But Vio-chan is also different from usual.”
Saying that, Yulan slowly extended his large hand and slid it along the edge of her lips. What she could see was his large hand, and gray hair tangled around his fingertips.
“You are eating your hair.”
Violette was blank at his sudden action, but she understood the situation after a beat. It seemed that Yulan had taken her hair that had been stuck to her lips.
After understanding, her face easily got even hotter. Even though she was much looser with her manners than at the school, she didn’t notice that she was eating her hair… Before that, she was eating without thinking about her hair at all. Usually, she always worried that her long hair would get dirty, and made sure not to soil it.
It seemed that even if Violette was not conscious of it, she was also relaxing her guard.
“It’s unusual for Vio-chan to make such a mistake… Fufu, cute.”
“I-it’s just by chance…”
His teasing voice tickled her eardrums, and his joyful smiling face was irritating.
She was sure that her cheeks were getting redder, but she decided to focus on the pancakes in front of her before he could tease her any further.
“Is it delicious?”
Actually, she didn’t know the taste since she swallowed it in a hurry, but she was certainly appeased.